Monday Bacon: I Remember

grandpa

Me and my Grandpa on my Baptism day. I loved my Grandpa. Look at his hands. They were always strong and reaching for another hand to hold whether it be mine or my Grandma’s. I still have this dress. It speaks to a day I don’t remember but probably enjoyed. I hope cake was involved. I just really love cake.

One of the trickier aspects of sharing personal stories is that, while the writer has had a lifetime to process information, the reader is “hearing” it for the first time and it can be a bit shocking. I guess this is one of those times. Writing about dark events that happened in the past are just that, in the past. They do not speak to who I am today, but to paths crossed in the yesteryear.

I believe, or at the very least, my observation is that men and women don’t want to talk about sexual abuse because they are afraid that others will judge who they are today. See, when you are sexually abused, you generally don’t feel very good about yourself whether presently or in the past. Being sexually abused is dirty. It is painful. It is confusing. It rocks the entire foundation of your existence and I’m not even going to add the words, “especially in the case of…” Each case is horrible. Each story weaves a tale with few chances of Happily Ever After. 

I imagine that feelings may be somewhat similar after a sexual assault. It’s scary and dirty and how will people look at “me” because they can’t process that I’ve been sexually assaulted (or abused.) See, this is a difference between people who have been sexually abused or assaulted and people who haven’t. They don’t understand. Why would they? At the pits of their existence this evil does not dwell. It’s uncomfortable, gods it’s so uncomfortable.

We have come a long way in addressing sexual abuse. From the Catholic church “scandals” (imo, ‘scandal’ is too pretty a word for the rampant Pedophilia of the Catholic church. I am guessing, and I’m probably right, that the Catholic church is the largest Pedophilia racket in the history of the world. It is still happening today and the Pope claims that the “reporting” of these RAPES are the work of the devil. I literally hope hell has a special place waiting for him. He is the Big Daddy Pimp of them all. Rot, fucker.)

Back in 2002, the Boston Globe shined a big ‘ol spotlight on the Catholic RAPES and people started talking about it. At least, they started to talk about how others were raped and molested and in small ways began to open doors on talking more freely about personal sexual abuse. I am lucky enough to have married two men (one at a time, duh) who, when I shared that I had been sexually abused starting from the age of 9, were absolutely and unequivocally shocked. I mean, it’s shocking, I get it. See, they came from the other side. The side where ‘these types of things’ don’t happen. Ever. That’s a good thing. I’m glad they didn’t have to be exposed to something as ugly as sexual abuse. That they or someone they love don’t have those memories.

Because I remember. I remember every detail, even before I was raped for the first time. My brother wanted to play a game called baseball where each base was a sexual act and did I want to play? Uh, no. I’m not comfortable with that. In fact, I am so uncomfortable with that I’ll tell mom. Mom will make sure that doesn’t happen again. But no, Mom didn’t make sure. She said that was ridiculous and don’t ever talk like that again.

Shame strike 1, 2, and 3. Shut up Jules, no one here cares. It’s ugly and it’s dark and don’t ever bring it up again. That was a direct order, don’t ever talk about anything like this again. I was on my own. I was 9. On my own with a pedophile for a brother.

I remember the first time I was raped. I remember exactly where and when. I remember the smells; the pain; the shame; the confusion, and most of all the overwhelming sadness that I was no longer a little girl. I knew I wasn’t an adult or a teen or anything else but I for sure was no longer a little girl. That was the end of my childhood. In one night at 9 years old. I was dirty and no longer a good girl and I was alone. I have many pictures of my childhood and maybe I’m the only one who can see how sad 9 year old Juli’s eyes looked after that summer. But I know when I look at those pictures how much I changed. I remember.

Those feelings lasted for many years of my life. I would look at the High School football quarterback (he was a cutie. Black hair and bright blue eyes and pretty nice to everyone) and think, I am not worthy of a nice boy like that. I’m dirty. I’m not a good girl. I don’t even get a popular bad boy who probably wasn’t even that bad. I’m only worthy of crappy boys who don’t treat girls well but that’s okay because I’m not worthy of being treated well. What a fookin’ mess. I am very fortunate I stepped out of that fog and was even to do it fairly early in life. I didn’t waste one more day thinking I wasn’t worthy of a good man. I raised the bar for those around me and especially myself. I’m lucky. I healed. There’s scar tissue of course, but my mind is clear and I mostly love who looks back at me in the mirror (I have a scalp thing going on from frying my melon to the point of blistering at a Games last June. It’s not awesome. I don’t like seeing that in the mirror. Other than that, I’m good.)

