These thoughts on the oft-discussed, much-maligned, and generally well-hidden Skeleton Closet, are brought to you by the recently passed, over-marketed Hallowed ‘eve holiday, the ongoing media frenzy about Jian Ghomeshi, and my to-the-core life-force penchant, for telling you tales out of school; the school of hard, weird and often kind-of-unbelievable, knocks. You know; those which have been, and are, my life. You can be certain, that if I ever went to Vegas, which by the way I have no desire what-so-ever to do, but if I did, what happened in Vegas, would not stay in Vegas. It would be told, loudly and with the same wild abandon that I will tell you about the Skeleton Closet; my own, and more importantly, theirs, yours(?).
I have some insight, into the clandestine wardrobes used to secret away carcasses in various stages of life and death. The (un)haunted house of my own history comes replete with a maze of hallways, on several storeys, each boasting a conspicuous number of walk-in-closets, no, not full of shoes, but chock-a-block full of bones. Clean-picked, dead to me, bones. The only folks still trying to get a morsel off them bones are those belonging to a group I call The Pickers. Periodically, one or more Pickers will attempt to unlock the wide-open doors, and nit-pick at the well-polished skeleton bones I have left there, to decompose, rest in peace (as they should) for years.
These Pickers continue to try and resurrect my life story, pursue their sad little attempts to threaten me with my own past, from a wild assortment of tibulae, fibulae, lumbar and thoracic vertebrae, mandibles, and femurs, and have demonstrated a bizarre predilection for the parts they believe to be my skull and pelvic bones, in an effort to get inside my head, exercise their perceived right to examine my vagina, as if they actually knew something about me, my life, based on their interpretations of the white space, between said bones. Best Regards, Marcela is one such example, and if you want the pickings off the bones, the lurid, meaty-details of my personal human battles and victories, I shined up them bones in the Manifesto, and the 53 years of life and work previous to, well, this moment. Not that I’m done, a finished project, brand new me, just a more refined version of all erstwhile incarnations.
The idea that some Pickers still, no matter what I do right, by me and others, continue to pick is not the real fodder for this fable, they need to get over it, I have. Nor are the myriad and supposedly horrifying and lurid, meaty details on the yet un-picked bones in the Skeleton Closets I literally, and metaphorically walk into each and every day of my life. It is not that I am surprised or even shocked, by anything I am privy to by virtue of the various worlds I function in. Nope, humans do crazy, often really bad, really harmful shit. The real substance, the marrow, of the bones in this not-so-tall-tale, is the are-you-for-real(?) sadness and dismay I still feel, every time a well-meaning commenter notes how surprised they are to find themselves, or hear about, the kind of people seeking out my particular brand of human support. Apparently, elevated socio-economic status, education, professional designation, stardom, celebrity and/or noteriety and similar bla bla, absolve them and/or others from a), having a Skeleton Closet, and b), needing to fling open the door and cleaning that sucker out!
So let me just clarify that shit for you: the humble, the poor, the downtrodden, the homeless, the street people, can’t afford my services, unless one of the moneyed jockeys up enough and allows me to not-so-secretly subsidize them, which I often do despite, or perhaps because of, their (the moneyed) consternated and constipated off-gassings, gasps and protests, that it is not their responsibility to pay for other people’s poor choices and so on and so on and so on… but I digress, how odd… look over there, shiny-shiny unicorns…
Ok then! Seriously, the real meat here is this: Everyone, yes; every, single, human on this planet, over the age of just-born, has a Skeleton Closet, their own, or inherited, usually both. It is a huge point of commonality, and potential connection, between all members of the species called the human race. But instead of using our personal and collective bones to (re)build and re-invent, we hide, marginalize, stigmatize, victim-blame, soldier-gather against the already wounded, those too poor, too sick, too tired, too broken, by us, other humans and our anything-but-human systems and structures. We pick and re-pick clean the bones of those bereft of the capacity to hide their skeletons, for they have no abode in which to house and hide the closet, and in so doing, we conveniently get to compare the horrificity, yes that is a word, of our skeletons, in order to feel better about self.
And when I say we, I mean them; some but not all of the moneyed, the edumacated, the well-positioned etc and so on, in our ever-hierarchied culture(s). And when I say self, I mean them, you, perhaps? For you ought to know by now, unless you, like The Pickers, have chosen to pay attention to only the words you find useful in resurrecting your version of my (others’) life and truth, that the doors to my Skeleton Closets have been flung wide open, right off their hinges, for decades; at first by them and you, and then by me. For I realized some time ago, that a secret is only a secret, and shameful, when it stays a secret, which they don’t do very well anyway, by nature.
Interestingly, though not surprisingly; some of the most heinous artifacts and living monsters I have encountered, are the ones wreaking havoc in the be-dungeoned, mostly deeply buried and steel-vaulted closets, of the moneyed, the edumacated, the well-positioned and so on and so on. They continue to live and proliferate their brand of misery in the deeply flawed belief that they do not qualify at best, as struggling humans, and at worst, as really fucked up like those other people. And the truly tragic bit, the bit that breaks my heart and often triggers torrents of tears on my cheeks as I travel the highways and byways of this land, in the course of my mission to support them, and often the folks they unwittingly(?) victimize, is the ingrained-ness of it all, in the minds of the masses. The convenience with which the sheeple buy in.
