So, my question here is does it really count as being "published" if it is online? Technically I can say my blog is published because it is seen by more than just me, but I don't think it counts. So, I now have an essay floating around the internet with my name on it, and the city I live in. Honestly, I feel pretty awesome about it, since I LOVE to write. BUT... I also think about how many other people are "published" online and how it really doesn't take much.
Below is the essay I wrote. Any and all feedback would be great!! Thanks!
The Past Does Not Define
As I walked into my father’s kitchen I would always glance at the wall to see if it was there. If it was in its place I would hurry past and not look back twice. Getting to the other side of the room out of its view was the goal in my mind every time I walked into the kitchen. When I was at the other side of the room, I would then scan the table, counters, floors, and cabinets to make sure everything was cleaned off, wiped down, closed, and no crumbs were on the floor. If something was not clean I would hurry to get it done, so it would not have to come. At this time I was seven years old and counting down the days before I could return to my mother’s house. At my mother’s house there was never an it. My mother ruled her house with discipline but never raised her hand or anything else to get her point across. My father on the other hand had it but when it was not available he found whatever was handy.
For years I lived in fear of it. I never knew when it would strike or what would cause it to come off the wall. The littlest things made it come into action. One time the dishes were taken out of the dish washer and put up in the cabinets like they were supposed to be. My father then came in to get a drink; he grabbed a glass out of the cabinet and walked with it to the refrigerator, open the refrigerator door, grabbed the pitcher of tea, brought it to the glass, but instead of pouring the tea he placed the pitcher back in the refrigerator. My siblings and I watched him wondering what happened. We watched him put the glass on the counter and reach for it. It is about a foot long, 2 inches thick, made of wood, and wrapped in electrical tape, and now it was in the hands of my father. The reason it was taken down is because the glass had water spots on it, and we should have known better than to put it up in the cabinet like that. All of the kids were lined up shoulder to shoulder in the kitchen and I remember my father yelling “Who did this? Who did the dishes? If no one steps forward, you will all get it.” My eldest step-sister stepped forward and took the fall. She was hit with it several times before my father placed it back on the wall and went to his room.
For years I lived in terror of going to my father’s house and having to see it. When I was nine years old my father’s house burned down and it went with it. Through the next years punishments range from being hit with a board, limb, wooden spoons, spatulas, or anything else my father found. One time all of us kids were found playing tag in Wal-Mart and when we got home we were all hit with a water hose. Bruises were covered, mouths stayed shut, and the abuse continued. At the age of twelve I told my mother I would never return to my father’s house again and years of abuse, anger, rage, and pain came out of my mouth as I told her of the years I had endured. My mother told me I would never have to return to my father, and I would never have to see him again.
Although, she thought she could prevent me from ever seeing him she could not. When I was thirteen years old and my sister was fourteen my father showed up at our house. We were alone in the house, but my mother was just up the road at work. My sister went out to speak with him, and told him she would not be going with him to his house. She tried to run into the house and made it to the door way. My sister was clinging to the door frame as my father tried to pull her to his truck. I ran to the phone called my mother, and she came flying into the driveway once someone got to her work to take over for her. But she was not quick enough. My sister never learned how to hold her tongue and just let my father talk. She began to back talk him and he pulled back his arm, made a fist, and punched her in the face. When my mother arrived she yelled at him and he was gone, but he left behind my sister with her swollen eye that was beginning to turn black. My father did not need it to terrify anyone; it was just a tool on the wall. The man who was the power behind it was the real reason we lived in fear. I did not fear it, I feared my father. I feared the abuse, the unknown, and feared having children of my own and being like him.
Throughout my life I have found myself getting angry to the point of wanting to hit something, or someone. I built a wall around myself and never allowed anyone in my wall. I was often accused of being mean and cold heart. My junior year of high school, I walked into my English class and my teacher said “I thought that was you. I could feel the cold breeze from your heart.” Although, this hurt me deeply no one knew because my wall was made of cement and NO ONE would break me. I played sports through high school, participated in clubs, went on dates, went to church but I was just going through the motions of life. The abuse I suffered when I was younger affected my personal relationships and caused me to always have my guard up. It was a factor in everything in my life.
To release my anger I started to sing and give. I gave money, time, clothes, my voice, and anything else that was asked of me. I began to spend time with children who had been removed from abused homes. I slept on the floor of an old Nun school just to spend two weeks with children in downtown St. Louis. I have climbed mountains of trash bags to find a pair of pants for a homeless man. Recently I traveled to Haiti to help with surgeries, and was also asked to sing for their Sunday church service. No one in the church spoke the same language I did so they did not hear the words to the song, but it did not matter. The thing with music and giving is that it is a universal language.
I am no longer the child that was abused. My wall was slowly torn down by the people I was able to give to. I may have given them clothes, or money but what I got in return was a crack in my wall. Each person made a crack in my wall to help it come down. I was able to look at my life, and be proud of who I am. I am no longer someone who floats through life; I have taken hold and not letting go. I feel as though I worked through the existential approach with the help of people around me. I did not see a therapist, counselor, or anyone else but I now have harmony in my life, and I am happy.
The past does not define me… the past does not define me… the past does NOT define me!!!! Since I grew up in an abusive household I thought I would continue with the cycle, but that is not me and never will be. “The evidence suggests that the United States will face increased levels of serious violent crime (murders, rapes, and assaults) at the hands of abused children when they reach their mid-to late-teenage years” (A-Team.org). “In one study, 26 percent of incarcerated delinquents who had committed murder had experienced physical abuse” (A-Team.org). The woman I am now is a wife and mother, and I no longer worry about the abuse continuing through me. I am the end of the cycle, and the past does not define me. I refuse to let the past define me.
A-Team.org (1997). Child Abuse Info. Retrieved 20 October 2011 from A-Team.org:
Corey, G. (2009). Thoery and Practice of Counseling and Psychotherapy. (E. Edition, Ed.) Belmont, CA: Thomson Brooks/Cole.