Completing with the blame cycle

Held hostage by a man

Since the Women’s March, and the dream of my mother, a memory came into focus. One that I rarely if ever spoke about it. I was 18, and traveling in Brazil by myself, on a multi city ticket. I had flown from Rio to Fortaleza, where I didn’t know anyone. I went to a market, and while walking around, I met a man with his 3 daughters. He invited me to stay with them at their house on the beach. A day into it, after the girls and I had had some beach time, he started acting very bizarre. He said he needed to go out, and would be back in a few hours. I wanted to go to the beach, but every door was locked! We were locked in. Fuck. How creepy. Encouraged by his housekeeper who knew where his keys were to the garage and his dune buggy, she sent the three girls and I off to the mercado. Flying over the sand dunes in his dune buggy on one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Morro Branco, the feeling I had was of awe and beauty, as well as kinda terrifying.

At the market I met the pilot of the flight I had taken to Fortaleza. He invited me to hang with him, have some lunch, then take a flight to Recife. On the flight I sat in the cockpit with him. He and I became good friends. Once back in Rio, I traveled a bit with his wife and 2 little boys.

Held hostage again

This time I was 20. Without shame I can write about this topic, as many sisters have gone through the same. I had agreed to go on a date with a guy, whom I was basically pretty lukewarm about. He didn’t attend the University I went to, but played in the band at a party my roommates and I had at the end of the school year, and had hounded me to go out with him. We went to see the movie, Flashdance. Afterwards, he invited me to his place encouraging me to sing with him. So I went. We sat down at the piano, blah blah blah, blah blah blah.. A lot of hot air. But when he got up and went and locked the front door, then started to approach me, I knew instantly I had little time. I started to speak up, being very strong mentally,  about this being the only way he could have his way with me. The psychology worked briefly, but his brute strength won out. Date raped. A term I didn’t know until two weeks later, when Time or Newsweek had cover story about it.

All I knew was that I had no idea where I was. I felt i had to accept a ride home from him. Was completely unable to speak. Confusion setting in. Not knowing what to say or do. I treated him kindly on the drive, and listened to him tell me he wanted to see me again. UGGGGGH.

No voice. To make matters worse, on some level I began excusing him. It was ingrained so deeply. That was the worst of it. Much worse than the incident itself was not being able to hold this guy accountable. Inside of myself even. Who was wrong? Did I turn on my self? Is that a female thing?

I met Jonathan Kaplan in my late 20’s, as he directed quite a few music videos for John Mellencamp. He was the director of the movie Accused, with Jodie Foster. Who doesn’t remember that movie. I told him how much I appreciated that he made it. That he chose to tell a very difficult story. That endlessly this issue would twist the scenario and the woman would be to blame. My perpetrator wasn’t a good old boy, though. He was as disenfranchised as I was, just differently. It was a real mind fuck. If I had reported him, given the color of his skin, he likely would have been toast.

Depends on how you look at it

The last video shoot I did with the band that Jonathan Kaplan directed, had me in the back seat of a limo…as an older woman. Ha! I was all of 29, with two young high school boys fawning all over me. I think I was eventually down to my bra, and decked in diamonds. These boys were in heaven. Aka Ava Gardner, with her boy toys, from Night of the Iguana.

Jonathan wasn’t crazy about this scene. It actually was cut by MTV. Too much they said. This was before Madonna’s Truth or Dare, which changed things for MTV. He and I spoke after the scene. He said that I deserved better than that. What a great guy. It might have even been his suggestion that I get paid for it. Mellencamp was way into that particular scene and wanted me to play it, as my husband and I were splitting up. He said I had the power in the scene. That’s how he thought.

I did feel somewhat degraded. But I shook it off, as it was an acting roll. It was a character. I took the money from the shoot and went directly to buy my airline ticket to NYC. I was going to check out acting schools.

We no longer need permission from Daddy… Gloria Steinem

Or anyone for that matter. I feel like I was conditioned to excuse men. By writing that, I’m not saying it was wrong to do that. It was the way it was for my particular lineage at that time. I’m not making myself wrong. No, I’ve done quite enough of that.  These stories are a way of connecting some dots. Period.

Acting school saved me, putting me in touch with my spirit. It gave me a creative outlet that I desperately needed.

Here it is 2017. I write, because it’s time for some transparency. Maybe it is helpful for someone else.

I spoke to a girlfriend today who said, maybe the time really is now. To completely come out of hiding as powerful women,  as powerful people who express themselves. Total decency.

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Article 1 – Women’s March, a female perspective

by Administrator on February 12, 2017

Women can be together without persecution being triggered so strongly. Now we can really do something.

I had a dream with my mother in it. She was a young woman, likely in her 20’s. Wearing lipstick in a shade that I’m currently wearing, salmon like. With horned rim glasses, and a smart black suit and white shirt, her hair slightly darker than the auburn of her pictures. She was sitting on a bus. So reminiscent of one of the women in the movie Hidden Figures. My mother was a bookkeeper and when I saw the movie there was a gentle reminder of her energy.

In the dream she was happy. This was the real standout. It took me 2 days to realize the power I was feeling from this dream. It was more like a visitation. Just a day after the women’s march, I had to take note. She was happy. Wearing her dreams on her beautiful face, this version of her was full of the potential of her becoming.

My mother’s mother worked in the steel mills of Gary, Indiana. Her mantra to my mother was women were to be seen and not heard, passed on to her no doubt. My mother would mention it to me, not as a suggestion, but sharing with me what she had been told. My grandmother didn’t care for women, and my mother had an easier time with men too. I as well, in my 20’s was more welcomed into the life of my husbands band, than the circle of women surrounding it who threw shade my way.

My mother, Bette, faithfully raised her brother, as my grandmother, Lola, worked the swing shift at the mill. My uncle Terry never receiving anything less than an A+, breezed through Old Miss college, being their most outstanding student – the Woods society of excellence created in his honor, was a Rhode Scholar, then worked in D.C. as a nuclear engineer. Unfortunately he dropped dead of a cerebral hemorrhage on the squash court in the pentagon gym at age 28. (my mother was convinced he was killed by the government) My mother was 9 months pregnant with me at the time. Unable to attend his funeral, at Arlington Cemetery, my grandmother shunned my mother and consequently me as well. Telling her that she no longer mattered.

I came into this life fiercely defending her. I would fight her battles. My dad wasn’t a tyrant, but had a way of teasing her, and sometimes put her down. It was cloaked with sweetness though, as they were a loving couple. He was frustrated that she kept so much to herself, he’d try to bring her out.

Back on the bus. I had never seen this version of my mother. Beaming with the dreams she had of becoming a lawyer. There was a freedom around her. She seemed to be letting me know how far reaching the events from the 21st of January really are.

Women want to unite. Sisterhood is natural. The incorrect position women have had with other women, has been forced by the patriarchy. It’s gained much by keeping women apart. No more.

This collective energy is not only giving permission for all people to speak up now, but encouraging it.

To be heard

This uniting spirit is creating a safety net for expression. Or at least a fuck it- what do we have to lose. Persecution is finding healing. Women can be together without that being triggered as strongly. Now we can really do something.

My mother used to say to my sister and I that we were so powerful. Well, she was no sissy, she just never felt safe.

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