Thursday, July 23, 2009

Trying Not to Dwell

I've been managing to stay busy this summer, which has been a blessing in itself. Not only does it keep me from becoming so sedentary that I threaten to petrify like a fossil, it has also had the added benefit of giving me very little time to dwell on things.

Those of you who have known me for any decent length of time know a little bit about my backstory; know a little bit about my past. You know that I raped when I was 20 years old. April and June are always hard months for me, because I tend to dwell on the rape and the aftermath. June is especially hard because I tend to give in to "what if"-itis -- that little mind-screw I do to myself where I obsess over the abortion and the child that would have resulted. Would it be a boy or a girl? Would she/he look like me, or like the rapist? Who would I be now? Who would the child be? Could I love it enough? Would I have kept it? Keeping myself from thinking about that child, who now be old enough to graduate from high school.

Probably the worst part of all of this is the guilt that I lay at my own doorstep in the whole sorry situation. I was raped by someone I knew, someone I was dating. And, for some people, "date rape" just doesn't register with them. Generally, these are the same people who don't think a man can rape his wife, simply because there's a history and a marriage certificate there, but that's neither here nor there. There is still a lot of stigma associated with rape, and especially with date rape. There's always an air of "what did you do to deserve it?" when you tell people that you were date raped.

I try not to think about it, but it was a very formative experience, occurring at a time when most young people are moving out of the family home and trying their wings for the first time. When they are beginning to forge their own path in this world, and to let go of their dependence on Mom and Dad and to live as adults themselves. I was in college, working hard. I was taking a full complement of classes, and was working three jobs; two at the college, and every shift I could pick up at the local movie theater. I had plans to move into my own place with a couple of friends, and we were looking forward to freedom. Looking forward to being adults on our own; and on our own terms.

And then, all of a sudden, I wasn't. I was frozen in place by the rape. Time stopped for me. I was scared to go out, scared to walk across the quad by myself. Checking the locks on the windows and doors compulsively, and imagining every shadow was closing in on me. I was never very self-confident to begin with, and after the rape, I had virtually nothing at all. No confidence, no energy, no bravery. It was all gone. He stole so much more than just sex from me. My safety, my sense of wonder, my sex. Never being thin to begin with, I began to hide under multiple layers of clothes until I looked as round as I was tall. Maybe all those layers would protect me, or at least discourage any other would-be attacker. I became asexual, hiding under layers, and behind a curtain of shaggy hair.

During the counseling session I had to attend before the abortion, the therapist postulated that maybe I "stay fat" because it's safe. That I deliberately try to make myself unattractive so that I'm not a target for other men, other predators. This used to make me sad, thinking that my dislike of myself was so strong that I would deliberately choose to alienate myself from the rest of the world through obesity. And then, one day, I thought, "Fuck you! I was fat WHEN I was raped! It didn't seem to matter so much to him!" And that's because rape isn't about attractiveness, it's about power and control. It's about being able to bend someone so totally to your will, whether it's through manipulation or aggression. In my case, it was a sneak attack, but the mind-screw that came with it afterward was sheer power through manipulation. So, not only did I get raped, I also got fucked over by the system, too. Being fat never made me feel safe. It still doesn't. It makes me feel unloveable and undervalued, but that's a whole other kettle of fish.

So, I've spent my time working this summer, concentrating on the class that I'm taking, and trying not to dwell on the things that usually pull me down into the mire around this time of year. Trying not to pity myself, and play the what-if game. Instead, I thank God for the things that I do have, and feel grateful that I made it through to the other side, rough though the journey was. It has shaped me, both for better and for worse. I try not to think about the child that never will be. And, most of all, I try to forgive myself and let go.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Migraines Suck!

As if many of you didn't know already, I am here to inform you of the vast suckitutde of migraine headaches. Never say I'm not informative.

