We Did it to Offend YOU Only.

Where do I begin to explain how horrible people are?

 

I work in a dental office that caters to people who are ESPECIALLY entitled, oftentimes have more money than you have ever imagined or ever COULD imagine, and seem to sincerely believe that everyone on this planet is beneath them.
Take this morning, for example.
We have a woman in our schedule who is a known pain-in-the-ass. The type of woman who will ask you the same question fifteen times in four different ways because she is TRYING to trip you up. She is TRYING to make you out to be a liar, not in general, but TO HER.
The questions are almost always in relation to some stupid, unimportant bullshit. (Oh. And by-the-way…she is not the ONLY patient like this at my office. Generally, they are women; although I can think of a few men who do the same.)
She enters the office for her appointment (on time, which is typically odd for someone so entitled. If you didn’t know, those who suffer from ‘affluenza’ generally maintain that the rest of the world runs on THEIR time, because THEY are the only creatures on this planet who matter, and generally arrive anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes late–NO APOLOGY).
I say to her: “Good morning, Karen. I have just let your hygienist know you are here.”
Like clockwork, my coworker arrives at the front desk with her 7:30 am patient, and I begin the process of scheduling his next dental hygiene appointment. I finish with the 7:30 gentleman and as he turns to collect his coat, “Karen Affluenza,” as I will call her for our points and purposes here, says to me with the nastiest voice she can summon: “Does she know I am here?”
I paused momentarily, and replied “YES. She just has to clean up her operatory prior to seating you.”
*insert internal eye roll here*
*Did this bitch just NOT listen to me when I warmly greeted her and told her that I let her hygienist know she was here?? WTF?*
Karen Affluenza takes her seat once again in the waiting room.
The onslaught of questions thus begins:
“What time do you get here in the morning? Uh-huh. What time does your office open? Uh-huh. What time is your first patient of the day? Uh-huh. When do you start for the day? Uh-huh. What time does the office open? Uh-huh.”
And so on. And so forth.
The same questions.
Over and over and over again.
(“We all arrive at the office anywhere from 6:30 am- 7:15 am. Our office opens at 7:30 am, Monday through Friday. Our first hygiene appointment of the day currently starts at 7:30 am, Monday through Friday.” Etc, etc.)
My coworker, Karen’s hygienist, comes to collect Karen for her appointment.
I throw out a silent ‘thank you’ to the Universe that this woman is gone from the waiting room so that I do not have to look at her any longer or be steeped any further in her shitty energy.
Continuing on with the morning’s work, my coworker approaches the front desk looking extremely exasperated and tells me that Karen Affluenza is NOT happy with us.
You see, even though she has been coming to our office for SIXTEEN YEARS, she cannot seem to grasp/remember the concept that there is a different doctor in the office on Friday than the rest of the week, and, even though I informed her upon her scheduling this appointment that there is a different doctor in the office on Friday, she can’t seem to recall or care.
Until she decides she is pissy about it.
THEN she cares.
And it’s everyone else’s fault that she is pissy.
Because WE didn’t do our jobs.
OF COURSE.
Ms. Affluenza says to my coworker: “I thought I was your first patient of the day.” To which, my coworker simply states “No. Our first patient is at 7:30 am.”
(AGAIN with the same damned questions.)
Ms. Affluenza then informs my coworker that the system we are currently using to chart her gum health is “annoying” and “I don’t know what it is doing, if it is detecting cancer or something, but I don’t like this system of yours.” (GREAT. Thanks for your honest feedback, twatwaffle. You know, we chose this particular system specifically because we wanted to annoy YOU personally.)
As you can imagine, Karen Affluenza is a sheer delight for all of us at my office.
If you didn’t sense that the previous sentence was heavily laden with sarcasm, it is. Also, if you didn’t sense the sarcasm in that particular sentence, perhaps you and I should go out for coffee sometime and I can introduce you to my particular brand of snark.
It’s not that I hate my job, or my coworkers. Because I don’t. I love my work family, actually. They have been there for me always for the past 10 years.
But ‘these people’ who come to my office?
God. DAMN.

Wolf at the Door

For whatever reason, I was remembering a huge fight I got into with a former long-time (abusive) boyfriend. Even though he left 8 years ago, I find I am still dealing with the memory of the trauma he put me through…he manipulated the very way I viewed myself, things I formerly believed to be true or untrue about me became things I questioned.

