It has been a while since you and I have been in communication. As I approach another birthday you came to mind. Without you, I would not be here today. Without you, I would not have survived. When I look back in time, I want to thank you for a number of things that helped me to be here today.
Dearest Mini-Me, thank you for realizing so early in life that not all parents are good ones. Having a baby makes any woman a mother but it does not make them a good parent. This is the single, most important point you kept in the forefront of your young life. It is sad that this was the case but it allowed survival mode to kick in early.
You were never really wanted, or at least it never felt like you were. You were strong in the face of the verbal insults. Your ears heard daily that you were nothing, worthless and not good enough. In the sadness of hearing this, most of your elementary years were spent living in the fear that if you did not conform to crazy rules of conduct you would be taken to an orphanage and left there. Better yet, that harm would be done to you and so satisfied would your parents be with that, they would happily say that afterwards they would call the police and tell them they did it…like it was nothing to hurt a child.
The smallest infraction resulted in the most terrible punishments. Most of the accusations and things you supposedly did wrong were not based in reality. It was the reality of the thoughts of a crazy woman. Most things you were accused of never happened. Never! Those imaginary things required punishments. No one listened to your sane, rational words. “I did not do that.” “That never happened.” “That’s not really what happened.”
Bath times were supposed to be calming and a quiet time before going to bed. Instead it was the whipping place. You would be washing in the tub when the door would open. High in the air in a hand fueled by rage, instigated by imaginary things, was that thin, brown extension cord. Down it would swing and land on wet skin. Wet skin made the strikes more painful. The whelps and cuts were that much bigger. That was the purpose and the plan.
Emotional fear and physical pain were modes of discipline and you learned how to be perfect in a crazy toxic world. You were a fast learner. You had to be. You were living in an unknown cycle of abuse that went back generations. It would be terribly hard for you to survive. On the outside and to others all things looked normal. No one really knew what happened once you got home and were with those people called parents. No one knew and no one could help.
Thank you, Dearest Mini-Me for working really hard to develop friends outside the home. Granted, no outsiders ever were allowed over to our house; you were able to go to the houses of others and could see how other children lived. How they were loved. You realized you were not loved. Never a beloved child. Never loved. Never hugged. Never kissed. Never told, “I love you.” Your birthday was never remembered and you did not get gifts at Christmas. You just looked on as everyone else opened presents.
You realized something was really wrong with the parents you had. They each had very different wrong things in their personalities. Things that went way back and were being manifested toward you. You did what you could to survive and made it a goal to get out and to get help one day. Help for you. You never wanted to be like them as an adult.
As you got older things changed. The abuse changed but it never stopped. As a teen you were almost without a persona from all the name calling and constant bullying by your mother. For years when you looked in the mirror you only saw her face. It was the face of a demon with horrible red eyes. You stopped looking in mirrors for years because the image of you was so awful to see. You were not there. Where were you?
When it was decided that you could not eat any food at home, you got a job in high school so that you could buy food or eat out. There was no privacy of any kind. All letters to you were read. All locks on your room door were dismantled. Sleep most week nights was disrupted. At 2AM, the lights would be abruptly flipped on and screaming and yelling of insults would happen until 3:30 or 4AM. You had to get out of bed and stand up to take the yelling. Life was exhausting and the days were long and filled with the struggle to stay awake. Then it was decided that you were not good enough to use the furniture so you had to sleep on the floor.
You tried to reach out to an adult for help but no one believed you. The atrocities you endured. So many more that can be told here in this short letter. Our family looked too perfect on the outside. You reached out to a counselor. When your mother was contacted she convinced the counselor that you were a wayward, ungrateful child. There was no help from the adults that were supposed to help. No one believed you.
You could see no future for yourself. All the years of holding everything inside began to break you down. You always smiled on the outside but inside you were crying. All the time crying, wanting a different life. The life of your friends. The life of your other relatives. A life of your own. Just any life that was safe. A life!
Your life was slowly being taken away, ebbing toward the abyss that you were on the brink of falling into or being pushed into. You saw that there was no way out except by your own hands. A plan was formulated. It was later put to rest by friends. They listened to you and even saw some of the truths you revealed. They gave you hope. Hope that you would have a life one day. A future. Thank God for friends. They saved you.
You, also saved you. You saved your money and got out. Eventually you got counseling to try to undo all the damage that was done to you. Lots and lots of laying on a couch. Years even. It worked. Dearest Mini-me, you broke the cycle of abuse. You learned how to protect yourself and to recognize that toxic people have no place in your life. You learned how to not take on the crazy. You gave me, me!
I found myself and saw myself in mirrors. I could actually look at pictures of me and see me. Beautiful me! I could actually imagine a life that actually went years into the future. I found my life. I found me! I try to live each day to the fullest now. I embrace the idea of “carpe diem” and “yolo” to the fullest. I try not to look back on those very sad times early in my life. I do not want them to ever define me.
I know you are always with me. You are my Dearest Mini-me. Rest now. You protected me for a very long time. I now have the strength to protect you. You will always be a part of me. Thank you! Know that I will always love you, my Dearest Mini-me.