What is it about rainy days?
I look up to the sky.
Small droplets of water.
Hitting my face and refreshing my skin.
The concrete ground.
Every color enhanced before my eyes
revealing the true color of nature.
Emotion that I hold dear.
What is it about rainy days?
Today is my 23rd birthday. Twenty three years have passed and I still have to whisper to myself, “You are worth it.”
When I was a child I used to bounce in excitement when March arrived. My mother’s birthday is March 2nd, my father’s is the 17th and mine is the 31st.I used to think that I was special. We had this one thing thay connected us forever. Funny, isn’t it?
With each year, that special feeling became a burden. My father’s abuse and my mother’s ignorance washed away everything. Every year after that, my birthday became a question.
Why was I born?
My birthday was a burden, a blasphomey, a mistake. I belittled my self worth and purpose. How could I think highly of myself if I had convinced myself that I was nothing?
Time became my safe haven.
Time is still my safe haven.
I am now 23 years old and I am sorrounded by infinite love, yet, I still woke up and uttered the silent words, “You are worth it.”
Thus, I bathed, dressed myself, and drove to a nearby Starbucks. I ordered a Tall Green Tea Latte and guided myself to the nearest seat in the patio.
I am sitting down, listening to Promise by Ben Howard and drinking my Green Tea while trying to read my book, but the urge to share my thoughts has won.
The weather is one of a kind. The sun is shinning bright and the heat is…warm. The wind is constantly blowing towards my direction as if it is telling me, “Let me help you breath.”
You are worth it.
It is not much, but it is my repeated beginning. This is part of my healing process.
After my first night I couldn’t look at that house the same anymore. I felt trapped. I didn’t know how to escape and my father’s continuous actions didn’t make things easier.
It almost became a daily routine when he called me into his room after school. I always walked in and followed his instructions; I would sit down on the bed. He would remove my pants. He would examine me from head to toe; his stare always sent shivers down my spine. He would touch me everywhere; kiss me everywhere. He would, then put it in. I became used to dissociating myself. I would, endleslly, stare at the ceiling. The sound instantly stopped; silence. The colors were gone; darkness, the hope that I once clinged to was also gone; hopeless. When he finished, he would clean me up with some toilet paper and repeat the same words, “This is a secret between you and me. Okay?” He smiled while holding my hands. I hated secrets, but who could I tell?
Everyday, after he was done, I would go to my room. I would walk in quickly, close the door and make sure it was locked. My bed was next to the window and my little sister’s bed was closer to the door. I stood there, starring at everything; my bed, my dresser, my clothes scattered all over the tan colored carpet, my collection of teddy bears…everything. I felt safe there. That room protected me. That was the one place the monster could not reach me.
Why was everything good taken from me?
My mother always said, “I have to work. ” She would wake up at 6 am and clean houses then she would drive to Wal Mart to clock in for the second half of her day. Everyday was the same routine. Everyday we rarely saw her. That night was no different.
My father’s drinking was no stranger to our family. He would drink everyday, anytime and anywhere. That night was no different. I was sleeping, face down, on my bed when I heard my door creak open. I turned my head towards my window and realized it was dark. I turned my head again and closed my eyes. I thought he was just checking if we were okay (ironic, isn’t?) and would quickly leave, but he proved me wrong when he walked to the foot of my bed and removed all his clothes. I stayed quiet.
Maybe he will leave if I pretend that I’m sleeping…
He pulled the bed sheet from my feet and threw it over his head as he crawled towards me. In seconds, his naked body was laying on top of mine. I could smell the alcohol on him . His drops of sweat landed on my cheek. He quickly pulled my pajama pants down. I tried to jerk him off quietly. I didn’t want to wake my little sister who was sound asleep on her bed next to mine. He grabbed my hands, locking them into his. He forcefully, inserted his penis. I held my breath and stayed quiet.
I had to find my focus, so i stared at my headboard; the textures and lines connected in a rhythmic dance, hypnotizing me. My left eye let a tear loose, but I quickly pulled myself together.
Crying won’t stop him. I will not cry. I cannot cry.
His breath quickened. He thrusted. He touched me. I realized he was finished when he released my arms and let out a silent groan. He leaned over and mumbled in my ear, “Our…secret.” I clenched my hands; the anger that was released in a second was quickly withheld as soon as I glanced over my little sister.
It has to be me.
My father quickly got up and started to put on his clothes. I couldn’t move. I didn’t want to move. He left the room but came back with toilet paper to wipe away the evidence. I layed there, motionless, as he cleaned away. He carressed my hair and left the room, closing the door behind him. I stayed in the same position and kept starring at my head board.
