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Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Normalizing Breastfeeding

This is exactly what I want my son to see on TV, in public, in print ads.  I want your kids to see it, too.  Thanks, Buffy, Cody, and Big Bird.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

How I Cope with My Anxiety

A new regional park just opened in my town.  It's in the local mountains, includes miles of hiking trails, and is, to steal a word from Buddy the Elf, "ginormous."  Today, I sent my husband and son to this new, ginormous park.

Today, I also had an anxiety attack.  I'm having it now, in fact.  So, I'm writing my way through it.  As I spoke the words, "Why don't you guys go to the new park" I felt my heart start to palpitate.  My mind started swirling with endless possibilities, all negative, all tragic.  There went my heart again.  My face got hot, my body tingled.  I started rattling off instructions for my husband and son.  "Keep your phone on.  Is it charged?  Keep him close to you. Bring water.  Stay close to Dada.  Hey, I love you very much.  Wait, come back.  Kiss?  I love you.  I love you.  I love you.  Have fun."  And I'm hot all over again as they've left and I'm alone to continue imagining mountain lion attacks, falls on jagged rocks, getting lost, and slides down mountainsides.  And now my heart is beating harder, faster.  So it goes.

Why didn't I ask them to stay, then?  Why didn't I stave off my own anxiety attack by merely taking back my own initial suggestion?  Why didn't I immediately change my suggestion to something different, something that doesn't still make my legs feel weak?  Because that's how I deal with my anxiety.  I know, logically, that I'm being irrational.   I know, logically, that none of these things are going to happen, that the possibility is so remote that they don't warrant the type of reaction I'm having.  That doesn't change my reaction, however.  It doesn't change my anxiety.  I deal with it, though, by forcing (hard) my logic to overrule my anxiety.  It took great force, great willpower to shut up my anxious head noises and ship those two out the door.  It took experience to shut up my mouth instead of telling them all the things I was picturing, because I know that would only worry my son unnecessarily, as he doesn't yet understand how illogical his mother's fears are sometimes and only, instead, knows that he trusts her, so will take on the feelings she feels.

Am I rambling?  That's the anxiety.

So I shut up, I said farewell, my body is in a panic-state, my mind is doing its best to quiet it, and I'm writing through it all, because this is how I cope with my anxiety.


Saturday, January 2, 2016

Cosby Defenders Pulling the Trigger on My Sexual Assault Memories

This post's main function is personal catharsis.  You're more than welcome, encouraged even, to read it, but I'm here to vomit it all out rather than speak to anyone else in particular.  However, as I learned long ago, as I do this, I inevitably help someone else come to terms with their experience(s), give someone the permission they'd been waiting for to name their abuser(s), open someone's eyes to their asinine victim blaming and/or lack of compassion, and any number of other things that bubble to the surface for others as they read about someone else's hurts.  As such, let's begin.

A couple days ago, I read a post on Facebook that a friend wrote in which she vehemently defended Bill Cosby.  More than that, she accused the victim.  Now, I'm sick and my son is sick, so I put off commenting just to save my own sanity.  A couple other folks commented in a manner I thought was appropriate, so I let them do their thing and I moved on.  Facebook does like to continue bringing those posts up over and over, though, don't they?  True to form, up it cropped again yesterday.  Ugh.  And, of course, the glaring comments were those in agreement with her defense of the repeated assailant...and accusations against the victim.  So, I commented.  I commented with a personal anecdote about my experiences with sexual assault and rape.  I was conspicuously ignored.  (Pro tip: When someone tells you, "Hey, I was raped, I was sexually assaulted and..." you don't ignore them.)  I mentally flipped her off and went to bed.

It was in bed that a memory of another sexual assault reared its ugly head.  It goes a little something like this:

I spent an evening hanging out and drinking with a couple of friends, Brad and Samantha, at their house.  Samantha had another friend there from work.  If memory serves, his name is Miguel.  I got drunk and slept on their couch.  Evidently, Miguel did the same on another couch.  I was wrongly, horribly, illegally, and immorally awakened by Miguel kissing and caressing my body.  His hand was down my shorts, rubbing my clitoris and labia.  His breath was hot and steamy against my mouth.  My eyes were still closed as I tried to grasp what was happening, tried to go from peacefully slumbering to awakened by a sexual assault.  I pretended to stay asleep, hoping he'd either get bored and leave me alone or that Brad and Sam would walk downstairs, see him, and put a stop to it.  The former happened.  He went home.  I told Brad and Sam.  They didn't believe me.  Rather, they believed that he did that, but didn't believe it to be problematic.  It was that he liked me and I was being entirely too sensitive.  Experience stuffed.  Memory locked.  

(*Their reaction is exactly why I've chosen to name them in this post.  I refuse to keep secrets such as this anymore.  Their response is part of the issue and I won't let them off the hook.)   

Cut to yesterday's thread with the Cosby defender (and victim denouncer) which unlocked that ugly memory.  Sometimes, that's how it happens.  Actually, that's almost exclusively how it happens with me.  I've been sexually assaulted three times and raped once.  It took jarring exchanges such as this to get me to recall each one, to open my eyes and mind to what happened to me.  I'm not special enough to believe I'm the only one that ever happens to, either.  It's entirely within the realm of possibility that such things happened with those accusing Cosby.  Those memories don't crop up at times convenient for the law or the fragile minds of vehement defenders and fans.  Statutes of limitations don't take into account suppressed memories, healing that takes eons, or news cycles.  When a victim says, "I was hurt," you believe them.  You believe them no matter how long ago it was, what's going on in their lives now, what's going on in the perpetrator's life now, how much money they have, how much money the perpetrator has, who is famous and not famous, or any other factor you've made up in your head to justify your horrid behavior and mentality.  You believe them, because we're just not making this stuff up.  We're just not.  And it's too damn bad that our experiences are coming out at a time that is inconvenient to you, in a manner you find distasteful, or in implication of a person you think is just too spiffy to do such things.  Too. damn. bad.