Erika Wilkinson : My Truth.
A little about me. Fourty-ish, married, (ten years this month!) furmommy of the best furson ever, Talladega. I work, read, enjoy being around anything fuzzy. I’ve had a 40-year love affair with anything Disney.
I have verbally told my truth, my entire truth only a few times in the past. When I tell people about my childhood, I try to keep most of the horrid details to myself. I give bits and pieces to get through it so maybe they can understand, but for the most part, I don’t think before this year, I really faced what happened to me. I never really sat down and went through what happened. Figured out what the mental and physical pain did to me.
Being home constantly last year really gave myself think to think. It also gave me time to read. There were two books that really turned my world on its head. The first book in question was back in June, was named Doc, by KD Robichaux. The story is about a psychiatrist who falls in love with a woman with a troubled past. This book set the easter egg in my head. I kept hearing Doc say, “Erika, you have to address it. You have to address it if you’re going to move on.” I’m not sure if at this point, I realized how intertwined the abuse I sustained as a child still affected me on a daily basis.
Then, in October, I read a book called Cruz, by Serena Akeroyd. The heroine, Indy, is also an abuse survivor. The book really struck me because I never saw the harm I was doing to myself; Self-harming myself. When I sat there reading how the character took the mental and physical pain of the past and would continue to hurt herself over and over because of her past, this was the turning point for me.
Before my epiphany, I would have considered myself a funny, yet sad person. Very angry. As soon as something went wrong, I would turn a mountain into a molehill. It was the end of the world. All because I let a small ball of snow turn into an avalanche and at some point, the mental and physical pain I endured was going to suffocate me if I didn’t take my boot and break it.
My truth. Here we go.
My mother sexually abused me.
My mother was the person who taught me how to kiss. How? We’d sit in her bed, her arm around me and she would turn my face toward her and kiss me. Not a peck on the cheek. Not a raspberry on the forehead....kiss me with tongue. I was around 6 or 7. She’d massage me. Make me touch her chest, as she touched whatever I had. Fingers in my underwear. She’d tell me how pretty I was, over and over. This happened for at least 6 months. It wasn’t constantly. My parents were separated, and I had a very busy schedule going back and forth, but when I’d finish my homework and I’d say I was bored, she found me something to do.
Although, I guess it was often enough that she was concerned that someone might see a bruise on my body and think it was her that she came up with a plan. I was picked up from school and all of my stuffed animals were in the back of her car. I was never picked up right after school and never with my stuffed animals, so this was a treat. I sat in the back of the car, I still remember it to this day, I’m 41 and she said, “We’re going to Isaac’s office (her therapist) and whatever you get asked, I want you to say yes.”
Obviously, I said ok.
We arrived at Isaac’s office and I sat on the floor, when Isaac told my father I had told my mother that Daddy sexually abused me. He was taking a bath and he asked me to “grab the soap” and there was no soap in the bath. That he told me to play with him, etc. They said I went into detail. (What 7-8 year old can go into detail about playing with her father’s body?! Especially when a child that age knows nothing about it!) Isaac turned to me and said, “Erika, did you say all that to your mother?”
“Yes.” I replied. (As I played with my dolls)
The next thing I remember DYFS (Division of Youth and Family Services) came to visit me at school. I remember the class I was in. I remember being called down to the Vice Principal’s office. I was the good girl; I was never called down to the office. I remember the lady’s name, Barbara. She asked me about the accusations my mother made. I looked at her and said, “Daddy never hurt me.” She replied, “Why did your mother say those things?” I said, “She sat me in the car, with my dolls and told me to say yes to everything.”
I just wasn’t strong enough to tell her what was actually happening. She also never asked if anyone was touching me inappropriately, just direct questions about my father and what was said in the therapist’s office.
The agent spoke to my parents after I got home. I was upstairs but I heard the conversation. My mother was told she was lying and that if she accused my father of abuse again, she’d be charged.
My mother always said nothing we were doing was wrong. I believed her, I mean, when your parent tells you something, you take their word. I mean, school talked about “Stranger Danger.” They never talked about if you knew the person. Acer the DYFS visit, I started to realize what she was doing to me was probably not right. I didn’t want it to continue. I would constantly find reasons not to be alone with her; do extra homework, read, lock myself in my room and go to sleep. It was still a few years before I was old enough to get my father to stop the joint custody arrangement. My mother never fought the stopping of the joint custody; just wanted the payments to continue.
As I got a few years older, I realized I loved the rest of my family so much, I didn’t want anyone to know. I didn’t want to hurt them. I didn’t want to cause drama. Remember, I was the good girl. So, I stayed silent and just avoided her as much as I could. I never wanted to be alone with her. Someone always had to be with us. There were times I was rude or standoffish when it came to the discussion of my mother. I realized, no one ever asked why. None of the adults ever asked why I didn’t like her. I was just the spoiled rotten kid who didn’t want anything to do with the one they kept on the pedestal.
After I got married, I realized I couldn’t hide anymore. I told my Grandmother what my mother did to me. She must have told the rest of the aunts and uncles because I started to get phone calls yelling at me for bringing up the past and hurting people. I never said a word acer that because I felt like that little girl all over again....all alone. Talk about a Black Sheep.
I’ve come to realize after my epiphany, that for years, if I hurt myself, kept myself ugly, then maybe the person in front of me wouldn’t want to hurt me. They wouldn’t waste their time on me. The plan worked sometimes. Two and a half years ago, I began to self harm myself. I’d make myself bleed where people couldn’t see. The release was glorious. It was like a high acer the blood flowed. Acer a few months, I knew I had to stop. I told my boss and my Thunderbuddy, Ginia Stiefel. Made myself report to them to make daily to make sure the scars healed and I didn’t continue to bleed. It’s been 2 years, and almost 7 months since I made myself bleed.
So, a couple of questions popped up for me recently.
1. Why tell my story now?
2. What do I hope to gain from this?
- I have to move on. I have to deal with the pain and suffering that I never dealt with if I have any chance of growing as a person. As an adult. I can’t worry about this going live and people I know and are close to not agreeing with my decision to tell my truth. In public. I worried about everyone else for years. Only a couple of “adults” that found out ever said something to the effect of “I’m sorry that happened to you.” It was always, “How could you bring it up?” This is my life. I’m bringing it up because maybe there is someone out there who fought their own demons because of abuse and needs to hear they aren’t alone.
- I’ve already cried all the tears I’m ever going to on this topic. I feel so light and free now. The weight on my shoulders has completely lifted. It wasn’t my fault. I was a kid. I wasn’t supposed to know better, she was supposed to know better. She was supposed to keep me from harm, not harm me. I also hope my history will send some hope to someone out there who may have been dealt some of the same cards as I did. You can survive the river. You are not alone.
One of my very good friends, Amber Day, introduced me to Beautiful Disaster clothing. That’s me. I’m a Beautiful Disaster. I do make broken look Beautiful. The shirt I’m wearing is my favorite BD shirt so far. I’m like a Phoenix. I may have gotten burned, but now my wings are strong. I’ve never felt the need to take more than one picture of myself until recently. I’ve never said the words, “I’m so pretty!” Not even on my wedding day. Well, I am Beautiful. My strength makes me Beautiful. My chosen family and friends make me Beautiful. My heart makes me Beautiful. I now have a new armor that’s even stronger. Love.