Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Aitian Ger

A male friend set me up with a Haitian convert. I didn't know anything about him except that my friend thought the ger was nice and edel. We spoke on the phone tonight and it was very unpleasant for me.

First of all, he speaks softly with a very heavy accent. So it was difficult to understand what he was saying. Second, he absolutely refused to tell me how old he is.

"When you see me, it won't matter," he said.

"How you look doesn't matter," I said. "I look 10 years younger than I am, but I would never try to pretend I'm not 42."

"Forty-two?" he said eagerly. "I am fine with that!"

I'll bet he is fine with that. And that eagerness, along with his evasiveness, tells me he's probably older than 52. Much older. It all just added up to incredibly creepy -- how he tried to make a date after speaking to me for two minutes, how he evaded that very basic question. In fact, he evaded a lot of questions. He said, "I used to go to the Metropolitan Opera."

"Why don't you go any more?" I asked.

He hemmed and hawed before admitting, "Well, because I wear a black hat, it doesn't look right," he said.

Someone that black-hat is never going to be right for me. Someone who lives in Monsey, and keeps cholov yisroel, cannot be right for me. I'm trying to be open to possibilities, but this one was just too unpleasant. I've gone on too many awful dates to have the stomach for any more. And I know I might have been wrong about some men in the past, and I know some of you think I'm too darn judgmental -- but I've developed decent instincts about men, which have been proven right before. I am not going out with men that give me a sinking feeling. I can't do that anymore.

It didn't help that earlier today a particularly ugly man on Jwed decided to email me again, even though I've turned him down several times. I also got an email from another guy I've declined who seems to have made some changes. Before, he was rotund. His new pictures is slimmer. Before, he hadn't finished college. Now he has his bachelor's and calls himself "well-educated." I'm still not particularly attracted to him, but I wonder who he really is, and if he's really not that bad.

I also, on a whim, joined a French dating website, and was shocked to get several emails from cute little Frenchies in their 20s. I'm trying not to let it go to my head. All they could possibly want is a green card -- I couldn't have a future with someone half my age. I really can't see it. I don't want to be with someone much older, and I don't think I want to be with someone much younger either.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Responses to DPB's apology

I posted DPB's entirely inadequate apology on this blog and on Facebook. Here are some of the responses. (If they're from people I haven't already named on this blog, I'm just going to use their initials.)

ANG: I'm speechless. I can't believe he sent that you. Sex offenders don't realize the damage they do :(

Ayelet: I'm pretty sure my mother pressured him to send it because she desperately wants to be back in touch with me. If I wrote back, it would be something along the lines of, "As an apology this is entirely inadequate. However, if I decide to report you to the sex offender registry, it will be quite helpful."

KB: He "needs" to apologise or he wants to? Who benefits from this apology? Why has it taken him so long (two decades) to apologise if he so desperately wanted to? It's a self-serving POS full of "I" statements that focus on how HE feels. Has he changed or is he relying on you being an adult (he presumes without morals or integrity as he is) to now turn a blind eye to his perversions? What an insult.

Ayelet: He hasn't changed. He's a selfish POS.

LMG: It is very difficult to understand how this man thinks but it does look as though he is wanting to make amends. We do need to forgive because it is very harmful to a person spiritually and physically. I am sure your Mother misses you very much and she would like you to come back into her life again. You may not agree with me but I believe it would be a wise decision to forgive and forget because it can lift a heavy burden and 20 years (two decades) is a long time to carry this. Give it to God! I will be praying for you dear friend!

Rabbi Zohar: Your mom wants you to be in touch with someone who shared pornography with you?! Oy.I'm not sure what part of all this is more disturbing. Not sure what the letters to the editor has to do with anything, like the rest of the magazine is ok to share?

BG, PsyD: He writes about (barely) what he did wrong, without any mention of what you experienced, then or since.

LFM: I would not could not accept this as an apology...

JDB: Oh G-d, Ayelet. The truth is that this is the best you're going to get out of him. Did he leave this stuff out for you to read? Pressure you to read it? Or was it a situation like mine where you go into ur folks bedroom and see stuff ya shouldn't see? Either way, I do know this. There is no apology on earth that is going to make your hurt go away. I wish there were but there isn't. I'm afraid you are going to have to get past this on your own, somehow. When the wound is that deep, nothing will make it up.

