“May I please have Ms. Turner”
Damn I do not want to take this freaking medicine. Just let me sit in this room and sulk in my misery. I don’t need a pick me up. No, wait.. I don’t want a pick me up. Why can’t I just go home. Hmph, I might as well get my behind up because they just gone keep calling my name until I show up. Don’t get me wrong, this place is actually quite nice. It’s like a mini vacation away from everything and everyone I’ve been dreading: the loneliness. The self hate. The voices… the pills. With this place being so bright, filled with all of these bright lights, no one can hide here. I was finally going to have to face every single demon taking space in my head. Finally, no more excuses as to why I can’t get better. I have finally been given a chance to be free mentally, and I loved the possible outlook… But they would never know it. They didn’t need to…
Don’t let life discourage you, everyone who got where he is had to begin where he was.
-Richard L. Evans
Walking along the hallways, my eyes always seemed to catch a glimpse of the quotes that lined them. And no matter how crappy I was feeling, reading them still gave me a sense of comfort. Hope even.
Rounding the corner, making my way to the activity room, I couldn’t help but to stop in my tracks when I saw the woman who would be ministering my medicine and checking my vitals. She was everything that I wanted to be, and a harsh reality of one of the reasons why I hated myself: she was beautiful. Beautiful skin. A beautiful smile. A beautiful face, and the most gorgeous locks that I have ever seen in my life. And here I was wearing a pair of baggy chef pants, horrible skin, and hair wild for not being combed in days. The embarrassment of seeing what a break down caused me to look like, compared to the woman who seemingly had it all put together made me want to run and hide under my sheets and never come out. But I couldn’t. I was already here in her presence, so lets get this done and over with so I can take my ass back to my room and have yet another reason to hate who I am. Or more likely, what I’m not.
“Please state your name and date of birth.”
“Talathia Turner, June 4, 1989.”
“Here Hun, your medicine this morning is Zoloft.”
Sitting alone in this room with her, I couldn’t help but to notice the way she looked at me. It was a look that I wasn’t used to, but I still recognized it well. The look of sympathy. The look of wanting to come to my rescue. Wanting to truly help. It was a look that made me feel.. well.. Loved.
“So what would you like to be called?”
“Everyone calls me Nini.”
“Nini you are too young to be in here. Do you mind me asking you why you ended up in here?”
“Well my life has never been easy. Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always felt like I was living in a personal hell. I never had a childhood. Being the oldest girl it was my responsibility to take care of my siblings. And the abuse.. ugh the abuse was the worst. From the beatings, the torture, and being mentally and emotionally hurt on a daily basis, I’ve never felt like much of anything. I’ve never felt good about myself. I didn’t have anyone to tell me I was pretty. That I mattered. To the world, I was invisible, unless someone was taking from me or hurting me. I remember being ten and washing the dishes after being abused. There was a big kitchen knife in the sink. The only thing on my mind was taking the knife and shoving it into my chest. That’s the first time I’ve ever thought about ending my own life. I was young and I couldn’t process the feeling. All I knew was that I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t allow myself to be lost in the world anymore. Most importantly I could no longer sit back and watch the abuse of the two that I loved more than myself: my brother and sister. To sit and watch the things done to them knowing that I could do not one single thing to help them killed my soul. Every time, it took so much out of me. I couldn’t save them. I was supposed to save them, but I couldn’t. I hated myself for it. I couldn’t forgive myself. I still haven’t. For all of that, I’ve hated myself.”
“So at ten, what made you not go through with it?”
“Them… I couldn’t leave them knowing they would be stuck in the nightmare that I was trying to escape from. I wouldn’t have had any peace. I would rather endure a life of my own misery than to leave knowing they are stuck in theirs.”
Never have I seen such shock on someone’s face. Especially someone who deals with so much chaos and unsteady individuals on a daily basis. You would think she’s heard and seen it all. I guess nothing could ever prepare someone to hear that a child so young would ever feel unworthy enough to the point that they felt as though their life was not worth living.
“I know I could never say anything to take all that pain away, but I do want to say that I am sorry for all that you have ever had to go through. I have a daughter your age and I can never imagine putting that much responsibility or pain on her. You are such a strong young woman. You are beautiful and your life is worth living. Never forget that.”
How could someone who didn’t even know me until now see all of the potential and beauty in me that I have never seen in myself. After the heart to heart, I found myself back in the common room looking at ehe same faces, but at the moment none of that mattered to me. All that mattered to me at that moment was VISITATION TIME!!! A freaking moment for me to finally feel normal. To have a piece of home sitting right here in front of me. Even if it means have to have a few awkward conversations and get a dose of harsh reality. I wonder who will it be today. My Aunts.. Or maybe my sisters.. Or it could be her…
“Oooh, they have Uno Cards here. Maybe playing these with them will help ease all tension.” As time went on I realized that I was still sitting at that table alone. As a matter of fact everyone was sitting alone. What happened to our visitation? Had it been canceled? Just when we were all about to just say forget it and go back to our rooms, we heard that all too familiar buzzer, and one by one all of our loved ones begin to fall in. And then I spot her, and my Aunt and I just knew this was about to be a good night. She rushed me and we gave the biggest and tightest hugs that we had ever given each other. And Lord knows that I was so happy to see my aunt. If I knew that anyone could make me smile, I knew it was going to be her.
“Hey y’all, what took so long? I honestly thought y’all either missed visitation, or wasn’t going to show up.”
“Yeah I’m sorry, your aunt was running a little behind. I honestly thought we had missed it. But as soon as we came through the door, everyone else was still sitting out there as well, and they said that they were running behind on opening the doors for visit.”
Hearing that truly made my day because if it wasn’t for the unit running behind, I could have missed my visit. I felt like things were finally working in my favor, working for me, and I was loving it.
“Hey Niece, how has everything been going in here? We all miss you so much. Your Uncle was crying last night wishing that you weren’t in here. We just want you to know that we all love you so much and when you get out of here, we gone make sure you do what you have to in order not to be in here again.”
After having one of the most heartfelt conversations that I have had with two of my favorite people, I gave them the exciting news that I would be getting released after two days of being in here. I could tell they were both filled with joy because nothing is worse than seeing someone you loved living their life confined in a space, living by a set schedule, where everything is controlled for them. It was news that they had been waiting for since I had been in there. Once visitation was over, we wrapped up for the night as a group, discussing everything that had taken place during the day, and that night I had set a goal for myself that I would get better and do all that I can to not see myself back in here ever again. I had to do it. They were counting on me to take better care of myself so that I would never have to see my family hurt again.