I just came back from a weekend in Vegas. It was Wakapalooza 2015, a smorgasbord of drinking, drugging, and KICKBALL. I went for the kickball. Once upon a time, I was a fantastic partier. If you could smoke it, crush it up and snort it, drink it, or swallow it in pill form, I was down. And I knew no boundaries—protected no reputation. I simply gorged myself on whatever was in front of me—because it seemed like a good idea at the time.
At this point in life—thirty-five, still nothing tying me down—I’ve chosen to get honest with myself and live without synthetic stimulation. I broke down and consented to try meds last year to treat a genetic predisposition to manic depression and anxiety after finding out my mom and I were the only ones still unmedicated. She’s the last one standing—the rest of us are happy. And being medicated now with substances that are actually helping me, it’s best to let go of all the recreational stuff. Why then go to vegas, you might ask? As I said before: KICKBALL.
Kickball is exactly what you think it is. The game we all played in grade school with the big fat cherry ball, the bases, and the intensity with potential for glory. I was always a chubby girl who wore things like denim skirts and moccasins to school. Kicking a ball usually led to my shoe flying off and I was almost always tagged before my ball got anywhere. I probably went four years in San Diego from 2nd- 5th grade without ever scoring a run in kickball. Needless to say, I was usually the last picked for teams.
Cut to now. My first opportunity to redeem my broken past. I was invited to join a WAKA league (World Adult Kickball Association) last fall, with people I’d never met, who ended up being really amazing friends. I had to pay to register, so they HAD to take me! Expectations were low—all I knew was there was a lot of drinking. And I don’t drink.
Playing on the Hollywood league led to playing this year at WAKApalooza in Vegas, and I was all in. Our team was called The Social Butterflies, which we had to re-title BUNTterflies because there was a website restriction on any obscene words in team names, and apparently the word BUTT in butterflies was flagged. Amazing.
Anyway, the Social BUNTterflies were all decked out this year. Some of us more than others—but you got the general idea. We were a rag-tag bunch of ratchet butterflies. I spent two days making giant wings out of aluminum wire and stretchy fabric; I had purple/black hot pants and fishnet stockings, and there was glitter in all the right places.
Nothing—not even our team captain’s insisting—could prepare me for how wild and crazy WAKApalooza is. It is like a frat party where everyone is welcome and no one is too cool for school. You see people from all walks of life, from all over the country, who have converged to fulfill a simple laundry list of ambitions:
-Get laid or as close to it as humanly possible
-PLAY SOME MUTHAFUCKIN KICKBALL
To the serious kickballers—the ones who were playing on the field across the street from us for a grand prize of $10,000—the priorities I listed above would be in reverse order. But for the party-animals on the “Fun Games” field, playing kickball wasn’t really the point of why they were there.
Hours into the day, and I am still going strong on cold water and Diet Coke. My outfit looks amazing—my homemade butterfly wing-span is about five feet across; I have fishnet stockings tucked into my Nike Frees, I’m running around dancing to all the different portable sound systems each team provided, and generally having the time of my life. Everyone is saying, “Wow SHE’S fucked up!” as I’m fluttering in frenetic circles around the field until it’s my turn to kick or play in the outfield. I’m making friends, dancing with strangers, being my usual ridiculous self, and it’s all 100% sober.
I spot an interesting collection of three lawn stools connected with a canvas over-layer, basically a lawn bench. Exhausted, I flop face-down on the bench as if I’m on a massage table. I stretch out my arms like super girl and flap them, making funny grunting sounds and flapping my arms drunkenly. There is laughter at my idiosyncratic antics. I go even further, putting on my fake Asian old woman accent and announcing loudly that I’m ready for my massage. Something magical happens when I go into comedic-mode. I’m sure professional improvisers and sketch-comics experience this—it’s a “say-yes-to-everything” mentality that becomes almost intoxicating. There’s an inherent trust for your environment, that no matter how bizarre the bait you throw out, someone will pick it up and support you. I’ve been a stage actor for over two decades, and one of the most incredible sensations is being freed from inside your head. Once you hear laughter and positive response from your audience, you start to get high—the presence and elation that comes of being in the moment and bringing light to those watching you—it’s an indescribable joy that I will always be moved to honor. Which is why when a rather large Latino man dressed in impossibly tight and comedically strategic kickball gear lurches toward me and moves to slap my ass, I allow it. He is playing along. He gets it—we are in a comedic scene and we are the life of that particular section of the party.
He slaps me awkwardly across my rear—right over the middle part. Anyone who is skilled at spanking knows you have to focus on one cheek at a time. I tell him as much. He chortles with laughter and obliges, spanking me hard on my left cheek. “There you go!” I holler encouragingly. “Now do the other!” Again, he obliges, giving me a nice loud rousing spank on the right cheek. I cheer with glee.
