Wednesday, July 10, 2013

REMEMBERING

The time between the ages of 18 to 24 were my crisis years.  I was suffering from severe depression and post traumatic stress disorder, but my family was telling me there was no reason for my suffering and it was my own fault.  I was in conflict.  I wanted to trust myself but had been taught not to.  I had also been taught to pray.  So I davened.  I davened for truth.  I begged God not to let me remember something that wasn't true.  I never wanted to think these terrible things about my father who I love and who I needed.  I was teaching in T.I. around the time that I wrote the following poems.  I was a lead teacher in the afternoon pre-1-A.  I told my director at the time, Sara Itzkowitz,  that I was leaving because I needed to be hospitalized.  She was shocked.  She asked me to reconsider.  She told me I seemed so together and so balanced.  I am a product of a family that specializes at seeming together and balanced.  I could have kept this a secret and lived a seemingly normal balanced life.  But I took a different path.  A more difficult path.  A path of taking responsibility for my feelings and memories.  A path I wish my father would have taken.


Exposing the Secret

Our house is so clean
its rooms echo purity
wandering through
open doors and
empty spaces
I wonder how my hands became stained
amidst such perfect cleanliness
the attic and basement leave no clue
the closets speak generations of praise
in confused disbelief
I begin the insane task of
digging under the basement floor
insane
muscles bruised and aching
years of frustration
and then
buried under layers
of pure innocent earth
I come upon a well of filth
that perfectly matches the stains
on my soul

Nothing to Hold On To

I thought I knew some things about myself
then the quake began
a faint tremor that rose to
this mind-cracking crescendo
shaking me to the core
reality split me down the middle
tearing the facts from my white-knuckled grasp
hurling me into a black abyss of
nothing to hold on to

here I crouch in my corner of cold illusion
fatigued fingers stirring painful circles
in a sizzling boiling cauldron
of tears

Warning:  The following can be triggering to survivors of child sexual abuse!

I'm four years old.  I'm lying in bed in a room that I share with my sisters in our little white house on Paul street. I am experiencing familiar feelings of terror and shame.  I am trapped.
My father comes into my room and lies on my bed.  I stare at the red and white checkered curtains.  A familiar numbness creeps into my mind.  The numbness will dull the terror.  It will dull the pain and shame just enough so that I can get through this one more time.
I am not real. I can't be.
He rolls partially on top of me. I can't breathe. I can't move. Something is poking at me. I can't see what it is.  It's cutting me. He's too heavy. I am going to die. I want to die. I have to die.  Tatty, no! Don't hurt me!
Something is in my mouth cutting off my breath. Tatty, No! I'm going to die.
Tatty, I need you!




5 comments:

  1. It’s so real. It’s exactly how we live our lives. I wasn’t sexually abused, but got lots of beatings....and it all still returns – the flashes...the pain...the not knowing how to BE in the world.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What are you now doing to help others -- besides the group you attend? Every victim needs to know they are believed. Every victim needs a survivor to show them the path back to life. You could do so much.

    Dr. Chaim (Howard) Eisenberg

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you know a survivor who is in need of support please have them e-mail me privately: genendy.safekids@gmail.com
      At Magen (Bet Shemesh child protection organization) we support survivors and their families as part of our mandate. We also run educational events, and run a hotline. Any other ideas are welcome.

      Delete
  3. you have been through some awful things. i wish this had not happened to you. How can you be crazy if the memories are there??? you didn't make them up. you are so brave and strong and amazing with kids. you are an amazing person. im so glad i know you...

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm 40 years old. I've read so many accounts of sexual abuse. I can't count the books I've read, the stories, the articles, the letters. It doesn't happen very often that I feel like someone else is writing the words that I could have written myself. Your writing is like that for me. I thank you for putting your story out there for the rest of us. At a time when I'm writing my own blog, sharing my own story and my own journey, I need to be reminded that there is a reason I'm doing it publicly. It is the same reason that led me to your blog and has me reading late into the night. I need to feel less alone. Logically, I know I'm not alone. I know and am friends with many survivors. But somehow, the lonliness creeps in. Reading your blog makes me feel like I'm not alone.

    ReplyDelete