Archive | May, 2012

Behind the smiles a shattered heart

15 May

I was 8 years old when it happened. I am 34 now and still wonder if I “asked for it”. That old family friend..or distant family member who lives in your home, yeah, that’s him. It started out so abruptly, I am not quite sure the very moment it began. Its so hard to write these words today, so I will do as I always instruct my ESL students with a writing phobia to do….free write. Ramble on and clear out the closets of your mind allowing the words to tumble onto the page.

He called me into his doorway with some pretense of wanting something, it might have been water…I don’t know. In those days growing up, our culture dictated that when an adult asks a child for some water or something you are expected to get it. His request was just pretense. Once I approached his room with the water he asked me to put it on the table. As I did so, he pushed his door closed and touched my chest. I recoiled and backed away. Then, he touched my most sacred part. I wasn’t sure what was happening but I knew no one was home yet and I had just came home from my elementary school across the street and couldn’t call out to anyone. Well, that’s how it began.

Our culture never made it a point for parents to talk to their children about the dangers of molestation, rape or even sex as we matured into young women. So it was no surprise to me that I felt more fearful about telling someone this was happening than having it happen to me. It would take 15 years before I told.

He did things and made me do things that I am still ashamed to think about. I cry. For 26 years now I’ve been crying. I cried at night after dinner when blatantly, with my family sitting around the table, he would  pushed his foot into my crotch. I cried knowing that they were just a few inches away from me and I didn’t have the courage to ask for help. So I started coming home late from school. My parents repeatedly told me not to stay out late. I disobeyed and started getting regular spankings for disobeying. I preferred the spanking to the molestation. Then they just stopped spanking me altogether and my father announced we were moving. For some reason, we never had another distant family member live with us again. I think although I have never told my father, my behavioral patterns may have changed to alarm him.

Fast forward 12 years. After having my first real boyfriend (high school sweetheart) break my heart not once, twice but three times, a pattern began to develop. I started believing that I should please a guy for him to stay with me. I felt I was used goods since I had been 8 years-old was truthfully promiscuous. This continued, resulting in me having a baby for someone who didn’t want me. The relationship that resulted in my son was caused not only by my warped idea of pleasing a man to keep him, but also by the idea that I had to please my family and “friends” or any other person in my life. I was repeatedly told that I would never find a man to love me if I didn’t consent to this relationship. I thought I could never be brought lower, but those words proved that wrong.

Haitians don’t believe in counseling. I wish I had done it sooner. I thought that getting drunk on New Years Eve 2012 and calling my mom to bare my soul had freed me to be an adult who made my own decisions, an adult who would find peace and learn to love herself again, but I wasn’t. After so many years of self loathing and self doubt, I finally really heard a wonderful pastor’s wife tell me “Esther, you are a princess. The daughter of a King. Why do you allow men to diminish that value?” I heard her. I finally heard the words. Her words have been ringing in my head for 24 hours now. Within that time, some major decisions have been made and put into play to begin my restoration and preparation to become the “wife”, the “woman” I was meant to be. I will no longer be that pitiful, helpless girl again. I vow.