The Lie of a Lifetime
When the anger came, it was big, and lasted for a long time. Having gone through this process for so many times, so many years, I expected the grief to be right around the corner, but I just stayed angry. The anger is one stage of healing, and in that context, it is a healthy and necessary release that reverses the shame and puts responsibility firmly with the abuser, curing the former victim from self-criticism and depression. In this momentous personal shift, I kept remembering more things, more puzzle pieces that fed the disappointment, disgust and rage. The anger is empowering, and I was feeling myself change quickly throughout the weeks, taking care of my financial situation, reconsidering all my activities and objectives, and getting more clarity of purpose. Yesterday, a one-sentence message violently sent me into the grieving process.
Before the anger, I had spent my entire adult life with a discrepancy between internal and external reality. I harbored a secret paradise of nurturing and love and beauty, based on promises from a man who in his late fifties became the father for whom I had desperately searched for all of the nine years I had been alive.
During my time with him, a sense of self was formed that got me through life. I was to be a natural beauty, sophisticated, drawn to old-world simplicity. My taste in all areas - art, food, clothing, interiors, nature - was developed in the days I spent in his presence. I inherited his ability to project beauty, to create a sense of warmth and exquisite, complex, magnificent order onto the interior or exterior he frequented and loved. The places where I lived became humble havens of comfort, cozy, exuding a vibration of calm and love, often commented on by visitors. The spaces he owned were much larger, surrounded by vast lands, and I felt his eye in the very trees on his properties, as if they grew more perfectly into their uniqueness, neatly reflecting whimsical shapes. He poured his artistic sensibility in the playful colors of the decors of his houses. The views from any window were idyllic, the lighting perfect in any weather, the window itself the perfect frame. The furniture was an eclectic collection from around the planet, across the ages, yet inviting, evocative of lightness and joy. Each piece was like a radiant flower, quietly spreading its loveliness and to be used and enjoyed to the fullest, placed with absolute perfection in relation to everything else. The art was by the great ones, serving to complete the perfection of harmony that filled his spaces. I ate the best tasting food, straight from his own garden patch, meat from his own cows, learning to distinguish flavors based on freshness, and as always, simplicity.
I was infused with the same care, attention and love that went into all the things surrounding him, creating his perfect, pleasant and beautiful world. Like a flower in his garden, I too thrived, responding to his affection and care by reflecting back my most perfect self; quick, pleasant, beautiful. During those few weeks, told I belonged with him, in his family, in his class of people, all of it was true. My dream had finally come true for me. I belonged somewhere, part of his perfect environment, a perfectly harmonious addition to his small paradise on earth. This was my home.
Desperate for a father, I fit perfectly into this paradise, having never received as much attention and education as I did from him. I also fit, because I had no choice - not allowed any mental distance from him, any personal observation about the flip side to this manufactured paradise, any errant thought about our truth: that he was a pedophile and I was a nine year old girl. As great as this light and artistry that created this paradise, were his darkest depths, sacrificing children in black masses, buying a little more youth, wealth and power in his deal with the devil. He was like certain Nazis the public could never fathom, enjoying beautiful classical music after cutting off someone's head. They made the public wonder how such elegance and taste could co-exist with such darkness and evil, as if the duality of our realm ends with man and light can exist irrespective of darkness. This man was a friend to those Nazi's, interested in their research. His artistic creations arose from a strong drive to create perfection in his physical surroundings to escape his personal chaos, ignorance and bewilderment, hiding underneath his neat paradise, underneath his conscious awareness.
My own reality remained split. Beautiful objects gave me nurturing comfort, and I projected beauty onto people, places and situations. But I had a condition, which was that the lie was true: he was like a father and I was special to him. I belonged in his family, in his class of people. I spent my life as removed from that class of people as can be, but could always blend in perfectly for a superficial visit to a Madison Avenue store, where long ago this man bought me a summer dress, in crispy featherweight cotton with fun colors in a joyful pattern, teaching me about quality of materials and style. I could always respond to the smile of a well-dressed man in a perfectly harmonious energetic connection, as if I lived on Park Avenue, spent summers in the Hamptons, and traveled the world - not because I wanted the money and status, but because I belonged in that environment. Even as I consciously knew I didn't want such a life, the little girl inside of me was always waiting for the moment her father would return for her, to finally include her into his life and family. The little girl bought dresses she couldn't afford on Madison Avenue for when that day would come, for when that life would be hers, that were never worn. She did many things that made no sense for the life I lived, incongruently persisting in the fantasy of the father. If this man had been a street pimp, I would have been magnetized by the streets, by drugs, and the life, and all the attributes that would have brought me back to that type of make-believe love and promise of a better life.
Without access to the source of these strange actions, I was able to modify my behavior but not the core fantasy and hope. I was protected from the reality and never had any memory of him until he died. If I had remembered while he was alive, that desperate little girl inside of me might have thought it was a good idea to seek him out, to claim her heritage, to belong to him. This would have been deadly. Survival works in this most intricate and beautiful of ways, that I had no access to the memory of him until the coast was clear, and I would be safe. That healing process has lasted a year now, and the anger over spending a lifetime in denial, unable to be in an intimate relationship, unable to properly take care of myself, brainwashed and tortured and forsaken, has given way to grief through a one-sentence message.
This message was about this man's real family, a close family member whom I might see at an event where we were both scheduled to speak. The reality of being confronted with a person actually belonging to this family, suddenly slammed the full weight of the truth into me, creating an impossible headache from too many tears, convulsing and throwing up. Such was the power of this lie, and its remedy of truth.
The universe is of its own accord providing me with everything I need, both in the exquisite timing of the unfolding of events, and the love I've absorbed to be able to let go of the lie. The universe is already perfect, with this show of light and dark in which we play our parts. I am ready to embrace my taste and love of beauty as my own, and am beginning to feel gratitude for the entire experience, accepting the fullness of life, beautiful through my tears and sorrow, beautiful because of truth, love and healing, and because of hope.