Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Survivors Celebration

It had been a second since my last post, I've just had so much runnin in my brain, I'm not quite sure I was ready to write any of it down. This week is coming to a close and a few big things had happned that I would like to put out into the world.

So this Saturday is the one year anniversary of the assault. I'm mad trippin that it has already been a year. No joke, this one event rocked my entire perspective on the world. It took me out of my feeling of relative safety and security and launched me into something I can only define as a learning experience...

So I started to write this out before my survivors celebration but really its almost two weeks later now. haha. I still wanted however, to complete the entry.

I have to tell you, I had a lot of anxiety getting closer to the day, but that night was one of the very best nights I have had in a very long time. It's amazing the kind of space you open in your professional world that you just don't open in your personal world. The requests that I am willing to make of a co-worker but not of a friend.

So I sat them down, those closest to me, told them how much they meant to me. We ate dinner, drank and really celebrated the prescence of each other in each others lives. It was so special. Between the potluck and laughing to the appreciation circle and tears. It was just a phenomenal experience. The true manifestation of the power of my friends. To watch them as they appreciated each other was such a priviledge.

I'm so proud of myself for flipping the meaning of that day. Every year, it will be a celebration of life and not a moratorium on the day I started to look at the world differently. That was important to me. How I look at the world is important to me. As jaded as I may get, I want to know I can still see its beauty and appreciate the places where it makes my heart lift.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006


You know its bad when you have so much hormonal energy running through your body that you can't tell whether you have chemistry with someone or if you just want to touch somebody. I met this nice guy today at a conference and you know nice does it for me. Nice for some reason is to me what a nice butt is for other women. Well a good pair of hands too, but that is neither here nor there. During the Young Non-Profit professionals happy hour after the event we had a bit of time to chat. We were having a perfectly nice conversation about how boys are not succeeding in the school system and in my head I kept thinking, hmmm, I want to bite his lip. It was ridiculous. I am ridiculous. I'm fired. I should not be allowed outdoors. Worse yet, I don't hit on people because I have NO game. I just sit there having the conversations I'm good at having. I was in my work element too, which is an easy one for me to grab and latch on to. It's where I know I have competency. Life skills, banter, eye batting and the like... not so much. Bah hum bug. Let us all pray for my current inability to create for myself a social life. The situation is not as bleek as I make it out to be, that is dramatic exaggeration for blog's sake. However, I am amused with myself. Even more amused when a friend tells me he thinks the guy might have been gay (although, this particular friend thinks all men are gay, I believe that is his hope). So who knows.

Sunday, July 09, 2006


I have to admit, after the first half, I was worried. I knew Italy would win but I was a little worried because they looked just a little tired. But they held strong. They were the FINE ass men I knew them to be. Goodness gracious. Sports are some shit boy, the sheer exhiliration you can feel watching a group of men that you have no affiliation with, playing for a country that you have no ties to, against a country you have no grudge against. Yet there I was at 9:30 this morning at a bar in Little Italy, saving myself a seat for an 11 o'clock game. And there I sat til 1:30 when the team that I came to cheer on triumphed. I mean to be real, losing on penalty kicks must suck for France. I mean it's one of those anybodies game situations. But dear God, was I ever happy with the outcome. My love, Camoranesi, in all his long haired beautiful Italian glory had a great assist for their first goal. I mean looking at the man's thighs has been my favorite part of the tournament.

Oh World Cup, how I'll miss you. I will see you again in four years. Thanks for the cheers, laughs and beers that accompanied you.

To my azurri, MUAH!

And to this hot headed dumb ass...


Saturday, July 08, 2006

Grace by Kate Havenik

Sometimes songs just make you sigh...

