MeToo

TW: Rape, sexual assault, domestic violence!

The #MeToo Hastag goes around and I want to speak up what I went through too. Because it’s not only women who get raped. Everybody can be a victim of sexual assault; regardless of gender!

A while ago I wrote a short story like post in german about this. (Autobiografische Kurzgeschichte (Teil 1)Autobiografische Kurzgeschichte Part 2Autobiografische Kurzgeschichte 3) Now I want to try to do it in english again.

I was 17 and had my first boyfriend. He invited me to his friends home. We were alone there. He started to kiss me and touch me but I told him that I didn’t want to sleep with him. He got more pushy and suddenly grabbed me, rolled me over on my belly and pressed my head in a pillow. I couldn’t breathe, scream or fight. His whole weight was on me. All I could do was lay there and wait until he finished. When I went back home, my legs were shaking. I was confused. It was my first time sex and I didn’t know if it was normal to feel like I did. Disgusted, scared, used. Later I talked with my friend and cousins about it. But they only told me that “Every woman has to go through it.” “Sex is only for men.” “First time is always awful.”
Until I talked with a rape survivor, I didn’t even realised what has happened. Because of what I was told. “Every woman has to go through it. It’s normal.”

Because I’ve been told that “it will get better if you make more experiences”, I kept being with him. I even married this man. I was young and naive.
One night he came home drunk. I was sleeping and sedated from my pain medication and antidepressants. When he first touched me, I didn’t really wake up. I thought I was dreaming. But when he got on top of me, I realised it wasn’t a dream. My brain was foggy but I tried to push him off me. But he just held my arms over my head while he raped me. Again I only could wait until he finished. Gladly I was so sedated that I kept passing out during the assault. The next morning I wasn’t even sure if this really had happened, but I could feel it from my vagina.

He tried to rape me one more time but this time I could fight back. I got myself free off his arms and escaped to the living room. He followed me, grabbed me and told me that I “owe him sex” and that he “can use me whenever he wants” because I was “his wife”. I fought with him so he slapped me into my face. But so I finally could get free and threw something at him before I grabbed my keys and left the apartment. I was only seconds in front of the door when I remembered a friend of my friend who lived just 2 doors down. I got there quickly, scared, he would follow me. I ringed this friend out of bed at 3am and he gave me a shocked look when he saw the mess that I was. After I told him what happened, he wanted to go over and beat him but I stopped him. I was just glad that he didn’t know where I was and that I was safe there for the moment.

I have never spoken about this. Only with a close friend and my therapist. My family doesn’t know what happened, and as I said, I myself only realised it was rape after I talked with a rape survivor. All the years I thought “it wasn’t real rape”, “we were a couple”, “he didn’t use force”. Rape comes in many shapes. If you say “No!” but a man goes on, it’s rape! If you are unconscious and he uses your shape, it’s rape! Even if he’s your boyfriend or husband. We must break our silence so other victims can realise if they got raped. I don’t want anybody to suffer for 15 years like I did because I thought “that doesn’t count”.

There are some other stories but I haven’t worked them through myself yet, so I will share them later.

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Behindertenfeindlichkeit bei öffentlichen Behörden

Gestern bekam ich mal wieder Post. Besser gesagt, meine Mutter bekam Post für mich. Ist leider nicht das erste und einzige Mal, dass Behörden Post an mich gerichtet zu meiner Mutter schicken anstatt zu mir.
Ja, ich bin autistisch und habe Pflegegrad 1. Das heißt jedoch nicht das ich meine Post nicht selbst annehmen und öffnen kann!
Einmal hatte ich mich beschwert, bei der Pflegekasse. Antwort war, sie müssen das so machen da meine Mutter als Pflegeperson eingetragen ist. WTF?! Ich lebe allein, in meiner eigenen Wohnung, habe ein eigenes Konto und auch einen Briefkasten. Wenn wer was von mir will, sollen sie mich direkt anschreiben!
Leider ist diese Art Behinderfeindlichkeit, und andere, alltäglich bei Behörden. Als ich noch undiagnostiziert war und noch keine Rente bezog, also noch zum Jobcenter musste, bin ich auf viel Unverständnis gestossen. Bei Terminen benötige ich oft eine Begleitperson. Zur kommunikativen Unterstützung aber auch zur Beruhigung, da diese Termine oft sehr stressend sind. Sehr oft ist es passiert, dass ich im Gespräch völlig ignoriert wurde, und nur mit meiner Mutter gesprochen wurde. Oder ich war aufgrund von Stress temporär mutistisch (nicht-verbal) und wurde schon unverschämt angesprochen, ich solle doch selbst was sagen, man würde nicht mit meiner Begleitperson reden. Wenn Mutti versuchte zu erklären, dass das nicht ginge weil ich (damals noch) Sozialphobie habe, wurde ihr das Wort abgeschnitten. “Das kann ihr Kind selbst sagen! Es ist doch erwachsen!” Liebe Behöreden, Behinderungen sind nicht immer sichtbar! Wenn ein Mensch eine Begleitperson dabei hat, wird es einen Grund haben! Zeigen Sie doch mal Verständnis und fragen freundlich(!) nach!

