The Burden of Being Upright   1 comment

The following post is going to be incredibly personal. I suppose most of my writing is, but I feel the need to preface this with a warning. This will not be a PG-13 post, more like an R rated one with hints of X-ness. It’s not my goal to be graphic, but I know what’s on my mind and I can see how it will clearly cross some lines. If anyone isn’t up for it, I will completely understand if you just pass it by and check back on me at some later time. I don’t mean to offend. I just want to be honest and since the main purpose behind this blog is to open up about real life circumstances and events, I see no reason why I shouldn’t just type away with reckless abandon. Even while writing that last line I realize that this is far from reckless abandon because I’ve just spent over 150 words explaining myself to the point of near apology. Dear god, Jen, just get on with it, won’t you?
Alright, the night before last I had a bit of a breakdown. As with so many things in my life, my dire need to compartmentalize everything shifted gears and was overridden by the needs of others and I wound up in a Laundromat about 20 minutes from home. The key motive for being there was to wash three, big, fluffy comforters for my friend. He is a big, burly guy who I have known since I was sixteen years old. I don’t want to use his real name, but I will go “pronoun crazy” if I don’t ascribe titles to the folks I’m writing about so he will, from this point on, be referred to as Philip.
Anyway, Philip is a very nice man. He is intelligent, kind and compassionate. He tries to play as though he is the devil incarnate and while he does have a few fetishes that I find intolerable, he has always been there for me and, in some ways, has been more of a father than my own. Philip is older than me by about 13 years and since I met him at such a young age he has always been someone that I have looked up to and used as a source of guidance, comfort and, more often than I like to admit, financial security.
A very apt example of this can be found in my current living situation. Last September, when I felt that I needed to leave where I was living, Philip opened the doors to his home and allowed me to move in. At that precise moment, I shared his bedroom with him because, even though he has a three bedroom house, one room was being used by another one of his friends who had fallen on hard times and the 3rd, smallest room was still completely furnished and full of possessions from yet another friend Philip had “helped out” several years before and who simply left everything behind when he moved out to be with his girlfriend. Philip, ever the pack rat, not only refused to move the belongings of his past “tenet”, but had taken to using the remaining space in the room for boxes of books and other random objects that he had absolutely no use for but still felt compelled to hold onto.
Philip, while highly educated and employed in a very respectable position, lives like a teenager alone without parental supervision for the first time. And the other man he has had living here, we will refer to him as Mel, is very much the same except for the fact that Mel is also incredibly lazy and, in many ways, selfish. By being here now for over a year, it has grown increasingly obvious to Philip that Mel has been taking advantage of him, but he just can’t seem to enforce any kind of standards. Mel has been living here for years, probably five or more, but it wasn’t until I was here to “report” on Mel’s actions (or lack there of) that Philip really started to see just how bad the situation has gotten. Part of me, a small part, feels guilty for disrupting the ignorance Philip was immersed in because he obviously doesn’t have the capacity to set guidelines for Mel if he wishes to continue living here. And since he now knows about the games Mel is playing, it merely leaves Philip feeling like a chump in his own home; a home, that while it is dirty and falling apart around him, is still HIS home that he pays for entirely.
Now is the time I think some background between me and Philip would serve well. As I stated, we met when I was 16 years old. We didn’t start hanging out at that point however. That didn’t take place until I was 19 and fresh from my first heartbreak. The girl I was seeing broke up with me and was seeing someone else behind my back before the split. I had it coming to me, but it hurt nonetheless and I was rocked to my core.
Raised as a Catholic, my inner voice urged me to examine my “gayness” and so I attended mass on Sunday and as everyone was leaving the church, I stood behind to speak with the Lord. The basics of what I offered on my behalf were that I really had no sincere feelings that being gay was at all wrong. First of all, love was love and how could that ever be an abomination? Also, (and I know this gets a lot of people pissed off at me, but oh well) I had read the sections of the bible that were supposed to condemn my actions and all I found was the laundry list of sexual relations that were considered such a sin that the person committing them should be killed on the spot for taking part. I read it over and over and all that came to me was that if you have sex in any way where you are removing the possibility of God using that act as a means of procreation you are wrong. You are selfish and disrespectful and mistrusting of God’s plan for you. And I understood that. But the only thing that left me feeling unsatisfied as to an answer pertaining to my very own sexual life was that all of the examples were written as though the intended audience was men and how they spread their seed.
