Monthly Archives: August 2014

Best Way to Reheat Pizza in the Microwave

 

The best way to reheat pizza is in the oven or in a non-stick pan on the stove.  However, it takes a lot less time in the microwave and lots of just go that route.  So, if you reheat your pizza in the microwave, make sure you put a glass of water in there with it!  The water will prevent the crust from getting all rubbery and impossible to eat.  Also, microwaves tend to heat the bottom of your pizza slices really well, but not so much on the top.  I want my cheese to be, if not melted again, at least soft and warm!  So flip your pizza slice over (cheese side down) for the last ⅓ of your reheating time (I reheat 1 minute/slice).  It’s not long enough to melt the cheese so the cheese is not going to stick to your plate.  But at least your cheese won’t be cold.  You can always reheat longer to get the state of pizza that you want.

If you give it a try, let me know in the comments how it turned out!

The Story of You & Me: In The Beginning, Part I

Before We Met

Pictures of the hubs and I before we met. Mine was take in 1994, his was taken between 1990 – 1994. He’s using The Club as a pretend gun. Do y’all remember the steering wheel lock, The Club?! I’m at work in a bank. BTW, that bug was NOT on me. I don’t know if it was on the camera lens or in the developing machine at the drug store, but I am rocking the shoulder pads!

It was March 29, 1995 and my 3rd day at a new job – a teller at a credit union.  The 1st two days were spent in Human Resources-led orientation with all the other new hires.  I spent that 3rd morning being introduced to the other tellers, going over things with my head teller and reading from my manual.  After lunch, I was taken out to the line to get to know my way around their teller stations.

As I looked out at the branch lobby from behind the line, a man caught my eye.  He had a big presence.  He wore an olive-colored suit that set off his completion beautifully.  I’d never seen a man look sexier in a double-breasted suit!  Everything was suddenly happening in slow motion and Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On” was playing in my head.  He walked, no strutted, across the lobby with confidence, saying “Hi” or pointing with his hand in the shape of a gun and winking at everyone in the lobby.  I’m pretty sure my mouth was hanging open.  After making the rounds in the lobby, he went down the entire teller line, saying hello to all the ladies.  I was in the last station with my trainer and when she introduced him to me, I don’t think I even said a word; just stared.  As he walked away, there was only one thing on my mind: “I.  MUST.  HAVE.  THAT.”

Yup, it was lust at first sight!  Which was a good thing.  I’d falling in love and gotten my heart broken twice in the previous 3 years and I was definitely not looking to fall in love a 3rd time.  For the next two months, I threw myself at this man.  I’d never chased a man before and I did it shamelessly at work.  He was nice and friendly to me, but he was like that with everyone.  I dropped all kinds of hints that I was interested and then stopped hinting and went full on obvious, but he never asked me out!  So I decided I was going to ask him out.  I needed to know if he was interested in me because if he was, let’s get it on and if he wasn’t, I was movin’ on!

One May Saturday morning, I was the 1st teller to get my drawer and head out to the line to get ready for the branch to open.  Here comes Mr. Double-Breasted Suit walking down the teller line like he does at the beginning of every shift to say hello to all the tellers, but I was the only one out.  I thought, “This is my chance!”  He came to my station and started to open his mouth to say something but I cut him off.  “Would you be interested in going out with me,” I asked.  He was taken aback.  “As a matter of fact, I was coming over here to ask you out,” he said.  I literally rolled my eyes, crossed my arms and made the duck face at him.  “Yeah, right,” I said, laced with sarcasm.  “No, seriously!  I was!  You can ask the guys!  I just told them I was coming over here to ask you out.”  I went back to counting bills and said, “Whatever.  If you’re not interested, just say so.  It was a simple yes or no question.  I don’t need to be lied to to spare my feelings.  I’m a big girl.”  Just then, the door to the back opened and 2 other tellers came out to the line.  He hissed at me, “This isn’t over,” said good morning to the other ladies and went back to his office in the lobby.

