“And I’m supposed to do what?”
It’s the first days of 2011, and I’m sitting on my affordable, partially leather couch in my bungalow-style rapidly depreciated home in Wilmington, NC, staring in mystified excitement at Michael, the man I met on eHarmony and moved into my house one month later (yes, the Michael with whom I moved to Florida and who unceremoniously and non-mystically and thankfully exited my life last August). The main part of our attraction to each other was our mutual love for magical thinking matched with the burning desire to not be alone. It is a dangerous combination, but, as the results of the experiment revealed, quite instructive in the value of such things like discernment, intuition, reasonable decision-making skills, and the careful attention to red flags, especially the ones that are also on fire.
“You’re supposed to go to Hawaii,” he’s telling me. “And stop sex trafficking of girls.”
“Really,” I say. I had not seen this swerve in the road on my epic journey. However, at that time I was in the process of trading the world of man for the kingdom of God, a tricky reality shift to navigate for the best of minds, of which I have not, and so I was susceptible, maybe pathologically, to the power of suggestion. It was a strange time, like trying to perform open-heart surgery on myself, and I thought I knew what the hell was going on, but I couldn’t possibly have known because I was nuts. So, I was ready to play superhero/Messiah in Hawaii if that was my next assignment. The ego fights dirty, and it can masquerade as a good intention and be quite convincing. I’m telling you, the ego is a tricky bitch. A sexy, sly, tricky-ass bitch.
“Yes,” Michael says. “And you may be involved in vigilante justice for perpetrators, I’m not sure. I just know you’re supposed to go to Hawaii and do this. And I’m more like support staff. Like a wingman.” Michael is pale, sweating. “It is so clear.”
He has just returned from our friend Eryn’s house where she, a minister of metaphysics, shamanic practitioner, and recovered child of a Christian cult, guided him in a past-life regression meditation that spirited him backwards to the point where he first remembered being in love with me. It was some 2500 years ago, and Michael remembered being a soldier–I was the king’s daughter–and we carried on a clandestine love affair that ended in my pregnancy. Furious, the king cleaved Michael’s arm with his sword then abandoned Michael on a jungle island where he was eaten alive by a black panther. He died, losing me for the first of many times. We had several similar-themed relationships throughout the ages, including one where I was the high priestess of an arcane religion and persecuted Michael for trying to bring the people to the truth, until he landed in Krakow in 1942 as my squatty and hirsute Jewish husband. I was lithe and tall with ribbons of curls around my face, also Jewish, and the head of an underground insurgency smuggling Jews from Krakow into the Polish countryside. In his meditation, Michael saw me escape in a red cloak through the night as he stayed behind to face the Nazis. He was taken to a cell and tortured, his fingers and ulnas broken systematically, until he froze to death, heartbroken at never knowing if I made it out of Poland alive.
Then his meditation led him to our immediate future, which involved, as you just read, me going to Hawaii and stopping sex trafficking of girls. “Okay,” I say. “When?”
“Soon,” he says. “We’ll get a clear sign, and we’ll have to move on it immediately, so be prepared.” Michael is shaken to pieces and goes to bed early.
I’m a-tingle with excitement. Hawaii! Just imagine. I was going to go be incredibly important.
Anyway, the next week I drive to Eryn’s so she can guide me into a meditative trance and take me back as far as I can remember. I go back to a Gaelic hut, my village under attack by Gauls or Saxons, then forward in time to the American west where I join forces with the suffragette movement and commit suicide in a river because I am a tortured lesbian. I think I even put stones in my pockets like Virginia Woolf. I have not met Michael yet until suddenly I am in Krakow in 1942 in a red cloak, sneaking into the night and leaving my squatty, hirsute pianist husband behind to face the Nazis. I make it to New York City, where I live in Little Italy, writing letters to my husband to keep him alive in my heart until I die of old age in a small bed in a distant cousin’s apartment surrounded by family. Then I am in Hawaii sometime probably around, say, now in 2013, standing on a balcony built into the jungle canopy. A small gravel drive disappears into the vegetation, and we live alone up there. It feels peaceful. I am stopping sex trafficking, one girl at a time, one man at a time.
You would think this meditation would have been strange enough, but right after the vision of standing on a back porch in Hawaii, my body heats up, changing the temp in the room so much that Eryn begins to sweat. Moments later, I start to channel the Archangel Michael, who appears as a black mist and speaks through my voice. He talks to Eryn, and for the next several months, I ecstatically let Eryn and Michael put me in meditative trances to call forth the wisdom of the Archangel. I still have those sessions transcribed somewhere, and they might make a rather interesting essay. On the one hand, I loved being a channel for the Archangel Michael because it made me so special, yet on the other, I never believed what was happening as literal although Michael The Boyfriend did. I felt quite odd about what I was getting into during this section of the epic journey, and I began to suspect I’d fallen off the path altogether and was obviously too weird to stay on the East Coast. One of these days, I’ll go into more detail about my relationship with the Archangel Michael (or, you can read this: Tonight I’m Gonna Tell You a Story), but eventually it started to dawn on me that I hadn’t written anything for about three years and “channeling” felt suspiciously exactly like “writing.” So, I quit going into trance meditations and started writing poetry. In small victories, I was regaining control of my mind, which was being returned to me as a different electrical machine, as happens when one decides to change and surrenders to Love, which I call God because it seems more connotatively accurate and is easier to say and spell than The Mysterious Energy Implied in Theoretical Quantum Physics and Experienced in Art.
