Humble Yourself: An Open Letter

Hello Ms. Hensley

I say a screenshot of your tweet from April and immediately recognized your story from some recent refutations that I’ve read. And I needed to say this to you in hopes of doing right by those with PTSD.

As a small child I was sexually abused by my mother, I remember her having me touch her in ways that made I thought were weird. This was the mid-to-late 80’s so I had to be around five. I lived with her for the first seven years of my life before being placed in a more appropriate environment. She also physically abused me, whipping me for things like becoming ill in class, and giving me alcohol and taking me with her to the “crack house”

I have a memory of drinking one half of a half glass of Malt Liquor, then suddenly waking up on a dirty bed with a headache: I was age 10, I remember because Mortal Kombat II (my favorite) was featured in Electronic Gaming Monthly. She used to hide pornographic magazines under my bed. I didn’t understand why they were all magazines of naked women until later in life.

I remember often watching her putting what I thought were little pieces of peanuts, into a bent beer can with little holes punched in the center. Then she’d be really tired and her eyes looked like she didn’t feel good. I was under the age of six, I know because I had a Pocket Rocker with ‘Psudia’ on one side, and ‘I can feel it coming in the air tonight’ on the other side.

I won’t elaborate on her studying of Witchcraft and those heavy books she used to sit down and have me read with her. I won’t elaborate on her teaching me about “the master”. And I won’t elaborate on her taking my forty dollars that my dad (who passed away this past year) gave me. I watched her spiral down into what people today would call rock bottom. Back then people didn’t teach kids to be so vocal, and they weren’t as informed as they are now.

I’ve been through a lot of trails and tribulations in my life. By the age of thirteen I had become an alcoholic. I thought I was the only one but then I heard one of my crushes, Ms. Barrymore had the same burden in her pubescent years.

I blew out my kidneys at that age, and began what would be an eighteen year tour of Dialysis, multiple Surgeries, an agonizing amount of physical, psychological, and spiritual pain, losing, regaining, and questioning the “faith” that I was given after being put into a different household. 

I have been outcasted, betrayed by the one woman I thought to be like a sister to me, so much so that I called her “Sis” and we were friends for twelve years before she turned on me and began ignoring me after I became suicidal and made an attempt. I was a “cutter” since age eight, I’ve no tattoos but I have more scars than I have books.

I say all of that to say this: I am thankful to The Creator for everything that I just mentioned (and that which I did not mention) because these experiences have humbled me. They torment me, they inform me, but they have also humbled me. My ADHD and my anxiety attacks keep me from ever being bored. When I read your tweets on a screenshot of a Facebook Page, I thought to myself: “PTSD from name calling?”

In school I was overweight and was not only called names, but also groped by black kids (who mocked me the most) and teased often about how fat I was. And although I still think it was bad, and I think it’s fair to say I was bullied to a degree, I would not say that I was given PTSD from it. That is an insult to the people who’ve been tortured, or raped, or stalked.

I take offense to your tweets because it’s unfair to those of us who have suffered. Those of us who have met lucifer through the wickedness of people in this life. Those of us who have been shaped, who have been humbled by suffering in our respective lives. 

I don’t know what you’ve been through, it could’ve been worse than what I have, or not as bad as what I have: but if you haven’t, if you haven’t experienced anything like that and you’re just saying that name calling is traumatic for you, please stop.

I don’t know if you’re doing this for spite, or for a sociological experiment in an effort to see how people will react, weeding out the apathetic, but you are inadvertently disparaging the real PTSD victims in this society. Those who have legit suffered and are reminded of it.
– B.

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