I've been a very prolific writer for several years. I write about art, and I focus on the experience of looking, and learning as i look. I ask questions in my writing - of the artist, of the object, of myself. I am told by readers that my tone is very personal, that as they read they can "hear" my voice; this conversational quality helps people ask their own questions about what they see. I wear my heart on my sleeve (-: Artists I meet tell me that my empathy and insight is very helpful to them. I wonder how many of us here are told that we have a profound empathy? I feel this must be common among survivors of abuse.
While I am very open and, as I said, personal, I have never included my experience of abuse in my public writing. I am about to do so.
A young artist friend just became a father. At a social lunch one day, this friend spoke of his experience of childbirth. When he first saw his new baby, he felt an instant - and surprising to him - protective urge. He fiercely wanted to protect and love the little being he saw. Hearing his story, I was shaken. I thought of my own father, my perp. I began to wonder what this feeling is, and if my dad had it, before he abused me, before he objectified me as something for his use. Later, alone, I cried. It seems so sad.
I asked my friend if we could have a conversation about fatherhood, which I would publish. As our planned conversation ensued, he asked what my interest is, why this particular moment in fatherhood. In the moment, I dissembled. I talked about being a middle-aged queer man who had no children. I related my distance from my only nephew, my lack of familiarity with children, with family. I told him about a girlfriend in high school, and one in junior high, who I got pregnant. "These were girls/women who were significantly older than I," I said, "and my experience was of having advantage taken of me. It was not about sex as fun."
Later I regretted my decision to edit my father from my story; and as I transcribed the audio, I typed the story of my dad's abuse of me. Only the bare bones, but still I acknowledge his emotional, physical and sexual abuse.
I plan to publish this piece soon. I am very afraid. Not because I fear a bad response, on the contrary - I doubt the story will stand out much; and those who notice will feel sympathetic. No, I'm afraid of what this disclosure means to me.
I'm afraid because I think it's good. I'm afraid of letting go.
This feels different from past occasions when I've "dumped" my story on a friend. In those instances I disclosed levels of detail that were not supported by the situation and relationship. I found those friends to be sympathetic, but overwhelmed. Some left me alone, some I avoid out of embarrassment.
I'm in a different place now. Actually, I don't know where I am now. I don't feel the need to vomit all the poison out anymore, and yet - having done the work to recognize what my dad did to me - I also know I can no longer lie about the past, or leave his abuse unspoken.
I am a unique individual, as was the baby my father abused and groomed. I AM!
I think that I am connecting to a moment before. Maybe to creation, my creation. I think I am healing. I think I can stop searching and trying to be healed. My dad is never going to love me right, nor is my mom. Even were they alive, they couldn't do it. No one can do it for me. I must do it.
I cry often still, even as I recover. Even as i think i am recovered. I get manically high, and I get low. I have lots of anger. I am on shaky ground, but - I expect good. It's just that I'm afraid of it.
Edited by GT13568 (07/13/13 11:00 AM)
Edit Reason: Accuracy