Thursday, August 3, 2017

Updating the Shit Storm

Hey all!  Friends, family, anyone who happens to chance upon this blog and consider it worth a read. I am here to provide an update.  I know my posts on Facebook have been cryptic, and full of subtle and depressive commentary about my life.  You know that whole "When it rains, it pours" nonsense??  Well I have been living in a deluge of shit.  A hurricane uprooting my life and my emotional well being, and simply being a twat to me.  Well...some of my life has turned a corner, and I'm here to let everyone know about it.

Some of you may know that I purchased my first home in late December of last year.  Super exciting, right?!  Yeah, it was.  But only for a couple months.  Then mushrooms sprouted in my basement.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Everyone's favorite (or least favorite) pizza topping fun-guy popped up in my basement in an area my inspector stated was slightly moist due to improper grading of the patio.  Since I purchased in late December, I couldn't exactly fix the patio.  Well once it was nice enough to do so (which we did), turns out my basement was infested heavily with black mold.  Not just in that one spot, but all around.  Courtesy of some disappointing house flippers and their shady tactics and crappy landscaping, I now have to rip apart the entire finished basement to repair the foundation and destroy the mold.  *sigh*  Yep.  First home problems...

I spy with my little eye...something in my wall that will kill me...
On this front, I have put together mediation paperwork and am going after the sellers who knew about the mold and didn't disclose it.  And how do I know that??  How can I prove that they knew about the mold and didn't treat it properly??  A handy little Google search showed that the sellers had a YouTube channel for updating their out of state partner, and I got to see it all.  And download it.  They were out to "make some blood money."  (Yes, that's a real quote from their video).  And now I am out to put their balls in a vice.  Booyah.

Well going back slightly further, as some of you may know from me or reading this blog, I was raped the day before Thanksgiving.  I was raped by someone I had previously had consensual relations with.  I told him I didn't want to date him.  I told him I didn't want to sleep with him again.  I told him no.  Repeatedly.  But that didn't stop him.  I did not report the rape.  I was ashamed, scared, embarrassed, and frankly I don't trust the criminal justice system to always do the right thing (see Brock Turner, Bill Cosby, our President, and many others...)  But a couple months ago something changed.  I found out that I wasn't the only victim.  That he had hurt someone else, and after learning that I knew I had to do something.

I reported my rape later that day.  I stood in my kitchen doorway and told a patrol cop what had happened.  I listened to her tell me I should have come forward sooner.  I should have gotten a rape kit so there would be more evidence.  And I wondered if it would even matter.  A detective was given my case and we talked.  I told him what had been done to me, and to his credit, he never judged me.  He never said I should have come forward sooner.  He never said I should have gotten a rape kit.  He said I did what I needed to for myself, and maybe some of that evidence would be helpful, but not having that evidence doesn't mean it didn't happen.  It didn't make my case less than another.  I will always remember this man, and be able to tell survivors that there are detectives who care.  Who want to help.

He talked to me.  I waited.  He talked to my best friend.  I waited.  He talked to another bartender who worked with my rapist.  And I waited.  He turned over the evidence to the prosecution.  I waited.  And then I heard the news: that prosecution would press charges against him.  Two counts of CSC 3rd degree.  Today was the preliminary hearing, and I discovered what my fate would be.  Would we go to trial?  Would I have to testify?  Would he plead guilty?  Would the judge dismiss the charges?  Questions and feelings running through my head at a million miles an hour.  Distracting me from my work.  Haunting me in my sleep.  Keeping me on the edge of paranoid every minute in public that I would run into him.  

Today I found out that he waived the hearing.  Wait, what??  I come down and sit for hours.  Deal with seeing his face and feeling every hair on me stand up, and now what?!  Well when the defendant exercises his right to waive the preliminary exam, it means going straight to trial or pleading out.  He is pleading guilty.  He is going to admit in a court of law that he touched me without my consent, without me wanting it.  He is going to admit that he ignored my pleas of "no" and forced himself on me.  He will get a lesser sentence.  He will plead to lesser charges.  He will likely not serve much time.  But in a court of law, he will admit he hurt me.  And that is not nothing.  That is a very big something.

