Lessons Snap

As part of my attempt to clear clutter in my office and find the many individual pieces of a story to weave into a tapestry, I found something else. I found something I had posted in the early days of this blog and it resonated with me, reminding me again, what I know in my head and heart to be true.

Especially now, it was good to revisit and good to be reminded.

Hard Lessons Learned – December 2011

Something More-Awaken

I woke this morning and felt a shift, I felt as if I both woke and Awakened. Yes, I awakened this morning rose up from bed, opened my eyes, poured coffee and stretched … perhaps not necessarily in that order. Probably most of us follow a similar pattern; this morning though I felt something shift as I said, I Awakened, it was a feeling of both wide-eyed wakefulness and discontent.

Perhaps we should all AWAKEN.625586_303164629782392_1024274362_n

I opened my eyes this morning and said to myself what can I do to extend myself? How can I enforce upon myself more than simply doing the same-old-same-old and thus obviously getting the same results. I want more from this year. I want my passions to mean something, even if it means putting me out there in the public eye.

Shit do I mean that?

That is one hell of a risk. That could mean loss of income, loss of the protective wall I have drawn about myself. That could mean loss of anonymity, which I retain some bit of to keep my blogging life walled off from my professional life.

Dearly Beloved has said to me sometimes, “You need to go into politics.

I laugh hysterically at this suggestion and explain with calm certainty why this is such a terrible idea:

  1. My past is checkered and in politics nothing is private
  2. I have a terrible, terrible inability to contain myself. I would, like John Boehner apparently did recently, simply tell some people to F*ck off rather than continue to entertain their boneheaded and idiotic ideas.
  3. It is very costly these days to run a campaign, even locally. I do not have the requisite ‘azz kissing’, ‘baby kissing’, ‘begging’, ‘making promises I have no intention of keeping’, ‘lying through my teeth while smiling at you’ required to raise the money needed for a campaign and I am incapable of being nice to people who want to buy unreasonable promises.
  4. He, along with every other member of my family, would be the target of media investigation and smearing. I would not do this to my loved ones. It takes a very special sort of sociopath to not give a tinker damn who gets hurt on your race to the brass balls of power.

I don’t really want to be a politician. I don’t really like many of the people who wake up one day and say to themselves, “I want to make my life’s work Politics, I want to be a complete Azzhat, screw everyone I have ever grubs
known and anyone I might ever know in the future”.
This is not to say all politicians start out as nefarious grub worms; they sure do end up that way 99% of the time.

Maybe it is something in the water.

I want more. I want my survival of crappy life circumstances to mean more. I want to do some good in the world and know it means something. As my sister Red (bless her wonderful observational skills)  pointed out, writing this blog is sometimes counter-productive. Whether pulling back the curtain on my history or stomping through the muck of our political landscape, I have a captive audience for my rages and ranting’s, one that mostly likes me and won’t spank me to hard even when I am on a tear.

My other audience is even more captive, hell they wear Orange jumpsuits issued by the State of Texas. While I like to think I reach some of them that my words do more than rest on the side of their head until they return to their units for count, I don’t know and I will never know. It is part of what of what is bothering me this year, the not knowing; do I do good with these treks into my personal wilderness, this pulling back of curtain of what it means to be a victim so offenders can learn empathy?

I awaken and question my purpose. It isn’t enough anymore just to fling my words to the page for you to read and us to talk about. Though this is a part of me I do not wish to abandon, I have found myself in this endeavor and I have found you.

I awaken; I question my commitment to Victim Impact and realize this is important. It isn’t just important to me, it is an important program and if even one person’s life changes that is enough; it has to be.

I awaken; I realize my life feels different not less, not more just different today from yesterday. I want something more, more heft; more texture maybe something more scratchy. Perhaps I am finally coming into my own. What does that mean? Coming into my own, where have I been?

Well, I woke up this morning at 3:22AM. I wasn’t altogether happy about the time but I wasn’t going back to sleep either. I grabbed a cuppa and considered what I have been thinking about for days, awakening.

I leave you with this wonderful song a friend sent to me a couple of days ago of Maya Angelo’s poem Phenomenal Woman, I have listened to it at least 50 times since she sent it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Primal Whisper-VAWA

I apologize for the length of this post. I hope you will read and consider passing it on. This is a personal story of Domestic Abuse. This is a personal appeal to anyone who reads this story to get active and demand justice for all members of society who are victims of Domestic Abuse. Demand Congress pass VAWA without changes to the current incarnation. Thanks

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1971, one year before it all began

1971, one year before it all began

In 1972, I was 15; I was first a ward of the state then a runaway, a street child then finally a ‘wife’. In 1972, I was the victim of domestic abuse that would continue for three years. Abuse both physical and emotional, that would strip me of my pride and humanity that would leave scars I bear on my body and soul and that would very nearly kill me.

In 1972, there were no laws to prevent a man from beating his wife. There were no Domestic Abuse Hotlines. There were no Safe Houses. There were no cool down periods, unless some cop took pity on you.

