Sunday, March 30, 2014

When Life Kills You...But Leaves You Breathing...Then What? (My Story) Pt 2

"I've never fooled anyone. I've let people fool themselves. They didn't bother to find out who and what I was. Instead they would invent a character for me. I wouldn't argue with them. They were obviously loving somebody I wasn't." -Marilyn Monroe

~The Actress Emerges~

If you have already read Part One then you can likely see the direction this is going, if not, get caught up and then come on back. Let's jump ahead to my first job, and all of the other firsts that came along with it. I was hired at a quick service restaurant chain a few months before graduating high school. This job would become my escape. You see I started high school not knowing anyone and for the most part everyone had already had their cliques defined before the first day of school. I had friends, and a best friend, but was never part of a group. I had the church and my church friends, but they all had "pastor's daughter" expectations and had me up on a  pedestal that no one would be comfortable on, I don't know, maybe I was afraid of heights. However, now I had a new job, where people were coming and going all the time, a fresh start where no one knew who I was or where I came from, and for the first time I had an opportunity to create whatever Jocelyn I wanted. However, in my attempt to create whatever Jocelyn I wanted, I found I continued my trend of being whatever Jocelyn I thought everyone else wanted, because at the root of my brokenness was the simple desire to make everyone happy. Now I realize most people will read that and think, 'Most people want to make people happy,' and although I believe that to be true I can assure you I am an extreme case. I will do my best to portray that to you.

I greatly enjoyed my first several months at my job, I was making a decent amount of money and my hard work was being recognized by management and I was moving up quickly. I wanted to learn all the different positions (in part because each new position had a raise that went along with it). I found myself offering to stay after my shift and work for free-off the clock for the managers that would let me. At the time I didn't realize how bad this could have been, but the mangers looked good because they were running better labor with an extra body and I was able to move up faster than others. It was all fine and dandy until the flirting started... I cannot properly explain to you how naive I really was to the world, men, and relationships. Therefor I was intrigued by all this attention I was suddenly receiving that I didn't get much of at my high school since I wore the wrong brands and didn't care. Don't get me wrong, it's not like every male in our store was hitting on me, but let's just say there was more than one and less than five and two of them were managers and one was a manager trainee. I believe I was hired in March or April of 2000, and what innocence I had was removed before the end of that year.

~First Illusion of Love~

I'm a sucker for smiles. Always have been and always will be. I can still picture his, although it does't make me feel like it used to. I wasn't quite 18 when we started talking on the phone and hanging out, and he was 23. I can tell you it wasn't long after I turned 18 that I gave him all I had to give. I really thought I wanted to. I really thought he deserved it. I wanted to make him happy so badly, I gave and gave and gave. I memorized his favorites of everything and made mental notes to reference later. He had an insane amount of power over me, and he had never even spoken the words I love you. Don't get me wrong, this was in the land of pagers, so I got the 143 page here and there, but that was the extent of it. He made me laugh and lots of girls had crushes on him at work, so there was my satisfaction, maybe he didn't say he loved me (I was certain he did), but everyone wanted him and he was only kissing me, (I was certain he was). I had been warned for months by several people at work when suspicions started arising, but I just assumed they were jealous and proceeded on. He is also the reason why I first began smoking, because he smoked and one night I just grabbed one of his and started smoking it in an effort to mold myself into something even more convenient.
        One day my store manager called me into the office and asked me if I would like to take a special opportunity to go open a new store up north in Chico, Ca. I would be there at least two weeks, maybe longer, and I would get to train new associates and work tons of overtime. I was interested, but two weeks just seemed so long to be away from "him." I had some time to think about it so I figured I would do just that. I didn't yet have a car and I still lived at home with my parents so the idea of making extra money sounded really good. Things got a little more complicated when I found out that 2 weeks before I would potentially be going to Chico, he was now going to be going out of town as part of his management training program for a week. There would only be a few days in between before I would have to leave. I stalled as long as I could because I still didn't know what to do. It wouldn't be long before I got my answer.
       He went on that training week, and called me both of the first two nights. The third night I called him and he answered and was drunk in what sounded like a bar. The fourth night I didn't hear from him at all. His last day there on of my mangers not-so-kindly informed me that I was being a pathetic and ignorant girl if I thought he actually cared about me. He then proceeded to tell me that he had heard from the Asshole who had "hooked" up with an associate in the store where he was working. I went home early from work that day. I had not a clue as to how to deal with this. So, I started the next trend that I would become so very good at, running. I called my store manager and told her I couldn't wait to go to Chico.

