Thursday, September 8, 2011


One of my earliest memories is of playing hide-and-seek at Grandma and Grandpa’s trailer. I was lying in the dark under the bed with my face pressed down into the red shag carpet. Waiting. There were dusty shoe boxes and plastic-wrapped blankets stacked all around me. I felt like they were waiting too, for the sunlight, for someone to open them again. Like most children, I was patient only when it came to hiding games, and I was willing to lie there all night, if need be, for someone to find me. I put my hands over my eyes and pushed down on my eye balls. When I lifted the pressure, the space in front of me exploded with imaginary fireworks. I pressed down harder, and harder, until suddenly I thought that maybe I could see a set of eyes. They were big and round and silver and stared right back at me unblinking, like an owl. Completely forgetting the game, I wriggled out from under the bed and went charging down the hall into the kitchen.

“Gramma! When I hide under the bed, I can see an owl’s eyes looking at me!”
Grandma looked up from the dishes with concern on her face. Grandpa, who was sitting at the kitchen table while Grandma cleaned, ordered me to come and stand before him.

“What did you see?”

“Owl Eyes!” I laughed. “Big round silver ones! Under the bed when I close my eyes!”
I don’t remember what he said next, but I remember my excitement went suddenly cold. Grandpa was not happy. He asked me lots of questions, and before long, Grandma dried off her hands and came to sit with us at the table. They laid their hands on my head and prayed. Grandpa rebuked Satan in the name of Jesus and Grandma whispered “yes Lord” under her breath again and again.

I used to look back on that day as the moment when Satan entered my body. Later when I started hearing angry voices in my head, Dad told me it was Satan attacking me. But I was certain that Satan had already won. Those voices were coming from the inside where Satan had certainly taken up a residence. I didn’t tell Dad.

As a kid, I interpreted my hunger and growing pains as attacks from Satan; tricks from the devil, trying to make me fat and unsightly. I remember staring at myself in the mirror, screaming in a whisper. In moments like these I was consumed by hatred for myself, hatred so powerful that it terrified me. I remember digging into fleshy thighs with my fingernails until I bruised. Once I accidently cut myself shaving. I soon grew addicted to the sight of blood swirling and mixing with water on its way down the drain. I cut my fingers, toes, arms and legs, It was sweet release. I couldn’t stop. When my Dad read the story of the demon-possessed boy who threw himself against stones and into the fire, I was sure that I was like that boy. Possessed with rage, with hatred, with guilt. Possessed by the Devil.

I was ashamed of my sexual feelings from a very early age. I used to agonize and beg God to take away the demon that made my fingers stray to forbidden places. At around 13 or 14, I had my first explicit sex dream, and I dreamed about a girl. I was horrified. Dad had once told me that the homosexuality demon was particularly evil. I knew I was doomed.

I remember once I borrowed an old News Boys CD from a “liberal” friend and listened to it secretly at night. I had to sneak the CDWalkman under my pillow because they were not allowed in the house. I made copies on a tape recorder before returning the CD so that I could listen whenever I wanted. The songs were stuck in my head for days. When I started to pray, the lyrics would surface in my mind. That was when I knew my Dad was right. The Devil was in this music. It was preventing me from prayer! I crushed up the tapes with my bare hands and threw them in the garbage.

As I write all this my mind is flooded with demon-tainted memories. I mourn all those hours wasted begging God to take Satan out of my mind, out of my body, out of my wayward heart. Who would I be today if I had never been told there were demons to fear? How much blood did I lose as I stood stoic at the sink, watching Satan slip down the drain in swirls of red?

 What memories did I miss while I hid my true self from the world, afraid they would see that I was Possessed?


  1. (((hugs))) I cannot even begin to imagine how it felt to be "possessed" by the devil from such a young age. How horrific! I'm glad you were able to write it down.

  2. I'm so sorry you were so dreadfully manipulated. I believe the most common way we are assaulted by Satan is under the guise of truth. There are demons out there. There are evil spirits. And false spirits. And the easiest way they can get to us is by false teachings like the ones your parents and grandparents fell prey to.
    It makes me think of the paranoia after 9/11, actually. So many new regulations born of fear were implimented in low population areas that terrorists would never bother with. And you run into the parents who take their kids to daycare all day but make sure they don't hold the door, even for uniformed employees, because the imagine somehow their very small life is so important to someone that they are constantly being targeted. Ugh.
    As for the dream thing, I honestly think it is quite normal for a girl who has been taught nothing about boys and sex, but whose body image is constantly criticized, to dream or fantasize about another girl instead. As a young girl, I had no idea what sex was. I thought I would get pregnant from some vague combination of kissing and being naked in front of a man. I was terrified of being touched and wanted nothing to do with boys or men. I didn't know what homosexuality was, because I didn't know what sex was. So my fantasies and dreams all had to do with rescuing people. That was my obsession. I masturbated to ideas of sneaking innocent people out of prison, leading spy missions into POW camps to save the trapped soldiers, etc. I kept a scrapbook of all my favorite photos from our books about the wars, all ones that inspired ideas of heroism in me.
    When I found out what sex was at 17, I threw the book away. Suddenly the whole concept on which I'd based all my fantasies became creepy and disturbing. A whole new level of dreadful things human beings could do to each other had opened up, and I could not come to terms with it. My lack of education had really set me off on a weird course.
    All of which is to say, it's probably your parents' method of educating you that led to the thoughts and behaviors they so wanted to avoid. My heart goes out to you.

  3. Oh, girl. Such pain. Such superstition you were steeped it. Just know that it was WRONG, all of it. You are an amazing and lovely person. Just you remember that. :-)

  4. How can they think that spiritualizing everything is healhty? I remember being afraid, hearing voices, hurting myself... It's all so damaging. Love you! You are special, and you never were posessed, just scared and lonely.

  5. @Libby, just so you know, You're sweet comment brought me to tears. Thanks so much for the encouragement. You too Melissa! :) <3 you too.

  6. 0.0

    Horrifying. You poor princess. I just want to pick up that little girl that saw owl eyes and go rewrite that whole story.

    Would I be smart enough to figure out exactly what you had experienced? Probably not, but we could've put treats out for the owl, gone to library for owl books (including Winnie the Pooh), made up a series of owl adventures and/or even had a field trip to the raptor center. That's the kind of grandma I want to be.

    I bet your grandparents would cry if they knew that religious freak-out was the beginning of so much pain for you. At least, I hope they would.

    Hugs, SS

  7. I've just read through your blog, and decided to comment on this post, because this was the one that made me cry.

    So very many of your experiances I relate to. I was raised basically as you were. I'm turning 21 this year. It's been 3 years since I've been out. This one in particular. It hit me, brought back all the memories and fears of being posessed...of trying to rid myself again and again of the demons I was convinced lived in my body.

    I'm 10 weeks pregnant now, and I'm determined to not let this happen to my daughter or son.

    Thank you.

    1. Hi Hannah! Welcome to my blog! I too am turning 21 this year. It’s so young to most people, but I feel like I’ve lived through a lot. My life is so much brighter now than it ever used to be. I'm dome with all the fear and darkness for good! Congratulations on your pregnancy!! :) With your determination and experience I know you'll make one awesome mamma :)