things are’nt always the way they appear-it seems!

shands hospital

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

I will be honest here-I still am not sure as to how to write what I am about to write,I have been pondering the way to explain things all this week…and still,I am not sure how to get it right!
In this photograph I chose for today there may be a way to help make sense-although,the photo does not make much sense to those who have’nt walked by this space as many have over the years-yet if you have you’d know the very spot….and the picture would not be so confusing and would make perfect sense.
But,then again…I am having a difficult time trying to figure out a way to explain that things are’nt always as they appear!

I began to write these memories and thoughts of current events to express the way a male rape survivor has made it from the point of victimization to today-37 years later. Not only am I explaining things that are relavent to express failures in certain systems put in place by our government…and there they sit,yet also to say to anyone and everyone-men are victims too.
As I am writing these things I am being as open as I can about everything-how the seriousness of what happened to me was overlooked and not even cared about from where it should have mattered-my family. Honestly,I am writing these things in hope to purge myself from so much poison kept with in me all of these years from having to tote this around alone for all of these years…these years-these years-these years!!
There is much I have not said. I tell this to you as I have also said it to my therapist-we have met weekly for going into three years…and we have not even scratched the surface,and this-my therapist,is perhaps the ONLY person who knows everything about me.

It is obvious that from the things I have said-my family is rather disfunctional ( ‘rather’ being used to tone it down,I suppose).
There is no way I can explain to anybody what it was really like in barracks D…what my personal Navy experience was like then and how it has haunted me every day of my life…every day! Theres no way I can express what it was like to end up homeless-eventually finding a piece of property to permanantly set camp on only to have persons report me to the county and have me and my youngsters evicted (from our own place) and to scramble to find something…anything,which eventually got me this place,where I am definantly settled in camp.
I cant explain what is has been like to be treated like a liar and regarded with suttle laughs and teasing or what it was like to have your own mother say it should have been me that got killed-instead of my baby brother (over and over and over) and to be thought of as useless…by people who were supposed to be your love and support-and know nothing…absolutley nothing-about me! And,say they love me such as my brothers widow who called me several months ago and said “…if you love me you will call your mother”!!
If I love her?
That was the phone call…all must be well,I’m filled up with that love! Its overflowing…
My brothers bride-just three weeks ago…confideing how shes read all this stuff and understands me. I feel the remarks as insulting now,she was merely ‘eating cheese’.
I may not have it all written in a way you or anyone but myself can understand. I can tell you that even though it was over 37 years ago in barracks D…I remember it better than anyone can! The same with my brother Carl-sliding underneath the Chrysler New Yorker and the tire cracking his head open…him bleeding in my fathers arms,the scene later after he finally died from his injuries-I can replay it over and over at any time in my mind.
None of my family can ever appreciate that I walked morning after morning after morning two miles out to the paved road-six miles in to Archer…eleven miles into the city-walked across the city to 441 and hitched the last miles to a job where I worked hard and dirty all day…and turned around and did that to get home,rain or shine!
And-there is no one who can understand the agoney my very heart is going through by the scene of the failure to love one son is going to be redeemed by the love shown to two buried siblings-by digging them up and putting them all together where my one day dead parents can ‘protect them’ ?? I find the whole idea as sick…
And how can I explain these things? How can I explain the million times my mother had to ask me if I loved much that hurts and worsens each time she asks me to judge her….”I have’nt been a good mother,have I…?” Those stupid painful questions could have gone away years and years and years ago,but every time-EVERYTIME I am around her….”judge me,tell me I was not a good mother! Humor me…tell me you love me” ! The one time that hurt the most was when my mother finally succeded in realizing something happened to me in the Navy….after all of those years I felt a pang of love when she asked “what really happened”? only to have it crushed and wadded like an old newspaper…when I got to the real point she began making a shushing noise with her mouth to keep me from going ahead.
