It has been a few days and now the shock is wearing off that my eighth grade history teacher saw me and recognized the face of child abuse/neglect. Here’s why I couldn’t tell her the truth. She was friends with members of my church that adored Diane to the ends of the earth… and as an enabler, you ALWAYS PROTECT THE PATH. I did not want worlds to collide, and I probably could have been assured of her confidence, but I chose not to trust her because I was afraid Diane’s image would be ruined, and I couldn’t have that. I would have died first. I was so dedicated to the idea that I “asked for it” that I couldn’t breathe. I needed my church life and my school life to be completely different compartments, and for them to leak was to cause a massive wake of destruction. I can only hope that there is not a massive wake of destruction now…. that time has tempered people’s reactions because it happened so very long ago and there has been no proof that there are others like me.
It is why I am so married to the Internet now. I’ve been living in two worlds since I was 12 years old~ the Internet was just an extension of the metaphor. In one world, I was a preacher’s kid, bubbly, bright, charming….. in the other, I was a monster. I thought things that justifiably scared me, and I still think things that make others keep the lights on. I just try not to say those things out loud and I have to try really hard because I am always on the “think it, say it” plan.
I remember after Diane moved to Dallas, she came back to Houston to sing at St. Mark’s when I was one week away from turning 16, and I had a full-on panic attack, so short of breath that I was going from red to purple because my hair wouldn’t do what I wanted it to do and my clothes were itchy and it was just enough to be the tipping point that screwed me to the wall emotionally. I went into a rage and screamed at the top of my lungs. I didn’t even know where I was. I didn’t know I was reacting to trauma at the time. I just thought that all people went through this much anxiety. That my crush was so intense that it was leading me to feel this pain. If I wasn’t so crushed out, I wouldn’t always react like this and we could be normal friends if I ever got over myself. To me, she never crossed a line. My friends have become the gatekeepers when it comes to my emotions regarding Diane. I give them permission to protect me, because I know from past experience that I cannot.
It was too loving, too tender, too seductive, too intense, too “I want to get under your skin in the next five minutes.” By that, I mean that after our first conversation. First. I was hooked. I could no more let go of her than I could let go of my own hand.