• Benjamin Gear


Sooooo, yeah….I’m not even really sure where to start or what to say. I don’t want to be writing this but it seems God/the Universe has different plans. I first felt the pull to write this back when the whole #metoo movement was really starting to take off. Because it was clearly more about the women, this wasn’t my place or time. At least that’s what I said to convince myself to ignore the pull. I remember looking up to the sky towards God and audibly saying, “Nope, ain’t no way!” I didn’t feel tormented by it, I don’t feel tormented by it. I’d told my (first) sponsor and one other friend (in my whole life), so I didn’t feel as though I was hiding it. It just wasn’t something that I ever felt the need to talk about. Well, I guess it’s time. My hope in writing this is that I get more of the personal freedom as I did when I wrote my post on Honesty and if there is someone who has endured anything like this, that it gives them courage to go to those places and process it. Here goes nothing...

I was in a summer scholars program between 6th and 7th grade. I was taking an accelerated 7th-grade math class in order to start the year in 8th-grade math, I don’t think I passed. Since a couple of us were struggling the teacher offered tutoring at the end of the day. There were fewer people in the tutoring so getting one-on-one help was a lot easier. Looking back, I didn’t feel targeted or anything, it was a normal teacher/pupil interaction.

One day that summer, I get a call from my best friend who was also in the class. He tells me he’s at the pool at the teacher’s apartment and I should come too. I’m 12yrs old and I hear best friend and pool, it didn’t even cross my mind to think it was weird that he was with him, alone, and outside of class. I asked my mom, told her it was the teacher's pool and that my best friend was there. She’d met him before, maybe once or twice, but I don’t really remember her giving me a hard time about my going. His apartment just so happened to be within her not-a-nuisance distance, so she gave me a ride.

We all played in the pool. I remember a couple of times him actually picking me or my friend up and throwing us in the pool. It wasn’t all handsy, no clear indicators of perv-like stuff, nothing to make me feel like I was in a sketchy situation. I may be misremembering here but I think when my friend's parents came, the teacher offered to give me a ride so they didn’t have to. Since we lived in opposite directions, I guess it was easier. Either way, I wound up there, alone...

Backstory: We’d built an awesome house in this developing middle-class neighborhood my 3rd grade year; I finally had my own room! Life was very “normal” feeling and seeming. My father was now working locally so he was home all the time. We had family dinner every night and all watched things like The Cosby Show or TGIF together afterward. I had chores to complain about and my neighborhood friends and I were like The Goonies (Young people, google it, it’s a movie). I thought my dad was too strict, thought my sisters were mean because I never got to watch what I wanted to on TV, and as the baby, I was my mom’s favorite...normal life.

Then my dad got a job offer in Richmond, VA. Obviously, I didn’t want to move but apparently, “This was a great thing!” The company bought our house from us and was buying the house there for us. We got to drive around the Richmond/Chesterfield area looking at houses and got to pick the one we wanted. I remember moving up there to an even bigger house but I also remember my mom never leaving her job. My sisters and I spent an entire summer there, my mom came and stayed...sometimes. I never thought she wasn’t coming. As summer was winding down, I was moving back to NC for school.

Since they’d sold the house, we had nowhere to live of our own. In the interim, my mom and I stayed at her best friend’s house. Come to think of it, I don’t remember where my mom slept but I shared a room and bed with her friend’s son. None of this was life as I knew it. It was cool because I had someone to play with all the time but this was the opposite of the life I’d been living. No dad, no comfort, no structure. Needless to say, my behavior started to worsen so my dad bought us a townhouse, but he was rarely there.

One random day, I come home from school and the pastor is there with my mother. We all sit down and he tells me and whichever sister was there that our parents are getting separated. I cried immediately. They told us all the usual “This is not your fault.”, “They both love you very much.” stuff and closed with an “If you ever need to talk”. That was that and I was off to continue 6th grade.

Now back to your regularly scheduled blog:

He asked me about class stuff, small talk topics, he may have even ordered a pizza or something. Then he asked me about my family situation. I broke down and started crying talking about my parents separating. He came over and comforted me, even then no funny business. Then he asked me about sex. What had I done, had I done it, which girls in school...stuff like that. Then he asked me about size and ‘if I was able to please the ladies.’ He said to let him see it. I was like “No” I probably even said something like, ‘That's gay!’ He compared it to locker rooms and how “guys do this all the time.”

Before I knew it, I was in a situation that I felt like I had very little control in.

This went on for years. I knew that I wasn’t down with what was happening but at some point, I felt complicit because, well, it went on for years.

When it stopped, I went on with life. I never thought about residual effects because I never thought about the things that happened. By high school, I went from the kid who carried his Bible to school to hooking up with a sizable percentage of my school. I wasn’t doing any of my work, I even got expelled at one point and missed half of the school year.

As I am writing all this and replaying this span of time, I don’t know how I feel. Like, some pretty fucked up shit happened to me and it really sucks. But, what’s glaring to me right now is that I can pinpoint the exact year where everything in my life changed. I moved between 3 homes in 2 different states in a 4-month span, we went from living very comfortably to my sharing a bed with my mom's best friend’s kid, my parents split, and then a math teacher decides to fuck with me...that’s a hell of a year for a 12yr old.

I’m currently in therapy, not for this, I still struggle with an emotional disconnect with my son and we’re trying to get to the root of that. My therapist asked me about my relationships with other older/father-like men. I didn’t have any, like any. Time with my dad was sporadic over my lifetime and that time was more so spent receiving directives. Other than him, there were no other adult male figures in my life that made the investment and actually spent the time….wow, except the molesteacher. Makes sense.

I wrote my last post, ‘Sick as Your Secrets’, kinda sorta for a friend who I thought needed to unburden some shit. Looks like I was writing that for me. My therapist told me to write this out this week to discuss it on Monday. I tried yesterday and couldn’t bring myself to do it so I committed to today after work. I get on Facebook as I tend to do when I want to procrastinate in productivity. In my memories I see that today, August 14th, was the day 2 years ago that posted my ‘Honesty’ piece. I guess this is the other purge.

I don’t have any profound closing here because this is only the beginning...more to be revealed I guess.

Thank You for Reading.


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