Drowning in the Shame

Drowning in the Shame

For several months, I have wanted to write out the secrets that I have carried since childhood, but each time I started to write about those years, I became fearful of judgment and deleted the text. I am ashamed of the sexual abuse that plagued my life from childhood into my teens. Sometimes, when the images come to mind I feel disgusted and cannot look at my reflection in the mirror. There are many women who can easily speak of those times. They have mastered control of the truth whereas I cringe and internalize my distress. I have been told that by letting go of these secrets I can embrace freedom from shame.

With learning the release date of the song, “The Age of Aquarius”, I can estimate that I was six-years-old when the ordeal of sexual abuse began. He was the teenage brother of my best friend. How he was able to repeatedly trickRaggy Ann me to enter his bedroom is still beyond my understanding. I did not resist, I did not cry, I did not tell. Close to the end of sixth grade, at age eleven, I knew if I said anything he would be in serious trouble. I started demanding money or else; candy sufficed for his lack of cash. Two months later a moving van pulled up in front of our house. That is when my mom informed my three brothers and me that we were moving to a new house across town. Two days later, I waved bye to my two best friends since kindergarten, never to see them or my abuser again.

The new house was built on an acre of land atop a hill. There were no other houses around. That following Monday, I entered into a new school with three months left to complete the sixth grade. The teacher had made a notation on my report card that was given out at the end of the school year, it read something like, Cynthia is a very bright child. She would have been considered a good student if she hadn’t been so belligerent. My mom never kept our report cards and this one, like the others, was thrown into the trash.

There was only a brief interlude between the sexual predators that would come to abuse me. The most horrific of all of was being raped by my older brother just after we moved into the new house. This brother would torment me by picking the lock on the bathroom door while I was showering. I would scream for him to get out, but he would stand there laughing. When he did leave he would take my clothes and towels with him so that I would have to come out of the bathroom naked.

Just turned 13 years old, 1973

I did not tell my mom because I thought she would blame me for his actions. I have carried this secret until right now, you are one of the few who now know.  I resisted, I cried, I told no one.

The sexual abuse began anew just after starting seventh grade. His name was Detective Bud Oliver of the Santa Barbara Police Department, assigned to the Juvenile Crime Division. It was a Sunday morning when, as a shortcut to the bowling alley, my friend and I ran across the freeway. By chance, Detective Oliver witnessed our crossing and came into the bowling alley looking for us. He took down our names and warned us of the dangers in what we had done.

The following week, l began Junior High School. A few days later, I recognized Detective Oliver sitting in an unmarked police car parked outside the school grounds. He called me by name waving for me to come over to the car. When I did he asked how I was doing. Often, he would wait for me after school. Slowly he gained my trust, buying me French fries or letting me drive around in the police car when he was on duty. It was not long before he took me to his apartment and the molestation began. He took pictures of me naked with a Polaroid camera making lewd remarks while smiling. This went on for six months during which time I would descend to the ranks of the “stoners.”

The stoners, also known as drug abusers, accepted me into their group. They introduced me to LSD, mushrooms, weed, speed, reds, keg parties, etc,  the worst was smoking cigarettes, which I still smoke forty-four years later. Of all that we had in common as a group one thing stood out, we did not have parents who cared. After being repeatedly cited for curfew violations, truancy, drug possession, my name became too well known in the court system for Detective Oliver. He phoned one night to say he was not going to be at the school anymore. He said that I should never tell anyone of our relationship. I remember crying when I hung up the phone.

Just afterward, the juvenile court system was threating to sever my parent’s parental rights declaring their lack of parental supervision was unacceptable. “She is becoming an incorrigible,” said the Jewish Judge. In response, my mother purchased two one-way tickets to Tel Aviv, Israel. I had no idea what was happening nor the inclination to ask, life was life, nothing mattered.

The man to my left Israel 1973 Ramat Gam Ezra's family_edited - Copywearing the hat in the photo was our guide in Israel and the newest pedophile to enter my life. Arriving in Israel did not change my mother’s lack of concern for my well-being. In fact, I was left to fend for myself for the following six months. While being molested from time to time by our guide, I was befriended by a Lebanese Arab man in his late twenties and his friend, a teenage American boy from Los Angeles.  I was earning money by running Lebanese hashish for the Arab and living with him and my fellow American. Occasionally, I would check to see if my mom was still alive. While in Israel I turned fourteen-years-old, finished reading the book Helter Skelter, watched the movie Dirty Harry starring Clint Eastwood three times and participated in my first threesome. What a shame.

You are not Serious, are You?

You are not Serious, are You?

Integrity once viable has become inherently unreliable like the men I could mention. It is not my intention to show a reaction for their own egotistical satisfaction.

These men who report on what they are commanded. From where I stand they should be reprimanded for the baseless claims that ignite the viewers every night when assumptions are presented as truths without the regiments of proof.

