I Was Just Reading {1}

As promised, my dear readers, the BIG reveal is finally here! My first post in the autobiographical anthology: Injustice: My Bell Jar Diaries. It is with great trepidation and immense hesitancy that I choose to share these bits and pieces of my memory.

***Readers Beware***
These are true stories that may shock you — anger and haunt you. Posts under this category may contain disturbing content that could upset or trigger individuals.

My father was a former marine and though he was retired still acted as if he were in the military. He stood at a towering 6’5, 280 lbs., intimidating to a fault, worse, he knew and exploited this fact. My siblings and I were his little toy soldiers; playthings that existed to do his bidding and expected to follow orders. No Exceptions! Without Questions! We were not raised but rather egregiously smelted and molded into the people we are today. There were three standing edicts in our household: speak only when spoken to, respect your elders, but most of all OBEY.

It was a Saturday afternoon and I sat at my bedroom desk reading a book with my sheets of paper and a pencil off to the side to take notes. This is what I had to do back when I was 10 years old and not allowed to write in the margins…yet.

What are you doing now? He said, rolling his eyes, and walking into my room.

Just reading. I said quietly.

Excuse me?! He shouted abruptly, in one stride, he stood over me, eclipsing my tiny body like an ominous cloud.

Reading, sir.

What? He sneered. You too good for this family, huh?

No. No, sir. I shook my head repeatedly. My hands began to shake and I instinctively moved them, very slowly, off my desk into my lap, clasped. Head already bent down, submissively.

Can’t come spend quality time with us because you’re in here reading your damn books. You think you’re so smart, don’t you?

I remained silent. What a reckless mistake.

You answer me when I’m speaking to you, girl! He blustered and slammed his fist on the desk making me and my book flinch. Another mistake. He never liked flinching. Like crying, it too, was a weakness. He snatched each piece of paper, crumpling them into a ball, and tossing them to the floor. I remained as stoic as a statue. Then, the book flew across the room. Sounds of fluttering pages filled the silence.

Now, what have I told you about your room?

That it should always be in order, that everything has its place. Sir.

That’s right! So, why don’t you explain to me why the hell you have all this on the floor.

I…I was…I was just reading, sir. I didn’t mean… I didn’t get to finish that sentence and was grabbed by my hair, drug out of my chair, and thrown to the floor just as effortlessly as my paper. Crumpled into a ball. He leaned over, grabbing my shirt, pulling me up just inches from his face, gritting his teeth.

Oh, get up! Get up, right now! Clean this pigsty! His face so close, I could feel the heat of his breath and his spit on my face, I didn’t dare wipe it off. I stood up slowly and bent down to pick up a ball of paper but before my quivering little hands could grasp it, I was kicked in the hip, back to the floor. He had on his steel toes. That’s going to leave a mark.

I SAID — Clean! (Kick) This! (Kick) Up! (Kick) Now! (Kick) One to the stomach, one to the back of the head, another to the stomach, the last one to the shoulder. I used to count them. 1, 2, 3, 4…brace myself between each blow and hope to GOD there wouldn’t be anymore.

Just as I chose to share, you chose to read. I humbly and respectfully thank you all.

To be continued…

55 comments

  1. That’s so terrible. It’s hard to even comment, really because what can anybody really say. There’s an element of familiarity in it. It’s brave of you to share this as well, Eleanor. I once shared a trauma memory in same detail on here but deleted it right away because I could not handle being in that place. And honestly I had to get drunk to write it. So if your plan is to keep these up you should get credit for how incredibly courageous you are.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Melissa, Thank you. Honestly, I didn’t even expect 1 comment. I can’t convey to you how much your comment means to me. It was so very difficult to write this and I’m still shaking. The way I figure—if I have the courage to tell the story that is within me it becomes MORE than mere memory, more than just a painful history, a representation of the little girl I used to be. I could keep it inside and I could hide, as I have my whole life. Instead, I’ll tell it because when you tell your story, whatever it may be, it becomes something different to you and to me. Thank you, my sweet and compassionate friend.

