(WARNING to other readers!: If childhood physical and sexual abuse offends or upsets you, STOP READING NOW!)
I’m writing this letter to you because it’s easier than writing it to the whole world. And because it’s easier than writing it to myself. It’s funny how the mind works; but I have stopped trying to understand it. I need to learn to let go of what I can’t control and accept that I can’t understand everything all the time.
This morning you told me I should write my memories of my childhood trauma. And I told you I wasn’t ready; I told you it felt like writing it would make it final, make it really real. I thought I had put that idea on the shelf, set it aside. But no. It’s all I have been thinking of for the past hour.
My Lu. My magical Lu. The very essence of what you are calls so perfectly to what I am. To the broken child in me you are a gentle, funny and lovable creature. To the mother in me you are an endless source of laughter and smiles, a tonic for the moments of stress and anxiety. To the shadow of a woman in me you are a man who is not a predator. You don’t need to do anything and I am healed by you. It’s as if all the loving, healing and nurturing voices around me were being channeled through you. For some reason, your words (even the unspoken ones) ring truer, louder. The message gets right to my core.
It was 1973. I was two. My parents were going through a tough time. Social services got involved. They told my parents that they should put me in a foster home until they got back on their feet. They told them that I would go to a very highly recommended foster family. My parents agreed to send me away. The foster family was not a good family.
They were monsters.
The memories are flashes. I’ve had these flashes for a long time but recently the images have become clearer and more detailed. It’s like photographs; I can now see larger pictures and the memories come from those images. It’s still incredibly hard and terrifying to write the memories in a narrative way. I try to grab the full and detailed memories to write them down but they slip away. I’m sure when I am ready that I will be able to write it all out. Exorcise it so that it can’t hurt me as much.
What I remember:
*If we (the children) were too noisy, we would get yelled at and hit.
*The other children hit me too.
*When they were displeased with me, they would lock me in a cupboard. To me it felt like I was in there for hours. I would cry and beg to be let out. She would bang on the door with hard objects to scare me into silence.
*The woman hated me. She screamed at me that I was bad, ugly, stupid. She hit me. She shoved me away from her if I tried to get affection.
*He… had a hairy belly and dirty underwear that smelled like pee and sweat. He would grab my head and shove my face in his groin.
*He would pin me to the floor and restrain me by sitting on top of me and holding me in place with his legs.
*He forced his penis into my mouth until I choked and gagged.
As painful and difficult as it is to remember all these things, it also finally explains all the problems I have had throughout my life. All of this explains why I need constant reassurance, why I am profoundly afraid of being abandoned, why I feel so ugly, why sex is such a confusing and terrifying thing, why I can’t stand to perform oral sex because it makes me panic like an animal, why I so often feel like a little child who is going to be yelled at, why I never managed to become a woman (I am a child and a mother.), why I am claustrophobic, why the feeling of my husband’s knees around my hips and thighs makes me panic, why I desperately crave tenderness but fear asking for it because I am afraid of it leading to sex, why, as a child, I was so afraid of throwing up, why tongue kissing makes me feel like am being suffocated, why I don’t believe it when people give me compliments, why I have felt like a terrified animal all of my life… I could go on all day.
I did it. I wrote it. And guess what, Lu? I am ok! I’m not even crying! All those terrible things… they were done to me… I am a victim… and I have no reason to feel shame! It is my right to say what those people did to me. It is my right to say how it broke and changed me. I am safe now. They can’t hurt me anymore. It’s over. I can heal and move forward. I am taking back the power they took from me.
I would thank you for helping me and healing me… but you’re just being you! Maybe I need to thank your mama for making you so perfect (to me!)! Je t’aime très fort mon ami. Merci d’être le meilleur Lu de l’univers! J’ai bien hâte au jour où on prendra un bon café ensemble en discutant des humains et de leurs problèmes!