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Ofelia, Or How Another Book Saved My Life.

I like keeping certain things in order. My room, desk, and papers may look like a complete mess to an untrained eye, but my thoughts and memories are always preserved with a flawless method because since I cannot forget, keeping all the drawers in my mind clean allows me to put things in perspective most of the time.

I wrote already four stories in this group, in a chronological order since I was four. I left out some very hurtful parts that happened before that, and many other details, but in general the stories are there. This means a lot to me because now I can come and read these journals, and the comments that everyone kindly left, and feel like the puzzle is coming together finally. It was not enough knowing what happened and keeping it inside of me, it had to be exposed somehow. 

Tonight is another sleepless night. Every time this situation occurs, I turn the lights on and find a book to read. The selection depends on the mood, and since these days are always nostalgic, it means rereading classics: tonight it was Hamlet. I keep all the meaningful books from my childhood in a special shelf because they must not be read lightly... they always will bring out images, and reasons... and that can always be dangerous.

My eyes are wet, and the fingers are shivering just after having closed the book. As always, it was devoured mercilessly by my hungry eyes, and it made me remember the little garden where my uncle enjoyed watching me naked. 

At age six, I was abused by my grandfather and left in a flower field to die. How I made it back to the house and survived is a long story, and it had to do much with chance, and with good timing. Anyway, he had debts with his brother and when I survived his murder attempt, he decided to pay him with my body. His brother agreed, and that was the first of numerous occasions that he used me to increase his wealth.

My home country has a tradition of cultivating flowers and taking care of gardens and greenhouses, so as a younger child I had participated on planting some bulbs, and enjoyed watching them blossoming with time. Now, when you ask me why I have this stupid botanophobia, I will think always of Ofelia, and how she floated away to her death followed by her beloved flowers. 

The day to pay the debt had come, and my uncle kindly asked me to get naked. (That is one thing you can never complain about... haha... anyone would consider them gentlemen with the first impression: well educated, considerate, well spoken, dressed with the finest clothes... never be fooled with the first impressions). I did, because I knew the consequences of revelry already too well... he then asked me to step into his little garden while he watched me through the window of his living room. 

The feeling of the grass, flowers, and plants on my naked skin was unbearable. It immediately reminded me of some weeks earlier when my grandfather had left me to die, and the stinging pain I felt, and the vision of the blood river running to my ankles. I cried and closed my eyes, but that only made things worse. I was naked, and he was staring at me from inside the house. I was exposed, and alone, and the feeling of these living creatures against my skin was insufferable. It soon started to rain very hard, and I wished with all my heart a thunder would fall on my head and fry it, releasing me from that sensation. 

Only then my mind transported me to Ofelia and her flowers... the daisies she gave to her brother when already madness had transformed her. Beautiful Ofelia who lamented and sang around the castle when everything was lost and all the insanity of the characters had been revealed. I thought then about the play and how enjoyable it had been reading it... and then, only then I could open my eyes again and realize he was naked there too in front of me, threatening to hurt me. I closed my eyes again and escaped to the world of the Prince of Denmark, reminding some of the dialogs while he used me as a doll. 

So back then like tonight, a book saved me... tonight by making me come and write this story, which I will read later when the sun is out and has cleared my ideas.
sweetmeisje sweetmeisje 26-30, F 32 Responses Jul 18, 2010

Your Response


I might not have suffered from any child abuse but I certainly do feel the agony just by reading your story. I love reading novels but every time I reach a part where a child or a woman was abused, I always stop reading because I'm scared of the rage it makes me feel. I know it's wrong but I really wish those abusers would suffer to death. >.

you have such a beautiful way with words

hugs and prayers

I haven't much to say about the topic, but you should know that you're a very talented writer.

Im sorry about the things that happened to You.Its good to know Im not alone, when its being done to you by your own blood it makes it so much harder to talk about. I hope its helping you to write about it.

I strongly believe in God but when things like this happen in the world I ask myself where was God? Why didn't he send someone to safe them? I get confused and mix emotions. I too was molested when I was 4, I think, by my friend’s grandfather. Children are defenseless why would anyone want to hurt them, abuse them. It pains me. Where were the parents? I have a boy and constantly worry about someone taking advantage of him when I’m not around. I’m truly sorry for what you had to go through.

