She told me nobody ever asked; no one cared, they just threw a label on her because she wasn’t speaking—instead of asking or even caring, they phoned in their responsibility that day. She kept telling me, I just wanted someone to ask, I just wanted someone to give me a hug. She told me about the welts they found on her body, but that didn’t stop the nightmare in her home. In my minds eye, I see her hiding in a closet, those words haunt me too.
She started her conversation with me with words that still haunt me “I was gifted with two parents”. I thought about that for a little bit and wondered how she could use the word “gift” when those welts came from one of those “gifts” She showed me a picture and explained to me that the smile on her face tells a story—a story of a beautiful little girl who just wanted to be asked a question: are you ok? Can I give you a hug?
Then I wondered how many of you look at two parent homes and assume everything is ok and never ask. Her words haunt me, NO BODY EVER ASKED.
She survived, because as she puts it “I had basic needs meet” I disagree with her, she might have had food and water, but she suffered one of the worst things that can happen to a child, abandoned and neglected, even if it happened in the suburbs.
Liittle Marley’s mom’s (or her other gift as it were) own mental illness forced little that little girl to raise herself without the love and support of what we all assume happens in a two parent home. She told me of the time she attempted to end her life in college. She told me about the 8-10 text messages she sent saying goodbye. She told me how much it meant to her that those people came running to help her. She told me that those people asked, cared and hugged.
Finally, someone asked, and today a thriving Marlena comes to share with us how she got from abuse and neglect to where she is today, a pediatric ER nurse, a mental health advocate and curator of remaking Marley, hope in trauma, purpose in pain, all of it is on an audio recording I will forever be grateful, please don’t miss this story of child abuse, and how bringing awareness to you is the most important thing we can do.
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