- You have the right to remain silent and refuse to answer questions. Do you understand?
- Anything you do say may be used against you in a court of law. Do you understand?
Yes; I understand, and I understood this at the age of twelve or less. In my family, there was the reality that our words — both written and spoken – could and would be used against us in the court of law. I hated that deep-in-the-pit-of-your-stomach feeling of dread I would get as a child, as my sister, my brother and I would be escorted into the court house while we waited for my parents to use our words against us to gain physical custody of us.
I hated my guardian-ad-litem and was embarrassed to be seen in public with him. He wasn’t fighting for my best interest; he was trying to use my words to benefit my father. He was a wolf sent in ugly, battered, sheeps’ clothing, and I wasn’t about to buy his false image.
It feels like lifetimes ago since my sister, my brother, and I were carted back and forth between homes like the used clothing we became so accustomed to wearing. Who really wanted us? Who was the one that really cared for our safety, and who was the one that wanted to just win the “cargo”? I grew to mistrust adults in my life and still do to some degree. If you can\’t even trust your own parents and the fucking legal system of the United States, then who can you trust?!
One of the last times I saw my father was in a hotel room; a Holiday Inn, I believe. He had a court-appointed visitation with us, and I suppose he was wanting to celebrate my Sixteenth birthday with me, for the mere fact that he gave me one of those Sweet Sixteen sterling silver necklaces. But what stands out most in my mind, (other than the fact that while swimming underwater at the pool there, I closed my eyes at an inappropriate time and gashed the bridge of my nose on the side of the pool), was sitting at the famous hotel wooden laminate round table in an equally drab chair. The amount of time i sat there escapes me because I had been accustomed to dissociating from uncomfortable and traumatic events in my childhood. My Dad was trying to coerce me into writing a note to him that stated that I wanted to have summer visitation with him for a set amount of time. Yes, that’s right — my Dad wanted this from me like it was a normal thing to ask of your daughter who is becoming a woman but is scared shitless like a little child. I knew what his ulterior motives were because this wasn’t the first time my writing was requested for the benefit of using it in court. I refused. Thank God the desire to be loved and accepted from my father was just not strong enough to overturn my senses and my ability to survive.
It has been years since my journals and letters have been used or requested by the court for the benefit of either my father or my mother, but the aftermath is that I’m a little “gun” shy of putting my words out there for anyone to read. I even find that I am stifled in entering passages in my journal due to the underlying belief that someone will read it someday and it will come back to bite me in the butt.
I don’t want to be afraid. The reality is that nobody really has the power to hurt me with my own words anymore, to the degree that it would affect me like it did when I was a vulnerable child. I don’t have a boss who will fire me because he read some entry on my “blog” which he found to be inappropriate: I am sorry that some people, have gone through that experience. I know that some of my close friends do visit this site from time to time, and I’m not really concerned if you or any stranger reads my words per se. If what I share is enlightening or helps you in anyway, so be it. Mostly, I want to allow myself to be liberated. Don’t we all want to be free? God bless you all on your journey to freedom; it’s longer for some of us than it is for others. Don’t give up. Thank God he sent Jesus to set us captives free.