      Liked by 4 people

  2. Eleanor, firstly, I would like to say how articulate and good you are at writing about memories of your own life and re-creating the whole scene. I thought this seemed like something out of a movie, it is hard to imagine it happening in real life, let alone a movie. Stunned by what you had to go through and this is only the first post. You have so much courage and I am in awe of your bravery. I hope these are a release for you to get out and that others realize they are not alone. ♥️🙏🏻

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Amber, it definitely did not come without difficulty and you may call it courage and bravery…and I thank you for your kind words that fill me with such gratefulness, so much so, it overwhelms me!!! Thanks to you and Melissa I already have another post for you. Knowing I am not alone in my pain is a fact that continues to save me. What I want so desperately is for my ugly pain to be transformed into something beautiful for others, if only it is a brief reprieve from their own pain and anxieties.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. That is horrible. I cringe at what you had to go through. My daughter thanked us for letting her be weird and pursue all her varying interests growing up because she realized how so many people in her cohort are really messed up, because of their strict and obsessive upbringings. I have not read enough to know how normal you feel, but that kind of treatment doesn’t bode well.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. As I mentioned in your “About Me” you are a fascinating person. You’ve seem to have done well on your schooling and career paths. I like cats, photography, making bloody awful parodies and original music, and writing a bit of poetry now and then.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. Thanks. Here in north-central New Mexico “Not Even” is used to show surprise by natives. Fro example, George: “I heard you can bench press 300 pounds?” Sylvia: “Not Eeeven!” I’m presenting a paper on the ethnosyntax of mixed language culture in north central New Mexico at the International Conference on Construction Grammar (ICCG) in Belgium in August. I examine idiomatic constructions like “not even” as unique cultural markers. Unfortunately, we are not going to Belgium because of restrictions and conflicts in schedules, so we are presenting our papers via Zoom. In 2018 we went to Paris for the ICCG.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. The ICCG was scheduled for last year but they postponed it until this year. There are still too many restrictions to make it worth the trouble to take off work and travel. It sucks because I was going to get together with some other bloggers who live close to Antwerp.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I have written often dear Eleanor. Old world was better. My mother escaped. The city of Detroit gave her a place to live, food and a safe place to live. We must make it easy for woman to escape and be safe.

        Liked by 3 people

      2. I wholeheartedly agree! This is a big reason why I’m telling my story. To increase awareness about domestic violence, abuse, and neglect. Later on in my anthology you’ll see there’s much much more to this story.

        Liked by 2 people

      1. I understand how draining it might have been , but trust me its showing all that you have put in . and yes we have to take efforts to bring this change which can only come through bringing it forward and creating awareness.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. David, no. No, we don’t. I don’t have any family anymore, it’s a long story but it will eventually be part of the anthology. I noticed you commented on {1} I just want to thank you for trying to see the full picture of what the anthology is all about and it’s best done in order, I think. The unnumbered are supplemental, to add further context and hopefully greater understanding. I welcome any and all questions. If you ever have any please do not hesitate to ask. You never know who might be wanting to ask the same thing but they don’t have the courage to. I am so grateful to have a fellow blogger be a great source of support, encouragement, and inspiration to me. Thank you, my friend.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Well, it’s not a lot. The introductory post is Extra! Extra! Read All About It! I put an explanatory summary on the page what the anthology is all about, what to expect. Then {1-4} numbered ones, and 3 or 4 supporting posts. It’s starting to add up. If you go to my main page, you should see a menu, there’s only 2 pages right now, 1)About Me
        2) Injustice: My Bell Jar Diaries (All my posts related to my anthology are on that page)

        I’ll soon have a 3rd Page for My Blog Soundtrack: Songs I Write To (still under construction.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I wonder if everyone comes here first. 🙂 I love your writing and the objective presentation of the experience. Like the Bell Jar – I was going along to realize the Truth of crazy. My gut punches were emotional, though the story expresses it just the same. Thank you for sharing the hard road, love, in lak’ech, Debra

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dear Debra, your kind words mean such a great deal to me! Thank you for taking the time to read my story and to make such thoughtful comments, it helps me push on. What’s deeply profound and incredibly touching to me is the use of the Mayan word lak’ech. I had a Philosophy professor explain the Mayan Moral Code and the 3 Philosophical Concepts in an independent study. It was then I realized I wanted and felt compelled to embrace the pursuit of Panche Be! Painful as my story is, there is truth at the heart of it. Interestingly enough, she pointed out how relentless I was when it came to seeking the truth (my truth) and writing it. That independent study had a great deal to do with gaining confidence in my writing and acknowledging that telling my story will be a lifelong journey. Yet, one I am happy to begin and do — over and over again, knowing full well I’ll never rest or be complacent because EVERY individual, EVERY child, is worth reliving these painful memories. I appreciate you, Debra! To them all and to you — lak’ech.