Yes, if a man screws a goat, his mother or another man he is taking God’s ability to make a baby out of the picture and that pisses God off. So don’t do that. Only have sex without any form of birth control with a woman who you can get pregnant and have the baby be considered as desirable as any other baby conceived by a married man and woman and you’re “all systems go”. Have sex with a condom, while on “the pill” or with your sister and you’re a major dumb ass and should be wiped off the face of the Earth. And it really was written that straight forward. Being a man who screws another man was/is considered no worse and no better than the same man screwing his brother’s wife or a woman on her period, simply because you’re doing it in a way that takes the choice of God to make a baby off the table. Makes sense as to way jerking off would be also a “crime”. That stain on your sheets wasn’t supposed to be just for your pleasure. If you enjoyed sex, if it felt good and that was part of why you engaged in the act, fine. But your semen better wind up in the vagina of a woman who had the possibility of getting pregnant and without causing major dilemmas such as it being your kid sister or your dad’s new wife.
Nothing I read clearly stated that I couldn’t love another woman. Sure, certain things were broken down to leave me with the impression that the best choice was to dedicate you entirely to God and not bother with any kind of sex. From my studying, God’s ideal situation would be to remove all sexual relations and all forms of desire other than that to please, worship and contemplate Him. Woman should be as plain as possible so not to temp mankind. Marriage is for the weak, those that know themselves well enough to be certain that without the sexual expression and release one might find with a spouse they would be sure to engage in even more lustful and contemptuous relations.
But we are also given a free will. And in my examination of the “Old Testament”, I have realized that salvation is salvation. There are varying degrees of closeness and openness with God, but you need only take that first step to have the promise of life eternal with your savior. You need to acknowledge him and admit that he is out there watching all of this and then you are free to make the decisions you want. That’s not saying you can be “hell on wheels” and still get a place in Christ’s heaven without finding yourself truly sorry for whatever you did. (And I mean sincerely sorry, not just putting on a show for the priest or God’s sake.) But it’s really not as hard or oppressive as the evangelists want you to believe. God really isn’t out there trying to screw with you. At least, with all of my reading, studying, meditating and praying on the vast subject, that’s what I’ve come up with.
Anyway, getting back to Philip; I was 19 in church and I made a deal with God. I was fully convinced that my current break up was Earth shattering enough for me that if being gay was wrong; I was going to be able to pick up on any sign and learn the life lesson it pertained to. So I said, “God, if you want me to be straight, if that’s what’s right, just send me a decent guy and I’ll do my part.
I knew Philip from where I worked. He was a customer there and I saw him several times a year. We had smiled, mildly flirted, but that was it. Only this time, I told my boss who owned the business that I found Philip really attractive. And she told me that he has said the same about me before and that since I was newly single maybe she could set us up. I said, “Sure, go for it.” Later that day, he pulled me aside and asked me out. He was perfect; handsome, in the military, educated, close with his family, Christian. (My grandmother once had joked saying that he was Episcopalian, but if the great Ann Seton could convert so could he.) So we made plans. And for the first time in my life I felt like everything was finally lining up.
We went to the movies, he was a perfect gentleman and I really found him interesting and intelligent. He was also a good listener and could hold a conversation. But my favorite thing about him was his laugh. It’s this big, deep chuckle that has the ability to sweep you away with it and he never hid it from anyone at anytime. I loved how simple and freeing it was being with him.
When we got out of the movie, I confessed my conflict with my sexuality. I told him I had just gotten out of a relationship with a girl and that he was, in all honesty, the first guy I had ever gone out on a date with. I liked him so much and was full of such promise that I sincerely felt, at that early stage, that I may really progress further in this arrangement. I could see him as my boyfriend. I could see me as his girlfriend. It may sound trivial, but for a young woman in my situation it was a major discovery. And I was so excited to see that opening up to him not only failed to scare him off, but actually made him like me more. Looking back now, I realize that having a nineteen year old girl confess that she’s bi-sexual and in need of some direction is probably right up there on the list of “how to turn on a guy in his 30’s” next to “independently wealthy” and “likes to be filmed while fucking”. But back then, I was just looking for someone to accept me and he did.
