Tuesday, October 13, 2009

This time I got away

As I just wrote to my Chelsea, the reason I tell everyone everything about myself and always have is because it gives me my power back. I'm a very insecure person. You wouldn't guess that being that I am able to sing in front of 20,000 people and I like being the center of attention.  But it's true. I figure if everyone knows everything about me then NO ONE has anything up on me. Whatever.

    Well that being said, rape once again showed it's ugly face when I was in college. I was dating a guy who was a brother in a fraternity.  Frat parties were almost every night. We partied till midnight with the doors open to the public and then after 12 they would do a sweep and get everyone but the brothers and their girlfriends/girls out of the house for the late night insanity.

This particular night I was milling around the first floor waiting for the "all clear" when out of nowhere two guys grabbed me and pulled me into a pitch dark room. They immediately try to rip off my shirt and get my pants off. One guy was about my height. Someones hands were inside my shirt and one of them was saying disgusting shit in my ear covering my mouth so hard I couldn't breath.  Half my nose was under his huge hand.  The other fucker was taller than me and they were both all over me. No way was this gonna happen. Oh my God, no way. This time I fought back and I stayed in my body. Amped up to save myself.
I could feel they were trying to push me down to the floor. I twisted toward the short guy and grabbed him by the fucking neck and I pushed in so hard on his adams apple that  he chocked and let go coughing. I turned and reached up in the dark and smashed the other guys head against the door jam or something hard. I was insanely strong and fighting for my life. I was able to get away.

    I ran up the stairs with my clothes still all fucked up. I found my boyfriend what JUST happened. The president of the house ran downstairs and locked the doors. He gathered every frat boy and made them all go into the kitchen without telling them all why. I was to look in and see if it was any of them. I said I just don't know- it was so quick. I only know dark hair short guy and lighter hair taller guy. Nothing came of it that night.
    I cried a lot and had the shakes when I was alone. I was so embarassed as I walked around campus. Not sure why. I guess I was wondering if the two assholes were looking at me or if they were in my class.  They may have been so drunk that they couldn't even pick me out of a crowd. I don't know if I was singled out or if I was the unlucky female in the hall next to the dark room. I was not right for awhile.

  Anyway,  shortly after the incident I was sitting in the cafeteria with my friends and my boyfriend. I looked up and my friend later told me my that my face went white. Some one said "what's up" and they all turned to look where I was looking. They all saw what I saw. A tall guy with a scab or scratch/cut on his face and a short guy with a bruise on his neck. I think it was four of my guy friends including my boyfriend that got up and escorted the guys outside. I didn't see any of that I had my head down looking at my tray. My girlfriends were probably rubbing my back. I still to this day do not know what they did to those guys.  They wouldn't say after. It didn't matter.

   This past Summer I saw my boyfriend from those days for the first time in YEARS. We had connected again through Facebook and he was vacationing on the Cape. My husband and my daughter and his kids all met on the beach and we talked and laughed. I brought up the ugly story and asked if would finally tell me what he and the guys did to those assholes back then. He said he wasn't quite sure. His memory sucked in general. I could relate to that. I guess it really doesn't matter.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Brian Fellows. Musician, Best Friend, Funny Bastard.

Does everybody have a rape story?

Well, here's one of  mine. It will do me good to write it down but these incidents are stored in my cells. Those cellular memories shape you forever. I'm still just figuring out why some things sexually DO NOT WORK on me.

I could only listen to the band The Cars again a few years ago. I then bought the box set from The Earth House and drove around listening to the whole thing twice. They were awesome. I missed out enjoying them when they were popular because the radio station I happen to be listening to at the  time I was being violated was playing a rock block of  The Cars. I had to forget about my body and just focus in on the music. Three whole songs. I was young. I hadn't even had my period yet. Probably 13. Back then girls didn't have breast, hips and periods at 13 like they do today.

    It was the Fourth of July. We were at our family friends party. We know this family and the extended family forever. We went every year. I grew up with the boys Michael and Robbie. There are so many Uncles and Brothers and Fathers. It was a huge and very fun time. All day-all night.

