It occurred to me looking back, that I did not have a single childhood memory where I felt happy. Not a one. It was as if time stopped during those years of both being abused and watching the abuse take place around me. It was as if I jumped from child to me now with a few scattered memories in between. I do remember running away when I was 12, right before my 13th birthday. I didn’t just run away in the “I’m packing a bag, being dramatic and going around the corner to sulk until someone comes to find me kind of way” I ran AWAY. at 12.
I somehow convinced two of my friends to come with me, both named Tanya and both had NEVER dealt with anything like the things I had seen. They were so completely lost and scared and crying the entire time but I was FREE. I loved it. No schedule, no rules, no one to answer too. I could yell,scream, laugh, cry and talk without consequences. Or at least I thought I could. I remember running into these two guys and them offering us all a place to stay, seems they had a boat on their property with a cabin that they offered up for us to crash in. It sounded perfect, we were tired of sleeping in the woods. So we went. It was with consequences.
All I will say about that incident is that once again, I offered myself up in order to protect the two Tanya’s. I felt like I could handle what was going to happen because of the things I had already endured. I remember walking in the front door of my mother’s townhouse, I’m not sure how much time had passed, I think it was 2 weeks.I expected a warm, heart felt greeting. I did not get it. I walked in, sat down at the table and didnt speak, because I didn’t know what to say but she took it as indifference and began yelling at me. I know now that she was experiencing a plethora of emotions and the yelling was just a uncontrolled reaction, a mixture of relief, fear, anger, happiness, etc but it was NOT the greeting I was looking for after spending 2 weeks on my own, in West Palm Beach, facing the things I faced.
I guess during my absence she had called my father who was living in Richmond, VA at the time and he had come to find me. I remember my mom putting me in a car to Virginia with him to go live, hoping he could help “straighten me out”. and I remember thinking that if I didn’t have the life I had, I would not have run away. 12 year old’s don’t run from happy homes and it bothered me that I was getting the blame for my behavior.
On a side not and kind of jumbled, I do remember going to the police station to give a statement of sorts about what had happened when I was out there and feeling very victimized by the police officers, they didn’t believe me, or didn’t want to believe me, I’m not sure which. But I learned from that lesson, that no matter what truth you tell, if it’s ugly enough, people will simply pretend it doesn’t exist and that running away doesn’t work because you always have to face yourself.