Antihistamines don’t kill you… dammit

img_5047I only seem motivated to write in this as an outlet, so I haven’t written in it for awhile.  Things were good! I’ve been traveling around Europe with the spouse and while I had ups and downs, they were mostly ups.

We arrived in Venice and I was feeling down, not for any particular reason.  Usually I feel bad after a series of small things- maybe if I feel patronized, or embarassed, repeatedly during a day. my husband rushed forward ahead of me likes he does when he is stressed, trying to get us to our hotel in the dark. We carried our big heavy packs on our backs up and down the steps of endless small bridges, and I felt the big, heavy stink growing in me. No, not another round of bowel warfare, but the kind of yuck feeling that sticks sludgelike around your head and heart and guts.  As usual, I started slowing down, not wanting to be physically near my husband or anyone else.   He tried to relax for me and apologize, but by then my brain was already operating under different conditions and I grew more hateful.

Thoughts unrelated to the situation took over- how I felt disappointed in marriage, how people like me get raped, how I deserve to be unhappy because there is something wrong with me, I hate my life, I hate rushing after N like a stupid, dependent simpering wife… so on. It grew and grew and grew, like it does.
This is why depression is so scary for me.  My own mind goes psycho and I can’t seem to control it.  It feeds on its own hate and actively searches for things to remember and hate more.  My hate against myself, my body, my choices, my environment. I can’t find the beginning thought and shut it down. The pressure builds until I am feeling ill and ugly and beast-like.   Usually this is the point at which I shut out everyone by getting quiet, finding a private space, and cutting myself or planning/fantasizing about not being alive.  I hate pain but little controlled bits of it make me feel like i opened up a valve and all that steam rushes out.  I think about a lack of existence or just a hermit life where no one can see me like this, or contribute to the bad thoughts, or give me a reason to feel guilty.

That night in Venice however I did not cut myself or daydream.  I didn’t think much, and I didn’t plan anything elaborate and angst-ridden, except one simple thing: I had pills, and I would take them.

This is vastly different than how I usually perform when depressed.  Normally I go into hours-long, tearful mind battles of alternating Bliss, guilt, revenge, and relief that ends up with me furiously scratching my skin, cutting, or giving up and sleeping.

This was a half minute thought, and then it stopped. Which is I guess why I actually did it. I’ve taken pills before. Just before my wedding actually… I knew they were too few but I felt desperate and alone and unhappy, and I wanted to hurt myself.  Writing this, it sounds so insane for a human to desire that.  I don’t know why I felt that way.

I remember getting up some hours later in the night and falling off the toilet. It felt exactly like I was wasted- room spinning, the cold tiles of the floor incredibly big and distinct, my belly roiling.   Then it was better and I went to bed.  It was over.

This time i counted out about 35 pills.  They were a mixed set from my travel medicine bag, some ibuprofen, some aspirin, and about 25 red pills that I couldn’t make out from my faded label.  When N slept, I got up and went to the hotels shared toilet.  Looked in the mirror and since I wasn’t crying (I interpret my tears as reluctance to do a thing), I took them all.  Then all my remaining bits of anger and fury and resentment of being weak slipped out of me, and I just felt sad and a little empty.  A much preferable set of feelings to wanting to gouge your own uterus out and destroy everyone who ever hurt you.

Oh but then I needed justification- go figure- so after some time passed, I snuck into bed and asked a rather pathetic, fishing question, ‘it would be better for both of us if I wasn’t here, right?’ I don’t know why I hoped the answer would be a sad, resigned ‘yes.’ But I actually did hope to trick him into giving me permission.  GAH! PERMISSION TO KILL MYSELF!

He said NO, and then the vortex of swirling, chaotic emotions of guilt and what the hell, relief now? opened my mouth and moved my tongue and I told him what I did.   We spent the next hour or so trying to get me to vomit and dilute the drugs.  It was strange but I felt that this was the first time my husband ever took me, and my suicidal thoughts, seriously. In that particular sense, I wished it wouldn’t end.  He finally believed my unhappiness, And was actively helping me, and I wasn’t alone.

He examined the packages of pills after I described them, and all the poof went out of me when we both realized that those 25 reddish pills were probably antihistamines.  And I remember trying to make a joke about how it’s a good thing I’m not organized.

When he eventually fell asleep, both of us knowing the worst would be a sick belly, I got up and sat on the floor by the bed for a long time.  The crisis was over. No the crisis wasn’t ever even a crisis. And I felt like I had just confirmed to myself that I was too stupid and cowardly to live, and now too stupid and cowardly  to die. And I didn’t have to be taken seriously anymore because I was definitely going to live, because I had dramatically downed pills for drying out a flipping runny nose.

My husband quietly got up while I was down there and wrapped himself around me.

Things have been zombie like and fair weather since then, and I’m trying something new to help myself, a book called Mind over Mood, but I have to get up now and you know, carpe diem. More later.


wait. Update. They were almost all definitely my husband. That’s okay it means he’s reading them yay! Good job! I love you!


If you are approached by a rape victim, stay calm! Do not panic! Do not loosen your bowels! Here’s what you can do to help.

Based on the awkward and not so helpful reactions of others when I talked about being raped, I’ve made a suggestion list at the end of what to do and not to do.
To preface: this is what actually happened with the first people I tried to tell:

First person, a friend (within weeks of the rape, end of 2012)
We sat at a small outdoor table and I explained to a male friend, the only westerner near me at that time, that my boyfriend ‘forced me to have sex.’ I said I was upset because I didn’t want it to be rape, and I didn’t know if it really was. My friend looked angry and upset, too, and I felt encouraged to blurt out my mind.

This confusion of what to call it, I babbled, was because while my mind was in a state of lockjaw, numb terror-reality-denial, my body had responded. My body had acted complacent, even willing. (By this I mean my vagina was wet, not that my arms were reaching out or my mouth was kissing). My friend (a male about my age) suddenly calmed down and looked a touch disappointed in me, saying, oh, for a minute I thought he really raped you.
….Then I didn’t know what to say. My brain gnashed its gooey teeth and I teetered on internal ledges, considering if my instinctive feelings of being grossly violated were wrong and I was overreacting and misrepresenting. I kept quiet and let my wheels turn for a couple weeks until I figured out, wait: I was crying… I was crawling away.. I don’t know why my body was wet but it wasn’t consensual. It was rape. It was deliberate. He had even told me once he wanted to get me pregnant to get me to stay, I thought it was a joke. He had threatened to rape me once too. It was rape. I was not mistaken.
What happened with the second person I told (about a year later, 2013): this person was a new, American (now ex) boyfriend who’d been in peace corps. He was so supportive, and in believing in his support, I finally felt the cathartic egress of so many pent up emotions and start of healing… until the moment he commented that he knew so many girls who’d been raped. It doesn’t sound like a door slamming kind of comment, but it slammed mine. Maybe the way he said it, it sounded like the casual offhand remark of my personal trauma being one of many fascinating morbid stories to this experienced man. I felt like just that: a story collected. One of many. Nothing poignant or unique or terrible about my rape, not when it happens to so many. I retreated and felt more small and alone than ever.
Hm. That’s how murder is too, I guess. If you live in a place where, say, murder happens every day, you lose the resolution of individuals voices and pain and suffering. It all blends into a sad, unfocused background. Yet, when it loses resolution, It also then doesn’t seem so bad. After all, there’s no stark contrast.
Like hearing about a grisly murder of a teenager in a bright happy, middle class neighborhood where crimes never happened before. Gruesome and unexpected.
Then hearing about a series of four nasty murders of teens in a neighborhood that only four months ago had two other murders. You see the difference in how each makes you feel? The former is shocking, acute, unusual. It feels so individual, so personal. The latter elicits a broader, vaguer sympathy, but there’s no single individual to focus on. I fear when crimes happen over and over, others develop an acceptance that it will probably happen again. In doing so, on some level they stop caring.
That’s what I heard beneath my boyfriends words: hey, I know lots just like you, and they all came to me, too, for support. I’m a great guy. But on some level I can’t care about it being your individual experience, I’ve heard it too much. It’s just something bad that happens in the world.
Maybe that’s why it’s hard to talk to counsellors. You go in there knowing you won’t be distinct. That too many other people have had horrible things happen to them, that your professional listener is probably by now numb to your kind of story, and may be subconsciously ranking your story as better or worse than all the other horrors heard.
A rape victim must be seen and treated as an individual, even knowing that there are thousands of other individuals who similarly suffer. A common crime is not less of a crime. “Mine is not a new story, mine is nothing new, but it is to me.”
Third person was one of my closest female friends (yeah, still couldn’t bear to tell my family). about a year and a half after the rape. Maybe 2013 or 14.
Her thoughtful response, as we walked through the woods: you seem to like to date bad people. A bit taken aback, I then agreed with her… We walked on, kicking up dead leaves. I was wanting desperately to just let it all out, so later that night I told her about the abortion too. She hugged and cuddled me and never mentioned any of it again, ever.
Fourth: I started finding it easier to share… I sort of told my boyfriend (soon to be husband) about 2 years ago as well. In 2014.
I gave him my diary from peace corps, told him not to read past a certain point. Of course he did, found my tiny sticks of positive pregnancy, my lapses in entries and the weird, disconnected things I wrote. He cried. I remember the feeling of believing he might love me so much he felt my pain, that he could imagine for himself and, unique for a man because grown men don’t really fear rape, almost emphasize. I told him I was too broken to be fixed, he said he could handle it.
In retrospect… Nope. No one will feel that pain, the one relived and felt over and over like a recurring constant nightmare. They, the outsiders, can forget about it, can misunderstand the progress or not recognize a relapse, can be impatient or just plain dumb sometimes. It’s hard to forgive that, but you have to. It didn’t happen to them. No matter how much anyone sympathizes… It’s a pain you only understand when it happens to you. Like living while a loved one dies, like almost dying, like being tortured, like anything beyond understanding. You hope it never happens to you, and you feel scared and sad for the person it did happen to.


