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Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

Don’t Say You Know

There are things I don’t tell people about myself. Secret things. Things that mark me. Scars on my body map. Underneath skin. In my mind. Things that haunt me. I see the girl I was, the woman I could have been, the child that didn’t think it was going to be like this, the old woman who keeps asking how did life go so fast. You can’t hide from yourself. You’re fucked if you try.

I was a quiet child. A shy child. I still am quite shy. I have trouble with intimacy, not sex though. With love. With affection. I get silent. I hide in myself. I’m shy because of fear. When I was younger, before I knew pain and violence, the shyness was from uncertainty.

I will go to great lengths to avoid speaking of my biggest scar. I have lied. Telling people that I have never experienced violence. I have pretended it didn’t happen. I’ve even run away from people who ask too many questions. Both emotionally and literally. I’ve been running for years. I don’t lie to myself anymore. Or I don’t let myself believe the lie I tell myself anymore. I don’t know which.

I stare in the mirror trying to find some sort of innocence in my eyes. Convincing myself that stolen things are often recovered. Maybe I’ll find what I lost or what was stolen or both.

 

Sometimes I see her ghost. Before I shut my eyes for the night, lying in the bed next to me. She looks like me, but younger and has no guilt in her eyes. I can’t seem to ever look away from her when she’s there.

She’s been whispering in my ear a lot lately. She wants her story to be told. I think it’s time. I think she’s ready to forgive me. For the pain. The injuries, internal and external. The promiscuity. The self-hatred. The self-isolation. The bitterness. She knows that it’s taken me more than a decade to find myself. I think it’s time too. Time to put this to bed.

Sit with me for a few moments while I tell you her story. And my story.

I was 18 years old. A freshman in college finding her way, first year out of the nest. Before this night, I had one lover. The stoner I had lost my virginity to. I was still shy, but trusting. I thought everyone had the potential to be important in my life. I was open to everything.

A group of friends were invited to another friend’s dorm room to watch movies and hang out. I had softball practice that day, so I told everyone I would meet them there. After practice I showered and ate dinner. I got to our friend’s dorm room about an hour after we had all planned to be there. I knocked. He opened the door and I walked in.

Imagine my surprise when I see that none of my friends were there. I heard the door close behind me and I knew. It’s weird, but I heard something click in my mind. It was an instinct. I turned around to see him wearing the ugliest smile I’ve ever seen in my life. I’ll never forget that look.

There are pictures you can’t burn, rip, flush down the toilet, or throw away. Frames frozen and as much as you try to forget, you can’t. They are tattooed into your soul. Like scars. Part of the body map.

He was between me and the door. I remember thinking, smart man. I tried to talk my way out of the room. There is no reasoning with disturbed people though. He was angry that I didn’t like him back. I didn’t remember knowing he liked me. Not before he hit me.

I had never been hit like that in my life. I don’t come from violence. I come from hugs. My head was screaming at me. I fell to the floor. He hit me again. The music got louder. I think I was crying out. He was a football player. Linebacker. So strong.

He kicked me. Pinned me down. I couldn’t move. I could hardly see. He dug his fingers in my arms. He hit me again. I think I passed out. I woke up and my pants were down. He was inside of me. He had his hand in my face, pushing it to the side. I couldn’t see his face. I remember the sound of him laughing. He turned me over. I didn’t know what he meant to do until he did it. After I felt my rectum tear, I blacked out.

I woke up to him shaking me. I saw I was dressed and lying on the floor. He told me to get the fuck out of his room. He told me I was trash and spit on me. I remember thinking that one day I was going to kill him. I would watch his blood drain from his body slowly. I wanted to skin him alive. Mount his head on my wall like a trophy. I’ve never had such thoughts before.

Surprisingly, I could stand. It’s amazing what the body can endure when it wants to survive. I was being offered a way out and no matter how much I hurt or wanted to crawl up inside myself, I needed to go.

I walked out of the dorm without anyone noticing the state I was in. Disturbing. I tell myself I would have noticed her. I would have helped. I walked up the hill to my dorm and got all the way to my room.  Again nobody noticed or if they did they didn’t bother to say anything.

