Belief

Do you believe in Santa Claus?

Do you believe in aliens?

Do you believe in a God?

Do you believe we should treat others the way we want to be treated?

According to the dictionary the word belief has the two following meanings:

be·lief

bəˈlēf/

noun

  1. an acceptance that a statement is true or that something exists.
  2. trust, faith or confidence in someone or something.

 

What does it take for you, personally, to believe in someone or something? How can one chubby, white bearded man dressed in red velvet deliver gifts to every single kid on the planet in one night? Are there other species out there aside from what we know as ourselves – Homo sapiens? Do you believe and abide by words written in a book over 2,000 years ago without actual proof that any of the contents occurred? Do you believe in “doing unto others as you would have them do unto you?”

I do believe in The Golden Rule. As a kid, my folks instilled the belief of treating others the way I wanted to be treated verbally as well as through their actions. I’ve carried the belief through childhood, adolescence, high school, college and still do.

As a victim of sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape, I have found myself at the forefront of parallel universes endlessly the past three years. Traumas that have occurred in the past, are kept very much alive in my present due to the current news cycle that seriously feels like a horribly written drama for an off-brand network. Sadly, it’s fucking real. Reality.

As I live in my present, showing up for work, performing my daily tasks, and putting one foot in front of the other, I’m constantly besieged with stories and images from the news – in print and on the television – that drag me back to the very horrible moments I don’t want to keep reliving.

My thoughts on the current shit show in politics.

As a rape survivor, I’ve become accustomed to the myriad of triggers that can send me into a tailspin. I’m used to hearing and reading about the person who holds the highest position in America, and has also been accused of sexual assault by over 15 women and still was elected to run the country. I’m used to him now. That’s par for the course these days. More specifically, what has been a punch to the gut 24/7 the last week is the nomination circus surrounding the SCOTUS nominee, Brett Kavanaugh.

What almost sent my head into outer space were the comments made by #45 – victim blaming and shaming two of the three sexual assault accusers of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh over the past week.

To say this has been an extreme trigger would be an understatement.

Why didn’t Christine Blasey Ford report it 36 years ago? Jesus tap dancing Christ.

I was a freshman in high school when my very best male friend and I spent New Year’s Eve together. About five families and all of their off spring rented hotel rooms and us kids ate pizza, swam, watched movies and hung out. The ages ranged from about third grade to us two, cool 14-year-old young adults. As roughly 10 youngsters were all in a room watching a movie, most of us fell asleep. I had on a red and black plaid button-down onesie. I sat on the bed with my best friend and another one of the kids. At some point I fell asleep. When I woke up, the room was dark, and everyone was sleeping. The front of my pajamas was unbuttoned and there was a hand that wasn’t mine inside of them.

Fourteen.

What does a 14-year-old girl do? Immediately dial 9-1-1 and report an unwelcomed hand exploring the inside of her pajamas? Scream in a room packed to the gills with friends – kids, causing a gigantic commotion when she’s really just confused and scared and crying? As soon as shock wore off, this freshman girl got up to go to the bathroom, clutching her pajamas shut. I buttoned them up and then sat on the toilet, wondering what to do. It was about 2am or so. I went to my parent’s room and knocked with no answer, so I stayed outside of their room until someone else from our large party woke the next morning and pretended nothing happened. It wasn’t until my mom noticed me avoiding phone calls from my best friend and not wanting to do things with him per usual that she poked and prodded until I spilled it. I would have never, ever said anything – and there was no underaged drinking, no smoking, no drugs, no anything that I did wrong that December 31st.

Every New Year’s Eve is a sweet reminder of this – every.single.year. This kind of shit lives within you forever.

Please stop what you are doing and think about that. Think about your kids. Your nephews. Your nieces. Kids of your friends. Children you don’t know. My incident isn’t even in the slightest bit extreme and I think about it more often than I ever should. This “why didn’t she say something 36 years ago” question can kiss my fat ass.

When President Ronald Reagan nomintated Douglas H. Ginsburg in in October of 1987, he quickly withdrew his name from consideration. Why? Because NPR “revealed that Ginsburg had used weed on a few occasions” during his student days in the 1960s. And he even *gasp* used it after graduation. If weed caused a nominee to withdraw, even though it was due to behavior at least 20 years prior, I think being accused of sexual assault from three different women might suffice for the same conclusion in 2018. Bow the fuck out Kavanaugh.

Why should we believe accuser Deborah Ramirez? When, according to the man at the top of the food chain:

Fast forward to the night of my rape. I admittedly had been drinking, was an admitted emotional wreck and admittedly took a sleeping pill. So that means I deserved to be raped, right? According to POTUS and some of the current media I sure the fuck did.

It’s not me. It’s you – you fucking ass clowns.

Tucker Carlson, FOX News – on Dr. Christine Blasey Ford

“Sex offenders tend to commit serial sex crimes. Doesn’t she have an obligation to tell someone? To stop him from doing that if he is, in fact, a sex criminal? And I know it’s hard, but why don’t we have a right to know? If there’s a rapist on the loose, if you don’t tell anybody … you’re part of the problem, are you not?” Carlson asked radio host Ethan Bearman. “Where’s her obligation here? What about the rest of us?”

I told. My rapist, as are thousands of others that have actually been reported, remain on the loose, Tucker.

Fuck off, Carlson.

 Newt Gingrich compared Brett Kavanaugh being accused of sexual assault to the Salem witchcraft trials.

“What he’s being put through is almost like a medieval torture,” the former House speaker told host Sean Hannity.

Fuck off Newt.

You know what’s like midevil torture? Old, rich, white men (looking directly at you Charles fucking embarrassment to my home state of Iowa Grassley) dismissing allegations because – the nerve of a victim opening their mouth out of an act of civic duty. Go fuck yourselves.

The accusers have asked for the FBI to investigate their claims. The requests have thus far, been denied. Judge Kavanaugh isn’t really on trial – he is being interviewed for a lifetime job. And of this hour – 8:27 am on the day of Dr. Blasey Ford’s testimony, the vote on Kavanaugh will still take place tomorrow. What a thorough investigation.

