Dear readers, thank you for your interest in my story.
I was born in Seattle, sixth of ten children, into a Catholic family where we shared riotous fun and mortal dread. There was very little physical violence, but a lot of violation of physical, mental and emotional boundaries. Our dad made us laugh, and sang opera while making pancakes. I loved when he would quiz us at the dinner table. But he also roared like a lion, even at two-year-olds, when he was upset. He exploded unexpectedly, so I was always anxious. He belittled my mom with sarcasm, which made me protective of her. And when I was twelve, he began fondling my breasts when we hugged. He did it to six of my seven sisters as well. My book tells about how I healed my relationship with my dad.
My mom also had a huge influence on me. She starched and ironed hankies and blouses, cooked, sewed our dresses and raised small children the best she could. (“I couldn’t really relate with small children,” she once told me.) When we were grown—meaning no one was still in diapers (the ones still at home were four, six, eight, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fifteen, and eighteen years old), Mom became a lion in her work to end the Vietnam War and in the Civil Rights Movement. Later, she championed the rights of nursing home residents.
When I was nineteen, I didn’t know the car-wash guy hired me to shove me into a big utility closet he called his office. What a jerk. He pushed me against a counter and forced kisses on me, and when I said, “No!” he said, “You should’ve known why I hired you!”
I had two thoughts at once: What—is he right? I should have known that? And: He’s not going to ruin my work day.
He probably didn’t know I would push my way out, wipe his slobber off my face and go right back to work.
To this day I smile when I remember how, fuming with anger, not wanting to keep the boss’s secret, I got up my nerve to tell my car wash co-workers, who were all former prisoners, about what our boss had done. What those guys did, I like to think about a lot, over and over. They took my side, shook their heads and muttered, “Prick.” “Asshole.” They would have done more I’m sure had they not been on parole.
Almost no one had ever been protective towards me before those men. Their concern planted a seed in me: I matter.
Today, I live in Oak View, California, with Charles, my fun partner of twenty-eight years, and our interesting cat, Delilah. Now, all cats are interesting, but Delilah actually lives “next door”—that is, in our front yard. She meows at the door—not to come in—but to invite us over to her place, which is the yard, to pet her. We do have her over for dinner every day. And breakfast and lunch. And snacks. But until winter, she lives at her place. Someone asked why Delilah is on my website. It’s because she thinks she’s fiercely independent as a loner, though she deeply needs affection and connection. She’s the kitten who tames the lion. She’s I.
After working the last seventeen years as an addictions counselor, I’m finally able to give more attention to LION TAMER, which has been twelve years in the making. It’s the story of my journey to freedom from addiction and sexual abuse and its effects. The entire work is four books. Since not everyone will have time to read all four books, I’m publishing as Book One the end of the story. It’s called LION TAMER Book One: How It All Turned Out. (If you don’t want to know the end, Book Two will come out shortly as well. It’s called LION TAMER Book Two: How It All Began). Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy the chapters published on my website at theresemarieduncan.com
And I hope you’ll buy LION TAMER and tell your friends about it. It’s a universal story of abuse, recovery, love, transformation, redemption and healing. It’s a memoir that reads like a novel (first person, present tense). Readers say they’re right there with Marie (myself) at every moment. They say that it’s powerful, inspiring, relatable and refreshing.