Thursday, September 27, 2018


(I)f there’s one thing women* don’t need, it’s another reason to feel unwelcome...
(*or anyone)

For all the brouhaha about political correctness, and my own grappling to find the line(s) I will not cross, and the boundaries to delineate in interaction with others, I've never found a better phrase than the now-problematic "PC" itself. Thank you to Joel Kim Booster for providing the best conceptualization: "As a human being, I find accountability to other people extremely important... I don’t think we’re really willing to do that math. Is this joke worth being an asshole?" This laser-focuses the fact of community, of the dynamics of interaction. Also, this is a nice, multifarious view of retroactive linguistics. Balance.

"The politics of a Dick Wolf police procedural are simply less visible to many—including, apparently, Wolf himself—because they mirror the politics of the privileged. For middle-class and affluent white people, a pro-police, pro-institution worldview is apolitical because it’s neutral to them. It is neutral to Dick Wolf. That worldview is not politically neutral for black men, or trans people, or victims of sexual assault, or impoverished people, or basically anyone who isn’t a wealthy white person." It is unnecessary for me to add anything to these words but the link.

Art. It's cool. It's wearable. Let's take a breather from my recent posting and look at neat wearable art - more than mere costume, here we have musings from science fiction to avant garde to "red" to under-the-microscope entries. I think my favorite is Quantum, but "shell" packs a pointed punch today of all days.

penetration without consent

If the accepted legal definition of rape is penetration without consent: two boys raped me in my youth.

I have been raped twice.

That is one hell of a brainful. And one, I'll be honest with you, I am not prepared to accept.

To explain ...

I have long said that my experience of sexual assault has been pretty tame. Even if we change the name of experiences of my past, this is true.

But, of course, this week, I have been forced , like millions of others (not all women, but probably most of us), to grapple again with old experiences.

Like Dr. Ford, this is nothing I asked for, nothing I desire - much as the two penetrative acts in my past were without my consent. Revisiting these things is no pleasure. Does not feel constructive. And I am old. These things long past. Redefining my very life is difficult both emotionally and just in literal *terms*.


The first was a boy in my crowd. We were friends, we flirted, one night he gave me a ride somewhere, we started kissing, and he started something more. I didn't even get in his back seat, he just crawled over to my seat.

He didn't get far, he didn't get violent, he didn't finish anything, and I tried to tell myself I was not broken.



It's a word choice both literal (not that most girls of seventeen or eighteen, whatever I was, had intact hymens in the mid-80s; we were physically active enough that that was mostly an antiquated measure of virginity) and figurative. No, this guy didn't make me bleed. But he broke a TABOO, in the most human-lawful, mystical sense.

I was raised with the most intense focus on virginity. To this day, when I am fifty and have been in the process of menopause for just over a year now, my mom has nightmares of me turning up pregnant or promiscuous. From the youngest age, I understood that the consequences of sex were not merely that I would be a sinner, but that I would lose the life I understood. Sex all but *equalled* pregnancy in my instruction, and pregnancy was a one-way ticket out of my family and my home.

Whether this would have ended up actually happening is academic: I expected it, and the moral fury with which it was presented as inevitable was sufficiently cowing.

Fourteen years ago now, on a trip with my mom to her hometown ... I came to a real understanding of just what drives her sense of sexual morality. Mom was considered an "old maid" by twenty-one, in a place where some of her high school friends were married before graduation. Oh, their sex was sanctioned - but it started young - and so mom was an odd bird, working and unmarried well past her sell-by date. There was alcoholism and abuse in the community, and she protected herself from all of these things by having a plan for her life. She set her mind upon marrying a college man. She preserved her virtue, she found my dad, they were discussing marriage by date #3 (my mom does not fool around - pun intended). They were married that December. She may have seemed old to some, by her marriage, but it's not because mom could not act when the time came.

Between her religious faith and her rigorous life plan, my mom's dedication to extramarital purity is something I finally came to appreciate in a real and practical sense. I met those who had formed her, other than my family, and things snapped into greater focus.

Focus is not something we have when we're very young.

As a kid ... my appreciation for virginity, being more conceptual than anything else, took on the hue of my own spiritual values.

And I was named Diane.

