I was ready for war. I felt strong again. The more I revealed and talked about the stronger I felt. I would talk to my best friend for hours and just slowly relived each event that I could remember, and I started making a list. A list of every pedophile I could remember from my childhood.
With each name I added to the list, the anger at my mom mounted. Like how can you let this happen to me? You were right outside, and I wanted you to come save me so badly. Like fuck everything you're trying to teach me, can't you see my cries for help. I found myself calling my mom less and pulling back from speaking to my family. The more memories I started to recall the more pain I felt. The angrier I got. So many brothers, so many cousins but still I wasn't safe. My mom was less than 10ft away most of the time and I wasn't safe. The anger just mounted. My boyfriend realized that anger and we talked about it for hours.
He always had a way of sensing when I wasn’t ok. He said when I met you, you talked to your mom like 5 times a day and now you're talking about how much anger you have for her, what's going on? I mentioned that I blamed her for my trauma, if only she taught me how to say no. If only she noticed my changes in attitude were a cry for help and not me being disrespectful, I would be in such a better place now. If only she let me play with the other kids, I wouldn't have been a sitting target.
And then he said the most powerful thing that changed my relationship with my mom forever. DJ, you share something with your mom. You may not know it or talk about it, but I can tell you that she has been a victim herself. You are trying to hold your mother accountable and wanting things that she could have never given you. Your mother shared with us that she was a maid cooking and cleaning houses for other people from as early as the age of 6. From all of my time I spent in Haiti, I don't know a maid that hasn't been sexually abused in some way. Most boys and the man of the house sleep with the maid. It's a practice I always found to be wrong and disgusting whenever my classmates would talk about it, but it happens every day. She never had a choice in the matter either. She was a maid for so many years. There's no telling how many times she's been abused. How many times she had to just take it or risk being fired and having to explain that to her parents. In her mind she was protecting you by always keeping you with her. She doesn't have a formal education. She never had someone sit her down and tell her what happened was wrong and that it wasn't her fault. Your mom is strong. To overcome everything she has and be as strong as she is today reminds me of you in so many ways. Channel your anger the right way. Direct it at the right people and take your power back so you can get back to living your best life.
Defensive and angered at the same time, I simply walked away. I went to Google and started researching sexual abuse in Haiti and sure enough, everything he was saying was true. Article after article, study after study. The correlation between maids and rape was an alarming one. I started reaching out to my female friends and family members and asking them about their own experiences and story, after story, I realized I wasn't alone. It was time to take my power back. I went to FL with my Clyde beside me and I confronted everyone on my list that was still around, all but one. I wasn't ready to face that one. That one shouldn't have been on my list. I knew that revealing that last name would change things, but it was time to finish the mission. I got to the kitchen ready to tell my mom everything and as I stood there next to her all I could feel was pain. I sat there staring at her wondering what kind of trauma she carried. How much abuse have you experienced? As she fixed my boyfriend a plate of food I stood there trying to find the words. All the rehearsals of what I'd say, how I'd start the conversation all went out the window. In that moment I started thinking about every story she shared with me in the past. Started doing the math of all my older siblings dads and each led to the realization that my mission would be put on hold. In that moment I won't transfer my pain to her. Instead, I hugged her tightly and said I'm sorry and thank you. Thank you for teaching me everything you know. Thank you for doing your best. Thank you for loving me as deep as you do. Most of all, thank you for teaching me strength. As much as revealing those things to her would have probably gotten me to my place of peace faster, I realized it would bring her pain. To know that all the choices you made to protect your child led to some of the biggest scars they have. She'd been hurt enough. I decided that I wouldn't be the one to add to that pain. That day in 2006 my mother became my hero, my best friend. The one I'd start to look out for the most. The one I vowed to give the world to. I knew that revealing any part of my journey would devastate her. More importantly, I knew that revealing that final name would hurt and I knew she'd been hurt enough. So I decided to halt my mission and focus on loving her deeper than she'd ever been loved...TO BE CONTINUED.