Inconvenient.

I have a plan.

It’s a loose one with one end result in mind: 2015 is the year I finish my book.

Making goals is so scary. Once I say it, then I feel like it’s a matter of pride. My name is now Inigo Montoya and I have made an oath. I don’t know about you but Inigo and I take our oaths very seriously.

Don’t fret. No one needs to die in the process.

Over the course of last year, my writing stalled. I wasn’t sitting around twiddling my thumbs. I was building my dream nonprofit, skating and being a family lady. Not necessarily in that order.

It wasn’t just that I was busy. It was also that I am a master of the art of avoidance. It’s a gift that I have perfected by binge watching netflix and scrolling endlessly down my Facebook newsfeed. If you need lessons, holla!

It wasn’t the writing I was avoiding. As 2014 wound down, I spent a lot of time reflecting on what I hoped to achieve in 2015 and what obstacles seem to  be tripping me up the most.

I, Tashmica Torok, am afraid of being an inconvenience.

As I sift through my childhood memories, I am left with a pile of questions. I have these dots that are vivid but nothing to connect them. They’re each floating without a number and members of my family who were adults at the time are the only ones who know the order of things.

I have to ask questions.

I have to be a bother. I have to make phone calls and remind the people I love that my father was not who he said he was. To get the answers I need, I’ll be pulling the bones of betrayal from the skeleton in the closet.

I’ll be risking secondary trauma for myself and for those I love. Even if I recommend that everyone go see a therapist (PRONTO!), I cannot enforce that they do. And still, I will be there with my questions.

I have this need. It’s been pulling at the hem of my sweater for years. It’s a question with an elusive answer.

How did my father sexually abuse me for so long and no one ever noticed?

This may appear to be a question intent on shifting blame. It is not. It is not about blame. It is about understanding because this story – my story – is not unique. My family’s inability to see the symptoms and diagnose the disease is not their inability alone.

It is a significant blindness that effects the human race globally.

Maybe my story will help lift the veil. Maybe it will help other survivors heal. Maybe it will help family members of survivors understand trauma so that they can be a better support system.

Or maybe, somewhere in my spirit, there is a need to write the little girl that I was a love note that says – I noticed.

As of today, I am giving myself permission to be a total bummer. I am allowing myself to inconvenience a few people. I am devoted to drawing lines to create a fuller picture of the consequences of my father’s actions.

I’ll likely be using this space to track my progress. If this is boring to you, I’m so sorry for the inconvenience.

Except I’m not.

Tonight I listed my cast of characters and printed off what I’ve written so far. Every month, I intend to tackle one vivid memory for investigation. This month, I’m thinking about my father’s funeral.

The ultimate equalizer – death. The moment when I realized that he was gone but his secret remained in my 8-year-old hands. Mourning is meant to be done in community and instead I felt isolated with the burden of one man’s reputation. What an incredibly cruel legacy.

As I’m asking questions, I invite you to comment with your own. I’d love to hear your thoughts. At the end of the year, I hope to have a powerful collection of stories to offer.

This is my plan.

You, dear reader, are now my accidental accountability partner.

I feel like I should offer you swag or something. 10421337_10152916021378588_1898813583640583186_n

Inconveniently,

 

 

 

PS – Don’t forget to check out this new way to connect. Totally personal. Just for you.

Open Windows and Flying Fears

The coffee is brewed and hot in the cup next to me.

I’ve managed to shower and eat before leaping into my office for some solitary writing time. Trust me. Incredible feats.

I do some yoga stretches, review my notes and settle in to meet my goal for the week – 1,000 words in my memoir.

I look up at the beautiful, 100-year-old windows facing my favorite color morphing tree (green in the spring, purple in the summer and fiery red in the fall) and spot a wasp hanging out against the glass.

I am going to get stung!

Yes. I am, in a small way, aware of the irrational thought process here but I can’t help but keep looking up at the window to confirm that the pain invoking wasp is indeed still buzzing against the glass.

It’s been 15 minutes of distraction. I have not written a thing.

However, due to my hyper vigilance, I know exactly where the wasp is…

Until I don’t.

Fudge! I am going to get stung.

So now I have to go looking for it. I know it’s here somewhere – hunting the innocent writer at her desk like a hungry wolf.

And I cannot find him or her. Are wasps like bumblebees? Are all the drones male? Is that a thing? I can’t remember.

All I know is that I am relieved that he has taken himself from whence he came.

