“I remembered nothing before I was 8 years old.”
I had said the words in Broken back in 2015. I had no idea. It never occurred to me. I never caught on how unusual that is. Today, it all makes sense. Today, the pieces are finally together like a puzzling I’ve been assembling all my life without understanding the picture I was building.
23 July 2022, my last piece clicked into place, and I understood it all.
It was my brother who started it. Charles had tortured and killed the animals. Too many times I watched him rip them apart and threw the pieces at me. I stood, helpless at 5 years old. I couldn’t over power him. I couldn’t do anything. I could only cry and beg him to stop.
But during that time and over the next 3 three years, I would come to embrace animal rights. I became so passionate about animal rights, that I refused to kill bugs. I refused to eat meat.
And my family owned the largest gun shop in all of Central New York. Their primary client were hunters. I was vocal. I was outspoken. Then, I was unbroken. I was 8, sitting in the middle of the room. Watching my grandfather sell guns to two men. They took turns boasting the killing. Boasting their hunts. I remember the anger boiling up inside of me and I… didn’t hold back. I saw them as my equal.
I opened my female, eight year old mouth and declared in one voice that I did not agree with their ethics. That animals had rights. I was a vegetarian and it was wrong to hunt and kill and eat animals. The animals had rights to live just like us, and I had a problem with them.
The room went quiet and they all turned toward me. My father, my grandfather, my three uncles and the two clients holding guns.
Instantly, the room exploded.
“You need to keep your mouth shut!”
“You need to learn some respect!”
“If you were my daughter, I’d have you over my knee!” From the gunman.
“You need to keep that girl in line!” from the gunman to my father.
“You should not say that in front of my clients!” from my Grandfather.
And one of the gunman pointed his gun at me.
We left, my father hauling me out of the gunshop as the men continued to scream down at my eight year old self. But it wasn’t over yet.
All the way home, my father screamed.
“You embarrassed me! Don’t ever say that! You need to keep your mouth shut!”
My body shook. I sobbed.
The next morning, I woke remembering none of it. I had forgotten the yelling. I had forgotten the gun pointed at me. I had even forgotten my views on animal rights. I had forgotten that I was a vegetarian.
That week, a nightmare started. A nightmare that I would dream nearly every night of my life, for the rest of my life, until I was 42. A nightmare of a doorless, stainless-steel room with me in the center surrounded by cloaked, faceless men. I would stand among them as their equal, and then they would grow tall and tower over me. Fear would overcome me, and they would shrink just as quickly back to eye level. Tall and short. My equal the towering over me filling me with fear. Then my equal again. And that nightmare playing forever on repeat.
That same week, something else began. Every meal, every time I sat down to eat food, severe nausea would overwhelm my stomach and eating became a thing I dreaded. Anxiety would build as mealtime approached and day after day, I shoveled meat into my mouth. And my subconscious screamed. That was the day that Angel started screaming.
It would take me 34 years to realize that the reason why I remembered nothing before I was 8 years old, was because that day — when those men yelled at me, when I lost all approval, acceptance, and love from every man in my family — I had become someone else. I woke up suppressing the Vegetarian and animal rights activist inside of me. That was the day I became a Multiple.