I Thank God everyday from as young as I can remember until today, for giving me the gift of music. I was blessed with a rare talent that allows me to play the piano, keyboards, organs or any type of keys by ear. From as long as I can remember, I was able to hear a piece of music no matter how short or long, and play it back blindfolded. Still today, this gift has been what has kept me alive. I will always be thankful and blessed by this talent. Just the sight of a beautiful grand piano melts my heart. Like showing a kid a huge wall of candy. I am drawn to music and love the fact that I not only able to create some beautiful pieces but I can also recreate some of my favorite songs and artists. When I was three years old, my sister’s were taking lessons at a studio in a large shopping mall. One day, the studio had a talent show showcasing all the students playing various instruments. I attended the show with my family to watch my sister’s preform. After seeing my sister on the stage playing piano, I apparently made a huge fuss wiggling my way out of my mother’s hold standing in the audience and ran up onto the stage. I sat on the piano as everyone watched giggling and waiting for some true banging noise to take place. I remember playing the theme off the movie “Love Story”. My favorite song back then. I had heard my sister practise it and I was quickly intrigued. I played the song to the end. My fingers could barely reach the keys but I reached them all. To this day, I still remember the applause when I finished. It was then that my family new I had a gift. Music became a huge part of my life. As a child and teenager, my parents always made sure I had the latest technology for synthesizers and a piano. It was my escape. No matter how ugly things got with my father or how bad it was at school, music would always save me. I wrote some of the most beautiful classical pieces of my life that I still play and remember today. My family and our friends always new that I was going to go on and become someone famous from my gift…. and I did. As I approached 15, I found myself not sleeping much anymore. I would spend entire nights on my keyboards writing and creating music. I knew deep down that if I went to bed, my father would find me and have his way with me. I remember going to bed some nights at six in the morning only to get up at seven for school. If staying awake through the night would save me, then so be it. Eventually, my father got smarter and decided to catch me during naps. I began eating to stay awake. I went from one hundred and thirty pounds to one hundred and eighty pounds within six months. Lovely. Another problem to add to my list of problems but guess what? My weight gain began to deter my father. Perhaps he didn’t like fatter girls. Every night turned into every other night so I simply did what was best for the situation at hand….I ate more.
The bullies got so bad I had to tell my parents. It was the only one of my many fears I was not fearful about. I don’t understand why I never stood up for myself. I look back now as a 45 year old woman and wonder why I didn’t tell them off with a few good lines. It would have stopped if I did. A new school. A Catholic school. I noticed my teachers were different. We had to pray at different times throughout the day. It was also mandatory to take religion classes which I found awesome. The students had the opportunity to actually get to know each other well. We attended church as a school. You could see some humbleness in the students whom from just their looks, would not seem too humble. I began making good friends. Some best friends actually. It was nice to not worry about embarrassment from being teased. I felt like I was in the “cool kids” group. The funny thing is, the cool kids were actually nice kids. It was so different actually wanting to go to school. I attended a school that was kindergarten to grade nine. I loved helping at lunch time selling milk to the kids. I was a “milk girl”. Our payment for selling and our time was having all the milk we wanted. Chocolate or plain. School was finally enjoyable and no matter what I had to endure at home, I looked forward to getting my mind off it at school. My friends started to pressure me with normal stuff friends do. Go to each other’s homes, go to movies, go rollerskating, chat on the telephone…normal stuff teens do. That was forbidden in my home. We were never allowed to go out with friends or go to their homes but they were allowed to come to mine. Sometimes, rarely. I began to feel the pressure of my friends always asking why I couldn’t go and have fun with them or hang out. They eventually stopped asking me or inviting me anymore. I remember one time a friend called me, my father interrupted the call picking up another line and yelling at me to get off the phone immediately! Wow, I was so embarrassed. It was terrible. That issue passed through the school amongst friends rather quickly. I started to get looks. Weird looks. The phone issue also didn’t just happen that once but a few more times within a short period. Now, I was on repair duty. Had to try to make it ok. So began the lies. What ever I could think of or make up. Telling everyone what they wanted to hear, just to stop the looks and questions. What a rollercoaster ride. Everyday! I became a great liar. I was able to write a book and title it ” 1001 Excuses For Everything”. It would have been a best seller.