Why I have chosen to use this photograph to head up this days writing is to point out that what you are looking at is exactly like it is if you were there-theres nothing trick about the phot except that it is framed in the lens to show this part of the building I am in and how it serves as art…but this picture does decieve and confuse-but its point is to say that you have to look at what you are seeing,and not to question why some of the bricks are verticle-and some horizontal,or question any aspect of the photo-the point is how the building itself creates the abstract!
Lets look at a fence. Driving down the highway and mile after mile of fence posts and fence wire-and then,all of a sudden-there’s an apple on the fence post,and its so out of place. If you stop the car-you stopped because you are going to look at the apple….not the fence! You’ve been going by the fence for miles….and thats all you’ve seen.
I am trying to relay this point to one of my commentators (especially) -one who stopped because of the apple…but looked at the fence!
My most recent post-about snakes and trust,is an example…
I’ve been corrected on my own history! I’ve had responses to several things I’ve written…problem is,the critic has commented-or remarked,on things that have absolutly nothing to do with what I’ve written-a if the point I was expressing was not included in the words I wrote and used to enhance a point…but in return the responder writes things totally in the distance and have nothing to do with the actual point. I’m kin to this critic…but like most of my kin,personal contacts have been distant (yes,this lady came to visit over a year ago…but that was the first such visit in years and years,the first I had seen her since her dad died (my brother Frank). She was a small child-nearly a diapered infant when these things happened…barracks D,for one-my brothers death…another-and my sister,well…she only knows my sister lived and died,she certainly knows nothing other than what she has been told….but yet there have been several times where what I have been writing have been given a remark of correction?….my own life-and I stand corrected!
Yes-perhaps my finger slighted over and hit a 7 and not an 8. But you only have the right to be critical if you were standing there looking out the window as your baby brother went bouncing across Bel Pre Road into the grill of a car…his body.oh so small,going beneath that huge machine that crushed him. I’m not sorry to be so…I’m feeling defeated by your remarks-you point out corrections that you have no clue as to what you are really saying!…or me! What I am saying! These things I am writing are not individual riddles for you to figure out…these are revelations of a man who’s life has eaten shit from almost the get go-I point out my father carried buckets of coffee to the Hoovervile people…my commentator corrects the history and carrys the point to an extreme that has no bearing on what I have said-at all. She remarks at the beginning of her critic of my last entruy as a guess…she says,okay-what are you trying to say here? Read the words!! I’ve read it over several times-theres not much there thats hard to comprehend…
I realize much more then I’m letting on that this is a special individual-one I have great respect for because of her own life,this is a special individual…but I come to a place where I have to say it is troublesome to have been so distant for so many years and even at times…not even there,and yet can correct what I say.
I know this is someone that has been on my side about the wrong that came about during my brief life n the Navy….but this is also someone who only knows about this from what she has been told-not from being there.
This ‘blog’…or,to me,my journal-this is about a man who has had an extraordinary life,my life…my life that has been over and over disfused and disregarded by my immediate family…my father,my mother….and my brother. I wrote them a letter-THEM a letter…states in it that if they dig up-exhume…dis-inter,remove…replace (how ever you want to look at it) DISTURB my brother and sister and told them (my father-my mother-my brother) that if this happens never to contact me again! I wrote -or sent – a copy to my cousin because they have an interst in this too….his daughter is buried in between my siblings,his family tend to those graves…visit them regularly for holidays-birthday-death day. We -my family – have hardly ever gone to visit those graves-I’ve only been there three times in the past thirty years. So I wanted my cousin to be aware of how serious I am in feeling so sick by this idea….who cares why my cousins daughter was buried there? It seems so okay to me…so to debate that-which is not the point!
My commentator made a remark that I did not send her a letter too….ding dong?? What does it have to do with her?
….the point is the apple-not the fence!
My parents-they want to do this…not you!….besides-why send letters to people who don’t contact me anyway? My brothers widow? and her remark….if you love me? What the hell does that mean? Dont people that say they love each other communicate-call frequently…and say,I love you-not, IF YOU LOVE ME,or as my mother always says “Jay,do you love me?”
You may be my supporter-I greatly thank you for that,but I dont need you to back me up…you see,I have the truth! And even if the truth fails me on this side of eternity…I have God as my advocate ALWAYS,and my truth…my truth-my truth! The truth….the truth!!!
It is my truth!

