Clearing the head…Clearing the shame…

For years now I’ve believed writing good for the soul. When I began thinking about putting my nightmares into words it was frightening to imagine revisiting those feelings. It took so very much to put “My Justice” together for my children. They deserved to know how this evil first invaded our family. How could I possibly let them think that this was merely a result of being a child from divorce? They really needed to understand the how’s and why’s of our family having suffered through so much pain. I wasn’t sure how to begin with them.

How do you tell your children you were sexual abused? How do you bring up this topic with them? It’s so impossible to think they would truly understand what had happened and how the scars I carried had bled in to invade their world.

I decided I would just do it. I had to do it for all of us. It’s not that I wanted my entire life to be out there for everyone, but I felt it necessary to explain to them and to use my horrific experiences as a tool of human moral for others. The level of their evil, both my mother and my stepfather, was so very deep that they created a grown child with no sence of manners, decent judgement, confidence, and the many other types of behaviors and knowledge a normal 17-year-old should have. It was almost impossible for me to go through everyday actions of life as others were doing. How was I to act like an adult with the shattered soul of a 5-year-old still held up inside of me?

My mother had never taught us that we needed to wipe after going to the toilet. Hell most often we didn’t even have toilet paper. There was never one word spoken about brushing your teeth. In fact there were only two toothbrushes and one belonged to each of them. We never said please or thank you to anyone; not even for passing the food.

When I quit bathing as a mode to protect myself from being trapped in the room with him, no one ever said a word. My brother and stepfather would tease me about stinking, but no one said, “Get upstairs and take a bath”. I remember at the age of 15 the school was demanding that all of us keep deodorant in our gym lockers and that we shower after class. The teacher would hang out in her office just off the locker room. There was a big glass window between us and her. She would walk to the shower room and check in on us; even saw me dodging all others as I cowered into a corner. At least I thought she saw me. We did make I contact, that I do remember. Anyway, I let mom know that I needed deodorant. Her words, ‘If you’d take a bath you wouldn’t need fucking deodorant”, and she never bought any; which cost me a demerit or two in class.

Can you imagine how I had to develop when I left home? Seventeen years old, moving in with a 24-year-old man!! I knew how to keep a house spotless, how to put dinner on the table every night. I definitely knew how to please him sexually. I knew to bow down to him and follow all of his rules, but I would take little pieces of bread to fill the holes in my top front teeth. However, I did buy myself a toothbrush.

I was not a young woman starting out in life with goals, ideas, ambitions. Hell, what were those. All I ever knew how to do, take care of my man and the others that came into my life.

As I, some 4 years later, became a mom; I knew how to answer to my child’s every whim. I was a fabulous Mother!!! My baby was bathed, fed, given fluoride drops ( we lived in the U.K.). He was pampered to the fullest extent. My husband, who was a different man because the other had almost killed me more than once; but he never had to worry about taking care of anything that concerned the house. It didn’t matter how heavy the job or what it intailed; it was my responsibility and if I didn’t stay on top of it then I was filled with guilt for not meeting their needs.

I had been programmed that nothing I needed mattered. Now it was always about being clean, which I had become Obsessive Compulsive about even showering & douching myself. All little details mattered. For I was so ugly looking; that’s all I can say about it. Four of my top front teeth were broken and now just black holes of decade teeth. Most of my molars were decade and broken off as well. My skin was scary looking. My arms and legs were so covered with deep big scars of the infection that had eaten away at my skin for five years, which of couse was from not being able to bath without a visitor.

Honestly, My mother let me rot as he raped me and molested me. Held me with his huge coal stained hand over my mouth while my sister slept silently next to me. She was around 4 when we started sharing a bed together. I would often wonder if her eyes ever opened to see what her father was doing?

How do I teach my children to be decent people with manners, kindness towards others; to keep themselves clean? How do I teach my children that they matter? They need education to get a job. They need to learn how to manage finances, which I had no clue. They had begun taking any money I made at the age of 11 with my babysitting jobs. Then later it would be him caught stealing from my purse.

How do I tell my children who the person is that my parents created, but how I wanted so much more for them? How much I truly tried to give all I had of me up until the last child left my home. Even then there was still dinner each night when I got home from work and we ate as one. I gave them morals. They were taught to say prayers, please & thank you. As children everyone would compliment on them. How smart they were? How beautiful and how well behaved. I would ask to make sure they were talking about my children, lol!!!

This is just one part of the abuses I’ve gone through. This is only some of the ways that it left it marks on me. I’m still rebuilding my soul. Writing “My Justice” and finally giving them some sense of understanding as to where I came from and why some of this evil and mis-guided behaviors invaded their world. It was a blessing of peace for me to finally speak of what had truly happened. With my scarred up skin, broken and partially filled teeth, it’s not been easy to get through this life as a woman. We’re expected to be beautiful, have smooth soft skin, bright shining smiles; even to wear cute little outfits & dresses that show off our legs. NOT ME, NO WAY – No one ever got to sit and massage my legs or rub my feet. It was difficult enough to sit next to someone and it still is because I feel their eyes on my skin and looking at my crooked smile and my crooked mouth from the empty spaces. I wish there were some miracle that could make me look like everyone else. A pot load of money to give me a bright new smile, which I have never seen on myself. I look at very young childhood pictures and even then I can see the plaque build up starting on my teeth.  Wouldn’t that be a true blessing from God just to be given the smile I never had?

The tears well up in my eyes as I think about the heavy scars that cover my legs and arms. There will never be anyway to fix this. They cannot give me smooth new skin. It’s horrifying to have people look at you like that all your life; Always wondering, “What is the first thought in their head?” How can a man willingly choose to be with me? That is a whole other discussion meant for another day.

It’s good to get back to writing and sharing with everyone. My thanks and blessings to all who read this. I pray you are not the broken spirit of your past. If I can walk through this life, teach my children to be wonderfully decent people, carry the physical trauma for all to gauk at, and still see a bright love in this world; this is something you can get through as well.

There is no guarantee of safety in our world, not even in our homes. We come into this world and are left in the hands of others. It is up to them to give us something to guide us through. This is all that I can give to my children.. I pray that they will stand proud and stop the evil from passing forward. We cannot allow this sickness to eat into our families. If we are the broken souls; simply guide them at your best, get help & support for yourself; leave the rest up to God.

Patricia A. McKnight

For my children, I am so,so very sorry – Be strong, wise & good – hugs!!!

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3 thoughts on “Clearing the head…Clearing the shame…

  1. Dear Tricia,
    It was so nice to speak with you yesterday. While sitting in a formal English Garden surrounded by beautiful yellow roses, my thoughts drifted to you and all the wonderful things you do for others. Tricia, your life has had such great meaning and purpose, as you have had such a positive impact on the lives of many you know and so many more you will never know nor ever meet. Still, your voice is a beacon of hope and illuminating a road of courage and enlightenment.

    I am eager to see that photograph we spoke of yesterday my dear friend. In the meantime always know how much I appreciate you and all you do and will do.

    And lastly, it is so great to see you write again!!

    With my deepest admiration,

    Peter Thomas Senese
    Founder
    The I CARE Foundation

    • Dear Peter,
      Your words as always are so deeply comforting. I cannot believe that my story captured your heart and your attention. You have been an incredible supporter and have made a lasting impact on my life. I see all that you give of yourself to others; all of those children who your organization help return safely and I so admire you. I am truly thankful to have connected with you and it is often like a “pinch me I’m dreaming” to be where I am today, safe & loved. I’m doing some more writing today as I was thinking of you and your words to me on the phone the other day, so you will be getting some big time kudos my friend.

      For all that you inspire within me, thank you 🙂

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