Thursday, August 8, 2019
This is how I feel today as I call this time in my life AE. I am still reeling from the shock of the reality when I confirmed what I always suspected that Ethan was a man of two masks. At first when I came home from Memphis back in March and pulled up my laptop history and saw the search on some dead pastor and his right wing religious crazy I was horrified. It was then I immediately wanted to dump any future contact and run in the other direction and then I saw him at the coffee shop and I immediately rejected those thoughts as the boy who stood before me, who texted, laughed and shared with me his thoughts were all those in contrary to the texts in the search that I found.
NONE of that he shared with me nor even mentioned it. I knew he grew up in a religious home and in turn that curiosity and history is not something easily dismissed. His inability to connect to local churches I assume was his own internal struggle with what it meant to be independent from his past and find his own path to faith and adulthood.
This was my projection as I have learned since that to the heavy indoctrinated and evangelized that rejection of conventional churches are not unheard of as none of them can offer the type of scripture and doctrine compliance needed to validate the rage, the fear and the believe system that veers on true hate.
What I have also come to learn is that this boy that I loved as a man, but not in a sexual way ( as I have no attraction nor desire on my part for him nor any man frankly, which is an issue of my own I have to deal with eventually) was because I believe and still do, that the boy was struggling with the same issues regarding sexuality that I too was facing. The issues of sexuality are not always those regarding conventional gender issues and nor did I know for certain if he was or is Gay/Fluid or just bent I just felt that whatever he was going through I knew I understood. My issues were fear and distrust over men regarding sex. And with that I recall the Dr. here who stood in my living room saying his wife would not care if he had an affair was not lost on me that again men and sex are the real drivers in interpersonal relationships between men and women and little to nothing about kindness or shared interests it is about sex only; however, that was not something I felt at all with Ethan. I genuinely felt two kindred spirits found their soul mate whom they could be safe, be loved and be themselves.
When I had the past life regression in the first door a man with black hair and a gray overcoat appeared who picked me up as a child. I was unsure of the time frame but it seemed the 19th Century and then as I traveled through the other door it was Neighbors Bar and in it was a collective of Gay men I knew in the 80s and we were laughing and dancing and hugging and kissing and we were dancing to We Are Family (it was that song that came out in 79 that finally listening to seems right) and the last door was the images of a funeral, not mine but one of them and I was alone. It was then I was sure Ethan was one of the boys in the posse, he would be the right age and there was that odd connection, the strange ability to almost be another half of me as if we had met and been connected in the past, only this past was recent.
The second regression the man in the gray coat re-appeared and in turn I got a glimpse of his profile, the coat was more modern in style and his face had beard growth but again I was crying and he was holding his hand out and said for me to come and he was taking me away from here. That man was definitely not Ethan.
Then that night after the regression and I had a text that was video. I knew instantly it was not good and I excused myself from the group to go home only to enter a Lyft and the first words the driver said, “Have we met?” And I laughed and shared with her what I had just experienced about how many times we say that and we have just not in this life. The train blocked the street so I told her she can drop me at this bar and I can wait it out. I went in and said to the Bartender I know from crossing the tracks and I said I think I just got hate mail and while I waited I pulled up some info on the pastor, Adrian Foster, who was on the link. Yes it was what I thought, the Preacher was dead, irony from Memphis, and had a history of inflammatory remarks some attributed falsely to him and he was well fire brimstone and all the qualities of the archetypes and stereotypes one thinks when they think of Evangelical Ministers. The Bartender looked at my face and goes, “A friend sent that to you? Is it a joke?” I just looked at him and he goes, “That ain’t no friend of yours then.” It was at that moment I knew I had been duped by this boy whom I loved like family and all the flags that had been tossed and duly ignored by me now were clearly ones I could no longer. I went home and sat for 42 minutes and watched this hate talk, When God Impeaches America, I again reviewed the text of this and realized that this boy was far more disturbed and angry then I had realized and I needed to get away from him as quickly as possible.
I texted him that night to simply ask what about this message resonated with him and the convoluted message was one I suspect fueled by drugs or alcohol but then the remainder of it was full of beautiful metaphors that once again contradicted the boy I knew with the man I realized who he was. The next day I sent the link, the strange justification of this and a brief message to a Minister I knew, he was gracious and thought while the message was in fact hate he made no comments regarding Ethan as he said he does not know him but it is clear that I did not either and that I needed to exit the relationship immediately for my own well being as he knew the prior “relationship” with a man close in age that nearly ended my life was reason enough alone. It was trigger warnings that I had been ignoring and misdirecting these past few weeks in his company that again I just took as the chaos of moving and the pressure and stress of that along with my own impending dental work and my sheer exhaustion of it all.
