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Thursday, July 26, 2012

From 2009, notes found in a file

Three times it’s happened now since I’ve been doing stories for City of Angels.  This image pops into my head that is so evil and obtrusive - the image usually comes when I'm talking to one of the former altar boys, or guys who were in early adolescence when the priests found a way to get to them. 

Pant pant pant, the guy is breathing hard and eyes, like a maniac.  Rolling eyes, with a jeer in them that says pure evil.  Then just off screen in my head is the rest of the body and it’s bouncing bouncing bouncing, obviously the guy is humping and getting lots of sexual pleasure from it.  What adds to the madness of the whole image is that he is wearing a priest collar, in fact as I describe it now, I see one of those rimmed black hats the priests wear in Europe. 

The image intrudes, not surprisingly, when these men are describing the actual sex act that took place.  Usually in the interview, we've been talking about how the priest groomed the young boy, and so often it’s the same - Joy Juice of one kind or another, alcohol sometimes with something in it, then the boy is wheezy maybe passes out then wakes up, suddenly realizes, “Father Horney is banging me.”

And into my head pops this panting panting clergy collared creature, his face twisting with extreme pleasure and extreme evil combined.  Panting over the tiny undefended child’s body.  Inevitably if this image continues in my head it will bring in scents - that salty sweet smell of semen and sweat.  It will include sounds, for me it’s wind in the trees.  But what makes me stop, bring everything to an immediate halt, is that panting panting panting combined with that corrugated mixed up face.

Guys who I’ve interviewed may have even noticed.  Usually before I know it I’ve taken the interview to a totally different topic.  It happened when I was interviewing Michael Baumann a few months ago.  He said, “It was like a monkey on my back,” when he was describing the memory of what Fr. Robert Gibson of Scranton did to him as a young teenager.  Michael was faltering, just about to get into deeper description, in fact he was READY to go into deeper description and probably needed to describe it for his own healing.  He repeated, “It was like a monkey on my back-“

In a split second I chimed in “Oh you know what I’m right in the middle of reading that book right now, isn’t that an amazing coincidence?”

Michael went, “Uh, huh?”

And babble away I did, that book The Man with the Golden Arm, I'm reading it right now, don't you know about it, Frank Sinatra was in the movie, he played this junkie, well he’s a returning World War two vet who got addicted to heroin in the hospital when he was endured, and in the movie, he’s trying to kick heroin walking around the city  - it’s Chicago, I think it’s Chicago - but he is walking around saying, “I got a monkey on my back, monkey on my back.”  That's the first time the saying came up, or maybe even sooner and Algren just used the expression and maybe it’s not in the book just in the movie but I'm pretty sure that's where that expression comes from.

And by now the mood is broken, there’s no way Michael is going to continue into that dark place he was about to enter, as now we're talking about the Nelson Algren revival going on in Chicago…

A while back I tried to get therapy, because I realized, while I'm doing City of Angels, some of the stories I hear are going to make me go insane if I don't have therapy.  But then I tried it, and realized the therapist was not in any better shape than I was, and it just felt awkward sitting in a waiting room then sitting in a room with a person and talking, I mean what is that going to do to solve the myriad problems I'm facing.  It seems silly to pay all this money for therapy when what I need is new teeth…

Anyway.  I don't go to therapy anymore.  I'm still writing City of Angels stories,

So better write the insane stuff over here in City of Angels 2, knowing someone will read it.

Somehow journaling works better as therapy if someone reads it.  If you just keep writing and writing to yourself, the message doesn't go anywhere.

The funny thing is, I started City of Angels blog originally because I wanted to do something about the isolation.  See, when you tell someone you're a priest rape survivor and it’s kind of taken up 90 percent of your life, they don't really want to spend time with you. I’ve lost so many friends since I started writing this blog.  Well, I can pretend the reason I lost the friends was the blog, even though I know it’s really something inherently wrong inside of me.

I’ve always felt that way, something inside wrong.

And I see it reflected in people. 

A kind of nausea, revulsion, when they look at me. 

I think I wear my damages out where everyone can see them.  I don't have the right kind of mirror to tell me where they are so I can apply some kind of concealer. 

It happens all the time though, people meet me, they look at me for the first time, and a kind of revulsion washes over their bodies, flashes through their eyes.  In polite company it will only last an instant, and the person recovers and smiles and acts polite, but still you sense they are looking for the quickest way to make an exit. 

