I have been through the depths of hell. Anyone who knows my story knows that the first 11years of my life were comprised of some of the hardest times in my life. It was a time of great turmoil and heartache. What my young self had to deal with was a lot.
I don’t know if the first recollection I have of being touched inappropriately is the first time I was touched inappropriately or if it is the first time I can recall it.
I just know that growing up I was always an open invitation for males to assert their power on me.
From male cousins, to mother’s boyfriends to strangers. I was violated violently. I say open sarcastically because at 5 years old what did I know about such things.
The ultimate blow for me was when I was raped a mere 2days before my mother died.
Shuuuu… Why is this piece asking to be shared right now. I am so emotional now?
Thinking of myself at 10 years old and dealing with being an oldest daughter and oldest sister to my 5year old sister. And of the fact that I had to deal with two major losses.
1. The loss of innocence
2. The loss of a primary caregiver.
It was a lot.
I could not process either losses.
So I suppressed them both.
Put my head down and focused on being the best version of myself.
I was an excellent pupil.
Whatever pain I was going through, I masked by being the most well behaved, the most intelligent, the kindest and all hosts of other things.
Suppression worked for some time but then it didn’t.
I told a teacher.
That teacher believed me.
Things were done for me.
People rallied behind me and supported me through the dark time.
The loss of my mother took me the longest to work through.
I pretended she was alive for a good 5years.
These were all the things I did to preserve myself as much as possible.
I didn’t wanna be part of the Raped Girls Club or the dead moms club.
But I was.
Whether I wanted to or not.
That was my life.
Once I started saying it out loud (in writing) I started to accept that I was a member of these clubs I never filled out membership forms for.
Varsity was the time when all my demons screamed for proper acknowledgement.
I failed for the first time in my life (academic failure) and this lead to my being in a very dark place.
I didn’t really talk about it, the dark time. But I knew that there was something wrong with me.
One of the things that happened when I was facing exclusion was that I had to come up with ways forward to ensure that it didn’t happen again. I promised that I would seek professional help.
I remember going to CCDU and asking to see a peer counselor and when they screened me it was found that I needed to be seen by someone more professional. So I started seeing a therapist weekly.
That womxn was incredible and speaking to her felt like speaking to the older sister that I never had.
Through speaking to her I realised that I needed to work on the demons.
They reared their heads because my defenses were low.
I felt my lowest at the time.
I was superficially happy.
That kind of happiness that is always so fragile.
I was never diagnosed with depression but I do believe that 2009 and 2011 I went through a depression.
I remember feeling like I was in a hole all the time.
I was functional.
I was still bubbly.
But going home was a drag.
Coming to lectures was a massive task.
But somehow I pulled through.
I only realised how bad it was with the benefit of hindsight.
2012 was all about rebuilding my confidence.
2013 was the year I started to blossom.
I found happiness again.
I still belonged to the clubs but it did not define me as much as it had previously.
I managed to find healthy coping mechanisms.
I do have my dips.
But nothing nearly as bad as the time I spent at Wits.
Therefore I am grateful for healthy coping mechanisms.
I am where I am because of them.
Writing is one of them.