He explained to me in detail how he’d kill my mother, my grandmother, my grandfather and all of my aunts. We sat on a city bus and he spoke plainly about using their greatest fears against them. He wouldn’t touch them, he’d scare them to death. My grandfather, who was burned back in ’85 would be locked in his room and while sleeping he’d set off smoke bombs and leave him in there scared to death. He’d leave him in there remembering what it was like to be in flames from the waist down and nearly lose his life from it. Wolf would chain my Aunty P in a dark room and have dogs bark and growl until she died of a heart attack. Aunty S would be raped to death by a stranger. He went on and on and on with detail only a sick mind could come up with.
Our relationship was black and white. It was either good. It was bad. He hurt me. He loved me. He scared me. He told me a story of how to survive in that family. And to this day I remember that conversation on my grandmother’s porch he told me how to survive him and our family. There’s a song called Never Surrender by Corey Hart. He introduced me to music, songs my mother would never allow me to hear. I hung onto those songs. I hung on so tightly they nearly killed me.
In high school when things got even worse with my mother, when she stepped up her sadism I listened to the song Never Surrender on the floor in my bedroom, tucked in a ball, lights out, rocking back and forth. In that dark room filled with mallard ducks and tree plants was a life size juke box which held only Corey Hart LP’s. I had everything he ever put out. I needed to secure this cache so I copied all of the LP’s onto cassette then make a backup copy of them so that if my mother took the juke box or ever found back up number one I still had back up number two in my locker at school. She took absolutely everything but she wasn’t getting the one thing given to me. She wasn’t getting Corey Hart.
I was so obsessed with him that I wore a blue jean jacket with his name on it and a sheriff’s badge like Corey Hart did. The kids at school called me “the sheriff.” I liked that. It was a tin badge I bought at the grocery store and stuck on my jacket and sported everywhere I went.
Times when my mother was at her meanest I’d go in my head and listen to Corey Hart. In my room I’d listen to him on the floor thinking about how I wanted to kill myself. The same song I held onto would be the same song that came so close to being the last one I ever heard.
I find it strange that Wolf would tell me to survive him and my family through music. I have a strange relationship with music anyway. When my mother sang at night that’s when I knew I was safe. When she sang, and boy could she sing, it was a sign that everything was okay. I came to both love and loathe her voice. Music was a sign of safety for just a moment and I both loved it and resented it. So here he was telling me through one song I could survive him and my family. I hung onto that. The words seemed so powerful.
When I hear that song today I immediately turn the radio off. I know not to surrender. I also know as a child surrendering was my only option. It was that or death. I have options now and I don’t need a pop singer to tell me that.
Tell Me Again- Never Surrender- Therapy Assignment Part 2 of 2
Tell Me Again- Therapy Assignment Part 1 of 2
Lyrics to Never Surrender by Corey Hart
Thursday, August 30, 2007-2:38AM EST
***comments are off***