Take a journey through Kimberly Cunningham’s poetic piece as she shares her arc and offers help and healing to others. Cunningham uses rhythm in the piece to carry readers through her journey from abuse to survival. She offers her discovery of her own power and a sense of hope above all as she relates how she found her voice and, ultimately, her freedom.
by Kimberly Cunningham
Walking across the scars of my past wasn’t hard. Those wounds were sealed many thousands of suns ago. What was difficult was keeping the sounds out of my ears and the smells out of my nostrils. The senses remember and never let go. My skin still feels the violations as if they just occurred. Memories are stored in my mind and have remained in tact since they were first deposited.
Pain comes from the hidden truth. Voiceless victim that never got to tell. I once was that person. My fear was in my innocence. Retreating within was the security precaution that kept me guarded. Detached from the whole thing and proceeded along in life, ya I did that. Strength came later. At the time it was survivor mode.
Threats whispered from a hot sour breath kept me surrendered. Paralyzed by just a few words, I could not tell. In my mind I travelled to the ocean and floated away during the invasions. It was peaceful there, the breeze was gentle and the smell was salty and fresh. I stayed there as long as it took. After the grunts and groans, I came back from my sea voyage and walked away. I would return there again countless times. Hope was in that ocean.
No one ever asked because I didn’t allow the questions to be shown. A scared child can keep secrets very well. Longingly I hoped someone would see my begging eyes. That never happened. Good grades in school, teacher’s pet, popularity were all distractions. I learned how to keep busy so I could forget. Intelligence came easy to me so I hungered to learn. Stuck my nose in books which took me away and out of the reality zone. Joined every music group there was and put my pain in what I played. I was good. I won awards.
Managed to flourish and do well in spite of all that happened. Still I hoped that one person would help me. Sleepwalking and night terrors were part of my childhood for years. There was never an explanation for it. Doctors said kids do that as part of their development. Reoccurring dreams of me being chased by my attacker went on throughout my growing up. Each time, I jumped off a cliff to escape him but woke up right before I hit the ground.
One day in class I learned that I had a voice and I had power. The teacher said we could be anything we wanted to be. I wanted to be free. She said that if someone is touching you and making you feel uncomfortable it is wrong. By then I was 14 and ten years of bad touches had passed. That day a light shined on me.
Opportunity has a strange way of presenting itself at times. Knowing the patterns and habits of my predator, I lay in wait. A baseball bat also lay in wait. First touch on me was the signal. Grabbing the hidden bat, I whacked the perpetrator’s knee caps, dropping him to the ground. I drove that bat into him 9 more times totaling ten for the number of years I was molested. Power and strength were mine.
No words were ever spoken. He knew it was done. My wings grew that day and they lifted me. I took my life back and kept soaring from then on. Years were spent waiting for an apology as if that would repair some of the damage. Never was there anything said to me. As I moved on I carried the weight and felt as if he still held me down.
Healing would have to come from me. Penning a letter of forgiveness allowed my soul to cry and bleed. Everything that had been done to me was laying on three sheets of paper. They were bandages for my wounds. When I finished writing, I ended it by saying that I didn’t need to sign my name because he never called my by it when he was on top of me.
Flight comes from fight. We cannot rise up unless we have been down. Even the strong people have had weakening experiences. Victims can rise up to be victors. I knew I was a warrior the day I dropped that letter in the mailbox. Nothing could hold me down anymore.
From the author –
Hope carried me through this part of my life. In fact, hope never left me. I share this as a victor who is no longer a victim but a warrior who has made it. The strongest part of a weak situation is hope.
Kimberly Cunningham has published three books: Undefined, Sprinkles On Top and Smooth Rough Edges. In addition, published in: Evergreen Journal, NY Literary Mag Tears, Torrid Literature, NY Literary Mag Flames, From The Heart by International Poetry Press , Crossways Lit Mag, herstry.com, The Daily Abuse book, Blood Into Ink, Poetry Super Highway, Silver Stork Mag, Diverseverse 3, Poetry for Peace Anthology ” Spring”, Snow Leopard Publishing anthology “Strength,” Minnie’s Diary anthology, Curtis Bausse Into The Rabbit Hole, Academyoftheheartandmind, Credo Espoir on line lit mag, The Voices Project, We Will Not Be Silenced anthology, and other works forthcoming. This scriber holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Education and Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction. Her blog is located at undefined1blog.wordpress.com. Her work can be found at Lulu.com and Amazon.com She resides in Deerfield NY with her family and two curious cats.