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#191279 - 11/13/07 12:04 PM Cleaning Out the Attic
Stephen_5 Offline
BoD Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 09/12/00
Posts: 667
Loc: Northern California Foothills
I wrote this a couple of years ago at one of Mike Lew's retreats. I revisit it often to remind me of who I was, how small I was and how it wasn't my fault.

Steve

Cleaning Out the Attic


I was cleaning out the attic
of forty years of junk
when I came across some papers
and some old clothes in a trunk

There were bills marked paid and scraps
from so many years ago
and precious memorabilia
from where I didnít know

I came across an old green shirt
with patches on sleeves and chest
from Troop one forty four when I was twelve
and passed my first class test

It brought back angry memories
of innocence abused
of shame and humiliation
feelings of being used

That shirt made me so angry
I wanted to scream and shout
Then I looked again and saw
it was from such a little Scout

The shoulders were no wider
than a foot or so at most
He was a precious little boy
whose innocence was a ghost

He was young and not as big
as I remembered him to be
How could I think, either now or then,
that he could have broken free

Iím older now and wiser
but Iím still that little boy
who wants to love and be loved back
with innocence and joy

_________________________
I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center.
Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007)

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#191282 - 11/13/07 12:17 PM Re: Cleaning Out the Attic [Re: Stephen_5]
MarkK Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 04/02/07
Posts: 2502
Loc: Denver, CO
Steve,

Thank you for sharing this. It is very powerful - wonderfully written. And it states so clearly what I so needed to hear again.

Thank you.

M


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#192083 - 11/21/07 08:40 AM Re: Cleaning Out the Attic [Re: MarkK]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Steve,

I think that's one of the most powerful and and liberating things we can do to assure ourselves of our innocence - go to a big store, find the boys" department, and look at the the clothing sized for a boy of the age when things began to go bad for us. When we see how small that stuff really is, then, like you mention in your poem, it really become impossible to imagine how that kid could have been at fault in any way for what was happening to him.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#211743 - 03/19/08 05:40 PM Re: Cleaning Out the Attic [Re: roadrunner]
Stephen_5 Offline
BoD Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 09/12/00
Posts: 667
Loc: Northern California Foothills
I was thinking of this one today and thought I'd bump it back up.

Take good care of yourselves,

Steve

_________________________
I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center.
Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007)

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#211825 - 03/20/08 02:18 AM Re: Cleaning Out the Attic [Re: Stephen_5]
Freedom49 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/30/07
Posts: 2723
Loc: Washington State
For reasons I will not go into here but that John (walkingsouth) knows about this touched me deeply and I found myself crying after I read it. Thanks S 5


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#211827 - 03/20/08 02:24 AM Re: Cleaning Out the Attic [Re: Stephen_5]
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6857
Loc: USA
Thank you.

Your experience seems similar to mine.

I care.


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#211854 - 03/20/08 09:36 AM Re: Cleaning Out the Attic [Re: pufferfish]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA
Steve,

Since you bumped up your poem I want to share my own attic experience. My sisters and I were cleaning out our stuff from my parents' house, since they were moving to a smaller place all on one floor - good for them!

We kept finding pictures, and over and over again I saw me before the abuse began. I had thought that I was always a shy quiet kid withdrawn from friends, but the pics said otherwise. I was romping around, playing, smiling, laughing - just like any other boy.

It helped me a lot to see myself like that, though it also hurt to see the "after" pics and look at what the abuse had done to me.

Much love,
Larry

_________________________
Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

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#211871 - 03/20/08 12:25 PM Re: Cleaning Out the Attic [Re: Stephen_5]
pufferfish Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/26/08
Posts: 6857
Loc: USA
The picture of me in the avatar to the left was taken immediately after the abuse when I was 12.

The striped background to the picture is a target. The standard size of the target is 3 feet.

This allowed me to calculate my height at 12 at the time of the abuse.

I was 4 feet and 8 inches tall. I found a boy's size chart on the internet that said that I would have weighed 85 pounds at that size.

The T-shirt I had on in the picture had the logo of the boy scout summer camp.

The abuse there was absolutely cruel. Someday I'll put some details in my story.


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#211875 - 03/20/08 12:38 PM Re: Cleaning Out the Attic [Re: pufferfish]
Freedom49 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/30/07
Posts: 2723
Loc: Washington State
That would be good pufferfish. It would help you to write it and read and realize you made it through all of that. That kid four foot eight made it to where you are today. Your a survivor. Get it out and let the wounds heal. Your safe here.


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#211909 - 03/20/08 04:26 PM Re: Cleaning Out the Attic [Re: roadrunner]
Stephen_5 Offline
BoD Emeritus
MaleSurvivor
Registered: 09/12/00
Posts: 667
Loc: Northern California Foothills
Larry,

I've got very few pictures of me from the time that I was abused. I really don't remember much from that time or before for that matter. I always remembered what happened, in detail, but always from an eleven year olds point of view. Everything else faded in comparison to those flashes of memory I guess.

I've seen a few pictures from those years and I always looked moody and sullen and angry. In retrospect I wanted someone to notice that I was hurting but no one ever did. I still feel a bit different from others at work, maybe even aloof. I do a lot of R&D work on my own but have to depend on other people to do the processing. I have to keep reminding myself to look at my co-workers and engage them in conversations. I hate idle chit-chat. I started this job about 9 months ago after being retired for 2 years. I don't have any friends here and no one knows that I'm gay and have had a partner for almost 4 years now. No one asks me what I'm going to do on the weekend on Friday or what I did when I return to work on Monday. It's kind of lonely but I've only got a few more years to go and I'm going to retire again, for good this time.

Well, I'm on my own little rant here, huh?

Take good care of yourself,

Steve

_________________________
I want to stay as close to the edge as I can without going over. Out on the edge you see all kinds of things you can't see from the center.
Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007)

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#211913 - 03/20/08 04:38 PM Re: Cleaning Out the Attic [Re: Stephen_5]
KENKEN Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 09/25/07
Posts: 762
Loc: NOTHERN COLORADO
Steve,

Your poem sure brings back memories and sadness to me. These "little guys" endured so much, didn't they? How strong and courageous they were. My avatar is b/4 I was abused. I cannot bring myself at this healing stage to look at any pic's of me during the CSA.

I want that "little guy" to know we are going to make it to the finish line.

Ken

_________________________
I AM A GOOD PERSON, I AM A GOOD MAN

From the Movie: Antwone Fisher

***WOR ALUMNI SEQUOIA MARCH 2008***

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