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  • Marliana Alisemon

The Shared Experience

By definition "Shared Experience" Is just that. You are seeing, hearing or doing the same thing as someone else. It can also mean, sharing your experience with another person who has had a similar experience on their path. This can have a profound effect on us as humans as we create a space where others no longer feel alone, or like they can't step forward for fear, trauma and pain, burden.

My intention with this blog, is to share some of my experiences I have had on my path to create a space for you to feel community, compassion and knowing you're not alone; and to allow you to start healing, to feel loved and cared for. So, here we go! I'm about to get raw and vulnerable... Lets see where this goes shall we? I'll share both hard, and light experiences today.

My first one that comes to mind is quite hard. so let's start there.

I was four years old. My mom and dad had long since been divorced and my family was a complete mess. My mother had men coming and going like a revolving door and we were often shuffled to our cousins, our aunt's or our neighbors' homes.

My mom had started a relationship with a man she was working for. I'll never forget his name, Hans. He had two teenage boys; 16 and 19 I believe; I do not remember their names. My mom would often take myself and my sister there for days at a time. and we would be left alone with these boys.

The two would ask me to get into their car with them, and make me lay on the backseat floor with my arms above my head so they could touch me and play with my body. That day that I remember was a big one. The same old story with these boys, they've made me do this many times. but today my mom came back early. and the boy in the front seat, opened the door to get out and hold her off. My hands were in the door, and he slammed it shut.

I remember screaming so loudly, the boy in the back with me got up and opened the door. My fingers were mangled, I am sure fractured. I don't remember getting out of the car. But I remember showing my mother my hands and her dismissing me. I was never seen by a doctor. And to this day my fingers aren't straight and aligned they are crooked and knuckles are kind of bigger than they should be you know? I'm not sure why the boys thought they had to hold my mom off, because she didn't care what happened to us. (what she showed through actions and emotion)

Over the next few days we were there when my mom wasn't home those boys would touch me, try to make me touch them and kiss them. Anywhere. Out on their trampoline, in the shower... anywhere. My mom made me sleep in the same room as these boys and they would make me lay on top of them at night. They would kiss me and touch my body. Looking back it was almost like she had "a deal with the devil" and Hans, and herself knew fully well what was happening to me and my sister.

And then it happened. This is the only memory I have of being alone with him. I do know there are other instances. My sister was 2, I was 4 and we were alone with Hans. We were at the table being fed "breakfast" and my sister started crying because he was hitting her forcing her to eat. and he grabbed her arm, and pulled her into the shower where she was beaten. And of course her bowels let go. and then I was grabbed and forced in to that same shower, hit and made to clean it up.

We didn't feel safe telling our mom, because she was so self involved with trying to move forward, get money to be the best and successful. She never believed us in anything we came to her with, our mother had no time for us. So that weekend I remember we went to our dads home for the weekend. And we were getting ready for bath time and got our clothes off. My dad saw the bruises and cuts on our bodies. That went over like a lead balloon. The police were called and for the first time we were believed. or so I thought. My dad was never around, and when he was we were "buddies" not kids. He also didn't believe a word we had to say.

It progressed to custody hearings. My dad was going to take us from our mom and we needed it. we needed to get away from everything that was, has and will continue to go on. Being young, SUPER young we believed our dad wanted us, to save us and care for us. Well, time came for judgement and my dad was going to win custody. We were sitting in the court room with him and our step mom, not our real mom; and the bomb was dropped. He refused custody of us, and handed us back to our mom.

He didn't say anything to us on the ride back to daycare. He bought me a slurpee and dropped me off. My last memory associated with all of this is sitting at a table in a daycare, crying and drinking this God awful slurpee all at once. Feeling helpless, fucking terrified and so tired of life, already.. at four years old.

Have you had a shared experience like this? Something similar?

The next memory for me on my path is a bit ahead.

Fast forward to junior high school, grade seven. We had moved from the 'hood to a nice suburb, and with that came moving from the public school system to the Catholic. My mom had met and married my step dad, and of course he was the one in charge. We moved when I was twelve years old. I had just started the school year, and with that came puberty and my first period.

