ENGWR 300 (Online)
January 26, 2012
The Pain in Learning
“Why are you even bothering? You’re too stupid to read that, let alone understand it.” This phrase, and many like it, was all I heard from my biological father as I was growing up. I was one of the many unlucky children that grew up with an abusive parent. My biological father hit me, belittled me and much, much more. Yes, I am angry at him, but in a cruel round-a-bout way, my father helped me become the intelligent woman I am today.
When I was a child, I loved reading. I would read anything I could get my hands on, from my mom’s Anne McCafrey books to the manuals on the bottom shelves. Reading was my escape from the screaming and yelling of my house. When I got further into school, that need for escape grew and evolved into a need to prove my father wrong. He has never supported me in my academics, yet he has always yelled and hit me for anything less than a B grade. Because of the way he treated me, I dove headfirst into my studies, and by the end of high school I ended up at the top of my classes.
My teachers never understood my narrow-mindedness when it came to learning. I was great when I was given a month’s worth of work to do and left to my own devices, but when they made me participate in the class itself, I never did as well. I was given low grades because of this, and my father would hit me more. By the time I got into middle school, my parents had gotten a divorce and my mom had been remarried for seven years. It didn’t make things better. I worked harder and harder, and got better and better grades. And more and more bruises.
Just after the beginning of my sophomore year in high school, for reasons that escape me to this day, I moved to Manteca to live with him, his new wife, and her granddaughter. At this new, larger school, I got good grades, all A’s and B’s. My father did not care. My step niece would get a C on a math test and she got taken out to a fancy dinner and given gifts. I got a C once. I was cooked a dinner I was allergic to, got grounded, and then given a black eye for standing up for myself.
Things in Manteca came to a climax when my father and I had the biggest fight we have ever had. Things ended up with me almost getting run over by him. The cops were called, and I went to stay with an aunt until my Mom could pick me up. All of this was because I told him I had had enough. I was moved back home with my mother and step dad. But I was not the girl that I was when I left. I had shut down emotionally. I worked on schoolwork every waking moment. I read, I studied, and I aced everything my teachers threw at me. After about a year, I started opening back up and being more like my ‘old’ self. I was never going to able to be that girl again, but it didn’t matter. He didn’t matter.
I stopped caring what my father thought, and I stopped talking to him. My mom and I got a restraining order against him and together we moved forward. I started laughing again, and I started doing better in school. Not just the academic side of my education, but the whole school experience. I got back into acting, soccer, and wrestling. I joined after school clubs. Many more paths opened up for me once I stopped trying to prove my father wrong.
My father might have been one of the worse parents ever, but without him, I wouldn’t have ever had the almost suicidal need to do well in school. After I walked away from that dark portion of my past, I saw that he was wrong from day one: I am smart enough. I always was, but until I stopped and looked back on my life, I never realized how very wrong he was. My teachers saw a change in me and gave me the workload to match what I was capable of. So instead of belittling me and forcing me into this mold of what he wanted his daughter to be, he helped me learn all I could get my hands on, just to escape him. I would never wish abuse on anyone, not even the abusers themselves, but in this case, my father ended up showing me just how smart I truly am. Thanks, Father. Word count: 804.