I know the most important thing is that I matter to myself, but I want to matter to other people. I want to have a voice and an opinion that is heard. If I speak and no one cares or listens, did I really speak? Did my words mean anything? What happens when you grew up in a household where your words didn’t matter? Looking back I don’t even know if I spoke them, or just thought them, but the one thing I do know is that no one was listening. This made me turn inside and create imaginary friends that did listen and care. My imagination grew to include good friends, and later in life a whole imaginary family. I created this family when I lived on my own so that people would not know how alone I was. I was different. I was just born different. I didn’t accept what was going on around me as a child. I made the mistake of asking questions and speaking up. But I was greeted with, ‘because we said so,’ and ‘that is just the way it is’. So, here I was a confused child that had no one explaining anything to me, and on top of that I was being molested. Was I just there to serve everyone around me and not speak? I felt like a doll, but probably not even treated as well. So, I learned ways to take care of myself. I learned how to write my true feelings down in a journal. My journal was my bible. I learned that I had a talent for drawing, which allowed me to escape into the pictures that I was creating. I would draw beautiful women that were confident and strong, and in that moment I became these women. These survival tactics I learned, or I guess I should say, that I taught myself, have served me well. I eventually escaped and I got away from the abuse. I feel very grateful for that because there are many who turn to drugs to drown out their despair. They become addicts lost in another world. The other alternative is to just accept and repeat the pattern. I am glad that I didn’t do either of those things. I did many other self-destructive things, and it hasn’t been an easy path but I managed to get physically away. But my past will always be with me. When I am feeling down or weak, I still have nightmares about my childhood. These nightmares used to make me so angry, because I would think I was ‘cured’ of my past. And then it would be back again, haunting me. For some reason, I thought there would be a time in my life that it would be over. What I mean by that is, I was always working towards never thinking or being affected by my past again. I thought I would come to a point in my life that I would be peaceful, and everything would fall into place and make sense. But now I know it was a waste of time and energy to try to rewrite my history. I am not proud to write about this now, I am not excited to share the torments of my childhood. I wish it was different. I wish it was like a tumor I could just have cut out of me and be done with it. But, I can’t. It is a part of who I am whether I like it or not. There will always be that part of me that will feel inadequate and lost sometimes. There will always be that part of me that will quietly wonder if I matter. I have to work hard some days on not being pulled towards despair. The feeling of absolute helplessness at the hands of people who are using you is not a good feeling. And I still feel that sometimes. But, I know now it is just a feeling, and it isn’t my current reality. I know I matter. My brain knows that I matter now, but sometimes my emotions take over and I am lost again. I am that little girl again waiting for someone to care about her. A part of me will always be that little girl. I am that little girl speaking her truth now. But it is not just a matter of telling my truth and all is healed in an instant. It is my life. My past has formed who I am as a person, and everything that I am about. It is in my very heart and soul. And that is what I have finally accepted. That it changed me. That someone’s careless abusive actions affected me and made me the person that I am. That they are in me, a part of me, I breathe them every single day. And I hate it, but I accept it. I have to accept it so that I can also find the beauty in it. In running from it, I only saw the darkness and the negative of it. In running from it, I saw myself as dirty and unwanted, someone I didn’t want to look at. I was abandoning me too. But in accepting my past and integrating it into who I am now, I have been able to appreciate the little girl who writes and draws to tell her truth.