Saturday, June 11, 2011

Don't Get Close to People

     "What you hide from everyone is your biggest strength".  Or something like that.  It's a quote from a trailer of a movie I saw a long time ago.  A dance movie.  I liked it.  I had secrets, things I hid.  I had come to a point where I thought everyone must.  I liked the idea that my deepest demons could be the brightest light in disguise.  They would have to be, to survive out in the open.  They would have to be nearly stronger than anyone could imagine, to conquer the fact that to me they were worse than anyone could imagine.  I didn't talk about that.  I didn't think about that.  If anyone brought it up, I didn't know about that.
     My nightmares brought with them certain rules that made it hard to blend in, to pretend I didn't know they existed.  First and foremost was stay away from people.  Don't ever get close.  To anyone.  For anything.  Ever.  This was not up for debate, it was ironclad, as solid as a fortress wall.  Secondly was don't talk about anything related to it.  Don't let anyone find out.  At any cost.  We know what you are talking about.  But you better not let anyone else find out.  Hiding it is an automatic reaction.  Most of my life I did not directly remember sexual assault but I did remember this.  I knew the rules better than the back of my hand even if I did not dwell on why the rules were there.  They were there to deal with things we don't talk about.  Everything about those personal demons were seeped in shame.  Shame was the basis of much abuse-make you humiliated for existing, thinking you are a filthy disgusting being and you are the only one that way.  Continual reminders from my abusers were hardly necessary -although they were there- they wired it into my brain and I carried it on for them.  There were points I was too ashamed and terrified to use the bathroom, held myself too stiffly to move easily like other children, times later in life when any conversation that even hinted at child abuse made me shake, and many times where getting near people would set a trigger and I kept my distance to settle my nerves.  It was all me, I thought, I was all bad, and I carried it inside me forever.  If anyone got past the surface and saw what I knew was there, it would be-unthinkable.  I could not get close to people, not only out of fear of them, but out of fear of setting off a bomb- and I was the bomb. 
     More than anything I have always been afraid that people would find out my secret.  Having split into alters was the only way I could have kept a secret like that.  In order to keep it secret and live and semi-normal looking life I had to be able to hide it even from myself.  Now this idea that my secret might actually be my strength, in a way enables me to tell it, because keeping it a secret is no longer a good thing, if it ever was.  Keeping secrets does not protect me, it protects the ones who hurt me, and allows the hurt to continue. 

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