Monthly Archives: December 2011


when the weight of the day
rolls over heart and mind
and crushes the spirit
when the dark crowds in
sometimes, I want to die
I push and heave the weight away
but it’s never really gone
sometimes, exhausted
I let it cover me, hide me
bloodied useless pawn
I wake from horrors
trapped inside my head
sometimes I sleepwalk
or sleep on the floor
just a dog, just a thing
unable to be dead
I wait for the feeling to fade
sometimes I reach for a cure
but the permanent way
has failed me before
so I wait and try to endure
I fall, give up just a little
as the child deep inside
sits and stares
his tears leak ashes
soot to the chin
he’s locked the door
and won’t let me in
lost in nightmares, I wander
sometimes I cry, scream, shout
nobody listens
and I’ve lost the way out
Sometimes I know I hear
voices outside my head
sometimes it’s monsters
or maybe old ghosts
still trying to hear what they said
I relive it, each day I remember
while forgotten days nibble my soul
never can stop it
or fill it back up
before they eat me whole
I lay quiet
and listen to hope fade
feel it drip down my skin
sometimes I cry out
brittle voice of the damned
but no one hears, knows or cares
that the monsters were never
under the bed
they are getting drunk downstairs

~ ~ ~

© W.R.R. 12/24/1994

As Ashes Scatter

Pure embrace
of marrow dust
as time toils on
into the dark
and yet some shape
still remains
as longer shadows gather
they wait
lost in groaning dusk
until a wind defines again
this long love
as ashes scatter

~ ~ ~

© W.R.R. 5/13/2011

A Farther Shore

Fear, old enemy of peace
tireless, merciless
plagues the mind
drowns the spirit
No rest for those
beset by memories
of the wicked
that reach out of sleep
out of subconscious
to strip away all joy
In these times we must find
a light to guide
a farther shore
on which to gasp
to rest, to breathe
while the wild hate roars
unable for a time
to reach, to hurt
After, we rise
we face the storm
stronger than we were
This is a gift
called friendship
that has no price
only boundless reward
ever shifting
from one to the other
as are the burdens we share

~ ~ ~

© W.R.R. 12/13/2011
For Shar: you help me face the fears I can’t express, even to myself. You offer solutions, help me work through problems, help me learn how to face them on my own, too. You are a gift, a precious gift to all who love you.

Wounds Have Wisdom

Wounds have wisdom
yet they are mute
I am unable to purse
the ragged red edges
and make them speak
make them tell
the truth
they only whisper
Perhaps if there were more?
Would their voices rise
in volume, in courage?
Would anyone listen
if the red tongues wagged
spilling secrets?

~ ~ ~

© W.R.R. 2/10/1997

The Alchemy of Hate

I propose that hate is the alchemy of turning life and love into death and despair.

For your consideration:

The pleasure of hating, like a poisonous mineral, eats into the heart of religion, and turns it to rankling spleen and bigotry; it makes patriotism an excuse for carrying fire, pestilence, and famine into other lands: it leaves to virtue nothing but the spirit of censoriousness, and a narrow, jealous, inquisitorial watchfulness over the actions and motives of others.

— “On the Pleasure of Hating”
William Hazlitt, ca. 1826

This quote could be interpreted in many ways and used by all sorts of “factions” on either side of many arguments.

However, one thing that continues to mystify me is the fact that those who believe their hate is righteous or sanctioned somehow tend become disproportionately upset when the group, race, creed etc of people whom they hate become angry at the accusatory and/or vilifying rhetoric that is being heaped upon them. If the people they hate chose to respond in like kind and with equal violence, the cycle of hate-fueled carnage is hard to stop.

Take anti-gay hatred, for example. A homophobe may spout rhetoric about how LGBT people are less than human, hated by (their) God, and their lifestyles are disgusting abombinations, etc. This person may feel gratified when other homophobes agree with them. Yet the moment a member of the LGBT community gets angry, takes offense, and responds, this homophobe often acts surprised, as if they are saying, “Why are you angry? What I say is true.” This attitude seems to believe that the accused don’t matter so they shouldn’t be allowed to protest, let alone defend themselves. If the accused is angry and responds with anger, the homophobe often twists the exchange to suit their rhetoric (i.e.: See how the gay person shouts foul language? It’s proof that he’s subhuman).

