Wednesday, February 25, 2009

~My ChildHood~

~My ChildHood~
First I feel I must, put a WARNING out to those who read me.
Although what I have to say is IMPORTANT, It is also Disturbing.
If ya happen to of a sensitive nature...
The above picture I did as part of my future book I am going to get published. It's titled
"Her Secret No More"
This book will have Poetry I've written as well as My Art Work. It's something I've been wanting to do since I was lil. My hope is that this book will be published and I will be able to help a Child Abuse Fund. This is a cause closest to my heart. Here is why...
Again a WARNING! Please stop now if ya of a sensitive nature.
I'm going to write this as delicate as I can without going into vivid details. To me it wouldn't serve any purpose to do so.
As far back as I can remember my life was filled with abuse. My first memory is of me being in my jams (pajamas for those who don't know) I was sleeping with my Tiger who served his purpose as a pillow. I remember my jams being pulled off me and someone violating me. I kept saying no, don't. Only to hear the sound of Shhh and a hand placed over my mouth. When he was done he left me there screaming. A woman came in and started screaming at him, as she took me from the bed and cradled me in her arms. She then gave me something foul tasting to drink, all the while she screamed "She's just a baby!" Whatever she gave me put me to sleep.
From there I carry memories of very detailed instances of my two sisters. I can't give dates being so lil, But I can give vivid details of where things happened. We lived in Rhode Island up until I was eight years old. My father worked in a shipyard there until they decided to shut it down. They told my father if he wanted to continue his line of work, he would have to move to Virginia. Virginia is where we moved. While my mother was busy packing the house we stayed with my Aunt and Uncle, and their eight kids. Fifteen children under one roof, plus four adults.
The night before we were to fly to Virginia my cousins Patty and Cheryl gave me a warning. I called Cheryl, Shovel because I couldn't say her name. What they told me didn't make sense. Patty said " Just ya wait and see how long it takes ****** to move to Virginia. When he does He's coming for YOU!" I didn't understand what they meant, but it didn't take long before their prediction came true.
When we moved to Virginia my whole world changed. My mother became an angrier person. My mother was a very large woman, six hundred pounds to be exact. But her size didn't stop her from chasing us kids down when need be. For every step she took to catch us, we were rewarded with another beating. Every day was a constant cycle of screaming, cursing and someone, if not all children getting beat on. My father worked long hours to support his seven children. He was a diciplinarian on behalf of my mother. When he came in the door after a hard days work, he wasn't greeted with a loving kiss or hug by my mother. He was greeted with my mother extending her arm, with her finger pointing to the stairs and saying "J***** Get." Which meant he had to go upstairs and beat us with his belt. His belt was no ordinary belt a man would wear with a suit. It was a belt that was six inches wide. When my father reached the top of the stairs he knew which room to visit for the beating to take place. Our door had to be closed as a sign of our impending doom. He never asked us what we did, my mother always filled him in when he was done.
We had to bend over the bed as he wailed on us. I sort of felt sorry for my father, I always felt he must've deep down hated his life. He had to have felt that he was only there to make the money,and beat the children. What I don't think my father knew was, he was our second beating for the same infraction. I think I prefered my fathers beatings to that of my mothers. Why? Because with him ya knew what to expect. With my mother ya never knew what ya were getting. I've endured my lip busted open by a backhand, because she thought I sucked my teeth. She hit me so hard I flip over backwards in the chair. She then grabbed me by my hair. My hair happened to be past my rear so it was easy to grab. She would then proceed to call me vile names all the while beating whatever she could get at. Ya learn to do the "dance" to avoid getting beat. I was a petite child growing up, to give an idea I only weighed ninety pounds when I was sixteen. My daily life of physical and mental abuse left me with feelings of cautiousness and fear. I was always side stepping everyone and second guessing my actions to avoid beatings.