I had moved from Texas to Rhode Island to be with him.
Huge change.
HUGE mistake.
To this day I do not know why I agreed to move to the northeast with him, we had been dating on and off for years as I very often would grow tired of his bullshit. We would split up and yet…we would end up together, again, because that is what happens with abusers. They are some smooth-talking sons of bitches.
I recall one afternoon I was taking a bath–with candles and bubble bath and etc. I was trying to treat myself a little bit as I was going through a serious mental breakdown after moving thousands of miles away from all of my family and friends and having NO ONE, really, except for that asshole who pretty much had bullied me into moving so far away.
No one.
I should also mention that I had no vehicle, either. It was totaled by a drunken Texan before I left the state of Texas. (Said Texan t-boned my vehicle by driving full tilt through a stop sign in a giant tank of a Lincoln. His wife showed up in another car to claim she had been driving–she was not even IN the vehicle–because her husband reeked of whiskey…but this is perhaps another story for another time.)
‘The Wolf’ (as I shall now refer to him) painted it as if Providence had this wonderful mass transit system and I would be fine.
I was not fine.
I felt like, and essentially WAS a captive.
Isolated.
Alone.
EXCEPT for the Wolf.
I did not even have my own set of keys to the apartment or the apartment building (once you were outside of the building, good luck getting in without a key), so it was impossible for me to leave and expect to be able to come back.
In fact, the only times I left the apartment or the apartment building was when he was available to drive me.
I sank into deeper and darker depression.
Daily I dreamed of slitting my wrists in a hot bath and leaving that cocksucker with the mess. Ultimately I decided not to go that particular route, as I could not imagine doing that to my dad and my brothers who lived all the way back in Kansas.
But, I digress.
I had lovely warm bath drawn for myself. As I soaked, my phone rang. It was still in the early days of cell phones, so my phone was a little silver flip phone (ha, remember those?). I had been chatting on the phone with a friend and my then-boyfriend/abuser was (unbeknownst to me) eavesdropping outside of my bathroom door (ours was a one-bedroom apartment with two baths).
I had locked the door, if for no other reason than I prefer my bath-time to be private. I have never had a very high self-esteem and I do not relish the thought of someone barging in while I am naked, regardless of who this person may be.
Apparently the door lock had no bearing upon the angry and delusional wolf who was eavesdropping outside of my bathroom door.
In fact, he was prepared to pick the lock.
When I ended my call, a sharp knock began to come from the other side of the door.
I shouted “WHAT??? I’m in the BATH.”
To which the growl came: “WHO THE FUCK WERE YOU ON THE PHONE WITH???!”
I shouted back to him: “Does it matter? I’m not your fucking wife. You don’t own me. Who I speak to on the phone is NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.”
At which point, the doorknob began to shake and rattle as the Wolf snarled: “LET ME IN GODDAMNIT!!!!”
I began to get out of the bath at this point and weigh my options. I had no way out or away from the Wolf. I was wet and naked, AND I was completely fucked.
I began to reach for my towel when the door BURST open. The Wolf took his hands, planted them on my chest and shoved me backwards into the tub. I hit my head on the tile wall of the tub, the soothing aromatherapy candles I had been burning were now turned over into the tub, hot wax had spilled on and was burning my flesh.
The Wolf grabbed my phone and ran out of the bathroom with it.
I began to give chase, even though I was dizzy from my head getting knocked against the shower wall. I was still wet, still naked and I had finally found my anger. I slipped about the floor, trying to find my footing and was able to catch up to the Wolf and grab the neck of his shirt. His fist came ’round at me and I ducked, my grasp so tight on his shirt that as he tried to get away from me, the buttons on his shirt began to pop off and hit the walls and the floor. Eventually his shirt gave way and ripped into shreds.
This did not stop him from running out the door to the apartment shirtless, with my phone in his hand.
The shrieking, squabbling and blood-curdling screaming coming from our apartment had aroused the curiosity of our neighbors.
I locked the deadbolt on the apartment, deciding I would be damned if I was going to let that fucking asshole back in, whether he had my phone or not.
I heard one of our neighbors talking to the Wolf out in the hallway of our building, in a hushed tone of concern.
AND. I could hear the Wolf spinning a clever lie about what had taken place in our apartment.
I dried myself off, dressed my burns and clothed my body, praying that I would just die.
At that time I did not see any way out of my situation.
I collapsed onto the floor and cried.
I wished more than anything that my mother was alive because I really needed her voice; her guidance. (I was too fearful to tell my father anything about my situation. In hindsight, I was afraid of his disappointment…of looking as though I had failed.)
The Wolf made his way back into the apartment, and over the next few weeks proceeded to drive my self-esteem down even further with a menagerie of snarky comments about my appearance and my mental state: “Maybe you should get a haircut.” “You look as though you’ve gained a few pounds. Perhaps you should get a gym membership.” “That outfit looks terrible on you. Especially around the waist.” “You’re really, REALLY fucked up. You need to get therapy.”
And et cetera.
I wish I could say that this particular altercation was the end of my relationship with the Wolf, but sadly it was not. He strangled me a few months later (Yes, I did black out. I came to about ten minutes later.) and we eventually separated and I moved to New York to live with friends. I wish I could say that was the end of him. I was stupid enough to move with him once again about a year later, this time to Boston–so he could act out his narcissistic dream of being some big-shot graphic designer for Puma.
The emotional abuse continued.
Thankfully, the physical abuse did not.
One day, when he told me how fat and unattractive I was, I decided “Fuck this.”
I joined a gym.
I became physically stronger.
One day, when he told me for the umpteen-thousandth time that there was “something REALLY WRONG” with my mind and that I needed “professional help,” I said to myself once again “Fuck this.”
I sought out a therapist.
When I asked him to come to a therapy session with me, he begrudgingly agreed.
AFTER the session, he yelled at me on the street–one block from my therapist’s office, belittling me and telling me that I had tricked him into going to a place where I had planned to gang up on him with my therapist.
As usual, it was all my fault.
When he left me two days after I was a bridesmaid in his sister’s wedding, I was crushed. But it wasn’t because I would be losing him, no. In hindsight, I was crushed because, for so long, the Wolf had told me who I was, what I was, how I was.
I was terrified that I was ALL of those things and much, much worse.
But ya know what?
I turns out I wasn’t ANY of what he was projecting on to me.
I wasn’t the villain he had always made me out to be.
I wasn’t the stick in the mud he had always told me I was.
I wasn’t terrible for just wanting to stay in on a Friday night.
I wasn’t stupid.
I wasn’t crazy.
He tried SO hard to hold on to his control of me. He wanted to “remain friends,” even after I found out he had been fucking some twenty-something horse-faced blonde (whom he had met via his work) behind my back. This is the same twenty-something airhead he had left me for. (NO wonder I was never invited to any of his work soirees.)
One day, I grew the nerve to totally cut him out of my life.
I lost his number, I deleted and blocked him from all social media outlets, I deleted and blocked mutual friends of ours from social media outlets as well.
Just to get rid of him.
Eventually, I heard through the grapevine how “badly I had upset him” by cutting him out.
My mind began replaying all of the times he told me how I was a bad person and how I just cut people out of my life all the time for no good reason except for my stubbornness.
So. AM I a bad person for doing that?
Answer:
Ya know what?
I don’t give a flying fuck.