If you are a man in this country, specifically a privileged white male, why would you be scared if you’ve done nothing wrong in this category? Have I ever done stupid things as a kid? Absofuckinglutely. But I never thought about sticking my hand down the pants of a sleeping friend. Have I been so drunk I’ve done something I regretted? Hand held high. But it hasn’t ever crossed my mind to take sexual and forceful advantage of someone else who is even more or less inebriated – or not drunk at all – while being full of alcohol myself. NOT ONCE.

I can understand the worry of being falsely accused but again and unfortunately, it does happen from time to time. According to the Our Resilience Organization

Myth: A lot of victims lie about being raped or give false reports.

Fact: Only 2-8% of rapes are falsely reported, the same percentage as for other felonies.

If you ever god forbid, find yourself accused of sexual assault, you will be presumed innocent until proven guilty because your personal freedom is at stake. Most likely it won’t come up during a job interview, as is happening with Kavanaugh. He wouldn’t go to jail or do any time for these heinous actions if he did, in fact, commit them. He would lose a job. Albeit, a very fortuitous, prestigious and important job that requires public trust, but he still has a lifetime appointment as a judge, so I think he’d be OK.

Oh you poor, dude. Being asked about your actions as a young adult.

If the Senate Judiciary Committee chooses to proceed without any formal investigation into these allegations, treating them as a “he-said, she(they)-said” matter, with no key witnesses such as Mark Judge subpoenaed to testify regarding his “lack of memory” then it would be a grave disservice. Seems as if minds of some voters are already made.

The outcome if this is the way chosen to handle this approval process? Teaching the next generation of young women and men that even if you speak up and tell someone about a sexual assault, they’ll learn it’s not serious enough to be taken at word. The next generation will learn that sexual assault isn’t deemed a crime serious enough to affect their reputation, current or future life.

Yet, here we are. I am up on a sleepless night, trying to comprehend why there is even a question how to proceed with the hearings with Dr. Blasey Ford. Who, came forward with the understanding she would remain anonymous, then was outed by media, received death threats, inadvertently put her family in danger and is in hiding over an incident that she believes took place 36 years ago. I believe her.

Everyone deserves a fair say. I just want the young generation to know that if you are ever sexually abused, assaulted or raped, your voice matters. You matter. As I watch this shit show unfold, my greatest fear is the possible negative aftermath in which these two – and all other kids – will be raised.

While one man’s prestigious lifetime appointment to a job is on the line for him, lives he literally touched in the wrong way have been altered forever. I believe survivors. I believe Christine Blasey Ford. I believe Deborah Ramirez. I believe Julie Swetnick. I believe in the courage that Dr. Blasey has to appear on a worldwide stage, forced to relive a horrendous night in her life.

There’s a short list with about 20 other names on it for a SCOTUS nomination. Hopefully, another judge will be offered the lifetime appointment with no sexual assault skeletons in his or her closet. Being a lifetime appointment, with a stellar moral compass required, the situation should not be rushed.

For myself (and countless other victims), the shame, embarrassment, and the toxicity of wanting to remain strong but feeling emotions boil over from acts that happened to me as far back as a 14-year-old rear their ugly heads because of the tone deafness in this country. And folks wonder why the vast majority of victims don’t come forward. How long has it taken some of the sexual assault victims to come forward about the abuse at the hands of priests? Double standard at its fucking finest.

If you know of someone who has experienced any kind of sexual trauma in their life, reach out. It has been a shit show of a week and hopefully, we’ve come further than we were almost 30 years ago when Anita Hill testified and was ignored.

I stand with survivors.

I hope you do, too.

CBXB

CBXB!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Hit Rock Bottom by Twirling

What happens when something – or someone hits rock bottom?

I dunno. You tell me.

According to the dictionary rock bottom is defined two ways, with a third added by me:

rock-bot·tom

ˌräk ˈbädəm/

adjective

  • at the lowest possible level.
  • “rock-bottom prices”

noun

  • the lowest possible level.
  • “morale is at rock bottom”

 CBXB style

  • hit head as hard as possible on concrete
  • “head hit rock bottom”

I took the phrase rock bottom in a very literal way a few Fridays ago, as I twirled around in a parking lot, lost my footing IN FLATS (Louis Vuitton if we’re keeping track) landing only on my noggin which was cushioned by a yellow concrete tire stop.

An absolute guarantee my twirl was not as cute as this girl’s.

I can also guarantee that the concrete was not as cozy as this cushion.

I lost time but never consciousness. My head didn’t crack open and I didn’t have any kind of bump, so no visit to the emergency room commenced. I’ve fallen down so much in my life, this was just a par for the course in my novel.  I spent the night on a friend’s couch aided with water, ice and a high dose of ibuprofen.

The next morning, I did have quite the headache but only where I’d fallen on my head, so I wasn’t concerned.  I retrieved my car, ate breakfast, drank coffee, water, went to the pool, had wine, snacks, wine, supper and wine.

Totally fine enough to go to the pool.

Then that evening, I took a turn for the confused, belligerent and ended up at my mom’s house escorted by Bird Lady who kept telling me, “you’re not making any sense.” (Author’s side note: not uncommon for yours truly to not make any sense due to my self-described ‘blonde brain’ so this was waaaaaaay beyond my usual rambling).

Wait. What’s happening?

Upon waking Sunday, my entire body throbbed from my hairline, behind my eyeballs, my teeth, my neck, spine, knees and somehow in the middle of the night, my right big toe turned black and blue. I was a fucking mess.

Rock bottom if you will.

Mama CBXB had the pleasure of icing my head, listening to me complain about being nauseous, then getting to clean up after her grown ass daughter as I missed the bowl upon abruptly vomiting, when my symptoms were getting more serious. We called my health insurance nurse’s triage line and the on-call doctor at my general practitioner’s office for advice. It was decided I could miserably wait until Monday to see my doctor.

Ice. Ice. Baby.

I rewarded Dada CBXB for being my dad by giving him a reason to waste PTO days on, again, his grown ass daughter. Really, I’m just looking for more ways to bond with him at hospitals. So far, we’ve endured the removal of my tonsils, a busted face stitched up after an aluminum bat hit in 7th grade, Rapegate, his colonoscopy this year and now, my inability to twirl in a parking lot.

Hospital bonding.

I had a CT scan and X-ray of my foot (Dada CBXB just added my out-of-pocket cost to my ever-growing bill) performed, with the results saying there was no brain bleed, just a severe concussion. And a broken fucking toe (I have no idea how in the fuck I managed to break a toe and concuss myself all in the same twirl down, but somehow, I managed).

