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A Poetic Healing

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  • Kat Copeland

Part 3 - Eternal Darkness of the Damaged Mind (Molestation & Promiscuity)

I’ve pondered this piece all week. I have concluded, the only way to write it, is with a little liquid courage by my side. Please excuse any excessive use of profanity, southern lingo, or misuse of words and spelling due to my inebriated state. (Inebriated 😂 That’s a fun word 😆)


………………………


I’ve stared at this screen for the better part of thirty minutes now, unsure how to begin. I reckon recounting uncomfortable trauma, is the same as anything in life that scares you. You must first decide to do it, count down three deep breaths, and jump. Slow progression when fear is a factor, isn’t an option, urgency is vital.


Laced into my earliest memories are moments of molestation. My violators, a couple of teenage boys. I only wrote about one in my book. It all started with one boy, when the other learned of his actions, he proceeded to follow suit. Neither boy engaged in penetration.


I remember being instructed to undress, the way it felt when he touched me, his body rubbing against mine. The way his words would linger in my mind, as he remarked he would kill me if I told anyone, little gifts he would give, and that I hated them. I remember the fear he instilled, the way my heart would beat, my trembling body, and the way I learned to enter my mind and go somewhere else. I consistently recall how it would begin and then the memory will fade into black. A coping mechanism I’m told.


The other boy liked to play games that entailed lotions and powders and touching. He approached me as a friend, non threatening, and gentle. This didn’t mess me up any less….


The monumental problem with early exposure to sexuality that’s often bypassed and not openly discussed is promiscuity. When children enter into adolescence and their bodies flood with hormones, familiarity of sexual context will inevitable result in acting upon urges. I am not saying this is the result of every case. Children who are molested and have a solid support system; loving parents, competent therapists, and who feel safe in their environment, are far less likely to engage in consensual adolescent sex. These were not factors to my home life. And for lack of a non offensive word, I became a slut during my teenage years. I’ve had a total of ten partners in my life. To make that number more alarming, I’ve been married for almost eleven years, and met my husband when I was 18. I accumulated a whopping nine partners in the space of four years prior to our meeting, two of which were one night stands, and another two were women.


Buckle up, we are about to embark on my sins, which are damn near countless, and will inevitable change your view of a positive poet forever.


I met my first partner when I was thirteen. I had been working full time in my parents stores for almost a year. I had established a few friendships, some bad influences, and was entering that era of rebellion and feeling life was bullshit. I was smoking, drinking, and experimenting with marijuana and pills. (To be further explained in, “Part 4 - A Functioning Addict”)


He was a missionary, serving in my hometown. There seemed to be this connective electricity between us, we bantered every time we saw each other at church. Though I never anticipated him slipping me his address when he left, I enjoyed his company yes, but he was 20 and I was 13, it never crossed my mind he felt genuinely attracted to me. You can imagine however, how a 13-year-old girl, who was desperate for attention and affection, would react to such a gesture. He was from states away, a different life, and culture. We wrote for a year until his commitment ended. I remember the way my heart would skip a beat when I found a letter in the mailbox. It’s an oxymoron to recall the enigmatic euphoria of your first love, with the knowledge they were a pedophile.


My mother took a great interest in my relationship. I believe, mere speculation, she desired to live vicariously through me. I’ve been privy to many disturbing details in my adult life. One of which is my mother fell in love with a missionary when she was in her later teens. He promised to return for her, and yet never did. When my missionary returned home from his calling, he expressed an interest in returning for me. My mother paid for his plane ticket, moved him into our house, and employed him. I was 14 when he moved into my bedroom and I lost my virginity. In-love with the idea of love, mesmerized in paradise that reality would unravel as a nightmare. The consensual sex, was legally statutory rape.


We did not use protection, truth be told, I cannot say for certain if I even knew what that was. I hadn’t attended school since the second grade. I was never given, “The talk”, nor did my mother even explain to me the transition of womanhood. When I started my period, tears poured down my face, I can still feel the fear I felt. I went into my mothers bedroom sobbing, her response? “There’s products under my bathroom sink, read the labels.” I was twelve, I called my first and only friend at that time, my strength and knight, who later would legally become my sister. She wrapped me in comfort through the phone line between us, explained the complexity of it in detail, and made jokes which erupted us in laughter and dried up my tears.


It took almost a year for me to become pregnant. It was January, cold outside, not to compare to the chill that would run through me. It was only a week before my 15th birthday, I was a couple weeks late, which was unusual. The knowledge and realization was evident in his face, I was once again standing in a bathroom reading an unfamiliar label, feeling ignorant, unsure, and terrified. We barely spoke after. My mind reeling with questions, uncertainty, and fear. He fired up the dial up monitor in my room, a luxury only provided for his presence. There was a clinic four hours away that did not require parental consent.


