It was just another day like any other when my father was angry. Almost every day his face would turn bright red and the veins in his neck would protrude as he yelled for me to go to my room and told me I was punished. I don’t remember what led to his agitation this time, but he ran after me into my room, using my body to shut the door behind him. He placed both hands around my neck and said, “I’m going to kill you, Danna.” Thankfully, I have always been exceptionally strong and was able to fight back with my hands. I also challenged him with my voice and said, “What will your psychiatrist say when he reads the paper? ‘Bernard Reich, Beverly Hills Attorney, Strangles Daughter in their Rodeo Drive Home.’” This made his eyes pop out mirroring his veins and his voice rose to another level. I remember saying, “You’re crazy,” and as soon as the words came out of my mouth, his foot was in my stomach and I was flying across the room. I hit the wall and bounced onto my bed. It was too late when my mother appeared and said, “Bernie, don’t.” He already had.
The strangling incident occurred when I was no longer a child. I was sixteen or seventeen, so his explosions didn’t have the strength to damage me further. I had already been judged as a problem child and disappointment to him; therefore, all of this contributed to my lack of self-esteem and impacted my interactions and choices, holding me down and leaving me unsettled. Even in a brief moment of happiness there would be a fog hovering overhead, screening the sun. It wasn’t until I fully embraced my demons that I was able to engage the strength I carried inside of me to convert my darkness into light. I look at each scar as a part of my story. I have plenty to tell.
“What doesn’t kill us gives us something new to write about.” — Julie Wright