And on top of both those stressors are several other smaller things, like my SO trying to find a job...and four adults and two medium/large dogs living in a 2 bedroom/1.5 bath house with no basement storage because MOLD...and job restructuring with no available work so I sit and color and watch Netflix all day...and money problems from being out with mono after my rape...and all that shit adds up.  A calculation of shit plus shit plus mega shit equals a very emotionally drained me.  

I have had the best support through all of this though.  Scott, my loving SO, who has held me while I sobbed and wanted to give up and quieted me down when I thought my rapist was going to break into the house and kill us.  He has never left my side and has proven time and time again that he is my soulmate and the person I want to face every battle with when we grow old together.  My best friend Mary has been a constant source of kindness and warmth.  She never fails to ask me how I am or amuse me with anecdotes or offer Harry Potter and hang out time.  My mom and future in-laws have worked so hard to keep my spirits up and help me in any way they can.  Whether helping with house stuff or bills or even providing a well timed makeover, I've had great parents looking out for mine and Scott's best interest while we tackle all of it.  Oh and my pupper who never fails to offer snuggles and kisses.  My baby has been at my side through so much and continues to do so.  And everyone on social media who has offered kind words or virtual hugs or house advice, you have kept me going especially at my worst.  Thank you, all of you.  For holding my hand and my heart as I am working through all of this.  

It isn't over.  I will still have a sentencing hearing to go to and hopefully speak my piece.  I'm waiting to hear on how mediation will progress.  It's still going.  But today...today was a milestone.  Hurdle after hurdle...I'm still going...still going...still going...



Saturday, January 14, 2017

Writing It Out

Things have been unprecedented in my life lately.  At the end of 2016, I closed on my first home.  It was decision predicated by the amazing job I got earlier last year and the logical steps of my life.  And it has been absolutely amazing.  I've felt steady and well adjusted.  And even in dealing with my assault in November, I've been able to focus on this new chapter and how excited I am to be a home owner and making it my own space.

And then, my body betrays me.

I have been able to bring myself to be in my friend's apartment.  Mainly because the love I feel there has overcome the very, very bad experience I had.  But it also means that my assaulter is often one floor down in the place where he works.  For the most part, I've become very good at dealing with that fact.  I've seen him.  But I've yet to enter the bar.  Usually I keep my eyes on the ground and walk to and from my friend's place.  And it has been hard, but ok.

Today, after spending a wonderful evening painting, watching movies, and making new friends, I finally decided I was ready to go home.  And he was outside.  He was there, smoking and talking to people.  And in an instant, I was not okay.

My pace quickened as much I could on an ice covered sidewalk.  My eyes immediately started to water and my heartbeat picked up its pace.  I tried to keep myself composed until I got to my car because there were people outside and I didn't need someone noticing me in my vulnerability.  By the time I got to my car, I was hyperventilating.  I placed my stuff in the car and got in, immediately locking it in case he had followed me.  While I don't fear for my safety, I also haven't spoken to him and don't know if he would make that effort.  He did not.

The whole 8 minute drive home I could barely control my breathing.  I made my way inside, shaking as I fumbled with my key in the difficult lock.  Once inside, I slammed and locked the door behind me.  My poor dog looking at me as if to ask what's wrong as I collapsed on the floor crying.  I laid there for a moment with my warm face against the cold tile floor.  I composed myself, I got up, and I moved on as best I could.

But it's still with me, as much I as I move forward and focus on positive things, it's there.  It's there in the dark part of me.  The recesses.  So that in my weakest moments, it hits.  My therapist suggested that I write when I am this emotional, hence this post.  I'm not looking for pity or sympathy.  Only for people if they do not already understand, that the pain and damage of trauma runs deeply.  And it is painful.  And I wish with all my heart that I could get rid of it.  But I can't.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

I'm Not Okay

I struggled for a couple days over whether or not to write this, and what to say or how much to say.  Because I've been in a lot of pain.  One of my biggest fears in life came true.  That as a sexual assault survivor, I was more likely to be assaulted again.  And it happened.

