#Metoo doesn’t only happen in Politics and Hollywood

I’ve thought about writing this since the hashtag started trending. I’ve watched all the stories come out. I’ve watched all the powerful men fall. And I’ve wondered, what about the women in the small jobs, the working mothers, where are their stories. I’ve waited and I’ve watched. No one is telling their stories. I couldn’t help but wonder why. And after wrestling with the thought of telling my story, I knew I had to tell it. I knew that I had to give voice to all the women like me. The ones not in Hollywood or DC, the ones that put up with sexual harassment and rape just to feed our children. So here’s my #metoo .

The year was roughly 1992, I was married to a guy who just got out of the army and had taken a job in North Georgia as a prison guard. We lived in a beautiful little town, Cornelia in a rundown house. Our marriage started out great.  While we were dating he was kind, thoughtful, all the things that you look for in a mate. And then slowly after we got married, things changed. He was verbally abusive to me and I knew that he was cheating. But I wasn’t working so my options were limited. I was in a town where I knew no one, had no friends, had no one to run to, I was stuck until I figured something out. So I started trying to figure something out.

It was summertime, so I took my daughter to Cherokee, NC for a day trip. On the way back we stopped at a cute little amusement park in Franklin, NC. It was halfway up a mountain and the view was amazing. The park was in two parts. The lower part, you panned for gold and gemstones. You could tour the mines halfway up the mountain and then on top of the mountain there was an old west town. It was complete with a saloon with can-can girls, a gunfight in the street, old-time shops, an ice cream parlor and everything you would expect to find in a fake 1800’s town.

We panned for gemstones and of course, we found some. That’s when I met the owners, Alan and MaryLou. It was their job to convince us that the stones we found could be cut into beautiful gems and put into jewelry. At the time, I had no idea how it all worked and was amazed. Now, I know it’s all a scam but my daughter’s eyes were glistening at the thought of a rock she found becoming a gem and in a ring. So I broke down and spent some money to have her rock “cut” and put in a ring. She found a garnet and we put it in a heart-shaped setting. It would be ready in a week and they would mail it to me. Or since I was so close, I could come back and pick it up. We decided to come back and pick it up.

Alan and MaryLou had spent a lot of time talking with me that day, getting to know my daughter. I was getting to know them and learn about their business. They didn’t have any kids, no family in the area. They had started their panning operation in Dawsonville, GA and when Great American Mining Adventure (GAMA) came up for sale, they bought it with a partner who had an operation down the hill. He acted like a silent partner most days. They hadn’t owned GAMA long and still had a long way to go to get everything up and running. For example, there was a sky lift that went from the bottom of the park to the top that was not operational yet. As well as a couple of shops and a restaurant. Alan mentioned several times that they were looking for someone to hire on as a operations manager to get all that started and running. I mentioned that I had a degree in business administration and could probably brush up on the laws in NC and be able to do the job. At this point. we were just kinda joking about the whole thing. But there was really good chemistry between the three of us, so it wasn’t something that I put out of my mind. In fact, after we left, I thought about it the whole drive home. The drive was only an hour, which was no different than what I would have to drive if I were living in Atlanta. And there weren’t any good jobs for me around Cornelia. Sure I could work at the local Piggly Wiggly or Family Dollar but that wouldn’t be enough to support my daughter and myself.

My marriage was going south and I knew that I needed a game plan. On the return trip to pick up the ring, I talked to Alan and MaryLou about the job. We really talked about it. After hashing out the details, I became the new operations manager for GAMA. I would soon find out that, I was really the “everything girl”. The job had it’s perks, during the summer, my daughter could come with me. So I didn’t need to hire a sitter. And the pay was good enough that if/when my marriage fell apart, I would be okay. In fact, MaryLou had mentioned that in addition to their house on the property, there was a second house that was fully furnished. It was available to me in case the weather was ever bad and I got snowed in or if I just needed a place to stay.

So now you know the backstory of how I came to be at GAMA. Things were going fine for a couple of months. My marriage was holding on, we moved to a different town, my daughter started school. On nights, when I wouldn’t be home within an hour of her getting off the bus or my husband wouldn’t be home within an hour, she would ride the bus to the babysitter’s house.

