Families is powered by Vocal.
Vocal is a platform that provides storytelling tools and engaged communities for writers, musicians, filmmakers, podcasters, and other creators to get discovered and fund their creativity.
How does Vocal work?
Creators share their stories on Vocal’s communities. In return, creators earn money when they are tipped and when their stories are read.
How do I join Vocal?
Vocal welcomes creators of all shapes and sizes. Join for free and start creating.
To learn more about Vocal, visit our resources.Show less
I was very shy growing up. I had a hard time making friends on the playground, I had a hard time talking to others or even making eye contact. I struggled with associating myself with another human being. I didn't know how to communicate, I didn't know how to speak and live in a calm state. All I have ever known was anger and violence.
It started when I was twelve. My parents had divorced a few years back. It was the summer before seventh grade. My father and I had just moved to Cape Cod to live with a woman who he barely knew. I didn't know much but I knew there was toxicity living from wall to wall in the small home in the quiet neighborhood. There were always empty wine bottles laying around, there were always screams and fights muffled by closed doors.
I don't remember the first day it happened, but I remember when it became habitual. I lived day by day wearing bruises on my arms, legs, and face. I wore scratches under clothing—dried blood became an accessory that I was sporting every day.
My best friend spent the night at our house during the summer and I made popcorn. I burned the popcorn and there was smoke in the kitchen. My father screamed at me and hit me, over and over. My friend stayed in my room while I faced my consequences in the kitchen down the hall. I cried and screamed and apologized for the accident I had created.
My father's eyes were bloodshot. I focused on the red lines that decorated the white in his eyes. His pupils were huge and he seemed to be looking right through me with every slap. I couldn't see straight. I couldn't breathe or hear. I lost most of my senses and just focused on the pain radiating from my body.
I went into my room and cried to my best friend, apologizing for her being there. I leaned against the wall near my closet and I spoke of a world where I didn't exist. A happier world. A world where there was no pain and no sadness.
I began self harming that night, while my friend laid in my bed. I focused on the blue lights of my alarm clock and watch the minutes tick by as the morning passed by me. I felt no pain, I felt no sorrow. I only felt relief overcome with exhaustion as I pictured a perfect life.
I spent most of my summer being beaten. I spent most of my summer quiet in my room or escaping in the middle of the night to hide in the woodsy path a half a mile from the house. I spent most of my summer alone, in a new town, with no friends, and no family. I learned and became accustomed to being alone.
Seventh grade came and went. I tried to avoid being home as much as possible. I got into fights with kids at school and on the bus. I thought it was normal to raise your fist when angry, so when the bullying started, I raised my fist and would hit the first person to say the wrong thing. I started smoking cigarettes. I started drinking beer at a playground with my friends. I had a hard time keeping friends, I had a hard time talking to people.
I barely went home, but when I did go home, my father would be there and he would follow me upstairs and cover my mouth with one hand while he would beat me with the other. I stopped crying. I stopped being sad. I felt numb to the pain I was feeling every day. I would take my daily beatings and I would carry them with me everywhere I went.
My life changed in eighth grade. We moved again, and I lived in an apartment with my father and his girlfriend. We also shared our apartment with bottles of booze and bags of cocaine.
I tried to stay out as much as I could.
On March 1, 2007, I got ready for school. I was going to ask out the cutest hockey player in my english clash—his name was Cody. I wore a cute pair of jeans and a floral top. I spent an hour on my makeup before school and braided my hair. I felt beautiful, despite always being told I was ugly by my father and his girlfriend. I went into my bedroom to get my backpack and when I came back out, my father was sitting on the couch in the living room. He informed me that my jeans were too tight and they were inappropriate. I went out to my bus stop.
A few moments passed by when my father came out to my bus stop and threw me onto the ground. He grabbed my hair and dragged me on the ground to the front door of our apartment building. Everyone at my bus stop was staring at me. I tried not to cry as I picked myself up and went back into the apartment.
My father told me to change and I walked down the hall into my bedroom. He threw a knife at the back of my head and it stuck straight into the wall in front of me. I screamed to stop and he ran into my room. He started picking up all of my belongings in my bedroom and began throwing them at me. I cried and asked him to leave me alone. I was tired of living this way. He then screamed at me to get into his car and he was bringing me to my mother's house.
The car ride there seemed like hours. We screamed at each other most of the time. I kept explaining to him that I didn't do anything wrong. He kept explaining to me that everything in his life was my fault. He went into detail about how he has always wished I was dead. He blamed me for my biological mother's death and he went into detail about how he wanted to drop me off in the woods. His words still echo in my mind. He explained that his only hopes for me were to be raped and murdered. When I screamed back at him, he hit me in the face and dislocated my jaw.
He dropped me off at my mother's and then dropped custody of me two weeks later.
My story doesn't get better from here but I focused on how I got through the next three years without my father. I struggled with finding my voice, I struggled with seeing a potential to the live I was living.
I couldn't keep many friends. I was bullied every moment of every day of my life. I could see far enough into my future and everything looked pretty dark from where I was standing.