I was raped the night before Thanksgiving.  In a set of circumstances that I have been begging for a Delorean or Tardis to go back and change.  To have had the courage to ask him to leave.  To have not frozen in panic and just "deal" with what happened to me.  But all that does is blame myself for what someone did to me.  I said no.  Repeatedly.  At least four times.  But that didn't matter.  And it didn't stop it from happening.

I'm not okay.

I thought for a brief moment that maybe I was fine.  That I had wanted to have sex.  That obviously I was sending the signals for that.  But I'm not fine.  I didn't want to have sex.  I said repeatedly that I didn't want to have sex.  And the biggest part of the whole situation is that I'm fighting my own self blame, and trying to remind myself that he did this to me.  He chose to do this, after I repeatedly said no.

He told me I wanted it.  That I wanted him to fuck me.

He was so polite.  When he first tried putting his hands up my shirt, I pulled away and said that wasn't happening tonight.  He stopped, wrapped his arm around me, and kissed my hair.  The second time he attempted to put his hand down my pants.  I squirmed away and said that wasn't happening.  He brushed my hair out of my face and kissed me.  When I attempted to stand up and walk away, he grabbed at my pants and attempted to pull them down.  I wrenched them back up and said that wasn't happening tonight.  He brought me more beer, and I said I didn't want it.  But he couldn't drink it all himself so I had some.  When I said I was tired, he asked to cuddle.  But I didn't want his finger inside me, and I didn't want sex.  I couldn't move.  I froze.

I kept it together mostly on Thursday.  Same on Friday.  Same on Saturday.  It was Sunday when it all started to unravel.  And has continued into a numb existence of wanting to stay in bed, eat, not eat, sleep, stay awake, feeling like a zombie.

And here I am.

I'm grateful and lucky for the people I have in my life.  That I have friends to reach out to who care enough to check in and make sure I feel safe.  That know how to help me and when to let me have my space.  I'm going to get through this.  I know I am going to be okay.  Eventually.  But right now I'm not okay.  And that's okay.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

A Poem of Epic Emotional Proportions

I wrote this poem today because this past week has been really emotional for me.  I don't want to explain why but in summary, I feel like a pathetic loser who is unwanted.  Some people reading this will know what I'm talking about, and some won't.  In short, dating sucks.  I feel weak and dumb for caring as much as I do, but I do and now I'm dealing with my own stupidity.  I'm really looking forward to shutting myself into my new house and not coming out.   But here is what I wrote today.  I appreciate good will but I'm really not looking to talk about the situation.  It hurts too much right now.


Topaz eyes contain crystalline waters,
Deep the waters go.
While the surface seems calm,
Below, whirlpools rage and the storm feels uncontrollable.
The soft flesh of the beating heart within,
Holding everything together,
While always feeling like falling apart.
Fighting, fighting for every breath and every moment
To know that it is worth it,
But feeling loneliness creep inside as darkness spreads its fine tendrils.
Waiting and hoping and wondering,
If anyone will love me.
I try to hold myself together and know
That I am beautiful and worth it and strong.
But as the trees shed their leaves in the crisp fall air,
So the layers of protection slip away,
As the fight to remain positive becomes harder.
To wait for someone to think

Maybe I’m someone worth fighting for.


Saturday, October 22, 2016

30 Days of Militant Self Care: Days 12-24

This post about self care is both extremely late and extremely ahead.  In explaining my absence, I don't have much to say besides I'm sorry.  To myself mainly, for not being as diligent as I should have been.  Taking care of myself is something I easily sacrifice in ways.  And it is not okay.  I usually put more effort into taking care of others than myself.  I'm working on it.  One of the things I'm doing for myself right now is looking into buying a house, which is so exciting but so damn stressful at the same time.

Day 12: Treat Yo Self.

