I’ve been searching for my old photos for weeks now. Ever since I wanted to add pictures of my actual animals to the post Día De Los Animales Muertos. My house is a mess. Most of my stuff is in random boxes strewn about the house because we had electricians moving all the furniture and updating our very flammable post-war electrics to electrics that aren’t quite so flammable. Also, let’s face it, I’m just not very organized.
Anyway, I found my animal pictures, but I also found this:
That’s a picture of my cousins, my sister and me taken a long time ago. Can you guess which one is me?
First, this picture proves that I’m a liar. Just yesterday, in my guest post on 33 Grams Of Blog, I said I didn’t own any pink clothing. Well, there I am in pink clothing.
Second, it proves that I am, in fact, a natural blonde. Suck it, all you naysayers who say nay. It also proves that, at one point, I could be in the sun without immediately burning to a crisp like a sparkly vampire.
What struck me most about this picture is, well, everything. The rest of my family is smiling and facing forward (except my derpy cousin who is very likely looking at something shiny off in the distance). Not only am I physically removed from them, but I’m emotionally removed. I am sitting on the edge of whatever it is we’re sitting on, trying my hardest to not be part of anything. That is the very picture of abuse.
If I showed this picture to my therapist (when I could still afford to go), she would have very likely psychoanalyzed it. Get that girl some help! Something is not right here! It’s so very obvious! But I wonder how obvious it was to those around me at the time. Did I always pose for pictures that way?
You see, I don’t remember. When I was hit on the head, I lost most of my childhood. I only have bits and pieces of it left. I can tell that it was taken at Lake Huron in the summertime. I know who the people in the picture are, but I don’t remember it being taken. I don’t remember my cousins ever being that small. I don’t remember being that small myself.
Based on my posture and where it was taken, I would say this picture was taken while I was being sexually abused, probably not long after it started.
It’s awful to be confronted with your past like that. It’s terrible to go through a box looking for puppy pictures and unexpectedly confront yourself during one of the worst times of your entire life. From this point on, I was never the same.
The abuse would go on for another year, though I didn’t know it then. I thought I just had to put up with it for the summer. Little did I know that my family would invite that monster to live in our own home. He was just down the hall. There was not a door strong enough to keep him out.
Instead of turning away and keeping it inside, I should have screamed. I should have raged and fought and gotten myself a kitchen knife. I should have done something, anything, besides turn away from those who should have been protecting me. I wish I had done something to make it stop.
This is not a picture for family albums. This is a picture of a very alone little girl trying to make sense of a fucked up world. This is a picture of a girl who doesn’t know what to do, who to talk to, what sense to make of any of it. She has no one to turn to. She is all alone in a family of smiling, happy faces.
As hard as that picture is for me to see, it’s important that I do. It’s important that I picture her exactly as she was, rather than as a shadow of who I am today. When I think of her, I don’t really see her. I imagine her to be me, but she’s not me. She doesn’t have the hate and anger and fury that I do. She only has questions. She has mistrust and fear and total isolation. She can trust no one and really, no one cares what she’s going through anyway. No one believed her. No one got her help. She is all alone.
This picture tears my heart out. I want to go back to when it was taken and give her a big hug. I want to tell her everything will actually be okay in the end. We survive. We thrive. We get on with ourselves. It does end eventually. Even though there’s no happy end, there is an end. She doesn’t have to be alone.