It was just before Christmas, 11 years ago, that Women’s Refuge saved my life.
It’s a day late for Thanksgiving, but I want to just take a moment to appreciate how beautiful this flower is.
Yes, after buying another hibiscus (labelled as yellow) which bloomed a vivid, fiery orange, I went to another store and bought the yellow one I’d always intended to get. See, it’s going to be part of the tropical section of my garden. It will tie in nicely with the banana palm, and the gardenias, and the papaya, and the white Bird of Paradise. I’m aiming for a mix of yellows and whites in this garden, which will eventually lead the eye to a big, flouncy, pink magnolia at the far end of this section.
I do have an ulterior motive for picking a yellow hibiscus for this garden – it’s not just about the color match. I used to have a yellow hibiscus, many years ago, which I grew indoors in the bathroom. I remember the last time it bloomed, in the summer of 2005-06. That was such a hard summer for me – what with Bad Boyfriend ruling my life.
He showed a momentary, vocal appreciation for the vivid yellow flowers on my bathroom windowsill. And then one day he killed it. He killed anything that made me happy.
I hadn’t bought another hibiscus up until this spring. Everything in my life has recovered from that bad year, so it was not an intentional avoidance, but when I saw the hibiscus plants in the store a few weeks back I remembered that last one. In a weird way, I wanted a yellow hibiscus to make up for what happened to the last yellow hibiscus.
It thanked me by blooming in the rain. And one day I’ll be able to look out from my dining room window, in Imaginary House, and see it bloom again. And it will make me happy again. Because the future has a lot more flowers to come…
Continued from yesterday…
If we grant that both Bill Clinton and Donald Trump have behaved appallingly towards women, it’s still hard to tar either of their wives with that brush. Indeed, in an apparently new wrinkle of detail that appeared this year, Juanita Broaddrick does claim that Hillary Clinton threatened her into silence… but this stems from her claim that HRC came up to her at an event (a few weeks after the rape, in 1978) and thanked her for everything she did for Bill’s campaign…
Again, I’ll repeat: I’ve been a victim of rape. However I still think this is a long bow to draw. In isolation, thanking someone for their support is not the equivalent of threatening them, unless you’d earlier explicitly stated that the “support” you wanted was indeed, silence. And how does one imagine that that conversation between Bill and Hillary would have gone? “Honey, I raped somebody tonight.” “Oh dear. Did you at least tell them to keep their mouth shut? Do you need me to put extra pressure on them?” It’s far more logical to assume that HRC knew nothing about the attack and was simply making conversation with someone who worked with her husband. It’s not a threat without first assuming knowledge on Hillary’s part.
In addition to that, I’m really not sure what any of these three women were expecting Hillary to do in response to their accusations. Are people seeking out Melania and trying to get her opinion of the woman who filed a child-rape lawsuit against her husband? How many people go to the spouse or family of their attacker looking for support? I wouldn’t. And I wouldn’t be surprised or particularly offended if that support wasn’t forthcoming. Human beings have their loyalties, and sometimes that means being blind to the failings of those you love.
On Friday (or rather, Saturday around here) two scandals broke. One was the much-signposted release by Wikileaks of 2000 hacked emails from Hillary Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta. Some of these emails appear to contain excerpts from a series of Hillary Clinton’s paid, private speeches. Wikileaks had been saying for some time that they had documents which could upend the US election… and although they didn’t initially point the finger in either direction, anyone who knows much about Wikileaks could safely assume that they weren’t going to release Trump’s tax returns. The other scandal was an avalanche of smut which pretty much buried the leaked emails in the media. Dear Wikileaks, no one cares about you when they have tape of a presidential candidate using the sentence “Grab ’em by the pussy!”
From across the other side of the Pacific Ocean, I think I can hear every intelligent person in America release a deep sigh as they put their heads in their hands. Just when this election didn’t look like it could get any worse, or any more farcical. This was supposed to be a democracy of the people, by the people, and for the people. Where did things go so wrong? Even I miss Reagan by now. At least the worst thing he ever said into a live mic was a joke about World War III… which I guess, upon reflection, is much much worse but also quite obviously a joke.
Like so many of the scandals surrounding this election, each of these stories seemed to inspire a completely undue amount of screaming and gnashing of teeth. So Donald Trump thinks that being famous means he can get away with groping women… well color me surprised! Did we actually just learn anything about him that we didn’t already know? So Hillary Clinton is a centrist who supports the global market and who things Wall Street should have a say in its own future… blink. Blink. Really if anyone is shocked by either of these two “scandals” they clearly haven’t been paying attention to, well, anything over the past 25 years or so.
