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The Thwarted Will
by Tammy Hendrix

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You tell me I'm stupid. I can't even talk "right". I can't spell or think. So on walls and in corners is where I stay never speaking until spoken to. Many times not even. I don't want to reveal my below evolution of the monkey I.Q. It's embarrasing to be stupid. You tell me I'm a mistake. I'm always screwing up. Only you use less kind words. I never get it "right". I've never made you proud. In fact, you say I embarrass you. You've never hung my pictures on the refrigerator and you took my flowers out of the family photo album, twice. The second time I found them in the trash can. My mistake, I thought you might treasure them. It's painful to be worthless.

You tell me I'm growing into a beautiful young woman. Yet I am uneasy with your generous compliments as I stand here now, wearing a training bra, barely over the shock of what I woke up in the middle of the night to find pouring from between my legs. Momma never told me about this. You approach me, my heart races. You hurt me, I scream and cry. You lay atop me, I die. I walk in fear. I live in shame and self-loathing. My dreams filled with violence, torture, and blood EVERYWHERE are what I see every night. That is when I'm unlucky enough to be able to fall asleep- something I try to do as little as possible, for peace very, very rarely overpowers the nightmares. I wish not to be beautiful. For if I am ugly then no more will you want to hurt me. It's shameful to be ugly. It's shameful to be beautiful.

I'm told your love is unconditional as you tare from my womb looking like the nightmare that laid atop me. Screaming, crying and hungry all the time. I don't know what I'm doing here! I'm scared! I'm lost! Have I made the right decision? I know it wasn't your fault and now here I am- fourteen years old with a baby and I don't really understand how I got here! Swallowed in shame, dazed and confused and amazed with how tiny you are. Scraped knees, hurt feelings, medical insurance, stay in school, do your homework, constant worrying and all the while I witness you turning out just like me! SHIT! What am I doing wrong? What in the world am I going to do about college? Now we're discussing cars? Girlfriends, boyfriends and just WHAT THE HELL ARE YOUR INTENTIONS WITH MY DAUGHTER? Christ! When will this ever end? The decisions I made that led to the shaping of your existence have begun an endless endeavor of sleepless nights and hanging over the toilet and even now, years later, the fear of the decisions that I make that are now shaping the person your becoming are leaving me sleepless and hanging over the toilet still. Unconditional love? Are you freaking joking me?! It's scary to not fully comprehend that I've taken on the single, most profound, frustrating, nerve racking, character shaping, life altering venture I could ever imagine!! It's rewarding to know I wouldn't change a thing. Not one single thing.

You say that you think of me always. You come by to visit and even engage in intellectual conversation with my mother... voluntarily! Holy Shit! You "happen" to drive by often when I'm walking to work, school or the daycare. Inspite of my adamant refusals, she gives permission for me to go out with you. I have no choice. What do I know I'm only seventeen. Looking like someone you might see walking the streets at two in the morning, she dresses me herself, literally. Why do I feel sacrificed? My resentment builds as we drive off when that same feeling comes over me like the one that warned me about the one that laid atop me. I know somethings wrong here, but what? Will I heed the warning this time? You proclaim my beauty as I ignore you while choking down the fifth of vodka you just pulled from under the seat. Anger provokes us to make very stupid choices. Congratulations! My first drink. My only memory, you laying over saying, "Don't worry I'll show you how to do it," throbs in my head. But not as violently as my first hangover and certainly not as viciously as finding out that my great admirer had bet people I though were my "friends" that he could "get it." Okay, so you won that bet. I knew there was something about you I didn't like. It's degrading when awareness blatantly calls you a cheap slut.

You say that you appreciate all I've done for you. That is when I chase you all over town asking, "When are you going to come see your old mother?" Your so busy working, paying bills. Oh! You just bought a new car? How nice dear. "So, when are you coming to visit? Well I understand your busy. Please try to remember to call for Christmas, okay sweetie?" It's a lonely honor to find the time spent hanging over the toilet and sleepless nights weren't in vain.

You tell me you love me, till death do us part. Then death is precisely what you attempt to impart. I'm sorry isn't cutting it anymore! Do you notice I barely have the strength to get up from the floor after you punch my face, break my nose and sit on me punching me in the stomach till I can't breath?! And that gun pressed against my temple while our year old son was crying in my arms! So, you want to make up. Your "sorry" again and give me a rose. A single, lonely, desperately seeking attention in any form rose. accompanied by a very twisted, distorted view and a genuine 'I love you." I take the rose because it's beautiful. I take the "I love you" because it's beautiful. It's a weary feeling to be lonely and desperately seeking attention in any form.

