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Cornell Broke

my Heart
ELLIOTT REED
“Love”

It’s 4 AM. Do you know where your heart is? There is no such thing as “love.”
Every time I thought I had found it, turns out it was a scam, a hustle, a trick, a
grift...some kind of warped, weird, wild, and wacky sleazy scumbag’s dystopian,
nightmarish, sadomasochistic machination and manipulation of my good heart.
The last person I could have loved, I really could have loved. So much, I still
dream about her. I can still envision her fully naked. I don’t think she knows how
many things I was battling at once. I don’t think she understood exactly how broke
and how broken I was when we met or for the time that we befriended one an-
other. Still, I tried super hard and I fell mega flat and it hurts more than burning
ice or freezing flames. It cuts me more severely than any alloy, it imbalances me
more completely than any alkaline, it has shaped my feelings more than I ever
wanted, or knew. That is not to say that she was the one for me, but my heart has
broken so many times that there is so little left of it that I thought, well, at least this
is something safe, pretty, and smart. No. I blame Donald Trump for this. I loved
his shows. I loved his books. I even laughed at his jokes and with his *wink* insults,
slurs, and innuendos. I did not take them seriously. She did. I missed the boat on
that one, and it really hurts. I am one man who did not love two women who gave
him three little kids. It takes a great deal for me to say, “Sign me up!” I knew she
was setting me up, but the initial infatuation made me not care...call me superfi-
cial. I knew she was a plant, but the cognitive attraction was undeniably
strong...call me sapiosexual. I recognized, totally acknowledged, and even T-
charted the crafted reasons why she was selected to be perfectly imperfect and yet
I appreciated those cultivated flaws. I wished upon a star, I had the audacity to

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hope, I prayed, planned, and perhaps even strutted but it was all, quite literally, in
vain. I was too focused on the White House.
So, now I am alone. I wake up at 4 AM nearly every morning, instead of going
to sleep at that time like a teenager. Maybe I was addicted to her. Maybe I grew ob-
sessed with her. At least, I think, she would have made a good mistress. Heart-
based connections are so difficult for me to have with people and there was one --
artificial, subsidized, and synthetic as it was -- that was good enough for me. Now,
however, I am relegated to the hormonal, emotional, and psychologically dam-
aged tempests of women for whom I never had any feelings other than lust. That
is so unfair. I would not go as far as to say that I am involuntarily celibate. Not a
day passes when I do not have the opportunity to be all kinds of slutty. Even
bummed out, walking with a nearly imperceptible limp, and with great neglect
paid to my hygiene I know I am just an enduring gaze, a pleasant conversation,
and some flirtatious words away from bagging some wildebeest. I don’t want that.
I had an impala in my sights and it gracefully, tactfully, and mightily escaped me.
This is not my fault. Our last and -- to me, unexpected, at least -- greatest, best,
most mighty argument was over him. I thought I was arguing my values, my princi-
ples, and my beliefs. She was discussing her feelings, which she had apparently sup-
pressed to continue engaging with me. That’s what happens when you spend 90%
of your time getting to know someone on the phone. It’s not like we could not
have deep, engaging, enduring conversations long into the night. It was not -- for
me anyway -- like girl friends, either. For her, probably it was, but again -- I have
three kids, no friends, no money, no job, and not much really going for me but
natural talents and gifts -- so the attention, as constant, consistent, and frequent as
it was from her was a very soothing thing. It sucks. I feel very stupid for thinking
that there actually was hope that love was real. It is much like I could feel dumb
for having believed Trump’s con, but I do not. You see, I got what I wanted out of
him: primarily, I wanted to see a pro-life majority on the Supreme Court. I wanted
to see what would happen if the Roe/Wade issue was litigated in a culture of life.
We have definitive proof that it will not simply go away. It is much like exploring
your sexuality: your dreams are not the same as your thoughts and eventually, your
true nature, no matter how changed it might have become due to habitual behav-

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ior, will always prevail given adequate space and time to do so. Trump’s true na-
ture is that of a narcissist, much like I wrote back in 2016.
She actually had some interesting pathologies too, but I have to say: even if she
was a fake friend, that false intimacy that we shared felt so real to me that I would
not betray her confidence, even now. I have no problem discussing my own issues
-- I have published 400 pages discussing my life already -- but very little of them
relate to my heart, my emotions, or my feelings. I do not have much of those left.
Sadly, life has created in me a numbness, a deep abysmal void that is so unfair for
one reason: I do not lack opportunities to engage, to do outreach, or to conquer. I
lack, in an area with millions of people, chances to meet truly special, amazing,
and beautiful women. It’s unfair because I see gay guys, pedophiles, abusers, and
tons of flawed people -- not the pretty boys, jocks, rich nerds, or others -- who are
married, or have flocks, or just have adjusted their diets to suit their corporeal and
biochemical needs in a far more progressively adaptive way than me. What this
means is that I am the one with the problem. I am a survivor, sure, but I am failing
to thrive in such a primal sense, as a man, that only in my dreams is it manifest as
a clear, present danger to my own cohesive perception of my existence.
Dark chocolate, you see, is bitter and it is sweet. To me, that intoxicating combi-
nation is indubitably attractive: life has not been kind to you, but your innate, in-
herent, inexorable kindness is only a couple layers deep, max. So I kissed her
cheek once -- I couldn’t resist and any man with eyes and a pulse likely couldn’t ei-
ther. We hugged maybe twice. It was not so good, but it was contact. The most
powerful thing I remember about her touch was not even direct physical contact. I
have this thing where I can sense ambient or radiant energy in people and she had
the kind that matched mine perfectly. I felt it directly from her -- not exactly like a
palm read, but well, yeah, kind of precisely just like that. It was scary powerful. It
messed with my head. That is not something you can just buy off the street, pur-
chase in the gutter, or even just discard. I saw parts of her nudity that plenty of
other people have seen. I saw the symmetry in her face and the asymmetry in
other parts of her body. I saw flaws and all. I heard one of my exes denigrate her;
I listened to the other encourage me to pursue her -- while she was pregnant with
my third baby, her first. There is power in the thoughts and feelings of women, so