And then things started falling apart at home. Rick was back to cheating. I didn’t know who it was with but I knew he was cheating. Every night when he came home before he even spoke to me, he had to take a shower. And he was late every night. It was always because there was a problem at the prison. We were fighting constantly. He was becoming more verbally abusive and starting to get physically abusive as well.

I went to work one day with bruises on my neck that I couldn’t cover. Alan took me into one of the empty stores where we were storing things to “look for something”. He cornered me and asked me what was going on. I broke down into tears and told him. He started “comforting” me. At first, he put his arm around me and was hugging me. Then he tried to kiss me and I pushed him away. And then I saw a side of Alan that I had never seen before. He grabbed me in the same spot where I had the bruises and forced me to kiss him. I bit his tongue when he shoved it in my mouth. He squeezed my neck harder.

He pulled back and I will never forget what he said “You stupid little bitch, don’t you get it? With your husband beating the fuck out of you, I can do anything I want to you as long my bruises match his bruises. And you know what, no one would believe you. Your husband is a prison guard and I’m a married business owner. I own you now.”

He drug me into the office part of the storefront, ordered me to take off my clothes and raped me. While he was raping me, MaryLou was calling him on the handheld radio and he paused long enough to answer her. He told her that he was making some business arrangements and he’d be done soon. When he finished, instead of ejaculating inside of me, he pulled out and ejaculated on the floor. He told me to clean myself up and clean up the floor. The last thing he said before he left the storefront was “Don’t let my wife catch you smelling like the cheap whore you are, that would be bad for you. And don’t think about telling her or quitting. She wouldn’t believe you if you told her, she hasn’t believed any of the others. And if you quit, I’ll tell your husband that I fired you because you were coming on to me.”

He left and I went into the bathroom and cried. Then scrubbed myself, trying to get his funk off of me. Then I cleaned up his mess on the floor. Then I went back to the bathroom and puked. When I made it back to the main store, MaryLou looked at me with concern and said: “Oh honey, Alan told me you weren’t feeling well and wanted to go home early, are you okay?” I told her that I probably just had something that didn’t agree with me. She told me to either go up to the house or go home if I thought I could make the hour drive. Since I didn’t want to be there, I gathered my things and left.

When I got home there was a message on the answering machine from Alan, reminding me of our big meeting the next day and how I had better not miss it. We didn’t have a big meeting. It was his way of threatening me. For the next eight months, several times a week, Alan would rape me in one of the storefronts. And if Rick had left bruises on me, then Alan made the bruises worse. During this time, I started taking all my paychecks and putting them in a separate bank account.

I came home one day, after being raped by Alan, and my husband who was supposed to be at work was home. I walked in the back door as quiet as could be. The stereo was on. I looked around the downstairs, he wasn’t there. I crept upstairs. I looked in my daughter’s room, she wasn’t in there and neither was he. I looked in the bathroom, he wasn’t in there. That left the master bedroom. The door was open and I could hear a noise. I carefully looked in. There was my babysitter, the sister of his best friend, bare-ass naked, on top of my bare-ass naked husband. I cleared my throat and said: When you are finished, you can both get the fuck out of this house. And don’t even think about starting anything because she’s 16 and what you are doing is illegal.

I went back downstairs to wait for my daughter to get home so I could keep her from going upstairs. Apparently, I ruined the mood for the sex-crazed couple because Miss Thang came running down the stairs dressed and out the front door. Rick took a few minutes longer. My daughter came home as he came down the stairs. I told her to go up to her room and close the door. Rick and I got into a huge fight, he slapped me, knocked me to the ground, sat on top of me and pulled his service pistol out. I screamed for my daughter to call the police. When she came out of her room, Rick turned and pointed the gun at her. In that moment, somehow, I found the strength to get him off me and take the gun away from him. I held the gun on him until the cops showed up. Neither one of us was taken into custody but he was removed from the home.

We divorced after that and I never went back to GAMA. I took all the money that I saved and rented an apartment in Gainesville, GA and got a job working for the local cable company. I never looked back.

#MeToo #NotJustHollywood

The walk of shame

He was my brother. I had been away from him for a while, I had no reason not to trust him. He was married now, he had a child of his own. I had no reason to believe he was still a monster. That’s why I got in that car with him.  There was no reason I should have been his victim. But I was and there was nothing I could do about it. I said no. I fought back. But he was too much like his mother. If you didn’t do what he wanted you got a punch or a slap until you did do what he wanted. And on this day, he wanted sex. He wanted a blowjob and he wanted vaginal intercourse. And by the time he was done, my throat was raw and my panties were a torn mess lying in the woods where he had pulled off the road. All of my screaming and tears did nothing, they brought no help, they didn’t elicit sympathy from him. In fact, I think my screams excited him more.

