I’m afraid to start writing again this morning. There’s this fragile peace within me, something inside that’s just barely standing on its own two feet, and I don’t want to shatter it or shake it up or push it back over.
I didn’t blog last Friday — I got up, overwhelmed and sad, and didn’t have any words to meet me once I sat down at the page. That happens sometimes, and often I write through it anyway. What am I doing here, I type — why aren’t I asleep, I could be in bed, what’s the point of this? Then I get tired of that sort of writing and I move into something else, something more interesting. On Friday, I couldn’t get to something more interesting. Everything fell away from what words could do for me. I hate that place. So instead I went online, I read my email, something I try never to do before doing my writing, because it’s always easier to read than to write, at least for me.
There’s a mailing list I’m on, STAT (Society for Treating Abuse Today), for survivors of extreme and ritual abuse and also for therapists who work with survivors of such abuse. Someone had posted a link to the Franklin Scandal. I followed the link, and found myself reading excerpts from a book about a man, Larry King (not the television star). Larry King ran a credit union, where kids from Boys Town worked. There was a contract between Boys Town and Franklin Credit Union. Larry King also flew kids from Boys Town to Washington DC, where the kids had to have sex with/get raped by prominent public officials, at sex “parties.” This went on in the 80s, and I don’t want to go back to the page again to get all the details — I don’t want to get sucked in again. He provided kids for the parties, and also a photographer — he wanted to get pictures of these politicians that could be used for blackmail. In this scenario, the kids were stage makeup for a higher game — political jockeying between/among adults. These kids were pawns, tools, utensils in a bigger game. Their individual humanity didn’t matter — what mattered was getting a photo of this particular individual, this career politician, this power broker, having sex with some kid. Any kid. The humanity of the kid doesn’t matter to the adults running the game.
One of the kids who finally found themselves able to come forward with information about the abuse, the trafficking, the parties — she was found guilty of perjury and sentenced to 27 years in jail. Larry King went to jail for embezzlement at the credit union, but never charged with, never held to account around, the crimes he committed against kids. Investigators came up murdered during the investigation, and one official body found that the entire thing was an elaborately crafted hoax, envisioned by the young woman who was found guilty of perjury and another person, who’d also been trafficked to the sex “parties.”
Of course I believe this story. There’s nothing at all about it that’s implausible to me. Here’s what happened as I was reading — this wondering: did my stepfather know about this thing? He worked with Boys Town, both he and my mom both, as therapists. Did he know about it and want in? Was he too late and just trying to recreate something similar in his own home? Or is it all just coincidental? I read through the book excerpts, then did some more searching for related pages, looking for his name, any charges made against him and the work he was doing to supposedly help the sexually-abused youth at Boys Town. He said he met his connections from the CIA (he said, yes, he said he’d once been a part of the CIA — because how does a girl from the middle of Nebraska get away from someone who can find her anywhere on the planet?) out at Offut AFB; there’s that connection in this book, both with the CIA and Offut. Yes, coincidence. Or not.
Then I got up away from the computer and I turned it off for a couple of days. There’s no escaping the spinning that starts, there’s no logic-ing myself out of it, once I start slipping down into the “everyone’s a potential associate of some sex abuser and you can’t trust anyone” pit. Because it’s true, of course, and it’s not true — there’s no way to prove, is the point.
I don’t want to be typing this
When I walk out into the world, and meet people casually, there’s no way to prove who knows what, who doesn’t know, who’s safe. There’s no way to know who’s hurt a kid, who’s hurt a woman or a lover, who’s done something stupid and awful (or intentional and awful) that they regret or they don’t regret.
Knowing that, I can either step completely outside the world and live in a cave (I nearly wrote cage), or I can take a deep breath, know how much I can’t know, and move back into the world with my boundaries in tact, listening to my intuition, and attending, too, to how much generosity and kindness exists within humans, even alongside our capacity for horror.
But in the in between, I took some time away from words and hung out with a different creativity. I worked with food, and both remembered and didn’t think about my parents, my family, where this capacity for creativity came from. Apple-Zucchini-Carrot bread, green lentils and quinoa with coconut milk and green onions, kidney bean refritos, soup stock, apple and peach crumble. It was a good weekend. A weekend of attending to different languages, the subtle interactions of tastes, paying attention to the drift of nutrients in my body, which meant paying attention to my body’s wellness, though not directly.
We learn to listen on a slant, to pay attention to all the different facets that truth has, and sometimes we can use that for our own wellness, right? What do you listen to when all your usual channels have gone to static?
Thank you for being there — I’m so grateful for you.