shining Father’s shoes

This is going to be one of those stories that makes me queasy to put down on paper.

I already have a tightness in my stomach and my head is starting to swim.  I don’t feel eloquent and words are not flowing from me.   I  feel little, vulnerable, and so desperate. But I need to write about this and force myself to go forward with it because to truly release the hold that trauma and shame have on one’s soul, you must drag it into the light no matter how difficult that is.  It must be removed from the rat’s maze in one’s head, doomed to run the same rutted path.  Once its out, you can look at it, dissect it, let your loved ones look squarely at your worst fears and help reassure you.  Otherwise it stays inside and festers into illness of your body and soul.

Somewhere as a little girl of 5 or 6, I got the idea that men liked having their shoes shined.  I’m thinking that during the 40 and 50’s that may have been true when men dressed more formally and wore dress shoes as daily attire.  I’m sure it was considered a treat to sit at one of those stations and have someone spiff up their shoes a bit and most people’s houses I knew had a tin of shoe polish and a shining cloth as part of their household items.  I must have seen these items lying around or saw a scene in a movie of men having their shoes shined and internalized this thought.

This is where my thinking goes astray.

Why on earth, would I consider myself to be so subordinate and subservient to put myself in a position that I would kneel in an attendant position in front of my father, voluntarily lower myself to an inferior status, is a question that I haven’t completely answered yet.  I  know that I would practice on shoes that he wasn’t wearing, rubbing vigorously as if on a time schedule, practicing my efficiency. I don’t remembering him ever asking me to shine his shoes, I just wanted to. I’m guessing I thought it would gain me some approval from my ever distant father, the father whose only attention came at night, in secret, in the dark.  

I wanted to do anything, including prostitute myself to gain his affection and admiration.  This I know for sure, my motivation was his approval.  I would wait for him to come home, having rehearsed and practiced my craft and convince him to sit on the upper part of the picnic table while putting his feet on the seating area.  It was there that I would kneel in front of him, apply the polish and pop the buffing cloth showing my expertise until he would smile at my skills.  Even at those moments when  had his approval, I found it still wasn’t enough and proceeded to spend my lifetime trying to fill that leaking sieve of a psyche that would spill its contents as fast as it would come to me.

Adding insult to injury, my family, so very cruel with words, reinforced my shame by reminding me that I was a deplorable, pathetic girl who couldn’t get enough attention.  “you are a spoiled rotten child who always has to be the center of attention”  echo in my mind. Those types of scenarios set the stage for a lifetime driven to fill the emptiness by doing anything to gain approval from my father and subsequently other men throughout my life.  Shining shoes was just the beginning.

My daddy taught me to be comfortable kneeling down in front of him, being servant-like in my approach to him, letting me humiliate myself with so little regard for my dignitiy.  Weren’t you the one who should have instilled a sense of myself instead of teaching me to be your dirty little slave child?  You had already stripped me of the innocence  of my body and now you were closing in my soul.  Damn you.  I hate you so much right now.

I see that beautiful little girl with her rag and polish, waiting for you to come home so she could endear herself to you by lowering and subordinating herself and all the while you were perfectly, fucking fine with it?  How come I can look at her and see her beauty and you can’t? 

Thank God for my anger because it is my fury that sets her free.  Here’s where she and I rewrite the story.  I tell her to get up and I hold her tight, whisking her away to a place where she is honored and cherished and not depersonalized.  I set her down in a soft place to heal and teach her ways to find her beauty.

You never thought I would grow up to be intelligent and courageous about all of this dysfunction, did you?  You never thought that I could outsmart and outwit you by escaping far into my brain only to thaw out later.  You had not idea of my strength as I tackled all the screwed up thinking given to me by you. BUT I DID.  Guess what? You are dead and I’m over here finding and claiming my power.  Little by little, memory by memory, I am blotting you out, I’m blotting out all of the men you let near me, I’m reprogramming my brain, one tiny detail at a time until soon, I will have a completely new way of seeing myself and the terror I grew up with.

So yeah, I knelt before you, like you were some savior or God to me.  I did that.  I was a child that didn’t know any better and relied on a monster for a father for some shred of attention..

But that was then and this is today, I’ve long gotten her out of that cesspool of existence.  

Kiss my ass and shine your own fucking shoes.


