But there are important differences as well. I don't feel that the institutionally tolerated harassment and coercion these women such as Ashley Judd, Rose McGowan, and the other women in other sectors talk about is anything that one can say they've brought on themselves. In recent posts I've talked about how my belief that I needed a love interest to focus my energies on left me vulnerable to some predatory women in my youth. So, whether or not I "brought it on myself" becomes an essential issue when I contrast my experiences with someone whose main crime seemed to be that they were female, attractive, and twenty-two years old or thereabouts.
I don't like to blame myself too, too much in regards to these horrible experiences I had, pretty much all of them many years ago, now. I just think it's more constructive for me to look at the role I played, and see how I could do better, and I think, for the most part, I've both recognized the problem- the "need" for a love interest- and I've taken measures to improve the situation. The gist of the solution lies a willingness to go in other directions in regards to women I'm attracted to other than a direction that attempts to bring me closer to them.
I still have room for improvement, boy howdy do I. I'm reminded at times that I still have reprehensible habits, such as staring at women I'm attracted to (very recently reminded), and the more inner life problem of looking to rebound with another love interest after some ordeal such as the one I've chronicled throughout this year with the Invisible Woman.
So, I think my issues are more productive if I look at them as a personal conduct issue, whereas I think what's going on now with these reports in the media is more of a change the world issue. To some extent, my personal issues touch on civil rights, and I'm prepared to function as a one-man wrecking crew when I sense that is the issue; my insistence that I have the right to patronize a restaurant or other business as long as I don't bother anyone, and otherwise behave courteously and appropriately towards the staff and the other customers, for example. But, to undergo such actions effectively, an ability to know where I leave off and the other person begins becomes an essential cognitive tool.
For example, at one restaurant I patronized, I caught the vibe that a waitress that I had an attraction to didn't like a t-shirt I would wear in there. The t-shirt said, "I support single mothers," and had a silhouette of a stripper. One morning this waitress talked about her struggles as a recently divorced mom and how her ex still expressed a longing for her physically.
I thought, "This is pretty personal information for her to just talk about with a coworker within earshot of a customer." Also, I'd recently had an argument with a female relative about this same shirt, so that was fresh on my mind. So, to test out the hypothesis that this waitress had a problem with my shirt, I decided to stop wearing it when I patronized that restaurant. I never called attention to the fact that I'd stopped wearing it. I just no longer wore it there. I wore it a lot less in general, really. I remember one time I wore it to the veterinarian's office, and the female receptionists remarked that they thought ii was funny. I told them of my belief that the waitress at this restaurant didn't like it, and how I'd stopped wearing it when I ate there.
Another element to this story involves the fact that I'd worked at this same restaurant as a dishwasher in the Summer of 1990, and I really must have freaked out the female staff and the owner. I talked about this to a waitress I was friendly with that same Summer that I decided to stop wearing the t-shirt. When I talked about my previous employment with this friendly waitress, I was very open about how I had not been diagnosed and treated at the time of my employment.
Three months after I decided to stop wearing this t-shirt at this restaurant, I ate breakfast there early one morning. A male waiter asked me how I was doing and all that, I said fine etc. Then, as he walks off he sings the lyric to that Carpenter's song "Close to You." You know: "Why do birds suddenly appear/ every time/ you are near/ just like me/ they long to be/ close to you."
So this kind of thing goes on for like, two years and four months from the time I decided to stop wearing that shirt. There are several dustups, but I'm a slippery fuck. Right? One time, after two years of me going to this place, waiting for someone to notice that I'd stopped wearing this shirt, I tried to just make small talk with this waitress, and she was shaking, I think from pent up inner rage. Right?
Finally, two years and four months after I decided to stop wearing this shirt, I go in there on a typical busy morning, and another waitress, an attractive friend of the aggrieved party, said, smiling and with emphasis, "Like your Butthole Surfer's t-shirt, Richard!" This other waitress had started working there after I'd decided to stop wearing the "I support single mothers" t-shirt. So , I sit down, and the aggrieved waitress comes up and looks at me as if she regards me in a whole new light.
For the longest time, I didn't know whether to hold any resentment towards this formerly aggrieved waitress or not. Then, I decided, in light of how part of me perceived what went down with the Invisible Woman; in other words, that I might have been dealing with someone who had issues with me many years after the fact, I decided that I was cool with this waitress because she no longer seemed to have any issues with me.
Anyway, that's how I function as a one-man wrecking crew when dealing with the societal stigma of mental illness. Anyone who faults some of these women in these news accounts for coming forward years after these incidents took place can kiss my ass. Issues number 8 and 9 of Richy Vegas Comics detail how a gay male friend of mine tried to force himself on me one time. For about twenty years I never told anyone about this incident. It wasn't so much that I had serious trauma from it, I just saw this friend's assault as par for the course in how lots of friends treated me in those days. As far as trauma went, it didn't stand head and shoulders above many other things I talk about in those two issues of Richy Vegas Comics. By the way, in Richy Vegas Comics issue number 9, that's where I first bring up the crude sexual proposition I made to Wanda, so there's that too.