Forgiving my father

A little over a year ago, I was told by my half-sister that my father was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. Even though he had abused me and made my life so difficult, I wasn’t happy to hear the news. I really wasn’t sure what to do with the information. Should I call him and try to make amends before he passed? Should I do nothing? What should I do? I mulled it over for a couple of months and still couldn’t come up with anything.

I called my dear, and very wise friend Gabriel and talked with him about it. He knew that even though I said I forgave my father, I was really nowhere near forgiving him. Gabe said that when Jesus was nailed to the cross, he had the opportunity to have God bring His wrath on those who had put him there. Instead, Jesus said, “forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Gabe went on to say that my father couldn’t have known what he was doing, or he would have never done it. He said, “Kelly, your father wasn’t in his right mind. No father in their right mind would do that to his child.”

Later that night, as I was getting ready for bed, I kept thinking about what Gabriel said. I knew he was right, but again, I just didn’t know what to do with the information. As I layed my head on my pillow, I suddenly started thinking and repeating these words in my head, “God, forgive my father because he didn’t know what he was doing.” Over and over I repeated the words until I fell asleep.

The next morning, I felt a new and wonderful sort of calm come over me. From that day on, I didn’t feel anymore anger towards my father. God listened to me and forgave him. He also helped to remove the anger and resentment from me that I had been carrying around so long. I honestly felt like a new woman.

Three months later, my father died. When I found out, I was at peace with it. I didn’t have any unresolved problems with him, so I was able to just let it go. I don’t know if my father asked for forgiveness before he died, but that’s between him and God. I know that what I did is what saved me and that’s all that matters. It was between me and God.

Forgiveness isn’t easy, believe me. I carried around so much anger for so long, but I’m so happy that I was finally able to move on. What’s funny is that I didn’t forgive my father on my own, I asked God to forgive him. I will never forget what he did to me, but at least now I’m able to heal myself knowing that I don’t have to carry the burden of anger with me everyday.


Finding the real me

As I was going through the process of really working on how the abuse affected my life, I wrote this entry about being vulnerable and finding the real me. Because I’m in the process of writing the book, I will be posting blog entries I’ve made in the past as a means of connecting to those who are still struggling with their survival.

originally posted Sun, 21 Nov 2004

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I’ve been sitting at this keyboard for some time now, trying to figure out how to start this entry. I have so much in my head but I’m not sure what to say. I’m angry, and sad, and depressed, and frustrated, and lonely, and afraid. I’m also hopeful that things will be okay.

I need to deal with my hidden pain. It’s hard to describe, but it’s as if I am 100 different people all trapped in the same body. No, I don’t have multiple personalities. I have just always felt as if I NEEDED to be 100 different people just to make it through life. I don’t know who I am anymore.

When I look in the mirror, it’s not me I see. I see some other woman “pretending” to be me; the face I’ve borrowed for the day. Sometimes I think I see glimpses of me, but I’m not really sure. Sometimes the me I see is ugly and angry and evil and mean. Sometimes the me I see is pretty and sexy and confident and kind. I truly have no idea if any of those images is me at all; maybe they are and I’m choosing to ignore it. Maybe I’m seeing parts of myself that I don’t like and those are the traits I need to change.

When I look at pictures of myself as a child, I don’t recognize, at all, the girl in the photographs. I know I’ve written before about my memory loss, but it’s just so hard to deal with. I really hate not remembering. I especially hate the feeling of not being in my own body, in my own skin. I wish I could ask the girl in the photographs what it was like to be her. I just want to remember again. I guess that’s why I don’t recognize myself now – I have no reference point.

I also know that my memories may be too painful to bear and that’s why they are lost. My cousin once said that she didn’t even remember me being around for family functions, etc. even though the photographs show me there. She said that maybe God was carrying me then because I couldn’t walk alone. It’s very comforting for me to believe that.

I’m not sure where to go from here. How do I find out who I really am? And what if I don’t like the person I see? It’s all so scary but so necessary. I can’t keep living this life and feeling as if it’s all a big lie. I need to find myself and my meaning in life.

I am not a victim. I am a survivor.

