Wednesday, May 30, 2012

A Question For the Masses Re: Dreams and Parenthood

ESPECIALLY single parenthood.

I know that a lot of married mothers (especially mormon moms - whom I was raised by and around - as it's soooo discouraged for them to work outside the home) sacrifice their pre-marriage/pre-mommy dreams to devote their life to parenting.
My mom gave up everything for us. She did music here and there but.... I often wonder, if she hadn't had 9 children and stayed home with us, would she be a big-time concert pianist? Probably. But her biggest dream was to be a mom.

When I found out I was pregnant with Sophia, I knew a few things instantly:

  • I would vow to myself and her to be grateful for every moment, because she was a gift, even if she wasn't planned. It's not her fault that she was born into a single-parent home.
  • Her father would not be any help, and I had to accept that I signed on for that.
  • My dreams would be put on hold until she was school-aged and I felt okay about spending more time on "me" stuff.
this worked out fine. 
I worked very part time and lived with my parents until she was 2 and a half, and then I got a full-time job and moved out on my own (which started a series of crazy disasters in my life).
When she was 3 years old I met the man I thought I was going to marry. We moved in together, got engaged, and I was happily thinking that this would be my ticket to a little more room to "grow" into my dreams. 
Less than a month after we got engaged, and a mere few days after he cried "happy tears" at my 7 week ultrasound, (oh yeah, I found out I was pregnant about 2 weeks after we got engaged) he dumped me for his ex-girlfriend, kicking me and my daughter out of his house and back into my parent's house.

OK, sigh, dreams on hold again. I was still only 23 years old. PLENTY of time. Right? We even had to put some of my daughter's stuff on hold.. her dance classes. The trip to Disneyland.
Last year, we finally went to Disneyland. And I worked up my courage and went to voice lessons and got myself pulled together and went to several auditions, all of which tore down the confidence that I'd been building up all this time.

Other things transpired, tragedies occurred, life... just happens. Life keeps life-ing, and I feel that line, "head under water, and you tell me to breathe easy for a while" [sara bareilles] is my life's theme. 
This year, relegated to Keyboard II at a fairly prestigious local theater where I've been in the orchestra for 13 (yes, 13) years, I'm feeling the void in my life. Excruciatingly. 
My son will be 3 in July. I will be 28 in August.
I can't remember the last time I went to a voice lesson, or really worked on my piano skills. My job doesn't challenge me or even excite me. It's been years since they gave me "the good part". I just get to fill in string, percussion, harp, etc so they don't have to hire 12 other musicians. 
It's not that I can't do it...
I think they can see that I've stopped loving it too. And I've become a different (less alive) person over the last 4 years. 
It hasn't been easy. I lost my brother. I fell in love hard, with a few different men (not all at once, jerk), and they all broke my heart and stomped all over it like it was a bug to squish.
It kinda feels like a squished up bug lately.
My son has been a trial that I never, ever expected, after 4 years of raising a brilliant, obedient and sweet, even-tempered girl....
Now I have a brilliant, disobedient, blatantly contrary son with a MAJOR temper that drives him to senseless violence.
He's adorable, and I love his guts. But he takes up every second of my time, and every ounce of my energy + some.
I've had to deal with a car accident that totaled my car, and the physical recovery time plus financial recovery (still recovering), a bogus DUI, lawsuits, court dates, car repossessions, moving around, job hunting.. failures.... mind-numbing depression.

When do I have time to work on me?
People tell me, try to write music.... they say, my foot in the door will be turning my poetry into music and singing it for people. I'd love to.
But you wanna know how long my LONGEST session at piano (besides at work) has been in the past YEAR? 
5 minutes.
And 3 of those were me desperately trying to learn a song by ear while my son banged on the higher register.  

I gave up in tears.

Wanna know how many poems/lyrics I've written in the past SEVEN years?
Probably about seven. Whereas before, I could bust out 7 in a day, on a good day.

