#metoo Warning: this may offend you.

#metoo

#metoo may seem like a tag line, annoyance, or a trend that has over stayed it’s welcome.

A female friend said to me a few months ago: “I think this #metoo thing has gotten out of hand!”

I disagree.

It has caused the world at large to finally hear to women.

I don’t know a single woman who hasn’t been assaulted, abused, harassed, or raped at the hands of men.

The first time it happened to me: I was 14 and the father of a child my Mother baby sat told me on numerous occasions about how beautiful I was. He would sit beside me on the floor while I was playing with his son and my little brother. He did this  while the of the other adults were there to pick up their children. He would sit close to me, smelling like stale cigarettes. My skin would crawl. Something about it made me feel dirty and ashamed. I have never told anyone about it until right now.

The second time it happened it happened to me: I was 14 or 15. My family and I were really good friends with the young couple and their precious little girl who lived across the street.  The husband, Mike and I would talk about science fiction and horror movies sitting on the tailgate of his truck drinking sodas. I would tell him about the problems I had at school and he would tell me about hunting with his dad as a child. I saw him as a big brother or Dad (My father died when I was 10 & my brother was 6 months old).  I ate dinner with his family. I baby sat his daughter. My mother adored Mike, his wife, and his daughter. Mike’s wife had a very complicated pregnancy with their second child.  One summer night she had to be transported via ambulance to the hospital. I rode with Mike behind the siren and flashing lights.

When we arrived, he was crying and told me he was scared. I hugged him.  He then proceeded to violently grab me and force me against the passenger side door. I was completely terrified! I screamed “Stop Mike! No!” I remember his breath smelling of stale booze and the way his rough hand felt touching my still developing breast. He was really strong! I pushed, and begged him to stop. He didn’t. But I finally managed to open the passenger door and fall out of the truck, on to the pavement. I slammed the door and went as fast as I could into the emergency room while he begged me not to tell anyone. Luckily, my friend and her boyfriend were already there waiting for us and I rode home with them. I told my friend and her boyfriend about it. My friend said: “He’s been drink’n as if that explained everything. I never set foot in Mike’s yard or his home ever again.

I was raped when I was 18. I was an active alcoholic at the time. I was passed out drunk. I woke up to my boyfriend whom I lived with raping me. I could hear the other people partying in our living room. I called out for help. He said: “Shut up no one can hear you.” I was confused about what happened. When I confronted him the next day he laughed at me and said he did it all of the time when I was passed out. He said it wasn’t rape because he was my boyfriend. I told a woman that I didn’t know very well what happened to gage her reaction. I told her it had happened to a “friend” of mine I remember her saying that it wasn’t rape because he was my “friend’s” boyfriend.  She said my “friend” had been taken advantage of because she had been passed out. I didn’t talk about it again. I figured it was my fault because I was drunk. Years later, I told a therapist about what had happened and she told me I had defiantly been raped.

I have been groped, cat called at, or had inappropriate comments made to me at almost every job I have ever had.

REALLY.

At one job right out of college, I reported my boss leaning over my desk to stare at my boobs to the human resources person. She told me to ignore him that he did it to everybody. I then called the department of labor and told them what happened. They told me there was nothing they could do unless he touched me.

The last time I was harassed at a job I stood up for myself. I told the perpetrator that it was harassment, it was inappropriate and that I wanted no part of it. I told him “Leave me alone. I won’t say it twice.” He complied.

No, I didn’t report it to human resources. At that point, experience had taught me that I would be ignored.

I have over heard friends and co-workers talking about the recent Bill Cosby verdict.

I have over heard both men and women saying: “I don’t believe that!” Why would these women wait thirty years?” “They all want money!” “I don’t believe he did everything they’re saying he did but I believe he did something.” “How can you even know what happened to you that long ago!” “It’s so sad everybody loves him!”

What I find the most interesting is this: NOT ONCE DID I OVER HEAR ANYONE,MAN OR WOMAN SPEAK ANY WORDS OF CONCERN ABOUT THE VICTIMS.

When the truth about the sexual abuse of male children in the Catholic church came out, not once did I hear anyone remark that the men who came forward waited too long to tell truth about what happened to them.

And everyone was talking about the victims.

Men made allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Kevin Spacy and he was fired from his hit Netflix show immediately.

