Sunday, November 18, 2012

'Don't Touch Me' - By Arteria Stevens - Excerpt

Don't Touch Me

Synopsis: "Don't Touch Me Volume I" represents Tweety's protective wall built all around her as a result of her emotional pain. Tweety was brought up in a Black Holiness Church and raised in the projects of Atlanta, Georgia. Wounded throughout her childhood by sexual abuse, depression, low self-esteem, and a need to please... In her memoir, Tweety embarks on a journey of that is both painful and heartwarming; she learned that facing the pain has allowed her to heal. You will laugh and cry as you read through the pages of this intriguing memoir.

I was just sitting and pondering over my life and it dawned on me: I am the mother, wife, and woman that I am; divergent from the child I was raised to be.

Growing up in the projects in Atlanta, Georgia, I am the child
who smiled in the mirror again and again, but never saw the face of
beauty staring back at me. Brought up in a black holiness church,
I am the child who couldn’t comprehend molestation at the age of
nine when it happened to me. I am the girl who longed so deeply
for my father to just be Daddy all the time and never evolve into
the stranger he became at night during my eighth grade school year.
That transfigured the way I saw him forever. I am the anguishing
child who faced distressing hindrances again and again. I am the
child who got married at seventeen bolstering along all my baggage
of the past. I am the child who gave birth to a child.
I am the demoralized child who grew up to be the depressed
adult. I am the child gravid with low self esteem dragging it along
into my adult life. I am the emotionally mutilated adult.
I am the child who can tell it all now because of all the lessons I
learned growing up as that child.
As an adult, I needed to understand why things happened to me.
I’m forty-two now and finally healing. In the end, everyone will
know how I finally stumbled on to my healing roads.
I don’t need to pretend I’m perfect. I don’t need to be
afraid to reveal intimate details of my life. Life is a lesson and there’s
nothing embarrassing about life’s lessons.

