I flew home to New Orleans for Jazz Fest. But really, my reason was to confront my father about his sexual abuse. Although at the time, I didn’t refer to it as sexual abuse. I couldn’t comprehend what to call it. All I knew was that it was fucked up. It wasn’t a single event either. He had sex in front of me consistently through out my childhood up until I was a teenager. And even after that, there would be other inappropriate behaviors from showing me topless pictures of women that he photographed to assisting him with his dirty emails.
….My throbbing dick misses those huge tits of yours, Debbie. Promise to make me cum on Thursday? Love, Bill…
“Dad, just click send! The button is right there. Poof! It’s sent. That’s how email works. Ugh!”
Parents can be so annoyingly dumb, amirite!?
I was 25 years old and had been living in Los Angeles for a few years. I had an on-again-off-again boyfriend the entire time. It wasn’t until I started divulging childhood stories that had made me realized, perhaps I did not have a normal upbringing….like…at all. I saw the expression of horror on my boyfriend’s face, and it made me question things.
We eventually saw a sex therapist because his sex drive was low and mine was high. She told me I was a victim of incest.
“Oh, no.” I insisted. “My dad never touched me. He’d just make me watch every now and then. Not that big of a deal.”
Afterwards, I told my boyfriend I didn’t want to see the therapist anymore. She was too opinionated. But she had planted a seed of discomfort in me. Although the seed was already planted by my father, the sex therapist candidly pointed it out. None the less, the unsettling feeling started to grow in me. Something needed to be done.
So, yes. I was going to confront my father. I wasn’t expecting a whole scene. An apathetic apology, at best. A nod of remorse. A shrug. A causal, I’m sorry. I was suffering…kinda deal…and then enjoy Jazz Fest. No biggie.
I needed to cut my trip short because I was filming a commercial the following week. It was perfect. It gave me something to look forward to while I was there. Plus, it gave me the confidence I needed to come back home. I was a working actor now….barely. I had my own money…barely. I was an adult…barely. But most importantly, I was free. Free to speak up. Free to say no. Free to leave.
I got this.
But that’s not how I felt when I saw my dad. His first words to me were that he wanted to blow his brains out because my brother hadn’t been returning his phone calls. He barely even looked at me. I bit the inside of my mouth and swallowed my sadness. I immediately became that little girl who didn’t matter. Why was I so dumb to think otherwise?
It was an expensive trip. I paid for everything including his Jazz Fest tickets, food and drinks. At night, I took my dad’s car and went to bars by myself and drank way too much. I snorted bad cocaine. (Sorry, Los Angeles has it’s flaws, but it does have premium coke). I even had sex with a stranger in the back of my dad’s car. Twice. Jesus, I was hurting so much.
But I kept my promise to myself. I confronted him one night. He denied it. And that was that. I flew back home.
That was the last time I saw my father.
I can’t really get too much comfort from my brother, although he confirmed those events happened. He just doesn’t understand why I’d still be upset.“Dixie, he never hit you. He never touched you. Get over it.”
Get over it.
Well, that’s what I was trying to do! That was the whole point of my Jazz Fest trip. But then how do you resolve something with someone who denies reality? How are you suppose to agree and move forward with someone who rejects what happened and lives in their fantasy world?
I was disappointed and angry with myself. I should have been more assertive on that trip. I was an adult, right? I should have spoken up. But when I’m with my father, it’s almost impossible to be present. Each moment is layered with memories. Yes, I was a 25 year old woman expressing herself for the first time. But I was also a 6 year old girl who really needed to go to the bathroom and couldn’t say anything because her father was fucking a woman in the back seat of the van. This 6 year old girl was too scared to go inside a strange building by herself, so she squatted behind the van and pooped in the parking lot like a dog. She then sat back down in the carseat and listened to the rest of their groaning while silently crying and being mortified of what she had just done.
My heart breaks for that 6 year old.
My heart breaks for that 25 year old.
And for them, I’m telling the importance of my story.