Wednesday, August 24, 2011

When 18 isn't 18

I was 17 when I met him.

He was 23.  He was a former Marine.  He was a jackal hiding behind a songbird.

I was 18 the first time he touched me.


I was a legal adult.  By the time I was able to admit to myself what had happened, the statute of limitation had expired.

I was 18, but I may as well have been 12. 

I grew up in a very conservative, very sheltered household.  I was a homeschooled, outspoken sports jock, who preferred a good book to fawning over the local high-school meatheads.  But that didn't mean I didn't dream about having my first kiss.

My parents didn't allow me to date, which meant if a boy wanted to see me, he'd have to come to the house so we could be chaperoned.  Of the three boys that dared to come over to my house for dinner, 2 never called me again, the other turned out to be gay.

I had no working knowledge of boys, emotions, or physical responses.  Sure, I knew the physical act of sex and procreation but that was only because I read my science books.  My sex education went like this: "Sometimes boys want to kiss you a lot.  You just have to tell them no."  Put like that, it seemed to me that kissing was an awkward event that girls merely tolerated while they were dating.

When I went away for a weekend visit at what would become my Alma Mater, I met him.  It was at a dance, "A Night in Old Vienna." Girls were dressed in mock ball gowns from yesteryear and boys wore ties and coats.  Dance cards were given to the visiting kids, so they could meet up with different people on the dance floor.  He was third on my list.  For years I wondered how God could have allowed his name to appear on my dance card.  I realized in the end, it didn't matter.  I was his target.  One way or another, he would have found a way to get at me.

He was charming and flattering.  Praised my intelligence and wit.  He said I was pretty and that the boys at home were stupid for failing to see what they were missing.  I thought I had found the perfect man.  What I didn't know was that I was going to be another victim to this serial predator.

For six months, we corresponded by mail.  He sent me a country CD of love songs for my 18th birthday.  The man in the letters was so polite, so well spoken, so considerate of me as a whole person.  He said in his letters that he would 'protect my virtue.'  I was in love.

My first kiss was during a walk in the wood.  The next night, he taught me to french kiss by the water sewer lines on campus.  The first time he touched my breast 2 days later, I objected, said I didn't feel comfortable with him doing that.  He assured me that it was okay, that 'lovers have rights over each others bodies.'  I didn't know what to say, how to respond.  It didn't seem right. It felt so dirty. 

I felt dirty.  But I loved him.

I stayed with him for 5 months.  I hated every minute of it.  But I stayed because I was scared, because I didn't know better, because I felt ashamed, because when I tried to say no he always talked me out of it, because the one time I tried to physically run away from him he chased me and tossed me against a building.  But something inside me still loved him.

He did things to me.  He mocked me.  He hurt me.

The night he forced me down on him, I thought I was going to die.  I was choking, I couldn't breathe.  I was crying, begging him to let me stop.  He wouldn't let me.  When I couldn't do what he wanted, he finished himself off.  I was horrified.  I was disgusted.  I wanted to die.  I no longer loved him. 

I wanted him to die.

That was 12 years ago, but this is the first time I've shared this without breaking down in tears.  During those years I did some horrible things, to myself, to others. I hurt a friend, I lied to family, destroyed property, blacked out from booze binges, narrowly avoided arrest twice, and got dumped while 20 weeks pregnant.

I can't undo what happened or how my life was effected, but I'm making peace.  All things happen for a reason, even when they don't make sense at the time.  I'm not whitewashing the pain or the events that took place, but I am understanding how my life path has been shaped and not destroyed by what occurred.   

Friday, August 12, 2011

Message to my Younger Self

At 30 I'm becoming far more comfortable in my skin than was at 20.  If I could go back in time, I'd tell myself this:
  • Don't obsess about the size of your thighs beginning at 8.  You will be a skilled soccer player for 13 years and those muscles will serve you well.
  • When the little shits in 7th grade makes fun of you for your disastrous 'mushroom bowl' haircut, calling you a lesbian, don't just cry, kick them in the crotch.
  • That boy in choir you will have a 4 year crush on?  News flash, he's gay.  He'll never put the moves on you, no matter how many times he drives you home from play practice.
  • You will never make Coquina Shell soup.  Stop collecting hundreds of defenseless sea creatures in sand buckets which you will repeatedly forget in the sun.  Every damn time you go the beach.
  • When you have the chance to ride around in a decommissioned ambulance to get donuts at 2 in the morning, stay out all night.  You'll wind up skipping class anyways.
  • When all your friends tell you that getting involved with G is wrong, don't listen to them.  Things won't be any different.  He will leave you when you are 20 wks pregnant but your child will be the best thing in the world.
  • Never, ever, ever feel bad about being true to yourself.
And since I can't go back in time to tell myself this, I tell all the young women out there.  Love yourself and don't put up with any shit.  You deserve so much better.

Here Comes The Sun--From Miami to Fort DeSoto

<When I question my sanity (which is often) I take solace in remembering that as long as I can realize I'm being a nut, I'm not a complete nut.  I might be a disorganized serial writer at times, but comforting words from kind friends can renew my spirits rather well.>

On a lighter note, I've got some of my pics from recent trip to Miami while my frister Kathy was in town.  (Frister is my term for friend/almost sister).  

