Dear Spouses,

Dear, dear spouses

of victims

of survivors

of the broken people…

Thank you.

Thank you for not letting us push you away.

Thank you for seeing past the desperate facade we thought was infallible.

Thank you for understanding that not everyone wants to be touched…or can be touched…and adjusting your needs accordingly.

Thank you for remembering not to ask about it.

Thank you for listening to all of it and accepting it

even though you want to kill someone

even though you want to let anger take over and justice prevail.

Thank you for knowing that you just have to embrace it.

Thank you for sleeping on the floor when the bed becomes a trap.

Thank you for letting irrational behaviors slide…

because they make sense…because you get it.

Thank you for never attempting to relate to it.

Thank you for teaching us that we can be loved despite…

in spite…

because.

Thank you for always, always standing by…

through panic…

anxiety…

fear…

shame…

confusion…

delusion…

and hope.

Thank you for waiting for us to come to you.

Thank you for knowing when we are ready.

Thank you for knowing when we aren’t.

Thank you for agreeing to take part in a union we believed we could never deserve.

Thank you so very much…dear, dear spouses…

for loving people…who sometimes doubt the love they are in.

We are grateful for your patience.

We are overwhelmed by your strength.

And we believe in the salvation you offer when you look into our eyes

and show us who we are.

 

Forgiveness

The tears won’t stop.

They fall…without my permission…as I try to understand why my mind isn’t letting me process this.

It’s just a damn apology, I tell myself.  Accept it.  Just take it and let it all go.

But something is holding me back.

I call my husband…

I tell him through sobs…and he gets it.

I know, he says…I know exactly what you mean…

We talk a bit…about forgiveness…about apologies…about getting hurt.

And I acknowledge my pattern.

When someone apologizes to me, I freeze.

I don’t know what to say…

Because deep down…even though logic tells me I did nothing wrong to deserve the pain…I am still that little girl who thought it was all her fault…who thought she was to blame for everything that happened to her…

So I look for something to make it mine…to make this wrong something that was coming to me…and I usually find something little…a reaction…a retort…the way I handled the pain…something that makes me say – SEE!  You ARE in the wrong here…you SHOULD be punished!

I need to work on this…to be able to accept an apology given sincerely and forgive wholeheartedly…to put someone at ease and let them know that they are forgiven.

The truth is – I do forgive.  I just have a hard time saying it…because I’ve been holding forgiveness in for so long…since I was that guilt-ridden little girl…since I realized why I had to forgive…and I wish…so badly…that it would be asked of me…so that I can finally let go and say…with all my heart…

I forgive you.

If you see this…please know…I forgive you.

I forgive you.

Snip…Snip…Snip.

Tomorrow…

It’s not his birthday, not yet.

But my mother is here and I want to share this with someone.

Besides, gan starts soon and I don’t want to have to worry about lice.

So we’re cutting his hair tomorrow.

Just a small little ceremony.

Get to the barber at 7:30 so we’re the first ones there and it can be sort of private…maybe take him for some breakfast…or ice cream…whatever…then continue the day like it’s any other day, cause really it is…and have a little family gathering for dinner with my brother and his family, my mother and a friend of mine…a barbecue because anyway we wanted to have one before the summer slips away…no big deal.

We’re not wrapping him in a tallit.

We’re not having him lick honey off aleph bet in a roomful of little boys who just want a bag of treats.

No big deal.

I once drew something for a friend of mine.

A friend I love more than I could love my siblings of flesh and blood.

Someone who shared a journey with me…

I gave him a gift.

It was a large drawing of a little boy.

He was wrapped in a prayer shawl.

He had big eyes.

Scared eyes.

And he was crying.

It was a tribute to my friend’s life.

He was wrapped in a prayer shawl.  He was carried to a classroom.  He sat on a teacher’s lap and licked honey off the letters…he gave out treats to eager little boys…and he was told to trust that room…that kind of teacher…and to always be a good little boy.

And when he was taken into a room like that and told to do something, he did it.

And when he told someone about it…when he tried desperately to get out from under the wrapped prayer shawl where he was slowly suffocating and losing everything he thought he knew…when he uncovered his eyes and let the fringes fall to the muddy ground…they said…go.

So he went.

And with him went a little boy, crying as they cut his hair…lock after lock…snip…snip…snip.

No big deal.

 

Dying To Forget

Sometimes, late at night when I should be asleep, I remember.

I remember how I used to be…when things were bad…when I was a bad little girl…

And I wonder…if I could talk to her…what would I say?

I should say…the things I was taught to say to her…

I’m so sorry you’re hurting.

It’s not your fault.

You are not bad.

This is going to be over soon.

You will get better.

It will get better…

But I feel…like saying…

Kill yourself…now.

Because it won’t get better.

Because in twenty years from now you will sit with this memory, because everything in your life reminds you about some part of it, and you will think about how it can never go away and you will want to die.

So die now.

Avoid one thousand future deaths…

One thousand future hurts…

One thousand future lies…

And never remember this.

