*This is a long one folks. I have more to say than I thought.*
It has been called to my attention recently, through a slew of hateful messages both here on my blog and through email, that I am a fraud. I laughed off the guy that called me out on being a “man posing as a woman,” but I cannot shrug these recent words off. Not only am I a liar, but I endorse sexual abuse and the mistreatment of women. I am scum.
I’ll admit, I was hurt at first; I was shaken. But once that disappeared, I became livid. Call me a liar, go ahead. I know my truth. The problem I have here, and the problem I have with her slandering the name of a fellow blogger, is that it completely takes the attention away from these topics that she so adamantly protests. When you start spewing words carelessly (even if coming from sincere emotions), you begin to put more piles of bullshit on top of real issues. Why wouldn’t people ridicule teenage rape victims, when all the attention goes to the virtual mistreatment of the perpetrators? Words have consequences, words have power.
I myself know that my stories can be all over the place. One moment I’m as happy as a fucking lobster that has been freed from the boiling pot, and one moment I am in the boiling water. I can totally see how I contradict myself. But the thing is, I’m not just depressed. I’m not just happy. I’m not just an abuse survivor. I’m not just a victim. I’m not always strong. I am many things. I created Thoughts of a Lunatic because I knew that my thoughts would not always be coherent. I knew that if I stuck to just one strict subject, this thing wouldn’t last. I explore thoughts, I explore topics. And because of that, things are always changing here. That does not make me a liar or a fraud.
Let me now address the “liar” label so that we can get the fuck over it and move on to more important things.
I used to have a hard time with honesty. I would lie about even the tiniest of things, like what I had for breakfast. I would never voice my opinion and I would never stand up for anything … let alone myself. I had an exhaustive imagination, so lying came very easily and naturally to me. It would start with a habitual tiny fib, and eventually grow into a novel. It was easy, so easy. The power that came with warping my own reality into the fairytale I so dreamed of, was addictive. I could be anyone, anything other than myself. I lied for me, but I also lied for others. It is not easy to lay the truth on loved ones that do not hold the ability to comprehend your ugliness.
For instance, for my Senior prom, my mother’s family hoarded into our home. They set up shop doing my hair and nails, obsessing over the fact that their troubled little girl was finally past her ‘drug & runaway’ days. The ritual was blown up into a sacred act … and I did not have the heart to disappoint them. As I was putting on my gown, the lie slipped out, “I have been nominated for prom queen.” The women giggled and rejoiced. Their outcast black-sheep had friends! She really was okay. I slid on the dress, carefully hiding the raw lines of the flesh I tore open with blades, and painted on the smile I had nailed at faking. I lied for their happiness, and I lied for myself. For a moment, I got to believe that high school was anything but what it was. There had been threats; if I showed my face at prom, I would be hurt. So I spent the night in a hotel room with my boyfriend, and before going home, bought a crown.
I had learned manipulation early on. As a child, sworn to secrecy by threats of a man that stole my innocence, it became very clear that lying meant protection. It meant salvation. I held on to that and it ate me alive. After years of creating a false life, I became a false person. I was drenched in despair, painted over with pretty untrue stories. I would try so hard to be honest, to tell the truth … but it felt like the world crumbled down at my feet each time.
I had been fighting with my boyfriend. Since returning from the Army, he was distant and cruel. He was no longer the man that I fell in love with. We argued over everything. Him, broken and I, just beginning to fall into the ‘dark place’ that would take over my life for the next few years. One night, the fighting got particularly bad and I sought solice in a mutual friend, J. “Can we meet up?” I texted, “D is losing his mind and I need to breathe.” He replied with a location. I drove to the school yard now covered in moonlight. We walked around the track a few times, me crying and him trying to comfort me with words. I had cooled down, collected my thoughts, and decided that it was time to return home. But, J had different intentions. He pulled out a knife and forced me onto the hood of my car. The rest is obvious. I cannot describe what it did to me, the violent nature of his acts equaled the nightmares that followed. I had no intention of telling anyone about what had happened. I was a liar, remember? And good at hiding things. But as I woke from sleep a couple of nights later, D found me in the bathroom slicing my thigh open with my razor. I confessed what had happened, and he went for his gun. It took hours to settle him down; I had to promise to go to the police. Honesty. I had to tell the truth. Inside that police station, I was ridiculed and made to tell my story in the waiting room, in front of everyone. Sobbing and shaking, they sent me away. A few days later, I got the call, “He denies everything, said that you invited it. We will not be pursuing this any further.”
