Saturday, May 1, 2010


Taylor was a large (very large) black girl who had choppy, short frazzled hair that stuck up. She was a constant reminder that I didn’t have it so bad. In group she would talk about her abusive dad, who beat her head into a wall on several occasions. I wanted to hug her, but I was afraid. I was secretly afraid of everyone there but I never let it on, knowing that some of the girls who were in for beating or attempting to kill others hated the weak. Taylor was 16, and had been raped, been in jail, had a baby, and watched her baby burn to death. She never cried. Her face was kind, but her emotions were all hidden. In group, no one ever questioned her. She didn’t deserve it. Some of us were emotional wrecks, and it wasn’t based on the situations we had been put in, but our own state of mind. But Taylor, just needed love. The way she saw affection was different from everyone else. She adopted the name ‘Mama’ as she was the most respected and motherly girl in the ward. Her idea of a ‘Mama’ was to snap us with rubber bands whenever any of us pissed her off. I think I was the only girl who found this sad. Taylor would snap our wrists or thighs so hard that they would leave a mark for a number of days. On one occasion, Aleah, who was a uneducated brat who seemed like she had tourettes (or maybe just no self control or morals) was snapped in the thigh, she started screaming, and immediately told staff. When questioned, we all stood up for Taylor, and claimed it never happened. I did it because I was terrified of her, and others did it because they didn’t see anything wrong with it. They had endured so much more than me. I didn’t understand why these victims of the most harsh cruelty in the world had to be put away, and labelled physco. Surely they were just wounded souls who had been brought up to believe that violence was acceptable. I loved them in a way that no one else would ever understand. And I knew they loved me in the same way. All of us had been driven one way or another to feel responsible for the hardship in our lives. We were all hurt, and in pain. We all understood each other. I felt so weak in comparision to the other girls. Yet they all thought I was so strong. I had been through a couple of changes, sure. But I didn’t have a kid, or a jail sentence to go back to. I was never raped or molested. Some of these girls had never been told they were beautiful in their whole lives. Taylor provided a form of love that was understandable to us all, and she didn’t know any better. She made us a large dysfunctional family, that wasn’t that much more dysfunctional than the families we had all left back home.

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