Category Archives: Memoir

From the whip to the Word

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“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in them. For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and it’s desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”

1 John 2: 15-17 NIV

 

I’ve been watching “A&E’s “Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath” for the past 3 seasons.  Although I’ve never belonged to a formal established cult per se, I understand about Stockholm syndrome, brainwashing, love-bombing, gas-lighting and other techniques that are employed by cults.  Remini frequently talks on the show about how when she was in Scientology she truly believed in it, and also thought that people on the outside weren’t as evolved.   This had much to do with being submersed in a subculture that is insular in nature, designed to promote itself and keep its members in.

When I first entered into a relationship with my ex, who I later discovered was a sociopath and sexual sadist, he convinced me to “try out” BDSM.   The way he introduced the concept was cunning.  He said that of course he would be my Dominant and the one in charge and that I would be his submissive and the one responsible for attending to his needs. That was never off-putting as I am a very caring person and it’s in my nature to want to be a care-taker.  The thing that he pitched to me is that I would have complete control over what we did.  The ever so clever ‘illusion of control’.  Nothing would happen that I didn’t want.

This, as I would later find out was a flagrant lie.   As time pressed forward he never respected my no.   I would come to find out I didn’t even have one.   He did as he pleased.   Think “50 shades of Gray” but with Ted Bundy cast in the leading  role.

I don’t think I would have entered into it at all, save for the fact that I was desperate to feel loved.  He was saying all the right things at just the right time.  I was in an extremely vulnerable place.  I had just come out of a very physically and emotionally abusive relationship.  My son’s father had been cheating on me which had paralleled nearly our entire relationship, I lost part of my cervix due to his cheating.  He had beaten me so badly once, my tooth had gone through my lip.  He had locked me in rooms and refused to let me out to use the bathroom. He had locked me out of the house in the winter in freezing temperatures without a coat.   He threw a razor at my head leaving me bleeding, crawling out of the house searching for help from passing cars on the street.  I ended up with staples in my head to suture the wound.

Looking back when I left my son’s father, it was as if I was swimming in shark infested waters with a fresh wound. I was a beacon for a sociopath like the sadist narc with whom I became involved. .

Somewhere during my relationship with my son’s father is when I had stopped going to church and praying.  I felt so lost.   I felt so abandoned.  When I met the narcopath I was like a deer in headlights.  He appealed to my intellect as he told me, “this may sound crazy but an alternative relationship when done right can,  because of the risky situations it entails,  actually forge a stronger and closer bond between a man and a woman than a typical “vanilla” relationship ever could.”  It sounded so good! Closer I thought? Well slap me silly then sign me up for that.  Me the girl who has been starving for love and attention her whole life.  It almost sounded like the promise of coming home.   He encouraged me to do my research online.  I did.   It seemed like it may actually work at the theoretical level.

Boy was I wrong.   I will have to repost the horror show of what happened during that relationship at another time.

Like Leah Remini while she was in Scientology, when I was living the BDSM “lifestyle” via this D/s relationship I believed that it was a more self-actualized way of being.   A small part of me actually felt superior to others.   That I had discovered that by giving into hedonism, and accepting carnal, visceral pleasures that I had reached a higher plane of understanding somehow.   That I had let go of the entrapment and bondage of guilt and shame that my Catholic upbringing had pummeled into me.

It has taken 7 years of distance from that BDSM D/s lifestyle, therapy, emptiness and utter despair to realize some things:

One, the so called bondage I thought I was leaving behind of shame and guilt,  I ended up trading for actual leather straps being chained to this sicko’s bed getting whipped, caned, spanked, or otherwise beaten so that he could get an erection.  He was sexually impotent without the use of violence as he was a sexual predator.

The truth is the guilt and shame was always there in me because the goodness of God had never left me and I felt ashamed about what I was doing as I knew God would be disappointed.  I was also disappointed in myself.   I secretly wanted a better life but never believed I deserved it.