The silence of that car ride was deafening to my recollection today. I had never filled out paperwork before. I remember watching him hold the clipboard, feeling like a child as he completed each page. I only ever remember being in the doctor office once prior to this, though I know it must have been three times for my school shots, up to second grade. I can still feel my heart rate accelerate as I rose from the waiting room chair when they called my name. The way the table felt underneath me, the cold foreign instruments they used, and the way the doctor shamed me for my decision. I also remember the relief I felt after, that would later mark the damnation of my soul through hatred for myself.


You see, it wasn’t long before I couldn’t look at him the same, for what we’d done together. To my immense regret today, it was my relief after, that sealed my fate. I hated myself more for that feeling of relief than the action. This story right here is why today, I do not believe in, “What might have been”. The truth is my friends, I don’t want the chance to do it over, I don’t hold a desire to relive this moment in education, because I’m afraid I would make the same mistake over and over again. Taking this sin away, chain reacts a reality where I never break away from this man, my parents, or my hometown. It ignites the flame of a hell, I was spared in this decision. I’ve played out the scenario where I spare my eternal damnation for a life of damnation here. I would have married him, stayed within the four walls of their glamorous shack, never returned to school, never been adopted, never fallen into the abyss of drug and alcohol abuse, never risen above it. The only sunshine in the fiery depths of hell in that scenario would be my baby, however, I wonder if I would have resented my greatest love in time……. I’m a good mother today, for all that I’ve lost and lived through, if you take that away, is it inevitable for me to embrace the inadequacies of my genes? There’s room for speculation at the very least.


At this point he was 22 and I was 15. I tried to push through my distaste for him and myself, though it wasn’t long before I couldn’t pretend anymore. I approached my mother, for help. I didn’t tell her what had occurred for fear of judgement, I simply stated I didn’t want to be with him any longer and asked her to send him away… She informed me very abruptly, he would not be leaving. If I didn’t want to be with him anymore, she would send me to live with her parents in virginia, and he would remain in her house.


She had banished me there once before, for a summer, though in her preference it would have been much longer. My grandmother wasn’t an affectionate woman, when my mother didn’t come back for me after the summer, my grandmother in her advanced age, drove me the almost seven hours home. I still remember how it felt to be that unwanted.


I can’t even remember what I did to offend my mother to the point of shipping me off….. Maybe she found out I was smoking. For all my parents downfalls and faults, they did not cross substance abuse. They were supposedly Christians who didn’t believe in smoking, drinking, drugs, and sex outside of marriage. Apparently in their eyes, abuse, neglect, and lying were all acceptable offenses. I reckon I don’t understand religious fanatics at all, if you can even categorize them as such.


What was my point…… Hmmm…..


Oh yes, my mother wouldn’t help me. She gave me an ultimatum. The problem with an ultimatum to a 15-year-old who has been an adult, is they aren’t quite so easily intimidated. I had been the main caregiver to my little brothers up to this point, as a matter of fact, my mother sent my baby brother with me when she shipped me to virginia, because I was his mother more than her. Leaving my baby and little brother, was the hardest decision of my life. I remember vividly the internal turmoil I suffered. What would happen to them? Would they survive without me? Does leaving them make me a worse person, sealing an even hotter seat in hell? Self preservation is a curse in this life, it is human instinct. It took almost six months for me to decide to leave, those six months were a torturous living hell. Trying to pretend for my missionary that everything was okay, trying to pretend for my mother everything was okay, trying to pretend for myself everything was okay, and weighing leaving my hell, for abandoning my brothers to face hell alone. Ultimately I decided to leave. I packed my things and asked a friend of mine to help me move from my bedroom to the back of my parents store. They all watched me go without a word, my mother, my father, my missionary, and my baby brother with tears I couldn’t face. I damn near went out the window, but I didn’t for morbid curiosity of whether I’d be stopped, a curiosity met with a cold shoulder. My older sister from one of my father’s early marriages, came and took my little brothers, and raised them as her own shortly after I left. One is studying to be a doctor today with a beautiful family, the other a hard worker and college student. Both academically inclined, musically talented, and kind hearted, absolutely incredible men that are the epitome of anything but abused children. My baby brother was 9 when my sister took him and had never attended school, he could not read, write, or even count.


I lived in the back of my parents store for awhile. I engaged in a path of destruction, through drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, and self harm. I had several partners between my missionary and my first fiancé.


My next venomous kiss was the suave, attractive, town’s, “That boy is trouble”. Everyone warned me, I reckon even I knew somewhere inside, though at 16 the heart cannot be reasoned with. I had been an adult for so long at this point, I knew everything, living on my own for a year, I had just gotten my first apartment. My mother finally agreed to sign for it. He used me up. Took everything I had to give, and I freely and stupidly gave it all. I had to take on a second job to support us, he never worked, just stayed in my apartment, drove my vehicle, did my drugs, and smoked my cigarettes. I found out later he cheated on me, despite all I gave him, it wasn’t enough.


