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Biography Barbara Rogers
Foreword: A Hero Child
Chapter 1
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no needs allowed

needs were wrong—forbidden early on
the baby’s hunger—controlled by the clock
allowed only every four hours—and not at night

to hold or feed a crying child at night or outside of schedule
was considered spoiling the child and raising a willful monster

the innocent baby’s screams were ignored
with inconceivable inhumanity
as the whims of a spoiled brat that had to be tamed

potty trained—through physical violence—by the age of one
the baby learned to deliver those unspeakable things
in the right place at the desired time
the child sat for endless times on a potty
tied to the bars of the playpen

thirst was declared bad for children
I could not ask for something to drink
something to drink was only granted at certain meals
and it was not enough

to want food between meals was also a crime
secret excursions into the pantry brought severe punishment
if they were discovered

my expressions of love were unwanted—my mother dismissed
the need for tenderness and closeness as “monkey love”

not allowed to leave my parents’ world
ballet lessons labeled as—too affected and effeminate
my need for friendship—cut off until I was ten years old

then I could spend time with other children
but could not join the girl scouts because
others always want something from us

my body’s need to develop freely and independently was blocked
the child had to endure frightening, humiliating enemas
and icy showers
the teenager was gynecologically examined
then my mother and the pediatrician decided
something was wrong with me—so I had to rinse my vagina
with purple water—sitting in a plastic bowl—to start
my menstruation that was—“too slow” and “too late” to show up

my need to love my body—exorcised
my mother lifted my blanket when I was a teenager to check
that my hands did not touch that disgusting, dirty part of my body

my need and right for my sexual awakening—turned
into a nightmare of guilt and shame
my need for love—perverted to incest

feelings, thoughts, questions coming from a child
were regarded as stupid and worthless
the need to express them—banned

my own voice—silenced
eradicated by intolerance and dictatorial censorship
my need for self-expression—extinguished
by derision and condescension

my need for honesty, openness and truth—crashed
into walls of lies and silence—was deeply betrayed
and became twisted into telling others what they wanted to hear

my deep need for integrity became stunted
as I was turned into an obedient follower—a smiling pretender
—a polite “yes-man”—who did not dare
to think freely or speak her mind truthfully
my need for recognition and respect—perverted
into the coercion of having to shine
having to impress others with unimportant things
while love, creativity and the blossoming of my true Self
were contemptuously rejected

my need for justice—suppressed by a system
where the law was on my parents’ side—and always against me
I had no witness—no advocate on my side

my need to feel safe—perverted into letting others hurt me
resigned itself to accepting cruelty as—my problem
as the result of—my evilness—my guilt

my need for mercy and compassion—extinguished
under burdens of blame and punishment
while my parents demanded—and were granted—
unconditional forgiveness and understanding

the child—who wandered in a maze without exit—
wanted to know—what did you do in the war, father?
but the need to ask questions was silenced too

my need for truth—portrayed as childish and presumptuous
my need to experience and speak my truth—numbed
by judgments, punishments and beatings—later by tranquilizers
_____________

needs—fought and battled from the very beginning
became unrecognizable demons that lurked in the dark
filling my body with shame and fear when they tried to surface

for you whose needs were not honored
I give you my screams from childhood

© Barbara Rogers

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Screams from Childhood