I was handed down the mantra of not to speak,

Never let your right hand know what your left hand is doing. Never say anything of what transpires within the home. Keep the brutality of our experiences quiet. Stay behind the wall of silence, present when out, suppress when in. Each attack adding another layer of fear, anger and feeling of powerlessness. And I was one of the lucky ones. Never beaten, never physically assaulted merely a witness to the life I had been born into. This life consisted of a woman broken by her own childhood, wounded and without a compass to navigate her to her own sense of worth. A man dissociated through alcohol and drugs, the mind corrupted, allowing the alcohol and drugs to unleash the emotional wounds he carried. The anger, resentment, need for control.

This is the story of women and men the world over and this is the story of my parents, lost to themselves, angry, dissatisfied, fractured and disconnected.

Often awoken during the night lead from my home under a blanket of fear. I would dare to become hopeful that this would be the time when change would come. Most assume that a child is left traumatised by the separation of parents. This was not the truth of the young child I was. I prayed for it, no more would I have to hear the screams of my mother calling for me, calling for help. What can a small child do anyway? What could I do? Except stand between this broken woman and angry man. A shield to defend to defend the weak from the weaker.

We think sometimes that the one dealing the blows is the stronger one. But someone strong would never lash out, never allow the anger to become a mosaic of purples and blues on another’s body. Only alcohol and drugs took my father from me, in between a distorted sense of peace would reign. This distorted peace was underscored by a sense of nervousness, of mental and emotional anguish. A mother scrubbing each room endlessly, the smell of bleach permeating into our clothes and lungs and sometimes our bath water. As though this would make everything clean again. But the stains were unseen that no amount of bleach could wash away. How do you scrub clean your mind? Your heart? Your existence? How do you polish up our life until its sparkly and new?

By the time I was eleven, we were living in a refuge, crammed full of women all broken, all in pain along with all their children from babies to teens. My first night’s introduction ironically was the first time I experienced a violent physical attack. My crime was to turn over the TV in the community lounge which did not go down well with one of the male teens, who took it upon himself to pick up a wooden bat and begin beating me with it. I shielded myself the best way I could wrapping my arms around my head as they took the brunt of this young mans anger. Clarity came to me as chaos rained down its blows. I understood that this was to be our fate. He was programmed, conditioned to become the angry man and I was to play out the part of the broken woman. We were both destined by our past to grow up and repeat the life experiences of our parents. Except for one thing I could see it, understand it and vowed that I would never play this part.

My song Child allowed for my inner child and warrior to release unexpressed emotional pain. The writing of Bleach allowed for the witness within me to be heard. The song Child may raise the unexpressed energy within you but the warrior imbued within the words will empower you to rise.

My song Child is available to purchase now from here in my website store and available to stream on all social media music sites.

We are the Way

Copyright Kerry Sweet

Scroll to Top Skip to content