He joined the marines and despite not making it through basic training, while he was gone, I suffered a final moment of molestation with his father. He came to my house to do drugs with me. I opened my own safe haven and invited a serpent in. I remember him pushing me back into my bedroom, the screams in my head that never made it to my mouth, him tearing my shirt off, the stifling feeling as his tongue slid down my breast, my submission to the inevitable as I entered into the depths of my mind, and then the memory fades to black. The extent he took it that night, to this day is unknown. I didn’t go to the hospital after, I didn’t tell anyone but his son much later, I never filed paperwork, I simply allowed it to slip away into the silent abyss of a faded memory. I blacked out more than that night, my next memory was several days later telling my parents I needed to close the stores for a few days, that I needed a break. Not giving them any details or explanation.


I turned to women after this. Concluding all men were guilty for the sins of a few. I dated my first girlfriend for a summer. My next for the better part of a year. I broke her heart in the end, something I regret, though the reality is, you are either gay or your not. Turning to the opposite sex due to heartbreak, is not the makeup of a genuinely homosexual person.


I decided I was meant to be alone after my girlfriend and I split up. I had a one night stand between our split and meeting my husband. I’m told he was a good guy, genuinely interested in me, and would have made a good partner, but I didn’t give him the chance. I didn’t mean to give my husband a chance neither, he kinda snuck up on me, and I gave him a hell of a ride, that not many would have persevered. But he did.


There’s an eternal darkness within a damaged mind, no amount of time will ever eradicate. It takes a strong soul to see passed this, and love the distant light within.


How has this affected me today? Well clearly not at all 😂 I didn’t have to drink half a bottle of whiskey to tell ya’ll my stories, or wait for my husband to be traveling so I could count deep breaths as I try and sleep tonight. I didn’t wait for my babies to go to bed, to shield them from the demons I face periodically, or stare at a blank screen for hours in searching for words I didn’t know how to form.


They say reliving yesterday holds you back from today, forget yesterday for it has forgotten you, digging up the past muddy’s up your future, forgive and forget etc. I don’t believe any of this crap. I embrace my past as my greatest triumph, sure it’s hard to openly discuss, though I infrequently toast a solitary night to a glass of whiskey and memories that burn, for the purpose of reminding myself, I’m a survivor.


……..


My experiences have made me an attentive mother, they have made me a brutally honest mother. To some, this is a fault, though for my family it is right. My oldest daughter has read my second book, the most difficult moment for me as a mother was to honestly tell her, “I don’t know, but I hope not.” When she asked if I was going to hell for having an abortion. I can try to atone for my sins throughout my life, but the reality is, until I see my Father and hear His final judgement, there is no certainty.


I forgive the actions of the men in my life. I have recently been involved in a court case with one of my childhood molesters. I struggled with guilt when first made aware, thinking had I told someone, pressed charges, etc. Then I reminded myself there’s no such thing as what might have been, and I will not start believing in such nonsense. There is only what you choose to do today, where you go from here, and what you’ve absorbed from a lesson. I will always be an advocate for the abused, a voice for the silent, and an ear for the damaged. This was my defining moment, would I allow my words to slip from my lips as an empty promise, or would I ensure they mattered, despite a lifelong secret, despite the uncomfortable nature, despite the complexity. No my friends, I’ve carried secrets for a lifetime, lived in deafening silence for too long, someone must decide to break the wheel, I’m not much of a leader, but if no one else will lead, I reckon I’ve got this shit.


.............


The Whiskey & Me


I’m a quiet drinker, not like when I was young.

It’s when my words run dry, whiskey finds my tongue.

I’m lost inside my mind, in words that won’t come out.

I wash the chaos down, that makes me want to shout.

I don’t need a heavy mixer, a chaser I will pass.

All that I’m in need of, the whiskey and a glass.

I am not a smoker, but one may find my lips.

There is no calmer feeling, than a drag between my sips.

Please don’t try and join me, that seat is not for you.

Sitting right beside me, are things that I’ve been through.

Tonight’s my night to face them, just the whiskey and me.

This moment’s not for strength, it’s my thoughts I have to free.

The whiskey will warm, while the memories burn.

The feeling will soothe, while emotions will turn.

I relive my memories, I won’t let them go black.

It’s ignoring a past, that makes sane people crack.

I remember my struggle, to remind me, I’m strong.

And when this is over, I’ll write about wrong.

I’m not much of a drinker, unless I must think.

And when I am quiet, it’s the whiskey I drink.



Coming soon, Part 4 – A Functioning Addict


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