Facebook Flashback

This popped up in my newsfeed today and sparked a fun memory from 2010 that I shared on Facebook, that I wanted to jot down here real quick to sort of bookmark my feelings right now, that I don’t have time to right about. (Phew!) I’ll try to get right on it so I don’t lose the mojo, but for now suffice to say… FESTIVAL MAGIC!!!!!

Oh my gosh, I’m buzzing! I haven’t been to a festival in 2 years and Building Man was a new one for me. It was one of the best, most magical festivals I have ever been to! More on that later (hopefully).

Til ‘then, here’s a happy little nugget from my history with Marko, my magic festival man that I met 10 years ago at Burning Man, the artist who changed my life and continues to prove himself as one of my very favorite people, ever, for my whole life, period. 😉

marko and me

Mexico with My Man Marko!

“Marko,” I scolded him over beers on the beach. “How am I supposed to find my Sugar Daddy when everyone looking at us thinks I already have?”

“Just tell them I’m your spiritual adviser,” he answered. “And tell him you have to have me by your side at all times, so I can get in on the travel, too.”

(That was a good idea. Maybe he is my spiritual adviser!)

I had just finished compiling the stories and content for “Notes from 1969” with Marko, so I took it a step further. (I always do.)

“You’re my spiritual adviser and I’m your personal biographer!”

That was a great trip. I love that man!

****
(In the photo, I have no eyebrows. I had just had a bad bout of trichotillomania. I don’t remember it, but through my life I can see a picture and tell you, “Oh. I had trichotillomania right around that time.” This was a bad one, above. I probably had big, missing chunks of eyelashes, too. Trichotillomania is so weird. I have a friend who has it so bad she creates enormous bald spots on her scalp and has to wear wigs! I’ve only ever pulled out my eyelashes and eyebrows, but that’s weird enough. It’s a nervous condition/ impulse control disorder kind of thing. It’s on a spectrum – My case is pretty mild compared to my friend, for example – and there’s a lot of shame associated with it. There are some celebrities that are open about it. Google it.)

****

Viva Mexico!

Remove My Skin!

Gahhhhh!

Months ago, I saw a homeopath. I stopped going when he revealed himself to be a Trump zealot. Like, would not shut up about what nice guy Trump “actually” is.

“I’ve met him and…” blah blah blah, he bragged. There it is. Cult of celebrity and hollow name-dropping. I imagine he attended some big event that Our National Shame lent his corrupt brand to.

“I’m sure he’s lovely,” I snarked back. “I’m sure he respects women and people of color, and everything he says to the contrary is all in good fun.”

HE WOULD NOT STOP.

“Okay! Can we get back to my health now?”

Orange-faced people aside, this homeopath was of the opinion that orange-haired people don’t metabolize sulfur. While I’ve never been successful at any diet, I did quit coffee, which is among the worst sulfur offenders. Well, Thursday, it was rainy and cold, and nothing sounded better than jammies and java. I went back on the bean.

Two days later, my skin started crawling! I cannot stop scratching!!! I’m in HELL!

I think I can say that I’ve successfully experienced elimination testing. I AM DYING! My eyeballs hurt. The insides of my ears itch! I can feel every single hair! (I had another bout of trichotillomania and tore out chunks of eyelash. Just last week, I was remarking how long my lashes were. I couldn’t recall the last time I pulled at them. Presumably, when I last drank coffee.)

Tear my flesh from my bones! It itches!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Confronting My Molester

I don’t know if it was necessary. I don’t know if it did anything for me.

I’m still overwhelmed by the coincidence that brought me to the moment I felt it was time to accuse him. I felt like… well, hell, I’ve always nominated myself the one to speak for any disenfranchised “us” I’ve decided I belong to.

I started dating a guy a month ago who immediately read my blog. He got to the part where I mentioned having been molested by the neighbor, and knew him by name! I got sick. I haven’t said that name in 30 years. “How do you know?!” I learned that I had not been a fluke, as I believed. I thought that I just happened to get caught up in it because, as the best friend of the sister he was sexually abusing, I was in the home.

