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Being abused at age 4 or 5, I don’t remember what not feeling ashamed, angry, depressed and violated feels like. I don’t know what it’s like to have parents you don’t fear, to be safe in my own house, in my own room.

How different would I have been had this not happened? I’ve spent life socially stunted. I can express myself in writing, but not in words. If I could have anything on earth I’d stay home, earn a living as a writer, and not have to deal with the outside world unless I honestly wanted to.

Working, though part-time, in such a public place as a library, I’m OUT THERE for the world. I like helping people in a one on one way, like on the reference desk when someone needs something. But in the staff room? It’s full of people, so I clam up. I only speak when spoken to.

I’ve always been like that. I never once raised my hand to say anything in school. NEVER, and I mean elementary through college. Again, if asked I’d respond, but only the bare minimum. Only when I write am I free to say what I think and feel.

I’ve had a fantasy for a while now. I’d like to shave my head, leave where I live, and go join a Buddhist monastery that accepts women. It seems pretty obvious why I want to be secluded, why I want to shun the outside world and live an interior life. I honestly think if I outlive my husband this is what I’ll do. I know of a monastery in Nova Scotia that has female “monks.” That’s where I’d like to live out my life.

In the meantime, I want to be Elizabeth Gilbert. I want someone to pay me to go meditate on life, living in India, Italy and wherever else she was. Indonesia?

But reality. Damned reality. I’m married. I have a family. I have a job, a Master’s degree to finish. Life ties me here.

Would I feel this way if I hadn’t been molested, hadn’t lost my virginity so young? I’ll never know, will I. And that’s the question that gnaws at me. All those years stunted. All my childhood lost. No innocence, no safety, no ability to relate to other children, lest they find out.

And I am very, very angry.

Love,

Hope

My therapist, my husband, everyone who cares, insist things will one day be so much better for me. That’s hard to see some days. Other days I can believe it will get a little easier, though I’ll never forget. Other days I can’t believe it can ever be true.

Recently, I was going through digital photos on my hard drive and came across some with my parents in them. I felt physically ill. I could not look through those photos. A big part of me wanted to just delete them. Should I have? But my husband tells me, the kids may one day want those.

Maybe. But they make me feel like throwing up.

When I look around my house I see so many things they’ve given us through the years, trying to bribe me into forgetting and letting them stay in our lives. Our kitchen remodel was helped by a big check from them. Our living room tables were bought by them. Our lawnmower, and other things here and there.

I feel like a whore who took money to pay for the sex I had to endure.

I need to learn to forgive myself for that. Though I’m two years into therapy, I haven’t gotten all that far. But I am far enough to know my doctor would tell me not to brutalize myself for the past, but to look forward. That can be so hard to do.

Beating up on myself is second nature. I can’t give myself credit for much of anything. I’ve been working out a lot lately, but if I skip a day I hate myself. I know it’s wrong, but it feels impossible not to think that.

I do give myself credit for working out enough to find in clothes I couldn’t wear a month ago. That’s a great thing. But for me, if I’m not perfect I suck. I have a perfect 4.0 in graduate school, but if I should dip down a bit I can’t allow self hatred to overcome me. I’m juggling a lot. I work, I have a family, I write, I have a family … I maintain two blogs now, plus I read and review books. Yet, I think I should be doing more, that my life hasn’t made a real impact, that I haven’t “saved the world,” as my doctor would tease. “What,” she says, “you haven’t discovered the cure for cancer yet?!”

I get the point, but it’s easier to say than do.

This week her assignment was for me to write a letter to myself from God, or to my depression, or write from their perspective to me. I see her on Thursday, but I haven’t done any of this yet. I’ll have to do it tonight, to stay on track.

I’ll try.

Two years, and I still feel like an emotional wreck. It takes so much time. It’s so unfair I had to undergo the abuse, then it’s wrecked my life in so many ways. What kind of person would I be if the abuse had never happened?

I will never know.

Love,

Hope