This life has taught me
To tow the line quiet
Surrendering into time,
Because incidents rewind
With a mind of their own.
And so sturdy, we row the
Rapid patterns of the
We stay in tune with each
Separate quest. Observance.
Steady. Doing the work
That leans against the
Thick breath of the herd.
We are divergent, ominous,
Everything formed in us,
Powered by a self love so
Infinite that it becomes a
Hurricane of pounding rain.
Pay the penance. Confess
The wicked deeds, on your
Knees, in Biblical instruction.
Make a list, to remind you
Of your confession. This is
Your way. You must ask
For forgiveness. It is not
For us to be freely giving.
Reckoning has many faces,
Unexpected veils and illusions
That become intrusions
Appearing in most leaving
Unprepared affected, the
Egoist off kilter, inside the
Self righteous fodder of an
Imaginary, sadistic Father.
Fear the fray that is sewn
Back together, for it is able
To bear the weight of many
Lives. It turns swiftly, gaining
Strength and paving ways.
When this thing is unleashed
Like water slathered on polished
Floors it is impossible to cross,
Breaking bones in the falls, we
Will shatter lies like falling logs,
Because we are The Walk,
In our own Body, always on
The Move, distantly watching you.
With un-shattered minds
We will fully rewind time.
“All my life I’ve had to fight.” Sophia, The Color Purple
One year after leaving an abusive cult where we have spent our childhood merely surviving, my sister and I curl up on a second-hand couch in a mobile home sitting on a Tennessee, small-town trailer park, and we weep together as we watch “The Color Purple.”
It will be the below scene that will stick in our minds forever. When we become adults, we will smile together, softly making fun of ourselves, recalling how real the separation anxiety and fear of abandonment was for us.
This movie scene will make my brother’s face come into my view, time and time again, a nine-year-old little boy clinging to my father’s legs as our mother pulls him away. The sheer helplessness in my father’s eyes will never leave my peripheral vision. I will hear my brother’s screams echoing inside of Sophia’s words. I will see the white blonde of his sweaty hair pasted to his forehead, the redness in his cheeks and the shuddering of his heaving shoulders from so many sobs.
This movie scene will remind me of Prins Samuel, a man from India, who came to the cult in the early 80’s and took a liking to my teenage, older sister. Terrified that she would be taken back to India, I write in my memoir, “Cult Child”, about the afternoon Prins and his travel companion come knocking at our cabin door.
“I pick up my book to read for a while when there is suddenly a loud banging on the door. It’s louder than usual, but I ignore it for Leis to answer. The banging continues so I go to the top of the ladder. Leis is at the door with her back pressed up against it. She signals to me with her finger to her lips.
“Who is it?” I say in a loud whisper.
“These two guys from India who are here visiting. Prins and Max. Shhhh! I’ll tell you in a minute.” She whispers back.
We stay silent as the men continue to knock, and I lay flat against the floor of the loft peeking down as one of them cups their eyes with their hands to look inside our cabin through the bay window.”“Cult Child” excerpt
Body memories come in waves, signaled by rapid heart beats and sweaty palms. I recall ducking down the cult compound pathways with my sister and avoiding the men from India at every turn. The days they were visiting seemed endless. We worried. We hid. We were terrified of being separated.
So many moments in an abused child’s life are filled with the anxiety of abandonment and separation. As a child, my sister was my only lifeline. If she was taken away, my last strand of feeling any severance of “protection” would have been erased. In abusive situations, when the children are removed from the abuse environment, keeping children together is crucial, unless one of the children is harming the others, of course. Abused children can create a deep bond with one another; a bond which helps them survive. Separating them becomes an additional wound.
In my song, Capable, I write:
“See ever since I arrived I’ve been fighting to keep all the pieces alive; from drowning.”
To live a life of fighting is exhausting for a child. I was already exhausted physically, psychologically and emotionally by the time I was a teenager. This is part of why abuse victims struggle so much when they become adults.
Imagine you begin working at three years old. You rise before dawn to do field work. You work all day until you go to bed at night. Your sleep is often interrupted and limited to 4/5 hours a night. Riddled inside of these grueling work days you are also subjected to physical and emotional abuse, neglect, sexual molestation and extreme mind controlling beliefs. Additionally, you witness this same abuse happening to other children.
Imagine spending your whole childhood fighting to process every moment of your day. In later years, I can tell you, that you will want to sleep for hours, days, weeks, months and sometimes years. You will want to somehow rest your mind, but by the time you get to a place in your life where you can rest, your mind won’t be able to sleep anymore due to its inability to expel the insomnia that years of trauma memories create.
