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<editorsnote> Hi, I'm Jen Friel, and we here at TNTML examine the lives of nerds outside of the basements and into the social media, and dating world.  We have over 75 peeps that write about their life in real time. (Real nerds, real time, real deal.) Sit back, relax, and enjoy some of the stories!! </editorsnote>

 

 

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Saturday
Jan212012

#NerdsUnite: Getting over shame one post at a time (An amends to myself)

K, so yesterday I had a breakthrough in my work with the Shaman. Calling it a breakthrough however feels very therapy-ish - and no me gusta el therapy ... so I shall call it the sledge hammering of my soul. 

For reals, the Shaman took onnnneeeee big whack and he very literally made me cry from my soul. It was intense, it was overwhelming - it was long long long over due. 

Hold on - lemme get a song going with this post. I've actually been listening to Dido since our session - so it only makes sense. 

Okey dokey. 

So, lemme just address this upfront; I am of the FIRMEST belief that no matter what, we are all fucked from birth. For reals, no one has a perfect childhood and anything that happened to anyone is all a very much "so what" kinda thing. You can choose to be the victim or the victor in life - and I very very very honestly do not want to be pitied or anything in between when it comes to the publishing of this post. I am writing this out for myself, and for myself only. If people can empathize - rad! But this is me trying to figure out what transpired in my childhood that makes me the way that I am, and makes me SO UNBELIEVABLY emotionally unavailable to guys that I date. I strive every.single.day. to make myself a better person. This post is for me, by me - and my thoughts in this present moment. 

There were three events in my childhood that looking back made me who I am today. Good, bad, or indifferent - they are as follows: 

1) Family estrangement/ emotional abuse from literally the womb

2) Molested by a doctor at 11. 

3) Stalked by two of my best friends in high school and two of my good friends.

I've been a people magnet my entire life. I have INSANELY powerful energy. I get told that all the time by anyone that meets me, and this is also why I have SUCH bat shit stories - because people have been drawn to me from birth. 

That can be a good thing (like in the case of you wanting to launch a business, or by not only getting called on down on The Price is Right, but also winning an entire apartment full of furniture) or a bad thing - like having an attempted kidnapping at 9, molested at 11, stalked at 16, stopping a break in at your house at 17, stopping a carjacking at 22. My life story is a fucking joke man. My mom, dad, and brother can tell you some INSANE stories, and their response to everything is always - "only you Jen." 

This is my constant, people are attracted to me. 

I get this now as an adult, but as a child it was a very very scary thing. 

My parents were UBBBEEEEERRRRR protective of me. Hence why I am as an adult so FEROCIOUSLY curious about everything, and wanting to explore so much of life first hand. I was not only shielded from so much (and rightfully so), but I was very genuinely scared of the world and scared of my own shadow. 

Compounding this fear in my psyche was the fact that the people that my dad grew up with were TOTAL FUCKING ASSHOLES!! And I'm not even saying that in like a whatever, emotional way - but in a VERY MATTER OF FACT FASHION that these people were RELENTLESSLY cruel to a toddler. I look back now being close to their age at the time the emotional abuse began and I am completely flabbergasted. Children are SO FREAKING PRECIOUS!! I can't wait to maybe have one one day so I can conduct social experiments on them.

So little Jen Jen jr. when I take away this barbie from you ... how does that make you feel? 

::excellent:: 

Wait, I'm getting ahead of myself here. Lemme start with some of my earliest memories. 

So, I've covered the whole emotional abuse from my dad's parents before on the site. This post btw STILL makes me cry.

I felt like writing all of that out was the greatest release ever. YES! Finally!! I'm not stuck with all of these feelings inside of me, everything will become diluted by others reading it to the point where it will no longer be inside of me!! 

YES YES YES YES YES!! I thought. Lifecasting is the GREATEST THING EVERRRR!!! 

I also am a practicing Buddhist, so I not only got to emotionally release that, but also offer them forgiveness. In fact, I'm FRIENDS with some of my dad's siblings on Facebook. I even saw one of my uncles back in June when I was in CT filming Season 1 of Vidblogger Nation. 

