Uncovering my past and healing my shit

Pre Night Stalker circa 1972 / Post(?) Night Stalker circa 1978


Is this mic on? Can you hear me?

It may have been nearly a year since the last time I posted in this blog, but that doesn't mean I haven't stopped writing. Oh HELL NO. In fact, despite my eagerness to get back to writing in this little space of the webosphere, I have been making a point to indulge in the real deal daily - pen and paper, which consequently, I'm extremely particular about. So much so that I will not even ATTEMPT to write unless I have my beloved Precise V5 Extra Fine Point Rolling Ballpoint pen in hand. This one has a peek-a-boo window that looks into the cartridge, (which reminds me of my calligraphy days), where I can see just how much ink I have left. I keep one pen saving my place in each journal I write in. I sorta have multiple love affairs simultaneously happening although, I think my pens are jealous of my keyboard. My keyboard sees way more action, especially at work.

My intimate love affair
So these multiple love affairs with pen and ink and journals are very much my sacred space.

I write in a dream journal most nights. I also have a journal to keep track of my diet, my skin, and my hair, an intuitive journal that helps me keep track of all the times my brain tries to lead me in certain life directions, as well as a sketchbook journal in which I keep doodles, pen and ink masterpieces, and my gesture and life drawing practices, which, by the way, encourages a totally different love affair with a handsomely packaged fivesome of archival quality ink shafts. This one is a very satisfying relationship.

But today, this realization just hit me. I write. A LOT. But there's something I miss about this blog. The off the cuff posts where I rant and get all disgruntled. The discoveries and epiphanies that I've documented over the years. My life lessons shared less so that someone else can learn from them but more to provide my future self with a road map of where I've been and how far I've come. I miss typing and deleting and reworking. It gives me the freedom to write my first drafts from my heart and choose my words based on where I am in the moment rather than where grammar and punctuation persuade me to be, sometimes prevailing eventually.

Who am I kidding. Ok. So maybe I don't really give a flying fuck about the grammar or punctuation

I've written, posted and censored. Some raw and painfully fragile entries were even left for the world (or if I'm honest my 6 followers) to examine with fine-toothed empathy and judgment. I even wrote two posts that I had to redact or never post at all for personal reasons, the biggest reason being I just plain didn't have the balls to put them out there.

Well, at least not until now.

I'll own that I'm probably only posting now because chances are maybe 1 or 2 people will read this, which feels safe, that is, unless I'm brave enough to post it on Facebook. If that's the case, I'll just fix myself a stiff drink now, cuz I know that will take solid courage.

So in light of the recent arrest of Joseph James DeAngelo, the 72 year old ex-cop who was my early childhood stalker otherwise known as California's biggest serial killer/rapists gone uncaught for decades, (a.k.a The Original Night Stalker, East Area Rapist, California's Golden State Killer) I thought it would be appropriate to post one of those previously-written-but-didn't-have-the-guts-to-publish blog posts. I should mention that I didn't have the balls to even finish this post, even though I intended to. I'm not sure what made me stop writing but I'm ready to put this out there now and need to purge some of the darker shit before I can go back to the fun and flippant "for science" stuff. I'm perfectly comfortable with my demons now and I like to think I've finally conquered the FOE. (You'll have to read on to understand that acronym.)

Below is my untitled, never posted entry (written sometime in June 2012 or 2013) about how this early childhood experience heavily influenced my relationship with my body. I meant to explore more on the topic of how dysmorphia and body image is not "owned" by those who are overweight. I wanted to express how much of a punch in the face it is when someone invalidates our raw but legitimate beliefs about ourselves. They may be warped perspectives but they are very real and in order to heal they need acknowledgment and validation.

So next time you catch yourself rolling your eyes at that skinny girl who says she doesn't love her body, consider that there may be something bigger swimming deep below, that which you perceive as superficial perfection and vanity. Don't blow her off. Be kind.


UNTITLED

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When I was about six years old my house was the target of this guy - known back then as The East Area Rapist. He eventually became one of California's most terrifying and uncaught serial killers. Everyone has some claim to fame, right? Personally, I'd rather not have mine in such close proximity to a fucking nut job, but, just like we can't pick our parents, we also can't pick the people who fuck up our life shit either.

