August 14, 2099

Still I Rise

This space is for people like me, those who have been victims of domestic violence, have found their way out and are now survivors of it. It's for people who are still in their abusive relationships and situations, yearning to be free. It's for people who care about or know someone who is or has been a victim and want to help, but don't understand how.

It's for people who understand very well what abuse does to a person and helps those who have been wounded both externally and internally. It's for people who want to know more about the issue of domestic violence and the real life impact it has on individuals, families and children. It's for people who are curious and those just out here surfing.

I welcome anyone and everyone to read my experience and  share it with others. I hope to educate those who don't know anything about domestic violence and encourage those who know it all too well. I want to provide information for those who are seeking it and hope for those who are losing it. It's for those who are hurting and those who need healing.

It's not just about what domestic violence did to me, but more importantly about what God will now do through me. I invite you to witness it along with me.

Don't get it twisted, I am still in the eye of this storm in my life. I have left him, but my abuser is not letting me off so easily, he's not done yet. Since he can't get to me, he's using the long arms of the law and the court system to reach me and try to knock me around. He can't get his hands around my throat so he's withholding financial support from his four children to try and strangle and choke the life out of me.

I have done a lot of crying, but the time is coming for my mourning to turn to dancing and my sorrow to turn to joy. Trust me, those words are spoken in faith, because I don't feel like dancing or being joyful right now.

I told my husband at some point shortly after I left him, that my life has been reduced to a line out of a song:

"Eleven years out of my life,
besides the kids I have nothing to show...
I shoulda have left your a$$ a long time ago."

Well I can't say that I'm not gon' cry no more, because unlike for him, the relationship was real for me. I committed myself to him and our family no matter how hard it was and I chose to truly love him in spite of himself and the fact that he didn't deserve me or my love.

What I can say is, I will reclaim my life, my identity, my self worth and I will build a new life for me and our children out of the ashes of our former life. I will help our children heal from the trauma and fear they endured their entire lives. We will forgive him completely and be completely at peace with all he did to hurt us. I will help them see that their heavenly Father is good and not identify Him with all their earthly father did that was bad. We will all be healthy, happy and whole ~ body, mind and soul.

Which reminds me of another song...

"Shattered, but I'm not broken
Wounded, but time will heal
Heavy the load, the cross I bear
Lonely the road I trod, I dare.
Shaken, but here I stand
Weary, still I press on
Long are the nights, the tears I cry
Dark are the days, no sun in the sky,

Yet still I rise
Never to give up
Never to give in against all odds
Yet still I rise
High above the clouds
At times I feel low
Yet still I rise. "



*The picture is of the mythological bird the Phoenix, rising up out of the ashes of it's death. It is symbolic of rebirth. I too, will rise again out of the ashes of my former life.

October 23, 2015

A Time to Mourn and A Time to Heal...Part 1



I recently suffered a devastating loss

I ran for District Judge for the 8th & 10th Wards in the city of Allentown, PA, and I lost...by 74 votes.


Although I thought I was going to see it as a win-win situation no matter how it turned out, the reality is, when it happened, I didn't see it as that win-win situation I imagined. 


I saw it as a loss, period. 


Why did this happen? How could you do this to me, God? Why would you do this to me? Haven't I been through enough? When will you ever stop punishing me? 


Don't you care about my kids? How am I supposed to provide for them? Make a good life for them? Don't you care how much I'm hurting? 


Why do you hate me?



First, I was in shock. I was blinded by an unexpected sucker punch, that left me reeling, falling into an abysmal abyss. My life felt surreal, in a bad way, for at least a week, if not longer. I was in a state of numb disbelief. 

As the shock began to wear off, something worse took over...unbelievable pain. Why pain? To most people losing a low level county seat is no big deal. Yeah, it might sting from the bruise to the ego, but most people just go on living the comfortable lives before they ran. To them, the most important part of running was "getting their names out."


That wasn't the case for me. I wasn't running for name recognition. I wasn't running to use this as a launching pad for something else. I was running for a dream that was planted in my heart two years ago. I was running to show others what trusting God can do. I ran for my family. All of the plans, hopes and dreams of the previous two years and the next six years of my family's lives, were wrapped up in that loss. Our past, present and future. What was I supposed to do now? I can't make a living down here. I had a front row seat as I  watched God set fire to my dreams. I then realized I felt something that I hadn't felt in a long time and not a minute while running. 