There I was in 2011 all of these years after all of that nonsense happened, and I had released the story and forgiven my dad's family by friending them on Facebook. 

The only problem with that was that there was a HUGGEEEE step in that process that I missed - I still owned the shame. 

I would not wish being psychologically tortured as a child on anyone. Emotional abuse is the worst thing ever. And when your grandfather is such an esteemed psychiatrist - trust, they know how to fuck it all up right. I can't stop crying writing all of this out. 

I was just so so so so soooo confused as a child. My dad's family worshipped - WORSHIPPED my brother, THE. SUN. ROSE. AND. SET. ON. HIM. yet, they TO MY FACE denied my existence. 

Where's my number one grandson, my grandmother would coo as I ran up to her every time - SO FREAKING EXCITED TO SEE HER!!! 

The confusion in it all was the WORST part! I had no idea what I was supposed to feel, I just knew that none of it felt good. 

Birthday and holiday after birthday and holiday I would climb into my big brother's bed and just stare at him placing my hands on his chest - what. do. you. have. in. there. that. i. don't. Why can't I be you? You're so special? 

My brother, who is very honestly one of the kindest people on this planet would stare back with his big blue 2 years and eleven months older eyes and say - I don't know Jenny. I don't understand it either. 

My brother and I should have fought against each other, perpetually trying to one up - but we didn't ... we bonded. We were SO young!!! Like 3 and 6, but we KNEW what they were doing was wrong EVEN AT THAT AGE!!!!!! 

My parents did absolutely EVERYTHING in their power to stop this. I can still hear my mom crying as she hugged me saying how sorry she was, and she was so confused as well how anyone could be so cruel to their own flesh and blood. 

This nerderinos, is why my family and I are so close - we're all each other has. My dad kissed off the people he grew up with to be with his bride, the woman that he has loved since grade school (and is STILL madly in love with 31 years of marriage later).

To hear my parents fighting over all of that growing up though was so hard. My parents barely ever fought. Sure, like every couple they would have an argument here and there - but the fights they had over my dad's family were HORRID! 

Oh, and did I mention that my dad's sister also made him sign a blank piece of paper when I was a pre-teen? See, my dad's family is like uber rich. Like crazy uber Connecticut rich where people throw piles of money at each other and have tickle fights. There is a family house in Ireland, and a lot of property over there that apparently was supposed to be shared equally among the family. To date, I have been to Ireland once. And that was with my parents, and we didn't stay at the house - we stayed with my Uncle Manuel (whom I ADORED) and I rode the super huge swinging fences every day. 

Dudes, those things were MASSIVE and went SOOOO FREAKING FAST and then BOOM! Slammed into each other. Ah-mazing. 

The people my dad grew up with are shiesty, shiesty people. The HILARIOUS part in all of this though is had any of them actually KNOWN what kind of man my father is - they would KNOW that all he ever wanted from them was their love and acceptance. Acceptance of his family, acceptance of his choice in wife - acceptance that HE IS THEIR BLOOD!!! 

They assumed that he was only after their money. What a fucking joke, talk about life being reflective. 

So yeah - this story not only involves me, but some really gnarly financial shit and just the worst bad blood ever. 

What's great still in all of this though, is that my dad's sister still sends him Christmas cards like they're friends. How diluted can a person be? It's like excuse me while I fuck you from behind, but stare at me in a mirror while I do it because then you will see that I'm smiling. 

They're genuinely twisted and the more that I try to actually figure any of them out - I am at a loss for words. I have attempted to remove the emotional component of it all, and dissect their personalities as much as possible ... but I can't. They're an enigma because I can't EVER take away the love that I have for my dad in my heart, and how he came from those people is LITERALLY beyond me. 

