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I Am Completely Broken

91% of victims of rape and sexual assault are female, and nine percent are male.

Sexual assault can utterly change everything about who you are.

This is her story:

I am completely broken.

Bold statement, I know, but hear my story and you will understand. (to be clear) I don’t need pity, nor do I want to be saved. Understanding, though, never hurts.

I’ve always taken a liking to academia; I was a natural scholar who skipped the first grade. I had art published in the local newspaper when I was, say, five years old. It was a serviceman in rainbow camo gear holding the American flag, if anyone was curious.

I’d say that was my peak.

I was in third grade when the bullying started – the other kids even dedicated a song to me on the playground! How lucky, right? I was pudgy, I suppose; the fattest kid in the class, fat enough to be the ‘chosen one.’ I cried every single time I went shopping with my mom and sister. I begged that I’d cease to exist, ‘so no one has to worry about me’ –direct quote. This continued for years – seven to be exact.

At least you’re noticed in elementary and middle school. Maybe I wasn’t noticed for a good reason, but I was noticed. I played sports throughout junior high, always had a perfect GPA, I had plenty of friends, and a decent social life. But I was The Friend, not The Girlfriend. I remember during a Halloween dance, I literally begged a boy to tell me why he didn’t like me. He simply walked away and asked my best friend to be his girlfriend. I wasn’t mad; I accepted it.

High school was when the shit hit the fan.

My first two years of high school, I was really involved in class office, never running for a position because I knew the prettier and thinner girls would win. It’s high school, ya know?

I accepted squeezing in wherever I was allowed to. I wasn’t bullied much, but I was ignored. Sometimes, I preferred it. Don’t get me wrong, I had great friends but I was always chasing the fun, chasing the social scene.
Sophomore year I had my first taste of alcohol and weed. I loved it. It felt great to have a secret, something behind the backs of my straight-laced, God-fearing friends. Soon, though, my friends didn’t like me. I remember sitting alone at a table in the library, my old friends at the table next to me, ignoring me. I begged them to tell me why they didn’t like me anymore; they shrugged and walked off.

I transferred schools to a dual enrollment program.

Oh, did I mention I had ballooned up to 250 pounds? Yep. My weight was largely ignored, not discussed, and accepted. But I got sick of it, so I lost the weight – worked out constantly and methodically, eating like a champion.

By the time I got to my new school, I was thirty pounds lighter and thought I was hot shit. I smoked a lot of weed, drove around in my new car with my hip friends, and smoked cigarettes. I even got my first kiss—so what if it was my best friend’s boyfriend? I got it, and I liked it.

I craved male attention and I entered into this ‘I deserve it’ mode. I thought I owed myself a treat, and boy did I get it.

December 8, 2007. Fall semester, senior year, I was golden. There was a new guy every day that wanted me; I dangled myself in front of them like a piece of meat, but I never gave an inch. Not because I didn’t want to, but I was too nervous. With about three kisses under my belt, I was CLUELESS.

But yes, back to that date. That’s when it all went to shit.

I went to the beach with a few people where we drank a lot of whiskey or rum. I remember the initial vomit hump—you know when you gotta puke once to get the ball rolling? I remember looking up to see his face, and I know, looking back, what he was doing. I hear the brain blocks on memories you can’t handle, and thank goodness for that.

I lost my cell phone and my virginity that night. I didn’t even realize it until I went back the next day, saw the condom wrapper, and pieced it together. I quickly covered it with sand so my mom wouldn’t be upset.
Oh, fun fact: in my attempt to go home, I went to a ‘friend’s’ house to ask for help—in the weeks following, I asked him about it, and he said I wanted it just as badly as he did – that I came on to him.

I figured it wasn’t worth it – that I, for some reason, didn’t deserve normalcy. So I went with it, like I went with everything. I made it out to be funny, I buried it deep and far away. I joked about myself – called myself every name in the book. I don’t even know how many people I’ve slept with since that time.

Since then, I’ve had someone attempt to rape me. Since then, I’ve been molested. Since then, I’ve done shameful things I don’t even want to type, but I will. I’ve done MDMA, cocaine, crack, heroin, acid, prescription drugs, and more cocaine. I’ve slept with people – multiple at one time. I’ve stolen money, stolen from stores, stolen from people I love. Since then, I have hated myself and everything, masking it with humor and cool clothes.

Then I met Zach.

Junior year of college, my first year in the dorms, I was nineteen years old. I always had a blast in college – my philosophy was “why think about bad stuff when you can think about the good?”

