Today is the traditional Thanksgiving holiday. It took me a long time to realize that my life is anything but traditional.
Our Thanksgiving holidays were centered around my grandmother and her home. Every family member had an understanding that we would gather there and bring our food, drinks, children, etc.
Long after my abuse ended and many years into my adult life, I would follow these traditions in the hopes that these horrible memories and feelings I had about myself would wash away with all of the love and attention that was going around at these gatherings.
It wasn’t until I was 48 years old, and I was in a rough spot in my life, did I realize how fake that all was. That is my story of being homeless due to job loss and no one in my family would help. This was not too long after my brother passed away and I totaled by car. A series of awful events.
Back to the holidays. We would hug and laugh and pretend that many awful things never happened. I wasn’t the only female in my family to be sexually abused. Several girls, before me, were abused by the same person. Regardless this perpetrator was always loved and supported by the rest of the family. Those of us who knew him as the evil person he was, basically had to suck it up and go along with the traditions to ensure that we would be loved also. A lot of his power was based on his money. There was also a need to “protect” his wife from what would be a devastating loss if he went to jail.
When my mother passed away last month, the perpetrator’s wife attended the funeral. She hugged me and asked how I was doing and said “I haven’t seen you in a long time”, as if there was no recollection of the recent past or the years of abuse. She knew about each person he molested after he did it and still chose him.
This was the most awkward moment of my life. What had changed was me. I was different. I was no longer able to fake it. I was no longer able to act as if “I” didn’t matter.
This past year, as I am struggling with PTSD, I’m just in dumfounded at how people continue to support and ignore the trauma created by family members.
I miss sitting at my grandmother’s table and hearing stories of what she did as a young girl. I miss my family hugging me and telling me they love me. But the truth is, that I shouldn’t. It’s not real.
I’ve decided to be the person who doesn’t support a child molester. I am the person who is going against the tide. Swimming upstream. Jumping off of a cliff. Because the generational cycles must be broken.
If it means no one likes me, then so be it. If it means I have to make up my own family members then so be it. I cannot and will not support those who support child molesters.
I want life to be different for my granddaughter and for her children, and their children. I want the cycle to stop with me. I’ll pay the tolls of speaking out so that maybe, just maybe, I can prevent a soul from being stolen from just one child.
Until next time – I am being MJ every day.