I felt FEAR. I was afraid to do anything. Life, the future, suddenly felt very scary again.


We used to play a game in drama class to build trust. One person volunteered to be in the center of the circle. He or she would close their eyes and fall back. Someone in the circle was supposed to catch them. 


In all the times I played that game, thankfully, everyone was always caught.


I was falling back, with my arms stretched wide, full of faith, that not only was God going to catch me, He was finally going to lift me up. 


I couldn't believe it, I didn't want to believe it, but, He let me fall and I hit the ground with an earthshaking, sickening thud. 


This was gonna be hard to recover from. This was gonna hurt a long, long time. This was gonna shatter my faith and break my heart. This was a deal-breaker of epic proportions. This was gonna set me back on my walk because I wouldn't be able to walk for a while. The fall broke my spiritual spinal cord and I was paralyzed. If I'd ever be able to walk again, it was gonna take a miracle.


While pain poured out of every fiber of my being from an endless river of tears, gargantuan sized rage began to fill me. I could feel gamma rays multiplying in every cell of my body, every strand of hair, all the way down to my toenails.



I was morphing into one of Marvel's most troubled super heroes, the Hulk. I wanted to pick up cars and throw them. I wanted to smash things with my bare hands and rip up the streets. I wanted to tear this city up and burn it down. I was ready to set off World War T. 
Woe to anyone who got in my path.

People closest to me were the unfortunate recipients. My kids, my "boyfriend." I cut off communication from family and friends. I was already lousy at keeping in touch with people, but now, it was worse. 


I went into a self-made cave and created a solitary, dark place, far away from people, especially Christians, with their string of worthless clich├ęs.
 One reason why the unsaved don't like Christians is because so many are corny, fake, and almost never come from a genuine place with real sentiments that are sincere and their own. They routinely parrot things they themselves don't even believe, it's just what everybody says. 

I consciously chose to be alone so my gaping wounds could fester, grow and become infected with gangrene. I wanted that feeling of power that only nurtured anger brings and intended to unleash it every chance I got. The only thing that had been holding my inner Hulk back, had been my relationship with God. In my walk, I had come a long way from the person I used to be, but understood there is thin line between wretched and righteous.


It was God, my children and me against the world. Now it's just the kids and me as I continue to trudge up the path of Atlas, carrying the world on my shoulders. The realization that we are alone and probably always have been, was very hard to bear. All at once it meant that we were stuck here.


Stuck in Allentown, stuck on Allen St., stuck in poverty. It meant that I had to come up with a new plan because the best (and only) one I had, had just gone up in smoke. It meant we might be stuck here for the rest of our lives...


I started writing this post in June and could never get past a certain point. Although I've passed that stuck point in writing this post, I haven't passed the stuck point in my heart and mind. I think there may be a part 2 coming, but I really don't know what more I can say about it.








October 25, 2013

Where Do We Go From Here

Well, I finally finished school this past July 2013. I was awarded my Bachelor's of Science in Criminal Justice with a minor in psychology, graduating summa cum laude. It was actually very anti-climactic, maybe because it was so long overdue. I thought I'd be more excited about finishing, but it felt like no big deal. I was happy not to have homework anymore, yet at the same time I kinda miss it. I'm very passionate about 

writing and it stimulates me in ways that other things just don't.

In spite of the fact that I have added this hard earned honors degree to my resume, I am getting no responses from the dozens of job applications that I am completing. That was unexpected. I thought it would be easier to get a job now, but it appears to have made no difference. My unemployment has ended and I don't wanna be a prisoner of the state.

So where do I go from here?

It's been a while since I've posted anything so I will update you on where things are and where I am. 
The psychopath that I am married to is basically THE THING of the past. He stopped coming to see the kids 2 years ago, stopped calling them months ago and we don't communicate at all, unless I text him to request that he step up on his court ordered child support. His last two payments were $20 each. Other than child support of which he now owes about $120,000, he has no part in our lives at all.

