I Was an Embarrassment

When I was about four years old, my mother went to work for a sign company. I remember my mother and I walking down the street from our apartment to her work. I believe I was wearing a white dress that had trim on it that was red. It was a bright and sunny day and the part that sticks out in my memory is that I had on red, polka dotted underwear. Because we were outside in the sun, you could see the polka dots through the white. I remember my mother telling the ladies that I was an embarrassment to her. I was thoroughly chastised for the underwear. I don’t remember being told a specific thing to wear and just put on what I could reach.
Kim did not dress me. I dressed myself. I would put on shorts and a t-shirt in the middle of winter and freeze if we went any where. During that same time, my mother’s parents lived in the same city that my mother worked. Next door to my grandparents home was a mother and daughter. The daughter Sadie, became my best friend. That first summer, we were both sent to summer camp. I spent every day outside in the sun. I was also able to take swimming lessons that year. I loved being in the pool. I remember that, in the class, you started on the level of Tadpole and you graduated when you reached Shark.
I had a problem where I had to hold my nose because I could not keep the water out of it. I could not swim and blow the air out of my nose at the same time. To this day, I still can’t do that. That was one of the few good times I had in my life After that summer, Sarah and her mom moved and we lost touch with each other. I may have been six or seven years old.
Shortly thereafter, I was put in daycare next to the apartment that we lived in. I was dropped off there in the mornings and subsequently taken to school by the daycare van. I was also picked up after school until my mom came to pick me up.
There were a few instances that occurred while I was being looked after by the daycare. The first and most dominant memory was about a teenage boy sticking his hand up my dress. Again, I was in the first or second grade. I had chased him because he had taken a pencil that I was using to do my home work. He had sat down in the corner and I approached him. He lifted up my dress and touched my private area over my panties.
I abandoned my pencil and ran tot he teacher crying I told her what the boy had done and was told to stop making up stories and to finish my homework. Her exact words were to stop telling lies. Instead of going to do my homework, I went and sat down in a corner where I was still close to the teacher but also where I could be alone in safety.
I told Kim and she said “Well, if that’s what the teacher told you, then do what she says.” That response doesn’t surprise me. That was a typical reaction when I would tell my mother things. I was always told that I was lying or that I was making up stories.
The second incident happened that summer. We had gone to the pool ad I happened to claim use of an inner tube which was very rare. The same teacher was there and told the other lady that was over another class, “Look at the jelly rolls on that girl.” It hurt my feelings and I got off of the inner tube which was quickly claimed. I got out of the pool and went and sat in a chair in the shade. Within a few minutes, the teacher came to where I was sitting quietly wrapped in my towel. She told me to get back in the pool. I told her that I didn’t want to and she repeated the command. When I shook my head and started crying, she grabbed me by the arm and dragged me to the edge of the pool and pushed me in. Towel and all.
I was still crying and now, more so because I would have no towel to dry off with. The teacher left me alone after that. I pushed my soggy towel out of the pool and just floated by the edge until it was time to leave. I had wrung out my towel as best as possible and shoved it in my plastic grocery sack. One of my friends let me borrow their towel when they were done with it so that I could ry off. The last incident that I remember involved an art project. We were told to drip blue on paper and we were given food coloring to drip into the blue Then we were told to use the straw and blow the blue and food coloring around. The end result was supposed to be a tie-die effect. The only end result was thirteen kids high on elmer’s glue.

There is a fourth memory. We were entered into a summer daycare dance competition. The initial song that was chose was “Surfin in the USA” by the Beach Boys. I was one of four girls chosen as the back up dancers. I was taken out of the performance because I wasn’t ‘Sexy” enough at seven years old. They ended up changing the song and doing a different dance. I wasn’t invited to participate in that one. That song was “The Summertime Blues” by Eddie Cochran.

Respectfully,
Phoenix

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25 thoughts on “I Was an Embarrassment

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  1. You are incredibly brave. Childhood was a very confusing time for me. I really relate to this post. I found myself wanting to hug the little you in these passages and tell you that you are beautiful. The sum of these experiences made you who you are today, and as hard as it may be to take them out and look at them now, just remember that the light of your soul shines brighter today because of the shadowy moments long ago.

    1. I totally agree with that. I look at myself and the kid I used to be and I just want to pick up the little me and cradle her. But, I have been asked if I would change anything and I actually believe that I wouldn’t because I am who I am because of ALL of my experiences and I couldn’t be who I am now without them.
      Thank you for racing and commenting. It means a lot to me to know I have support.

      Respectfully,
      Phoenix

  2. I’ve never understood the adults that seem completely adverse to building children up, I have to assume they are insecure or very self absorbed to spend so much time making people who are dependent on them feel insignificant. Then again, I’m a builder and a creator and I’ve never understood the motivation behind destruction and cruelty. What doesn’t kill you makes you who you are.

