March 30, 2009

Excerpt from a story-in-progress

This is from a long story I started a few months ago and am struggling to finish. However, I've been feeling inspired lately and I'm going to try to finish it soon.

After the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal, things seemed to cool down substantially during the Bush II years. Whatever indiscretions he might have had were kept tightly under wraps. So too was the Obama administration lacking in stained dresses. Of course, senators and congresspeople and judges were having sex scandals come to life all the time. But senators and congresspeople and judges do not have the celebrity that presidents do, and so memories of those transgressions faded quickly. And while people still occasionally snarked at the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal, they generally assumed that such massive scandals were in the past.

Unfortunately, 2018 was the year that would shake the American people from their ridiculous delusions. Halfway through his first (and only) term as President, Anthony Stone was caught with his pants down - literally. However, he was not in the White House at the time. Instead, Stone was found in a corridor of a movie theater, receiving a blow job from a member of the secret service. The people weren't sure if it would have been worse for him to be caught in the White House or not. At least when enjoying a movie, the people knew that Stone was engaging in a scandal during his leisure time. Nor were they sure if receiving a blow job from a member of the secret service was better or worse than receiving one from an intern. But these debates aside, the American people made a point of being outraged.

And nobody used their outrage to their advantage better than Lisa Finn, the candidate who had lost to Stone in 2016. Finn, the first female candidate for president to make it through the primaries, thought she had it in the bag. She didn't have the abrasive, unfeminine qualities that people imagined and disliked in Hillary Clinton. Meanwhile, she could hold her own intellectually, read newspapers, and didn't feel the need to wink at the camera, unlike a certain politician who Finn was the reason that a conservative woman couldn't make it past the primaries when Obama ran for re-election. But without an incumbent in 2016, Finn flew threw the primaries and scored the Republican Party nomination without breaking a sweat. Finn and Stone put up a good fight, with polls placing them neck and neck throughout the campagin season. Finn worked hard, and was sure she was going to win. The Republicans did schism during the Obama presidency; the more libertarian-style Republicans kept the name, while the more religious, socially conservative politicians formed the Religious Right Party. But Finn was convinced that she could get the Republican voters, a few of the more liberal members of the Religious Right Party, and a good number of those feminist Democrats who she was convinced were desperate to see a woman as the Commander in Chief. However, her assessment of feminist Democrats had been incorrect. Obama's rousing two-term presidency had left voters yearning for another Democrat in the White House. Democrats turned out in droves to vote for their candidate. Even some of the more liberal Republicans went Democrat again. And Finn couldn't rouse many members of the Religious Right. So while the race seemed fairly close, Stone actually won by a landslide.

But the scandal was the perfect opportunity for Lisa Finn to get revenge. She let go of her more libertarian beliefs and unleashed a new conservative side of her personality and politics. She spearheaded a campaign to bring morality back into politics - as official policy. Finn went beyond America's inherited Puritan obsession with morality. No, she went back farther - from a Protestant tradition to a Catholic one. She went to the legislature and campaigned for a new requirement for the office of the Presidency: celibacy for the duration of his (or her, she was sure to add) presidency. It was not entirely reasonable, of course, to assume that the 35-year-old person who ran for president would not be married at that point, and of course Finn and other conservatives did not want to encourage people delaying marriage in hopes of becoming President. So Finn amended the proposed rule to note that should a president be married, he or she would be required to live apart from his or her spouse for the duration of the presidency.

