Suggested listening: “How Dare You/Lazy Ways” by 10cc
Today broke me.
How can we ever recapture the feeling of hazy ways?
Today I read Ronan Farrow’s article in The New Yorker about Harvey Weinstein’s decades of sexual assault of young actresses and company employees. Then I read Terry Crews’ tweet-storm about a different executive grabbing his crotch at a Hollywood party over a year ago and how it triggered him again. And he didn’t say anything until now.
It just broke me.
I have been in a low mood lately. Comedian Ralphie May died a few days ago, age 45. A fellow morbidly obese feller. He died too young and it shook me up. This stuff today worked on me.
By coincidence, not only am I morbidly obese I am also a survivor of sexual abuse. This is not something I’ve talked about publicly until today. Because of shame and embarrassment.
I feel like I’m doing the best I can right now. Like I’m hanging onto the ledge with white knuckles and people don’t understand that. They want to know why I’m not doing more for myself. Motherfucker, I’m trying to survive here.
I’ve lived in shame for most of my life because of some actions that happened in my childhood, actions that weren’t my fault at all.
I have some understanding of what it felt like to be an aspiring actress taking a meeting with Harvey Weinstein. To be pressured and pressured by a powerful, influential man into something you don’t want to do until you just let it happen to be done with it so you can get away from it. In my case, it was a local man, an elder, a pillar of the community who was a successful businessman. He gave to charity. He was active in his church. He was a serial abuser. When he was finally indicted, it was for dozens of charges going back over two decades.
He got away with it for a long time until suddenly he didn’t. He went to prison, I don’t remember how long. But there is the difference between him and Harvey Weinstein, who likely will not face any criminal charges for at least three alleged rapes and numerous sexual assaults involving fondling and indecent exposure.
For my part, I didn’t say anything about this to anyone for another four years or so, when he finally got charged. By then I was in high school when a state trooper made numerous stops to interview me. I guess he got a tip. During the trial, the prosecution wanted to bring me in as witness but I begged my family to not make me do it. I didn’t want to see him, even if he couldn’t hurt me anymore. I definitely did not want to be identified as a victim. I didn’t want word getting out that I was a victim of this guy. I never wanted that because I knew how cruel kids were.
I went to school with some of the dumbest, meanest kids in the known universe. They would pick on somebody over anything. They would make fun of somebody who’s dad died because his dad died. A boy who got molested by a grown man is chum for sharks like that.
I didn’t see my attacker every day but I saw those shitheads five days a week and had they known my secret, I might not be talking to you right now. I might have killed myself. These were terrible people. When I say not to kill yourself just because the world sucks, I mean it because I’ve lived it.
I’ve lived most of my life in shame and embarrassment. It is these things that embolden the attacker, the molester, the rapist. They count on our shame and our embarrassment to make us complicit in their abuse, their crimes. That is why we have to keep hearing that it wasn’t our fault. That is why we have to keep telling ourselves that it isn’t our fault.
But it still feels like our fault. And then you get social media jerks attacking the victims. “Why didn’t you say something earlier duh-duh-duh?” Or straight up not believing them for whatever reasons they can find that will allow them to live with their decisions. It’s far easier to be a dickhead to strangers now.
Meanwhile, my life has been ruined and I’ve been in denial the whole time. My approach to relationships, food, sex and who knows what else has been altered, rippled and distorted permanently. Let’s just push all this baggage to the back of the mind. And then this Weinstein stuff this week. And it reminds of the Catholic sex abuse scandal(s). And Fox News paying off five victims of Bill O’Reilly who were sexually harassed. And the story of Roger Ailes, late former Fox News exec. who coerced women into performing for him. And the hideous story of the late Jimmy Savile, BBC radio and TV presenter who abused and raped everyone from teenagers to children to coma patients. I could go on and on.
I go deep and dig out the skeletons in my closet. They weren’t mine, somebody else put them there with no permission to do so. I wouldn’t face my attacker in court. The district attorney took pity on me and withdrew the subpoena. I don’t want to be a victim or a survivor. If anyone is going to label me, it should be me. Don’t I have that right? Doesn’t everybody?
Nobody knows this is everywhere. From Main St. to Wall St., from Hollywood, Cal. to Hollywood, Fla., in business, in government, churches, schools, and so on. So many of our institutions hold within them the dark heart of the American dream. Generations of hurt.
How can we get back to lazy ways? Everybody knows this is everywhere.
You’ll never get up if you don’t get up.
I release myself from the shame and embarrassment.
He can’t hurt me anymore.