Monday, January 22, 2007

Reconciliation / Recovered Memory

I should have known my job at NASA wouldn’t last long when they handed me the security form to fill out my first day at work. No one said anything about a security form when they interviewed me.

It took five extra pages to list all my addresses and jobs since 1955. To process the clearance they were going to interview people from my past and find out I’d been a paid employee of the Peace and Freedom party in 1968, lived on a commune with Tim Leary and worked on his campaign for Governor in 1969, and starred in porn movies and magazine photo shoots in 1969. Now I had to apply for a security clearance? I was so enveloped in a PTSD bubble that I plowed on through, just skipped an address or two, filled it out and turned it in. I probably would have been okay since it was the sixties, but. . .

Posted on priest rape survivor message board under: “Why Aren’t Catholics More Angry?”:

When I read in M--N--'s post -- "I cried night after night for years. . ."-- it evoked a memory in me. I was sitting on the bathroom floor in an office building in Houston Texas, crying my eyes out. I had just literally screwed up the dream job of a lifetime because of my compulsion to have sex with men in high places, a compulsion placed in me by that deviant priest. Among other things, Father Horne taught me in first confession classes to fantasize these things and then repeat them back to him in the confessional and I carried it out into my life. So I'd gone from writer editor on the NASA Houston news room staff, literally doing PR for the astronauts, to temping for 8 dollars an hour in oil company offices downtown -- and I was still compulsively having sex with men in high places so even screwing up the temp jobs. I sat on the floor in the Houston high rise bathroom cold tile floor and cried and cried and realized I never felt more at home, the tears formed almost a cocoon of nurturing around me because they were so familiar to me because I’d spent so much of my life crying.

That was in about 1983. I did not totally remember what happened to me with the priest until 1994 and it didn't get any better in that 11 more years. But I'm still here. PS: M-- N--, I'm so glad that priest never was able to take you on that overseas trip.
Edited 1/5/07 9:56 am
That's a whole other book what happened when I was at NASA, but think of it: dynamic men with connections to the sky and my sexual confusion about spirit and cosmic orgasms -- I was so driven that NASA created a job for me in 1978, a High Visibility job in the Public Affairs Office as a spokeswoman. They were even training me to do mission commentary during the then upcoming Spacelab missions.

I’d have been sitting in mission control on console narrating the actions of astronauts and results of space science experiments for the public and for all mankind as they took place. But by 1981 NASA had booted me out and I became a lush in NASA Road One bars. I was a scandal, a dirty joke laughed at in men’s room graffiti.

While I still had the job I followed astronauts and the men around them like a groupie after hot rock ‘n’ rollers. I showed up uninvited in revealing clothes at Flight Control TGIF parties. On one occasion in a hot tub I dunked underwater and surprised the young astronaut next to me between his legs and his face turned beet red, his freckles expanding, like the Midwestern nerd he was.

Believe me word got out.

In the Civil Service you can almost never get fired. But if they want to get rid of you they can make it so bad for you that you have no choice but to quit. That is what happened to me at NASA in 1981. In fact my whole tumble through Texas, about 15 years of my life from 1970 to 1983, is something I have yet to look at yet. It’s a whole other book,.

That catastrophe among others in my life was fed by the sexual-spiritual compulsion that dynamited my life --

All fed into me by that deviant priest in 1953.

Spring 1994
I have a five year old daughter and we live in this empty place with no sound, blinding winds, rain and clouds every day. I was in AA and clean and sober for two years and unfrenzied for the first time maybe in my life. When you look back, since age seven when I started overeating, then into adulthood it was drugs and alcohol, I stuffed myself with one mind altering substance after another, stuffing down reality, from the time the priest first rejected me in 1954 until this time in 1994 when I had a child to raise.

40 years.

As my daughter reached the age I was when the molest took place, the memories just started to pour in. I know it was legitimate recovered memory, because I wasn’t in therapy, no one was making any suggestions or nudging me. There was this woman who was picking me up and taking me to AA the first year, an AA sponsor. She noticed that I brought up sexual stuff a lot when I shared at meetings. I was in a quandary about how the sexual stuff fit in with all the drinking, and I don't even know what it was I was saying, but the sponsor had this insight and sincere empathy.

She said, “You know, I’ve been around these rooms a long time now and I’ve seen this happen before. Someone will get sober and after a while they get real preoccupied with something else and it gnaws at them and gnaws at them. I’ve seen this happen.” Then she looked right into me. “I know by the way you share that there’s something else inside that you haven’t gotten to yet.”

More than a year later my daughter turned five years old, the same age I was when Father Horne started taking me into the woods. I was clean and sober for more than two years and complacent, relaxed. The image I had of myself was someone contained for the first time ever, but I was still channeling other personalities, turning into people I admired at meetings, adopting face expressions I remembered from Jane Wyatt in Father Knows Best because all of a sudden I was a coherent parent.

The frenzy stopped - the frenzy that had driven me since age seven so I always went so fast I could never look back - it finally stopped.

Then in the early morning hours just at that moment between being asleep and being awake I started to remember being a little girl and walking into Father Horne’s rectory. It happened for several mornings over and over and each morning I’d go a little bit farther into the room.


Wait. I’m going too fast. There was more.

There were physical things that played into it at the same time as well. This mysterious pain emanated from my lower spine and into the pubic area and during monthly menses I’d be gyrating on the floor screaming - well I do get dramatic - but the pain was alarming. One day when I was bent over on the street trying to get in the door to my office someone in the bank downstairs called an ambulance, but doctors couldn't find anything wrong with me.

I knew what was wrong. I sensed this diseased quality, this filthiness inside me beginning in the pubic area. So I located a sort of illegitimate Ob-GYN and got an unnecessary hysterectomy. He got paid by the insurance company and I got that nasty organ that had been causing me so many problems all my life ejected from my body.

The pain didn't get any better.

WAIT - THERE’S EVEN MORE in the confluence of events that led to me recovering these memories.

In my AA home group an activist guy Ted with 14 or 20 something years of sobriety decided to organize a special event in Eureka. He arranged for a priest Father M to come up from L.A. to our monthly speaker meeting. Father M was renowned as a speaker on the recovery circuit and Ted, an Irish Catholic who reminded me of several of my relatives in Chicago, spoke enthusiastically about the wonderful enlightening inspiring words we were all about to hear.

My daughter was five at the time and I was working about 30 hours a week and for some reason I'd have almost a panic attack at the thought of going to the speaker meeting. Ted wouldn’t hear of me not going. I said I can’t find a babysitter, Ted arranged for a professional. I said I don't have transportation and Ted arranged a ride.

So on the day of the speaker meeting where Father M was coming to make a speech I doubled over in pain and became crippled. Honest. I couldn't move. I was nailed by a cosmic staple through my pubis into my couch. I lied down and didn't get back up for several weeks.

It was in that state of mind that the memories started to pour in.


(To be continued)