Hold on, hold on, hold on

I was in a car accident on November 2nd, 2011.  It was the other driver’s fault.  His insurance company doesn’t see it that way, and is refusing to pay out for my medical bills or the loss of my car.  The lawyers I’ve spoken to agree with me, but my case isn’t strong enough for them to take on.

I am in pain.  Every day, I am in pain.  I have a headache every day  My shoulder feels like I’m being stabbed.  My back hurts.  Every day.

To get on disability, I need to verify that I am injured.

To hire a lawyer, I need to verify that I am injured.

To verify that I am injured, I need to see a specialist.

To see a specialist, I need to get into a low-income healthcare program.

I have been waiting to get into the low-income healthcare program since February.  They were supposed to mail out my card two weeks ago.  As of this morning, they have not mailed out my card.

Even with the mythical card, I will still have a $500 deductible, every month.  This means that I will be responsible for the first $500 of my medical care.  And it resets each month.  And each month, I need to reapply.  So if I need to get tests or treatments, I need to pack them all into the same calendar month so that I don’t have to pay more than $500 out of pocket.  And I don’t know how I’m going to scrape together $500, anyway.  But it’s better than not having any coverage at all.

I make $10 an hour.  I work as close to full-time as I can.  I am always in pain.  The work I do, while simple and not particularly physical, aggravates my injuries.  I can’t afford to not go to work.  And my job hurts me.

So I spend a lot of time on hold.  I make a lot of phone calls.  I have to be a tireless advocate for myself when I have never in my life been so tired.

I get out of bed.  I go to work.  I make the calls.  I get put on hold.  I wait, and wait, and wait.

I don’t know what to do but keep trying.

Days like this, I don’t know what to do with myself

On July 13th, 1996, when I was 15, I was raped by an acquaintance.  I at first consented to sex while fully clothed, but by the time (maybe an hour or two later) that he wanted to get down to it, I had changed my mind.   He kept making advances after I’d voiced my objections.  When he was rubbing my back and trying to slip my clothes off, I said “I don’t want to do this,”, and he said—I still think this is amazingly stupid—“give yourself over to pleasure.”  And when he was trying to put himself inside me, I had to tell him to stop three times before he let me go.  I threatened to kill him if he didn’t get off of me, and he finally listened.

It wasn’t violent, in that there wasn’t a knife to my throat or anything.  But he did have knives, birthday gifts he’d received the week before and had brought along to show me.  And I wasn’t injured, unless you count my innocence.  That it ended quickly, before I was even sure I could call it rape, that he didn’t ejaculate, did nothing to comfort me.  It clouded things. I wasn’t sure whether I was still a virgin or not.  For fifteen years, I doubted my own version of the story.

The same summer I was raped, I was dating someone four years my senior.  And after what happened, I wanted to settle the lingering question of my virginity by having sex.  But my boyfriend wouldn’t do it.  I was only 15, and we weren’t in love.  He didn’t think it would be right.

I have always been grateful to him for that.  I decided I still was a virgin, because what happened hardly counted and I hadn’t wanted it anyway.  I did my best to minimize the experience in my own mind.  I was reluctant to tell people about it.  My parents, when I told them, said things that were less than ideal.  They didn’t know how torn-up I was about what had happened.  I didn’t let on.


A few years ago, I went looking for information about the boyfriend I’d had the summer I was 15, the one who wouldn’t sleep with me because I was so young and we weren’t in love.  I found out that he was convicted of rape in 2008, for forcing himself on a 13-year-old and plying some 14-and-15-year-olds into sex with alcohol at parties that he and his roommate held.  He was 30 or 31 when he was sent to prison, and isn’t eligible for release until 2026.

I have no doubt that he is guilty. He was always a troubled person, the sort of guy you’d have no problem believing could do something criminal.  I’d hoped he’d done something better with his life, and in fact had heard from his brother that he was doing well.  So I was saddened to read about what he’d done, because he’d been decent to me.

I wrote him a letter in prison.  This is what it said:

It’s been years since we saw one another—ten years, maybe?  I was still in high school, and you were working at the candy store.  I wrote to your brother some time ago to find out how you were doing, and he said that you were doing well.  It saddens me greatly to hear what a downturn your life has taken.

If it were someone I didn’t know who committed the crimes you’re in prison for, I’d say hang him by the balls and leave him to die.  But ever since I heard about the charges against you, I’ve wished I knew of some way to reach out.  I wrote about you on my blog, and that’s how I found out that you’d been sentenced.  There are people in the world who want to defend you, and plenty of people who feel, as I do, that what you’ve done is reprehensible.  Still, I knew you once.  I can’t shake that thought.

What I remember about the time we were going out is how very respectful you were of my youth and virginity.  You had an odd habit that endeared you to me; you wouldn’t touch any part of my body that was covered by clothing, and you never removed any of my clothing yourself.  I don’t know what changed in you.  Your girlfriends didn’t get any older, that’s for sure.