When it was over, I curled up in the front seat, still sobbing and he took me home. As I got out of his car, he said “Tell Mom we will be over about 6 for dinner. And thanks for a good time.” I said “Fuck you” He laughed and said, “Maybe another time, I’m beat”. I wanted to kill him in that moment.

I went into the house and showered.  Standing in the shower I started to panic, he didn’t use a condom and I wasn’t on birth control. What the hell was I going to do if I got pregnant? Well, there was no question about it, I would get an abortion.  I started doing the math in my head. It had been about 2 weeks since my period. Didn’t they teach us that our cycles were about 28 days and that at about 14 days in we could get pregnant? Why the hell did I have two fucking mothers and neither of them would let me get birth control pills. One told me only whores needed birth control and her son had just raped me. And the other wouldn’t even have the conversation with me. She said, “Catholic girls don’t need birth control!” Maybe for one in my short miserable life whatever fate, gods, luck or karma would smile on me and the worst wouldn’t happen.

When a month passed and my period didn’t happen, I went to a clinic and took a test. Sure as shit, I was pregnant. I looked at the woman and said: “What does it take to get an abortion?” She asked my age, I lied “I’m 18” I was 16. She said we need proof of your age and $1500 and it has to be done in the first 3 months. I was screwed. I needed a fake ID and more money than I made in a month working at Albertsons.

This was back in 1979 and there was no internet to research how to induce a miscarriage, there was no way to find groups to help with paying for an abortion and there was no such thing as Plan B. I called up my brother and told him I was pregnant and needed an abortion. I told him I needed a fake ID and $1500. He laughed and said it wasn’t his problem. I screamed at him, told him that he was the only one that had sex with me, that it was his spawn. He kept laughing and said, “Nope wasn’t his, mom said I was nothing but a little whore and this proved she was right.” I wanted to kill him, again.

I went to the only person I could think of to go to, a woman I worked with, Michelle. She was older and constantly talking about women’s rights and such. I thought that if anyone knew what to do it was her. She was indeed my savior. I caught her as she was getting off work and poured my heart out to her. I told her everything. I told her about my mother, I told her my brother raped me and it wasn’t the first time and I told I was pregnant with his child. The first thing she said was “GIrl, we have to get you out of that house and away from those people.” I moved in with her that night. I told Mother that I was just going to her house to stay a couple of days but I never spent another night at Mother’s house again. I was sneaking in when Mother wasn’t home and getting my things.

Michelle introduced me to several other women who thought like she did and told them what was going on with me. Quickly the ball started rolling. The first thing they did was give me some kind of drugs to drink to see if that would encourage and miscarriage. It didn’t. I was still pregnant.  Knowing that I was only 16, I either had to have a fake ID or someone had to pretend to be my mother. Either way, it could be jail time if we were caught. I didn’t want to risk anyone else so I opted for the fake ID. The women started raising funds for me, I was still working and every penny was going to the abortion fund. Finally, I had enough money and a fake ID.  And an appointment.

Michelle drove me to the clinic and as we parked I was instantly terrified. We had to park across the street and the sidewalk was lined with people, mostly men with signs protesting abortion. I would have to walk by them to get to the clinic. But I had to do it because if I didn’t get the abortion, I would kill myself. There was no way I was going to give birth to that thing that was growing inside me. There was a group of people in the parking lot that we parked in that Michelle said were clinic escorts and that they would walk us to the clinic and protect us from the protestors. While I saw the signs and the people, nothing prepared me for the walk that I was about to take. To this day, I’m not sure which was worse, the walk or being pregnant.

Michelle and I sat in the car for a moment watching the protestors. They were watching us too. My heart was racing. I read their signs, “Baby Killer” “Don’t kill your child” “Jesus said children shall inherit the earth, don’t kill yours”.  As I sat there reading those signs and looking at those people, all I could see is the hate that my mother spread every time she spoke to me. These people knew nothing about anyone who was coming to this clinic, yet they here they judging them all. They had no idea if the woman they were calling a baby killer was a rape victim, or if the baby was already dead. And the worst part was, they didn’t care. Before getting out and making my own walk, another young woman flanked by escorts crossed the street and started walking to the clinic.