Zach was special – still is in my book. He had a long-term girlfriend and he hooked up with my roommate, while seeing me in between. I felt special for no reason. Through “healing” from my rape, I learned that I could have anyone I wanted. I knew how to talk and look and walk to get what I wanted. All I needed was a kiss: one kiss in the elevator of my dormitory sealed the deal. I was in love. He made me feel pure and real; like I deserved more.

This was the first time I realized how important and delicate sex was. I learned what making love was. I no longer made fun of romantic movies or songs; I felt the scenes and I listened to the lyrics and understood. We made love and cried, and it wasn’t corny or cheesy, it was real. And it was amazing. It was the first time I ever said ‘I love you’ to someone. When you experience that for the first time, it’s amazing. You feel important, you know someone is important to you.

I didn’t care about anything but playing “house” with him in my dorm. His dad hated me, my mom hated him, but it didn’t matter; we were in love and it was amazing. I’ll always miss that blissful month. I felt real for the first time in my life.

We moved in together when school let out in the spring. It got bad – screaming, crying, and covering it up with sex. I’ll leave out these details, but it was a textbook abusive relationship, on both our ends. We broke up the day before my fourth year of university started.

I’ve been numb since.

I’ve fucked many, kissed more, and drank a lot of alcohol. I feel empty. I quit going to class, and sat in my apartment for days in the dark, just smoking pot and sitting there. Sometimes, I’d sit for a few hours in complete silence, staring at nothing. I had no motivation – I couldn’t get up out of bed, I didn’t want to shower or brush my teeth or hair. I didn’t want anything in life. I didn’t want life. Every time I drove over a bridge, I struggled not to jerk my wheel just so I could breathe again.

Like I said, I am completely broken. I’m a cliché. Fat kid in desperate need of love and acceptance. Rape victim throwing caution to the wind and delving into a world of drugs and promiscuity. ‘That girl’ who can’t get over her ex. The typical depressed person who lives through every symptom you read on the internet. Smart kid desiring acceptance ends up failing classes due to active social life.

I am completely broken.

This Father’s Day*

Welcome to Father’s Day 2019, here at The Band Back Together. Today, we celebrate fathers-to-be, fathers whose treasures who are in heaven, fathers who don’t deserve the title, fathers who have shaped who we are for good, for bad, for life.

Wherever you are, whatever you are doing, Happy Father’s Day.

The Band.

To The Man Who “Raised” Me-

You married my mother when I was barely three-years-old.

I don’t have any memories of that day, but the pictures show a happy little girl. I don’t know what was going on in your mind as you allowed me to grow up believing you were my father.

I’ve seen all the pictures. I know they portray the quintessential American family.

I have memories that tell me those pictures were lies.

On the surface, I never wanted for anything. I had clothes that fit me, food in my belly and most of the coolest toys. What I didn’t have, was you.

Even at a young age, I remember feeling that I was somehow less than my sisters, somehow different in your eyes. As I got older, I picked up that it had something to do with having a different last name.

But I never got any explanation as to why.

I was only nine when you brought your daughter from a previous marriage to live with us. I was NINE YEARS OLD when you and Mom sat us down and explained that you weren’t really my father.

You asked for my permission to adopt me.

A chance to finally be YOURS?! Who could turn that down? Did you realize that I didn’t have the cognitive ability to understand what was happening? Did you know how desperately I wanted to have your last name? To be a part of the family, to no longer be different?

Why you and Mom went through with the adoption, I’ll never know. You were already fighting so much. A mere six months later, you were divorced.

Do you know what it cost me to tell my mother that I wanted to live with you instead of her? Do you realize that my desire to please you, to matter to you, caused a chasm between Mom and me that can never be repaired?
And what did I gain? A step-mother who made sure I continued to feel like less, separate from her family. The privilege of being your built-in-baby-sitter and maid. And constantly being bullied by my step-sisters every day of my teenage years. All while you turned a blind eye.

Somewhere along the line, I stopped trying to win your love and started to seek what I was missing from boys.
Even the negative attention I received when I acted out was better than feeling invisible.

For years I called you “Dad.” I bought you cards on Father’s Day every year, signing them, “with all my love.” For most of my life, I’ve tried to please you. I stood by you when others wouldn’t, and made excuses for you when you hurt others. Or me.

I can’t do it anymore.

I have a son now and while I may not get along with his father, I see what a strong relationship they have. I have removed the blinders – I see that we’ve never had a relationship. It’s not really a relationship if one person doesn’t even acknowledge the other.

So this Father’s Day, there won’t be a card from me in the mailbox. You won’t get a phone call or a text.

