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JAGGED #2 – The Mind I live in.

Please look at JAGGED #1 before reading on – it will give you some context, and it contains the obligatory Trigger Warnings regarding childhood sexual abuse, violence, and rape.

JAGGED

by Keith Edwin Thomas Davis

Chapter 1: Don’t call me a bloody Survivor!

How do you start a book? I don’t have some sort of James Patterson co-writer sitting beside me. Well maybe I should start with a welcome. Welcome to you, and welcome to me, to JAGGED. I have no idea what kind of journey it will take all of us on. Wise sages say that any journey begins with a first small step, I’ve always thought that wise saying was a load of rubbish. Little did I realise, as I took my first small step across the entranceway to St. Vincent’s Catholic Orphanage in 1957, that a primed rocket of violence and abuse was about to explode under my five year old arse and blow who I once was to absolute fucking smithereens.

I think that is a very polite and understated opening paragraph.

I am feeling something here. A very, very, deep feeling of something. I have waited sixty-three years to feel it. I’m going to forgive myself if the first few Chapters of JAGGED go ballistic. How could they not?

When the maelstrom settles I will go on to talk about the Catholic Church, the legal profession, the media, society, and how all of those entities treat people who are desperately trying to recover from their childhood sexual abuse experiences. With few exceptions, and they do exist, my opinions of the majority of those entities is beyond scathing.

This book is giving me the first chance I’ve ever had in my life to trial life without the use of a mask. I’ve worn plenty of those mask things. Surfie, hippie, kombi owner, family man, safe male partner, intelligent wise dude, helpful in a crisis type soul, great to have as a friend, writer, newspaper publisher, social justice hero, legend in my own lunchbox. I’d have won first prize at the Venice Mask Festival. Maintaining those facades, maintaining all of that bullshit pretense, has been beyond wearying. I am not the mask. I am me.

This book is giving me a chance at something else as well. In the past I have written a few articles about the legacies of childhood sexual abuse, and I notice that I always reach for inclusivity. I always say how I, and others like me, are affected by this or that. Others like me, as a term, appears quite often. I say that I am not unique and that there are many others like me.

With all of that I wanted the safety of the crowd. I did not want to be seen in stand alone mode. I wanted agreeance and mutual support. Above all I just wanted to be safe. While there is nothing much wrong with any of that I do realise that it does partially come out of some seminal fear guilt-trip of the wrongness of making anything just about myself. Oh no – shine the spotlight over that other way please. I’ve always been afraid of saying, that exclusive of everybody else’s experiences or stories, this is my story.

I am well aware that one instance of terrible trauma can genuinely go on to affect the whole of the rest of a person’s life. But I did not experience only one instance of terrible trauma, so I am not outfitted to write with any assurity about how such a singular thing would feel – only a person who has experienced that can write about that. Trauma is trauma is trauma is trauma. You cannot compare one person’s trauma to another person’s trauma. I experienced multiple instances of trauma over a seven year period when I was a child (when I was a child – when did I get the chance to just simply be a child?) so I am only outfitted to write about the legacies of trauma experienced over an extended period.

That last paragraph has the smell of inclusivity guilt. I don’t want anyone who has experienced one instance of terrible trauma, that has gone on to tear apart the rest of their life, to feel that their trauma and my trauma have different weightings, because they don’t. The paragraph also shows that relating one’s own truths, without overlaying them with other people’s truths, requires a bit of mindfulness.

So this is my story. The story of Keith Edwin Thomas Davis. It stands alone. It is not linked to anybody else’s story or list of experiences. And here is something I think …

“I did not survive childhood sexual abuse, I did not survive seven years of multiple instances of physical assault, of mental cruelty, of rape – I did not survive any of it at all – I simply learnt to continue to breathe.”

Well, that certainly runs against the prevailing fucking zeitgeist of how society expects me to present myself as one of those mythical Survivors.

I am not expected to fight back against the catholic church. I am expected to be a dutiful and quiet damaged vegemite who will gratefully receive whatever, and how little of it, is thrown my way. The acceptance of the thrown bone of silence (otherwise known as a gag order) is not good enough. They deserve to be fought and I am going to fight them. I am going to expose them to the best of my ability.

Society loves tales of survivors beating adversity and winning through to some personal sort of salvation and moving on to live rich and rewarding lives. That tale is not my reality – my reality is a far more different bastard of a beast. People don’t quite realise, or don’t even remotely want to know, that the only reason that I can even sort of be called a survivor is simply because I haven’t yet managed to kill myself. I haven’t yet forgotten how to just breathe. I can’t blame people for not knowing that about me because I have never told anybody that about me.

Notice that I haven’t yet touched on what happened in that Orphanage? Well what happened, the facts of it all, will be just words for you but for me the recounting will be shitfully immersive so I will have to build up to it. Right now I just want to explode the Survivor Myth.