Even the little things.. Zumba, Karaoke.. stuff I really enjoy that keeps my body and voice in shape... things that I made sure I was doing because it kept my head slightly above water most days... I have to give up, for the most part, so that I can make a living, and when I'm not making a living, make sure my kids still know I'm here for them.

My question is THIS:

Can a primary parent, particularly a single mom or dad with full custody, be both a good parent, support their family financially AND follow their dreams?

or is it just a selfish wish that I need to put aside?
Is it important enough that I'm truly fulfilled instead of just sometimes okay (if I'm lucky), that I should spend that much less time with my children, focusing on them?
Is it important for them to see me "go for it" and maybe fail sometimes, maybe succeed once or twice, so that they have an example? 
Because god forbid they don't follow their dreams. 
I want nothing more than for them to be happy. But can I do both? Can I follow mine and be enough of a parent to help them achieve theirs, and give them a happy life full of love and beauty?

Digging even further, do I need to... "redefine my happiness" and force myself somehow to be completely fulfilled simply being a mom, even though I think I was BORN with these dreams inside of me? I'm not throwing that one out as a possibility.

but... is it possible within the realm of any reality?!

lately, my brain is telling me no. Big fat fucking no. Hell, one of my dreams is to get married one day, and I can't even get out and date, so....

Right now I'm looking at going to school for women's psychology (if I can get enough grants/loans to mostly live off that and not have to work 2 jobs because that'd defeat the point).

It's sensible. I could get a well-paid job when I'm done.
It's logical. 
I might even love it. I have loved the idea, at times...
But then I think about how much I want to sing.... how much I want to be  able to do the things I see so many other people doing. And my heart sinks.

Please, discuss, comment? Suggestions? Anything... I'm really interested in opinions and ideas.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

The "Duh!" Moment That Changed My Life

I had this "duh" moment a while ago. I won't call it an epiphany because it seems too stupid that I didn't have it figured out to begin with.

See, I've had a really, really difficult 4-5 years. It really started in 2007 but didn't really knock me on my ass til Feb/March of 2008. I haven't ever fully gotten back up.

And all along the way I've blamed a lot of people and things, and some of those people, I won't back down on blaming. They were assholes. They sucked. They did bad things to me.
Buuut.. in the end.... (and this is an epiphany I've shared before, so it's not what I'm writing about) how you react to a situation is the only thing you can control. The only thing.
I had to learn that and at this point in my life I know now that my biggest obstacle to happiness is MY OWN DAMN SELF.
Stupid self. IDK why I've been denying my happiness all this time, and I'm still not THERE, but I know kinda how to get there. I'm getting the idea. 

I'm a little slow. Sorry universe. It's hit me over the head with a few bricks to let me know I'm kinda dumb.

The DUH moment actually came somewhere in between this time last year and.. uh.. now. I'm really not sure exactly when it occurred to me, but when it did it really changed a lot of things. Like, I stopped losing friends all the time.
And I wasn't like that dumb angry bitch ANYMORE, whose anger and bitterness was only hurting HER. (Me).

"Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned." - Buddha

Buddha was a smart motherfucker.

See I had this problem.

I'm single and I hated married people. Weddings pissed me off. My friends being in happy relationships pissed me off. I didn't want to see it, I didn't want to hear it. I mean, I had some legit reasons (you don't have time for ME anymore, jerks!) buuuut mostly it was just this:

I felt like if I can't have it, nobody else should either. Happiness in any form, but especially anything I really miss in my life or feel a void about. Relationships, money, fun, whatever.

And then I was thinking one day and realized that just because somebody else got something in life that I wanted, doesn't mean that it's taking away from my ability to get it. There isn't some limited quantity of happy relationships allowed in the world at one time. There isn't a limit on how many people can be happy in their job situation. There isn't a limit on how many people can live securely financially.

There isn't a set limit of people who can be fucking HAPPY

ummmm... DUH.

