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Little One

Mist Bound

Mist Bound used by permission of Jim Dollar Photography

I met another of my selves today.  I’m not sure why she came to me and asked for me to acknowledge her.  She and I had been watching a program that had to do with our Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), but I hadn’t known that she was watching.  In this program, they were covering the subject of how memories eek out from an alter self into the main self.  That must have been one of the triggers.  Perhaps she had watched from behind my eyes and said, “I think I can make that happen and then she will feel what I have felt and be aware of me.”  This is my paraphrasing of what she sent to me with feelings, because she didn’t have much language, her being a very teeny-tiny, young thing.

Perhaps another trigger for this new (who is really an old) self, is that I am in a space that I consider to be a safer space now.  Emotionally, I am in an environment where I can comfortably BE.  Where I can be my selves, even my crazy selves, and there is no judgment or ridicule or fear.  This Little One, and I’ve just now decided that this is what I’m going to call her, was brave enough to try to make contact with me.  She trusted me enough to tell me a little bit about herself, and what she is always feeling while existing as an emotional placeholder, deep down inside my inner being.

All of my Others use emotions to speak with me.  This so much more efficient than words.  Since they are inside of me, it’s easier for them to send forth a billowing burst of feeling into whatever conscious awareness holds the part of me that is speaking to you now.  When I become aware of communication from them, I turn my attention inwards.  I send back emanations, mainly in the form of questions, until I get back the affirmation that I have recognized and understood what they are trying to say.  They don’t say, “Yes, that’s it!” with words.  It’s more as if a feeling of peace settles into me when I come into alignment with them.  They somehow know when what they are feeling and trying to get across, and the receiving space in which I am dwelling, are One.  It’s a key fitting into a lock; a river finding its banks; a child latching on to and suckling the breast of its mother.

In this instance, I guess that I am The Mother, truly, because this entity is one of the infants who holds for me some of the memories and experiences of the child that I was.  I have become the default mother to all of the children inside of me.  Whatever the reason, this particular child either needed to come forth, or trusted me to be in a stable enough place to allow her to come forth.  What she has to tell me is not pleasant, or fun.  I guess that we both have to be in a place of readiness for any connection to be made and information exchanged, and somehow, this morning, as I lay sleeping in a bedroom that is still new to me – that happened.

For as far back as the me who is speaking to you now can remember, I was aware of this vague memory.  It wasn’t a comfortable memory, and it had formed at a time when my brain really wasn’t yet good at making memories, forming words, or being exactly aware of the mysterious workings of all of my physical surroundings.

Here’s the memory:  I am very young.  Perhaps, a toddler.  Perhaps, not yet even able to walk.  I am on my stomach sleeping with my butt in the air.  I keep waking up because I have this feeling of exposure and fear.  Every time I wake up, this image comes into my mind of a giant hand that is so big that it looks literally like the Hand of God.  This hand is so powerful that it reaches down from the sky, through the ceiling, and into the bedroom where I am lying.  I know that if I lie with my butt exposed like this, I am in danger from this hand because it will descend, hook it’s thumb up into my butt – and lift me up, off of the bed.

That was it.  That was all that I had.  I had always believed it to be some irrational sort of creative imaginings on my part.  I’d even been amused by the ability that my child self had to come up with things like this to worry about.  There was this deeper sort of nagging feeling about it, but I pushed it aside as we humans are wont to do.

Last night as I was dreaming, Little One came forward and she reached out into my consciousness and took my symbolic hand in her small one, pulling me into her experiential memories.  She took my awareness and melded herself into it and she showed me new images, expanded me into her Feeling Self.  What she showed me was this:

She and I are One Being lying upon the bed in the mobile home where we live.  It’s the middle bed in the center of the home.  We can see the cheap paneling of the walls, the open doorway, and the open window with the curtain billowing about with an entering breeze.  It is daylight and we are trying to nap.  We like to sleep on our stomach, with our knees drawn up under us.  This is the position that we find the most comfortable – but, this position causes our butt to be exposed, sticking up in the air.  This fact makes us panic.  Our little heart flutters with fear.  Lying vulnerable like this is a bad and dangerous thing.  We somehow know this.  The image of a hand coming down is in our mind, and we know that hands come down and lift us up.  We can clearly see the hand, but it stops at the elbow and seems to float, disembodied, in the air.  We know that we need to sleep on our side, no matter whether or not this is the most comfortable for us.  At least it is more comfortable than feeling the slight parting of the cheeks of our buttocks that leave our anus open and vulnerable when we are on our belly.