Gerade auch wegen der Sachen mit der Autismus-Assistenz, habe ich festgestellt, dass viele Menschen ein verzerrtes Bild von Behinderung haben. Für viele gilt nur All or Nothing. Benötigt ein behinderter Mensch Unterstützung in einigen Bereichen des Alltags, gehen die meisten Menschen davon aus, dass dies für alle Bereiche des Lebens gilt. Behinderung ist nicht schwarz-weiß.
Mir wurde schon Objektivität abgesprochen. “Was Sie möchten, muss nicht das sein was Sie brauchen!” Diesen Satz empfand ich sehr übergriffig! Wie soll ein nicht-behinderter Mensch, der mich nur aus Akten kennt, wissen was für Hilfen ich benötige und welche nicht?! Ich weiß sehr gut, was ich brauche! Und das ist nicht eine “autismusspezifische Förderung”. Ich komme sehr gut im Leben klar, danke. Leider merke ich immer wieder wie Behörden davon ausgehen, nur weil ich Hilfe bei Terminkoordination und Absprachen (telefonisch, mündlich) von meiner Mutter bekomme, ich nicht selbstständig leben kann und werde schon fast als unmündig hingestellt. Mir wurde schon von diesen Personen geraten mir einen gesetzlichen Betreuer zu holen. “Man muss ja an die Zukunft denken!” Oder man hat mir nahe gelegt in ein Heim zu ziehen. “Da haben Sie gleich Betreuung mit dabei!” Sehr übergriffig, Mündigkeit absprechend, behindertenfeindlich.

Ich kann verstehen warum viele behinderte Menschen sich allein mit Familie und Bekannten durchkämpfen anstelle sich an Behörden zu wenden. Weil man menschenunwürdig behandelt wird.

Future dreams

Future dreams

Since I was a little kid, I wanted to learn finnish and move to Helsinki. I couldn’t come far with those dreams yet, because of my chronic illness. It will get hard for me over there, and I’m not sure if I even can do it.
I was looking online for some courses and found one that only would be 2 times a week for 2 hours, 8 weeks long. This is the shortest I could find. But still I’m not sure if I’m able to take them. Two times for two hours seems not much, but for me as a chronic ill person, it is very hard. Usually when I had one appointment a day, like doctors or just grocery shopping, I’m so exhausted I need 2 hours sleep right after and at least one day off to recover.
I can imagine how hard this will get in Helsinki. Especially if I won’t get support there for the daily life things that I have here, like doing the household. I really don’t know how to solve this problem to make my dream come true. I only have one friend who lives in Helsinki, but he has a super busy job and we’re not that close that I could ask him for the support I need :/

The other, bigger dream is, to move to Helsinki. I would have a better life there than I have here. I’d get more pension and would also apply for social help. That’s what I got on Kela (finnish social insurance institution) Requirement: having a permanent home in Finland. For the guarantee pension I would need to have lived at least 3 years in Finland. And there comes my problem. From my invalid pension I can’t afford to pay rent for an apartment there. When I move to Helsinki, I won’t apply for german social help anymore so I would have only my invalid pension. I don’t know yet how Kela can help there, if they would help me. I will ask my finnish friends soon but also will go to Kela when I’m back in Helsinki to ask personally for what help I apply and if my benefits I have here (severely disabled ID card, nursing degree) will be recognized in Finland as well or if I would have to go through this all again.
Anyway, I will work for my dream!

