TW for child abuse/sexual assault
I remember talking to myself a great deal while growing up amidst chaos. Through memory and journals I was able to piece some of this together, mostly for self validation, but also to give people a look into the active, alert mind of quiet victims.
Three year old me: Stop. But I need to get my medicine. Do not go that way. That’s where the angry voices are. Turn around and go back to your doll and your thumb and your bunk bed. I am wheezing because I’m scared probably. It’s ok though, Mommy will give me medicine maybe later then. I want to see what the loud noise is coming from but it scares me and I want my mommy. It’s okay. Be calm. Turn off the light. I promise it will be better in the morning.
Five year old me: It’s only half day. Mom will be home when I get off the bus. Don’t be afraid. He’s gone now. Mommy said he can’t come back until he apologizes and gets help. Go. Be smart. Learn new things to tell Mommy. Make a friend at this new school. It will be okay. Mommy promised she would be home when I get off the bus. This isn’t like the play she couldn’t get to. The one I had a part in but wouldn’t speak cause mommy wasn’t there. She says I don’t have to cry this time. Mommy will be home for me. She will this time. Don’t worry. Don’t cry. Hold it together for once.
Six year old me: Another new school. I’m tired of smiling. Mommy says, “Don’t worry. This time your teacher is really nice. She will want to know what is so upsetting to you. It’s okay, you can talk to her if you want to…about stuff at home”. I say to Mommy that I won’t tell her. A teacher won’t understand, I don’t think. They are perfect. They don’t even go to the bathroom. That’s why they are teachers. She might call those police service people to take me away. That happens you know. I watch TV when I’m really supposed to be sleeping. I hear all kinds of things when I’m supposed to be asleep. Maybe this teacher can let me stay at school til Mommy gets home from work. I don’t like to be home alone with Daddy. He scares me. He looks at me mean. He yells a lot.
He told me there’s no Santa, but I think he was just mad at me cause I wanted my new walkie-talkies back that Santa gave me for Christmas last week. Daddy took them away from me because they are supposed to be for CIA police people like he is. I don’t believe him. He’s mean. Police people are supposed to be nice and helpy people. And he yells all the time. Dad does that cause he is sick my mommy said. He says lots of things when he is not well, she said. I’m sad when I have to be around him like that. Maybe he will give me those walkie-talkies back before he returns to the hospital. Mom says he is going back maybe today. The doctors at that hospital won’t let him have my walkie-talkies my mom said. He has to fix what’s broken inside him, she says.
Eight year old me: Dad lost another job. I know this cause he screamed a lot and said superintendent was an asshole and doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Mom is not handling it okay. That sound I heard was her crying last night. She started smoking again too, that means she’s upset…which means sad and lonely and maybe afraid. There were so many angry noises in the house last night. Nobody even remembered to make dinner. That’s ok, I wasn’t feeling hungry anyway. Good thing my thumb is still attached. I like to sneak it when I go to sleep. Looks like we are moving again. I have to hold on. Mom needs me to be strong. She is not doing as well as she has the last few times we had to pack up and get out. Maybe she’s tired of moving like I am. She needs to figure out how to stop the fighting. By the way, I have to stop pulling my hair out! I’m seeing bald spots again! My friend asked me if I cut my hair too short in that corner. I said yes. I’m embarrassed. Mom doesn’t know what to do with me when I start that nervous stuff. It makes her feel even more sad and hopeless. Be good I tell myself. Don’t upset mom. Try to relax. I want to make myself go to a friend’s house for once. I could wear a hat or something. I need to let go of Mommy a little. She can manage without me, she says. I think she needs me to protect her though. Once I stopped Daddy from maybe hurting her. I jumped in the middle of them when they were fighting and he had his arms on her arms. She screamed at me real mean like to go away and close my bedroom door behind me. But I stayed with her. We left in the car and went to my grandmother’s house. Not the grandmother that only gave me a hand towel and toilet paper roll for Christmas, the other one where we get ice cream. We go there a lot when they don’t get along.
