There is power in realizing what your life is really like.

Yesterday, a friend asked me if a rumor about my family was true. “Did your dad really hit you guys?” I didn’t even know what to say. “Yes- didn’t yours?”

That isn’t the proper response. But it’s the truth about how I feel. There are some things that are so normalized that even now, typing it out, I feel no connection to the events that took place. I remember fear. I remember shame. I remember crying like you do when you’re a kid; the tears choke you and you can’t seem to get a single breath in.

Or maybe they’re not normalized. They’ve just been pushed down for so long that I almost forgot about them, thinking that denial is just as good as it never happening in the first place. There are things I wish I could forget, but I guess they’re not as bad as the things I can’t remember. It’s like an itch I can never scratch, not knowing where all these weird feelings came from. A constant deja vu, an endless pit in your stomach that makes you feel like maybe, just maybe, something will set him off.

I can’t recall the instances that happened to me, but I can remember my brothers and their thick fear surrounding me like fog. But my dad isn’t a bad guy, I love him! My brothers love him. Yeah, he’s thrown a chair at me and I’ve seen my mom hunched over on the floor, trying to protect herself, but isn’t that a normal experience?

It’s too soon to write about this. It’s too late to even think about it. Part of me wonders if being terrified played any part into having absolutely no recollection of childhood. Every memory is from another lens, not my own eyes. I see myself, a young me, like an actress in a film. No internal dialogue, just a series of events that never stop happening. I didn't know my lines, I kept messing up every single scene.

It sucks uncovering things you’ve been wrapping up for so long.

It sucks when people see you for what you are: a broken person from a terribly broken family, even an abusive one.

I just want to hide forever. I don’t ever want the spotlight on me or my weird life ever again. I don’t want to explain anything, I just want to sit and be known only for what I present. I didn’t ask for any of this to come to light, and yet it crawled its way forward. I don’t even know if it’s real.

I never want to be vulnerable because everything feels like a lie. Like a huge burden and over dramatization of what actually happened. Like I am filling in spaces with absurd stories and incorrect memories. I hate sharing who I am because I have no idea!

When you haven’t been alive since you were eleven, it’s hard to have much of a grip on reality.

No past versions of me are a real person. Who I was yesterday embarrasses me today and who I will be tomorrow is a false presentation.

Anyways, my dad hit us, I guess. My mom cheated, too. Then they went to divorce court for eight years. During this time, I played sports. I also had friends. I had a boyfriend (unsure how considering my deeply rooted fear of any kind of intimacy). I went to school. I complained, I rejoiced, I laughed. But I was never living.

The question is: will I ever be able to?

College student, woman, master of sarcasm, occasional inhabitant of this brain. Nebraska. Washington.