The media presents survivors of childhood sexual abuse in all sorts of ways. Sometimes as victims of crimes of a truly heinous nature, deserving of much sympathy. Sometimes as mere footnotes to the trials of once celebrated and finally caught out clergy. Sometimes as venal litigants. Personally I could not care less about how I am seen, how I am seen does not change who I am. How I am seen does not change one word I have already written, or any word that I am about to write. Having said that, I also live with the contradiction of being very fearful of how I am seen.

As somebody tagged by others as a survivor I am rarely asked about how I feel about what was done to me, or how the legacies that I carry have affected my life and the lives of those around me.

So here is a naked truth from my own existence. When you are raped and beaten as a child, assaulted over and over again in a religious institution, you never get over it. Nobody likes to hear the truth of that. The legacy of it all is seared into my being. Immovable. Untouchable. Deeper than deep can be. Even a nuclear explosion in the pit of my guts has zero chance of letting in any sort of light. But nobody likes to hear the truth of it. I don’t blame them.

As assessed by others my abuse experiences sit at the extreme end of the spectrum and the positive exhortations from well meaning others to buck up has about as much power as a random puff of hot air swirling in the dead centre of a vast desert. I’ve been told to transcend. Move on. Slide my arse down the positive side of the rainbow. Stand straight. Visualise happy-drippy stuff. Allow myself to be heard (but gosh please do it in a respectful ungraphic way and please don’t swear) forge ahead, embrace the light, try this newest therapeutic technique – oh for fuck’s sake it is so hard to tell the well-meaning to back off and bite into a reality sandwich for a change without running the risk of hurting their feelings.

Sometimes you know, you never get over it. Sometimes things are lost permanently, they cannot be re-found, they cannot be stuck back in. That is how it is. That is the truth of it. That is my truth and it is flayed out on my being like a never-bloody-ending Fibonacci Spiral.

Ah – but many people tell me that an understanding of my own truth will set me free. The truth will set you free. Really? That’s like saying that work will set me free. Arbeit Macht Frie. Best to avoid being shoved under banners such as that.

The knowledge that I am permanently damaged has set me free from fucking nothing. When you as a society look at me, don’t tell me that I am a Survivor, see me as somebody who endured some terrible things that cannot be gotten over. That is a more truthful view of things.

So scrap the word Survivor. It might have relevance in the world of reality TV where people treat each other badly on some island somewhere in order to win a lot of money – but in the stark world of childhood sexual abuse the word Survivor is not only irrelevant and disconnected from reality – it is quite damaging because it continues to allow society to brush away terrible things under a simplified mantra-like banner.

Chapter 1 has to end somewhere. By now you may have well realised, as I certainly have, that JAGGED is not going to follow some book writing sort of formula. Nothing is going to be presented in chronological order and there is no final crescendo to build up to. Each page is a crescendo in and of itself. My mind exists in a closed key-locked portion of the wider world of childhood sexual abuse and this book, this thing that you are reading and that I am writing, is my voice splitting out from constraint.

According to the professional experts my psyche remained intact and was not rendered asunder by my early experiences, and I am thankful for that granted mercy. My mind, and how it works or does not work, and how it comes at me from all directions at once, is another matter entirely.

Chapter 2: Your brain. My brain.

Why does your brain allow you to achieve things? Why does your brain allow you to feel happiness and contentment? Why does my brain not allow such things? What is achievement? What is happiness and contentment? What do such things feel like?

Chapter 3: A small overview of St. Vincent’s Catholic Orphanage – the easy stuff.

Well, I’m not about to praise it am I. Not by a long shot. I was under the control and the power of the adults there between late 1957 and early 1965. Seven full years. The feel of a fist smashing into my ear is not a good one. Being stuck in a cupboard did not light my fire either.

But I was something else before St. Vincent’s worked it’s own deadly sort of magic on me. I was born in 1952 in Sydney. Other people seem to remember many things about their early lives but I don’t. Between zero and almost five years old all I remember is wearing a ludicrous set of star-spangled pilchards to kindergarten, catching a bus into the city with my siblings to see a movie, and being on a train that I now know was heading north towards Brisbane. That’s it, there is nothing more, apart from a generalised feeling that I was loved and cared for. We are all very lucky that I am not trying to write a book about the first five years of my life – at best it would be rather brief.

But this book. Yeah, there is a bit more material to fill it out.

In another Chapter I will talk about my parents and what I have learned about how things came to be, and I will also talk about my siblings and why, for me, nothing ever came to be with them.

But right now I would like you to zing the following organisational names into your memory, they are certainly zinged into mine. The Order of the Sisters of Mercy. The Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane. Fate presented me to them and they owned me. I am not being dramatic when I say that if I could catch up with a certain few individuals from those institutions, a certain number of priests and nuns, I would kill them. You might think that is a terrible thing to say, but I know that it is quite a safe thing to say, because they are long dead. But if they fronted up before me right now I would kill them without a passing qualm.

The Orphanage fed me shit food, and because I was so under-nourished they stuck me on a skinny-kids’ bench and made me double up on the shit food. I never put on much weight. Being placed on that bench marked me out as belonging to that tribe of ‘others’ – it attracted derision from the other kids (well, they had to take their own pain out on someone) and it labelled me as a benchee fuck-up. It was all so very hard to take.