More lunches and coffees followed where I shared this with others and my own distress and the same question again, “He sent that to you?” Many expressed deep concerns that I was at risk and I could not believe that this boy, this man, would harm me. A couple of weeks passed and moving day came and I knew then for certain that we were not friends and possibly never were. Well no I knew we were briefly and it was full of love and happiness and safety in a way I don’t think we even knew what it was and how powerful and joyous it was. Two disparate souls found each other in the universe and this was not like anything anyone would understand and that too played a role in ending what was perhaps the most intimate satisfying friendship I had ever experienced in my life and I was so afraid of it ending that I would have taken to arms to protect it. And then I realized that one night earlier I was quoted equally dark text/scripture that frightened me and then again I took it from a boy searching for a place in the world and the gravitation to darkness was what I was here to prevent him from doing so that I had a role in his life and I had to guard and guide him away from this with love and light as he was to do the same for me as I had been in the dark for so long; I knew we together were powerful forces to fight off the dark.
Again I was wrong and funny I rarely am when it comes to most situations but these are powerful forces of evil and again I learned first hand what it means to encounter evil there is little you can do when it arrives. The shootings of the last week only serve to remind me of that.
When moving day came and the furniture and washer he wanted were loaded his father looked at me and said “Take care of my son.” Ethan laughed and I did as well as I knew then we were done and this angry sad little boy would be gone from my life for good. I was deeply hurt, angry and afraid. I had already given him a 17 page letter explaining much of my disappointment, my own confusion and thoughts from a better source, Thomas Merton, with regards to views on God and Love and one’s place in the world. I knew he had not read it but I am certain he has now and again refuses to have truthful communication about this with me and his two masks are firmly in place as we encounter each other at the coffee shop he works at and I still go to somehow either shame, embarrass, confront or at least embolden me to not be afraid of this child man. And what used to happen was that in his company I would immediately drop my defenses and could not wait to laugh and talk and share the days events with, I find myself shaking, becoming afraid and in turn angry at myself for being betrayed and duped by this child.
As I look at this essay, I see how I have changed even how I refer to him. He was a man, a boy and now a child. Even today we are both undergoing medical procedures, he for a minor eye issue and mine a minor uncovering of my implants. This is not an irony lost on me the spiritual soul mates are intertwined in ways that even I cannot explain. I pretend to talk to him via texts just to see if I can find some of the boy I loved and there are glimpses and then immediately as if he realizes that he discontinues the exchange. So instead like an abused spouse I send him recipes and food tips for him as a way of keeping it “friendly” and immediately I hate myself for doing so as if I am a drug addict just getting a taste.
I recognize my own loneliness, social isolation and being sick for my entire time here in Nashville opened up the door for this. I was willing and desperately needed some type of love affection and friendship. Again the thought of sex was repulsive to me yet I was willing to act as surrogate for us ostensibly both to finally figure out what the hell was going on. There is something about the idea of having clinical sex with someone whom you don’t love but respect and like as they do in therapy situations similar might resolve some of our issues. I would rather do it with someone I know versus someone I just met and somehow they are to fix issues that are about men touching me. I am not sure how that would work but on the guise of working with Ethan on his I could do it as well as it felt safe. Sure it sounds crazy but I knew I needed to solve this if I was ever to have any fulfilling happy relationship with a grown man in the future. And again I thought all along Ethan was bent and I knew it would not do him any harm. So I made up a story about my own experience with a surrogate I called the Dark Passenger who introduced me to kink when I lived in San Francisco. There was no man and the most intense sexual relationship I had in San Francisco was sexually based but we were also oddly good friends who explored the sides of San Francisco that catered to alternative sexual preferences which we did not do but talked about it a lot but alas never acted upon it other than some light versions of BDSM and even that was largely copied from the film Secretary and a book I had that was a more modern Karma Sutra and the same book I eventually passed onto to Ethan. 50 shades and of it? Not even close. But having met and spent time with those who are active in that community they laugh at that film as a joke so that is all you need to know if you are curious about that lifestyle.
The one thing I do like about it is the communication, the consent, the prep and the post care that is all about satisfying and accommodation of a partner. So for what it is worth vanilla sex could learn a lot from that community.
