I was always a mischievous boy. Things intrigued me and I had no fear. There were numerous incidents growing up that show exactly what I mean. For instance, one time when I was at school, we’d just finished having a swimming lesson. We were all told to line up alongside the pool to then make our way back to the changing rooms. The line started by the deep end of the pool, and as I walked up to join the line, I started looking in at the deep end. Something in me said ‘jump in!’ Mind you, these times I couldn’t even swim, but regardless of that fact, I ran in and jumped in at the deep end.
I remember sinking to the bottom of the pool, looking up and seeing a white light. At that point I panicked as the realisation that I couldn’t swim dawned on me! So there I am frantically doing whatever I could to somehow make my way back up. I remember the feeling of running out of breath and thinking I was going to drown, but somehow, some way, I made it back up and out of the pool. Our headteacher, who was the swimming coach told me off – probably not realising that I’d almost drowned, or maybe he did? Sounds far fetched, but anybody that went to school with me and remembers Mr Good, would attest that it wouldn’t have been far out the realms of possibility!
That is who I was as a child. Like most children, I would do things first and then think about it afterwards. I had a desire to try things, as most children do. That’s part of your innocence as a child – you don’t know any better, therefore it’s for the adults around you to guide and direct you in the right direction. Unfortunately those same adults who are supposed to have your best interests at heart, can sometimes take advantage of a child’s innocence.
I think I was about 4 years old. Me, my brother and our friends Sacha and Jermaine, were in mine and my brothers bedroom watching tv. Me and Sacha had ended up in the same bed underneath the covers. Somehow, someway, I performed oral sex on her. At the time I didn’t think anything of it, but obviously years later after recalling that incident from my memory banks, I was horrified!! Why the f’k had I done that!!? At 4?!? That’s not normal.
Years later myself, my mum, my brothers and my aunty went out to eat at a restaurant. So everything’s good, we’re all having a good time, and then my aunty proceeds to tell this story about me when I was about 5 or 6. My aunty and I had to share a bed at my grans house for some reason. During the night she wakes up to me unbuttoning her night clothes trying to do something I had no businesses doing. She stops me and tells me off.
When she told that story I literally just wanted to die. I was so embarrassed, but I just had to try and laugh it off. Why had I done that?! What was I thinking at that age that made me attempt to undress my own aunty?
My mum is my world and I love her beyond belief. During my late teens early twenties, I remember looking at my brothers and the way they embraced my mum. They would hug her, kiss her, and it dawned on me that I never did those things. I never used to hug or kiss my mum. Why?
Its early 2001 I’m out with my brothers and friends and I meet a girl. We exchange numbers and arrange to meet up the following week. She’s a single mother of one studying to be a psychiatrist. Long story short, we begin dating. As part of studying to be a psychiatrist, she would have to go and get therapy herself every Thursday.
Her therapy sessions always left her extremely emotional and drained, so we had a little ritual where I’d have the wine waiting for when she finished and then I’d literally be her container and allow her to offload all that she was feeling on to me.
At that time I knew nothing about therapy. All I knew is that afterwards she was a thousand times more upset than she was before! She’d tell me she’d been speaking about things that had happened in her past; her parents, the father of her child. Every week when we’d debrief, things that happened in the past were always the issue for her upset. To me, it didn’t make sense to constantly be going over things from your past that were now upsetting your present.
So one Thursday night after her therapy session. I get the wine out, we sit on the couch and go through what she’d discussed with the therapist. So she’s talking away, I’m half listening (as in my head it’s like, this is the same shit you were talking about last week). And then she said something, and I swear to anybody reading this, no word of a lie, I said ‘oh shit!!! That’s what she said to me, it’s our little secret!’
Out of nowhere partial memories starting coming back. Memories I didn’t even know were there. Memories of being molested by a female family member. She had told me that it was our secret and for close to 20 years I had locked it away in a compartment of my brain that not even I had access to, but something my girlfriend at the time said, released those memories.
Anyone that’s been through anything like this will probably relate. Memories of her getting me to do things to her, touch her. I’m not going to go into detail as I don’t think it’s necessary and to be honest I haven’t had the chance to talk about this with a therapist yet, but it explained so much. It explained Sacha, it explained my aunty, it explained why I felt I couldn’t get physically close to my mum. My mum was the first thing that came to my mind. I needed to tell her.
Luckily I’ve always had a relationship with my mum where I could talk to her about anything. So I told her.
I don’t know what this family member of mine thought?! That what took place was appropriate behaviour? I can’t speak for her. For years, unbeknownst to me, her actions had messed up my relationship with my mum. It had screwed up my mind where the way I subconsciously looked at love was all skewed up. It had affected the trust I had in others and the trust I had in myself.
Like I said I haven’t had a chance to speak to a therapist about this yet, and I’m sure when I go more things will pop up. I really decided to write about this because of an interview I saw with a guy called Poppy Hassan, where he spoke about abuse he’d suffered as a child and then moving forward I’m hearing more men talk about their pasts in this regards.
There are lots of people who have been victims of molestation, rape and are too scared, too embarrassed to talk about what’s happened to them. I get it. It wasn’t easy writing this blog, leaving yourself open and vulnerable, wondering what people will think, if they will look at you differently. But as a victim, why should we be ashamed or embarrassed? Why should we have to hold onto these secrets that have created trauma in our lives? My aim with this blog is to encourage people to speak up, to speak out, to tell their story to encourage others as Poppy Hassan motivated me to write this blog.
Free yourself by speaking your truth.