Hi Sweet,<br />
My heart goes out towards u as my best friend is a survivour of child abuse and I have and continue to walk her healing path with her. I trust each day u can know how strong u are! U were a victim but u are more importantly a survivour. U are unique, nobody else like u and I trust u get the healing u so deserve. It's great that u can write so I encourage u to write as much and as often as u feel u need to.<br />
Write for u and don't worry about what others will think as it's your life. Hugs

what a moving and painful story you've so bravely written... i'm very deeply touched. it is a gift to those of us who have read it and have gained a tiny bit of understanding as a result. thank you for managing to give to us after so much was taken from you. i'm so grateful to learn that you took solace in Ofelia... but a very real part of me grieves for the child in you who can no longer enjoy the beauty of a garden. i'm so glad you were able to give voice to your suffering. may it help to set you free. i wish you peace and love.

I remember putting curtains around my bed, and reading Robert Louis Stevenson's, "My Bed is a Boat". I would tuck all my animals and dolls around me, I would try to have my baby brother sleep with me, and perform shadow shows. He would be yelled at to go to his own room. I was all alone, I would wet the bed in fear of getting up. I would pull my dresser drawer out to block the door, in the morning the whole dresser was moved.<br />
I forgot all of this for a long time, I wish I never remembered. Later I fought, got beaten, then ran away. But, it all is there, no matter what, a big open wound.

I am so very sorry you got hurt. You didn't deserve that. My heart wishes I could have scooped you up and took you away to a safe place where you could be loved and protected. I would like to get to know you better, to hear your stories, and validate your feelings; to show you the sympathy you rightly deserve. I too have had a hard childhood, and can empathize with your pain. My heart is just filled with this love and sadness for you.

You are truly an amazing author, Your desc<x>riptions are so vivid and real, i can feel the grass on my cold feet. I could never imagine what you have taken in with your senses. It reminds me of that old saying, how we shouldn't complain, for others have it worse. Now, we are told this at a very young age, giving us an ambivalence like misconception of our own unwanted perceptions. Through my own experience, i have come to this conclusion; <br />
We our ignorant of others emotions towards, well, everything. Yes, we can hear, read, and watch them through others, but we are never there, we will never have that certain fear, just empathy and on the negative side, apathy. We all have our own deep psychological tendencies we have picked up through experience, no one will ever understand completely, what you, i or anyone has experienced. This depletes the aphorism we have been told since we were young. We need to bring awareness of the whole misconception of our elders.<br />
Through reading your work, ive scene the perspective from another point of view, and i am thankful.

:'( this is so sad just to even read I cant imagine.... sexual abuse on a child is the worst form of evil that there is

Amazing story. it is interesting how a book can give us courage.

well,that was something really tragic thing i read,how horrible and disrespect to u but all those masked pervert who did those dirty things to best fren had gone through the same rough experiences.she was abused by her neighbor and own elder brother and she used to cry and i cud not watch her it was so painful...u r very strong woman and u lived beyond that agony and despair.i wont say i am sorry but thank u for standing so tall and fighting u many had gone through the same experiences and cannot make it but u did and iam truly happy abt it..lastly time will heal everything and i pray u find happiness.and my fren is also doing well n m happy!

I think you're amazing too and what a powerful story.

I was reading your story, i could feel the pain. You are right..books are our best companions. Even i used to do the same, reading a book when i was in too much turmoil. You are a strong woman and a surviver. Congratualtions to you for that. You take care and put everything behind and get on with life.<br />
many hugs..moksha

Your story kind of reminded me of when I was very young and living through certain things. I used to imagine I was running through a field of tall grass like oats or wheat. I couldn't see anything in front of me or behind me, just more tall grass. I'd run so fast that the wind in my ears made it so I couldn't hear anything else. It seemed so real that I never wanted to come back. It was peaceful there. Sometimes there would be other kids running with me. They didn't wanna come back either. It seemed so much more real than what people called reality. It seemed like the place I really wanted to be. It's been a long time since I thought about that.

These are the experiences I think of when I say to myself "other's had it much worse" my heart breaks for the abuses you suffered.<br />
I, too, would (and still do) immerse myself in a book I love to escape the circular thoughts that keep me up at night.<br />
I hope you find peace, you are a strong woman.

Thank You for this beautiful and haunting story. It tore my heart out. Abundant Blessings to you, now and always. .

You are beautiful inside, I hope you know this.

Oh Sweetie, SweetiePie you are a HERO. You have my deepest admiration. You are an eloquent voice and speak for those who cannot. You speak of the unspeakable evil for which the unrepentant continue to go unpunished. Please do consider publishing to a wider audience - perhaps a survivors group.

