Senior bearcat realizes her father is her lifeline after 17 years of pain
Laurie Terry* jerked the door open and ambled out, eager to celebrate one of her grea
test achievements in early June of 2014. So she met up with her boyfriend but practically everything went downhill from there. She ignored the fact that the relationship had lost its glamour and was shrouded in a cloud of arguments. She just wanted to get out and be happy, for once. That night was no different than the countless others they had spent together, and, as usual, an argument swelled over a trivial topic, and her anger caught fire. She was fed up with life, too blinded by emotions to see any other option and stepped out of the car, barefoot on the cold concrete, with the intention of stepping in front of the next car that came into sight she wanted to find an end to her pain. A night meant for celebration ended with despair. This is the breaking point she told herself, this is the end to all of it, and this is how I make it go away.
A slight crackle under her foot stopped her in her tracks, and although her eyes were blinded by the flash of headlights that whirled past her, they honed in on something else. The crunch under her foot was followed by an unpleasant slime. She was awed by the unlikely candidate that had unknowingly traded its life for hers. The snail, despite its crushed form, was still recognizable. It’s fractured shell gleamed under the street lamp, and as her face drew closer to it, her heart broke. Her stomach churned over the thought of ending such a pure life. The epiphany her crippled mind had come to was clear; she weighed a snail’s life over her own.
Laurie Terry had an accumulation of tragic moments in her life, that held her back from truly finding herself. The divorce, the lack of support and parenting from her mom, which led her to toxic relationships with boys and blades. She was lost in her home life and got tripped up in the excitement and freedom granted to her during adolescence; alcohol, sex, drugs. It was all a fingertip distance away from her whenever she wanted it, and she couldn’t help but fall for each temptation. She was the fly, and life was the arachnid catching her in its web and weaving her farther and farther into darkness.
When her feelings flared, Terry found herself enamored with the crimson outpour that dribbled from the veins on her wrists and thighs after having expertly slid a blade across her porcelain skin. She lowered her body until she was sitting cross-legged on the bitter cold ivory tile that veiled the shower floor. This motion had become routine for her petite body within the last two years. Terry yearned for any feeling that could distract her from the exploding emotions inside of her that dropped like bombs. This was the only time her emotions were diluted enough for her to remain sane and alive. Her fits of uneasiness wer
e triggered primarily through her toxic relationship with her mother and sporadic relationship with her unconcerned boyfriend.
With little hope for her life left, and a knowledge that she had succumbed to the darkest parts of herself, she looked toward the only person she thought truly understood her: her father.
“He’s not just my dad, he’s my best friend,” said Terry, she is thankful her father raised her, he treated her like a human, like an equal “…He taught me like I was one of the guys, and I can never thank him enough for raising me how he did.” Her father is her counterpart, she considered them to be practically the same person, just opposite genders and varying ages. However, despite the support her father offered her, Terry still struggled with self abuse as a coping mechanism for her mental and emotional trauma.
“I needed to feel something other than what I felt inside. It was sort of like a release and my boyfriend at the time just didn’t care. He was just like, ‘Okay that’s something you do.’ Same with another guy I dated. They never tried to help me,” Terry said. She knew it was not their job to mend something they hadn’t broken, but it was the lack of support and needed confrontation that hurt her the most.
It was during these times that her father’s influence really guided her so she could see through the pain clouding her eyes and her judgment. Thoughts like,“How would my dad feel,” and “I can’t hurt my dad like this” bloomed from her subconscious into the foreground of her mind often and were constantly saving her life. “He doesn’t really have anyone else. I’m his person and he is mine” Terry reflected.
“I feel like the only person I can talk to about that kind of stuff is my dad. Even though we don’t talk about personal stuff that often, he makes it easier for me to just feel normal, because he knows about these awful things and he’s like ‘okay cool let’s move on,” said Terry.
Despite all of Terry’s negative encounters, she is currently stable and healthy and has found healing through her bond with her dad and their love for each other. She uses him as a resource when she can’t find any way out on her own, like he taught her to do.
The most important lesson he taught her was to realize that she needed to love and take care of herself first, rather than look for someone else to do it. “I didn’t love myself, so it was hard to fix myself without having anyone else in the picture. And I know now that you can’t depend on other people for your happiness.” said Terry, who knew her father would always be there for her when she couldn’t solve things on her own, but still encouraged her to stand on her own.
“My dad is my best friend. He means the world to me,” said Terry, who often recalls flashbacks of her and her father’s long car rides in the family Jeep filled with laughter, cheesy smiles, and genuine love. “some of my favorite memories with my dad are the ones where it’s just us, out on the open road, doing our thing.”
She bopped her head and sang along word for word to the classic Matchbox 20 hit she had heard a million times while her father whistled along, the back roads were breathtaking and the windows were down, as always, letting the smooth country air settle on their skin. Her hair whipped manically across her face and got stuck to her eyelashes and halfway in her mouth. She looked over at her dad seriously, and both of their stoic faces cracked to let out barking belly laughs. From the exterior the snow colored jeep was a monster, spattered in dirt and mud, but from the interior breathed Terry’s childhood. Every stain on the upholstery had a memory attached with it, spilling the child-size milk containers to musty brown tracks leftover from hiking trips all over the coast–not to mention the permanent layer of dog hair coating every surface. With her dad in his faded blue Levi’s relaxed in his seat with one hand on the steering wheel and the dogs flapping their cheeks and tongues out the window against the breeze, that was her home, her heart, and her light.