The next thing I remember my best friend standing in the doorway of my room. I must have left the door open. She was asking me what happened. I told her. She said my voice was dead. I told her I needed to take a shower. I need to get him out of me. She took me to the showers and helped me wash myself. I remember my hands were shaking really bad. I think I was in there for an hour.

We got back to my room. She sat me down and I told her to throw away my clothes. I saw the blood on my jeans. I was still bleeding from my rectum. I wanted to sleep. She said I should go to the infirmary. She told me later that the look I gave her was scary. I told her I was fine.

I laid down on my bed. She laid down next to me, not touching but I knew she was there. She wanted to make sure I was okay.

Amazingly, I had no broken bones. The bruising was mostly on my torso, the sides of my face. One black eye. The pain between my legs was excruciating. I had trouble sitting for about a week. Having a bowel movement was the worse thing I had to endure. I cried every time.

I forgave the friends that were supposed to meet me that night. They didn’t know. They later told me that he had cancelled with them because he said he wasn’t feeling well. He told them he had already left me a message. Premeditated.

Did I report him? No. Did I see him again? Yes, all of the time. He was at parties. He was in the cafeteria. He was in my nightmares. I went home for winter break and ended up getting extremely sick. My immune system was down.

I lost 30 pounds in 2 months. I didn’t have 3o extra pounds to lose. I was an athlete.  I lost muscle. I was jaundice. Signs of starvation my doctor said. I couldn’t handle anything but bland food. I started giving up on eating.

Eventually, I got better physically. I healed. I survived. I moved on with life. Myself, but not myself. I became a predator.  I became promiscuous, at least by my standards. I was not a nice person. I would chew you up and spit you out in the trash. My best friend forced me to go to therapy. This was years later, but I’ll always be grateful for her screaming at me. She told me I was not a lost cause. She convinced me when I desperately needed convincing.

So, here I am. 14 years later. I’m okay. The hauntings are less frequent. Except for recently. But, I have learned to deal with how I feel and what happened to me. I know that I’m a work in progress. I know that healing takes a long time. I don’t say his name anymore. It’s bad enough that I have those pictures in my head. I have spoken his name enough.

I think the scar, although still very deep, is slowly fading. Someday it will be a faint line. Barely noticeable on my body map. I’m sure of it. I have to be.

I feel better for telling this story. Maybe she won’t haunt me as much. I have to keep moving forward and only glance back every once in a while. I can’t let that moment in my life hold me back anymore.

Except, every once in a while I wonder what I’d be like had this terrible thing never happened to me. Would I be much different? I know it’s a waste to time to imagine such things, but I’m only human. I can’t help thinking it.

 

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Last night, I came home to find my apartment a mess. I live alone and I’m a clean freak, as all of you already know. The only other living thing in my apartment is Stella Marie and I doubt she can do this much damage.

Oh, I’m sorry. Did you want to know what the mess was? Here’s what I saw….

I have radiator heat and every one of my radiator covers was removed. I have a small living room so in order to remove the radiator cover in there, you’d have to move my couch which is exactly what they did. I had a lamp on the radiator cover in the living room too. That was thrown on my couch. All of the other stuff was thrown on the floor.

That was just the living room.

I go into the bathroom, same mess. Oh, and they tipped over my trashcan so there were tissues and Q-tips all over the place (which I will blame on Stella Marie).

I go into the kitchen, same mess. Oh, and they shut the door to the closet which houses Stella’s litter box.

Can you feel me getting pissed?

I go into my office, same mess. Oh, and they pushed everything that was on my desk (all in neat and practical piles) over to one side of my desk. Some of the stuff fell on the floor.

At this point I’m ready to fuck someone up. I am really big on privacy and having someone rummaging around in my apartment was more upsetting than I can describe. It looks like someone was doing work in there. I start cussing my landlord out in my head. I know she didn’t leave a message on my cell or work number. I check my landline answering machine (yeah, I still have one of those and always will) and she leaves a message that there was an emergency with the heat and to let her know if the place wasn’t put back right.

