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!

 

Lucky Charm

Cinderella once sang “you don’t know what you got till it’s gone.”

I’m talking about the hair metal 80s band, not the princess of course.

I think we all can relate to the sentiment in one way or another. However, when it comes to peeps in my life that I love, you’re either in or out. One quality that I gratefully possess is I am never regretful of time spent with folks that I hold in my heart, nor do I take time with them for granted. That’s why for me, when you love the fuck out of someone and they no longer roam the earth, it can be a heart yanking time when their milestones still appear annually.

Aunt Crazy Pants celebrated her first birthday above on February 23, and in honor of this occasion, Mama CBXB came to Nashville and we par-tayed the only we way our family ever does. Trashtacularly.

On ACP’s actual day of birth, we took her to get her cocktail of choice, gin rickeys, at my fave local watering hole, Dalts.

A hungover day later, we went to get permanent tributes of the lady whose favorite color was green, loved shamrocks and owned one of the most unique signatures ever, which is what we were going to have tattooed on our wrists. I gussied up in my green heels I fashioned at the celebration of ACP’s life, perfected my mani to match and we were ready to go.

Naked and afraid.

While mother/daughter bonding over tattoos may seem odd to you, it’s sort of a family tradition in my clan (which should shock no one hence Jell-O shots with Gma at Christmas and Iowa Hawkeye moonshine touchdown shots are also custom family practices, well shared on this blog).

In summers of yesteryear, our families would spend Fourth of Julys at the Lake of the Ozarks. Which entailed not only in boating and booze but often tattoos and belly button piercings. Yes, yes, you read that right. I even think we made each new girlfriend of our dude cousins get belly button rings on their first Fourth with us. (A dream come true family that acts like a fraternity right here folks).

I was with ACP when she got her first ink from none other than the not even close to being world famous Tattoo Ted in the Ozarks.

We may have had one or eight drinks with sun poisoning but what did it matter?

With our history of classiness, we brought ACP along with us in spirit as Mama CBXB and I rolled into the Rebel Yell Tattoo and Social Club that came highly recommended.

When we traipsed through the doors, I’m fairly certain all four folks in the shop on a bright and sunny Saturday afternoon were well aware that this wasn’t a past time in which we often partook. Especially when I wondered aloud with Justin, our extremely patient artist, how a tattoo on my wrist would look when I do jazz hands. Because I use them a lot. Like, we seriously had a five-minute conversation about it, he put a stencil on my wrist with ACP’s name facing me and let me look in a mirror before I decided how I wanted the fucking three-inch artwork done.

I mean you guys. Obvies we use them.

All.the.time.

Maybe our novice was a dead giveaway when I asked my mom 400 times in the seven minutes it took Justin to tattoo her wrist if she was going to cry when it was over (she did – Tearfest 2018).

My defense mechanism against physical pain is apparently laughing because it’s all I did the entire time my four-minute ink was being perfected. Justin kept stopping to ask if I was OK and all I could do was giggle in the most unquiet way possible.

All in all, mission accomplished.

Shortest time frame yet most annoying tattoo subject ever to grace Rebel Yell.

Getting any type of tattoo makes one a bad ass motherfucker, right?

I mean, look at my recovery plastic.

So what did these bad ass mother fuckers do? Celebrated with cocktails of course!

And it just so happened that two of ACP’s grandgirls came through Nashville that night, so we all cheersed our hearts out to the lady we love and miss.

Bittersweet without sharing the experience with ACP, there’s something ultra comforting to know she’s right here on my wrist. There have been some dark days for me recently, and I’ve found myself flipping my wrist over, admiring her signature, reminiscing on conversations, knowledge, 1,573,982,400 laughs and love we shared over her lifetime.

What I come to think of most is right after Rapegate, ACP was one of the first phone calls I received as the news made its way through my family. Her first words were, “you’re already one helluva strong lady – but you’ll be the strongest woman you know now.” The same words rang true when we found out she had terminal cancer six months later – and I repeated her words of wisdom back to her.

While cancer can go fuck itself, I’m comforted by the fact that I knew what I had with ACP before she was gone. Which is why her absence is ever present, more so now that I’m a bad ass mother fucker with a fancy signature on my wrist.

Know what you’ve got before it’s gone.

Now who wants to go get tattoo sleeves with me?

It could be the experience of your lifetime.

CBXB

Weekend Winks – Rapegate, Pool Parties and Fang Fingers

You guys really know how to help a gal when she’s down and out! The overflowing abundance of support from my Rapegate post restored any questionable faith in humanity I may have had prior to posting. Not only was writing about the trauma cathartic for me, as now the matter is out in the open and I can talk about it, but also I didn’t expect the feelings of relief – conflicted with a little bit of fear when I hit the ‘publish’ button on the post.