My doctor prescribed a week of no concentration and rest. No reading. No screen time on the phone and computer. No driving. No work. Just literally sitting and relaxing. And use a cane to help with the fucking toe. Oh, and I couldn’t be alone, so again, Dada CBXB cashed in four more PTO days and waited on his klutzy as fuck kid.

Oh woe is me.

So I decided the best way to communicate my neediness was to not look at him and ask for something while he sat three feet from me on the couch, but instead, I rang a bell.

I got used to the bell in about .000000003 seconds.

Leading up to my twirl down, I was insanely tired. My chronic fatigue has been in full force almost the entirety of this summer. I’d get restless sleep (because Shane the Rapist appears in my dreams but is just there – like, if I’m at a party, he’s there too. But nothing happens to me in the dream, well really, nightmare). So, I couldn’t remember the last time I woke up feeling refreshed. It’s basically been my job to be as relaxed as possible so that’s even become a chore. How fucked up is that? Three minutes of my life have doled out almost three years of recovery – with many more to come.

But, I’m back doing my beloved hot yoga, which helped me wind down in the past.

I take bubble baths after yoga. I read. I take my meds as needed. I drink sleepy time tea an hour before bed. I have a sound machine. I smell lavender. I put oil on my pulse points. I wear a sleep mask. I have a weighted blanket that is supposed to help with relaxation. I mean Jesus tap dancing Christ, this is my nightly ritual that shouldn’t seem like a fucking chore. But nothing was really working for my exhaustion and I was a train in dire need of some WD-40 on my wheels before they rolled completely away.

GO THE FUCK TO SLEEP.

Something had to give – and so, it did.

It came in the form of a severe concussion and a broken toe, forcing my ass to sit still and let others step in and care for me.

More water, please.

I can’t remember the last time I ate three meals a day consecutively since January 29, 2016. Well, that was remedied quickly.

My dad’s omelettes are my fave.

His BLT lettuce boats aren’t bad, either.

His stuffed peppers don’t suck.

Nor do his chicken lettuce wraps.

Chef Boyarcbxbeeee

I can’t remember the last time I took hour-long naps in the middle of the day.

Let’s get some day zzzz’s.

I can’t remember my dad ever watching the Bachelorette or Bachelor in Paradise, but we did.

New shows on the radar.

I can’t remember the last time I slept ten consecutive hours overnight. But I did.

I know you can’t tell, but I’m well rested.

I can’t remember ever not feeling like I’d swallowed the weight of a bowling ball in my belly since January 29 of 2016. But that feeling is gone.

The feeling of not feeling like I’ve swallowed a 14 lb. bowling ball.

The thing is, I’ve been treading water justenough to keep from drowning to the depths of my own personal Bermuda Triangle. There’s no escaping the aftermath of any trauma but when I started making baby steps in progress, even if I’d regress some later, it seemed so daunting to get up on that goddamn horse and try, try again.

When I saw glimpses of pre-Rapegate me starting to shine through my cracks, I wanted to do everything at once to grasp, hold on, keep the feeling there. I wanted to fight through therapy and come out on the other end, meet with the detective and sergeant of the Nashville Sex Crimes department to discuss the mishandling of my case, lose the 40 lbs I’ve gained since being raped, feel confident no matter what, work out daily, keep the mini manse sparking clean, be “on” and “happy” at work, make my bed without feeling like I should earn a gold medal for that feat, eating even though I have no appetite, grocery shopping, taking and keeping track of my meds, paint my nails, gussy up, take pride in my appearance, not wanting to make people who care about me worry, trying to not feel like a burden to those who do love me, avoiding panic attacks only to have them creep on stronger, listening to the judgement of others not solicited from folks who mean well and like to offer suggestions and the “I told you so” phrase even though they aren’t medical professionals or have experienced my exact trauma, remaining relaxed to try to sleep, trying to save money and pay back loans while keeping my lights on, dealing with life and loss like a normal person when I’m feeling like a tsunami inside (loss of self, ferociousness, confidence, dignity, ashamed of being raped (all daily feelings), my best fur friend Teddy Bear died, my second mom, Aunt Crazy Pants died, a friend of mine cut me out of his life completely with no explanation, a job loss, Precious my beloved Chug died – and this is all just part of fucking life) – I have been exhausted to the marrow of my bones.

Then, I suffered a severe concussion.

I first thought maybe one of those stupid cardinal wings of Aunt Crazy Pants’s was under my head, keeping me out of further harm when my noggin hit the concrete. Looking back now, I’m wondering if everyone who is a cardinal in Heaven and loves me joined forces and pushed my ass down, knowing I needed to stop.the.madness that had become my life. I was circling the drain in a bad way and I needed my ass kicked to stop it.

Thanks for the shove from above. Let’s not do it again, mmmkay?

Thankfully because of my family and friends (virtual and in real life), the Sparkly Army, that – if you’re reading this, you’re a part of– I’m back at it again.

Albeit a tad slower.

Canes are cool, right?

Unless you are my parents, sister, family, friends, or co-workers. In their case it’s me, then you.

Happy to report I’m on the mend, hobbling around on a broken toe, which is like a glimpse into my nursing home future.

If ever I twirl down again, I hope I’m in more appropriate attire.

Twirl at your own risk.

CBXB

Going Mental

Sometimes we become experts in subject matter in which we never wished to be associated.

Sexual Assault Center of Nashville

For me, the aftermath of Rapegate is one that I will grapple with daily for the rest of my life.

Not necessarily in re-living the rape itself but the triggers, the daily reminders due to dealing with PTSD, chronic fatigue, severe stress, anxiety, nerves, handfuls of pills that I now take that have side effects of brain fog (which coupled with blonde brain is a triple shit show), dizziness (like I needed any more help being a fucking klutz), and weight gain (oh the welcomed happiness of gaining 40 lbs – mostly in my belly because of cortisol levels being out-of-whack) and therapy.

That is a perk of Rapegate that will surely have me in weekly sessions forever.

My Therapy Thursday saving grace.

There’s stigma in being a victim of rape – especially within victims themselves. The embarrassment, shame, feeling dirty, like somehow it’s your fault.

