by Christina Enevoldsen
When I was ten, I wet my pants in school. We were taking a very long test and our instructions were to remain silent at our seats. No talking, no asking questions, no moving around. Since that ruled out raising my hand to ask to go to the bathroom, and I wasn’t even allowed to wiggle in my seat, I only saw one choice.
As a child, I went to great lengths to avoid getting in trouble. Following the rules felt like a life and death matter. I didn’t need any type of punishment; it was punishment enough for anyone in authority to be displeased with me. The worst thing I could imagine was being labeled a bad kid.
That fear followed me all my life and it crept up when I started talking about my childhood sexual abuse. The first time I told my story publicly, I heard a little girl’s voice within me say, “You’re going to get in trouble now.” For a moment, fear gripped me and I was at the mercy of my parents again, subject to their judgment and the abandonment that went with it.