As I got older I continued to stay on guard, not letting anyone in. The girls that lived around me never came to my house but I had one friend that was a boy. He came over quite often and we played mostly outside but there were times when we played inside. I think something happened to him but I can’t be sure so I won’t speculate on that here. I tried to go to my friends houses to be away from home after school until my dad got home. If I could not go to a friends I would visit my great-aunt and uncle that lived near us. They were quite a bit older as they were my dad’s aunt and uncle but I guess nobody really thought that was weird because nobody ever said anything. Their kids were grown and gone so I played cards with them or played with their dog.
The older I got the more things I found to do away from home, I was already going to dance class once a week since I was 3 years old but once I was old enough I started to stay after school for baton, ceramics, track, extra dance classes, figure skating, etc. I would go to my friends houses to spend the night, I didn’t want to have anyone to my house out of fear that something might happen. I had birthday parties at my house but that was safe, nothing would happen with a group and nobody spent the night, not yet anyway. Around 5th grade I had started to become close to a girl in my class and I invited her to go camping with us, my brother had to work so was not going. After the camping trip we started hanging out a lot on the weekends, roller skating, shopping, etc. One weekend she came to spend the night and I never should have let her. Nothing happened that I know of but my brother asked me to see if she would let him do things with her. I didn’t ask her but I told him that she said no and I think that was the end of it.
My brother started having me bring notes to the neighbor girl and every time I went to her door I got so embarrassed. I really thought she knew what he was doing to me because she always said no. I didn’t even know what he asked her but it didn’t matter, in my mind everyone knew the truth and hated me. I just kept on doing what he told me to and I kept on having outbursts in school. I was bullied a lot in school, I was quiet and shy so only had a couple of friends that I talked to regularly. I was very thin with long, skinny arms and legs. I had to wear Keds tennis shoes, special buster brown shoes (all the other kids wore Nike, Addidas and clogs) and my clothes were all little kids styles because I was so little. Kids were cruel and I sunk further into depression and became more and more backward. As I got older I became even more self-conscious of my clothing, I was scared to ask my mom for the clothes the other kids were wearing. I continued to get bullied about my clothes, my size, etc. I didn’t do well in school at all and I kept getting into trouble. I hung out with my one and only friend from grade school.
My parents split up while I was in junior high and I didn’t understand why. No explanation just one day they tell me they are splitting and dad was moving away. Now I was more scared than ever. In the back of my mind I thought somehow my dad would find out and protect me from this terrible life so I wanted to live with him. I couldn’t of course. Now what? Thankfully my brother met a girl and they started dating. She became pregnant soon after. My brother never touched me again after that. I thought things would be different for me now, I could finally be ok. It was over and I would never tell anyone.
I saw my dad every Wednesday night and every other weekend. We would go to the movies, eat pizza and go on short trips to my cousins near Branson. My mom reconnected with an old boyfriend and they started dating. I was NOT going to replace my dad and I didn’t want to have anything to do with this man. Of course my dad could not stand it and would ask me all kinds of questions. I felt caught in the middle of their hate. I didn’t understand, everyone loved my dad, my mom’s parents and in fact, he was living with my mom’s brother!
Right before my dad and I had scheduled to take a motorcycle trip to Branson my dad died in a drowning accident. I was awakened by my uncle (mom’s brother) and told my dad had died and I wouldn’t be able to see him anymore. I was completely devastated, even with what I had been through, this made me feel like I could die too. I became extremely depressed, my brother married the pregnant girl and I was made to be in the wedding. They were living in the basement so I had to deal with that and then my mom married her old boyfriend a few months later. I couldn’t believe it! I hated them, I was convinced they had my dad killed or something. My mom kept telling me strange stories surrounding my dad’s death and telling me he can’t really be dead because they wouldn’t let her see the body. She also told me that some strangers came to the funeral but left as soon as it started and that my cousins (the pallbearers) told her the coffin was empty! She even went so far as to tell me that when she looked into it she was told there was no record and he didn’t even have a driver’s license so she concluded that he must be in witness protection. Really??? What the hell kind of mother tells her grieving daughter this? I believed it all and now I’m not sure she didn’t make it all up! I stopped doing any of my work in school and even missed so many days that I was forced to repeat all my classes. I could have gone to summer school but I didn’t care, I refused to go and didn’t care if everyone hated me and didn’t care about what would happen as a result.
I tried to make my mom and step dad’s life a living hell from that point on!