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Adversity,  Anger,  Anxiety,  Fear

Alcoholic in the Making

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July 21, 2022

Dear God, good morning. I’ve been up since four thirty this morning. I got ready for my day already. Today’s reading is about “Doubting Yourself.” I always doubted myself because my self-esteem told me I was not good enough. This stems from my childhood. I was seven years old when my mother said, “I brought you into this world. I can take you out!” My mother was pure evil at that time. When my father left the house for good, my mother began to punish us all. My mother would use the belt buckles to whip our naked bodies, usually on our backs, because no one could see the bruises.

One day, I did something wrong, and my mother grabbed me by the throat, raising my body in the air, then pushed me up against the kitchen wall. Then she began to strangle me. I remember feeling the pain and not being able to breathe. I was feeling dizzy. I felt my body go limp in her arms like a rag doll. Was I dying? I couldn’t hear anything because she squeezed my neck hard. The next thing that happened was I didn’t feel any pain from my mother’s brutality. I remember the color yellow surrounding me, and I was giggling like a little girl. Was I in the light of God? Was I in Heaven? Why didn’t God take me? Then the next thing I remember was my mother had me on the floor, slapping my face, and she kept saying, “Geraldine, Wake up!”  My face was stinging like hundreds of needles going into my cheeks when she tried to revive me back to life. My self-esteem was lost in the abyss of not knowing myself. My mother broke my heart every time she would beat me. Of course, I doubted myself.

Growing up, I learned that the world was not safe. People were not to be trusted. I became a child that started hating the world around me. Then the Department of Social Services (DSS) entered my life. I was an angry, stubborn child who didn’t talk much. I was scared of everyone that would speak to me. DSS gave me a Social Worker, Amy, who drove me to Madonna Hall. Because I was beating up on the boy in the house for touching me or hitting me, I hated that foster home, not the foster parents but all the boys living there. Three of them would tease or bully me, and I would fight back by biting or punching them in the face, like my father would say because he was bullied too.

My Social Worker, Amy, drove me to this place with a Church on its grounds. I was wondering where she was taking me. It was a group home for teenage girls, and the Madonna Hall had Nuns running the home. I was now eleven years old, soon to be twelve years old. I met Sister Jemma, this tiny little Nun with a soft-spoken voice, and she was cute as a button. She brought me to my bedroom, which I had to share with another girl older than me. I never spoke to the roommate because I didn’t speak much. Sister Jemma was sweet, gentle, and kindhearted, and I respected her because she helped me survive the group home.

The first day I was there, a necklace was stolen. There were twelve older girls living at this convent. Some of the girls were whispering as they pointed at me. Maybe it was the new girl meaning that I stole the necklace. All eyes were on me. I had not interacted with the older girls when I first got to Madonna Hall. The head Nun told all the girls that no one was going to bed unless the necklace was upstairs in the bathroom. Everyone had to go upstairs one at a time, and whoever stole it had to place it in the bathroom, including me. I used to steal candy at a candy store and got into trouble. My parents taught me not to steal. After an hour of sitting in the vast living room, someone put the necklace on the sink. I was relieved.

I survived Madonna Hall with the help of Sister Jemma, she taught me how to crochet and sew, and then we had a school there too. I could not, for the life of me, focus on school. I was an angry kid who enjoyed the Nuns and thought they were cool. There was a huge closet full of different brands of cigarettes, tampons, and shampoos. The Nuns had everything but the kitchen sink. I began trusting the Nuns because I felt safe with them; they were nurturing and loving towards us. Sister Jemma told the girls to teach me how to play the game spades. And the girls did. The older girls were nice to me after I was there for two weeks. I settled in at Madonna Hall. I felt happy for the first time since I left my siblings. I know if my mother or father left me, God would take me as an orphan. I feel blessed today that I have you in my life today.

I was an angry eleven-year-old, and I missed my siblings desperately. I thought they were all together Denise, Willy, and Sunflower. In my mind, I thought I was going back to be with them. While I was at Monona Hall, I crocheted a rainbow blanket for my baby sister Crystal. I was happy to have a baby sister. I never resented Crystal for being born. I love her. My mother would not let me visit with Crystal. I wanted to see my baby sister. Then the Social Worker made a home visit for me to see Crystal and gave my mother the colorful blanket for Crystal. I did not trust my mother, but she gave me Crystal and gently put Crystal in my arms. I fell in love with my sister. My mother never allowed me to revisit Crystal.

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