    1. I think that is a quandary of all survivors of abuse. There is no point to it, there is no rhyme or reason, and there are so many issues with people that do do these things to children.
      Thank you for reading and for your support.
      With much respect,
      Phoenix

    2. Any adult who takes pleasure in abusing a child is a sadistic narcissist. My mother is one of them. I have had similar childhood experiences with adults who were not my mother, like teachers and neighbors. I’m so glad you have been able to rise from the cinders of your abused childhood into the Great Bird of Fire you are today. Thank you for your inspiration, Phoenix. I’m so glad to have found your blog.

      ACoNBlogger

  3. Sometimes I wonder why are humans so cruel to each other… I don’t get why would anybody say to a little girl that she’s making up such stories. Was the sorrow in her eyes fake? No. They just didn’t look… This is just sad.

    Sending good thoughts.

    1. It is very sad. I believe that there are many reasons that people say these things but I know that from the person she was, I think it was a level of maturity and not wanting to handle it.
      Thank you for reading. 🙂

      Respectfully,
      Phoenix

  4. My heart goes out to you. To try to reach out to an adult whose job is to be caring for you and to be told you are making up stories is such a damaging thing as it causes you to doubt who you are and what you are really experiencing. Sadly it was a huge part of being a child in years gone by and I am sure still goes on. Writing about it is a wonderful thing and very important.

    1. I was always told that I was making up stories. I had an aunt that I told that a monster would crawl over the end of the bed and hurt me in bad places. My aunt told Kim (my mother) what I’d said. My mother told my aunt to not believe me because I was making up stories.

      I struggle daily but i know that when I stop struggling, then I will turn out just like them and I love myself too much for that.

      Thank you for your support and for reading. That helps me just as much as the writing if not more.

      Respectfully,
      Phoenix

  5. I’m sorry that so many ‘adults’ let you down, dismissed you and abused you. But here you are…strong, beautiful, flawed, and amazing. You are all these things and more because YOU chose to survive. To thrive. Thanks for sharing your story. Who knows how many people you’ve helped because of your openness!!!! And welcome to my blog – I look forward to getting to know you! Be well. ❤ ~Karen~

    1. Karen,
      With much respect, thank you for your support in reading. I am glad that we have been able to connect. I can’t tell my readers enough thank you thank you thank you.

      Phoenix

  6. Thank you for sharing your stories. I have my own that share some of the same darkness. I sincerely hope you’ve been able to heal the pains of your past. There are no words I can say to take away what happened, nor help you come to terms with something that had no rhyme or reason, and should never have happened. I can’t do that for you, but I can offer my ear and my time should you ever need someone to talk to. If you ever need anything, just shoot me an email: exploringalura@att.net

    1. I look forward to reading. I do a lot of reading because I find that it helps the places of my heart that still hurt. I have come a long way from where I used to be. I owe a lot of that to my husband and my three wonderful girls. Thank you so much for your support. It does mean so much to me.

      Respectfully
      Phoenix

  7. I understand you. I was also abused. Ibhaventcread enough of your blog to confirm this, but I would guess you now have some sort of mental illness to go along with all of this. I pray I’m wrong. I personally have so many diagnoses, I stopped counting at 10.

    Keep writing. If you’re like me, and from what I’ve read you are, this is good therapy for you.

    God bless you.

    1. Actually, no. I’m well adjusted and happy. I have a wonderful husband and three beautiful daughters and all of the support that I need in my journey to ealing.
      Thank you for your support.
      With much respect,
      Phoenix

  8. I’m so sorry that there was no one there to listen to you and help you when you were little. I admire you for being able to write about it. We have a foster child that we are trying to encourage to write, but just stringing a sentence together for her is difficult. I hope in time she will be able to use writing as a way to express what happened to her as well.

    1. I sincerely hope that she can get out what happened to her. I hope that she can recover. The best anyone can do, is to be there as her support for when she does fall. I’m not strong all of the time. I still cry and I still break. That’s just part of the healing process.

  9. I can’t say anything better than astralmoonbeam and others have already said Mary, especially about wanting to comfort the little you.
    Why do adults have to treat children like that?
    What part of any ones mind gives that person the belief that what they are doing is not wrong?
    Take care Mary, you have never been or ever will be an embarrassment to us.
    love n hugs
    Nick xxx

    1. Nick, I have no answer to that. If I did, I don’t think there would be such a thing as child abuse. I wish it was just as easy as prescribing a vaccine like the flu vaccine to cure the epidemic that is still very prevalent in every society.
      Hugs,
      Mary

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