As A Child Of Abuse, I WON'T Take It Again — Even From Our President

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Once I freed myself, I never stopped fighting for me.

When you grow up in an abusive home, you quickly learn what it means not to have a voice. You learn that you are powerless to stop abuse and that there is no one who will save you. You’re a damsel trapped by a dragon, and everyone that sees you in your tower keeps walking by, even if you're screaming for help.   

Abuse does more than take your self-control — it robs you of your self-expression. It robs you of your free will. It makes you completely and totally reliant on your abuser to learn how you can behave, speak, act.

Can you smile? That depends on what kind of mood your abuser’s in. Will it result in pain if they see you happy? Better not risk it then.

I lived a long time as an abuse victim. My family life growing up wasn’t really the greatest or the healthiest, though it did have its moments for sure. My father was a physically abusive alcoholic. He routinely beat us when he was angry, hurt us when he was drunk, and even tried to kill my then thirteen-year-old sister that one infamous night we don’t really talk about now.

My stepfather was a different abuser, but he was an abuser nonetheless. Mental anguish, emotional torture, forced submission to his will because he craved power over us? These were just the start. I learned when to be quiet. I learned when to hide. I learned when I could push a topic or if it would wind up with me being face down on the bed, pants around my knees, having a hand beating my bare backside for “back talking.”

But most importantly, I learned to find myself. It taught me to find my voice. And to my abusers, I am thankful for that. Because without being pushed to my limits, I never would have learned who I really was and what I was really capable of. That my opinions, thoughts, and feelings weren’t unworthy. That I was stronger than my abuser. That I had a voice, and I could use it to fight back.

I wasn't a damsel; I was a warrior who figured out how to fight the dragon and free herself. It took years. It took pain, suffering, and doubting myself, over and over again. But when I finally had enough, I never looked back.

That didn’t mean the abuse ended; quite the opposite. There was a battle between my abuser and me that never quit. Even at times when I thought I couldn’t take anymore, when I selfishly said that I couldn’t go on, I always did. Sometimes I didn’t even know why, because he’d so expertly sapped my will.

But once I found myself, I never stopped fighting for me. Even when it got hard. Even when things didn’t work out well for me. Even when it hurt.

For many people, the election fallout is annoying. “Life will just go on, so what’s all the protesting for? You’re just being sore losers.”

I will tell you what all of the protesting is for: It’s for women, men, children, LGTBQ people, people of color, poor people, unprivileged, underprivileged, abused people who are using their voices to make themselves heard, even if it sucks. Even if they face resistance. Even if no one thinks it matters or tells them they’re wasting their time, breath, and energy. Even if they’re told they look like idiots.

We are people fighting back against tyranny.

Harry Potter’s scar burned whenever Voldemort came near him because there was a connection there that only Harry could feel since he’d been personally touched by it and survived. And that's why he recognized Voldemort's evil, even when no one else could.

When I see Donald Trump, I see in him the face of tyranny I saw in my stepfather. In my father. In my abusive ex-boyfriends. In the people who told me that I needed to follow a certain set of rules or I would never be loved or amount to anything. In the people who told me that I just needed to keep hoping for things to change, and put my best face forward.

You know what I say to that? F*ck my best face forward. I'm going to be a nasty woman. Tyranny, injustice, and hatred don’t deserve my best face. And they don’t deserve yours, either.

When you know tyranny, when you see it, when it touches you, you will never forget that feeling. And when you come back into contact with it, you’re going to react. And how you react is totally up to you. Because you can choose to ignore the devil at your door, but that doesn’t mean he’ll stop knocking.


So to all the detractors that tell me I should just “suck it up,” get over the election, and respect Trump because he’s the president, I’m going to say the same thing that I wanted to scream every time people told me to respect my stepfather when I felt broken after his abuse:

No. No, I will not respect a man who hurts others. Who lies, cheats, and encourages other people to do the same.

I hate feeling like I’m a kid all over again, angry and powerless to do anything to stop the abuse I’m seeing. But I found my voice against one abuser, and I can find it again. Again, and again, and again, I will never back down.

I will not stop when I face injustice and neither can you. We must stand, united against the face of tyranny. We must help educate those who cannot see it. We must set things right.

I’m never going to stop protesting.

I’m never going to lose my voice. There are people out there who are suffering, and they either don't have their voice or haven't found it yet. But that doesn't mean they don't deserve a say.

We cannot take abuse from ANY person, even if that person is in the highest seat of power in our country. And if someone thinks we’re “whiny” or stupid, or anything else, that’s fine.

I can tell you that I’ve heard (and experienced) much worse. And guess what? I’m still not backing down. And neither should you.

 

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