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Life of Agony
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That’s all I can do. Wonder if I'll ever escape my spine-chilling past. Wonder if I will reach that delightful feeling of happiness. Not the kind of happy where you have to force a smile or be pretentious but, the kind where the joy acts as if it’s reaching towards your soul, a cheerfulness you can’t let go. A happiness that at least stays for more than a couple of days. It’s not that I’ve never felt this way I’ve been happy but here is how I lost that feeling and how my childhood was taken from me in an instant.
I was young when it started. Only 6. Too little to understand what was going on, but he in his 30s at the time knew it was extremely wrong. By the time it all ended with me 16 and him in his 40s, all my bliss and childhood had disappeared. A childhood I can never get back. I will never understand why or how someone gets to the point of being so evil, especially for so many years. The one who I should be able to go to is now the one I don’t even want to be close to. He will always be my biggest fear, the one who tarred me down but I guess he also helped me become the person I am today. That man showed me that I never want to be the kind of immoral person he is but the kind of person that helps others, not someone who tares them down. I’m not sure how to even say this because every time I do my heart feels like it’s going to break into a million pieces but…My father. My own father is the one who consumed and destroyed life for me.
10 years ago, 6 years old - when I thought it was all just normal.
My family and I were all smiling and having fun. I mean sometimes my brother and I would fight and our family would have our arguments but that´s like any typical family. My life at the time was filled with things like trips up north, going to the pool, my mom baking in the kitchen, and watching my dad lighting off fireworks, something he always loved to do. Overall everything was great… I mean that’s what I thought. I wish I could see the father I saw when I was younger. I saw him as someone who was considered soft-hearted and well, overall a good man, someone who I looked up to. I mean to a young girl who does not know much about the world he was the best dad out there. He always spent time with me, we watched movies, played games, and even had campfires on calm summer nights. Little did I know behind all of this was his deep dark secret and behind that loving dad was a man full of vile. Vile towards me. Hiding within was for some reason the urge to do things no one should ever think of. The urge to abuse and use his daughter. These things started off small with him just getting really close to me, cuddling me in weird ways, and buying me more things than usual. The signs of sexual abuse being the start of something I will never forget were invisible to me. Then it got worse.
¨Savannahh¨ He whispered trailing out my name.
I was on the living room floor playing with my toys, my dad sitting on the couch. I slightly looked back at him confused because he never really said my name in that way.
¨Savannah¨ He whispered again and waved me over.
¨Okay¨ I said because I knew this probably meant he just wanted to ¨cuddle¨ like we always did. This time it was different. Very different.
I remember that disgusting smirk he gave me that day, how happy he was that I was sitting by him. I always will wonder if it would be different now if I never sat by him. Maybe he would have just thought about his decision a second longer. A second longer not to do the sicking things he did.
We were cuddling under the cabbage patch doll blanket my mom gave me, it’s the one we always cuddled under. He kept getting closer. One hand around my back and the other on my leg getting higher and higher just thinking about that feeling gives me chills. For some reason, my father was faintly laughing. I'm not sure if he was trying to make it fun but now that laugh just haunts me. It will forever be stuck with me. Eventually, I felt a hand in my pants. My dad’s hand. I was 6 I didn't know what to think, how to act, or how to feel. Nervous at first that was for sure but then again I had no idea what was happening. I tried to focus on the TV. I somewhat thought it was normal because well after all…he was my dad and that was enough for a young girl to think it was okay.
¨Hey savannah¨ He said, still whispering as if someone was listening as he removed his hand from my pants.
I just looked up at him confused.
¨Don’t tell anyone about this okay? This will be our little secret.¨
I was still confounded about what had just happened but for some reason was excited to have a secret with my dad that not even my brother knew. So I agreed to keep it a secret and went back to playing with my toys as if nothing ever happened. That’s where it all began.
8 years ago, 8 years old- When I realized it was wrong.
A couple of years for me was enough to realize that something was off. Eventually, every time something would happen I would get this bad feeling in my gut like a pit was in my stomach that could never be filled. As a kid, I always thought this feeling was just the one where I was starting to get sick but now that I look back I know it was my body trying to tell me something. That I needed to get out of that situation. This was probably one of the times when I felt the most thrown off in my life. Part of me was saying oh my gosh this is so wrong, it’s making me so uncomfortable. The other part of me kept saying it’s okay, everything fine I mean my dad did reassure me so many times that it was normal so why wouldn’t it be. Why would he lie to me? There’s no way he ever would my dad was a great person to me then. Turns out later that year the truth came out, well at least I found out the truth. I found out it was not only wrong but that he could get into serious trouble.
