I never had what one would call a conventional childhood. I was born into chaos. But I had my mom and my brothers and they loved me so much. But when my mom died things went from bad to worse. I have been in therapy for about a year now and one thing that I have come to understand and accept is that I have been carrying a lot of anger in my heart for a long time. The only way to let go of that anger is to acknowledge it and bring it out into the light.
It is during our darkest moments that we must focus to see the light.
This is going to be decidedly triggering for some people. I would understand if you don’t want to or can’t read this. It’s never easy to read about other people’s pain, especially when that pain happens to a child. I keep having to remind myself that I was a little girl, that I was vulnerable and I needed adults to take care of me.
In March 1988 two social workers came to my school to talk to me, having received a call from several teachers and a guidance councilor. Someone finally noticed me! They noticed the pain, and the lost look in my eyes. Someone noticed the bruises and the stress; the ill fitting clothes and hunger for both food and attention. I don’t remember a whole lot about that day. We sat in the guidance office for a long time talking as they slowly extracted the story out of me. One thing was certain, I was terrified. You see this hadn’t been the first time I sat in a room with the social workers; and the previous time hadn’t ended that well for me.
My mother died in November of 1984 by January of 1985 my would be step mother had moved into our home. This woman had a surprising amount of sway over my dad, who had drunken himself into a level of negligence that was staggering. To say she disliked me was a gross understatement, I was a living breathing reminder of my mother and she wanted me gone. She had already given away everything that had any whiff of my mom, from the furniture to the cat. However try as she might she could not convince my dad to send me away, and that made her MAD. Unfortunately my dad was too drunk to notice that anger was being taken out on me. Some time in those first few months I endured a particularly brutal “discipline” which attracted the attention of our next door neighbour, a teacher and the mother of a school friend. She had seen me changing into PJ’s at a sleep over and was horrified by the bruises and welts she’s seen. That was three people, the magic number of phone calls it took in those days for Children’s Aid to open an investigation. I was taken from my fourth grade classroom and brought down to the principal’s office and there the social worker asked me a few questions and in front of the principal asked me to take down my pants and raise my shirt so they could look at my bruises. I can’t remember the details but I am sure it must have been humiliating. At the same time someone one was talking to my dad. I don’t know what was said, I don’t know how their decisions were made but I wasn’t taken into care that day. If I had been I would have been 10 years old, I would have had a foster placement, and would have still been considered adoptable. If they had have stepped in then I would have been damaged but not broken. But that’s not what happened. Instead they sent me home to my very angry dad and step mother, and I paid the price for speaking.
I kept paying that price for three more years until that day in March. That day they didn’t send me home. In fact I never went “home” again, the next time I saw my dad and step-mom was across a court room. I was free at last but it has taken me 31 years to begin to heal the damage done in those three years.