Tameka Mullins | VenusBlogs Contributor
Photo: A Scenery of Loss
Originally published here on VenusBlogs March 8, 2013

[dc]“I[/dc] wasn’t born, I was adopted.”

Those six words won me a Smith Magazine Facebook contest in 2011. Because I had breathed life into those few words, some saw it as poetry. My prize was to take the stage at the 92Y Tribeca in the “I Am Turning Into My Mother” six-word story slam show and recite my poem along with a five minute back-story. As I was preparing for the show, another group of words sat in the corner of my mind, facing the wall. “I wasn’t raped, I was molested.” Another set of six. Just sitting. Waiting to be unleashed in public. I chose the safe and sexy six though.

Whenever I mention the fact that I’m adopted people’s eyes get really wide. It’s so mysterious not knowing who your parents are. Everyone wants to ask questions and suggest you contact Oprah so she can miraculously find your mom and bring you two together in talk-show bliss. No one wants to talk about being molested. But it happens. It happened to me in one of the foster homes I lived in. I was five-years-old.

The day had been long. I was really tired and as I was falling asleep about to dream about lollipops and puppy dogs, I felt a presence in my room. Moments later I felt a touch. Fingers were trying to enter a place they had no business. Then before I could protest the fingers were replaced by something more fierce. It was foreign and didn’t belong near a five-year old. It was rude, this thing. It tried to invade an innocent space. I knew something was wrong. I felt dirty. Violated. I was a little girl though and couldn’t articulate those feelings. I began to cry. The rude thing never gained occupancy, but it had fun trying. Its insistence ended in a white liquid silhouette that clouded my mind for years.

At the age of thirteen I told my adoptive mother what I remembered. I still didn’t understand what happened to me and I wanted the thoughts to go away. I was met with anger. My story made her uncomfortable. She told me to just forget about it. I was left feeling even more ashamed. Only a few years later I finally figured out what “the white stuff” was. The white stuff that my mother was too embarrassed to explain to me. The white stuff that exited the rude thing and landed near my leg, pooling on my bed sheets like poison. When I realized what it was and what had happened to me I became sad, depressed and angry. I felt worthless. No one protected me. I was wearing pink pajamas that night. I was sleepy. I was precious. I should have been left alone.

In my mind then I was a throw-away. Someone who deserved to be messed with. My real mom didn’t want me so I thought that was a signal that I was fair game for anyone else who did, even pedophiles. The only thing that saved me was being able to write about it. I kept notebooks and filled them with poetry. I’m so thankful that God graced me with a gift to push through my pain.

A friend also suggested that I get some counseling as well. Although at the time, I thought I could handle it on my own, but I realized that there was no shame in getting professional help. I was blessed to find someone who specializes in adoption traumas and those sessions with him helped to lighten my mental and spiritual load.

What of those who have no outlet? No knowledge that it wasn’t their fault? No notebook to escape in and record their thoughts, fears and dreams? What happens to them? Do they sleep soundly at night or are they up until the sun breaks sky? Who tells them that they are loved and beautiful and blameless? Who leaves the light on for them when they flashback to their nights of terror? Who understands them when they lash out at loved ones, friends and co-workers because of their misplaced anger? Who sees their rage and loves them through the pain?

Can we empathize? Or are we all too fractured to fix?

I don’t know if I’ll win any contests with these six new words, but I know I’ve won the battle when I say, “I was broken, now I’m healed.”

Tameka is a native Detroiter, living in New York who loves writing, networking and cultivating great relationships. Her professional background includes work as a social media strategist, public relations professional, radio segment producer, project manager and consultant for media & publishing companies as well as non-profit organizations, most notably, WCBS, Newsweek, Scholastic, Girl Scouts of the USA and the American Cancer Society. She wrote her first poem when she was 5-years-old and it consisted of just two words: “I dream.” She believes that with persistence and passion dreams can be transformed into goals which become reality. Her novel Letters to Chyna, which delves into the emotionally charged issues of adoption is currently being reviewed and considered for publication. Follow her on Twitter @Tamstarz.

14 Responses

  1. melissa

    I care for you deeply dear friend. We have shared a lot of things except for this…and I empathize. I love you for who you are and for what you have become . Broken but healed. Hugs Tameka :*

  2. Jennifer

    I had to fight tears reading this. What a heartbreaking but powerful piece. I am so sorry you had to go through this. I am so happy you found the strength to heal. Love you.

    Little Sis.

    • Tameka Mullins

      Thanks so much Yvonne. My wish is that someone who was connected with my adoption and foster care somehow reads this and can identify the man who did this. I was so young that I don’t remember and names get lost with time. I shudder to think that this person could have harmed someone else. I’m sorry it took me this long to feel like I could write about it.

  3. Cathy Tittle

    It always horrifies me to think that a child can be used and thrown away like a broken doll. I take care of the mentally ill and I can’t tell you how many times sexual molestation is part of the mental illness and the inability to cope with life. What happens in childhood really does affect the rest of your life. Some people find strength and coping mechanisms. Many do not, and remain broken forever. Bravo to you Tameka!!

    • Tameka Mullins

      Thanks so much Cathy! The world is better because of people like you. It takes a caring and special person to treat people who have mental illness. Bless you for the work you do!

  4. NC

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. Your words are so powerful and perfectly capture the confusion, fear, and other emotions that accompany sexual abuse. I admire you for being courageous enough to put pen to pad (or maybe fingers to keyboard) to share your memories. Certainly you will inspire many survivors of sexual abuse and help others develop a greater empathy. Kudos to you!

    • Tameka Mullins

      I certainly hope someone out there who has been quiet knows that it’s okay to speak up and ask for help. No one who has been harmed should bear the pain alone. Thanks NC for your kind words of encouragement.


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