When the Emperor executes Order 66, the Jedi purge forces the surviving Jedi into hiding and deep isolation as they were then falsely labeled as traitors of the Galactic Empire. Obi Wan sent out a message to all Jedi reminding them to not return to the Temple and to trust in the Force.
I have lost count how many days we have been in social isolation. It has not been long, but it feels at times like it has been forever. We sit, waiting for the all clear. We spend our days either binging on films and other programs, playing video games, eating, exercising, and even much more time alone in our thoughts.
I am no stranger to aloneness. I am not a lonely person, yet I have a preference for being alone. My distrust of my fellow species began when I was in private school. My indoctrination into the Cathollic cult was tumultuous and frightening. I was forced to participate in sexual acts with priests who were in their forties and fifties, and reminded that this was my punishment for being bad. God, somehow, figured me out at five years old to be a bad human being. My early educators acted on his behalf to cleanse me of my sins through forced sexual acts. At six years old I felt what it was like to have an old man force himself into my mouth and even into me. I remember the blood, the shame, the guilt, and the many lies I was told to ensure I would never reveal what was happening at Sacred Heart Elementary. I was told God would kill me and my family if I dared reveal what these men did to my young body. And so, purely for survival of my family, I capitulated. And so the after effects of the abuse continued long after I was freed of that hell imposed upon me by Brother Leopold, father Reiner, Father Pascale and others. Yes, their real names – or names at the time I attended that school. I am done with hiding and protecting these bastard men and that school.
This is what has happened for me in this isolation. I am done with fear. I am done with waking up every morning feeling as though I have to justify my worth on this planet as a sub-standard human. The daily reminders of my abuse are present in every day small things. For example, because priests used my mouth as a depository for their sexual urges, I cannot brush my teeth for too long without gagging. It’s a reminder of the past and the inexcusable abuse inflicted upon me at SIX and SEVEN years of age! I cannot stand the smells of over-ripe banana because that reminds me of the smells in the cloak room where I was often grabbed and punished. I hate not being in control because I was not in control as a child. I have worked hard to let go, and it still frightens me, but I am doing what I can to ease the feeling of helplessness.
I have, for many years, felt that I was unworthy of touching and hugging. I am working hard to touch and be touched. This week I almost lost my spouse over this issue. For too long I have deprived those I love with the calming (and at times, sensual) effect of touch. It frightened me to think that my lack of intimacy with someone could result in something as drastic as ending a marriage. And so again I find myself re-learning the boundaries of touch, intimacy and trust.
Seems simple, doesn’t it? To those of you who have not been assaulted, abused, raped, or beaten. Just hug, just touch, just hold, just caress. To feel the warmth of another body next to you without guilt, shame, or the sense of not deserving the love of another, is something I am working so hard towards. So, I am simply done.
Like the Jedi who went into hiding to prevent the Empire from destroying them all, I have hidden away to prevent the Catholic Church from completely crushing my soul. However, the time for hiding is over. I don’t care anymore about what the Catholic zealots or the pedophile priests they protect do or say anymore. It is time for me to completely stand up to them. What the Catholic church has attempted to hide for centuries cannot be hidden any longer.
I renew my pledge to those who cannot speak out. Those who are too scared, too scarred, too afraid to out the priests who abused them; I want them to know I stand for you. I stand for the children who have been wrongly touched, violated, beaten, threatened by people in power positions, whether it be priests, teachers, scout or guide leaders, I stand for the rights of survivors and victims who need to be heard. I am not shutting up.
I will tell myself I deserve to touch and be touched. I will remind myself that my former weakness is my strength. I am a believer in the Force, and I will continue to find the balance between the light and the dark. It is my honour and my duty to lend voice to those who cannot.
While the isolation continues, I am continuing to develop my strengths, and I am shedding the psychological weight placed upon me many years ago when I was too young and too frightened to do anything about it.
I do find it oddly funny, however, that I am only now beginning to come to terms with human touch in a time when the human touch is publicly frowned upon. Timing is everything.
Seriously though, what has unlocked this bit of rambling tonight was the result of stumbling across a film called “Jellyfish”. It’s a British film from 2018 about a high school girl, and it is worth watching. It made me think about the past and my ordeals. I realized after this film it was time for me to unlock my holocron and start working on my Jedi strengths. It is time for me to create my own Temple and to continue to trust in the Force.
Sending those who are in need virtual hugs. I am thankful to find the power of connection and touch (even remotely) at last.