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Posts Tagged ‘now with an extra serving of fury!’

|| August 21, 2012 || 2:16 am || Comments (20) ||

(gentle reader: this post could potentially serve as a trigger if you are a victim of rape or abuse)

When you are small, you see a pulp detective magazine in a five and dime. On its cover is a woman whose dress is being wrenched off of her by the dark shadow of a stranger. Emblazoned across the image is the word RAPE, just like that, RAPE, in giant intrusive yellow letters. The letters threaten. Something about the word feels dirty and you don’t ask your mother what it means because you just don’t. It’s that knowing you carry deep in your sternum.

That day you come to believe that the word rape is a verb meaning, ‘to tear a woman’s clothes off.’ That’s the literal meaning, anyway. The implied one is that rape is used to elicit fear in a woman. You inherently know it, this little factoid that rape is an androcentric act of aggression.

You are four. Your aunt moves far away and you go visit. One day she takes you to the park and there, twisting and turning and fascinating, is the fanciest slide you’ve ever seen to date, with chutes and tubes jutting off in all directions. It is a work of art! She settles on a bench, you go to play, excited and awed. You slide only twice and then a boy older than you stops you atop the wide platform, “Hey. Why don’t you lay down and let me lay down on top of you while we go down the slide.”

You shake your head, soundless.

“I just want to touch you.” You pick a slide and disappear down it without warning. Stiffly, holding your skirt tight to your legs, you walk the fifty yards to where your aunt is perched and tell her calmly that you want to go home. You are four, you are four.

A girl in first grade is Constance. She probably turned out to be trouble, Constance. She tells you a secret. “My sister’s boyfriend raped her.” Your brows cinch together. “He tore her clothes off?” There are a roil of emotions here but before you can sort them, Constance laughs at you. “That’s not rape.

“Rape is where a boy gets on a swing and a girl gets on top of him facing him and then you swing together and kiss.”

Later that year you are accosted, groped behind some bushes. This happens repeatedly until you tell your cousin what is going on. He is in another grade, with recess in another yard. He cannot get to you. He cannot help you. You are dear to one another and he cannot help you without breaking that silence you swore him to, begging and crying oh don’t tell please don’t tell.

We are never too young for humiliation to sit on us, to stiffen our bodies and shut up our voices inside them.

He answers the call by doing something far beyond his years. He and a boy (whose shy mouth would, some years later, kiss you and ask you if you’d hold his hand in public) you have known since you had a memory tell you they want to teach you to fight. They want you to murder this boy with your hurt and they pound on you in the back yard for two weeks until they think you are ready to Show Them All.

It only took showing one of them, because the rest ran when you lit into the Alpha. Your mother, horrified, sees your injuries that afternoon and screams for your uncle and he quickly rushes to calm her, to assure her that the scratches covering one side of your face and the missing hank of hair do not mean you are the victim. Not this time.

Danny and Jaco had told you for the duration of those two readying weeks that you must not fight like a girl. You must make a fist and use your whole self to launch into those disgusting boys who leered and grabbed  your hairless crotch and put their alien hands on your smooth, flat chest.


You sent that boy to the hospital. Your mother says later, “You were so proud. You bloodied his nose, blacked both his eyes. You were so proud to tell me that.” She never informed you of the sick a mother must feel at knowing this happened to her six-year-old. You would be (have been) tortured if a child you loved told you that for weeks on end they were violated.  It’s never occurred to you to ask because you don’t want your mother to have to think about it.

You don’t remember much of the lashing out. You don’t remember the exact triumph-words to your mother.  You DO remember the feel of power. You remember feeling uncaged.

The small space between the brick and the hedgerow birthed in you an adovcate’s heart. You proved with fists and their ready insulting of skin and bones that you could fight for whoever needed it. You go on to step into the in-between time and time again, your jaw ready and your rage flaming out beautiful in front of you.

You have been assaulted by more than one man, grabbed, fondled, menaced despite your set jaw and your purposeful lack of a vulnerable show. You walked around like a girl to be reckoned with and it didn’t matter. You have been brutalized at the hands of  three men, all of them men you knew and willed yourself to trust. You walked around like a woman to be reckoned with and it didn’t matter.

It takes you many years hence to realize something about that pulp magazine and the word rape and the menacing figure. You realize that –even though you know the technicals–  that you equate the look in that woman’s eyes with the word rape. Rape, the intimation of it as well as the perpetration of it, is terror.

That fuckface Akin has no empathy. Had he had any, it would have never once occurred to him to trivialize rape and its implications for women in societies all over the world. He would know that sometimes (not all the time, but sometimes is very enough) the mere act of walking out of your house when you sport breasts and a vagina makes you a target, or makes you feel like one.