Did I deserve it? Why did I “allow” it to happen? It’s all my fault, right?

The questions from others. What were you wearing? Had you been drinking? Why didn’t you scream? And so on, don’t help even though they may come from well-meaning places. The questions above were all asked of me by the Nashville Sex Crimes Detective after my body was violated by a man’s dick. You know, what if a Kim Kardashian sized diamond ring (one can wish) had been stolen off of my finger? Would any of those questions suffice in an investigation? Hell no.

Take my coffee mug advice.

But then here we are. I am a walking, talking, rape stereotype. I wasn’t believed by those closest to the case. My detective said it was a he said/she said since the Shane the Rapist said it was consensual sex and his girlfriend of five weeks – my now ex-best friend, backed his play.

That’s a super neat feeling of betrayal beyond words.

In between being raped and the year and a half it took to close the case, where Shane the Rapist walks freely out and about, it would be insane not to think someone might go insane.

And, I have absolutely, 100% felt the self wrath, the aftermath, the internal tornado, the tsunami of emotions that surge whenever the fuck they feel like it and eruption of tears, hotly flowing down my face, onto my chin, into my shirt (accompanied with a river of snot and lemme tell ya, it’s a doozie of a look).

I’m known for being a beautiful bawler.

And killing boxes of tissues in one cryfest.

It’s improbable that someone can experience any kind of trauma or loss (death, divorce, career, disease, disorder, assault, etc) without consequence to them (I had the pleasure of experiencing all of the above examples in the two years since rape – so yeah, I’m a tad done with being overburdened by grief and loss).

The best face I can muster some days.

For me, this is where my once stable strength of fuck off confidence got lost in the swirl of circling the drain.

The emotional, mental, and physical tolls sometime feel beyond debilitating. Combine that with life – which most certainly goes on around you – and it can make the most mundane tasks like making your bed seem like winning an Olympic gold medal if you ever get around to completing the job.

I made my bed. Where’s my accolades?

And the usual worries of life are still abound while grappling with sometimes crippling days. Money worries. Hoping your car doesn’t crap out on your worries. Can my cell phone hang on for another year? Are my friends and family OK? Am I paying enough attention to them? Do they think I’m ignoring them? See how this shit can snowball?

Avalanche

Now more than ever, I feel it’s important to speak up if you can about what can sometimes seem like taboo subjects. I was raped. Think that’s fun topic to bring up to new people? “Oh hi, my name is Captain, I’ll have a Skinny Pirate please, I was raped, how are you?” Of course this doesn’t come up immediately but still, I talk about Rapegate, and if we’re gonna be friends, it’s gonna come out.

Did I scare you off?

Taboo also is this fucking stigma that comes along with mental illnesses. I have PTSD (among a myriad of other lovely conditions). When I was looking for a new job after Rapegate, I had to put down on applications whether or not I had PTSD. Now it’s considered a disability. So, OK it’s a disability. I’m dealing with it the best that I can but do I need to reveal that to a potential employer? Yes, I have had panic attacks silently at work in bathroom stalls and in my car but I’m still showing up and doing my job (although my panic attacks always end with me throwing up, so that’s fun to do out of my car window while attempting not to get vomit on my work attire).

Thankfully the situation of Louis acting as my vomit trashcan has not yet taken place.

And some days are dark. Like calm before storm, clouds rolling in, so quiet it may just drive you mad blackout dark. I think about the recent passing of celebrities Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, both of whom reportedly took their own lives within two days of one another. Both had loved ones, both were celebrated among their professional communities, both had achieved success in different fashions and both had children. So much to leave behind.

But can you even imagine the pain they must have been in to think that their only way out was to “unburden” those around them? That’s really scary to me. Because I often feel like a burden to my family and close friends. Over the past five years, I’ve experienced loss and grief and change beyond my imagination and while I am learning to cope in therapy, I still feel like I’m so needy. “Can I borrow $20 until payday (while swallowing pride for 1,976,000 time)? I can’t go out because I am on a spending freeze (you know those handfuls of pills and doctor follow-ups aren’t free. I’m beyond lucky to have health insurance with co-pays). I just had a panic attack, so I’m going to have to miss your birthday celebration. I am going to stay in because I can’t fathom the thought of getting out of bed.” Mostly, I keep these emotions to myself but I still feel like one motherfucker of a burden.

I. just. can’t.

It’s easy for people to say that suicide is selfish. I can see why one would say that but if you haven’t ever grappled with your own dark demons that sometimes you push deep down inside of you, or think they’re gone, only to have them pop up and taunt you over and over and over again – it’s not easy. I’ve never experienced substance abuse but I can easily see how that would have an even bigger impact on one’s state-of-mind. Mental issues are sometimes a lonely, isolating experience of despair.

How others see me.                                           How I feel inside.

My darkest times since Rapegate (and everything else that has occurred in between), have never eluded me to think about ending my life. However, have I been in a place where I wished my eyes wouldn’t open in the morning because it seemed easier than fighting the anguish of deep depression? Yep. Has my chest been so heavy that I thought my heart was going to burst out of it Indiana Jones style because it could bear no more loss or grief, physically hurting? Fuck yes. Do I hit my snooze button 3,719,003 times in the morning (even though I have been up for three hours already) because the thought of putting makeup on and gussying up for work and putting on a “happy” face seems like too much to bear. Damn skippy.

Hi there. I’m getting pretty fucking sick of these feelings popping up whenever they fucking feel like it. Byeee.

That all being said, it’s not uncommon for someone to have these types of thoughts once or more in their lifetime. Some people do shoot sunshine out of their assholes (fuck, until three years ago, I was one of them) but more often than not, it’s a combination of rain, sun, sleet and hail as we trudge through life. On top of all this, I’ve constantly seen the suicide hotline phone number everywhere. You know that is fucking great, but you know what’s hard? Reaching out when you need help. And let me say this – if you offer to help someone in any way and they reach out, for the love of God, do NOT shut them down. It’s already exceedingly hard to admit you need help.

So if you see someone, know someone, sense something’s off and can have a conversation or need advice, you, too can call this hotline for another person. I’ve done it.

You know what you can also do? Tend to them the best way you know how – if they are typically social, try to get them out of the house. If they aren’t up to it, stay in and binge watch some TV. Or go on a walk. Just don’t ignore them. Don’t give up on them. Don’t stop inviting them places because they always say no. Be persistant.

