He thought that my non-original poem was very funny, but he wanted
something more. He needed something that was deeper, something that I
could give away, something to help him. That was what I was used to doing,
and I could easily do. If there was someone in need I would do my utmost
best to fulfill that need, even if that meant putting myself in front of
As I sat and listened to the highschool friends chattering away I felt
a cloud of suffering envelope me. I could feel its dark cold fingers
reaching into me...poking and pinching at the very parts that only I could
protect. But now, as I searched myself for something...anything, I
realized that I no longer had myself. These cold dark fingers had grabbed
me and held me tight. I was captured, captured in my own loneliness and
The words poured out of the soul that remained. I wrote and wrote. I
had no idea of the words or the meaning until later...much later. I only
knew what I felt, and what I did not feel.
As I finished writing, I stopped and scanned. I looked over what it
was that had just poured out from the core of my being. Checking for any
mistakes, any misspellings...I looked up and saw Craig anxiously awaiting
for my finished work. As I handed him that poem, I felt myself handing
over all that I was, and all that I could be. It was no longer something
that I had. Gone were all of my decision making capabilities, my joys and
sorrows, all of that which is me...gone.
Craig and I had been friends ever since he moved in around the corner
from me. There were no girls to play with, only boys, so we all played
together. I was perfectly content playing cars, making forts out of
blackberry bushes, playing football and soccer. We played and played. Once
in awhile the boys would gang up on me, but I think I probably deserved
it. We were never in any large fights as I could always get up the next
day and know that we could get together and fly kites or play on the slip
It was always a big event when someone new moved in. We all wanted to
know who it was...did they have any kids to play with? Were there any
girls for me to relate too? So, whenever this happened we would all watch
and wonder. Such anticipation on those days, we could all just burst!
Not too long after Craig had moved into our neighborhood we had
another family move in right next door to him. This family was very
closed...always inside the house. I remember the dad being very big, and
the mom being larger than the dad. She always had smoke billowing from her
lips, I never understood that pleasure. They did have a kid...a boy. He
was a bit older than us but we liked to play with older kids if they would
let us...that was always a privilege.
His name was Shane. I did not care for him very much...he seemed dirty to
me. Not necessarily unclean type of dirty, but rather the way he would
look at you with that anger in his eyes and the things that would come out
of his mouth. That was something that I was not used to...
I was used to a very tight family structure with love and laughter. My dad
was big and full of love. If I ever needed to be corrected he would be the
one to remind me. He had wavy hair with a white patch right in front that
he got when he was sixteen. He sang, solo and for a time he sang with a
quartet, (acapella of course). He also played the trombone and I loved
him, still do.
My mom, ohhhh my mom. She was always smiling and laughing. Never, O.K.,
hardly ever was she angry. But when she did get angry you knew that she
had had enough. We would usually get a warning, "You are treading on thin
ice". That was always my favorite. She stayed home with my brother and I
for most of our younger years. When we got old enough, she started to work
outside of the house.
Troy, my older brother by five and a half years, was someone who I
loved unconditionally. I looked up to him and admired him (still do). I am
sure that I was a nonstop pain to him however.Together we would play cars,
leggos, lightbright, and playdough. Playdough was my favorite!
My family raised us as Seventh Day Adventists. I was very involved
with the church from the time I was three. I would sing special
music...and I loved it. The first song I sang (I am told) was Jesus Loves
Me. I was standing on a chair as my mom accompanied me on the piano. When
the time came for me to stop, my mom stopped playing...but I kept on
singing. When she realized that I wasn't going to stop she started to play
again until I was through.
I have always loved my church family, and have always been a large
part of it. As an SDA we would go to church on Saturdays (hence the name
Seventh Day). Sabbath, as we call it, began on Friday night with the
setting of the sun and ended on Saturday, also with the setting of the
sun. During the Sabbath we would have vespers (singing, stories, and
prayer), some nights we would go to other peoples homes and have vespers.
