Strong warning on triggers for rape and violence.
I know y'all know I strongly discourage comments because I'm weird and you're all cool to never comment even though that's an option, but this post has comments turned off. This is the first time I've ever put all this together in one place with real names and searchable linked content. I'm still not capable of getting through convo about this event, but at least we'll all know now where my head is sometimes.
Three years ago on pinky blog I started blogging through a daily depression trail that starts every April first through my entire adult life. I started questioning why, and you guys watched me uncover and start dealing with a repressed memory. Today is the first day I put together the bits and pieces and deal 'out loud' with what happened.
This is Julie Ann Jackson. She lived on 816 N. Watson Ave. when I knew her in school. She was my best friend from the fifth grade. Her hair was naturally golden, and she was slightly chubby in a very pretty way. I considered her my only real friend (because that's what aspienado does, one real friend at a time) even though she was very popular and had lots of friends.
Aside from biting my hand when we were ten because I was being so bossy that she had to find a way to make me shut up, she was always kind to me, and every time I showed up near her, all her other friends moved over. I never thought about why, but I knew that was my place. I know now that she knew I was different (I'm autism spectrum), and she elevated me to an intellectual status dismissed by everyone else, including my family. I was the only one in school that could keep up with her on all kinds of testing and reading material, although I never bested her at anything. She was one of those true MENSA types with a very easy personality, and she spent time not only including me, but teaching me how to draw horses and taking turns writing stories that we passed back and forth in classes. We attended all the sports events together, and the only times we were apart was for being in different classes or activities. Because of her, I actually had other friends in my life that I probably wouldn't have had without her.
My family moved to another state right in the middle of the ninth grade. I've written about how hard that was, the day I left I didn't even get to say goodbye. Thankfully, Julie loved snail mail, and we sent off letters to each other 3 times a week like clockwork for at least four years. I did get to go back the summer after graduation and visit, and she gave me the royal treatment. I was family to her. She escorted me around showing me off, took me to her house, drove me around talking about college and friends she had and her boyfriend. I was as out of the water as a Vulcan fish with my Asperger's, for those of you who know Spock history, but that didn't phase her in the least, and I let her do all the talking and leading me around while I just soaked her in. She had grown up while I was gone, and she was beautiful and charming and didn't miss a beat. After I went back home we continued writing to each other as she started college and my family moved again. I had a big box full of all her letters the night I got the phone call.
I've written in several places what that night was like, but I'll keep it simple here. Emotionally I almost instantly went into hard shutdown. For those of you who've never experienced that or know anyone who has, I very literally chopped off my emotions right then and there. I didn't cry. I didn't feel. I didn't talk about it. I hung up the phone, ignored everyone, and went back to bed. The next day I took the box full of letters outside and burned the entire thing without a second thought. I didn't feel anything doing it. I didn't reflect. I didn't have a reason.
Nearly everything that happened over the next several years was the result of that hard shutdown. I went through a bad marriage and became an alcoholic. I wound up in a big city underground of drug dealers. I met people completely off the grid doing despicable things, and I talked to people who witnessed or lived through atrocities that would make most people very sick. I didn't blink an eye.
After I stopped drinking I started turning my life around, went to college, remarried, raised kids, had jobs, met people on the internet and finally started having 'friends', although much of it went badly very quickly. I never questioned that until one particular friend stopped talking to me, and without warning I spiraled into an abyss of despair that lasted for months. I felt so desperate to understand why this was happening and why I couldn't keep friends that I started seeing a psychologist, and have spent years learning how to see myself objectively, how to assess and make goals and plans to reach my goals, and how to deal with feelings. I'm not just autism spectrum. I have a complicated diagnosis that includes delayed response, which means I just don't deal with my emotions.
So by 2015 I'd been working on all that with my psychologist for eight years. I still didn't know what the real reason was for that particular depression in April, and I didn't yet realize I had displaced it onto the friend I lost that woke me up out of that hard emotional shutdown. Somewhere in 2015, one of my sisters delicately brought up my friend's murder, saying they'd been afraid to tell me it was showing up on the internet, and she was right, I was absolutely terrified to click around and find that pain. I started going through a series of little shutdowns over and over between 'waking up' to more and more ability to feel in real time, and I guess all the stuff I should have processed through years ago started processing, and believe me, putting off dealing until later doesn't make it any easier. When I finally started remembering and as I was slowly able to start reading about this very famous case, all the feelings and emotions swept over me as fresh as they should have from the very start. I was making up for 30 years of lost time processing through all those emotions.
In case you'd like to know more you can -click this- and read an article of interviews with the medical staff who saved Colleen, the person who survived. Here is a good quote from one of the nurses.
One of the nurses in that operating room called me to say Guzman's crime was as vivid to her today as it was 30 years ago. "I remember every detail, because it was so horrific," she said. Doctors and nurses spent nearly 12 hours trying to save Bush's life, and that nurse said the experience taught her about strength and fight and survival. "It changed my life," she told me. "I made a decision that night that if anything like that ever happens to me, I'll fight to the end."
