You should be aware that this post, although not explicit, may contain triggers ~ please remember to look after yourself.
Once I was out, I never planned to go back ~ as far as I was concerned, it was time to start over. I moved to Bristol to attend university, but for all my idealistic daydreams, being by myself was more difficult than I had anticipated. Everybody else had somewhere to go for the holidays, family to spend christmas with, phonecalls to make on mother's day ~ I was still the odd one out, but at least I could wait for a bus without scrutinising the faces in every car that went by, I could take my time choosing a cd and not feel I had to keep track of every person coming in the shop, just in case.
I heard, via my only connection to Crawley (the foster carer I had lived with) that my brother's girlfriend was pregnant. My world stopped. I remember hearing those words over the phone and having to remind myself to take a breath as I suddenly realised that my father was going to have access to children again. Up to that point, my mind had been caught up in a kind of everlasting selfish whirlpool. He'd hurt me, but it was over, it was done, all that pain was in the past. I was trying desperately to create a new history for myself, to become someone else, someone whose most frightening memory was a spider in the bath, someone who had never felt the intense explosive pain that travels up your arm quick as a flash of lightening when someone pins your body against a car and slams the door shut on your hand. And then pulls the door back, and slams it again.
* * * * *
It had not even crossed my mind at keeping his secrets for him meant he could hurt someone else. I realised how completely responsible I would feel for every single moment of the rest of my life if I hadn't done something . . . anything . . . that I could. For my own peace of mind I needed to try to prevent him having access to children, or at least plant a seed of caution in the mind of the mother of my brother's child. Social services knew ~ to a limited extent ~ about the physical abuse, but not the rest of it. Not the nights my mother was working and he tucked me in, salty tears sliding down my face . . . not the times he helped me out of the bath, and checked carefully that I was clean ~ for your own good . . . not the way my stomach turned when he smiled at me, stroked my hair, called me precious.
* * * * *
I had put so much energy into separating past from present, stacking brick onto brick onto brick, each one moulded from a misleading statement, an alteration of emphasis, or an outright lie, created specifically to airbrush my childhood and teenage years out of existence. Unless I took down that wall, I could be condemning another child to that life, with all the fear and the hatred and the confusion that it entailed. But breaking through meant acknowledging the existence of those years ~ that fear, that hatred, that confusion ~ all the things I'd been denying so vehemently, all creating a link between my old life, and my new one.
I guess you can pretend as much as you want for as long as you want, but inside . . . you're still you.