Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My Life is An Oprah Episode - Some answers to your questions

I have received some great feedback regarding the blog; thank you.  Please note, that yes, you may leave a comment, however, you must use one of the sources, ie. google or yahoo, etc, and sign in to that account. Follow the instructions when you click on "comments"..  Also, if you choose to follow, officially, you must sign up...again, follow instructions.  Having said all of this, I enjoy the emails with your comments.

I have received some questions, so I will attempt to clarify as best as I can, with answers to those questions which were frequently asked.

....regarding:   Loss and Grief.   - my sister Ann was 46 years old when she died.

....regarding    Love, Dating, etc..."what is a Glenwood  South Cowboy?".  I coined the term "cowboy" many years ago when I lived in Kansas City.   I used to go out quite a bit in an area where the bars/clubs were (the Plaza), and one night as I was getting into my car with a friend of mine, I said "well, let's go and check out the Plaza Cowboys".  Think about what a cowboy does :  round 'em up, rope 'em and ride 'em.  My feminist side does not wish to group women with  "cattle", but, honestly, the single/bar scene has not changed much.  And, Glenwood South is where the bars and clubs are in Raleigh.  Oh, and the cowgirls are out too. 

...a lot of interest in this:  "who is the younger guy I flirted with having an affair?"  This would have/could have been an Affair of the Heart (ahem, throat clearing).  Sorry, no name being divulged here.

...regarding:  It's In his Kiss...."who is the guy in the photo?"  That was a guy who played baseball  for the Kansas City Royals.. He is a cousin of one of my friends and we went out on a blind date in New York and I spent most of that summer on many road trips.  I was working for an airline and at the end of baseball season  I transferred to Kansas City to be with him. Problem was, three weeks after I arrived in Kansas City,  he was traded to Houston.  Just rude.  And, yes, he really was a great kisser!

Finally, I received a  number of emails regarding my last post, on being raped.  Thank you to everyone who wrote to me with kind words. It's wonderful feeling whole.

Thank you again for the great feedback.

Monday, January 17, 2011

My Life is an Oprah Episode - RAPE

It happened when I was twenty (20) years old.  It was not a stranger, nor was it a date rape.

I had broken off an engagement because the relationship had become abusive.  During jealous rages that my fiance would have, he had begun to hit me and as typical with abusers, had also become remorseful and apologetic saying it would never happen again.  Little was discussed back then about spousal abuse, and in fact, there was minimal support from legal authorities.  There was even less understanding, from almost anyone, if  you were only the girlfriend.  As confused as I was, I knew that this was not the life that I wanted.  This was not the love that I wanted or dreamed about.  I was miserable and hurt, so I ended the relationship and returned the ring.

We would run into each other often; we had some of the same friends and socialized in the same spot (bar). It was a place like Cheers -- everyone knew your name.  One Saturday night, about six weeks after the breakup, we ran into each other at the bar.  I was there with several friends, and as we all parted to go home in the early morning hours, I walked outside to catch a taxi home.  He saw me and offered me a ride home.  While I was a bit nervous about going into the car with him, it was really because the breakup was still fairly fresh.  He had been drinking, so arguing with him was pointless.  It was about a five minute drive to my home; I slide into the passenger seat.  Only, he did not take me home, but, to a local "parking" area near the river wherecouples often go.   Although it happened so many years ago, I can recall every senseless detail. When I repeatedly asked him to take me home, he became angry that I did not wish to be with him. And madder still he became, as I tried to get out of the car.  He threw me over the console and pinned me down, and while I don't wish to be too uncomfortably graphic, he tore my clothes off, punched me in the jaw, and when I screamed he began to strangle me to the point that I had blacked out for a few moments, and he raped me.  When he was done, he put his hands on his head and said that he would take me home.  When I got home, battered and bruised, walked into my bedroom, quickly told my sister what had happened.  If you have seen movies or tv shows depicting rape victims, often they will be in the shower or bath crying and scrubbing themselves.  That did not happen with me.  I took the rest of my clothes off, which I never wore again, and slid into bed.  I stayed there for the next 24hrs, when on Monday morning I got up and went to work.  On Monday evening, he called to apologize, however, wanted to assure me it had not be rape because we had already had sex.

