The Shadows of My Past (My #metoo story)

As a brown, skinny girl with extra hair on my arms, I was an ugly duckling growing up. There were pretty girls in my class. I was jealous of that. But I was more jealous of the fact that they seemed intact. Unbroken. They seemed like they were being treated kindly at home. I could see it with my own eyes.

I did not feel beautiful most of my life. I found out something that may come as a shock to many: Looking beautiful and feeling beautiful are not the same thing. My dad used to say, “The ugliness of your insides are reflected on your face” with a disgusted expression on his. I was the wrong child. I needed to be broken in and taught a lesson.

The truth is, my smile hides decades of emotional pain. I am now choosing to share the dark side of my story because I want you to know how I arrived here and how I came to do what I do.

The Father Wound

I was verbally, physically, and emotionally abused growing up. I experienced sexual violations and was beaten till I was fourteen. I wasn’t allowed to cry while I was being beaten. It made him angrier. He told me not to cry while he was hitting me. So, I learned to stuff my emotions down. As an empath and an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person), shutting down my feelings was extremely hard but I did it. I had to. My emotions were big and loud. Trying to thaw them out in my adult years has not been any less challenging.

I adored my father. But there were two people inside of him. One that gives, one that takes. I never knew which one I was going to encounter. These “moods” came out of nowhere. With the drop of a hat, he would launch on me. I did not have a sense of peace or safety in my home. My house was not a home, it was a place I found shelter from being homeless and going hungry.  I was afraid of him. But I was afraid of the streets more.

When I was eight and my brother was four, my father made us pack our suitcases (literally) and put us out the door. We were told to find a new family. We were bad kids and needed to go. As he closed the door on us, the lights went off in our old-fashioned 1980s walk-up apartment building in Turkey. My brother started to cry. I tried to comfort him. I had no plans as to how to save us. I felt scared and powerless. I was enraged for being put in that position and lost all confidence in him that day.

My father had deep soul wounds, too. His “pain body” was awakened by his perception of injustice, imperfection (“You folded the napkins the wrong way”), messiness, low grades, or by just me being there. I never knew when I would get launched on. He got violent when he drank. Some nights went easy, some didn’t. Sundays were my nightmare because he was at home all day. It took me years to turn Sundays into a funday for myself.

I got beaten in front of house guests, in public, with my mother’s high-heeled boots, and had my head banged against the wall. He lifted me by holding my ears to do that last act. I am strong today because of what I endured. It wasn’t a movie. I lived it.

Learning to stay safe (r)

I started “reading” him to stay safe and to have some sense of control in my environment. I memorized his mannerisms to detect his mood so I could avoid getting yelled at or being beaten. I could tell how he felt from the way he moved his toes while reading the newspaper or the way his voice sounded as he spoke. This was vital information for my survival.

This was my life and I accepted it by shutting down parts of me, walking around like a shell. This frozen state lasted for three decades. I learned how to read people and how to endure it all so that I could learn what powerlessness and suffering feels like. This is how I can connect with others’ pain.

My father loved his younger sister above everything and everyone else- including his mother, his wife (my mother), my brother, and I. He made sure that we knew this by his behavior and his words. He spoke to her as if she was the most delicate angel on earth. I could see it and feel it. Her once-a-year visits would feel like torture as I sat across from the two of them, watching him love her the way I wanted to be loved by my own father. But my father was taken. I bled silently on the inside. I wanted to die as a child. I asked “God” why he put me here. I didn’t get an answer. This is true.

These wounds run deep. These wounds tear up your soul into pieces and throw it in the air like confetti. I spent the rest of my life trying to make a mosaic out of those pieces. I am done trying to hide it.

Teenage Years

I hit puberty when I turned 11. I was already emotionally mature for my age. I couldn’t really make friends. I couldn’t relate to them very much. I was also very insecure, couldn’t concentrate, and got bad grades (except for a few subjects). I wasn’t allowed to hangout with friends outside of school. I was always lonely. But I had good writing skills and I read a lot. Reading and crushing on rock stars was how I escaped my reality.

My teachers gave me positive feedback about my writing and I got close to them through that. They were my saviors. They saw the good in me when no one else did. I hid my secret. School was a safe place for me. There were no beatings there. When people talk about hating school, I can’t relate because of this.

The Violation

When I was 12, a few months after we moved into a new house, my father decided to “give me a bath”. I was naked, sitting on the bench in the bathtub already. He lathered the sponge with soap and rubbed me down, carefully and slowly while looking at my body. I don’t know how long it lasted but it felt like 5-minutes. Then he left without saying anything. This is all I remember.

Even my family didn’t know up until recently. The shame of being treated this way was inexplicably heavy for the little girl inside of me. I was afraid that I would lose my family if I came out with the truth. The inconvenient truth- the one that makes people say, “How did we miss this?” I hid it well. I was also invisible to adults. They were worried about property values, gossip, dinner parties, and keeping up with the Jones’s.

Taking my power back

This is how I can take my power back now. This is how I honor and love those parts of me completely- the parts that survived it all. I told myself that if I could endure this, it was going to be over one day. This is the mentality that made me survive my soul being stepped on daily. It may sound like an exaggeration. I wish I could say that it was. My whole life was focused on trying to get out of emotional pain and the lingering sense of worthlessness that carried through. This was what I cared about the most.

Why do I do what I do?

I am who I am today because of all of my life experiences. My life gave me a purpose. 1 out of 3 girls and 1 out of 6 boys are sexually violated before the age of 18 in the US. That says something.

I think that #metoo is the primary work of this century. It is a movement. We will be doing a lot of clearing, healing our women and men, and learning to protect our children better. Our bodies are vessels, not toys to be played with and set aside. We have to worry about how we raise girls who end up in music videos, twerking with men they just met on the set. We have a long way to go.

If you ask me what I am doing on this planet and why I haven’t left yet, here is what I would say:

I am still here…

Because I cannot leave these kids and animals alone here on the planet to be tortured, starved, raped, and abused. They need my love. I wish that I was an X-Woman and could protect them all!

Because I cannot leave the people behind whose lives are shattered because of something an unhealed person did to them when they were 3 (and they can’t even remember it).

This is why I want to help you. If you are healed, you will go out there and save lives. You will find your purpose and live it -which only uplifts the vibration of the whole planet. You will help others who have suffered needlessly. You will pay it forward.

This is a beautiful planet (not that I had a chance to compare). I absolutely adore it! But I am intimately familiar with the evil that lurks here. It’s real. I have to do my part in healing the planet.

Because if I die now, there will be one less person who cares. And that cannot happen. Not yet. Not before I have healed and prepared my troops and sent them off into the jungles of the Universe to love and to heal others.

This is me howling. This is me calling in my tribe.

Will you join me?

Please say yes. I can’t do this alone. I (we) need you in the game.

Banu

Pictures from my life: 

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