NOT GOOD NEWS

I received a letter in the mail today from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.  Inside in big, fat, black letters it said —-

NOTICE OF RELEASE – CONFIDENTIAL

This notice is provided at your request.  The inmate is scheduled for release.

The inmate will be:

Released to parole under CDCR supervision.

The inmate is required to register pursuant to:

Penal Code Section 290 – Sex

 

It also has other information about his name, prison number, scheduled release date and which county he will be released into.  What the letter does not tell me is how long his parole lasts.  Let’s just say I am happy I am not longer in the same county.  And it is not so much that I am afraid of him or that I think he’ll come after me.  No, it’s more I simply do not like the idea of him being anywhere near me.  Do I think he has been rehabilitated?  That would be a resounding NO.  Given the violence of my attack, his lack of remorse at the sentencing and the fact that he will have spent almost 62 months in prison, I seriously doubt he will be anything but angry.

I do pray for him and truly hope that no one else ever has to experience what I did on  September 24, 2011.

 

SPREADING KINDNESS

Several weeks ago I received the following email:

Hi Tamerie!

My name is Aileen and I just came across your story that was featured on the Kindness Blog! This one here: http://kindnessblog.com/2014/10/29/an-act-of-kindness-saved-my-life/

I was e-mailing you because I wanted to ask you if we could feature your story on our website Love Made Known (http://lovemadeknown.com). My husband and I started it a few months ago and we share people’s stories of what God has done in their lives weekly. Please let me know if we can feature you!

If you’re interested, we will need a mini bio, a profile picture and any social media or website links you’d like people to find you at!

Thank you so much, Tamerie! God bless you!

-Aileen

I wrote Aileen back and said, that yes, it was fine for her to feature my story on her web site.  Well, today is the day:

Thank YOU for giving us the opportunity to share your story. Praise God for that 🙂

Here is the final link for you to share with family and friends:

http://lovemadeknown.com/an-act-of-kindness-saved-my-life/

WORK, WORK, WORK

After my sexual assault, though I did my best, I really did not work for over a year.  Because I had a traumatic brain injury and was unable to think properly, work was very difficult.  If someone wanted a square (read ‘normal’ here) pillow, I could do it because I’ve made about a million and don’t have to use my brain or think how to make it.  If there was any variation, though, I simply was unable to do it.  Or if I did, it took me forever.  Over time I healed and so did my brain.  Looking back it seems like the Universe was right there for me as far as the amount of work I had.  While dealing with my attack and getting my mind and body through the trauma, I still had work, but not a lot of it.  Enough to somewhat get by.  Now, that has changed drastically, which is actually a good thing.  No, it’s a very good thing.  To me, it means that I am truly healed.  Oh sure, I have my moments when I wonder if my brain really is working, but that could just be how I am, with or without a TBI. I literally have so much work these days that if I think about it too much, I feel like going to bed.  It’s hard to get much done while sleeping, though I’ve tried.

So, today, because I have a deadline for the job I am currently working on, and it is necessary to stick to these due dates as much as possible, and because I am a member, I am going to the San Diego Zoo to see the new giraffe baby.  Sometimes a mental health hour or two, if an entire day in not really feasible, is necessary.  Then I can come home and get back to work.

UPDATE – I did go to the zoo and even got to see the baby giraffe!  The picture isn’t so good because I was far away and it is thru a fence, but I still got to see him/her.  Because the baby was born yesterday afternoon around 1:30p, they are not yet sure of the gender. Even from a distance, it was still pretty cool to see.  At birth, the baby was 6’1″ tall and weighed 150 pounds!

Newborn giraffe at the San Diego Zoo, 20 May 2015

Newborn giraffe at the San Diego Zoo, 20 May 2015

A QUESTION OF TRUST

I was recently asked, given what I went through because of my sexual assault, if I trust again.  I was pretty sure what I was being asked, but I replied, ‘You mean people in general?’  Hesitantly, he said, ‘Yes.’  I suspect he was asking if I trust men again.  What I told him was, ‘Yes.’  He thought maybe I look for ‘the lie’ when dealing with people.  No, no, I don’t think I do.  I’ve thought about it a lot in the last 10 days or so since the question was posed to me, and the longer I think about it, the more I know this is true.

