Straight-laced Survivor - A story wrapped in safety
TW: SA & Abuse
January is a hard, cold month by design. The festive lights fade and leave behind a patch of grey, uncelebrated, sterile, and empty. January is also the anniversary of my death date. Not physical death, but the end of the culmination of a childhood spent in fear, abuse, misery, and the constant wishing to not be alive anymore. It hits me every year, with nightmares and a sick feeling as if it cannot entirely be escaped.
Each year it brings up a different fresh hell to deal with. This year, I was sat with the nasty declarations of others that I am a straight-laced, boring 'normie' who has nothing to offer and nobody cares about their perspective.
It hurt, obviously, so I sat with that feeling throughout January and wondered about it. As a young person, I worked hard at school. I did not rebel. I didn't do any drugs. I drank and attended a few parties sure, but it wasn't anything to write home about.
And that, I realised, was exactly the point.
If I had rebelled, I would have green-lit myself to rape. I have no doubt in my mind. I knew (and it was confirmed later) that my mother would take my fathers side and not believe me. She hated me anyway. It might have meant an increasing amount of her smashing my head or screaming at me how much she hated me in her latest drunken stupor. But that wasn't my fear. Not really. I would try and avoid it if I could, but then I used to step into beatings meant for my sisters.
No, my fear was her indifference, her malice, would mean the sexual molestation would worsen. That I would be raped, unable to wield the only weapon I had - his fear of discovery. So I remained silent. I worked as hard as I could with one goal in mind - escape. If I worked really hard at school, I could go to University. I could get a decent job and never, ever, have to look back. The death date robbed me of this somewhat, although I have never returned, I have struggled ever since.
As a young person, I did not rebel. How could I? I had no safety net. If I turned up in the house out of my head on drugs, who knows what would have happened to me. Well, I know. I do not wish to think about it. I used to fight against the molestation. I screamed the house down at him once and my mother thought nothing of it. It stopped him for a while though. Not forever. Maybe a few weeks of peace.
If I was ever brought home by the police, or cautioned, or had some negative report about me, well, mother would have done her usual screaming match. He would've calculated his chances of being caught just like he always did, an evil cockroach with his feelers out about how much shit he could get away with.
Lack of rebellion was safety. The less negative attention I drew to myself, the less of an excuse I gave the two people who were meant to love me to prove, yet again, that they never did. I both loved and hated my parents. For the longest time, I blamed myself, and thought if I could just get through it, no-one else would have to suffer. That was a nonsensical hope of course - the various abuses did happen to my sisters, and knowing it broke me in a way that took years to recover from. It's never really healed.
I was probably bossy as a child. Eldest children often are. But I had another motive. I was terrified. I thought, if I could just keep my sisters safe. If I could arrange things just so, maybe they'd escape.
I've been accused of thinking that I am some kind of saint, or superior, or think I know better as the eldest. A boring, straight-laced normie. I endured my abuse in silence, because it offered some safety. Not nearly enough. But some. I don't have a particularly high opinion of myself to be honest. Most days, I feel like I am failing, ill-equipped for life, but doing my best. Seeking joy if I can. Offering solidarity to other survivors as much as possible. Because we are many in number. Far too many.
Now I am quiet, introverted. I have long ago learnt it is pointless trying to sort anyone elses life out for them, it's pointless, and doesn't help in the way you might hope. They'll resent you for it. Regardless of why. I have been healing a long time. It's a process, and January is always rough. Can a Witch who works a magical life, attends priestess training and engages in rituals be boring? Perhaps. Maybe we are all boring, and interesting, depending on the moment. And whose judging us.
There is always an agenda to those trying to suffocate someone else, a personal gain. Abuse taught me that. So I look at the people wishing to harm me with their words and know that my ancestral women surround me. They reminded me this month that I have family watching over me, and they don't play games with protection.
And as the song plays over and over in my head:
And deep down, She knows, She knows. I know She knows.
Another end is coming. I call it on the wind. I howl and scream your name and drive my feet into the dirt. Take back your poison, and keep it.