The protesters started circling around her like sharks homing in on their next meal. Even with the windows rolled up in the car I could hear them shouting at her. “Let us help you!” “Don’t kill your baby!” She kept her head down and kept walking, the escorts formed a barrier between her and the sharks. The more the sharks yelled the closer the escorts got to the young woman. She was clearly unsettled if you looked closely you could see tears fall from her face. My heart broke for her but at the same time, I was horrified that I was going to have to make that same walk.

Even though the perfect time to make my way to the clinic would have been while the Pro Life protesters were busy with the first girl, I was so intimidated watching it unfold that I couldn’t move. Then there was a tap on the window. “Honey, are you okay?”

I rolled down the window. “Yes ma’am, just trying to catch my breath and my nerve so I can walk up there. But I guess I’m just wasting time sitting here and those creeps aren’t going away.” So I rolled up the window, grabbed my purse, opened the door and got out.

The escort introduced herself as Jackie and motioned for a couple of other escorts to come over. The other women introduced themselves as well. Michelle and I introduced ourselves and told them I was the patient. They asked me if I wanted ear plugs so I couldn’t hear them. While it was tempting, I declined. I had survived far worse, I could survive this walk. After all, they were just a bunch of do gooders shouting. And we all learned in kindergarten that sticks and stones break our bones but words don’t hurt. Although, anyone has been verbally abused knows better than that shit. Words hurt just as much if not more than having your ass kicked.

Surrounded by escorts and Michelle holding my hand, we made our way across the street. Instantly, we were surrounded by all 10 of the Pro Life protesters and their signs. Michelle linked her arm in mine and an escort linked her arm in my other one, I also had an escort in front of me and one behind me. I was protected, physically. I kept my head down but I could still hear them. One woman who looked a lot like my mother was almost in my face and while she wasn’t loud, her words were meant to sting.

“Honey, don’t kill your baby. You know that baby was made in love. If you don’t want it, give it up for adoption. We can help you find a loving home for it. Death is not the answer for that sweet innocent life, keep it or adopt it out. But please don’t kill it. Does the father know you want to kill his precious baby? Did you tell him you were pregnant, does he know that you made a child with your love?” The more she talked the angrier I got, I couldn’t hear anyone else but her and she kept droning on and on about love and adoption and innocence. And then I lost it.

I stopped and lifted my head and looked her dead in the eyes. I didn’t scream or raise my voice. “What do you know about me? NOTHING. This baby wasn’t made in love. My fucking brother raped me. And do you know why I wasn’t on birth control? Because the fucking bitch that adopted ME said only whores needed birth control. So now what is your answer? Let me guess, you want me to carry this baby and be reminded every day for the rest of my life that there is a person on this earth that was the product of incest and rape. Your plan is to punish me for the rest of my life and to punish a child. That’s a great plan, but FUCK YOU, it’s not happening. While you may think that adoption is the answer, how many kids are sitting in foster care waiting for homes? And how sure are you that all kids that are adopted are in perfect little homes? I’m here to tell you that being adopted for me was hell. So unless you have real answers, get the fuck out of my way. I prayed to your God every day of my life to get me out of hell and he did nothing, so fuck your God and fuck you.”

When I started walking again, the protesters didn’t follow. They were stunned into silence. Not even the escorts said anything as we walked into the clinic. The escorts hugged me and wished me luck. One of them whispered in my ear that she was proud of me.  I made my way to the check in counter, signed in, gave her my ID and she didn’t even question it. I sat down and waited my turn.

It wasn’t a long wait until I was called back. A quick counseling session to make sure I wanted to have the abortion, another look at my fake ID, I paid my money and the difference between ending my life or ending the life of a fetus that should have never been created took place. There was no crying while the doctor did what he had to do, there was only a sense of relief and resolve. Some people make resolutions on New Year’s Eve, I made a resolution that day that I never broke, I swore that day that I would never live in the same house as my abusive mother again and I would never give my brother the chance to rape me. Thirty years later, I do not regret my abortion and I never broke my resolutions.

