I remember how much it hurt when I started.

I don’t think a majority of you guys will ever truly understand how much pain I had to experience to actually write this story, and how I had to go back to some really dark places in my childhood in order to give this series that kind of authenticity that I think it deserved.

There were many times when I sat at this keyboard with a flood of tears streaming down my face, a burning lump in the back of my throat, trying to force myself to just write a few more paragraphs so I could get this story out and put it out here on the internet for everybody to read and react to and criticize as they saw fit. It was so frightening to think that I was now putting my biggest secret, my ultimate pain, my deepest humiliation…right here for everybody to see. To judge me, make fun of me, make light of my situation, or to simply dismiss my plight as though it was no big deal. And I’ve been hurt before. Deeply hurt. By people who didn’t understand. Who thought that this was just fiction, and that I was writing it for the sake of shock value. But it wasn’t.

This kind of thing actually happens in real life. And I am the living proof of that fact.

To this day, I often wonder how I could possibly exist as a somewhat well adjusted human being in today’s society. Like…how is that possible? But I’m thankful for it. I’m thankful for having the torment and the torture that I went through as a child provide me with an enhanced level of empathy for the people around me, and a certain level of understanding when it comes to the pain of other people who are just looking for love, acceptance, or just a good friend. I take pride in being there for them whenever I can. I feel rewarded by the good that I’ve done over the years, and I knew that I had come too far to stop when I felt I should have.

I don’t like to talk about it much, but I suffered a lot growing up. Getting beaten and abused, yelled at, and made to feel so worthless that I wanted to commit suicide just to bring an end to the pain. There’s a voice in my head. A voice that I doubt that I can ever get rid of. And it’s telling me that I’m not good enough, that I’m not working hard enough, and that I’m letting everybody down by not being what they want me to be. It’s always there. It’s just a matter of tuning it out at this point. It’s the only defense that I have left when it comes to me just trying to be the best person that I can be. And it hurts. All the time…it really does hurt.

In a lot of ways, my father has completely ruined me as a human being. And I’ll never know what I could have been if he hadn’t been such a negative influence in my life. I’ve come to grips with that, and I’m going to live my best life regardless. It’s all I can do.

The “My Only Escape” series was my way of finally dealing with what happened to me as a youngster, and getting that poison out of my system, once and for all. I brought up some really painful memories in the process…but I needed to heal. I needed to let it all go. You know?

I do remember the beatings. I remember the staples in the carpet ripping me up as I was dragged across it. I remember having him throw a hot iron at my head and being shoved to the ground and kicked in the stomach. I DO still have a scar on my arm from going through the glass of our screen door. And I remember the shame I felt having to walk eight blocks to my best friend’s house in my sock feet, in the pouring rain, because he had kicked me out. I remember the women that were in my father’s bed when my mom was at work, and I remember having my Nintendo smashed to bits because I didn’t take the trash out before school. These are all real parts of my life that I had to re-live in order to make this story what I wanted it to be. And there were many times when it hurt and emotionally drained me to the point of having to take a break and try to separate my real life memories from the fiction and vice versa. It wasn’t easy. Believe me.

But…when I started this series…I wanted it to be the truth. And anyone else who has ever lived through it can tell that this is more than just fiction. Because they remember it too. And they know what it feels like. But, as painful as it was…it made me who I am. And I’m proud of that. There’s a part of me that wishes that things could have been different, sure…but I’m past that now. What matters is how I handle it, and what I do from here going forward.

When I die…as we all inevitably will…I wanted to finally sit down and tell the world my truth. I wanted this story to exist as a testament to what I had been through, and let other people know that there is a way out of it. There’s an ‘escape’. Even if there isn’t a ‘Brody’ to help you through it (I didn’t have one), you can still make it through the hard times, and end up being a better person for it. There is light within you. A light that even the harshest bullies can’t ever touch or snuff out with their bullshit comments or their physical abuse.

