November 11, 2017
I just told Sheba happy birthday a few minutes ago, about half an hour before her birthday was technically over. I kind of debated all day on whether I wanted to wish her birthday, which was probably a stupid debate. But as I was turning around I noticed a picture of you and dad, it was roughly put on a paper and then taped in a frame. In that moment I decided I was going to write this, I’m not sure why or what it’s going to be in the end.
Recently our relationship has had some major shifts, maybe because Moses and I got in a fight or maybe because of some deeper realization we came to. Whatever the cause it doesn’t matter. Maybe by the end of this it won’t turn out as a paper trashing you, maybe I will have an epic realization and forgive you for everything and maybe not. This is going to be my journey, because I need to move on.
I wish I could pinpoint the moment in history that my life fell to shit. I wish I could remember every detail of life so I’d know why you stopped loving me. You may be saying in your head right now that it isn’t true, that you’ve always loved me but I need you to just read, no objections no excuses, just read.
Maybe I’m dramatic and what I took for no love was really you not knowing how to parent perfectly, because no one is perfect. But honestly that doesn’t matter because I felt and feel how I do. Growing up you and dad didn’t ever give my feelings any type of notice. I was simply told that I didn’t know what the hell I was talking about because I was a spoiled child. Well to me hearing that only made me sadder. It only made me want to act out more and behave badly to see if you’d ever do anything. Well, the only thing that ever got me was beatings.
I felt so unloved that when Elijah started molesting me at the house where Sheba was born I didn’t say anything. If I ever came close to telling you I was called an ugly, fat, overdramatic liar. Want to know why I used to chase Elijah around and sit on his back or scratch him? Well it’s because in every other way I felt hopeless and dirty. When we moved to where Solomon was born, the next door neighbor use to pay Moses with quarters so that when he wanted to lock me in the shed thing attached to the house in the backyard and force me to take my clothes off and then lay down on that fucking cold cement floor while he touched me where ever the hell he wanted, Moses would knock and tell him if someone else was coming outside. I would cry and push him away but he was older and bigger than me. Occasionally Elijah would come out and force Chris to go home. He’d hug me and say he was sorry and then we’d go and ride our bikes or something to help me calm down. Awe how sweet of him, being a good big brother right?
No, the answer is hell no.
You remember how we had that tent set up in the room closest to the backyard. Well if Elijah ever did anything remotely good to help me or he got in a fight with dad, guess what. He’d take me into that stupid fucking tent and do what he wanted to me. One time when you guys were both gone he locked me and Moses in one of the rooms and he demanded that we both get naked.
I went to you after that happened because I realized how completely wrong it was and I didn’t want Moses to be ruined. But all that got me was a spanking because Elijah said it never happened and accused me of saying he was gay and daddy got pissed. After that day Moses started touching Sheba like Elijah touched me. Sometimes he tried it with Akasha as well but she was with you most the time. Elijah would encourage Moses and Sheba to hump and then crawl under the blanket and watch. I tried so many times to tell you and dad but oh no Isis always lies. So I stopped trying to tell you, instead I started acting like Elijah and began hating you guys.
To be completely honest it made me feel better to yell and scream at you all. No one would listen to me, so when I was between 6 and 9 I concluded that I was the only person who was ever going to stand up for myself. Maybe I shouldn’t have taken my hatred so far but what was I supposed to do? It got so bad at that house that sometimes in the middle of the night Elijah and Moses would sneak into my room naked. Sometimes together and sometimes individually. I never became depressed, that wasn’t until later in life, but I didn’t want to be around any of you. Then dad started throwing things at you and hitting you. You say it never happened but the plain truth is it did. My heart broke for my mother because here she was being abused by her husband and her children yelled at her too. I knew you didn’t talk to your parents really and so I tried to comfort you sometimes. But you started taking your hate out on me. You called me fat and made me hate my body. So I started thinking that maybe if I gained more weight Elijah wouldn’t touch me. That he too would hate my body like you and I did. Why how I looked was ever your concern or something that you decided to pick on me for I will never know.
