Each day in my life is like no other, yet each is the same. My dad always finds something for me to do for him and then he finds some way I have done it wrong. He assumes I live to do his bidding and to obey him without question.
One day, I came home from track tired and stressed with hours of homework ahead, as well as my daily chores. I still had hopes of getting to bed at a decent hour, but I was very wrong.
In the middle of writing my essay, I fell asleep. I was suddenly roused by the sound of loud swearing. Instantly I was completely awake, with only one thought, Is my sister okay? I know my dad, and was off the couch in a flash, following the sound of the ruckus. Terrified, I ran to my sister’s room, getting even more worried. Then she found me as she scurried up the staircase.
My sister and I entered my father’s bedroom. We were both confused as to why he was so upset. He assumed I had taken apart his computer because the printer wasn’t working and everything was messed up.
Why would someone freak out about this? Because he had planned on writing a draft and typing his final copy the hour before his class. It is not my fault he waited until the last minute, but I told him I would try to help fix it. That’s when he lost it. He clutched my homework in his right hand, and in no time, it was in a million pieces. He told me he didn’t want me to succeed in life and basically tore me to shreds psychologically. He thought that if he wasn’t going to be able to turn in his assignments, why should I?
Then he went back to saying how he wanted me out of his life and that I should have no self-esteem. I’d taken about all the abuse I could for one night, so I went to my room, just wanting to be alone. As I ran, my father threw the newly smashed and stomped-on keyboard, computer desk, and printer at my back so he could continue making himself feel better by hurting me. I hid under my blankets, but the abuse continued all night. Unremitting fists pummeled me through my blanket; just begging for it to end became annoying to him.
He didn’t go to class after all because of his incomplete assignment. All I could think was, How can he live with himself? Then, I heard his footsteps returning. He thought it would be funny to rip up the rest of my homework and throw the pieces all over me while I slept. He had no idea I was still awake. I spent the night in my room, hungry and depressed, wondering if I could keep going through this roller coaster of emotions every day, of being mistreated and abused with the possibility of long-term damage. But then it came to me - why should I let him put my life in disarray because he messed up his own? Maybe putting the blame on me made him feel better, but I realized I could still succeed and overcome his mistreatment. I will never let anyone bring me down or try to take away my hope and confidence.
You should know that it was not easy for me to write this. In fact, you would probably think that I would rather keep it to myself. Although I do not want the world to know about my home life, I’d like others to realize that because of it, there are many tragic mistakes I could have made. There is only one thing that has kept me here - all my friends.
When Helen Keller wrote “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence,” I believe she meant that you need to always think positive and you will do great things. Without hope and confidence in yourself, as well as others, you will only be able to succeed to the level you long to and not the greatness you’re meant to attain. I’m the person I am today because of my friends, and if I didn’t have them I would be missing the qualities that, as Helen Keller explains, are ever so important.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.