A Forever Face of Rape

I was raped three years ago today.

36 months.

156 weeks.

1,096 days.

1,576,800 minutes.

94,608,000 seconds.

I used to be an unfuckwithable badass. Then, I was brought to my proverbial knees.

Please consider this a trigger warning, as well as an uncomfortable but important story I will forever continue to share.

Mine.

During the wee hours of January 29, 2016 in an affluent neighborhood of Nashville, I woke up to my best friend’s boyfriend of five weeks raping me while I slept on her couch. Sleeping on this bestie’s sofa is something I’d done 4,209 times without a second thought before. I’d arrived around 9pm in mismatched pajamas, distraught with eyes so puffy from bawling over a friend’s death a few days prior that I looked as if I’d been fighting Rocky Balboa. I went to her for company, solace and what friends do best for each other – support.

Why can’t my lips get puffy when I cry instead of my eye lids?! WHY?

Her young son was asleep, her large, lovable pit bull mix jumped on my lap and her boyfriend of 35 days poured us generous glasses of wine while we watched Pretty in Pink. After more tears, lots of laughs and three glasses of vino later, I watched the two of them go to her bedroom, as I snuggled in after taking a sleeping pill, putting my glasses across the room on the coffee table, along with my phone.

A few hours later, in darkness so deep it rivaled a haunted house, I groggily awoke on my back to something very heavy on my chest, with my arms down by my sides, my pajama pants at my knees. There was hot breath and a human head in the right crease of my neck. There was an unwanted, unwelcomed and disgusting rape taking place. The rape of me.

Upon gaining my bearings and piecing together what the hell was happening to me, I silently freaked out, put my hands up on his chest and hissed, “what the fuck are you doing?” Without uttering one word, he retreated from my body, stood up and walked back into the bedroom where his girlfriend was sleeping. Through the fucking door that had been wide open the entire time – if my friend had woken up, she would have seen the rape occurring, due to the closeness of her quarters.

Scared shitless at what could happen during a confrontation with a man I barely knew, my first thought was of the sleeping four-year old in the next room. I was frozen. I didn’t know if Shane the Rapist was awake, passed out or going to come back out to finish what he started…or worse. My glasses and phone were across the room. I barely was able to muster the courage to pull my pajama pants up for fear of making noise. I remained a statue on that couch for at least two hours – until the sun came up.

Looking back as I hustled out of that apartment, I now know that I was in shock. Deep shock. And, I didn’t know what the fuck to do. Did that really just happen? What do I do? Did that just really happen? Where do I go? Did that just really happen? Who should I call? Did that really just happen? I was desperate to tell my girlfriend but wanted to do it while she was away from her boyfriend out of fear of what he may do to her.

When she was at work a few hours later, I called and told her to sit down as I had something life changing to tell her that would have a great impact on the both of us. Then I went on to say that I awoke in the night with her boyfriend of five weeks, having sex with me. Her initial response was, “did you finish?” Did we finish?

HOLY FUCK.

She immediately went home to him and called me back saying that she believed him when he told her it was consensual.

This was my first encounter with victim blaming. From my best friend.

My second encounter with victim blaming came from Shane the Rapist himself via a text to me after that phone call.

WISH I WOULD HAVE TOLD HIM NO?

I WAS FUCKING DEAD ASLEEP.

After taking a sleeping pill with three glasses of wine and being unbearably sad the entire day with endless tears coming from my eye holes, I was out cold. He had sex with what was basically a corpse instead of turning to his girlfriend he was next to in bed and tapping her on the shoulder for a piece of ass. He got up out of the bed and came to the couch. He knew exactly what he was doing. Oh and a side note, as soon as I was conscious enough I did say no. I said fuck no as I pushed him off.

My third encounter of victim blaming came from, once again, someone I held close to my heart. I couldn’t believe my best friend’s stance.

I ruined her life because her boyfriend raped me.

To read about the rest of the day Rapegate began, please click here.

Shattered.

My life was shattered in a matter of mere minutes.

My joy was robbed without my consent in seconds.

My trust in almost everyone gone in a few fleeting moments.

A rape counselor at the hospital said, “there is going to be a before rape in your life and an after rape in your life.”

And she sure the fuck was right.

A lot of my post Rapegate life.

As the days, weeks, and life in general went on around me, I couldn’t help but feel like I was responsible for “letting” myself be raped (how fucked up is that?). I was ashamed, embarrassed, disappointed and disgusted with myself. Insecurities formed I’d never experienced along with adjustment disorder, PTSD, chronic fatigue and severe stress.

In an instant, Shane the Rapist turned me into a girl who could no longer withstand being in my own mind.

