Why is it I can get so much done at work on a computer and the rest of my time I don’t live my life as exuberantly and richly as I want to?
It is almost a year since I found out my dad had been in the hospital with a cancer recurrence for three months. He’s still not dead.
I’m in limbo.
If there was an ethically, spiritually and legally palatable way of killing him, to get it over with, I’d do it in a heartbeat.
I’m tired of not living my life.
My friend Kate said something that struck me (I’m paraphrasing here) – that her life could not be extraordinary enough to compensate for the horror of her childhood. I feel like I’ll never catch up. I’ll never be successful enough, famous enough, creative enough, happy enough. I’ll never have a good enough marriage, and active enough social life, do as much good in the world as I want to do, as I deserve to be part of. That rings true.
I know I wasn’t ritually abused, I only have one, maybe two perpetrators, and I’ve never been raped as an adult, except in that grey way so many women experience, where I gave in to sex I didn’t want to keep the peace with a boyfriend or two. As far as I know my identity is one intact piece. Things could be a lot worse, and I don’t have the denial most people have to prevent them from knowing that. Yes, I was raped as a small child, so violently that my perineum tore and so repeatedly over a decade that I can’t separate the instances. I know others have survived worse, but that was bad enough.
If I can’t win, I give up. I’m in some kind of weird holding pattern, only half living my life.
Like surviving being torture-tickled by my dad, the only way to survive is to give up, to go limp and let him win.
I have learned to fight, but I like a sure thing. I hate suspense, I hate waiting, I am not patient. Waiting never resulted in good things in the past. I was never rescued, the abuse never didn’t happen because I waited silently or was a good girl and it won’t now. I see no value in patience.
So if I can’t have it now, I don’t want it. I don’t have the patience to persevere with anything I really want or which makes me nervous. I am enormously productive, because I want it done yesterday, but I have a hell of a time practising an instrument or a physical skill or anything where I’m not assured of success.
What does this all mean? I’m not special. 3 out of 5 women are sexually abused in childhood. I was perhaps abused a bit more intensely than some, but I’m actually within the range of normal. Horrifying that being raped by your father is relatively typical. More horrifying that more people don’t see it and fight it. I may be smart, I may be strong, but I’m not extraordinary. I’m starting to tell myself that I don’t have to be. I can live a life where I get nothing outstanding done and no-one remembers me when I’m gone and it won’t be any more unjust than it already that I was abused. I can’t redeem what happened to me. I need to stop trying. I need to see what my life is when I live it for me, not to make meaning of horror.
It is so fucking wrong that so many men feel they can rape children and that so many of them get away with it. I want to scream and spit and rip things apart with the injustice of it. If there’s one thing being a survivor has given me is how important it is to speak truth to power and to take action to stop abusers. Failure to act destroys lives. Because they won’t stop unless we stop them.
May we outlive them all, to dance upon their graves!