Chapter 1: Almost Aborted
The enemy has tried so hard to steal, destroy, and kill me. He tried even before I was born by tempting my mother with the thoughts of having an abortion. She struggled internally and fought hard against every idea and plan to abort her pregnancy. She wondered if she could bring herself to take a life, or even physically endure the procedure. Her biggest apprehension was the inability to forgive herself. She feared she could never be forgiven.
Her Catholic upbringing pounded rules into her mind and heart. She sat desolate in her room and cried with her rosary in hand as tears streamed down her face and dripped off her cheeks, soaking the hardwood floor. Her mind raced with questions. “How could this happen to me? What have I done, and how will I survive such a fate?” She knew this was in fact her fault after giving into her own desires and the temptation to be with a man she believed she loved. Did her feelings betray her? How could a loving and caring God punish her with a pregnancy at the young age of seventeen? She peered down at her stomach while nausea overcame her, and she tried to envision a bump declaring to the world what had become of her. Thoughts whirled in her mind, her heart wavered, and only time would tell what decision she would make.
Her boyfriend charmed her with convincing words she wanted to hear. He pledged to provide for her and support her no matter what, although his actions and demeanor proved otherwise. Abortion was on the table, and he agreed to help her commit this act. They could carry it out easily. He promised my mother the secret would remain theirs. No one would ever know. Or would they? She was scared, alone, and unable to trust anyone.
Early in the morning before the sun peeked over the horizon, my father quietly drove up her street and parked a couple houses down, just as planned. Mom dressed in jeans, a comfortable t-shirt, an oversized sweatshirt, ready for whatever the day would hold. She packed a few items in a small bag consisting of her needs for the clinic: her identification, cash, clean clothes, and feminine products. She included her mascara in case it ran down her face, and eye drops for red eyes. She was running late, but not because of any mishap. She was running late because every step she took and every move she made was like a slow motion movie playing in her head. Her mind was toying with her and creating an intense anxiety causing dizziness and her hands to tremble. She used the bathroom, checked the clock, grabbed her belongings, and headed for the front door. It took more effort than normal to reach the door; the hallway was longer and the darkness in the house was thick and eerie. When she reached for the front doorknob and tried to turn it, her hands trembled as she fell to her knees. Weakness took over her, and tears streamed like floodgates breaking forth. When she was able, she pulled herself together and went back to her room. She shut the bedroom door behind her, locked it, and lay on her bed face down into her pillows, sobbing.
The battle continued in my young mother’s mind, and ultimately her conscience won out. She reached within herself and grabbed onto her dignity and her religion. She knew she couldn’t live with herself for the rest of her life if she aborted her baby. At long last, she made the decision to keep the baby and be responsible.
God was pleased with her and her wise choice. With His hand upon her and her precious baby, God kept her joyful and strong through her circumstances and pain.
Unfortunately, Karl began cheating on her while they were dating. Her wild suspicions became reality when she began to notice hickies on his neck. Devastated, she confronted him, but he denied all her accusations and called my mom crazy to assume he would cheat. Even though he couldn’t hide the undeniable truth and lie his way out, she chose to hide her pain and stay with him because of her desperate need for love and a father for her baby.
Karl harbored an explosive temper rearing its ugly head during their courting. One evening, a heated discussion became violent when he punched a mirror and needed medical attention in an emergency room. His injury resulted in surgery and sutures to fix his hand.
Karl portrayed himself as a man of honor and importance but he possessed an attitude of arrogance and lips that lied. He was emotionally manipulative. He made himself look good and responsible, but only to uphold a false sense of identity to others. Behind closed doors, he wasn’t good. He was a troubled teenager who dropped out of high school in the spring of his graduating year. This greatly displeased his parents who gave him an ultimatum: join the military or become homeless. He chose to join the Navy, and since he was a minor at age seventeen, his parents signed the papers for him to enlist.
This man who would become my father was never prepared in mind or heart. Karl didn’t come from a close-knit family. He had not known any love of his own; therefore, he had none to give. In the years to come, his brokenness and sorrow would break forth and lead him into a life of despair, ugliness, and loneliness. His actions wouldn’t only affect himself, but also the people closest to him.
Woven in Love - Nurtured in Rebellion
Both just seventeen years old, my mother and father wed, but not just for the sake of love. They did so as a desperate measure to hide my existence. As minors in the state of New York, both of them had their mothers sign for them to marry. The secret remains until this day if either or both of my grandmothers knew of my mom’s pregnancy.