I don’t remember falling asleep.
The next thing I realize, morning was quickly summoned. I stood up and looked at my bed sheets, my walls, my clothes, and, lastly, my door. The feeling of being safe was overturned with fear. My one safe place was ripped out of my grasp. My room was no longer my room. The tranquility that once consumed me felt like it was suffocating me.
My mother opened my door and sat on my bed.
Maybe she knows. I should tell her. She needs to know. She’ll believe me, right?
“Good morning sweetie. Let’s get ready. We’re going to the park with everyone.” She twisted my curls and kissed my forehead. I wanted to tell her, but why couldn’t the words come out?
She walked to my sister’s bed and woke her up as well. I starred at her, “M-Mom…why were you home late last night?”
“I got out of work late. Don’t worry. If im not here, daddy is. He’ll take good care of you.” She smiled.
My courage disappeared. I couldn’t tell her. My sister smiled, “Let’s get ready.” She quickly jumped off and opened the door. Our room was across our parent’s room. I could see my father changing. He walked out of his room and stood infront of my door. He smiled and winked at me.
My body felt heavy and goosebumps appeared, one by one, my hair follicles stood up. I felt like screaming. Screaming for someone or something to take me away from this place I could no longer call home. Take me away from this room. This room…
“What are you doing? Hurry up.” My big brother called out to me. I recovered my senses and jumped off the bed.
“Go away. I dont have to listen to you.” I pushed him and smiled. I grabbed a towel and headed towards the bathroom. I closed the door behind me. I turned on the shower. I could hear my brothers and sister screaming and laughing. I opened the shower curtain and stepped inside, the steaming hot water turner my skin red as I stood there. I grabbed my loofah and rubbed it with soap until bubbles formed. I scrubbed my body. I scrubbed everywhere. Once. Twice. Three times; I scrubbed as many times as I could, but why did I still feel dirty? My breathing was becoming heavy. I fell to my knees and I kept scrubbing. It wasnt until my mother knocked on the door, “Hurry up. We’re about to leave” that I realized that I was no longer scrubbing, instead, I was scratching my legs and arms. I looked at my legs and saw the long, red marks on my body. I quickly turned off the shower and dried off my body. I sneaked in to my room and closed the door behind me. My body trembled, not because of the cold chill you get after coming out from a hot shower, but the fear I felt stepping inside that room. I wanted to run away as far I could. Why didn’t I?
I quickly put on blue pants, a colored tee shirt, white shoes and ran outside. Everyone was waiting for me in the truck. I erased every thought I had from last night and every emotion. I stepped in, my father smiled at me and I smiled back.
We drove away. The sun was still shining. The wind was still traveling. The sky was still clear. The flowers were still blooming. Everything and everyone was moving forward except me.
When I was child I use to have this hidden hope for change.
When we moved from New York to Texas at the age of 6, I thought that father would change his drinking habits, my mother would change her work schedule.
When we moved into our apartment, age six, I thought my grandfather would change his way of expressing his love to me, or my father changing his abusive behavior.
When we moved from our apartment to our house, at the age of 8, I thought about the same changes. I even thought my big brother would change his mind and come back to us, but he never did. For some odd reason i thought this house was going to change everything. We moved into a good neighborhood, our elementary and middle school were five minutes away, and we were even improving financially. Everything was going great, so that meant something, right?
I thought if I became used to this new reality then nothing would get worse. Its laughable, how wrong my theory was.
Driving to our new house was beyond exciting. It was not far from our apartment, about 15 minutes. When we arrived, my father parked the truck in the drive way and there it was. We all jumped out of the truck and screamed in excitement.
It was a small, simple, brick ranch style house. A shade of brown and tan like-color covered the front. Five white pillars, the color faded and rusted, stood infront of the entire entrance. I walked towards the door and saw a big window on the left side, “That’s going to be my room.” I whispered to myself.
My father opened the front door. Once we walked in our excitement decreased. We didn’t expect the house to be so mistreated. The carpet and vinyl floor were dirty and worn out, dust was everywhere and on everything. The house looked like it wasn’t properly maintained throughout the years
I wondered off and headed towards a small corridor where the rooms were located. My room was located a few feet away from where the narrow hallways begun. I peeked in, the sun protruding without permission enlightening ever corner of the room; the walls were dirty and needed repainting, the closet was small but usable, the floor was covered in dirt and dust. Even though the room was a complete mess, when I stepped in I felt safe. I stood in the middle of my room for the longest time, “This is it.” I told myself. The next thing I know, my mother is calling me, “Mija, come here!” I looked for my mother and found her in the backyard. My eyes widened when I saw the jungle infront of me; the dark green grass reached my forehead. I could just walk through it and become invisible in an instant. It was huge. We could run, jump, hide, play, or simply lay on the ground and enjoy the open sky.