It was another day of third grade we started off as normal writing and reading but little did I know this day was gonna change my entire view of the world. It was gonna show me that even the people we trust the most can be the evilest of all. After we finished doing the normal morning work we had visitors. I don’t remember exactly what organization they were a part of but they helped kids with bad homes of any kind and came in to talk about it. We were only young so they brought these 2 doll things in and explained what stuff was inappropriate or not right for older people to be doing to us. They also showed us this cartoon video about it. Nothing ever went into much detail in the video, they just used tickling as an example, she kept saying stop and her babysitter didn’t but I knew this was the same situation I was in. Right at that moment, my life changed in an instant and my dad was no longer amazing but scary in my eyes. After that video that’s when I felt like my jaw dropped to the ground and my heart broke one that will never be repaired.
The one I trusted the most was now the one I could never trust again.
The one who was my happiness was now my sorrow.
The one I went to when I was scared was now my biggest fear, the monster in my life. I was trapped with this monster in my own home. From then on I always thought about telling someone but didn’t for 3 big reasons.
One, I did not wanna get my dad and I in trouble don’t get me wrong I was very mad at him and knew he made a huge mistake but that was my dad I loved him no matter what. I still saw him as good during that time.
Second, I had no idea who to tell or how I would even tell someone something like this. I also remember thinking about if it was not actually wrong I wanted to be sure first.
Third, just like I said above I was not absolutely positive that it was wrong yet. To a point, I knew it was bad but him being my dad and maybe being okay for that reason stuck in my head.
For these reasons I kept quiet and fear took over my entire body causing me to freeze up every time my dad would do something. I would just sit there helplessly letting it happen. Then came 4th and 5th grade I could no longer hold in the pain it had to come out eventually. It all came out in anger towards my teachers and the student’s something I will always be ashamed of. I just didn't know how else to deal with all of this. This was my final straw, I was barely holding on. Not to mention from here on it just kept getting worse.
5 years ago, 6 grade - I just wanted it all to be over with. I had enough.
We didn't have a lot of money at the time so at the age of 12 my family had to move in with my grandparents. There my father got away with it, even more, which does not make sense because there were 7 other people besides me. I mean the house was bigger but I always will wonder if no one really knew. Something inside tells me at least someone else had to know. How could he be so lucky to just get away with it? My mom and little brother sleeping. My older brother, grandparents, and uncle were all at the store. A perfect chance for him to take advantage. It was perfect in his mind anyway.
My dad and I were sitting on the couch upstairs I remember specifically watching MythBusters my dad always loved to watch it. I was sitting on one end, him on the other.
¨Savannah¨ He said my name in a creepy way like always and then patted his hand on the seat next to him.
I know what he wanted and I felt as if I had no choice. So I slowly scooted towards him hoping maybe he would change his mind but he never did. He wore that evident creepy smirk. I just could not look at it anymore and I could not stand letting him just do disgusting things to me! It was not right.
¨NO¨ that’s all I managed to say as I got up and started to walk away. That one word forever was my biggest regret.
¨ GET BACK HERE NOW¨ He said in a firm voice staring me down like I was the one doing something terribly wrong.
I just kept walking, I didn’t want a single thing to do with him.
¨ Come on¨ He said in a calmer voice but I could tell he was still angry as he got up grabbing my arm pulling me closer to him.
I tried to pull away, my mind racing, I only got to the top stair. But so did he.
¨STOP¨ I yelled loudly to make sure someone might hear and for him to get his hand off my wrist.
Then my world turned upside down. My dad punched me. Finally, he hit his breaking point, I tried to yell again but he put his hand over my mouth so hard that I could not breathe I struggled to get away. I fought well at least I tried to. I managed to get loose for a couple of seconds running faster than I ever have in my life only getting down the stairs into the dining room. He was furious. I vividly can see the anger on his face and the malevolence coming out of his eyes.
