Just a Thank You


Others often inspire me in the blogosphere, sometimes by what they say and sometimes by what they don’t say; that is what they leave unsaid after they have unfolded something of beauty or delicacy for us to draw in. My jealousy takes flight, oh I admit it I am envious of many. The green monster creeps up my spine and shakes me, back and forth until my eyes rattle in their sockets and my brain feels loosened. Then my sanity returns and I am simply grateful.

Why you ask and you should.

Some of those I follow have a delicacy of touch that I am forced to simply sit still and inhale slowly. I am regularly dumbfounded by their ability to communicate ideas or thoughts and still preserve dignity, their own or others. In their presence, reading their words I feel as if I write with a sledgehammer and two left thumbs.

I take slow breaths now and then, disappear for days on end to regroup and pull myself back from the edge. When I started this blog, I had intended something entirely different, something light, something carefree that trips across life and settles on lily pads, skips stones across ponds and chases rainbows. I had intended to learn to laugh at life, stick my tongue out at the silliness I find daily; sometimes I succeed at that I think though with a heavier hand than I plan. When I started out I did not intend to expose my secret self, my history or my skeletons; suddenly though they came dancing out, waltzing their way to my keyboard and demanding my attention; they are not done with me and thus I am not done with them.

I inhale and find my muses, heroes, dragon slayers and those that simply bring smiles to my face. Their stories, their poems and most importantly the generosity of their sharing brings me back to myself. Reminds me how gratified I am there are people in this world who share their gifts in such public forums and who have shared them with me.

In the blogosphere, we often send awards to others. We have to do awkward things once we receive these awards. I wanted to do something different, simply identify a few outstanding Blogs that recently have uplifted me, made me smile or stunned with their delicacy of touch. I hope, if you get a minute, you will take the time to read if you aren’t already.


Somkritya, Poetry, Prose and Lambretta

Debbie Adams

Dreamwalker Sanctuary

My Story to You

Monster in your Closet

My all the time, never fail inspiration and muse, sister of my heart:

Momma Money Matters, hosted by Red

I read so many blogs (though lately I have been slow). There isn’t one that I read that I don’t enjoy (I wouldn’t visit, comment and come back otherwise). Recently though I have found myself in a peculiar place in my life and in my blogging and have found inspiration and hope from these wonderful blogs. I wanted to share them with my blogging friends, in case you all find you could use a lift as well.

Spare a Job, Brother?

John W. Geary
Courtesy of Wikipedia

Men of authority have employed all the destructive agents around them to promote their own personal interests at the sacrifice of every just, honorable and lawful consideration. 

John White Geary

Brother, can you spare a job?

Since the 1980’s we have been bleeding jobs in this nation. With every recession, recovery is slower, unemployment numbers stagnate and US Citizens sit on the sidelines as their opportunities to pursue the elusive American Dream are shattered.

Meg Whitman, CEO of HP announced there would be a force reduction of 10% due to over a billion dollars in losses last fiscal year. In real numbers, that 27,000 Americans will lose their jobs.

Since 2001, we have lost 42,400 factories, 75% of them employed over 500 people when they were still in business. Overall, we have lost 5.5 million jobs, forever since 2001.

There were 2.8 Billion cell phones sold worldwide, can you guess how many were manufactured in the US? If you guessed zero, you would have been right.[1]

We have 15.1% of our citizens, 46.2 million people in this nation living in poverty, the highest level since 1993. Without jobs, they don’t stand a chance of lifting themselves out either.[2]

Now before you get all weepy, just think all those closed factories are sitting there just waiting for the Job Creators to open them back up, create jobs and fill them with production equipment so Americans can go back to work! All we need to do is cut them some slack, stop punishing their success and give them more tax breaks so they can ‘invest’ in America. Of course, there are a few additional items on the agenda, lest we get ahead of ourselves;

  • Stop being so damned greedy you out of work Americans let those corporations pay you what your worth! How does $1.30 an hour sound? That would make you just a little bit cheaper than your competition over in China that is a whole .06¢. This is what manufacturing labor pay in China costs; the Philippines and India lag slightly behind but I am betting if you agreed to less than a living wage you could be back at work in a heartbeat. [3]
  • But hold on there, all those nasty Communist – Socialist countries way over there (China, Vietnam, Philippines, India) they have one up on us and those Global Industrialists sure do love them for it, can you guess what

    Our Factories Today

    it is? Out of guesses yet? Let me help you, the Government invests in Infrastructure! This investment includes building beautiful state of the art factories chalk full of the latest and greatest cost saving technologies, as well as, housing nearby for workers (primarily a Chinese production). All of this paid for by the government!

