So… I have a lot going on in my personal life that I feel like I just never get a chance to write about… so this is going to be kinda a brain dump of all of that.
A New Uncle
So a few weeks ago my dad’s sister (my aunt) did a 23 and me DNA test and found out that they have a half brother they didn’t know about.
It’s not a huge shocker… my grandpa wasn’t the greatest guy in the world. My dad had a really rough upbringing since my Grandpa was crazy abusive, an alcoholic, and walked out on the family. When my dad was a teenager he would work just to pay rent for his mom and sisters.
Well my new uncle made contact and wanted to meet the family, he was going to drive down from Northern California over the weekend. My dad called and asked me if I would drive out to meet them all for the big meeting last week.
I’m not super close to my dad’s side of the family, like I am with my mom’s side. Mostly because once we all figured out I wasn’t my dad’s biological daughter… I wasn’t quite as accepted as I once was. In all honestly, I’ve never entirely fit in anywhere. I’m partially Hispanic, but I’m too guero (white) for my Spanish family and too hispanic for my white & italian family. I don’t really fit in anywhere completely. So I do my best to make up for it with heart. I may not fit in… but I’m going to show as much love and kindness to every single person.
I made a point to hangout with my Tia’s (aunts), they’re all hilarious characters. usually most of our conversations is them going “Mija, why aren’t you married already?? You have big tits! Use them! Get a man. Have a baby. Or have a baby and that’s how you get the man.” No matter how many times I try to explain it’s not the getting the guy part that’s hard… it’s the making sure he’s the right one. They think I’m just too picky. Maybe I am… but I’ve earned that right.
Thankfully this time I brought Davide, so it cut down most of that talk. Mostly they just wanted to fawn over Davide and grill me about my travels. I’m kinda like a strange alien to them. All of my cousins have like 3 kids, all from different dads, and are now on their 2nd marriage. I have no kids, I’m on my second engagement… and am adamantly independent. They don’t quite understand the whole me supporting myself and traveling by myself. In their culture… you move from your parents house to your husbands house. Not go travel the world and put yourself first.
My new uncle was actually really cool. In a crazy turn of events, he ended up being in the same religion as my parents? Which is a huge coincidence since it’s kinda rare and no one else on my dad’s side is. Then in a crazier “it’s such a small world” moment, one of my old students I used to study the Bible with from back when I did full time ministry work… moved to his congregation up north. So we knew mutual people.
How messed up was this?
Being back at my Grandpa’s old house (he passed away years ago) with my dad’s family and having to explain the dynamic to Davide was hard. It brought back a lot of memories and to me… was just plain uncomfortable.
The memories I have of my Grandpa on my dad’s side are not good ones. My dad was never close to them… but sometimes he’d take us to Belltown which is this super super rough neighborhood in Inland Empire that he grew up in. I remember it’d be early in the morning and my Grandpa would already be drunk on the patio. He would never let me play with the other kids, I’d have to come sit on his lap. I just remember not liking how he looked at me and the alcohol on his breath. He would parade me around his drinking buddies and call me his most beautiful granddaughter. My main job was to make sure everyone had beer. So I’d run back and forth from the kitchen to grab their drinks. I was really young… but I remember hating that.
I was sexually molested by a cousin on my mom’s side when I was really really young, and this all started happening not too long after that, so my parents were already on high alert. We’d been down this road before. Nothing too major happened with him. He’d kiss me more than the other grandkids, and always make me sit on his lap. Sometimes make odd comments about me. My dad shut all of that down really quickly and I was never allowed over there alone. I wasn’t allowed to bounce up and down on Grandpas lap anymore. Not too long after that, we pretty much stopped going all together. My dad never talked about it, but I think he had a falling out over it. By the time I was a teenager we started going over there regularly again because my Grandpa’s health has gone downhill. On now things we were worse for me, I developed curves at a young age… and my grandfather would tease me about it relentlessly in front of his friends. I remember my parents going around the corner to the store and left me to hangout with my cousins at the house watching TV in Spanish. When they were gone one my Grandpa’s friends tried something with me. So I ran away and climbed a tree. They let me stay home from visiting Grandpa soon after that.
I think about all of those things now and feel sick to my stomach. Why am I such a magnet for things like that? I was just this innocent little kid. What the fuck was wrong with him? Who would do that or look at a kid like that?
It’s really on my mind because… April is sexual assault awareness month. A subject that… I have a lot of thoughts on. It’s been this recurring problem in my life. I’ve started writing about it several times, but with everything else going on… I feel like I don’t have the time to really emotionally handle it at the moment.
Face to face with my childhood molester
Me being molested by my cousin J, is one of the best kept secrets of the family. My parents basically told next to no one and For majority of my life acted like it never happened. It took me awhile to comes to terms with that. While I disagree with them… I love them enough to know they were young and had no idea how to handle this or protect me. I’m not angry with them about it. They didn’t hurt me, my cousin did.
A month or so ago, one of my uncle’s on my mom’s side, brought all of his kids and grandkids out to California to do the whole Disneyland and touristy thing. I am incredibly close to all of these cousins, with one exception. The cousin that molested me as a kid, J. I never go to family events if he’s going to be there… and for the most part I’ve been able to avoid him. He surprisingly did attend my brother’s wedding. I was pissed he was even invited… my brother knew what happened, but felt that I “needed to let that go now”. 🙄
Well there was a big family dinner, with my great aunts and just like… everyone. I wasn’t sure if I was going to go to the big family dinner.