Then added to my nightmare was the sexual abuse. My mother was asked by ****** to take me out for the day. I was taken to a hotel room, Room 9 to be exact. I will never forget that room it's
where I was vilolated and pictures were taken of me. I begged over and over to be left alone, but my words were ignored. My words fell on deaf ears just like when I received beatings. I was ignored, I was just a thing, an object to accept the ugliness heaped upon me. All the while the ugliness took place Patty and Shovels words came flooding back to me. "He's coming for YOU!" Then the words of my sister came through, "Don't worry, ya'll know soon enough"
So began my daily routine of abuse, I was silenced into submission.
I tried to give my mother hints, I tried to get my oldest sister to tell ,to accept this responsibility that she can stop this. She didn't, she saved herself, as long as it wasn't happening to her she didn't care. I was left to fend for myself. One day I couldn't take it anymore, I ran away from home. I knew it would be a matter of time before he would go after my younger sister. What I didn't know was my mother would send the police to look for me. I was hoping she loved ME enough to search for me herself. She didn't, It wasn't hard for the Police to find me. I wore leg braces from the hips down so I couldn't get too far. I couldn't talk to the Police I was told they would put me in jail. I was a child I didn't know the truth, I believed I would be taken away. When I was taken home my mother put on a show and acted all upset. The Police refused to leave without a valid reason. So I LIED, I told them it was because my mother made me wear braces. They laughed and then left.
That's when my mother sat me down and said "I know that's NOT the reason why ya ran away, ya've been wearing braces since ya were born." I confessed to her my secret. I would love to tell ya that this was the end of my abuse, But the one lie I told when I was nine is all I can handle. My mother picked the phone up and called ****** and told him "Ya never to come to my house again, I know whatcha did." With that she hung up. I got a glimpse of what a normal childhood looked like. My mother seemed changed, she stopped yelling and hitting. She tried to show love, was it the answer to my prayers? Sad to say it only lasted two weeks. Then he was back again, My father started asking why ****** wasn't around anymore. I didn't know at the time, that my mother NEVER told my father what he did. Why, I don't know. Until I was sixteen I endured the daily cycle of abuse. I begged God every day to kill me, Let me die so I wouldn't have to endure the anguish. God ignored me as well, He turned deaf to my prayers. I guess I should have changed them up a bit, instead of saying the same prayer over and over again. Remember in the movie Forest Gump, where Jenny runs with Forest in the corn field and prays to be a bird so she can fly far far away?
I was Jenny. I prayed the same prayer every day, for God to send me ONE person to save me. In my childs mind, no one came. I went to church like a good girl thinking if I were good enough God would hear me. He didn't, I found abuse in the church. Someone who was supposed to be a man of God molested me as well. Then I started questioning God!
What is it they see that makes them use me?
Where is the mark so I can erase it?
Why am I unloveable?
Why aren't I good enough to be saved?
Constant questions plaqued me and I had no answers.
Eventually I married and had children of my own. I became the mother I wanted to have. My children would know they were loved. I tired to keep in contact with my mother, but it became too much for me. I avoided her for years, That is until she called my home when I was twenty-three. She left a message on my answering machine asking me to call her immediately. I knew instantly in my heart what it was about. I had my girlfriend keep the kids while I made my call alone. Before that I called hubby and let him know what was going on. My whole body was shaking, I wanted to throw up. I prayed before I called, I said "Dear God, Please let me say what needs to be said and have this over with for good."
My mother started off with "Do ya know what ya sister is saying?" I listened as she went on and on about the abuse my sister was telling her therapist. When she was done she said "Well, What do ya have to say about all those lies?"