I have definitely been accused in the past of being naive.  Seems hard to believe that someone  would think that of me just because I tended to expect the best from people, and tended to give people the benefit of the doubt.  As Anne Frank said, “Despite everything, I believe that people are good at heart.”  I do my best, though I am not always successful, to live my life this way.  The truth is, even immediately following my assault, when I was still in shock, afraid of most everyone, men, women and children, I still knew, deep inside, that in spite of what had happened to me, most people were not bad.  And just as I really hated living on Coronado for a long time after 24 September 2011, I also knew that it wasn’t the island that had done something to me.  It was one person; well, and the entire process did not help, but it was never Coronado that hurt me.  Didn’t make it any easier to live there though, until I got through it.  I can’t even tell you exactly when it changed back for me, but one day I was walking home from uptown and it suddenly hit me that I no longer wanted to move away anymore.

I believe what I am told…is this the same as trusting someone?  I don’t think people are going to lie to me.  If you tell me something, I trust that you are telling me the truth.  Somerset Maugham said, “It’s a funny thing about life: if you refuse to accept anything but the best, you very often get it.”  I prefer to live my version of his quote:  It’s a funny thing about people: if you expect the best from them, you very often get it.  Or as Claude M. Bristol said, “We usually get what we anticipate.”  I think Anne Frank, Somerset Maugham and Claude M. Bristol sum up the way I used to be pre-attack, and the way I have, finally, gotten back to after a whole lot of work.  Part of what made my healing process so difficult was getting my head around the fact that it happened to me at all.  The only thing I did ‘wrong’ that morning was be tall, thin and blonde, and was be in a place that a predator was looking for just that type of woman.  I never expected it to happen to me.  Never.  And in spite of doing everything I was ever told or ever heard about how to behave in a situation like I found myself in, nothing worked, starting with no warning bells going off in my head when I first encountered DCD.  I attribute that to the fact that I didn’t expect to be attacked.  I trusted that I was safe.  Turned out I wasn’t, and my world turned upside down as a result.

What I do know with absolute certainty is I cannot, I will not, live my life being afraid.  Part of the reason I worked as hard as I did to heal from this was because no way was I letting one person, one awful event, determine the rest of my life.  I was very lucky that at the time of my attack, I was in a healthy, happy, loving relationship.  I know that my healing process would have been very different, and much more difficult, had that not been the case.  The fact that my boyfriend was very supportive and encouraging made all the difference, and even though, ultimately, the relationship did not survive, he was there for me through the worst of it.  For that, I will be eternally grateful to him.

Back in 2013, I chose TRUST as my word for the year.  This is what I wrote then:

“I TRUST that everything is working out. I TRUST that I am right where I am supposed to be. I TRUST that I am doing just what I am meant to do. I TRUST that everything happens for a reason. I TRUST that even if it may not seem like it at the time, everything truly is happening for my highest good and to make me a better person. I TRUST that the right people, the people who can be helped by my story, will read my story. I TRUST that the right people show up in my life at the right time.  I TRUST that even in the darkest hour, there is light. I TRUST that I am safe. I TRUST that even behind the clouds the sun is shining. I TRUST that I am making a difference. I TRUST that all my dreams are coming true. I TRUST that everything happens in perfect and Divine timing.”

Yeah, what I said more than two years ago!  And since I am two years further along my healing path, I can honestly say that, yes, I do trust people again, though I’m not positive I really ever stopped.  And last, but not least, my new favorite quote from Pinterest:

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 4.32.13 PM

 

And while the patience part is challenging, I do TRUST my journey.

 

DYING TO BE ME

From the back cover of the book:  “In this truly inspirational memoir, Anita Moorjani relates how, after fighting cancer for almost four years, her body began shutting down—overwhelmed by the malignant cells spreading throughout her system. As her organs failed, she entered into an extraordinary near-death experience where she realized her inherent worth . . . and the actual cause of her disease. Upon regaining consciousness, Anita found that her condition had improved so rapidly that she was released from the hospital within weeks—without a trace of cancer in her body! Within these pages, Anita recounts stories of her childhood in Hong Kong, her challenge to establish her career and find true love, as well as how she eventually ended up in that hospital bed where she defied all medical knowledge. As part of a traditional Hindu family residing in a largely Chinese and British society, Anita had been pushed and pulled by cultural and religious customs since she was a little girl. After years of struggling to forge her own path while trying to meet everyone else’s expectations, she had the realization, as a result of her epiphany on the other side, that she had the power to heal herself . . . and that there are miracles in the Universe that she’d never even imagined. In DYING TO BE ME, Anita freely shares all she has learned about illness, healing, fear, “being love,” and the true magnificence of each and every human being! This is a book that definitely makes the case that we are spiritual beings having a human experience . . . and that we are all One!”

