I always knew I had a story to tell, but just didn't know when I could tell it without severe consequences. I was seven when a gangbanger from the neighborhood raped me, I couldn't tell my mom then, because she was having her own crisis. He crises seemed more catastrophic than mine. I am not sure when I learned to dry my tears, suck down the snot from my nose and pretend everything was OK. I never cried like she did, she would howl like her pain was so deep inside of her, it scared me and kept me silent. I reminded her that I was going to be "good" and be a better helper, that seemed to quiet her.
My mother's sadness and distress was more than I could bear. Her emotions and needs superseded mine. Carrying her robbed me of my own feelings, I didn't cry, I fought. I didn't need, I did. I didn't want, I gave. I tried so hard to predict everything she thought, did and needed. I was sure that if I could take good care of her, she would take care of me. It didn't work out that way, not when I was seven, or ever.
Holding my feelings inside only poisoned me. I had no release until I starting writing. It started with rage, my pen heavy on the paper, nearly ripping through the sheet. I was angry, I was missed, and I was left to navigate life alone, my mistakes felt so costly, both to my psyche and to my body. I wrote it out, purged until I felt some relief. It came, slowly, but it came.
Today, I don't need permission.
Today I am not afraid.
Today, I write.