The voters never thought it would pass. Even those who were furious at President Stone thought it was outlandish to place that much control over another person, no matter how much of a public figure she or he might be. There was a sizeable minority of conservatives who believed that Finn was doing the right thing in setting forth such a proposal, but most people saw the act of revenge as it truly was. However, it seems that politicians are an inbred bunch who had been carefully selected for their inability to reason or think clearly. The Democrats, rightfully paranoid about their political standing, overwhelmingly agreed to the law. The Republicans, wanting party unity, overwhelmingly agreed to the law. And the Religious Right, always interested in controling the population's sexual habits, also overwhelmingly agreed to the law, effective when the next President took office. Because Anthony Stone decided to resign soon after the law passed, Russell Coren was put in the awkward position of trying to decide whether or not to actually take over the presidency, per his job description. His wife Lauren, sick of being overshadowed by his political ambitions, decided to make life easy, and told him that if he decided to take office, she would divorce him. Russell, never one to let his emotions get in the way of his ambitions, took office, and Lauren was off filing the divorce papers during the ceremony.

When Russell Coren moved into the White House on his own, and realized that he didn't even have a wife to support him through phone calls and e-mails, he realized what a mistake he had made. He had given up everything all for the sake of ambition, and for nothing. He was so distraught over the loss of his wife that anyone who might have suspected him of cheating on the new rule would have been mistaken. Nobody could tempt him from the vow of celibacy, for his days and nights were haunted by memories of his marriage. His term was quiet, without mistake, without scandal, and without many attempts at great change. He seemed to be nothing more than a temp, filling in until the real leader could take charge. When the year and a half was up, he did not seek to run for re-election. Instead, he decided to return to his hometown and try to reconcile with Lauren. Lisa Finn won that year by a landslide.

Finn's first term went well enough. She was largely popular, especially because she swang back towards her more moderate stance. While she occasionally reminded people that she was the one who brought purity back into the White House, she was otherwise tolerable, if not likeable. She won re-election easily. At the end of Finn's second term, the Democrats still had not been able to get themselves organized enough to overcome the ten-year-old scandal. While their candidate, Zara Phillips, put up a good fight, the public's general opinion was that the democrats were being disingenous, and had somehow, en masse, all decided to run Phillips simply because she was a woman. There were also convinced that the Democrats were simply sexual scandalmakers. First Clinton, then Stone. In the public's eye. the damage was irreparable. The Democrats could not be trusted to protect the country's morals. After all, they thought, all the Democrats did when the scandal broke was sit around and act sorry. A Republican was the one responsible for legislating the problem away. Furthermore, Finn had been a model president, bringing no scandal upon her party. So the Republican candidate, Simon Richter, won by a landslide. Richter's wasn't an earth-shaking presidency. There were no scandals, but there were no major political triumphs, either. Still, he did well enough to earn a second term. By the end of those eight years, the Democrats barely existed; they were basically just another third party. There were still a few Democratic enclaves: Washington state, Oregon, Massachussetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware, New York. But the rest of the nation remained decidedly Republican. Even California had fallen under the push for morality. When Richter's second term came to an end, the Democrats hardly put up a fight; very few people remembered the candidate's name after the fact. Lisa Finn's cousin, Lydia Worth, won without even trying. And not only was she the second woman President of the United States, she was also the youngest President ever elected, turning thirty-six just days after her inauguration.

The first year of Lydia Worth's presidency went smoothly. As much as the more liberal-leaning voters disagreed with her (and her party in general), the Democrats had to admit that at least she (and her Republican predecessors) had not ruined the prosperity ushered in by Obama and bolstered by Stone. Then, at the beginning of Worth's second year, her husband filed for divorce. While Lisa Finn's husband and Simon Richter's wife had been perfectly martyred presidential spouses, each staying faithful for eight years, Ryan Levin was sick of sacrificing after just one year. First, Lydia had refused to take his name when they got married - fifteen years later, Ryan still seethed at that insult. Thn came Lydia's ruthless ambition and dedication to her political career. She had even denied Ryan the right to have children when, after five years of marriage, he had been ready to start a family and she had decided that she was too focused on her career at the moment to be sidetracked by a baby. For the next ten years, it was never the right time in her career to pause for a baby. After three of those years, she stopped responding "I want one too, honey, but it's not the right time." She seemed to even cease wanting. And so Ryan Levin watched his friends' children grown up, and saw his nieces and nephews develop from babies to adults, always wondering what had happened to the good conservative he had married, the woman who was supposed to make an ideal political wife. And now, she had put hserlsef in a position that would keep them apart for at least for years. And I know she'll run for a second term, he thought. She's too ambitious not to try for it. After the first year, he was done. He knew he was never going to get his way. He didn't even offer Lydia the option ot resign and return to their marriage. He simply filed for divorce.