EB: ?"allowing" you to read... Did you ask him for permission to read it?

Ayelet: Never asked permission to read it; it was just left out everywhere. I want my mother to get rid of him, and she won't. It pisses me off that he has a nice comfortable retirement and I'll be alone.

MFC: All I can say is big hugs to you Ayelet! I am sorry this man hurt you and I am sorry that this is what he considers an apology to assuage that hurt~

And then there was brutally honest Jack, a friend from college, who had his own take on things. We exchanged emails early this morning.

Jack: So what WOULD be an appropriate apology? People really do make mistakes, even terrible ones like this one. It seems to me like your mom and DPB are trying, at least; otherwise why would they bother?

Can you imagine ANY way to get past it? You should either respond with "Thank you for trying, but I'm just unable to get over it. Please don't contact me again unless I contact you first." or "Here is what you will have to do in order to begin repairing the damage..." Either seems better than nursing your anger for the rest of your life.

P.S. My father beat me often in my childhood and emotionally abused everyone around him his whole life. I still forgave him as he was dying, because one learns to be an asshole if one doesn't learn otherwise; the hurt he dealt out was never "evil", it was simply reckless. Fine, he should have known better, but obviously he didn't. We all get hurt by people and we all hurt people in turn. The cycle has to end somewhere.

P.P.S. A threat to use someone's apology, however inadequate, as a legal admission of guilt is beneath you.

I must watch way too many crime shows. I see the apology as prime evidence.

Ayelet: I told my mother to either leave me alone or get rid of DPB. She is unwilling to do either. And as awful as your father was, he didn't ruin your life. Also, as a mandated reporter, I'm kind of obligated to report behavior like this. Especially if my sister visits with her teenage daughters.

Jack: So there is nothing DPB can do, even if he is truly remorseful?

I'm not sure if you can judge whether my father "ruined my life". What I eventually chose to do in response to his actions played at least as much or more of a role in determining that.

Ayelet: Maybe I can't assess whether your dad ruined your life, but the pornography I was exposed to, and consumed, destroyed my chances of finding a husband in my 20s or 30s. By the time I realized what I was doing wrong, it was basically too late. There is nothing DPB can do to change that. I also doubt he's truly remorseful. If you read the letter carefully, it's all about his feelings and his regrets. He's still a selfish degenerate pervert.

And the brutally honest reply that truly hurt, and makes me think, and wonder.

Jack: Our situations are not parallel, and I won't pretend that they are. However, for perspective, I was exposed to my father's Playboy collection when I was pre-teen. I played perverse games with my brother, cousin, and babysitter. I consumed my friends' porn collections in college. I still struggle with porn addiction. And I was frum from birth, I'm still frum. I used to struggle with religious guilt on all counts, and the shock of a failed belief in my father.

But I eventually owned my own reactions to this and dealt with it through rationality, therapy and occasional drugs.

I'm in no position to judge your struggles, but I can't help doing it just a little. Exposure to pornography twisted you for over twenty years? Really? A billion children around the world are exposed to pornography - and worse - on the Internet now; some of them will be twisted by it. They will only avoid responsibility by blaming the pornography (or whomever let them access it) instead of their reactions to it.

"DPB ruined your life"? "DPB destroyed your chances of finding a husband in your 20s or 30s"? Really? You don't own ANY of this? You've been to therapy and were diagnosed and took drugs, and you've never assumed any responsibility for your choices? What would you say to one of your clients who blamed his parents for twenty years of violent crime? A troubled childhood, sure, but into his forties?? When do you stop being a victim?

I've been reading your blog for years now, Ayelet. I love you, I really do. Your impetus to write a blog was to move somewhere; are you moving anywhere? You're pretty, smart, capable, literate, independent, kind, and interesting. But you blame everyone but yourself for your problems and failed relationships, even more than 20 years after the abuse stopped. I understand the impetus; if you're prone to depression, blaming yourself looks like a straight route to suicidal thoughts. But it doesn't have to be; it can be a straight route to acceptance and taking control, and control is the second greatest joy possible.