Relationship hell

I wrote this about five years ago while I was transitioning from being completely dysfunctional to someone better able to see the damage I was doing to myself. Enjoy

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You know things are going badly when… every relationship you end up in is with someone who’s either an alcoholic, a drug addict, or a womanizer. And that does seem to describe every long-term relationship I’ve ever been in.

The Devil (aka my first husband) / Alcoholic. Womanizer. Hitter:  I met him about a week after I broke up with my high school boyfriend. D blew in on a motorcycle, looking all cool n’ shit, talking sweet, and providing me with his undivided attention. When he said he’d pick me up at 7:00 p.m., he was there on time and usually carrying flowers or some such girly thing. I fell in love quickly and was barely 17 years old when we married. A week after the wedding is when the hitting started, along with his self-esteem-shattering name calling. There I was, all 5’7″ 130 lbs of me being called fat, ugly and stupid then smacked in the face just because he felt like it. D was an alcoholic and a womanizer. The marriage ended a year later. That was the day I beat the fuck out of him, you know, the day I wasn’t going to take his shit anymore. I guess once he realized I could kick his ass my usefulness wore off.

Mr. Machismo / Alcoholic. Womanizer:  I met M about six months after I divorced the Devil. He was 12 years older than me, 6′ tall, blonde hair, blue eyes, and one hella Swedish fucking hottie! M taught me a lot about sex. I’m not really sure what else we had in common, but we both certainly liked experimenting sexually. He liked it so much that he “shared the wealth” with many other women. Ain’t that sweet? We were together about a year and a half, then just sort of quit seeing each other. No real drama, no goodbyes, just “hm… I haven’t seen M in a while… wonder what he’s up to.”

The Biker / Alcoholic:  I met B one night while playing pool in my local bar. We were on our second or third game when I couldn’t quite reach the shot (plus I wanted to really get his attention) so I climbed on the pool table and made my shot while ass-up on all fours. B was really a sweet guy who carried around a rough exterior. The only problem in our relationship was his drinking. He didn’t get violent or anything, he held a good job, and was very kind to me, but he was always drunk. In fact, he’s the one who helped me discover my love of tequila. Our relationship ended early one morning after B left for work. His roommate decided to come into our room and rape me. Obviously, things just weren’t the same after that.

The Daddy (aka my second husband) / Alcoholic. Hitter: I met D while hanging out with a local metal band. He was a friend of the bass guitarist and I was fucking the drummer. Jump forward a year and a half and there we are at a barn party, talking and laughing when and I asked him out. We dated seven months before we got hitched. We were married for 11 years and had two kids. The first four years were great. After our first daughter was born, everything went to hell and quick. D decided it was okay to get drunk and punch or choke me, he often referred to his mom as a whore, and generally had no respect for women. I blame myself for a lot of this fiasco because the warning signs were there. I just refused to see them. I’m not sorry, but only because of my two wonderful kids, but it was pure hell. The hitting stopped on my 30th birthday when he tried to choke me, I threw the asshole into a head-lock and beat the fuck out of him. Again, another victim of my pent-up rage.

The Golf Pro / Alcoholic. Womanizer:  I met M one night, made out with him in his truck, fucked his brains out for two weeks, then he dumped me. I was heart-broken. A week later, he called and said he couldn’t live without me. So there began our one and a half year freak/fuck-fest. M was 14 years older than me and really knew what he was doing in bed. With him, it was the first time in years that I actually felt like a woman. I wasn’t someone’s wife or mother, I was a desirable woman and he let me know it. Unfortunately, he was fucking everything in town, as I found out later. It got so bad that a woman’s husband poisoned M’s dog because of M’s affair with her.

The Red Neck / Alcoholic. Womanizer: I met J one night, purposely gave him the wrong address and talked to him on the phone while he drove around looking for my house. I told him about the red teddy I was wearing, how my legs were spread and my pussy was ready for some dick. I thought it was funny. He didn’t. Six months later I ran into him again, gave him the right address this time, and that started our year and a half long relationship. With J, it felt as if I were raising another child. I know that his energy and outlook on life is part of what appealed to me, but there are times when you have to be serious and take responsibility for your life. He just didn’t want any part of that. J had a very rough upbrining and dealt with the scars of that by drinking heavily. Our relationship was pretty stormy and ended when he started fucking his cousin. Yep, his cousin.

