Faithfully

This was originally a post on my Facebook page.

**This is actually the second time I’m writing this post. The first one is lost in the ether somewhere because I tried to add art after writing it. AAARGH!**

Broken-Heart-Music-smallerI have learned to be very, very careful about what I share online. If someone knew what to look for, they’d find that I’ve been a traveller on the net for about 20 years, give or take one. Therefore, if I’m writing this on Facebook, of all places, then I really, really had to write. There is another place I can write, but I do so under a pseudonym that only a few know as me. This time, *I* need to write this post. Me.

I’ve been sitting at my dining room table working like hell to get WickedWomanMag.com up by *mumble*mumble* while listening to iTunes. It’s just me, my really f’ed up wrist, my laptop, the occasional head butt from a puppy to say, “Don’t forget about me!” and my work. I was concentrating like a laser when I had to stop.

There are some songs that we not only hear, but feel in our bones. It doesn’t matter whether it is a sad song or joyous. Whenever we hear it, there is a swell of emotion that we really can’t explain to anyone. For me, one of those songs is Journey’s Faithfully.

The sentiments expressed, the experiences, the longing are all well known to me. I loved two men at the same time when in college. One of them was a “music man”–a roadie for a couple of bands—so he wasn’t around as much as I would have liked. I remember a couple of times when I went to spy on his apartment building which was easy enough since it was across the street from our favorite bar. Now I think my little reconnaissance missions were hilarious, especially when I had my best friend at the time help me with them. Then, all I had was the longing.

As an aside: What I would give to have a photo taken reminiscent of the John and Yoko bed photo! Visually, we were gorgeous together. He had a thick mane of very wavy, deep, bright red hair and pale skin. My skin, obviously much darker, had the right highlights to make, particularly, a black & white photo stunning. I have thought of that shot many times, especially after I ran into a salesmen at a music store that could have easily been his son. He wasn’t.

The red head and I had several little “talks” about the formality of our relationship. Neither of us were monogamous. How could I be with another guy a little over an hour away? The thing about the red head was that I could really be who I was. All those intimate urges were on overdrive, yes, but it was much more. He was a gregarious Irishman and I was just happily me when he was around. Man, did it hurt when he had to go to work, though. I *hated* seeing him drive off. He was my “music man.” Faithfully.

Another aside: I think I felt most alive when I got to watch a basketball arena turn into a concert hall. It is complexly amazing. I remember watching my red head, (although I don’t think he was mine quite yet), running cable and climbing scaffolding to hang lights. When he was finally some version of “mine,” I got quite “excited” every time I saw him working with cables, especially light boards. Remembering the metamorphosis from arena to music hall now really makes me long for that experience once again. I’ll put it on my Bucket List. Before Mom died, I was going back to our alma mater for grad school. I’d planned to ask if I could take over as the advisor to the student organization that handled concerts, among other things. I am a Roach Patrol alum, after all, so I know a little about what needs to happen.

The other man I loved was, and may well end up being, the love of my life. I hope he doesn’t, because I can easily do better. Having a chronic, debilitating condition plays havoc with the love life. Good Lord, I could go with either sex and I’m still by myself! Actually, I don’t really mind it right now. I’m too busy and I have a lot that I have to do because I’m the only one who can. WickedWomanMag.com has got to go live in the very near future. Indeed, me sitting here typing this a second time has totally screwed the pooch with my night, but it had to be done.

It took me a whole year and a little more to finally get the love of my life to take me seriously. I wanted him. Period. Dot com; dot org; dot edu. I may have been a few years younger than most kids in college, but I felt the electricity the very first time we actually met. That S.O.B. played with me like a cat with a mouse, too. It is fairly humorous now, but it was anything but then. Looking back, he was so bad, but in a way that wasn’t evil. That would come later. I still ended up crying my eyes out over him both before and after we got together, but those instances were forgivable. As I said, he wasn’t truly evil or cruel then.

I transferred to a larger university my sophomore year. Going back to visit friends where I first entered college was tricky. I wanted to spend time with them but I also wanted to get time with my love. He was seeing the woman he eventually married along with a few others on campus—or so it was believed. He didn’t always know when I was going to be in town and I didn’t always know that he had time or would make time for me. Actually, while exploring the possibilities, he did make time to see me.

Once we got “together” and he came to visit, I was a floating ball of happy goo from the moment I saw his car pull into the drive until he left. He was my heart. He HAD my heart. But, again, we weren’t exclusive. It wasn’t impossible, but it sure would have been impractical, especially with the girl he was seeing there on campus with him. I hated that, but I also knew I would not thrive in such a small school.

