NOBODY REALLY WANTS TO TALK ABOUT CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE. For victims it's painful and humiliating, and for others it's confusing and upsetting. The purpose of this blog is to provide an honest look inside this all too common occurance so that we can grow, heal, and find ways to stop it in our society.
Drifting toward wakefulness, I found myself thinking about my grandmother. At 5' tall and 300 lbs. she was very soft to hug. She was also crude, snappish, and prone to cursing. She was kind of strange, but she wasn't scary - at least not to me. She had songbirds in cages at her house, and I thought that was very cool!
Then I thought about other memories of my early childhood. I liked the red-headed girl in first grade, and I introduced myself to her the first day so we could be friends. I was sad to find a beautiful little dead bird in the yard and I took it to school for "Show and Tell." I contentedly drew streets in the dirt and played with little cars with my brothers and sisters. Daddy put us up on his shoulders, and read the "funnies" out loud. Mommy sang when she ironed, and laughed when my aunts and uncles visited.
By the time I was fully awake, I was profoundly grateful for those early childhood experiences. I realized that I had been a truely innocent, happy, carefree child, full of wonder, energy, and curiosity. I can actually look back and see what I was - my potential, my magic, even my style. Wow!
Of course, things changed. My father "got saved" and my mother followed (sort of). Suddenly, there were no more kitchen-table card games, no Saturday night beer with uncles, no dancing, no movies, no smoking.........and no laughter. I don't think religeon was to blame. I think the church atmosphere just happened to be fertile ground for the fear, anger, confusion, insecurity (and who knows what else) that had always been there. Mom continued to smoke and curse --and she tried desperately to please Dad. Dad constantly demeaned her, making it clear that she would never measure up -- and he became more and more imperial and dictatorial. Before second grade was over, before any overt sexual abuse, I had already become secretive, guarded, and grasping for approval.
But, what about the children who were rejected, raped, tortured, when they were 6 months old, 2 years old, 4 years old? Because they were too young to develop memories of innocence, are they now doomed to go through life wondering who they are and why life is so difficult? How do these children, now adults, find their way out of the maze of feelings, misperceptions, and lies that where there as far back as they can remember? I ache for those children - for the "grown ups" they have become. I want to tell them that they too were innocent, open children once, even though they can't remember it. I want to tell them to keep trying to find their own path to healing. I want to tell them that it's not too late to to claim a new life of wonder, energy, and curiousity - to discover their potential, their style and their own special magic.
I'm grateful that I can remember an innocent time in my life. I cannot go back to that time or that innocence. But I can give to myself what I wish for others. I can embrace the potential, the magic, and the style that is uniquely ME, as best I can.