  • Finally, all those wonderful Socialist – Communist nations offer something we don’t, want to try guessing one more time, no? Tax breaks, that’s right those nations are acting as tax havens for the American based multinational companies. They take advantage of the infrastructure your hard work, the backbreaking efforts of generations of Americans put into this nation and the taxes we all continue to pay but have sent all the jobs offshore. In fact from 1999-2008, employment in American foreign affiliates rose 30%, creating a total of just over 10 million new jobs, while during the same time we bled 21 million jobs.[4]
    • All of the numbers above are from 2010; these were the most current I could find. They are nonetheless an accurate assessment of our situation.
    • Finally we have the drone attacks on Unions, most especially on Public Sector; Teachers, Police, Firefighters in particular. These days it seems the public sector employee (except the elected official who seems to see him or herself as above the fray) is a figure to be vilified and abused, the enemy and a person to be held in greatest contempt. The meme is these public servants, protectors, educators, first responders and  guardians are not valued members of our community but instead are leeches, sucking at the public teat. This of course is an inaccurate depiction of all our public service resources; police, firefighters, teachers, animal control officers all of them play a vital role in our communities for some reason though there has been a shift away from the respect we once held for them, now we want them to provide their services free of charge.

What does this all mean? Poverty is on the rise though our unemployment numbers are slowly going down. The recession that began in December of 2007 isn’t ending as quickly as we want or need to rebuild a robust and vibrant economy. Austerity is the name of the game; though this strategy has decimated other nations many would have us walk this path insisting it is the fault of the unemployed, underemployed and the poor themselves for their situation.

Click to Expand Image

Don’t have a job? It is your fault; you are lazy according to State Representative Josh Byrnes (R) of Iowa who had this to say in late 2011; There are jobs out there and I think the problem is that some people think some of these jobs are beneath them. When you are unemployed I don’t think there should be any job “below” you. In truth it’s probably more of an ego or perception issue than being lazy. Thank goodness our immigrating ancestors to the United States didn’t have that attitude. According to a study by Deloitte there is a skills gap in the US, this study performed late last year found 600,000open positions in manufacturing with no talent to fill the openings. Really? None, at all nowhere in the US, hard to believe isn’t it? There are no skilled workers anywhere in the US. Could this be the fault of the US worker or is it our education system is failing our children, not preparing them for trades. So here we are the first post-industrial nation and on the cliff of disaster. Our American Dreams, the idea each generation could do better than their parents a thing of the past, most certainly they cannot in this economy or with the future outlook not to change soon.  Public schools have cut out all those frivolous programs, trades, shop and the arts. College isn’t for everyone and these days the cost of a college education is staggering, but

Courtesy USA Today

wait if college isn’t the answer what is? According to Deloitte and employers we have a skills gap, is the answer Vocational or even Apprenticeship in a skilled trade? Well, shockingly, there is little to be found on either but what limited information there is, VoTech training can run into the Tens of Thousands. I found tuitions for Machine Operators at $11,999 for 950 instruction hours including books, the jobs one could hope for after completing this training? Nationally is $41,000, if you took out a subsidized student loan at 6.8% interest you will pay $28,160 for your training which includes $16,161 in interest payments.

The above is just one example, there are others but the real issue is we have no recourse. We are behind the eight ball. We have lost entire industries; we have permanently lost jobs that will never come back. We are not prepared for the new post-industrial America. We have not adapted to the future we have created through runaway greed and unrestrained Capitalism. Our children are not educated or trained and there is an entire swath of our population convinced we don’t owe them a future.

Are you one of them?

John Maynard Keynes
Courtesy Wikipedia

Capitalism is the astounding belief that the most wickedest of men will do the most wickedest of things for the for the greatest good of everyone.

John Maynard Keynes

Tainted Meat for $300

Oliver Wendell Holmes
Courtesy Wikipedia

“I like to pay taxes. With them I buy civilization.”
— Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

I’ll take tainted meat for $300.

Rasmussen Reports, in their latest poll 64% of Americans would prefer a Government with fewer services and lower Taxes. You can see the wording of the question here. Many on the Right are gleefully reporting the results, who can blame them for this, 1,000 likely American voters said they would be willing give up services for less taxes; or did they?

A search of the Internet doesn’t turn up much in the way of an answer. No polls or Blogs listing all the services American Citizens are themselves willing to give up to lower their taxes. Interestingly, there are a number of Blogs, forums and Opinions from political pundits and candidates of what government services others should do without.

We have many recommendations for what we should do without:

  1. Public Education, hie thee forth and get that child into private school! Don’t worry your lack of income is not a detriment, or is it? Of course it is. You can’t save money to put into a fund and there are limited waivers if you aren’t already saving. Never mind, throw your child to the sharks of underfunded and understaffed public schools and hope for the best. The Heritage Foundation takes a great deal of exception to anything smacking of federal intervention in education this includes establishing national standards.
  2. There are a number of politicians and hangers-on who have floated the idea we should privatize all health provisioning, this would include Medicare and those pesky Veterans benefits. That’s right, just hand them vouchers so they can all go to the private market and buy their own insurance! Medicaid? Never you mind about Medicaid, we don’t need no stinking Medicaid that is a state problem and we will just cut that one right off, let them deal with it.

