Letter to the Lover

I’m listening to the soundtrack from the Brothers Bloom, basking in the afterglow of your love now cooled, regretting the mistake of who I was.

It’s almost been four years since I heard your voice, lying in that uncomfortable bed in the psychiatric ward. It’s been over seven years since I fell in love with you. It’s been six since I violently pushed you away, again and again. I pushed you away, I moved on, I invaded your life when I could to make sure no one else could have you, I pushed you away. But did I ever stop loving you? I don’t think so.

I was angry for reasons I didn’t know. I burned bridges with a vengeance. I was a hurt and tortured animal -who I was was a mistake. The violence in my soul is ebbing, slowly draining off as I become someone willing to engage in this life fully, without escapism, without arrogance and without cynicism.

I dreamt of you the other night. I dreamt I found you after all this time. I woke up aglow in the memory of how you loved me. I think of you now and a smile comes to my face. I wish we could be friends. I wish my past sins would fade from your memory. I am ready to love and be loved, with any shade of affection. The good parts of me are the parts you loved so long ago. I have finally started to become the person I always should have been. I am becoming the person you always saw I could be.

I only wish finding you lay in the future, instead of ruined by mistakes of the past.

Always and forever,

Your Antigone

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When the World Was Quiet

Tonight I reminisced on the world as it used to be, when the world was quiet. I remember growing up, how my room was all analog, except for the digital clock on the dresser. I remember how knowledge poured softly in through the book on my nightstand, slowly pulsated from my bookshelf. I remember driving in my mother’s car to the library, where we would (slowly) surf the internet, our flow of intake restricted to a dial up connection.

Words, pictures, noise – everything now screams through my laptop, my phone, the digital, wifi enabled tv. It’s relentless, tyrannical, engrossing, captivating, titillating and horrific.

Days like today I long to live in that quiet world again, where the hum of machines was kept in check by the beating rhythm of the heart and the stillness.

Nights like tonight I am wounded by this throb of knowledge, blinded and overwhelmed. I no longer live in a world with unimaginable horrors. Everything is horribly imaginable, accessible, downloadable. Child abuse, crime scene photos, news articles, blogs, facebook pages, forums – almost nothing is outside our grasp and very little outside our palate.

Up until today I have thirsted at the fount of knowledge. Today I choke and can drink no more. I am sated and chastened.

Let me crawl back to the slumber of ignorance, when the world was quiet.

An Excerpt of a Letter to a Friend

Preface: My mind is still having trouble coping with this new reality. It’s so awful, my mind just pushes it away again and again and again. It’s almost like I’m gaslighting myself. The smallest things push me back under to this dark reality: shopping for shampoo and seeing the brand my sister used to use, making a peanut butter sandwich and remembering how my father always hated peanut butter because it was too fattening. Some nights I have the darkest dreams. They almost seem like a dissociative state. In them, I’m so angry I’m like another person. I see how people just get lost in trauma and go over the edge. I’m thankful that’s not me.

And now, An Excerpt of a Letter to a Friend  with my own notes in bold:

…There’s a lot to tell on my end and I hope I don’t over share, but here goes:

So May 2013 we moved down to AZ after being advised by a friend in military intelligence to do so for my own safety (my ex mother in law is a scary person to say the least and my ex has his own FBI file [as a sex offender]). From May-October 2013 I was still very much in recovery from how my marriage ended and the brief but deep abuse that occurred. In October, things began to resolve enough on that front that some issues from my childhood began to surface. It turns out my dad had committed major fraud with the college fund my grandparents gave me (he used it to feed and clothe me) and that led to a whole family drama (my sister stopped speaking to me, etc). In December of that year, I gave myself permission never to interact with my dad again. You may not have known this, but while at college I suffered severe back and neck pain. Once I gave myself permission to never by obligated to interact with my dad again, 80% of this disappeared. Odd, right?

This last December it came to light that my father is a pedophile who victimized both his daughters (interesting how I can’t even bring myself to refer to the incident in the first person – here it’s in third person, as if I’m talking about another person, but the second daughter is me.); this January we found some of the child pornography he made of my sister. A lot of things about my personality began to click into place (including the somatic pain that doctors could never attribute – it’s a classic sign of that type of abuse). He’s currently being investigated by a police force in California where the abuse occurred and we’ll see what happens.

I tell you  this horrible truth because I know you saw things in me that worried you. You were by far more perceptive than most and I know you saw a brokenness in me that most people didn’t.

The very bright side of this is that life seems so much more livable now. For almost three decades, I lived with this horrible sepsis of the soul, thinking that life in its baseness and meanness was inherently this painful. I say sepsis because that’s the only thing I can compare it to. An infection from a poisonous main that almost overtook me completely.