Phew.

And my computer screen blinks empty. Where was I? Oh yes. One thousand words.

Instead, I sit here living the proof –

It is impossible to accomplish anything with fear in the same room.

Tomorrow, I will brandish better weaponry. I will open a window and let fear fly away.

Sincerely,

Tashmica

Hopeful Days

It is finished.

Well, actually, it has all just begun. However, my blog break is over.

School. Derby. Work. Family. Friends.

Life is in full swing and not in that order.

It is not swinging on a gentle breeze. It is surviving gale force winds and wrapping itself around the poles that are struggling to stay cemented in the ground. This mad rush follows a difficult research period that has left me trying to find words for the things I experienced.

It is not that I don’t have the words. I do not have polite words. They are angry words complimented with a rich abundance of curses. I am sorting those feelings out and deciding where they belong.

I gave myself the gift of January to settle into a very challenging season professionally, personally and in the world of roller derby.

It was a wise decision.

My goals are big for this year and can easily be rattled off.

  • Be more present with my family.
  • Love my body
  • Pass my classes with flying colors
  • Raise more money for Nyaka than last year
  • Train to skate like an athlete
  • Start speaking publicly
  • Do enough research to justify a research trip for my book
  • Oh! And write a book.

Of course, this list is nothing more than the cliff notes version of the minutes, hours and days structured towards so many coveted accomplishments.

So far, I have a list of things that have developed in response to my goals for 2013.

  • I have almost cried on my way to roller derby practice out of exhaustion. (I will admit that I was about to start my period.)
  • I have stayed up far too late studying because I won’t allow myself to fail.
  • I will be speaking at She Laughs VII tomorrow night to benefit the Women’s Center of Greater Lansing and decided the topic in a Microsoft shower moment this morning.
  • I have chosen to eat and drink with health and fitness in mind.
  • I am saying a big, fat, NO to opportunities that are not in the best interest of my family and our quality time.

I am uncomfortable. I am challenged. I am exhausted.

I can tell I am doing it right.

When have positive changes come with a big, cushy spot of comfort and ease?

Never.

It comes with hunger pains over those donuts someone brought into the office. It comes with the muscle aches of an injury slowly healing. Change comes with the awkward stagger in shoes that need to be broken in.

I am changing. We all are. Up and down, positive and negative we make changes.

It is what we are in the world. We are transient souls.

In the past, I didn’t make goals. I used to shrug them off as bench marks to an unavoidable failure.

I think everytime you look at yourself and decide that you need a change or a transformation you have to have faith in your ability to change before you can take that first step.

I believe that my list is not full of resolutions.

My list is a reflection of just how much faith I have learned to have in myself.

It is based on all the hopes I have for my future and a guidepost on my journey toward loving myself regardless of what value my past tried to dictate.

This is a new perspective for me but it fits.

Everything else is new. Why shouldn’t my perspective be too?

All of my faith, hope and love is invested in that little abreviated list of hope-filled minutes, hours and days.

I wish you enough faith in yourself to do the same.

Sincerely,

Tashmica

The City Salon Giveaway: Feel Lovely

The new year came to my door and I graciously accepted the gift of another try.

2012 has had it’s trip around the sun.

I have plans. Grand schemes on how this year will be wonderful are listed out on paper.

I am tying to make my list focused on the positive. I have a lot of hopes and dreams for myself, my family and our future. I’ll share those later. I am not quite done dreaming.

Today, I want to announce a giveaway that will hopefully help you feel lovely.

It is easy to beat yourself up about what you have not, cannot, will not or forget to do. We are fallible creatures and we fail often. We fail in tears, laughter if we are lucky and sometimes with jazz hands.

There is no better way to begin a year than to love ourselves just the way that we are, right now.

Take a moment to enter this Mother Flippin’ Giveaway for a $50 Gift Certificate to City Salon in Lansing, Michigan. Get that trim, wax, color, cut or manicure you have been putting off for way longer than is necessary.
My stylist, Heather Jarous has been making me look fantastic for 10 years. I consider her one of my dearest friends. She and her talented team will take very good care of you.
To enter, share in a comment here what you would like to use the $50 Gift Certificate for and like both The Mother Flippin Fan Page and City Salon on Facebook. For extra credit, tweet all about it.
Love yourself in 2013.

Feeling lovely,

Tashmica

PS – A big thank you to Heather Jarous, Owner of City Salon for sponsoring this wonderful giveaway.