I’m hoping this finds your heart happy and life treating you well.
I’ve constantly been writing, which delights me and makes me feel whole. I’ve gotten back in the habit of doing daily shout-outs on my Social Media pages and wrote a little about the upcoming subject. Still, I wanted to write a blog post, so anyone who isn’t on Social Media would have access. This is a subject that will evoke pain for some. I’m sorry in advance if that is the case.
Life has a way of bringing us full circle. What I am finding is the circle doesn’t actually complete. It becomes more of a spiral. Circular in motion but capable of expanding and never-ending. We do come around to things but the spiral seems more true to me than a circle.
It always amazes me when I want to write about something, but I struggle with the courage to say whatever it is on my mind, heart, and Soul. The fear isn’t about sharing because of me; the fear is always because I want to protect even those who have hurt me.
When that happens, it boggles my mind how I will begin to encounter people who will share their own stories privately with me — the same stories I want to tell but have held back.
With that said, I want to share a story that isn’t sunshine and rainbows but a real reality that happens in our world more than we know. My friend Patty shared this quote by Maya Angelou, “I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it.” I think that might sum up my life mantra.
Some years ago, my dear friend Linda Brashier asked me if I had ever been molested. NO! That was my immediate response. Linda is gifted intuitively, and she didn’t just accept my answer and move on. She did her favorite thing…..she danced around with me with words. Kimmy, are you sure? I was sure. No one has ever touched you inappropriately, she asked? Of course not, I responded. Linda is a determined woman. When she knows, she knows, and she is the kind of friend that won’t let something go if she believes there is a lesson and healing to be had.
Linda then did what people do when they are trying to help others feel they are not alone. She told me her story.
Linda said that when she was just a young girl, her next-door neighbor, who was friends with her parents, used to take her to a lake with his German Shepherd. This friend was close enough that she called him “Uncle.” When they got to the lake, “Uncle” would tell her that he would unleash his dog upon her if she did not do what he wanted. Because of the trauma, Linda didn’t remember the specifics. What she did remember was feeling violated and ashamed, terrified and helpless. She never told anyone until “Uncle” was going to take her baby sister, who had grown into a young girl, to the lake. When that was about to become a reality Linda went into protector mode and told her parents.
Linda’s parents, at first, didn’t believe her. Then they did what we do when we do not know how to handle something emotionally….we sweep it under the rug, and then we change the subject. It is not intentional usually. We just do not know how to cope sometimes.
Once it sunk in, Linda’s parent’s refused to let her baby sister go, curtailing the relationship with the neighbors.
Linda’s story flooded open something inside me. Listening to Linda, I began to feel my cheeks warm, and along with my warm cheeks came a rush of shame.
I am convinced that my mother wasn’t just sexually molested but most likely sexually assaulted more than once in her life. She could not bring herself to talk about sex in any shape, form, or fashion. The word made her uncomfortable and she would even say….I don’t want to talk about that. Unintentionally, she set up a scenario where her girls were vulnerable.
So I said to Linda, I have never been molested, but there was this guy who loved me, and he used to kiss me deeply when I was a little girl. BUT IT WASN’T MOLESTATION. Linda asked me to tell her about it, and I did.
There was this close family friend who loved me. What did that mean she asked me? Well, he would get me alone and then pull me up against him and kiss me. In between kisses, he would tell me how special I was. That was always followed by making sure I knew that what “we” were doing had to be our little secret. We couldn’t tell anyone what was happening or that he loved me. The kissing advanced. With time, he began taking off his pants and pleasuring himself as he kissed me. Once that was done it would be time to send me on my way. I told Linda I had no recollection of him removing my clothes, and I don’t think he did, but it wasn’t molestation since he loved me. Sweet little Kim believed that he loved me until he came home from college with a girl. His having a girl with him was shocking and confusing and I am sure a whole host of emotions.
How old were you, she asked? Hmmm. That didn’t just rush to the forefront of my mind. I had to think about that one. Well, I must have been about nine or ten…maybe eleven. I knew it was before I met the young man who would become my childhood sweetheart. And I knew for sure that I was a virgin when he and I had sex for the first time.
How old was the first guy, she asked. Oh, he would have been around 19, 20, or 21.
OH MY GOD, KIMMY….that is molestation. HE was molesting YOU!
Another rush flooded me as the realization hit me like a ton of bricks. Linda was right. He was molesting me. He was a predator, and I was his prey.
I was filled with shame and told her how stupid I must have been. How could you be molested and not know it? Didn’t that make it my fault? I didn’t say no. I let it happen.
