Persecution complex, paranoia, delusions of grandeur, psychosis, or schizophrenia?
I heard the whispers in the hallways and was cautioned to not engage him.
According to Jodorowsky, this Gospel of Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes was to be the basis of Halliburton's next adventure, tentatively titled, “Magical Saints, Magical Tibet.” Hallibuton planned to voyage by yak Tibet to track down the so-called Pink Lamas sect. However that was prior to Halliburton's untimely death.
Her Gospel completes and interprets The Book of Revelation.
Jodorowsky's obsession was to find this lost gospel of Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes.
Whoever holds all the keys will rule the world.
And then, the prophecies of the Book of Revelation will come to pass.
A man took interest in
Killed my soul, and
His pleasure killed the truth
I reached out to the Master
Who assaulted and threatened
Silence then conspired
That a pawnbroker I would be
Cruelty and evil in the world?
You're obviously obsessed!
When are you going to move on?
Don’t talk to me!
Agree to silence!
And I was happy for them
That they could live
Without asking these questions
But I was crushed by the pain I felt of why?
So I kept asking them
How is it possible
For there to be such
Cruelty and evil in the world?
Evil people and cruel people
Thich Naht Hanh
So I kept asking:
How is it possible
For there to be such
Cruelty and evil in the world?
She’s black, I’m white, she's inner city, I'm suburbs, she’s retired, I commute
Tom, she said
People are mean
I’m telling you
People are just mean
And allowed myself, finally
But, a maturity beyond her years also reflected from her eyes.
I asked her about herself.
Her mother had been an avid art collector.
They had started dating when she was fifteen and he was twenty-one.
I objected but she insisted that it was pure love and, using a phrase that had become her mantra, said she longed to live in "an ordinary world."
She saw me as she exited the arrival gate and was beaming.
"Darling!" she exclaimed in her typically exaggerated manner.
Her arms opened up and she strode right into my embrace, kissing me on the cheek and holding me.
"I missed you so much," she said.
I began to let go but she held on to me for a full thirty seconds before letting go.
And, that's when I made the biggest mistake of my life.
"I love you," I said.
A confused look came across her face, but then turned to laughter, as if I had made a joke that took her by surprise.
"I love you," I said again.
And, then, I knew; she scowled and fell into silence.
I drove her bak to her apartment.
We both sat in silence.
I was terrified of saying the wrong thing.
But, when we arrived at her apartment and I parked, I looked at her.
She was crying.
"Why did you have to ruin everything?" she asked, through tears.
When she got out of the car I hesitantly got out too but had the legs of a man marching to his execution.
Our ritual had been that after each trip we would sit on the couch of her apartment overlooking the National Mall and she would entertain me with stories of her adventures.
I handed her her bag and moved to hug her.
"No," she said.
She turned and walked away.
I called and emailed afterwards, but she never responded.
Then I received a letter in the mail.
In it was a photocopy of a sheet on which she had written:
"Faust, I love you more than you know."
Up to that point I had never drank (my father was an alcoholic so I religiously avoided alcohol) but for the week after getting that letter I went out and became plastered.
When I woke up in the gutter in Dupont Circle, and avoided jail for pubic intoxication thanks only to the kindness of one of the MPDC's finest ("Sir, I have two choices to book you or to kick your ass, and today is your lucky day") I accepted that destroying myself with alcohol wouldn't bring her back.
I withdrew from people and into my drawing and spent weekends on sixteen hour binge meditation and fasting sessions in Malcolm X Park.
I called again to find her number disconnected and I never saw her around school.
It hurt and I mourned.
When I arrived, officer Feyling was waiting for me at the intake counter.
"Is she your girlfriend?" officer Feyling asked.
She scowled suspiciously.
"No, just my best friend."
That seemed to loosen officer Feyling up.
She showed me a photo.
"What happened?" I asked.
"I'm told it was a psychotic break, but you'll have to talk to the doctor. Can you tell us who her family is?"
I identified her and of course called the embassy to reach her father.
The embassy called me back.
Yes, he would be there in a week, and meanwhile they'd send an attache over to manage her care.
I collapsed on the couch and sunk into a comatose sleep, waiting until I could see her at 8 AM.
"You can see her now," an orderly said, poking at me.
I had rolled onto my glasses breaking off an ear piece and rose unsteadily.
Then I saw her looking through the glass door.
Leslie stood in a medical gown, starring vacantly.
She appeared to be a shell of her former self.
But when she saw me she managed a smile.
I opened the glass door and hugged her.
"I love you more than you know," I whispered.
"I know," she said.
I stood there hugging her until the orderly poked me.
"You'll have to come back tomorrow, she still is under observation."