My experience with boys was pretty limited as it should have been. I had crushes on boys and I had "made out" before. In the 5th grade Milo Bacciochi and I won the make out contest under the slide. No tongue just faces smashed together. I can still smell his littlle boy breath.  Kate and John came in 2nd. One boy had even touched my boobs up in my attic at a make out party once. Weird. I hate to think of even this while my 6 year old daughter sits in the other room but I will take that over what happened to me at this party any day.

     Friends of friends were always at this party every year. A new guy was hanging with us. Couldn't pick him out of a crowd today. He was older. That made me feel cool cuz he liked me. For some reason the four of us were going into the car on the street to hang. Probably drinking beers, maybe smoking.  I was in the front seat with him and I think it was John and some other girl in the back. Anyway here comes the making out. Everything as usual for me just more aggressive. Then this boy starts putting his hands down my pants and he jams something-everything inside me and I am frozen in pain and fear. I have NO IDEA what is going on. He is not letting up on anything. My mouth is being attacked at the same time and I am having an out of body experience/panic attack all at once. The music became very loud in my head and I tuned in to just that. . . ."I guess you're just what I needed. . . yeah yeah yeah".  This boy was probably drunk and he may not have even known that I was not a willing partner. My body language said nothing. Some how it ended and my shirt was undone and my pants had popped open.

I only remember  looking for my Mom and Dad and hanging next to them the rest of the night.  Never said anything about it to anyone for years and years. Brian was the first one I told only after spending YEARS with him on the road and listening to thousands of hours of  radio and reaching over instinctively to change the channel every time the Cars came on.  After awhile I had to explain myself.  Then of course it comes up at shrinks and now I tell you.

This is my first bad sexual experience. I'll tell you more later. I need to walk away from this right now. Makes my stomach tight. I'm gonna go hug my perfect little daughter.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Saved by a deaf kid and I save a gay kid

Brian and I were playing colleges all across the country for years before being signed to a record label back in 2000. We would showcase each year for thousands of kids in huge convention centers from Texas to Boston and then do the meet and greet thing up in the exhibition hall under a life sized cut out of Settie. Our agent at the time, Tom Najemy from Squad 16, would then put together our tour schedule from the interest gathered at the showcases. We would then head out on the road for months. The N.A.C.A. circuit was the biggest money maker out there for unsigned acts. Tracy Chapman, Ray Romano and Natalie Cole were some of the other acts in the circuit.

We had backstage riders (food and drink and whatever else we decided we needed before going on stage) waiting for us at every gig. $1200 a gig and sometimes playing 6 times a week we were killing it. Selling 20 plus c.d.'s every night and signing autographs after the shows. It would seem like life was pretty peachy but inside it was slowly killing me.

I was dating Brian for most of this time and the two of us were insecure drunks who knew how to push each others buttons without even knowing we were doing it. He was so talented and I felt like I was riding on his wave (he won the US songwriting competition once for Alternative rock song and Bass Player Magazine once rated him as one of the best players. You get the point) and he felt scared that someone would come take me away and write me great songs like the ones I sang so well but he felt he couldn't write. For example Janis Joplin. Our own secret anxiety for years about losing each other. He once said he was gonna try out for the ZZ top opening and I knew he would get it. Dudes at the recording studios told him he was an in. Then I would be nothing. Someone said I should do a stand up routine and he assumed I would do it. Then he would be nothing. If he looked at a girl with short hair for longer than my definition of a glance then I would chop my hair off. As shown in the short hair picture on the mic.

When we would listen to the radio he would say, "now that's a good voice." I would die. He would get people to come to his studio and record and then tell me how good they were and that they could do gigs together. Head games and we were fucked. So it went on and on like this.

Along with that anxiety I also carried around paranoid anxiety. Turns out I had this way back when I was in my teens. Panic attacks for no good reason. Convinced someone put L.S.D. in the hand soap in the bathroom and I was gonna be tripping in two hours. Or the act before me was tripping and I would use the same mic and then I'd be tripping. I had and have not ever tripped on acid. Can you imagine a whack job like me tripping. Depression and Alcohol and Anxiety and The Music Business DO NOT SLEEP WELL TOGETHER!