What Good Are Ya?

must apologize for my inconsistency. I think the fact that the weather has been a bit warmer has led to my becoming a bit less reclusive and I have admittedly been outdoors working in the garden (READ: getting eaten alive by mosquitoes, drowning myself in DEET and THEN there was the poison ivy–good grief, I felt as though I looked like a leper there for awhile).

I shall continue on with my “Il Postino” tale now. 😉

*************************************************************************

After The Humanoids’ reunion show at Great Scott, I still continued to see my friend Josh; postally, of course. We would often times discuss horror movies (Turned out that he was a HUGE horror movie fan, JUST LIKE ME. Imagine my joy at finding a kindred spirit!), The Walking Dead, music and other random stuff. Occasionally, if I was mailing cookies to someone, I would save some out to give to him.

We would message one another on occasion; I found out that he had the same kind of horrible, bloody, zombie/demon-filled nightmares that I had always had. Oftentimes, we would share our ‘nightmares.’ (Or dreams, as I have always called them–mostly because they happened so often for me that I just assumed they were merely dreams. Not nightmares.)

Actually, one day I should write about some of my nightmares–I’ve been told they are more horrifying than most anything “regular” people can think up.

But, I digress…

At one point, I began a long-distance relationship with a man whom I had briefly dated before, when I lived in Texas. He was very kind and loving and loved to spoil me. By all points and purposes I would have found a way to be happy with him…and eventually, I told myself, I was going to be happy with him.

Josh, not knowing that my boyfriend at the time was living in Texas, invited me and said boyfriend to join him and his wife for drinks one evening, and it was then that I had to explain my long-distance situation.

QUICK TANGENT–When you are in a long-distance relationship, and you explain it aloud (or in print) to someone, you realize: “Boy. This sounds REALLY fucking stupid. Like, a waste of my time stupid.”

In hindsight, I wanted to become settled with someone, and at that point, I had given up on “Mister Right,” “Prince Charming,” “THE One,” or whatever you want to call that mythical person with whom you are supposed to fall madly in love with. I had, quite honestly, decided that the phrase “there is someone for everyone” was pure and simple BULLSHIT. I decided that all of that ‘destiny’ crap didn’t exist and that it was okay to not love everything about any one person.

I found a man who was good and kind, dedicated to his job and his hobbies, who wanted to care for me and spoil me. Someone who promised me that I likely wouldn’t have to work again; just take care of the house, make art and jewelry, and maybe have a couple of kids.

I discussed my relationship and current boyfriend with my friend, Josh, although I NEVER voiced to him any of the myriad of doubts I was having about picking up and moving from Boston back to Texas to become (what I assumed I was on track to becoming) an eventual trophy wife.

I hated the idea, actually.

I was TERRIFIED of moving that far, once again.

My unconscious mind told me that I wasn’t going to do it.

My CONSCIOUS mind, however, took it’s sweet time coming to that realization.

Anyhow.

Josh and I would also complain to one another about how dreadfully awful it is to work in Brookline, Massachusetts; home to every old, crazed, cheap, skinflint fuck that has more money than GOD. Oftentimes, we would joke about all of the “corpses” in Brookline.

In fact, one of my favorite messages I ever received from Josh on the subject was: “Um, did you ever notice that the burial ground from Poltergeist was based on a true story? Yeah, the whole town of Brookline. Haha. I know, not that amusing, but totally true.”

Among other topics of discussion were Josh’s sickly dog (who is now-a-days a ‘regular dog’), his band, how I hate driving and yet double-hate the MBTA, Josh’s bff moving back to Boston and etc, etc.

By the spring of 2012, I hadn’t heard a heckuva lot out of Josh, but I chalked it up to being busy with life in general. I know I was busy attending multiple weddings that spring and beginning to plan (UGHHH) an eventual move back to Texas. I saw Josh a couple of times at the post office and we exchanged pleasantries, but didn’t really have any in-depth conversation. At this point, I just figured that it was for the best.

He had his life and I had mine.

And the two didn’t intersect.

And, sad as that was, even though we got along VERY well, I had to accept the fact that our paths just didn’t cross.

One day in early May, I was on my way to work via public transit, perusing social media.

And I saw something that made me very upset.

Josh’s “relationship status” had changed from “married” to “single.”

Of course I was instantly angry at that horseface-giant gum-having hussy he was married to, because my friend Josh was such a good, upstanding guy, I could not imagine him being the perpetrator of the demise of his own marriage.

I sent him a quick message that stated quite simply: “Look. I just saw something online that makes me wonder how you are doing. I don’t know what has happened, but know I am thinking of you. I you want to talk or have a beer or anything, don’t hesitate to let me know. No pressure.”

