The closure that I have long sought – Anonymous
I start my 40th decade of life, a 15th year of being married, a roller-coaster of a 10th with my son and a profoundly fulfilling 20th as a professional in the field of disability and rehabilitation work. Now, for someone who has had major learning disabilities, significant physical imperfections and a childhood very peppered with abuse of different kinds, this has been one big life already! I am writing this after being gently nudged by someone very dear to me. I am writing this, for, she and I know that I need to say goodbye to many things that have never ever have served me one bit.
I work and provide services in vocational rehabilitation for people with disabilities and included among them are sexual offenders as well as victims of sexual abuse. I assist them both with tremendous fairness (even if I am shaking within), by nonchalantly separating my personal experiences just like any trained human service professional would. I have certainly uncomfortably mastered several strange dichotomies and this I must perhaps owe to what I learned so early in my life. Now, why do I want to write about a very sick man that I knew 30 some years ago? Why do I want to revisit this? Maybe this will be the closure that I have long sought, it still might not suffice, but may bring me a little more closer to a final closure!
My tam-bram extended family was a complicated hot bed of very foul smelling shit- that’s what it was and still is. Along with being raised by parents with poor stress tolerance and life skills, I also had terribly confused, unhappy and incomplete aunts and uncles (except for one uncle who I unfortunately got to know better only in my adult years) who just were out to get at their siblings and their families, one way or the other. There were no real role models within the family or even one commonly revered/respected elder. I had protruding teeth, a hunched back with shoulders caving in to hide my chest, hair profusely ridden with lice, very poor choice of clothes, and bad vision handled via super ugly spectacles; all these, over and above being a perennial bed-wetter who thumb-sucked and cried her way into adolescence; one with very clumsy gait/balance and who did embarrassingly poorly in academics. And what an easy target I was for this home-grown pedophile; I call him this as he is my uncle and we all have enabled him for the very longest time.
He sure found the right soft target in me, someone to whom he could speak softly, whose arm he could pull up and along the stairway, get her into his bedroom, make her lie next to him and over him, persuaded her to be bathed and dressed by him; and it stopped only when I gained puberty- that last major contact is still intact in my memory- that of my growing breasts being tightly squeezed outside someone’s house, while he softly and firmly declared that he can’t or won’t touch me anymore.
What never stopped was the teasing, the sarcasm, the coming too close to talk, to whisper or hold my hand, to ridicule and mock me publicly in front of my peers. What also never changed was my inability to assertively and aggressively push back. It was all too confusing, for it never felt right and I never held conviction strong enough to say or scream aloud that it wasn’t right; so he never stopped and nobody ever stopped him. My mother in her eternal love-hate puzzle with her sister just didn’t quite know how to deal with any of this, other than constantly attempting to curtail my movements. And why it got all the more harder to fathom, even till today is that he has a daughter who is my age… So WHY the F, really?
Many years later, I have my moments when I am raging mad and am emotionally irrational; I don’t mind or question these emotions anymore, for I am rightly allowed at least the grace of such moments. So, I let them come but have gotten a lot stricter with how long I let the memories stay. I think life has given me so much more and I am grateful for it. Of course, there are (and will be) hidden issues that I do grapple with every now and then- those of body image, self esteem, the anxieties of being stuck in tight or dark spaces, and how I can never learn or master new concepts with the ease with which others can; but again, I have gained plenty, much better insights, more appropriate ways of dealing with them and there will always be something new to learn about myself and reflect.
As for him, I just wish that there are no little girls in the other world that he would soon someday be a part of. I keep reading a lot about forgiving people, and thought I would never know how to practice or perfect such an abstraction; but this too I am learning, by dropping people who no longer will or ever have served me well! I may just need to stop him here, to go now, and to live more completely. And I must find more ways to remind myself that I am awesome and am more than enough!