Wow. I haven't been here for so long that the entire format has changed. 

I have no passion. I have nothing to talk about. Nothing I want to say. 
I have become boring as bat poo.

It has been suggested to me (more times than I can count) that I write a book. About what? I can only write about what I know, and what I know is my life and who I am, and it's all been said before. I don't have anything to offer. 

I thought to myself, I've written everything online - why not just get it all together and give it to someone to organise into some sort of book? So I came back here to where I've put a lot of my words. Sort of a central repository, is this blog of mine here. 

Not sure where to go or what to do now. 

See? Boring as bat poo. 
What nobody seemed to think about or consider back in those days, was that there might be consequences to the person who made the complaint. Especially if that person was returned to the abuser after the fact. Seems pretty damn obvious to me that the accused would have something to say to the victim, no? Did they really think that the only consequences or discussions would happen in front of them, or any other witnesses for that matter?

It maddens me no end that people could be so obtuse. I found it hard to believe that people could really be that stupid, that clueless. But I suppose, it took a few deaths for people to come up with the idea that witness protection might be a good idea, too.

The consequences for me were simply that life became unendurable. Nobody has ever imagined or understood the pressure, stress, guilt, and burdens I had to live with during the year following my reporting the abuse.

I'd been asked if I wanted to press charges, but the very idea of it horrified me and I was adamant about NOT involving the police. My dad didnt't belong in jail!! He loved me!! He was the best dad EVER!

This, to me, was very private. The MOST private thing. It was about my relationship with my father. It was about intimacy and sex. The most personal things of all. And, love. A love that I didn't think anybody would understand. I was special to Dad. Nobody seemed to get that.

Behind it all....anger....simmering, simmering....And a desperation that was as intense as my fear of annihilation of self. The lies, the pretence, the secrecy, it all ate away at me and made enduring the now incredibly uncomfortable relationship with my father even worse.

I don't believe that anybody will ever understand or relate to what I went through in that year.

I do know that it was bad enough that I did everything in my power to get myself help. I couldn't be direct anymore. I knew better than that. So I had to let people know that things were wrong by behaving wrong. I ran away from home, I skipped school, I got caught smoking, told outrageous lies about my so called sexual exploits (I had decided to go the "promiscuous" tack, as it was more socially unacceptable for a now 13 year old girl than say, being frigid), all to get attention focussed on me. I hoped that someone would see that this girl was seriously in trouble, and needed help fast.

It was all to no avail. What happened, in fact, was that the senior mistress of my school referred me to the guidance officer, who called my dad to come in. In front of me and my dad, he told my dad all the lies I'd been telling, and suggested that I be taken to see a psychiatrist at the Brisbane Children's Hospital. He gave us a referral, and Dad, who was so very very concerned and worried about me, agreed to make sure I got the help I needed.

Look at me - this poor disturbed girl who told lies, kept getting in trouble, and was obviously mentally ill....

......Once we were home from the guidance officer at the school, Dad asked me if the lies were true, and I told him no. I told him that I didn't know why I told such lies (in truth, I really didn't. I couldn't explain my behaviour. I didn't have the insight or the words. I was only acting on impulse, on my desperation). We both agreed that I needed help and that I'd got see the psychiatrist.
The degrees of secrecy in those days boggle my mind now.

Dad and I just pretended like nothing had happened. We never talked about it. It became almost impossible to endure living there with this stress of the unspoken.

The routine was that the social worker would ring the school and tell them to let me know that she'd be visiting that afternoon. I'd get called up to the office and given the message. After school I'd have to bolt home as fast as I could, ring dad to let him know to come home late because the social worker was coming, and then quickly clean the house and make sure everything was perfect. I'd also have to somehow get rid of my brother so that he wouldn't see or even know the social worker was there. That was the most difficult thing of all, because often, he just wouldn't leave. I'd ask him to go to the shops, and he'd refuse, or I'd tell him he could go play down the creek, but he wouldn't want to. The panic and stress I felt was unbelievable.

