The carport lights flashed on through the kitchen blinds and the engine of the light blue 1988 Cadillac Deville could be heard in the den.
He was home, and more than likely he was drunk.
“Get up, get up and go get in the bed!” my mother’s strong, yet angelic voice said to me.
Sudden and complete fear overcame both of us like lightening all because HE was home which meant we had to go into defense mode.
Defense mode for us was playing possum when he entered the house in hopes that he would leave my mama alone tonight.
He never needed a valid reason to argue and fight with her.
The alcohol and the person he became with it in his system was reason enough.
My 8 year old legs swiftly swung off my mama’s soft high yella thighs and kicked off the covers we were snuggled under. I quickly switched off the TV while she flew out of the den, down the short hallway and into the bedroom to dive into the bed for safety.
I never really had to rush because he never bothered me, only my mama. Only my beautiful, classy, intelligent, fashionable, well-spoken, and unfortunately cancer-stricken sick mama.
The first example I had of how a man treats a woman came from my daddy.
Not only did I have a father figure in the home my entire childhood, but I had my biological parents. The example he provided wasn’t as great as it appeared to outsiders.
He was physically, emotionally, and mentally abusive to my mama for many years including the year of her death in 1993.
He was an authentic, living, breathing Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. When he was sober, he was a true family man and a great provider, but when intoxicated, he became very abusive, manipulative and disruptive.
I loved him, but I didn’t like him.
As I transitioned into my teenage years, I found myself in an abusive relationship with a man 15 years my senior. He too was a great provider. I had nice cars to drive, lived in a new townhouse in a very nice neighborhood…with all of the materialistic items a 17 year old could imagine.
I didn’t have to work but he hit me.
He hit me in the same way I witnessed my daddy hit my mama 5 years prior. He spoke to me in the same hurtful manner and isolated me in the same way. But, I loved him though!
I loved him but I didn’t like him.
For many years, I carried hatred, resentment, blame, and an unforgiving heart for these two men because of the abuse I endured. But eventually, through maturity, wisdom, counseling, a little screaming, a lot of crying, and most importantly prayer and walking with the Lord, I gained a heart of forgiveness.
I realized that you can forgive a person for the hurtful acts they inflicted upon you, yet still have the moments in your mind to strengthen and remind you just how much God has carried you.
I have also realized your past does NOT dictate your future.
Statistics would indicate and critics would say that I shouldn’t be here today based on my past. That I shouldn’t be a successful professional in Corporate America or in a doctoral program. That I shouldn’t have a highly intelligent, manner able 11 year old son.
However, I am who I am today because of my past hurts, abuse, damage, and the men that I loved but just didn’t quite like.
I loved them but I didn’t like them because in due time, God showed me that loving Me and liking Me was of much more worth.
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