Tina Alexis Allen was good at retaining secrets and techniques.
The older brothers who molested her, beginning when she was 9? She wouldn’t inform. The trainer who took over a few years later? One thing else to maintain locked away.
Maybe it was a household trait. In spite of everything, nobody stored secrets and techniques higher than her father —till he began sharing them together with her.
Allen earned an MBA in advertising and labored in vogue till choosing a profession in appearing. She appeared on tv in “Outsiders” and movies akin to “Transferring Mountains,” and starred in her personal one-woman stage present, “Secrets and techniques of a Holy Father.”
Her ebook “Hiding Out: A Memoir of Medicine, Deception, and Double Lives” hits shops Feb. 22, exposing the long-hidden story of a tumultuous youth through which her desperately broken household life turned ever darker.
Allen grew up in Chevy Chase, Md., the youngest of 13 kids born to a conservative Catholic household. She was an incredible athlete, incomes a gold medal for basketball within the U.S. Youth Video games at age 12.
It appeared like an idyllic suburban childhood as her journey agent father peddled pilgrimages to the Holy Land.
But as an 11-year-old Catholic schoolgirl, she had her first liaison — with a trainer. For 3 years, she and the feminine trainer 15 years her senior “have been having intercourse on Saturdays whereas the remainder of Chevy Chase was pruning azalea bushes round their stately houses or attending Georgetown Prep lacrosse video games.”
The trainer warned Allen to maintain their affair a secret, saying nobody would perceive.
Maintaining appearances was additionally drilled into her at residence.
Her father, who met with each Pope since Pope Pius XII, had obtained a papal knighthood. He rapidly reminded folks of this title, in case they uncared for to handle him as Sir John.
Christmas, naturally, grew to become a particular manufacturing, beginning with the creche he painstakingly arrange yearly.
“Dad’s important squeeze appears to be Jesus — whether or not the newborn within the manger or Jesus the person, who’s plastered on the cross all through our home in each artwork kind: statues, sculptures, prints and work,” she writes.
“Dad by no means will get wrapped up in our birthdays the best way he does Christ’s. In reality, he doesn’t know our birthdays, solely our feast days — the birthdays of the saints we’re named after.”
Her father is each agency disciplinarian and a sloppy drunk — typically concurrently. And as powerful as he’s together with his kids, he’s far worse together with his spouse.
Allen remembers him cruelly harping on her mom’s weight consistently, even taunting her with the promise of a round-the-world cruise on the Queen Elizabeth 2 if she drops 50 kilos.
When she does, after a punishing liquid food regimen, he forgets his promise.
He by no means mentions it once more. She positive aspects again the load.
Allen additionally relives, fairly painfully, household dinners when Sir John raged over being given a paper, slightly than material, serviette.
And there are cringe-inducing moments as he makes an embarrassing mess of himself at her championship basketball video games, sloshing again wine.
Then there are the nights he leads the youngsters by way of prolonged prayers, later stumbling off to a different enterprise assembly, one other bar.
When Allen turns into sufficiently old to affix him, she sees what sort of enterprise conferences and bars the outdated man was into.
Beaming church officers arrive in her father’s workplace, keen to speak about his newest journey to Lourdes, or tour of Jerusalem. Generally, they go away behind black leather-based briefcases. As soon as, after they go, Allen opens a briefcase — it’s full of cash.
That explains the $100 payments Sir John passes out as ideas. However it doesn’t clarify why he has a secret stash of passports from different international locations. Or why, when sober, he grew to become nervous speaking in regards to the Vatican financial institution. Or why, when drunk, he talked about homicide plots and Center East conspiracies.
These have been secrets and techniques he held on to.
After lastly realizing his youngest daughter is homosexual, Sir John lastly reveals a secret of his personal: So is he. And had been since his Military days when he fell in love with an exquisite Arab man.
Tina’s beloved godfather? A longtime lover. These males she typically sees her dad discuss to in bars? Hookups.
However, he rapidly warns, that is strictly between them, as is her secret.
Bonded by booze and blackmail, the middle-aged Sir John and his barely authorized daughter hit bars collectively, cruising for younger males for him and older ladies for her.
Allen’s life — as soon as dominated by cruelty and abuse — takes a deep dive into decadence, fueled by cocaine, champagne and Sir John’s unending provide of mysterious cash.
Her average-looking, however well-endowed father — the household jokingly referred to his penis as “Sergeant Pepper” — slid deeper into his secret life.
He wore ever-tighter pants and chased after even youthful males. Allen provides herself as much as informal hookups and more and more public intercourse.
But whilst they shared this double life, confidences and amyl nitrate poppers beneath the disco ball, they nonetheless refused to inform some truths to themselves.
Sir John continues to kiss the rings of clergymen and proudly leads pilgrims on excursions of the By way of Dolorosa. However he refuses to acknowledge the hypocrisy of proclaiming his godliness in public whereas sleeping together with his daughter’s godfather in non-public.
And whereas Allen acknowledges the ache of being abused by her older brothers, she insists her relationships together with her feminine lecturers have been consensual — though she was solely in seventh grade when her homeroom trainer first took her to mattress.
When her newest lover factors out she was a sufferer of kid abuse, Allen argues, “I used to be actually mature for my age.”
“Hiding Out” is about loads of lies, and a few are those we inform ourselves.
Ultimately, Allen began telling the reality. Weary of her mom’s fixed suspicions, she mumbles a halfhearted confession that she likes women higher than boys. When her older sister Margaret questions her additional, she lastly totally comes out.
It’s a revelation that prompts one other query. “Is Dad homosexual?” her sister asks.
So Allen tells one other fact. And with that all the pieces begins to unravel, together with her relationship together with her father, his plans for her to take over the enterprise and her dad and mom’ marriage.
Theirs was a union shakily constructed on a lie from the beginning, by no means sturdy sufficient to resist actual honesty.
Allen’s ebook begins to finish there, though she nonetheless hasn’t fairly uncovered all of the deceptions. In its last chapters, set a long time later, she nonetheless hasn’t. Why have been all these monks bringing her father briefcases full of cash? Why did he have a Jordanian passport, concern the Mossad and make journeys behind the Iron Curtain?
Was he only a form of roving unofficial Vatican ambassador — or one thing extra sinister?
Allen by no means can satisfyingly reply that query. Nor does she even attempt to reply an much more private one — how did she survive all that abuse, all that alcohol, all that mad household dysfunction?
How did that broken woman develop as much as turn out to be a profitable actress and businessperson, a sane lady in an apparently blissful, long-term relationship?
Maybe there are some secrets and techniques we’re decided to maintain ceaselessly.