Stay out of the way

I think it slightly just hit me. I learned this growing up and have carried it with me since. “Stay out of the way.” In further translation, I’ve always been a burden. I was an annoyance. I was in the way. I was a chore. I shouldn’t be there. “Stay out of the way.”

I remember when it would near 5:00pm. Dad would be home soon. How was he feeling? “Stay out of the way.” We were required to give him a kiss and hug when he stepped in the door. I hated it. Then it was scatter off and “stay out of the way”.

Especially if he were working on something. Dad wasn’t a fix-it man. Anytime he tried, it ended in violence; verbally and physically, at anything within his reach. And he was a pacer, so if he began pacing and you were in his path, uh-oh. To this day, if a man is working on something or trying to fix something, I get so anxious and scared. I literally shrink up like I’m trying to take up as little space as possible or become invisible. “Stay out of the way”. I pull my arms up to my chest and my hands usually go under my chin or I cover my mouth like I’m hiding but am still on the lookout for danger. If at all possible, I leave and actually hide until its over.

“Stay out of the way.” Being noticed wasn’t a good thing at home. You didn’t want to be the target. You didn’t want to be summoned for things you didn’t want but had no choice about, or to be the eye-witness of extreme rage.

I hated him. I could never let him see any emotion and constantly had to fake loving him and being happy to be doing the things he demanded. Fake smiles covered up so many tears. Fake smiles were the gates that held back the verbal stabs I wanted to give him, lavished with profanity and topped off with “I hate you!”

I don’t think my sister experienced as much as I did. I think he targeted me more. I was different than her and he knew how to play on that.

Now here I am today, still trying to just “stay out of the way”. I constantly feel like a burden, an annoyance, something to be tolerated but not enjoyed or desired. Something convenient when someone has a need that I can fulfill and then be tossed aside to once again remain ‘out of the way’. That’s how its always been. That’s what I know. That’s what I’m used to. It’s foreign to me to believe or understand that another human being could love or enjoy me and actually want me around in a general sense and not just to fulfill a temporary need or get a task done and then go back into hiding.

I wish I knew what that felt like; to be a real person.


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