You can also help by researching options with the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. I have friends who would greatly benefit from therapy but haven’t been able to find the correct place. I’ve called this number before, searching for answers when someone was in need. In the research I have done around Nashville, there are places that offer sliding scaled payments for those who don’t have insurance, or whose insurance doesn’t cover mental health (so fucked up). However, like in many other situations, the persons who need the help must be willing to go for themselves, not for anyone else. So if they refuse or keep handing you excuses, just do your best to listen.

My mental journey in the aftermath of Rapegate has been eye-opening. I’m so self deprecating to the point of starring in my own version of Mean Girls in my head some days.

Regina George, get the fuck outta my head.

However, I luckily have a solid circle of support. A very large sparkly army that isn’t confined to face-to-face relationships. My circle has expanded as I’ve talked about my struggles. The support system I have now extends from Nashville, to Iowa, to California, to England, to Italy, to Australia…and more. The “checking on you” voicemails, direct messages through social media, “thinking of you texts” to words of encouragement in my comment section, random gifts showing up in my mailbox, snail mailed letters, a cashier’s check just because…Every word, every action, matters.

This is what you do for me.

Please remember that as you move forward with your days. Those struggling the most are sometimes people who you’d least expect. One smile can go miles – and it’s a universal language (as fucking cheesy as that sounds). A small compliment can turn a day around. An out of the blue “how are you” text can save a major cry session. Check on each other. Love on each other. Hug on each other.

Unless of course it’s the person who raped you, in which he’ll get a throat punch at the very least. See, I’m still a bad ass motherfucker when I wanna be.

Obviously.

Be fucking kind.

CBXB

CBXB!

 

Make Me Love Me

I have loved hot yoga for years – I always called it my natural Xanax because all I could concentrate on during class were the poses and postures – and nothing else (well, except for that pesky under arm fat/boob located in my armpit that won’t go away no matter what the fuck I do that I can’t stop staring at in the mirrors).

Sweat Now. Wine Later.

As the day of celebrating love is upon us, lightning struck a few days ago as I was in my very last pose of hot yoga class – savasana (for those non-yoga peeps, it’s when you lie on your back completely still and reap the benefits of your workout). The lights are dim, the instructor typically is silent as a song plays and you are relaxing/internalizing the ah-mah-zing shit you just did/thinking about the wine you’ll have after class (well, at least I am).

Worth the sweat.

Thing is, it took almost a solid two years to regularly get back on my beloved mat after Rapegate because I couldn’t be alone with my thoughts. I’ve recently been going at least three times a week since the new year and been proud of myself, getting back in my sweaty groove in a room heated to 100 degrees. However, the most fun thing about being triggered by trauma is you never know when the fuck it’s going to come out of the clear blue and smack you in the face. Or gut. Or heart. Or the motherfucking trifecta.

That night in savasana, as I settled in for my thoughts on snuggling with my pussies and Precious the chug while guzzling wine, Bonnie Raitt’s insane voice came quietly through the speakers singing “I Can’t Make You Love Me.”

All I wanted to think about…

While I have heard this song no less than 5,872,012 times, it punched me in the heart. HARD. And I started ugly crying as quietly as one can while trying to act like I was just seriously out of breath. THANK GAWD the lights were off, and we sweat our asses off, so no one could see tears rushing down my red-hot cheeks.

Why though? It’s a stupid fucking love song that is about pining for something you can’t have with another. Except in this case, it was me realizing I haven’t been able to make me love me since being raped. The lyrics hit me faster than I can down a Skinny Pirate. And my thoughts followed the words…

“Turn down the lights”

  • It won’t matter because I won’t sleep anyway

“Turn down the bed”

  • I didn’t have the energy to make it this morning (and I love a made bed)

“Turn down these voices inside my head”

  • “You didn’t scream.” “Did you finish?” “You should have said no.” The voices won’t go away

“Lay down with me”

  • I can’t get vulnerable with myself

“Tell me no lies”

  • If I don’t lie, there’s nothing good to tell

“Just hold me close, don’t patronize”

  • In the fetal position permanently

“Don’t patronize me”

  • I can’t stop condescending myself

“Cause I can’t make you love me if you don’t”

  • You’re broken. Damaged goods. Carry permanent baggage.

“You can’t make your heart feel something it won’t”

  • My heart is numb

“Here in the dark, in these final hours”

  • If only I could get hours of sleep

“I will lay down my heart and I’ll feel the power”

  • Self loathing is beyond power

“But you won’t, no you won’t”

  • I won’t, I don’t

“Cause I can’t make you love me, if you don’t”

  • You’re broken. Damaged goods. Permanent baggage.

This could get ugly.

Jesus tap dancing Christ. I was a puddle. Here I’d thought I’d come soooooooo far. But in reality, I’ve been having a seriously hard time liking, let alone loving myself over the last 746 days (I mean, washing my hair is still hard – and I love my hair. So I resort to wearing it in a bun on an almost daily basis).

Wake up. Put up. Repeat.

Until friends force me to wash it.

If you knew me pre-Rapegate, self-esteem, confidence and the ability to ignore negative background noise aimed at me from others was ingrained in my personality. Or my core. Or whatever the fuck you wanna call it. I sparkled. I pulsated to my own beat no matter who loved it or not. I gave no fucks. Loud and proud.

Hieeeee. It’s jazz handing me not giving a shit how much my loudness annoys you.

But that was ripped from me without my permission. And it hurt. It aches still. For the first time in my life, I’ve felt lost with myself (like, Tom Hanks from Cast Away, with a fucking volleyball as my companion lost).

No shit behind my mini manse this morning.

It stems from the actual rape itself but it also has to do with the betrayal, abandonment and neglect I was left holding when my best friend believed her boyfriend of five weeks over me when he said it was consensual sex (which as a reminder, he got up out of their bed and assaulted me on the couch as I was sleeping in the middle of the night).

Yeah…she can also SUCK IT.

Rationally, I know none of this bullshit is my fault. But hearing that song about making someone love you if they don’t…well, that’s been me. My super hero therapist, Sheila has been on point in telling me my self-talk is beyond harsh. I’m supposed to speak to myself the way I would to a friend or any loved one in my situation. However, I’m such a black and white person, my coping skills in the past with myself have been “wallow, get over it, it’s life, move on.” With trauma like this, accompanied by PTSD, severe stress and adjustment disorder, I’m not getting off the hook that easily.

