Friday, March 25, 2005

Thoughts finally surfacing

I have been quiet lately, a bit isolated. I don't understand all my feelings, but this morning was able to write out some things that I need to share. I thank you in advance for listening.

Back in December, before the new year started, I wrote a letter to my stepfather telling him how f*cked up my life is, how depression and overwhelming feelings have rendered me almost helpless – unable to work, unable to function. (I didn’t say anything about the addiction.) I told him that I had finally reached this stage because I had come to grips with the fact that the secrets of his abuse I had kept all these years were killing me. “I pay the price every day. My husband pays the price every day,” I wrote. Now, it is time for you to pay the price and face this – Why did you do this to me? I told him that I had no grand scheme to start telling the world, but that I was now saying the truth out loud, and that if there was ever any indication that he was abusing his granddaughter the way he abused me, I would make sure he lived the rest of his life in shame.

I have carried this letter around with me … in my purse since then. I shared it with my counselor and with my husband. They both encouraged me to send it. My husband said, “Why should you be the only one to suffer?” I told him then that I for some reason still felt the need to protect my father (sorry … I never call him my stepfather, he raised me from 9 months – it’s hard for me to get in that mode.). I was afraid of hurting him. I know that this is more about my obsessing need to ignore myself and look out for someone else’s feelings. But, the reality was, I was afraid of hurting him – this man who has so selfishly hurt me, stolen my innocence, and asked me to kill myself by hiding all the hurt inside.

I mailed the letter on Sunday. I was cleaning out my purse, and there it was. I took it out of the tattered envelope, put it in a new one, addressed it, and put it with a stack of bills to be mailed. Later, as I dropped it in the mailbox, a minor fear struck me. I thought to myself, “You can never get it back.” Other than that, on the surface I have felt pretty casual about mailing the letter – like it was time, and I did it. But these fleeting moments of desperation about other things – things like what I talked to my friend about yesterday – tell me that there are things that lie beneath.

On Monday, almost without prompting, it suddenly occurred to me that the three most defining points of my life came together on a single day in 2003. It was the day of my mother’s funeral, I was 25. My biological father, who I had never seen, and to this day has never acknowledged me as his own, came, passed by the family, touched my hand, and never knew he was touching the hand of his daughter. He even came to the cemetery and I had to “protect” myself from being near him. I remember saying to my cousin, “Please if you see him coming near me, save me.” I hated him for coming to the funeral. As if 17 years of marriage gave him any right to show up on the most traumatic day of my life, and pay his respects to a woman he had shown such utter disrespect for in the past. Little did I know that the day would only get worse. Later that night, after the family had cleared out of the house and I was alone with my father, he called me into the bedroom like he had done so many times before when I was a child. He began to talk to me about his sexual relationship with my mother, and then began to talk to me about a prostate surgery he had had a few years back, and then asked if I would like to see the scar. I said no … still the scared child couldn’t scream. He pushed a bit further and said, “It’s not really wrong, you are not my real daughter.” It was then, for the first time, that all the hurt of my childhood came back to me. I just looked at him, tears in my eyes, and said, “Why are you doing this to me?” The only response I can remember was, “I never meant to hurt you.” And I remember him reaching for me and holding me like his child as I cried, and the child inside me felt good to be held by my father, the only father I ever had.

I read these things now and want to wretch. I am angrier with myself than anyone for being so weak, for being unable to see the truth. I never had a father who loved me and I never will. I was willing to run from a man who hurt me only by his absence in my life, and willing to take solace in the arms of a man who had done me so much harm by his own sick and pathetic weak presence in my life.

Still, this morning, as I started my morning prayers, I felt the disconnect that sometimes comes – the inability to feel that I am in communication with my higher power. Those are the times that I try hardest to reconnect, and finally after all the usual methods, I began to pray out loud, thanking God for “all that had been given, all that had been taken away and all that had been left behind.” I prayed some more asking for God’s will in my life today and then I said, “Lord, watch over me today …” and closed my eyes and said, “Momma please watch over Daddy, he will need you.”

I don’t understand why I care. This hurts me in a way that only nothingness can hurt.


Summer said...

Hey girl! It's good to read you again and see that you're making progress. I read something in this post that reminded me of me.
"I know that this is more about my obsessing need to ignore myself and look out for someone else’s feelings." I do that too. I wish I knew why. Keep fighting the fight. I know you're on your way to happiness!

Rae said...

Thanks so much for your note. I'm glad you are still checking in on me.