There was a boy I "liked" twice - the first boy I ever kissed, whom I actually dated later, during my junior year - and not one of the boys this post really is about. But he gave me a formative brainworm of sorts.

This boyfriend once talked of The Daughter Goddess. We were both theater nerds, we were also at "that age", when philosophy is still both breathless and Ever So Arch, and his talk of me being named for the goddess of the moon, and chastity (and childbirth and the hunt and virgins etc. - this was not a new obsession to me, even then) led to his proposing an archetype. In the mythological family, there is the Father God and the Mother Goddess, and a guy looks for the Daughter Goddess, when it comes to love. Whatever his idea of that is, and this guy had a type - I once thought a pic of an ex-girlfriend of his was me - he cements that in this archetypal family myth, and seeks her.

My identifiable goddess being rather wrapped up in virginity - and mom's and my church's morality - and consequences being ever present in my life ...

Well. Virginity was not merely that thing I needed to keep track of, lest I lose the comforts of home, it took on a talismanic magic, and was MADLY important to me. It was romantic and dangerous, and fundamental to who I was, particularly at that age when sex starts to become a serious issue in our lives. Virginity was the greatest treasure I understood was wholly mine.

This spiritual view provided me a cover story in a time where some of the people around me were losing it, and was a shield I began to burnish in my imagination.

I actually dated a decent amount in high school, and I also had flirty friends both in and away from school.

It was one of the mall guys who got horny, didn't quite take my whole mythology and good girl thing seriously, and ... he took a shot. He also did back off, even if too late by my standards. Bottom line:

He never would have gotten that far at all if it were not for the given cultural dynamic, which still stands: his gratification was more important than my consent. Hell, than my actual, specific and clear DISsent.

Even if only for a minute. Even if he backed off.

Is this rape?

I remember odd details. He said he was convinced the "smell" of a girl's intimate body was urine. I can still remember his pronunciation of that word - not intentionally cruel at all, just a steeped, conditioned, unthinking and unconsidered contempt. Like, this thing I want so much, this thing I think I need - it's still gross. It's dirty.

He drove me back to my car, I guess. I don't know where we were, or where we went. The moment eclipsed the context.

The effect of those few moments, for me, were pretty difficult. Semantically. Emotionally. How could I rewrite this story to make myself not broken?

Whatever the medical scope of the thing, or complete lack of anything I now would or could sanction describing as "sex" - for that girl I was: my virginity was gone. My shield.

I hadn't "let" anyone do anything. That I did know, never questioned. But I also hadn't succeeded as any sort of archetype, *nor* as my mother's daughter. After that, I was ... compromised. Broken?

From there, it was technicalities and playacting. *I* thought I was altered - I thought I knew I had been damaged, lost that thing that was wholly my own. But the horror of that being "true" - being  known - kept me acting like nothing had changed. Nobody else in the world needed to know. Nobody else could anyway. Even right now, I think.

I have acted that way to this very morning. THAT night is not one I have ever allowed to be what ... it was. Even now, to relinquish the power of that thing that was wholly mine, which I lost without my consent, is more than I can bear - even just the semantics of it. Now, it is the idea I really wasn't a virgin that sounds contrived to me, sounds not real.

The revelation this morning ... is that I need that still. This is shocking to me. That this still holds. Right now. Today. That I am not past this place.

I needed it that much. I needed not to have been violated. Because violation made ME impure. Imperfect.

Wholly mine, no longer whole.



Life moved on for a good while. I think I told nobody; TEO, did I ever tell you? Mr. X, did I ever tell you? That guy and I still hung with the same friends, but more rarely as I lived somewhere else in college. I recall no anger and no animosity. Life shifted, and he was an irrelevancy.

And then there was the roiling pit that is white, privileged University life.

Dating is not a given in college, but I actually managed "relationships". More-advanced crushes that got mutual. The guy with the metaphorical towel. The guy who took me to a movie, and gave me his coat (I found out this summer, BEx still has that coat - and no, it wasn't his - hah!). The one in the pink shirt.

It was in a relationship that The Thing That Was Not a Rape took place.

That is what I literally called it. Until this week. The Thing That Was Not a Rape. I was penetrated. I didn't consent. But (that dark secret I had not told) I wasn't a virgin in my own mind, and maybe my defenses were down. Or off. The Thing took place in a pretty charming relationship, actually. He was *sweet*.