So, even though at first it was almost impossible, and I was mostly faking it, when a friend came to me with good news, I smiled and congratulated them. I tried to experience their joy with them instead of begrudging them. Begrudging their happiness certainly wasn't getting me anywhere before, and it hurt me a lot. It hurt other people sometimes. I'm really surprised some of my friends stuck around through me yelling at them about how unfair it was that they got to do _______ and I couldn't and they should find a way to make it work for me. Or that I didn't want to see them because their husband would be there and it would remind me how single I am.

Sometimes I still felt shitty. And mad. Like, why not me?
Sometimes I STILL wonder why not me?

But it's not their fault that it isn't me.


And you know what? I'm a lot happier these days. And I find that when a friend shares happy news of an engagement, or a new baby, or a success at work, or an unexpected flow of money, I can actually feel happy for them.
It's a cool feeling, to love someone and be happy that they are happy.


jumpropingjesus I'm a slow learner.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Depression + Parenting

I have been thinking about writing this blog for a long time, and the conclusion that I came to is this:

It's not something I can write publicly about, not in vivid detail. Not really delve into it. Because if you're a parent and you've experienced the crushing grips of depression and anxiety while trying to parent, especially without a partner, you know that if you speak honestly about what really goes on in your head, in your life, in your home, and in your family....

people will tear apart what little you've managed to scotch-tape together during your few decent moments, the quiet times when you feel what you've come to known as "good" which is most people's definition of "depressed". They might take away the very thing that is keeping you from falling apart permanently. From going away, permanently.

Good is: functioning, not crying uncontrollably, not breaking anything, not hurting yourself, able to feed your child something besides chicken nuggets, and possibly have the will to brush your teeth.
Good is hiding your feelings deep enough that you can go out in public without someone wondering if you wandered out of the psych ward, or possibly just an open grave.
Good is being able to smile and nod at your kid that you love with all your heart, but it's a fake fucking smile and you hate yourself for it. And you have to force yourself to listen through the screaming going on in your head about how much things hurt, and say encouraging words to that child. And you're faking it. But that's doing GOOD.
It's better than it could be.

I know that there are times when I'm hanging on by an invisible thread until the next break I might get (the kids sleeping, Eli's weekend at his dad's, whatever), and sometimes the thread breaks.
Married parents usually have the fortune of knowing that they can probably hang on to the edge of that cliff until their partner comes home, even if the partner isn't an awesome parent and might even be a lazy bastard, having backup is essential if you're parent with depression.
It's essential for all parties for so many reasons.

Parenting with depression and anxiety is fucking impossible. There is no other way to put it.
And yet we still do it.
Some people crack and do really stupid, crazy shit.
Those who love their kids as much as I do, have a plan for when they crack. We have a little voice in our heads that tells us who to call, what not to do, what to destroy instead of hurting yourself, remember that if you can hang on for 5 or 10 minutes you can call in the troops. If you're lucky like me and even have troops (friends or family that know your situation and will help).
But we crack
and break
and there are days when I don't know if I'll ever get back to good enough, ever again. To where I don't need to call in the troops every day.

And that's why sometimes I wonder if it'd be better if I was just gone, because there would be no more emergencies or wondering how I will face the next thing, or having to text someone to ask them to call and make sure you're still alive in the morning.. There would be no more stressing your family out with 4 am phone calls or begging in tears for a break at an inconvenient time.
Everyone would adjust, the empty space would eventually become mostly barely-there.....

See how much this ugly bastard LIES?

You know what's keeping me alive right now? I know that my daughter's father would fight for custody and.. he might win, even though he's done absolutely NOTHING for her in her 7+ years. He's only seen her 3 times. He might win.
so I can't leave.

I just stay and hang on by a thread, but sometimes, it breaks.
When I see other people who have a partner who loves them. When couples joyously announce engagements. And weddings. And pregnancies.
Stuff you do together.
When I see other people who have a built in troop who lives in their house and holds their hand.

I've been waiting too long....
but I still have to keep hanging on.
It's impossible but we do it, don't we? Because we love our kids. Impossibly.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Things That Piss Me Off

This could be long. Hold on tight or GTFO. Just sayin.