The divorce was a minor scandal, but one that Lydia Worth knew she could use to her advantage if she played her cards right. She settled out of court quickly, saying that she did not want to be distracted from her duties to the American people. She gave into all of Ryan's demands (although they were few, as he had kept up his own lucrative career and salary in hopes of supporting children and a housewife, and he was too proud to ask for alimony), and made none of her own. She made herself look like a generous spouse who wanted to resolve the conflict without dragging things out for months or years. The divorce was finalized in six weeks.

In June of Lydia Worth's second year as President, she was faced with a particularly difficult decision: how she could secretly obtain a pregnancy test. What she would do if the test came up positive had not even crossed her mind, as obtaining and taking a test in secrecy was problematic enough. For even a pregnancy test was enough of an admission that she had broken her vow of celibacy. Of course, she could not just walk into a drugstore and purchase one off the counter. Perhaps one of her Secret Service agents could do so, but she wasn't entirely sure that they could be trusted with that information. Furthermore, what were to happen if the cleaning staff found the used test in the trash? If she went to a doctor, the whole world would know sooner or later. Even if she said that she went to the gynecologist for her routine well-woman exam, whose to say that somebody in the office wouldn't betray her? She could probably have a doctor visit the White House, but then again, there was the trust issue. Without knowing what else to do or who she could turn to, she called her childhood best friend.

"Melanie, I need help."

"Surely you don't need this high school teacher to give you advice on educational policy?"

"Mel, this is serious. And I'm afraid to tell you over the phone. I need to see you."

"Well, lucky for you I'm not teaching summer school this year. I'll be on a train tomorrow morning. Should I leave Mike with the impression that everything's okay?"

"That's probably for the best. I mean, I trust him to keep a secret, but there's no reason he should be forced to keep that secret. What are you going to tell the kids?"

"Oh, Julia left for her ballet camp last week. Now that Craig has his driver's license and a full-time summer job, he's not around too much, so I doubt he'll miss me. He might not even notice I'm gone."

"Thank you, Mel. You have no idea how much I appreciate this."

"No thanks needed. I need the vacation and I need to see you, no matter what you're going through."

"Let me know when your train will arrive; I'll arrange for a car to pick you up."

"Thanks. See you tomorrow."



Melanie Stewart arrived in Washington, D.C. just in time for lunch. She was driven to the White House, where she was then escorted to the dining room. Melanie and Lydia hugged for a long time before sitting down to eat.

"Would you mind giving us some privacy over lunch?" Lydia asked the Secret Service agents.

"But Madame President -"

"I have known Ms. Stewart since I was ten years old. I want to have a completely private conversation with her. She can be trusted." The guards left, under protest.

When they were finally alone, Lydia looked at her friend. "Mel, I think I'm ruined."

"What's wrong?"

"I think I need a pregnancy test."

Melanie dropped her fork. "A what?"

"You heard me. Please don't make me say it again; I'm terrified of who might overhear it."

Melanie nodded. "So what are you going to do?"

"I don't know. I mean, I can't go out and buy a test in public. I thought about sending someone, but I can't risk the betrayal. I can't risk the betrayal of a doctor, either. There's nobody that I trust."

"So you want me to buy it for you."

"Would you?"

"Of course. Now, how are we going to arrange it. I should probably take a car myself, without any agents or anything. I should just look like a normal member of the populace."

"They'll probably search you when you come back."

"I can't get a better security clearance?"

"I think it's just paranoia."

