On Being a Movie Star

I was watching The Cleaner last night waiting for my husband to get home from work. It had been kind of a sad, blah day; sort of grey. I usually don’t watch a whole lot of TV but yesterday I had it on nearly the entire day.

If you don’t know the show, it’s about this ex-addict who’s been given a mission from God to save addicts. So he and his team do these elaborate interventions that are just not anything a real ex-addict would do, whether they were on a mission or not. Whatever. If you’re going to watch TV and enjoy it, you have to have a willing suspension of disbelief. Still, it’d be okay with me if they completely dropped the whole god shtick but at least they don’t have Him talking back to the guy. 

So last week one of the team members was in a situation where he had to hit the pipe to prove he wasn’t a cop. That whole scene required a really big dose of gullibility on my part so I was quite surprised when I started crying for the guy. This week there was a scene where a scumbag “boyfriend” is paying a 17 year old to strip while he video tapes her. And here’s the funny thing. I cried and cried for that character smoking meth, which is something I’ve never done. (There’s no personal merit in that, meth didn’t exist when I was drinking and drugging.) I didn’t shed a tear for the character being video taped. 

Which is funny because when I was 12, the exact same thing happened to me. Well, it was a little different. It wasn’t a boyfriend, it was just some old man. He was camping with his granddaughter, who was about 7 at the same place I was camping with my grandparents. I got money, not drugs. He was going to pay me $300 to take off my bathing suit on camera but I only got $150 because I didn’t take my bottoms off.

It wasn’t like he forced me or anything. It was my choice, my decision, my fault.

I’m not sad about it at all. I don’t feel sorry, ashamed, abused, hurt, wronged, or anything. I feel nothing at all. In fact, I haven’t thought about this incident in years. I didn’t forget it, I just didn’t remember it.

That numb feeling worries me a bit. I have a daughter who is 12. And when I think of that happening to her, my head feels like it’s going to explode. There’s just not enough room in my head to contain that much rage.

It reminds me of treatment where I was explaining my sexual timeline. After I was done, my therapist asked me to talk a little more about my grandfather’s hugs. I sort of rolled my eyes, thinking here we go. She’s going to make a mountain out of a molehill, all my problems are because I didn’t get a little red tricycle when I was three, etc. When she very gently asked what I’d do if someone hugged my daughter like that (I could swear she had tears in her eyes) I got that same head exploding feeling that I have now.

In a sort of detached way, I wonder what I’m going to do about it. If past experience holds true, by the end of the day every cell in my body will be screaming for sex. I’ll crave a nice cold Guinness and a Marlboro Light, but mostly I’ll need sex.

Blech. Maybe this time it’ll be different. But just in case, I’m planning to make the goddamn two hour drive to get to a meeting where I’m going to hear everyone else share about how God keeps them sober. Until then, I’m going to enjoy this Pink Floyd feeling: I have become comfortably numb.


One comment

  1. I do watch a lot of TV (an old habit) and I was a fan of Benjamin Bratt from his Law & Order days. I didn’t know what this show was about and now I’m pissed I haven’t seen it.

    I think your detachment, your numbness, is a way of keeping the rage at bay. We all could explode from rage at the traumas we’ve experienced, if we let ourselves. Just don’t numb yourself too deeply.

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