“But I have my life, I’m living it. It’s twisted, exhausting, uncertain, and full of guilt, but nonetheless, there’s something there.” ~ Banana Yoshimoto
The image of Mr. Godfather being arrested is something I’ll never get out of my head. I was so very grateful for the Police and how they had protected me. I have so much respect for everyone who kept me alive when he came for me.
After he was released, I couldn’t sleep. Would Mr. Godfather just walk away? Would he never bother me again? Would he just move on? Or, had him getting arrested made him Hell bent on carrying out his threats. I had no idea. I was terrified he was going to get out of jail and come breaking in the one basement window which happened to be in my room. Late at night, laying on my little love seat (my bed) in my very small bedroom, I kept hearing noises. Finally, I went upstairs and my father was asleep, but my mother called the police. One of the Policemen who had personally handled Mr. Godfather recognized my name and he came right over to check everything out. Afterwards, he came inside and talked to us for a while. I remember him telling us that he had a talk with Mr. Godfather at the police station and he had basically put the fear of God in him while explaining that he had better not do ANYTHING to that little girl ever again. He was pretty certain Mr. Godfather wouldn’t try anything, but he as well as the other policemen would be there for me if he did. I was finally free to live my life on my own terms and I could breathe again. They would handle him from now on. I had a newfound respect for the very men my abusive Ex-Fiance wanted nothing to do with.
My parents decided to hire armed security for the business. There were often so many people there and late nights meant colorful characters frequently coming in. It wasn’t safe to have zero security before and it especially wasn’t safe now. There were a couple of family members who had gotten involved in stuff they shouldn’t and had put the entire family in danger right before I met Mr. Godfather (crazy stuff like that is why I felt I needed a man as mean as the Devil to protect me in the first place). I felt bad about having to have security at work now. I know it wasn’t cheap. However, it was a very good idea and no one ever got hurt or robbed because of it.
I didn’t tell my parents what all actually happened to me even after Mr. Godfather was arrested. I kept his secrets for YEARS. When I try to tell my parents why (the graphic truth) I was going to marry him, my mother starts cross-examining me like a defense attorney for my abuser and I give up. Yes, I am forever labeled however my parents wish to see me. I have never got to tell my parents the whole story. No one ever knew everything that had happened. They knew “Pastor’s daughter” got involved with a guy (whose father was a preacher and so was he supposedly) who threatened her and came after her when she broke up with him. They didn’t know the worst of it and I wasn’t talking about it. I wasn’t a member’s kid, I was supposed to be perfect. I had no one to confide in. If I had opened up, poured out my entire broken heart right there on the altar, told everyone how he messed with my mind and told every sick graphic detail of what he did to me, how could I ever show my face in Church again? My goodness, half the congregation might have left! There is NO MERCY or unlimited grace for preacher’s kids in some people’s minds. If I was a member’s kid, I would have been comforted and understood. But since I was who I was, I knew better than to tell a single soul. I will never live down what happened. Decades later, and my mother still reminds me here and there. She calls it my “problem with (Mr. Godfather)”. I am deeply traumatized and she may not realize it, but she makes me relive the abuse each time she brings him up.
I felt so bad. I took responsibility for ALL of my choices in life. No passes. I can blame no one other than myself. I buried myself in my work. I tried to just move on, but I was severely traumatized and easily frightened. I didn’t like talking about my experience. I didn’t like hearing others talk about it either. It was horrible just trying to live each day. I couldn’t get him out of my head. When your father is a well know pastor, you and your family are targets for juicy gossip. I could never go to counseling or get therapy. I had to do this on my own. Back then, my parents were the ones who counseled the members. Preachers usually liked to handle stuff “in house” (marriage counseling, spiritual counseling… everything). “God can heal every wound and people just need to straighten up!” that’s kinda how it goes. The problem was, I desperately needed to talk to someone who wasn’t my parent or my pastor. I needed to talk to someone who was not at all concerned with how my life reflects on them or their ministry. I needed someone to give me advice and tools to get through the feelings I was having and tell me how to heal from all the abuse. That never happened and I had to do this all on my own.