When men that no longer care what is wrong nor right should consider taking flight with the rest who before them left. Do take care on your eastward direction where you may find nothing there but your own ignorant reflections.

The time now has come to pity the dumbed down people with smartphones that are used as weapons of mass confusion by the constant bombardment of fake news by you know who.

drip… drip… drip…

100% Perplexed by Her Behavior

100% Perplexed by Her Behavior

A few weeks ago I was grocery shopping.  For years I have shopped at the same market, usually purchasing the same foods as last week and the week before that, and well, you know. 

The produce department is my first stop. Unfortunately, standing 5′ with socks on, I have trouble reaching the plastic bags and ties so usually I will tear off ten plus ensuring I will have enough. Afterward, I will stand next to my cart and struggle to open the obstinate plastic bags. I open all the bags before I proceed because apparently, you need wet fingers to get a good grip for twisting and pulling on the plastic before it gives in. 

The produce department is separated with fruits and vegetables laced with poison on one side and the organic produce and juices on the opposite side. Perhaps, because the grocery store is located in Merced, there are no plastic bags available on the organic side. On this particular trip, I did not tear off enough plastic bags to venture over to the organic side. I reached up high again and tore off two more bags, one was for mushrooms and the other was for mixed organic vegetables.

With one plastic bag in hand and the other hanging from the first, I  headed back to the opposite side of the department. I was directly in front of the mushrooms when I attempted to open the top plastic bag. From somewhere a woman around my age and height came forward and stood right beside me yet she remained silent. I felt uncomfortable as she watched me so I spoke up and said, “these bags are really hard to open.” The women took hold of the second plastic bag that was hanging and tore it from the one in my hand.

I stopped my attempt to watch how she quickly opened the plastic bag, as I was about to thank her … she put other items into the bag! Stupefied by her actions I stared in disbelief as she continued to fill my bag with her items. In shock I asked, “Seriously, are you taking my bag?” She spoke not a single utterance. I looked around to see if anyone noticed what just happened. “Okay,” I said, “I get it, It’s Merced.” 

She turned and walked away leaving me holding the unopened plastic bag.  I started laughing, this was too much to believe even though it happened. I got the plastic bag opened and filled it with mushrooms then pushed the cart back to the opposite side, stretched up to reach another plastic bag and returned to the organic vegetables wondering if she was mentally ill.

Long ago, I developed an aversion to making lists. Not to forget something I need, I go up one aisle and down the next until I reach the end. At about the sixth aisle I saw the woman who stole my plastic bag. Only now she was speaking in English with a man about what brand of cereal he wanted. She saw me but looked right through me.  As I slowly passed by shaking my head in disapproval, I deliberately turned to her and said, “Only In Merced.” 

I cannot place this incident into a category, but it sure makes me laugh only because I still cannot wrap my head around the mentality of people in Merced that many have this low standard that reasons it is okay to  wear your pajamas to Wal-Mart or kick a stranger’s dog because it barked at you or steal a shopper’s bag just because. 

There is one thing I am certain of, I really am out of my element. 



Better be Moving Along

Better be Moving Along

“That’s Merced,” after three years, I still use these two words to brush off the reality some people I experience leave on my psyche. It is like the series Twin Peaks you should not expect anything resembling normalcy here in Merced. For example:

My two dogs and I started out for an early walk before the hot weather imprisons us in the house for the rest of the day. I visit the park often to chronicle the still falling Eucalyptus trees. Somebody, online,  actually rated the park  4 stars, he commented, “a great park with three felled tree bridges and one man-made.” Was that meant to be a joke,  but it is true?

After running their free spirits away, my tired dogs and I started the walk home. A few seconds after this photo,

Buddy and Mitzi
Heading Home

I clipped each leash back on their leads; Mitzi tends to not like to share the park. Sure enough, here comes Merced, she was about 24 years old, 150 pounds, 5′ 8″, and broad at the hips.  We noticed each other.  She swayed her shoulders side to side. The “I’m bad” double step many Mercedians do. Without fail, I look straight down at my phone so that she knows I care less about her performance nor her presence.  I looked back up as Mitzi started to growl so I pulled her in by the lead until she was within three feet to my left side. The girl gangsta walked past Mitzi who then barked, and to my WTF, the girl kicked Mitzi in the ribs; an abused shelter rescue dog under my care was kicked for barking. Mitzi howled in pain and ran behind me whimpering. The girl stopped and I stood there giving her the death stare.

Past experience had taught me there is no heated argument, interlude, nope. You skip that and go right into getting beat up. Having been attacked once for being vocal in Merced, I knew better not to say a word. Yet I felt my heart beating and begging for me to say something. My stare never wavered until finally, the girl said, “I’m a wolf, a wolf, I eat shit like that for breakfast.” “Well, my! Guess we should be moving along,” I said as I created some distance between wolf girl and me.

