Freedom with chains: Part One

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The day our secrets came to the open was a day like any other. The Texas heat was scorching hot without a cloud in the sky to aid us. I walked from class to class, the minutes seemed to travel slower than usual. I walked into my classroom and was, about to sit down until my name was summoned by the assistant principal. I was an outcast within my class, so there were no “Ohhh, she’s in trouble” comments. I just felt heavy eyes around me as I walked towards the office. My assistant principal guided me to her office and gestured me to sit down. She sat across from me, behind her desk and a stern but gentle expression formed on her face. My vision was becoming blurry, I could feel my anxiety trying to crawl out. I hated being put in a position where I was (am) the attention.

She didn’t take long to inform me of the situation that was occurring. My sister had revealed that she was being sexually abused by a family member. CPS was immediately contacted and an investigation was taking place. The AP waited until I gave her some sort of response, but I couldn’t. I locked my hands together in front of me and started sweating and shaking. I was nervous. I was in a panic. I was confused on what to say or what not to say. I thought I was the only was being abused. The news that my sister was going through the same thing filled me with guilt and disappointment.

I couldn’t protect her.

Why didn’t I notice?

The questions rambled on.

Within minutes my voice broke free for the first time in a very long time. I told my truth to the Vice Principal. She listened and wrote things down, asked a few questions here and there. I told her about my two uncles and my father. I gave her details, but I couldn’t speak the whole truth. If it was too difficult for myself then the person in front of me would not be able to withstand such truth. I was in that room for over an hour, I think; I felt like I was there forever. CPS was contacted immediately after that. The teacher escorted me to the main entrance and a black vehicle waited for me. I hesitated. I didn’t feel comfortable getting into an unknown vehicle, but they persuaded me by saying that my mother was going to meet me at our location. So I got in and sat quietly in the back of the car. I looked around; the seat, the windows, the floor, the leather, even the odor, everything smelled clean. What was I doing contaminating such a nice car? I felt my insides twisting, turning, and rotting. I stayed quiet the entire trip until we arrived at a building.

The woman who was driving the car guided me inside to a small, enclosed room. The walls were empty except for a large, rectangular mirror that reflected half the portion of the room. There was a small, black table with four chairs and the lady asked me to sit down. They offered me a drink and snack which I accepted since I wasn’t able to eat lunch at school. She waited until I finished eating, then she began with the questions:

What do you like to do on your free time?

Do you get a long with you brother and sisters?

Do your parents fights?

Do you have friends?

So on…

I stayed quiet most of the time. I didn’t want to talk anymore. I felt this piercing feeling that I had done something wrong and I didn’t want to make things worse. We didn’t last long in that room. She helped me find the lobby where my mother was waiting for me. Her expression gave me chills. I knew she was mad. I knew I had done something wrong. I knew it. My mother grabbed my arm, giving a stern look at the woman, “You will hear from my lawyer.”

We left. The car ride back to the house was quiet. I began to flick each one of my fingers together and bite the inside of my mouth. I was nervous. I looked outside. The sun was setting, a flock of birds formed shapes in the sky, the tree dances with the wind, I knew the beauty out there was real, but I could not see it or feel it.

I spoke my truth that day and I still felt trapped. My voice broke free, but my chains were still attached.

Is this the consequence for speaking my truth or is it a punishment for allowing a taboo to become reality?

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Focus

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  I was walking underneath the pier with my family whe I glanced at this magnificent spot. For some odd reason I was overwhelmed with anxiety; it felt as though the raging waters would swallow me any second, and yet, I felt strong. I stood there. I did not move, not because I could not move, but because I CHOSE not to move. 

I found a hidden strength. 

Where is your focus?

The Eighth Piece: Uncle #2 (Trigger Warning)

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Charismatic, confident, friendly, and any other word or phrase that will describe a person in the most postitive sense; all three of my predator blended in, without a hint of suspicion, and my fourth predator was no different. 