Josh suggested grabbing a beer the next evening.

I said that I was paying, because if you can’t help a friend out when they’re down, then what good are ya?

Meet The Gums

Okay.
So.
I will now continue with the ‘Il Postino’ story.
I tend to get sidetracked, as I’m sure you may be very well aware, ESPECIALLY if you actually know me (in real life). It is my suspicion that having a conversation with me is quite tiring at times because if there is an available tangent to go off on, I will do it. 😉
If you’ve been attempting to keep up with my crazy-making, I do thank you.
If you’d like to re-read the previous parts of this story you may do so at the following links below (I put them in ORDER! I know, I know, it’s shocking.):

The evening of the (aforementioned) Humanoids’ reunion show arrived.

Of course I had no date, so I decided to attend the show by myself.
It was August, I believe, and it was HOT, muggy and buggy outside. I hadn’t had the time to paint my fingers or toes and I felt quite naked (especially because my shoe choice was a cute black canvas peep-toe wedge and I could see my naked, polish-less toes), but I decided I would probably live.
I pulled on a black tank top, jeans and a very lightweight white cardigan…uhhhh, yeah. Totally doesn’t sound like a great rock show ensemble, now does it?
I made certain to arrive early as I did not know what time Il Postino’s band went on and I didn’t want to risk missing them.
After a shitball ride on public transit (a trolley-full of spoiled-brat college kids), I arrived in Allston and began walking towards my destination.
I nervously entered the venue (Great Scott) and decided I needed some social lubricant as soon as humanly possible.
I bellied up to the bar and ordered a beer.
Moments later, I saw him: Il Postino/Josh–in all of his rock-n-roll glory. Leather pants, black leather boots, tank top and a black leather vest that was covered in multiple patches and other accoutrements.
Josh came over to me and gave me a hug, and said, “Oh, man! You came??!!? That’s great! Aw, awesome!!!”
I laughed and said, “Well, I figured if I was potentially going to make rings for you and your bandmates, I should probably know what you guys sound like?”
Then, I immediately began asking him about all of the awesome things on his leather vest–various patches, but mostly I was interested in these two fantastic cobras that were made of either brass or bronze and were almost three-dimensional.
As he was telling me about how he hand-sewed all of the patches on his vest himself, I noticed he glanced over towards my right.
I held my tongue momentarily as a woman stepped from behind me and in between Josh and I.
Josh then said: “Elissa, this is Libby. Libby, this is my friend, Elissa.”
The moment I had waited for.
The moment I had dreaded.
The “meet-the-wife.”
Fuck.
I turned to see a tall-ish, blonde-ish woman, who in my opinion was not attractive in the least. I mean, sure, her skin appeared to be nice, but her face resembled that of a horse. Her teeth were fucking HUGE. Her gums were also frighteningly huge. (Um. Sidebar/tangent? There was a kid in high school whom also possessed very large gums, a few of us referred to him as “Gumby.” Sometimes, we weren’t so nice as teens, huh? Anyway…)
I thought to myself: “SURELY she’s got a good personality. SURELY she’s not a total turd.” 
I offered my hand and she un-enthusiastically accepted; her handshake was terrible. Limp. A dead fish would have been warmer and more lively. (FYI: I decided within this very moment that I hated her. Not because of the fact that she was married to Josh; you have to understand I was taught by my father to always have a good handshake and never to trust the character or intentions of anyone who did not have a good handshake.)
While barely stomaching her piss-poor handshake, I said: “Hi! I’m Elissa, it’s so good to meet you. I know your husband from the post office. Quite a fella you have there! I had no idea he could sew?? Girl, you need to get on that–go get some patterns and fabric–he’s got talent!”
Her response to me was simply: “Huh? Oh. Hi. Wait. What?”
I repeated my quip about having Josh sew wonderful clothing for her.
She didn’t respond verbally, but the look on her face was enough for me to know she wasn’t impressed with my attempted witticism. It was sort of a hateful sneer.
She obviously fancied herself a photographer, as she had a huge, rather-expensive-looking camera on her person. (I found out later she attended NESOP.) She excused herself (I’m assuming to go do important “photographer” things) and Josh and I continued our conversation until it was time for his band to go on.
Feeling even MORE self-conscious than I previously had following my unexpected ‘meet-and-greet,’ I slowly crept into the audience and as near the stage as I dared; I didn’t want to anger the wife, as I understand how touchy women can be about ‘female friends.’ (I mean, duh! I, myself, have been touchy about ‘female friends’ before–I understood universally that I needed to tread lightly.)
Thankfully I did not encounter her while watching The Humanoids’ set. The music was definitely (thankfully) rock-n-roll/metal. I had no idea that Josh was the lead singer, and I was dumbstruck at the sheer power of his voice. I stood, transfixed, until their set was over.  It was unbelievably awesome.
I then scurried back to the bar.
I wasn’t sure when I was going to leave, but my nerves needed soothing once again (hello, anxiety), so I ordered a beer. And another beer.
Josh found me and we were talking to one another, his bandmate walked by and handed me some CD’s of The Humanoids’ music, saying “Here! Give these to all of your friends!”
The wife approached Josh and said she was leaving, she was going home.
“Home,” I thought to myself, “Where her ugly, non-personality-having, terrible-handshaking, horse-toothed-giant-gums-having ass gets to live with this very handsome and talented fellow and I get to live with my cat.” (NOT that Nicodemus isn’t A-Number-The-One in my book, because he is!!!)
Sometimes, I guessed, life just isn’t fair.
I resolved that as a friend, I would never be negative to Josh about his wife’s blatant lack of looks and personality. After all, he married her, so there must have been something about that horsey twit that was at least marginally redeeming…right?
After ‘the wife’ left, I sat and had another beer with Josh. Things were beginning to get a little fuzzy around the edges and I figured it was likely getting to be time for me to hail a cab and go home. Someone had purchased what appeared to be a double shot of whiskey for Josh.
As I finished my beer and excused myself to leave, I glanced at the whiskey.
“You gonna finish that?” I said, one eyebrow raised.
Josh laughed and said “Why, you want it? I don’t know if I can. Someone bought it for me.”
I picked up the glass and slugged it back.
I said my goodbye and disappeared out into the muggy night, hailed a cab and went home.
I remember I sort-of slid into the cab face first and I silently prayed that Josh did not see me stumble-bumming myself into the back of a cab.
At this point, my memory goes black.
The next morning, I was uncertain as to how I arrived at home. I awoke in my bed in only my undergarments, which I thought was a bit out-of-character for me since I seldom sleep without pajamas.
Fighting a hang-over (quite unsuccessfully, I might add–should NOT have drank that whiskey. How does the adage go? “Beer before liquor…” Um. Yeeeeeeah.), I tried to piece together the end of my evening.
I was able to re-confirm that I had taken a cab as I found my cab receipt in the elevator of my building.
Oops.
I had hoped I hadn’t made a total asshole of myself, but another part of me didn’t really care.
After all, I was a pretty girl with normal-sized teeth and gums.
I also had an excellent handshake.
And I only had to answer to a cat.