Yayyayayayayayayay now for the helpful stuff!
So what is ‘right’ when it comes to comforting a rape victim? I only know what I wished was said and done for me, and what hurt most. Here’s my advice.
1. Listen genuinely. As soon as she or he tries to start talking, don’t say anything except with your body language: encourage connection with eye contact, squeezing a hand or shoulder if she can handle being touched, or just sitting with your body facing her, relaxed and waiting. Listen even if you want to say something, even when the perfect sympathetic phrase is waiting to come out your mouth, just shut up. What I found was that if I could let it all out, over and over again, the pain and grip of the rape lessened bit by bit.
And please. Watch your expressions. If she admits being drunk, or doubting it was rape, or anything that seems odd to you, don’t express your feelings through your face or humph sounds. Don’t lean back, don’t cross your arms. Just be kind and quiet. You may have to hear her experience over and over again. Just do it knowing you are truly helping.
2. Encourage her to report it to the police! I regret not telling ANYONE of authority. I don’t know much about rape kits but probably the thought of anyone touching her again will be terrifying. Even so, it is extremely important to go report it. Go with her and make sure the police treat her with dignity and respect. I’ve heard bad stories of police being assholes (why???) or not doing kits correctly so just in case, be ready to be with her.

3. Get her to see a rape counselor or call an anonymous hotline as soon as possible, even if she says she’s okay. Encourage her to stick to a counseling program of some sort, even when it makes her go back and face a lot of buried memories and she doesn’t want to. She needs to uncover them and conquer her fear and hatred of them. They shouldn’t be weapons that still hurt anew long after she’s out of range. A lot of professional and or peer resources are free. The USA has a suicide hotline, many universities have free counseling for students. You as a friend mean well, but good intentions are not enough to ‘handle it’- especially if your idea of therapeutic distraction during a panic freak-out relapse is ….watching South Park (husband!). she needs someone to guide her into living in the present, grounding herself, in using coping mechanisms, in making goals and achieving them. I finally went to a counselor after months of telling my husband I needed to, and nearly 3 years after the event: the first session was enough to make me believe I was doing the right thing for me.
3. Don’t compare her rape to others, don’t rank them in your head or aloud (saying things like, yeah it’s bad but at least blah blah didn’t happen to you), don’t marginalize or reduce it. Rape is overwhelming; don’t trivialize it in any way.

4. Don’t you dare talk about her behind her back: this isn’t some story to prove to others how great and genuine a friend you are. This isn’t a ‘hey I know a rape victim! I’m able to converse intelligently on the subject of rapes!’ No. You aren’t. Anything a rape victim says to you is told by a person who lost faith in the goodness of people. Don’t betray her trust in you by regurgitating her tragedy to a pair of greedy ears. Rape is a powerful, evil beast. When you talk about it lightly, casually, commonly, you deny its true nature and you insult its victim. Even the word rape was unspeakable for me for a long time, for some it will always be unspeakable. So don’t talk about it like the weather, or your dog dying, or even that day you got mugged. If you feel you are bearing a heavy emotional burden through listening- you are. It’s nasty stuff to hear and imagine and witness the sometimes debilitating effects. You might need someone to talk to about what you are going through, too. there are a lot of challenges my husband faced when I was recovering. He had to see me at my worst, my most unstable and fearful and angry. It got really bad in our relationship sometimes, and I think part of it was that my husband had no one to talk to. So: Ask her permission before you talk to anyone about her, explain how you feel and why you need support as well. There may be an opportunity to attend some counseling sessions with her (my husband went with me to mine).
5. It is hard, but never forget it happened to her. The continual betrayal I felt was when everyone who said they cared seemed to forget, or assumed I was okay when they saw me smile or be normal. Try to give her and cheer her in as many happy moments as possible, but realize relapses are sudden and will seem unpredictable. Little things can set off panics. She might even suddenly hate you, distrust you, act cold and aloof and want to be alone. This will be so hard, but don’t give up on her. Don’t let her give up on people. Every day, ask her how she is and mean it. Everyday, do something to restore her faith in men and in a better world. Even if this means just a daily hug and the words ‘I’m here for you, how was your day, is there anything you want to talk about with me?’
You know, People believe about anything if you say it ad nauseam. If you love her, make sure you say that every day too, by words and actions. You never know if that was the day she wanted to give up, and your words gave her hope.
6. If you want to say things to make her happy, try to avoid talking about her body :’you’re beautiful, you’re sexy, you look good’. Those are things anyone can say who doesn’t know her. Having a ‘ beautiful’ body didn’t stop the rapist. Mine told me I was beautiful nearly every day. It flattered me and I loved it. I felt rage when my husband said that during our first months together. It made me sick to hear it again. I think any woman’s true strength needs to come from within- her mind and character and willpower. Her triumphs and potential. The body is pretty and young but inevitably ephemeral, it shouldn’t be her greatest asset. It is the physical body which is abused in rape, but what that action does to her mind can become endlessly self-abusive, long after any physical wounds and residual sensations are healed. For me, I had no wounds, my body was soft and yielded and sustained no trauma. But my nightmares and depression, hatred for him and self hate went on and on long after I left the bed, the room, the country, the year. What we who survived rape need to hear is that we are strong for having survived, stronger for starting to rebuild a life, and we are worthwhile as humans and innocent. We aren’t dirty or guilty. We shouldn’t be embarrassed that a crime was committed against us, a heinous crime that tried to cut apart our sense of identity and rights as females. We need to hear that it wasn’t our fault- no, it isn’t obvious when we live in a world that disdains to talk about rape and likes to ask if drink or sexy clothes were involved. Tell us over and over that it isn’t our fault, that we didn’t deserve it, that we are still decent and good people. Help us rebuild our self esteem, help us find ways to become stronger

The glory of a good distraction: (advice for people like me or friends)I’m directly addressing this to any woman who needs it, but it’s good for friends to try and encourage.

(….I don’t know if this applies to everyone but it sure as heck helps me: )

Besides consistent counseling and support of friends/family, a person who suffered rape needs distractions. Good, positive, self-esteem building DISTRACTIONS. These don’t solve the rape, they don’t substitute for justice. But they do address the gaping wounds of feeling powerless and stupid or weak. And that is very important to healing.
Woman, Even if you don’t want to ever leave the dusty underside of your bed… Get out and sign on for something that requires your physical and mental presence every day. Please. My suggestion? Learn Anything kick ass! I mean it: do something that pushes your limits because fuck- you’ve been raped. That’s about as horrible an event as could happen to a living normal human being, in which the victim often feels guilty for it happening. Uniquely tolerated crime in our society, eh? But it’s done. It is OVER. and you are still alive, still kicking.. Yeah you’re kicking, not like a horse maybe but I see some leg twitches. You can survive anything now! No one else can suture your wounds, no one can ‘fix’ you. You’ve got to start taking wonderful care of yourself and devoting your energy to YOU and YOUR life. and that body and brain and heart of yours will be the vehicle that takes you to where you deserve to be. So make it work… Believe you can do anything now.
rock climbing- a sport where you go up against some rocks and yourself and that’s it. Every inch upward is a testament to your ability, every failure a mere platform to try again. You can only get stronger.
Brazilian Jiu jitsu, or any martial art that teaches self control and confidence. You learn to master your mind as well as your body- exactly what your soul needs. Put yourself back in charge of your life.
Any long term physical training: Train for some version of a marathon or other long-term race: listen to upbeat, empowering music, log in your activities and be the person who praises you. Look in the mirror when you finish each day and praise you like you should. You don’t have to be the fittest, best looking, fastest, etc. whatever you are doing, don’t compare yourself to anyone around you. This is for you, not anyone else.
Travel! Another great distraction is travel, and you don’t have to go far. Just go where you’ve never been before, and push your comfort level. And you really don’t need that much money to travel. Look at all the young bums out there. Trust me, they aren’t rich. Do something crazy and gung ho and JUST FOR YOUR OWN PLEASURE FUCK ALL ELSE.

