Pained Woman, Phenomenal Woman
A touchy subject. Something only a handful of people know. And over the years I've realized my story is important to share. Not only to help others, but to shine light on the beauty of one's own journey.
I have no relationship with this man anymore. Did I ever? I don't know. I can't even remember a fond memory sadly enough. No interaction for the past 6 years. And I do not see change.
Stereotypically, a household of this nature is seen as "strict" or "confined." However, if I had to describe my experience, I would use the term, "traumatic." Growing up, it was embedded in my mind that your value was measured by your excellence in all aspects of life, mainly education: "You have to be the best. You have to be better than everyone else. Why don't you work harder than your friend? Your cousin got straight A's. She's better than you. You're just like your mother. Incapable. You're lazy. You're wasting your time. You won't have a future..."
These are just a few things I would hear on a weekly basis. To many, they see it as just harsh parenting. They find reasons to justify this kind of treatment towards me. But an often overlooked subject is Verbal Abuse. Swept under the rug like it carries no weight on someone's spirit.
Earliest memory was a week before my birthday, freshman year of high school. School night, about to go to bed. He calls for me to come to the living room where he and my mother are waiting. "I'm divorcing your mother. I'm leaving you guys here. I don't like it here anymore. You all don't do anything for me. I'm leaving..." Quiet. Sleep.
Summer going into senior year. Slept in. Woken by yelling at the door. "Come down to the living room." A 45 minute lecture about my lack of ambition compared to others. My sad future. My inability to do anything right. I felt useless. I began to cut myself to relieve a pain that could not be healed. A constantly locked room, hiding from my reality.
And winter break sophomore year of college. Around 1 am. I'm awake on my laptop in my room. Always had trouble sleeping because of the all nighters I'd pull during the semester. He stands at my door. "What are you doing awake? You're on your laptop? You don't have work to do? Your friends are probably doing work. You stay up late but you don't study." Refusing to argue, I said, "I can't sleep so I'm watching a movie until I can." "You're just like your mother and brother. So stupid. You don't do anything while all these girls are working hard. They're better daughters than you."
"I don't have any work to do because the semester ended. Do you not understand? The classes I had are over. It's winter break."
Then things changed. The kind of thing a daughter, let alone a child, would never expect to hear from a man who supposedly is her "loving father".
"If you died, I wouldn't care. You're not my daughter. I'm not your father. You don't exist. Just go to another family and see if they care."
I felt a darkness creep over me. I felt my heart drop. It was clear my existence didn't matter anymore. I lived a lie. My hard work, my driven nature, and my strength were all shot down. I came to the realization that I was the one defending my mother and brother for years on end, looking like the "disrespectful and rebellious daughter," but I had no one to protect me from this monster. I had no one to stand up for ME.
Senior year, it was time to go to counseling. Suicidal thoughts and attempts. Out of body experiences. Feeling nothing on a daily basis. Fake demeanor to save face. I wasn't myself anymore. I hated myself. I wanted everything to end.
It's been 3 years since my counseling. I still struggle. I still carry this trauma within me. But one of the hardest things to stomach was the fact that blood does not make you family. It doesn't have to. And sometimes you just have to let it go.
Many will not understand this. Many will see this as an outcry for attention or sympathy. However, for me this is my proof of strength. That I survived my past. That my trauma does not resemble who I am. Who am I? I am Alice Wu. I am a fighter. I am my own person. My past has pushed me to be a good human being. I strive to be the best role model for others. I work hard. I give 150%. I am intelligent, driven, compassionate, loving and kind. I dance, sing, act, and model. I have a love for writing, reading, fashion and food. I have never drank, smoked or done drugs. I am power. I am courage. I am woman. And through all this, my 25 years of life, I accept that I am flawed. I am far from perfect. But I see beauty in this fact.
People may think they know me. But only a few know me through deep connection. I hope this gives all of you insight on my life and understand why I am the way I am. I hope this helps at least one person to see that he or she is not alone.
I live on, conquering the world. The only way is up from here.
'Cause I am a pained woman. Phenomenally. Phenomenal woman, that's me.