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This is probably the most scary thing I have ever done in my lifetime. I am not prone to fear, I never have been. However my blog is my safe haven in a way. People never glean too much information about me other than what I allow them to know. They know I have a dog, two kids, a fantastic husband and a pretty fantastic life. That is my truth now. It wasn’t always the case for me though.
People ask me all the time why I read and love YA. Why I spend my time championing children’s literature. I usually say “I like the low page count and the stories are interesting”, or some other noncommittal dribble. I never say what I should that “I wish so much these books would have been there for me.”
I don’t have a lot of memories from my childhood. A therapist would probably tell me I blocked them out. I remember only the bad stuff and I never think about it. The number one way I have always survived and kept myself mentally stable is to just bury it, bury everything. I do talk about things, but when I want to and when I feel comfortable, but mainly I read through things.
From the time I was five until I was twelve I was sexually abused by my step father. I have never in my life uttered that sentence out loud and probably never will. We lived in a small town, those ones that look beautiful on the outside but are full of rot on the inside. I was in sixth grade when I had a teacher who was extremely nice. I don’t remember anything about her now, just the feeling that she was nice and I will always remember the way she looked at me when I confided in her. She took me to the guidance counselor who made me say it all again. Out loud. Then they called the police.
The police came and made me say it all out loud again. Then they made me write it all down. Then they sent me to my next class. When I got off the school bus that afternoon my aunt was waiting for me at the stop. She said we were going to my grandmother’s house. When I arrived my Mom was in tears, but they weren’t tears for me they were for him. He went home from the police station after telling them I was lying to get attention and shot himself in the head in our bathroom.
I went back to school a few days later where the kids made fun of me. Said mean things and gave me get well soon cards painted with men hanging themselves or shooting themselves with angry colors of red and maroon. The church branded me a liar and asked me to repent. They threw us out of the congregation and the woman who I had known my entire life as my grandmother spit in my face. The police had a confession / suicide letter but wouldn’t release it to me. I still don’t know what he wrote only that he said “Everything Pam said was true.”
We moved. It was too late. I was already too messed up to care what we did or where we went. I was still reading though there just wasn’t anything about that out there. Living in a small town, very small this had never happened to another person.
I started drinking and doing mild drugs. I started hanging out with kids I never would have. I kept my grades up though I don’t know how. When I was fifteen and in 8th grade I lost my virginity. Against my will in the back of a Ford Fiesta with three sophomore boys. Tommy, Jeremy, and Chris. Three extremely handsome athletes that I couldn’t believe asked me, little old me to go riding around with them.
I told my friends. They called me a liar. Rumors of my new slutty behavior were rampant in the halls. I almost killed myself, several times. I kept reading. I read corset rippers about sex. I knew that wasn’t what sex was and I wanted to know what it should be like. If anyone got deflowered and liked it.
I left home and lived in trailers with addicts. I did more drugs, I drank more and I kept odd jobs at burger joints and I kept my library card. I kept reading and I didn’t die.
When I was twenty I met a man and moved in with him. I had no where else to go. We had sex and I got pregnant. He didn’t want a baby and I didn’t want to give it up. I couldn’t wait to have someone to love, someone who I knew for sure would love me too. One night he came home and beat me badly. Usually it had just been a slap to the back of the head or a push to the floor and he always was so sorry. He beat me and choked me with a telephone cord and he put me outside in three feet of snow in my night gown. I didn’t even have shoes. It was five miles walk to the next house so I brushed the porch off and sat there. All night. I got pneumonia and it complicated the pregnancy. The baby came early and he died when he was eight days old. I went back to his house and spent another year watching Jerry Spring, not eating and trying not to kill myself. I read Christian Fiction because I wanted to believe there was a God.
I got up dusted myself off and applied to colleges. I moved away. I met my husband and lived in England and now in California and I never go back there. I never have too. I have two beautiful children, an amazing husband and a life that is so wonderful I never would have believed it could happen to me. The nasty drug addled whore I believed I was.
I wish I had YA books to read then. I would have loved to have known other people had problems and I believe more than anything that YA Saves.