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I pay really close attention to them. Sure, I could smell when she was ovulating
like I can tell when my exes are entering or exiting various stages of their cycles.
The fact is, it was not the dating of other guys. It was not the fixation on her
ex. It was not the fact that she kept lots of male friends around. I was never jeal-
ous, envious, or obsessed. I was smitten. I don’t do crushes, so that was a problem.
For me it was a problem that she was so kind that she let me sleep in her bedroom
instead of on snowy nights in a borrowed van, on the street. It was a problem that
when I was sloppy drunk, she put up with my meandering ranting, raving, ram-
bling babble. It was a problem that when I sparked up a jay, she patiently waited
for me to come back inside -- knowing that I did not need that inspiration or sooth-
ing when I was so close to her. It was a problem that my chronic and sometimes de-
bilitating pain seemed to melt away like smooth, smooth butter when I was just in
her mere presence. It was a problem that I could tell her anything, without her
judging. It was a problem that we could talk about anything, everything, some-
thing, nothing, and just enjoy each other’s company. We could have been great.
The problem was with me: not that I was not ready for intimacy, but that I too
quickly looked at it and saw that it was an intense, worthy, and nice experience.
She treated my kids exactly as I would treat hers. She was perfect, too perfect. I do
not feel threatened by women and it is very rare that I am intimidated by them.
Even really knockout beauties, they don’t scare me. I study them and see what’s be-
hind the mask -- because, let’s be honest, all women do all kinds of cosmetic stuff
to make themselves feel pretty. Not every woman is going to be some kind of super-
model or statuesque head turner, but all women have this inner beauty that is in-
toxicating to me. I mean it. I woke up like this. Women put in effort.
I pay attention to physical cues, to signs of holistic, integral mature manhood.
It goes beyond early morning tumescence and it certainly is more than a feeling. I
just do not and cannot believe in love if I have gotten it so wrong, so much, so of-
ten. I do not get much wrong often...it’s not how I was designed. I was pro-
grammed to do and be right. I was so wrong about love and always have been. As
a child, I knew pain and abuse. As a teen, I knew confusion and abuse. As a man,
I have known little more than selfishness, fraud, and wasted opportunity. I am
hardening my heart for good; for the common good. I am married to my people.

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CHAPTER 1

No Story Here?

I think it is interesting that so many people can be fooled so much of the time
into thinking you are or are not this or that. It can be a fun game, that is to say -- it
could have been a fun game -- if there were anything to win in it. My left ring fin-
ger has never been occupied by the obligation, the joy, and the bragging rights of
saying that it belongs to my wife. There is some man, right now, who has dis-
carded his chunk of metal for good. There is a guy or gal right this very moment,
who through his or her actions, has effectively severed the sacred matrimonial
bond into which they entered and to which they pledged undying fealty in front of
family, friends, and God. I have never done that but I had always wanted to. It
seemed like such a challenge. It is not like people at the apex of their craft, near
the zenith of their performance cannot also have meaningful, lasting, and gratify-
ing long-term relationships. As a matter of fact, most great people that history has
recorded did exactly that. So, when I was writing, speaking and debating at Cor-
nell, it is no wonder that the Cornell Daily Sun frequently sought me out for com-
mentary. To me, it is even less wonder now that although the editors politely re-
plied to my message, they are not seeking to engage me in this matter. So I will self
publish. I have no problem doing it. What happened to me there is not a story of
me getting back at the institution or seeking some windfall...I want retribution in
the purest sense possible: I want to make sure this does not happen to anyone else,
ever again, at least where it happened and how it happened to me. I cannot em-
phasize enough, as a black male from a not so great background, how I saw this as
my ticket to something more: it was supposed to be my pathway to freedom.
I never met or lived with so many different types of people in my life. I did not
know what a JAP was until my freshman year. So many things and so many people
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I could have built lasting friendships around my own age, just like most
with...but I was crying myself to sleep adults and decent human beings are.
and beating myself up over something I
I have met some beautiful men and
had no say in. Do you know or care
women, like stunning physiques on the
how much of a sweetheart I used to be?
men and gorgeous faces on the women.
Did your admissions committee really
I never felt the need to prey on them
read my essay or did you just look at
sexually. I have the same biological im-
how well-rounded I was on paper, how
perative of others, that if not met, will
high my grades and test scores were,
invariably produce nocturnal emissions.
and measure exactly where your quota
That urge, that hunger, that thirst is
needed to be in 2001? Do you know
never so strong that I intentionally seek
who or what I could have become if
out, willfully engage with, or volition-
your employee had just kept his hands
ally violate people under the age of 18.
to himself or put them on someone his
What kind of sick, messed up institu-
own age? Do you know how many high
tion has folks like that?
school students I had in my room, host-
ing them as my guest? Do you know So my life story is not newsworthy --
that exactly zero -- none of them -- no surprise there. The Cornell Daily
would ever report anything inappropri- Sun is an organ of the indoctrinated
ate ever happening?! My pre-froshes radical snowflake leftist movement that
got the best of me because I just knew keeps Ithaca in a 1960s timewarp. This
that I must have been the only one who is important because the 1960s was not
had such a twisted, fucked-up experi- necessarily the best time for children.
ence there. I had gay ones. I had Buzzfeed, in an article from on Febru-
straight ones. I had latino, black, white, ary 22, 2015
quiet, outgoing and you name it types (https://www.buzzfeed.com/alisoncapo
who stayed right in my single dorm rimo/its-a-miracle-anyone-lived-past-1
room, with a locking door. Maybe we 970) entitled “19 Insane Things That
changed clothes in each other’s pres- Were Actually Acceptable In The ‘60s”
ence or had to dry off from a shower or failed to mention pedophilia, but they
something. I do not even remember, be- began with the summary,
cause it was not my focus and they were “Why? Because you've been through some
not my aim. I was focused on people crazy experimental and neglectful shit in your