I took a deep breath and said "They're not lies" I sat for four hours on that phone giving my mother detail after detail of my sisters sexual abuse. My mother was in complete shock that I had so many memories. I told her that I have constant nightmares of what happened to me when I was very small. I not only have my memories but that of my sister, I asked her did she know what a burden this was for me? She had no answer. She didn't apologise to me, she just kept worrying over herslf. I asked her why she didn't listen to me when I was nine? Why did she allow it to go on? Again no answers. What she did say floored me, she said "Ya have the power to make or break my marriage" When I asked her what she meant, it was then she revealed she never told my father.
I wrote my mother a letter many years after that. I felt I needed a face to face with her for me to have peace with my abuse. It was Christmas time and I paid her a visit and handed her the card with the note inside. She waited for my father to go out before she read it and set it aside. She then said "Well, What do ya want me to say?" I told her anything which comes to mind. She gave me the excuse that back then people didn't talk about stuff like that. Now a days people just run their mouth about every little thing. I explained to her that's so we can break the cycle. She said she still hadn't told my father and she had no intentions of doing so. I explained I wasn't there to cause drama I just needed to feel like I had some power again. That I was stripped of any say in my life. I don't think I made a difference that day, but visiting her was a lil easier.
The sad twist in all of this is, the man who abused me came down with cancer and was dying. Did my mother take him in and help him with his final days? No, It was me. Don't gasp! I see ya there with ya mouth hanging open. Ya thinking "This girl is so messed up!" Well it's not that I was messed up. It's the simple fact that by taking care of him, I showed him he didn't win. He didn't break me, I survived his ugliness. He lost the power to hurt me anymore.
My father found out about the abuse from my other sister. She started having some medical issues and memories started coming to her that she had repressed. To this day I've not spoken to my father about any of the abuse. My hubby and children know I what I endured as a child. They never knew until recently who it was, they figured it out themselves.
I try as hard as I can to leave all my abuse in the past.
But what people who haven't been abused don't realize is...
Yes, the mental,physical, and sexual abuse have stopped. But the effects of what happened to me will remain with me forever. I go through cycles of nightmares, they can continue for weeks or even months at a time. When I sleep no one can touch me, I wake with fists swinging. I will scream and cry while looking wide awake, yet I'm asleep. I have bouts of insomnia where out of fear of having the nightmares I can't sleep. I have a fear of anyone touching me from behind. Hubby, sad to say learned the hard way not to sneak up behind me. I have a tendency to mark time, By that I mean If I am out and about and see something strange going on. I will mark the time and date and what was going on. Certain smells will trigger flashbacks. Not sure if ya know what Flashbacks are, But it's when a certain smell or sound or situation can bring ya back to the exact moment a situation happened. For me it's Old Spice, I hate that smell. I can't be around it because I will vomit. These are just a small sampling of what I go through even after 29 years since the last abuse occured.
So when I say the effects of abuse are a lifetime thing please believe me they do.
Ya probably wondering why I wrote this entry. It's because this is where my art is headed. I have been putting off the art part of my book for way too long. Trust me I have TONS of Poems written about my abuse. I just kept putting off doing the images because of fear. After I read Mysteles entry I knew it was speaking to me. This is why I'm sharing my story. I am always in fear of someone knowing what happened to me, and not accepting ME. I am going to put this fear aside and work on my art for my book. I'm going to TRUST GOD to see me through this part.
The image above was intentionally left faceless. My reason is when people look at this image I want them to imagine themselves as the child. Or imagine someone they love as the child in the picture. What would this childs face look like? What reaction would this childs face reveal to you? What emotion do ya feel when ya see this? I believe this is how I want my images for my book to be. Non-Facial, So ya can picture any face there. I've had these images in my head and kept them locked away for so long. I am frightened, yet excited to see where my art will go on this journey. I want to also apologise if I offended or upset anyone by this entry. This was not my intention, that's why I put the warning up. I hope to keep sharing my joys,sorrows and excitement as I grow with my art.
I hope ya continue to journey forward with me!
Pam Warden is doing her FIRST giveaway on Faith Folk. Please enter a chance to win one of her pieces of art work. In fact ya not only going to have the chance to win one of her adorable art works. Ya will win TWO! One to give a friend.
I think ya'll find this site uplifting.


