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!

 

Summer Snaps

While it seemed the month of January lasted 100 days earlier this year, how in the fuck is it now the middle of June? Bananas.

I’ve taken a slide down the regression train the last two months in regard to Rapegate and its aftermath full of PTSD and what not but – BUT with the help of my family, friends and fur balls, my wheels are still on the track, although daily WD40 is required at this point. Here’s what kept me moving and grooving…

Sometimes all you need are ladies who help keep your crown held high. And wine. Lots and lots of wine.

A night in with laughs, snacks and shenanigans.

I decided to get CPR certified, so maybe when I’m having my own panic attacks I can calm myself the fuck down (just kidding…only chewing on Xanax and getting on all fours does the trick for me). When we were practicing chest compressions on our dummies, the instructor asked who I was mad at…angry much? Yes, I believe I will be taking up kick boxing or kung fu in the near future.

It was the shit watching Nashville’s NHL hockey team, the Predators make their second appearance in the Stanley Cup playoffs, complete with watch parties.

Fang Fingers!

While they didn’t make it to the end, it was a season full of fun with reasons to partake in cocktails whether they won or lost.

Reasons for seasons.

There’s always reminders that I need to stop and smell the roses lilacs, compliments of my Princess B. She knows what’s up.

She reminds me that I always have time to stop and smell the wine.

Not drinking alone if your cats are home.

Or your chug.

Summer sports are in full swing and I think I have a sports star in the making with Prince B.

Sports stud on the rise.

I don’t know if Prince B could do it without the support from his sister, who clearly only comes to his games to watch.

Cheerleading at its finest.

You wanna know what else is a ‘holy fuck?!’ moment? My Iowa twins graduated Pre-K. We have official kindergarteners on ours hands people.

First and last day pics.

As soon as the summer vacation commenced, these two were on it full speed ahead.

Vacay the right way.

Oh and my tender-hearted nephew is about to melt your heart. Even if its dead and cold. He recently shaved his head because he wanted matching ‘dos with his dad.

Like father, like son.

In other happy news, my dophew, Spike, celebrated his third trip around the sun.

Spike with his fave kind of bone.

And in possibly the best news yet, the mini manse’s pool opened.

Summer hydration IV.

Rasta and I celebrated our one year anniversary – we met at the pool last year. Awe.

Alcohol and Bad Decisions.

More happiness with my fabulous stylist who not only is one of my besties but makes me laugh AND makes my hair dreams come true.

He does the hair. I provide the accessories.

 

The pink glitter cup he gifted me left me with surprises in my pie hole.

Sequin tooth in place. Does this give me street cred?

Bird Lady and I found a new bar, Firefly Bar and Grille, where I want to move in as they have their Christmas lights up all year long inside. Better yet, when one strand burns out, they leave it up and just put new ones over the old strand. Be still my beating heart.

Firefly and feeling fine.

When my gal pal from college came in, we shut that damn bar down while showing off our jazz hands we perfected in our collegiate show choir. Yep. We were cool like that.

Jazz hands still on point.

There have been many a Friday night where I want to stay in and get wild with organization. But this keeps happening…

So I catch up on how to murder people without getting caught. Don’t piss me off.

I’m also happy to report that Nashville is finally joining the 1980s and offering wine on Sundays now. We still can’t purchase liquor but I’ll settle for Jesus juice.

Miracles do come true.

Speaking of miracles, my loudmouth was allowed on a golf course to play a bit of put-put (or as real golfers call it, golf) while also delivering snacks and booze. All for a fabulous cause – Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. Over $300,000 was raised for the kids.

Koozies make the best earrings.

When they told me to stock up the cart with snacks, I pretended I was on Supermarket Sweep and took just about everything in sight.

Griswolds of the golf course.

Roaming around on the golf course are sheep and being the animal lover I am, I wanted to take one home. But I settled for a photo instead, where they look like white blobs behind a big slob.

The famous sheep with a gigantic asshat.

In other famous news, Princess B got all dolled up for her second recital. And while I am very proud of her, I am also beyond jealous of her costume and am considering an extreme diet so I can squeeze my ample rear end into it.

