Yesterday, a childhood friend posted pictures on her Facebook page. The pics were of her 12th birthday part. There’s a candid picture of me that took my breath away…and not in a good way.
Maybe it’s because I know what I had endured and what I was enduring at the time of the picture. But I took one look at that picture and the word that instantly came to mind was “haunted”. My eyes had dark circles, I was skinny, my hair was stringy, and in the unguarded expression you could see a weariness, wariness that no 12 year old should have.
It made me stop and think. Did anyone at that time in my life suspect anything? I used to be a great student. Suddenly I stopped doing my work. My personal hygiene was horrible. I hated taking showers because 1 – it was me at my most vulnerable and 2 – if he was home, he would come in and watch me.
Did any of my teachers, parents of my friends, or even my friends themselves suspect anything was amiss? The knowledge I have now tells me someone had to suspect something. Yet no one ever said anything. No one ever asked me anything. No one reported anything. Was this because we lived in a small town and they had the “it’s none of my business” mentality? Were they afraid to say anything? I look back on my life and so many people had the opportunity to “save me” back then. There were many neighbors who knew the filth I live in, knew I hardly ever had food in our home. It seems, though, everyone turned a blind eye.
I don’t have many pictures of me at that age. I think I know why now. You can just tell by looking at me something was wrong. A picture is worth a thousand words, and the words my pictures then would use are not pretty ones.