I continue to rid my house, and therefore myself from every hard copy piece of evidence of the research on infant and child abuse, attachment, trauma and all of the consequences that originated within my body-brain-mind-self from the severe abuse my mentally ill (no doubt Borderline) mother did to me from the time of my birth. Every journal article, every notebook full of notes, every index card filled with my discoveries that began with my search-research 6 1/2 years ago, I am at the same time realizing that the thoughts of memories that I carry within myself are not so simply discarded into the compost piles I am creating in my yard.
One of the recurring thoughts that appears on the movie screen of my mind this morning as I remove my now empty bookshelves from my front entry room as I prepare to repaint the room very light yellow to rid it of its very pale blue is this one — and I have never before written about this memory.
For those of you readers who have followed the story of my childhood at all up until this point in time, I will say I was around ten years old. Our family was ‘camping out’ in the log house while most of our belongings were perched on our homestead in our canvas curved-wall Jamesway high on our Alaskan mountainside.
During this winter my mother was running her Happy Time Nursery during the days. A male teacher rented on of the log house’s bedrooms for his living quarters, and on nights we did not make the long, difficult return journey back up the mountain we all slept (somewhere) in the log house.
Most nights as I approached the shutoff of sleep I removed myself from my actual life into a fantasy world. This is the only fantasy (different from what little play pretending I was able to accomplish in my terrifying, terrible childhood) that I remember ever having, and it was always the same.
I note that there were probably very few semi trucks on the roads around Alaska during the late 1950s – early 1960s because most of what appeared for sale and use in Alaska was transported up north either by rail or by ship. I have no memory of actually ever seeing such a truck. But in my nightly fantasy there I was sitting all alone in the dark tied feet and hands to a wooden straight backed chair with a cloth gag tied over my mouth in an empty semi trailer. My back was up against the cab. I could hear or see nothing.
And I knew then and I remember now exactly where that semi truck was parked all night, every night, with me in it in the Eagle River Shopping Center parking lot after business hours.
This memory includes a realization that within this fantasy I did the only wondering I remember from my childhood, and it was accompanied with a dim sense of hope.
I had not been physically molested or harmed by my kidnappers. I had simply vanished from the environs of the family I lived with so that I woke up every night as I passed through the twilight leading to my actual sleep in this chair, in this darkness, in this silence.
I wondered each night as I sat bound to that chair, “Does anyone love me enough to notice I am gone. Does anyone love me enough to care what has happened to me? Does anyone love me enough to find me here? Does anyone love me enough to pay the ransom and release me from this chair, take me from these strangers and take me home? Will someone ever get me out of here?”
The answer to all of my questions was “No.” Night after night, repeating itself like a broken mental record the answer was always the same. “No.”
I am not sure what the connection actually is for me between erasing the physical evidence of my long complex search to discover what it is exactly that matters about what was done to me through trauma and abuse during the 18 years of my infant-childhood and the appearance today of my memory of this fantasy.
What child part of myself dissociated from ME and appeared all alone in that semi trailer? What part of ME is still sitting there, bound and gagged, alone with increasing (never ending) loss of hope that I will ever be rescued and released?
During the months I passed into this fantasy chair as I passed into sleep it was as if I was hijacked. A detour had been put into place that meant I continued to appear at night in the exact same place, in the same condition, in the same circumstance — a pattern that did not alter itself by a single atom over time. And the fantasy was very, very real.
Today I know it wasn’t real. I wasn’t really ever held captive in such a semi trailer. Today I know I have the memory that belongs to the sad-beyond-sad girl lying in her bed. But I also have the memory that belongs to the girl who sat all tied up in ropes with big knots with a gag in her mouth, alone and wondering night after night after night.
So, again I ask myself, “What is it about being that nightly captive in fantasy and my eliminating the paper trail of the research I have done that led to my truest understanding about how my physiological development was altered by infant-child abuse trauma so that the body that houses me in this lifetime will never be what it would have been without my having suffered through what I did?”
Today, fifty years later, I understand (as do this blog’s readers who are familiar with the fragments that contain themselves under the ‘diagnosis’ of Dissociative Identity Disorder) the crucial juncture I have reached today in my own process of healing — and in this case of recovery.
Nobody mattered to me as my rescuers in that recurring but my parents and my siblings. It was they who I wanted to attach to, and who I wanted to attach to me. In that vision nothing existed but me alone in the absence of attachment. Since that time it has always been only I — Linda — who could care enough to get that little girl OUT OF THERE FOREVER!
Today I cannot write another word without the emotions that I feel at this moment, this very private personal moment.
I now have access within my mind-self to all of the information I need to know about both what happened to me where it mattered most and about what I need to do one moment at a time to release the Linda bound and gagged alone in the darkness so that I can bring her home — to ME.
I know ‘she’ is emaciated, starved and cramped. She can barely stand up. She is so weak and wobbly and yes, so terribly sad. But there is a safe enough world here for me to take her out into. I will give her dark glasses until she gets used to the sunlight. I will take her around slowly and let her get the feel of her life outside of that BOX, that trap, that hopeless container.
I will feed her. I will give her warm clothes to wear because she has been very cold in there all alone for all of these years. And I will listen to her as we both share these tears.
And together we will wait for the worms to turn all the mounds of words on paper into nutritious soil for our flowers. Together we will paint this blue room light yellow and find some kind of pretty fabric to make new curtains for this room’s window.
This reunion and this release will take its own time. For now it is enough for both of us to know that I HAVE found her, that I cared enough to open the door, to untie the ropes, to remove the gag.
“How come it took you fifty years to find me,” she wants to know. I tell her in reply, “I have always done the best I could. I had to work very hard for all of these years to find the key I would need to open that trailer’s door. What matters to us both now is that I did, and here you are!”
In the quiet of this peaceful day we are both going to explore what we choose to of this world. For this moment, that is more than enough to help us both be a little less sad and a little more happy.
‘She’ awakens after half a century locked and frozen in suspended animation. She follows me around wondering, asking questions. We are dancing together in mutual fascination — and compassionate delight. We are dancing….. From this moment forward the promise is that I will never again let anyone abuse ‘her’ – ME.