United States of William (USWM)

on Childhood Trauma and Time

In my experience, sometimes in life, when a person suffers a type of trauma that disrupts them on a fundamental level, and this trauma goes unchecked, undisclosed, and for lack of better words “pushed under the rug, cos you’re supposed to “MAN UP”, I feel like it is totally possible for a person to get mentally locked in that moment, regardless of the passing of time.

There are moments in my life (like right now) where I feel like I never really made any actual decisions in my life, about absolutely anything. I still carry the mindset of a five-year-old, pondering over the injustices committed by those responsible for my well-being. I feel like this is most certainly the case, because when things that could lead to romance, even friendship with the opposite sex, there is just something inside of me that is activated when I get a sense that someone has feelings for me. Sabotage, avoidance, out-right shutting someone out of my life entirely for weeks, months, even years.

Now that I approach forty years after the fact, it just seems pointless to work out. I feel like this is uncharted territory and nobody or nothing could help me, anyway. This wrongdoing that happened to me when I was five years old stays present in my mind as if it just happened. Random times throughout the day, random acts that people do in public that also trigger these emotions. It’s so deep and complicated, whereas its easy to suggest ignoring it and just “stay the path”, “man up”, all these things I’m told that will make it better. I spent my entire twenties hating the idea of police because that is what my rapist babysitter grew up to be. Nothing makes it better. Seeing Sound of Freedom, for whatever reason, brings all these emotions back up the surface, where they have been sitting ever since. It’s been over two weeks now since I’ve seen the film, but I’m just all knotted up about everything. I have a part of me that wants to go hunt down my babysitter from forty years ago and demand answers. I want to know if their life is as disrupted as mine. Do they have children!? How would they feel if their children were exploited by their babysitters? Has every relationshp they’ve ever been in ended the same way, because they’re physically unable to allow themselves to be vulnerable around others? You can’t rape men. That’s what I was told ten years later when I told who I thought were my friends. “You can’t rape the willing”. There is nothing willing about a five year old boy.

There is a whole lot more stories in the world that mirror my own. There are even more stories not being told at all. These are the moments and situations that shape how humans see the world. I’m a handful of years into my forties and I feel as lost as confused as I did when I was 19 years old. It’s so completely fucked. You reach a certain age and you’re just expected to have your shit together. That happened so long ago for me, that I don’t really remember what the real me is like anymore. All these things I’m into, all these things I do to distract myself. It’s all just a fucking escape from something that happened forty years ago.

Be the change you want to see in the world? Sounds like a good way to get taken advantage of.