I have viewed the openess of many actors and actresses who have felt free enough to share their past assaults against women and men in power who for so long felt that their jobs depended on keeping their mouths shut. That is an abuse of power and I’m glad for them that they were able to free themselves. However, an increasingly disturbing trend is gaining steam much like a tsunami wave we may be powerless to stop when we want it to stop. That is, men and women can suddenly accuse another of abuse and it is assumed to be true. Jobs lost in an instant. Families blown apart. Public humiliation. The #metoo train has gained enough speed that it can’t be stopped for one of the most important American rights, due process.

Feminism has become more about white male bashing than equality and equity. The white male is our enemy. They are the plantation owners of present time and they are evil. Now, I don’t buy into this. First off, I mean, many of you have met my white, male husband. So you understand how I believe him to be the greatest of all men who walk the planet. Evil comes in all shapes and sizes. It comes form of men wearing robes at Sunday mass; it comes in the form of a brother; it comes in the form of a female teacher; a boss; a stranger; a friend. Evil lurks and we are so quick to turn on each other than no one is stopping to ask, “Does this have anything to do with my life today?” or “Am I qualified to have an opinion on whether or not this is true?” or “Does this affect me or someone I love?” We jump. We ask one accused to be crucified while make excuses for another.

It is one of the most dangerous games we can play against each other and it terrifies me. I have watched the ever increasing trend of sexual abuse and sexual assault become political and I am concerned that the progress we’ve made in bringing it out in the open will be lost among the political hatred towards an opposing group screaming, “BURN HER!” We minimize the strength and fortitude shown when putting abuse behind us and living our best lives with a hashtag. A fucking hashtag. Have we become so simple fucking minded that we can’t use our words so we think putting a hashtag in front of some trend is going to give it power?

No. At least, we’re not here.

Believe an accuser. Believe the accused. Be happy that sexual abuse hasn’t touched your life or if it has, be proud that you’ve overcome the pain of it. If you haven’t overcome the pain of it, get help. Very few of the hashtag warrior have YOUR best interest at heart rather, they want to make some type of social media statement. Fill your life with peace. Gawds we need peace these days. Peace and kindness and if you’re really lucky, deep fried cheese curds at Lakefront Brewery.

See how lucky I am.

Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them.

The Dalai Lama

 

Advertisements
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Execute

execute

One of the more frustrating aspects of a competitive athlete is the failure to execute. A weightlifter can train for 6 months for one meet and bomb out on the snatch (ask me how I know.) Done. Out of there. No total for you (said in the best Soup Nazi bark.) You can practice the Scottish hammer for months and finally find a flow and once you step into the trig, blank. You forget everything and throw the same old lackluster number you haven’t been able to move on from for the last two years (ask me how I know.)

It can be incredibly depressing and make you question everything you’ve done leading up to that point; your mental strength; your abilities, everything. I like to compete. I love the sounds of both the Highland Games and the Weightlifting (I kinda don’t understand when people bitch about Bagpipes at Highland Games. I mean, dude, this is your sport. You chose this, you knew Bagpipes would be here and yet you showed up. Stop.) I love the warm-up room at a Weightlifting meet. The sounds of plates being loaded; bars being dropped; noises from the main platform and the crowd, coaches barking at their athletes. I love it!

However; I don’t like it when I don’t compete well. Masters Nationals in April was one of those days. I had a rough meet, not a bad meet, just a rough day. A bad meet is when you bomb out on one of your lifts, I’ve done that. I didn’t bomb out, but I didn’t do what I went to do and that doesn’t sit well with my personality. I’ve thought a lot about that the last few months. Not doing what I went to do. The frustration of still being a fierce competitor but not doing what you know you can do. Barfy.

In late June, after a rough day on the field at my 2nd Highland Games of the season, it hit me; I’m not executing the throws. I’m not applying my training. Too much of me is shutting down. Not good. That needs to change. My practices became 3 part: warm up, “x” number of practice throws, 3 competition throws still held around 90%. Begin to execute what I practiced right there, right then. Get into the mindset that every practice will include throws where I needed to apply my training. Execute.

hammer

LV Camera Girl takes the best pictures. Usually I’m bitching about being out of position but not this time. This time I had that hammer exactly where I wanted it which is why I executed a decent throw. Actually, it was the first time I hit over 80′ on the light hammer in two years. 

