I remembered when I first moved to join the family. I was 16. I was not happy about it. I didn’t want to leave my friends and I had grown close to the family I had worked for. I didn’t know my mothers new husband and had no real urge to get to know any of them or go back to my mothers hateful looks and crazy rules. But I had no choice. In the first week I resided there my mother held a family conference. We all sat down and my mother started off explaining about how our church believes we all lived before with spirit bodies in heaven. And before we came to earth we all chose the families we would be a part of. We all chose our spouses, our children our parents and so on. Then she stated the reason to this whole meeting. She stated that in heaven no one wanted me to be a part of their family. No one liked me because I brought out the worst in people and enjoyed hurting people. My mother then said after everyone in heaven rejected me I came begging to her to let me be a part of her family. She said because of her huge heart she decided to take pity on me. And that is how everyone in the home should treat me. With pity. That I still was the same here as I was in heaven. That all I did was hurt people and bring out the worst in people. So the only way I could have any chance of changing that was if I did everything perfectly that I was told. But even then she doubted I would change. She told the kids to try their best to not follow my example or else they could end up just like me. I sat there through all of it. Not saying a word. I had been hearing this all my life. It hurt so much to hear again how unwanted I was but I was not going to let her see it. As soon as she ended the conference I went to my room and cried myself to sleep. How could she so easily love the step kids but not love me? Why was I never good enough?
Emotions welled up for a few weeks till they came to a head. It was a Sunday and General Conference was on. General Conference is something our church does every 6 months. Where the Prophet of our church and several leaders will give long talks about various topics. It is televised so people can watch it at home, on the Internet or in one of the hundreds of churches around the world. It lasts for 2 days and there are 4 sessions. One Saturday for everyone, one Saturday evening for only the men, then 2 sessions on Sunday. I hated watching it. I truly did. It was boring and talked about stuff I had no interest in at the time. My mother had rules that I had to watch and take notes and later write a report about the talks she chose so she could ensure I listened. None of my step siblings had to do this and I don’t remember my older sister ever having to do this. I sat and watched the first couple of talks but I kept falling asleep.
My mother got more and more angry and I got fed up. Yes I was in a rebellious state of mind. I was fighting against my mothers crazy mood swings, insane rules, and weird punishments. I couldn’t handle them anymore. I got up to walk out of the room. My mother grabbed my arm and told me to listen to the program. I told her No. She started yelling at me how I was cursed and what kind of life I was and would lead and that if I had any hope of being a good person I better immerse myself in this stuff. I have to admit I did swear at her and told her to let me go. So she slapped me hard across the face and swung me so I fell into the couch. I got up to walk past her out of the room and she shoved me back into the couch. She did this each time I tried to get up. She then called her husband in. She sat on the couch and held one of my arms and had her husband hold my other arm forcing me to stay there. I didn’t know this man very well and admittedly didn’t like him. Having any man touching me made me panic at this stage. After being raped 3 yrs previous any man touching me terrified me. I really started to struggle. So my mother pressed her fingers harder into my arm. I was able to bring my legs up to push against her husband and while he was busy trying to grab and control them he let go of my arm. So I used that hand to press my nails into my mothers fore arm. She shrieked and let go. As soon as she let go I dashed for the door. I ran out of the house and down the street as fast as I could.
There was no one and no where for me to run too in the town. I didn’t really know or trust anyone. The only friends I had were a 45 minute drive away. So I started walking. I would not hitch hike because I had heard too many scary stories about what could happen to a girl hitch hiking. So I walked along the green strip next to the highway.
Every time I would hear a car I would move as close to the fence as possible so that I was as far from the road as I could get. I never looked up unless I saw a sign. Then I would stop and see how far I had to go. I was about half way when I heard a car coming up. I assumed it would do the same as all the others so just did as I normally did. But then my heart started to beat really fast when I heard it slow down and then stop and two doors slam shut. “Are you Nicole?” It was a man and that terrified me. I glanced up and my heart went cold. It was a cop. I was petrified now. Was I going to be arrested for running away? I mumbled a yes. “Your parents sent us to find you. They are really worried about you.” I just looked at him. “They said you and your mom had a disagreement. Is that right?” I again nodded. “Well, come on then. We will drive you back. Having a disagreement is no reason to run away and worry your parents who love you.” If he only knew the truth I thought to myself. But my mom was always able to convince people that she was the victim and I was the evil person and I was sure she had done it with this officer. So I got in the car. They tried to talk to me as they drove about how amazing it was I got so far. I told them I walked the whole way because I was scared to hitch hike.
