(This week’s post for the extra:ordinary project (stories of everyday surviving and resilience) comes from a crone from California, and I am so grateful for this fierce and formidible writing. Please know, as you enter into this piece, that the story explicitly and powerfully names experiences of ritual violence. Thanks to you, Crone, for sharing your survival and resilience with us.)
May it be so
I am sixty one years old. I have survived such extreme violence of my body, heart, soul and psyche that I am sometimes amazed that I function in this world at all and sometimes, yes sometimes experience love and joy.
I long to be the kind of person who brings joy and humor and grace to all situations. I long to be someone at peace on this earth. I have come to understand that I have a choice and sometimes that makes it harder, to accept me as I am. Angry. Scared. Scarred. Judgmental ( that is the hardest to admit ). I walk around with attitude a lot, scared.
I want someone to see and understand my inside world. I am not alone in this, far from it. When I am good and loving, I still want someone to know how hard I have worked for what I have and where I am today. But where is that? Alone. Fighting for my breath.
I want to be the kind of person who sits here and writes beautifully and is inspiring. I want to be someone who feels whole and has something to give. I want to be free of fear. Here I sit and if I try to write anything about love, I get an anxiety attack. I was taught to hate myself and I learned the lesson well. I sit here and laugh, thinking “don’t I sound like someone you would love to know?” meaning it with extreme sarcasm. Come close and I will glare you away. Or I will just be soooo very nice, yet not there at all. Out of body, back in five minutes, years, centuries…
I am sixty one years old. I have survived such extreme violence of my body, heart, soul, psyche that I sometimes feel such extreme compassion for suffering, I am amazed at the possibilities of love. I am smart and sometimes funny. I challenge people and sometimes, every once in a while, someone listens. Someone hears me. Someone sees me. That is soooo f’n frightening. If I am seen, I am dead. Or worse, if I am seen, I will ultimately disappoint you with who I really am.
Some days I realize that death will come eventually, so maybe I can enjoy this ride while I have to be here. At least participate in this life the best I can.
Ah, my story: I was raped so many times by so many different men, by the time I was 10 yrs old, that I lost count. I saw animals tortured and heard their screams. Sometimes I still hear their screams. I am relieved to know they no longer suffer, just me as I remember, alone. I saw kittens get their baby necks broken, could feel my brain crack. Did you ever feel your brain crack? Nauseating. I was used as a party toy at “adult” parties. Locked in the bedroom for any drunk, sadistic, party animal to enjoy, fuck, laugh at, abuse. Tied to the bed, listening for the door to open and knowing someone new was there with their own inventive ways to humiliate and hurt me. Dread. Dread. Fear. Wanting to die.
How old? I was eight. I was nine. I was ten. I was eleven… I was three when my father started to abuse me openly. Before that it was energy, vibes, sick desire, filling my world and the air I breathed. Then I guess he could hold back no longer.
I am going to stop here. Are there more stories? Oh yeah, lots. I am traumatizing myself by going on and on. Therein lies the rub. If I hold it in, I am so alone it is unbearable. If I say/write this out loud, I feel the terror and trauma and grief and I can barely function. Choices? I have choices… healing is a choice. The road is paved with land mines, emotional, psychic land mines. But you know what they say, if you are in hell, keep going. It is the only way out: through hell into the arms of love.
May it be so.
(May it be, yes yes yes. So much appreciation to you, Crone, and to you, readers, for sharing this space and the grace of your healing.)