monsters are real and memories are scary

Real Monsters have last names, homes, and credit cards.

Monsters are not anonymous wandering beast.

They are not mythical creatures.

Real Monsters are your neighbor, your friend, your family, your coworker.

Monsters are not dark and scary creatures that hide under your bed or glare at you from the crack in your closet door throughout the night.

Real monsters linger a little too long in places that are supposed to be safe, their words linger too long after the hurt is already too much, and they leave us surrounded in the really scary dark impact of their actions.

When I was a child I was taught that Monsters hid under beds and in closets to appear at night and scare the children that did not behave.  I slept with my closest curtain open so I could see them come out of my closet. I slept with my back as far against the wall as I could so I could see the monsters coming up from the floor.  I was determined to never let a monster get me.

and then I learned...

Monsters do not hide in in the night.

Monsters sneak about through the night and during the day too.

Monsters do not moan, grunt, or rawr at their prey.

Monsters laugh, speak softly, and pretend to care.

Monsters do not scream, well, maybe they do, but not at first.

At first, they smile.

Monsters do not hurt, well, maybe they do, but I did not know at first.

At first, he was kind.  

At first, he was cautious.  

At first, he was gentle.

When I was a child I was taught that Monsters hid under beds and in closets to appear at night and scare the children.  I slept with my closest curtain open so I could see them come out of my closet. I slept with my back as far against the wall as I could so I could see the monsters coming up from the floor.  I was determined to never let a monster get me.

The monsters never came from the closet and monsters never came from under my bed.  

The monster appeared in my doorway, came across my bedroom floor and sat on my bed close, too close to me. This monster was real.

This monster is the first monster I remember:

I remember the first visit from this monster, my birth mom's boyfriend. I was 15 and it was too far into the night for a 42 year old man to at my bedside.  I remember being frozen, not in fear, in confusion. I remember thoughts racing about "is this really happening?

What is going on? How touchy is he going to get? What is this?  Should I say something?"

I knew the answer to the last question was a no.  My twin was on the top bunk. I think she knew he was there in our room. I do not think she knew what he was doing.

After that first visit, and the next several visits, I would question if I should tell someone. 

Each nightly visit added a new touches and new places being touched.  I remember contemplating it over and over. I reminded myself often that I was not supposed to talk badly about people, and with my birth mother so infatuated with her new love, her attention had backed away from her abuse toward me.  I could not dare to tell her. Yeah, what he was doing was uncomfortable and confusing: it did not hurt though. Well, maybe it hurt. His hurt was a much better alternative to my birth mother's hurt. He was not beating me, so it had to be better right? Well, maybe it was at first.  I remember telling two of my friends, and I think they, and myself, were not in a place maturity wise to really know what to do about it.

He seemingly became more and more aggressive, more and more powerful, more and more hurtful and visited more and more often.  

I remember talking to him via AIM (instachat for you pre/post AOL peeps) a few days after our first encounter.  He told me he was cool, and he could not wait to get to know me better. I responded with "okay," as my mom was watching over my shoulder.  She encouraged me to talk to him more and to ask him what he thought of her. I told him not to hurt her, and he said he would not hurt her, or me. Then he thanked me for letting him see "my dog" (one of those over sized, giant stuffed dogs a friend won for me at a carnival that now shared my bed with me). I froze, dumbfounded, not knowing what to say, and then my mom said, "tell him he's welcomed!" I replied to him with an "okay." then signed off and stood up to walk away.  My mom loudly told me I was rude and ranted about "why the fuck would you be like that to him."

This is the point in the story that I would love to say that once my mother knew what was happening it was him she would yell at; however that was not the case. Word went back to my mom that my twin told someone who told someone who told my mom that my twin shared "Lou touched me and is touching and hurting Threasa even more."  

I remember mom's rage after hearing this.

I did not know what the call she was on was about: I did see her mood switch rapidly while on the phone though and the aggression she used to disconnect the call and whip the phone down.  I looked up from whatever I was doing at the table and her rage hit me like a suckerpunch. Oh and then the actual suckerpunches came flying at me.

My mother's friends and my maternal grandmother would inform me that he makes my mother happy, and I need to just let her be happy. They told me that I needed to grow up.  

They told me that there is no sense in hating him. They said he was not trying to replace my dad. (duh!)

I did not tell anyone what was happening at night, and in the day.  I did not tell anyone anything, other than, "I just don't like him." I did not have many altercations with my mother either about Lou after that.  She told me I should feel honored to have such soft, gentle hands touching me. I nodded my head and agreed while I rolled my eyes is annoyance.  How did she possibly think this was not just okay, but an honor? How did he have such guts to touch me right in front of her?