I was so embarrassed to be sitting in the back of a police car when we drove through town. I knew if anyone saw me they would believe the worst. Not anything new in my life. I could see the neighbours watching in their yards and looking through their windows when we drove up. I got out and looked at the ground as we walked to the door. My mother answered and she grabbed me and hugged me and babbled about how worried she had been and how we would work it all out and she wished I would just talk to her. The officer told me to not run off again to not worry my parents who obviously loved me. Then he left.
I went up to my room. The second session of General Conference would be starting soon. I was hungry so I went to go in the kitchen. My mother came in very angry and asked me what I was doing. I told her I was hungry and she told me that I chose to miss lunch so I could just suffer and wait till supper and to get my stuff ready for the second session. I just stared at her. Then she went on to tell me how embarrassed I had made her by causing her to have to call the cops. She started yelling at me. Finally I had enough. My head hurt, my legs were beginning to ache and I was hungry. So I went to go to my room to lay down. I was determined to not watch the second session. She again grabbed my arm as I went to walk past her and continue to yell at me about how worthless I was and how all I ever did was embarrass her and wreck her life. I tried to pull away and then she said to get my things for the session. I told her I was not watching it. She told me yes I was. I swore at her and told her to leave me alone. She tried to drag me down stairs where the TV was. I struggled to pull away. She told me that if I was going to live in this house I would do as she said or else I would not eat. I told her I didn’t want to live in her house. I broke free and ran for the door again. She yelled at me that if I took off that she would not send anyone for me this time. That she not allow me in this house again and that she would make sure I could not live anywhere else either. I slammed the door on her yelling and kept on running.
The walk this time was the pretty much the same as the first. Except that it was getting dark by the time I reached the city hours later. When I got there I called a male friend of mine. He offered his couch for me to sleep on. He offered me some food too but I was so exhausted and drained. All I wanted was something to drink and to sleep. I told him what happened and he told me that he was taking me to the social services office in the morning to see if they could set up emergency care. I went to sleep thinking that maybe finally I would be safe for a while.
I was so tired that I slept in and when I finally did wake up I was very stiff and sore. I skipped breakfast because I wanted to get to the office as soon as possible. My friends parents had told him I couldn’t stay there another night and that they didn’t want to get involved. I thanked them for the use of their couch and my friend took me to the office. It was about 10:30 when we got there. With in a few minutes someone came and got me and took me into their office. When I sat down he told me that my parents had already been in to see him. My heart started to sink. He then went on to say he had seen my mothers arms and the damage I had done to them. I was confused and asked him what he meant. He told me I knew what he meant. That he knew all about my attack on my mother and how the police had to be called and so on. They also knew about my violent streak and how hard a time my mother was having dealing with me. I just stared at him not knowing what to say. He then told me that he had advised my mother to call the police again and lay charges that maybe that shock would set me straight. I asked him what she said and he told me that she had too soft of a heart. He then said I would get no help from them. They are there to help kids who are in need of it not kids who attack people and leave good homes. I started to cry then knowing I had no way out. He told me to save my tears for someone who would believe them. I got up and left.
I had no where to go and no one to help me. For two days I wandered Lethbridge. But I finally swallowed my pride and called my mother. She told me over the phone that the only way I could move back in was if I signed a statement saying that everything I said to people about how I was treated was a lie to be vindictive. She also said I would have to follow all the rules and any new ones they came up with. And last but not least she let me know since I had enough time on my hands to go for such long walks that she was going to fill up that time with chores. Then maybe I would be too tired to act like such an ungrateful brat. I agreed to all of it. I felt like there was no other option.
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