I am currently writing and editing my second book, ‘The Definition of I & I’, which is a continuance of my first book, ‘The Journey of I & I’.
Second book explores the devastating and traumatic long term impact of childhood sexual abuse and childhood domestic violence, rape, depression and suicidal attempts has on a young teenager and adult. It delves into the way a young woman copes with, behaves and ultimately sees and defines herself once having been victimised repeatedly.
‘The Definition of I & I’ is a continuance of my multiple award winning first book, titled ‘The Journey of I & I’
It continues with an extended invite to the readers to once again accompany the main character, Liz, on her increasingly torturous and painful experiences of life as a fifteen  year old teenager through many often-times depressive and scary years into adulthood.
As you may recall, in ‘The Journey of I & I’ Liz has already thus far somehow survived a chaotic life of childhood sexual abuse, childhood domestic abuse and domestic violence and several instances of difficult to forget instances of molestation. Her life so far has been dominated by fear, pain and feelings of rejection and of not being worthy of having her voice heard or of feeling secure and safe in her own home. She has lived most of her young life desperately wanting to die.
In this second of the Journey Trilogy books, ‘The Definition of I & I’, we see Liz struggling with depression, suicidal thoughts and suicidal attempts, more incidents of molestations, a fundamental lack of self-confidence and low self-esteem, more accounts of her various experiences of ill health plus the long-lasting devastation of the first time that she was raped.
Despite her seemingly constant state of morbid thoughts of death underpinned with a deeply suppressed rage directed at herself and others, she somehow manages to still cling to that core of herself that she is now beginning to recognise as being a sense of hope. At times that hope seems hopeless, but she clings to it anyway because she has nothing else inside of her to see her through the many dark and shadowy existence of a life she believes she deserves, simply because being abused changed the potential of the person that she was meant to be.
‘The Definition of I & I’ delves into and explores further, the mindset and mentality of a young female adolescent and adult living with the perceived knowledge that she can only view and define herself as a victim, more so a victim without a voice and how this not only affects her on a daily basis but also how her experiences dominated and dictated every aspect of her life, to the point where, on several occasions, she had almost lost her life before realising that she had something to live for.
We learn how devastating personal losses drove Liz further down into a spiral of negative thoughts that effectively determined her responses and actions towards herself and to those around her.
We witness how despite her continued battles to seek the answers to living a normal and peaceful life, she somehow survives and emerges so much stronger than she had ever dared to give herself credit for.
So, my dear and patient readers:
Welcome back and thank you for once again supporting and accompanying me/the main character, Liz, further along in this life story and healing journey.
So, if you feel ready, let’s see where Liz’s continued journey will take us …. …. …. ….
An #Extract from Chapter Two of The Definition of I & I …. ….
The number of hours I must have lain awake at night tormented by memories of being molested repeatedly and not just by one foul perpetrator, but several.
Can you imagine not wanting to think about it or to remember any of it, but your mind forces you to recall almost every upsetting detail. It’s like both an external and internal suffocating force that controls your thoughts and mind constantly.
I have no doubt looking back, that my life-long associations with insomnia and nightmarish flashbacks commenced from those young years as a child struggling to sleep but petrified to close her eyes at night.
Almost overnight I became obsessively afraid of sleeping in the dark.
Having to lay down and close my eyes in a room that was pitch black, evoked in me an illogical, irrational but all too real fear of feeling too vulnerable and unprotected. There were times I had forced myself to try sleeping without a light or lamp on in the room, but after a matter of minutes, filled with anxiety, the fear would build rapidly and turn into panic and every sound I heard, real or imaginary, had me cowering further down under my blankets.
It had been the pure darkness and the not being able to see a thing, that had eradicated all senses of logic from my bruised and tormented mind. Coupled with the silence of the night and the dark room, that had been enough to tip me over the edge to the point where I would sometimes lie there paralysed with the thought that my main abuser had somehow, without sound or detection, found a way in to my bedroom. I could literally feel the presence of someone or something of an alien nature, hovering over me, waiting for the right time to rip the sheets off me and to then pounce on me and harm me physically. I knew in my heart of hearts that my screams would be silent and go unheard. I knew that the anticipated attack on my person would be swift and silent. Knowing all this, I would clutch the blanket even tighter around my head, my eyes firmly closed.