He stole my stone cold solid pride. My life long unwavering sense of confidence. My will. All in one act.

The weight of profound grief is and can be all consuming. I was a stranger to myself and struggled to fight the will to get up out of the bed on a daily basis. I never wanted to die per se but you bet your motherfucking ass I wished my eyes wouldn’t open most mornings because the pain seared into my soul was unlike anything I have ever experienced. I didn’t really care about much of what I once did – a clean Mini Manse, washed hair, painted nails, working out, decorating for holidays, celebrating anything, taking a shower and so fucking on. Thousands of hours of sleepless nights. Panic attacks out of nowhere. And luckily and not so luckily, I was unemployed and looking for a job when Rapegate began.

What my laundry pile has looked like the last three years.

My sink has resembled that of a restaurant for years.

The most mundane tasks feel like climbing Mt. Everest.

Trauma happens in various of forms in this life, as we are all too aware. Loved ones die but it’s inevitable that we all have expiration dates. People desperate to be parents sometimes cannot conceive. Illnesses and disease that have no cures plague us. Auto accidents occur resulting in life altering injuries and changes. Children are molested. The endless cycle of domestic violence. Life is cruel. Trauma is brutal.

I’ve been in therapy for most of the last three years. It is hard as fuck. It is hard as FUCK. It is hard as FUCK. If you find yourself in a state after any kind of trauma where you can feel comfortable reaching out to anyone that you can trust, it will be for your benefit. I promise.

This program saved my life.

I started therapy with my Rapegate hero, Sheila every Thursday afternoon. We began with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and then later, EMDR. I’ve done countless hours of reflecting and homework and revising my thinking that I wanted to give the fuck up and just pretend Rapegate never happened. But for me, that was not an option. Once I started, I had to keep trudging ahead because trauma isn’t truly stored in your brain. It’s stored in your body. It’s why I’m unconsciously bouncing my knee to the ceiling right now. It’s why I stuttered for a solid 15 seconds until my boss finally finished my sentence yesterday. It’s why I have been inexplicably tearing up every few hours the last week.

One thing for people to understand whether or not you or someone you love has been raped, recovery will be a long struggle. Being a survivor isn’t something you do once. Being a survivor is waking up every day and doing your best to carry on. It’s a journey, not a destination. I mean fuck, I’m sitting here awake three years to the day later because my body won’t let me sleep on my Rapeversary at 4:00 am. The body remembers. The body stores trauma.

I was raped before the #MeToo movement began and when I first shared my story, I could not believe the droves of people who reached out to say they, too, had been victims. And not just women. Some I’d never met in person, only virtually but they felt comfortable enough to reveal their truth and I was honored to listen. Speaking your truth is an unbelievable weight lifted. Speaking your truth also makes it very real and that is scary as fuck.

Then you live with triggers that fellow survivors and I deal with on now, a daily basis. I can’t know and don’t know when it will hit. Not sure if being woken up in a startling manner will make me punch someone in the face. Not sure if a news story will make ice run through my veins. Not sure how provoked of a poked bear I will become over injustices occurring on a daily basis in our judicial system. Not sure if my ears will start bleeding when I hear a person defending a sexual assaulter. Because believe you me, they do it once, they do it again. And why wouldn’t they if society doesn’t think the punishment should fit the fucking crime?

Six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster because the judge didn’t want to ruin his life. Fuck the victim.

Four counts of sex assault? No prison time? Eh, fuck the victim.

But then again, America also voted a self-described pussy grabber into the White House and that’s just the fucking norm these days. AND. IT. SHOULDN’T. BE. If you think that’s OK, you are part of the gigantic problem of rape culture that this country has, so fucking stop it. Your children are watching.

And yet, we question over and over and over and over why victims don’t come forward at the time of their sexual assaults.

I. FUCKING. DARE. YOU.

The thing is, it takes a fucking village to overcome any type of trauma – and my village is as strong as an army. In instances such as the one I survived, it’s an experience I can hopefully convey to others and create awareness. Over 70% of all rapes occur between acquaintances (it’s an even higher percentage if you add in rape by family members). I never once thought I was putting myself in danger by going to my ex-best friend’s house to grieve a loss of life, only to start the unraveling of my own grief of life as I once knew it.

Instead of gaining comfort by reporting, I became a statistic that is all too familiar. My treatment as a rape victim by the Metro Nashville Sex Crimes division is and was no less than abhorrent. I was re-victimized by the very people supposed to help, support and guide me. Hundreds of hours were spent by yours truly following up with my detective and some of her peers, chasing information and answers that should have simply been provided. It exhausted me to my core. My rapist walks free because it was a “classic” scenario as my detective brought to my attention –  a he said/she said. And still, we question why victims don’t report.

