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#442637 - 07/30/13 03:33 PM ground zero
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3493
Loc: somewhere in Africa
i am almost back to the place where it all began. in our travels, we have come back to a place close to the house and small town where the CSA happened to me - where it started and continued for 7 years. i am visiting my younger brother - who still lives in the area. i need to talk with him. it is going to be very difficult to make myself do that.

as we get nearer to the epicenter, my agitation increases - like the clicking of a Geiger counter. outwardly i appear composed and normal - but inwardly i am knotting up. i keep spacing out and losing the thread of the conversation.

i know that sooner or later we will be in that neighborhood and will have to drive by the house and the schools that were the backdrops to my later nightmares. i have been back there since - although it was a number of years ago. but then i had stalwart walls erected between my conscious mind and the memories and emotions. even though i knew that something had happened, i had it all under control - i thought. now those defensive bulwarks are gone. i don't know how i will react. i hope for something positive that i can take away. i picture myself walking alone to look at those buildings, those playgrounds and sports fields, venturing inside the school building to stand in the hall, maybe sitting for a while to think and maybe find some sort of resolution.

and in the barn just across the drive from this house where we are chatting around the dinner table ans showing photos of our kids to each other, i know there is a time bomb ticking away. out there are boxes full of old family snapshots. i intend to start mining that deposit of family history. God only knows what i will find there. hopefully some more lost memories, maybe some missing details, possibly something that will fill in some of the blanks. with any luck - no, i don't believe in luck - God willing - not sure how much i believe about how his will has anything to do with it either... anyway - i hope to reconnect with some missing parts of who i used to be.

and all that is the prelude to seeing mom and the half-brother again. i am feeling very lonely and very small.

lee
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


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#442641 - 07/30/13 03:48 PM Re: ground zero [Re: traveler]
Farmer Boy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 08/23/12
Posts: 442
Loc: Australia
Lee

I admire your bravery on the journey. You have always pressed forward with your recovery and with great results so far. There was pain along the way, yes. But the healing (or potential healing) is worth that risk. Don't you think?

You are not even slightly alone BTW! You have us right beside and behind you. Holding swords and baseball bats (whatever we can find) ready to protect you from anything that tries to harm you. We are your team.... your bodyguards. Find strength in that. We are all hoping you find the answers you are looking for.

Deep breaths (they do really work)

Lee
_________________________
More than meets the eye!

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#442664 - 07/30/13 07:00 PM Re: ground zero [Re: traveler]
DannyT Offline
Member

Registered: 09/14/03
Posts: 402
Lee,

Just remember:

1. You're no longer a victim. You're a survivor.
2. You're not being forced to do anything. This trip is your choice.
3. You're not small. You're strong.
4. The photos are not time bombs. They're just pictures you're choosing to see.

As the tough feelings arise, notice them, but don't engage. Just say, "I see nervousness arising in me, but I don't have to be nervous." Let the feelings just be part of the experience, not the whole thing, part of the show.

That might feel like repression, but it's not. Those feelings are the victim's reminders of old times long gone, not the time that is now.

Let the noticing give you strength to say, "it's OK that I feel these things. They're like the last waves of a big storm, only dangerous if I dive in. And I can choose to stay dry."

Best wishes!

Danny

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#442669 - 07/30/13 07:53 PM Re: ground zero [Re: traveler]
bodyguard8367 Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 05/16/12
Posts: 1159
Loc: ""
""


Edited by bodyguard8367 (02/27/14 06:28 PM)

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#442683 - 07/30/13 09:27 PM Re: ground zero [Re: traveler]
BraveFalcon Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/25/13
Posts: 1139
Loc: The ATL

Hi Lee. Wow, this is pretty intense stuff man. You can handle it though. You already survived all the terrible things that went on in that place so revisiting it while they are not going on should be a breeze by comparison. Just remember that. Nothing there can hurt you now, no matter how uncomfortable, painful and raw the memories my be. By having survived, you have already defeated whatever demons are there. You are returning not only as a survivor, but as a victor. Much like a general riding a warhorse into territory that his forces have overtaken and now occupy. You are bigger and stronger than anything that is in that place.