My breathing would become painfully laboured and fast and I could feel myself hyperventilating, struggling to catch my breath. My chest would begin to hurt and that feeling of suffocation would increase to the point where I would start to feel painful stabbing pains in my stomach which ultimately made me feel nauseous and faint.
I would feel so ill that I always wanted to die, there and then, before the expected attack became another reality. My fears were steeped in both logical and illogical reality, which only served to increase my anxiety and failure to find comfort in blissful dreamless sleep.
As I progressed through life, on the whole, this deep-rooted fear of mine had not really altered or subsided.
On the occasions when either of my parents had switched off our bedroom lights, instructing us to go to sleep because we had school the next morning, I had found subtle ways to ease my apprehension and foreboding about the dark, by discreetly using a torch, hidden under my sheets.
All night, periodically, I would switch the torch on and quickly scan it around the room and then keep it shining under my sheets a little longer as I huddled there, reading a book, in a futile effort to keep my mind free from tension, free from having to think about the darkness surrounding me and the sinister shadows loitering everywhere, in every corner of the room.
As I grew older, I became more economical with the truth of why I always had my bedroom light on during the night: excuses like I was reading, doing my homework, studying for an exam or that I had simply fallen asleep with the light on.
As a grown adult, I hated sleeping with my bedroom door closed as it had made me feel claustrophobic so I had combined my two fears in regards to the darkness and then this feeling of being closed in, and had progressed to sleeping with my door ajar and leaving the passage lights on – but my bedroom door could only be left partially open if I was either alone in the house or with others in the house who I had to have trusted implicitly.
Isn’t it funny how seemingly minor childhood fears can grow so out of control but at the same time, control you and your life entirely? My feelings of night time disquietude had been real and had affected not only my sleep patterns but also afflicted me with a life-time affliction of terrible and exhausting insomnia.
Insomnia: the inability to fall asleep or to stay asleep. Too little sleep and poor quality of sleep. Awaking with little energy due to lack of sleep.
This definition of insomnia could so have easily been written for me. They could well have added ‘fear of sleeping due to anxiety, fear and expectations of being molested if eyes were closed due to tiredness’.
As my beloved younger sister slept peacefully beside me in the double bed, I would stealthily make my way to the bedroom door and carefully place a chair or some other heavy object behind the door, jammed up securely under the door knob.
I had been so afraid that an urge of perverted boldness might take hold of one of those molesting cronies playing dominoes late into the night downstairs and they would somehow creep upstairs and find their way into our room.
This desperately futile action of mine, barricading my bedroom door, had offered me very little comfort or security but it was something to do to try and put my sleepless mind at rest. Therefore, I had remained stubbornly steadfast and consistent in my nightly implementation of this self-protective ritual, for several years.
Before dawn, I would again get up quietly and remove the barricade from the door without my precious beloved sister having had no idea that I had lain awake all night in preparation mode to protect her and myself from unwanted intruders, if such a thing was to occur. It had been, unfortunately, a dread that I had lived with throughout most of my childhood years.
Can you imagine, for a second, what it’s like, to never feel safe or secure as a child?
It’s so horrendous and draining and mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually immobilising.
In the mornings, I would tip-toe half way down the stairs and strain my ears to see if I could hear any sounds of snoring coming from the living room.
If I heard a snoring sound that did not sound like my father’s then I knew that there was no way on earth I could or would want to venture downstairs to use the bathroom, not with the living room filled with the toxic virus of those dangerous animals, disguised as men.
I so resented the simple fact that I could not have ease of movement within my own home, especially at the weekends, when their drinking and cussing and banging down on the table top of the dominoes was so rife and frequent and noisily disturbing. To me, as a young child witnessing their behaviours whilst playing dominoes, it instilled in me a feeling of watching how a simple leisurely and traditionally cultural game of dominoes could and would turn grown men into revealing their dark sides so easily and so swiftly. Whether they had lost 6-0, 5-4 or whatever, it was like waiting for the commencement of World War Three to descend upon us all. Their behaviour around the dominoes table was gross but their attitude was disturbing. So much so, that even as a young child, it had greatly disturbed and disrupted my spirit and sense of wellbeing.