Lyrics to Grace by Kate Havenik

I'm on my knees
only memories
are left for me to hold

Dont know how
but Ill get by
Slowly pull myself together

Theres no escape
So keep me safe
This feels so unreal

Nothing comes easily
Fill this empty space
Nothing is like it seems
Turn my grief to grace

I feel the cold
Loneliness unfold
Like from another world

Come what may
I wont fade away
But I know I might change

Nothing comes easily
Fill this empty space
Nothing is like it was
Turn my grief to grace

Nothing comes easily
Where do I begin?
Nothing can bring me peace
Ive lost everything
I just want to feel your embrace


What exactly constitutes safe? The importance of it is ridiculous. I think thats why hugs feel so good. When someone is hugging you, you feel like you are just engulfed. For that moment, nothing can happen to you. Your are protected, loved, cared for and safe.

My first recollection of that feeling was in the first grade. My mom was dropping me off at school. I had to go get in line and wait for the teacher. I used to hate that moment. The one before I left my mom in the mornings. I was pretty much the dork/nerdy/unaccepted kid until I had full command of my accent years later. I remember it was a pretty brisk but bright morning. The big bad world waiting to teach me lessons about childhood and cruelty on one side, my mom and her warmth on the other, with a chain link fence straddling the middle. I would feel tears start to well in my eyes but even at 7 I knew how much it hurt my mom to see me hurt, so I kept my mouth shut. Then two large arms wrapping fully and lovingly around my small body. The hugs lasted forever. I felt so wonderful and solid in those moments. It was almost painful to let go.

17 years later, I'm a big hugger. Usually when people meet me I'll offer the akward "oh you're a hugger!" hug. You see I feel like the most doubtful person still wants it. They want to be embraced. They fear what its like to receive love like that and the emotions that get stirred in them when they do. But I offer it because at base, we all want to feel that acceptance. No matter what our scarred brains and hearts do to us after. I like giving it. I like receiving it. I think its healthy.

I write about all this because I'm delaying writing about last night. I went out to Blondies again and I knew full well that cute boy from last week would not be my dance partner again. However, the sketchness of the people was argh-worthy. I was denying sketchy men dances and saying the word no, more then is ever really comfortable in one night. I found myself feeling unsafe. Wanting so bad for my mom or someone (preferrably bigger and manly) to give me a hug and encourage the rest of the sketch-masters to go away. But I don't have anyone big and manly here, I don't have my mom here either. Then the flashbacks started. The flashbacks aren't necessarily a surprise. I mean I have them pretty frequently. More then anyone would know. I usually am able to bring myself back to where I am. Tell myself that I am safe. Encourage myself to move past it. But last night when I popped myself out of the flashbacks, I wasn't safe. I had men around me who would not take no for an answer. A situation which was unbelievably traumatizing for me just one year ago. I folded. I mean I totally caved into myself. I started strong saying no, putting my hand in their faces, pushing them away but before I knew it I just was unable to move.

Bola asked me if I was okay, I said no, I said I needed to go. She grabbed my hand and pulled me out, Bern and Bibi close behind us. I proceeded to shut myself down and when on the comfort of my couch, I fell apart. I wanted so bad to feel safe. It's crazy how you can feel unsafe in your own brain. But there I was on my couch, feeling unsafe in my brain and wanting to have my mom's arms wrapped around me. I know in a very logical part of my brain that I shouldn't feel like an asshole for last night. Just like I know I shouldn't feel like an asshole for other decisions I am starting to make for myself. But it's hard. How do you learn the difference between self-care giver and asshole/flake? I don't know right now. I just want safe. The last time I feel like I knew without a shadow of a doubt what that was, I was a kid.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Exhaustion... the other white meat

