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i am enough

i am enough published on

i was molested, for years, by my own blood – my half-brother, who threatened to kill my father (the man who adopted him, who gave him nothing short of a wonderful life) if i ever told. eventually he was caught, and i had to tell, and they took him away.

i blamed myself; it was my fault our family fell apart. it was me that took the big brother away from the little brother.

so when the son of the long-time family friend kept on with, picked up where my half-brother left off, i let it go on. i didn’t want to explode another family.

and years later, long after it had stopped, when my mother came to have this knowledge (quite by accident, she was nosing through her teenage daughter’s belongings, looking for secrets) she didn’t blame herself for not seeing the signs all those years ago. she blamed the child, said i must have liked it, in some way, because i obviously knew it was wrong, and i didn’t tell.

i just want to treat you better. i just want to believe there is better in the world.

here for you here for me
here for you here for me

my first ex; he knew of these cruelties. he witnessed these pains. he sat up with me late into the night when, in early adulthood, the half-brother called, over and over and over again, in a drunken rage that i wouldn’t answer the phone again. mother had told him to call me, had given him the number. but when i asked for an apology, he claimed it was he that was owed an apology. it was i who had ruined a life. and so i cut him off.

i knew by then of course, that it was never my fault. that he was older, that he should have known better. but mother – well, she’s always held it against me. she just wants her babies to get along. and i can understand that. but,

i just want to treat you better. i just wanted to believe there is better in this world.

we were young, and inexperienced, and stupid, and i never suspected the friend we both made wanted to take advantage of the wounds i still had open and bleeding (which she knew of, we both loved her) to instead treat her own wounds, also open, and raw, with his love. with his body. and i thought at once, i can survive this, but no; a child was conceived in that pain, and it tore me in two. i could deal with breaking her heart to save mine; i couldn’t be responsible for ending an innocent child’s life to save mine.

i just want to treat you better. i just wanted to believe there is better in this world.

for the next while, i started to heal; but i was alone, and lonely, and didn’t yet know how to be that. alone, without loneliness. so when another, seemingly understanding, apparently kind, loving man reached out, i took that hand. i believed it meant there was better in the world.

and i uprooted my life, breaking and ripping and tearing away and the tender roots i had just begun to let take hold; i quit my career (to the dismay of my mentor) i ignored my friends (they were just jealous) i sold my home (what good was this reminder of the family i was never to have?) and i moved here; and by then it was too late. the trap had been set, the warning signs blown past. i wanted someone to care, i got someone who controlled. i wanted to explore my sexuality, instead i was raped. nightly. i found i needed to be rescued, because i couldn’t escape it on my own, but i had been cut off. from lifelong friends. from old friends. from new friends. from family. all in the name of love. “don’t you see, they hurt you. can’t you see, they don’t care like i do,”

i just want to treat you better. i just wanted to believe there is better in this world.

and with the tiny flicker of self i still had, buried deep inside, i secretly, for years, began to plan my escape. i squirreled away money, $5 here, $20 there, cash kept in the most secret of places i could find. when i had to find new work because i (somehow – even now i don’t know where the strength came from) refused to stay at home regardless of the lack of need for my having a job at that time, i actively sought employment that could help me save myself. and somehow, i managed to release my secrets to someone who knew what to do with them. and i escaped. and here i was, finally, on my own, friendless, barren, broken, fearing for my life in an empty apartment where i fell asleep only with the help of medication, those first nights, sitting up, holding the triple-locked door with the fragile weight of my body against the demon i feared would find me. it didn’t find me. but in the dissolution of it all, it blamed me. i was the one that held back. i was the one that didn’t speak up. if only i’d been kinder to my first, perhaps he’d have never left me, and so it was my fault the second found me. that’s what i was told.

i just want to treat you better. i just wanted to believe there is better in this world.

i don’t know where this last burning ember of my soul gets it’s fire. i believe it comes from my father. my father, he, too, experienced so much pain in his childhood. was told he was “too big for his britches” when he earned more than his father, and his father stopped speaking to him. in his twenties, he married, only to be divorced via phone call, he was headed off to war, and she refused to be a war widow. he saw and experienced such horrors in war, things he never shared to his dying day, but for scraps here and there (which, when pieced together with knowledge of history, are truly unspeakable). he waited more than thirty years to let himself feel love again, trust it could exist. and only after he was gone did i learn of more unimaginable pains he lived with during what seemed like an idyllic childhood.

because it never showed. he was never cruel. he never let it break him. this somehow, incredibly strong, incredibly brave, incredibly wonderful man insisted on putting love out into the world, at all costs. this is what he taught me. to forgive the soldiers who shot him. to forgive the business partners who duped him. to love the son that rejected him. to hide the pain for his daughter. to love the wife that betrayed him. this is the only kind of love that he knew to have. to give.

and i never want to let that go. that deep-rooted, long fought, incredible lesson in love he gave. i want to take that lesson out into this world, and show people that no matter the pain – physical, emotional, mental – you can still love. and you can still be loved.

i just want to treat you better.

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