For the survivors – I understand.
My therapist told me to write a letter to you so, here we go.
When I was young I would write letters addressed to whom it may concern. And I stopped writing those when I became a Christian, because I thought I knew who you were, finally, and now I’m so confused.
I don’t blame you and I do. I trust you and I don’t. I cannot help, after all these years and the talk-throughs and the counseling and diagnoses and validation of my pain and theology classes and books and worship songs – I cannot help but wonder where you were, why me, why this way, why now.
In rehab you told me a little bit. There, you reminded me that in the darkest times I still, somehow, had a dream to live for, a smile on my face, an unshakable hope like a slave with a prophecy of freedom.
I had no means by which to back that belief up when I was a child. It was delusional. A fairy tale. Assurance of things unseen. But there it was. And it is there, still, but it used to be stronger, I think.
There used to be nothing that could break me. Arrow after arrow would pierce my skin and I would keep on, and keep keeping on, to a dawn only I could see beyond an abandoned shore, lonesome, without direction, just the involuntary need to keep and survive. I wasn’t really present in the fight. People called me resilient or determined and I looked back at them befuddled – is it determination if survival is simply what seems to be the lesser of two evils?
Now I am older, and I understand more about what was on that shore then I did back then. I know the things that tried to hurt me, have looked into the eyes of the demons that scarred my flesh. And I know that surrender would mean victory, even if a small one, for them. Torture and victory, that’s what they’re after.
I’m after a chance of hope, the last sputter of light from a dying fire, wondering why you won’t send off a brighter spark for me.
I’m after a chance of hope, the last sputter of light from a dying fire, wondering why you won’t send off a brighter spark for me. It is dark out here, and cold, and I do not know the way, and all I can hear, all I know, is the dim echo of your voice from years ago. Not even the present. Not even today. Just the memory that pain can lessen with time, the promise of miracles that have come before, that I witnessed, that I have recognized as Your will.
Lately there doesn’t seem to be enough evidence for me. Nothing to hold on to. Not even a frayed string, the warmth of your skin near mine, a whisper, nothing.
Where are you? Am I doing something wrong? Am I paying the penance for my behavior, for my lack of self discipline, for my unwillingness, for sloth? Is that how this works?
I remember the dedication of my youth, the fervor, the naivete. The blind, unasking, unassuming faith I had. The having nothing but my beliefs. Those beliefs being enough to live for. I remember that; those beliefs saved me from ending it sooner.
But has been over a decade, God. Twelve years of tumult and confusion. Twelve years of breaking down and building up and breaking down some more. Twelves years of therapy. Of people looking at me like a lost cause, of dodging death, of avoiding pain, of drowning my hurt and then trudging through it like a swamp, almost going under, maybe my nose afloat. And the half dozen before I was eleven, not even developed enough to recognize what had been done to me.
Lord, I have suffered. And I don’t know why I’ve suffered more than some. I don’t know why it is me, right now, at this time in history, in this context. I don’t know why I am so alone in the specificity of my suffering, why you have not given me the parents of my fantasy, why none of my friends can begin to relate to the battles I fight every day.
I think of Job and I just see someone better than me. Someone who could take it. Someone stronger, more deserving of a relationship with you. I think of martyrs, of the third world, of the Westernly impoverished, the homeless, the kids who will never be adopted who will die abused, silenced, suffering. Those who will continue the patterns and hurt more children.
And I wonder why, why, why I had to be the Moses of my family. Why me? I am not strong. I am nothing special. God, I have been so close from taking this out of your hands and into my own so many times I cannot recall. I am not a Moses, or a Job, or a goddess, or a prophet.
I am King David: broken and questioning, doubting and fighting, rebelling and regretting. I am a curse. I hurt.
Lord, I ache every day. Every day, God, do you hear me? Every night I dream of unwanted touches – memories or the occasional curated nightmare. Every morning I remember my family, and wonder where they are and how they’re doing and I miss them, miss them, miss them. Every day my body is tense, my jaw damaged from years of clenching in fear, my back taut with stress I didn’t know could manifest so deep within my muscles. Sometimes the pain is so sharp I cannot move or sleep without crying. I don’t know what it is. My body finally feeling itself? I fight God, every moment, flashes that come without warning, memories threatening to scare me away, shame, shame, shame for what has been done to me. Constant heartbreak. Constant.
I am exhausted, Lord. Every day, exhausted. I have been fighting since I was five, or six, or four, or whenever the abuse began. Fighting since I was taken out of the womb, since my mother lied about my father’s whereabouts on my birth certificate, since the very first day a man tried to teach me what I was meant for. A man. Boys. Anyone with a penis.
Sometimes it is like walking through a battlefield, like through the climax of Braveheart or one of the great battles in Lord of the Rings. I am that character in slow motion, majestic and slightly phosphorescent, untouched in the midst of bullets and swords and cannonballs. At least I thought so, until I began to understand my pain, and it turned out I had been trampled on and bloodied. I didn’t even participate in the battle, it kind of just happened to me, without my knowledge or permission. If I would have known, how I would have protested.
I do not know what I am living for. I don’t. My siblings, perhaps? Perhaps the only innocent beings in my life? The fear of adding trauma to trauma on their lives.
Is that it? Is that enough to live for?
It used to be the dreams. A chimera of freedom marked with laughter and good friends and a big roomy apartment with a rooftop garden and writing that people cared about. But those don’t have the same gallant effect anymore. They do not lift me.
I am mad at you, yes. I feel betrayed.
You have saved so many without reason, given freedom to people who take advantage, stability to people who would rather enjoy chaos, peace to the corrupt. Why not me?
I am so tired.