I had often wondered how come they would never have fought so valiantly for one of their own! but place a box of dominoes in front of them and they were suddenly filled with a will and energy to fight to the bitter end! It had left me feeling irately pitiful of them all, with a sense of disgust tinged with resentful disappointment.
Many years later, I remember laughing at myself in a rather sad and pitiful way, after a guy I had been dating for a few months, had mentioned during a normal conversation between the two of us, that when he was due to come by me that weekend, he might ask a few of his friends to pop by for a game of dominoes.
My mind immediately went into fright and flight mode! Tempered with a blast of indignant resentment, I might add.
The very thought of the combination of men and dominoes in my house, had immediately taken me back to my childhood and those awful memories and my illogical thoughts had thereafter manifested itself into a ridiculous showing of subdued, non-verbal but obvious anger towards this poor guy.
Part of me knew of course that I was reacting ridiculously. But I just couldn’t help myself. That part of me which was the unheard and unhealed child, reacted immediately and without thought or logic.
There was no way that I could begin to explain my train of thoughts to him, so I surged ahead without thinking anything through and had told him there and then, that we, as a couple, were not meant to be.
I could tell by the look on his face that he was puzzled and at first, he thought I had been joking around.
Which, again, illogically, had only made me more resentful and angry.
The ‘normal’ part of my brain had totally understood that he should feel somewhat confused and bemused, but to me, in that very momentary instance, his bewilderment and belief that it was funny, was further proof that he had no understanding of who I was so therefore he was bound to emotionally hurt me in the future.
Which of course, having not shared any of my childhood experiences with him, he could not have known or understood, in the slightest.
But, embarrassing as it is to admit now, his mentioning of his wish to invite his friends over for a game of dominoes, in my home, had been more than enough ammunition for me to emotionally extract myself from him almost immediately and to emotionally push him away. I actually recall forcing myself to be more hostile with him just so that he would show his hate for me and then leave me.
Despite his efforts to express his love for me and his apologies for any unintentional offence he had caused me, I was already emotionally distancing myself from him and myself to be honest: he still had no idea that it was simply the mention of him wanting to bring people – men – to my home, to play dominoes, that had sent me into this downward spiral of what must have appeared to him to be something of a drastic and irrational emotional and mental ‘switch’ without any apparent reason that he could see or fathom.
I had felt so sorry for him, but in that precise moment, my perceived need to protect myself was far greater than any feelings I had for him or for my own happiness, truth be told. At least this is what I had to keep telling myself in order for me to not falter and give in to his pleas and proclamations of love for me.
After that one conversation, it had suddenly felt like too much of a risk to take.
Too much of an emotional and mental risk.
I suspect that that moment had to have been one of the many times that I had impulsively reacted to a ‘trigger’ that blew me right back to the days of being abused and feeling afraid and anxious all of the time. In that particular case, the trigger had been the ‘dominoes’ scenario in my home and all that those past memories had conjured up inside of my mind, within seconds of hearing and imagining it.
What was worse, was how he had tried for several weeks to get us back on track and back together, but in my mind, the damage had already been done, because I was sure he would have to mention wanting to do that in the future and there was no way I could have that in my life, much less my home.
Sounds mad, right?
But not even family members could come and play dominoes in my home: even now. Just too close for comfort for me in terms of too many painful memories surfacing and how those memories made and still make me feel.
Even forty plus years later and I can still experience those trigger moments pertaining to dominoes.
My present reactions or responses may not be so extreme here in the present time, but what I do know for sure is that I still retain that essence of resentment in my psyche that will never allow that scenario of Caribbean tradition of playing dominoes, to be played out in my home. I am relatively happy to watch friends play the game, as long as it’s not in my abode, under my roof.
