In my silence I lived a life in my head, sharing nothing of me with the outside world. That state of being led to more problems between my father’s wife and myself. She kept me frightened and abused.
So it wasn’t any wonder that the changes to my body, many teenagers experience, I kept to myself, and because of my silence about those changes, I was punished.
Something had happened when I was about eight, not to me, I don’t think, but we were given the sex talk. It was something to do with the old man we were renting from, so as far as I was concerned, I’d had the talk and certainly didn’t need another especially from her.
My father’s wife however, instilled such an intense fear within me, that I was with my now ex-husband for two years before I could let him see me naked with the light on.
I’d had a baby for fuck sake and that woman made me ashamed, and frightened, of something so natural.
So, I was fifteen when my father’s wife finally cornered me. She tried to give me another sex talk and led with menstruation.
‘Ive had my period for two years,’ I’d said stopping her in her tracks.
Her hand connected with my face, my teeth were rattling and I was swinging side to side as she walked away. I guessed I had a face that made people want to smack it, and the welts on the face didn’t last as long as those on the torso and legs. It was the moment my father’s wife realised I didn’t need her, or, anything from her. She’d done enough already.
I had no fear I’d die just because I bled, my father’s wife ensured I felt death was more preferable than the life she made me endure. I never thought about suicide because when I wasn’t anywhere near that woman, I was extremely personable. I gave the impression I loved life and would live it to the full when I was away from her, but it was just a charade my mind played with me to help bury the pain.
In my warped idea of life, I believed things got better when my father’s wife stopped hitting, not my face, that was open to her open-handed slap any time, for any reason. No, I believed things got better because she’d begun to punch me instead.
I can only think child abuse laws were changing and she tried to limit the amount of time, her welts and bruises remained visible on our bodies.