The children all got into great charter schools this year, so no more private school tuition. Hooray! Emotionally they have their good days and bad, as we all do. Sometimes they feel sad about not having an intact family like many of their friends. Sometimes they feel bad about not having a father and I have to remind them that his rejection has nothing to do with them. It is about him and whatever dysfunctional mental and emotional problems he has. At the same time, they are young and have a whole lot of life stuff ahead of them that will get tougher than what they deal with today.


So where do they go from here?
  
The most significant and saddest change that has occurred for me, is my relationship with God. Something broke in me as He allowed me to keep being broken and I don't think it can ever be fixed. I've lost my childlike faith that believed and trusted that God is always good, that He has a good plan for my life, has my best interests in heart and would restore all that I lost.




The abuse in my life didn't start when I met Jeff, it only continued. The abuse and pain that began in my childhood (probably before my conscious memory), is recorded inside of me for all time. It was during my time with my abusive husband that I first truly began to seek God on a real level and develop a deeper relationship with Him. I prayed about anything and trusted Him for everything. I believed as long as I did my part, He was gonna make everything work together for my good.

I felt that my wounds were being healed and that in spite of what I was continuing to experience, I was getting stronger and the pain becoming weaker. I believed with every fiber of my being, that one day I would be totally whole and victorious. Well, several months ago, things got really bad again and I poured my heart out. I asked and kept asking. I  believed and kept believing. I begged for mercy on behalf of my children. I plead for mercy because I was reaching my breaking point. And you know what I got from God?

SILENCE.

The silence was so loud that it hurt to hear. I won't even utter the thoughts that were going through my mind. Suffice to say, I was expecting Him to do what He did for Abraham and send an angel to stop me. But He didn't and He wouldn't. It was then that I realized for the first time, that He would sit by quietly and let me be destroyed. I finally started seeing all the pain and times in my life when I was being hurt and he did the same thing.

NOTHING.

He allowed me to be hurt as an innocent child, young woman, believer and as a struggling single mother. He was never going to do anything to intervene and end my suffering. From my birth to the present, my life was a mistake. I was unwanted and mostly unloved and none of it mattered to him. It was a very painful realization that this had been the plan for me.

So where did I go from there?


My pain and tears turned to anger and rage for him. I decided I didn't need to follow him anymore. I do believe that he is real because this planet is not an accident formed out of a chaotic explosion. Perfection can't be birthed from randomness. Some form of higher being had to create this place and all the life on it. But, I no longer believe that God is actively doing anything on this earth to help anyone and I no longer believe that he is good. Part of being a believer is never even questioning God's goodness, but to blindly accept that his goodness is a fact, no matter how much horror you witness or personally experience. 

Unfortuantely, I'm not wired like that. I look at the reality and I question it, I don't care who it is. If God is omniscient, then he already knows I'm thinking it, so it makes no difference if I say it. I could no longer accept and reconcile how a good, kind, loving God and father, would ever allow the innocent and those who followed him completely, to suffer so much. 

I use this analogy: A father opens the door to his home and allows anyone to enter it. These wicked people come in and molest and rape his children, beat them mercilessly, torture them, and steal everything in the home including food and clothing. As these horrific violations go on, the father is present. His children scream and beg him to help them, save them, destroy the destroyers, but the father smiles and does nothing. He tells his children, not yet, not now, soon. I know it hurts, but this is tough love. Trust me and one day I'll close the door for a little while. Trust me that everything I am allowing to happen to you is for your good, your benefit. You will be better when its all over. Just trust that I love you and I know what is best for you. The children say, "Ok, dad. We believe you. We trust you. We will keep enduring the pain of the beatings and the rapings. We love you too."  

My analogy may be a bit extreme, but I think it makes the point clear as day. What kind of loving parent would do that??? NONE! A parent would bolt the door. A parent would defend and protect his children so that they can live in peace and safety. Only a psychotic parent would allow anyone to hurt their children and turn the other way. Loving parents will rip out the eyes of anyone who tried to hurt their child. God is supposed to be a way more loving and perfect parent than we are, but he lets anyone who wants to harm us, do it. Why? Why does loving God hurt so much? As believers we are taught to ignore all the sorrow and devastation that he allows and blame it on Satan's rulership of this planet. I can't ignore it anymore.

Facing this reality was devastating for me on so many levels. For one thing I finally understood that Calvary wasn't coming. There was going to be no supernatural rescue no matter how hard I worked. I was all there was. Whatever I could or couldn't do, would be all that there ever was or wouldn't be.