This was a year of growth for me. My mom or my step mom had no conversations with me around puberty, sex or just growing up so I was on a mission to learn and do it all myself. I was getting dressed in my own room on the morning of my first school dance. I picked out a super nice sweater and I was trying to do my own make up (at the beginning it looked a little clown like hahah!)

I was standing in my underwear working to get this all done. And my step dad walks in, and he gives me the most perverted up and down, down and up gaze. I asked him to leave and he shouldn't be looking at a kid like that. He outright refused to leave and watched me get dressed. (this later became abusive physically and emotionally. There would be many moments where he had my sister by the throat and I'd be behind him screaming for him to get off her, trying to save her from more abuse)

I was sent to school that morning without breakfast, feeling gross in my own skin, in my life, in my eyes, my head. I just ... I just.

I grabbed my bike out of the shed in the backyard, and I went to school with tears flowing down my cheeks and into my hair. I met my new friend there. She could always make me smile and forget about my home life (and the same for her with me. We had it extremely hard for the two of us, and we bonded and became very close)

It was the day of our first junior high dance. And the two of us were loving some Backstreet Boys and we were practising our sweet moves for "Backstreets Back" just in case they played it. The excitement overruled how I was feeling that morning, and her and I made it in to the dance, had a blast dancing and singing and this boy in our class came to me and asked me to dance with his friend; it shocked me and left me in headlights. I said no because I felt so self conscious as I was consistently made fun of by my peers, and at home. I breathed a huge sigh of relief as he left and my friend and I went back to being each other's dates.

The next morning was the school's religious gathering to celebrate Jesus. The whole school was in the gymnasium. And it was shared that the boy who'd asked me to dance the night before had suddenly died in the shower that morning from a brain aneurysm. I just shut down completely. It was spiralling in my mind, my heart that I had just refused this boy the chance to dance with a girl he liked. And now he was gone. I held on to this for so many years. That twenty four hours was a cluster fuck of abuse and neglect, self consciousness and excitement... and devastation. It was something I didn't know how to process until later in life so I swallowed it and carried it with me. I believed I was guilty. By definition "guilt" is the intent to harm. What I was carrying was grief, and sadness, pain that someone so young was gone and I didn't understand why or how it could have happened.

I felt for a long time I played a part in that. How silly, looking back on it now. I was constantly made to feel everything was my fault at home. with both sets of "parents" I was made fun of, shot down, controlled, abused and neglected. so I grew up with this guilty conscience. I was the one in trouble for everything, or so it felt. And this experience just tied into it so nicely and there I was, off deep in my disturbance for many years.

My last one for today, is a light and warm one and I feel excited that I get to share it with you... And it just happened hahaha!

I was in our bedroom the other night getting ready for bed with my husband. Because of my injuries it takes two of us to get me comfortable with pillows and heat packs and stuff. so I'm in and hes getting himself ready and he sits down on the bed and gives me my anti inflammatory medication.

I am propped up with pillows, I'm leaning back at an angle. I pop my medication in, and fill my mouth with water. and all of a sudden it was as if John Belushi came by, and "popped my pimple" (Animal House, national lampoon's 1978) my cheeks were squeezed and I shot water straight up like a water fountain. It soaked me, my bedding, my husband. EVERYTHING. The medication hadn't exit my mouth the way the water did, it was still there. I was laughing so hard I had to take it out of my mouth so I wouldn't choke. I looked over at my husband through tear filled eyes, laughing hysterically. All I could see was him looking back at me as if to say "what just happened?? Why am I wet and why are you laughing??"

I tried my hardest to stop laughing so I could explain. It didn't happen. It was a weird game of Pictionary through hysterical laughter that no one won. So we changed the sheets together, laughing and enjoying that moment to the fullest.

In asking it was a reminder of everything I've gone through and to keep positive, keep my faith strong in the good and bad times. a loving joke, a loving reminder from my God.

Have you had silly, fun and positive experiences like this?

Write me a comment, or send me an email I'd love to read some of your shared experiences.

My hope is that by reading with me today, you don't feel so alone and so hurt. We all suffer. It's how we grow and heal ourselves and work to heal each other, hold space for one another that matters. Best wishes friends.

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