Ten year old me: Please accept an invitation to play a Katie’s house. It is healthy for me to be away from my mom sometimes. But I worry about her being alone with Dad. He’s not right still. He yells bad words and talks fast and is loud and angry all the time. That probably won’t happen again, Mom says. He’s on those funny looking pills now, not the first kind that made him throw up all the time anymore. And please stop hiding in the bathroom at recess. That big kid, Bobby what’s-his-name was only joking. I’m sure he won’t really pull my pants down and humiliate me. He would get in too much trouble if he did that. Teachers at school could help me but I’d have to ask. I won’t ask. I can handle it. Mom says to, “Please trust somebody. A teacher or friend or my sister or someone.” I said no. I’m okay. Mrs. Green made me go to each classroom today and show the teachers my “cute new hairdo”. She doesn’t know that I had to cut it cause I have bald spots from pulling it out. I felt stupid. Why do I do such stupid things?
Twelve year old me: I guess there are reasons that Dad talks to the static on the car radio. Just ignore it. At least we don’t have to have sleepovers at his little gross apartment anymore. When mom found out about us eating cereal with water she stopped letting us. Thank God really. I am sick to death of watching baseball games all night every night. He never does anything fun. He drinks beer all the time. He has very strange friends. One lady staying with him was praying really loud in his bedroom while she had some really loud vibrating thing going in their with her. I’m not sure what a vibrator is, but that’s what my older sister called it. Why didn’t she close the door? We were trying to watch a football game. I sure wish Dad didn’t have to pick us up for visits. He drives like a freaking loon and I need to hold on to the door handle for safety when he drag races down neighborhood streets. I don’t feel safe, but that’s nothing new. It will be okay. Trust me. And that hair under my armpits is perfectly normal, by the way. I asked my friend who already has her period. She also has big boobs. Yuck.
Thirteen year old me: Welcome to my new life all the way in Ohio. Cow tipping? What is that? Who does that? And why? Another new school. God help me. New stepfather. New friends. New life. I got a job? You want ME to babysit a four month old baby? Oh, he’s a friend of yours from work. Wow! That’s cool, Mom, ok, I’ll do it.
That was a quick dinner out you two! Your baby is beautiful. All she did was sleep though. I changed her diaper once just in case you know…Fifty dollars! Wow! That’s probably too much money for just watching your baby sleep for a couple of hours.
Hey!…wait. Why are you pulling the car over in this empty parking lot? Is my mother supposed to meet us here? It is night time almost. I really need to get home. I have lots of homework. This is creeping me out a little. Stay calm…stay calm. He Probably got lost. Why are you stopping the car? I hear you talking but I can’t understand what you’re saying…I should know how to drive? I’m JUST thirteen! Say something, Jules! Tell him you’re only thirteen. Tell him. Why isn’t your mouth working?
“Oops!” he said, “I’ve fallen over my seat onto you!……do you like that?” He’s laughing, like he’s funny. NO! I DON’T LIKE THAT! Get your filthy face off my neck! You smell like alcohol! STOP BREATHING ON ME! This is weird. Of course I am too young to drive! Why would you even ask me that? Open your mouth and tell him you do not want to drive and for God’s sake remove your hands from my chest! I don’t care if it was an accident!
“Tell me what feels good, now tell me…”
WHAT???? NOTHING FEELS GOOD! GET OFF OF ME YOU BASTARD! STOP TOUCHING ME! OhmyGodOhmyGodOhmyGod. I want to die. Please God…I will go to church…I will do anything…don’t let this man rape me…please help me, please help me…this hurts me. I can’t breathe….I see another’s car lights…help me!…noooooooooo…don’t go!don’tgo! I involuntarily must have cried out loud…
“OHHH…You like it this way?” He’d mistaken my despair for ecstasy somehow?….car…don’t…go…don’tgodon’tgo…don’t…………….Do. Not. Cry. Be. Strong.
Tell him to stop pulling you over onto his lap. Listen to me: Get. Him. Off. You! But he’s so heavy…his weight is bearing into me. I can barely breathe. Please stop, Mr ICANTEVENREMEMBERYOURNAME please… stop. THAT HURTS!
