Protecting the Family

9 Dec

I’ve had little snippets of moments, some recent some aged, floating around my mind as of late. I initially started this blog idealistically so I could talk about how much I LOVED the world, how much I trusted in the Universe to provide for me and synchronised events. That hasn’t changed. I still love the world and get warm feelings like the world is embracing me when something surprisingly coincidental happens. The truth of the matter is, loving takes an effort. You have to fight to see the world as a loving place and to be able to love it even if this affection isn’t always returned. Working through and writing about some of these hurdles is a part of my fight to keep love alive.

In a previous post, A Sweetgrass Braid and a Story, I shared about an event that impacted me mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It was one of the hardest things I have had to do yet but it’s a beautiful feeling, gaining freedom that is.

My mother watched the video and called me to say she was proud of me and then told me, “I’m going to sit Dad down and make him watch it.”

My father is the kind of guy who will physically leave the room if you mention menstruation. He’s a big husky Cree native who weighs in at 230 plus pounds and is about 6’3 give or take an inch. Even though the man is physically intimidating, he is one of the softer men I know. My father has always taught me about extending kindness to others and overstepping social boundaries in the process. His extroverted nature, booming voice, and knack to have inappropriate humor at the right time has taught me..well to embarrass the hell out of people who let me call them friends.

“Dad will get up and leave Mama,” I laughed, “there’s no point!”

“Just wait,” she said,”I’ll get him to sit down.”

She hung up the phone and I became curious at how my father would react to such a naked portrayal of abuses. I shrugged it off, believing that once knowing what the content of the video was and realizing it was no blockbuster he would dash for the nearest door.

Ten minutes later my phone rang and I heard the sound of a grown man crying, struggling to get a word out inbetween his tears.

“Daddy?” I asked, realising he had watched the video.

After a few tries he managed to get the words out, ” I’m sorry I didn’t protect you”.

Instant tears flooded my eyes and a wave of upset meets anger meets confusion crashed down on me.

“Dad, you did the best you could,” I paused taking a deep breath, “This is not your fault. I was a wild child dad, and yes you did try but it is not your fault okay?”

More sniffles and gasps for air filled the ear piece of the phone.

“You are so brave,” my father says and continues to tell me that my voice can help others. I tell him that is why I talk. That tinsy winsy possibility that my pain can help another sort out theirs is why I write.

I believe in part we hide such events where we stumble into violence, or rather it pushes itself on us, we do it to protect others from the truth. We fear that the truth of what has happened to us will hurt them and so we hold it in. Still, at our most vulnerable points, women have the tendency to put others first and neglect what their own spirit is calling for. Recognition and healing.

When I was 21 and it had revealed itself that an older man, known to do such things, took advantage of me while I was passed out. My last memories were of him staring at me angrily and saying, “You’re so fucking beautiful. You fucking know it too, don’t you?”

I’ve had a drinking problem since I was 13, spurred by a childhood of abuse. This drinking problem led to a getting raped problem, a problem I got the notion that I should shut up about because I drank. I was so far from the truth. I had almost 3 years sobriety when I hit a relapse and every few months I would drink, that was one of those nights. I’m 8 months sober now by the way, and I’ve never been more grateful to see sobriety and the marvelous (and stressful) things life has to offer.

When my father and brothers found out, they were gone before I spoke to them. The three of them, all big, all intimidating, all angry, were armed with bats and other such things driving out to a reservation to find the perpetrator, who was well-known. After knocking on several doors with menacing looks upon their faces the authorities were called and before you knew it, police were involved.

I was asked if I wanted to charge him. I didn’t remember. They said there were witnesses, that he’s done it before and they just needed someone to press charges, it will be okay. Alright, I said. All of this was bringing up flashbacks of being 13 and lying on an examination table while the people in the room proceeded on filling the necessary swabs and tubes for a rape kit. They chided me when they found out I had a shower before I came. The witnesses, after a second questioning, forgot how to remember. I’ve made peace with that. Right now there is a culture of apathy where shit happens and you learn to hold your tongue in place when things like this happen. It has to end.

I told my father who sat at the table, “this is like when I was 13 all over again. Everyone knows.”

My father cries, “I’m sorry for reacting.”

“Dad, you did what you felt you needed to do to protect me. I am glad that you love me,” I said back tearfully.

The waves of anger I felt when my dad phone called me was not for me, nor my situation. I was upset that their actions had this impact on my father, on my mother, on my family. I was angered because I couldn’t protect them. Anger is no good though, so one has no choice but to pray about it, write about it, cry about it, scream about it, smudge about it, and let it go. Why? because we deserve that. We deserve to live happily and free.

I don’t think theres no huge meaning of this one, I just needed to write.

With love,

Helen L



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