Whatever empowers you.. Though, Try to avoid criminal activities
I highly recommend traveling to nature. If you haven’t, read about a man called John Muir and what he says about nature. Sometimes alone in the woods, surrounded by greens and Browns and earthy things, you realize you are equally natural and radiant in that powerful, quiet world that most of us forget we are part of. And in that feeling, you might see a way for yourself to overcome your trials. Bring water and mosquito spray and take off your shoes along the way.
If you have always been someone who cares obsessively about other people’s feelings…. Try going a day without caring about making someone else happy. Just make you happy.
Throw yourself heart and soul and body into anything that makes you feel alive and strong. Go for something that makes you conquer a fear : heights, spiders, staring at people on buses, dancing in public randomly … There’s Cooking, dance class, swimming. Whatever it is- be selfish. Let this be all about how it makes you feel. No one can fix you, heal you, strengthen you the way you must do for yourself. So do whatever it takes. Drop anyone that criticizes you or makes you feel bad. And take one day to Throw out (buuuuurnnnn) anything that makes you feel bad. Oh god it feel so good to burn photos and smash things that remind you of him. Don’t go crazy now, just the bad stuff… Your mothers dishes should remain intact. And once you have burned and smashed, let that be it. Move onward and upward with your life.
…I don’t recommend activities that let your mind wander. For me, it always wandered to the rape. Which defeats the purpose of a healthy distraction. And for Petes sake NEVER listen to sad music for the next 3 years. Just don’t. I don’t know why, but music is just too good at affecting emotions. No angsty poetry or friends or movies either. Drop em.
This is hard: if you want to throw yourself into dating for the sake of it, or casual sex, please DONT. Casual sex is fine if you are a healthy, emotional stable person who can handle that, it is NOT for women who have low self esteem, find sex to be emotional, and/or were sexually abused. If you find yourself doing things that put you at risk of casual sex or dependent on a man in any emotional regard, just avoid those activities. Easy to say, I know. I was so lonely and I did date casually and even though I didn’t intend to, I had sex casually too. I found that drinking helped me enjoy sex (bad sign!) and sometimes I would wake up crying (bad sign!). I told myself it didn’t matter who had my body, I was used up anyway.
WRONG WRONG WRONG! Don’t tell yourself that, it’s wrong! Yes, You will feel lonely and in need of comfort. Do your best to find that comfort in platonic (friends) relationships until you feel stable again. Anyone who cares about you and your healing will NOT push you for sex and will wait for you if there is some blossoming romance. The power of choice needs to be back in your hands, not with alcohol or ‘I don’t care anyway’ but with genuine, sober, happy choice.
Last, but very important: don’t die. I mean it. Don’t let yourself give up. There may be no one in the whole of your world that seems to want you to live, but look past that. There are horizons and sunrises in your life so wide and brilliant you cannot imagine, and you have the power to go to them. This is your life. It is still yours. It always will be yours. No one can take away or cut down your thoughts, your self worth, your essence or soul. Only you have the ability to end all that. Today may be the loneliest and most terrible day since your rape, and you can’t lift your head to imagine any good in the universe to redeem this evil that happened to you. But hold on, hold tight, and wait until the bad passes. It will always pass, in the end, and you’ll have another day to heal stronger. I still have to tell myself this, even now, even last week. It’ll just hit me sometimes that the mere act of being alive is like swimming against a riptide. It takes a lot of mental effort to remind myself:
You ARE the master of your destiny, no matter how bad the things that happen to you are. You have the choice to keep living, to bring yourself to better place.

And then dory the fish starts to sing: just keep swimming just keep swimming…
So to sum up, advice for friends or for rape victims themselves, during the times when they are struggling (if like me, this may be for years):
Go to counseling or call a hotline, don’t keep it in.

No sad music or movies for at least a year or longer.

Take a class that meets often and helps you face a fear, get your adrenaline and joy going again

Get rid of any shit that reminds you of the person that hurt you

Drop any friends or things that don’t treat you well

Do something wonderful (doesn’t have to be grand) that only benefits you, every day:  Eg: dinner for one, flowers for yourself, one expensive chocolate, theatre performance for you, run around naked in your house to music, paint, plant something, buy a song and play loudly, etc)

Find someone that listens and cares and ask them to help you a little every day. You might have to spell it out but having one person always there for you is worth the painful, spoon fed request.

Remind yourself of your own worth. Not just your physical worth, but more importantly your mental and emotional worth. Do or read or listen to anything that confirms your worth as a good human who deserves a good life.

Go to the library and check out books on self esteem, recovering from rape etc. try reading ‘seven habits of highly effective people’

Avoid finding comfort in casual sex, drugs, or alcohol. None of those will make you heal. You deserve a feeling of happiness from something real and lasting.

Be outside, the closer to nature the better. Fresh air and smelling flowers is underrated.

Choose to live.
Write about it. Keep a journal and learn to share your experience rather than bury it. Report it if you can. When you have the strength to do so, make it known that rape victims deserve justice, from the rapist as well as society. It’s a cruel crime against us to not be taken seriously when we talk about rape.

…………..Final thoughts today …………….
One thing that I find terrifying is that rape is …..common. Now. In this century of technological progress, democracy, global awareness? It’s sickening to realize that. Rape sounds like a word that only belongs within the well known, almost laughably barbaric threesome: ‘rape, pillage and burn’! A historical, faded picture of brutality and barbarism where no one lived long and there was a thing called ‘blood letting’ to cure all maladies.
But, rape has endured. It happened to me. Maybe it happened to you or someone you know (you probably do know someone, you might not be aware you do). It happens to a lot of women, in every country and culture and religion: first world or third world, rich or poor family, educated or illiterate and everywhere between. Millions and millions of girls and women, boys and anyone vulnerable, over the last thousands of years have suffered like I do, like you do, up until today, in the 21st century!
and me and you? We have that awful, simple connection ‘because I was a woman, my body and rights as a human were abused’. We millions. And each rape is different and terrible and painful, and so many just keep it hidden, like I did. And then the world thinks it must not be so bad. Just listen to how people around you talk about it (or choose not to) when it comes up! We can’t let them keep believing that it is a crime of a sort to be swept under a rug, along with its victims. We have to make others face us and listen. If we can’t shake our society into seeing rape for the evil crime it is, and always was, then what of the girls and women in the next thousand years? Enough! You and I deserve a better world. It seems it is up to us, the potential victims and the already abused, to make it that way.


Just a short blurb (no I’m kidding haha) about how once I got raped, or maybe just once I opened my eyes properly, I’ve been half frightened of my fellow human beings ever since.

Right, so this is what I wax lyrical to my poor husband about nearly every time we take a road trip: why are so many people so goddamn stupid? … And not just stupid, but mean! Or Greedy! Or Perverted! Self righteous schmucks! … And most terrifying, some have all those qualities in one body. 

I admit, lately I’ve been having conniptions about trump. No, not really trump. But his sheep, including some people I am trying very hard to keep respecting. I don’t like sheep: these are the folks that repeat. Especially loud things. Think Animal Farm sheep. They really exist! So I don’t take much offense to what trump says because, hey, he’s an individual and I dismissed him a long time ago. Ever since that silly show of his.  But, what boggles my mind is the way the sheep run to defend him. They parrot out playground taunts of ‘lying ted’ and ‘crooked hillary’ and ‘dishonest media’, mimicking the way trump likes to emphasize his points by shouting and being sensitive to dissenting opinions.   Like trump, they use insults and attacks and evasions rather than discussions and actually, thoughtfully answering questions. But hell, that’s what both candidates do, but trump, and his less independent thinking supporters, take it to an extreme. 

Okay, yes, I’m writing this with particular people in mind, but there are lots of them. They use words like ‘hoax,’ and ‘everyone loves to hate him’ and ‘ every one of them … [Hates freedom/hates an honest opinion/wants to destroy America/etc], and splash on the superlatives, the nevers and always and best and worst, blah. I can’t take anyone seriously who talks like that.  I used to try to be fair in deciding who to vote for: no single candidate has ever stood for all the things I support.  I grew up learning how to shoot targets and my father hunted and was a huge advocate of having the right to own them.  My father was also the kind of man who would absolutely join a militia to defend our country, from itself or from any other enemy. But he wasn’t a fanatic who tried to create chaos in order to exercise that right. He didn’t WANT to join a militia or have to defend himself, but he wanted to have it because this isn’t utopia, and because he liked venison and maybe squirrel meat. So I support the right for people to own guns…  With some decent limitations. You really don’t need an Uzi, dad. Really. 

