Today I Am Free

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
Overcoming a painful childhood thru forgiveness and faith.

Submitted: October 09, 2012

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Submitted: October 09, 2012

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Today I Am Free

I am writing this because it is time. Some may say it is long overdue.

As I sit here with pen and paper about to write the most painful moments of my life, I ask the Almighty Creator to guide my hand and protect my heart, to give me strength; for if not for his love and grace I would not be here.

Sister Abigail....Where do I start? Do I start at the earliest memory I have? Standing in my grandmother's doorway at age 3 maybe 2,watching you approach with the man who would become your second husband and my sister's father. I remember being happy at that moment; I was eating a piece of chicken. You walked in the door, snatched me up and spanked me for eating the chicken. Apparently we were black muslims now and we didn't eat meat.

I see kids being abused everyday in the news, some even killed. Again I say if not for the grace of God that could have been me. Tell me Sister Abigail, how many 5 year olds can recall how it feels to be dangled from a 3rd floor window because they stuck their fingers in a pie, or sprayed the parfume from the pretty bottles on the dresser.

My first day of school was very special. I was going to ride the school bus for the first time, I was very excited. You sent me downstairs to wait in the apartment hallway by myself, while you watched from the window. As the bus pulled up in front of our apartment building I struggled to open the door. I tried and tried but it was to heavy. The bus driver could not see me and so he left. I had missed the bus. I knew what was coming next as you yelled for me to come back upstairs. This would be my first whipping with a hanger, I suppose because it was the closest thing you could get your hands on. I tried to tell you I couldn't get the door open, but you didn't want to hear it. You continued to hit me over and over until the hanger broke. I was relieved as I tried to get away, but you grabbed me by the ankles and pulled me off the couch causing my face to hit the hardwood floor and knocking out my first tooth. After calling your third husband, who later became my molester, I attended my first day of school...late.

I was a very smart child. When I entered school I could do all the things that were expected of a kindergartner, plus I could tell time and read, which I did a lot. I could name all the planets in the solar system and tell you how many miles away from the earth and sun they were. Needless to say I skipped kindergarten and went straight to first grade. Everyone loved me except Sister Abigail.

There were more beatings over the years for various reasons. Beatings with belts, heels of shoes, extension cords and yes more hangers. I remember a couple of trips to the doctors. Once during a marathon whipping I fell over my tricycle, trying to get away and injured myself. I suffered vaginal bleeding. Sister Abigail, frightened though she was, told the doctor that I was a very clumsy child. All the while glaring at me as if to say, "Keep your mouth shut."

I attended an Islamic school thru sixth grade. (I skipped fifth grade.) Then came the dreaded public school and seventh grade. By this time I'm 11, scared to death of Sister Abigail, but at the same time always seeking her love and approval. I couldn't understand why she didn't love me. So many nights I prayed for God to just take my spirit and relocate it somewhere else, if it could be done without me dying. I wanted away from this family so very badly. I thought there is no way that this could be happening in other families. Just mine, and I couldn't tell. I would often go into my closet for hours hoping when they came looking for me I would have vanished never to return, but at last I just fell asleep. I continued to crawl into that closet until I was 17 years old, which was the last time I was beaten with an extension cord. To this day I still go to sleep to escape when things become to overwhelming.

Sister Abigail are you reading this? You always said I sensed evil because I am evil. I agree, I do have a sixth sense when it comes to people who aren't right, but you didn't even have a mother's intuition the night I cried like a 3 year old instead of the 11 year old I was. I didn't want you to leave me alone with the monster. You weren't even disturbed by my unusual reaction to your leaving. No sooner than you closed the door; he started to molest me for the first time. This went on for a month and you didn't even notice the change in me. I felt unprotected and I tried to stop it on my own. I thought if I wore pajama pants instead of the pretty night gowns I liked he would leave me alone. Once my sister whom I loved walked in, I was so scared that he would hurt her, and you would blame me. Instead he yelled at her to go to bed. For true practicing muslims Ramadan is a holy month, this meant nothing to the monster, he continued to come into my room before saying the morning prayer. I still remember the night I told you. I was washing dishes after dinner and had been at it for about 2 hours already, when you came in the kitchen to yell at me. Instead you found me crying uncontrollably. Just before you came in I asked God to help me, to take this burden away. It was too much, I was only 11. I remember the look on your face as you stared at me in disbelief, not only had this happen to me, but it happened this morning while you were in the house. I could hear the confrontation between you and the monster, and then you called me in to repeat the details. He denied it of course, and you looked at me like I might be lying. I spoke up again, I wanted to say, "Aint this a Bitch", but I didn't. Sister Abigail questioned him over and over again, he offered dumb ass explainations attempting to justify molesting a child. She made him leave that night. The next morning I had to go to school, as I'm walking out the door Sister Abigail says, "Don't tell anyone about this." I never did...