As I walked out I asked if I could speak to her doctor.
"Are you family?" the orderly asked.
"Patient confidentiality, we can't release any information."
As I left I turned to look at her, and thought I saw her give me a crooked smile.
But, I'm not sure.
I couldn't come back until the weekend, three days later.
"I'm here to see a Ms. Leslie Geddes."
"Yes, I recognize you. She's no longer her, she's been transferred to a private facility. No we can't tell you where. Patient confidentiality."
I called the embassy and left messages but no one called back for two weeks.
I went by her apartment at the Newseum and was told it had been cleared out.
Then, just as I was getting ready to go to the Brazilian embassy, this time it was her father who called me.
"Tomas," I could hear him crying.
Suicide in London.
The secrets we keep is the pain that needs most to be released.
I flew home, promising to stay in touch with him, but somehow never brought myself to write or call.
Nor did he.
The politics of Brazil turned against him.
As I meditated on them, she became simply, my Leslie Geddes, and I remembered that I had loved, once.
Joe Riener, Washington DC...
The Apostle John:
Saint Kirsten of Feyling:
Saint Kirsten of Feyling
Then the angel Raquel Welch...:
Then the angel Barbara Eden...:
Then the angel Elizabeth Nelson Lasher...:
Lola, Flora and Leslie are pixils one and the same, Katherin Hepburn, Leslie Parrish and baby-maker Ann are our illusions unmapped and sought in vain; my patron saint, Leslie Geddes, was the best of us, illusions that I did know, and the others were the rest of us, tria juncta in uno;
I felt it indiscreet to ask more and she never offered details.
I found that when I asked anything of a personal nature she would change the subject.
I was drawn to her and didn't want to risk it.
She said she loved baroque maps.
But her face is nonetheless moody and distant and mysterious.
I wanted to believe the illusion despite my rational sense, so when she asked that afternoon to move in with me, I agreed.
Andrea looked like she could hardly contain herself:
Leslie exchanged the commodity of love for cash; a good investment, and I knew then that she never answered me because she had told me all along through her actions: love walks, money talks.
Reed stepped back with a girlish shrug and took a seat in the velvet dining room chair.
“You must be Ms. Alice Riener from the referring clinic," she said.
Reed looked her up and down and shrugged. "Come on back to the conference room,” she said, pivoting.
“This is Francois, my intern. She’s applying to Harvard Law School.
Jim Reed smacked her lips. "Okay, let's sit down."
Leslie chirped, "We're knights at a roundtable!" savoring her red vengeance.
Reed snorted. "Outrageous abuse.
The threat is in the consistency, the unrelenting nature.
Was he violent when he was with you too?”
My head began to spin. The blood drained.
the witches danced as harry departed, a geddes baby breathes only stars, rosaries in the choir fell forgotted, my aesthetic illusion - saint leslie ann geddes - wanderjahr; leslie parrish wore many faces, harry's muse he loved them all, each one had many graces, gracing his heart with their siren call;
only one of them is real, the rest celluloid desires past, and alone with his last meal, its that face that keeps harry steadfast; he saw leslie and loved true, with no other purpose at all, but cursed he couldn't reach through, her mirage in that marbled hall;
life, pain and hurt, release desire to move beyond, unless living in denial is less work and sings a softer song;
We filed into the courtroom and signed the agreement.
A wave of compassion swept over me.
I wondered what part of her brain was activating neurons.
My cell phone: one message: “Good news! The church is going to settle. They see this as a nuisance suit so the condition is that you agree to never talk about any of this. That shouldn’t be a problem, since if you give anyone a chance not to engage in a discussion of child abuse they’ll feel they dodged a silver bullet. I’ll get the papers out to you.”
There's no question that the biggest mistake I ever made was to trust Leslie Geddes;
and yet I'm thankful for the lesson that she taught me.
Through their manipulation and lies, Leslie Geddes and her friends taught me what no guru ever could: that love is simply a commodity.
(the first born, patron saint of teachers)
The twelve meditations of Saint Cedar of Riener:
4. SAINT ALICE OF RIENER II
(the second born, patron saint of bi/ gay/lesbians/queers/transgender)
8. SAINT MAGGIE OF MARTEL
(patron saint of stepmothers)
The twelve meditations of Saint Maggie of Martel:
9. SAINT ANDREA OF HIGGINBOTHAM
(patron saint of lunatics)
(patron saint of showgirls)
According to the Richard Halliburton papers at the Princeton art & archaeology archives, Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes murdered Sir Thomas Wentworth after he requested an audience with her.
Leslie considered this impudence worthy of death but was spurred on by her ladies in waiting, Kirsten Feyling and Maggie Martel.