Another mystery to me is why even a reasonable approach falls on deaf ears. The homophobe seems incapable of “seeing the other side”. If they could do this, we could perhaps get a lot further in the effort to end hate. If the tables were turned and hetero rights were taken away, wouldn’t that same homophobe be outraged at the loss of his rights? Wouldn’t he become an activist to get them back, and become angry at the people who called him sub-human and said “God hates you”?

For some things there can be no compromise without at least one side changing their views, but why is the “live and let live” concept so unacceptable? If you can’t tolerate a type of music, is the only solution to ban and destroy it, and all those who create it, from the face of our earth? Can some people sit at their desks under a sign that reads “God is Love” and sign an order to murder all rap artists? Why is it so difficult to just change the channel?

If your “enemy” insists on a fight to the death, you have two choices: fight back, or wait to be slaughtered. Shouldn’t people who claim to be civilized and intelligent beings be capable of a third option? “Live and let live” is not as hard or repugnant as it may seem.

Now just as there are no compromises for some things, there are other areas where we do have to have laws to protect people that may curb the “freedom” of others. For instance, a non-offender parent can’t legally allow a pedophile parent to rape their child (even though some do, and get away with it). We have laws to protect children from rape. The harm rape does to any person has been a proven and studied fact. However, I have seen no concrete studies that LGBT people or their lifestyles, between consenting adults, that prove that “gay” is a threat. It’s all just fear-mongering from a position of ignorance, dogma, and hereditary hatred; a hatred that loves to twist things, including facts, laws, and interpretations of the Bible, to support its views.

If you look at the facts, which side has blood on its hands? Are there gays going out to catch and murder hetero people? Do gays beat a straight man, tie him to a pole and set him on fire? Do lesbians rape straight women to “teach them how women are supposed to act”? To my knowledge, these are all hetero crimes against LGBT people. I wonder if the murderers and rapists among my enemies have gone home and wiped the blood and soot from their hands onto the crisp white banner overhead that proclaims “Thou Shalt Not Kill”?

I am not anti-God, or anti-Christian. I am not anti-hetero; I know and love many people who are hetero and Christian, and they love and accept me. Yet as long as others choose to hate me and attack me just for being in the LGBT community, I have a bitter struggle ahead in the effort to remain anti-hate. Being attacked and having my rights either removed or never granted in the first place makes me angry. Being assaulted by those who are trying to kill me makes me rise up to survive, to defend my life. Do I not have the same right to defend myself as those who have made themselves my enemy? I didn’t create them to be my enemy. They chose to hate, to abolish, to outlaw, and in some cases to attack and kill, people like me. History has shown a long story of LGBT people being assaulted and murdered by those who hate them. Are there cases of LGBT people killing hetero people just because they hate them? If there are any at all, it’s bound to be a grossly disproportionate number. Most people in the LGBT community simply want to be left in peace – with the same rights as everybody else. For those in the hetero community who support their gay friends’ rights, that’s all they want to.

I see nothing but mass horror if the LGBT people were to respond in kind as their attackers do. However, I will not wait for the slaughter just because I do not want to fight. I prefer to seek that elusive third option of “live and let live”.

Something for all of us to consider is another example of hatred’s alchemy: school shootings. This tragic horror may simply be the rare extreme example of a person pushed beyond sense into a “hate for hate” response to endless attacks, humiliation, and the eventual atrophy of hope. In its place, hatred creeps into the heart, insidious and mindless. Even so, these people, so often children, don’t merely “snap” one day for no reason. There is always a reason.

In all areas and ways you may fall into hate, ask yourself why. What does it gain you, and what do you stand to lose because of it? Can you truly only achieve peace and happiness by wading through blood, or the pain of others you may not even know? You don’t have to embrace what you cannot agree with, but perhaps it wouldn’t end your way of life to simply leave others at peace in theirs?

