Did You Miss Me?

I have not written for a long time.

Partly I have been away, partly I have been burnt out, and partly there too much sports on TV.

I am at the stage where I am questioning who and what I am, in those times I want to run hard away from this work.

I have staying with my sister in France, and questioning in my mind and heart my own sense of reality.

Or questioning how little we can really know of reality, and wondering how we survive by creating our own myths to live by.

I have been made to question that I was ever an under-aged prostitute.

I live inside an upper-middle-class family with not just my family, but several lodgers.

According to my sister, I did not go out much, but stay in my bedroom.

I have told that was born with mental issues, that I always found life hard.

I do not know what to believe.

But, I may place my life into some kind of context. The context of saying no-one can truly know what is happening to others, even when they are very close and have deep love for each other.

In that context, I can see why my sister has to not know I was in harm’s way as a teenager – but I can also know I was out of control enough to be out of her sight.

It was never her fault, she must never take or have any of the blame – so I will stop rocking the boat as much as possible.

For I know many of the under-aged prostitutes come from my background, many still live at home and their prostitution is hidden from their families.

It is easy to lead a double life, especially when you are dead inside and know nothing really matters.

I was remembered as being studious, quite unhappy, but locked inside my own head.

According to my sister and others, I loved school.

My real world was hidden, my headlong rush to pain, fear and longing for death was hidden.

I did show it in endless interest in the First World War, in my stubborn silences, and in closing down any optimism.

I became a doll who did not understand how to be in a family.

There is no fault here, just that was my reality – home was surreal to me, being out inside danger was what I knew and understood.

I was typical of the millions of girls pulled into prostitution.

I could easily just not go to school, I could easily fill the hours to going home with paid sex.

I could find ways to run away into hate and danger – I could walk out the home at night.

A teenager who wants to be invisible can just fade away,

I have been thinking of the common factors in much of internal trafficking in much of the West, and know with a broken heart it is always hidden in plain sight.

Sadly, the natural reaction of the exploited teenage girl in prostitution is to hide it from all that love her, and may be able to help her.

For most of the girls who are trapped inside prostitution have come to believe that they can trust no-one, come to believe that they disgusting and unworthy of being helped.

These girls become invisible in a crowded city, invisible in a small town where everyone claims everyone is cared for.

I was a typical of those girls – I am no longer surprise my family think it was impossible that I had a double life. I am just saddened how much I have broken their hearts now.

But I will not be told my past is just built on lies – just it was hidden from their gaze.

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4 responses to “Did You Miss Me?

  1. Yes, I have missed you! I have some posts to catch up on reading here. Re. born with mental issues/always found life hard — I would think that children who were abused from a young age would find life hard, how could they not? Same goes for anyone at any age who has been violated/exploited/abused. The “mental illness” (if such a thing exists) is not within victims, it is found squarely within abusers who violate people, and then who go on to deny or discredit their victims in order to keep them in a powerless state. That is the real sickness.

    I think we must believe what is in our hearts and souls. Re. “reality” — we are all meaning making machines, it is how we make sense of life. I think one critical thing among prostitution survivors’ meaning-making is to not allow self-blame/self-hate messages inside, because those belong to the men who violated you, and others who have failed to protect and/or believe you (no disrespect to your sister or family, I am speaking in general terms here). THEY (the abusers and silencers) are the ones to be held responsible, THEY are the ones who have self-hate. There is no shame in being a victim, there is a courage and dignity in surviving and speaking out and shining a light on the poison inflicted and imposed on victims by others. Much respect to you for surviving and speaking Truths so many do not want to know or hear or admit.

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  2. Your writing gives a voice to the invisible and voiceless currently trapped and silenced in the sex trade and has completely changed my reality and meaning-making of the sex trade. I’ve just finished an amazing feminist psych book about trauma recovery; it explains how hiding/not trusting is a very natural reaction to trauma, and it is through safe connection with others that trauma recovery happens (as well as establishing safety in general, and telling, mourning and re-framing trauma stories). It is not that trauma goes away, but that the ‘new stories’ replace old feelings of shame and humiliation with new feelings of dignity and virtue, which sets the stage for survivors to begin regaining the world they had lost.

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  3. Dear R,
    Thank you for being so honest and for speaking out!
    The issues you write about are so important, and the openness with which you write about trauma, so very brave.
    I live in Amsterdam where I am continually confronted with the lies and misleading propaganda of the sex-industry, and the self-interested policies of the Dutch government in terms of legislation. I work as a crisis-buddy with trafficked women who have managed to escape, and am in the in the process for compiling a publication of writing and visual work by various women which highlights the inhumanity of the prostitution industry and I would very much like to reproduce three of your posts in the publication. So I am writing to ask if you would be interested in participating in this way, i.e. by giving permission to reproduce two blog posts in the book. There is a small fee available for each of the contributors.
    I earlier tried to reach you through Ruth but I gather from this post that you have been away so I am trying now again to reach you directly like this.
    Please let me know if you would agree to reproduce a couple of your posts. I am keeping space in the book for them but the deadline is approaching.
    You can reach me at jimini@dds.nl
    My very warmest wishes,
    Jimini Hignett

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  4. I just re-read this post, and wanted to add, that all humans survive by myth/story-making — your “myths” are no less valid or real than your sister’s or anyone else’s (including stories/myths under the label “science”, “academia”, etc.). What I find many of us tend to do is find safety in denial for fear of drowning in guilt and shame, emotions which are so useless and end up making people feel even worse, and are some of the worst emotional quicksands around. What this does for survivors is deny *their* reality, which is one of the worst feelings ever, because we all need to be validated in order to feel like whole people and be able to move on. We see this a lot with mothers who deny their daughters were molested by their fathers/close male family members; because for these mothers, it’s easier to live in denial than have to admit the horror of the what happened, and again, hit that wall of guilt/shame/blame. I think that is much worse than just accepting what happened and dealing with it. To me this is sad and a bit selfish, though very understandable. We must all push past the Abrahamic quicksands of shame/blame/guilt, take personal responsibility if/where it is due, and move on, this is the only way true healing can happen, for everyone, since we are all connected and responsible for eachother, to a point. When we rock the boat, we are not responsible for other people’s reactions, it is up to them how they choose to react/respond to the information we give them. I know it’s easier said than done when it comes to loved ones, but that is the basis of Respect and boundaries. Just my opinion, and hard lessons I’ve been learning in my own life.

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