The Caged Bird Sings

I had decided to part ways with my father. He was no longer able to destroy my self worth.

by Keera Schoffstall • Member { View Profile }
Photograph: iStock

As the blade grazed my skin, I felt free, sweet release, happiness. This is what he did to me. He drove me so far over the edge, and all I could do was fall.  The punishments he gave were anything but justified; instead they were cruel, and meant for humiliation. I felt that my only escape was deep in my mind, but even then he was so powerful that my mind was caged by his torment. For years, I felt abandoned and alone. No one stood up for me; no one saw what he was doing to me. My world came crashing down when the very man who raised me was also a distorted monster in my lifelong nightmare.

The punishments became more frequent, the usual mental and emotional scarring from his harsh words. Material items were stripped from my sanctuary, and privacy no longer existed. I was a caged bird always on display with no hope of escaping. Supervision became a lifestyle that my younger siblings were even exposed to; the little ones were given the responsibility to watch over their sister, who was supposed to be a role model.  He was able to manipulate everyone into thinking I was nothing but a rebellious teenager, that these punishments I received were what I needed.

Even though my father lashed out at me, the punishments I gave myself were far worse and were exactly what he needed to use for leverage. I became unstable, blades scarred my skin, pills slid down my throat, smoke became my exhaling breath. He was able to make me believe that I was a waste of life, my existence ceased to exist in his eyes. Through my struggles I became weak and began to lose hope in myself. Wanting nothing but approval from him, I continued to try and be what he wanted me to be; hoping that one day I would bring a smile to his face instead of the stern line his lips formed showing disappointment.

With the evidence of my mutilation on my body, he had more reasons to strike me down. I was sure that this torture would never end; I began to realize my only way to be free was to no longer breathe. My father was able to take everything away from me — not just material possessions, but my ability to see a reason to live. This idea would eat at me every night after his brutal emotional attacks. I would try and find the most painless ways to escape from this cage I called life. I would cry myself to sleep and pray to never wake up, with hope I would find life within death. 

His emotional and mental attacks were relentless, no escape from them, I would leave not even remembering how I got here or what I did to deserve this. His mind games were able to make me lose sight in who I was, even who I hoped to be. My only release from this torture was the punishments I gave myself. The acts I was committing to, I knew they were wrong and no way to handle my situation, but I had no choice. The endorphins that were released as a sleek blade crossed my skin would bring a smile to my face, and in that very moment I felt free. 

Not until recently I was able to break free from his attacks; one of the hardest decisions a daughter should ever have to make was presented in front of me. At this moment, I had decided to part ways with my father. He was no longer able to destroy my self worth. I was finally free from the monster of my nightmares, I never felt more relieved. I escaped a life of torture, from a life that was never worth living. I now have the power to make my own choices without someone in my ear belittling me. In the beginning I would always ask myself, “Will it end?” Now I have my answer. I have made peace with my choice to no longer except his cruel words and punishments.  In this journey I have lost a father, but have gained a life worth living.  




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