And with that I thought it would help him navigate just sexuality and I was more than willing to just talk about it as again I truly felt that much of this was about this issue and sure enough in his angry dialogue with me later as the move drew close it was about this issue. How sad that this little boy had an erection and rather than discuss it it was blame making, finger pointing and judgment calling. Hello angry dead Preacher.
This may explain why at age 8 he was evangelized early. Masturbation or touching had to be the catalyst for a Teacher to be his mentor in that avenue. Again a similarity not lost. Eight is early for most but it marks the beginning of the next seven year cycle and most Evangelicals have their “born again” moment at age 14, the end of another and of course the beginning of puberty. Sex is the imperative and the tool these freaks use to harm and manipulate children. When all else fails, paranoia and Armageddon follows. Nothing says damage and trauma more when you read the stories of those who have left the church. Irony that the purity leader of the past decade who wrote the book, I Kissed Dating Goodbye, at age 22 the same age as Ethan, has since left the Church. I suspect that prompt was Oedipal as he is now divorced and living in Canada, talk about running away from your past that you caused much damage with its misogyny and hate towards Gay people and others who did not practice what he preached.
As I sit here and admit my lies they are not to Ethan and in turn his lies to me go ignored. I wonder whose are lending less damage but regardless they are lies. And here I am finally sleeping through the night and the PTSD only kicks in now when I see him as I did yesterday and again pretended to be his friend and gave him recipes and ask about his eye surgery and pretended to care. Or did I? Again the abused spouse. I am afraid of someone I loved and my hands were shaking and my blood pressure was rising as I felt dizzy. Perhaps that is why people confuse that with love as I never felt that before in his company, I just felt safe, secure, loved. Today that is not the case and that is the duplicity, the mask he wears so well that now it is removed I see who he is. Perhaps that is why he has such problems in my company he let down the mask and now he cannot hide.
I cannot restore a friendship built on fraud and lies. I own my evil however in that as other than one lie about the dark passenger (who would love it that I called him that as he was the lightest man I have ever known but his own anxiety and history would parallel Ethan’s in some ways) but I was painfully honest about the rest and to sit with this child in my home and to love him unconditionally and so purely his duplicity and betrayal cannot compare. For it is Ethan who has this dark passenger and he is as dark and evil as my beloved Spencer never was.
What I chose to ignore were the facts that were there, already under care for anxiety, issues with blood pressure, the inability to simply care and manage himself from diet, to laundry, to health care, the signs and flags were flying fast and furious and I either chose to ignore them or simply not see them. I kept looking into what Christians love to call the Soul and see that within. And as in the same belief that there are those Guardian Angels that are sent to guide you through life’s transitions. I thought I was that to Ethan and he was there for me. And for a moment that was the truth. But it was only a moment.
Funny I grieve it as if I have lost a family member or someone who was in my life much longer than Ethan was ever in mine. We were friends for three months and in that time I felt more love and more anger than I had in any relationship I ever had. And in that time it was a roller coaster and we found our way back to each other as two soul mates should. But when the extrinsic takes over and those powerful dark forces outside decide to end what would have on its own with time and distance it was not salvageable. I watched him twist and turn and lie to me all the time professing to be a Christian the duplicity was not lost. I called it paper cuts and at one point it became a game to me to see what bullshit and lie would emerge to excuse and explain and I took it. I did because I still needed to move and deal with all of the stuff and frankly giving those items promised to Ethan I felt fine with it and still do. And even then he tried on that day to do his part and again I just did not trust nor believe him and again I was right.
And the parallels to the abused spouse is not lost. Abuse is often thought of as physical or sexual but it is often psychological and Ethan is very good at it as I suspect he has suffered from it himself and he in turn manages to model it and perform it quite well. His co-workers are unaware of his dedication to this faith and have never heard of any of the angry rhetoric or beliefs that dominate his thoughts as again he wears that mask well as those who are victims of abuse do. And I too have the same scars and tissue damage I just choose to be aggressive and assertive and in turn direct and confrontational when crossed, we all wear our armour our way. But with Ethan I dropped it and in turn I wanted no battle but it was not possible as he could not leave well enough alone he had to turn dark and evil and direct all that rage and anger in my way and for that I am afraid for reasons even I am unclear. But I do know it was less about me and more about those who came before as I was the one person whom loved him unconditionally asexually and without barriers. How frightening that must be for anyone and in turn a boy of 22 who has not yet forsaken that of childhood. It is sad really as I believe I was seeing a young man emerge who had the intelligence and kindness of one willing to be open to new ideas and a world from which to grow. And perhaps that is still true but I am too afraid and too entrusting to believe anything I feel, hear or see and that is serious enough for me to run not walk to the nearest exit. And with that I too want to hurt him in some way to enable him to feel the same pain I feel and there is nothing as this child doesn’t feel anything. He is truly a cold soul so the irony that I gave him a bracelet that says “Good fish” which means he is like the fish, sole, a play on words. Today it means so much more.
