In the fourth grade, at age 8, we moved in with my mom’s new boyfriend. I didn’t want to leave my great-grandmother’s house, but I didn’t have a choice.
The school that this put me in was the worst one I’d been in. The children had this self-righteous attitude and put me down for being different. I say different because I was the only mixed girl, the fattest, and the quietest. The one friend I did make became my best friend and also a toxic friendship. She had it in her head that anything I would do was because she was already doing it and she would respond to my venting as “You’re just being silly.” In the end I really only hung out with her for convenience because I had no one else.
I spent a lot of time home alone watching my younger brother while he was a baby/toddler and I didn’t connect with him well. I resented him and my mother since she was gone all the time. She’d be home in the evenings, but she’d have me babysit even though I didn’t know what to do. She didn’t show me anything – only told me to watch him. My mom’s boyfriend soon got custody of his daughter (the same age as my younger brother) and now there were two toddlers I had to care for!
My mother was abusive with my step-sister from the beginning. She was behind my brother and my mother would yell at her and smack her for it. My mother got to the point where depression would hit hard and frequently and she’d take it out on my step sister. You could tell she was taking it out on her, too. Unfortunately, I picked up these behaviors and took it out on both of my siblings and would smack them and yell at them. I wanted them to leave. I wanted to leave them. I wanted to disappear. At school there was bullying and my mother wouldn’t talk to the teachers or anything because she “didn’t know what to say” and at home it was just me being left home alone or a lot of yelling.
*By the way, I don’t mention her boyfriend because during the 13 years they were together I only spoke him maybe 5 times. He would make a point to not be home with any of us, he’d be in his room playing video games, or he was asleep or at work.*
When I was home alone I would innocently get on the computer a lot and play games on Yahoo! or get on Neopets. After I discovered I could save pictures I started looking up wallpapers of things I liked and eventually that lead to dark things – especially for an 8 year old. Our computer got a virus. With this virus I discovered porn. And given my unresolved past it lead to horror, guilt, and curiosity. I knew immediately that I shouldn’t look at and I told my mother. She told me to stay off the computer until she could get it fixed. She didn’t talk to me about what I had seen. Once again she’d swept it under the rug. Later on what I had seen had scarred me and I couldn’t forget about it. So guiltily I started looking it up on my own. I found hentai pretty fast which helped me feel not so bad about it since they were just drawings, but I didn’t feel good about it. I think that because it was such a taboo and I knew it, it made me want to look it up more often. So I did. This also led to masturbation.
Through school, I’d learned pretty fast that masturbation and porn were something to joke about, but if someone did it they were considered disgusting. Through what I saw online I was exposed to just about anything you can think of at a young age. With the lack of parental guidance and no one to talk to things became a bit weird for me when kids at school would use being a lesbian or being gay as a weapon. It just wasn’t something I saw a problem with. Now to clarify what I mean in this paragraph: I wasn’t taught to believe to accept things or to not accept things in a certain way so I was really open minded to different types of sexual relationships. This made it weird for me that others were making a big deal about it at school. Since I was known to not have a crush on any of the boys they’d make fun of me and call me a lesbian. Even though I didn’t really know how I felt about that I often responded with “Yeah, I am, so what?” the kids would say that was gross, but it actually made them shut up.
After becoming a bit more accustom to masturbation, my depression and guilt settled in more. I didn’t tell anyone about it. Since I’d always heard about boys touching themselves and not girls this made me feel incredibly disgusting. When I was done I’d burning my hands in hot water trying to get them “clean again.” I was sure that I was going to Hell. Religion was not emphasized in my childhood at all, but I had enough of the sense that I was going to be damned for being such a horrible person. When my mom found out, she simply told me to not look up porn anymore and that masturbation was normal, but to do it seclusion. She literally put it that simply and refused to talk about it again or to me about the changes in my life. Everything just felt worse. I beyond hated myself for masturbating, but I kept doing it because it was one of the few things that made me feel better. I kept looking up porn. I kept burning my hands.
In the seventh grade I was uprooted again and went to a different school. I would jump anytime anyone touched me. I always wore a hoodie and kept my arms crossed. I hated myself and was jealous of everyone else. I became the goth kid pretty early. One: I really enjoyed the style (I’m still in love with it). Two: it was an easy crutch. Having a style that I could embrace myself in gave me something to proud about when I dressed up; I think that goes for any style. Ironically, the style that worked best for me was goth. So I was now the quiet, suicidal, artistic, goth kid. The seventh grade was a nice change of pace because I went to the local Junior High which had people of ALL different kinds of backgrounds so I was able to make a few new friends and feel a little better.