…I’m going away now. I see water…murky green water…I’m at Beech Hill where we always went with Meme and Pepe when we were little. I love Beech Hill, Maine…so peaceful…serene is the word maybe…
What the hell? How am I driving a car! On a perverts lap….is this really happening? Did I hear him right? He just said I am very pretty! Oh my God what in the hell is going on? This fucker is blind! He just said I am “well endowed”! I’m pretty sure that means I have big boobs. What a joke! I hate you! You are sick! Take me home! donotcrydonotcrydonotcrydonotcry…
Tell him it is illegal to touch you. Tell him! Stop him! LET GO OF THE WHEEL! I’d rather get into an accident. AIM for the side of the road…that embankment…NOW DAMMIT! Listen to me: GET OFF HIS LAP! Tell him he can’t touch you like that! Tell him you will report him! TAKE HIS HANDS OFF YOU! NOW!! Do not be afraid. You have to be strong. I know you are afraid. He’s big. He’s a full grown disgusting man for God’s sake! Why isn’t he home doing this to his WIFE?!
Come back to me. Jules, don’t go. Stay here in the present. Fight for yourself. SAY SOMETHING. KICK HIM IN THE NUTS. SAY SOMETHING! I need you to be strong. Please be strong. He is lying to you, he is lying to you! HE can’t get mom fired if I tell on him, can he? GET OUT OF THE CAR! You are not going crazy. You are not turning into your father. What is that? Don’t smoke that! Are you crazy? It won’t make this nightmare go away. Ok. Ok. Almost home. Every. second. is. a. day. Stay calm.
“Listen,” he says, “We can do this a lot more if you want. Would you like that? I really like you. You’re so beautiful. You just have to keep this between you and me, ok? He reaches in his pocket and pulls out more dollar bills to hand to me. I am in shock. My body aches below my waist. My head hurts. My mouth that wouldn’t work is dry. I am a fucking prostitute at thirteen. A fucking mute prostitute. I want to die.
Get out of this car I tell myself. My legs are going to give out. MY LEGS ARE SHAKING. I’m scared. I’m disgusted. I let myself down. I didn’t fight him. My body was useless, my words wouldn’t come out. Ok…ok. We’re in my driveway now. Breathe. Listen to me, go into the house. One step at a time. Stay cool. Oh my God he is following me into the house! He wants to make sure I don’t tell on him. This monster is crazy! Keep walking, keep moving…that’s it, do not make eye contact with Mom or stepdad. Go right down the steps…onetwothreefourfivesixseveneightnineteneleventwelve steps. Go into your bedroom. Shut the door. Now Breathe. No, I said breathe. STOP CRYING! STOP IT! BREATHE IDIOT, BREATHE!
Fourteen year old me: What am I still running from? I’m safe now. I got this. I am in control. Please try to let go of the pain. No man will ever hurt me again. Here!…I know…I’ll tryout for basketball, and student council, and plays, and choir and band! That’s it! See how busy I am? I can do it all! Be a star! No one will ever really know me or that nasty ugliness I carry inside of me. There now, put on some mascara and eyeliner. Perfect! Now go and enjoy this new date. He’s a nice boy. Everyone likes him. He’s on the football team so stepdad is able to keep tabs on him. If he hurts me stepdad won’t play him in this weeks game maybe. Yeah, that’ll work. Besides, he’s cute.
Sixteen year old me: Yay me! I got my drivers license! I’m free! Don’t drink that. Do not drink that. Not now.They trust me. Stop, I’ve had enough. Just one more. I cannot operate a motor vehicle now. What am I doing? Get out of the car. I can’t drive this way. No, I’m fine. I really am. I don’t think so. See? Watch me.
I made it! Phew! That was close. I’m funny. I am cracking myself up all the way home! These are the most windy roads ever! It’s like driving up and down a rollercoaster! WAHOO!
Shit I’m late. Need a story…need a story….thinkthinkthink…ok, I had to drop people off because their rides didn’t show up. Okok…that’ll work. I won’t do this again. think I’m going to throw up. I’ll stop lying to the only people who care about me. What in the hell is wrong with me?
Do I have a death wish or something?…
Julie, You are awesome…Uncle Robert
Why thank you, Robert! You’re pretty darn awesome yourself!<3
This post was incredible…i was absolutely on the edge of my seat…riveting..it blew me away. Wow…you are some writer!
Thanks, Pam! I appreciate your feedback very much. Hard to put some things into words. I’m so pleased you got it!