To The Abusive Father Who Thought He Could Break Me

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You think you have the right to give me orders like a dog you trained to follow your every command. I once mockingly addressed you as “sir” with an exaggerated bow and you looked at me with a smug triumph in your eyes and told me that was how I was supposed to treat you. You think you have the right to control my life as if you carved me out of wood yourself and attached my joints and have free reign over all my movements like I don’t have a mind of my own.

I once told you “no” for the first time and the back of your hand met my cheek with a violent kiss that painted it a deeper scarlet than any shade of lipstick that has ever touched my lips. You raised me and led me to believe I was a disappointment with every straight A I didn’t earn and every silver medal instead of gold I won and every second less I could stand on pointe than another girl my age when it was you who failed me.

It was you who wanted me to fear you as if you were god and bend to your every whim as if you were a king instead of a good for nothing piece of shit with a sickening sense of patriarchal entitlement. Instead of weakening me with every punch the nebulas that blossomed on my flesh at the contact of your knuckles reminded me of where I came from and where you did too. And with the healing of every bruise I grew stronger until one day I was no longer afraid of you; the same day I smirked and realized it took the lowest form of cowardice to hit someone because they could not be controlled by you.

The harder you tried to smother the fire within me the hotter it burned. It burned across the surface of my skin and shone through the glassy surface of my irises until it overwhelmed me in its flames and you thought twice about reaching out to touch me. The day you punched me so hard I collapsed on the ground but refused to stay down was the day I saw fear in your eyes when you realized it would take more than physical pain to break me. And with every insult you devised was a wasted breath because I was so past the point of entrusting you to label who I was and who I was not that your words were met by my laughs and not my tears. I saw all pretense of your strength crumble in front of your eyes when you slapped me and I dared you to hit me one more time with a voice so grave your hand dropped to your side.

In your pathetic weakened state you crawled back to me with a plea for forgiveness; and unfortunately for you my ears were as deaf to your cries as mine was to yours. You tell me now after years of your torment that it was me who caused you so much pain, and while I am amused at the irony I must also somehow agree. Because I know for a fact that no amount of punches and kicks and slaps can rival the pain of knowing your own daughter has no love for you. TC mark

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