Secondly, I was not better than vanilla and/ or God fearing people.  Quite the opposite, I was falling deeper into sin and sexual immorality but just could not see it at that time.  Many in that subculture are atheists, agnostics or living very compartmentalized lives; it is my belief they don’t see themselves as sinning.   A sort of denial I guess.

Finally,  the good news isn’t too good to be true.   Even a sinner like me can change.   That sound of the promise of coming home?  That has to do with salvation.  No one but God knows who will be saved but Scripture is pretty clear on one fact:

”Jesus answered, I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me. “ 

John 14:6 NIV 

It has taken a long time for me to see more clearly, I am beginning to see more clearly.  I have a long long way to go.  What I find ironic is that I was partly on the right track.  I should have been on my knees, but in prayer.  I should have been being a submissive, but to the Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus can save me from despair, He can heal me from my sorrow, He can show me an enduring love like no one here in this world can.  Reconciling and restoring the strong relationship with Christ that I once had is the best decision I have decided to make.

I’ve been looking for love in all the wrong places.   God was always there ready and willing to love me.

 

 

 


Brokenness

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Growing up I had many fears.   They were not just ordinary kid fears.  For there were things which lurked in the dark.  Things from which my parents could not protect me.   I often felt petrified particularly at night.   The nights were long and at times seemed to stretch out interminably.

To make matters worse the landscape of my daytime was such that I was rather invisible.   Usually well-behaved, I got lost in the shuffle of the chaos and discord,  the cacophony of our home.  I needed comfort after the unspeakable terror of the night.  I often fantasized about being rescued by a benevolent parent archetype.  Someone who would recognize my hidden suffering and rescue me from the profane which my parents could not see.

So ever since I was small I can remember seeking out bits of care and affection hoping to stitch together enough to survive.    I have a crystal clear memory of cutting a bunch of lavender colored lilacs with a pair of scissors from the bush outside my bedroom window.   I brought them to school as a gift for my 3rd grade teacher, with some tin foil wrapped at the base.  I was hoping my good deed would earn me a bit of her praise.  Wishing she might look favorably upon me.   I was starving, aching for somebody, anybody,  to tell me that I was a good girl.

That desperation has not changed much since then; only my age has.

Even when I have managed to capture that attention and validation from a man as an adult,  that I had so desperately sought back then, I cannot hold onto the warmth I feel from receiving it for very long.  Because my early childhood trauma left me with a hole somewhere, all of the warmth and goodness I am able to take in slips away into the darkness leaving me feeling empty and alone.

I have been left in a constant unending cycle of seeking attention and validation from others.  The process itself is exhausting, time-consuming, and always ends the same.   I must begin it all over.

Trying to figure out how to construct the emotional glue with which to fill this invisible hole has proven a lot harder than I ever imagined.  For I don’t know where the hole exists within myself to patch and the spackle is not readily available at the local hardware store.

I still feel like a little girl inside, wanting that care and reassurance that I am lovable and good.  There is the sobering realization that it’s all going to have to come from me.  I’m going to have to be that voice I always needed.

I don’t want to shoulder this.  I want a different way.  I continue to struggle with accepting that there will never be anyone to rescue me.   There won’t be any grown up to tell me that I’m good.  Because I’m not 7 years old anymore, even if I feel like it on the inside.

It sucks being broken.   Dealing with kid feelings, kid fears, in a grown up body.