If the first eighteen years of your life are filled with fighting to survive, by the time you enter society after high school, when you should be excited about starting your independent life, you are already very tired. When you reach fifty-years-old, the cusp of your life, you feel as if you are seventy-years-old in spirit. That’s the weariness which sets over the mind, body and soul of an abused human being.
No child should ever begin their life fighting through environmental combat battles day in and day out. They fight to protect their mind until adults break it and fill it with their own ideals. Children fight to have just a voice, a choice, an opinion or any respect in their little lives. They are often brushed off by adults and the system and not even considered an actual “person” until they become eighteen.
Yet, they are people. Children are individual little beings, who have entered this planetary dimension with their own unique DNA.
Everything my siblings and I did was a “representation” of our mother, according to her. When I fucked up and became incarcerated at the age of eighteen, she wept embarrassingly in the visiting room…. EVERY TIME SHE CAME!
“Where did I go wrong? How can you do this to me?” My mother lamented.
Ah, the sweet scent of martyrdom, almost confessing before blaming me. In my lowest moments, she somehow succeeded in always making them about her own failures, failures she never really ever identified, though. If she walked the edge of accountability, it was only in private and always to her own advantage, vauge and hollow.
To hear my mother tell it, I was the “wild child“; the “black sheep” of the family. I had always been the difficult one, the loud one. You know, the youngest ones usually are, she’d say. Enter her fake lipsticked smile and an invisible hand to the forehead in angst.
In my soon-to-be-released sequel to my memoir, Cult Child, which is entitled Rise Of Sila, the totality of my mother’s psychosis emerges, manifesting sad remnants of a cult that starved her and snatched her mind the moment she stepped foot onto their first compound.
All her life my mother fought. All her life my grandmother fought. Into my Moravian ancestry, women fought to survive, working themselves into death, sick in body and shattered in soul. This is why I decided to stop fighting. I had to break the generational trauma of lives filled with suffering. Why I stopped fighting is a multifaceted thing.
I stopped fighting because I cannot win. I stopped fighting because I don’t want to win.
Who was I fighting? Everyone, including myself.
Why was I fighting? Fear. Fear of abandonment, loss and hurt.
Most humans fight out of sheer fear.
I’m a major Game Of Thrones addict. Arya Stark is one of my favorite characters. The child in me relates to everything about her journey in this series. She was born having to fight. She lived having to fight.
In one season, Arya finds herself inside of the arena of the faceless man. He teaches her to become no one. She becomes blind so that she can see everything. She spends days, hours, minutes, fighting off her inner demons and rage, and when she is finished, she emerges as a mighty warrior, able to wield her slender sword with exact precisions. She develops the ability to become the very person she must eliminate. She becomes a woman wearing her emotions like a badge of honor, yet still, she understands that being no one is the true way of the warrior.
I am nobody. Nobody is perfect. Therefore I am perfect.
All of my childhood and a large part of my adulthood, I felt like a “nobody”, the kind of nobody who was lower than the swamp. My mind battered my own existence in deep ways. My thoughts told me I was destined to be an overweight food addict all of my life. I believed I was a “Jezebel” just like the cult pedophiles had described us young girls. To myself I was not worthy of anything good. I would never “have” anything good. I would never “be” anything good.
Then one day, I just stopped in my tracks. I had no more energy left to keep fighting. I had to make a choice. I turned to myself. I looked at the “nobody” that I am.
I explored her and I learned so much. What was I trying to win at? Being me? Who was I? I had to go faceless. I was fighting no one. I re-defined my understanding of what it truly meant to be “nobody.”
I dove into myself blindly.
Straight into the bottom of my own nothingness I sank. Do you know what is inside of the dark matter of yourself? Let me tell you, loves. There is infinite possibility. You will fight the darkness fiercely at first. That’s what you’re used to. Fighting. Your whole life you’ve done it. You’ve been separated from yourself, trying to win a war with no one.
The truth is, we are actually ever morphing, infite streams of something. I stopped fighting because without me fighting, I had no one to fight with. Everything I projected outward was really about my innards. Faceless, I roamed my own hallways. I left slain apparitions in the dark corners, lighting them on fire as I passed.
It takes two or more to tango, and so I merged every one of my inner enemies into my nothingness. They evaporated inside of me and became one with my existence. Without me fighting, they don’t have to hide. Together we stand in the Light of truth.
When I accepted that I was no one, I realized I am all of me.
I am everything I observe and absorb. Now, I dance with all of it; the fear, the danger, the anger and the evil. I dance it into my own joy and worth. More can be eliminated in synced-together movements, than in the brutality of battles and war. If this isn’t clear to you yet, stop fighting. Stop trying to win. Be still for a while. Observe yourself.
Stand within your nothingness so you can be all of who you are. Inside the nothingness there is no need for validation. Worry dissipates. Fear gets sucked into your self love. Anger expresses its pain, processing itself inside the brilliance of your confidence.
