“My name is Luca” | A personal story of Child Abuse in Fort McMurray

In going through the galleries I’ve had stored to repost them to the blog, I came across this deeply personal portrait session I shot for myself (with my husbands help) in 2016. Jump to the links at the bottom of the page or –> click here <– to download my story about my personal experience with Child Abuse.

I struggled with myself a bit, over whether or not to post it again, but in the end decided that the original message I hoped to spread by sharing my story, that being “Silence will never end the violence” – is one that is so prevalent right now in today’s society, with the #metoo movement and the huge campaigns to end abuse and injustice across the world, (and being as April is National Child Abuse Prevention Month),  I felt that it was important I share my story again, as even though I may only have a small platform here – if I can just reach and help one other person and encourage them to speak up and end the silence – it will all be worth it.

I was listening to Spotify and the song “My name is Luca” came on. This song has always moved me to tears because I could place myself in the shoes of that little boy, lying about walking into doors and covering up for the people that were hurting him. “It’s none of your business” I screamed at a sweet girl in 8th grade, who was only trying to help when she said that she was going to tell somebody I was being abused. I wound up throwing a book at the girl, and breaking her nose when she wouldn’t stop – so defiant in protecting the people that were hurting me, that I was actually willing to hurt someone else just to keep them from getting into trouble. (If you’re reading this, to this day I am so sorry – you meant well, I love you).

You never truly heal from abuse. I’ve only shared part one of my story. As is so often the case with children who have been abused, I went on to become romantically involved with someone who started beating me only days after we started dating – but that’s not a story I’m comfortable sharing. Just know that from 11-16 and then for several years of my adult life, it is really all I knew. Child abuse though, is the worst. Here is a time when your young mind is meant to be nurtured and rewarded. A time when every experience goes further toward molding you into the person you will eventually become. Children, especially, more than any of us, need love and consistency. Their brains are not finished developing, and this is why children who are abused so often grow up to be adults with serious mental illnesses like myself, or drug and alcohol dependencies – we just weren’t given a fair start at life. I was failed by so many, my father especially, my stepmother, social services, the school principal, the counsellors, our teachers, our neighbours – so many people knew what was going on but wouldn’t step in to stop it – it’s hard to trust anyone when they’ve all either abused you or let you down by not trying to help. I can’t even talk to a counsellor or therapist – because I would need therapy in order to be able to feel comfortable seeing a therapist – stemming from the time the school counsellor told my stepmother what I had said and I was beaten for it.

I like to pretend I’m adjusted well enough, I have a roof over my head, a job that I love, I have four beautiful kids and a husband who adores me – but I am nowhere near a whole person. I suffer from seasonal depression, anxiety, social anxiety, and PTSD because of what I endured as a child. I cry, a lot – and when I feel overwhelmed will still hide in closets like I did as a little girl hiding in the lockers at school. I have panic attacks frequently, and when they’re really bad I involuntarily hit myself, like some sort of nervous tic. I have actually given myself a black eye during one of my worst panic attacks after I was involved in a motor vehicle collision (I can no longer drive due to the PTSD surrounding the accident).   As recently as the coldest snap we had this winter, I was out after midnight, tears frozen to my face in the middle of the street, wrenching with sobs and wondering how my father could have let that happen to us – how social services could just fail us like that. How everyone failed us. My hope is that someone reading this will find the strength in themselves to tell someone whether they are being abused – because the sooner you get out and start healing, the less chances you have of being nearly fourty in a crumple of frozen tears in the middle of the street, or hitting yourself in the face during a panic attack.

Just know that there is ALWAYS someone who will help you but so many times their hands are tied unless you speak up. So speak up. Tell someone. Anyone. EVERYONE. Don’t protect the pieces of shit that hurt you. They don’t deserve it and they never will. You deserve to feel safe, protected and loved. To never feel afraid that you might say or do something wrong and be hurt for it. To never feel so unloved that you want to hurt yourself. To never be so scared for your safety that you will lie for and protect someone making your life Hell. You know you deserve to be loved, because it’s a human right – we are all entitled to it – we all deserve it – we all NEED it to fully thrive – so love yourself enough to stand up for yourself and get help. Reach out. Get out. And then, “Look for the helpers” – you will find that they are everywhere – and with their strength lifting you – you will finally be able to begin to heal.

I’m a message away should you ever need me. Take care, always.

 

A PERSONAL STORY OF CHILD ABUSE IN FORT MCMURRAY

LINKS

Click THIS LINK  to download and read the story of my childhood, please note that I am not a writer and it isn’t the easiest read, but bear with me.

My sister Koryn has shared her story on her blog  HERE. 

There is a part two to this blog post HERE.

 

If you are a child being abused, please PLEASE reach out to someone. The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline can help if you feel like you can’t tell someone close to you.

The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline is dedicated to the prevention of child abuse. Serving the U.S. and Canada, the hotline is staffed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with professional crisis counselors who—through interpreters—provide assistance in over 170 languages. The hotline offers crisis intervention, information, and referrals to thousands of emergency, social service, and support resources. All calls are confidential. The national hotline is available 24/7 at
(1-800) 4-A-Child or (1-800) 422-4453