Beyond Lady Pandora – Episode12a – The Men In My Life – Beyond Lady Pandora
Welcome to Beyond Lady Pandora, the podcast, specifically the bonus episode. Today, we are going to go to the near present/recent past. It falls in one of those categories. I’m 46 now and no, that is not terribly old in the overview of life, though at 13..I thought I’d never even live to this age. It seemed quite ancient. So, I’m 46 years old and you’d think that by now, I’d be safe from reoccurrences of the trauma of my childhood at least. By this, I mean, you’d think it would be safe to say that people from my childhood could no longer hurt me or cause any further damage but I have discovered, that is not true.
First, I would like to apologize as I did not get my podcast out this week on time but I promise I will get it out. It has been a crazy week.
Not too long ago, I get a facebook friend request on my personal page from a man in the town where I was born and I recognized his name as being family, so I accepted. Now, recently I’ve had a few of these and they have not been former abusers, so although it was curious..I supposed perhaps it is something that occurs… people popping up from your past. I certainly did not feel like I was in any danger from hitting accept. It’s such an insidous little button at times, isn’t it? It seems so safe and unassuming but it can actually be a tool of harm. Well, I’m not a child anymore so I felt rather safe, knowing what I was doing and all.
So, let’s call this man W. Well, W is a priest or a preacher or pastor or some such thing now. A man of God, basically and if you know me at all, you’ll know how I feel about the church and christianity in general. Now, understand, I do not judge all the people, the christians, who follow this faith. It is the religion itself and the churches that I have a rather unending wrath for. Anyways, he messages me and we begin talking. It starts out pretty normal but he is talking about how much I have been through which is odd. Why is that odd? I left my home town when I was kidnapped the day before my 7th birthday. Now, even before that, my grandfather had gotten angry at him and he was not around for awhile before this occurred. So, really, I have not talked to or seen this man since I was a very small child. I did not even remember anything but his name at this point.
Well, now W admits to me that he knew I was being sexually abused by my grandfather as a child and that he did nothing about it. He tells me it was happening to other girls too. He tells me he wanted to adopt me but his wife did not want to because they already had kids. That aunt has died of cancer. So, I’m sitting at my keyboard, looking at my moniter, typing but trying to get out of this conversation because I am in shock. Why? Because I do not remember this, any of this. I thought that my grandparents, though they had been abusive in many ways, were really not that bad by comparison to the majority of my life. They were the best I had. At this moment, I am falling apart, because he has just blown that all to hell and why? To get it off of his chest, he felt bad…but I wonder, did he even consider what this revelation might do to me? Not likely.
So, after falling apart a bit and crying uncontrollably for awhile, I begin remembering some things. I remember the word that W used and said that my grandfather had called himself, the candy man. I have been terrified of those words all my life. I thought it was because I watched a horror movie of that name. I’m not affected by most horror movies really beyond maybe a quick scare, but those words….I cannot breathe around those words. Suddenly, I realize why. I’ve been terrified of bathrooms and having the bathroom door closed and now, it starts to make sense, though I still have no specific memories. What I do specifically come to remember is W, me being so excited that he might take me and I might have a loving home and I remember grandpa getting angry when he found out. I remember W was not allowed over. I remember him leaving me there. I remember the horror I felt, the abandonment of hope for anything, the shame imposed on me by my grandparents for wanting to go. I remember that he left me there and he knew… he not only knew what was going on but he had to know I would be punished for attempting to leave. I was tiny and helpless and he left me there.
I do not even know how to feel about this. He is sorry, he had to get it off his chest…but in doing so, he put it on me. I’m caught between feeling it is good to know a bit of the truth and horror that he would do that to me and just walk back into my life 40 years later to make himself feel better about what he did. I tld him I forgive him but I’m going to be honest. I was in shock and I told him what he wanted to hear, what he needed to hear. I do not forgive him. How can I? Becoming a pastor does not absolve him of what he did. He could have called the police, he could have told someone, he could have done something other than just leaving me there. What is worse, it was not just me. How can you turn your back on that? How can I forgive that kind of a crime? I cannot. Perhaps, his God will forgive him, if he is lucky. I just ignore him as he did me. I turn my head and let him be. I will not waste my energy on him. Instead, I have to tend to this new information and figure out a way through it. My grandfather was the closest thing I had to a father and this information… it hurts, shot right through the heart.