As always, keep us posted and let us know how things go. We are all here for you. Take care. Peace,

Ken

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#442687 - 07/30/13 10:01 PM Re: ground zero [Re: traveler]
focusedbody Offline


Registered: 02/03/13
Posts: 363
Loc: NY
Lee:

If you do find those missing parts, treat them with care. They need you.

FB
_________________________
Lose the drama; life is a poem.

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#442698 - 07/30/13 10:50 PM Re: ground zero [Re: traveler]
ThisMan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/22/13
Posts: 767
Loc: upper south
Lee,

You are not small. You are Lee. The man. The big guy. The fear is understandable because it is an unknown. You don't know what your reaction will be, but I also want to say it is a journey you have chosen to take. And you have a reason for doing so. You want to be whole.

I agree with the bros before me. Don't engage the fears, just acknowledge them. Take the deep breaths, relive the GOOD things you remember. When the time comes to go through the pictures, just do as many as you emotionally can at one time. There is no hurry, no rush. And always remember that your fellows are here to support you as you have for us so many times. Good luck on this leg of your journey. And angels.

bill
_________________________
For now we see through a glass, darkly.



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#442700 - 07/30/13 11:29 PM Re: ground zero [Re: traveler]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3493
Loc: somewhere in Africa
thank you all, my friends.

your words of support and encouragement help me resolve to finish what i am about to do and accept what i am about to learn.

i am sure it will be an intensely emotional time.
but i am determined to see it through.

i need to feel small and alone - because that is what little lee felt and i had lost touch with him.

i need to feel the fear - even though i know that no one can hurt me now. i owe it to my younger self to face the shadows of what he faced in reality.

i need to see and touch and be aware of where i came from and what made me who i am now.

i can do this - and i am so grateful for your confidence in me - and that i have you all to come back to.

lee
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


Top
#442733 - 07/31/13 07:17 AM Re: ground zero [Re: traveler]
peroperic2009 Offline
Moderator
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/09/11
Posts: 3618
Loc: South-East Europe
Hey Lee, it seems to me that lost boy is there already and you two are such good friends wink
Thanks for sharing with us such delicate feelings and thoughts.
I'm sure it will be healing experiences taking care for that boy around those hurtful memories.
My T told me recently: "you have to do it now, in past others let that boy down but now it is time for your adult side to take care for him and bring some joy to his life".
I must say that I love to repeat that from time to time picturing myself taking that boy into my arms and carrying him around.
I see that you are doing something similar wink

Pero
_________________________
My story

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#444321 - 08/14/13 06:50 PM Re: ground zero [Re: traveler]
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3493
Loc: somewhere in Africa
I went back.

Sorry this is so long - you don't have to read it all - but i had to write it all. There may be TRIGGERS for some - but it does end well!

This road trip that we are on has turned out so differently from what I expected. I didn’t plan on re-visiting the scenes of the crimes. But we were near the small town where it all began. We had been in the country outside the next town for a week visiting my brother’s family. We had ventured into this dreaded town a couple of times. I always braced myself in case I saw something or met someone that might be awkward or painful.

Several times a name brought back a difficult event. Once it was being introduced to a man with the same last name as the coach at the middle school who did nothing to stop the older jocks from bullying me during PE and in the locker room. The guy who runs the local ice cream shop is a relative of his. Once it was hearing of someone with the same last name as my “best friend” who lived down the street and sold me out to the bullies. When I inquired further, I learned that he is now a doctor in a neighboring community. Both these names are somewhat unusual and regional and ones that I have never encountered anywhere else. Both times I froze momentarily before carrying on as if nothing was wrong. Both times, I felt fear and shame starting to gain on me like ocean swells gaining speed and height – but I was able to quell the bad feelings by telling myself again that the shame was not mine. After the second incident, I decided that I would no longer allow “them” to have the power to control my feelings. I would not continue to live in fear and be intimidated by anyone I might meet. I would hold my head up and be proud that I had overcome the lousy treatment and had become a person that I can respect. It worked. The next time we were in town I did not feel like cringing and slinking around in the shadows. Was it really that simple? No – I could not have even made that decision a year ago.