What’s a gal who likes to celebrate do with mixed emotions and feelings of waves as large of a tsunami? She cracks open a bottle of champs given to her by gal pal Saving Grace (I was saving it for a momentous occasion – and this felt like one) while bawling and laughing at the same time. Yes, I’m still a hot mess.

Cheers to the release of yesteryear! Oh, and of course, FUCK 2016.

The outpouring of your support – my army that each and every one of you reading right now is a part of – lifted me up so high, so fast I just can’t thank you enough for the kind words, comments, messages, cards, letters, sharing of your own traumas, calls, texts and visits. While I might be Captain Sparkly Pants, you all have been nothing short of soldiers supporting one of their own. For that, I thank the fuck out of you.

Every single portion of Rapegate has been riddled with road bumps. So it’s onward and upward as I move forward, navigating unknown terrain even to my Sex Crimes Detective. We’ll get that worked out, I’m sure.

The wrong woman was fucked. Literally and figuratively.

Warm fuzzies are creeping back into the cracks of my emotions. My heart swelled a little when my phone reminded me over the weekend of cherished moments my sister and Gma shared on the last days of our grandma’s life. Of course, I had a picture of my stank-eyed pussy Ted, too, from that day.

Three of my favorite peeps still today.

When I texted the photos to my sister, we talked about how fast it’s gone – feeling like maybe it should be the first year.

It’s true. In two years, our extended family has gone through two divorces, a birth (yay!), rape (that’d be mine), cancer (that’d be Aunt Crazy Pants), a cross-country move for a cousin….just to name a few.

While reminiscing over the last two years, Facebook had an amusing memory from five years ago of Dada CBXB and I having a patio party, after we’d done some planting (in pots, to which didn’t make of course).

Funny, we already had plans to ‘decorate’ my mini manse loggia (fancy word I learned from a previous, rich employer that means back porch as I kept saying back porch and she kept correcting me that it was a loggia). So we hit up the flower hot spot for ferns, all pink flowers and some sort of palm thing that is going to go great with my pink flamingo (of course a gal like me has plant accessories before the actual plant).

Green thumbs galore.

Because that thirty minutes was so exhausting, we spent the rest of the day playing at the pool.

Fun fun in the sun.

My favorite pussy also likes to relax in the rays but I just can’t help myself and have to take a picture. This is always the glare I get when I get caught mid snap.

Resting bitchy face with a case of the side eye.

Wanna know what those two Iowa twins are up to? Well, first off they have graduated from pre-school.

Get out the caps and gowns.

Naturally, this meant celebrating was in order and they didn’t hate one minute of it.

Starting with snow cones.

Celebration splash pad style.

Their parents even took them to see where it all began. At the bar in Iowa City, where my sister approached her future husband at the very booth below for a cigarette (obviously the trashtacular classiness runs in the family). He didn’t smoke (neither did she) but it all worked out and here we are today…

Taking it back to where all of the magic began.

Being that they’d visited a festival, Princess B had to get her face painted – and clearly thought it was poorly done as you can see from the photo below.

Hello gorgeous.

Graduating from pre-school also calls for dessert.

Sweets for the sweets.

Dessert that was good to the last drop.

Yep. Definitely takes after her aunt CBXB.

Something else seeping back in through the cracks of this gal is nail painting and t-shirt bedazzling. Nashville’s NHL team, the Nashville Predators have made it to the Stanley Cup finals (for those of you who don’t know hockey – it’s like the Superbowl. For those of you who don’t know what that is, just look at the nails and sparkly shirt below) for the first time ever in our franchise’s history. I joined in on the fanfare with Predator colored nails and blinged up a shirt to boot.

Fang Fingers is what the crowd does here in Nashville when the opposing team has to go to the penalty box. They play the music from the shower scene in Psycho and fans seriously stand there and move two fingers from both hands in a clawing motion. We may look like ass clowns but we don’t care. Also, I was so pumped to get this shirt because aside from getting to see our mascot Gnash come down from the ceiling before every game, I can’t ever wait to do Fang Fingers.

All out sparkle for my fave Cinderella NHL team.

The Predators were on no one’s radar and have had the heart, fight and spirit of Nashville behind them. For real, the entire city could not be more proud. This is a photo of the main artery in Nashville on game day. It stemmed from the stadium with an overflow of people who couldn’t get in to the game (due to the insane ticket prices) down ten blocks to the river. Not to mention the packed bars and restaurants.

Game day in Smashville.