I was wrong he only stopped in third grade because I told him that I could get my period soon and that I didn’t think siblings should do things like that. Anyways one day I saw dad break a window and so the next day when you and I got in a fight I punched a window. All that made me feel was shame, hence why I don’t punch things when I get made, I did use to kick things though so I did end up needing some sort of release. I wish that DCF had taken us away. You could argue the point that if we had been taken away then maybe we would have all been separated. But honestly in a way I wish I didn’t have to grow up seeing Elijah every day. Am I cool with him? Yeah maybe, do I forgive him? NO, HE HAS NEVER SAID SORRY OR EVEN ADMITTED WHAT HE DID WAS WRONG. Or you could argue the point that if we had been taken then our lives could have turned out worse. Maybe I would have been placed with a family where the dad raped me. But I would have been willing to take my chances. The only reason you guys stopped beating me and I stopped getting taken advantage of was because I started to threaten that I was going to call the police, I wish I had.
Say I’m being dramatic go for it but I grew to hate myself so much that I wanted to kill myself. I wanted to cut my wrists and watch warm blood run down my arm so maybe I’d feel something inside. But that was no good because I am afraid of blood and afraid of dying. I wanted so badly for God to hear my cries every night and by some miracle die a quick death. Would you like to know what I think about every time I’m on a rollercoaster? I think about the bars coming loose and slipping out while at the highest point and then the ride gets stuck. I just hang there until I lose my grip and splatter like a tomato on the pavement.
No pain anymore.
No broken heart.
Just death, simple yet so hard to except. How is one who is afraid of death supposed to bring herself to slit her throat or drive a knife through her chest? For over a year I prayed every night saying, “God please kill me.” On my wall I wrote, “God why can’t I just die.” You know what you and everyone else did, you told me to do it, or laughed because you said me being suicidal was a joke. I got dragged across rocks and beaten for acting out and behaving badly. I won’t say I wasn’t horrid because I was, but how the fuck did you not once consider your daughter wanting to die and behaving like that as a sign that she needed real help.
I desperately wanted you to care.
I wanted Elijah to be punished for pushing me to the breaking point, I wanted Moses to be punished for continuing the molestation, but not of me this time but of Sheba and Akasha as well as Selena eventually. But what happened instead? I was labeled the biggest problem. I was blamed for everything. I was tormented at school and home. At school Elijah called me fat and made horrific jokes to make himself feel better, which he continued in middle school. So instead of molesting me and making me hate myself that way he tore me down at school with the help of other students. At home I was accused of almost everything and once Elijah started losing weight I was constantly called fat and disgusting. But somehow the constant torment was supposed to help me.
NO, it was so that Jennifer Cook didn’t have a fat daughter. Because it doesn’t matter how fucked up you treat your daughter if she’s fat because fat people are gross, they deserve to want to kill themselves.
Mother you never helped me, you only made me hate you more. That’s why I told you and Julius you weren’t my parents. Parents care for their kid no matter who they are or what they look like.
When Elijah dated Meredith mother you treated her more like a daughter than you ever did me. You let her come to you with her problems and told her she was beautiful more in one week than you ever have for me in my entire life. The fact that no one in this family ever had a problem with that is sick.
Also, you remember when you didn’t see me or speak to me for nearly a whole month one summer. I cried almost every night that month. I was horrible before that trip I know and I deserved to not come, whatever I get it. But you didn’t even bother telling me I wasn’t coming. I could have stayed with Raina that summer. She actually loved me. If someone asks me in 20 years who was the most loving mother or mother figure I ever had I would say Raina, and then Kelsey and then hundreds of other people before you ever made it on that list. I wish that weren’t the case. Raina offered to adopt me once ya know, sometimes I wish she had. She hugged me when I needed it, she sat for hours with me and we talked about everything. She told me I was beautiful and she would always remind me that I only had 5 more years of hell before I was free. I know a few weeks ago when we talked you tried to explain why you did the things you did and I understand it I do, your life wasn’t always peachy growing up. But Raina grew up with an abusive father in a house with about 8 kids, they were poor and her life was complete hell, even worse than I had it. Somehow she managed to make her daughter, and 2 sons now I think, feel beyond loved.
I’m not saying that I’ve never had a good experience with you, dad, Elijah, Moses, etc. But the bad overpowers the good by quite a lot. Would you even know if I had ever been raped in my life?
