Thursday, October 29, 2009

Living with PTSD, at 18 the patterns were just beginning to develop

Part of the patina of living with PTSD, for me at least, is I can’t let my brain be empty. Always I have a headphone in my ear, a TV set on, music coming from somewhere, and I'm working at the computer with at least seven Windows open, always, all at the same time.

It’s dangerous for me to let my brain get empty. It used to happen accidentally. I'd be long gone into the mania before I realized the radio got turned off.

If there is a sound, a visual, or other sensual element that's not covered, this stuff just seeps in.

Today no matter what, if I'm out walking, I have to have talk radio on in my ear (there's only KTLK Progressive Talk). It has to be talking, music on its own isn't enough. If I'm going to take the subway I bring something extra to fill my head when we're underground and can’t get reception.

If the distraction gets removed, like if a computer crashes or there's a power outage, it can catch me off guard, and before I know it, the mania is running through my head. I'm repeating a phrase like, “this is what you deserve” or “they've always hated you always will” or my favorite, “this is what happens to old whores.”

"This is how old whores end up." Shoot. Just as I wrote that I let out this sob.

An actress would have a hard time playing the part of me these days, the emotion is so intense. I can hear a sound or in this case write a few words and the thought in my head trips a mechanism - SOB - erupts out, then large globular salty wet tears. My tears can be projectile.

I feel very much that I'm at a turning point, that from here I can real easily self destruct, or from here I can emerge like Ursula in The Little Mermaid. The image I see inside of what I'm going through right now is Ursula lying on the bottom of the sea, fuming. Then emerging, expanding, taking in power with every breath-

Nothing the Catholic Church and its behind the scenes PR machine can do can stop Kay aka Ursula the Sea Witch.

Occasionally in digging up the stuff I find about pedophile priests, at City of Angels 5, I’ll get to an impasse. Maybe it’s feeling overwhelmed. I'll say, I don't think I can do it anymore. Sometimes I even become immobilized, or take to the sidewalks, stick the radio in my ear and don't take it out for a week.

Then Ursula emerges again in my room and hollers all over the keyboard.

I wail out onto the blogosphere.

One reader at a time, no idea who the readers are.

Smothering Techniques

In talking to other adult victims of pedophile priests at City of Angels 5, I find many of them share this need to keep their heads occupied all the time. “Intrusive memories” are what psychologists call that stuff that pours into the head of PTSD patients, the ones who find ways to stifle them, so the ones who are able to stay alive.

Right this moment, here I sit, TV muted so I can read news captions, music playing from wall, I'm at the computer screen with 5 Word files open and 7 or 8 Windows active online. Always ready to go to Google and go somewhere else, act on any distraction, change the subject, run away. Even grateful for the police helicopter hovering overhead.


My friend asked what happened to my laptop. I told her I have this anger management problem.

Didn't have to say more, she understood and laughed.

Because she too is an adult victim of a pedophile priest.

I didn't get mad and throw the laptop, I just slammed my fist down on the table so hard that it caused the laptop to jump a bit and land splat back down. Then a green line lit up and slashed vertically down the screen. I've seen these slashes on monitor screens before, so I knew this could be the beginning of the end of my laptop. If that green line starts to widen or more lines appear, any time it will happen. One day you'll turn on the machine and the screen will transmogrify into thousands of digital bits looking like the inside of a transistor, then die before your eyes.

I can’t let that happen so within seconds of pounding the fist on the table, I began to whimper and panic, There's a green line. How am I going to do my three jobs without a computer.

I reached out with love and grasped the laptop lid, then, mm ... channeled a Timothy Leary moment. Holding the lid, my tension feeding from all the damaged nerves inside me through my fingers, mixed with the electricity buzzing all around the room. I found the place. If you hold the laptop lid just like this, the circuitry inside reconnects.

It became like a meditation. Whenever I was at the machine and the green line appeared on the screen, I'd stop and fix it. Om, hold the laptop, feel the electricity. It takes the concentration and mind control of an Indian swami to carry it out.

It became my key to calming down.

You grasp the laptop lid, pull it forward with the right hand just a little, push it back a little with the left, until the transistors or whatever they are inside reconnect and the green line disappears. Then carefully with one finger get the mouse over to Shut Down. Then hold the laptop lid in that position until the computer totally shuts down which can take long moments.