¨stop¨ I said again my voice cracking and the tears starting to roll down my face ¨I want to go to Alyssa's house¨ Alyssa is my best friend who lives down the street from my grandparents. I just kept begging for him to let me go there.
¨NO¨ he said even louder as I kept trying to go closer to the door.
Now us in the living room. I tried to grab the door handle to the porch door but I couldn’t. My dad grabbed my wrist so hard my hand started to feel numb when he finally let go he punched me and pushed me down on the couch in the living room.
¨ You're so useless you know that savannah¨ He said this close to my face so close that I felt his warm breath against my face as he was choking me.
He just continued to say things like this on and on leaving it engraved in my brain. I just gave up at this point. I felt numb. It was no longer worth fighting; he was so much stronger there was nothing I could do. I was hopeless. I ended up freezing like I always did, this time though I was not just taking the disgusting things he did to me, but his physical abuse and words that killed me inside. That will always be the worst day of my life something I don’t think I can ever forget. What makes it worse is that this time it was my fault I could have just let him do what he normally did but I tried to fight and created a situation that could have been prevented. After that I never got the courage to fight again I kept freezing up and letting it go on but it didn’t matter he was changed for good every time I was now stuck with him beating me, stuck with him calling me horrible names. I was just stuck, stuck for what felt like an eternity.
After that day I became an even worse person than I was in 5th grade. A person that I hope I will never ever be again I hate looking back at my 6th grade days. I was so disrespectful to the teachers and even mean to some of the kids at school. I will always hate myself for this. Always. I was at a very low point and started to do the same at home. On top of all this, I was filled with despair and I was slowly giving up at this point I thought about if it was even worth living, I hate saying that but at the time it was true for me. My school noticed that I was acting differently so they made me talk to the school counselor. I got the courage to tell her that I had a problem but not what or who, I just needed time.
4 years ago, 14 years old when I first opened up.
At this time our house in Omro was being built so we started going to a new school in Omro. I was happy thinking this was a new start.
One day my dad picked me up early from school. I had no idea why but he told me we were gonna go see a movie at the theater so I agreed because it sounded fun. I was not thinking he was gonna do anything but I guess he had different plans. We pulled up in front of a hotel.
¨Why are we here¨ I said nervously.
¨We are just gonna stay here after the movie don’t worry I just wanna spend time with my daughter¨ He said smiling.
My gut had a bad feeling about this ¨I don't want to¨ I said my voice shaky looking up at him.
¨Fine¨ He said. ¨but then after the movie you either have to do something with me or stay at the hotel because you owe me¨ he said angrily.
I remember thinking that I didn’t owe him anything. It made me so mad he said it like that I wanted to scream at him but I simply just agreed to make him less angry. I’m glad I agreed though because I always wonder what could have happened at that hotel. It could have been a lot worse.
We went to go see the movie and afterward I remember him saying the most surprising and chilling thing I’ve ever heard in my life. I want to throw up just remembering it.
We got in the truck.
¨Savannah I need to talk to you about something¨ he said
¨okay what is it¨
¨When you're older we need to get married¨ he said angrily but happily. I could tell he was excited.
I said nothing I was so surprised it was so wrong in so many ways. It was so sicking I can’t ever figure out why he even had that thought. After that, he just kept talking about how my mom didn’t give him enough of what he wanted and how she didn't like me anyway. Saying we could keep my little brother who I loved so much. I just sat there silent. Crying. Crying as we drove to our storage unit. Not to move any of our stuff to the new house but to ¨use the bathroom there.¨
I can’t get myself to write the details but this is the day I lost every single piece of me. I lost myself. I lost everything, all my innocence all my childhood. He took everything from me. Something I can never get back.
That was the night I was raped. Raped by my father.
Used more than I ever have been and he said things that I can’t ever repair. He told me that he wished I had never been born and that the only reason I was there was that he needed me for his needs basically. Honestly the words he said hurt me more than his kicks and punches. I wish I could erase this all from my brain but unfortunately, that’s how it works and I'll never figure out how to let it go. I just need closure I wish I knew if he at least regrets it just a little bit or why he did it. I'll never truly understand. He is the only one that knows. All I know from this is it was the most nauseating thing I will ever experience and the moment that ruined everything for me, even my life.