All in all, we were together, if somewhat ambiguously, for 17 years. One of the darkest times was when he asked me to come visit him at home several years after we’d both graduated. When someone brings you across several states to meet his parents, the natural thought is that things are about to get serious—finally! I think that trip was a test that I failed. I think I know why, but it is really immaterial. He told me of his engagement to his college girlfriend, then about to become a doctor, just as I was leaving his home (bastard) to visit a cousin nearby. For better or worse, he told me, “I almost chose you.” I don’t remember what happened next other than more tears than I’d shed in my life until that point. It’s all a blur.

It is hard to say which I remember most, the longing for him when he wasn’t physically or emotionally available or the joy, for the most part, when he was. I’ve written so much about him over the years that a publisher inquired about a book some years ago. I couldn’t write it then. Now I can and will, although I’ll have to change the names to protect the whining, bitching and moaning incredibly guilty. Once I get WWM up and running smoothly, including hiring a managing editor at some point, I can breathe a bit.

I mentioned that he hadn’t turned evil prior to his marriage. He was quiet, had mad skills as a DJ, super smart and probably in or near the genius IQ range, sweet, gentle when needed, but he did have a very evil side that I’d known was there for a long time. I knew nearly from the beginning that he was the kind of young man who could either choose to be a good and decent person or be a cruel, evil and non-consensually sadistic person. At some point during his marriage he chose the latter. I would give a lot to go back and stop him from choosing the wrong side, but I can’t. These days, if there COULD be a sinister motive for someone’s actions, that is his default assumption. I’m sorry, but I believe that’s quite twisted.

What happened to my caring, generally upbeat, beautiful young man? I dearly want to know what made him turn into someone who could be so utterly hateful, cruel and sadistic, particularly to me—someone who’d been totally loyal to him and, with one exception, shown him nothing but love. Hell, even when I was hurt and angry with him I still tried to be decent about things. I wish I could say the same about him. I can’t. He has become a textbook narcissist and it just makes me sad. What he did to me as the narcissist he’s become is very private. I’m struggling with how to write about it in the book because I’ve never experienced cruelty on that level.

This decades old rock ballad called Faithfully has a kind of magic for me. Most of the time, if I truly listen to it, I start crying. I’ve barely held back the tears tonight, but I wanted to get this post done. I know this song. I’ve felt this song. I’ve been this song. Indeed, I’ve been this song twice in my life in two different ways. The fact that I’m sharing this on FACEBOOK is fairly well amazing to me. However, as I stated when I began, I needed to write this and not my alter ego. I did this for me because this is what is in my heart. For reasons that probably won’t become clear to me for a while, I needed to remember. Faithfully.

Whew! I didn’t know all that was in there. Now I need a cigarette. It’s too bad I quit smoking. :(

After effects

For reasons I don’t fully understand, today has been one of those “teary days” that sometimes enter my life. The latter part of the last week has been full of fear, worry, disappointment and, at times, utter panic. As I’ve written previously, my mother died in February, 2012. I’d known for years that she was not mentally competent and known even longer that she had serious mental health issues. She chose not to deal with either affliction. Unfortunately, her affliction became my affliction because I shared a house with her. Day after day, I’d watch her make horrible mistakes and could do nothing. One person in whom I’d confided kept telling me to somehow “make” her do things or “make” her brothers stop protecting her so that she could receive real medical help. My mother was not someone anyone “makes” do anything. The end result was that she lived in a world that didn’t correspond with reality. Nothing I said, did, didn’t say or didn’t do made a difference. I told her in anger once that she would always find a way to screw me over even if she had to go down with me. That’s a pretty harsh thing to say to one’s mother. That didn’t mean it wasn’t true. Two utterly devastating financial decisions she made that I desperately tried to talk her out of or guide her through have come back to bite me in the ass just as I told her they would.

The financial difficulties I’m experiencing actually force me to mourn my mother. I have not had any real time to do so in the last 18 months because I’ve been too busy dealing with two creditors who hold the paper on the house and my minivan–KeyBank National Association and JPMorgan Chase Auto Finance, respectively. To say these august institutions have been “difficult” would probably be the understatement of the year. I have new grey hairs because of them. Fortunately, my attorneys have kept me away from a lot of the upsetting discourse because, honestly, I don’t think I have it in me to remain focused and calm. My mother’s death and the years that preceded it are truly tender spots on my psyche. There is a lot of unfinished business within the family confines that are deeply painful and ugly. There are days when I can barely keep the dam of anger and pain from bursting as though built with shoddy concrete and rusty steel. Inevitably, there will be cracks where the water of my tears will seep through and run down the spillway of my cheeks. Today is one of those days.

