I Won’t Hide From Evil and Neither Will God

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There’s a lot of beauty and good in the world, but there’s also a whole lot of evil. And while I think it’s good to focus on the good and the positive so that God is glorified, I also believe that to ignore or deny the evil that’s in the world would be foolish, and would actually glorify the devil more than if we worshiped him outright. A quote from C.S. Lewis might explain this better than I can,

There are two equal and opposite errors into which our race can fall about the devils. One is to disbelieve in their existence. The other is to believe, and to feel an excessive and unhealthy interest in them. They themselves are equally pleased by both errors and hail a materialist or a magician with the same delight. ~ from the Preface of The Screwtape Letters*

Something I’ve been thinking about lately: The Bible says in the Book of Psalms that God has numbered our days,

You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book. Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed. ~ Psalms 139:16, NLT.

I understand that to mean that God knows what will happen every day of my life, from the day of my birth clear through ’til the day of my death. What I’ve been thinking about is the day of my death, or more generically, the day of every person’s death. What I’m curious about is, does God ordain how a person dies, or just that he dies on a particular day? I mean, there are an almost infinite number of ways someone can die.

The reason I’m asking this is because when someone is murdered, (unless they’re killed in their sleep so they aren’t aware and wake up dead), they must experience extreme terror and horror right up to the moment of dying. I’m trying to understand what might be going through their mind during those hours and moments of extremity leading up to the moment of their death.

I’m also trying to understand how God fits into the picture. If someone is killed in a way that makes their last hours and moments full of mind-numbing, heart-stopping, hope-stealing and screaming terror that was caused by the person who murdered them, was that method of death ordained by God? I find it difficult to understand how God would want someone to experience that kind of negativity right before they die. If they’re already saved and they die like that, at least they have the hope of heaven. But if they’re not, in the minutes and hours, and sometimes even days, of terror and horror and fear before they’re murdered, how can they be expected to think clearly enough during that time to be able to call out to God for salvation?

Scripture says that God is both a just God and a merciful God. I’ve heard it said that since He’s both just and merciful, if someone dies in an unsaved state, He will take them where they’re at spiritually, and judge them based on their works. I don’t know how true this is, or if it’s true at all, but that’s what I’ve heard. A scriptural basis for this might be found in the Book of James,

For judgment is without mercy to the one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment. ~ James 2:13, NKJV.

Given the scenario I’ve described above, where someone’s ability to seek God is severely compromised, and the best he or she can do is cry out for help, God’s mercy is what is most desperately needed, not His judgment.

I could be wrong on that, but I hope I’m not.

 

*C.S. Lewis. The Screwtape Letters, HarperSanFrancisco, ©1942, Harper edition 2001, p. ix.

It’s All About Gratitude, Difficulties Notwithstanding

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I did it. I finally took a shower.

I’m very grateful to God for helping me to finally get it done. I played worship music the whole time, and doing that made it so much easier.

I find that an attitude of gratitude makes things so much easier, especially the really hard things. Over the years, being grateful to God for all that He’s done for me has helped me to put my life into perspective in so many ways.

Anything bad that happens to me now, regardless of how bad it is, doesn’t hold a candle to the bad stuff that I had to endure when I was little, because now I’m old enough and strong enough to be able to handle it. When I was a child I didn’t have the resources, physically or emotionally, to be able to deal with the onslaught of terror and horror that constantly overwhelmed me. Sometimes I feel like I can’t handle it now, but if I think about it logically, I know I can, especially if I keep my eyes on the LORD, my God, my Jesus.

As long as I don’t take my eyes off Jesus, and keep on listening to that still, small voice of the Holy Spirit (see 1 Kings 19:12), and keep on trusting in God and leaning on His strength and not my own, I know I’ll be alright.

And most of all, I thank God for the Cross!

My Head Is an Oven and Words Are Boiling Over

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This evening, frustration has been building up to the point that I want to break something or hit myself, and since neither one of those options is available to me, I decided to see if writing about it would help. Writing is a better outlet for my feelings anyway, especially negative feelings.