The cost of being a rape victim has a tremendous impact for those who do (and even those that don’t) report it to authorities. Missed work, therapy visits (if you can afford it), police follow-up, doctor visits (that are required every six months for two years, just to be sure you didn’t contract HIV) prescriptions (for mental problems or STD medications contracted during rape), etc… is at an estimated $122,461 per victim according to a 2017 National Sexual Violence Resource Center . Pocket change.

I’m currently in surthrival mode –  that space in between surviving and thriving and I owe it to my support systems of thousands. You guys rock my world. Truly. You are my lifesavers from one to a million. With your help the last three years, I’ve become one hell of a survivor through your letters, texts, phone calls, cards, gifts, flowers, financial assistance, sharing of your own stories – I know I’m not alone. This is a horribly isolating trauma that reduces you to a solo existence. You feel like an endless burden. But I know I’m not alone. I think of the many who haven’t had the ability, freedom or support to breakthrough to the other side of rape.

You are not alone. You are never, ever alone. My once again unfuckwithable badass has your back and mine.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. You will never know what it means.

XOXO –

CBXB

CBXB!

 

 

 

 

 

Reason for My Season

As a kid there wasn’t anything worse than the last hour of Christmas because I would sit and think that I had to wait another 364 days for the fucking fun to come around again.

Just your typical family Christmas chaos.

Santa would not only eat the milk and cookies, he even tracked in ashes from the fireplace when he came down our chimney. The man in red also responded to the letters we’d leave him and when we asked for him to give us a kiss while we slept (totally not creepy asking an essential robber breaking into your house through the chimney to also age inappropriately kiss but whatever), we’d wake up to jingle bells by our beds for proof.

Kiss the Girls

There was also never short a short supply of cousins to share in our Christmas spirit.

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These family gatherings and traditions have waned over the years, as everyone but me  grew up, flew the coop and started procreating their own spawn and time gets prioritized differently. I do miss our large family get togethers but with everyone peppered across the states, it’s difficult.

IMG_2933

However, that has never deterred the Christmas in my heart all year-long type of person you want to punch in the face.

Christmas cheer overdrive…always.

My mini manse never not looked like I was singlehandedly going to host Mr. and Mrs. Claus for the season (naturally I was always hoping that would happen and I could adopt a reindeer and an elf – and yes, I’m being fucking serious).

Serious outside decor.

Not until, that is, Rapegate occurred. It is insane that something that happens in an instant can alter your world so hard that you don’t even recognize yourself. Getting out of the bed was feat enough, how the fuck was I ever gonna be able to muster the energy to pretend I felt joy about celebrating anything when my world was now nothing but gray?

The past two Christmases I’ve twinned with Alice Cooper.

However, with therapy and through my evolving recovery, my holiday merriment is back. It doesn’t feel like a mask I have to put on, making sure those around me don’t feel burdened by me or worry about my state of mind. And oh boy, is it ever the fuck back on in full force.

The past three years, dealing with PTSD, chronic fatigue, severe stress and depression, life continued on which it always fucking does and should. That doesn’t make shitty situations any easier, and some that I’ve loved deeply, have passed on to party in the sky since I last celebrated Christmas in 2015. And, they were all a part of my Christmases, be it from childhood, adulthood or being my fur baby forced into Christmas costumes for a photo every year.

Those that I have lost all loved celebrating the season (whether forced by moi or not).  And this tinybuddha.com quote really resonated with me when I read it.

I celebrate for Ted.

I celebrate for Aunt Crazy Pants and Gma.

I celebrate for my sweet Precious.

I celebrate for Big Al.

Celebrating for those who have passed before is melancholic at times. But I also have 400 million other reasons to celebrate – including you reading this post currently.

So, I’m throwing my sequined antlers on and running the goddamn hap-hap-hap-hap-happiest Christmas since Bing Crosby danced with Danny fucking Kaye.

I’m baaaaaaaaaaack.

Blitzen – for all kinds of reasons.

Starting with the celebration tree I’ve had up all year, it’s now adorned with all things Christmasy.

The mini manse….has been in transition from ultra gaudy to ultra ultra ultra gaudy. I have no less than 16 bins brimming with Christmas cheer that I haven’t touched since 2015. So it’s basically been like a supermarket sweep only with tinsel and all things sparkly.

Work in progress.

This is the first year that The Pussy Posse has witnessed the madness of the holiday season with me.

Exact replica of my four pussies reactions to all decor.