The Orphanage also educated me. They taught me how to spell and read and write. They also taught me what violence is, what rape is, what mental cruelty is, what absolute and unfettered power and control over a human spirit is, and what the love of god is not. Quite an education all in all. I very much doubt that they would have won school of the year.

There is something about all of this that I would like all of you to understand. Back then, back in the 1950s, if you were a lost kid bunged into institutionalised religious/state care you had no agency – you had nobody in your corner – the society surrounding you was constipated with conservatism and hypocrisy and did not even remotely want to deal with an issue such as child abuse – indeed priests and nuns were seen as beautiful beings worthy of veneration – so as you, as that kid, crumpled under the abusive horror you did it absolutely alone. I did it absolutely alone. I defy anyone who says that they would have come out of such an experience without any sort of permanent damage. Many who went through it have killed themselves, and I’m still surprised that I haven’t.

What has never changed for me is that sense of aloneness. Yes I have been married, yes I have had children, yes after the failure of my marriage I had other long-term relationships with women, yes I have worked, yes I have had some friendships, but no – I have never lost that sense of aloneness.

You know, in my introduction to JAGGED I mentioned that this is a seen-from-within Case Study compiled over sixty-three years, and that I hoped that professional therapists like psychiatrists and psychologists, and other mental health workers, would spare the time to discuss and study it. As we progress along I hold fast to that hope. I am taking myself somewhere that I have never been before – I cannot tell you where or what that is – all I know is that the door is open and I’m going through it.

Chapter 4: The mind I live in.

This Chapter, firstly, is for all the mental health professionals out there and then, secondly, for anybody else who wants to understand what some of the affects of childhood sexual abuse can be on the mind of a human being.

This is a very long Chapter. If some of what you are about to read becomes a bit of a wild ride for you, please understand that it is the daily reality that I live in.

There is a bit of history to this Chapter. It comes out of the earlier version of JAGGED, completed in January 2020. I posted it up on AIMN as an article and then soon, riddled with fear, I took it back down. Fear is a powerful and constant thing.

This Chapter is about the permanent state of mind of the person who is writing this book. I’ll try to describe my state of mind to you, but that will only get us so far, because it is a shitful-for-me state of mind and hard to describe. After that, I’ll ‘show’ you my state of mind without any sort of protective filters in place at all.

In describing my mind I would like you to understand that I have been assured that there is nothing wrong organically with my brain. I have no lesions, chemical imbalances, schisms, or anything like that. I am not bi-polar, or schizophrenic, I don’t wander around muttering to myself on street corners, nor do I take any sort of prescribed medication. Yet, my mind does not work the way it was originally intended to, and parts of it have been turned off. Manually turned off, fucked apart, and not by me.

Can you imagine this picture? Imagine my mind as a spherical universe. That spherical universe is closed off to everything else that surrounds it. I’m stuck in there. However, somewhere in the wall of that globular universe there is a tiny little rend, a small split in the fabric, and sometimes it finds me. I say it finds me, because I cannot find it by looking. But when it does find me I stick my head through it as fast as I can and gulp in as much sweet clear air as I can. Then I fall back inside because there is no structure beneath my feet to keep me in position.

So, having my head in clear space, and being able to ‘breathe’ does not last for long. That short span of time, accidentaly replicated now and then, is all the time I get to meet you for coffee, be a workmate, a lover, a partner, a father, a friend, a writer, a neighbour, some random person you have just met .. etc. For those of you who know me as a friend it will probably explain to you why I am hopeless at small talk, and why my conversation immediately targets the nub of an issue, and why I then without obvious reason quickly fall away and fall within.

Those small sweet moments of clear air. This book is being written in such moments and it is why it will jump all over the place. I cannot write with any coherence from within my closed universe so everything you are reading comes out of those small limited moments of escape. For the rest of the time, the majority of the time, I exist in a place of fucking darkness.

Darkness … that cannot be described .. it can only be shown. Generally I don’t swear, but that reticence is fully, if temporarily, going out the window right now.

So here is my mind. The ‘showing’ of my mind. This is what sustained childhood sexual abuse and mental cruelty did to my mind. This is why I want to kill those who did this to me …

“The plaintiff has broad-ranging and chronic symptoms of persistent depressive disorder, from which he cannot escape.”

Depression is not a black dog. One black dog is easy to deal with. Depression is an ocean of black dogs who snarl and rip and tear at my bones.

When 35mm film runs across the cogs in a movie camera it makes a flickering sound. Flicker. Flicker. A movie plays across the inside of my forehead. I don’t want it to. But it does. Frame after flickering frame. No pretty filters to soften the view.

You are now looking through my eyes. My fucking eyes. You see what I see. You feel what I feel. You are in my mind. This space of fucking darkness. If I could swap places with you I would. All of this goes through my head all of the time. I cannot stop it.

Flicker.

