HA notes: The author’s name has been changed to ensure anonymity. “Trista” is a pseudonym.
Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes/Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies/Heaven’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee/In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.
I sat between two graves, softly singing this verse over and over. Going home was terrifying and death was an appealing thought.
As a child I was told I was “defective” and “half-aborted”.
When my mom would become upset with me, she would become psychotic and scream about how I was, “brainwashed at youth. It is surprising you can even think at all.” When I ‘rebelled’ again, I was told I could not think for myself because I was “half-aborted.” This was why I had to be protected by my father, who was the portal through which God and God’s will came to me.
As soon as my dad got home and I was released from school, I would lie to my parents, telling them I was going to the back of our five acre lot to the creek. I was still not allowed off the property alone, but they didn’t mind if I roamed through the backyard. Sometimes, I would go back to the creek, but usually I would walk back to the nearest trees and then cut through the neighbor’s yard and ran as fast as I could to the cemetery near our house.
The cemetery was only a half mile away and it offered me an outlet for the dark emotions I felt. I would sit between two graves and sing “Abide with Me” over and over. In between singing I would pray for God to kill me, begging with him to strike me dead.
Imagination was my only solace.
Because I was monitored daily by my parents, it was impossible to self-harm. But I thought about death, pain and torture daily. I wanted to hurt myself, but was terrified that if my parents found out they would refuse to send me to college, leaving me a victim in their house till the day I died.
With the fear of discovery always present, I used my imagination as an outlet. I would imagine various scenarios where I was in extreme pain. I would chew my nails until they bled as a form of pain because no one suspected I was doing this to hurt myself. The things I would dream about always involved death and pain. I imagined being beaten, shot, strangled, and stabbed to death. I contemplated different ways of committing suicide. There was a pond near the cemetery, and I would imagine drowning myself.
I loved the cemetery because it made me feel closer to death, closer to home. I hated my earthly home. It was full of pain and darkness. I was always alone, told I was stupid and useless. My father would mock women. In my home, being a woman made you worse than men. I wanted so bad to be a man, but I could not change my gender. 18 years of being in the cage of patriarchy made me hopeless. Happiness was not possible. I wanted death.
My daily prayer was “Jesus, take me home. I want to go home and be with you.” This was my way of pleading for death. I was trapped in a world and life that I had no control over. I was an object upon which my parents acted. I had no rights, and my desires did not matter.
The world I lived in told me I had no power.
The only power I had was in prayer, and I prayed for rescue, which for me meant death because I saw no other alternative to the pain in my life.
When I left for college two years later, I thought my preoccupation with suicide, pain and death were over, but I was very wrong.