My recurring nightmare is of being raped, either by my brother or a stranger, and then afterward, going to my mother to tell her. She’s always doing something of little importance, reading or the like. Once she was playing ping pong – whatever represents an activity that doesn’t really matter. And I tell her, and she doesn’t stop what she’s doing, doesn’t look at me, only sighs like I’m inconveniencing her and says “I know. It doesn’t matter.”
I don’t think the feeling of being worthless, of being nothing, would be quite so strong if it wasn’t for my mother. She was the one to tell me that I provoked the abuse. When my father or brothers hurt me, she’d be there to tell me how I should understand their behavior. More often than not, whatever they did to me, she would say, “you know, they probably already forgot, anyway.”
What do you hurt and then forget about? A bug maybe. Or grass. Nobody mourns mowing grass blades. Nobody cares about the destruction of objects. And this is what I am to my family – this small thing, this nonhuman body that can be trampled over and then forgotten because it never really mattered in the first place. I never ranked high enough as a person for my pain to register.
For me, feeling is even worse than feeling evil. At least evil means I have some kind of power; the power to hurt, the power to be something, whether that something is human or not. Being evil means a justified cause to be abused. But to be worthless is to be nothing. It’s to count as nothing. It’s too not even deserve the abuse, but rather that it didn’t even matter one way or another that you are abused. I don’t count enough as a person to count in the debate of “deserved vs. undeserved.” If you smash a glass, nobody debates whether the glass deserved it enough. It’s not life. I’m not a life.
I spent three years with my mother knowing my brother had raped me – or at least knowing enough that he did something incredibly terrible – and it didn’t even matter. I was terrible and cruel for not forgiving, for not wearing a smile and engaging with the family. I was cruel enough that my mother decided I was no longer allowed to hide in my room, but instead couldn’t even be in the house while he was there. The one time she made an exception to this, she said to me, “I told him that you were really exhausted from work, so you would be in your room the whole time, so it’s okay, you can stay.” Because his feelings mattered, but mine didn’t. She had to make sure that he was protected from the knowledge (that he already knew) that he had done something horrible enough to warrant this reaction. He needed protection from me because he was a person, and what I went through didn’t matter.
Her first reaction to me moving and now knowing that not only did my brother rape me, but also my father, was to tell me, “can you ever forgive me?” Because what I went through doesn’t matter. What matters is that I’m not talking to her. The first pain she wants to deal with is her own. She wants me to let her play family to both of us – wants to have a relationship with me, while all holidays belong to my brother and my family.
This is what my extended family wants, too. After me telling them what he did – they want me to spend time with them on other days, because holidays will still be my brother. They want to tell me they’re there for me and still be there for him. What I went through is just a frustrating little bump they have to deal with, nothing more. Not enough to get them to stop making rape jokes on facebook.
I used to be presentlyhuman until my cousin found my blog. The last post I’d written had been about my mother and how she’d told me to forgive, and reconcile with my brother, and that it didn’t matter if he’d raped me. The next time I saw my cousin, she spent the whole day emphasizing how wonderful my mother was. More than she ever normally would. She knew how my mother treated me, and decided that the problem was that I didn’t realize how wonderful my mother really was.
A few weeks after I moved out of my mother’s, I went to see her. When I walked in the house, there were brand new pictures of my brother and his family up. It was so soon, it felt connected. “My response to you telling me he raped you is to make sure to put new pictures of him up.”
This is what I sometimes mean when I say I deserved it. It’s not always that I think that I’m that evil (though many times it is) it’s that someone as nothing as me doesn’t have a right to get upset. A nothing thing is already asking too much, taking up too much space, requiring too much of others by feeling anything but calmly accepting the knowledge that it happened and it doesn’t matter.
My pain has never been important enough to register. When I was 12 or so, my brother walked into my room while I was changing. And while I wrapped my arms around my body and screamed at him to get out, he simply stared at me. Not with a lewd grin, not like he was getting anything out of it, but like he couldn’t even hear me. Like he was looking at my body and hearing my voice and all of that didn’t matter.
But what really tells me it’s so is the time I was sick and feeling on the verge of blacking out, and no matter how many times I told this to my mother, she continued to pester and be annoyed with me that I wouldn’t help her with some computer problem she was having. It’s that small moment, on top of all the similar small moments, on top of the big ones, on top of everything else that reminds me you are not a person enough to count.
Oh silly Toranse, haven’t you figured it out yet? You are worthless, non-human, unimportant junkyard garbage.
It feels like that’s the most logical conclusion to make.