Can’t breathe, the bastard is pressing me down. He’s ripping me apart. Can’t breathe. Bless you my son. The punch smashes my ear.

Flicker.

I don’t know you. We are just meeting. You’ve just picked up my book. To me, until proven otherwise, you are a predator, you are a killer. Your eyes are measuring me, looking within, seeking advantage. I don’t, and cannot, trust you.

Women and men. You damaged me. I don’t trust you on first meet.

If male, are you a killer of women and children, a rapist of women and children, a shit dressed up in artifice?

If female, are you one of those rare killers of children, a mental torturer of children and men, a purveyor of malevolence?

I hope that you are none of those things, I desperately hope that you are none of those things, but history proves that some of you are. Are you one of them? Yet I’m human, I want friends. Loneliness is fucking awful.

I am absolutely hopeless at small talk with you. I’m on my guard, but I don’t want to be on my guard. I’m waiting for the attack. Who cares who is winning the cricket, who cares about that bargain at Aldi, who gives a shit about the weather and your new house and your new car and your view of how good you are? How about the murder of refugees in your name?

Run away now. Trot trot for the shallow.

The freedom to say anything I fucking like. No editing. The freedom to say What Is, for me. Oh, he is such a gentle man, never says anything harsh. A real hippy.

Wow, what a couple of lines for all the psychologists and psychiatrists of this world to peruse. Some are good, but ha, the others. Case study wet dreams for their bookish edification. Haven’t lived it, they don’t have a clue, chasing their own intelligent tails around in circles. Fucking me off with their useless techniques and their games.

Haven’t sworn so much in all of my life.

Flicker.

Her punch shatters me, rocks me, here’s another hail mary, she does it again, the belt whips, god delivering love, oh boy the nuns of christ, the nuns of fucking christ. If I could hide I would, I can’t.

Flicker.

That movie plays on the inside of my forehead, it is on a never ending re-loop. Flicker. Flicker. I have to look through it to see you. You are out there, we are trying to meet, trying to talk, trying to connect, trying to have a coffee. I am sick of what the bastards did to me, sickened by what the bastards did to me. I write. I write. I try to reach you.

Damage. Worst seen. Worst expected. Worst received. Damaged. Where’s the exit from the bloody cinema?

Birds fly free, freedom, the lift of the wind, beautiful lucky little winged shits. Soaring in the sun. Beautiful lucky little winged shits.

Women are killed all the time, they know what rape feels like, society makes no more than a passing reference to that but oh we do have jobs and growth for the mindless. I am not killed all the time, what do I know, I know what being raped feels like.

67 years of living? Jesus Fucking Christ I want my trip money back, I want a refund. I want to be four years old and starting all over again.

Flicker.

You. You with your white collar and your church and your phallus. You predatory scum. If you weren’t dead I’d kill you. I’m a shot-child man. I’d fucking kill you.

Flicker.

Sitting at the table, looking out the window. Looking out the window. Desperately trying not to think.

Love. It spins faster than a neutron star. My children. Love.

Women, making love, making love, making love. Spinning faster than a neutron star.

Oh! So you are a Survivor of childhood sexual abuse? I’ll fix it up for you. Here’s three tears, how generous of me. Snuffle, snuffle, Parliamentary tearful apology be grateful. Job done. I’m sure I’ve helped. The head has been patted. Now piss off and don’t mention it again.

Mention it again. It killed us. No Survivor survives. Not a zombie movie, just ghosts of the living fucking dead. We walk, we talk, our feet wade through molasses in a vacuum, stuck, stuck, stuck.

Go shopping. Try to appear normal. Hide in the crowd.

I feel your pain, I feel your pain, I look into your eyes and I feel your pain. No you don’t. Rejoice in the fact that you don’t feel my pain. You are a lucky sod.

Beauty, the blue sky, the grass, the trees, a woman’s smile. Will she see my damage? I can love you know, it is not an impossibility!

Get up in the morning. Sit on the verandah. Stare at the sky. Go to bed after dark. Get up in the morning. Sit on the verandah. Stare at the sky. Go to bed after dark. Repeat, repeat, repeat.

I do not recognise your authority over me. I will fight you. You will not defeat the bit of me I have left.

That amazing thing called truth that everybody says that they want. Truth is, they don’t. They want the veneer of it that’s all.

Australia is a fascist country, that’s truth. Aboriginals are treated like dirt, that’s truth. We torture refugees who flee our bombs, that’s truth. Tinder is a fuck-fest for the brainless owners of ovaries and balls, that’s truth. Take note nuns and priests: if you fuck a child you will fuck them up for life, that’s truth. Nobody gives you a tax break without somebody else probably the poor having to pay for it, that’s truth. You won’t escape, AI and robotics will eventually blow you out of your job, that’s truth. Men like sex, women like sex, men fuck, women fuck, that’s truth. That’s truth. That’s truth. That’s truth.

What’s truth?