Kirsten Feyling and Maggie Martel were barren and diseased and so jealous of the love given to Leslie.
After Leslie killed him by flaying him alive and drinking his blood out of his skull, she gradually became self-aware.
She realized that not only was Sir Thomas' love true and sincere but that he was the person who she had truly loved.
She went on to devote herself to good works by supporting artists throughout the realm, and thus Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes became known as the patron saint of artists.
In fact, Leonardo da Vinci immortalized her in his painting of Ginevra de Benci which is, in fact, a portrait of saint Leslie Ann of Geddes.
Interestingly, Kirsten and Maggie also repented.
Saint Kirsten of Feyling became the patron saint of trolls.
Saint Maggie of Martel became patron saint of evil step-mothers.
Leslie Geddes speaks!
Kirsten of Feyling speaks:
Maggie Martel Speaks:
I looked into her brown eyes.
"I want to live life without illusions," I told Leslie.
"Without hope, there's heartbreak," she said.
"All my friends are getting divorced," I said.
"The women wised up," she said.
"What are you feeling?" I asked.
Her mouth moved but I heard seagulls mocking me
as the lighthouse on Alcatraz Island winked.
After she left me two years ago I started sleeping on the couch in my living room, leaving the television on.
She had told me that she was going to teach art history at Stanford.
They had one big hit in Japan.
Her art books are still in a plastic container in my closet.
Since she's left I've gone back to eating ravioli out of a can.
I left her photo up in my kitchen, but behind the cereal boxes.
I wonder if someday she'll knock on my door.
I imagine that I'd casually say, "hey, how's it going?"
I know it will never happen; when her girlfriends now pass me on the street they glare daggers.
I see the Leonardo monograph sells for upward of $1,978 on Amazon.
I could use the cash, but I still keep it packed away.
A NEW BEGINNING
And, now that it's over, I wonder why?
Why didn't I just accept myself as I am?
My theory is that people aren't hard to figure out if you know where to look.
And neither am I.
Remember your first love?
Oh sure, it ends.
But you haven't forgotten it because that first drink of emotion was the strongest.
So you want to know yourself?
You want to know me?
What is the earliest emotion you felt in your life?
Wait, it's not that easy.
Are you blocking it out?
Well, it may be a mother's love or nanna fingering you.
And, I guarantee the world has plenty of sick mother fuckers, so the second is as likely as the first.
And, either way, the rest of your life you'll be reacting to that emotion.
Sure other things will come, maybe horrible traumas and such.
But everything will be seen through that first emotional prism you created.
And what was my first emotion?
Hell, what difference does it make to you?
It will either make you feel goddamned superior or patronizing.
See, another thing I know: no one cares.
So, I'm not telling this for you.
It's for me and for art and for visions of Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes; a fiction I always knew.
It's for the Duke Ellington Bridge blues.
Instantly, I became the perfect target for sexual predators: an emotionally deprived and needy child with no parental supervision.
That was the biggest mistake of my life.
Thinking there must be a misunderstanding, remembering that she had told me in hundreds of letters that she loved me, and remembering the good times, I made the profoundly misguided decision to trust her and write explaining the situation.
It was out of an overwhelming need for empathy and validation that I trusted the hundreds of times she told me that she loved me as opposed to the one time she wrote via email, "never contact me again."
I wrote every few weeks the most insightful and sincere letter I could, believing in my ability to open my heart and that that was what Leslie wanted, because she had said she loved me.
It was a huge mistake, the biggest error of my life, my need to believe in her capacity for empathy.
I also naively considered her friends my friends.
Kirsten Feyling was my neighbor who I had spent a lot of time with.
I knocked on her door and asked for her help and guidance.
She angrily yelled, "why do you keep bothering everybody?" before slamming her door in my face.
Later, I saw Kirsten again and she lunged towards me screaming, her face distorted with rage.
Another day as I entered my building I ran into Leslie's other friend, Maggie Martel.
As I entered the large glass door entrance to my building she saw me and smashed the door in my face.
She snorted with laughter and walked off.
Her friend Autumn Francois practically spit on me the times I passed her on the street.
It was very difficult to understand this onslaught of hostility from these people I had felt so close to.
Of course now I know that my attempts to communicate with them were naive: I didn't understand the dynamics of relationships, that I was a commodity to Leslie and when the relationship was over her professed love was too.
More importantly, because I hadn't loved myself I chose a relationship with a person who I now see as alienated from their own emotional life.
She was the last person who could offer empathy since she lacks it for herself.
The common denominator among Leslie and her friends is that all of them have very difficult relationships with their fathers and in their romantic relationships.
I theorize that once Leslie had no more use for me, she and her friends projected their unresolved anger towards their fathers onto me.