Falling asleep, we keep waking up in a panic, realizing that we’ve rolled to our tummy again.  Each time we awaken with racing heart, we look to the open door and plop down, forcing our butt onto it’s side, pointing toward the window.  We know that this is the safe way to turn.  Toward the window, not the door!

Over and over again, we keep waking up, adrenalin pumping as we find ourselves on our tummy.  Scared, frustrated, we stubbornly keep flopping down on our side, practicing this new style of sleeping, butt to the safety of the window.  We are very determined and we know that we CAN eventually learn to sleep this way and not leave ourselves open to the terror of the giant hand.

The Me of today, woke up in the middle of this remembering, sharing this panicked, frantic, frightened state.  Every neuron and cell of my being seemed to be activated into a highly aware state and I felt like screaming out – crying for help; doing all of the things that she had not been able to do for us as a little, baby child.

Feeling Skeleton Man knocking at the door of my consciousness, I knew that my body was about to shut down and go into a state of catatonia.  The last time that one of my really young selves had come forward, I had been hospitalized for days, unable to function or regain control of my body.  Realizing that I was in trouble, I picked up the phone and started dialing.  That’s what I do.  It’s one of my tools.

I don’t have just one person to call, I have a network.  These people are my adopted family and they know about my disorder and the problems it brings, and they will come to help me if I need it.  I always have a running list in my head of which friends are available at which times, what their work schedules and familial obligations are, and whether or not they are in any current crises themselves.  I call until I get someone.  I just keep calling with the most logical person first in the call line.  While I’m doing this, I have this expectation that I will find someone, and I have this absolute certainty that there are people out there who love me and who will come.  It is such a blessing and a relief to have a life built with people like this in it!

I appreciate them, and I am cognizant of the fact that I have a responsibility to honor their own lives and feelings, and not to overwhelm them or trouble them when they have been otherwise drained of resources.  “It takes a village,” I’m fond of saying, “to take care of The Deneen!”  There’s more truth to that than I sometimes want to admit; but I’m okay with it.  It’s how things are, and it doesn’t make my life a bad or negative thing.  In a way, it’s turned my life into a fantastic and wonderful, on-going miracle.  It’s given me the opportunity to let people love me, to allow them to be the hero and come to my rescue and feel good about themselves, and to allow me to feel good about them in return.

On this day, the person who picked up the phone first was my new housemate.  She was at work, but she usually has access to her phone and can pick up quickly.  When I heard her voice, I dissolved.  I tried to speak – but couldn’t.  My sobs kept coming forth and overwhelming me, and there was copious snot and drool from where I’d lost control of my body as Skeleton Man and Shaky Girl knocked at the door of my consciousness, making me aware that they thought it was time to put my body down.  I fought.  I fought to stay present and to maintain control.  I talked.  I spoke to these Selves and tried to convince them that we could get through this without shutting down – but they are Me, so they know me too well, and knew that I had doubts about my own assertions.

It’s a very hard fight!  It’s like trying to move while being underwater with weights applied, and while getting no air and not knowing how to walk.

My friend had known that I needed someone, so had left her job to come home to see what was wrong in-person, since I hadn’t been able to speak when on the phone.  As I forced myself to grow calmer, and when I’d concentrated enough to regain control of my body, I began telling her about what had happened to me, and what I had remembered.  She sat on our couch and put her arms about me and held me tightly and said, “Well, you know that you are in a safe space here.  None of that is happening now.  Now, you are with me in the present moment, and you are safe.  We don’t let people hurt people here.  No body hurts babies here.  You are safe, the baby is safe, and no one is going to hurt either of you.”  Just hearing that brought forth so much peace inside of me, and I could relax a bit.