"Do you think I could get away with just keeping it in my purse? I'll buy something else so there will be something in the drugstore bag."

Lydia started to panic. "This is not going to work. This is not going to work. Somebody is going to see it. Somebody is going to figure it out."

"Relax. Okay, I won't do it that way. Just take me out for dinner tonight, okay? We'll go from there."

On the way to dinner, Lydia whispered "Should I order wine?"

"Well, you don't even know yet. Maybe it's nothing. Maybe it's the delayed stress of the divorce. Maybe it's an iron deficiency."


"Would you even want to keep it, if the test was positive?"

"I don't know. I can't even think that far. I can only focus on getting the test."

"Does Ryan know?"

"Why would Ryan need to know?"

"Because - I mean - He is the hypothetical father, right?"

"No, he's not."

"Oh. Okay. Does the hypothetical father know?"

"No, and I don't think there's any reason to say anything right now."

"That's for the best."

At dinner, Lydia did have a glass of wine. They chatted about Melanie's children, her plans for the next school year, her summer off. Melanie did her best to distract Lydia from the situation before her. For the most part, it worked. Lydia more or less forgot that not only was she in a tough situaiton right now, there was at least a 50% chance that it was going to get worse.

On the way home, however, Lydia became anxious again.

"Don't worry," Melanie said, spotting a CVS a few blocks ahead.

"Excuse me, would you mind stopping in that CVS?" she called to the driver. "I need to pick something up."

A Secret Service agent tried to escort Melanie into the store. "Can I have my privacy, please?"

"Let her go," Lydia said.

When Melanie returned a few minutes later, she had a box of tampons in her bag. The test was concealed in an inner pocket of her purse, just in case. She ended up not having needed to take the precaution, but she and Lydia both felt safer knowing she had taken extra care to keep the secret safe.

Upon arriving back at the White House, they rushed up to Lydia's bedroom like scared high school girls trying to keep a secret from Lydia's parents. Melanie pulled the box out of her purse and handed it to Lydia.

"I can't do this."

"You have to."

Lydia reluctantly walked into the bathroom, and emerged a minute later.

"How much time do I have to wait?"

Melanie checked the box. "Three minutes."

"That's three minutes too long."

"I think every woman says that."

Neither knew what to say in those three minutes. Lydia didn't know what she wanted, and Melanie didn't know how to comfort her. They both flopped back on the bed and stared up at the ceiling until Melanie's watch beeped that the test was done.

Lydia jumped off the bed and ran to the bathroom. The silence spanned twenty seconds before Melanie decided to follow her.

"Two pink lines." Lydia's voice had gone weak.

Melanie hugged her friend. "It's going to be okay."

"I don't know what to do."

"You don't have to know that right now. It's okay. You have a few days to think it over."

"Do I have to tell him?"

"Do you want to tell him?"


"Then don't say anything until you know what you want."

"What am I going to do?"

"You're going to go to bed early. You're going to carry on tomorrow as if nothing is wrong. You're going to think about what you want. And you'll figure it out."

March 29, 2009

Excerpt from a story-in-progress

This is the opening to a story I'm still drafting. It's coming along slowly - I've hit a lot of stumbling blocks - but I like where it's going. Please excuse the bad French - I don't actually speak the language, and am working with Google Translator for now. I'll be having someone who speaks French work with me during the revision process.

