Posted on October 25, 2017
I want to do something a little different this time. If you can, turn off your lights RIGHT NOW or go somewhere dark like a closet or sit in your car on your break (if it’s nightfall). I’m writing this to you in complete darkness & since you’re journeying with me, I want you to feel me. I want US to feel this together. So, c’mon. Be a good sport and participate.
“You HATE ME. You don’t want me anymore. I don’t want to be here anymore. I don’t think I can take another minute living here. I make you too angry. But I have an idea that I think would be best for the family” I remember reading aloud from a letter addressed to my father. See that wasn’t the plan though. I placed it on his pillow while he was showering. He–not me–was supposed to read it and prayerfully? give me a yes answer. Instead, I heard a frustrated voice call my name. “Yes daddy” I answered as I made my way back into his room. “Did you leave this here?” he questioned. Uhhh duh, I thought to myself. I’m the only child here that you hate. Who else would it be? Still, I responded yes to his obvious question. “Read it to me” he ordered as he sat on the edge of his bed shaking.
“…best for the family. Auntie SoSo, (a different aunt than the one who’s husband molested me and housed me when I was AWOL) always wanted kids of her own but couldn’t have any. She wants me. She loves me. Can I please move to Orlando to live with her? I know this will make you happy because I will be out of your life. I will no longer ashame nor anger you. I have already spoken to her and she will take me in if I gain your approval. May I please go?” I read frighteningly, with a closing, “Forever Your Daughter” — Ketsia, that followed.
“You want to leave? You want to go? Pay me back for EVERYTHING I’ve ever done for you, then you can f**king go!” he exclaimed as his eyeballs got so big I thought they were going to pop out of his sockets! My father was so furiously angry that he quickly gaited out of the room and I quickly gaited into mine. Let’s make one thing clear: profanity was NOT used in our home. I only heard my father curse TWICE–and both times was directed at me. My head is spinning. I’m crying unceasingly. How am I going to come up with enough money to pay him back because I really wanted to go? I WAS ONLY 13. It was at this point that I knew that I was REALLY, TRULY unwanted–he just wanted all the wasted time, money, & energy that he put towards raising me thus far.
There was no “my daughter, why would you think that? I love you. I think the world of you. Things may not always be easy between us, but daddy will always want you” spiel–NONE OF THAT. I just sat in a corner crying. Of course feeling rejected and unwanted by the first man to ever love me hurt. But at least he wasn’t prying out chunks of my flesh with objects at his disposal. Instead, he stormed into my room and summoned me to this painful object called “the fè”. In English it translates to “iron” or metal, which is exactly what it was. It was installed in the floor (imagine an air vent grille) and it conveniently came with the freaking house.
As a form of punishment, my dad would make us kneel on “the fè” for extended periods of time. It was excruciating because your weight was pressed down against those thin, sharp, rusty blades that perforated your skin. No matter how deep the blades penetrated, you couldn’t get up until you were given permission. It hurt so badly that I didn’t want my siblings to experience it. I was one of the oldest, so it was my duty to protect them. Just blame it on me, I would advise them. Just say I broke it so you won’t get in trouble. I often took the punishment for them. Me and the fè were so well acquainted, that I was becoming desensitize to the pain. Okay wait, I still felt the pain–I think what started helping was my mental & emotional disconnect.
I started to not see him as my father who was supposed to love and protect me from this kind of pain–I seen him for exactly what he was–a deeply angry man that took all his miserable failures & woes out on me. He was a monster. A savage. A beast. Bèt sovaj. And PLEASE spare thine ear naysayers. Ooh, it’s a cultural thing! His grandad did it to his father and his father did it to him and now my father is doing it to his son–oops, I mean daughter right? My father was a pastor teaching the word of God and edifying people in the way they should follow. Please, for Christ’s sake, remember that God is love. And His love breaks ALL generational and cultural curses, biases, and normativeness. So don’t give me a sorry excuse for child abuse. I WON’T STAND FOR IT.
Let my father tell it. I was a 6 year old bandit. Yes, I may have stolen a few wallets from old men, but damn it was only like 3 or 4 times. At night church services, I hugged them, then I robbed them. I took all the cash they had, then disposed of their wallet in the bushes. I’ve been kind enough to return the wallet before too. I told them I found it on the floor near the church entrance.
One day I had embarrassed my dad so much that a beating wasn’t enough. He wanted to torture a little 6 year old. He put the stove on high and waited till the burner was redish-orange hot then he lifted me up and placed my little fingers a few centimeters away. I could feel the heat vapor burning my skin. I was so close to it. I was terrorized! I was wailing. I was screaming. “If you steal again, I’m going to burn you” he yelled as we both were sweating profusely. He just held my hand there as long as he could until the vapor was burning his hand too. Deep down inside, this is just speculation, but I feel like my father would have burned me if he would have gotten away with it.
