There is something to be said about survival. There is just one definition for the word as it applied to my life. Survival, was to make it through the day with out being humiliated, embarrassed, abused, ashamed, unloved and just kicked in the gut so much that you don't ever think you can escape your life. Some how, by the Grace of God, you survived it; you are so damaged from the things in your young life that you don't even know what a normal life was like. How can people hurt another human being? How can a parent hurt their child with out caring? How could a parent be so selfish? This happens everyday for a child somewhere. I thought I was alone, but I found others that had experienced similar childhoods. It was comforting to know that I was not alone, but saddening to realize that so many children suffered as I did. This is my story and I hope it gives strength to others that have suffered and survived at the hands of people that were suppose to love them. I spent the first twenty years just trying to survive my life, the next twenty years trying to forget my life, while I married and raised a family. Now, twenty years later, I am trying to understand it and to let go of my painful past.
I was the second girl born to Kenneth and Mary Lou Green on a stormy night at the old Schumpert Hospital in Shreveport, Louisiana on April 11,1950. My earliest memories of life began at 602 Thornhill Drive in Shreveport. We lived in a white frame house on the corner and life seemed idealistic; so pure and simple. We had a terraced back yard with a glass greenhouse with all sorts of Cacti that was attached to the garage and a shuffle board court, but beyond that was my favorite place, the sunken gardens. A long path of steps led down through banana trees, ferns and a jungle of plants to my paradise. It was like a “ Secret Garden” full of long lived days of summer and fun. I felt safe there. Oh, how I loved the outdoors, my sister and I would take shower baths in these large metal tubs, just the right size to hang out and stay cool and occupied with nothing but the joy of the moment. We had so much fun there, that I never wanted to leave that place. Large trees surrounded us with lots of shade, but there in the middle was a beautiful circle of sunshine. This was surely my heaven, this beautiful place of peace and quiet and tranquility. Full of butterflies, birds, soft summer breezes and glorious haunting smells of gardenia and jasmine. My heaven, my haven.
As much as I loved the outdoors, the opposite was true of the indoors. Something was so ominous, so suffocating; just being inside this house made me afraid. The inside terrified me and I had horrible nightmares about snakes hanging off my opened closet doors. The inside of this house was dark, foreboding of things not yet apparent; filled with a tension that I could not understand or grasp hold. I felt trapped there with no control over my life, but on the outside I was free and could run like the wind. I was safe and no one could hurt me in my green heaven.
Little did I know that my happy life was falling apart. Piece by piece my life was no longer my heaven, my sanctuary, my safety, but instead my life became a hell hole that I could not escape. A deep dark hole where I buried my feelings, the horrors of my childhood, a form of self defense, and survival. I never remember my mother being in the house or taking care of us. I do have some odd memories of her though, like having unbirthday parties. No reason to celebrate, but she needed to celebrate, so momma would bake a cake and we would pretend. Lots of unbirthday parties to disassociate and disconnect; to bury our feelings in food. To hide our disappointments and bury our sadness.
My earliest memory was getting my foot caught in the back of the spokes of my sister's bicycle. We were speeding down this black top road by our house and we had made several successful trips, but on the last one I got hurt. It was bad and I had to go and get it sewn up by the doctor. Just remember being held down and seeing this curved needle sewing my heel back together. After the ordeal was over, I had to walk on crutches until it healed. I could not believe that my family left on their vacation with out me. Daddy stayed home with me, while everyone else left. I thought I was suppose to go on that trip, but they just left me. This was one of the first memories I have of being abandoned.
To be continued later....