My face flamed.  I was angry, but at him or myself, I wasn’t quite sure.  I was not going to cry at work so I held tight to that anger.  I kept going back and forth: kicking myself for being such a bitch to him and then telling myself he’s a liar and not worth it.  That was the longest shift of my life!  Like every weekend, it was busy in the branch, so I concentrated on serving my members and not scanning the lobby for him.  About an hour into my shift, I rang my bell to let the next member know I was available and they were slow to walk down to my end.  So I chose to sweep the lobby.  Big mistake!  He was out there, already looking at me, and our eyes locked.  The emotions that quickly flashed over our faces reminds me of the end of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off when Jeanie almost hits Ferris with the car and their eyes lock – surprise –> eye’s squinting in anger –> wicked smile –> game on.

I’d never had so much electricity, so much sexual tension going through my body before.  My members kept looking at me funny, probably wondering if I was tipsy or psycho.  The rest of that shift, our eye kept meeting across the branch and my face would get hot just looking at that sexy specimen of a man.  His smile spoke volumes to me and I kept singing in my head, “I’m going to get LUUUUU-CKYYYYY!”

Our first date was in the afternoon.  He took me to J. Paul’s in Georgetown for a late lunch.  I’m a shy person (I know, asking him out even surprised me!) and have a hard time making conversation with people that I don’t know very well.  Add in the sexual tension and I just knew I was going to blow this!  But he was one of those people who could and would talk to everyone, so I didn’t have to feel pressure.  He was interested in learning about me, he talked about himself and he was comfortable with silence.  That made me comfortable, as well.  He was a perfect gentleman: held doors, pulled out my chair, helped me on with my sweater when I got chilly.  He was actually too much of a gentleman.

When he drove me home, he immediately got out of the car, walked around to open my door and helped me out.  We walked towards the walkway to my front door and I was all giddy inside, anticipating our first kiss.  I was concentrating on it so much that I didn’t realize he was no longer with me until I got to the front door!  I turned around, confused, and found him at the bottom of the walkway.  He had stayed there, choosing not to walk me to the front door.  He smiled at me, thanked me for going out with him, told me he’d had a great time and that he’d see me at work.  I just stared at him with a confused look on my face.  He didn’t get in his car, though, so I had hope.

“Don’t you want to come up here and tell me goodbye,” I asked.  “I just want to make sure you get inside safely and then I’ll go.  I have some things to take care of,” he replied.  I walked inside and closed the door behind me, crushed.  Everyone knows what happens at the front door and if he didn’t want to walk me up to the door than he didn’t want to kiss me.  Either he wasn’t interested in me or he was interested in a relationship.  I shuddered and hoped it was the former and not the latter.  I did not want a relationship; I just wanted to get naked with this man!

My attitude towards him changed immediately; my walls went up.  I wasn’t going to invest my time in someone who wasn’t interested nor in someone who wanted a relationship.  I’d experienced serious hurt in my life and I wasn’t going to let anyone in again.  If he wasn’t interested in a casual, sexual relationship, then I wasn’t interested in him.  However, he asked me out again, for an evening date, and I said yes.  What the heck was wrong with me?!  What was it about him that made me throw my backbone out the window and say “yes”?  Well, I’ll go, but I won’t enjoy myself, I thought.

He was the perfect gentleman again and kept the conversation going, ignoring or being amused at, my barbs, short answers and “Mm-hmm”s.  I was grudgingly impressed that he didn’t give back all that I was dishing out to him, and the fact that he didn’t cut the evening short.  Maybe he was interested in me but didn’t want to appear too eager and kiss me on the first date?  I wanted to hope but squashed that idea.  We got to the end of the walkway and I proceeded up, alone.  *SIGH*  He thanked me for the evening, said he had a good time, yada, yada, yada…whatever; I just went inside.

