To survive, some people sell the use of their bodies to others and we condemn them for it. I can only imagine that if they had other easier ways to achieve the same results they would choose those first. The reason this scenario is on my mind is not that I am about to do the same but because I am considering bearing my soul, warts and all, by writing a book about my experiences, partially for the same reason.
My story needs to be told whether I put a price tag on it or not. We are all surrounded by those who are currently and have experienced unimaginable horrors who don’t feel that they have a voice; they need to know that they are not alone and that there are good things that can also happen, even when you have lost all hope. The last thing I want to write is a monument to self-pity but rather a tribute to triumph over adversity.
I have written numerous blog posts outlining some of my experiences as I have absolutely no idea how to start to write my story in book form. I think it needs to be in the first person and will attempt that but having to relive the experiences in order to convey the actions, the emotions and the details will very much trigger my c-PTSD (more than it is on a daily basis anyway). Of course, it will be worth it, if in some ways I can then leave those experiences on the page and somehow evict them from the deepest part of my soul, where they have embedded themselves with blackened ever-reaching tentacles of fear, guilt, shame and horror.
I want to explore the thoughts that have filled my head since childhood of who would I have been? Who could I have been? What could my life have looked like if I had just been allowed to live it without hindrance, abandonment or abuse? Perhaps I would have made this world a much better place; by inventing or discovering something that would have changed the world for the better. Or, perhaps I would have just been content; slept deeply and woken up happy with my lot and feeling secure in my own skin and the world?
What probably doesn’t immediately spring to mind in others when thinking about the abuse of children are all of the associated issues that someone like me has to contend with lifelong. Abuse doesn’t happen in a vacuum; it casts a tint across everyone and everything you come into contact with throughout your life so that nothing is untouched by it.
Every family member is part of the problem, whether they enacted the abuse or not. The abuse was borne in an environment that did not make it impossible to occur. There was no fear in the abuser that they would be found out; stopped and punished.
The recipient (victim is such an ugly, negative word that does survivors no justice at all) with just one act of abuse is forever changed. Imagine a glass of pure, clear spring water that has a spoonful of mud dropped into it; that water is no longer pure, or clear and cannot pass muster as such. There is a distorted signal embedded in every cell of your being that is read like code by the receivers of those around you; inadvertently attracting further abuse or purely repelling those whose water is still unsullied by unwelcomed grit, dirt, bacteria and unidentified toxins. For those on the receiving end of long-term abuse, the glass is mainly mud and very little water which at times makes it impossible to move in any direction at all.
As you wend your way along the only paths now opening up before you, your future is already changed and no matter how much you try to distil and cleanse yourself to be rid of the ‘stuff’ you now carry, the code readers know for sure that you are no longer that clear spring water that they are looking for. Worst of all, you know it too and make your way in life along the best paths that you can find, even fight to be on but in winning that unwanted battle you have already lost your way.
People who grow up in safe and secure, loving environments are lighter beings. The paths they traverse are invisible to heavier beings; hovering in an invisible realm far beyond our reach.
If I could write like Jeannette Walls, I wouldn’t ever look up from my keyboard. Her true novels – The Glass Castle, and Half Broken Horses are memoir masterpieces. Having read, nay devoured, those books, I am aware of my shortcomings as a writer. Somehow, Walls makes writing the horror of her appear childhood easy, which is the most amazing talent of all.
Even Kristin Hannah in her wonderful works of fiction touched on events and feelings that matched my own, remarkably having a character named Tully – which personalised the story for me. As a child, I was called Tuli and it was sometimes hard to separate my story from that in Hannah’s book(s).
Another memoir author suggested gathering my blog posts as the skeleton for my ‘true novel’ and writing around them to create a cohesive memoir, and another suggested that if the people included in my story take umbrage at my recollections of them and their actions, they should have behaved better. I like that – I am just not sure how that flies legally. Perhaps ‘true novel’ overrides those legal issues; not that I would include anything that is untrue but you know how so many ugly people do not like having the mirror held up to their faces reflecting the truth back at them.
The journey has just begun.