Jaqueline hung back slightly as her girlfriends burst into the military dance. She was still insecure about the loss of her family's status, and even though the war in Europe had recently been won, her country was still in shambles and the military's continued, although decreasing, presence was still unnerving. She never quite trusted the soldiers of any country, not the Americans, not even her own. They all seemed too powerful
Her friends paired off with soldiers, but she was left to her own devices. Her self-consciousness left her looking unapproachable, and she was too shy to make eye contact with anyone. Then, she felt someone tap her shoulder.
“Howdy, may-duh-moy-zelle.”
Jaqueline turned to see a short, tanned man. “Bon soire.”
“Y'all speak English?”
She was confused as to what he meant by “y'all,” and decided he had been referring to her entire group. “Yes, we all do, but not equally well. Marie and I are the most advanced, Emma does reasonably well, but Colette never applied herself and has a rather halting vocabulary.”
“And who are these other ladies yer speakin' about?”
“My friends, who are dancing. You did ask about us all – I thought you saw them on the floor.”
The soldier chuckled. “I guess they don't teach “y'all” up here. I was just asking about you. And you answered my question. So how'd you learn to speak English so good?”
Jaqueline winced at his poor grammar; her education had not taught her about colloquial perversions. “Before the war, my family was wealthy. I had an excellent education. I learned Latin in addition to English.”
“So you're smart, then.”
“My Latin has never been excellent, just passable. Even my English is not perfect. But I work hard.” Mais je parle votre langue mieux que vous.
“Well, now, you do just fine. Would you like to dance.
Jaqueline smiled, inwardly condescending and not sure she wanted to dance with a man who could barely speak his own language. “Oh, I'm not a very good dancer.”
“Well, that makes two of us.”
Juste une danse. Il ne sera pas trop mauvaise. “Then yes, I will dance.”
The soldier had not been lying when he said he was a terrible dancer. Jaqueline pretended to be bad so as not to hurt his feelings. The song ended, and they remained on the floor. Three songs later, he asked if she would like a drink.
Oui, s'il vous plaît.”
He looked confused.
“You have not been in France very long. It is a common phrase; most soldiers pick it up in a few days.” He looked hurt. Jaqueline sighed. “Yes, I would like a drink.” She felt the need to protect his ego. “In which part of the United States do you live?” she asked as they sat down with their beverages.
“Texas. A little town called Falfurrias. Beautiful place, real quiet, spacious.”
“Will you go back when you are relieved of your military duties?”
“Yup. I've been away for pert near two years, stationed around Europe. It's been a real learnin' experience, but I miss my home.”
“And what will you do when you return?”
“Why, I'll go back to workin' on the family ranch.”
“And – and what is a ranch?”
“It's – you don't have ranches here? Well, it's like a farm. Y'all got farms here, right?”
“Yes, yes we do. I think I understand.”
“And what do you do?”
“Right now, not much. I am trying to find work to help support my family, but jobs are scarce right now. I make a little money as a tutor for the children of still-wealthy families. Perhaps I will join the rebuilding efforts – hopefully there will be more money in that field.”
“But a lady like you shouldn't have to do work like that.”
“If it means feeding my family, it's what I'll do. You cannot tell me that the women in your country do not work hard.”
“It's just different, is all. Supportin' the ranch and raisin' a family and maintainin' a home is one thing, but construction work ain't ladylike.”
“I'd rather eat than be a lady.”
They avoided eye contact for a few minutes, both of them irritated. Finally, the solider shrugged and smiled. “It occurs to me that we haven't been properly introduced. I'm Henry Cotting, private first class.”
“Jaqueline de Veaux.”
“Well, may-duh-moy-zelle de Veaux, I'm pleased to make your acquaintance.”
“Jaqueline concealed a grimace with a smile. “Likewise.”
“May I have another dance?”
Un soir, avec un Américain. Il ne sera pas trop mauvaise. “Yes, you may.”
At the end of the evening, Henry brought Jaqueline her coat. “May I see ya tomorrow?”
“Oh, I don't – I mean, my father is very old-fashioned.”
“Well, of course I'll havta meet him. Don't worry, I'll be on my best behavior.”
“He is very strict.”
“I promise, I'll be a true gentleman. And anyway, any heat I'll have to take will be worth it if it means I get to spend more time with you.”
“He will be suspicious. Of your intentions. After all, you will be returning to America soon.”
“I have a month left here. And I promise, I will be completely honorable.”
Eh bien, c'est juste un dîner. Et je suis sûr que mon père va le conduire loin. “All right, you may visit me tomorrow for dinner if you're willing to risk my father's temper.
“Much obliged, may-duh-moy-zelle.”