It hit me, that I’ve given J this control over my life… that he doesn’t need. He’s taken too much from me. I’m not letting him steal this time with my family too. He’s the one that fucked up, not me. So HE can choose to not attend. Im not running away. I’m not hiding. HE should.
That didn’t quite calm my nerves though, but my favorite aunt, Loni… convinced me to go. She promised to run interference if anything happened.
So I went. I was a ball of nerves. It was a weird feeling, because I’m not scared of J. I know that he can’t hurt me. But at the same time… I can’t stop seeing him as this monster that he was in my little 6yr old eyes. Back then he was larger than life. He was terrifying. Ya know… I still can’t date guys with piercing blue eyes like J’s. Even the thought of it… makes me sick to my stomach. It’s weird how a little thing like that sticks with you.
I don’t want anything to do with him. I’ve found forgiveness. I tell myself that maybe he was just an idiot teenager and made a mistake. I’m not a hateful person, I don’t want to ruin his life. I hope that he’s changed, but I’m not going to pretend this didn’t happen.
But there he was again… at the family event. Walking in the door right behind me. I didn’t say Hello, I stayed on the opposite side of the room. He stayed on the other side. I didn’t even get to meet his wife. He hugged my sister and brother. Which bugged me.
So I went outside with some of my younger cousins, and we did shots and hung out by the fire pit, catching up about life. The knot in my stomach had finally started to loosen. I had almost completely forgotten J was inside.
Then this little blonde hair boy runs up to me and climbs up and sits on my lap. He turns his head and looks at me over the shoulder. “Hi!” he declares, his bright blue eyes sparkling up at me. Eyes that I knew all too well. This had to be J’s son. We have never met before. He was a funny and witty little kid. We get into a fairly lively chat about who’s is cooler, Batman or Superman.
I can’t help but adore this kid. When he tells me that he is 6yrs old, I can’t help but freeze a little. That’s the age I was when I was molested by his dad. God, how fucked up is this situation?? What kind of sick fuck would like at a 6yr old like that? I take another shot. I look up and realize that J is now outside, sitting across the yard, keeping his distance… but watching his son and I interact. I want to hide. What does he see when he looks at me? Does he still see the little cousin who looked up to him and trusted him? Is he scared of me? I kinda hope he is. Maybe it’ll give him a fraction of the fear that I felt for years. Even though we’re across the yard from each other… I can feel his intense eyes. It all got to be too much for me, so I left not too much longer after that.
I made it through that night… but I’ve just felt like this uneasiness since then. And I think what frustrates me more, is that I feel like even now I’m having to manage my parents and their emotions… to take care of them when it comes to this subject. Rather than my parents taking care of me. Now all of a sudden my dad wants me to prosecute and bring it up in their religion. 1- it’s a criminal offense and has nothing to do with religion. It bugs me that he still thinks reporting it to someone in charge at the church is going to do something. It was his responsibility as my father to call the cops. So it’s just… opens old wounds for me, because I feel like he doesn’t get it. And 2- because the statue of limitations is now over. There is literally nothing I can do about it… so why be full of hate? I just want to move on and never see him again.
I got a call from my cousin yesterday. She was just sobbing. The person who molested her (someone in our family) was back to help with my dying aunt and she was being in a situation where she may see him again.
She called me and was like, “I don’t know how you did it. I don’t know how you saw J. You are the bravest person I know for going into that room. I admired you when you told me about it… but now that I’m living it and I have to face seeing my abuser. I had no idea until I was living it… I don’t know if I can do the same thing. I’m a complete wreck and you make it look so easy.”
I don’t think I make it look easy at all. Maybe that’s why I write about it… because it wrecks me to my very core. I feel like I’ve been paying for it ever since I’ve seen him. I haven’t shown many people that. But it’s still there, wrecking my heart. Yet I’m the one helping my parents come to term with it all. Which frustrates me.
It hits you in weird ways
My most recent sexual assault was almost a year ago… it’ll be a year in June. And I still have these triggers around that whole event. For that one… it’s this smell. The guy… he wore this Axe cologne and if I ever smell it… I get this pit in my stomach. I just have to get away from that situation. I still remember the beer he was drinking that night. That reminds me of him too.
It’s frustrating, because I know I’m okay. I know I’m safe. The funny thing about my personality type is I’m a very logical emotional person. I feel incredibly deeply, but I’m able to reason with my myself. It’s rare, but sometimes I have emotions… that I’m just not able to use logic to get over, like this situation. No matter how much logic I use… my heart still pounds in my chest and I feel triggered for days after.
I know I have more work to do in that area… on that subject. I’m just not ready for it at this moment. So I write about it here and acknowledge that sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in this overwhelmingly helplessness. I’m doing the best I can. I put one foot in front of the other.
The main thing I’ve learned after years of working on all of this… is that the healing process isn’t linear. It’s not a face it and you’re done. Or go to therapy for a year and you’re done. No. You can face it many times in many different ways. It’s like the battle never really ends.
I do my best. I focus on being grateful. Sometimes you can just get sucked into the shittiness of it all… and feel hopeless and the whole ‘why me?’ thing. I’m not grateful any of those things happened to me… but I’m grateful to be safe right now. I’m grateful for each day that I have that is full of so much beauty. Grateful for the courage and place where I can write about all of this openly. That wasn’t always the case.
Sometimes I have Luke Dane’s Dark Days about it, but that’s okay. For those days, I have the gym, surfing and watching Gilmore Girls.