Name: Kyrston Ellis
From: Gardendale, AL
Past, Present, Future
Past, Present, Future
Let’s start at the beginning. We will start with the day my mother realized who my father really was. I wasn’t born during this time, in fact, my mother was pregnant with me at the time it all began. My parents were young when they married, my mom was 19 and my father 21. As most young adults (practically teenagers) they drank fairly often and did occasional drugs, which is how I came to be. Once my parents were married, my dad became a different person almost instantly. He went out drinking every night, would come home drunk and stoned from doing coke and smoking pot, or whatever else he decided to take that night. My mother was in charge of keeping the house clean, dinner made, clothes washed and put away. In the morning she was to have his lunch ready for work and breakfast made on the weekends he was off work. As time went on, he would come home more and more angry; as a result from all the things he was taking in as you could assume. He began at first with verbal abuse, told my mother how much of a “worthless piece of shit” she was and so on. Once that got old he became more hands on, if she did something mildly wrong he would hit her. She has told me the he even threw her into a dresser while she was heavily pregnant with me. Fast forward 9 months later, when I was born. My mother saw a glimpse of hope the day I entered the world. She thought that just maybe this would be enough to wake him up. Oh how wrong she was, once we were all home he went right back to how he was. Now I have no memories of how my father was until I was 2. At that age I can still remember the constant fighting, watching my dad leave each night and not knowing when I would see him next. The biggest memory I will never forget; my dad had just come home from…well we aren’t sure. He had just walked in the door, I was sitting in the living room floor watching T.V. he immediately walked over to me grabbed me up and threw me into a recliner. Now I understand, you hear recliner and think “well at least it’s a soft landing” keep in mind I was a toddler and he had just gotten home, no hello or anything. After he threw me in the chair I remember crying out of confusion as to what I did wrong. When I turned to find my parents, my dad had a gun to my mom’s head and was screaming at her. I don’t remember what was said but I remember it lasted only a few minutes and then he left again. A few short years later my mother decided to leave my father. At the time he was allowed visitation. One day him and his at the time girlfriend who didn’t have custody of her own kids due to drug use; they had an idea to steal us. My dad came and got me from school and she went and got her kids from their school. We were taken down to Florida from Alabama. I can’t recall how long we were gone exactly, but my mom got in touch with him after days of him not answering. She had told him of a field trip with my daycare I was supposed to go on that I was looking forward to. My dad decided to take me back only to go on the trip. Little did he know the daycare was surrounded by police. He and his girlfriend were taken into custody. However as you may can tell he was released. My mom and I went into hiding for a while, after a long legal battle he had shown he had cleaned himself up and got it together…or so we thought. He was granted visitation. He was to have me every other weekend. At this time I was about 3 headed into 4; I went to him just as was ordered. What nobody knew was although my mom wasn’t in the picture with him, I then started receiving the abuse. It didn’t start slow though, it was quick. Not like with my mom but abuse all the same. There was one day I had walked in on him beating his at the time girlfriend. Her daughter and I got scare end hid under the bathroom sink. My dad yelled and told us to get out, but we didn’t. He pulled us both out and spanked us a few times with a brush. We were still toddlers, and this was our only example of love from a male figure. As I got older he moved from Alabama back to our home town in Tennessee. He lived with friends for a while, all were drinking daily. I was always told to lock my bedroom door at night when I went to bed. At this point in time I am about 8 or 9, and my mom has re-married to a wonderful man. Every weekend I spent with my dad always started the same. He would tell me he missed me and had fun stuff for us to do. Then he would move into bad mouthing my mom, then ask about me and my life. When he didn’t like my responses he would tell me how stupid I was and I won’t get anywhere in life if I keep doing things like I was, which that part he wasn’t wrong but the approach is the issue there. He was always negative about anything I did or if I messed up. Perfection wasn’t good enough. When we would get to where he was staying at the time I was automatically put on a diet. He made my plate till I was 14, I wasn’t allowed seconds most days, I wasn’t allowed to have any sweets or if he felt generous I could have some but only a certain amount. He always told me he didn’t want me to get “fat” like my mom. When I started getting interested in boys is when things became more verbal and less physical. I noticed as I got older the physical abuse died down. I am not sure why, maybe he was scared I would tell someone or maybe he didn’t want to lose me; I will never know that part. As I got older I became more brave and stood up for myself more. When I was 16 I went to visit him for the first time in months. I saw him less due to my school and work schedule. The one weekend I finally drove up to visit was when I had had enough. I went to turn the old heater on that was in the house. The button got stuck and I couldn’t get it unstuck. When I asked for help he threw all the curse words he could at me, when he got it fixed he threw my pair of shoes at my back as I walked away. I had seen the pill bottles in his room, I knew they weren’t prescription because he always refused to go to a doctor, didn’t matter what was wrong. Knowing what I did, I had enough. I turned around and told him, “ if you ever touch me again like that, it will be the last you see of me”. I didn’t see him again till close to my 18th birthday. We went to Chattanooga. When we got to the hotel after he got me he was a message from a guy on my phone. When he asked his age he lost it completely. Now I understand to a degree, the guy was 24 but we grew up together since I was 7. My mom and step-dad were friends with his dad. My dad kept more for all of 12 hours. I was brought home the very next morning after a long yelling session with him and his long term girlfriend. Come graduation he I guess had accepted what it was. He came to graduation, met my boyfriend that he was so angry about (he is my now husband). After that we got into another very bad argument, but I was done at this time. When I got married he wasn’t invited or told. I was too afraid of the drama that may be caused, I knew he would be drunk, he always was. Right after my wedding he messaged me and told me how horrible I was and so on. We had zero contact for a year. When I found out I was pregnant I decided that maybe he would be a better grandfather than a father. I was mistaken, he didn’t want updated on her or to know what she was, he just wanted to know when she was born, he told me I would never go back to school and so on. No contact again till she was 6 months old. He messaged me out of the blue one day and asked why I treat him the way I do. I told him the truth, it was the alcohol mixed with drugs, drunk friends that were a bit too friendly, and the physical and mental abuse that was done to me. He as usual denied it all told me I was crazy and threw some words at me he had never said before. Since that day we have had no contact, that was almost 2 ½ years ago.