Broken

The anthem for the broken people is part song, part chant, part silence.

It has no rhythm. No rhyme. No pattern.

It has highs and lows and in-betweens.

Sometimes, it’s one, clear thought.

Most times, it’s a long rambling journey like the one they told you once you would have to take until you would find the end, past the twists and turns and drops hiding around thorn bushes and smooth rocks, under blue skies streaked with the blood red of your childhood and the blackness of your youth, and into the future of either victory or death, although you never know which one you want to be your end, so you keep going around and around on this rambling road until you can’t take it anymore and have to choose something so that you can go somewhere else and leave the anthem of the broken people lying on the ground with the shattered pieces of the shadow you used to be put together by a hope you once dreamed, only to realize that there was a piece missing and there is a hole where you should be.

When the silence starts to choke the little bits of life left, a haunting hum floats through the air.

The anthem gathers speed and adds the drums to its rising sound as it hits notes only broken people hear.

They gather together, all the broken people, and raise their silent voices as they try to break the world so that it will know how they feel.

Only, the world, already broken, has been singing this song, chanting the words for millions of years.

The anthem has nowhere left to go.

Dying down, it travels back inside the holes of the broken people and widens them so that next time, maybe, there will be more broken people to share the broken tune of a broken anthem with a broken world filled with the holes broken people made.

Shhhh.

Can you hear it?

How I Stood Up To AMI

I can’t write about AMI magazine and the Weberman case.

I can’t go there.

But I wanted you to know – anyone who knows me and understands me – that I sent them an e-mail today.

Please remove me from your mailing list.  I do not wish to write for a magazine such as yours – regardless of your twisted bias on the Weberman case, it did not belong in a ‘family magazine’, was an embarrassment to you and an insult to countless victims of sexual abuse and molestation.  I will no longer be purchasing AMI and never want my name associated with it again.

I had mixed emotions.  On one hand, they published my writings…validated my skill…on the other hand….they invalidated everything I believe in.

And when I pressed send, something rolled over my chest and I wanted to scream but no sound would come out so I sat and I sank into myself and fell apart as I thought of what all this meant.

I know people think I am outspoken and open about things.

I know people assume I don’t hold back.

But I know what I can’t ever say.

And I know the stand I wish to take is denied me for reasons I WON’T say.

I know I am protecting someone.

That is my choice.

It is the right choice for me.

But in some ways, I wish I could have pointed a finger and accused.

So I can only take a stand for other people.

And I just did, in my own little way.

And it was scary.

Bring. It. On.

I’ve been told I’ve got talent.

Not the kind of talent that creates art…or publishes books…or contributes to the world’s excessive need to be entertained.

The talent I’ve got involves people.  Individuals.  Souls.

It’s a dirty sort of talent.  One where I twist and pull and shake out the piles and piles of shit people have been sitting in, holding on to…or flinging about.

See, people seem to think I can help them.

It starts with casual conversation…and then I smile…sort of through the other person…because I read between the lines and the gestures and the vibes…and I got them. And they know it.  And then it’s too late.

I’m a victim magnet.

I see them, floating around in confusion…muddling through life…pleading for help silently…and for some reason, they see me.

I get to know them…quickly…and I can pinpoint where the work must begin.  And then I map out the choices in their life…and tell them how things will be down each possible path.

Sometimes, they listen.

Sometimes, they don’t.

Sometimes I shut my mouth and pretend not to care as they drift on by…and then they never even know how close they came to be one of mine.

When I was fifteen I cried every night because of all the horrible things I knew about everyone.  My father tried to advise me not to listen.  That’s like telling a bird not to skydive.  Irrelevant.  It’s never been about me listening.

When I was seventeen and pissed off, I dressed Gothic and never brushed my hair.  I wore hoods and clunky boots and made my vibe as offsetting as I could.

Still, they came.

The corner I sat in, glaring out into the square as I chain-smoked, became known as my office.  They sat next to me…too close next to me…and told me about parents…teachers…friends…relatives…strangers…all the abuse…pain…and shame they needed to expose…

I don’t know what they saw in me.

I was mean.  I pushed people away before they could hurt me.  I was aggressive, violent and malicious.  I could spot your weakness and exploit it just because.  And I never ever told anyone one full truth.  It didn’t matter anyway.  No one was really listening.  They were too busy talking.

Then it became my job.  I was deep in the center of a therapeutic nightmare.  Story after story after story.  Life after life after life.  Soul after soul after soul…

Each year they brought their two suitcases and eighteen years of baggage.  They loved deeply…fought nasty…cried oceans of pain…and numbed it all when the sun went down.

Each story ate away at a bit of me.  Each soul drained my life source until I felt that I had nothing left.

And it was ok because by then there was nothing left to do.

The doors were locked…the dream was dead…and my life was shattered at my feet.

It’s taken over three years to build me up again.

