I’m More Stronger Than Strong…
By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee
I took my right shoe off… blood has stained the inside of my shoe. It felt awful to pull my shoe off my foot. I knew my left shoe was the same. My heels were bleeding from the nails in the heel of each shoe.
I had to walk to and from school, up and down halls, out on the playground in those shoes. Oh… they looked pretty on the outside so, no one knew the agony that shared my shoes with my little feet.
I had gone to hell to live but, I didn’t know it. My life had changed drastically but, how does a little girl know the words to describe how it had changed. I just knew there was so much pain, both mentally, physically… I was always hurting one way or the other.
It’s like today with the physical pain I live with everyday of my life from past surgeries… I have learned to live with it because I’ve always known pain. I don’t take pain relievers, I face it head-on. Whenever I do take an over-the-counter pain reliever… I’m desperate.
I know as long as I hurt, I’m living. I’m fortunate to be living so, that is my trade-off for life. I can bear it. This pain has been here since 1998 when I had my first major surgery.
I never complained as a little girl, I didn’t know how to complain, I didn’t know the word ‘complain’. I did know how to cry, lots of times I cried secretly… no one cared, no one ever noticed me. I was one of many children around… the other children had both mother and father, I had … no one.
I did begin to hear of a mysterious father that was ‘mine’ at the age of nine years old. I learned the man I called ‘daddy’ wasn’t my daddy at all. He whipped me with long switches… though I remember when my cousin pushed me into a ditch, cutting the back of my leg badly…. my ‘daddy’ carried me whenever we went places… I had a cast on.
I carry that big scar even now. Sometimes my fingers trace it…. I have a lot of scars that my fingers can’t trace… I can’t see them, but, I know they are there on the inside.
I also, learned that all the people who knew my real father disliked him… that meant I learned how it felt to resemble him… I was slapped in the face often… because my expressions somehow looked like his. I didn’t know how to prevent that. He never knew how I was punished often for just ‘looking like’ him. I should have hated him as a little girl…… I wish I’d never known him in later years.
Ever so often … I’d hear the soft, quiet voice of my Aunt Frankie whisper good things to me when she’d visit. She’d tell me that she knew it was bad now, but… one day I would grow up, make my life good.
I always heard her soft, quiet voice over the screaming, cussing all around me… I would sit quietly with tears streaming down my little girl face. She would gently hug me, walk out the door, leave. She would have to leave, because someone would want to physically fight her…. she only tried to be as good as she could. No one liked that….
She was always the ‘different one’… just as in later years I grew up to be the ‘different one’. No one likes people who try to be good, to do the best they can. Everyone loves a ____ up… whenever I made mistakes … I was cared about.
Whenever I succeeded.. everyone acted like they didn’t notice. No one gave credit…. life was like that, I learned to keep things to myself.
I would have been cared about if I drank, did drugs, and was weak, dependent. I was none of those things… I held my ground because I knew if I didn’t, I would be at the ‘mercy of the world’. I would have never survived.
It took many years to become ‘this strong’….. and truthfully, I am still weak… but, most strong at the same time. Look at what I have survived…. and no one knows the half of it. I haven’t even begun to write… just yet.
I have a hard time going back into the past…. so much pain. The pain of so many times is like so many road blocks… I am having to weave in and out of them, trying to take detours and getting lost on the way to get to things I want to write about. I won’t give up… I have so much to say.
Pain… I know all kinds of pain. It has been a part of my life since I can remember. I know I am not the only one in my family who has hurt, suffered so much as a child, as an adult….. but, I am the only one who can tell ‘my’ own pain. No one can do it for me… I can’t do it for anyone else in my family. We all have our own stories…. I will keep writing mine.
I was just thinking I do know a lot of my relatives do know a lot of pain…. some were in the same situation I was in. I don’t forget any of them in my mind… we all suffered in some fashion. Some more than others. Mine was ‘more’….. I lived it.
I don’t run from pain… if it’s going to hurt, you won’t see me back up… if I know I have to face it… I will come toward it, hold my ground. I won’t be intimidated. The only time I tried to ‘hide’ from the pain, didn’t want to know it, didn’t want to feel it was when Tommy died. Oh God… Tommy died… it’s hard for me to still believe……
See, how I still react to ‘facing my son’s death’? Sometimes, I just stop and ….. listen to my mouth actually say those words. It does hurt me so much. Sometimes, I have to say it aloud…. I have to face it no matter how much it hurts.
No matter what…. I have to live with pain the rest of my life… if I want to live. I’ve come this far to ‘now’…. I’ve made it this long… so, I am ‘this much strong’. I’m more stronger than strong….