Calling it "pain" is a gross understatement.
The words "fear" or "abuse" don’t even come close.
A twisted life of psychological terror and sadistic physical cruelty may be somewhere near the truth but even then, not completely accurate.
Being a kid in my house was tough. One never knew who would be next, what they were in for or why. Some called it “walking on eggshells”. But to me, it was more like treading in a cesspool of churning gut rot and we were held captive there for years. There was never a break and there was indeed vile danger for us all.
The physical brutality was torture enough. But in the end, it was the emotional trauma left in its wake that truly imprisoned us. We were inferior to him. We were his garbage possessions. We were worthless and we all knew it. We heeded his chilling threat that if we told anyone, disobeyed him or ran, he would hunt us down and either kill us or make our lives a living hell.
This living hell he promised, was not far from the truth.
Perfecting his psychotic mind games as only a master could, my self-esteem was stripped from my branches and used as kindling wood for the raging inferno that stoked his mental illness. Beaten into submission day after day, year after year, I came to know my lowly place on this planet.
I was twenty years old when I collapsed on the floor in the hallway. I was barely breathing, swaying in and out of consciousness. I'd been strangled and beaten within an inch of my life again.
My body throbbed from the repeated heavy wallops I'd somehow earned that day in particular. The beatings were ramping up. They were getting worse and this time he showed no mercy at all as he literally pounded the life from my flesh. He spared me of nothing.
Coughing and gasping for air, it felt like my esophagus had been crushed. My hand shook violently as I raised it to sooth my bruised throat and it was then that I realized I had nothing left to give. I had no more fight. I’d finally been defeated and was at the very bottom of the pit.
I was half way through college without a dime to my name. I had no support on the outside and thus nowhere to go yet I knew I couldn't stay. I didn't know much at that moment as he towered over my blood on the floor, but what I did know was the next time it happened, he would surely kill me.
He eventually withdrew from the foul scene of violence to subconsciously deny what he’d just done to his kid again. He was a mountain of a man incapable of feeling guilt. He showed no remorse as after all, in his mind, I’d earned it. In his twisted dark world of vengeance, I always did. The ruthless discipline was entirely justified and I deserved everything I got. It was never his warped psychotic illness that took him over the edge. It was always me.
With the strength I had left, I dragged myself to the car, fell in behind the wheel and backed out of the driveway. It was official. Broken and bleeding, the decision had been made and I was escaping that oppression forever. After twenty years in a living hell, I was free from the peril and suffering. I was free... but I was also broke and homeless.
Over the three years that followed, I came to realize that enduring the brutal physical abuse was actually the easy part. With decades of dysfunctional programming firmly embedded in my sub-conscious mind, every aspect of my life spun out of control as I tried to make my way in a world I knew nothing about. Mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually, I was a wreck. I firmly believed I was a piece of garbage and allowed every decision in my life to reflect that. I knew nothing about living a healthy lifestyle, marriage, kids or financial stability. I hated my own image and despite my international dance career and all I’d accomplished at such a young age, I despised every fibre of my being and was convinced that everyone around me felt the same. I was trash. I was terrified of everything, nothing came easy and I was sure life couldn’t get any worse.
At 3:00 a.m. on a Wednesday morning in April, my phone rang. It was one of those pivotal phone calls that sharply reminds you that before it came, your problems were nothing!
My father’s voice quivered through the receiver explaining there had been a car accident and that he couldn't find my brother David.
The car was travelling westbound on the highway at excessive speed with both the driver and passenger drunk. Losing control after hitting a small piece of debris, the vehicle flew over the ditch and onto the grass embankment beside the highway. Skidding along the wire fence, attempts to slow the car failed as it slammed full force into a massive concrete drainage culvert that was concealed by tall grass. The collision ripped the gas tank off and an explosion launched the wreckage through the air crashing down fifty feet from the culvert. A spectacular fire ball lit the night sky as forbidding flames engulfed the car and its occupants.
Traffic drew to a halt and people ran to help to the victims escape. But to no avail. The grotesque cremation took place on the side of the highway as the horrified crowd looked on. There was nothing anyone could do except stand and watch.
Three days later, the morgue confirmed by dental records that the passenger in the car was my brother David. He was nineteen years old. He'd been burnt beyond recognition and wrenched from my life forever.
In spite of everything I'd endured to that point, I’d never known such heartache. Nothing came close to how much this loss hurt. My gut burned like bleeding flesh. My heart felt carved from my chest. For months after the accident my body coped with the severe distress through vomiting and violent convulsions.
If life on this planet is indeed meant for our soul growth and we grow richly from adversity and failure, I felt I was in the accelerated course. That black cloud of impending doom just refused to move on.
In the six months that followed the accident, I spun into such an impaired state of reality, that the only means I could find to stop the agony of the past was to end my own life. My rational judgement was so fogged that the thought of my own death was of comfort to me and was the only way I could see to remove myself from the unbearable sorrow I was stuck in. Not for a second did it dawn on me that my mother was about to lose another child and there would be another funeral. There would be an office desk without an occupant, a dance studio without a teacher, an apartment without a tenant. I had mentally checked out. The trauma of the past had consumed me and suicide seemed the only way out. Thus every detail of the deed was secretly planned and on the brink of being executed.
Nothing short of divine intervention saved my life that dark, horrible night. A power far greater than myself yanked me back from the edge and said,
“It’s not your time yet Jude.”
I regained consciousness in a heap on the floor. With tears streaming down my face I stared at the ceiling for hours that day wondering what life was truly all about. Surely it wasn’t intended for me to be in that much emotional pain and turmoil forever. Pain could simply not be the basis of my existence, for if it was, then I was ready to throw in the towel and forfeit the rest of the game. There just had to be more. There had to be a life out there somewhere that didn't hurt quite so much. There just had to be something better, something more meaningful.
Since then, I’ve walked miles on the road of recovery, gently and lovingly restoring my sub-conscious belief system, confidence and self-esteem to what they were when I entered this world. Buying into the labels that other people placed on me nearly cost me my life. Never again!
What other people think of you is none of your business. What you think of you is everything and is directing every aspect of your life – good or bad.
Life can be a wonderful, fulfilling experience with more joy and abundance than you can imagine! The perfect health is here! The success and money are here! The loving relationships are here! It’s all right here and there’s plenty of it - more than enough for everyone!
With all the love in my heart, I hope you realize how sensational you are. You are truly remarkable! You are on your journey for great purpose and worthy of all that is good.
It is time to find your Purpose. It’s time to live your Passion.
I love you.