Being denied from your extended family from birth is a very traumatic thing. I like to say it doesn't bother me - I very genuinely thought I was over it ... but I wasn't. You just learn to compartmentalize so it doesn't incapacitate you. I have no choice but to wake up every day and live my life. I mean sure I can stay in bed, cry my eyes out - but you get to a point where you're sick of being sick and tired. I cried every.single.birthday. for my entire childhood. Literally - my 18th birthday my mom took me to Disney World so I could be at the happiest place on Earth where tears weren't allowed. 

I feel so much shame STILL for what they have done to me, and SO much shame wondering if I am STILL worthy of love. 

Hence why I have LOVE tattooed on my wrist and why I tell people to own their awesome so much. Dudes, I'm just telling it to you all so I can hear it for myself. 

It's a process, and it's still a day to day thing - but I genuinely wonder at what point how can someone NOT take ownership of all of this? 

So, I was born into that family where I was ostracized. I then learned to amuse myself, playing with legos in the basement, growing up in chat rooms (I started typing when I was 2) - then to go from that shame of having your extended family not even not love you, but not accept that you EXIST to then getting molested by a doctor at such a young age?? Aren't you supposed to trust doctors like you're supposed to trust your family? 

It was gnarly - I can remember the entire thing like it was yesterday. 

My brother and I were going in for our annual physical. My parents had recently switched insurance providers so we had a new doctor. Sure, not a problem. I got called to go in first, I don't remember having to get into a gown - in fact I'm like 90% certain I had my jeans on. 

Normally, parental units go into the room with the child while they're about to be examined. In this case my mom got called up to the counter to talk about something with the new insurance provider. 

Fine, not a prob. I was a REALLY independent kid so I had no problem being alone. 

The doctor then came into the room, and said he was going to check a few things out. 

Fine, again, used to this. 

He put the stethoscope down my shirt, looked in my ear, did that weird knee jerk thing ... all totally normal. 

Then he actually put his hand under my shirt and said I was going to develop nicely when I hit puberty in a few years. 

I instantly left my body at that point. I had no idea what this guy was doing, but like with the confusion I felt as a child with the people my dad grew up with - I knew this shit wasn't good. 

I was still sitting up at that point, so he then asked me to lay down. 

I remember unbuttoning the top button on my jeans - so YES! I was wearing jeans, not a gown. 

He said he had to take a look to make sure everything was fine "down there." 

My parents had told me up, down, left, and right as a kid that these were my "privates." And should anyone EVER touch them for me to tell them. Was totes kosher for passover with that - but this was a doctor. Isn't he supposed to do these sort of things? 

He then stuck a finger inside of me, and I remember how weird it felt. I hadn't masturbated at that point and the sensation was INCREDIBLY weird. 

It lasted for all of 60 seconds or less - but I knew our last doctor had never done anything like this before. 

I remember getting up and leaving the room getting a glowing recommendation from the doctor that all was well. I believe I was even given a lollipop. WINNING! 

We were only in the office for a few more minutes longer so my brother could get checked out. I said nothing to my mother, and nothing to my parents out of not wanting to misbehave. Again, a doctor is TOTALLY supposed to check you out, right? Totally normal. 

Few more years go by ... I was 17, and I had a gnarly kidney infection. I had no idea why as a kid but LITERALLY every other month or so I was always in and out of the drs office or hospitals. Kidney infections, asthma, the flu - I was the sickest kid ever. 

Either way, I was in the hospital, and I remember the doctor telling me he had to give me a cathader and to do that he had to go "down there." He then said he had to have two female nurses in the room and he was going to walk me through step by step everything that he was doing so I felt comfortable. 

Is this your first pelvic exam, he asked? 

See, girls don't have to get pap smears and all that fun stuff until they are 18. 

I thought back to that doctor and wondered if it was the same thing. Then, with my legs in that weird stirrup thing - it hit me like a TOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNNNNN of bricks that, holy shit, this is not at ALL what I experienced as a pre-teen. That exam never should have been done, and CERTAINLY not without my mother in the room. 

I was crying so much out of pain that I never even let a tear be designated for that doctor. I knew what he did was wrong, I KNEW my parents should have at LEAST been in the room, or a nurse ... SOMEONE!!! But in that moment, I very literally remember telling my brain - I just can't go there. 

