I have been reading Ashley Judd's 'All Things Bitter and Sweet' autobiography, and it has exhausted me. She paints a picture of neglect and abuse from early childhood on. As I sat reading, I realised I was identifying with so much of what she wrote.
Why, when having an emotional breakdown as a teenager, major obsessive compulsive disorder, obvious depression symptoms, would you refuse to get medical help for your child? Instead relying on untrained men who asked if you commited some secret sin?
Why did I feel I could not tell my parents that I was molested as a little child? What, at the time of occurance, caused me not to be able to have a voice to tell them?
Why would parents drag their little kids across the country to preach the word? Especially when the parents had no job prospects in their area of relocation? It was so scary, being told that we couldn't afford anything, because there was no income.
Why would a mom let her 6 year old kid come home from school to a locked house with no familiar faces to nurture the little one? Why would the mom think that the anonymous people in the 'territory' were more important than the well-being of the locked out child? That these anonymous people were more worthy than the little girl?
Why would parents, weekend after weekend, load their kids into an ancient Buick Wildcat, with faulty exhaust system pouring carbon monoxide into the back seat, to preach the word to strangers, as their own children got physically sick in the back seat? What made these strangers so much more worthy of well-being and health than the children?
Why would parents load their kids up on a -15 F degree X-mas day, children dressed in crappy, cheap, thinly lined dress boots, and a dress and force these freezing children to knock on doors of happy, warm families to tell them they were wrong for celerating X-mas, and we had something better to offer, a free home bible study. The girl's feet would be so cold, they were bright red and throbbing with pain, they hurt so bad as they warmed up, like needles would be being stuck into them. When the girl complained of the bitter cold, it was always, we just have one more door, one more block, one more half hour, one more call. Why didn't the parents care enough about the child's voice, which said, "I am miserable". Even cattle are put indoor in weather like that. The Humane Society would be called and the person cited if an animal were exposed in such conditions. Why were these happy strangers so much more important than I was?
Why would parents let their daughter be attacked by a fierce rooster, being repeatedly pecked and scratched, and just stand there talking to an idiotic householder, doing nothing to protect the 11 year old? Did we stop to let the terrified kid recouperate? No, we must reach more people, it isn't noon yet.
Why, upon telling your parents 20 years after the fact, (they knowing the mental break downs you have had, wishing that a car would hit you so you would be put out of your misery) that you were molested as a 3 year old, would they act like you just told them you ran of out bread. There was no reaction on their part. They didn't listen to my voice. It was just as if it weren't important and didn't mean a thing.
I had Hepatitis A, picked up at a congregation picnic from contaminated food, I was so weak with exhaustion. When I told me dad I just couldn't load another piece of firewood into the truck, I was so tired, he didn't care. On the way home, I had to hold my baby brother, there wasn't a car seat for him in the cab. When I fell asleep holding him, my dad punched me, yelling "Stay awake, you aren't holding him straight!" Why didn't he believe that I was so very tired and sick? It took me three months to recover enough to stay awake during daylight hours. They only believed I was sick when I actually turned yellow, everything from my eyes to my skin. Why wouldn't they believe me?
There are so many other things that I am remembering. Ashley Judd said she didn't have a voice as a child, no one listened to her. I didn't have a voice either. No one cared. Her book caused me to start weeping, like her I realise I am filled with grief over my lost childhood. So many bad memories. So much loneliness.