The Story of Us

M. Spencer

© Copyright 2018 by M. Spencer


Photo of a sunrise.  (c) 2001 by Richard Loller

Dear Daniel

I spent most of my early teens trying to find some higher power or hope that could save me. Iíve been waiting for the love of my life to come and save me since I was fourteen. Every day I would look at the others who were happy around me and wonder where the hell he was, and why he was taking so god dammed long right when I felt like I needed him most. I donít believe you were ready to meet me. It took until I was almost seventeen for the universe to decide I was. While you were right there in front of me for a long time I was too busy checking my watch to notice. I looked everywhere but at you - They say you never see whatís right in front of you until itís taken away from you. When I first started falling in love with you, I realised that there was something even scarier than being alone, and that was giving you something that made me vulnerable. My heart. Because if it backfired I would be left standing alone and holding my crushed heart, it was too much power for me to ever give to a man, and it scared me. But it was the best thing I ever did. You are the best thing to have ever entered my life. You taught me what happiness was, what love is. And while I still have setbacks that you may never understand I know youíll always be there to fix me and protect me. Because you love me too. I want to build a life with you, have children with you and grow old with you. I want to wake up next to you every day and maybe someday Iíll understand how you can love me so much as you say you do. Ė But If itís anything how I feel I already know Iím the luckiest person in the world to be loved like that. Because Iíll Truly Always Love You.

And to show you, Iím not just giving you my heart to hold and protect, Iím giving you something Iíve never shared or given to anyone else: My past; my true thoughts, and my secrets, my everything.

So, that one day we can have a future and there will be nothing stopping us.

You are my present, you are my forever and I love you with everything I have.

Happy 1st Anniversary Daniel

I love You to the moon and back.

The Beginning

When I was a little girl I used to play outside under the veranda, and like most little girls I would get up to all sorts of mischief. Iíd pretend to bake mud pies, lie and refuse to eat my vegetables, I dreamed of becoming a singer and in my later years an archaeologist by day and an astronaut by night. But at that moment in time I was free to be anything I wanted to be.

Much of my childhood is lost and forgotten, but the important bits still remain. I was born on the 6th of March 1998. The turn of the Century and what I now view as the greatest Decade in history. Upon my delivery, my motherís ex-husband promptly made a phone call to my fatherís home were his wife, who already had her hands full with four sons were given the news of my arrival and the knowledge that her husband had been unfaithful.

I was (at age two) given the right to my fatherís name Ė even though he refused to lay any claim to me; his only daughter, and was given the name Michaela Star Bobbin after the actress Jane Seymour who played Doctor Michaela Quinn, Medicine woman - a popular show of the 90ís

My mother was left to raise me without a father and brought me home to her two teenage daughters who were more than happy to help, but seemed to disappear when the nappies needed changing. I still try to imagine how my mother told them she was expecting, for she was separated at the time, single, and my older sisters had no knowledge she seeing anyone let alone had been involved in four-year relationship with my father. Neither of course did my fatherís wife; he appeared to have fooled both women, telling my mother he was separated and living alone. Iíve always found fault with how she failed to notice this was not the case, that over such a long time span she had never visited his house or was curious enough to piece together or push the information given. My mother simply told me that she was busy looking after the girls and focusing on her career, and that she was too naive back then to notice or question these things.

So, I grew up a happy child, content with the world around herself, only sometimes stopping to question why other children her age had ĎDaddyísí and she did not. I had often wondered where he had gone, saddened by the realisation that he mustnít have wanted me. I do not remember my motherís reply for this, however I imagine it would have been that she loved me enough for the both of them and that because of the amount of love she and my siblings shared for me, his wasnít necessary.

When I was four years old my family did a house swap with a woman who had a white cat with kittens in its belly - I remember as I felt its belly and unborn kittens inside, thinking it was yucky. That I feel was not just in reference to the cat but to the life I would live on that street.

The commission house was painted a deep dull brown and guarded by a tall gum tree that I would later carve my name into. The house was fairly comfortable in size but lacked any cooling device to help us battle the summer heat. The house was seated near a corner in one of the worst areas in our small town, many evenings we would peep out our curtained windows and bolted doors to witness people carrying baseball bats. Children swung from their hips, as the two ends of our street came to a standstill. This was not a happy place to live, and sadly for me it only got worse.

