One thing that used to frustrate us the most about our mother was her obsession and hang-up over dates. I never quite understood why, for example, we were expected to behave a certain way on the anniversary of one’s death. Don’t we miss the person the same that day as we did the day before? As we will the day after?
However, October 18th is always a day that will always elicit a moment of somber reflection.
On this day 4 years ago, my sisters and I became wards of the state of North Carolina. That crisp October morning, we were summoned to a meeting that consisted of our parents, grandparents, family friends, social workers, counselors, psychiatrists, and school principals.
We entered that room with fears, doubts, and heartbreak, sure…but we went as a single unit:
Three as one.
United by a lifetime of hurt and violent chaos, but also by a fervent hope that somehow always managed to sing its quiet song amidst the storms we weathered…
But we left that meeting completely different people.
We were forced on yet another dark and winding path, but unlike the roads we had travelled in the past, this one split in three. We were all forced to navigate alone- stumbling along scared and blind- with no hope of getting back to where we started and no promise of an end.
We would never again be the same…
I love Professor Bullock! She is such a kind, fun and beautiful person…so blessed to get to be her student this semester!
There are many instances of my life that haunt me. Rhetoric that plays over and over in my head like some sick tape I cannot escape. Actions that color my dreams, jolting me from nightly slumber. However nothing makes me quite as sick as the innocent words of my then 13-year-old sister, remarking on my self-harm:
“…I tried [to cut myself] but I couldn’t do it. I wanted to but it hurt too much. You’re so brave!”
Hearing those words took my breath away. I was 14 when I started- not much older than she. It was my heavy, shameful, long sleeves in July secret for 3 miserable years.
Cutting was not brave, and that self-destructive path was certainly not what I wished to model for my little sisters. It’s been more than 4 years since she uttered those words, and while they still shake me to my core, they also push me to keep fighting, to not give in to temptation, and to show her what bravery truly is.
He gave me an ultimatum,
“Us or Them.”
I made my choice
and spent the rest of the week
sleeping in a parking lot.