 My uncle L immigrated from his home country to the USA and was introduced into the family when I was around 10 years old. My aunt thought he would flourish if he lived with us since my father had a successful small business and our economical status was better than the poverty line. My mother, without hesitation, agreed to take him in. I was surprised how my mother loved to take opportunities that would increase her reputation as being a “good woman” which she was by the way. The conundrum was figuring out whether she did it out of good will or advertisement. My mother was a strange one, but through the years I was able to turn this puzzle into an exciting game, very similar to I Spy. 

My uncle was a tall, very good looking, young man. He was polite, friendly, and conservative, but what stood the most was his smile. A similarity that I found with all my predators was the power they had behind their smile. To me, everytime they smiled, a shield formed because I knew who they really were on the inside. To others, their shield disintergrate and an automatic illusion begin to play. They were swept by the innocence of their smile and they lacked the vision of truth. 

I rarely talked to my uncle. The truth is I tried to keep my distance from him like I did with other men. I did not want to give him the wrong signal since I was convinced that something was wrong with me to cause the men in my family to act as they did. So, I kept my distance. I continued basic, everyday, conversations. Even though, my father continued with his routines, I was proud of myself, because i felt like I had control of at least a small part of my life…

Sadly, after everything that has occurred, I couldn’t learn my lesson: happiness is non existent. 

My small episode of self empowerment ended one night when my uncle opened the door to my room. 

“Psst. Psst. J. Pssssttt.” A very silent, but growling whisper awoke me. I scratched my eyes and looked towards my door and saw my uncle. He smiled a wicked smile and gestured a condom, swinging it back and forth. He jerked his head, telling me ‘it was time.’

My body quickly picked it self up and I began to walk behind him. 

Feet. Stop moving. Why are you walking? 

Go back. Go back. 

We walked to the living room and I quickly layed on the couch. I did not question the situation. I did what I knew best. To please. 

I layed down and he slowly pulled down my pajamas pants and panties, ripping the condom wrapper with his teeth. 

My body and mind were not intact. As he was preparing himself, something clicked within me.

NO.

  I jumped off the couch, pulling my pants up and ran to me room. I quickly closed the door and locked it, slowly walking backwards to my bed. My breathing was deep and silent; I couldn’t wake up my sister. I layed down on my bed and pulled the covers over my head. The tears rushed down. I couldn’t stop them. I was overwhelmed with disgust.

Why did you walk over there?

You’re disgusting. 

What is wrong with you?

 I continued the thoughts of self neglect through the whole night. I didn’t sleep. The following morning I found my composure and walked to the kitchen as if last night never occured. My uncle sat on the table and did the same. He glanced over to me, smiled, and looked away.

 My uncle didn’t last long with us after that. About a month later he decided to go live with his mother, my aunt. He said, “I don’t want to be a burden to you all. Thank you for everything.” As quickly as he was welcomed into our home, he left it. 

My life continued as it did after that. My father continued his daily routines. My mother was oblivious. My siblings were saved from the harsh truth. Everyday was the same. 

 The only new question that arose was Why did he do what he did? It’s as if he knew I would walk to him, no questions asked and do what he wanted. This new question brought back an unpleasant memory of my childhood. 

 Our family had one of their common family gathering parties. Everything was cheery, joyful, and alive. My father, uncles, family friends were obviously intoxicated. I was about 8 years old. My father made his way towards me and grabbed my hand. He walked me where my uncles and family friends were gathered and sat me on his lap. He began to pridefully, compliment on my beauty. He sat me in the middle where I was sorrouded by all the men. I did not like it. I felt trapped. I felt exposed. I could only focused on all the men smiling down at me. One by one; each one smiling at me. 

It was feeding time and I was the main dish. 

I was able to sneak past everyone and hide in a corner. Hide from the perverted eyes. Hide. 

That new question. That lost memory. That new incident with my uncle. 

I was convinced that my goal in reaching the status of being a normal girl would never arrive.

 I was a sex toy. 

 I was a puppet.

 I was nothing. 

                                                                 Alone I stand.

Trace

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I watch him sleep. 

Eyes closed.

His breathing pattern, the sound of a lullaby.

