I cannot listen to the song “At 17”, because in many ways being 17 was the middle of when I was dead.
I write this post as a letter to my teenaged self. To the self that only know hatred. To the self that was growing used to prostitution.
To self that still had my stepdad thinking he owned me. To the self that was drinking to die.
To the self that had injuries but could not be noticed. To the self that bleed outside her period, who bleed from her anus, who bleed where she should of remembered being hit.
To the self who had an abortion, and no-one was interested that she was raped.
I am writing to my prostituted self, my raped self, my staying with men coz it better than going home self – damnit I write to her because now I can love her.
So here’s goes.
So that record you hate is on the radio again.
I feel your scream in me. Don’t they know being 17 is shit.
Yes, I can remember being 17. God, you know I spent all my life running away from remembering. I watch “Home and Away” and “Dawson’s Creek” imagining what teenage must be like.
I invented a teenager that was never there. A teenager who know about punk. A teenager who mixed, drunk and acted with teenagers. A teenager who could explore her sexuality.
A teenager who rebel in a safe way. Could have angst and write deep poetry.
I invented a teenager that never existed.
I did that so well for so long, I nearly forgot you.
But you eat away at my stomach, you refuse to die.
Always you were screaming in me. Always I felt your rage growing.
Only there was no language between us. I had done such a good job of alienating myself from you and everything you to wanted show me.
I fear you. I hated you.
Yet again you were placed as the despised, only it was the biggest betrayal coz I was drowning you with my self-hatred.
You don’t deserve that.
No you must be seen, you are my truth, you are my warrior spirit and you deserve the rest of being heard and believed.
“At 17” should be soothing, but it send sickness into my soul.
About a week after my birthday, round Christmas, I was dreaming of suicide.
Christmas with family, and again my stepdad feel my cunt, again the silent treatment from my mum.
I am 17, I could kill them but I do nothing but become a robot.
By January, I back in the club, back to the violence, back to the coldness.
Back to not allowing myself to know I am a prostitute.
All I know is I am nothing.
Nothing as I am gang raped. Nothing as the violence increases, and I say nothing – just attempt to be invisible by moving as little as possible.
That was 17 for me.
In January, I had my abortion. I had in silence.No-one interested in how I got pregnant. No-one spoke of no boyfriend in sight. No-one spoke of the injuries I had. Not the bruises, not the cuts and certainly not the damage to my cunt.
No, I had an abortion and that’s was that .
No space for shock, no space for grief, I continued in the hell I was living in.
I don’t how I got out of being 17 alive, just I did.
But christ, you wanted to die.
You took a full bottle of paracetamol mixed with vodka. You cut yourself deep.
You could care less if johns would of murder you.
I feel your rage now that they choose to do sexual torture over and over and over and over – but always kept me alive. Rage at them bringing the edge of death – through chocking, through deep throating, through extreme anal sex, or just plain battering – only to choose to keep me alive.
You were not grateful for having life – why the hell would you be.
I don’t blame you anymore for wanting to drink to die. I don’t hate you for eating food that you knew was unhealthy. I know you smoked praying for lung cancer.
I can’t repair you pain. I can’t ever stop what those bastards did to you.
I can only let your reality be known.
I will not make it neat. I will say it full of gaps and silences, and what is too terrible for even I to know.
I will not say it will get better, that is a lie said to make into a story not a real life.
But, I will allow you to scream, yell, whisper, not speak your truth.
I will let go enough to give you that.
That is what I would write to my teenage self.
I know this may be a selfish post, but it was important to me.
Oh, I still can’t stand Janis Ian.