Sunday, January 21, 2007

The World Is A Dangerous Place

A few years ago in the lone star state, I went outside my parents' house to greet a friend. As I hugged him, I felt my legs sting with a thousand points of pain, and looked down to see that I had stepped into a swarm of fire ants, beastly creatures. I screamed and brushed them off as fast as I could while my sister yelled, Take off your shorts and run some cold water. Sit in it. I did as she said, watching the hives appear on my once pristine legs. The homespun cure was not taking. Turns out that it needed to be hot water to diffuse the poison. The cold, in fact, was making it worse. Despite immediate action, something I generally resist, and all the best intentions, the situation was a fuck-up, much like a screen door on a submarine.

A few years after my rape, I went to the college counselling center for help. After talking to a very nice woman, she referred me to her supervisor. I'm a little out of my league here, she said. I mostly just deal with students who can't manage their time. I broke down and told the supervisor dude everything -- how I was carrying a gun to the bathroom in case someone broke into my apartment while I was taking a bath, how I carried it into each room (the apartment only had two), how I freaked every time the wind blew or someone opened a nearby door. I don't, he said, see anything wrong with taking your gun to the bathroom. The world is a dangerous place. I looked at him with an incredulous expression, picturing year after year of relaxing bubble baths with a loaded pistol by my side. Can I have some Valium? I asked. I'm not that kind of doctor, he said. So I kept carting my gun to the bathroom, knowing I was absolutely batshit, but hey, a professional had said it was fine. A professional I had stopped seeing, thinking he wasn't all there either. At least, I suppose, he didn't tell me to sit in cold water to heal myself because God knows, I would have tried anything.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"I like beautiful melodies telling me terrible things." Tom Waits

Cocktail Hour

Drinking music suggestion: B Sides and Othersides Morphine

Benedictions and Maledictions

Happy Sunday! And check out -- He's bringing, to loosely paraphrase Mr. Justin Timberlake, poetry back. It's hysterical!


JR's Thumbprints said...

As usual, your writing is top notch. I can not keep up. In fact, I am totally exhausted from last night's poetry reading and have to take Monday off. I don't know how you do it Michelle. Oh, incidentally, if you count all those major misconduct tickets I've written on inmates, then I've probably made a sizable amount of money on my written work. Not that I'm bragging or anything.

Anonymous said...

AAAAhh the healing, the steps necessary to take to overcome the pain and fear and anguish of whatever it is that hurt us. Hot water instead of cold, the gun as security blanket. TJ's inmates constant compaining to kill time that they know is hurting them and their families.

I guess the healing is the trick isn't it? I've had to heal many broken bones and doctor slit up skin in the past few decades and Before that I had to heal up from the emotional and sexual abuse of the decades before and since then.

I did find that throwing words down on paper didn't do it for me, that was just something that came naturally. And it wasn't any great faith or even the passage of time.

I know what it was for me but for you (the all inclusive you) it may or may not be the same thing. It wasn't becoming invisible because I have been pretty much invisible for 52 years, and it wasn't walking through Harlem or Watts or Detroit without so much as a care if I lived or died,was targeted or not.

Healing wasn't religion or Zen or knowing that kharma will give back to them what they have given to me.

Healing wasn't the massive amount of drugs I have consumed (sure you can have some valium)and God know's it's not forgetting because I remember an entire life time from the first heartbeat in my mothers womb to this day.

Healing isn't the passing of time as we count time to be for some each tick of the clock for their whole life time is reliving the trauma, for others it is escape.

Healing for me came in the form of never allowing anyone to ever force me to do something I do not want to do, ever.

I can't change the past; not one whit of it can be shrunken to nothingness. My healing didn't come when I came to be 6 foot tall and 240 pounds but it didn't hurt. It came when I lost the factor of being able to be intimidated in any situation, knowing that for me death is preferable than to ever to be made felt helpless or smaller than anyone or thing again.

Louis Jordan said...

I got ants in my pants.

Norah Jones said...

I like Oscar the Grouch.

Anonymous said...

In the May 8th flood of 1995 in New Orleans I was wading in waist deep water at night when I walked through a floating ball of fire ants and it broke all over me. Luckily I'm not allergic because I got bit a bunch of times that night, some in special places.

Jimmy Cagney said...

Top of the world, ma!

George Costanza said...

Go New Orleans Saints! Rise from the asses! no, ashes! er,mud! We're with you Mayor Ray Nagin and Reggie Bush! You don't have to move to Texas anymore! Screw Barbara Bush!

Kramer said...

Go Patriots! Beat the Colts! I'm really sorry I said those things.

Anonymous said...

I don't know but maybe it's a good thing when we are told that what we are doing is okay. Possibly a good therapist is one that just lets you know that you are not crazy. You are simply coping.

Just like now...when they release me from the straight jacket every four hours for thirty minutes so I can type. Life is good.

Anonymous said...

Susan you got a point there... Hay can I get a jacket please... Those things looks so cool to run around in... hehe

Michelle I cant tell you what to do and I really don't want to... But a big peace of healing is the part of acceptance... You have to accept that it all happened, okay maybe you did I dont know. And yeah I know its easeir said than done. But it's the biggest part of any healing of the mind and soul.

Good luck thou... Hope you succeed in all than you sould...

Blessed Be!!

paul said...


Anonymous said...

It's relieving to hear about your gun.

And here, fire can be quenched by boiling, heat with heat. But fear is just so cold, and cool guns -- can they quench the chill?

I'm wondering....


view from the other side said...

This is not intended to be cold and unfeeling, crass or flippant. I am a male and have never been raped, so I don't know the aftermath associated with it. But I have had some bad shit happen. Lots of people have. I think we all go through a similar cycle of shock, denial, attempts at understanding, and finally, learning to live with it in some capacity. Its this last one that will either kill you or heal you. For me it was simply the realization that it happened, I can't change it, but I will be damned if I will let it define my life and forever live under its darkness. I hope you have found that place.

Anonymous said...

I don't know if that very professional, telling somebody everything is OK when it's obviously not. I thought therapy was intended to minimize delusion.

Special and Short bus said...

On top of the world, ma!

Naga Sadhu said...

While bathing in the Chicago River, I was raped by the local chapter of the Hell's Angels, this was in 1965.

Anonymous said...

"They" say rape is only a power thing, not a sexual thing . . . and while I think most things are a power thing . . . power is arrogance and arrogance is thinking that everything exists to please and satisfy one's needs. Rape is arrogance in getting one's sexual needs - as sick as they are - met on demand. Maybe only another women can understand that. Rape is theft in the most arrogant of ways. I'm sorry you had to go through that. Mine was date rape - so he drove me home and all.