For the very first time in my life, I have a five year plan and a twenty year plan. I look forward to the future knowing that things don’t always have to be awful. I live now understanding why things were so awful, like the back pain, the crippling insomnia, etc, but I know they don’t have to be that way.

It’s very empowering and freeing and I thank God that I never have to see that man again, except perhaps in a court of law.

 

A Letter to My Sister

I just woke up from a dream I had about you, Mike and the kids. I dreamt we were all together at the cabin. I was helping one of the girls learn how to read. Mike ordered pizza with an impossibly hot topping, which you hated and I loved. I dreamt we spent the days having fun, shooting, listening to bro’s kibbutz just for the joy of banter. Time flew by like summer vacation when you’re just a kid.

In my dream, I felt your love and acceptance, which is strange, because I’ve never felt them from you before in real life. I dreamt you finally understood why I couldn’t bear to be around our father; why no matter how much I tried to please you by having a close relationship with him I never could stand to be around him without my skin crawling.

In my dream you perfectly understood all the pain I had growing up with him full time – the anger, the yelling, the physical abuse – and how being the object of his lust screwed me up so badly. I dreamt you forgave me those faults that were borne in my fractured, nightmare childhood. I dreamt you understood what happened in yours, while you still lived with dad, long before I was borne.

In my dream, all the ugliness – how he beat you as an infant, the child pornography he made of you, the molestation of me – faded away and all that was there was all that should have been there all along: sisterly love and affection, enjoyed and celebrated with my brother-in-law and the nieces I adore and miss so much.

Adelaide, someday I hope you understand and forgive me for not being a “good” daughter to our father. I hope you forgive me all my many faults and through your own healing and acceptance of some awful truths come to understand and love me in a way I’ve always longed for.

Until then, I miss you, I miss Mike and most of all I miss the girls, whose childhood your banishment of me has caused me to so sorely miss.

The Heartache of Today

I know I should really start at the beginning and explain everything, but all I can manage is this tangle of thoughts. Moving through them is like navigating an endless swamp in the pitch black.

Today I had a long talk with my mom. She, like me, has been struggling as this new reality sinks in and takes root. I know her pain must be unique and intense in a way completely different from mine. She chose this monster, married him, had children with him and then couldn’t protect them from him.

Throughout the day she spiraled down and down. After dinner she announced “All I want to do is cut off his dick.” I don’t and can’t blame her, but to see her go to such a radical place mentally took me aback. My mother is a RN by training and has spent her entire life nurturing others. She is one of the kindest, sweetest people ever to grace this earth and doesn’t have a mean, ill-willed bone in her body.

I responded by pointing out that this wasn’t really a good solution. She responded poignantly: How can righting a wrong not be right?

Good point, but not part of the social contract we exist in.

I understand her need to do something – anything. In early January I wrestled with the decision of whether or not to murder my father, a question I never in a million years would have imagined I’d carefully weigh. It was a real internal debate, not a passing fancy. I weighed the pros and cons and in the end decided that murder would change me in ways I can’t abide (much like a horcrux) and that as he could only die once that form of punishment simply wasn’t enough.

So, when my mother made her announcement this evening I jokingly said, “Not good enough, you could only kill him once.” Her response? Yes, but I could kill him slowly. My heart dropped into my stomach. Were we really having this conversation? Apparently we were, because the next thing I knew she was inspecting the kitchen knives to see which one would work best. I pointed out that they were all too dull to work unless my father would acquiesce to patiently sit there as she imitated Lorena Bobbitt.

The conversation diffused after that, but the grief, frustration and anger remain, I suspect, for a long time yet to come.

Almost Two Months Out

It’s been almost two months since I discovered my father is a pedophile.

I live in this disreality daily. The facts of it don’t seem real. They don’t register.

Sometimes my brain screams at me that this can’t be real, that I’m lying. Sometimes I fantasize that I’ve gone mental and this is all a psychotic break.

It’s not. This is real. This is my life. This happened.

I can go days without thinking about it – the denial can be so strong. My mind fights so hard to protect me from this unfathomable truth. Lately, though, the grief sneaks up on me like a specter.

In the stillness of the day this monstrous truth appears just out of the corner of my eye. It attacks me. It tears at me and brings me to my knees. It guts me utterly.

The denial which cushions me throughout most moments gives way and I fall through the realization anew. Each time it breaks me and shatters me to the four corners.

Healing may come someday. I hope it does. For now, it’s moment by moment, breath by breath and tear by tear.