For fuck’s sake.

When I am triggered, various emotions come barreling down the hatch like a tsunami. Sadness, anger, grief, loss swirl in my brain and body – and then, I fall down the rabbit hole. I hate The Rapist who walks free. I hate my ex-friend for not believing me and stating falsehoods in her on-the-record police interviews. I hate I never got to confront either of them. And then, I end up hating myself for “letting” this happen to me (beyond fucked up, I know).

Haters gonna hate. Oh and love special places in hell saved for those they hate.

So here we are at the, “I can’t make you love me if you don’t.”

Thing is, I can make me love me. I loved the fuck out of myself before this shit. And I have been working second after second, minute after minute, hour after hour, day after day, month after month and now – year after year to get my groove back on with my bad self.

January 29th marked my second Rapeversary and a sample of how I am reminded to make me love me?

Family –

Sister CBXB…

Mama CBXB…

And friends like you? Fuck you guys are my sparkly army shining bright. Reminders from you that I truly am making leaps and bounds. Prompts that no matter how exhausting, how minute, how trivial the day feels to me, I matter. And isn’t that what we all need to remember? We matter. We matter most to ourselves. And it’s so easy to forget that in daily life, regardless of whether you’re insanely happy every second of every day or in the throes of despair, desperately trying to figure out why the fuck to get out of bed.

If I can, you can.

Friends from afar have noticed and commented in photos I’ve posted –

Friends who have experienced similar trauma know when to give me a head’s up –

Shit like the above makes the quote below all the more believable…

Folks like you help me, help me…. you know, Jerry Maguire style. Help me, help you. And, hopefully I can help others beat stigmas they feel due to their own experiences.

On this day of love and pondering of when I will be 120% back in love with myself, it’s important to know that the struggles are real. We all have them. And I’m thankful to be reminded constantly by those around me near and far that I am loved. I matter. And so do you.

So, cheers to being the own goddamn loves of our lives.

Being our very own, every day Valentine.

Love, love, love from me to you. But mostly to me (see, there’s more of me back than I think).

Love ya, mean it.

CBXB

 

It’s All in the ‘Tude

Attitudes are the shit and I burst onto this planet with one in tow. I was born with the confident “I can do anything” stance somehow and my folks continued to nurture that temperament as I grew up. The only thing they cautioned me on was to not get married until I was at least 25 (they may be wishing they’d sung a different tune as I’m a candle lovin’ lady with four pussies, a chug and would now be considered an ‘old maid’ in a different era).  Before Rapegate, there was never an issue with me adjusting my attitude – being able to kick my own ass back into shape as needed.

Lately I’ve been exceedingly inundated with cheerful “I’m thankful for…” countdowns, “reasons for merriment,” and “I resolve to…” positive posts on social media. Going into the holiday season, I struggled to gear up for anything festive – and I hated my attitude. As some of us were excited to be knee deep in gravy for a solid two months, I was hoping this holiday season didn’t linger as long as my 21st birthday hangover.

I may or may not have drunk dialed my boyfriend’s mother at 3am. She answered.

Thing is, I never thought I would fall into latter category, as typically on America’s birthday, I’m salivating like Dracula does over a neck – thisclose to getting my Halloween décor out on the fifth of July. But mentally for the past two years, it’s been a monstrous war inside of my skull, emotions swinging back and forth more extremely than POTUS’s hourly tweets. Not just regarding holiday cheer but being cheery about life in general. Oh Rapegate, thank you for PTSD, adjustment disorder, severe stress, insomnia, panic attacks and all of the insecurities I gained at your reckoning.

Previous multi-seasonal head cheerleader.

In my experience, PTSD (can go fuck itself) is exhausting – not only mentally but physically as well. I’m constantly on edge, have nightmares, difficulty staying asleep, experience major loss of interest in activities I used to love the fuck out of and feel ultra-guilty about “letting” myself be raped (how fucked up is that feeling?). Accompanying these symptoms are feelings of alienation and self-inflicted detachment from friends, family and my old self. Problem is, I’m having trouble kicking my own attitude back into shape and I loathe being out of control of my emotions (so you can imagine how comfortable the last 23 months have been for me).

I think I’ll just stay in bed and wallow.

With mental issues, one can rationally know how lucky they are (or know what happened to them isn’t their fault)– no matter what bad shit has happened to them – or people they love. With this being the first holiday season without Aunt Crazy Pants and the fur ball love of my life, Ted, grief has also been a constant companion even though there are crazy fun memories of hilarity, hijinks, pee-your-pants fun to fall back on. The heaviness of grief crashes like tsunami waves, compounding the sense of loss I carry with me daily due to my personal trauma. I can almost feel my heart hardening at times.

Miss you something crazy.

Miss you something terrible.

Thing is, it super sucks because I missed my old holiday pukes all over the place self (and I mean all over – the mini manse, my office, fucking reindeer antlers on my car, Christmas underwear, socks, sweaters (that others might wear to an ugly sweater Christmas party I wear on the December regular), adorning Santa hats like they’re simply a part of my noggin, blasting holiday  music from my car like I’m Santa himself, watching fa-la-la-la-la Lifetime movies that are so full of cheesiness, I want to kick my own ass for loving them).

Christmas Gaudy Queen of yesteryears.

In therapy, I’m tits high into the thick of processing the act – the moment of my rape and my feelings (ew) – while also constantly reminded, triggered, (whatever you wish to call it), daily by the super cool humans who apparently never learned fucking body basics in kindergarten. Thursday afternoons I see my own personal super hero, Sheila, and as she guides me toward a semblance of my old self, sessions almost always leave me with an emotional hangover that can last days. The mental, emotional and physical fatigue I fight daily, barely leaves me any energy to gussy up for work, so the thought of getting in any kind of holiday spirit was simply draining.

I woke up like this. And just want to go to work like this.

But I’m at a point where I must ban myself from a weekend full of bed lingering when I’m not trying to be social (stepping out of my mini manse and Dalts bubble little by little). I forced myself to get Halloween decorations out to the max because I hadn’t for two years. The fucking nerve of me.

There’s a glimpse of my old holiday mistress.

