Earlier today I had a sudden urge to Google something. That isn't unusual---my ADHD brain does it all the time. What was different is the phrase that popped into my head.
"An Early Frost."
It was no deep mystery because I really knew what it meant. For those in the dark, it is a title of a made-for-TV movie from the 80s.
The movie was the first of its type to deal with the AIDS crisis. A young lawyer is forced to come out to his family after he is diagnosed with HIV/AIDS in an era that offered no treatment, oftentimes little sympathy, and plenty of fear. At the age of 13, I watched the movie alone in my room during its NBC broadcast. I was recovering from knee surgery and quickly changed the channel if I heard my mom anywhere nearby. I know the time and place. It is distinct.
That's important because it came just a few months after I was abused and raped at summer camp by a hebephile of a camp counselor who manipulated me into a position of helplessness. The movie hit me like a ton of bricks. AIDS was such a mystery, but I knew what happened to me was a risk factor. Certain events were suggested, and I knew what happened behind closed doors...even if consensual in this (movie) case.
The movie portrayed in rapid-fire succession, a diagnosis and deterioration of health in the absence of a treatment protocol. As a pubertal teen, I experienced pangs of doubt about my own sexuality and the fear of what it could mean.
Is this what befalls everyone who does that?
Did he pick me because he thought I was gay?
Did he make me gay?
Was I now on a different trajectory than I was before?
Was this inevitable?
What did I need to watch out for?
Forgive these questions. They were produced by a 13 year-old's mind addled by recent events in the milieu of 1985. We know so much more now...and can do so much more. Then....not so much. I haven't thought about this movie in years, but the quickness and ease in which it came to mind today indicates its place in the bedrock of my CSA recovery.
I realized that I was now on a different trajectory...one that froze normal sexual experiences and rendered me a pseudo-asexual teen who gazed at girls from afar because I felt like a perp if I got the least bit intimate with one (holding hands). Eventually, I overcame that with an enhanced appreciation of LGBT issues and rejoined my initial trajectory as a straight kid, but only after a lot of hope, fear and loathing.
This is the stuff of CSA.
I ask you to judge me by the enemies I have made. --FDR
I remember redwood trees, bumper cars and wolverines
The ocean's Trident submarines
Lemons, limes and tangerines
I remember this… R.E.M. 1988Cruel SummerMy Journal