There was something uneasy from the first time I met him. He picked me up from elementary school with my mother in the passenger seat. I was only 7 years old and we had never had a car. My mother never drove and we didn’t have money anyway, so I was just acutely aware of everything when I got into the backseat. It was a new world. A new experience. Something children thrive on. The car was a station wagon, one of those types with the faux wooden panels on the side. The seats were a paler blue vinyl or something not really soft because I remember thinking they were slippery. The car seemed HUGE to me. At that point I hadn’t been in many cars in my life so that whole “station wagon hatch back” thing seemed so enormous in terms of space to me. Then there were these metal ashtrays built into the door handles of the side doors. I didn’t know what they were, honestly, so I recall being curious and flipping one open and closed trying to figure it out. That was when he looked back at me. He seemed irritated that I had flicked that ashtray lid open and shut, in fact, I think he may have said something to me about, “not touching anything”.
Now it could be hindsight that makes me remember it this way but at that moment I felt something change in my little 7 year old life. The look in his eyes, the tone of his voice and the overall feeling in the air of that moment plays back in my mind as if in slow motion. Like a foreboding or warning trying to tell me that I should never trust this man. Nothing about the first time I met him felt safe. My life really was never the same after that moment.
This isn’t going to be an easy story to write. It isn’t going to be an easy story to read. I am predicting breakdowns, flashbacks, sleepless nights and a lof of crying over the course of writing all of this. But I know I am not a lone in my experiences and in everything I’ve been through. There are so many children who are victims and later adult survivors of men like him — perpetrators, predators, who prey on children. If my story can even help one person to realize they are also not alone then it is worth it.
I’ve wanted to tell my story for years but no one wants to relive the horrors they’ve been through. I’ve gone back and forth from writing a book and publishing it to just doing it in a blog like this. I worried and still worry about names or people who are still alive who might read this and see themselves in the story. I don’t want to protect him, not at all, I want to protect others who may have unwittingly become involved in this story. This story wants to be written. It needs to be written.
My great-grandmother Angelina used to tell me (when I was a little girl), “One day you will go to Hollywood. Take me with you, okay?” I grew up with that resonating in my head, this idea that I was someone whether I like it or not. She told me this a lot and I just imagined I’d grow up and people would listen to me or want to hear me or see me or something. I’ve never been to Hollywood and I don’t know that I’ll ever go there but I’ve always considered any of my achievements to be “my Hollywood”. Angelina was measuring success by the idea of going to Hollywood–making it big. But really every accomplishment a survivor manages is big. Survival is big. It’s all a part of surviving, it’s all an achievement and it is all “going to Hollywood”. I’ve hit the big time just by writing out this prologue alone and sharing it with the world. I credit my great-grandmother with planting the seed that has allowed me to always think I was meant for bigger things. It was that thinking that has allowed me to suffer through the depression, anxiety, PTSD, suicide attempts and thoughts and multiple attempts on anything that comes along with being a survivor.
So even though many names may change in this story along the way, this is MY story. Names will be changed and some situations may be altered based on memory or lack there of, here is my disclaimer: All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
This is my chapter in the great big giant book of childhood abuse stories and survivors. It is written with lots of love for everyone who has ever had their lives altered by abuse…sexual, physical, psychological…all of it, so much love. And it is also written with a love for myself because every survivor deserves to love themselves.
TRIGGER WARNING: THIS BLOG WILL CONTAIN CONTENT THAT PERTAINS TO CHILDHOOD SEXUAL, PSYCHOLOGICAL AND PHYSICAL ABUSE. IT MAY CONTAINS MANY TRIGGERS BECAUSE IT WILL BE AS GRAPHIC AS I CAN BE WHILE WRITING IT. SOMETIMES MORE THAN OTHERS BECAUSE IT COULD ALSO TRIGGER ME BUT WHEN POSSIBLE, I WILL BE AS DETAILED AS POSSIBLE.
FIRST LOVE YOURSELF