The Monster Who Raised Me
Sonya Marie Meservey
© Copyright 2023 by Sonya Marie Meservey
Photo by Colin Davis on Unsplash
I came into this world on February 7th, 1991. I donít remember it, of course. Though I have heard stories. Tales of a borderline blizzard in Brooklyn. They had difficulties getting my mother to the hospital. Traffic, snow, you name it. I was nearly born in the backseat of a taxi cab. She was watching a soap opera in the delivery room; could not miss some made up characterís wedding. I was born addicted to cocaine, like my older sister before me. What is true and what is exaggerated I do not know for sure. Though we use to say that we had a special power, a coke power if you will. My ability was being immune to the cold. I would later learn that I merely have hyperthyroidism.
I was raised by a woman who had no right raising anyone. One mother, three fathers, and four kids. Mother is perhaps a strong word. A mother protects their children. She does not, for instance, hit them in the skull with a comb while brushing their hair and ask them why theyíre crying when they inevitably start crying. Mothers teach their daughters life lessons. My mother taught me, very loudly and in front of a waiter, that the best way to keep a man was to allow anal. I was twelve. When I was nine, she confided in me that she wished she aborted me as well as my other siblings. For a long time, I wished she did abort me. I hid behind the comfort of my cat, behind the mask I wore to protect my siblings. There were moments I wanted to run away. Deeper and darker moments that overwhelmed me. They overtook me and I wanted to die, I tried to die.
The physical abuse was endurable and gave me a high pain tolerance for the future. Had you held our youngest sibling, you would be spared. Her father was the only father who actually paid child support. This made her special, important. Perhaps even in our motherís most drunken state she knew hitting an infant was wrong. A four year old? Fine. Or maybe, she didnít see a baby at all. Maybe she just saw a doll. Something without the need of control or pain. I can still hear the whip of the belt or the sharp sting of the wire hanger. Her fist bruised like the belt, her slap stung like the wire hanger. Sometimes she made one of us get the belt and watch her beat the other two. That, the mental abuse was the unbearable part. Mental and emotional abuse that hurt you deep in your core until you were numb. It drowned you slowly, like tar in the lungs seeping out into the blood stream rendering you stiff and useless.
There were locks on the outside of our bedroom doors. The three girls were in one room, our brother in his own. Sometimes we were forgotten for days. There was a pink logo box we put in the closet to pee in. Our brother gave us his red logo box to crap in. He said he was fine and that we needed it more. He ended up going in his own closest or under his bed.
My siblings and I believed it was the drinking. She would drink and hate that we existed. She would drink and forget that we existed. Iím not sure if she stopped hitting us after she got sober or after the first time I hit back. They were barely a year apart. As a child you want to believe that your mother loves you. That youíre important. As a child, itís easier to lie to yourself. To believe that the monster passed out drunk on the living room couch isnít your mother, but this thing that took over her. I foolishly believed that alcohol made her a monster, like a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde type situation. Then she got sober and I learned that it was her. It was always her.
Control was important to her. Having it, creating it. On one particular Three Kingís Day, we were driving to Grandpa Ricoís house in Queens. This was a common tradition up until my grandpaís brutal murder when I was fourteen. Everything seemed fine. Music was playing and the traffic was a breeze. We pulled up, our mother parked across the street. Then, for reasons and I still cannot possibly fathom, she turned to us and said: I wish I aborted you kids.
She looked at us and relished in our hurt, in our shock. My baby sister started crying and sobbed out a, ďmommy, no.Ē I remember the look in my motherís eyes as she left the driverís seat. Pride, in herself maybe? Anger, every time one of us cried. Excitement, to see if we would mess up.
ďHurry up or weíll be late,Ē she warned, already half way across the street.
I tried desperately to stop my little sister from crying, tried my best to comfort her through my own hurt and anger. It had not been the first time I was told about our motherís longing for abortions. It was the first time that she had said it to my siblings, however, and not just me. We had to put a mask on. All of us. We had to enter a house filled with loving and cheerful people and pretend that we were alright. Not just alright, but happy. Our mother knew this. She watched us and reveled in the fact that she had such meticulous control over our actions and emotions.
ďWhatís wrong with her?Ē someone asked about my younger sister.
What isnít? I thought to myself. Melinda, I thought more bitterly. The name our monster.
us against the world! A common phrase. When I was little, it was us
She was our world, our living hell. All four of us became riddled in
trauma. We knew what not to do. How not to be. Because of her. I have
amazing survival skills from living in that hell. The world does not
scare me. My mind, however, is a mine field of pain. The nights are
too quiet here out in the country. I am safe and yet I am caged. An
adult and yet still a child. I may have gotten away. It may have
taken many years to break free. To release her hold over me, even
after I was gone. Every day is a new struggle. Every day is a new
breath. I am grateful to be alive. I, Sonya Marie Meservey, survived
a monster. You can too. Even if that monster is the person who gave
you life. They do not determine your life. They do not own your life.
Make your life your own.