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Where did i leave off...oh yeah. New Hampshire. July 1995.
For some reason, perhaps it was the guilt or perhaps it was the fact that I knew it was "wrong," i felt the need to tell someone. It's definitely not the easiest thing to do nor is it something that I ever wish upon anybody. My best friend Matt was over and we were just shooting the shit. It occurred to me that I should tell him. I have no idea why...clearly i trusted him beyond. After divulging my embarrassing story, he was stunned. He was only 17 as well...what did we both know? He advised me to tell my parents, and then the police. He knew it was wrong too. I must acknowledge him and thank him profusely for being an amazingly supportive 17-year old. Would you believe that we crafted a letter together in order to tell my parents a little bit about what had happened? We left it upstairs on their bed.
TELLING MY PARENTS:
The only problem was my parents didn't get home that night until right before I did. Therefore, when i clumsily walked up the stairs to say good night, they had only JUST read the letter. Oh shit! I remember very distinctly my mother was catching her breathe to the right of their enormous victorian-style canopy-bed, letter in hand and my father was clutching his chest pacing on the left side of the bed. I really don't remember what happened in that conversation. At that point, i had only gleaned in my letter that "something had happened" with "Wilson" at work and that i was fine. (I'm sure my parents will help me re-collect when i speak to them next!) As always, they knew just what to say and just what to do. I really hope i can be half of the father/mother my parents were to me...especially in situations like those.
For the next week, my parents were watching me like a hawk, making sure i truly was okay. Obviously it took me another week to finally uncover the details of what that "something" was...and naturally, i left another note, this time more graphic and more honest. That was the letter where I told them pretty much what i had confessed to all of you last week. It was more shocking and more troublesome. I left the note on a Saturday evening, again, on their beautiful canopy-bed. At work for the next 2 hours, i was a nervous wreck. My mother actually called the restaurant and told me something to the effect of, "I had to come home at once. Tell the restaurant my father was in an accident, and i needed to go to the hospital at once." I am a horrible liar...as everyone knows, so i did the best i could, then left. On the 12-14 minute drive home, i think my heart stopped about four times. I know because i could feel it beating the entire time. I was nauseous. I felt gross, disgusted. Truth be told, i think i even took the longer way home because i was terrified of what was about to happen.
THE GAME PLAN:
When I arrived home, my whole family was sitting on the couches waiting for me to join them. Again, i can't remember much of that conversation either. I'm not just playing dumb or avoiding the reality...i honestly don't remember much except for the amazing amount of support and encouragement that my parents immediately displayed to me (Thanks Mom, Dad, and Shayna). Besides the fact that they were besides themselves and wanted to go strangle "Wilson" (my sister included, i'm sure), nope...instead, they made a game plan. The next morning my father would march us to work and speak to the Manager of the supermarket. My sister and I would immediately quit the establishment. We would then go to the police. Finally, we were lawyering up. Lastly, they would NOT let me go to Sarah Lawrence College (2 months later) unless i agreed to therapy now and therapy at college!!! Touche my friends, they had planned it all. (Now i know where i get my ability to make a plan attitude.)
I do have to say that going to sleep that night, i felt an enormous weight had been lifted from inside of me after that discussion with my parents. I no longer had to hide it. I no longer had to be embarrassed about it, and I no longer had to be beyond ashamed about it. Unfortunately, with the huge relief of my emotional turmoil also came the total and utter destruction of my bowels. Holding that type of emotional information in for so long physically destroyed my colon, and for years after, when my emotions got the better of me, I would have horrible colon spasms and diarrhea. As a Professional Dancer, it certainly made my life challenging. LOL.
On Monday, the plan was fully executed. My sister and I were done at the Supermarket. My parents and I went to the local Police. Unfortunately (as my mother refreshed my memory), the local Chief of Police was reluctant to take the case because of his longtime friendship with the owner of the Supermarket. So, just like me, my parents went bigger and better. We went to the larger town's police station where I became pretty close with the Chief of Police there. I should have, i spent the next 6 weeks with him on multiple occasions.
