A Cosby-Sized Dose of the Truth

Bill Cosby is back in the news and I’m not at all surprised.  The guy is clearly a predator and has been for what seems like most of his adult life.  It makes me wonder when it started…and why.  Is he sick or just an asshole?  I guess we’ll have to wait to find out.

Those whom I feel sorry for are the women.  At first, I thought what many people did – that they were fame-seekers looking for a payout and to extend or find their 15 minutes of fame.  And then there were just too many women making the same claims to ignore anymore  It’s really sad that these women were unable to come forward sooner, maybe before the statute of limitations ran out.  How many might have been spared if people had found out about him sooner?  How many years have they lived with the guilt and shame of being victimized by someone no one would ever believe could do wrong?

Sadly, this is something I understand all too well.

I have never made a secret of the fact that I grew up way too fast.  I smoked and drank very early in my teens in an attempt to numb some of the insecurities and unhappiness I felt.  Not long after that, I found that I felt really good when boys and men paid attention to me.  I learned how to manipulate them for their affection and it worked for a while.  But then I got trapped.  It is not easy being a promiscuous teenager and its something that most adults, let alone teenagers, can’t begin to understand.  So instead, they ostracize, bully, ridicule and harass.  They call names.   They make up stories and exaggerate the truth, to the point where no one knows what to believe anymore so they just believe the worst and call it a day.  The truth is a so-called teen slut loses much more than her reputation, dignity and pride.  She also loses the ability to say no.

That was the vicious cycle in which I was trapped by the time I was 16.  At an age when I could not legally give my consent, I had lost the ability to revoke it.  I was no longer in control and was victimized over and over again.  By my friends.  By strangers.  It didn’t always end up with sex, but it sure wasn’t pachisi either.  So I drank more, pretended everything was fine and tried to just get through it all.

Then came senior year and the day I truly gave up.

It was 1984, during my senior trip.  A bunch of students, former students and “chaperones” (teachers mostly) chartered busses up to Sugarbush, Vermont for a few days of skiing.  It should have been epic and in some ways it was. The chaperones didn’t care what we did.  They got drunk and disappeared into their rooms (with each other) while we watched movies, drank and chilled in the lodge in between hitting the slopes. I discovered I liked kamikazes and backgammon that trip and won an “award” for spending the most time in the hot tub.  Those are the fun memories I clung to and chose to retell over and over again for the next 30 years.  Only a small handful of people know the rest of the story until right now.

At the beginning of the trip, I sort of had a boyfriend.  He was a year younger than me and a really nice kid.  I remember he really liked me and gave me a Garfield stuffed animal.  It was such a cute gesture and I had it for years and years afterward.  I don’t know if he ever knew how much that meant to me.  Unfortunately, I didn’t like him quite as much as he liked me.  I really did have a thing for the so-called “bad boys” and hung around with a mixed crowd of brainiacs, jocks and burn-outs.  I didn’t really fit in with any of them, but considered them all my friends.  So the relationship with the nice kid was doomed from the start, and I ended up breaking his heart when I fooled around with another kid on that trip.  It hurt him to the point where I actually don’t believe he’s forgiven me to this day.  I feel pretty badly about that and hope he reads this.

Now the other kid was already out of school and one of the “popular” guys. He paid attention to me and of course, that’s what I needed, so I ate it up with a spoon.  We messed around one night, not sex, but close enough.   Aaaand then of course, he promptly dropped me afterward.  (Haha..you saw that one coming, right?  Yeah, me too.)  Naturally, it got back to the nice kid…and everyone else on the trip.  Or at least it would by the time everything was said and done.

I had pretty much decided to just hang out in the hot tub for the rest of the trip, when another guy, someone I had dated in the past, invited me over to the boys’ lodge to drink some beer.  I knew this kid so well.  We were friends.  Our families were friends.  His brother and I were friends.  We lived near one another and had pretty much grown up together.  So, I really didn’t think anything of it and I went.  I really didn’t even think anything of it when it was just the two of us in his room.  We had a beer or two when he locked the door and said we were going to have sex.  I didn’t want to and told him so, more than once. He didn’t take no for an answer.

We were still lying on the bed when some of the other guys came around and found the door locked.  I pretended to be passed out so that it wouldn’t seem like anything had happened, but that was obviously lame.  He got rid of them and then got rid of me.  I was thankful and went back to my room and cried.  Word got around and the first guy (not the nice kid) victimized me the second time by claiming he’d had sex with me too.  Well, of course.  That’s what sluts do, right?

By the time we went home, I was trying to block it all out.  I sat on the bus with one of the few kids I knew I could trust.  He was one of my closest friend’s boyfriend.  He stuck me next to the window, covered me with a blanket and told me to sleep, which I did.  He made me feel safe the whole way home and to this day I am grateful for that.  We got home on Sunday and by Monday morning I had what was probably bronchitis.  I ended up missing a week of school.  I returned the following week and learned that I had apparently had sex with eleven boys in Vermont, including my friends’ boyfriend.  Nothing he or I, or anyone else could say would end that rumor.  Not even my girlfriend believed me.

