Learning Lessons

Alisha - Highland, California
Entered on November 11, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family, setbacks
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Screaming. If you’ve ever heard screaming like this you wouldn’t forget it either. I lower the volume on my video camera, so no one else can hear. I don’t need a video camera to tell me what happened then. My dad spat angry words in my face, but I couldn’t wipe them away. I’m lying at the bottom of some stairs. My back is bloody but I didn’t know that then. You see, when someone pins you down you can feel pain all the way to your toes. You feel your ribs caving under the pressure and your lungs struggling to move.

I’ve had enough of this tape. My dad forced my mom to tape it four years ago, and you can hear her screaming too. I snap it shut and pull out the cassette, determined to be in a good mood. Optimism is my goal, and I smile at my friend approaching me, ripping the black thread out of its case. The wind catches it like a kite, creating a black rippling scar in the sky.

There is no one I hate more in this world than that man. Hate is a complicated word to use though, because it indicates unconditional hate. My hate isn’t so simple, because growing up I had to learn patience and toleration of the hardest things. I had to learn to let my hatred burn safely inside me to live. The man I hate taught me everything I believe in.

When I was little, my father was intolerant of anything other than perfection to his standards. The floors had to be spotless, our beds made military-style, and we were to be silent and obedient. His mantra was “children should be seen and not heard.” Then he would laugh and say something like “maybe not seen either.” Being young, my brother and I tried to follow these rules- but kids are kids. We were loud, rambunctious, and testing. One day my brother tried to show him something, and my dad chewed him out for being in the way. We began to realize it wasn’t normal as we grew up. He was so hateful of anything disorderly, anything not how he liked it. Fights began to break out among us all.

There is no more a tolerant person in this world than my mother. It’s a pity she met him, because she will always be kind and patient with a person, no matter their abuses. I learned after a time to tolerate a lot of the things in life that drive me insane, just as I’ve learned to be more patient with people that are less capable or more annoying. So what, exactly, do I believe in? I believe that lessons can be learned from everything around us- good or bad. My father was the hardest lesson for me to learn from, and certainly the best.