I ceased fighting, and now, standing in the silence of the nothing, I hear everything.
I sit in the silence
of a million swirling thoughts.
I don’t accept this separation, and
I chew on the assumptions
like they are the last supper.
I see ghosts pass me,
they flatter me by choice;
their words swirling like
raindrops that make my hair moist.
I am alive with decisions
as the voices whisper,
calling me to stay on path,
”don’t get side tracked.”,
and I listen intently.
I kneel beside a flower.
She is starting to die.
I hold her lovingly
as her petals cry.
I wish to breathe for
every fish that has expired;
wish to Love for
every soul weary and tired.
I open my arms to
receive the Moon.
I am spiraling sunlight
where my skin is anew.
I let Love become me.
I am one with the leaves.
I look into the Mirror
to see the divinity in me.
There is a world around us.
It breathes and weeps.
It is filled with open wounds
from the pain that seeps.
Unable to feel hate only
which give way to forgiveness;
as I step through the gate
where Love awaits.
I hold moments in my palms
like diamonds of time
that teach me to smile
so the rough waters will calm.
I wash tears with compassion,
sprinkle relief on lowered faces,
I am passing out rations,
a taste of a new day.
I am touching momentary madness,
turning it into sanity,
where the children skip,
and the sadness becomes happy.
You bathe me in acceptance,
and for the first time ever,
awakened to my worth,
where actions blend with words;
where beauty comes
in forms of laughter
like alabaster bath houses,
where the skin is released
into the steaming sea;
where we Love freely;
because time has gifted us
walk with me beside the ocean.
it’s been a while since we’ve spoken,
and i was hoping we could remember,
the days when we danced together.
(written in 2011)
Where do I go when I float?
Away from the frayed tentacles
Of memories and ligaments,
Strained from twisting, turning,
Child, they said, this hurts me
More than it hurts you. No.
I go back to moments and sit,
Quiet inside the hopelessness it’s
Good to remember this; to never forget
Lest I leave behind the reasons why
I fight until my brows ache.
You got lucky if you didn’t get raped.
It takes the soul away; flight, it
Wanders in dark nights and mires,
Like quicksand, it is the hand of
Every time we were violated
Again and again and again.
Rock with the sadness, my loves.
Hold it bravely in your tender arms,
Like a baby you can re-love the child;
The defiled despair living there
In the core that is shattered and torn.
Fly with the visions, sweet thrivers,
Take back your mind. Release the ghosts.
You are not that anymore; not the
Forgotten child in the chains
Of monsters and madness. No.
You face yourself in the mirror;
Command the past and swaddle
It into the depth of your soft heart.
The rain is folding in waves against the windows. I close my eyes into moments of lull. In the intricate weaving of life, a flow emerges. Remain steady. Stand ready. I am swaying on cusps, seeing into futures, and I delight at the hope before me. This choice I have been given, to live a life of noticing the smallest things, is the most precious gem I hold. My gold is woven in possibilities and endless patterns of emerging change. Sunsets have no ends nor sunrise beginnings. It is an infinite timelessness merging days into slow minutes. Everything can change in an instant. Tides turn as I row with the ebb and flow. This sea is more vast than I can see. Endlessness is filled with rhythm and hope. I am home no matter where I roam because life is always surging. I was born with portals for DNA, and so I travel the waves through distance. This is my time.
You are a different kind
Of damaged, chaotic mind
Confused you use words
As projection swords and
I see the hurt behind the eyes
The reflection as your soul dies
Lie by lie by lie; the ones you
Tell yourself are true so you
Have a good enough excuse
To dart the arrows with no regard
Of the blood flown from hearts
Torn apart by your anger and
My mind says danger. Danger.
There is pain too deep to touch,
A hole that one could fall through
To end up in a deep abyss
Of your untethered loneliness.
Such a sunflower shouldn’t die
Drowning inside an inability to cry,
You sip illusion, a savory wine;
Your mirror, a self-made design.
Everything that makes you wince
Tells you what needs love’s attention
As you ignore. Ignore. Ignore;
The parts of you so bruised and sore.
I can only sit and observe,
The winding streets of your hurt
Hovering above the purity
Stolen from your childhood
An inability to develop so you
Scrambled and scratched your
Way through life; numb the wounds
With bottles of booze, laugh away
The moments draining your happy,
Regret and listing what you’re lacking.
I feel slightly stoic and disinterested,
An odd reaction, to not feel sorry
For the churning of your own hurting.
When light floats inside your air
You call the darkness; safer there?
No more minutes can pass me by.
I’m swiftly running out of time; must
Focus forward; head held high
Silently take the podium and speak.
Empowered woman. Empowered me.