Oh and about the service dog (Crowdfunding), if I get him until then, he will come with me of course. I’m going to need him there! 😉

Sisu (poetry)

Sisu is a Finnish concept and cultural construct that is described through a combination of various English terms including stoic determination, grit, bravery, resilience,and hardiness…

Sisu is a grim, gritty, white-knuckle form of courage that is typically presented in situations where success is against the odds.

I died more than once
in this life.
But I got Sisu.
I’ll keep fighting,

For my rights
to live
a life worth living.

The road might be long and hard,
but I know I can make it.

Because:

My soul is strong.
Even though my body looks weak.

I got Sisu.

28.09.17 © LJ Meindl All rights reserved.

Halloween in Hel (backview 2014)

CN Suicide mention

I haven’t talked about this event yet although it was one of the most formative ones that helped me to become the person I am today. Thanks to my almost photographically memory I still remmeber it with much details.
A week before my trip, I was talking with one of my finnish friends in messenger, mentioned that I thought I was transgender. When I was the first time in Helsinki in 2013 I lived for 10 days with her and her mum. So we spent much time together and she told me that I could talk about everything with her. After I told her I got no reply. Just a day before my flight she messaged me back telling me she had “internet problems” and how she was looking forward to meet me soon. We wanted to meet up in this bar where my musician friend would be DJing. I don’t talk about him much because some fans have accused me of lying. Well, I couldn’t care less. I know what happened.
So I was at the bar a bit early so I took a table, waiting for my friends to appear. The night got later and my female friend didn’t show up. I texted her but got no reply. She had let me down. I was pissed. If she had a problem with me being trans, she could have just told me. But she pretended to looking forward seeing me and leaving me there hurt. (This night when I was back at my hotel I came out to all my friends on Facebook. She was the only one who unfriended me and even blocked me!)
My other friend I have noticed in a corner with some of his friends and girlfriend. Since we just barely knew us I decided to stay at my table because I didn’t want to bother him. But he noticed me quickly. When he went to the bar or kitchen, he always stopped at my place to casually chat with me. Every time he passed me, he stopped by to check on me. He noticed that something was wrong. So when it was time for him to start as DJ he stopped by again with his girlfriend on his side, asking me if I want to come with them outside smoking. I thought about my asthma and told him that I needed to go to the bathroom. He told me that I could join their table when I was back so I didn’t had to spent the night alone. Introvert as I am, I still was a bit afraid I would bother him but I choose a table next to theirs.
When the night got later and the bar emptier, he came to me again, asking me if I was ok. I said “yes” but he didn’t believe me so he kept asking if “really everything was ok”. I couldn’t speak. My eyes went to his girlfriend watching us and I decided that it wasn’t the right time to tell him. How could I anyway? At this time, I wasn’t understanding myself if I really was trans and how should I have explained?
I was standing in front of him with tears in my eyes. He saw my inner struggle and did the only right thing to do. He grabbed me and pulled me fast but gently on to his chest, held me in his arms for a long time, caressing my back. I fought the tears and a silent sigh came out of my mouth. I don’t know if he heard it but I don’t care. It was an very emotional moment. Over his shoulder I looked to his girlfriend who was standing on their table, watching us with a light smile and I heard a caring “Aaawww” from her. She was touched too. When he let me out of his arms, he looked me in the eye and told me that I should “take good care” of myself “until we see us next time”. I promised him but he still gave me this big-brother-look so I mentioned that I had promised this already to a dear mutual friend of us both and then he accepted my promise.
During the night there were also a good friend of him who was also a musician. He introduced me to him and mentioned the fanpage I’m running. He thanked me much for doing such a good job. I thanked him back for always caring so much about me. Every time we see he asks what’s going on in my life and how I’m doing. Even if I’m not in good shape, he tries everything to cheer me up. His answer was “Yes of course I care! We’re friends!” I was a bit shocked by his words since we didn’t had deep long conversations yet but I also felt honored that he sees me as friend.
When I was about to leave, I had to take stairs down and stood for a second at the edge. My dear friend, caring as he is, called over to me if I needed his help to get down. I told him it was ok that I just needed time but he kept watching me until I was safe down. So nice!
It was the best decision to spent this night with him. To be honest this time I was very suicidal. I was already thinking about when to kill myself. That’s why I decided to go to Helsinki. I needed distraction from these thoughts. This night I have might lost a friend but I also gained a new better friend. Seriously, if you are reading this some day, your brotherly hug has rescued my life! Without you being so persistent of asking if I really was ok and almost not wanting to let me go, I’m not sure if I still would be alive. Thank you very much. I love you.

