I have come to this board many times wanting to start a journal of my own but always leave, never saying a word. I guess it is fear and past experiences motivating me to walk away. I'm brutally honest when it comes to my life and I find it hard to hold anything back, even when it means that people might think less of me. I am me and I don't know how to be anything else.
I was a member of another website BB and talked openly about my life. I was ostracized and condemned because I didn't fit their mold. It had left me unable to open up at PO. I think I am ready now though. Who knows, maybe my words will help someone else; maybe they will help me.
I am not sure what I should talk about first. My life has been so full of pain and joy. I have been through so much in 36 years and have lived a lifetime already. If I could go back in time would I change things? If I was able to, would it hurt the ones I love the most? I am always torn between wishing I could change the past and loving where it has brought me. I have gained knowledge and grown from it all but the scars have not healed. Will they ever?
But, to understand me and who I am today, I have to start with the beginning.
My life's path was set for me when I was brought home from the hospital. My Dad handed me to my Maternal Grandmother and she promptly handed me back stating "She's not Lorie". Lorie is my older sister by 3 years. She was everything to my Grandmother and no one else would ever be as wonderful as Lorie in her eyes. There were several grandchildren but, I suffered the brunt of her disapproval because we lived right down the street from her and saw her the most. We were forced to spend nights over there frequently so Mom and Dad could go out. She made a point to let me know each time that I would never measure up to Lorie. She would treat her like a queen while I was made to do slave labor. I was eager to help Grandma out in any way I could as that was the only way I would ever receive praise. I guess I just wanted to be as good as my sister was to her. I never gave up and have always held a 'never say die' attitude. I wouldn't be alive today if I didn't have that strength in me.
My grandfather, on the other hand, was much different. He loved me dearly and protected me from my Grandmother's wrath. He was my everything. That soon ended though, he died of cancer when I was 5. He was adored by all who knew him and his funeral procession spanned several miles. It was a huge loss for me and my family.
The death of my Grandfather left a huge hole in my life. I was too young to understand the affects it would have on me. It was the beginning of a 'domino effect' that has impacted my entire life and the choices I have made. I soon started looking for someone to fill that void.
There was a neighbor, a kind older married man, who had a pony farm right across the street from where I lived. I was horse crazy like most young girls were at that age. My Mom harmlessly suggested that I go talk to him ("Mr. Tom") when she saw him working in his yard. Everyone in the town knew him because he was quite rich (owned an oil company) and did so much for the community. He brought his ponies and Ferris wheel to all the local fairs. He also worked with many underprivileged or disabled children and had them out for field trips to his farm. I guess he seemed like the answer for a lost, hurting, lonely little girl.
Upon meeting him, I felt very comfortable and really enjoyed his company. He was funny and showered me with the love and attention I craved. He asked me if I wanted to come back and help him with the ponies. I, of course, said yes as it was a dream job for me. I started going down to help on weekends and after school each day. I accompanied him on errands regularly. I fed, watered, brushed, and exercised the ponies on a daily basis. I also took care of the barn cats and dogs among other various animals he had. I had so much fun just being there. There was always so much to do, see and learn. He treated me like his Grand Daughter and I loved him in return. He made me feel special and I trusted him. Going there lifted me up from the loss. It was a haven from the torment and teasing I endured at school. It was my most special place in the entire world.
I started to develop like girls do, only faster than the average. I don't remember exactly when things started to change with the way Mr. Tom acted towards me, I just know that they did around that time. Instead of the usual peck on the cheek and hug that I would give him out in the open upon greeting, he suggested that we go in the barn. When I questioned why, he said that his wife was jealous that he paid so much attention to me. The harmless peck on the cheek and hug turned into him holding me tightly against him and kissing me on the lips. I was grossed out by it but didn't question it. How could the man I adored and trusted for years, a pillar of the community, do anything wrong? I kept telling myself that 'he didn't mean it that way' and never told a soul. I cringe now when I look back and think about how I just accepted what happened and continued to go there.
The kissing soon turned into groping, touching me on the outside of my clothes and then underneath. I vividly remember when my period started. I was so worried about going there, that he would stick his hands down my pants and feel the pad. I had fears that it would all get worse if he knew I had 'become a woman'. I had devised a plan to avoid situations that would put me alone with him during that time. I loved the horses and ponies so much and I couldn't bring myself to stop going there. Mr. Tom knew how intense my love was for them and used them like a weapon against me. He knew he could do whatever he wanted and I would keep coming back. I wasn't old enough to understand what was happening, little alone accept the fact that what he was doing was so very wrong.
It eventually became too much for me to bear. My visits to the farm became less frequent and eventually stopped around age 15. My Mom questioned me about it and I really couldn't give her an answer. I didn't know how to tell her about what I endured. How could she ever believe me? How could anyone? He was thought so highly of by everyone. I eventually did tell her though, after I was married at 19. Mr. Tom died that summer and I never did get to confront him.
I was grateful though that he was most likely too old to even consider penetrating me. He probably would have, if was able to. I remind myself that it could have been so much worse. Thoughts of other children being molested by him have haunted me throughout the years. I am filled with guilt and regret for not speaking up sooner.
Maybe one day I will find the strength to stop crying my heart out over things I can't change. I was able to move on with my life. I try my hardest to forget about what happened or at least not dwell on it. I worry that it is here like a ghost, an invisible wall from the past; affecting what I do and the decisions I make in the here and now.