It’s been a while. I’m now the father of two four-year-olds.
I haven’t been able to write. I’ve been too ‘busy’ – which is the trendy new way one says ‘scared’.
I am a good father. For my wife, that excuses many of my other failings. For me, it is a source of deep, good feelings. I hesitate to say pride, because I hesitate to think of myself as prideful. But I am a good father. I think part of the reason I am writing this here post right now is because I am ready to talk a bit about that. The Buggered bus is coughing back into life. Maybe.
When I last wrote, my wife was pregnant. When I last wrote, I was experiencing emotions that I had never encountered. When I last wrote, I was a different person. I was different in ways I cannot even comprehend now, looking back now over the alpine pass that I have traversed, from Notfather to Father.
Maybe I’ll talk more about my children as time goes on. More specifically – maybe I’ll talk about what my experience has been like to raise children when both parents were deeply damaged as children themselves. Maybe I’ll try to put in a blog post what fear, or love, or joy, or rage is.
But right now there is a different story I want to tell.
You see – several years ago, as I was writing this blog, the blog became something I wasn’t expecting. It became enjoyable. I hated writing it, but I liked having written it. I liked telling my story. And then it all ended, perhaps a little abruptly. I simply couldn’t bring myself to write this story any more. Not with kids around. I didn’t want to spend the hours or days of wound-licking that would often follow a writing session. I didn’t want to sit up until 4am writing about My Pain and then spend the rest of the day unable to fully connect with my kids.
But there was this little bit of me that wanted to end the story. Not for the blog, necessarily, but also not just for me. There was a part of me that wanted an Official End To The Story.
Now – if you are new here, and are wondering what story I’m talking about, here it is in brief:
Me: Kid. Irresistibly sexy, even at a young age.
El Pedo: Man. Unable to resist the irresistibleness of my sexiness.
El Pedo, despite my resistance, insists that he assist in initiating me into adult mysteries and blissful trysts (you get the gist), and despite my juvenescence persists in his deviance well past my defiance. The discordance created in me by his dalliance is the bread-and-sustenance of my neural and social dissonance and as such is the subject of this palaverous agglomeration.
Clear? Maybe I can do better:
My godfather had sex with me on a regular basis, from when I was a young child until I was 20.
And while I am a happy, healthy adult, sometimes by God I struggle with my past.
That’s the version that is easier to read, but harder to write.
It needs an ending, don’t you see? Look at the narrative here:
- a boy is imperiled by an evil older man
- the boy ‘defeats’ his nemesis and imprisons him
- as he ages, the boy discovers that his nemesis has powers that reach beyond the prison walls and is still somehow ambushing him, still hurting him as he grows older.
- As the boy reaches middle age, he is still fighting these battles but has attained a kind of wisdom and acceptance.
It begs an ending. That last moment – when the boy accepts his lot – is the moment when the final reckoning must come. It has to. We can’t leave the story in a kind of stalemate, a weary acceptance. There needs to be a final battle. There needs to be a more satisfying conclusion.
But where would I find an ending? What does one look like?
In popular storytelling, the victim of childhood trauma carries that trauma with them. It is inescapable. It is fate. The victim will have a miserable adulthood, and frequently an early death. Certainly a happy, well-adjusted family life isn’t really provided for in the script blueprints.
In Forrest Gump, when Jenny returns home, finally herself after her wild, raging rebellion against her sexually abusive father, she doesn’t return home and find domesticity and peace – she returns home to die of AIDS. And that storyline just scratches the surface of what is in store for people like me.
But I don’t want to OD, or die in a fast car. I don’t want to slink off into isolation, sadness and alcoholism or Shane-like outsider status. I don’t want to start a Natural Born Killers blood-bath.
There is another implied narrative ending that is even more unpalatable: how can I say “And then I had children, and all was healed” when popular culture tattoos into our minds that victims of abuse are fated to become abusers themselves? I’ve covered that in the past. I won’t entertain such fuckholery again. My children are safe from me. So are their friends. I feel sick that I still feel the need to have to write that.
SO — I decided to make my own ending. A really good one. It would cover all the expected bases, and in so doing would be deeply satisfying.
It would be solitary, and in fact would require a massive betrayal of the bonds of family and love that I have somehow managed to develop. That’s good, of course: remember how damaged I am.
There would be the danger of violence. The build-up involves secrecy and border-crossing. Two men meet at a crossroads.
Hopefully, however, there would be demonstrable growth. Hopefully, the abused boy/man would walk away as the credits roll, and we’d feel as if something had been achieved, the great sin had finally been laid to rest, the last words had been said. Morning would come. A new dawn, a new day.
The plan was really simple. I would tell my wife I was going to go for a bike ride, a few days worth. I’d pack a small bag, as usual, and take off somewhere beyond the reach of cellphones, with a promise to return refreshed and smelly. Then I would ride to the Tom Bradley International Terminal at LAX, and get on a plane to Wellington, New Zealand.
I know where El Pedo, my tormentor, lives, you see. Have for a few years. Facebook occasionally shows you these connections. I know where he lives, where he works. I could leave my house and be at his, in a different hemisphere, in about 15 hours.
But what then?
My plan was to wire myself for sound. Just go and say hi. Just walk up to him and say — can I get you a coffee? — or something of the kind. What would happen? Would he flee? Would he pretend he doesn’t know who I am? Would I say I’m just here to talk to you… I want an apology, nothing more… I merely want you to say you abused me, because after everything you still deny it happened… I am here to kill you… I am here to forgive you… I am here to tell you my story, and if you try to walk away or even open your fucking mouth I will kerb-stomp your face…
And afterwards I would return to Wellington International Airport and fly back to Los Angeles, and I would tell my wife what happened (or not). Eventually, I would write the end of the story, or I would edit the audio from my trip and use that as something – maybe transcribe it, pair it with court transcriptions from the trial to make… something…
It seems so right! It seems so dramatic! It’s so fucking childish!
There is, however, a different ending. I think it is happening now. I think it is much quieter, much more profound, and no-one has to deal with an international deportation order for grievous assault. It involves my wife. It comes from my family, and from a deeper part of myself that That Man was never able to touch. And right now, it feels like an actual ending. It feels, finally, like healing, and like peace.
Whew. I got this much out. Give me a few days – I’ll see if I can drum up the courage to write the next bit.