Kid Fears – The Indigo Girls – 1988

Pain from pearls, hey little girl
How much have you grown?
Pain from pearls, hey little girl
Flowers for the ones you’ve known
Are you on fire
From the years?
What would you give for your
Kid fears?
Secret staircase (secret staircase), running high (running high)
You had a hiding place
Secret staircase (secret staircase), running low (running low)
They all know, now you’re inside
Are you on fire
From the years?
What would you give for your
Kid fears?
Kid fears
Skipping stones, we know the price now
Any sin will do
How much further, if you can spin
How much further, if you are smooth
Are you on fire (are you on fire)
From the years? (from the years)
What would you give for your
Kid fears?
Replace the rent with the stars above
Replace the need with love
Replace the anger with the tide
Replace the ones, the ones, the ones, that you love
The ones that you love
Are you on fire
From the years?
What would you give for your
Kid fears?
Are you on fire
From the years
What would you give for your
Kid fears
What would you give for your
Kid fears
What would you give for your
Kid fears
You can’t feel
The kids
Songwriters: Amy Elizabeth Ray / Emily Ann Saliers

 


The Stepford Bitches

~originally published 2011~

I don’t fit in anywhere.  I never have.  I will be anything you need me to.  But none of its real.  I do whatever it takes, act however you need me to, just as long as you like might like me.  I traded authenticity for acceptance long ago and never really looked back, until now.

I’ve lived in this God-forsaken shit town for 3 years and I haven’t made one friend.  I’m not looking for your pity or sympathy either.  I’ve got my pillow to cry into and a therapist who hears me vent plenty.   I am a loner, not by choice.

I just don’t fit into this cookie-cutter community.  Apparently I don’t know the secret fucking handshake in this one horse town.  Most women here are trust fund girls who went to Yale and probably have their silver spoons embedded in their snatch to prove their purebred status.  I’m the mongrel they want to spit on, the girl of which a few of their husbands sometimes secretly steal glances when they’re not looking.  Something about me makes these women uneasy.  I’m college educated too, but I didn’t go to an Ivy-League school.  I had to get to a state university through work-study, scholarships, and financial aid.

Something about me threatens them, because they can’t even make eye contact with me when they’re away from the “pack” all by themselves.  You know, the clique of women that just like in high school, stand to the side and whisper in hushed tones as I pass by.

Most of them are approaching middle-age and have starved their way to being fit through daily yoga and pilates.  They walk around toting their children they adopted from a foreign country because they were way past menopause when they decided to start their family and it just wasn’t working out having dogs as surrogate children anymore.

They drive around in their Cadillac crossovers, donning their linen attire because God forbid they wear anything but natural fibers.   They babble about their recent trip to Prague and how they are had their color scheme in the kitchen changed from avocado to mint and it actually feels cooler.   They let their kids wear capes, tutus, and strange hats to school, even though it’s not Halloween. Because they believe in going along with the whimsical ride but the truth is they can’t set limits with these little fuckers.   They let their boys wear their hair down to their ass because ‘gender ambiguous’ is trendy now.  But next month if the trend changes they’ll cut that hair right off in a heartbeat because it’s all about appearances and nothing to do with principle and surely not about what their kid actually wants.  They name their boys shit like Rocko.  I’m sorry, but that’s like a dogs name last time I checked.

Everything in their lives is sanitary, sterile, and healthful from clothing to food.   I don’t think any of their kids have ever tasted a cupcake with red dye #4 or high fructose corn syrup.  They subsist off of “organic only” products from Whole Foods aka Whole Check that both look and taste like cardboard and they bake muffins with their own breast-milk.  But those kids won’t learn that it all tastes like ass, until they get far enough away from mommy’s helicopter apron strings.

At the last PTO meeting I attended they were all clambering who’d take home the compost pile from the Harvest garden at school.   I wanted to raise my hand and offer to take a shit in the compost bag just to see if anyone would notice I said anything.

When I walk by they act as if I do not exist, like I am a non-entity.  In those moments, it makes me fantasize about being on my knees and sucking off one their husbands, purely out of spite.   I wouldn’t.  I have morals and besides their husbands equally creep me out.

Yet, I am still on the outside looking in.   Filled with a palpable sadness. A long-standing dolefulness that spans years.  The kind of penetrating sorrow which makes one turn a collar to that cold and damp, almost as if to shield oneself from its grip.