It was some sort of primal assertion of power.
The same abuse as experienced from my childhood abusers.
To me it felt familiar in a perverse way.
Just as the man strangling me and abusing me seemed to take great pleasure in doing so, I've found that what creates the lasting pain of abuse isn't the physical act but the memory of the joy reflected in the abuser's eyes at the moment of total control.
This is what is the survivor remembers: the emotional pain.
I remember seeing it in the eyes Ilse Kronthaler, my father's mistress, when I was locked in her apartment as a child desperately trying to get out.
My father would leave me with her in some warped effort to get me to know her.
Ilse would sit on the couch smoking, icily staring at me.
Finally, the ritual would be I would freak out and want to leave, clawing at the locked door.
She would laugh hysterically and refuse to unlock the door unless I kissed her, at which moment her eyes reflected triumph.
This was my first taste of emotional and sexual abuse.
I saw it in the eyes of Peter Barnett, my fourth grade teacher at the International School of Geneva who would hit my everyday and tell me I was stupid.
Just at the moment of impact of his hand on my head a self-satisfied smirk would appear.
And I saw it in the eyes of the teacher, John Fogarty, as he strangled me in a distant field.
And in Bruce Harlow, the headmaster of the school, who realized my parents were incapable of protecting me, and so he was safe.
And in the students at The Peddie School, enabled by a dysfunctional administration, who would ostracize and bully me because I was kind and thoughtful and wouldn't take drugs or drink.
And then I saw that same look of hatred in the eyes of Leslie and her friends.
I see now that it was misguided to believe that friends would have the insights, skills or motivation to respond with empathy.
The fact that most were liberal progressives meant nothing in terms of giving personal empathy.
At the time, however, it was devastating.
I now understand that having grown up with abuse I learned to devalue myself and consequently chose friends who were controlling and manipulative to reinforce my lack of confidence and to perpetuate my emotional scars.
After Leslie cut off contact, I saw she had posted on her MySpace page the cryptic comment: "I'll climb up the pipe, go over the wall, through the window, and kill him."
Was she referring to me?
In her page photo she was surrounded by dozens of empty alcohol bottles, smiling with the quote: "I love swallowing the salty taste."
At that point I realized the person I thought I had loved no longer existed, if she ever did.
And, I felt fear.
But, I've also learned that for me, compassion towards those who were hurtful is the final stage of my healing.
For years I found myself plagued with the despair of "why?": Why would a teacher tell me he loved me and take me to an isolated field to violently sexually assault me?
Why did the headmaster cover up the assault when I reported it?
Why did my father choose alcohol, drugs and a sociopathic mistress who would hurt his children over treating his family with love and compassion?
Why did Leslie Geddes, who told me she deeply loved me over two years, turn her back on me at my most desperate moment, when for once I believed in trust and in emotional intimacy?
Why did her friends respond with abuse to my reaching out in friendship?
I nearly drove myself crazy with this "why" until I realized that the "why" is ultimately unanswerable.
At a basic level abusers have unfathomable emotional immaturity and lack the capacity for empathy.
But, explanations and theories are mere speculation, as meaningless as parlor games.
What saved my sanity from the need to constantly ask "why" is insight I received through attending the lectures of the Dalai Lama: the only goal I have to work for is a peaceful mind.
A means of doing this is to extend compassion to others - and to myself - with the belief that this engages the power of my mind and creates a virtuous cycle of karma.
This is what works for me and what gives me sanity when Leslie Geddes, my father, and those others I loved and trusted acted insane.
For me, the answer to "why?" doesn't matter anymore.
They either chose a role to play or it is their karma to play it.
I choose mine.
I choose to believe in a power - a peaceful mind - found within.
That is where I focus my mediation practice.
That is my answer.
From a practical perspective, through the DC Rape Crisis Center I found friends who are empathetic.
I also empowered myself by taking legal action against a childhood abuser.
It was not easy and took years of persistence.
Most importantly, I learned that the only person who needs to love me is myself.
Finally, I also forgave my former friends who turned their backs on me at my lowest moment.
But, I know now that Leslie Geddes, Maggie Martel, Kirsten Feyling, Autumn Francois, Andrea Higginbotham, Alice Riener and most everyone, are simply Ordinary People.
Leslie Geddes and her friends, I now believe, are persons incapable of telling the truth, to themselves and to others.
Leslie and her friends are, I believe, persons incapable of empathy, for themselves or for others.
But, in this they are normal - for humans are horrible people.
I can do that because I now value my self, the best gift I've given myself.
Despite all the aggression from all of them, I have learned that the purpose of my life is a peaceful mind.
I breath again.