Wednesday, February 22, 2012

I Knew There Was Something Wrong When...

Memories of my dad:
I was 10. I went with you to a photographer's studio so you could fix his computer. The photographer spent a lot of time staring at me, and kept talking about having you dropping me off one day so he could take pictures of me.

I did not fully understand why I felt uncomfortable with him, but I knew I did not want him to look at me, talk to me, or take my picture. I read my book and tried to ignore him.

You did not take me back for the private photo session (for which I am grateful), but you also didn't stop the conversation or the leering during that trip to the studio, or during subsequent trips to work on his computer.

I was 13. We would stop at a certain gas station when you took me home from school. It was owned by a family who had a 20-something son who was interested in me. He never missed out on an opportunity to come out from behind the counter and hug me when we came in the store. He put his arm around me and tried to direct me toward the dark corner behind the drink case. I told him no once, and he ignored me - you stood there and did nothing.

When I was going on a band trip to Tampa, he wanted to come along and show me the city. You said it sounded like a great idea. Thankfully he did not show up in Tampa.

I did not like going into that store. The son scared me, his family's encouragement made me nervous, and your refusal to say anything to stop it hurt. In fact, you liked to tease about how he liked me, even after I told you he made me uncomfortable.

We continued to go to that store most afternoons. I was so happy when they went out of business, because I would not have to see him, or be touched by him anymore.

I was 14. We gave my friend rides to school every other morning. I let her sit in the front seat, because your car was such a mess. One Monday I noticed that you were holding her hand, and rubbing her arm. I tried to get her to sit in the back seat with me the next time we drove her, on Wednesday, but there was no room.

Wednesday morning, you took one of her rings and said you wanted to wear it to see how it felt (never mind the fact that you hadn't worn any ring, including your wedding ring for years because of an "allergic reaction to metal on your hands"). You wore her ring as you waved goodbye to us at a school.

After I realized you were still wearing her ring on Thursday night, I cleaned the back seat of the car, making enough room to fit another person. When we got out of the car on Friday morning, I reminded you to return her ring. From that day, I always found a reason to have my friends sit in the back seat with me if we gave someone a ride.

I was 19. Thomas asked to speak with you. I eavesdropped through an open window. He told you that he loved me, and wanted your permission to ask me to marry him. You responded, "You will need someone to keep you warm at night." I think that response speaks for itself.


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I have been thinking about my dad the last three weeks, because he called me on my birthday. A phone call that I still haven't fully processed. It was the first time we have talked in over six years. For now, I am just thankful I have stopped having anxiety attacks each time the phone rings, wondering if it will be him on the other line, calling again.

40 comments:

  1. Tracie,

    I don't know exactly what to say, but I wanted you to know that someone is reading and listening.

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    1. Thank you, Jack. Just knowing that means a lot.

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  2. I'm sorry you had to go through all of this. I can't imagine how hard it must have been to not even feel you could rely on your father for protection. :(

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    1. Thank you Colleen. It is a part of my childhood that I am only now really delving into, but it was hard.

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  3. This is the first time I've visited your blog and I just want to tell you how brave I think you are for sharing this with us. Writing these things down and sharing with a supportive community will be very therapeutic for you. Just take it one day at a time and deal with the emotions as they arise.

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    1. Thank you. I find that writing and sharing the hard things is very healing.

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  4. ♥ - I am so sorry for the things your father did not do to protect you... and I am so proud that you have become this beautiful voice in the fight.

    Love and prayers... lots of love and prayers.

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    1. Thank you, Meggs. I'll take all that love and prayers. <3

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  5. What a beautifully written story, though it evokes sadness. Have I told you lately how amazing you are? Because you are amazing, and beautiful, and strong. I am so lucky to call you friend.

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    1. You are making the tears come, Dawnie.

      Thank you for real. I'm lucky to call YOU friend.

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  6. This is such a brave post to share. I don't know what to say honestly other than sending you a hug and hope things will work out in best way possible for your sake. Hugs!

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    1. Thank you for the hugs and hope, Maureen. That is perfect.

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  7. wow. I am so sorry you had to endure this.

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    1. Thank you, Robbie K. I appreciate your support.

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  8. Oh Sweetie I hate this part. The remembering and the how comes and what if this instead of this. I am sending some healing thoughts and prayers to you.. Thomas is a good man and I am so glad God put him in your life to show you what real love is.

