Three times it’s happened now since I’ve been doing stories for City of Angels. This image pops into my head that is so evil and obtrusive- usually when I'm interviewing one of the former altar boys, or guys who were in early adolescence when the priests found a way to get to them, the image comes in.
Pant pant pant, the guy is breathing hard and eyes, like a maniac. Rolling eyes, with a jeer in them that says pure evil. Then just off screen in my head is the rest of the body and it’s bouncing bouncing bouncing, obviously the guy is humping and getting lots of sexual pleasure from it. What adds to the madness of the whole image is that he is wearing a priest collar, in fact as I describe it now, I see one of those rimmed black hats the priests wear in Europe, and he turns into Father Guido Sarducci.
The image intrudes, not surprisingly, when these former altar boys now adult men are describing the actual sex act that took place. Usually in the interview, we've been talking about how the priest groomed the young boy, and so often it’s the same- Joy Juice of one kind or another, alcohol sometimes drugs, then the boy is whoozy maybe passes out then wakes up, suddenly realizes, “Father Horney is banging me.”
And into my head pops this panting panting clergy collared creature, his face twisting with combined extreme pleasure and extreme evil.
Panting over the tiny undefended child’s body.
Guys who I’ve interviewed may even have noticed when it happened. Because as we are talking, before I know it I’ve taken the interview to a totally different topic.
One time the image intruded when I was interviewing Michael Baumann several months ago. He said, “It was like a monkey on my back,” when he was describing the memory of what Fr. Robert Gibson of Scranton did to him as a young teenager. Michael was faltering, stumbling, but also just about to get into deeper description, in fact he was READY to go into deeper description. He repeated, “It was like a monkey on my back-“
And in a flash I chimed in “Oh you know what I’m right in the middle of reading that book right now, isn’t that an amazing coincidence?”
Michael went, “Uh, huh?”
And babble away I did, that book The Man with the Golden Arm, I'm reading it right now, don't you know about it, Frank Sinatra was in the movie, he played this junkie, well he’s a returning World War two vet who got addicted to heroin in the VA hospital and he is walking around saying, “I got a monkey on my back, monkey on my back.” So that's the first time the saying Monkey on my Back came up, or maybe even sooner and the author Nelson Algren just used the expression but I'm pretty sure that's where that expression comes from.
And the mood is broken. There’s no way Michael is going to continue into that dark place he was about to enter, as now we're talking about the Nelson Algren revival going on in Chicago…
It happened again when I was interviewing Joe Capozzi a few weeks back. He was in a deep emotional place, he was working with the emotion, he was about to give another detail and I started babbling about maybe he could come and do his play in L.A. The mood again was broken.
A while back I tried to get therapy, because I realized, while I'm doing City of Angels, some of the stories I hear are going to make me go insane if I don't have therapy. But then I tried seeing a MFPT or whatever, and realized the therapist was not in any better shape mental health-wise than I am, and it just felt awkward sitting in a waiting room then sitting in a room with a person and talking, I mean what is that going to do to solve the myriad problems I'm facing. It seems silly to pay all this money for therapy when what I really I need is new teeth…
There is a trust that pays for therapy for victims set up in Santa Barbara, and I'm grateful for that. I haven't found a trust yet that pays for teeth.
Anyway. I don't go to therapy anymore. I'm still writing City of Angels stories, and just going nuts.
So I will just try to write the insane stuff over here in City of Angels 2, knowing someone will read it.
That's therapy enough for now.
Funny thing is, I started City of Angels blog originally because I wanted to do something about the isolation I'm experiencing. See, when you tell someone you're a priest rape survivor and getting justice has kind of taken up 90 percent of your life, they don't really want to spend time with you. I’ve lost so many friends since I started writing this blog. Well, I can pretend the reason I lost the friends was the blog, even though I know it’s really something inherently wrong inside of me.
I’ve always felt that way, something inside is wrong.
And I see it reflected in people.
A kind of nausea, revulsion, when they look at me.
My aura drips.
It drives people away.
I think I wear my damages out where everyone can see them and it's revolting. I don't have the right kind of mirror to tell me where the damages are showing, or I would apply some kind of concealer.