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time and the fact that you aren't wearing a per- 9. Gunpowder toys were fun for
manent pair of crazy pants means you must be
the whole family! (Gilbert Chemis-
evolved or something!!! Here are some "nor-
mal" things from your childhood that are actu- try Set)
ally insane...”
Here’s what they cited: 10. But not quite as much fun as
1. Hair care was very different. (flat playing with hot metal and molten
irons) plastic. (Mattel’s “Thing Maker”
which produced Creepy Crawlers)
2. Car seat technology was kind of
a joke. (metal bars and straps) 11. Lead was literally everywhere,
all the time. (Sherwin-Willimas in
3. Everyone had very interesting
1904 said that this paint was poison-
ideas about orange juice. (Tang)
ous to everyone...took years for it to
4. Smoking on planes was a fun be banned)
thing to do. (duh)
12. This hairstyle alone could drive
5. Ice cream was the true breakfast you to drink. (OK, I actually think
of champions. (Cream of Wheat little girls look so sweet when they
ad) have Shirley Temple style hairdos
6. This seemed like a reasonable LOL)
thing to touch your face with. 13. Everyone agreed that helmets
(razors...ok they’re actually wrong were silly and unnecessary. (NHL
about this, I once owned a Merkur hockey)
Solingen and it was exquisite. It was
14. Asbestos! So pretty! (I’m dream-
heavy in the hand and with proper
ing of a white Christmas...in hos-
blades did good work)
pice)
7. Advertisements offered helpful
15. Exercise meant standing still
tips on how to suffocate your baby.
while a machine jiggled your butt
(Cellophane)
for you. (This one actually triggered
8. Salad came in fun shapes. me. Butts jiggling...now my OCD is
(JELL-O...mixed veggies and celery kicking in)
mmm, yum)
16. Drinking and driving? NBD!
(Drinking culture...driving culture,

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that sounds exactly like my life in victims will likely fear reprisal more
Ithaca starting at age 17...but it was than they know to fear the lifetime of
2001, not 1961!) shame, blame, and regret that is cycli-
cal, devastating and awful. But Cornell
17. The draft. (I wish I had joined
does not even believe in that. Would I
ROTC. I felt like I couldn’t because
feel better if I punched my abuser? No.
I had done something sexual with
Would I feel better if he was subject to
another man, even though not by
mob rule? Absolutely not. I abhor vio-
choice. That was how morally, ethi-
lence and I think that parents, and par-
cally, and philosophically commit-
ents only, should use their power to im-
ted I am to honesty)
pose corporal punishment very dis-
18. Skateboards were significantly creetly, which is to say that it should be
less tricked out. (Apparently they rare, controlled, and as a means of disci-
used to be “literally a piece of ply- plining a child for whom you have no
wood with wheels knocked on” other resort to impart a valuable life les-
which is funny to me, considering I son. I have talked to my children and
bought my oldest son a Ripstick, will continue to, at least until they are
which is now collecting dust) grown, about the dangers and potential
19. Hitting people was generally pitfalls of certain life choices. I also edu-
chill. (“People who could hit kids: cate them on things that could happen
Parents, nuns, priests, rabbis, teach- to them and how to at least brace them-
ers, grocery clerks, people in suits, selves. I want them to trust me so I can
people with someplace to be, people help.
who have lawns, old people, and There is only one golden hour in
just about everyone else, too.” each precious day for a thirty-five-year-
That’s their exact caption. I am not old Black man. No, not one of the two
in agreement with this.) -- just after sunrise or just before sunset
By intimidating, threatening, or co- -- when your IG post will need no filter.
ercing our children -- particularly with Not when wings are 50 cents or your fa-
strangers or even people who are famil- vorite beer is on tap. It's not even lun-
iar to them having the power to do so, chtime or naptime; well not yours. For
we create a toxic culture of fear where an increasing number of us, it is the mo-

