Hindsight is 20/20 – sorta (pt.2)

That summer…

1990…

Such a blur of color and sound, sun & cigarettes, booze & boys & parties & beaches & laughter & tears and just –

Fucking hell – wild abandon.

I quit college a year and a half after starting. As I said in my last post… I shouldn’t have been there in the first place. I wasn’t in the right mindset for college. Didn’t really know what I wanted out of life, not for real, and had no real passion for it. And without that, you honestly shouldn’t be there. It’s a money and time-suck if you don’t give 100% of everything you have to it.

And I didn’t have 100% of anything to give.

I was really only functioning on about 78%, myself, at any given moment… not that I was aware of that fact.

(I’ve changed that percentage number twice, lowered it, actually, because I realized just how little I was emotionally coherently functioning that summer)

After they brought me home from my college town, they tried to put me in therapy. It was a miserable failure.

I don’t know if it was because of the therapist they chose, or what they told him, but it was a train-wreck.

I walked in to that first visit, thinking I would maybe give it a chance, that maybe, finally, someone would hear me.

And the first words out if his mouth were…

“So your parents tell me you think you were molested,”

As if I were making it up, lying, or delusional.

Fucking train-wreck on fire, I was all done after that. I wasn’t going to tell him SHIT. He could fuck ALL THE WAY OFF.

And that was the end of therapy.

[and you have NO idea how difficult this post has been to write. All you see are the results. This shit – days – it’s taken days – and that’s not me. I’m “off the cuff girl”]

(Yanks self back on track)

I won’t lie. That summer? Best fucking fun of my life.

I have a million snapshot memories of that summer, lodged in my head. Smoky bonfires, sparkling lakes & rivers, scorching heat while laying on a rocky beach, smoking & stubbing out cigarettes in the sand, waiting for a tan…and the end of a hangover.

Snapshots of laughter, of rides in cars, cruising up & down main at speeds so slow, you could walk faster than the car was moving; memories of loud music, long hair & short skirts, dancing under gushing rain gutters on main street, not caring if makeup smeared & we had to drive home damp, later.

Snapshots of going to sleep after the sun came up, and getting ready for the day, only a handful of hours later.

Dancing wherever and whenever we damned well felt like it, because we just didn’t fucking care.

Snapshots of late-night conversations, of kissing in the dark, of a boyfriend… One I fell for so quickly… He was funny and smart. Sweet, and sexy & kind; older than me & treated me well. You can’t just do that to someone looking for self-destruction. I wanted to curl up next to him and not move again, because it was safe being fun and happy with him. I scared myself so badly… I ran, and ran, and ran.

I was an awful girlfriend. I know that now. I hid from him, wouldn’t answer the phone, asked my parents to lie when he called, refused to talk to him. In my head… I made excuses for myself.

It all kind of culminated one rainy day, when he stopped my friend & I, tried to get me to talk to him, and I ran off again, down the street, into the rain, as fast as I could. I was such a coward.

He didn’t follow, didn’t chase, so I vindicated myself once again, inside my head. I wasn’t enough for anyone, wasn’t worth it.

So… Fuck it.

I ramped up the wild side.

Threw all caution and common sense to the wind, and went completely berserk.

I slept around, drank…oh gods, probably my body-weight at the time, in booze. Mostly beer, because that’s what was cheap. But, whatever was available? I drank it.

I thought about trying drugs.

I did.

I had them – SO easily available. The town I hung out in was HUGE in drugs, and I knew most of the druggies. They might not have been my besties, but, they knew my name, & that I wouldn’t rat them out. We knew some of the same people, hung at the same parties, small town, you know the drill.

But – I didn’t.

I honestly, truly, never did try drugs. Not even so much as a hit of weed, or even so much as one pill of anything.

I saw – wow – I saw shit involving drugs I can honestly say I never expected. Shit I won’t elaborate here, because it’s past, it won’t do anyone any good, so why do anyone harm?

But I never touched them myself.

I thought about it. I was tempted.

And if it hadn’t been for my best friend, at that point? I’d have done them. I would’ve. I’d have caved.

Why?

Because I saw NO FUTURE.