Looking back I felt she was far enough away that I could run if necessary. So, I let my rage out with my face raised to the sky I howled like a wolf over and over, adding, “I’m a wolf.” I laughed as I heard her profanities echo through the trees across the park.

When I called my girlfriend in Colorado later that night she replied, “I told you not to irritate the natives.” I just cannot keep quiet. If I see something I inherently know to be wrong, you will hear me speak.

Dredged up From the Sea (For Joseph)

Dredged up From the Sea (For Joseph)

Across the expanse of the darkening sky, in a sparkle of stars is the prize for the fledgling that asks him not for permission to test the waters.

The horizon in the distance reveals the earth as flat. If one is not fearful of falling such an illusion can be taken as fact. Who would care to lie in the most foolish time of their life? Absorbed by the static waves of grandeur in the hours that arrive are pleasures that should not become a divide.

She does not attend to his silence nor he to her speech though they travel together each to the other has become out of reach. At the edge of an abyss, she does not fret nor consider imaginary sea monsters for they are far behind and cannot exist where they do not belong. 

At dawn, she awakes to the icy choir that cries out a threnody from his heart all for not. By virtue and conceit, it is easy to pause and measure the score of this rhapsody. Ask her to heave lamentable throwbacks over the leviathans. She would, but, not stay long to ponder what will or will not float for she has no doubt of reaching her destination with him or without. 



Simple is as Simple Was

Simple is as Simple Was

Remind me of simple times that I might recall the fun I had with you

When I was a young girl who plucked petals from a Daisy

Needing a sign whether you loved me or you loved me not

How many times did we roller skate in the school’s parking lot

Did you fill a Yellow bucket with seawater to build me a sand castle

I have a picture that was finger painted once bright in colored hue

Blooming strawberry plants stretched in rows two by two

Remind me how simple is or how simple was before we grew


… I Am Just Tired …

… I Am Just Tired …

Do not be concerned by my tears, by my lack of enthusiasm, my withdrawal from what is outside my front door… I am just tired. 

What is the meaning, I am just tired? I will let you know, it is when my wall of excuses is breached and the truth washes away my delusions of grandeur for why my life is meaningful. In truth, I am full of hate and contempt for the betrayal of my brothers. I am a good person, compassionate, and never once did I turn my back to any one of my three brothers, but my being to them has become worthless. That includes the psychopath who raped me when I was thirteen. The images of those moments are so vivid I want to throw up. I have never confronted him on this. We grew up over the following years as if it never happened.

My mother was in the last weeks of her life. She was sitting at my dining room table with her lawyer when she called me into the room and said she was leaving the psychopath out of her last will and testament.  I protested and argued she should not do that, “it was not fair,” I said.  She was persuaded and he was put back into the will. Afterward, as she predicted, he conned me, trick me out of my inheritance that is now worth over a million dollars.  When I asked how he could forge my name on court documents, he said, “I am the only one who can afford to keep the estate.” We have not talked in over ten years. 

My eldest brother by six years, Ronnie, was the brother who was always there to listen as I was for him. He joined the Air Force at Eighteen-years-old. I would live with him and his wife from time to time. When he retired twenty-two years later, he settled in North Carolina. He was employed as a jet engine mechanic by a company that was an hour drive each way. At least twice a month he would call me to talk during his drive home. Then the following happened, I wrote to him many times before this last message, none have ever received a reply.

9/12/2016 > Two years ago you called me worried about having your pacemaker replaced. To make sure everything went well, I told you I would call the next day. However, I have not spoken with you since. Two years and I have no idea why you stopped loving me, two years and I have no idea what I did, two years without a clue of why you didn’t want a sister anymore. A while back, I would sometimes worry you might die before I learned what happened to separate our lives. I feared my last memory would be the day you called and never did again, Within these last years, I have been able to reconcile this event of the heart. The emotions that I had after your rejection have been compartmentalized so I’m okay with you not wanting me to be in your life. I am sure you have your personal reasons for not caring about me and if those reasons help you to live a happier life then it is okay with me. Recently, I visited your page, once I saw your photo a flood of emotions and that familiar ache of sorrow filled my chest. There are so many memories we shared that I hold in mind, made more valuable by knowing there will not be additional memories.  What did I say, Ronnie, what did I do?  You broke my heart and you think that I don’t deserve to know why? I’m so tired, I am going to say Goodbye, Ronnie.

When my mom was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer, she had no reaction. Not once did she speak of her impending death. Not one tear was shed. I understand why because my life is a mirror of her life; no friends, no family, ignored by her children, disabled by mental health issues, and treated as such by the professional community. She was tired, I understand now because I am tired, too.