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 5.07.38 PM

 

I listened to this book while in the middle of my healing process (not that is it actually over at this point) from my sexual assault, and I realized that I, too, had had a NDE, a near death experience, though not in the way that they normally occur.  Because my assault was interrupted, which prevented my attacker from following through with his intention to rape me, I was also saved from the punches that were coming my way.  The last thing I remember before hearing my guardian angel’s voice was DCD’s fists getting ready to beat the shit out of me because I wouldn’t stop screaming and fighting him.  The only way he was going to be able to get control of me was to knock me out.  As I’ve said in the past, I was literally fighting for my life.  And in doing that, I dissociated from myself from the situation I was in.  It wasn’t so much that I left my body and was watching what was happening to me as it was the feeling that I simply was not there.   Dictionary.com defines a near death experience as “an unusual experience taking place on the brink of death and recounted by a person after recovery…”  Given that definition, that’s exactly what happened to me.  I am sure I’ll have plenty more to say on this, but for now this post is about Anita Moorjani’s book and her experience.

I loved the book.  Her story is simply amazing.  She was, literally, hours away from certain death when her near death experience occurred.  What she ‘saw’ and ‘heard’ changed her life forever.

 

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 5.16.27 PM

YES!!!

It’s that time again. Time to figure out what my word for the coming (tomorrow, for goodness sake) New Year should be.  I’ve had some difficulty deciding.  And really, it’s more of a phrase than just a word, though it can be either, I suppose.  The point is it’s an action more than simply a feeling; a reminder to: Just Do It, to Go For The Gusto, to Grab Life By The Horns, to stop waiting for whatever it is I’ve been waiting for, to say YES to everything. I said back in September on the 3rd anniversary of my attack that I had survived and was ready to thrive. It’s time to take it a bit further and stop being so guarded.  Do I have a good reason for continuing to hold myself back?  For my heart and mind still being the slightest bit closed?  Perhaps, but where does that get me?  Alone…not necessarily lonely…but definitely by myself a lot of the time.

So my word for 2015 is YES!  And my phrase is Say Yes To Everything!  Well, most everything.  I am all for dancing like no one is watching, loving like I’ve never been hurt (or, for that matter, sexually assaulted) but I draw the line at singing like no one is listening, because the truth is I simply cannot hold a tune.  Okay, not only cannot I not hold a tune, I can’t even get into tune.  So, no singing; any and everything else, though, I intend to say YES to.

I also intend to continue my twice a week posting.  Last week I was in Atlanta for Christmas and decided to skip it since it’s more challenging to do it on the phone.  Overall, though, I did pretty well throughout the year with my intention for 2014 and consistently posting.  I find I really do need a set schedule to make it happen.  Some weeks I didn’t post on Wednesday, but I discovered that Thursday is just as good in case I can’t get my act together for Wednesday.  As for my Sunday posts about books that I read that have made a difference in my life and in my healing process, I’ll continue with those for the foreseeable future.  I love books and love to read, so I don’t think I’ll run out of recommendations for a while.

Thank you to all who continue to read my story.  There is so much yet to be told.

And as the sun sets on 2014…HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone.

IMG_3093

May 2015 be full of love, happiness, prosperity, peace and joy for us all!

NO WORDS FOR JUST HOW DISTRESSING THIS IS TO ME

I am forgoing my usual book recommendation today to briefly address the latest news story…

“What the Cosby uproar says about how far we’ve come
Simply put, the facts haven’t changed — or at least not by much. But we have.
 By Lisa Belkin

This originally appeared on Friday, 21 November 2014 in Yahoo News:

Why did it take 30 years? That’s the question Barbara Bowman, one of the 15 women to level sexual assault allegations against Bill Cosby, asked in her essay in the Washington Post this week.  And it is a pivotal question, because the answers speak loudly to what has changed in our culture — and what has not — when a powerful man is accused of rape.
Cosby’s history of allegedly drugging young women and then forcing them to have sex has been an open secret in Hollywood for decades. The alleged rapes themselves are said to date back to the 1960s. Cosby has included jokes about drugging young women to make them amorous since 1969 — something called Spanish Fly played a surprisingly big role in the public imagination back then — jokes he repeated live to Larry King in 1991. The attempts by victims to make themselves heard began more than a decade ago.
Former model Janice Dickinson now says she tried to write about being assaulted by Cosby in her 2002 memoir but was convinced by her publisher, under pressure from the Cosby camp, to leave her most devastating accusations out. Tamara Green, a California lawyer, told her story on the “Today Show” in 2005 when she was only the “second Cosby accuser.” But there were no consequences for Cosby, and Matt Lauer all but apologized to viewers for doing the interview in the first place. The following year, 13 women were scheduled to testify to their separate tales of drugs and sex in a civil suit brought by Andrea Constand, but she settled with Cosby in 2006 for an undisclosed sum. Over the past two weeks the charges have snowballed, and Cosby has found himself on his heels as Netflix, NBC and TV Land all dropped planned projects featuring him or decided to stop airing some of his existing work.
The question is: Why now? What is it about this particular moment that has given this old news not only attention, but explosive, insistent, unrelenting traction?
The obvious but incomplete explanation is the Internet. Comedian Hannibal Burris was not the first to strike out at Cosby this fall, when in October he delivered a scathing standup routine calling the 77-year-old comedian a rapist. That honor went to the many reviewers of a biography of Cosby by former Newsweek editor Mark Whittaker, whose glaring omission of even a mention of the rape allegations in his 500-page book came in for withering criticism a month earlier. But the Internet was key, and the Cosby camp’s online response to viral video of Burris’ routine inadvertently fanned the flames, offering up a meme generator that, while meant as a way for viewers to show support (and to laugh off the charges as Cosby had successfully done in the past), quickly itself became a source of rape jokes.

