On this page we feature posts from Laura’s Facebook page – items she wants to share with a wider audience.
This post is from September 30, 2018:
I want to follow up on a post someone made on my page, but also I have heard expressed by others. So, as I have said about ME TOO- it is complex. There is a scene in The Deuce (HBO series) where one of the main characters, Candy – a former street hooker, now porn director – asks a legit producer for money to make a more artistic porn film. He agrees if she blows him. Candy has made that transition to NOT doing that barter, it’s never stated, I don’t think – but it’s in her bearing. She takes a moment, then agrees. But after, the camera follows her and you see how it impacts her. Yes, she was a prostitute, but now she is not. She does not want to make that trade. And the ease and entitlement with which the producer asks for it is, from our vantage point, appalling. In his eyes she is and will always be a hooker. But we, the audience, get his behavior, more often than not, was the norm. And it was not just women – and not just people in porn or Hollywood, who have been put in that position. Is it fucked up?! Hell yes. But if she were to come out years later and accuse the guy of rape, that would be fucked up too. Was he a pig? YES! Hell yes! But it was not rape, it was a form of being forced to use your body to make a trade, a barter. And that is not OK by any stretch. But there is a chose involved. A horrible situation to be in. Many women face it. And some of these are not real choices, they have to choose- trade a sexual act or loose their job. And that is a horrendous abuse of power. And I would argue a form of rape. It’s VERY complex.
As I have said, there is no greater gift then to have support with NO strings attached. No one should have to trade to be or feel safe- or to keep a job, a home, protection, etc. But this is the way it was, it was allowable. And the thing is, if you come from a background of abuse, it is easier for you to numb out and make that trade – again, a trade no one should have to make.
So, just like gay bashing, The Deuce illustrates how there wasn’t much recourse for victims. My point is, I have made trades as well. If I was in Candy’s position, I would blow the guy too for the $ to make my art. Would I feel resentment? Yeah, but I would also feel grateful that I could do something to raise the funds, if that was the only fucking way available to me. Would I come out ten or twenty years later and say he raped me? Nope. But I would and have talked to close friends about these situations that I have experienced, about how they impacted me, that I felt I had to trade my sex for something that should not be bartered. And whenever I did that, it caused a schism within me. I agree there are people who are having their lives ruined out of allegations that are not substantiated. Fake claims happen. I have a dear friend who went through a bullshit trial – yes, a woman lied and he could have sent him to jail for life. But all that came out in court. He was cleared 100% and it was devastating for him and those around him.
This however is the Supreme Court – and we are NOT talking about a trade. There are plenty of boys that drink too much and do not try to rape someone. And yes, I believe her. And this matters, what he did. And yes it was a long time ago, but it speaks to a deeply ingrained attitude – look, if someone catches a case and they are convicted of a felony, they lose the right to vote. If this guy had been convicted, he would have lost his right to vote. So to allow this guy to serve on the Supreme Court? If we had found he had participated in burning a cross on a lawn, it would be the same, even if it was a bazillion years ago – this is not someone who should be on the Supreme Court.
And I am not talking about the media weighing in. I am talking about what I watched in those proceedings. And there are insightful, wise, scholarly articles I can send you, about why this case is critical and why Brett Kavanaugh’s morality matters.
But in the mean time, watch the hearings for yourself.
This post is from September 29, 2018:
“I really got the message that, if you want to talk about [being abused], you have to look a certain way if anyone’s going to care…” — Laura Albert
The above quote is about growing up in the ‘70s.
Let me tell ya a little story… When the film “Precious” won the Audience Award at Sundance, I read an article about how marketers were terrified of it and had no idea how to sell this movie. Oh man, what they were not admitting was very fucking clear to me! How can they market a film with a protagonist who is female, black, tall and morbidly obese – oh Lord help us, not even remotely Hairspray Tracy Turnblad spunky fat-cute! How can an audience be trusted to have empathy for such a character? Not only that, the film dares show her overeating, binging on food she stole, grease all over her face. How can we the audience care about someone that would uh “normally” be mocked as piggy, someone with no self-control, held with derisive disgust. What audience can be asked to feel compassion for such a female, if you can call her that – whose body is being abused and violated, who is a walking avalanche of isolated shame AND IS NOT FUCKING MARKETABLE!! Because she is NOT fuckable!
Would anyone care about tough Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver if she looked like this girl in Precious?
But guess what?! We cared! This far from perfect movie found a pretty big audience willing to pay to see a film about a morbidly obese big dark girl – to watch a story about what far too many of us know is true. Abuse fucking happens and not just to cute little blonde kids. And the horror of the isolating shame is pretty much universal.
This film invited compassion for people that we might as a culture be inclined to mock. It helped open the marketplace for stories told by and about non-“traditional”-appearing characters.
So to read that some people are MOCKING Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s appearance, her voice, even her NECK?!!! – which she is stretching out for the social media guillotine – leaves me feeling deeply mournful. But if Dr. Blasey Ford looked like Stormy Daniels, she’d be mocked as a whore, so there is no “winning.” Still, for some her uh, “fuckability” IS the fucking debate… This is horrendous.
To me, it is very clear that Dr. Christine Blasey Ford is speaking the truth. But whatever you think about the proceedings, to attack her appearance – is painful to me. I know if I was outed as JT LeRoy when I was morbidly obese, people would have said, “Oh, you are fat and ugly, that’s why you pretended to be someone else, we get it.” But by the time I was outed, I had had weight-loss surgery and was “normal” in body size. And I actually had media people say to me, “Laura, you’re marketable, why did you hide?”
They had no idea that I was operating out of an entirely different paradigm. All they could think was, yeah, do all this to meet Madonna – which is like saying, I need milk, so instead of going to Safeway, I will go to Switzerland and get cows and build a milking plant… They could not conceive that to speak about abuse, to write stories about sexual abuse, even in the realm of FICTION, the shame was unfathomable. Oh it would have meant so much to me to have a movie like Precious available when I was a kid.
