I Am More: Maleeka

Maleeka is a perfect of example of a person you see walking down the street–beautiful, put-together, warm and open, who makes it impossible to believe the experiences she has been through. After sharing her story with me, we met at the Salem Willows, a park full of happy memories that she continues to create with her own family:

Maleeka, 2019. Pastel on paper, 16×20 inches

I am the daughter of a Borderline Narcissist  who was not able to provide a safe and loving home for me. My mother’s boyfriend began molesting and raping me at the age of 7, soon after my father died, and it went on until I was about 11. I never told her because I never felt safe with her because she was so volatile. I was more afraid of HER than what he was doing to me.

maleeka as child

When she found out, she never reported it because “people would talk.” I know now it was swept under the rug in order to not embarrass her. I was told that I shouldn’t tell anyone about it because they would think I was dirty.

About three years ago, for many reasons, I made the excruciating decision to no longer communicate with my mother. These three years have been torturous on my mind, heart and spirit. I’ve been exhausted from years of shouldering the guilt, shame, anxiety and loneliness–sadness and secrets that should never have been mine to carry. I was depleted from wondering if there was anything different I could’ve done to make my mother more loving. This past year I finally decided to go see a therapist.

Therapy has been one of the best decisions I have ever made for myself. I wish my mother would have considered it so that she possibly could’ve felt better and been a safe haven for me instead of what I feared most.

I haven’t had an easy life, but I try really hard not to let traumatic events define me. I am creative: I knit, crochet, paint. I love to cook. I love animals. I love to laugh. I am a kind, loving, empathetic person. I am learning to love myself more everyday. I have recently vowed to only do things that feel right and good to me. I am free to do whatever I please and be whomever I choose. I am not just her daughter. I am so much more.

I am not dirty.

I am not guilty.

I have nothing to be ashamed of.

I am a fighter.

I am kind.

I am enough.

I have always been enough.


Maleeka and daughter

maleeka and son

Maleeka and husband

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