Do you know what its like to stare at tulips?

Do you know what its like to stare at tulips? Tulips. They’re out of season. They’re beautiful. They remind me of me and my mom planting them in a bird feeder when was twelve. They remind me of happy memories in a time when there was no happiness. A time when my childhood, my innocence was stolen.

This is a piece I’ve wanted to write for years but never had the balls to. I look back at that bird feeder, with my mother, who is my favorite person, when was 12, and I wish I could have told her about my life. About my grandfather. Her father.

Earlier tonight a beautiful man brought me beautiful flowers. He made me feel wanted. Special. Like a woman. And my first memory was me and my mom planting tulips. And I remember crying. And I remember her asking why.

At 30, I can finally say why.

I sit here and wonder if I should write this. If Im doing the right thing for me And then I remind myself of me at 12, and remember that there are other little girls out there and I am assured that I am. And my 12 year old self cries as she applauds me.

He ruined my life. He knew he had when he told me he had and he took pride in it. He ruined it further when he told me I couldn’t tell anyone. He ruined it when he told me I was pretty so it was my fault. He ruined it when he told me my dad would go to jail if I said anything because he would kill him and it would be his fault. It would be my fault. He ruined it further when he had the audacity to ask a 12 year old if I enjoyed it and told me to own my sexuality at 12. He ruins it now as I realize it has taken a bottle and a half of wine to write this and even further when I hear my psychiatrists words tell me I need to be on xanax for the rest of my life. He ruins it the worst when I need to text my mother at 4:30 am and ask her permission to write this because I don’t want to hurt her.

I have taken so many breaks already in writing this that I question why I am and then I am reminded again of my psychiatrists words. I’ve had my tattoo sleeve less than 2 weeks and already Im questioned. “What happened to you that you feel the need to do this?” “What did you go through?”

Its a simple answer. I went through hell.  As a child I went through hell at the hands of family. Somebody who was supposed to protect me and help me and lead me.  And instead he delivered me to hell.  And whats worse is now being an adult. Having people call me a liar. And having family members keep his picture on their walls. And having those family members expect me to deal with it because he did nothing to them. So I should deal with it right?

I should deal with it when friends drop casual jokes. Rape jokes. Assault jokes. Im a woman. I should get past it right? Because I’ve grown up. Because people are silly and don’t realize the implications with a flippant joke about assault. I should know that and forgive. Im too sensitive. I should get past it. I should learn to adapt and live and let go. Right? Goes back to exactly what my assailant said. Let it go. Its no big deal right:? It happens all the time.

I won’t let it go. I will never let it go again. As I pour myself another glass of wine because thats what it takes to get through this and I think back to the first person I had ever told when I was 16, I realize I will never and can never let it go. And why the fuck should I?

To make you feel better? So you don’t have to question if feminism is a real thing? So you don’t have to question if statistically women deal with the percentage that 1 out of  5 will be attacked within her lifetime? And that 3 out of 5 of those women will never report it? So you don’t have to feel bad about that percentage?  So you can continue living within your ignorance and continue to make jokes because they make you feel like a man?  So you can ignore your friends, your family, Your sisters, Your nieces, Your mom, Your aunt, your grandmother?

I hate myself for writing this but more than that I hate him. I hate that I can’t look at tulips without wondering. I hate that he has had an affect on every relationship I’ve ever had without wondering if he’s a good man. I hate that I can’t see these tulips and only see the man that washed my hair for me yesterday and brought me flowers because I deserved them.

The net time you even think of making a joke, look in the god damn mirror and ask yourself if you’re part of the problem. Ask yourself if your mother, your sister, your friend, your girlfriend, your wife; .. can look at tulips.

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