On October 31, one of my most personal essays was published at one of my dream publications: The Manifest-Station. I was going to share it, but I was sick. Preoccupied. I had stuff going on. It was only a week until the election that became a mockery of… everything. And then, I had a lot of things I had to take care of, mostly me, and took a slight siesta from social media and blogging.
Now it’s more than six weeks later and I’m like, is it too late to share?
I decided it’s not. The essay was about my last Halloween. The last time I dressed up before this year – the last year I celebrated beyond just handing out candy to trick-o-treaters. But really it’s not just a Halloween piece, it’s an anytime piece. Halloween made the most sense for a publication to print it, but the essay is really about my life growing up – every day. Halloween makes it special because a holiday marked an otherwise every day experience. But it just takes place on Halloween – that’s not what it’s about.
When I was a child I was abused by my mother: mentally, emotionally and physically. It’s the physical stuff that people focus on – the stuff that leaves people feeling those feels, but honestly the physical stuff is the easiest to get over. Fractures heals, scars are less noticeable and bruises fade. It’s what you don’t see that really makes an impression.
The essay is just a few hours of what was my life then. What took place wasn’t special, it was my normal for nearly a decade. Even as an adult, knowing it wasn’t my fault, it feels so strange putting it out there. Like in doing so, I’m doing something wrong, committing an act of betrayal. It’s so engrained in us – not to talk about it. I wrote it for others who might be going through something similar, past or present. To let them know they’re not alone, and if they are struggling it had nothing to do with them. And for the people in the dark, who feel like they don’t know anyone who has been abused or seen it up close, I have a message to share: You do, and you have. Few people, even my closest friends had any idea about my life at home.
If you can stomach it, I hope you read this essay. For those who were never abused it’s a chance to see what it really looks like. And for those who have, it’s letting you know that you are never alone. As a survivor there is one thing I have learned more above all else – there are more of us than any of us realize, and at times we all feel alone. Let’s stop that now.
Consider this your trigger warning…