All I saw for myself at that point was a black wall, and I was speeding towards it.

I was driving the car inside my head, and I kept mashing the pedal to the floor. I wanted it over.

I just – wanted all of everything – over.

Hindsight is 20/20 – maybe

Looking backward…

In order to work on myself, I’ve been doing some hardcore soul-searching, and past-life regression.

As in, taking a long, hard, look at who I really was when I was younger…warts and all.

I’m not going to sugar-coat any-damn-thing, or try to rationalize bad behaviors for myself.

If I’m truly going to make any progress with figuring out how I ended up where I am today, & how I can move forward in a healthier way…

I need to get out of my own fucking way.

Because what I’ve been doing up until now?

Not healthy.

I know this.

I just don’t know, yet, how to fucking change it.

I know what results I want to see…

I just don’t think I’ll ever get there.

And that makes me even more depressed.

******

Deep breath

******

I – grew up fairly sheltered, as a kid. I was a nerd, didn’t play sports – was horribly bad at them, in fact, unless they happened from the back of a horse.

I was shy, and teased and bullied throughout my school years until I graduated high school.

Except when I was around my best friend, who I trusted. Then, I was outgoing, funny, sarcastic & able to open up. She saw a whole different side of me than everyone else, including my creative side, & encouraged me to express it.

In college, which only lasted about a year and a half (I shouldn’t have gone, I really wasn’t ready & wasted so much time & money there), I truly changed.

I had, by this time, lost my virginity, after throwing it away on my one and only high school boyfriend. (Who lasted about 2 months, until after his prom…no joke. But then, I had decided my virginity was mostly a hindrance, anyway, & used him to “get rid” of it… Not because I was in love. *snort*)

At this point, I wasn’t thinking about what had happened to me when I was 16. I wasn’t flashing back to being molested… Although, I’ve never slept on my stomach since that night.

Not once. Not ever.

But, I was using sex as a weapon. Of sorts, anyway.

I used it to feel good about myself.

Because if a guy wanted to have sex with me, that meant I was desirable, right?

That meant I had worth, right?

I meant something, even if it was only for a little while…

It made me feel powerful…in the moment.

Until afterwards.

Until I felt cheap.

When I was just ignored the next day, if I was even remembered.

But hey, I was a badass, right?

I stomped through the parties with my smartass, snarky mouth, my nickname “Dragon Lady” more because my words could burn people down than because I smoked. I gave no shits…

At least where they could see.

But…

God, did I care.

I burned through a handful of “boyfriends” in college, short-timers, because I would inevitably be a bitch at some point to them, & they’d wander off in search of calmer waters.

I never cheated, don’t get me wrong.

But, I’d drive them off, usually finding that one pet peeve, guaranteed to piss them right the hell off, and pick at that until they’d had just ENOUGH.

Done and dusted, I would be vindicated once again, knowing that I wasn’t worth the trouble. No one was really willing to chase me down & stick with me.

I just wasn’t worth it.

Not for anyone.

After all…when I was molested, even my parents didn’t believe me. They couldn’t even be concerned enough to come get me, instead having family members bounce me from one house to another for almost 2 weeks, before I finally reached home, after the “incident”. And then, it was never mentioned again.

Not until the summer after I quit college.

The summer of my complete abandon, my downward spiral, and their accusations of drug abuse & attempt at throwing me into therapy.

But – that’s for the next post.

I’m tapped.

Shockwave

* Possible Trigger Warning ⚠

*

*

*

My mother was at my desk today, when I got back to work after my lunch break.

I wasn’t expecting her, she hadn’t called me to say she was coming into town, which would’ve been fine…

Except she had someone with her.

Her best friend.

A woman I used to consider my second mom.

Who is also the mother of the boy, now man, who molested me when I was 16.

You – have no idea – what happens inside, when you’re confronted unexpectedly by one of the people who traumatized you so badly as a teenager.

Yes, she traumatized me.

How?

By forcing me to confront her son immediately, as in within minutes of the attack, by not listening to me, by not believing me, by forcing me to listen to her speak about her son time after time over the years, trying to show me PHOTOS of him! Fuck!