Some Sabbaths were spent practicing for Church. We didn't watch television
(unless it was nature oriented), and we didn't listen to the radio (unless
it was a Christian station). We had all of our shopping done and that
meant that Sabbath could be spent with family and God. I have never truly
regretted being a Seventh Day Adventist. Adventism is what has kept me
moving and striving. As an Adventist I have always known that there will
be a day in which Christ will return to take us home with him (Acts
1:9-11). Just as I have always longed for his return, I have always
Standing on a chair, singing at the top of my lungs that Jesus loves
me, I have looked for him. Where was this Jesus that I needed so
desperately to protect me at times in my life when I was so alone. Where
Shane had invited Craig over to play, I think that I just happened to
be with Craig. I didn't care to go, but what else could I do...I would be
alone. So, we both went to Shane's home. As soon as we walked through the
front door the smoke choked me in the darkness where we stood. We were led
to the hall where I was able to catch glimpses of light that penetrated
through the suffocating air. As we stepped into Shane's room I felt a bit
of relief that the sun was shining in a bit from the outside world.
I went to a frog puppet that was resting on a chair and began to play
with it. It had a tongue that, when you squeezed the frog just right,
would come flying out. I loved it! So funny!
As I sat in my world with the frog the boys talked of what we could
do. I heard someone say hide and go seek...now that I could do! They
continued to discuss as I sat and watched my frogs tongue shoot out.
Breaking me out of my happiness found, they asked me to step into the
closet. I told them that I did not want to go into the closet, and they in
return threatened that they would never play with us again. I had no
problem with that, but as I turned I saw Craig's face crushed. Then I
realized that if I didn't stay Craig would hate me for causing him to lose
these boys as friends. Eric and Erin were there also, they were thirteen
or so and lived across the street from Shane. Shane was ten or so. Craig
and I were Six years old, so you can imagine the honor we felt being
invited to play with these older boys. When the time came to make the
decision, my decision had already been made for me.
As I stepped into the closet they shut the door. I could only see small
pieces of light as it leaked through the slits. I strained to catch a
glimpse of something and as I did the darkness took over. They put a chair
to block the doors and then piled up pillows to assure that I would not
see a thing. One of the twins stood in front of the doors, I believe it
was Erin, to assure that I would not escape.
In the darkness, I felt myself suffocating. The air was too thick for
me to breathe...I began to beg to be let out. They kept saying in a
minute, in a minute. I could not wait another minute. I began to beg
harder telling them that it was hard to breathe. What were they doing, why
won't you let me out?
Just when I thought that I would be there for the rest of my life the
light leaked back in. The chair was removed and the doors opened. They all
stood looking at me with strange glares. I asked them what they were
doing, but there was no response. Then, one of them spoke...
Take off your pants. What?! I couldn't believe this, take off my
pants?! I am not taking off my pants...,"NO", I said. "Take off your pants
or we will not play with you anymore." With this Craig's face went into
panic. As I pulled down my pants I could feel their eyes on me.
When my pants hit the floor they turned to Craig and said the same
thing to him. He did the same, shaking as they fell. After that they
commanded me to take off my shirt. By now I was numb from disbelief and so
I took off my shirt and felt nothing, nothing at all. Craig was told to
take off his as well. It all happened so fast, yet so slow.
Then they told us to lay down on top of each other. Cold and alone we
did as they asked. I remember seeing Craig, all of him. He was so pale and
weak looking. We both shook, and I don't know if it was from fear or if we
were cold. As we lay there I began to fear what would happen next, and
before I knew it the door flew open.
There, filling the doorway, stood Shane's mom. Boy, is he in trouble,
I thought to myself. But then, she opened her smoke filled mouth and
yelled at us..."Get out of my house! You are disgusting! How could you do
something like this! Get out, you should be ashamed of yourselves, Get
Frightened and in shock I ran home to my mom with tears streaking down
my face. Why did I get blamed for it? Didn't she know that I said that I
didn't want to do that?! What was happening?
When I hit the front porch, I sat and cried in the safety of my own
home. My mother came to the door and when she saw me weeping, she came to
comfort me. She asked me what was wrong, and so I told her. I told her all
that had happened, about the closet, about the removal of the clothes,
about us not wanting to, about the mom yelling at us. I told
When I had said it all, she looked at me with her loving face and
comforted me, telling me that it was just what kids do. It was just
experimentation. It was just a fact of life, that is all. Not my fault,
not their fault. That is just a part of growing up.