Oh well...

Back when he was a wee rapist, he would sit across the park on the roof of my best friend's house and watch us through our windows. Somedays he would sit on the roof of our house and spy on my best friend.


Loony, right? Dude really needed a different cable subscription.

I had no idea this was happening until one day I remember going to school and my best friend wasn't there. A few days later I discovered her mom had been raped and my best friend was tied up and left in the fireplace. Lucky for them a neighbor saw a man leaving the house wearing a ski mask and called the cops. My friend and her mom were horribly terrorized, but survived, which is more than I can say for a lot of his victims.

After that, I remember multiple break-ins happening in our house and the police being an embedded part of my life. We got a German shepherd named Echo (the sweetest, gentlest, ineffective excuse for a watchdog we ever had) There were new rules and protocol my brother and I had to follow. New blinds showed up on every window in the house, alarms were installed and panic buttons strategically placed. We saw therapists and experienced evacuations. Psychics were called in, police helicopters would randomly appear out of nowhere circling our roof. I remember my mom opening the front door only to have a team of officers push their way past her on their way to my backyard. I vaguely remember someone hiding underneath our newly installed redwood hot tub. There were stakeouts, dustings, and other evidence collected. My childhood became squeezed into a small space with limited freedom and completely controlled by what I like to call the FOE. Fear of Everything.

Researching my past and putting dates and events together


It's never a good sign when the police start calling in the psychics and they tell you to get the hell outa dodge and go find someplace else to live for a couple weeks.

Apparently, our house was the one missed target and dude kept coming back. He broke into our house and stole school pictures of my brother and I, took small trinkets and some of my mom's jewelry to keep to himself. Items from other people's homes started showing up in our house. I even remember strange phone calls. It became clear that this was a game. Long before advancements in DNA tracking, the police had only foot impressions in our carpet and a few smudgy, gloved fingerprints to use to further the investigation.

So I learned what exactly rape was at a very early age. My best friend told me what happened to her and her mother. In my head, I saw this as something that only happened to women, and being a young girl, this left a huge impression on me. HUGE. Little did I know how huge.

It was during this time that I was beginning to explore my own sexuality just like every kid does. But it scared me. In my mind, the line between my blossoming sexuality and this profound understanding of rape got blurred. Sex and sexuality were dangerous and in order to protect yourself from that danger, you had to wall yourself off from the world with blinds drawn and alarms ready. Sadly, my newfound, natural discovery of sexual pleasure was stained with fear and danger. I didn't need any more incidents to warp my own sense of sexual well-being during that time in my life, but sadly it was then that I was also molested by my step-grandfather. A double whammy for my blooming sexuality and consequently my self-image.

Eventually, the East Area Rapist, also known as the Original Night Stalker, moved on and left our community and my step-grandfather quit drinking and never touched me again. Although they never caught the East Area Rapist, life went back to "normal" for me.

Conveniently, I forgot all about the events that threatened me as a child. Despite, seeing several therapists over the span of my life, it never occurred to me to even mention my early childhood experiences with the Night Stalker to them. I honestly, thought I was perfectly "normal" and it took me years to discover what exactly that "normal" was for me. As a child, I had developed serious rules of privacy that bordered on crazy, but at the same time, I remember as a kid defiantly challenging those same rules by opening the blinds in my room - at night - like it was some kind of risky game. For me, this was was a flippant walk on the wild side and I truly enjoyed flirting with the inherent danger of it all knowing there could be someone out there watching me and wanting to harm me. I don't think I was totally aware that this act had so many layers to it and would manifest itself in subtle ways into my future adult life.

I detested my body. In high school, I wore baggy clothes (I borrowed pants from my dad's closet and some of his shirts he wore in the Coastguard) just to cover any feminine curves I was growing into. I cut my hair super short (partially shaved it, actually) and wore scary black eyeliner and white lipstick. Some of it was tragically called "fashion" at the time - hey it WAS the 80s, but in a way, it was my excuse to look as anti-feminine as possible.

Because women get raped.

It wasn't until college that memories drifted back in from childhood with a little more clarity, but I think I filed it back away somewhere in my head after my first real long-term relationship, which was one of my few healthy and good relationships, and oddly enough, with a guy who was testing to be a cop. Looking back on that, I don't think that was a coincidence.

