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Friday, June 27, 2014

For Moira...

Abuse.

 
Even the word makes me sick to my stomach to look at.

The “b” look like a fat potbelly on an unkempt pedophile.

 

While it happened to me as a child, I kept quiet as I was taught. They would take us away, separate us, my sisters and me. That’s what we were told. If we talked, we would be spread out like dust.
As I grew older, I mentioned it to a few people – maybe as an excuse for my own strange behavior, maybe as a warning. Eventually, I stopped talking about it. I even stopped writing about it, not to hide it, but because so much of it I had already dealt with.
Occasionally, I am asked about it, but it’s rare. It’s also very private.
Today, I watched so much of the word explode in front of a friend of mine. Her family, too, had done so many hideous and disgusting things to her and her brother.

When she and I first met, we commiserated over our upbringings. Both our abusers had been calculating and maniacal. Both our oppressors had died before we could stand up to them. Both of us were able to talk to others about it, but it wasn’t known to the world at large.

But her story was different.

Her mother was famous. Her mother was revered. Her mother was Marion Zimmer Bradley.

 
 

When these horrific abuses originally happened to me and I was racing towards adulthood, I felt like I was scurrying about, sorting events in my mind like moving boxes, trying to understand the contents, where to put them, how to deal with them, trying mostly to not open them, just so I could function in the world. My critics were those just outside the rim of my life: co-workers, classmates, people who knew about me, but not of me.
People fell away from me because I was too scattered, too forgetful, too wrapped in a world that no longer was happening to me. Watching people leave or simply having them disappear was terrifying. I spent years still being emotionally 12 years old because I could not move beyond it.
I did. Thankfully. But I did it with only the barest of people knowing the depths of what happened.
My friend, she braces as her world is cut open, the insides that have begun to heal are examined by the whole world. None of her critics will be around to sew together what they are now so carelessly tearing apart.
Most of what’s been published about the abuses against her, I had known for years. She had been very frank with me, even all those years ago. Then, she seemed more fragile, too close to what had happened to be able to take on people outside who might condemn her, the victim, for not doing something bigger, more, or different; for forcing the shock of reality to stare down their fantasies. She still was rubbing shoulders with her mother’s death and the impending implosion of her marriage. She could not have taken anyone else on.
All these years later, she’s finally talking – not yelling, not screaming, not banging on doors. She simply wrote about it, responded to questions.

I take that back.

I don’t think it was simple.

I’ve read her responses, her own comments. I think she’s thought about this. I think she knew one day this was coming. I think she was prepared. I think when the questions were asked, she finally knew what she wanted to say about it and how she wanted to say.
She wasn’t calculating. She had just finally dealt with it. She knew why she didn’t go public with the information originally. She knew why she was comfortable doing so now. She knew that her past was not going to change. She knew that talking about might change someone else’s future.

 I’m proud of what she’s doing. Her voice, subtle and gentle, invites others to say the things we’ve been taught to hide, to come out of the corners where we were told to go, and to lighten the world around us so there are no more monsters lingering under our beds.

 

 

 


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1 comment:

  1. Cass, just a brief note to say that my wife (Deirdre Saoirse Moen, who published Moira's account) and I are greatly impressed by Moira's strength, poise, intelligence, and character.

    Best Regards,
    Rick Moen
    rick@linuxmafia.com

    ReplyDelete