I was done with him.  I tried to just be cordial with him at work and succeeded in being cold most of the time, but that man was so damn good at disarming me!   Sometimes he’d make me smile and feel good and then when he walked away I’d get so mad at myself.  Regardless of the fact thta I just kept getting meaner to him, he was calm, attentive and charming. I figured I was challenge to him.  He wasn’t interested when I was but now that I wasn’t interested in him, he saw me as a conquest.  Fat chance!

Then I found out the real reason he hadn’t kissed me, and I didn’t even hear it from him.  I had to hear it from a co-worker.

To be continued…

Moms

I went to a memorial service today. The mother of a school friend of mine died last week – suddenly, unexpectedly and too early. At the end of the service my friend got up and read a letter she’d written to her mom this week. It was funny, it was reminiscent, it was sweet, loving and it was sad with regrets: the biggest one was that she didn’t get to say goodbye.

She also said something in that letter that really stuck with me. I’ve been thinking about it all day. It was one of those sentences that gets deeper every time I go over it in my head. Every time I think about it, I get more and more meaning from it, see more examples in my own life. She said:

Moms are our first loves, our first friends and our first enemies.

It’s made me think about the stages of my relationship with my mom and the one with my son. She was my first love, my first friend, my first enemy and I have been his. It’s a wonderful, burdensome blessing and cross to bear, motherhood. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world!

The perspective and understanding I’ve gained from being the child and then the mom can bring me to my knees at times! It quite humbling and overwhelming.

After the service, I went to my parents’ house and hugged my mom and hugged my son. I told them both that I loved them. I told my mom what my friend had said and thanked her being all three to me. And when it was time to go home, I held her close and told her goodbye.

Haters Gonna Hate; Potatoes Gonna Potate!

Have y’all seen this furniture commercial about the wife who gets a new chaise lounge?  I love her!  She so belongs on that chaise and she rocks the turban.  She is the happiest person on Earth, reveling in that chaise!  However, her husband is most definitely not.  I don’t know if he’s jealous because he didn’t get the recliner he wanted or he’s just been listening to her say, “SHAAAAAAAAAZZZZZZE” all day long and can’t take it anymore.  Oh, dear!  I literally cannot stop laughing, even now, over her saying that word over and over again!  Her joy fills me with joy.  But her husband’s being a hater!  I’d think he’d be tickled pink for her and proud that he bought her the “SHAAAAAAAAAZZZZZZE” (LOL) she wanted.  But, NOPE!  Not him!

Even people who are close to us, friends, loved ones, spouses can be “haters”: not happy for you, chose not to share in your joy, annoyed by all your positivity or jealous of your joy and success.  And that’s alright; that’s all on them.  This husband not only wants to argue about how to pronounce the word, he’s not even right.  Instead of pretending to read the paper and being annoyed with his wife, he could be on it with her!  She could be stroking him instead of the furniture.

We can’t control the reactions of others and we certainly should not allow them to control ours.  My advice is, when faced with a hater (or a potater), put on your turban and say, “SHAAAAAAAAAZZZZZZE” as you walk away.  I guarantee you’ll be filled with joy!

Stories of You and Me

My hearing has been coming back and going away sporadically over the Summer. Yesterday, I said to the hubs, “Babe? My voice, in my head, sounds really loud all of a sudden.” He replied, a little scared, “What is it telling you do?”

This morning we were standing in the kitchen, hugging, and I said, “Thank you for providing so much love, laughter, peace and security for the last nineteen and a half years.” He replied, “You’re welcome, but I’m taking today off!”

Worthiness

Very few people read my blog and the comments I receive are even fewer. I lamented over that for years. Do they like what I write? Do they not like what I write? Do they want more of one topic, less of it? Give me some feedback people so I may provide to you!

So I read the advice of successful bloggers: select one things and blog about that; you have to find your niche; determine who your target audience is and write to them; who are you going to be – a chef? a homeschooler? a thrifty shopper? Art Linkletter (Kids Say the Darndest Things)? You have to pick one!

