All of our stories have a purpose. I never knew mine until recently, but I only wish I’d had the courage sooner to share it.
Like many people, I was born in to an indigent family, my parents were young and very far from in love. They were also step siblings… In case you’re wondering how they met. The conception of my sister drove them into a forced marriage. Our family was quite religious even though our parents weren’t. Within a few short years she conceived once again – Only this time our father had gone to jail, & with our mother’s infidelity – there was plenty of speculation as to who’s child I was. My father’s or my uncle’s?
Kinda messed up, huh? Well, It gets worse. Way worse…
I was born in Feb. of ’94 – Not long after, my parents split for good. They couldn’t afford a divorce of course, so my mother ran off with my sister and I to Indiana. This tug of war game would be our lifestyle for many years. From the age of 2 my sister and I hopped around from family members to foster care to strangers. Inconsistency was all we knew, so we eventually learned to adapt. Our mother remarried and didn’t have “room” for us – or our dad was in prison. There was always a reason why; but their excuses couldn’t comfort us at night. They were especially uncomforting the day of my 5th birthday. We were living with our aunt and uncle at the time and I told my mom about how our cousins would touch us and how they made us do things. Bad things. Her response was that she didn’t have anywhere else for us to go. The abuse continued until CPS got involved. This became the norm – different situation, same outcome. By the time I was 14, My sister and I had endured the neglect, physical, mental and habitual sexual abuse – by several family members. Everything from Knives being held to our throats as a threat to being drugged and raped by our uncle – who I thought was my dad at the time. We were stepped on, mistreated and tossed around like rag-dolls… Little unwanted nothings.
That light – a Child’s shine, had all but disappeared. Stolen. Never to return; our childhood was as bleak and grey as our future… Or so we were told.
What were our lives to become? Destined for failure; we never had a chance.
Even at school we were the weird kids. Bullied, kicked when we were down.
Kids are mean because they are unaware, but the real evil lies within Knowledge of an issue and doing nothing about it.
After spending some time as wards of the state for the last time, our circumstances somewhat improved. Malinda was sent to an all-girls home till she was 17. I was taken in by a family friend who had issues of her own. Although It wasn’t the best of circumstances, it was better than we ever had – and for that I was thankful. However; my past was now the least of my worries.
See, what nobody cared to talk about was the lingering affects that come from traumatic experiences. Of course, we talk about PTSD openly in reference to military veterans, but what about everyone else? What about the millions of kids and adults who are all around us? Many suffer from mental health issues because they never received any kind of support after dealing with a life altering experience.
Doctors? Therapists? Rehab centers?
Could you possibly afford that if you came from their underprivileged class?
Privilege isn’t something we can help, but the struggle is part of our journey in which will only make us wiser in the end. Sometimes we just need a little support to get through it.
I am now almost 24 years old. I still struggle most days to keep my head up and to remind myself that I am not my past – And the things that happened to my sister and I – happen more often than we’d like to realize. I didn’t speak up for years because of constant fear. Fear of being judged, embarrassed, of rejection or disbelief. This wasn’t something you could just talk about with anyone at anytime. I was already the weird charity case, so who would even care? Low self-esteem, anxiety, depression. These issues are not easily overcame by yourself – but sometimes you have to believe in your future and your dreams more than your doubters. Work on loving yourself first, but never forget the lessons you’ve learned along the way.
I will say this; I thank God for the life he has given me. At times it’s been very difficult to see past the nightmare at hand – But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from this meandering road we call life; it’s that nothing is known and the sooner we let go of control, the sooner you’ll have it.
“Without suffering there would be no compassion.”
– A Walk to Remember