The damn woman would come, sit in dad's chair, ask innane questions, chit chat, and lastly, ask me if there were any problems. I'd say no, of course not, and she'd leave.

After a couple of weeks, she only turned up for about half the times she called to say she was coming. It was infuriating. All that stress for nothing.
It's all sorts of little things that are coming back to me now. Things that seemed unimportant, or were too overwhelming to express or explain.

For instance, the night I spent with those emergency care people. It was just a family, you know? They kept me distracted as much as they could, but I found that to be intrusive when such momentous events were happening. I was terrified for my father, terrified for myself. Everything had got so out of hand and I couldn't do anything about it.

I remember the next morning, the woman told me that I'd have to change schools, and I freaked out because it meant that I wouldn't be going home. Surprisingly, what was even MORE upsetting to me, was the idea of changing schools.

When I first started high school, the change was so big for me - new environment, new faces - that I cried every single morning for three months. My mother having left just prior to my starting high school didn't seem to factor into my distress at all. But eventually, I settled. I had new friends and friends from primary school with me too, so there was some continuity. And now, six months later, I'm beging told I'd have to not only leave my family, but the only consistent and stable thing in my life.

I refused to accept it. I would not do it. Fortunately, the social worker rang and said she was coming to pick me up and take me home. That's when the real fear struck me. This terrible dread settled on me. I felt like the world was shaking all around me, about to crumple, but I think it was probably me that was shaking.

On the drive home, I was barely able to contain my emotions and remain calm on the outside. But again, distraction seemed to be the goal of the person with me. I loathed this woman, she was so intrusive. She told me that Dad had admitted it, which surprised the hell out of me. She told me that he wasn't angry with me, which surprised me even more, I think. Then she told me that there were two ways girls like me reacted - they either became totally frigid or they became promiscuous. I remember thinking to myself, why is she telling me this? I don't know how I feel. Are those my only choices? Which one will I choose? Which one will make people realise the most, how desperate I feel inside? I'm not like those girls, I'm me! Nobody see's me.

As we neared home, the dread and shame were almost too much to bear, but I had no options, no choices. My brain kind of shut down I think, bracing me for whatever was to come. I vaguely remember feeling angry with this social worker who was rabbiting on about her daughter and how she had just started getting pubic hair and was so excited about it. I was horrified to hear it. I felt ashamed to hear it. I wanted her to shut the hell up. I was about to face the consequences of my actions. I was about to face my father, who I loved so much and who loved me, and who I'd betrayed and hurt and nothing would ever make it better.

At home, the social worker sat beside me while Dad cried and apologised and my heart broke in two. I felt like I couldn't face him. At the same time, I felt, somewhere in the back of my head, anger that he was saying all the right things and being so nice. I think I knew that my chance of escape or getting real help was lost at that point.

The social worker eventually left, after asking dad to put a lock on my door so that I could get some sleep at night (WTF??!!!) and I went to school. Anything to get out of the house. Dad put the lock on my door that day, though nobody ever asked about it or checked to see if it had been done. The agreement was that mum didn't need to be told about any of this, my brother certainly didn't need to know, and the social worker would come see me at home after school once a week.
OK, so my last post got a tad ranty and tangental. Hopefully this one will be somewhat clearer.

I've always been somewhat chronologically challenged. I don't always experience time as a linear thing, so writing a narrative is something that I can only do after a lot of processing. There are things that I want to talk about now that I've never spoken of before, but suddenly they seem to hold so much more importance than before.

It's like, now the dam has broken and nothing's holding the water back. Prepare for inundation.
Back then, in 1981, incest was still in the closet, so to speak. I'd never even heard the word. I was afraid no one would believe me. I was one of the most fortunate few who's father would at least acknowledge that it had happened, even while minimising and excusing it. Without that, I would have been accused of lying, I'm sure.

