humiliation, pity party, degrading and TONI BASIL!!

well, it is finally done. or, rather, the process is finally officially started.

b took me to the social security office today and we filed my application for disability. something i never dreamed would happen to me. something that i’ve always sort of feared might happen.

many years ago i sat in a room filled with male incest survivors. a support group. after two years in this group i felt that it was turning more into a pity party and even igniting some sort of transgressive need in some of the other members to turn their real memories into further distortions of horror. i felt it was time to move on. i had discussed what had happened to me to the point that i had nothing further to say. and, to be honest, i began to feel ill as i watched some of those men turn worse vs. better.

so, i told the group that i was leaving and getting on with my life.

one of them stopped me in the all as i walked toward the stairs of the odd annex to Mass General. he took my hand and told me that this hell inflected upon us never goes away and that i needed to maybe take a break but to never push it down. i told him that i didn’t think it possible to push it down. and, then, he said in what i felt (at the time) was a rather sinister manner: “Just remember me when you’re 40 and your life falls apart and you find you can no longer function”

i remember shaking his grip on my arm. i was pissed and told him that i was a lot stronger than he was giving me credit and that i refused to be a victim.

i walked away from that group and never looked back.

i really never pushed what happened to me down. i don’t think so, anyway.

but, here i am. i will be 42 next month. and, honest to god, as hard as i try and push — i find that i am stuck. i have trouble thinking, i get confused, i find it next to impossible to be around more than 4 people at a time, i lose time, i’m afraid of my phone, i stumble and wander the night filled with illogical fears. did he jinx me? he probably meant well, but i never forgot how cruel it felt to me.

but, i push on. i will not give up.

still, as i sort of floated out of that building today with my sweet B holding me, i realized i’ve not but $2 to my name, a headache that was threatening me to implode my very being and a feeling of dread i am unable to manage into words.

i slept most of the day. i finally sucked in enough energy to take Little Bagel for a short walk. i tried to clean the kitchen with no luck. and, then i sat in my perfect green chair and set Apple TV to shuffle my music. “Mickey” by Toni Basil came on.

i think i played it about 20 times — grounds for immediate arrest in most states.

but, it made me feel a little bit better.

i tried to think about how lucky i am than most people i know. i have a love greater than can be imagined, two fucking brilliant little children, the very best two best friends anyone could hope to know, a roof over my head, food and i’m alive.

it is not easy. in fact, it is so fucking hard i often do not know what to do with myself — but, in a way, it is fine.

life is fine.

hope and a prayer to something.

…don’t be fooled by the frothy adverts, the new Mike Leigh film is fantastic. everyone should see it.

October 14, 2008. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized.


  1. Pants replied:

    I wish I could go for a walk with you and Bagel at the beach.

    I listened to Britney Spears’ new song about 40 times today. (Not even joking.)

    Happy Go Lucky looks great!

  2. Daniel replied:

    Perhaps the filing isn’t as much a milestone as it feels, but simply a means of helping you to cope during a very difficult time in your life. I’m truly sorry about your health troubles, but that silly man at that group didn’t know beans about you and the strength and passion you have at your core.

  3. ing replied:

    Yes, filing will help in the long run, and now some of that paperwork stuff is out of the way, and you’ll have some income. I agree that you’re a strong person, and the best way to demonstrate that is with patience. In other words, I wonder sometimes if you struggle and fight so much that you tire yourself out, even when there’s nothing to fight against except an idea, just to remind yourself that you’re strong? Sometimes I think that in struggling against the impossible/invisible, you’re investing that thing with powers it doesn’t even have. But then again, struggling feels like the best defense, and you probably have to let yourself do what feels natural and safe. I dunno.

    I’m not the doctor, I’m just a friend. I figure you’ll get through this, but it’s going to take a while.

  4. walter Briski, Jr. replied:

    just keep going, matty.
    take little baby steps every day.
    i adore you.

  5. joe replied:

    matty, it’s been a real tough several months for me too. even though I am thankful for all that I have, and things aren’t really so bad, it still feels tough. so you are in my thoughts too, and whatever you can do to not give up, to go on another step, do what you can, do what you have to do. lots of love you to you from Canada!

  6. spike replied:

    Matty, I think you should give this a try…it’s free, takes only a couple minutes, and I’ve already seen benefits from it. It will sound hokey or weird at first, but you don’t even have to believe it will work. Really. Hit the “Free Manual” link on the left side of this page:

    It’s awesome that you have so many people that care and want to see you happy! And you really don’t have a thing to lose by trying this except some of that really heavy baggage. Keep feeling grateful for all you have, and hang on to yourself. You are loved.

  7. hot-lunch replied:

    i’m glad you’re able to appreciate what you do have, during this tough time you’re going through. do you think volunteering or helping out people who are less fortunate would be something you’d be into? *hugs*

  8. Red Flashlight replied:

    Moving forward and taking care of oneself does not equate to ‘pushing it down!’ Maybe that guy was just projecting. I know the feeling of being jinxed. What can one do to un-jinx oneself? (De-jinx? Jinx-proof?) I used to spend mad money on myself as a way to de-jinx. But that was just illusion.

  9. The Sagittarian replied:

    Seems to me that filing is one of the fight back steps, now you’ve done it! Good for you. Also when you have some income you will feel better. I had a year off when my fist child was born and altho’ I really liked being at home with her I hated having to get my money from my husband, once I got earning for myself again I felt taller! How odd. (Considering I’m only 5ft 3″ its not a great stretch)

  10. javabear replied:

    Ah, Matty. I’m glad you filed. It is time, I think.
    Do you know about children going through stages of development? A group of 5 year olds all think pretty much alike. 15 year olds are very similar to other 15 year olds. There are predictable attitudes, thought processes.

    I think that pattern never really goes away. Even in adulthood we go through stages of thinking, reflection, etc. I learned that it is very common for women in their early to mid 30s to experience some psychological instability if they have a childhood history of family dysfunction. (of course dysfunction comes in levels of severity. I refer here to milder dysfunction than the extreme you experienced.) So it is possible that reaching your 40s has brought some new perspectives and the need for an extra boost of help.

    Actually, I see a lot of long-lasting marriages end when the couples reach their 40s. Things that they thought they could live with all of a sudden aren’t worth dealing with any more. The 17-21 year marriages that don’t have a strong foundation seem to not hold together anymore.

    Many gay men who are in straight marriages finally decide they can’t pretend anymore when they are around 40 years old.

    40 (+ or -) is a significant age for a lot of changes, a lot of introspection, reevaluation, etc. So the fact that you are not able to function as well as you could 10 or 20 years ago is not that unusual. I suspect that when you left that therapy group it was exactly the right time for you to do that. And how long after that were you able to function pretty well? If I remember correctly, you did great for a long time. Things are changing now, and that is normal. What isn’t normal is your abuse history, and that makes the normal changes everyone goes through in his/her 40s more extreme for you.

    But guess what? It passes. I feel confident that you will learn what you need to learn now, you will get through it, and come out on the other end a more healthy man. Will you be able to function? Will you be able to hold a job again? I don’t know. I hope so. But whatever form it takes, you will be better and stronger and more functional than you are now.

    I like your attitude. I admire it, actually. You often say you will hang on, push on, not give up. That is why you will be fine.

    love and hugs, dear Matty

  11. karyn replied:

    I did the filing thing with J. It’s hard and humiliating but then, why should it be any different than anything else in life? My life, anyway.

    While I hate WHAT we have in common… I love that despite different lives on different coasts… you remain in my head and on my wavelength so poignantly. I love you Matty.

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