With that, I gave up.

At first I was suicidal.  I just wanted the pain to end.  But I didn’t really want to die.  So I did the only thing I knew how to do. I drank more and smoked more and found physical comfort wherever and whenever I could.  And I lost what was left of my self respect.  I put on a happy face, graduated high school and didn’t look back for 25 years.  I met my first husband, got married, had two kids, got divorced and met my current husband.

But I couldn’t hide it forever and it was still haunting me.

Eventually, I told a couple of old friends I’d become reaquainted with on Facebook.  I told my husband.  I told my girlfriend the truth and we’re friends again.  I went to my 25th class reunion and discovered that people weren’t thinking of me that way anymore.  I started to heal.

Six years later and I can now say, I was RAPED in that cabin in Sugarbush, Vermont in 1984.  And I was victimized over and over again by the people who perpetuated the story and didn’t stop to think that maybe it wasn’t true, who didn’t help me. All these years, I’ve blamed myself.  I’m done now.  It’s time to move on.  I wish it was my only horror story, but sadly it’s not. I have a lot more.

But, the healing has begun.  :)

By the way, I still love kamikazes, hot tubs, and backgammon.  There are some things in life that are just simply worth hanging onto.

Starting Over

So this is it.

I’m going to take the plunge and do what I’ve been thinking about for the past five or six years.  I’m going to actually write about myself and all the screwed up crap that has made me who I am today.  The difference between this time and previous attempts, is that now it will all be coming from a good place.  I’m not depressed, pitying myself or angry anymore.  It all is what it is and I can’t change any of it.

What I can do is write about it and hope that by doing so I help myself grow and find peace.  I also hope that some of my stories will resonate with others and help them find peace.  At the very least, I hope they know that they are not alone. Because truly, that is the one thing that saved my life – knowing that while I may be unique, my struggles are not.  I can survive them and be happy.

No worries.  I’ll still be writing about all the funny things too.  After all, there is always more than one side to a story.

So welcome.  This is my story.

What’s the secret password?

I am so tired of having to have complicated passwords.  Why do I have to have one capital letter and one number for the password to my grocery store account?  If that actually got hacked, what is at risk?  My penchant for SmartOnes frozen lunches?  OMG, they may steal my gas points!!  I mean…seriously?  That’s the worst that’s going to happen.

Years ago, I tried to simplify my life and create three levels of passwords for online activity.  I had one simple password for all my non-critical interactions; one more complicated password for email, etc.; and one very cryptic password exclusively for my bank account.  Then shit got complicated and websites started putting more demands on me.  The problem is that their level of importance didn’t fit into my nice, neat password boxes.  So, I met the criteria by capitalizing the first letter and adding a number at the end.  Problem solved, right?

Not even close.

They added punctuation.

Sigh.

Okay, so I added a random punctuation mark in the middle of my now capitalized password with the number at the end.

At this point, I’m up to about 85 passwords to remember – my email password, my bank account password and 83 variations of the cheap, useless password, which were supposed to be easy to remember.  Okay, I can do that.

New problem.  They don’t tell you what the password format is for each individual website.  This starts a whole game of “guess which fucking password you used the last time you shopped at Target.com you dipshit you”.

Username: Shenanigans@hootmail.com – OK.

Password:

“sparkle” – NO

“Sparkle” – NO

“Sparkle9” – NO

“Sp@rkle9” – NO!

DAMMIT!!!  RESET PASSWORD!!

Secret answer:BiteMe!

New Password:

“sparkle”You cannot re-use a previous password.

“Sparkle”You cannot re-use a previous password.

“Sparkle9” – You cannot re-use a previous password.

“Sp@rkle9”You cannot re-use a previous password.

FINE!!!

“Sp@rkle98”Password has been changed.

Username:

Grrrrr………Didn’t I already tell you this?

Shenanigans@hootmail.com

Password:

Oh. My. God.  Seriously????

At this point, I throw my phone.  Because of course, I was trying to do all this on a teeny-tiny touchscreen and I now not only need a break, but also an Advil and a very strong drink…at 10 a.m.

And then I get a text message from my kid.

“Mom I’m out of lunch money.  Can you put some on my account?  I’m going to lunch now.”

*sigh*

www.kidzlunchmoney.com

Username:

Shit.

P.S.  The thing that I failed include in this entry is all the times that I ran through the 82 possible password variations, clicked on the link for my “forgotten password” reminder and discover that I simply had a typo the very first time.

P.P.S – I also failed to mention all the times that I forgot my username, because your username can’t be your real name, email address or anything that you could even remotely identify with.

