Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is a memoir that I wrote for my AP Language class about a life-altering moment.

Submitted: March 15, 2017

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Submitted: March 15, 2017

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Wham! As I walk the beach with my mother, feeling so small, I think of the things that make us who we are. I silently sift through memories in my mind. And I wonder what experiences make my mother the woman she is today, my aunt, my grandmother. And this memory comes to mind. Wham! I wonder how it went down. I imagine that maybe my grandmother stumbled out of the kitchen holding her cheek in her hand with fire in her eyes. I suppose it was red, resembling a strawberry. And I wonder what kind of voice the tiny ears of my aunt heard. Was it one of determination, of fear, of shame? I would argue that it was a voice of strength as she cautioned, ‘Do not ever let a man hit you. If he lays a finger on you, leave him.’ I suppose one day I will be saying those same words to my own daughter. My grandmother took her own advice and the next morning that is exactly what she did. But such things have not always been known about her. We as humans tend to bury the most significant parts of ourselves, our deepest fears, darkest secrets, most life altering experiences.

I am not so basic as to type out exactly what my experience was in a mere sentence. I do not like to portray myself as being an amateur writer. No, I am not one to say, “One life altering experience that I have gone through was…” This paper holds part of my soul on it, albeit a minuscule portion. A paper this significant shall not be treated as ordinary. Instead, I will write with words as if this ink is made of my blood. Rather than being elemental with you, I want you to reminisce; think about every time you have felt worthless, ashamed, or alone. Now imagine a hand slashing through the air towards your face. When this happens, do you fear the outcome? I do every time. The suspense that builds up in that second is overwhelming. I relive my life altering moment every time a hand is raised in front of my face. And as it comes towards me, I still feel the sting.

You may be wondering where such a fear came from or how it developed. It is Tuesday, June 14, 2016, at about 7:15 in the morning. I am walking down the IT wing of Matoaca High School as I do most mornings. There I see my usual friends: Ruby, Bryan, Julianne, and Jack. Also with them is my ex-boyfriend, Rick Wilkerson. (Names have been changed.)  He is not any ordinary ex, but rather the one I lost my “love virginity” to. (For the sake of this paper, let’s pretend that “love virginity” is a real thing. And before you continue, I am not referencing sex. “Love virginity” is my term for the virginity that one loses after experiencing love for the first time.) As usual, Rick and I begin to joke around. The next thing I know, there is a burning sensation in my left cheek and just above my lip. The pain boils to the surface and I slowly crumble, tears swelling up in my eyes. My world freezes. My heart stops. My mouth hangs open in utter disbelief. Did the boy I spent over a year loving just strike me across my face and deem me as a piece of shit? As the realization dawns on me that that is indeed what has happened, the words claw their way out of my mouth? I inquire, ‘What the FUCK is wrong with you?’ as I look him directly in the eye. He responds with a bland, ‘You hit me in the eye’ and holds a hand over it. Of course, I had absolutely no intention of hitting him and was completely unaware of having done so. I stare at his dark, hard eyes and implode in on myself. Not being able to bear the thought of him seeing me cry, I bolt for the restroom and lock myself into the only sanctuary I know of (the bathroom stall). On the way there, my friend, Alexandra, spots me and asks what is wrong. After telling her, she proceeds to find Rick and cuss him out. Again, he gives a bland and meaningless response. It appears as if he has no remorse whatsoever despite seeing the hurt and pain written all over my heart. Instead, he decides that compensation can be bought through a one-paragraph apology two days later and waving at me in the hall as if nothing has happened.

Honestly, tears are trailing pathways down my face as I type this months later. I fell into a state of depression for a while and questioned my self-worth. I now know to never let anyone make me question my worth. For, I hold galaxies in my eyes, the songs of angels in my laugh, and dancing flames in my blood. As I walked on that beach with my mother, thoughts whizzing through my head like race cars, I wondered what he wonders. I wondered if he doubts whether or not he is deserving of titling himself as being a man. I wonder what his mother wonders. I wonder is she questions what kind of son she has raised. I wonder what his future partners wonder. As they imagine sweet honey flavored kisses and a future together, I doubt if she knows the capabilities of the hands she will hold. I wonder if she is aware of the pain they have inflicted on this scarred and calloused heart. And I wonder how long I will have to wonder what love really is. But I surely know that love is NOT supposed to hurt and leave you walking on a beach, feeling so small, and feeling as if you could in some diminutive way relate to a rape victim. I believe that maybe in some insignificant way I can understand how they feel. These girls do not keep their mouths shut because they were threatened, not out of fear, or out of embarrassment. I believe that the most outweighing emotion in these cases is that of shame. It takes a lot of nights spent crying yourself to sleep and praying to whatever god you believe in that you can dig up enough dignity to realize that maybe you do not deserve what was done to you.

And Rick, I hope you read this. I hope you question for the rest of your life if your cruel hand deserves to be holding hers. My life altering moment was not only a moment. Instead, I am forced to relive it daily, on repeat, every time I see your face. I can still feel my cheek burning.

 


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