I Remember…

My earliest memories are of pain, violence, drunkenness, sexual abuse, instability, helplessness and fear.

  • I remember attending more than 25 schools between elementary and high school
  • I remember living in almost 30 houses/apartments
  • I remember unending instability
  • I remember when I was about 5 my former stepfather Pete taking a huge steel meat tenderizer and smashing it into my stepfather Rick’s head while my mother screamed
  • I remember when the police came and described in detail to my mother how Pete had nearly killed Rick
  • I remember when I was four coming back home after a few days away when mum had a fight with my stepfather and hearing him explain that he had to get rid of the puppies we got for Christmas because he didn’t know if mum was ever bringing us back
  • I remember staying in a women’s shelter with mum and my sister
  • I remember finding my step-father’s hidden pornography when I was six
  • I remember seeing my mum beaten by various men…many times
  • I remember her blackeyes, her swollen face, her torn lip
  • I remember the words men would call my mum – slut, whore, cunt, bitch…every word was a punch to her gut and ours
  • I remember being invisible
  • I remember no father
  • I remember seeing my aunt throw a heavy glass ash tray into her boyfriend’s head.
  • I remember seeing the blood pour down his face as he fell to the ground (I was 12)
  • I remember having to call the police (many times)
  • I remember crying and screaming until I couldn’t speak anymore
  • I remember being afraid all of the time
  • I remember being in kindergarten and having a boy in grade 6 kick me square between the legs so hard it lifted me off the ground.
  • I remember going home that day and peeing a pure stream of blood that felt like fire
  • I remember being rushed to the hospital for double- hernia surgery
  • I remember hiding under my bed
  • I remember being poor and words like welfare, mother’s allowance and provincial housing
  • I remember all of the adults being drunk and fighting all of the time
  • I remember as a child watching them throw-up; I remember seeing them passed out on the floor
  • I remember the police coming to our door regularly
  • I remember watching my step-father being arrested and shoved into a police car
  • I remember my sister telling me our stepfather’s mum had gone to Residential School
  • I remember her saying that he carried that trauma with him into our lives
  • I remember my mother crying almost daily
  • I remember her several threats and attempts at suicide while we were alone with her
  • I remember having to call an ambulance after she took pills
  • I remember hearing words like “stomach pumped” and not knowing what it meant
  • I remember when a neighbour stole mum’s tax return money and I remember her rage
  • I remember walking in on someone close to me being sexually abused
  • I remember having to describe it to my mum and then the police
  • I remember being sexually abused by a male babysitter when I was four
  • I remember being taken away from mum and sent to a foster home alone
  • I remember being sent to another foster home with my sister Angel but separated from Susan
  • I remember telling my guidance councillor in Grade 7 about wanting to be an Astronomer and being told to “aim lower”
  • I remember mum screaming – all. the. time.
  • I remember wanting to kill myself everyday for a long time; then a few times a week; then a few times a month…now only a few times a year
  • I remember being repeatedly sexually abused, multiple times a week for more than two years straight by a man I was supposed to trust
  • I remember being sexually abused by my priest when I told him I was thinking about the priesthood
  • I remember when my sister’s best friend was hit by a car walking to school when she was five suffering severe brain damage
  • I remember being bullied every single day at school from grade five to grade nine
  • I remember witnessing a man jump from a high rise apartment and land across the street in front of me. I remember running over thinking there might still be a chance. I remember turning him over to attempt CPR and my hand going through the meat and tendons of his destroyed leg. I remember his eyes – they were blue with a grey film over them. I remember jumping every time I heard a loud noise for months after.
  • I remember the damage this has done to most of my relationships
  • I remember by therapist telling me I should see about being evaluated for ADHD
  • I remember no knowing what to do with that as a 54 year old man
  • I remember more…

This is my trauma. I will be 55-years-old next year and this is still my trauma. I hate being reminded about it. I hate talking about it because every time I do I feel re-victimized and re-traumatized. But it is real. It happened. It is still happening inside of me and it still affects the people around me.

This is why I keep people at a distance. This is why I struggle to trust. This is why I prefer the anonymity of the crowd over the intimacy of the individual.

One thought on “I Remember…

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