Now let’s talk about all those annoying regulations and the Bureaus that go with them, the really are just a drag on the economy. Tying up all that money and creating havoc for those job creators!

  1. EPA – poof gone like the wind, who needs clean air anyway, not all the people who breathe it. Why worry about carbon dioxide, sulfate acids and the 100 Polyaromatic hydrocarbons containing Benzene; the CAPITALISTS would make certain to use their profits towards clean air and water projects without government regulations and oversight; history shows this is true.
  2. FDA – crunch right on through those irksome bureaucrats, those factory farms wouldn’t send tainted, genetically modified or poisoned foods to market; we know that, right? While we are on the subject of the FDA, let’s not worry anymore about all those Drugs that might not do what they say they will, or worse do more than expected to hasten us on our way; never mind those wonderful CAPITALISTS at those Drug companies really have our best interests at heart, don’t they?
  3. FEMA – trailers are storm magnets take your help and be gone, well until the big one hits than come on down we sure could use some of that good ole Federal money. Yes, indeed folks there are some talking heads who just think the Federal Emergency Management Agency should be taken by the undertow of budget cuts. Never you mind they have been part of the rebuilding teams for every natural and unnatural disaster in the United States since 1988. FEMA, with one exception, has done an exemplary job that exception was addressed shortly after the Katrina disaster and can be found here.

Those are just a few of my current favorites. The truth is the nation is moving to the Right, in fits and starts but to the Right we are inescapably marching. We are losing our sense balance, fair play and compassion for our fellow citizen instead taking on the tune of ‘I got mine get yours or die’.

The unbalanced barrage of Conservative Media combined with the dumbing down of America has done its work. When asked, a typical Conservative / Right Wing polltaker will gleefully pound the YES to the following:

  1. Do you believe in smaller government and less taxes
  2. Do you believe in less taxes and less restrictions on business
  3. Do you think the Job Creators should be taxed less so they can create more jobs
  4. Would you agree that government should lower taxes and deliver less services
  5. Do you agree the religion should be taught in public schools

Ah yes, our frantic Conservative has just answered YES YES YES in GODS name YES.

Now let’s us ask some legitimate Poll questions of that same Typical Conservative, middle to lower income person. They are likely living paycheck to paycheck, little to no savings with a couple of children running about the house.

  1. Are you willing to pay for Fire, Ambulance and Police emergency response as a Service
  2. Are you happy with the proposed voucher system for Medicare, you will receive $6,000 per year the rest will be your responsibility
  3. Are you happy with no road repair throughout your state, city or county
  4. Are you happy with the elimination of all public parks
  5. Do you agree the Quran, Bible, Torah and Tipitaka are to be taught as Comparative Religion in all public schools
  6. Do you believe you should have the right to sue if a company poisons you through their negligence

Do you think the answers would be different? What do you think the answer would be if you asked those questions? Did you by the way notice the graph up above, what was the first thing you noticed? What would happen if you asked the next question, what would the answer be to this one?

  1. Are you willing to pay taxes to have some of those services returned to you? Which ones?

I worry for us as a nation, truly I do. We are bamboozled by one-minute sound bites rather than facts. We are enthralled by the scoundrel and love a clown, we love a good scandal and would rather spend our time following a fool and folly than demanding ethical behavior from our candidates and elected officials.

Lord Thomas Robert Dewar
Courtesy Wikipedia

“The only thing that hurts more than paying an income tax is not having to pay an income tax.”

— Lord Thomas Robert Dewar

Picking My Battles Wisely

It is always wise to pick our battles, the ones we can win or at least not lose badly. It took me a long time to learn this lesson. Decades truthfully and I am not at all certain that I have fully embraced the concept yet, not fully internalized the idea of picking battles I can win. Nevertheless, there are some battles I have learned to let go, I no longer ride pell-mell into the fray without armor to slay all my dragons.

Don’t misunderstand from the above statement; I haven’t hung up my Lance just yet. I still yearn to ride out to slay evil doers and public menaces’, as well as, beat my surroundings into submission. Now though, well I think I am in not quite so much of a hurry as I once was. The small things that once made me crazed, they don’t send me screaming today; a crooked picture or random dust bunny won’t cause me to break out in a cold sweat. I am finding I can ignore the blatant foolishness of the political opposition, even in this an election year; well to a point I honestly haven’t beaten this one into complete submission yet. This day, today I think I have found there are larger battles, different windmills and more important wars even that I have to win if I am going to take my life back.