I found out about your crimes by doing a Google search for your name sometime last year.  I was shocked, and wrote about you on my blog.  One of the posts has become sort of a mini discussion group for people who knew you.  Someone, who I assume is your former roommate, wrote to say that you’d been sentenced.  So I went on [a crime website], paid ten dollars, and found out where you are.  This morning I called the [State] Department of Corrections to find out how long your sentence is (Oh My God) and how to reach you.

So that’s how I know where you are.  I don’t know why I felt the need to get in touch with you, but I did, and so here I am.  You can write back if you want to; in fact, I’d like it if you did.

I hope that, even in prison, you can manage to make a decent life for yourself.  You are in my thoughts.  Let me know if there’s anything I can do, within reason, to help out.

He wrote back seven hand-written pages, and it was creepy as hell. He denied what he’d done, and I never wrote him another letter.


On Tuesday night, I did a Google search for the name of my rapist.  I don’t know what I was expecting to find.  I was curious.  What I found was his name on a sex offender registry.  He was convicted of rape in military court in 2007.  It seems that he served two years in prison, something I deduced by the fact that he didn’t register as a sex offender until 2009.  And like the other instance, I don’t doubt that he’s guilty.  Perhaps of a lot more than he was convicted of.

The day after I found out that I was not his only victim, I walked around in a daze.  I didn’t know what to think or how to feel.  I wasn’t sad or distressed, exactly, just very full of thoughts.  Troubled.  Confused.  And I was baffled by this feeling I didn’t know how to process: relief.

I didn’t make it up.  I am not wrong to say that I was raped.  I’m not a bad person for maligning the reputation of someone who maybe just made an honest mistake.  He’s not a good person.  He’s a bad person.  I am so, so sorry for whomever else he’s hurt.  I am lucky to have gotten away so easily from him, even though the memory of that day still makes me sick to my stomach.  Apparently someone else wasn’t so lucky—he’s classified as a violent offender.  And I hear it’s hard to get rape prosecuted in the military, so I don’t think it’s an incredible stretch to say that what he did must have been pretty bad.

I have felt guilty and ashamed about being raped for half of my life.  As twisted as it is, I feel better knowing that he is the bad one, and that it wasn’t my fault.  I’m sorry he raped someone else. I hope he never hurts anyone ever again.  But there’s a sick solace in knowing I’m not the only one, it wasn’t my imagination, I’m not overreacting, he is a rapist, and it wasn’t and isn’t my fault.


How did my life intertwine with that of two rapists in that summer?  How did I meet two such damaged, damaging people?  I was a fairly sheltered teenager, I grew up in a small, safe town, I didn’t get into much trouble, do drugs, hang out with the wrong crowd.  I am incredibly lucky am I that things didn’t end up so much worse for me, and I am incredibly sorry for the later victims of those two terrible men.  My mind reels.  My heart sinks.  There is absolutely nothing I can do except try to purge all these feelings, and try to find some peace.

It’s just me and my dog…

Mom asked if I’d take our dog, Lily, for a walk tonight.  I was wearing shoes and Mom wasn’t, and I never really mind getting  out and seeing the stars, so I agreed happily.

But we couldn’t find the leash.  It’s one of those nice, retractable ones, and it’s hot pink, so it should have been easy to spot.  But it just wasn’t there.  Mom went digging through a cabinet and found something that would do: Sam’s old leash.

Sam was the first dog I ever had, the only other dog I’ve had.  We got her when I was eight, when my family was living on a ranch in Hollister.  I think I must have named her, because “Samantha” seems like the kind of thing an eight-year-old girl would name a puppy.  She was a mutt, apparently part Husky and mostly Question-Mark, and she had the coloring of a German Shepherd, but the coarse hair of a Lab.  She weighd about 50 pounds and was good at responding to verbal commands.  You could walk her without a leash.  She had the softest ears I’d ever felt.  I called them “velvet ears.”  She got stinky when she didn’t have a bath for awhile.  Sometimes we’d let her wander the neighborhood, and I had a special way of calling her, almost a song.  “Sa-MAAAAAAAAN-thaaaa.  C’mere, c’mere puppy!  Saaaaaa-mmmmy!”  And she’d always come, and you could hear the fast beat of her paws seconds before you’d see her.

She was a damned good dog, was Sam.

She got old and she died.  She was a shell of herself by the time she finally went.  I was maybe 23 when I got a call saying that Sam had died.  By that point, she wasn’t fun anymore.  I hadn’t really cared about her in years, if we’re being honest.  She was more a stinky, incontinent burden than anything else.  And she just made me so sad, seeing her so old and feeble when she’d been the best dog a kid could hope for.  It was a relief when she finally died.