Sex was confusing to me during my 20s. I remember having fantasies about being raped which were a source of serious WTF for me. Didn't my brain get the memo? Rape was bad. How can I be aroused by something that had been dangling like a guillotine over my head during some of my most impressionable years?

And having GOOD sex? Well... that was completely out of the question too. Sex was a disconnect at best for me. I never bonded during sex. I never orgasmed during sex. Sex was empty and joyless. Sex was a means to an end if I wanted to keep that boyfriend. Until I couldn't do it any longer. And then they knew. Eventually, they all knew. I was fucked up.

I'm not even sure when exactly it was that I finally decided that I couldn't live life void of my own healthy sexual well-being. I had lived most of my life in that dark and empty space and, to be honest, the realization hit me that it totally sucked. I had been gifted this body that had enormous potential for passion, and fulfilling pleasure and it felt dead and lifeless during sex. And sadly, the realization that hit the floor like a brick was that there had to be people in this world having good sex and I wasn't one of them. In fact, I was really bad at sex.

But there was a kink in my ability to reclaim my sexual power.

Body image.

I still detested my body. At the time I didn't exactly know why. I didn't see myself as fat. I didn't think I was ugly. I hated my small breasts though and I was embarrassed by my body in general and ashamed to be a woman. My body was hook, line, and sinker, a magnet for attracting danger. Not just a little bit of danger. Epic serial killer danger.

How fucked up is that?

I remember trying to get back into running in college only to be cat-called around my local neighborhood in San Jose which left me feeling unsafe and even more ashamed of my body. I tried wearing ugly, baggy running clothes but eventually just stopped running altogether.

A recent Facebook discussion cropped up when I shared a link about a skinny woman who talks openly about the body issues she's held and about being ridiculed and bullied for being super thin. She writes about the other side of the weight spectrum and her views from there. The post was written with her skinny sisters in mind (me), and I was reminded how during the last few years I've been trying to gain weight so I could not look so waif-like, cover up those bony bits on my shoulders, and dodge all the "eat a sandwich" comments. When some guy pointed them out to me at the Born To Run Ultras a few weekends ago, I finally found out what those bony bits on my shoulders were called. But, I've forgotten already.

The facebook discussion was pretty chill. Nobody was getting inadvertently offended, no one was spouting fire, but it became clear to me that there were assumptions being made about women who were skinny: That skinny women were being told all the time that their bodies were beautiful by the people around them and society in general.

But what those women failed to understand is that if you don't see your genuine beauty yourself, you will never believe those words "you're beautiful" no matter how many people tell you.


. . . . . . . . . . . . .

...aaaaand I had nothing to say after that.

I don't think I had completely resolved my own body perspective at the time, but I was most definitely actively working on it. It's been a difficult unraveling, to say the least. Once I became aware of one thing, faced it head on, and came to terms with that aspect another darker aspect would be revealed. The process of uncovering childhood events and internal beliefs is almost impossible because it's really hard to know what you don't know about yourself.

I've developed personal strategies and tools (my journals and this blog are some of those tools) to confront the parts of myself that are at odds with each other. I have gone to drastic measures to confront some of these issues. My 100 miler was one such way of confronting the FOE. Running had strangely become unsafe for me, and I won't deny that it most likely has an influence on the way I train today, but in order to achieve the 100 miler goal, I had to get over my shit.

I also decided to fully accept myself, small breasts and all, and learn from scratch to see my sexuality as an integral, healthy, and positive aspect that gave me the power to confidently surrender to danger and fear on my own terms. I began to openly talk about sex and my relationship with it. In fact, that has become a very critical part of my ongoing healing process. I re-learned my body, reading book after book on the female anatomy, the g-spot, researching orgasms (you might remember my past blog entries). I accepted and explored my own preferences. I began taking healthy, albeit extreme risks, to reclaim the sexual fire I suppressed for so long but that I knew in my heart was my birthright and I would argue a large part of my humanness. I can say without a doubt that sex is finally fulfilling, joyful, fun, and although I still struggle with human connection in general, especially during sex, I am patient with myself. Sadly, now that I'm single, my only issue is I don't get enough.

Oh, the irony in THAT.
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