This is a fragment of my story.
I knew a lot when I was nine years old.
I was buried alive six years earlier. Forced into the future and then shut up in Silence; Sacrificed to Silence; Sacrificed because of Silence.
When I was nine years old, I tore up most of the few pictures of me from when I was younger. I got found out and didn't get to all of them, but after I stopped tearing them up, I came across a Polaroid snapshot of me at age six.
In the picture, I am standing next to a car, holding a bag of candy. It is fall and I am wearing a plaid jacket and matching cap. My blond hair hangs wedge-shaped across my forehead below the cap.
My mouth is set in a tight thin line. I was furious and afraid when that picture was taken. You can't really tell that I had just been crying hysterically. It was taken by a man my father worked with; we had stopped at his office on a shopping trip.
In 1958, Polaroids were a new and expensive thing. It was a generous gesture for this man to even offer to take my picture. I refused. I was petrified. After three years of being told that I was never to listen to anyone who was not my parent, this man told me to stand over there and smile.
I knew better. I had learned well and wouldn't budge. A great battle of wills ensued. I lost of course. After all, I was six years old, old enough to do what I was told without making a scene or crying like a baby.
The bag of candy was a bribe, but to me it was a lie and an insult. My parents made me do what a stranger said, what a man said, and I was humiliated, and scared and furious.
Once upon a time, you could see all that in my eyes in this photo. But when I was nine, I used a straight pin to remove the pupils in the picture. I couldn't destroy that one, but now no one could see or know what I felt and had been through.
I kept the straight pin for a long long time and years later I used it during a period of self mutilation I went through.
I was trying to bury the past. To cut all ties to it. At that point in time, I knew only that I knew things and had seen things and done things I wasn't supposed to. I remembered and feared my parents reactions to my sexual acting out, which by nine had pretty much stopped, but something new had happened and that is what led me to destroy and mutilate the pictures.
It was fourth grade. We had moved and the family doctor was no longer local, so it was determined that I would get my annual physical at school. I had no idea what was happening, and I totally freaked.
One day, they just marched all the boys down to the auditorium where a sort of mini-clinic had been set up with screens. I was told to undress down to my underwear and get in line.
I refused. When they asked me why, I told them my parents said I was never to remove my clothes in front of strangers, or other kids, or anyone unless they told me I should. They insisted, told me this was OK. I held my ground, but I was panicy and crying. The other boys called me a baby and who knows what else.
The nurse shook her head, and told me to get in line. When I went in to the doctor, he asked me why I was still dressed. I told him what I had told the nurses. He started the exam; eyes, ears, teeth, throat, heartbeat, breathing.
He told me to open my pants and pull them and my underwear down. Again I refused. He grabbed me by the waistband and began to pull on my belt to open it.
I must have dis-associated, because the next thing I remember is being yelled at about how I had embarassed my parents and how awful it was that now people thought there was something wrong with me and how they had to go and talk to someone at the school, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.
Nine years old, and I knew this would never end. Nine years old, and I knew I was on my own. One year later, I molested a six year old boy. Two years after that, I was raped by a 14 year old boy.
I knew a lot when I was nine years old.
If you understand everything, some things are just as they are. If you understand nothing, things are still just as they are.