My Survivor Story Re-blog #MondayBlogs

The Mending Mads Silent Auction is almost over. We reached our goal the very first day! I’m humbled by the response of the authors and vendors who participated. Those who bid on items, thank you so much. Through RAINN, your money will go to help those in need of comfort and healing.

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I touched on a few of the reasons that Mending Mads and raising money for RAINN are important to me. With statistics of sexual assault as they are it seems impossible not to know someone whose life has been touched by it. For me the gravity of stopping sexual violence goes beyond friends, family, and basic compassion for my fellow human being.

I am a survivor of sexual assault.

Consciously, I have very little memory of this time in my life and no solid memory of the actual assaults. Too young to hang on to no more than small impressions left by the train wreck my trauma left behind. My lack of memory is a blessing and a curse. There really is not good way to be left with the aftershocks of being violated. Not quite three years old, I was a very boisterous and precocious child. My father was overseas with the Navy so it was just Mom and I. She attended night school working towards her bachelors in psychology. While she was at school I was left in the care of a woman and her husband, family friends of my parents. For the sake of this post I will be referring to my attacker as The Man.

****TRIGGER WARNING! My story includes details that may be a trigger to some readers. Please continue with caution.*****

 

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The Man and my father met on the base where they were both stationed. His wife was very sweet and he was supposedly a fun guy to be around. Originally it was The Man’s wife who was my babysitter but for reasons I cannot remember The Man ended up taking over the job. Fast forward I don’t know how long to the night I came out of my bedroom long after I should have been asleep. I informed my mother that it hurt. She asked me, “What hurts?”

I pointed down the front of my diaper and said, “Where The Man put his fingers.” Immediately after I became hysterical because I wasn’t supposed to tell. “The Man said he’d make you go away and I’d never see you again!” I wailed. The Man had ensured my silence by threatening my mother’s presence in my life. I always was a mama’s girl but as my father was currently gone she was all I had. The Man told a child he’s leave her completely alone in the world if she told on him. This small act on his part impacted me so greatly for the rest of my life it was nearly crippling. I suffered from separation anxiety until I was a teenager. Sleepovers with friends, trips, just going to school terrified me; my family might be gone when I get back.

My mother blamed herself and to this day thinks she should have seen some sign The Man would hurt me. She remembers the weird irritation on my genitals that she chalked up to a recurrent diaper rash. She remembers washing my blanket and wondering what I’d spilled on it, in retrospect she knows it was The Man’s semen. Going to school for psychology, specifically to help abused children, while her own is being assaulted under her roof. To say Mom needed therapy as much as I did is an understatement. I’ve never blamed her and I hope one day she’ll stop blaming herself as well.

The truth is Mom is my hero. The Man’s commanding officer tried to sweep it all under the rug. I was just a kid, probably lying. Even though mom had a report from the pediatric ER physician stating it was obvious to him I had been sexually abused, the CO refused to do anything. Mom wouldn’t be told to go away. She threatened to go to the newspapers. With her permission they would print my name, The Man’s name, the name of the Navy base and every person she’d come into contact with since I told her my terrible secret. That’s how mom met the base commander. He apologized and shipped the CO to one of the worse bases you can end up at. The Man was arrested and tried in military court. He spent two years in prison. The shackles of his abuse will stay with me until I die, two years seems too easy. PTSD, anxiety, depression, mistrust, fear, nightmares; the list goes one!

You don’t get to get over sexual assault. It lives with you forever. Without the love and support I’ve received I wouldn’t be a functioning adult. I was told in junior high not to share my story because it makes people uncomfortable and then they won’t want to be around me.

It makes you uncomfortable? Well, it made me uncomfortable too. You won’t want to be my friend? Too bad for you. I will not be silenced and made to feel ashamed. I will speak out. I will fight for myself and others until the day comes when the offenders are too uncomfortable to commit sexual assault. I will make a difference. The Mending Mads Silent Auction is one way I am raising awareness, educating the public, and helping to fund an organization dedicated to getting other survivors the help they deserve.

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Science sided brain has the dumb. #mondayblogs

Have you seen any of the millions of YouTube videos where they mess with molten or red hot materials?  You can watch molten copper poured into a coconut, molten aluminium dumped in a swimming pool, molten glass/tar/lava onto an iPhone. Destroying iPhones looks like a popular one. There is also a whole channel dedicated to a red hot nickel ball. Viewers send in whatever they want the host to put the RHNB on. I watched floral foam, styrofoam, and gak (remember that stuff?). As I am watching I am reminded of a personal defect; I touch things I know I shouldn’t.