Also, I had to edit the beginning to say, the word "fuck" is in this post more than I think I have ever accomplished. Count them for me. I'll give you a cookie.

 First of all, starting in May, southern Utah is pretty much the hottest place on earth, and not in a good way. I'm a true-blue red-head (uhh.. weird mixology of terminology) and I just can NOT take it. Temps reach 90 and you won't find me anywhere but a room with blankets covering the windows and the a/c on high. Or McDonalds with my kids, because they get really annoyed with my vampirism. The thing about McDonalds is, there are other kids there. And I hate other kids. Seriously.

 The hate really is more geared toward their fucking parents. Who shouldn't have fucked in the first place if they weren't prepared to teach children basic decent human behavior. Like, by the time you are 8 years old you should know that it's unacceptable to take a 2 yr old's toy from his MOTHER and try to walk away with it. And your FATHER should probably not just stare in amusement. Unless he wants to get junk-punched. Also, stepping on the 2 yr old will get YOU junk-punched. I'm just not tolerant of idiot behavior. Unless you are ACTUALLY mentally retarded, there is NO excuse (that's directed at both parent and child).

 My 2 yr old son is a handful. But you will not see him stealing other children's toys, hitting them, or trampling them. He is smart. He may be defiant, but he has been taught to behave on a level slighter higher than that of an untrained puppy BECAUSE I TAUGHT HIM THAT. If I can do that, as a single mother battling severe depression and anxiety plus other aforementioned situational things (PTSD, RTS, etc) ANYONE CAN. Got it? Cause next time I'll have your ass thrown out. While we're talking about age-appropriate behavior, I want to address this Time Magazine breastfeeding thing. (P.S. the linked article is, I think, a great tongue-in-cheek statement on the whole thing) Actually, just, here's the picture:

If you flinched, felt grossed out, disgusted, or turned on, you've got issues.

 Not the kid, not the mom.

 Let's start with some basic information. The breast on a female is made for feeding offspring. That is it's primary use. Kinda like, the butthole is used for pooping, but you can use it for other things (like sex) if you like it. Seriously, that's my take on it. It's about equal.
 The biggest difference is that nobody likes to see buttholes, really.. OK, some people do, but most aren't going to admit it, whereas breasts have been objectified to the point where MOST WOMEN (especially in Utah or southern California) feel the need to augment theirs to the point where they no longer look like breasts. They look like baseballs (or, pick a larger circular object) with nipples on them. That's not even the natural shape of a breast but whatever. Porn has ruined a lot of things.

 Oh, also, I don't condone pooping in public, but eating in public should be free reign for any person of any age, honestly. And hey, if you're in prison, this could get a lot more complicated.

  OMG, my analogies are not working out.

The thing is, I think that if you see someone using their butthole for it's intended purpose (i.e. somebody taking a shit) and you are totally turned on and then feel ashamed and want that person to cover up, I think you might have some issues. Wow, I've kind of gotten off-topic, because this is more about "EXTENDED" breastfeeding than public breastfeeding. Both things seem to offend people, but there's absolutely no good reason for that. Doctors and health specialists and basically everyone can agree, and in fact cannot argue that breastmilk is basically awesome, and pretty much liquid gold. It IS made not only exactly right for a human baby's nutrition, but YOUR body makes it exactly right for YOUR baby's nutrition. It's kind of amazing actually. If your baby is getting sick, your body reacts and makes antibodies and distributes them to your baby through your boobies. Freaking awesome!!!!

Depriving your child of this for any reason besides serious health issues or not having breasts at all is frankly selfish and disturbing to me. Depriving your child of eating comfortably at any time or place that they need nourishment is ... child abuse and neglect.
 I think if CPS came to your door and you were forcing your child to eat their dinner on the toilet every day, you'd have some issues, and yet people do suggest that women breastfeed in public bathrooms rather than offending them with the site of a little boobie skin (usually, we don't even get to see that awesome nipple or areola part). Usually, less skin is shown than you would see if someone was wearing a low-cut shirt or even a swim suit, and yet, there is always someone ready to throw a shit fit if they see a woman feeding their kid the way they were intended to.