But I realized after seeing Glennon Melton talk this Spring, that I was focused on the wrong person – you. I should be writing for me. This is my sanity keeper, to get what is out of my head so I can move on. This is my record of what goes on in this house because I will forget if I don’t write it down. This is my recipe book to refer back to when I don’t know what’s for dinner. So I’ve written more for me the last few months.

A friend told me a couple of years ago that I help people. She said, “You write about things that no one else will share, but they’re things we’re all thinking. We tell ourselves that since no one else is saying them, no one else must be going through this; it’s just me. I can’t talk to anyone about it this because they’ll think I’m crazy or a bad mom.  Then you go break the code of silence and write out the same feelings I have inside.  It matters to us.  You may not know it, because we’re not as brave as you, we won’t publicly say ‘THANK YOU’ but we are thankful.”

That meant the world to me at the time.  I need to keep that in the forefront of my mind.  Y’all are out there!  I may have made a difference to someone.  And I no longer care if you raise your hand.  It’s OK, hon.  You’re not alone.  I’m here.  Me and my big mouth and my big keyboard (It’s really a small keyboard.  Doesn’t even have the number key pad on the side and I get so irritated that I have to type numbers in from the row at the top.  I was speaking figuratively about the keyboard.  But not about my mouth.  That really is big.)  And I will picture you, dear friend who need not feel all alone, giving me a mental high-five.

 

My Night As a Hooker

You read that right; I was a hooker for one night.  Not by choice, mind you, but a hooker nonetheless.  It was a harsh lesson for me in human behavior, what one would do when they needed money.  Some background for you…

I grew up white, Catholic and middle class, surrounded by mostly white, middle class people, in a suburb of Washington, DC.  I didn’t smoke, drink, party, sneak out, lie to my folks nor have pre-marital sex.  And none of my friends did, either.  That was my world.  The first college I went to was just like my high school only twice as many students and no  Catholic school uniforms.

But shortly after arriving, I felt the need for a change and transferred to a culinary arts school in another state.  Holy, moly was that place different!  There were 8 males to every 1 female.  The majority of the students were African-American and the average age of freshmen students was 27.  I don’t know about now but, at the time, drug and alcohol use was prevalent in the food service industry and most of my fellow students had been working in the field for years already.  I didn’t know what a drunk person looked like and it was confusing to have a nice, friendly conversation with someone at night and they not remember who I was the next day.  My fellow students came from all different financial backgrounds, states and countries.

Oh my goodness, I just remembered the day, freshman year, that one of my roommates threatened to kill me!  Good times, good times, that cookin’ school!  Sorry; getting off track! Will save that story for another post.  Back to the prostitution thing…

It was the Fall semester of sophomore year and I was rooming with one of the 3 roommates who had not threaten to kill me the previous year.  We were renting a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment and I brought my white daybed from home.  I set the trundle up all the time, so it was like sleeping on a king-size bed!  Later, I would regret having so much room in that bed.  My roommate, we’ll call her Maria, did not come from a middle-class family and she approached me one evening with a proposition: she wanted to pimp for me.

Yes.  That reaction right there?  The one you are having with your eyes bugged and your jaw on the ground and the, “Wait, WHAT?!”  That’s the same reaction I had.  But she was serious.  She was a business major and explained her whole business plan to me.  You remember the stats I gave y’all up above about the students with whom I went to college?  She pointed out that the supply of young, white girls at our school was quite low but the demand was high.  She wanted to find and screen clients for me and would make sure they all provided proof from the local health department that they did not have any STDs nor tested positive for HIV.  After passing her “rigorous” background check, I would still have final say on whether or not I would have sex with them.  I thought that was a very considerate clause to add to our contract, don’t you?  And for all her hard work, she would only take a 25% cut of my fees.

I was amused, then shocked, then horrified!  “No!  Abso-LUTE-ly not,” I screamed.  But she wouldn’t let it go.  She kept trying all evening.  I finally went to bed to get away from her, but she crawled in bed with me and kept trying to change my mind.  She even tried to play on my sympathy and make me feel guilty, by saying I didn’t know what it was like to be poor and could I please just do this for her?  The next day, neither one of spoke to the other.  By the end of the week, tensions had subsided some between us and I was sure she’d let the idea go.  I was so naive.