I may have written of a favorite great-uncle, Herbert, who was more some combination of grandfather/father than great-uncle. Even though he was only ten years older than my mother, he had a very big hand in raising her. It was a bond that lasted throughout their lives. Uncle Herbert preceded Mom in death by a few months shy of four years. We didn’t have a chance to say a final goodbye, but I think he understood.

Uncle Herbert was always there for me, too. He and his wife, Ethel, were my rocks when I desperately needed them growing up. Lately, as I’ve watched my world turn upside down, I have wished that Uncle Herbert were here because he’d tell me how to fix everything or protect me as best he could from the very harsh realities I may have to face. My lawyers do help me as best they can, but they can only do so much. Aunt Ethel helped me even though I was deeply ashamed for asking. In the end, it is up to me. It is my responsibility to clean up the hot mess my mother made of both our lives because I didn’t do what needed to be done: have her declared mentally incompetent and get myself appointed conservator. Kicking myself is a waste of time, as is blaming her enabling two oldest brothers who interfered when I tried to get her help. I know that I will never have the same relationship with them again. So be it. However, I have to mourn the woman she was before she was crazy and mentally incompetent, then pick myself up, gear up and fight for my life.

I think the thing I do best is fight. My existence has been a constant struggle since the day I was born. I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t have to fight for something or another. That’s one of the things that would have/will make an excellent litigator. I believe passionately in equanimity and fairness. To me, those are basic human rights. KeyBank made a predatory loan to a woman who had no business conducting any financial transactions at all. I even warned the loan officer that my mother was not competent, but the loan officer saw an easy mark and inserted herself into the relationship with my mother. Anytime a woman “forgets” that her daughter has fibromyalgia and a birth defect that has caused problems in various musculoskeletal areas of her body even though that daughter has been on disability since the early 1990s and several doctors have talked to her about the daughter’s needs, that woman is in serious trouble. Whether Mom really forgot or whether she just didn’t want to face facts is something I’ll never know. What I do know is that I may lose my house due to Key’s greed. I have a feeling that I am not the only person who is in this type of difficulty.

Picking myself up to fight another day is one of the most difficult things I can envision doing right now. I am so damn tired I don’t know what to do. My spirit is tired. What keeps me going is my girls. Without them, I would be locked away in an psychiatric facility undergoing God-knows-what kind of “therapy” to lift the fog of depression. Yes, I am fighting for myself, but I am fighting for them even more. We are a set; a team; a four-some. We are family. I really don’t like this house because it wasn’t built very well. However, it’s got a large backyard with incredible possibilities and I don’t have to worry about my babies making too much noise for the neighbors. I know that I live and do things for them when I can’t do them for myself. This time, I’m fighting for all of us.

You’ll never guess who’s back

I thought this mess was over. I had accepted that Glenn is a plain, old narcissist and I’d moved on. Then, one of my next door neighbors told me about a couple of guys he’d confronted walking around the house with a camera on more than one occasion in the last several weeks. They did not–would not–identify themselves. That let him and me know that they weren’t with the city or the damned bank or any insurance company. Actually, the bank has all the information they want, so I knew it wasn’t them. As for the city, there is only one official interested in the property and that’s because I couldn’t find a lawn guy for a couple of weeks and got a warning. There are no insurance claims and anyone from an insurance company would have identified themselves just like any other person with a half-way legitimate reason to be here. That left me with this question: Who would want information about me and/or want to hurt me? One guess as to the first name that popped up.

I am no besotted teenager, 20+ year-old, 30+ year-old, etc. I’m not besotted at all, at least not with this incarnation of Glenn. I had to go back and read what he put me through to see the light. It was then that I remembered a lot of things from when we were young and realized, sadly and with a heavy heart, that he is and always has been, a narcissist. The difference now is that he’s fully grown into the pathology and I sure as hell will not be drawn into his circle. Neither will I back down or shut up, so he got a text telling him that he’d been caught and it was going to stop. Further, if anything happens to me or mine, there will be no place on this earth he can run. One side of my family and associates or the other will get him. Frankly, this post is part of that. There is also a set of journals that are very thorough. All of this gives him motive, so he will be first on the list should I wake up injured or dead.

