This is, essentially, a want ad for a job that doesn’t pay… at least not immediately. It is, perhaps, not so much a job as it is an investment of time and skill in a project that, if done as well as I think it needs to be done, could yield both recognition and compensation beyond what I could ever provide.
I have a story — it’s a real-life story — and I’ve alluded to aspects of it, here and there, in my writings on Medium. It is a story that I cannot seem to find the correct adjectives to describe, a story that, when told, sounds more like something that someone would make up if they wanted to create a really disturbing piece… and I think that may well be the best word to use to describe it, “disturbing.” That’s precisely the reason why I think this story needs to be told… because it is disturbing, deeply disturbing.
Right now, the world is going crazy around us and many things are coming to light… people seem surprised and horrified by learning that sexual trafficking is a lot more commonplace than they’d thought, that it happens right here in the United States… and it’s been happening here for a long, long time.
The world I grew up in, post World War II, showed two different faces to the world. I still clearly recall the afternoon, home sick from school, when I saw the horror show that was the McCarthy hearings and I recognized it for what it was: truthful men put on trial by other men whose “truths” were being endangered. Who got to see that? It was on in the middle of the day. Similarities to the Salem Witch trials I’d read about were not lost on me. Nor was the fact that the supposed “good guys” in this scenario had a look and an attitude about them that seemed a whole hell of a lot like the bad guys that my sister and I were being marketed to at night.
Then there were television shows like Ozzie and Harriet and other comedic versions of what life was supposed to be like, the life that we were being subtly ‘told’ was being lived by “everyone,” tidy homemakers with faithful husbands and rascally kids. We were presented with a world that consisted almost entirely of middle-class white folk…. Just the way it should be, y’know? There were a few cowboy shows in which the bad guys — and the Native Americans — always lost and dark-skinned folk were difficult to spot anywhere. The dynamic on TV has shifted some since then but reality hasn’t.
There is a shadow world, run largely by white men with money, and there is a front that is put up to distract us from what goes on behind closed doors.
“Look, over there!”
Why does the trick work so well? It would seem that it works so well because we allow it to, because most people are more comfortable not knowing, and I am sick and tired of this bullshit. I am literally and physically growing old, having survived a childhood that was a living hell, behind the screens, where you’re not supposed to look. I also survived an adulthood fraught with problems of my own making, problems that developed from carrying inside me secrets from my childhood, secrets that I could not afford to let myself know about.
Today, as I write this, my sister, my sister who was marketed with me, died in a hospital thousands of miles away from me, clinging to life with the same kind of ferocity that she showed as a child, a ferocity I never had, a ferocity that caused her to receive even worse treatment we were already receiving and left me with the job of trying to make things seem normal for her in a world that outright lied to us.
I have a story; it’s a story of growing up broken, of trying to survive while carrying a burden no child, no human being should have to carry. If you’ve ever tried to walk while toting a weight that was both awkwardly configured and far too much for you to be carrying, a burden so large that you might not even be able to see where you’re going, then you have some idea of what life might be like for someone carrying secrets with that kind of immensity.
My sister and I had two entirely different approaches to what happened to us as children and we became two very different kinds of people as adults but the bond that we had formed as children, suffering together a fate that no child should have to endure, kept our hearts together even when we were far apart.
I can’t write this story. I cannot bear what it would take to edit and re-edit, write and rewrite, as has to happen with any decently constructed piece of writing. I don’t mind talking about any of it… it comes out of my mouth and disappears into the ethers; I’ve said it and it’s done. But writing isn’t like talking… you know that. A story needs to be carefully crafted, delicately detailed, excruciatingly edited… and I cannot bear to put myself through that. The healing that I have done has been difficult and challenging enough to last me the rest of my life. I don’t want to detail my life story any more than I have to… because the wounds don’t go away; they just heal… and they leave scars behind.
But this is a story that needs to be told. Sure, Americans read about stories like this in the news, watch them on television, listen to them on the radio, but all they get are headlines and highlights; they cannot even imagine the overwhelming terror, the lack of trust, the disastrous results on the psyche that being sexually trafficked as a child brings… and it happens way more often than people realize. It always has.
I am looking for a writer to tell this story. I am willing to commit to answer any and all questions in as much detail as is required or wanted… but I will not write it down; I cannot bear to. I am so done.
I’ve never heard of anything like this being done, though I’m sure it must have been. It seems to me that some sort of contract would be in order. Once the book is written, I’d want nothing more and I’d be OK, I think, with acknowledging on a video clip that, yes, this is a true story. I want no money from this… I just want that damn story out there, bothering people, because people need to be bothered. They are not nearly bothered enough.
If you are interested in this task, if you have the heart for it, and the skill and the staying power that it takes to produce a book, please contact me at: PO Box 577, Paw Paw, WV 25434 and ideally, either provide me with some links to or samples of your writing as well as where your desire to do such a thing comes from… I think I’ve made the impetus that drives me clear.
Thank you for reading.