I learned that I have never really loved nor trusted myself, my opinions, my reality. This has caused me shame, misery, doubt, and unending pain. As a child, the treatment from my father that began as severe negligence (ignoring my presence, disinterested in my interests, wants, or needs), then physical abuse at 14, and ending with abandonment into a horrific nightmare that he planned for. My mother and I suffered without stable housing, the car breaking down, shortage of food, and abandoned by those we called family. I remember always being singled out in school, tormented by other kids, raped, then constantly threatened physically. I remember in seventh grade, when I began shaking all the time, sweating through my clothes, and feeling so estranged from “normal”. I remember when I was diagnosed with scoliosis at 14. I remember the head orthopedic surgeon showing my X-ray of my spine to my parents and telling them I needed surgery. I remember my father actually doubting that this X-ray was from my back and saying that it could be anyone’s. I remember the pain stopping me from being able to work or go to school physically. I remember trying every other venue of treatment for 3 years, and the curvature doubled. I do not want to be a slave to pain, to my past, to shame, to trauma, or to fear any longer. I want the strength to be strong. I want the ability to heal and grow. I want to learn to love myself because I never have.