Note: Writing sonnets helped me verbalize thoughts and emotions that were difficult to express any other way. In 2018, I told my story through a sonnet sequence as part of a class assignment in my Creative Writing course at Houston Baptist University. A lot has happened since I wrote the sonnet below, but reading it today reminded me of the journey to healing that included getting to know the hidden child.
Between my Sophomore and Junior year of college, my anxiety and depression grew more profound as did my compulsion to act out sexually. If I dated someone who was not interested in a sexual relationship, I broke up with them. I realize now, that my unconscious mind recalled my father’s threats and declarations that my purpose was pleasing him and anyone he brought to me. The problem was, I did not remember anything about the interactions with my father. I did not remember that he was the one who first ignited the flame that I could not extinguish. I felt trapped and believed I must be evil. I continued to feel the tug of the child in my dreams. I wondered whether the child held the answers to my questions. She remained hidden, but I believed that she might hold the key to my freedom.
The sonnet, “The Hidden Child,” describes the continuing battle between my conscious thoughts and the child who wanted me to listen. After the first quatrain, the sonnet is a list of questions that demonstrate the anguish I felt as hidden memories struggle to be set free. In the sonnet, I tentatively accept the existence of the child but am not certain what to do with her.
Why can’t I stop this all-consuming flame?
Oh Lord, I do not like who I’ve become.
I can’t contain what lurks within my brain.
Fire that won’t quit once it has begun.
Will I someday know who first struck the match?
Who ignited the flame that will not die?
Who’s words told me that love comes with a catch?
Does the child know why love must be a lie?
Who is the hidden child that screams for peace?
Who is the hidden child that haunts my dreams?
Who is the hidden child whose cries won’t cease?
Does the child hold the key to what love means?
Will she reveal what I don’t want to see?
Tell me, Lord, how can the child be set free?