This first chapter covers the story of my childhood, which was marred by my parents’ violent arguments, and my subsequent job to “clean up their messes.” Their own deep-rooted wounds caused me to suffer both their verbal abuse and parental neglect. I show the reader how and when our true selves and inner child morph into what others need us to be. The reader can then know the point at which to begin their own inner work.
As in each of the other chapters of the book, I include my own adult reflections at the end, so that the reader might draw vicarious lessons. I also include journaling prompts that guide the reader toward further transformation and change.
I’m sitting at the top of the stairs in my girly girl pink pajamas, clutching my legs in hopes that if I squeeze hard enough, I can stop the trembling. I tug at my long brown hair as I put a clump of it in my mouth to stop the chattering and clenching of my teeth. It doesn’t work, so I pull my hair harder, praying that the pain in my head will take away the fear that my parents may kill one another. I put my hands under my butt to stop pulling at my hair so that the clumps I yank out aren’t noticed by anyone.
My fingers burn like fire. My fingernails stab my skin like knives. I feel the pain in my palms, and yet I’m so used to the sting, it’s almost pleasurable. My fingers are the color of a beautiful pink sunset, yet they feel like lava. They’re wet, hot, and sticky. I’m trying not to move, not to make a sound. I try and I try, but I tremble more and more. I’m screaming inside my head to stop it, stop moving, be quiet, but my body isn’t listening. I feel the eruption traveling through every vein in my body. Stop it! Be quiet! Don’t let them hear you. Don’t let them hear the stairs creak. Then it will be your fault that they got mad at each other; your fault the spaghetti pot flies across the room; your fault! Don’t move, don’t breathe; keep it in, don’t move! I scream inside my head. Uh oh, you moved, they heard you…
“MYRIAM! My dad screams. GET DOWN HERE!