When I was about seven years old I read Captain America for the first time. I even remember that it was the one where Captain America meets Falcon for the first time. The exact word “Riley” stuck in my brain for some reason.
I remember at seven years old declaring out loud that I was going to marry the third person ever to play Captain America in a movie. Largely because I had grown up in a house filled with violence and anger, and I was making a vow to myself that I wasn’t really going to get married.
How could I know that person was going to be Chris Evans? In fact I think he’s the second, but my point still stands. I was in a very practical way, stuck in this belief that I would never fall in love and get married.
I still worry about that, because I am thirty-six years old and I am scientifically speaking, going to have a harder time having babies at this age than most women younger than myself. It’s just science.
I don’t know if I am going to marry Chris Evans, I think he’d make a great husband, we have a lot in common, but the point is, it was this thing that I obviously never really believed it would happen.
I lost at that tender age, the belief in love that all children are supposed to grow up with. For many years I loved reading romance novels, until I got my first boyfriend. I can’t read romance novels any more, not just because I don’t believe in romance, but because I don’t trust it.
My step father, and my first boyfriend destroyed any hope that I would believe in love after abuse for a very long time.
Yet I know there are people out there who have made it happen. I know of women who have found wonderful and beautiful kind hearted partners after being abused, so I know that it’s possible. Anything is, so sayeth the girl that statistically speaking, should not be alive.
Last night I had this dream about myself, and for the first time I was thinking about this other dream I had where I ascended. I don’t exactly know what I ascended to, but what I do know is that I never in my life felt more love than that moment.
I remember distinctly that I had been meditating in my living room one night. I lit all the candles and turned on some soft blues from the television screen, and I remember feeling light and airy. Its the kind of meditation that famous Guru’s promise is possible, the kind that everyone thinks meditation is going to be about and it was the most beautiful moment I’d ever experienced.
It was this moment that I am hiding from, because when you’ve lived through trauma and abuse, it can be scary to see the opposite.
It can be absolutely terrifying to open yourself up to the idea of trusting someone after you’ve been traumatized to the point of wondering if you can get up and live.
Many of us have experienced moments of wishing we were dead, some of us have even tried, others have been successful. Because the idea of not being here anymore is far more tolerable for some, than having to live with the pain and trauma for one more moment.
I get suicide, I understand it keenly, and while it’s not something I’d choose for myself, the fact that it’s possible to choose to end your own life if you want to, is somehow a comfort to those of us who have been abused. It makes sense, it won’t hurt anymore, I won’t have to trust anyone again. I don’t have to worry that I’ll get hurt because I’ll be dead, there is a final solution to the pain.
That doesn’t make it a good fucking decision, but much like deciding that one day I was going to grow up to marry the real life Captain America it is in fact a fucking decision.
At seven years old I already knew that I was going to live a life filled with pain and sorrow. My step-father taught me that, my ex boyfriend just enhanced the memory of fear and shame that came with being abused and for a short time confirmed what I had taught myself to believe.
That I was unlovable or unworthy of being protected. He taught me that our child mattered less to him than the one he had with the white woman who looked like him. He taught me that pain will last a life time. My rapists confirmed everything I had come to believe about myself.
But I don’t have to keep believing that shit. I can choose to decide to believe that I deserve to be happy and loved, and I can do so now because I realize that after everything I have survived, I am still fucking here.
I am clearly, really, really hard to kill. Or at least one of my abusers would have done so by now. Even if they were biding their time, the fact that I’ve come out and named the names of the men who abused me, means they will most certainly get caught and I’ll win anyways because everything I’ve said will have been confirmed.
If life is a game, then in a weird twisted fucked up way, my survival to this point guarantees that I am winning, and I am okay with that.
It is understanding that I choose to remain free from the men who abused me, it is in my choice to never again allow another man to abuse me, that I am free to be careful about who I let into my life. And to be grateful for those that choose to be a part of my world.
I will never again be abused, and I probably won’t marry Chris Evans, but at the very least, I can say that seven year old girl was onto something. She chose her favourite super hero because she didn’t think he could possibly exist.
I didn’t think that I’d ever find a sense of peace in my life, turns out I was wrong so maybe she was too.
Anything is possible, if you’re willing to twist the way you see your reality.
Sending all my love,
Devon J Hall