Strangely enough, I don’t have anything else to say. I’m sad because I so wanted to marry the Glenn I knew. I wanted to build a family with him. Instead, well, what happened happened. Now I feel slightly amused, slightly pissed and very ho-hum about the Glenn who grew into the skin he’s in now. He’s a stranger I don’t want to know. I asked myself if I’d believe him if he suddenly changed his tune. No, I wouldn’t. That’s one of the problems with narcissists–they tend to lie and embellish as easily as they draw breath if they feel the need. *shrug* So that’s that.

Revenge

I have encountered three narcissists in my life: a cousin who lives to torture me while playing victim; some guy I was seeing who loved to tell me why I wasn’t good enough and watch me hurt until someone clued me in to narcissists and what they do for the sheer joy of it, and; Glenn T. , who will sing some version of “Poor Pitiful Me” if I let him. Oddly enough, the cousin and Glenn both decided to wave their “I’m the only and sole president of the Narcissist Club of America” flags around the same time. The thing is, I didn’t know there was a pathology until the second listed abuser came along and someone recognized the behavior pattern, after which I did my own digging.

Glenn T. has always been his own worst enemy. He listens through the filter of his projections because he fails to grasp that most people aren’t like him. Most people do not operate with an ulterior motive in mind and they certainly don’t operate with the most twisted and perverse ulterior motives in mind. That is the way he thinks. That’s the way he gets his kicks. I guess marrying another narcissist, mean girl, bully and the attendant conjugal “benefits” aren’t doing it for him anymore. Oh well. Not my problem.

My problem is two-fold. The first is that justice should be meted out to Glenn T. and his spouse because, in this case, the fairness demands such. In this instance, since neither perpetrators are going to admit their abusive acts or voluntarily do penance, justice could arguably take the form of revenge.

That brings me to the second fork of this problem.

Although I have no idea exactly who is attributed with the saying, there is the aphorism that living well is the best revenge. It is also said that revenge is a dish best served cold. What does this mean when put together?

Justice, (i.e. revenge), will come when it is least expected and when I have the will, the power and the money to exact a four-star Zagat rating. Until then, I will take care of myself and do those things I want to do with my life. I will have a life well-lived.

Losing my mind

I swear, only I would get myself into such a fix. I can’t find the fitted sheet for the set I’d planned to use on my bed. I’ve looked EVERYWHERE and then some. I can’t think of any other place to look and it’s bringing back the damn migraine I had earlier this week. I’m going to be forced to go with off-white or white sheets. The latter are brand new eyelets that I’ve had saved for a “special occasion.” In my mind I’m seeing all this white and thinking that the white balance is going to get royally fucked. However, my mind is also saying that I can break that white up with some pillows that have gold and blue in them that will match my walls. I’m not nervous! Me? Pshaw! I just go on and on about missing sheets with no one giving a damn except me all the time. I still have to dust because I gave up after dealing with another set of off-white sateen stripes that I re-washed because I couldn’t tell how recently they’d been washed, but stashed in a corner. My basement is not my friend. BTW, how many white or off-white sheet sets is one allowed to have before having them classified as a minor fetish? I’ll think about it when I wake up in about nine hours.

Ready, set . . .

I am sitting in my bed trying to wrap my mind around what I’m going to do in the next few hours. Little by little, I’ve been preparing my bedroom to serve as a set for the disabled erotic modeling I will do. It’s taken a lot because my bedroom has been a real mess for years because I’ve been so physically limited for so long. In addition, psychologically, part of me has learned to be wary. I am normally a very sexual person in appropriate circumstances. Indeed, I revel in my sexuality! I’ve even envisioned photographs taken of me and one of my “types” of lovers as we lay in bed semi-nude. It would be gorgeous and I’d be very proud to be a part of it. The thing that concerns me here is that, once I deliver the product, I have no control over what happens. I know what’s supposed to happen and I know that the site will do all that it can to protect me and the art if for no other reason than they lose both money and the trust of their models when photos end up where they were not intended. Be that as it may, all it takes is one person to buy the set and then put the photos on one of the many bulletin boards that cater to different fetishes. I know what happened to a couple of short stories I wrote ten to 15 years ago. They went what we’d now call “viral.” I’m still finding them and sending cease and desist letters! A friend asked if he could publish one of them on his website and I agreed. That was a very long time ago, the story is still there and I have no idea how to reach my friend.