 Because the breast has been sexualized. And women have been objectified. And men and women alike have agreed that the sex part of the breast is more important than what it's actually meant for. And BECAUSE it's been so sexualized, a 3 year old breastfeeding really gets people going. I mean, clearly that child is going to have some sort of Oedipal issues in the future because mommy continued to give him good (the best) nutrition and comfort for longer than a few months of his life. The long-term amazingly awesome side-effects of breastmilk are ENDLESS. Meaning they don't stop. Not at the age of 6 months. Not at the age of 3. When the breastfeeding relationship stops I think should be between mom and baby and NO-FUCKIN-BODY ELSE.

 Personally, I got sick of it when my daughter was 2, and managed to wean her by 2 and a half. Here is the most offensive picture of ME breastfeeding that I could find. Sophia was 26 months old in this picture. She has no known issues. At all.

I felt like I'd done my duty. But I wasn't apologizing to anyone when she asked me for a snack at the restaurant cuz by god, I was eating too, ya know? That's like saying "NO. Eat your fucking manufactured pink-meat chicken nuggets instead of this amazingly nutritious and readily available FREE meal I can give you right here and now!" ..... inane. Fucking inane. I don't get it, you guys. I don't. Why should a mom have to stop giving her kid something good because of the kid's age? Just because YOU find it sexual? the kid doesn't. I can tell you that. And if you push that idea on the kid, THAT'S when the issue starts.

If you tell the kid it's not natural or you start making a fuss, that's when the kid's head starts getting messed up and WHY DO YOU THINK THE WORLD IS FULL OF CHILD MOLESTORS AND RAPISTS? I'm just saying. Stop fucking people's heads up with your own fucked-up-ness. It's kind of like how a child is never going to look at a child of another race and say "wow, I hate that nigger because she has a different color skin than me. In fact, because she looks different I will treat her like shit and maybe make her my slave". That kind of shit doesn't occur to children. We put these twisted ideas in their heads. So if you stop acting like something is sinful and horrible.. something that ISN'T SINFUL AND HORRIBLE... then we're probably going to avoid those oedipal issues you're so worried about, you psycho.

 Go get therapy.

 Just a side note about fake titties. I love them. I'm probably going to get them. But I'm past the point in my life where my breasts are being useful to anyone at all, and I'm flat like a man, and I want to fit into clothes like a normal female. I think that's a natural desire.
 And kind of like my butthole, it's up to me if I want to sexualize them when they're not being used for their natural purpose. Just sayin.

 Other things that piss me off --

 Don't turn right onto a 4-lane road and pull into the LEFT lane right in front of someone going the speed limit and proceed to go 25 mph when the right lane was perfectly empty and there for your use, or I will honk my horn and probably flip you off. If I could moon you and drive at the same time, I would, but I'm not that talented.

 People who oppose gay marriage.


 That's it, basically. That squirrel is a smart motherfucker. Two young women that I love are getting married in Boston today. I wish they could be getting married here, but they can't. Because of people who think that them getting married is really going to make their marriage somehow less valuable? I don't fucking get it. I guess I just don't understand stupidity. I guess that's really what this is all about.

 If you're stupid, I don't understand you, and I kind of want you to either make yourself LESS stupid or go fall off the earth.

 People named Liz. I've never met a Liz that wasn't ruining the world, causing cancer or permanently harming small children and innocent men. Don't name your child Liz. Just don't. Save the world one less Liz at a time.

Anyone who doesn't appreciate Adam Levine. You have a problem.

 I was going to write about depression and motherhood today, but I feel a lot better now that I've vented. I'll save that for later. Peace out, fuckas. I'm sure I'll add to this list later.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

and then.....

