Book excerpt from my memoir “Stories of a Caged Girl”
Sometimes I was the one I wanted to be, and that felt awesome. I was creative and smart, joyful, beautiful with dark brown hair and smiley eyes. Sometimes I had a big heart, wonderful self-esteem, and talents others dreamt about having. I was the little sunshine. Sometimes.
I was Trix, for short, the bright child who was polite and eager to do what was right. But I was also Trix, a child with a dark secret. An unnamed condition, a horrible mistake and she was not yet aware of her even darker future.
I was sitting alone a few steps from the playground. Watched the other children carefully. Took a handful of dry leaves and threw them at the ground in an angry manner. I was angry. A girl looked at me from the playground and she was standing up on the swings right in front of me. She grinned, but not in a friendly way. I looked down at the ground and I heard the other children laughing about something. I wasn’t able to talk to them, even if I wanted to.
“Look, it’s that girl who can’t even speak”, I heard one of the boys saying and pointing his finger toward me. I threw some more leaves and rocks at the ground, sitting in my pants with braces to hold them up because they were too big. I was a short little thing. I reached out my tongue and moved my whole body in the opposite direction from them.
“What did you say, you little freak? Oh, did you say something?“, the awful boy yelled at me, loud enough for the teachers to notice, but they didn’t do a damn thing.
I, Trixibelle Moore, was able to talk physically. I just didn’t do it in any other place than in my own home. I refused to speak at school or in the schools arranged activities afterward, which I was forced to go to because my parents felt I had to “socialize” with other children. I just psychologically couldn’t. I wanted to, sometimes, but I just couldn’t. I was terrified every time my teachers were making attempts to get to me, to force me to speak in front of them or my classmates. Speaking was a terrible fear of mine.
But I was quite a good learner and I learned to write and read books. The writing was easier because then I could do it at my own pace. I could think for a long time before the message was read by anyone. Writing was my passion.
I lived in a small village in southern Sweden. Everyone talked about everyone and was gossiping about everything. Well, yes, everyone except me, of course. I kind of was the target of all the gossiping. But I didn’t care too much. My self-esteem was like most other children. They couldn’t reach it by participating in gossip about a nine-year-old who chose not to speak. It was a small village, and I guess a child like me was pretty rare. A different child. I guess that was why I was an interesting topic of gossip. Even the adults were talking, yes, the children were just small copies of the bigger picture.
“Trixibelle! Are you listening?”
I jumped up from the chair and looked up at my teacher.
“I expect an answer, young lady!” She said with a harsh pitch in her voice, and her glasses were very ugly from this angle, I noticed. An answer? From Trixiebelle? She could just dream about that.
“Well, I choose to ignore this behavior… because, well, we have a new student in class” she continued and I looked up.
In front of the blackboard, a small, blonde, green-eyed girl with round glasses, stood and looked deeply miserable. I smiled because I could see she was another freak. I smiled for the first time in school that day.
“You have to at least try to hurry up!”
She stared at me. I was holding my jacket, and couldn’t move. The sun was burning my skin and the clothes felt weird and funny. My shoes were too big and my socks too thick.
My teacher looked at me. She was annoyed. I was naturally slow in my moves, but honestly… I didn’t want to go out with the other children. I didn’t want to be either alone in a corner or treated like an animal at the zoo. I wanted to interact genuinely but at the same time, I didn’t want to speak to anyone. What a weird feeling, I felt stuck between the need to feel like I was likable, and also to be left alone and just be.
I finally got out when it was about ten minutes left of the lunch break. I stared at the ground to avoid other people looking at me.
Already as a child, I noticed how different I was. Who are you? I asked myself as eight years old. Why is everything a problem for me? Problems that other children – and adults – barely notice?
I felt confused and scared.
“Am I a monster?” I asked my mom one day. She looked at me with both a surprised and terrified expression on her face.
“No, of course not, honey!” she replied. “Who told you that?”
She looked at me. I looked at her.
My brain told me that. I wanted to say that to her so bad, that my mind told me that. But I didn’t dare. Not even my parents understood me in the way I wanted. Was it their fault? No, it certainly wasn’t. But yet, it was the truth.
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