It’s Gonna Be Alright

So. It’s been awhile since I’ve felt like writing…I suppose those last two may have done me in a little bit. At least for awhile, anyway. Life happens and then the next thing you know, you haven’t written a word in almost a month and you’re wondering if you really care to do so.

And then, you talk to an old friend/mentor who urges you not to stop, not to get off of that horse…and so here I am (thank you for the push, Mo).

Writing.

You know, it was primarily my own spite that forced me to post the account (I HATE using the word “story” here) of my rape.
I wanted to begin a conversation about the atrocities of rape on my facebook page and I noticed that no one would comment on it. HOWEVER…when I posted some stupid cat photo ten minutes later, people were all over it (cats ARE awesome, though).
I thought to myself: “Why…I’ll show you; I’ll show you ALL. Let’s talk about this because it’s important. Because it’s something YOU don’t want to talk about but I DO.”
Because I’m alllllllllllllll about making people uncomfortable.
It’s kind of like a favorite pastime of mine, really.
So. Anyway. I guess I also have to thank myself for my stubbornness and tenacity.
I never thought I would be able to share my horrible, life-altering experience online, to the few people I do know and the millions I do not.
After I did it, I kind of felt a twinge of remorse, like “Oh. Shit. What did I just do?”
I anxiously waited to see how my account was received.
And you know what??
I had NO idea the overwhelming response I would get from people. Like, overwhelmingly positive and loving.
During my therapy session that particular week, I read comments people had left, text messages people had sent and excerpts of emails people had sent to me.
I read them aloud and was shocked at how incredibly emotional I became.
I shook all over as I read through tears and sobbing.
I had a HUGE breakthrough that evening.
My fourteen year-old self, who has felt for the past 25 years that she was not being heard, was not being cared about or attended to, finally felt heard. Finally felt validated. Finally felt like instead of being judged for what happened to her, she was being loved and supported by those who care about her.
It’s funny how the mind works.
I noted about three hours after my therapy breakthrough that I had an early Beatle’s song running through my head. The Beatles, whom I had not (and still have not) listened to at length since I was 14 years of age. Since before I was raped. I used to listen to them on cassette tape on the one Walkman in my family’s home. (Yeah, THAT is how old I am!)
I felt like that was a sign from my younger self.
A postcard.
To let my now-39-year-old-self know that my 14-year-old-self was finally going to be okay.
And she is okay.
And I am okay.
And we are gonna be okay.
I will be back with more words. Very soon.
Just. You. Wait.

Aftermath

In the hours following the rape, I went through what I now recognize to be classic symptoms of shock. Uncontrollable shaking, the feeling of being extremely cold, so on and so forth.

