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A Defining Moment

Imagine, if you will, a nineteen year old girl limping (slightly) down the highway, covered in purple stains and red scratches, her bright Bozo the Clown hair shining in the sun. This isn't what you'd normally think of as “A Moment of Bliss”, but it's the moment that keeps returning to me as I muse over this week's topic for therealljidol.

Those of you who know me might be asking, Bozo the Clown hair? It was the summer after my first (and only) year of college, and I had just broken up with my high school sweetheart. Break-ups for me always meant drastic hair change. My mom had never let me dye my hair, and I'd always wanted red hair...so in my youthful idiocy, I allowed some college kid to bleach and dye my extremely dark hair. He claimed experience, but it ended up tie-dyed. Luckily, a salon fixed it, but it never did look right after that.

My car had been broken down for nine of the twelve months I was away in Tennessee, so my mom was kind enough to come pick me up so I could make it back to Asheville for a doctor's appointment. I was disappointed to see that she allowed my evil stepdad to come, since I'd been hoping to spend nice time with her. I hadn't seen him in a year though, so I didn't make any fuss. We all knew how Dick* and I felt about each other. I was the girl who used a moving truck leaving college, because I actually lived there. I was out of the house at eighteen with no intentions of going back. I swore the abuse would end the minute I didn't have to take it anymore.

That's how I ended up walking down the interstate. I don't remember how it started, but Dick started yelling at me about something stupid and I put him in his place. He swerved all over the interstate – going well over 55, I might add – and then stopped right there in the road. He turned with his fist raised as if he was going to punch me, and I grinned at him and called his bluff. He turned back, swearing and calling me many vulgar names, and started driving off again. Traffic was dodging us, it was dangerous, and my mom still wasn't coming to my rescue. All I needed was a ride. I didn't sign up for that shit, and I no longer had to take it.

So I said, “This is my stop!”, grabbed my bag, opened the door, and started to jump out. Mom grabbed my shoulders as I jumped, so my feet were dragging down the interstate. I had on sandals, and I lost one. Rather than stop, Dick sped up. I almost cussed my mom, which I suppose is what made her realize I was serious. She made him stop, which was helpful since he was back up to thirty-five or forty by then.

I found my shoe and started hoofing it, but they continued creeping behind me for about a quarter mile. They wouldn't believe that I wasn't getting back in the car, so I ran across and climbed the median wall to walk the west-bound lane. The minute they had rounded the first curve out of sight, I climbed back across and hurried down the bank. I had seen a small side road, and I knew I could make my way to the next exit without them finding me. I didn't know that half the “embankment” was really a patch of blackberries as high as my chest. The thorns only got my bare legs and feet, and I made it through with both sandals.

Doesn't sound very blissful, does it? They say ignorance is bliss, and looking back, I was surely ignorant during that phase of my life. But it was also the first (but not only, I am happy to say) time I stood up for myself in the face of abuse without having to fear the repercussions. Any pain I felt that day was a pain I had chosen, and I had my first taste of adult freedom.

That day, my friends, was the first real bliss I think I ever felt.





* Not his real name, but appropriate enough

Comments

( 42 comments — Leave a comment )
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moonstone_fae
Oct. 10th, 2008 12:25 pm (UTC)
Wow...I wish I had been that strong at 18.
ahavah
Oct. 10th, 2008 12:26 pm (UTC)
Why thank you! The car jumping was at 19. It took a while for the mantle of adulthood to really settle.
lanternlady
Oct. 10th, 2008 01:02 pm (UTC)
What a wonderful feeling to be in control huh? :) bless!
ahavah
Oct. 10th, 2008 01:04 pm (UTC)
It was indeed!
badgerbear
Oct. 10th, 2008 02:41 pm (UTC)
Wow, that's great! I can imagine the feeling of joy and respect for yourself that you must have gained in that moment. :)
ahavah
Oct. 10th, 2008 03:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Well, I had respect for myself the whole time. It was him I had no respect for. There was definitely a lot of joy, though. :D
brightflashes
Oct. 10th, 2008 04:26 pm (UTC)
This is really great. I love it! :)
ahavah
Oct. 10th, 2008 04:33 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
lilmissmagic71
Oct. 10th, 2008 04:37 pm (UTC)
I had that stepfather.

I found that power... Isn't it delicious?

Great post!
ahavah
Oct. 10th, 2008 04:41 pm (UTC)
He seems to get around. I hope the finding of power comes just as often. Thank you!
peaonix
Oct. 10th, 2008 04:39 pm (UTC)
Bliss, or EMPOWERMENT, however you slice it, good for you!

I had a similar experience, jumped out of my bedroom window at 17 with as much of my stuff as I could carry and never looked back.

Nice to hear of another Young lady taking her control back!
ahavah
Oct. 10th, 2008 04:42 pm (UTC)
Good for you too! I thought of leaving much earlier, but for my momma, I stayed until I was 18. I counted down the days, though...
shadowwolf13
Oct. 10th, 2008 06:12 pm (UTC)
I admire your bravery!

Great entry. :)
ahavah
Oct. 11th, 2008 04:23 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
spydielives
Oct. 10th, 2008 06:39 pm (UTC)
Good for you!

Of course, now I am going to have to think of a reason to write my own "the last time he hit me" story... *grin*

Once I got past the "this is why I wrote this" I was hooked.
ahavah
Oct. 11th, 2008 04:24 pm (UTC)
Thank you! This is actually another one I didn't want to write about. I haven't spoken much of my past here, since I've done my releasing and moved on. Still, I had a hard week and bliss was hard to find. lol This is the one that kept coming back to me clearly.
franciscan
Oct. 10th, 2008 07:17 pm (UTC)
Sometimes making up your mind that you life is precious, and you have a right to be honored and respected for who you are takes a lot of guts. When you change to that determination, you are claiming something a lot of folks just don't understand. But you did it! What ever the cost, your life is yours.


Bless you for your courage, and your life.
ahavah
Oct. 11th, 2008 04:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you so very much! I was quite glad when the day came that I *could* claim my life as my own. It took me a while to wield it well, though.
miintikwa
Oct. 10th, 2008 08:34 pm (UTC)
Awesome.
ahavah
Oct. 11th, 2008 04:27 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
roina_arwen
Oct. 11th, 2008 02:15 pm (UTC)
You sound like an awesome person, and shame on "Dick" for being such an idiot!
ahavah
Oct. 11th, 2008 04:34 pm (UTC)
Aw, thank you so much! I'm so glad you think so.
rosepurr
Oct. 11th, 2008 03:23 pm (UTC)
Awesome! This is both really touching and really well written. Well done!
ahavah
Oct. 11th, 2008 04:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you so very much! I actually thought this was the worst entry I've done yet, but I'm glad to see people seem to be digging it. :D
johnmill79
Oct. 11th, 2008 06:32 pm (UTC)
Yay for standing up for yourself! I know how much of a challenge that can be, but I think it was definitely necessary in that situation.
ahavah
Oct. 11th, 2008 06:36 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
theafaye
Oct. 11th, 2008 10:04 pm (UTC)
Respect. Just... respect.
ahavah
Oct. 12th, 2008 03:56 pm (UTC)
Wow, thank you so very much!
solstice_singer
Oct. 11th, 2008 10:34 pm (UTC)
I loved this! I'm glad you were able to stand up for yourself. Freedom does bring bliss.
ahavah
Oct. 12th, 2008 03:56 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it.
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