I once had a life, or rather, life had me. I was one among many or at least I seemed to be....


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The answer is silence.
Sunday, Apr. 07, 2013 5:22 AM

“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.” ― Robert Frost

I awoke this morning with the sun shining through the window wondering what happened to the rain the weatherman promised. The cats sat in the windowsill gazing out at a random bird that sat on a pole sticking out of the ground. Comet's tail twitched in anticipation as if she could fly through the panes of glass and chase the winged creature. Haley made no sound but would look back at me while I kneeled down near them, as if to say, "I understand you, and I know what you are feeling."

Making no sense as I ramble on emotionally... I eat a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios and it does nothing to silent the thoughts running through my mind. I slept through the night dreaming very little; but whatever dreams I did have, they caused me to toss and turn until my sheet and comforter were tangled around my legs, and my pillows were smashed up against the wooden headboard. I awoke with a pain in my back and neck, a lump in my throat, and eyes full of unshed tears.

I remember waking up for awhile thinking of a man who once loved me with all of his heart. I fell back in time to a place I haven't visited in years, remembering the conversation that lasted an entire night. My memories brought back familiar smells and sounds that tickled my nose into remembrance. The packages sent, the gifts given, the beautiful fire and white roses on my 21st birthday.... the little green frog key chain that I wore hanging from the belt loop of my jeans to bring a smile to my face every time my eyes rested upon it. And I remember how kind and sweet and loving this man has always been to me. It hit me like a ton of bricks last night how blind I was back then, how selfish in my emotions I had been. And I asked myself "why?" Fear of commitment? Lost inside myself? Mentally unstable? Emotionally imbalanced? What was the answer, and where could I find it?

Looking back is often a painful experience for me; yet, I can't seem to stop myself from doing so. Slide into my past. Evaluate my life. Try to figure out who I am at this very moment in time and understand why. Could I have been less selfish? Could I have been more aware of people and what they truly meant to me deep down? Somehow, I feel as if I have blundered my way to the place I am now and it's all my fault.

As a kid I was scared, shy, full of anxiety, and always embarrassed by the little things. I learned about sex when I was three years old and I haven't figured out the source of my education. I'd sit on the couch in the living room wearing my father's over-sized T-shirts, my hand between my legs rubbing. My mother would yell at me to stop touching myself like that, but for some reason I couldn't stop. I'd dress my Barbie's up like whores and I'd force them to have sex with my Ken dolls or my brother's He-man collection. I would hide behind the couch in the basement forcing these dolls to take part in sexually perverse acts that no three year old child should know about.

I remember sitting on the piano bench in the living room learning how to play "Doe a deer" from Danny, who was 24 at the time. I had to of been seven or eight. I can't remember. He would squeeze my shoulders with his two strong hands and rub my neck just underneath my brown hair. Sometimes his hands would trail down my back and slide up underneath my shirt. I'd feel his warm fingers tickling my spine, the palm of his hand rubbing my back like my mother used to do when I was sick in bed with the flu. On a trip to Joyland, the amusement park, he took me on the roller coaster. He pressed his bare thigh into mine and his hand squeezed my knee cap and stayed there. Sometimes when he would do that, his fingers would tickle inside my thighs. For years I always thought he was playing, and that I was favored by him because I knew he was only playing with me. And then I would see him with my sister Jenny, and I would get jealous and wish to be older. He was mine and I was going to be his someday. And at the end of those jealous episodes, he would buy me gifts. He brought me necklaces and bracelets, beautiful things for me to wear. He even bought me a dress or two. On my 9th birthday he made me feel extra special. I was the only child he bought a gift for on their birthday in my family. It was a white music box covered in little brown bears with red bow ties. Inside, twirling in a circle as the music played was another brown bear with a red bow tie. The box was for me to keep my jewelry in, and I treasured it with all my heart.

I once caught him inside Jenny's room lying on his side in her bed. Jenny screamed at me to leave the room and I couldn't understand why. Danny was pressed up into 14 year old Jenny, and somewhere in the back of my mind I knew I caught them at something bad. I just didn't know what. Years later when Jenny finally told someone what had happened to her, I was confused and I felt betrayed. I had no idea what the word molestation meant and nobody dared to explain it to me. I only knew that Jenny was caught up in a whirlwind of her own emotions that stressed my entire family out, and that Danny was being taken to court for the bad things he had done to her.

