Change, Reel to Real
In our old family movies there is a tape of me. I am riding around and around our circle driveway, never moving out of the well worn trademarks carved by my sisters. Today, like the little girl I was in the film riding a bike for the first time, I still have things to learn. Life can be an angry repetitive ride if you allow it to be.
We know now that an abusive childhood can lead to an abusive marriage and so the picture spins, reel to reel. There is no ending, unless a conscious effort is made to replace old patterns.
I remember growing up wishing that I had been lost by my real family and that someday they would come and find me. Living in my family was at best like getting a hesitant hug or a lukewarm handshake from a noncommittal relative. At worst it was walking along with your head down and your shoulders shrugged forward so no one would notice your femininity. My father spent his days making sure our life was hell. My mother spent her days dizzy with pills trying to forget. Despite the violence and fear, day to day we all survived somehow. We knew no other way for the circle hadn't started there. The beginning was rooted in the history of my family. The cycle of abuse and disharmony started with my Grandmother's stepbrother. From the age of four and onward he would lay her over the wooden chest by the front window and rape her from behind.
In those days marriage was the only escape for a young woman and she escaped from one abuser to another. Her bitterness grew when she saw her own daughter choose a man who was just as bad as her brother had been.
Father, they say, was hurt too, but we never knew. Our Grandparents died when we were young and our relatives from his side stayed away. I remember being sent with my father to work, doing deliveries in his truck to outlying farms. I was one of five children and we all took our turn. It was my mother's way of ensuring he didn't drink. I think he partially blamed us for it and got his revenge as sadistically as he could. I know I always tried to please him and I know I was always sure I was never good enough.