childhood

All posts tagged childhood

Smiles… 

Published July 2, 2017 by Chloe Madison

I’ve spent the week with an old friend and several other families whom I don’t know. We were in an incredibly beautiful place and I feel so fortunate to have experienced that with them. I’m truly grateful. Here was my morning devotional spot for the last week:

Beautiful, huh? 🙂

Unfortunately, everyone was in hard core vacation mode, so most every single adult was perpetually inebriated and obnoxiously loud. I was annoyed within minutes with all these loud, drunk people I didn’t even know…and this lasted nearly a week. I never got to have any kind of a private discussion with my friend. I really needed that. It sucks- but what can you do? 
What’s good is that I got to spend time with her kids, who are wonderful! We had lots of fun conversations with several of us- myself, my friend, and 1-2 of her kids. The one person I got into a deep conversation with was her 16 year old son. We talked about his future and his motivation for why he wants to sacrifice himself and commit to serving others. He’s such an inspiration! I encouraged him to pursue what he felt called to do- even though his parents want him to pursue an entirely different path. I was in awe of his selflessness and his positive attitude toward life, helping others, and his future.  

My friend kept encouraging me to stop in and visit our old neighborhood. 

But I refused to stop in my hometown. I didn’t want to relive or be reminded of any negative memories. I know maybe seeing my childhood home might bring back some happy memories, but with things going the way they are, I didn’t trust that my mind wouldn’t go down a dark path or focus on just the detrimental experiences or memories from there. I mean, so many horrendous events occurred there!! I just didn’t want to go back.

I did, however, want to go visit the cemetery where my dad is. I wanted to tell him out loud, “I’m mad at you, Daddy!” But when I got there, I just couldn’t do it. I don’t know why I couldn’t say that. I thought it- then my eyes went straight to my grandma’s name on the tombstone and in my head, I said, “And I’m really mad at YOU, Grandma!!” But again, I couldn’t voice it. That was so disappointing to me- like I was so weak that I couldn’t stand up for myself or something. I’m not sure why that disappointed me so much. It’s not like they’d hear me. 

I blurred out some names and dates to protect the not so innocent.

I brushed off the tombstone and put a tiny bit of flowers. I didn’t know what to do with myself there. I left, started to drive off…then turned around and came back. I don’t know why. I wasn’t ready to leave, but didn’t know what to do when I stayed. 

As I was driving to the cemetery, I began reminiscing. I remember my mom catching me rummaging through her closet numerous times. She’d always ask me what I was looking for. I’d tell her “my adoption papers.” She would get so mad! 😂 I feel so guilty saying this, but I had always wanted different parents. Geez, I feel really terrible saying that. But it’s true. I had always fantasized that I had different parents- even as a child, I wished there was more out there for me. Is that selfish? Immature? Worldly? I’m not sure. I also remember fantasizing about running away (I only did that once in real life)- but I’d think I could take care of myself and my little brother better than my parents. I would even picture us homeless, living in a shack in a wooded area that we built out of scrap wood (like an old school tree house) and thinking that would just be the greatest, most liberating experience. I know…I was a weird kid. Still am. 

When saying good bye to my friend’s children, I accidentally told one of them that I’d never see them again. I was thinking it to myself as I was saying good bye, but I never meant to say it out loud. I immediately caught myself and acted like I was joking.

Smiles all around…everything’s just fine!  😣


Had to edit this post. I was in the wrong and it wasn’t fair for me to say some of the things I said. I am deeply sorry. 

Grooming

Published June 12, 2017 by Chloe Madison

Today I thought about some things that used to be special to me between my dad and I. On multiple different occasions he would take both my brother and I or sometimes just myself out to get ice cream. For whatever reason, he’d stop at Dairy Queen right before dinner and then make us promise to not tell our mom. I also remember that after he was diagnosed with cancer, he took me out of school early one day. We went fishing. I remember that day very clearly. I thought it was special that he was taking extra time to spend with me, knowing that his time was limited. There was a time before he got cancer that he took me to a local art shop- we looked at paintings and he showed me one that he had already picked out. It was a painting of a clown. He made a big deal out of the painting and of us going there. Because of that, I thought the painting must have been really expensive. He also made a big deal out of keeping it all secret- a special secret. I still have that painting. But I hate it now. Even though I hate it, I can’t let go of it because it’s the only thing I have that my dad gave me. 

It’s blurry because I zoomed in (it was in the background of an old photo) and a portion of it is blocked, but this is the actual clown painting.


Over a decade ago, I went to a counselor and received therapy. I told my therapist about the special, secret things my dad did for me. She shook her head and informed me that it’s part of “grooming.” 

I was devastated. 

I remember thinking that maybe she wasn’t entirely correct. That maybe just because my dad did something for me in secret, doesn’t necessarily mean it was grooming. But this revelation is what led me to despise that painting. I will never truly know my dad’s intentions. 