This was my home; I felt safe. Safe from my past. Safe from the hands of my grandfather. Safe from everyone and anything.
How can a child’s hope crumble so quickly…so easily.
Once we finished the touring of our home we were going to go back to our apartment and prepare everything to move in the next day. My father decided to stay and stay the night. I don’t know why, he just did. So, I gladly volunteered to stay the night with him. I wanted to be the first out of all my siblings to spend the night in our new home.
I looked to my mother, and I could sense she felt insecure, “Can i stay with daddy, please?” I pleaded while my siblings pouted and pleaded my mother as well.
“O-Okay. ” Her words forced and remorseful. My brothers and sister crossed their arms and puffed. I smiled and ran to my father. We seperated a couple of blankets we had in the truck. We waved goodbye as my mother drove away with my siblings. My father and I walked inside. We decided to sleep in the living room. My father placed the thickest blanket on the floor so we could lay down.
I looked outside and the sunny sky was quickly replaced with the moonlight. The wind hummed the sweetest lullaby. The night felt comforting.
My father sat next to me and I smiled at him. We continued talking about our new home. My mind was filled with ideas on how my little sister and I would decorate our room, and I shared it with my father. He looked at me. He didn’t say a word. He just placed his hands on my thigh and kept quiet. My breath paused and my memories of my grandfather flushed in. I kept talking to distract myself from the memories, but my father continued sliding his hands upward. I froze. I stopped talking. The action felt new coming from him, but my feeling felt nostalgic…this wasn’t the first time.
He smiled and looked at me, his hands caressing my inner thigh, “Its okay. This will be a secret between you and meawa
Secret? I don’t like secrets.
The light from the moon suddenly disappeared and everything went dark. The wind stopped humming, not a single sound…silence. I no longer felt the comforting feeling like before, instead fear devoured everything. My vision blurred and my mind traveled elsewhere.
My sunny days were snatched from me. My nights were no longer peaceful and fearless. The home I thought would bring change into my life and make me feel normal betrayed me.
My memories after my father’s words are hazy. As much as I try, I can’t remember the rest of that night. I don’t know if my mind decided to bury those memories to protect me or to just simply avoid it. Then again…what’s the difference?
The sunlight woke me up the next morning.
My father was sleeping next to me. I stood up and stared at the wall in front of me. Through the glass porch doors, I saw birds playing. “Beautiful.” I thought to myself.
I looked at the walls, the ceiling, the floor, the kitchen and realized that I stood in a house where I could no longer call home.
His soft, long hands wiping my tears
His voice is enought to push away my fears
Goodnight kiss fills me with bliss
His loving stare makes my butterflies go wild
Beer and movie; simple date night.
I had to remake this blog, because I accidently deleted the last one plus it was never finished.
Avoidance was my savior during the time my grandfather stayed with us. I was so brave back then. Where did that bravery go?
My grandfather would take every opportunity to get us together…alone.
“Come and help me with this.”
“Let me show you something.”
I listened. How could I refuse his multiple requests when my mother was unintentionally encouraging him, “Listen to your grandpa. Go.” His perverted routine was flawless. He would use these phrases every morning, afternoon, and night like some kind of daily meal (just writing this sentence makes me want to gag).
In the morning he would set me aside and touch me anywhere he pleased; my thigh, my breast, my butt-anywhere. In the afternoon, he would try to stain and infect my lips; sometimes those attempts were accomplished due to my fear. In the night he would try other things beside kissing. I made it impossible for him though, until one day his routine changed.
One sunny morning he decided to sneak in my bedroom. My brothers, sister, and myself slept in the same, small room. We had a queen size and full size bed standing next to each other; we didn’t have much, but we managed.
I felt a small tug from my leg. I didn’t pay too much attention and pulled my leg back under my covers. I heard a faint, husk whisper, “Wake up.” I slowly opened my eyes and glanced over my right shoulder, and I saw him standing there. His pants, pulled down, below his penis. “Why?” My inner voice questioned. I quickly glanced towards my siblings. They were fast asleep. The air around me became poisonous and my body froze.
I hated when my body was unable to move; I felt vulnerable, weak, and breakable. I could only focus on his grin. I wish I could erase it from my memory, even until this day.
He grinned and began to pull my leg towards him, “Let me stick it in.” I could only feel the sheets running away from my body; my legs getting closer and spreading.
“Scream like last time. Scream. Scream. Don’t let him.” My inner voice begged, but my voice was silent.
