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