Sunday, January 31, 2016

Innocent Beginnings (Chapter 1)

The following is a true-life account.  The names of the people mentioned have been changed, as has the name of the educational institution involved.  My real name is not Trevor Lenox.

Trigger Warning:  The contents of the piece, as a whole, make references to self-harm (cutting), rape, incest, and molestation. Reader discretion is advised.

Also please be aware that not all cases of untreated Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) are like this; there is variation in cases.  Some cases are more severe than others.  If you experience any of the symptoms described herein and are disturbed by them, please seek out or return to regular mental health treatment; your well-being is paramount and you deserve to be happy and well.

The following has previously been read aloud by the YouTuber Be.Busta.  The following written work has been revised slightly from the version that he read; some of the words have been changed.  The posting of this blog was conducted by the original author who submitted the story to Be.Busta.

If you have already read Chapter 1, you can go to:

Chapter 2:  The Unease.

Chapter 3:  Her Murder Threat for Her Mother, Still on the Web As This Is Posted.

Chapter 4: The Danger Remains (concluding chapter).

Chapter 1: Innocent Beginnings

Sometimes it is the people you care about who frighten you most—and the more you care, the more frightening they become.

For the following narrative I have altered the names of the parties. I have not included everything significant to this story; many important details, even some of the most harrowing, have been excised. Had I divulged everything vital, this account would be the length of a novel. Here I present what I consider to be only the most essential aspects. Some details I share might initially seem trivial, but I think they clue us in on a palpable explanation for what unfolded. Although I employ pseudonyms, it is crucial that I assign first and last names for specific players; I think you will know my reasons by the end.

I was born and raised on the Hawaiian island of Oahu (pronounced oh-AH-hoo). From 2008 to 2011, I was enrolled in Private Hawaiian College. One of its instructors, Professor Rothbard, I had known since 1997 and cherished as a good friend. He was a major reason why I chose to invest these years in this particular institution of learning. This man served as the academic advisor to two school-sponsored clubs. One was where students held roundtable discussions on philosophy, politics, and current events—I was the president of this group. Rothbard was also the advisor to PHC’s chapter of Enactus. Many universities have an Enactus chapter or team. Each Enactus chapter performs a project and, at the closing of the school year, an Enactus team from each state travels to the U.S. mainland to present the projects to executives from major corporations, who serve as the judges. During the incidents I shall describe, Enactus went by another moniker, SIFE—Students In Free Enterprise.

Professor Rothbard urged his students to attend the meetings of our philosophy club and, in the September of 2009, one of those students of his showed up. “[Trevor], you’ll love this one!” he announced as he beamed at me.

I will call her Inger Johansen. She was reared in Tromsø, Norway [Norge], yet her father was an expatriate from Minnesota, and, though in her twenties, she happened to be several years older than most of our Private Hawaiian College classmates. At the height of six feet and one inch, she loomed over my five-foot, eight-inch body. She informed us she was a finalist in a nationwide modeling competition back in Norway in 2005, and, for anyone who glanced at this blonde, it was not difficult to believe. One of the attributes that jumped out at everyone most quickly was that Inger speaks authoritatively. Some young women talk as if they are tentative in everything they say. Even when they staunchly declare something, they sound uncertain, as if they are asking a question. On the converse, everything that leaves Inger’s mouth in public comes in the form of a firm assertion, even if she is unsure on the matter and interrogating others. On the day we met, as we would learn was her tendency, Inger dressed herself in conservative casual attire. Although I would learn she sported a closet full of colorful clothes, being in black and white was her favorite. In spite of some pretenses at habitual formality, Inger’s body language was not too uptight—she seemed very together and bold, subtly flirtatious.

I remember the first joke she told me, which was at one of our philosophy meetings. She said that out of every signature she spotted on Web forums, her favorite remained, “The internet: where men are men, women are men, and children are undercover FBI agents,” alluding to FBI agents posing as children in chat rooms to root out child predators. I didn’t find that funny, but Inger definitely did; she giggled to herself as she recited it.

Because Inger shared in my love for Professor Rothbard, she decided to partake in a second course of his, this one going from January to May 2010. By February of that year, Inger and I had become very close. Professor Rothbard treasured her company as well. He invited us to dinner at his home, where Inger gushed to him, “I think of you as my second father.” And he replied, “I think of you as my second daughter.” On that topic of her outward confidence, Inger proffered that she obsesses about climbing into positions of authority and responsibility. It is, she whispered with some uncharacteristic shyness, so that people won’t notice that she feels the opposite of reliable and sane. If people saw her as successful on the outside, they would assume everything was fine on the inside. I assured her, “It’s very normal for people to want to be seen as responsible, and for them to nurture private doubts about themselves.”

