I used to watch myself. I would be SCREAMING at me “SPEAK,” but I never did.
I didn’t speak when my babysitter used to throw me in the weeds in the lake and laugh because she knew it scared me. I didn’t speak when I got put in a locker in school and rammed into the lockers every chance that bully got. I didn’t speak when on the bus every single day I was called names, made fun of for my body, my hair, everything. “Mosquito legs….bad breath Breath-any, spaghetti legs.” Think everyone was bullied and I should just get over it? Well I haven’t yet because I never spoke. Relentless bullies every single day at school then at home. And I remember each one of you…Every word…Every action…
I didn’t speak.
I watched myself, shaking my head. “Why doesn’t she say something?!!!” but I never did.
I didn’t speak when the neighbor used to come over and throw me off the dock. He used to hang onto my shirt and lean me over the water and pretend he wouldn’t really drop me in. He was my father’s friend. I didn’t speak when he let go of my shirt and I fell into the cold water. I didn’t speak when my best girl friend touched me inappropriately. I didn’t speak when my mom’s friend’s children touched me inappropriately.
I watched myself thinking, ” Come on Bethany, just DO SOMETHING,” but I never did.
I didn’t speak about the men who knew I was being abused but did nothing. I didn’t speak when Billy Banks kissed my neck like only a lover does, when I was just 11 years old and him a married man with grown children. I didn’t speak when he layed on top of me or sat on me. I didn’t speak when at ski school another man did the same thing.
I often watched myself in these particular circumstances and wondered, “Will she ever speak? ”
I didn’t speak for the rest of my life. It didn’t matter if I didn’t want it. It didn’t matter if I disagreed with it. I just never spoke. Anyone looking at me knew. I did what others wanted. I sucked up my wishes and abided by others. They knew that I was paralyzed and couldn’t speak. They all knew what they were doing was wrong even if I never said a word. They all knew, I couldn’t speak. Every single person in my life knew, I had no voice.
I spoke to the animals. I spoke to the birds and the earth worms. I spoke to my dogs and cats. I spoke to the trees and the sky. I spoke to God and the angels. I knew I could speak to them. To everyone else, I was silent. Not of my own doing. I had been silenced and I had no idea how to regain my voice.
I used to watch myself. This is often called an out of body experience. My therapist calls it dissociation. It happens after trauma. I had repeated trauma by multiple people. In any of the experiences I had, someone could have spoken for me. Someone could have been my voice. Someone, anyone, just one person, could have saved me. No one did.
There is much talk about regret: When you are on your death bed, you don’t want to regret not telling someone you love them, or not telling someone you forgive them. This phrase is common. On my death bed, I don’t want to regret not finding my voice and speaking it to every last person who ever took something from me. Each person who stole a piece of me and robbed me of my voice. Every word I SHOULD have said but was to paralyzed to say, will now be said.
I no longer have to watch myself and wish I had a voice. All that silence, has memory. I hold every single person accountable for every action done against me, right now, this very moment.
My daughter asked me last night why my blog was titled NOT MY SECRET. Because the crimes committed against me are not mine. They are not my burden to bear, they are not my secret to hide. I was forced to keep secrets by bullies and pedophiles, by family and friends, my entire life. They aren’t my secrets. And the words will be spoken. The truth will be told. There will be no more watching the muted me. I will not be shushed or hushed. I will not be silenced by excuses, or time stamps, or cowards. I have only begun to tell my story. If you thought I would be silent forever, you thought wrong. Have a secret you forced me to keep, you better tell it yourself now because it is nolonger mine and I will hold it for you no longer.
I grew up in a very small town with a lot of secrets. All of them layered upon layered upon layered on top of me. I will keep silent no more.