I tell you about my mothers friends and my maternal grandmother because their words guilt me into a shameful trap.  A trap I only knew so much about, and have always pondered if there was more to know:

I stayed at my grandmother's house over winter break my Freshman year: about 3 months after Lou and my mother started to date.  My mother was supposed to come and retrieve me at the end of the weekend. She texted me saying Lou was going to pick me up. I responded with a no and that I did not want to be alone with him.  Next thing I knew my grandmother answered her phone and told me that my mom called and stated that

Lou would be by in less than an hour to get me because he would be driving right pass on his way to our home.  I told her I already told my mom no. She told me I do not get to tell anyone no. I called my mom and begged her to just come or send anyone else to get me. I told her that I would even ask some of my brothers' friends that could drive to come and get me.  She said Lou was coming. After more resistances, one of her friends called me to defend my mother. She told me that it was cold and snowy and it made no sense at all to have my mother drive to get me when Lou was coming that way right now. I told her that she did not get it, and she told me that I needed to get over myself.  

After much of a fight, I surrendered.  We agreed that Lou would pick me up, I would sit in his back seat, he would not talk to me and we would go straight to my home after he picked me up.

He pulled up. 

I went to his car. 

He opened the door for me.  

I went into the back seat. 

He told me he left magazines out on the seat for me to look at since I did not want to talk to him during the drive. He was a limo driver, so the magazines were not out of the ordinary; however, the magazines were all usually in the pockets behind the front seats.  

Not out of his ordinary - the magazines he pulled out for me during the silent commute were a playgirl and 3 playboy magazines. I darted him a “What the fuck” look and he smiled back through his rearview mirror. I loathed him in that moment. He knew he could get to me, and this was not fair.  

I remember being pissed the rest of the way home. I looked straight out my window and vowed to not say anything to him or look at him ever again.  

This last a whole four minutes, when he pulled into the Walmart parking lot. 

He said he needed to run in for something. I told him we agreed to no stops. He said I didn't have to come in, but he needed to.  He left the car. I watched him walk forever to the store front because he parked in the way back of the parking lot around no one else. I saw him lose his balance: for a second I was nervous for him, and the next second I was wondering why I even cared.

I assume he came back to the car at some point, because we were pulling in the driveway to my home the next moment I looked out the window.  The drive from my grandmother's to my home was 30 minutes. The 4 minute car ride to Walmart seemed like hours, and the rest of the car ride seemed to only take just as long.

I didn't think too much about that ride again.  

There is a long list of other memories very similar to this when I reflect on the six months

Lou and my mother dated: hotel stays that made swimming awkward; computer time where he, with my mom’s twisted approval, sat way to close, and touched way too much; to hallway “run-ins” with him pointing to his undressed penis and asking if I liked it, if it looked good, if I wanted it that night, to what felt like the endless night time visit I have tries not to think too much again.

Like I shared though, the car ride home experience that December, I was guilt into a shameful trap. A trap who's shame was never really mine. A trap I only learned more about after learning more of my systems story.

Over the past two year, I have learned about a mass amount of trauma that happened to my body, essentially to me. Although I remember this car ride, I did not remember the trauma that happened to my body.

As I shared, we stopped at Walmart.  I remember him getting out. I remember him getting back into the front seat to drive home.  I remember arriving at home. I assumed I remembered the drive from Walmart to my home: why would I not?

Trauma, the effects of trauma, dissociation, and dissociative identity disorder is why I did not remember his return to the car completely and why I did not remember the car ride home that day from Walmart.  

One of my Headmates, one of my other personalities, shared that when Lou returned to the car he came into the back seat.  She shared that I, in our body, could not move quick enough so she hid me in my white room and endured the pain for me. She shared this as I was in therapy.  I am not sure what brought us to this story, and I was unsure the whole way through the share if it really happened or not. My therapist has expressed over and over again that my headmates would not fabricate anything they shared.

This headmate shared that Lou opened up the back door on the passenger’s side, saying he purchased a new magazine that he needed to put in the back of the seat.  He did not have a magazine in his only shopping bag, in fact, it appeared that there was only had a pack of gum or something of that size in the bag. Lou tossed into the front seat as he unbuckled our seat belt, and climbed into his back seat on top of us.

At this point of her share, my eyes closed, and the body memory came to life while I sat on the couch across from my therapist.  

I strongly want to spare the details at this point, because I can venture that we all have an inkling of them. At the same time though, my monsters did not spare the abuse. I cannot do us justice by sparing the truth.

My headmate shared that Lou raped us that day in the back of his car: in the back of his luxury car he used for him limousine company.  He unbuckled our body, pushed us down to a lying position in the back seat climbed in the backseat, shut the door behind him, molested every body part Lou usually molested, and then pulled our pants and his.

When Lou was done pleasuring himself at our expense he pulled his pants up and crawled over us somehow. Lou then buttoned and zipped his pants, grinned, and said, “Well we should get going, you did say no stops, although I'm sure no one is keeping time.” With that remark, Lou went back to the front seat, and my headmate pulled our pants up. She shared that Lou looked back in the rear-view mirror and watched us pull our pants up and fix our clothes. She turned to stare out the window and away from his glare.

She shared that when he said, “Buckle up Threasa, your safety is important,” with an even bigger grin than before.

Lou and my mom broke up that March. 

Mom seemed to move on quickly though by staying out days at a time with other men.

Lou broke me that day in December.

He would not be the last monster to break me, and as I learned later, he was not the first.

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