I am blessed I do not remember many things. I think if I remembered everything done to me throughout my life, I would not be a pleasant person, I think it would have turned me quite mad. I’m blessed to have broken how I did. I know that sounds wierd. How can I feel blessed that my mind broke when I was young? It spares me at least some of the terrible evils done to me. It has spared me from details for a lifetime.
I was maybe 5 or 6 the first time I heard a voice. It was really a simple and normal thing, it felt normal, not scary. I just remember it telling me to go into the woods by the house, really just a little bush area between houses. I did and I was led by my feet to a really beautiful little area which was open with sunlight. I remember playing there among trees happily. I do not know why it told me to go there but I was safe. The voice was not from a doll or chair or anything strange, not an imaginary friend… it was in my head. It was in me and as I got older I just thought that this was that “little voice inside you” everyone talks about. I mean, I was a kid, how was I supposed to know people did not actually hear other people inside of them at times? They only ever came around in times of danger and then, they would lead me through to safety, telling me exactly what to do or if I got really scared, it would just go black and I’d wake up safe. I really thought nothing of it, it really did not seem like a big deal or anything. I mean, it was just me but different versons of me it seemed and it was natural for me to be there. So, why be concerned?
Of course, I came to realize that these are alternate personalities that have grown up in this body along side me, like quadruplets sharing a body, I guess. They are slightly different because they have some seperate experiences from me, because they carry these burdens I do not remember. How can I not be grateful to them for this? Yes, they are me but as we all know, it is in part of lived experiences that make us who we are and so, in my opinion, they are obviously as real of people as I am. I do not know which one carries this memory specifically but I do know that any attempt to remember it has been cut short immediately. It must be one of the first, of which I know there are two. One is a child and it is very likely her as she has refused to grow up. She is trapped as a child eternally and will not move on. She is however very sweet, shy, adorable and playful. We all love her dearly and are quite protective of her. She only comes out when she feels safe to do so.
Me? I’ve no idea, understand, which of us was the origonal personality. None of us know. We believe it was her and that she simply refused to continue on and that we have lived primarily for her ever since. However, we are not completely sure. For this reason, we absolutely refuse and would refuse any attempt to get rid of the personalities because we do not know which one belonged first. Beyond that, we are individuals with a right to live, though it may be limited at times as we cannot all be in the drivers seat at once. No, I will not ever “change personalities” for you because you want to hear or see it. I’m not a parlor trick for amusement. It’s fine that others may do this but it is not for me. I switch, I guess they call it that, when I switch and how I switch…if you happen to catch it, you do. But, it will never be just for the sake of doing it. We’ve spent a lifetime hiding it, learning to hide it as best we can, learning to function at least adequately. I’ll explain later how we have done that and how this works for us. I’ve no clue if it is unique to us or just how most handle it.
In any case, what to do with this information? My grandfather has been dead for years now. He will never be confronted or face any repercussions for his actions. There is no justice, there will be no finality or closure. He was protected in a small town where everyone knew everything. My grandmother was always home, she had to know. She has been dead for years. This man said nothing until everyone involved was dead except for the victims. How do you even begin to handle the fact that the person who was the closest thing you ever had to a father did these things? That no one spoke up or did anything about it? That the only good you clung to was not good at all. As I get older, the horror just keeps building as the people from my life grow older and feel the need to confess to me, like I’m a priest who is going to absolve them of their sins. The weight is so heavy some days, the weight of carrying their secrets, their lies, their truths and that is why I am doing this podcast. I’m tired of not telling, I’m tired of being silenced. I’m going to dare to tell it all.