Lust for truth

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.

15 thoughts on “Lust for truth”

  1. What an incredibly powerful and courageous story. Thank you for sharing.

    It does take a lot of strength and resolve to cut out toxic family members. I’m glad that she was able to understand that no matter the relation, it’s no excuse for the pain and the abuse. And to realize that she is not wrong, but so, so right in her decision. I’m glad she’s found peace.

  2. Thanks for sharing your friend’s story. It is incredibly raw, painful,sad, and couraageous, and yet the beauty is so obvious because she has indeed over come the demons of this man. Yes, the lust for truth sometimes over-rides all.

  3. Thank you for sharing. What courage! And yes – a lust for truth – in her and in you for allowing her to share this here. Stories that require anonymity to voice often take the most courage. Your friend is an inspiration and encouragement, probably far beyond what she can even know.

  4. Thank you – anonymous – for sharing. I can’t imagine that it was easy to write, as parts were so difficult to read. But you are amazing, for doing what you needed to do for yourself, for your family. You are courageous and brave, to say the least.
    Thank you.

  5. Bravo for this, whoever you may be. If we are able to see it, we will realize that your wounds matter to each and every one of us—that at the deepest level of soul your story is a collective story.

    My hope is that the telling can be healing, and that you can allow the respect (not sympathy) and recognition (not analysis or judgment) to create links and bonds in this world, not just for your successful persona, but for you unmasked soul-Self.

    I have seen that people give away their unwanted feelings, often rather unconsciously. Your father, beyond his feelings of shame and inadequacy, beyond the illness that he has never been able to seek help for, lies a terrible fear. My wish for you is that you can relinquish this fear as your father’s not your own—even as you retain your well-founded anonymity with regard to your wounded and destructive father.

    You have broken a cycle of abuse, and that’s what it’s going to take on a fairly massive scale to quell the huge tide of hurt and abused children.

    Sending all good wishes, whoever you may be

    (and I’m sure that having a trusting and loving friendship with Lindsey can only be a healing big plus in your life)

  6. You are full of courage and memories. Courage to know you needed to cut this man from your life. Courage to actually stick to this conviction. Courage to remember but move on in life. Courage to LIVE!

  7. Love heals all.

    This is what I believe. Choosing the Love… sometimes that gets a little tricky. A father is always a father. As much as a person says, “I’ve kicked him out of my life, forever,” there is usually (perhaps not always) a lingering hold-back.

    A day you wish you could share and get validation. A moment he almost offers validation and you linger for what might be waiting around the corner.

    The need for parental approval is so strong, even when it’s zany that it cannot be discounted.

    I hope you will keep telling your story because story heals, especially when you let it land in the ears of loving dear ones.

    It would be difficult for me to keep my father at bay, so I would, instead, focus on FILLING my life with loving relationships. Looks like you’ve made good progress there! Then there simply isn’t time to be distracted by someone toxic.

    I will hold you in my thoughts as you continue your lust for truth.

  8. So brave of you to share. Making this kind of decision is profound on so many levels. But your words sound like you KNOW it to be right. Your words sound STRONG. That is amazing.

    Though I cannot relate specifically, I had to make similar choices about my biological mother’s family. I cut them from my life for, though much less harrowing, equally troublesome reasons. People have a tendency to judge those who “cannot forgive and move forward”. For some reasons, society perpetuates the notion that the road to happiness is always forgiveness. I’m don’t think it’s that black and white. I believe that moving forward knowing that the choices you make are the right ones, even if not the easy ones or accepted ones, is what takes true courage.

  9. This was incredibly brave. How damaging, not to trust one’s own father with her personal safety. Makes me feel sick to my stomach. I hope your friend understands how strong she is to save herself, critics be damned.

  10. Oof. Such heart-felt, gut-wrenching truths. I am feeling the words on a physical level, knowing that in one person’s healing are the seeds to all of our healing, no matter how similar or different our stories. I feel like I’ve unwrapped a beautiful gift this morning – one that will stay with me, encouraging me to find my courage whenever it runs and hides. Thank you, both of you, for sharing this here.

  11. Wow. I stumbled on your website via Aiden, who I stumbled on via twitter. This post is…incredible. Heartwrenching. Punch-you-in-the-gut courageous. Thank you for posting.

  12. Can you believe I am still catching up from Five for Ten? Ridiculous, I know. But true.

    I was so frustrated with my boys while reading this. They’ve pulled me away about 12 times over the course of a single post and I was on the edge of my seat with the details and the emotion. What a truly horrible thing to have to live with. I think there IS bravery in the words that are shared here, even if anonymously. And I think there is a peace, something that is patching itself together, little by little. I can feel it wound around these words.

    Thank you for such a brave an honest piece, anonymous writer. And thank you, Lindsey, for sharing it here in your own domain.


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