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ment in the afternoon when your son from most other highly educated thirty
or daughter is taking a nap. It's after somethings.
the baby has gone through three outfits
You see, I am a stay-at-home father
in a day, you have gone through two,
to one of my children, and it is a full-
and things are about to get natural
time job. There are no lunch "breaks,"
around the house until his mommy re-
and there is no paid time off. My ten
trieves him. It is the reality that a new
month old shows up at my doorstep by
generation faces -- increasingly, co-
9 AM each morning and does not leave
parenting is the best alternative to two-
until close to 6 PM. It's what some peo-
parent households.
ple call an arrangement, and others call
Millennials are showing, demog- shared custody. I should take a step
raphically speaking, their attitudes to- back -- this is not my first time at the ro-
wards marriage, parenthood, and more deo. I stayed at home with my older
broadly, domestic life, with their house- two children (10 and 9) for about four
hold status. In my generation, people years and did so for various reasons:
are more likely to have a roommate their illness, my temporary disability,
than a spouse, yet also more likely to and through extended periods of unem-
have a spouse than a child. What gives? ployment. That is not to say that I did
Well, it's a socioeconomic phenomenon not have a promising career -- as a pro-
attributable to the Great Recession. ject manager, management consultant,
That was the coming-of-age period, and eventually a short stint as a politi-
where our optimism and energy was cal appointee, I broke barriers and
supposed to make tremendous leaps achieved much. However, employers do
over fraud, waste, abuse, bias, discrimi- not see that. They also do not under-
nation, climate change, and a host of stand men who stay-at-home.
societal, political, economic, and other
The data demonstrate that parents
woes. We have not achieved that yet. I
who put their careers on hold suffer
have indeed not accomplished what I
penalties in the workforce. In my last
thought I would when the messaging
job, I earned the Area Median Income
was "hope," "change," or "yes we can!"
for the Washington Baltimore Metro-
However, I have done something differ-
politan Statistical Area. The issue there:
ent -- far different, and it seems distinct
before I received my first paycheck, my

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boss was trying to get me out the door. one cares that your tires are going bald
He -- an old, married, white guy -- or that your brakes and transmission
came from a different mindset. He ex- are bad. I had two and a half old suits
pected that I would be free to golf on and three shirts that I rotated until I
the weekends, attend ballgames after had money to get some thrift store
work, and have the extra income. His clothing that looked presentable. De-
assistant -- who would eventually but spite my best efforts, it was not enough.
only briefly -- take my job was his tem- It felt like a setup.
plate. A young, white baseball player
There was no transition. I was devas-
from the South, he had a freshly
tated -- I had to borrow money to put
printed Juris Doctorate and remained a
gas in the tank for my first day. I had to
highly ambitious political player in
pass around the hat to pay for the first
Maryland. He had a girlfriend, an
few weeks of childcare -- it was summer-
apartment, and a pickup truck. He just
time, and I lived over an hour, in traffic,
fit in better.
from home which necessitated after-
I was different, and I was living in hours care. I did not have support from
Section 8 rental property when I was my children's mother. So, I did the only
appointed Deputy Director of Mary- thing I knew -- I used my leave and
land's Governor's Workforce Develop- worked as a rideshare driver those days,
ment Board by Republican Larry Ho- and I did it on the weekends in July and
gan. I had just earned my Executive August of 2017. I had no choice -- I
Master of Public Management (Public needed the job and through the vetting
Policy MBA basically) debt free, despite process, multiple in-person and phone
relying on public school, Food Stamps, interviews, and discussions with the
Medicaid, and TCA to provide for my elected officials who supported my ap-
children. Upon going to work for the plication I made that clear. I was re-
state, agencies rightly canceled our enti- building a life for my family.
tlement benefits. I earned nearly twice
I try to avoid complaining, explain-
as much as the average state employee
ing, and sob or success stories, generally
-- the issue was not the pay I was due, it
speaking. Someone else always has a
was the timing. At that salary, you do
better one and it does little good to try
not qualify for childcare assistance. No
to out swim a fish, out fly a bird or out

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run a cheetah. I stick to my core compe- Even if you judge me for my indi-
tencies and strategically seek out the at- gence, my abject poverty, and the cycli-
tainment of expanded operational mo- cal nature of both in which my children
dalities. I started off blaming Trump, and I are physically and fiscally stuck,
but that is more because I have an axe although we reject wholesale the labels
to grind with New York and more par- and the attendant psychosocial tagging
ticularly with an institution in New that go with them. We do not adopt the
York that permitted my innocence to mentality of impoverishment; we adapt
be snatched away and set me on a path to our environment. We are strong be-
to poverty, misery, and an abiding lone- cause we cling to each other in the
someness that no amount of sex, drugs, times when we do not have heat, or
or alcohol could ever mask. enough to eat. We are able to find joy,
peace, and harmony in nature despite
What Cornell allowed to happen to
the intrusion of pestilent vermin into
me, it is hard for me to get over because
our lives. We are happy, we love each
just yesterday -- October 13, 2019, I
other, and the Lord will continue to
had to walk to a grocery store with
shine His holy light upon us because
change in my pocket and spent my last
the angels wipe the tears from my eyes
$2 (two dollars) to buy discounted coco-
and God only knows that only the
nut milk for my children. I did this,
strong will survive. Until my children
knowing that it will require me to drink
have more than they could ever need,
boiled water and eat ramen noodles,
want or ask for, I literally cannot afford
but I felt like they deserved a decent
to give away my time, attention, money,
breakfast and they said they wanted ce-
effort, or energy.
real. It is not fair for me to “volunteer”
my time, which is stolen from them, for
free when I have obligations to make
their lives as warm, cozy, and safe as
possible. Anyone with children or any-
one who has been loved by a caregiver
ought to understand that, even if they
do not respect my life choices.