No you wouldn’t. It’s sad that not a single person in my family would know if something serious had ever happened to me, nor would they have cared. When I told you about getting sexual assaulted by a boy in 7th grade you said I was fine and needed to get over it. I had to write a letter to you because I didn’t feel comfortable speaking to on a regular basis let alone telling you that someone spent the whole day grabbing my vagina and trying to force me into things on a school trip. You only were told because the school said I had to alert my parents. But neither you nor dad cared so I was forced to get help from a male teacher and I cried in his class for so many days that he started to expect it. But he never told you or dad because he knew you didn’t care. Most of my teachers over the years have come to the realization that my parents didn’t care for me. That’s why most weren’t bothered that they never met either of you. At least 20 of them have offered to call DCF or at least send me to counseling sessions at school, I was always afraid you’d hurt me if I sought out help though. In 8th grade however that ended, by the way the only reason dad didn’t go to jail was because I decided not to press charges. DCF didn’t believe anything you guys told them.
Would you like to know a few of my secrets? It doesn’t really matter if you do or don’t cause I’m about to tell you. In 8th grade when my boyfriend was threating to kill himself if we broke up, I could feel myself slipping into depression and I started wanting to cut myself like one of my friends had been doing, you didn’t know because I couldn’t tell you. Once I snuck a boy into my room during the summer in middle school around midnight and we were in my bed naked and he tried forcing me to have unprotected sex. He came near my vagina and I thought I was going to get pregnant because the next month I missed my period so I spent the next 3 months punching myself in the stomach every day with the intent of making bruises because I thought if I had a baby you would tell Joe and even he would hate me. In 8th grade I also started starving myself and obsessively working out because I thought you’d actually like me if I became skinnier. Right before 9th I got pressured into having sex and I really didn’t want to. I only told you so Elijah wouldn’t have anything to hold over my head.
I once had sex with someone who was 22 and after I bled a lot and cried about it a lot and I wanted to tell my mother but instead I let myself get treated poorly by several guys. One even came to our house in his car at about midnight and started chocking me and tried forcing me to have sex with him in the backseat of his car. The sad truth is I actually have plenty of stories like that and not a single time did you notice or if you did you really didn’t care. Like that one time I got tricked into spending the night at a college dudes house and the next morning you didn’t even call to see if I was okay you just called because you had to be somewhere and you got pissed because I was supposed to be coming with you to some hippy church. I even almost got raped by a guy at Tom Brown at 3 in the morning a few months ago, but of course my wonderful family couldn’t care less. Now I didn’t tell you all that so you could pretend to care and suddenly start checking in on me. This entire letter to you and whoever else may read it is a way for me to move on with my life.
Can I ask you a question? Do you even know who I am? Take a moment to think. Fundamentally, down to my core, do you actually know me at all? I think I can guess what your answer with be. Especially because you can’t take anything you’ve read thus far to formulate your opinion of me. Why? Because you didn’t know those things before so you can’t use any of it. Let me guess what you will say, not just you mother but most people in this family. You’re probably thinking, well she likes to draw, sing, the color blue, horses, and whatever else you can pry from your brain to pretend you know who Isis Ama Smith is.
Do you know why I draw? I draw because when I started to really explore art I was suicidal. Drawing was what I did instead of imaging ways that I could die. I drew because everything else in my life was untrustworthy and anything could piss me off or make me wish I was dead. But if you answered that I like drawing then you are wrong, I hate it because when I feel the urge to draw it means my suicidal thoughts aren’t far off, which I’m experiencing right now in life. If you said singing you are only half right, I like feeling part of something. I like the meaning of the song and its beat. I like knowing that if talking fails and emotions overwhelm me then I can always sing and then I’ll be okay. If you said blue then no, sure I like blue, but that says nothing about who I am. Lastly I don’t just like horses they are the sole reason I’m a better person now. When I use to ride it was the most amazing feeling just lying in a field with a horse right above you. When I am with a horse I feel like nothing in life can go wrong. I want to be a better person so an animal as great as a horse can have a reason to like me and trust me. To gallop on a horse is the single most perfect thing I will ever do with my life. I desire to connect with nature and I never feel completely myself unless I’m at the beach or with a horse.
