Secrets (Part I)

Friday, May 27, 2011 10:02 AM

Secrets shape us.  If we don't tell someone, they eventually speak for themselves, don't they?  They speak through our actions, our fears, and our habits.    Yesterday, I found out about a secret so painful that I think I felt my heart break in my chest.  It explained so much about this person.  This someone that I love so dearly and know so intimately.   It explained so much about so many things.  It was a turning point.  I'm still processing it.

Right now, I don't know how else to deal with this other than to share a secret of my own.  There's always something - a moment - when we lose our innocence and we begin to question the safety and fairness of the world we live in.  Do you remember what that moment was for you?

When I was about 9 or 10 years old,  I walked in on my dad while he was going to the bathroom.  Gross.  I quickly shut the door and went downstairs to the other bathroom.  My mom approached me and asked me what happened.  When I told her, she said she knew this would happen eventually.  She said that it was wrong of me to look at my father that way.  o_o 
I tried to explain that it was an accident, but she didn't seem to hear me. 

There were more incidents than I can count or recall.  She accused me of walking around in my underwear in front of my father on purpose.  I used to take naps with my father, and I had to stop doing that.  I remember one time we were driving home from the beach. I was seated in the back in my bathing suit, sitting on a towel.  When we get home, she berated me for what seemed like hours.  She claimed that I'd been laying out on the back seat with my legs spread all over the place basically putting on a show for my father.  After awhile, I stopped protesting because it seems to just incense her further.

This was the beginning of a new phase in my young life where I became aware and ashamed of my sexuality.  I knew that I wasn't doing any of these things on purpose and that I didn't see my father that way (or any man for that matter), but after awhile I became confused.  Maybe I really was a lustful person.  I over analyzed things and thought that everything I did or said could somehow be twisted into something dirty. 

My relationship with my father became strained.  I thought: "Should I go downstairs and say hi to my dad when I come in the house or will my mom think that I'm flirting with him?   At the dinner table, I better not sit next to or across from him.  I better not act like I like him."  I became so uncomfortable and awkward around him, and I don't think he knew why.  I remember him always asking me what was wrong.  As parents, my mom was the disciplinarian and my dad was passive.  He worked nights, so he'd leave every night around nine to go to work and he'd come home around 6 in the morning.  It wasn't long after that inital bathroom incident that my mom started sending me to a friend's house after school because she didn't want me to be home alone with my father until she got home from work. 

This continued into high school.  Over the years my mother's paranoia got worse and took over her life.  And I went about the business of burying my resentment and confusion the best way I knew how.  I started getting high.