The day that I was born I was my parents joy. I had a happy childhood until the age of 7. Everything changed from that time and on. My father started acting differently. Very physical, and just angry all the time. I had an older sister named Jackie. She was 10 years old. We would talk about how our father was acting and why was he acting that way.
I remember that every time we came back from school my sister and I would go outside and play and he would get home from work and start yelling at us because we were outside playing. He would grab us from the hair or ear and drag us into the house and hit us with the belt. It was horrible! He would tell us to get on our knees and put the sofa on top of our heads and stay like that until he told us to put them down. Sometimes my sister and I would not eat because he would tell us if we get up he would hit us again. So, we had to suck it up and just sit there and wait, and wait.
Tears would come out of our eyes just thinking to ourselves when is this going to be over! Our arms would get super tired just holding up the sofa. We would literally stay like that for 3 hours!
My mother wouldn’t say anything because she would be scared of him ‘cause he would basically traumatize her physically and mentally. She would just sit there watching us almost crying ‘cause how bad he treated us. My father was the devil’s son, let me tell you. He would hit my sister only because one time she dropped a soda on the floor. He got up from the dining table and took off his belt and started hitting her. I was so sad and mad because I couldn’t do anything even if I wanted to because I was small and scared of him.
The rest of my life was just horrible and traumatizing. My little sister had been born already and when she was about 6 years old my father would hit her also just like he did to me and my big sister. One morning, my sister and I got up to go to school and like always my mom got up as early as we did too. I remember that morning I was in the restroom with my mom and Jackie and all we hear is crying and screaming. I panicked and opened the door and ran to my mom’s room and I see my dad hitting my little sister with a branch! Oh my Jesus! I got so angry that I couldn’t control myself and yelled at him to stop! I ran to the restroom because I knew that he would come after me and hit me with the branch also.
Well, he had gotten me. He got me from the hair and pushed me to the ground and started hitting me. My mom begged him to stop and he did. All you see is my little sister wailing in the restroom bleeding. It was like a horror movie.
From that morning and on, I had no respect for him. I would yell at him and not listen to him. My big sister and I would gang up on him. We didn’t care if he would hit us because we were already used to it that we wouldn’t even cry anymore.
Seven years passed. My parents got separated when I was 14 years old. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my father even though he wasn’t the best father and all he was good at was just to hit us. But, then I sat down outside and thought all day this feels good being outside without someone telling why are you outside or hitting you.
“I was happy! I knew from that day my whole life would change and it did.”
I would go to school, come back and do my homework and go outside and play with my friends. It felt so good! I loved my life at that moment. It was like if a big weight was off my shoulders. I finished elementary school, then went to Jr. high and did great. Graduated from Jr. high and started high school on the right foot, and now it’s my last year and everything has been going awesome, gracias a Dios.
My mother has been a single mother for seven years and has been the best mother ever. We have struggled for a lot of years, but now she has learned a lot from her past and I’m glad she left my father because if she never did then we wouldn’t have been where we’re at now. I’m so excited what the future has for me and my mother and sisters with nephews. I graduate June 1 and I’m going to college in the major of Criminal Justice. I want to strive and become a better person and show my kids that whatever situation you’re in or circumstances, keep pushing forward because life will give obstacles that you think you can’t deal with but you can overcome them. God will never put something in your path that you can’t deal with. I’m blessed that I have my mother by my side and I’m proud I can say she’s a hard-working female and I look up to her. I’m also blessed that my older sister had two adorable, young boys that I call my nephews. We’re living the best life now and I’m thankful.
Storyteller Joceline Romero is 18 years old, has two sisters and two nephews. Her mother is a single parent. Her father left them when she was 14 years old. She is a senior in high school. She wants to study criminal justice in college. She is a member of Líderes Campesinas.