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CHAPTER 2

Publish or Perish

Probably, maybe I’ll not publish this. Or maybe I will. You just don’t fucking know
what this crazy author is going to do next, do you?! Well, this is a work of cathartic
whatever. It is all 100% based on fact, reality, and truth. Because, however, I like to
give my enemies opportunities to redeem themselves, to make amends, and to
prove -- through acts of sincere contrition and with just compensation -- that they
mean no further harm, I am going to mask some of the names, faces, places, and
spaces to which the text refers. Could I say that an elite university situated in the
heart of Central State New York is where my life definitively changed for the
worse due to no fault of my own? Absolutely, there is no libel, slander, or defama-
tion in publishing your own life story. Do I seek to do irreparable damage to an in-
stitution that has done so much good? No. I do not think most victims want to de-
stroy the good because of the bad. The thing is, with each passing day, I become
more and more upset at what I lost.
It was not “just” innocence. It was not “just” my virginity. It was not just my
sense of self, which I was still figuring out before the law even considered me an
adult and certainly before my church, my family, or my community would have
called me a man. No, what I lost there was my ability to love and be loved. No one
loves me but my children. That does not sting as much as it used to, but it really
strikes me as odd. There are tons of gay and lesbian people who are married now.
There are all of these Millennials and Gen Xers who are married. Lots of people
who attend certain 13000+ undergraduate strong institutions marry other people
from those institutions. I think I’ll call it: Colonel University. Or maybe Kernel
University. Or maybe Cornel University. Who knows what the fuck I’ll call it?!
The point is, they failed to protect me when I needed them most and I’m mad.
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I’m mad not because the professors better and greater understanding. If I
graded me down. I’m mad not because had not been abused, I can say I would
the counselors misdiagnosed me with have retained some of the toxic homo-
everything but the real issue. I’m not phobic attitudes that I had learned in
mad because my credit was torpedoed my hometown. Instead, however, I am
by student loan debt to a place where I a definite ally. If I had not been abused,
was sexually abused and assaulted by a I would not have likely dated so many
male, adult employee of the school. No, latinx people and become a very real
I’m not even mad because of the isola- ally for the cause of immigrants, includ-
tion, shame, embarrassment, and dam- ing asian and african people who are
age to my psyche. I’m mad because I’m new to our country. The phrases “Elite,
sitting here suffering in silence while my not elitist” and “Such diversity in one
abuser is celebrating his success and the university” are really true. That market-
University does not care. Much like ing worked on me, but I need to see it.
other places that have done real wrong So I blame Uncle Ezra for fucking my
to me, I pay close attention to their pro- life all the way up and back down the
gress, to their overtures, and to their ef- slippery slope. This is a school that
forts at remediation. I do not see it gives tacit approval to alcoholism, cul-
there. They are not even spraying per- minating in the annual “Slope Day” or
fume on their turds, painting lipstick on “Slope Fest” or however they are pack-
their pigs, or paying more than aging it. It’s a drunken bacchanal. I par-
window-dressed lip service to protect- took in it, not for fun, but for numb.
ing innocence, preserving personal Cornell...oops, I mean [REDACTED]
boundaries, or acknowledging that boys you stole my heart with your Big Red
become men and those men have feel- Book. Cornell, you made me believe
ings too. Instead, they are up to their not that I was better than anyone else,
same old tricks that I have seen for 20 but that I should do better than others
years. because that was my calling. Then,
Cornell...I mean, institution that should
I am tired of it. I am ready to fight.
likely not have me being a Cornell
They cannot take anything from me
Alumni Admissions Ambassador for ten
more than I have already lost. In some
years while sending my loans to collec-
respects though, I have gained so much
tion when I am struggling to feed,