Stuff gets pent up inside with no outlet, and I don’t know what to do with it. I certainly can’t hit myself, neither can I break stuff. It feels like I’m flying apart at the seams, like I’m dropping pieces of myself all around me as I get more and more vexed and aggravated.

So I decided to try an experiment. Instead of allowing entropy to take effect in my mind as a result of the frustration, I would try writing. I tried it a few days ago and it seemed to work rather well, so I thought I’d try it again.

This could be a whole new era of healing for me, because, as I said in my last post, Not So Bad After All, the fact that I’m writing about it instead of doing the other, not so functional things, is a definite step of growth and progress. And I love knowing that I’m growing and healing with God’s help. That’s very exciting to me, and it’s the whole purpose of this blog, and part of my reason for being, the other part being to love God and enjoy Him forever.

I think part of the stress that’s been building inside has to do with what I’m talking about in therapy with McT. Awhile ago I told him that I was giving him permission to confront me if he thought I was avoiding talking about the issues that are most difficult for me to deal with ~ the sexual stuff. So together we nicknamed those topics “the hard stuff,” and now he regularly asks me if there’s any “hard stuff” I need to talk about.

I so appreciate him for that! It helps to keep me focused, and it keeps me from wandering off into denial and foolishness, and meandering around on topics I don’t need to talk about. It also helps me to build trust in McT, because I have to trust that he’s a safe person for me to talk with about the hard stuff. I’ve never had a therapist who I felt was safe enough to talk with about the hard stuff, so I wasted a whole lot of time and money resisting therapy, and resisting the process over the years.

Fortunately, I’ve grown enough, and healed enough with God’s help, that I feel less and less like I need to avoid talking about the hard stuff, and I’m feeling like I can trust McT more all the time. So now, when I go to therapy, I can realistically pray for a productive session, and know that God will be there, helping me to talk about what needs to be talked about, regardless of how difficult it is. I’ve always prayed before my therapy sessions, but because I was only rarely fully in the game and not resisting, the answers were inconsistent at best ~ not from God’s perspective, but because of me.

Now that I’ve pretty much finished what I have to say here, I’m feeling much better. My head no longer feels like a boiling pot overflowing with words, thankfully. So I guess my little experiment worked.

Way cool and praise God!

Not So Bad After All

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Well, here I am again, writing about everything and nothing at the same time ~ but at least I’m writing. It’s early on a Sunday morning, and I wonder if I’m trying to waste time so I won’t be able to make it to church. God forgive me, I don’t know why I’m doing it, but I’m not sleepy so I haven’t gone to bed yet, and it’s 7 a.m.

I don’t want to go to bed after the sun comes up!

I wish I could break out of this frustrating place! I’m stuck, and I don’t know why I’m stuck, or what I’m stuck on. I just know that I’m stuck. I can’t seem to be consistent or disciplined with anything. Or maybe I’m disciplined at not being disciplined, to wit, I’m being consistently inconsistent.

I seem to be really good at sabotaging myself, and not much more at the moment, though at least I’m writing about it, which is new and different. I never used to do that. I used to just sit and stew about it ~ or hit myself ~ if I was stuck, so I suppose this is an improvement, albeit a small one. Though maybe it’s not so small, because I’m not only writing about it, but I’m also not hitting myself, and that right there ~ not hitting myself ~ is a huge accomplishment.

So, while there are some negatives, there are also some positives. But as I was sitting here earlier in the evening, goofing around, I had the feeling that I should just be patient with myself, and cut myself some slack.

Even though it feels like I’m not making any progress at all, that’s simply not true. Even though it feels like I’m just sitting around all the time being incredibly lazy, that also is not true, though I can’t see how. And even though I’m not doing any regular Bible reading, it’s okay. And the reason it’s okay is because it’s all temporary.

Each of these “Even though…” problems I just listed is temporary, and God wants me to stop worrying about them. In other words, I’m doing better than I think I am.

I’ve always been my own worst critic.

I can sort of see why the one about Bible reading might be okay, because even if I’m not actually sitting down and reading a chapter everyday, I’m interacting with Scripture on a regular basis in one form or another.