It seems it is the little things that are beginning to matter less to me. Not that the little things are making me more or less crazed as they once did, instead some of them are giving me less anxiety and sometimes even more pleasure even if they don’t get done exactly when I said I would do them. Now when the picture is crooked, I think to myself it might just look better that way, adding a bit of ambiance to the wall or the grouping. If the kitchen isn’t clean before I go to bed, I know it doesn’t mean anything really terrible about me as a woman, a wife or a human being it just means I didn’t feel like doing the stupid dishes or fighting with my husband about whose turn it was!

I use to believe (this was deep in my bones) if my home was not perfect it was a reflection on me, as a person. I also believed (this was also inbred deeply) I couldn’t ever stand up for myself and win the war, perhaps small battles along the way, but not the war. Where I would push for ‘right’ in my professional life and confront ‘wrong’ in public forums, I would cower in my private life afraid to confront what I knew bone-deep was outrageous. Whether this was outright bad behavior or simply ignoring my needs I would shrink from confronting friends and loved ones with what I needed to make my world right; doing the work myself rather than demanding from them they correct their behavior or help me.

These are small steps, tiny little steps to freedom. Picking the battles that I can win today doesn’t mean I will win them all, only that I can pick them and that just maybe losing a few won’t cause me to melt down. There are days I really wish people wouldn’t say to me “you’re so strong”. I have hidden all my weakness’ behind the armor of humor, pragmatism and ‘I don’t give a shit’ for nearly 70% of my life. Everyone in my life expects, even demands my strength, never allowing for a crack or a fault line. There are few in my life that don’t lean in and lean on, either begging or demanding something from me thinking I am bottomless, without end to my strength a wellspring for them to return to time and again.

I have a sneaking suspicion when I say enough, no more there will be some that draw back in shock and resentment. That I would dare to shut off the faucet may be met with more than a bit of ire, we shall see. I don’t know that I am ready for the fallout and it might hurt initially, friends and loved ones may be left on the battlefield of my new definition, perhaps that is where they should have been all along.

“A bad year and a bad month to all the backbiting bitches in the world!…” 
― Miguel de Cervantes SaavedraDon Quixote

Opening the Secret Box

I said I would tell my mother’s story, what I know of it at least. I do this not to make excuses for her but to show the lineage of abuse. I am one that believes we always have a choice in our actions, no matter our history, no matter what has been done to us we always have a choice. My mother’s choice was to hold her bitterness and pass on to me her anger, her bile and her self-hate. I was the empty vessel she poured all her stored resentment into; I was bottomless; different from her in my emotional make-up, proof that we can be greater than our environment.

My mother was born in 1920; the first of two daughters to German immigrant parents, her sister would be born four years later in 1924. The two sisters were as different in looks, temperament and intelligence as it was possible to be. My mother was short, stocky even with a ruddy complexion, thin hair and her father’s prominent nose and thin lips. My mother was never what would be considered terribly attractive, when you added to this her plodding intellect and lack of curiosity she was simply an average person.

The two sisters

Her sister on the other hand was handed all the best physical features of her parents, tall and willowy, with average more feminine features and most important an above average intellect. The differences between the two daughters was apparent from a young age, the favoritism shown to the younger daughter was also obvious from a young age.

My mother was raised in a German enclave of Cleveland, Ohio. The house she was raised in still stands today though the neighborhood is no longer as nice. My mother and aunt attended public schools though they generally were not in the same schools due to the four-year gap in their age. They grew up surrounded by extended family and friends and both of them were bi-lingual, speaking German and English. It was a hardscrabble existence during the twenties, work was hard to find, money hard to hold onto but my grandfather supported his family throughout the depression.

Sometime around twelve years old she was molested by a neighbor, he may have been a family member. This molestation went on for months before she told her mother. According to the story I heard, her mother didn’t believe her at first. This man was a ‘pillar’ of the church and the neighborhood and so my mother was punished for ‘making-up stories’. Then something happened, I don’t know the full story of what happened to bring to light the extent of what this man did, not just to my mother but to other young girls in that neighborhood. It was several years though after my mother had told hers what had happened to her. The man disappeared and nothing more was said. This was the first time my mother’s parents failed her.

My mother told this story in a group therapy session where I was present. I was fourteen at the time. I held that story as ‘close hold’ for forty-four years. I suspect it was supposed to make me ‘okay’ with her treatment of me, it did not change my view that we make choices. Even at fourteen I knew she made a choice to pass her anger down to me.

As my mother matured she sought ways to escape, to leave the enclave and the family that so favored her sister and had failed her so completely. Each choice and opportunity was blocked by her parents and met with ridicule. My mother was not one to scream her fury, not like the daughter she would ultimately raise. My mother was in all respects a conventional daughter, obedient to a fault and more than anything else she sought the approval of her parents, most especially her father. One of the choices that still stand so poignant, that she told me about more than once is this conversation with her father;

Mother: I want to join the Navy, be a Wave and see the world.