I think, if this idiot is honestly regretful, that your life will be 100% better once you have forgiven him; it will end the abuse you continue to experience even now. That doesn't mean not warning people about him, if he is not rehabilitated; it means letting go of his poisonous possession of your soul. As for his apology, I don't know if he is sincere. But a true apology is about one's own actions and regrets. He can't own your reactions to his actions. "I'm sorry for "you getting hurt" is an insincere apology. I'm sorry "that I hurt you" is sincere (or at least it is worded so).

I don't know how to respond to that, except that it's not a sincere apology and it's not enough. It's just not.

As for my own role and responsibility in ruining my life: I was already damaged when I met the degenerate pervert. I wouldn't have had a normal adolescence, I was too wounded by my father's death and too "sensitive" (i.e., prodromal, as the pros say, getting ready to develop bipolar disorder). So there's no guarantee I would have lived happily ever after even had I not been exposed to pornography.

But I didn't need to be further damaged, and I was, and now my life will never be close to what I wanted. All I ever wanted was to have a baby, and now it's too late. I was innocent, and he destroyed that innocence. I can't let him or my mother off the hook that easily. I would rather just cut both of them out of my life.

Maybe that's the only way I can forgive them. If they leave me alone for the rest of my life.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Saturday, June 16, 2012

An entirely inadequate apology

At the behest of my mother, I'm sure, her degenerate pervert boyfriend (DPB) sent me this letter:

Ayelet,

I need to apologize for allowing you to read "Penthouse" when you were a teen. Certainly, I had no inkling that the letters to the editor would give you false ideas, but it still was irresponsible. Treating you as one of my gruff peers was wrong. I ought to have been more sensible and maintained a proper adult/youth relationship.

I have sincerely regretted these actions many times in the past two decades. I surely do not merit forgiveness, but allowance could be made for dreadful judgment. Hopefully, then a healing process could begin.

DPB 

Kind of epitomizes "too little, too late." For one thing, he minimizes, just like every sex offender. He leaves out the pornographic novels ("Jessica's Wife" was one of them) and nude photo coffee-table books ("I Am My Own Lover," pictures of people masturbating) he scattered around the house. And understates the damage he did by, for example, encouraging me to consider various sex acts, such as lesbianism. I guess he talks like that with his "gruff peers." Maybe that's the origin of the phrase "billy goats gruff.

When my cousin Yaffa came out as a lesbian, my mother was extremely distraught and told me she did not want me to be a lesbian. So why doesn't she care that DPB encouraged me to try it? She was there! She cut off the conversation, but she allowed him to say shit like, "Girls are nice. Girls are very nice." How could she allow a man like that around her children?

I'm not mollified. At all. Largely because I don't believe a word of it. I'm pretty sure my mother pressured him to send it because she desperately wants to be back in touch with me. If I wrote him back, it would be something along the lines of, "As an apology this is entirely inadequate. However, if I decide to report you to the sex offender registry, it will be quite helpful."
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Happy Withdrawal, Ayelet

Last year I didn't have a birthday party. After the celebration of my 40th with Ivan the Terrible, I didn't think I'd ever want a birthday party again. But I decided to see how many friends I could rustle up to meet me for brunch today, and I'm glad I did, because I had a lot of fun.

It would have been a lot more fun had I been able to eat and enjoy anything. Unfortunately, I've been taking opiate painkillers for my knee pain over the past few weeks -- on kind of an irregular schedule, since some days I have pain and other days I'm fine.  I finally recognized yesterday that I haven't been suffering from occasional bouts of the flu -- sweating, feverish, nauseated -- I was going through withdrawal.

It's ironic that it took me so long to recognize my symptoms -- I'm a drug counselor, after all. I guess I didn't make the connection because I wasn't taking them for fun. I'd be very worried if I was having cravings to take the pills. But actually I don't. I resent having to take them, and I don't use them to help me sleep. I will confess that sometimes I took maybe one more than I actually needed, to enjoy the slight buzz. That stops immediately.

Last night was nightmarish, as I had to get up every hour and run to the bathroom. I'll spare you all the disgusting details, but suffice it to say that I am extremely nauseated and everything moves through me at lightning speed. I was hoping I'd feel better by brunch time, but alas, I did not. It's a crying shame, because I love the food at the restaurant where we met. There were a number of tempting salads and omelets that under other circumstances I would have inhaled. Instead, I got the blandest thing I could imagine stomaching -- banana pancakes -- and ate about a third of them.

