The Girl in a Dress

Talia Floyd, Grade 9

September 24, 2005 

I was sewing in the living room with Mother Hannah, my father's 3rd wife, making dresses for my half-sisters because theirs were too small for them. My father was spending the next few weeks visiting his 2nd and 4th wives. Mother was at work, along with my older brothers Jacob, Samson, and Nathan. Mother Hannah came to supervise my sisters and me. Some of my younger sisters Everlyn (but we call her Eve) and Rose were having Bible classes downstairs in our basement. Three of my eldest sisters, Rebecca, Elizabeth, and Mara were in the kitchen preparing supper. I enjoy sewing with Mother Hannah. We talk a lot, mostly about the FLDS itself. Since my mother was always away for work, Mother Hannah was the mother figure I needed. My father was just simply out of the picture. I barely see him anymore. We are not as close as we use to be. I hope he comes back soon. 


October 17, 2005 

Father returned home today! We were all so happy to see him! My mother on the other hand was the least excited. At the time, I did not understand. Why was she not excited to see her husband? Was she jealous of the other wives? I was not entirely sure, but I honestly paid no attention to it. Father only had a week to spend time with us before visiting his 5th wife. We wanted him to stay, but mother wanted him gone. 


October 19, 2005 

It was 8:47pm and we were all going to bed, except three people. I could hear father, mother, and Rebecca. I slowly crept down the stairs. I hid behind the wall and peeked around the corner. I could see them all sitting in the living room. They were talking so quietly, trying not to wake anyone. I could not hear everything, but one word. The word that made my heart sink. It was the one word that is seen as good and bad and it’s the one word that range in my head as I tried to go to sleep: marriage. 


November 8, 2005 

She was only seventeen, as Rebecca walked down the aisle in her snowy, pure, white wedding gown. Her brown hair was curled, pinned to the back of her head with a pearl hair clip. She held a bouquet of pink and white flowers. I was sitting in the pew at the very front. I could see everything. It was all happening too fast, but there was nothing I could do. As her 48-year-old husband to be slipped the diamond ring on her finger, the deed was done. Everyone was crying, including me. Except it was tears of pain, not happiness. That was my goodbye to Rebecca. 


December 3, 2005 

I started off with eight siblings, now I am down to seven. Rebecca now lives with her new husband, Randy. She is already expecting. It all happened so fast. I was angry. My sister is married off to some middle-aged man who she did not like. He was tremendously over her age, verbally abusive, and would not let her leave the house under any circumstances. I despised Randy because he treated Rebecca so horribly. My mother was extremely worried for her, especially since she was expecting a baby. My father on the other hand saw no problem with it and simply told Rebecca to be more obedient to Randy. My father was ignorant and obviously cared nothing for Rebecca?  


December 31, 2005 

It was 11:50pm. My nightly prayers usually last 10 minutes anyway, which was perfect. I spent these 10 minutes praying for a better family, year, and life. So many things have been happening throughout these last few months. I just needed to find peace. For my last prayer of 2005, I asked God for just one favor: help me! 


January 18, 2006 

I have always wondered why my parents named us all from Bible verses. When my mother explained the reasoning for it, I was astonished. They named me Sarah because I was considered their little princess. I was perfect in my mother and father's eyes. I could do no wrong and did not want me to spend my life having to work like the rest of my siblings. Jacob (supplanter) is the eldest and is mostly in charge of us when Mother is at work or when Father is visiting his other wives. Samson (sun) is so very cheery and shines so bright when he is with his family. Nathan (the giver) loves to help others by giving them anything they need. Mara (bitter) has a negative personality and has always been jealous of me because of how our parents treat me. Rebecca (the joiner) loves to be with people and wants to be included in everything. Elizabeth (God's promise) is such a wise person but tends to be shy when around other people. Everlyn's name is not a name from the book of the bible. We call her by, Eve (life and animal), who loves nature and animals. Rose (bright and pure) is the youngest, which is why she is so pure and innocent. 


February 7, 2006 

My father and mother called me to the kitchen after I was done braiding Eve and Rose's hair. They asked me if I was okay. They have started to notice that I was acting very odd after Rebecca's wedding. I could not contain my feelings any longer. I told them everything. I told them how appalling it was to watch my sister get married off to some 48-year-old man. They knew he was abusive and would not say anything about it. Father tried to reason with me, but I would not allow him to do so. Instead, I got up and went straight to my room, filled with rage and anger. I stayed in my room the whole day. 


