Tin Trailer Captive

Updated: Oct 15, 2019

{Trigger Warning}

“God's time is always near. He gave me my strength and he set the North Star in the heavens; He meant I should be free.”

-Harriet Tubman

One thing every kind of Abuse does is make you a captive. It limits your freedoms. It makes you a prisoner; it confines and controls you. Whether by fear or foe, rape or violence, bully or boast, Abuse traps you and trauma alters you. If you are freed to escape it’s clutches — your own memories and emotions hold you captive. The inner voices cling liked barbed wire wrapped around wrists and ankles. The messages keep you bound. But, God means we should be free.

Nearly all captives identify with the Prophet Moses leading his people out of Egypt. That great call to Pharaoh echoes into our Egyptian places, “Let my people go!” That great plea from those held as slaves, “Deliver us, O Lord.” Moses stepped forth in fear with the promise of a land filled with milk and honey. The Promised Land. Captive people made free. The conduit, Moses.

And so, the slaves of the Southern United States also strongly identified with The Exodus. That great call of abolitionists to Southern plantation owners, "Let the people go!" That great plea from those suffering as slaves, "Deliver us, O Lord." The story much the same: freeing slave captives of the South, delivering them to the Promised Land of the North, singing songs of deliverance in the well-known Negro spirituals and riding the Underground Railroad to Freedom. The North Star their guide. Captive slaves made free. Harriet Tubman, the conduit.

I have my personal heroes and Harriet Tubman is one of them. I grew up in small town, Ohio and you didn’t pass fourth grade Ohio History without a working knowledge of the Underground Railroad. A key figure in the Underground Railroad was Harriet Tubman. She was called, ‘The Moses to her people.’

Harriet Tubman is an icon of bravery and courage. She was born a slave. She was beaten, misused, mistreated and bought and sold like property. She escaped slavery and went on to free countless others in 13 missions on the Underground Railroad. She never lost a slave to the dogs that hounded them or to the forces that threatened. She took all her passengers to safety, to freedom. She became a Union Army nurse, scout and spy with subsequent military honors. She spoke out for women’s suffrage. She led a rich and full life into her 90’s though coping the entirety of her life with the aftermath of a serious head injury from her youth. Her last words recorded: ‘Swing low, sweet chariot.’ * She carried so many home to safety and yet she whispered that phrase in her passing. Sweet Jesus, come forth and carry me home.

“I freed a thousand slaves I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves."

-Harriet Tubman

Ironically, my abuse took place in the South. It took me some time to figure out I was captive in a domestically violent situation. There were signs everywhere and every day. Pinching me so hard, it hurt. Slamming my head against the car window so hard that I saw cartoon-style stars should have been a first hint. Leaving me stranded at work to walk home, leaving me stranded in dark woods alone, shoving me out of the car and leaving me stranded on a major interstate super highway should have been captive clues.

There were the stereotypical things you think of with Abuse: kicking, punching, spitting on me, throwing rocks at me like I was a dodge ball target, pulling my hair, backhanding me in broad daylight with clenched fist, pressuring me sexually, and endless hours of vile obscenities and words that wounded me so much that they shattered and splintered my psyche. Captive.

Captive to a belief that I deserved this; was not worth more than this; must stay committed to a diamond ring I was engaged to; and captive to a cycle of abuse that believed his lies of love and devotion while he misused and mistreated me, I was both prisoner to the relationship and my own choices. I was bound by my own belief system.

The train came for me, tho, on a hot spring day in the middle of May 1988. That day, I knew I was captive and I begged for my freedom.

My relationship with (Un)incredible Hulk was fast and furious. We were both coming out of other long term romantic relationships. He began abusing me where he left off with his former girlfriend. He easily mistook me for her and spent less timing grooming the relationship and more time abusing. It was immeasurably intense. It was fueled by anger and explosive dysfunctional relationship dynamics.

‘The Day in May’ carried angst and petty arguments all day. We seemed at odds from the start. The Georgia heat bore down on the rented tin trailer. There was no food in the cupboards but a lone can of tuna. But we were more than hangry. We bickered, we bitched, we tangled, we threw things, we wrestled; this was one of the days I fought back, and it was one of the days I said ‘no’. Then, he almost killed me.

Emotions at an all time high, I was screaming, crying and in complete hysterics by now. This angered him even more. I just wanted to leave. He just wanted me to stop crying.