March 28, 2009

Untitled Prose Poem

By all appearances I have lost my way. But I do not feel disoriented. What would I say if confronted by the professors who expected brilliant research? What would I say to the people who oriented me towards a simplistic vision of success? Would I explain that I had fallen off the path and into a ditch? Or would I tell them that the path was not wide enough, and that there weren't enough forks. Would I explain that at 25 I have only just begun to push the limits of my professional imagination? And that I am not lost but exploring? And that while the path is well-lit, I do not feel compelled to return because I do not miss the clarity, and my night vision is decent. And although I wander, I am not aimless. And someday, I will find home. Or perhaps just a new path.

March 24, 2009

Confession Tuesday

When I travel for work, I have the TV on in my hotel almost constantly. I feel lonely when I travel, and I like to have lots of background noise to distract me from the fact that I'm traveling with people I'm not close to, and missing my friends back home. It's distracting. I should focus on enjoying the solitude. But I just don't feel right when I'm alone in a hotel, and I feel better when I have constant distraction.

March 21, 2009


It’s a fish. It doesn’t need a snorkel
any more than it needs a bicycle.
Why fix it, what was
broken in the first place?

Do we need to change the face?

Tangled up in
manic evolution.
The lines, the space
under constant manipulation.

What about enhancement
through simplification?
(Do I really need to keep this man around
gathering dust and boredom
when I have no intention of procreation?)

I can breathe, I can swim
relying solely on gills and fins.
Navigation made easier
without augmentation.

March 20, 2009

Offense 3

A college hippie walks down Guadalupe
with a placard saying
"Sometimes, being offended
is very healthy for you."

Is he protesting those of us
who protest the New York Post
and PETA
is he revealing his middle-class
pseudo-socialist white privilege?

Or is he protesting the rest of Texas
with their normal hills and plains
who get offended by
the capitol liberals?

The light changes, the signal
activates, we walk past
each other, I smile but
to our own dismay, I
do not ask any questions.

March 17, 2009

Confession Tuesday

I took a 2-hour lunch today in order to spend some time with my boyfriend.

In April, I'll be coming into a significant sum of money, and I'll be using it to quit my job and spend more time on my writing.

I admit, I never really know what to confess here. I just like doing this. It's a good way to keep me in the habit of posting when I don't have something more literary to put up.

March 16, 2009

Offense 2

"I never thought I'd hear you say that
about your own grandchild."

"One sin deserves another - just
abort so nobody will see what you've done."

"Now's as good a time as any
accept it, I'm having a baby."

"Good luck supporting that child on
your minimum-wage jobs."

"He's taking a job in Texas and I've
decided to make us a family."

"What gives you the right to
abandon your home and people?"

"Where I raise my child is a choice
in and of itself."

"What gives you the right to deprive me
of my grandchild?"

"I'd rather my baby not know its
grandparents than not know its father."

"You let him knock you up and then
you let him take you away?"

"Well, there's nothing to be done now, but
I'll be back for Christmas with the family.l"

"Do you think you will remain my daughter
after this insult?"

"Sometimes being offended
is very healthy for you."

March 13, 2009

Offense 1

This draft is part of a series I started after walking on the UT campus and seeing a person carrying a sign that said "Sometimes Being Offended is Very Healthy For You."

Offense 1

Sometimes being offended
is very healthy for you
when the insult triggers
a catharsis that
leaves you sobbing
until you have leaded
all the toxins.
Or when an attack
shatters the mirror of
your reflection and
you can no longer
gaze inward but are
required to walk
out the door and
into the world.

March 10, 2009

Confession Tuesday

Dorla Moorehouse is not my real name.

I chose this name in part as a way to honor my grandmothers; this pseudonym is a combination of their first and last names. I feel that writing this pseudonym allows me to honor these women who did not have the freedom to pursue their creative interests because they were too busy raising children and being housewives.

