The dreaded pictures

There, I finally did it! I changed...well...updated my picture on here, and my other profiles scattered around the net. It may not be a big deal to you..but to me...yikes! The camera and I haven't gotten along in a very long time....since my childhood.

I tell people it's that "forever frozen in time" thing about pictures that I hate having them taken....something a lot of people I am sure can understand.

I can remember when it all started for me - I was a young girl...maybe 8 years old or so. Looking back through photo albums it's obvious the transition from a smiling little girl to a introspective sad eyed child.

It was back then when having your picture taken took on a different...twisted meaning for me. We lived in a beautiful apartment in Evanston, IL. One of those old turn of the century buildings...the apartment was on the top floor...three bedrooms...two full bathrooms...formal dining room...and wood everywhere. Even a black and white marbled floor in the foyer to our apartment...the only place I could practice for my tap dancing lessons.

Looking back I now appreciate the beauty in that building...even though that is also where so much pain started for me.

I got a little sad tonight remembering all my friends in that building...so many children ...so young...living together in that beautiful building...all of us friends...and all of us exposed to a monster.

The monster was a man that lived next door to me. We shared a back porch along with another neighbor. He lived with a friend who was a school teacher. Two friends...two men - one kind, one evil...a pedophile...a predator.

He was the one that would grab at me whenever the coast was clear. It got to the point I was fearful of going down to the basement laundry area to get my bike. He was also the one that would ring the bell...knock on the door to the back porch when he knew I was home alone and sick....those were the times I learned how to stay silent, and crawl into the closet until he would leave.

What I didn't realize back then, but now as an adult is that I wasn't the only target for his sick mind. Actually, I think there was a child...a friend... who was more a victim for him than I.

The boy lived downstairs from me. I can't remember his name but I remember we were the same age...very young.

One day I was playing with him in his home. Another girl from the building was there...she was a bit younger. His mother had stepped out on the back porch....she sat out there with the baby.
It was then he whispered to us to go into their bathroom ...he wanted to show us a game someone had taught him.

Once in there he told us we were going to play "model" and he would pretend to photograph us - he said that he was a model for someone else, and wanted to see what it would be like to pretend he was the photographer like his "friend" upstairs was.....

I was a young child and didn't think anything of it...now ... as an adult...my stomach churns remembering all this, and knowing where ...who...it most likely all came from...the monster that lived next door to me on 900 Washington Street.

It was then he told us to undress, and showed us how to pose. As we did..he pretended he was the photographer....I can remember all of a sudden I felt sick...like I was going to throw up, and I ran out of there and back upstairs to my own home. Ever since that day I have hated the thought of pictures.

The boy didn't know better ...he was only doing to us what that monster did to him. I wonder about him sometimes....what all did happen to him...where he is in life...does he have nightmares from that time like I did for so many years. How many other children in that building had their childhoods tarnished from that neighbor of mine?

I've spent the last 30 plus years fearful of cameras. About the only time you'd ever see a real smile on my face in one is if I had been drinking...and since I don't drink often...those pictures are rare.

But I have noticed over the past year or so I've gotten a little better about it all...I no longer feel the churning in my stomach I once did when a camera comes out for that dreaded picture...to be frozen in time...forever.

The scars from childhood can run deep, but when they do finally heal and the pain is gone-the picture life creates is brighter......really, it is.


(excuse any typos...it's late and I have to get up in a few hours...but I needed to get this out tonight - just one of those things)

Comments

Gin said…
I think it's a great picture especially considering your history with the camera. It is good to hear that those scars are slowly healing. I think it's true that time heals all wounds, but I believe we have to work in harmony with time and you definately are. Take care!
Colleen said…
Thanks for sharing some of your story. That is great that you are noticing some healing taking place.

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