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clothe, and house my kids... maybe you ize what had happened. It would take
should be demonstrating to me why the more years for me to determine what
Hell I deserved for someone to tell me will happen.
that if I did not do what he said, I
What will never happen again is me
would not have my dream?
being abused. What will never happen,
I had free lunch. I was wearing con- unless my rotten corpse cannot be reani-
signment shop clothes and irregular mated, is one of my babies being sub-
threads from Value City. I had worn jected to coercive, manipulative, and ex-
out shoes and often would re-wear ploitative behavior. Over my dead body
things because they were not going to and then some! I know the pain and
be washed. I was poor. I was tired. I damage that last in the heart and in the
was hopeful. I was young. You hustled mind of a true victim. So many morn-
me. You took my best and my last. I re- ings, afternoons, evenings, and nights I
member BT -- the minority associate have spent hours trying to dissect, ana-
director for the ILR school, who just so lyze, and make sense of the fraud that
happened to be an effeminate gay male was perpetuated on me, the abuse that
-- calling me and recruiting me to that happened to me, and the waste of po-
school. At that time, with my own nas- tential that became “me.” It makes per-
cent forming masculinity and sexuality, fect sense that I became contrarian and
I was uncomfortable at the sound of his an adversary of whatever I could ethi-
voice. His mannerisms and ease with -- cally find daylight between us on, per-
but not desire for -- women made me taining to that for which you stood. I
uneasy. So, when a gay Resident Advi- am better for being pro-life. I am better
sor was right on the floor with me and for having been a Republican. I am
came from the same place as me, I took strong because I survived, but you need
it as an i-n-t-e-l-l-e-c-t-u-a-l challenge to change. I cannot in good conscience
to free my mind, open my heart, and be- say, “Hey, young wide-eyed dreamers
come more accepting and not just toler- from my hometown, you should go to
ant. I was not strong enough, wise this school and contribute to their diver-
enough, or I guess, good enough then sity sham. Do not worry about your
to be able to tell what was happening to safety or your integrity being compro-
me. It would take years for me to real- mised there. Definitely do not look at

14
the other schools for which you are am- the activity. It did not matter to me, on
ply qualified, that have higher rankings one fine afternoon, that the guy operat-
and actually care about you.” No. ing the heavy machinery had less mela-
Never again...not at least until you say nin in his skin than me or most people I
sorry and you mean it. call friend. It made no difference to me
that the operators of the gas station
I was a work-study student -- I
were Ethiopian...or were they Eritrean?
worked as a meter maid so I could af-
I hung out with all kinds of people
ford books, food, and shelter. It was mis-
from childhood forward and it made
erable, cold, and grimy work. I remem-
me a perfect fit for Cornell. My abuser?
ber having to sign a release saying I
Not so much.
would never discuss something that hap-
pened during my employment there -- I He was effete, slight of build, basic
never have and never will. I am an hon- and plain in terms of appearance. Noth-
orable person, even if I do not have ti- ing positive would stand out to anyone
tles, wealth, or even the privilege that is about his speech, his presence, or his ef-
normally accorded to those who have fectiveness. What stood out to Cornell?
achieved what I have, who think like I His pedigree and his parents’ level of
do, or can do what I can do. How achievement. That, to me, is fine, I sup-
many people, even in the Ivy League, pose and I will not knock another Black
are truly leaders? How many people man for being successful or making his
cannot help but be nominated, elected, ancestors proud. That said, why is it
or tapped for various things? But how that he got away with a crime and is liv-
many, I also should note, are kept out ing in a high rise, driving a BMW, while
of societies like Quill and Dagger be- I am washing out my clothes in the tub,
cause they do not fit in? Secret societies looking for coins in the street to feed
are very overrated, much like fraterni- my children, and walking to the clear-
ties are. I am honestly quite satisfied to ance section of the grocery store daily
hold my baby and let him watch a back- to spend my last two cents? Was I not
hoe dig into the dirt and a bulldozer good enough for success? Did my essays
push away the detritus. It gives me use too many large words and contain
great gratification to watch him fixated too much controversial material that I
on the beeps, the bangs, the clangs, and deserved to get Cs and have to fight

15
against the system just to return to come a Nobel Prize winning economist. It
didn’t happen. For a reason. We will never
school? Why did Cornell’s ILR School’s
know, though.
Director of Undergraduate Affairs call Cornell University is an Ivy League college in
me and say that the only way they Ithaca, New York. It has a big fat endowment,
a bloated board of trustees, and produces
would accept me back is if I said that I some outstanding graduates. I have such con-
was bipolar or ADHD or something flict and have had such conflict in sharing what
happened there, what I did there, and why it
like that? I’m not, but the level of dis-
matters because I was silly and foolish about
honesty and gas-lighting is so plain to the whole thing. Moreover, it hurts to know that
me now. you had bright, beautiful, big, bold, brash
dreams for your family, for your future, and yes
This is why, despite me knowing his for your finances that would be stolen from you
by someone who had no right or reason.
full name, address, phone number, and What happened to me at Cornell is called statu-
many other details about him, I am tory rape. It happened multiple times as a teen-
naming Cornell University as my main ager and I have worked with a great team of
professionals to address the issue, to begin
abuser. It perpetuated a system that al- seeking justice, and most importantly to share
lowed creeps like that not just to get the unvarnished truth, the brutal facts, and the
harsh reality: for me, gay/homosexual sex is
away with it, but to blend into the scen-
traumatic. The rainbow, which I still love, in flag
ery, like a venus fly trap, waiting to or “pride” form now triggers me. I do not bash
spring their surprise on unsuspecting anyone who has found their places along the
spectrum which expresses human gender, sexu-
passersby. What happened to me at ality, and orientation. Your identity is your busi-
Cornell University is really well cap- ness and not mine. Do you.
That said, do not cross lines and do not violate
tured in the following chapter from my
borders, boundaries, rules, customs, traditions,
book “Show Me Quickly.” In Chapter laws, regulations, or just plain decency. What
12, I discuss how -- unlike this quick business does a twenty-something have with a
teen? Very little, in tightly controlled settings,
booklet, which took me about two that are circumstances with only wholesome sce-
hours to write -- it took me nearly two narios that have the child’s welfare and holistic
decades to reckon with what happened best interest at heart. I learned this by seeing
true leaders, some of whom quietly -- or family
to me there: who proudly -- identify as LGBTQ. I had con-
vinced myself, because someone stole my
“12 College
choice, that somehow I was bisexual because I
had engaged in the acts repeatedly, way too
much, and relentlessly, to the point that my
It was my choice to go to Cornell instead of the
body became less of a temple and more of a
University of Chicago. I might have met Barack
“trap spot” as some of us who have been slum-
Obama at Chicago. I might be more fluent in
ming know. Because I was taught to aim for
Spanish if I had gone there. I might have be-
pure, holy, and clean I became depressed, anx-

