Yesterday, I spoke to my now 27 year old daughter. She gave me permission to write about this experience – one of her very first memories – from over 20years ago.
When I was 20 I had a two year old. I also had a husband who beat me. I didn’t know what gaslighting was back then. I didn’t know what body shaming was.
I did know that if I didn’t pick a restaurant for our date night he would throw a Yellow Pages at me and put a hole in the wall as I ducked.
That he would grab me as I tried to walk out the door and put a hole in the wall with my body.
I know so much more now – his comments about my “saggy tits” after I had his child. His demeaning horrible talk about me – to me. I wasn’t losing weight fast enough after she was born when I was 18. He let me know it. Every day in ways sometimes subtle and sometimes direct, yelling screaming at me. He was keeping me exactly where he wanted me – afraid to be with him and afraid to be without him.
Then the make up, I am sorry, repeat.
The abuse went so deep – I didn’t even get how deep until yesterday when I started crying and shaking uncontrollably for nearly 4 hours. I couldn’t stop. And I know enough about myself to know I had to let whatever I was feeling wash over me. I have never experienced anything like this in my entire life. Where in the fuck did this overwhelming fear, pain, sadness and guilt come from – all of a sudden – sucker punched?
It came from this: Society’s wholesale denial of women’s abuse experiences, the bullshit “locker room talk” back slapping privileged white male politicians who make fun of women for being horrified and deeply impacted by their man bragging about just grabbing some pussy.
So, remember I was 20 years old.
I was hanging out at my childhood home on a farm in the middle of nowhere with my 2 year old curly haired blond and blue eyed baby. Waiting for her dad to come pick her up for a weekend visit. We had done the swap a thousand times.
But this time was different.
He wouldn’t tell me what time he was bringing her back or where they were going.
I told him no that that wasn’t acceptable — I was all alone – at the farm parents out at the golf course or some event in town 18 miles away (some of this is so foggy)
When I chased him to grab my child back he punched me straight in my jaw.
I almost blacked out. He tried to drive away with her in the car and I threw myself on the hood.
He slammed on the brakes and I fell forward and didn’t thankfully run me over.
My baby screaming and crying in the back seat. Her fear the very very worst part. I would have let him run over me to keep her safe. To have her anywhere but there.
He finally lets me have her and I run toward the house with her and he follows me, carrying her carseat.
I knew what was coming…I sent my baby outside to play with a new litter of kitties…I could at least distract her so she didn’t see everything her dad was doing to her mom.
Inside barely in the door – he threw her carseat at me and it put a hole in the wall. Then, grabbed me – and we ended up on the floor (and I don’t know how) he sat on top of me — 6 foot 2 – and started to choke me. I think I was fighting back. I don’t remember?
I don’t know why he let go. He started to walk out the door and I ran to beat him to it – I was terrified he was going to grab my daughter again. I got her we stood in the front yard, she was wearing a yellow sweat suit – tiny – it must have been fall.
She clung me me my leg screaming and crying. He tried to coax her to him – to tell him good bye – come give daddy a kiss – he said he knelt down in from looking into the eyes of the little innocent girl he terrified, me standing holding her next to my leg (I will never forget the grip she had on me) me my shirt ripped half off my face and legs bruised.
She didn’t give him a kiss. We watched as he went to leave moving toward his car. He stopped where my car was parked. He punched his hand through the rear window, got in his car and sped out of the driveway spitting gravel behind him.
I didn’t file charges that day because I was scared of what he might do to me. The county sheriff was a friend of my mom’s and so he took the information and had it on file.
For weeks after – My daughter would say to my mother and my Aunt (out of no where) “my dad hit my mom.”
This is the truth of countless women’s lives. It is the truth of my life and my 27 year old baby who is just as done with this shit as I am.
And what is shit? We are witnessing unprecedented times we are witnessing the behavior of an abuser. The national stage has been gifted to a man that beats you then tells you he loves you. That your tits are too saggy then tries to kiss an make up. That he will keep you safe trust him even though he will never tell you how. We are witnessing the thrashing of a scared, pathetic stalker of the next president of the United States – a predator following her around a stage.
This is the truth of countless women’s lives — did I mention that?
But — This is how we lift each other up. This is how we change the conversation. We cry and shake and then we shake it out – because that is what women do. No More. This is how this pussy grabs back.