I was aware of her traumatic childhood. I was also aware of how it had impacted her life. Her father was extremely abusive to her mother and to the family. In fact, she bore a small scar near her eye from a brick that her father had flung at her when she was little. Her experiences caused her to be abrasive in her interactions at times. She could be distrusting of people and it took a while to gain her trust.
“Hey John,” he said, “You get picked on a lot, at school, don’t you?” For a moment I paused. I wasn’t sure how I wanted to answer his question. If I chose to be honest, maybe he’d show some compassion. But in my fourteen years of living, I came to understand that compassion was not an adverb that was commonly used to describe teenage boys. If one existed, he would surely have to be placed on an endangered species list.
As a child, I had a hard time understanding why my dad would wake us up at the break of dawn. Nevertheless, his internal clock was equivalent to that of a rooster.
Many of us stay stuck, in a miserable state of living, simply because we do not give ourselves permission to imagine life as anything different. If we are to ever move forward in life, we must allow ourselves to imagine what life would be like outside of our current reality.
I sat there on the couch, surrounded by people that I loved and cared about, but at that moment I would have given anything for an excuse to get up and leave.
I felt helpless as I watched my father help his younger sister, my Aunt Celia, into our family car. As a child, I looked forward to the yearly visits that she and my uncle Joe would make to see us. She carried such a vibrant spirit that radiated of love and happiness.
It’s not everyday that I find an inebriated man laying his hands on me, and praying over me. Nevertheless, this was the exact situation that I found myself in while on a business trip in Farmington, NM.
All six of them stood before us, that day, all in a row. We all knew what was coming and it wasn’t good.
I hated these moments and had witnessed them one-too-many times. I never understood why the congregants allowed this archaic practice to take place. Were all of them too fearful to stand up and do something about it?
“Go to the office right now!”, he yelled at me. His faced radiated with redness, as his voice embodied the rage he held inside. There was no doubt that he was angry, and I, a mouthy-relentless-teenager was the object of his anger. “Get out!”, he yelled again, as he pointed his finger to the doors of gym.