Dancing Queen

Since she supported her brother in baseball, it was only fair he happily did the same…complete with the proper dance picture pose.

Hands on hips.

I used to be an avid jogger. My bed seems so much better these days, yet, First Mate got me out of my shell and coaxed me into participating in a Coconut RAD (Random Ass Distance) Run. Rasta was so moved, she made us a support poster.

The only way I will run anymore is if I can also hold booze.

One size fits “most”…uh, yeah, right.

While we were far from first place, we were also far from last. And, we couldn’t say no to rum in our coconuts.

Middle of the pack finishers!

No better way to cool off than a party day with Dada CBXB.

Race day cool down.

Suns Out, Buns Out.

I took one for the team, rounding up my dad’s ginormous sandals when it was time to leave.

You all know how much I love my fur balls and one in particular is having some issues. Precious the chug passed out yesterday on the way out for a walk. She’s been to the vet and had tests done, so please send your good juju her way.

Hopeful to get some pep back in her pitiful step.

That, my friends is a long winded catch up. The many reasons I have to smile has everything to do with you.

Thank you.

XOXO

CBXB

CBXB!

 

 

The Pussy Posse

While we all know I’m batshit crazy over cats (and animals in general), I have yet to really introduce my latest brood in proper fashion.

The bitchy love of my life, Teddy Bear, died suddenly last August. I’ve wanted to write about it so many times but the hole his departure left in my heart literally feels like molten lava spilling into my body when I try. Then the volcano eruption of uncontrollable scalding tears rush down my cheeks, so it’s best I save his obituary for another day. Or year. Or century.

My ride or die.

Yes, I’m talking about a cat. Many days and nights I long to be over the Rainbow Bridge with him. He was the last link I had to my previous life and endured the hardships into the one I now lead. But as we all know, the world keeps turning and so, now, I run a fucking zoo.

After Rapegate occurred, Ted kept vigil by being my constant companion, not leaving my side unless he was stuffing his pie hole.

Literally would not leave me.

When my mom came to stay with me, she thought it’d be a good idea for Bear and me to have another furry friend around. Now, I already have joint custody of Precious the Chug but Mama CBXB thought a kitten for Valentine’s Day would be the best gift in 2016.

Um….do we have a say?

We went to see my crazy cat lady gal pal, Penny, who runs Sweet Faces Cat and Kitten Rescue (in which I am happy to be the poster child since I have adopted six animals over two years from her – yes you read that right).  Typically, I adopt adult cats, who stand a lesser chance of getting permanent homes as they grow older. But mom thought a baby would be good cuddle therapy.

Crazy Cat Lady 1 and Crazy Cat Lady 2.

Once the cage of kittens opened, the first one I picked up was named Elsa and the decision was immediately and easily done. My Iowa twins love the movie Frozen (what fucking kid doesn’t), so since I grabbed the princess from the movie, it was fate in my eyes.

Princess kitty cat.

Deal sealed.

Then, I stood up and locked eyes with this majestic beauty.

Hello Gorgeous.

Deal not done.

I mistakenly asked to hold her and as soon as I put my face in the kennel, she rubbed her noggin against mine, purring loudly.

Fuck me.

Then Penny pointed out her enormous brother in the back of the cage I never noticed because he didn’t move a muscle from the ball in which he was curled. She explained that they were brother and sister about three years old, surrendered by their owner. The big brother wasn’t coping well in foster care.

Double fuck me.

Well, really triple fuck me.

Who was I to split up a pair of siblings? The black beauty and myself already bonded in .00004 seconds. And her brother was so shy and sad that I was warned I may never see him come out from behind the dryer or under the bed. So yes, I lost my goddamned mind that Saturday and walked out with not one, not two but three motherfucking pussies.

An instant mom to triplets.

Now, on a side note, the always charming actress Drew Barrymore adopted three cats at once and made national headlines for her big heart.

I, on the other hand received sweet messages of support like…

And love notes left on my car…

On the way home from Pet Smart, not a fucking peep was uttered. As soon as I got to the mini manse, the boxes were opened and from that moment on, it was harmonious until Tedstar died a year and a half later.