Their marriage was also a deliberate act of disobedience against the will of my mom’s dad. My grandfather greatly disliked my father because of his disrespectful attitude and his troubled behavior. Not only was my father a “drop out” from high school but he planned to run away with my mother. When my grandfather caught details of this plan, it infuriated him. He kept my mom home from school and called Karl’s parents. My grandfather warned my mother Karl wasn’t right for her. My mother refused to heed his advice. The threat of being disowned by her own father was carried through because she defiantly surrendered herself to a man who promised to love, cherish, protect, and stand by her until death, a man who only offered empty and broken promises.
As for me, I was safe and secure in my mother’s womb. I had a future and hope set before me. I was born on a warm and sunny spring day, in the state of Florida at the Pensacola Navy Hospital. I entered the world at 0508 weighing in at 7 pounds and 12 ounces. My mom endured fourteen hours of exhausting labor and was almost forced to have a c-section due to my position as a footling breach baby. She fearfully refused the c-section and miraculously delivered me as a difficult, but safe birth.
I was born into this world a sinner with an adequate amount of innocence, gently guided into the world by the hands of a physician and the God who created me. The doctor placed me into the tender hands of the one who carried me in her warm, secure womb. My mom was first to hold my precious life as she smiled and embraced me happily in her arms.
My life was almost taken away before it began. But make no mistake, God always has a plan. I’m thankful he holds me in the palm of His hand. My name is Brooke, and I have a purpose! “For I know the plans I have for you," says the LORD. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Linked by DNA
Karl was blonde, tall, and slender in appearance, and known for his pompous personality. My father was active duty in the Navy and worked in law enforcement. He looked good in his military uniform, as most men do. Women were attracted to him because he held a job in law enforcement, the confidence he carried in himself, and his deceitful ability to lure them in with whatever they needed to hear or whatever they wanted. Within the first two years of his marriage, he was accused and found guilty of having affairs with several women. While my father served a tour overseas, my mother received news by letter of her husband’s appalling affairs. Karl’s captain wrote letters to my mom making her aware that her husband was cheating and to warn her, he had contracted an STD. Karl showed no dedication to his initial wife or family in which he had first made a covenant.
When Karl returned from overseas, my mother forgave him for what he had done, and they mended their differences. My mom became pregnant soon after his return. When I was two years old, I became a big sister. My mom gave birth to a son, my brother James.
My father made it clear to my mother she had to be dressed with make-up on before eight o’clock in the mornings. She was to keep the house clean always, and he dictated what to cook for dinner. Karl did the shopping on base and even bought Mom the make-up he wanted her to wear. He controlled the finances, and he wouldn’t allow her to work. He was verbally abusive, calling my mom “fat” and demanded she lose weight. When my brother was only two months old, my father cheated on my mother again. This time it was with their next door neighbor.
Karl had a responsibility to take care of his wife and children, but instead he gave into the temptations of this world and his selfish desires. Wrecking havoc on his family, he found himself in court signing divorce papers, due to the emotional trauma he caused his wife. The judge granted the divorce in favor of my mother and praised her for her choice to leave such a man. Karl was ordered to pay child support and allowed visitation to us children on the weekends. When he picked us up on weekends, we either stayed with our grandparents without him, or he took us to his new girlfriend’s apartment to play with her kids.
One Day Your Prince Will Come
Wounded, battered, and torn apart, six months after her divorce was final, my mother found love, acceptance, and affirmation in another man. My mom’s new boyfriend Marc was a spark of hope in her eyes. He charmed her with his tough and strong personality. She felt secure and protected in his presence, but in reality she was weak and broken in her state of mind. Marc promised her a life of happiness and to help take care of her and her children. My mom completely surrendered herself into the arms of her new lover. She took refuge in him and believed in him with all her heart.
Marc was from New Mexico. He’d been traveling for work with a construction company when my mom met him at an amusement park. He didn’t have a home of his own and had been living with his parents in New Mexico. Marc and my mom dated in New York about four months before he proposed we all move to New Mexico with him. He invited us to live with his family until he settled into a place of his own.
