ME

I try not to be selfish and self-centered. That’s not the type of person I want to be. And yet I can’t help but wonder if I had been selfish and self-centered when I had left the home I was being abused in. I had 3 other sisters that were being molested in that house too and all I had was my mother’s promise that it would stop, that he wouldn’t touch them anymore. I can’t believe that I had believed her. Now my 14 year old sister is a mother and my 11 year old sister is telling anyone who will listen that it’s happening again, that he’s molesting them again. What do I do? I’m having this feeling of déjà vu . My mother is counteracting my younger sister’s claims by saying that she’s just lying to get her way. Funny, she said the same thing about me when I came out with the truth when I was 14 years old. If I hadn’t been so focused on me and had insisted that we all leave that house, would my sister had gotten pregnant? Is this all my fault? I feel as if I am to blame. I should have tried harder; they needed me and I wasn’t there. I gave them no protection. Now what am I to do?

An Island

“I always worried someone would notice me, and then when no one did, I felt lonely.

—Curtis Sittenfeld

Family. It’s supposed to be synonymous with warmth, love, and acceptance. I would like to think that at times my family is like that. But at other times. . . . I feel like I have to walk on eggshells around them. Bite my tongue and keep my thoughts to myself. It makes me both yearn and dread going off to college. Sometimes I wonder if anyone will ever see and understand me. Makes me feel like I’m living on a deserted island with a population of just one. Some days I think to myself: “what are those “survivors” and “experts” talking about? I’m fine. I feel fine. There is nothing wrong with me.” Then there are other days when I wonder: “is there anyone on this damn planet that cares for me? Why am I here? Why do I bother living? No one cares. I’m alone. I’m an island.” On those other days it’s so hard not to believe the thoughts churning in my head. Out of all my family members I can only think of one person that genuinely loves me. That’s my grandmother. And even she makes me second guess her affection. It almost feels as if she doesn’t approve of me. She always have a complaint ready for every little thing I do. I never feel good enough and I know that’s crazy. This woman loves me. She took me away from my mother’s home where I was being molested. She raised me and provided for me. But. . . There was always a threat she would use to make me behave: I’m going to call your mother and tell her to take you home with her. It made me feel as if I. . .  was just visiting; as if her home wasn’t my home and I could always be sent back. Now that threat has lost its power. Not because I’m older but because I simply tell myself that it doesn’t matter, being unwanted is nothing new to me. No one wants me. I was making a mental list yesterday of what I don’t like about myself and what I do like. There were only two things on the list of things I like. It makes me wonder how short other people’s list of me would be. It’s depressing but. . . . I just can’t shut these thoughts out anymore. They’re always present, always at the back of my mind. It makes me feel like I need to physically isolate myself to. . .  emphasize how alone I feel. That makes no sense. I know that and yet I do it anyway. Withdrawing minimize the pain. The pain of feeling like I will never be enough for anybody. Not even myself. I am never enough.

Forgiveness

“No one loses their innocence. It is either taken or given away willingly.” — Tiffany Madison

For sexual abuse survivors, how long does forgiveness take? I had thought that I forgave my mom and her boyfriend for all that they had done to hurt me and yet… the Lord knows me better than I know myself. Forgiveness came up at church and I found myself crying out that I can’t, couldn’t forgive them, as if I hadn’t already forgave them. I suppose I hadn’t but then it’s hard to forgive someone when they continue to hurt you. Not in that way anymore but sexual abuse isn’t the only kind of abuse. My mom’s boyfriend keeps his distance now, with good reason, and goes out of his way to please me as if he’s paying penance for what he did to me as a child. My mom though. . . well she still hurts me. emotionally. Everytime I try to get close, she cuts me and I go lick my wound(s) in private, metaphorically speaking. So I build my walls up between me and everyone else. Except my grandmother. She’s the only one that I allow to get close, and still I only allow her to see so much. For instance, I don’t think she would call on my mom and her boyfriend as much if she only knew I still haven’t forgave them. How could you forgive a mother who didn’t and later refused to protect you? A mother that continues to put you at a distance, as if you aren’t her child? I don’t know where to begin to forgive her. And I don’t think she even knows how much she has and is hurting me. That makes it worse. She’s not even aware of what she is doing. That’s the kicker. Furthermore, how do you forgive a guy who took your innocence? And I’m not talking about my virginity. I gave that willingly to another relative of mine. My mom’s boyfriend betrayed my trust, ruined my childhood, lowered my self-esteem, made me feel dirty, unclean, I haven’t felt clean since, and he took my innocence. I no longer see the world and people the same. No one is to be trusted. Or am I giving him too much credit? I allowed him to do all of that.

I deserve to move on. But how do I begin to forgive them when they’re still playing a part in my life?

Time

My unwritten and unfinished story.

It’s time. Past time. I will be a high school graduate in less than 10 months. I need to get past/over this. I need to heal and move on. When I Ieave for college I don’t want to feel as if I’m running. Which I am. I’m running from myself, my memories, my past. I’m trying to run toward a future in which I feel completely myself. A future where I’ve finally found that missing part of me. I’ve found that innocent child that has been lost for so long, that child that yearns for a home but doesn’t know where to look. I’ve found me. In this future that I’m imagining, of course. I want that feeling of completeness. I need it. I won’t feel half myself.

So I will tell my story. The past and the future as it unfolds. This is me. I am Malia.