Philip and I spent the next several months dating. We would do the dinner and a movie thing, he would pick me up in his big truck and my mother would swoon. She always loved big guys and Philip, while not incredibly tall was built like a tank; squared shoulders, wide and solid. He was in great shape at the time, working out with weights and staying fit was all part of his lifestyle. He was military and he took it very seriously. And he wasn’t merely enlisted. This man was an officer and had served in foreign lands which just made him even more alluring. There was talk of us getting married, having a family. I thank God daily that things don’t work out the way they are planned.
Unfortunately, he had been in a motorcycle accident and really hurt his shoulder, so his working out became nearly impossible. And through the depression of it all, Philip gained a good amount of weight. So much so that it cost him his career and he never, not even to this day, has really recovered from the situation. He still has a great job, makes good money; has good benefits, but you can see the hollow, emptiness in his eyes now. He doesn’t laugh nearly as much as before. He is still a strong man, but in so many ways, he is just a shadow of who he once was. The pounds add on, but the emptiness never dissipates. I wonder sometimes now if having me around is a good thing for him because I still treat him as the man he was back then or if it’s horrible to be constantly reminded that in several ways that guy is dead and gone. I’ve wanted to ignite something in him, I’ve wanted to make him care again about life, happiness and personal fulfillment, but to me it seems as though he prefers a life of an emotional accountant. He just keeps adding up the minutes as they pass by, pretending to believe that some where other than here, other than now, there is a place where true contentment has been his and waiting for him right along.
All of this brings me to the here and now. Two nights ago I was at the Laundromat to wash the blankets from his bed. See, there are two women that Philip sees occasionally that he has known since high school. They know each other from then as well, but they never cross paths in the present. I am pretty sure they can’t stand each other. I don’t fully understand the situation, but one lady, we’ll call her Abigail, tries to visit Philip several times a year. She is head over heels in love with him and considers him to be her boyfriend. She is a sweet lady who means well and I don’t know for sure if she is purely delusional or if Philip really is messing with her head, but I suspect it’s a bit of both. See, when Abigail visits, the other lady who we will call Olivia, is never told. As far as Olivia is concerned, Philip never talks to Abigail. As far as Olivia is concerned, Philip sits in this house and does nothing but jerk off waiting for her to make her way to visit all the while Olivia lives with her long time lesbian partner several states away. Philip trusts that one day, Olivia will leave her lover and grow old with him at which point, I am certain, Abigail will get the big boot. But that’s not the way that Abigail sees things.
Abigail knows Philip talks to Olivia. She knows she visits here and that they sleep together. Abigail thinks she wins points for being so open and understanding. She trusts that eventually Philip will see just how perfect she is for him and will not only make Olivia take a hike, but also take Abigail into his home full-time where they will be swingers and sexual deviants, but 100% committed to the unique relationship they share. Abigail has taken on every fetish Philip has and made it her own. I have talked to her about it and I’m still not certain that what she thinks of as a sincere interest in these taboos isn’t anything more than her inability to think for herself and a mad, devastating desire to accept and follow his corrupt and morally bankrupt lead.
I know Philip can be dangerous in this regard. When I was a young woman he did more than his fair share in unsettling my thinking process to the point where my very own sexual abuse as a child was turned into a pedophile’s playground. I needed someone to console me, someone to let me know that what had happened to me was not my fault and that I was still lovable, still good, still worth believing in. And instead, the message I got was his twisted brand of philosophy. He was molested once as a boy and he told me this to bond with me. To let me know that I wasn’t alone and that good kids could be preyed upon. I ate that up, because I needed to feel like someone understood. But he took that delicate situation and instead of helping me heal and grow, he laid out the blueprints for what would develop into my own sexual deviance.
After years of studying the situation and the people involved what I have gathered is this; Philip is such a control freak, is so afraid to feel like someone else could best him or dictate to him that he turned his own child sex abuse event into something to be celebrated and packaged for further development. He tells me he loved it. Being touched, being molested felt great and he wanted more. The man doing this to him wasn’t a criminal, wasn’t a predator. He was Philip’s invitation into a world he loved and would’ve truly been deprived of had he not been blessed by his induction. And like any good apostle, Philip wandered throughout the lands teaching his ministry to the entire wide-eyed and perversion deprived people he encountered.
