FICTION? #2 – NOT TODAY.

GUEST POST : James Knight


NOT TODAY.

By the age of 4, something was taken from me by force. I didn’t know what it was. They called it virginity.
It hurt, but I stayed strong.
By the age of 6, I lost most of my teeth in an accident. I thought they would grow back. They didn’t. They were already my permanents.
It hurt, but I stayed strong.
By the age of 8, the abuse escalated to a point bones were broken. Basic care was often refused, and injuries hidden.
It hurt, but I stayed strong.
By the age of 9, I knew all the tell-tale signs of drug users. My sense of normalcy became skewed.
It hurt, but I stayed strong.
By the age of 10 I stopped singing, I left the church choir after I wasn’t allowed to receive the sacrament of confirmation, because we were too poor to afford it.
It hurt, but I stayed strong.
By the age of 11 I lost my faith. My priest told me I had seduced evil, and had deserved what I received.
It hurt, but I stayed strong.
By the age of 12 I knew how to care for my much younger sibling, as we often found ourselves alone at home.
It hurt, but I stayed strong.
By the age of 13 I would start fainting. Medical care was a luxury, I mustn’t forget that.
It hurt, but I stayed strong.
By the age of 14 my abuser died. Horrifically. I celebrated his death, felt elated. Felt like a monster because I did…
It hurt, but I stayed strong.
By the age of 15 we were officially homeless. Dependant on the aid of the government and family, only to find both severely lacking.
It hurt, but I stayed strong.
By the age of 16 I fell in love, but I never learned how to talk. Never learned how to say ´´I love you´´. As such many things would remain unspoken.
It hurt, but I stayed strong.
By the age of 17 someone fell in love with me, but I couldn’t believe it when he told me he did.
It hurt, but I stayed strong.
By the age of 18 I would know the sting of betrayal, in part because I was incapable of warmth or intimacy. On the surface I looked indifferent, strong perhaps. On the inside I crumbled.
It hurt, but I stayed strong.
By the time I was of legal age, I felt exhausted…
By the age of 19 I moved cities. To put more distance between me and my past.
It hurt, but I stayed strong.
By the age of 21 I picked up life. I was close to my first graduation. My professor committed fraud out of jealousy, and altered my final score. It was uncovered too late. I lost a prestigious job offer because of it.
It hurt, but I stayed strong.
By the age of 22 I would be sick daily. Fainting often. I would be diagnosed wrongly.
It hurt, but I stayed strong.
By the age of 23 my first big project as a children’s book illustrator remained unpaid. I lost financial stability. I was forced to switch jobs.
It hurt, but I stayed strong.
By the age of 24 me and the life I carried within would be in danger during labor. Scar tissue prohibited a safe birth. I suffered severe physical trauma. The mental aspect once more, was left unspoken.
It hurt, but I stayed strong.
By the age of 25 I felt sick once more. The wrongly diagnosed illness had rendered my birth control useless. I was expecting twins.
It hurt, but I stayed strong.
By the age of 26 I would be bed-bound within the borders of the MIC (maternal intensive care unit) due to early labor. They came early. Critical condition. Months of NICU, surgeries. Followed by years of intensive therapy.
It hurt, but I stayed strong.
By the age of 27 they told me my children would be disabled for life.
It hurt, but I stayed strong.
By the age of 28 I would start slurring words. Spots on my brain, minor neurological damage. Cause possibly linked to trauma in early life.
It hurt, but I stayed strong.
By the age of 29 I would lose all my friends, and the only figure of stability during my childhood.
It hurt, but I stayed strong.
Only by the age of 30 was I diagnosed with C-PTSD. I started a therapy course.
I felt ashamed, but I stayed strong.
By the age of 31 I celebrated the holidays in a psychiatric hold. My kids thought mommy was on vacation without them.
I was ashamed. I was hurt. BUT I STAYED STRONG.
I came home after a few days. And I rebuilt myself. As I did, time and time again.
I NEVER GAVE UP.
Today, I am 32.
Today, I felt stronger than ever.
But then today, a doctor told me I would need a succession of life-altering surgeries soon, for yet another diagnosis…
I broke once I entered the safety of my car.
I cried once my sunglasses could hide my tears.
I drove, even though it sometimes feels like I’m going nowhere.
And then…
Then I started singing.
Because I remembered that I used to love it.
And I cried. Because I don’t want to be strong today.


 

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Photograph Credits : Source

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