When I look back on the moment now, I often wonder what might have happened had Jenny not said anything. It's unhealthy to think of such things, I know... but I often see her decision as my saving grace. A few years ago, when I went to counseling and finally began to understand what had happened to me, Jenny insisted that Danny would never have touched me. "He was drunk when he did those things to me. He didn't mean to do them," she said. But I look back on it now, and I know deep down that once Jenny had left the household, I would have been the one to take her place. Drunk or not, Danny meant what he did. Drunk or not, he touched me too. Drunk or not, he was grooming me the way he might have groomed her when she was younger. Drunk or not, he destroyed a good part of our childhood; hers more-so than mine.

Where does this information about Danny tie into everything? Sometimes I blame him for the years of anxiety and fear, at the way I would tense up when others touched me in any way, how I hated to be hugged even by my own mother. Sometimes I blame him for the large boundaries I created around myself, for the passive nature of my past sexuality, for all those times I let men and boys use me like a toy for their own satisfaction.

Would I have been such an easy target for the man who raped me had I not already been a victim of sexual abuse? Would I have allowed the boy who took my virginity force me into having sex with his friends in front of him? Would I have cried out "wolf" after they pinned me to the seat of the car and beat a life out of me? Would I have? Or am I only making things worse by thinking of what could have been, by playing these "what if" games?

Sometimes I try hard to shed my past like a thin layer of skin. If only the bad things that happen to people could be so easily discarded. Sometimes I can close the past all up into a box and place that box into the closet, but when I least expect it.. I find the box half open and I can't help but take the lid off. That's when everything escapes out into the open again. That's when it surrounds me like a dozen fluttering bees, taunting me by stinging the poison of those moments back into my tired mind. And that's where the contents of the box stay, like an obsession, until the emotional moment passes and I can safely tuck the memories back into place underneath the loose lid.

This life is more than just those memories. It's more than just a passing moment. Yet, it's hard to hold onto the value of this life when every waking moment brings the promise of a life cut too short, a missed moment, a forgotten memory, and the fact that no matter how hard we try to control the outcome of our lives, we have little control over the fact that this life isn't forever.

Situations will continue to happen to us at the wrong moments for all the right reasons, and at the right moments for all the wrong reasons. People will come into our lives and leave barely a dent, while others will make an impression that will last a lifetime. Some of them will leave by choice or by chance, constantly keeping our lives in flux so that there's never a guaranteed outcome.

Among these people in my life are my parents. I've fallen dependent upon my parents. They are my crutch in this crazy existence. Without them I'd be forced to face so many of the things I fear. Without them I'd lose a great source of my security that keeps me grounded and admitting to myself that "everything is going to be all right." And it scares me to think of a life without their love and guidance; but it scares me more knowing that I think of these things... as if by not thinking about them, I'll forget to value what they mean to me and I'll wake up one day to find them lying in the middle of the hallway dead, their eyes staring blankly straight ahead never focusing on what's before them.

And I fear the grief that comes with loss, the overbearing emotions that become stuck in my throat, that wallow about inside me forming a pit within my stomach, that make my heart bleed with silent tears that only I can feel. That's where the grief resides until my mind and my body can't hold it back any longer. Then it escapes from my eyes like a torrent of rain, forcing my lungs to ache for air while I attempt to catch my breath. And it doesn't stop until I'm too tired to continue releasing the grief from inside of me. So the grief stays there, nestled deep, until it forces it's way back out again.

Why am I so fixated on death? Why am I so fixated on grief? Why am I so fixated on the negative things that are a part of my past now? Is it because I feel I have lost something important to me?

The more time that passes, the more my relationships change... and I am feeling out of control because there's nothing I can do to maintain them the way they were in the beginning. I have seldom allowed myself to love another completely; but, worst of all, I have seldom allowed another to love me completely in return. And now that I am over halfway through the year, I desire to conquer the fear of true commitment that has made me into a hermit of my own doing.

It's time to spring clean and start over new. It's time to face the cobwebs and sweep the dirt out from underneath the rug. I just hope I have the strength to get me through this.

In 19 Seconds

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You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go...

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