The affects my past has on my present. My marriage has been affected by all the damage my father has done to me. My social life is almost non-existent. My poor husband has had to spat with me often over me not telling him when he makes me upset, or when I had a bad experience with someone at work due to me being afraid of criticism and what I [probably did wrong. I don’t, communicate with my husband, when he even slightly raises his voice or gets angry I shut down and cry purely out of fear. Due to my father, I am afraid of every man I meet, I watch everyman in public in fear I will be attacked. When I visit my family in our home town I tell my family what to do if we spot him while I have my daughter, I plan an escape route for every situation. I hate looking at myself in a mirror, I only see where I need to lose fat, too much cellulite, I should wear makeup I look tired, I have on too much makeup I look like a slut, the shirt show cleavage I need to cover up, this outfit makes me look like an old lady I need to show some skin. The constant views of hate and imperfection that is the old thing I can see because that is the only thing my dad would tell me when I saw him. I was given a few compliments but they were shadowed with negative comments shortly after. I am on medication for depression due to attempted suicide as a teen and thoughts of suicide as an adult. All because when I told my dad I was being bullied on school the only thing he would tell me is to ignore it, they say those things out of jealousy, but he would say the same things to me they would. As an adult mixed with anxiety I feel like a constant failure as a parent because when I get angry I feel I am acting like him even though I don’t. His addiction affected his behavior to the point where he was always angry at the world, and so negative, that he missed all the important parts of being a parent. I learned enough from being around and seeing addiction in my dad and his friends that I do everything in my power to be the total opposite. I never have more than 3 drinks, I always make sure my daughter knows she is beautiful, smart, loved and kind and that she has two parents that love her to death and will always be the best positive influence in her life. I am going back to school, when he said I wouldn’t, I made myself better because of the life I was around. I was 21 and debt free, owned a house, two cars, have a career, and had a child. All the things he told me I would never do, I made into motivation. I will be honest I think of my dad often, in an odd way I miss him, I am glad I got rid of the toxicity in my life, but I wish he was here to be a part of this and seeing how well I’ve done in life. I have picked up the phone wanting to call and tell him all of the things my daughter has learned. Then I remember, I remember what life would actually be like if he was around. I will never understand how you can’t love your child enough to not see the hurt you cause, the trauma you have put into a child that shouldn’t be there in the first place? Why doesn’t he love me?
I know that in the future, my daughter will never wonder if her family loves her. In the future she will never fear that if she messes up mommy or daddy are going to beat you and tell you how worthless you are. My daughter will never have to see what her parents look like high as a kite running ramped around town. In the future my daughter will be strong, kind, and love herself just how she is. She will sit and eat cake and not think about the extra pound it made her gain. She will look at her stretchmarks and see nothing but absolute beauty. She will have both parents at every game, school function, birthday, dance, or dinner that she asks us to as she grows and she will know that with no second thought. My biggest goal for myself, is to be everything he said I wouldn’t be. I am going back to school, but my goal is to get a doctorate in education. I plan on teaching my students that they aren’t alone, and someone is there for them even though it’s not family. I plan on having a happy, loving marriage. My future consists of goals for my daughter and myself. I will eventually love myself, I will eventually be able to eat what I want and not be thinking of all the grease in the food and how it will affect my skin the next day or how many pounds it will add to my stomach. I will get better at communicating my issues with people and my husband. One day I will be what he could never be. I hope he is living a life of happiness and is healthy. I hope he has reached every goal he had set for himself. I wish nothing but the best for my father. I hope he is clean and sober, with his girlfriend. I hope he finally marries her and they travel the world. I hope, that maybe one day he will know what he did and just say sorry and own up to it. I hope in the future, we can rekindle our relationship. The point of me telling this story is to show how it looks, feels, and results in having or being around addiction. My fathers addiction ruined his whole future with his wife, mother, child, and grandchild. His addiction has made him completely alone and isolated. He followed his father’s footsteps, but I broke the cycle. Addiction is a disease yes, but it is also a choice. You just have to want to make the right one, even if you think you can’t live without it. The support system is there, but they can only take so much before the support needs support of their own. Addiction is a dark, dark place. How you got there is only a short path, what you do with the future is a path that never ends but allows happy memories along the way. Addiction, needs to be prevented as much as possible if we ever want a future of family’s with less broken homes and traumas. These kids are the future of all possibilities, they need help being guided to the right path. That is what will result in their past, present, and future.