“My abuse began as early as I can remember, My stepfather was wildly abusive in every way. He wasn’t a drug addict or an alcoholic, which seems it would have been easier to blame it all on. With the mental, physical and sexual abuse, I’ve come to realize he was a very sadistic and twisted individual, Seems the older I get, the more I realize just how fucked up he really was. It wasn’t just him though. My mother a huge accomplice.
My siblings and I were raised in a hot bed of perversion and lies with hidden secrets at every twist and turn. I can’t stomach most of the things that took place. I will start here though,
I was a field hand who grew up that way with little education and no coping skills. My life as a child worker, with my siblings was hard and unbearable at times. We were forced to work in the scorching hot fields of the south from sun up to sun down. We eventually traveled across the country to follow the crops more in later years.
My body would be so burned from the heat I had sores constantly from the burns. It was hard to tell the difference between sweat and tears, not that it really mattered.
While the water was plentiful, the reprieve was not. My siblings and I were often beaten in the fields with switches for playing around and being wasteful of time. We worked hard and were punished hard. There were mornings were I was just too tired to get out of my bed and as the sun rays lit up the floor of my dusty ole’ shanty- like room. My stepfather would come and either wake me up with a sexual grope or more violent with a switch, belt or water hose and it was off to work.
Many days I worked with my legs bleeding from being beaten earlier in the morning for being too tired. It was a hard, hard life. I still don’t understand it, I’m not sure I ever will. I worked for everything I had, everything. School was even harder. I was hated, bullied and often in trouble for fighting which in turn got me into more trouble when I got home. In retrospect, no one ever questioned the bruises, the missed school, the filth and unkempt-ness of my physical appearance and was often singled out by teachers for harassment. Through all of this, ran the vain of sexual and mental assaults. At times I couldn’t handle things. I was a nervous wreck with no one to listen to me.
To this day, (I am 40) I have to keep a light in my bedroom. I would wake to slithering nicotine smelling hands on my breasts and down my pajamas. Night after night this would happen and at times even prompted by my own mother, this happened throughout my entire life at home.
I couldn’t understand at all why she didn’t protect me. It almost seemed she hated me, I don’t know. Although my stepfather is dead and has been for many years, my mother Is very much alive and has no concern for what happened to us all. I do not speak to her at all.
And the abuse didn’t stop with my parents, it extended to 2 step brothers, a uncle, and my grandfather. It seemed I was the world’s punching bag for violence and sexual assault.
This story is only a highlight of what really happened growing up. Today, I spend most of my time working on my art, I try to funnel my pain and anger through it and try to do the same for other survivors.
Sometimes it helps, sometimes not so much. My anxiety can be unbearable and gripping and at times do not want to leave my home. So I create my pieces. I have a loving family who is incredibly compassionate and understanding through all of my craziness.
Tracy is an artist, photographer and strong supporter of women’s rights and children’s causes. www.tracysydor.com