I have lots of romantic discussions with my spouse about what he says are politics.  He offers me up more conservative (I think) ideas. Like regarding welfare! I did peace corps so my dad might call me a bleeding heart liberal (haha, he also liked to call the British pompous asses, but then again, mom used to have a British suitor that gave dad good competition), but I now believe that free help isn’t the best way to go. Impoverished people of any background need quality education and a safe and healthy life. Yea! Okay I give : when it comes to kids I don’t want money to get in the way of anything they need for a quality life. This does not include Nike shoes or brand name phones.  

What Im talking about is young adults and adults: there is dignity and self respect that comes with work and self improvement opportunities.  Charity without the end in sight I think creates dependence and puts the giver in a very awkward role: sooner or later you get accused of being stingy if you don’t give away all your shit. And the receiver doesn’t break free. It’s the whole give a fish vs teach them to fish.  And to make hooks and rods. And tips.  But the work, and the reward, is theirs. That’s hard because it requires you to have skills and the time to teach them, and realize that it’s not instant gratification.  They will fail, but they have to learn to keep trying.  

I spent two years (well.. 26 months where every day was longer) teaching at a rural high school in a village for free, with the perks of a small monthly stipend (read about $200), free room, health care ish, and a nice sum of several thousands at the end for transitioning back to my home country.  I look back and say, aw, my students had hope and a teacher that cared and showed up to class. And that is important. But I would have preferred to change the school system, or to change the attitude of the teachers, or to make anything lasting beyond those two years and those 200 students.  Sustainable! 

I don’t give to charity anymore unless I see a lasting impact.  And the best thing anyone can do for an adult is to give them a job.  If you train them well and they just don’t respect you, then they don’t deserve the job. There are many others equally needy who would work hard and feel good to earn a living.  

I keep in mind my first cousin, who has four children by several fathers.  That’s all right. But while she was on welfare she got a boob job. She stripped her clothes and danced for a …living… So in her mind, it must have been an investment. And boy, did grandma notice those melons and tic tacs during our reunion! I wonder if my cousin’s kids might have had a better life if their mom had used the money to get a day job. Spent time in the evenings with her children after school. Or used the money for a better apartment in a better neighborhood. Or after school activities.  Anything more than getting bigger tits. Now, her kids all had kids of their own when they were teens… But I remember being only a few years older than one of the girls, and we played with my dog back when she was maybe 12. Acting just like me, childish and getting slobbered on and quite happy. She deserved a better mom. 

My point is that I don’t like welfare the way it is.  My mom earned about $12k after dad died. The social security helped, but only a little. mom didn’t want us to have to change our lives, so she picked up two more jobs.  No life insurance (dad!) but the house was paid off.  We lived in a home that hated debts. We never got free lunches, or went on welfare. Mom really suffered and it was to make our childhood as comfortable as possible without a father. 

I meet people who are like us, who have a lot of pride and don’t want charity, even when we really need help. When such people go on welfare, it is because they desperately need it for basic living.  It is the cushion between having and not having food to feed your family, of sleep in a bed with a roof.  For basic health care. Some people deserve to be on welfare, and they are usually the ones that hate being on it, or simply can’t (not wont) function without that aid. And, with the boost from welfare, they find a way to bring in more money, in a way that suits their dignity and self respect.  If this is what welfare could be about, yes, I will donate my money (in the form of taxes) to support it. It could be me, after all. 

But don’t take advantage of a generous system and get a boob job! I want welfare to update so actual lazy people (and to give credit, I don’t think most people are lazy) or selfish people who won’t take care of their children, don’t get free money with no standards. My cousin needed more than checks and food stamps, she needed a guide on how to be a better parent. 

So, in some issues, I am more conservative.  I don’t think liberals are insane to want to take away guns, or to pour money into people who do nothing for themselves.  I think it’s not smart to never address the national debt, and to keep giving reasons for big companies to move overseas (I guess the USA charges a heck of a lot more in taxes).  But none of these things are immoral or unethical or make me think my country will kill itself. Nothing the democrats have said strike me as pre apocalypse. I am sick of Hillary skirting around the emails. It really is dishonest.  I am incredulous that she claimed to be poor, after all those speaking fees.  But has she verbally attacked people? Seeded suspicions of anyone’s religion while they were in office?  She hasn’t, as far as I know, incited anyone to violence or gained white supremacist support. If she had I would blast her for it. It would destroy everything I hold dear in this country, and I would hold her accountable. 

And that’s where I am so completely baffled. Trump did talk like that. And so many people, educated people, don’t want to take it for what it is. Let go of your blind loyalties and just think about what the man is really saying! 

I tried to explain to my father in law, a bit hard with Fox News anchors speaking loudly (why do they speak so loudly on that news channel? Grates my eardrums), why I didn’t like trump.  I offered him direct quotes from the candidate.  I guess I assumed it was obvious, but my father in law immediately defended not what trump said, but by attacking the people trump was talking about.  He brought up Betty white being a bad person and that Rosie o Donnell also said terrible things. Eh? I don’t care about what they said, I’m taking about a possible future president of my country saying things that my generation thought was long established as wrong: blaming the way we treat you on our periods? Joking about having a young and beautiful piece of ass? I don’t… Hm. I am not quick with words, I can’t twist them. I’d never be a good lawyer.  I’m not twisting what the man said: if your boss said those things in the workplace, you’d know immediately what an asshole he was. But maybe I’m wrong, because so many people I respect think it is okay. 

Worse, they think it is my fault for saying it is wrong.  I am too sensitive and, evil of evils, I must be a goddamn feminist. What? For pointing out prejudice? Wow… And that’s just a conversation about how he talked about women. Let alone that obnoxious hypothetical wall, the south of the wall rapists, and the thinly veiled hints (oh, I mean ‘saaaaaarcasm’) about obamas secret lordship of Isis. 

It is scary because that’s how people talk about rape, too. I know, I’ve read and listened.  You are as likely to get the hatred and spite of the general public by being the victim as you are the rapist.   Oh, those whiny females! It’s just a prick! 

I don’t know … I used to think Americans were some of the best people in the world. I’ve traveled a lot so I had lots to compare. But maybe we just hid it better, because of social pressure, and trump gave the excuse to let our true selves show.  After all, if such a public figure can say those things, who can dare presume to tell me not to?  

Everything about this election is enough to vote for an armadillo in office. If Hillary would just … Say, take it or leave it, here is everything you want to know. I am an open book. I’d probably vote for her and hope her economic plan changes. 

But yeah right. 

My therapy couch, in the middle of my head

The problem with self-diagnosing… Is that your messed up mind is trying to figure out why it’s messed up.
When I at last went to counseling last year (2015), I explained my obsession with all the things I did or didn’t do, which festered into self hatred: ignoring the many signs that indicated the kind of man he was, for feeling lonely and weak, for not asking for or accepting help.
She told me not to beat myself up, and to remember I am a survivor and incredibly strong for that. I think this is correct, I did survive. He never tried to kill me, but I tried to kill my self later, and I survived. But try as I might to see it positively, those survivals were the result of suicidal failures, not strength. What I needed (still need) so badly to redeem myself was conviction of my own strength, because I was so sure I was just a weak person. I needed to believe I was not bad but good, that I did right and not wrong, that I did not allow it happen but that it was forced on me.  
At the time in my life I was raped, I was in my mid 20s. I think my biggest mistake was assuming I lived in a good world and that people are essentially kind. The very worst things that had happened to me in life were my dad dying suddenly when I was 15, the kind of death they like to say was an ‘act of God’, and having a college boyfriend who was mostly just a talking, trumpet honking turd. I saw terrible poverty and the injustices that derive from it on tv all my life, and in college noticed for the first time the ease with which Americans like me ignored it. I have a very active imagination and I would think about what people would feel if they knew I saw their plight and moved on with my own middle class life. That (and my inability to commit to medical school) drove me to join peace corps. Because people are deep down good and deserve chances, and because to be good is to do good. I truly believed that. 
Post rape, post peace corps, post a lotta more life:     the more women, and children, I realize are raped or abused, the more I listen to intolerant and hateful speeches and incendiary conversations advocating violence and pain upon people they don’t know, I think I was wrong. People aren’t all evil, but that doesn’t mean people are all good. From my experience, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, athiest, man, woman, any race or status… The bell curve is the same. Majority are just neutral, go with the flow. Most people are just contingent on the state of the world around them. Very few are truly evil regardless of circumstances, and perhaps, very few are truly good.  

I offer you one of my favorite poems, by W. B. Yeats

                               The Second Coming. 

    Turning and turning in the widening gyre

    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

    The best lack all conviction, while the worst

    Are full of passionate intensity.

    Surely some revelation is at hand;

    Surely the Second Coming is at hand.