Love, love, love, love.

RIP Baby Bear.

Penny reached out when she heard the news about Ted and offered my pick of the litter (pun so intended), when I was ready. I knew I wanted another Russian Blue mix and about a month later, Penny sent word that a handsome, shy gent was at Pet Smart. When I raced arrived to check him out, there was a sticky note on his kennel door that read, “needs extra TLC.”

Sweet baby is on the right, afraid to come out.

Penny had instructed me to pet him on his head – hard – and as soon as I did, he cautiously came to me. When I lifted him out of the cage, he put both of his paws around my neck. You know what the fuck happened next.

Crazy cat lady shopping spree with an actual cat in the carrier!

Nothing strange here.

I texted Penny his photo on the way to his new home after the impromptu shopping spree at Pet Smart.

Mine. ALL MINE.

Obvies Fabio was meant to be mine and this was how he spent his first night in the mini manse.

Head rubbin’ on the bed.

So, in no particular favor order, I’m thrilled to introduce The Pussy Posse to you…age before beauty.

Precious the Chug

Age 12. Acts like a puppy. Looks like an Ewok.

Also known as Preshy, Presh, P, Pweshy (as my Iowa twins call her).

Presh is pretty much my sidekick in everything that I do. Without her emotional support after Rapegate and Ted’s passing and everythingfuckingthingelseinbetween…I’m not sure the state I’d be in.

We garden together.

We outfit shop together. DUH.

We drink together. Also DUH.

We take work meetings together.

We get groomed together.

And when I can, I like to match her to my hair.

She loves it. Obvies.

Rocky the Gentle Giant

Age 5. Also known as Bigs, Rocco.

Thinks he’s the size of a mouse.

Could teach pussy yoga.

Remember how he was sad and unable to even look at a potential owner until I got my grubby paws on him? He’s now happily the king of the mini manse.

Ruby Sue the Menace

Age 5. Also known as Thundercunt, Thundy, TC.

Wondering how she earned the endearing moniker of Thundercunt? I found her hanging on the blinds after she’d taken down the curtains.

Greetings of salutation after work one day.

The usual set up of the area.

Waiting on accolades as I tried to work around her mess to hang everything back up.

No shame in her game.

She has an obvious infatuation with curtains, as one night around 2 am this happened…

The actual fuck.

As I bolted out of bed, thinking I was going to end up on Forensic Files, I followed the evidence and concluded that in fact, it was TC. Rocky tried to help me hang the curtain back up but I said to hell with it and showered in my other bathroom the next few days.

Ruby Sue also apparently hates her life of rags to riches and walks the plank on my second level balcony every chance she gets. And she’s clumsy as fuck. So fate will be fate – and she’d land on all fours. C’mon, she’s a cat.

Fabio the Fuck Face

Age 3. Also known as Fabies, Faabs (pronounced Fahbs), Fartio and Fabio Le Pew.

This gorgeous guy farts and darts when he gets nervous. He has zero apprehension prancing around the mini manse and head butts like it’s his paying gig. He also has the regal look of daring you to a death match but couldn’t be more of a sweetheart, hence the nickname Fuck Face.

And his tail…oh that’s his best accessory.

Fabio Le Pew.

Princess Elsa Pants of Resting Bitch Face

Age 2. Also known as Pants, Stank Face and Smalls.

Remember how my mom thought a kitten to cuddle would be the best therapy for me? I’ve gotten my hands on this little shit for a good 29 minutes in the last two years I have had her.

But she loves her siblings and that’s all that really matters (except really, her world should revolve around me – there I said it).

She also loves sparkly accessories.

While I sound like a walking, talking billboard of how to remain single for the rest of one’s life, I don’t give a fuck (I also love candles and reading books – DREAM GIRL).

Just a natural weekend run for cat shit.

Except I do keep my dumpster wedding dress and veil in my car just in case I run into Mr. Right getting an equally large cat tree one day.

Oh hi there. You love cats, too?

