When Movies Trigger

I’d had a hard couple of days, going through old photos and mementos of my sister and mother. Aaron suggested we go to a movie, get out, have popcorn, take our minds off of life.

My old life was all i could think about as I watched RESPECT, the movie about Aretha Franklin’s life.

Trigger trigger trigger.

How could no one protect that child from being molested in her own house? my brain asked in horror.

It happened in your house, came the answer.

How could nobody protect the children from being so scared of the adults?? my brain asked.

They didn’t care at your house, my brain answered.

The body remembers. Even if my protective layers of distance have pushed the memories further away from my everyday brain, the body remembers.

Again I am a terrified child hiding with my dolls and books in my closet, letting myself be swept away into the world of the Bobbsey Twins, or Nancy Drew.

The body remembers. Even if my protective layers of distance have pushed the memories further away from my everyday brain, the body remembers.

Terrified of those meant to protect me. To protect my sister, my brother.

Because they didn’t.

Instead they hurt us.

My father molested my sister from the age of 3.

Looking back, I can see that by the time she was old enough to fight back, that’s when he tried it on with me.

I was playing on the braided rug of the front room, changing the clothes on my fashion doll Margot.

My father squats down behind me.

Ragged breath. I remember ragged breath.

I was 9, but I knew he sounded different somehow.

His breath was charged as he slid his hands up under my blouse.

“Don’t!” i said, pushing him away.

When I told my sister about it after we were adults, she said, “Why didn’t I know I could say no?”

She was 3. We’re taught to trust our parents and relatives when we’re 3. They love us, they have our best interests at heart, right?

Not always.

Later in my #marriagefromheck my spouse thought it was funny to sneak up behind me to touch me unexpectedly, bringing the old terror back in a rush. He’d run away laughing. Big joke. Ha ha. Why didn’t I feel like it was funny?

I was supposed to be able to trust him. He was supposed to have my best interests at heart, right?

Not always.

As the tears started rolling down my face in the movie, I told Aaron, “I can’t stay, I can’t do this.” We left the theatre.

I sobbed in the car.

I’ve come a long way in my healing, a long way in my acceptance that some people will hurt us, even if they say they love us. That words don’t necessarily show the intent of their heart.

I carried shame for years over that memory of my father.

I carried shame for years because I thought, what is wrong with me that the people who know me most want to hurt me?

Let me make this clear to you: if people in your life are hurting you, physically, mentally, emotionally, it says a whole lot more about them than it does about you. They always, always, always have a choice.

It’s not your fault.

If people in your life are hurting you, physically, mentally, emotionally, it says a whole lot more about them than it does about you. They always, always, always have a choice.

Talk to a professional. I joke that my therapist raised me, but she has taught me how to see people, truly see them. And to see myself.

You deserve to love yourself. Don’t let the past stand in the way of that.

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