I lift my finger and slowly trace his lips.

 The hair follicles on his chin, slightly twisting them around my finger. 

I trace the curves of his broad chest.

I bring my hand to his hair, his waves identifying to the waves of the ocean. 

He twitches. 

I smile. Happiness. 

I wake up and turn my head. 

He’s not there. 

I look up and watch the popcorn textures dance around my ceiling.

What is this feeling?

Come back my sweet love.

I am in the mist. 

I am waiting for my light.

Alone

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 I was never fond being by myself, wether it was sleeping alone or being home alone, especially since I became accustomed in having my protection; my husband. I always had and have this fear that being alone means that you are exposing your vulnerability, especially since everytime I was alone i was being abused in some ways, so I tried any means possible to never be alone. 

 After my predators were physically away and my mother  was forced to start anew, I still chose to sleep with my mother in the same bed. I refused to walk nights, even in our apartment. I was afraid. Fear was my friend; it protected me from the evil eyes hiding in the dark, but it  could not protect my mind from projecting images and echoing noises; the night was scary. During the day,  I was able to continue life, but I was always self aware. Every movement and every look was an attack and I had to be in self defense…all the time.

 Now, that my husband is out of town for work, my anxiety keeps me up at nights. I will not lie, I am afraid. Afraid that if I close my eyes I will be exposed. I make sure everything is locked, secure, and safe. 

 My husband thinks I am doing well. He know i fear the dark. He knows my mind travels many paths to prevent me from knowing the sense of tranquility, but I utter the words  I’m doing good. Don’t worry with a smile,  so his mind can be worry free. 

 And I am okay… 

 I will be okay…

 I have to be okay…

Detonate

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Tick. Tock. 

Time walks forward. 

Why am I not moving? 

Frozen. 

Eyes on me; stripping me naked. 

Exposed.

Whispers in the air…

They know…they know about me. 

Truth.

Stop it. 

Tick. Tock. 

Stop it. Stop moving… Time, stop moving. 

Be still.

Like me. 

I’ve ran out of places to hide. Where to?

Here? There?

Stop. 

Don’t you see? 

I’m on the verge of exploding.

Detonate.

The seventh Piece: The  Confession (Trigger Warning)

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 Trust is like a plant. Nurture and love will give it life. Neglect will give it death. 

 

 I was sitting on our antique dinner chair facing my mother, father, and my uncle who stood next to my father.

I don’t remember how we all gathered. I assume I told my mother if we could all speak. For some reason, that part was left out within my perplexed memories. 

My mother had a baffled expression. My father was still and calm. My uncle’s nerves were protruding through the sweat rushing down his neck. 

I spoke before my voice was chained by fear and anxiousness, “M-Mom…he touched me.” 

My mother’s eyes looked like they were about to jump out and land on me. She turned her head and  looked at my uncle, “Did you touch her?” Not an ounce of shock, surprise, or concern in her tone; the complete opposite of her expression earlier. 

He gave me a malicious stare, as though his eyes were telling me she will never believe you.

 “I never touched her.” He answered in a simple sentence. 

 My vision was a blur. My hands trembled. I started to scratch the top of my thumb nail. I was nervous.

My mother looked at me. Everyones’ eyes were on me. 

“He didn’t touch you. You see. Come on. Let’s go.” My mother turned her back and left. They all turned their back and left. I sat on that chair. I stared at the kitchen tiles underneath my feet. She didn’t believe me.

All the emotions I was feeling, slowly dissipitated. I couldn’t feel anything. She didn’t believe me.

I remember walking to my room and sitting on my bed. Why didn’t she believe me? Did I make it up? Is it okay that he did this to me? Is it right?  The questions continued pouring and an answer was never found. My uncle continued his frequent visits. He continued looking at me… smiling at me. The one good thing is that he never touched me after that. I assumed he was scared, but his distant gestures made me doubt that. 

Every day after that continued as usual; my father’s abuse, my facade, my uncle’s distant perverted gestures…nothing changed, except one.

 I lost something, something that children hold very dear, even adults…a mother’s trust.