That there is no such thing as being too ugly, too fat, too old, too whatever the fuck – everyone has to have the sanctity of our humanity, our boundaries, our dignity, our sacredness respected.
I deeply believed if only I was a cute lithe blonde-haired blue-eyed “marketable” boy, then I could tell. Then someone would care. I had no way to put into words what had happened. And the ONLY beings I saw on the TV shows (which were then just starting to explore abuse) were those darn cute marketable white blonde-haired blue-eyed thin jeans-jacketed boys. But I have heard from so many boys and girls who were very adorable and were not believed or were still shamed. The illusion I had was just that.
Watch Author: The JT LeRoy Story and pay attention to Terminator, the boy in the photos, before Savannah. There is more to tell, and trust me, I will.
But in the meantime, please let’s be mindful of how we hold other and ourselves in this raw time when a bleak curtain is being pulled back on what has been a lied agreed upon – that sexual abuse doesn’t really happen, or it just is part of life and no big deal. Or it’s a lie.
It does happen. It is unfathomably damaging.
It is not always clear-cut.
And it happens to all people of all colors, all genders and all sizes. ALL AGES.
And we have a right to tell, no matter our packaging.
This post is from September 11, 2018:
FDNY Ladder 118 / Engine 205
I grew up across the street from FDNY Ladder 118 / Engine 205, on Middagh Street in Brooklyn Heights. Ever since I could remember, I grew up around their fire-truck wail. I never even noticed it. People visiting would ask, How can you sleep with that noise? And we’d say, What noise? Those firemen were always there – any fires in our building, or when the basement at P.S. 8 exploded with us kids in it, they were always there, in a blink. They were my first heroes.
Going to the school down the block, I can’t tell you how many tours we took as kids – they had a fire pole and even a Dalmatian, the official mascot of firehouses. They were always friendly and funny, and they answered all our questions and zipped down the pole for us. But what was special was when a couple of us kids would sneak in the alley – a maybe two-foot gap between the firehouse and its neighbor – and watch them. It was a thrill, giggling, peeking at the fireman as they cooked dinner or played cards. And when they caught us, they waved us in and shared their dessert.
FDNY Ladder 118 / Engine 205 were first responders on 9/11. And ALL of them perished. Whenever I go home, I walk past what I think of as my firehouse. That space we used to squeeze into felt magical, because it let us observe superheroes pretending to be normal. It’s sealed up now. They weren’t superheroes, they were brave beings, and they lost their lives doing what they had always done – responding to those needing help. I weep every time I go back home and walk past, and I never stop trying to find that secret alley that might take me back in time.
I think it’s hard to write about our sadness because so much of 9/11 is intertwined with polarizing politics – which makes it difficult to honor how very tragic and traumatizing this event was and will continue to be – from the kids who are growing up without parents to the parents who lost their children – and to the unnecessary wars that were engaged in the name of this horror, which continue to cause suffering around the globe… I grew up watching those towers go up. And when I got to meet the man who walked them on a wire, it was lovely to hug him say – you knew the joy of what was once there.
This post is from August 28, 2018:
Thank you for all your messages of support, love, and shared telling. I was always very much against hero worship – my mother deconstructed that for me, and I really resisted it. That was what I dug about the punk scene, the idea that you were an equal. What drew me to want to connect to William Patrick Corgan was his willingness to honestly explore his past with the The Smashing Pumpkins, when very few were talking about this kind of stuff, especially a rock star – you have to remember, at that time rock – mainstream music, alternative rock, whatever the fuck you wanna call it – even punk – really wasn’t talking about abuse. That anger was turned either towards the political situation or into love/rage songs. Very few people were brave enough to make themselves available to discuss in their music what they’d experienced in their past. That’s what drew me to Billy, that he was doing exactly that. His lyrics deeply resonate. I was in a coliseum of people last night, with a range of ages, and his lyrics so resonated. Everyone’s gone through trauma of some extent, and Billy just tapped into it, honestly sharing his truth. That’s what called me to reach out. And of course at first I did so in my mask, but I sensed I could peek out from behind it. And what’s so very beautiful and moving was that he recognized a deeper truth and my desire to express suffering, transform it into art, and not be alone with it. And he understood that what I was creating was not a dark evil twisted thing, that it was something which came from wounding and ultimately was of love and trying to be of service, to connect and find a way out of a cave.
He also understood the deep unrelenting shame I felt and my need to hide, and he didn’t care. Billy understood I was slowly coming out of my shell, like how you steady a kid learning to ride a bicycle without training wheels – he loaned me his support – oh it makes me cry – to help me pedal on my own. That’s what this is about, being flexible to understanding. When people are wounded they do things that might seem very bizarre to someone who has not experienced those things. Ultimately the gift is to step back and ask, Are we here to heal or hurt? Coz being wounded can allow for a deeper compassion and capacity for empathy, often expressed in complex ways. That’s why so many people who have been hurt become artists.
What I experienced last night was radiant, and there are all kinds of levels and connections swirling through me – it feels like something else is at work, and it doesn’t matter whether that’s true or not, because at the end of the day it’s all metaphor. Fiction is what we fabricate to get us through the day, and if we can do so with our hearts intact – holding the hearts of others – success!!
I choose to believe I’m connected to something larger than myself – I do NOT live within the illusion of my isolation of self. William Patrick Corgan has been a sustaining force, and the coincidences are quite astounding. It’s about our respect for seeing truth in darkness and finding a way to tell about it through art. And you either get that or you don’t.
And ultimately, it’s about LOVE… Believe in me because I believe in you – tonight… xo LA