If It Doesn’t Destroy You…

26 Jun

Years ago my mother asked me if her working so hard when we were young was worth it. It was a very unusual question because she isn’t someone who doubts herself very often and when she did, she generally wouldn’t come to me. I told her then that her sacrifice was worth it but I was lying. The truth is that back then I didn’t know. Growing up, both my parents worked super hard to take care of my siblings and I.  A lot of the things they had to do wasn’t apparent back then but with the eyes of an adult, I see how hard it must have been for them and I love them even more. One of the reasons I couldn’t give her an honest response was because I went through an experience as a child that no one should ever go through.

As is the case in most families I know, both parents work and most get nannies or “house-helps” to take care of their children at least during the day although it was more common to have live-in help. Usually a family would take in a girl or woman to help a young mother take care of her kids. The family would provide for the girl, send her to school and pay for her to follow whatever career path she chose. We had a few of these girls growing up as one would complete school and leave  then another would arrive. One particular nanny I hated for no good reason. I couldn’t understand why. Whenever she would come to our house, I would become this rude, aggressive person and it seemed like I had lost control of my body. Since my parents still had a good relationship with her at the time, she came over to our house often even after she finished school and left. I never shook her hand and when she tried to touch me I would lose my mind. Strong emotions have never been my forte and the magnitude of my loathing was immense. I couldn’t understand it and I genuinely thought I was going crazy. It didn’t make sense that I couldn’t hate someone so much and without reason.

As I turned 15, I remembered the things that happened eleven years earlier: when my parents would leave the house she would take me into the bathroom to ‘play house’. I remembered every single detail: lying on the bathroom floor with her on top of ,me, the cloying smell of the cleaning agent and the air freshener, the patterns on the bathroom ceiling formed by layers upon layers of repeated painting . Sometimes it would be in the bedroom where she would pull me under the covers, pull out my penis and place it inside her. I even remember the smell of her vagina privates. I felt like I was clothed and naked at the same time. I didn’t know what was happening but I knew it was bad. I was not supposed to talk about it – she made me swear after all. All these memories hit me at once like a lightning bolt and I was a wreck for a couple of years. The passage of time didn’t make it any better. I had to tell someone but I was scared. At this point I was also coming to the realization that I really liked boys and it wasn’t something that would go away. I thought of suicide all the time and made many plans of how I would carry it out. Eventually I told my mother about my childhood experiences but she didn’t say anything. She just looked at me like she wasn’t sure what to do with me. We have never talked about it since. To be honest, even though she didn’t help me the way I wanted her to (and I’m not even sure what I expected her to do), I don’t hate her though I realized that I may have blamed for awhile. So when she asked me that question, all I could think of was if she hadn’t been working so much, maybe the things that went down wouldn’t have happened to me, maybe I’d have been straight. I know it wasn’t her fault and she probably didn’t know what to say or do. It’s not like there’s a motherhood gene that prepares anyone for the possibility that they could have to help their child who has been sexually abused.

One of the biggest issues I faced with coming to terms with my homosexuality was that I could never be sure ifmaybe hug it arose from the fact that I was abused or whether this was the way I was meant to be all along. I tried church (many I might add), I tried therapy, I tried mind-over-matter, I prayed. The feelings stayed the same and there seemed to be nothing I could do to make them go away. Then I started meeting people, apparently straight guys who I could have (mostly) candid conversations with and some reported being abused as children but were clearly straight. I also met a lot of gay people and none of them reported ever being abused as kids. At this time, I finally began to come to terms with the fact that maybe I was always meant to be gay irrespective of what happened in my childhood.

If my mother were to ask me again if all her struggles was worth it, I’d say yes but now I’d be telling the truth. I have let go of the things that happened. It doesn’t mean that I’m over them because I am not and on some level I doubt that I ever will be. I have forgiven this lady for what she did to me. She was young herself and who knows if she too was once abused. Now I can fake-smile when I see her but I’m definitely not ready to fake-hug just yet.


Posted by on June 26, 2013 in Mind, Body and Soul


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

8 responses to “If It Doesn’t Destroy You…

  1. aguywithoutboxers

    June 26, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    A very honest and sincere reflection, my friend. I appreciate your courage in publicly sharing this aspect of your past that I imagine remains painful. You have overcome the denial and anger and emerged a stronger man. I salute you, buddy.

    You have always had my friendship and respect. If at all possible, I admire you even more now for your bravery and your openness.Hopefully, you have touched the life of another young person and by your example they, too, will survive the questions and the hurt.

    Much love and naked hugs!

    • D.C.

      July 2, 2013 at 11:13 pm

      Thank you! There are two things I have always wanted to write because of how much they affected me. Hopefully I’ll find the strength for the second one soon.

  2. ameliabishop

    June 26, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    Your story is so… just sad, and way too familiar. I also was sexually abused by a caregiver (babysitter) as a young child, and my mother also was dismissive when I told her about it years later. I think that that experience is one reason why I decided to stay home and raise my children, and why I never leave them with babysitters.
    I can also relate to the “fake-smile”, and the urge to do so. Why are we always so desperate to keep the hurt inside?
    I am glad that you are now comfortable with your own sexuality and I hope you continue to look forward in life with happiness and hope.

    • D.C.

      July 2, 2013 at 11:21 pm

      Thank you especially for sharing your own experiences and I hope your life continues to grow in happiness, strength and joy. Maybe on some level we all strive to be the perfect person our Facebook pictures project and admitting that we suffer such pain destroys that image. Maybe it’s just another tool of self-preservation. If I ever have kids and someone touches them inappropriately, I’ll be lucky not to end up in jail for what I’d do to them.

  3. Vincent

    June 27, 2013 at 2:17 pm

    what a tender, honest, powerful story. as much as you suffer/ed from the abuse that was inflicted upon you, the paradox is that–and all your experiences–make you into the strong, sensitive, good man that you are. our/my parents are not perfect. one of the harsh truths of my coming to terms with my own gayness is that, growing up, my parents didn’t/weren’t able to give me what i really needed from them, in coming to terms with myself, in being able to live a strong, powerful, free life. much of that ‘work’ i needed to do without their knowledge or support. why i or anyone is gay is a mystery (we don’t even know why/how anyone is ‘straight’). the task is to embrace the mystery of our living. all of it. and you, friend, are doing that.

    • D.C.

      July 3, 2013 at 12:42 am

      Thank you for your words of advice and for telling me about your own experiences. I do realize that some of the more unpleasant experiences I have had have strengthened me although occasionally I wish I could have learned the lessons through other means.

  4. angryricky

    July 4, 2013 at 11:14 pm


    • D.C.

      July 4, 2013 at 11:30 pm

      Thank you.


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