I've been on migraine medication for about two months now; stuff that was SUPPOSED to not only lessen the severity of my migraines, but also to lessen the frequency of said migraines. I am here to formally call bullshit on the severity aspect. Any time you can vomit on yourself and not really give a damn because your brain is threatening to explode, I don't think you can chalk that one in the "less severe" column.

Also, this medication was supposed to free me from the cares and worries of migraine headaches, and it hasn't done that, either. Damn those lying advertising people! I would say "heads will roll!" at this point, but I think my own head did enough of that last night, and I really don't wish it on anyone else. Even to the people I dislike intensely.

Friday, July 10, 2009

In Celebration of 100 Years

Most of you who are long-time readers will remember that I am a Girl Scout Leader, and I'm about to start my 9th year as an adult volunteer. I have spent quite a few years devoted to helping the young women of my area become proud, strong women of tomorrow, and I've been grateful for the opportunity to do it.

The Girl Scouts of the USA was founded in 1912, and that means we're getting very close to celebrating our centennial anniversary. The Girl Scout Advocacy Network is trying to drum up support for a bill introduced to the get the US Mint to release a special $1 commemorative coin.

If you are so inclined, please follow this link, and ask your local officials to help get this bill passed.

We will need 290 House co-sponsors, and 67 in the Senate. Congress only approves 2 coins a year, and things need to happen quickly if we are to meet the 2012 deadline. If you care about a Girl Scout, please help. Thank you.

(The Public Service Announcement is now over. You may all return to your normal websurfing.)

Thursday, July 02, 2009

More To Love

I'm not a reality-TV kind of gal. In the main, I don't care for reality TV at all. I never got into American Idol, and I haven't ever seen an episode of Survivor or The Hills. (I mainly watch Joel McHale of The Soup trash The Hills.)

I will admit to an unhealthy fixation to Bravo's Top Chef, though I don't really consider that a Reality TV show. I got really into TC late in season 2, so I didn't really have a vested interest in who won. But, when Season 3 rolled around, I was there with bells on. My favorite didn't make it to the top three (C.J.), but once the three was revealed, I was pulling for Dale. When Season Four started, I was pulling for Richard Blais from the start. I thought he was great, and loved his adventuresome spirit. JF liked Stephanie, the eventual winner; so we argued the merits of each back and forth all season long.

I will also confess to a guilty pleasure of America's Got Talent, simply because I adore the total train-wreckiness of it. You never know what's going to turn up next on AGT, and there are often some very talented people hidden among the dreck. Unfortunately, there's a lot more dreck than gold, and I'm often totally blown away by how much confidence people have in themselves and their often dubious "talents." For example, a woman got up on stage the other night, claiming that everyone she meets is just astounded and in awe of her talents -- and then she barked at people. It was as freaky as if you'd awoken to realize that you live inside a Salvador DalĂ­ painting.

At any rate, on the Fox network, I noticed a promo clip for an upcoming Reality show called "More to Love", featuring plus-sized women. The tagline screamed that the average American woman is about a size 12/14, and the average female reality show contestant is a size 2. Then the promo showcased lots of clips of the "More to Love" contestants, most of them crying and talking about how much they just want someone to love them how they are. Betcha dollars to donuts that the producers force the ladies to compete in either a) a humiliating eating contest of some sort, or b) a humiliating swimsuit competition. Or maybe both, if there's such a thing as summer ratings week.

I feel a fat rant (and my inner rage) building......

I don't know whether or not I can actually watch this series, knowing that it's most likely just another excuse to "poke fun at the fatties". I would love to hope that it will be a great show that showcases the fact that loveable and beautiful people come in all shapes and sizes and celebrates women who don't happen to fit society's very narrow standard of beauty, but somehow, I don't think it will be. Fox isn't exactly known for taking the high road.

The best I can hope for is that it's not too humiliating for the contestants, and for fat people in general. Most of you know by now how much I do not care for those who warp other people's opinions of themselves, and this seems to me to be a recipe for a whole huge honking slice of the demographic pie who will later need some serious therapy.