The other issue that gives me pause is that I am about to launch a brand new business. In one sense, the photos could help publicize the new business. In another sense, the business could, at some point, not only publicize the photos, but spin off a site specifically for women of a particular type. I’ve always been a believer in the aphorism that less is more. In this case, the less skin shown, the more the viewers’ imagination can fill in the blanks. In this way, no one is in any way put in a position where they must engage in more explicit activity to receive higher payment. The site where I will put my photos does not pressure models to engage in explicit activity as I understand it. Until I experience otherwise, I’ll take the owner’s word for it. However, I do know that the more explicit material does sell better than less explicit. I can understand that and I do believe the models deserve more for their material.

I wonder, however, how many women are like me. I am doing this not because I seek to create art for art’s sake. I am doing this because I have no where else to turn financially. I am doing what women have done since time began: I am trying to save my family. My family consists of me and my three four-legged “daughters.” The primary issue is keeping a roof over our heads, especially since I need surgery and am in no way strong enough to undertake a major move, particularly since that move would involve packing my belongings, probably leaving many here, and leaving the state. Right now, I’m facing a citation from the city because my lawn needs to be mowed and the weeds our former lawn person brought in when he dumped infected fill dirt in our beautiful back yard (without permission, I might add) absolutely must be eliminated. I also owe my attorneys thousands of dollars and will have to break a promise I made to myself to never, ever give the bank that made a very predatory loan to my mother, KeyBank National, a dime. In short, my back is against the wall. I would be so proud to create true art with semi-nudes or even full nudes. My skin color lends itself well to black and white photography. I would not be ashamed or hesitant to engage in a photo shoot like that. Hell, I’ve done it before and was very pleased with the results. But I hate this. I hate this because I cannot be my full, wonderful, sensual, sexy self. I will do my best, but I don’t know if I can make it seem as though I’m not doing this under duress. The duress is that I absolutely must have the money that will come from these photos. Even a little bit every week would be immensely helpful.

There is so much to say and no time to fully explore the ramifications at this moment. I have to dust, make my bed, hang lights and get myself ready. I still don’t know exactly what outfit I’m going to wear. Oy! I’m also going to put on my smile, hold my head high and represent the very real sexuality of black, disabled, Rubenesque women. We ROCK!

Mourning

I’ve just spent the last 30 minutes or so telling my cousin about Glenn. It wasn’t a subject I’d planned to address, but there seemed no way to explain a part of my life without explaining him. This makes sense, really. Before I awoke from my nap this evening, I’d dreamed about Glenn, a mutual friend we had named Tanya and, of course, about me. I was in horrible emotional pain because Glenn somehow walked away from me and wouldn’t speak to me again. He was with hagbeast and the setting was the college we attended. I remember the agony and I remember his face. What I didn’t know in the dream, and don’t really know now, is why he hated me because of my sexuality. The irony is that, at this point in my life, I honestly, truly do want a male mate. I’m not kicking any lovely, lovely women out of my bed–or life, if that’s the case–but my sexuality has made a 180 degree turn in the last month that’s confused the daylights out of me.

Be that as it may, when I awoke, what I felt was the profound loss. It mirrors the loss I haven’t allowed myself to feel in real life. I don’t think I can run far enough fast enough. I’m going to have to truly feel the pain.

This is in no way meant to diminish what I feel, but the thing that struck me after actually saying a few words to him and being greeted with hostility is that I was dead on about his character and characteristics when I thought he was ignoring me. I am thankful that, as if someone had pushed a button, my emotional armor went up the moment I realized I had managed to fuck up and reach the person–TWICE. I don’t understand that kind of hatred. I never have. He was the last straight person in the world I’d peg as homophobic. Yet, that was part of the rant he used to cripple me and bang my figurative head into the ground over and over again. A decade later, he doesn’t remember and suddenly decided he doesn’t want to. I wish I could have forgotten as easily.

Somehow, the world seems much lonelier than it did. Tanya left me little to no choice except to say one final goodbye. Glenn turned into the narcissist/sociopath/narcissistic sociopath I was truly afraid he’d become with hagbeast. He could go either way and I knew it. That’s one of the primary reasons I stayed with him. Not to get completely hyperbolic (although I’m going there), hagbeast massaged his darker nature. I massaged his lighter nature. He had a devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other. (Please know that I did try to find a substitute metaphor and failed.) It was much easier to be dark, rapacious, mean and evil. Dark always has an advantage. There are things I understand now that I didn’t then. Unfortunately, it’s too late. Even if he wanted to get out (and there’s no evidence he does) he couldn’t. That leaves me to mourn and to write.

A part of me says that I don’t know how we’re going to get through the hell. Another part says that we simply will. It is what we do. Strength above all.