I still remember the first time I saw them, our new neighbours: a middle-aged couple in their late fifties to early sixties, who became like grandparents to me since my own where either deceased or wanted nothing to do with me. I remember as we walked up to our new house, the movers unloading, that I first glimpsed them standing on their Veranda, as if in a united front, overlooking the commotion as if it was their duty to do so. He wore a white singlet that had long since turned a dirty brown, littered with stains, he was a big man - my memory of him is hazy and thatís how I would prefer it would stay. He always wore an old blue cap that I would take and try on. I remember always being at their house though my mother once told me it wasnít as much as I remember Ė only an hour or so and not every day, only sometimes.

I am ashamed to say I loved him, he was a stand in for my own father and his wife as if my own grandmother. Sometimes I believe it was because he loved me that he would take my hand and lead me down to his bedroom and shut the door. That he just didnít know how to communicate his love for me and that maybe it wasnít to hurt me but because he truly cared Ė A twisted though but one that gives reasoning for what he did next. Perhaps he only did it because that was how he was taught to love, perhaps even, this was how his father had treated him. I feel sad for what happened to me, but most of all I feel everything in my life will always lead back to that moment Ė Moments.

The woman who I trusted as a grandmother I am later told was the first person I told, she told me I was lying and that it wasnít true, though I donít remember this. But she knew, because I know she wasnít that oblivious Ė sometimes he would do it when she was in the room on the couch next to us while watching TV. But she still let it go on, standing by him, denying any knowledge of my abuse or that any of it was true.

It was a Tuesday, the night I finally told my mother. I remember because we were watching All Saints and the words ĎI want to tell you, but I canítí repeatedly graced my lips as they had been for weeks now. It was a mantra I couldnít turn off, the need to tell her because I knew it needed to be told, but the fear I would be in trouble kept me back. To this day I still do not understand how my childlike mind concluded that I would be in great trouble and that this deed was my fault, all I knew was that it was to be feared. My mother encouraged me to tell her what was eating at me from the inside Ė a secret I had told no one except our family dog Tessa. It was a secret I had confided in my Canine friend because I didnít know if I should tell my mother or not. I remember telling her that I wanted to Ďbut I couldnítí because I would get in trouble. My childlike mind or my higher reasoning felt that Tessa had told me to tell her and when I did my mother wrapped me in her warm embrace and told me everything would be okay; that it was good thing that I told her and she was proud of me.

My mother called her police friend after consoling me and my sister Emily, I nodded to my sister that it had happened but was wary of talking about it with the authorityís. I felt it was bad and wrong and again that word; Ďyucky.í With this is was hard to get much details out of my six-year-old self, much of what I remember of that night has long since been erased and many of the years to come.

I now know it was a Tuesday night in April that I finally told. Since that horrible chapter of my life closed Iíve always thought about him constantly around April and had never known why, I now think it was my own subconscious quietly reflecting in the background so as not to jeopardise my already fragile recovery.

Moving on from that chapter it was around another year before we could find another place to live, once he knew I had told he made sure to torment me every way he could from afar: He made sure to water his lawn every morning and evening at exactly the same time I was to walk to and from school with my mother, and once her back was turned he would make sure to blow kisses at me. My mother told me once that he knew we would have to pass him to get to school and that I would hurriedly wait for her to unlock the door, race out past him and around the corner as fast as I could and wait for her. It was around the corner that I would break down and be kicking and screaming, pulling my socks and shoes off repeatedly while pulling out my hair out as she tried to put them back on. Such was our morning and nightly routine and sadly there was no escaping for the both of us, because I know my mother suffered along with me, fearing it was her fault and that I would forever blame her - thoughts I know she still carries around today.

One memory I remember well is one I only remembered after my mother, tears in her eyes cried to me about one night after we had fought Ė I know I was an angry child and I am ashamed to say I took it out on her; I scratched, punched, bit and clawed that woman and still she refused to give up. Which is why Iíve always held on to this memory: I am young and holding a knife, itís a large chief knife I imagine, my memory is more of the conversation: ďPleaseĒ I beg, ďI want to die, we can go together, we can go to heaven and be happy.Ē - Words you prey to never hear coming out of the mouth of your six-year-old as she wields a sharp knife. I wanted death, I wanted its soft warm arms to wrap around me and take me to a better place. It is a moment I know that stopped my motherís heart, more so than the times I would run out onto the roads in front of cars or lay down and wait for them to simply run me down. For this she couldnít just simply drag me away to safety; she would have to fight me for it. I remember her response clearly; ďBut what if there isnít something better out there? Ö what if there is no Heaven.Ē I had told her that there is and had to be, that anything was better than this. I later learnt she had already contemplated these things, but she held onto hope, I did not.

