The Kindness of Strangers

There’s something to be said for the kindness of strangers.

Earlier in the year I found myself dealing with the consequences of a 10 week encounter with a narcissist. I cannot claim faith to accuracy and call it a relationship but the aftermath can be likened to wading through a quagmire of tepid feces. It was that good. On top of this, my dog fell suddenly ill with auto immune disease. The process of tests, financial draining, her fast deterioration into an ongoing illness, watching the light in her eyes dim, the energy in her limbs fail, pushed me beyond the brink of any sadness I had experienced up to this point. This is surely my year to learn some lessons, as two days before my birthday, I found out I was pregnant. To the narcissist. Bleh. Just when I thought my basket was full.

I spent my 35th birthday at work. Thankfully a place that has a few precious stars who blink at me through the darkness, let me share their radiant light, and hold my shoulders to help me get me off the floor, look me in the eyes and tell me that I’m strong when I had forgotten this was ever a word that I could apply to myself. One of these wonderful girlfriend’s of mine introduced me to her regular customer and he took a shining to me. He’s a tricky one to be booked with for an extended period of time. In general conversation he begins on a subject but doesn’t wait for a reply, barrels over the top of you, completing 32 segways and 33 subject changes by the time he takes a breath for air. He is a sweet soul but somewhat disconnected. Literal. Confused by the patchwork of social mores, the tones and rhythms of conversation. My girlfriend left the room to go and do her 20 minutes on the stage and I was alone with him. He made the observation that I looked sad and asked me why. I told him about my dog who is the closest person I have to me. I told him that nobody in the whole wide world, loves me the way she does. That she is the only person I have who would put me first. Take a bullet for me. Lay starving next to me, rather than eat my arm to save herself. That I don’t know how I would face a day, in the current climate of my world, if she were to die. That this is what I truly believed. That is how I truly felt. I’ve never been so terrified of the possibilities of my own action unto myself, should her heart stop beating.

In this moment, for just a few minutes, the customer changed. He suddenly became a friend. He engaged with me in a way many of my close friends hadn’t been able to. They once made jokes as I sat with tears running down my face, squawking about how big my tits were now. How amazing! What a coup! What a silver lining! I couldn’t even keep company with most of my own girlfriends during this time. They meant well, but I could not laugh at the situation I was in. I did not know what choice to make. I felt like an anchor of sorrow attached to a decrepit dingy, that had already been dredging the bottom of a stupid shitty pond for 7 weeks since I found out my dog was sick. How could people not be tired of my tears? I avoided dinners and celebrations. It was all too loud and overwhelming, enhancing my already hormonally enhanced anxiety. I was alone no matter where I was.

In a small room, at my place of work, this stranger looked at me, and spoke to me with such genuine love and kindness. With the innocence and well wishes of a child who understands the feeling of sadness, but doesn’t understand why it has to be a part of life. He did not seize the opportunity to overstep the mark and touch me. He did not try to take what he could get, while the getting was good. Nor did he condescend to me, or raise himself above me to give sage, unsolicited advice. His human heart spoke to mine with such compassion and truth. The likes of which I’m not sure I’ve ever encountered from a stranger before. We are pen pals now. He never fails to surprise me with the words he wraps me up in. The most comforting embrace. The most gentle tendrils of kindness permeating my every cell, to make me feel the ‘ok’ is in there somewhere. This man has been a gift to me. He is special. If someone had suggested that the kindness of a stranger whom I met at work, while I was pregnant and naked and feeling so very alone in my heart, would be the thing that would resonate with me, I would have broken at the suggestion. But he appeared. And thankfully my heart was still open enough to accept his love.

He writes to me,

‘Hang with the ones that are positive and positively reinforce you and your ideas, the ones that make you feel free… Be amazed and bedazzled by all the cool aspects of life, interact with truth and the beauty of all your skills and entirety of your shining being will beam out.