I’ve always had an inquisitive mind. I’m thorough. I asked questions because comprehension was everything to me. I didn’t choose this way of thinking, I was born with it. I like to understand how and why things work or don’t work. For example, if I asked my father for something or to do something, I was okay with the NO’s he always gave me. I was more concerned with why. That was a problem for him. He felt like I was undermining his authority and that wasn’t the case. I wasn’t still begging to have my way. I was asking why. If there is a peril that awaited me in doing this–warn me. Tell me. Teach me.
Asking “WHY” didn’t merit being punched in the chest repeatedly like he was squaring up with another man. I was a young girl. He knocked the wind out of me–several times. Why was I on the other side of his raging fist. One time he was so upset with my asking “WHY” that it provoked him to grab me by my ponytail and start spinning me around the room. Literally turning me around in circles by just the latch of my tresses. Then he threw me on the floor like I was trash to be taken out.
It’s like my father took joy in “disciplining” me. He found pleasure in inflicting pain. He enjoyed seeing me cry. Seeing me scream. Seeing me bleed. Seeing the welts he tattooed all over my body–especially the ones that “somehow” got around my neck–even my damn ear one time. Ohh, he got creative too! He bit me hard many times with his canine teeth. He scratched me or the belt’s prong scratched me or a combination of all as this happened every now and then–either way–the biting and scratching broke skin.
My dad would beat me so bad that I bled. These wales, at times, invaded my body. The surface of my skin was ruptured & elevated. I had some contusion where my skin & bruises were purple from repeated blows to my developing body. Depending on how hard & where he struck me, my organs hurt. My entire body was sore the next day and the day after that. I STILL HAVE BELT & BUCKLE SCARS ON MY BODY & I’m 29+1 years young!
My arms, my legs, my back, my chest, my butt, my thighs every freaking where covered! How was I supposed to sleep at night? PLEASE TELL ME. SOMEONE ANSWER ME!!! I remember a special little corner by my bed where I rested my head up against the wall. Several nights, I slept there. It was too painstaking to lay down. My body was in distress. Everywhere was throbbing. I’m surprised my head didn’t explode because of the way all my veins were popping out. I just rest my head there because I’m a freaking kid in elementary and middle school & I HAVE SCHOOL THE NEXT DAY–I had to get some sleep however I could get it.
I remember my mom sneaking next to me to give me water. She gave me peroxide and alcohol pads to close the wounds and help them heal faster. She apologized for him. She told me to stop making him mad. To just be quiet and not speak. She mumbled prayers over me under her breath. She covered me with a blankie. She couldn’t stay long cause God forbid he saw her there with me–he’d probably turn on her too. IDK. I’m going to leave that right there because I’m only here to share MY TRUTHS. I don’t know anyone else’s business. CARRY ON.
There’s times my mommy took up for me. Like times when he was beating the…stars out of me. His eyes were red and enlarged & his face purple and sweaty. You know those times when he blacked out and his fury took over? Yeah, a couple of times, she and one of my sisters would grovel at his feet pleading and begging for mercy. Once, they even threw themselves before “his mighty hand” as to shield me. “Tanpri, ba li yon chans. Fe pitye pou li souple. Fe’l gras. Fe pa’l!” my mother supplicated. (Have mercy on her. Please show some pity, etc.) My sister, bless her heart, would cry “Dad please! That’s enough! STOP! Do it for me daddy. Please stop.
My sister pleading on my behalf made sense though because she was a goody-goody. She could do no evil. She was perfect so of course her petitioning held some weight. There was a time or two that their request was granted so I was spared. I was desperate. I was also thankful although I resented my sister. Okay, TBH, I hated her growing up. She was a yes-person. Her compliance and weak-nature led me to begrudge her for a longtime. (But UPDATE: We’re good now. I ? her more than ever. I’ve learned to accept her the way she is and she receives me the same.) Let’s stop here for now. This is so heavy!
Writing about this was challenging to say the least. I cried many, many tears. At times, I just wanted to scream thinking of this torture and how it’s really messed me up! Parts of me still want to…let me bite my tongue RIGHT NOW Father Goddd! I have to call on Him, because only He knows the afflictions I suffered. And although I’ve endured these things, they don’t define me. In this post, I talked about the severity of the ABUSE. (There’s a little more to share next post.) But Sunday, if you’ll have me, I want to discuss the lasting affects it’s had on my life. How the ABUSE FINALLY STOPPED! How this misery affects my present relationship with my father.
But one of the most important things I wish to share is that NO ONE IS PERFECT! No matter what my dad has done to me, I will always love him. I don’t need ANYONE throwing stones at him. He fathered 11 children. Maybe he did the best he knew how to do. It’s been over 15 years since the abuse stopped. And besides, my other siblings hardly questioned “his authority” so they seldom got whoopings. Shoot, they hardly ever said anything at all (lolol I can’t help but to laugh right here). My focus is solely on the abuse–not the abuser. Next post we’ll talk about how we can help bring about change, which is most important.
As usual, thank you for sharing in my journey friend! I ❤ you for reading. To all my survivors out there: KEEP ON SURVIVING! PLEASE don’t forget to like, share & leave a comment below. Please keep #MeToo trending by including it in your comments or responses!
Remember, while we still have life; let us not merely exist–but instead, L.I.V.E.