I can’t even offer an apology for this seemingly illogical behaviour – because this is and always will be, my reality, unfortunately.
It may well sound like a trivial thing in the bigger scheme of things, but I am telling you, the impact of abuse and molestation changes you immensely, sometimes in ways that you yourself do not even comprehend or understand fully. It seeps into your thoughts, your mind and affects the way you view things, people and the world in general.
Another ‘trigger’ for me – I tell you once I open these memory doors on this journey of mine, it all comes flooding back – so we may as well just walk boldly on through, right?
Another ‘trigger’ for me, is alcohol, or more to the point, the consumption of alcohol to the level where it affects the drinker to the point of no or very limited control over what they say or do, whilst inebriated or flat out drunk.
I cannot abide to be around drinkers who drink till they are so drunk that they become verbally abusive or loud or just plain nasty and sexually leery.
I do find it weird though that this particular trigger only pertains to being around males who drink too much and then lose control over their thoughts, words and actions. So, I am wondering if it’s the drinking itself or the fact that its men drinking to excess that causes this reaction in me? I don’t actually recall ever feeling this way around women who drink to excess.
That’s not me being gender biased right? It has got to be all related to my personal experiences, yes?
I am sure its all got something to do with having been molested by male drunkards as opposed to female heavy drinkers. In my experiences also, females who drank to excess became embarrassing rather than dangerous.
Yet again, during my adult years, I had given my partner the ultimatum of choosing between his sudden onset of excessive drinking or me.
Even as I was verbalising the ultimatum aloud to him, I had known in my heart that I had already made up my mind to end that relationship. There was no way that I was going to or could ever live with someone who drank till they were belligerently tipsy or aggressively drunk and became so paranoid that it had left me feeling as if I was the one afflicted with the problem of paranoia. And yes, I’m gonna go there – there is nothing worse than black male paranoia as a result of their excessive drinking of alcohol!
Even if he had stopped drinking right then and there, that limited trust in him that I had previously held so dear, that drink would never be an issue that would rear its ugly head within our relationship, that tentative trust had now been broken and in my mind, it could never be repaired because I would forever be wary and anxious in waiting for him to begin drinking to excess again. I mean, why put myself through all of that when I had not even the energy to keep myself together on most days, even though I had hidden that fact so well, all my life, to date.
I had recognised long ago that the thoughts and minds of an abused victim or survivor, somehow processes differently, so in my indoctrinated mind, the fact that this partner had obviously thought that it was OK to bring that kind of worry and behaviour into my personal space and more so, into our intimate space, had meant that he was not the one for me, the damaged and emotionally blemished me.
It had been rather a shame really because I had quite liked him and dare I say it, I had loved him, as much as I had been capable of loving an intimate partner during that time of my young adult life.
It was not even that I had been looking for or expecting perfection in a partner. But what I did want and needed more than anything else, was trust. More to the point, the chance to trust another implicitly.
Trust, in the sense that I didn’t have to be worrying about any aspect of a partner’s character or behaviour that would even remotely remind me of my childhood: characteristics or personal traits like the drinking, gambling, cussing, violence, abuse and manipulation on their part towards me, themselves or others, to be blunt.
Yes, in hindsight, I was probably so overly sensitive and not trusting of myself, never mind another individual, that at the slightest sign of a perceived betrayal of my trust in them, I had to go or they had to leave.
I suspect, in references to my earlier personal relationships, that I had always been unconsciously waiting to be hurt, to be let down, to be proven right that I was unworthy of being perfectly happy and unconditionally loved, in terms of life-partnerships.
I seriously also suspect that I was in fact, seeking perfection, void of any signs of imperfections – not only in them in terms of our relationship, but mostly within myself, and knowing that that was an impossibility in and of itself, I had obviously entered into those personal and intimate relationships knowing that for it to be a permanent relationship was therefore impossible. Those personal relationships were already doomed before they had really had the chance to begin or flourish.
I took their lack of thought or consideration as a direct reflection of myself as being unworthy of expecting, desiring or having the audacity to dare to want and expect love and understanding, security and respect and peace of mind.