16
ious, obsessive, and compulsive once I became things about myself. Now, this is not to say that
tainted. It only takes once, not thousands of as a teenager, people do not have exploration,
times. This is why it worries me when people do curiosity, and interest in discovery. What is
this sexting and the flirty stuff. Are you maintain- true, what is factual is that anyone under the
ing custody of your eyes and thoughts? There age of legal majority, which I feel should be at
are so many predators prowling out there, least 18, based on my experience, should do it
there are so many hidden victims replaying on their own, with people their age, if at all.
their cycles of abuse, there are so few people That choice was snatched from me the moment
whose hearts remain intact enough to avoid he creepily attempted to seduce me, sleazily
temptation that you might think of it this way: started to entrap me, slimily began to coerce
someone is watching, someone is listening, and me, and abusively began to violate my body. I
it is often not the person you want to be giving was a minor and this is a major offense to me
attention or whose attention you want to at- and God. I am not going to preach about what
tract. It is hard for me to see people scantily consenting adults, whether you are in college,
clad now and not have flashbacks. I miss that trade school, the workforce, or still finding your
innocence. way at home or serving abroad or in our mili-
Now, I will say that people have eyes and bod- tary do. That is your business. I do not want to
ies for a reason. We were put here to be fruit- be in your kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, or any-
ful and multiply, but not in our teen years. That where you do not invite me into, which would
was some medieval stuff, honestly. People live typically be something like the living room, din-
well into their 80s with minimal medical inter- ing room, backyard, or maybe the garage if I
vention, increasingly, these days. Why do peo- am lucky, because I do love automobiles. It’s
ple do this stuff to those who could have an- funny how much I love really stereotypically
other three generations, 60 years of haunting “masculine” things but that an effete, effemi-
nightmares about it? Why? nate, unintellectual, and incredibly selfish, vain,
I do not know the answer. I do not want to and “liberal” or “progressive” individual would
hear the answer from my abuser either. Not my then fool me into believing I was made to sat-
personal, individual one. While I do not hate isfy his perversity. I have to tell you that it takes
him and certainly over the years, tried in my some work to come back from that. You have
own way, even, to help him -- I wrote his gradu- to have a supportive community, friends, and
ate admissions essays on two separate occa- others to remind you where you came from,
sions, for instance as a ghostwriter. I was the what you are made of, and where you are sup-
bartender at his parties. I was trying my best, posed to be. For the stubborn, hard-headed,
in a really unhealthy way, to show I was bigger and sensitive folks like me, that takes lots of
and stronger than I had been as a kid. It feels people lots of time and lots of work LOL.
way better to have no contact and I know that It only took a moment to ruin my college experi-
the longer that lasts, the better I will feel. I ence and I had not even formally committed to
want to be the best me I can be and you simply the school, although I would eventually. I
cannot do that when you keep inviting the would like to say it was the flowers, or the
same foul, trifling, smelly, loud, wrong infesta- food, or the overwhelming friendliness that
tion of vermin into your life. None of it was OK awaited me there. I would be proud to say that
then and none of it is going to be OK now. Not the legacy of Carl Sagan, Ruth Bader Gins-
with an apology from him. Not with a million burg, Hillary Clinton, Janet Reno, Bill Nye, EB
apologies from him. The only way I had even White, or many other famous Cornellians had
begun to feel better was to focus on my family, to do with me choosing one of the eight
my children, who showed me some important schools entitled to the “Ivy League” brand.

