My mother was a frustrated single mother of 4 children. Therefore we would get whopping for the simplest things ‘old school style'. These days it’s now called abuse. It could be something simple like not ironing our clothes the night before school. We were trying to enjoy our youth, but instead, we were left with trauma and a few bad memories.
I was placed into the Frances Bodden Girls Home from the age of 14 until 16 years old, I was so excited when I first learned that I would be placed in a different environment, but I thought wrong. It is similar to the type of prison life you see in the movies. Once you get in the house, you need to know how to maneuver to fit in.
I remember my first day moving into the home after my court order. I think the house had about 9 girls living there at the time. Some came to welcome me and a few just didn't like me for no apparent reason. I guess they just felt territorial.
Living in that house turned me into a different person, I was a shy and quiet person and used to have trouble speaking up for myself; because of the way my mom treated me caused a trickle-down effect which made me get picked on by the other girls.
I started to find ways to blend in, so at the age of 15 when I got my first tattoo then, I started to get piercings in other areas of my ears, including my nose, started using curse words and talking vulgar, started having sex, and was placed on birth control, lied about my age and identity to older guys, started drinking and smoking, and being rude to adults when I know that this was not my real character.
I used to cry to staff members expressing my feelings and asking to live with my sister (she was placed with a family member) but instead, I would be ignored and would be treated like the ‘bad kid.’ I was never a bad kid, the circumstances made me become someone I was not because I was in survival mode.
Although there were fun times living in the home, I can never forget the bad times as this memory is lodged in my head. I started to get into fights because I had enough, I became a multiple-time runaway to seek freedom and I used to self-harm as a way of getting attention (I still have the scars to show). I bonded with some of the girls when I learned about their stories, I remember one of them talking about their rape story.
There were some staff members that hold a place in my heart as they held me until I would stop crying. There were times when I had suicidal tendencies because I used to question my purpose and existence and there were times that I used to cry until I had a headache. “I just wanted to feel heard, that’s all.”
I now hold resentment toward my mother, have major anxiety, and have issues with authority. I think a proper assessment needs to be done when they are placing persons in the home (not sure if this is being done now). So when you see people running away from there, don’t always assume that it is because of a boyfriend. Some of them run away just to get a break from being in that environment.
With that being said, we need to pay more attention to the children, they are the future. We don’t want to keep raising monsters in disguise. Most of the time, things are happening to them, and they are afraid to speak up because their feelings are being dismissed