March 20, 2006 

Today was Eve's birthday! She is turning 10 years old. Everyone came to the party, even Rebecca and Randy. He was so nice and compassionate for Rebecca, especially the fact that she is due in a couple of weeks. He would constantly give her kisses and would hold her as if someone would snatch her right then and there. He was acting like the perfect husband. I could see through him though. I knew exactly what kind of person he was. Everyone was falling for his charming remarks, even Mother. I was furious! I refused to sit anywhere near him at dinner. I would give him glares, which made him uneasy. Father recognized my behavior towards Randy. He did not approve of it but would not dare raise his voice at me. We tried to take our minds off it and focused our attention on Eve's special day. 


June 25, 2006 

Today was finally my birthday! I was turning 13 years old. Everyone came to the party, except Randy and Rebecca. I was devastated and confused. Why did they come to Eve's party but not mine? Did they hate me? Was Rebecca being held against her will? So many questions were bubbling in my head. I felt dizzy and nauseous. Surprisingly, Mara was the first one to notice. "Are you okay? You look a little under the weather" she asked concerned. "Not really," I said. She motioned me to go upstairs. As I did so, Mara informed Mother of my "illness" and later brought me some water to drink. I did not stay downstairs for dinner but slept for a couple of hours. I could hear everyone going to their rooms that night and the clatter of dishes in the kitchen. I hoped they saved me some chocolate cake. 


June 26, 2006 

This morning I woke up, surprised to see a piece of chocolate cake left on the countertop, for me. 


September 2, 2006 

Mother, Father, Jacob, and Mara all left this morning. I did not know why for I was still asleep along with everyone else. The only people who knew what was going on were Samson and Nathan, but they refused to tell us. I told them that if they did not explain to me what was going on, that I would expose them for eating pineapples the other night. Since Mother and Father forbid us from eating them, they would get a serious beating for doing so. They still would not tell me exactly what was happening but gave me a clue. "Look at the date" Samson whispers to me. It took me a second to understand, but now, it all makes sense.  


October 4, 2006 

I came downstairs this morning, to see Rebecca and Randy in the living room with three children in their arms. Mother was wrapping them in blankets, and Mother Hannah was preparing the milk. I wanted to give Rebecca a hug but feared Randy would pull her away from me. I creep back up the stairs and into my room. Now that I think about it, ever since Rebecca's marriage with Randy, we have been completely distant from each other. We were so close, now, we barely know each other. 


February 28, 2007 

Samson and Nathan have been sent away to repent. Mother and Father found out they have been secretly eating pineapples. They are now considered unholy and must pay for the sins they have committed. I don’t know how mother and father found out about it. Of course, I didn't tell them! I had a sudden feeling, that I have lost my brothers, forever. 


April 13, 2007 

Elizabeth ran away. She decided to leave the FLDS. After Rebecca's marriage, she too was heartbroken about it. What made it worse was that Father was arranging plans for her to marry John, my father's elder brother. She refused to do so. I remember that night, I could hear the screams of Elizabeth as Father threw her against the wall and back down on the floor. He was yelling, screaming from the top of his lungs cursing and swearing. I have never heard him use such a vast vocabulary. I wanted to help her, but what could I have done. I cowardly hid underneath my sheets and pretended that it was all a dream. The next morning, the living room was a complete mess, the kitchen as well. As I examined the area, I could feel eyes watching me. I turned around, to see my father covered in scratches and bruises. You could tell he was in a serious fight. His hands were covered in blood. I was horrified. I went straight upstairs, and as I walked through the hallway; Elizabeth's room was completely empty. The only thing left was a smeared handprint covered in blood. I ran straight to my room, locked the door, and cried. 


June 3, 2007 

I could hear mother crying in her room last night. She is still trying to get over Elizabeth's runaway. Now that she is gone, she has become an apostate and will never be able to contact us ever again. Mother was horrified at what Father had done to her. After the incident, she has been really isolated from Father, does not eat as much, and barely talks anymore. She has also been staying away from work, which is why it has been hard to put food on the table. I wanted to give her a hug and tell her everything would be okay, but I couldn't. I knew it would just make her more upset. 


November 29, 2007 

I started off with seven siblings, now I am done with four. As time goes on, my siblings leave me, one by one. Was this a punishment? If so, what did I do to deserve it? I miss them. This is not fair! My family was being split apart from each other. I want it to stop. I do not want to lose any more of them. 


