“That’s what happens to little girls who never listen.” The words still ring in a young woman’s ears when she thinks back on the most memorable parts of her childhood. It is these thoughts that bring her to view her own life as though it were little more than a fallen fairytale. It’s the only way that seems to temper the turmoil that remembering it as truth brings her mind. She was three when She learned the world is there to hurt you and only those who are stronger than everyone else will ever survive. She was three when she learned that the people meant to love and protect you are the ones who can cause you the most pain of all. It was the age of ten when her sense of love and relationships would be warped forever.
The girl doesn’t know her mother’s original goal or intention when it came to parenting, though, after having three children by three different fathers and not staying with any of them, the idea of it being bad shouldn’t have come as a surprise to anyone. Instead of love and care, the mother’s parenting style held the not wanted qualities of being hateful, heartless and blaming. After letting her own mother adopt her two sons when she proved incapable of providing any parental care that could even be considered remotely acceptable, the girl’s mother proceeded to marry a second man and have the girl in the winter of 1996. The mother’s family were all hopeful that the mother would finally grow up when given the girl she had claimed to want so badly. It was not to be. Instead, the mother continued her irresponsible behavior which resulted in her infant daughter being hospitalized with pneumonia. The mother swore to the girl’s grandmother she would stay with her infant but, minutes after her the grandmother’s departure, the woman herself left with her daughter’s father and returned to the road where the two held jobs as truck drivers. It was only when the little girl stopped breathing in the middle of the night and was momentarily declared dead that nurses called in the grandmother after being unable to contact the mother. This illness, a result of the mother’s behavior, would cause the little girl to suffer asthma for several years until the girl refused use of her inhaler any longer and refused to acknowledge that she had asthma at all. The mother’s style of parenting never improved and she left her daughter with her own mother for two years when she reappeared with a new guy, claiming to adore this one. The grandmother let her daughter take the now toddler and for a while everything seemed happy—on the outside. For the little girl, now three years old, things couldn’t have been farther from happy if she had worked for it. Shortly after going with her mother and her mother’s new boyfriend, the man had begun touching her. The first night this happened, her mother had, once again, passed out drunk on the floor from drinks she had demanded her toddler fetch her. The man decided to give the toddler a bath and he took her to the bathroom. That was the night darkness began to grow in the little girl’s mind. Her night ended with her body being violated while her head was held underwater. At some point, she passed out and woke several hours later, sore and in an empty bathtub. Leaving the bathroom, her still passed out mother seemed to stir slightly. “That’s what happens to little girls who never listen.” The little girl knew, then, that her mother didn’t care and never would care what happened to her. Days later, she was told, “if you tell anyone, I’ll kill mommy”. And the little girl, wanting nothing more than her mother to want and love her, would always do anything for her mother. Her silence began. For several years, the little girl allowed the man to do what he wanted and just let her mind float from her while he took whatever he wanted. She hid the truth from everyone—including herself.
The mother proved her emotional state, particularly when it came to her daughter, was limited to violence and snap hate filled decisions. There was never any real love for her daughter. On the little girl’s tenth birthday, instead of a birthday party like most of her friends received from their parents and families, the little girl got the final nail in the coffin of her innocence. Her last shred of childhood, that she had managed to dig her claws into and cling to while everything crashed around her, was viciously ripped from her grasp. That was the day her sense of love and relationships warped forever. Not only did she lose her innocence that day, but she realized if her mother loved her at all it was only in the twisted way her clearly damaged mind was capable of. Hours after losing her innocence her mother and her, as far as she knew, father got into a fight. It was worse than any other had been. Things got loud fast and then they turned violent—that had never happened before. The girl panicked and screamed at the man. “Go away and don’t come back!!” Those words would ensure her mother would never care for her. Especially not when the choice was down between her daughter or her husband. The man left, but first threw a heavy glass lamp at her mother. Instead of letting the woman get hit, or simply pushing her out of the way, she slammed her small body into her mother, causing the woman to hit the floor. The lamp, meanwhile, slammed into the back of the girl, sending her crashing into the hall—bleeding but feeling victorious for having saved her mother from that. After the man left, though, her mother snatched her by her hair and threw her into her bedroom, screaming about how everything was her fault. The darkness feasted upon the little girl’s heart and mind and took up permanent residence in her soul. While her mother proved that her own displays of emotion were more like that of a child, it was always up to the little girl to be the adult in any given situation and she met the challenge as well as she could. No one gives the little girl any knowledge of how she is meant to react when she must mother the woman that is twenty-five years her senior and meant to take care of her.
The little girl always held the knowledge that her home would never be like that of her friends’. While her friends had sleepovers, she was more concerned with keeping her father out of her bedroom. While her friends had birthday parties, she would pray her parents would forget about what the day meant. While her friends got grounded from television, she would be grounded from going to school, doing her homework or reading. While her friends would get a spanking, she got hit with whatever was in reach until she wasn’t trying to get back up anymore.
Our victim, or protagonist depending on your viewpoint, grew up to be a bright and academically inclined young woman. She wanted to be a social worker and do nothing but help children that were in her same situation or similar. The young woman let her life continue on the path she had been dragged down kicking and screaming—it was easier that way, wasn’t it? Unfortunately for her desire to escape to college quietly and never look back, her school decided to have an assembly just a month after her eighteenth birthday. After said assembly, her friends quite literally dragged her into the library where the school had “people to talk to” and reported her father, step-father in reality, on her behalf. The girl sat quietly writing poems and when asked if it was true her only response was to shove the poems, that detailed the abuse in explicit detail, to her male best friend and he passed them onto the woman he and her female best friend had been speaking with. From there, everything seemed to explode rather like Wile E. Coyote when he failed to get the roadrunner each time, except for the lack of impressive visual explosion. The girl lost the support of her family and eventually her friends until she was left completely alone in the world. Which was fine—she had better practice at being alone.