17
That did not get it done. It was sex. It was as Before that, though, it was awful. Now, look,
addictive, initially, as it became repulsive even- central state New York is no walk through Cen-
tually because my abuser decided to share tral Park, to begin with. This gray bowl de-
what I can only imagine was his confusion, inse- scends on Ithaca and it can begin snowing
curity, and inadequacy with me in the form of there in October and still go strong in April. I
false intimacy. It is a trap. know because in my freshman year I called
People will steal from you. People will try to home for long johns. They were sent and my
rape you. People will try to kill you. For some- aunt, Vicki, also sent me a great back scrubber
thing, or for nothing. It can happen to anyone, that I used until it had no more life in it. There
at any time, for any or no reason at all. That is are so many times I contemplated suicide, that I
why I stopped blaming myself, stopped sham- drank myself into near-comas and definite stu-
ing myself, and began to journey back home. It pors -- although that is partially a cultural thing
is a process. It entails not returning to certain that is so dumb but lots of college students
places, because they will suck the life right on choose to do it. I did not use the appropriate
out of you. It means discontinuing the behav- means of addressing my issues because the Cor-
iors that can give you sexually transmitted dis- nell community made it clear that despite their
eases, infections, and even deformations be- liberal “safe spaces” and progressive “open
cause you love and respect yourself enough not minds, open hearts” mantras, that they did not
to. It is hard. believe me and they were not hearing me. In
I cannot emphasize enough that whatever I did some respects, I can even contradict myself
right at Cornell is someone else’s story to tell. I here and say if the abuse had not happened, it
was a leader. I served. I shined when I could, would be easier for me to at least love, hug,
but that is not the point of me taking time away and kiss my own mother. It’s hard for me to
from my kids to reflect, refresh, and reset my ever feel that I am clean enough to be touched
life. The point is to give you enough relatable or to touch others now. When someone hugs
material that you might consider, without being me, I really appreciate it because of that. Peo-
even nudged, discontinuing a pathway to perdi- ple who are or have gotten to close to me of-
tion, particularly if you did not pave it or want ten get pushed away because my mind starts
it. playing the tricks on me that were planted
I did not ever want to be sexually involved with there to cover up what had gone down: the fix
my abuser. I did not want to touch him or for was in and they were either in on it or willfully
him to touch me. I did not want to have certain oblivious to it. I had been to a psychologist,
songs, performers, noises, smells, places, psychiatrist, and more but they just listened to
sights, or even postures become problematic. I my parents, since I was still a minor. It was infu-
have full-blown hypochondriac neuroses be- riating to me that I, the patient, had to be la-
cause of this and they manifest in somatic pre- beled what the people I felt I had just escaped
sentment. Yes, that is the simplest way I can wanted to place on me. I counted down until
state it in writing, but I openly invite anyone to my 18th birthday and celebrated it by smoking
ask me about it in person, particularly in pri- cigars with the guys: Mike, JJ, and maybe even
vate. I am not shy talking about what hap- Chris, Adam, and a couple of others were
pened to me. I ended up taking a leave of ab- there. Oh man, but what they had to put up
sence because of this. I would return and finish with in my room and in my world, I totally wish
the degree better, brighter, and bolder than I I could take back. I got so drunk once that the
started it. I would meet girls and enjoy friend- entire floor had to do an intervention with me.
ships that were worthwhile. It made people cry then but they really did not
know why. I had blamed my parents, mistak-

18
enly, when I was already over that LOL. They there were complications, but I thank many
know me well enough, having had at least Christian mentors for demonstrating faith to me
been there at various times throughout my and having faith in me. Some of them are
growth into adolescence to know that I do not Democrats. Some of them are centrists or mod-
tolerate lots of time-wasting, noise, nonsense, erates. To me, it does not matter. I care about
or foolishness, even with my big, soft, forgiving what is in your heart more than in your pants,
Catholic heart. My mom actually does know bank account, or past so much it hurts some-
my heart, which is not typically connected to times. I have been so lonely, for so much of my
my head and conflicts between the two are life either because of self-imposed exile, or cri-
epic. They did not, however, understand my sis management, that I just like the little, simple
mind any more than people “got” gravitational things. You do not need to put lots of flash, piz-
waves 100 years ago. zazz, or whatever on it to get me: that’s for ba-
Let me change that, people still do not under- bies anyway. I’ll do a song and dance for my
stand how the ripples in the spacetime contin- kids and all kids, any day of the week and
uum make noise, create heat, shine the light, twice on Sundays. Whatever it takes to get
and produce things that matter. Remember that your attention, let me say it clearly and shut up:
you and I and everything we have ever known, you were made either by a spectacular Big
know now, or will ever know -- according to the Bang -- if you choose to be obstinate and faith-
egghead nerds whose astronomy courses I did less believe that fine -- or you were created
not get to attend, since I was busy picking and (TRUTH ALERT) in God’s image. You are loved
choosing psychology courses to self diagnose if you accept the god in you and you are
and experimenting with substances to self- doomed if you reject the divine inspiration that
medicate, including fooling doctors into giving has shaped, driven, and guides your life.”
me the prescriptions that my abuser convinced
me would “fix” the issue. You can be so strong
and yet also wind up being sucked into so
many silly things when you get blindsided. I
was made to soar but told to wallow. I was
made to sing but forced to swallow the dust of
the earth on my belly as if a serpent, when I’m
closer to angelic. I was meant to be great but
wound up residing in hate. That was my strug-
gle. That was my strife. That became the story
of my life. But, it changed and I thank God, lit-
erally, for the work He put into showing me the
light.
The orthodox, traditional Roman Catholic com-
munity and the conservative, Republican, white
working-class folks who were a small minority
at Cornell, embraced me with open arms. They
had strong opinions, brilliant minds, and battle-
tested hearts. They did not ask me a thing, and
yet, somehow knew enough of my story not to
let me go. They did not want me to wind up in
the gorges when my redemption could be gor-
geous. As with any relationship or friendship,

19

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