*Author's note: I wrote this piece about five years ago. I don't remember why I wrote it. I do remember hoping it would be published somewhere by someone other than me. I do remember hoping it would be understood as valuable by someone other than me. I do remember hoping it would be published by a journal that compensates their contributors. I have submitted it several times to paying publications and have received several rejections. However, I don't believe that means it wasn't understood as valuable (though that is perfectly possible and alright with me). I believe it most likely means it was understood as not for them. That's one of the great gifts submitting work can offer. Understanding the various reasons for, and possibilities of, rejection.
This piece has been rejected several times by paying publications, but it has been accepted and adored often by me. My sons and husband have also felt the value of its message, though they have not read it. And perhaps it will be understood as valuable by you, dear reader. I would be honored if that were the case. I would be grateful if that were the case. Goodness knows that cannot be the case if I keep it tucked away hidden in a file on my computer.
Whether or not you find this piece valuable or interesting, I hope you understand it as true and meaningful. Because though it carries with it several rejections, it absolutely is.
The Men Who Found Me
I was always there but deeply lost.
When the much older than me dark skinned mechanic, different from me in so many ways, looked adoringly at my colorful sons, helped my autistic brothers fix their cars, and held my milky white hand in his strong callused one, I knew I'd been finally found.
Admittedly, he wasn't the first man to bring me closer to the surface. He stood in line behind a short list of important others. And they themselves had been in the position to search out the pieces of me, hidden and strewn haphazardly deep inside my container of a body, because of a long-ago man who broke me and left me hidden.
When I was twelve my step-dad molested and disoriented me.
He who we loved so much; he who'd stepped up and taken beautiful care of my beautiful mother, given us a home and the gift of adopted siblings, given us stability and a feeling of being powerfully protected--he had done what we knew he would never do.
I was left lost. A jungle of lies and confusion and guilt and fear buried me deep.