Maria and I were hanging in the living room Saturday night, talking, laughing, listening to the radio as usual.  Then we said goodnight, went to our respective rooms and I closed my bedroom door.  Hours later, something caused me to awaken.  My eyes popped open.  Something was definitely not right in my dark bedroom, but I couldn’t figure it out.  Then something touched me on my right side, followed by something touching me on my left side.  I screamed bloody murder, jumped up and leapt off the bed towards my bedroom door.  I didn’t stop to turn on the bedroom light nor look back at my bed, I just ran, screaming, hoping to wake Maria.

But there was no need.  She was already awake and entertaining some “gentlemen” in our living room.  I stood there, blinking fast in the lamp light, confused by the guys on the couch as well as the slurred voices coming from my bedroom.  Two guys finally extricated themselves from my blankets and stumbled into the living room.  I recognized them; they were roommates and took classes with Maria.  I didn’t know what I was more – scared or angry – as I stared into her calm face.  I took a deep breath so I could start yelling but she quickly dragged me back into my room and shut the door.

Her explanation?  The two who had climbed in bed with me were clients, as were the others waiting their turn in the living room.  Being the meek, pleasing girl that I was back then, she thought I would be too polite to make them leave once they were already in my bed.  I told her they all needed to go and that this better not happen again.  “But they’ve already paid,” she whined.  “Couldn’t you just do these two?  For me?  What’s the big deal?  It’s not like your cherry hasn’t already been popped.”  That last sentence was declared coldly.  I realized I wasn’t her friend; I was merely someone to exploit.

That was low.  That really hurt.  That opened my eyes to a side of humanity that, in my “little white bread world” as she called it, I didn’t even know existed.  I didn’t know how to fight like she did, but I got in her face and told her she had 1 minute to return their money and clear everyone out of my apartment or I was calling the police.  I didn’t sleep at all that night.  The next day, I told her she needed to find a new place to live.  The lease was in my daddy’s name, only, so she couldn’t argue.  The following weekend her family drove in from out of state to move her out, but her older sister asked me to please let her stay.  I didn’t tell her family why I wanted Maria out; I just let them know that this was not going to work and she had to go.

I do have to thank Maria for one thing – picking the right guys to be my first clients.  They were nice boys and harmless drunks.  Even though it was two against one and one was on either side of me in my bed, they didn’t try to stop me from leaving.  It could have been much worse and I don’t know if Maria would have helped me or not .  After all, she’d already gotten paid.

My Greatest Regret

Buckle up, readers, this is a long one!

Two plus decades ago, on my 3rd week of freshman year in college I was raped.  That’s how I lost my virginity.  I was a goody-goody, Catholic girl who had never smoked, drank, partied, lied to my parents and I wanted to save myself for marriage.  I wasn’t attacked by a stranger; it was someone I knew.  Both of us were sober and it happened in the middle of the afternoon.  I was an active, willing participant in the physical contact we shared up to a point.  Then he started hurting me and I told him to stop.  I told him I changed my mind, that I didn’t want to do this, to please stop and get off me, I wanted to leave.  He told me it’s supposed to hurt, to be quiet, it would be over soon.

I was a wreck for almost 2 years after that.  No.  “Wreck” is too mild of a word.  I was paranoid, unstable, in fight or flight mode most of the time and I didn’t even know why.  There were three, possible reasons that I came up with to explain why I had become a crazy person: 1) I was grieving the loss of this boy because he had broken up with me, 2) I was grieving the loss of my virginity (my mind could not deal with it being rape at the time, so it convinced me that I had merely lost my virginity), or 3) I was possessed.

After a few weeks, my mind did what the human mind does best and protected me.  It gathered all the memories of that afternoon, tucked them away in a locked closet and no longer let me have access to them.  Unfortunately, that left me with no “rational” explanation for the paranoia, being unstable and always in flight or fight mode.  I thought I was mentally ill.

