Seen and Unseen

The world wants young women to remain untouched, yet everybody wants a bite of my apple.

Decades after the act, I calmly consider filing a lawsuit against a classmate who raped me in high school. I learned this from you, America. Though there were countless violations on my body by unnumbered people throughout my life, he might be the one person I could track down in my small hometown.

I’d rather talk it out, let him know how hurt and disappointed I felt, and ask him to kindly make a donation to my charitable organization, without involving lawyers.

I’ve heard it said that there comes a time in every relationship when you will have to forgive, and I do. Yet I still doubt that I will receive forgiveness from others.

‘How will he ever forgive you?’ asked the abortion clinic worker when I told her that I hadn’t informed my partner of my plan to terminate the pregnancy. She listed the procedure steps while I pretended that I hadn’t received two previous abortions, acted like I wasn’t a medical doctor. I always play dumb.

The weight on my chest is hard to sustain, crushed by the burden of the guilt I maintain. I endured excruciating pain to try to avoid womanly shame. Perhaps my effort was in vain.

‘Think 10,000 times before you write something down’ said the Guru to the crowd. I felt like she was talking to me, though I knew that I would keep writing, despite her sage advice.

I can speed read but I prefer to savor the words on my tongue like I’m a sommelier tasting a fine wine. I read to gather knowledge to orchestrate my epigenetics and retrain my brain:

I inherited from my Dad the ability to work hard yet remain helplessly poor, both the hero and the victim, riding the complain train in circles, never catching a break or a taking a breath.

My mom taught me to neglect and abuse myself, and let others do the same. Nauseating silent car rides were punctuated by explosive anger- the only emotion she ever expressed to me. She taught me that my survival was dependent on being what others wanted me to be, and I must always smile.

Throughout my life I have sacrificed myself, let the predator humans feed on my energy and body. I keep hoping that if I just give them enough they will be satisfied, yet the more I give the hungrier they get and the more they demand. I stay soft and sweet under their bitter bite, as I wear a maddening smile I can’t shake and continue with trauma-informed communication even as I am traumatized.

I hide my unhealthy habits on the dark side of the moon- sex, sugar, and workaholism. Yet I am building my medicine kit, healing myself. My tiger tongue remains trapped in the tiny cage of my teeth.

Even when the worst happens, how fortunate I am to have had abundant opportunities to prepare, to demonstrate resilient strength and flexibility, to remember that I am safe, loved, and cared for by forces both seen and unseen.

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