I normally refuse to even ask myself the question, ‘why me?’ I’m a firm believer in everything happens for a reason, even if it isn’t immediately obvious what that reason is. So far I’ve never found this to be wrong – I’ve always found a silver lining, regardless of the situation, even if that situation was horrific. Losing my daughter remains the most painful experience of my life, but I at least have the precious memories of her. Being tortured was of course incredibly traumatic, agonising and harrowing, but it has given me strength and a good pain threshold, and a greater sensitivity to others being in pain. The whole of my childhood has provided me with a resilience and attitude to life I wouldn’t otherwise have; I appreciate the small things that I witness so many others overlook, I have little time for false people or silly squabbles, treat every moment as though it may be my last so that I don’t waste a second…even when I’m stressed the world is still beautiful. My life has provided me with a more profound level of compassion than I believe I would have had I led a safe childhood. Through trying to make sense of my trauma, I have discovered music – who knows if I would have done otherwise? Of course if I had the choice I would never have gone through any of it, but it did happen…and it will all have been for a reason.
For those reasons, it is rare that I ask or wonder, ‘why me?’ I’m grateful it was me and not someone else in my position, although there were many other children of course, but my place there might have spared another child…who led the life I could have had instead. I’m horrified and beyond hurt by what happened but blessed with the memories of the children and my babies, and blessed with my eyes that see beauty where others see nothing. I’m blessed even with my impatience, although others would disagree I’m sure – lol! But my impatience means I don’t waste life. I’m impatient to live now, impatient to discover and learn things. I’m impatient with people who are so naively sure that there will always be tomorrow. It’s taken me a long time to process that not everyone knows what it’s like to continuously live your life wondering, very reasonably, if the day would be your last. People are shocked I had to live like that; I’m shocked that people haven’t to. We’re all just from different cultures. Me from a private warzone, everyone else from somewhere where staring at the TV day after day might seem normal, not a waste of time. I’ve watched friends fall out over something frankly *stupid*, but both be so stubbornly stuck in their ways that they don’t speak for weeks, if ever again. It never crosses their mind that it wastes life, wastes precious times for memories to be made…they’re all just so arrogantly sure that there will be an endless number of days left to reconcile, that they’ll never be in a position of regret, because hey…everyone’s immortal, right?! It does my head in. I’ve watch students engage in the most ridiculous b*tchfests and it drives me insane, it fills me with impatience…how can you waste your life over something so trivial?!
But anyway. My eyes that are blessed too. Nature especially I find wonderful, because it doesn’t change between worlds…a daisy is a daisy wherever I am, and are so symbolic to me, and a tree is a tree…they consistently live in both the ritual ring world I was part of, and the new ‘safe’ world I’m now living in. When I’m feeling overwhelmed I need only look outside and find that I’m not so far away from familiar things after all. Have you ever noticed the particular way raindrops glisten on tarmac, compared to on curved leaves? Have you ever watched a cloud move across the sky and marveled at these great forces that just happen calmly around us? Have you ever watched someone laugh, seen their face and how their eyes fill with joy, how their whole body radiates the happiness and humour, and been touched deeply by how beautiful humanity can be? Equally, have you ever seen someone cry and been moved by how profound we can all be? Have you ever seen the way a mother unconsciously touches her child as he toddles past, or talks to you whilst watching him lovingly? How her expression changes when she sees her child? Have you ever noticed the different shades of green in the grass? The way ivy twists its own story up buildings and trees? Have you? There are so many beautiful things in the world…and all free. If you look around you right this very second I promise you there’ll be something wondrous. Make that your challenge – every hour, find something beautiful. It’ll help you bring general life stress into perspective, I promise you.
I had a nightmare last night which has activated the “why me?” As you can tell from the above paragraphs, I have good reason not to entertain this question, and yet it’s there…a little bubble of despair that needs to be felt and processed I guess. The nightmare was part memory, part just warped nightmare. I can’t remember a huge deal of it. I woke up on my grandparents bed, back in my childhood home, and I was just in underpants but otherwise naked. In a lot of pain, and face down (I never sleep face down). The room always gave me shivers – around the walls were so many wardrobes with mirrors on the door, so wherever you looked, you could see what happened on the bed.
My sister came in, and said something, I don’t remember what. I remember gingerly getting up and getting dressed, going downstairs (though the stairs were different in dreamland) then having the mother of all rows with my Grandfather. This row with him, as far as I know, never happened. I just lost it. I kept screaming “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!” Like some deranged furious banshee. I was out of control. Sobbing and screaming, just beyond furious. It was like everything he and everyone else had put me through exploded in that one moment in the nightmare. He was in a moment of terrifying anger too, but dream-me didn’t care. He punched me in the face, laughed and said “have I broken your nose?! Ooo have I?!” Entertained. Sick b*stard. My brother knew the protocol for a broken nose; two of the long ice cubes in freezer, wrapped in kitchen roll, apply quickly to the sides of my nose – force nose back into place if needed – then two big elastic bands around my head holding the ice and nose in place. Dream brother did this. I was on floor just staring at the pool of blood gathering by my knees from my nose. And I just got angrier. Nose safely held by ice I lost it again at my grandfather. Started punching his chest like a little gorilla, screaming even more “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!” I turned to my grandmother and screamed the same thing at her. I ran through the house and found the living room was packed full of every single person who had abused me. Crammed in. It’s a big room but still they were crammed, forced against each other because there were so many of them. People who had raped me once, right up to the people I’d known my whole life. I should have been terrified. I was in a house filled with everyone who had caused me harm. Some had no faces; they wore masks during the abuse and I knew nothing of their face, but everything of their body structure. But I wasn’t scared. I was just uncontrollably angry and heartbroken.
