Friday, January 20, 2012

Lion's Den Part II

"Jesus, please take daddy home or take me !"

The suffering three-year-old, Eileen (my birth name) wanted to be safe, didn't want to be terrorized by her drunken, raging father anymore.

The answer came in a gift.

I heard music and went to the old upright piano in our tiny living room. I began to play a song by ear. My voice opened up and I sang like an angel !

Not only could I sing but I began to stand up against the raging lion in our home. When he came in during the night and began fighting with my mom, I found new courage in my heart. I tried to protect her even though I was so small.

Because I fought back verbally and physically I acquired the name of "brat" by my mom, and "pest" by my older sister and brother.

Nothing deterred me from speaking out; a new level of hatred brewed in my heart. I wanted my dad removed from our lives.

My prayers and wishes didn't change this frightening environment.

In its place I received another gift.

Learning to read in a week at age four, I sailed above all my classmates in school. My teachers adored me and I them. Because everything came easily and quickly I was easily bored, hence given all errands to keep me occupied. I often stayed after school, calculating huge math problems on the green board in my classroom.

I found freedom and a safe haven at the beach and bay that encircled our little town; I felt safer outside than I ever felt in my home.

My energy level produced another gift, athletic ability; none in the school could outrun or outplay me at any game.

The dark side was my competitive and extremely volatile personality that clashed with my closest friends as I often fought with them to confirm my superiority.

At home I threw huge tantrums and often beat my head on the wall trying to get my mother to show interest in me. She was annoyed and walked away; our only connection was a prayer before bedtime.

My only respite was washing dishes because I was left alone unless I didn't scrub the wrought iron skillet good enough after a fried chicken dinner. Then the monster bullied me as I seethed in silence.

I was living two lives by age 5; the pretty little green-eyed blond with the cheerful personality who could do anything; and the tortured, angry child trying to change my mom's decision to stay with my dad.

When I went to the little church right across from our home, I was praised for my angelic behavior and musical talent. There I won all contests for most Bible verses memorized and received positive attention from the teachers.

My life was already a complex dichotomy.

More to come . . . 

1 comment:

  1. By the age of 7, maybe earlier, I knew that I was safer outside alone than I was in the house with other people. Today, I find that so sad. School was my escape from home and family. I loved my teachers and most of them liked me. They made me feel good about myself. My family didn't.