Sixty women accused Cosby of drugging and raping them before he was brought to trial.

The reality is that society listens to men and not to women.

Even other women don’t believe other women when they come forward after they have been sexually assaulted.

Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court proves that.

One thing I can tell you is this: Christine Blasey Ford isn’t a liar. YOU DO NOT FORGET BEING SEXUALLY ASSAULTED. IT BURNS ITSELF INTO YOUR BEING. IT STAYS WITH YOU FOR LIFE. And you remember who did it. 

Women: stop pandering to men to make living in their world ok. Create your own world. Create a world in which you speak your truth and believe your sisters when they speak theirs.

Men: let women have this moment in time. Step aside. It is our time. Let us have this. 

 

Learning To Believe It The First Time

maya-angelou-what-people-show-you-1024x1024[1] I now realize that I have lived my entire life seeing who people really are and then pushing that truth down deep within myself. I have accepted the unacceptable and given people second chances who abused the privilege. I do not mean to say that I am a victim. What I mean is this: I ignore what I don’t want to see and I allow people whom I shouldn’t be involved with to remain in my life.

For example, I was involved with someone who knew I was bisexual yet they made derogatory comments about the LGBT community and became very angry when gay rights were a topic in the news. However, I stayed in the relationship knowing that this person could not tolerate a part of me.

I was once involved with another partner who frequently lied to me. I knew this person was lying. In fact, I caught them in several lies. Yet, I pushed the truth that I knew down deep within myself and stayed.

I have pushed the truth down deep within myself under the guise of “relationships are work” and “you have to accept people the way that they are.” And I have worked it out and accepted the unacceptable to the point of spending years trying to make the unworkable work out.

A few days ago I was talking to a wise friend of mine. She has known me for 18 years and possibly knows me better than I know myself. I say this because when I ran the above musings by her she said something to the effect of: Sounds like a case of fu__ first, ask questions later!” She pointed out that I accepted the unacceptable because I was already emotionally invested in the person before I had gotten to know them. She went on to say that if I had dated someone and this type of thing came up on the second date there wouldn’t have been a third date.

I am now facing the reality that I have never simply dated someone. I automatically jump into the sex part and create a relationship. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is anything wrong with having sex without commitment. But, my point is that I make a commitment based on a sexual encounter.

The truth continues to reveal itself. This is why I need to be on my own for a very long time!

 

 

Chocolate World’s Special Purpose (First Published 7/27/13)

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(My first 6 blog posts were somehow erased. I have no idea how. For those who are interested, I am re-publishing them now. I will create a brand new post later this week)
My darling boyfriend and I recently went on a vacation to Hershey/ Harrisburg, PA to attend the Stars Days 2013 Yamaha Star motorcycle convention. My boyfriend bought a Yamaha Star a few months ago. Pennsylvania does not have helmet laws. Yes, I loved riding without a helmet!!! No, I did not think about dying. No, I wasn’t scared. It was fabulous! While we were there, we went on a group ride to Hershey’s Chocolate World! It was fun riding to a new place and getting to know new people with my beloved. As is often the case, I was the only person present without children. As usual, my higher power whom I choose to call Kwan Yin had something unexpected in store for me. When we started the tour of Chocolate world, there was a lot of information listed about Milton Hershey. I read about half of it and I was about to skip the..Catherine, or “Kitty” as she was known to those who knew her well caught my eye and I read the following words: “One of Catherine and Milton’s greatest disappointments was that they had no children.” I stopped in my tracks. I stood there and read about the Hershey’s whom I had been so ready to dismiss. Since the Hershey’s could not have children of their own they decided to become the benefactors of a school for children who needed help. They opened the Hershey Industrial School, which is now known as the Milton Hershey School. Milton Hershey said the school was Kitty’s idea. The school gives a quality education to children who have a social as well as financial need. Milton Hershey gave most of his assets including control of the company to the school.
I stood there with a smile on my face and tears in my eyes. Chills spread all over my body. I knew Kwan Yin had put me in this place, at this moment. This was her way of letting me know that I am not alone, that the path I have been given is the path I was meant to walk.
Later that night after a dip in the hotel pool while we were resting in front of some mindless television program, I started thinking about the Hershey’s. What if they had been able to become parents? They would never have started the school. Millions of children would not have received the benefits of a quality education in a nurturing environment. Millions of children were helped because the Hershey’s decided to walk the path they were given and make a contribution in the best way they could. Laying there in the soft glow of the T.V. light I understood that this is what life is really about. I mean, I really got it! Life is about walking the path I am given. It is about using what I have been given to make a contribution in the best way I can.