And here I tread un-surely, thinking ... It can't not be possible to convey the psychological blow to me this thing was. The spiritual chasm over which I was propelled, flailing away like Wile E. Coyote over a canyon. Flailing for decades, disbelieving I could fall.

The Thing That Was Not a Rape ... wasn't even about me. It was barely about sex. He was drunk (the only time I remember that happening), and eating his heart out about someone else's accomplishing something before he did.

He took me home.

We'd gone out on a date, and *both* of us had a rotten time because he was feeling bested. He was young, and got drunk easily - precipitately.

He did not hold me down. He did not even silence me. His body was just ... bigger. It was on top of mine, and a certain body part was in a certain state. And I had left home without a chastity belt that night.

I complained. He was a bit woozy and focused on his upset. Something he'd ... lost. Nothing permanent. It was just an act of frustration, of taking something else, when his real interest and goal had been usurped. Sour/other grapes. In fact, he achieved his goal himself, in greater fashion, soon enough. Not soon enough for me, that night. Thinking that now - it is a sickening coda. My stomach revolts, I edit, I pause, I write again.

It literally had nothing to do with me.

That is when, even now, I believe I "actually" lost my virginity. The guy who actually meant something to me. That made it ... better? Something not acceptable, but supportable? Less-worse. I wonder now, is that even sicker ...

Endurable, as you get older, as you form yourself. These are the things that form our selves. No longer having deniability is a release.

Really, the vase was broken. That was when I could no longer deny it, anyway.

Whatever justifying superstructure or semantics or Jesus-appeasing earthwork defenses I had built around that first time I was violated longer fit as scaffolding this time. The earthworks were breached, and so was I.

This *broke* something important to me, about me, in my fundamental self.

Maybe for a week, I reproached, and, though the stewing never stopped for me, I quit talking to him about it. The relationship continued. Then it didn't. Ultimately, that was because of the Thing, though I don't know that we ever spoke about it again. I sabotaged things other ways, he sucked in other ways, relationships end.

To this moment, I have never concerned myself with whether he even remembers the Thing, never mind what he'd think of it after, or might have thought at that time. He may not be aware; many men are not. I'm NOT sure I would ever reach out to say what I am saying here. It might be illuminating for him. It is possible that to communicate whatever weak sauce might hint at the flavor of that moment in my life, of the way it's changed the whole recipe of my existence, would be constructive beyond myself.

But I am old, and I am tired. Honestly, I give not two shits about his illumination, and am skeptical it would lead to good for me or for/from him.

And, ultimately: this has nothing to do with him. Could have been once, perhaps. Not anymore. His life is his to reckon with, that is not my job nor my desire. This is wholly mine now.

Why would I fight him on the facts, or burden him with the truth? What the hell is the truth? "I was raped." It might be a fact, but I've never let it be my truth. Can't conceive it.

Least of all in this moment, when I am grappling - again - with this Thing ... That Was a Rape.

... ?

Was it? Without question - ever - it was violation. Both of these things were violations, physical and in every way. But sex is a murky thing. Humans are a soup of atoms and events and subjectivity and real facts, which sometimes are untenable, even internally contradicting.

I have made excuses for the second guy for decades now, and I don't despise him. I just can't deal with remembering that, or contemplating it.

Were he be nominated for high office? what would I do?

I honestly do not know.

TODAY is the day Dr. Christine Blasey Ford must do what I, right here, both am doing, and am refusing to. Doing and not doing.

Life went on. That was the choice I, and most other women on Earth, have made.

For me, life going on was unexpected. It left me confused.

I punished myself for years. There is no doubt I punished certain men. And ... my mom.

I punished her for giving me this simple standard, which I had built up to very literally mythic proportions, to shore up and even justify my own behavior (or lack of it), and which became the core of the worst parts of my experiences and who I was.

I was a punishing wife to BEx, and it stemmed from my broken faith. The silly mythology being so important to me I had trouble even with faith for many years ... my resenting its breaking. My great personal story had been rejected. I had been damaged in the violations, and finally, irrevocably, could not be remade nor reborn. Sex and men. I had to remove myself from both, and I did so ungracefully, because I had gone and gotten married. There had to be time. To learn, and breathe, and hopefully grow.

