Our own stories maybe be written in our personal pages as much as we chose to share them, however, something of the bodies/our overall history will be shared here.
(Any use of "I" here is only in the plural sense: there is no single continous "I" in this narrative)
The body was born an identical twin. Our twin died at the age of thirteen days old. Previously, we had endured open heart surgery to correct defects due to having been born prematurely (perhaps due to the mother's alcholism). This, combined with the isolation of being in an incubater for our first three months where we could only be touched through rubber gloves, may have caused the first splits and set us up to become multiple later on. There are also some strong indications that our twins death may not have been natural, and fact may have been arranged by the cult.
There is a memory, more of a sensation or feeling, really, of when our twin, Emily, died. A feel of suddenly something not-being there, another we had not known was seperate until suddenly it was gone, pain and aloneness far greater then anything I can describe... I am told that it makes some sense that in an emotive way we might remember this, given the bonds identical twins have.
When I was older my father would tell me how she was "the good twin" who "died so I could be alive". I remember knowing this by heart by the time I was five. I wonder at what effect this had on my parents, at the fact that they had her cremated and did not make a marker for her grave, that is only marked by a laurel tree. Someday, when my father dies, I plan to have some kind of marker put in. It's not right that there is nothing but my life to mark her passing.
When we were two years old the mother(Nancy) left, after a great deal of chaos. She claims that the father(H.) was abusive to her and had kept us when she tried to take us with her. However, from our dim recollections of this time, she also had been violent towards him, so it was something to a two-way street as it were. She also took our two older female half-siblings, Ella and Mindy with her. Our older half-sister Nicole and half-brother Morgan visited occasionally (they were the father's children from a previous marriage), along with their mother, Donna, who we call our "Aunt".
From age four through age six were some of the worst years of our life. We were abused and tortured sexually, emotionally, physically, and psychologically by H. on a daily basis. We watched while he broke our brother Morgan. We were sexually abused by our sister Nicole. We were also molested by one of H.'s girlfriends and various family friends and neighbors. There was also a great deal of the formative ritual abuse that even now we can only remember in terrifying shreds. Many of us were created then, and quite a few of those died, shattered, or became so buried we still do not know where they have gone.
When we were about six we started being far more involved with the cult, and with Peter, the head of the cult, who treated us as his heir and son and successor (even though the body is female, even then a lot of us were male). They/he told us we were "Chosen" and "Holy". There are people one does not want to be holy or special to...
We are told we were a bright child, who learned quickly to speak, although we walked late. I think one of the harder things for us to be able to look at from that time is knowing how much and how badly our siblings were abused as well, and how we witnessed a great deal of that. And how isolating it was to be the child most abused and scapegoated even in "The Family" (what our father always called it).
We were (I believe) diagnosed dyslexic as a child, but overcame that relatively quickly, and were an avid reader after that. Books became an escape into a more pleasent, kinder world, and as that was acceptable and even somewhat encouraged at home, our reading grew voraciously. Our older sister read a great deal, and from her we discovered fantasy and science fiction, which has we still read now, though in far less volume.
We did very well in school, and that is the thing that I remember best from those times, as it became a sort of refuge for us. We may have been bullied and tormented by classmates, but hell, that's nothing to being beaten until you can't move or raped multiple times in an evening at home.
One of the harder things we've been facing lately is that there was more overlap then we'd originally thought between our home life and cult life: that we knew people in both settings, the children we saw at school being sometimes the same children we saw tortured or torturing others the night before.
When we were eleven our father found a girlfriend (our stepmother, Sandra) with two young (and female) children, who came to live with us. We hoped that would make things better, but it didn't. She was oblivious to all that was going on. So our Hell wasn't any better, and in some ways worse. We resented seeing children who were NOT punished in the heinous we ways we had been, and even the Front, who rememebered none of the contiuning abuse, so she could function in society and all, was troubled and unhappy.
Junior High proved to be an unmitigated disaster. It was full of people she didn't know and didn't want to. All of us were very miserable. We hid in a deep dissociative fog, living each day as if in a dream. We lived in a war zone, hurrying from classroom to classroom else we be caught away from safety and beaten by other schoolchildren. Many of us were born then, as the abuse and training intensified and puberty tore many things apart. A group of vampire alters began emerging, as we (or rather they) began to have a deep obsession with vampires.
At about this same time we began cutting ourselves. I still am not sure who did it first, but that is not really important. We realized quickly enough that this broke the dissociative fog we had been living in, and made us feel "real". It also made us feel numb when the pain got too great, and made everything go away when we needed it to. The vampires also liked it becasue it let them have the taste of blood.
