Suites and wings in my head

I was first told that God would forgive me for being molested, and later told I was lying about it. Even my grandmother told me about being molested by their LCMS pastor when she was a child, in her own kitchen.  We have been grabbed and objectified, as are the girls now, as their daughters will be.

I’m totally triggered by media sensations of the most popular rapists.  It brings back so many feelings of fear, pain, abandonment, silence.  They’re different from the original feelings.  Then, I was mostly numb.  The pain mostly came in the months and years later.  I’m triggered and re-assaulted when the media makes a circus.

I knew my body was not my own from the time I was 14.  I retreated into my head and let whomever I chose do whatever they wanted.  I can’t bear to think about this even now. My head grew and grew as I needed more room, with suites for creativity, logical thinking, and wings for religious thinking and hallucinations.  Often I retreated to these halls and rooms during. Because of this bifurcation, I hardly feel physical pain at all any more.

No magic answer, no hope.  I want to know, for healing, if I need to deal with each situation separately, or if I can lump them all together.

Tim and not-Tim

Tim was wounded, kind, respected me as a person, smart as a whip, innocent or vulnerable or something like that.  We planned our lives together, and if there were one cis-male human who could have made me happy, it was probably him.  I trusted him.

Sweet hippy-looking girl with pig tails and Levis sings Cat Stevens and American Pie.  Conversation with boys consisted of really?, wow, and then what did you do?  I hated these boys who could be so manipulated by my blank-personality facade and hip-hugger jeans.  They somehow reminded me of my molesters.  I still sometimes confuse the two.  Here was my manifesto:

  • Men don’t feel things as deeply as women do.
  • Women are more empathetic.
  • Men use force of will to make institutions like the LCMS or the government to legitimate their power over moral considerations.
  • When men use logic or empathy, it is usually only from a male perspective: e.g. missionaries. zoos.
  • Men are more linear; women are more holistic.
  • Men underestimate women.  They never expect me to think for myself until it’s too late for them.


So I decided I would never raise a boy.  I still am puzzled that so many heterosexual relationships work:  I feel I would rebel against unfair distributions of work and wealth and other things.  But I haven’t been in the cis-het world for decades, so maybe that has changed.  I try not to judge so much, but I am so triggered when I see men exerting their power because they can.  I feel unsafe and want to fight.  I know I can beat them.

I think that Tim would have been different.


Lisa 2, Mack

The first week of my sophomore year of college, a cute blonde sat near me at lunch, and mentioned being adopted.
–Well.  I was adopted, too.
–Really? I’m Lisa and I’m new here.
That’s how it all started.  Lisa 2 had seen me in a play the previous spring, found out information about me from my friends, and arranged the accidental meeting.  It was love at first sight.

Lisa 2 and I spent weekends at her (wealthy) parents’, tried hard to get drunk one night, watched Fame and Cabaret a thousand times.  Her roommate moved out, and I moved in.  I watched the way her eye lashes almost closed as she studied intently.  I had protective feelings I’d never had before:  I would go to law school, I decided, to be able to support her in the way she was accustomed.

loveWe never touched touched.  We had every meal together for a year, and never held hands.  We had bunk beds, and she would climb up to me in the top bunk and burrow her head into my neck holding each other until I drifted off to sleep.  Then she’d move down to her bunk. I couldn’t imagine my life without her, having had such beauty, humor, those eyes looking at me with love and acceptance.  She was heaven.

Summer came and went, and we drifted apart.  I don’t know why.  I went to the university, and came back to see Lisa at the Lutheran college.  I told her I loved her in that way, and she was shocked and appalled that I would sully our friendship in such a disgusting fashion.  Thirty years later, she’s a lesbian, as were most of my friends from that little Lutheran college.  Lisa and I reconnected, and recently met for coffee.  I remembered all the reasons I loved and wanted to protect her.

At the university, I soon decided to seduce my English professor, Mack.  This time, I was the pursuer, and I analyzed his desires.  Hippy.  Intellectual.  Deep.  Naïve.  I gave him my poetry, but not my phone number and my trap was set:  He would be thinking of me all weekend before we met the following week, with no way to contact me.  I came to class late, with my guitar.  I stayed after class, and he asked me out.

I became overwhelmed by the pursuit, by being something, someone desirable and worldly.  I was more naïve even than I pretended to be.  Making love in a real bed in a real house affected me deeply.  I felt some necessity of loving Mack if I were to sleep with him.  I soon had hallucinations that blew apart my mind; scenes of molestations from years before played back in my mind in psychotic colors and sounds.  Mack would touch me, and, as if in an echo, I could feel Seth and all the others touching me.  At first, I tried to cover this up, pretending I was shy.  But before long, I was hugging my knees, teeth chattering, stuck in a horror of repetition.

Mack found this all very moving.  I watched his face, a mass of cross-hatched wrinkles, and felt I loved him.  I was shattered when he finally left me.  But that crash was just the delayed reaction of losing Lisa 2, I think.  An appropriate time for that grief to finally be released.  Maybe that’s too complex an analysis.  I don’t know.


It probably won’t happen: Part 2

I see him and wilt.  I’m an unwatered tomato in August, smelling putrid.  His hands are kitchen mitts; no fine embroidering or texting possible.  They’re always slightly cupped in a relaxed C and I imagine that C at someone’s neck, my neck.  I am a big person, and you wouldn’t want me to step on you.  But now I feel flattened under the weight of his uncomprehending gaze.  He smiles at me and puts his arms out to engulf me in an embrace.  He hasn’t showered in days, maybe a week, and his stench adds to my lightheadedness.  I hug him back.  He says he loves me.  I say yeah.  I go to sit at the computer and play the music for church.  He sits in the back row and falls asleep.

The last time he molested someone he was punished with not being able to go shopping for two weeks, a punishment I was assured that he sorely felt.  They said he felt bad about it, but I think he felt bad about having gotten caught.   I think he should be in jail, but they say he would be victimized there.  I’m a monster for even thinking he should be punished more severely.

I can’t let it go.  After being family of his for eight years, I can’t let it go.  I have tried to feel compassion for him, to think about how he’s been horribly victimized.  How brain trauma interferes with self-control.  Let it go, please let go.  I can’t let it go.

We had lunch, the whole family, and I sat as far from him as I could.  I smile placidly. He teases, cutting you down in that elementary school boy way.  He makes hints about the food on other people’s plates that he wants.  He pouts.  He judges the brother who molested him (Adam) because his brother smokes too much pot.  He orders the most expensive things on the menu, which I will pay for.  How can I be so petty?  Was I raised in a barn?  Once, just once I want to say, “Don’t touch me!”   Why can’t I let it go?

Christmas, my birthday, every family gathering:  He’s always there.  If I don’t want to go, well, that conversation goes nowhere.

They have tried different kinds of counseling, but he refuses to go.  He is medicated.  He was, after all, not able to go shopping for two weeks.  Now he has a watcher at work who has eyes on him at all times.  Your tax dollars.

I am a good Unitarian Universalist.  I support Black Lives Matter and a variety of anti-poverty campaigns.  Mental health care reform.  Jill Stein for god’s sake.  But I can’t let it go, sohelpmegod I can’t let it go.

Link:  It probably won’t happen Part 1