Probably one of my favorite episodes of Parks and Recreation is Treat Yo Self.  In the show, the idea is to be lavish and buy things that maybe you don't even need.  But in terms of self care, this idea doesn't need to be lavish.  It can be something small.  For me, I indulged in a piece of apple pie and didn't judge myself for eating it.  Which is pretty revolutionary for me.  I struggled with an eating disorder and used to spend a lot of time criticizing myself for what I would eat.  Then I sank into a point where I hated myself so much that I didn't care what I ate because I didn't deserve to be happy.  So now, I am working myself into a place where I want to do better but I don't hate myself if I fail.  And it's going okay.

Day 13: How's it going? Has this been fun, helpful, inspiring, frustrating?

I'm good.  From the beginning of the year, things have been rough.  But I am finally in a good place.  I've been able to put the Listening Ear situation behind me, knowing that I did all I could and that now it is not my problem anymore.  I still absolutely love my job and know that I'm in a secure place financially.  I am actually in a place where I'm not surviving day to day.  I'm actively planning for my future and the best move for myself and it means so much.  That is what this challenge has been for me. Using these self care prompts to really think about my life and realize that I am in a beautiful place with amazing friends and family, and that I'm genuinely happy.  It means the world to me.

Day 14: Do something Fall related.

This one was pretty easy because I absolutely adore the crisp fall air.  So I drove with the windows down and let the cool air pour over me.  It was divine.  Also all the apple cider around has been lovely.

Day 15: If you could add one thing to your day, what would it be? If you could change one thing that's no longer serving you, what would it be?

More hours!  I feel like I could accomplish so much more with more time.  I would be able to get a full night of sleep, and get up and work out, and have a full day of work, plus actually accomplish adult things like laundry and cleaning the kitchen.  One thing that never really served me besides stress relief is my smoking habit.  Which I am working on gradually.  I went almost a full week without smoking, and have since weaned myself down to only 2-4 cigarettes a day, instead of 5-7.  The most important part is knowing that it is a work in progress and that if I slip up, I can always try again.  Learning to be less hard on myself has been a huge part of this challenge for me.

Day 16: What's your bullshit and how are you going to use the next two weeks to challenge it?

Procrastination.  Fuck, I am so skilled at it.  I will wait until I have nothing clean to wear for work, and then like rewear a skirt or pair of pants, and then I'll do laundry.  So I've been keeping myself up on taking care of my responsibilities.  Although the laundry and kitchen need attention today...meh...

Day 17: Get that shit out of your face.

As previously mentioned, I'm working on keeping my shit picked up and organized.  To stop waiting until the last minute to do stuff.  It's a work in progress, but at least I'm working on it.

Day 18: Support a friend.

This is one of my favorites because it is something that I try to do daily anyway.  One thing I said to my therapist a couple weeks ago was that when I love someone, not just romantically but as friends too, I will do anything to help them.  Whether it is loaning money or buying dinner or being a listener or making sure they smile that day, I love my friends.  I want them to know how much I love them.  That I would do anything for them.  I want to know that whenever my time is up, that what people will remember most about me is that I loved people and I stood behind that love.

Day 19: Say no. It's ok to say no.

There's nothing in particular this day that I said no to, but it made me think about how much I hate saying no to people.  I have spent most of my life feeling like a disappointment, that I wasn't good enough.  So in my low self esteem, I didn't want to be another disappointment to people.  I often sacrificed my own comfort to make sure not to say no.  But I am trying to remember that in saying no, I'm honoring myself.  Not just being a disappointment.  It's okay to say no.  It's okay to say no.  It's okay to say no.

Days 20-24: Disconnect.

Here's where I get both behind and ahead.  Our fearless leader is taking her own time to disconnect from technology.  So I am going to try and do the same in some ways.  I'm going to focus more on spending time with people I love.  Working on things that bring me joy, especially working with my hands.  So I hope others do the same.  When we get to the end of our lives, it is those moments we will remember.  I'll remember the times I spent with my best friend Mary, painting and watching Harry Potter.  I'll remember the times I spent making art or writing stories.  I'll remember the times I felt loved and whole.  I'm not going to remember that random article I read on Facebook or the weird video I watched once on Youtube.  I'm living my life to the fullest, as I can, every day.  I'm even on the verge of tears just writing this.  I'm happy.  And I'm going to keep fighting for that.

