Last night I scrounged together all of my journals and miscellaneous writings for the last two decades, totally intent on bringing some kind of order out of their chaos so I could post excerpts on my blog. I even tracked down letters I’d written to one of my inside kids (as promised)…but it all sorta went downhill as I sat on my bed, surrounded by a pile of journals and papers.
For one thing, I found it stressful attempting to read my different handwritings, as well as my various “moods.” (What I know now not to be moods, but individual parts all wanting to have their say.) My history enveloped me like a dense fog, and I felt myself free falling into that old familiar depression, the one which is always there, should I ever wish to visit, or make it my home.
As I read two decades worth of hopelessness, failed relationships, anger and pain, it just all became too much. It felt like I was rummaging through a heap of old bones, in an asinine attempt to find some means of gluing them all together like some demented Frankensteinian scientist.
Now, this really bummed me out, because I had plans for those old bones! The longer I slouched on the bed surrounded by them, the worse I felt. Like I couldn’t quite get my breath, or do little more than stare at them in befuddled confusion. I wanted to jump up and run screaming from my room–but didn’t. I sat and sat until I felt that I could control both my emotions and movements, and then as calmly as possible simply left the room.
This morning I’ve been brooding on last night’s near hysteria, wondering if it was just these old writings themselves that had me in such a state, or if there could be more to it. I sat out on the patio with my musings and morning coffee and smoke, and let my mind wander. Above me a gorgeous blue sky shimmered, and birds sang and chirped, flitting from tree to tree. Two squirrels chased each around a tree trunk, then scampered out of sight up into the tree. The comforting murmur of a lawnmower added to this scene of tranquility; I couldn’t help but experience a stab of guilt at not being able to enjoy all this beauty. Such a peaceful scene— why wouldn’t anyone delight in it, basking in the security of its cosiness?
Because…because it is too much like the tranquility I once knew as a child when the abuse suddenly exploded into my world like some monster sledge-hammer, shattering all within its path. Because the day the abuse started was a beautiful summer’s day similar to this one, a day when birds sang and wild blackberries grew ripe and fat in my backyard, and honey bees droned, and I heard the squeak of the mailman’s truck long before it made its way downhill to our home, next to last on our dead-end street.
Because…because I gazed helplessly out the gauzy curtained window of the master bedroom, losing myself in the fumble of abuse, and gaining new parts I would come to depend on to see me through the rest of my life.
Because…oh, and here my thoughts and instincts sharpened as a tiny window opened in my perceptions…because, not only did the abuse burst into my life on a peaceful summer’s day, the season itself would, for the next seven and a half years, become an accomplice to my stepdad’s madness.
In the summertime I was home more, and thus more accessible to his perverted gropings. No longer protected by the safety of the nine month long school year, I found myself, summer after summer, having to worry about early morning and afternoon hours as well. No doubt my parts went onto high alert during summer vacation, and its no wonder that I developed such a sense of hyper-vigilance that I flinched at every noise, or unexpected movement from the corner of my eye.
Today, pondering all this, I realized all over again what I have to realize anew each summer, that I hate this time of year. I am perpetually waiting for the other shoe to drop, for I know it will. It’s only a matter of where and when.