I was a child tormented by secrets hidden inside and the outside flesh they were carried in. How does a little girl tell of a demon that tore childhood from her and hung it on the threat of drowned kittens? Frightened, traumatized and overweight I walked through my youngest years with nightmares clinging to my ribbon sash.
A shadow stalks innocence
biding time and fueling intent.
No one knows – no one hears.
Darkness waits to steal from the light.
I heard my father and grandfather in the other room. My predator had me cornered; hand over my mouth suffocating escape. The green walls and scent of plaster of the bedroom were burned into my memory.
Sweating omen crawls across lips,
“Don’t tell anyone. You know it is your fault.”
“Teacher, she is throwing up again.” It happened more times than I can remember, stomach in turmoil feeding on secrets. The lunchroom at school became an extension of abuse. A teacher would stand over me demanding I eat three bites of everything. I tried, but my body resisted.
A rain barrel and tiny kittens sacrificed for a threat,
large hands emerge from water holding limp fur.
My youngest sister always stayed close to my mom whenever we visited family. I am so thankful she did. But on one occasion she was with me when my abuser threatened me by taking new born kittens and drowning them in a rain barrel while saying, “This is what will happen to you if you tell.”
Memories took knives and death
and tried to apply them to wrists,
I didn’t tell anyone about my abuse until I was nineteen years old and I told my husband. Through his strength and love I was able to make my way out of the abyss of depression and guilt.
but a savior appeared through the vertigo
and pulled hands from spiraling depression.
I feel so impelled to share my story. Sexual abuse is epidemic and those who have survived it need to help victims who can’t seem to rise above the pain and stigma. There is life after abuse. A time will come when you no longer use the language of a victim, but speak in the voice of a survivor.
“It is not your fault,” became a song of freedom,
surviving dried victim’s tears.
©Susie Clevenger 2012