Like every family, there are those who are shown more love than others. I’ve always felt that being a first born was a curse. There are expectation accompanied by emotional and physical abuse. At times I even felt that I didn’t belong to my family.
My grandmother, may her soul rest in peace, looked after my siblings and I. My mom worked in town and left when I was about two months old. The only person I knew was my grandmother and she did the best that any grandparent could.
I witnessed as my mother would ill-treat my granny as she was also her first born child. She was in an arranged marriage and I’ve never seen her happy. Since that moment, as young I was, I took a vow that I will never get married for as long I live. My mother never showed me any motherly love. I felt like everyone was against me, except my grandmother of course.
During my preparatory exams in Grade 11, I needed a calculator. The answer I got was from my mother was that she was broke. However she brought back home a brand new bicycle for my younger brother. I was deeply hurt but I had to suck it up and not show how I felt.
Having to look her in the eye was the most difficult thing I ever had to do at that point. It was as if I’m staring right through the lion’s eyes and the tears would just flow.
In matric, two weeks before my final exam, my mother told me that my father had passed away. What was worse was that he was buried already. I only have a vivid picture of what my father looked like. While I was 12, she chased my father away and I never saw him again.
At age 12 I knew nothing about what sexual abuse is because I didn’t have anyone to talk to. One of my cousins used to fondle me inappropriately, but I couldn’t say anything so I kept it to myself.
Being told that I was beautiful is something I was never told by my family or my mother. There’s this day I will never forget when my grandmother asked my mother, “Why does she hate me so much?” Why should I, as a child, suffer for the choices she made? At that moment I was confused because I couldn’t understand what the conversation was about. The one thing that crossed my mind was, could I be adopted? That’s why I always felt like an outsider.
When my grandmother died, I was all alone and I was called names by my mother. My younger aunt used to say I sell my body to men because of the way I dressed. Even when I was wearing long skirts I would get those insults. The second issue was my body that turned curvy, having long hair and being light in complexion.
I passed my matric, went to college and at this point I was staying with my mom at her workplace. I did all the house chores the way my grandmother taught me. I didn’t mind at all, but it was never enough to my mother. She had a boyfriend and I would make them breakfast, which was usually tea and fatcakes. I made this for everyone, not realising that the boyfriend was looking at me with a different eye.
One day my mother went to the village to a society and asked the boyfriend to look after me and my two siblings. It was on my birthday when she left and it was a cold and dark 12 March 2012, around 19:23. I heard a knock on the door. Before I knew it, the boyfriend was already inside and asked where my mother was.
He’d never done that before, so it was strange for me. I gave a quick response that she was in the toilet. Within a blink of an eye, he disappeared. I phoned my mother who was still in the village and told her the whole story. Instead of listening to what I was saying, she asked me questions I couldn’t answer. She made it clear that all that happened was my fault, and from that moment I resented my mother with every fiber in my being.
To her, if I was raped it would have been my fault. She tormented me by calling me names like Liar, Satan and Whore.
I’ve never been happy in my life. I had to fight for survival from birth. My mother’s ill treatment is due to her guilty conscience for sleeping with her man’s best friend, being pregnant and the shame she brought to herself. She projected all her bitterness towards me because I’m a product of her infidelity.
But now I’m giving everything to God.
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