This morning I was guided to invite little licia to start to tell her story to me. I have felt her stirring internally, like she was readying herself to speak.
What she told me this morning affirmed her strength and resilience and adaptability. She underwent something no child should ever face, especially alone. After years of being alone in the night with a memory of being sexually assaulted by her father, she is now in the light. And so is the memory.
I’m thinking of how many years I have told the story of the mysterious cigarette light in the dark, bobbing up and down as it came closer to me. My mother called it a “ghost”, a frequent name for disturbances in the night. I had terrible terror as a child for fear of the invisible hands that would grab me or disembodied voice that would frighten me.
Now, little licia tells a story of her father being mad at her, and her mother being absent to her pain. This is the truer tale of the “ghost”. No wonder I had an insatiable craving for ghost stories in books from my school library. I was trying to learn about my attacker, to give him a face, a name.
I can see why she felt her father was “mad at her”. He hurt her body, and she understood she was being punished. What did she do to deserve the hurt he inflicted on her, she wondered? It must be something very, very bad.
She must be very, very bad for her mother to reject her this way, too. “She will not look at me, she will not hug me, she wishes I was not borned”, little licia says. Little licia is so very sad. I hug her internally. “I am glad you were born”, I tell her.
My task is to listen, to affirm, to love this little girl who was given so much to bear at such a young age. I know that only a very courageous and strong warrior spirit could live through what she endured. We must remember the greatness of the children’s spirits, those of us with eyes to see them. We must reflect to them how immense they really are.
I am feeling a surge of renewed faith this morning, even though I have heard the most disturbing news from this little girl inside. We will move forward in this world together, now. She need no longer hide in the dark. I will protect her.
My beloved father is not who I want him to be. I have projected an image onto him that I could live with, for many years. I have thought him a decent, loving, kind human being, with a mean streak that was exposed when he drank. I was able to compartmentalize him and what he did to me in this way. Now, as I integrate this beautiful, broken child, I am understanding differently. There is no way I can find for sexual predation to be okay.
This warrior of the heart has won me over. She is strong, adaptable, resilient. She reminds me of my own strength. I take courage from her giant heart, her commitment to light and love, truth and justice.
Dearest little licia, I honor you.