I AM NOT SORRY FOR TAKING MY FUCKING LIFE BACK.
I’m not sorry for taking my FUCKING life back, for feeling my fucking feelings and
I’m certainly not sorry for saying FUCK.
I’ve written this submission a few times in my head. Wrote and erased. Wrote and erased. Should I say this or should I not? Fuck it! I find it fitting now, out of all days, the 8th anniversary of my father’s death, with my quiet sounds of sobbing on the side of my bathtub, making sure no one hears how weak I actually am, to write this. I cry for many reasons and for no reason at all. Feeling everything and feeling nothing.
My story may not be as “traumatic” as others may presume to be. I had a roof over my head, both parents at home with part-time siblings. Which most would consider lucky, but what they fail to see is that the home was broken.
Between an alcoholic father and a mother who was lost in the whole “I don’t know what to do” cycle, the house was often chaotic. Abuse that I suffered from my father has left me a bit more traumatized that one wants to accept. The physical, mental, and verbal abuse was, I believe, one too many. My siblings stayed a few months at a time as they were my half siblings. Sisters stayed with their own mothers and my brother decided to live with my grandparents in Puerto Rico since it was easier than living here. Connections and bonds made were quickly broken due to a fight and my siblings were forced to return to their other homes while I was left to fend for myself. I became the protector and the defender.
As I developed into womanhood, I became “impossible” to handle. I was told that my style of baggie clothes was too butch, but if I dressed like a lady in dresses, I would be considered a whore. In the eyes of my father I couldn’t win or do anything right. That’s how he treated his women though. They were his possessions and to be admired and we were not to have any say or any opinions.
The first time I was ever struck by my dad I was 10 yrs old. He wasn’t reprimanding me or punishing me, he struck me because I was defending my mother. They had gotten into a fight and my mother pulled out a knife to defend herself. He grabbed the knife out of her hand and, in my eyes, he was going to stab her. KNIFE IN HAND = STABBING. I stepped in and it went downhill from there.
It was not an everyday occurrence, but it was enough to scar. Now to be fair, my mom is not to blame. Now having a child of my own, I can understand, why a woman would stay in that situation. It took me a long time to understand and sometimes I still deal with it, but I understand.
At times I tried to share my stories with siblings and friends, but since they did not endure it or see it, they couldn’t understand it. My father was a well-respected man. He was THE MAN. Owned his own wrestling gym and had many friends who adored him. Be there to lend a hand, but once that liquor went in his mouth, that was it. He was different. There were times that we would have to hide his gun that he had in the house just in case he’d come from a bad night at the bar. But no one understood. No one understood the panic that one would have trying to find it from his many hiding spots. One of us would keep him busy, while the other tried to slip into his room, fearing being caught with the gun it in hand to hide it. No one understood, having to lie about where the gun was while trying to convince a very strong “wrestler” that he must have found a new spot. No one understood trying to put the gun back where we found it, so he didn’t sober up and look for it.
These are one of the many stories that I have as a child in my home. I tried explaining that to my siblings, but I was the baby, so I was being “dramatic”. They were free and out of the home and could hang with their friends without worrying about coming home not knowing WHAT you were coming home to. I was a baby. I was the spoiled brat. I got everything I wanted and more. I had both parents at home and to them that was the most important thing in the world. Me, I wanted to have a peaceful sleep. It’s funny, the most peaceful sleep I had, was when I knew that my father was dead.
Fast forward to my life now. I learned to hold back my feelings. Not speak my mind. Not speak my truth, because it was either something no one could comprehend, or because I just took what I had for granted and just being spoiled when deep down I was broken and just wanted someone to hear. I’ve chosen to be with men that would fill that void that I so desperately long to fill. I learned that I gravitated to men who will genuinely listen. I gravitated to those who are broken, so I can repair and take care of those who might be suffering as much as I do inside. Because of it, I’ve often times felt I was losing my mind. Maybe I’m just a miserable sack of shit. Maybe I should just “get over it”.
Here is my truth.
Fuck it, fuck this, and fuck you.
I’m here with purpose. I’m here to live and to feel. At 39 years of age, I have begun to realize my feelings are valid. I have trauma. It happened. I hate my father and I love my father. I hate the fact that I love my father. That will forever be my fight within. My feelings are so fucking valid and I will not allow anyone to deny me my feelings. I am not made out of stone. I am flesh and blood and I am alive. These emotions allow me to be compassionate for the next person. These feelings allow me to enjoy the love that more and more people show me on a daily basis. These feelings I share with my daughter. I teach her to speak her truth; to allow her to feel every bit of emotions that she deems necessary. I give her that freedom that was often forbidden to me.
Am I emotional, am I sometimes depressed, am I sometimes joyful, am I sometimes bat shit crazy? Yes, I am, but I’m alive but I refuse to allow you to take that right away from me.
About the photo:
After so many back and forths on where the best place to have my photo taken would be, I decided on having it where it all started: at home surrounded by some of the things I've created and with different mediums. I started making little pencil cases out of fabric or making paper cut outs on my living room floor, and no matter how what other space I can be given,I always find my peace sitting on the floor of my living room.