That was not the only time the justice system failed me. I was at the movie theatre one night when a detective called; they had a suspect that had been drugging and raping girls as young as 14. He kept journals and secret video recordings. And my name and face was included. I had very little memory of anything, only that I had gone to his house one night and passed out from one shot of whiskey. Turns out, he had drugged and had sex with me while unconscious, and caught it all on tape. This time, I thought that honesty would pay off. I went to therapy, tried hypnosis, anything to try and remember more. But I couldn’t. And as I sat in front of a jury to tell my tiny bits and pieces, a man in a suit made me out to be a liar and a fool.
I learned a valuable lesson from these things. I learned that lies have horrible consequences. I finally saw that lies have ripple effects. The girls that made up stories about men that were innocent, were the cause of me not being believed when I was telling the truth. I had never falsely accused anyone, nor had I ever lied about things I considered to be ‘a big deal’ … shit, my lies were just attempts to make myself look “normal” … but does it really matter? They all have ramifications, one way or the other. It is easy to hide behind lies. In a world that pokes fun at rape victims, ridicules those with mental illness, judges people by past decisions … why in the hell would you ever be honest?? But after I was once again turned away from justice, I made a vow to turn away from deceit. I knew that I had not yet caused any huge harm with my fables, but I also knew that they could grow into something completely uncontrollable and epic if I did not quit. It is not easy to admit to ones lies, but it is even harder living with them. I also learned that if I didn’t start standing up for myself, no one else would.
If it weren’t for the graciousness of you who read, comment and send me emails, I probably would have retreated back into my web of invention. I share (probably too much) truth because it has been accepted. Not always agreed with, but treated with respect nonetheless. I own my past lies and hold myself accountable. Though dreadful things helped shape me into what I was and am, it is I that ultimately made my decisions. I was once an ugly little liar that is now recovering; I am a seeker of honesty, of the truth. I can only hope to offer that same support to others; to aid them in the freedom of unshackling themselves from the darkness. Truth is the shadow hiding under the pretty lies, but let us continue to allow that shadow into the light.
The reason I included those personal stories up above, was to try and make my point. When I write about sexual abuse, I am writing about sexual abuse. I have more than one experience with it, but that does not mean that I am going to include every single one in every single post. I have a lot more to say, but I don’t say it all at once. Even when I try to condense the bigger picture into one post (as I did on BBW), there are so many things left out. Instead of focusing on the topic I am writing about, some people veer completely off and only focus on creating drama. “Well she didn’t mention this in her last post, she must be lying!” or “She is using sarcasm here when it is not appropriate, she must be endorsing rape!” Are you fucking kidding me???
I write about my past experiences, and because of an abstractly detailed account, people assume they then know everything about my life. Let me tell you something, no one post of mine tells my entire story. Each post is intertwined with my thought process at that time. I try to revisit how I felt in those moments, and type it out accordingly. This does not mean that I feel the same way about it now, nor does it mean that it included every single detail. I tell my truth in my own way. This also means that sometimes, I use sarcasm to get through. I can make a post about choosing hookers, and that does mean that I endorse the act. Sometimes, humor gets people to listen that wouldn’t otherwise pay any attention.
The problem with calling someone like me out, is that it takes away from the messages I am trying to send. Disagree with me, converse with me. I welcome conversation. But don’t ever tell me that fucking endorse the sexual abuse of women … or anyone, for that matter. I survived and I earned my right to tell my stories how I see fit. Don’t like it? Fine. But when you call yourself a crusader for the good, then you should take a little more care with how you handle things. Tell me that you find my writing offensive, and I will try to calm your mind. Keep to the topic at hand. Because when you veer and start calling these things ‘disgusting’ and throwing out false accusations, you are doing what you so claim to hate: taking the power away from these subjects that need all of the power they can get. You are drawing the attention away to silly drama.
Truth is objective, it is relative. Truth is not universal. Mine is different than yours. His different from hers. We are tangled in webs of varying realities … but we all have the right to voice them. Agreement is not necessary. You do not have to agree with what he says, or even like it, but it should be respected. In a world where we are programed to think like everyone else and hide our deep dark secrets, it is beautiful to witness a coming out. That alone is worth courtesy and regard. And it opens doors for people hiding behind their own burdens of lies.
Words have consequences. As someone with a big mouth and a hot temper that speaks too soon, I know this. But I also work on it. What can seemingly come from a sincere place, may have unintended repercussions. We all need to think a little more before we speak. Or type.
I am on the same journey as everyone else; trying to make sense of the mess on the floor. I do not write in a way that goes from A to B to C. It won’t always make sense. But that is how I am dealing with my past, and that does not make me a fraud.