Now here's what makes me different from most others: Most people, when they watch the video, become emotional at the scene where the elderly couple is introduced. Watching the emotion of the man as he is saying goodbye to his wife stirs great emotion. For me, though, I'm teary from the first scene. The scene of the little girl huddling on her bed, with a blanket wrapped around her, which she eventually pulls over her head.
I've mentioned bits and pieces of my childhood before, that things weren't good. So when I reacted with strong emotion to the little girl, I assumed I was simply identifying with her fear, her isolation, hiding under the bed to escape frightening scenarios. From there, I went on, always listening to this song with a touch of emotion, remembering each time the little girl who felt so alone. For that reason, I typically avoid hearing the song, I don't need to spend every day remembering my childhood: I find that best left for the occasional thought.
Then, a friend of mine posted to Facebook a cover of this song. The band covering the song is called Pentatonix and I absolutely love their music, I sang in an a cappella choir for eleven years. When I saw the video, I absolutely had to watch it, knowing the music would be even more beautiful than the original song. I commented before I clicked the link, "OMG, I know I'm going to cry!"
Sure enough, I did. I bawled my eyes out watching this video, crying so hard tears were dripping off my chin.
Afterward, because I take a walk down memory lane every time I hear this song, it finally dawned on me why it is this song touches me so much. It can't possibly be just the image of the little girl, she's not in the Pentatonix video.
No, what touches me is realizing I did exactly what this song suggests one might do: I walked away.
I've mentioned previously walking away is a big deal for me. One of the reasons I end up (and stay) in abusive/disrespectful relationships is I can't stand walking away from people. I felt like my parents walked away from me when I was a teenager, because they kept passing me back and forth, "My spouse has a problem with her, I need you to take her for awhile." "I can't handle the stress, I need you to take her back, I'll pay for her plane ticket." And so it went until I moved out on my own.
Wait. I moved out on my own.
In light of my previous recollections/thoughts from, "A Promise to Myself," I remember from a very young age I couldn't wait until I was old enough to get away. I promised myself over and over and over again as soon as it was legal for me to be on my own, I would move out. That is exactly what I did.
When I was thirteen, I needed out of my mother's house so bad, I wrote every adult relative I had asking if I could move in with them. When that failed (one of my aunts turned me in, read the letter to my mother), I turned to looking for my father. I hadn't seen hide nor hair of him in seven years, my last memory of him was him being arrested outside my house while I screamed and cried and was dragged away from the window by my older brother. The military police jailed him and held him long enough for my mother to pack up my brother and I and move us out of state.
When I went looking for my father, my mother reminded me he was a junkie and an alcoholic and abusive. "Not to me," was my reply, "he never abused me." With that, the search went on until I eventually located my father, who was five years sober at that point. How that ended can be found in, "Attention, Love, and Affection," after telling my father for over a year that I would leave and never look back if he didn't stop abusing me and start parenting me, I finally left.
This is the point of this story: My parents didn't leave me, I left them.
While I was homeless, shortly after moving out of my father's house, my mother begged me to come back and live with her. I told her, "I can't. I have to stand on my own now, I have to prove to myself that I can stand on my own and be okay."
So I did.
The little girl who sat huddled in a ball, rocking, crying, stroking her own hair, she got up and she walked away. She proudly and boldly looked her abusers in the eye and said, "No more. I will not take it anymore."
Just like the song says, they were the ones that I loved and I said goodbye. Now that's empowering.