I have issues.
I know it’s, like, trendy right now, or whatever, to say that you have issues or to claim to be an introvert or have social anxiety… But those statements are actually all true for me. It’s not nearly as cool or cute as one might think. It’s difficult to be this way. I can’t wait until the mental illness fad fizzles out. Those of us with real mental illnesses can tell who is and who isn’t struggling inside. Well, I can’t speak for everyone with problems, but I can sure tell.
Or maybe it’s judgmental of me to assume that I can always tell when someone is only saying they have mental or emotional problems just to be hip. Honestly, it’s not nearly as hip as these people hope it is.
So… I am here.
The reason I’m here, turning my personal trauma into a blog, is that for some reason lately, the traumas from my past are affecting me more than ever before. It seems the longer it has been since the trauma, the more that particular trauma will bother me day-to-day, the more dreams/nightmares I’ll have about it, and the more time I lose in flashbacks about that event.
The earliest traumatic event that I can remember is the thing that is plaguing my mind far more now than it ever has. I used to tell people about it, and I was so blasé about it when I spoke of it before. But today, I brought it up to my fiancé. In my mind, I had already talked about this with him.
I really feel like I’ve told him about this before. But he reacted as though it was his first time hearing it. Maybe I’ve told so many other people about it before, I could have just assumed.. or forgot… I don’t know.
So, it happened when I was five or six years old. Definitely not four, definitely not seven, but I can’t remember if it was five years or seven when this happened to me.
We were just playing a game. I was having fun. I don’t remember why I wasn’t wearing underwear, but all I had on was a night gown. Like a long sleeping dress thing. We had two plastic chairs in our living room, facing one another. My brother sat in the one closest to the kitchen and I sat in the one closer to the hallway that led to my mom’s bedroom. They were probably about three feet apart.
It feels so negative talking about this today.
My brother wanted me to tumble out of the chair I was in, and do a headstand when I got to his chair. So I did. He was ten years older than me and I always felt closer to him than any of my other siblings. That didn’t change after this happened, and I don’t know why.
So I was in my little plastic chair, and I did a forward tumble on the floor, it was so easy for me back then. I was always tumbling. And when I got to his chair, where he was sitting, I initially had a little trouble getting into a full, upright headstand. But with his help, I quickly mastered it.
He held my legs so I wouldn’t fall.
Once I got really good at the headstand, he gave me an added challenge. Could I tumble to him, go into the headstand and do a split upside down without falling? Sure I could! I had mastered the headstand (with assistance) and nothing felt beyond me. So I rolled, did the headstand, opened my legs into a full split. And then felt something.
I didn’t address it at first. I didn’t know what was going on, really. To be perfectly honest, I thought all these years (28 years) that it was his finger I felt. I realized only recently (and this is probably why it has been bothering me so much lately) that it was his tongue I felt.
After the headstand, I was supposed to tumble back to my chair and get ready to tumble again. I paused for a second this time, and then went ahead and tumbled back to him to do another headstand. I felt it again.
When I tumbled back to my plastic chair, I stopped and said, “Don’t do that thing this time.”
He agreed and he didn’t do it again.
I don’t remember how long it was before I realized I should tell someone, but when I did, I told my mother. She was the most prominent authority figure I could think of, or that I had access to. The consequence she gave my brother was… to sit on his bed.
He and I, along with my other brother and my older sister, still shared a bedroom. the girls’ bunk beds were on one side and the boys’ bunk beds were on the other. And all he had to do to atone for what he did to me, probably a kindergartener, was to sit on his bed.
Back then, I felt this was just. Sitting on our beds was something we didn’t want to do. It’s why our mother made us do it. Growing up, through my adolescence, my teen years, my twenties, I remembered what he did to me. I never forgot it. But our relationship never changed. In fact, we stayed close. I might go so far as to say that he and I are the closest of any of our siblings.
I spoke to him today, in fact. But this molestation was heavy on my mind during the conversation. For some reason, only in 2018, almost thirty years later, I am finally disturbed by this memory.