It didn't really matter, though, because I had a fantastic turnout. Several of my friends had never met but got along well. Others who knew each other also enjoyed their conversations. Even Harriet and Alona's children seemed to have a decent time. And Alona and one of the other attendees decided to toast me with champagne instead of dessert -- which, since I couldn't really eat cake anyway, I thought was very touching.

I didn't know how happy the party made me until my friend Chassia, who was also there, said she didn't feel like celebrating her birthday in a few weeks because she feels old.

"I did that last year," I told her. "I decided I was too old for a party and just got together with a few people one-on-one. Guess what? This was a lot more fun."

I'm not grateful for the withdrawal, but I am grateful to have friends who care about me so much. I'm not as alone as I like to bemoan that I am.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

"Your friends and family celebrate the gift of YOU!"

That's a message posted on the "real" Ayelet Survivor's Facebook page. So far I've gotten more than 100 messages. I'm really trying to feel happy and blessed by all this, but it's overshadowed by the knowledge that the Guy Ayelet Made Eat Kale (Gamek) is going to dump me tomorrow.

Gamek is very attractive, especially notable since he's 48, which is usually a little old to pique Ayelet's interest. We've had two dinner dates. First date I chose the restaurant. Well, we negotiated. I suggested Cafe Blossom, which is vegan. He hadn't been impressed in the past, so I thought of places on the Upper West Side where men eat meat. I hadn't been to Mike's Bistro since I dated G.I. Josh, and RD-SOB also took me there. But that was a while ago. It's a lot pricier now, but Gamek said that was okay.

We had what I thought was a nice dinner. We shared the chateaubriand, which was Gamek's choice (I was happy with either that or the duck breast) but probably a little too rare for his taste, since he left a very pink chunk of it on his plate, and chocolate mousse cake with raspberry sauce, which is usually splattered on the plate, on the side. At his request. Gamek's apparently something of a picky eater, which I can relate to, as I've been accused of the same.

He walked me home and kissed me on the cheek. He asked if I'd ever gone to the JCC on Shavuot, when they present lectures and programs all night. I said I had in the past. He asked if I'd like to meet him there and said he'd be there around 10. I didn't want to seem too eager, so I got there at 10:25. I didn't see him, he didn't see me, but he called after the holiday and we made plans to go to dinner two nights ago at Ozu. Another vegan restaurant, but one he chose entirely on his own, since I felt bad about the hefty Mike's Bistro price tag and told him to surprise me.

I also suggested Gamek have kale with his wild salmon, instead of root vegetables. Gamely, he ordered it (with teriyaki sauce on the side), but left most of it on his plate. I felt bad, until we went to Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf for dessert and Gamek decided he didn't like any of the options (who doesn't like espresso cheesecake brownies and lemon bars?) and we ended up at Cafe Edgar's. Then Gamek walked me home, kissed me on the cheek and said, "Have a good week."

While I was dating Ivan the Terrible, I prayed it would work and ignored the gut feeling that it wouldn't. Of course, I had a gut feeling after our first date that there wouldn't be a second, but now I've got an even stronger feeling that there won't be a third. Because I told him that today, which happens to be my birthday, I was going to see the transit of Venus with friends. He hasn't called to break up with me tonight -- yet. He tends to call rather late. But he's probably going to wait until tomorrow, at least, to say he's not interested. I feel it in my gut.

It's been my plan to give up at age 50. (I've been researching methods, but all of the "painless suicide" Google searches just lead you to people who don't want you to die. Very inefficient.) But with so many friends and family loving me, I need to amend that decision. As long as I'm not in excruciating physical pain or unbearable circumstances (and I do reserve the right to define what's unbearable), I guess I will try to hold out a little longer. But I don't think I'll be able to attend my nieces' weddings as a spinster. I think that would just break my heart more than it's already broken, because as much as I love them, I will be drowning in bitterness and it will be like dancing in red-hot iron shoes.

So there's no set expiration date. I will have to wait and see how things are after 50. In other news, the knees are responding to the chiropractic and the respite. I go back to work next Monday. I have jury duty the Monday after that, which I see as kind of a relief.
Copyright (c) "Ayelet Survivor"