There were snakes in the Garden of Eden, and there were snakes in the Garden of Eglon. The difference in storylines, however, is that I didn’t get a choice, to eat the fruit was forced on me…if someone where to ask me first I would have said, “I only eat apples flavored candy…the real things make me vomit.” (truth-lol)
I can see how life snowballed – right on up to that horrible day in 2013 when my soul fractured and splintered and I GAVE UP AND DIED – only to find I was still breathing. The hardest part? STILL BREATHING….IT IS NOT OVER YET. Stressors compiled like bricks stacked on my shoulders…and the spring that once moved me from step to step slowly lost its bounce…The resilience I had in my youth and the ability to shrug things off evaded me…and each additional ‘unfortunate event’ sat on my shoulders until I could hardly even stand upright. I took each successive blow like it was a direct reflection of my own character, even when they were not. My gait became depressed and slowed, and slowed, my self esteem floundered, and the weight got heavier and heavier until I couldn’t imagine taking another step. I prayed to not wake up. I always woke up.
Healing wouldn’t fully begin for me until I went back to where I had been planted-everything before then was running, thinking that this “past” wasn’t running right next to me, waiting for me to finally address it…When I showed up in Eglon this last winter, I was at my most defeated. Eglon (egg-lawn) is a biblical name. As an objective observer, just a girl who was hatched there – naming a town after a tyrannical King from the Book of Judges in the Bible, who oppressed and manipulated his people – naming the town after such a patriarch was almost like damning it to repeat history. And history will repeat itself if you let it.
In the Bible King Eglon was taken down by Othniel (he was the first judge – spelled like NIELsen 🙂 and Ehud – But in the Puget Sound, in a patriarchal world where boys will be boys and the dollar is an easier thing to worship than God because it speaks back with the quick-fix of comfort – perhaps much like in biblical times, there were snakes everywhere, and they LOOKED LIKE FRIENDS and THEY SEEMED LIKE PEOPLE YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO RESPECT….whispering friendly words into your ear, looking over their shoulder to make sure nobody was looking, shuffling funds and property and people around like chess pieces all the while offering you candy from the breast pocket of their gray suit…
Bearing witness to injustices that hurt people I love, but having no voice in which to stop it from happening was THE KEY to what haunted me about that town. I am LETTING IT GO. Those who hurt me directly, I confronted…those whose greed and selfishness and abuse of power manipulated and made possible the situations that hurt me and that tore a community and families into two divisive groups – the ripple effects still felt to this day? That’s not my story to tell. That story belongs to other survivors – if it is a story that will even ever be told… But I feel alleviated from the guilt I carried for so many years. For Chris…for Lisa…for those that died…I won’t be the third to die wondering “what if I don’t say something…” I was afraid I was going to die…but it turns out I SAID SOMETHING INSTEAD. And now I can BREATHE.
Freedom is…letting go. Not knowing if you made any difference is anti-climactic. But knowing you did what you need to do in order to have peace with self? Stop beating self up so much? Stop blaming self for things self has have no right feeling responsible for? That is priceless. That is where my freedom lies. I think of my friend Linda…she says “Put things at the foot of the cross.” And I put it all there. I put Eglon there, my family, my friends, my LIFE…
What’s next God?
When I first began going to therapy and seeing Jessica, it was the first time I was openly talking about being molested…and what happened those mornings before school or while at the church. Before then I had only ever tried to belittle it (as when I went to adults for help I was told I was overreacting, silly, and TO NEVER TALK ABOUT IT BECAUSE HE IS A GOOD FAMILY FRIEND AND WE DON’T WANT TO GET HIM IN TROUBLE. So I ignored it, I swept it under the rug, and I did as those around me did: PRETENDED IT DIDN’T HAPPEN. Pretending it didn’t happen was crazy making...because then I SAW IT HAPPEN MORE BUT COULD DO NOTHING TO PROTECT MY FRIENDS…
Learning the basics of psychology, what disassociation is…the psychological effects of said things, the propensity to then self medicate…the re victimization many childhood survivors are prone to due to HAVING BEEN TAUGHT TO IGNORE THE SCREAMING OF THEIR GUT WHICH IN TURN CREATES PROBLEMS IN BOUNDARY SETTING….on and on…I FINALLY FOUND MY VOICE. ITS NOT AS BRAVE AS YOU THINK IT IS…BUT I FOUND IT. AND IN TURN I HAVE LEARNED BOUNDARIES…NOW I’M AN ELECTRIC FENCE…DON’T CROSS UNINVITED – THAT IS A WARNING.
Why don’t we teach psychology in grade school?