People like me, people like Abigail; Philip was hoping that by convincing us that our childhood abuse wasn’t wrong he was saving us from the pain we felt in relation to it. And, most importantly, he could hide his own pain and celebrate his own abuse and relive it over and over. Philip is still that good man I was telling you about. I still live here, rent free. My girlfriend lives here too now, rent free. We have that bedroom to ourselves, our privacy. He understands that now that I’m in a relationship there will be no sexual contact between us. He still worries about my health, getting to appointments and taking medications. Philip, while all the bad, is still all the good. And it’s because of this that the other night, I was at the Laundromat washing his blankets so that when Olivia arrived yesterday they were fresh and clean and ready to wrap around her.
When Olivia is here Philip is different. He really loves her. He wishes they could be together in a somewhat normal relationship. I think he knows his perversions would get the best of him though and it scares him to think of her finding out. Last time she visited, I had to hide all of his porn and sex toys in my room so she couldn’t find them. When Olivia is here, Philip talks about politics, movies, and some times even spiritual things. When Olivia is visiting, Philip spends a lot of time with her in his bedroom, having sex, making love, talking, and just being together. We all talk differently around her. She is fun, sweet and intelligent. She’s not scary at all. But what she represents to me is scary. I don’t want Philip to have his heart-broken.
Abigail will tolerate anything. I think, in part, it’s because she knows that Philip will drop her if she doesn’t. But more so, I think it’s because from the minute she allowed herself to be one of his dirty, little secrets, once she actually partook in some of Philip’s obscene kinks, she lowered her value and she doesn’t really have anything to bargain with. Sadly, it’s all relative. Abigail is to Philip what Philip is to Olivia. They keep bending, changing, losing themselves to maintain a relationship that really doesn’t even exist.
But I play my part. I do what I feel a good person would do even though I know this situation is far from a good situation and somehow my powers of mindfuckery prevail. So I took the blankets and 2 large baskets of clothes, mine and my girls, to the Laundromat and tried to be somewhat productive. My girlfriend, whose real name is Karen, took the car and our only cell phone with her to handle some other errands while I was there tending to the washing. We’re broke; we both live off of her mere $700 a month in disability and some food stamps. I am unable to work now because of emotional and mental problems. If we didn’t have Philip, I don’t really know what would happen to us. There are a lot of people who say they wish they could help, but no one else seems in a position to do so. I’m sure I could go places on my own and so could Karen, but we are a unit and I’d rather live in my car in the dead of winter than to not have her close by. I know that sounds overly romantic and nonsensical, but it’s not really. It’s the pure truth. A big part of the emotional and mental issues that keep me from work now are tied up with the fear and paranoia of abandonment and such.
So there I was switching the clothes from the washers to the dryers. I was feeling pretty good considering I have been known to freak out over such simple things. A lot of people think of me as lazy, but it’s not really laziness that keeps me from being more productive. It’s the overwhelming fear I feel when I get in the middle of an activity. As soon as I register that I can’t just cut and run, I panic. I panic big time.
Another example of this is when I go to the grocery store. I love being there, picking things out, meal planning. I get to the register and start placing things on the belt and life is good. And then it happens. Someone comes behind me and plans on being checked out right after me. I am, in effect, trapped. My chest tightens. It gets hard to breathe. My stomach ties in knots and I’m not sure if I need to run to a bathroom or if mere movement of any kind would make me lose myself entirely. It’s horrific. And knowing this part of the process makes every other part of the routine carry such a heavy burden. Now you can’t get me to leave my house to go to the store. Now you can’t get me to sleep the night before I know I have to go to the store the next day. It’s chaos. It disrupts everything. My sleep, my eating habits, my stomach, my memory, my reactions; every single part of who I am contort into something alien and my life becomes too much to handle. I am not lazy. You have no idea how much energy and work goes into every little detail of my life.
So here I am, taking clothes out of the third washer and putting them in the wheeled basket to tug over to the dryer and a single, white sock falls to the floor. It struck me as ironic because this white sock was not in with the white clothes and I took note of this when I was loading the washer earlier. So I bend down to retrieve it, bending at the waist, not at the knees because I know that my knees have a nasty habit of giving out on me ever since I gained so much weight. I spring up, sock in hand, and then I feel it. My left knee twisted, tightened, snapped and popped. My knee was a virtual symphony of onomatopoeia.
And that is when the light when out in my otherwise calm picture of my current surroundings. All at once, everything fell in line. I was miles from home. Karen had the car. Karen had the phone. I had not only most of our clothes still wet and unable to be transported, but Philips blankets. And I was unable to move. I had to use the wheeled cart like a walker. The pain was immense. The only two people within sight of me, one who worked there and was no doubt worried I was trying to pull a “slip and fall” type complaint and another woman who looked me right in the eyes and then turned her head and refused to peer my way again. They both knew I went from being cheerful and mobile to being utterly pathetic and near tears, but wouldn’t so much as offer even a kind word.
