The Funny Duck

Immediately after “the incident” I felt different. I mean, who wouldn’t!?  One of your older buddies, a person you thought was a friend, violated you.  Even at eleven years old, I understood the feeling of shame. And intense shame it was.  Feelings of great unworthiness and deep sadness would become my constant internal companions as I grew older.  During the rest of junior and senior high schools, I’d spot “the person” in the hallway.  To me, he always seemed to walk with an air of cockiness.  And, he always seemed to carry a wry smirk on his nasty lips, the ones from which he used spit to gain entry, to taint my soul.  Intense rage would fill my heart as I imagined killing him a million different ways.  But, I never did.  I just became invisible.  That’s how I learned to cope with being assaulted. 

Life went on for me, it does for all of us.  In college, I’d use alcohol to break through social barriers and to mask the pain of feeling different.  As I grew older into adulthood, alcohol and over-spending became my cyclical modus operandi.  From time to time, certain triggers would trigger negative thoughts and beliefs about myself, and I’d act out with my vices.  It was a vicious behavioral cycle that lasted decades.  Not until my involvement in a vehicular traffic accident which caused a traumatic brain injury and the near destruction of my marriage and personal lives, did I realize that I needed help.  Professional help.  So, I reached out.  I mustered up the strength, the courage, and made the decision to call for quick assistance with my downward spiral.  It was one of the most important decisions of my life. I was finally able to get the treatment I needed.  I was able to come to grips with my demons and false beliefs. 

Nearly a year of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has taught me it’s okay to be different.  The incident that helped make me feel different wasn’t my fault.  I have to admit, it’s been a serious challenge to change every belief system I’ve carried for most of my life.  But, nothing’s easy.  Nobody promises us a rose garden; however, feeling whole again, living life with hope and balance, is worth the effort.  My therapist has made me realize that I have incredible strengths.  By telling my story, I can help others in similar situations heal.  It doesn’t bother me anymore when my wife occasionally says, “You’re a funny duck, John.” In fact, it makes me feel good.  I’m grateful to be alive, to be “John.”  I’m grateful for the opportunity to help others.  I thank God every day for being different.  Quack, quack.

The Funny Duck
/I'd Quack You Up\

I survived

my own holocaust,

my pain’s been 

no less.

I must confess,

if you saw me dance,

you’d laugh your rear end off,

watching me 

shake my tail feathers

around in a circle,

doing the funky chicken


my flat orange-feet 

to the rhythm of the beat.

You’d say,

Look at that funny duck,

he thinks he can dance

like a chicken.

But, he ain’t no chicken,

stuff just rolls off his back!”

In fact, 

you’d laugh at me 

so hard,

it’d probably

give you 

a heart attack.

Hope not.

Quack, quack.





Motivational Speaker

Sexual Assault Survivor