I screamed the same thing at them, what have you done…what have you done. I fell to my knees, howling and screaming the same thing over, until it became “WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO ME?!” I’d been thinking beforehand of the other children, but when I screamed “what have you done to me” it had become about my own harm and damage. I was no longer just angry about the way the other children had been treated. I was angry and heartbroken about what they had done to me.
I woke up at that point, gasping and sobbing silently, and shaking all over. And I felt it. I felt the intense, overwhelming despair. The answer I would never have – why me? Why was I born into that mess? Why did I have to live through that, and now live through the aftermath? Why was rape the most consistently normal part of my childhood? Why was I tortured? Why did I lose babies? Why do I know what it’s like to be gagged and stuck in the back of a van, travelling to God only know’s where, knowing nobody gave a damn? Why? Why me? Why did they do this to me?
“What have you done to me?” Hurt me, terrified me, broken me – several times, taken everything I loved away from me, tested every ounce of my will to live and energy, caused me so much damage that I’m never convinced I will fully heal…20 years of living hell…20 years of a secret war…how many more years left of nightmares and flashbacks…how many more tears…
What have they done to me? The most harrowing things. And as much as I am still convinced there’s a reason, that I’m still clinging to the positives…today I’m also overwhelmed with a sense of despair, “why me” going round and round my head, the heartache of what they caused me is so intense that the pain is physical – my chest aches.
Really what I want to do is curl up and howl, howl like an animal, for hours. Scream, even. Scream and howl and wail and just curl up and scream at the world which either turned its back, or caused me harm, ignored my cries for help, or is so blind that this kind of sh*t happens so much to our children. I feel betrayed by the whole world. I know that’s unreasonable but right now that’s how I feel. If people stopped living so blindly, stopped with the ‘every man for himself’ crap, and started just looking around them, breaking the secrecy and dishonesty that is Western Society…then none of this would happen. If people felt it was right to be honest about their feelings, rather than just more polite to say “Yeah I’m okay” when asked how they are in chit-chat…if people knew their communities (how is it that people live in streets full of houses and nobody even knows their neighbours these days?!) if people stopped focusing on the mundane, fixable issues in society and instead put all that energy into fixing what is actually a mess, stopped bickering needlessly and instead worked together to ensure the world is safe, then maybe this would stop. As it is, I blame everyday society as much as I blame the rings for my childhood. The rings rely on the messed up society we live in – it’s because of the way our society functions that the rings have the space to exist and flourish at all. Society brings stigma around abuse victims, and abusers rely on that to keep their victims trapped in silence. Society teaches it’s polite to say “I’m okay ” even when you’re not, and abusers rely on that to keep their victims quiet. Society no longer lives in a way where everyone knows people on the street, and so a child next door to you can suffer unimaginable abuse and you have absolutely no idea. An example: there have been several times where my housemate and a friend have had to carry me into the house, screaming and trying hard to break away from them…many more times where late at night I have screamed and sobbed. These are all flashbacks but how could the neighbours know that? Of course I’m glad it’s never been reported, although it would be easy to explain to a concerned police officer…but we’re in a semi-detached house. There’s no way people haven’t heard me screaming inside, even if they’d somehow never witnessed me being carried screaming into the house. I don’t understand. I couldn’t watch a young woman being carried into the house in that state, and hear her screaming hysterically next door, and do nothing. I could not be so blind and ignore it. Apparently people dismiss it as not being their business, and they don’t want to interfere. Of course it’s your business! It’s a fellow human being! Just because it isn’t your or your child should not speak for if you give a damn?! Actually I’d prefer to ring the police, if nothing else for peace of mind…if the police then say to me, “it’s a flashback”, then I’d be relieved they were in fact ‘okay’ (at least in terms of present safety with friends). Etc. So yes, I feel betrayed by everyone in society. Unreasonable or not, that is how I’m feeling.
I am overwhelmed and absolutely broken emotionally today because of what I have suffered. “Why me” is such a dangerous feeling but I can’t shrug it off – it’s there and needs to be felt and processed. I’m on campus and calmly functioning, if anyone looked at me they’ll probably think I looked tired but nothing else. Inside I’m a mess. I just want to shut down and not see another human ever again. I want to be in bed, curled up and howling. Because I was seriously, seriously hurt…and however beautiful the world is, and however grateful I am for surviving…the fact is I shouldn’t have ever had to learn to look at the wonder of the world, or ever be in a position to be grateful for surviving…
Why me? 😥