For a while, I thought I was better off.  I thought life seemed normal…

I’m not normal though.  I’m a victim magnet.  I’m a talented orchestrator of the kind of dirty no one can ever prepare you for in clean classrooms over spotless books.  I’m a product of a street that brought revolutions…rebellions…change…

It’s been a quiet three years.  It’s been an experience I guess I needed.

But now…now I’m fully charged.  Now I’m more grown up.  Now I’ve perfected my talent and even know how to listen.

Bring it on.

Bring. It. On.

The Words I Am Made Of

I cannot find the words to express the puddle of feelings I sit in.

I cannot understand how I came to be here, curled up on the floor…a victim…again.

I am searching, digging through my past to find where this fits…but it is so different…so strange…

I pursued peace, as I am taught to do, and was hit in return with a vicious blow in the form of a woman consumed by the ugliest rage I have ever seen.  Anger…hatred…directed at me because I reached out in genuine hope for reconciliation.  And the look in her eyes…distant…vague…making me doubt I was even standing there in front of her.

My heart betrayed me and caused my body to shake with it’s racing beat…and opened my mouth to shoot the only arrow I had…the one I had vowed not to use…because it was mean…

My mind formed the right words later.  Too late.  When there was no one there to hear them

NO.  Stop.  Don’t.  I will not Allow this.  I can Leave.  I have the Power.  You have no Right to hurt me.  I am Strong.  I am Worthy.

But I fell apart before the words stopped running away from me.

When the pieces of me figured out where they belonged, I was on the floor in my husband’s arms.  Afraid.  Vulnerable.  Confused.  Tired.  Very, very tired… 

So I sit…and hope that maybe, someday soon, I can figure out why someone was able to throw me down…pinning me under projected issues and warped reason…

For now, I am comforted by my love of seven years as he holds my hand and tells me it will be ok.

And it will be…because he said so…and because I know that if I say them everyday…I will remember my Words.

Naming

She asks the questions I expect to hear.  I answer.  I detail the experience.  I do not hold back.

I have been wanting this conversation for ten years.  I have been needing this conversation for ten years.  I am so ready to say this.  I can no longer not say this.

And so it goes.  Questions.  Answers.  Details.  Dirty, dirty details.

I am strong.  I am capable.  I can do this.

Now it’s time.

Say the name.

I have to say the name.

I try to push it past my stubborn teeth.  I stammer.  I slip over my tongue.  And I get a name out.  The wife’s name.  Not his name.  I don’t know if I even have it in my head to say.

The name propels me through parallel worlds and time machines and suddenly, I am there.  I am watching my little self.  I see her sitting against the door.  I see the bat in her hands.  I see her pushing against his weight on the other side.  I see the forbidden phone clutched in her hand and I hear the voice coming through saying DON’T LET HIM IN…

And now I am screaming…and I am shaking…and raging…as my little self…calmly holds the bat…and coldly sets her feet in place…and sits…holding strong…keeping guard.  Although she will not lose this fight…he is already deeply burrowed in her fragile heart…and she feels nothing but the cold emptiness of betrayal as she waits for the night to end.

And here I am, floating above time and space,  begging the terror to subside as I desperately herd all my little selves back into the therapeutic nest they belong in.

When the shaking stops and I can feel my hands, I become aware of her voice, thanking me for the information.  She says she knows it must be hard.  I say it’s not.  I lie when the truth rushes through me with violence.  I lie so that she doesn’t have to hear what it’s like to run through hellfire and let the burn in.

I hang up, weary…tired…sad…

And then I think of the little girl again…and how every night she would put a little boy to bed…and sing with him…and tuck him in…and wish him a good life…a happy life…and hope against all hope…that he wouldn’t grow up to be…like his father…and suddenly I am afraid…because I said the name…and it’s his name…and her name…and maybe…I shouldn’t have…

The Other Side of the Story

To all those suffering: I mean you no harm.  I understand what it’s like to be hurt.  I understand what it’s like to be angry.  I understand what it’s like to be abused.

But, to all of those who have abused another, who will never find peace within themselves: it is for you that I present the following letter.  And for those who feel the way he feels, for those who have truly slain the beast within, I say, I forgive you.

What does it mean to suffer?

I have suffered many times in my life, from abuse, humiliation, and shame, although nothing compares to the pain and suffering I experience every day because of my actions.

I sexually abused another.

I can work on forgiving others for the things they did to me.  I can work on letting go.

What I have done is with me every moment of my life, tormenting me, twisting me into what I am today.

I was a child when I committed those shameful acts.  What grave injustice was it that turned a child into a beast? Can someone tell me?

It can drive a person mad when their entire life is spent trying to work that out, and constantly worrying if the beast can wake up again.

For how long does one have to suffer for the sins of the past?

I have apologized.

I have made amends.

I have cried enough tears to fill the Nile, but the pain still kills me and the nightmares don’t stop, because…what if….

What if the beast is just asleep?

Do I have the strength to fight it again?

And yet…I still must move forward and live my life, day by day.

I have to live with myself.

I have to be the man I know I am, and not the child I was.