Stay tuned for more adventures in militant self care after this brief hiatus of disconnection!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

30 Days of Militant Self Care: Days 10 & 11

Yeah, another double post.  I completely forgot last night.  Mainly because Facebook.  But also House.  I just couldn't turn away from Hugh Laurie.  He's just too wonderful and British.  Even though he isn't in the show.

Day 10: Dealer's Choice.  Plus someone else's.

My dealer's choice was a pretty big one and something I knew I needed for myself.  I am doing my freaking hardest to quit smoking. Yesterday, I didn't have a single cigarette.  Today either.  Everything pretty much reminds me of cigarettes, like Chandler in Friends.  Every time I want to go out and smoke at work, I drink a cup of mint tea.  Whenever I'm in the car, my usual place for smoky treats, I focus on turning up the music and singing along.  It hasn't been easy.  But I know it is for the best.

My use of someone else's self care was to watch my food all day.  I'm working on being healthier.  But not just my food intake.  I'm working on how I talk to myself a lot.  To know that if I eat something not good or break my streak and smoke, that I shouldn't shame myself.  That like so many others, I am trying.  Trying really hard.  Slip-ups happen.  It isn't the end of the word.  It's about falling down and getting back up.

Day 11: Renew a hobby.

This was a tough one at first.  All of the hobbies I am passionate about, I keep fairly active in. Well, I haven't been reading nearly as much as I should.  I have a whole bookcase full of books I have purchased and not read yet.  Meanwhile I spend all my time reading articles online that usually just piss me off and make me hate people.  And I know it isn't good to hate people...I don't really hate them.  I pity them for their lack of understanding on topics.  Just as I am sure there are people in the world who feel the same for me.  Everyone pity everyone else!! No, wait...that is too much pity.  Everyone kindly help educate people around the world in perspectives they don't understand...but always be respectful!! There, much better.

One of the best hobbies that I have ever done was creating a lampshade out of old film strips.  It was  knee jerk reaction one day when I was bored.  I found a box of film strips and some wire and made a kick ass lamp shade for myself.  While cleaning out the basement, my mother was throwing away an old lamp where the ceramic vase around the base (unintentional rhyme) had shattered.  The lamp was still functioning.  Just skinnier than before.  I decided to salvage the lamp and create a new awesome film strip lamp shade to sell.  So tonight, I officially ordered the parts I am missing.  But I still need help.  If you have extra film strips hanging around that you don't want or need, email me at alexthewitfactory@gmail.com!  I would love to take your unused film strips and make cool lamp shades! Check out my first one!


I cannot wait to make more of these and sell them if possible. As always, stay tuned for more adventures in militant self care!




Sunday, October 9, 2016

30 Days of Militant Self Care: Days 8 & 9

I'm double featuring this one, pals.  I got home very late last night because frankly, I was having a damn good time.  So when I came home late, I wanted to crash.  And that's what I did.  But here's what you missed!

Day 8: Spend time with someone you love.

I did that whole heartedly on Saturday, and Sunday!  I got to spend the weekend with my best friend Mary as we watched tv or Harry Potter and painted.  This is how we became friends in the beginning of our relationship.  We hung out and watched Harry Potter.  And now, it's our routine.  Best routine ever.

Day 9: Write someone a love letter.

I usually say things like this to her a million times a week, but I'm gonna do it anyway.

Dear Mary, 
You are the cheese to my macaroni.  You remind me that loving people is never wasted.  That I am my own harshest critic, and that I need to tell that voice to shut up.  You remind me that time spent watching Harry Potter and doing nothing is not time wasted, but time to be treasured.  That the extent of my artistry is only limited by the extent of my imagination.  You remind me to be kind to myself.  A day spent with you is a day of laughter and silliness and happiness.  Even if we do nothing at all.  I love you to the moon and back.  You've had my back and as you know...I will ALWAYS have yours.  <3