    The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out

    When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi

    Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;

    A shape with lion body and the head of a man,

    A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,

    Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it

    Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

    The darkness drops again but now I know

    That twenty centuries of stony sleep

    Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,

    And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,

    Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?
My grouchy, pessimistic musings: How can we ever know if someone is really good? (For simplicity’s sake, By good I use the rule:  won’t kill unnecessarily (I.e.not out of self defense) or deliberately let a person die who wants to live.)  Let each meet the rough beast. Let them each live through anarchy. Let each person face the murky unknown, and taste fear and greed and a world without punishments. What a filter to test the idea of universal ethics and morality! What a filter of humanity!  Then you will know who emerges unscathed, and how many of us fall. I suspect most of us, when the world is in chaos, lose the goodness that only exists through security.  I wonder sometimes if a event like the holocaust or other mass genocide happened in my culture or country, who among my family, friends, colleagues, and acquaintances would stop being decent and good. It’s a bit terrifying. 

Lessons gained through hindsight, of course. For me, from childhood on through college, I cradled the assumption of inherent goodness in all people, besides possibly sociopaths. I believed that if I forgave and was gentle and didn’t do bad things that other people would treat me the same. I didn’t believe I needed to actively protect myself when threatened. I was secure in my faith of humanity, that no matter what, things would turn out all right for me because I wasn’t a bad person. …   This is my fake laugh: HA HA HA HA. HAAAAAAA….! 

I am told not to bash myself for my mistakes, but I can tell you it is impossible for me. I was raped, but my mind scrapes the memories against the front of my skull: reliving all the ways I did not protect myself. All the wrong answers I gave, the wrong things I said. I had nightmares almost every night for a year afterwards. When I wasn’t being killed or hurt in my dreams, I stared up in anguished nights, seeing his face and body and the world I had lived in, my brain never ever shutting up. Bash myself! I wanted to bash my brains in for peace. I wanted anything to just shut it up. It’s funny… I usually sleep when I am sad, and I wake up better. But I was denied even that, by my own body. How many times can you betray yourself? 

The man who raped me was my boyfriend. In April of 2012, about 6 months prior, he had threatened to rape me. I was appropriately enraged and indignant that he dared even think like such barbaric, medieval thoughts. In this century!? and what woman did he think I was? Ah yes, I broke up with him and never went back, and in just a month I was grateful I had the strength to do that because I deserved better! 

That’s what should have happened, anyway. Instead I went back to him and in 6 months I was raped……. Damn it, I hate this story. Why did the author (me) make the protagonist (me) so stupid?! Why did she go back?! Gah! 


Hm. I want to tell you the choices I made that I used to cut myself for making. You know this, every time you come to a ‘fork in the road’, however subtle, you make a choice of which path to take. And it leads you to the next set of choices, etc. I go over how I could have chosen better for me. I used to hate myself, insult and hurt myself for each choice. Self punishment. I thought I was a joke of college educated woman, a stupid, worthless person who volunteered to walk all the paths that led to rape and pregnancy. 

About three and a half years after the rape, (that is, this year of 2016) I slowly stopped hating myself. I mean, more or less. I still hold a grudge. Maybe because enough time and space is between us, I see who I was as a separate person. My feelings for the woman I was have been transitioning to pity. I watch her be so naive and so trusting, so lonely and unhappy and I can see she never saw it coming, despite all the signs. I don’t want to ever be her again, she lacked self confidence and the ability to be alone. But I don’t condemn her anymore. She deserved forgiveness a long time ago. I am a different person from her in many ways now. I try not to lambaste myself for the choice I made years ago, but it is crucial to me to learn how to recognize those moments and do the right (read: best) thing for me in the future. 
Welcome to Flashes of my Midnight Incubus! (archaic ‘nightmare’ also, interestingly, a male demon who sexually assaults sleeping women). Convenient! 

…..Doodle above is a quick sketch from another weird dream. 


I was aware he was cheating on me and I decided that not only was I leaving a cheater, but a particularly stupid and narcissistic one, as the way I caught him was absurdly easy: he gave me a phone with a recording he made of himself talking to his girlfriend about me. I broke up with him over the phone and went back to my home, phone silenced. 
The next morning I had 60 missed calls. I remember already feeling the slight twinge of loneliness, because I was originally happy in the relationship. I also felt guilty for breaking up via the phone, so I agreed to meet him in a public restaurant in a nearby city.   
Fork in the road: deciding to meet him because of guilt. Guilt is a dangerous emotion. Understand when guilt is appropriate and when you truly shouldn’t give a damn. An otherwise good man would certainly deserve a breakup in person. A cheater and liar does not deserve my time or nobility. I do not think it was bad that I felt sad, but I could have accepted it as a normal, passing emotion when a thing ends unhappily.  
Woman! Don’t feel bad, don’t meet him ever again. Good fuckin riddance of a human shaped parasite. My greatest improvement in these four years is learning to conquer my constant feeling of obligation and guilt to make everyone else’s life pleasant, even at the expense of my own health and happiness. 
I tell myself: You DO NOT bear any guilt. You do not need to be kind, or considerate, or noble when dealing with a man or woman who hurts you. Take care of YOURSELF. Selfish, stupid people need far more help than you can give them by being polite. 
At the restaurant, our civil conversation went wrong when he grabbed my wrist and twisted it across the table. My metal watch made it hurt, and I told him so. He told me ‘I can rape you anytime.’ He let go of my wrist, I took off the watch, and he threw it on the ground. 

A man came over and asked me if I was okay. I thought I was in control, and I was embarrassed, so I said I was fine. 
Fork 2: I thought I was in control. I made a mistake when I pretended I was still in control and he was just having a temper tantrum. He was physically hurting me, and threatened me. He did this in public. He was in control, and fearless. I should have accepted help, and disregarded my personal embarrassment. He should have been ashamed, not me.  



Never care about ‘what others think’ … Take care of yourself no matter what, when someone threatens or hurts you. Shout, scream, anything.

I felt afraid enough that I went to the bathroom, and called my organization. They asked me if I wanted them to call the police, I declined saying I didn’t think it was that bad. In my feverish brain, I remembered my boyfriend claimed over and over to me to have bribed police before and how corrupt they were. I believed he had that power over the police and I would be the worse for it if I went to the police. I cannot tell you why I was so sure he was so powerful. It makes no sense now, looking back. 
Fork 3: I rejected help, I gave in to fearful thinking and paranoia. The better choice, though harder: CALL THE POLICE, ACCEPT HELP! Most bullies are deep down weak and cowardly, when they learn they can’t control you. They aren’t as powerful and all knowing as they assure you. As hard as it is, use reason and don’t give into fearful thinking. He is a mortal man, not an all powerful, omniscient demon. He CAN be defeated. 
I knew he was waiting for me outside, and suddenly I felt overwhelming scared. Peace corps promised to call back to check on me later.
I had this feeling of just wanting to go to sleep and wake up and none of it happened. A woman came to me and said my boyfriend was asking me to come out. I was shaking, and I was evaluating whether I could climb out the bathroom window. I couldn’t. I finally walked out and he was still there.  
He dogged my steps and would not let me go to the bus station. Instead he started making a scene, and, again embarrassed and afraid, I got into his vehicle. His mood changes very suddenly and he is joking and making it seem that I am overreacting. I am shocked and when we pull into a parking lot of a mall, I said something about his threats and quickly get out, intending to run into the mall. He jumps out and blocks me, shouting and insulting me. I get back inside, and he drives me to a school where I had scheduled to do an interview. He donates some money to the children there, and is in a pleasant mood the rest of the way. 
I finally get on a bus and go home. My organization contacts me a few more times that day and I assure them I am okay and safe at home. The whole afternoon seemed surreal. Could that have happened in real life? I see it on tv. I must have overreacted, I am an emotional person, i don’t understand how it went so wrong. 
Fork 4: ?? I don’t know. I play that over my head, getting in the car, trying to escape to the mall… I remember thinking he would hurt me and my strategy to pretend I had forgiven him so he would let me go home. It worked, he thought it was all over and done with when I left him. But it backfired- I wondered if maybe I was in the wrong, because he seemed so genuinely contrite that we had ‘had a fight’. What choice could I have made instead, if I am ever faced with that situation? Hard to say. 
All I know is that in such a situation, 

TAKE HIS ANGER, THREATS SERIOUSLY AND DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO GET AWAY. RUN, FIGHT. SEE IT THROUGH TO THE END, TO END ALL FUTURE DANGER. If it is a matter of life and death, keep yourself safe and get away from him. In my situation, I kept myself physically safe. But I failed to remember how dangerous he was when I was out of that danger. I didn’t follow up by calling the police and peace corps and staying the hell away from him. So the danger never ended.  
By the time I went home I was in tears and a mixture of unhappiness and fear. I called my friend and told her what happened, bursting in tears.  
Months later I found out she shared our conversation with our colleagues, and in my anger and shame, I vowed I would never tell anyone something like that again. 
I did the right thing by talking about it with someone. Though this woman had a big mouth and ignored the private nature of the call, I had no way of knowing that.  

