Content warning: childhood physical abuse, voilence.
Once my father tried to hit me with a belt.
I’d been bad. I’d hit my brother. He had been annoying me and the rage and built up and built up and built up and I’d hit him. It was one of those things that I knew was bad as soon as I’d done it, guilt rising up out of me like a wave, crushing everything.
And then my father thundered in, pinning me down. I don’t remember much about it but red, everything felt red in my brothers blue bedroom, red with his anger. He tried to hit me with his belt and I’d heard stories about being hit with belts. That it hurt so bad the schoolteacher had told the class that if anyone tried to hit us with a belt to tell her, for it was Against the Law.
I yelled at him that it was illegal.
I felt like if he caught me with the belt I would die. There would be so much pain and so much hurt that I would die. And I fought him back, a child against a man, fighting for life, fighting to get away from him.
I won and I didn’t win.
What always hurt the most wasn’t being hurt. It was the blackness inside that rose up afterwards. It gathered in my chest and sat there, eating away at it. It screamed in my ear that I was Alone and No-one Cared, that I was Bad and Ugly and Stupid. I called it “The Monster” in my head and never spoke about it.
My father told my grandmother the next day that I’d told him hitting me with his belt was illegal, and they laughed together at it. I felt foolish.
I never told the teacher.