WARNING: This blog post is very raw, despite my best efforts to keep it prim and proper. Unfortunately, going back to Russia stirred up my past, and what follows contains a lot of emotional turmoil. If you're not up for disturbing darkness, I suggest you skip reading it.
People asked me to blog about my adventures in Russia. I was running today under the rain back to my friend's apartment where I'm staying in Moscow, thinking what exactly it is I will write about, and I kept coming back to the one and only thing that haunts me, namely, my family history and my history of publicly announcing three years ago that I have been sexually abused by my father and step-grandfather; my family's outrage that followed; the denouncement of me by certain family members, and more unsightly things that happened since. As soon as I got to Moscow, I wanted to continue on my quest of gathering facts from family members to prove that I was not insane and didn't imagine it, but I was generally told that: the psychotherapists in America have either hypnotized me or have implanted in me false memories; I have been somehow emotionally disturbed and have falsely accused my father of something that never happened, intending to cause him harm; I have been scared by someone when I was little and somehow have transferred this in my head into something that didn't exist; if something indeed happened, I shouldn't go back and dig it up, I should forget it and move on and think about the future and stop dwelling on the past. I can keep going here with various things I heard from various people. The only thing that nobody ever asked me was how I feel. And when I asked people point blank why they don't believe me, they told me, how can one believe such nonsense? At this moment of writing this I'm so emotional, that I don't even know how to continue, I'm shaking. I'm very sorry if this is too much, or too disturbing, or too graphic. I fully understand if you will want to unsubscribe from my blog for this out-of-normal post. As much as I tried, I seem to be incapable of pretending to be happy and cheery and talk about eating nostalgic ice cream in Russia, when I'm really not. I was, sort of, until I had a string of very difficult talks with a few family members. When I asked my followers on Twitter what to blog about, many people wanted me to blog about my adventures in Russia, well, these are my adventures. Everyone has skeletons in their closets, but not everyone is willing to go there and extract them, to become happy and be free of them, once and for all. I decided to do it. It took me three years, it was extremely painful, but I'm happy now. I'm as happy as I have never been in my life before, and I tell you, it was worth it. I wanted to kill myself, I didn't, I'm still here. And this is the reason I will talk about it. I will dig and dig and dig and dig, until I find the factual truth. The fact that my father admitted to it on the phone, as I was told by a family member, doesn't prove anything. It only means that he was distressed and just yelled "Yes, yes!" to me saying that he sexually abused me, because he gets this way when he's angry, that's all there is to it. If indeed somehow my head imagined something somehow, I will publicly say it, and I will dig even deeper, to understand how come people's minds do things like that. I'm still in constant doubt that drives me nuts, and I only fully believe myself when my body starts screaming at me, reminding me of the pain, of what kind of pain happened and where in my body, and then I know it's true. I trust my body. It has developed automatic responses that can only mean a certain abusive history, and I also remember photographic images of things, like the bed, the covering of the bed, the way it creaked, the way the texture felt. Is this evidence? It's not evidence. I don't remember faces, or what specifically was done to me, I only remember feelings, fuzzy images, and fears, deeply rooted horrible fears that have to do with my body, sex, and my self-image, particularly when I'm naked, as well as the image of my father, terrifying. It's maddening, living with this. Writing about this is my sanity. I'm also writing about this because ever since I started talking openly about being a victim of sexual abuse within my family (my step-grandfather also had his hand when he was drunk), scores of women reached out to me, privately, thanking me for talking about it, because they couldn't. I will talk for them. I have met with family members whom I haven't seen for years, and I have been asking everyone about things they remember, gathering as many facts and details as I can, to complete the picture and to, hopefully, one day, be able to talk to my father, and tell him that I forgave him, and, perhaps, ask him to tell me his version of events and explain to me how he felt and why he did it. Just so I understand. I really wish. I do. It's my dream. But I know it will most likely never happen.
4 hours have passed since I wrote the above. It is now past 4am, I was supposed to be done with this post long ago, I was supposed to be in bed long ago. Instead, I have been talking to my friend in the kitchen, trying to make sense of everything and begging her to confirm that I'm not insane. I can only tell you that I'm in a very bad place right now, and I can't lie to you. I know that once I'm back home in Seattle, I will feel better and get back to my writing routine, which will pull me out of this funk. But I'm not there yet, and I have been rereading hidden blog posts from 3 years ago, remembering what it was like going through this period of accepting that something as horrible as my father sexually abusing me could've happened. It was why I wanted to kill myself, and it's why right now I want to drive my head through the wall. I won't do it, though, I know, just because I'm over the worst of it. The real pain is gone. This is only an echo that's left over. And yes, maybe one day I will make the hidden part of my blog public again (I hid it 2 years ago when I completed my recovery and stopped blogging for 1 year). For those of you who haven't been reading my old blog, it's a collection of posts I made while going through a year of therapy and recovery, talking about everything I was going through. It is very graphic and disturbing. Maybe one day I will collect them all into a book. There are, I believe, about 150,000 words total.
And now I'm terrified of publishing this blog post. I'm fighting my own desire to keep this hidden, to leave it alone, to pretend to be all smiley or hide behind a blog post that deals with editing books, or writing books, or marketing books, or whatever. Because it's in the past, I dealt with it, I'm doing great now. What I realize is, I have only scratched the surface. I haven't fully dealt with it, there is so much more to deal with, it's not even funny. And, of course, I want to deny it. There are these incredible urges I have sometimes, to just pretend like nothing happened, to push it out of my head, to forget. But I can't. It's not just about me anymore. It's about other sexual abuse survivors, and sexual abuse victims. It's about uncovering this fucking flaw in our society that still has shit like this happen to people... to children, to women, to men. I will keep writing about it, and keep writing, and keep writing. And maybe one day I'll be able to change it, to make it disappear. This is my crazy hope.