      In Lak’ech
      Tú eres mi otro yo. / You are my other me.
      Si te hago daño a ti, / If I do harm to you,
      Me hago daño a mi mismo. / I do harm to myself.
      Si te amo y respeto, / If I love and respect you,
      Me amo y respeto yo. / I love and respect myself.

      Respectfully Yours, Eleanor

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you so much for sharing “In Lak’ech” – I haven’t seen it before. It’s so healing to know we’re not alone. Knowing you didn’t deserve the way you were treated, I see I didn’t either. I can let it go. ON BEHALF OF THE WHOLE. I love the Mayan tradition and the “sixth sense of the heart.” I want to read more of your words. much love, in lak’ech, Debra

        Liked by 1 person

      2. No, thank you! You brought it out of me. I’m happy that I decided to add the poem at the last minute. You’re absolutely right! There is a sweet solace that comes from finding another who truly understands, who can relate, and knowing you are not alone in your feelings creates a sense of strength. Thank you so much, Debra, for putting a smile on my face. It hasn’t seen one for a while. I appreciate you. Writing about my past is painful but it serves a higher purpose. It is my wish to reach as many people as possible and be a source of supportI hope you’ll visit my page: Injustice: My Bell Jar Diaries and there you will find my anthology and supporting pieces. I post and then add to it periodically, that way it’s all in one place for people to see. Love and Light to you, my friend! In lak’ech, Eleanor.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. How the hell you can still smile and be so positive after all the horrible abuse and brutality you suffered at the hands of this “man” and I use this term very loosely, doled out on you is beyond me! It’s incredible and is a huge testimony to your resilient spirit and “courage under fire.” I pressed like reluctantly not because I didn’t like what you wrote but can 1 like that happening to another. I pressed like for your unbelievable bravery in writing it! Coming from a father’s perspective as well as a writer’s, I don’t know how a person can do that to his kids. You’re incredible! 😊❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am so sorry this happened to you. I know there are others with stories like these and it’s horrifying. It takes much bravery and endurance to speak out on these issues.

    Abuse leaves a scar that runs deep and takes years of work to heal. It’s the silence and the unwillingness or lack of financial freedom to leave that allows this to touch the life of a child. I have seen women conditioned by their abusers into thinking they can’t leave. In my view, this conditioning is, to a large extent, supported by society and religious organizations and it’s important we change and no be that society.

    Blessings, stay healed and may you stay strong as you publish this. It’s hard. And you’re going to face many who will want to shut you up. Especially those who knew and looked the other way and now see that you are ‘Unbroken’.

    Like

    1. Anitselise, thank you for reading and making such a thoughtful and kind comment. I greatly appreciate you! Your words of encouragement and support mean a lot to me!

      Yes, abuse is a scar that cannot be reversed, seems like the more it heals the worse it feels, at first anyway. You are so RIGHT! For my mother, it was driven primarily by a lack of financial freedom. She thought she couldn’t do it on her own. What you said about conditioning is spot on!

      It is difficult, but anything worth fighting for usually is, right?! Thank you for helping me keep my courage, sweetie! I am “UNBROKEN!” It’s like a battle cry! Thank you, my friend!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Welcome Eleanor!

        Unbroken is a poem I wrote about abuse at my old blog. Will be republishing is at my current blog shortly, possibly as part of a set of posts on patriarchy.

        The only way we can bring change is by speaking out. Yes, Unbroken is a battle cry.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Girl, that’s awesome! I can’t wait to check it out! Unbroken is a battle cry?! Sweet!! I’m thoroughly intrigued!!! Unbroken is one of my favorite movies, Angelina Jolie directed it! Have you seen it?! It is a tear-jerker, based on a true story!

        That’s right! Solidarity Sister! If you ever want to collaborate sometimes just shoot me an email it’s on my About Me Page.

        Liked by 1 person

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