So, God, please help me to show myself the same kind of grace that you’ve given me! Help me to not be so hard on myself! And thank you for setting me free from self-abuse! I praise you that I’m no longer hitting myself!

I love You and I praise You!!

1 2 3 4 5 6

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It doesn’t take much to entertain me. Almost nothing, in fact. My stepdad used to tell me that he could make me laugh just by saying, “Pass the mustard.” And of course, because he’d said that, I’d laugh, so he’d say, “See? I told you so!” It used to make me mad, but then I realized that it was probably a good thing, because laughter is good for the soul. So if I laugh easily, then maybe I have a healthy soul. Proverbs says,

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit saps a person’s strength. ~ Proverbs 17:22, NLT.

The Bible also says that God laughs (for example, Psalm 59:8, where God laughs at His enemies), and if God laughs, then it must be okay for me to do so.

All of that is to say that God cares about the little things in our lives as well as the big and important things, things that don’t make a difference or mean anything to anyone at all. For example, I love numbers, at least partly because God created them. Also, I drive a 2012 Toyota Matrix. As I was driving down the freeway the other day, the odometer turned over so the numbers read, 1 2 3 4 5 6.

Now, I realize that event doesn’t mean anything to anyone, and is of absolutely no importance to anyone, but I had been hoping to notice when the numbers on my odometer read that. It was exciting to me. And if I keep this car long enough so the odometer reads 3 1 4 1 5 9 (the first six numbers of Pi), that will be an exciting event for me as well.

I also love it when palindromes show up on my odometer. A palindrome is a number or word, or even a sentence, that reads the same forwards and backwards. An example of a numeric palindrome would 123321, or 24566542. Radar is an example of a palindromic word, and an example of a palindromic sentence is “Madam, I’m Adam”.

I think palindromes are, dare I say it, beautiful. That might sound kind of silly, but I do, because they’re so wonderfully ordered, and God is a God of order.

The reason I’m writing about this is because, as I said above, God cares about what we care about. As silly as it sounds, I had asked God to let me see it when my odometer turned over to read that number, because it’s a once-in-a-lifetime event, and you have to be in the right place at the right time to catch it. That number, 1 2 3 4 5 6, will only happen once in this car, and it felt like a special thing for me. And God allowed me to see it. I’m very grateful to Him for that. It might not mean anything to anyone else, but it meant a lot to me, at least partly because it was a small indication of just how much He loves me.

1 2 3 4 5 6. How cool is that!! Jesus loves me!!

The Gospel Without Jargon

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Jargon is defined as special words or expressions that are used by a particular profession or group that are difficult for others to understand. This phenomenon is common in Christian circles, and is known as Christianese (in legal circles it’s called legalese, for example).

One of the common Christianese phrases I’ve heard, but never understood, is, “more of Him, and less of me.” What does that mean? The picture that comes to mind when I think about it is one of me turning into a round mass of jello on the floor when I become less and Jesus becomes more, kind of like someone who has no muscles, so they turn into a ball of flesh and become completely ineffectual.

I can’t figure out if it means I’m supposed to become invisible, or just what it means. If I’m invisible, then how can I, or God for that matter, anything get done ~ like witnessing, for example? Jesus isn’t going to come and do it Himself. He told us to do it. It’s called the Great Commission,

Jesus came and told his disciples, “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” ~ Matthew 28:18-20, NLT.

It doesn’t say that Jesus will go out and make disciples, and take us with Him as He does it. It says that we are to go out and make disciples, and He will go with us. And if I’m invisible, I doubt that anyone will want to listen to anything I have to say, because they’ll be too busy running from me in terror because they’ll think I’m a ghost.

Then recently, one of my favorite Christian artists, Casting Crowns, came out with a new song, called Only Jesus, that showed me the answer to my problem. Below is one of the verses from the song that sorts it out for me:

Did I live the truth to the ones I love? // Was my life the proof that there is only one? // Whose name will last forever // Only Jesus.

And the chorus from the song reminds me of what’s most important:

And I, I don’t want to leave a legacy // I don’t care if they remember me // Only Jesus.

