“I’m sorry, honey,” he said, looking back up at me, actual tears in his eyes. “I’m so sorry.”
My dad used to burst into my bedroom, at dawn:30, throwing the door back with a thunderous bang.
He’d roughly yank all the covers completely off me and my bed, tossing it all aside, and cheerily spout, “Time to get uuuuuuuppp!!”
He thought he was being SO funny. N O T .
But could I ever convince him of that? Or that I felt terrified of him? Nope.
He was a very big man. I felt totally violated, my privacy absolutely irrelevant to him. Nope. Nothing I said to him got through.
It got worse after my body started swelling in all the places little girls do when they get to a certain stage in their lives. Thankfully, he never did do anything inappropriate, but I was terrified he’d see me or touch me or some other weird thing.
I was never able to relax around him, ever.
I made my mother get me long flannel night gowns that looked like ones Granny would wear. In summer, cotton ones. For winter, soft flannel. Long to-the-wrist sleeves. Skirts down to my ankles.
In this day and age when clothing seems to ride as far down near the crotch and up as far to the nips as possible, bare bellies sporting belly-button rings and all, you might think it strange that I grew up freaked out by body exposure. I still don’t like it. I’m OK with other people running around nearly nekked, but just don’t ask me to do it.
Yes, I’ve done a bunch of inner work on that, but you know what? There are a lot of things way more important to think about.
Like how people seem to think it’s OK to cuss or yell at, or even physically attack, someone else — many times for the most absurd reason.
Like how some feel so entitled they think the rest of the world should think like they do, or do or believe like they do. Nonsense!
And here’s one that makes me absolutely boil — how people call the cops on people of color for nothing.
Times like that are so hard to deal with. When someone’s in your face, it’s so easy to take the same road and yell right back at them. But all that does is make things worse.
I’ve never liked confrontation. I didn’t know how to deal with it. I eventually learned to run away if I could.
If can’t, I stay quiet.
If I can’t do that, I try to remember to make a comment like, “Wow, you must be having a really bad day,” or something like that. That one sentence can de-escalate a situation fast, helping the person to feel seen and heard. But it doesn’t always work.
I’m no miracle worker, but I do my best to keep the peace as much as I can, because I know it has to start with me. If I go off, too, I only join in to lower the vibes.
If I can keep my equanimity, I can be an anchor point for calm, and maybe even the subsequent lifting of frequencies.
I can’t change the whole world, but I can change me — or at least attempt to stay calm in the face of mayhem.
I had to learn how to do that to finally get it across to my father how I felt, because no amount of yelling, whining, or bitching at him worked. All my energetic wheeling of arms and hands and crying and tear-streaked red face did nothing. Rolled off him like water off the proverbial duck.
You know what did it?
I calmly turned to him, and asked him how he’d feel if some man came into his and my ma’s bedroom and did the whole grab-the-covers thing to her.
You should have seen his face turn crimson with rage at the very idea … and then … suddenly … he stopped, looked at me, and got really, really quiet. Hung his head.
“I’m so sorry, honey,” he said, looking back up at me, actual tears in his eyes. “I’m so sorry.” He never did it again.
Peace, calm, and if not joy, at least gratitude, filled my heart.
Those things work.
Thanks so much for reading my story.
I hope maybe it inspired you, or gave you a new perspective with which to view and appreciate your own life. That’s my wish.
My Dad Thought It Was So Funny When He Ripped the Covers Off Me . . .
© Angela Treat Lyon 2023
© Angela Treat Lyon 2021–2
This story is an enhanced version of the same one in my book, INSIDE SECRETS, Stories I’ve Never Told Anyone, Volume I. Fully illustrated in color.
I drew this series of drawings in blue on a black background, and then drew over them white, which produced a unique glowing effect. If you’d like a print of this image, please contact me.
The Inside Secrets book series, plus my audio books and a whole slew of free ebooks: atlyon.gumroad.com
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