Which brings me to the entire Jian Ghomeshi thing: Read the Manifesto in its entirety, please, and you will find a number of my realities relating to sexualized violence against me as a child, as a youth, as a young adult, as a wife and mother, not to mention that which was flung and forced upon me under the true horrors of widely held beliefs the like of you can’t rape a hooker, your girlfriend, or your wife. None of the perpetrators of said sexualized and other vileness and assault were the poor, the homeless, the addicted, those perceived as abnormal. They were the most upstanding, in mainstream’s view, of citizens, family men, business men, and professionals. And, according to them and the negative social response box, it was always my own fault, so how on earth would I find the gumption to report it?
Let me clear that shit up for you today. Right here, right now. 1) The age of consent was 14, and apparently no did not mean no to Al G. when he helped himself to my virginity. He raped me. He never owned it, even when I put him in front of it, especially then. Trying to pass me off to his family the night after as an 18-year old University student, spoke volumes. 2) Ed W., upstanding family man and lawyer knew it too, so as long as I didn’t jump up and down in protest after he and his lovely spouse fed an emotionally hurting 14 year-old babysitter copious amounts of all-manner of dope, he could engage in any activity on and with my body, not considered sexual intercourse. He is guilty of sexualized assault; she is guilty of co-signing it, by virtue of ignoring it, over and over and over again. His apology for ‘cheating on Shirley,’ his wife, does not count as taking personal responsibility. Ever. 3) The men who paid me rent for the agreed upon uses of my body and time, the ones who got a clear NO to certain requests prior to me ever taking a dime, the ones who chose to force their proclivities on my person anyway, did not purchase the right to do so. They raped me, sexually and otherwise assaulted me. Period. 4) The men I was married to and some that I dated; had neither the right to inflict their unwanted sexual needs nor their fists and boots, upon my body, mind and most importantly, my already broken spirit. Again, I direct you to the Manifesto for details, if you care enough to understand the context of how people get to how they get, where they get, and why it is such a grind to get back up, when they are consistently beaten to a pulp, literally and figuratively speaking, by the people who love them, and the systems designed to help them. And in this case, when I say them, I mean me. In the past tense of course, please remember, all the skeletons in my publicly aired closets, are dead, to me.
The purpose of this outing then, is not in any way related to a continuing process of letting go for me, it is done. The purpose is to answer, from my perspective and lived experience, this question: ‘What kind of woman won’t report sexual assault’? The language used in that headline is extremely problematic for me and a post unto itself, one that I will spare you, for now, but if you wish, check out the first bit of the Manifesto for a bit of clarity about that trigger. My answer to the present question, is as follows:
When I tried to tell people, about any or all of the herein noted acts of violence, abuses of sexualized and other powers forced upon and against my person, I was shut down, ridiculed, blamed, patronized, and on more than one occasion, beat up some more. In other words, re-victimized to the point where not saying anything, when these things occurred again, or about those previous, was safer than any other alternative; physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. Period.
Which leads me to the brilliant deduction reached by another well-meaning commenter, who is about to make it off my friend list, in person and in the cyber world.
Well now that you’re over all of it, and have become this great, strong, warrior woman and champion of the underdog, it is your duty to out those bastards, make them pay. If you don’t you are perpetuating their nasty deeds, co-signing it the same way Shirley did. It is your ethical duty Marcela!
So let me just clear that shit up for you OK? Firstly, there exists no over, under, around, no shortcuts. Ever. There is only through. I have put more of my blood, sweat and tears into becoming this person, the one looking at you here, today, waded through more shit in my 53 years than most of them/you have ever flushed. As a result, I have a massive heart and compassion, for myself, for my tribe; my child, my aging mother, my man, and the other folks that I call my people. I even have compassion for the mis-guided bastards (m.g.b’s) that harmed me most. Take a quick flight On the Wing of my Dragon, for more on that bit. Secondly, I have compassion for, and am acutely aware of the people around the misguided bastards. Because as hard as I work at it, I cannot change others’ perceptions of some issues, and their children, their grandchildren, their wives, their mothers, their siblings, would also be harmed by any all actions I may choose to engage in against said m.g.b’s. The potential for all of us to reap the painful and unnecessary benefits of someone else’s need, for me to take up arms, again, is simply too great.
Mostly though, and hear this, please: Like so many other women I know, I am done waging war, battling, done and done surviving. I lived it; my life, my past, their violence, your/their negative social-violence response to it. I trudged and slogged and too often, almost died at my own and other’s hands in the midst of, or as a direct result of it. I have put in over two decades of W O R K and personal energy into surviving it, owning what parts I had in it, amending it, healing it, thriving not despite, but because of it. Therefore, I no longer need to wear it, or your/their expectations of what I ought to do with it in the service of other humans. Actually, I flat out refuse to do that, to me.
It has shaped me beautifully, and with grace even, but I do not live there. So, there is plenty of space for the Lookie-Loos, the Voyeuristic-Vultures known as the Pickers and anyone else who cares to dig around through the picked-over hand-me-downs, the mirror-polished bones, publicly closeted, in the hallowed halls of my previous lives. Welcome, to my (un)haunted house.
I no longer occupy my past. That; is the answer.
Clear? Great. Peace.
Yours with all the Love I have, the real-deal: MyLa: Utterly Unchained & Unfettered.
On BDSM (for those confused souls re: the Ghomeshi thing): in a true BDSM relationship/encounter, the power always belongs to the submissive, so if you don’t know what it is actually about, please, stop talking. Several years including BDSM with a beautiful soul and fellow (previously) harmed hu(man), allowed me to get, take power back in terms of my own sexuality, the healthy grown woman sexuality I enjoy today; the one I got to discover for myself, because all previous versions were assigned to me, by acts of sexualized violence, power over, and/or the box(es) called shame, internalizing oppression, and the like.
Image found here http://pumabydesign001.com/2013/06/04/