Billie the Legend can do anything and everything by looking after herself and her pals and embracing intelligence, empathy, and day after day braveness

And as I said in an earlier screed:

“take care,

sleep well…

remember to think of those that love and care for you when you lie in bed,

feel comforted in their embrace…

and you will sleep….

plus talk when you need to,

to the ones that will really listen (and not judge),

the ones that really do support you 100%”

All the best and thanks for your email esteemed buddy.”’

It’s these encounters that make me wonder “How lucky am I?” and to know that I would rather reveal myself in both sorrow and joy, than to stay hidden and let these people pass me by.

There are not enough words to give thanks to the strangers and friends, work mates and  birds flying overhead, fleeting moments of beauty, acts of kindness, that have supported me through this year. Coming out at the other end with a smile on my face is a testament to all of those people and little things that were there for me the whole time. Even when I wasn’t ready to open my eyes and see them.

  

 
* Thanks for the tattoo D.Ferguson, another kind stranger. Two words that always help me from an old friend from across the sea C.Lambert

* Image of “Big Bird Alone Under Lamplight in Central Park” by another angel of mine A.Rovedo

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Soft Touch With A Hard Cock.

I’m up in the mountains in Bali. My curtains are drawn. My window shutters closed. My hair is wet and I’m sitting wrapped up in a towel on my bed. Hiding. Probably still a little bit in shock but I think writing this is helping me be numb again. I don’t have any alcohol, or cocaine, or weed to take the edge off. Writing this will have to do. I have a couple of close friends here already but I don’t want to go out to see them. I don’t know if I can handle having anyone tell me I need to take any course of action right now. I don’t know if I can cope with something as simple as a kind embrace.

I just returned home from a massage. The guy had a firm but soft touch. No pain, not much pressure. I was super relaxed and it felt good. I didn’t sleep much last night. Was up skyping and writing emails, cause I’ve been a little lonesome. I don’t want to go into the details of the rub down. In essence, the same old story as many others. The guy went to town on my breasts and at some point was brushing his hard and undeserving cock, encased in damp underwear, against my hand. Starring in his own sexual, and might I add unimaginative, fantasy. Manipulating my arm so that my half unfurled fingers were skimming firmly over it. He walked the line between ok and other. Incorporating some movements that were common, with some that seemed legit but that I didn’t know, and then just lightly dusting the cake with something putrid. I was so out of it, so foggy and hot, half asleep and drunk with client/practioner trust. And to be shamefully honest, the massage felt good. In a dream like state I convinced myself I was getting it wrong, and berated myself for being grossed out by him. Because he was kind of a fucking freak, fat gut, short curly brown hair, one wonky milky eye and an accent like a German villain in a poorly acted film. I thought I might just be being unkind.

When it came to the damp hard cock, it took quite a few strokes for me to become closer to consciousness and click that something might not be right. Then I thought it might just be his pants and you know, sometimes in a massage that happens. The whole time through him working on my butt, my thighs, my pubic bone, I thought it was just something that could have been interpreted as sexual but could also have just been legit. It felt overly familiar but the woman who owned the place had been working on me at the same time for the first 15 minutes and was using me to show him techniques. I just thought he wasn’t very good. That his touch was different to hers, cause she knew what she was doing. After the cock, still in between asleep and awake, I pretended to be dead asleep so I didn’t have to deal with what might be happening. I wasn’t sure. I still wasn’t sure. I remember thinking, “This isn’t happening. I’m getting it wrong.” I definitely remember thinking that. It was only 3.5 hours ago.

Even now I feel disconnected from this whole experience. Wondering if I am running hard in an over-reactathon. He left the room not long after the cock. I lay there. Pretending to sleep. I still didn’t know that I knew what had happened. In hindsight I know exactly what happened and that he most likely left the room to go bang with his own banana. In real time, I thought I might be wrong. I wasn’t upset yet. I was just wondering. I was still half asleep, still quite relaxed. Just turning it over, around, up and down in my head. Just telling myself to be calm. Don’t be cynical. Don’t be hysterical. Don’t be rude. I lay there, and I lay there. It was unbearably hot. He’d turned the fan off when he left. I half opened one eye. No sign of him. Then I heard him on the phone to the owner, saying he would see her soon. He’d known that he had time.

I got up. I went outside. I glanced at his pants. He was wearing thick cargo styles with a zipper on the crotch. When he’d rubbed my hand against his cock, there was no zipper. The lech had pulled his pants down especially for me. I paid. He tried to thank me for the tip I wasn’t giving, to steam roll his way into not giving me my change. In the end I fucking tipped because he didn’t have enough change. I took a pricelist and smiled like a normal customer. I pretended I had just woken up from sleep so that I didn’t have to look him in the eye. I accidentally did look at him, in the eye and was reminded again of how hideous he was. I had the same thought that maybe I was being rude, but then he told me I had fallen fast asleep at the end and that he’d tried to wake me but couldn’t. He hadn’t tried to wake me. I asked him if he’d done my hands as I’d requested at the start. He said yes, yes, that he’d done my hands. He hadn’t. He was lying. I felt like I was in a scene from a movie. The part where the audience gets a fucking clue but the protagonist isn’t quite there yet….

I walked down the road, went into a shop, bought a coke and some water, ordered some food. I stood and I chatted to the woman as she made gado gado. Mesmerised by her mortar and pestle grinding away at peanuts in a circular motion, breaking them down to mush. I teetered on my feet, it was creeping up on me. I had to get out of the shop. I walked with my food and drinks down the garden path, past my home stay mumma and the housekeeping girl, they called out to me and I smiled with my whole body and my whole face just like I always do as I sung a hello that floated on the breeze over to them in their kitchen. I got to my porch and put my things down. Texted my friend to see if he could skype me cause something shit had just happened. I said that I had to shower. I left my phone behind, outside on the table. I left the food, my wallet, my disbelief my everything out there. I looked at myself in the mirror and said, “Billie, don’t get upset. You don’t have to get upset. You are ok with what just happened.”

As soon as I turned the water of the shower onto my body, my tears began to cascade from my eyes. I turned my face up to meet the stream of cold water. The tears ran into the arms of their brethren and amongst the fold, they all made their way down the drain together.

It was impossible for my friend to talk. I know he’ll feel bad when he reads this (please don’t A). My other friend thought my text was a joke but with my tawdry sense of humour I can understand why. My gf’s all had stuff on today. I ended up skyping my exboyfriend. He is my best friend these days but I didn’t want him to be the first one I told. I wanted him to get the later version, the one with less detail in the telling because the story had been told before and the corners are rounded, the edges softened. And that’s when it really hit me. Putting it all into words, going through the whole thing from start to cock. All the questions I’d asked myself, I asked again, but with the torturous clarity of hindsight. I cried so ugly that my mouth turned square and I couldn’t breathe. Half an hour later and I’d resigned myself to being alone in my room eating the closest thing I could find to cheesy poofs and drinking a coca cola. The irony of the cheesy poofs being called “Chiki Snack Balls” wasn’t lost on us. The sheer ridiculousness of this made us both laugh before we hung up. My ex-bf saved my day. As only he can.

I have to move forward. At the end of the day, I will be fine if I let myself be fine. If I just accept what has happened and get the fuck over it. I don’t know. I do know. I know that I’m full of shit. And that my head is toying with me because I’m in tears again thinking about what a fucking idiot I am. I’ve been like this my whole life. Polite to the point of delusional. Never supposing that people who aren’t supposed to do things like that, would actually do them. Convincing myself in the moment that what I think is happening isn’t really happening. Having conversations with myself where I talk myself out of what is real and into what should be real. As an 8 year old thinking it must be ok for the neighbor from down the road, to have me sitting on his lap, embracing me from behind with his hands up my shirt and rubbing up and down my chest. I thought it was ok because he was our family friend and because my dad sometimes did the same thing. Even now I think to myself that it must not have been sexual. With what I know now, I understand that this isn’t the truth, about my neighbour, but my first inclination is to explain his way out of it for him. It’s nothing I’ve ever lost sleep over.