For another thing, I realized I was alone. The children and I were without cover. My husband abused and abandoned his role as our protector and provider and God did too.

I also knew there would never be any justice for me and my children. No one who ever hurt me would ever have to answer for it. Vengeance is his, he would repay, right? My job was to love and forgive, right? Well, forgiving people who have hurt us is only good for one thing, it will prevent us from becoming angry bitter people that are immobilized by hate and unable to accomplish any good in our lives. Loving them? Being kind to them? In my opinion that just makes us suckers. We don't need to hate 'em, but we don't need to love 'em either.


So where did I go from there?

I broke up with God. I don't consider him to be my friend anymore. I don't consider him to be anything but the Creator of the universe who says that after I finish suffering here and die, because I believed in his son,  he won't send me to an eternity of punishment after my death. Guess that's better than nothing...if it's true. I can't bring myself to pray, praise or say anything positive about God anymore. 

I was just telling a friend yesterday that I am the kind of person that's either hot or cold. For 11 years I was on fire for God, nothing could make me doubt. Not my husband's abuse nor the pain of the past. I was going to win. Before I departed this earth, I was going to unwrap every wonderful gift that I believed God prepared for me. I was going to raise righteous, faith filled, prayer warriors who would see seas parted, walls knocked down and walk through fire and not be burned. 

Not anymore. As hot as I was, I am equally as cold now. God turned my heart to ice as far as he's concerned. I feel nothing but emptiness now, because he is what filled me up. I don't know what I'm doing anymore. I don't want to become an all out sinner again, but I can't be a sold out believer anymore. 

I don't know what to teach my kids anymore. I've stopped praying with them, stop talking about God to them (other than to let them know what he's not doing for us), we don't go to church anymore, we don't listen to inspirational music anymore. I don't want to instill my coldness into them and make them total unbelievers, but I am unable to teach them to believe. I don't want them to end up being disappointed repeatedly by trusting a God who won't help them when they truly need it. 

The only thing they know right now is that------------------------>>>>>>>>>



So where do I go from here?

I honestly don't know. Which way do you go when you can't go back to where you were and you've tossed the navigational system you were using?


God, if you're out there listening and want to get back with me, feel free to intervene at anytime and do something amazing that could not have happened by anyone or anything else but YOU! Blow my mind with something good as powerfully as you have broken my heart with all the bad. If not, it's all good. No longer expecting anything from you anyway, so I won't be disappointed. If you wanna talk, you know where I am.



March 8, 2013

The Girl Interrupted

 
I am finally approaching the finish line toward a goal I started nine long years ago. My life is the story of the girl interrupted. My childhood was interrupted when at the age of 10 years old, it abruptly came to an end. I was suddenly burdened with adult tasks and responsibilities everyday when I came home from school. I had to care for five children younger than me, including a five month old infant, sometimes I had to cook. At ten, playing and being a child was now a part of my past.

My plans for an acting career after graduating the High School of Music & Art in New York City as a drama major, were interrupted by a way too young teen marriage and an early, but happy motherhood at 20. I was really good at my craft and hadn't made any plans to be anything else. I hadn't received any guidance from anyone on going to college and becoming anything other than a secretary. I didn't understand the importance of a higher education because no one, in my immediate or extended family, aside from a few older and distant relatives, had done it. I lived life drifting about, trying this and that.



When I met my current husband, life itself became interrupted on every level. I became a victim of his antisocial personality disorder and abuse. I was subjected to all kinds of cruel, violent and controlling behavior, which included being kept barefoot and pregnant. Keys to freedom such as access to money and the ability to work were denied me. I had no money, no where to go and I had babies to take care of. My beautiful children became the shackles that held me right where he wanted me. 

But somewhere inside me, there was still that fire, albeit the size of a match flame, a knowing that I was meant to be something greater. I decided I would start with going back to school. With my little girl who wasn't quite 2 yet, and my brand new baby boy, I began the journey. That was in 2004.

Fast forward 9 years and here I am about to finally graduate in 8 weeks with my BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in psychology. In this day and time when master's degrees are the old bachelor's and bachelor's are the old high school diploma, it can feel like what I am gaining is now a useless, no big deal. I should be getting my MA or PhD, like most people my age. But since this is what must be accomplished before going on to law school, it took me nine years to get here, and considering all I had to overcome to arrive here, it's a little bit of a big deal for me.