The African Prince / Alcoholic. Womanizer: I met G while he was visiting my neighbor. We didn’t get together until six months later and I fell madly and deeply in love. I know he “cared” for me and he even said “I love you” once, but I also know that he’s not capable of being with just one woman. He’s an alcoholic, smoke a great deal of weed, and sleeps with quite a few women (one in each port?). That ended when I admitted my sexual addiction to him. I guess what’s good for the goose really isn’t good for the gander.

The Southern Gentleman / Alcoholic. Womanizer. Drug Addict. Ex Con. T and I met after he sent me a drink at a local bar. I was immeidately smitten and went home with him that night. We talked about our past, our addictions, everything. Things were good until I realized his “southern charm” was just a mask hiding every other fucked up thing that was wrong with him, but he didn’t want to deal with. We dated four years, but he eventually started using drugs again, then left town on a Greyhound on his way to meet his girlfriend in Denver. I never looked back.

From what I can garner, I seem to be attracted to any man who is an alcoholic and has issues with intimacy and commitment. As I’ve said before, “my picker is broke.” I wonder what it is about the alcoholic that seems to draw me to them? Is it their own wounded spirit and my co-dependency? Was I a raging alcoholic in a past life and now I’m paying for my sins? All I know is that I can’t go anywhere near an AA meeting or all hell will let loose.

When I was 15

A row of dingy trailers lined the hot and dusty street in what was the bad part of town. Drug dealers, prostitutes and their “Johns” inhabited this place. Gone were the families with pleasant homes and yards and bicycles leaning against mulberry trees.

When I was 15, I used to visit my bio-dad there. He was the proud proprietor of one of the many businesses that sold sex to tourists and locals, alike. Bio-dad ran a stable of about seven girls, all skinny and missing teeth. The girls wore a variety of dirty lingerie meant to entice. When a customer came in, they would prance around and show their wares. Smile, touch a breast, make a date. Bio-dad sat close to protect his assets by any means necessary.

When I was 15, bio-dad asked me to work for him. He tried to sell me the glamour and the money, but I knew better. One look at the other girls and I knew he was full of shit.

That was the first time I had the courage to say “no.” I said no to a man who had already killed someone for their refusal of him. I said no to a man who had spent the better part of my life raping and torturing me. I said no.

When I was 15, my life changed.

Can I talk to you as a friend?

— “Of course, we are friends.”

“Yeah, but we used to fuck and I don’t want that fact getting in the way.”

— “Of Course. What’s going on?”

“Well, I’m really struggling with my sexual addiction lately and I just don’t know what to do.”

— “How are you struggling?”

“I’ve been horny for days. I can’t stop thinking about sex and I joined one of those ‘adult’ sites where you can find other people with the same demons as you.”

— “Well, there’s nothing wrong with that. Have you met any of these people?”

“Yes. Just one, but I have plans to meet three others next week. What the fuck is wrong with me? I know that I’m potentially putting myself in dangerous situations, but I just feel as if I don’t have any control.”

— “You could say ‘no.'”

“Right. When have you ever known me to say no to sex? Remember, we used to fuck.”

— “Right, but you still have the power to say no whenever you want to.”

“That’s the hard part for me. I just crave the ‘connection’ so much. I crave the attention, and the feeling that someone wants me, and the rush of the danger I’m putting myself in. It’s like playing russian roulette everytime I meet one of these guys.”

— “You’re right and I do worry about that for you. You know I can hold your hand through this, right? I’ll be there whenever you need me.”

“I appreciate that so much. I mean it’s great that you’ll be there, but you can’t be there all the time. I need to learn to control this shit on my own. Fuck, I know what I should do, but it’s just so hard.”

— “What do you think you should do?”

“Instead of holding your hand, I should hold the hand of God. I need to reconnect with Him. I need to lean on Him for the strength I need. What sucks though is that the pull of the addiction is so strong and my mind is so fucked up about it, that it’s hard to take hold of His hand and just say ‘ok, guide me.'”