For once, I’ll be just as invisible as you always made me feel.


I Just Wish Someone Understood…

A wise woman told me to write up my story and tell the hell out of it.  So, here I am.

Sometimes, I feel like I have the only kid like mine. My son was diagnosed between 3 and 4. He is one of 3 I have, with special needs. For the time being, I’m focusing on my oldest.

We knew something was not right with him. He threw an 80 lb. mattress across the room at me. How does a 3 year old do that? He never slept. He would have meltdowns and throw things at me. I have gotten black eyes from everything from a book to an army boot to the back of the head.

Thankfully, I had a wonderful doctor tell me how to deal with the meltdowns and those came less and less often. However, he would wander. We had two incredibly scary events where he wandered off when he was 5, but he had angels and off duty police officers watching out for him.

When we got the Autism diagnosis, I knew nothing about Autism. Most people equate it to the movie Rain Man. I had never seen the movie so I had no clue. All I knew was Doug Flutie, an NFL football player, had a cereal that’s proceeds went to autism awareness. The only reason I knew that is because I saw the commercial once while my husband was watching a game. That’s all I knew.  Nothing else.

So, the journey was rocky and hard.  The first year my husband was stationed in Korea, so he was not around to learn what I did.

I relied on “friends” I thought that I had to help. Instead, I got investigated by CPS (child protective services) for making everything up. The only thing that was founded was that I was stressed. (Gee no idea why???)

My son’s first year in school was horrible. Open classroom and he would have meltdowns. They did not want to deal with him, so 5 out of 5 days he went to school, he was sent home early. I had no idea what I was supposed to be doing or how the school should have been handling him.

Thankfully, the school he was moved to had a wonderful Spec Ed teacher that knew what she was doing, to this day, I will still kiss the ground that she walks on.

He improved and stayed in school. Had messy moods and lack of sleeping so we had to join the medicine bus. So many doctors and specialists, “you should do this” and “don’t do that and this and that.”

The kid is a loving, sweet amazing kid. He has a hard time showing that. He has many co-morbidities along with his autism. ADHD, ODD, Anxiety, depression, hypermobility, OCD, etc.

In our journey with him, we realized he wasn’t like most kids with autism. So many can use an iPad and it’s nothing. A phone and no problem. With my son, he can not tell the difference between reality and what’s on the iPad or phone. We tried. We tried so many times, so he could be like his friends or brothers. But it ultimately turned out so, so, so, so bad.

When he was 11 a child that bullied him at school told him that triple x rated stuff on the internet was bad and if you looked at it you were super special because not everyone’s computer can look at it. Ever since that day, my son has been fixated on it. At 11 he had no idea what it was, just that it was special and not everyone could see it. As he grew into puberty it got worse and worse. I still don’t think he knows exactly what its supposed to mean to a person, because his thinking age is around 10, but he knows its bad, he’s told his therapist it’s bad. He’s tried to look at it on the internet at school.

We had everything on our cable blocked so that he could not watch it or order it and somehow he got around it and we had a $900 bill.  (I’m still drinking coffee to cope with that one)

Now he’s in a dark, dark place. He’s obsessed with death. He writes and writes and writes about death scenes. Then he tears them up. He talked to his therapist, but he sees no problem. We can not even let this child watch cop TV shows it’s that bad. Nothing to do with magic, or death.

My husband and I have been watching his behavior as of the last 2-3 months and I’m not liking what I see. Neither does my husband.

His moods are very erratic. One minute he’s happy, the next he’s angry and ready to fight. Then he’s happy. (Note: he has not touched a soul, just has gotten angry with words) These mood changes make me think he’s bipolar. We were warned that he probably was a few years ago. We knew it was coming.

Now we’re questioning the doctor, because my husband and I are so completely and mentally drained from dealing with his moods and trying to keep his brothers from upsetting him. The doctor is trying to tell us that he’s making it all up and that we just have to deal with it. My first thought, no lie, was, “The fuck you mean deal with it? I’ve BEEN living with it! We came to you for help on how to KEEP dealing with it, asshole!”  I, of course, did not say that, because I was too tired.

This kid has been in-patient 7, lost count after that, times for being bullied and being suicidal. I’m scared to death something is going to set him off. Granted all sharp instruments are kept under lock and key. We continue to try and understand what is going on, but our son can not tell us because he does not remember the mood swings.

His doctor said, because he does not feel bad for being angry and mean, he is not bipolar. DUDE, he’s autistic, he’s not going to feel bad.

