Trigger Warning: (5/5!)
This is Part 1 of a long story about one of my earliest physical abuse memories, dealing with a babysitter I had when I was 6 or 7. By earliest I don’t mean first physical abuse in my life, but the first memory that I was able to recall. I think this is because to me, it doesn’t seem that bad. This babysitter was in my life soon after I was out of my body cast (due to an accident with a horse). To read a brief history about me, please read my sorted past.
The babysitter, Lydia being her name, fills me with disgust when I think of her. Not because of any physical reason, but because of her poor, ugly soul. I also get sick to my stomach when I think about her daughter, an innocent child who could not leave that house at the end of the work day, like I did. She was stuck by her mother’s side every hour, of every day I imagine.
I cannot remember her daughters name, but my mind whispers “emily”, so let’s call her Emily. She was a very solemn girl, and in my memories of this time and these places, she is always on the outside of the picture. She was very slim and tall for her age. She had olive skin and dark facial features, like her mother. She rarely talked, and in fact, I cannot recall her ever saying a single word. I only remember her black piercing eyes, just watching, sad and maybe longing for something. Always watching and absorbing everything around her. Sometimes I felt that she was trapped in there, behind her shiny solemn eyes.
Her mother Lydia was a looming, heavy-set women with long, straight black hair that almost reached the ground. She was obsessed with that hair! She would make both me and Emily brush it for hours a day. We would have to stand on a wooden kitchen stool to be able to do it, and work in areas, based on her strict specifications. There were severe consequences for doing things out of order, or for pulling her hair, or falling of the stool, you get the picture…
She also made me trim the split ends out of her hair with a very large, shiny-silver pair of scissors. The kind an elementary school teacher might use, but would never give to their students. I had repeated dreams and visions of grabbing up her precious hair, exposing her fleshly neck, and slitting her throat from behind, then her daughter and I watched her bleed. I swear…and I was only 6! (I did watch a lot of horror movies: Friday the 13th TV show, Freddy Krueger, Poltergeist, etc.).
The ironic thing was, given how obsessed she was with hair, me, my brother, and her daughter all got the worst case of lice. It was terrible, so bad that you could see them jumping all over my head if you were standing next to me. My brother and I had to use treatment after treatment on our hair and couldn’t go to school, and just when I was about to go back. My hair was also pretty long at the time and I was forced to cut it extremely short, to help get rid of the lice.
I remember crying about it, but I’m not sure why. I don’t care what length my hair is, then, or to this day. I think I was worried my abusers wouldn’t think I was pretty anymore so I wouldn’t be their favorite. But it terrified me that I had to cut it all off…(I knew it wouldn’t be good for the other girls, maybe?).
I was also terrified of Lydia (although I tried not to show her) because she was unpredictable. I remember one day there was a sticker on the wall, at a height I would have to run and jump to get it at like a major league basket-ball player. It was a few feet above my head, and looking at Emily, I knew she didn’t put it there. Lydia was going on and on about why I would put a sticker there, asking me why I did it? Of course I didn’t, and was really puzzled at how it got there.
To make sure it wasn’t my brother, I went outside, away from Lydia’s ranting while I still could, to ask him. He was only 3 years old at the time, but I asked if he had been playing with stickers (at the time this sounded very reasonable to me). He said he hadn’t and so I ruled him out, even though I had no idea how he could have gotten it that high anyway (climbed on a stool maybe?… I remember thinking). Now that I am older, I’m convinced that Lydia put the sticker on the wall herself.
She came into the yard and dragged me inside the apartment, still rambling about the sticker. Pointing at the wall she TOLD me that I put it there. I knew there was no point arguing, because I could tell from her face that she had passed her “point of no return,” and I was in for it. I would rather it be me than Emily though, who was standing in the furthest corner, back pressed against the walls with her arms crossed tightly against her front.
Lydia started in on her usual rant about me, and my brother, being the devil’s spawn. She liked to tell me that I was dirty, a very dirty, dirty little girl and that I could never amount to anything because I was Lucifer’s daughter. I really believed her too, which is sad, because she was probably the fifth person to use that exact method of emotional torture, or abuse “reasoning” on me. But Lydia brought new kinds of torture into my life. Her favorite torture tools were the Belt Room and Standards…
Since this is a longer post I will put up Part 2 tomorrow.
A related article I recently found, about Using God to Abuse, makes some very interesting points. It helped to see another perspective.