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Can I Have My Life Back?
“Carol” looked and acted much older than her 14 years. Her childhood had been spent mostly following her single mother from job to job, city to city, and watching her mom make reckless relationship choices. Some of those choices even affected Carol. By the time Carol was 9; her mom’s boyfriends had sexually molested her on multiple occasions. Her mom didn’t seem to care. They just moved away. Now, at age 14, in a brand new school for the seventh time in her young life, she had found someone who loved her. Or so she thought. Giving her body away seemed normal to Carol. When Carol heard the laughing and the lewd comments about her body, she couldn’t have felt any worse. The boy didn’t love her. He’d used her and then joked about something very private. When she got home, she took a sharp knife and made lines from her elbow to her wrist. The blood trickled down from each new line. Fascinated, she kept making new lines, not caring about the pain. Somehow she deserved it and in a weird way it made her feel better. The cutting episodes were discovered, and counseling followed. It didn’t erase the feelings of failure, though. Soon, other boys came and went. Alcohol numbed the pain and didn’t leave noticeable scars like the cutting had. At 17, Carol discovered she’d be a mother. Not even a high school graduate and she would soon experience a life-changing event, something that even happily married couples aren’t fully prepared for. Now her little boy is 6 months old. Carol is technically an adult, but wishes she could be a child again. She wishes it could all be much, much different. While Carol couldn’t control her childhood, eventually she was old enough to begin making choices. The easy choices are not always the best ones, and Carol now understands that. Wishing she could have her life back will not change anything. Carol told me her story, so I could maybe tell others---kind of like a warning. Consider yourself warned---from Carol.

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