Okay seriously, my About page is pretty short and sweet, and those of you who’ve been around from the beginning, probably know more about me than most. Thank those of you who have been around that long! You’ve read before why I started my blog but you don’t know me… And most… Well, there are things that make up all of us, important events. Those events well… They make you, you! But most, they don’t know my events, who I am. Not all the bits.
I’m about to go deep and dark. Please be warned and please try to be kind. I’ve still got a little banged up Katarina in there who is afraid to talk…
I will start at the beginning. I was born to two people who were very confused separate people. They were and are married but they are not at all a unit that works together. I am the second of three children.
My mother is manic depressive bipolar, and during the late 80s and early 90s doctors were not very good at diagnosing and successfully treating these illnesses. My mother went through drug after drug trying to balance out her mind. There was screaming at invisible people, crying, tearing up the house, times when she just wasn’t mentally there, violence to the extremes and complete listlessness to the point she slept 18+ hours a day.
I remember the periods of sleeping and violence the most. When she slept, because one of the many medications she tried had that effect on her, she’d forget she sent us kids out to play. She’d go and lock the doors to keep us safe inside the house. My father had two jobs, and didn’t get home until sometimes 9 and 10 at night. At first the neighbors helped, let us go to the bathroom, fed us. After awhile, they got tired of it and told us to go home.
I can’t explain to you the frustration of pounding in the doors and windows screaming to be let in. The not being let in. My dad would get home from work, I remember running up to his car’s headlights in the dark, so glad he was home. Then, supremely angry, how he’d storm into the house screaming at my mother for her neglect.
Then there were the pills that made her crazy. Black eyes for my brother, bruises on my arms and legs, punches, slaps, beatings with objects… We said things wrong, we didn’t keep things clean (but no one showed us how), we were loud, we bothered her, we weren’t everything she wanted us to be.
I learned how to work the washing machine in 4th grade because I was tired of wearing nasty clothes. I also cooked ramen, soup, and grilled cheese on the stovetop. I had to pull a chair to the kitchen to do this stuff, I was ridiculously short back then.
We had one great neighbor who didn’t get tired of us but he was old. Fought in the Vietnam War, retired. He helped us out, built outdoor restrooms and a camp in his backyard. All the kids used his amazing yard and we learned about the Bible and Jesus. (But he was busy, I should mention and couldn’t always be around)
I learned to pray a lot. A lot. I prayed for the food to cook without burning, I prayed my baby sister would grow up happy, I would also pray that the Angels would come take me away from that house and keep me forever.
The Angels never came. At least, not in the way a child expects. (Unfortunately, they don’t show up for a while yet, but be patient.)
All during this time, I was noticed by a local teenage boy. He saw me alone, in desperate need of affection and love, and he prayed upon this need. He became my friend. He listened to me, and held me when I was sad, and we traded secrets. He always had time for me. Then one day he pounced. It was confusing, painful. I didn’t understand what was going on. He stopped when I screamed and cried and he apologized. Unfortunately, being a child I thought he meant it.
Time passed, it happened again and again. I wanted to tell someone but, my “friend” started to threaten me. I had a sister. My family could be hurt. I believed him for awhile. He was bigger, stronger and he could hurt me, so he could hurt them. How could I tell my parents? They’d never believe me! My mom would probably beat me more and my dad, how could he love such a little slut?
He did a number on my mind and insecurities. I’m telling you. This kid went on to pray on other kids in the neighborhood. One day he messed with the wrong kid, one with a family that noticed.
Well he came by to apologize one day after he was caught, and I was outside alone. He cornered me and said all he wanted to do was talk. So he sat down and spoke of needing forgiveness and how he was wrong. I looked down and tried not to stare at him, I was nervous to be near him in the least. I went over to my sand table and put my hands under the cool sand. I stared at them and then his hands joined mine. I jumped and he grabbed them and held tight, begging for forgiveness. Out of fear, out of panic, out of the need to get away, I smiled my best smile and told him I forgave him.
He got up and gave me a hug (skin crawl) and left. I never saw him again.
I then turned to my best friend’s house. She was older, and her parents knew what was going on in the neighborhood and she knew to stay away from him. I went over to talk to her, and I’ll never forget the disgust and contempt in her voice; “I saw you with him. You whore.” I used to go to church with her you know. Our church was so big on forgiveness too…
All before middle school. Quite a beginning, yes? My parents were never informed. No one ever thought to call my parents up and say, “hey this happened.” They (adults from the neighborhood) basically shamed me and left me to tell them. So I never did.
Thinking about it, I think the shame they made me feel was a big part. I was the first and only girl victim. The rest were boys. I asked for it being female. I didn’t tell, didn’t I know better than to believe him? 7-10 year olds should know that kind of stuff I guess.
Most of the families moved after the discovery and that teenage boy, I have no idea where he went. Don’t know his last name, don’t know his address from then… Don’t know anything. I feel like the adults who knew should have done something…. But I feel like they didn’t. That person could still be out there. Someone once tried to tell me that was my fault, if I had gone to the police. I beg to differ. Adults, not one scared girl should have done something. Then lovingly encouraged us all to speak out.
As for not telling my parents ever, picture the mentally ill person my mother was, who was also sexually abused as a little girl. How do you think that little girl felt about coming forward to tell that unstable person what happened? Then picture my tired, father. The only stable person who let it be known on many occasions that, “if what happened to your mother happened to any us he’s go to jail for killing that person!”
Now picture the choice that child had in her young mind. At worst her mother would snap and God knows… Or her beloved, stable, daddy would go to jail leaving her with her mother. Only her mother.
The choice was very clear to my young mind. I would not tell.
Jesus, that was damn hard to type out. I’m going to have a good cry and write the rest later.