The official true crime book Escaping the Arroyo (which I have not yet had the muster to read), has a Facebook Page, and you can find author info on Amazon and her dotcom.
This crime story was also featured on Investigation Discovery. I still can't bring myself to watch that.
Here comes the graphic part. This is the part I live with in my head now that I've put nearly all of my pieces together.
This last week was Julie Jackson's death anniversary. On April 5th I kept triggering into a memory of my dad and a sheep. You see, I've seen a living body stabbed. I'm about to tell you a story about saving a sheep's life, and after that I'm going to get really rough. I'm making sure you really want to be here reading this... It's ok to stop if you want.
When I was around ten or twelve I think, making my next sister down about 8-10 and my brother 5-7, Dad found a sheep loose in the alfalfa field. Sheep will gorge to death sometimes, but my dad was able to force her out of the field and up a little hill before she flopped over gasping for breath. He ran to the house, called us kids to follow him right now, and as we arrived was already commanding us where to sit on different parts of that sheep, to hold her down at all cost, don't let her move at all, and we obeyed immediately because we had been taught like that. As soon as we got square on pinning that sheep down (who, incidentally, wasn't moving much at all because she couldn't), Dad whipped out his big knife and plunged it into her belly, then dropped the knife and pulled the wool apart on both sides of that big hole and barely got his eyes shut before he was sprayed all over with the vilest smelling stomach spew you ever saw. He never once let go of keeping that wound open while us kids were instantly working very hard to keep that sheep down in one spot, because naturally every instinct in her body would be to fight whatever punctured her.
After that was over, which didn't take long, we were almost too cramped to stand up because we'd locked her down so hard, and Dad was just nasty. The sheep got up, shook off like a dog, and trotted off, feeling much better. We had to hose Dad off, and we didn't get an explanation until that stuff was off his face so he could talk.
It's not very often you see someone stab something out of the blue, and it's probably even more rare to see children help hold a living being down to be stabbed. We didn't whine or cry or question. Our dad could do anything in our eyes back then, and even if we didn't like doing what we were told, we did trust him to know exactly what he was doing.
And that is leading to this. (I know, you're thinking that wasn't graphic, but if you get queasy or cry easily, you do need to leave now.)
I grew up helping butcher sheep. I know how to hold a very heavy body down, how to drain its blood with a little nick, and how to keep it from automatically thrashing while the blood drains out. This is very important if you don't want the meat bruised up and you want all the blood out. Blood will spoil much faster than the carcass and must be gotten out so that the meat doesn't spoil if it has to sit.
Since I sat on sheep and helped skin them from childhood, I know what blood smells and feels like, I know how heavy dead body parts feel (especially the head), I intimately know how bodies feel while they are dying with all the tiny little muscles twitching for awhile, all the jerks and gasps and groans. All these things are automatic reflexes a dying body does, desperate for oxygen, working hard trying to increase blood flow. When the brain is still alive and the body is dying, the nervous system comes on full blast trying to stay alive.
Imagine what it must feel like to be raping someone while you feel all that happening in the other body against you. Imagine being able to smell the blood gushing out all over you while you keep stabbing. And it's not just blood. What we see on TV shows and in movies is so clean compared to real crime. Being stabbed in different places pops open different kinds of fluids along with the blood. Imagine smelling bilious stomach contents while raping someone. Imagine smelling intestinal content, being slimed with it and blood while you're raping someone. Imagine the jerks and gasps and groans going on all over the body while the eyes roll grotesquely around, all the smells and sounds and all that slime...
Imagine being all done and staggering back to the open the trunk of the car to start over on the next person. Imagine finally being satiated and driving off, thinking no one would ever find your mess out in the desert like that. Imagine someone actually living through being stabbed 30 times and crawling up the side of an arroyo to a highway. I grew up in the desert southwest. I can imagine a bloody slimy body being caked with dirt and grime and full of weeds and ants by the time it got to a highway, and I can imagine how terrifying that would look to someone stopping at the sight. And that was before cell phones. All that time that passed. All the grit and work and waiting it took to LIVE. And hours and hours of repair with a medical team. All that recovery. And then living with the memories the rest of your life.
I emotionally shut down when I got a phone call in the middle of the night. I never thought about any of that because I just couldn't go there. I had already grown up with so much experience with death, with seeing and smelling and hearing and feeling death.
So all week long in my head, I have been there with my best friend. I have been feeling her body being punctured over and over, I have been smelling her life fall apart into slime all over a nasty person's raging body, I have been hearing the squashed grunts and gasps and wheezes, and feeling every muscle strand in her body straining for oxygen as her blood drained out, the muffled frenzied thrashing being held down for the rape as her consciousness slipped away.
I cannot stop crying.
Friends, when I give you a heads up that it's a bad week and beg you not to take me personally if I fail, please understand hell is filling up my head, and I can barely hear or see you over the pain I am in.
Here are all my posts with the tag #sadness.
I have to run out the door. If there are typos I'll fix them later.