His grin was all I could focus on. How could someone smile like that while doing something so disgusting to a child?
I glanced down at his penis and I could feel myself choking. I took a deep breath and called one of my siblings by their name (the lack of name is due to my lack of memory) while shoving his or her back. My grandfather quickly pulled up his pants, let go of my legs, and ran out the room. My sibling woke up and asked in an angry tone, “What do you want?”
I released my breath, “Your taking the sheets away idiot.” My voice slightly trembled. My sibling growled and went back to sleep.
I looked towards the window, located on the other side of the room beside the queen size bed, examining the bright blue sky.
I couldn’t feel the warmth. I couldn’t feel the joy. I couldn’t feel the energy. Every time, the bright, sunny days would take something from me, and it never apologized. Every time I looked at the sun I felt a tight pain in my chest; I hated the sun; I hated bright, sunny days.
I quickly glanced away. Pulled the sheets over my head like many times before. And like many times before, I found comfort in my abyss.
** This part of the story took a while for me to finish, because every time I wrote a paragraph I had to step back and take a breather. This memory consists of images that are difficult to put into words.
The third piece did not wake me up or arrived as a flash back. It was something that I expected and prepared for, once, every year for two years since i was seven. I can’t remember where, why, or how it started. I don’t know if he was the first or the second, but I’m certain that he was NOT the last.
Every year, during the hot, Texas summer, my grandfather would come and visit my mother and us. He would come for exactly a week and then leave. He was a calm man. He was very respectful during our family gatherings. He would socialize. He would smile, tell jokes, tell us stories about his childhood, play with us- everything a grandfather should do, he did. I only liked him when everyone was together. I feared him when it was just me and him…alone.
At first, i thought a kiss on the lips was normal for a grandfather and grandaughter.
“It’s okay. Don’t tell anyone. Just keep kissing me like I told you. It’s okay.” He said, numerous times. So I did. When touching lip to lip turned to him inserting his cigarette infested tongue inside my mouth, I began to question whether this was normal. I couldn’t tell anyone, “Don’t tell anyone.” The words echoed in my mind. Why couldn’t I tell someone? Fear? Guilt? Confusion? How about, all of the above?
Over the years, his actions increase.
One hot summer day, my family decided to have a cookout. We were all outside, my mother on the grill, my siblings playing, and my father drinking a few beers; Corona, the usual. The smoke from the charcoal grill was becoming too much for my lungs, so i sneaked inside the apartment. I was becoming a bit dizzy, so I headed to the bathroom and rinsed my face with cold water. I turned off the light, turned around, and there he was. My body became engulfed with goosebumps as he stared at me from head to toe like a predator observing the prey. I tried to brush it off, so i smiled and tried to make my way around him to leave, but he placed his left arm at the edge of the door, blocking my path. My breathing became silent and deep, “Stop. Go away. Go away.” I kept telling myself to prevent myself from panicking.
“Come on. Give me a kiss.” A knot formed in my throat when i heard him say that. He walked closer to my body and put his hand under my shirt. I held my breath and clutched my hands, forming a fist, “Hit him. Hit him. SCREAM!” My inner self begged me. I let my hands loose and not a single word came out of my mouth. His hands crawled upward, touching my breasts, he grinned. He squeezed.
This is not normal.
I continued to hold my breath. I didn’t want to breath in that old man’s, sweaty, stench. “Kiss me like we practiced.” His face got closer and closer.
“RUN!” I pushed him aside and ran. I listened to my inner voice. I listened.
I ran outside, stood next to the grill and deeply inhaled the charcoal smoke to the point where I was coughing; I wanted something, anything else, except that smell.
Once I inhaled as much as I could, I looked up at the sun; the clouds, my brothers and sister happily playing, unaware. My eyes blurred, “I rather it happen to me than them.” A distant voice whispered inside me.
My mother walked to me and put her arms around my shoulders, “Are you okay?”
I shut my eyes to stop my tears, quickly looked up at her and smiled, “I’m okay Mom!”
This second piece to my unsolved puzzle came to me unexpectedly, thanks to my older brother’s goodbye letter.
He left. He disappeared. He was the first one to gather his courage and leave. Leave without saying goodbye. Leave without saying one word. Leave without shedding a tear, without a goodbye hug, or even a last fake smile. He left, leaving a one page letter:
“Mami (mother), I’ve decided to get married to L. I love her and I will be okay. Don’t worry. Please tell everyone to take care and that I love them. I love you. I’m sorry.”
A simple, one page letter.
I was nine when I found his letter. It’s strange on why it appeared to me. I don’t know if he purposely left it at the corner of my bed or if he simply forgot to leave it with my mother.
