My Only Escape... Letting Go
This wasn't a story that I ever thought I would be able to write. As a matter of fact, I put it off for at least a year and a half before I could even consider stepping into that frame of mind completely. But, in the end, after learning and growing with the website over time, and loosening the grip on my private thoughts a bit more...I finally sat down and decided to make this story happen.
It's no secret to anyone here that my father and I don't get along, and yes...abuse is something that I had to grow up with. Both verbal and physical. Because of this website, and some incredible friends, that has gotten a lot easier to say. Four years ago, it wasn't. I didn't like talking about it, I didn't like thinking about it, I didn't want to write about it. I guess that deep down I was afraid that it was much bigger than me, much stronger than me. I wasn't ready to jump into something like that. I was living my life, actually feeling normal for once, and bringing it up back then was terrifying because I knew that I'd suddenly realize what had happened to me and breakdown into the disturbed member of society that most people would expect me to be if they knew the complete story. Even more important than that, I didn't want to see it as a weakness for anything. I didn't want to see it as an EXCUSE for anything. I didn't want pity because of it, or for anyone to walk on eggshells when they talked to me. I didn't want that horrible piece of my life to 'define' me in the eyes of everyone watching. So I kept it inside for the most part, and even though I was honest about it if anyone asked, I left a lot of the details out of it, gave them a few sentences to make it clear, and then changed the subject as quickly as possible. That was my only way to keep it inside and safe from beating me up all over again. But in the end it became more of a prison than a secret.
As the site grew, and the stories got more personal to me, that ONE thing, that giant block of my life, had become this barricade that I kept trying to squeeze by and dodge around and crawl underneath. It was a huge 'void' in the middle of all of the other feelings and emotions that I was writing about at the time, and being scared of it all the time was limiting my ability to write what I feel. When the constrictions got to be too much, I decided that I would give it a try. Just to see if I could possibly get through it, just once, and be done with it. My first attempt was to write in a 'father' for Randy in "New Kid In School", and tone things down a bit from how they really were. I did finally get a chance to add it to the series without much difficulty...but it may have been too early. It shook things up for the series' fans, and they wrote me a lot of emails concerning the content of the chapter. It was by no means the fault of anyone reading, but I became extremely defensive about any and all comments concerning the chapters, sensitive to a degree of being emotionally fragile. Instead of taking the feedback as a commentary on the STORY, I took a lot of them personally, as though they were speaking about a very real and very disturbing piece of my life. I withdrew into a shell immediately concerning the story, might have snapped at a few people, and decided to write another chapter or two....taking the father out of the picture quickly and not mentioning him ever again. Any and all ideas of a story involving a child living through this were tossed away, and I wasn't about to put myself in the position of having to let people look in on the most personal part of who I am. Not ever again. In my mind, my first attempt to tackle the issue had failed, and I didn't think I'd ever be rid of it.
It took some time, but I tried again a few more times later on. I dealt with some of my darker feelings about what happened to me in stories like "Gone From Daylight", "Always", and "Final Hour". Always frightened of what someone would say or how the readers in general would react to something that is still very real to me. Always struggling with the idea of whether I was coming too close to the real thing and whether or not I was being too graphic to the point where it would detract from the more positive meaning behind the story. Always ending the night tired and teary eyed from bringing back old memories that I wanted to be long gone from my mind. You wouldn't believe how vicious it is when you go back and remember it all. You can still feel it, you can still see it, you can still hear it. It wasn't easy to go back there, believe me. But in time, my stories in general got easier to write, my barriers around certain subjects began to lift, and the subject of parental abuse wasn't such a taboo subject anymore. So...with just a LITTLE bit more hesitation, I began work on "My Only Escape".