The Kiddo meeting my great uncle for the first time.

Tio Javier, Tia Ella, The Kiddo, and Me
Clowning around

Mugging for the camera

Pretending to be residents at the Biltmore Hotel

Kathy and I pretended to be heiresses in the shiny bathroom.  Eat your heart out Paris!

Manning the Cannons at Fort DeSoto

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Getting My Rant On

I've been feeling down on myself for the past few days, in part to reading and re-reading a comment that someone made to me on Teh Book of Face.  I had made an off-color but totally comment in an effort to cheer up a friend.  In reply, a guy I once knew as the biggest clown/screw-up/disgusting slacker came back at me with "Dude, who says shit like that?"

To say I was shocked was to say the least.
  • A-It's not like I said this in front of a bunch of 2nd graders
  • B-You use to say stuff like this all the time
  • C-Why did marriage and a child turn you into a humorless bastard?
But being myself, I agonized over it for days, until now when I finally said to myself today, "Screw it and the horse he rode in on." 

That's me, far right, hideous floral skirt from Goodwill
See, one of my biggest struggles in the past oh, I don't know, 12 years is to speak up for myself and not allow the resulting fall back impede on what I was doing/standing up for/participating in/just being me.  One particular time that I look back on with a bit of regret mixed with anger and sorrow was when a (male) friend of mine said that my association with a group of girls (a feisty bunch of women who took shit from no one) was unbecoming and a turn-off.
Still reeling from a sexual assault that no one knew about, I was cut to the core.  I had found some strength in hanging out with these women, trying to recover the shattered person I had become, and yet here was a person who I (had) respected that conveyed my actions, my interactions, my choice of friends, a part of me was something to be ashamed of.  And I listened to him.  And I didn't hang out with those girls for almost 6 months.  I missed out on 6 months of laughter, late night coffee parties, commiserating over a certain professor with a faux-English accent and Slurpee runs 15 minutes before curfew.  All because I was too ashamed of myself, of the person I no longer was, of the secrets I was hiding.

Payback is a bitch
I'm not that person anymore.  I've been working too damn hard to get rid of the insecurities that have hounded me.  I'm not about to allow myself to be cowed again.  I have no right to doubt myself.  I am a strong, kick-ass woman, who happens to be a great mother, friend, sister, and daughter. 

I have a great sense of humor that some don't get, plenty love, and some who laugh but act ashamed to acknowledge me.  To the last group, I say, grow a fucking pair.

I need not feel ashamed of who I am, how I act, how I walk, talk, or think.  I'm not harming anyone, causing anyone to do evil, or leading people towards death. 

I am me and I am proud.  I have a great group of girl friends from my past and a great group of people who Band around me when I'm down on myself. 

I am one lucky, blessed, and strong/crazy/fun-loving/intelligent woman. . .and I'll say whatever the hell I want to.

I can't remember if we were Bond Girls or Charlie's Angels

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

To my Angel

If you are reading this, whoever you are, thank you so much.  You will never quite know how much your gift means to me.  

Fuck it all, I'm crying my eyes out.  I'm not sure who did this for me, all I know is that I got a deposit into my paypal account that said Because of Band Back Together.  I am so touched.

Whenever I tell friends or family that I've been doing work for The Band, their first question is, how much am I making,  I laugh because even if I or anyone else with this group were drawing a salary (which we aren't) I'd be doing this anyways.  I'm not doing much, a little of tweeting, some social media promoting, hell I've pledged to work on 2 pages, but haven't finished them because my inner critic has been telling me that I suck at writing.  (I know, I know, baby steps!)  But I've been doing what I can to help The Band and now I'm on the receiving end of some help.

Since I'm only partially employed, I can still get a portion of my unemployment check from when I got laid off from my job w/ Social Security.  One of the stipulations is that you have to search for work every week and report it.  Well, when my Gonga died in June, I spent 3 weeks getting her estate in order.  So when I reported that I didn't look for work the week she died, unemployment stopped my check so they could verify her death.  That was on June 23.  So since I've gotten down to my last $5.  I haven't paid my rent in 2 months and I've been praying that this horrid mess will straighten itself out by the end of the week.

I've been fortunate enough to pick up a few small jobs last week, and it looks like I might have a new client who will supply me with steady work, so I think my luck will be turning around.  I've worked so hard to make a life for myself and my son and I'm not about to give up.

So whatever angel of mercy sent me that gift, thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Love, hugs, and happy tears,

Monday, August 8, 2011

Search Words of the Week

Seriously Google?  Who the hell searches for "seeking Viking male?"  I mean, I know I wrote those words in a post several months back, but really?

I'm off to grind my ax.  And while I wish I could say it was a metaphor for something dirty, it's not.  I get totally squigged out about the idea a self ax grinding.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Day in the Life of the Kiddo

Conversation in the Diatribest household

"Momma, you are the bestest thing that has ever happened in my life."

"Thank you, Baby-Man"

"I'm all done with my shower."

"Okay, get dressed.  The laundry isn't dry yet, so you don't have an underwear.  Just put on your pj bottoms."