Shameful Panties

Me, after an elementary school Halloween party

Me, after an elementary school Halloween party

That pre-adolescent time is so awkward and ignorant. As a female, before you understand what’s happening to your body or ever know it’s changing at all, your vagina secretes discharge. Healthy, hormonal discharge of a young girl anywhere between maybe 9 and 13 depending on how early your body changes.

I didn’t notice that.  I was somewhere around 9. It’s not as though your panties are actually wet. It’s just a little bit of moisture that gets into your panties. So, you throw your panties into the dirty laundry like usual. You just toss them in there, clueless that you’ve done anything wrong…clueless that your body has gotten you in trouble. Clueless until Saturday morning when you’re in your room reading and suddenly you hear your mother scream your name all the way from the basement. You still don’t know you’re in trouble…you’re not sure why she’s screaming so angrily. Still ignorant and innocent, you zip downstairs to see what she needs or what you’ve done this time, feeling fairly confident it can’t be too bad because you know you’ve not done anything wrong or broken any rules. So at this point, you’re mostly curious and maybe the hateful scream of your name was merely to reach the volume level to get your attention.

But as you stand half the size of your 5’2 raging mother, while she shoves your dirty panties in your face screaming, “I’M NOT STUPID! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” you realize you’ve certainly done something wrong or shameful or disgraceful or broken the rules somehow. You know you didn’t pee your pants or anything(you’re very proud of the fact that you’ve not done THAT in a LONG time!), so what could be possibly be wrong with your dirty panties? Then she shows you the tiny spot in your panties that have been sitting in the dirty clothes for a few days now, and that delicate smudge of moisture that your changing body discharged while you were swinging on the maypoles at recess has become the tiniest little dried off-white crusty smudge. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH THE BOYS, YOU LITTLE SLUT?” And you don’t know what you’ve done or what a “slut” even is. You just know that boys are wayyyyy yukky…and you DO know you’re in serious trouble by your mom’s expression. You’re not sure why your panties did that yet (that knowledge won’t come for another 3 or 4 years)…you only know that those are your panties (you can’t possibly deny that – you’re the only 9 year old girl in the house) and your body did something disgustingly wrong in them. Your body betrayed you. It got you in trouble. And it’s so embarrassing and humiliating that your dirty panties are so disgustingly unacceptable and apparently tell stories you don’t even know, that all you can do is cry and plead “I’m sorry Mommy” and silently vow to have a LONG talk with God about this horrifying indiscretion later after you’ve tucked all your stuffed animals safely in your bed.

Only later that night, after you tuck all your stuffed animals carefully under your covers, God doesn’t tell you. He doesn’t answer your pleads to understand why your body did something so disgusting and shameful against your will. He doesn’t even tell you what “boys” had to do with it! Mr. Bananas doesn’t know either or he’s not talking if he does. So the best you know to do is beg God to stop your body from ever doing THAT again.

But God doesn’t stop it. So, further punishment will come. You aren’t going to be allowed to play neighborhood football outside or go sledding with them when it snows with the neighbors for a while…a REALLY long while. And all you can do then is pray that God sends your daddy and maybe your daddy will know why your body is doing that disgusting horrible “slutty” thing and understand that you’re not doing it on purpose.

After all, your daddy loves you. You know it.

Broken wings

She felt like a child still in so many ways…wondering why the world always seemed to roughly push against her when she tried to stand up for herself and expect to be treated like an equally important member of society…  It was so uncomfortable to stand up for herself against anyone for any reason at all and the slightest resistance or push back and she just crumbled…feeling more and more weak and pathetic. She often wondered why she was so easy to knock down?

As a child, she hadn’t been permitted the luxury of finding her own way, questioning authority, having opinions, or expressing  any type of individuality.  These things simply had not been permitted or tolerated in any form.  What evolved from this was a fearful person; one who fit smoothly into the world and so many lives of others merely because she wasn’t equipped with a backbone to go against the grain, much less, stand up for herself.  Although it sometimes seemed to her that she’d been born without a back bone, a genetic deformity of sorts, logically she understood her mother had removed it entirely over a slow and degrading 17-year-long process. A few times when it seemed  one might be trying to develop in her, it was quickly squashed and eliminated.  One did not question adults, either respectfully or otherwise.  No questions whatsoever.  One liked whatever one was given, one liked what other people liked if one wanted to BE liked or ever hope of being loved.   Always just smile and go along with it.  This made her an easy target for all types of abuse and manipulation. 

So at 5, she didn’t question the teenage boy who insisted she go into his bedroom with him every day.  She didn’t question the other babysitter either, an even older teenage girl  who manipulated her even further.  She didn’t question the elementary school janitor who groped beneath her panties after school.  They were so much older and she desperately wanted to be a “good girl”.  She wanted to be liked and thought well of and maybe if she was ever good enough, someone would come along who could love her.  And anyway, she learned from a very early age that if you didn’t like something, you’d better keep your mouth shut and pretend to or it promised to get far worse.  Plus, she didn’t want to be the fussy, problem child.   God forbid she be an insolent, precocious type child who disgusted the adults with sass or youthful curiosity! She longed for love and acceptance..ached for it actually from her earliest memory on…  Thus, she never questioned or argued, never pushed back against any type of authority…no matter how uncomfortable or wrong it felt.  She didn’t suffer from a lack of identity, inner strength, or sense of righteous indignation, she simply never was permitted to develop any from the beginning.  She was always a chameleon, learning to quickly change colors and quietly blend in with whatever color seemed safest in any given circumstance or moment.  Somewhere buried inside her was envy of those people and children who had no trouble speaking their minds or pushing back against an authority figure if they did something which seemed wrong.  She envied them the security that came from knowing if they just did the right thing for themselves, someone bigger and more powerful would be there to support and protect them.