You tell me just one won't hurt and it will help get my mind off things. No, I don't do that. But then I take the drink, and smoke the joint and it doesn't help. So I take another drink and smoke another joint and still it's not enough. I can still feel what a stupid, worthless, shameful, scared, cheap, lonely, desperate nothing I am. Okay, maybe just one hit. HOLY SHIT!!!! What the hell was that?! Damn that was good! Give me another hit. Hurry, I need another hit now! Alright, NOW I GOTTA GET SOME MORE!!!! How do I get more when payday is so far away? "Front me, I'll pay you payday. Front me, I'll pay you payday. Front me, I'll payday... Why won't you front me? So what if I lost this job, I can get another one." Okay, I need money now! Really?, the dope man will take my T.V, my stereo, my car. A needle! Are you out of your mind?! No! People catch AIDS that way. A brand new needle? I can even take it out of the package my self? Like no high I've ever had before, huh? You won't tell anybody will you? I mean it's not like anyone would notice my sunk in face and extreme weight loss. They won't notice my arms, feet, hands, neck or anywhere else I can find an accommodating vein. Okay, this is the last one. I have no more money and I'm exhausted. Damn! I can't see after dark-freaken electric company cut off my power. I paid my bill, damn it!! I think? Alright now, I've got to get my self together. I need a shower, haven't had one in weeks. SHIT!! That water is ice cold!!!! I can do it! I need to look straight to see my kids tomorrow. The foster mothers meeting me at social services at 3:00 p.m. This is my last chance. If I don't get it right this time I'll never see my kids again. Sold my bed to the dope man so I guess I'll sleep on the floor, no big deal. Can't sleep. I need a drink to calm me down. Better sneak out quietly so the landlord does here me. He's just gonna have to wait for his rent, again. Whew! I made it. Damn I'm good! It's easy to ignore that the only one I'm fooling is me.

You tell me I'm 'gold!" I'm your "homegirl." For ten years now I've been hooked. Thats a lot of money. But now the money's gone. What do I do now? You want me to what?! NO!! I don't do that! I thought you were my friend? Yea, yea you care about me. I see what you care about now! Oh, come on baby nothing! You'll give me how much?! Really? You won't tell anybody, will you? Well... okay. Just please don't tell anyone. WHAT DID YOU CALL ME?! A crack whore?! But your the only one I've done that with. Why are your buddies asking me now? How could you do that to me? I thought I was your "homegirl." Fuck it!! Who needs money! It's belittling to figure out that a "trick" is all I'm worth.

You say you've been here the whole time! How dare you! Then why did you allow her to hurt me, beat me, call me stupid?! Do you have any idea how much strength I had to muster to withstand the torture and still think for myself; hold onto my own beliefs; and understand how wrong she was and treat my children better than she treated me?! Do you have a clue how hard it was and still is to educated myself to prove to MYSELF that I'm NOT STUPID!!!!!! Do you know how many times I wanted to just give up, to die but held on barely enough to find a tiny bit of courage to go on?! And if you've been here the whole time then why did you let him do those ungodly things to me?! Pure, absolute evil, satanic torture, blood pouring from me everywhere!!!!! Where were you when I just turned my head, closed my eyes and disappeared?! Oh, how many nights I cried out to you. Did you answer? Not unless YOU call having a baby at fourteen an answer! What?...yes he was beautiful. It was amazing. And I did and still do love him so. Yes it did stop my attacker....WAIT A MINUTE, TO HELL WITH THAT!!!! Where were you when I was forced to go on a date with someone I did not like and than ended up being a cheap bet?! Were you watching when he took advantage of my pain?! Do you even care that mother blamed me because he never came around again?! Did you hear her when she called me a WHORE!!!!! AND I DIDN'T EVEN WANT TO GO!!!! So I hear that he got married. OH MY GOD! I just heard he went to prison for killing his wife!!!! WOW, that was a little close to home, huh? ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT!!!! Where exactly were you standing when my so called "husband" put a gun to my head and told me, 'YOUR LIFE IS OVER RIGHT NOW!!!!" It was pure "luck" that he did not pull the trigger. And I found, not you, I found the courage to leave him! And how dare you claim to be there when I was drinking myself into oblivion to try and stop the nightmares! Did you enjoy watching me loose everything I had for drugs, INCLUDING MY CHILDREN!!!! I had to work MY ass off to get them back! Do you realize how many kids never go back to their parents? DO YOU KNOW HOW LUCKY I AM THAT THEY'VE STUCK BY ME AND STILL LOVE ME?!!!! I MEAN, CHRIST, THANK GOD THEY DIDN'T GIVE........................... I MEAN THANK.................. God I'm so tired..................... I didn't turn out like her, did I? A baby to teach me what love really is. So many coincidences through out the years saving my life. The power to make my own way inspite of all the evil influence. Well, I suppose freewill doesn't guarantee that all people will make good choices.................... Okay, maybe I'm not a mistake like she told me. I guess it is possible that I'm here because you want me here. ..."you lay atop me, I die." Just then, that amazing light... that beautiful, bright light, that was you, wasn't it? You were the "poof" that carried me away from that foul experience, right? Cool!!!! THANKS FOR BEING THERE THE WHOLE TIME. I LOVE YOU GOD, AMEN!


Written by: Tammy Hendrix
tammyhendrix.poetry@yahoo.com.

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