In Which I Fight to Let Go of the Unpredictable Future

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There’s this painting by Goya that has haunted me ever since I first saw it. It’s called “Saturn Devouring His Son”.

It is, from my perspective, the perfect depiction of an active pedophile. ACTIVE being the key word here. If you are a pedophile who has never actually hurt a child, I genuinely appreciate you. Thoughts are not actions. If they were, I would be in jail for homocide.


The reason I see this painting the way I do is because, after spending so much time with them, I have come to believe that active pedophiles worship children. In a nihilist-perspective sort of way, at least. It terrifies me when I look it in the eye. Children cannot carry that burden for anyone. How could an adult not see that?

What terrifies me more about this, though more in a flashback-related way [yes, that is a warning], is this: a LOT of people like to eat their gods.

What do I mean by that? Well, one of the things that I tend to worship, personally, is the very concept of storytelling. And when I was younger, I used to chew on the inside part of pens and eat the ink when I was under extreme stress. 

I know it sounds bizarre, but I saw it sort of as eating the blood of stories. Like asking stories for strength when I was at the edges of my wit’s end. “Please speak to me. Please help us all. I don’t know if you can talk, but I am utterly alone, so I must try. ‘Once you’ve eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.’ I refuse to give up on hope, and only this remains. We are killing ourselves everywhere I look. I will choose to look like a fool in the hope that this saves anyone at all.”

It doesn’t have to be this literal though. I see systems developing fictives as eating their gods. Hell, even people who draw or write spicy fanart. People who are in mutual love. People who worship nature.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with these things. It is normal.

But some people who eat their gods also destroy them. “What use can I get out of this? How can I turn this from a symbiotic relationship into a parasitic one, so all the benefit goes to me?” Harnessing a god to a machine and draining them. 

Colonization followed by cultural appropriation. Destroying natural resources. Starting a war to distract the people you rule from your failings. Active pedophilia.

I’ve talked a few times about how one of my main abusers was a victim in a very similar boat to me. Actually, I would argue that she had it much worse in many ways.

I am going to be talking about her a lot in this post. So I am going to call her “X”.

The first memory of X that I currently have, I opened up a closet in the basement of the Creepy Evangelical Sunday School building and found her and another person sa-ing the person that I am now married to.

I was five, and everybody else in this picture was even younger And the two abusers were laughing. Just like any other child might laugh while playing their favorite game.

Stuff like this is why I am so fucked up in the head, folks. 

I learned very quickly that X and her compatriot were the tyrant-rulers of that basement. Much like Wendy from Rule of Rose. Their games ruled the space when we first arrived, and their games were terrifying and abusive. The games emulated our abusers, but with a child’s curiosity.

From my perspective, they had learned from the adults around them that “eat or be eaten” was the philosophy of life.

And I believe they decided that they would rather be alone than be eaten.

And after that there was no way for me to communicate with either of them.

So when my games overruled theirs by popular vote of the other kids, they thought I was a threat.

Because love itself was the enemy. Because of the selfish, destructive story the adults told. And I love imperfectly and could not prove there was hope. 

I…god, I can’t necessarily pretend to know what I’m talking about. I am so sorry to both of these victims that I can’t showcase them with accuracy. I have to speak the truth of my story, and I can’t make them fully good or fully evil. I have to make them human. I am working with scraps of photographs distorted by fear. I am doing my best, am I making a mess?

And this brings me, disjointedly, to the next point of my story.

I am afraid of telling my story. I have to help give people hope by calling out that I am alive. Is anybody else out there? A field of lighthouses…. 

But there are so many things that I don’t know. And I am afraid.

I am afraid of hurting people like others did who have who came before.

And so we come to Dostoevsky. A god that I cannot yet kill for my own sake.

Sonya from Crime and Punishment. Alyosha’s mom. Nastasya Filipovna from The Idiot. The girl from the chapter of Demons that Dostoevsky’s publishers cut from the book. 

He saw me. He was writing about people like me. He gave us a voice and, while that voice is mixed with mysogyny, nationalism, and a colonizer’s perspective, it was still hope to me.

The fact that I had to get this hope from under all these layers of problematic perspective says a LOT about what society has been willing – for centuries – to make the vulnerable endure.

But isn’t the main theme – the MAIN theme – of The Brothers Karamazov about the same thing? About csa?

That’s how I see it. I don’t know if I’m right or still just a kid grasping for hope, but I see it. Scapegoat and golden child and love and being utterly alone.

Is this choosing to help your fellow victims, knowing that you are imperfect?

Was Dostoevsky writing about csa because he had experienced it? Was he worshipping the women who experienced it because he saw their faith as “Christian devotion” rather than the last, dying threads of a scream for help? Did he love people who went through it and was this the best he could do for his time?

I don’t know.

All I know is that he was able to help me. And his perspective is one of the few that made me feel seen, humanized, and understood. Not used. 

I won’t try to silence anyone who hates what his work symbolizes, but I still find hope in those pages. Even though colonization creates the very thing I went through and wish to destroy. Even though his conclusions for characters like Sonya are extremely mysogynistic. “Now you are tasked with saving the soul of a murderer. And I know you will do it, because you are wounded, and you understand why wounded people kill their gods.”

Was this a purposeful frame for the purpose of getting published? Rather than what he believed women should do?

I will likely never know.

And if Sonya’s story is not the open soul of mysogyny in all its glory, I don’t know what is. I don’t know if you’ve ever read the book Wendy, Darling, but it goes into far more detail on this, and I highly recommend it.

But the point of all of this is that I worry and I wonder. Does forgiving people like X put me in the same boat as Dostoevsky? Does refusing to forgive them do the same? Am I so hell-bent on showcasing an abuser’s perspective with empathy that I am walking all over the people who were abused? Including the people who hurt me? Or am I doing the right thing?

Why do all of these novels focus more on the heart of the wounder than the wounded? I want to help stop that cycle. If I don’t show empathy to my fellow victims in my own work, will I destroy hope for some individual? I can say that I don’t believe X is evil, just human, but if I say what she did will she ever see that? Who is being hurt now, when it feels like nothing is being done?

I don’t know.

I don’t know.

So many people I had to leave behind on the road to healing. It feels like death. It feels like killing children with every step I take towards the truth.

I can’t bring any of you with me.

I am not as powerful as Christianity led me to believe.

I am not responsible for your fate, and you do not want me to be. I can only tell you how I saw you. I will not presume to know what you want and run after a Schrodinger’s prophecy. I believe that your stories will be told in your own voice one day, and I will no longer presume to drag a – likely very terrified – person with me toward a goal they never asked for. Q84 asked to die. I need to let her die. I need to shatter the TV and let go of my illusions.

Your story is your soul. Even if your soul terrifies me, it is not my place to try to guide you.

I have malice in me too, though I wish to reject it utterly. And that wish to reject my own malice is my main flaw. Anybody with PTSD cannot help but be attacked by shame. We all carry this seed of grief.

We are the same, though we chose different roads.

So I wave goodbye to you on your road, as I will never understand, and close the door on your rotting face.

May the same be done to my stories when they have outlived their use.

May we all rest in peace.

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