I remember twirling around in circles, bare feet on the gray concrete floor of the one car garage.
The space filling with the thick smoke from your cigar drifting about, filling both our lungs with the poisonous chemicals.
My five year old self wearing a loose fitted Barbie dress,
“Daddy, look at me! I’m a Princess!” I shout with laughter, posing dramatically.
“Not now, the adults are talking!” You said sternly.
I cower away from you and go back to my childish dancing,
Oh, how badly I wanted your validation,
Your love and attention.
But I was a mere child,
Not worthy of your time.
Perhaps, that was how I learned to be silent,
To be submissive.
How I lost my voice,
But did I ever have one to begin with?
You stole my voice before I even found it.
At one point I called you father, and meant it.
You were not my father by blood, simply by marriage.
I had longed for a father figure for as long as I could remember,
A man who would love and raise me as his own.
The good memories were brief snippets of happier times,
While the bad were vivid, distinct memories that lasted for what felt like hours.
A nightmare that I could never escape from,
They were engrained in my memory like the words to my favorite song.
I wish I could forget all the difficult memories and focus on the good times that we had together.
What little they were, anyways.
I wish I could forgive, the way my five year old self did,
Oh, the love and admiration she had for you.
Now all that was left was anger and a bitter resentment.
The anger and confusion that came with the abuse that you perpetuated.
I would never call you Father again, if I ever saw you
I would look at you in disgust and pity,
For you will never know true, selfless, love.
And for that, I feel sorry for you.
The morning light shines through the blinds
My eyes squint shut trying to stop the pain.
Head pounding, throbbing, sharp pins and needles
Memory gone, complete darkness.
What happened last night?
I don't dare ask my friends for fear of what they might bring to light.
I remember the sips of tequila on my tongue,
I can still taste it.
Dancing all night long,
Then it's all black.
I cannot remember when I left the bar,
Or how I got home.
What I did in those few hours,
I cannot remember.
I look in the bathroom mirror and see a cut on my forehead.
How did that get there?
Sure, I had a long, painful relationship with alcohol in the past.
I was a lightweight learning her limits,
And some of my worst memories involved alcohol consumption.
I used alcohol as a coping mechanism but it only made my problems worse.
No matter how hard I tried,
I still could not figure out how I injured myself.
Tears rush down my face in frustration.
Drinking was no longer fun.
I was no longer proud of who I was.
The tequila taste in my mouth making me gag in disgust,
Disgust with myself.
No longer would I let alcohol continue to destroy my life.
Sobriety is hard but my memory and wellbeing is more important than being intoxicated.
We all have a fix
Whether it’s alcohol, drugs, or a person.
I wonder why they are called “fixes”
They never fix what they are meant to.
It’s all just a distraction from the pain being felt.
He treats me like a Queen,
Still I can’t help but wonder if he will be like you too
Funny how I am afraid of what he might become yet the most comforting place I’ve ever been is his arms.
I look to him for protection yet I fear him and what he might do,
He’s never given me a reason to doubt him but most of the men from my past life haunt my thoughts, spreading lies like wildfire
I run to him, almost as if being attracted by a magnet, it’s out of my control
I cringe whenever he takes his belt off,
I know he would never hit me yet the memory of leather striking my skin like a whip,
My mother’s hands pounding on the door and her dread-filled screams,
lingers in the back of my mind like a nightmare I cannot escape from
Now that I am older it’s easier to understand she knew what he was capable of,
She had been in my position before,
She never told me as a child because I had this glorified image of him,
He was the first man that seemed like he wanted to take care of us and love us,
I viewed him as a father and even called him Dad
He had just loved his alcohol and cigars more than his love for us
I sometimes start to think about what our future children will look like,
But I stop in my tracks because that evil voice in my head asks “what if he turns out like him”?
Will it always be like this, I fear
Stay home, they say.
But my home is no longer a safe haven.
I’m surrounded by demons,
Threatening to destroy me.
They watch my every move,
Viciously plotting for when I fail.
I fall to the floor screaming like a Banshee.
“Leave me alone!”
The demons retreat with devilish grins.
They will be back,
For I cannot hide from them forever.
When I was younger the quiet scared me,
Demons running wild in my head constantly.
I’m older now and they cannot ruin me like they once did.
My past demons can no longer touch me,
For I am enough in his eyes.