I was sitting at the edge of my bed, both hands holding that white, copy paper. I read, reread, and continued to reread the words over and over again. I was confused as to why he would leave us:
“Why did he have to leave us?”
“Did he not love us anymore?”
I glanced to my right and stared at my window. The thick, creamy colored, curtains prohibited the morning sun from delivering its daily joy. My mind went dark and the air around me felt like it was trying to suffocate me instead of keeping me alive. Thus, began my first flashback.
My flashback made me feel like my mind was dislocated from my body and transferred back in time to my seven year old body. The time i was in was not my present. The images, why couldn’t I recall them.
I was in my old apartment that was located on Cranford Ln in Garland, TX. It was not so long since we moved from our old, rundown apartment in Long Island, New York. My head turned and i realized it was dark-midnight. I could see that my brothers were in the living room, but a haze covered their faces, “Why can’t i see their faces?”My body walked towards the small corridor and I turned left. My parents’ door was slightly open so I walked in. I was only able to capture a small picture before my mother approached from behind and covered my eyes, pulling me away; my father, on top of- who is that? The same haze that covered my brother’s expression covered that figure. “Who is that?” My present self kept asking, repeatedly. My mother ran and pulled him back. Afterwards, the scenes were projecting like a picture disc camera.
Disc 1: My father fighting with my mother.
Disc 2: My father screaming and yelling.
Disc 3: My father grabbing a rope and heading outside while my mother tried to stop him. As he passed by me the strong stench of alcohol made me gag.
Disc 4: Red. Blue. Red. Blue. Police cars. Ambulance.
Disc 5: For some odd reason, this picture disc was the longest. I walked outside and my father stood on top of a tree branch, a noose around his neck, he put one leg forward- “What is he doing?” My mother was able to grab his legs before the noose broke his neck, the police officers jolted towards the scene. A wicked, naked, tree; long dangly branches that reached towards every direction. If there was such a thing as the tree of death then that was it; a pleasant welcome to my father’s suicide attempt.
Disc 6: Police officers grabbed him and pushed him down. His face on the brown dirt.
Disc 7: My mother crying.
Disc 8: My brothers’s scared eyes.
Disc 9: My little sister…my little sister.
My conscious was immediately pulled back and forced into my present, nine year old self. I could barely breath again. My hands trembled. My head felt like a thousand needles penetrating simultaneously causing an intense pain. My tears fell down in an uncontrollable speed; the letter. I had to save the letter from the damn tears. I kept snatching the tears away. My hands were moving on their own, trying to stop the damn tears. “Stop. Stop. Stop It!” A quietly screamed to myself. Why was I crying, because of the letter or because of a memory I thought I had long forgotten?
My mother walked in, her sight averted towards my hand. The letter. I tried to hide it, but she knew. How? Mother’s instinct? Maybe. She took the letter from me and read it. She looked at me and all I could see was pain in her eyes. I think i was too focused on my flashback, because i don’t remember the words she spoke to me during that moment. Her lips were moving, but all I could hear was a ringing; a soft, high pitched ringing that kept me out. She left with the letter seconds, maybe, minutes later.
I stood up. My body felt numb. I couldn’t feel the sensation of the soft carpet caressing my feet, instead it felt like I was stepping on glass. My mind was unclear. I felt unsafe. I felt like a piece of me was taken, ripped out of me. Not only did I gain an unwanted memory, I lost the one person that made me feel safe.
I walked towards my window and opened my curtains. The sunlight bursted in, the heat gently burned my face… I felt nothing.
I looked up at the cloudless sky, “How annoying.” I quickly closed the curtains, crawled in to my bed sheets, throwing the thick cover over my head, and embraced the dark.
The meaning behind the word successful comes in many forms. Everyone has their own definition of what it means to be successful. Whether it’s finally achieving the career you’ve always thrived for, purchasing a new house, or even something as simple as bringing joy to others.
I had to learn to feel successful everyday. I had to learn that everything that i do, whether it’s something new or repeated, it is my own. I am the one making it happen.
I am bringing forth my strength, my courage, my knowledge, my emotions, myself, to make everything I do a success. I may not make it happen the first, second, or the third time, but i am trying and I love that I AM.
“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” – Maya Angelou
This word causes shivers down my spine.
Exposure meant vulnerability and lack of self respect. For me, this word encouraged my perpertrators to continue their daily, sexual, abuse towards me.
Exposure only converted me into a lifeless sex toy whose only function was to reboot herself to please the needs of others.
Exposure took my innocence and turned it upside down.
Exposure. Why does this one word cause this trigger?
I refuse. I cannot. I will not. My mind dragged these words around and around.