Yes, first exam, I lied. 

I then blocked it out of my memory until I was in my 20s and during a boxing session at Hollywood Boxing Gym, I had a HEAD TO TOE flashback of my experience. It AMAZES me how much the brain can block things out - and for how long ... but things can ... and will ALWAYS come back and manifest in other ways. 

I started crying, excusing myself from the session, and quickly called my parents. 

I relived everything in that experience to them over the phone. What was his name?!? I want to google him!?! I remember he had this mole. 

We also never went back to the doctor, it was that one visit - then nothing. I questioned my parents on that ... 

Mom, why did we never go back to him after that day? 

I can't tell you why Jen. I just got a creepy vibe from him. That's why we paid out of pocket so you guys could go back to your old doctor. 

Paying out of pocket btw for two young parents who were STRUGGLING to make ends meet was a really. big. deal. 

This all makes so much sense, I confessed. 

I then called my high school to have them pull the paperwork (even all of these years later your high school still has all of your old school records and shit. Again, the exam was for school, so it made sense.)

I then googled like mad wondering what the statute of limitations were on such a case, and what my options were - even calling my old pediatrician and asking him for his advice. 

You have to press charges, Jennifer. You have to - he said. 

To this day, I have never pressed charges. I'm ashamed to admit that, but this mother fucker was SO old even then - and I've BEEN through the legal system with the stalkers (get to those in a second) ... it's exhausting. The worst part about being stalked wasn't the actual stalking, but rather having to go through not only the criminal side of it all, but the civil as well. It's messed up, and there is no justice in our justice system - only laws. 

It's my word against his. My mom wasn't in the room, nor my brother - so you have my pre-teen self, and my mom's "bad feeling" on why we never went back. It's a joke, and there's no fucking way emotionally I can go through anything like that. 

I know what he did was wrong, yes I was violated - what am I going to do now, throw a parade? Beg for an apology? 

I am attempting in this to explore some of the shame, but life was just so fucking hard at that point. To be dealing with all of my family issues, have almost no friends at school, just really really really good grades, to then being molested by someone ELSE you were supposed to trust? When is enough ever enough? How can I raise that white flag and say - okay, I just give up! I'm a kid! When is this shit going to be more like Saved by the Bell and less like a horrible after school special. 

It's amazing how even at that age I didn't want people to feel sorry for me. (That came later in my 20s) Everytime something bad happened I just learned how to compartmentalize so I could move on, and then would write my feelings down in my journal when I could have an appropriate crying session. 

I became this machine. Extended family sucks, doesn't even think that you are worthless - they are COMPLETELY apathetic to you. Doctor performs pelvic and breast exam on pre-teen - stop trusting doctors. Stop wanting to ever go to a doctor. Yet, I kept getting so fucking sick ALLLLLLLLLLL the time I had no choice. 

Rinse, cry, repeat. Rise, cry, repeat. It was a joke how systematic my emotions became at that time. Again, I could choose to sit there and cry all of the time since this shit never seemed to end, or I could just write about it til my little hand started to hurt. 

I sought a lot of solace in chat rooms as a kid. AOL chat was very literally the greatest thing to ever happen. I remember going into a bunch of teen chats talking to kids, FINALLY having friends and FINALLY being able to relate to people. Sure they were from all around the world, but who cared - I finally had a connection with someone ... SOMEWHERE. 

I got into chat rooms in 7th grade, and by 8th grade we moved to a new town (West Hartford, CT) and where as I was one of the only people in town with a computer in Bristol (where I was born) EVVEERRRYYOONNNEEE in WH had a computer. Translation: EVERYONE was on AOL instant messenger. 

Things were okay when I first got to the new town. I was such a teacher's pet in Bristol, that year I was LITERALLY named Student of the Year. Not even month - the ENTIRE FREAKING YEAR - but by the end of the last semester, I sunk into a gnarly depression.

