“The whippings started shortly after we moved in. I was signaled out for being the strong one and received the majority of them. Jerome became his favorite and Clarence would let him stay up until late watching old war movies and eating popcorn, while the rest of us were made to go to bed.
…The fighting started as soon as Mama entered the house. His voice was loud, his speech slurred. He accused her of seeing another man because she was twenty minutes later than usual.
Doors slammed and Clarence cussed and yelled at the top of his lungs, “You lying bitch! Don’t you run from me!” Another door slammed, then there were a few moments of silence. My brothers and I were perfectly still in our bunk beds. …The silence was broken by a loud scream from my mother. “Please, Clarence! Just let us leave!” A heavy thump followed, with more rumbling. His next words stopped my heart. “Bitch, you can’t leave me. I’ll kill you first!”
I jumped out of bed and ran to the door. Clarence was dragging my mother by the hair with one hand and holding his 12-gauge shotgun with the other. She saw me before he did, and we locked eyes for a second. Words couldn’t describe the horror I saw in her eyes. Courage slipped into me and I screamed as loud as I could, “Leave her alone, Clarence!” The world stopped spinning for a few seconds. He released his grip on her hair and quickly turned to look back at me. His glossy, blood-red eyes looked right through me. His thunderous expression was loaded with contempt. That was all the time my mother needed to get up and make a break for the front door. He turned back and grabbed the front of her blouse. He ripped it off just as she made it out the door. The very last thing I saw was my mother running out the door, heading to the woods behind our house and into the pitch black night. Clarence was right on her heels, carrying the shotgun.” (Excerpt from GMan: The Education of a Criminal, by Gregory ‘GMan’ Marshall)
Every single person reading these very words has experienced some type of abuse. It’s a universal act. No one is immune from it. It doesn’t discriminate, and comes in many forms: mental, physical, sexual, emotional. They all leave a psychological, everlasting scar on our hearts, minds, and souls.
As a child, it’s possible one of these abuses shaped who you are today. You didn’t have a voice to express the pain it caused you, so you endured it. It was either swept under the rug or locked in the closet for years…or decades. Those thoughts and memories are trapped inside your mind, and then you become a prisoner to your deep, dark secrets. You feel like you are all alone in your thoughts.
Abuse is dangerous because one abuse can lead to another. Self medication is one we’ve all tried before. Drug and alcohol abuse is a prime example of that. Some of us deal with it through a silent prayer.
We all remember that very first moment of when and who abused us. It’s something that you never forget. Just the mere thought shames you. You never build up enough courage to talk about it.
Then, one day, you read where someone else wrote about it. Their story is your story. Their testimony just does something to you. Some laugh and cry happy tears. You feel free, almost vindicated, because of your shameful thoughts. Just knowing that you were never alone all those years provides you with a sense of normalcy.
So, if what I have just written has given you any comfort, I’m honored and humbled. I just want you to know that abuse is part of us all. Writing my memoir was my way of dealing with my issues of abuse. Now it’s time for YOU to find an outlet that works for you.
The greatest freedom you can give your mind is to release and forgive. Just know for a fact that you are not alone!