I haven’t slept well since Wednesday. I stayed up late for the thing, which indeed was IT Ma’am’s sister’s death anniversary, and as often happens, one late night threw me off for the rest of the week. I guess by the time bedtime rolls around the next day, I’m too tired to get everybody soothed and calm and in sleep-mode. Ironically, I just don’t have the emotional resources to sleep.

It has highlighted the sleep problem again. Mornings have gotten a bit better. I don’t even cry when I wake up. It’s just irritable grumpiness for a while. But bedtime is still a problem. These days, it is less grief and more fear.

Lately, Ruthie has been remembering being trafficked before there was any Nata. All of her fears about that seem to get set off at nightfall. However, it’s strange that they are being triggered by bedtime, because all of her memories are of situations that occurred in daylight. There’s no clear connection to bedtime, except that I’m frightened at bedtime and those are her worst fears.

Last night, it seemed like it might be coming a bit clearer. When I was small, I fell asleep at night, then my dad came and woke me up later if we were going to go to Yuri’s. So I fell asleep not knowing whether we would go or not. And the fear is that we won’t go, that I won’t get to see Nata, and it’s really quite awful.

It’s also emerging that I felt very protective of Nata even when I was very young, that when I was five and six, I needed to hold her and kiss her and reassure myself she was safe again and all in one piece. I needed comfort too, but the other side of that is I needed to be able to feel she was safe—and this need to keep her safe was purely emotional. It had nothing to do with any real power I had. And I was also really angry they were hurting her. When I held her, I ould stop being angry, because I knew in a very physical way that she was not being hurt anymore.

I haven’t really let myself think about what I saw and knew when I was five and six and Nata was ten. She was acting in child porn, and I saw that. She was soliciting and I saw her go off with strange and completely untrustworthy men and I knew from my own experience exactly what they were doing with her. She came back from being with them, and there were sometimes still traces of what had happened, just as there were sometimes traces left on me, and I helped her clean this up.

The sense of wrongness about what she has to do is intense. It was wrong when she was 15 too, but it was wrong in a completely different way when she was a child and not a teenager yet, because it’s the wrongness of being forced into a premature experience of sexuality that’s so clear, and because as a child she had even less maturity and fewer resources to cope with it. So it was terrible to know she was doing this and yet not be able to be there with her. I knew she was out on the street soliciting without me, and I could not do anything to reassure myself she was safe. I could not help her. And it was torture for me.

It was torture to fall asleep not knowing what would happen or if I could be with her. And that is the bedtime problem. That is the core issue. There are other issues, but that is the main one.