I didn’t want to, but I am…

The #metoo that’s going around has had me at odds with whether or not I wanted to talk about it, but after reading about Joy Bryant, my heart broke as I found a touching similarity to her story. Read it here… Joy Bryant’s story

I do not know the entirety of the story behind my conception save for the he say/she say versions my parents have served up, but I do know that neither parent knew how to parent well.  Their varied backgrounds prevented them from loving their children in the right way.

From what I’ve learned of my father’s childhood it was violent, angry, bitter, and strict.  He was academically smart; however, his father prevented him from seeking further education , so he filtered his skills into being a good craftsman and working with his hands.  His relationship with his mother was tenuous and the foundation for his misogyny.  My father was an extremely attractive man and that parlayed into his ability to score women and oftentimes in inappropriate ways.

After conversations with my half-sister and his current last wife, I learned some extremely ugly things about my father, and while I was in many ways appalled, I can’t say I was entirely shocked, as I saw things first hand growing up that my half-siblings did not and it set the tone for how I viewed him.  I saw women come and go on the weekends I spent with him, and learned not to get attached to any of them because I didn’t know how long they’d last.  Some were nice and some were not, but again, it didn’t really matter because I wasn’t sure if they’d last as I said.  This fluctuation in women translated into my inability to bond with women or even fully trust them since some of the women my father dealt ill treated me.

I learned how abusive my father then, and as recent as this February when he passed, I learned more.  And again, while disturbing, I was not entirely shocked, but what sickened me the most was hearing my half-sister detail her own conception, which led me to thinking, I could have very well been conceived the same way…out of violence/force/coercion…Rape!

I wanted to ask my mother about it, but don’t really want to dredge up the past and have her go into one of her many tirades about my father.  I’d actually rather know about her childhood and relationship with her mother.  Her father passed when she was two.  She’s never really detailed what it was like growing up, but from the fragments I’ve heard from my deceased aunt/uncle and my mother’s sister, it wasn’t great.  The little she’s shared about her relationship with my father was drenched in bitterness and anger.

About ten years ago, she blurted out that he raped her, but I dismissed it, not that I didn’t believe her, but she said it in mixed company; (around MY friends) and it was an inappropriate time and place for such a revelation.  I never brought it up again. Given what I learned from my half-sister, previous conversations with my half-brother, and my father’s last wife, I don’t dispute my mother’s revelation.  I don’t have any resentful or angry feelings about it in all honesty because I had an acrimonious and tenuous relationship with my father anyway.  I have long since reconciled my feelings; or lack thereof toward him, so when he passed, I was completely fine.  I’d been previously estranged from him for ten years and it wasn’t until 2007 that I allowed myself contact with him again.  Those seven years were fraught with drama and I merely tolerated his existence all while forging a very close relationship with his now widow of whom he treated her poorly too!

I have always had an oil and water relationship with my mother; a little similar to how Ms. Bryant explained hers with her mother.  She was verbally, emotionally, and mentally abusive toward me and there were a few extreme physically violent episodes too.  I think there was a lot of envy that she had toward me as I succeeded in things she’d hoped to and she found ways to either take credit for my accomplishments, demean them in some way, or find ways to steal the spotlight.  The myriad of things she’s done to assassinate my character, make assumptions about me, or misrepresent the facts of my life has caused a lot of hurt and pain over the years and fractured my relationship with my siblings and my eldest brothers children.  (Fortunately, we’ve grown through and past them now – but that was decades in the making)  The combination of my mothers abuse and that which I fortunately escaped from my father sexually, served as a painful foundation for my life. For decades, I lived with a level of self-hatred, in spite of the Colgate smile I wore and then somehow amassed herculean strength to overcome all of the pain of the various abuse I endured.

My own #metoo is something I’m choosing not to discuss because it’s not necessary.  I know what I went through and what’s more important, is that I came though it to be where I am today.  Speaking about the foundation of it all is a sealing part of the healing package.  Reading Ms. Bryant’s story allowed me to speak to parts of my #metoo in a different way.  I even more understand the adage, “hurt people; hurt people“.  I make zero excuses for my parents behaviour in any way as it is inexcusable.  I just see it all for the ugly truth that it is.  MY truth! MY healing! MY catharsis!  MY closure!