My mother is a Nobel woman, and she received a number of bruises trying to fight for me, all things I donít remember but things I regret none the less. Most I have picked up on over the years; the bike I threw at her, the jewellery of hers I crushed, the furniture I tried to hump. I am afraid my brain was not able to handle my trauma and twisted my thoughts and behaviours.

It was just before my seventh birthday that we escaped that horrid brown house - the house where childhood goes to die. Still an angry child I broke down and cried myself to sleep, my mother was always their soothing my hair back. I believed at that time that if I had, had a father to protect me this never would have happened, a though that no doubt re-affirmed her fears that it was her fault.

It was around this time that I first leant that I had five brothers. I remember trying to remember their names and failing Ė I would always forget one. My father had long since had another son a year and six days after my birth, a fact that brought me rejection in my later years. knowing I was unwanted was something I had only just learned to see past, but that later resurfaced when I realized that I had been replaced. I felt I was not good enough and that this boy ĎLiamí was my replacement; that the love I was supposed to receive from our father was replaced and redirected to their new baby. It is a resentment I still carry and cannot seem to shake.

After we escaped that house we moved into a tiny flat in Mildura for what was probably the worst two years of my recovery.

The Recovery

From the moment I had told my mother, I was sent to child psychologist and mental health workers at the sexual assault unit. There I was encouraged to talk and was monitored by its workers as I played and interacted with them during my weekly sessions. I never liked talking about it and would do as much as I could to dodge talking about it at all. It was not just him. At that I was friends with a girl and remember looking out my bedroom window and talking about my neighbour. while she and her sister played in my rooms, my mother claims she came down to check on me and saw them. I never really believed that one because I have no memory pointing towards it happening. My mother simply told me I was already being touched at that point and wouldnít have felt it or noticed it because I was used to it. A response that always puzzled me. My mother went back out and later told the police, but since the girl was under thirteen years of age she was too young to be charged. I donít know why my mum walked back down the hall, why she didnít open that door and yell at the girl? Much like I once wondered, when I stole her dairies and read that one evening I had brought back a pornography magazine Mr Miller had shown me. In her diary she questioned why he would show me such a thing, she was suspicious but did nothing about it from what I could read.

I had just started a new school and was having trouble making friends. I eventually made friends with a girl named Jessica Collihole and her twin sister Lucy. Their friendship and kindness was a life raft for me.

We lived in Mildura for two years, during which I now refer to as my worst two years of recovery. I would scream, kick and throw stuff; the only way I knew to survive. The worst of it still torments me, but it was ten times stronger in that time of my life. I couldnít cope and I didnít. I vaguely have a memory of running and hiding behind the couch, just sitting their huddled up until my mother came out worriedly and I woke up confused. Scared and in a daze, I asked what had happened. I am told that stuff like that happened a lot. One night I bolted from my motherís bed and by the time she got up to follow me I had unlocked the two front doors and bolted halfway down the driveway. For some reason, I came to a standstill, still asleep - the busy high way just short of me.

After my two years ended we moved back to Red Cliffs and into a small flat. I moved back to my old school and a few months later tuned nine. I still wasnít coping but fooled my psychologist into thinking I was fine. I was not, but I would do anything not to relive or even mention my child hood.

During this time, I grew worse. I had server OCD; my hair had to be perfect or my world would fall apart. I would lose it and kick and scream and have I start all over again. I couldnít wear sneakers as the laces being too tight on one foot than the other would set me off. And I couldnít have pens facing me Ė sometimes I would get the strong urge to stab myself in the eye with them and that made me anxious.

I still up until I was eleven years old had a dummy as it was the only thing that ever soothed me and my mother knew I needed it. When I was naughty she would take it and sometimes if I was really bad she would cut it up but soon after cave and buy another. I also still slept with my mother and played with her ear like most babyís until I was around thirteen. Those three things were my only calm and comfort in the darkness that had become my life.

At thirteen I had just had a surgical operation to remove a rotten tooth - I was extremely afraid of needles Ė as I refused to bush my teeth - something my mother didnít push as I was dealing with enough. I know to this day that my continued dental history stems from all the sweets I was bribed with as a child and stuffed full of.

