Preface: this is another piece written by my 13 year old. This particular one was a descriptive short story she had to write for class. I remember her sitting in the living room with tears in her eyes freaking out because she didn’t like the first couple of sentences and had writer’s block. As usual we went through the motions of talking her off the ledge. I find that talking her through these panic attacks she has and helping her find some sort of structure in all that noise she has in her head when she is under pressure sometimes helps her. The finished product of what came from a long night of her scratching out words and crumbling up paper was this story, one which I can say is my favourite thing she’s written so far.
This is BRILLIANT!
I’m not into being fake happy. I seldomly show excitement, half a smile is just as good as a full one and don’t expect my voice to go an octave higher than my normal tone. Resting bitch face is a natural state of being for me. I don’t do it to be shady or for any petty reasons. Shit, I don’t even know I do it until it’s pointed out to me! I’m always told I don’t show feelings, to smile, to not be such a bitch…since apparently not smiling equates to being “a bitch”.
People have caught feelings about giving me gifts because I haven’t shown levels of excitement that were acceptable to them. People have called me heartless, bitter, cold, bitchy (they love that one) and whatever other adjectives suits them at the moment to point out the fact that my demeanour makes them uncomfortable.
Well guess what bitch? I’m me. That’s it. I don’t smile because life has conditioned me not to smile. I don’t smile because I don’t fucking feel like it. I don’t smile because I’m not obligated to make your insecure ass feel better about yourself if I flash you some teeth and gums. I don’t smile because I’ve gone through so much hurt and have so much inside to deal with that my half smile is all I’ve trained my mind to project just to feel a little bit normal at times that a smile would be warranted. I don’t smile because it’s not a welcome sign for men to approach me or talk to me when all I want to do is get to where the hell in going!
So if you ever do see me smile and even more rare hear me laugh out loud…then know that you’re truly appreciated and your presence is indeed a present.
Those closest to me know my rough past. They know a blue bandanna was a staple for me. Despite going to a catholic school with uniform we still managed to make it look as hood as possible. Thick black eyeliner, curly hair, blue bandannas and white K-Swiss kicks paired with a very short kilt and with a white button up or over sized white golf shirt. That was the look that set the cholas apart from the predominantly white population of the high school I attended. The school was mostly full of Italians and Polish kids. Most of the coloured kids concentrated their lockers in one or two hallways. If we were assigned lockers somewhere else we either traded with someone or ended up with two lockers for the year. The hallway was dubbed “the night hallway”, it was where you found all the black kids, Filipinos, Latinos and the white kids that grew up with us. It was the hallway where you found all the singers, the breakers, the star athletes and the roughnecks in one place. We were a family. It was us against them. You call one person a n****r, you call all of us a n****r. You call one person a s**c, you call all of us a s**c. We were like a swarm of angry bees if you disturbed the nest. We used to go to each other’s court dates. If someone thought she was pregnant, we’d borrow a health card so she could go to a clinic. If we knew you were gonna get your ass beat at home for whatever reason we’d walk you home in hopes that your pops or mom would forget why they were mad in the first place. When the time came to go home we’d let you know that if shit went down we’d have a bed ready for you. We looked out for each other because nobody else was doing it. The other kids would call us juvies, short for juvenile delinquents. Teachers would always be trying to catch us in something to suspend us or telling us we would end up like our parents if we didn’t smarten up. As if it was the worst thing in the world. Cops would target us and follow us home. It was always us against them. Some of us made it…others didn’t. It’s a hard knock life.
The scars are internal.
When it comes to abusive relationships, it isn’t always just physical abuse. While this isn’t meant to detract from the issue of domestic abuse that far too many women have suffered (and still suffer), it’s to address the fact that emotional abuse can be just as damaging, but in completely different ways.
When you’re in an emotionally abusive relationship, it’s not always noticeable right away. You don’t bear the bruises of a physical attack, but you’re still scarred in many ways, and that scarring leaves an imprint that can affect every future relationship.
It’s hard to love again after you’ve been manipulated, put down, controlled, belittled, and made to feel worthless by someone who was supposed to love you and care about you.
As someone who’s been emotionally abused in the past and can now clearly see it, I’m also able to see how it changed my idea of relationships and my approach to love. Here are seven ways those of us who have been emotionally abused love differently:
“neediness is not a dirty word. needing love and affection and attention does not make you weak. needing kindness in the morning does not make you childish. needing a smile to brighten your day does not mean you see the world as grey. needing a hug does not mean you cannot stand on your own two feet. needing a kiss does not mean you do not love your own lips. needing another person, or two, or an entire village to make you feel whole does not mean you are a half, or a fraction or a fragment – it means you want more, and darling to live is to want, and you want, want, want. needing dreams doesn’t make you scared, or lost, or unfocused – it makes you a dreamer, and love, you see the world in colors of the future, you see possibility where other see limits, you see freedom where others see fear. so dream. dream and need and want. and take from life all that you can, and if you still want more and need more then grow, grow your voice – say what you need without your will quaking, without your voice breaking.”
— marina v., i will not apologize, pt. 1.