Later the monster returned. I remember him asking, "What's next?" He wanted to know if he was staying or leaving. I couldn't believe my ears when I heard Sister Abigail say that the decision would be mine. Are you kidding me? I'm still 11 and the victim! I stood there thinking she loves this asshole more than she loves me, why else wouldn't she throw him out on his ass. I knew I had no power in this situation, so I said yes he could stay. Eventually she made him leave for good. I thought things would get better but they just got worse. Not only did the physical beatings get worse but there was an attack on my self esteem that would last over the next 20 years. Yes, she believed me and she made the monster leave but I paid for his crime. She never hugged me or said everything will be alright. I never heard sorry this happened to you. There was no counseling, spiritual or medical for me. I learned Life goes on.

I recall after the monster left getting a beating so severe that I thought I was going to die that very day. I was face down on the floor, Sister Abigail's knees were in my back as she pulled my hair out bythe roots. I didn't think my neck could withstand the pulling on my hair, and at any moment it would just snap ending my life. Soon it stopped, and she just got up leaving me lying in the hall surrounded by tufts of my own hair. I was constantly belittled, embarassed and told I was ugly. She hated everything about me, including the color of my skin. Her rationale was the world would be more accepting of me because of my lighter skin tone as opposed to my sister who had the darker complexion. In Sister Abigail's mind she was evening the playing field by tearing me down while building my sister up.

During my high school years Sister Abigail had started a business. She had something else to focus on besides me. She appeared to be a confident, popular, business savvy woman of influence; but I knew she was broken, and had been long before she had kids. I was still being tortured. Although the beatings weren't as frequent, anything good or exciting that had to do with me she would ruin or put a stop to. I had a mother /daughter luncheon at school part of our senior year activities, she purposely stood me up, I was the only one there alone. I wasn't allowed to participate in any school activities such as games or after school programs. I got a job but wasn't allowed to keep any of the money. If anyone suspected something was wrong and tried to help me, she would threaten them or tell stories and spin truths that made me look like an awful child. I was allowed to date , but with dating came other problems. I felt such a relief when I was away from Sister Abigail that I never wanted my dates to end. I broke curfew a lot. Because I broke curfew she began to lock me out of the house.

By this time I'm dating one guy pretty seriously. I couldn't keep the disfunction which was my life hidden from him. After getting locked out one to many times, he decides to intervene on my behalf. He confronts Sister Abigail who does not listen, instead she curses him and me, then kicks me out for good. I had no place to go. This night changed my life forever, fore this was the night I got pregnant at 18, ten months after graduating high school. He was my first.

After bouncing from one friend to another for shelter, I was allowed to return to Sister Abigail's. Upon my return things had gotten even weirder. There was a lot of talk about God in human form and spirit that talked to her, Sister Abigail was now into Christian Science. She often went into these trances, the whites of her eyes had become yellow and glassy, in this state she would always receive some revelation about the evil around her, including me. Others started to notice what I've known my whole life....Something is wrong with Sister Abigail.

This is a true summary of the first 20 years of my life. I endured 20 more years of emotional abuse while still trying to love this woman and understand the anger and hatred she had for me. There is a saying, "Blood Is Thicker Than Water," in my case the blood was so thick it was killing me. I finally let go of Sister Abigail. I forgave her. Today I understand that she needed help long before she had me and no one was there for her. Today I let go of the pain and confusion I've carried with me all these years. Today, Sister Abigail, I let go of the anger I've felt for you and the monster you allowed in our home. Lastly I let go.... of you.

I close this chapter of my life with forgiveness and a thankful heart, to God Almighty who gave me the strength to survive and to become a better parent to my own children. Today I am free.


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