After leaving the school, I went to my mother’s place of work (which happened to be about a five block distance from the high school). I walked here mostly every day after school.
This day, the distance to my mother’s office seemed to be twenty miles.
Once there, I BEGGED her to take me home.
PLEADED.
She told me she wasn’t able to take me; she was unable to leave work.
I threw such a fit that she ended up leaving work to take me home.
When I say I threw a fit, I mean I completely lost my shit, toddler-tantrum style.
Crying, howling and screaming, I am certain now that I must have more closely resembled a wounded animal than a fourteen-year-old girl.
Once we were in the car, my mother gently touched my face.
“What is WRONG with you, Lissa-Bethy?”
I sat, sobbing in the passenger seat of the 1977 Ford Thunderbird, thankful to be sitting on those red vinyl seats; thankful to be in the company of someone I loved so dearly, someone who cared for me in the most nurturing and loving way possible…wishing I could tell her what had transpired.
I hid my face from her and through my sobs I said “I…d..d..don’t…I…I..I…I CAN’T TALK ABOUT IT NOW.” I then erupted into louder, more ugly sobs.
I could literally feel the concern exuding from my mother.
We did not exchange conversation on the drive to my parent’s house.
I sat, sobbing, waiting for the ride to end–hoping and praying that once I got home, once I got to the place I felt the safest, that this would all go away.
But.
It didn’t.
I remember sitting in my bedroom, listening to Nine Inch Nail’s ‘Pretty Hate Machine’ that evening, followed by 10,000 Maniacs’ song “Eat For Two.” I began to contemplate suicide that very moment.
Initially, I contemplated suicide because I was afraid I was pregnant from the rape. Keep in mind, at 14 years of age, I had no tangible idea how sex/reproduction actually worked…so naturally, I assumed the worst of consequences.
I did not know how I could explain a pregnancy to my parents without explaining the rape.
I could not explain the rape to anyone because of the threat that loomed above my head: “Don’t fucking tell anyone. If you do, remember I know where you live. I know where your family lives.”
I wept uncontrollably for hours on the floor of my bedroom, trying to rationalize the best way to end my life if I were, in fact, pregnant.
This actually brings me to an aside regarding the rather touchy subject of abortion. I am decidedly and unapologetically pro-choice. NO WOMAN should be expected to carry a child that is a result of rape/molestation/incest. Do NOT fight me on this, do NOT preach to me that my soul will go to hell (which doesn’t exist in the afterlife–it exists on earth and I have been there). If you are pro-life and we are friends, we will have to agree to disagree. Period. If you haven’t been there yourself, you can never know that feeling of dread. You can never know that horror. You can never and should never expect a woman to carry the burden of a pregnancy from rape.
I would have rather died.
The next month brought April showers and, thankfully,  my period.
I was as happy as I could be about that, or as happy as a teenage victim of rape can be when she discovers she is not carrying the devil’s child in her womb.
I took up smoking.
I tried drinking.
I experimented with drugs.
I tried SO desperately to numb out from the cesspool of shit my life had recently become.
I became angry and hateful in general. I began to lash out at everyone. I began to get into fights with other girls. I got into fights with boys. I adopted the attitude of “Fuck you. Fuck this. Fuck everyone and everything. I don’t give a fuck.”
For ten months I existed in this hell, not knowing the hell that awaited me would be worse.
One morning in November, I had parked my car in the back parking lot of the high school. I was getting my books et al out of the passenger side of the car (that glorious ’77 T-Bird), when a classmate of mine approached me.
She said to me: “Hey, Elissa. I need to ask you a question.”
We spoke to one another so rarely, I couldn’t even fathom what she was going to ask.
What she then said to me rocked my perception of everything I knew.
She said to me: “Did X rape you, too? Because he raped me.”
I don’t remember what my verbal response was.
I remember hearing my books hit the ground, but not really realizing what was going on.
I remember the tears rolling down my cheeks. They were hot.
I remember the whole world seemed to go fuzzy.
She and I embraced.
For a long time.
We both cried long into the start of the first class period of the day.
And then, somehow, we ended up in the principal’s office (I loved Bennie Frantz–he was a good man). My classmate and I, forever bonded by the horror that X had bestowed upon both of us.
We each told Mr. Frantz our stories.
I believe my classmate and I held hands throughout the re-living of our horror.
I don’t remember her story. I barely remembered telling mine.
My life was a haze.
My parents were notified, despite my DESPERATE pleading with Mr. Frantz NOT to call them. (Please don’t call them, PLEASE don’t tell them, oh God, oh God, oh GOD, PLEEAAAASE.)
I remember the looks on my parents’ faces.
Pale.
Sickened.
I felt so ashamed. I felt as if the whole ordeal was my fault.
My face was a fountain of mucous and tears. If dying meant that I didn’t have to experience this pain, that I didn’t have to witness my parents’ pain, then I wanted to die.
It was decided that the next plan of action would be to inform the police.
My classmate and I were eventually appointed a lawyer, as neither one of our families could afford one. I don’t remember our lawyer’s name (Jan? Janis? Something like that…), but she was a fucking dud. I remember feeling certain she sided with our rapist.
I recall giving a deposition.
I recall being told what the defense would say to me. X had hired ‘an expensive lawyer’ from Hutchinson, Kansas (in hindsight, I do not know how his fucking white trash whore mother paid for that…I’m almost certain she paid for every-fucking-thing in blowjobs).
The defense would call me a whore, they would tell me I asked for it, they would attack what I was wearing, they would attack my character, they would make the jury believe that a football player AND a wrestling star would NEVER rape a woman–it was preposterous. (“He’s a good boy! People LIKE him! He plays sports!”)
I recall becoming very angered and standing up from my seat.
I leaned across the table, pointing my index finger at and speaking through clenched teeth to our (piece of shit) lawyer: “Listen here, you fucking cunt…”
And my father grabbed me by the seat of my ass, sat me back down and said to me in a very hushed tone: “Beth. This woman is trying to help y…”
I interrupted and countered with: “TRYING TO HELP MY ASS. Fuck this bitch. She doesn’t know her ass from a fucking hole in the ground!!!”
My father apologized for me.
My mother was in shock from the entire event.
Ultimately, it was decided that the case would not go to trial due to inconclusive evidence.
In plain-talk, it basically boiled down to the fact that it would have been our word against his.
The word of TWO GIRLS against THE SAME RAPIST.
It seems as though that would have worked, but my mental state was not a good one.
Not at all.
And it continued to be very poor.
In hindsight, I doubt I would have survived a trial.
Once the ‘incident’ was out in the open, I became a regular target at school for bullying from X, J, and C and their numerous friends. Daily, I heard insults such as “whore,” “slut,” “lying cunt,” and so on and so forth.
Teachers regarded me differently.
Friends also regarded me differently.
I felt EVERYONE regarded me differently, and I wanted to die because of that.
I began to cut myself in order to FEEL something, ANYthing that wasn’t what I was constantly feeling: depression, anger, sadness, shame…
I still have the scars, some of which I have had tattooed over (eventually, they will all be tattooed over).
I recall my parents taking me to a therapist in Wichita. She was HORRIBLE.
She was far too concerned with my relationship with God and not concerned enough with the fact that I had been violated sexually by a classmate, WHO continued to bully me at school (back in the days before social media, where bullies were not shut down and made into examples).
I walked out of her office even more angry than I was when I walked in.
My dad said to me: “Beth, do you think that lady is going to be able to help you?”
My flat response left little doubt: “Fuck that bitch. I will never see her again.”
Needless to say, it took years–wait, decades, actually, and moving many states away from my home state in order to find a therapist who did me ANY good AT ALL.