"I pulled away to face the pain.. and I close my eyes and drift away over the fear that I will never find a way to heal my soul....." [evanescence]

OK, now that you've had your sexual assault infomercial for the day (I shouldn't make light of it, but I laugh at everything. Get used to it), I want to talk about me. Me me me me....

and you know, what I'm actually dealing with right now. And what's going on in my life.

I refuse to ever say I'm at rock bottom because that's like inviting the depths of hell to reach up through "rock bottom" and grab you and kick you in the ass and laugh at you really hard.
Knock on wood.
But, I'd say... in the past 4 years I've come very close to rock bottom a lot of times. Maybe I hit it. Maybe I went beneath it right into hell for a long time.

In doing so I dragged a few people with me. Some people refused to go. Some people managed to hold my hand and still stay afloat. Some people walked away. Some people suffered a lot.
I feel pretty bad about that.
But it's part of that nasty lying disease, you know? You don't even understand how it affects people. First off, you believe nobody cares, so you don't believe you could hurt anyone with your behavior.
That's one of the biggest and one of the first lies you will tell yourself when you're depressed.
I find myself telling it daily. Still.

I'm not cured or even on my way to better at this point. You should know that. You're reading the blog of a severely damaged and depressed person. I haven't clawed my way to the surface, but I think that writing about it will not only bring some awareness to the problem and hopefully help a) people who are depressed and b) people who care about people who are depressed.

I.... feel totally alone. And like a terrible mother. When I got up the guts to tell my mom what had happened (the second assault by the same guy), I had to do it through email, and I made myself scarce until she told me she had read it.
And to my surprise, though she's rather stoic about the whole thing, she just asked me what would be the best way to help me out. And right now that means she's taking the kids most nights, and I see them during the day, once I drag myself out of my bed. If.
If I don't, she brings them to my house and then I drag myself out of bed... long enough to pretend like I'm okay, and then I get back in bed, offer the kids a movie and a snack and try to snuggle happily with them, but it often turns into a screaming match because they jump on the bed, fight, pull hair, and crunch crackers into my newly washed sheets.

Clearly I am not totally alone.
My family is being so supportive. I have "internet friends" who have been and are being amazing.
I even have one or two friends around here who have made it clear that they are there for me, but how do you ask for help when you don't know how to feel better? Or what will help you out of your big, gigantic hole?

Sleeping it off probably isn't ever going to make anything better, but I haven't been able to do anything else yet.

I know from experience that one of these days (it almost happened today) I will jump up and say "fuck you, self, you are being a stupid motherfucker, and you have late bills and phone calls to make and a house to clean and your pets might be starving, and your kids deserve to remember you in a better way than this!"

Obviously I have these thoughts, but making them transfer from my brain to actual body motion, viable actions, etc... that's the really hard part with depression. And anxiety, because I have anxiety about making phone calls. And getting out of bed. And living without certain people who have vacated my life and I cannot get back.

I miss Dan. So, so much. It doesn't make sense that the pain of losing him completely overrides everything else I'm going through, but it DOES. I  can shrug my shoulders at sexual assault , I can cry for a few days about a miscarriage and severe mental and emotional trauma, but....
Missing him feels like dying over and over and over and fucking over.
And little by little, just like every time, I lose strength ... and the next time I have a drink or stay up too late alone or let myself think about it.. I give a piece of myself back to that situation. A piece that I need.
And I really don't know how to fix that. I know it's my fault. But I don't know how to stop.
I feel like if I had his calm, strong presence, I would be able to be calm and strong too. I always was, around him. I was at peace.

But I can't put that burden on him. I can't say "Damn, I need to feel better so I need you to be here for me". That's not fair.

Instead I have to start focusing on what to do next in life, so that I feel like there's something to wake up for. Because right now, it doesn't feel like it. It feels my kids would be fine without me. It feels like I'm a burden on everyone but them. It feels like I'm useless because I've been job hunting for months with no success.
And for some reason, it feels like a betrayal to talk about a new, different future. to talk about forging the path alone, still, because I expected and wanted NOT to be alone by now. I don't want to believe that this might be MY LIFE, for the rest of my life. Raising two kids without someone to love me.