In the eighth grade I had class with a boy who was determined to break down my walls down. I wasn’t interested in this kid at all but over time he got me to open up. We shared ideas about the stories we’d read and the books we wanted to write and things were good for a while. He started coming over to my house and opened up to me about his depression, this friendship lead to me losing some of my other friends. I didn’t have class with them anymore so I didn’t see them as much and they didn’t like him. Eventually he started manipulating me and using things I told him about myself to hold over my head. At one point he told me to kiss him and I told him no that was weird. Eventually I did. And not long after things escalated. He’d tell me he’d never talk to me again and that I was over reacting when I told him no. I was so scared of losing him as a friend because up until this point I had never met someone that connected on so many things with me. I was never interested in him as a boyfriend though. I tried to put my foot down that I didn’t want to do anything like that, but he definitely played on my depression and suicidal thoughts. At one point he told me go cut myself and I did. I had been a cutter for a couple of years at this point, but that time was the worst. To make it even worse my mother didn’t start trying to connect with me until she thought I had a boyfriend. I guess then she saw me a normal. I never wanted a boyfriend and I was adamant about that. Dating wasn’t for me. I was determined that wasn’t going to be put through what my mother had been put through and make bad decisions or let people use me. But I did let him use me.
We started having sex the summer between the eighth grade and freshman year. I felt horrible and I could never get clean enough. I hit my lowest when I started making up a fake boyfriend to other people and told them happily about this great guy I’d met. I role played when my “friend” came over and I became completely delusional. Even at the time I knew I needed professional help, but I didn’t know how to ask for it. I wanted help. I wanted out. When my mother found out I’d had sex she blamed me and didn’t want to talk about it. She left the house and took off. When she later asked if I had been sexually abused before by someone I brought up what had happened to me as a small child and she literally said “Oh, well, I thought you were the one doing that.” like it was completely my fault and sept it back under the rug AGAIN. She never did have a talk to me about it.
When he stopped talking to me with no explanation my sophomore year I lost it. I thought I was going to die and I was ready to. Not because I missed him, but because I was used goods and was never going to comeback from that. Before meeting this guy I was only interest in sex as far as the computer. I had never had any interest in real people at all. I didn’t look at boys or girls and say “Wow! They’re cute!” I’ve never really had any desire to get married and I’ve never wanted kids. But now I was left with emptiness. I had experienced sex and I hadn’t enjoyed it. I’d made up lies to cover up what was going on and I was just as suicidal.
I detest looking back on this, but at one point – straight out of a movie – he showed up at my house months later unannounced and without a word we had sex and he left. My grades fell from As to Fs. I started turning my tests in with not a single problem done and I was ready to drop out and die. I remember repeatedly telling people I wouldn’t make it to the age of twenty.
About this time, my great grandmother was (REALLY LONG STORY SHORT) kidnapped from her home, the cats were left locked inside and her home was sold out from under her. My childhood home and most everything in it was gone. We managed to get the cats and found out that my great-grandmother’s only blood daughter (who had been out of her life for 30 years!) Had moved her into a nursing home! We went to court to help her and lost and her health greatly deteriorated from the experience. Dementia set in and I, regrettably, couldn’t bring myself to visit her like that.
I made a new friend.
The summer between my sophomore year and my junior year I started hanging out with – my now – best friend. He literally saved my life. This guy forced me to delete my “friend’s” number and to stop letting him guilt trip me into seeing him again. Yes, that guy went from mentally fucking me over, to dropping me like a rock, back to trying to get me give into him again. So when he’d call me, my new friend would peek at my phone see was him and tell me I not to answer it. I started feeling confident enough to know I did have a say. I didn’t have to talk to ever again! That summer and the next school year were amazing. I started having a lot more respect for myself and my new friend showed me how sheltered and neglected I was. I started really SEEING how FILTHY my mother’s house was and the verbal abuse that was still going on with my siblings. How horrible our diets were and how unhealthy we really had been living.
My mother and I began fighting again because I started standing up for my step sister and really laying into her because of how gross we lived. I wanted my mother to see what I had my eyes opened up to. My siblings ate the same four TV tray dinners repeatedly. No one in the house cooked. I only ate pizza pockets and pizza rolls and no one in the house drank water. Everyone drank straight out of the jug. No dishes were ever cleaned. We had animal fur everywhere and no one had good hygiene. This was NOT an OK way to LIVE. Not for my mother, not the CHILDREN and not the pets. It was NOT OK. The new attitude to try and make things better lead to a lot more fights, my mother crying, and locking herself in her room. She blamed my new friend and he and I weren’t sorry.
Once I had few months between me and that old “friend” of mine. I started experiencing what someone described as PTSD. I started feeling so “unclean” that when I’d go to the bathroom I’d wipe continuously until I bled. And there was a distinct moment when a friend of mine was playing around and she tried chasing me to tickle me. Everything was fine and we were laughing until I felt her hands around my neck and I started crying. I looked up and she was feet away from me. She hadn’t touched me. I also started witnessing seeing that guy’s face in public. I’d look around in a store and swear it was him. My stomach would get into knots and my heart would pound.
To be honest it took me a couple years for this inner fear to leave me. I had such a hard time trying to grasp the sexual crap in my life. I’ve had most people tell me that I was raped and I’ve been sexually abused. I waited for a very long time to try and really get closure. I’ve accepted that, that won’t really happen. I claim that I was abused and raped. I was sexually abused as a child (and I don’t claim having a predator because they were also victim to what they were exposed to). And I claim that I was raped because I was not in a healthy mindset at all. I never name the guy though because I do see how I was at fault as well, but I don’t consider it truly consensual. And I’ve never had sex since and I still won’t date anyone. I’m just not into it.