For the love of a white cat….MimmyJoe

24 years ago I was blessed with having a white Persian tiptoe into my life and change it forever. She taught me to be kind, loving and calm. She taught me to watch outside for animals that needed food and love. And now our rescue is in her name. She is the reason why we rescue those that others throw away. She left us 3 years ago today to go to the Rainbow Bridge to be with her mate JohnJohn and their kittens Baby and Sweetye. I miss that family but I miss the wise MimmyJoe.

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Three years ago today we lost a beautiful dirty faced Princess with a heart of gold. The Rainbow Bridge gained an Angel.

Day 17 – A quote you live by

If you’ve read my second book then you know this quote.

God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December. James M Barrie

My 9th grade English teacher Mr. Taylor would write different quotes on the blackboard each day and we had to write a paragraph about what they meant to us. This is the only quote that I ever remembered.  Now that I’m older it sticks with me because genetically there is Alzheimer’s disease in my biological family and I’ve watched people with that disease lose their short term memory but retain their long-term memory.  So maybe those memories are really their roses.

Day 16 – Bullet point your day

  • woke up
  • bathroom
  • stumbled down the hall
  • fed the cats
  • spoke to the husband
  • drank a bottle of water, took meds
  • tried to eat breakfast, failed
  • took a shower
  • got Prue and Ivy in the carriers and took them to the vet.
  • came home
  • ate half a piece of pizza, watched Rogue One
  • took meds
  • went to bed

wasn’t that fun.

Day 15 – Three Pet Peeves

Three pet peeves that drive me insane.

  1. When people use the phrase “I could care less” incorrectly. They are clearly trying to say that they don’t care but they use the wrong words they say words that mean they care because they if they didn’t care about something then there is no way they could care less. They should say “I couldn’t care less”.
  2.  People who talk more than they listen. To me, these are people who clearly care more about themselves than they do anyone else. Sadly I have several people like this in my life.
  3.  When you are looking for someone says “Is it …..?” how the hell do I know if it’s there? If I looked there and it was there I would have found it already. How about instead of asking me if it’s there you get up and LOOK there.

Day 14 – Your life in 7 years

Here’s that explanation.

My life in 7 years. At this point, I would just like to be here. After my doctors appointment on Friday, the unknown, the blood draw, the waiting, the “you need more tests”, the here’s another script, the goal is to just be alive in 7 years.

Going to an Oncologist is probably the scariest visit you can ever have. You can already be on chemo for one thing but when you see the full fledged ONCOLOGIST that’s when the fear of dying is really shoved down your throat. All the people in your life can tell you, don’t worry, they would have caught it before now if it was serious. Really? It took them EIGHT years to catch my Psoriatic Arthritis. I heard so much crap from my PCP before other people in his office FINALLY said “Look, let me have someone else look at your chart” and they FINALLY got me to a real doctor. After three blood tests with him he said, “You know what, this still isn’t right, I’m doing what I need to do to get you better but I think you need to see my wife.” After 13 years of seeing a doctor who really doesn’t give a crap about his patient’s health, it’s nice to see a doctor who cares.

So to break it down, in seven years, I just want to be alive. Healthy would be nice.

Day 13 – Your commute to work/school

First, let me apologize for falling behind on the writing challenge. I will address why in another post.

My commute…It’s horrible. It’s the longest commute of my life. And yes, that is total sarcasm. My commute varies from day to day depending on where I want to work. Do I want to work at my desk inside the house? Well, then my commute is 15 steps down the hall from my bed to my desk.

Do I want to in my office in the back yard? The first think I have to do is check the traffic to make sure there are no feral cats eating. Then I open back door and walk 15 steps to my office, open the door and close out the world.

The trick to my commute is not getting distracted. That’s so easy to do.

Day 12– Two words/phrases that make you laugh.

Honestly, it takes a lot to make me laugh.  There aren’t any words or phrases that you can pop out with that will make me laugh. Now that’s not to say that I don’t have a sense of humor, I do. I just don’t like dumb things. I don’t like most “comedies”, I don’t like slapstick comedy, hell I’m not even a huge fan of Monty Python. I don’t laugh when people fall on banana peels. I don’t laugh when someone says “butts”.  Which drives my family crazy.

One thing has made me laugh recently….on the Walking Dead when Neagan told Sasha that she had “Beach ball sized lady nuts”. THAT made me laugh. I have a t-shirt coming with that printed on it.