After blabbering on about all of the things that Little One had shown me, I moved on to subjects  about various things that had happened to women of my family via not only my father, but other male family members as well.  My roomie listened with rapt attention.  “I never knew anybody”, she said, “who was molested when I was growing up.”

“Well it is common,” I say.  “Some statistics report  that at least one in every four women are raped or molested.  And that’s reported statistics.”

“Four?” she repeated with her thick English accent.  “One in four?  That’s a lot!  What the hell is wrong with you Mountain People?”

I’m aware that this phenomenon is not limited to Mountain People, or  Southern people.  Having stated that, however, I must concur that it is quite prevalent in the culture from which I come.  Not only that, but in the culture of my experience, it was okay to laugh about things such as this memory of mine, and this image that my mind holds of a gargantuan hand coming from the sky and through the ceiling, all for the purpose of sticking a thumb up the ass of the infant me and lift her, by this method, up, off of the bed.

Another example of this misplaced humor revolves around one of the first kisses that I ever received.  There was a friend of the family who was a little younger than myself whose house my family often visited.  I quickly learned that to get caught in a room or hallway alone by him was not necessarily a good thing.  If there was an accidental meeting, he would glance around to see whether or not we were alone.  If the coast was clear, he’d look at me and break out into a big grin, pregnant with meaning, and close in on me.  My natural reaction was always to freeze.  I’m not sure why I always froze whenever men approached me to get use from my body.  Something inside of me figured that this was the safest, best, most expected response.  My survival self kicked in, and it told me that what I was to do in order to survive was to freeze – and often, dissociate.

This boy would trap me up against whatever wall was available, closing-in until I was pressed flat, arms at my side, or his holding onto one arm with one hand and pressing his body forcefully against me to trap the other one between us.  He would bring his face in, close to mine and start talking dirty as one hand would grip hold of my skirt and methodically gather the fabric until he could slide his hand underneath, fumbling around trying to make his way inside panties with hard, sausage fingers that hurt the delicate tissues of my vulva.  I wonder now if he thought that we was being sexy.  I wonder what in our environment made him think that this was the way to treat women, that this was an okay thing to do.

The boy wasn’t bad looking and he had these big, really ironically soft brown eyes with some of the longest dark lashes that I’ve seen to this day.  I would be reticent if I did not admit that there was also a certain element of thrill and danger that came into my being whenever he was around, and as I tried avoiding him in the hallway, watching closely, attempting to dart, unseen, through the house.  At those times, survival adrenalin would send a rush to my system.

When I was caught, there was usually no kissing, because I would turn my head to the side and he’d have to chase my lips with his, and he was far more interested in what his hands were doing.  One day, where the kissing is concerned, I was very unlucky!  Before I could get my head to the side, he trapped my mouth with his own, and the minute that he gained access to my lips, he shoved a thick and slimy tongue into my mouth.  The sliminess was enhanced by the fact that he’d enjoyed one of his favorite foods right before accosting me.  An onion sandwich!  I have to say that, hands down, this tops my list as my GROSSEST kiss EVER – and I’ve accidentally had a dog’s tongue slipped into my mouth, so it’s not as if I don’t have anything with which to compare it.

This all was complicated by the fact that my Mother was sitting outside waiting for me to emerge from the house.  The fact that everyone else was out and in the car made it easier for him to trap me alone.  I was in a hurry, and I was grossed out, and he was being particularly aggressive.  As I struggled to pull away from him, I fought waves of nausea, and his fingers raked across my body as I slid down the wall, pushing at his hands and making my break for it.

As I hit the door, I automatically slowed down to a regular, walking pace so that nobody would notice that anything was wrong.  After all, I was out in the open now and in no danger.  I could still taste and feel the impression that his tongue had left in my mouth and feel where his fingers had been on my body.  I didn’t like it, and I thought about ways that I might be able to make this stop.

“Well,” I thought to myself, “maybe your mother would be upset if she knew what was happening.  Maybe she would protect you.  Maybe she would make it stop.  Maybe you should talk to her about it.”  I decided to give it a try.  I began to staunch my reserve and I think my heart beat even faster than it had when I’d been trapped against the wall only a few minutes before.  My mother didn’t talk about troublesome issues.  She did sometimes talk about sex – but mostly in the vein of what kinds of it were sinful.  I wasn’t sure how she would react to what I was about to reveal so I decided to go with an “opener”.