The cutting became a very common occurence, mainly on the arms. We developed strange ritaulistic habits about it, such as wearing cloth "wraps" around our wrists. We know that some of the cuts were not made by us but by the cult, as it was encouraged that we do this as self-punishment.
To be honest, I do not remember much of that time. I think that there was so much pain then that I will not remember it for a long while. Perhaps that is for the best.
It was during this time that we began writing both prose and poetry, and started drawing again. It became an escape for us, and a much-needed one at that.
We spent much of our time reading, whenever we got the chance. Books and their company became our refuge from the world to where we would sit in the room all day, reading, if and when we could.
Some of our strong academically inclined people used much of the body-time then. Our political activists and such also were there then. Especially in high school, where things got marginally easier in school and we retreated more and more into a private world. Our academics had been flawless as a young child, due to intense family pressures, but in junior high they dropped a great deal as many of us ceased to care about anything. This continued in High School.
I suppose we might be considered to have been a bit happier in High School. We had some friends. But a lot of us were suicidal a lot of the time, and cutting and wanting to die. We were an outcast from most everyone in school, aside from the teachers, who liked us but could never understand "why we didn't live up to our potential". HA! Why did none of them ever notice the pain, the switching, the scars on our arms or the fresh cuts sometimes daily there?
During the junior high and high school years we also experienced a lot of abuse, not from the father but from others. From the cult people. Especially in the summers. Summers were hell. A hot summer day still panics a lot of us, summer twilights make us sick and shaky with fear.I remember how we used to get sick every evening in the summer. As in to the point of nearly vomiting. We loved the darkness, but... Hated it as well.
When the body was sixteen we discovered a marvelous summer camp time thing called "Upward Bound" (LOL, *not* the same as Outward Bound) which is a program designed to have students come and take classes and live on a college campus for several weeks to help them go to college. We found our first real friends there, people who seemed to understand and who we could talk to. People who didn't care that we were "different". It didn't make the cutting or suicidal stuff stop, but it made it better.
Then things got worse. Don't they always? It seemed that they did, especially then. A few of us fell in love with a friend. It was confusing and upsetting, especially because the friend was female. And the body is female as well. That wasn't the issue so much as she wasn't interested, and, well, some of us were obsessed with her. She was a good friend, but. . . It's then that we really went into the body's "goth" period, partically because it seemed to fit the depression that we felt and partly because it reflected the alieantion we felt from the rest of society. We were not part of them, and by the Goddess we weren't going to dress or act like them either!
I think the Goth-ness was probably what we enjoyed most fromt that timeperiod. There wasn't much else to enjoy. We cut a lot. The body's arms are a mass of scars like spiderweb of self-hate spread over the arms. Some other places, too. We wrote a lot of poetry then. It was all dark. A lot of us were obsessed with vampires. That's when some of the vampires who'd been around for years came out more. A lot of that time is lost to me, to be honest. I am afraid to remember it.
Eventually, things fell apart, as they always must. The body was sixteen. We left for a weekend away after our female friend slept with our ONE other friend, a guy. She didn't tell us. He did. We wanted to die. On our trip, we were raped by an acquaintence.
That was kind of the last straw. Shortly after that (our birthday had come and we were seventeen by then) we went back to the summer camp. It was good, but we were horribly depressed and obsessed with thoughts of suicide. Enought that, for the first time in our lives, someone noticed.
They noticed the cuts on our arms, which by then was a daily if not more often occurrence. We had people we could talk to for the first time in our lives. . . It helped, some anyways. They tried to get us help, found us a counselor. There was so much chaos and pain inside. . . and a lot of us had decided we would run way if we could not find somewhere else to be after the camp ended.
We saw a counselor, briefly. Things were crazy. Suicide was a literally constant thought. After we attempted to throw ourselves off a cliff at a campout they sent me to the local mental hospital. (Unbeknownst to me the park we had been camping at had been a place where many horrible rituals had happened to us. No wonder someone did that.)
We ended up in a mental hospital for a few days. Oddly enough, it was comforting in a strange way. Safe. Perhaps it was that no one could hurt us there, and I couldn't hurt myself either. . . But they made the mistake of sending us "home" to the father. He told us that "he felt like killing himself and other people sometimes too, the trick was not to TELL anyone". The comparison between us and him made us feel sick. . .
N's mother, whom we had always considered our aunt (and will refer to as such), was helping us move out and into a "place of our own" in a local city. To me it didn't matter where we went, as long as we weren't there. One of us said, jokingly, though it was not a joke, that if we stayed there I'd either be leaving in a police car or a body bag. And it was true.