Time you are suspendeing, healing the machine.

Let the machine cool down. ...

Then reboot and the green line is gone.

That worked for me for months, but then I went through another phase of anger mismanagement, slammed my fist on the table again, and the green line came back, got real adamant about staying this time. To make things worse, if I pulled and pushed the laptop lid just a little bit out of synch, a new line, a RED LINE, appeared, next to the green one, which to me seemed way too ominous. My going into a state of Samadhi while shutting down was not going to keep the computer alive much longer.

I tried duct tape, electrical tape, scotch tape, nothing would hold the screen in place more than a minute, before green and red slammed back. Frenetic, I tossed the contents of several drawers.

Then in a cabinet I found some blank “Hello my name is (Blank)" stickers that I bought I think back in 1996, when I was running a support group in San Francisco. I don't think I ever even used the little Hello My Name Is stickers, but I carried them with me through five moves including two years of being homeless. I unpacked them here in L.A. and put them in this cabinet in 2005. Now I finally have a use for them.

Now the laptop is cemented in place. The Hello My Name Is stickers have glue like you do not find in any crafts store. Perfect for this job, the stickers wrap around my laptop at the top of the screen, then stick tightly down the back, then behind the laptop I put two broken audio speakers that I’ve propped to hold the lid in place. The stickers go from the back to the speakers and clamp it all tight in place, and as long as I never move the laptap or anything around it again, the screen will have eternal life.

It doesn't look that great. The gold trimmed stickers aren't lined up evenly, a couple edges are folding. Along witwh the stickers are remains of Scotch and duct tape from my earlier attempts to cement down the screen.

The patchwork design on my desk complements the Midnight Cowboy décor of the whole apartment.

It’s shabby, it’s held together with duct tape and prayer, but duct tape and prayer work.

Now even when an air conditioner blasts on somewhere in the building or there’s seismic activity in this part of L.A., the 2’s and 3’s on the Richter scale shakes we get a few times a week, my monitor stays unlined and serene.

I just had to become one with the laptop, feel the screen.


It’s hard to imagine Los Angeles in the 1960s when you look at it today. For one thing it used to rain a lot here, rain in deluges for days at a time.

When I walked into the audition at New Playwrights Theater in Silverlake I was drenched. I think I hitchhiked, I might have taken a bus, the theater was up this country like street - Hyperion Avenue.

Yes, Hyperion Avenue in L.A. was this country like street that you got to off Sunset Boulevard, where Fountain Avenue crosses. There was only a smattering of houses then, lots of shrubbery, it was all residential quiet and subdued. Because of all the rain the week of the audition and not even sidewalks in some parts of Hyperion, it was so country, the two lane road was sort of moist and curvy as it ran up and down the hills going north from Sunset towards Glendale, which was a whole other place not part of L.A. at all.

Half a mile up Hyperion from Sunset Boulevard was New Playwrights Theater.

Look at a map today and you see Hyperion is now a major thoroughfare between the 5 and the 101, but in 1969, it was still quiet and idyllic, an empty area between towns.

Last night I Googled and found this, the only information about New Playwrights Theater online, from the obituary of the guy who ran it in 1970s, Roy Schallert:

Born in Los Angeles, he established the New Playwrights Foundation, converting an empty building on Hyperion Avenue into a small theater where original plays were presented in the 1970s and '80s. He also worked for the L.A. County Health Department for over 40 years.

They don't quite get the dates right. It was 1969 when I got the lead role in RSVP Snodgrass Invitational at The New Playwrights Theater.

And pouring rain the day I went to that audition.

In the rolling hills of Silverlake. The road looked like it was sinking into the soil along the side from all the rain.

It was the tail end of an 11-day long storm. Honest. It used to rain like that here.

When I bustled into the theater I was blustery, wet, hyper. I’ve only realized today as an old lady looking back, it's as if I was built like Marilyn Monroe, but I just didn't know it.

The playwright and the director sitting in the audience area came to a stunned stop when I flurried in.

I’ve tried to describe this before. I wasn't that stunning, yet I'd often have that effect, where they'd see me and stop, stare, be stunned. My legs were always bare, no stockings. I was always a little stocky. I'm built short and wide. Unless I was in one of my total control anorexia-bulimia periods or active on amphetamines, I really didn't look that good. Hmm. I was taking a lot of pills during this period.

