I know it’s been a while since I’ve written about my past, but I am feeling a need to discuss more with you all. I have a need to resolve a few of the scenarios that I started sharing previously. I will begin by stating that there is no other name for what I experienced, but child abuse. As many of you know, I was raised in a household where my step mother had the ability to do as she wanted with her step children. I was treated unfairly, and didn’t have a lot of options after the death of my mother. I tried coping with this abuse in many different ways, and the purpose of this particular article series is to tell you all some of the ways I coped with my situation. I am telling you all how I had to handle day to day life, because I want you all to be able to recognize this behavior in other children/people.
“I felt as if no one truly loved me or that I was less valuable than everyone else.”
Firstly, as a child I spent a lot of my time outdoors. This wasn’t because of child abuse, this was because I hadn’t discovered how cruel my step mom could be yet. I spend hours at a time running around in our back yard, playing with toys and making a mess of myself. I spent the first years of my life just as any child would. I played with my siblings and neighbors and had a wonderful time. However, when I got older I experienced a shift in my daily life. The older I got the worse it became.
When I began to look like a young woman, rather than a small girl, my step mother’s hate for me grew ten fold. She found reasons to tell me how awful I was and frequently ridiculed my fashion choices. She spent a lot of time trying to make me feel like less of a person, and for a while that is exactly what I felt. I felt as if no one truly loved me or that I was less valuable than everyone else. I assumed that because I wasn’t HER child I was a mistake. My father once told me that he wished he had never met my biological mother, and this struck me right in the heart. I then asked him where I would be if he hadn’t of met her. He told me that I would still be here, I would just have blond hair and be her daughter instead. I couldn’t really understand what the difference would have been, and it made me feel as if I should simply disappear from existence. Would he have loved me more if I came from the blood of this evil woman? His logic was clearly flawed.
There is another time that my younger sister and I were having a conversation about the similarities we have. I noted that since she and my younger brother were only a year apart, they were like myself and my older step brother (who were also a year apart in age). My little sister later went to her mother with this new-found information. My step mother must have hated that I had told my sister this because it wasn’t too long and she was in my face screaming at me. She told me that my younger sister would never be as skinny and ugly as me and that I am to never make comments like that again! I began crying and she told me that I needed to cut it out and leave them alone.
My point is that when I started spending more time indoors and locked away in my bedroom, but I wasn’t forced. I felt unwanted outside of the space I had created. Even within the walls of my bedroom I somehow remained insecure. I spent years behind a closed door teaching myself how to play music on the piano, and writing songs. There were so many hours wasted writing poetry only to have it taken from me when it didn’t meet the standards for my step mom. I hid my notebooks in dresser drawers and under my mattress, but she always seemed to find them and destroy my work. My life was a constant battle of being able to express myself freely and having every bit of my expression taken from me.
I was told repeatedly that I needed to shut up and stop singing, because it hurts everyone’s ears. I was told that my style was terrible, though wasn’t taken to buy new clothing. I was told that I was an attention seeker who tried to make people feel sorry for me, but no one listened anyway. I was told that my way of thinking, breathing, speaking, and living was wrong. I felt as if I could do nothing right.
I carried all of these homemade insecurities through my adolescent years and into my adult life. I find myself saying things that don’t really make sense now, like when I apologize for annoying people with my music. No one but my step mother and step sibling ever told me that my music was bad, I just heard that phrase so many times that I fear it is engraved into my heart. The words they spit at me had taken charge of my life. I recognize that now and am getting better, but it takes time.
I spent a lot of time at school seeking out friends and drawing attention to myself, but I never was satisfied. There were many days where I felt the loneliest, and I would spend time writing my imaginary life out on sheets of old paper. I drew pictures and the other kids didn’t appreciate them. There were boys who ridiculed me for being artistic and creative, and at the time their words hurt more than anyone else’s. These kids would take pictures from my notebooks and pass them around making fun of my outlet.
In middle school I struggled socializing, because I knew a lot more about life than I really needed to know. My seventh grade year was when my mother killed herself, and all of my so called friends reacted so poorly. One girl told me that I was acting too calm, and that if it were her she would be acting out on purpose. I just couldn’t understand why someone would use their mother dying as an excuse to be terrible. Wouldn’t you want to prove stereotypes wrong? This was when I realized that the people I was surrounded by were toxic.
Part 2 Coming soon
So, not only was I having a hard time at home, but the kids at school played a huge roll in my mental anguish for a while as well. We’ll be opening up that side of my life very soon.
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A read while you wait for part two: Tales from a 20 Something