My next door neighbor likes to crank his music up loud. Today he is gracing the neighborhood with Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven. Like so many things I once found pleasure in, I’ve had to relegate this music to the category of things I can no longer enjoy. So many things happened during my 15th year–the year this song became popular–that it forever ruined for me the music of Led Zeppelin.
This was the year that a sadistic boyfriend set me up to be raped by his foster father. That was one rape which never happened, though I fought and clawed for a good hour before the perv (a nasty looking little monkey of a man with greasy hair, and a deaf wife) finally gave up. I wasn’t so lucky that year on several other occasions. After having finally broken free from my stepdad’s clutches, I seemed to find myself again and again drawn to the wrong type of situations and individuals. My inner radar which should have warned me of imminent danger just wasn’t functioning. I believed that no one would deliberately wish me harm, because that’s what I needed to believe in order to continue living at all.
Today, hearing Led Zeppelin, I grieve for my teenaged self so adrift in a world of predators. I didn’t know then that I could protect myself, or even that I was worth protecting. Seemed to me that things just happened willy-nilly, and when they did my only means of coping was to blank out. Dissociate. I thought then that I was just really good at forgetting heinous acts against me, but of course that’s not it. I had parts who bore the pain for me. And I am reminded today that they haven’t really forgotten any of it at all.