I had this terribly urgent need to get out of the state where I was attending college.  I didn’t know why, but such a frantic, desperate need to stop drowning had to be heeded.  I transferred to another college two states away and I though I had solved the problem.  I ran out of the frying pan and into the fire!  That is my greatest regret.  I should have left college, gone home and gotten help.  I only got worse without help and the new college provided so many more problems!  I had been so sheltered as a child that I was not ready for, nor could I handle, the diversity of human nature that attended and taught at the second college.  But that’s fodder for several other blog posts!  ;o)

I wasn’t the only one who suffered for those two years.  My poor parents  went through Hell, too.  There were days when they couldn’t even bring themselves to pick up the phone when their crazy daughter called.  They didn’t know what to do for me and their hearts could not been torn into any more pieces and still survive.  I was pulling them under with me!

The urge to flee did not go away once I was two states away from the scene of the crime.  I would be in the middle of class, on a public bus, making a sandwich in my dorm or sleeping when the urge to run hit me.  My skin started crawling, all the hairs on my body stood up and I literally wanted out of my skin.  I tried to peel my skin off once, but my nails have always been week and brittle because I don’t like milk, so I didn’t get far.  It’s funny, looking back, because I was at culinary arts school and carried a briefcase full of knives around with me.  Why didn’t I ever think to use one of them to peel my skin off?  I’d certainly skinned enough meat in class!  That beautiful, complicated mind of mine must have kept that thought in the locked closet, too.

I still didn’t know what I was so afraid of, but the urge to flee was so desperate that I had to heed it.  I went to Florida for a long weekend with some of my friends.  I visited my grandparents in Vermont.  I walked out of class and hid in bathroom stalls for hours.  These urges to flee came more and more frequently, from weeks apart, to days apart, to hours apart.  I also realize that the feeling of security after fleeing was getting shorter and shorter until even running did not rid me of whatever it was I was escaping.  That was when I came to the horrific realization that I could not run from “IT” because it was INSIDE ME.  I truly believed that I was possessed by an evil spirit and there was nothing I could do about it.

Throughout this entire time, I had not turned to God for help.  I couldn’t.  I had mortal sin on my soul and I wasn’t praising and thanking Him for the good things (of which there were none) so I wasn’t worthy to ask for His help.  The only solution I could come up with to end my pain was suicide.  However, at the time, the Catholic Church still considered suicide murder.  So, even if I went to confession before killing myself to receive absolution for the mortal sin on my soul, committing suicide would have been another mortal sin and I’d go straight to Hell.  I was already LIVING in Hell on Earth and at least one day I would die and it would end.  I could NOT be in that state for eternity!  I know that does not make sense, but when you are crazy, so are your thoughts!

So one night, during my last semester of my associates degree, I talked to God.  I didn’t want to live anymore!  I could not fix this or get rid of this and my whole family was being effected by the demon inside of me.  I could not commit suicide and never see Him nor my family again, if there was even the slightest chance that this horrible sinner might get to Heaven, so I asked God to take me.  No, I BEGGED Him to take me!  I selfishly pleaded with Him to put me out of my misery because I was not strong enough to bear this, whatever THIS was, anymore!  I was never going to be a productive or even functioning member of society and I feared I would just go madder until one day I would not stop myself from banging my head against the wall when I saw blood.  I feared I would just keep going until I killed myself and I worried how that would effect whoever found me.  Once again, it’s amazing to look back on the crazy way of thinking I had.

I cried and begged for several hours and at some point I collapsed, exhausted.  I felt such despair when I woke up, alive.  He had given me His answer and I was right all along: I was not worthy.  He didn’t want me in Heaven with Him.  I was on my own.  I know now I really wasn’t.  Because the thought of suicide never entered my mind again.  That was Him.  And I decided to seek out counseling.  My parents had been begging me for almost two years to talk to someone but I refused because I believed they would lock me up in a padded cell for the rest of my life and I’d have no opportunity to kill myself in there.