I forgot all about this incident until I was dating in highschool. I
went to a public highschool and made friends my freshman year with mostly
Juniors and Seniors. They were all wonderful people, not the `in crowd'
but not the outcasts either. We were all just accepting of everyone...the
Through these friends I was introduced to Dan. Ohhhh, Dan was cute. He
had big brown eyes, brown curly hair, freckles, and rosy cheeks. He was my
kind of a guy. Reserved yet fun.
We began dating my sophomore year, he was a junior. We dated for a
long time...a little over three years. During that time my spirit was
broken from the endless giving that I did. Dan needed a lot, and I was
willing to give until I had nothing left and then I would give even
Things didn't get really bad until my senior year. Dan had graduated
the year before and he did not continue on. He moved in with people that
were into smoking pot and drinking...and that is all they ever really did.
Dan and I began our journey into the sexual experience about then. It was
something that I had always wanted to save until marriage, but if Dan
needed it then I would give it. He would be touching me all the time
unless I had sex with him, so I would do it so that I could have someone
to talk to and do things with.
I had left all of my friends for Dan. My life was work, school, and
Dan. Sex was a daily routine. I would get up, go to work, go have sex
with Dan and run to the store to get him breakfast, go to school, go back
and have sex with Dan and get him lunch, and then hope to do something
together. It was like that day in and day out when I started college.
It got to the point where I knew he was lying to me. I would ask him
if he was smoking pot, and he would deny it. I would ask him if he was
dropping acid, and he would deny it. Each time he denied he would get
really angry with me for even asking. One day on the way to get him some
breakfast he said to grab some money out of his wallet. I pulled out the
five dollar bill that was there and out came five hits of acid. I asked
him what this was doing in his wallet and he said that it wasn't his. Then
he said that he wasn't using it but he was selling it. (So that makes it
better?!) I couldn't believe it.
Then he would close up on me. He would lay on his bed and curl up to
face the wall. I would feel guilty for causing him to do this and so I
would beg him to forgive me for making him feel badly. He would just stay
like that, so I would try to do what it was that he responded to...sex.
Sometimes I tried to simply tickle him but this just made him mad. One day
I learned never to do that again because he turned and literally threw me
off of the bed and onto some crates that were on the floor.
This was a relationship that I had led myself into and could not
remember my way out. He was my everything and he needed me. I helped him.
He needed me.
Many of the people who cared for me would ask me to leave him. They
knew that I was changing, but didn't know why. One day, under a lot of
stress, my mother asked me if I was having sex. I couldn't believe that
she was asking me this. I had not had my period for three months and I was
scared to death, and here she was asking me if I was having sex. She kept
asking, and I finally yelled at her and told her that yes I was having sex
and that I thought I might be pregnant.
With this she cried. She cried and said that if my father ever knew,
it would kill him. This comment hit home to me because when I was fifteen
my father should have died one night from aplastic anemia. The doctors say
that it was a miracle that he did not. So, the thought of my father dying
because of something that I had done killed me.
She told me I needed to go have a pregnancy test done. I already had
done one and it turned out negative. She said that I should do another
one. Dan refused to go with me, so I went by myself...just as I lived my
life by myself. The test turned out to also be negative and my period came
a week or so later, but I was still stuck...alone in my darkness.
Through the church I met some nice people. Their names were Rick and
Ruth. They befriended me, seeing my need. Rick was helping me with my math
at first, (I absolutely don't understand algebra), and through this our
friendship grew. They took me into their circle of friends and let me into
their lives and the lives of their family. We would get together on Friday
nights for vespers with friends and on Saturday nights we would play games
or watch videos.
A few weeks after the friendship had been established they sat me down
and said that they needed to talk with me. I sat down, heart and ears open
to what they were needing to discuss. They poured out how much they cared
about me and how they could see that I was not happy in my relationship
with Dan. About how they knew that I would not want to live that way
forever and how they wished that I could leave him.
I cried. I cried because they were wanting to help. I cried because I
wanted the help. I cried because they cared and wanted to listen.
