If my parents had left bruises, I would, even as a 10-year-old, have found my way to the Auburn Police Station and testified against them. Watching them in action, as my father dished out the emotional violence and my mother supported him and told me to listen and obey, I knew they were wrong, but this was normal for our family. By appearances, we were healthy: we had food, shelter, and clothes; we attended school, work, and church; nobody had a black eye or was sexually assaulted. But nothing about us was well, and I saw it with my own eyes, internalized it in my mind and body, and I was still unwilling to submit. I wasn’t going to play along with a family dynamic that was out to obliterate my identity, whether they were conscious of it or not.
The question I now face: how do you carry on, grow, change, thrive, despite a history of near annihilation at the hands of your nearest and dearest? Born out of the extremities of suffering, I rise and go, even if I have to drag myself out of bed into a new day. I remain firm in my belief in possibility, in my determination to live well as I abandon my abusers in the ditch of a past I refuse to trapped in.