I never questioned back then why I did such a 180 and went to therapy, but I know now it was Him.  All I had to do was ask and He gave.  Some may say that if God truly existed and truly cared about me, He should have stepped in and helped me earlier.  But that’s the beauty and the curse of Him giving us Free Will.  He will not interfere and force Himself on us but he waits with open arms and scoops us up whenever we turn to Him, no matter what we’ve done nor how much time has passed with our backs to Him.  I hate that it took me until the age of 36 to learn that about Him, but I know it now and am so grateful for it!

I started visiting a counselor and she did not laugh nor call the men in white jackets to haul me away when I told her I was possessed.  She asked me why I felt that way and to describe to her what it was like to live in this body for the last two years.  She was kind and was so sorry that I’d carried this for so long.  She wanted to find out when I became possessed to help her figure out the solution to getting the beast out of me.  We walked backwards through the previous two years and reached a black hole.  There was a week, the 3rd week of freshman year to be exact, that I could not account for.  But I was a normal person before that week and then possessed after it.

Each session, she gently asked different questions, trying to narrow down what could have happened that week and I could not help her.  Then one day, she found the door.  I didn’t realize it existed, but once she found it I got defensive.  It must be there for a reason so I must protect it!  I would not open that door!  She was honest with me.  Opening that door would probably make me feel even worse than I had the last 2 years.  The process of getting better could be more hellish than being sick.  But she promised me that it would eventually get better and she would be with me throughout the whole process.

I thought about it for days.  When I went back, I handed her the key to that door.  I was so embarrassed to find out after all this time that I was acting like a crazy person merely over a breakup!  I had put my parents through Hell because I was the only fuddy-duddy left that wanted to remain a virgin until I was married?!  I apologized profusely to her; my face had never been so red.  She got up from her chair, came over to the couch where I sat and gently placed her arms around me.  “Honey, you were raped,” she said quietly.  “What?!  NO!  You’re crazier than I am!  Weren’t you listening?”  “I was,” she replied sadly, “and you were raped.  It doesn’t matter that you consented to some things or if you consented to everything and then changed your mind later.  It doesn’t matter how little or how far along a couple gets.  If at anytime one person no longer wants to participate and the other does not stop, it’s rape.  You told him it hurt.  You told him to stop.  You told him you changed your mind and he did not listen.  You were raped.”

She just held me gently for several minutes while my mind processed what she’d said.  I went through a lot of emotions – denial, incredulity, anger, fear, grief, and finally relief.  I wasn’t possessed.  My “demon” now had a name.

She was right; climbing out of the Hell I’d been in for two years was worse than being in Hell.  Reliving it all, processing it all, wondering how I could ever trust myself again to judge someone and the regret that I didn’t seek help sooner.  She asked me if I wanted to report the crime.  I didn’t have to, it was a personal decision for me to make with no judgement from her either way, but she wanted me to think about what I wanted to do.  When the details came out from behind that locked door, I remembered that there were 2 other people present in the room at the time.  If they did not help me then, I didn’t think I could count on them to testify for me in court.  I didn’t want to live through it all publicly, only to have the trial turn into a character assassination on me.  So, we worked on getting me better only.

Then one day I was chatting with my friend *David and got the worst news.  David asked, “Do you remember that guy you were seeing the beginning of freshman year?  Well, *Daisy was using the restroom in between classes the other day and saw something strange written on the wall of her stall.  It said, ‘Stay away from *John Doe!  He is a liar and a rapist!’  You don’t think it’s the same guy, do ya?”  I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach.  I couldn’t breathe and the room around me started to go black.  Is it possible that he did it again?  I felt so guilty for locking my memories away for two years.  If I had only gotten help right away and reported what happened to me, maybe he would not have been able to do it someone else!