I’ve seen documentaries in which abuse victims suddenly remember something decades after it occurs. But this isn’t like that. I never forgot this. I just didn’t feel as wrong about it as I do now. I don’t know why I’m suddenly able to see that my oldest brother molested me.
Now, when I say our relationship stayed the same all these years, I don’t mean that I forgave him or thought what he did was okay. I just mean it was never brought up again. By anyone in our family. I never confronted him, and for the most part it was out of my mind. It was out of my mind, until he started dating my best friend when I was nineteen.
We were just out of high school. I didn’t mind the fact that they were dating. I was a little hard on my boyfriend at the time, because my brother was taking my best friend out to dinner and they were going to the fair and seeing concerts together. My boyfriend and I never really went anywhere. So I was jealous.
One day, I was at my boyfriend’s house (we all lived in the same city), and my best friend and brother’s girlfriend came over. She had some concerns she wanted to express to me. She said that she and my brother were having sex, and for some reason he always wanted her from behind. That didn’t seem that odd to me, but what she said next… did.
He always wanted her to wear her hair down when they were having sex. I was notoriously afraid of people seeing me with my hair up, so it was always down. This coincidence did not escape her. But even more erie, she told me that the night before, they were having sex and it was very dim in her bedroom. My brother looked at her and brushed her hair over her ear. Then he said, “In this light, you kind of look like Krista.”
That’s me. I’m Krista.
Now my friend and I were always mistaken for sisters or at least very close relatives when we were in school. This wasn’t a huge surprise that someone would say we look alike, but it was a little off-putting that my brother said that to her, and when they were in the throes of passion. My brother who molested me.
As my friend was confiding in me with all of this, something specific came to mind. Just a few days prior to this conversation we had about my brother, he came over to my house. I still lived with our mom. I was in the kitchen, standing on a chair, looking in the cabinet above the stove for some spices for what I was cooking.
My brother came into the house and walked straight back into the kitchen. He approached me, standing high on a chair in a long skirt, stretching far so I can reach the back of the cabinet, and he said, “You are the perfect woman.”
I played it off.
I played everything off all the time.
I grabbed his chin and told him he was sweet, then I got down from the chair with the spices I was looking for in-hand.
There is more.
A few short months later, my brother and my friend were broken up and he had moved on to a woman who worked with my mother. She was quite a bit older than my brother, whereas my friend was quite a bit younger. I liked them together. I thought they would make a great couple.
He came over to my house again. He was no stranger at my mom’s house. I had one of those old flip phones with the tiny screen that showed the time when the phone was closed. I had my tiny screen changed to a picture of myself with my little boy. He picked up my phone, looked at the picture, and said, “You kind of look like [my girlfriend] in this picture.”
Instantly, I thought of my friend and what she told me he said to her one night a long time ago.
Now, our mom has died and my brother and I stay in touch via social media. I am not in touch with any of my other siblings. Nor do they want to be in touch with me. For the last several years I have been grateful that my brother wanted to talk to me.
He and I don’t look alike. We have different fathers. His dad is white and looks just like him. I look just like my Asian father. We share a mother, who was 1/4 Choctaw, and mostly white.
Today, while I was talking to my fiancé about him, I wondered aloud if I should ever confront him and tell him that I have always remembered what he did to me. I wondered what would come of it if I did. Would my life get a little better? Would it relieve anything in me at all? Would literally anything change?
Anyway, this is why I’m here.
There is a lot of this kind of trauma in my past. Much of it is in my not-so-distant past. I can see and feel how I am still affected by all of it. What I don’t know is how to get past it.
I’m really thankful, though, that I have my fiancé, my three kids, and my in-laws. I’m so serious when I say that I came into this new family as damaged as a person can be. I tried my best to push everyone away from me once I felt like they were getting too close. it worked for a little while, but I was only hurting myself. When my fiancé and I reconnected with his family, they accepted me again and I really feel like I only learned what real, pure love was when I became a part of this family again.
Thank you for reading.