I later regretted the vow I made, because I kept it. 
No one from my organization checks on me for about three weeks after the threat. This is egregious neglect on the part of the organization. By the time I received an personal visit from my boss, I had already forgiven my boyfriend and was dating him. I remember the words of my boss as being quite ironic: what ever you do, don’t go back to dating him okay?  
fork in the road….. DONT GO BACK DONT GO BACK DONT GO BACK!!! …. I went back. 
WHY IS IT SO DIFFICULT …why is it so difficult … That we would choose to stay with than leave the person who is hurting us? 

I mean, it sounds easy. It sounds obvious. If it were happening to anyone else, we would know what to do. If only we were Spock… It’s just so logical. Someone hurting you? Leave. Find a way. 
But I couldn’t do it. It is the hardest thing to leave the person who has made you feel dependent on him for permission to do normal things, you feel emotionally worthless without him, he who swings you from love to despair like you were a yo yo, who keeps you on a hook and convinced you that it is true love by accusing you of not loving him enough. So you retaliate by loving him more, proving your commitment. Even as he cheats he puts you down for even doubting his loyalty. You don’t trust yourself. This goes on, deeper and deeper as months go by. Then at some point, I really believed he was my soul mate, because I felt extremely deep emotions, deeper than I had ever felt with any other man, when I was with him. I felt true despair without him. I needed him to help me make decisions. I needed him to say he loved me, I needed to prove I was the best he could ever get and maybe I could show him how to be a more honest man. I believe he couldn’t help the ways he hurt me, and deep down he was just a sad man in need of love. My love. 
Yes, it makes me feel sick now. Is that what brain washing is like? Your victim begins to accept, even expect as normal, your lies and abuse? I realize now I had been mistaking dependence and submission for love and loyalty. He said he was responsible for my happiness, and that I caused my sadness. He told me every bad thing in our relationship was my fault: I didnt do sex well, I was too emotional, I was always doubting him, I didn’t love, I didn’t believe him. He cut me down on all the things I used to be confident about, things no one had ever criticized me about. But when he treated me well, I felt like a queen. I hardly noticed that as time went on, I was less a queen and more a servant, and expected to be grateful. I became grateful for any tiny nugget of affection he gave me. He called me beautiful constantly, but slept with other women and pointed how this or that type of women was the most beautiful in the world.  
Don’t go back? Good advice! Yeah. Too late. But what was I thinking? Where was the ambitious and educated woman who had such pronounced opinions about women’s rights? and Oh! I remember the confused, patronizing scoffs I gave when I heard on the news of so and so woman not leaving her abusive husband. Of the teenager defending the boyfriend who beats her, of having opportunities for better and yet going back to the old insults and inferiority. And there I was… Defending, denying, cowering, crying… Back with the bad (no really, actually bad) boyfriend. *bangs head on wall*


A few incidents stand out from the time of my dating him again and the rape: 

For awhile it was good between us- he seemed genuinely regretful. But in those few months after the threat, I discovered he lied to me about his age, his education, and he continued cheating with women. He stole money from me, nothing I could prove, but there was no one else to have done it. 
I caught him flirting just a few steps from me one evening while we were out late. I confronted him and then stomped away. He threw a bottle of water at me, it hit and water gushed out and soaked my back. I delayed it for awhile but I went back to him. 

(See fork 4) 

The main event leading up to the rape was just unlucky and, predictably, had everything to do with my always shitty guts. I ate food with crispy dead bugs in it (accidental deaths), I got seriously sick. The whole diarrhea and vomiting for two days straight kind of sick. As someone who is lactose intolerant and still eats dairy, take my word that this was a Lot of diarrhea. To the point it was mostly mucus-y or just squirts of thin liquid. I wasn’t able to walk by myself when my boyfriend took me to the local hospital. I lived in a third world country but I was admitted to the nearby city’s best hospital. ‘Best’ really Really Really is a relative term here. Every hospital in this country, outside the capital, is likely to kill you. 
I waited for a few hours in the waiting room. Fell asleep a lot until I was called to a small side room. The nurses poked me about 6 times… I was sort of falling asleep but I could see two large patches of what looked like blood under my skin on both arms. Vessels broke apparently. She said oops a lot, and I wondered dully if she cheated or bribed anyone to get her job. A second nurse came and finally an iv was put in and I was put in a bed. Hallelujah. 
I stayed for a week while they did tests. The magic clear Baggie restored my water and health, which turned out to be enough since they never figured out what made me sick. The highlight of my stay was the evening they told me the reason they failed to check on me and give meds every day (after waiting hours after the scheduled check up and meds time, I buzzed incessantly to see if the nurses were on strike again or just lazy). Apparently, and I quote, “the pharmacy ran out of the medicine.”  Gahgbaiurbgakjsdfhasffh….. Of course. 

Yep. And it really is the Best hospital in the city (outside the capital). Imagine the government-run ones. 

My boyfriend visited me, along with his superstitious relatives who did some strange things to my belly and would later swirl around an egg and tell me I had the evil eye on me. When we were alone, he got mad about me texting a male friend. Yelled at me and the normal jealous rage invective. I had asked for my birth control medicine from the first day I was admitted. He brought me a huge bag of junk food but no birth control. 
When I left the hospital he picked me up, I was still very weak and needed to rest a few days before traveling home. I remember not wanting to be near him after his tantrum in the hospital. I was eager to get home and maybe be able to break up for good. That evening in his family’s living room we were sitting and talking. I was explaining how angry I was that he yelled at me and that I was only talking to a platonic friend. He got mad again and slapped my leg. 
It didn’t hurt physically but it shocked me very badly. I remember I told him, you hit me! And he responded, no I didn’t.  
What the FUCK? I was afraid. Something was seriously mentally wrong with him, he acts like it didn’t happen. I repeated myself, you hit me on my leg. And then I decide that I am going to leave, and I won’t talk to him until i do. 
Things get blurry in my memory from here… I don’t remember what happens that night but I know I don’t speak to him at all. I remember at one point lying facedown in bed crying and his mother comes in and talks to me, she is supportive of me but acts like it was a small misdeed. 
Then the rape. 
After the rape, I feel completely different. I give up on not talking- there’s no point. I prepare slowly to return home. He had taken my bag with money and phone in it and hidden it from me. He gives it back just before I am leaving. I have to go back to teach at school. His mother once confronts me about something, must be about leaving, asking me how it would make the father feel. I tell her, her husband is not my father. 
A different evening at his parents house, maybe weeks later, he locks me in the house while he goes out. I think at that point we already knew I was pregnant. His sister in law misses her period, and she tells me she consulted someone who told her to drink very strong tea. She gets her period. I think about trying it. 
I remember his mother locked me in the room with the sister in law the first night I stayed at their house, months before. What a strange, sick play I must be in, I thought. It didn’t seem real at the time. It still doesn’t. 
I started complying with the role I thought I now had to perform- looking back, it was sort of messed up martyr notion of being good at this path I was now on: mother of a baby I did not want? Well. I will be a good mother. Wife to a man who thought control and love were the same thing? I would be a good wife, I would be good. Looking back! How I want to shake that woman into a fight! A fight for herself and her future and her right to happiness! But she doesn’t hear me. She thinks her fate is before her, because to leaves requires bravery, and to be free requires an abortion. She is afraid of action, and afraid she would be committing a sin she couldn’t forgive herself for, and that she would be the more evil one. 
Bah. As I trudged on, head more vacuous by the hour, I’m sure any spark of intelligence in my eyes dulled enough to be called cow-like. I felt stupid. I stared a lot at nothing. I spent time with his mother and sister. I tried to learn to cook. I watched and pitied as his sister in law (also his first cousin) was verbally abused and controlled by his brother. I was there when her new born baby of less than a month died, and thought about my own. I participated in cooking dinners and cleaning, I ate on the floor with his mother and sister when those dinners were served. I took part in one of their religious rituals, and became quiet in their family conversations. Basically I just stopped being myself. I rooted for the sister in law to run away but I had no hope for myself. It was a depressing time. Hell. Depressing to remember it. Depressing to write it. Reader? Misery loves company! 
If you’ve never been raped, I hope you stay that way. These were my warning signs… But some things we can’t stop or prepare for. Some people, too. Plenty of situations though, we can learn from each other, and our own pasts, and protect ourselves. Learn from my mistakes, if you can. It’s not too late, where ever you are on your path. So long as you are alive, you can find the will to get out of a bad relationship. If you found that hulk-like strength to leave, stay hulky and never, ever go back.

A final poem, with my favorite reminders in bold, to remind you of what the truth really is, no matter what anyone tells you: 
Invictus, by William Ernest Henley 

Out of the night that covers me,

Black as the pit from pole to pole,

I thank whatever gods may be

For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance

I have not winced nor cried aloud.