Time was moving fast and Karen was not showing up. I played through all the possible outcomes; all of the ways in which minutes could equal more and more minutes to explain why she was still not back. My head felt tight like my brain had tripled in size. My chest burned and I was breathing short, fast, frantic breaths. I was sweating and my legs and hands were shaking. And the pain in my knee radiated up and down from my thigh to the heel of my foot. I was starting to contemplate giving in. And giving in meant one clear thing to me at that point; falling on the floor and having something that resembled a seizure. It wouldn’t be the first time; just the first time in a long time.
It was Friday night, the sixth of January. I had made it this close. I have been trying since September to get an appointment with the mental health clinic that works with a sliding scale. I have no insurance, basically no money. I need help. I know I do.
My brain is only capable of so much. My brain is starting to leak and what drizzles out is sometimes cool like rain water and sometimes acidic like the runny guts of a battery. Of course the clinic is backed up. Everyone and their mother has a fucking mental problem these days. But maybe mine is a little different. I am sincerely trying to not kill people. When I’m driving home and they make their way down the sides of the road. Don’t they know just how easy it would be to run them over and push their greasy remains, tangled with busted bicycle parts into the lake? I would look forward to seeing them later on, the next day in the sunlight, floating in the water with a turtle or goose making the most of their new-found perch.
Yeah, there is a good chance I should be locked away for a while. I know medication can work wonders these days. I’m trying to convince myself that I’m suffering from some kind of mental illness because, to be perfectly honest, what I see here is merely a decent human-being being forced to watch, acknowledge, participate and even cheer for some of the most idiotic and counterproductive bullshit ever.
Mel takes all that he can and Philip just keeps making excuses for him. And then all of this Olivia and Abigail nonsense, seriously, I have no tolerance for someone who cheats and isn’t that what Olivia is doing every time she leaves her long time partner to come here and chug the cum of this sad, lonely man? And what of Abigail? I mean, she isn’t so bad-looking and she has a good mind, she should be able to find a decent enough guy to love her. But she is so desperate for this one man to want her that she doesn’t even register that he thinks she’s crazy and a stalker and that to him all she will ever be is a wild fuck. It breaks my heart and then I realize that the sick shit she has done, whether it’s because she enjoys it or because it’s what he wants from her is beyond my scope of acceptance. And that’s saying something because I have done some mega corrupt shit in my day.
And all this started with me wanting to post about how the last week or so my girl and I have been making love like it’s the end of the world and we know we are on our way to something even greater. I touch her and I feel like I must be someone else because this kind of intensity doesn’t happen to me. I don’t get to have this. I am not worthy because since I’ve been a kid people have been telling me that I am the one that gets used up and left. Or I am only as good as the story I can tell. Philip ruined me and saved me at the same precise moment. I let him take my childhood rape and turn it into my defining moment. I let him day-dream about being the one who hurt me and trusted that somehow if I could’ve offered myself up to him instead of some other guy when I was four years old it would’ve not only been poetry and romance, but it would’ve been deliverance and revelation. He made me a prophet of a faith I had nothing invested in. He turned me out, sold my soul and used my body and let me keep the profits just as long as I only spent every dime on drugs and lies.
Right now, it’s nearly midnight, soon to be Monday the 9th. I have my appointment with the mental health place at 12:30 on Tuesday and it couldn’t have come at a better time. When I got home from the Laundromat I cried and cried and at one point when Karen left the room to use the bathroom I had a panic attack that lead to me blacking out and not clearly understanding things, simple things like what it meant when she said she was just going to pee. I had no ability to be anything but left. I was abandoned. As she sat there, holding me, rocking me, telling me she was never going to leave me, all I was in that moment was abandoned and unloved. It was cold and it was just like all of those other times only she was there and that did seep in through cracks and puddled in the recesses of my fears and allowed me the comfort of trusting that if I were anyone else I could be loved which, at times, when you’re me, is as close to heaven as you can ever hope to find yourself.

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One response to “The Burden of Being Upright

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  1. Pingback: Jumble Spoiler – 01/09/12 « Unclerave's Wordy Weblog

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