Lived To Tell - I Am A Survivor

OP Music House is a big deal – meet Suzanne Perry
 
Inquiring minds want to know… who am I and why are people excited?  
 
Life without suppression….
 
I’m going to start with music. I have always lived and breathed music. Since I was a kid, my radio was always on. I slept with a transistor radio under my pillow. I was never into TV until the debut of the almighty MTV.  MTV and soon after, its little brother VH1, created a whole new dimension of music. Eventually though, I saw all I needed to see and got it. Unless it was a show on musicians, or a rockumentary, or Name That Tune, I could care less about TV.  In fact, my teens sold their TV sets, I haven’t had cable in over 2 years. On the radio, I still rush to call out the name and artist of songs. Sorry, I’m competitive like that.
 
There are opposers of free-spirited people like me. I don’t care. Why? Read on, friends.
 
As human beings, we have a natural desire to be accepted.  In high school, I always kept one or two best friends and didn’t fit in with any cliques. I was known as a strong-willed person who didn’t take crap from people. I was an A student, never started trouble and helped people study or offered a joke at the lunch table.
 
Let me remind you of something you learned in grammar school. How many times did you have to recite this?
 
“We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creatorwith certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”   -The Declaration of Independence
 
For over half of my life, this said equality, my rights, were painstakingly removed from me. I had no liberties, no freedom and was unable to pursue happiness. I was controlled and programmed, with negativism and bigotry pounded into my head, for 22 years. I would come home in a great mood and when it was time to retire for the evening I would have been slapped, pushed down, insulted, spat on… day in and day out, year in and year out. Everything that was wrong in the world was somehow my fault.  I recall one time waking up from being punched in the head because I was talking about work in my sleep.  I couldn’t even dream right.  I would beg to know as I laid in bed, alone, what I ever did so wrong to deserve what I was getting.  I felt I was praying upon deaf ears but never gave up hope.
 
A couple years prior, I had made a call asking for options. I was told that in New York State, I could have a black eye and nothing could be done. But if I were kicked with a shoe, that that would be okay, because the shoe constitutes a weapon. WHAT?! Was I supposed to go home and asked to be kicked?

I was strong enough to leave three times, and weak enough to return, and then marry him.  I was with him from 17 years old until 39. 

My husband’s paranoia increased when I started using a cell phone. His lack of understanding had him convinced that I was texting people with the items in the quick list like, “Call me.” And it turned into a nightmare.   
 
The abuse got more intense and frequent.
 
What finally woke me up, was when my daughter said, ‘It’s either him or me, I’m can’t take living like this anymore.’ We made a pact that only when I said okay, that she could call 911. Within 2 weeks it happened.
 
On a Thursday evening, it started with him watching Wheel of Fortune while I played with little Joey in a back bedroom, because my role was to keep him out of his way, never to let him hear crying or fighting, etc.  He came in and started kicking me in the ribs wearing workboots, asking if I’ve always been true to him. He went and watched more TV and came back, slapping me in the face. As his sessions went, this continued, and escalated. My daughter asked once and twice if she could call, it was tearing her heart into shreds as her anger grew as he threw me around the house, tackled me in our bedroom, suffocating me to near unconsciousness, and the fighting continued for a couple hours. I finally gave her the okay.
 
The police came. He calmly sat on the couch by the TV in the dark living room. The police said they got a call for a disturbance. He very non-challantly said, ‘No, Officer. My wife and I are just having a beer together, watching TV. Tell them, honey!’ as he turned his smooth, confident but threatening head toward me. (The common, usual look that subliminally says to me, ‘keep your mouth shut or I’m going to beat you much worse next time.’)  I stood with my back to the wall at the far opposite end of the room, silent. The police shined the flashlight quickly around the room and landed on me.
 
With bright red handprints around my throat, blood dripping from my mouth to my shirt,
He was arrested. My daughter and I went immediately down and filed an order of protection.
 
The kids and I slept for 2 weeks.
 
I needed to learn who my own kids are: I wasn’t allowed to talk to them in private, I my husband was paranoid that they would tell me how he behaved while I was gone at work. He would run the kids around the house like slaves, and he was the king in the throne.
 
I had to unlearn the negativism instilled for so long and learn to step outside and look at things objectively.
 
All the things I was trained to believe ended up being wrong, thru his own delusions and judgmentalism. Case in point: I was led to believe all people with tattoos were bad, in gangs, druggies, and thieves.
 
My love of music took a new avenue and I found myself poking out into the Western New York night life, the music scene, photographing writing about bands in the local online paper. These bands became friends and with this population comes tattoos – lots of them. And from this point on, I looked at everything with fresh eyes and a clear mind. I see tattoos as a form of expression thru art. They represent meaningful items. These people aren’t ‘bad’ at all, and they welcomed me into their family.
 
Today, I radiate from within with the most purest beauty imaginable.  I have made my virtual leap of faith not into religion but into my own powers of goodness and positivism. I pick out the good in everything, appreciate the beauty in every little and big thing and try to share it with as many as possible through my photographs and words. The power of positive.
 
 I use music as a vehicle to reach out to people. I am a sign of hope and am here to say I understand, won’t judge, or blame those controlled and belittled. I have been there and done that, I understand how it works, the profiles of controllers and those of the controlled.
 
It seems the biggest kicker is that I don’t lead women’s clubs or lash out against men. In fact, women are just as bad or worse than men. Abuse comes in many shades. Broadly, there’s emotional, psychological, financial, sexual abuse. One who pushes their partner down a flight of stairs leaves scars. Being told you are ugly, useless, and would never amount to anything also leaves deep scars. I want to help people understand it, accept it, get thru and over it, and live a decent life in a better light.  I speak out for people.
 
And so I bring to you my life coming full circle. Based on the theory that if the abusers were exposed they wouldn’t do it, my new-found nonprofit OP Music House Inc. presented, the “EXPOSURE Concert: Because love shouldn’t hurt.”  It turned into a 3 day concert August 13-15, 2010 at Club Paradise in Blasdell, New York. Forty-seven bands played. It streamed live around the world to expose domestic violence and abuse. It was viewed from 8 countries, nearly 30 states and on the Second Life virtual reality game.
 
I didn’t profit from it, but I don’t care. Bringing all those people together under one roof gave cross-exposure, got bands more recognition, more contacts, more gigs, and more friends. Many who played or attended have reported back to me that they really felt a powerful love in the place. I know I did.
 
I’m trying to purchase a former church and turn it into a community center with 2 primary functions. Its for providing access for young adults 16-24 to instruments, staging and basic recording equipment, while local musicians come and hang out, offer tips and tricks, jam sessions and friendship. The other function is to provide support services for victims of domestic violence and abuse. Currently, I support people nationally thru Facebook, phone, chatting and even have had people in my home. I acknowledge and console those impacted.
 
Since the inception in January, my OP Music House page has over 3,200 friends and I consider it an amazing accomplishment. Due to the prevalence of this problem, I have realized there is not a voice out there to bring light to this topic and educate to expose and eradicate domestic violence and abuse. I’ve been in the local papers, on several radio stations, and now do speaking engagements.
 
I write all over the internet, you can google “Suzanne Perry, violence” and my work will fill your screen. My website is www.opmusichouse.org.
 
And I now have a tattoo, with plans on getting another soon. :)
SuzannePerry SuzannePerry
41-45, F
Aug 23, 2010