So in preparing to go through the next few chapters of this story, I've been doing a lot of exploring of the emotional terrain that these vignettes encompass. There is still a lot of pain, fear and shame associated with these memories. I've been asking myself "why" a lot: why am I so ashamed of something that I had so little control over? Why am I ashamed of how I survived?
In some ways I am overcoming the shame as I examine the memories, but it's still a bit of a ripping sensation to get them out of my heart and onto proverbial paper. It's a damn shame that our teenaged years were lost to these negative experiences, and the self-loathing that they induced. And there are a lot of things that I blame my parents for. But hot damn, then I read a little bit more about the actual structure of the world that I grew up in, and then I begin to seethe a bit.
The source of the shame is based in the culture and the theology. No one had to go through what my siblings and I went through to feel that same sour shame coating every single sensation of theirs.
For example, let's take this 1996 speech by Rev. Moon given in Tarrytown, Ny. He says "American women have inherited the lineage of prostitutes." If you read the speech, which is relatively incomprehensible, that line comes out of the fucking blue. The student in me screams "site your goddamn sources! Where in the world does it say that American women are descended from prostitutes? Where do you come up with a line like that??"
Here's a little more lovely context:
"Are you tempted by handsome men and beautiful women who pay attention to you? (No.) Actually, all manner of thoughts come and go through your minds. Father's conclusion is that many American women have inherited the lineage of prostitutes. But you don't feel badly about it. American women feel superior to and scorn prostitutes, but in reality these prostitutes are earning money, this is their job. However, American women are even worse because they practice free sex just because they enjoy it."
And yet people absolutely swallowed that.
I didn't attend that speech. I was 12. I was growing up in a culture governed by a man who arbitrarily decided that American women were worse than prostitutes.
That explains a lot...I'm beginning to understand the origins of the shame.