I had a painful flashback of my childhood the other day. It was painful enough to bring me to tears. I was about 12 years old. I remember feeling so unloved and unwanted.
My stepfather had just arrived to this country. My mother married him and brought him over. We were living in a studio apartment. Yes, that’s right, three people in a studio, infested with mice and roaches. It was an absolute horrible time in my childhood. I was getting older and was really starting to understand the abuse and neglect that I was suffering at the hands of my mother and her husband. Things were getting worse because she didn’t want me around. I was a burden to her and she made that clear. She would stop speaking to me for weeks for no reason. I was a child with no one to turn to. I had to fend for myself. I realized that most of my phycological damage occurred within that time frame. The ages of 12 through 13 was when my mother wanted her new life with her new husband. I felt like I was a burden. I didn’t feel worthy to be alive. “Why was I on earth?” I used to wonder.
My stepfather made things worse. He hated me, too. My mom gave him the ok to be mean to me and torture me. Not so much physically, but he emotionally abused me. I think I would have preferred the physical abuse. His “lectures” would last hours and hours. He really wasn’t saying anything of substance he just repeated the same thing over and over. He basically told me how much of a f*ck up I was, how stupid I was, how bad my grades were, I will never amount to anything etc. Yet, never did I remember either one of them helping me with my homework. Even thought he boasted about intelligent and smart he was. He was and still is a big dummy. My mother used to scream and yell when I asked for help. She would take my notebook and rip up the page and say “It’s wrong!! Do it again!” without telling me what was wrong with it. How am I supposed to fix it if I have no clue what I am doing, lady? I used to be terrified of asking her for any kind of help. Her husband would egg my mother on when she would go off, and he would start a lot of drama. I used to wonder why was he like that? Why did he gossip and act like such a woman? I mean, to me women where the gossipers and troublemakers. I wasn’t around men other than my uncles, and they weren’t like that. They had their own issues, but none of them were bitchy like he was. I never knew a man to act like that.
They kept me home from school because they knew that was my escape. I hated being home with them, so whenever they felt like dumping on someone, they would keep me home from school to endure phycological abuse. He loved to lecture me for hours and say the same thing over and over again. Sometimes he would play Simon and Garfunkel thinking it was torturing me, but I secretly liked listening to it. I found them soothing over his annoying voice. They were some cool guys, although I preferred Wu-Tang, Tupac and Biggy back in my high school days. “Bridge Over troubled Water” was calming. Anyone’s voice was better than my mother’s husband’s.
You know, as I was writing this I decided to play that song and it occurred to me that the lyrics seems as though it was comforting me.I mentioned in my last post that I never listen to lyrics, so I didn’t realize what the song was really about. All I know was I found the song soothing. I just now realized Jesus was trying to talk to me during that time through the song. He did lay himself down. My time to shine eventually came. My dreams were on their way. I need to say right now that I love the lord!!! He was right about starting to write about my life. I am in tears yet again. Tears of joy. To have God is speak to you, especially during hard times is truly something I can’t even put into words.
I was in high school when they kept me home the most. They would keep me home for days at a time. No one from school ever questioned why. I told a counselor about my mom and stepfather keeping me home, and she said that it was against the law to do that, but never did she do anything to help me. She never called children services or even notified another coworker. I mean, I grew up in New York City. We were poor. No one cared. I forgive that woman for not doing her job. If she failed anyone else like she failed me, I hope they forgive her too.
They kept me home from school the most when I was in high school. I never did well and was cutting classes anyway. I would only show up to my Theater Arts class because it was fun. They knew I cut school but they really didn’t care. They would come to the school only to embarrass me. I remember her taking me to juvenile court. A judge made me get a signature from each teacher. It was so humiliating. There were other ways for her to get me to go to school. Maybe getting me a tutor and not telling me how stupid I was would have helped. Maybe not controlling every aspect of my life and only allowing me to leave the house to run her errands and do her laundry. School time was my free freetime. I couldn’t have friends. I couldnt go anywhere. I was 16 years old at this point.
I remember asking if I could hang out with my friend Diane. She hesitated and eventually said OK, but be home by 5pm. I was happy but when I told Diane and she said 5pm was crazy. That wasn’t enough time. I politely asked my mom if she would let me come home a little later. Maybe 8pm? She lost her sh*t and started screaming and punching me. She punched me right in my nose and blood started gushing out onto the ground. I remember seeing her face and she looked possessed. I didn’t get to go with Diane that day. As a matter of fact, I never hung out with Diane again. I always wondered what could have happened to our friendship? Maybe we could have been close like sisters. I would have someone to talk about my struggles with. I did remember telling her about my mom and she said that she never heard of anyone ever being like that towards their daughter. She told me her mom spoiled her and bought her anything she ever wanted, and I remember feeling not jealousy, but hurt. “Why doesn’t my mom love me like that?” I wondered.
We are born into family we don’t choose. We inherit their behavior and take on their mannerisms, lifestyle, demons etc. My family sure does have their share of demons. Demons I am still trying to fight to this day. I want to make one thing clear here. I love my mom. She is no longer alive but if you read my other post, I have come to terms with my childhood. I forgive her and everyone else who turned their back on me and I understand they all were fighting demons.
There are times we think we are healed, but then think of a painful event and it gets us. We don’t have to stay there. We can sit with it for a while, and let it go. We can’t go back on our healing.
What caused pain in that moment was the realization that a child should never feel that way. That little girl should not have to question why the world turned their back on her. Why didn’t her mother want her around? Why was her mother giving her the silent treatment? Why is every adult in her life failing her? A child should not have to think about, let alone ask their mother “Why didn’t you just abort me?”
My mother’s reaction to that question was not what you would think. Imagine your child saying that to you? “Why didn’t you abort me?” What would you say? “Because you are loved. You are special.” My mom punched me in the head as hard as she could and told me never to disrespect her like that again. She hated me, and I felt every ounce of it. I never said that to her again, but I sure did think it. Even as an adult. Even up until two years ago when I was hurting about her not speaking to me yet again. “Why was I even born?”
If I could go back to that little 13-year-old girl, I would give her the biggest hug. I would tell her that she wasn’t any of those things people told her she was. She is smart, kind and a child of God. She is loved and there is a purpose for her. There is a purpose for every single soul on this planet and we are loved by God.