Jack of many Trades. Master of some.

I write poetry you know. I'm also a chef. I know how to sheetrock rooms, paint and wallpaper, lay tile and carpet floors. I can sew, knit, crochet, build walls, and grow everything needed for a gourmet meal; I even know a thing or two about running electric wiring and plumbing, and most of these things I learned at my father's encouragement and coercions.
One of my culinary specialties.
 Seared salmon in coconut broth
with wilted spinach, ginger,
pine nuts and curry sauce. 

In every cloud there is a silver lining and even among the abuse and torture I grew up with, I know a lot of things others don't because my father made me learn them. Like most children do for their parents, I wanted to make mine proud. Though my father did everything he could to break my will, that didn't change the fact that him and my mother were the only two people that validated me. Sure we were punished when the dishes weren't clean enough or our beds weren't made on time, but I went out of my way to do more than my parents required. And with my eagerness to succeed, my parents loaded on the responsibility. There were times when I felt lost and defeated, but my relationship with God and my determination to go on, served me like the last drop of fuel that gets your car to the gas station just before it shuts off.

I've birthed five children. Four for my father and one for my ex husband, and they challenge me on a regular basis. I do my best to apply the things that I find are positive from the way my parents raised me, in my own childrearing. Things like thinking outside of the box, reading the dictionary and learning how everything works. But sometimes it can be difficult deciphering what methods were genuinely beneficial to me and my siblings' development, and what was meant as a tool of control. For instance: I was raised vegetarian because my dad taught us that ingesting meat was harmful to the human body. Now that I've done my own research I have found evidence that supports a diet free of animal flesh or at least it's use in moderation. But I can't help but wonder if the real reason my father limited mine and my siblings diets, was to keep us weak. Though there was animal products in the house such as milk and cheese, they were reserved mostly for my father's consumption, and when we were allowed to have a cheese sandwich, you could count the shreds on the roll.

My dad taught us that a child's role in a family was to serve the parents, and that we did in so many ways.  As a single mom I require my children to help in household chores, keep their rooms tidy and do their homework, but in the back of my mind I'm aware that I may be lenient on them because I'm trying to stay away from my father's philosophy. I see my children as gifts of opportunity and an investment in the future. Not slaves tied to me biologically meant to wait on me hand and foot.

Two of my children have inborn errors. My 16 year old has Phenylketonuria (PKU), and my 9 year old had both PKU and Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). Incest doesn't cause deformities in the sense that if two family members have a baby it will be a two headed monster, but it does increase the possibility of a child born out of incest inheriting genetic weaknesses (if you carry the gene to birth a two headed monster...u get the point).  In my case PKU and SMA are recessive genetic deformities where both parents have to be the carrier of the gene to pass the disease on to the offspring. Since my father (who carried the genes) impregnated me- a direct relative- the chances that I would be a carrier as well was 1 in 4; which happens to be the same chances that we had in creating a child with the disease. 

All of this could serve as constant reminders of the dark parts of my life, but the reality is, there are other people that were not raped and taken advantage of by a family member that have children with the same challenges mine have. My reasoning is that me and my children aren't that different from others out there, making me feel less alone. And compared to the abandon that I felt when I was a child, less alone is all the company I could wish for. 
My foundation is crooked, cracked, twisted and full of holes. But with the right amount of mortar mixed in the fitting consistency, layered with the appropriately shaped bricks, I know my skyscraper will touch stars that haven't been discovered yet (I can to lay brick too. Lol!).

Food for thought:

The Child MolestationPrevention Study (Abel and Harlow 2001) states that the effects of child molestation can result in suicide due to overwhelming feelings of guilt and confusion (I remember those days), causing a child to become harmful to themselves. Other consequences which are carried into adulthood include, severe depression (been there, done that), sexual problems, promiscuity, multiple personality disorder, physical illness (check), asthma (got it), immune system complications (hmmm?) and drug and alcohol abuse.

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