Many of my childhood memories are painful reminders of what I have had to endure. As others would lovingly reminisce on their blissful childhoods, I would often be stuck between a rock and a hard place about whether to lie and recount sunshine and ice cream or tell the truth.
Finally, after so many years of silence, I speak my truth. Regardless of how people react to what I have to say, I will continue to unpeel each layer of shame, pain and grief.
This week I want to go back to dark places I have faced. Places that even to this day haunt me.
I remember one afternoon being accused of something. What I don’t remember is whether I was guilty of it or not, but what has stayed with me is what happened in the bathroom.
For those who are familiar with how we slaughter chickens, how we press both their wings and feet down using our feet and then slit the throat, that’s exactly how I felt that afternoon. It still haunts me to this day. I replay it in my mind and try to imagine what would have happened if I hadn’t had the guts to bite her leg!
Growing up we knew that our parents would smack us if we were mischievous, but even that has to have a limit. I recall a day when I was hit on the knee with one of her heels and was ordered to go tell my father what I had done to deserve such a beating. So with blood spraying from my knee, and I mean that literally, I wobbled to my father and told him I had stolen some money hence the beating.
Another day as I was playing in the school yard, I fell and bruised my face a little. At home, I was banged against a huge vegetable rack, which made my bruising worse, and I bled. I was firmly cautioned to tell my father that I had fallen at school. I don’t remember if I did that.
I dreaded returning home from school each day, wishing that I would find her dead. That’s how traumatized I was.
I was about 8 or 9 at the time, living in constant fear of having my ears pulled to the point of black and purple bruising. One of my primary school teachers called one of her colleagues and discussed my ears. I don’t know if they did anything about it though.
I am glad that now I can speak about all this without having a panic attack. It shows that I’m a step closer to healing. It has also dawned on me now that it was not all about how bad a child I was. It was a reflection of the condition of her relationship with my father. There was constant arguing and violence between the two would erupt. I guess I was just a readily available outlet for her. Writing it down even now feels so sad and just so wrong, but that’s just the way it was.
I will continue to speak out my lived experiences, no matter how traumatic they are, because they are a gateway to healing, forgiveness and release.
Till next week, it’s goodbye for now.