Summer of 2015: A friend visited and I spent the week being a tourist in my own city during the hot summer. Except for Saturday night, when shabbos was over, and I went to my parents’ house to celebrate my sister’s high school graduation. My friend watched me get dressed and ready to go into Boro Park, and she commented on how strange it was to watch the transformation. It felt just as strange, believe me, to be switching from comfortable pants and tshirts to tights, a calf-length skirt, and a shell under my blouse.
(Postscript: By this time, I had begun to deal with PTSD from memories of being abused by my oldest brother as a child. I was still trying to honor my parents’ wishes and shield my siblings from the fallout, not being strong enough yet to realize that my parents should have been shielding me from the “fallout.” So when I wound up standing right next to my abuser in this photo, I said nothing. What you can’t see is me clutching my younger sister’s hand, my amazing sister who knew nothing about the truth but still knew I needed her and gave me her hand.)