In my dream I was a tender vulnerable girl in love with a pretty boy. We lived together in a big house, and nobody knew we were there. He was gentle and sweet with me, and we played kissing-each-other-all-over-our-bodies games. I knew something about him though. I knew that he wanted to hurt and kill not me, but other women. In our house though, it didn’t matter. That was someplace else. We were safe together.
Except at the time of the dream there was only one other woman besides me left, and then I knew he had killed her too...right there in our house. I knew she was in the next room, and if I looked up I could see her. I started to look, but whatever it was was so horrible that my mind blanked out my eyes when I pointed them toward it. He was holding me, murmuring sweetness to me, but I knew I was no longer safe.
So, I hid. I knew a little secret space behind a wall in the attic of our house. I had found the door long before, and had furnished the place with fun and comforting things. It was my secret clubhouse of one. I loved to go there, shut the door, and then listen to the rumor of other people vibrating up through the bones of the house - their footfalls, the rumble of their voices - knowing they could not find me. A little hot coal of pleasure glowed in my solar plexus when I hid there. It was my secret, and I was safe.
As I shut the door behind me I thought, waking: and there was no one left to dream. Because the pretty boy from whom I had hidden was also me.
Was I traumatized as a child? Did someone hurt me in a way too horrible to remember? Did I hurt someone else in a way too horrible to remember? There are therapists who would help me answer these questions “yes,” whether or not it was actually true.
But, I don’t think so. I think I was just such a sensitive little thing that I experienced the regular trauma of being a young human - of first feeling desire, fear, anger - as glaring menace and imminent death, and fled.
And, I was shy and secret by nature. That little hot coal of pleasure in hiding was real, whatever else did or didn’t happen.
So maybe it took me so long to say who I am because I decided to play hide and seek, but nobody knew I existed, so nobody sought. Then I forgot I was hiding, and before I knew it 45 years had gone by. Oops! Too bad, honey. That time is gone.