2007 STORY #9 – THE MAN IN BLACK
I was eight years old and I was going to marry Jesus! I would put on my lacy white dress several times a week before my First Communion Day, and dance in front of the mirror and whirl around on my tipee toes. I was so excited, I was going to marry Jesus! He loved me so much, because the Bible told me so.
The Man In Black visited our home in a remote area and was there to teach me all my lines (Catechism, prayers and songs) and make sure I was ready to marry Jesus. He said I must be, "clean inside and out to marry Jesus". One day, the Man in Black checked me "inside" while we were looking at the baby kittens in the barn. My zeal and love of Life stopped, my anticipation stopped, my dancing stopped. I never tried the dress on again till time to go marry Jesus.
My life for many decades is a blur. There were no organizations, no resources to go to for help in those days...My life was filled with haunting nightmares, no self worth, failure, I trusted no one. I still kept my secret about the Man in Black to myself, who would have believed an 8 year old little girl over the Man in Black?. One day, many decades later, working as a Police Dispatcher, I received a 911 call from a hysterical mother who had just found out that her eight year old daughter had been raped. I could hear the little girl in the background, crying. No, wait, that was me crying, how could that be? The little child sounded just like me of so many years ago. I was barely able to make it through my shift after that call. I cried all the way home and called my mother and asked why nothing was said or done to protect me and stop the Man in Black from stealing my Life . Why had the Man in Black continued to be revered, respected, and viewed as moral and righteous all these years while I crawled through Life with shame, guilt, disgrace, and wretchedness as my constant companions? Why? My Mother told me she had gone to the church with my Grandmother that same day and reported the incident that my Grandmother had witnessed. They were assured by our Parish Catholic Church officials that they would take care of the Man in Black and told them to go home and pray.
There are no records of my Mom and Grandmother making this complaint to our Parish Church. That Man in Black continued a long, good, protected life, and was held in esteem by many before he died in 1959. I died at 8 years of age and became a living corpse for many decades, existing in a dying place where nothing, no one, is ever good enough. No one except shame, anger, and guilt attended my emotional death. Virtue and Honor were no where to be found. All because of The Man in Black.
But, at 61 years of age I made my outcry after that 911 call that day. I was eventually able to get therapy to help me with my nightmares and feelings of unworthiness and shame and guilt. I have ever so slowly crawled out of my cadaver shell, like a snake crawls out of its skin. I have so much Life and Living back logged, unused, inside my soul because of that Man in Black, and now, there is not enough time left in my Life to use it. The Man in Black stole my Life from me....I walk tall some days, some days , I limp, and some days I still crawl....Any compensation could never buy my life back or stop the random nightmares that haunt me still.. I will never be that happy little 8 year old girl again, dancing on my tipee toes, because of that Man in Black.
Today there are many resources to make your outcry to. That could have changed the course of my life years ago. If anything like this happens to you or someone you know, run to the nearest place of help, be it a school nurse, a Fire department, a neighbor, a Policeman, SNAP, and get help. Don't let your life wither away, pass you by, and leave you at the edge of your grave before you get help and realize what a beautiful world, a beautiful Life you could have had. Don't let the Man or Woman in Black, or White, or Gray steal your Life, for the person who hurts you can be the least one you would expect this from. And remember, it's never too late to get help. I am healing, little by little, and one day, I will dance again on my tipee toes and rejoice...