In my personal story of abuse I have given a new name to the town where I grew up and where the abuse occurred. I call it Hopeless. Hopeless, at least to me, is a fitting name for this place. The winters there are harsh and the summers hot. At least they used to be – before the effects of global warming changed weather patterns all over.
My father was a trapper, a soldier, a pilot, a welder – pretty much in that order. He made my playhouse for me – by hand and without the use of power saws or nails. He built me my own playhouse – a real log cabin. I loved watching him build it – Skinning the logs himself, building the door – he didn’t bother to use instructions, or buy a kit – he was a man who could use his head and his hands. Many years later the cabin still stands – I took this in April of this year….
This cabin became my refuge – my safe place – inside it was my version of the Millennium Falcon. It was just some blue shag carpet and two chairs – but it was mine. Inside that cabin I became who I wanted to be – escaping into my mind with the aid of the Star War films this little cabin became the cockpit of the Falcon, numerous X-Wings, the command centre on Hoth, and at times even the bridge of Star Destroyers. Sometimes I invited a friend in – but more often than not this was my place – my scared space. Inside this little cabin is where my healing really began.
In contrast to this safe space is the ominous church where the atrocities committed against me were perpetuated. This picture was taken in April of this year – on the same day I took the one of my little cabin….
I am sure for many this is a happy place – a place of solemn reflection, a place to celebrate births, baptisms, marriages and a place to honor the dead. To me this was a place that murdered souls – a place where people could abuse and twist their power into evil deeds – a place where parents gave over their children willingly for spiritual and intellectual education without knowing what was exactly going on. It was my institution of incarceration, my anguish and my hell. I was so happy to be freed from this place. Since then I have had to spend most of my life yearning to be a kid – to have no fears, to be free to play. It is amazing how we take our basic liberties and experiences for granted. I am an adult now, yet I still wish those years of my abuse (from kindergarten to grade 4) were mine to be free to play. Instead those years were dedicated to me attempting to not be seen, to eat to excess to make my body undesirable. I blamed myself for many years after the abuse – I still have yet to keep many close friends – it is hard to trust when your childhood has been shattered through physical, mental, emotional and sexual abuse. I had been told that God would destroy my family if I ever was to reveal what had happened. I was forced into silence and made to feel that I was the one responsible for the abuse. It was inside my little log cabin, the Trapper John, that I could reflect deeply on what had happened and find a way to cope – that way was Star Wars. It became my early therapy and I will always hold the original trilogy close to my heart. The Force is strong in me. May the Force be with you.