When I was five years old my mother did the unthinkable and kidnapped me and my brother. She left my father and the state of New York and ran away with us and her new lover. With abounding hope and extravagant promises of a better life than she had previously, all four of us ventured onto a Greyhound bus bound for New Mexico. My mom, her lover, my brother, and I began an adventure to start our lives over, taking nothing with us except the rights of my father who knew nothing about our departure. We ventured off into the night vanishing from his reach and sight. Never again would my father be the same after the betrayal of his ex-wife. When she stole his children, this left him with bitterness, anger, and unforgiveness he carries until this day. He was left in a situation without any control, and he blamed my mother for everything.
Hell-O New Mexico
As I stepped off the bus into the New Mexico heat, I felt an odd tightness in my chest and found it difficult to breathe. Maybe it was anxiety, or possibly the heat from the desert air. Regardless of the cause, it was ironically symbolic of the hell I was about to begin living. My mother had no plans for how she would care for us children. She was without a job and had no friends or family to help her. The only person she had to support her was her boyfriend, Marc, who in turn had nothing himself except his parents and a sister.
The four of us sat down in the Greyhound station restaurant. We all sat together at a table, appearing as a “normal” family. Funny thing is we were the furthest thing from a real family. On the table there was no food, just drinks. I don’t remember the last time I had eaten on the trip. Maybe it was some snacks on the bus-ride. The ice-cold pop was refreshing and cooled me down. My brother and I ran around the restaurant, chasing each other and laughing. We made frequent visits to the pop machine for free refills until my mom finally told us to sit down. Mom and Marc sat there talking. I don’t recall what they were saying, but their emotions were flat, they didn’t touch each other, and they sat directly across from one another. My mom held her purse on her lap and tightly pulled it into her stomach. She was protecting the only material possession she brought with her from New York.
Marc took us to his family’s home where we immediately moved in. We had no suitcases, toys, or belongings. It was just us, the clothes on our bodies, and my mom with her purse. When I was given clean clothes to wear, they weren’t new or my own. The clothes were spare clothes from the children who attended the day care inside the home where I’d now reside.
This is where the most haunting childhood memories of my past begin. Together, my brother and I experienced the helpless misery of family dysfunction. We share a lot of the same childhood memories. They are not warm, fuzzy, or plush like a typical child’s. They are painful, harsh, cold, physically, and emotionally disturbing, a reality we shared daily until we were separated by calamity.
Who helps us when we are stressed, depressed, living in pain, or dealing with failure? Help is someone who has walked similar paths bearing her deep, dark, and inner true secrets. We gain encouragement and inspiration when we see other people have made it through the same challenges. Life includes a disarray of problems, solutions, the reality of dysfunctional families, personal and marital issues, and unforeseen circumstances. It is easy to act fake, live in hiding, and bury our skeletons from the past. But I refuse to hide my pain. I want to tell all. I have a burning desire within me waiting to be unleashed into this world to help people. I want to help you. I want you to know weeping may come for a night but “joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5)
This is where healing and freedom begin. It’s my desire for my story to penetrate hearts with God’s love, change lives, break down walls, and give God the glory. Truth matters. Truth makes a difference. And if you allow God to open your eyes and heart to truth in your life, you just may be set free! “And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:32)
Chapter 2: The “White House”
We moved into a small, white house surrounded by dirt, rocks, and cactus. The home was excessively cluttered, children ran around all over the place, and darkness consumed every room. The darkness inside was strange since outside was so bright and ruled by the shining sun. The living room curtains always remained closed, and at first, we were seldom allowed out front to play. This helped conceal our presence since we’d just been kidnapped.
Marc introduced us to his family. First I met an older woman with gray hair, missing teeth, and a British accent. Her name was Elizabeth. Elizabeth’s husband Tyler stood by in the distance dressed in his military uniform. He was reluctant to speak, and his personality appeared firm and angry. I was never given a personal greeting from that man except a stern glare telling me to stay far away from him and never get in his way.
The last person I met was Marc’s younger sister, Natalie. She was in her early twenties, with a stocky appearance, dark hair, and a large mole on her left chin. Natalie seemed friendly and the “normal” one of the family. There was something about her to which I was drawn, and I trusted her because of the happy person she seemed to be. She was playful with me and took me under her wings, giving me attention and love I craved. I began to like Natalie. We bonded right away, forming a friendship. My friendship with her felt like something I had longed for from my own mother. It was odd to feel cared about by someone whom I had just met. At the same time, I continued to feel abandoned by my own mom who was physically present but ignored my existence.
