Friday, March 25, 2011

Selected Entries: December, 2003

A note: Those readers who are sensitive or easily upset should avoid reading this post. In December of 2003 I was fifteen years old and halfway through my Sophomore Year of high school. The abuse I'd suffered for years at my parents' hands continued to play out, and, in a traumatizing incident early in the month, escalated.

Towards the end of December it would turn out that not even Christmas was safe from my father's misguided notions of "discipline."

True to the sunny and childlike nature I maintained in the face of this emotional and physical violence, I sought to downplay the injustices visited upon me and emphasize those things that made me happy. It would be several years before I learned to reject the falsehood of forced optimism.

When I shared with my roommate, who is a psychology major, some of the events told here, he said he could not believe I hadn't developed a serious mental illness.

December 3, 2003

The news that Lacross Boy greeted me with this morning shocked and saddened me. His sister’s friend, Megan, died yesterday afternoon in a car crash in Beautiful Town. Her twin brother was driving the car that they were in when a man tried to pass about five cars. He hit the car in front of them, which flew into their vehicle, in turn sending the siblings into oncoming traffic. A mini-van rammed straight into the passenger’s side, killing seventeen-year-old Megan instantly. She’s in Heaven now. Ours was a school in mourning, tears streaking in every hallway, hugs shared in every room. I don’t want to think about that, though.

December 4, 2003

Snow! It’s snowing!

December 7, 2003

Note: This journal entry is deliberately vague, namely because I could not bring myself at the time to recount in writing the awful events that had transpired the day before. What you are about to read is the immediate aftermath of an explosive and deeply unsettling incident wherein my father, touched off by an inconsequential non-offense that I can no longer remember, verbally berated and physically attacked me.

At one point he tackled me, pinned me to my bed, and spat in my face while screaming homosexual slurs.

My parents effectively made it unacceptable for me to be gay and then, as I strove to deny my natural instincts, used my latent sexuality as a constant weapon. Because being homosexual terrified me, the prospect of homosexuality was invoked whenever my mother and father hoped to inflict real damage. They were successful.

Today is the anniversary of Pearl Harbor, but for me December 6th will forever be the day of infamy. Yesterday has been scarred, burned into my mind. Yesterday my very soul was shaken to its foundations and I begged God for death. Every view that I had of myself was shattered and I was left to pick up the pieces, left to engineer the reconstruction of my disoriented spirit.

The one responsible for this (Dad, of course) has my forgiveness, but now matter how hard I try, I cannot forget. Last night I lay down in my bed, the same bed where earlier that morning the monster pinned me down as I screamed my hatred, and I tried to numb the pain through prayer and blissful unconsciousness.

And then I woke. And it all came back.

The fighting, the screaming, the physical attacks. But most of all, what he said. That struck deeper and will have more severe repercussions than any of the physical blows. When it ended, I was a complete, hysterical wreck. My brother, Powell, consoled me and helped me, though he couldn’t stay long. Meanwhile, I took all of the money from my hat (roughly $90.00), put it into a wallet, and put the wallet into my pocket. I grabbed a bank statement, my school I.D., and a duffel bag. I shoved some random clothes into the bag and prepared to leave.

I knew where I was going [my father had threatened to send me to live in squalor with Anne, who at the time was effectively homeless], and it wasn’t pretty. And then, I never went. Rather, for five hours (excepting once to eat), I remained imprisoned in my own bedroom, far too frightened to come out.

December 9, 2003

The following poem was written about my sister, who was then six months old.

When I stare into her eyes light emerald
The world unfurls without a care
The forests, hills, thick life, abundance, all are nestled in her hair
When she smiles, the globe explodes, a symphony of sensation

Her joy encloses all the Earth, euphoria not needing reason
And when she sings, when that voice rings, there ends all pain and suffering
Angelically high, her song underlines, her innocence and purity
And as I see her face alight, I see all nature without plight

And as I probe her endless soul, I find a heart that’s made of gold
And Lord I love her, beyond words
The hope of all the Universe

December 12, 2003

Today was Powell’s fourteenth birthday. A pleasant day. I’m going to read my Bible and pray.

December 14, 2003

The news that my mother woke me with this morning is still surreal, and Powell and I both agree that even now, after four o’clock in the afternoon, we still can’t believe it. Saddam Hussein was captured alive today. We’ve all assumed him dead for so long that the astonishment at learning this was quadrupled. Seeing the video of his body inspection was indescribably weird. There he was, this dangerous tyrant, now exposed as nothing more than a short, pudgy, elderly man. He just stood there submissively as they looked at his arms, under his beard, even as they took a saliva sample. This was the same man who vowed that every last Iraqi would fight to the death rather than be taken. Well, I guess not.

December 25, 2003
Christmas, 2003

This has been one of the worst Christmases that I can remember. I have neither the energy nor the lighting to go into it now, though. I’ll write more tomorrow.

December 27, 2003

The reason that Christmas was so terrible had nothing to do with presents. I got a video game that I actually liked! A video game! Can you imagine? It’s rather hard, though, and I don’t play it too much.

No, the trouble this Christmas involved my parents, in particular my father. My mother, you see, has a fake laugh that she often uses. It sounds a bit like “her, her!” or “hur, hur!” So when she did it, I said, in an exaggerated voice, “Oh, that was funny, hur, hur!”

Although we children found it perfectly funny, my mother wasn’t quite as amused. So she sent me to my room. Well, that was fine. But then my father found out. It was just the excuse he needed.

“You can go to your room and go to bed,” he said at 7:30p.m. Despite my mother’s pleas that I get out (after all, she reasoned, it was Christmas), my father was immoveable. And it wasn’t even to him that it happened. He just needed a reason. The very next morning (after I endured four hours of the torture that comes from inactive isolation) he awoke sick as a dog with the flu. It’s particularly potent this year. I think that perhaps his sickness is reprisal for his actions on Christmas.

He began to get better today, but the mindless punishments have continued. Mom unplugged my computer on Christmas and has yet to restore my access to it. We went to bed at nine o’clock last night. Tonight we will go to bed again at nine o’clock, for the reason that we have to leave at ten o’clock tomorrow. This is, of course, not a real reason, and it now doesn’t appear that she’ll follow through on it.

They’ve now stopped. Still, the leverage that they hold is frightening. They have the ultimate weapon. We are very excited about going with Anne. I know that she bought me a video camera. She told me that the people next door to her are Egyptians, but that they’re also Russian Orthodox.

December 31, 2003

Today is the last day of the year. Tomorrow will be 2004. It’s really hard to believe.


laura b. said...

I'm so sorry that you and your siblings had to endure all of that. Do you think writing about it helped at the time? It must be hard to read it now, but I hope you find comfort in the fact that you are an adult now and they can't hurt you any longer.

Harley said...

I have a mother who sounds just like your father so after reading this, all I can do is sigh and say that not everyone should be a parent, and sometimes the rwong people reproduce.

HOWEVER, if they hadn't, we wouldn't be here today, so how do you work out that dilemma?