Friday, November 18, 2016

Locks II

I lived in constant fear of him finding my diaries. It was a fear that only ever increased with age. I started filling notebooks as an 8 year old and by the age of 25, I was running out of places to hide them. At first, I insisted on diaries fitted with a cheap tin lock, convinced that this would successfully deter his obsessive attempts to violate my work. Once he tampered with them with manicure scissors, I realised that it was preferable just to ask my dad to lock up my writings in the filing cabinet. Those notebooks remained inaccessible to me and they are locked up still, with pages unfilled.

I would later type up stories, encrypted with passwords on Microsoft Word and Creative Writer. I once failed to do so and it resulted in him going through my piece, changing all the nouns to HAM. It was a reference to the name he obsessively called me, much to the amusement of my mother. Despite my efforts, that familiar scene materialised all too frequently: his standing over me with book wide open in hand, reading out loud, only stopping to obnoxiously cackle in my face. The memory of it is more painful than any other aspect of his systematic routine of verbal and physical abuse. Now I have been free of it for six years, I never stop asking myself why I wasn't protected, but he was.

I have been reminded of that aspect of my past in recent times, when friends ask me why I publish such personal details in essays online. I start to feel emotional and defensive, in much the same way I did then. It makes me suspect that I must have been encouraged to stop writing as a child, if only to stop that destructive routine that had emerged with my brother. I can't articulate why I still wrote obsessively, but I am moved by the thought that I persisted in light of such fear. The irony now is that the external publication of such work is my only hope of redress. Instead of the routine humiliation that once came with exposure, I am now comforted by the readership. It is my only sign that there might be a willingness to acknowledge the extent of my pain. There might be some unspoken remorse.

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