P.P.P.S. – Oh, I forgot to mention the variations of my secret question because of a phase I went through where I got tired of trying to answer secret questions and just answered everything “blue”.  This regularly has me screaming at the computer “YES THAT IS THE NAME OF THE STREET WHERE I GREW UP!! YOU DON’T KNOW ME MOTHERFUCKER!!” “Oh, sorry…it’s “blue”.

P.P.P.P.S. – This doesn’t even begin to cover my work email, where you have to change the password every six months.

P.P.P.P.P.S. – Or my husband’s accounts.

P.P.P.P.P.P.S. – Or my kids.

P.P.P.P.P.P.P.S. –  I need a nap.

 

 

Mayonnaise is Not a Vegetable

I got tired of listening to the hubster complain about how I make our son’s lunch, but not his.  So, this morning I made his lunch. Hubster came in the kitchen just as I was finishing.

Me: “Mustard okay on your sandwich?”

Him: “Nooo!  Mayoooh!  Who the hell puts mustard on turkey!?”

Me: “I thought you did.  Okay, I’ll take it off.”

Him: “YOU CAN’T TAKE IT OFF!  YOU’LL WASTE HALF OF IT!”

Me: “Yes I can…see?”  (Scraping mustard off the cheese)  “I only wasted one piece of bread.  You’re good.”

Him: (muttering) “Mustard on turkey…that’s just wrong………..”…blah blah blah….

 

Then this afternoon, I got a text message:

Him: “Where the hell is my dessert?!?!?!”

Me: “You got yogurt.  You ate all the cookies.”

Him: “That was my fruit.”

Me: “Yogurt can be fruit and dessert.”

Him: “Yogurt is fruit dammit!”

Me: “And dessert.  Yogurt and pudding would be redundant.”

Him: “The hell you say!”

Me: “Tomorrow you can have blueberries and pudding.”

Him: “I hate you.”

 

I figure another few days of this and he’ll be demanding to make his own lunch.  :)

If Marriage is a Contact Sport, Where’s the Referee?

A few years back, there was a short-lived television show called “The Marriage Ref”.  Produced by Jerry Seinfeld and hosted by Tom Pappa, it featured a panel of celebs (mostly comedians) who would listen to couples’ ongoing gripes and choose which partner was right.  Then there would be a winner for the “most right” of the evening and that couple would win a trip.  It didn’t last long, but I really liked the show.

My question is, why isn’t’ this a real thing?  I mean, take away the t.v. cameras and maybe the panel of celebs (that’s a maybe), and this could be not only a very lucrative career, but also a very important service to married people everywhere!

Now, before you all go getting started on “marriage isn’t about who’s right or wrong…blah blah blah” save it.  OF COURSE it matters who’s right!  Marriage is about surviving the day and not killing one another.  Period.  If you’re lucky, in the end you’re old and sitting in rocking chairs, looking at one another somewhat affectionately and without either of you having major dents in the head or visible scars.

Just think of the possibilities if this was a real person, without all the commitment of marriage counseling or therapy.  I mean, pfffft…they never tell you who’s right anyway.  They just make you examine your “feelings”.  I HATE FEELINGS!  I WANT TO BE RIGHT!

Can’t stand beans in the chili?  MARRIAGE REF!

Sick of the snoring/teeth grinding/ sleeping with(out) the tv on?  MARRIAGE REF!!

Want to start a nuclear war every time you find socks left on the couch?   M-A-R-R-I-A-G-E–R-E-F!!!!

Because, seriously….without someone impartial to tell you that you’re wrong and that you’re lucky the love of your life hasn’t taken a cast iron skillet to your head in your sleep yet…HOW WILL YOU EVER KNOW!?

Right now, I can see my married friends nodding and thinking “You know what, Robin…YOU’RE RIGHT!”  And that’s exactly why there was never a show called “The Friendship Ref”.  Because with your friends, you’re always right.  And if not…there’s always wine.  Image

Who?

The other day, I found my 13 year-old son in the garage, painting and listening to music on the radio.   He’s always been into classic rock, but like many kids, has no idea about the names of the groups or their significance.  What followed was…well… pretty much what you’d expect.

Oh, you’re listening to The Who!

The what?

No, The Who.

Huh?

The group you’re listening to.  They’re called The Who.

The what?

The Who!  The band!  The band is called The Who!

I don’t get it.

Never mind.

I guess I should just be glad he has good taste in music.  Heaven help me if he discovers The Band.

Dear Geico, e-Trade and AT&T

You’ve ruined commercials.  Because of the Hump Day Camel, E-Trade Baby and those hilarious Kids in the Discussion Group, I can’t stand other advertisements.  

If I can’t stand other advertisements, I won’t buy products.  

If I don’t buy products, my kids won’t have clothes.  

If my kids don’t have clothes, they’ll get kicked out of school.  

Please don’t make my kids get kicked out of school.  

 

I really need to get out more.