I/We Speak…

What about the ones that came before us?!

I saw a comment earlier that really pained my heart, it was from an elderly survivor of child sexual abuse. The comment was made on Facebook on a thread of exchanges from survivors and supporters alike, but this particular comment caused me to pause for a moment. The first line of her comment simply stated “I am jealous” The statement first caught me off guard based on the conversation we were having, I read a little further and as I completed her response my heart broke. The rest of the comment read, “I am happy all this (CSA) is being spoken about and victims are speaking out but we never had that for my generation.”

There, I don’t know if it was the words ‘my generation’ or the fact that I could sense the genuine pain through her words that did me in, but I sat back in the chair as tears welled in my eyes, I exited Facebook. This single comment made me stop and think about something I have but too often said, ‘I can only imagine how many have passed on, both men and women who have had the experience of being sexually abused as a child and had to live with the pain and trauma until there dying day. This woman words resonated with me in such away it hurts, but instantly I was reassured of ONE of the many reasons I speak…

Yes, I have joined forces with the few that have decided to speak up and speak out about their ordeals to bring about awareness and incite change. Personally I speak knowing I may not be able to stop (CSA) but if I can prevent or save just one child from suffering the years of secrecy and shame, the pain and my years of mental torment would not be in vain.

Join me as I/We Journey2Free. From my heart to yours, reassign the shame… Speak!

Dearest Grandma…

For years I was asked not to speak about being raped by my maternal grandmothers husband for the sake of protecting my grandmother. Her daughters had grown up with this fear that her husband would have killed her had THEY spoken out about him raping THEM. So, when grandma’s husband turned his gaze upon me at five (5) and began raping me at eleven (11) and even after sticking his fingers inside the body of my three year old sister, we were STILL held to secrecy for the sake of protecting Dearest Grandma from her husband.

I am the first grandchild for my grandmother, my mother her first child and after finding out in my adult years that my own mother was also raped by my grandmothers husband from ages six through sixteen (6-16) I was STILL asked NOT to speak to ‘protect my grandmother’. The level of betrayal I felt from the women in my family got to it’s tipping point when I finally broke my silence and spoke out about the years of abuse. I sought justice and there to meet me every day in court was my ‘grandmother’ who was present in full support of her ‘husband’. I cannot express or put into words what that felt like, seeing the woman that I was asked to shield, show up in defense of the man that raped my mother, myself and fondled a three year old.

After having several conversations with my ‘grandmother’ and realizing that she would have NEVER left her rapist husband’s side for the likes of her offsprings, the harsh reality set in that the matriarch of my family was and is complicit with the evil she brought home. Now, I’m just left to wonder, is that type of mental illness hereditary?!

This spoken piece was written back on February 17th of this year. It was just one of those days when the tears flowed uncontrollably when I thought about the indescribable pain of loss and betrayal I’ve had to endure for 35 long years for the sake of this woman, the woman from who’s loins I descended, the woman that looked at me and asked “can’t you find it in your heart to just get past this, it’s been so long ago?!” Now, this is the lineage from which I was birthed…

Join me as I/WE journey2free. From my heart to yours.

All rights are reserved by Larissa H. Rhone

Thanks to St. Thomas Events for their dedication to bringing this piece to life.
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Becoming an Optimist…

It matters not how ideal our life may seem to others, or how we pretend all is well, we all encounter those days where nothing, and I mean nothing seem to go right, how do you cope?

I am learning day by day to just be! To be present, to be still, and to accept that no matter how hard I try there will be days where nothing goes according to plan. But, the off days are much easier to handle than an off week or two.

My current situation: I have been mostly immobile  for over two weeks due to an unfamiliar health issue. Living with a chronic illness such as sickle cell anemia it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise when the body starts acting up or you experience new symptoms. After all, Sickle Cell Anemia affects EVERY area of your body, no part of the body is exempt, from your brain to your toe nails.