It’s Time the Tale Was Told…

Preface: I was initially not going to write about this until a couple of things happened. Number one: I saw the face of my rapist and who I assume is his wife pop up in my Facebook feed under “People You May Know” yesterday. Though it DID shake me, I was more horrified to learn that this monster grew up to have children. One is a GIRL. I sat and wondered if she would ever know what a fucking horrible monster her father was/is. Number two: I realized via Facebook that I DO have support; that many people never even KNEW that I was raped.

As a part of my own healing, it is imperative that I tell the tale of what happened to me that day. I do not tell this to you to ask for your sympathy or your prayers or whatever-else you are inclined to do. I write this now so that I might make a difference, no matter how small, in the life of someone who has suffered a similar injustice.

So now, I share with you my story.

***************

It happened 24 years ago.

The fact that time could pass me by (or any/all of us, really) so quickly is frightening.
So much can happen in 24 years.
It’s strange to me, still, that an event that has happened so long ago could still be interwoven into the very fabric of my being, my personality, my belief system…what changed me immediately, the very act that made me a victim, also served to make me stronger; to make me a survivor.
Of course I didn’t realize any of this until recently.
It’s all in how you look at things, I suppose. That’s not to say I haven’t spent oodles and gobs of time in therapy: examining every detail and every feeling over and over and over again until I just didn’t want to think of it any longer. Until I just wished I had committed suicide after that horrible event.
I am talking about the day I was raped.
I was a fourteen-year-old girl on that day in March. Even though I had a somewhat rudimentary knowledge at the time of what sex was and that it was useful for procreation (Helloooooo, ancient sex-ed videos in the fifth grade, anyone? Christ.), I wasn’t terribly concerned with it because I had other things to worry about; fitting in (which I never managed to achieve, and in hindsight I am SO glad for this), make-up and how to apply it, what the homecoming dance would be like and what I would wear, WHY was my mother so vehemently opposed to my dying my hair black…y’know, typical things that fourteen-year-old girls SHOULD be worried about.
I had dated an “upper classman” for a short period of time the previous fall. My parents were SO NOT happy about this. I recall my father meeting this “upper classman” once when he came to my house to pick me up for a date. My father’s intuition about this boy was so right on the mark–I wish my father would have punched him out and locked me away until I was better at listening to my own intuitions.
Anyway, things with this boyfriend went south when I heard through the grapevine that my he was screwing one of the cheerleaders at my school. I broke off with him. I remember confronting him in the halls of my high school and forcefully THROWING his class ring at him, using some choice words like “motherfucker” or “worthless asshole” or “fucking dick” or something equally as colorful. (I have ALWAYS sworn like a sailor. If you can’t handle it, you should probably stop reading ANYTHING I write. You will be offended again and again.)
The particular day in question was like any other horrible day in high school. (I HATED high school, for those of you who LOVED it, I’d think you’d best re-evaluate your life–if high school was the best time in your life, then you have not lived. Truly.)
My day was unremarkable, and I was plagued by the usual teen-angst that usually stems from teen heartbreak and blah, blah, blah.
It had been about 3-4 months since I had hucked that wanna-be Josten’s heap of shit siladium ring (purchased at Walmart) at my former crush (whom I shall refer to as ‘X’ for the purpose of this writing). Since I lived in a small town (6,000 people, give or take) and attended a small high school (92 people in my graduating class), I had the unfortunate opportunity of seeing X about school on a regular basis, and of course hearing all about his sexual escapades with girls from both my school and from the schools of surrounding towns (of which I am now certain about 60-70% of these encounters were likely rape situations).
But, I digress.
The particular day in question was like any other horrible day in high school. I recall being on the second floor near the library. The lockers were yellow at the time (perhaps they still are). I was walking from my English classroom to the Drama/Journalism classroom when X presented himself directly and said to me: “Hi!,” he said, “What are you doing after school? I’d like to talk to you.”
I remember looking at him very suspiciously.
I was not a cheerleader, nor a blonde, nor was I popular. I couldn’t fathom why he would even be addressing me, much less why he would want to talk to me??
I believe I said something like: “You want to talk…to ME. After school. About…what, exactly?”
He replied in a smarmy manner “Well, if you want to know, you’ll have to find out.”
My intuition screamed at me: “NO NO NO NO! This guy fucked a cheerleader BEHIND YOUR BACK. Don’t do it. Whatever he has to say does not matter because he is a lying sack of shit!”
Unfortunately, at fourteen, I had not learned to listen to that little nagging voice in my brain that was oftentimes full of suspicion and dread. I agreed to meet with him after school.
It was only talking at the school. What was the harm?
How regretful I was that I had NOT listened to my inner voice. I am still regretful that I did not listen to that inner voice.
