It was sixth grade- nothing significant other than the annual outdoor ed trip with my class. Unsure if I would be able to go due to finances and epileptic seizures, I was thrilled when I found out someone helped and I would leave with all the other kids. There was nothing ordinary about me, but to do this typical right of passage, was important and made me normal for three days.
From the moment I began remembering my abuse during the day, I changed. I sought negative attention from boys and worked to be one of the more ‘popular’ girls. I became a fighter. If boys thought they could pick on me when they liked me, then they dealt with a ruthless female who picked right back. I was popular for my attitude more than anything.
No one asks why kids behave as they do. They assume bad parenting creates bad kids, and bad kids exhibit bad behavior. My aggression was the part of me fighting the devil himself. In the years I feared protesting the advances, touches, threats, and hate of one evil man, I never feared another human.
I loved being away with friends at camp. I was free and felt a connection to nature I wouldn’t understand for years. One night, we all gathered in the event hall for square dancing. Our p.e. teacher chose me to help teach a dance step. Initially, I was thrilled, but within minutes the room began to shrink and all the walls enclosed me and Mr. Morgan (I think was his name). I remember looking up and he was laughing, but something snapped inside. Everything was a shady blur and all I saw was this towering man, laughing at me.
Without a word, I took off running out the door and up a mountain. Fear had set in, and unlike the long nights at home, I made an attempt to escape. In my mind, I ran forever, though I’m sure someone caught me fast. I was hyperventilating, crying, and afraid of everything. Like the seizures I was having at the time, I would later collapse with exhaustion. Fear tires your soul.
I believe that to be my first anxiety attack. When my gym teacher grabbed my hand, then put his other hand on my shoulder, I panicked. He was a wonderful, kind man. He would never hurt me, but at this point in my life I began to believe all men hurt. Had I known I would instinctively react that way, I would have declined the invitation.
I wasn’t popular back then. I was a poor girl with seizures, emotional problems, and odd behaviors. No one asked why, and many never believed me back then. I was the girl time forgot, molested, beat down, and tortured. All around me his adoring friends bowed at his feet (literally, big bad bikers bowing I tell you), and I was alone.
I ran away from school grounds later that year. I stopped across the street and began talking to flowers. I have no recollection of our conversation, but I see me standing there, and I know I felt happy to be in their presence.
I still runaway to this day. When pain and fear rise, I hightail it out. Usually, I drive to a lake, the mountains, an ocean-any place in nature. You see, the beauty of earth was constant and never hurt me. It wrapped me in a warm embrace and welcomed me with a power beyond men.
I was weird, with horrible reasons behind the crazy people saw. I wish someone noticed or spoke up. There was no rescue for a couple years. There was living in basements, houses, rooms, then there was the return to his house. Always we went back. I couldn’t run or hide. I found new versions of me, and they helped us to survive.