— “I understand that, but Kelly, if that’s what you believe will make things better, just have the faith that you can do it. You’re a strong woman and you don’t have to be defined by your addiction. Re-label yourself and let God take the reins in your life.”

“I know dammit, it’s just so fucking hard. I have to get my head on straight with what I’m doing. All I’ve ever known is sex. That’s how I connect to people. I know it’s the wrong way to do it, but I just haven’t discovered what else I’m good for.”

— “That’s a bunch of crap and you know it. Kelly, you’ve come so far in your life, after facing years of abuse, rape, divorce, death, etc. You are a strong woman and you can do it. Yeah, you’re afraid, but you’ve faced much harder and worse situations. What makes you think you can’t win this?”

“Maybe that’s all I think I have. Maybe I think I’m only good for sex. That no one will want me for anything else. I’m afraid of what I’ll be if I’m not a sex addict.”

— “Just take the ‘sex addict’ label out it for a minute and let’s see what we have. You’re a great mom, you run your own, very successful business, you’re a great friend, a great daughter, and you have talent coming out of your ass if you’d just take a minute and use it. You are a lot of other things that don’t have anything to do with sex.”

“It’s nice to hear. I guess I just need to start believing it myself.”

— “Yes you do. No offense, but quit acting like a fucking victim and get your shit together. You’re better than this but you’re letting fear guide everything right now. You’re letting the fucking asshole who molested you rule your life. You are better than that. Fuck, you piss me off sometimes.”

“Ha ha. I know. You’re right. Fuck I hate feeling weak and vulnerable.”

— “Vulnerable? What do you think you are everytime you go to meet some stranger you’ve met online? That’s vulnerable and just plain stupid.”

“Fuck you. I mean that in the most agreeable way possible, you know? Seriously, thank you for putting me in my place.”

— “You’re welcome. And fuck you, right back.”

Sometimes after talking to yourself, you realize you’re the best friend you have.

Who I am

I won’t apologize for things I’ve done
or decisions I’ve made
My path has nothing to do with
YOUR egotistical or insecure bullshit
That’s you, not me

So here’s a new set of rules baby…
If you can’t handle it
then go away
If you can’t deal with the truth
then go away
If you’re not willing to look at your own life shit
then don’t darken my doorway another minute

I gave you freedom to be yourself
It’s your choice to use it
But that mask you wear is getting pretty tattered
and old

You are who you are
Don’t apologize for the things you’ve done
or the decisions you’ve made
Your path has nothing to do with
MY egotistical or insecure bullshit
That’s me, not you

What’s our responsibility, you ask?
Learn baby!
Learn from the things we’ve done
and the decisions we’ve made
You ever think life brought us together
To learn from each other?

But let’s be clear
I am who I am
and I won’t wear the mask you hold for me
I won’t be something I’m not
And I can’t change my past

Deal with me
Or move on

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I wrote this about three years ago while going through some struggles with my boyfriend. It was my way of reaffirming that I am a wonderful, special, and sometimes quirky person, and that it’s okay.

There is Hope

Those of us who have been abused as a child can either spend our lives being victims of the abuse, or we can go on to survive and become strong inspite of the abuse. I chose to survive.

Believe me, it wasn’t easy. I received therapy, cried a lot, had flashbacks, was angry, cried some more, then learned to cope. I’m doing pretty well, but still carry some of the baggage with me today. Certain scents, like a particular cologne, or the way a man’s hand is shaped will make me tense. The feeling goes away relatively quickly, but it’s still a reminder of what was done to me. I try not to let the abuse be the label I carry around with me because doing so lessens the work I’ve done and how far I’ve come in my battle to be free of it. 

I had to accept that I had no control over what was done to me, but I do have control over what I do with it. I had to be able to look myself in the mirror and know that it’s okay to be me, warts and all. And I did.

Yes, we are forever changed the second someone takes our childhood in their hands and betrays our trust, but there is hope for a better future. It just takes a little hard work and determination to not let them control you any longer.

You can do it. Don’t ever let anyone tell you any different.