Dark storm clouds blow in on a strong breeze as I sit on my back porch. The dark clouds match my mood. The question I get the most about The Illusion of a Girl is how did my father really die. The Illusion of a Girl is based on a true story, but it has been fictionalized. A lot of things are true, but it’s not verbatim of what happened to me, my mother or siblings.
In real life, I’m the youngest of four. I have an older sister and twin brothers. It was simpler to write one brother. My siblings and I did handle our situation with lots of humor. We also didn’t dwell on it when we were out of the house. We knew to enjoy our freedom from our ridiculously oppressive and quiet home.
My father was an alcoholic, a man who hated himself. All addiction is driven by the need to check out of life. He was also a part-time policeman and starred regularly in my nightmares. He killed himself when I was sophomore in college. So no chase through the woods.
I didn’t lead him to his death, but ran from him many times. My intuition is real. I listened to it and knew when to run. I still listen to it today and it has served me well.
That’s how my nightmare ended. As in the book, I was relieved when he died. My mother could no longer take him back into our home and our lives. Had he lived, I would have not come home again from college. I wouldn’t have gone home ever again. I don’t feel guilty about it and never will. It’s not wrong to cut ties with people who hurt you, family or not.
The fox hole in the woods is real, and we did play in the woods at end of my street a lot as kids. The abuse I portrayed was accurate. He did choke me and my mother, hit my brothers and sister. I don’t have dissociative disorder or multiple personality disorder as they used to call it. I did have dissociative episodes. The shower scene where I don’t recognize myself is true. I have PTSD and mild depression. The emotion I portrayed is real. I can easily remember the hurt and betrayal.
I chose NOT to be like my parents and I have kept that promise to myself.
I’ve also forgiven my parents and continue to heal. My process entails self-reflection and different healing modalities like counseling, meditation, medication and exercise. Writing about it helps as well. I’m not a sad person. I’m typically happy and talkative. I didn’t let my upbringing kill my wonder for the world.
For the main stars of The Illusion of a Girl, Jessie and Brian, their story will continue. They have lots of drama and issues in their future to resolve and I want them to grow up. Their journey will continue just like mine. I’m currently writing The Illusion of a Boy and hope to launch it in October of 2020. Thank you for reading.