"You screamed at the make-believe; screamed at the sky... And you finally found all your courage to let it all go."

"How did you survive that?"

I didn't.  

I only lived through it.  

The thing that people who have never "gone through it" don't understand is that in the middle of it all - while it's happening year after year - you are not often of the mind to even consider survival.  You just want it to stop.  When your parent is going batshit whacko on you with the buckle end of the belt, you're not thinking "Golly Gee Wilikers, now how do I deal with this?"  You're thinking things like, "Ow!" and "I hope she doesn't hit me in the eye." and "Did my tooth just get knocked out?" Or "Fuck! That hurt!" (And yes, I thought "Fuck!" at the age of eight.)

Surviving comes later.  As an adult.  Surviving comes in (re)learning how to live like a normal human being.  How to fuck something up and not cringe and flinch because you'll no longer be beaten within an inch of your life for it.  Surviving comes much later in a million different ways you never expected.  In discovering what it feels like to be loved in return.  In learning the joy of being wanted.  In belonging for the first time - EVER.  In waking up unbattered and not having to worry about how to hide it from Mrs. Gulledge.