I had two major Games coming up out west. I had no opportunity to do poorly on my weaker events. In Portland, I was competing with the Womens A group. I had my hands full to have a chance to get on the podium at the end of the day and if I didn’t execute my practice, I’m screwed. And I did it. Both Hammers were season bests and while I still believe I have more room to improve for my last Games, I’m happy. It is not uncommon for me to take on three or even four points per hammer. It’s nearly impossible to come back from that deficit and in Portland I took 2nd place on both. I was ecstatic!

Even the 48# Portland stone went exactly as planned. I gained nearly 2 feet from last year and STILL took 4th place in the event. You know what? Didn’t care. I did what I came to do in that event and everything else was out of my control. I’ll take it. On to Open Stone and I hit a season high and again, 2nd place. Last year in this event I took 3rd and jeopardized my overall win. How did I do this? I executed the event. I did what I came to do.

Now, I did pout a bit because my two strongest events, the heavy weight for distance and weight over bar, didn’t go as planned. I actually did NOT do what I came to do and it took me all week to finally recognize that I did what I NEEDED to do and there is strength in that. Be happy when you do what you NEED to do even it’s not what you wanted.

At the end of the day, 2nd place!!! While I was hoping to be one of the top 3, a second place to an amazing collegiate track athlete and now throws coach who is in her late 20’s with other very strong competitors in the class was an incredible honor.  I like to joke with the hashtag ’51harderthanme’, but really, try. Heh. Also, I’m going to toot my horn on this one. Look, often times people expect me to do well. That’s good, I’ve worked hard for that expectation. So when I DO do well (doo doo), it’s very anti-climactic. We don’t even celebrate around here, just move on to the next thing. Well gawdsdammit, I want to celebrate. I don’t know how often it happens that a 51 year old women places so well in an A group at a stacked Games like Portland but I did that. I. Did. That. Give me two claps and a Ric Flair!!

Basically, I executed my plan. I did what I went to do and honestly, I have rarely felt more satisfied at a competition. Now we get to have fun for a week in the PNW with so many wonderful friends and my most favorite Peterson’s before doing what I needed to do at The Claw, where, again…

20180729_161139 (1)

My amazing fellow Masters competitors Tishia and Michelle.

…I did what I came to do. I executed my plan. I re-set my standing weights world records and won a Masters National Championship. Again, I did not do want I wanted to do in my height events but I did what I NEEDED to do. I did not execute my light hammer but I’m giving myself a pass on that one. We had just hit four events in less than 2 hours and I had 6 extra throws on those two events with about 10 minutes to prepare for the hammer. Overall, I executed the plan.

I did what I went to do. I did well over two very tough Games in a week’s time and had an absolute blast in the Pacific North West. I ate ALL the carbs; laughed ALL the laughs; drank MOST of the wine (I even brought some home. I’m such a good girl) and accomplished my goals. Again, can I get two claps and a

ric

Heh.

I believe that a different mindset of the same situation can pay in dividends. It has for me. I still have more work to do and most likely only one more Games to execute. I’ll try and whatever I don’t do will have to wait for next season. I know I’m on the right path and I’m very excited to see where it takes me in Weightlifting. Because that failure from Nationals is still there. I didn’t execute. That won’t happen again. I may not win; I may have a rough day, hell, I may even have a bad day…but I’ll execute to my very best ability and walk away knowing I brought what I could.

The best training program in the world is absolutely worthless without the will to execute it properly, consistently, and with intensity.

John Romaniello 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The GOAT in the Room…

bruce

I’m not gonna lie, I’m not a huge Springsteen fan. I dunno, just not my thing. Can I appreciate his place in American music history and his impact? Sure thing. Just don’t want to listen to his songs. Most likely because pop radio in the 80’s overplayed everything so I can rarely listen to any song that I absolutely didn’t love.

While I don’t think he’s the actual musical GOAT, he is up there with the greats and that I hope we can all get behind. What I like about him is that while he doesn’t shrug away from his political beliefs, he is very open here that he believes his position as a musician is where he can most touch people and he doesn’t want that muddied up with politics.

So I like him a little more. I still don’t ever want to hear My Hometown again, but he seems a man of reason in times where we desperately need reason.