The mind and brain works in many ways to protect itself from trauma; both physical and psychological.<br />
I am glad your writing and reading help you in your personal journey of healing and or dealing with these harsh memories.<br />
As always; I wish for you happiness, <br />
balance, internal peace and a life void of anguish.<br />
Your past has made you who you are; and you are SPECIAL.<br />

Hi there....firts of all, (it might sound unsensible) I'm amazed by your writting. I could freakin' saw it while I was reading it...and it hurts. Such a disrespect for human life, turning people into ob<x>jects, of pleasure, of joy ("while he used me as a doll" is the most accurate ex<x>pression ever), and the worse thing is that treatment not only aplies to abusers, but that's another issue.<br />
When I was about four years old, a gardener started to get me naked saying it was a hot day, luckyly, no one has been such a #$%&!!!! to tried to kill I did fight it (shake till he got his arms out, grab my pants while he was still in underwear, looking at him furiously, and run to hide).<br />
That folk had a metal dissability so it went by, like he dind't knew what he was doing....A few weeks ago, at my 21 I speaked of it for the very first time in my hole life, coz I decided to start with a, out of u all now, only my parents and that therapist know about it. Not extended family, not my friends, not my girlfriends....<br />
I just can't find the words to express how I admire u, my story is an allmost...but yours dear, I think we all can just varely involved, child blood, and years of it....I wouldn't had the strenght, and I just can't see no-one having it....<br />
The books are allways a comfort, a scape of our reallity, of our time, they're (with music) the best repairing drug ever concieved....hope u keep that sharing voice and that strenght of yours forever, and may be you'll be a contagious little miracle :)<br />
<br />
A very big kiss and Good Luck in life and love Sweetie!!!

You have a beautiful ability to write. No one can destroy the beauty within u. You are strong and brave and have found a wonderful way to express your hurt - your words express your unimaginable pain but also your incredible strength. I saw the play 'crocodile' on Sky Arts Playhouse Live several weeks ago - the victim in the play expressed herself through imagining she was a crocodile - it was a way of escaping the horrors of her ordeal. It has been a privelege to read your story - thank you.

it is so sad what uhave gone through surely u could meet someone that makes you feel like a cloud

You are so amazing. You have such heart, and I can feel it. Despite the pain in your past, present, and possibly future, never lose your heart. It's what makes you so awesome.<br />
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Mizz, we still have much to talk about considering these characters and our psyches :-)<br />
<br />
Mediaconsultants, thanks for your offer but I'm not interested to sell my life story, I just share it here with my friends and whoever is interested on reading it.<br />
<br />
Val, my dear... I read that disgusting comment you got on your story, and was going to respond it before you erased it because it made me very angry, but I didn't know what was your perspective about it. I am glad you erased it because it was written by someone who doesn't have any life perspective or compassion, and doesn't deserve to stain your stories like that. All I know is pain is different for everyone, and also the way we deal with it. It is incomparable and unmeasurable, because the world of the feelings is not a stock market, but our own private universe where very personal rules dominate us. I thank you very much for your genuine hugs and heartfelt comment, and I am very glad we are friends. Thank you for taking the time to read my story x

Hi sweettie. I'm still sitting here late at night. I'm thankfull that I was after having read your story. I got a reaction to my own story of abuse when I was a child this week, one that said that the experience had actually been nothing at all. I was furious and instead of reacting deleted the comment entirely. I wish now that I didn't. Yes, it's indeed nothing to write home about to some people and it's certainly that compared to your own experiences. Your story obviously affected me this evening. I can only say that both physical and mental abuse is so very wrong and will be a burden in the future to the victims. The burden gets only less but that's a only certainty when one encounters a small circle of real friends that care. And the future is there to be taken. Go on reading Shakespeare and all the other classics because they were indeed writing for you. Genuine many hugs your way! Valerie

Valerie... one thing that i have learned is that one person's abuse is not greater than the abuse suffered by another. if it was traumatic to you, your feelings on it are valid. i'm sorry that you suffered a reinjury because of that ignorant person's callous comment. i'm also sorry for your pain and what you went through.

i agree with woobie i am dyslexic cant express my feelings but any child or adult that suffers abuse scars you for life dont matter how minor and there comes a time you have to speak to someone and let it out i have kept mine secret from people for nearly 37 years it is a big deal and its happened dont let some comments knock you down as we are all in the same boat some hurt a bit more and are bitter i have been through that stage and am starting to understand more now

Sweet, there is nothing stupid about the story, it is heartfelt and told, as always, so eloquently.<br />
<br />
Yes, it is remarkable, isn't it, how characters and stories on a page, so much reflect resemble your own life, your own experiences, delve into your psyche xxx

I know you feel the same about certain books and characters... and thank you very much for reading my story, although I know it is stupidly sad... x

Sweet, I am so sorry for the horrific abuse you suffered, which was brought back into stark focus by the stark analogy of Ofelia. The difference is, you have survived this, and it is good that reading Hamet and Ofelia's story has enabled you to share this with us, and hopefully proved icathartic for you :)<br />
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