The times that I feel the sanest are when things are complacent. Then what? It always feels like something is going to happen to bring it all down again. That sunny disposition has its seasons. When the rain comes, the cold, it chills you to your bones. What warmth shall I find that can get me through the weather? Will I feel like a forest nymph when the Spring comes, and nature calls me back to my roots? I don’t even know where to go to find that place. I feel like maybe it was lost in the forest, with my childhood. The only good things that I can muster up from my childhood home came out of that place. It transformed me into a world where I could forget about the life that felt so much more like a bad dream than when I ran around the woods, feral and untethered.

I would doze on the branch of a large pine and savor its sweet, sappy smell. I didn’t even care that it was all over my clothes; it had become a part of me. At times, I would hear my name being called and I would lackadaisically saunter on home, saying farewell to each plant as I brushed past, hands outstretched with jazz fingers. I would feel every leaf, every stem that I could grasp before I had to go back. It was only to find that once I was home there was no greeting for which should have been subsequent to the beckoning that brought me there. With a smug, questioning look, she would ask me, “What” as if I were breaking up some important endeavor of hers. It was only “As the World Turns”, which my father called “As the Stomach Turns” and ironically, my belly would do just that. That look was too much so I answered as quickly as possible so that I would be dismissed, per the usual. “You called me.” She would always make this sound as if she were intent on meowing, “No, I did nothing of the sort.” My eyes would widen, and I would have nothing else to say as I lowered my head in disbelief. “I don’t know who called me then.”

I DID however have an idea of who, or what may have called though. I’d see them, in the halls. They walked up and down them all night, nearly driving all hopes of slumber straight to the netherworld from where they must have come. I could see every detail, right down to the strands of hair the appeared to flow in a wispy wind that I could never feel. It felt dark, and if felt anxious. Sometimes I would pull my covers under the bed in order to get some sleep before school. I didn’t like seeing them; it scared me, and I knew that no one else could see them, which made it even scarier for a kid in kindergarten. This was the reason why I loved Mr. Snuffleupagus on Sesame Street the most. They never acknowledged me though, just wandered up and down the halls, like the river Styx ran right smack through the center of the structure that my parents decided to settle into. I didn’t get the settled feeling though, it was quite the opposite. I remember my stomach being in knots and being scared to breathe, lest I alert them to my presence.

I rarely often feel uneasy anymore. There are times where I feel like I can feel a presence. My whole being seems to sense something that’s not supposed to be there. Then things happen, like watches not working anymore, clocks turning on on their own, once missing items appearing in plain sight after months of searching, things like that. Writing about my past makes me feel uneasy. Talking about it to other people makes me feel like I can never be understood. I’m afraid that my story is only meant to be a solo one. I haven’t known this type of loneliness since I was young, however. When I knew that things weren’t right, and things just kept getting worse, I thought that there would be no one that would comprehend the agony that was derived from that place where I was supposed to be brought up innocently. I was supposed to be loved, and nurtured, and interacted with, God damn it. Instead I experienced existing in a place where I believed that I was sent to. I believed it to be punishment for the life I lived prior to this. I was convinced of this because of the gruesome, unfathomable abominations that I experienced and partook in, almost every night in my dreams. The events, the locations, the people, they all had a story and names that I knew. I’m still not confident that that isn’t really an accurate explanation for the occurrences of unspoken agony that I still had yet to be bestowed upon me. Maybe I was dreaming of the spirit’s lives. Maybe I was lost to reality because of the abuse. Maybe it was all real. I don’t know anymore.

There were times that I wanted to go back and burn that house down myself. I’m glad The Valley Fire took it. I will not, however, recover from the loss of the sanctuary that I once had. I cried more for the plants and memories that meant something to me; the only things that had remained pure in my heart. Now it seems as if it is all just one charred, frail piece of myself that I cling to as its swept away from the banks of my memory. I don’t know what I have left really.

Author: jessicaambateman

I am a survivor of childhood abuse on the verge of speaking out. I have waited my whole life to have the luxury of spilling my guts and blogging is going to become part of that journey.

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