Christina’s Letters

Dear Dad,

Every Father’s Day that passes gets harder to celebrate. The healthier I get, the clearer I see the real you. I used to make excuses for you by reminding myself how bad your own childhood was. I told myself that I’m not a perfect parent, so I shouldn’t judge. I covered up your rape of my childhood by thinking about the magic shows you did and the family vacations you took us on. I told myself that you did the best you could.

But you didn’t do your best, did you? There was nothing “best” about forcing me into sex with you or with your friends. I can’t pretend anymore.

One of the worst ways you hurt me was the way you treated me like a sick freak when I started doing the things I learned from you. You passed me around to other men—did you really think I wouldn’t learn to pass myself around? You judged me for doing that, yet you seemed to think it was okay for you to do that. Why was it right that you treated me like a prostitute, but it was wrong for me to treat myself like one? Were you really that shocked or were you distancing yourself from me to avoid any blame? I remember you and Mom sitting across from me in the living room, just shaking your heads. The unspoken question, even in my own mind, seemed to be, “How could a person end up so bad when they came from such a good family?” I felt so completely alone. And shameful.

You acted like nobody would want me and I believed you. The one thing I wanted was love and connection, but the shame you put on me, the shame that belonged to you, made me think I had forfeited love. You denied me any sense of belonging and then convinced me I would never find it anywhere else either.

In spite of what you did to me, I still wanted a relationship with you. Even though we never talked about the past, I assumed that you regretted it. I thought you had changed and were sorry. And then you attacked again. You attacked Bethany for reporting her father for raping her. You defended the man who was supposed to defend and protect her from the very things he did to her. And for the things you did to me. You haven’t changed. Otherwise, you would have recognized the horror of what was done to my daughter, and wouldn’t have minimized and excused it. If you had changed, you would have been Bethany’s biggest ally, instead of her abuser’s ally.

You suck at being a man. In fact, you suck at being a human being. Nearly everyone else who hears about what David did is sickened, yet you don’t flinch. You are her grandfather. You sick bastard! I haven’t gotten angry with you for what you did to me until now. The way you betrayed Bethany disgusts me and arouses rage toward you, both for what you are doing to her and what you did to me. I hate sharing the same planet with you.

You treated me like an object put on the earth for your own sexual pleasure. You acted as though that was my only value. You laughed with your friends as you told them I would make a good call girl. Then you rented me out. What kind of a father does that? I’m still trying to understand how you can do something so cruel and vile to me, yet act so good to everyone else.

I hate how I learned to think of myself as a result of your image of me. I didn’t think I was good for anything except as a sexual toy. I never dared to dream about doing anything important because I was too busy with the nightmare that I’d end up as a prostitute. That was what you made me, but THAT IS NOT WHO I AM!! Do you hear me? I know that now. I was made for much better things than for yours, or anyone else’s, pleasure. Finally, I know that. I’m beginning to dream now. I’m going to have a future that is dictated by my own desires, not fears, and by God’s purpose for me. I will not be controlled by what you did to me or what you said about me. I know those were lies and I don’t believe them anymore.

Who are you to dictate my future? I used to see you as so powerful, but now I see that you are the weakest of humans, ruled by your lusts. You traded your masculinity for the degradation of yourself and others. You are not strong. You couldn’t even protect your daughter from yourself. You are not a man. A real man would give his child security instead of making her afraid of you.

You won’t be getting anymore Father’s Day cards from me. I don’t want to know you anymore since you remain a sexual predator. I will take the good things that you imparted to me and leave the rest behind.

Dear John Q. Public:

EXCUSE YOU!!!! I would like to be able to walk down the street or sit in a public place without you bumping into me as though you don’t see me. Are you so inept as to have no control over your elbows, arms or bags? You have enough room to go around, so stop intruding on my frickin space!!!!. I’m tired of making myself smaller so that you don’t hit me. YOU make you and your stuff fit into the space allocated for you.