When he tells us he has empathy, that is a motherfucking lie. Empathy means that statement about ‘legitimate rape’ could never have even formulated itself in his brain, much less passed his foul, ignorant lips. If Todd Akin is allowed to keep his job then this country is farther gone than even I thought, and I have long been a bated-breath (hopeful, so hopeful) skeptic of us as it is.

Holy God, I am hanging on to the hope that the men of my generation are all as enlightened about women’s rights as the ones I call friends and loved ones. We have got to fix the blatant hatred of women that is going on unchecked and without shame in this country that is supposed to house us all free and brave;  we have to fix it now because I cannot ever in my life –even in the face of my assault and abuse– remember feeling as vulnerable in general as I have in the last two years.

Be loud, women. Be loud, men. We must express the power of a defiant, unified collective of advocating hearts.

If you are a victim or survivor of assault, rape, or domestic violence, please know that there is a list of resources and a loving community of support over at Violence Unsilenced. You are not alone, and you do not have to be quiet.

|| January 29, 2012 || 1:57 am || Comments (10) ||

So I worked at this plant where I was a supervisor on night shift. As a completely unrelated (and maybe worthless, I’ll leave that to you to decide) aside, I’d like to tell you that –despite aggressive insomnia that started taking over my sleep when I was in the neighborhood of eight or nine– ten months of working the night shift aged me ten years. At least, that’s what it felt like when I slung my safety gear over my shoulder and walked out of that joint for the last time.

Clock in at eleven, clock out at seven. There were three-hundred and fifty personnel on that shift, busted up into different sections, each section with a supervisor. A couple of the more sizable sections had three to four line supervisors, with crews of anywhere from seven to fifteen people for whom they were responsible. Out of those three-fifty, there were approximately eight women. Only one was a section super. Another was a line super. The latter was me.

The plant floor was always loud. It wasn’t only loud; it was dangerous, too, because we were working with caustic chemicals and we climbed things like monkeys and we teetered on the edges of slick, sharp inclines manhandling equipment that was half our bodyweights or more, high up in the air over solid concrete floors. There was machinery everywhere to bounce off of on your way down, if the thought of cracking your melon on some ‘crete wasn’t enough to keep you cautious.

I had a crew of twelve men. There used to be one woman on it, a woman who had been there for years and never been promoted because, well, she wasn’t. She was diminutive and appalling, because she was yippy like a chihuahua and always aggressively demanding respect out of one side of her mouth but then giving blowjobs in the parking lot out of the other. The kind of girl who, for instance, wanted to wrestle like a man but when pinned would intone in babyvoice, “Let me up, don’t hurt me, ’cause I’m just leeeedle!” Females of the world who are like this: Just give us all one big fucking break, would you? Everybody –male and female alike– pretty much wants you to fall in a ditch and stay there.

(I mean, I don’t give a shit if your aim is to have every dick within ten feet of you in your mouth at one time or the other, but don’t go acting like you’re surprised when none of the males those penises are attached to come to you for your philosophical take on matters. There is slut-shaming and there is poor judgment and we’re all adults here and can tell the difference, right?)

So Yippy was on my crew and her first order of business was to be passive-aggressive with me and Give Me Ten Kinds of Shit because I had all my teeth and two brain cells to rub together and oh yeah, tits. Good-looking tits. So HEY, I must be COMPETITION rather than her BOSS, right? It didn’t help that she was madly in love with my buddy Polack Dave and was convinced surely to all of high holy heaven that I was going to fuck Dave the very minute that Yippy (who yes, had been Dave’s mistress at one point) and DAVE’S WIFE turned their backs.

See? See what I was dealing with? I played poker with Polack Dave and Polack Dave’s wife and they fed me at least twice a week. Polack Dave and I high-fived one another on the way in the door every night and flipped one another the bird going out of it every morning. Why on Earth would I want to mess that up?

However, Yippy was inconsolable. Yippy did a good job, but Yippy was lippy and disrespectful and I did all the requisite you-try-to-fuck-my-crew-up-I’ma-fuck-your-day-up dancing and write-ups and finally I said, “You know what, Yippy? I AM HAVING YOU TRANSFERRED TO POLACK DAVE’S SUPERVISOR,” and so I did. She was (prematurely) gleeful.  Said super promptly hid her in a broom closet in the nether reaches of the plant and everybody was pretty gahdang happy for a time.

Then there was the night that a very large fellow named Howard stepped to me.

