Paul got a letter from his daughter. He hesitated to read it. He put it away for a long time until he brought up the courage to open it. It said:
I had this voice in my head all my life. A voice that was telling me that I am a miserable piece of shit. That I don’t deserve love, don’t deserve pleasure, don’t deserve a fulfilling sex life.
Once the voice appeared in my dreams. It was the devil. A horrifying black cloud of terror. In that dream, I tried to fight him. Was it a him? Or was it an it? I tried to fight it, but my limbs were frozen. I could not move, as much as I tried. It ridiculed me and said You are mine. I whimpered and kept repeating to myself, No, no, no, oh please, god, no! Reality was disintegrating.
I woke up shaken and out of my mind. I pushed it all away, it could not be. I forced myself to forget about it.
And with time, the memories came back.
The memories of how you raped me. And then you would say, the world is hard, darling, get used to it. You never said I was a miserable piece of shit, but you didn’t have to. Your actions spoke for themselves.
And then I realized, there is no devil. There is only you.
But is that true?
I used to see that devil everywhere, mostly in men. When I saw a man, the voice was there and very present. The devil was in every man, I realized. Because I saw it in every man.
And thus, whenever I saw a man, there was only one desire in my head. I wanted him to get raped. I wanted to see his heart, mind, spirit broken. I wanted to teach him. I wanted him to feel devastated, terrified. Terrified as I was.
Sometimes I told these men. They acted as if I was bad, as if my desire was wrong, wicked. They accused me of being evil and I cried a lot. But I knew better. They were the devil. And there is nothing horrible enough not to do it to the devil. He deserves all of it, and more.
The only way I could tolerate men was if they were broken. If they were submissive and did their best to obey me. It is not that I respected them or that I liked them. I just tolerated them, and kept them on a tight leash, watching them with all the suspicion I could bring up. If he as much as dared to speak up, I would put him back into place. I would do my best to inflict pain on him so that he would not think his words mean anything ever again.
Those men I never slept with, but I slept with those I hated most. With the true devils who were running around without restraint. I hated myself and I hated them for it. I could not resist. I was petrified, like in my dream. I gave them what they wanted and then I was ashamed and more determined than ever to punish them.
That was all before I realized that the devil is an illusion, created by my mind in an attempt to shield me from the ugly truth. That it was you all along.
And this insight felt great and initially, this was all I wanted to write to you. To make you take a long, deep look in the mirror.
But then I took a long, deep look in the mirror myself.
I looked in the mirror and I saw my own desire to destroy all the men I knew, destroy them in the most horrible fashion I could think of. And at the fact that even the most horrible thing I could think of, was not enough to satisfy me. I would have readily cut off their penises, have them raped, their limbs torn off, poisoned, their insides spread all over the place. None of it would have been enough.
And I realized, daddy, that I am no better than you. No different than you.
And I want to tell myself that his voice, that these desires, are not really my own. That they only exist because of you. That it is you speaking through me.
But if I can convince myself that this voice is not really my own, how can I sincerely believe that it was your own voice that made you do this to me? If I can forgive myself, how can I not forgive you? What pain was inside you that made you pass it on to me?
And I think this is where my letter should stop. I don’t want to lecture you – I have no right. I don’t want to tell you how to deal with this, because I am not even sure how. And it is your choice, anyway. And I don’t want to be patronizing, although I think I am.
This does not mean I want to be with you, ever again. But I want you to know that I want to forgive you. I really do. And one day, I will.
There is more to it, of course. But this is all that I need to say to you. The rest will be my own responsibility.
Best to you,
Paul put the letter aside with tears in his eyes. Some voice inside his head told him to push it away, because it was too much to handle. To push it away until the day that he would be able to. And one day, he would.