I hadn’t really thought about Sam for a long time until my mom pulled that leash out of the cabinet tonight.  And I attached it to the collar of my spunky little Lily-Pie, my sweet puppy who doesn’t always come when called, who you can’t even think of walking without a leash, and I thought about my first dog,  my Sammy.  And I remembered what a good dog she was, what a sweet dog, and how much I loved her.

And now I’m crying harder than I’ve cried in months.

Damned dog.

How to fight the loneliness

I feel like crap today.  Here are some things  I do (and you can do!) to not feel quite so crappy.

  1. Make sure to keep eating, even if you don’t want to.  Even if it’s something small, make sure you put nutritious food in your belly.
  2. Get out of the house, even if it’s just to go to the store.
  3. If you think of something that might help, no matter how silly, try it.
  4. Find ways to distract yourself.  Books and music both help.  TV just numbs you, but maybe that’s what you need.  Try a book first.
  5. Remember that this too shall pass.  There have been good days, this just isn’t one of them.
  6. Don’t mope around with gross hair and dirty sweatpants.  Get ready for life, even if you don’t have anything planned.
  7. Do something indulgent.  Take a bath, take a walk, take a nap.  Treat yourself a little bit.
  8. Don’t sit around eating carton after carton of ice cream or whatever.  But feel free to eat a small bag of M&Ms or a reasonable portion of another treat.
  9. Get in touch with friends, just to say hello.
  10. Keep breathing.  Sometimes that’s all you can do.

you wreck me baby, yeah you break me in two…

…but you move me, honey.  Yes you do.

About two years ago I had just gotten out of a yucky four-year-long relationship.  I sold the engagement ring, cut off all my hair, and got a tattoo.  And then I met K.

He didn’t want a girlfriend.  He didn’t want anything serious.  He certainly didn’t want to be monogamous.  He made it clear that I wasn’t to get carried away.

But I fell head-over-heels, ass over tea kettle.  Mind over matter?  Anyway, I was crazy about him.  He really didn’t seem to mind.

But, again, he didn’t want anything serious.  Well, hell, neither did I!  It was great to have someone in my life who wasn’t trying to, as I like to put it, eat my soul.  We enjoyed each other’s company, and then we went home.  We saw each other about twice a week, on average, for a year.  And it was lovely except when it really wasn’t lovely at all.


He was more Clark Kent than Superman, more Edward Norton than Brad Pitt.  But his kisses made me walk into walls.  The way he smelled drove me crazy.  I’m convinced his skin secretes an addictive chemical.  And like any worthwhile addiction, it was fantastic when it was good and achingly awful when it was bad.

“…it’s like the sun shines on you, and it’s glorious. And then he forgets you and it’s very, very cold.”  -from The Talented Mr. Ripley

His smile is one of the greatest things I’ve ever seen.  Especially when he was smiling at me.  These past couple of weeks, when I’ve been missing him, that’s what I’ve missed the most.  That smile.  How much we used to laugh.  Dimples and crooked teeth, and a gleaming glint of a sparkle in his eyes.

When I said his kisses made me walk into walls, I wasn’t kidding.  I’d lose my sense of balance and direction and just… stumble.  Dead sober, even.

I have never in my life loved anyone the same way I loved him.  I might not ever love anyone like that again.  And I’m wondering how to live with that.

Ten months ago we stopped seeing each other.  It wasn’t anyone’s fault, and if we have to assign blame, it would probably fall on me.  I behaved rather horribly and while it seemed necessary to cause a ruckus at the time, I regret it now.

He never loved me, you see.  He says he doesn’t know if he’s ever loved anyone in that way.  So here’s me ridiculously in love with him, and he’s– what’s a good word– ambivalent?  indifferent?  heartless?– not in love with me, anyway.  So after a year of this, I thought, well FUCK, Folsom, it’s been a year.  If he doesn’t love me by now, he isn’t gonna ever love me.  It isn’t going to change.  This will always feel horribly lopsided.

I once said I’d not only give him a kidney, but I’d tear the fucking thing out myself if I had to.  While this was an exaggeration, I’m pretty sure he didn’t feel anything similar for me.  He always paid for my drinks, but that’s not the same thing.

So it had to end.  And I wasn’t strong enough to end it myself, so I acted wretched so he’d have to end things.  Every time I had tried to walk away, I found that I couldn’t.  I loved him too much.  I was addicted to his skin, his smile, his company.  But I knew he’d have a much easier time letting go of me, so I made it real easy for him to walk away.  And by Gosh, he did.

We went out for drinks a couple of times in the months after that, and it was painful, but I enjoyed seeing him.  It was almost like old times, minus the naked, sweaty aspects of our former relationship.  It was nice.  We laughed.  We smiled.

I haven’t seen him in about six months now.  He got himself a bonafide girlfriend and doesn’t want to see me anymore.

I would give a kidney to see him again.  If I had to, I’d even tear it out myself.

Not really.

But I might be willing to buy my own drinks this time.