But why did Burris’ comments go viral? Why did the Cosby rape meme take hold? What led so many to Share and Like and Comment in outrage when the very same charges had failed to resonate before?  Simply put, the facts haven’t changed — or at least not by much. But we have.

For decades, those who accused Cosby did so in the context of a world inclined not to believe them. Against a backdrop that saw “he said/she said” and deemed it just too complicated to sort out, and therefore looked away. At a time when good people, if pressed, would admit that they just couldn’t believe that a woman wasn’t somehow encouraging a man, particularly a powerful “catch” of a one.  Cosby, after all, wasn’t the only famous man we knew about but didn’t want to know.  Look at the allegations against singer R. Kelly, meticulously documented 15 years ago by the Chicago Sun-Times but essentially ignored by every other news outlet. And Lauer was not the only journalist who found it uncomfortable to air the Cosby charges. Atlantic writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, known for saying it as he sees it, profiled Cosby in 2008 and did not mention the allegations even though, he says now, “I believed Bill Cosby was a rapist.”  That Coates is publicly apologizing for his lapse now (“I don’t have many writing regrets. But this is one of them”); that the Village Voice is taking up the cause of R. Kelly’s alleged teenage victims anew; that Dominique Strauss-Kahn looks like he will actually stand trial, for “aggravated pimping,” after being repeated accused by women but not the legal system; that Canadian radio star Jian Ghomeshi was fired after several women said publicly that he’d sexually attacked them — all these are signs that something is different.

Now we accept that the football player who says “she fell and hit her head” can be proved wrong by the videotape. Now we have heard — really heard — the voices of too many college women telling us they don’t feel safe from their classmates on campus. Now we see the same facts differently. As Hanna Rosin wrote in Slate, “now that we know what we know, or, perhaps now that we know it at a time of heightened awareness about sexual assault….”
It is the way of history. Good people used to think one thing and then come to think something else. Often dismissed as political correctness, it is actually simple progress. And it is slow.  In the “we have come a long way but not far enough department,” there are still plenty of examples. Take the president of Lincoln University, Robert R. Jennings, who recently told a gathering of female students that rape allegations were too often lies by “young women who after having done whatever they did with young men, and after it didn’t turn out the way they wanted it to turn out, guess what they did? They then went to Public Safety and said, ‘He raped me.’” Jennings warned the women to remember that a rape charge could ruin a poor young man’s life because he might actually go to jail. That a man might actually have committed a crime and that the actual conviction rate for rapes on campuses is shockingly low seemed of little concern to Jennings.
That was in September — so stupidity and victim blaming are not completely relics of the past. But because of the Internet, students and parents easily shared the video (now there’s always a video) of Jennings’ speech. And because of the evolving public understanding of rape, there was outrage at that video, along with demands that Jennings resign. Add to that the new federal regulations that Jennings refers to, which give teeth to the requirement that schools report campus sexual assault charges to the authorities instead of continuing to handle them internally, and quietly.
There are growing expectations that Cosby should face consequences as well. Not legal ones, because the statute of limitations has expired, but perhaps other punishments, and pulling his body of work, past and future, from the airwaves is the first of those. TV Land’s decision means that 30 years after “The Cosby Show” debuted, nearly half a century after the first alleged incident, and more than a decade after the first public allegations were made, it became time for Cosby to pay a price.  He is still scheduled to appear in Florida tonight, but it’s a safe bet he won’t be making any Spanish Fly jokes. Times have changed. And so has the way his audience will hear him.”

I do have a lot to say about this, but, for the time being, I am still coming to grips with how to express what I really think about it.  For now, all I’ll say is my heart goes out to those women who have had to live with this for so long.

Something has got to change.