I don’ run clean outta January.

I drank a glass of warm, red wine while I folded laundry tonight. I slowly folded and stacked the clean clothes waiting in baskets all around me while watching The Fall on Netflix.

This boring and uneventful update has been brought to you by a cycle of breakdown and rebirth. January. I’ve heard others calling this time, January.

This month brought me the loss of my beautiful boy, Charlie, the end to my regular roller derby habit and a move out of my current office space.
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While all of these decisions and a few more less important ones were being made (or made for me), I was also embarking on a period of research about my father’s death and funeral.

If you want to see a control freak flinch, change something.

This is me: flinching.

I carefully weighed my priorities. I sliced and diced until I found wider margins. I felt at peace as I let go of what I did not want. I made room for what I wanted more.

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Although I am content with my decisions, I feel unsettled.

I loved deeply those things I lost or chose to sacrifice.

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This week, my foundation scheduled therapy sessions for a seventh child survivor of sexual trauma. I’m still rehearsing for the Vagina Monologues.

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Shameless plug. #sorrynotsorry

Today, I added two thousand words to my memoir and spent the rest of the day mentally reordering my words. My house is clean(ish) and I have room to breath.

This is good.

This is the moment where you ask me if I’m trying to convince you or me.

Maybe both of us.

I have a good, whole life. A life where I am privileged to pursue my dreams within relationships that hold more magic than practicality.image

Welcome, February. Come on in.

January. I’m done with you.

Bye, Felicia.

Change. Rise. Crash.

I have only been surfing once.

It did not go well.

A skill set like that requires a bit more time and training than a first time visit to the beach can allow.

I rented a surf board. I carried it out to the water. I paddled out like I’d seen in the movies.

I perched myself up on my board and waited.

I watched the sparkly, foaming of the ocean ready to rise. With waves falling all around me, I chose when to start moving with the current and when to sit out.

I feel like I am in that exact position in my life right now.

Perched and waiting. Swimming to meet the current or sitting out.

Changing. Undulating. Moving.

When I chose to attempt to meet the ocean’s currents and jumped on my board, the results were different everytime.

I mostly ended up with a nose full of salt water.

Except.

Except for the times when I managed to get two feet on the board and stand.

Nothing fancy. Just simple steps.

Push my chest up. Pull two feet on to the board. Rise.

And for less then 30 seconds, I felt like an amazing surfer.

Until I crashed into the waves again.

I have just recently chosen a current leading into an unknown direction.

Yes, this is the ultimate in vagueblogging.

I promise to share fully when I can. I always do.

Unlike my first trip to the ocean, I have been preparing for these changes for some time.

That does not mean that this new current will be all rise and no crash.

How boring would that be?

I love a challenge.

You are invited to hear all about it on Wednesday, July 31, 2013 at Stargazing: Honoring Your Own Bravery.

But you can call it #Stargazing2013.

This will be the first time I have ever shared my story with you in person.

The event is FREE. I just ask that you RSVP here so that I know to save you a seat.

You should have seen the bruise I came out of the ocean with.

Yikes.

Let’s just hope this experience is kinder. :)

Yours truly,

Tashmica

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Suban, Me & Sommer

 

 

How I Met My Mother: Notes on Family Interviews

Have you met your mother?

What about your grandmother?

Have you ever asked about who they were before they became your family?

I hadn’t. Not really.

Considering our family history, opening doors behind me never seemed like a wise or safe plan of action.

Until I got this idea in my head about writing a book about the sexual abuse I survived as a child, I assumed that my mother was simply the woman who smelled like coffee and perfume when I fell asleep on her lap in church.

Her definition was (and I imagine still is) wrapped up in my own self-centeredness. She is the one who spent too much money during a hard time so that I could be the belle of the ball at a high school dance. She is the woman who slept with one eye opened and the blue screen of the TV flickering on until I popped my head into her room to say I was home safe. She grew green beans when we were little but for the life of her couldn’t get a tomato to grow in Texas.

She is my mother. I know her well.

My grandmother, my biological father’s mother, I did not know quite that well.

I remember giving her roses at my father’s funeral. She brought me the soft, slow southern drawl of my family’s roots in South Carolina over the phone but I have rarely been in the same room with her. I only had stories. Vague shadows of tales my father told my mother before he died. The death of a family member is often like pruning limbs off of a tree. Sometimes, unintentionally, you lose a few of the smaller branches and offshoots.

When my research began, I had questions. Now those questions are reproducing like a Mogwai eating fried chicken after midnight.

Yes. I googled this to ensure accuracy.

Correction. Based on this chart of the Mogwai/Gremlin lifecycle, my questions are budding like a Mogwai caught in a rainstorm without an umbrella.

This phenomenon has begun because I knew less than I thought. I knew nothing.

I didn’t know how my parents met or how they fell in love. I didn’t know how my grandmother grew up or what her parents were like. I didn’t know what my father’s childhood was like or who his friends were.

I still know very little.

I feel like I need a crime solving board in my attic to help me keep my own story straight.

mason-board

 

My story is intricate, complex and fascinating because it is not mine alone.

It is my father’s, my mother’s, my grandmother’s, my brother’s, my husband’s and my children’s story too.

We are all standing in a piece of the story. Our points of view are different but we are all here tied together.

It’s complicated.

You are probably wondering what I hope to achieve with all of these inquiries into my father’s past.

Well, so am I.

I am starting to be okay with knowing nothing.

At the end of this pile of questions, there will be no definitive answer to the question, “Why me?”

If that question had an answer, I think all of the unjustly injured people of the world would collectively sigh in relief so loudly, it would shift the planet.

The answer to “Why me?” is nearly as annoying as the redundancy of the question.

15% of sexual assault and rape victims are under age 12.

“Why not me?”

After googling this statistic – Don’t hate. Numbers don’t stick with me. – I was kind of sadly excited to be nearly aged out of the high risk ages of 16-34.

*Phew*

Can’t wait to be statistically unlikely to be raped.

And I thought most of my milestone birthdays were gone.

Amiright?

Anyway, with those devastating odds, childhood is still something many people are just blessed to survive.

I am not looking for the final answer to the question, “Why?”

I am looking to start a conversation.

Unfortunately, I am so not alone.

Age of sexual abuse survivors

 

1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed rape; 2.8% attempted rape).

I am so sadly not even special.

About 3% of American men — or 1 in 33 — have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.

The final answer is not a simple fill in the blank response.

The answer is understanding, empathy and change.

If I can show you how ruinous the experience of sexual assault and rape is by telling you my story, then perhaps you will have more compassion for those that are trying to heal around you. You might even become an advocate. You may, if we are all lucky, help me recreate what childhood means in our lifetime.

_JRM2370Ah-ha!

There’s an answer.

Sincerely,

Tashmica