I saw it when I became a wife. The bitterness, and its metastasis. It made me angry to know I was so angry, and I was positive I had no room, if I were in a relationship, to find the way to stop. These things are a path, and it wasn't a path I could travel with him. It's why I took a hand in destroying our marriage, not that I was alone in our failure. BEx had and has his faults, but we were doomed very much because I was broken, and had not admitted it, and thought there was no room to remake anything out of my pieces. Flailing, I broke things.

This is probably the most edited post I have ever produced for this blog, and even still it feels incomplete and raw. I'm not ready for some of the words in here. The concepts may marinate with me for the rest of my life.

Friday, September 21, 2018

Yet more reasons we call him "Beloved" Ex

He shared this with me, and the love is sensational. It's way out.


The click beyond? Shine on You Crazy Diamond. Which is just worth it for SYCD, because seventies progressive trippy music is impossibly, irreplaceably magnificent. Memory, memories. Yes.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Hatched. (AGAIN.)

Why didn't she say anything?

Because the assault was violent and harrowing, and because speaking about it led to death threats and her entire family being forced into hiding. She is being violently attacked (AGAIN) and having hands put over her mouth (AGAIN).

And she spoke not entirely voluntarily - her initial communication was anonymous, but she was outed, doxxed, and now harassed.

Attempts to assassinate her character, even before the character in question revealed her identity. Attempts to dismiss her, falsely, as “a major Democratic donor with a long history of left-wing activism.” To question her motivation under the (also entirely false) premise that Kavanaugh’s mother had once ruled against Ford’s parents in a home-foreclosure case. To brush aside the specific allegations she has made about what happened to her as a 15-year-old girl—being trapped in a room; being pinned down, her mouth covered so as to muffle her screams; being groped at so violently that she thought she might die—as the delusions of an unreliable narrator. It’s not her fault, Orrin Hatch, the Republican senator from Utah, concluded this week, magnanimously: The matter is simply that Christine Blasey Ford, in her recollections, must simply be “mixed up.”

During these hideous moments, during this crime that was perpetrated against her without any repercussions ever having come for Judge or Kavanaugh: she thought she might INADVERTENTLY DIE at these boys' hands. This is a fear an awful lot of women and girls have to live with. This fear is commonplace. It is all our lives, all of us "boys" and "men" prey upon constantly.

This fear has repercussions for us. If we "fail" to act, "why did she not say anything?" is the desserts for a girl, or the woman she becomes who gains courage to speak. If we act ... it can be worse. From the vulnerability that is routine, new risks arise. I've known of a young woman JUST THIS YEAR who did not prosecute a stalker. And I understand why she felt she could not.

Senator Hatch, I remember you from Anita Hill's testimony. I have never forgotten you, and never been able to so much as hear your name, in the GENERATION since then, without anger and horror.

Senator Hatch, you were loathsome then, and you are possibly even worse now.

Senator Hatch, you are a serial molester of women's agency and humanity.

He held her down. He covered her mouth to stifle her screams.
He held her down. He covered her mouth to stifle her screams.
He held her down. He covered her mouth to stifle her screams.
He held her down. He covered her mouth to stifle her screams.
He held her down. He covered her mouth to stifle her screams.
He held her down. He covered her mouth to stifle her screams.
He held her down. He covered her mouth to stifle her screams.
He held her down. He covered her mouth to stifle her screams.
He held her down. He covered her mouth to stifle her screams.
He held her down. He covered her mouth to stifle her screams.
He held her down. He covered her mouth to stifle her screams.
He held her down. He covered her mouth to stifle her screams.

He held her down. He covered her mouth to stifle her screams.
He held her down. He covered her mouth to stifle her screams.
He held her down. He covered her mouth to stifle her screams.
He held her down. He covered her mouth to stifle her screams.
He held her down. He covered her mouth to stifle her screams.
He held her down. He covered her mouth to stifle her screams.
He held her down. He covered her mouth to stifle her screams.
He held her down. He covered her mouth to stifle her screams.
He held her down. He covered her mouth to stifle her screams.
He held her down. He covered her mouth to stifle her screams.
He held her down. He covered her mouth to stifle her screams.
He held her down. He covered her mouth to stifle her screams.