And now, 20 years later, after my father's death, I've been accused of lying about it by not only my brother and father's friends, but my brother himself, who KNOWS the truth.

So once again, I'm left to look like a liar rather than have my father look less than perfect. And because I can't live the lie anymore, and play the role of "crazy, irrational, disturbed and nasty girl", that's exactly what I'm being portrayed as being. There is no escape.

Because of this, I could not go to the funeral. I couldn't go to the funeral so angry and listen to everyone say how great he was. After all these years, I just couldn't face the pretence and hypocrisy or lies. Not for one more second.

Those that were there, and knew I'd been removed removed from home and put into Care and Protection a year after I first reported the abuse, were told either nothing at all or given the impression that I was disturbed. It was NEVER spoken about.

And years later, when I rejoined the family, no longer knowing anybody, not knowing what had been said, feeling the confusion, hesitation, discomfort of everyone I'd ever known growing up - I had to accommodate to the lie or lose everything. Again. I was so alone.

All these years of protecting my family. I've accepted the role assigned to me of being the fragile crazy girl with problems (because in truth, I was, but again nobody ever asked WHY), and let everyone feel sorry for dad having to deal with such a daughter....

UGH. So much anger. I haven't even begun to touch it.

To be told the night before my father's funeral that I had done the wrong thing by tellign the truth, that I was causing be threatened and bullied and told to shut up and that I was a be told that I had "stunted" someone's grief and that I had no right to talk about what I supposedly believed was real and hurt someone with the truth as I had.....was to be left betrayed and alone all over again.

But no more. I will not live a lie or pretend in order to protect someone else anymore. I won't sacrifice my own truth and my own reputation in order to save someone else or to cover their shame. NO MORE. He's gone, and I won't stay quiet for my brother, my mother, or anyone else in my family anymore. I can't.
When I was 12, in the school holidays before I was to begin my first year of high school, my mother finally left us after years of hostility and misery. Within the year, my father was touching me inappropriately. This escalated to the point that I became not only confused and messed up, but afraid of where this was going. I had no one to talk to, no one to trust. I tried asking my mother if I could live with her. I asked her twice, actually. Both times the answer was no. No one ever thought to ask the question, "why".

Eventually it got to the point that I had to do something. I couldn't live like this. I couldn't. So I told a teacher. She had me ring a social worker friend of hers during the school lunch hour (from a public phone box outside the school grounds, for some reason), and tell her what I'd told my teacher. That afternoon, after school, the social worker and a few other people and my teacher spoke to me alone in the staff room, asking details that I couldn't speak of. I couldn't tell anybody. I couldn't say the words of what, exactly was going on. The shame was too great.

Now, I also had the shame of having betrayed my father, who I loved more than anyone in the whole world. What had I done? How could I face him? And how angry I was at being in this position to begin with. I never believed anyone could ever understand. No one would ever understand my relationship with my dad, that's for damn sure.

I was left to go home to my dad, and a social worker was assigned to come visit me at school during the lunch hour once a week. So now I had two secrets. One about my dad, and another about the social worker. Shame builds.

Eventually, out of the blue, weeks later and for no reason at all (because I'd been reporting that all was fine at home), I was picked up from school one afternoon and taken to a house I'd never been to before to people I'd never met before, and told that I'd be staying there the night while the authorities went to confront my father. I begged them not to, but it was out of my hands. I'd lost all control over the situation.

I cannot even begin to put into words the feelings I went through over the next 24 hours. The guilt, the powerlessness, the shame, the isolation, the desolation, the feeling of my whole world entirely crashing down around me, the uncertainty of not knowing what was going to happen next, what the consequences would be....

The next day, I was picked up by the social worker and taken home to face dad. He had, after some pushing, admitted what he had done. At least, some of it. Enough to validate my report anyway. I didn't want to face him. I wanted to run away. I was afraid he'd be angry. I was afraid he'd be hurt. I was afraid of whatever emotion he might show because I knew that I couldn't handle it. I couldn't even handle whatever it was that *I* was feeling! And I knew that with all the guilt and shame I felt at betraying him, that I'd have to deal with his emotions and make him feel better. If I didn't make HIM feel better - reassured and loved - then I had no hope of surviving this whole debarcle.

