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.

7 Responses to “Behind the smiles a shattered heart”

  1. Jocelyn Eikenburg (@jossailin) May 16, 2012 at 5:46 am #

    Wow, what a powerful post. I really admire you for having the courage to share what must be truly painful experiences. That pastor’s wife is so right, you are valuable and you deserve respect just like a princess. I wish you the best in your journey towards peace and happiness in your life.

    • celestereille May 16, 2012 at 5:59 am #

      Jocelyn I’ve always heard people say it takes time to heal when something tragic happened. I buried this so deep that I never applied those words to my suffering. I feel like there are not enough words to describe my silent despair sometimes. I wonder if it will ever really go away? Once I start to think like that though I immediately remember who my heavenly Father is. He is the God that healeth but He expect us to faithfully believe that.

      • Donata Joseph May 17, 2012 at 4:09 pm #

        It will go away or I should say you will heal from it. You have to dig deep and allow yourself to grieve. You pushed it so far down but never dealt with it. Thanks for sharing. So many people hurting and opening up about your story can help.
        Thanks 🙂

  2. Nathalie May 17, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

    Hello Esther, I found your blog through your comment on Jo’s last post at Life Behind The Wall. I had to comment because your post truly resonates with me; it deeply touched me and is still making me cry. I went through a similar situation when I was 5, except it happened once. Rape. How is a girl supposed to know what it is at that age? How is a girl supposed to go to her parents to let them know what happened, especially when sex is taboo and not discussed?

    I made the wrong choices throughout my life and stayed with men because I didn’t think I was worth it and would never find someone else to love me. I always felt alone. Your post title “Behind the smiles a shattered heart” indeed reflects those feelings.

    I too was afraid of my family’s reaction if I told them. It is not something I often talk about. Only a handful of people know; not even my dad knows and, truthfully, I don’t believe I ever will tell him… I am too afraid of what his reaction might be, even if I’m 29 years old. I told my own mother at the age of 18; she did not believe me and said something like: “It could not have happened. You were 5; you must have dreamed it”.

    Four years ago, something inside me snapped. I somehow found the courage to tell myself: “Enough is enough. This is not me. I am worth more than this.” I somehow found my way out and left most of the misery behind. It’s a long process but worth the fight.

    “Esther, you are a princess. The daughter of a King. Why do you allow men to diminish that value?” The pastor’s wife words are powerful. Even though I do not know you personally, I am really happy for you to have met this lady who spoke such right words to you…and that you heard her. I know how, when we don’t have the confidence in ourselves, we don’t always really hear and believe what people around us are telling us.

    I am really sorry you had to go through all this but I also admire your courage for sharing your story and for taking a stand now. By sharing your story, you moved me and helped me to keep on fighting for happiness and I know you are helping many other women who went through similar horror, who are silently reading your post.

    I wish you nothing but the best and my thoughts are with you. Stay strong.

    • Donata Joseph May 17, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

      Their is so much power in sharing your stories. So many people reading and healing thru these post. Thank you. Sorry Esther I act like this is my blog lol. I am truly happy that others can begin or continue healing.

      • celestereille May 18, 2012 at 12:09 am #

        I hope so Donna. I pray that mostly people from a “closed” culture will learn to see the importance of speaking to their children about these horrors.

    • celestereille May 18, 2012 at 12:12 am #

      Nathalie there’s so much I want to say to you in response but the only words that keeps forming in my head are “thank you”! For demonstrating strength and for your support.

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