January 27, 2008 

 Once again, I was sewing dresses in the living room, but this time with Mother Natalie, father's fourth wife. While I was sewing, she was nagging at me for not making the sleeves and dress long enough. The dresses we wear are supposed to cover our wrists, ankles, and necks. She kept going on and on about it. I never liked Mother Natalie; she was Mother's younger sister. It was strange seeing our father getting married to our aunt, but we never questioned it. She always reminds me of Mara, a person just filled with hate and jealousy. She hated me because Father gave me more attention than her. Until he went to visit her on his weekly visits. Mother Natalie was never abusive physically, but she was verbally abusive. She would criticize how short my hair was, how my dresses were poorly designed, and how I was a spawn of Satan for giving Jacob a hug when I was nine years old. Girls are not supposed to give boys physical affections, even your brother. Her words were knife cuts, they stung and left a scar to remember forever. She would keep persuading my father how I was an awful child and needed to be disciplined more often. Father never listened to her when she brought that up. I was relieved whenever Father rolled his eyes at her or gave her a sign that he was not paying any attention to the matter. I was Sarah, a princess, who could do no wrong. 


April 28, 2008 

I never thought this day would ever occur. I want to pretend that this was just a nightmare, but I cannot. I have been trying to keep a brave face on for days, but I am so hurt and need some sort of closure. A few days ago, I was mending Mara's dress in my room. I am not exactly sure how she tore a hole in it, she never explained it to me. One thing was for sure that father could not know about the torn dress. Mara has already torn three other dresses in the past few weeks. For her to have torn her fourth dress would mean serious consequences. Whenever clothing must be mended, I am always the one to mend them. It never bothers me though. I enjoy sewing very much, but Father does not want me to have to constantly keep mending dresses. He also did not like the fact that Mara was being irresponsible for not taking care of her clothing. He told her that the next time a dress was torn, she would end up like her dresses. She was scared for her life, and was always cautious, until now. She told me to keep my mouth shut, and the only thing that should be moving was my hands pushing the needle through the fabric. 


April 29, 2008 

To continue from yesterday, after Mara delivered her dress to me, I sewed as fast as my hands could go. I constantly kept pricking myself from the needle because I was going so fast. I could not waste any time, for I feared father would return home earlier than expected. He was visiting Randy and Rebecca at their house, to check on their babies. There was no telling when he would be back. I was the only one home and quite frankly, made the situation even scarier. As I was finishing the last bit of the dress, I heard a car roll up into the driveway. I looked out the window and sure enough, it was my father. I got so startled that I dropped the needle on the floor. I couldn't get another needle, for I heard father coming up the stairs. I panicked and hid the dress underneath my bed. I quickly sat on my bed and pretended to read a book. Father walked into the room, my heart was beating 20 times per sec. He looked at me concerningly. I tried to stay calm, but I was panting drastically. He told me to get off my bed. I did as I was told. He inspected my mattress and bedding. He finally found the dress hidden under the bed. He threw the dress on the floor and was yelling so loud that I am pretty sure the living dead could hear him. 


April 30, 2008 

This should be the final part of the story. Soon after, Mara, father, Mother Natalie, and I were all in the living room. Father made me explain the whole situation and I did. I told him everything and as I did, I could feel Mara's anger burning through my skin. After I was done, Mara then explained her side of the situation. I was bewildered by what she said. She was saying that I was the one who ripped the dress. I was concerned at first, but I realized that Father would never believe that I ripped the dress. Out of nowhere, Mother Natalie was saying the same thing. She was siding with Mara when she had absolutely no clue what had happened. Even worse, father believed them. He grabbed me by my hair and threw me to the ground. He then grabbed my arm and dragged me upstairs to my room. He locked the door and turned to me while unbuckling his belt. I cried, begging him to listen to me. He yelled at me to shut up before he could beat me some other way. I fell to my knees hoping that it would persuade him to stop, but it didn't. He told me to take my dress off. I wanted to protest, but it would only make matters worse. A black, leathered belt swung at my face. I was hit probably 30 times. I was hit from my mouth all the way to the back of my legs. He hit me slowly, making sure I felt the pain in every hit. He left me lying on the floor. I couldn't walk because my legs and back were too sore. I crawled to my mirror and there were red marks all over me. I put my dress back on, hurled myself up on the bed, and cried. When mother returned from work, I played it off as if nothing happened. 