And yet, I’m not allowed to say anything about it. I’m not allowed to bring it up, to say NO, when my mother does these things.

I loved this woman as another mother, & still care about her, because she’s my mom’s best friend.

But – they both hurt me, so much, 32 years ago, and they have continued to scrape open the wounds over the years, callously, because they refuse to acknowledge the damage that was originally done, and the damage they’re doing now.

I’ve got PTSD from the original experience, not just the molestation, but the way it was mishandled by his parents, and by my own.

No one wanted to believe me.

Everyone wanted to think I was either simply “having a nightmare” and being overly teen dramatic, or just flat-out lying.

There were times I wanted to fucking kill myself, because everyone called me a liar, and the inside of my head was so dark and hopeless.

There was a whole summer where I basically was driving myself off a metaphorical cliff, because I didn’t think my life was worth anything.

My parents thought I was on drugs.

Ha. I’ve never taken anything that wasn’t prescribed to me or over-the-counter, and I’ve never taken more than the prescribed dosages.

But what was the use of telling them the real problem, when they wouldn’t hear me? When – if I tried to talk to them, they shut me down, refused to hear it, and walked away?

There’s been so much in the news and on social media lately about why victims of abuse don’t report.

This is mine.

Because – when I told the truth at 16, I was called a liar by the people I trusted to keep me safe, so why would I trust anyone else to help me?

Maybe, just maybe, this is why I have so many issues with asking for help in any way, shape of form, from anyone, about anything?

Because when it really, really mattered…

I was left out in the cold – alone and hurting and vulnerable.

I made it through the rest of the afternoon at work.

Goddess only knows how.

I’m good at stuffing my feelings down.

But I cried all the way home.

So Many Things

Life has been busy since the last post. At least, busy for me.

*I got a new-to-me car. I knew my little pickup wouldn’t make it through another winter without some extensive garage time, & I didn’t have the wherewithal for that, plus, it was just going to keep nickel & diming me to the poorhouse. So –

I got some financing for Rosmerta – Roz, for short.

Rosmerta is a Goddess of luck and prosperity, so here’s to bringing this into my life. She’s a dream I’ve had since I was 6 years old. Having a Jeep, that is.

My mom’s cousin, Julie, came to live with us for a while when I was about that age. She was attending community college in the town next door, & had a boyfriend named Randy.

Randy – had a Jeep.

It was one of those soft-sided Jeeps that you could zip the windows up and down, or take it off completely, and to me, it was the coolest thing – EVER.

Of course, that was partly because Randy was a great guy. He was nice, truly nice, & liked little kids.

The summer I remember them dating, Julie & Randy took me to Valley Fair, in Shakopee, just outside the Twin Cities of Minneapolis & St. Paul, MN.

I remember getting a giant tissue-paper flower on a stick (so fricking cool, I had that thing for YEARS), riding the ferris wheel, and sitting on the chair of the Jolly Green Giant with Little Green, while someone took my picture. I remember thinking that this was the best day ever, & that it just didn’t get any better than that.

So, because of one happy childhood memory, a really good day, yes, but just one day, nonetheless, Jeeps have become a part of my secret wishlist in life.

And now, I have one.

Which, also, kind of scares me, to be honest.

I have people telling me all the time that I deserve to have something good in my life. That after all the shitty things that have happened, and after how hard I’ve worked over the last few years to overcome a lot of it, I deserve to have something, at least ONE thing, good.

But, I’ve never had anything last.

So, this new, good thing, scares me…

I don’t want it to go away, too.

So many things have happened, I just – I just want one good thing to last.

Blowing Out The Candles in My Dreams

I woke up this morning with tears tracing down my face.

I’d had a dream, & I remembered most of it.

I had gone with my cousin to a bookstore. Now, this particular cousin is more like a sister to me. She & I grew up extremely close. We’re only 10 months apart in age (I’m the elder, not that that really matters, but I could see you out there, wondering).

We used to spend our summers together, my aunt (my uncle had died when we were very little) would send her to our house for a few weeks, then later, I’d go stay with them for a few weeks in southern Minnesota.