As long as people hate and turn to violence to express it, be prepared to watch as they one day alchemize your love and life into death and despair. Knowing what’s at stake, isn’t a third option worth striving for? Live and let live is just that. It’s not so hard to do if we just try.


© W.R.R. 12/9/2011
For the fallen, murdered by hate; and for those who still strive to live in spite of it.

I Am I: the Struggle for Identity

As a child, trying to exist and stay alive in the midst of my parents’ sexual abuse, I had no sense of self to speak of. I wasn’t cared for, loved, treated, or even spoken to like a normal little boy. My mother and I developed our relationship in an unhealthy trench bonding setting. We would say “I love you” to each other like two lost tourists who were fishing catch-phrases out of a book, but she rarely acted like a mother. Her main job was picking up the pieces when my father was done with his toy son.

My father liked to invent new ways to hurt and humiliate me; it amused him. With all of his “amusements”, it was a fight to frame the idea in my own mind that I was a human at all. As it was, I had no rights. I was whatever he told me to be. I wasn’t called by my name, either. “Boy” was a favorite. When speaking to my mother, he would say “that thing” a lot. Early on, he’d call me a faggot, a word I didn’t even understand until I was a teen and my peers started yelling it in the hallways.

Poetry came into my life in the form of rare presents from my paternal grandmother, a woman my father seemed to actually fear. She only visited a few times, but she always brought me books and jigsaw puzzles. Once she brought me a huge Shakespeare collection in one book, and then others like Frost, Tennyson, Cooleridge, Thoreau, Auden, etc. The poems fascinated me, and like another child might start to draw because of coloring books, I began to try to write my own poetry. I learned to hide it, after it got taken away and torn up a few times. After that, it became one of my few proofs that I was a person, no matter how I was treated. It was also the only place I allowed myself to admit my feelings, even to myself; or to admit that my life wasn’t right, even if I wasn’t sure what it should have been instead.

A poem that shows how it felt to be me in the midst of my abusive childhood, written when I was twelve:

“I Am I”

I am nothing
I am no one
I am broken
I am I
blank page
torn and stained
I am what I am told
I am beast
I am torn
I am I
filth stained red
there is only
the mask
given, taken
taken away
take it away
and I am gone
I am nothing
I am thing
I am I
© W.R.R. 11/15/1992

Since I escaped at age nineteen and became homeless for a few years rather than allow the abuse to continue, I ended up getting money to survive any way I could. Between that and my abuse, whatever path my orientation might have taken, I ended up identifying as bisexual. Many boys raped by men end up questioning their orientation. It’s horribly confusing and it’s easy to fall into self-blame and even self-hatred, gathering vices and making bad choices as you slowly and painfully grow up. I used to cut myself as a kid, and I ended up smoking at nine (up to three packs a day before I quit some years back). I acquired and quit a handful of drug habits as well. I still have issues with alcohol and pills.

Another area many people never want to discuss with a survivor of abuse is sex. The fact is, I and others like me still grow into adults with a variety of reactions to the subject of sex. A terrible viewpoint some cruel people have pointed out to me in my life is similar to what many women survivors are told: “If you like sex, why should we believe you were raped?” Well, I’ve never seen a study that proved that rape or abuse utterly destroys the human sex drive in a person, and plenty of survivors, men and women, are able to find a partner they love and trust enough to share intimacy.

My abuse altered me from experiencing a “typical response” to intimacy, several repeated events having taught me to confuse pain with pleasure. As a result, I grew up to be a masochist and I have to relearn, through talking with my therapist, that intimacy can be enjoyed without pain or harm being involved.

I also have many conflicting and very confusing viewpoints on subjects such as monogamy, orientation, and my own rights and worth as a human being. This is more common than people who have never been abused may think. Oprah even did a groundbreaking show about her childhood abuse and how abused children sometimes grow up to be promiscuous in unhealthy ways, rather than shunning sex as some believe they would.

One of the biggest lessons I have to unlearn is that I am not required to give sex in order to receive love. All of this has led me to be (by choice) a polygamist in the sense that I have a male and a female partner; and monogamy is a challenge even then. Add the mental illness of rapid cycle bipolar to that soup and I have a lot to process and learn to cope with.

