There are so many instances of sexual abuse in my past that I have safely tossed them in the “Bermuda triangle” section of my brain. Never to be retrieved and never to be discussed – it simply never happened. To be fair lots of other things end up in the “Bermuda triangle” section of my brain, other than the sexual abuse! I guess I am just conditioned that way – be stoic and get on with life, everything will be fine.
Recently I was talking to my cousin about a memory of the two of us as kids being sent on a chore to pick up special weekend brunch at a corner diner. We were aged approximately 9 and 10 at the time. I used to love the special brunch from the corner diner and it was our duty when the extended family gathered, to go pick up the food and bring it home. So I mentioned to my cousin – how I used to love the smell of the food and just the thought of it still made my mouth water.
She retorted – “The food was great, but remember the creepy cook who used to grope you in the kitchen?”. All of a sudden those hidden memories re-surfaced.
It was all done in plain sight. The cook would tell me to come into the kitchen for a special treat when I picked up the food. The others didn’t get the “special” treatment and had to wait by the counter for pickup. They figured the cook was just being kind to a little girl, how sweet! I would go in reluctantly and be groped while the food was packaged and then sent on my merry way.
The last time it happened, my cousin (younger than me by a year) shoved me aside and told the cook she would come to the kitchen to get the food. What a brave little girl she was – and to this day I am amazed by her courage and spunk. He said no, it had to be me. So I went in again – reluctantly. My cousin followed us and neatly tipped over a pot of boiling soup on his feet as he screamed in agony. That was the end of that abuse. It didn’t save me from more abuse to follow through my years, but this story has a special place in my heart.
There are good people out there who are willing to stand up for you, with you and fight for you. This is why we go on with our lives – because of all the amazing people out there who drown out the few terrible ones that come our way.
It was worth fishing this memory out of my “Bermuda Triangle” because I can leave behind the shame, the disgust and all the other unpleasantness and instead just focus on the wonderful people in my life who heal me with their presence.