So I am totally, completely and WHOLLY tired. I worked on Monday, have been at the office by 6am Wed and Thurs. And really I am freakin in need of a beer or 6. Don't get me wrong, it has been a great start to my summer program. It's been fabulous. The kids are fantastic and today, I saw fruition of a lot of hard work. But DAAAAAAAAMN am I tired. To top it all of the estrogen monster seems to be popping up and manisfesting in the worst of ways. I had to step into a bathroom today just to cry. Ridiculous and girly but I felt so emotional at that moment and didn't really want comfort. Just release. I have no idea whether the instensity of the emotion came because of who I am or because of the fluctuating hormone levels in my body near this time of the month. haha. I laugh but in that moment. It was not pretty. I mean have you ever seen ugly crying? Well I do FUGLY crying in private. It has been the week for these and many other exploits. I am currently sitting around in a top that bears more of my upper body then it should dreading the arrival of friends, who though spririted and well intentioned, I would rather have leave me to some restful sleep. I feel like I should be more up for this. Last Friday was pretty fruitful when we went out. I danced with a cute boy. And really if there were ever a time in my life when I could use a pair of male hands... it is now. I just want to feel at ease and at peace and I haven't felt that. The kids stories this week were heavy. Their pain was palpable for me. As much as I care for the newbies, ingesting an entire new set of stories and hugging new pain just feels so... tough. Have you ever read the book, "The Giver" by Lois Lowry. The emotional weight described in that book, combined with the exhaustion of a marathon runner, coupled with my hormonal influx just has me spent. I know, whine, whine, whine. ::sigh:: Maybe tomorrow I'll be more insightful.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy "Independence" Day!

When I was a kid and I saw the American flag, I have to be honest, I felt an immense amount of pride. I really truly believed in the ideals of the independent, democratic society that were painted in my history books. I knew the Star Spangled banner, I sang it at the kickoff of the soccer season for the soccer league when I was 10. AND it meant something to me. I felt American.

Even when I was in middle school and my older cousins used to tease me that I was the youngest socialist they had met (they were/are republicans) I still believed in the power of our system for change. I hated the disparities and at 12 I had already been exp[osed to so many of them. BUT, I believed. And really, inspiration when looking at a flag is a powerful thing. It is an iconography that can have massive impact. We on the west coast I think have detached from it but it is still true for many people in this country.

Then I transferred from Pomona schools to Walnut High School my freshman year and my perspective on the world I inhabited changed. All of a sudden I was getting an education and not struggling to listen to a teacher. I realized my grammar was shit and being the "good" kid no longer got me the great grades. I came to see that the world I inhabited didn't see me as American... no matter how I saw myself. I was one of few kids with a complicated last name in any of my classes. I remember the pause before trying to execute a butchering of this last name and being certain that the next sounds to exit a teachers mouth were about me. I remember the snickering when I tried to explain what my primary education had been like. And I remember the day that I went into try out as a graduation speaker with a fire and brim stone speech about giving back to the community since our high school community had given us so much. I can see in my brain the complete lack of understanding in the faces of the teachers I was presenting to. I can see there pity.

It was during this transition in my life that I really saw that the world was truly not equal for all. It was a bunch of people who wanted it to be equal, but had no frame of reference for what that looked like or what kind of understanding, empowerment, sacrifice and knowledge that took. Overall, I think a good chunk of our country would like to live in its ignorance. It's just easier that way. Sad to say but we really are a "Brave New World" up in the sheezy.

I write this because as of late, seeing the American flag causes an agitation for me. When I see it, I think hypocrisy. It doesn't inspire me anymore. As naive as this sounds, that saddens me. I'm such a passionate person, about the small and large things, and that passion used to extend to believing in our system. I don't know if there was one moment that took that from me or a collection of pieces. I was talking to someone recently about what Franco did to Spain. The absolute mind fuck that he played on the country. Marginalizing it's peices of non-homogenity so that they felt like they weren't Spanish. Spain's turmoil, 40 years after Franco, still exists in getting those people to believe they are a part of the whole. Then it dawned on me, that the United States is in much the same scenario. It's trickier though, there is not one moment or one isolated figure that did it. It's a collection of "I'm better then you" mo fo's that got us to this place.

Intrestingly enough, though I do not naively believe in its systems anymore, I strongly still believe in its people. I have watched individuals create extraordinary change. With an idea, not even an action but an idea, people will revolutionize the world around them. This continues to be a source of hope for me. At some point all of us were fed an ideal, however hollow, about what we are supposed to be, and from that we go and seek ways to effect the world with our gifts. I mean really selfishly, americanly, we go out and do what we want to do. And this is why we rock.