That was a slight insight into my soul, which according to some I don’t have.
Have you ever thought I was weak? I’m asking because every argument we’ve ever had I probably ended up crying. Dad use to torment you for crying and then proceed to call you weak and other things. Maybe he was right and crying was you showing weakness. But when I cry it is not because I am weak. I cry because I get so angry that the tears simply come. That is perhaps why I chose to write this letter. I can cry at whatever parts I want and the rest of my letter will still seem viable. I really wish I could say the past doesn’t still hurt me or make me angry but that’s not true.
Last year in theatre we were asked to write and original poem and read it out loud to the class. Honestly I thought it would go fine. I thought I would read it like I had read everything else in the class. But I ended up being wrong because I wrote about you and dad abusing me. I figured writing about Elijah would have been too much for me so I wrote about my parents. Whom I thought I had moved past. I stood up there ready to read and then walk back to my seat. But instead I started shaking. I could barely hold the paper and my knees wouldn’t stop shaking. I knew things like that happened to people but I always assumed that it would never happen to me. I almost broke down and cried but I finished the poem with a strained voice. You can say that was me being weak but it wasn’t, that was probably the biggest demonstration of strength I could handle last year. The hardest part was walking back to my seat because other kids in my class had started crying and were asking for hugs.
I know I defiantly didn’t have the hardest life growing up but it defiantly wasn’t easy. My parents argued all the time, dad abused you and you threatened to leave and never come back. Once you did leave and that was the only time I saw dad cry, but you came back later that night. You both did drugs, once I ate some of the mushrooms you guys had on accident and it was the worst experience I ever had, so I will hopefully never do drugs like you did. Neither of you were pleasant drunks. Dad got mad and yelled at people, while you cried and cried, you were and emotional and detached drunk. Me and the other kids suffered because of your issues with Joe. You always talk about Joe kicking you out and how horrible he was, and maybe he was I have no idea, but your kids suffered because you guys couldn’t pay for your own things. But somehow I started getting blamed a few years ago when Joe stopped paying for some things. It defiantly had nothing to do with you of course not, blame your daughter, that’s a great idea.
Have you ever considered what lead me to decide that when I go off to college and meet someone and eventually get married that I’m going to say my family is dead? I doubt you have, and if you did think about it you probably concluded that it’s because I’m horrible or hate you for no reason. But that isn’t the case. Sure I did hate you but I try and push hate out of my heart because it makes me bitter. I plan on saying you are all dead because you are dead to me. You and dad, I don’t want you polluting my children with your ideas that Julius is God. I don’t want you to beat my children because from the day I was born you have seemed to despise me. Maybe it’s because I was born in a hospital and you hate hospitals and the fact that I was born early made you spend more time in a place you hate. Guess what that wasn’t my fucking fault.
Elijah, I don’t want you to ever touch my children, I don’t want you to cause them the same pain you caused me. You pretend like everything is okay and you always call me a hoe and say I hold on to grudges and worry about what happened in the past. Well of course I do because when I see you I want you to drop dead sometimes. You deserve nothing good in your life, I wish you were in jail. Have you realized we never talked about the molestation? You simply assumed I was okay. Go to hell. If you don’t even read this whole thing that just proves how absolutely horrible you are.
Moses, you are a psychopath. You have planned the murder of Elijah, Akasha, Solomon, and I. You molested the younger children more times than anyone in the house even knows about. One day you will kill someone and I don’t want my children or husband to be anywhere near someone like you. By the time all that does happen you will be even more demented. I don’t really have a huge problem with Sheba but she’s never been close to me so why would I want a relationship with her. I considered keeping in contact with Akasha and Solomon but that is yet to be determined because they are horrible sometimes but it’s only because they have gone through some of the same pain as I have.
As for my grandparents most have always been there for me but they have also allowed my parents to abuse me and do as they please. Any one of them could have helped me out of the situation. It’s not like I didn’t try to explain everything that happened. I just got shot down or told that it was going to be okay.
What do you think about when you are in a car?
