Carla: In between abusers I was in another place; in a hidden garden in my mind. So the word hidden is... I feel like I have a lot of things underneath.
I come from a family background of addicts and alcoholics. My dad was in and out, and as a result my mother had a lot of boyfriends. A lot of people she would bring home would end up in my bedroom. I can remember from 6 on up to 12 years old I could never sleep because I didn't know what was going to happen.
The first time, the guy gave me a drink. I was 6. He said, "we gonna play a game called the secret." He said, "Do you like secrets?" He gave me a sip of bourbon. I didn't like the taste. I nearly threw up. He grabbed me by my throat and told me, "You gonna take another drink. That's part of the secret, or I'm gonna kill your mom, and kill you." Being terrified at 6, I took another drink.
[Eventually] when my mother would go to work I [started] taking a drink because I had these nightmares of what had been occurring. Some penetrated me; some made me put my mouth on them. When I was nine I had my virginity [taken] by force and my mother thought it was my period.
Being that I grew up in that type of environment, I started liking boys early, because I thought it was OK. I had sex willingly at 12. I just snuck in my mom's liquor to numb the pain.
Eventually I wrote a book called The Horrible Secret. My teacher got a hold of that book. Next thing you know I'm being called to the principal's office and they had 2 detectives in there. Child protective services came and took me from my mother.
BW: The book was about all of the things people had done to you?
Carla: Yes. Especially the first man and the last person who molested me. His name was David, my auntie's boyfriend. At the end of the book, he was the main character.
In the past 3 years I've encountered death so many times. The scars you see... I jumped out of a moving car. We were on Ashby street in Atlanta. He hit the gas and got on I-20. In between getting on the ramp on the interstate he pulled a gun and said, "I ain't gonna pay you nothing. You gonna fuck me or I'm gonna blow your fuckin' head off. I said, "You ain't shootin' me." and I jumped out of the moving car. The doctor told me, "God had his hand on you. You should be broken up or not even here."
My turning point was March 16th. That was the last time I had a drink and the last time I put a straight shooter in my mouth. Once again I got raped.
[After the rape occurred] the first thing I did was bought me a six pack of High Gravity Schlitz, a half pint of gin, and a 20 rock. I did it [all]. I was sitting on an abandoned porch and the next guy who rolled up was a white guy.
He said, "Where's the party at?" I said, "I'm the party. What you want?" He said, "I want a blow job." I was so cracked out that I said, "OK. I'll do it for $10." Yeah... I got that low.
He was an undercover cop. I had 10 FTA's (failure to appear in court), so I was wanted. I seen the police coming and I could have ran and I could have gotten away, but at that point in time I was feeling so fucked up and so humiliated I said, "fuck it." I told God, "I know I'm about to go to jail, but God, if you get me through this, regardless of if I have to do time, I'll serve you the rest of my days. And I mean that. So, whatever I have to do..."
I feel like NA and AA is a lifeline. [Tears] I know this is the last chance I got. If I go back out there I'm gonna die. Someone is gonna do something and it's gonna be violent. I know this.
I fight everyday of my life, but here's the messed up part, Brent [crying hard] when you get sober all these feelings are coming back that I'm used to medicating... what do you do? What do you do when you have to deal with this shit that you're so used to running from?
But I'm grateful. I'm so grateful. Ever since the 16th of last month. They ran all 10 FTAs concurrently into a 6 month sentence, but Judge Sloan sentenced me to the program I'm in now called Another Chance, and that's exactly what I need.
I have to forgive the people who hurt me. The rage is still there. I know I have to forgive, but when I think about it the rage just comes back. This all started when I was 6 and now I'm 40. this shit's fixin' to come up and bite me in the ass. I'm fixin' to start feeling a lot more that I don't want to feel. What I want is to have the strength not to go get me a drink or go get me a rock.
I write... In fact I want you to record this. It's called The Fallen Soldier.
The Fallen Soldier
There once was a soldier who was sent out to fight
One who was well known, always done what was right
In times of temptation he always thought twice
That's why he was highly honored and earned all his stripes
One day the soldier went out for a walk
Nowhere in particular, to meet a buddy for small talk
The next thing you know that soldier got lost
As he headed further down to destruction, he lost track of time
Didn't know what he could do when he got caught up in a bind
Became blind to terrible mankind as he stumbled and fell behind enemy lines
The soldier was trapped and became a slave
His life was deteriorating into an early grave
Day after day and night after night the fallen soldier struggled but always lost the fight
Deep down below is where that soldier was kept as he hoped and prayed and wished for death
But when all he had left was tears in his eyes he dropped to his knees to worship that notorious man in the sky
And suddenly when the lightening struck and the thunder rolled the soldier rose to his feet and became bold
With adequate strength, courage and might, the soldier was able to fight the enemy through the night
The enemy finally retreated and the battle was won and that's when a new life for the soldier had begun
My brother Brent, the message you just heard was short but true
Take heed my brother, it could happen to you
It's just a poem of how life can be and the reasons why I know is cause that fallen soldier was me
Part of these collections: Sex Work