Then he does something I have a difficult time forgiving. He suddenly, uninvited, straddles me across the canvas-bench-thing I’m lying on, sits on me with his full weight, and pretends he is riding me like a horse. I am trying to say yes and play along but his immense weight is crushing me (imagine you were attempting to be ridden by Shrek) and there is a sloppy disconnection in his energy that I know is occurring because of extreme intoxication. I can smell it on him. He is slurring as well, and because the crowd is all lit up too, no one sees anything out of the ordinary. Then I feel his hand thrust between my legs as he begins poking furiously at my pussy. His touch is uncoordinated, sloppy, and rude. The distance between my ass cheeks and the intimate divide of my vagina is physically very close together, but the societal appropriateness of slapping me on the bottom verses sticking your filthy paw into my coo are light years apart. In my world of rules, you don’t go from ass-slapping to coo-prodding at hyper speed. Suddenly, in the blink of an eye, this guy has gone from drunk-playful to boarding the rape-train, and while the train is still idling in the station, I know what direction this asshole is capable of taking this train. To rape-ville.
So I immediately say no him to with body: I push myself up, though it’s a bit like trying to upset a beached whale from atop you, and thankfully he can feel me squirming hard enough to slither back towards my legs, and I am able to push up to my hands and knees on the canvas bench and hop to my feet. I whirl around, ready to clock the motherfucker, and that’s when I see how drunk and stupid he is acting. He can barely stand up. He nearly tramples the adorable dog that’s been running in circles on the sidelines of the field the past hour. His owner, no doubt one of the girlfriends of a drunk kickballer, reaches for the dog’s leash and guides him back to where she is sitting. She has no idea what just transpired. I have a feeling a few guys noticed, but in a brotherhood of drunken unity, no one is acknowledging anything as inappropriate. I suddenly feel alone in a vacuum of confusion and numb despair. But I quickly push it aside. I will not let this fucktard ruin my day. I cannot assign the title “sexual assault” to the incident quite just yet, because that would mean NUMBER FOUR for Christina—the fourth sexual assault since turning 32 in 2012, and surely at that point it just becomes silly. ONE sexual assault—that’s tragedy. Right? But FOUR? Four is just—ridiculous.
So I “let it go” so to speak. Not really, obviously, or I would not be writing this. But in the moment, I make a decision. Been there, done that, no need to go through it again. The first time this happened to me, I was frozen in my body for days. I drove home in a haze of tears and rain, only to breakdown and sob in my shower like a scene from a bad after-school special. I reported it. I raged. I shut down. I hated myself.
This time, I am different. I am a master of disassociation, and therefore as a survival mechanism I close down the part of my brain that wants to rip this guys balls off. Because that would be a bad idea. And I would go to jail. So instead I choose to file this incident away—into the “Female Injustice File” that unfortunately has grown fatter and fatter over the years. Men do not seem to be changing as a whole. We have to take them individually, as sometimes it seems the overwhelming majority is predisposed to subtle and not-so-subtle misogyny. I chalk this guy up to a “Typical drunk asshole.” Not worth re-educating. Too drunk to even hear me. I continue on with my day.
Cut to hours later. My team captain and I are still at Desert Breeze park. The “Fun Games” have ended, and the two of us are now using her camera to get footage across the way, where the serious kickball games are being played. Each team in the tournament has been eliminated to bring us to now—the final game. Two teams battling it out with a red cherry-ball for the grand prize of $10,000. It’s very exciting. My captain Tre is sitting atop a giant red ball (it’s really a concrete soccer ball that Desert Breeze park has constructed to decorate their immaculate soccer fields, but the WAKA team annually spray-paints the balls bright red with a WAKA logo on them, and the visual effect is stunning even from far away. Up close, the ball is well over six feet tall. I’d had to give Tre a boost so she could perch Indian-style atop it and film the rest of the championship game from a higher-up angle. As she is focused on the field, camera in hand, who do I see approaching but Shrek himself. At his side, a noticeably less drunk but still not sober companion, also a heavy-set Latino whom I learn is named Oscar. Tre and he go way back. They have met at several annual kickball tournaments, and he is “good people,” as Tre tells me later. His friend, however, is still drunk, and still the guy who jammed his hand in my cooter. He doesn’t seem to recognize me. But he recognizes Tre’s sweet voluptuous ass is directly at his eye-level, and he immediately flips up the tulle of her tutu so he can slap her firm round ass cheeks. She turns her head to look down at him and smiles. She’s not fazed. She’s been drinking all day too, and her free-spirited devil-may-care attitude makes her one of the most popular kickballers on the field. I stay silent and keep one eye on Shrek, one eye on the game. Tre and Oscar continue to make small talk in between Tre’s filming. A second later, I see Shrek pulling up Tre’s tutu again, and this time uses his fingers to prod where Tre’s thong flosses her bum cheeks.
“Don’t do that.” I bark at him sharply. He turns his head, expression swimming in an inebriated haze. His slackly smiling face is blank—it’s like there’s no one home. He is a mindless dog smelling meat somewhere and not sure quite how to get at it. He pokes at her again, defiantly.
“I SAID don’t DO that.” This time I let a slightly maniacal edge creep in. A whip-crack warning that he’s pressing on my last nerve. Tre immediately intervenes.