Enter the 2018 Tony Awards show where they brought out the big gun, Robert Di Niro to introduce a performance by the Bruce. But instead of doing that, he had to get in a few “Fuck Trump”s to bring the audience to their feet in celebration of fucking our President. I guess. I don’t care. This is the new normal and not even a little bit edgy or surprising.

What IS surprising, well, is the fact that this segment was supposed to be about Bruce Springsteen. Instead, De Niro made it all about himself and fucking Trump. Before the man who belted from my radio in the 80’s BORN IN THE U.S.A. and being damn proud of it was to come to stage, your hype guy just told us all we should “Fuck Trump.” That Springsteen has said repeatedly in the press that he doesn’t want politics to deter from  his music JUST FUCKING DID! Duh.

But no one wants to talk about how Springsteen had to just sit on ice in the back and watch as his entire audience gave a standing ovation to a guy who said, “Fuck Trump.” Now, could be that Bruce hoot and hollered with the rest of ’em. Don’t know. It would be contrary to what he’s claimed to be and how he’s claimed to live and I have no reason to believe he doesn’t walk his talk.

What I do know is that I kind of feel bad for the guy. This was your time to shine and some self absorbed triggered old guy made it all about him and his hatred for the President of the United States.

But no one is talking about that. Only about how brave and courageous Robert Di Niro is for saying “Fuck Trump” to an audience which has shown their disdain for all things Trump related (by the way, which is a large portion of their paying audience but we won’t talk about that.)

So in The Boss’ honor, I’ll try to stomach one more listen of Born in the USA.

I still believe people fundamentally come to music to be entertained — yes, to address their daily concerns, and yes, also to address political topics, I believe music can do that well. But I still believe fundamentally it’s an affair of the heart. People want you to go deeper than politics, they want you to reach inside to their most personal selves and their deepest struggles with their daily lives and reach that place; that’s the place I’m always trying to reach. I’d never make a record that’s just polemical, I wouldn’t release it if I did. To me, that’s just an abuse of your audience’s good graces.

Bruce Springsteen

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

My Husband Isn’t the Man I Married.

hubs

I don’t know if there’s a married person out there who doesn’t cringe at this picture.

Today marks my and the husband’s fourth anniversary. We’ve made it. This far anyway, heh. But I will be the first to admit, my husband is not the man I married four years ago. Nor am I the same wife he married.

Which is why we’ve made it this far.

Four years ago, both of us had very different ideas in mind what marriage was and while we discussed here and there changes in our (then) current relationship that would have positive impacts, we never discussed the how which means changes rarely happened. We each brought different baggage to the ceremony and after the honeymoon (actually during) propped those suitcases on the floor next to our real suitcases in Budapest and opened them up to release a whole lot of destructive shit.

And there we sat. Honestly, by the end of summer I was asking repeatedly why in the world he wanted to marry me so bad when in reality, he didn’t even really like me. I threatened constantly that I’m not going through this again and am ready to bolt (in truth, I’m always ready to bolt. Bolting’s my thing. Think of how terrifying that would be for a man who wanted the security of marriage and my constantly reminding him that a little piece of governmental paper was little defense for me sticking around.)

Boundaries were in place on where fights/arguments COULDN’T go; however, many were pushed right up to that line. I kept asking myself, where is the fucking honeymoon stage? Like, shouldn’t we be able to hold this together for for more than a week or two at a time? What’s the point of being shackled to shit (the bolt in me) if I know peace is fleeting?

It was tough. But we just kept on stepping. Some days being married was enough of an accomplishment, don’t muddy it up with conversation or even laughter. There have even been a couple of Anniversary’s where the last thing I wanted to do was celebrate our marriage. The fact that I was still here should have been enough and truth be told, we’ve just been getting rolling this past year on celebrating things so we ran low on celebration on a good day.

hubs2

It kind of surprised me how many images come up on the google-foo for “fighting couples.” I tried to pick the most dramatic.

About two and a half years ago, things came to a head. Another failed trip where I wanted fun and only got fights and I’d had it. Literally had it. In my mind, I stayed where I would have bolted and good on me and see ya. Life was about to take a very unpleasant turn and I was looking at spending between then and dead without my bigg man. (By the way, I will always own my shit and for the most part can be open in regards to some of my contribution to our situation and never feel bad about it. But I’m not sharing Matt’s in this, his story is his to own to share or not share. While both of us were dancing in destruction, I’ll only reference mine here.)

Anyways.

