Short Stories, Writings

The Savages, The Slut & The Sun

She was the second born child of three. The second daughter, the second sister. The middle child. She resented her younger sibling because he took the attention away from her. Everyone loved him most. Also, he was a boy. Which was, of course, more than a girl could ever be. She resented her elder sibling because she was too emotional, too kind. A stupid girl.

She often acted out at home and would be punished. The punishments were usually beatings. Sometimes she would steal from the grocery store for attention. But that just led to more punishment. The kids at school called her ugly and fat. So she found solace in nature; insects, plants, animals. There were times she would find injured birds or ducks and bring them home in shoe boxes, hoping to save them. But they died. They always died.

She cried. She sobbed loudly into her pillow, praying for a friend.

At school, she sat in the bathroom stall with a small pair of scissors and would cut herself on her arms. She was sure no one would notice. But some kids found out and told the teacher. That only led to more punishment.

During family gatherings, relatives would ask her why she was so fat and why her sister was so skinny. “Maybe you’ve been eating all of her food!”, they would say, laughing, and clapping their hands together.

As she grew into a teen, she began getting some attention. But not the right kind. Not the kind she had always longed for. There was a boy, a much older boy, whom she really liked. When he found out about her crush, he manipulated her and took advantage of her. She was only seventeen. And he was twenty-five years old. He told all of his friends about her. They took advantage of her, too. They all crushed her.

Soon, the word spread in the community. She was The Slut.

Her family sent her away; far away, to another country, where she could be disciplined. But she was taken advantage of there, too. Abused. Assaulted. Used.

Soon enough, she broke. She knew she would never be enough. She would never be loved. She would never be respected. She was untouchable. Dirty. Filthy. Slut.

One night she swallowed a bunch of sleeping pills, hoping to never wake up, but she survived. “She’s always looking for attention,” they all said behind her back.

For several weeks, she received a phone call in the middle of the night from a blocked number. When she answered, the voice would respond, “are you dead yet?”

She left the house one day, wearing a short skirt, low tank top, high heels, with a purse hanging from her shoulder. Her sister ran after her. “Please”, she begged, “don’t do this.” She looked at her elder sister’s face; wet with tears. “Get away from me”, she responded. And she left.

Abused. Assaulted. Used. She carried on. She became what they told her she was. She might as well be. The Slut. It’s what they all saw. It’s all they ever saw.

She held her head high, not letting them see her tears, her agony. She held her head high through miscarriages, depression,and more assault.

Her family said, “she is worse than a prostitute”, “she dresses like a whore”, “when will she learn her lesson?”, “she has no self-respect.”

And when she brought home a baby, they said, “it’s a bastard”, “she’s no longer welcome in this family”, “she should have died when she attempted suicide.”

She brought her baby to a homeless shelter, where she was given a crib, clothing, food, toys.

She read him books, sang him songs, and kissed his head as he fed from her breast. She taught him kindness and love. Through her child’s eyes, she began to see the world a little differently. Maybe it wasn’t so dark. Maybe it wasn’t so evil. Maybe she had a little bit of power to make it all better.

As she watched the sun rise higher every morning, her days became brighter. Her wounds, very slowly, began to heal. The sun’s rays reached into every dark corner of her life, chasing away the shadows of the past. The past that would haunt her in her dreams.

Until the morning came again. And the sun, her sun, lifted up her face, looked into her eyes and said, “mama, you’re so beautiful. I love you.”

 

 

 

 

Poetry

Mother

There once was a girl, seven years old
Whose mother died from poison,
Or so the story is told.

The girl grew up; angry, afraid
Of monsters and darkness,
And the shadows she made.

She married, had children, lived in despair
For she wished more than anything
That her mother was there.

The world was against her, or so she believed
Her body ached with agony, even with
Every prayer she weaved.

Her children married, had children, and lived in despair
For their mother was unhappy
And her pain they could not bear.

She had three grandchildren, radiant and bright
They ran to her and hugged her
With all their might.

She looked at her children and grandchildren
The love that they shared, and realized then
Her mother had always been there.

Writings

Mommy, my tummy hurts.

IMG_7993_1It wasn’t because I ate too much or too little.

It was sharp, severe, unforgiving, and in the center of my being. And it wasn’t going away.

I was just under 10 years old, and when I started to miss school because of the pain, my mom thought it was time to visit a doctor. Our family doctor set up an appointment at the hospital for me, where they would shove a long, thin tube with a little camera lens on the bottom of it, down my esophagus.

Awake through the whole procedure, scared, crying, cold from that backless hospital gown, gagging and calling out for my mom while two nurses stood above me. All I remember about them was their voices (“no, no dear, don’t do that”) and their heads floating above me, with a huge florescent light behind them. I just wanted it all to be over.

But this was just the beginning. Multiple ultrasounds followed, along with having to drink a disgusting thick goo of chalk, and finally being prescribed these large, white horse-pills for the pain.

“Reflux-esophagitis”, the doctor concluded, was the diagnosis.

I was given a booklet of all the foods and beverages I could no longer consume, and sent on my merry way.

The pain didn’t go away. It was always there. And eventually, I gave in to it and assented to it just being a part of me.

It took several years to realize and understand that the physical pain I experienced was not a result of acid reflux or poor diet. Unfortunately back then, parents and doctors were not too familiar with, nor spoke very fluidly of mental illness.

The stomach pain was a direct result of depression and anxiety.

If you had asked me to describe it when I was a child, I might have said something along the lines of, “feeling like a knife is stabbing me between my ribs.” If I ever had to guess what being stabbed felt like, perhaps this was it.

The sad thing is, that even today, twenty something years later, people still aren’t comfortable talking about depression, or any other mental illness. One of the reasons why is because not many people have been educated on it, unless they know someone they are close to who has suffered from it, or because of a relative, etc. Outside of extenuating circumstances, people just don’t talk about it or learn about it or educate on it.

I want to change that.

Starting now.

How’s your tummy feeling today?