Four year old me laid a hand on the hot stove burner because Mom said it’s hot, don’t touch. So I touched it.

At eight I grabbed the end of metal sparkler after it burned out. Still hot, quite painful. Don’t recommend it.

On the lake when I was fifteen I was done in by a fishing hook in the finger. I’d like to say it was an accident because I grabbed the fish wrong but no. There wasn’t even a fish. Found the hook, touched the sharp part.

There is a voice in my head and it is science/common sense dumb. Hot stuff can’t really be that hot if it isn’t on fire, right? Facepalm with me, dear readers. Since I know I cannot be trusted and there isn’t enough supervision in the world to save me, I avoid certain things. Pretty much any scenario I think could devolve into an episode of World’s Dumbest starring yours truly is off the books for me.

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Leaving the science to Neil. 

My children think I am nuts when I tell them not to grab certain things.

“We know. We’re not gonna touch it. Seriously, who would?”

Me. I would.

Now, if you will excuse me I think it is time I watched this video again. It’s for preschoolers, because they have it together better than the science sided part of my brain.

Reality? What reality? #mondayblogs

For this week’s edition of #mondayblogs, let’s examine my full immersion into the fictional world. Maybe you can relate.

I have a small issue with reality. Events and characters from fiction are real to me. Not in the sense I need therapy to help me differentiate flesh and blood people from actors playing roles/CGI/’people’ in books. My problem is I take the experiences to heart. This is a 50/50 deal because the emotional payoff can be GLORIOUS or it can turn me into a shuddering mess of snot and tears.

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Being selective and spoiler friendly minimizes the risk of a nervous breakdown. The Fault in out Stars is probably a great book. I will never read it because I need to be able to function as a human being afterwards. Minimal exaggeration here. I can’t cry it out and move one. No, the trauma will bury itself in my soul and cause be to burst into tears at random times until the day I die. A few times I have managed to escape by refusing to believe the fake reality. For example, I refuse to believe any Alien movie after James Cameron’s film exist. So, two movies and then the rest are just a non canon fever dream. Why? Because Hicks and Newt. You want to tell me I’m wrong because there is just no way Ripley could have gone on to live a happy life with Hicks and Newt? Prove it.

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Bioware is a company known for producing the Mass Effect and Dragon Age franchises. They are also synonymous with ripping your heart out of your chest and laughing while you bleed out on the ground. The stories of Bioware heartbreak are many. For some, it helps us to cope by sharing our pain with others who understand. Beware of spoilers in the video below.

With every choice, even in previous games, effecting future events you gamble with your chances of a happy ending. I don’t know anyone who played through one time and got it all ‘right’. Maybe you don’t care about that kind of thing but for me it is personally vital to my sanity. Yes, I’m striving for the fluffy bunny and magical unicorns of joy conclusion. If you think it makes me a loser, you can bite my magical unicorn ass.

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Love is never going to the grocery store alone. #mondayblogs

Love is being married to the same man for 40 years and he still enjoys giving me goosebumps from kissing the back of my neck, every year he remembers to buy me Cadbury eggs at Easter time, and he always whistles when I walk out of the shower. – Pamela

When I married Mr. B he was unemployed after his company folded up shop. He spent months looking for a job but no luck. He was either overqualified because of his IT work history  or under qualified without a college education. My retail job kept our heads barely above water as bills piled up. Mr. B’s self esteem took a huge hit. Since the age of sixteen he had a job and now he had a wife he couldn’t provide for. He decided to join the United States Air Force. Insurance, paychecks, and a chance to go to college came with the job once he signed on the dotted line. He went to basic training in San Antonio and I prepared for seven weeks apart. My dad told me to write him a letter everyday. “It’s rough in basic. Those letters from home have a way of making the worst day feel bearable.”

I sent forty-nine letters, one for each day we were apart. Not many letters came back from him, but when they did it was wonderful. He kept a running journal of each day, just a few sentences. My first letter from him came with the three page journal. I recently re-read the letters and feeling his stress/anxiety through them was sobering. His flight was the F-Troop, so bad they got one instructor reassigned for his failure to train them.

At twenty-three, Mr. B was used to freedoms his eighteen year old counterpart were not. Home sickness was his biggest issue along with the fear of being ‘washed back’. This is when you have to start over in basic. He was so worried about it he kept an injury hidden and performed minor self surgery to avoid the Med clinic. (I was not happy about that one, at all!)

Looking back over his letters one sentence sticks out in my mind. “My first letter from Bridget came today and I cried when I read it.”

