Searching for an apartment can be equal parts exciting and miserable. While visiting various shoe box apartments I have come to realize just how popular loft beds are in Paris. I’d like it to be known that I hate loft beds. A strange grievance, I know, but let me explain-
Throughout my life, I have tried time and again to be “normal” in spite of my past. The thought of sharing what I have deemed the ‘unshareable’ threatens my core drive for upholding a facade of normalcy.
Years before Paris and shoebox apartments I had a light wood Ikea loft bed that I picked out myself. One night, no different from so many others, a disembodied voice shouted my name from down the hall. I was always asleep but even in the deepest dream, the sound of this voice brings me to.
The bed was 7 feet tall and the ceiling was 8. But being so high made me feel untouchable. I laid staring at the dark ceiling that I could touch with my barely outstretched hand.
“If only I stay completely still, it will stop,” I thought to myself and prayed for the silence to remain.
Despite my willful thinking, the sound of my name filled the darkness once more, as it always did. I knew what I was supposed to do, but It never got easier. I descended the ladder of my untouchably tall bed. In the bed, I was safe, high above the ground free to dream about the world and what my life could be beyond these walls. But on the climb down as my body moved through the motions my mind was in a panic anticipating what was to come.
I sank deeper into myself as my hands trembled and made my way through the dark towards my bedroom door. I left my body and became a shell, still feeling the pain, disgust, and humiliation.
Knowing this was to come, I placed my hand on the door, entered the hallway and arrived at the master bedroom.
“Take off your clothes and lay down.”
I was forced to endure from years of training by way of insults and physical torture. I watched from above as my body silently cried as it was violated.
Once he was done, he brought me to the side of his bed and forced me to kneel beside him and pray. He started to cry, or pretend to.
“Please God help me to stop doing this. Please, please, please!” said my father into the darkness.
“Please God help me to stop doing this. Please, please, please!” said my father into the darkness. But, he didn’t stop.
The younger me, who lived in perpetual fear would have benefited greatly, had this new era of strength and empowerment come sooner. Having endured this without any framework or community, I am grateful to be alive and semi-functional.
With time I have made small strides to come to terms with the torture of my past. But what matters most, is that now I am safe. I no longer need to ascend the ladder of my tall loft bed because I am at last free.
Exposing my truth to you all is the antithesis of easy. My heart is racing faster than the shooting stars I once used to wish upon, that I could be a part of another family. My eyes are as soaked as they were when the man that is supposed to set the bar for all the men in my life, would rape and with no remorse for years. But I can feel the weight of a billion secrets being lifted from my trembling frame with every word.
My question is this: Can I take a place at the Me Too table and share my abuse without fear of disgust and isolation? Would transparency and sharing help me heal? If you knew me, how would you treat me? How can we support my healing and the healing of women like me? There are many of us.
In this new era of speaking your truth and the Me Too movement, I feel both empowered and unworthy. As groups of survivors share their stories with friends and strangers alike they are met with understanding, unity, and healing. I fear that my truth would be met with disgust or maybe confusion and I will be forced to slink back into the dark place that I know too well.
I have watched as a wave of comfort and acceptance has embraced the courageous souls that have come forward with their tales. I accept them and offer an ear and my condolences for the pieces of them that were taken. Because I of all people understand, for I have few pieces left.
In no way do I wish to downplay or hierarchize assault experiences, but I see no support or awareness for victims of my severity. I am an incest survivor, and it is a lonely existence. While, rape, nonconsensual, and victim have become common buzzwords in media, universities and our everyday lives incest is still unmentionable. I am speaking to all of you who didn’t realize the number of people who are victims of incest and to you who have been on the receiving end of this atrocity. I am a survivor. We are survivors and we deserve to have space made so we can be heard.