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Domestic Abuse, personal story

(Photo Illustration by Airman 1st Class Randall Moose)

(Photo Illustration by Airman 1st Class Randall Moose)

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- I recall when I was seven, walking home after school thinking of my toy cars. My mind was set on sitting down and playing with my favorite car, a 1969 Dodge Charger. Its cool green paint job, the boxy front end and curvy wheel fenders made me feel strong. Cars always gave me a sense of freedom. The freedom to hit the road and go wherever I desired. To get away from the pain and fear of my father.

Walking into my apartment, the room was lit only by the shaded, glass doors that led to the patio where my cars were. Making my way through the one-bedroom apartment to my bed, I noticed my father slouched on the couch and drinking alcohol. Normal really, but that day he stood up and approached me. Ignoring him, I continued to my bed.

There was no ignoring what happened next.

I was yanked back by the handle on my backpack and thrown to the ground. There I was repeatedly kicked with solid-toed boots. I began to feel sharp pain in my sides. Instinctually, I curled into a ball to protect myself. Each kick would force out a pained cry. I focused on the carpet, hoping it would end. But it wasn’t the pain that bothered me, it was the fear of my own father and the feeling of being unable to defend myself.

He stopped. I cried. My mother came home, but I did not tell her because I was scared that our family would be divided. I wanted to believe that my father actually loved and cared for us.

Weeks after that incident, my mother was also assaulted. It was the last time because she called the cops, and together we left him.

Three years later, I had an altercation with my step-dad. He was drunk, which was also normal, I “provoked” him and he threw me in my box of Legos. People always joke about stepping on a Lego, but being throw into a box of them? That was all it took for my mom to decide for us to leave him. So she and I struck out on our own.

In a weird coincidence, we ended up back where we started. Back in that same apartment where we left my father. The walls would bring back those painful memories, but they also gave me a chance to reflect on what had happened. It was during that time, I began to piece together who I wanted to be, or more accurately, who I didn’t want to be. I decided that my goal in life would be to help others escape pain and find happiness.

That quest began with my mother, who worked so hard to provide for me. I would do all the chores, make sure not to cause her any trouble and honestly, became her friend in order to help reduce her stress. At school I would seek out and befriend people who were introverted or bullied. It’s amazing what a friendly “good morning” can do for people who feel like they are alone. Helping them become happy made me happy.

So began a trend, a trend that led me to join the military in hopes of doing some good in the world. Enough good to counter the deeds of my father.