Under the bludgeonings of chance

My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears

Looms but the Horror of the shade,

And yet the menace of the years

Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,

How charged with punishments the scroll, 

I am the master of my fate:

I am the captain of my soul.

Professor XX… Double the mind powers…

I like biology, and if all goes well I’ll stay anonymous in this blog, as just another XX. What’s that?
For all of you who frown and back away when you hear the words ‘energy web’ or ‘photosynthesis,’ no worries. I hope this is a simple way to think about it:

Sex, just sex, is pretty spectacular, especially at the moment of conception from a biology standpoint. It made you, and me, and every person you like or hate alive on earth (I assume). Sex is how humans and a lot of animals are able to make more of themselves, so they don’t go extinct. Fairly successful for humans, obviously. There’s a lot of us.

In an expansive, roomy nutshell, this is what happened when I, a woman, was made:

The sperm makes its escape:

Sperm are like little Secret Instruction Files storage cells, living cramped in a dark bag.
Every single sperm cell has about half of all the instructions used to make the man (hair, skin, eyes, predispositions to cancers, etc). They are all a little different in what instructions they have, but each sperm carries half of the total instructions. At some point they get revved up and shot out the penis, like a million potatoes out of a big potato gun.

The Big Egg:

A woman has been brewing her eggs since she was a fetus in her own mama’s womb, and every month after puberty as you are so well aware, one egg tries to grow even bigger, sets dynamite and bursts out of the ovary, galloping wildly along the tubes in our bellies, whipping and causing general havoc… or so it feels like. Each egg contains half of the instructions used to make this woman.

When the sperm with its half of instructions meets egg with its half of instructions, it basically forms a complete book for ‘ How to make Another Human’. And then baby gets built, rather quickly for such a complicated creature.

What about the xx?

All right, so since those instructions are fancy, and fancy things get long or French names, we call those instructional books ‘chromosomes.’ The pair of half-books that instruct you to be female or male are ‘sex chromosomes.’ (Im flashing back to this moment when all my teenage students shivered and drooled or sank in their chairs crossing themselves.).

Mom’s pair of sex chromosomes have a very specific, superhero, agent Scully name: the ‘X’ chromosomes. Basically it’s a complete instruction book called ‘XX: how to make a female.’ Now, mom only gives half of her instructions to each egg. So, each egg only gets one X chromosome, or half the instruction booklet.

Dad does more or less the same thing with his sperm: his body’s complete instructions are made up of the pair of sex chromosomes, ‘XY: how to make a male’. Since sperm only get half of these instructions, some sperm get only X and some only get Y.

The ‘Y’ is the game changer, and the man is the only one that provides it. So the man is actually the one that determines the baby’s sex.
If sperm with Y joins egg with X, the baby will be XY- a boy!
If sperm with X joins egg with X, the baby will be XX- me! I mean, a girl!

So you can see why just biology is beautiful. The creation of a boy or a girl begins with just these little chromosomes, joining and unfolding themselves in an old, intricate dance.

Below is a dream I had once. Interpret as you wish.


…well, of course, Sometimes it gets ugly after that, maybe parents don’t like XX. They wanted XY.
and yeah… Maybe the XX gets you one or more of these free perks: teased, abused, fondled, raped, forgotten, ignored, victimized, marginalized. Your breasts, vagina, hips, cheeks, height, musculature, skeletal structure: all finishing touches of that XX that seem to shout out to the world, you’re a woman, woman, woman, woman. Sometimes a man forces you to have his sperm, forces you to make a baby, and it becomes unbearable. A beautiful thing made putrid.

But remember you were conceived, formed, and born as something pure, something so beautiful and beyond human words. Ineffable. If there is any magic in the world, it is in the science that is you, that you yourself are capable of creating, a living being wholly unique and made deep in a womb without prejudice or bias, a blossoming sphere of cells that doesn’t think or judge or preach. It just grows. Just biology.

I wanted to destroy him for destroying that purity, for making me feel detached from my right to have a child when I chose, and that I was housing his parasite. An innocent bit of cells that could have been my baby in another life, but that he perverted for his own cruel goals.

When I went to the clinic to abort, I walked past people with signs condemning me. Being a Midwesterner in the USA, I took it for granted they were all white and older, maybe 40s on up. Sure, I took their self righteousness personally. I suppose they liked to imagine me in hell, probably being raped by a pitchfork, no doubt, or if they were more kindly, just burned for all eternity. Now I don’t give a crap about hell, it exists on earth thank you, but it hurt to realize how people prefer you to suffer than step on their ideals, taint their vividly rosy lenses.

My impression of this ideal world of theirs, based on their signs, was a world where the clean, clear eyed baby and his parents, a strong man and young, demure woman, kneel humbly before poor Christ tortured on the cross, this little thoughtful family modestly dressed and of middle class status. A world where if you were a good Christian, why, this wouldn’t have happened to you, and if it did it was probably just temptation and weakness on both your parts and certainly you’re not THAT traumatized. It was just sex. It’s like having your house robbed, you feel unsafe and violated but you’re okay. Even if you were raped, how could you… Murder your baby? (Even the chicken/fish/human glob one, which never appears on billboards, interestingly).

They might not all say it, but they think it. I’m not white, I’m not Christian. I didn’t wait to have sex until marriage. But I didn’t get raped because of that. There is no ‘because I’ … It wasn’t just sex. I am not a house, I was not robbed of things. Rape is a physical act that results in the pyschological torture of a person who was treated as a non-human. As a slave. Whose ability to accept a man into her body was used to hurt her.

A rapist uses your identity, your sense of who you are in the world, to crush and control you. What is left? You people who stared at me and my belly, did you have a clue? Did you care to even think, simply because it didn’t, maybe couldn’t happen to you?

I wonder if they had ever had the experience of losing a part of what made you human: your right to your own body. I wonder what they would have done, if men could conceive.

My xx, my vagina, my source of physical pleasure, and all the assumptions I’ve had since I was a little girl that they were all mine, when I’d act out all my insecurities and pride: ‘Don’t look at them, don’t make fun of them’, then later, ‘look at me, touch me’. I was both insecure and proud of my vagina, breasts, and of just being a woman. All of that is me.

All of that was destroyed. Incinerated and shit on. I would have loved to do the same to those pompous signs.

My mother and sisters were there with me. I felt nauseated, sick, and angry. I felt lost and alone and abandoned by whatever it is made the world still ‘good’. There was the double doors and a small waiting room. My ID. Following a nurse to a small room where we sat on the floor. She assured me with her own story, and demonstrated how these long metal tools would be used in me. They looked like drumsticks, some thicker than most. Those I remember at least. It depended on how far along you were, I guess. They widen the cervix, the part that feels like a barrier inside and at the top of the vagina. There’s already a little hole there, too little.

They offered a drug to make it easier, I think it was called colloquially a twilight drug . I declined. I remember thinking I deserved to be in pain.

I always wanted to have a child. I daydreamed. I used to pretend to breastfeed my stuffed animals. I promise I stopped that early, but I still loved the idea of it, the exquisite unknown process where I toppled a domino with a brilliantly passionate act of sex and the rest swirled and fell perfectly, far beyond my own mind’s limits, millions of triggers and switches growing bigger and bigger in me until it was finally time for it to leave my body and I would be screaming… and I would then be skipping past all that in the daydream…baby in my arms.

I wanted the warmth of telling my partner and the look in his eyes knowing that we would be parents. I wanted the glow and happiness when it grew within me, the imagined feeling of feeding it from my own body. Of it needing me more than anyone in the entire world, just for that time in my life. I imagined a world where my conception of a human, of my child, began in romantic and sexual love, and choice. where daddy didn’t just rape mommy.

I talked to the little embryo when I found out it was there. Defensively, unhappy..not that it was there but that the whole world in which I was supposed to create it was burned up. I told it how it got there, maybe for my own ears. That it was residing in a zombie body. Mommy isn’t ready for you, for little hands and little hearts and trust and need of love. I had nothing to give it. I tried to eat better, and to sleep. I tried to be happy, since I read that such things as moms mental state can affect the growth. But I had a lot of pain in my belly. I didn’t feel it judged me when I hoped it was a miscarriage. I knew it didn’t think, didn’t condemn, didn’t even have much of substance to it. When I went for a scan, it was a small, circular looking mote of a human. It was not conscious yet, just tiny cells rapidly following their instructions and growing a little less chicken/human/fish mystery blob like and a little more human blob like every day.
When the doctor at the Planned Parenthood clinic and the nurses did the procedure, I cried. It hurt, yes, and maybe the sharp change in hormones they warned me about contributed. But I wanted to tell someone that it was not my wish, that I didn’t want it to happen like this. I didn’t care if I had a kid out of wedlock, I support other women’s right to have abortions, I just could not face that I was aborting because of rape. I told the nurse, through snot and tears and with the blood between my thighs, that ‘he did a bad thing, he did a bad thing.’ I don’t know if they understood what I was trying to say. Those were the four letters I could not say, an unspeakable evil for a long, long time.