Do you think about the engine, the view, the place you’re going, or something you did that day? When I’m in a car with a friend that’s what I tend to think about. But when I’m in a car with you or dad alone I think about what would happen if you just decided to drive off the road and kill me. I think about the car flipping and me head being split open. I am scared to be near either of you alone because it wouldn’t surprise me if you guys tried killing me. When you are all gone for longer than you were supposed to be I wonder what it would be like if you all died. I’m not saying I want that to happen but not a single time has the outcome in my head been bad. I would be surprised but there’s no serious thing that would result from your deaths. I have almost no connection to you or anyone else besides Akasha, Solomon, and maybe Victoria and Joshua. Sometimes I wish I did, but I think it’s too late. 17 years may not be a long time but for me it is. That sums up my entire life without a single moment in it that I felt real love from anyone in my family.
You know I am scared of rain because of you. I remember this one morning, it was still dark outside and it was raining. We were supposed to be leaving for Joe’s house but I said I didn’t want to go. That wasn’t the truth but I was pissed because the night before dad had hit me and you both screamed at me, calling me a fat, ungrateful bitch. I wanted you to say sorry but you wouldn’t because apparently I didn’t deserve it so I refused to walk out the door. That’s when you and dad came and took my stuff from my room and I was going to put it back in my room so I was heading outside. Dad grabbed me and started dragging me on the wet concrete to force me in the van. I was kicking and screaming so you both grabbed on to my hair. That’s when I got hold of dad’s arm and dug my nails in. In the process of trying to force me in the car my head was hit several times on the door among other things. You finally got me in and then you both started yelling because I had made dad bleed. It was a bad storm and I was so scared and hurt already that the rain only made me cry more. That isn’t when my fear began fully though. It didn’t take full control until 7th grade. It was raining really badly and I saw a transformer blow up at a church in the dark. It scared me so much that the tears started flowing and didn’t stop for a few hours. After that night when it rained my heart and brain wouldn’t communicate and I had more panic attacks than I can count. The worst one was a school in 8th grade, I hid in a corner of the chorus room and balled my eyes out. I couldn’t speak or move barely, my panic attack spread around the school and people started laughing and asking if they poured water on me would I cry. I could never pinpoint the source of my fear until I was sitting in a restaurant in the mountains crying, the rain echoed off the mountains and that’s when it hit me. I have mastered my fear for the most part but it was still your fault. Yet you never seemed to care all anyone in the family did was make fun of me.
Some things I want to tell you I still can’t and I’m not sure I ever will but I need to conclude this letter soon. All I ever wanted was your affection. I wanted my parents to care. I didn’t need the most attention or to be fused over. But I did need someone to be there for me. Perhaps I should also thank you. If my childhood had been good then I wouldn’t be me. I wouldn’t have a desire to help people that can’t or won’t stand up for themselves.
Honestly when I look back I don’t know why I stood up for Elijah. I have no clue why I fight for Akasha and Solomon but I do. If you had been real parents to me then I wouldn’t have a desire to make something of myself. I wouldn’t have goals and I would have never made the friends I have now. I probably would have ended up coasting by life making excuses for why I don’t stand up for myself like Elijah or receiving subpar grades like Moses. I don’t care if you aren’t proud of who I’ve become because I am. Sure I use to be bad but I changed and it had nothing to do with you.
So thank you, thank you for pushing me to find other people to help me cope with. Thank you for never believing me as a child because it only validated how fucked up you guys are. Thank you for abusing me because it made me strong, and thank you for calling me fat and ugly because I know the confidence I have in myself even if it wavers sometimes is real and not fake like yours.
I’m sorry for everything that ever happened, even though you don’t deserve a real apology. I had originally planned to spend a few months writing this especially since I have a lot of homework but I need to move on now. Lately I have been severely depressed and I’m not going to allow myself to go there. Everything needs to start changing. Unless real change occurs I don’t think anything with us will ever be okay. You still have a few years and I’m done with grudges. Even though this letter is addressed to you mother whomever reads it may take it how they want. I am going to open myself up and let go of all the hate. No that doesn’t mean I forgive anything. It simply means there are still a few years left and if a serious conversation is had then maybe thoughts of forgiveness will enter my head. I would end this with love Isis or some shit but I can’t because even though I do care about my family more than I let on love is not the word I’d ever use.
Sincerely Isis Smith, it’s been emotional my dudes lol.
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