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The Light in the Dark

The light flicked on in my brain and I could clearly see my past in all it’s wild and unbelievable colour. Up until the light came on in my brain, memories, and heart I was able to detach myself from any traumatic situation.

A mother of three, a wife, a business owner, and a victim of every abuse that you have heard of, and likely some that you haven’t.

In the beginning, born into a family consisting of an autistic father, a bi-polar mother, and a sociopathic brother. Partly raised by extended family who were likely victims of sexual abuse themselves at some point. Reclusive, collectively paranoid with a deranged view of the world and of course a deranged view of me. Mostly left to play outside, in a wild overgrown garden where I could escape from the nightmares that lurked inside the house.

Learning to stay quiet, to agree to everything, to be submissive, not to cry loudly, never to argue or have an opinion, to believe that female relatives could never be sexual predators, that was of course only something a male could do? And they did.

Learning to survive in a world that was so beyond imagination that the only way to survive was to escape into a fantasy of my own creation. Safe places and safe people were only in my imagination, so I preferred to stay inside my mind where I was safe.

Growing up and heading into school, my jaw was broken but never cared for, the burn scars on my legs from being held onto a bar heater were covered in the summer heat with brown corduroy pants that looked out of place, my neck ached from being strangled, my shoulders ached from when my arms were pulled up behind my back…but you know boys will be boys, won’t they? Brothers always fight with their sisters! Brother will always creep into your room at night and tell you it was your time to die and hold a pillow over your head until you passed out.

Christmas. My father made me a doll's house. It was the most beautiful dolls house you could imagine. Three levels, four bedrooms and a wonderful interconnecting set of stairs. My father spent hours in his workshop making it, adding wallpaper and carpet. It was perfect. For six months, I created the perfect world, the perfect family and at that time, I have no memory of anything else. I would write a note every night for the magical family who I imagined lived in that house. Every morning there was a reply, a little note, a sticker, some glitter sprinkled on the doll house carpet.

My birthday, I come home to school to find an empty house apart from our beds, my doll house, and our dining room table. My bi-polar mother had left to live in what I would later find out to be polygamous relationship. My brother left shortly after to join her and not long after I was given a contract to fulfil when I was of consenting age, to join the commune.

I wrote a note for the family in my doll house. I checked every day and hoped for a reply. It came, eventually, one word, in masculine block capital letters, my father’s hand, SORRY.

The light flicked on in my brain. A mother of three, a wife, a business owner, and a survivor of every abuse that you have heard of, and likely some that you haven’t. I am representing myself, I am strong, my world is small after forgiving and moving on from the people who hurt me. My children are so loved and safe. I am loved and safe.

Most importantly I am living, I have been given insight, perspective, and the courage to build my own dollhouse, filled with love and safety.

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