So it's the 4th of July, time for beer, fireworks and family (in whatever incarnation we choose). And I sit here early in the morning, having woken up with a genuine want to see our iconography line up with our people. I sit here pissed off at the many who took away from me the sense of pride I had when I looked at that flag. I wish you knew the world better, then you would see that I am as American of a dream as it gets. And there are tons of me everywhere, but you are too busy making money off of violating the planet and its people to pay attention. Cheers to the people who continue to bring me inspiration and create room in my heart to be a fighter for the things I believe in. Thank you ya'll cause I believe in you; in your many talents, dreams, wants, desires and wishes. Happy mother freakin fourth of July.

Monday, July 03, 2006

Pay Cash If You're Gonna Be A Skanky Ho

So I've been working all day doing different odds and ends, I figured I would blog and take a little mental break. To explain my catchy blog title... when I was in college a friend of mine, Courtney, and I were watching the movie "The Good Girl". In it Jennifer Aniston's character gets caught having an affair on sad John C. Reilly because she was using the family credit card to purchase her hotel rooms. Aghast at the development Courtney and I started yelling expletives at the TV. One of the phrases Courtney uttered (the brilliance of it all) was "OH MY GOSH! Pay cash if you are going to be a skanky ho!" haha. Thinking about that afternoon still cracks me up. However, after that afternoon, this phrase came to be a catch phrase we would use in regards to men. Sex was such a taboo subject among our particular group of friends (so catholic our boys, so in the closet). When the girls got together we would talk with a little more raunch, rightly so, and we claimed and proclaimed that there was no need to be ashamed of our sexual wants and needs as long as we were always up front about them. It's only embarassing if you make it embarassing and such. Thus pay cash if you are gonna be a skanky ho.

That's what brings me to this post. I have long believed that a womans sense of sexual freedom really comes from a strong group of open non-juedgemental female friends. As a girl, they let you know it's okay to want what you want, experiment with what you experiment with, lust over what you lust over. Earlier in the week I was hanging out at a friends apartment talking about the art of self-satisfaction and I was so amused at the freedom with which we spoke. haha, very ya-ya sisterhood. Then last night, I was sitting with two other women (marginally older then me) having a funny conversation about sex and realized that no matter how old we get, we always seek for permission from our girls. You don't want to feel like a skanky ho, and as much as you tell yourself you aren't, until your girlfriends say it... part of you worries. At least for us Catholics. haha. Sex and the City paradigms aside, there is always the one of you who is most confident that women are allowed to have needs (and she needn't be the lapooning maneater), there is the one emerging from prudishness and then all the women that fall in between. The spectrum however, is incredibly facinating. I would go into greater detail, but really, there are some female conversations that you have to respect as sacred. You are blessed as a woman to be a part of long standing tradition and you just don't violate that.

Maybe I bring this up because I danced with a boy this week that wasn't on the pre-approved list for the first time since the assault. The pre-approved list is gay guys, guys I know or guys that are friends with people I know. It was huge for me. The guy came up with another friend, one asked Bern to dance and he asked me. I proceeded to dance with him for the rest of the night. It was fun being a girl. I know that sounds cheese but it was ( I should rethink my blog name and change it to something like Cheesehead Ramblings). I had a few fight or flight moments but mentally I soothed myself told myself he wasn't going to hurt me and reminded myself it was okay to have a man want me. haha. Because he did. I didn't kiss him or hook up or anything. Even though he tried. I just danced. It was all that I was ready for. But it was enough for me to claim back another peice of me. The dude didn't ask for my number but it is highly likely that I will see him again. Emails were exchanged between my friend and his friend. So who knows. Little by little.

In any event, my pursuit to reclaim my body and the safety it feels around it continues. I just have to allow myself to make even bolder and more fun moves. After all "Pay Cash If You're Gonna Be A Skanky Ho," only works as a motto if you really are forking something over for yourself. And not necessarily your body, your vulnerablity is important to hang out there once in awhile too. My fortress of walls may just let that happen one day. But until the drawbridge goes down... =c)