Did I mention that my thermostat was set to 75 degrees!!!!!!!!!! I normally leave it at 63 because I get the heat from the apartment downstairs which is perfect. I was sweating my balls off, it was that hot. I get on the phone and call her. I tell her how pissed I am. How everything was thrown all over the place. How the sofa wasn’t even put back. How they shut the door so that my cat couldn’t get to her litter. I then tell her that she’s taking $25 off March’s rent for compensation for the fucking thermostat being set so high. She apologized profusely. I calm down.

I’m exhausted at this point. I’m worried about my sister. I’m getting ass-raped at work (that’s a ‘figure of speech’ for the people who take me literally all of the time) and I’m not sleeping that well. I didn’t need to come home to this shit.

And then, I go into my bedroom.

Yes, I find the same mess in there but my eyes immediately go to what’s sitting on top of my bookshelf. You see, my bedroom bookshelf sits right next to the radiator and houses all of my sex books. But, the books aren’t what gets my attention. Oh no, I don’t care if someone sees those. Sitting on top of my bookshelf, just where I left them, was my dildo and vibrator. I had cleaned them on Sunday night and left them there to dry.

I can’t even tell you how hard I giggled. Because that is a prime example of the way my life goes. Of course, they would be sitting out on the day my landlord and maintenance man are rummaging through my shit. Of course.

I hope you all enjoyed a little slice of my life.

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Today, I woke up. Got some coffee and opened my email and read this comment to the “Questions for Debbie” post last month. I was going to answer it within the comments there and then I thought that this question needs to be brought out from my archives and this girl not only needs my advice and input, but the voices of everyone who reads this as well because I trust all of you to take this situation very seriously and I know that many of you have children. I need everyone to comment on this and give this girl some support.

anonymous writes: “Hey , im a 16 year old newcomer here also and for about 10 months now i’ve been sexually active with my moms boyfriend and she dosen’t no and my feelings are getting involved and i need to no how to handle the situation next time he ask me to have sex dont get me wrong i enjoy it but i just need to no wat to do please give me some advice.”

  1. First of all, I don’t care if you’re enjoying the sex. That has nothing to do with the situation. You can give yourself an orgasm and enjoy it.
  2. Understand that what your mother’s boyfriend is doing is wrong. It doesn’t matter if you like him or if you’re enjoying the sex because there is no way you are emotionally mature enough to be dealing with this. If you were, you wouldn’t be asking how to break it off with him. He is taking advantage of you and has probably done this before. He knew how to coerce you and probably picked your mother because she had a daughter. Don’t be flattered by that. It has nothing to do with you and everything to do with his ego. He doesn’t care about you, he cares about the power he holds over you. The more he separates you from your mother the more power he has.
  3. You need to tell your mother what’s happening. As women, the most important relationship we can have is with our mothers. Believe me when I say that you will be in many relationships throughout your life, people will come and go but your mother will always be there on your side, supporting you and loving you. Your relationship with your mother is more important than your relationship with her boyfriend. Remember this.
  4. If you can’t tell your mother, then how about your father? Can you tell him what’s going on? Remember, it doesn’t matter how much trouble you get in, you’re being taken advantage of and your parents will understand that and forgive you. That’s what families are there for…support. If you can’t tell your father or mother, what about grandparents, aunts, your teachers? Tell someone and get them to step in.
  5. You will need to call the police immediately and tell them what’s going on. You won’t be in trouble with the police, your mother’s boyfriend will be. Remember, don’t trust anything your mother’s boyfriend says, he only cares about himself and he will try to protect himself at all costs.
  6. Your heart will probably be broken by all of this, but trust me when I say you’ll live. My heart has been broken more times than I can count and yet, here I am writing to you. You get through it. You move on. You learn from the mistakes you made. You get on with life.
  7. May I ask why are you having sex at 16? Did you have other sexual encounters before your mother’s boyfriend? You understand that sex isn’t love, right? You may be rolling your teenage eyes at me right now, but I’ve been around the block more times than the years you’ve been alive. If it’s love you’re needing, go to your family and hang out with your girlfriends or get a boyfriend your own age and experience love in those ways. Sex is an activity that lasts for a few moments and when it’s over you’re stuck in the exact same place as you were when you started. Real intimacy and love with sex isn’t going to happen until you are content with yourself, you know yourself, and you love yourself.
  8. Are you protecting yourself? I know that you are young and you think you’re invincible, but I lost a friend to AIDS about 10 years ago. He contracted the disease when he was 17. It can happen to you too. What about pregnancy? Can you afford to raise a child?