You were just a child, Linda adamantly insisted. Yes, but…. NO buts….you were a child just like I was, and we were both victims of these disgusting, perverted sick men.
When I told my therapist about it, I asked why on Earth I had lived a life thinking I wasn’t molested and that it was just love. She said, as sick as it might sound, I was lucky in that regard. I was innocent and even though it was a traumatic event — I didn’t look at it as a traumatic event as a child. I somehow had blinders and saw it as love. Many girls and boys who are molested are traumatized for life by predators. Linda was traumatized all those years ago and even to this day, I see how it affected her and I feel so sad for her. I also feel gratitude that she found the courage to tell me and believe it helped both of us.
In hindsight, I see how innocent children are and how easily they can be manipulated.
I was floating in the pool just yesterday and flashed to my cousin Amy and me on a swingset at my Great Grandma Allison’s house. Amy was pushing me and teasing me with an old rhyme.
Kim and …. Sitting in a tree
K I S S I N G
First comes love
Then comes marriage
Then comes Kim with a baby carriage
I was thinking of how Amy could clearly see I had a childish crush on this guy. But Amy had no clue what was happening in the secret moments. She would have personally beaten the shit out of him if she had.
Even typing this…I am still embarrassed that I didn’t know any better. Adult Kim sees it clearly and feels so sorry for Little Kim, who was looking for love with no clue that what was happening to her was anything but love. Children are innocent and do not assume things even when those things are bad.
I’ve met many in the last several months who had a similar experience. I promised one of them that I would write this story because, as my friend said….so many have had this happen, but they still can’t speak up. Like me, they feel embarrassed that they were so gullible, and then comes all the shame. But, she told me that she knew in her heart that if I wrote about it, it would help others.
I pray that if you have been the victim of molestation, you know it was not your fault. Sadly, you are one of many.
This might seem weird but I’d like to share a little exercise my wonderful therapist Mary often does with me.
First, sit quietly and close your eyes. Then, try to connect with your little girl or boy self. Thank them for being so strong. Hug them tightly and tell them you are so sorry for what happened to them. Tell them that you are sorry there was no one there to stop the abuse. Tell them that you love them no matter what, and they couldn’t possibly have known or stopped it because they were just a little child. Then tell them they can let it go now. They don’t have to live in the shadow of shame. They can finally be free.
Thank you for reading! Thank you to my friend Linda for giving me permission to share her story and for helping me see the parts of myself that I often had no idea were abused. Thank you to my friend who encouraged me to share for those who can’t. And thank you to those of you who have privately shared with me. I honor your willingness to trust me with your hearts and secrets. As my Mama used to say….I will take them to my grave.
With Much Love,
P.S. I couldn’t find a photo that really fits the subject at hand so I picked this one. In a way, it actually fits. I see the sadness in my eyes and I am not looking into the camera. This sweet girl is opening presents and holding a doll. Now I know that she was also holding the weight of the world on her tiny little shoulders.
DebbieJuly 3, 2022 at 6:02 pm
*** corrected reply
Stay strong and thank you for sharing your story.
My Dad passed away a couple of years ago and the year before he passed, while I was visiting him in Florida, he teared up and said, “I’ve always wanted to tell you how sorry I was about not doing something sooner about your mother.”
I told him, “Dad, it’s OK. I was able to make peace with Mom, and myself, many years ago.” That when she passed away we were OK. I forgave her..And, that he needed to find peace in that as well. Then we hugged and cried together.
There was no taking. Nothing more needed to be said. We let go of that chapter of hurt and we moved on to create beautiful memories moving forward.
You can’t hide from what happened to you as a child. Not really. You can suppress your memories. You can justify what happened. Or, attempt to. But, in the end what happened finds us even if we didn’t recognize at the time as being found.
For me it was the years of never feeling enough. Not smart enough. Not pretty enough. Not good enough. But, guess what. I was all of those things and more! I was/am strong enough to push past the harm that happened to that little girl.
I embraced her and continue to protect her by giving her the life she deserves! May you, too, continue to heal…
Kimberly ParrishJuly 5, 2022 at 9:21 am
Thank you for taking the time to read and share your story.
I am so sorry to see that you lost your dad and for the pain, you’ve seen in your life. I am happy to see that you were able to have happy memories and that you have been able to overcome the painful experiences too. I love how you put it. “But, in the end what happened finds us even if we didn’t recognize at the time as being found.” That is profound wisdom. I am thrilled to see another woman taking care of the little girl inside. I have been amazed at how that work really sets us free.
May you continue to heal too!
With Much Love,