As I sat there and in tears explained my life in its routine I asked
them if they would still be there if I were to break up with Dan. I asked
them if they would be there, or would I be alone. Would I be alone in my
They assured me that I would not. They also said that I could stay
there with them after. They said that I should make a clean break and that
I should tell him not to call me, talk to me, or write to me. It was to be
over and that was the end.
I went and told him. He cried and closed off. I felt horrible for what
I had just done. I told him that I take it back, that I love him, please
forgive me. He did, we had sex, and that night I called him on the phone
and broke up with him. He got mad. He yelled at me and said that he
couldn't believe that I didn't even have the guts to do it in person. Then
he started to cry saying that he was going to kill himself. I couldn't
take it. I hung up and began my life in the hands of yet another.
Rick and Ruth were very good to me. I moved in with them, disrupting
their lives, and they took me in with love. I was not eating much and I
was swimming an average of twenty laps a day. It was difficult for me to
sleep as I would have nightmares. One night I woke up and saw Dan's head
(only his head) next to me. Another night I woke up in terror because I
had dreamt that Dan was outside in my backyard very angry and he was going
to hurt us. During this time I had a friend of his tell me that he had
taken a knife and cut up a teddy bear of mine...gutting it were his words.
He had also taken the same knife and cut up a picture of me. So, I took
refuge in Rick and Ruth's home, and I was grateful...very grateful.
Dan did call there once. He called and spoke with Rick. I don't know
exactly what was said but I remember Rick saying that actions speak louder
than words and that what Dan was saying were just words. That was the last
phone call from him.
Rick and Ruth were very kind to me. Rick was a big brother to me, and
Ruth was a big sister. I was in a dark hole and they were the only lights
that I could see.
Rick asked me one day if I remembered the first time in which we had
met. It was three or four years before when I was fifteen. We were all at
a youth rally and when the time came to go home we all piled into this
car. I ended up sitting on Rick's laps since it was so crowded. I don't
remember that...but he did.
As I stayed at their home, Rick began to establish a relationship with
me. He comforted me at first by touching my hand, rubbing my back. Soon he
was touching my arms, kissing me on the cheek. Not long after, he began to
kiss me on the lips explaining that it was OK for a brother to kiss his
little sister that way. Then, the kisses got more passionate. I became
lost in my world, lost in the death that had occurred in me. I was but a
piece of meat, that continued to smile so that no one would see that I had
He came in at night when I was needing comfort, a hug, and he would
touch my breasts. I did not move or say a word. I lay there, turning the
touches as best I could into the hug that I so desperately needed.
One day, he stayed home from work ill. I was in the bedroom crying, he
came in to comfort me. He took my hand and slid it down into his
underwear. My hand hit the warmth of his penis and I began to
hyperventilate. He withdrew my hand and began apologizing...but then he
continued to touch. Later we began having sex. He told me that he was
doing it so that I would not go back to Dan.
I became so lost in the world that I felt I should no longer exist. I
would play with knives and such, but Rick would always stop me. I loved
Ruth so much, and I was in so much pain from the events that took place.
What could I do? What should I do?
Around Valentines Day I met a nice guy from the college I attended. We
became friends and then began dating. On one of our trips I told him that
I needed to talk to him about something, he wanted to listen. As I spilled
out all of the pain that had been taking place I cried so hard that my
nose bled. I didn't know that it was bleeding until I got into some light
and saw that there was blood all over my shirt.
With this man in my life I was rescued from Rick. We all continued to
be friends. I put all of my pain deep down inside and prayed that it would
stay there for the sake of us all.
I went to church and listened as Rick taught the Sabbath School class.
I kept wondering how God could love someone like me, someone who had done
something so horrible. What had I done?
Many times, after the break up of the one nice guy I had found, I
realized that I could not keep this buried. I knew that one day my guilt
and shame would explode.
I began my journey to counselors. The first counselor I ever saw was
before Rick. It was a counselor at the highschool. We became friends, so
that made counseling difficult. I loved her and we decided that it would
be best if I found another counselor.