To summarize, here is what you need to do. Tell your mother, father, family member, teacher, or some adult what’s happening immediately. Have them call the police and take steps to protect you. Go to the doctor and get tested for STD’s. It’s embarrassing, but again…you’ll live. Get therapy. Concentrate on school and your grades. Hang out with people your own age. Get into a good college and work on making a future for yourself. Remember that no matter what, you have to take care of yourself and make a life for yourself. No man is going to take care of you. There are no princes, no white horses, and no fairytales.

But, you do have a fairy godmother in me and if you need me to call the police or help (I know where you are and have your IP address so it will be very easy to help from here, I won’t do anything until I hear from you), you may email me at freshairlover75@yahoo.com and I will call the police and try to get you help. You can also call RAINN at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673), they are available 24 hours a day and they will help you.

Edit: I think it would be best to offer any criticisms to what I wrote by email to me and leave messages for her in these comments. And if you are going to be ignorant, please note I will erase your comment. This isn’t a joke. Thank you.

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Spark?

Affinity (n): A natural attraction, liking, or feeling of kinship.

In August I started to talking to a wonderful man. We met through this blog and even though we lived a few hundred miles apart, it seemed that I had met someone who understood me…who got me. Know what I mean? We would talk for hours upon hours. Some conversations lasting 8 hours. We’d talk until the wee hours of morning. I was really happy. I loved talking to him. He made me feel normal, justified in my reactions to life and my experiences. He made me feel good.

We exchanged loads of pictures and emailed everyday. It was awesome. We arranged for a weekend to meet up and kept on talking, excitement about the future date coloring the phone calls brightly and vibrantly.

Attraction (n): The electric or magnetic force exerted by oppositely charged particles, tending to draw or hold the particles together.

Life is fucking unfair at times. This man that I liked and was so emotionally attracted to…attached to met up with me this weekend. And he was exactly like he was in his pictures. And he was exactly like he was on the phone. But there was no spark. No physical attraction. On both of our ends. It was like hanging out with an old friend, not a potential date. Don’t get me wrong, I had a great time hanging with him and we are definitely going to remain friends. It’s just so unfair that I find this great guy and there is no chemistry. Fucking sucks.

Oh well. I’m taking a break from men for a while. Not because of this particular incident, but I haven’t just chilled out and been alone in over a year. I’ve decided to date myself for a while before I get back into the thick of things again.

To the guy who just left my house and who came all the way here to meet me. You’re great and thank you for everything.

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I‘m honoring James A. Giberson of Ladder 45. He was last seen entering Tower 2, 10 minutes before it collapsed. One of the more moving stories I’ve read about him was that for about a week after 9/11, a woman would stand outside of the firehouse just staring. One of the firefighters asked her f she was okay and she said that was looking for one of the firefighters. She didn’t know his name, but they exchanged hellos every morning. The firefighter showed her some pictures and she pointed to Jame’s picture and said that she always thought of him as her personal firefighter…

James A. Giberson like to get to the firehouse early, get his coffee, and drink the coffee while sitting in front of the firehouse watching the city get started on the day, often exchanging greetings with all that walked by.

He always wanted three daughters. He made sure his wife, the former Susan Nordgaard, knew it when they were dating in the early 1980s. The couple married in 1984, and by 1992, he had his wish — and they were his truest joys. The girls, 12-year-old Erika, 11-year-old Kari and 9-year old Sara, inherited their swimming prowess from both their parents, and Mr. Giberson always accompanied them as they swam competitively throughout the Tri-state area. He often missed golf or fishing outings with his buddies to spend the day swimming with his girls, or cheering them on at a meet. For Mr. Giberson, 43, nothing came before them, and all of his friends knew it.

The Huguenot resident observed his 20th anniversary with Ladder 35 in Manhattan on Sept. 5, only days before the Trade Center attacks. He was last seen entering Tower 2. It collapsed a short time later, and Mr. Giberson remains among the missing firefighters.

