I Run This–Coming Out of the Survivor Closet


For a couple of months now, I’ve been writing my blog under the name Octavia Davis.  At first, I had no problems with it.  I told myself this: “I’m not only protecting my family from this mess, but I gotta protect my DAMN self…sheeut.”  Well…maybe not in those words, but whatever whatever. 

Yet, as time went on, the notion of using another alias began to gnaw at my brain cells. The thoughts hounded me, but I just pushed them away, constantly reminding myself that I had to protect this secret for my family’s sake.  I was not ready to answer the “Why” and “What happened?” questions.  Most of all, explaining why I “let it go for so long” made my stomach turn with shame.  I did NOT  appreciating that too much.  No, Sir.  Didn’t like it.

Today, however, something inside my consciousness shifted.  While meditating, I started crying–thinking about my past sexual encounters and how hollow they were.  My mind shifted to my ex-boyfriend (whom I will call Indiana) and how we moved so fast like two Speed Racers simply because he said he loved me and I sought true intimacy by lying naked on his mattress (we were an awesome match, yes? *sarcasm*).  As I wiped the tears off my cheeks, the epiphany occurred to me:  Who am I truly protecting?  Am I truly protecting myself by shielding my family?  This is the same family (and I’m referring to my parents and many of the others adults on my mother’s side) who knew what was happening to me.  When they found out about me and Aunt Jean having sex, they did not wrap their arms around me and assure that I was still their little girl–no.  Not only did my father interrogate me, but he was angry at me because I still displayed a twisted loyalty to my abuser.  My mother acted as if nothing happened.  Even as I write this, it bothers me that I was not placed into therapy.  But I digress.

That’s when I decided to come out of the Survivor Closet.  I am in the process of switching my accounts over to my real identity and–though I’m nervous–I know this is the right move.  When I was Octavia, I could not be myself.  I found myself asking “What would Octavia do and say about this situation?”  But the truth is, I knew I couldn’t think that way for long because people who know me also acknowledge that I’m a hot mess with a heart of gold.  On a deeper level?  By writing this blog under a pseudonym, I’m encouraging other survivors to remain in hiding in a sense.  I’m pretty much pouring my business out on the Internet, yet shielding myself under a false name like I’m Anonymous or some shit.  Granted, I respect Anonymous, but I’m not as underground as they are.  I can’t be–not when it comes to stories like mine.

Hey, I’m not asking people to go down my route (though it’d be cool to a be a Pied Piper), but no survivor should have to live in the Survivor Closet.  I can’t speak for anyone else, but I’m tired of protecting family members that abused me, looking out for themselves by sweeping my trauma under the rug.  Almost every adult in the family suspected something, but did nothing.  As much as I love my parents, I know they didn’t protect me as much as they could have and thus my relationship with them will always be woven with some emotional distance and mistrust. 

That’s just how it is.

I’m still going to conceal the identities of the others I write about, but I will use my name I was given:  Shermeeka Marie Louise Mason–Meeka for short.  As they say in Alcoholics Anonymous:  “We’re only as sick as our secrets.”  I refuse to be sick.  The secrets will be brought to light.  It’s time to clean out my closet.

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