So if you’re wondering what I’ll be up to the rest of December between holiday parties and merriment, I’ll be decorating until the new year.

Very busy with my tinsel pillow.

Please feel free to stop by and receive a festive as fuck guided tour. It will only cost you a bottle of Captain, box of wine or bag of cat food. Seems reasonable, right?

Go get your festive on. NOW.

Cheers!

CBXB

CBXB!

Weekend Winks – Surprises, Six Degrees and Slaying

This shade of black really brings out the color of my soul.

God I love a t-shirt that speaks for me.

Open for fun.

My aunt flew in to surprise my dad for a mini retirement celebration. It was pretty fucking fabulous.

The par-tay train headed downtown to honky tonk on Broadway.

The Bat Building never gets old.

Robert’s Western World never gets old.

Arriving late after gussying up, as soon as my ass hit the bar stool in Robert’s, I got a message from an old school friend asking if I happened to be around. Seeing as Music City has 100 fucking people moving to the city every.single.day (please for the love of god, STOP MOVING HERE. Come visit, spend some cash and get the fuck out) Nashvillians going downtown is about as rare as a man being falsely accused of rape. So like, 99.9% never.

Downtown used to be a fun hang every so often but now, it’s asses to elbows everywhere. So it was Kismet that I happened to be in a bar right across the street from my old buddy, who still resides in Iowa. He was visiting for work and just thought he’d reach out. As kids, our families would camp (yes, I actually camped (ew) before I knew glamping was a thing) and one of our fave activities was going around Wilson’s Lake and collecting pop cans that we’d turn in for a refund at Cheese’s grocery store. Redeeming five cents per can, I thought we were going to be thousandaires as we packed garbage after garbage bag full of aluminum. I think we each ended up with about $50. Still not bad for 10 year olds.

Six degrees of CBXB.

When I went to meet up with his crew, I didn’t know anyone else at the table. But within the 30 minutes I chit chatted, I somehow had a connection to or through or knew someone they knew at the table. My friend came across the street to say hey to Dada CBXB who, prior to his move to Nashville (and retirement), was a teacher and coach of some sort for over 30 years.

Old school.

Naturally we did what all teachers and coaches do when they reunite with former students.

Shots.

I mean, you know I have an ever classy fam.

Blurred lines.

Saturday came early for my Iowa twins, who were frying up a donut storm.

Then they decided to create costumes since the weather was kinda shitty.

If you guessed bats, you’d be right.

Inspired by my mini bakers, my lazy ass decided to get out a new pancake mix I picked up. Mostly because it was gluten free but really because all it takes is 2/3 cup of the mix and 3/4 cup of water.

Betty.Fucking.Crocker.

My Iowa Hawkeyes had a 2:30 kick off, so I sauntered out to Dada CBXB’s and watched my dudes school the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The Hawks won 48-31. You know what that meant….six rounds of our classy Family Tradition.

I’m not good at math but I couldn’t fit six pics into my cute photo collage.

It also meant that the Floyd of Rosedale rivalry trophy will reside another year with my favorite birds.

The pig stays in the Hawkeye State.

After the welcomed distraction of a win, it remained consistently hard to escape the painful thoughts that have been swirling around my noggin for the last three weeks, as America’s attitude toward rape culture continues to shock the ever living hell out of me.

It’s sad. It’s so sad. So much so that I’ve turned to eating my pain away. Which isn’t working for my brain as much as it is my already ample ass.

I’ll have five pounds of wings, please. No, really, we had five pounds of wings. And Shit Dip that was already inhaled when this photo was snapped. And like one celery stick.

We welcomed Sunday by washing Saturday away with margaritas at our fave Mexican joint.

Tasty treats.

Accompanied by what felt like 482 lbs of food after I scarfed my feelings food down.

Another side of salsa, please.

Of course no self care Sunday would be complete without my personal bible, People magazine, and a dip in bubbles.

To those of you weary to the motherfucking bone after the past few weeks, know that it’s OK to feel that way. To those of you who are confused after the past few weeks, know that it’s OK to feel that way. To those of you who feel hopeless after the past few weeks, that’s not OK.

You matter.

The next generation matters.

K. Thanks. Bye.

CBXB

CBXB!

Weekend Winks – Back to the Future

Is it just me or does it feel like 1991?

Funny how my history teachers always said history repeats itself and here the fuck we find ourselves in the dramatic throes of a SCOTUS nominee scandal, with sexual assault being at its core – AGAIN.

Proud as fuck of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford.

I chose to follow the hearings as closely as possible because I want to be as informed as possible. Others I know chose not to watch, read or follow anything in the media for all types of various reasons.