No. He targeted the entire neighborhood. In fact, he raped some of the young girls, including the ex-wife of this guy. She had been a childhood playmate of mine.

I was outraged. The first thing I did was call my sister and make sure she had not been victimized, as well. No, praise God, but not for lack of trying.

Then I wondered, why have I never sought him out? Everyone’s on Facebook. Sure enough, there he was, with his schmuck smiling face, boasting of his son’s military service. I typed a rapid-fire message and sent it before I could chicken out. Normally, I try to withhold words at a time of intense emotion, but he deserves no such sparing and I deserve to accuse my attacker. Panicked at the moment I hit “Enter,” I scrolled back to read what I could not suck back from the ether… to learn that he had contacted me 4 years earlier in a breezy message that went to a junk inbox I never noticed. He was casually wondering if I could put him in touch with my brother, as though nothing ever happened! I FLIPPED and wrote again, then blocked him.

I don’t feel any different. Was it necessary? It feels so strange to come from the trauma with Christine in Spain, wrestling with why I didn’t leave sooner and grieving because I know the answer: I was perfectly groomed not to. I went into a place of survival, where the little girl in precisely that circumstance couldn’t leave. And she had to find a way to love the person attacking her. I feel as though I’m recovering from my childhood all over again.

And now here’s my molester. I can’t face it all at once! How do other people process their foundational injuries and move on, meaningfully and successfully? I try so hard. I mean to rise above it every goddamn day. I just keep falling back into it, as though it’s happening now. If others are visited from time to time by the shaky beginning that formed them, it’s the exception in functional, happy lives. For me, it’s the exception to be well. It never lasts.

I’m so tired. I’m so confused. I want so desperately to believe that this confluence of early-life traumas is a poetic, timely event designed to help me at last to put my past to bed. I’m sad to know that it’s really all just random. It happened. It’s done.

And then Sunday came. I’m reeling anew.

Since Jeffrey’s death in 2011 I’ve been wrestling with shame and guilt for verbally abusing him during the lowest days of the heroin addiction that killed him. We were roommates. It was awful. I’ve made peace with the fact that I was fully triggered, and even the sanest person would lose it, but not quite at the level I did. Words are weapons, and he got my worst. I abused his parents, too. They came into my home, in what felt very much like an ambush, to accuse me of stealing from Jeff through the utilities. (How do you figure? Half is half.) It’s amazing how addicts can convince themselves of anything to get the money they need for a fix. It was more amazing, and beyond insulting, that his parents believed him and challenged me to prove my innocence, which I refused to do (though I kept meticulous records and made copies for Jeffrey that I explained, and he agreed to, EVERY MONTH). With more than a few extra words – surprise – I told them to go to hell. Well, really, I told them they were killing him. And then he died.

Sunday, his brother and I were headed to the drum circle when his folks pulled up to deliver fresh garden veggies. I haven’t seen them since that day 4 years ago. They couldn’t see me in the car, but I was moved to act and terrified to do so. I had to apologize. I knew through the grapevine that they’d forgiven me. I’m not surprised. Jeffrey was the most forgiving person I’ve ever known; it came from someplace. But I needed to ask for it, and simply to tell them how very sorry I am for contributing to his suffering and theirs. So I did. I was loved and held, and I … feel terrible.

Why EVERYTHING? Why all at once? I suppose I will put this behind me. Even if we don’t consciously put the past behind us, that’s where it goes. But I feel like I’m drowning in regret and failure, while yet knowing I’m doing better than I ever have before. Why don’t I feel good about it?

I’ve had a headache for weeks. I’m exhausted, though neither sleep-deprived nor sleeping too much. I can’t sit with a book. My food addiction is out of control. My eyelashes are getting more and more sparse. (How can it be psychological when they hurt?) I’m irritable and weepy. I’m not coping well.

