I was three the first time, and I fought hard the whole time. I was playing outside with neighbors and the eldest, a 14 year old, decided we would play king and queen. I, being the only girl, went in the house as the queen to be rescued, but inside he locked the door, picked me up and threw me on the couch. As he pulled at my cotton panties under my dress, I kicked, cried and screamed. The boys outside wanted in (my brother being one of them) and wanted to know what was wrong. How come they couldn't get in?

He picked me up and took me upstairs my fighting continued. Then he threw me on the bed, my panties had fallen off somewhere on the stairs and he had been molesting me the whole way up. I was exhausted. Defeated. I laid there as he unbuckled his pants and as I turned my head sideways, I noticed that the open door that lead to the balcony had a glorious light. As I slipped towards the light, a shadow stepped through the door and in two steps had crossed the room. His Mother swiftly, in what seemed one motion, threw him across the room and picked me up from the bed. She pulled down my dress skirt, smoothed my hair and cooed in my ear as she delivered a firm shake to him. 

I slept briefly, only to wake to an enraged Mother (my own). She asked why I didn't fight, why I went in the house, and reminded me that I was not even supposed to be outside. I wasn't supposed to play with boys. Why? Why? A firm slap in the face that sent me flying to my auntie's feet. The only thing that stopped her from flying at my Mother was her instinct to comfort me. She held me, assured me I was the same beautiful little girl, that I was precious, and that I had done nothing wrong. But why didn't my Mom hold me? He was sent away the very next day and from that day forward nothing more was said.

Six years later I find myself with somebody's hands at my body again, creeping up in ways that make me want to crawl into myself and die. I'm home. I didn't go and play with the boys. He coos to me, telling me to be still to not say anything. I look for a light to fade into and his hand finds its way in. It goes on for two years. Three to six times a week. Until one day molesting me is not enough and he wants sex. The first time I lay still and fade into the light. The second time I am sick to my stomach. I hold back vomit, I start to cry, he hurries up. That was the last time he touched me. I told him if he did it again I would yell it on top of mountains. I didn't care what would result from people knowing, all I cared about was that it stopped. It did. I then spent the next year questioning myself. Why did I let it happen for so long? Why didn't I fight him? I didn't kick, I didn't scream, I let it happen. I should have, I could have, why didn't I . . .

I lived in fog for many years after that. I hated my Mother during these years and I hated myself for "letting" it happen. I wanted to die. I drank, smoked, went out, rebelled. I had mastered the art of dissociation during those two years so well that I continued in my everyday life; fading away whenever my anger, pain, shame and sadness felt like it would kill me. I was broken and lost. Unable to talk about the shame. Unwilling to put that other person in the light. A relative, a teenager, going through changes too—maybe I had brought it on. 

Something snapped, maybe one too many scalding showers or my mind hit its maximum amount of pain and shut off and reset, but something changed. I decided this wasn't the end. There was more, I was more. I was capable of more. I looked at my relationship with my Mother and asked if this was what I really wanted for the rest of my life. I decided it was not, that I wanted to love her, forgive her. She was young at 23, in an abusive relationship (with my Father) who treasured me more than anything. I can only imagine the fear she must have felt, thinking she had to tell him I had been abused. I think she looked at me crying on the floor and saw her death. I love that women deeply. I know that her perseverance is my own and her sacrifices for me amount to more than that one moment in time. 

Now at 31 years of life, I still have days when the fog rolls in. Days when I find myself in the shower crying and wondering when the memories will completely fade. I know they won't but neither will I. I don't feel like this will ever be something I don't have to "deal with." I will always have questions. I will always have pain. I will always wonder if someone finds me dirty when they hear my truth. I struggle with unhealthy relationships in love and self love is a work in progress. My sexuality flip flops between "sex kitten" and "don't look at me lustfully, it's evil." This is a journey, but I plan to grow and thrive through it all.