I’m honored to have author Jacqueline Cioffa here today with us to share her story.
The first closed fist punch came fast and without warning. The one-two successions of hate and rage pummeling my face. Fast, fast, sudden, bruising my ribs and squashing any bit of self-love and confidence dwelling inside my envious, almost six-foot frame.
Blood dribbled down my chin, out of my mind with fear; I lay paralyzed as a friend pried off this ugly stranger. The door slammed. Silence. Shhh, quiet do not make a sound. I could not move. I was shell-shocked and alone. Alone, all alone in a foreign land that was not my home. I was far, far, far from the limitless love of my father’s face and the tenacious, fierce protection of my mother’s love. I wanted them. In that moment, I wanted nothing more. I was trapped inside a dungeon with steel bars wrapped around my brain, stuck in self-hate and frenzy.
I could not find one crack in the dark thinking, one sliver of me, one small metal shaving or dust fleck of hope.
I was nineteen years old. I was skinny. I was statuesque. I was stunning. I was a model. I was the stuff of a supermodel. I was liquid gold. I had everything I ever wanted in front of me. So I was told.
Me with the eggplant, swollen eye and collagen plump perfect split lip got exactly what she deserved. She must have. Right? Isn’t that what they say, she was the cliche?
She started referring to herself in the third person.
She’d forgive him. She’d stay, but she wasn’t really with him. [share ]She was moving while motionless.[/share] She was stuck in the cage with menacing black crow words like duty, responsibility and blame circling overhead.
The feisty funny freckle face was dying. She dreamt in color, fell in love with art and music, and all the wrong men. She thought they might see her, really see her, you know, past the face to her insides. She wanted to feel like the low notes of the most haunting and bittersweet melody that made her weep. She wanted to weep for all the right reasons, be moved by a long song.
Her pitiful attempts to feel something like healthy love were sugar cravings, and she was allergic to white, empty carbs.
The blows softened and became fatal, poison dagger words. She preferred the punch; at least she felt less numb, less than nothing. The bruises had been visible on her invisible, disappearing skin.
Her shoulders curled in self-protection, she pretended they were white angel wings keeping her safe while she gazed down at the sidewalk or out or anywhere but inward, avoiding all eye contact.
Who is this person? She doesn’t recognize her at all. Oh yeah, She, The Master of Pretending.
To live, to exist in the dark requires discipline. [share ]She was tenacious, loyal, and loved hating herself.[/share] It was what she knew, the one emotion she understood intimately.
The first time someone stomped on her soul, she barely remembers. When you’re a child figuring stuff out, boundaries and boundaries are muddy waters. She had placed her whole intact self, the beauty, purity and bliss in others.
Isn’t that the most natural thing a child can do?
The girl with the spitfire imagination who ate cartwheels and giggles for breakfast wasn’t born into a world filled with hate, fear, skepticism and all the negatives.
No, those feelings were learned.
She left the atrocious man-boy crusher of spirits, eventually. It took time, a long, long while for the metal bars to rust just enough and lighten for her to notice the golden specks in her eyes reflecting back, feel her heart smile properly for the first time.
To choose the slightest possibility of a different way of thinking.
She’s not so perfect anymore, but to me she’s prettier than before. She picks up the pre-fight, pre-conditioning, worn, torn leather boxing gloves and sets them aside, cautiously, by her dressing table filled with different weapons of choice.
Amethyst stones, prisms, healing crystals, gems, pink quartz love, Zen rocks, Buddhas, and a picture frame she glances at each night. Wrapped in her daddy’s protective, safe arms lives a funny faced little girl whispering, “you are all that’s innocent, good and kind. You are her, remember, you are worthy. You are loved.”
She’s all mine.
About the Author:
Jacqueline Cioffa was an international model for 17 years and celebrity makeup artist. She is a dog lover, crystal collector and Stone Crab enthusiast. Her work has been featured in “Brainstorms, the Anthology” and numerous literary magazines. Living with manic depression, Jacqueline is an advocate for mental health awareness. She’s a storyteller, observer, essayist, potty mouth and film lover who’s traveled the world.
Her poignant, literary fiction debut THE VAST LANDSCAPE gives new meaning to intense, raw and heartfelt.
Fans of the emotional, soul stirring first novel will not be able to put GEORGIA PINE, the exciting sequel, down.
“The essence continues because you do. Harrison leaves the door open a crack. I seize the opportunity to revisit my whole, healthy self a bit longer, live in the mystic beach home I adore, dream eyes open. Hope is our greatest asset. To choose hope against the worst possible odds is the true measure of life.” The Vast Landscape by Jacqueline Cioffa
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Jacob saysSeptember 8, 2015 at 12:15 pm
Good job! Nice opening abeyance.
Jackie Cioffa saysOctober 4, 2015 at 10:49 am
Thank you for reading and commenting, Jacob. Abeyance, a state of temporary disuse or suspension. Excellent choice of words.