When I add in that I finished my associate's while suffering abuse and the degradation of my heart and soul, I give myself a thumbs up. And when I know that the culmination comes after becoming a single mom with four young children, living in a new place all alone, struggling to get my bearings and back on my feet, I see it as a commencement toward the next chapter of my life with my children. Like the phoenix, I continue to rise higher and higher from the ashes of my life's ground zero. No one and no-thing will ever hold me down again.

I'm excited to be almost done and proud to show my children what you can do if you persevere and work hard. I will be their closest observable example of the words of George Eliot who said, "It's never too late to be what you might have been."

March 26, 2012

Keeping Busy

It's hard to believe that I haven't posted anything since November of last year! Where is the time speeding off to? I have been extra busy since the beginning of the year being back in school, which definitely takes up a great deal of my writing mind space.

I'll briefly update you on what has happened since my last post....

The children and I passed the 3rd year anniversary of being abuse free on January 8, 2012. Hooray!!! It's hard to believe three years have passed already. Life is never easy, but it's good. Living without fear is something that I had forgotten about for so long. At times there's this feeling like everything that happened was a dream, in the sense that it is hard for me to find any connection in real life to it. It was actually a living nightmare when I went through it and I will never forget it in my mind,
but God has erased the memory from my soul.

My car was hit on January 4th, about five minutes after I returned home. I heard a loud bang outside and looked out the window to see that there was a car smashed into a car that was partially on the sidewalk. Once my brain processed that, the next thing it processed was, I had just parked behind the little white car on the sidewalk. So my eyes went past that car and on to my own, and I could see the hood was crumpled in. I raced outside and saw the driver of the vehicle that caused all the damage. I asked him, "What did you do?!!" He just said, "I'm so sorry, I lost control of the car." It was a four car accident, the driver's car hit a white car head on, that car hit mine, and my car hit the car behind me.

Well, my car had to be towed away and it was later deemed a total loss by both insurance companies. At the time of the accident, all I could think of was, how was I going to get to work, get the kids to all of their Y activities, and how was I going to get my oldest son, who was visiting for the holidays, back home? I was upset and kept thinking, why me? Of all the people on the block, why me?

Then, while I was standing there just analyzing everything and thinking, the Holy Spirit brought something to my attention. I had just returned from the supermarket with a car load of groceries. I had taken some in and stopped inside the house briefly to use the bathroom and say good morning to the kids, that's when I heard the crash. If I had gone straight back outside to get the groceries from my car after I had taken in the first bags, I may have been inside of my trunk when my car was hit. If I were there, my legs would've been crushed or worse. So although my car was totaled, I was saved. At that moment, the car or the problems associated with losing it, paled in comparison and I began to praise and thank God for being so good to me yet again.

I had to rent a car which cost me about $400 or so dollars, which I couldn't afford, but what could I do? Well, turns out, out of the three parked cars damaged in the accident, my car had 52% of it. The driver's insurance coverage was $5,000, which had to be split three ways and since I had the most damage, I was going to get the biggest check. I was the winner in the crashed car lottery! God truly does make everything, even things that suck, turn out for our good. 

My mechanic was able to fix my totaled car for less than half of the check I was going to receive. And after I subtracted the cost of the rental, I had a profit of $1100! God had given me back double of what the enemy tried to steal from me. Although I do thank God all the time, even for something as simple as a good parking space, it can be hard to remember to thank Him when things look bad. I look forward to the day when, if my car is hit, my immediate response is, "Thank you for that Lord, because I know you are going to bless me in this!" In ALL things, give thanks. (1 Thessalonians 5.18)

The children's father never did his due diligence to see the children, so Catholic Charities closed the case again. I think he doesn't want to come down for fear he will be served with a summons for non-payment of child support. His fears are well founded considering he owes $72,625 in unpaid support. He's in hiding, which is fine, because he is leaving us alone.

He's so afraid of me having any inkling of his address, that when he sent the kids their Christmas presents at then end of January, he used his mother's name and address for the return address on the package. God is not mocked, in due time we will reap what we sow. All the years he caused me to live in fear, now he lives in fear that he has created for himself and he still doesn't get it. He won't do what's right to set himself free. He once created a prison for me, now he lives in that prison alone. I will continue to pray for him as a lost soul that God loves as much as He loves me.  