We squabbled like siblings, we laughed like best friends, & we ganged up our parents, & snuck around as teenagers do, just as though we were more than mere cousins.

So, when I talk about my cousin “L”, it’s more as though I’m talking about a sister I never had.

Back to the dream. L & I had entered this super cool bookstore, which came complete with its own specialty bakery &, of course, cafe/coffee shop.

You were even able to special-order decorated cakes for occasions, & the bakers would decorate them to your specifications.

In my dream, I hadn’t had my birthday yet. This is important, later.

We browsed a bit, found books to buy, & sat in the cafe & had some cake, talking about things, catching up, since I haven’t seen L for a while. (Truth, it’s been months, & we would do this naturally)

L talks a mile a minute, so I let her blow her steam, keeping quiet & enjoying my cake, knowing she’ll listen when I tell her about my life. She always does, but, as an only child, she’s used to certain things, always being able to go first in a conversation being one of those things. I don’t mind.

Some who think they know me might scoff, but I really am quiet. When I care about someone, I’ll just sit & wait for the other person to talk themselves out completely before I speak, giving them my full attention the whole time.

When we were finished, we packed up & got ready to leave.

But first, I went over to the specialty cakes area. I’d seen a cake I wanted for my birthday, which, in my dream, hadn’t happened yet. And all I wanted was for the decorator to do some simple words on top – nothing major or fancy.

I’d filled out an order card with my contact information, & gave it to the bakery for the special-ordered layer cake.

When I spoke to the decorator about the cake, she misunderstood me 3 times, pulling out 3 different cakes, none of which were the ones I wanted. So, I finally walked her to the case & showed her the exact cake I wanted & told her that all I wanted was a simple handful of words on top.

She told me “We don’t decorate that cake. You can’t do that. Why would you even want to?”

At this point, my cousin had walked off to talk to some friends, so I was alone, and frustrated with dealing with someone who just didn’t seem to get it.

“I just want someone to put ‘Happy Birthday to Me’ on top of the damn cake, is that so hard? I always spend my birthday alone, my kids don’t come home, my parents leave the state, my friends don’t remember, or don’t live close enough to be here…I just wanted something nice for myself. Forget it!”

At this point, I walked out, with cousin L scrambling to catch up to me.

She asked what was wrong, but I wouldn’t tell her.

Later, I get a phone call from the bookstore. Could I please come down & pick up my order?

I told the lady on the phone I didn’t have an order, but she was adamant, & that I needed to pick it up.

So, I went.

When I get there, the cake is done, exactly as I ordered, and when I go to pay for it, she won’t let me, saying someone else already took care of it, although she won’t tell me who.

I take my cake & go home, wishing I had someone to celebrate with.

That’s my wish every year.

Does making wishes on candles in dreams count?

The Land of Fire

I’m walking in a land of fire

Coals scorching my feet

Sparks flying through the air

Smoke choking my lungs

I know that this trial is somehow necessary, that in order to grow, I must burn away that which has become burdensome. That I’ve come to another crossroads in my life, & I have to fight, to strive, to prove to myself that I am ready for the next step, whatever that may be.

But, Goddess, the fires are intense.

I’ve cut ties with someone I was speaking to. He wasn’t going to live up to his words, anyway. And, my heart was elsewhere.

It’s been tied up for years in someone else’s ribbons, & I don’t think it’ll ever change.

I’m probably destined to spend my life alone, because I gave my heart away to someone who will never show up to fully claim it.

But, if that’s the way it is, I’ll live with it.

My brother tried to make small talk through text about my birthday, as well. *sigh*

After years of issues between us, I’m not going to just forgive and forget everything he’s said & done. I’m not a “sweep it under the rug” kind of woman.

He wounded me deeply, and cannot admit his culpability.

So, I finally said as much back in a text, and – lol and behold – *crickets* since then.

If you cannot admit your responsibility for your actions, if you cannot admit your own wrongdoing towards another person, and apologize, sincerely and wholeheartedly for hurting them, then obviously, you don’t believe you ever did anything wrong.

Update – I just received a text that says “I have no idea what you’re talking about”.

