And secondly, it doesn’t end happily. My life is still far from pleasurable. It’s not a story of success, or hope or happiness. It is not written by someone who has honestly made a success of themselves – merely someone who seeks to be understood. Perhaps that is a fruitless effort… This is a book written from the perspective of an individual who has been so warped by the life you are about to read about, that he is no longer recognizable as the child that has been written herein. This book is vulgar, blunt, unapologetic and filled with abuse, folly and foolishness. The child you are about to read about, no matter how much you cheer for him, over time, became me: a high functioning autistic, borderline sociopath who can barely understand, nor whom has any wish to understand, the majority of humanity. To be frank, you won’t find just the follies of others in here. You’ll find mine. There is no apologizing for some of the things I have done. And you will read about them in stark detail. I am arrogant yet depressed, bursting with confidence and yet suicidal. I feel unlovable but I believe I am honestly better than most people on this sad little planet.
This isn’t a light read and you will be left feeling disturbed by the time you set it down. And then you will pick it up and read it again, and again and again. Because that is how humanity reacts when confronted with a train wreck – pure, morbid fascination. And, strange little humans… My life certainly is a train wreck. Having said that, you will find a few laughs in this book. I’ve inserted some pictures here and there to lighten the tone. There are a few depraved moments – Tucker Max-esque, if you will. You’ll find happy moments and tears and poetry and hope and experience the breaking down of a soul of a romantic… And you will feel my pain as everything good I have ever had, comes crashing down around my ears in the most unforeseen ways. With that all said… Turn the page, if you dare.
My fingers fly, as my eyes drip blood, I must tell this story...
It can no longer go unspoken.
I will not go quietly into the good night;
I will stand up and tell my tale.
You are no longer at the reins,
My master no more; I shake you and walk away.
I shed the life I have lived,
To embrace the life I have found.
Broken, I may be, And the fault lies at your feet,
But I will pick up my mighty pen and lay you to rest yet.
You narrated the story of my life,
But I have outgrown you.
I don't need my stories read to me anymore.
This epilogue is mine and mine alone to tell.
Joseph A.F. Valiant
It's not the first book I've read about child abuse, nor will it be the last, I am sure...But this one struck deep--deep into my soul and my secret beliefs that I would not share with others had I not read this book... I, a Christian, believe in the option for abortion... I think I said it just once within my family and promptly got jumped on, as always, when I disagreed with supposed Christian doctrine...
Did Joseph A. F. Valiant deserve to live? That is the first question that the title forces the reader to consider. My feelings? If the parent, or parents of that child truly did not want that child, then it seems to be that it would have been better to abort... Is that murder? That's another totally different discussion. What I do know from all that I've read is that, no child should be born into the life Joseph has led... We can talk philosophically about whether his life has led to this book, and thus he should have been born... Ask Joseph if he agrees? Does all the pain, anger and sorrow of a child--any child--make it permissible and deemed acceptable just so some religious rule can be quoted? I admit I don't know the answer. I do know that if I had had the misfortune of marrying a man who turned out to be abusive, I would hope I would have considered whether or not I should allow a small baby to be born and within reach of that man... Today, the next day after I published this review, I knew I needed to add--"But then, I would never stay married to an abusive man..."
Chapter 1: A Nightmare Begins
The void beckons, stirrings call,
my soul rends as the stars fall.
Lasting pain, enduring hate,
betrayal forever key to the gate.
Prayers receiving a dial tone,
Guess I’ll just keep at it alone,
Hope has fled beyond the crescent moon,
as my heart wails at this empty room.
What can you think when, in the Foreword, the author warns you about reading this book? Yes, I turned the pages that he had dared me to read...and cried...
When I was about three and a half, perhaps four, my parents told me I was going to have a new brother. Of course, I got excited. I was going to be an older brother! Woohoo! Not so much. As it turned out, Asshole had had a child he hadn’t seen since he was about one (another irresponsible teen, Asshole was, just like my mother. Keep that in mind as we progress, you’ll see the hypocrisy I grew up in for yourself), who shall be referred to as The Sociopath. And The Sociopath was going to be my older brother...
He told me it was a game for just us, which nobody else could know about. He would tell me later. After bed time. Anxiously, I waited for bed time. It came early, as usual. My parents put me to bed pretty early every night… Probably for their own extra-curricular activities. Lights went out and we laid there and whispered a little while. I begged The Sociopath to tell me what the game was, I wanted to know. I had never had anyone my age to play with; I didn’t even know what kinds of games we would play. Asshole and S played Nintendo sometimes, but would never let me play. Something about progress. Not something I understood then, haha...
The Sociopath made me promise that I wouldn’t tell anyone. Made me swear on my stuffed puppy that I was clutching to my chest. I did. God forgive me, I swore upon the puppy, haha. And so The Sociopath began my slow torture, nay, the slow murder of who I was and all I was ever going to be.