A few days back, I posted about changing my profile picture to a make-up-less photo of me pulling a stupid face, and the comments it drew from a couple guys that I try to avoid.
Well, there’s more to that story.
One of the guys is someone I used to do theater shows with. He’s very friendly, but a bit over-friendly, which makes him quite socially awkward. I think he’s generally harmless, but he used have the tendency to just turn up at my house (at lots of people’s houses) unannounced and uninvited. I’m someone who appreciates my privacy (and who tends to walk around the house semi-clothed), so I eventually had to tell him that the random drop-ins were very rude. It took a few years though. Despite my strident reputation, I’m actually pretty gentle with people and tried to be considerate of his harmlessness. Plus I sympathize with social awkwardness. I have done some amazingly stupid things myself and I find it very hard to read people.
Then one day he tried to kiss me. And he really needed to call ahead after that.
I’ve written before about the power dynamic between men and women when it comes to dating. It’s not exactly what people tend to think it is. Either way.
As more than a few people have pointed out today, the actions of the women in this story are in fact far from ridiculous and completely reasonable when faced with dangerous psychopaths. But, you know, no one would click on the article if it was titled “12 psycho men and the women who struggled to get away”. As a subject, “Crazy Women” probably draws a wider range of traffic than “Evil Men”. But in this case, the term “Ridiculous” doesn’t really imply humourousness, but rather the insane lengths that are required to ward off people who won’t take no for an answer. Trigger. Trigger Trigger.
This goes back many years, but I once received an anonymous letter slipped under the door at work. My office had a door to the outside world, so anyone could have put the letter there. I also had no full-time colleagues at that venue – spending most of my working days alone.
The gist of the letter was simple. “I saw you at the supermarket and what you were wearing was disgusting.” “I am the father of three girls.” “You have nice tits which you like to show off.” “You are a disgrace to womanhood and ought to be taught a lesson.” My name was spelled correctly, and this person obviously knew where I worked, so it had to be someone I knew (or at least someone who had met me through work). It also scared the bejeezus out of me. Anonymous rape threats tend to do that.
It’s still stupidly cold.
I’m still (stupidly) arguing on the internet. And it’s really bummed me out now. Being called names by a family member will do that to you.
I really should have let it go, but people who saw you as a raw teenager tend to always know how to push your buttons. Still, I’m a grown up and I was keeping it civil and intellectual. He was the one who made it personal, so I flipped another namaste and left.
Still a bummer though. I do try to be a good person. Not everyone will agree. Some people may look at my life as an abject failure (apparently) but I have fought to overcome a lot, and am largely satisfied with and proud of the life I have built from my ashes. I know that it doesn’t meet everyone’s model of success, but (for me) breathing is a success. When you’ve been close to death, breathing is always a success.
I regretted agreeing to let Rob drive my car. But I had a migraine.
He has been driving for only a few years now – having learned while in his 30s. And he tends to drive shorter distances than I do. The car seats make his back ache. After 20-odd years, I am confident on the road and quite enjoy driving. But I still make mistakes. Everyone does.
This wasn’t actually a mistake. There were two motorcyclists weaving through the heavy, holiday traffic as we approached Manukau. They were shuttling down the white lines and passing between cars, despite the fact that everyone was moving at full speed. They were clearly trying to get one up on each other. Also enjoying the drive.
Rob needed to merge left as we approached the offramp. He accelerated a little to ensure he was ahead of the motorcyclist on that side. He put on his indicator for several seconds. And then he merged.
Those who know me and my husband well will know that there’s only one band which will make us both run around he neighbourhood giggling like idiots. That band is Lamb of God.
We learned today that Lamb of God is making its way back to these windy shores. They’re opening for Slipknot at Vector Arena in October. Personally I think that bill is the wrong way around, but Lamb of God seem to trundle around the world as a fairly low-ego band so I suspect they’re generally less concerned about top billing and more concerned about mortgages and food and shoes for the kids.
In any case, the news has brought back a flood of memories of the last time we saw Lamb of God at Vector Arena, when they opened for Metallica (also during October). Those were the concerts that introduced me to one of my very good show friends. Coincidentally, Rob and I scheduled our wedding almost 5 years to the day from those concerts, and so this coming concert will fall just after our 1-year anniversary. Rob has already decided that the Paper Wedding Anniversary should come in the form of tickets.
The news has also made me dig out an old entry in which I told the story of those original shows – how we had tickets for one show, but saw both, and didn’t end up using our tickets at all. How I learned all about Metallica’s load-in schedule. How we smoked weed with the crew guys but then Rob had a bit of a moment and needed to go home…
So here’s that (long) story, from back in 2010: