She could be me; that little girl in the photo. The hair and eye color, the face shape even, but most of all that haunted, sad look in her eyes. Why, you may ask? Well, I'll tell you, her voice was taken away. What does that mean? Let me tell you a bed time story.

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who lived in a big, old farm house. The house was so old that part of it was, in fact, the original settlers lag cabin. When the girl was about six she noticed strange things would happen at night. The room she slept in, which was part of the original log cabin, had a door to a storage area that had been added later. This door was held closed by a hook and eye latch. In the middle of the night the girl would wake up and the latch on the door would flip up and spin around like someone had given it a good hard tug. Then, the door to the storage area would open about two inches. Just enough for someone or something to peer in. The girl was terrified. She tried telling her parents, but they didn't believe her. She was a liar, she had an over active imagination. The list went on.

As time passed, the spirit, we'll call it, became bolder. There were times the girl felt it watching her in the house even during the day. She didn't know how, but she knew what ever it was, wasn't nice. She feared it. Felt helpless in the face of it but she said nothing because no one would believe her.

When she was ten the nightmares began. The ones where she was raped. In the morning, she would wake up with fingerprint bruises on her thighs. Some nights the the nightmares didn't come but the bruises would still be there in the morning. What the girl didn't realize is that the thing fed off of her fear and it knew she was vulnerable because the people that were supposed to protect her didn't believe her. This also led the girl to hide other things about herself. Things like being able to feel other people's emotions. Even feelings that had happened hundreds of years ago. She tried to disappear. No one would listen anyway. She would just be called crazy.

Fast forward forty years, here I am trying to find my voice. I don't trust people to care for me or protect me. I still have nightmares when my mindset is negative. The last left me with scratches on my neck from being choked in my dream. Spirits still find me good and bad. I have started trying to unravel the mess that is my spirituality. It is hard on good days and nearly impossible on the bad days. I just wish someone, anyone had listened to me when I was a child, or a young adult, or in my thirties. Maybe I wouldn't be 50 and still terrified of my higher self at times. All I can figure is that whatever I am here to do, it's important because I'm still here trying to understand.

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