I’ll never forget this night.

(I have the feeling I wrote about this once before but can’t find it at the moment)

Edit: If you notice a friend might be suicidal, asking is fine! Like me, they might not be able to talk about their problems, that has nothing to do with that they don’t trust you or something, but it shows them that you care. Although I couldn’t open up to my friend, as much as I wished, but that he hugged me, asked several times and told me to take care, meant so much to me! I felt very lonely and even though friends told me that they cared about me, I thought they are just nice but didn’t really mean it. I haven’t espected him to care so much about me, he completely surprised me with his hug and the kind words. But then I knew, it was true. My friends do cared about me! So if you have a suicidal friend, don’t give up! Tell them, show them as much and as often that you care, how much you care! One day they will believe you.

Music and friends

Some people seem to think that you can’t befriend musicians. I don’t know why they think so. I’ve been friends with musicians since my 20s. When I got into the local punk scene, I’ve met some interesting people, some of them were musicians. They had their band and played gigs. They weren’t really famous but enough in the scene to tour parts of Germany.
When I first met them and started to hang out with them, I felt like I have found my kind of people. I hang around in bars with them, backstage, we talked about music and songwriting. Some nights we were sitting together discussing about lyrics and we helped each other find a solution that would work with a song or a poem. I was home.
The only thing that bothered me was when they confessed me that they had a crush on me. I was seeing them as brothers but they only saw my shell.
Once my girl friend came to me totally excited she told me how the bassist from ‘Loco’ (a local punk band) had a crush on me. I was like “Uhm I know?” She kept on telling me how cool this was that a musician liked me! I didn’t get why this was considered to be special. I knew the guy well. He was a friend and my neighbor.
Being a musician was never something special to me. I don’t mean that I give a shit about their job or that I don’t respect them. I just can’t get why being a musician was considered to be so more special than any other job.
I enjoyed being friends with musicians because I love creative people. Creative people are most often very interesting people.
During my life it seemed as if I was a “rockstar-magnet”. Somehow I always ended up being friends with or becoming the romantic partner of a musician. Every time I was out in bars, some dude would come to me and try to hit on me. Many, many musicians I told that I wasn’t interested. Because I never was interested in that kind of relationship. So it was very resfreshing when in a hot summer night I met a rockstar who treated me like a dear friend. I just got to know about him and his band the day before from a friend, so I just started talking with him about his musician life. We talked about songwriting and tour life, and he recommend a band to me that he was friends with. It was a very nice experience. On both sides. Because it felt like he was happy to finally meet someone who wasn’t going all crazy fangirling about his person. We were just two strangers who shared the love for music.
This fangirly stuff was never my cup of tea. When fangirls put “their stars” on a high podest and praise them like they were gods. Or even worse: when they reduce them and see them only as a sex object and keep telling this to them through social media. This makes me nauseous.
When my Instagram, that is now private, was public, I had some fangirlies follow me who liked the same band as I do. Once I posted a photo of a t-shirt that was given to me by the drummer of our fav band, and she immediately was freaking out over it. “Omg, that is so cool! He gave this to you as a gift? Do you know him personally?” Girl, calm down. I was just at an event, where he and his collague were giving merchandise away. It was just a small ‘Thank you’ from him for the work I do on a fanpage dedicated to him. Nothing special.
Some other incidents happened so I got more and more reserved and almost never mentioned him. Fans always turned it into a weird direction. One girl asked me in a private message “What kind of relationship” I had to him. Or accused me I would “boast” with him being my friend. If people think this, it’s your perspective. Because I don’t put him on a high podest, I treat him as the acquaintance he is. I know that I’m not a close friend, best friend, brother or whatever. But I do know that we are friends. Because he told me and shows me every time we meet.
If you make your favourite musicians into some kind of god, don’t wonder if they see you just as a fangirl rather than a friend that they can trust.

Friendship: It’s not about the amount of time spent together,
but about the quality one shared together. – LJ Meindl

In an older post I talked already about  How I define friendship. That it’s not important to speak daily and see each other at least once a week. When you are friends with musicians this isn’t also possible. They are mostly busy, working on new music, recordings, touring. I have friends that I haven’t spoken for over 6 months but once in a while one of us reaches out to the other and just be like “Hey! How have you been?” and we just start talking where we stopped last time. I love that!