Fitting In (First published 6/14/13)

(My first 6 blog posts were somehow erased. I have no idea how. For those who are interested, I am re-publishing them now. I will create a brand new post later this week)
I have been thinking about “fitting in” lately. I have accepted that I do not fit into society’s conventions. Most of the time, I am fine with that. Sometimes, I am reminded of this fact with such force that I feel as if all of the air has been sucked out of me. This usually occurs when I am reminded of my former life as a wife who desperately wanted to be a mother. Several days ago, I was having a conversation with my friend about some problems a mutual acquaintance was having with his children. My well-meaning friend said: “And you want that?! You’re lucky you don’t have kids!” When she saw the look on my face she asked me if I had considered adoption. In my former life, I had not only considered it, but I had pursued it. I have asked myself again and again what that dream was all about? Why did I hold onto my marriage after so many colossal deceptions by my ex-husband? Most important, why would I even consider adopting a child with him when I knew in my gut he was lying about having read the parts of the books I had marked for him about the adoption process and transracial adoption? These are the answers that I have come up with: 1) There is a deep urge in my soul to be a mother that I cannot explain even to myself. That urge is now a whisper and a shadow of what it once was. 2) My ex-husband was my first love. I believe in true love. I wanted to believe he would change if I did. That was a huge mistake. 3) I wanted desperately to be normal, to fit in. I wanted to be married, own a home, and have children in order to be like everyone else. I had not ever had this experience and I wanted it very badly. Giving up the pursuit of that life is the hardest thing that I have ever done.
These are the facts about me: I am 44 and childless. I live with my mother and my boyfriend who is 13 years older than me in a double wide trailer that is in need of many repairs. I own a business. I am a full time college student. From an outsiders point of view I am sure my life could seem pretty dim. It does not fit.
This is my truth: I am happy. I feel comfortable in my own skin. On most days I have a great deal of serenity. I don’t worry about my future. I no longer stress about my finances. I am madly in love with my boyfriend. I love who I am on the inside and most of who I am on the outside. I do not doubt that I deserve the best. I do my very best to be of service in all situations and relationships every day. I am kind. I enjoy living immensely!
In regards to fitting in, Dr. Wayne Dyer said: “If you choose to lead your life just like eve… The road most traveled by is one that will allow you to fit in and feel accepted, but it will never allow you to make a difference.”
Perhaps the greatest gift we can give the world is giving up fitting in and taking the path that truly belongs to us. If I am able to make even a small difference on my path through the world then I am truly living life to the fullest!

The Fog is Beginning to Clear

002My recent difficulties have been keeping the hamster that spins on a wheel in my head very busy of late. The events that have taken place in my life over the past few weeks have caused some old ways of thinking to resurface. But, I think the fog is beginning to clear.
I recently saw a friend that I had not seen in years. She looked amazing! Slim, perfect hair, flawless skin. She is my age. She could be a model! She looks 15 years younger. I immediately started to compare myself to her. Of course, this led down the old road of self loathing and doubt that I had not traveled in a while. The busy little hamster that lives in my head spun this series of questions around on her wheel for a couple of days: Am I beautiful? People say I’m attractive, what does attractive actually mean? If I were as beautiful as her, would my life be better? What kind of beauty do I have? People have told me I’m pretty, but is “pretty” as good as “beautiful”? Doubting my appearance led to thinking about where I “should” be in my life and what I “should” be doing. I should be further along! I should be more successful! I should smarter! I should be a home owner with a husband and children! I should be happier! At this point, the “shoulds” were combined with doubting my worth based on my appearance. I used to live with this insane cycle of thinking on a daily basis. This time, however, it only lasted for a few days.
As a matter of fact, the fog lifted when I was driving today. I was driving down a country road on my way to a client’s house, listening to the Spa channel on satellite radio (yes, I listen to the Spa channel on occasion, don’t judge me!) when I saw the truth that I had forgotten. The truth of myself and my life. I remembered that I am human just like everyone else. I am living the best way that I know how. Day in, day out. I can not possibly be “further along”. I can only be where I am. My success lies in my continuing to move forward and not hold onto the past. My success lies in how kind I am to others and how much I contribute to the world around me one day at a time. What makes me smart is learning from my mistakes. As for my appearance, I am not a model nor will I ever be. I am unique. I am fabulous in my own way. As I continued to drive, I remembered that I had given up comparing myself to others a couple of years ago. As I drove, I noticed that the sky was filled with beautiful,large gray clouds which cast shadows on the mountains and fields. However, I did not see any fog. 186