“Guess what!” I exclaim.

“What?”  I have the attention of everyone in the car; my mother, my siblings.

“I just got kissed.”

“You did?”

“Yes.  I got caught and pushed up against the wall and kissed.”

My siblings gasp and announce, “I’ll bet I know who kissed you!”

The boy is named amongst squeals and giggles.

“Yes!” I exclaim, feigning an absent lightness in my being.  “It was really, really gross!  He had been eating an onion sandwich!”

My sisters dissolve in gales of laughter.  “OOOHHHH!  An onion sandwich?”

My mother is laughing along with them.

“I didn’t like it, it was gross.”

“So-and-So likes Deneen, So-and-So likes Deneen!”  The sing-song chant fills the car.  My heart sinks.  They aren’t getting it, that it’s not a GOOD thing that So-and-So likes Deneen.  It’s really NOT a good thing!

Now, I’m aware of the fact that there is a huge difference in a boy my age feeling me up and taking a kiss, whether against my will or not, and the sexual abuse of a small child, and I’m not trying to equate those two things at all.  There are, however, common elements flowing through these acts.  One of those is exemplified by the reactions of the people from the family of my origins when they are told stories involving improprieties.

Here is a classic example:  The boy who used to trap me has a sister who is also friends with my family.  She and I have spoken about various experiences that we have had with men and sex, and about how and what we were taught as young women.  Even as sensitive as she is about these issues, she still laughed when I related to her the story of my memory, and how my baby self was worried about having a thumb hook up her ass and lift her from the bed.  I think the fact that this image is one that seems to invite ridicule is one reason that I’ve had trouble exploring it.

Phone tucked under my chin, my friend on the other end of it giggling about my recent revelations, I call out playfully to my housemate.  “Hey, I’m trying to tell her about my memory and she is laughing at me!”  I’m kind of uncomfortably laughing, too, because…well, that’s what we do, many of us Southern Women of Georgia.  We don’t want to face the pain and discomfort.  We don’t know what to do with those things – so, we laugh to break the tension.  It’s a learned response.

“Laughing!” exclaims my English friend.  “That’s nothing to be laughing about!  There’s nothing funny about it!  We don’t do that to babies!  We don’t pick babies up by sticking our thumbs up their bums and she shouldn’t be laughing; there’s nothing funny about it!”

Bless you, My Friend!  You’re right.  We shouldn’t treat babies like that.  – And you’re also right, that in spite of the old, conditioned, uncomfortable giggling of my friend and myself, there is nothing funny about it

“We don‘t treat babies that way – and there’s nothing funny about it.”  Please, let this be the new covenant for my descendants.

“We don’t treat babies that way.”

What about my Little One?  What do I do with the baby inside of me who is so frightened, so panicked?  All that I know to do is to go inside my consciousness and hold her and rock and tell her that she can sleep any old way she wants.  To tell her that there are no mean hands that can penetrate the ceilings of our safe little house.  Where I am now, where I have brought her to be with me, we don’t treat babies that way – cause that’s wrong.   And whether you’re trapped on your own bed as an infant, or against the wall of someone else’s home when you’re a teenager, in spite of the learned laughter of culture, there’s really nothing at all funny about it.

Some things are just very hard to unlearn.  After all, at night, even in our safe little house, Little One and I, we still sleep on our side.

These girls use their musical talents to battle Child Abuse: Someone’s Sister

Here are some links to actual statistics regarding sexual abuse:

Child Sexual Abuse Statistics

College Statistics of One In Four

Sexual Abuse of Women:  Explanations

Statistics of Sexual Abuse

Sexual Abuse Victim Breakdowns

With special thanks to: Jim Dollar Photography

And to: Mike Bernier, whose gentle ear, over many hours, made the telling of this tale possible

Posted in Dissociative Identity Disorder, My Life Today, My Personalities, Where Am I Now?.

Tagged with , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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