About Rescuing Little L

Documenting the pieces of my journey...recovery from childhood sexual abuse and cruel ignorance...the effects of those incidious acts through adulthood... until the grace of recovery transcended the trauma and shame of my past, making it possible to return to Rescue Little L.... View all posts by Rescuing Little L

27 responses to “shining Father’s shoes

  • Debbie Killian

    BRAVO…… are winning Little L. As you expose those ugly memories and regain your self worth, you will begin to heal and become stronger. It’s not easy for people like us to share our awful encounters with others, but in doing so we draw the festering splinter that has laid dormant in our mind for so long the abiltity to exude out. Be mad…damn it you have a right to be! Sexual abuse whether it be incest or acquaintances have held us captive for far too long. Receive your healing because now the healing process begins. I know this wasn’t easy so you deserve a hugh …BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!

    • Rescuing Little L

      I couldn’t agree more Debbie…enough is enough…I got mad even as I was writing this but I lessen the hold on me each time I put something out there…Thanks for being my pal through all of this, it makes it sooo much easier….Love you girl….

  • Jackie L. Robinson

    ‘Finding and claiming my power.’ And that, my friend is what the journey is all about. You took a little more of it back today, letting your words be said OUT LOUD and for all to see. No more hiding who we are, no more feeling shamed at our need and longing to be loved – to give love. We are the ones who can choose how, who, when. WE are the ones who give energy to the truth of who we are. Much love to you. xo

    • Rescuing Little L

      Thanks Jackie…It is so difficult to say these stories out loud but also so freeing. I usually have a fair amount of anxiety after posting but soon realize that I’m among friends and the world hasn’t crashed in on me…I love taking this journey with all of you!

  • the warrioress

    Excellent processing, Little L. Forgiveness will eventually come, when it’s time. Forgiveness is for you, btw, not your dad; you will reap the benefit of forgiving him after you have felt the gamut of emotions that will eventually lead you to peace.

  • Crowing Crone Joss

    yes you did! yes you are! beautiful, smart, healing and nurturing that wondrous little girl.

  • ☼Illuminary☼

    a lot of self love goes a long way…
    ((((little L))))))

  • revrannulf

    I am so sickened when I read how much pain you endured for so long… Please know that there are those of us who always loved you and longed to be your friend & advocate when we could sense your pain but couldn’t name it. Be whole, my friend – one memory at a time!!!

  • thelionthatroared

    I cheered inside when your brave, real voice said ‘here I am!’. I couldn’t even articulate how the rest makes me feel for you but that voice, that fight inspires me.

  • raganjane

    My journey is new, but tonight… you empowered me. A small bit of empowerment, but today, I’ll take it. Thank you for sharing a piece of you with me.

  • wholly jeanne

    oh hell yes, sugar! rage on. i am here by way of illuminary over at canopy in the sunlight. she’s a real treasure, that one, and i already know you are, too. so glad i am here. you go, girl. “shine his own fucking shoes . . . ” i’m telling you what.

    • Rescuing Little L

      Thanks Wholly Jeanne…I love a good woman that can appreciate my rage at such atrocities…I’ll be stopping by your blog too….yes, miss canopy is a beautiful gem in my life!

      • wholly jeanne

        oh yeah, i appreciate rage at such things i don’t even have a word for. to call them “atrocities” is almost like putting them in a pretty dress, and rage is actually rather mild for what i feel and how i respond to stories like this.

      • Rescuing Little L

        thank you for that perspective…i have those in my life that constantly put my PTSD ridden body and emotions in a pretty AND frilly dress because otherwise its too real for them to look at….but where, really, is that beautiful community of folks who are brave enough to look?

  • fringewalk

    You write beautifully, you write as though i’m thinking it.
    You are helping me to understand things about myself that i couldn’t name or articulate, couldn’t solidify, until i read it described by you.
    Thank you, and keep going, keep claiming yourself. You deserve to be free and untroubled x

    • Rescuing Little L

      Thanks so much….it just comes from that place in my heart and the words are just there….didn’t write for most of my life, kept all those thoughts whirring around doing nothing…but not any more! Just subscribed to your blog and look forward to getting to know another “fringe” person, that is brilliant!

  • Mary Rowen

    I can’t imagine how difficult it is to write these things, but I’m so glad it’s helping you. You are a brave person.

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