This week I am pouring my heart out again thanks to my girl Shell, be sure to check her out! I have a degree in psychology. So as soon as I started having the flashbacks I knew that something had been triggered.
The potty training did it. Washing and folding the little girl underwear is what brought this forth.
I don't know how old I was. I hope I was 10, maybe 11. But I think it might've been more like 8, hopefully not 7. The time is a haze in my mind. When I think back to the specific situation all I see is New York at night during the fall. Me walking through the building's courtyard being asked a question that a little girl should never even have to think about responding to.
With everything I've learned I know that I was groomed to feel like it was my fault. To feel like I was an accomplice and if anyone found out, I'd be in trouble. It seemed so simple. My mother's stepbrother. Taking me to the discount store and letting me buy toys. Or giving me cash. And then, a simple offer that I thought was insane. I thought I was taking advantage of him somehow. Money. In exchange for my undies when he came into town. I had no idea what that was about. I have no recollection of how this came to be and no thoughts as to the conversations or things that happened before this.
I have no idea how long this went on. I try hard to think about it. To try to figure out where I was in the trajectory of my other life so that I can connect the dots.
When I was in college I kept thinking I had repressed memories because there's so much I couldn't recall. I always wondered if more had happened than what was in the forefront of my mind.
It wasn't until one day when he told me he couldn't bring back the undies because the elastic had worn on them and he very casually stated that he just wore them over his own underwear now since he couldn't give them back that I lost my innocence. I don't know how old I was but I knew that wasn't right. I think that's when it stopped but, I can't be sure.
In my mind there's a clear evening. I don't know where my parents were but, he kissed me behind my mother's dresser. And then I have a very distinct memory of walking down the stairs to go to the bodega with him though I don't know if it was on the same night. Walking through the courtyard he asked if he could go down on me. I said no even though I couldn't have known what all that meant. What he was talking about as he gave me a graphic description of what he wanted to do. But I do remember saying no. Halfway through the open sky of the courtyard headed towards the covering before being out on the street. I said no and I do not know if he pushed the issue further.
I never told my parents. First, because I thought it was my fault and later, because my parents had been too naive as to the way people like that work to think that he would do this to me. I remember my mom saying that he'd never do anything to me because if he did my dad would kill him. She didn't say it to me but, I heard her. So, they knew about his tendencies? Afterwards, I didn't tell because I knew if dad killed him, he'd go to jail. I didn't want dad going to jail.
As I grew up I didn't want to tell them because I was afraid that the guilt would be too much. Then, I never really wanted to talk about it because I can't recall an actual physical act outside of that kiss. I'd heard so many stories of so many other girls. I didn't think mine was sufficient to warrant being told.
And then just like that the waves began. As I folded undies. Feeling a deep sadness for all of the little girls that might be experiencing abuse while my frog princess is held, cuddled and kept safe. I feel for them all and it is more than I can explain.
I've often wondered if he molested his own daughters. Or his granddaughter. I see patterns in his life and theirs and I have a strong feeling that he did. After thinking about it and praying on it, I decided to write this and pour my heart out. Not knowing who will read it. If my family will come across it or not.
I wish I had talked to my mom about it. I recall when he died my mom called me and I felt a big load off my shoulders. I could almost say I was happy that he was dead. Then I was upset because they were going to go to the funeral. But, they didn't know so, what else could they do?
I've had someone approach me and make a comment about me needing to be careful with the frog princess. It made me want to laugh. Because this person just assumed I had no idea about what goes on in the world. This person had no deep understanding of how much I see and how ferociously I will protect my child from that which I have lived through.
Because most times, this isn't a stranger. And more times than that, the people around you know that this person is not "right" and yet the sense of decorum from a societal perspective takes over as opposed to the raw animal instinct to pick up your offspring and run. I won't have that dilemma.
I think back and wonder how many people knew. Really knew about this man's compulsion. I wonder how many girls he cornered, kissed and defiled. I consider myself lucky.
Even with the flashbacks and the sadness for little girls all over the world who are being robbed of their childhood. Lucky that I can speak these words and that maybe someone will be comforted. Lucky that I can stand here wrapped in forgiveness without having forgotten. Lucky that I can recognize the flashback and call it by name and by doing so, not allowing the situation to harm me once again.
Lucky because now these are no longer unspoken words.