My father started abusing me when I was a very small child. Touching me, making me touch him. Putting his fingers in me. Putting his willy in my mouth. Raping me.
I don’t really remember a time when I was safe. I do remember waiting. Waiting for the next time. Waiting for his step outside my bedroom door, the turn of the door handle. His walk to my bed.
A small part of me always hoped that it would stop, that the abuse would end. The rest of me simply waited for the next time, never knowing when that would be, nor where, nor who.
I’ve always found waiting difficult. I needed to know when and where things were going to happen. I found changes of plan distressing, as the small amount of control I had over the future slipped away.
Waiting was heavy, it was like a weight was sitting on me, on my chest, my shoulders, my whole body really. My mind would feel woolly. My brain sent out anxious messages, as my smoke detector kept reacting to ordinary things, like a car pulling up outside the house, my dad coming into the living room, my mum telling me to go to my room. Any of these could be the precursor to being abused.
It’s no wonder that I often had sore throats, tummy aches, headaches when I was a child. All that stress had to come out somehow.
As an adult, I also found waiting heavy going. This was particularly so during the two years that I was waiting for a response from the police after I spent about twenty hours giving my evidence to them in 2015 and 2016. I was tidying up my desk yesterday and came across a journal that I wrote in then. Most pages have WAITING on them. It was really hard. The not knowing. The having no control. The having to trust people in authority to do the right things.
Eventually, I heard from the police. There was to be “No further action”. That was not the result I had hoped for, but at least I knew. The weight of waiting was lifted.
As I write this, on the 1st April 2020, we are all waiting. Waiting for the news. Waiting to see if we will be prevented from even walking the dog. Waiting for the latest death numbers.
The waiting brings echoes of earlier waiting. Now, though, I am much more able to cope with the weight. I have started doing Headspace again. I am staying in touch with friends and getting back in touch with some others. I am writing blogs and recording podcasts. I know too, that the one certain thing about time is that it will pass. The weight of waiting will eventually be lifted.