November 16, 2021
My mother told me I was a very happy child until I turned 5 years old. She didn’t know what happened but she observed something in me changed. I was to learn what happened when I was in my late 30s undergoing intense EMDR therapy to recover from the traumatic event of childhood rape. All future trauma events including the rape, were re-touching this earlier place and engraining patterns of fear-based thinking I had adopted about myself. When I unraveled almost all darkness holding me hostage, I found it all led back to this ONE Moment in Time.
I lived in an apartment complex in Brockton arranged as lots of 4 buildings in square formations with a courtyard in the middle of each square where kids could play in a grassy area. A paved path encircled the grassland where you could walk and ride bikes. I learned to ride my first bike on that path at age 3. My mother’s rule was I allowed to play outside so long as I remained in the confines of the courtyard.
There was an older girl named Louise who lived in my square who I looked up to very much. She wanted to go to another courtyard where my friend Heather I met at kindergarten lived. I asked my mother if I could go. She liked Louise too and knew I admired her. She agreed to entrust me to her care and off we went.
We played for a while in Heather’s courtyard and then Louise wanted to venture into the woods behind Heather’s building. I remember peering into the woods and getting a very bad feeling inside of myself. It was called Intuition. I did not want to go. It looked scary to me and I remembered my mother’s rule not to ever venture outside the courtyards. I didn’t have many rules as a child but I remember that one.
Heather seemed excited and curious about the woods and wanted to go. The second bad feeling then happened inside of me. I was ashamed that I was afraid. I did not want to let the girls know how I felt so I mentioned my mother said I was never to go outside the courtyard. The girls did not seem to hear me or didn’t care. They started venturing down the embankment into the woods. I was left standing all by myself.
The third bad feeling suddenly washed over me. I had a choice and I had to make it NOW. Pressure. The choice was to follow the girls into the woods or be left behind all by myself, which frightened me even more than being with the girls in the woods. I ran down the embankment to catch up to them. This would be a future pattern appearing in my life… not listening to my intuition… being more afraid of being left out or alone than putting myself in bad situations.
We traveled for a while through the woods and I began to relax. Nothing seemed very scary. We eventually got to a break in the woods and came out into this big open field. I was grateful to be in this place of expansion and light and open air flowing. It was so much better than the dark, cramped, wetland woods.
There was a warn looking building off in the distance. Louise knew all about it. She was happy to go visit the hens that lived inside of it. When we got to the hen house, Louise opened the door and the smell was horrific coming out of it. The girls ventured inside and the fourth bad feeling came over me. I comprehended we were going into someone else’s property and I did not like that. I knew I would not want someone in my house bothering my hens. I was suddenly conscious that I was left standing outside where I could be seen by people driving by on the road in the distance and became gripped with fear of being caught. I went inside feeling like I was safe if I was unseen, a belief that can still hold me hostage today.
I thought I could breathe and relax when I got inside but instead I couldn’t wait to get out of there. I held my breath because the smell was so bad. I could feel this intense pressure building inside of me as each second passed waiting for the girls to tire of their little adventure playing with the hens, which I had no desire to do. There was so many of them and they were clacking away and running towards me and I wasn’t sure if they would hurt me or not. They did not seem happy to see us.
I thought for sure I would feel a sense of relief as soon as we got outside. How wrong I was! The minute we stepped outside a long, black car was parked at the side of the road. A man got out of the driver side. He was dressed in a black suit and he had an orange head but I did not see his face. A woman then got out of the passenger side. She was wearing a long white flowing gown with long white blond hair and she looked like a ghost. They started running towards us and were yelling in anger. The girls started to run back into the woods from where we came. I was so much smaller than both of them and I could not keep up. I looked back as I ran and the man’s orange hair and large facial features caused me to believe that a screaming, scary jack-o-lantern and a real ghost lady were coming after us. I was terrified!
I watched the distance between me and the girls growing and growing as I ran. I looked back and the Halloween people were still chasing us. I began to cry and scream to the girls believing I would be captured. The girls looked back and realized I was not going to make it on my own. They circled back and each grabbed one of my arms and began sprinting for the woods at their pace. My legs were bouncing off the ground with a foot hitting the ground occasionally between bounces. I bounced so hard at once point, my shoe came off. We did not stop to retrieve it.
On top of the emotional trauma, I suffered injuries running without a shoe through wooded land that was rocky, filled with fallen trees and branches, and uneven marshy wetness causing my ankles to buckle when stepping on soft spots covered by leaves. I was a mess by the time we made it back to Heather’s courtyard.
The terror did not leave me just because we were now safe. I still had to face my mother in this condition, all because “I” broke her rule. An unforgiveable offense to my soul, one I had paid dearly for repeatedly with each new intensified fear-filled feeling. I now knew why it was a rule. Here is where I learned to be unforgivably hard on myself.
When Louise and I got back to my apartment, I could not even talk. The feelings of guilt inside of me for not listening to my mother and the traumatic outcome brought me such unspeakable sadness. I loved her so very much. I did not want her to be mad at me or worry about me. My mother was a worry wart and when she was in that state, I was in that state feeling intense emotions of fear in my chest. Thankfully, Louise did all the talking. After all, she had been the one in charge of my care.
I was so traumatized, I can remember I could not speak for days without my throat hurting in deep sadness. In fact, I got very sick and I missed school. For years, I tried to make sense that perhaps it was Halloween and those people were dressed in costumes, but it just did not compute with the fact that Louise brought me home my Valentine’s Day cards since I missed school. I now believe my state of trauma caused me to see things that were more scarier than they were. One too many fear based emotions and I overloaded.
I remember Louise trying to make me happy with the Valentine’s Day cards. I can still remember her look of shame of responsibility on her face when she saw me in such a bad physical state. I owned her shame too. I did not like to feel her pain and I felt it deeply as she was trying to encourage me to talk with her. I perceived that if I felt better, it would make her feel better and she would not have as much guilt. I remember trying to push my deep sadness deeper down inside myself, so I could be what she needed me to be…
Happier and Healthier
The only thing that made me feel better was the loving touch of my mother when she cared for my sickness. Somehow I knew she still loved me because of her tenderness but I thought I had lost it and deserved to. I spent many, many years of my life trying to prove my own self worth and lovability. I learned through my EMDR rape recovery that I was loveable and forgivable and even became aware of trusting my Intuition.
As I was undergoing this intensive EMDR treatment, I dumped on my mom emotionally about my remembrance of this story and how much it had bothered me internally. She said she knew exactly what I was talking about with the long black car that used to drive around. She said the reason it was the rule not to leave the courtyard was because a girl had gotten raped in the neighborhood. How ironic I should learn this as I was recovering from my own rape.
The silver lining to this story is… I did the work and EMDR was worth it! I can allow myself to enjoy physical touch with another human being today and not cringe inside and hold my breath. I was formerly known as the family member who it was painful to give a hug to. They could feel it in me… Don’t touch me.
I am still striving for Happier and Healthier at the age of 52. Today, I trust my Intuition. I also have LOTS of Moments in Time to be grateful for that make my soul happy. My goal is to keep creating more of them and continue to work towards Healthier so I can be around to do so!