I was a wreck for days and still was when I went to my next session.  My counselor said all the right things – you couldn’t have known, it might not be true, you’re not responsible for his actions, etc. – but it didn’t help.  Finally I stopped crying and said, “I want to report it.  Help me.”

A month later, my mom drove me to the college campus where I was raped, the same campus where *Daisy had seen the message on a stall in the ladies room.  The campus detective who took my statement was wonderful.  I told all the details, no matter how embarrassing nor how much that thought in the back of mind screamed, “He’s going to tell you you weren’t raped!  You participated in this!”  I guess he saw the self-doubt in my eyes when I finished, because he said, “I’m so sorry you were raped. Have you received any assistance?  I can recommend help for you if you need it.”  After I assured him that I was covered, he asked, “Do you want to name your attacker?  You do not have to.  Just walking in here is so brave but I have to ask.  It’s OK if you don’t; most do not.”  I provided the detective with his full name.  He asked me if I wanted to press charges or if I just wanted the report on file.  I told the detective what *Daisy had seen on the wall and asked him to check for other reports at this college and locally.  “I only wish to file at this time. However, if you find another report, you call me and I will press charges.”  I cried.  He put his big hand around mine and said, “It’s not your fault.  Not what happened to you nor what was written on that bathroom stall.”  He handed me a box of tissue and then left to type up my report.

My mom had been silent since we walked into the police station.  She had never heard what happened to me until I told the detective.  She put her arms around me.  “I’m so sorry I put you and daddy through this for the last two years,” I cried.  We left after I read over and signed the typed report.  The next day the detective called me to let me know he’d checked all reports at his college and another college the boy had transferred to and found no other reports that named him.  That did not make me feel any better.  Most rapes go unreported.

I don’t moan over what happened nor beat myself up over the two years I suffered.  My mind knew what it was doing, at the time knew what I could and could not handle and I am grateful for that.  My mind only had one responsibility and that was to me and my survival.  However, I know now the quality of my life and my parents could have been so much better if I’d sought help sooner.  And I’ll always think how my lack of action might have affected the author of that bathroom “graffiti”.

“We all do things we desperately wish we could undo. Those regrets just become part of who we are, along with everything else. To spend time trying to change that, well, it’s like chasing clouds.”
― Libba Bray

 

* Names have been changed.

That’s Counts-to-Ten-Before-Reacting Jess, to you!

How come only royalty (Baron, Lord, Queen), knighted folks (Sir, Dame) and those who went to school longer than I did (doctor, professor) are always addressed by their titles but the rest of us aren’t?  We should all be addressed by and introduced with a title of our choosing!  Everyone, chose a title for yourself.  Don’t stress over it; you’re not going to be locked into it.  We all wear many hats and can change our title, as we see fit.

One day you can be “Maker of Human Life” and the next day “Bad Ass Business Leader”.  What title(s) would you like before your name?  Domestic Goddess?  CEO of (insert your last name) Enterprises?  Director of Education, Head Teacher, and/or Principal for us homeschool parents?  Saint?  Jack of All Trades?  Bodacious Blogger?  Monsters-Under-the-Bed Hunter?  Woman of the Year for the 12th Year in a Row?  CPA?  Uncle of the Year?  Super Dad?

Share with me, in the comments, what title(s) apply to you and I will address you by them from now on.

Kickboxing Class

Reposting from January 2011 for Throwback Thursday. Enjoy! #tbt

You, Me & B

The karate studio where I work has kickboxing class for adults twice a week and, as an employee, I can go for free. I have been thinking about going for quite some time, since I keep getting bigger and bigger, but I haven’t done it. I was afraid to go. Afraid of the unknown, afraid of what the other people in the class would think of me, afraid that I would not be able to keep up, afraid that any exercise whatsoever would make me barf in public, afraid of not having any appropriate clothes that fit me to wear…you name it, I tortured myself with it and just sat at home.

Thankfully, a friend and co-worker of mine started going to the class with her husband last month. I kept saying that I would show up at class one night since I actually knew someone there, but I never…

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