Ironically, the catch-22  started hitting her early.   She was so hungry for love and affection, any type of acceptance would be welcomed. This must have been obvious and she was often treated cruelly by her peers or friends.  She early on became the common door mat for many to wipe their frustrations and insecurities.  When she was hurt and tried to  discuss this with her mother, desperate for some consolation, compassion and perhaps even just a little sense of support,  mother would yell at her for letting people treat her badly.  This was always so confusing! She wasn’t supposed to expect better, much less demand anything better, right?  Be quiet and content with what you have, or else…it will only get worse.  All she knew for certain is she wanted to feel loved and had to be quietly unassuming and accepting so it  would not get even worse.  

After she left mother’s home and had her very first official boyfriend, she soon realized she had attracted a violent man.  A Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde type man who worshipped and adored her more than she’d ever experienced before, but also would get very angry if she upset him intentionally or otherwise.  This was especially hard for her to handle with any self-respect.  There was the back-bone issue of course, mixed with the open affection and love that flowed freely in moments when her boyfriend wasn’t angry with her.  She knew she wanted more of that, in fact she felt a bottomless pit of need for this love.  How could she walk away from the first person who loved her enough to defend her to others, even if he did physically attack her himself?  At least he didn’t allow anyone else treat her badly.  He loved her most of the time and at least this way the cruelty only came from one person, instead of several.  This was better than anything she had ever known before!

After a few years of his random and violent beatings she realized she must escape soon when he started openly threatening her life if she tried to leave.  She turned to her mother for help… scared and begging for a place of refuge.  Mother said, “You’ve let him treat you like this for years now…so you deserve what he dishes out. You must like it to have stayed so long.  Give it a few years and then if I can believe that you’re really not going to go back to him again, maybe I will help you at that point.” 

Give it a few years?   He had recently forced her into his car and kidnapped her for an afternoon and another time recently had threatened her with a gun.  She never once called the police on him (not wanting to get him in any trouble), and when concerned neighbors would hear and called the police, they never helped.  In spite of her obvious busted lips and bloody noses, they would always say something like, “You two need to separate for a while and work this out on your own.” 

Dad would take one look at her black and swollen eyes and say, “Honey, what did you do?  You know how sassy you can be…you must have said or done something to really set him off this time.  You have to learn to watch your mouth, girl.”

Give it a few years?  The violence was escalating amazingly fast.  She had no where safe to run and she didn’t believe she would last another few years.

In this desperation, she did what she had to do to get free and after a few years of counseling later in life, she realized that mother hadn’t allowed her to have a backbone or to develop any self-respect and then punished and criticized her further for being “weak”.   No one was ever going to stand up for her and she didn’t have the strength or self-confidence to ever stand up for herself, she wanted to be loved too much to ever take that chance.  It was a no-win situation.  She was the world’s punching bag, literally and figuratively… and she could never lose the fear that if she didn’t learn to accept this, it could always get worse.

With this innate sense of constant fear and drastic lack of self-respect or entitlement, she set out in life, mostly hoping not to be noticed much and praying someone safe someday would.

The frustration of documentation

Don’t know why, but I’m craving a documentation of my experience.  Do I want this in hopes of validation?  Who would I even share it with?

On some level, I do think it would be validating and healthy to have it documented in writing.  I can’t imagine anyone would ever be interested, but I might feel a satisfaction knowing that in the rare event anyone might be curious, interested, or perhaps even helped by my experience, then such information would be available.    And if no one ever was, no harm done, right?  Writing has always been my primary outlet of purging my thoughts and releasing them to better organize and understand.  Writing is my perpetual therapist.  She/he is compassionate, patient, forgiving, and cleansing…and so far has never once given up on me…no  matter the extent of my insanity or problem.  I realize that this is no easy task, as I’m a perpetually frustrating hard and enduring case of a myriad of issues, experiences, and a constant insatiable craving for knowledge and understanding.

So writing a documentation of this would be nothing harmful and only positive.  Yet, I can’t get my thoughts in order enough to write it.  Perhaps because I’ve only minutely documented bits and pieces in extreme moments.  Yes, I am not a totally reliable client to my therapist.  I selfishly come and go only as needed…

I feel so strongly that documentation is necessary for myself and/or perhaps to help others.  It repeats in my mind that it must be done.  It is so frustrating to feel pushed and compelled to do something that seems just beyond one’s capabilities…  Simultaneously and to add to my frustration, I have the chronic paranoia that time is running out to do this.  I am merely in my 30’s….and it feels that time is running out…literally??

Um, I am apparently quite mad.  And in that madness, I only wish that I could cross the boundary into the comfort of complete and utter madness.  Standing on the fence for so long has become exhausting:-) AHHHHHAAAHHHHHHHHAAAAHHHHAAAAAAA (that was my attempt at an evil laugh!)

Ummm…..gosh, or have I?

The garage door

HopeI long to feel hope and joy with the sound of the garage door opening…  Yesterday, that was my dream.  To hear that familiar sound and not dread it, but look forward to it.  Life is creating that for me even now.  Its subtlety softly manifests even as I fantasize it.  I gave into that hope for a moment.  Bittersweet garage door memories and dreams…

This garage door  is my garage door and it brings hope and excitement.  Love and joy.  Comfort and stability.  Not anxiety.  Not fear.  Quite the opposite…  Life is an opening through which we manifest our dreams.

I let go of all the possibilities and then……………………. 10:15 pm brought hope.  I appreciate tiny fragments of hopes fulfilled! 

Thank you.