Grandfather: Only unnatural women join the Navy. I will not give you permission!

Mind you, she didn’t need his permission at that point in her life she was legally an adult. If I remember correctly she was at least twenty-one. Nevertheless, in her mind, without the blessing of her father she could never follow her dream to see the world, to join the Navy. I think she would have been great!

She had already been quashed in another desire of hers; even uglier in my mind than her desire to join the navy was this one:

Mother: I want to go to college I want a career.

Grandfather: You aren’t smart enough for college; I am not wasting my money. Your sister is going to college you need to find a husband and have children it is all you will be good for.

My aunt did go to college and received her Bachelor’s degree. She also married well, according to my Grandparents. My aunt produced three children in fairly short order after her marriage, another feather in her cap. My mother floundered, sought to find safe footing on land in a sea of disapproval.

My Mother & Father on their wedding day 1951

She met and married my father, who did not meet with my grandparent’s approval and was likely the one thing my mother ever did that was an act of rebellion. That marriage was fraught with heartache for both of them; if ever two people were divinely mismatched it was my parents. If ever a marriage was proof of why it is a bad choice to stay together ‘for the sake of the children’ it was their marriage.

Before embarking on the adoption journey my mother suffered five to seven miscarriages. She failed at the one thing her parents had told her she was good for. Her failure would haunt her. Her loss would haunt her and eventually would haunt me as well. Her loss of her natural children was as if thorns had been driven into her heart that never stopped hurting, never lost their grip. Adoption did not change this for her; I did not replace her children though my brother was a balm for her pain. My mother told me once many years ago, she did not want to adopt she only did so for my father but she was glad she had my brother; I believe her.

That is my mother’s story.

Part One : https://valentinelogar.com/2012/05/17/secrets-define-us/

Secrets Define Us

Yesterday the dam broke. Something roared to the surface as well, something I have hinted at in past posts.
In my industry we have a saying, “close hold”. It means things that are not revealed, instead they are held closely to the chest. I have always treated my history as ‘close hold’; it is mine and mine alone. I will often hint at it, throw pebbles into passive lake waters to watch the ripple affect but my entire adult life I have treated most of my history as a dark secret. This ‘close hold’ in part has been a tribute to those who never deserved the gift of my silence. The other part has been the lesson learned so many years ago I have simply been unable to let it go the lesson of shame and fear.

I was told by one who should have loved me should have protected me, should have taught me to speak truth, chose instead to do no such thing. Instead they flung me into a vortex; an emotional black hole demanding my silence because the alternative was my own destruction and their shame, worse even than this would be the loss of esteem from the person I loved most in the world, I was convinced if I spoke up I would be spurned, found forever wanting. They convinced me, I was not believable, that even if I were to scream my pain and hurt, tell what was done to me no one would believe me. I was less than,I was …….




These were words thrown in anger at an eleven-year-old child. Words of power. Words of anger. Words burned into a soul still unformed and open. Words that fell like the Blacksmiths Pein on the soft Anvil that was my young and untrained heart.  Words that would set my feet on a path for years to come. Convinced of my lack I would unwind what little of my ego remained and offer my heart and my body to anyone who would validate my conviction of valueless. Unable to fight back, I would accept the brutality even at times welcome it as it corroborated what I knew about myself, what I had been told; that I was less than and undeserving of love or care.

All this, all the brutality. All the loss because my mother wanted to preserve her standing. She failed an eleven year old child who had been gang raped. She failed to report. She failed even to tell that child’s father. She demanded that child’s silence and even blamed that child for the brutality of that rape.

That child was me. I knew who raped me and I would have to attend school with my rapists for two years. Because no action was taken against them I continued to be emotionally and physically brutalized by my classmates. Slut was something whispered in the halls as I walked by, not for something I did but for something my mother failed to do.

My heart was damaged, my core was broken and I retreated to an internal life, one I don’t believe I have ever quite stopped living in. My pragmatism is my strength and my defense. My views on forgiveness were formed in 1968, though I couldn’t have defined them as clearly as I can today they haven’t changed very much.

Life journeys are odd things. A family member told me 15 years ago that no one else in the family could have survived the shooting as I did; no one else was strong enough. I thought at the time, damn I don’t think I would wish that strength on anyone. I wish I wasn’t that strong, I wish I didn’t have, had never had those life experiences that made me strong enough to survive that.

The Vortex of my History, National Geographic

Not all my parents have passed yet. Some have though, my biological and adopted fathers are both gone. The mother of my heart, my stepmother is gone. My biological mother and my adoptive mother are both still in this world.

My brother has said to me my mother did what she thought was best at the time, I will never accept this answer no person with a heart does what she did to a child thinking it was best for that child. We were both adopted but our experiences were very different. I have always wondered why, I don’t think we will ever know.

