It's 4am and I think I've been up too long. I'm thinking about things I shouldn't be. One of the worse things about growing up is realizing all of the horrible things that happened to you as a child.
Warning: awful life story about abuse below.
I was 10 years old when my mother and I moved in with my aunt, uncle, and cousins (who y'all often hear me refer to as my brothers). My older cousin, K, was in high school and he was going through a rough time. It doesn't excuse anything, but to anyone's who's gone through high school, you know that feel.
He hoarded the game systems in his bedroom. If my younger cousin Matthew and I wanted to play games, we'd have to go to his room to do it. Sometimes he'd let us, but other times he wouldn't. He would scream at us to leave when we'd knock and try to ask permission. I thought things would get better once I got my own Gamecube. But when we needed an extra controller, we'd have to get it from K's room. I remember going into his room and K was on the phone with a friend. He started screaming at us to leave, completely enraged, and he grabbed a pair of jeans and started hitting us until we ran out.
At the time, I didn't know older family members shouldn't do that. I chalked it up to K being "weird" and accepted it. But it wasn't just when Matthew and I would ask to enter his room something bad would happen. When he'd play with us, if it wasn't video games, he'd put on music and chase us around the house. He would hit us hard on the back if he caught us. The slaps would just reverberate through the whole living room. Our parents weren't around and they didn't know. I don't know if I ever got bruised from it, he always hit our backs, but it sure as hell hurt a lot. I complained to him that it hurt and he told me to suck it up. "That's not anything, I can't hit you too hard because you're my cousin," he said and I think that moment will stay with me for the rest of my life. More than 10 years later and it still comes to mind like it happened yesterday.
He had a bad temper and since my room was right next to the dining room, if he was in there doing homework, I could hear him yell and throw shit when he was frustrated and angry. I could hear every fight with his parents. Even then I knew him raising his voice meant bad things. We'd already been conditioned to know yelling = getting hit, the worst with metal buttons and zippers.
What he did went far beyond what a brother and cousin should do. Playing with your younger fam, yes. But hitting them as a part of a game and beating them when they want to borrow an unused controller? It's taken me a few years to come to terms that he abused us. There was barely a day for like 4 years were we didn't have some awful encounter with him.
I think he realizes now what he did was wrong and is trying to patch things up, but I've become wary. He's made me wary, even before i came to the realization that yeah, Matthew and I were abused by him. I don't know what I'm doing when it comes to him. I really don't.
I'm sorry this is so long. I've been wanting to say something for a few months but haven't found the right words and I know I still don't have them, but 4am is pushing me to come out with this.