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    1. Angel. I love you. I'm so thankful for Thomas, he does give me real love and is such a blessing in my life.

      Thanks for the prayers and love. Today is a better day.

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  9. Oh, Trace. :( Love you to the moon and back, lady. <3

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  10. Memories from the past do haunt us that way. They don't get how they made us feel and I'm sorry for what you are going through. Hugs

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    1. Thank you Jacki. Writing them out like this (and receiving all this support while I work through them) really does make a difference.

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  11. I have the same anxiety when the phone rings. One of my abusers (brother) called me yesterday...I freaked out. It took me all night to calm down. I HATE that they still have such a lasting effect on us. Thank you for sharing your experience.

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    1. I'm so sorry that you are dealing with that same anxiety. It sucks so bad.

      Writing this out was a good way to release a little of the control the memories have over me. One step at a time.

      Sending love your way.

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  12. I am speechless. I am so sorry you had to go through all of this. I am glad you were a strong girl. Sending you hugs through cyber space.

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    1. Thank you, Karen! I accept those hugs. <3

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  13. I can't begin to tell you what a badass I think you are. You are so open about such difficult emotions and experiences and you pave the way for others to feel okay about doing the same.
    xoxo

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  14. Ugh - Its awful that you had to deal with this in the first place and that the phone call dredges it all back up!

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  15. I hope this sharing has helped you. I can only guess at the strange mix bag of emotions this throws around your mind. Has your dad finally started to confront his issues? all the best

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  16. I am sorry for what you had lived, sorry because your father was not a real but a sick one, I am sorry I am saying this but is what I feel about him, I understand what you feel every time the phone rings, that happen to me also, my mother does not understand that we need to change the telephone number. Well there is something I can do, move to a different place, but all takes time and when you are hurt takes more than it should. Sending you lots of hugs and energy from my heart...

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  17. Hi Tracie,
    I know this hurts. It's hard not to return to those dark places in our lives but we cannot dwell there for our own sake.

    I'm so sorry for your pain sweet girl. You are strong and you are helping others cope.

    hugs to you.
    Sissie

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  18. I'm so sorry... you are very strong for sharing that with all of us. {hugs}

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  19. This is a heartbreaking post. I'm sorry your dad did not give you the protection you needed. I don't even want to waste anytime telling you how I feel about him. I only want to commend you for writing such a brutally honest and raw post. You are so brave for sharing this. Beautifully written, too!

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  20. I'm so sorry. No kid should have to deal with that kind of stuff.

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  21. I'm so glad I found your site. You are brave to tell your story. You also are wonderful for coming forward, for not continuing the family legacy by staying silent, for advocating for all the children out there who have no advocate otherwise.

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  22. Wow. I don't even know what to say. I have a million thoughts running through my head, but they all seem so - ... worthless. Your words have power. I'm sorry that you were a victim, but your words have power. xo Kristen

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  23. I admire you so much, your bravery, your honesty, your ability to have walked through your fiery childhood and come out on the other side as such an admirable woman.

    I hope you know what a world of good you must be doing for others who have been victims. You are just extraordinary, girl.

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  24. From: K Ryan

    To: ((((( Tracie ))))

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  25. You are so strong to have gone through all of this.

    *hugs*

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  26. Tracie, you are so brave to share this. And I agree with Shell, you are strong to survive all that and now be able to help others with your story. I'm sorry for the pain this has brought into your life and glad that you're taking steps to move past it.

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  27. Hi Tracie,

    I have a list of things as well where my father did not protect me and my mother abuser pushed me into the path of adult men or abusers, including inside my own family, to be sexually harassed and offended against. I'm so sorry you went through this. I know how hard it is to have to remember and try to deal with.

    I too got a call from my mother after cutting off contact, on my birthday, after changing my phone number to unlisted. A family member gave her my number. I changed it again. It ruined that birthday for me. I'm sorry that he did not protect you.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.

    Kate

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  28. I have lots of memories like that, too, and I identified with yours. I'm sorry your dad didn't protect you the way you deserved to be treasured and protected.

    My sister was 12 when my dad saw a 20-year-old Franciscan priest force a kiss on her in our driveway. She was very upset and burst into tears when she came into the house. Dad didn't say a word and continued to let the guy come to the house and give my sister unwelcome gifts (a teddy bear, etc.) She was relieved when he got transferred. To this day, I have no idea why my dad didn't protect any of us, any time. I just don't get it.

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