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It was sometime before the anything but ethereal blur I was between the ages of six years and seven years old. Within the small apartment that I lived in, where my mother worked, she lived only three doors down. My mom didn't want me to play with the boys. The boys were a bad influence—they yelled, they destroyed the flowers, they trampled the buds. Little did she know, or does she still know that she did the same.

She was maybe two or so years older than me. She had a little brother, a kind mother and grandmother who always made me feel welcome. We would play games as would any other kids. Wizards, mermaids, mythical creatures. It escalated in the most terrible way, it still makes my heart pound and my eyes swell. She would force me to undress, to watch her undress. She showed me unholy photographs of celebrities I had once deemed innocent and happy on the television screen, which led me to be not innocent and unhappy. I can feel her arms, still, sharp like needles. Stronger than mine. She held me to the bed, the wall, wherever, she kissed me and rubbed against me. She said if I didn't comply she'd tell my mother. So I did. I regrettably complied.

She told me I was going to be pregnant for what I had done. She told me I needed to take "sex medicine." Not knowing a thing about human reproduction, I cried. I took a bath and I cried and my mother had no clue why. I had sisters, family, and later friends bash others, calling them "slut," "whore," "tramp," "hoe," "pimp," and I believed I was those names. When police or the law were mentioned I would hyperventilate, run away and cry. I thought what was done to me made me criminal. Unwillingly, it seemed that she who abused me, molested me, forced me turned me into a criminal.

For years I felt guilt. I stopped singing to my family. My self worth was low at seven years old; ripe, young, yet breaking down and hitting, battering, clawing at herself for reasonless nothings. I didn't consider myself a victim. I thought of myself as a perpetrator, I didn't know girls could be bad. I had to ease my way into friendships with the girls in my grade, and for two years after I was only friends with boys, trusted boys. I trashed each word I wrote.

I walked home one day, as I did every day. The strange boy who I had talked to a few times before and shrugged off stopped and let the group he migrated with continue ahead of him. Assuming he wanted to talk, I let him. It was a matter of seconds until he grabbed me, squeezing what innocence I had left out of my chest, his hand over my mouth, his stature toppled over me. I didn't want to scream. He groped me for what felt like years until I finally could get him off. This time I told someone, my father. I told him he just hugged me, and the principal was notified immediately from my concerned father. He was got off with a mere warning, and was constantly trying to say 'sorry' in his sort of way, which felt more like a reminder than an apology. I was in grade seven. 

I still get triggers that send me to tears, breathlessness, guilt, pain. The same feelings still lurk in the feeling of someone brushing up against me, surprising me from behind, a simple touch on the stomach can make my mind scream. I've brought it up once, making it lighthearted and laughable. When they laughed, when they called me "weird" for it, it crushed me. 

Today I can stand. I can channel feelings through writing; poetry, songs. Music has been an outlet for as long as I can remember; singing, listening, writing. Guitar: acoustic and electric, banjo, piano, ukulele.

Although it still hurts I step forward daily.

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