My point exactly.

I’m done.

Convenient how they “forget” the words they use to wound others with.

But I will never forget how he said his “little sister died years ago”.

He’s right.

He killed her.

I’m not that little girl he once knew.

But then, he never bothered to get to know the grown-up woman.

Whatever.

I don’t have time for him.

I’ve got embers in my eyes, and smoke curling around my hands.

Time to take a walk.

Dim The Lights

And so we come once again to November, one of my least favored months of the year, containing my least favorite holiday.

Actually, I could do away with Thanksgiving altogether, and never miss it.

I think I’ve borne a deep-seated resentment towards this holiday since I was a child, to be honest, and I’ll tell you why.

As a kid, Thanksgiving meant having to dress up, and stay dressed up, All Damn Day. As a tomboy, this was one of the worst possible punishments you could inflict on me. I loathed wearing dresses, and having to wear one for a whole day… Not being able to climb trees with the cousins, or scurry up and down the cliff behind our house – hell – simply having to stay clean all day… It was hell.

And OK, the food thing was alright, but I was always a picky eater, so I pretty much stuck to turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing & corn. No funky salads, no strange fruity jello things, nothing unidentifiable, thanks. Pumpkin pie for dessert, with plenty of whipped cream, & I was done.

And then… Ultimate boredom set in.

The menfolk took over the living room to watch football, while the women ruled the kitchen.

There was nowhere for a tomboy cursed to wearing a dress for the day to go!

Gah!

I usually ended up sitting in my room, playing records on my record player, wishing I could change into my ratty jeans & scuttle down the cliff to the freedom of the river below. 

No joy. The maternal police in the kitchen guarded the stairway & would’ve caught me.

As a grownup, I became resigned to the holiday – until my brother destroyed it a few years ago for me with his hate-filled email one year, & a ranting phone call another year.

I… Quite simply… HATE … Thanksgiving with pretty much every fiber of my being.

And yet – every year, I’m forced to partake in this much-loathed ritual, to make my parents happy.

*sigh* 

At least I don’t have to explain why Mom asks me to make the pumpkin pie every year anymore, since my sibling & his family moved away. 

I wish I could say no.

I wish I could be far away this year & not have to “do” Thanksgiving.

I’ve never really seen the true need for this holiday. A secular holiday “celebrating” something that ended up being basically a farce? Pilgrims & natives eating together in thanks? And then European settlers basically trying to destroy the natives in their greed for land and domination? 

Why are we giving thanks again?

I’m thankful most of the year for what I have, I don’t need this one freaking day to remind me to give thanks – thanks anyway.

And shitty things always seem to happen at this time of year, so I walk around, cringing, waiting for the other shoe to hit me on the back of the head.

I’d like to just fit a dimmer switch on November… Turn it down, gradually, a bit at a time…until that day rolls around… And I can just dim the lights & pretend to not be home?

Monster Man

Papa’s a Monster Man.

That’s my dad.

He “rescues” monsters from under beds, detangles them from closets, and saves them from the horrors of dark, drafty basements, then returns them to their natural habitat – The Dump.

Haven’t you ever seen Nickelodeon’s classic cartoon “AAAHH!!! Real Monsters!” ??


When EldestDaughter was little, she adored this show, & lived its tenets religiously. Monsters lived at the dump, and went to school there. They only came to human homes to practice their scares, and if they were still there by daylight – well – they had to be rescued – of course.

When EldestDaughter ended up with one caught under her bed… She knew.

Time to call Papa.

And of course, he came right over. Because what else do Papas do when their granddaughters call? I ask you?

So, he “rescued” the monster, stuffing it deep in his pocket (so the daylight wouldn’t hurt its eyes…duh…), and EldestDaughter then announced that she simply had to go with him to the Dump to make sure the monster was properly released.

Uh… Ok… 

Well, he took her, anyway, & they released the monster, which promptly scurried off into its proper hole to get back to “class”. 

Or so EldestDaughter informed me when she got home. I’m trusting her imagination on that one.

But the tale doesn’t end there…

Papa’s reputation as a Monster Man was solidified when EldestDaughter retold the story to one of her friends.

