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.

I am a dream.

Today I told my therapist something I’ve never shared with anyone.

I didn’t even tell her that I’d never told anyone. I just left the information there. I stepped over it like a crack in the sidewalk. I hugged my therapist and she kissed me on the cheek. Before I could let her go, she turned her head and whispered into my ear, “I am so sorry.”

The pain sunk in. It sat in my stomach, crept into my body and filled me with exhaustion. I thanked her wholeheartedly, paid my bill and left. Climbing into my car, I paused and then I didn’t move. I just sat there buckled into the seat and breathing. I looked at my phone and tried to think who I should call.

This was not a panic attack. I wasn’t crying. There was no emergency. I was just in pain.

Just. 

Right.

Just a little pain. 

As I mentioned last time, I’ve been taking notice of my memories of my father’s funeral. I’ve been trying to nail down the timeline and remember who was there. Part of this process is like time travel. Or maybe it’s more like a possession.

I sit down and I ask my 8 year old self what it was like.

What was it like to stand over your father’s body? What did it feel like?

I sink my mind into my little self and I open my eyes. I look around. I sniff the air and feel the weight of my feet on that thick, funeral home carpet. I remember the kiss on my father’s cold cheek and the delicate white rose I was given for my grandmother. I remember the things that were stolen.

Today, I admitted something. That’s what it felt like; an admission. I felt guilty. I felt ashamed and the secret made me want to curl into a ball and disappear. I came home nauseous and nearly lost my dinner.

I rarely vomit. I’m not exaggerating. I have a very strong stomach. This tidbit is to explain to you that I don’t do this. I don’t get sick from memories. This one, this horror I lived came back swinging knives.

It was the kind of moment that made me want to get into a bathtub with a large cheese pizza and a six pack of beer.

I decided who to call. Somehow, it was decided for me. I looked down at my phone and my keypad came up with a name. The right name. The person who would ask me a simple question: “If you were the friend of that little girl and she told you the same story, what would you do for her.”

I answered:
Tell her I love her.
Give her a big hug.
Buy her an ice cream cone.
Make sure she has everything she needs to heal.
Give her a nap.

I later added a bubble bath and a glass of wine because I’m an adult and the boss of myself. #amiright

I am still in pain. As I write this, my body is still in turmoil. Trauma is a formidable, haunting beast. This has been a rough night but I’ve spent it huddled up with my beloveds. I looked at them and celebrated that if my father was a nightmare (and he was), I am a dream.

Every day my planner prompts me to finish the statement ‘I am grateful for…’.

Today I am grateful for the fact that monsters can give life to Firecrackers.

Ever defiant,

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

Like It’s 1987

Last night, I drove into the desert with my father. It was 1987 and my telescope traveled folded in the back. It was dark and where I hoped to see Orion hunting, I found fear instead.

When writing my story, I have to take water breaks. I stop after a harsh word or phrase is chosen and I have to look away from the page. I take a deep breath, curse, grab a glass of wine or ask God for protection again.

It’s a gauntlet. It’s a bear trap I pry open with a stick. It’s a net dropped.

You must think I am a masochist of the worst kind, to walk up to that jeep and climb in. I must be crazy to lean into my seatbelt to try and discern the new path taken and why. I promise you, I am not.

I hate my story. If I could erase three years of my childhood, I absolutely would. I would abandon all of you who read this and understand all to well how promising the idea of canceling out a few years would be. I would unwrap that golden ticket and race to claim it.

Many survivors try to in their own way. I know I have.

The truth of the matter is that although it is difficult for me to rise under this weight, I am not alone. As you read this, children all over the world are being abused. Someone is ruining a piece of their life story. Someone is choosing to tear them apart and leaving them to pick up the pieces.

So.

I will not take a golden ticket.

I will climb into every room, car or memory left. I will examine and question. I will ache and bear.

The world needs to know. We cannot allow this to continue. We cannot choose to destroy our children any longer.

It is enough. It has been enough since 1987.

Indignantly,

Tashmica

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