This is the first in a series of guest posts in a series called “I Would Like You To Know”. In an attempt to create a space for people of all races, religions, creeds, ethnicites, genders, sexual orientations, disabilities, and socio-economic statuses I am seeking guest blog posts. If you would like to share your unique background, I would love to hear and share your story. Email me at Rachel[@]deletingtheadjectives.com with your name, a link to your blog, and a brief synopsis of your story with the title “As a _________ I would like you to know” in the subject box. You fill in the blank and the subsequently the gaps in our collective knowledge.
There are times when I look back on my life and wonder how I got so lucky, to have ended up here at all. With what I’ve been forced to go through, its amazing I’m even alive, let alone in one piece. As I speak, I can literally hear the birds chirping around me and the wind rustle my hair. I’m sitting on the deck at my dad’s house, as everyone around bustles around to prepare for the party this afternoon. I really should be helping but, even now, I still feel in the way whenever I attempt to do anything out of the ordinary. I wonder if that will ever go away? Here, I have two people who love me unconditionally and would not dare raise a hand to me. They would protect me from anything that would try to harm me. I can’t say the same for the people I used to live with.
My mom seems to only care about herself. Whenever something threatens her way of life, she just regresses to this little bubble and ignores everything outside of it. Even if that means leaving her children to fend for themselves. And we did, well I did. Her husband, my step-dad at the time, was and still is a terrible man. He ought to be locked up for the way that he treats people. I still have nightmares of him coming at me screaming, fist pulled back and…I’m sure you can guess what happened next. There were also the nights that he would sneak into my room…but I don’t really want to get further into that. Needless to say, I wasn’t living in a fantasy life. People always ask why I looked so terrible in all those pictures, from middle school until junior year. The answer: I was too busy surviving and taking care of my brother to keep up with my appearance.
There was also the fact that I had to be perfect, unless I took home A’s…there would probably be only more pain waiting for me at home. Because of his abuse, I starved myself, I tried to kill myself…I just wanted for the pain to end. Eventually it did. I learned to move on from all of it. Just let it go. I found people, or maybe they found me, and I was given the time and support I needed to finally heal. I eat three, or somewhere around there, meals a day and take care of myself. I don’t starve anymore, unless I just forget to eat but that’s normal. I am of average weight and build but I’m okay with that. At least now I am healthy. Every day I have to take anxiety medication because my mind is just not where I want to it be but I am on a path of recovery. One day I will be a fully functional person, I won’t need medication or anything to help me. I feel assured that I can get there with the support that I have now. And I’m not ashamed of the fact that I take medicine because I know that it is helping me move on from a traumatic past. I’m not ashamed because no one’s life is perfect, everyone needs help now and again.
Its been four and a half years since my dad gave my mother the ultimatum, “get her out of that house or lose her forever.” Sometimes…all the time, I wish that he had just taken me. Sure, I never would have met the amazing friends I have now. But I wouldn’t have moved somewhere I hate with my mother, somewhere that she still can’t manage to take care of her children. Even now, she stays in her bubble and refuses to take care of her son. But now, I have my own life and can’t take care of him anymore so he’s left to fend for himself. It breaks my heart everyday to think of how she neglects him.
My life certainly isn’t perfect but I’m recovering now, I’m moving on from how my mother has allowed others to abuse me, how she neglected me. Now I take care of myself and only spend time around positive people. Now that I’m no longer in that hell-hole of a house, I am blessed. I live with a friend and visit my dad whenever I can. Sure, there are moments when I feel less than whole, where I feel completely broken inside. But that’s a part of recovering. Maybe I will never be completely perfect, no one really is. Maybe I will never be like everyone else but I’m okay with that, I can just be me without the pressure of perfection looming over me. Thanks to the people I have in my life now, I finally feel like I will be alright, like there is a bright future ahead of me. There was a time in my life when I didn’t even know if I would make it to my high school graduation and here I am half-way through college. With the right support, you can make it through anything and everything, you just have to survive through your situation and one day…things will get better. This is not my end, its merely a beginning for the rest of my life.
Ashley Canter is 20 years old and a junior in college. Currently, her major is up in the air but she would like to do something with management and retail in the future. She enjoys reading and writing, and one day hopes to publish at least one book for the world to destroy, as they tend to do. Spending time with friends and swimming are two of her favorite ways to spend time. Yep, that pretty much covers all the bases. More from Ashley can be found at her blog, Ley Loves and on Twitter.