Sometime in there, in preparation for the inevitable signal to move to Hawaii and stop sex trafficking, I Googled “stopping sex trafficking in Hawaii.” I think of Hawaii as paradise, not as an international hub of child sex slavery, although it is both. In my reading, I kept coming across the same person, Kathryn Xian, quoted in articles about the then-pending anti-trafficking laws (the first of them passed in 2011). The search turned up GirlFest Hawaii, a nonprofit whose mission is to “prevent violence against women and girls through education and art.” Xian volunteers as the Non-Executive Director and heads up its Facebook page. She’s a warrior, and I admire her.
So, I sent her an email inquiring about her work to stop sex trafficking, omitting, logically, the exact course of events that led me to her facebook page, and she accepted my friend request. Nothing much happened after that because Michael and I fell apart triumphantly, got back together, I moved to Florida, you know what happened next, and so the obvious signal to rapidly move to Hawaii never came, and later, in quiet contemplation, I was able to forgive Michael for wanting an archetype instead of a life partner, and I was able to enjoy the comedy-of-errors that is my own delusions of grandeur.
I chalked up those few years as being lost on the path while I took my concrete life lessons. I forgot about Hawaii.
Kathryn Xian remained my Facebook friend although we didn’t correspond again until two days ago, when I wrote to ask her permission to use her name and mention GirlFest in this blog. Scrolling through the newsfeed, I’d snagged on an article she posted about the four US soldiers who, in 2006, gang-raped a 14-year-old Iraqi girl, Abeer Qassim al-Janabi, after murdering her family and, when it was all said and done, shot her in the head. In 2009, a jury in Paducah, Kentucky, sentenced the ringleader, Steven Dale Green, to life. He had the requisite bad home life, history of drug and alcohol abuse, and admitted to being unable to take the combat stress stationed in an area of Iraq nicknamed the “Triangle of Death,” all of which spared him the death penalty.
I rarely investigate rape stories because you know how I feel about it (Destroying What is Wild in Her). But, Kathryn’s post had pictures, which naturally led me to ask, What. The. Fuck. Pictures? As if what is happening isn’t terrible enough, we now live in an age where we can create a photo album on our iDevice to document our entertaining brutality to share with friends and family? I mean, how long am I going to sit around and pretend like this shit isn’t happening? That there’s nothing I can do?
So, beloveds, I did not want to look. But I did: I got sick and tired of not facing the truth. I got sick and tired of turning away from the daily reports of atrocities committed against women and girls. And boys. I got sick and tired of stifling my rage at the Congressional idiocracy debating the concept of “real” rape…look, dudes, I get that you don’t understand how a patriarchy works–that is obvious–and I don’t know how to explain it to you except to ask that you imagine yourself being “real” raped versus “fake” raped by another man and then examine your own feelings about the semantics. Hopefully, you will feel sheepish enough to begin to create a culture of love around your women. For the love of God, will you please fucking consider this?
And also consider this..?: Rape is not a woman’s issue. It’s not even a woman’s problem. Rape is a man’s issue, and rape is a man’s problem. Men need to be dealing with rape because the core issue lives in the male mind. “Stop this from happening to you,” we’re told, by the asshats who have no idea that it’s a violent impulse that manifests as invasive domination. (Remember Abner Louima? the Haitian immigrant NYC cops sodomized with a broomstick or toilet plunger depending on your source? I do. I remember it more than I wish I did.) And look, I know there are women out there who rape children and their spouses, but the endemic social sickness that spans history and serves as a plot device (do you have a hero who needs vengeful motivation? have his wife get raped!) stems from the way males “see” females. It’s just crazy, and nobody straight up comes out and calls it sick and insane. Damn, y’all. How about we start there? Just trying to keep it simple.
So, I realized, in a sense, Michael was right–maybe I wasn’t going to don my unitard and shitkickers and head to Oahu, but I can speak out. I can say my peace. I can do the best I can to try to help us, as a human society, try to see this issue differently to create some healing where there is self-destructive despair and brutality.
I did not understand that something so practical, so necessary, would grow from a wild seed planted at a time in my life when I was absurdly convinced I could possess spiritual superpowers if only I tried hard enough. But this I learned, in my heart, where it matters: Truth is the superpower.
And that’s what’s up, beloveds.
If any of you want to start talking about setting up a GirlFest in your neck of the woods, let me or Kathryn Xian know. Find her at the links above.