These new symptoms however startled me. Dizziness, I have experienced dizziness before because I struggle with abnormally low blood pressure but, this, this is different. Imagine being so dizzy that the very ground beneath you moves, the roof above you spins rapidly and you cannot maintain a steady balance. The only thing I can possible equate this experience to; as a child my very first trip to the amusement park I was so excited to ride the rides but found out half way into the ride I had horrible motion sickness, not only did I barf but I lost all sense of gravity. (That damn fling-mi-dash at Hope Gardens, Jamaica)

I was recently asked, “Aren’t you use to this by now?!” To which I sarcastically grinned and replied as calmly as I possibly could “Can one ever get use to being sick?!” Normally I would freak, stressing about being confined to a bed, which would only result in a worsened crisis that would end with me being in the place I hate most (the hospital) but, as much as I hate this, and it’s really starting to annoy me, I am choosing to take it all in strides believing that this too shall pass, that everything happens for a reason and all things work together for the good! From a pessimistic belief to optimism, ha, it feels better this way!

This is how I cope, I talk to myself! I’m not crazy (well, maybe a little) but, my current self talk: Well Larissa, It’s been almost three weeks, it’s about time you get back on your feet. They’re places to go, things to do and people to see and being in bed is just not working for me! This bout of illness has just about run its course, I’m so over this now whatever the source. Regardless of what the doctor says child you never listen, you are not about to start now by giving in. So with the dawn of the new day, you’re going to get up comes what may, if you stagger, if you stumble and even if you fall, you’ll simply get back up and try again, cause girl you’re a survivor above all. With that said, I await daybreak.

 

SETBACKS…

Consistency have always been a major issue for me, I struggle in this area not because I’m lackadaisical or lazy (though sometimes I am), but simply because my life have been a series of leaps and bounds and setbacks. This isn’t mental (though in some cases it is) this is simply because there’s a major factor at play and that is, living with a chronic disease. I make no excuses, I do what I have to do, working as hard as I possible can when I’m well, then, they’re those days when…

The pass few weeks have been a perfect example of experiencing highs, then accepting the lows. I’ve accomplished a great deal within the pass few months but in the midst of executing, prepping and planning there is another major part of my life I must contend with, living with Sickle Cell Anemia. Much like being tight lipped about being sexually abused as a child, this other part of my life I NEVER speak about openly, until now!

Living with a chronic disease such as SCA is debilitating to say the least. The good days are great but, on the days when every part of your body aches, your energy is gone and you struggle to even take a breath, it’s bad! To avoid the questions, the stares, the pity glances the insensitive and sometimes crude comments, I seldom speak about living with this disease. Outside of my family, a few close friends and my medical team only a very selective few knows how challenging a plight surviving with this disease has been.

However, like everything else in my life it’s about acceptance, realistically speaking I’m living with this thing that sometimes renders me immobile for days, at times weeks! I used to be so bummed about this and if I’m to be honest, ashamed. Yes, I use to be ashamed of being sick… My name is Larissa H. Rhone I have sickle cell anemia, sickle cell anemia does NOT have me… We speak from here on out.

FICKLED

Until you CHANGE your thinking, you will always recycle your experiences. (anonymous)

On the days you feel most alone, those days you’re surrounded by many yet entrapped within the walls of your solitary existence are the days the repetitive acts of betrayal resurfaces forcing withdraw and isolation. Those days when emotions run wild, feeling, believing, convincing self (they) everyone, no-one can be trusted! We retreat, we fall back, retiring to that place where we feel most safe even if it’s only in our heads.

There is no time frame given on how long (we) the overcoming survivors of child sexual abuse may require to be in this head space, that space where no-one is allowed. We break down, try to process and make sense of the chaos around. It’s a secure place to be, where nothing or no-one from the outside world can infiltrate or permeate or thoughts our thinking because we look at everything and everyone sideways, everyone is a suspect just wanting, waiting, seeking that which they may devour.

Those moments when the memories emerges and self-pity dangerously toys with taking up familiar course, it’s usual residence. When anger starts to rise with seething disdain and distrust and the feeling of being robbed of your innocence and pride dances recklessly a little too close to that place where tainted belief of self resides and the not good enough anthem starts to sound the alarm.