I felt a tension the whole time we were there – a desire to avoid seeing things that were difficult reminders – which was pulling against the urge to go and face it once and for all. I was about to breathe a sigh of relief as we were leaving and started to drive past the exit to that town. And suddenly I felt the need to see those places again intentionally – the house where we lived, the elementary school, and the middle school.

Not much had changed. The tan brick two story school dominates the entire block. The playground equipment is still to the left in front of the single-floor K-1st wing. The two-plus-story curved wall topped with a granite band with the name carved in it like a tombstone squats in the middle fronting the stage inside that faces the gym. There is still no fence around the grounds. The playing fields still stretch to the right of the building to the boulder at the corner where the bigger, stronger and more confident boys played “king of the mountain” at recess.

I used to avoid those boys. I had little in common with them. They knew it – and that made me a likely target. And they were the ones who began the bullying during 5th grade that carried over into the middle school the following year.

I step inside the main door and just a few short steps took me into the gym. It has a balcony around it on three sides. At the far corner overhead on this side was my 5th grade room. That was the grade I was in when my best friend discovered my early bloomer status. A head start in puberty set me apart from my peers, made me an object of intense curiosity, and made me feel like a freak. It was in the boys room at the end of the upper hall across the gym just to the right of the stage where he and another of his friends took me to have a better look at me without pants and see how much bigger I was than them – and how much bigger I could get – with their “help.” The door to the locker room was diagonally across the gleaming wood floor – where I got bombarded in a game of “war” – the extreme version of dodge-ball that ended many scout troop meetings – and that gave me a concussion, two black eyes and a broken nose.

The principal, who is obviously proud of her school, chatters away, apologizing for evidence of the last-minute-before-school-starts maintenance projects cluttering the halls – assuming I was on a sentimental journey to re-live fond memories of a golden childhood – and never dreaming of the dark truths that my bland expression hid. I feel no need to go into any of the class rooms or the rest room or the locker room. I know exactly what they looked like back then. It doesn't matter what they look like now. The fact that my memory of the façade and gym look identical to the images in my mind confirms that I have remembered accurately.

Next stop is the red brick middle school. It is a newer building and has had an addition built on across the front. But the sides and back are essentially the same. The biggest change inside is that the school colors have changed – which had brought a new color scheme to the hall décor. All the lockers that were previously olive green are now bright red. I see the music room that holds one of the worst memories – of a mass verbal attack in class against me – and the multi-level room where the music teacher coached me for speech contest to try to raise my self-esteem. There are memories popping up that I haven’t recalled in years – but nothing that brings new trauma or re-opens old wounds. I see the gym that was the scene for so many humiliations. I see the bleachers where we sat to hear the announcement of JFK’s death. And at the far end i see the steps down to the locker room – setting of repeated individual and gang assaults – verbal, physical and sexual. There is tape across the open double door to the gym with a hand-lettered sign that forbids walking on the freshly-finished surface. I don’t need the warning. I don’t want to go there.

Behind the school is the sports field – with the track that I ran so often as punishment for not doing something well enough in P.E. and where i was further harassed and bullied during recess. Diagonally across from one back corner is the step-dad's house where we moved when he and mom married when I was 5 ½.

It is an orange-ish brick ranch house. It looks the same – except that the trim is painted dark brown instead of white and the tree in the front is much bigger. Of course, the house looks smaller than I remember. Just to the right of the front door is the window in the room that was my bedroom – where the nightmares began and continued for seven years. Across the hall is the bathroom where the step-dad gave me enemas because I was dirty and needed to be cleaned out. The end window is the parents’ bedroom – where most of the whippings took place. Any of the bushes or trees around the house were likely sources for switches, if he was not using a belt. There is a basement below the house where I had to shower with him when I was small and where he later made me undress him and look at him.

I stand in the middle of the intersection and gaze at the ordinary walls and windows. I feel somewhat let down. There is no dramatic onslaught of new memories or intense emotions. There is only a mild sensation of relief. I had prepared myself for triggers and flashbacks. The low-key gentle sadness is almost a disappointment. I am not sure what it means. Is that all there is? Maybe I am doing better than I had feared – or had dared to hope?

I am ready to leave. There are no more places that I fear to go and need to go. My wife asks me if I am OK. I say yes. She takes a photo of me well in front of the house. I appear to tower over it. I am ready to travel on...

lee
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


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