Since January the children are enrolled in classes at the Y five days a week, with our only days off being Thursday and Sunday. They are taking art, dance, theater, tennis, basketball, and swimming. With them being there so much, I decided I might as well take advantage of it as well. So while they are busy doing their thing, I'm busy with step aerobics, yoga, fitness boxing, and zumba.
With all of that and the regular grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc., the week goes by pretty quickly, with me just barely managing to get everything accomplished and often having to put some things off til later....including rest. Sometimes while I am awake, I feel like I could sleep for at least 2 days straight.

Other than that, I am focusing on finishing up this spring semester, getting the kids (who are all on the honor roll) through this school year, figuring out what and where and then going on our 2nd annual family vacation later this year...it's looking like a cruise.

I have heard from some of my site's visitors over the past few months. Thank you for writing and sharing with me. Thank you for trusting me with your questions and fears. I will keep you and your families in prayer and hope you find this site as a place of encouragement and validation of your experience. I understand first hand what you are going through. Sometimes that's all we need is for someone to say, "This thing that happened to you was awful and it wasn't your fault. You weren't crazy as your abuser would have you believe and you didn't deserve it. But your life isn't over, that isn't the end of your story. You are special and God still has an awesome plan for your life!"

November 9, 2011

How Do I Do It?

So often when I talk to people and they learn of the schedule of my daily life, and they see how smart my children are, and how well they are taken care of, they ask me in astonishment, "How do you do it!!?"

I was just asked that question yesterday while on an interview to add a second job, outside the home, to my already crammed, daily life. I am sometimes at a loss for words when that question is posed, and I truthfully have to begin by saying, "I don't know."


I then speak the only thing I do know, "God gives me the strength." By myself, I can do nothing. But with God, I can.

When I collapse in bed at midnight, after getting up at 5am, going to work, homeschooling 3 children, grocery shopping, cooking dinner, washing dishes, baths, brushed teeth, bedtime and hugs & kisses, I often marvel, at what was squeezed into my 17 hour day. I spend a few moments thinking, "How long will this go on??? I'm only human."

My favorite scripture for many years now has been, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." (Philippians 4.13). I hand wrote it and taped it to a wall in the house of pain that I used to share with my abusive husband. Days when I didn't think I could go on because of what the violence was doing to my soul, I'd see that scripture on the wall, amongst the children's drawings, scribbles and words I hung everywhere to teach them to read, and I knew I could make it.

I didn't know how, but I knew I would. I didn't know when, but I knew someday, the suffering I lived with day in and day out, would come to an end.

Today, I would like to encourage you, as I encourage me. God can and He will bring you through anything, if you trust Him and depend on Him to do it. He sees your pain and He wants to help you and trade His life of peace, for your life of war. He will heal your pain.

Christ gave me the strength to survive 10 years of abuse and He continues to give me the strength to recover from it. He is giving me the strength to raise my children on my own. And He will give me the strength to work a second job to provide for them if that's what it takes, as their abusive, cold & unloving father, has decided he will not.

One day all five of my children will have all graduated from college, be married, and have families and children of their own. They will rise up and call me blessed (Proverbs 31.28), and they will love me more than words can say, the way I love them everyday. Not for being a perfect mother, not for always getting it right, but for being a good mother. 

For loving them by never giving up, even when the going was really, really tough. 
For loving them by never abandoning them or casting aside my responsibility to them. 
For loving them by putting them and their needs first and far above mine. 
For loving them by not ever choosing a man over them

They will totally understand and fully appreciate all of the sacrifice, blood, sweat and tears that it took to do what I am doing now and will continue to do for years to come. From their good lives, I will receive, "the sweet reward of all my labor." (Proverbs 31.31)


And one day, my soul will look back and wonder.....how I got over.
















                                                                   "God Can" 
                                                                 by James Fortune & FIYA


October 31, 2011

Monsters Are Real


Today is Halloween, the last day of October, which is also the last day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 

I'm just not sure anyone is more aware of the plague of domestic violence and family abuse than they were in September.

Both adults and children will put on costumes to trick or treat, to party and to scare, all in fun. 

