|See what happens when |
you grab the wrong luggage?
One such bag is what happened to me when I was six. So I think maybe, I'll just talk about it a little. Not sure that is the same as unpacking, but at least I'll have pulled the suitcase out and opened up the zipper. I am, by the way, always open to suggestions as to how to sort this stuff out. I'm flying blind here, sorting as I go... so perhaps you know a better way to do this, and you can tell me. Thanks.
Apparently I saw and heard a lot of pretty bad stuff as a toddler... stuff like my mother's boyfriend kicking the crap out of my dad, my alcoholic dad's out-of-control temper, watching my mom's boyfriend abuse her (Wait. That's not my bag. I'll shut up about that) But I have never recalled any of that. It's not to say that I wasn't in some way affected by it, but my first encounter with hate really happened when I was 6 years old... and frankly, I blocked most of it too. But here's what I know, in bits and pieces:
At the time, my mother was working night shifts in ICU at Kaiser Hospital in San Diego and I was sent to hang out at a new baby sitter's whose name I believe was Anita. Anita had two children; a daughter about my age and a son who I believe was 16 or 17. I don't know how long I'd stayed with Anita, but one afternoon, she left me with the son, who promptly called half a dozen of his friends over to hang out.
I decided to walk toward the playroom to play with the little girl that was my age.
That's when the trouble began.
“Oh no,” one of the oldest of the guys said “You can't be playing with her.”
“Why?” I asked, confused.
Over the next while they explained to me that I was a white boy and that white boys were not allowed to play with black boys and girls. It was then, and remains today, one of the most absurd notions I'd ever heard. They disparaged me, and said horrible things about my mother who was at that point dating a black man. I won't repeat those things I remember here, but they were awful. I was, as is my nature, utterly defiant, and was forced to go outside, “Because” they said, “while people were not good enough to be inside of a black man's house.
|This guy's got NOTHING on|
REAL Bogey Men
It began to get dark and I began to fear I'd be left outside, with something awful they called “the Bogey Man.” This too, was a new concept for me, but I didn't realize how absurd the notion was, or that the real Bogey Men were tormenting me that evening. Finally, it was decided that if I would agree to suck their big toes, that perhaps I would be given reprieve to come inside the house, but only just inside the door. I was six. I had no idea what the connotation of that might be. I just wanted to be safe from the bogey man...that is until such point as they decided that I should suck other parts of their anatomy. I didn't understand that sucking cock was sexual, but at 6, I did know that I had no interest in putting my mouth on anyone's pee hole, no less a room full of them. So they put me outside and locked the door. Unbeknownst to me, they had decided to exit through the front door, which they locked on their way out, and that's when they started to torment me, pretending to be the bogey man...terrifying, even for a smart 6-year-old. I ran out of the back gate into a canyon area, in fear for my life...literally, only to be caught.
This is where it gets a little fuzzy... just snap shots. I don't remember a lot, but I do know for a fact that I was orally raped... and then left again by myself in the night. Not sure how I managed, but eventually I did force my way back into the house, at which point, terrified, I called my mother and demanded (not requested) that she come home from work immediately to get me. To her credit, that's exactly what she did. She and I discussed that night a little bit a few years ago and she told me that when she came into the living room of that home, she had never been more scared for her safety before or since. She scooped me up and we left and never went back. “not even to pay the woman,” my mother said. (Sometimes we say absurd things when we are recounting crazy memories.)
She knew nothing at the time of what happened after the toe sucking. I was too embarrassed to tell. And she said something that's stuck with me. “It didn't seem like it affected you. So we just moved forward.” I have to stop for a moment and defend my mother. There will be plenty of room for dealing with her in other bags, but in this case, she was a 26 year old single mother in 1977 before society had any clue what to look for when kids were acting out after being sexually abused. She had no way of knowing how it truly affected me... but I can tell you this for sure: It did. It wasn't very long before other predators began to take advantage of our family situation and of me. I didn't just agree to suck their cocks for them when those creeps suggested it. I agreed eagerly. I'm a fast learner, and it didn't take a rocket scientist to sort out that being praised for being “so good at that” was better than being orally gang-raped in a canyon.
And it continued that way for a long time... longer than I care to discuss in this post, and beyond the molestation. We all have our ways of coping with the emotions and aftermath of sexual abuse. Some men turn violently homophobic. Other men, a lot of whom, like me prefer women, tend toward what amounts to some sort of down-low equivalence of Stockholm syndrome. Both are equally destructive.
35 years later, I still struggle with the affects of that awful night when, a half a dozen men, likely angry because of the racial tensions so prevalent still in 1977 after the tumult of the 60's, took it upon themselves to introduce a little boy to hate, bigotry and rape, and sexual molestation.
That shit happened. It happened to me. It hurt me. It was wrong, and evil, and it hurt me then, and has hurt me ever since. That's where the hurt started...at least so far as I know. I probably over-shared here. And If I did, I'm sorry. I said from the start that I was intent on unpacking all of my baggage. At any cost, I meant it.
I am not writing this stuff out to make people pity me or feel sorry for me. I'm writing it out to claim it and to unload it. I need that. Maybe someone reading needs it too. I don't know. I just know that I feel a little lighter for writing it... and while I fear the repercussions of posting it a little in a few moments, I know that's part of the process.
A typical visit to a shrink costs $95. Who do I make the check out to? I hope you will come back tomorrow. I promise it will be a little lighter. We can't open big bags every day.
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