My mom was with me, but she was emotionally distant. She never spoke to me nicely, calmly, or assured me of protection or love. I never felt loved, calmed, or reassured, and I don’t remember being hugged by her. There was always a space between us I could never understand. It was painful and it made my heart sad.
Death in the White House
Besides the room my brother and I shared, my mother and her boyfriend shared a bedroom, Elizabeth and her husband a room, and Natalie another. This living arrangement worked well until Elizabeth’s husband died. We hadn’t lived in the white house long before death made its appearance.
In the middle of the night I was awakened by screaming, crying, and chaos. I heard, “He is bleeding out of his ears.” My brother and I jumped up and rushed out of the bedroom. Fear gripped my body, and I stood in the hallway looking around confused, unable to comprehend what was happening.
We were quickly ushered out the front door and into the front yard. We stood barefoot on the rocks in the warm, humid air. The air smelled musky, and the rocks hurt the bottom of my feet. People, mostly strangers, were running in and out of the house. I heard sirens and saw a fire truck, ambulance, and then a helicopter landing in the middle of the street. In the midst of the drama, my brother and I were taken next door to a neighbor and told to lie on their couch and “go back to bed.” We kept trying to sneak a view through the curtains, but all we could see were flashing lights. Then there was death.
Elizabeth’s husband died from a massive heart attack that night and later was given a full military funeral and burial. For the next week my brother and I were placed in the care of a neighbor two blocks away. We didn’t go to the funeral. We were considered too young to attend. This hurt me deeply. It made me feel left out, unimportant, and disconnected to everyone else. I didn’t understand why I was left out.
Left with no support from the “man of the house,” Elizabeth and Natalie were left to fend for themselves babysitting children while my mom, her boyfriend, and we children were “live ins” in a place where we didn’t belong and soon to find out- not welcome.
Tyler’s death was a turning point in my childhood. Although he didn’t have a personal relationship with me, he was the glue holding this already dysfunctional family together with some order and his income. When Tyler had been around, everyone composed themselves and used manners. They treated Tyler and each other with respect and possessed conserved temperaments. No one dared to act ugly or speak above a normal tone. No one dared to laugh or crack a smile. It was obvious Tyler was an intolerant man, and everyone knew it. He had a terrible problem with drinking alcohol and cheating on his wife. It’s possible he was feared, rather than respected. Natalie worked at home and helped care for the children. Elizabeth took care of the children, did the cleaning and laundry, and cooked meals.
After Tyler died, our world was turned upside down and shaken. The house became dirty, and things weren’t cared for like before. Nothing was thrown out as normal trash; everything was saved and stored. Newspapers were saved and bundled up as well as soda cans and magazines. The house became a home of hoarders. Elizabeth and Natalie babysat more children during the week to compensate for the loss of Tyler’s income.
The bedroom my brother and I shared became consumed with kids’ clothes, boxes, toys, and newspapers under the bed. The room had a changing table, two cribs, two beds, and one window looking out onto a kids’ play area. This was also the room where the children napped. The walls were cold and hard, made of brick and painted yellow. Vintage plastic popcorn art hung on the walls in the design of animals. Snoopy was popular at the time, so he was in a framed picture, too.
The master bedroom was turned into a storage room filled to the top with boxes, and I mean literally to the ceiling. The carport became full of boxes containing junk, no longer able to fit a car. Elizabeth no longer slept in her master bedroom but shared a room and bed with her daughter Natalie. It felt strange to see them lying next to each other sleeping, sharing the same bed, comforter, and intimate space. I didn’t understand the reasons for their sleeping arrangement, and I certainly never asked. It was always better to guess at something or choose not to care. Asking questions got me in trouble, and I was quickly put in my place whenever they perceived I was questioning their authority or their reasoning. I was told to mind my own business and to just do what I was told, or else.
The chores and cleaning became neglected, and everyone’s attitudes and tones were harsh and angry. This was the new normal.
Chapter 3: Rejected
While attending Kindergarten in New York, I enjoyed playing “Farmer in the Dell” and learning about the Letter People. My favorite thing to do was sit in circle time with all the other kids and do group activities. I loved to hold the large, round crayons in my hand and draw pictures. Although I couldn’t draw well, I loved to draw nature, animals, and people. I loved the fresh smell of crayons when I opened the box and the inviting fragrance of smelly markers and scratch n’ sniff stickers during art time. Those were the days! Kindergarten was a memorable school year when I had fun and experienced joy as a child.