You really cannot think of the book as a memoir, an autobiography... It must be fiction! But you know it's not... The story is too horrible to read, yet a child once lived it. Would his life have been different if his mother had not remarried? What reason do we have to ask such a rhetorical question? Because the mother did remarry. But, then, her first marriage had been one that seems to be typical these days...mother 16 gets pregnant, marries older boyfriend, divorces quickly. Moves back with mother, starts to party, gets remarried soon...All Hell breaks out... Sure there were a few warm memories, such as from his maternal grandmother, but not so many that it can override all the rest... at least for that abused child...
What would you do if you had somebody say over and over that you should have been aborted? It is simply beyond my comprehension, given my family background. My mother was left a widow while she was carrying me, but there was never a thought, I am sure, of her having an abortion. She had four children to raise--and she worked long and hard hours to ensure we were taken care of. There was never doubt of our mother's love for her children, even when we recognized that we were financially barely making it...
Still, just as little Joseph, I was touched inappropriately when I was young and I know how that has affected me throughout my life.
Yet, there is not even a small way my life could be compared to the horrendous life...survived by Joseph...
Shadows and ice swirl before my eyes,
And I'm struggling to stay alive,
The only question on my mind,
Is this life really mine?
Just want to succumb,
Been feeling so numb,
Waiting for salvation to come,
Before I come undone,
Need something to tell me who I am,
Need someone to tell me where I stand.
Because I simply don't know,
Where I'm supposed to go,
Someone needs to tell me, so,
Black and white,
As I wait for the rest of my soul to die
Yes, Joseph has been explicit in what has happened to him. I do not need to repeat any of it... Because it is his poetry that really shares his heart and soul. Indeed that soul that he fears will die like most of him already has...
A New Home, but no new hope...
The drive to Illinois started as excitingly as tediously that it ended. I’d never been more than twenty miles from home – with the exception of living in Tennessee for a short expanse while my mother was still married to Daniel. Apparently, I ate a cockroach. And my mother cut the tip of my ear off while trying to cut my hair. She did that three times in my life, actually. Anything to save ten dollars.
I tried to look at everything and of course, that just got me yelled at. The Sociopath complained about being hungry the entire time. Asshole and Mom blasted eighties hair metal the entire time. By the time we got there, I think I was contemplating murder for the first time in my life.
Don’t open the door. For God’s sake, don’t open the door.
They’re out there. I hear them. They’re out there.
Please, don’t open the door.
I know they tempt you, in your mind,
crying out in the voices of your loved ones,
begging you to open the door. But please...
Look at me! Look at me! Don’t open the door!
Please... don't open the door.
They will take you, twist you,
make you into one of them.
And then your voice too,
will echo through my mind.
You can’t open the door.
For me, Oh God… Please. Can’t you see?
It’s Hell, out there.
Hell. Flames are licking at the edges of the door;
do you not see the glowering light?
It’s Hell, and they are waiting for me,
waiting to take me for the things I have done.
The family had moved and Joseph was now in school...where the bullies soon started. The thing was, though, that Joseph started fighting back, so, of course, guess who got in trouble? I never could figure out how naive school officials can be...or is it just that some don't care...or maybe they don't have the time to actually see everything that is going on... No matter what, Joseph got the brunt of the pain and trouble... And Ritalin came into the picture... Well, the doctor might have prescribed it, but the parents figured that "more" would make it even better--for them... This part is especially important due to the prominent use of drugs as a solve-all solution...
So how does an author end such a story...I think Joseph did it the only way he could...You see, he's not alone...
Here are some astoundingly sad facts from www.childhelp.org: Every year more than 3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States involving more than 6 million children (a report can include multiple children). The United States has one of the worst records among industrialized nations – losing on average between four and seven children every day to child abuse and neglect. A report of a child abuse is made every ten seconds...stadiums full of abused children. Imagine them, and take a stand for them. Spoiler: Nobody ever did for me. Because I am a rarity. I survived and made something of myself. Horrifyingly, many abused children go on to perpetuate the cycle. It needs to end. And we need to learn the difference between discipline and abuse – Spanking your child is not abuse. What I went through, and millions of others still go through daily, is abuse. By coloring such things as spanking as abuse, you take away from the seriousness and reality of situations like what I grew up in. So, as I said – when you read this, think not of me. Think of them. I wrote this the way I did partially for anonymity, but also so that you can imagine any child’s face while reading this. I did this so I can still and always be… Just Another Faceless Victim. Thank you for reading.
Tell others about this book. Make Joseph's voice speak for the millions of other abused children... Please consider this a must-read!
I do not want to remember... But it is something I must do. Not just for myself - but for all those who are not yet clear of the Gates of Hell...
Joseph A.F. Valiant is just another faceless victim. He wants neither fame nor fortune for having told his story - just to know that others may find peace in knowing that they are not alone... And that those who have not been abused may read this and understand that they must never simply look away.