So, too, it is time to get in the motherfucking thankful, celebrate everything, CBXB spirit again YEAR-ROUND. Period.

When Dada CBXB and I were watching the Iowa Hawkeyes win their first bowl game in four years (yeehaw!) and he suggested I keep my Christmas tree up a little longer because it looked so pretty. (Side note – my buddy Camo insisted that I put my worldly pink, sparkly possession up and almost forced the ornaments on the fucking thing himself – and I’m glad he did).

Once the goddamn thing was up, I couldn’t help but be excited about turning the lights on when I got home from work. I also raced home every evening to see if anyone from my pussy posse knocked the pink tinseled delight over (remained in tact all season) being that this was their first experience with an actual Christmas tree. Turns out, they just like to sit underneath it and stare up at the lights, much like their mother.

Hello Gorgeous.

Speaking of moms, mine suggested that if I still had mine up, I should decorate it with Valentine’s attire. And just like that – I had an Oprah AHA! moment.

If I kept my tree up all year round would that make me:

  • a) Festive
    b) Red neck
    c) White trash
    d) Crazy as fuck
    e)All the above

Guess what my answer is?

  • f) I don’t give a fuck

So, there you have it. I’m keeping my tree up all 2018 in celebration of celebrating.

Getting my ass back into the habit of loving everything about any little out-of-the ordinary thing of the day/week/month/year. If you visit the mini manse, best bring me something to hang on the pink tinsel (yes, mini bottles of Captain Morgan count).

I have a sparkly army – and if you’re reading, you’re a part of it – who has done nothing but encourage me every step of the goddamn way. Via comments. Messages. Snail mail. Phone calls.

Just minor digit change from last year.

I rang in the new year with reminders that I’m facing nothing alone sent to me from all over the world – here’s a sample of my faves:

I even wore armour sent by HJ and CC by way of Denver, CO (and no I wasn’t tipped and yes I was pissed no one tried all night).

Onward Buttercup There’s Fuckery to Spread

Attitude for gratitude, my friends. I have nothing but it for you.

Join me in being fierce as fuck in 2018.

Cheers.

The Little Things…

Being an Iowa Hawkeye football fan leaves most folks with a sense of pride (I mean, hello, ever catch my blog during football season?) even if their season is sometimes less than stellar.

We’re #1! Even if it’s just in our hearts.

Iowa is not only known for its corn, it’s truly dubbed the Hawkeye State. I grew up singing a song that included the line, “where the corn grows tall and the kids grow great. I’m glad I live in the Hawkeye State!”

If any strings are attached in being associated with this university, they’re welcomed. Now that I live in Nashville (or if you live anywhere outside of the Corn State) when I tell people Iowa is my original home, I’m received with “Oh the Buckeyes!” or “The Potato State!” and living in the South, some peeps think I say Ireland when I say Iowa (no fucking clue how they hear that, as all Iowa schools taught phonics but whatever).

Raygun t-shirts always on point.

My point is the University of Iowa may be little known by others but man, the people there are some of the fucking greatest. And it’s not because they’re mostly from Iowa (although I swear to god that the state produces the nicest, most modest (aside from me of course), hard working, earnest, salt of the earth people ever).

I was surprised yesterday by an act of kindness that almost (I said ALMOST) made me ugly cry in a happy way (which pretty much means hell would have frozen over because the first and only time I happy cried was five years ago after finding out the twins had arrived).

Happy cry, sad cry, neither is pretty.

I have a Hawkeye football poster I get every year from the Iowa State Fair (one of the greatest events on the planet) hanging in my workspace, along with a few other pieces of Hawkeye memorabilia.

Pride and joy.

Letting the love show.

Even cups get the Hawkeye treatment.

I’m sure my co-workers are all “OK. OK. We fucking get it.”

The poster has been a great conversation starter and almost any college football fan stops to comment upon seeing it. One vendor stopped and asked if I knew of CJ Beathard (quarterback) and George Kittle (tight end), both who played at the University of Iowa and both of whom were drafted in 2017 by the San Francisco 49ers. Almost responding with a “fucking duh!” I was excited this dude knew past Hawk players. So we chit chatted about how Beathard and Kittle were the shit and then the gentleman slid in that his son also was drafted in 2017 by the 49ers. His son roomed with Kittle and is tight with both former Hawkeye players.

I couldn’t wait to text my dad and tell him the scoop.

You know, because he’s a little bit of a fan, too.

I looked up Trent Taylor, who is a wide receiver (from the Nashville area!) for the 49ers and my new buddy’s son. Every time Dad Taylor came to our office, he’d stop to talk football shop and I enjoyed hearing a little inside scoop. Well, yesterday was just a dreary winter day and I got a phone call from Dad Taylor asking if I was in the office and then he instructed me to meet him in the lobby in 15 minutes.

Still having trouble with a regular fucking phone and a headset. But I’m here.

Assuming he had something for my boss, I moseyed up to the front and waited his arrival. Dad Taylor had a FedEx envelope in his hand and as I went to grab it (ever the classy gal that I am), he put his hand up. “I have something for you and I want to see your expression when you open it.” What? What?!

Then he slid out a photo from the envelope. And I immediately saw football players. And I immediately tried to not be too excited who those football players might be on that fucking photograph.

It was an autographed photo signed to me with the inscription, “Go Niners! Go Hawkeyes!” along with signatures from Trent Taylor, CJ Beathard and George Kittle. FUCK ME IN THE GOAT ASS.

Be cool! be cool! be cool! be cool! becool!becool!becool!becool! BE!FUCKING!COOL! I kept thinking in my head while my mouth was wide open (so it was basically to the floor) and at the same time I thought don’t cuss, don’t cuss, don’t fucking cuss. Because all I wanted to do was throw my arms around Dad Taylor and scream holy fucking shit! This just made my year!

I haven’t smiled this hard since 2015.

I realize that it’s just a picture. But the idea that someone who doesn’t know me well, just wanted to do something nice for the sake of being fucking nice. Trent Taylor’s dad reached out to him and Trent took the time to not only sign the photo himself but get Beathard and Kittle to do so as well. Standing there trying not to shriek my brains out, with moist eyes, all I could utter was “I can’t say anything right now or I might cry and I’m never a lady with nothing to say!”

