Apr 14, 2009 – Panic

April 14 – Panic

My friend that released yesterday needed to go see his CCO for the first time today. It just so happens that his CCO is in the same office as mine. So, I told him that I’d drive him over there. My roommate came with us. As we got to the office, there was no parking so we dropped off my friend. Then my roommate and I drove around looking for a space to park. We found an empty spot in front of an empty store and parked there. As we were walking to the office, the owner of the neighboring shop walked outside and yelled at us saying, “You better not leave your car there or I’ll have it towed! There’s signs all over there saying you’ll be towed!” Great. That’s all I need is to get in trouble for illegal parking. I fought the urge to yell “Get Bent!” to the guy (which is what my former self would have done) and smiled and yelled, “Thanks for the warning, sir!” So my roommate and I proceeded to find another spot. Geesh! There was nothing in sight! I can’t even pay for a spot! There’s a Mexican grocery nearby that wasn’t opened yet for the day, so I parked there. The same tow signs were in front of me but there wasn’t any place else to go. And it was in direct view of the shop with the nosey owner. I was nervous, but plodded on anyhow. As my roommate and I crossed the street to the CCO offices, a lady in a car stopped us and asked for directions. I figured my roommate would know where everything is around here. But he didn’t. He himmed and hawed and guessed at what he was telling her. Then, they came. Two Sheriff’s deputies in one car. I said to the lady, “Oh good, maybe these guys will know.” But what I was thinking was, “Oh God have mercy on me. I don’t need these two Mounties running my ID for any reason whatsoever! I’ll just turn her over to them and beat it.” So I flagged them down. As they pulled up, they turned their flashers on and both got out, one of them on a radio. I got scared. I got really, really scared. I told them promptly that she needed to know where such and such was and I left my roommate to fend for himself. I made a bee-line for the offices. I got inside and experienced something I’d never felt before. Panic. I have an aunt who suffered from panic attacks for years but I never understood them. Now I do. And my heart goes out to those who are crippled by their effects. I stood watching my car just knowing that a tow truck was coming to haul it away, and after it, I was going to be hauled away. I couldn’t breathe, I was scared, I started crying, I started saying negative things about myself (like Tourette’s syndrome or something, I couldn’t stop from ridiculing myself and the horrible person I’d become), I felt claustrophobic, I felt like crawling under a rock and staying there. I wanted to go home but was afraid to drive there. I just knew that I was going back to prison. It was the lights. Those accursed lights! I hate them. They’re menacing. They’re meant to be. They’re meant to catch your attention and because they’re never turned on suddenly for good, they strike fear in the heart of whoever they’re behind. Even for a speeding ticket, they’re menacing. I sobbed. I felt so helpless and hopeless. I didn’t know what to do. My roommate was there. He talked me down. He prayed over me. He helped me. I pulled myself together long enough to drive. I thought I was ok, but the whole rest of the drive I was on the verge of a total meltdown. I got home as quickly as I could and crawled into bed. I did everything but suck my thumb to feel better – pajamas, heavy blanket pulled up to my face, fetal position. When I wasn’t crying I was staring at the wall wishing I wasn’t a horrible, miserable human being. Less than human. I am a sex offender and it is right that I suffer thus. I never expected this. Not me. I’m stronger than this. Ha. A “better man” indeed. What I am right now is a crumpled up coward.

  1. Cindy says:

    You are not a crumpled coward, Better Man, you are a sensitive human being. And you are a better man, better than most, from what I’ve been reading. I certainly understand your panic attacks, having suffered with them for much of my life. Although I’ve never been in prison, I do understand the intimidation of the cops’ flashing lights. And although cops generally are here to protects us, sometimes they abuse their power just because they have the power. I understand your panic reaction, I understand your nearly sucking your thumb. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

    Look, I don’t know anything about prisoners, but I have been reading some of your posts in which you continually refer to yourself as a Sex Offender who deserves to suffer and who has been trying to re-think his fantasies and other issues so as to be a better man. I read your post about being taught in prison how teenagers think and so any sexual act with them, even if it was consensual, really wasn’t consensual since they are too “young” to comprehend what they’re doing and there is a power differential.

    Well, overall, that may be true, but I wanted to tell you a story, from the 14 year old girl perspective. When I was that age, my best friend and I made a sport of how many “older men” we could have sexual relationships with. We felt it was a high mark in our own books of self esteem and attraction if we could find a grown man who found us sexually attractive. Yes, we were young and stupid, but given our own desires, the sexual act was mutual. And we felt as grown up as anyone, we felt we knew what we were getting into. In some ways we were lucky. Nobody was raped. No man ever kept going if we ever said no. I’m not advocating this kind of sexual experience for young people or saying you should feel totally okay with what you did, but I am saying this: there is a certain age when teenagers become sexual beings and they have sex all over the place, with all kinds of people, at all different stages of life and I believe that is a natural choice for them even if our legal system calls it a crime. The law tries to protect them from rapists and predators, understandably, but the line between true consent and sexual offense is fuzzy in a moral sense (even if it’s black and white in a legal sense) – what you may have done is no different than what my friends and I were doing when we were young collecting a notches in our belts.
    So, I’m not advocating you do it again, but I am advocating this: Don’t be quite so hard on yourself. You are a better man.

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