I am going to share a memory with you that is very difficult to share. Not only because it’s an unpleasant one, but also because there are so many pieces to it that have faded away from me. My words are raw and unfiltered. As always, thanks for reading.
TRIGGER WARNINGS: suicide, sexual abuse, and self-harm. Reader’s discretion is advised.
My family knew that something was very different about me since I was a little girl. I had told my grandparents on countless occasions about the ghosts I would meet. Allie was one of them. When Allie’s presence had went away, there was another one named Gloria. She followed me everywhere, including school. Now, some people would think of her as a coping mechanism after learning about my father’s suicide. However, Gloria shifted into something a little more malevolent.
When I think of my childhood, I recall memories of playing with Gloria, having pets no one else could see. I remember being very artistic and playing by myself, mostly. I remember speaking in a language that Allie and I had invented on our own.
Towards the beginning of, what I call now, my first psychosis, I can recall being very sad. I had no real reason of feeling this sad. I spent many days crying and even took time off of school because I refused to speak to anyone. I managed through about 2 months of saying absolutely nothing, except when I had to.
I suppose my family had figured it was preteen hormones setting in. My grandmother would become very frustrated with me, calling me lazy, demanding me to get up and start cleaning up my bedroom. At one point, she had abruptly swung the door open to my bedroom dousing my body in Holy Water in attempts to bring me back to sanity. I suppose it didn’t help my case that I started laughing uncontrollably when she did this- out of sheer amusement, that is. (By the way, I do not by any means wish to paint my grandmother in a negative light. She is my hero, no doubt. At this point, she was just so desperate to help me as her adopted daughter)
My mental crises had peaked. One day, my grandmother had found pages and pages of suicide letters stashed away in a coloring book. I had accumulated months of “demonic” drawings filled with “please let me die,” “put me out of my misery,” “don’t let them take me,” and “save me,” sprawled across the papers. Understandably startled, my family checked me into a pediatric mental health facility. I don’t remember much at all of when she found these papers, or arriving at the facility. I’m unsure as to how long I had actually stayed there. Nowadays, those memories are too grim to bring up with my family. I have decided to move on altogether.
I do remember a social worker coming by to my room every now and then. She would ask me about Gloria, and I couldn’t understand why she was so interested in her. Finally, I realized that the more I talked about Gloria, or Allie, or anyone else, the more curious they became and the longer I stayed. So, I made a conscious decision to stop talking about them.
Nights dragged by slowly along with days filled with art therapy, sad meals, homesick phone calls, guilt, fear, and an overwhelming wish for death. Finally, I was released on Valentines Day. I look back now at the day I arrived back home. My room was pristine, my sheets had been pressed, and there were boxes of Valentines Day candy neatly placed on my desk.
At this moment, I am able to look back to my young self and I can pry my chest open and gaze upon the feelings that permeated through my heart in that very place where I stood, bags in hand: I felt so undeserving yet so painfully appreciative for my grandparents and family. Even as a child, I had felt sick to my stomach for what I had put them all through…
One would think that I had learned my lesson, so to speak. Perhaps that troubling and traumatic time had really gotten to me. Once a straight A student, I was now struggling immensely through school. I couldn’t concentrate, I couldn’t sleep. I was trying very hard, though.
My cousin, who we will call Robert, was 37 and married with two daughters. He was known in the family for being highly intelligent. Being that I was doing so terribly in math and he was so good at it, he agreed to come to my house and tutor me.
I had always been very close to him. After a couple months of him tutoring me, my grades were getting better and he and I were growing even closer. I actually considered him to be my dad. Throughout my childhood, I had been trying to fill the void of my father, though I had my grandfather. Not only that, but I was able to talk to him about the things that were going on in my mind. I could tell him about Gloria and openly discuss my feelings without judgement. Things were finally falling into place.
Reader’s discretion is advised beyond this point, especially for those who have been through sexual abuse.
Robert had been spending about 3 consecutive nights at my grandparent’s house every week. He worked from home, and his work schedule was a nocturnal one. So, it was the normal routine to end my night with math homework, I’d go to sleep, and he’d continue to work at the desk in my bedroom.
One night, he called me over to sit with him on the floor. I sat between his legs. He held me there, and I felt him pressed up against my lower back. Now, keep in mind, I had absolutely no experience with sex at all. I didn’t even know what was pressed up against me. I just remember feeling very uncomfortable… as the nights went on, he tested the waters, and his actions progressed. In my mind, he was still a father figure for me. I was afraid to tell him no. I was just happy to have a confidant.
It was a January night, one month after he had first touched me, that he had stripped me of my virginity. At this same time, my grandmother was going through chemotherapy for her breast cancer. My grandparents would be away from the house for 5-8 hours at a time everyday, giving him plenty of time to do with me as we willed.
This continued for another month. I have accepted my responsibility. I did not successfully stop him. I allowed myself to become a victim.
I had begun to start cutting myself At first, they were mere cat scratches. I gradually began to cut my thighs. One night while he had me nearly naked in bed, he discovered the welts in my legs. He kissed them and cried over me as he held me. I had been so emotionally numb up until this point. Yet, in that moment, I think I had become aroused. And it scared me that I felt that way.
He asked me to spend the weekend at his house as his wife and children were out of town for a school retreat. I agreed. While we was sleeping, I filled the bathtub with water, and slit open my wrists and throat.
It must have been minutes later that he had grabbed me from the tub, wrapped tourniquets and towels around my seemingly lifeless body, and had shook me back to reality. I’m sure he would have taken me to emergency room, had it not been for the bruises on my ribs. Afraid for his own freedom from prison, he taped my wrists up, cleaned the blood from the tub, and never touched me again.
Years afterward, I had told my psychologist about the general circumstance of my sexual abuse. CPS got involved, interviewed him of course and the family. To this day, my family- with the exception of two people- does not believe me. There was nothing I could do, since I had gone to the police 5 years after the fact. He is still there. I see him sometimes at family functions. We hug, we save face for everyone else.
I suppose I could say I’m over it. Though writing this entry has caused my stomach to turn upside down.
I am a rape and incest survivor. If you are reading this and you need help, I urge you to seek it now. It is not easy at all. In fact, it may seem a lot easier to internalize everything and sweep it under the rug. But I promise you, you are not alone in this. Help is there. Hope is there.
For help with sexual assault, please visit https://ohl.rainn.org/online/ .