Today, still, to this day though, I don't see what the allure was. But that happened a lot, where I’d walk into a place and there would be a stunned silence.

It's at a cellular level.

When a Catholic priest rapes you at age five and convinces you- I mean whispering in your ear while lushing all over you- that this is something special you have that you do. If it’s done at that early an age, it gets into your DNA because your cells are still forming.

That's why consenting adults can do whatever they want, but it's NEVER OKAY to do sexual stuff with a kid, because their cells are still building.

You damage them at a cellular level.

So even though I wasn’t that stunning, there was something implanted in me, literally, by Father Horne's fingers.

I spewed pheronomes.

So when I blustered into a room, even all wet and droopy from the rain, I still had this pheromone wielding presence.

The playwright and the director recovered and started joking with me, from where they were sitting in the dark of the audience area. They were about to call it a day, they said, glad I was able to swim by, that kind of thing.

And I got the lead role.

This theater was so tiny and- well I guess part of the allure of doing theater is the shabby dressing areas, dusty greenrooms that in this case was just a hallway outside the john.

I was so clueless as to how to become a professional actress, on my own age 18 in Hollywood. Things weren’t real cut and dried back in 1969, but I knew performing in these showcase productions helped you get an agent, which then helped you get real work. I was, as always, coming in on the ground floor, but it was okay, I mean, I was still a teenager.

The role was a young ingénue, but she had to be able to say one thing while performing the opposite thing, sort of like, “Oh I can’t stand you,” while kissing someone. The entire play was people saying the opposite of what they were physically portraying.


But I really got it and worked it hard. And I made a real connection with the playwright. He drove me home from the audition in the rain. He told me I was the only person at the audition who understood what he was doing in his writing, and I believed him.

I had no boundaries. I just opened up to anyone and they were all so willing to enter…

Robert Houston was a tiny man, effeminate, he was in his forties I think, no, he must have been even older, had white hair and that sophisticated look of old Hollywood. Moustache, tailored suit, like you would see in the Brown Derby in the 1950s. He lived up in the hills with his mother. His love life was complicated, he said. He was awkward making moves on me, who was still a teenager, but I was showing him what to do.

Strange thing is, looking back now, this happened to me a lot.

Men who were really gay would use me to try to make themselves straight.

In the 1960s when you just were not allowed to be ga, so they would find their ways to me and think I could cure them.

If anyone can cure you, she can, I guess they'd think. I think sometimes guys even fixed me up with their friends who had this “problem” as it was still seen in the 1960s even in Hollywood.

Just like being in porn movies meant you could never do anything else, back then.

I'm pretty sure playwright Robert Houston was a horribly shamed closet gay guy, but his flaccid attempts to be with me didn't deter me.

It was what I did, this sort of service to man, kindly, this compulsion implanted in me so early in my life at age five by Father Horney that I just figured whatever a man needed, I was there to provide it.

I was like Little Annie Fanny with brains.

Like Little Annie Fanny With Brains

RSVP Snodgrass Invitational was directed by Mark Jessurun-Lobo, who I also spent nights with, as that's what I did.

After rehearsals, I'd go with Mark to his tiny hut on a hillside somewhere between Silverlake and Echo Park. Mark only ate macrobiotic food he cooked on two gas burners. He spoke with a hint of accent, clipped pronunciation of each syllable, German or Austrian, but he wouldn't tell me his country of origin. He stood straight backed barely as tall as me and he’d lecture on cinema genres, while at the same time grinding sesame seeds with salt to make gamacio to pour over the brown rice and steamed vegetables, giving detailed instructions about each, wining and dining me at his hot plate.

He smelled of rotting produce all the time. "That's part of the cleansing process," he'd explain and pop a raw radish in his mouth.

I ran into Mark about a year later, when I was downtown L.A. He was in a bookstore and saw me, tried to avert my eye, but I persisted. It was 1970. My dad made me get a job as a secretary after I came home from tripping with Timothy Leary the summer before, as reported here at City of Angels 1.

Coming out from where he was hiding from me in the religious books section, my former director said, “I'm studying Yoga now, at a place in Burbank, an ashram. That's a house where about 20 people live, all practicing Yoga together and teaching classes. You’d probably like it. It’s called Integral Yoga Institute and they teach chanting in Sanskrit and give instruction in meditation …”

Kaboom - blam - the little lights and synapses inside me went off - religion, meditation, sky, Beatles Mahareeshi songs, group living. My special power implanted in me by Father Horney was as compulsive about spiritual pursuit as about pursuit of sex with men in high places.

