Desperation is the raw material of drastic change. Only those who can leave behind everything they have ever believed in can hope to escape.
So in the last installment, I had just moved out/fled from my family’s house as a teenager to live by myself in a rundown apartment in a sketchy part of town. I get a job at a local comic book store, will have electricity soon, and think: “this is the good life.”
And here is where having a basic education in quick-and-dirty evolutionary biology would have helped me out a great deal, in terms of keeping me safe. But they don’t (or at least, they didn’t) teach that in school—instead, I was presented this rosy picture of how all men and women were equal now and sexism ended shortly after women got the right to vote and how if a woman studies and works hard enough, she can succeed at anything and everyone will be like “yay yay yay” and Lou Grant won’t try to fuck you and then ruin your career when you say no.
But what actually was the situation was this: I was a nubile 16-year-old female with no living father or other male protection-type figure, and no family support. I was completely alone, surrounded by a bunch of older (sometimes much older) males I mostly did not know; many of them dysfunctional with comic books and/or some other similar type hobby their only outlet.
And so whereas I saw myself as this independent earnest young woman who liked reading and wanted to be a writer, and was looking for friends with similar interests—many of them in traditionally male hobbies and such—I was mostly seen by those around me as a potential person to fuck. That was the quick-and-dirty situation.
Then when I did not fuck them, they would often completely freak the fuck out—because that pressed the “ego” button. Didn’t matter that I was 16 and the person in question was, say, 62—the “ego” button got pressed, and so now I might have been a “tempting jezebel,” or was “asking for it,” or was just some awful thing that needed to be wiped off the face of the Earth.
I had become familiar with actual fucking child predators years before; I remember my mom’s boyfriend basically grooming me for pedophilia (though I didn’t fully realize that was what was happening) at home when I was 13, then me having problems at school (obviously) and sent to a male therapist who was most likely also grooming me for pedophilia. And then my mom’s boyfriend (pedo #1) wanting me to stop going into sessions with the therapist (pedo #2).
And the sad fact of the matter is, folks, there were predators EVERYWHERE back then, in the 1980s—not just looking for young women like myself but for young men as well. The church where I got my first communion? Found out later as an adult that my male classmates in the religious instruction courses were being raped by the main priest. My friend Ray, who liked to set things on fire, also attended that same church as an altar boy, and was also molested. For fun he would pass by the church on his bike and chuck stones at the statues of saints.
And then I can go back as young as like 9 or 10 and recall a conversation I had with a classmate on a school bus during a trip…this girl started describing in great graphic detail what I realized as an adult was an orgy she was participating in. That she was participating in at like ten years old, saying shit that…like the absolute worst shit you can possibly imagine.
But you’re told in school that you live in a civilized society. You’re not prepared for 40-year-olds and 60-year-olds who want to fuck you. You’re not prepared for your 10-year-old classmate talking about being in an orgy. And then you watch TV and the movies and most of what you see are these idealized scenarios (though as the 80s went on you got more of these “very special episodes” addressing these topics for like the first time ever).
And so while I was never molested—it came really close & some things looking back on it were probably technically sexual assault, so yes I guess I was molested—I faced a lot of violent rage from these predators. I had one who wanted to shoot me, I had another who attempted to strangle me, stalkers, and etc.
So when I met a 32-year-old man who was interested in spending time with me and shared the same hobbies—but wasn’t really interested in having sex with me (a whole ‘nuther story)—I fucking moved in with him.
I don’t recommend teens do that with adults. Even if sex isn’t involved, there are adult issues just because of the age difference. But it was literally the best situation for me considering all my (shitty) options.
This fellow had like the biggest esoteric/conspiracy/occult/religious collection of books and magazines I had EVER seen in my life. (In fact: I had never seen an esoteric/conspiracy/occult/religious collection of books in my life)
And do you know how I dealt with all my feelings of being humiliated, exploited, and terrified over the years up to that point?
I READ EVERY GODDAMN BOOK IN THIS GUY’S COLLECTION.
Zecharia Sitchin. The Disinfo books. The Feral House books. The RE/Search books. William Burroughs. Grant Morrison. UFO stuff. JFK stuff. Just tons of books and magazines and zines—many of which I would have never had access to in libraries. I read for years. I graduated early from high school, entered college early, got better jobs, bought more books for myself, just kept reading and writing.
It was almost like Batman Begins but for fringe material.
And I don’t regret it for a second. I really don’t.
CONTINUED IN PART 3