In addition, and working at odds with that, I am also largely afraid of people, and men in particular. Yet I have only a fledgling sense of my own rights to engage in intimacy with others or to choose not to. In the past, taught by abuse that I was required to submit, I have been victimized by others who held little regard for my choice in the matter. In a few cases like this, though my therapist insists I am describing rape, the perpetrator would say it was consensual because I allowed it to happen. These offenders have no idea of the pathology I have been subjected to, but does that make their actions acceptable? Everybody who cares about me agrees the answer is no. Mostly, I live like a recluse and if I do have the courage to go out (usually during my manic cycle) I try to bring a friend or my boyfriend with me so that I have somebody along to stop this ugly situation from being repeated.

My pervading objection is, I should not have to feel like I should be expected to apologize for having any sexual identity at all. That “if you were raped, you now have to hate and shun all sex” mentality; it is ridiculous for anybody to presume they have a say in my sexuality at all. As I heal, cope, and just try to live from day to day, I think being able to trust, and to have a healthy and mutually beneficial relationship with my partners is a good thing, my choice, and nobody else’s business. I refuse to live, speak, or act like some sort of celibate monk just because some people think that’s how a boy abused by his parents ought to be in order to “deserve” their sympathy. The abuse was my parents’ fault, not mine; so why should I be punished for it? Why should any survivor?

Sometimes I joke with my friends, online and offline; the people I trust and feel safe with. We have fun conversations about writing fiction stories, or about the actors and singers we have crushes on. It’s normal friendship stuff, and survivors have a right to it. I want to spend time with my friends without feeling worried about what people who know about my abuse might think of me on Twitter when I’m kidding around with friends. To me, this is a normal, healthy, and hard-won aspect of my healing journey.

One of the most horrible aspects of all of this happens when an abused child speaks out and eventually goes to testify in court, entering the “court of public opinion” before that. If anybody sees that child smile, or enjoy a game with friends, some ignorant people say “Look, see? That’s proof he’s lying about the abuse.” As if, having been abused, the child should only appear as a broken victim incapable of hope or healing in order to be believed. That child is often bullied by peers, too, because he was abused. This phenomenon is being observed by the silent victims of rape and abuse too – and what’s at stake is them learning that maybe it’s better not to speak up and tell somebody. This is a result that can end innocent lives.

If you are a survivor of any orientation, or still trying to work through the confusion of what that orientation might be, don’t let anybody make you feel like you have to be one or another. You also don’t have to lock yourself in an ivory tower or cloister, denied the chance to find love. Please don’t suffer in silence. Speak out, tell somebody you need help. Later, when you grow up, learning to want healthy intimacy of any sort with somebody who loves you is your right as a human being. It can help you to heal if you feel it’s right for you, and it does not alter the tragic truth, in court or out, that you were abused or raped. On the contrary, it is proof that your abuse does not define who you are.

We as survivors have the right to heal and become who we want to be. Nobody else has the right to tell you that what you choose is wrong. This goes for children and teens who are being bullied to the point of suicidal thoughts, too. We all have a right to be safe and happy. You have a right to be you.

Carving out an identity that gives you the best chance at learning to be happy is key. It is a struggle; yet not only discovering who you are, but deciding for yourself who you will be, is the most empowering form of healing. Take the phrase “I am I” and make it mean something special to you. Once you do, nobody can take it away from you.

~ ~ ~

© W.R.R. 12/5/2011
For my fellow survivors and those they choose to be strong enough to love; and for all who don’t feel safe in a world that shuns them. Don’t give up. Speak out.

Light My Way

When long, dark night of the soul
makes me stumble
you light my way
In times of trouble
your solace feeds my heart
When I doubt my worth
you give it back to me
and if I forget my life’s song
you sing it for me
until the melody infuses my soul
once and time again
There is no dark place
I have crawled to
driven by pain and fear
that your love can’t
coax me out again
And so, in fullness of time
when age has taken
my name from me
I know I will still
remember yours.