Can’t stop. Won’t stop stress eating.

The testimony from Dr. Blasey Ford and the SCOTUS nominee could not have been more opposite. It was like watching a bad reality show, only it’s for real unfolding in front of your eyes. Lucky for me, I had my therapy Thursday and then an evening in with my band buddy, A-Ha.

Sometimes wine out of pumpkin glasses is just what the day ordered.

Another distraction which is funny as hell but not to one little lady in particular. My nephew, Prince B has lost three more teeth than Princess B – all within one week.

AND RUBS IT IN.

Ah, the good old days when all that mattered was who was losing teeth before whom.

I was asked/told several times that I was attached to the SCOTUS drama (along with the millions watching America’s politicians around the world) because I’ve been a victim of rape. Well, that’s partially true because my trigger bell went into high force when the person in charge of America started victim blaming and shaming publicly and others joined in the prior Friday.

All I can say is I know in my bones that Dr. Ford Blasey is not lying. I would bet my life on it. I would bet my cats’ lives on it. I also know that as a woman, this took me back to the first time I found a hand in my pajamas at 14 years of age and didn’t know what to do. I can’t tell you all of the details but I sure as shit know who did it to me. And the “minor” incidents – the ass grabs and slaps from strangers, unwanted come-ons from superior co-workers, just ultimately knowing that most of the women in my life have had some degree of harassment – even if it didn’t culminate into a rape. Shit like this reopens deep seeded wounds and memories whether or not we like it.

On a happier note, Dada CBXB retired on Friday! His company had a breakfast par-tay for him and then we went to lunch with his department. I adorned his college football practice jersey and a football card from when he played for the Baltimore Colts.

No work, all play!

As soon as the lunch was over, I sat in my car, trying not to have a come apart. First, I was enraged last week. I was furious watching the hearings on Thursday and then Friday, knowing how there would be a confirmation, the feeling of pure defeat washed over me. A feeling I couldn’t shake.

And while I want to be brave and strong when people say, “there’s nothing you can do about it,” I call bullshit. I can speak up. I can write. I can vote. I can demand better for my niece and nephew’s generation. But, it’s exhausting to try to move through normalcy when the culture of this country regarding women has hardly budged in 30 years.

 

 

I share these videos and emotions to show the vulnerable side and the aftermath years after incidents take place on survivors. I want to share how I truly feel. How it feels for people – women especially – to over prove, over think, over compensate themselves in every.single.situation. To think about what you have to wear before going to jog – can you insert both headphones or leave one out? My key goes in between my fingers as a weapon. To have your mom remind you to wear a hat while driving at night alone, so you look more like a dude. To be careful about walking alone to your car, cause you never know when someone may try to mug you.

You are not alone.

Through all of this, humor is the one thing I can always cling to and happily welcome from Sister CBXB. Along with the hundreds of you who checked in on me all last week, lifting my spirits. My sister noticed something very key that stood out to her in the videos.

The lipstick is Urban Decay for the record. And I put one coat on Friday morning. I took the videos Saturday am, FYI.

Heading to the park for a walk while bawling underneath sunglasses (so chic and not weird at all) helped ease some of the sadness.

Fucking preach.

And so did strawberry martinis with Mama CBXB who demanded a lunch date.

And so did some vino with Bird Lady and First Mate, who have seen more ugly than pretty in me the past five years. I’ve cemented their friendship in happier times, so they’ll need a jack hammer to remove themselves out of my life.

Stuck like cement.

Oh, and speaking of humor, I want to personally deliver an Emmy for a guest appearance to Matt Damon and his spot on, perfect depiction of the SCOTUS nominee at the hearing on Saturday Night Live. Luckily, I recorded it and have watched the cold opening no less than 461 times. So on point. If you have not watched it, Google it now. Right now.

Sunday, Rocky and I got sucked into binge watching and football.

Not wanting to acquire couch sores, I made it to the bathroom for my bubbly routine.

Then it was time to love on my youngest boy, Fabio (who is also known as Fartio because he farts when he gets nervous). It was our one year anniversary together and we celebrated his “Gotcha!” day.

Fabio hearts being mauled.

Starting a fresh week, there’s a few things I know for sure…

I think this bun makes me appear smart.

This still rings true…

And…

Oh, and in case you were wondering what to write down in your calendar/journal this week so you can look back on it 36 years from now when hopefully there isn’t a circus full of ass clowns – and yes, I’m talking about almost all of them – “leading” the country here’s a suggestion:

Write it in permanent marker, just in case we go back to the future and need reference.

Cheers!

CBXB

CBXB!

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!