It’s a very thin line between sanity and insanity!

A victim of child sexual abuse would know this. Everyday is a constant struggle, a mental struggle of how to act, think or feel. Do we remain in a state of victimhood? Do we continue to not trust and look at everyone wide eyed? Do we do the infamous neck pulled back (yeah right smirk) to every questionable promise or comment made? Do we let our guards down? The questions are endless…

For some of us it gets tiring! Frustration takes hold, the constant back and forth in our heads. It’s unsettling not knowing who to trust, having no confidence in our self or our abilities. Uncertain when to release, questioning, replaying, rethinking ever choice, ever decision, the internal dialogue and obsessive chit chatter never ends UNTIL, UNTIL we decide to make a change (whoosaaaah) ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

A child sexually abused that was silenced and never afforded the help or opportunity to heal now an adult would attest to the fact that there is a thin line between sanity and insanity or at least that is how I strongly feel!

 

DON’T SPEAK!

Each time I hear the question asked “why can’t you just get over it!” I cringe, yes my stomach churns, these three words  ‘get over it! triggers a less than pleasant response.

I’ve garnered support and established new friendships with a few ladies I will respectably refer to as ‘age-ables’, and though our chance meetings may be summed up as bittersweet, I cherish every moment I spend in their presence and cling to their every word. Our stories is what binds us, the familiarity of our ugly truths, a common theme PAIN. The pain of being taken advantaged of as little girls now adults, ‘adulting’ from a place of brokeness. These women are well into their sixties (60’s) and still carry with them the ghost of what could have been, the ash of what should have been and the stagnant remnants of a past experience that never truly decays. Forced to lock away, to hide, to suppress memories while unknowingly hiding, suppressing, loosing themselves and everything else in the process. Sixties (60’s) and still struggling, some still barely surviving, still not knowing who they are at their core, some still unable to shake off or break free the invisible restraints of family secrets and shame, yet, are still being expected and asked (why can’t you get over it?!). With each exchange, with every shared detail I’m privy to, in the voices I hear a longing, coupled with deep sadness yet masked as full fledged, totally capable, well put together and competent functioning beings. When will we get over it?! When the game playing and hypocrisy cease!

A child that has been sexually abused grows into an adult that have been sexually abused. Trapped beneath the surface is a tortured soul. A soul that is disconnected, a soul that’s in search and in need of being whole. We learn to disconnect, separating mind and body. Like functioning alcoholics we compartmentalize separating body from our feelings and are fully capable of playing the roles, meeting our demands, our responsibilities, being everything to everyone at all times with little or no regard to self and what it is WE (the tortured souls) actually needs.

When will YOU see, know or understand, there is a loss that is experienced when sexually abused as a child?! Loss of power, loss of pride, loss of dignity, a loss of truth and a true sense of who you really are, loosing an identity before even having the chance or ability to develop or create one.

I’ve become accustom to the callous, uncaring and insensitive remarks of those that have not had the experience and chooses to be closed minded, even worst are those that have had the experience but lack empathy, is void of compassion and struggles with sincerity these are the same folks that say ‘I understand but’… A victim of child sexual abuse doesn’t seek to be pitied, and unless you’ve been there we truly don’t expect you to understand! However, If you insist on asking questions from a from a place of judgement and misguidedness do us ALL a favor, DON’T SPEAK!

While on this journey of navigating unfamiliar paths and charting new courses, I honestly thought time would have healed the wounds and it will, but they cut deep!  Being made aware by the ageables that though ‘scars may appear faded on the surface they are permanently tattooed on the soul’. Some are fortunate to have received needed help, others like myself are on their way to healing while others remain loss and unfortunately will never find their way. Most painful of all, are those that have gone back to the earth with the secrets, never having the opportunity of being free. It all hurts and one things for certain, it NEVER goes away, You NEVER forget and for DAMN SURE it’s not something YOU JUST GET OVER!!! 

Yes, healing is possible but it is constant, the pursuit is never ending, the process is daunting and tedious and it takes loads of work! While on this journey… From my heart to yours…

To be continued…