Family – Love Redefined…

When you decide to speak up about child sexual abuse, you will experience various reactions from various people. Survivors would like to believe ‘family’ will be the most supportive, but often times we experience the opposite. My experience was no different. Oprah once said “sometimes you have to divorce your family” I’m not sure who divorced whom in my case, but I knew some separation took place. On this my Journey 2 Free; I had to accept my new reality, one I’ve grown accustom to, for after all, I had to choose me, my sanity, my health and my well being over family, it was either that or the mental asylum, I choose the former. Love Redefined was written last year as a journal entry but just this past week I bore witness to the character assassination and verbal abuse of a few family and friends at the hands (and dare I say mouth) of family, because they too choose to speak of their ordeals. A new day has dawned and while ‘we’ survivors garner the strength and the courage to speak up and out, please bare in mind being judged, being called names and worst ‘being called a liar’ is seemingly apart of the speaking out process, I implore us ALL as survivors to STAND IN YOUR TRUTH regardless of what ‘they‘ may say:

Love Redefined

My family made me question, rethink and re-evaluate the definition of Love.

I use to believe we were tight, so inter-connected, a closely knit bunch, we would hang-out, be cordial, do the things expected of us to do like talk about accomplishments, about each other, and what uncle, aunty or cousin so and so was up to, we congratulate when congratulations were in order, you know, the usual things families do, then part ways, go back to our respective places, and when need arise we do it again;

 BUT

If you want to truly know how tightly knit, and who’s with, for or against you, do something like I did, and watch the family split; How dare you do something the uppities and overly self-righteous don’t agree with?!

So, I spoke up and sought justice for an injustice that span generations in the family, knowing the act was wrong, it’s not that THEY didn’t know, or understand, but no-one took action, so the injustice prolonged. Everyone has an opinion, this is true, the opinions ranged from girl go ahead do you! To WHO DARE YOU SPEAK, AND SPEAK ABOUT WHAT WAS DONE TO YOU?!  Accused of bringing shame and disgrace on the family, some dared to say I brought embarrassment on my dear old granny, but granny had a choice to make, and so did I! She choose to side with her husband, I choose to speak in hopes of saving lives.

Grandma’s husband is a pedeophile and after the lives he’s ruined, she’s still by his side yet, some family members behaved as if victims committing suicide would have been more acceptable than confronting the one performing mental genocide, murdering the self-esteems and shattering prides and forcibly taking with delight the innocences of the female babies on her side

In this family, we struggle with a chronic case of duplicity, some may say split personalities but, I call it blatant hypocrisy, this particular act stems from the matriarch of the family, yes, it rots from the head of the tree!

I would listen to grandma and some relatives speak with great delight of others while they were in their sight, but the moment their backs were turned the compliments also took flight. They are bold, saying what they need to say, but to get their way they’ve mastered their craft, learning how to manipulate, so, it comes as no surprise when this family split, and for my part I’ll gladly take ownership. I spoke up and out and yes sought justice for the injustice, while some did what they do best, pretending to be supportive of cousins, sisters, daughters while spreading propaganda to others, by now, they are well versed in spreading their unintentional lies intentionally. Hypocrisy is the name of the game, unfortunately sown and deeply rooted in some of the off springs veins, for I’ve never before seen a set more versed in knowing truth but instead, intentionally and purposefully propagate and circulate lies, yet the question remains, Why?!

Why did so many take this personally, when my issue was with the one that raped me?! Why?! They weren’t there, yet the majority felt the need to tell me how they think I should feel and the audacity to offer a timeframe of healing and recovery at their suggested speed!

Love Redefined: I’m not sure what Love means anymore, see, my family have me questioning 1 Corinthians 13 vs 4, for their love was neither patient, nor was it kind but instead crude, cruel and harmful combined. They tried to shame me into thinking I was wrong to speak, blatantly telling me, it’s attention I seek. I’ve heard this saying repeatedly, but it’s one with which I’m afraid I can’t agree that “no matter how we fuss and fight we still are family!” Unfortunately, that maybe so biologically but beside’s that fact, there’s some actions taken and some words spoken from which we can’t back!

They are ways to handle feuds and conflicts between friends and family, and that is where we all agree to disagree, Respectfully! BUT NO, Not in my family! For it’s a pissing contest to prove who’s draws is tighter than the rest, not to mention the heated war of words to see who can verbally humiliate, assassinate and pulverize the other. We send threats and beat our breasts and puff our chest and spew flames of fire, until all that’s left are the chard remains of what use to be,  We use to be…

 FAMILY

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.

 

CONVERSATION WITH ME…

I was awakened this morning by the younger me, forcibly asking me questions, while screaming Help! Help! HELP ME PLEASE!! 

