Fortezza, Umilitade, e Largo Core - Courage, Humility, and Largeness of Heart.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Standing Tall as a Victim

I am no shrinking violet, I never have been. I find it shocking that I am finding myself in this situation but here I am and I will not back down.

I am 39 years old and I am the victim of an abusive relationship with a 24-year-old classmate while in seminary. I would have never imagined something like this would ever happen to me. I was raised by a single mother who ingrained in me strength and independence. I went to all female schools (high school and college) where we were taught how to protect ourselves. But after my second divorce, I was left broken and vulnerable. That’s where he stepped in.

While preparing to defend myself and my safety by proving in a court of law a preponderance of evidence (in front of a judge and my victimizer) I was able to see exactly how he began to lay the trap that ensnared me. I am not saying he did this intentionally; I still hold out hope that he is just confused and not malicious. This crusade I took on is not an easy one; having grown up in the age of Anita Hill, I know that the first woman to take a stand is pummeled with stones. But I was given the tools to prepare me for this fight (I am imagining myself as a modern day Frodo Baggins, collecting tools that I do not understand and have no concept how I will use them but storing them away, ready to pull them out when the time comes). I have found that of all the tools I have at the ready, the most important skill I have is to reach out to my community and ask for help. If you find yourself in a similar position, please- reach out for help. 

The relationship began innocuously enough: I was seeing a fella at home who was unwilling to commit due to my being long distance. When my classmate began flirting with me via IM, I was so vulnerable and desperate for attention. I saw both of them for several months but when Valentine’s Day came around and I realized that neither man cared enough about me to acknowledge me on the holiday, I ended my relationship with both men as I felt that I was not being respected by the open, non-exclusive nature. I respectfully asked my classmate to give me the space to heal. Against my wishes, he continued to text message and instant message me. After a more than a month of unwanted contact, I asked a friend to speak to him to request that he leave me alone, to which he responded that he “got the message loud and clear,” yet two days later he was instant messaging me again.  Because I liked him and was emotionally vulnerable after settling a painful divorce, I repeatedly allowed him back into my life. I was very clear about my expectations, namely that I would not have sex with him outside of an exclusive relationship. I would get the impression (whether correctly or not) that he intended to commit to me, but when asked about it he would say that he would not commit. One time this conversation happened as he was trying to unbutton my pants.

This cycle continued until the end of the semester when he messaged me saying that he would like to be exclusive. Against my better judgment, I saw him and we ended up having consensual sex.  The relationship then blew up that afternoon; the cause is still open to debate. I was devastated and I behaved badly (including unfriending him on Facebook). He said that he saw no hope for us and we should both walk away, which I did. However, a week later he was back to messaging me again, saying that he missed me.  I was in a state of cognitive dissonance, my head knew I shouldn’t take him back but my heart was still crying out for him. Over the objections of everyone, I decided to give him one last shot; he was not willing to commit right away and asked for time to think it over, which I agreed to.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Mooses Come Walking

Mooses Come Walking

by Arlo Guthrie

Mooses come walking over the hill
Mooses come walking, they rarely stand still
When mooses come walking they go where they will
When mooses come walking over the hill

Mooses look into your window at night
They look to the left and they look to the right
The mooses are smiling, they think it's a zoo
And that's why the mooses like looking at you

So, if you see mooses while lying in bed
It's best to just stay there pretending you're dead
The mooses will leave and you'll get the thrill
Of seeing the mooses go over the hill

©1993 Arloco Music, Inc. (ASCAP)

Michael and GG with a moose.

Monday, July 4, 2011

I'm back!

It’s been over a year since I posted last. It’s been a bit of a rough year- mainly it’s a Lyme thing. Stupid Lyme.

A year and a half ago I fell ill with pneumonia (due to my suppressed immune system because of the Lyme) and as it turns out, I was likely having micro strokes. I lost some of my ability to read and write, which terrified me. Pre-Lyme, I always felt confident that I would always be able to rely on my intelligence and for that to be taken from me was too scary. Luckily I have an amazing support system. They helped me get through the semester and then helped me figure out the medical support so I could work towards recovery. This Fall I began neural feedback, which has helped tremendously! I have found my cognitive abilities that the Lyme took away from me are beginning to return to their previous strength. I even think that I might end up stronger cognitively because of this process; I don’t expect it but I am hopeful. Another unexpected benefit was the return of my immune system. I always knew that I would be able to “muscle” my way back to strength and stamina, that those were aspects of my overall health that I had some semblance of control over. To have my immune system rebound is truly a miracle!

I began several posts in the last year that I never finished writing or bothered to post. I am resolved to change this. My writing quality may not be what it was previously but I will release attachment to my ego and post. It has been said that something that is 90% perfect and published is better than something that is 100% perfect and not published. Well, you all might have to settle for 75% perfect at this point.

I look forward to actually writing again.