content warning: sexual assault, childhood assault
Today we were asked to give our grief a voice. And I remembered I have many different traumas that I am working through. The ones that came up today were: relating to my mom’s mental illness, surviving my grandfather’s abuse, and the experience of being sexually assaulted as little kid. In trying to give them a voice, I am beginning to realize how connected they all are. And that hurts so much to acknowledge. These have been the hardest words to write so far.
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I just want you to see me. I just want you to acknowledge me. I just need you to say I am worth the time, the effort. I need you to say that you love me. I need you to hold me. I need you to care for me. I need you to take it all on. Take it all on for me.
Swaddle me. Hold me. Kiss me and cuddle me and let me know I am worth it.
Acknowledge me. Look me in the eye. Say my name. Smile when you say it. Come to me. Seek me out. Tell me you are glad to see me. Show me I am worth showing up for. Worth getting through all the other shit in order to love.
Sit with me. Read to me. Hold my hand. Wrap your arm around me. Show me I am safe enough to just be with. And just be with me.
Tell me silly jokes. Make me laugh. Show me that you think I can be fun, I can be silly, I can be light. Show me that I am not just work, I am joy. Show me that you get something out of being with me. Show me that you like loving me. Show me loving me is easy. Show me you’re glad you to be my mom.
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I just want you to believe me. To believe that something is wrong other than me. That something terrible has happened, is happening. Believe me that I am not simply broken, but that someone is breaking me.
Listen to me. Listen to my feelings. Listen to my energy. Listen to my pain. Listen to me even though I have no words for what is going on. Listen to me even though I have no idea how to speak this abuse I am enduring. Listen to my tears and know they are real, they are true.
Do something. Do fucking anything. Hear me, believe me, and then do something. Act. Make it stop. Make it true and then make it stop. Even if you don’t know what it is, protect me. Believe that something bad is happening and protect me. Hold me close, tell me you’ve got this. Even if you aren’t sure if you do.
Stand up for me. Say no for me. Say no more for me. Speak my value. Speak my legitimacy. Set a precedent of love. Set a precedent of care. Show them that you protect your own. You protect those you love, even from others that you love.
Don’t make this about me. Don’t make this a problem with me. Don’t make this some flaw in me, some weakness, some defect. Make it about them. Make about their domination. Make it about their insecurity. Make it about their need for control. Make it about their actions.
No “maybe you should have listened”. No “you can be a handful”. No “you need to pick your battles”. No “you just feel too much”. Don’t make it about me. Don’t throw my pain back at me. Don’t ask me to keep it in. Don’t ask me to be quiet. Don’t ask me to do it myself.
You don’t listen. You don’t believe me. You don’t act. You get caught in yourself. Your pain. Your grief. Your anxiety. You don’t understand so you don’t do anything. If it can’t be spoken, it can’t be real. You don’t want to understand because then you would have to act. You would have to do something.
You would have to admit you played a part in this. You would have to admit you made a decision that caused me so much harm. You would have to admit you fucked up. You made a mistake. You would have to admit you aren’t perfect. You can’t do that.
Instead, you don’t listen. You don’t believe. You don’t act. You continue to make that decision that hurts me. You blame me for my pain. You blame me for being too sensitive. You blame me for being too emotional. You blame me for being too much. If it’s my fault it cannot be your fault.
You absolve yourself by throwing me to the lions. You feed the lions. You feed my doubts, my self hatred, my shame. You protect yourself by taking me out. You finally act. But you act out against me. You blame me. You reject me. You undo me.
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I have hid this for so long I am not sure if it is true. Memory so heavy with shame and hurt I am worried it can only be fiction. And yet, I can feel the truth in it. I can feel the intense need for connection, for attention. To be valued, to be seen, to be engaged with. I can also feel the shameful sadness of knowing somewhere that it wasn’t what I actually wanted. A fucked up surrogate for some need that wasn’t being met. A legitimate need, a legitimate want.
And still, so much shame in the wanting. In some way wanting the violence if it mean that I could pretend my needs were being met. If it meant he would pay attention to me. If it meant I would get the touch I needed. If it meant I could make someone feel good. If it meant I could bring something good to others. If it meant I could be a “good girl”. If it meant I wasn’t all bad. If it meant I could be loved.
I remember the feeling in the back of my throat. And the sense of panic that it induced. The wave of fear that pulsed through my body like fire. I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t want this. But I wanted value. I wanted love. I wanted attention.
I feel so much shame for wanting those things. Shame for needing the attention. Shame for needing to be touched. Shame for needing to touch others. I feel so much shame for not knowing it was bad. That it is was fucked. For not knowing I was being exploited. For not understanding that it wasn’t love. He didn’t care about me. It had nothing to do with me.
I feel so fucked up that on some level I was exited about it. That it made me feel important. Like he chose me. Someone finally chose me. I must be a good person. I must be loveable.
I feel so stupid for being excited that someone chose me to assault and exploit. And I was little. And I needed things. And I didn’t know otherwise.