I Am Angry

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*This is a personal story and I ask for your kindness.  Sharing this is very hard.*

I interrupt my story of how I got to California for something that makes me very angry, ashamed and scared.  I am scared to share my story out of judgement from others especially in our current climate.  I have seen too many comments on social media judging women who have come forward with their stories of sexual assault because it occurred several years earlier and their memories are clouded.  Until you have lived in someone else’s shoes, no one has the right to judge.

I am nervous down to my bones to share something that VERY few people know about.  In fact, some of this my parents aren’t even aware of.  Let me be clear, I was NOT raped but what I am going to share has affected my life, my confidence and my trust in people.

When I was about 12 or 13, my family became sponsors of teenagers from Ireland that were part of a swim team.  The teenagers lived with their American sponsor family: they lived with us, ate with us and we shuttled them to all the swim meets and gatherings over several months.  My family welcomed Cormack into our home.  He was a skinny kid with big ears and a thick Irish accent.

One night I was jolted awake by someone coming into my room and shutting the door.  It was Cormack.  He walked in, put his finger up to his lips to suggest I be quiet.  He knelt down next to my bed and proceeded to put his hand on my stomach telling me, “this is how we make friends in Ireland.”

I was frozen in fear.  It felt like someone had stolen my voice because I couldn’t speak. Is this what they do in Ireland?  What’s happening?  Did I do something wrong?   I was scared and so confused.

Then we heard someone get up to go to the bathroom.  Cormack got spooked and sneaked out back to his room.  I was still frozen.

I could hear my parents in the kitchen downstairs so I got up to find them.  I told them what occurred and felt so uncomfortable because I wondered if I did something wrong.  Maybe this is what they do in Ireland and I’m wrong for thinking it’s wrong.  No one should feel that at such a young age.

The next day I had to meet with the head of Irish group and tell them what happened with Cormack in the room and several other people.  I felt like I was on trial and I had done something wrong.  Ultimately, I was given the choice to let him stay or send him back to Ireland.

Cormack BEGGED me to let him stay in America because after all, it was his first time here.  I felt bad for him.  I let him stay because I wanted to be liked and not cause trouble.

That same summer we were having a gathering at one of our family friend’s house for a pool party.  The details are blurry and I don’t remember everyone who was there but I will never forget how I felt when all the kids were in the basement hanging out.

One of the boys pulled my bathing suit down in front of everyone.  He was laughing at me as I stood there naked on top and completely and utterly humiliated.  I laughed it off out of nervousness because that’s just boys being boys, right?

Again, nothing illegal had occurred to me but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t affected me.  With that said, in what world is it acceptable to act this way?  Boys being boys isn’t ok.  I am a human being and all hands should be kept to yourself unless consented.  If I felt this way after unwelcomed touching, I can only imagine how much more traumatic it is to be raped.

I don’t know what happened to Cormack but I hope and pray that because I let him stay that he didn’t think it’s ok to do that again.  I know that the other boy who pulled my suit down has three daughters.  I hope nothing like that happens to them because it will follow them the rest of their lives.

I don’t anticipate my story will change the world but the women who are truthful and come forward open themselves up to a lot of criticism.  We don’t have anything to gain and in my experience, not saying anything helped me put it away for a long time.  What I do hope is that my peers are teaching their sons to keep their hands to themselves and to respect one another.

I hope by sharing my experience, it will open others up to sharing theirs because we all need to support each other.

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How I Got Here: Part VI

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The day after I made my decision to say goodbye to my Grandmother, she passed peacefully while holding my cousin’s hand.  I was grateful to have that moment alone with her the day before to tell her how much I loved her and how appreciative I was for her loving me.  My Grandparents were a big part of my life and I will never forget the wonderful memories I have.

It was a difficult time between her passing and Brian’s health.  I was still afraid to leave him home alone but wanted to be by my family’s side through the coming days.

Brian was still healing but he was so supportive throughout my Grandmother’s hospital stay and the services.  He was by my side every moment for which I am thankful for.

The day of my Grandmother’s funeral was a freezing cold but sunny December day.  The funeral was beautiful.  She was close to the priest who spoke personally about his experiences with her.  My cousin’s and I participated in some readings.  I was tasked with the “Lord Hear Our Prayer” piece and I decided to wing it the day of without reading it ahead of time.

As I began to speak, I could see the words ahead, “Let us pray for those who have already passed, especially Irving Moore (my Grandfather) and Sean Lutz (My Brother)”.  I crumbled inside.  My eyes filled up with tears and I had to stop because if I didn’t I was going to be beyond repair.  I was standing up on the alter, at the microphone speaking to a church full of people and I focused in on Brian’s face.  Just seeing him helped me keep it together.

Brian and I really leaned on each other that day.  It showed me what great partners we are and can lift each other up when the other is down.  Over the next couple of months, our relationship got stronger but I started to question our future.

I had so many ideals in mind: white picket fence, a beautiful house, kids!  We started to discuss what we wanted in life and kids was not one of them for him.  I cried because I felt like I found my person but we weren’t in line with how we saw our future.

I was surprised because the way he is with kids is amazing.  He’s even amazing with my dog!  I was heartbroken because what I imagined my life to be with him was falling apart.  I felt physical pain when I ended our relationship.

To be continued…

 

 

 

 

How I Got Here: Part V

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I ran into the men’s room at Ichiban to find a small puddle of blood and Brian on the floor.  The paramedics were called by the staff as I tried to comfort him and cover the gash on his forehead.  He was understandably embarrassed, confused and scared.

The police and medics were great and he was taken to the hospital.  Thankfully, he went to Jersey Shore this time.  We sat in the hallway for hours.  My Dad and Brian’s family all ran over as quickly as possible.  When there are others there to support you it can almost seem enjoyable.

After getting tested and stitched up, he was set to go.  At this point we weren’t sure what happened but likely just a pass out.  Brian slept a lot on and off which his brain needed to heal itself from the initial seizure.  However, he continued to experience vertigo.

Two days later my Grandmother was taken to Jersey Shore because her body was failing.  At this point I think we had all known it wouldn’t be much longer.  I will never forget my parents praying with her one evening and feeling so envious of their courage and strength as I was crumbling inside.

Brian’s vertigo wasn’t getting any better and I was scared to leave him alone.  Would he have another seizure?  What if he fell?  What would I do?  I was torn between spending as much time as I could with my Grandmother but also making sure Brian was safe.  I would leave him along for two hours while I went to visit her.

Since Brian wasn’t feeling much better and he needed his stitches removed, his Mom took him to the urgent care at Jersey Shore while I was visiting my Grandmother.  I was in between two patients trying to be the best support for all the people I loved.

After seeing a third doctor, it was determined that Brian likely had a concussion from the initial seizure which caused him to pass out the next day.  It was somewhat of a relief but it still felt like never knowing what could happen next.  The anxiety and fear was building.

A week after Brian’s second incident, my Grandmother was going into hospice.  I visited with her Tuesday after work.  Although she did not appear to be awake, she was constantly moving her arms and legs as if she was uncomfortable.  I felt an incredible pain inside of me because I felt she was in pain.  I left the room and crumbled; sobbing uncontrollably.

In that moment I decided to say goodbye to her because I didn’t want to remember her in this state.  That was one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make.

To be continued…