Posted 10/31/2011 8:55 PM (GMT -7)
Sit back, relax, and let me tell you the story all about how my life got flipped-turned upside down....
I'm twenty one years old. Born into a mentally/physically abusive family. I was beat nearly ever day for about five years by my step-father, from age eleven to about fifteen. Throughout this post, I'll just refer to him as 'He'. My real father and mom divorced in the 90's when my dad was going through severe Crohn's Disease. At one point, he thought he was going to die and began drinking heavily and thereby causing domestic abuse in our home. As far as I can recall, my real dad never laid a finger on me and my sister. But He would spank us on our bare asses everyday with a belt for no reason. And when I mean spankings, I don't mean 'oh my parents grounded me as a seven year old and gave me a spanking'. No. I was beaten with a belt nearly everyday across my ass and back for years until I was in my teens. He called it 'punishment' for whatever I did wrong. And that it 'hurt him more than it did me'. Whether it was making the bed the wrong way (the way he didn't like it) or because I folded my clothes in the dresser the way he didn't like it or because I forgot to do the dishes. or because of one mundane thing or another. It was also my younger sister who experienced it. She would be hit before school and I would get it after. At one point he proclaimed that we were 'each others conscience' and when one of us did something 'wrong', we would both be spanked. On one occasion, he thought I was talking back to him and choked me against the wall, while my mother watched. It was one of the only times I could remember when she stepped in, and even then all she did was stand in the doorway and tell him to stop. My mom always took his side. One day, I was grounded and I wasn't allowed to see or walk home with my friends. A boy who liked me walked me to the Cul De Sac I lived on and we said goodbye and I went inside. When my mom came home she yelled at me for having 'friends in the house' or so He told her. I told her the truth that he was lying and she called ME the liar and slapped me across my face. It was the first time my mom laid a hand on me and It was then I truly understood that no matter what I said or did, I was never going to be equals with them. I have an exceptional talent for cartooning, though. Those years spent in my room when I would cry and feel terrible, I always had a sketch book and somehow, I felt better. Like, for one moment I could break away and just keep drawing to relieve myself of pain I felt.
The mental abuse seemed to be everlasting. Being a twelve year old girl and being called fat and also told that you have no respect or integrity for anyone and are nothing but selfish and lazy. Twelve years old. I hardly knew the definition of those words. And they were constantly ringing through my ears. 'You know why you can't do this or that? because you're lazy. You can't even lose weight. What kind of a person do you think you are? You have no integrity and you'll do anything to benefit yourself only. You are a horrible person.' Just some of the things I heard as a child. All those times I would cry and look to my mother with sad, desperate eyes, begging her help. Only to watch her turn away or give me the 'don't look at me' face. I never had the pleasure of receiving sympathy from them. Anytime I was upset, it was 'why are you crying?' or 'Are you seriously upset over this or that?' As if all the emotions I felt were nothing but minuscule annoyances. For a long time, the walls of my room were bare. After receiving bad grades in school, He went into my room, tore down all the drawings and pictures I had and took away all my entertainment, leaving me with nothing but some books, two sketch pads that I hid under my bed, and a dresser. He said someday I would get them back when I grew up. I was forced to grow-up and act like an adult at age twelve. Especially when I consoled my sister.