I had 2 major surgeries and he bumped what I had surgery on, I started crying and he didn’t give two craps. That does not mean he’s not bipolar!

It’s hard to keep him busy. He gets bored with puzzles and crosswords and TV, because we have seriously toned down everything that he can watch. I’m just at a loss on where I should go from here. There’s probably a lot I left out of his story, I’m sorry for that.

Here’s another twist on his story. He legit thinks he’s from another dimension. He thinks he is a female from another dimension, that he will leave to find when he is 18 years old. There are artifacts all over the world that he has to collect in order to remain safe in this other dimension. He thinks that the here and now is just temporary. Because of his beliefs with this, he can not watch or read anything that involves fantasy. Because he can not and will not be able to tell the difference between what is real and what is not.

His therapist and I had a long talk today about it. I had to stop from bursting into tears, because I have never heard of another child like mine. I explained that to him and asked what do I do. He said I do what I’m doing… Be mom.

It did not help when he said that in the 13 years that he had been doing what he does, he had never met another kid like my son.

Sometimes, being a mom is rough as hell when it feels like no matter what you do, it’s out of control. You know all those books you read before you have kids?  I never read any chapters on Autism or special needs and I sure as hell never read any on how to deal with this kind of life for your child.

I guess I should add that I am dealing with my own depression and anxiety right now. My anxiety is off the charts and my shrink threw me into counseling. Didn’t even ask just threw me in. I also have a chronic illness and it flares up in the form of pain when I’m extremely stressed out, the last 3 months I’ve gotten little relief.

It’s sad to say at this point, I’ll deal with me as it comes. I just want my son to be okay. I know I need to worry about me, too. If he is okay, then I can be okay.

Basically, I’m writing this because I just need to know I’m not alone. I’m so tired. My gut instinct with this kid is never wrong. My gut says he needs help with this anger thing and his doctor is being stupid.

These Are Not The Best Years Of Your Life

Dear Gay/Bi/Curious Teenage Prankster Who Is Being Bullied By Bullshit Bullies,

Chances are, you don’t know me from a hole in the ground. In fact, a hole in the ground may look more familiar than I do, but I am Your Aunt Becky, and while we may not actually be related by blood, I have adopted you along with the rest of the Internet. It’s okay. Don’t worry. When I show up to your house for some family gathering and get rowdy and drunk and sing God Save The Queen, I’ll distract your parents so you can sneak some rum into your eggnog, okay?

Anyway, I hate to bother you with a boring letter since you kids like your text messages but what I have to say is important and I hope that you listen to it. Or parts of it. Tune out what doesn’t matter to you, but please, listen to at least a little bit of it. I may not be particularly smart, but I have lived about twenty different lives, so I’ve picked up some insight along the way.

Your teenage years are not the best years of your life.

What seems like a permanent and dire situation now, the things that make you hurt and ache inside, those things will stay with you, but the hurts and the aches, those subside over time. These are the things that will fortify you. They will strengthen you and they will make you a better person. Eventually.

I know that it seems like there is no other way out, believe me, I’ve felt that way before too. I’m willing to bet that most of the people who are reading this column right now have felt this way at some point as well. Maybe it’s not the same. Maybe we cannot understand precisely how you feel because we are not you. But even when things seem so bleak and so empty, even when all that you feel is a deep chasm of pain, it will pass. Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not next week, but it will pass.

Things will get better.

Physically, my heart hurts when I see statistics like sexual minority youth are bullied two to three times more than heterosexual youths. In our lifetime, (yes, I am using the royal “our” because I am rightly assuming that you will be around to make fun of my obsession with bacon for a good long while) I would be willing to bet that this number will drop as bullying is taken more seriously by schools and parents alike. Certainly, that does not help you right at this very moment, as you are hurting from the devastating effects of verbal, emotional and even perhaps physical abuse, I know that. Let every unkind word, every insult, every horrible slur thrown at you strengthen your resolve to help the next generation.

You know that you must be part of the change the next generation of children who will grow up to be in your shoes some day. You can and you will.

These are not the best years of your life.

The best years of your life are yet to come. The years ahead of you will be long and they will be beautiful and they will be brimming with love. The suffering that you have withstood at the hands of cruel bullies and those who do not understand you will leave the sorts of scars that may never be visible to anyone but those who know you best. Those silent scars will only serve to help you as you can turn all of your pain and channel it into something greater, something positive. There is a whole world out there beyond your high school, beyond your small-minded town who will welcome you with wide arms, who will love you as you are, and who will accept you simply for being you.

