Do not move a muscle. Do not throw up. Do not show pain. Do not come back into your body. You are special. You are different. You are like them. You will make it.
They told you so.
“Are you here?” asked Carolyn as she snapped her fingers in front of her face.
The woman stared blankly back at Carolyn. She could hear her. Tenseness coursed through her fibers while a profound warmth rocked her center from within and without. Slowly, the rigidity began to give way, her body returned inch by inch, and speech became available yet again.
“Can I help you off the ground? Or do you need a pillow?"
“No. I would rather do the rest from down here. I’m afraid of seizing again and hitting my head. The floor is fine.”
“Let me know when you are ready” Carolyn says as she lifts her head and puts the pillow under it.
There is a sprawling light up on the ceiling, watching. It is a glorious, effervescent, all inclusive opalescent light with golden shimmers. It is alive. It is omniscient. It is the source.
You shower yourself in this comfort while the events unfold.
You watch your body as it succumbs to their desires of hate. In some moments, you wish they would finish the job for no other reason than to remain with the light. As soon as you climb down off the ceiling and enter your flesh, you will forget the comfort of the light until you return. You will forget its existence. You will be six again. You will have the mind of a six year old and all of the magical thinking which accompanies it. You will believe what they do and say.
You will think you are one of them.
“I am ready."
“What do you need to know?” Carolyn asks gingerly.
“It is over now.”
She watches Carolyn’s fingers as they move back and forth in front of her face. The bilateral stimulation causes her left and right lateral hemispheres to engage and the memories to move form her amygdala forward into her prefrontal cortex. It is here where they finally receive a time stamp, where they receive linear context. The appropriate emotions are finally released from being stored in the body, causing physical decay. The spirit disentangles itself from being held prisoner to an abuser's persuasive delusions.
“I am in the cage.”
“You were in the cage” Carolyn corrects to provide her with a point of reference in time. She doesn’t understand the idea of ‘now’ like others do; that is as whimsical a concept to her as walking on the moon.
“I was in the cage” she repeats. “They are coming to get me. It is him. He tells me it is my turn. I look at the girl in the cage to my right and I wish it was her turn. I feel terrible about this. I feel guilty. I feel like a horrible, wretched person. Who thinks something like that?”
“A six year old who is trying to survive. A six year old who has been brainwashed. A six year old who had no one looking out for her” Carolyn interjects.
She begins to sob. The pain thrashes through her in waves and her eyes pour out the results. Guilt consumes her heart, her throat, her world. As a woman, she can not fathom thinking this thought; knowing she did overwhelms her. However, in this moment, she is not a woman; she is processing the thoughts of a six year old girl. It feels as if she is drowning.
When she looks down and sees her woman hands it confuses her more. She crawls back up on the ceiling and decides to stay there for awhile.
When it is over, they lavish you with food. You are still not allowed to put on any clothes. You have to keep the dog collar on which makes swallowing food hard. You greedily eat anyway, not knowing when the next meal will come.
He tells you how different you are from the rest. You eat this up quicker than the food provided. He tells you how beautiful you are. He tells you how special you are. He tells you because of your obedience you will be an honorary female member of their club.
He calls it a club.
For a moment, a burst of wisdom from a continuum of ages (lives you have lived, as well as people you have known) shines through the madness and you know clear through your being you will never be like him. You are different, just not in the way he is saying.
He is a liar. Swallow this morsel of truth and lock it deep down in your soul. Hide it from yourself if you need to. First, you must survive.
“Do you need more time?” Carolyn strokes her head as she lies comatose staring at the ceiling. Drool is dribbling out of the corners of her mouth. Carolyn gets a Kleenex and dabs at it. She is an angel on earth - that Carolyn.
Seconds pass methodically.
She fills in her body once again. The light has recharged her soul. Her body takes a little more time.
“No. I want to get this over with” she finally whispers.
Her eyes resume following Carolyn’s fingers. Left right, left right, left right.
“I am in the room where they are feeding me after raping me, again. I feel immense guilt all over my body for wishing it had been the other girl’s turn.”
“Where do you feel it? Point to it on your body.” Carolyn’s tone is changing, becoming more directive.
“It really is all over. I just can’t shake feeling guilty for those thoughts.”
“Let’s move it through your body. Let’s move it out.” Carolyn kneels and starts yanking at the guilt as if she is reaching at the air around her client’s body and pulling it out in gobs. She does this for about a minute.
“Do you feel lighter?” Carolyn asks as she resumes moving her fingers.
“Yes. Yes I do.”
“Now I want to tell this six year old that it is a completely normal thought. When you are in a life-threatening situation, it is like war. The warlords were also giving you drugs, your consciousness was altered. Your brain becomes primal and its only job is to help you survive. This is completely normal. It is not a reflection of who she is or who she will become. Are you ready?”
“Yes” she says, sobbing now.
“We’re sending this back in uteros, before she was born, and telling her this awful thing is going to happen, and any thoughts she has are a function of survival. We are going to bring that through all her ages. Just follow my fingers. Okay?”
You are returned to the cage. However, something irreversible happened within you which you nurture until you are allowed to see sunlight again. The realization that no matter what they tell you, no matter how much you have to act like them to survive, you will never be one of them no matter how many times they say it, brings renewed strength to a place in your core.
Of course, you will never let them see this. You can’t. That would get you killed and you know it. You settle for this being a secret source of strength. You don’t dare let one single tear leak out.
“How do you feel now?” Carolyn asks with premier caution.
“Relieved and tired.”
“You will need to get some rest today. You conquered a big piece of internal business. I am so proud of you.”
“I do not know how to thank you. Words will never do. Never.” I mean this in a way I can not summon the appropriate language to convey. I am afraid it doesn’t exist.
We stare into one another’s eyes. We are both crying. We silently agree the universe united us.
I am released from a lifetime of misery, of perceived wrongdoing, of feeling subhuman.
For the first time in my life, I know freedom. I know I had to be willing to do the work, she always tells me this. I am proud of myself for this. However, after years of bouncing through counselors, I know what a gift her guidance is.
How do you thank someone for that?
I feel the door to the cage closing without me in it.