My mom was a prostitute. Not the kind that stood on street corners, but the kind that had a revolving door of men around for sex in exchange for money.
She would often leave me with random adults in their random homes for hours at time. Usually the adults in the home would go off in a room somewhere to do drugs or they’d just leave me there alone. Before she left me, she would give me a box of Twinkies to eat for dinner. An. Entire. Box. I would sit with my sugar in front of a television until my glucose levels put me to sleep. When she arrived to pick me up she would wake me up to feed me a bagful of tacos from Jack In The Box, a complete drunken stoner meal fit for a growing girl.
The story behind the Twinkies: My step-brother’s father was vegan and if my mom was caught eating meat products, he would sometimes hold the muzzle of a shotgun to her head and threaten to pull the trigger. He would always beat her until she bled, put holes in her legs with cigarettes until her tendons shown and punch her in the face until her eyes swelled and she couldn’t see. One day when I was in the 3rd grade he showed up at my school barefoot in his Hare Krishna garb (literally) during lunchtime. His physical appearance completely belied his sinister soul. He wanted to witness what I was eating. I was happily engaged in cow consumption and eating a hamburger with friends. He pulled me up from the benches by my hair, yelled at me and threw the hamburger and lunch tray to the ground. He took me by the hand and dragged me from the school back to the place we were living at the time. I cried hysterically the whole way. When we got inside he beat my mom for my transgression then told her to beat me. So, she took me in the bathroom and did just that, until the palms of her hand had raised the skin on the cheeks of my face to reveal temporarily tattooed hand prints, until I could see welts and blood on my arms from the belt, until a brush broke in half on my thigh, until police sirens could be heard.
Then, we ran, literally, leaving him behind. That day. He held a cab driver hostage and found us the next day.
I never returned to that school, those friends, that city. I had not been previously allowed to eat Twinkies because they were made with eggs. After we arrived in another town that same day my mom stopped at a 7-Eleven and bought me a box of them. I think it was her way of asking for forgiveness and expressing that I could now eat whatever I wanted.
What am I grateful for?
- Forgiving my mom and step-brother’s father. As ‘acts of abuse’, what was done to me was unforgivable, indefensible and maybe worthy of a train ride straight to hell. It is not the ‘acts’ I forgave, but rather the souls who committed them. I used to ponder what might have happened to them such that they could be capable of such evil and found there is no answer that would suffice to soothe my heart. To be clear, forgiveness was given for the peace of my spirit, not theirs. Forgiveness is the hardest work I’ve ever been commissioned to do and it goes against a very natural instinct to exact vengeance upon the perpetrator(s). Had I chosen not to forgive, I would have been in a position of exacting vengeance upon myself. Les Brown has said we are sometimes called to do what is hard in order to live a life that would be ‘easy’. Forgiveness is healing, empowering and allows letting go.
- Knowing every single struggle is preparing me and knowing He is for me.
- Seeing with clear eyes where I was versus where I am, and reveling in the rainbows of hope that clothes the human spirit.