Here’s a fact about my life that I’ve alluded to before, but never really written about.
My mom never married my father. He was a drunk. A coward. Who was [is?] racist and just generally ignorant all around. This was way, way back. His reputation for aggressiveness was written way before I was born. My mom has really, really bad taste in men. Always. If there’s a bad guy – she wants him. My father, even before I was born was put into jail for a short-time for attacking someone. But my mom had me when she was pretty young, 17. She had just lost her father. He had died in front of her, in a field, from a heart attack. I can’t even imagine this trauma. Next thing, she’s like “Oh shit! I’m pregnant.” Not wanting to handle more loss, she decides to keep me (imagine the world with no Smizz hahaha) – knowing it was going to be extremely hard. So she didn’t want to raise her child alone, as she never felt so alone as she was right then. So naturally she invited my father into our lives.
Apparently, I am told, my father and I spent a lot of time together before I was 3 (as he was often unemployed). I can’t remember this really. I do remember him taking me to the working mans club. I’d have a coke & a packet of crisps. He would drink beer, of course. I’d play the bandit machine and wonder what the game bowls was. Occasionally he’d take me to the bookies and I remember liking this because of the betting papers having a carbon copy back to them. I could use it to make super basic animations! And I remember making a super awesome landscape out of papermashe for my train set. I found out when I enrolled onto my healthcare course last year that I hadn’t been vaccinated for the MMR. He had 1 job! Aside from this, I don’t remember anything else. And somehow – we had a natural separation. I believe this is because as the older I got I do remember his short temper. His aggressiveness. I remember him throwing my brother, who was like 3 months old (i was about 5/6) onto the sofa & storm out to go to the pub because the baby bro wouldn’t shut up crying.
One day, when I was around 8 – after me, my nan, bro & mom had come back from a nice day at Whitby – he started yet another pointless argument. It got more and more heated. My bro and I were in the bathroom. And then I heard my mom scream for help. I filled this massive bowl we’d been using for a jug with cold water and instinctively ran out to the landing to throw it on my father. What I saw was him, onto of my mom, holding her down with his hand across her neck and his body weight on her whole body. He reached out and ripped a swindle off the staircase banister. It snapped in half and one end had a HUGE nail hanging out. He raised it above his head to hit my mom with it. So I ran and chucked the water over him and scratched and tried to bite his back, anything to try and get him off my mom. He let go, eventually, my mom grabbed some clothes and dragged my bro & I into the car and drove up the road. She stopped and we just sat at the top of the road, half wet, half dressed, listening to trax FM & her sobbing. I told her not to go back. She said she didn’t have a choice. We had no where else to go. So we waited for a bit, maybe 40 minutes, and she turned the engine on and drove back. And he acted like nothing had happened.
This wasn’t like a once off. And it certainly wasn’t the most horrific. My mom eventually got enough strength to split up from him when I was about 13. (thank god). But that was 13 years of domestic abuse – physical and psychological. Twice I called the cops, twice they said they couldn’t do anything about it because it was in the home – and not outside in public. It took me years & years to speak to him once he eventually left. I’ve said it before, but any one can be a father biologically – it takes more to be dad. He seems like he’s mellowed out a bit with old age – even more stranger – my mom is kind of totally cool with him now.
Which confuses me no end. I can’t forgive him so easily though. Back when, he would often call me a f***** b****/ c*** more times than I can count. In front of my friends. He would scream in their faces too. He poured milk over my head, push me, hit me with his belt. He got rid of my kitten which I called bitsy – because I loved him to bits. He’d rain those words on me and my mom whilst we were at our weakest. He’d rain them on me when I was at my worst. He’d rain them on my mom when she fought back and when she didn’t. And he’d hate me either way.
At the time, I was completely ashamed and felt like this was completely normal for every kid growing up in the Donx. My friends never really questioned it either. My mom would make up excuses, she’d say that people fight, and when they fight they say things they don’t mean. She said this because, for reasons I still don’t understand, but I can only guess – money, security, housing, the idea of what people would think, believing that it WILL be better next time and it won’t ever happen again. I don’t know.
All I know is that we were all scarred, deeply, over and over and over again. Scars upon scars upon scars. And those scars were self-loathing; those scars were self-doubt; those scars were real. I tell the world-wide-web about this because I don’t really believe in many absolutes, but I do believe (now) that if someone’s cruel to you, you shouldn’t hold them close, no matter how deserving you feel of those lashings. And if someone tells you otherwise, you probably shouldn’t hold them close either. And so many people live in this fear, in these scars, because they feel ashamed. That some how they’re weak, that maybe they deserve this. And they (you) / we don’t deserve this. No one does.
All these celebrities attacking their wifes, girlfriends and so forth, and nothing really happening to them. This isn’t acceptable. What message are we sending out? The thing is, it’s hard to ask for help – when you feel like you don’t deserve it. No one should ever do it alone and there is support out there.
Now my mom and I’s relationship is bound by these horrific & often traumatic events, and as a result we’re closer than close. We’re like sisters, best friends and mother & daughter all in one. We’ve been and seen the struggle. And it’s made me a better person, and the person I am today. But that doesn’t discount it as right. If you’re in a relationship with someone who is mis-treating you – get out now. We all have your back.
When we stop making excuses for this sort of behaviour, we free up space and energy for the good stuff. The reeeeeeal good stuff. And that’s all I wish for any and every one of you. Ever.
I dedicate this post to the best people I know. Especially to my friend C & my mom.