I have been told/learned that this is the guilt that all victims of rape feel; “If only I would have/would not have…”, and/or “I wish I would have done ______ instead…”
I have blamed myself for decades at this point. Through over a decade of therapy, I know the fact that I was raped was NOT my fault. This I consciously know. But it doesn’t quell the feeling that I somehow did something wrong.
I met with X after school on the second floor with the yellow lockers. Outside the library.
I was nervous. I felt nauseous. I told myself the conversation would be over soon and I would walk to my mother’s work immediately afterward.
He wanted me to walk with him. He said he had something to show me. We left the second floor of the building, down to the first floor, on to the gym and eventually outdoors–behind the building. I had assumed perhaps his car was parked back there and that this was the end of line and I would be headed home soon.
But his car was not there.
He had something to show me in the basement of the school. In the wrestling practice room.
I had never gone to this part of the school before, and, as with most basements, I immediately felt uncomfortable. This needed to be over and I needed to leave.
It was then that I realized two of X’s friends were in the wrestling practice area, as well. J. And C.
I had never really considered either of these boys before–both had seemed relatively benign, and other than not liking them by their association to the cheating scoundrel X, I didn’t really have any issue with them. I assumed X and I would talk, I would leave and they would finish doing whatever wrestling-related things that boys who participated in wrestling did in their ‘practice time.’
I nodded hello to both of his friends.
Of course I did not realize their role was to be the ‘lookouts.’
X ushered me to a room that was padded in green, with mirrors on the walls.
I recall muttering something like “So this is the practice area, huh? Huh.”
At which point, X grabbed me about the waist. He tried kissing me and I responded by turning my face away from him and attempting to push him away.
“What the fuck are you doing?!! You know you’re not my boyfriend. You made that clear months ago when you fucked that stupid cheerleader. REMEMBER?”
Once again, he pressed himself against me. I realized I could feel his erect penis through my clothing. I didn’t know it were possible, but I became even more uncomfortable that I already was.
I immediately wanted out of that room. He was attempting to take off my clothes and was met with my resistance at every turn.
“C’mon. Let’s fuck,” he growled.
“NO. NOOOO! I…I have to go. Also, we can’t have sex. I could get pregnant and…”
He grabbed at his crotch and I saw his pants were unzipped.
He then said to me, “No, you won’t. I have a condom on.”
I started for the door and he grabbed me around my waist. I struggled to free myself and landed promptly on the floor. He had used some wrestling move to put me there. A leg sweep, perhaps (I do not currently, nor will I ever know or want to know the correct term)?
And then he was on top of me.
He was heavy. And I couldn’t break free.
I began to cry. I began to try to reason my way out of the situation. I struggled. I prayed for God to deliver me from my situation.
My prayers went unanswered.
I BEGGED him to PLEASE STOP.
Please stop.
Just please STOP STOP STOP STOP.
As I begged he forcefully removed my black leggings and my underwear (from one leg only) and SHOVED his member into me.
I remember pain.
I remember tears streaming down my face.
I remember looking at the mirrors on the wall, watching this girl…this girl who certainly could not be me…watching this 110 lb, sobbing girl who was trapped underneath a grunting 18-year old male. This could certainly not be ME.
Could it?
After he had finished, he grabbed both of my wrists; his face likely less than 3 inches from mine.
He then licked my face.
I nearly vomited.
He said to me “Don’t fucking tell anyone. If you do, remember I know where you live. I know where your family lives.”
I thought of my brothers. My younger brothers. My baby brothers. I was protective of them as a child, I was protective of them in that moment and I am still protective of them, even in our adult years. I couldn’t bear the thought of anyone hurting my brothers, moreover I could not bear the thought of my brothers being hurt because OF ME.
X loosened his hold on me.
He stood up, looked at me in what I understood to be hatred and disgust and said “Get up.”
He left the wrestling practice room.
Bewildered and ashamed, I put my leg back into the leg of my underpants, back into the leg of my black leggings.
I walked out into the main practice area and met the faces of J, C and X.
I remember the faces of the two lookouts; expressionless.

I walked up the steps and out into the back parking lot of the high school. Into the cold sunlight of late March. I heard laughter behind me, in the wrestling practice area.
The word ‘rape‘ was not a word I was familiar with.,.perhaps in church, in some Old Testament shit that I didn’t pay attention to.

I knew I had been forced to do something that I did NOT want to do.
And I felt it was my fault.
I remember going to my mother’s place of work after leaving the high school.
She knew something was wrong as I was visibly upset. She asked me why I was upset and for the first time in my life, I could not tell her. I was fearful of the repercussions.
I told her I didn’t feel well and that I needed to go home. I kept telling her I felt sick.
I wanted home.
I just wanted home.
I just wanted home and my momma.
But I couldn’t tell my momma, and she couldn’t make it better.
This is all I can handle for now.
Please excuse me. Even though 24 years has passed, writing this has made me physically ill.