When we got there, he was in tears, sobbing. He apologised and promised that he'd never do it again and that he was so sorry and that it wasn't my fault. I felt so badly. I felt like the lowest of the low for hurting him so much. How could I have done this to him? At the same time, right at the back of my head behind my conscious thoughts and feelings, was this rage at him for doing this to me. All of it. Part of me was screaming that all of this was wrong, wrong, wrong!

The upshot of it all was that so long as he promised not to do it again, and he put a lock on my door so that I could "get some sleep at night", then I could stay with dad and my brother and no one else had to ever know about it. It was agreed that my mother didn't need to be told.

So now I'm holding secrets from my brother and mother, too. To protect my mother, father, and brother. But who was protecting ME????
A year after being diagnosed with non small cell lung cancer, my father passed away in his sleep on the 13th of June. It was only his second night in the palliative care hospital, as he'd managed somehow to stay at home right till the end. It was only in the last two weeks that we had to make sure someone was there for him at all times.

It was awful to see him at the end. It was a horrible way to die.

But we were given the time to each say goodbye in our own way. I told him I loved him, and I told him that if he needed to go, then to let go. I told him it's ok. I told him that we'd be ok, that everyone would be ok, that he didn't have to worry about a thing. I told him that I couldn't have asked for a better dad, and I thanked him. Then I simply sat there with him, holding his hand, smiling at him with all the love I feel in my heart. It was peaceful, calm. A special time.

The two weeks since then have been difficult. Not so much for the grieving, because to be truthful, I've done most of that over the last year. Mostly, I feel relief for him. Relief it's over. The waiting and watching him deteriorate and struggle and be in pain has been heartbreaking. I'm glad it's over.

Other than relief, I've mainly felt anger. A constant, simmering anger. Because not only is dad free now, but so am I. Free to be myself, to not have to pretend in order to protect him. To not have to lie, or listen to bullshit anymore. I'm free to tell the truth about my life. I've found my voice.
In other news, Dad rang me last Thursday to say he'd just got home from the hospital. He'd rung them wednesday and they got him in the next day. The doctor went over his scan results and apparently there's no fluid on his lungs anymore, and there's no sign of further spread of the cancer. The radiation got the lit up bits of his lymph glands and has diminished the 7 cm mass he had in his lung by about half, which means that his diaphram and liver have kind of moved up. The bloody thing must have been massive! Anyway, she told him to make an appointment for four months time, so obviously they think he'll be around for at least that long. She also told him he could cut back on the oxycontin a bit, which he'll be pleased about.

However, his cough is still back and not going away. I'm not game to ask him any questions because he reacts so badly to them. I've gotten into the habit of just waiting for him to tell me bits and peices as he thinks of it. Quite often he thinks he's told people what's going on when in fact he hasn't, so it's kind of hard to work out what the hell is happening with him. I've learned to live with the uncertainty of not knowing and not being allowed to ask.

He doesn't even know his staging, you know? When he was first diagnosed they said it was inoperable non-small cell lung cancer. When he was in hospital and almost died after the bronchoscopy and biopsy, he had malignant pleural effusion, which is apparently diagnostic of stage 4, and is always terminal. Well that was like, six months ago.

I don't know. I'm begining to think he'll be around for another year or more. I don't think I can stand it. Truly.
I saw my brother again the other day, and it's clear he's still using. He had the bandaid on his hand again, where he shoots up. It's amazing how quickly and easily I can cut myself off and let go. I don't mean that I cut off my love for him, or even my concern. It's more like inside, I see the signs and just nod, you know? I take note, but it's just information. I can see what's going on without having to DO anything about it. Interesting.
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