Sometimes the family stories take an unexpected turn down a road thick with fog. As the day wears on, the sun burns away the haze, erasing the difference between the teller and the told. Memories run from the squint of the sun’s discerning eye and try to sleep away the light in a devil dark sanctuary but rays of truth seep through the cracks in my foundation. The tales start telling themselves.These are the stories that hide in my gut and cling to the walls of my stomach and threaten to pull my organs free of my body with every word. They are the tellings that will twist me in terror and leave me for dead, the stories that sit empty on my tongue and hold my hand hostage, cramping every finger as the pain bleeds through the pen.
I’m still writing away the loneliness and fear of my childhood, still looking for the distraction that will erase time, the story that will end in the happily ever after of acceptance. But the taste of sin can still steal my appetite for life, as if there is some sweet center that I haven’t tasted yet. I keep looking for the AHA experience that brings understanding and release. Where once my memories were bold in their power, proud and arrogant, a dark but absolute truth, they are now deadly dull companions, parasites clinging with labored breath.
Families flock to the field to free the devil from the day’s deceptions
Chilling chants call the children to the fire that burns the night bright
Mothers whirling wild in wizard white robes
While fathers flesh the bone from the blood
In the deep of the dark
I watch my father
Wild with the weakness of his will
Stand soul bare, flesh flaming
Singing out to Satan
While he strips me to the stone
I fly from the frenzy to the tips of the trees
Peaceful in my perch
I leave the listening and the knowing
In a land that’s nowhere to be found
And in the moment of telling, there it is, the AHA moment. The tears come and with them the release. Ritual abuse is still a deep taboo we can’t bear to look at. For me, these taboos were the stones in my pockets that weighted me down as I struggled to reach the surface in a river of secret shames. I quickly learned as a child that to speak of such things resulted in isolation. It was the beginning of a life time of being discredited by my parents so that the sickness that ate away at the family soul would never be found out. Such secrets, especially the ones that make us turn away in embarrassment and discomfort, are the very ones that must be told. As Anais Nin says, “Stories are the only enchantment possible, for when we begin to see our suffering as a story, we are saved.”
It is time to behave my beliefs. My life is the choice I make in each moment and in this moment I choose to brush the past off like cobwebs, blowing away the dusty demons with a full deep breath. I choose to inhale a future of possibility. I can begin my life over again.