Oh, we are getting married! That white dress, that pin-striped suit. The church is bigger than a cathedral. Blessed by an unknown priest I could kill. I wanted succour at your breasts, I wanted your beauty, and your love, and your friendship. I failed. We ended.

Oh, we are having a relationship. I like your passion, your guts, your practicality. Let’s move away and start afresh. You in the fields, a sight to behold. I failed. We ended.

Oh, hello there. We both carry damage, we are both aware of that. We understand each other. If I could buy your zest for life, I would. Let’s give it a go. I failed. We ended.

I wanted security, and love, and family. I failed. We ended.

Depressed. They saw me as I am. Depressed. Joyless. Ended. Swimming in an ocean of black fucking snapping dogs.

Depression kills relationships. Wish I’d read that when I was four years old, wish I didn’t have a future need to read that when I was four years old. Wish the nuns and priests had read that when I was four years old. The bastards couldn’t read, wouldn’t read, didn’t want to read. The bastards were too busy fuck-killing children to read.

What’s truth?

So you think that my blue eyes are piercing, and that they look right into you. They don’t. They are watching the movie that is running on the inside of my forehead. I am trying to see you through the flickering of the frames. No Oscar for me. I didn’t want to be in the movie.

Plod plod. Go to work. Stick on a smile. Plod plod.

Light up another cigarette. Suck the breast. Suck for comfort. Light up another cigarette.

In my time did nuns and priests screw each other. Yes. Did priests screw each other. Yes. Did nuns screw each other. Yes. Did upright community matrons in all their frocked and gloved hatted finery deliver casseroles and head jobs to their venerated local neighbourhood priests. Of course they did. Did nuns screw orphanage old boys. Yep. Furtive thrusting. So if the bastards received all that sating why did they come after us?

Write an article. How come I can do that yet I can’t step forward and do other things ?

Flicker.

That’s a nice tall fence. Orphanage fence. Clinging to the top looking down the entrance road. Will they come and get me out of here? Nuns circling in the background, Sisters of Mercy, you’ve got to be kidding me they call themselves the Sisters of fucking Mercy, clawed hands reaching out.

Flicker.

Hello Lawyer person. I’m so desperate for justice, for damage to be undone. Thank you for running your I believe you script. What a legal actor you are, it drew me in. What? Do I have any money? No I don’t. Oh, ok then, I’ll piss off.

Don’t talk about suicide, the squeamish will cringe. Bang. Bang. Maybe nirvana, probably not. Time is a painless method, but very long. Hang on, hang on, it might get better. Better than what?

It is quite true. All you find at the bottom of a bottle is the view of the bottom of a bottle. Let’s have another Shiraz. Let’s not. Didn’t needle, the thought was never attractive simply because the thought was so attractive. Can’t smoke the Dope, it rushes the movie into starker focus.

Men are lucky. One of the most beautiful things in life is to be there, right there, when your child is born. The little eyes try to open, the little fingers curl around your thumb. But we are not lying back there thinking that shit I’ve just had ripped out of me something ten times the size of Manhattan! Men are lucky. One of the most beautiful things in life is to .…

Hey Keith, you are supposed to be this happy long-haired hippy person. You’ve got a Kombi and you wear Indian cheesecloth shirts but I don’t want to talk about anything real with you because that would mean that I’d have to momentarily drop my own shallow mask too.

You cannot be helped. Well I sure as shit had hoped for a better response than that!

Bloody hell. Here I am at a party with a glass of wine in my hand. There are all of those other people here with a glass of wine in their hands as well. All those eyes. I’m anxious. I’m afraid.

Roll up, roll up, grab your popcorn, take your seat, dim the lights. Here’s a movie produced for you by the media arm of catholicism, by god’s holy rolling fuckster company pty ltd. They’ve directed thousands of movies. Many thousands of movies. Survivors are the unheralded Stars.

You are a beautiful man, and I love you. Am I? Did you?

Friends fade away from me, I fade away from friends. I can’t small talk. My talk is intense. I talk about what I see, can’t do otherwise.

Anger and hate. Visceral anger and hate at the bastards who killed me. If I let anger and hate rip I’ll implode. If I don’t let anger and hate rip I’ll implode. If I do I’m fucked. If I don’t I’m fucked.

I’m fucked!

There is always the dog. Zoe the dog. Beautiful loving Zoe. Bullshit speakers say that dogs don’t have a spirit. Bullshit speakers are wrong. Zoe became dead after I did, what a conundrum that is, because I’m still alive and she is not.

Predatory male on a dark night street. I’m not a predator. I’m a male. Why are you afraid of me? I’ve met a few predators in my time. I’m the one full of fear.

Hello famous celebrity type person. You’ve got to be kidding me! Someone called you a name and you are going to sue them for two million dollars! In a comparative sense of damage done then I and other Survivors should be able to sue for 10 billion dollars each for fuck’s sake! But oh, I do see your point, you are a celebrity after all, and society is far more interested in the insignificant slight you suffered than they are in the fact that our childhood vaginas and anuses and mouths were stretched and ripped and bloodied by stiffed-up clerical cock. So please accept my apology for playing down the immense amount of suffering that you went through. Gosh, you were called a name. It must have been awful for you, it has probably wrecked your whole life. I feel your pain. Here’s your three tears back. Oh, you’ve stubbed your toe as well.