Victim Impact Evolution

Tuesday night I was at the Federal Prison (FCI) in Fort Worth as the single speaker for Victim Impact group. I don’t know if they had other speakers on previous nights or if they will have others on following nights, I do know

FCI Fort Worth, Enterance

the Fort Worth program is unique in several ways from other programs I participate in, here is how:

  1. There is always only one speaker per night
  2. Often the participants take the program more than once
  3. Smaller groups

Victim Impact is intended to help offenders gain insight and understanding into the affect their actions have on others. It is a voluntary program for those on the inside. Those of us who speak are also volunteers; we didn’t volunteer to be victims obviously, only to ultimately step outside of our rage and pain to tell our stories where it might do the most good.

I always have mixed emotions heading into the Victim Impact Groups. My mind sprints down well-worn paths, through dark times in preparation, honestly I never know what I will say or what direction I will go. At Fort Worth FCI the entire two hours is mine, it isn’t the panel sessions where there are three to four speakers, this is my time to shock and awe. This time was different; so much has changed in the last year. Some of those changes caused me to retreat inside myself, to live within my own battered emotional landscape this was part of my evolution. Some were normal justice system; the first release of one of my attackers last month and then within 10 days of each other, notification the two others were entering the Parole system. I am having to rethink my position on a great many things, my normal calm was well, not so calm.

FCI Fort Worth Fenceline, perhaps my own as well

I usually like Fort Worth FCI, I like the smaller groups and for some strange reason I like the interaction; it is less formal, less structured than the other panels. Yes, it is still a Federal Prison and yes I still walk through the gates that clang loudly as they shut behind me and through the yard, always a strange journey; yes, I am still facing a group of offenders and delivering ‘my story’ so they might learn something from it. There was a difference this time though, as I drove the hour to my destination I couldn’t put my finger on it but there was a difference. I don’t usually have speakers’ nerves, this time I couldn’t focus my thoughts, something right under the surface kept beating against the door kept locked tightly, my emotional reserve.

The cliff notes version of what we are supposed to say:

  1. Tell the story of what happened, how you became a victim
  2. Tell the impact of the crime
  3. Make it real and make it emotional

Usually when any of us speak the story is the largest part of our time, all the details all the horrifying gruesome details. I don’t know why this is but for some reason this is what we have taught each other to do, to make the violence real. This is especially true for those of us who are first person victims, there aren’t many of us, but for those of us who are willing to stand up we have been coached and so we follow that three part script.

This time I found myself standing in from of thirty men, some of whom I had seen in the program before all staring at me expectantly and I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t follow the script. I had all this time to fill and I simply could not do what was expected of me. My voice has changed; my story has changed in the twenty years since the crime I have evolved and in the year since I had last been at FCI things had happened that had caused me to re-think some of my positions.

MAAT Goddess of Truth and Justice, Courtesy of Wikipedia

I told my story, that hasn’t changed the violence and the facts haven’t changed.

I told the impact on my family and friends, that hasn’t changed it is only the truth.

Then I talked about evolution, my own. I talked about how it felt to know the first of my attackers was out and free. Not about my anger, my fear for him not of him, his entire life lost for a stupid childhood choice. I talked about their choices as well, their children as victims just like the three who shot me. I talked about Remorse and the need to hear the words and see acts of contrition, not simply because these words and deeds move an offender towards early release, but because they are true and heartfelt. I talked about Forgiveness and the truth of it, not that it is due or a right, but instead it is a gift they may never receive, not from any of their victims including their families.

I talked for an hour. After that hour I opened the floor and instead of talking at the group I talked with them. The one question that nearly tipped me over the edge:

Had I ever considered ‘they’ were my victims as much as I was their victim?

My answer was of course NO. His explanation was that by demanding justice, by demanding they remain in prison for their full term, by continuing to ask how the state could consider Parole where there was no sign of remorse I was victimizing. That perhaps they did feel remorse but did not know how to express it; he felt remorse for his bad acts but had difficulty. I simply pointed out that he was taking steps to learn by participating in the Victim Impact Program; but never could he equate my demand for justice as a victimization of my attackers. They got time, I got life.

A comment from one of the participants who had been in the program previously:

You are calmer now, not so angry.

Finally one of the questions that I thought was interesting and generated some discussion:

How do you not hate?

I am going to leave this one open to anyone who wants to answer it. I might come back and answer later, it is funny but I have never hated my attackers.

My plate has been full lately and I am trying hard to find my normal balance, my normal pragmatism hasn’t been in operational mode. It is the season of Victim Impact, I am wondering if I should sit this year out, try to shake what holding me hostage the fence line holding me back.