I have told some of his co-workers about his religiosity and in turn brought the loathed Doctor to meet him, while we laughed at the Preacher shit and talked trash about his lack of education this led Doctor to meet him officially and ask questions about his ambition and then propose him going to the Yale school of Theology. It was cruel, absurd and utterly unkind. He had called Ethan queer and inferred that was the issue. Again even I do not agree with that and then he had the audacity (among many other things that morning) to ask if I had the letter I wrote to Ethan so he could read it. Bitch please and then I realized even I had gone to far. But at one point you need to feel less alone and vent your anger when you have been betrayed and in turn abused. I offered a trip to help me move praying he would not take me up on it as a friend had already said not to be in any closed environments with him and deliberately informed me that I could not invite him to his performance that Friday night so I knew I was playing with fire. So even as I was seeing the signs those around me were also warning me to pull away.
As a woman abused and afraid it is less about Ethan and more about me. How could I a woman of 60 be so damaged by a boy of 22? What did I not see, what did I ignore and why did I? I knew when I left for Memphis that the boy was not all that he seemed to be, a Tarot card, a feeling and then coming home to look at my history page were all warnings. The odd fractured communication skills that I accounted to age, the endless trips home, the hiding in the bathroom to text for hours and the odd friendships that seemed to vacillate between anger and faux co-dependence traveling to see someone at home only to be stood up then ending in a drunken rampage. All of this again I placed on the vicissitudes of youth. But as I have discovered that the drama in this boys life was a constant and it was endless in some form or another. I find it exhausting and that is from observation I can’t imagine living in a state like that, just the move and the dental work alone has taken a toll that all the Yoga, Massage and other therapies can alleviate. Funny I had promised to take a road trip, to give him a massage gift certificate or a spa day and I never actually acted on any of that. I truly tried to bond and do things but they were so challenging that the only one occasion was the Symphony and that was the same night he decided to once again shit on it by telling me his co-workers were calling me his Sugar Mama. So I just made a promise after another but in reality it ended with the washer and the coffee table as that was the last thing I was “giving” him. I truly knew on a deep level that I did not need nor want this person in my life and even as I texted him loving messages and kind words I was not sure who those were for, me or him. I think it was to convince myself that he was a good person, a good friend and who I loved as family. And even today I wished him well on the eye work he was having done for reasons that I have never understood other than the pursuit of drama and mama. It is all so sad and tragic but not in a Shakespearean way in a white trash sort of way.
But there is one thing I did learn he was not one that accepted nor acknowledged kindness. The excuses and explanations of a pattern and history of giving and receiving gifts and it seemed ingrained in a family that had little and took a lot. They have never once told me they are using the washing machine or if the coffee table is in use or who has it? Another pattern of the Evangelical is to not like anything good for long. Okay then it was really not about me it was about him and his truth that in fact he was using me, not for money but for some religious obligation - I was the missionary duty he had not done in his faith so having me as a project was at least more interesting and less work.
Again all of this I suspected and despite my actually asking him he seemed to not be able to answer and again that only again triggered the warnings and it was he who was causing my PTSD to double down and not the move as I again believed. Signs and flags were flying short of Boeing 737 crashing down I chose to ignore and excuse all of this. The reality is that the concept of faith and belief is that it is less about being Christian and being accepting it is about control, domination and manipulation. The Evangelical sect of Southern Baptists are hateful angry people who will do harm and no good.
I move on in a few weeks and it cannot come soon enough for many reasons, Ethan is one of them. I cannot regret it as I did learn I am capable of intimacy and of love and friendship which I thought I was not. And for that I am grateful. I doubt Ethan is capable of such and for that I feel for him and hopefully that is the last time I do feel anything for him.
*I wrote this personal essay as I felt that it needed context with the recent posts I have been doing regarding religion and the scam it is running on America. I realized I was as guilty trying to use the words Humanism and Spirituality to deny that I am an Atheist and don't believe in the bullshit they peddle and in turn have no problem with those that do; however, I really want nothing to do with nor with those who do.