The Author of my Being. Part 1

MY DAD. By Jane Basil, aged 8 years and 7 months

My dad’s the best. He can do anything. He can draw and paint, make sculptures and pots,build walls and shelves, and fit doors and window frames. He can answer any question and tell you whatever you want to know. He’s the cleverest dad there is.

My dad’s quite famous and is sometimes on TV. People want to meet him, and talk to him about art. I think he likes the women that come to see him best. They come a lot. 

My dad treats me well and tells me I can do whatever I like with my life. He says the only limit is my ambition. He knows I’m a girl, because everyone says that when I was born he was thrilled to have a daughter, but he lets me do the same things as him. I can help to mix concrete, and put up a course of bricks. I can knock nails in straight almost every time. Yesterday I carried tiles up a ladder, and handed them to him, so he could mend the roof, but today I’m helping my mum in the kitchen.

Dad’s in the studio side of his workroom doing stuff I can’t help him with.

My mum’s lovely and ever so kind, and cooking’s all right, but it’s for girls. I’m certain there’s been a mistake; I was meant to be a boy.

>

I’m ten years old.
Naked women crowd our living space,
their painted shapes pressed against framed glass,
or shaped in oak and in clay, arranged just so, on every flat space.
Shelves bend beneath the weight of fat albums
brimming with glossy breasts and hips, captured in Kodak Bromide.

In the workshop, chippings curl beside finest chisels.
Deep within an oaken block, another naked form
waits patiently to be unpeeled by her master’s eager hand.
No more than a coy shoulder is yet revealed.
Her eyes have not been created, and cannot see the devan,
where a lady lies, and the camera clicks.

My mother speaks gently of the aesthetic beauty of the fleshy curve,
making no mention of lascivious urges.
I see no trace of bitterness on her face,
or guess at any untold ache.

I’m too young to think of lipsticked kisses,
of tangled tongues or stolen intimacies.
Too young to place the scent of my father’s sins.
I think he’s the best; I bask in his praise
and revel in every task he sets me.
He seems to silently accept that I need to be a boy.
Maybe he sees that it’s better this way,
as girls are prettier than me

To my shame, my body is changing.
I can’t stem the growth, or the flow of blood and time.
All the same, I feel proud when my father suggests photographs;
he’s taken no pictures of me since I was three years old,
and even then his act was unwilling.

I choose a bulky jumper to cover up my determined bumps.

After a couple of clicks, he wants me to take it off.

He’s my father, so where’s the harm?

(A lifetime later, I still blush when I see what he has done to me. My blouse is a shiny sky blue, and he has made me pull at the hem, exposing the shape of my breasts, and look down, as if I am admiring them.)

Next, he wants me to remove my top. I love this man;
if it were possible,
I would stand naked for him, but I can’t.
I’m embarrassed, but there is something else,
something very wrong.
I try to grab it it, to find a diagnose,
but I feel dizzy.
My ears ring, making me stutter as I utter my refusal.

I’m hot, and something is dying. I can feel it in the air.

His game lost, he selects his consolation prize.
He chooses disgusting French kisses, and a grinding grope.
I see his eyelids droop as he considers the ultimate crime,
but he crushes the idea.

With a sneer he says
“I think you enjoy being kissed like that.
I think it makes you feel good,
but you’d prefer it with someone younger.”

I can’t speak for horror and lack of oxygen.
I feel nausea rising.
Grasping the door handle, I stagger
out into the fresh air and spit.
I spit and spit,
but the taste of my father’s iniquity has spread
to my gut. It has filled my lungs
and is making its way to my heart.

I

am

ten

years

old.

Without warning, war has begun.

There will be retribution for my denial of his will.

There will be revenge that he dare not steal his filthy thrill.

He will bend my childish spirit and redesign my mind.

>

I chose not to include images, as none would be appropriate, except the photos he took of me, and my scanner won’t let me upload them – perhaps it’s concerned for my modesty.

to be continued…

©Jane Paterson Basil

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52 thoughts on “The Author of my Being. Part 1

  1. you need to share this for you and too many others who have been violated, thanks for being so brave Jane .. and sorry for what you suffered, too young to fully grasp the audacity of this monster, your father … the man entrusted with the responsibility to protect you?! The one you trusted and adored …

