Singer-songwriter Craig Cardiff passes around a “Book of Truths” during his concerts. This is a blank journal in which audience members are invited to write some personal truth about themselves, anonymously. Over the years Cardiff’s Book of Truths has become a loved and popular feature of his concerts. He now has over 300 journals, inscribed with deeply personal and poignant truths about the people who see him perform.
The following post would be my entry in Craig Cardiff’s Book of Truths.
My Entry in The Book of Truths
“In childhood and into my adulthood, my father abused me. The abuse was psychological — mental and emotional — but also sexual. Sexual abuse likely occurred before I had words. Later, although he may not have laid his hands on me, he treated me as a sexual object.
His enjoyment at the sight of my adolescent female body was a fact I knew and tried to use to my advantage. It gained me favour with him. I needed him to favour me because I needed some kind of protection, any kind of protection, from his impossible demands and fearsome rages.
Among my siblings, I was the preferred object of his demands and his wrath. He insisted that I listen to him talk for hours on end, and insisted that as a child I have the correct solutions for his adult problems. His rages were triggered by anything — a look on my face, a meek protest about his latest demand, or something, anything, I said. He often terrorized me verbally for hours and this could continue for days. His body language was forceful, intimidating and threatening.
He treated me in many ways as if he owned me, body and mind.
He trained me to believe that what I wanted or what or who I loved was not as important as what he thought he needed from me.
My truth is that in many ways I remained my father’s captive, for much of my adult life. Even living hundreds of miles away and working as a respected professional, I was scared of him, my mind trapped in captivity and submission to him somehow. I was existing, not really living.
I didn’t think I mattered enough to have a life of my own.
My truth is that my mind is still so tangled up in untruths that sometimes I still think my job is to cater to his needs and to abandon my self. I am almost 50 years old.”