Healing the Child Within: The Ultimate Magic

Close your eyes, you can close your eyes, it’s alright.  I don’t know no love songs and I can’t sing the blues anymore.

James Taylor

Exhausted, I am, after an afternoon of Pagan fellowship with a sister tribe.  This one will be short, and eventually, sweet.

One of my last posts, “Pagan Lessons from a Gay Man,” was preempted with a pic of my back tattoo.  I’ve been queried a bit on why that placement (the anti-tramp stamp) and why that word.  Looks like I have more closets to break down, y’all.  So . . .

I was fourteen the first time it happened.  AC/DC was playing on the stereo (remember those?) and something funny was in my beer (that I shouldn’t have been drinking) at a house party.  The rest is a bit blurry–and I’m fine with that.  Five faces, five men, one after the other rode my little drugged bones while something inside of me broke.  I was unconscious for most of this strange dance through hell, but when I fought my way out of the haze: I saw His eyes.  He saw mine, and backed out/off, taking his drunken, beastly crew with him.  As he closed the door, he turned the lock on the handle.  I will never know if he was locking them out or locking his own wild boy/hungry wolf flesh out–but it was finally over.  For him.

There were other times.  Granma told me being pretty would be a curse, and it damn well has.

The last time (please, Great Mother) put me in the hospital.  I was going for milk, a Monday night in Georgia, and there is a permanent little knife-point scar on my neck to remind me of what rape feels like in late summer.  This time was like all the rest: I am diminutive.  I cannot win in a fist fight with a mountain.  And that was the moment that I chose to fight back, jolting my head off the pavement as high as I could before bashing it backwards into the concrete curb.  The last thought that tickled my brain before I lost consciousness went something like:  You might rape my body, but I will not be present for it.  Maybe I said it out loud.  That moment is too lost in the past for me to question it anymore.

I healed, as we all do, and went back to work as a Professor of English at Albany State University.  That next semester, I met my sister and our families have been nourishing and loving and squeezing each other ever since.  She designed that tattoo–my first one–when I asked.  Never once did she ask for details and I reckon she still doesn’t know them, on account of she knew what I was doing: taking back my own fleshEverything coming back to life hurts, Toni Morrison once wrote, and I had to bleed a little to feel it. [1] If anyone ever tears into my body again, I thought, at least they will know it’s Sacred . . .

I find myself considering the concept we have, as a culture, of rape and have come to the conclusion that it can happen in different forums and through strange means.  Little rapes of the soul, if you will, and if history has taught me anything it is this: those who have suffered it may speak to it.  Therefore, as my energy wanes on this beautiful Sunday, I will leave you with a poem I wrote upon the inscription of my first tattoo–but I will be back to this because everything coming back to life hurts.  And I am so very bursting into life.


A gun wrapped in plastic buzzes blood and black across my skin
Violation and commemoration in one white noise pass
Making the flesh, once freckled, with nothing much to say:

A concept born in the haze of grief so jagged and deep
Only traced by the needle that names it in ink
Already there, a scream without words in sinew and bone:
So sacred.

My fingers run its lines, raised ebony lines engraved, enraged
Against a war cry manifestation in an unforgiving fluorescent glow
My mark now vulnerable to a gaze, to soap, to the beat of an afternoon sun.
And I have become . . .

Blessed Be.


[1] Toni Morrison, Beloved (Plume: 1998).

A love song to the broken child within me, for we all heal ourselves;

11 Comments on “Healing the Child Within: The Ultimate Magic

  1. Love it. I should share some of my poems about my childhood. Love you!

  2. You shimmer with heart-wrenching, inspiring beauty, my sister… Your strength is a wonder to behold. Thank you for everything you are.
    ❤ … BB …

  3. Glad you had an exhausting time with the sister tribe…sorry for the traumas with which you’ve had to contend…healing from such can be difficult…

  4. Thank you for being so open and sharing your pain, time and time again. I am so glad I found your blog – it inspires me. I suppose you are the person you are, because of where you’ve been. It could have turned out differently, but look at all you’ve become. I don’t know you, but I am proud.

    • Thank you, Melanie. I keep hoping that someone else might have gone through something similar and perhaps my dragging my monsters out from under the bed will help all of us. Perhaps. 🙂

      • I’m sure, with the frequency of rape, someone reading this will have been touched by your story. Remember, not everyone comments. I’ve lurked on many a blog!

  5. I am so sorry this happened to you. I am so sorry, Iam so sorry. As if that were somehow adequate. But thank you for your courage in sharing. It gives me hope that maybe someday my daughter will heal. I hope I can heal too. I shake as I write this.

  6. I don’t think if was pure happenstance that I stumbled upon your blog. As I’ve been wrestling with my own demons, I truly feel the Great Mother has steered me in the direction I’ve needed to be to go in order to heal. Thank you for this open and wonderful telling of your journey. I’ve had a difficult time letting go of the pain of my past. This has truly helped. You’re a beautiful soul!

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