Thank god for drumming. It’s my happy place right now. Thank you, angels.

***

TO THE SEXUAL PREDATOR OF MY YOUTH:

July 14, 2014

“I just found out I’m not the only girl in the neighborhood you molested. You made the rounds victimizing everyone! You are a sick, violent pervert who traumatized precious young girls. You fundamentally changed us. You robbed us of our innocence. You raped us. All my life, I thought it was a fluke, that you got out of control with your sister and I just happened to be injured because she was my best friend and I was in your house. But you sought us out. You went out of your way to pursue us, to degrade and mock us, and force us to gratify your twisted sexual appetites. In truth, you know as well as I do that the rage it took to perpetrate your crimes was born of your own impotence and weakness. You’re a disgusting loser who has to act out on children in order to feel empowered. That hasn’t changed. Til you die, you’ll be a child molester and rapist. I don’t know how you live with yourself, and I don’t care. I’ve long-since been rid of you, but I found out just hours ago that I wasn’t the only one. You can never make up for what you did to us. You can never restore what you took. I finally decided to reach out and identify you to your face. I see you. I know who you are. You’re a fraud and a liar. You’re a rapist and pedophile. When you take the Sacrament, you are spitting in the face of God, who made me and all of your victims. Shame on you.”

and then…

“oh my god! are you insane? i just saw that you contacted me years ago asking after my brother, as though nothing ever happened! how are you not HUMILIATED? how do you look in the mirror? how do you not kill yourself? i couldn’t live with the burden of being the monster you are. you’re sick. don’t contact me again. I have the right to speak. you do not.”

“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” – William Faulkner

I’m working through it, presently.

Drawing on Strength

I’m in it, struggling through very painful days. I’m hurting, crying so hard, so much, for so long, that I’m almost angry knowing I will, as always, recover again. I don’t want to. I want to curl up. I want to be done with it. I’m over it! I’m in it.

I was encouraged to find a quote today by Albert Camus, another sojourner sufferer in the ebb and flow of getting back up.

“In the midst of hate, I found there was within me an invincible love. In the midst of tears, I found there was within me an invincible smile. In the midst of chaos, I found there was within me an invincible calm. I realized through it all that in the middle of winter, I finally found that within me there lies an invincible summer. And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.” – Albert Camus

Fine as I know I will be, I’m not now. My best friend has been asking me to get trauma counseling. I keep hoping I don’t need it. What can they say that I haven’t learned, read, or tried? What can they advise that I’m not doing? I’m sitting honestly with discomfort, feeling it, looking at it, and getting up. I’m taking time for myself, but not isolating. I’m feeling joy, too, which is something I’ve not been able to do during other depressions.

Nevertheless, troubling self-destructive behaviors have taken firm hold. I’m smoking again. I’m bingeing. I’m back to my baseline: feeling not just worthless, but wholly unworthy. And last night, trichotillomania made its return to the stage, or my eyelashes, as the case may be. Luckily, I stopped myself before pulling my eyes completely bald, as I did – including brows! – in March 1997, before my most earnest suicide attempt on April Fool’s Day. I’m not suicidal now, but I’m not handling my shit. Nothing a little eyeliner can’t mask. But it’s time to call in reinforcements.

I start bi-weekly therapy next week. I’m also in Music Therapy, of course. This djembe workshop was inspired. I’m so glad I threw financial caution to the wind in time to pound some of this out each week.

Yesterday was particularly difficult. I cried for most of it. Wailing, sobbing tears on and off all day. I didn’t want to go to class, but I spent $120 on this thing! I’m not throwin’ that away! So get on my bike, I did, and whadya know but I found myself laughing and communing and healing inside a rhythmic trance, and laughing again that this really is therapy. Then Quinn, seeing me make a mistake and carry on, said – midbeat, without a blunder – “You know the difference between a professional and an amateur?” I raised my eyebrows, missing another beat and continuing with the next.

“Recovery time.”

Yeah. I can do this. I am doing this. progress