I always thought I knew and remembered everything, with vivid detail, about my childhood. I even remembered things that happened before the age of 2. Repressed memories, I thought, were for other people. I have this ability to see things from the past as they happened, in living color, hearing the exact words spoken, the voices and inflections, taking in the entire scenario, like playing back a video, one that I’m in, and can not only see and hear, but take in the scents and minute details. The only thing missing until recently was integrating the actual feelings, held by my little girls in white. Dissociation, yes, that sensation of floating above as an observer, but while I couldn’t connect emotionally to the traumas, remembering was not a problem, and that was comforting.
Then, in a breath work session, I found the little girl under the bed. She held a memory that I had actually forgotten. So, repressed memory is not something I’m above, apparently. Finding that out has me in a state of quiet panic. One thing that has given me comfort and courage in this journey of healing is thinking that at least I knew what I was dealing with. I knew the stories already, and it was only a matter of walking through those and finally connecting to them by being vulnerable enough to embrace the pain that goes with them. Finding out there may be more surprises along the way is scary, and a bit of a game changer for me. I am not entirely sure I’m up for those kinds of surprises. But, I am hoping if I put this memory into words, the invasive flashbacks will ease. I also hope there aren’t many more memories I’ll have to recover. This one has come back as if it never left, and I can now see it all as if it was just yesterday. I can still look at it and not let myself feel it, and for that I am grateful.
When I turned nine, Bruce started to change. He got angry with me more easily, beatings were more frequent, for both my mother and me. He beat her more violently, and I had found new and creative ways to hide from him every morning before he went to work. I even taught my little dog Bitsy how to quiet so he wouldn’t find us. He had always been violent, but It was escalating, and it took less and less to set him off. It was the year he slammed my face into a baking dish of brownies because I’d eaten one before he had gotten one. It broke my front tooth a little, and left me with the a chip that made one tooth grow a little in front of the other, and made so self conscious about my crooked front teeth, that ever single picture taken of me after that until a few years ago was with a closed mouth smile, convinced that I was ugly when I smiled. Those kinds of things were normal in our household, but they were happening more frequently. I guess he was drinking more. He ranted about losing his badge a lot. He missed being a police officer.(apparently my fault, even though I didn’t actually tell the judge anything.)
I was lying in bed, my little Bitsy beside me, the radio I’d gotten for my 9th birthday quietly playing. My eyes were closed and I was drifting off to sleep. I didn’t hear the footsteps, but I smelled his aftershave, my breath caught in my throat, and I lay very still, eyes closed, my heart beating fast, parts of my body involuntarily twitching, like a rabbit sensing a predator. I was sure I was in trouble. My mind was racing, “what did I do…what did I do?”
Then he spoke. “Were you playing with yourself?” I didn’t answer, still trying to pretend I was asleep. He knew better. “I don’t care,” he said, “It’s your mother that gets mad about it.” I opened my eyes because I knew he expected me to. He sat down on the bed and asked me again. I just shook my head no. He lay down next to me and started touching me. I looked around the room to find something to set my eyes on, and fixed them on my bedroom door, left ajar, and the the shadow shapes on the wall of the hallway. He rolled me onto my side and undid the belt on his bathrobe, I don’t remember his taking off my panties, but he must have. He took my hand and moved it up and down his penis. Then he stopped and pushed me on my back and straddled me. He was pushing his penis up against me before, but he had never pushed into me like he was trying to get inside before. I was panicked and tried putting my legs together but he sat up and pushed them apart and started pushing up against me again. I didn’t fight him any more, but my whole body seized up and I was aware of a scream coming from deep within me that never escaped my throat. He kept pushing and pushing and I was aware of that awful thing pushing into me and the pain down there, but it wouldn’t go in. My tiny vagina literally clamped shut. He stopped trying to get it in me but he didn’t stop. He just pushed my legs back together and pushed back and forth between them until he was done, and used the corner of his bathrobe to wipe me off, and left. As I heard his footsteps reach the living room, I rolled over onto my side and curled into a ball.
I lay there on the bed, shivering, but couldn’t seem to reach down and pull my blankets up. Bitsy, who had been there the whole time, started licking my face and I was aware of the tears flowing into my hair, snot running, and my breath coming in silent little gasps. That is all I remember about it. I don’t remember how long it took to fall asleep, or the next morning. I only know a part of me stayed behind, under the bed, waiting for someone to come for her. As for me lying there on the bed, I knew nobody was coming.