Lonely lonely lonely lonely. If you have a companion do you value them? I sure as hell would.

Beauty. How do you measure that? When a woman looks you in the eye and throws you the biggest shit-eating grin that you have ever seen in your life, then you will have just seen the most beautiful thing you will ever see in your life. If she does it twice you just have to tap dance down the corridors of love.

Hello next Lawyer person. I’m so desperate for justice, for damage to be undone. Thank you for running your I believe you script. What a legal actor you are, it drew me in. What? Do I have any money? No I don’t. No problem. Glad to hear it. No Win No Fee. I’ll bare my soul to you. Come in spinner! Here’s your pittance. Fuck off. Apology? Don’t be silly.

At the height of erotic and loudly proclaimed mutually enjoyed passion I never mirrored the screamed out request from the woman to ‘fuck me dead’, because I figured that it must have been pretty obvious to both of us that, in my case, somebody had already beaten us to it.

Children, children, children. Love them. Protect them. Die for them.

Sitting at a desk writing. Keyboard thump. Keyboard thump. Keyboard thump. Writing truth, writing open truth, writing unfiltered truth, writing swearing truth. Just skimming the fucking surface. The well’s much deeper than that.

Many people who have not had a hard life like to say that they did. They go pretty quiet when you show them what hard really looks like.

Standing in the middle of the road with my placard. Save the ABC. Save the World. Save the Universe. We are all behind you, you say. Hang on a sec while I turn around. No you’re not.

Pillars of the community. You are aspirational arseholes. You’re sucking up to the god of greed, twenty houses isn’t enough, you’re shafting the poor, you’re voting for those I love god politicians, you’re a proud shareholder of a company that is polluting the planet, you’re a rich and fat and compliant drone, a killer of the future of our children.

Flicker.

Her fist smashed into my teeth. She cut my buttocks with the edge of her razor strop. She head-locked me and covered my mouth and nostrils with her sweaty fat hand. A bitch of christ. Take off your clothes, show me your waggle bits. That fucking bitch of christ. Thump.

Flicker.

Flicker.

Well hello young Altar Boy. Come into the Sacristy with me. Let me bless you. He did. With his seed. The bastard. The stinking-cocked holy bastard. Let me bless you. Keep your mouth shut or I’ll thump the living daylights out of you. I’m a priest, everybody loves me. I don’t. I hate you. I want to kill you. I’m a child. I can’t.

Flicker.

god. No capital G for that bastard. And those dumb prats sit in their pews and kiss his arse. Dumb prats who can’t think for themselves. Smarmy dumb prats. Kissing the arse of the venerated molesting priests.

I can look after and care for others. But not myself. I’m the movie, I cannot care for that.

Keep losing my jobs. Can’t get a job. So much wrong here. Everybody just puts up with it. I can’t stand it. Ha, social justice for the workers? Keep fighting with management. Sacked. Sacked. Sacked. None of you have beaten the little bit of me that is left to me. I’d rather be me than you.

Oh, sad sod, depressed sod, PTSD sodded sod. Chin up chap. Endure. Move on. One foot after the other. There’s gold at the end of the rainbow. Fake it until you make it. Here’s your six step plan. Silver lining and clouds. Think positively. Smile and the world will smile with you. What sort of idiot believes that nonsense?

Looking through that window I can see the ocean, the blue sky, the coastal strip, the buildings, the concrete, the greed, the exploitive middle class, the fascist rich. Beautiful view. Shit view.

Have a glass of wine. Eat a pretzel. Smile at your friend. Make appropriate eye contact. Whoops, that was too long, look away, look back, look away, look back. I’m not even fucking there.

Flicker.

Your special pants are dirty you skinny little shit. Shit-filled pants. Blood-filled pants. Semen-filled pants. And then she, the bride of christ, launches into me. Could kill her, I’m a child, I can’t. Punch. Punch. Another fucking punch. Into the cupboard you go. Be grateful for the love of god you skinny little shit.

Flicker.

Fathers. Where’s mine? Dead. Damaged by war man. Brain-box blown up by Japanese bombs man. Loved him.

Mothers. Where’s mine? Long dead. Dumped us all. Three years old and on her knee. What was she like? Who was she? Loved her.

Religion. Don’t make me laugh! Pillocks in pulpits. Rapists in pulpits. Killers in pulpits. god loves you. Bend over.

You ask me if I believe in god. I ask what put the need in you to believe in something that does not exist.

My anger at them is vaster than vast. Spewing out pointlessly into the sponge of absolute shitty nothingness. Blown away on the wind. Phut!