It happens all the time though, people meet me, they look at me for the first time, and a kind of revulsion washes over their bodies, flashes through their eyes. In polite company it will only last an instant, and the person recovers and smiles and acts polite, but still you sense they are looking for the quickest way to make an exit.
In fact, the real reason I am not continuing therapy is that even the therapist got revolted by me. She was the one who stopped showing up, not me.
I have this effect on people.
What's really upsetting is I thought if I found out the cause of the disgustingness inside me, it would stop. But the damage is so deep inside, it’s just part of who I am, even now that I know it probly comes from having such a bizarre injurious experience at an early age.
From age six, I have been driving people away, because of that aura around me, with a drip drip drip.
I really wish I could have gotten a settlement, as I’d like to just become a hermit, live somewhere that I never had to leave the premises, I could just have things delivered, walk only a few feet for everything, have enough yard space I don't need to go onto city sidewalks ever again. . .
Because I'm tired of seeing that nauseated reaction in people, and now that I know whatever I have that causes it never going to go away, I just want to find a way to avoid human interaction, to prevent it.
Funny thing is I’ve seen that same kind of damage in the few survivors I have met in person, and I think I've even gotten nauseous myself, from looking at them.
Truth is I haven’t really met that many survivors in L.A.
I started the blog out of frustration that SNAP wouldn't start an L.A. meeting, and wouldn't let me start one. So I figured, I’ll meet someone by starting a blog and going to hearings, there have got to be some other people damaged by priests like me in Hollywood.
I mean, I ended up living in West Hollywood in the 1980s just because it was the only place a person of my sexual proclivities could be accepted. When I brought a football team home for the night, my West Hollywood neighbors did not get outraged, they just got jealous.
Drip Drip, something about these memories involves dripping, leaking, body fluids exiting your orifices after a night or orgiastic sex, the smell of it in the rugs and couches.
Thing that's not funny is writing the blog did nothing at all for my isolation. I still have no one to call, no one comes by. I can’t understand how there could have been 500 plaintiffs in L.A. in 2007 and yet not one local person shows up when SNAP does hold an event downtown. The three or four people you see all the time at local SNAP events have all traveled in from far flung suburbs, even other counties and states.
So who am I ever going to meet with later for coffee- or dancing?
Where did all the L.A. plaintiffs go?
Plus now and then I’ll read about a settlement in another city and it will quote so and so from Los Angeles, and I'll think, where the hell are they?
It's easy to get in touch with me, why doesn't anybody?
So I see now that probably the reason there is no SNAP meeting in L.A. is I am probably the only person here who wants one. One person does not a support group make, especially when that one person makes people nauseous.
I started City of Angels blog thinking, I’ll meet other survivors in L.A. this way, and ???
I’ve met dozens of people through the blog, people who I can call on the phone almost any time and they're there to talk, but they're in the Midwest and Boston and New Mexico, no one is in L.A.?
Where did everybody go?
I have this part of me that wants to put up a post and say, “I'm done.” Because I'm not really getting out of it what I wanted, i.e., a social life. But I'm getting something else out of the blog. There are all those people in other places writing to me, and calling me, and there’s the occasional PayPal click that gets me through a crisis and all of a sudden I'm able to pay pay the cable bill.
So I have to leave it all in the hands of the Tao, the perfect Tao that I know is in the middle of all the chaos. Again, be grateful I'm not in Calcutta or Iran or Darfur. The human beings in worst anguish on Earth are not low income Americans in the slums of L.A. as bad as that is.
I didn't get the network of local friends I wanted out of the blog, but to stop producing City of Angels now would be suicidal, definitely self destructive, as the blog is giving me a launching pad, a platform from which to begin something better than City of Angels 5.
Maybe it will happen at City of Angels 6.
See how well I got off the topic of the panting priest?
PS: I'm paranoid enough to think SNAP is really holding regular meetings somewhere close by, it's just nobody wants me to know.
Some are sicker than others.
(PSS: The City of Los Angeles took away our car because of parking tickets, when we were homeless, living in our car.
Does anyone else see the irony in that?)