For too many years I was frozen into silence by shame
Shame that was not mine to carry
I was also silenced by loyalty
But I know now that was all bullshit
Because the only one that was being damaged was me
And I was the one
In my child’s mind
Protecting everyone else
Because don’t you know
Family has to stay loyal
Family has to cover up the dirt
Family is more important than the abuse of a child
I am saying enough!!
I am sick and tired of being the victim
Tired of being victimised
I will not be shamed into silence again
For too long I was under the impression that I was the only one
But as I have broken my silence I am hearing more and more from others who were victimised by my father
It is daunting and horrific
And I am sickened by the extent of his depravity
Yes, I know he is dead and gone
Yes, I know he cannot defend himself
But I know that as an adult I personally challenged him and he never denied a thing
All he said was – as he brushed it under the carpet
‘Its all in the past’
All in the fucking past!!
You cannot abuse a child for over 10 years of her childhood and think you have left her unscathed.
It doesn’t work that way.
It will never be in the past
Yes I have worked on my healing
Yes I am still working on my healing
Yes I am on a new journey
And Yes I am in a really really good place now
But the damage he inflicted will never ever be forgotten.
I will not allow myself to be swept under a carpet again.
I know now that I am far too valuable for that.
My childhood memories are not all scarred with depravity.
I am the first one to admit that there were some great times along the way.
My grandmother was a true feminist, way ahead of her times, and I loved her for that
I spent many holidays with her and my ‘not so much older than me’ uncles who I adored like surrogate older brothers
She was a strong influence in my formative years
My mother was educated, a teacher, always a teacher – I understand that because she passed that trait on to me
She provided me with a wonderful understanding and appreciation for music and culture and the arts
I will always be very grateful for that
And for the sacrifices she made to ensure I received those piano lessons, the precious books, the records she could ill afford.
From both these women I inherited the love of words and the ability to express myself passionately in my writing.
Unfortunately my memories of the great times are pretty much all tainted by the undercurrents of what I was experiencing under the covers, behind the doors, when no-one was looking, when no-one was seeing
On the surface everything in the garden was very rosy
It was beneath the surface where the rot was lying.
And when there is rot it eventually weakens the foundation and everything collapses.
It took many years for this rot to work its way to the surface
And now I am burning it out and rebuilding my foundations with new wood.
I do have many happy times that I recall
As a preschooler my mind casts back to a carefree spirited little girl
and I see snapshots of me pre the age of 7 that easily spring to my mind
In those snapshots I see myself, but I also see my carefree little granddaughters reflecting in their similarities to me
I just hope and pray that my little girls will never, ever, ever, have to endure what I did.
By breaking my silence
By bringing the rot to the surface to be dealt with
I am allowing discussion and freedom to talk openly
I have had so many friends and family come to me in the past weeks saying
‘Thank you for sharing’
‘Thank you for opening the door to allow us to talk’
‘Thank you for giving us the ability to share our pain’
It has taken every ounce of strength I have to come to this point in my journey
The emotional exhaustion from writing has been immense
I began to spiral down the tunnel again last week
I allowed myself a day of recovery time
I was tended to by empathetic friends
But I knew I couldn’t allow myself to fall too far
I will not let myself go there again
I woke the following day with resolve
I put my armour back on
My warrior self kicked the black dog fair out the door
And I faced the world again
With my smile
I will not allow my smile to be stolen from me again
This is my story
and in front of me
And I am writing it myself
I will not allow anyone to corrupt my shine ever again