Oh, gosh Keith, you are so brave and courageous for sharing your story and not enough people do it and I am genuinely inspired by you and do you want to repeat all the lurid details especially the dirty bits please and I love who you are and I want to hug you and I hear you and I feel for you and I empathise with you and I think you are amazing and I also do the same for celebrities and movie stars and musicians who have died or been zapped and other people who I don’t know and neighbours who have been murdered and I drop lovely flowers on the spots where they all carked it or had things happen to them and I can cry on cue for the television cameras which they love and I love and which makes me look great and gets oodles of sympathy sent my way even though nothing bad actually ever happened to me and just because I’m a professional at mourning by proxy and a bit of a grief-fiend and even though I’m a you should bare it all for my wrapt delight workshop junkie it doesn’t necessarily mean that the flowers I just pinched from that most recent dead celeb’s shrine weren’t plonked down at your feet Keith with love and sincerity and care does it? “I wasn’t speaking to you. I don’t want your sympathy. I was speaking to people who can gut-stomach truth. So pick up your flowers and fuck off.”

According to tests that test such things I have a reasonably high level of intelligence. Yet, all things considered, I cannot even tie the shoelaces of my own life.

Flicker.

White habit and glaring eyes. The back-hand sent me sprawling. She grabbed me by the scruff of the fucking neck and shoved me into that darker cupboard. The darkness. The darkness. No wonder I cried in the isolation cell in the Separate Prison at Port Arthur.

Get on the bus. Nobody will notice you. They will not be thinking anything. It will all be ok.

Fuck. You think this is all over the top? You’re getting the light polite version. The let’s not go the whole hog or really offend anyone version. Flicker. Redact. Hide. Hide. Gosh, you can’t say that.

Why did they weaponise their penises? Did they hate themselves that much?

Go the whole hog.

Survivors were fucked and beaten, fucked and beaten, fucked and beaten, over and over again. Thumped into the dirt and then the boot was jammed into our neck. Do you get that? The Royal Commissioner said that the problem with the catholic church was that they saw the rape of children by their clerics as a moral dilemma, but not as a crime. The church is still as sick as it ever was.

I’ve sworn more in this Chapter than I have in my whole life. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. Fuck to the tenth fucking degree of the tenth fucking degree of that tenth of a fucking tenth degree of that tenth fucking degree. With piles of shit on top. We live with this stuff each and every day. And some of you call us whingers, and whiners, so fuck you if you do, and hello to you if you are a reasonable person who does not.

Do you dream? I don’t. Well I do, but they are never remembered. I wonder what I dream about? Early on my mind learnt to shut some things away in little boxes and that apparently is where my dreams go. That’d be an interesting little dream box trip, wonder what would be in there, free flying birds probably. I wish there was a box for the movie. How come that shit of a movie didn’t go into a little box? That’s a bastard of an unfairness.

Damage done. Neil Young sang about damage done.

Let’s go to church, let’s be seen to go to church, let’s be the pillars of our communities, let’s get into politics as well, they’ll pay us to fuck them up. Let’s give them a mantra, they suck that shit up.

Hello therapist. Hello psychologist. Hello psychiatrist. Can you fix me up? So I’m not bi-polar. So I was not rendered asunder. So I’m not psychotic. So I’m not a denizen of Bedlam. So you can’t fix me up. So what I see is fucking unfortunately really there. Really there. Trouble is mate, you see what is there, you’d be better off with the understanding level of a newt. So me is still mine, minutely. I knew all of that already, but here’s your bucks anyway.

Flicker.

Predatory-eyed nun. What’s your problem you little shit. It is my job to sit here and watch you naked in the shower. Don’t turn away! Face me and keep your hands by your side! That weren’t no arty little life class that weren’t.

Flicker.

So I’m saner than sanity can be. What a fair measure of the damage that being an uber sane observer of my own killing really is, it should have sent me crazy. Being able to think isn’t costless.

Hello Appeal Type Lawyer. I’m so desperate for justice, for damage to be undone. Thank you for running your I believe you script. What a legal actor you are, it drew me in. Oh, do I have hundreds and hundreds of thousands of spare dollars? No, I don’t. Oh, ok then, I’ll piss off.

Flicker.

Come into my room young boy. Why is the nun leaving? Who is that man? Why is he grabbing my head? Can’t breathe. Smothered. That stick bit of him is hurting my throat. Thump. Thump. Keep your yap shut. Say anything I’ll come after you. Scurry away. Hide. Hide. Hide. Where’s my little toy car. Curl up under the covers.

Flicker.

Cook a meal. Say hello to the landlord. Try and make a new friend. Maybe volunteer somewhere. Watch television. Do the washing. Look in the mirror, you are getting old. Hello old friend let’s meet up, have a coffee. Pretend all’s good. Sit on the verandah, stare at the sky. Pretend, pretend, pretend all is good.

He is such a quiet and friendly man. That’s the bit of me I have left.

Flicker.

In the shower I scrub myself with soap. Over and over again. Every time in the shower I scrub myself with soap over and over again. But it stays the same. It never goes away. It never goes away.

Flicker.

Fuck them all, the tears are coming again. Fuck the nuns, fuck the priests, I cannot unsee what was done, I cannot unfeel it. I cannot escape it.

