Being Mean: A Memoir of Sexual Abuse and Survival

Being Mean: A Memoir of Sexual Abuse and Survival

by Patricia Eagle


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In this richly depicted story, told in vignettes relative to markers of age and experience, Patricia Eagle reveals the heartbreak and destruction of her sexual abuse, from age four to thirteen, by her father. A victim of her father’s anger and her mother’s complacency with his abusive behavior, Eagle uses dissociation and numbing in response to the abuse, and as a way to block her own sense of self.

How does a child confused by episodes of abuse come to know what is safe or unsafe, right or wrong, normal or abnormal? How does a young woman learn the difference between real love and a desire for sexual pleasure stimulated by abusive childhood sexual experiences? Careening through life, Eagle wonders how to trust others and, most importantly, herself. As a mature woman struggling to understand and live with her past, she remains earnest in her pursuit of clarity, compassion, and trust to build a stronger life.

Being Mean is about blocking sexual abuse memories, having them surface, then learning how to acknowledge and live with incomprehensible experiences in the healthiest ways possible.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781631525193
Publisher: She Writes Press
Publication date: 06/11/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 376
Sales rank: 338,855
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)

About the Author

Patricia Eagle discovered language with her first word, “bird,” and later found great solace in nature. Six decades of journaling also served as a life buoy—tangible evidence of a life explored in earnest while being tossed by the confounding experiences of childhood sexual abuse. Her experience as a high school teacher informed her master’s research on the use of “professional reflective journaling,” a method to help educators better understand themselves and their students. A story gatherer, Eagle maintains an unyielding commitment to excavating and acknowledging what is resilient about her life and the lives of others, as an author and a Life-Cycle Celebrant®. She has seven stories published in four anthologies and online with the National Home Funeral Alliance. She lives amidst mountains and hot springs in the San Luis Valley in south central Colorado, where she watches the Milky Way splash across the night skies. Being Mean is her first book.

Table of Contents

Foreword Kate Munger 1

Author's Note 5

Introduction 7

Part I Forgetting and Remembering

Ready, 2017 15

Don't Leave Them Alone With Me, 2009 & 1953 18

A Stormy Night, 1957 22

A Bike Vibrator, 1962 23

A Little Dabb'll Do Ya, 1961-1965 25

Is What We Do Sex? 1965-64 30

One Last Time, 1965 34

My Dream Team, 1967 38

False Alarm, 1968 41

To Thine Own Self Be True, 1968 46

Palm-Readin' Patty, 1969 49

A New Beginning, 1970 52

Determined, 1970 57

Desperate, 1971 61

Chance Encounters, 1972-73 67

Late for My Wedding, 1974 74

Running Naked, 1975 80

An Open Marriage, 1977 84

At the Last Minute, 1978 87

Careening, 1978 90

Grand Canyon Birthday, 1978 93

Wouldn't I Have Known? 1979 97

Part II Try and Try Again

That Won't Work for Me, 1980 107

Good God, 1981 111

In the Care of An Angel, 1982 119

What's in a Name? 1982 123

Shallow Roots, 1983-84 128

Do You Feel What I Feel? 1984 132

Bird Song, 1985 135

Nature's Wisdom, 1986 137

Baby Blues, 1986 141

The Dam Breaks, 1989 144

Part III Not Easier But Better

Denial, 1990 151

Lift Your Eyes, 1993 155

Gotta Have a Dream, 1993-94 158

Getting Better at Life, 1994 165

On the Mexican Border, 1995 168

Bury the Babies, 1996 173

Magic in a Bottle, 1996 176

The Canyon Takes Me In, 1997 179

All Cleared Out, 1997 182

The Hole in My Head, 1998 185

Once in a Lifetime, 1999 189

Firefly Fields, 2000 192

Charter Challenges, 2001-2002 197

Paris Rendez-vous, 2005 202

Velvety Ears, 2004 205

Flying Hog Saloon, 2006 209

Part IV Go Home

A Frightening Notion, 2010 219

Flicker Encounters, 2010 223

Night Music, 2009-2011 226

Snow Geese, 2010 229

Ding Dong Blues, 2011 231

Into the Petri Dish, 2011 233

Diabetic Coma, 2011 237

Taking the Time, Making the Space, 2011 241

Graced-land, 2011 244

Prayer Anyone? 2011 246

The Help Me Prayer, 2011 249

Part V Searching for Your Heart

A Good Visit, 2012 257

The Last Visit, 2012 263

Eulogy for Dad, 2012 266

Two Teardrops, 2014 269

The Last Song, 2015 274

Mom's Eulogy, 2015 283

Just Like That, 2012-2017 288

Having the Space, Making the Time, 2017 291

Epilogue: Mornin' Blanca, 2017 297

Helpful Resources for Navigating Sexual Abuse 302

Credits 305

Notes 307

Gratitude 311

About the Author 313

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