I walked in on my X showering with his preteen daughter. Naked.
It seemed like I was witnessing a private and yet normal routine. He stood behind her lathering up shampoo on her scalp. A thing she was fully capable of doing for herself. Then he ran his hands down her hair rinsing with a cup of clean water. Again, something she was capable of doing on her own.
I stood shocked by the scene, as if I were a bystander at an accident. Then I turned away and left. There was nothing erotic happening. Neither of them seemed uncomfortable or aware that they were doing anything that was strange.
Once again, I second guessed my initial reaction -a gasp and a feeling of deep discomfort, shame, and embarrassment. I took those feelings and reinterpreted them to suit the scenario. This was a free-spirit, bohemian household. We were the counterculture. We lived how we wanted, and not what was dictated to us by society. Even the way I was raised was conservative compared to the Hawaiian island vibes.
And yet, my X washing his daughter’s hair was the same movements and rituals he had with me when we shared an intimate couples bath. This time I spoke up. I told him he shouldn’t shower with his daughter anymore, and that he should stop walking around the house naked. He told me that I was an uptight prude. But he stopped sharing the shower with her after that night. And he stopped walking around the house naked.
Dear twenty-two year old me, you were so brave standing up to someone you loved and respected and held in high-esteem, even though they were acting in a way that made you feel uncomfortable. You firmly stood your ground and spoke your truth.
You were stronger than you thought.