I am somewhat hesitant to write here again. The last time I did I suffered a great physical consequence for revealing what I did. My every movement is watched. Every word is heard. Sometimes, time goes by and nothing happens. All is quiet. And I tiptoe out of the dark and test the waters. I’ve shared with only one person, though, and only what I felt I could get away with. I have pushed the boundaries and spoken the forbidden sometimes in those conversations. Sometimes, I can’t hold it in. It just comes out. And sometimes I’ve had to endure great pain after I talk, to keep that person safe. I revealed too much. How do they know? I wonder that often. Maybe they don’t and just say they do. Maybe they just watch where I go and assume. Maybe there’s a part of me programmed to tell. I wonder if that is a thing? I’m afraid to risk it, though, and test the system or see if it’s just a bluff to continue their control over me. I will always choose the consequence for me instead of the threat against him. I’m used to consequences. It’s the way it has always been. It’s worth it to keep the pain on me. I’ve known it all my life.
I’m facing death. According to my doctors I should be gone by now. My body and brain is ravaged with disease. I’m not even surprised. I was at first, but it settled in and I accept it. I can feel it. Some days are really hard and I wonder “how much longer?” Maybe its for the best. I don’t think it will be very long until my time comes to an end. And because of this, I don’t care anymore or how they hurt me. I have things to say. Every part of me inside wants a voice and I want them to speak. I’m trying not to be afraid of them anymore. I want to go knowing. I’ve pushed their voices away forever. I’m writing them again until their words stop coming or I am gone and can no longer hear or listen. Sometimes, writing is the only thing that comforts me.
I took my daughter cave exploring last weekend. She is learning about the earth, rocks, and formations in science. I researched a long time to find the right place for her and myself. She is still a little peanut and my strength is limited. I knew I couldn’t do any crazy hikes, as much as I wanted to. We traveled about 2 hours to the cave. It was touristy, but perfect for her. What I didn’t anticipate is what would resurface as I descended down into the earth with her. It took about .2 seconds for my brain to feel completely electric with memory after memory.
As we were going down into the tunnel which led into the cave, I thought of something I had remembered before, but more detail was there. It was vivid and clear. I was a young girl, the same age as my daughter now, being driven in the middle of the night in a black car. I was by myself with a strange man. He drove me into a dark tunnel. There were lights at first, but as we turned around a bend we began to go down and the lights changed and it became darker and darker. A new detail appeared. The walls were concrete. The ground was concrete. There were metal bars that ran horizontally along them…like handrails. Rows and rows of metal handrails on the walls…
At the bottom of the stairs, we moved into the cave. My daughter grabbed my hand and pulled me forward with her. The memory continued in my head. I was removed from the back of the vehicle and led into another tunnel. The walls were stone. The floor was stone. Just as I was seeing now. I remember my heart pounding as I was being led through a barely lit hallway. They put me in a room that was stone everywhere. It looks like a giant dungeon. There were rocks on the walls. The floor was cold and hard. I was undressed and put into a white gown, naked underneath. I was taken further down the hall. I remember my feet freezing as I walked without shoes. My stomach hurt. I started crying in fear. I couldn’t stop. Deep, deep sobs. I couldn’t catch my breath. Tears so thick I couldn’t see where I was being led. We stopped walking and I continued to cry. Trying so hard to stop but I had no control over my body and couldn’t comprehend what was happening to me. The man’s grip tightened around my arm and I was instructed to stop crying, I tried. I really did. I couldn’t. I sniffed. I gasped for air. He grabbed both shoulders and shook me and screamed. It shocked me and I vomited. And he beat me. He beat me onto the ground, my face laying where I threw up. The memory stops there.
I tried hard to stay present in the cave. To see what my daughter was seeing and to hear what she was hearing. I shoved down what was happening and re-engaged my focus on her. We continued down more stairs, deeper into the cave. There was a deep roaring sound that got louder as we continued. It was coming from a waterfall. We could barely hear each other speak. As we went further down again, the sound of the water faded away. There was a moment where our tour guide wanted to demonstrate what total darkness felt like deep down in the earth. She shut off all sources of light and everyone became very quiet. I felt my daughter move in close to me. Total darkness. Your eyes can’t adjust to that. It’s so black. The silence was unbelievable as everyone stood so still not daring to move. Flashes went off in my head. One after another. I could hear them…like the sound of an old fashioned camera flash. Pain shot down my arms and legs. And the lights were turned back on. It was a body memory, I think, but I don’t have a picture of it yet.
What went through my head next was new to me. I was sitting in a row with four other girls. We were learning a color code and repeating a phrase as each color was shown. We each had to take a turn answering. If you did not do it right, you were taken out. I did not say it right. I didn’t know how. This was my first time playing this game and I didn’t know the rules. I was pulled out of my chair and out of the room. I was beaten again for failing and taken to another man. I remember next laying inside a cage…there were rows of cages. I was naked and laying on the floor curled up in a ball. I was alone and was frozen. I couldn’t move. I don’t know what happened next or what happened before I was put in there.
As we neared the end of the cave tour, there was one last space we entered that was set up as a wedding chapel…300 ft underground. It was dark, and cold, and not at all romantic or even wedding like. And it reminded me of being raped over and over on a stone table as a young girl in a dark, cold room such as that. I had remembered this before. My father was there. There were six men and they each had a turn. I remember sitting alone on the edge of the table afterwards feeling so much pain and wanting to die.
I feel that now too. Deep in my soul. I just want to be done. I want to cry some nights when I can’t fall asleep. I don’t know how to. My body knows it’s not supposed to. It has been a very long time since a tear has fallen down my cheek. I feel like I’m frozen again. Just waiting for the end.
I didn’t anticipate what happened that day at the cave. I was only thinking about creating memories for my daughter. I hope I was present enough. I remember most of the cave and I remember her joy. I don’t regret going. I may regret sharing, but time will tell on that one. But honestly, I don’t really care if something happens for telling my secrets anymore. I suddenly feel obligated to all the little parts of me to acknowledge their pain and suffering. I’m trying to honor them. I know I don’t matter to the world, but they matter to me. I’ve only begun listening to them and letting them speak and show me the pictures of what has happened to them. I wanted so much as a child to have someone save me and listen to me and believe me. No one ever did. I will for them now until I can no longer.