My story started from age four, or I should say I remember from that period.
I have always remembered my mom & me. It was just us. She and I. The both of us. Things were hard financially because my dad never did support me. Actually, he never looked back. My mom left me at friends’ places at times so that she would be able to provide for us. Eventually, she met a new guy.
She was different, she left me more. Then we moved and things changed. At first it was for the best. I got food and even snacks. For the very first time we ate three meals. I liked the new changes. As the weeks passed by it changed. He started hitting mom and using obscenities. My mom changed. She stopped playing with me. She was sad. I was now invisible to my mom. What was my world. She was my hero, my everything, and she stopped loving me and I didn’t know what I did. All I knew was that I must have done something wrong.
I started creating imaginary friends. I played alone. I loved the outdoors, and the new home had a big yard with a lot of fruit trees. I loved one in particular because it stood alone from the other trees yet it seemed so mighty so I would sit at its roots playing with my imaginary friends.
One day my life came to an end. My mom’s new boyfriend did something to me. He came up to me while I played in what used to be a pond for fish, but it was empty so I filled it with water and played in it as a pool. Before it happened I love going into the small pond. That day, when he fondled me, life as I knew it changed.
I didn’t like outside much anymore because every time I went out it, and a lot more stuff, happened. At the back of house he made me play with his private and told me how special I am to him and it was our secret. Mom and I drifted apart so much that it was like she forgot me. My brother came into the picture. I was now a big sister. I cared for him most of the time because mom and my now step-dad were always using. They smoked everything – marijuana, cigarettes, and cocaine. I knew when it was time because right after he got high he would call his buddies to show them me. Sometimes they took turns just fondling me. Other times, when they were really high, they hurt me more. Mom seemed to be too high to recognize what was happening. I never cried. I lay there and looked at my favorite tree through the window, and I would count the leaves. When it was over I came alive after.
Eventually my step-dad got tired of me so he told Mom to send me away, which she did. I was still hoping she would be my mom again because I loved her and I knew she wasn’t herself. I hoped we soon would be friends again, but she sent me away to relatives I didn’t know.
When she dropped me off she didn’t stay; she didn’t look at me. My aunt came along with my cousin and took my hand. I was about five years old. I stayed there a year, and during my year I was abused & tortured. My cousin would tie me up and call her friends to fondle me, force me to eat garbage, and do a host of other inhumane things. My cousin had oral sex with me every night before I went to bed. She wanted me to do the same to her, but I didn’t like it so she hit my head against the headboard. She hated me so much that one day she locked me in the bathroom with some older boys who raped me while my hands were tied and a sock was in my mouth. I couldn’t tell because there was no one to trust. I stopped eating and looked like I was going to die. My aunt got scared and sent me back to my mom. I was so happy.
Mom was pregnant with my little sister when I returned. My brother was talking and walking. I got sick very often so Mom got tired and started calling me names, but I knew deep down she loved me; she must have. As months went by I stopped saying much. I would constantly sit with my brother and then my step-dad would hurt me. One day I wanted to destroy the bed it happened on, so I set it on fire. I didn’t know the fire would spread through the house, but it did. I ran and hid under the kitchen table and cried because I didn’t understand why it happened. Mom put the fire out. It only burned the back room. My step dad was so mad at me that he punished me. For a week I had no food and he hit me uncontrollably. After that he continued to hit me, sometimes for no reason. He called me names, told me how ugly I was, and that I would never be loved. I was better off dead. He said those words daily.
His family was getting bigger. He had two children with Mom and another on the way, so he decided to move. They both started to study the Bible and change. I was happy. He wasn’t hitting Mom or me anymore. We all moved and attended service twice per week. They got married. Mom was so happy. She started showing me affection again. I loved that she was my mom again. She brushed my hair, spoke and laughed with me.
A year after they married he started coming back into my room. The hate started back. He refused to give Mom funds to get my uniform or school books. He belittled me, telling me more & more hurtful things. Every day I was told how stupid I was and why I was being punished. We had what was called Family Bible Study during that time. My siblings would laugh at me when he asked me to read because if I couldn’t pronounce the word he would tell them I was stupid and that’s why I couldn’t read. I was so ashamed. Mom and him had three children. They were really pretty and got everything. At Christmas time they all got gifts. I could see how happy they were. I was the maid so I had to clean up after them. They spat on me because he told them to. I felt so left out. They got all the toys they wanted while I got nothing. What hurts the most was Mom never got me anything. I started to hate any holidays because it meant family happiness and meant I had to be sent to my room and let the real family be a family. I was not allowed to look at the television with my family because my step-dad hated me in his house. Every day he told me get out of his house and don’t eat his food. Don’t sit on his chair. I was punished every day. When it was service time (or church) we were like a family out of a brochure; no one knew. The elders of the congregation loved my step-dad. They gave him responsibility and admired him as a loving father and spiritual man. When he prayed on behalf of the congregation I would run into the washroom because I felt sick. I questioned God because of what was happening to me and the way I felt. My step-dad made me hate my body because he told me God created my body to be used and I couldn’t understand. So as I started to mature I couldn’t stand to see my body develop. I started to self-harm. I would cut my private because of what he was doing to it. I wanted it out of me. I would cut my breasts because I hate them and wished they’d be gone, hoping he’d leave me alone. No one heard my cries because he had taken my voice a long time ago. I was lost in a world of only pain. All I felt in my childhood was pain.
I want to be set free from my pain. I need an end to the pain. It’s time to let the healing begin.
I figure my accomplishments are that I graduated high school. I also left home around 19 or 20. I started university, going for a Bachelor of Education and studying Youth Development, but had to quit. I got married last year. I have a loving husband. I’m in therapy and learning to trust little by little. I teach literacy to high school drop outs at a local trade school. I love my students, they are my joy.