*photo taken by me of me with a piece of tape over my mouth word written “speak” about to be ripped off by me with make up tears running down my face.
Today I was searching for my blog online and I ran across the blog I wrote about Gatorland waterski show team. It was on google. It used to be the top of the page when searched but now their own facebook page is top of the google search. I looked at the page. On their cover page is my brother jumping the ski ramp. I knew right away. He has perfect form. I watched him jump that ramp a million times in the years we skied together. We skied in shows all over the United States. I learned how to ski when I was 4 years old. I had my last waterskiing job at Seaworld when I was 18 years old.
It was coincidental, although I don’t believe in coincidences, that my husband and I were out to dinner last night. The table next to us were discussing their trip to Costa Rica and I was immediately taken back to when I was 14 years old and the Gatorland ski team flew there to do a ski show. Then today I am looking at old familiar faces from 30 years ago.
Those faces knew I was being abused and let it happen. Upon learning the truth those faces did NOTHING. No lives changed. The world kept spinning as I was tossed off into oblivion.
My brother kept skiing with them.
A number of months ago he sold that house on that lake with the ski team. I went back to the house to say goodbye to that “world” in a blog titled “Journey back home.” I didn’t expect to see that lake ever again much less my brother who has not spoken to me for 3 years. Infact, I had come to terms with not even having a brother anymore.
I saw his face on the cover of that ski team’s facebook page and I was unable to breathe. I started shaking. I thought I was going to have a seizure. I kept saying outloud “ Please God say that is NOT my brother skiing with them again.” I even went in to ask my daughter, “ Is that Andy?” It was. It broke my heart. Seeing him skiing with them again after these 30 years, after selling the house, after my saying goodbye to the house and the memories (on my own), there he was.
I don’t know what upset me most. At first I thought it was related to him and the message I felt he was telling the world, the ski team, all of those that allowed me to be abused and stuck by the abuser, that I was not believed. Then, I thought, how can I be upset about someone that never stood by me anyway?
I truly could not breathe. I was having a panic attack. It was different than a PTSD episode. I was not used to this. I walked out of the house and just kept walking.
I walked farther than I have walked in 11 years. Nothing was in my mind. It was a blank slate. No flash backs. No memories. Nothing. Shock perhaps. As I walked back I saw the flower I had left in the road to take pictures earlier in the day and it was surreal, as if I had not even taken those pictures.
I sat in a chair in the garage where my husband repeatedly checked on me. I looked at my wheelchair and my motorized scooter being charged. I felt beaten and defeated and stupid for just mindlessly walking like that. My leg is not letting me forget how stupid it was as I type this.
I sat and pondered what I was so upset about. Seeing the faces of those who did not defend or protect me? That they get to keep skiing when I’ve just injured myself barely walking? That I fought so hard to be heard and protect any other girls from that team and felt like I had lost?
Then I flashed back to the picture of my brother and the gatorland ski team members now. There are all new members. Young kids, young teens. The child molester is still lurking around in the distance I am sure as those who were willing to sacrifice me for him are still there. But, instead of being panicked and worried for the girls there I began to wonder. Did I plant a seed? Do the other members and their parents know about what happened to me because I DID tell my story on my blog as well as painting it on the ski jump when I was 15 years old.
Watching my brother jump the ski jump that I painted when i was 15, “Billy Banks is a child molester. Protect your children,” would ofcourse be upsetting even 30 years later. I was being too hard on myself for not pinpointing why I was so upset. Any one of you could list 10 reasons even if you’ve never read this blog before.
Instead of being panicked and upset over why my brother has made the choices in his life, and the others on that team chose the way they did, I can hope. I can hope that maybe with the new team there will be the happiness my brother obviously felt so much that he could not leave it even with his sister was destroyed by members of it. I looked at his picture and he looked happy. Happy to be skiing with them still. All the young teens looked happy to be doing what I once loved so much.
I can only hope. Hope that those parents watch their girls. Hope that the happiness of performing and competition waterskiing does not come with the rape and molestation for any of them. I hope that all they get from being on that team is happiness. What more can I do?
I’ve spoken my truth. I can only hope for them.
*photo of me waterskiing (the angry face emoji is the home of the child molester)