I also selected this name as a way to feel more free in my creative writing. I often like to write about very personal subjects, and I feel safer doing so when I am not writing under a different name. Plus, I feel it adds another layer of protection for other people who figured into my work. Not only are their names disguised, but when I use a different one as well, that means there are fewer ways to identify real people. And therefore I feel I can truly "be myself" when I am writing under a pseudonym.

March 8, 2009

Austin Car Accident

She tried to evade the
black Corvette that
maliciously sped through
the red at 7th and Colorado

She tried to dash out of
the oncoming headlights,
to scoot to safety

But just a peck of bad timing -
and she was pinned against the wall -
two broken legs,
embedded glass

March 7, 2009

March Goals

One of the ways I'm focusing on getting back into writing is through setting goals for myself. Here are my goals for March, as well as my progress (if any has been made):

  1. Submit a poem to the Poetry for Mugs contest. (Done)
  2. Submit something to the Glass Woman Prize.
  3. Submit an entry to the Eric Hoffer Award for Short Prose.
  4. Send copies of my novel draft to 3 readers.
  5. Read and comment on drafts for my friends who are reading my novel.
  6. Finish revising draft 4 of my novel.
  7. Read and mark up draft 5 of my novel.
  8. Attend a poetry reading of some kind.

March 5, 2009



What could be more sacred
than our saturated skin?
Legs crossing, thighs on thighs
coals smolder in our eyes

What could be more holy
than this stoic dance of sin?
Hands like knives, never fly
Passionate? It's all a lie.

March 2, 2009

Excerpt from essay-in-progress

(This is a very personal piece, something I'm working on probably as an essay, maybe as a zine. It's part of the first draft, towards the end.)

IV. Two Narratives

I wonder if the reason I never told my parents I was (being) molested, and why I didn't think about the actual event until years later, was because I knew even at age six that I could not trust my parents to believe me or protect me. I remember how my mom yelled at me the night I attempted suicide, how she claimed to be so terribly inconvenienced, how disingenuous she was during my treatment. How she would not allow me to have doctor-patient confidentiality with my therapist. How she never seemed to care about what my problems were or what caused them, only how she could fix them fast and cover them up so that her life would not be disrupted and she would not be the center of a scandal. I think that if I had gone to her when I was a child, either when I was being molested or a few years later, that she would have been angry at me for allowing the rape to happen, angry that she would have to put me in therapy and keep me safe, that she would have to pursue a criminal investigation and be involved in a lawsuit that would make her even more unpopular in the community. I do not believe she would have wanted to help me; I think she would have blamed me for allowing myself to become a victim. And perhaps this is the reason I hate thinking of myself as a victim, because I know victimhood would make my mother angry. I still want her approval, and approval rests on not being a victim.


Maybe I never went to my parents because I knew they would make me a victim. If I went them, they would force me into the center of the scandal. They would have forced me into therapy without taking the time to see if I liked the doctor I worked with, if it would actually help me. They would have refused to listen to me if I wanted a say in what was going on. They would have become even more overprotective, they would have restricted me even more than they already had or would. I would grow up coddled and soft and unable to survive or be independent or egalitarian. Telling my parents would have resulted in greater victimization than the actual rape. Perhaps this is why I never tried to call CPS and get out of my family; I knew I would become a victim of the system. I knew the best way to survive was to keep quiet and get out when I was able to be independent. Allowing CPS to take me away would have made me more of a victim than anything my parents did to me. I fear that self-identifying as a victim would lead to further victimization, and I just don't want any more. I am afraid to lose even more agency than has already been taken from me. I am afraid that admitting what has happened to me will somehow make me lose even more control.


There are two possible narratives for my past. It is impossible to know which version is true. Or perhaps they are both true to some degree. Or maybe neither are true and there is another explanation I have not found yet.