A Story That Must Not Die

I’m tired of my story. I’m weary of carrying it around with me. I’ve been steeping in it forever and it’s tiresome. I would like someone else’s story for a while, preferably with lots of free time and a happy ending.

The chapters of my story are varied, but they share the same root. They’re woven together into a tapestry… a crappy tapestry… a crapestry.

If you really want to get technical about it, these are the chapters of my story:
Picture 3

There are nineteen of them, including the introduction. Even though I’ve only lived half a life so far, I’ve written a whole story. I did so hoping that the remaining years will be very boring. I’m totally looking forward to boring. I want to yawn and nap my way through my 50s. Playing bingo sounds great.

My life makes for a fascinating book in need of some serious editing. It will be published posthumously or when my parents die, whichever comes first. I’ve already written the highlights in the post called Dented Bucket List, but some of them include:

Meningitis.
Child sexual abuse.
Anorexia.
Self-harm.
Alcohol abuse.
Drug addiction.
Homelessness.
Prostitution.
Sexual assault.
Traumatic brain injury.
Skin cancer.
Domestic violence.
Identity theft.
Attempted murder.

It’s a long laundry list of shitty, shitty things. Most people are horrified when I tell them one of those tidbits, let alone all. They all happened to me. They are my story.

I can’t help but roll my eyes on the inside a little at the reactions I get when I tell people my story. People are horrified. They always are. They don’t know how to react. I don’t blame them; I wouldn’t know how to react either. I’ve had decades to digest (or ignore) all that has happened to me. The people I tell only have a few seconds of reaction time.

People look at you differently when you tell them that you were tied up, blindfolded, gagged and sexually tortured starting at the age of seven, which was just the first tile in a domino effect of abuse. They can’t help it.

Nobody has the same life experience as me. Some people can relate to certain experiences, but other things leave them dumbfounded. No one I’ve ever met has experienced all of the things on that list. People can relate to one, three, maybe even five of those things, but all of those ingredients together are unique to just me. I’m so lucky.

No matter how bad your life story is, there are always people who have it worse than you. I’ve never experienced war first hand. I didn’t survive a Holocaust. I’ve never been unjustly imprisoned. I wasn’t born into slavery or sold as a commodity. Well, when I was a prostitute, I very much was sold as a commodity, but I was the one doing the selling, so I don’t think that counts.

It is not a competition to have the shittiest life. If it is, I’m not even in the running. I’m bush league compared to Malala Yousafzai or Squanto.

There are always people worse off than you. I am lucky. I’m relatively healthy. I have most of my original factory equipment. I have freedom of speech, politics and religion. I can walk, see, feel, taste and partly hear. I am still alive. I survived, at least, physically. Mentally, well, that’s a different story. There are wounds on top of scar tissue in my psyche that are still fresh and they probably always will be, but I am alive to experience them.

I don’t want people to think of me differently when they hear my story. I don’t want people to walk on eggshells around me. I roll my eyes on the inside, because horror is exactly what I don’t want. I’ve had enough horror. I experience horror at night when I try to sleep. I will always be visited by demons in the night when I’m most vulnerable and my conscious mind cannot protect me. I will always sleep with a baseball bat next to my bed.

As much as I shun my story, as tired as I am of carrying it around and letting people read it, I wouldn’t change it. I sure as hell don’t want to relive it, but I don’t regret it. It is all of those things that make me who I am. It is mine.

I haven’t opened any of those chapters in a dog’s age. When I wrote my story, I wrote it straight through, like a woman possessed, every day, as much as I could until it was done. When I finished, I closed it, saved it, backed it up and never looked at it again. It was outside of me. That was enough.

My story is a story of loss, hardship, heartbreak, very few lucky breaks and many awful, awful things, but I won’t get rid of it. I keep it in a file folder, because when I’m ready to put it out there, it just might help someone. If my words can help another soul not feel so alone, if they can relate to a little piece of me, then it was all worth it. Selfishly (because I want to help) and conceitedly (because I think I can), it is a story that must not die.

So, what’s your story? Share it at Stories That Must Not Die.

There are 31 comments

  1. tric

    I really understood you saying you don’t wish to be viewed differently. I am very open about being abused as a child, I don’t shout about it but I do not hide it. However sometimes when I meet people for the first time I know they do not know me, and I am glad, as I don’t want them to view me differently. I too would not relive my past but I own it, I can’t change it and it made me the person I am today. I like me.

    Like

    1. goldfish

      I’m the same way. I don’t shout it (except here), but I don’t hide it either. I don’t typically give details, but if it comes up in conversation, I mention it the same way I would mention that I’m left-handed.

      Like

  2. JackieP

    You are uniquely you. And your story will help others. Even if it’s just one person, it is something worthwhile. I usually don’t share my childhood abuse unless I’m sure that person can handle it. Some do, some don’t. I don’t want sympathy or horror either. I usually share to help someone through something, I only share if I think it can do someone some good. Like you I wrote about my life up to now, put it away till my mother dies. Her and I have had our difficulties, but I won’t hurt her if I don’t have to. It wasn’t her fault and I don’t blame her. Everytime you write about yours Goldy, I think you help someone, even if it’s just you that you help. You are special too.

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    1. goldfish

      Thanks, Jackie. It’s so hard to walk that line between not want to not hide things and bringing up things that people can’t handle. I typically only share it if it comes up in conversation or like you said, if I think it will help someone. I don’t go around telling everyone.

      I do blame my mother, at least, in part, since she didn’t protect me. BUT, that said, I don’t feel the need to purposely hurt her with my story either.

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      1. JackieP

        It is a fine line to walk, to say something or not. But I find as I get older I’m managing it better. I can’t blame my mother as she knew nothing of what was going on. I couldn’t tell my parents. So now that I’m this age and she is 84 she knows some but not all and I don’t want to hurt her anymore either. That’s the thing about childhood sexual abuse, it’s a lifelong thing we live with, it has the ablity to hurt more than us even years later.

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      1. Samara

        No, I tend to be the one getting stalked, as luck would have it. But that’s for a blog post, I think.

        Never too soon for love. Good. Cause you’re a funny bad ass warrior survivor, and I’m in your corner now.

        Like

    1. goldfish

      Daw, thanks. Part of the reason I relate to people who’ve had checkered pasts more is because they don’t tend to recoil in horror, even if their experiences are different.

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  3. ddupre315

    You have had a lot over the years, that is the truth but only you can decide what will define you. When someone wants to know more about you, do you respond with the list above or do you tell them about your current hobbies, spirituality, hopes for the future and successes in life? You determine what defines you. YOU!

    True there is a space for your life experiences and you are helping others with discussing it but is it the majority of who you are now? If so, perhaps it’s time to try adding some positive things to your world. Everyone here wants to see you happy, I’m pretty sure of that.

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    1. goldfish

      Very true. I never list things off like I did in this post in real life. It would probably scare people away. I tell people as appropriate.

      I’m wallowing in this stuff now because I’m trying to get over it and the only way to do that is to go through it. I really only wallow on this blog though. I write it out when it gets to be too much. :)

      Like

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