As part of the blog tour for the book Dark Secret Love, the author, Alison Tyler, has written this lovely guest post. It was a pure delight to read and I hope you enjoy this blog post, as well as her semi-autobiographical memoir of kink, once you get your hands on a copy!
Thank you Alison for writing the piece featured below! xoxo
By Alison Tyler
“This is the sort of fiction that can save a person.”—Annabeth Leong
Dark Secret Love won that review, and I couldn’t be more pleased. One of my favorite books of all time is Wrecking Crew by John Albert. The start of WC is: “You never know what’s going to save you.”
The thing is, I’ve needed to be saved. When I was at my lowest point, I would fantasize about driving into underpasses. Or off of overpasses. I was like the line in Parliament’s Testify. (Go listen. You’ll figure it out.)
Every time I drove my car under an underpass, I’d have fantasies about turning the wheel sharply into the concrete wall. During my 40-minute commute from the beach to Beverly Hills, I played Bowie incessantly—Ashes to Ashes, We Could Be Heroes, John, I’m Only Dancing—and I’d cry for no reason at all. Although I told the people I most trusted that I was unhappy—my family, my friends—nobody believed me. Every single person told me that I was simply young (true) and had cold feet (false) about my impending wedding. I wanted to an escape, but I didn’t know how.
This was such a dark time, that I don’t really remember a lot about it, or even all that much about Byron,
I found what I was looking for at an early age, and then I lost it. I thought that when you mingled with adults, you’d be able to ask for what you wanted. You’d say, “I need this.” And the other adult in the room would say… well, in my world, the other adult in the room would say, “Of course you do.” And then he would take off his belt, bend me over the sofa, or the bed, or the back of his car…
Truly, in my fantasy, I thought I wouldn’t even have to ask. That I’d manage to find the person—or he’d find me—and bells, whistles, firework displays, glitter from the ceiling, pennies from heaven.
But that’s not what happened. What happened was this: I found the man I thought was right, and he turned out to be all smoke and mirrors. And when I went down on my knees in front of him, drunk as a drunk, he rejected me in a manner so harsh I didn’t see daylight for years:
Finally, in a fit of angst, I got drunk and confessed what I truly wanted. What I needed. I thought—hoped, prayed—that perhaps he was treating me with kid gloves because he was worried that he would hurt me. I couldn’t have been more off base. When I got his wood-backed hairbrush and begged him on my knees to use it on me, he gave me a look of such marked disgust that I wanted to vanish into the floor. In the morning, I blamed the X-rated confession on drunkenness and we never spoke of it again.
Why did I stay? No fucking clue, except that I was younger, and dumber, and somehow under his control.
I spent years feeling ashamed, knowing I had given him a glimpse of the real me, and that I had been rejected. The surface simply hid the rest. The surface, how he liked me to appear, was a shell containing something (in his eyes) to be ashamed of.
So if my book helps one person. If my book makes one person feel unashamed, unwronged, unhurt, I’ve done my job.
Alison Tyler is the author of Dark Secret Love and the soon-to-be-published sequel, The Delicious Torment (both from Cleis Press). Her novellas include Giving In (Harlequin), Those Girls (Go Deeper), and Banging Rebecca (Pretty Things Press). She is a pale-skinned night owl with silver-streaked hair who mainlines coffee like it’s going out of style. Visit alisontyler.blogspot.com for a free refill.