Original Story: https://valentinelogar.com/2011/12/11/231/

Zaftig in a Mirror

Fears & Tears

My 2 Fears

I have been holding this in, trying hard not to spew venom over my sisters on the fat side of the scale. Yes, I said it…..FAT. Let’s all be honest, for just a brief moment, we are out here in the world, our scales register above thin and perfect, our BMI well it is imperfect also. We shop where we can, if it isn’t in stores designed specifically for us where all sizes start at 14 and head up from there it is in designated parts of the store, usually tucked away where others can’t see the fat girls shop. Some stores, such as Neiman Marcus, don’t sell plus sizes in their stores, not even in the Outlets but they will take our money on-line; I guess they don’t want their more rotund clients wandering the aisles and scaring other customers with their succulence.

24 Hours

My 24 Hourglass

Now that is out of the way, I am Zaftig (I love that word, don’t you). Have been for years and have a sneaking suspicion it isn’t going to change perceptively without surgical intervention which I am not at this time considering. If my doctor says I must consider intervention for my health, I would do so but he has not and thus I accept my hourglass figure being more a 24 hour than a single hour. The popularity of my abundant assets went out of style more than a century ago, along with corsets and bustles. It isn’t, mind you that I am in love with the view in my mirror, I have simply made peace with the idea there are battles I am not going to win, one of them is the one with my waistline. Frankly, my ego could not withstand the struggle along with all the other things I regularly fail at accomplishing.

After Surgery and One Year Maybe

One Year After Surgery Computer Generated

I know that I am Zaftig, Well-Padded, Succulent, or hell just plain fat, I am betting if you are you know you are too. With this knowledge in mind and knowing you are out there why oh why, pray tell me this do you insist on dressing in clothing that was never intended to contain your more ample curves? Why, please help me understand when there are plenty of wonderful options in your size do you insist your size is still in single digits or worse comes with JR in from of the single digit. Help me understand; is it self-delusion on your part? Do you believe the labels on those packages that say you will shrink two dress sizes by wearing those magic Lycra All-In-One

We all want to see this in the mirror. The perfect hourglass.

panties that tuck you in from stem to stern; you didn’t check your mirror before you left the house did you? Or, do you simply have a magic mirror, one of those fun house mirrors that distorts reality and lies to you all at once. If you have one of these, may I borrow it please, my ego could use a boost.

I am not trying to be a hater; really, I don’t want to take a rubber mallet to your fragile ego. I know how hard it is to find clothes that fit and make you feel good. It is possible though to find clothing that fits and doesn’t make you appear as if you are wearing either a potato sack or a sausage casing, these are not the only two options. I will be honest with you my rotund sisters, when I see you in the mall; I feel your pain, until I notice what you have chosen to wear in public. I know how hard it is to find clothing that makes you feel beautiful and feminine. But, really, does a dress two sizes too small and so short you are unable to bend over for fear of showing every bit of your so not sexy underwear; is this really making you feel desirable? Do you honestly believe what is exquisite on an infant; you know those adorable and kissable little


Fat Baby Thighs are kissable

rolls of fat around their thighs is also attractive on a grown woman? You could not be more wrong, I promise you those rolls of fat on your thighs is anything but attractive especially framed by a mini-dress and high-heels, it is this sight that makes me want to shake you till your teeth rattle and you cellulite realigns.

Believe me when I tell you us succulent, bigger girls are still beautiful and still have wonderful gifts to offer the world. We are not defined by society that tries to shame us into boxes with labels that are hurtful and ugly. This doesn’t mean though that we should simply ignore all decorum, throw all good taste to the wind and not use good sense and our mirrors. We should at all times, celebrate who we are, just as we are right now. But ladies, mirrors please.

Inside Domestic Abuse

The 112th Congress has refused to reauthorize the 1994 Violence Against Women Act, significant in the original passage it opened the door to what had previously been viewed as private family matters and provided both education and funding to help victims and law enforcement. Never, since its original passage has it been the subject of a partisan fight on the floor of either house of Congress, yet this year it is. The overall tone of the Right, women are of no particular value unless they are in the kitchen, pregnant and silent. The objection to the Bill, is the expansion of services, the boogie man of ‘other’; Gay, Transgender, Native Tribes and Immigrant Women are included in this years re-authorization, we all know none of us are part of humanity and should be served, right?

I wrote this several years ago. At the time, it was wrenching to write. Today it remains wrenching for me to read. To answer the question, I know first hand what it is to be a survivor of Domestic Abuse. I also know how very important this Bill is to all those Women and Men who are now and will be in the future Victims. I ran from an extremely volatile, horribly violent relationship after having been hospitalized multiple times with multiple broken bones, I knew I would not see my eighteenth birthday if I stayed. I had nowhere to go, no money and no support structure; still I ran as far and as fast as I could go.

I survived.