July 29, 2012 

I hate it here. I want to leave. I want to go somewhere other than here. Home sweet home isn't so sweet anymore. Everyone's happiness has been taken from them and living in a prison. Rules are becoming stricter by the minute. No music, books, movies, toys, and even chocolate! Uncle Warren has also been taken to prison for life. We were told he was being accused of marrying little girls, as young as 12 years old. No one seemed to believe it, except for me. I never like Uncle Warren one bit. He seemed creepy and anything but a holy man. Of course, I have not told anybody how I felt, for my parents would shun me. I tried to keep to myself, but I can no longer hold myself together. My father has also been thinking of marrying me off to somebody. All my siblings have been married, even Rose and Eve. The thing about it is that Eve got married at 16 and Rose got married at 15 years old. I was furious because they were still children and married to guys 20 years older than them. My father didn't care though, and mother didn't have a say in it. At least they got some children out of the house. I don’t mind getting married off. Even though I'm 19, I will be able to get away from Father's abuse. Ever since the incident with the dress, he has been treating me so differently and badly. I wish I could just get married already. 


August 18, 2014 

Well… I got what I wished for. I got married around December two years ago. I wished I never said anything about being married. I got married to the most horrible human being in this entire world, Randy. I would have married anyone, and I mean anyone but Randy. I also must "share him" with Rebecca. She is already 26 with three children and I am only 21 but still have not had children yet. My father was very disappointed when he found out I still was not pregnant yet with children. The thing about it is that I don’t want to have children, not right now at least. In the first few months of my marriage with Randy, I soon discovered Randy's verbal abuse. I once wore a green dress and he snapped at me, telling me how horrible I looked. Rebecca informed me that Randy hated green. After that, I never wore green around him again. He would also go bickering around the house saying how he wished he had married someone with long hair instead of short hair. No one has ever told me my hair was bad, except Mother Natalie. My self-esteem has been lower than ever, all because of Randy. I think it's time for me to go now. 


That was the last page of the diary, from five years ago. I looked at it again and flipped through all the pages. This diary was my life, my entire life. It hurts reading through the pages, to relive my life all over again. I was a child who grew up in an abusive society. I know I cannot go back, and I won't go back. I'm happier now than I ever was before. I have my own clothing store, a wonderful husband named Jackson, and two beautiful children. People have warned me my entire life that if I leave, God would no longer be with me, and I would end up in hell. I would live with a life of misery and depression. The lies and fear held me back for so long. I was a caged bird, without wings to fly. But now, blessedly, I am free. 


1 ~Editor's Note~2The Dragon's Toe3George's 4Exotic Flavor5Paper Cutter 6Masked , Big Fish , A Plant , and Pass, Hit, Set 7The Stories of Colors 8The Lightning Monster9The Rainy Life of the Weather Named Stormy 10Tables, Reflection , Arachnid , and Distant Forest 11Discovery 12Etched Blossoms , Owl, City Scape , and Puppy 13Superior Species 14Those Butterfly Wings , Converse , Tunnel Vison, and A Cloud 15A Sea of Red 16Nebula Metro17Life of a Diary 18Flowers , Swan , Waves , and Grass 19The Dragon's Tooth 20The Girl in a Dress 21Burning Out , Blue Dot , A Southern Feminist's Manifesto , and Silhouette 22The Fire Kindling: Chapter 1 23The Perfect Student , Social Pressures , and The Perfect Student 2 24Patina Nightmare25Eventide26Creative Shutdown, Eye's Through A Looking Glass , Head on Collision , and Writer's Block 27The Road to the Championship 28Reconnecting With Nature , Eos , you were a summer thunderstorm , and Reconnecting With Self 29Senior Spotlight: Ava Muller, Photography, The Landing , Tranquil , One-eyed Flyer , Grief , Dreamer , Fractured , Breakin', Lost Lives , and Lilypads 30Senior Spotlight: Maggie Huffman, Digital Illustration , Nice to Meet You!, Exploration of "Circe", Surfs Up! , The Return of Morales , Companionship , Mandalorian , Ambush , Just Hangin', and The High Priestess 31Senior Spotlight: Jolie Stumpff, Poetry , Don't, Muse, Being a Boy , In Search of a Cosmos, Overstimulation , Wheels , and Final Moments32Playing Time Struggles, Head in the Game , Sky High , and Moment of Glory 33Pollination , Azure Afternoon , Creator of Color, and Elegant Emu 34One , Fido , Heart Handles , and Early Birds35Dedication: Katherine Berdy