Kids in WH were fucking cruel, and I was an offie weird little thing. I'm a nerd man, and there you have all of these kids who were SO competitive, and SOOO freaking rich - I mean wow, I was definitely upper middle class back then - but the tutors and homes these kids had ... it would blow your mind. More. Money. Than. The. God. That. Doesn't. Exist. 

Then came high school. FREAKING FINALLY, I thought - that year I became besties with this chick named Amber. We were totes sister from a different mister, brothas from another motha. Finally ... freaking FINALLY I had someone IRL that I could connect with. Freaking FINALLY someone my own age to get close to. Freaking FINALLY someone to love. 

That relationship ended up with the fact that I now have a lifetime restraining order against the chick. 

It's insane - and looking back, STILL shocks me. 

Amber was off balanced. She had gone through a lot of family issues, and sure - looking back, it all makes sense why she snapped. But what in me had that as my best friend. What in me attracted that situation? 

She wasn't even particularly nice to me a lot of times. She always put me down, or would say things like "I created you. Don't you ever forget that." Gives me chills to think about. Read the post to know what I mean. 

I take responsibility for my part in that, but again - I never accepted the shame. How can someone be hated so much by their own family, have all of this crazy shit happen to them as a kid, and then ... to finally ... and I mean FINALLY have a friend in this world, and to have them end up stalking you?? How can you NOT take on some of that ownership??? 

But it's just that ... it's not ownership for actions in a clinical way - I have to tap into the root of the emotion behind it, and that is shame. 

The shaman sat me down after our session yesterday and said, okay, this has come up a few times now - you turn cold in our sessions. Jen, I was sweating in that room. 

I looked up at him knowing that this wasn't good, and holy shit - even when I've been meditiating in my own home, I could FEEL how cold I can get. Straight. Up. Goosebumps. 

What are you blocking? he asked. 

I stared back very genuinely having no idea. How much more open can you be with someone, I thought! Here I am laying on this table, in this room inside of his office. 

I'm intuitively going to tell you that you need to make amends with someone. There is something you are not letting go of. 

The second the words escaped his mouth I started crying. 

I knew what he was saying and JUST moments before our session I had called my mom to tell her that I had a dream about grandpa (my dad's dad) the night before. 

I sobbed hysterically in his office. I can't make amends, he's not even here anymore, and the people that are are just out to fucking lunch. I've done everything!! I've forgiven, friended in social media - what else do I do?? I begged. 

They were so so so cruel to me, I sobbed hysterically very literally feeling every tear coming straight from my soul. 

Who does that to a child, who? I cried. 

Maybe you need to make the amends then to yourself. 

He then took me into the back room as I sobbed and he placed his hand on my back. I could IMMEDIATELY feel the fire. 

It burned like a mother fucker. 

I continued to sob as we talked. 

I feel so much shame, and I've never admitted that before. It's one thing to have something happen to you once - it's another for it to never let up for your entire childhood, and by so many people you were supposed to trust. Why would you ever put your hand back on a stove again if you got burned the first time? Imagine being COVERED in burns - then what? 

I don't know how to truly ever let my guard down, I just got incredibly lucky launching a business in all of it. 

Let down the mask, he said. It's okay. 

I continued to sob for about the next 20 minutes. I cried for the doctor, I cried for my extended family, I cried for the stalking - I cried straight from shame. 

I had never felt a release like that in all of my life. 

He then gave me an affirmation and a song to listen to. (He kindly asked me not to share.) 

And just like that, I became aware that I need to make amends to myself - this is something that a decade in therapy never even came up. 

My amends to myself: 

I'm sorry for the pain Jennifer. I'm sorry for the hurt. I'm sorry for it all, but this doesn't belong to you anymore. You are loved, you are worthy of being loved, and fuck me silly - girly mcgirlerson you've got some good shit coming up - so enjoy it! It's all yours, you deserve it, and you. Jennifer. are. enough. 

#thatisall

Want your own shaman experience? Drop him a follow on the twitter and check out his site for more info on booking an appointment. The dude blew me away yesterday. Blew. Me. Away. So grateful, shaman. Thank you so so so so sooooooo much. xoxoxo love 


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