When Kavanaugh was confirmed yesterday, my husband held me and let me sob the pain out of experiences from long ago. His care, his love is so pure, I think of it as sacred. It brings me to God and gratitude. I am profoundly grateful to, and for, him. These are very dark times and it is hard to see God in the current state of the country. But love surpasseth all. It is my husband’s birthday tomorrow and I will strive to give back to him, in my own imperfect way, all he has given and whatever I can add of my own.
Meantime, apologies. I am sorry my gut spoke out. And to those of you who wrote in despite that, a most profound thank you.
Yes, I am Bipolar. But as well I was sexually abused as a child from age 3 to age 6 or 7, and, at that time as well, emotionally abused. The sexual abuse was incest with my “upstanding and outstanding” grandfather. I adored him. I idolized him. Everyone in my family did. No one knew my secret. Along with everyone else I worshipped him all my life. I listened to Grandma say, after Grandpa died, how he had always been faithful to her. I bit my tongue because he had been unfaithful to her with me. Grandpa wanted me to tell his story. Not THIS story. A story about all the good things he did in his life. He worked as a lawyer for a VA hospital and helped many veterans. I have no doubt that he did. He carved the Lincoln Gettysburg address at the Lincoln Memorial when he first came over from Sicily. He was written about in a psychology textbook as an example of motivation.
Grandpa didn’t rape me but he did sexual things with me. Things I knew were wrong. Things that damaged me for life. I tried to tell my grandmother but she didn’t understand what a child was talking about, asking her if she was jealous. She laughed. I realized to tell her would hurt her. I never told anyone until later, when a woman in a gay bar told me she was abused. Then I realized I had blocked it out of my memory for years. All my life I lived as a doormat, letting everyone hurt me and walk all over me and I said nothing. Just like with Grandpa.
With Dr. Christine Blasey Ford coming forward I am struggling, like many women abused in all sorts of ways, with an anger coming out that I never felt I had. I loved Grandpa very much. I thought that love could forgive what he did. That is until now. Until I heard Christine Blasey Ford speak. Now I am furious. Fortunately I have a very understanding husband who worked as a therapist. with mentally ill medicaid clients. He totally supports me. I should be happy with that. I am. But I am struggling with people who do not understand. And the profound injustice of Ford’s case.
As things progress, anger is morphing into despair and the deepest disappointment with our country. My doctor, a male psychiatrist, was caring, went overtime with our recent session and said my anger was justifiable. But he tried to make excuses for my grandfather. This was, and is, devastating to me. As are glib, dismissive statements, like “we have all been abused.” I am sick at heart and in my gut. I can’t eat. I can’t sleep. I would venture to say that these two weeks have been traumatic for all sexual crime survivors, and, as I learned from a younger friend, for survivors of emotional abuse as well. It has taught me a lot. It has taught me to treasure my husband even more. I always did, but now it is profoundly visceral and flows through every vein in my body. My husband is the only one who “gets” the whole story.
I hope Christine Blasey Ford’s husband can help her. I feel SO badly for her. She was a hero and look at what it got her. A sham investigation. A probable Kavanaugh confirmation. A Trump parody of her answers, perhaps his most perverse remarks ever. That same friend of mine, who suffered emotional abuse, tells me there is a silver lining to this. That women will use their power and mobilize. That young people will see the horror of mistreatment of an innocent victim of a sexual predator, a sexual predator like our president. Not being the most optimistic of people, I only hope she is right.
And THANK YOU Christine Blasey Ford! Take pride in your moving bravery. You have helped countless women. You are a hero for all of us. My heart goes out to you.
The cool of green shade
steps to a secret place
locked doors of a shed
the innocence of childhood lost
in a matter of minutes
and no one knew
for years and years and years
dare break the silence even now
Grandpa did a naughty
and it remained
forgotten for years
until you shared your story
of what happened to you
there were other times
of lesser evil
but sketched in memory
enough to sting
so many decades later
I have forgiven
but no longer forgotten
from so early in life
I adored him
etched deep wounds
though the misdemeanors minor
by most standards
just enough to give pause
if I see a secret place
all too inviting
for the sins
a forbidden intimacy
just enough to
add guilt and shame and fear
where they do not belong
in the shade
My husband’s look of love scares me,
turns off all emotion,
rendering intimacy hysteria for me
and forces a series of dogged pursuits by my Husband
whom I adore more than life itself.
Can’t turn off the flashbacks
loved Grandpa so
but not enough to do some hanky panky
that even as a child I knew to be wrong.
Bad enough the little sex games we did
when I was REALLY little and knew nothing of right or wrong,
just a fun game we played
till caught by Auntie who pronounced us both “disgusting”!
Why I never knew.
My fear that Grandma was jealous just made her laugh,
“Silly girl” to think such things.
What was there to be jealous of
between a little girl and her older husband?
What a deed!
She told me years later
he never was unfaithful
in all fifty years of marriage
“Ha!” I thought but never said,
“what he did with me
was that not infidelity?”
“You do the hanky panky
and you turn yourself around
and that’s what it’s all about.”
I remember that lewd smile even today.
Will it take me to my dying day to forget?
Oh how I loved him…
Taking me for after dinner walks
to catch fireflies,
silently sitting at the window together
at night after dinner,
watching the neighbors below,
Grandma in the kitchen,
Just him and me
a quiet bond between us,
or telling me bedtime stories of his youth.
I was the seductress,
dancing in a hula skirt for him,
with tennis balls tucked into my aunt’s bra for breasts,
to his songs he played on the mandolin.
Oh how I loved him!
No one knew.
I forgot about the “thing” between us till decades later,
when a friend talked about her incestuous abuse.
Oh how he loved me!
Arm around me always on the living room sofa
watching American Bandstand on the TV
giving me his whiskey-soaked cherry,
teaching me about art
making me the artist I am today.
Preaching the middle way to me
of relevance later, way later,
as it takes me a lifetime to learn the meaning of “I am Bipolar.”
Oh how I idolized him!
He carved the Lincoln Gettysburgh address, you know, in D.C, at the Lincoln Memorial
and many other illustrious statues.
He was a revered lawyer, working with veterans,
a self made man,
knowing no English
when he first came here
all alone at 16
and went to night school to learn English
while working as a sculptor
and then to law school.
He was a hero
helping poor veterans,
himself wounded in the war.
He was a hero
but no one knew
he was my hero.
“Of course he was having strokes,” my doc says.
“Maybe that explains the incest,” he says to me.
Men stick together
To defend the unspeakable
Which I just now speak out blasting loud and clear
in the blogosphere
for all to hear.
Naughty girl/old woman!
Just now allow myself the anger
while preserving the idolatry and Grandpa’s love
for such a love, and not irony this,
such a love is so VERY special!