It’s been almost five years since I asked him not to contact me anymore for awhile. I didn’t know at the time how long awhile would be, only that this was essential for me to heal. Since then, I have really blossomed. I haven’t taken a sip of alcohol, smoked any weed, or needed any anxiety meds. Antidepressants still, yes. They say when trauma happens to a small child, it changes their brain chemistry. If I need to take Effexor for the rest of my life to feel comfortable in my own skin, then so be it.
These last five years, I’ve grown to feel more in control than I ever have. I used to not want to be noticed. Damn my bright, red hair! I stayed at a customer service phone job for way longer than I ever wanted to because it was an easy way to hide from people. Since getting sober and asking my abuser to get out of my life, I’ve learned to become comfortable with who I am. I realized a couple of years ago that no one had accused me of being crazy in a long time. What a wonderful revelation that was! Most importantly, I’ve been able to sing without any substances to take the anxiety away. Without (mostly) hating my own voice. I’ve been able to let it out sometimes, which is a hell of a lot better than never.
I’m doing pretty well until I remember that he exists. He exists in his own world, spreading his own version of things. And getting family to believe him over me. Why on earth would I make up that my dad is a pedophile? When I first came to this realization, it hurt so badly that I couldn’t even say that word. I wanted all of them to die horribly painful deaths and burn in hell, until it was my daddy. Then I was just heartbroken that this is who he is. Growing up, he was a lot of fun! He made treasure hunts for me and my younger siblings. He paid me at the end of the school year (we were home schooled) to read the whole textbook with him in a weekend because we had gotten so far behind. He let me, my brother and sister sneak into the living room and watch movies that mom would never approve of like The Terminator. He made us ‘cheese chips’ which were doritos with cheddar cheese on them melted in the oven. When he told people on the outside what he and mom did, that they were houseparents of group home kids that were emotionally disturbed, the reaction he always got was ‘Wow. You are such good people. I don’t see how you do that.’ My dad and me built an igloo during a huge snow storm when I was around 4. We built a sand tunnel at the beach and touched hands. I always got up when the group home kids did and stood on the vent where it was warm because I didn’t want to miss anything exciting. I rode with my dad to take them to school, and he held a sheet of paper, maybe their chore sheet, up in front of my eyes so the sun wouldn’t blind me. The list of good memories of my dad goes on and on. When I was 27 years old, they all shattered as the pedestal I had held him on came crashing down around me.
I knew there was something with Rachel. I found her picture and thought maybe she had been inappropriate with me. It was a legitimate concern, as we grew up around broken kids who may have been molested, some raped, some beaten. My memory came back.. I was four because she was there when I turned 5 and got my ears pierced. Walking into her room in the dark. She sitting in a chair, he behind her with her hands on her (where, I don’t know, it was dark.) Her breathing heavy. Dad only said, ‘Oh, I’m just baptizing her in the holy spirit.’ Ah… no wonder I believed the holy spirit to be such a pervert later in life. You know, making people ‘speak in tongues’ uttering strange noises, knocking people over on their backs (slain in the spirit is what they call it), and then of course there’s knocking up the Virgin Mary.
I searched through tons and tons of old pictures, trying to figure out my truth. I found the one I was looking for in a shoebox in his house. There she was, my two year old self, holding the creepy clown doll with her left hand, hiding what her right was doing from dad who was sitting behind her, not taking the picture for once. Her right hand was pointing to the clown’s ‘privates’ and she had such a look of fear on her face. The thing is, I remembered. I remembered that picture being taken. Memere saying my name, with the black box in front of her face, me turning around and understanding the concept of time and age and that one day I would be bigger and would need this information. This moment was going to be frozen in time, so I told my future self my truth. I put the fear on my little face the best I could, so the future me would understand and I would be able to sing again. He tried to take my voice. That’s the best way to describe it. So what I was terrified of boys all my life, and if they were interested in me, I literally ran away. So what I had to get drunk to have sex, and it usually wasn’t with anyone worthy of me. So what I had this hole in my gut that I tried to fill with more booze, more weed, more pills. So what I couldn’t make it through my work day most of the time without having to suck back the tears that something random and seemingly unrelated had caused. The motherfucker tried to steal my voice. That’s why I cut him out of my life. So I could get it back. There were pictures of me banging on the piano as an infant, and screaming. In the later ones I had my fingers timidly on the keys, lips closed tight, and looked frightened. The motherfucker tried to steal my voice.
He’s not in my life anymore, and I’m glad. It only hurts when family doesn’t believe me. Doesn’t protect their own little ones around him. God, I hope nothing happens to the next generation, but I can’t yet handle seeing him hold them. ‘He’s such a nice guy, Julia. He can’t be a pedophile.’ ‘It has to be a misunderstanding.’ When I asked him not to contact me, he said I was believing a lie. I told him, no. I’ve always felt afraid, always felt I had to be quiet. My body doesn’t lie. It held exactly the memories I needed for me to know my truth years later. It hasn’t been fun by any means, I haven’t enjoyed any of the ‘attention’ I might have gotten from this. I don’t know why anyone would make something like this up, but I know one thing. If anyone ever comes to me with a similar story? I believe you, and I will stand up for you as I have for me. The shame is not in us; we only keep it by keeping it quiet. It’s over. We have to speak out so the ones that are enduring it now will know they are not alone. Oh, and it’s my motherfuckin voice; it’s not possible for him or anyone else to steal it. 🙂