As we lawyered up, it became clear quickly that criminally it would be very difficult to prosecute him, as it would be the first case of its kind in the New Hampshire Criminal Court Systems and it would end up being a "Wilson" vs. Seth, his word against my word situation, UNLESS we got a strong confession. So, what did i do? After telling my story again and again with my parents in the room, lawyers in the room, and policemen in the room, we had concocted a plan whereby I would contact "Wilson" with a legal 3rd person tap and fearlessly try and get "Wilson" to cough up to the facts of the case. I had to be explicit and I had to be completely and 100% sincere and honest while trying to catch him. Since I had never called him at home, he would probably know something was up...or his attorneys would have advised him against speaking to me at all costs. Plus, after following him for some weeks at that point, the police had pinpointed 6:45-7am as the best time to contact him. We tried on several occasions on different days to contact him, to no avail. Finally, toward the middle of August, i managed to catch him at home. Being the person who he was, he spoke to me...and much more than he should have. As i explicitly relayed the details of what happened, he would only say, "it didn't happen that way"...clearly, he was coached for the conversation. It wasn't enough. My weeks of preparation had failed me.
That was the toughest part of the whole 6-year battle with him and the Supermarket - those weeks that i spent with the Police. They were incredible too, by the way. They were extremely kind and went way above and beyond the call of duty, in my opinion, to try and NAIL this old pervert (they used to call him). In the end, the attorneys, my parents, and I decided that a criminal case would completely interrupt my life, my schooling, and I might be crucified on the stand again and again by the defending attorney. It was just too much of an uphill battle and the attorneys were steadfast that we could do more overall damage to the Supermarket (and "Wilson") if we dragged them through a very long litigation process. That's just what it was, 6-long years of back and forth. My attorney did the best he could to allow me to flourish in College and in Ecuador. Things started heating up however when i arrived back in the United States.
Speaking of Ecuador, miraculously, after being a vegan/vegetarian for more than 2 years at College, the year i spent in Ecuador cleared my bowels right up. I only had one or two bouts of what i used to call, Exploding Diarrhea (LOL)...but the rest of the year, i was perfect. In fact, it cleared me up so well that in times of great emotional distress (to this day), and only those times, does my colon spasm or "act up" as I like to call it. Thank God for Ecuador.
During the years 1999, 2000, and 2001, from time to time, i would receive calls from the attorney asking me questions, or telling me the details or the latest injunctions on the case. Given these situations, I always embraced the fact that i would need to tell my partners, as it would always take me a bit of time to bounce back into my life...after one of those phone calls. In early 2001, the negotiations started heating up. Eventually, after 6 years, we settled on a number between the Supermarket and myself. Clearly, i can't talk about the details of this number, other than to say, i was a little disappointed. However, we had definitely made our point, not only in our small town, or with the Supermarket, but also with the State of New Hampshire, as it was the first case of its kind to hit the Civil Courts as well. Woohoo! I know that i changed a great deal about man-on-man sexual abuse/harassment charges in New Hampshire...and I am proud of that.
To Be Continued...
Part 3. It's important to tell the story, but it's also important to not only encourage others to tell their stories, but to embrace their stories, and heal from their stories. Therefore, Part 3 will be what i learned about myself, what i learned about life, and how even writing this i continue to heal (and i thought i had accepted this situation at 100%). There's always more work to be done!
BTW - there's more to this story...oh yes...there's more...but I have to leave you wanting more and i have to make sure you will want to buy the book, should i choose to write it, or go see the movie, should i choose to write that. Several of you have requested that I do just that, either a book or a movie...and it's got me to thinking.
THINGS TO REMEMBER:
1) No matter what the hurt or pain, the events can be healed. Talk to me, i can help you do it!!! I'm opening my Life Coaching practice again.
2) As i always say, if you LOVE the blog, tell everyone. If you HATE the blog, give me feedback, bitches!!!
3) Lastly, if you ask me what i think about the whole situation in North Carolina and other states who make decisions like these, the people live in FEAR and have not been EXPOSED to enough Modern Family, Ellen, a little Brokeback, Queen Latifah, etc... I believe deep down they all KNOW that the world is changing and there will be equal human rights sooner than they would like. It will happen. Who's with me? Can i get an Amen up in here???
Lots of love,
P.S. If you want to join my "Smile From the Inside" distribution list (google group) and haven't do so already, please visit the following website: https://groups.google.com/d/forum/smilefromtheinside