But because it is what IS, right now, I have to. And god, that is a PAINFUL, soul-wrenching thing for me to say. It's keeping me from setting goals. It's keeping me from saying out loud the things that are in my head, the good things thatI could do for myself. That on good days, I want to do for myself and my kids. Like... *deep breath.. why is this so HARD?!* ... getting my GED. Applying for FAFSA. Looking for a place in Cedar City. Looking for information on what kind of financial aid I can and would get if I was going to school. Thinking about.. a degree in psychology... becoming a midwife... helping women who go through the shit I'm going through now.

Most days I hate myself for letting the lying bastard take over my life. For letting it take away my ability to be a good mom, a good friend, a good daughter. For letting it ruin my relationship with the man I've loved the most in my 27 yrs on earth (and probably always will love the most).
I'm scared that it will always and forever ruin the only good things I have.
I don't know if it's something I can beat...
And if it isn't, then what?

I don't want any trite "you can beat it" comments... Because like cancer, sometimes will to survive isn't enough anymore. Sometimes the will to fight it and beat it isn't going to make it go away. There will be good days and bad days, and ultimately I don't know if this thing will kill me early, or ruin the rest of my life be it long or short... or if somehow, someday, something will help me turn a corner, and I will start having more good days, and I will stop wanting out of this body and this world. And I won't cry every day, for missing someone so much. Maybe just every other day, or eventually maybe once a week, or eventually never, even if I feel pain when I think about his absence.

I don't know what's going to happen. But ya'll need to know that I'm trying. This is just another day in the life of someone with a very painful disease.

"I can't go on living this way. But I can't go back the way I came, chained to this fear that I will never find a way to heal my soul. And I will wander til the end of time...half alive without you." [lyrics from My Heart Is Broken - evanescence]

Let's Talk About Sex, Baby (the nonconsensual kind)

Let's talk about what IS and ISN'T true about rape or sexual assault.

There are pamphlets for this shit, but not a lot of people read them. In fact, unless you get trained as an advocate, or get sexually assaulted, you are probably never going to read them.

But, the day after my second RECENT sexual assault, I got a little Tinkerbell bag full of pamphlets and other accoutrements provided by MY advocate. While I was naked on an examination table getting swabs taken from every body part you can imagine.
And when I got home, fully traumatized for a 3rd time because frankly, the blood draw was way worse than anything that's happened to me in a long time......
I read the pamphlets, cause I didn't have anything else to do, and I was washing my bedding. And my DVD player is broken.

And I found out that when I was sitting in that room doubting myself and thinking that EVERY SINGLE person was either a) completely fooled by my story and thought I was this strong-ass bitch reporting a violent rape and that I deserved special treatment (I did not believe I deserved to be called strong, or brave, or receive special treatment), or b) lying my ass off because it's really FUN to get up-close pictures taken of your labia, have a nurse "lose" your cervix and pass out cold because the other nurse couldn't get a good vein in your arm, (whoa longest sentence ever) I FOUND OUT.... that almost everyone that's a victim of sexual assault feels this way.

That they are at fault. Or that they are screwing things up in their head. Or that it's not as serious as it feels emotionally, and the word "rape" just sounds way to strong if you didn't get a gun held to your head, or a knife to your throat, or a hand squeezing your windpipe....
 and so they shouldn't be reporting it. Or nobody's going to take them seriously. Or that someone is just going to slap them across the face and say "WHY Did you put yourself in that situation? It's YOUR fault."

Guess what?
I've faced every single one of those reactions from OTHER people since it happened. EVERY SINGLE ONE. From people I love, people I trust. People who love ME.
People who have been abused themselves and have swept it under the rug as "their fault" ... suppressed feelings about it.. "forgotten".
I got a phone call from a friend who said "I feel so bad you've been through all this"... the same friend who also got raped the night that I was sexually assaulted and ended up pregnant. She won't call it that, or report it. Or acknowledge it.

