Scratchy white tulle, a silky pink ribbon wrapped around my waist, two little pink bows in my short brown hair. This is how I remember, the first time. I wrapped my skinny arm around Pooh’s neck. I couldn’t go anywhere without him.
It was Easter Sunday and everyone was arriving. My mother, always the hostess, was pouring drinks and toasting to Jesus’ resurrection. The doorbell rang once again and I knew it was him. He was my absolute favorite person. I ran toward the front door and wrapped my skinny arms around his neck. He lifted me up and twirled me around. Giggling nonstop, my body was full of joy. He placed me back down on my feet and patted the top of my head. Everything was normal.
All of a sudden, it’s dark. I can’t catch my breath. My body hurts. I bleed. What is happening?
I sit up frantic to catch my breath. Slowly, I count the tiles on the ceiling. One, two, three. It’s not working. I touch the warm green blanket that covers my legs. I take what my therapist calls a deep cleansing breath in and out. I remind myself that I am safe. I am over seven hundred miles away from my childhood home. I can feel the heat of my husband’s deep sleep. There is a light snore coming from the dog’s bed. I am okay.
My entrance to the world was not welcomed. Born into a family of addicts and disordered eaters, I learned to hate myself very early on. At the age of three, I was raped. It happened again and again. I learned not to trust anyone. Too many people took advantage of me throughout time. At the age of 22, I was diagnosed with C-PTSD.
This is my story
This is the story no one knows.
To the world, I was a planned third child in an upper middle class family in the suburbs. I attended blue ribbon schools, was an A level dancer and the president of the Future Business Leaders of America club. I graduated with a 3.8 GPA only to move onto college and then a master’s program.
My life was perfect. My life was full of danger and evil. I was passed around like a rag doll hanging by a thread.
I am only allowed to share one side of my story. The shiny, pretty side is the one everyone sees as it keeps everything in balance. The truth is I live the past each day. I can’t escape the nighttime. My body remembers each movement, every breath, and all of the gut wrenching pain.
My story is complex. My story is not unique. My story is mine.
My story is full of the unknown. The why, the who. I cannot share my story as me. There are too many moving pieces.
Will I hit the submit button?
I don’t know.
The fear of sharing is bubbling up my throat. This story is too complex. Not this story, my story. It is mine. But I cannot own it. It could bring intense danger into my life. I don’t want to have this fear. Sometimes I dream of screaming my truth from the rooftop of a New York City tower. Maybe one day I will.
I am slowly learning that I can own my story in my own way. I am in control of who gets to know and when. I own how my story is told. I own my story. This is my story and until I can speak my truth without anonymity, this is how I will share it. I have found a way to own my story.