Junior high school. Don’t remember much about it and my marks sure told that story well. Passing by a hair. I attended school in fear and with no sleep. It started to catch up to me. The bullies sure had a hayday with this. They would repeatedly call out “packy packy” screaming it to the top of their lungs. I could never understand this because I was not Pakistani. Born and raised in Canada. Armenian, Russian in my family history. My skin was a little dark but just a little. Least of my worries those days. The nightmares began to take over what little sleep I did manage to get. We are Christian people. We do believe in God. I would pray for his help and wonder why matters would continuously get worse. Did God really exist or was he like Santa Claus or the Easter bunny? I new what little faith I had left would hold me as strong as I could. I was always told things happen for a reason but what was reason for being raped everyday by someone I trusted and loved. The word “father” today means nothing to me. It never did then. I, today, still shiver when I hear that word. I don’t know what it’s like to have a father. The family went out for dinner one night leaving me with one of my older sisters. I remember feeling so excited knowing we were ordering Chinese food! My favorite! We spent the evening watching movies and enjoying some of my favorite dishes. I truly don’t know what started the conversation but I asked a few questions that apparently triggered her knowing what had been happening to me every night with my father. She went on to tell me that I was not alone. She told me all of my sister’s had endured the same thing. I was in shock and disbelief. The whole time I thought I was alone, I wasn’t. The pig, and believe me I had worse names for him then, was raping all his daughters. Behind my mother’s back. I true sneeky SOB. Wow, the madness in his brain. Are you kidding me?? It took this long for us sisters to come together and figure out that each of us was not alone? It took me becoming suicidal to trigger the questions? For the first time I felt a sense of relief. Although it was still happening and I was still in fear, I felt relief? So strange. My eldest sister would not talk about it at all. The second youngest sister had a rough time speaking about it to me as well. The middle sister became my confidante. It turned out we had all been threatened with such fear that even when the powerless hope of one became four, we still felt powerless and scared. As time went on, I became very close to one of my uncle’s on my mother’s side. He was a very tall, good-looking, funny, well mannered man who was also very wealthy and had a family of four kids of his own. He became interested in my talents in music and at every moment he could get, would lecture us on how to be wise, smart and maintain good grades in school. His lectures started to get so intense as my marks and report cards would set him off. I remember one of his lectures after failing my grade 9 year and having to repeat it, being a long long lecture. I didn’t really pay much attention to what he was telling me because I really didn’t care. In my heart I figured that if he had any idea what I was going through, his advise would change. His four kids were all honor roll students and attending university to soon become financial icons,millionaires,engineers and educators. It was not long into one of his many lectures leading into the wee hours of the morning, that I blew. I couldn’t take it anymore. My heart was racing and I remember my hands shaking. I began to tell him why I could not do well in school. We were alone. All alone. My brain was fighting to stop speaking but my lips spoke anyways. I began to tell him that I was being touched inappropriately by my father. There was no way I could tell him the whole truth. I remember starting to feel dirty while talking to him so I lightened up the situations a great deal. When I was done, I remember feeling like I didn’t truly get my point across. I was relieved in a way because I was so scared of telling him in the first place. As the days passed, I waited for the death, the torture of those I loved around me but, no one died. There was no torture. The nightly visits were the same so no change. I did not understand what was going on. All I could think of was that my uncle just kept it to himself. When i told my sister’s of our conversation, they became so fearful as was I. They made me promise with tears in their eyes that I was to never do that again or we would lose each other. So I promised.
Entering junior high school was scary but I thought things may look up and perhaps change a little. I was getting older. I was able to talk and see all that was going on around me. Did it deter him? No. It gradually got worse. The threats became more apparent and full of anger. I thought I was scared before…that was an understatement. Why was all this happening to me. The nightly visits from my father became longer and more disgusting. The pain was unbearable and yet I was not able to tell anyone. I was afraid for my life and my family. By the time I turned 14, I understood what suicide was and new that would be my only escape. I tried so many different pills and mixed them with alcoholic drinks. I could not get the nerve to bring a razor to my wrist. I wanted to just sleep and never wake up. I remember one night taking an entire box of gravol & 4 Tylenol #3 pills with a beer I found in the fridge. An hour later my body felt like it was going to give out on me. I got so scared I pushed the panic button on the kitchen was and fainted on top of a plant. I woke up in a hospital bed and wondered how I got there. My sister later told me that the police, fire and ambulance came to the house because the panic button was triggered. I told the doctor that I had no idea what happened. Just fainted was all. After blood work and tests to find put what happened, they could not come up with the cause. I new what the cause was. It was fear and a broken heart. That does not show up in blood work…..