So today I was thinking about all of this. And with the new fact that my uncle was also a victim of my dad’s, I wondered if there was ever any grooming done by my dad toward my uncle. I don’t think I’ll ever know. 

The other thing I also thought about- was if I don’t make it through this…how many lives would be taken as a result of the actions of one person. 

It’s mind blowing. 

Part 1: Three Times Is A Charm

Published November 6, 2012 by Chloe Madison

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Part 1: Three Times Is A Charm

The Beginning…

My life has very literally been a roller coaster ride.  I’ve had some of the most amazing highs and some of the most utterly depressing and destructive lows.  I want to take you through my worst lows so that you can fully experience with joy, the depth of my best highs.

My early childhood was normal enough…we were poor, lived in a bad neighborhood and my parents struggled.  But they loved each other and they loved my brother and I and that’s all that really mattered.  When I was 9, I had my first encounter with a sexual predator.  He was a neighbor and he was around the age of 19.  I played with his little sister and spent time over at their house quite a bit.  My first memory of any violence from him centered around grasshoppers.  My mom used to pay us to get rid of the grasshoppers in the yard.  Little ones earned us a dime and the giant ones got us a quarter.  My mom wanted us to catch the grasshoppers and kill them.  But, I didn’t have the heart to do that.  I love all living things!  So, I would catch the grasshoppers, put them in a mason jar and carry them down the street to my best friend’s house where I’d release them in her yard.  I’m sure her mom loved me for that!!  🙂  One of the times I carried a jar of grasshoppers down to my friend’s house, he was there in the yard. He was tall and lanky and had brown hair, brown eyes and crooked teeth.  He knew that I was trying to save the grasshoppers.  He waited until I dumped the grasshoppers into the grass, then he jumped up and stomped on them all.  I yelled and tried to push him off the grasshoppers, which only seemed to enrage him.  The next thing I know, he’s got his hands wrapped around my neck and he’s choking me.  My friend’s mom came running out of the house and started screaming at him.  It wasn’t until she threatened to call the police that he dropped me and walked away.  I was terrified to walk home.  My house was at the end of the street, my friend’s house was at the other end and his house was right in between.  I’d have to go right by his house to get home.  I don’t recall how I got home that night, but I do remember my mom coming down the street to get me.

 

First…

I don’t remember the very first time it happened.  Perhaps that’s because it happened so many times. I’ve actually lost count. I’d say it occurred over the period of about a year or two. I remember specific times- several times in his house when no one was home, once outside in the high weeds, and the last time.  The last time, I was so proud of myself.  This time, I decided I should act like I would play along with him. I told him I would…I tried bargaining.  I said that we could play hide and seek and when he found me, I’d do what he wanted.  It was what he was going to do to me anyway. I remember hiding in a tiny cabinet just above the floor in his kitchen.  I picked the kitchen because there was a back door there.  In the dark of the cabinet, I heard him come through the kitchen looking for me.  I also heard him go into the next room.  I made my run for it! I flung open that cabinet door and darted out of the back door so fast that I thought I’d trip over my own feet.  I don’t even remember jumping on my bike, but I did.  I have a very clear memory of pedaling down the street as fast as my little feet could pedal…away from my home…panting and out of breath, as I kept frantically looking back over my shoulder to see if he was chasing me.  I got away.  Shortly after that, he moved.  Thank God.

Obviously, I felt ashamed of what happened.  I did not at all feel like I could go to my family.  I was terrified I would get in trouble.  I don’t know why I ever thought I did anything wrong.  I remember looking up the word ‘rape’ in the dictionary.  I mean, I thought I knew what it was and I thought that’s what had been happening, but I had to make sure.  I never told anyone except a priest.  I was in the 4th grade at a Catholic School and we had to do mandatory confessions to the priest every now and then.  Even though I knew I was forced, I still thought I had somehow sinned.  So, I confessed.  I didn’t quite know how to say it to the priest, so I said “I almost had a baby.”  Little did I know, that at 9 years old, a girl’s body isn’t ready nor is capable of conception.  But, I didn’t know that yet. I just knew that’s how people had babies so that was my way of telling the priest. I remember thinking he didn’t believe me…or that he thought I didn’t know what I was talking about.  Usually, for minor sins, the priest would tell you to say a prayer or two.  For major sins, the priest would tell you to say 10 or 20 prayers.  This priest told me to say 2 prayers.  He must have thought I didn’t know what I was talking about.

I also remember avoiding my mom.  It was shortly after that time that she tried to teach me about the birds and the bees.  But, I thought she knew about what happened with my nighbor and I thought she was trying to bring it up.  So I ran away.  Literally, every time she tried to talk to me about the birds and the bees, I took off running outside.  I remember climbing trees and hiding up in the trees.  I was so scared…I thought if we had that conversation, that’s she would somehow know and I’d be in BIG trouble.

But, deep down I knew I wasn’t at fault.  I knew my neighbor was a bad man.  I knew what he had done was illegal and immoral.  I knew all that…until my own father did it too.