Dark days behind us, in our midst, and ahead. Big Highland Games we had been looking forward to canceled. OH, on that note…

While this was happening, someone I’ve never met who had been commenting here and there about Games accomplishments decided to step onto my FB Sandbox and lay it out for the world to see that I had pulled out of Pleasanton Games because of some rant I guess I had about the high school behavior of some of the women competing in Highland Games. While I don’t give two shits what is gossiped about me in various circles, if you step onto my computer and make accusations that are baseless, well-it’s game on. (Yes, I’ve heard about people who say that I’ve claimed to be “unbeatable.” I guess the fucking empirical evidence says otherwise because I’ve been beat plenty and not once has it ever stopped me from stepping back up to the Trig or the Platform. Please to fuck off.)  Add the fact that he chose to be confronting to me on my own FB in front of the world, claiming that HE knew anything about me and I need to fess up why I’m not going and really, I give no shits how long you’ve been in the Games. You’re a POS that will never be welcomed on my computer much less my life. The other two people who knew why we pulled out was Matt, and the AD.

Also, there is not one weightlifting meet/strongman competition/highland games that is more important than what’s happening at home. Ever. Those are hobbies. Outlets for some competitive drive but more importantly time spent with those we love doing some fun stuff eating some fun food and drinking all the fun bevvies. But if things aren’t square at home, than everything else gets put on the back burner very quickly.

Sorry not sorry.

Anyways.

That was our turning point. Boxes being packed. Plans being made. Realizations that there is no longer anger, just sadness and hopelessness. And things started changing. One step forward, two steps back. But there WAS a forward and some days that’s all it took to make it that day.

hubs1

Quite honestly, if you did this to Matt after a hot day on the field, I don’t even think he’d care. In fact, hand him a beer after and he’d be a pretty happy guy;)

Soon enough, we were even taking TWO steps forward. Some weeks we’d even go without taking a step back, whoooohooooooo. What changed?

Suddenly staying married was more important than everything else. Words were heard. Words were SAID in different ways. Value was being placed on that little piece of paper. By both of us. We just kept stepping. Threats were no longer allowed. Bolting was put on hold. Other aspects of our lives began to have value where there was none before which greatly impacted how each of us viewed our spouse. (I know, that’s super vague. Don’t you just hate that?)

Six months later and we were still making it. I guess we just decided to go ahead and make a run of it. We had an upcoming weekend in Vegas and we decided it would be fun to renew our vows. The truth? We weren’t renewing our vows, those didn’t work. We made vows to each other

hubs3

I don’t know why this picture is so foggy. Don’t care, I love it.

that we knew were needed to stay married. We then learned that our dear friends, Max and Yvonne, were going to be in Vegas the very same time and we had a wonderful celebration on our hands (and Manhatten’s. I don’t remember how many, but enough that makes me not remember how many;)

After that, everything was perfect. Our marriage was perfect, our communication was perfect. Our fights were perfect…we were just perfect. But not really. In fact, few things changed after that but the few that did got us to Anniversary number 3. A place I never thought I’d see. I’ll take it. Even better, is that the steps forward kept happening. Walls were maybe not removed, but thinned out enough that we could keep connected in spite of them.

Suddenly having a marriage wasn’t just the goal, having a STRONG marriage was sought. One filled with more fun; more laughter; more connection; more peace; more healthy communication; more respect; more honesty; more admiration, more. Honestly, that’s when we started picking up steam.

And here we are. Number four. We are finally entering our honeymoon stage. Which is probably why we protect it more. We talk about potential threats and how to avoid them. Not just threats to our overall marriage but threats to our everyday peace. Little things that add up and cause resentment (Dude, it’s not fucking hard. Just push the toothpaste up from the bottom!) Heh. I don’t say that. I just do it and am thankful for the fact that if the toothpaste is fucked up at the top it means I have my hubs at home for a rare week instead of him being on the road. That’s a good thing.

So ya, my husband is not the man I married. Nor am I the wife he married. If we were, we’d be toast. Neither of us wanted that. Thank goodness. If you are someone who’s marriage just comes easy to you, dudes, good on you! I’ve met people who have said this before, marriage isn’t hard. I dunno, maybe that’s true. It hasn’t been our truth and I’m not afraid of it. What I am is incredibly thankful that I have a husband who I want to be married to and he has a wife HE wants to be married to (assuming.) Heh.

Women seem to not understand, or underestimate, the profound power they have over their husbands.

Dr. Laura

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment