Why did you brush your teeth in the kitchen?” asked my father angrily.
“It was someone in the bathroom I was running late already” I said.
“That’s disgusting. You are trifling” he said. I kept looking my father in the face as he talked, but I started to tune him out because he was saying a lot, but nothing at all. It wasn’t that serious.
I was over the conversation because I felt like my father was picking. If he had a job, he wouldn’t be home monitoring every little thing I did. There was one bathroom and 5 people living in the house. I wasn’t about to leave out the house without brushing my teeth.
My father once beat me everyday for a week because I left out without making up my bed. Every morning I still woke up late trying to get in five more minutes of sleep. Once I finally woke up, I got dressed brushed my teeth and left out of the house always forgetting to make up my bed.
I never remembered until I was about to walk in the house that I didn’t make the bed, and by that point it was too late because I was getting a beating. My father would beat me with a belt, a wooden ruler he got from Home Depot, or a thick 4×4 because of wood. Sometimes he would let me pick which one I wanted to get beat with. I didn’t learn how to make my bed, but I learned how to be strong. I learned to never feel safe around any man. I learned that I couldn’t fight a man, but I would damn sure try to defend myself. There was a line between discipline and abuse and my father crossed the line years ago. I went to school with bruises.
My father must’ve realized that although I was looking at him in the face, but I was in my own head ignoring him. He became upset because he wrapped his hands around my throat, and he squeezed. I couldn’t breathe he was choking me. I tried to fight him off I kept hitting him and clawing him until he let me loose. That wasn’t the first time he choked me, but I promised myself it would be the last time.
I told my mother that my father choked me. He denied my allegations and said I was lying for attention. I didn’t understand then that my father was a narcissist, but I knew I didn’t feel safe around him. I didn’t feel safe around any man.
Two weeks after choking me, and then denying it I couldn’t forgive my father. I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that he really lied about choking me. I didn’t understand why he would lie about choking me if he did it to discipline me. I hated my father because he was a lair and less than a man to me. He was a man that couldn’t stand ten toes down on his own actions. He felt man enough to wrap his hand around my throat and squeeze but wasn’t man enough to admit it. I couldn’t let him keep lying on me. He choked me multiple times at this point, and he needed to stand on his actions like a man and not a coward.
My parents were sitting in bed together watching television when I came to their room door. I was determined to have him tell the truth.
“He choked me and y’all sitting in here watching television like its nothing” I said. My mother never said a word, but her face showed she was over me bringing the situation up. My mother made up in her head that I was a liar, and her husband didn’t choke me.
“I choked you to get your attention. You weren’t paying attention” my father coldly admitted. I knew he choked me, so I wasn’t shocked by his revelation, but I was shocked by my mother’s lack of reaction. She didn’t flinch or move she just kept sitting beside her man who just blatantly admitted to choking her daughter.
My father made it seem like he choked me for a good reason, and it was my fault he wrapped his hands around my throat. He wouldn’t have choked me if I was paying attention.
“I hate them. They belong together” I thought to myself. I promised myself in that moment I would never let a man hurt my child. There was not that much love in the world to let someone hurt your child. There was no excuse for choking a child. My mother accepted the “I was trying to get your attention” excuse.
I wasn’t sure who was worst my father or my mother. I decided to runaway I didn’t want to live in that house of hell anymore I had to go. My mother was happy with her child abusing husband and I wanted them to be happy together, so I decided to remove myself from the situation.
I had a boyfriend at the time name Darnell. I was 15 and he was 19 but he wasn’t the average teenager. He was in the streets, and he paid his mother’s bills and took care of his younger siblings. Darnell was my savior he was my safe place. Darnell was respected in the streets even though he was so young he was connected.
“My father chokes me. He makes up lies about me and he tells the lies to anyone who will listen to him. I don’t want to live there anymore” I said to my then boyfriend.
“He chokes you?” my then boyfriend asked. I could see the concern in his face.
“I came home from school one day and he was mad because I brushed my teeth in the kitchen because someone one was in the bathroom, and he chocked me” I said.
“What did your mother say” he asked.
“When I first said that he chocked me he denied it and she believed him. I kept saying it repeatedly until one day in her face he finally admitted to choking me. He said he choked me to get my attention. He said that right in front of my mother and she didn’t flinch. I hate them both and I don’t want to live there anymore. She always let him hit me I used to go to school with bruises” I said.
“Your father hangs with a OG that I know. I seen your father around he’s not respected in the streets. Stay with me and I’ll protect you” responded my then boyfriend Darnell. I felt safe with Darnell I never felt safe at “home”.
“If he put his hands on you again, I’ll kill your father cause he a punk to be hitting you like that. You are too little. That’s why you so crazy” D said.
