I didnt really talk much as a child.
Our house was always filled with a dark sense of oppression...old, messy arguments mixed in with the anticipation of new, even messier ones which always ended badly, and so in order to avoid saying or doing the wrong thing and getting drawn into the chaos caused by my parents, I made like a mouse and tried to keep quiet.
Then my dad died suddenly and overnight the house we lived in became a coffin for all of us...filled with this suffocating blackness that enveloped my mum, swirled around my brother and I, and never quite went away.
I didn't talk much then either, mainly because there was no one to talk back to me...we were all locked seperately inside our own little world's and so it was easier to just stay quiet.
Then, throughout school, (which I hated...mainly because I was scared that my mum would die too if I wasn't there to look after her), I starved and self-harmed and I carried the world around on my not quite yet teenage shoulders...and the teachers saw that things "weren't quite right" but it was a Catholic school where everything you did or said was a potential sin and so they were all far too caught up in saying their own "Hail Mary's" and keeping in with God to worry about a quiet, sad girl who clearly "had issues"...not when they all had issues of their own...
So no one asked if I was ok...and I stayed quiet because I wasn't ...
As I grew older, when bad things happened...the violence, the sexual assaults, the things that can happen to young girls who don't have a support network, I turned it inside and I punished myself for not being stronger or harder or more resilient to the world... and then years later, when my depression kicked in, I chose drinking over talking and spent the next couple of years in and out of homelessness, too comatose to speak...
Until I ended up in rehab.
And then I did try to speak...but the staff there didn't listen, and so I reverted back to type and simply stayed quiet.
Until I realised that I could write my thoughts even when situations prevented me from vocalising them.
It's taken three long years and a whole lot of headfuck to get me to this point...the point where I have found my voice...and the need to explain to you that homelessness is a journey and not a final destination
And now I need to speak.
So no more quiet girl, no more silence... Just a story from the heart from a woman who's been there.
Because as of now, there is no "Shush"...
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