I won. He did everything that he possibly could to break me and beat me down…but he’s all alone now. He has nobody in his life. And I’m one of the only people who will still call him on his birthday and talk for five minutes before he sits back on his couch in an empty house, with no one to love or care for him at all. I don’t get any joy out of it, but I know that he hates it. I can tell. And he did it to himself. He’s got no one left to blame.

“My Only Escape” is basically a love letter to my childhood. It’s an acknowledgment. It’s an apology. It’s a nod to everything that I was and everything I wish I could have been. And now that the series has come to an end…it’s a chapter of my life that I’m proud to close the books on…once and for all.

It’s like saying goodbye to an old friend, really. But the truth is…this is a pain that I don’t need anymore. It doesn’t hurt me the way it did before. I’ve dealt with it all, and I feel as though I’m a better man for not letting it consume me the way it has for so many others that have come before me.

I just wanted to do something good with this story, you know? I wanted to reach out, and maybe some kid can relate and find a way out of that misery so that he or she can live life, and do it better than I did. They’ve got an opportunity to do it right. And that’s the chance that I never had as a kid.

I wrote my happy ending as fiction. They have a chance to write a happy ending in real life. So please…read this story and know that you’re not alone. Know that there are people who will listen, people who will understand. That ‘voice’ in your head is an illusion. Get rid of it. Stop letting it tell you what a fuck up you are and how you’re such an awful person! The sun shines down on you just like it does everybody else. And anybody trying to ‘punish’ you for being yourself is someone that you can live without. Be thankful. Be proud. Be beautiful.

You have to be happy in this life. Because if you’re not happy…what else is there?

Thanks to all of you who stood by me and gave me so much support while I was writing this series over the years. It really means a lot to me. I’ve gotten the chance to talk to many other survivors of verbal, emotional, physical, and sexual, abuse since this story began, and they have all gravitated to this story and its many chapters due to the realistic depiction of what it’s actually like to live this way. Like I said…for those who haven’t had it happen to them, it’s really difficult to describe the how and why when it comes to bringing an end to the daily torture of it all. The mindset is totally different. You become the enemy, and finding a way out or asking for help is simply not an option for some kids. It wasn’t for me. And while I may regret many of the decisions that I made at the time…a younger me simply didn’t have any other options available to him at the time. So please read, and understand that for what it is. These things happen in real life. Your next door neighbors, the kids in your classroom, the people you work with….it happens. And it’s sooooo hard to ask for help when you need it. It really is.

Writing “My Only Escape” released me from a lot of pain and bad memories. I’m done with them now. I feel a soothing balm in my very spirit now, knowing that I finally found the courage to tell my story. And it’s like a huge weight is being lifted off of my shoulders. The nightmares have stopped. My anger issues have subsided. My trust issues have gone away. This is the most personal story that I’ve ever written on the Shack Out Back, and there’s a bit of a bittersweet farewell involved in finally laying this story to rest. But…I feel that it did what it was meant to do. The story has been told. The purpose has been served. And hopefully…at the end of the day…someone will find this story and find a way out of their nightmare the way that I did.

That’s all I wanted. Nothing more.

If I can accomplish that with a single story online…then I will consider my time on this Earth as time well spent, and whatever suffering I experienced in my childhood will have not been in vain. It’s more than most people can say about their lives, right?

Thank you for reading “My Only Escape”, and for being patient with me while I fought through my bad memories and the emotional drain of writing new chapters. You guys have been the best. And you helped me make this online version of ‘Comsie Self Therapy’ a huge success. It was you guys that helped to make it all better. You tended to my deepest wounds, and my scars, and heard my tears with every word. It’s because of you that I’m able to move on from this now. On to bigger and better things. Who knows what I might be capable of without this trauma holding me back. You know?

I love you all! And I’ll see you soon!

To “My Only Escape”…you’ve been my rock for years now. You’ve been my heart, my past, my present, my future, and my friend. Thank you for giving me the space to tell my story. We can both rest easy now.

As for the poison that my childhood has caused me all this time…I cherish you for making me a better man…but good riddance. I’m happy to lay this part of my life to rest…once and for all.

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