It’s like I’m seven years old again on the play-ground and some jerk kid won’t pick me for the team because I don’t have the “right” clothes.    It’s the same bullshit, just that those kids grew up and became adults.  Now they’re still the same pretentious elitist assholes just older.  Same as it ever was.  And I still don’t have the teflon I need in life to let it all roll off.

Newsflash bitches, money isn’t everything, if you lack basic social graces, respect for others, and genuine kindness you have nothing.    These rudimentary  lessons should’ve been mastered back in grammar school.


The Jewelry Box

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It sounded like it was raining all of the time in most of Massachusetts.   Strange, because it wasn’t.   It was them, I was told.   I didn’t really understand you see, I was only eleven at the time and there is only so much you really grasp at the age.  For that matter, want to grasp about what grown-ups tell you.

But I saw them everywhere. Climbing, crawling, moving.  They seemed very busy.

My dad was putting this sticky tape around the base of most of our trees in an attempt to keep more of them from invading.  But it was too late I think.  They were already high up, munching away.

My school friend Kay, my sister, and I used to ride bikes a lot of the day during that fateful summer when they came.

Kids seem to naturally adopt the views of their parents and the larger world around them.  Kay was no exception.   She decided that she would help get rid of them one-at-a time, through beheadings.  Unspokenly, she had decided for us all.  Our method was to take the wheel of our bicycle and ride over their body and watching the various color in the “squish.”

I couldn’t do it.  I averted my wheels last second, they seemed so tiny and defenseless, it  seemed too cruel.  My sister and Kay never noticed, they were too engrossed in their own fun.

Later that day my dad came home from work.  He pulled into the driveway in his light blue Ford pick-up truck.   He approached me and squatted down to ask, “what are you doing with those boxes and the Vaseline and Q-tips honey?

I explained, “I’m trying to put them back together,  I am trying to fix them, dad.  See,  I put a little jelly on ’em.  Then I put them in my jewelry boxes.  Then I come back to check the next day.  If they are not moving, I bury them and give them a little funeral.”

“So looks like you’ve got yourself a gypsy moth caterpillar hospital here. ” my dad determined.

Yup.

*******

I think those caterpillars were the first memory I have of trying to “fix” something.

Maybe I tried to save them because I desperately wanted someone to save me.   Maybe it’s because I’m inherently wired to be caring and compassionate.   Maybe both.  I’ll let my shrink figure that out.

Who knew though that one day  caterpillars would someday metamorphose into men….

 

 

 


When I was seventeen….

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It was a very good year….

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but really it wasn’t, it sucked.

I remember sitting at highschool dances never getting asked to dance.

To this day I have never learned how to “slow dance”.

Shocking, I’m sure.  Yes, I’m over 30.

Two left feet I’m afraid, the result of no practice.

It was a vicious cycle:  can’t slow dance so run from the dance floor, never get asked to slow dance so don’t learn how to dance…. and so on.

I remember wishing a boy would ask me out back then. I so wanted to have a boyfriend, a first kiss and all that. After going through 4 years of high school alone, and watching my sister (only a year older) have guys pounding down our door wanting to see her, I always assumed I was ugly.  Fair assumption to make so I thought.

I didn’t have the “in” clothes that the popular kids had, I wasn’t involved in athletics, I had job bagging groceries afterschool. It was a good way to stay out of the chaos that was my home.

Today, I look at this photo from when I was 17.

At the time I felt like the ugliest girl on the planet, because no one wanted me, no one ever asked me out. My sister later told me I never go asked out,  because I wouldn’t “put out.” That me saving myself for marriage sealed my fate.

Now, I look back at photos and think wow! I was smokin’.

Today, I look at my own photos or my face in the mirror and I am right back to feeling the way I did at seventeen. Ugly and less than.

Unable to keep a relationship afloat to save my life.   Developmental lessons not learned, that should I’ve been mastered at a younger age.  They are being learned now…….but rendering me at a deficit…..and coming at a  high cost in intimate relationships in present day.