He completely broke me, and I went home thinking about if it would make me feel better if I was just dead now.


Rough timeLine: (I am really bad with exact dates, I’m sorry, and these are not things I wanted to remember)
Hospital a week around October 2012
Raped in October after returning from hospital
Pregnancy test about 2, 3 weeks later?
Returned to my home country in December
Abortion in December or January 2013

***I found this site and wanted to share it- from a gynecologist’s perspective on abortions (those after 20 weeks)

Hello, world… Yep, it’s a girl. 

 I once read that when you kill yourself, you’re not trying to kill one person (your self) so much as to destroy the world. Either way, you won’t be around to philosophize about it.
I want you to know right off I’m writing this because I was raped and this is…probably… for rape victims. This is for rape victims who, like me, seriously mulled over how to answer Hamlet’s desperate question, to be or not to be, and who understood little but their own cowardice in life. This is for girls who have hated their cunts, for women who were called sluts. This is also for anyone who likes cats and writers who go off on badly timed tangents and have somewhat macabre senses of humor in the face of traumatic things, and dull things as well.

This is also for my husband who will once again wonder why a good, cathartic blog like this has to be ruined by me occasionally talking about the raging Satan creatures that live in my gastrointestinal tract and their latest evil machinations, and my other inflammatory views on life.
Basically it’s my blog and I can write whatever the hell I want, and I damn well will, and Oo ee! Does that feel good. And no in this world better take credit for what I write here- these are my memories and opinions and snobbery and jackass assertions. Not any one else’s, blah blah disclaimer disclaimer.

Um.. Sometimes I will randomly add my doodles. I just decided. My art isn’t that awesome but it is awesome to me, please don’t make a profit off of it (but tell me if you think it is worth anything besides sentimental value!! ) …..

Fuck is a four letter word that is generally not used in polite society. So is

Rape.                       ..Shame, shame, shame, shame.. 

It was four years ago almost to the month, and I can say the words now without physically reacting. I’m writing in part so that if you were raped… Maybe you’ll want to kill yourself, like I tried to, or maybe you accepted the shame and that of your mother’s horrible screams and tears, but aborted your wee fetus in horror and hurt, like me, pretending that you were just a careless sex fiend. Ha! If you are reading this and you were raped, I’m writing because I realized no one seemed capable of listening to me, or understanding, and I was too broken to be strong. More women than I have ever contemplated have been raped, and I only knew the smallest portion of them. I joined their ranks, as we all did, involuntarily. Every one carries a secret, some are terrible. Here is mine, so you know you’re not alone with that muscularly exhausting fake smile pasted on your face and the pretend allergies and pretend life. Yeah, been there.

August 2016

‘The fear has gripped me but here I go”. Good song, breezeblocks.

Wow. I just had to take a deep breath because my throat is tightening. What do you think I should start with? Ah.. These are the questions I asked myself afterwards, when I could think: why did it happen to me? What kind of woman, girl am I to have let it happen? How could he do that to me. Hm. Will he die a fiery death before I can get to him?

I’ll start off with the sin. I’m not religious. I gave up praying to a god that defied reason long before this… But I believe in the meaning of sin, and have seen and lived through enough evil acts.

Write about the rape. Don’t think, don’t hold anything back (free advice passed down from the counsellor to me to you): 

I’m lying facedown in his parents extra bedroom, where his sister sleeps. That abominably ugly fire truck red dress, complete with flames, is on me and it’s long, down to my ankles. It’s a gift from his overbearing mother, I wore it to please her. I’m half crying half staring down at the bed, not really seeing anything, feeling numb because earlier that day he had hit my thigh. I was supposed to be angry but the feelings were very nebulous, I couldn’t seem to feel any emotion clearly defined. My brain felt a lot like thoughts were short circuiting. I felt weak and tired, mostly. He came in, I remember the door stayed partially open. The sun came in through the window opposite the door. I remember I was sick, I had just come from the hospital, a week. He had yelled at me there, saying I was talking to other men and cheating. He never brought me my birth control that week. But then he was on the bed and I just skip to the part of lifting the skirt, pushing it higher and me wriggling away and crying. I had been refusing to talk to him as punishment for hitting me. I don’t remember any of the sensations of his body in mine, only me pushing my face into the bed and crying and trying to crawl away. I don’t know why I can’t remember more details. Repulsive as they are..
This haunts me of course, you can see I never verbalized a no. I never kicked him in his nuts, or twisted his penis, or screamed. I wriggled away and cried. I immediately began a years long hatered of my body because of an excruciatingly acute understanding: my vagina was wet at the time of thr rape. My pussy, cunt, all those helpfully nasty ways to describe it were right, after all. It became a bloodletting leech, anathema, an insult and a sin in itself. It wasn’t good or beautiful or neutral. It fucking sold me out. I wanted to cut it off, it was weak, loathesome. It made him think I wanted it.

Afterwards, not so many moments after he ejaculated into me, I fairly calmly told him he raped me. I asked why. I do remember very clearly his reply, “I thought it would make things better.” I wanted desperately to believe him.

 My burning mind grew more hateful of myself after I was finally physically away from him, months later. Because for awhile, I chose to stay. College educated, independent, and in the end, a coward. I had chosen to believe that he didn’t mean it, and when I found out I was pregnant I told him and tried to be happy. I told my mom over the phone, an ocean away, listened to her scream and wail, then the concerned voices of my sisters. Being Indian, she took it quite hard, if the words ‘scream and wail’ don’t paint it clearly enough. I made plans to marry and accepted the way he continued cheating on me. I daydreamed a martyr-like life of giving up everything for my child, and I talked to my belly and tried to close my mind to anything other than just going through the steps until eventually I died. No joke, those were my thoughts. Very dramatic. I basically resigned from being a thinking, feeling person.

…But I did leave, when my peace corps contract was up, December of 2012.  I even told the medical officer, but just that I was pregnant. Apparently I’d have to be flown to Washington, D.C. for an abortion. I declined. That meant I had to face this head on, make a permanent decision, and that many others would know at least that part of my secret.

I flew home as normal, and by then my mind kept blaming my body and my self more than it blamed him. I don’t know why. I hated him, but I wanted to cut myself to pieces.  I did cause myself a lot of physical pain, and for those few moments after a cut or scratch, I felt mental relief.  Maybe because he was out of reach to hurt, and I believed that my body was weak and betrayed me and deserved to hurt, too. And it was close at hand. For years I needed someone or something to take the pain and hurt, and my body became my own ‘whipping boy’. Whenever I felt horrible, I would find a way to hurt my skin, even insulting and cursing my body as if it were something separate from me, something I wanted to cast away as a traitor. My female form as a dumb, unthinking beast. The reason I was raped. 

I could not accept that he could choose consciously to do such a heinous, barbaric action, to control me and impregnate me by intention. I knew it was true but from the first few moments after it happened, I fought against that truth, second guessing everything, justifying, denying. When I was physically far, far away from him, I realized the depth of that horror, and I immediately needed to end it, needing to know, Why, How…could anyone rape a another person? I went a little .. Very..crazy over the question. And I got no answer, no end. So I continued to hurt myself. 

So that was that. Not too many months after I was home and depressed and jobless (no car, living in the country), I got very drunk with a guy who seemed to have very large muscles and a very minute bit of brain matter. But mom said, go on dates and I, depressed daughter, threw myself in equally brainlessly, though by switching it off. I drank too much to drive moms car home and so I slept at his house. Not finding him attractive, all I cared to do was sleep. I woke up intermittently, drunkenly crying about my mother who had lectured me about drinking too much to drive back. ….

apparently that’s a turn on, triggering this weirdos’s persistent lusty embraces. I was alert enough to say no, over and over, and fell back asleep. I remember saying no. The next morning he was very happy, explaining that we had sex because he ‘persuaded me’ to change my mind. I don’t remember anything of it. Though this probably counts as rape, at the time I didn’t care. Mine was a broken, stupid, traitorous body, who cares what happened to it. I saw him a few more times, then I left for an overseas trip. His droning angsty messages aside, when he sent me a huge unwashed green shirt with prominent, giant sweat stains ‘so I could remember him’ it made me laugh and puke a little, and that was the end of that.

He never thought he did anything wrong, and I didn’t care about my honor and rights enough to correct him.


Self therapy can suck because there is no time limit. No one to guide you or, very importantly, haha, cut you off. You just think and think until it’s 3am and you either have to pee or shoot someone to make your mind shut the fuck up. And that bullshit can go on for years! No wonder I look like a wrinkly bat now.

Time to let go of my clenched jaws and soothe an elevated heart beat. All my anger comes too late on these matters. Well. Til next time, unless I give up this, narcissistic fools errand. I mean, come on. Blogging! Ha!  I blame my spouse, who said (nicely) that I talk a lot and need to make one.