From the Darkest Depths, Swim Up to the Light

I woke up this evening and immediately remembered something that had been forced to the back of my mind for years. I began to think about it again, and realized that it has a lot to do with who I am today. I think I could sum it up in a few words:

Evil babysitter.

Yes, I had one of those. It was before I went into kindergarten, I remember, because after that, Mom wised up to what was going on and took me out. After that, I stayed with my Nana while Mom worked.

Now… Everything that I hate about myself, I can trace back to the time I spent at Sharon’s (yes, her name was Sharon. I remember that). She would make me eat things that made me sick, and when Mom made requests about what I would eat and drink (so I would stop throwing up and getting sick), she would gripe at me. Me, being a kid, tried not to make waves, but no matter what I did or how I did it, she hated me. And it was obvious. All the other kids that were there (and there weren’t many. I was pretty much the one that was singled out, even when there were others there) never got on Sharon’s ugly side.

The most memorable thing about staying at Sharon’s? She would watch the Andy Griffith show, constantly. That and some generic soap operas. To this day, I can’t stand to even hear the whistling intro to the Andy Griffith show. It nauseates me.

Sharon had a little girl (can’t remember her name, but it started with either a C or a K), who was, I think, younger than me by a year at the most. The little girl and I got along great, but that seemed to infuriate Sharon. I remember one time Sharon said that we had to take naps, but neither of us were tired, but we still got in our sleeping bags and lay there. Mine was on the opposite side of the room. When other kids stayed, I was always furthest away from the little girl. Sharon was very specific in that I stay away from her. The little girl didn’t understand that, and so I frequently got in trouble for things such as the following: As I was saying, nap time, and neither of us were tired. I was lying there, and she asked me what I was doing. I said I was pretending that I was dead, since I wasn’t tired and I didn’t want to make Miss Sharon mad. So the little girl got up from her sleeping bag and said, “Okay, I’ll bring you flowers. That’s what you do when you visit dead people.” So she got up and brought me bundles upon bundles of imaginary flowers, and was laughing all the while. Sharon came in, and assumed it was my fault, so she yelled at me. The little girl lay back down, and went to sleep, but I just lay there, wishing I really could be dead.

There are many episodes such as this that I could tell you, but I think I’ll just skip them. No one wants to spend their morning reading about abusive babysitters, I know. This is the final one.

I have a severe reaction to eating potatoes. As in, I immediately vomit. And it doesn’t matter how you prepare them, unless they are french fries with tons of salt and ketchup, or instant mashed potatoes (which aren’t even potatoes) I could not even stand the smell of potatoes. Frequently, Sharon would stand over me with a flyswatter, and threaten to hit me if I didn’t eat the potatoes. I told her I would get sick, and she would say she didn’t care. One time, when she wasn’t looking, or was off doing something else (most likely watching that show), I decided that I wouldn’t wait for her to get in there. I had been staring at those potatoes for hours (she wouldn’t let me get up or do anything until I ate them all), and was afraid that if she came in, and saw that I hadn’t eaten them yet, she would beat me with the handle of the flyswatter (as I recall, she did that before). So I forced myself to eat them, and continued to even as I threw up all over myself. Covered in vomit, crying, and very cold, I sat there, hoping she wouldn’t see the vomit on me and get mad. I still didn’t dare to get up, because if I left the table without permission, she would yell at me.

I think things changed when my older sister accompanied me to Sharon’s. Not long after that, Mom took me out of there, and started leaving me at Nana’s. Even then, I didn’t talk about Sharon. Sharon would always tell me that I didn’t deserve my mother, and that I was a terrible child. I really took it to heart. She also told me that if I ever told Mom what happened at her house, she would tell Mom how terrible I was. So, even years after I quit going to Sharon’s, I never told anyone. Not even my sister, who knew a bit about the situation. I lived in fear that Mom would go talk to Sharon, and she would tell Mom that I was a terrible kid. Sharon had told me that bad children could be put up for adoption, since nobody wanted them. I was afraid I’d lose my family. Already, I didn’t have much. Taking away my love for myself, and my confidence that my family loved me. That was something that stayed with me for years to come.

 

Okay, so now that I’ve gotten that off my chest… I’d like to thank you for reading this. Those memories, swam up from the depths of hell my mind, toward the light of consciousness. I hadn’t faced those memories in years, and I thought that if I didn’t put them somewhere, I would forget them again. By forgetting them, I would be allowing them to sneak back into me, and let me keep hating myself like Sharon always hated me. I realize it now. That voice in my head that tells me horrible things, that taunts me about how stupid I am. That is Sharon.

What I want to be taken from this post, if anything, is that abuse isn’t always physical. And it’s hard to talk about, especially for children. It’s easier to bury those hateful things inside, and never let them see the light of day. After all, things like that seem to belong in the darkest reaches where no one can see them. This doesn’t just go for things like evil babysitters, but for things involving bullies.

I have no idea where I’m going with this, right now. My mind is a bit fried. It feels like I yanked up weed in the garden of my brain, and I feel like I just need to listen to some music, or cry, or scream until my voice is as fried as my mind. Age-old wounds don’t simply go away. They get infected, and they fester. Perhaps it was too late for me to purge them, but regardless, I have ripped that scab off, and tried to drain all the nasty things that were making me sick. Bad analogy? I’m full of them.

Regardless, I have many things I need to do– but I want to leave off on a positive note. So here are pictures that makes me smile. I hope they have the same effect on you!

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