There But for the Grace of God Go I

I found an article on Twitter this morning, titled “I am Nancy Lanza” detailing a single mother’s daily struggle with a seriously mentally ill child, including the difficulties in getting treatment. She was advised to have her son arrested – because then, he’d have a record, and he’d get treatment in prison.

I tweeted the above article, and in response, a wingnut tweeted me back to tell me that I “should get off twitter and pay more attention to my fucked-up parenting skills.”

To which I replied…I have no children, precisely because I was abused, bullied and molested as a child.

All this is hard for me to take in.

I moved to California with my mother at age 8, and started 4th grade in the small town we lived in. My mother had married my stepfather, a violently abusive man who regularly beat my brother and I with whatever he could get his hands on. He reserved his “special” attentions for me. I was regularly molested by my stepfather when I came home from school, as my mother was the one who had the job in our family. There were always those two to three hours in the afternoon to be gotten through and endured before my mom came home from work. I hid in my room with books.

My parents dressed me in clothes from rummage sales. I had thick glasses and I was dirty and neglected. Therefore, I became a target. Every single day I was hounded and taunted and harassed and even beaten up and kicked by larger boys.

By the time I reached 8th grade, I had gone to school with the same group of kids who had tormented me daily at school, and every day I went home to hell where I was molested and abused.

I was so very angry then; I hated my tormentors with all the white-hot hatred I could muster. The depth of that anger was brought home to me the day I came across my 8th grade yearbook in a box in my closet. As I leafed through the pages, I saw that I had taken blue paint – and I had blotted out the faces of every kid who bullied me. There were a lot of blue blots in that yearbook.

When I see things like the Newtown shooting happen, I think of what could have happened if I had been able to get my hands on a gun. At age 12, I was probably angry enough to have pulled the trigger on my abusive stepfather; I could have also carried that gun to school and killed those kids who made my life a living hell day after day.

And so my response to the person who tweeted me that I should practice up on my deficient parenting skills? I told him that I had no children – precisely because I had been abused, molested and bullied as a child.  I feared that I would become the same kind of parent as my mother and my stepfather – so I never wanted to bring a child into this world and have it be dependent on someone as broken as I was.

So, please, love your children and treat them well… they may be taken from you at any moment.


3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by bethkoz on December 16, 2012 at 7:40 pm

    Annie, It takes courage to write as you do. Thank you for baring your soul. Who knows how many people it may help. You did a brave thing by not killing those who hurt you. I wish you healing with each new bruise, because remembering those taunts bruises again. You’ve beaten them, Annie. You’ve beaten THEM!



    • Posted by leftsideannie on December 16, 2012 at 8:19 pm

      Thank you. My childhood was very painful, and it’s good that I can stand and face it full on. And yes, I survived, and I’m grateful for that.


  2. You are one of my heroes.


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