At that time, of course, I do not think I actually thought of it on such a deep level, or if I had, it was not something that I had allowed myself to sit and contemplate from an emotional or mental point of view. As a young female adult, I had always felt quite emotionally stunted and immature. I am sure, looking back in hindsight, that I may well have been so or at the very least, had succeeded in convincing myself that that was the case. Not having felt that I had emotionally grown from child to adult, I automatically thought of myself as emotionally immature – feeling as I did that I had not been taught or shown how to handle emotions of any kind, be it good, bad or indifferent.
Giving myself an unspoken permission to hold onto that excuse for a quick retreat or escape, back into my comfort zone, served its purpose and allowed me to cling on to that knowledge that I could always run away, emotionally extract myself or push others away.
Fright or flight! Back in those days of existing with the mentality of unworthiness, for me it was always fright then flight!
For me, there had never been that choice of fright, flight or fight!
I was too pathetically frightened of my own shadow to stand up for myself or to fight for any personal relationships that may have warranted being worthy of fighting for.
Experiencing a ‘trigger’ makes you feel so small, so insignificant, insecure and depressed.
I may return to this impactful issue later, but for now, I was recalling how my childhood had been massively affected by things that were completely out of my control. As a child and grown adult, I often felt that I had little or no control over things that happened to me or what I wanted to do or say.
Not being able to freely use our own bathroom, which was situated downstairs on the ground floor of our large house, was both annoying and soul destroying in a way, because it meant that none of the adults were seriously or consciously taking into consideration, the physical safety of or the feeling of comfort, of the child or the children in the home, namely me and my siblings.
I would then lie to my poor mother and tell her that I had already used the bathroom and that I had so much homework to do, that I would need to stay in my room for the next few hours so that I could work and complete my homework assignments.
My beloved Mother had always been encouraging of us doing our homework on time so that lame excuse was never questioned and I would get to spend a few relatively peaceful but still anxious hours in the sanctuary of my bedroom, trying my best to block out the drunken and deafening noises coming from downstairs whilst simultaneously straining to hear and judge the tones and volumes of various voices, all because I was constantly in that horrific space of being consistently anxious and on edge, anticipating the next eruption of loud arguments or physical altercations.
Once they had awoken from their drunken stupors they still seemed to take for hours to leave our house.
Even though I had felt sorry for her, I could not even bring myself to help my mother, who would be carrying endless cups of coffee and trays of foods up and down the stairs, on those occasions when she had ended up feeding those unscrupulous, perverted and hypocritical animalistic vultures.
To offer to help her on those occasions would have put me physically in their vicinity and there was no way on earth I could do that if I could possibly avoid doing so. And to know that I was having to put on a fake smile whilst offering or serving them coffee or breakfast – no way! I would rather have taken a beating for refusing to help than to voluntarily step into their noxious and hateful company!
That would have been a step too far to bear and implement.
To have to serve them whilst recognising the warped and depraved looks in their eyes and on their faces! Trying desperately to avoid their touch, their blatant efforts to grasp or grab at me!
No way! I had preferred to remain upstairs, as far away from those deviants, as was possible.
It had not mattered that both the toilet and bathroom doors had sturdy locks on them. It had been the mere fact that those degenerate animalistic monsters were there, lurking, sitting or sprawling around in our living room. Their very presence was toxic and vile to me. The mere thought of having to walk past them to reach the bathroom sent nauseous shivers down my spine and made me want to gag and vomit. Just asking myself if I had the courage to take that walk, had me breaking out in a clammy sweat with the onset of a debilitating migraine that left the back of my head feeling like it was about to explode into shattering pieces of fragmented pain and frightful anxiousness.
I became quite adept at holding my bladder until the house was clear and free of those species of vermin, languishing in our living room.
Not being allowed to eat foods, specifically dinners, in our bedrooms, I also became an expert in putting up with the stabbing stomach pains due to hunger. I could never have enjoyed eating a meal with those depraved idiots watching me, anyways. I would surely have choked on every mouthful.
#Extract from ‘The Definition of I & I’ by Maureen E Worrell aka Jah siSTAR ©