My early teen years were one of my worst; I was angry at the world and full of rage with no place to direct it but at the world and my mother.

When I was thirteen a boy I went to primary school with Named Jorrin accepted my offer to become my boyfriend. It had started as a jokingly offhand comment; I am told whenever I saw him around school I would jokingly yell out Jorrin go out with me! My friend at the time thought it was funny and told me to say it again, however it appears he didnít mind the idea and accepted my offer. I didnít know how to tell him It was a joke, and didnít want to hurt his feelings, so I went along with it. For a long portion of my lunch breaks I spent hiding from him, and about two weeks later my friend yelled it out across the playground that I didnít want to be his girlfriend anymore. While I never officially broke up with him, as he so kindly pointed out, he eventually got the message and we parted ways.

Around this time, I had a lot of trouble sleeping, my OCD and memories got the best of me. His name would be on repeat echoing through my mind as it still does today. This effected all my relationships with men, my ability to trust them became compromised, my opinion of them all the same. This affected my on again of again romance with Jorrin. Each time I almost had something that would make me happy I sabotaged it. Survivors guilt I believe. By the time year ten came around the kind sweet boy who had once picked me flowers hated me. I had pushed him into the arms of another that I ultimately tried to sabotage, in a bid to regain what I had lost.

I was put on medication in my early teen years and got into a bad crowd at age fourteen. I was mixed up with, potheads, law breakers, self-harmers, and the teen pregnancies and miscarriage type. While I never strayed, I did understand them. I had never felt more alive or where I belonged then with the people who understood were I had come from. During these years, I would spend my nights fighting with my mother and screaming the house down afraid I was going insane - my past still clawed at me and I didnít know how to set the damn vulture free. It was at this time after watching others self-harm that I became curious. I didnít understand it fully until one night the pain became too much and the first thing I grabbed was a pair of scissors. I climbed into my wardrobe and raked it across my skin repeatedly until it bled. I could then understand why they did it. I was distracted, instead of focusing on the emotional pain inside I could instead control the outside pain I inflicted on myself. I did this only two or three times. Once I was unaware after a screaming match at my mother she had gone outside to monitor me through my bedroom window. It had to be one of my lowest moments, one I deeply regretted, to fall so far down as to self-harm. I wore bad aids to cover them up and if asked said the cat had scratched me. But the stinging reminder of the cuts even days later was enough to make me chose a different path. I still have to this day if you squint, a faint line at the top of my wrist, a reminder never to fall so low again.

It was also around this time I met a girl with as much anger at the world as myself, she instantly became my closest confident. She like me had had bad experiences with men, though unlike me her mother didnít believe her, and she still shared a house with her mother and step-father. I never understood how she could call him dad, and pretend nothing had happened. She never had to tell me it was him, I sensed it when I first met him. I could never stand to be in his presence, but I chose ignorance in order to have fun with my friend. I later realised many years later when I was no longer angry at the world, when I had grew up, that we had picked two very different paths; she had chosen self-destruction and I had chosen hope. She became a bad presence in my later years, she became warped, and a very different person from the one I trusted. I experience a lot of low blows before I realised as much I tried I couldnít save her, I had to separate the first person I ever told aside from my mother, the person who I told my deepest fears to from this cruel, reckless being. It was hard, she was the person who had assured me I would not go crazy, that my rage would not consume me to go as far as to hunt him down and make him pay. And I was the person she held as she cried, the person who never gave up on her. She was the person I continually forgave for whatever she threw at me. Because no matter what happened I still held onto that moment in the schoolís death garden, amongst the memorial plaques of decease teenagers, telling her my secret and her telling me hers. But at the end of the day she was now the person who hurt me the most, the person who cornered me in public, the person who turned everyone against me. The person who then couldnít understand why I was angry and would not stand by her. She was now the person who rang me in the middle of the night to tell me I was nothing, scum. I chose to leave her behind, and in the end when I cut all ties I did not feel an ounce of sadness, only relief. Because now I was finally free of her.

Moving On

As an emotional wreck / ramped up teenager I was sent to multiple mental health workers, all of whom let me go for refusal to co-operate or talk about my past. They saw no point, their where many others who needed help and here I was quietly refusing it. I wanted their help, I just still couldnít talk about why, I even fired one after a headed augment. All I had was anger at that stage and no closure. I wanted to fight, I wanted blood and I wanted it to be His.