She also volunteered a rather strange explanation about her name—she always had the last name of her mother, Lilith Johansen, and not her father. As she articulated, her father went by Matt Pennington, but that was not his birth name. He was born Matt Hokkanen, to Walt and Dorothy Hokkanen. Upon discovering that Walt Hokkanen was not his biological father, stated Inger, Matt changed his last name to Pennington, his mother’s maiden name.  As for the man’s reason for moving to Tromsø, Inger continued, it was “because he was disgusted by U.S. military intervention in Vietnam; the USA was a place where he didn’t want to be anymore.”

 When it came time to put a last name on Inger's birth certificate, Inger's mother, Lilith Johansen, supposedly told Matt, "If we name her [Pennington], how do we know you won't just change your last name again? We'll give her my last name; it's simpler!"  Inger laughed gaily as she recited this part of the tale.  Throughout this telling, Inger kept up a huge smile, as if there was nothing particularly painful or difficult about what her father must had gone through.

This same February, Inger came to Professor Rothbard and me in tears, whereupon she unloaded on us a distressing incident regarding a classmate of hers—a classmate who sat near her during Professor Rothbard’s lectures. This was Sao Thein-Sein from the nation of Myanmar. As Inger told the tale, she and Sao went to a bar late at night to acquaint themselves with one another. There, Sao regaled her with some stories. She feigned approval but secretly found them creepy. First, Sao boasted about being a tremendous womanizer, providing a litany of his various conquests. Secondly, he waxed zealously of his exploits for the Burmese military, claiming to have tortured enemy soldiers.

Later that night, she continued, Sao walked her to the front of her apartment building in Waikiki, and they exchanged their goodbyes. A few minutes later, she received a call from Sao on her iPhone, where Sao announced to her, “I accidentally locked myself out of my residence. Can I crash on your couch for the night?”

Sao’s various escapades of bedding college women fresh in her mind, Inger demanded to know if his calling her was some pretext for getting into her apartment so that he could solicit sex from her. According to Inger, Sao chuckled and replied something to the effect of, “No, I really did lock myself out of my home by accident, but, if we end up fucking, that would not be bad. Ha-hah.”

Inger told us that she consequently panicked and yelled, “I . . . I don’t have a couch!” Sao got angry and they had a heated argument, but eventually Sao gave up. Still, Inger told Professor Rothbard and me, “Because of what he said about women and because of his war stories, I was afraid he wanted to rape me.” Thereupon she whispered that a few minutes subsequent to the argument, she drifted into sleep and dreamt that she awoke to Sao cupping his hand over her mouth to muffle her screams, his other hand gripping a blade. Tears bubbling from her eyes before me, Inger said that in the nightmare Sao ravished her and she complied with what he wanted rather than struggle against him. Through her tears, she whimpered, “I want to believe that in real life, I would fight back and risk dying, as opposed to giving in.” Professor Rothbard and I did our best to console her. I suggested she go to the security team of her apartment building, describe Sao to the team, and ask that they keep on the lookout for him.

In that particular course Professor Rothbard was teaching to Inger and Sao, Rothbard had planned that the students be bunched together in groups of four. The teams would compete in formal debates for that class. Inger requested to the professor that because of the incident with Sao, he ensure that she not be placed in the same team with Sao. Normally, Professor Rothbard would not comply with such a request as “please don’t let me be in the same group as that person because I do not like him.” But because of the gravity of the charge against Sao, Professor Rothbard acquiesced.

Inger filed no formal complaints to the school, and she sternly insisted that neither of us report the incident to campus officials or the police. I reluctantly yielded to this command. A week later, Inger approached Professor Rothbard and me, and proclaimed that Sao vindicated her wariness of him. She told us that he followed up by approaching her and hissing, “If you tell anyone what happened that night, I kill you!” Inger said that Sao then smiled and broke out into a menacing cackle—it was clear he meant this. She was more afraid of him than ever, and I felt particularly protective of Inger. She wanted us to defend her violently if it ever came to that.

End of Chapter 1.

Go to:

Chapter 2:  The Unease.

Chapter 3:  Her Murder Threat for Her Mother, Still on the Web As This Is Posted.

Chapter 4: The Danger Remains (concluding chapter)