Mr. B is a strong, silent type. Very stoic. I can count his tears over the last  seventeen years on one hand and still have fingers left over. Knowing a letter from me hit him so hard told me a lot. A little gesture that spoke volumes. I started thinking about other times one of us has done something small in scale but meant the world to the other gestures are beautiful but I really think it is the smaller gestures I enjoy most.

Love is when he rubs your back and massages your aching hands while you talk at night. Love is when he brings you your favorite chocolate because you’re feeling stressed. Love is when you stroke your child’s hair and sing her to sleep every night at bedtime. Love is being there for someone when they need you, love is listening without judgment, love is accepting someone as they are, love is giving of yourself, love–real love, comes without any expectations or conditions – Liana

On facebook I asked people to define love in small gestures. They had to finish the sentence “Love is…”

 

 

Love is…

not complaining about my cold feet in the bed – Jasmyn

34 years together and my man stills makes me giddy when he smiles at me! – Angela

morning cuddles – Sara K.

having that 1 person that can make you smile even on the worst days – Sara D.

still getting butterflies whenever he takes me on a date – Alexis

knowing to be there when needed even if you’ve not been invited – Lavern

Finding out your husband of 11 years listens to Kelly Clarkson at work because her songs make him think of you – Bonnie

Cutting 3 inches off crutches and piecing them back together for your short wife with fractured foot. – Robin

buying ice cream for your girlfriend when shes feeling down – Amanda

giving you the last bite – Stephanie

The door handle on my truck broke and my husband refuses to fix it. He said he likes to open the door for me – Jody

Peeling the pistachios for me because I don’t like to mess with the shells. – Amber

being treated with respect – Linda

when I’ve had a really bad day and her arms are there to wrap around me.- Amy

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Sara Feiss Art – shop her Etsy store here

Love is not having an appetite for days because an old hag’s comment made your self esteem go down but going into your bag to get your laptop to find he placed a baggy of your favorite snacks and a note that says “For my beautiful wife. I need you alive” – Lisa Marie

Life throws up for a loop and suddenly your day turns to night. Hopefully, it only lasts a day.

Love is being selfless, being kind, loving beyond fault, putting your children, your spouse, and God first before yourself. Love is staying by your sick child’s beside day and night, day after day, month after month, in a horrid Cancer battle and holding said child in your arms as he died. – Mary

Sometimes love is painful. I once heard it said that the opposite of love is not hate, for hate is the absence of love. No, the opposite of love is grief. When the mortal vessel love lives inside has reached it’s end, grief in others is the proof it existed. For this reason, grief is a beautiful celebration of love. Don’t fear grief, though it is painful, because without it you can’t know the joy of real love.

Life is hard, when you really have someone who loves you that makes the load easier. I hear a lot of people say that love should be easy, where did that idea come from, you have to work at the things you want, why would you do less for the love of your life, it requires maintenance and work, you have to tend it everyday. – Linda

We live in a day when relationships don’t stand the test of time, according to statistics. We’re told true love is a magical experience that just happens.

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We work for everything in life, why wouldn’t we work for love? Work doesn’t have to mean back breaking endeavors. Little things count big time. Don’t waste a day without showing your loved ones why they matter; family, friends, spouses/significant others, etc.

If you’re unsure how to go about doing this I think Christy W. summed it up well when she answered my post with “Love is everything.”

I don’t get the hype. Please don’t kill me.

You can’t please everyone. It’s a global truth. When something comes along that every person on the planet seems to like but you, suddenly you find yourself on the outside of the trend. When it happens to me ask myself, “What am I missing? What don’t I get that everyone else does?”

I asked my readers to give me an example of a book or movie they didn’t understand the draw of. The most popular were…

  • Fifty Shades of Grey (book and movie)
  • Game of Thrones (book and movie)
  • The Walking Dead
  • Outlander

Walking Dead and I are very close. I’m a horror fan but it is the character development over the seasons I’m invested in. In the event of a zombie apocalypse, I’m looking for a Daryl.

Game of Thrones. #TeamDany all the way. I enjoy several story lines in the series but I won’t lie. They could rename it Mother of Dragons and have nothing but Emilia Clarke’s character and I’d be stoked.

I am 50/50 on Fifty Shades of Grey. Outlander I get in theory. The story sounds great when others talk about it. I’ve tried to read it several times and watched the first season of the show. Beautiful story of enduring love but so painful. My heart doesn’t like tragic love. I will dwell on it fo’eva.

My name is Bridget Blackwood and I am a Outlander quitter.

Sorry Jaime.