Then something changed in the people around me, and my circumstances turned grim. If I had to guess at my mother’s motives for taking me from my father, I was stolen away and hidden for the selfish purpose of resentment. The weather changed, the scenery changed, and I wasn’t around anyone I knew anymore.
First grade in New Mexico wasn’t as colorful as my time in New York. Instability and a dysfunctional home created many issues for me and my education. I lived in physical harm with emotional pain and experienced daily anxiety. We were all mistreated and in danger at the white house. The house was quaint from the outside. It was white with green shutters, a one level rambler surrounded by little grass, lots of dirt, and many rocks in the front yard. A banana tree sat outside the front bedroom window and a large tree stood in the front yard. One of my happy memories was climbing into that big tree. I was so proud of myself for climbing high into the tree. It gave me a feeling of self worth to conquer such a feat. It was a big tree! I sat in the tree and looked around at nature, prairie dogs, and birds. I gained a brief moment of calm I desperately needed and longed for.
Without money or anywhere to go, our options were limited. With some persistent persuasion, Marc talked his mom into letting us stay in her house. But he had to provide rent money, pay utilities, and buy food.
It wasn’t long before Natalie, Marc’s sister, started revealing her ugly personality. She became aggressive, angry, and violent. Natalie excessively tormented me, my mother, and my brother. She was manipulated and controlled by demonic influence, used as a human agent to destroy us.
While my mom’s boyfriend Marc worked during the day, unforeseen circumstances started happening. Bruises on my mom’s body were noticed, and too many tears to count came from her eyes. Her eyes were sunken in, and she never smiled, these being signs of the intense pain she was experiencing. As a child I was unable to understand what my mom was going through, but my heart could sense her pain. I somehow believed our circumstances were my fault. A child shouldn’t feel responsible for the actions of an adult, but I just couldn’t figure out what I did wrong to “make” everything bad happen to us. Somehow, feeling helpless and not being able to make sense out of things made me feel so out of control, I took on more responsibility than I deserved.
This responsibility in itself gave me a false sense of control. I felt guilty all the time. And guilt made me helplessly unable to fix anything! The haunting memories have forever left emotional and physical scars on my body and my mind: the pain, the tears, the fear, the sorrow, the feeling of being alone, and the evil darkness. I remember it all. It was scary, and it was real.
Natalie made me run errands with her because she claimed she was too scared to venture out alone. We went to the grocery store, the gas station, the food bank, and the post office. Our road trips came about two to three times per week. As we drove along in the car, there was often an awkward silence. Sometimes Natalie asked me random questions such as what road we were on or where she needed to turn next. When I said nothing at all or gave any answer, she would pull my hair, slap, or scratch me. This was not a game I could win.
Natalie also used this time for the opportunity to speak badly about my mother and tell me horrible things, like how she didn’t love or want me. She called my mother names and told me she couldn’t stand her. Natalie once absurdly asked me to think of something sad because she wanted to see me make myself cry. I closed my eyes and thought about someone telling me my mom was dead, and I started crying. Natalie asked me what I was thinking. I told her I thought about my mom dying. She told me how ridiculous I was, and it wouldn’t be sad if that happened. Natalie scratched my arm drawing blood and forcefully pulled my hair out for that. She hated my mom and she wanted me to hate her too.
The looks Natalie gave me with her deep, dark brown eyes were chilling. There was a horrifying hatred in her eyes that built up with intensity until it couldn’t remain locked inside her anymore. Something indescribable, but as real as this moment, was eating her up inside and killing her spirit, crushing her soul. Ordinary wasn’t her style; happy wasn’t on her agenda. All she had and all she knew was whoever or whatever tormented her and defined the person she had become. Instead of dealing with her past and pain, she transferred it onto others, looking for a temporary relief never fulfilling her for long. She always needed another fix. She lashed out into another fit of rage and violence, hurting me in order to feed and satisfy her hungry demons.
Natalie took me with her to the airport early one morning to drop someone off. While it was still dark outside on the way home, I fell asleep, leaning my head against the car window in the passenger seat. I was comfortable. Suddenly, Natalie woke me up by slapping me in the face and screaming at me for sleeping. She told me I wasn’t allowed to sleep because she was tired, and she needed me to stay awake so I could keep her awake. I apologized tearfully and told her I didn’t know. She slapped me more and called me a liar.