What's really upsetting is when I found out the cause of the disgustingness, it did not make it go away or even get any better.  The damage is so deep inside, it’s just part of who I am.  That's why I really wish I could have gotten a settlement, as I’d like to just become a hermit, live somewhere that I never had to leave the premises, have things delivered, walk just a few feet for laundry, have enough yard space I don't need to go onto city sidewalks ever again. . .

Because I'm tired of seeing that reaction in people, and now that I know it’s never going to go away, I just want to find a way to avoid it. 

Funny thing is I’ve seen that same kind of damage in the few survivors I’ve met.  Truth is I haven’t really met that many survivors.  I started the blog out of frustration that SNAP wouldn't start an L.A. meeting, and wouldn't let me start one.  So I figured, I’ll meet people through City of Angels blog, there have got to be some other people damaged like me in Hollywood.  I mean, I ended up living in West Hollywood in the 1980s just because it was the only place a person of my sexual proclivities could be accepted.  When I brought a football team home for the night, my neighbors did not get outraged, they just got jealous.

Drip Drip, something about these memories involves dripping, leaking.  Body fluids exiting your orifices after a night or orgiastic sex, the smell of it in the rugs and couches. 

Thing that's not funny is writing the blog did nothing at all for my isolation.  I still have no one to call, no one comes by to pick me up and take me places.  I can’t understand how there could have been 500 plaintiffs in L.A. and not one person shows up when SNAP does hold an event downtown.  The three or four people you see all the time at local SNAP events have all traveled in from far flung  suburbs,  other counties, even other states.

Where did all the L.A. plaintiffs go?  Plus now and then I’ll read about a settlement in another city and it says so and so from Los Angeles, and I think where the hell are they? 

I thought there was supposed to be a community of survivors, I counted on there being a community to help me get through this.  After three years writing City of Angels, I still don't know how to get in touch with one other survivor in Los Angeles.  A couple breezed through my life for a day or two, a week or two, then disappeared.  Left no forwarding phone number… the illusive world of lost cell phones and people moving away…

If I got a settlement, first thing I’d do is move away too.  Some hermit place.

But I didn't.  So I'm still here.  And I don't know where everybody else went.  I spent those two years homeless, 2003 to 2005, and at the beginning of that period, there were SNAP meetings in L.A. where I understand hundreds of people came.  I didn't go to those meetings, because they were announced as being about the lawsuits, and I wasn’t part of the L.A. lawsuits.

Then we became homeless for two years and lived in utter chaos, forget lost cell phones, try lost roof over your head…

Anyway.  We get back in an apartment, I connect again with SNAP, and there’s one sleepy meeting out in the hills of Glendale that it takes me three hours to get to, including a hike or two between transits.  And then I get there and there are three people, two of them aren’t even survivors, but I think may be spies from the church…

Okay.  So I see now that probably the reason there is no SNAP meeting in L.A. is I am probably the only person here who wants one.  And since I'm doing City of Angels blog, I'm not the right person to run a meeting, and who would come?  I don't know where anybody is to find them…

So I start City of Angels thinking, I’ll meet other survivors in L.A. that way, and ???   I’ve met dozens of people, who I can call on the phone almost any time and they're there to talk, but they're in the Midwest and Boston and New Mexico, no one is in L.A.? 

Where did everybody go? 

I have this part of me that wants to put up a post and say, “I'm done.”  Because I'm not really getting out of it what I wanted.  But I'm getting something else.  There are all those people in other places writing to me, there’s the occasional PayPal click that gets me through a crisis and all of a sudden I'm able to pay pay the cable bill. 

I wish I was more exploitive.  I mean, all the people who’ve clicked my PayPal, I have their addresses and phone numbers, as usually that information comes to me with the Notice of Payment Received (God I love seeing those in my email).  If I were a wily person, I’d gather those names and addresses and have a regular mail out, fund raising campaign. 

If I were wily.  But I don't like fund raising.

So I have to leave it all in the hands of the Tao, the perfect Tao that I know is in the middle of all the chaos.  Again, be grateful I'm not in Iran or Darfur, if there are human beings in anguish, it’s not the ones in the slums of L.A. as bad as they are. 

I didn't get what I wanted out of the blog, but to drop it now would be suicidal, as it is giving me a launching pad, a platform from which to begin something better than City of Angels 5.  Maybe it will happen at City of Angels 6.   

See how well I changed the subject?

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