People have some REALLY fucked up ideas about sexual assault. They have amazingly fucked up ideas about women inviting it by dressing a certain way. Acting a certain way. Drinking.. going to a club... trusting a guy when he says he doesn't just want sex. Trusting someone enough to go alone to their house with them.

There are millions of people in the world that are master manipulators. Men, women... it is not exclusive to gender. It is not exclusive to anything.
People manipulate to get what they want, and I BET YOU anything that the asshole that raped me doesn't think he did ANYTHING wrong, and that when the police pick him up, he's going to be extremely surprised.

But he did a lot of things that were wrong.

I am not going to say it's smart to get drunk and be alone with someone you don't know EXTREMELY well. If you don't fully, completely trust the people that you are with.. if you haven't known them for a LONG time and feel completely safe with them, DO NOT get drunk with them, or near them.

Yes, you need to defend yourself against situations.
But should you find yourself in one, it is NOT your fault if someone decides to take advantage of your vulnerable state. It is NEVER YOUR FAULT.
And the person that abuses you NEEDS to realize that they've done wrong. Justice needs to be served in some way. They need to answer to the law, the law that says that nonconsensual sexual acts are a crime.

It's actually normal, and very common, and sometimes even SMART for a woman to freeze up in a sexual assault situation. It's a self-defense mechanism. And the more that you've been abused in your life, the more likely it is that you are a "freezer"... that you shut down mentally and allow the thing to happen because it's safer than trying to run or fight. Or at least, that's what experience or very bad people have taught you.

That doesn't mean it was consensual. If you didn't want it, and you expressed that at any point, it was rape.

And I don't deserve to be scolded like a child for what happened to me. I don't deserve people shaking their heads and saying they want to slap some sense into me.
I didn't deserve my uncle touching me inappropriately as a child. I didn't deserve my babysitter abusing me, but I was too little to even know it was wrong, except for the voice in my head that told me it didn't feel okay, that something was wrong, but that I was a kid, and he was an adult, and adults knew more than me.

I didn't deserve multiple boyfriends raping me as an adult, after I'd clearly said no to sex in that instance. Even if I said yes 99 times before that, and the 100th time I didn't want to, and I said no.... if he continued what he was doing, it was rape.

By this standard, I was sexually abused by 3 people as a child that I KNOW of. And by at least 6 people as an adult. Multiple times each.

I can tell you that when I was 7, I wasn't wearing "revealing clothing". I wasn't inviting it.

I can tell you that when my ex held me down in his bedroom and had intercourse with me even after I re-dressed myself multiple times and said I didn't want to, that I was raped. And he should be in jail for it, but I haven't even been able to be honest enough with myself about that to stop being FRIENDS with him. Because nothing jives. Nothing makes less sense than someone you have trusted and loved taking your power and your rights from you like that. Nothing confuses your brain and your heart more, and nothing damages you worse.

I'm just begging you... if something HAS happened to you or you find yourself in one of these situations, to report it immediately. The aftermath is painful, and traumatic, and difficult, and scary. But you might just prevent it from happening to more people in the future. Including yourself.
And the more people that speak up honestly, the less those of us who do speak up have to suffer.

There are too many lies out there. I've made a choice to tell the truth.
It doesn't matter what I wear, how much I drink, whether I kissed the guy and then decided I wanted to stop there, whether I touched him and then wanted to leave. It doesn't matter if he'd already abused me and I put myself in the situation again.
It doesn't matter if you're buck-ass naked standing right in front of the guy, but you've stated that you don't want to have sex.

If he does it anyway, it's rape.
Report it. Don't change your clothes, don't shower, don't brush your teeth, don't douche. Talk to a cop, go to the ER to get examined, take an extra pair of clothing with you cause you ain't gettin yours back (I hope you didn't like that outfit) and get therapy. You're going to need it. I know I do.

And the next person that says something as ignorant as "what the hell were YOU thinking?" or "I just want to shake you" can excuse themselves from my life forever. Please.