My mother rejected her whole life. She was so unhappy and we were the prime reason, the seed of all her unhappiness. I would perform cuteness and that would cheer her up sometimes. I would comfort her when she was hysterical and she would calm down and feel truly loved and comforted. She was grateful in those moments.

I don’t know for sure if my mother molested me from a young age. I have only flash backs, little clips of pictures of abuse from when I was very young but I don’t really have many fully formed memories. Except for that time when I was nine.

I don’t know for sure if she let men into our home when we were little, leaving our back door unlocked every night. I don’t know if she did that on purpose or if it even happened at all. I know that the back door was always left unlocked but I only have pieces of visual and physical memory of everything else. Memories stored in my body as sensation, triggered by smells and sometimes music or certain kinds of light. I have nightmares of that fucking door being unlocked. In my dreams I lock it myself and she goes behind me to unlock it again every time.

I don’t know if Mr H. molested me on our dining room table when I was eleven. My memories of it are misty and dreamlike but who would dream something like that up? I have never told anyone about it or “caused trouble” with this memory. It is something that lives in me, that I don’t want to be true but it won’t disappear. That is one of the wonders and tragedies of sobriety — I no longer have any cause to doubt myself. I remember all the details right down to his angry eyeballs and his nose sniffing me all over my body. Then making me sit in the back of his cleaning van on our way to pick up his daughter from dance class. I remember him stopping off at the corner shop to buy some milk and getting me a small glass bottle of Schweppes Bitter Lemon. I always thought that was such a perfectly awful choice.

I remember thinking that it was my own fault. That if I had not been such a stinky person then I wouldn’t have had to take a shower before he came to pick me up. I would not have walked out into the kitchen when I heard him calling me, dressed in only a towel and he would not have had the idea to do that to me.

My body felt like a very unsafe place to be. My home was always a very unsafe place to be. I wonder if that was the first time I stared thinking about suicide? My sister Jessi, who had always tormented me, had begun beating me up in earnest by then.

It is such a relief to be able to remember some of the chronology of these memories.

At the beginning of Year 7 I was still taking dance classes too. I had invited some friends to come over to my place between school and dance class and Jessi beat the shit out of me in front of everyone. I really thought she wouldn’t do that so I cowered less when she started in on me, stood up to her a little bit. This is when I started misbehaving in dance class and I got expelled. That is why I was at home alone, taking a shower before Mr H. came to pick me up. Because my mother had arranged for me to sleep over at their place for the weekend. Again. They did this as a favor to my mother for years. They never really wanted me there, not my “friend” or her family but they felt sorry for Eileen.

I am so grateful that I no longer feel revenge or rage. I just feel truth, liberation and longing.