once upon a time, my partner helped me realize that what i thought had been an ideal and idyllic childhood was nothing but a sham. my presumably perfect parents raised me in an environment of inappropriate closeness, emotional games, and behavioral experiments administered by a highly educated father and a withdrawn mother in an outwardly perfect home. my family was the envy of my peers, many of whom were suffering through divorce and neglect. my brother and i never lacked for family dinners and vacations. we had wonderful holidays, watched meteor showers in the middle of the night, learned, read, laughed, exercised, and played together. my talents were nurtured and celebrated. despite how my life appeared, however, i know now that i experienced insidious, invisible covert sexual abuse. it led to severe chronic illness, an inability to be intimate, and reliance on chemical aids; my adult life has been full of confusion, retreat, and refuge. in this protected sphere my name is norma jeane, in honor of another traumatized light in the darkness, and in order to fully heal and be the partner and parent i know i can be, i feel it is time to tell my story.