Staying there lasted less than a week. We were cutting, and badly enough that the scars haven't faded yet, four years since. We ended up back in the crisis unit overnight for suicidal urges, but they realized we didn't need to stay that time. But, being a minor, someone needed to pick us up from the hospital. And the father refused to.
So we stayed at the Child Welfare Services shelter for a while, and hated it there. They continually treated us as one would not even treat a child. We weren't allowed to turn on the tv without permission for christsake. And they tried to take some of our books and our walkman away. It didn't work very well. After a few weeks of being there we weren't able to handle it very well.
One evening we started having some sort of panic attack (now we think it was a flashback) and couldn't stop crying for over an hour. The staff got upset and sent us to the mental hospital. They also found out we had been cutting while we were there and thereafter refused to let us stay there. So we stayed in the hospital for a while as we had nowhere else to go. We ended up in another shelter, unhappy and alone. We knew something was terribly wrong, but not what it was. Then, one evening as I was hiding in the closet crying I suddenly got "catapulted" into a memory of something I didn't know had happened, only it felt like it was happening THEN, not as a memory. . . I was the four year old in the bath tub, being molested by her father. . . They said later I was screaming. I don't remember it so I can't say.
Of course, this brought on another tripe to the hospital. I didn't tell anyone what I had remembered but they seemed to be starting to guess. The hospital actually was then a place of refuge for me, in some ways. It felt safe, because I could say whom I spoke to and didn't, even my mother.
I think I will always remember the psychologist who tested me and said, afterwards, that he didn't think I was crazy. He said he thought something bad had happened to me as a child (even though I vehemently denied this) and that I'd been depressed for all of my childhood.
I ended up in a foster home, seeing a good therapist who was familiar with trauma issues. The foster home and foster family was frightening, but comforting in a way. I didn't trust the idea of "safety" or "security". "Family" had only been a curse word to me for all of my life.
Life with them was hard. I couldn't adjust well to living with a safe "family". Plus, my foster mother's seven children resented my taking up so much of her attention and care. Personally, I think she should have waited on being a foster parent until after her kids left the house. But it was much better there than it had been before. I began to feel safe for the first time in my life. It was a strange feeling.
I tried to bring a case against my father (this was not interely of my own will, as I was under 18 and my therapist therefore felt obligated to report the abuse I told her about). However, the case didn't get past the DA. "Not enough evidence" they said. Bullshit, I say. They didn't want to deal with it. They also didn't want to have to hear about the things I told them.
School was better there, even though I'd missed quite a bit the first semester due to being in the hospital. I managed to accidentaly convince my school counselor that I was completely nuts, so I actually had a lot more freedom than the other students (ie unlimited days off if I needed them). I made friends, too, for the first time. And my sister introduced me to the SCA (Society for Creative Anachronism), which was fun and was where I made most of my friends.
But then it came time for me to leave my foster home. My foster parents said they'd continue to support me and care about me and all. They didn't. I felt alone and abandoned, and it was made harder by the strangeness of living in the place I was (a transitional place for teens who had been on the streets, mostly, or would elsewise be in foster care). And I had to stop seeing my therapist who had been of great help to me. I started college that fall. Things were a mess, and I was very stressed.
I'd also started my first magor relationship that summer, but more on that later. That fall I started cutting again, after being more than a year si-free. It wasn't bad, not at first, but it wasn't a good thing, either.
I realize, in retrospect, that although my boyfriend made a decent friend he was NOT someone I should ever have dated. The whole relationship did force me to grow, but also hurt me a lot in the process. And I sometimes (or I should say some of us do) think that he hurt some of us deliberately, or at least uncareingly.
We're also currently looking for a therapist (not being terribly hopeful about it. It's not the multiplicity stuff that's bugging us, (though there are some issues around that) but that we finally think maybe we're ready to really deal with some of the stuff about the abuse. Also, although it has it's comeings and goings, we'd like to be able to deal better with the cutting. We haven't had such good luck with therapists. Our last one seemed alright for a long time, and then we found out she was a fuckup and didn't believe in any of us or that we'd been abused or anything. She thought our occasional suicidal moments and the cutting were attempts to "manipulate her". As I said, she sucked. So we're being very cautious right now. Sometime we'll write about that experience. Not yet. It's still too raw, a year and a half later.
March 14, 2003
Currently, we are going to college at a local community college (we live in the Bay Area, now) working on our AA in psychology with hopes of eventually becoming a therapist. We're in a support group for ritual abuse survivors, and just starting therapy with a new therapist. We live with two (currently, might be more soon) housemates, two cats (one is ours), and one dog in a really nice house in Berkeley.
April 28, 2003
Our new therapist seems to be working out rather well, so far at least, and many things in our life are slowly working out, or so it seems at this point.