I wholly empathize with the women; and men, that have been sexually assaulted, molested, raped, and/or sodomized.  I wholly empathize with those who have been abused in any way and I stand in solidarity with those who’ve had the courage to speak up about their experiences.  I understand why it was “easier” to not say anything than to speak up.  I commend those who now have come forward and are speaking publically about their experiences.  I silently pray for those who still do not have the voice or courage to speak up and pray they’ll one day be able to heal and not remain in emotional bondage.

In closing, I hope that we can and will find a way to accept the ugly truth about what is truly an epidemic in society and find ways to embrace and heal those affected and hold the perpetrators accountable for their actions.  Abuse in its varied forms should not be swept under the rug and victims should not be shamed or disbelieved for speaking up.

#Solidarity!

Real and funny conversation with co-worker

The following is an Instant Message conversation I had with a co-worker post having overheard some of his lunch conversation regarding the comment Rush Limbaugh made.

ME: Hi! So, am I a slut?

CW: nice way to start off the morning…first of all, I think women need to take back the word so that it isn’t so negative. Male sluts are heroes. 2) a slut is a sexually promiscuous woman; sleeping around. From what I know of you, that is not you.

ME: No, I am certainly not that. In fact, I was teasing you as I overheard some of your conversation during lunch yesterday and that’s what prompted the message. Sadly, men fail to realize that sex is typically a hetrosexual act that they too participate in, so if they’re sleeping around with a woman who’s sleeping around, they’re equally promiscuous; sluts, and should be equally tagged as such. However, you and I know that there is no true equality and women will always be greater of the two evils. I am sexually liberated in thought and limited practice and feel that women should be and allowed to be free of such negative labeling, but again, this is a male dominated and driven society, which prides itself on demeaning anyone who does not live in conformance to what they deem is appropriate, even though they make themselves hypocrites in the process. If someone wants to deem me a slut, whore, or whatever for my liberal views on sex and the practice thereof, is fine because people will say what they want regardless of what they know for fact or conjecture. Sex within the confines of a relationship is no better or worse than sex outside of one; save for the labeling. But if one has had several relationships over the course of their lives, that tends to equate to sex with each partner, so could that not also deem one a slut or promiscuous? The whole thing should be something that has no merit to politicians. Contraception is necessary for both pregnancy protection and health maintenance. If they’re going to deem contraception immoral for lack of better word and an unnecessary coverage through insurance, then Cialis and it’s counterparts; should likewise not be covered. ED does not prevent a man from urinating; it prevents adequate sexual performance and sex is NOT a health condition. As you can tell, this discussion can go on for days and become rather convoluted.

CW: I was wondering what prompted the question. You were eavesdropping. I like that makes me wonder who else eavesdrops on our lunch conversations

ME: You were louder than you might have thought you were talking

CW: I think if they have a problem with it, they should just write in the insurance contract that they do cover contraception, but not for sluts. Of course, using the conservative definition of ‘an unmarried, sexually active woman.’

ME: riiiight! that’s gonna work

CW: c’mon. if you want to discriminate, then just spell out your discrimination

ME: so that’s tantamount to saying married woman can get contraceptives, but their engaged or in a relationship counterparts can’t.

CW: isn’t that what Georgetown is saying?

ME: semantics will always be used or at least considered, but it’s all bullsh*t

CW: actually, Georgetown, being Catholic, may not want to cover contraceptives at all

ME: well, men on boy sex doesn’t require contraceptives anyway

CW: pills are also much safer than hangers

ME: they are, but STDs can still occur. Sadly, many don’t realize that some are passed orally

CW: true. I agree with you on these principles, but I don’t think the Gubment should be telling insurance companies what they must and must not cover. If you don’t like the insurance, don’t buy it
ME: LOL @ gubment. And you’re right; they should not, but they line the pockets of some of the gubment folk, so they’ll tow the line with them. Not buying the insurance isn’t that easy because we all need coverage and tend to have to opt for the health plan the company we work for provides.

End of conversation. 

My co-worker and I often engage in social discuss where we bounce thoughts and ideas off each other and it’s interesting to have captured this one in writing.  So, what are YOUR thoughts?

That is all!