Dedicated to my brother Scott Barrow, my dear friend and collaborator in creativity, practical jokes, and sarcasm. I miss you so very much.
Trigger warning: this story recounts childhood trauma. Many of the scenes may be difficult for those who have experienced child abuse. Explicit language and graphic content.
Chapter 1 of the serial memoir, What Remains Inside. You can see photogrpahs, a video reading, and more about the story:
(read by the author, Donna Barrow-Green)
Set in the gritty new England city of New Bedford, Massachusetts in the early 1980s, What Remains Inside has the charm of Juno and the gut-wrenching realism of Girl Interrupted. At 15 years old, after a one-night stand with a popular senior, in the back of his dad's station wagon, I lost my virginity and became pregnant. I had walked into my first high-school, outdoor keg party, met a popular football player and was propelled into adulthood without warning. Up until the day of the abortion, I was still childlike and prone to daydreams of puppy love and being rescued by prince charming. My home life was a dangerous environment ruled over by my sadistic, alcoholic mother and nearly absent father who was going through a 1980s-style midlife crisis of his own: wearing silk shirts having affairs, and becoming increasingly addicted to cocaine. With the help of my sister and my pack of equally neglected girlfriends, I found an abortion clinic in Providence Rhode Island. I used my sister's identity because at 15, I was too young for an abortion without my parents' permission. My memoir offers the point of view of a resilient girl who maintains hope and finds joy despite dark and painful events.
While my childhood may be described as tragic, I triumphed and my story is a coming of age story that allows a realistic look into the experiences of a young girl and the choices she makes to grow up and become independent. Looking back on my story, I see how much I took my reproductive rights for granted. I see the freedom these rights granted and enabled me to persevere and ultimately overcome the odds.
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