~From Cracked to Broken~

      It was November, the car I drove the 300 miles to Chico had a non-functioning heater, an 8 track player, bench seats (that were very comfortable), and a cigarette lighter for each seat. Allow me to paint you a picture: If you recall the song Love Shack by the B-52's, you'll likely remember a lyric that says, "hop in my Chrysler it's as big as a whale and it's about to set sail!" I'm quite certain they were referring to this car. So I sailed along the 99 freeway headed north with no idea how this trip would forever impact my life. I had been hiding my newly acquired smoking habit from my parents for a few months at that point and continued to do it even though the reason why I started was no longer relevant. I remember every time I wanted to cry I would just grab another cigarette and force the tears back, (add it to the list of new trends started that year). The first few days were like nothing I had ever experienced. We worked insanely hard for 12-14 hours a day or sometimes longer, then walked back across the street to the hotel the company had set us all up with. The trouble with this scenario is that you've got 20+ people typically between the ages of 18-25 that probably haven't met before for the most part, making a great deal of money, and wanting to party in between. Party we did. I was so ignorant and inexperienced when it came to everything about that world. I had TASTED beer like maybe five times before going on that trip, and to the best of my knowledge I hadn't been really drunk before then either.
     My fourth night there about 10 of us had all gathered in one room after the longest day thus far. We drank, we smoked, (cigarettes and pot), we laughed, we forgot about life. What happened next would change me forever.
     I remember when I started feeling not so hot. I looked around the room and there were about five others still going strong after several hours of non-stop "partying." I could feel myself swaying back and forth and I was fairly certain the room wasn't moving. I stumbled over to one of the beds and sat down and held my head in my palms. Sounds sort of blended into a loud, monotonous humming sound. Everything was spinning at that point and I knew I needed to get back to my room. My brain kept sending messages to the rest of my body, my body wasn't getting those messages. I don't remember hearing anyone leave, but as it would turn out, they all left, all but one guy. I sat frozen, my mind wanted so badly to leave but I absolutely could not move. I don't know if it was the combo of the beer and pot, or just the amount of the beer, but I had full awareness of everything that transpired in that hotel room and zero physical control over it.
    His hands pushed my shoulders to the bed and he swung my legs up on it as well. I remember thinking at first, "oh my gosh, he saved me," because I wanted to lay down so badly. The room spun violently and everything was in slow motion. I thought he was just going to let me sleep, that is until he pulled my shirt up saying only, "Let's see what's under here." Alarms went off so loudly in my mind I couldn't think straight at first. Slow motion turned to a much faster speed and he had my pants off. I felt warm tears pouring out of my eyes as I begged him not to. I pleaded with him not to bother, that I wasn't even good. I told him I didn't know what I was doing. When I realized it was far too late for any of that, I just repeated, "Stop, please just stop," between gasps for air. He laughed and kept convincing me that he was "really good," and that I could thank him later. Slow motion returned and I felt almost every kind of pain a human being can experience. I will spare you the details since I have family members that read this and I don't want to put the images in their mind, but it was sick, demented, painful, and seemingly never-ending. Eventually I passed out I suppose. I awoke before he did, grabbed my pants and ran down the hall to my room without even putting them on.
     I showered until I realized I wasn't going to wash this off. Not ever. Ready for the salt in the wound? I still had to work every day with that piece of shit for the next 2 weeks. I didn't tell a soul because I didn't think I could. I was 18 and I didn't want to get everyone in trouble since obviously they were supplying minors with alcohol, plus there had been issue of the drugs. I didn't want to lose my job and I didn't want anyone else to either. I couldn't justify it in my mind. I blamed myself to an extent which happens sometimes in these situations. The remainder of the time I spent in Chico, Ca was my own little slice of hell. I can still hear his laugh, I can still see his face, and I can still feel all of it.
     I realized I wasn't going to be able to "wash off" what he had done to me, so I spent the rest of my time there trying to erase it. I guess I didn't really know what else to do, which seems so silly now. I'll leave out the details of my erasing activities, but they involved other males. (You get the idea, you're so smart). Guess what, those didn't erase shit. Neither did the tattoo I got. Although, I'm still really glad I got the one I sketched out instead of butterflies like the other 4 girls I went with. Small mercies.
    I returned home from that trip a cold, hardened, broken, tattooed young woman. I stayed that way for a long, long time. I didn't know it at the time but I was extremely afraid. That if it happened once, it could happen again. I wanted to feel safe more than anything, which is why I believe my next relationship was with a 6 foot tall, 300 lb uuuuh Raider fan. A few other things that occurred after this weren't as noticeable. Love and sex were no longer connected for me. Sad isn't it? I mean I suppose some people live that way by choice, not me. I couldn't connect them. Sex was the "job" I did for the people I "loved." Sadly, it would be almost a decade before I actually experienced "making love." Wow.

What if I told you this is still only the beginning.... I know right?? IN-SAN-ITY! I know this wasn't an easy blog to read, especially if you have had an experience like that happen to you. If you have, don't keep it a secret. It ate me alive. I didn't tell a soul until my younger sisters were in high school and I was worried about them being naive at parties. It took a decade to tell my own mother. Don't do what I did. Get help, talk to someone, report it. Do all of the things I didn't do that made healing so much harder. It's not your fault, and don't ever believe it is. It is NEVER ok for someone to take something like that from you, never.  There is so much more I want to say about this part of my story but I'm saving it for the "wrap up" blog that will connect all the dots. The most important thing that happened is this traumatic event made me into an actress in a roll I never really knew I was playing. I know that doesn't make a lot of sense now, but it will. 
Now that we've gotten through that mucky muck stuff, go take a load off, turn on something hilarious on Netflix, or scroll through stupid cat memes and lighten your mood a bit. Part 3 of my story is inevitable and eventual, but it might take a few weeks to pour it out into words. At the end of the day I think most of us just crave being understood. We have an unspoken and sometimes subconscious desire to be assured we aren't alone. That's why I'm sharing my story with you. That's why I relive the hardest moments of my life. As I was going through all of it there were so many times I felt so very alone. I'm sure you have felt or still feel the same. If you get nothing else out of this story, get this: you aren't alone. Maybe I can't give you a big hug while you tell me your own story (although I totally would), and I can't put myself in your exact shoes, but I can assure you that you're not as alone as you think you are. 

To be continued....

1 comment:

  1. You are an amazing woman Ms. Fox! I will swap stories and hugs with you anytime!