~ ~ ~

© W.R.R. 5/30/2011
For my friends, my family.

Concerning Suicide: Don’t Suffer In Silence

The first time I wanted to die was at the age of five when the parental sexual abuse that began a year prior took an even uglier turn. My father had chosen to rent my body to other pedophiles to make a lot of money. This happened in our home. At that time, having been kept from social interaction and most TV all my short life, I had no idea how to die. Later, I tried to kill myself several times. Mostly, my mother found me in time, or one of my two friends stopped me. If my father stopped me, it was with a beating. How dare I attempt to rob him of his property? Throughout my life I’ve considered suicide to be an option, a way to escape a horrid life of abuse by a man whose hobby was trying out ways to torture his son.

The most recent time I almost committed suicide was just a week or so after New Year’s Eve, this year. I’m a rapid cycle bipolar, suffering from agoraphobia along with a grab bag of other phobias. I suffer from PTSD, panic attacks, and anxiety. I have tremor in my hands and other physical handicaps that are hard to live with at times, plus the weight of my childhood horrors compounding the rest. Traumatic events can bring all that down over my head. After New Year’s Eve, I was out in town by myself, something I do sometimes as a way to prove to myself I can manage alone. I live in Texas and I always carry a concealed weapon. That night I got jumped by three men who accused me of raping their sister. I’d never seen them before and certainly never raped anybody, but they kept saying it was a guy who looked like me and that was good enough for them. They said they wanted to go home and tell her they’d gotten “the guy”, so she could stop being afraid. I was in the wrong place at the wrong time, a guy with tattoos and piercings, dark hair – taking another man’s punishment. I couldn’t get to my gun in the ambush and they beat me very badly. When I finally reached my gun, I shot into the air to make them run and I escaped. I had a mental and emotional breakdown before I finally made it home. Sitting in my kitchen, I screamed at my boyfriend to leave me alone. He left the room. When he turned on some music, Adam Lambert’s “Broken Open”, I had my gun in my mouth. My mental illness had voices screaming in my head about how my family, my children, friends, would all be better off without me. My memories of abuse whispered that I wouldn’t have to think about how I’d been hurt anymore. Then I listened to the words I was hearing with my ears. That song said it was okay to feel broken, but it didn’t have to end me. I could feel that way and learn out of it how to be stronger. I could be safe when I was weak, until I had the chance to grow strong again. I put the gun away, went to sleep, and didn’t tell my boyfriend or anybody else about the incident, or the men who attacked me, for some time.

In spite of all the horror in my life, something in me wanted to live. At fifteen I made a promise to myself. I would try to survive, because children grow up and I hoped when I was an adult, I could escape home and life would get better. The promise I clung to was this: if I reached the age of thirty, if life hadn’t gotten better by then, I would end it. Sometimes when trauma brings it all back like a train wreck, like after New Year’s, I get weak. Yet my life is better now. I have a loving family & children who are my joy, my salvation. I’m in therapy, have been for years, and it helps. In October last year, I turned thirty. It was strange to realize that. This October, I turned thirty-one. My mental, emotional, and physical handicaps still plague my life, my abuse still haunts my nightmares and my waking mind, but I’m still here, I’m still alive.

So now I learn to cope with trauma so it won’t put me in that headspace that makes me consider suicide. Statistics and studies show that men who have been sexually abused as children are often ten times more likely to have suicidal thoughts. Sometimes, more often than I care to admit, I do have those thoughts; but I’m learning how to stop them. I find a loved one to talk to, I get help from my therapist, I work to avoid trauma, and sometimes I just breathe and wait for the thoughts to pass.

I intend to beat the odds; because the life I want is right in front of me now, and I want to watch my children grow up. Whatever the circumstances kids being bullied today may face, these things can and do change. School ends. Bullies move away. You survive, grow up, and your life changes for the better. Tell somebody, let them help you. If the first person you tell won’t help or doesn’t believe you, find another person to tell. Don’t suffer in silence. Silence kills.

~ ~ ~

© W.R.R. 12/4/2011

Inspired by my friend Steve Gray’s blog, here: Do You Ever Feel Suicidal?