See, I think that maybe some people made the mistake of thinking that I had Yippy transferred because she was a female. Not so. I had Yippy transferred because she was a gigantic asspain and I just wanted to do my fucking job and get the fuck out of there in a timely manner each day. When I eventually got my crew hipped to my way of doing things, we were done with our line by four-thirty and could catch two hours of nap in the breakroom so that we’d be rested up and ready to find beers at one of the only two bars in town open for breakfasty patrons. If you work the night shift, then eight in the morning is your six at night and so by ten ay emm you’re good and shitfaced if that’s your aim. Sure, it’s in a scummy dive of a bar, but who is there to judge you? Nobody, that’s who, because they’re either the folks carpooling miles away from said establishments or the guy at the end of the bar with his asscheeks imprinted into the stool that he hardly ever leaves. He sees four of you and all four iterations have a different name, get it?

Holy cow, I digress. Anyway:  In order for me to do my job and get out in a timely manner, there has to be a cohesive team working toward the same aim and doing so at least quasi-jovially. Whistle while you work, bitches, and you will ride the clock for almost three hours for free and nobody is going to yell at you for doing so because you! are Union! and you! have done a bang-up job! that exceeds the specifications laid out for you in the super-big and ridiculously detailed company manual! This is because my aim is never to do just enough to get by; my aim is to have some stracked-out results whose worth cannot be contested. Selah! Amen! Nap! Then beers and billiards after!

An event whose progressive steps looked something like this, so as to save us some paragraphs and get us to the action right quick,

1) “Howard, man, I don’t like that. Can you do it the other way, please?”
2) “Hey Howard, could you do your job x way because your fancy new y way is slowing the flow and is less efficient overall and since my part of the line depends on your part of the line, you are slowing me down, as well.”
3) “Howard, I don’t know why you are looking me dead in the eye and purposely slowing both our jobs down but that’s not cool and I need you to cut it out.”
4) “Howard. Cut the shit, man.”

occurred over the course of about an hour and a half. By the time I got to “HOWARD. I HAVE HAD ENOUGH,” Howard had decided he’d had enough, too, and closed the twenty or so feet between us with a haste that, had it been shown earlier, would have saved us all the ensuing trouble and dramatics.

Howard got all the fuck up in my face. He had six inches on my five-ten and Lord knows how many pounds on my one-sixty. We were in full hazmat gear, but our helmets were magically, manically gone, flipped from our heads simultaneously and he was breathing down on me, enraged, bearing in, face literally two inches from mine. Howard began yelling in earnest and the whole ‘I’ll be damned if I’ma let this fool back me down’ aspect of my personality rose up in all its glory. I was on my tiptoes, meeting him where he was at and pushing back emotionally every bit as hard as he was shoving me and suddenly there was Polack Dave jumping lines to get to us, there were three members of my crew begging us to stop and more on the way. Everyone was afraid to touch us, everything so electric and precarious. They were attempting to shout sense over the clanging and banging of machinery but the fog of rage –not to mention our mutual shouting– engulfing us obscured them.

Howard got one warning from me to back up, then one more warning from me to back up then he told me to fuck off bitch and I gave over to fury. I raised the high pressure hot-hose that had been dangling limp in my hand (hastily shut off during Howard’s approach), put the metal key to it that dangled from a loop in my coveralls and kicked the hose on as I took a step back. A high-pressure stream of scalding water surged forward from that industrial hose and I nailed that fucker square in the chest with it. There was less than a foot between us. Howard went down.

I got reamed for this. Never once, though, not one single day of my life, have I ever been sorry for that moment. Sometimes your crazy is the only thing that you can rely on. Hatred is shameful. Fury is gorgeous. The two should never marry. If it is devoid of hate, sometimes your fury is a righteous and perfect thing with inexact but fitting results.

|| January 26, 2011 || 10:19 pm || Comments (9) ||

Sometimes a lack of humility creeps up my spine only to take root at the base of my brain and flower there. In the center of these flowers are fireworks of discontent and fury which –once the flowers reach their full self–righteous bloom– launch themselves into all parts of my headmeat, screeching and sending a breathtaking volley of majestic rage-colors all the way.

Then they magically transform themselves into sense-seeking missiles (that is, ‘common sense’, the thing my mother placed so clear an emphasis on when she chiseled away at raising me against the grain of my father’s egomaniacal urgings) and obliterate all manner of things that I was taught about issues like safety and personal decorum.

I am reckless with myself in these moments. In certain instances, I fully intend to be reckless with others as well. Most times, I do not. It’s in the shadow of the latter, when my nerves have stopped snapping static and a dull sorry ache has settled into me, that I find an uneasy quiet. In the center of that imperfect peace, that suspicious truce with self, I can feel the tug that predicates a subconscious hum. I listen for what follows, because it always follows….it always has, really, but over the years I have grown worse and worse at turning a mocking sneer toward it.