This was the first story that I ever tackled head on, and went right to the heart of what it was like to live in that house. In almost all of myother stories, the father has been absent. It's something that I didn't really realize until I was already two years into writing as 'Comicality'. So I sat down, opened my mind back up to accept and deal with the many awful things that I had to grow up with, the beatings, the cursing, the cheating, the shoving, the secrets, the embarassment, the pain...and I put it down one key at a time. Surprisingly, this story was extremely easy to write when compared to my earlier attempts. Maybe it's because I had grown with the website. Maybe it's because I saw the other attempts as being 'sugar coated' and 'timid' when it comes down to what really happened. Maybe it was just time to tell the story. Who knows? But it came out of me non-stop, and I wrote more than half of the first chapter in one sitting. Not a single tear this time. And I didn't back away from the details as much of what was going on this time around. I only left out details that caused more damage to the story than good. Afterall..."My Only Escape" involves abuse, but it's not ABOUT abuse. It's about love, it's about being stronger than you're expected to be, and it's about survival inside as well as outside. Because if the inside dies, then there's no reason to save the rest.
This time, I went straight through the story, unapologetically writing from my heart and pouring my soul into something that I have wanted to get rid of for a long long time. It freed me in so many ways, and every chapter gets easier to write. It's a sigh of relief for me, and if I die tomorrow, I'll know that I at least purged this nightmare from my system. I'll at least die with the knowledge that someone finally heard my cries, and understood. That alone made it worthwhile.
The story was accepted with a LOT of positive feedback, even with the violence that was contained in the plot, and it took me by surprise. I was bracing myself to roll with whatever punches the readers would throw at me and simply deflect the statements towards the 'story' and not to myself. But the comments I received were all favorable ones, supportive ones, and some were even from people who had suffered through similar ordeal in their lives and could relate. To actually be "THANKED" for writing this story is a complement that I will take with me for the rest of my life. And being able to express something that I had been holding inside for my whole life was a gift in itself. It's a part of me that I can let go of at last, and sharing it with you guys has been an honor.
Today...my father and I hardly speak, and when we do it's an unpleasant conversation 90% of the time. Nothing would make me happier than to sit here and say that he has lost whatever control over me that he had when I was too little to fight back. I would love to say that I don't remember having my head rammed through a mirror, or being pushed down in parking lots, or locked out of the house in the rain, or force fed until I was sick, or pushed through the glass of a screen door. I wish I could tell you that I had forgotten about having my shoulder dislocated, or being too sore to go to school, or being forced to lie about where my aches and pains were coming from. I wish I didn't still run home after work because of the 'habit' that I formed when I was forced to be home from school. I wish I could look at myself in the mirror, or approach someone I like, or be proud of something I've done, without hearing his angry voice in the back of my mind telling me not to waste my time and to quit being stupid. I wish I didn't still practically lock myself up in my room when I'm home as though he were still here, I wish I didn't still feel most comfortable on my bedroom floor as though I was still hurt from being bruised. I wish I could tell you that I don't get nervous when he calls, or that I dread holidays for the simple reason that I know I'll have to talk to him. I wish...but I can't. I can't say that, and somehow, he'll always be a part of me. That....will always be a part of me. It's not going anywhere now and it probably never will. But these days I burn it as fuel. If he says I can't do it, then I'll make it my goal to prove him wrong. If he says it's not good enough, then I'll work myself into a fucking COMA to make it perfect! BETTER than perfect! And any insult he could possibly throw at me can be solved with a curse word and a click of the phone when I hang up in his face.
Make no mistake, I hate what happened to me, and I wonder what I would have been if I could lived without that pain. But all in all...I wouldn't take it back. Because it makes me who I am, and considering the fact that I'm getting to like that person more and more each day...then I have to thank him for that. I look forward to the day when I can be that perfect little boy, just to let him know that he was wrong, and that he didn't have what it took to beat it out of me. I'll never find a more genuine smile than I will that day.
That, my friends, is what "My Only Escape" is all about. It's about the difficulties of your situation, and how one person can help you find that strength inside to get through it.
This page was last updated on February 11, 2016.