I didn't deal with it for a long time after that and when I was in too
much pain from it all I turned to the assistant pastor of the church and
his wife. They listened to me and wanted to help me find a counselor that
I was comfortable with. I saw a Christian science counselor. The first
visit we had he shut the door, that was not a good experience but I told
myself that I needed to deal with that myself. It is perfectly normal to
be in a room with a middle aged man and the door to be closed....right?
Our next session he asked if it would be OK for him to use a technique on
me that involved touch. He explained it to me and I wanted to be able to
do it. I closed my eyes as he proceeded with this technique, touching me
directly above my breast...I couldn't handle it. I wanted to be brave and
to just be able to do this but I burst into tears. As I left that day he
gave me a flower. I never went back.
The next "counselor" I saw was a pastor from one of the area churches.
I say "counselor" because I now look back and realize that I must have
been his guinea pig. I told him my story, and he told me that I needed to
get plenty of rest, sunshine, water, exercise, healthy diet, prayer, and
something else that was ridiculous. The next time I saw him he told me
that I needed to just forgive Rick! That was the first time I ever was
able to state my feelings. I stood up and yelled at him that until he is a
woman and until he goes through what I have gone through he has no right
to sit there and tell me to forgive Rick. That was our last session, and
my last counselor for a long time.
I put all of that behind me once again and decided that maybe I could
live my life happily without revealing and dealing with all that I had
About this time I met Brian. I was entranced with him as soon as I saw
him. We met at Safeway, I was buying stuff for lasagna and he was the
checker. My friend had told me that we should go through Brian's line, but
I was disgusted at her obsession with cute guys. To satisfy her I went
through this Brian's line. When we got up to the counter to purchase
whatever it was that we were to purchase (lasagna, but I had forgotten),
our eyes locked. He winked at me...then he winked again! I don't remember
any words being spoken except for Karen saying that we should probably
When my feet hit the outside pavement I shouted at her that he had winked
at me. We continued to scream all the way to the truck and then went
rambling on about what I should do. Should I give him my number? How else
would he get to know me, or me him?
Well, a few days later I went into the store and through purchasing a
packet of Big Red chewing gum and some salt, (otherwise known in chemistry
as NA), I gave him my number. He called me two hours later on his break
and we made a date for the next day after he got off work. We have seen
each other every day since.
He proposed to me on my birthday, we were married a year and a month
after that (May 12 of 1996) and it is the best thing, (besides God and
finding my inner child), that has ever happened to me.
Our entire time dating was wonderful, all of my thoughts of Rick, Dan,
and others were distant in the love that I had found. I didn't come into
problems until about six months after we had been married.
I began a new job right after we had married. I started with another,
his name was Todd. He was someone who I saw as my brother and I knew that
I wanted to be friends with him.
One night as we were enjoying a slow work day I mentioned that if I
ever wrote a story that I knew what the title would be, (we were talking
about poetry and stories). I mentioned that I had poetry that I had
written and that I had been wanting to write out my story but that I just
hadn't done it yet. They were all interested and Todd specifically said
that he would be interested in reading anything that I wrote.
So, I sat down and wrote my heart out and that began my true journey
of self discovery and healing. I was told that I should just tell my
mother, and tell Ruth, and to tell everyone in the church what had
happened. But then someone else simply said, "I am here to listen if you
need to talk". Those were the golden words that I needed to hear...and
they were spoken in truth. I trusted yet again, and this time my trust was
Todd pushed me to seek counseling, and pushed me to speak to my
husband. I didn't want counseling because it had just been painful in the
past. Telling and retelling is so hard to do when you are being tossed
around in the system. I was a tomato in the salad bowl. When I finally
decided to go with counseling it was equally as difficult to continue when
I would get tossed. But, with the help of supporters, I continued. And I
I didn't want to talk to my husband. I didn't want him to see that the
happy person he married really was painfully hurt. I didn't even know who
I was, how could I show him without first doing a test run on myself. I
was lost without his support, and once I had opened up to him I allowed my
healing to breathe. I was allowed to do what I needed to do, and that is
what I had been denied of for all of those years.
This has been the hardest challenge I have ever faced, but it has also
been the most rewarding and I wouldn't change it for the world. As Allyson
Jones put it so well: