I grew up waiting for the day that my father would finally make my mother breathe her last breath.
From the outside looking in you would have never known the horror that existed in my life as a little girl. My parents were living the American dream as a young, black couple in America. We had a beautiful English Tudor home on Bell Avenue in the Bronx. I attended New Rochelle Academy, a private Montessori school. My mother was a nurse. My father, who served in the United States Army, owned his own auto-mechanic’s shop in Mt. Vernon.
Despite the look of success, Bell Avenue was hell on earth for me. I was a lonely little girl who lived in a beautiful home with a daddy who seemed to love me while simultaneously hating my mom, his wife. As a result of my father’s hate for my mother, behind closed doors, I witnessed my dad wreak havoc on my mother’s body during his violent rages. Powerless, all I could do was watch and pray that my dad would at least spare my mother’s life. Following these violent episodes my family would resume our normal routine while trying to ignore any damage done by these violent experiences. As a result, I was left alone to grapple with my feelings of anxiety, anger, and sadness that I had been selected to grow up in hell on earth, otherwise known as Bell Avenue.
I desperately sought some semblance of normalcy by spending as much time as I could at my neighbor’s home. They were a Hispanic family that seemed to have mastered the art of peace, joy, and happiness. While the father went out and worked every day to provide for his family, the mother cared for the house full of energetic kids, me included. As we spent hours in the pool in my neighbor’s backyard during the summer, simply enjoying the opportunity to not have a care in the world, I would daydream about what my life would have been like if I was one of their children. When their father came home after a long day at work and jumped in the pool with us, I wondered, what was the secret to his happiness and wished that my father would take note so that we too could feel some of this joy in our beautiful home.
Unfortunately, my father never found this joy. His abuse continued until my mother escaped and the only memories I keep of my beautiful home on Bell Avenue is that it was hell on earth for me.
I wrote several pieces about my childhood several months ago and just did not feel ready to release them to the world. After a wonderful teen girl empowerment experience coupled with some experiences that led me to dig deep, I decided I was ready to share. Writing always gives me an opportunity to reflect and seek clarity on my thoughts and feelings. I share what I write with the goal of letting another person in the universe know that they are not alone in their journey for peace on earth.
As a woman that witnessed extreme domestic violence when I was a little girl, I am on a continuous journey to heal the damage done. I have come to realize that hiccups during my journey are inevitable. Despite the hiccups I am still crushing it when it comes to peace and happiness.
Thank you mom for giving me permission to share and for making me strong enough to know that despite life’s hiccups, I am still enough!