8 Responses to “things are’nt always the way they appear-it seems!”

  1. Megan Says:

    I’m just glad to see that you are not afraid to stand up for yourself. Kudos.

  2. B.J. Says:

    I can honestly say when I respond to your blogs, I was keeping to what I saw written in them. I do believe I told you how you mention various things, so it can be hard to see what your ‘point’ is at times. Don’t take what I say as ‘criticism’. I’m a history buff, so when you mentioned the Hooverville incident, I looked it up. I never doubted or questioned for one minute Grandad taking coffee to those men or thought that they were crazy for wanting their bonuses early. That whole incident was sad. Why am I sympathetic towards what you’ve been through? Maybe because I had no one to go to when things were bad. I learned to empathize pretty early in life. I had a lousy childhood. I think my Mum once wrote a letter telling about it. I’m not sure what all she wrote, but I can tell you, it wasn’t a good one. Seeing a man kill himself, having your big sister die, seeing your little brother killed and dying would drive anyone insane–at least I think it would. I don’t know if I could handle that. I used to wonder what life would’ve been like had Uncle Carl and Aunt Jo Eileen lived. Strange as it may seem–it seems like a loss to me, also. I’m named for 2 aunts who died in childhood: Mum’s oldest sister and your sister. It’s almost like I’m supposed to carry their legacy somehow-the legacy of 2 girls I never got to know and can only know about through photos and stories from relatives. Mum told me Carl was like the son she never had. I definitely agree you’ve had a rough life and people can be mean (reporting you and kids to authorities when you tried to set up a living place). Did anyone even try to help you guys find a place to stay? It kills me how thoughtless some folks can be. The only reason I commented about ‘not being sure what you’re trying to say’ is I don’t want to offend you by commenting on areas you mentioned but end up ‘missing the point’ in doing so. I do read what you write several times. I do try to see the other people’s sides to issues (try being the operative word). Don’t be put out or offended if I point out some things. Yes, a lot of what I “know” is second-hand. Maybe I should never have told Charlotte that it was true your sister died, your brother was killed, and you were raped. After all, how am I supposed to know any of that is true having never witnessed any of it? I’ve been given so much of what happened by different people and when you get your information from various sources, you have to realize the ‘truth is somewhere in the center’. Unfortunately, everyone has different recollections of incidents they were close to. When my stepmother sent me that E-mail with Charlotte’s information, she told me she wanted nothing to do with the situation but I was free to give Charlotte Mum’s phone number if I chose to. Mum’s the one who told me “Your Uncle Jay was raped by homosexuals when he was in the Navy” when I was a teenager. That was long before you ever started counseling with Charlotte as I’m 38 going on 39. I believed Mum when she told me that, as I believed the stories about Aunt Jo Eileen, Uncle Carl, as well as my grandmother Vivian and Aunt Bonnie being killed in the car accident in 1948. After I got the information, I contacted Charlotte and told her things as I knew them. After that, I called Mum to see if it was okay with her to give her number to Charlotte. Mum didn’t see the rape occur, either, but she has been quite certain all these years that it did, in fact, happen. I don’t know why she ever told me about it, really. I know it horrified me to learn anyone (let alone a bunch of folks) could do that to someone. Now, don’t take offense to this: if you go back through your comments on your blogs and read what my stepmother wrote in regards to her “if you love me” statement, you’ll see it wasn’t meant as an insult. She writes that she says that to everyone–including the guy who does her yard! The reason I asked why I didn’t get a letter is you had stated you sent one to all your family saying they would ‘lose you’ if the gravesites were moved. I thought I was family. I wouldn’t have wondered if you had said specifically what you meant by ‘all the family’. Don’t mean to complicate things, but maybe my sense of ‘family’ is more broad than yours. Some people see family as ‘parents and siblings and their own children’. Others see family as ‘parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, children, nieces, nephews, etc..’ , so I’m sorry if I misunderstood you. I’ve not been trying to ‘correct’ your history or criticize in anyway. Believe me, if I had no interest in what you’ve been through or in seeing you get the help and support you need, I wouldn’t waste my time responding and trying to understand what you’re saying in your blogs. Really, I do have other things I can be doing. As it is, my personality has always been to ‘stick up for the underdog’. For some odd reason that I can’t explain, people seem to open up to me and seek my advice. As to being ‘distant’, that wasn’t totally my fault. I do remember you once telling me you ‘didn’t feel like writing’ anymore (that was when I was in my early 20s). When I was a teenager, you wrote me long letters talking about how ‘lonely’ you were, and I was a sympathizer. I believe I more than matched your letters–even writing between letters as yours came every couple of months. I’ve sent Christmas cards. When I was getting married, I sent a wedding invitation and even congratulated you on your marriage (that I had just learned of–2 years after the fact). I sent it to the address I had. When you said you didn’t feel like writing, I accepted that. I won’t push myself on anyone. I was glad to see you at my Dad’s funeral. It was upsetting to me that you were the only relation outside of my stepmother, sisters, and I who even came to the house after the funeral. Granny and Grandad as well as Uncle, Aunt, and Cousins headed back to GA for some event (I think it was a ball game) that, in my opinion (for what it’s worth), wasn’t as important as my dad’s funeral. I mentioned that to my stepmother, and she agreed it upset her that they did that and she realizes you were the only one who had the decency to come to the house (in spite of all the animosity between you and my dad–which, incidentally, makes me wonder how we ever got along considering I’ve always idolized my dad. Oh well, life is strange). The time I came to ‘visit’ just happened to be at the time I received word that Charlotte wanted to talk to my Mum. As I recall, I gave Charlotte my phone number as well as Mum’s. I never told her to give you my contact information (had she been given my work number and asked for my phone number, she wouldn’t have gotten it as it would violate the Privacy Act of 1974 to give it out without my permission). You called me, and since I was only 2 hours away at the time, and knowing how the military works and what to look for, I was more than willing to help out in any way I could. If you had told me not to come, I wouldn’t have. I know I should e-mail and call more often. I’ve been very busy getting ready to move overseas, and I rarely call anyone. Sometimes, I think the phone is more of a nuisance than anything (that doesn’t mean I’ll be upset if you call, really, I won’t). I get calls constantly at work. When I was in my old squadron, I’d get calls at home from people wanting help with their computer issues! It was annoying. My husband is on the phone more than I am (he’s long-winded). I do agree that leaving Aunt Jo Eileen and Uncle Carl where they are is how it should be (which is one reason I mentioned that all this should’ve been settled years ago, ’cause if it had been, this wouldn’t be an issue now). My stepmother said she hopes their gravesites aren’t moved, either. Yes, we do e-mail each other nearly every day. You don’t have to worry about me asking, “Do you love me?” or saying “If you love me, then…”. I didn’t grow up in a “loving” family. Mum used to say “I love you” when I was little, then after she remarried, she didn’t say it again till I was 15, then was somewhat put out when I just said, “Okay” in response. I agree–we are dysfunctional! (Sorry, I’m going back through the blog). I do thank you for your ‘respect’. I do wonder, though, about your ‘supporter’ and ‘backing up ‘ comments. If I didn’t support you, I woudn’t back you up. If you prefer I not be supportive and not back you in any way, I can certainly quit doing so. Maybe I’m misunderstanding that, also? I do agree, God is the one who knows what is true and all will be brought to the light of truth and righteousness at God’s Judgement. Try not to take my comments as ‘criticism’ or be offended. I call it as I see it. If it’s wrong, just tell me what you meant. What people say can be taken in different ways. Maybe its my Yankee train of thought or my German heritage coming through. Who knows? I am honest, though (too honest according to my husband), but I can also handle open discussion and debate.