But we must always be aware, that there are real monsters out there. 

Monsters that don't have fangs, or rotting flesh. They don't make you scream when you see them walking down the street. Nevertheless, they are the scariest monsters of all. They are the men and sometimes women, that bring fear, terror and pain to those they are supposed to love. 


They are the ones that cause us to tremble under our covers, keep us awake at night, and give us nightmares. They make the day as dark and scary as the night. They break our bones, hearts and spirits. They spill our blood and cause death to our dreams, souls and bodies. They suck life and hope, out of us. They are the real flesh eaters, zombies and vampires. 

They are hard to spot because they look just like everyone else. They hold good jobs, they are leaders in their communities. They are the nicest guys on their blocks, they are polite and helpful to strangers. They are always smiling.

Don't be fooled. That is only how they appear to others. Behind closed doors, to their families, they are bone-chillingly terrifying.

Remember, violent serial killers and mass murderers, can appear charming too.

Domestic Violence Awareness Month happens to be the same month as Breast Cancer Awareness, but I don't think it's a good idea. Both issues are important and because they affect so many people, each cause should have their own month to be brought to the forefront.

My problem is, people seem to eagerly embrace the issue of breast cancer, while they ignore the issue of domestic violence. 

Why is that? 

Maybe people feel that breast cancer is something that the victim can't help or didn't cause, unlike domestic violence, right? We must've done something to make him hit us or we must be okay with it or we would leave.

Maybe they feel that breast cancer is something that the victim didn't want or ask for, unlike domestic violence right? We must want it or we would just leave.

Maybe they see breast cancer victims as those deserving of compassion, unlike domestic violence victims. Why feel compassion for someone who could help herself but won't. 

Maybe they feel breast cancer is an issue that concerns us all, unlike domestic violence which is a personal one. Right? Hey, not our business. What goes on in someone's home is private. Man's gotta a right to keep his family in line anyway he wants to.


I don't know what the reasons are, but all month long, I saw pink ribbons everywhere. I saw them in the supermarket, in store windows, on TV, and a variety of products from balloons, doughnuts, potato chips and cookies. People wore T-shirts and ran races for a cure.

I didn't see a purple ribbon anywhere, except at the candlelight vigil I attended in honor of victims and survivors of domestic violence. It was not on a single bag of chips, in a single store window, on a single commercial, or cookie. No one ran a race to put an end to domestic violence. 

If I weren't a survivor of domestic violence, I wouldn't be aware of the issue at all and actually wasn't until I became one. I certainly wouldn't know there is a month dedicated to bringing the issue to light. Both breast cancer and domestic violence are extremely significant issues and they both affect women. Actually, domestic violence affects men and children too.

I just feel one is less threatening to the general public and more commercial in terms of selling products. Breast cancer doesn't make people feel uncomfortable, domestic violence does. Why are people so uneasy about it? Is it because they know its wrong and when they know it's going on and don't do or say anything about it, they feel guilt and shame?

Well, I don't know a single person whose had breast cancer. None of my friends or family. Yet, I am very cognizant of the breast cancer issue. The same should be said of domestic violence. People should be as aware of domestic violence as they are of breast cancer.

But domestic violence is pushed to the back, swept under the rug, hid in the closet, the dark secret in our society. 


It's not fair. Women die due to domestic violence, just like they die due to breast cancer. But breast cancer doesn't send women to the emergency room with fractured and broken bones. It doesn't give them black eyes and busted lips. It doesn't cause their bodies to be covered with purple, black and blue bruises all over. It doesn't cause their children to live in terror or grow up and repeat the cycle. Children also die because of domestic violence, they don't die of breast cancer.

I would suggest that Domestic Violence Awareness Month be moved to February - a month that people associate with love. Let's associate it with broken hearts for the love that has been twisted and perverted and turned into a weapon. But then again it would probably just be overshadowed by chocolate, hearts, roses and cupids.

What about January? Too much winding down from the holidays and settling into the New Year.
March? Shamrocks and Leprechauns.
April? Easter.
May? Mother's Day.
June? Graduations.
July? Hmmm...maybe, it quiets down after the 4th.
August? Strong possibility. Nothing special going on this month.
September? Back to school.
November? Thanksgiving.
December? Christmas.