So there we were on the road for God knows how many days. Next gig Houston Texas. Outdoors on the roof top nice sunny day. We are playing and I see Brian staring at the girl on the bench. I assume he is cuz I'm so fucking paranoid and insecure and drunk and on stage and tired and tweaked. I start to cry. I'm still singing my ass off. Actually I am singing so fucking good Brian actually hears it and starts really rocking out. Never looking at me. Tears stream down my face under my sunglasses and I am thanking God for this gift I have and I am realizing that I have never sang so well as this very moment. I knew it was because I had nothing to lose. I was going to kill myself as soon as this fucking show was over. I was gonna jump. No one could tell I was crying because they were forced to stand far enough away. Gig ends and the crowd is quickly escorted off the roof. C.d's and autographs would happen inside. Brian leaves for back stage and I head right over to the edge. No one around I shuffle to the right because I would have landed on the overhang of some door or whatever. I find my place and feel light. No real thoughts just empty and calm. The someone taps me on the shoulder and says, "You were really great" in that deaf voice. You know the way deaf people talk it's unmistakable. I am first pissed off cuz I was feeling calm and nothing for the first time in months and then this fucker is deaf and what the fuck could he know. You can't hear asshole I'm thinking. I drop to my knees in a ball and cry. I don't really know what happened next. Brian was standing over me saying,"what the fucks up with you?" In an annoyed way. I tell him my attempt and he goes white. We get the gear in the truck somehow, get paid, no autographs, Settie doesn't feel well, and call his friend Hank Schlinger, on the bag phone from the school parking lot.
We had one of the first mobile phones with phone cord and everything. Hank was a psychologist or something. He told Brain what to do next. I called my dad and told him I just tried to kill myself. Tears. I don't remember much else of the conversation. Hours on the phone with a shrink friend of Hanks. Set up a meeting with the guy for my return. I'm still far away from home. I think we even did some more gigs. Tears streamed down my face uncontrollably for no apparent reason often. A car in front of us hit a bird and I thought to myself, "I wish that were me."

Once home the shrink put me on Wellbutrin for the paranoid anxiety and Prozec for depression and all around tweakness right away. While waiting in the room for my appointment I had to fill out a questionnaire. Have you ever. . .maxed out credit cards, had sex with multiple partners, put yourself in danger for amusement, had fear of being poisoned, had trouble sleeping because of repeating thoughts, drank alcohol to excess and 20 more questions and I answered Yes to all of them. I FELT GOOD. I wasn't the only one who was completely fucked.

Three weeks later I am eating a blueberry muffin sample off some skanks platter at Costco. Life was good. I in turn helped Brian and another good friend of mine get help and medicated. We all healed in our own time. Gigs continued and we were back on track.

I could never in a million years tell you who the deaf kid was that saved my life. Funny how he was deaf. hmmm.

Some years later I received a fan letter addressed to me but sent to the record label. That was how it worked now. I wasn't supposed to get them at home anymore. Freaks I guess. It was from New Britain Ct. A young guy who saw me at his college, bought the c.d. and loved the song, "I know a girl". He said- quote- "That's why your song touched me- you have a way of telling it how it is and exposing your feelings completely which a lot of people (myself included) can seriously know what you're talking about and say hey I'm not weird after all- there are real people who feel the same as I do. I'm just glad I have you as a friend to express my everyday obstacles". It helped him when he was at his lowest and was thinking about dying too. He was gay and it wasn't going over well at his house. His mother was an asshole and his life was shitty. He said he listened to my voice and the words to that song over and over and he felt like he wasn't the only one going through shit.

I immediately got his phone number from his return address and called him. He answered the phone and I asked for Jaime. I said, "Hi, it's Settie". He said something like "yeah right. . . leave me alone" and before he could hang up I said "I got your letter". We wrote back and forth and I still have that one letter today. Obviously if I am quoting him above.

