Christmas season of 1994, I got a job at Wal-Mart as a cashier. Got me out of the house some, yay. But we were on HUD and food stamps… my income had an effect on how much "help" we got from the government. So I had to make up the difference, which meant I worked, got $$ for gas in my car and they took the rest. The nightly invasions never stopped, and my stepfather was a very paranoid man (suppose he had cause to be), he came in to Wal-Mart every shift I worked, harassing customers and employees alike and being sure to point out to everyone I was his daughter. Needless to say, when the year ended, so did my job.

But, there was Grandma Lady! She and her husband (Grandpa Man! lol) volunteered at the school our church had and in the usual way of echoing that little voice in my head, she suggested I start volunteering at the school. OK, I don't know any thing, but I had helped in classrooms before… so I gave it a try. I had to fill out pages of application/paperwork in order to work there. And I lied on some of it, because I was too scared of what would happen. My stepfather had long ago figured out I didn't care if he killed me like he threatened to do of I told, so he had changed his threat to "if you tell anybody, I will kill myself and it will be your fault!". Now I really didn't care about the killing himself part, but the all my fault had me concerned. Even if I could have convinced myself that it was his own fault, who would my mother blame? Who was I to make a stand for unimportant, unloveable, unnecessary me, especially if it cost my mother her happiness…

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