In other words, and this is where less of me and more of Him comes in, I want people to remember Jesus when they think of me now, and after I’m gone, as well. I can’t save anyone, or heal anyone, but Jesus can, and His name will last forever, while nothing I say or do will last beyond the minute I’ve said or done it. Jesus is the One to remember, not me.

ONLY JESUS!!

 

Easier Said Than Done

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There have been a few times in my life where I was desperate for guidance from God, and when I asked for it, He gave me the answer right then. Let me explain.

The first ten years of my life are virtually blank. I remember essentially nothing from those years, and not much more from the years following. As a consequence I spent a lot of time trying to understand what had happened to me during those blank years, and I also had many well-meaning Christians telling me that I shouldn’t be doing that, that I should just put the past behind me,

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. ~ Isaiah 43:18, NIV.

But I also had a lot of therapists telling me that those empty years weren’t empty at all, but rather were years I had repressed because the events that had occurred during that time were so traumatic that I couldn’t handle the emotional and/or physical impact of what had happened. And how many of you know that putting the past behind you is a whole lot easier said than done?

So who do I believe ~ all those well-meaning Christians, or the therapists who supposedly understand how memory works?

Something that happened back in the mid-1990’s, in the midst of being bombarded by input from both sides, helped me decide to follow God rather than either side, although ideas from the therapists ended up being closer to what God showed me.

What happened was this: I was receiving soaking prayer from a married couple on periodic Sunday afternoons, but everyone who knew I was doing this told me I shouldn’t be doing it because I should be putting the past behind me, as the above-quoted verse says.

Because I’d been hearing this so frequently from everyone around me for such a long time, I finally cried out to God on my way home from that afternoon’s prayer session, and asked Him if I was following the right course. Should I be trying to find out what had happened to me? I only wanted to follow what He wanted me to do!

As I was praying and asking my questions of God, this thought came into my mind: The most tightly-held-onto past is the past that’s been repressed.

I knew that had to be from God because there was no way I could have thought it up myself. And what I took from that incredibly logical thought was that in order for me to let go of my past and put it behind me, I had to remember it and accept that it was a part of who I am. Only then would I be able move past it and let it go.

The reason I say I had to not only remember, but also accept what I was remembering, is that the things I was remembering were so awful that I was having a hard time accepting that the people I was supposed to be able to trust were the same people who had betrayed that trust in such horrific ways. I had to accept that these terrible, evil things were a part of my story, and that the people I had depended on for my most basic needs had abused the trust I had placed in them. It was a hard pill to swallow, and it took me a long time to do it, at least partly because it also meant forgiving those who had hurt me.

I believe every person who has been the victim of child abuse and/or childhood sexual abuse must go through this process if they’ve repressed the memories of the abuse. No one wants to believe that the people they must depend on for their most basic needs would betray the trust that’s been placed in them in such appalling and egregious ways, but unfortunately it does happen. And when it does, the destruction to the life of the victim is far-reaching.

It’s been my personal experience that the only thing that can bring real and long-lasting healing is inviting God into the situation. Therapy can only take you so far on its own before it loses its ability to effect change unless God’s presence is sought in the healing process. Obviously that is my opinion, and opinions are not facts, but it’s an opinion based on hard personal experience.

Even if you never forgot or repressed the memories of the abuse you were subjected to, you still must go through this process, because, as I did, you will probably feel a need to deny that those who were supposed to love and care for you did the exact opposite, and abused you. You will probably also feel the need to blame yourself, as I did. Well, let me tell you, categorically, it was not your fault. It was not my fault either. It took me a very long time to be able to believe that, but now I really do know beyond a shadow of a doubt. It was not my fault. It was entirely my father’s fault. It was also my mother’s fault because she didn’t protect me from my father. But above all else, it was not my fault.

It was not my fault, and it was not your fault either. Know that of a surety.

Adulting Is a Four Letter Word

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I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to grow up. While I’m sixty-six years old chronologically, I’ve never felt older than sixteen, which is how old I, Sarah, was when I was created at the time of the gang-rape when Catherine Belinda was three years old.

That was when Harry got four of his cronies together, and the five of them decided that they were going to take Catherine Belinda to a house owned by one of them, and together the five of them would take turns raping her.