Over the years I spent living with Natalie, I was excessively abused by her physically, emotionally, and even sexually. When I started my period at the age of eleven, Natalie was eager to educate me on using tampons. I wasn’t excited about them, except to learn in the summer I could still go swimming. She bought a box of tampons and took me into the bathroom showing me how to insert them. She made me lie on the floor naked, forcing me to let her insert them into me. I felt embarrassed and mortified. I was vulnerable and lying there naked while Natalie took over the most personal part of my body. These parts were always covered by clothes, and even as a child, I knew they were supposed to be protected and secret. I didn’t speak or ask questions; I stared at the ceiling, feeling cold and yucky. I knew there was nothing I could say or do, because it wouldn’t make a difference. I assumed I just didn’t matter.
Natalie forced me to show her my private parts on other occasions. She said she needed to look and make sure I didn’t have any rashes or anything wrong going on there. She would rub some type of yellow cream on me. Natalie was impressed and obsessed with my breasts and talked about their size and how big they were for my young age.
There was absolutely nothing wrong with me. She made up situations taking advantage of me. I was too scared to tell anyone, and I was confident no one would care or believe me anyway. I was mortified, uncomfortable, and used.
Inside my spirit, I was someone different from whom I saw in the mirror. I didn’t know the girl in the mirror. When she looked at me she was just so pathetic. Her blue eyes were always puffy, red and tearful. They stared at me with their own language, saying, “help me.” But I was helpless inside, and there was nothing I could do for her. The marks on her body were cruel and demeaning reminders of someone taking over her person in sickening ways. The pain on her face was evident, her mouth rarely able to force a smile. Yet, there was something so beautiful and pure about her youth and innocence which was captivating. Her cheeks were round and delicate with simple and sweet freckles. Freckles also centered on her nose. Her hair was beautiful and glowing blonde, highlighted from the sun. Although her body was beat up and used, she was physically strong. All of these things I could see looking back at me in the mirror. But I still didn’t understand who she was, or who I was. We were different, yet connected. I was confused.
Inside my spirit I was energetic, loving, joyful, and wanted to allow my feelings and energy to run free and escape me going forth into a world where it was needed and hopefully wanted. These things inside me which felt right and good were shoved down and never allowed to come out where I lived in darkness and pain. I had to protect myself and stay safe. So, I became a creative mind and found ways to use my imagination. I lived in my own happy place where no one could take away my freedom and joy. In my mind, no one could hurt me. This is where I would dream; this is where I would pretend. I went many places and became many things. One day, I was a teacher with a classroom of students. The next, I was a singer using the garden hose as my microphone. Another day, I owned a hot-dog stand and sold the best and cheapest wieners in town, and on hot summer days I would float for hours in the pool, looking up to the sky trying to find God and imagine heaven. I believed any spaces between the clouds were openings that sucked people in and beamed them up to heaven. If I saw an opening, I would fearfully say, “No to all the openings in the sky until I am one-hundred and three.” That was a good number. I wanted to live to be one-hundred and three. As long as I say, “no to all the openings in the sky,” I was safe for the day, and I wouldn’t die.
I knew my good feelings and thoughts weren’t meant to stay locked up inside; they were yearning and bursting to be liberated and make a difference in the world around me. I lived hopeful, believing and waiting to someday be free. Able to just be me and loved for who I was. I planned to someday change the world and make it a better place. I wanted to help people who were hurting just like me. This became a huge realization on May 25th, 1986 as I stood on a highway in my black “pleather” pants, holding hands with hundreds of strangers participating in “Hands Across America.” People were there just like me. People who wanted to make a difference, secretly longing for compassion and genuine unity in this world. What if everyone cared, what if everyone wanted to change the world and make it a better place?
When Natalie cooked something I didn’t like, I wasn’t allowed to refuse it. She literally forced food down my throat. She did this with spinach, broccoli, and cottage cheese. She didn’t care how much I gagged or if I threw up.
When Natalie was angry with me, she dug deep and hard into my skin with her fingernails, scratching me and making me bleed. There is more abuse I have locked inside my mind, because it’s too tragic to bring to remembrance. As I sit here and write these words, the memories are extremely real. When I allow myself to go back to that time, I remember the pain and events more vividly and in detail. But I can’t go back there often and not for long. I won’t allow myself to relive that horror. The abuse was devastating for any child to live through or endure. Life shouldn’t be like this.
End of Chapter 3.
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