I went to the Yoga Ashram in Burbank and took a class, moved in within a month.


Lobo is on the internet today only as a result of someone scanning and posting a New York Magazine from December 1974. There in the calendar of events it states Mark Jessurun-Lobo directed a play then at 321 W. 14th Street, The Downstage Studio. It was Niccolo Machiavelli’s “seduction play," said the magazine, "Mandragola (The Mandrake Root)."

I figure Mark must have moved to New York in the seventies and probably died soon after of AIDS… I think he was gay too, but I was aggressive, hardly anyone turned me down.

I was a sexual predator.

This is relevant to me, because I was a sexual predator beginning at six years old:

ScienceDaily (May 13, 2008) - A University of Georgia study that is the first to systematically examine a large sample of female child molesters finds that many of them were themselves victims of sexual abuse as children. The finding, published in the April issue of the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, has the potential to help break the cycle of abuse by improving treatment for offenders and their young victims. "This study informs us about the pathway to becoming sexually deviant for females," said study author Susan Strickland, assistant professor in the UGA School of Social Work. "With that knowledge, we can improve treatment and reduce the likelihood of future sexual assaults on children." Strickland said the sexual abuse of minors by women has been largely ignored by the general public, the legal system and by academic researchers.

Many people believe that women are not capable of committing such acts, she said, and the abuse of boys by women is often dismissed as the boys sowing their oats or even being lucky. The truth is that both boys and girls are molested by female perpetrators and these victims often suffer a myriad of consequences affecting their sexuality, relationships and beliefs about themselves and others. Childhood sexual abuse also has been linked to a host of emotional and behavioral problems, such as substance abuse and eating disorders.

The true prevalence of female sexual abuse on children is unknown, but a commonly accepted figure is that five to seven percent of sex crimes are committed by females. Studies on female sex offenders are rare, and most have been descriptive in nature, used small samples and have not used valid statistical measures or control groups.

Strickland's study, the largest of its kind, surveyed 130 incarcerated females - 60 of which were sex offenders and 70 of which were nonsexual offenders - and examined factors such as childhood trauma, substance abuse, emotional neediness and personality disorders. While the majority of both groups reported being the victims of childhood maltreatment, the sex offenders were significantly more likely to experience pervasive, serious and more frequent emotional abuse, physical abuse and neglect. "We've pretty much known that the majority of women in prison have had bad childhoods and that many suffered childhood sexual abuse," Strickland said. "But the subgroup of female sex offenders has suffered significantly more abuse, particularly sexual abuse."

The entire Science Daily May 13, 2008 article

So pathetic. Even at photo shoots to get headshots, I was stoned, you can see it in my eyes. I never could stand who I was without alteration. When I was not going as fast as I could, I was anesthetized.

See the resemblance?


Am I turning into one of those stereotypes? The silver haired lady lives in a dusty room on a Hollywood side street and spends her days poring over photo albums and her cherished news clippings, yellowing even under plastic protective sheets … it would be stereotypical, except there are only a smattering of clippings, reviews of the few shows I did, in the first career I destroyed, my acting career. (Click clips to enlarge)

For anyone reading here for the first time, I was raped by a priest when I was five years old and it had a direct effect on the rest of my life. The pattern that lasted from age 5 to 45 was I’d get a great job or start some great new thing, then act out sexually and get fired from the job or ejected from the great new thing, I even got thrown out of Brownies. I never held a job for longer than one year… but I did put three (?) years into a try for an acting career. I moved on my own to Hollywood when I was 18 years old and left at 21.

You see, the self destruct pattern hadn't kicked in yet.

But it was in development.

That's right, that's me, "Jesica Leland" because back then people still made up stagge names. I lived on Leland Way .... Do not remember at all where the Jesica came from or why I spelled it that way.


Read Ongoing Coverage of Pedophile Catholic Priest Crime Current Events at City of Angels 5


It’s really bad when I happen to ride through the central Hollywood section of Sunset Boulevard, where the Seventh Veil exotic dance palace still seduces from its spot at the top of a hill, near the beginning of The Strip.

Just blocks from where Lizzie was born.

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