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Deborah Caulfield's blog - disability arts online
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Blogging: An opening-up activity. / 11 April 2012

Two friends wrote to me recently, after seeing my blog. Both are writers, sometimes stuck and not yet published. One wrote:

"I've just kept the doors closed on so many things which I now find almost impossible to express … as if I always need to air my feelings and thoughts first to an objective person, to get their approval and permission to feel the way I do. …so difficult to get back into my writing … things I need to write about but feel far too inhibited."

Another friend sent me this poem (it inspired this picture) and permission to publish it anonymously.

STEPFATHER

Unwashed unshaven his smell filled her room
Belching loudly he peered into the gloom
Staggering forward he stood by her bed
His rough calloused hands caressing her head.

Pulling aside her ladybird vest
He pinched and bruised her newly formed breast
Her body cried out in fear and disgust
This was her stepfather the man she should trust.

Pulling the sheet tight under her chin
She can see his face clearly
The cruel sneering grin.
No one will help her she can't understand why
As she curls into a ball to silently cry.

About the picture my friend wrote:

"The Clown with the psychedelic colours .. phew .. pretty scary !!

It has always been a dark secret deep inside me .. so the picture .. as I see it ... is like a release after all these years to actually tell someone else about it ...an explosion of feelings .. shown in your picture by the psychedelic explosion of colour ... yet still a bad memory ... my overall feeling at the time .. was having to keep it secret .. that made it so much worse and the guilt of course... it cut me off from people ... hard to explain in writing easier when speaking to you. .... !

Not sure about Teddy with that smile on his face ... if he had known what was happening .. he would have been sad ..."

I replied that the teddy bear symbolises the trusting innocence of childhood. I had thought of doing a child's hand, and might put this in the next version.

Keywords: autobiography,blogging,childhood abuse,memories,poetry,words,writing