Innocent No More
eyes closed, I can feel the pain of what is happening consume me. As my breath quickens, I hear the sound of my
heartbeat pounding in my ears. I listen
to the sound of the camera snapping photos in the background, knowing that my
family won’t return for hours. How could they leave me with this monster? The
more I fight her, the worse it becomes. I am too weak now to escape this
nightmare; a nightmare I will never forget.
her cold voice telling me this is punishment for being a bad child as I feel my
pants and shirt being ripped away from my shaking body.
“Please stop! I won’t say anything! I’ll be a
good boy, I promise! Please! Please! Please!” I trembled.
the beginning of a childhood terror that haunted me for years. A memory that
burns so deep the wound refuses to heal. It is my earliest memory, but not the
most influential. This was only the beginning, the beginning of something more…
in a small Midwestern city by a Catholic family, I heard about God from the
Bible daily. God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the mystery of the Holy Spirit
was the foundation of each story. That
God, the God I always heard about, seemed unreachable and distant.
an early age I had an overwhelming curiosity about life. I can remember the night that curiosity was
first peaked. One night, my father sat
me down to tell me about the death of his grandmother. Although, I was too young to fully understand
the meaning of death, I could feel fear rising up in my chest. While my father tried to help me understand,
I slowly came to realize that someday, everyone dies. I knew I couldn’t see my great grandmother
anymore and I found no comfort in my father’s efforts to ease my pain through
this transition. During this time I sought out the reasons for my existence on
this earth and how my actions would affect life after death.
curious I became the more my little world grew. I soon looked at people
differently, seeing the hopelessness in their eyes while they pretended to have
the answers I desperately sought. I questioned everything. I questioned
everyone. I even questioned myself.
my family attempted to find me help coping with my terror, the more distant I
became. Starting at an early age, microphones, tape recorders, and video
equipment were forced in front of me demanding that I relive my childhood
trauma. Hour after hour, details were forced from me. Several physiologists
demanded that I explain how it felt having my innocence stolen from me. Only
after I retold the story through the tears, again and again, would they then
study my reactions, while I uncontrollably sobbed.
parents never told my siblings what happened but all my extended family knew. I
could see it in their eyes and through the way they treated me. They were
always so careful with their words and hesitant with their reactions to my
outbursts. I felt fragile. I felt different. I felt alone. I felt lost.
grammar school I developed a split personality. It was as if two people lived
inside of me. While one desperately felt the need to be loved and accepted, the
other rejected everyone and constructed strong emotional walls protecting me
from my unstable environment. While the educators were busy teaching, strange
thoughts consumed me. I would fantasize all day about violent acts of death,
ultimately leading to my own thoughts of suicide.
though I wasn’t very talkative, every teacher quickly came to understand I was
different. I received proctored testing from professionals to assess my
learning capabilities. When they
couldn’t find a problem with me, my parents would then be called in for a
parent-teacher conference. During these
conferences my childhood secret always surfaced, once again reminding me of how
very different I was from the other children.
years my “childhood secret” haunted me and hindered my emotional development,
surviving through a constant state of desperation, guilt and inadequacy.
distinctly remember my first day of middle school. Change was happening as I
felt more grown up and in control of my life. Instead of having just one
teacher for the whole day, now I had four. More was expected from me at school
and with the added responsibilities came more rewards. I greatly enjoyed the
change of environment and quickly embraced this new found opportunity.
summer vacation, I pondered how I could use all these changes to my advantage.
I desperately desired friends and needed to be thought of as normal. After
getting ideas from my favorite television programs I decided that I would
become the class clown.I believed if I could make people laugh then maybe, just
maybe, they would want to be close enough that I could finally be and feel
know where to begin or how to tell my first joke. Having spent the last 12
years sheltering myself from the reality in which they lived, I soon understood
this would not be an easy task. Hour after hour I would listen to comedians on
my tape player writing down every word and putting it to memory. Day and night
I would gaze into my bedroom mirror scripting my jokes and alternative
scenarios, preparing and waiting for my moment.
year of ‘intense’ preparation and meditation, I knew it was time. I started
with my first joke in the science lab.
It was the first time my classmates heard me speak more than a couple
words, so naturally all eyes were on me. I felt an instant state of euphoria,
followed closely by an overwhelming sense of purpose. The whole day people
looked at me differently, and for once, they met my eyes and gave me attention.
Though inside I wanted to cry out with a sense of relief, deep down I knew it
wasn’t going to last.
next two years I would be the school comedian. Not a comedian people respected,
but a comedian who makes jokes at his own expense as self-preservation.
However, I was still under the supervision of several psychologists who weekly
would hand me medications, many of which were still considered experimental.
Although the doctors made promise after promise, the medications did nothing
but cause detrimental side effects including extreme weigh gain, drowsiness,
outbursts, and black outs. These side effects not only altered my life by
preventing me from functioning in school, but they also hurt anyone unfortunate
enough to cross my path.
a lot of weight from one such medication that promised to take away my pain.
This poison imprisoned me in a constant state of drowsiness and insatiable
hunger. Eating and sleeping soon became my daily life. I could do none of the
physical activities I once enjoyed. By the time the doctors changed my
medication it was too late. I was already obese and more depressed than before.
my father would attempt to alleviate my feelings of depression. He would
encourage me to ride my bicycle, roller blade, travel with him on business, or
anything he could think of to encourage me to leave the computer or sofa
behind. Unfortunately, when my father would ask, my response was never what he
uncontrollable would take over me, something like rage, a demonic rage. I could
see and understand my every action, but I had no remorse. No remorse and little
self-control. Like an insignificant spark near fuel I would explode. Several times I would lunge at my father,
trying to kill him: reaching for guns that were securely locked away, thrusting
knives at him, or finding anything I could to hurt this man.
him and I knew that I did, but at these moments the ones I loved suffered the most.
My eyes would roll back in my skull and the blackouts would begin. After the
violent outbursts, I would wake up covered in tears and sweat only to face the
destruction I created all around me. The house would be destroyed as would the
relationships I had with my loved ones.
outside I tried to appear strong, happy, and normal but on the inside I
couldn’t have been more lost. I hated myself. I hated my life. I hated my
existence. I felt completely and utterly emotionally and spiritually dead.
“The godless in heart harbor
resentment; even when he fetters them, they do not cry for help.”
- Job 36:13