TRIGGER WARNING: PHYSICAL ABUSE DISCUSSION (You can scroll down to the asterisks to bypass it.)
I’ve been turning over the evidence in my mind, trying to decide whether or not my dad physically abused me; because he swears under oath that it never happened. So the possibilities are that he did abuse me, or I have a false memory.
Evidence that he did abuse me:
- My memory of the event is crystal clear, and it always has been. For purposes of not being triggerish, I’ll just say that I was nine or ten years old, and now I’m 43. Aside from that, I won’t get into details. But I could list a lot of things I recall.
- He could be gaslighting me.
Evidence that he did not abuse me:
- He doesn’t seem the sort to have done that.
- It was an isolated incident.
Well, about that. What my mom did to me was also an isolated incident, but I know for a fact that she did it. There’s no doubt in my mind.
- Looking back, I can definitely imagine my mom having been that abusive, but my dad was never the mean parent; either when I was younger or today. That award has always gone to my mom.
- I have a spanking fetish. What he did was fantasy fulfillment, so… maybe I dreamed it up?
More evidence that he did abuse me:
- On the other hand, it wasn’t what I imagined it would be. Living the fantasy made it nightmarish. I regretted it.
- My fetish made me deliberately provoke him all the time. I was rarely bratty on general principle, but I was often bratty because I had the fetish.
- He’s not the same person he was then. He thinks he’d never have done that, but what if he would’ve? He “regular” spanked me often. Nothing major, aside from this incident.
More evidence that he did not abuse me:
- I grew up in a spanking culture. It was commonly referenced in conversation, movies, books, everyday life, other kids’ stories, the threats of school administration during a start-of-the-year assembly, etc., etc. Maybe that fed my imagination and made me create something inside my head…?
- Along with my imagination, it could’ve fed my paranoia. It was terrifying to grow up in a world where kids were regularly getting spanked and beaten. My friends’ parents would threaten my friends, and I’d become terrified of those parents. I was at a friend’s house once and she burst into tears when we accidentally broke the broom. She sobbed that her dad would make her pay for it from her allowance. I could tell that was code for something far more sinister. Her mom was very consoling. “No, Kathy, I’m sure Daddy won’t…” she glanced at the rest of us, who were hanging on her every word. We were in seventh grade. “… pay for a new broom from your allowance. Daddy’s not that unreasonable.” Kathy was hysterical.
- My fetishy fantasies started when I was three years old, during naptime at preschool. I never slept. I was bored, and those thoughts entertained me. HeMan, Popeye, my mother, my maternal grandmother, my preschool teachers–they all played starring roles.
Yeah, there was a saturation of spanking in pop culture back then. You couldn’t watch a movie on TV without the kid being threatened or spanked. I can’t count how many examples of this I was exposed to. Just thank God it’s mostly gone from pop culture these days. I grew up in a terrifying world in which adults thought they had to intimidate kids to keep them in line. That level of fear and constant threat did bad things to my developing mind.
That’s all the evidence. Oh, wait.
More evidence that he did not abuse me:
- When I had EMDR done in 2007, it fixed my bad memory of what my mom did to me. It didn’t fix my bad memory all the way of what my dad did. I’ve always thought I just need more EMDR. But what if EMDR can’t fix false memories?
I’m only on page 15 of my book about false memories. If I had to guess right now, I’d sadly say that my dad did it. I hate to think it, but he did. Either way, he’s paying for my EMDR therapy to “get the bad memories out of my head”. So there’s that.
In other news, do you guys remember how I entered the 3-day novel writing contest last September? Well, after months of radio silence, four days ago the organization showed up and said they were under previous management again. They promised to release the short list of finalists soon. So, yesterday, just three days later, they listed eight finalists. Guess who’s not on the list? Me. Guess who is on the list? Someone whose story is titled And God Said Let Their Be Dandelions. That’s right. Sonya (who entered too) and I lost to someone who doesn’t know there from their. That hurts.
However, an offshoot organization has formed in order to force the 3-day organization to realize that they don’t have a monopoly any longer, and to let them know they’d better keep the lines of communication open already. The new organization is called the 3-Day Novella Contest. They’re having their own judging party of last year’s entrants, so I submitted for free. (They didn’t expect that the original organization would actually name finalists. None of us did. It’s possible that the original company was threatened with a lawsuit and then randomly picked eight good-looking stories. It’s hard not to believe that.) So anyway, my book from last year might get picked by this spinoff organization, and I might enter their (there? they’re?) upcoming event, which is timed for the same weekend (Labor Day weekend) as the 3-day event. So, the 3-day novel is out, and the 3-Day Novella is in.
I reread my 3-day story yesterday, and I couldn’t believe how good it is!! Holy flip, it made me laugh and laugh. I’m going to expand it into a full-length novel and try to get it published in adult general fiction. It’s called The Coming of the Three-eared Jackalope. How the judges could reject a book with that title is beyond me.
So, that’s an exciting project. But I also have to think ahead for this year’s (spinoff) event, NaNoWriMo, and so on. It’s not looking like I’ll be able to visit Sonya this year, but my new friend Maria invited me to come hang out with her in Florida, so maybe that will happen!! YAY!