Stop pretending that you don’t see me as you approach me on the sidewalk. You expect me to step aside for you as though it’s your sidewalk. Do you think life is a parade for you and that everyone should just make way since you’re SO important and I’m not? Why do you think that since you’re in a hurry, you can insist on going first? You act as though your destination is more important than mine. You don’t know who I am, yet you’ve made a decision about your value compared to mine. I’m SICK OF IT!!!!

Just talking to you like this makes me laugh. I’m hearing myself and I guess I’ve been blaming you for how I feel. Of course you’re just trying to get through the day, the same as I am. Maybe you’re in your own little world and aren’t thinking of me, but that doesn’t mean I have to believe that your treatment of me makes me less important. I’ve been giving you too much power. I’m important and I don’t need you to prove that to me. It’s just true.

Dear Body,

Why the %#!!$$ can’t you cooperate with me??? Am I really asking too much to expect you to be able to work normal hours without breaking down? Do you have to be so difficult???!!! You’re weak and you make me sick!

I wish I didn’t have to be stuck with you. Why are you so misshapen and FAT? You embarrass me. I wish I didn’t have to be seen with you. Do you know who you remind me of? The two worst people I know—my parents. Every time I look in the mirror, I think of THEM. It makes me want to gouge your eyes out. OH, %#!!$$ I’m so sorry! That’s really not your fault that you look like them. You may remind me of them on the outside, but that doesn’t mean I’m like them. I’m nothing like them. Except I did get my dad’s sense of humor and my mom’s laugh, but that’s okay.

Still, I feel you need to be punished for attracting my dad and the other men who hurt me. If you weren’t so small and weak, that never would have happened. Now that I think about it, I’m keeping you weak by not caring for you properly, aren’t I?

I guess a lot of the things I’ve been blaming you for are really my fault. I resented you, so I didn’t pay attention to the times you tried to tell me what you needed. I’ve been expecting you to serve me, but I haven’t been serving you.

I remember how my dad watched how much food I gave you. He hated fat people. It makes me laugh to remember the horror on his face as he watched me add to your weight. Am I keeping you fat so you aren’t small? I hate the way he looks at you when you’re thin and I hate the way he looks at you when you’re fat. Heck, maybe he’s the one who needs his eyes gouged out.

Okay, the answer isn’t in him. He can’t do anything anymore. I hate the way I’ve treated you because of him. #$%! I’ve become your abuser, too. I’ve felt the same disgust about your size that he did. That makes me mad that I’ve been so influenced and controlled by him. I’m sorry for how I’ve treated you. I didn’t see that you were doing the best you could to survive. Me too. I guess we’re in this together. I’ll do better taking care of you. For all that you’ve been through, you’ve held up very well. Thanks for being there for me. I appreciate you and I’ll start showing that more.

Dear Money,

I think it’s time we tried to work things out. I know I’ve been avoiding you and anytime you come near me, I send you away. I feel like I could never have you, that only the elite can have you. I am an outsider and to even think about wanting more of you would lead to disappointment and perpetual discontentment.

But I also don’t want you. You’re dangerous. I imagine you like a whip, cleverly disguised as a good thing. But I know the truth. You’re evil. Evil people want you, so you must be bad. If I don’t want you then people can’t control or hurt me through you.

I feel like I’m a victim of you if I have you or don’t have you. If I have you, then people can use you to get to me and if I don’t have you, people can use you to get to me. If I have you, then I’ll be in fear that you’ll be taken away. That wouldn’t be so bad, but how do I know if people in my life love you or me? You’ve stolen love from me before. People who were supposed to love me loved you more and betrayed me to get you. I guess that’s why I’ve always felt the need to live simply; there seems to be protection from bad people. Plus, if I don’t have a lot of clutter around, I can see them approaching and be warned.

On the other hand, not having you is threatening too. I feel like I’m at the mercy of people who have you. I work hard; why won’t you stay with me? I guess I see you as the one leaving. I see you as more powerful than me. You seem to be the one in control. You certainly seemed to control all those other bad people in my life. They didn’t seem to do anything without consulting with you.

Are you good or bad? Protection or danger? Do I control you or do you control me? I can see that it’s up to me to decide. I assign your meaning in my life. I define you. I’m so used to seeing people defined by you that I was confused about the truth. I guess I have some more thinking to do.