Compiling Analogous Entries: Survivor

by feyruhan

Years, it’s been so many years…  Remembering these entries, I want to put them together, see what the whole looks like: self-motivational speech, confession, and concrete memory.  I have let this haunt me for so long; I’ve made unforeseeable progress, but I’m sure there’s more work that needs doing.  There’s always more work.

337.365 i can't see your hands in front of me tonight,

via Flickr

Need for Words; Need for Silence/ Fall ’06

What you forgot, more than his touch, was their silence.  You buried it deep, you refused to demand their help.

You were young, far too young, but you learned your lesson well.  You learned not to ask, not to expect, their help.  The sarcasm came later.

What you remember is tongue, and point, and lips–not those, the others–and darkness, and clutter.  You forgot silence, you forgot teasing, you even forgot that they had been older and should have told you.  Should have told you!

You learned to plan: you planned to fight.  You planned to put yourself before your sister.  You planned to step before her, put your arms out and say, You shall not pass.  You were prepared to die a second death, if it meant saving someone who was still untouched.

But you never, never, never, thought to grab your sister’s hand run with her.  You never thought to scream.  You never thought to call for help.  What they have done to you; this will take years to fix.  What it will take to unlearn their failure to you; we have hard work ahead of us.

Name It/ Winter ’06-’07

I eat so I don’t have to talk.  A bit of everything.  A bit of everything.

I hum.  I tap my fingers so I don’t have to slit my wrists or strangle someone else.  I read so I don’t have to think.  I write so I don’t have to remember.  I can’t stand being quiet, so I hum; but I can’t stand humming, it’s something about the vibration in my throat, so I stay quiet.  I can’t stand talking, because I never say the right thing, so I don’t talk at all or avoid people all together.  People ask me why I dropped out of college, I tell them “to work through stuff”, so I won’t have to tell them that I was raped.  Molested.  Sexually assaulted.  Call it what you like; just call it.  Name it.  Don’t leave it alone in my head.

Lady bug fly, lady bug fly;
Your father died in the war,
Your mother is in Pommerland;
Pommerland has burned away
Lady bug fly, lady bug fly.

German children’s rhyme, 1950’s  (taken from Ursula Hegi‘s novel, Floating in My Mother’s Palm)


One More Thing/ January ’07

A pencil for things that can be erased. A blue pen for things that can be forgiven. A black pen for things that cannot be let go.

An Israeli winter. The first that I remember. A kibbutz. Houses that are apartments. Lawns cut into shapes by paved sidewalks and the two rings of asphalt road that surround and bisect the kibbutz. Trees. Bushes of roses by the dining hall. Purple-flower trees that attract bees on the way back home from lunch. Plain whiter-than-white plates, chipped, smelling like hardboiled egg and soap. Knives that don’t cut. Knives with brown plastic handles that do.

One more thing. One more thing. One more thing…

Stairs down into a classroom. Kids who get to stand on their chairs. A teacher with knee-high leather boots and a large freckled face. Beady eyes. Orange hair, straight, short, neat. A broom closet. A mouse running around chairs and desks. A door held from the outside. My voice calling out words I can’t remember. Blue paint against my fists. They are the kids from the kibbutz where I live.

One more thing. One more thing. One more thing…

He invites me to his house to play. I don’t know where he lives. N.A… N.A knows the way. She offers to walk me there. We walk together. He is already there when we arrive.

We come in and play with Barbie and her husband, they are in their weddings clothes, in his room at the end of the house.

His brother comes home and has done something wrong. Their parents are angry. We should go.

We walk to the edge of the housing area. Opposite direction from heading back to my house. There is a small ramshackle shack. It is green. It looks built for someone our size. We go inside.

He tells N.A to wait outside and watch for people. The Thailandim are the only ones that live nearby.

There is junk inside. Metal, wheels, scraps of wood. Too dark to make out the shapes.

Take off your pants.

Lie down on your back.

Close your eyes.

I feel the dirt ground against my arms. My legs make grooves in the dirt. There are no sounds. There is no temperature. There is no world that I can see.

His tongue touches me. Where my underwear was. It is a small touch and almost tickles. I have no urge to laugh. I have no urges at all. Then his tongue is gone.

Now you do it.

I get up and pull on my pants. I kneel and close my eyes and touch my tongue to him. It looks like an upside-down house. It’s small and pinkish and plain looking.

He gets up and calls to outside, Do you want to do it again?

N.A says, No.

4 Comments to “Compiling Analogous Entries: Survivor”

  1. I am so sorry for your sexual abuse. I too was abused but I got help for it. It is simple an unfortunate fact of my life history now, it has lost its power over me. I wish this for you. You need to rid yourself of it like vomiting out the posion. If you wish, I could help.

    Blesings on you and yours
    John Wilder

  2. Writing about things like this can be very cleansing. I am so sorry that this happened to you, although I’m sure that you hear that often from people who know. I agree with Mr. Wilder, it is best to (when you can) get help for what this has mentally and emotionally done to you. No one walks away from this sort of abuse (or any abuse) unscathed, and it is not a bad reflection on you to seek out a professional to speak to. Although, I do realize speaking about this sort of invisible scarring is much easier suggested than done.

    • Thank you both, I’ve already seen professionals and I am not where I was when I wrote the entries I posted above. It’s a constant process of unpacking, but I’m okay with that. I am very open with my friends and family (well, those whom I want to know me on that level) about this, it’s just different to publish something I wrote about it. I’m working on a larger fiction piece that deals with this trauma, it’s been very cathartic but I haven’t worked on it in a long while because it hasn’t been weighing on me like it used to. Which is pretty great.

  3. I want to give you a HUGE hug.

    I’m so relieved that you have made the progress that you have. These entries are snapshots of where you were, snapshots of pain. I have some pieces like this, too. It’s odd bringing them out again, one remembers where you were and what you felt, and it feels both distant and immediate.

    Most of all, I’m glad you haven’t stayed silent.

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