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It seems such a minor violation, set beside the experiences of some, but it damaged me, and heralded the destruction that was to come.
      Over the years I’ve written reams about this, but they’ve generally been the same angry rants, repeated over and over. I finally feel as if I’m getting to the bottom of it – the reason he did what he did to my mind. It’s so stupid – he was so stupid, cowardly, and selfish.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautifully written. Many of us have been there. Purge. Purge. Purge. I was amazed at how healing it was to share my own experience. You may be interested in “for the love of me”. It is my story.
    I hate that you suffered, but you can heal. I discovered many of us out here in blog land share that pain, but it has lessened since the telling.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Do you have a link to that? I’d like to read it.
      I thought I’d dealt with it all years ago, but I’d blocked some of it out. Every time I thought it was over, a tiny new detail would surface, and I’d get angry all over again. My father didn’t physically abuse me, apart from that time, but the way he attacked my psyche crippled me for years, and changed the course of my life. I look at the destruction around me, and know where it stems from. It’s true I had choices as an adult, but he smashed my dreams and made me believe I was a natural born whore.
      It no longer hurts, so it’s no big deal, just a final exorcism – I hope.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. https://wordpress.com/posts/79465768 For the Love of Me

        You made a couple of statements I have felt but someone once told me. No one “makes” you do anything. Perhaps we don’t consciously “choose”, but the message we were given made us feel cheap and unworthy and our life choices resulted from those messages.
        My daughter in law is a special ed teacher and she uses a phrase on her children all the time when they are so excited they get their message jumbled up. “Choose your words”.
        I think about that often because how we turned out and how our children turned out are all a result of “words.” Messages we received and accepted. Getting over that takes so much work, doesn’t it?
        Little by little I expunge a bit more. Your post brings more to light but I choose not to stay there, and… I choose to share it if someone really needs to know and wants to heal.
        I remember telling my therapist how there were times I felt like I had a big letter A on my chest or a V tattooed on my forehead because of it. I’m sure you can relate. That victimization leaves a scar and how and why it becomes visible only to predators I don’t know, but it does.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. The abuse I suffered pales in comparison to yours – although I know I shouldn’t make comparisons, as it’s more a question of how it impacts on a life, and on future generations…
          Oh, yes, those letters stamped on the visible parts of you – a predator can walk into a room containing 50 women, and spot those As and V’s withing five minutes, or so I’m told. The predator is the only one who has built up the desire and the knowledge to see out the most vulerable of the tribe.
          Keep that beautiful smile – I expect it is one of your tools for erasing the marks.
          Myself – I find that laughter is not only strengthening and healing, but it also warns off the predators. If you can laugh off your troubles, they don’t know what else you may be able to do…

          Liked by 1 person

          1. When it comes to abuse, it can’t be measured in degrees. Any violation leaves scars that can’t be graded. I was very, very moved by yours. YOU, my dear are awesome and brave. Whatever doesn’t break us, makes us!

            Liked by 1 person

    1. So many people have harrowing stories locked up inside them. Having the ability to write about them gives me a certain satisfaction…
      So you see, my experiences in life have made me hard in some ways, but I have enormous empathy for the those masses of victims/survivors of abuse – and at least (she says fippantly) I managed to avoid being raped until I reached the ripe old age of thirteen…

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Not brave at all – writing is what I love, even when it sends out the odd little knife to stab at my heart. It’s become a tough old muscle… but the hugs were nice. I hope I never become desensitised to them xxx 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Brave? Brave is walking along the top of a narrow fence which edges a viaduct 29 metres from the ground 🙂
          Oh… maybe that’s not brave either, maybe it’s just stupid… I haven’t done it since I was about sixteen, anyway.
          Notice how I’m neatly veering away from the original subject 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  3. That’s all it takes, isn’t it, one catastrophic loss of trust and the earth shifts on its axis, never to be set straight again. Much love to you Jane, for going through this, so surviving xx

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you Lynn. Two days ago, I got someone to drive me to my childhood home. The little kid I used to be was right there waiting for me. I ran from the car, over a stile, through a field of deep, sopping wet grass, and down my favourite path, slipping and sliding. I stole a wild promrose and a milkmaid (the flower…) and ran back to the car, laughing uproarously, covered in mud and dripping wet. The poor fool who took me there tried to pretend he wasn’t annoyed… 😀 😀 😀
      Oh yes, it was horrible at the time, but the child survived 🙂 … and adult me made a bit of a cock-up of life, but it’s no more than a bit of mud under my shoes now (and in that guy’s car… teehee).

      Liked by 3 people

        1. I AM WOMAN! 🙂 And would you believe it, I’m happy… all this childhood stuff is – more than anything – an exercise in the most exciting pastime in the world – apart from going on Oblivion, Alton Towers’ vertical drop. That’s out of this world – … writing.
          Writing while dropping into the smoky tunnel of Oblivion – that may be worth a try! 😀 xx

          Liked by 1 person

        1. I’ve just posted Part 4.Clicking THAT took courage – more than any post I have ever written. It highlights sexual confusion that I’ve never allowed myself to fully investigate, and I’m 62 years old…
          Scary stuff…

          Like

    1. Thank you Judy. It all started by accident, when I read a post about the start of menstruation. I reblogged it, as I could relate to it. It got me thinking about that time in my life.

      Like

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