I wasn’t a typical girl. I didn’t fit in with anyone. I was just me. I came from an abusive home, and I was constantly moving from house to house or whomever would house me. As life went on, I came to accept that I would be on my own. I didn’t care about what the world threw at me, I was just focused on survival.
My mother placed so much pressure on me to raise my three siblings, she would always say, “Nicole, get your shit together and help raise your family-its your job.” At barely 11, I was taking care of the home and preparing food and ensuring there were clean clothes to be worn. If I didn’t meet her demands, the abuse began, and it was just a repetitive cycle.
I always tried my best in school, but home life always had a way of taking precedence. The bruises and the scratch marks from my mother became noticeable to my teachers. An art teacher came up to me, teary eyed and asked if I was ok. I didn't know how to respond. I kept to myself, and she insisted I go to the school counselor. When I arrived to the counselors office, my swollen lip made it apparent there was an issue. He asked me what my home life was like, and at that moment, I released all the events of abuse I had endured over the years. I remember lifting my lip to show the gash she left from her nails digging in, and pointing to the three bruises on my arm from where she had grabbed me and thrown me across the room. I didn't care what happened from that point. I just wanted away from home. Child Protective Services took photos of my abuse, they told me they would interview friends and family from then on. My uncle had came and picked me up from school that day, and I vividly remember the smell of sweet potato pancakes my aunt had made for me when I got to her home. She held on to me, and said I won't ever have to go back there.
CPS called my aunt, and informed her I could stay with her while they remedied the case. When the time came to close the case, CPS informed me, I needed to go through counseling with my mother before they could remove me from my parents custody. I still remember how my stomach turned when I got that news.
My mother and I went through multiple counseling sessions. My mother did not allow me to speak during these sessions. I'd get asked by the counselor, how did that make you feel? I'd try to reply, and softly get out, "hurt, upset and scared..." and then my mother would interject and say, she doesn't listen to damn word I say, she's disruptive and my only problem child. The counselor would then just allow her to speak for the rest of the session. I learned to just disassociate myself from the sessions, because when I would get back home with her, it was back to the beatings and the emotional abuse.
When I was 13, my father watched my mother beat me. He sat there and did nothing. I remember looking for him, or anyone for that matter-to stop her. She was repeatedly throwing blows to me, and I distinctly remember he had a newspaper in his hands. He sat there in a recliner, and I could see him turn a page and his foot being restless. Its as if, I wasn't even there. I ran away from home that evening.
The police found me and picked me up from a neighbors home. The neighbor told them my story, and the officer said he would do what he could for me. Finally, someone believed me. The officer approached my home, and spoke to my mother, she put on a hell of a show for him. She had her arms spread out and she begged me to come back inside. I kept my head down, and the officer told her I needed to go stay with other family or he would arrest her for child abuse (I don't know if he was really intent on doing it). Fortunately, that was enough for her to let me go. My uncle came to the rescue once again, she screamed at him, and said he was the manipulator. He brushed it off, and once again- I had a hefty bag of my belongings, and moved in with my aunt. My aunt worked far away from home, and didn't have the resources to provide for me, so it was off to live with my grandmother and aunt on the Texas coast. I attended a private catholic school and made some friends. Beach trips were a daily thing, and I was being taken care of. Life got better, I thought I was dreaming. Life was finally getting good. A normal kid life was in the cards for me. At last, I was dreaming..it didn't get better.