There’s really nothing like coming home, being greeted by my brood with figure eights performed between my calves, head butts, tail wags and a game of tag with Stank Face. It’s also fabulous to pour supper in their margarita glasses (food, mind you), pour supper into my wine glass and settle in for an evening of furry snuggles.

So glad they’re mine.

I do expect you regular readers to memorize all names for the entire Pussy Posse, with nicknames included if you want to be true super fans. And if that’s too hard, I will let you buy me a Skinny Pirate next time we run into each other and I quiz you.

Cheers!

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

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.

Weekend Winks – Freezing! Fiesta! Football! Fun!

One of the joys of living in a city that isn’t equipped to handle any type of winter weather, is it’s kinda fun when it comes. Freezing rain on Friday meant that I was able to slide out of work and into my bed for a day of conference calls and cat naps (the cats, not me of course).

When you’re given the option to work from home…

YOU TAKE IT.

No one was excited about it at all.

My mom checked in from Iowa to make sure I was all set with necessities because it’s a fucking freak out frenzy when there is even mention of the “s” word – SNOW. Nashville citizens (and anyone else who didn’t grow up above the Mason Dixon Line) all but lose their goddamned minds.

While I was hunkered down with my pussies Saturday, my Iowa twins were getting hyped up to par-tay. Why you ask? Because they are turning five – FIVE – FUCKING FIVE YEARS OLD – on Wednesday. I mean holy fucking shit how did this happen so fast?

FIVE!

Due to the fact that Princess B eats salsa like its soup, the day was a fiesta complete with the best cakes on the planet.

Crazy over cake.

My artsy sis even crafted a pinata for the occasion.

FUCKING FIVE.

Fiesta fun!

Naturally, there were outfit choices to be made and Princess B did not disappoint.

Just a little gussy up.

Nor did she get any salsa on the sequins.

I finally mustered up the energy to walk over to Rasta’s pad on Saturday night, forcing myself out into the blustery cold I’m not used to anymore. Speaking of force, Rasta isn’t a football fan of any sort and I made her watch the Titans game in her own house.

I’m so sweet.

While I drank her wine.

Tailgate City.

My Titans were playing actual football titans, the New England Patriots and so I was hoping for at least a touchdown. And we scored one first! Then, just as quickly as that happened, my dudes ended up getting an ass beating. Rasta kept up with the team spirit though, assisting me through the horrendous game.

She’s officially my wine coach now.

Yeah, it was that bad.

She wins the sportsmanship award for sure.

Football fun.

I was up at what felt like the ass crack of dawn on Sunday to watch a segment on CBS Sunday Morning. It was regarding the Time’s Up movement and Oprah interviewed several prominent women who helped initiate the campaign. Being that I take great interest in this due to Rapegate and the #MeToo movement, I expected support from my pussies.

Only one showed the fuck up.

#whywewearblack

The others were busy having a menage à trois in the unmade bed.

Thanks for the support, assholes.

While watching other NFL playoff games, I started to take down the few Christmas decorations I put up this year and toyed with the idea of Valentine’s Day. But promptly stopped after dressing my Glamingo.

I also somehow came across a hideous Pucci hat that a lady who thought she was famous and was my boss at the time gave me as a leftover present (she would regift her unwanted Christmas presents to me for my birthday in March). You want it? It’s yours.

Her exact positioning and expression in every photo.

After throwing one helluva classy fiesta, my sister pulled through in our white trash ways when storing leftovers.

After getting her text, I was craving Mexican and justlikethat First Mate sent a text wanting to meet up for wine at our fave joint. Talk about fate.

We come for the handsome pours of wine, not the margaritas.

The Minnesota Vikings game (which was one of the best last second endings ever) was on at the restaurant. The fans chant skol and my sister and I were confused as to what it meant. We had an Iowa-Tennessee-Georgia family tutorial via text from my cousin Tballs – a huge Vikings fan.

My guess of “yeehaw” was way off.

After heading home with a belly full of wine, salsa and chips, I settled in for a night cap.

A literal night cap.

Here’s hoping your week is full of fiesta-ish fun.

SKOL!

CBXB