Friday, June 23, 2017

Dear Dad letter from your Eldest Daughter

It was in 2001 when I was in a psychiatric hospital trying to make sense out of my life after my friend was killed and a note left on her chest to warm me that I would be next.   I had an epiphany.   Onee of the things that I have been made aware of is that I am only able to accept male compliments.  Compliments like “You drive like a man” or “You have really big balls”.   Why can’t I accept compliments like “You look pretty today, you sewed that well?”  The answer is horrific.  I am still looking for your approval.    You approved of courageous, male things and so I still yearn after compliments that are male orientated.  I am devastated that you are still linked to me in even this small way.   I don’t want to be linked to you in any way.  I don’t want to feel anything for you.  I have prided myself on having gone past it all and forgiven you and moved on and thought I had dealt with it all.   I have been to psychologists, psychiatrist who have committed suicide, done self-help books, read child abuse survival books, confronted you and told you that you would never hurt me again, but still, it comes up and I am shocked.   I am removing myself from these memories by writing all this down – the truth of what happened. 
My grandmother was on Largactol all her life.   She had two sons.  Her one son she sent to boarding school and the other to a psychiatric hospital – you. You did something terrible but it is a family secret and no one knows the truth.   You loved and hated my grandmother.  Did you suffer from some mental illness?  Is that why you and your mother were so close? 
Your erratic behavior should not have made such an indelible mark on me.   Even when a tea cup breaks and we glue it back together, after all these years a person does not even notice that there was a crack.  Why then, is the crack so visible to me. 
Those six and a half years are the ones that I remember.   I only know that you beat my mother senseless when she was pregnant with me and that you threw me out a window when I was six weeks old.   The story I am telling is that one which I remember that stretched a period of 6 and a half years. 
My grandmother had a house built behind our house.   She was always in the background and everyone knew that I was her favorite.  She would always give me the best pear or the nicest present.   I did not enjoy that extra attention because it made me different to the other children.   There were five of us.   I was the oldest, then Joy, my father’s favorite, Shane, the only boy, Yolanda and then Gizelle, the baby.   
My father always took my grandmother’s side against my mother and my grandmother was cruel and evil towards my mother.   She would take our fresh bread out our bin and replace it with her stale bread and if my mother complained, my father would accuse her of lying, even if I had seen her do it.   She would tell lies about my mother to cause problems in the marriage.   I could not put these two people who were my grandmother together – the woman who spoiled me and the one who tried to get my mother committed to an asylum for insanity.   My mother spent a lot of her time crying and trying to help keep her marriage together with my father.   She loved him so much that most of her energy went into pleasing him.   But this is not my mother’s story, this is mine and I must stick with mine.

Hey Dad, I remember the time you said that I would never swim across the Umtata River when it was in flood with all the sharks swimming around and that you would give me a pound to do it and….. I did it.  Why did you always ask me or encourage me to do such dangerous things? 
Why did you put that river snake in my bed knowing that I could not reach the bed side light until it was too late?   Why was it always with me?
 Why did you expect me to go and empty the long drops at night without a light or touch, knowing the place was full of snakes? 
 Why did you put piss inside a beer bottle and offer me a sip once hot day at Coffee Bay?  And then scream with laughter when I spat it out?
 What did you see in me when you always beat me for being so much like my “fucking mother”?
 Why did you give me no acknowledgement for any achievement?  If I came home with a First Certificate in swimming, did you ask me why I did not break the record?
 Why did you humiliate and embarrass me in front of your mobile police friends?
 Why did you always introduce me to others as “My flat-chested daughter” and then go on to say you would have a t-shirt printed with Front on the front of the shirt so that people would know the difference between the front and the back of me? 
 Why did you only beat my mom and me? 
 Why did you always make your mother sit in the front seat and my mother at the back?
 Why did you always take what your mother said was truth, but what my mother said as a lie?
 Why did you do those things to me?   But you know what Dad, I got you in the end.  I am the strong one now.  And you helped me to get this inner strength and spirit that nothing can damage it.  I am, as you said of yourself, as strong as Mother Russia.  I am having the last laugh.   I have done something that will drive you roll around and squirm in your grave.  The much bigger story is still coming.  Your daughter. 
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