In 1971, when we moved to Taliaferro Street on the west side of
Atlanta, I thought Eagan Homes Projects was a delightful place to
live. I was starting pre-school that year. Despite what I am about to
reveal, we had an array of blitheful days in our childhood. I spent
a lot of time outside playing with friends. I spent just as much time
uproaring indoors with my family. I had a brother eleven months
older than me, a baby sister, and of course there was Mama and
In 1976 we started attending church with Daddy’s cousin who
was also his best friend. His best friend was now a transformed man
having found God. He was no longer drinking and hanging out. As
time went on, the more we went to church, the more we began to
evolve. Daddy stopped drinking, smoking and hanging out at night.
I still hung around my friends when I was home but our beliefs were
changing so much.
Before Daddy joined the church, he didn’t go around his own
daddy because for some reason he was angry with him. He learned to
forgive over time, and one day we all went over to visit Granddaddy
and my step grandmamma. They were amusing and very affectionate.
They overindulged us with goodies and made us laugh all the time.
We enjoyed going to their house to see all the chickens and hens
they had in their back yard. They let us help feed them. They also
had lots of dogs in the backyard as well. Granddaddy had a wooden
leg and he walked with a limp. I never knew what happened to his
real leg. Granddaddy and Grandmamma always gave us money and
goodies whenever we visited them. I was glad Uncle Lynn, who we
refer to now as Pastor Nichols, talked Daddy into making amends
with his father. Daddy had often referred to his daddy as low down
and dirty. I never knew why and as a child, I never asked Daddy
questions about Granddaddy. Daddy and Granddaddy were finally
behaving like a father and son.
I liked listening to Granddaddy and Grandmamma talk. They
were both hilarious. I wondered if this was why Daddy was so comical.
Granddaddy was always picking me up and sitting me in his lap,
giving me the tightest squeezes and kissing me smack on the lips.
Daddy and Mama kissed us on the lips every night at bedtime followed
by “I love you” and “Say your Prayers.” No wonder Daddy
was so affectionate; his whole family was like him, I thought while
reflecting back on Granddaddy.
Granddaddy asked for more hugs and kisses than anybody I’d
ever seen. I guessed he was making up for lost time with his grandchildren.
He was always so elated.
As I sat on Granddaddy’s lap he shared funny adventures and
spoiled us with Coca Cola and candy. Instead of sitting my brother
Scootie in his lap, he gave him tight hugs. Scootie was ten and my
little sister Sonia was five.
For the first time, Daddy and Mama left us to spend the day with
Granddaddy early one Sunday morning. He cooked us breakfast
consisting of lumpy grits, runny eggs, and toast, which I didn’t like.
Instead, I settled for a glass of Coca Cola in exchange for helping
him clean the dishes and fixing Grandmamma’s medicine. Grandmamma,
who had been sick all week, was too sick to get out of
the bed. I took her a tray of soup with crackers. She didn’t seem
interested in eating anything but she thanked me for being her big
girl and taking care of her. She didn’t sound anything like the jovial
voice I found so intriguing. She seemed frail as she coughed up
every word she spoke. I rushed over to her with a glass of water.
She took two small sips before passing the glass back to me and collapsing
back on the pillow in a feeble state. She didn’t answer me
anymore when I asked her if she was okay. Granddaddy came in and
assured me she’d be fine once she got a couple days of rest. He said
Grandmamma had pneumonia, but he assured me that she would
be alright. He closed her door tightly so she wouldn’t be disturbed
before we walked back to the front of the house in the living room.
Scootie and Sonia were sitting on the floor playing with all the
toys Granddaddy had surprised us with earlier. Granddaddy pulled
out a new coloring book and crayons for me as he sat me on his lap,
and helped me color. He kept shifting me on his lap stating that his
leg was falling asleep. I compliantly continued to color and allow
him to shift me around on his lap.
Granddaddy sat patiently answering all of our questions and entertaining
us with funny stories for a couple of hours while holding
me on his lap. I was surprised Sonia didn’t climb up on his lap. She
wouldn’t have let me sit on Daddy’s lap for long. She made a big
fuss about being Daddy’s baby. Daddy told me I was his big girl, so
I didn’t mind letting her be his baby.
Eventually, Sonia tired of all the toys and climbed up on Granddaddy’s
lap as well. I started climbing down, but Granddaddy announced
he could hold both of his grandbabies. Sonia and I laughed,
and then Granddaddy asked her to color him a pretty picture like
the one I colored so he could hang it up on his wall. Sonia wanted
him to help her the way he helped me. I ended up standing innocently
between Granddaddy’s legs so he could use both of his
hands to help Sonia hold the coloring book. I even joined in and
helped Sonia with her picture while telling her how pretty it looked.
Once we were finished we asked Granddaddy if we could go feed
the chickens in the backyard. Granddaddy said yes. He rarely said
no to us about anything. We were running out the door to go around
to the backyard. I was the last to head out the door. Granddaddy
beckoned me back in the house before I could catch up with my
We hadn’t seen Grandmamma up all day because she was still in
bed sick and running a high fever.
“Tweety, you want a green apple?” Granddaddy discreetly whispered
in my ear. I nodded yes.
He put his hand up to his mouth to indicate I had to be quiet.
“You can’t tell Scootie or Sonia because I don’t have but one apple,”
he whispered.
It never occurred to me why he was giving me the apple. Maybe
he wanted to be nice to me since I helped him fix Grandmamma’s
medicine and serve her food earlier. I helped him wash the dishes
as well.
I figured I could eat the apple real fast before going outside to
help Scootie and Sonia feed the chickens. I loved green apples.
Granddaddy knew they were one of my favorite foods.
Granddaddy peered out the door. As I was looking towards the
kitchen, he locked the screen door. I walked in the kitchen expecting
to get my apple. Granddaddy came into the kitchen and sat in a
chair. I turned to look at him wondering why he wasn’t giving me
the apple.
“Where’s my apple Granddaddy?” I asked impatiently.
Granddaddy smiled holding out his arms toward me.
“Well, come here and give Granddaddy a hug first!” he said.
Granddaddy must have been about to thank me for helping him
today. I smiled proudly walking over to hug him. Granddaddy
squeezed me real tight pulling me close. He looked at me smiling.
“Now give yo ole granddaddy a kiss.” I smiled as I leaned forward
to kiss Granddaddy thinking he must’ve been real proud of
how much I helped him out.
Granddaddy grabbed a tighter hold on me when I leaned forward
to kiss him. He had his legs spread. He pulled me between his legs. I
didn’t panic because I didn’t have any inappropriate thoughts about
Granddaddy in my nine year old innocent mind.
Granddaddy was kissing me too long. When I started to back
away in an attempt to break the kiss, he leaned forward and kept
kissing me. He drew me even closer. I felt him pressing me up
against his body parts. I felt his tongue trying to force its way into
my mouth. My eyes were wide open. I couldn’t move my arms.
They were pinned to my sides. I started struggling against Granddaddy’s
All at once, Granddaddy was squeezing my backside and sliding
my dress up, pressing and gyrating my body against his. I felt as if
he was swallowing me up. I felt smothered.....

To read more of this heartbreaking story of betrayal, loss and ultimately Overcoming...

Buy Don't Touch Me for Kindle 

Arteria Stevens Blog 

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