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Innocent Eyes Tell Truthful Lies.

by Elizabeth Rightler 10 months ago in coping · updated 10 months ago
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A brutally open story with perceptual abilities that will have you viewing a stranger with empathy before casting judgment.

While ducked under a bed that had been untouched for months, I could sense his presence in the room. Trying to conceal my cry and squeezing my mouth shut only made the situation more unbearable. I believed the closest hanger could provide me protection. As I shortly came out to discover, it did not. I watched as he pranced around the room for a few moments waiting to see if I would surrender. He laid down on the floor and snatched the hanger out of my tight little grip. I overestimated the strength of a girl my age. It was a dark misty night, therefore there was no shadow I could follow along the floor of the bedroom. I instead listened as my drunken father walked around the bed frame, slightly clanking his beer bottle against the metal base as he passed. After a few seconds, a charge of adrenaline rushed through my veins as I wiped my sour tears away and decided enough was enough-or so I thought. Beer bottle shards cut through my tiny toes as I crawled out from under the bed, darted towards the door, and away from my college-bound brother's bedroom.

Only a couple of seconds went by until I found another room I could slip into and potentially lock myself inside of. Up until that moment, I had become pretty handy with locks and how to properly use them. After all, I had many experiences dealing with abusive parents at that prime age of nine years old. I knew that he would find me soon enough and that I would have to produce another excuse as to why I have bruises all over my pale body to the school nurse-if I did even show up the next day. What makes me queasy to this day is that I truly believed I could have died during the moment that I built up the courage to risk being beaten. I risked my entire nine years of life to simply live a painless and peaceful existence.

What happened next will make your entire body shiver. As I quickly ran through the hallway and down the stairs, I consequently never took a moment to peek behind me and make sure he was there. I made it to the downstairs bathroom with just enough time to successfully latch the lock. What I didn't realize was that I, once again, felt his overwhelming presence creeping over my small figure. Once fear and despair filled my mind, I had zero hope that I would survive if I was caught in my father’s grip. I came to the conclusion that I was going to get beat and calmly sat down on the floor. I am confident that you [the reader] can put together what happened next. And to this day, his intentions are still mysteries that will never be told.

After about three years of continuous and secretive nights like the one depicted above, I owned up to the fact that I had been living alone with my offender. Twelve years old is still a very young age to confront your offender face-to-face. At that stage in my life, I was at my worst: veiny arms, bruises down my body, scars in my inner thighs, bloodshot eyes from the little to no sleep I received, and no hope for a bright future. From putting two and two together, I am assuming you have a pretty good understanding of what my childhood was like. Just to bring you up to speed, I lived alone with my alcoholic and physically abusive father who had divorced my bipolar and mentally unstable mother. I also attended an oblivious school that came close to expelling me due to the number of absences I racked up. These absences were the results of not getting enough sleep because of all the noise my father made with his friends during the middle of the night. My older brother had gone off to college 300 miles away which only gave my father infinite opportunities to abuse me.

I believe my account not only tells a story of a young version of me but gives outsiders an inside look at child abuse. I am now currently nineteen years old and I am establishing a better life for myself. Experiencing a rough and painful childhood ironically built a solid foundation for me to succeed later on in life. I am presently striving to become a labor and delivery nurse and inspire other women to have faith in themselves. My survivor story is not meant to make people feel uncomfortable or question their family members. My story is simply my story and serves as an example of how a young girl can rise above her fears and conquer her dreams. In my case, the dream was a new beginning. A new beginning that evidently does not include me reviving the lost relationship with my father, yet forming new and enhancing relationships that have worth.

Growing up others would voice that my life seemed perfect and that everything I wanted was given to me. While monetarily speaking that was true-I had every gadget, toy, and new iPhone that came out. Although, to me, those things were compensating for the lack of love and fulfillment I had at home. Yes, my brother was able to attend Syracuse University, a very expensive college, and I was able to go on vacations frequently. However, I was not satisfied with the way my life was. I would have traded being abused with scooters and American Girl Dolls any day. But, as I previously mentioned, an outsider's viewpoint depicted that I had a typical and blessed life. Now, you know I didn't.

The picture at the head of the page accurately describes how I imagined I looked like during my attacks. The only thing not portrayed in the image is the smell of beer rolling off his tongue and the stuffed kitten I used to talk to. I still room with the same kitten I begged for when I was nine. That kitten has been through it all with me and is my trophy that shows my accomplishments through life's tolls. If after reading this you gain one piece of knowledge, let it be this: hug your loved ones, laugh with your friends, and treasure those special moments that most likely won't happen again. Remember that no childhood is worth destroying, however, their future is always bright.

This photo was taken in Nashville, TN, and shows me now.

coping

About the author

Elizabeth Rightler

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