I have always been one to tell everything about myself to anyone and wether that is good or bad I learned that from my dad. Everyone loves him and feels safe around him and they don't know exactly why but I know why. I feel blessed to have touched this kids life and blessed that I have survived my shit too. I don't know where he is today. Lost track, lost touch. Hope you've got your freak flag flying my friend.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Settie now and then

This is me at my peak. But I didn't know it. Back in 2001 this ad was in the Tower Records magazine. I was certain that it was the beginning of the life I had been working on having for the previous 16 years. All the touring back and forth across the country for 6 years playing over 150 colleges every year. All the N.A.C.A. conferences, music festivals and Ski resorts. The Summer gigs. . . Martha's Vineyard and Cape Cod. The private parties for the people that knew us from playing their college. The fan mail. I figured all that work and all those years had paid off.
The story kinda goes. . . we were signed to Iguana records then picked up by Tower. Photo shoots with gay guys doing my makeup. Stripping down to my bare ass for outfit changes in the middle of Grand Central Station during the rush of Thanksgiving travellers while the crew held up blankets for my privacy. Huge posters of ME on the wall at HMV next to Lenny Kravitz. It was fucking awesome. I figured it was just the beginning and I would be the next Sheryl Crow. They even said it. Movie Soundtracks, T.V shows and radio interviews.
It now represents to me the half way mark, the time where my life was flipped over. First half kick ass Rock Star chick. Second half new mom and grieving over the loss of her best friend and music partner trying to figure out who the fuck she is. I'm not saying the first half is better but I only have 7 years on this side of that flip.
Excuse me, I must go to the door right now because UPS is dropping off packages. I still shop like a rock star. That is one thing I haven't been able to let go of. Even the Wellbutrin doesn't touch my compulsive spending on expensive wrinkle products, shampoos and clothing. The Wellbutrin (started after suicide attempt years ago) and the compulsion (sex back in the day, spending and any other goddamn thing I got into my tweaked head) are topics for another day.
Since this whole page magazine ad came out Tower Records has folded and their record label 33rd Street has also left us all behind. One of the dudes from the Eagles was also on this label and we opened up for him in L.A. somewhere. Don't remember much about it. That seems to be the case for things that do not WOW me. But I do remember my first love, Joel Micucci, walking on stage and introducing us to the crowd. I must have told him about the show. He was and still is a comedian and Improv actor. Now one has to buy the 2001 "debut" of Settie from one of those music websites that buys up all the old shit. It's not a fucking debut either. We, Brian Fellows and I, had put out three c.d.'s on our own and made thousands of dollars in the previous years selling them from the stage. I mean cash rolled up and stuffed in the glove box and in the 30 year Glenfiddich box with crystal rocks glasses under the seat. So much money it didn't matter if I spent $1000 on custom made leather pants or $90 for a bottle of wine with LUNCH. This went on for years before the labels got involved. Once again another story for those of you who do not know how the music business works.
Well that part of my life ended when the label folded and my music partner/best friend was dying of cancer. It all happened so fast. And in that spiral of time I left my boyfriend and met my husband and got pregnant and moved to Wellfleet. Compulsion has a bit to do with that.
I recently went on one of those music dumping ground websites and I spent $50 on 15 of my c.d.'s. I still have the need to give them out and live in the past.
The reason I am starting this Blog is probably to stroke my Ego or maybe it's to heal the hole in my fucking heart by writing about all the things that only Brian and I know. I feel invisible in this half of my life ( really pathetic to say when I have my own business now, a family and friends I love here) but when someone on facebook sends me a friend request with "are you the Settie that played my college back in blah blah blah" in the subject box my something in me comes alive again. How pathetic. I still feel like a new born fawn wobbling around looking for applause. I go to a shrink now. Well I should say again. I basically get my script filled and check in now. I would like to think that writing about my shit will be some therapy for me. I must thank Sarah Hutto for telling me to do this.
Excuse me I must go pick up Ella Mae from school.