The point of this is not to allow a voyeur's look into what happened, but, rather to share how the rape had affected me.  I had remained mostly controlled and numb about the incident, and I rarely spoke of it.  In fact, until just a short time ago, there were only four people in my life who even knew about it.  I was broken; I had a fractured soul and I was sure that everyone I knew somehow could see through this.  The shame, guilt and disgust I felt would remain part of my daily makeup.  I was tainted; I felt less than, and felt I would never heal from it.  The journey toward healing came many years later, when I realized that the cause of so many of my personal issues, mainly, issues in relationships, were rooted with the rape.  I have never told any one I was involved with, no matter how close we were, what had happened, fearing I would  be seen as damaged.  There was always that wall, and even though some men have tried to figure it out, I would not own up to it.  I had acutely suppressed the emotion I was feeling.  I know now, that talking about it has allowed me to finally feel free....that, and of course, knowing that I did not share any of the blame.  This was something that happened to me at the hands of someone else.   It has taken many years, some with therapy, to come to the healing place and that is why I am talking about it now.   Because, I need to.  Because it has helped free me of it.  And while my first thoughts were not to make the reader uncomfortable, and proactively say I'm sorry, I offer no apology.  There is a small sense of fear, that anyone having this knowledge about me, will look at me differently or feel sorry for me.  Please don't.  I am okay.  I promise.

The shattering of trust has caused intimate relationships to be diluted.  As a survivor, there was always a heightened suspicion of others motives and feelings. This is an issue that I continue to work on, but, I know now that my belief system allows me to be open and receptive to sharing,  and I remind myself that trust is possible.

Sexual assault is a crime motivated by a need to control, humiliate and harm. Perpetrators use sexual assault as a weapon to hurt and dominate others. Approximately 90% of rape victims know their attacker, and one in six women in the United States are raped.  So it is likely that some of my readers share the same experience as I. Know that you can heal and experience recovery - 100%.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My Life is an Oprah Episode - Friend and Lovers

Can friends become lovers?  Can a man and a woman really be just friends?  There has been much written about this and the hypothesis is that  the boundaries between friendship and romance is a fine line.  One thought is that to cross that line would undoubtedly ruin the friendship.  I do not necessarily agree with this.

If someone is good friends with the opposite sex and says to become involved romantically, sexually, would ruin the friendship, what comes to mind, for me, is what they are saying is that there is no attraction for them.  Of course, the dynamics of the friendship would change, just as the dynamics of any relationship would change once there is a physical or romantic connection.  Being friends with someone involves intimacy --  not the physical kind, but, intimacy in sharing feelings and vulnerabilities. If they are friends first, often this intimacy already exists, making the relationship deeper and more meaningful.   Not every friendship involves a romantic attraction, but, some do.  I believe it is there from the beginning.  You meet someone and there is a connection; a spark.  You become friends, but, there is always sexual tension; maybe some flirting.  But, the friendship stays intact and can stay that way for many years.  I don't think people really are friends with someone for a long time, and then suddenly wake up one day and realize that the love they share is the romantic variety.  Yes, ending up with your best friend is great, but, I think the "spark" or connection was always there. I enjoy several friendships with the opposite sex that are very deep and endearing.  These relationships are platonic.  And, I have had some friendships that turned into something else.

One of my closest friends is Steve Cameron.  Steve is a sportswriter, journalist, and published author.
(find his books @: Amazon.com - .he has written about 13 sports books and a novel I am a small partner in).
We met as a blind date set up by a mutual friend, Paul Splittorff, a pitcher with the KC Royals.  We went out a few times and while no romance took off ,we settled into a friendship.  Regardless of the physical distance between us, we manage to maintain a strong bond of friendship, not unlike the kind I share with my women friends.  I trust and love him.  We would do anything for each other, and there is never a question of where we stand with each other.  He is, as I put it, one the the "real people", and it helps that we share many of the same political and social views.  He has an amazing wit and intellect, but, I am also inspired by his willingness to remain open and vulnerable in relationships.  Steve is a romantic, even though he may not see him self that way.  We'll be friends forever.

I've also been friends with someone where we did cross the line.  When we met I know there was an instant, immediate, connection for us both.  We worked for the same company and had a professional relationship.  It grew to friendship via lunch and a sometime dinner, but, there was always that sexual tension.  We attended a few sporting events together, but, never went beyond that.  I had left NY and relocated to another city, when, a business trip brought me back to NY.   My friend and I had planned a dinner and  as one thing led to another,  we went from friends to lovers.  Because there had been so much tension already built up, it was quite explosive.  The relationship lasted many years and when it ended, for a while, so did the friendship.  There was a shift is our relationship, but the friendship did not end because we became romantically involved, the friendship ended because it was a painful breakup and time was needed to heal from it.  We are still friends; it's different and I am less afraid of being honest about my feelings than I was in the beginning.

Going from friends to lovers and back to friends does not have to be a disaster.  What kills the relationship -- the friendship -- is being hurt by lies, cheating or dishonesty.  Whenever a breakup occurs,  if there has been honesty,  if friendship existed in the beginning, it will survive the split, and in many cases, the friendship will become stronger.

The point is that there really is no rule to follow, except to follow your heart.