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Being a woman who has been on this planet & in this country a long time, I want to talk about what it’s like sometimes. Usually it’s pretty damn good, and I’m thankful for it.

The last few months I’ve been seeing a lot of ugly things about and toward women on media. I read a blog post about sexual harassment on the street, which brought to mind public sexual harassment I had experienced once. From a person I worked with. In his environment, a construction supply house. And I hadn’t thought of it as harassment, I just felt ashamed, not really knowing why. I realize now it was definitely sexual harassment.

I ran into him there one Saturday & I was picking up a part a mechanic needed “in the field.” This guy had an audience of guys working behind the parts counter, who knew me by phone, but I’d never met personally. His name was Joe. I’ve lost touch with him but Joe and his wife ended up having about 8 kids, maybe more, and I used to babysit for them sometimes. Not after this happened. His wife was a saint. He later went into the ministry.👀

I don’t remember exactly what was said but Joe said something personal & embarrassing about how I looked. And it was posed as a question, so I felt all eyes on me. Don’t remember what it was. I just know I felt: humiliated & sad. I never wanted to see those guys at the supply house again. I was embarrassed the next time I had to call them for something. It was the days before email. Some people would say my telling this out loud is making a big deal out of nothing. I learned this bc I have a big mouth, and sometimes talk very frankly about my experiences. This is your warning. 😊

Now, in 2016, I feel like he wanted to humiliate me, bc I had never seen him act like that to anyone. And I babysat for him! I was about 22, so I hadn’t learned to stand up for myself at all. It still does not come naturally. Sometimes standing up for yourself is viewed negatively, too.

This particular incident came to mind when I thought about street harassment. Thinking about this incident made me think about the number of times I’ve been sexually targeted, so to speak. This incident felt like that, and it was the least ‘sexual’ of the times I’ve been targeted. I remembered 4 more times that were overtly sexual. Once a stranger masturbated at me in a parking lot we were sitting in.  A few spaces down. It was night & I was waiting for my sister to get off at the Shoney’s in Ashland.

Another time I was looking at the travel sizes at the drugstore, oblivious to the guy next to me until he ejaculated into the travel sizes we were viewing.

Another time I was at the Westhampton Library and noticed a preppy-looking guy, prolly in his late 20’s early 30’s. Looked like a Dad, cute. I was prolly 20. A few minutes later I was looking at books. In the aisle where I was there was a window at the end. I was engrossed in the books, then noticed this same preppy guy standing outside, outside this window, rubbing his dick through his khakis.  I walked or drove quickly away after ea of these incidents.

There was something else I don’t remember at the moment. I had never thought of them cumulatively before a few mos ago! Oh, and in elementary school I was assaulted on an ongoing basis for about 3 years by a group of bigger boys. They’d circle around me & tease me & put their hands on my chest & crotch, through my clothes. And I wasn’t particularly safe after I told my Mom, which is prolly why it went on for 3 years.  Although it tapered off after I told her. I felt more empowered, I think, to say stop. And it became a memory.

I remembered 2 more a few days later. A total of 6 times I have been sexually assaulted. This doesn’t include Joe’s or anyone else’s harassment. The last 2 incidents are a rape when I was unconscious, mid 20’s. And something with a great uncle  when I was 10, that I hate thinking & talking about and don’t remember all the details. I remember the way I made sense of it, when it came to mind later, was I thought he was having a diabetic seizure. But why didn’t I run & tell my grandmother & aunt? It was at the beach. Memom was prolly on the beach & Aunt Louise was prolly sitting on the street side in one of those plastic folding lounge chairs w/ no arms, with the sides up on ea side of her. I remember being too scared to tell anyone, so.

To be clear my assaults occurred in these places: a library, a drugstore, in a parking lot in Ashland, VA, at elementary school, at a friend’s house and at the beach with my grandmother, in the cottage where we stayed. In the living room, watching tv.

So, that is everything I remember at the moment. Women get assaulted all the time. It starts young. Maybe it tapers off too. I haven’t been assaulted in 20-25 years! And I’ve done a lot of healing work around all of my experiences. Don’t feel sorry for me. Know that most women you know probably had or will have one or more of these things happen to her.

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Reading this poem, which I ran upon when I wanted to read or say something about how freaking cold it became today! This poem made me think of Leaves of Grass for which I have thought uncharitably about on Walt Whitman’s behalf for years. It was so flowery sounding to me.