In the context of men overstepping their boundaries, when the truth and I disagree, I always win the argument in my head. I don’t think I’m the only one who does this. From a young age we are taught not to question people in certain positions of status. To respect without exception our teachers, priests, parents, family friends, elders, customers, even perfect strangers. Our parents tell us “Because I said so, that’s why.” We are trained not to ask questions, not to speak up, not to be contrary, not to be difficult, to do what it takes to please the other party. This way of thinking, of not being taught to trust our instincts and value our feelings as children has pretty fucked up consequences when we grow up.

Even now, after working in strip clubs for 9 years, something like today will happen and all my assertiveness and street smarts dissolve in disbelief. All the things I should know better are once again, not known at all. I’m so indignant at work when men ask me to let them suck my tits, or finger me, or lick out my ass or fuck me til I break in two, or put their dick in my mouth. I’m so indignant that there is NO time or place that a person who is uninvited should talk to anyone that way, let alone actually make the moves to manifesting any one of those things beyond that infantile, socially unaware, power tripping douche bag’s bland sack of shit imagination. I’m so assertive with setting the boundaries and not allowing anyone to cross them. I don’t know why this falls away so completely in real life.

I deleted about 4 big paragraphs from the first section of this post. Because I realized that I was including all that detail because I wanted every one to know every little thing so that they could see I was being 100% transparent. So they wouldn’t think I’d done it on purpose, or that I’d asked for it, or implied that it was ok or in some way manifested what that wonky eyed, predatory, lascivious German toad did to me. I deleted it because I don’t want to be defending myself for something I shouldn’t be defending myself over. I don’t want people to see my shame and guilt and foolishness become clichés in the details. I feel as though I have to say “It could have been worse. There was no penetration, there was no ….” There was no what??? There was enough. And that should be the end of it.

2 DAYS LATER

 

A good girl friend and kindred spirit that I’ve met here in Ubud has offered to go back to the massage place and tell the local Balinese woman who owns the joint that something happened. I can’t face it, I don’t want to see that man. When I told her, she relayed several stories to me of sexual harassment in her life – massages, men masturbating next to her on the bus, in a park across the way, groping her arse or breasts from this country to that country. We had some laughs, I shed some tears as we juggled the questions of the why and the who? My other good friend and saviour of sorts offered to go and throw the fucker out the window. I’m sure he could manage it. But I don’t want him seeing the face of my shame. There have been a myriad of inappropriate jokes made and stories told to lighten the mood for me. It’s good to laugh. I don’t want to let the memory of his sweaty dick wrapped up in cheap underwear come between me and my love of drawing cartoon dicks on things. I feel lucky that I can still laugh, but it’s not an event I’m sailing through. It’s had repercussions already.

I feel alone. I feel dirty. There’s heaviness on my shoulders and a fog in my mind that won’t lift, even after my 4th coffee in the morning. My head can’t process this beautiful paradise as it is and everything is overlaid with a grotty sepia hue. I feel like some of my friends at home don’t want to speak to me, when usually a changed skype date or unreturned email or tardy reply to a message wouldn’t be a blip on my radar and I know my mind is trying to trick me into feeling like a bad person. I feel unworthy of friendships I have never doubted until now. I’m really angry. Every now and then I can feel that guy’s cock in my hand. I see the sneaky, gratuitous sideways glance of his milky blue eye as he thinks he got away with it when I leave the shop front. I feel a little trapped in my own head and I don’t quite know how to get out. I guess it will just pass. Like any other cloud.

I woke up to a series of emails from a beautiful pixie friend in NYC who put it perfectly when she said, “It makes me really angry because it is the sort of thing that I fear happening all the time, as a woman, and a small one at that. I am so tired of feeling constantly cautious, constantly untrusting, constantly scared. But this is the reason why.”

I’m comforted but also revolted and so very upset that I am not alone in this experience.

Soft Touch Hard Cock

This is how it feels when you do this to someone. Just in case you think they may have enjoyed it. Just so you know. This is how it felt for them.

My pixie friend is on twitter AND tumblr @tinyprofessor. Follow her.