After that day I made a big change and I told the school who it was. Once they at least knew that they had me talk to social services and a couple of officers, I told them some of what was happening but then my mom and dad found out. My mom talked to me first and believed me. But then I have no idea what he said to her but after she talked to him she was on my dad’s side. Early the next morning my dad talked with me in private and apologized to me and promised to never do it again. He also told me if I told the cops it was not true he would give me money and he did. Being the stupid person I was I thought maybe he deserved a second chance. That’s where I was wrong.
3 years ago, 15 years old- giving him a second chance.
This was the first time in my life where I saw happiness at least a little bit of it and it was great. My dad started to treat me like normal. My mom was still mad though thinking I was a liar but besides that everything was good. (A part of me still thinking she hates me but only she would know for now i just have to guess.) I loved my new school and I was an 8th grader at the top of the middle school. I even made some great new friends.
But then came the last couple of months of the year and my dad went back to his old ways. After saying sorry he broke all the trust we built up. I was so surprised when he came into my room one early morning making me do these disgusting things I didn´t know what to do so I just froze up went back to my old ways too. I remember feeling so numb the rest of that day not knowing what to do because our family was finally back to normal again and I didn't wanna ruin it. But I could not go through it again so I told. It didn’t really matter though the case got closed because apparently there was no evidence and with no evidence well I had no power. He apologized again but I know this time it was only because I told. Like I suspected he stopped for a little bit and then started again always going back it’s like it was an addiction for him. For some odd reason he stopped for good for a while but I was not complaining. But don´t worry, he always went back to doing it.
The only thing is I was not doing good the trauma of it was hurting me deeply. I no longer wanted to act in anger so the only way I could think of was self-harming. I never wanted to get to that point but It helped relieve so much pain. One day my English teacher Mrs. Brooks saw this while I was handing in a paper she asked if I was okay and I told her it was just because of something that happened in the past. The truth is though during this time my dad still did stuff it’s just it was not big stuff he only did small things like hit me in the butt when I would walk past and it made everything worse because it would bring everything back. There was also one time where he did one big thing but he said sorry as usual so I decided not to tell. Funny thing is that thing happened the day before Mrs. Brooks noticed and at that point, I was thinking again about maybe just ending it all, but she talked to me and made everything feel okay we just had a connection where I felt like I could talk to her about anything. I know longer felt alone. I just could not tell her about what happened the day before. She never found out about it but she did find out about other things that happened in my past and she saved my life. There is no way I would be here without her.
Eventually, my family found out I was talking to Mrs. Brooks about all this and my mom was furious because she was stuck in a spot of who to believe. She decided it would just be best if I moved out that way if I was lying I would be punished and she said that if there were some way I was telling the truth at least I would be safe. But deep down I know that was her way of telling me she believed my dad over me. I was sad at first because one that meant I had to move schools again and 2 I would have to leave my mom and brother behind. But eventually, I realized it was for the best because I finally got freedom, and to escape my dad I felt a big heavyweight being lifted off my shoulders and for once a little bit of relief.
So did or will I ever escape my spine-chilling past the answer to that is both yes and no. I escaped it physically but mentally I think it will always be with me. The only thing for me is I know I need closure, not by getting him in trouble because why hurt someone who hurt you then it just goes both ways. But by my mom believing me I just want her to know I’m not the person she thinks I am. I want her to know that the guy she lives with everyday is hidden by a mask underneath that mask a bad man. I just need closure. I will always have PTSD nightmares and flashbacks once and a while but at least I’m not stuck in that house. Just because it’s always with me mentally thought does not mean I’m never gonna be happy it just means I’m gonna have to work a little harder to be happy and that’s ok with me. I’m not gonna use this my entire life to tear me down I want to use it as something that made me stronger because it did and I can’t forget that. There are always good things that come out of the bad. After going through all this and experiencing what abuse is like all I want to do is spread the word about it and help others with it. I wanna use it for good it does not have to consume my life I’m honestly just letting it do that and I think it’s time for a change. So the message I want to leave is just that you have to look for the good things in the bad. Also that sometimes the people you think you can trust the most are the ones who you cant trust at all and the people you might not think you can trust or go to, those are the people who truly wanna help. So don’t be afraid to reach out. You never know who could change your life. Just like mine was changed in an instant by 2 people one bad my dad and one good Mrs. Brooks.