While the Preds are behind in the series 2-1, you can help cheer them on with me at 7pm CST on NBCSN.  They whooped some ass on Saturday with final score being 5-1. Badasses.

Speaking of badass, here’s how I pumped up my mental state closing out the weekend.

The inner badass is coming back…

You guys are my badasses. My army of badasses. I love each and every one of you.

Hooah!

CBXB

CBXB!

Say Hello to My Little Friend

Stop. Or I’ll shoot (in your general direction).

It’s possible that I may not hit you. The bullet might nick your ear or rustle the hair on the side of your head and that’s OK…I just really want to scare the living shit out of you (well not you, actually).

My real live stuffed animal Ted and were living happily together in our old mini manse.  So when someone started messing around with my surroundings I wasn’t so much scared as I was territorial. And extremely pissed off.

Little mysterious happenstances occurred…it wasn’t that someone was harassing me outright but just enough to make me take notice (inside window locks broken, as if someone was trying to jimmy them open), enough to let me know they were around (a pile of cigarette butts by my car door in the morning that weren’t there the night before – and I’m not a smoker) enough to piss me off (smashed Halloween pumpkins on my sidewalk – and I lived around the rear of the building, so I knew someone was intentionally F’ing with me), enough to get some sort of security…enough to get my ass a gun.

Pink Patrol

OK, so maybe my .38 special revolver is a teeny tiny bit smaller than the ‘friend’ Al Pacino used in “Scarface.”

Upon acquiring a loaded firearm, I was feeling much more secure. So while I felt at ease, I had never shot a gun. Not even a bb gun (I couldn’t even make cool gun sounds – a capability all boys seem to be born with – when I was a kid).  And I thought maybe it would be a good idea to know how to handle the gun so as not to accidentally point and shoot at shadows, possibly hitting myself in my foot (which would be tragic, as I love my heels).

Sharing my need to obtain skills, my buddy found a ‘ladies shoot free’ day at a gun range near work.  So over lunch (only in the South would you be able to shoot guns over your lunch hour…how red neck of me…but let’s not forget I’m already fabulously trashy (see anything in my Grizzie category) therefore, I don’t give a rat’s ass what you think) we headed to the fancy gun range.

We arrived to a grimy, dingy, seedy (get the picture?) building, complete with bars on the windows.  After signing in, we received our ear (which look just like fancy headphones but sucked because they were communal. Yuck) and eye (snazzy yellow-tinted glasses) protection and headed downstairs.

CBXB Badass

Prior to actually shooting a gun, I was feeling very bad ass. Like a big, dorky, bad ass with kick ass accessories.

Image 16

Did you get that last shot? Do I look cool? Seriously, tell me.

The first few times I pulled the trigger I was startled not only due to the loudness of a shot but also due to the ricocheting casings that flew off the ceiling, coming back to bite me on the head (insert screams – as at first I thought they were bullets – how blonde of me).

Image 21

Focused on trying to hit the target…anywhere.

My trigger finger is apparently the weakest link on my body (why the hell does this look so easy on TV shows?) because I was having to use two digits after about five shots (insert my excuses as to why my bullets were hitting the floor and ceiling instead of the target).

Did I really hit it? Or is that just a black spec?

Image 23

Hells yes I hit it! And then almost shot my gunpanion in all of my excitement.

While taking a break from my cockiness of less than mediocre shooting ability, (and resting my throbbing hand and aching finger) I was able to pose for one more threatening picture –

What badass can't stop giggling?

Stop! Or I’ll shoot…if I don’t giggle you to death first (way too much red neck fun at the gun range…maybe I do have a little Southern blood in my veins).

And now for the grand tamale (I know, I know, how can I possibly top a lunch break at the gun range?)… I decided to display my moderate (but in my mind kick ass) abilities and scare the bejesus out of anyone lurking around my mini manse.

A poor gal’s security system. Scared, aren’t you?

Who wouldn’t be terrified upon seeing a target with actual bullet holes hanging on a front door (no one has to know I took aim 12,346 times to achieve the 22 bullet holes actually making contact with the paper). But upon hanging my security guard on the door, no mysterious incidents occurred again…maybe they’re scared of a red neckish, unabashedly trashy girl with a gun.

And when I hit the gun range again, I will be wearing my ultra fabulous, non-communal pink ear and eye protectors courtesy of my First Mate’s hubs. He thought I needed the fancy giddup to match the pink grips he gave me for Christmas. I wish he knew me better…

Gunslingers

Wouldn’t you be scared shitless of a girl giggling uncontrollably with pink eye and ear protectors, along with a pink gripped .38 special?

Go ahead, make my day.

CBXB

CBXB!