It’s hard to remember all of this, I know, because even now, at age thirty, my high school years winking merrily in my rear view mirror, I struggle to remind myself that it’s not the end of things when I have a bad day. I have to take a breath and remind myself that it’s not going to break me when I’m bullied by someone. The days when I get harassed simply for being me aren’t bad days at all; because they make me stronger. Sometimes, I have to take a step back from the situation, let all of that hatred flung in my face wash over me and and allow it to strengthen my resolve to do more good.

These horrible bleak days are going to make the rest of your life that much better.

I want you to know that somewhere, Your anonymous Aunt Becky is rooting for you, kid, and she loves you dearly. You’ll learn that the world is a good place. High school may not always be, but the world is. I’m sorry that things have to be so hard for you and trust me, if I could take on those bullies, I would do it in a second (don’t doubt me on this). I have a loyal Prankster Army who’d back me up. Bullies are bullshit. No, let me rephrase that: bullies are FUCKING bullshit, and you don’t deserve the suffering they’re causing you.

There’s a big world out here, kid, and we can’t wait to meet you. Please remember that high school is temporary and the rest of your life, well, it’s wide open. We can’t wait to see what you’re going to do with it.

Please, do not give up hope. There is always hope.

If you’d like to talk to someone from the Trevor Project, here is the Phone Number: 866-4-U-TREVOR

And, loves, you know where to find me.

Much Love,
Your Aunt Becky


I’ve never been a beautiful girl.

My features are manly, and there’s nothing in particular that is beautiful about my face. The bullying started in 6th grade. I began to date a young boy and once his classmates found out they called me “ugly slut”. The name calling went on for the rest of the year, I’d hear the girls and boys whisper as I walked by. Prior to this I never thought of myself as ugly, but their words made me question myself. 7th and 8th grade were just about the same, I felt that all I heard was “ugly,ugly,ugly”.

Then it was time for high school where I thought everything would be better, but it wasn’t. On the first day I was called ugly by the jock who sat in the back. I couldn’t befriend boys because they would soon turn me into the laughing stalk of their friends. No one wanted to talk to me because they were embarrassed to be seen talking to the ugly girl. The few guys who would talk to me were often harassed with “is that your girlfriend, she’s ugly” “4/10”. Yet, I managed to survive all that.

Fast forward a couple years and things seem calm…

Naked pictures of me were spread. Now I wasn’t just an ugly girl, but a shamed, embarrassed and exposed one.

A Cat To Remember

So I’m 10, and recently my cat died. He was a beautiful cat. We got him when I was just 4. He was really fluffy and white. He had different black and brown shapes on his back, forming a circle. My parents thought it looked like the Zodiac, so his name became Zodiac.

Zodiac went through many problems, but none of them caused his death. He had an odd craving for foam and plastic. Whenever he got any into his mouth we were able to save him, but he became more cranky. Despite my sometimes being annoying to him, he treated me like he was my mother. I loved him. He loved me.

As you might know from a different story I put up, I’m not in the best of times at school. When I got home, he’d sometimes be in my bed. I’d cuddle up to him and talk to him, and cry into his fur. Late at night he would purr, and it just helped me feel safe.

One morning, my parents were sidetracked because they were going to travel to Canada. They were going to pick up my sister from college, for the start of her summer break. It was the 20th of April. Zodiac didn’t come for kibble in the morning, and my parents told me he just went to greet our neighbors. That’s NOT what happened. I went to school, worried.

I had Girl Scouts that day, so I didn’t come home until 5:00. I arrived, stepped out of my grandparents’ car, and my sister came outside.She thanked my grandmother. then, she grabbed me tight, and said, “There is something I need to tell you about Zodiac …he’s dead.” I burst into tears, and so did she.

Later, my sister told me what happened. “I decided to go looking in the woods for Zodiac, and I found him …on the ground, dead.” She explained there was blood around his neck. We concluded that Zodiac must have hunted a rabbit or something like that, and a coyote wanted the rabbit. All we know is that it came fast. His eyes were open.

He’s a cat to remember. My mom is working on getting us a dog. All we have left now is this other cat who is freaking scared of me. It doesn’t feel right. It’s not fair. He left way too soon. I want him back. I want to talk to him. I think he understood me. It’s a letter I can’t send. Is it stupid that I’m doing this?


Dear Zodiac,

I love you. I know you love me. I will remember you, and never will forget how your fur felt. Sleeping at night won’t be the same. Coming home won’t be the same. Weekend mornings won’t be the same. Our other cat wakes me up now. Why did you have to go? Why did you leave me? Why did the world do this to us?

A part of your family