An innocent three year old tiny little girl!!

Harry!! How could you have done this!! What were you thinking!!

I weep for that innocent little girl that was me! I wish I could take her into my arms and do for her what was never done for me! I want to protect her as no one ever protected me!

How could they have done it God!! How could they have committed such an atrocity against an innocent child!!

Logically I know the answer to that question, but given the damage that one event has caused in my life, it’s hard to think about it logically, and everytime I read those cries above I start weeping for the little girl that was me all over again.

Before that event when we were three, we were already multiple, and Catherine Belinda, the original core personality, was doing her best to run things in the midst trying to protect herself from the hell of Harry’s constant abuse.

I, Sarah, didn’t exist at that point.

But during the gang-rape Catherine Belinda decided she was fed up with Harry’s lies and betrayals. She decided that this event was the ultimate betrayal on his part, and she decided that she was done.

She was DONE!!

She had to tell someone. She didn’t know who yet, but she’d find someone. She had to find a way to escape. She couldn’t stand it any longer. And everyone else inside could feel the certainty of her purpose, and they knew she was resolved to make good on this decision.

But they also knew that Harry was serious in his threats. He’d been threatening for at least a year at that point that he would kill her if she ever told anyone what he was doing to her, and he showed her that he was serious by playing Russian Roulette with one of his revolvers between her legs. And he didn’t just do it once. He did it on a regular basis to make sure everyone believed him.

I can only imagine the terror everyone must have felt everytime he pointed that gun at them!

So everyone inside made an executive decision that Catherine Belinda couldn’t be allowed to make good on her promise to find someone to tell about Harry’s abuse, and specifically, the gang-rape that had just occurred. They all concluded that she had to be removed from the scene, and someone else had to be created to take over for her, so she was hidden away and put to sleep, and I was created.

God is the one who gave me the gift of multiplicity, and I’m so grateful for it, because that’s what helped me to survive throughout my childhood. God is also the one who created each new alter everytime there was a need for one, as there was on that day when Catherine Belinda rebelled and had to be taken out of the system. I fully understand why she did it, but she had to be stopped, or Harry would have killed us. He’d made that abundantly clear.

So God created me, Sarah Abigail Kuriakos, to take over for Catherine Belinda, and He named me Sarah Abigail Kuriakos. He chose those names because He wanted me to know that someone loved me, and specifically, how much He loved me.

He also had to create twelve or thirteen other new alters because trauma of the rapes was so great, but that is a story for another day.

When He created me, chronologically we were three years old, but I was sixteen. Don’t ask me to explain how that works, because I can’t. All I know is that I was sixteen in a three year old body. I think it had something to do with being able to handle more responsibility than any three year old could possibly manage.

There are certain things one expects of an adult, and in my case, a Christian adult. Things like reading my Bible on a regular basis, going to church every Sunday, controlling my temper, not being rude to other people, getting and keeping a job and supporting myself financially, keeping my home neat and clean, and taking proper care of my cat. These are examples of activities normal adults engage in as a part of daily life.

Actually, I’m pretty much making all that up, because I have no idea what normal adults do in their daily lives. For one thing I doubt if there’s any such thing as a “normal” adult in today’s society, and for another, since I’ve never been an adult, I have no idea what they do. The things I mentioned are things I’d like to be doing in my daily life were I living even a semblance of a normal life.

Now that I’ve figured out this thing, what do I do about it? First off, I need discipline. All the things I want to be doing require a certain amount of discipline, and discipline is what I lack most of all. A few of the things I mentioned above I manage to do quite well, for instance, not being rude to others.

Everything else? Not so much. So, as I started out saying at the beginning of this post, I need to grow up. I also need to figure out how to discipline myself, so that I’m doing what I want to be doing on a daily basis.

HELP ME, LORD!!

I Would Make a Terrible God

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I would not want God’s job, not for any amount of money or the most amazing and desirable gift. For one thing, I would make a lousy God. I just don’t have the wisdom needed to do all the things God has to do, and make all the decisions He has to make. I have a hard time managing my own affairs, much less trying to oversee anyone else’s life.

