I think it's finally time to put my story out there, in some form anyway. My first indication that anything strange was going on was about age five, when I couldn't sleep. It wasn't that I didn't want to sleep as much as I couldn't remember how, for some reason.
Then when I did sleep, I had nightmares about falling, about drowning, and about spiders crawling near and on the middle part of my body, inserting fangs into whatever exposed skin was around (and Arachnophobia was still in the distant future: this was 1971).
I had the typical school situation: beaten up, chased around, called names, followed home, humiliated in any way other boys could. For two years, sixth and seventh grades, it was a daily struggle for survival, and my grades went where the notices of failures went: in the trash can.
Fast-forward to puberty. I was seventeen when my voice finally changed and when I knew I had none of the ordinary attractions (and at that time I would have even accepted being attracted to men, which I wasn't). By age 19, I was close to suicide, due to the attraction I did feel. That's when past abuse started to become clear.
I realized that two neighbor boys had tortured me every day for eight to nine months(that's the best word for the physical stuff that begins where tickling leaves off), and had probably molested me, more for torture than for thrill, since they were only about a year older than me (and I was four and a half when this started).
Here's the basic picture: they got me disoriented on a rocking boat, close to ill, then followed me into my restroom, dragged me out and started with hard tickling that usually went to kicking, hitting and grabbing different parts (including the genitals). During that time I was always held down and immobilized by one so the other could do whatever he wanted to me. I only escaped the first time. After that, they made sure I couldn't.
And there was a cloudier memory of another time, close to age three, in a church restroom, that something else horrible happened. Until my early thirties, that seemed to be all I could remember of that time.
Around age 25, I moved out and in with the family of my boss, the head of the Sports department of the local newspaper. I was one of her writers, and the relationship had seemed to be a good one. Within a year of my moving in, though, there had been two nasty family fights I'd witnessed, with both parents getting violent. And every adult in the house was out of work through layoffs at that time.
Soon, the woman started to mistreat me (and that's the kind way to say it). This whole thing culminated on a day when she cornered me in a small hallway next to her room. Then she grabbed me with one hand around my neck and the other one on my balls, squeezing and twisting as she slid me up the wall. It probably took two minutes to free myself, but felt like an eternity.
Finally, after a stint in jail (driving on a suspended license), I ran away, went back to my parents, and had to deal with a compulsive behavior I still am not completely free from. Close friends already know what I'm talking about. For the rest, I can say this: no one besides me gets hurt (more emotional than physical) through anything I do.
This is the rest of the picture: I have attraction feelings for young boys, beginning close to the age of three, but have no desire to hurt anyone, since I'm fully aware of the pain a little boy can feel. And these feelings have diminished as healing has happened.
It is now clear, though, why the feelings start near that age. This was a time when Mom and Dad, overwhelmed with raising four children, let men from the church take me to the restroom regularly (until I could take myself, about age five), and at least one molested me. The worst of the abuse had ended for me by age seven, though some continued until age 12. So it's no coincidence that the feelings decrease from age 7 up to 12, where they die out completely.
It's only been within the last 10 years that I've become aware of most of this picture. What happened around three I began to recognize in what I can only call a 'feelings flashback' that I wrote down in a poem:
Shivering, shaking, so horribly cold, alone.
On the floor, convulsing, in such pain.
All is closed in, scary, darkest black.
Want to throw up; I cannot.
Why would I want to? No sense at all.
The pain again. Is it my stomach, or where?
Where am I? Why would I be here?
And where is here? Or do I want to know?
Who is with me? God, are You even here?
God help me, how I donít know.
Am I alive, and whatís happening to me?
I would scream, Lord, if you hear me.
But no scream will come.
I would say something, anything.
No words will come.
What is this place?
God, do You see me, do You really know?
Is this real, or a horrible dream?
Not even a guess whatís happening.
I only know Iím not home.
I only know Iím not safe.
I only know Iím here but canít remember,
where here is.
I only know Iím somewhere, strange,
Yet so familiar, returning at bad times.
This place comes back and I do not know.
Go away, donít come back, drop a bomb now.
Anything not to see, it must not have been.
I just think something bad happened.
I feel it, so it canít be real, donít trust me.
No, it couldnít be, because I donít remember.
Running away from what is only pain.
Down scary stairs, donít want to fall.
But have I already fallen?
Am I really just dead, or dreaming?
What happened? Iíd rather not know.
Where am I? Will I wake up?
Questions, no answers, fear and pain.
Donít bring me back here ever again.
But if I donít, will I ever know?
If I canít, how will I go on?
This pain is too much for me.
Lord, please help me!
Save me from what, why or how?
Only You know.
Itís Your secret.
I may never know.
But I have to: it just hurts too much.
Too much to know, or not to.
Even to know if I want to.
Do I really have to?
I just know I must.
Only if Youíre there with me.
Donít leave me alone.
Not here, no way, not now.
How much pain will You allow?
Tell me when itís over,
donít want to know till then.
The pain just keeps coming.
Wave after wave and I go down.
Not drowning, I think I want to.
Iím sick already, please stop.
But it doesnít.
What now? I donít know.
All alone, but no Iím not.
Iím all yours, God help me!
I know You hear me.
Please hear me!
Come hold me now.
No one else can or will.
Why? Am I that bad?
Only You really know.
You know I love You.
How can You love me?
I only know You do.
Love me You will!
Finally, I recognize that healing is always a work in progress. There may never be a time I don't have to deal with my feelings. I won't endanger other people, but I still have times when I don't care too much what happens to me. I can tell people that no one is worth hurting, but that doesn't seem to apply to me all the time. I'm at least healthy enough now that I can push aside thoughts of suicide and mild forms of self-injury.