Mr. Giberson had spent the previous Saturday with his daughters at the Great Kills Swim Club, where he was on the board of directors. It was the last weekend the pool was open for the season, and Mrs. Giberson is especially grateful the girls spent that time with their father. “He was very involved in their swimming,” she said. “The girls’ swimming achievements brought him so much pride and joy.”

A novice golfer, Mr. Giberson played at several charity events, one for the last 10 years with his fellow firefighter, Michael Kotula, also of Ladder 35. Mr. Kotula played last with his friend on Mr. Giberson’s 20th anniversary. “He was a happy guy and he loved the game, but he wasn’t really good at it,” Mr. Kotula said of his friend. “His handicap was that his hands were so big, they almost took up the whole club. He had to get extra long grips. If he grabbed you with one hand, you weren’t getting away.”

“But what made him happiest was spending time with his girls,” he added.

Mr. Kotula also gave into his friend’s request to join him on a day of fishing this past summer. “I think is was the quiet and calm nature of fishing that he liked,” he said. “As opposed to the hustle and bustle of his other work.”

Mr. Kotula, who had worked with Mr. Giberson at Ladder 35 for the last 19 years, recently moved to the South Shore, where he was closer to his buddy. “Jimmy and I spent a lot of time together, especially the last few years. My kids are older, but we talked about certain situations he was starting to experience as the his girls grew up,” he said. Mr. Giberson was also a talented wallpaper hanger, something he did on the side, according to Mr. Kotula. “I tried to help him work on my home once and he told me the only way I could help him was to get out of his way,” he said. “He had the job done in a couple of hours.”

Mr. Kotula said Mr. Giberson probably helped most, if not all, of his firefighting brothers the same way, and never accepted a dime. “I tried to pay him once, but he just tore up the check,” Mr. Kotula said.

A lifelong Islander, Mr. Giberson was a dedicated athlete. He played for the Mid-Island Little League as a boy, and spent many years in the Staten Island Touch Tackle League — the way he met his wife. She had been dragged to a game by a friend, and met her future husband for the first time in an after-game celebration in the team’s sponsoring restaurant.

“The Fire Department was a great part of his life,” said Mrs. Giberson. “He never wanted to leave Ladder 35 or his friends there. He did talk about retiring, not unusual after 20 years of service, but I don’t think it would’ve been soon.” According to his wife, Mr. Giberson was also a great cook. His daughters loved his chicken parmagiana, but chicken cordon bleu was one of his specialties. “Nobody made it like him,” she said.

I found the following on a message board. It was written by his oldest daughter, Erika.

Wow dad its been 2 ½ years today 913 days I have not seen you, laughed with you, talked to you about the weirdest things. Within thse 913 days you have missed so much of my life…you would be so proud of me. It’s been so long.

I miss your big bear hugs.

Hobbies & Interests:
I know your still here
You’re the wind in my hair.
The smile on my face
The tears that I cry
I miss going to 6 flags and seeing how excited got just to be with me kari and sara on the craziest of roller coasters
But most of all I just miss you
I am so lost without you

RIP I love you
and miss you so much

Obituary:

GIBERSON-James. (F.D.N.Y.) Of Huguenot, Staten Island, on September 11, 2001. Loving husband of Susan (nee Nordgaard). Devoted father of Erika, Cari and Sara. Beloved son of Harold and the late Geraldine. Dear brother of Nancy DiCostanzo, Robert and Richard Giberson. Also survived by 10 nieces and nephews. Friends and family are invited to gather at Casey McCallum Rice Funeral Home, 30 Nelson Avenue, Staten Island, on Thursday, October 4th, 2-4PM and 7-9PM. Memorial service Friday, October 5, at 1 PM at Christ Lutheran Church, 125 Cleveland Ave., Great Kills, SI. In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to the Memorial Fund of Christ Lutheran Church or UFA Widows and Children’s Fund, 204 East 23 St., New York, New York 10010.

To read more tributes to the innocent victims of 9/11, please go to 2,996, We Will Never Forget.

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