However, I believe I have not given Leaves of Grass its proper review. I haven’t read much of it. I seriously laughed at times because it sounded so silly to me. I’m sure I need to take another look.

Meanwhile, I did read this lovely Keats poem about the fall. I found the writing about nature very pleasant. Almost visceral in its visuality, or sensualtiy, I think. What do you think?

Lastly, has the word twitter in it! A bit uncommon!

Found here.

To Autumn

John Keats1795 – 1821

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, 
  Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless 
  With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees, 
  And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core; 
    To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells 
  With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees, 
Until they think warm days will never cease,
    For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells.

Who hath not seen thee oft amid thy store? 
  Sometimes whoever seeks abroad may find
Thee sitting careless on a granary floor, 
  Thy hair soft-lifted by the winnowing wind;
Or on a half-reap’d furrow sound asleep, 
  Drowsed with the fume of poppies, while thy hook
    Spares the next swath and all its twined flowers:
And sometimes like a gleaner thou dost keep 
  Steady thy laden head across a brook; 
  Or by a cider-press, with patient look,
    Thou watchest the last oozings, hours by hours.

Where are the songs of Spring? Ay, where are they? 
  Think not of them, thou hast thy music too,--
While barred clouds bloom the soft-dying day, 
  And touch the stubble-plains with rosy hue;
Then in a wailful choir the small gnats mourn 
  Among the river sallows, borne aloft
    Or sinking as the light wind lives or dies; 
And full-grown lambs loud bleat from hilly bourn; 
  Hedge-crickets sing; and now with treble soft
  The redbreast whistles from a garden-croft, 
    And gathering swallows twitter in the skies.

So, here is something I think we may be able to do to effect change. Thoughts?

Nice post about #RVA

Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide

0086 Flights of fancy at Strangeways

By Katherine

We headed back east last month for a family wedding and had three hours to kill before meeting up with family. We like to make the most of our time.

We started with a trip to Blue Bee Cider where some recipes came from the Virginia Historical Society and are almost as old as the country. (But not as old as Virginia, which by American standards is ancient.) We each had a flight and were impressed with the uniqueness of the offerings. We brought home a Mill Brace Bramble, a rose cider and a nice dessert cider called the Harvest ration. Blue Bee Cider bills itself as the state’s “first urban cidery” and is in downtown Richmond’s Old Manchester district near the James River.” Grab a late or early (we won’t judge) lunch around the corner at Camden’s Dogtown Market. Order the…

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Venus, Mars & Moon

2015/02/21

were very close tonight.  My father in law, who lives in Williamsburg, VA, sent us this picture.  We watched it through the binoculars and it was spectacular.  The bright shade of the Earth on Moon was stunning.

Venus Moon Mars

I recently (yesterday) ended a job that was very stressful, and am obviously grieving.  However, I just looked over a series of texts I sent to a friend and it was kind of funny.  You really do have to laugh at yourself, no?

“Sometimes you look at yourself and your age and it’s sad when you can’t even keep a job.  I wish I had the confidence to do something to make myself really successful.  I know that is all that holds me back.”

“I am a positive person but I get so fucking tired of these character building events.”

“It hurts sometimes to be so passionate.”

“And I am not being dramatic.”

Now, how is that for some sincere angst?

Toddler Memory

2014/07/17

I think the subject of memory is fascinating. I’ve repressed unpleasant memories; I can think of 2 I definitely suppressed, only to be reminded of them later, and remembering it happening. Huh-suppressed or repressed? Not sure.

Anyhow, I used to have this flash of a memory. In the memory I’m at my great Aunt Mary’s river cottage, and my view is out the screen door, ground level. That’s all the memory was. I loved Aunt Mary’s cottage. There was a ladder leading up to a balcony that surrounded the whole place, where all the kids slept.

About 8 years ago an aunt passed, and my Mom’s cousin, who is a bit younger than her told me when she saw me she remembered she and her husband babysitting me at the cottage when I was about 2. She said I crawled out the screen door. As soon as she told me that I “remembered” the scene and realized that was what I was remembering all these years. I was surprised a memory from that age would be even a little conscious.

Verrrry inter-esting, lol!

I leave you with a picture of a couple of felt bowls I made in a wet-felting class a few months ago.

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