From the age of 5 to 19, I don’t remember much happiness. So much fun and fun times were had but they are vague in my memory. It really didn’t matter how much excitement was going on around me, I lived in fear and horror alone. I was sworn to secrecy and threatened to lose all in my life I loved if I spoke. I was repeatedly raped nightly and if a night was missed, the following night would not be. Until today, I truly do not know how I managed to wake up and actually attend school. To focus in class was the hardest thing I ever had to do. I was so confused and had no soul to talk to about it. My father was such a great and pleasant man to everyone who knew him. No one would have believed me. Our family was so well known to so many. Our family was always known as caring people. Helping out whom ever needed help. Money, time, experience in so many fields with our large family was always called upon. Making so many friends was easy. Know one knew of the deep dark secret. My brother and sisters were all older than me. They were all two years apart. I came along 8 years later so the gap was huge. I had a cousin however, 6 months younger than me. We were close. Practically raised together. I had considered her my sister. We did everything together. When it was my birthday, she would get presents and the other way around. We were both spoiled with everything we wanted. Even as close as we were, I was so scared to tell her of the horror I was going through, for the entire 15 years. As my school grades went on, my marks were slowing down. By the time I got junior high school I was barely passing. My mother had no idea of the horrors that happened to me on a nightly basis. It always happened in the middle of the night. As I approached junior high school the bullying and trading began. I managed to make a few friends but in my family, that was not allowed. They were allowed to come to my home but I was never allowed to go to theirs. Never allowed to talk to them on the phone. My parents were deathly strict with us. Before arriving into my new junior high school, leaving elementary, I began getting bullied by the principal. I remember one winter getting beat up by a group of boys behind a hill next to the playground. For yelling “leave me alone”, they decided to continuously call me “packy packy packy”! In ever understood why as I am not or never have been racist but I was not Pakistani or Indian of any kind. My skin color was a little darker than white. I decided to take some snow and throw it at them to leave me alone. The principal saw me and called me into his office. I told him why in had thrown the snow at those boys and continued to tell him I was just defending myself. Mr. Vance told me I was a liar and that my nose was growing. WHAT?? He kept me in his office for 2 hours to punish me on a wooden chair. I missed my school bus so my aunt came to pick me up. I endured the bullying that had to happen daily but this time, not tell anyone anything. What could anyone do anyways?
I don’t remember ever caring or feeling love for my father. He was a very out going caring person. He loved to talk and brag about his many talents as a once hairdresser, then artistic talent to running his own construction company developing basements and renovations. His talent for wood working became evident rather quickly. His finished work became a hit of perfection. My father never really needed to advertise as his clients would talk such high praise of his work and pass his name around to their friends and colleagues. My siblings always loved the attention and gifts we would get frequently from him. I had no idea it would all come at a price. A price I was never really willing to pay. At the age of 5 years old and only a second day into elementary school, my father began molesting me. From a child’s perspective, the confusion was unreal and I remember that greatly. From the beginning, the scare was placed in me not to ever tell anyone. His reasoning to a 5 year old, was very believable. He was my father. I was suppose to trust him. I remember sometimes going to school with so much fear I would look and act weird forcing the bullies to take advantage me…and they sure did.
I have an older brother and 3 older sisters. I am the baby of the family. My mother was a stay at home mom. My father owned his own construction business. Being Mediterranean, as kids we were always spoiled. Always had everything we wanted or needed. No such thing as getting a job or allowance. We simply got what we wanted within reason. Can you say spoiled? Yes, we were. A happy family who enjoyed entertaining, cooking and the great outdoors. We had many relatives and friends close to us. You could say a few hundred.
We lived in a large house. Three bedrooms and seven floors. Not a fancy house but a comfortable one. We had a green house, a trampoline, an above ground pool and a jacuzzi on one of our floors called the “hawaiian room”. Our mother was a very nurturing and loving mom. Very strict with all of us kids as my father also was. Our dad was a little more lenient when it came to things we wanted that mom said no to. Life seemed so great. As far back as I can remember. I was 5 years old. Going back any further seems blank to me. I began kindergarten. I remember it like I remember yesterday. The room, the teachers face, the drawings on the walls and the apple juice on the teachers desk poured into little plastic cups for us. No such thing as juice boxes in the 70’s.
At the start of the school year was when my life would change forever. I had no idea, that what was about to happen to me, would change my life unimaginably, forever. Even today and for the rest of my life.