Iíve always been a magnet for their kind, like a beacon they have always sensed something in me that has attracted unwanted attention and advances since then. When I was fifteen and with my mum selling sausages for St Vincent DeíPaulís the head womanís husband tried to touch my ass. I told a friend who told my mother and had witnessed it, he had then tried again but my scathing look encouraged him to do otherwise and he had backed off. I donít remember the moment it happened but I remember never turning my back on him and watching him whenever he went by. His wife was much like Mrs Millar had been, she stayed by him and never believed these claims. Always she spoke out in defence of him even when the claims had come from a family member.

At fifteen I was ready for justice, I wanted to take him to court and I wanted him to pay, though a part of me was still unsure. I felt I couldnít do it because I knew the kinds of things that happened in prisonís, and if I was responsible for sending him there, I was responsible for what happened to him. And I could be responsible for another going through what I had, or worse. Instead I was taken to a small room one day in September. With a head worker present I silently cried as another piece of me died inside, when the police officer sitting opposite me told me there was nothing we could do. He said I had to get over it and move on with my life, and that this was it. My mother was beside me bawling, but I would not show tears in fount of her. This was it. We could do nothing because there had already been a trial when I was younger; there was no evidence and I had been too vulnerable to take to the stand. It was all circumstantial and they could only rule with a - yes or no that something may have occurred. They did believe it had occurred, but with no proof nothing happened. Instead I was given 7.5 thousand as the governmentís way of apologising for my experience. The money did nothing. As I walked out of their I saw a mother and daughter crying outside. The mother was trying to comfort her daughter saying ďhe canít get you anymore.Ē I had the choice to walk up and tell the girl something I wish someone had told me: That it will never go away, but that the pain will lesson over time, eventually. But I didnít. I no longer cared. Instead I walked out of their and turned my back on it all.

Five months later I was admitted to hospital after the police were called by my mother. I had trashed my room and something inside of me had snapped. When they arrived, I had barricaded myself in the shower - my go to place to calm down, and an ambulance was called. I was escorted to hospital, followed most of the way by a police car. It was another rock bottom for me to hit, and after spending a while on the phone to a stand by hotline nurse I assured them I was not suicidal and that I was feeling better. A week later I started year 10 and was again referred to a mental health worker. Since then that worker let me go for not opening up within the better part of a year on her service.

I still have my demons. I still struggle to cross a line in the pavement, I still cry myself to sleep. Iíve always looked at myself in the mirror and saw something in my eyes that was either broken, missing or slowly dying. Because thatís what I was: slowly dying inside.

When I was eighteen I decided to get a butterfly carrying a teal ribbon tattooed on my back. Teal is the colour for sexual abuse awareness. While Iím glad I canít see it every day as a daily reminder I refuse to ignore my unspoken past completely. But finishing it means just that, it will be finished, and I donít think Iíll ever be ready for that.

Much like Iíll never be ready to openly tell others to their face what it represents. One time in a depressed state, I had gone into a bakery to buy food to fill the void (an old habit.) It was the only time I had worn a singlet openly showing my tattoo, the shop keeper upon seeing it when my back was turned looking at sweets asked if I had suffered from ovarian cancer. I told her no, that teal was not only for ovarian cancer - she had not known this much like many and asked what it also stood for. I felt that since I had opened my mouth and corrected her I had to tell her. I meekly did and she gave me the sympathetic sad smile. I felt even worse and all but ran out of her bakery to go home and fill the void with calories. Iíve since then realised I am not compelled by any means to answered oneís mere thoughts or inquiries about anything that makes me nervous or uncomfortable, no matter how rude or impolite the response to not tell them might sound. Iíd rather the awkwardness of a resounding Ďnoí than the embarrassing sympathy of others who will never understand, and who at the end of the day would never care to.

Iíve been bullied, abused, and broken by people I thought I could trust. People who were once my closest confidents turned on me and sent me right back to knock on a new workerís door, only this time things are different. It has taken me over thirteen years, but Iím finally ready to talk now.

And yes, it has lessened over time. Iíve come a long way from where I started, and hopefully one day I will be able to put it behind me and live the life I want; No longer constantly looking over my shoulder, not questioning every man I meet, no nightmares and no regrets. But no, that wonít be for a very long time.

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