Dad Taylor did what most dads would do and gave me a great big hug and said, “I’m so thrilled you’re thrilled.” I basically skipped my way around the office the rest of the day showing anyone who would look and listen (and gave no shits) my photo and back story.

I ran around searching for the perfect frame and naturally got something ultra studly to home the picture. A matted, mirrored frame. That sits proudly underneath my Iowa Hawkeye poster.

A very subtle, footbally frame.

I slept with a grin on my face that night. I know I woke up with one in the morning. And I haven’t smiled so hard since 2015 – that’s no lie. What I’m getting at is you know that saying – you never know what battles others are facing (or something along that fucking line)? These peeps don’t know any struggle I’ve endured over the last three years. All they know is that I’m a huge Hawkeye fan (and now the Niners #1 fan) and did something nice because they fucking wanted to. And now I have a treasured story and possession to remember the feeling of specialness because of strangers’ kindness.

Aside from making my fucking day, week and month, this act basically made my year. Which is a fabulous sign because it’s still only early January. Whoop!

Once a Hawkeye, always a Hawkeye.

Now go start someone’s year off on the right foot by being nice.

Go Niners!

GO HAWKEYES!

CBXB

Black Out

“What I know for sure, is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.” – Oprah Motherfucking Winfrey

Awards season is just starting and you can bet your ass I’m parked on my leopard couch joined by four pussies and a chug. Wine is at the ready and I watch the pre-pre-pre red carpet because you know, I’m fucking cool like that. I was a little torn on watching my typical go-to network E! because one of their longtime female anchors, Catt Sadler recently left over gender pay discrimination. But as soon as I flipped to the channel, actress Debra Messing was chastising the network on the actual network while being interviewed. She fucking rocked it.

Cheers to you and the mic drop Debra Messing.

I was all dolled up in my best black lounge wear because a movement started a few weeks ago. It’s a fund offering financial support and advice to victims of sexual harassment, discrimination and abuse who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it after coming forward.

To date, they’ve raised over $16 million from donations made all over the world. Experiencing sexual harassment in the workplace first hand and being a survivor of rape, I’m all in on shit like this. Coming forward and speaking up is one of, if not the hardest decision victims deal with during the initial stages of shock, let alone trying to figure out if you can miss work, arrange childcare for legal appointments, therapy sessions, phone calls following up with detectives, etc…

The stars attending the Golden Globes wore black in support of this movement, Time’s Up.

While watching the red carpet, stars were asked why they were wearing black, not what designer they were wearing. As I sat listening to the heartfelt and moving answers, I started getting emotional (ew, feelings). This was a different sort of emotion that I typically associate and feel due to Rapegate. I realized I was feeling recognized – as silly as that sounds. In my experience of being raped, I still carry shame, guilt and a feeling of dirtiness every second of every day. I know that every other survivor I’ve spoken to has felt the same way at some point.

I found myself bawling watching the red carpet and I’m the world’s ugliest crier.

You guys. For real.

The first time in almost two years, I was feeling proud of myself. For sharing my story and hopefully helping other people. And for whatever reason, stars who have a global platform giving fucks about people like me really hit home.

Then when the show started, jokes were made and the mood was just as fun as a typical Golden Globes show (I particularly love when an actor wins and is kinda shitfaced when giving a speech because this is the only awards ceremony with an open bar). Seth Meyers opened the show with “good evening ladies and remaining gentlemen.” I loved it.

Cut to the first commercial break and an ad for the New York Times makes me want to go and get a goddamn subscription right now. Please check out my bootlegged version below:

Thing is, ever since the Women’s March last January, the #MeToo movement and now with Time’s Up, survivors like myself have a community. Support. Whether one has chosen to speak out, reported their incident or kept completely silent. And everything just seemed to come to fruition last night.

I’ve recently been told not to make rape “my cause” or that I am “dwelling” on it by being in therapy. I even had one of the closest people in my life tell me they couldn’t stand being around me because of all of my negative “rape” talk (side note: don’t ask me how my fucking day is if you don’t want the fucking answer). This makes me question myself. And, writing and talking about being raped as well as sexually harassed in a work environment have been my greatest allies because I feel like I can help others.

It’s sad that we live in a world where women have to ask for equality, respect and meaningful change no matter their socioeconomic status. Lack of opportunity, sexual violence, overall poor treatment because of difference in skin tone, sexual preference or gender is inexcusable. Period. Movements and organizations like Time’s Up allows survivors to know that they are not alone – never, ever alone – and personally speaking, being raped and the aftermath of it, made isolation my worst best friend.

I’m only seeing wine and my fur babies right now, thanks.

Trying to keep my stirring emotions in check, Oprah Winfrey took the stage receiving the Cecil B. DeMille Award and holy fuck friends. It was the pep talks of all pep talks for the world right now.

It felt like she was in my living room (which, actually she was kinda) talking to me directly. I was in a fucking puddle. She not only touched on victims of sexual assault and abuse, she spoke to racism, free press, truth-telling and generally what it takes to make it through tragedy – hope.

“I’m especially proud and inspired by all of the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories….I want to express gratitude for women who have endured abuse and assault because they, like my mother had children to feed and bills to pay and dreams to pursue. They’re the women whose names we’ll never know. We’ve lived too long in a culture of brutally powerful men. For too long women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men. But their time is up.”

“A new day is on the horizon. And when that new day finally dawns it will be because of a lot of magnificent women and some pretty phenomenal men fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when NOBODY ever has to say me too again.”

FUCKING PREACH WOMAN.

I mean seriously. Can I get an amen?

Watching the Golden Globes and having Oprah Winfrey give the world a rally cry reminded me of why I’m fighting my fight. Why I won’t stay silent. Why I will hold my inept detective and the Nashville Sex Crimes department accountable. Why I refuse to let anyone else feel like a walking stereotypical rape victim, as I do. Why I remain with my personal super hero therapist, Sheila. Why I don’t give any kind of fucks how uncomfortable conversations can be when I talk about my truth. Because it’s mine.

I want my Iowa twins to grow up in a world where nothing holds them back because of the color of their skin or their gender.

You break these hearts, you die.

This movement, uprising – whatever you wanna call it – is giving a voice to those who feel muted, ignored, unimportant, disregarded, not believed. And I can’t wait to join in.

Time’s up motherfuckers.

CBXB