When I was a four year old little girl, my life was practically that of a princess.  My room was pink, I wore dresses every day, and I was an only child.  I always go all the attention.  My parents were happily married, and we lived in a big beautiful house in a nice suburb.

“My life was practically that of a princess.  When I turned five, all that began to change.”

When I turned five, all that began to change.

My father ended up cheating on my mom and left us with nothing but an extra space next to mommy in their bed.  We moved into a small apartment on the third floor of a building downtown.  My mommy began to drink some strange things that would make her head hurt and she would sleep for a very long time.
This is when the secrets started.  

One day, I began acting up after my mommy had drunk some of her drinks.  She grabbed my arm so tight that I began to cry, got up in m face, and told me if I didn’t act correctly and shut up that she would give me away.  This only made me cry more and she picked me up by my arm, stumbled to my room, tossed me on the floor, and locked the door.  i crawled into my bed and cried my self to sleep.  That night, many hours after the incident, she came in my room and whispered she was sorry and that this could be “our little secret.  She picked me up and rocked me back to sleep.   

“She whispered she was sorry and that this could be ‘our little secret.’”

The secrets didn’t end here though.

When I was being a “naughty girl” I was dragged, slapped, beaten with a belt, and on certain occasions, burnt.  Each time one of these things was done to me, my mommy made me promise not to tell anyone, or she wouldn’t love me anymore.  A 5 year old little girl is desperate for a mother’s love, so each time I eagerly agreed and kept our secrets.

When I turned six I started school.  I met other kids my age and the teachers were so nice.  My kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Hurst, always gave us candy when we were good.  The first time I acted badly in her class, she said my name with a stern voice and walked toward me.  I crouched down, wrapped my arms around my legs, and began to cry.  I didn’t know any differently.  Mrs. Hurst, with a troubled look, told me there was no need for me to cry.  About a month after that she asked me about the bruises on my arms.  I looked down at my feet and said I didn’t know.  My mommy always had me wear a jacket to school and I had taken it off today.  I knew there would be punishment for this when I got home.  I didn’t tell the teacher our secret though.  My mommy would still love me.

About a week after Mrs. Hurst asked about my bruises, I was taken to the nurse’s office.  They removed my shirt, which revealed the bruises and burns I had received.  They discovered the same on my legs.  They let me go back to my classroom, and when I returned my teacher had a very concerned look.  She led me in the hall, crouched down, and looked me straight in the eyes.  She asked me if I really didn’t know where I got my bruises.  I looked down and said it was a secret.  Then, softly, she said that this wasn’t a time to keep secrets.  This was very important and I could tell her anything.  I said if I told her then my mommy said she wouldn’t love me anymore.  She responded by rising up, letting me go back into the classroom, and calling the office. 

“I looked down and said it was a secret.  Then, softly, she said that this wasn’t a time to keep secrets.”

After that day, I was taken out of the situation.  The police came and arrested my mommy under the charge of child abuse.  She screamed and spat when they arrested her.  I cried and screamed when they took me away.  

Now, as a teenager, who has been living with a loving adoptive family for the past eleven years, do I realize how wonderful Mrs. Hurst was and how glad I am that I indirectly told her my secret.  mine was definitely not a secret to be kept, and I’m glad she found out when she did and had me taken out of the abusive environment and put in a healthy one.  I’m glad I didn’t keep my secret.