Finally, the right messenger

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I mentioned to a friend yesterday that I have been going through a difficult time lately.  I told him that I feel like I’m swimming through concrete and that what I realty want to do lately is stay in bed.  My friend said that he is grateful for the hard times because that is when he grows the most.  He said: “I know that I absolutely have to turn everything difficult that happens into something positive.”  When he said this my first thought was: “Well, I’m pretty tired of growing!  I could do without another learning opportunity thank you very much!.”  But I stopped myself and I took a long look at my friend. If anyone else had said such  simple and admittedly cliché things to me I would have ignored them.  However, the struggles my friend has faced over the past two and a half years make mine seem like a cake walk.  He walks with a cane these days due to the fact that he has recently under gone several difficult surgeries to correct an injury.  He is not allowed to drive and must rely on his wife and friends for  rides.  Two years ago he battled what could have been a fatal illness. Yet, he is smiling when he tells me that my problem really lies in my thinking.  

What he said is nothing that I haven’t heard before.  In fact, the woman with whom I meet once a week for spiritual growth work has told me that I need to change my thinking every time that I speak with her for a solid month.  However, my friend sitting across from me holding his cane with a grin on his face was the messenger I needed.  

When I woke up today instead of considering giving up on life and becoming the failure I have been thinking  I am, I said a prayer of gratitude to Kwan Yin.  I thanked her for my life.  For the good parts and the parts that cause me pain.  I figure if my friend can do it so can I.     

The End and The Beginning

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My life has been a series of transitions over the past four years.   Each transition  transfomred and reshaped who I thought I was.  When the shifts and changes first began, I was terrified.  I yelled at my Goddess on a daily basis demanding to know when it would stop.  I honestly believed that if I could just have one moment in which my life made sense, I would somehow be able to go on and face what was happening around me.  The problem was, it never stopped.  I continued to demand that it stop until I was so beaten down by it that I was left with only one choice: accept the fact that I had no idea what my life would be.  After I accepted this fact I became comfortable with not knowing.  This acceptance freed me.  It freed me from controlling out comes.  I freed me from fearing for my safety.  What could I fear if I no longer feared the unknown?  For me, this level of acceptance was the beginning of peace within myself.

I ended my relationship recently.  I wont go into details because it is too personal.  What I will say is that he is wonderful and I love him.  I am not swearing off the possibility of being with him again in the future.  However, I could not stay in the relationship due to the fact that I would have been breaking a commitment and a promise that I made to myself if I did.  Ending this relationship has brought to light many truths as well as great transformation. 

The truth:  I am tired of doing the work that it takes to live with and share my life with another person.  I have been getting in, getting out of, trying to get into, or wishing I could be in a relationship since I was 16 years old.  I have absolutely no idea what it is like to be single for more than 6 months.  I have no idea what it is like to not share my personal living space, my time, and my attention with a romantic partner.  I want to know what it is like to be with me, in my space, doing what I want or need to do without any demands being placed on my time or attention.  My truth is not comfortable.  But it is my truth.  I maybe judged or disliked for living it.  That is fine.  I would rather live my truth than do what others think is appropriate.

The transformation:   I know that I am valuable.  I am to important to allow myself to compromise my truth or lie to myself.  I am not lonely.  I am not afraid of spending my life alone.  I know that my friends and my family love me.  I love myself.  I do not need a romantic partner to validate me or make me feel good about myself.  I make me feel good about myself. Any one reading this may think it sounds simple.  But for me to value myself has not been simple.  It has been the most difficult thing that I have ever done in my life.  It is also the greatest blessing.  

I am not angry or bitter about the end of my relationship.  I have only love for him.  I can’t help but believe that this is a new beginning.  Perhaps the greatest lesson that I have learned within the past 4 years is that my Goddess has my back.  An ending is always the beginning of some thing new and better than I ever could have imagined.