“Not while I’m filming!” she chastises him distractedly, indicating she needs to keep the camera steady. She chooses to interpret Shrek’s groping as merely playful because she is more intent on getting her shot. And that’s fine. She is in control of her own body. She doesn’t have to interpret his touch as rape-y. I have decided to assign him the rape-y identity, and that’s because a few hours early, he’d been sitting atop me uninvited shoving his hand between my legs. I turned my attention back to the game and clamp my mouth shut.
“He’s drunk,” Oscar says apologetically as they move away. I smile thinly and reply, “Yes. I know.” The pair wobble away in search of greener pastures and less psycho companions. Tre doesn’t mention it again.
Once the game is over, I bring it up in the car. “You know, the reason I called that guy off you was because he pretty much sexually assaulted me on the kick ball field today.”
Tre is confused. “What? When?”
“Today. During the last game. Everyone was hammered. He came and sat on top of me so I couldn’t get up, and the next thing I knew, his hand was between my legs and I didn’t like it. So when I saw him behind you, doing the same thing, I thought he needed to be spoken to.”
And he did. But I doubt he heard me. As so many men fail to truly hear a woman when she is setting a boundary that takes away his fun . And that’s why I’m writing this.
If anyone would like to get angry on my behalf, or on behalf of women everywhere, be my guest. I personally do not have the energy to get angry any more. Four sexual assaults in, and my anger has dissipated to a grim form of resolute acceptance. Alcohol + the male libido + poor judgment = sexual assault. And as the victim of four very different accounts of assault, I’ve had enough therapy and group counseling to handle it without getting too bent out of shape now. Victim-hood has never been my aspiration, and while it’s necessary to get angry, it’s not necessary to stay angry; I’d rather channel the energy into helping women like me heal. And the faster the better, because we have work to do. Society is still fucked when it comes to women and how we treat ourselves and each other, so anything I can do to be of service to a woman suffering, I will do it. But I will not stay silent. I will not “let it go” because that would be denial. I’m not excusing Shrek, I’m not confronting Shrek, I’m not pursuing his identity—I could, but fuck it. I’ll write about it instead. I do wonder if I should let the WAKA admin people know what happened. Immediately my fearful fantasies coalesce as I imagine scores of veteran kickballers bemoaning a sudden tightening of rules and policies on the field for Wakapalooza 2016. “Yeah, we used to get so wild out here—it was awesome. Everyone would be fucked up—even the refs. Then some fucking bitch got all bent out of shape because she said she was “touched inappropriately” so they started cracking down. What a bunch of bullshit. She probably wasn’t even telling the truth—you know how bitches lie about shit like that. She was probably wasted and dressed all slutty and got mad ’cause some guy tried to hit on her. What a dumb bitch.” Yeah, that’s actually going through my head as I contemplate reporting the incident. Thanks, society.
But either way, I’m just going to post this and speak my truth through my own experience, because it happened to me. And I’m fine. It hasn’t broken my stride one bit. Well, that’s not entirely true. Sunday night when I got home and my boyfriend came over to get frisky, I found myself pushing his hands away when they attempted to trace the lines of my body. I pushed him away. I resisted. What the fuck was that all about? And being the horny puppy he is, he was not thwarted by my rebuff. He continued to spoon me and attempt to get me naked. I wanted him close to me–I wanted snuggles and sweetness, yet when his hands would again sneak around to flirtatiously tickle and tease, I suddenly felt nauseous. Then it it me—Shrek. Shrek still had ownership over my body and thoughts. I took a deep breath. It was hard, but I told Lance what had happened. Lance’s arms around me went slack when I got to the part about Shrek’s hand in my cooter. It was as though my body had suddenly turned to glass, and he was fearful of breaking me. Or maybe he had gone into kill-mode, and he was envisioning everything he wanted to do to Shrek. Either way, we stayed in that odd purgatorial limbo for a few breaths, until i begged him not to hold me differently. He understood. He tightened his hold. He also understood how the incident brought back memories for me of a much more violent assault that happened last spring. You can read about it in teh blogDifferent in nature, and certainly far worse that what occurred in Vegas this weekend, but still sensitive to triggering.
We didn’t let the moment stop us. We closed the night with an epic fuck-session that left me satiated and back in control of my body because I was able to give my body temporarily to Lance—I was able to consent to letting him own me for that night. That takes trust and self esteem—exactly what sexual assault strips from us. I wasn’t going to let drunk Shrek and his uncouth gesture destroy what I had taken nearly a year to cultivate with my man. I was once again proving to myself and to the world that I am UnRapeAble.
So thanks for reading about my weekend. Thanks for your support, thanks for your feedback, share if you agree and challenge me if you disagree. But I’ll be honest—I don’t give a fuck if you disagree. After the things that have happened to me and the walk I have walked, I become increasingly disinterested in the opinions and suggestions of people intent on perpetuating the backwards way we go about treating women in our society. I simply have no space to hold for you. But if you would like to share with me your vision of how to continue healing the divine feminine and make it ok for women to be sexy AND safe, by all means—reach out.