I just realized that ten years have passed. Ten years have passed since I last felt disgusting and filthy in my own bed. Ten years have passed since I hated my body so much I wanted to tear off my skin. Ten years have passed since my step father last touched me. Ten years have passed.
I'm emotionally fucked for all eternity. This I know. But I didn't do this to myself, and it didn't happen because being emo was a fad in high school. I wasn't depressed and messed up for shits and giggles, I didn't do it for attention, and it wasn't because it was “hip” or “cool.” From the age of nine up until I was twelve-years-old, my stepfather came into my room every night to touch, to rape, and to humiliate me. And every day I would go by as if nothing had happen. Every day I would hate myself more and more for saying nothing. Every night I would fight with sleep and wake up in the middle of the night to have it happen again. And every day I didn't know what to do. I didn't know what to say. I didn't know how to stop it. I didn't know I could.
My innocence was stolen from me when I was 9. My voice and my self-esteem and self-respect went with it. Little by little I built myself back up and slowly but surely I worked to be sane again. He came fewer and fewer times after I had begun menstruating. He came even less when I had begun to lose massive amounts of weight. And then he finally stopped. A year passed and no more late-night visits. But I would still scream in the middle of the night, I would still wake up sweating and crying, clinging on to my clothes, praying. Mentally I was caged. He had torn me apart from the outside in and out again.
At that point I had lost so much weight that my friends became concerned. I was gaunt, and frail, and terribly sick. I was forced to go to my counselor's office and there she coaxed out what I had been wanting to say for years. “Does your father touch you?” “Yes.” I was such a mess. At that time a hurricane had blown through Puerto Rico and we had only heard from half of our family. The other half, we didnt know if they were ok. (In the end, the entire family was fine.) But I was worried out of my mind. I was 13, but my nerves were shot. Add that to sleepless nights and a constant fear and well, I was slowly killing myself. I had tried to commit suicide the year before, but I just couldn't come to terms with that. This seemed easier.
I am now twenty-two. I have not seen my stepfather since I was 13 only because he committed suicide a week after I confessed to my counselor. C.I.D. had removed him from our house and he had been staying with some friends. He drove off for work that morning only to be found in his car dying from self-inflicted poisoning. He had drunk a bottle of some cleaner that I don't remember.
My mother found his diary about a year or two after we had moved back to Texas. He had written saying that he felt like he had done nothing wrong, that all he ever did was teach me. And I remembered that every night he would tell me that all he was doing was teaching me. That I needed to learn. I don't know what he thought he was teaching a 9, 10, 11 year-old, but he can't teach anyone else anymore.
One thing I know for certain is that I am strong. I much stronger than he is and I will continue to be strong. I was not the coward. I was not the one who committed suicide. I faced my fear and beat it, and even though there are nights where I still cry out for help, I am ok.
It has been ten years since my childhood disappeared. It has been ten years since I knew I could survive.