For another thing, I wouldn’t want the responsibility. God must have incredibly thick skin to do what He does all day long without caring what people think of Him. I mean, He wants people to love Him because He wants a relationship with them, but He does what’s best for each person without regard for whether they’ll be happy about His decisions or not. There aren’t too many people who’ll be happy about having to suffer, but sometimes that’s what’s needed for the development of a person’s character. And I’m convinced that God is much more interested in our character growth and maturation than He is in whether we’re happy or not.

I realize that makes Him sound like a bit of an ogre, and He’s not. He’s a good God who loves His creation. The Bible says God is love,

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. ~ 1 John 4:7-8, NKJV.

It doesn’t say that God feels loving, though I’m sure He does. It says He IS LOVE. In other words, love is a part of who He is, not just how He feels. There’s a difference, and it’s reflected in His actions, as it speaks of in 1 Corinthians 13,

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, NKJV. 

You could substitute the word God everywhere that the word love is used in that passage, because in essence they’re synonymous words for the same thing, because, as I quoted above in 1 John 4:8, God is love.

God feels intensely and deeply, but He’s not moved by His feelings, nor is He ruled by them. Feelings are notoriously unreliable, and if you let yourself be ruled and led by them your life will be stormy and unstable.

This is a lesson I’ve had to learn the hard way, and I’m still learning it. It’s not an easy one to grasp, but I’ve discovered that if I found my life on the solid rock of God’s Word, my existence, both day-to-day and longterm, is much more peaceful, joy-filled, and productive than if I live according to the shifting sand of my emotions. I still stumble, of course, but it’s much easier to pick myself up and go on, because I can always call on God. 

Just so long as I remember that being God is God’s job, not mine. And I would make a terrible God anyway.

Writing About Not Being Able to Write

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Of course, by starting out with that title, and then writing about it, by definition, I’m putting the lie to my title, because I’m writing, which I just said I wasn’t able to do. Kind of silly I suppose, but I had to do something to make myself start producing words again.

It’s so frustrating when you have all these ideas roiling and running around inside your head, but you can’t get them out onto paper. I think the common phrase for it is writer’s block. I’ve got a list of about six different ideas that I’m working on for eventual use here, but I can’t seem to develop any of them enough for publication.

So here I am, rambling, in an effort to write something, anything, because that’s what I do. I blog. And if I’m not writing, I’m not blogging.

I mean, the purpose of this blog is to help survivors of child abuse see that it’s possible to emerge victorious, with God’s help, from the hell that was perpetrated on them by evil and selfish others, and if I’m not posting then the information I have to offer isn’t getting out there.

Of course that begs the question, am I offering information that’s actually helping? Is what I say here bringing glory to God, as well as providing anything of substantive value for those who might need it? I certainly hope so, because if it’s not, then I need to change what I’m doing here ~ or stop doing it altogether.

But I don’t want to stop. For one thing I love to write. Writing used to be so difficult for me, worse than pulling teeth, because of one of my alters, named Secret, when I was multiple. I had another alter, named The Secretary, whose job it was to chronicle the goings-on of my system ~ my internal life, if you will, and she too loved to write. But The Secretary and Secret worked at cross purposes to each other all the time, and Secret was much stronger than The Secretary, so The Secretary was always being stifled.

And Secret had good reason to keep us from writing, because The Secretary wanted to write about what the cult was doing to us, as well as about Harry’s abuse, and of course, that absolutely could not be allowed. Harry had been threatening to kill us if we talked for years, so Secret’s efforts to keep us silent were probably keeping us alive as well.

Now that I’m no longer multiple, and I’m no longer being abused, there’s nothing hindering me from writing. So if I can’t write, there must be something else stopping me ~ but I don’t know what it could be. I certainly did get a whole lot written for someone who isn’t able to write, however. Thus far I’ve written 533 words.

Pretty good, I think, considering I’m not able to write. I wonder how many I could write if I was able to write. The thought boggles the mind, but at least I’ve written something I can post. I don’t know if it’s worth anything, and I don’t know if it will help anyone, but it’s better than nothing at all.