We were victims of childhood abuse in our differing ways and here we'll share something of what happened to us.

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Daniel's Story

I have to say my childhood was pretty normal to start with. I had my friends, we did stupid childish stuff, biked around and made noise, there was school and everything else. At some point I came to be friends with a boy in my school, he was one year older than me. He definitely made my life more exciting. With him around all those childish games suddenly turned more serious, more violent. More thrilling and crazy. He knew some people who knew people who knew... like that. Soon I found myself loosely associated with a bunch of older teens, some twice my age or even more. They had a garage in a nearby industrial estate, tweaking cars, burning rubber at night, enjoying crazy adult fun. Having a glimpse of their lives was really exciting, I admit that. It was something I had never seen in my life before. Some of the guys there were really cool and kind and allowed us two kids to help out, bring them tools and stuff, some accepted us hanging around - not more.

We're at the summer I turned fourteen. Somehow we learned they were throwing a party one weekend. My friend really wanted to go but I was reluctant but somehow he talked me over in going and promised we would stick together. So I agreed and we went, of course without telling anything about it at home. I made up some lie my parents bought.

It was amazing! I had seriously never seen anything like this ever in my life. This was my first touch of adult partying. Loud music. Booze. Homemade liquor. Screams and loud laughers. Couples publicly making out. We were cruising around the place, probably with eyes like saucers. At some point me and my friend got separated and I was starting to feel increasingly uncomfortable with the situation and decided to leave. Before I made it to the door two guys grabbed me and brought me to a nearby room to teach me a lesson. So they said. Quite brutally I got forced to give them a blowjob. My crying, my begging to be let go was laughed away. It was absolutely horrible, I seriously believed they were about to kill me, and when I finally was told to leave and never come back I took my chance and left running.

That is still in my nightmares. How I hid in the woods behind my house. How I threw up. How much I cried. How I peed in my pants when I accidentally saw those guys across the street a few weeks later, that's all still so vivid in my mind. I couldn't tell anyone about this, it was simply unspeakable. The shame, the absolute humiliation I had been put through. Unspeakable. So it became my secret, my ghost, my nemesis.

In this state of absolute confusion and despair I met someone I thought cared about me. He was working as an assistant in my school. I actually still see him like a bear; Sometimes huge and frightening, never scared to go between and stop ongoing fights. Sometimes I just wanted to hug him and trust him with my life.

And I guess I did. I had previously signed up for his darkroom photo technique course after school, and he taught me a lot about the magic of illumination, developing and processing. Then one day he asked me if I wanted to go sailing with him for the weekend. Of course I was delighted, finally a way out from this enclosed hell of mine. Seeing my excitement my parents agreed, and off we went. It soon became clear his caring and sailing lessons came with a price. At night I became his way of pleasure. It never was anything brutal or cruel, I have to empathize that, and I wouldn't be surprised if he believed I liked it... but of course I never did. I was in shock, scared and disgusted into my spine, didn't know what to say or so. So I said nothing. Did nothing. You know, if you only shut down and sort of escape into space, the price that had to be paid for his care almost became sufferable. Almost.

This went on for almost a year. We went on sailing trips as long the weather allowed us to and during the winter we did a few other trips. I recall going to a photographic trade fair in Copenhagen and we did a weekend cruise to Finland. A price to pay? Of course.

How can I describe what I felt when I one day woke up and realized I had been nothing but a toy? All words, all time spent together, it had all been a game. Had everything been nothing but fake? A board of chess with the pieces carefully moved around only serving as a shortcut to the inevitable playing part? How can I possibly put words to what I felt when the world was snatched away under my feet and the unstoppable falling commenced? I was absolutely heartbroken and guttered. Nothing meant anything to me any longer. Nothing. Not myself, nor anyone else.

School results went skydiving, bad company came my way. Alcohol and weed became the solution to try numb off the pain. How to finance it? I sold the only asset known to me; myself. It was really really disturbing, and even to this day I prefer try push those memories aside. Luckily this didn't go on for so long.

My parents saw something was seriously wrong, confronted me, of course I denied everything and anything. Later they had me referred to a psychologist at the youth crisis centre. That guy was absolutely crap, didn't understand at all. Or maybe it was me. I refused to cooperate and closed those doors to the exit. Eventually we moved across the nation to get away, that had the family to split up, it must have been a huge sacrifice for my parents. Maybe shifting places helped some, but the main issue was brought wherever we went; Me. If I sometimes acted like I was doing better it was only because I had become better in hiding. Better in pretending. In denying.

The inevitable eventually happened and the feelings involved in this can't be described in words because I don't know any words dark and powerful enough. The light in the end of the tunnel is the darkness. Somehow, in some twisted way, the darkness becomes the light. That's my best effort, I can't describe it better.

I came home early from school one day, I was 17. My mother had some health issues and had some powerful pills at home. Hidden, but of course I knew where to find them. I took them all. Wrote a confusing note meant to explain things. It probably didn't make any sense at all. At that state of mind, nothing does. And I waited in my bed for the big sleep to come take me away. The cover of my bed was green and soft, like I was lying on the grass one beautiful day, watching the clouds. The last things I remember is me going tired, yes. But also an overwhelming nausea. And the sweet taste of chocolate in my mouth. I can't explain the chocolate but I swear I sensed it.

Then I woke up at the hospital. I've been told my mother found me lying in my own puke on the bathroom floor, half unconscious. At first at the hospital I was absolutely confused. Then, after watching all upset people around me, I was ashamed about putting everyone I loved through this shit of mine. It was my mess. My nightmares. My issues. Not theirs.

From there my life took off. Given the proper guidance and finally brought into self-acceptance about myself and the need for help, things improved. I prefer see it like I was reborn. The life I live nowadays, thirty years later, started there. The old life ended.

You know I sometimes have tears running down my cheeks but I don't mind. It makes me remember, makes me feel I'm alive and it makes me realize there is so much to live for.

If you'd like to get to know Daniel better please visit his blog Up and AboutUp and About