‘Sickening wounds festering in chaos, silver tissue shriveling like chrysanthemums, Crystallized teardrops caught in time, salt burns co-habituating in isolation, Fragmented shards of desolation, ghostly vapors breeding in devotion,Sleepless nights in a dank space, muscles deteriorating in weathered palms, Forgotten ruins in past sentiment, loss of love is a bitter pill to swallow, Dejected limbs caught in modernity, loneliness in a bed of squirming lies,Broken doll detached from the norm, bitter defeat in an open coffin’
Like a broken doll I was lost, caught between two worlds in the darkness of my mind. Abused as a child it was time to enter my new life and relinquish the past that had lacerated my soul. But I could not let go of the past, like a demon it haunted me from night until morning, the sweating nightmares my entrance into the light. Taken into care at the age of 10 I thought that all my troubles were gone but I did not anticipate the famished flames that would be lapping at my feet, waiting for me to fall into eternal damnation.
When it comes to my teenage years there are four different stories: the struggle between mother and daughter, the victim of bullying, societies control and the demise of parental contact. Up until secondary school I had little knowledge of bullying, indifferent to the odd insult flung my way. But what I did know is that I was different and was consumed with painful bouts of loneliness that would intensify with age. Taken into care at the age of 10 I was introduced to a new world where presents were the norm and coming home was no longer something to be scared of. But alongside this ‘fairytale life’ was a sequence of events that would leave me fragile and insecure throughout my time in care.
In the first two months of care I lived the idyllic life, a foster mum who loved me, my biological aunties and cousins re-introduced into my life and my birth mum who had come back into my life. Everything seemed perfect and I was allowed to visit my dad & co every week under the supervision of a social worker. Little known to me my stepmother was grooming me- like the witch who fed Hansel and Gretel, ‘E’ wanted to manipulate me into thinking that it was a secure environment and ployed me with sweet chocolate treats. ‘E’ professed her guilt, convincing me that she had been consumed by an ‘outworldly’ force. I believed her, like the sentimental fool I was I thought that people could change until one day nothing was the same. I walked into the living room to see my family and was greeted by screaming. ‘E’ was enraged, getting it into her head that I had done something wrong ripping tufts of my hair in unadulterated rage. The screams became blows and I wriggled free from her gnarled grasp running to my social worker in terror. From that moment on contact with Dad’s family was prohibited and my father would see me in secret, free from the psychotic gaze of his jealous wife.
I was a doll taking on multiple identities, too afraid to acknowledge who I was as a person. At home I was ‘sickeningly’ happy, at school afraid and alone and with family I walked on eggshells, afraid of what they might be plotting against me. I felt bipolar, balancing multiple identities to keep everyone happy and it was not long before the people I loved were taken from me and my dual worlds. ‘E’ had found out that my dad was visiting me in secret and banned him from seeing his first born child. As easy as cutting strings from a purse I was dismissed from his life, a trophy from a life he once had. I did not understand why he did not come and see me any more, crying into my pillow because I had thought that it was all my fault. An abusive childhood had given me a distorted comprehension of love and I was under the assumption that his had faded. I was wrong, after a few months my dad explained that he could not see me anymore and told me that it was because of ‘E’. He created an alias for my number, I was no longer his daughter but an anonymous name on his phone. It hurt at first but over the years I have come to accept that I will never see my dad again.
I will never tell my dad how much I love him, never have him cuddle me again or have him wipe away my tears when everything becomes too much. Because of ‘E’ my family was taken away from me and now I am a broken doll in a broken home. Like a disease I have become isolated, sneered at because I have no dad to call my own. My dad still rings me but only when he is at work… I can’t even call him on his birthday. ‘E’ monitors his calls, controls all his actions and stops my father from loving anyone but her own children- two of them I have never met. My sister and two brothers will never know that they have another sibling, will never know what a monster ‘E’ is and who am I to blame her? She is their mother and I would never take that away from her, even after everything she has done.
I guess what I am trying to say is that I forgive them both, my father was too weak to resist her blackmail and ‘E’ mentally insane. I want to believe that she abused me not out of the blackness of her heart but because her mind was psychologically wired to resent my fathers baggage, I would like to think that she was eaten up with a harrowing disease of jealousy unable to stop herself from hurting the people my father loved the most. I don’t want to accept the truth, that she abused me because I was my dads firstborn, because I stood for everything that she was not-studious, kind-hearted and loving. It is time to close the ‘E’ and ‘dad’ chapter and move on with my life. I may have been abused but my abuse dosen’t define me. Do not pity me for I am a warrior and I wear my battle wounds with pride.
Coming up next week: Chapter Two of my Teenage Years: Bullying
Photography: Jumanna Khanom