Daddy's Little Girl

October 19, 2012
By , Ashland, VA
I am four. This is the furthest back I can remember. I am excited, because my little sister, who is a baby at this point, has done something, I can’t remember what. I run from the bedroom to the kitchen. “Mom! Mom! Lexie just did something!” My mother waved me away; She is making dinner. “Go tell your father,” I think she said. So, off I went, my white-as-lily-petals feet flying over the cheap carpet. My dad was sitting in our “toy” room, a beer in hand. I remember dimly trying to get his attention, then being thrown. I land on the hobby horse we kept in the corner, the handle ramming into my spine. With a dull roar in my ears, I heard my mother yelling at my father and my older sister picking me up, carrying me into her room and laying me on her bed. All I remember after that is pain…

Fast forward about six years. I am ten. My father doesn’t like me, I have gathered, but I still stupidly love him. I think the fight was about me lighting a candle that I wasn’t supposed to. He chases me down our flight of stairs, me nearly falling, into our living room, where I cower in the corner, trying to hide under our day-bed. It is dark out, storming, I think. He slaps me, all the while yelling at me, and I land on my side. He then kicks me in the stomach with his hiking boot. I am stunned, far too stunned to cry; that came later, along with the pain. Again, my mother rushes to my aid. My mother won’t let him leave, for fear I am seriously hurt. I am not, with just a bruise on my ribs and cheek.

At the moment, I remember back two years earlier, when “Daddy” had read us stories. He had read Black Beauty to me and my sister, who he adored. I bite back hateful, bitter words, knowing if I let them out, he’ll hit me again.

Right now, I think of the words, the slurs, the fights, the wounds, and the hate my father has brought on in my fifteen-year life span. I do not regret them, for they made me who I am today, but I do regret how they shaped me, into a very serious, bitter person. I resent my father and the misery he ensued. After all these years, looking back, I don’t remember a lot of my life. “Selective amnesia”, I think it’s called. When something traumatic happens, and to keep your mind from snapping, your brain blocks your access to the memory. Well, I have a rather severe case, because I don’t remember anything before the age of five, except when he threw me, and that’s extremely fuzzy.

I realize a memoir should be about a single event and how it shaped you, but mine will be a person who shaped me, with abuse, ugly words, and mental scars that have lasted for fifteen years, and might last the rest of my life. I know this is a well-worn tale: daddy gets drunk, daddy gets mean. However mine, it didn’t matter if alcohol is involved. He got angry if you didn’t tie your shoes the right way or didn’t teleport to where he was when he called you. Nothing you did every made him happy, and still doesn’t. I know I sound like I am ranting, and I am, in a way, but the point is this: the man may have shaped my life, but in ways I didn’t want or welcome.

Well, looking back, it wasn’t him that shaped me, it was the abuse. The bruises and the scars and the mental damage mage me who I am today. He was merely the catalyst that started it. I think back to when I used to think that it was normal. But when I got to school, and everyone else told me about their loving fathers who never hit them or called them names, I lied. I lied a lot about my home life. I never brought friends over. I lied about my life as a coping mechanism, If I lied enough, it disappeared from my mind until I got home. It got to the point that I was almost a pathological liar. I got help and I’m coming to terms with everything, and opening up to people in an honest way.

The way that he has made my life isn’t exactly healthy, but I am used to it by now, in the way a person gets used to the feeling of venom coursing through your veins and burning you from inside. I can’t think of why he did this, but he did.

I think of the emotion I feel toward my father. There are only two I can recall: Anger and indifference. I swap often, like a bi-polar person, between two ends of the extreme. When it’s anger, it’s a firey inferno of rage and hatred. When it’s indifference, he could drop off the face of the planet and I would not care. And, currently, as it is most times, it’s indifferent. With all the things going on in my life, I have really stopped caring about the stupid things he says or does to try to make me mad. After a while, everything blends together, even him.

Well, now that I think back, I am kind of glad that the things happened they way they did, because if they hadn’t, I wouldn’t be as resilient as I am. I have grown a thick skin in the years past. The only reason I cry anymore is because of anger. I know a fifteen year old girl should harbor as much resentment as I do. I realize it’s not healthy to feel the way I do, but there isn’t really anything I can do. Counseling and therapy don’t work and it’s not like therapy is going to make him stop. So why bother?





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