She asked, what happened to You?! what happened to Me?! What happened to that bright-eyed, vivacious, precocious child We use to be?! Remember how they told us We had potential? They said WE were the hope of a generation cursed by mental slavery and trepidation. They told ME l was the likely prospect, I would excel because of my natural god given intellect, they told ME the future was bright and they were dependent on ME! So, again, what happened?! What happened to WE?!

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Filled with emotions, so deep was my remorse, pondering how to justify the reasons and respond to this little one. I dug deep questioning, how do I expound to this child?! I quivered from exertion having to explain not wanting to deny, I began to cry. Contemplating how to make HER understand reason, the how, the what, the whys. I leaped out of bed, ran to the bathroom for refuge, conjuring explanations less used. My mistake. Looking in the mirror to a sad and dreary state, my eyes swollen, I looked away with memories swirling, thinking what could be said, and how do I quite this screaming child inside my head!

HELLO!! Help! I’m trapped here inside, the time has come, explain to ME why WE hide?! Hello! she shrieked! I looked up, afraid to meet her gaze and surely there to greet me was her willful, defiant, interrogative stare. Are you going to tell me Larissa or will you continue to tuck me away?!

I sighed a sigh of relief and began to explicate.  We were hampered, We were altered, our life’s course kinda changed when the violation started, followed then by rape. We were forced to keep secrets, forced to rehearse lies, forced to hide and cover for others while stifling our cries. We were asked to assume positions We were much too young to hold, required involuntary to undertake an adults role, and with each occurrence and each terrorizing blow that light that shun brightly then turned to a glow. That light barely flickered with each passing night until the flames that once flickered dimmed lowly until it died. IMG_0325

So, as You developed and other things were thrust at You, We unknowingly adapted dads negativity, adopted moms fear and tucked and concealed them securely inside of Our pains, so insecurities grew, as Our self-worth diminished until the hope WE were left with became extinguished.

STOP! STOP! She interrupted; PLEASE, help ME understand, yes, WE were faced with these challenges, these obstacles, AND?! Why? Did all this cause you to run, to hide, to succumb?! Sounds like excuses for YOU not wanting to try!

Oh, wait a doggone minute! the older me interjected, cause I’ll be damned, being redirected by this child, ME. I took that shit personally! Refusing and not wanting to accept the truth in which She speaks. I lashed back, Listen! little girl, listen to me! Let’s not forget about the impediment, that hindrance, YOU know, that debilitating life altering disease that rendered US handicap threatening OUR lives from age three!  Do you remember all the lengthy and frequent hospital stays, not to mention near death experiences and surgeries?! Remember mom being told to make funeral arrangements for US not once but times three?! They gave up on US,  they wrote US off, YOU and ME! So forgive ME if I grew weary, got tired, gave up, no longer wanting to fight, I fought little one, an arduous fight not just to keep US sane but to keep US alive…

Sooooo again, let ME get this right, because You no longer wish to fight I have to now curl up, remain small, go away and do what?! Girl, YOU better wake up and think twice! YOU best reignite that fire cause I’m not ready to die!! Yes, I’ll admit, some of these assaults were crushing BUT I refuse to accept all this pain was for nothing! So, go search deep down within, find the strength honey and come again! I know we’ve been wounded, hurt, feeling broken inside, BUT, now I’ve been awakened, together WE ride, reunited, unapologetic and unified!! She then called me out…Larissa, what now?! 

What now? What now?! Little one I vow…

I will write for You, I speak for You, I claim victory over all WE say and do! I will reclaim that which was stolen, I break the bondage of lies, torment, defeat and proclaim though Our start was in hammered We will finish victoriously! I am so sorry Larissa, sorry I tucked you inside but today WE walk out of darkness and into the light.

I hugged Her inwardly. Larissa I immensely apologize, I beg of you my darling please be my alibi, hold me accountable and let’s ride! I now release the fear We were not meant to hold, letting go off false insecurities and false pride, I release you my darling, no longer will WE hide! Little girl so full of light, life and of love, I release you now, go, go on take flight but, before you go, please know, I am so sorry, I love you Larissa you’re released, now go…

I felt elevated, like joy was restored. I smiled and muttered for the first time in forever, I Love You Larissa Rhone. Just then I felt a tug, a pull, a gentle little hold and a voice in passing whispered, Larissa our story must be told! 

Women Supporting Women

A snippet of my talk with a group of beautiful women I was asked to address. This experience further opened my eyes to how many people are really hurting as a result of Child Sexual Abuse.  Please, let’s start talking. Another’s life may very well depend on it!  Join me as I/we journey2free.