Cut to a couple of years later….

Papa gets a phone call from said little girl’s mother. 

(By this time all the kids in town called my dad Papa because EldestDaughter called him that. It stuck for many years until he retired from his janitorial position at the local school)

*Mother of Girl*: “Papa? I need you to come to the house”

Papa: “Oh, MoG? What’s the problem?”

*MoG: “Seems there’s a monster in the basement, and Girl says you’re the only one who can rescue it. I can’t get her to go down to the basement -at all. Please?”

Papa: (laughing) “Sure, MoG, I’ll be right over.”

When he got to the house, he had Girl stand at the top of the basement stairs with a laundry basket.

Papa: “Now, Girl, don’t you move. You stay right here at the top of the stairs. I’m going down there, and I’m gonna catch this monster…but if it gets away from me and runs up here – you be quick and catch it with this laundry basket…OK? But whatever you do…don’t come downstairs!”

Girl: “Ok, Papa. I’ll wait for you!” 

So, Dad clomped down the stairs, banged around some, hollering & clanking things together for a few minutes…putting up a fight, you know.

And when he came upstairs…lo and behold, there was a suspicious lump in his coat pocket, which he kept confined with his hand, telling it to “settle down & behave” because he was “taking it home”.

Girl was all smiles, & made sure to watch as Dad drove away in his pickup – and HE made sure to drive in the direction of the dump, and stay away from their house for a little while before returning. (They were close neighbors, had to make the timeline believable!)

Another satisfied customer of the Monster Man.

But the story still isn’t over…

The Dump closed a couple of years ago.

And Girl is now a grownup…who recently got married & lives out of state.

And my dad likes a website called ThinkGeek.

Ever hear of the Eviltron?

Well, its a tiny, magnetic speaker. That makes various, creepy noises.

Dad built a small box, & attached this doohickey to a rare-earth magnet inside the box.

And mailed it to the unsuspecting new, young bride.

After turning it on…of course.

He included a note telling her that, since the Dump had been closed, SHE WAS GOING TO HAVE TO BE ONCE AGAIN RESPONSIBLE FOR HER MONSTER – SO HE WAS MAILING IT BACK TO HER.

Is 20 years a long enough time to dedicate to a joke?

My father received a beautiful thank you note in the mail later, telling him that this was the single most memorable and original wedding present ever received.

And she would be opening it far…far…

Far…from the house.

Thank you very much.

Signed – Girl, and her Boy.

I am now in possession of the last of my Dad’s eviltrons, and having used it on all of my coworkers, successfully…

I think it’s time to return it to Dad.

Seriously – I think he needs to build one more monster box – for EldestDaughter.

The originator who gave the Monster Man his reputation to begin with.

Get her, Papa. She’ll love it.

3, 2, 1… #MeToo

I gave an interview a couple of days ago.

On camera.

Scared shitless and shaking, anxiety riding me like a cowboy strapped to an 8-second bull.

But I did it.

One of the local TV stations had posted to Facebook on Monday that they were looking for people willing to share their stories about sexual harassment and sexual assault, all in light of Alyssa Milano’s viral Twitter #metoo, where women and men could come forward about their experiences.

I messaged them about my story that night, and didn’t think much more about it.

Tuesday morning rolled around, & I received a message back, from a reporter at the studio, wanting to know if I’d be willing to talk, on camera about my experience, to possibly help others.

Before I could psyche myself out of it, I said yes.

It was awkward, and uncomfortable, being in front of the camera, and talking about it brought my anxiety back full force, & I’ve been having major issues with it ever since.

Especially since my mom caught just the tail end of the interview on the news…and texted me, wondering what it was for…

When I told her why I’d done it, all she said was “Got ya,” and immediately changed the subject.

Because to this day, we still don’t discuss it.

Another reason for my anxiety to flare.

I hate how I looked on camera, as though I was almost ready to burst into tears… I wasn’t, it was just my nerves were so taut, I was strung so tight I was surprised I didn’t make snapping noises when I walked.

But I did it.

I finally spoke publicly about my assault. 

And that counts for something.

#metoo