Scarred, But Still Standing

I hate my past, but I can't change it. I suppose I am coming to terms with it now that I just simply was cheated out of having a childhood. It's sort of pitiful that right off the bat, any chance I had at normalcy was batted away. When I was 4 years old, I was sexually abused by my older brother who is 10 years my senior. At the time, I had no idea what had even happened. I remember spending days wondering what had happened and why he told me not to tell anyone. I wracked my little Kindergartener brain to piece it together but eventually had to give up. I just didn't understand. Years later, when I was taking Sex Education classes, it all hit me like a ton of bricks. I realized all at once what had happened and what had been done to me. But this was only after I'd been dragged through a very difficult childhood already.

When I was still very very young, my father had his first psychiatric breakdown. He broke everything in the house and tried to kill my mother. I remember to this day screaming out and trying to stop him with my little wooden bat. He then tried to murder my older brother because my older brother had worn our father's work shoes for some bizarre reason. My older brother was bizarre and did behave in extraordinarily obnoxious ways, but nothing justified my father wringing his neck to the point of leaving very deep, purple bruises. I witnessed all of this. The next day, I went to school as normal.

Of course, being stuck in such turmoil, I was always very emotional at school. I slept poorly and had a poor appetite from a young age and being so much smarter than my classmates, I was a year younger than them. So, the bullies came. Bullying was terrible. I was so much smaller than them for so long that there was very little I could do to protect myself. I took to landing sucker punches and running whenever I could. I probably had one friend all throughout elementary school and they didn't go to the same school as me. I had turmoil all day at school and turmoil all night at home. I never got a break.

My mother wouldn't leave my father because she is an extremely weak person. She was more afraid of being alone than she was of losing me. I didn't bother tell her about the bullying at school. When I was in 3rd grade, the teachers realized my potential and tried earnestly to bump me to the 5th grade. I was desperate to leave the classroom that had become incredibly hostile to me. The school psychiatrist though decided that I wasn't emotionally ready for such a change, so back to the hell hole I went. I don't know if that was the right decision or not, quite honestly.

When I was in the 6th grade, my father was stabbed a dozen times by a man who found him sleeping with his wife in his home. I remember being at the hospital and seeing him all covered in blood and tubes, not feeling a thing for him. I prayed multiple times a day every single day for God to kill my father, to let him die. It was the only way my mother would leave him and I knew that if he survived that injury that ripped his heart in half, he would kill my mother later. Almost as if to mock me, my father survived. Newspapers wanted to talk to him and do interviews with a man who had survived such serious injuries. I felt so cheated when I saw his name in print, his picture looking smugly pious as he cited God's divine intervention that had kept him alive. My father has always been a very angry and anti-religion atheist.

Months later when he was recuperated enough to return home, he tried again to kill my mother, only this time, my grandfather (his father) was there to intercept the blow. My father broke two of his father's ribs trying to get at my mother. My mother screamed a horrible, shrill, death scream and ran out of the house, right by me. I was terrified. I grabbed my little brother and ran upstairs to hide. I threw him in the closet and told him not to move while I propped a chair against the bedroom door and immediately started working on a sheet rope to use to escape out of the window. While I worked on the sheet, I could hear him breaking everything, the windows, the pictures, the appliances, and the walls. The noise continued well into the morning. Finally, it all stopped right about sunrise and we could escape. At that point, I had nothing - no fresh clothes, no lunch, no money, no backpack. It was my first day of 7th grade. I walked my little brother to his elementary school then went to my own school. I was exhausted and hungry.

My mother came to get me in the middle of that day and that began our three week hideaway. We hid in a motel, not making a sound or walking near the windows during the day. My father threatened to kill my mother, myself, and my brother. We were terrified. When we had to leave the motel, someone else drove us and we hid on the floor of the car.

Shortly after this, I went back to school as if nothing happened. I was jumpy and unable to focus. And, as if my father had never done anything wrong in his life, my mother tried to force us to have a relationship with him. My father paid nothing in child support. We lived in a roach-infested apartment in a bad part of the city because that's all my mother could afford. Roaches crawled on every inch of the walls. You couldn't reach into a dark cabinet without pulling out a fistful of roaches. They were everywhere. We fumigated several times, but each time, they came back with a vengence. Her boss felt sorry for us and occasionally bought us groceries. All of this time, my father continued on threatening my mother with this and that. I was openly hostile to him. I hated him. He should have died from those stab wounds. He wasn't supposed to be alive. I hated that he was alive with every fiber of my being.

All throughout high school, I struggled with severe depression, even after my mother got a significant raise that allowed us to live in a nice townhouse in a nice part of the city. We were out of the roach-infested apartment and yet, those memories still haunted me. I had horrible nightmares and panic attacks all of the time. There was no escaping it.

Then, I went away to college and met the man who would become my husband. Everything progressed as though I was supposed to be normal again, like everything was supposed to be OK. Even now, trouble seems to follow me. in 2010, I lost my home when my former neighbor's ex-husband murderer her and set the building on fire.

None of these things have left me, and I do sometimes feel cheated out of what should have been a normal, uneventful life. I didn't get to have a childhood. I spent mine fearing for my life and my mother and brother's lives or in hiding from a psychopathic man who dared to call himself my father.

Still, what is done is done. Those years can never be given back to me. I am left now with a diagnosis of CPTSD, my battle scar from such an awful life. I do hate that all of that happened, but I believe that what I choose to do now I own. I choose now to be compassionate when I had seen none from others and despite the continued harshness I see from others. I can now raise my head confidently knowing that I am competent enough to deal with people who mistreat me. I do not want to give up or admit defeat. If I do, then I've lost all purpose in living. I've attempted suicide over 15 times and have been hospitalized for a suicide attempt in the past, but that is not how I want to continue living. In a weird sort of way, I'm comforted by my suicide "exit plan", that if life really does get so bad that I can't handle it, I am now at peace with the decision I have to end my life and end the lifetime of pain that has so far been characteristic of my life. Knowing that I have given myself permission to end my life with that dignity, I have the confidence to go on. When I'm upset, I ask myself if I feel if I can handle it or if this is so bad that I feel that I must turn to suicide. That question alone usually gets me to stand back up and try again. So far, nothing I have gone through in recent days has been worse than I feel that I can handle. My outlook on suicide has changed so much in that way. I have an ultimate exit plan for leaving the world with dignity, but I also have it set up in such a way that it would require some amount of planning in order to carry it out. I can't do it on an impulse. In that strange way, having that plan in the back of my mind gives me the courage to face the day.

I believe that everyone can find their own way if they are given something, anything to inspire them or to keep them motivated. Unfortunately, no one in my life stepped up to assume that role, so I've had to do it myself. I want to get better for myself and though I can't make up for my lost childhood, I can do some of the things that I had never gotten the chance to do. Now that I'm financially secure, I've gone out to get a tattoo like I had wanted as a teenager and I'm playing around with my hair (cutting it short, in different styles, and dying it weird colors). These things will not restore what I've lost, but they do help me feel less victimized, less like I've been deprived.

I think everyone can achieve if they can find something to inspire that. I don't know if this story inspired you or gave you some insight into your own mind, but if it did, I hope that you can find peace in whatever has happened in your life. Life isn't easy and everyone is tasked with finding their own way to deal with the curveballs thrown at us. I sincerely believe that anyone can make it through anything. I made it through my childhood and though I'm scarred, I'm still standing.
ShadowMonster ShadowMonster
22-25, F
May 10, 2012