“Jo, hurry up! It’s time to go.” Dad called from down the hallway.
“Now? But we don’t have to leave for another twenty minutes!” I called back.
“I’m hungry, I want to go eat during your gymnastics class & get a head start - hurry up!”
Oh, well. I started getting ready, packing up my bag – getting my water bottle. I wished he had told me earlier.
“Come on – time to go!” He was getting more impatient by the second.
“Okay, just a minute.” His frustration was rubbing off onto me. I heard footsteps coming to my door, and a hard knock.
“You know what? If you don’t hurry up, I don’t care whether you want to go to gymnastics or not! I’ll just go eat and leave without you.”
“Ok, go.” Maybe it was better than getting upset – maybe I wanted time to cry.
“I might just do that.” He couldn’t stop. “What are you doing anyway?? Trimming your toe nails or something?” He stormed away from the outside of my door. I gave up. I didn’t want to be in a car with him. I’d rather cry. I didn’t want to feel sorry for myself, I hate doing that. But the mind can’t always control the tears.
Two minutes later, “Honey, come on.” It was Mom. The one who watched. The one who saw. A mirror without a reflection.
“I don’t want to.” I brushed away those stupid weak tears. How could I be hurt again? I should be numb to it. It was stupid to cry over something so small. But the something was wrong.
“Sometimes, when you’re hungry, you say things for emphasis.” Mom was right. Because when you’re hungry, it’s okay to lose your patience. When you’re blind it’s okay to hurt. When people are being mean to you, it’s okay to pass along the mood. When you’re deaf, it’s okay to say anything. It’s okay - all of it.
“I’ll have lemonade and a brownie please.” I smiled at the cashier.
“That seems to be all that Hannah’s been eating lately.” Mom wanted to explain.
“I know what you mean – these teenagers don’t like to eat what’s good for them.” The cashier threw a look at me. Cashiers were only supposed to do that in the movies. I wanted to say I wasn’t hungry. I just wanted the lemonade, but Dad had said to get a brownie. Mom didn’t remember.
I took a sip of the lemonade, and hid the useless brownie in my purse.
“Hey, Joannie, I was thinking-”
“What??” Dad interrupted. He was driving the car.
“I wasn’t talking to you, I was talk-”
“Then don’t talk at all, Karen! I’m paying attention to traffic.”
“Dad, please don’t talk to me like that.” Say what you feel, right?
“HERE! Take the map – you tell me how to get there.” He threw it back at me.
“But I don’t know where we are or where we’re going.” I felt helpless.
These stories have their own voice – don’t assume they’re me. But also don’t assume the stories are fake – that something like them never happens – because they do. They have. They happen to kids all the time, and it’s so sad. I hate it – I hate how some parents forget to treat their kids as people. I hate how many kids are abused, especially with emotional abuse, because children can’t run away from it. I mean, first of all, kids think that they’re the ones doing something wrong. Secondly, even if they realize their parents are wrong, they can’t escape. They’re stuck – they can’t prove with physical bruises that something is wrong.
So please don’t say that Jo, Hannah, and Karen are overly sensitive. Don’t tell me they’re being silly – crying about stupid things. Because that – it does hurt. And when the people, or parents, that children love & look up to the most, put them down - it’s devastating.
Do you know what it does? It makes children want to do anything for anyone to make them feel accepted like they never were by their parents. It makes it so hard for a person to believe when someone tells him or her how great he or she is, because the children are used to the parents saying “I love you,” while their actions say something different.
Children or teenagers, they – we - deserve better than living all the time like that. We all deserve more than scars ingraved inside - than bruises flowing through in our blood. We deserve more than keeping journals - journals that make our hearts crumble.
(let me know what you think)