"I hope that you can read my story and know you're not alone..."-Stacy Mazzara
I was lying in bed, pretending to be asleep. It was 12 pm on a Saturday. Most Saturdays I worked or had swim practice, but it was the school's designated winter break. I did not know where in the house she was, but she was still home. She was a monster that put on a layer of makeup, presenting her fake self to the outside, but her real self to those of us who were her prisoners on the inside. I can still feel the ground shake the way she would almost run, stomping down the hallway to scream about everything that did not please her. She smelled of Chanel number 5, and she made you know that she was better in every possible way.
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"For seventeen years, I had lived in HER house and there was not a place on my body that did not have wounds from her torturing tongue."
My mind was racing as well as my heart, while sweat saturated my pillowcase. Normally she had left already, I impatiently said to myself, why does she torture me like this. If I opened that door, surely she would scream at me or make me do a thousand and tasks she is capable of doing herself. My insides were twisted, and I had to pee so bad. But I forced myself to wait, although I did not want to.
Finally, I heard the garage door open and close, and for the first time since I woke up my blood pressure was calming and I could breath. I was able to actually leave my room in peace. No longer a hostage in my own room, I went downstairs to start my day.
Grandpa was sitting at the table, so I knew we would have a good discussion. I started to prepare my meal and I asked him if he wanted pancakes. Before I even finished putting the plates on the table, I heard the garage door open abruptly, but I did not know which grandmother would come through the door. Would it be the one who tells me she loves me with exceptions such as I am not that pretty with my hair straightened and I need to lose weight? Or would it be the executioner who tells me that this house is not my house, and I have lived here because of her grace? My mind rotated a mile a minute as anticipation built.
The side door opened and the screech of her voices’ high pitched trill radiated off the wall like nails on a chalkboard. She stormed in furiously because the hair salon was closed, and she was not able to get her hair done. Now we all had hell to pay as a consequence of her unfortunate experience. There was nowhere to seek refuge, and I could not run past her. My grandpa was sick with Parkinson's disease, leaving him defenseless. He once was a strong, unencumbered man until his condition left him helpless. We were at her mercy, bracing for her moment of fury. We remained the victims of her frustrations until the entirety of her frustrations had been inflicted upon us. She would start going off on how I left the clean clothes in the dryer or the clean dishes in the dishwasher. I did not respond in fear of giving her more ammunition to throw back in my face. Then she started critiquing Grandpa on his inabilities to do the same things as he could before. She degrades him in front of me, and tears streamed down my cheeks. I dare not utter a word because she was the blade that penetrated my mind, body, and soul. I did not want to be cut anymore. For seventeen years, I had lived in HER house and there was not a place on my body that did not have wounds from her torturing tongue.
The pain she inflicted was mostly not physical but psychological, which for me was more calculating. Her words could immobilize me, and keep me up most nights. She believed that I should be grateful to her that I was fed and clothed. I was supposed to flatter her, suck it up and praise her constantly. I counted the days until I went off to college.
How I Learned to Recover
The 18Th of June 2009, I graduated high school. I made it so that the 19th I started college. I had to get out of there immediately if I ever wanted to repair the damage she caused. To this day she still haunts me. I fear her and her anger. I do not call her often because once she gets used to me calling after a few days the insults start up again. I live a daily battle with myself. She raised me, me and my mother lived with her since I was one years old. She calls me her second daughter when it is convenient for her, but not when I need it the most. My mother, well that is a whole other story, she is more like my sister. The holes she created in me are still there, but I am slowly learning how to fill them up. I now have a daughter and want nothing more than for her to love herself and accept herself, so I am trying to love and accept myself.
I realize now, I can never change my grandmother. She is who she is. She will never change unless she wants to. All I can do is treat people the way I want to be treated and hope they do the same. I am an extremely sensitive individual and before because of her insults, I thought something was wrong with me, but actually my hyper sensibility is an advantage especially as a mother. I can tell when other people are sad or angry without them even talking. I feel so deeply and as a mother it allows me to understand and help my children with their tantrums and their big and scary emotions. I am at peace more and more each day because of the love I now feel as a mother. Breaking the cycle within my own family is what created the blessing of healing.