Sign Language – Roconia’s Story

I can’t spell my life without his fingers in my story. For years this thought left me trembling, nails embedded in my palms. I was no more than the residual indignity of him beckoning to me, and me conceding like a child.

I was a child. 


The abuse didn’t leave any blaring abrasion such as a bruise or a torn hymen. Instead it left hushed stains. Stains so silent you’d think they were being finger spelled.

G-U-I-L-T  
S-H-A-M-E 
W-O-R-T-H-L-E-S-S-N-E-S-S
H-A-T-R-E-D


Sentiments my three-year-old mind could not comprehend. Sentiments my three-year-old heart could surely feel. Shame upon my shoulders. Guilt soiling my palms. Weighted worthlessness drenching deeper than bone. And a befuddled hatred, reserved only for myself.

During our sessions I never spoke a word. The guilt in me wonders if I ever smiled for him, if I ever relayed any signal that I was enjoying his intrusion. Did I ever once give him a convicting answer to his signature phrase: “Like that? Feel good?” The bitterness in me knows that it doesn’t matter.

Whether I nodded or not, he would inevitably curl his finger, tilt his head, or take my hand, oftentimes leading me to the laundry room. His hand would guide mine as the washing machine trembled, masking his grunts as they both built a shuddering climax.

“Use two hands.” He’d say. His warm fingers were heavy on the back of my tiny neck. I thought I would choke. 

At three years old, the physical representation of a penis had crossed my lips long before its phonetics. 

At five, my body had hosted countless parties during which his hands tore up the dance floor for hours, sans invitation. 

At six, I had my list. A mentally drafted a bill of particulars detailing specific triggers that make me weary to this day: 

The slick, dark, stain of baby-oil soaked brick
Tropical punch Tampico  
The vibration of a grown man’s whisper against my ear
The phrases “Like that?” and “Feel good?” 
The heaviness of Heineken on a person’s breath
Red & green plaid
Shallow breaths pulsing through a goateed mouth
Goatees in general.
Being face to face with a man’s third eye on the brink of eruption.
The sun setting through a basement window.


No one ever saw the signs. I said nothing until seven years later, when I had outgrown putting things in my mouth that didn’t belong. 

You can flip through the archives of my life and see my story. His fingers will undoubtedly be there, all in my chronicles, leaving bountiful wreckage in their wake. 

You’ll find lessons like “little girls don’t say panties” and “you can’t beat a young man with your keys just because you didn’t want his hug.” You’ll find

P-A-I-N,  
T-R-I-A-L, 
L-O-N-E-L-I-N-E-S-S.


You’ll find failed relationships and an insufficient balance in my trust fund for males. I’ll own all of that and more. 

But I am not five years of sexual abuse. I am not fifteen years of silence. The beauty of my story is that he was not the only one to put his hands on me. 

“I always see God’s hand in things,” my aunt said to me today over the phone, unknowingly planting a turning point for this piece. “Whatever happens, it’s the way God wants it to happen.” 

And she’s right. God’s hands guide. He will bring forth the good and allow the bad in order to get you to who you need to be.

I am made of all that has happened to me, a collective conglomerate of each hand that took part in molding me, the good and the bad.

I’m my grandma’s wise words as she tickles the back of my knee. I am her shaking fist as she asks me if I want an ass whooping, deluxe. I am my uncle’s down-low-too-slow five. I am my cousin’s secret handshake. I am my mommy’s back pats. I am my father’s nose pinches. I am my sister’s applause. I am the kindergarten bully’s palms on my back as he pushes me down into the mulch, and I am my own palms pushing myself up again. 

There are hands and fingers in all of our stories. Ones that touch us positively, ones that push us to the edge, ones that guide us to a breakthrough. (I can now hi-five Zane because, I too have found different ways around the word “penis,” a struggle I never knew until I made an attempt to tell my story.)

The hands that surround us leave deep impact, shaping and detailing our stories like clay. Some hands are there to dip a finger into your life and keep it moving. Others carry us in their palms like hand-blown glass. Some hands slap, pinch, and punch. Some hands meddle. Some hands speak to us, signing the way to go.

Recognize that we all, in having hands, have the opportunity—and the responsibility— to shape each other’s lives as diligently as we do our own. 


Recognize both the privilege and the duty. Affect someone else’s story on purpose. Use two hands. This is what sustains us as a people. This is what binds us together like the interlocked fingers of sisterhood.

 

 
 
Roconia is a 23 year old lover of Sundays who takes her time spinning the fabric of life into 24-karat prose gold. She blogs about inspiration, motivation and whatever else floats the boat of the wordy, nerdy & blessed. Tweet her @eversoroco or check out her blog at eversoroco.com.
 
 
 
I woke up last week to this heartbreakingly beautiful piece from Roconia and it truly set the tone for the rest of my day. This story not only made me cry, but I was reminded all over again why I wanted to start this series to begin with. Roconia, I don’t think I can thank you enough for tapping into those moments all over again for other women and for your healing. If someone were to ask me who is a powerful twenty-something I admire, the answer would be you.

 

6 Comments

  1. Jacqueline Diaz 02.04.2015

    I think E said it best this piece was “heartbreakingly beautiful”. There were times I was reading and I had to look away. Your descriptions where so vivid, yet captivating. Your story is a part of all our stories. There are parts we’re too ashamed to even talk about, so we keep it inside.

    Thank you for being brave enough to expose your truths, so that we can one day feel its ok to expose ours.

    Reply
    • Roconia Price 02.05.2015

      Jacqueline,
      Thank you for this comment. No matter how many times I hear it, it always brings a feeling of fresh comfort when someone calls me brave or says that I’ve helped in some way by sharing a part of myself. We do all have truths, from painful to shameful, and if I’ve helped anyone bear/ bare their own, then reliving it is all worthwhile.

      Reply
  2. Bonnisa Gillings 02.08.2015

    So beautifully written – thank you for such a touching story. x
    http://www.kindtococo.com

    Reply
  3. Tamesha Derico 02.10.2015

    Yes, “heartbreakingly beautiful” is a perfect description. I have nothing to add, except Thank You.

    Reply
    • Roconia Price 02.12.2015

      In response to a comment so simple, yet so strong, all I can say is thank you 🙂

      Reply

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