And ALL that he stands to lose is a seat on the Supreme Court of the United States of America. That is the entire peril faced by Kavanaugh.

She is in hiding, and her entire family under threat of not at all inadvertent death.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Knowing, and not knowing

2018 spent, so far, wrapped up so tight in my own family, in our loss ... I only just found out a friend has been, essentially, widowed. The last time I saw her, late in May, was the last time she worked where I knew her.

Tears fall on my chest, and I think of Mr. X - about whom I have not even blogged now, maybe in years - and my whole soul begs ... please. Don't let this be us. Him *or* me.

It is a bruise, it is a guilt.

It is horror, the truest sense. Guilt must be the greatest horror.

A friend told me, "She was always excited to see you."

I had no idea. It means ... too much.

Tears fall on my chest. This brick, this fat, this bone, this blood.

Life is so brutal, and short. Surely, that is to some point.



Friday, September 14, 2018


The hard-knockers won...

How about a good old history-of-fashion link again, for the first time in a while? Or would you prefer astronomical pursuits? Here we have science and style in one. "My seamless isn't space-less anymore!" Or is "My Barbaloot (space) suit's a convolute!" better? Hidden figure shapers? Choose your pun ... Either way, click away; worth the story, especially its ending. On the development of NASA's first space suits - by way of Racked.

You don't wick power from the powerless. Equilibrium is conductivity: the process of greater resource dissipating into areas with lesser resource - heat is drawn into chilled space, a concentration of density expands into less-dense space, etc. Where there is greater power, lesser power doesn't creep in, it absorbs whatever is released.

Okay, and SO. MANY. PLOT BUNNIES. I love so much of this, every paragraph seems to have a brilliant idea for another story or novel or play or movie or graphic art. I'm not even working on the WIP anymore, this is too cruel! Even The Atlantic's unconscious bias toward theoretical blue collar workers (who, "perhaps" might be a load of alcoholics) is interesting ... Hmmmm.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Florence and the (disaster preparedness) Machine

Yes, it is coming this way. Forecasts, of course, vary - but the upshot in more than one tracking-map I've seen seems to point to pretty intense inland flooding, which means: for all the frustration it took me dealing with JES (ugh) to get it, I *am* provisionally glad I have a pretty new sump pump and waterproofed basement.

For all the frustration JES caused me over a year and a half trying to get it right, I will also be WATCHING carefully to see how well the 'proofing and pump will perform.

As for the rest of it ... I stopped this morning for gas. There was a pretty impressive (but blessedly not static) queue, and this at a station with ten pumps. There are several gallons of water for me and the fur kids, kibble enough for them for more than a week, and for me some less-perishable foodstuffs and a non-electric can opener. Tonight, I need to remember to throw several large bags or bottles of water in the freezer; these can help it act as a cooler for at least *some* period of time in the event of an outage. Other than that, plentiful candles and funeral fans.

Funeral fans, for those not familiar with this Southern tradition, are good-sized stiff paper fans, most often provided by funeral homes for those ladies sitting beside a burial in the hot Southern summer. These fans outpace any folding fan I've ever had, for maximal air-movement output. And, fella babies, I can tell you: as a woman enjoying the frequency of hot flashes reserved for those of us passing out of August and our fertile years, moving air is not low on my priorities list in facing this possible emergency.

It tends to be hard for me not to be amused at the way my hometown responds to the merest whiff of emergency. We go mad for grocery stores and water when weather calls for anything beyond routine, and so when a disaster may actually be looming, the drama still looks quaint - because, frankly, I've seen this city go nuts time and time again, when six flakes of snow were in the offing. Sixty miles away.

So, facing what could end up being a twenty-four-incher on uncertain heading, but looking likely to visit here, even if peripherally ...

Yeah. I'm amused by my community. But don't think I didn't buy gas on purpose, and that inventorying the hand-fans and water available are just entertainment.

As seldom as I have troubled to actually *write* anything here since my stepfather died, I will check in.

For those of you so much closer to the impact of winds and real danger: my prayers are with you. Be well, and check in when you can too, please. Donna. Colin. Anyone in the Carolinas.