My mind IS the Separate fucking Prison.

Sit on the verandah. Stare at the sky.

Flicker bloody depressive ocean of snarling black dogs flicker.

Where is the curtain? I want to draw it across the screen. I want all of this to end.

Flicker.

The barrel was in my mouth, my finger was on the trigger. I opened the door and stuck my head inside the gas oven. I stood on the edge of the cliff. I accelerated the car and looked for something solid to aim at. I picked up the razor. I did those things. I did those things. I did those things. I can’t believe I did those things. I can believe I did those things.

Bang fucking Bang. I’m still here! It is so dark I can’t see or feel a bloody thing. Looks like time will have to do the job then.

Flicker.

This next sentence has been written in a moment of sweet clear air …

Right, the ballistic missile has returned to earth, somewhat. That movie is on constant re-loop in the front of my brain, permanently flickering away. It ‘shows’ the state of my mind. The scattered state of my mind. All of the content of the movie and more comes at my mind from all directions at once, it saturates my mind, all of the time. If I didn’t have fingernails I’d have slipped off the edge a long time ago.

Medico/Legal Report 27/01/2018: “Left as he is now, Mr Davis is highly unlikely to show improvement. There is risk that his various symptoms may become more problematic as he ages. His prognosis in this situation would be poor. He is unlikely ever to be symptom-free, given the pervasive acts of abuse/cruelty which he experienced whilst he was a resident at the orphanage.”

And when all of this was pointed out to the Catholic Church when I approached them for a hearing three years ago … their response was simply to go for my throat again.

Chapter 5: Is he ever going to give us a bit of light reading?

Yes he is. Yes I am. This is a very short segue Chapter. It has only two points to make.

There was a lot of swearing before this Chapter. There will be very little after it.

It is difficult to be heard when you are not yet able to speak of terrible things.

to be continued …

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6 comments

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  1. Keitha Granville

    Tears are pouring out, I can’t stop them. I want to rescue that little boy before it happened. All those little boys and girls. 😫

    I hope I am one of the reasonable people, hello .

    We need to hear your story, we need to hear all the stories. And we need to stop them from doing it again, cos they still are, and we need to punish all who are found.

    There is no god.

    Thank you

  2. Jack Cade

    Keith

    As I feared – it’s a heartbreaking start.
    You bridle at being labelled ‘a survivor’, and I understand that. But you ARE! You would not be here today if you did not have an incredible strength of character.
    Telling your story may not make your pain go away, although I hope it does. But it needs telling, and the world needs to see what unctuous hypocritical fraud reptiles like Pell inflict on innocents in the name of ‘gentle Jesus meek and mild.’
    As Keith’s Granville said, there is no God. And if there was, his could you worship something that allows itself to be represented by such disgusting people?

  3. Vikingduk

    Well, fuck me, go hard or go home. Sympathy, much like apologies, give it with $4 and at least you’ll get a cup of coffee. Welcome to the heart of darkness, complete with wolf pack, breathe deep, Keith, maybe see you at Noosa river mouth, predawn, say hello to Ruby the wonder dog, best hound in the universe, she has all the love for all of us, no small talk, she just goes straight for the heart. Ah, memories, they fucking hurt. Cheers, Keith.

  4. Jack Cade

    Keith

    Your chapter 4 is the most harrowing literature I have ever read. And the worst thing is that I cannot offer you anything for your pain. Words fail me. I feel utterly helpless, and I don’t even feel I have the right to comment.

  5. DrakeN

    Keith, please keep writing this even if it does you no real good, it is doing me good because through reading this I become more aware of how fortunate I have been in my own life.
    I can do nothing for you; I can commiserate, but I will never be able to understand the depths of pain and frustration which besets you – I can only stay out of your way unless, of course, you should choose to come to mine.
    There are so many who have suffered in similar circumstances, as you are well aware, yet each of you is, and will remain, alone in the depths of your anger and grief; the individuality of which will determine each of your responses to the evil and hatred which has been inflicted on you.
    Just be as kind to yourself as you can possibly manage.
    That’s all that you can really do.
    Be kind to yourself.
    Nothing else really matters.
    I’m typing this through tears – so forgive me if I offend you in any way by writing how I feel: Shitty and angry at the world and the people who would put you and the many others like you through such experiences of depravity – and at those who would seek to deny such truth for fear of their own egos, power and privilege.
    “To thine own self be true” – and very, very kind.
    Please.

  6. leefe

    ” It killed us. No Survivor survives. Not a zombie movie, just ghosts of the living fucking dead. We walk, we talk, our feet wade through molasses in a vacuum, stuck, stuck, stuck.”

    This is the eternal truth of cPTSD. The breathing, walking, somehow functioning (just barely, second by nano-second), dead.
    Sometimes what doesn’t kill you physically doesn’t make you stronger either. It breaks you. It kills what you are and what you would have been and leaves a shivering, pain-filled wreck. And the scum who do it to you don’t care.

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