It’s my distinct honor today to post an anonymous post here on A Design So Vast. This was written by a friend and I am deeply touched that she trusted me with her story and asked me to share it with all of you. This is part of Five for Ten in that it is about courage, and also represents my post about lust – I share this not only because I respect and admire the writer, but because of my abiding lust for truth.
So, without further ado, the gorgeous and haunting story. In my view this is truth, raw and real, humanity on the page.
Is Anonymity Courageous?
Panic. The kind of panic that grips my lungs, making deep breaths very near impossible. The kind of fear that whips all my innards up in a tizzy. The kind of audible, tympanic panic that simultaneously reverberates throughout, making it near impossible to hear anything other than the beating of the truth.
These emotions ricocheted through my body when I realized I would link up with Momalon’s FiveForTen.
Audacity and verve line the path of she who willingly speaks that which makes her uneasy…no matter how true. It takes courage to step out of the seclusion of my silence, to share my stories, making them equally more truthful and less powerful, less binding, less.
How do you know the intent behind someone’s words? In life, all we really have is our own interpretations. We filter sentiments, ideas, comments and insults through our own personal screen.
So it is no surprise that I filter my father through my own experience. I have, shall we say, a unique non-existence with my father. He no longer holds a place in my life (well, no physical place in my life). I ended our relationship more than 15 years ago because I tired of his bullshit. I said goodbye. Goodbye to the negativity, goodbye to the pain and so long to the selfishness. So goodbye I said. I had to protect the buoyant part of my soul from his damning, suffocating shit. Because he danced with his demons, I, too, tangoed with them. I allowed his comments and critiques to derail my confidence. As a result, it nose-dived, leaving me questioning, empty and unworthy. I believed I was dumb, ugly and awkward.
Some (maybe many) judged my decision—some quietly, some openly. But the most boisterous critic was my own psyche—sending up smoke signals of remorse and betrayal. “What kind of person removes her father from her own life?”
Why I loved him:
Did what he said he was going to do
Took me to sports events
He loved me
I don’t have many memories from my life. Most of what I “remember” is from other’s shared recollections. I wish I had more of my own little house of moments I could pull from. But I don’t. And unfortunately, because I found myself constantly defending my decision to extradite my father to myself, I needed to rationalize his horrible-ness to validate my choice. Therefore, the hate list flows very quickly from my pen:
He, with one sentence, forced me to question my innocent safety in his presence. He told me that I learned of sexual politics at the age of three, from him. He also asked me if I thought he molested me when I was young. Oh, the twisted web we weave—whether he did or not, I’ve always questioned and wondered. I wonder when he may have touched me, fulfilling some sick pleasure, puncturing my soul, while driven by his own, twisted past. Others in family wonder if he was molested as a child. Through the years, I’ve concluded that indeed, he was. And that his cruel fate crafted my own.
He never paid child support after he and my mom divorced.
His rank, stale aura stank of beer and sweat. The smell in his bedroom in the morning made me gag.
He leered at my developing body, forcing me to take cover.
Instead of celebrating my successes, he chose jealousy as his response.
He disrespected my wishes, hopes and dreams.
My children and husband do not know him because he is unstable and likes guns.
He could kill me. He could kill my children. I doubt he’d kill my husband because, well, because he’s a man.
My mother thinks he hated women. In retrospect, I think she’s right. Everything was A. OK. when I was a sweet little girl. But when I threw boobs, hips and body hair into the mix, all bets were off. Maybe the physical signals of my development alerted alarms in his sick mind…alarms that indicated my power and ability—and highlighted his inadequacies.
Family members so feared my father’s unstable condition that they thwarted his descent with an emotional barricade, littered with power plays and emotional negotiations.
In a recent conversation with my mom, she remembered that call from a family member, the one when they alerted her to keep her ex-husband away from me. She acted swiftly. She took precautions to attempt to protect me, my brother and herself. She talked with her place of employment, and my brother’s school, warning that my father may come do something horrible. She had to do this because my father is intelligent, sick and an expert marksman. My mother, with fear white-knuckle gripping her heart, knew that if he so chose, he could kill us all.
So, this is why hate trumps any traces of love I had for this man, my father. Ironically, he brought me into the world—and my greatest fear is that he will take me out.
My threatened safety submerges into the depths of my subconscious and then resurfaces, gasping and sputtering as if I were trying to drown it. I think I forget so I can live peacefully, not always looking over my shoulder. But when the force of my fear returns, my reflex is to quiet my voice and retreat.
This story might be the equivalent of a red flag for my bullish father; if I felt it safe to share this story and credit myself for my enormous successes despite the damning emotional baggage, I would. Although I do not link my name with my story, and although I share through a shroud of anonymity, my spirit and courage mobilize. Through many achy years, riddled with depression and self-doubt, I’ve emerged. I now proudly define myself and do not allow (ok, try vehemently not to allow) past events to define. I give validity and energy to those areas which I want to thrive. I share my story openly with friends and family.
I’ve finally arrived at a place of peace…and almost one of forgiveness. I’ve got time…and courage.