I did whatever I was told. I was once again the very well-behaved preacher’s daughter. I went to Church every Sunday and I listened to my father preach. He is a fantastic preacher. However, he had no idea what I was going through. He didn’t know that I had a hard time accepting the unlimited grace I so often heard about. Grace was available for sinners, but I grew up in the church and I knew better. Mr. Godfather had become my everything and God had taken a backseat. I expected Mr. Godfather to be my “savior” and protect me from the world. I didn’t trust God enough to put all my Faith in Him. I had wanted to be loved by Mr. Godfather and protected more than I wanted to read my Bible everyday. The Hell my father loved to talk about, I felt I was probably headed straight for it. I didn’t know if God would ever forgive me for being so naive and eventually giving in to my abusive fiance.
The freedom I had so longed for while I was in California, the freedom I had risked my life to obtain was not exactly what I had thought it would be. No one was building me up or telling me that people make mistakes and that you can come back from anything. No one was telling me that I wasn’t what had happened to me, I was what I choose to become. No one was telling me that this would not destroy me. Shame and disappointment is what I felt. Constantly. I knew I had smashed to the ground whatever dreams my parents had of me being a certain person. Image was everything. The vibe I would get was more like, “So, sad... you’ll never be what you could have been“. I hung my head in shame and I felt like I would never be anything other than a broken mess. I felt unworthy of love… unworthy of respect.
If only I had been allowed to marry Mr. Perfect (the love of my life) the year before, NONE of this would have happened. I would have never moved to this stupid city or met Mr. Godfather. I would be in a loving relationship with a good, decent, gentle, God-fearing man… a REAL man. After what Mr. Godfather had done to me, the things he had forced me to do… would any christian man ever want to be with me? Was there a man out there who could love me enough to look beyond the horrible abuse? I had nothing to offer. Mr. Godfather had written his name all over me and there wasn’t anything strong enough to erase it. Mr. Perfect or any good christian man would never want me now. I became VERY bitter towards men. I didn’t have much trust or respect for pretty much any man other than the men in my family and the Policemen who protected me. I had zero interest in dating. My new phrase was, “Men are JERKS!”.
Life without Mr. Godfather was different. I was in a place I had never been. I couldn’t be who I was before him, I couldn’t be who I was with him and I had no idea who I was without him. I was completely lost. My self-confidence tanked and I felt alone… so alone. I walked around in silence and stayed in my own head. I was alive, but no longer… living. Mr. Godfather, his friends, and his family had been the people I hung out with and I grew to love them. We were like family and we would do anything for each other. His sister was my best friend, she was wild and sweet. I loved hanging out with her. We were always doing something fun like going to beauty parties and we even modeled once for her friend. I had spent so much time talking and bonding with her while Mr. Godfather was busy with his… whatever it was he did. Now, I had no one.
I didn’t fit in with the good church girls and I didn’t fit in with the bad girls because I still believed that sex was for marriage. Without Mr. Godfather and his entourage of friends, I really had hardly any friends now. I knew lots of people, but I had no close friends. I had escaped Mr. Godfather’s dangerous “love”. I had escaped with my life, my broken heart, and nothing else. I had ruined my life. I seriously had no help coming back from this. No one told me that God could use my pain to help someone else. No one told me that God had a purpose for my pain. No one told me that God could restore me and make all things new. No one taught me how to handle pieces of my story being told. I had NO PEACE. I began to fall into a deep dark pit and honestly, being alive began to not feel so good.
*My thoughts, my feelings, my story and my opinions are my own. I don’t want to cause any trouble for my Ex-Fiance, my family members who are preachers or the ministries they have built. I love and respect them. It is not my desire to hurt anyone or the images they have made for themselves. That being said, I am not above or beneath anyone and I have a right to share my story just like anyone else.
Amazed By His Grace,