But I bet, if I am to look back on pictures of myself now, in a few years; maybe I will think that I don’t look so “bad”? Funny how life goes.


1970 something

Going to my elementary school, there were about thirty kids in my class.  Hell, my graduating high school class there were 562 of us.  Recess was always fun.  Our playground was pretty nice because I lived in an affluent suburb.  It had what most nice school playgrounds in suburbia do.  Plenty of swing sets, slides, see-saws. Box-ball and hop-scotch were even painted right on the hot top itself.

*
I became friends with Jimmy in second grade.  We were in Mrs. Drapeau’s class.  There was a few unforgettable things that happened that year.  Like the time that Henry Altenwen puked and peed his pants at the same time in the front of the class.  The time that Eric Frobert puked all over his reading book.  And the time that Mrs. Drapeau yelled at me in front of everyone for helping a classmate pronounce a word when they were struggling, during oral reading.  Asked me if I thought I should teach the class.  I remember feeling my face felt hot and I felt ashamed. I was only trying to help him, my heart was kind.  It’s amazing the influence that teachers can have in shaping children.

*
Jimmy and I stood next to the teacher aid at recess you see.  I didn’t get much attention at home, my life there was a living hell that no one would ever find out about.  Jimmy? well he was physically sick.  I didn’t really know with what.  His shoulders were always raised up by his chin because he struggled to breathe.  So we both had different reasons for hanging out with the teacher aid at recess while all the other kids frolicked about on a beautiful sunny day.

*
Me being the little chatter box, and not really grasping at age 7 that Jimmy was so sick I treated him like anyone else.  I asked him all sorts of questions since he could not run or walk around much.  Why this, why that.  He laughed at my questions.  I told a lot of stories and a lot of jokes.  I asked if he was ever going to get braces.  I asked him all kinds of crazy shit.  (I used to ask my Catholic grandmother if I was reincarnated and maybe I were a rock in another life)

*
Jimmy and I went to St. Mary’s Church together as well.  So I am sure that I yapped about CCD too.  I liked our time together.  Me, Jimmy, and the teacher aide.

*
Jimmy had been out from school for a few weeks and one morning I came into school and the Mrs. Drapeau said that Jimmy wouldn’t be coming back.  That he was in heaven.

*
Her words hung in the air like a garrote, choking the love in my little heart.
*****
Jimmy as I would later learn had Cystic Fibrosis.  I spent a good deal of time in my teens doing the Stair Climb, an annual event during the early 1990’s at the Prudential Center in Boston to raise money for my favorite childhood friend that I lost to death.

*
Every year my dad would drive me to Boston and I would get people to sponsor me for each floor that I could walk up. I always made it to the top of it’s 52 floors. Course my legs felt like rubber when I got done. I have asthma, and  sometimes it was a struggle and I would get winded.  It would occur to me as I walked, how Jimmy struggled day after day. How winded he must have been.  That I get relief with an inhaler…. that he suffocated.  I cried as I climbed.

*
Since 1965, the term “65 Roses” has been used by children of all ages to describe their disease because it’s easier to pronounce.

*
*****
After Jimmy’s funeral, his mother sent me a card.  It read, “Thank you for being there for my son.  You were his only friend.”  Her words gripped me and I will never forget them. To this day I never realized that all the other kids, were frolicking around, never talked to him, never stopped to get to know him.  Strange, how because of the hell I lived and the horror of what happened in my house, God brought Jimmy and I together.
*****
2 weeks ago, I received a text from my mom which made me ecstatic! It read, “there is a new treatment for Cystic Fibrosis!”  So I ran over and googled it. Sure enough, there is.  It is a brand new FDA approved drug called  “Kalydeco.”

*
It reminded me of Jimmy and I smiled, then cried.  Some 35 years later, the love for my friend still lives in my heart.

*
~miss you Jimmy~ xoxox
…. … …


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