TuesDayNewsDay Vol.2 Issue 17, October 30th – CAUTION: Trigger Warning – this newsletter contains triggering sexual violence references. Please take care.
Dedication: Today’s issue is dedicated to my therapist Karen. Today, while going through what came up in therapy, I realized I would drive to the place, where in October of 1990, I was first molested. I was seven years old. I decided I would drive there, sit on the ground and take a photo. I would also take something of the earth to work with this healing. As the idea came to me, a light bulb exploded in my head. Karen said, “Anita, don’t take your wounded little girl there without your whole adult self holding her, seeing her, and telling her that you are there for her no matter what. You are her nurturing parent now, hold her in your arms.”
I pulled my car into the driveway for the first time ever on my way home from therapy, realizing I have never driven into that driveway before in my life.
This spot, which I have to drive by every time I go to my grandparents’ house, is also a block from where my mother still lives with the pedophile step-father just across the railroad tracks. When I say this healing is a daily, a moment to moment process, I mean it. Literally facing those places every day has wrecked havoc on my insides – but I am resilient and strong, vulnerable and honest with myself. The place is a vacant lot in a trailer park on Pomeroy Street in Graham, where my home used to sit. Now it’s an empty, dirty space with an overgrown concrete platform over which there was a carport. Under that porch, I remember having to take all of our stuffed animals outside to be thrown away because there was such a terrible flea infestation. I remember sneaking up late at night after everyone was asleep, turning on the television to watch Alfred Hitchcock and the Twilight Zone, my face about an inch from the screen, ever wary of any sounds coming from my mother’s end of the trailer lest I get caught.
Vividly, I remember the game we were playing that night in October. My baby sister, a developmentally disabled boy named Jason, and his sister Tasha and I were playing charades. Jason and Tasha were the teenage children of my mother’s red-headed boyfriend. We played in teams and it was decided we would go into the closet to decide what animal or character we would pretend to be. I was seven years old, my sister was 2. I was on Jason’s team. Jason was sixteen. (Typing this I can feel my heart racing and the old familiar anxiety aching in my chest and shoulders, my left eye and cheek twitching.). When we went into that closet and Jason molested me, I was too afraid to move, too afraid to scream, too afraid to fight, too afraid to do anything at all except to freeze. So, I froze. I could feel his icy cold, trembling hands on me. To this day I can still feel the darkness of that closet, the walls closing in around me. When we came out of that closet, I was sick. I don’t remember anything else. I don’t remember the game, nothing. I remember after they left that night, I told my mother what happened. She said to me, “Honey, if it happens again, let me know.”
Those words etched endless caves into the crevices of my heart. Those words are the haunting. Those words represent the moment I knew I was on my own. With no one else to turn to, my grandparents were gone to Disneyland at the time, I was completely alone. I prayed and prayed and heard nothing. Those words mark the day when I, as a seven year old, realized that god didn’t exist and that I wasn’t worth saving. Those words created children’s tears. They cannot be undone, and of course, it happened again.
Despite those memories buried deep in endless caves and my mother within shouting distance, I went. It was my nurturing, accepting, loving, and whole adult self who sat on that ground. I felt the cold, wet grass and soil underneath me. I looked at the trailers to the right and left of me. My phone was propped on the very metal bracket that once held that trailer to the ground. I snapped a shot of me sitting on that sacred ground. It took less than a minute. Leaving, I searched for a four-leaf clover in the tiny patch of yard, but found none. Instead, now a big green black walnut from that place is with me. I plan to do some ritual with that walnut. It tried to escape twice from me before walking up my back-porch steps in Saxapahaw. Something inside told me not to bring it inside my house, so I left it on the back patio table. It is not clear what kind of ritual will come about, but it is sure to be a powerful one of releasing the physical ghosts of that moment. It will be one of forgiving my mother for not knowing or realizing what she was doing. It will be a process of exorcising the grief and trauma which has been sitting in my bones and blood, blooming into the person you see today. Today is all I have.
Quote: Choice is all we get, change is all that’s real.
Song: Silence is the song today folks, listen to your heart beat. – my Tuesday video song series is available here: TuesDay Song Series Video on Facebook
Today’s post wasn’t meant to be this way. The events of today were not planned, but have made a mark. The words of my song, Darlene, record this event in a lyrical, symbolic sort of way. Being an artist is a privilege because it lets us put words and visions to feelings and thoughts. We are able to somehow transform our feelings into a universal language others can share. Today with Karen, I admitted to trying to let go of my fears: people won’t like my arts and I’m not good enough to walk in the footsteps of my idols. Slowly and purposefully, she said, “Let’s transform that. You are working on your language, so let’s start here.” So after thinking, my mouth said, “I am letting go of my concern for people not liking my art or me as a person.” I do not need validation of others to justify my existence. This self-work is Sacred. I feed on it; it makes me feel more and more alive and free every day to uncover and unleash the demons. Turns out, they aren’t demons at all. They are one scared, frozen little girl, stepping into who she is destined to be, not solely a victim of her circumstance. I looked Karen in the eyes today and spoke my gratitude for her being here with me this last year and a half of journeying, visioning and healing. It was the first time I’d ever asked to hold hands with anyone. With our feet on the floor, we grounded, I closed my eyes and saw little Anita sitting on my right knee. There Karen prepared me to go sit on that patch of grass, which someday, I will drive by without flinching. I will drive by proud to have been seated there.