MINE

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Timothy Parker, all rights reserved, 2013.

I lie (asleep?) in a room full of beds…
A man (my uncle?) slips under the covers behind me.

Pulls me close?
Presses into me?

Is this a memory? A sensation?
Did I watch it happen to another?
Was the other, me?
Is she 4, 7, 11, 13?

I see the dark wood floors. The white ceiling. The door frame. The handle.
The hallway. The bathroom. The white porcelain tub.
The water running. My aunt in her nightgown.

The narrative remains unclear, but the ache in my sacrum is strong.
A pulsing. A defense. An outrage.

THIS IS MY BODY!

I lie on the carpeted floor. Knees drawn to chest. Feet pressing against my assigned partner. My job in this first chakra exercise is to push away, to claim, to say:

MINE!

But my voice, typically strong, cracks. Breaks apart.
I am struck by the absence of my own belonging.
Embarrassed.
Disrobed.

I return to explore my first chakra with the help of my therapist. Recover this violation. The foggy narrative.
Then narrow in on a clearer intrusion: spanking.

At 51, it’s hard to fathom that this trauma could still be lodged in my body. It was among the first that I consciously released with the assistance of healing practitioners some twenty years ago.

In fact, in my mid-thirties, I sat in this very cafe, drinking hot cider and enjoying a roll with jam, while writing the poem that claimed my body as MINE.

I’ve since lost my taste for sugary things, and now prefer everything bitter.
And yet, here I am, revisiting the same pain, in the same place, with espresso.

I sense the energy, once locked inside my sacrum, drain down my legs into the earth. It moves in slow currents like the flow of water beneath the ice on the river beside me.

Beyond the river is a mountain.
It defines and nourishes my view.
My strength.

MINE.

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13 thoughts on “MINE

  1. It never completely leaves you. I know, it happen to me. Robbed of innocence…..way to young. I think we just have to let it go as best we can! Good for you facing head on as always..love

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    • Thank YOU for bearing “witness” Nana Judi. As we speak out and bear witness to one another, we claim more S-P-A-C-E for our bodies to belong to ourselves, preserving the “innocence” of children to come. xoxoxoxo (And I’m sorry that you share this memory and I so appreciate you giving it words. What a gift to your young self.)

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  2. This is an amazing piece of yourself you have shared Kelly. Your memory which is cradled in a dream is not unlike my own memory of an uncle, who was entrusted to watch me. I haven’t allowed myself to recall the events in a long time. I could not have been more than 5, but I remember the uneasiness as he approached me, how he guided me from the bathroom to a corner in the upstairs hall, I remember my bare feet, how little I was, and how tall he was. How he wanted to show me something and “how soft it was” and “how good it would feel when his pee-pee would touch mine”. He rubbed his ugly self on my little bare flesh. “Shhhh, this will be our little secret” as he positioned his index finger over his big ugly lips that were wet from his drool, his dirty teeth how they overlapped in the front, his glasses, the kind Kevin Costner wore in JFK, his slick hair. I can remember the tingling behind my pubic bone, the butterflies inside my stomach…. I was bad. I never told anyone, I didn’t want my mom to be upset, even at 5 I new it would cause her guilt because she let him watch me. I never said anything to anyone. I always made sure I was never alone with him again.
    As years passed this memory went to the back of the highest shelf in my brain-far out of reach, never to be dusted off or unknowingly opened until I couldn’t remember if it was real, all I could remember were pieces. By my late 20’s I thought it was a dream, until the day I overheard my mom say discretely he had been arrested for child molestation. I new it wasn’t a dream, I was filled with shame for me, for my mother, for all the little girls he had rubbed his soft pee-pee on, “pet it, isn’t it soft”.
    I often think my daughter reminds me of you, your spirit, how she will travel, hopefully on adventures not to escape. She understands that other people’s shame is not hers to bare; she is strong, and courageous, yet she has compassion. I always say my biggest regret would be if in 10 years she looks back and says, “mom, why did you let that happen, why did you allow us to be victims”.

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    • Michelle, I am so sorry for your little girl, and so happy that you have taken her onto your lap. Thank you for the gift of your story. Each of our stories emboldens others. Extinguishing that which we have endured, alone. xoxoxoxo Kelly

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      • It makes sense that these memories are foggy, these are not memories we encourage. I would think, to forget or create doubt is a defense mechanism…”maybe it didn’t really happen”. Had I not overheard my mother’s comment to this day I would be in doubt, sometimes I think that(me overhearing her) was a dream. But I know it happened-every-time I think about it, I get the same uneasy ping in my stomach.

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  3. I read this several days ago, letting my thoughts percolate about what I want to say. I will never understand why so many of us have been violated in childhood. It took me forever to talk about it. Eventually I went there with the last therapist I went to, and allowed it to surface. It’s a quandary for me, as someone who has struggled with an eating disorder and body disordered thinking. Eventually I broke through the barrier of shame that I felt related to sexual relations with my own beloved. I can’t say that my libido is normal for someone my age, and I wish it was. I grew up with an extraordinary amount of inappropriate displays of sexuality around me, in various ways. My innocence lost at 5 years of age by my own brother who was a teenager, 7 years older than I was. I have never told anyone about it except my husband and my old therapist, and my ex-best friend who was also molested by her own father and a babysitter as an infant.
    An older therapist of mine (when I was in my 20’s) had me give that little girl of me a name. I called her Alice. “Alice in Wonderland”. She was always rather curious. I learned to love little Alice and have so much compassion for her. I still do. I would say my suffering still exists in my contempt for my body, in my contempt for what I hate about my self. My suffering exists in that I have a husband who loves me unconditionally, and has always been so loving and gentle and supportive to my story. Yet, mostly, I have no desire for sexuality. I like to admire it on the outside as an art form. My desire disappeared, and I still hope to retrieve it some day, I really do. I wish you healing Blessings Kelly. I send you my deepest, compassionate sisterly love.

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    • Each of these stories of abuse is such a tragedy and such a triumph–reclaiming our bodies as OURS. Thank you for your tender gift.

      And in reference to reclaiming libido, may I humbly suggest an experiment… only having sex when YOU desire it. And in the meantime, loving yourself in all the ways you can. Letting that be sensual. ANd maybe even avoiding physical contact (hugs, touches) with your significant other to allow the sexual appetite to reignite.

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  4. oh Kel…this is maddening to me. I just had a conversation with a friend today who wondered why she doesn’t remember K through 3rd grade. I asked how she could not see the connection to her sad history that she had a year ago shared with me. I wish for her the bravery you have shown in continuing to pursue your own healing. I know how your words touch me. I can only imagine the effect they have on others who are also suffering. xo

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