My insides are insistent: ‘I was made for love, I was made for love, I was made for love; foolish, fevered and gung-ho girl:

‘Let love win.’

|| December 19, 2000 || 8:03 am || Comments (1) ||

Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m the girl who despises country music.

Welllllll, okay, I dig innovators and bad boys, so I wholeheartedly groove on Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, John Anderson, Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris, K. T. Oslin and Willie Nelson (listen to his music sometime….his songwriting ability rivals and defeats most any of the modern-day ‘greats’ and if you listen past the twang, who wouldn’t KILL for a voice like that??) I even dig Olivia Newton-John’s earliest offerings, which were very country….I DARE you to listen to ‘Please Mister Please’ and not be moved to sing along. But the rest of them, especially modern country ‘artists’ (I loudly object to confusing the terms artist and performer, ya know?) can go blow a goat, with the exclusion of Travis Tritt.

That having been said, I can tell you what I was gonna tell you now.

I was listening to the local country music station this morning while taking offspring #1 and #2 to school (they are so fucking spoiled…why don’t I make them ride the bus instead of freezing my tits off and glaring at other drivers through my crusty lids??). ***IS TODAY PARENTHESIS DAY, OR WHAT*** They tend to give the most accurate and frequent weather reports, which scores them regular non-listeners like me.

I’m getting to the point of this story, trust me.

Here comes a song to interrupt the reporting. It was a Christmas tune. It was a Christmas tune that really pissed me off, almost as much as it pisses me off when people use the term “x-mas”; and that one really goes all over me, let me tell you.

The song was about a dirty little impoverished boy who comes into a store to buy a pair of women’s shoes. (harhar, please refrain from making the obvious joke, you turds) for his sickly and dying mother. It seems that the boy and his father want mama to look purty iffin she goes ta meet JEEzus tahnite. To quote a pal, “Just give me one big fucking break!!”

Number one, the cheese factor is unrivaled here. Number two, I love the fact that the old ‘poor and slovenly’ cliche was used. Let me tell you people something….my grandmother, God rest her saintly soul, was DIRT poor most of her 84 years, but a speck of dirt was remiss to cross her path. She put it on it’s merry way right quick. She used to tell us, “It’s no sin to GET dirty, but it sure is one to STAY dirty.” Number three, I hardly think that what she’s wearing is gonna matter two whits to the Immaculately Conceived One. Number four, if she ain’t awready purty, shoes ain’t gonna do the trick and number five-o, (and this is the biggest pisser of all) WHY, for fuck’s sake, whywhyWHY would you WAIT until someone is dying to give them something that could have brought them pleasure while they lived??

I would like to punch the person in the throat that wrote this utterly moronic song as a lame tug at heartstrings. I am waving the giant birdfinger at their dumb asses and they shall be without beer and sausages forevermore! So sayeth the JettGrrrl!

I know you’re dying to know…the song is “Christmas Shoes” and the group is NewSong. Send them hate mail. Send them my URL. Tell them to bitch-slap whoever is responsible (including themselves) for this musical cheesewad and make them promise to never, never do it again. I implore you.

|| December 7, 2000 || 7:42 am || Comments (0) ||

I swear to GOD, if I am forced to listen to another Third Eye Blind song, I will put somebody’s eyes out with a white-hot fork. Who in the fuck KEEPS BUYING THEIR SHIT MUSIC! Stop propagating and perpetuating it, you ignorant schmucks!

So I am listening to a local station early this morning and they have a group of little girls on singing Christmas carols. They are representing their church’s ministry. The pastor comes on and is touching a bit on their charitable programs and activities going on now and in the near future. ///can I remind you here that this man and these little girls were oh-so-obviously invited guests on this program??\\\ The ‘head’ DJ in this morning show team of 3 replies with, “Wow, sounds like you have a lotta stuff going on, which is kinda good, I guess, since this is you guys’ big one. (meaning the holiday with regardd to the Christian church, if you missed that)” in a tone that was so ripe with sarcasm that the radio might have exploded with it had I laid a finger on any of the buttons.

YOU FUCK. –that was the first thought that hit my head, closely followed by, YOU ABSOLUTE FUCK. Then the thoughts came streaming in so fast that they crashed all over one another and became just so much heated fury.

These were invited guests on that show and they weren’t pimping some self-serving shit. This cat was BLATANTLY disrespectful, zinging this minister for no good reason. What kind of example was that for those little girls?

Uhhh, pardon me, WHY don’t kids have any respect for authority anymore? Damnit.

And hello, my insomnia is back. Five hours two nights ago, 3 night before last, 1 and a third last night. I am ready to squeeze some people’s heads like zits. Wanna volunteer?

Oh yeah…remind me again why I stopped using blow?