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Drama Inspirational Creative Nonfiction

This story contains sensitive content

WARNING: the following story contains possible triggers of both, violence, domestic violence, child abuse, mental health struggles and sexual abuse.

I know that I'm about to feel the leather of his black utility belt. The peeling screech of Velcro echoes across the room.  "Place your hands on the bottom of the mattress and don't move". His voice is deep and terrifying. Each time we do this, it's the same routine, the same questions, same sounds of the Velcro and belt crack, and ultimately me alone in my bed crying.

"How many licks do you think you should get?" I learned quickly saying 'none' never worked out in my favor leading to my "licks" to be increased.

"This hurts me more than it hurts you." He would tell me right before he began. "If you move, I'll whack you again." and I simply nodded, bent to grab my mattress, or place my hands between the two, and he would crack the belt, grabbing it folded in half between his two hands, gathering it and then extending in the 'swap' as if  he needed to soften the leather.

It didn't take much to get him in the mood to hit me, my father was a short tempered man that, let's face it, was never my biggest fan.

Oh, did you think I was about to go into some kinky BDSM sex story of an irresponsible Dom with his Brat...

Nope, this was a day that ended in y in our household. As an adult, I have  no issues identifying the sexual undertone of how my punishments went, and when it came to spankings,  my father could have been an Olympic Gold Medalist.

His fuse was short and more triggers to mention. The crazy thing is, most of everyone in my family knew how much of an asshole he really was. So much so that during his funeral earlier this year, not even his surviving siblings had testimony to share.

He was a tyrant that no one policed, why would they, he was the police to them. A member of the local sheriff's department, he had worked over twenty years as a jailor, or as I describe his job; A glorified babysitter with anger issues and an inferiority complex with a paycheck.

No matter what happened in my life, no matter how good I did, there was always someone who's kid did it better, or someone that had it worse. Any way that he could invalidate my feelings or experience, he did it. Why couldn't he just be like the dads I saw on television. I wanted to be taught lessons without belts, I wanted to go to him with my problems and fears, but out of fear of it being my fault, I didn't. 

I wonder, do Pro-Lifers think about that? Do they think about the unloved and unwanted? As a child of two toxic and harmful parents, I assure you, no one came to my rescue. Not when my father asked me at eleven years old to move out of his house back to my grandmothers (which honestly was a blessing and I was happy to do). Not when I got the talk about how "rape isn't real" after my own rape, and certainly when the man couldn't be bothered to come see me in the hospital as I laid there near death after being a victim of domestic violence. In fact, when I asked my stepmother why on the phone one day, she just said that, "he was afraid that this would happen to me, and it was just too hard on him to see me like that." I mean, clearly the man was a pillar of selflessness.

We once discussed the attack, and he was audibly appalled that I never hit him back. My father had me throwing punches before I could read, and he couldn't fathom how I allowed myself to slip so far into fear that I didn't even defend myself. Something that I worked for years to forgive myself for.

Fast forward to Father's Day 2020, we are deep into quarantine and although I hadn't spoken to my father in months, I do the dutiful thing and post on Facebook a simple yet thoughtful 'Happy Father's Day', to which there was never a like, response, or otherwise. Instead he made a counter post that sealed the last nail in the coffin of our relationship.  He went onto post, 'looking back, I remember the teachings of my father, and his words on faith and God, and in this fast moving world, I pray that my daughter holds to those words I taught her for her own children.'

The words stung, he had, well according to himself, had given his life over to Christ, and in his health issues and because of that, I should forgive and forget all of the past and just be the daughter he needed me to be. To which I ask, why couldn't he then be the Father I needed him to be?

I didn't recognize it then, but my hatred from him leaked into my personal life with men. I always attracted and gravitated towards the "bad boys", the broken men that needed nurturing and someone to rule over, the control freaks that like to break you down, the abusive twats that got a thrill out of slapping and rough housing games; different horses running the same narcissistic race. I felt inferior and useless, and in the bedroom, I allowed some way too much freedom for violence, almost craving the pain from belts and bites. Pain I understood and in my mind, allowing a man to spank me, took the power from the beatings my father handed down to me and allowed me to use them for pleasure.

Now, I'm forty-one years old, I've been celibate for more than eight months, and I have been putting time and effort into looking back into my childhood trauma, poor decision making skills, and complete lack of self esteem, and have began to build my life. No amount of growth will ever remove the events of my life. I had to decide what kind of life I wanted for myself. Do I want to allow all these things hinder me from moving forward in my life, taking risks in new ventures, and remaining stagnant; or, do I acknowledge what happened, understand that the people that hurt me were once hurt themselves and never healed and break the cycle.

In this life, you either find a way, or you make an excuse, and I got tired of making excuses. I understand that forgive and forget is an ideology that is pumped out to help gaslight victims. I acknowledge that I am hurt, angry, and everything in between, but I can move on from it, I allow it to help me set healthy and respectful boundaries and when anyone and I mean ANYONE crosses those boundaries and disrespects me, that I have the right to sever that tie, and that's exactly what I do.

I hit hurdles where my unhealed trauma takes over and places me in a mindset of fear of repercussions from speaking my mind. Each and every time, I remind myself that I am in a place that makes me happy and I am worthy of that happiness and it's okay to be mad, hurt, and upset and by communicating those things gives me opportunities to grow closer to how I choose to see myself. I am worthy of everything that I want in life.

It's scary to face those demons, but by facing them I have become braver, stronger, and smarter. I want to be a better mother, partner, friend and love myself just a little bit harder. I may look back on my past, but now when I do, my past becomes the fuel for the future I am building for myself.

August 26, 2022 19:57

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4 comments

Julie Grenness
03:44 Sep 08, 2022

I agree with how your character has grown, to overcome this setback. Some women do attract the same sort of abuser, it is not the hers, it is the hims! Keep on keeping on. You have nothing to prove. Well written. Keep on scribbling. Regards from Julie.

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Arilynn Gilbert
14:53 Sep 06, 2022

Nicely written.

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Rabab Zaidi
14:19 Sep 03, 2022

Profoundly disturbing.

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Rabab Zaidi
14:19 Sep 03, 2022

Profoundly disturbing.

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