My vote would be for moving Domestic Violence Awareness Month to August. No distracting symbols going on during that month, giving the purple ribbons an opportunity to be seen and the association to the issue to take root.

But whether or not there is a month that centers around this issue, it is something that I personally believe almost everyone has come in direct contact with. Whether its the doctors or other health care workers that treat victims, whether it's a family member, friend, co-worker, neighbor, we can all think of someone that has been effected by this. 

Aside from myself, I've had numerous family members, some friends, fellow church members and co-workers, that were direct victims of violence. 

Domestic violence is a  universal pandemic and just as urgent as any other issue that affects the health, physical or mental well being, and quality of life of a human being. 

And we all need to care about that.

October 20, 2011

Another Look at "The Color Purple"

 
"Til You Do Right By Me (and Yo' Kids, Jeff), Everything You Even Think About Gonna Fail"





The Color Purple is one of my favorite movies of all time. I loved this movie long before I ever really knew what domestic violence was. The character Albert, played to a perfect ugliness, by Danny Glover, was so detestable.  My heart broke for Celie and all the heartache, pain, physical, verbal, sexual and emotional abuse he put her through.

As a viewer, you wanted to see him "get his," and kinda hoped she would cut his throat that day she was about to give him his last shave. But, I was glad and took a sigh of relief when Shug stopped her. He was a despicable and worthless human being that put her through so much hell. But he was not worth losing the rest of her life over.

The title of the movie never clicked with me until the other day. The color purple is the color that has been chosen to be a symbol of domestic violence. I don't know why or how the color was chosen, but it makes the title of the movie that much more apropos. 

I have included a link here to a scene from the movie in which Celie has finally summoned the strength, with the help of Shug (ironically, her husband's mistress) to take back her life and leave him. He continues to be verbally abusive and berate her until the very end, but this scene is so powerful because Celie has made up her mind that this day would be the last one she'd ever be subjected to his abuse again. 

This scene also contains my favorite line. As she is leaving, Celie says to Albert, "Til you do right by me, everything you even think about gonna fail!" I loved it from the first time I saw it two decades ago. Now it is even more meaningful to me, as I have gone through a life with an Albert of my own, and I too, have broken free.

When I think about it, everything my husband has tried to do against me and my children since I left him, has failed. It is clear to see that he is living the truth that, "until you do right, all you do will go wrong." (Lauryn Hill)  Everything you done to me Jeff, already been done to you, you'll see.

While looking for this scene on YouTube, I stumbled across a video someone put together using scenes from the movie. The song that is playing was written by an artist named Kristy Lee, and it's called, "45."

"She Had Enough"


August 7, 2011

You've Been Served



I told you, you can't hide forever. Now that you've been served, you are obligated to inform the Bronx Family Court of your current address at which you receive mail. 

Personally, I think it's disgraceful, shameful (for normal people), and should be illegal, for you to pay a stranger $40 an hour to babysit you while you visit with kids you say you don't have the money to pay child support for.

You are paying him with their child support money!!! You are paying him in 3 hours, what it takes you to pay your kids in 3 months!!!




But it's all good. You've been served! In front of several witnesses, served by a PA State Constable, it's soooooo official.

The attorney handling this case will know first thing in the morning, when you are supposed to be in court for the 9:30am hearing, that you are aware that they are looking for you. There's really only one way out of the trouble that lies ahead for you....

Pay your child support!!! Take care of your 4 young children!!!

I know it kills you, that you can't control and abuse me economically anymore. The days of doling out money to me for toilet paper and toothpaste are over. You think you can continue to make my life miserable by holding back the money? 

Well, you CAN'T and you're NOT!   Oh,  did I mention.......


It has only come to boomerang back on you. You will eventually end up behind bars if you don't pay.
Is it really worth it??? Gosh! (in Napoleon Dynamite voice.)
You act like pharaoh. If God says, "Let my people go!," and He sets them free, you need to just do it. Don't fight the Almighty.

It's already catching up to you....

And to think you called me stupid and dumb so many times in the past. Ha! Whose the real dummy now
Time is the judge of all things, right? Well time has shown and proven. 

You think so much of yourself because you rock chess on a board.  Pssst...whatever.





Baby, I rock it in life! You're in check. 



And just in case I forgot to mention it.....