From conception, my life was interesting and full of suspense. My Mom was unmarried and 20 years old when she learned that I was in route. My father was unemployed and hated by my Grandparents… and my entire family. My Mom hid her pregnancy for 6 months. A few short months later, in late October, 10lb me was born in Los Angeles, California.
I don’t have many childhood memories. I have a few happy ones, but most are connected to trauma.
Until, I was 5, my mother and father had a toxic relationship. They married. They fought. My father sexually and physically abused my mother. My mother was raped and became pregnant with baby #2. Baby #2 was lost. They finally divorced when I was 5.
At 5, I started visitations with my father and his parents at their home in San Bernardino, California. My Mom would drop me off on Friday and pick me up on Sunday.
Mother’s Day weekend, in 1989, my mom dropped me off for my father’s visitation. This was the weekend, my father would sexual abuse me.
Similar to scenes in a movie, I only remember scenes but with smells, tastes, feelings and sounds.
My Father and his parents were smokers. They smoked heavily. They smoked indoors. My Grandfather spent most of his time alone. Drinking. While my Grandmother would watch television and chain smoke. One of my only memories of my Grandmother was her telling me to be quiet and that she hated me. (I was apparently playing with my doll horse too loudly on the mantle)
I still struggle with negative feelings about myself when I smell cigarette smoke.
Friday night, my dad sat me down on his lap to play Nintendo. I was playing Mario bothers. I was Mario. My dad put his hands down my pants for the first time. He rubbed me until he penetrated me with his fingers. He asked me if I liked it. I said nothing. I still remember the confusion and anxiety of that moment in my life. It doesn’t hurt, but it doesn’t feel right. I don’t like it. I want it to stop. If I say stop, will my dad be upset? If I say nothing, will he keep doing it? If I say I like it, will he stop? It felt like it went on forever. Still…
I said nothing.
The next memory I have is bedtime. I remember wearing a two piece flowery pajama set and my Grandmother turning off the light in the teal room I was sleeping in. Within a few minutes I saw the silhouette of my father standing in the door. He laid next to me and rubbed my back. For years, this would be the only memory I had of abuse. The additional memories would come in adulthood once my trauma was reactivated.
The next memory, is in the kitchen. My Grandfather is cutting ham. I am barely tall enough to look over the countertop. I told my Grandpa, that my dad touched me and what he did. He told me, “that is what a dad does when they give their children a bath. Now, get out of the kitchen”
But. My Dad never bathed me. My Grandma always did.
Telling my Grandma proved just as discouraging. She told me I was an “imaginative child”.
My Mom was there to pick me up on Sunday. I still remember questioning whether or not to tell my Mom. Would she believe me? Was I wrong for speaking against my Dad? Is this my fault?
Did I want this? I didn’t say no or tell him to stop.
What would this do to my family? What would he do to me?
I told my Mom as soon as we got on the Freeway. It was Mother’s Day.
Finally. Someone believed me.