  3. Sous Gal Says:

    I don’t know if this will help but I’m going to share it anyway. It isn’t so much what happened as much as it is about hearing the victim say what it was, is, for them. It’s the effect, not the act. It isn’t so much what was done as much as it is what the effect on the victim was. It’s the victim who needs our empathy and support. It is dishonoring and blaming to a victim to take what was done to them and try to put it into a context that “we” can understand. Or to ask the victim to help us to understand.

    I am addressing not only the violent physical assaults. He also saw a violent suicide of a neighbour and violent murder, albeit not intentional, of his younger brother. Which happened not long after his sister died and he was not helped to understand or even told “why”.

    The victim owes us nothing. We as individuals, as a society, as people in his life who say they care, owe him everything. We owe him whatever he says he needs. Whatever he says would help. We have to start with simply accepting where he is and what he says and how he feels.

    Telling him to explain details or correcting him in his recollections is re-victimizing.

  4. B.J. Says:

    I did think of some other things. I know I’ve mentioned you have support from your family, even though you’ve maintained you didn’t. I didn’t realize you were mainly talking about the lack of support from certain individuals. It’s obvious you have support from our cousin and his family. I believe your sons support you. You know I support you. I don’t know why Granny didn’t seem to want to hear about the rape. Maybe the information was too much for her? Some people can’t bear it when they hear of their own children going through pain. Some folks can’t handle anything that isn’t ‘hunkey dorey’ and like to ‘sail through life’. Have you ever told Granny how it hurts to have her say, “I haven’t been a good mother, have I?” or ask, “Do you love me?” It seems to me that she is seeking validation from you. You want your parents to love you freely (if I understand right) and not have you pass judgement on them. Is that right? Well, if I was to opine on Granny’s comments/questions, I’d say she’s seeking some validation from you as well. She kept saying, “I love you,” to me over and over at Dad’s funeral and when we visited them in GA. When I walked into their house, she seemed sheepish about the fact she had no photos of me on display. Hey, if letting her know you’re uncomfortable with her comments about her motherhood abilities, maybe you can get her to stop making those comments with a statement like, “We all make mistakes as parents, and I have no doubt you tried hard to be a good mother just as I’ve tried hard to be a good father.” or something like that. I gather you feel rejection from those you want love and support from? I can definitely sympathize on that number. I’ve been through that myself. Anyway, don’t take offense.

  5. jayherron Says:

    oh God,yes…Sous Gal,you made great sense! Thank You!

  6. woundedwoman Says:

    Jay, I’m so sorry for your pain. Words cannot express. Your pain is my pain. As a survivor of decades of devastating abuse I live every day, often minute by minute with profound and often overwhelming pain. Sous Gal….Yes. Yes. Yes. Wish I had heard your advice long ago. Thank you!

  7. jayherron Says:

    …and you too! So many times I’ve had it said to me “get over it” by those who have no idea what it is like to have to live with the pain minute after minute,as you have said;there has never been a morning where my day has begun with out remembering and feeling that feeling of shame and guilt-and filth,again…and again.

  8. nadcesca Says:

    “get over it”!!!!

    I hate that! The people who say that are ignorant. they never really face or endure any real pain. they may have hurt physically, but never emotionnally, deeply in the core of our soul. I’ve learn to stay away from them. They don’t need to understand, I know that a person that I’ve not been through the same nightmare I’ve been trough can’t really understand, but I expect them to at least listen to me, to show so empathy.

    I hope you have people surrounding you that are real family or friend to supporte you when you need them. Hugs. xx

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