Listening to everyone talk about the notorious Penn State abuse opens old wounds, especially the idea that there's no one to tell. I lived for a time with a crazy, violently abusive babysitter (and also weird snapshot and body memories of my first step-father that make me nauseous and scared), and, as the people on radio are talking about, I had no one to tell. This whole issue of talking outside of school - whether it's family, a caretaker, a coach, whatever...it's so debilitating, the silencing of children - it's almost worse than the violence or violation itself.
And when you grow up, you think: I can't say anything about anything or even worse: it must have been my fault because I didn't say anything and a horrendous distrust of your own reality.
Listening to the woman now on NYC who was abused by a caregiver when her parents were not available for various reasons rings so true for me and it makes me ill. She's talking about her father said you don't talk about things outside of this house, we have to protect your mom. And I remember that and it's been a life's work moving outside of the silence.
The issue of controlling the child is so key. Because I have so little time to write tonight, I'm writing while listening to this report and it's kind of making me ill.
All I can say is: it's not fair to expect a child to talk about abuse if they don't have the language or anyone safe to talk to about it.
There is a lot of other stuff I'd like to talk about tonight, good things happening in my present, but it's hard to segue here, so I will leave it at this.
And please, anyone out there who is protecting an abuser: please stop. And if a child talks to you, please listen. And if you find out a child has been abused, DO NOT ask them: why didn't you tell me? You will be scarring them for life, making them believe it's their fault. Please just listen, be there and tell that child she or he can trust him or herself and apologize for not being or seeming trustworthy enough for whatever reason.
Trust me, I know.
Be safe, be well and do your best to protect and love those more vulnerable than you.
Welcome to my blog..
"We struggle with dream figures and our blows fall on living faces." Maurice Merleau-Ponty
When I started this blog in 2011, I was in a time of transition in my life between many identities - that of Artistic Director of a company (Apocryphal Theatre) to independent writer/director/artist/teacher and also between family identity, as I discover a new family that my grandfather's name change at the request of his boss in WWII hid from view - a huge Hungarian-Slovak contingent I met in 2011. Please note in light of this the irony of the name of my recently-disbanded theatre company. This particular transition probably began in the one month period (Dec. 9, 2009-Jan. 7, 2010) in which I received a PhD, my 20 year old cat died on my father's birthday and then my father, who I barely knew, died too. I was with him when he died and nothing has been the same since. This blog is tracing the more conscious elements of this journey and attempt to fill in the blanks. I'm also writing a book about my grandmothers that features too. I'd be delighted if you joined me. (Please note if you are joining mid-route, that I assume knowledge of earlier posts in later posts, so it may be better to start at the beginning for the all singing, all dancing fun-fair ride.) In October 2011, I moved back NYC after living in London for 8 years and separated from my now ex-husband, which means unless you want your life upended entirely don't start a blog called Somewhere in Transition. In November 2011, I adopted a rescue cat named Ugo. He is lovely. As of January 2012, I began teaching an acting class at Hunter College, which is where one of my grandmothers received a scholarship to study acting, but her parents would not let her go. All things come round…I began to think it may be time to stop thinking of my life in transition when in June 2012 my stepfather Tom suddenly died. Now back in the U.S. for a bit, I notice, too, my writing is more overtly political, no longer concerned about being an expat opining about a country not my own. I moved to my own apartment in August 2012 and am a very happy resident of Inwood on the top tip of Manhattan where the skunks and the egrets roam in the last old growth forest on the island.
I am now transitioning into being married again with a new surname (Barclay-Morton). John is transitioning from Canada to NYC and as of June 2014 has a green card. So transition continues, but now from sad to happy, from loss to love...from a sense of alienation to a sense of being at home in the world.
As of September 2013 I started teaching writing (composition and rhetoric) as an adjunct professor at Fordham University, which I have discovered I love with an almost irrational passion. So blessed for the opportunity and hope to find a more permanent job doing same.
I worked full time on the book thanks to a successful crowd-funding campaign in May 2014 and completed it at two residencies at Vermont Studio Center and Wisdom House in summer 2015. I have done some revisions and am shopping it around to agents and publishers now, along with having written a rough draft of a new book and some other projects.
Not sure when transition ends, if it ever does. As the saying goes, the only difference between a sad ending and a happy ending is where you stop rolling the film.
For professional information, publications, etc., go to my linked in profile and website for Barclay Morton Editorial & Design. My Twitter account is @wilhelminapitfa. You can find me on Facebook under my full name Julia Lee Barclay-Morton. More about my grandmothers' book: The Amazing True Imaginary Autobiography of Dick & Jani
Recently, I started a website Our Grandmothers, Our Selves, which has stories about many people's grandmothers. Please check it out. I will be blogging there, too, now.