So I ran away to live with Darnell. My mother wasn’t going to intervene and tell her husband that he couldn’t choke her first born. My mother never intervened when my father hurt her children it was like it didn’t faze her, she had a man, and she was sticking beside him.
My mother loved my father and I guess she was being a wife sticking by her man. That was something that I couldn’t respect. Father or not I couldn’t respect a woman who let anyone harm her children. I couldn’t respect my father because I knew he wasn’t stamped or certified in the street but in his home, he walked around like an OG. Why would a grown man choke a female that stood 5’1 less than 150 pounds? He was a punk to me. The Mary J and Ludacris song Runaway Love just kept playing in my head. Little Destinee was only 15 years old trying to figure out why the world was so cold.
By the age of 15 had already been sexually assaulted by one of my father’s friends, and an older son of one of my father’s friends. Those men violated me, but I blamed my father for the violation. He brought those men around me, and he talked bad about me to those men. He may not have verbally said “go sexually assault my daughter” but he made it clear that he didn’t really care about me. Those men wouldn’t have hurt me if they felt like there would be consequences for their actions, and they knew there wouldn’t have been consequence for hurting me. From an early age I learned how to survive, and I also learned that even though men where physically stronger than men I couldn’t be a victim. I had to defend myself even if I lost the fight, I was going to throw a punch.
Darnell was my savior. I lost my virginity to him, and I loved him with my whole heart. Feeling safe with a male was something I never experienced. They say a girls first love is her father, but my first love was Darnell. He was my first example of a man. He was a provider. Darnell provided for his whole family until he was arrested a sentenced to 60+ years. He basically received a life sentence. The crazy thing about Darnell was he was supposed to be a “violent repeat offender”, and “was destroying the community selling narcotics” but he was sweet to me. He looked out for me he never put his hands on me. I made him mad sometimes I could see the anger in his face and then it would disappear. He made me feel loved. The only man in my life that never physically violated me died a brutally.
Darnell was killed in prison he was stabbed 22 times in the face, chest, and stomach. He didn’t survive but I always kept his memory with me. I always wished I could’ve convinced him to leave the streets alone, because he made enough money. He wasn’t doing it for the money he was addicted to the street. Rest peacefully to the only man that ever loved and protected me. There isn’t anything anyone could say about D that would make me stop loving him.
Deborah Cox’s Nobody Supposed to be here played in my head then the phone rang.
“Ask your husband if I can come stay the night with you” Josyn said on the end of the phone.
“What is he supposed to say; What am I supposed to say to him?” I asked confused.
“You know I don’t care I’m on my way. I want you to hold me while I sleep” he said before hanging up the phone.
Something about Josyn reminded me of Darnell, but they were so different. Josyn and Darnell had the same eyes and same hair. Darnell was Haitian and Columbian the mixture was why he could be who he was in the streets but loving to me. Josyn was Jamaican, and El Salvadorian.
Once Josyn got to my house we talked about what lead up to us going on a break.
“I don’t like that you went through my phone that’s my personal property” he said.
“I don’t like how you was talking about me to all your other girlfriends” I said.
“That’s your fault for going through my phone reading my messages with other girls. Females go through a man’s phone and then get upset that’s on you” Josyn said. He said what he met. It was my fault for going through his phone seeing him calling me out my name to other females and getting upset. None of that would’ve happened if I didn’t go through his phone.
I didn’t respond to Josyn’s comments he said how he felt.
“I didn’t want to hurt you I just wanted my phone and you kept saying you didn’t have it” he said.
It was clear that Josyn wanted to talk about the worst day in our relationship so far, and I just wanted to forget it. Josyn didn’t punch me he was big, bigger than my father so if he punched me, I would’ve gotten up. He didn’t slap me, and he didn’t choke me. He just threw me around like a rag doll. He didn’t hurt me my body hurt itself falling to the ground and falling on the table.
“I asked you multiple times to stop talking about me with your friends. I read the text. I read about you meeting up with Toya on North Ave. I saw you and Aisha going back and forth on Facebook I threw the phone in the woods” I said.
“So, whose fault was the whole incident? Was it my fault or was it your fault for taking my property and not giving it back?” he asked.
“It was my fault. I shouldn’t have touched your phone and violated your privacy” I said.
“I wasn’t trying to hurt you I just didn’t want you to leave out or to call the police I just wanted my phone” he said.
I loved Josyn so I told myself that it wasn’t a big deal. I survived and I wasn’t hurt. He was a man and I told myself along time ago that men will hurt women. I accepted responsibility.
“You said you dated street dudes before, but its like you don’t know how bad things could’ve gotten. I am glad I am not who I used to be” Josyn said.
I flashed back to my childhood and my father and realized it was always my fault. I was damaged goods.