Pearle said...

~big hugs~ I'm so sorry for all that you endured as a child. It sounds like you not only survived but have made great progress in overcoming all the abuse. Thank you for sharing your story, I hope it offers hope to others who have had similar experiences.

Interesting that you cared for your abuser when he was sick. There is a woman in my family who did the same thing. Her abuser was her father and when he got old and needed round the clock nursing care, rather than allowing him to go to a nursing home, she moved her family in with her parents and cared for both of them until they died. I never understood why she made such a great sacrifice for someone who hurt her so badly. Your story shed some light on that.

You are an incredibly strong and resilient woman. I pray that God will continue to bless your life and bring healing to your heart.

mystele said...

wow...i am overjoyed that you are doing this. keep going, my friend. there are so many who need your IT to help them start working through their stories. keep going. fear is part of it all- expect it, and push through. so proud to know you.

Lydia said...

I am so sorry for what you have endured. Of course, God was listening, carrying you in the sand, and is with you- no doubt to help others because of your strength.

We all have stories. We all have hardships. Your love of God, for your family, breaking the cycle, will reap greater benefits to your great-great-grandchildren and on, than you will ever know.

"For every good thing that you do, the world becomes a better place,"(my book-well, one of them:) )I always knew that I was blessed w/so much love as a child. When I lost my Dad , way too early, I didn't know why such a good man would go so early. But, then I realized, I remember the moment, driving in my car- then I realized that I had to share the gift. I had to share the love I was given, to make the world a better place.

What a gift God has given you. Your sweet soul, even after all that abuse, and the continued pains from it, your sweet , sweet grace that God has bestowed upon you will do more for the good of the world, than a million abusers ever could do to bring it down.

Renee said...

I have no words to express what I am feeling, so instead I will just let you know that I definitely care.

Your painting did the job, I cringed when I saw it.

God Bless you.

Renee said...

I need to cringe and everyone who sees that picture and hears your story needs to cringe too. Your work is very important. We need to feel uncomfortable and we need to feel angry.

God bless you sweetheart.

Karin said...

There is much that you've shared here that I personally relate to, and I applaud your courage and resilience in bringing your story fully into the light. You are incredibly strong and brave!! Using your art to share not only your history, but your healing is SO powerful, and will undoubtedly bring so much hope to others as they face the traumas in their own lives.
What I have come to know, for myself, is that those that abused me never touched the true essence of who I am - they never harmed my spirit. While my physical being endured a great deal of horror, I remain untouched. From this *knowing*, I find peace. Blessings to you, and much success with your book,

Shelly said...

I can't bare the thought of anyone being offended by your post, it would almost seem like added abuse if they were...I am sorry for all that you have gone through, but your strength is really shining ... how very brave of you to do your book, I am sure it will make a world of difference.

K said...

You, my dear, are a force to be reckoned with!! Words cannot express how brave I think you are and how much I think your book and the art work that goes along with it will help so many others who have endured pains similar to yours. You are showing how you can move through horrifying situations such as these and come out of it stronger. Let us know when your book gets published...much success to you!

Shell said...

I applaud for your decision to follow this direction with your artwork.
I know you just started reading my blog. One of my best friends died recently of a drug overdose.
He was sexually abused by a priest and he did get justice by taking that man to court.
Like you said the abuse stays with you. The memories of what happened to him he never found a way to escape them.
I guess I'm saying all of this to say, Please tell your story!! It is important for people to hear and for others who have suffered to know they are not alone.

I send you much love and hope.

Cheryl Lynn said...

My God, how courageous you are. I'm so glad that you have a family of your own and are continuing to try to live your life. I'm also glad to see that you can still trust God. Believe me, as bad as it was, He was there, enabling you to survive the ordeal. We don't always know why we have to go through such terrible things until it's all over. Then we realize that what we endure is ultimately for someone else. Some will be helped by your ordeal, by your art and ultimately your published work.

Much love and God's continued blessings to you.

Poetic Dreams said...

I want to thank each and everyone of ya, that left me a heartfelt message. I appreciate the encouragement,it only further proves God is truly Blessing me.
I hope each and every one of ya have a Beautiful Day!

Leslie said...

I came to your blog through Karin, whose journals I adore. I read your story and I am amazed that you are still able to LOVE after all of these horrible things have happened to you. No one deserves that happened to you-EVER! I think I would feel so angry about all of this-cheated of my childhood. I feel angry at your Mom and I don't even know her or you.
I am so sorry for all of the pain and abuse that you have endured and I will pray for you and your family.
I am glad you were able to share your story and I commend you on your desire to prevent abuse through the book you are writing. Peace be with you and may God's love shine down upon you today and always,


My Journey to Hope said...

I'm in awe of your vulnerability and honesty. It is so sad, but beautiful. You will be able to reach so many people because of it. And your artwork will touch souls in a way that words can't. I'm excited for you, to see the pieces come back together for you, even though the road is hard and exhausting. Thank you for sharing your heart!


Magenta said...

Thank you for posting your story, which I read with deep regret and sorrow for all who have gone through terrible trauma. Your book will be an important piece. May you have the strength to see it through.
Thank you so much for risking and for allowing me to see through your eyes. No one is safe from a predator. There needs to be more help and awareness for those targeted, especially when not protected by those who we expect to protect the young and vulnerable.
Big Hug jan