My name isn’t Taylor Orci. Or at least, it wasn’t always. I changed my name because I was the victim of child abuse by my father till I was 9 and I needed to separate myself from him and that experience and everything it symbolized to me. I took on my step-fathers last name as an adult adoption 6 years ago because he’s a good man. Then I moved from LA to New York to start a new life. And when I moved back to Los Angeles, no one knew who I was anymore or how to find me, and that’s how I liked it. The few people who found me online asked “What happened? Did you get married?” And I would brush it off as a joke and secretly put them into the “old friend” category— people who were friends with the old ugly me and all her burdensome awful problems.
Taylor Ford did not like herself. When she got taken out of her Dad’s house by Child Protective Services for a laundry list of things, she felt like it caused such a tremendous upheaval in everyone’s lives that she should kill herself because she hadn’t lived very long so it “only seemed fair.” I’m writing this now and seeing how sad that is— that a little girl gets abused and feels so bad about how it’s affecting other people that she wants to die.
Taylor Ford hit puberty early and was told “I’m going to eat cake out of that pussy” and other ridiculous things by a group of dumb boys on the playground who had no idea about her background of abuse. The combination of stress made her hear voices in her head of people yelling at her at weird times and it made her freak out and hyperventilate so they nicknamed her “skits” which was short for schizophrenic. She was told this was a joke and not to take it personally.
Taylor Ford almost got raped when she was 11 at a gang party and kind of didn’t care cause it was nice to have tough friends to feel safe around. Taylor Ford hated her body and tried to have eating disorders to make it smaller and shrink away, but when she lost weight she felt too vulnerable so instead she ate compulsively to hide as much of her natural figure as possible.
Taylor Ford did not stand up for herself and ran away from conflict because everything hurt. The depression and thoughts of suicide were routine. In college one time Taylor Ford was compulsively drawn to a knife drawer and used every ounce of strength to call her step-dad to pick her up from her apartment. When she got in the car he asked “Are you okay?” She told him to pull the car over and she vomited on the street.
Taylor Ford wanted all the bad to go away. She wanted to create a person who was confident and beautiful and funny and daring, so she made me. I’ve punched a man on a busy New York street for cat calling me. I’m confident and talented and I don’t take shit— even though shit gets thrown at me all the time just like every other lady out there. I always deep down though, felt like I was lucky because I’d never gotten raped or molested.
Last summer I was in the shower on vacation, just days after being flown out to New York to do a big TV interview that made me feel special, when it occurred to me— just like that, in an instant—I had been molested repeatedly as a kid. In an instant all the success I’d felt washed away.
At first I laughed— I was in a bad improv scene where you don’t know where it’s going so you invent something like “God I wish Mom were still alive” or “I just realized I was molested as a child.” And then the audience laughs because that is a bizarre thing to say in a mundane moment. So I laughed at the scene I was in— there I was, standing still in a Cape Cod shower, realizing I was molested— thinking to myself “I mean really wouldn’t this joke kill?” But then I felt stuck with this new/old thing. How are you supposed to deal with a thing that happened to the old, ugly, dirty you?
I tried so hard to make this old weak person disappear, because that’s what she wanted, so I could be a strong new thing, and yet this person continues to pester me with her childhood problems despite my best efforts.
I know that the answer is there is no real divide, only the one I have created. But it is a levy that keeps being breached. I still try to keep them separate the best I can, even though I continue to be affected by her problems and her past long after she disappeared from Google searches. So I deal with her from a distance, like dealing with a troubled little sister who lives somewhere else, somewhere far away and sometimes I wonder what she looks like now, but it’s in the interests of the new me to never look— what if her low self worth and thoughts of suicide rub off on me again? “I just can’t take that risk,” I say to myself, and then power on through all the regular daily bullshit.
This is the best answer I have— as a confident strong woman this is still the best and only answer I have and it’s the choice I’ve made— to deal with myself and my traumas and my growth and divide the good and the bad into two people. I always thought I was alone in that— but now that I’ve read so many of these testimonials, I wonder how many of you know what I’m talking about— more than I ever could imagine.