I never wanted to go home. Walking home from school felt like walking to my death. I contemplated suicide at thirteen but never felt ballsy enough to do anything. The only solace I got was when I would stay after school or spend the night at my grandpa's house. When we would have 'family dinners' and make it look like we were happy. Or nights when He went to work until midnight. My grandfather was the only person in my life to give me so much and comfort me in ways that my real father, mom, or step dad could and would never do. He saw me and always told me that my destiny was to be great and profitable and happy. That I was meant for the best in life. Sometimes he would ask me what happens at home and I would lie and tell him everything is ok. I was so scared that He would find out if I told anyone, that he would be angry and beat us again that I kept it inside for years. The beatings stopped once my sister came forward with her counselor when she was in fifth grade and I was just about to go into high school. and that day I came home, they both yelled at us for 'putting His job in jeopardy.' But, He went to work that night and my mom locked herself away in the bedroom and my sister and I confided in each other that night that we were finally free. Give or take the still mental abuse that proceeded, but the beatings ceased altogether. Sometimes I blame myself for letting it happen to us so easily when I could have done something and I never did. Even my own counselors. I never felt strong enough to do anything. Now I look at my sister, who is the strongest, most opinionated person I know. And when I see her, my heart sinks inside because I blame myself for letting anyone touch her. She has cut ties with our step-father. She hasn't spoken to him since she moved out. I never speak to him either. The only people I talk to in my family are my grandpa, my sister, and my mom. I feel like I should be angry with her for letting it all happen. Even though we were emotionally distant and I never got to know her until I moved out at seventeen, I love her with all my heart. She's my mom... And she too was in abusive relationships before and is, to a point, emotionally upset by her past. She portrays a strong woman but is so easily influenced by men, that He can manipulate her in any way and then be indifferent to the happenings of my sister and I. When He was gone at work though, my mom became the soft-spoken, loving mom I knew she was and often we would have popcorn and ice cream while we watched movies. After some time though, I grew to know the hours of his long night shifts and after eight at night I made it a habit of slinking into my room for the rest of the night to try to avoid him. As long as my door was shut, and the footsteps in the kitchen ceased, did I feel safe again.
These days, I am far away from home. Starting a new life, or trying to. I'm dropped out of college. Trying to get my cartooning started and I work a crappy, minimum wage job where I am nothing but unappreciated and even when I ask the most simple questions, when I sincerely don't know what's going, my bosses roll their eyes. I work my ass off with hardly any money to show for it. I feel like I have a hard time trying to fit in with society. Like i'm on a different level than other people. When I talk to people about things, sometimes I'll tell them some kind of freaky, abnormal fact about animals or that I believe in Bigfoot and ghosts, and they look at me like I'm insane. I try to break the ice and get to know my co-workers and my bosses as just people, but most give me straight answers and look like they want nothing to do with me and then they go talk to their own friends. The only person who is my most loyal, and dearest friend, who tries to understand and actually gets the things I'm talking about, is my boyfriend, who shares an even darker, unhappier past than my own.
After all is said and done, I've grown up with this horrible voice in my head telling me that I'm a nobody. That I'm just a sad face in the crowd who will never become anything more than I am now. That I'll always be stuck working for peanuts and that my art will never be anything to the public except doodles on napkins. That I'm not and never will be good enough. For anyone or anything. I feel hopeless and lost and scared and almost like my life just isn't worth living anymore because nothing good is ever going to come out of it. Karma isn't good to me and I have a firm belief that I was born with bad luck. For every good I do, I never seem to get a break. People are often mean and rude to me, and I'm just like 'who the **** are you? what in this world makes you so goddarn better? that mommy and daddy paid for your college and you have a house?' I do good because I WANT to do good. After a roaring childhood of being told I have no integrity and am full of selfishness, I've developed a heart to be kind and generous to my loved ones and to treat others with sincerity as well, no matter if I hate them of not. Because, I never had it. Because I hardly had anyone be kind to me in my childhood, relatives or not, I've insisted that I never become anything like my family. It will be a cold day in hell before I let anyone do that again to anyone. It amazes me sometimes that I'm not a drug addict and that I'm not as messed up as I could be.
I've just started coming to terms with the things that happened in my life and are happening now and I feel utterly depressed. I want to be something amazing, but feel like I'll never get to be anything else. I need help and I want to know if I'm not alone and how anyone else learned to cope. I want to see the beauty of life again. I want to see all the wonderful things life has to offer to me and the rest of us who feel like I do. I want to be happy more than anything in the world. I want to smile again. I want to laugh sincerely. I want to make something of myself and not be that scared, broken little girl crying in the corner, covered in bruises. And to do that I need to understand how I can overcome. If anyone is reading this, hear my plea, and please give me advice.