Why we stay, pitiful in our bruised bodies and our excuses, our fear palatable yet even before we are healed we return to the hell that is home. Why do we stay? The question is asked repeatedly, often with a tone of derision. Our answer, sometimes that we love him, sometimes worse that he doesn’t mean to hurt us he loves us. The truth though is harder for us to admit to you when you ask and ourselves; this is all we deserve and we have nowhere else to go.

How did we get here?

Is it because we seek what we believe that we deserve? Do we have a neon sign swinging over our head that says “I am here and vulnerable”; I will take it, whatever you dish out. I will take it and even be grateful to you for staying one more day, one more month, one more year.

Have we been so convinced by our mothers, our fathers, or society that we must conform, not speak out; not fight back that we will take the slaps, the closed fists, the kicks and on our knees begging for it to end still be thinking that he loves us and if only we do better it will not happen again?

Why is it that we stay? 

Why do we make excuses, transparent excuses for the broken teeth, the black eyes, the bruised arms? Why do others believe our excuses? Do they really think that we are so incapable of walking from our beds to our baths that we run into doors once a month or once a week? Is it easier to believe that we are so clumsy that we cannot walk up or down a flight of stairs? Do those who claim to care for us find it easier to ignore the truth than acknowledge that we are in danger?

Why is it that we allow ourselves to be so brutalized? What happens to us that our flight or fight instinct is entirely broken? We find no comfort, realizing even those to whom we reach out for help find us incomprehensible in our pain. Even if we finally find it in our spirits to run, to escape we are broken by the prison of our shame. Our defeat is what we carry with us; our inability to explain our willingness to take what our abuser gave; his love in closed fists, slaps, kicks, hate filled words that tore down the walls of our humanity and convinced us that we had no value in our homes or in the world.

Run, with Nothing but You

The telephone, our greatest enemy each time it rings we jump through our skin; we know it might be him. We know we are still weak and frail; that we have no defenses against his apologies and his protestations of his own weakness. Even through our nightmares; those screaming, cold sweat nightmares; we know that if we hear his sugar coated voice telling us that it will never happen again; we might believe him because we need. Who else will love us now? He has destroyed all that was ever lovable in us. We know that in our heart and soul; in whatever humanity we have left we know that we might listen and might return. It will be good for a while; as good as it was in the beginning. Then it will start again, we know that too; even knowing these absolute truths; we are weak and fearful and lonely.

Our frailty during our initial freedom, so tenuous, unreal to us because there is no one to confirm our existence and we don’t know where to begin. The slightest sound behind us is no longer the precursor to pain. The footsteps on the stairs, not a reason to fear but maybe a friend come to call instead. Bumps in the night no longer herald a rape by the person who promised to love and care for us. Still all those sounds send us into a paroxysm of fear, self-doubt and finally anger that our lives will never be without our abuser because he is inside of us; he has replaced everything  that was good with his vileness. We may have escaped him physically but we will never escape him fully, we think this now and in our hearts know this as a truth. We have lost ourselves to his definition of us, weak and of no value.


Our minds work in miraculous ways. If we can stay gone long enough we begin to heal and rebuild. We can begin to take the abuse he called love and place it in appropriate boxes sealing them tightly and marking them as our hated history. When the boxes are full of our past we can stack them in a room within our mind padlock the door; knowing that some day we might return to examine them to try to understand what led us there; but not today. Today just stack the boxes tightly, shut the door and turn the key. Face each day knowing that the door exists and all the boxes exist waiting for us to be strong and come back to learn; but not today. That we might revisit them in our nightmares and run screaming down the corridors of our sleeping mind; waking in cold sweats and shaking in fear; this we can escape. This will happen for some of us it will happen forever, when we least expect it sometimes at the end of what we thought was a great day. In our nightmares the maniacal horrors of our past will sneak through the cracks of that door we locked to terrorize us; to remind us of what was or what might have been.

Future Glory

Our history does not have to hold us hostage; we can shape our future we can redefine ourselves. We were somebody before they arrived to tear us down. Somewhere else in our mind we have a room with a locked door that contains the “us” before them, before the abuse. We have the key to that door also, even if it is lost in the trash that our abuser has piled on us. We have the ability to unlock that door and find the “me” that was before them. Perhaps we will find there were reasons we let them in, the neon sign that was lifted above our heads inviting them in; we can fix this. Possibly we will only find ourselves in the here and now that we are stronger now, more able to face today because of our past. Perhaps we will only find only that we can let go, say no more and look forward without fear.

Whatever we find we will ultimately know that we are precious, worth more than the blows, the slaps, the kicks, the venom that dripped from the lips of our abuser. We will know no amount of pain masked as love is the truth and abuse is not the reality that we deserve in our lives. We will roar our anger and our frustration at the waste of our days in agony rather than joy. We will cry out our pain. We will whisper our validations of self and finally scream our truths in the wind if no one else will hear us.

We will most certainly stand free of what was told to us as the truth knowing finally it was a lie.   

%d bloggers like this: