How Many Rooms Have I Ran Out Of?

The following was written well over a year ago, when I was working my way out of the darkness. As with all my writing, it reflects the process I was going through …………

As much as I do know, as much as I do remember, and as much as I am reminded, I still do not know what is yet to come. What emotions and discoveries are headed my way? What consequences have yet to show themselves? The word “healing” by it’s very tense, implies healing is still underway. I now never expect to be able to say that I am healed, that the world will respond to me and I to it in different ways than if the abuse had never happened. Moving constantly towards health, yes. But the marks are forever. Get used to it.

The absolute greatest sadness I have is that I passed on my pain to my kids in some twisted way, being moody and quick to anger, always on edge. The second greatest sadness is to recognize the immense amount of energy I have poured into keeping quiet. Imagine all that force, the shear horsepower to keep hidden, invisible, silent and even good. For over five decades!!

I tried so very hard to be a good man. So hard.

Imagine the joy that never was, for me, my kids, my wife, my partner, my friends, and the strangers that I might have known, helped.

How many rooms have I ran out of, afraid of being seen, becoming visible?

How many clues did I have to ignore, to keep the demons at bay?

How many things did I run away from? How many people did I run away from?

What emotional riches did I avoid?

Here, now, after the veil has been removed, I have to find a way to change the direction of every instinct I have ever had. Push the other way, towards instead of away. Move from the back row of chairs. Speak when I have something to say. Try to make choices that are good for me instead of punishing.

The engine has been running at 6500 rpm, but the clutch has been in. To lift my foot now seems a betrayal, and yet I am told I must, to move forward, to trust when trust was always a betrayal.

Remember that, when trust was actually betrayal?

Remember never being able to hold someone’s gaze for more than a brief moment, afraid that they might see even what you didn’t want to see?

There are many ways to hide. Loud and rude behavior, alcohol, drugs, fighting, being a bully, abusing money, power, people. Sex.

Me, I remember the first time alcohol made a promise to me, to keep me warm from the inside in a way that I had never imagined possible. But alcohol, she broke her promise, and I found myself cold again.

I remember sex in the backseat, once again warmth, but strangely mixed with such power, surely here was a safe place. But she exchanged her lover’s clothes for those of an enemy. She left too. Others followed, and left.

I have walked down that long, dark and threatening tunnel, to my own lion’s den. Floors creaking underfoot, not unlike the fearful sounds I heard so long ago outside the bedroom. Abusers from my past, left in the dark for so long, become bat-winged demons, with claws that threaten to tear away flesh, screaming with deep thrusting growling voices to stay away, lest they destroy me again, and again, and again. Fluttering above me, surrounding me, dancing, pure evil. Terror, horror actually. The child inside of me demolished, crushed, unable to even raise a finger in defense, unable to cry out. No voice, no air in my lungs. The heat of terror washing through my insides, knowing that I was experiencing death before life had really taken flight.

To know this is my life is stunning. But to know that it is the experience of others is just as stunning. Even worse, to even briefly imagine that it might be the life of another young boy or girl, now or in the future, is to invite madness. I want to reach out and pull a telephone pole out of the ground with my bare hands and swing around in a big arc, like swinging a bat, threatening everyone to stay away. Just stay the f@#@ away. From every boy. From every girl. Stop it now!! Just stop it!

Emotion is still boiling inside of me. I cannot really let it out, all of it, the real depth of it, or I might die. There is too much of it, it is too big for anyone to handle, to witness, nobody can be there for it. Why? Maybe because I don’t trust enough. Maybe because nobody is really attached to me deeply enough to bear witness to such nastiness. It is more than a storm. It is more than a hurricane, or a tsunami or a typhoon. And it resides within me, in my chest cavity, right here, right now. Should I let it out, I will destroy everything, including myself. It will devastate. Existence will cease. All of this and more lives inside of me, still. My mouth will not open wide enough. My ribs cannot expand enough to allow it to escape.

And yet, I cannot stop. This work must be done.


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