Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Personal Demons

The days (sometimes weeks) immediately following me reading about child abuse are always full of sleepless nights, nightmares, restless days and an all around emotional funk. Why do I keep reading about these things when they become top news? Because if those kids can endure the reality, I feel like the least I can do is read about it. The victims deserve that much at least.

The problem is, whenever a case like the Jerry Sandusky case comes to light or I read a book like The End of the World as We Know It by Robert Goolrick, my own personal demons always break free of their prison as if they've discovered a kindred spirit in these stories and can't bare to be corralled in the dark space where I keep them.

So, I spend the next few days or weeks trying to gather them all up, hog-tie them and stuff them back down where they belong...where I don't see them every time I close my eyes.

I start going back over things and telling myself "I shouldn't have worried about causing a scene. I shouldn't have worried about being embarrassed or getting into trouble, I should've screamed and yelled and kicked and fought harder. I shouldn't have sat there and tried to be as still and silent as possible, tried to disappear. I shouldn't have laid there and wept and waited for it to be over. I should have fought harder."

Even though I've had no less than six psychiatrists tell me it wasn't my fault, I can't help but think it was. Because it wasn't one time and one person. It was numerous times over the course of my life and a handful of different persons. If I didn't somehow ask for this or at the very least, not discourage it properly, then why did it happen?

Humiliation and fear are the number one reasons why there are always more than one encounter. When you're young, when you're a child and someone does something to you they shouldn't, sometimes it feels good. You can't help it and it makes you feel wrong and dirty and ashamed. Emotionally, you might be dying inside but your stupid traitor of a body doesn't seem to be on the same page.

I don't have the answers. All I know is I feel so deeply for the children abused by Jerry Sandusky and others like him. If life were a comic book, I'd gladly take the role of avenging heroine.