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Kessie opens her story by way on indicating that she is mixed black-white woman, who, by the sound of her voice, appears to be in her adult years.  This establishes the ongoing narrative as one that is a postlude, a reflection, a way to deal with historic trauma – oppression – which she, Kessie, has endured.  Her soft yet pointed personal introduction leads us – the listening audience – to enter Kessie’s troubled world feeling at the same time gripped, sorrowful and in a state of awe as Kessie describes events which shaped her early youth, early adolescence, and has brought her to the point where this story, Kessie’s story, needs to be heard for her healing to begin.

 

The opening sounds lead us to profile that Kessie lives in a rural environment.  The soft whisp of grass through the wind, the rhythmic chirping of crickets, and the creaking of a door identity that Kessie’s home lay in a secluded, yet underdeveloped town.  With the welcoming worn tone of the refrigerator, we hear Kessie start to engage in her first level of oppression – self oppression.  Kessie will later note that she would,

 

“stuff herself until she would throw-up,” to appear “hideous.”

 

This self-mutilating eating disorder and apparent physical dysmorphia we come to understand as not only a point of self-oppression bur also serves Kessie as a presumed defense mechanism against the physical and mental trauma waged throughout her developing life, at the hands of her abusive father, Vic.

 

Kessie’s narrative unveils the source of what she identifies as the “weight of oppression,” as she recalls a violent act of sexual abuse by her father.  The progress of this oppression is qualified in her father, Vic’s words,

 

“[R]emember, don’t breathe a word…”

 

With the heavy panting of Kessie’s breath in the background we come to sympathize with Kessie at this moment, all the while beginning to see the development of the oppression which Kessie defines throughout this series.

 

Being a child of an interracial couple, in a presumed American rural location, the bigotry and racism which Kessie’s father, Vic, forces upon Kessie and her mother goes unattended by Vic’s overwhelming abusive power of these two black women.  Race becomes a factor whereby Vic showcases repeatedly his intolerance of “black people.”  Kessie points to this uncivil acknowledgment of racial bigotry as one layer of the many layers of her oppression.

“I wanted so badly to tell the police. But I feared that if I did…”

 

Kessie holds onto the relentless anger and violence she and her mother, Ciele, had to endure at the hands of Vic.  Kessie recalls an incident where she is the helpless audience viewer to the physical violence of Vic to her mother, Ciele.  Triggered by a nonquitter event – having multiple lights on in the house presumably during the daytime – Vic releases his deep seeded hatred toward black people hitting Ciele and, eventually, Kessie when she innocently asks Vic to stop.

 

“Stop, stop,…leave her alone,…I’ll call 911…” that wimpy childish refrain further entices Vic’s anger which he releases upon Kessie through a recollection of an audible slap.

 

At the aggressive direction of Vic, Kessie – “you little darky brat” – is told to, “keep [her] mouth shut.”  This silence, Kessie’s silence, underscores what she identifies as her oppression.

“This kind of thing takes a toll like you would never believe.”

 

Through the act of remembering, Kessie beings to embrace her trauma.  Eating out of self-hatred – eating disorder – desire to self-mutilate by way of physical dysmorphia, remaining quiet in an environment which screams of violence, racism, hatred and anger, Kessie’s narrative seeks self-reconciliation as she states, that she “felt helpless,” in the arms of the horror she endured.

 

“That was until the day that I met a boy, named Thomas.”

* * *

What Kessie points to as her oppression is not to be misunderstood as being a victim.  Yes, Kessie and her mother Ciele are victims in an abusive household.  However, it is Kessie herself which builds upon these oppressive actions from Vic by her own self torture.  With little in the way of security from her mother, Ciele, Kessie is left to cope with the violent earthquake of her childhood, enduring countless acts of violence, which she is now attempting to dismantle through her story.  The oppression which Kessie and her mother – black women – faced is not to be misunderstood.  Kessie coins her childhood as being an oppressive environment, noting the tripartite points of her oppression, an abusive father, an apparent helpless mother, and her own self abuse.  Oppression, as Kessie unfolds through her narrative, becomes her point of departure, a farewell and forgiveness, not to the violence of her youthful moments, but to herself as she now, in presumed adulthood, asks herself forgiveness to move onward and out of the captive spiral of oppression.

 

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Writing Assignment, September 28, 2023

Kessie’s Oppression

Episode 1

Alan Lechusza

alanlechusza@outlook.com

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