In 1972, the best you could hope for is either he would die of a heart attack while beating you or he would give you quick death. No one was going to help you and you had no rights, you were chattel.

I have written about this before, touched upon some of my experiences as a victim of domestic abuse in previous postings, here:

https://valentinelogar.com/2012/06/03/never-again-i-will-hate-you/

https://valentinelogar.com/2012/05/03/inside-domestic-abuse/

I have tried hard to stand up and say I am not a victim; I am a survivor of Domestic Abuse. The truth of the matter, for each of us who survived violence the truth is different. When our partner, our love, our spouse was throwing us against a wall, laying unloving hands upon us, kicking us when we were down painting our days and nights in pain and fear we were indeed Victims.

  • We were victims of the person who said they loved us.
  • We were victims of our destroyed ego, our fear and our great need to make it right.
  • We were victims of a society that did not see us in our desperate need.
  • We were victims of religious institutions that told us we must return to spouses who were nightmares.
  •  We were victims of financial systems that did not allow access credit and sometimes even banking in our own names.
  •  We were victims of law enforcement who were trained to walk away from ‘domestic’ situations.
 cuttingedgenews

Perhaps, if we are standing today and we are standing without that partner we are free, but I still remember. In my very bones, I still remember. It isn’t so much I remember his brutality, though it is hard to forget; I remember the police who walked away as I swayed in the middle of the living room barely able to stand upright. I remember them looking at me knowingly, staring at the bruises, the blackened eyes, the fat and bloody lip or the bald patch in my head. I remember them telling us to keep it down or telling him, ‘I had enough’.

I Had Enough. Were they judging the beating had gone on long enough? Were they judging the amount of blood or the number of visible bruises? I have always wondered about this, always wondered what code they were speaking, sometimes they laughed with him as he agreed to ‘keep it down’. These visits by the police, these drive-by stop in and calm down visits always earned me at least one more closed fist from him as he walked by, ‘See what you did? Why can’t you be quiet?’

domestic_violence-285x300

There was only one time, my husband this man who was supposed to love me went to jail. He didn’t stay long. It didn’t matter. For once my survival instinct kicked in and I used everything I had simply to grab that life preserver when it was thrown.

A little background –

  1. Texas in 1972 was still very backward about a great many things, marriage being one of them race relations being the other.
  2. My ‘marriage’ was common law, I wouldn’t find out for several years he didn’t have a legal hold on me though I still refer to him as my first ‘husband’.

The last terrible beating and the night my husband went to jail, it wouldn’t be the last beating just the last terrible one.

He had lost badly at a poker game that night, he did this often especially close to the time rent was due. For whatever reason, somehow, his losses were always my fault; I was always the target of his rage. It was the spring of 1974, I had learned by now never show emotion, never speak my mind and never react. It didn’t help; nothing could stop his need to lash out. That night was no different as he stumbled into the bedroom stinking of smoke and whiskey I could taste the beating to come, my body relaxed to absorb his fists.

‘Wake up you stupid bitch!’

Slam, into the wall. My head bounced twice, at least and my body slid down to the floor. He had picked me up from the bed and thrown me across the room, already first blood had been shed. I curled into myself, hoping this would satisfy him, the blood patch on the wall sometimes it was enough.

‘Dumb cunt, look what you did to the wall!’

Thwack, thwack again. His shoe caught me squarely in my ribs as I curled into myself. No more I thought. But, there was more to come. Already I was crying, tears and snot joining on my face as I tried to stand.

There were no more words now, just fists and feet. Furious, he beat me to the ground time and again and when I lay there as he panted above me, he would kick me demanding I stand up. Finally, when I thought, ‘No more, enough’, I did stand and I tried to run.

Running was the worst mistake I could have made, it triggered his predator instinct, he chased me out the door and into the front of yard. Before he caught me, he had grabbed a bat, one of those hollow aluminum ones. He  continued to beat me when I was down on the ground. Finally, after what seemed an eternity the police arrived, someone must have called them. I was on the ground, unrecognizable and he was standing above me panting. I still remember the conversation:

‘Sir, sir what are you doing? You have to stop!’

‘I have stopped; this is my wife I can do anything I want.’

‘Miss, is this your husband?’

‘No, I have never seen him before.’

As the handcuffs clicked closed, ‘You are under arrest…….’

‘Bitch, I am going to kill you!’

‘Sir, I suggest you calm down and be quiet.’

When the ambulance arrived, I was taken to the hospital. I had multiple broken bones including;

  • Broken jaw
  • Broken nose (third time)
  • Cracked cheek bone
  • Hairline fracture, skull
  • Four broken fingers
  • Seven broken ribs
  • Hairline fracture, pelvis
  • Internal bleeding
  • Plethora of contusions

He stayed in jail for 7 days until his Daddy sorted things out. I stayed in the hospital for 9 days.

Yes, I went back. For a time I went back. The psyche of women in these relationships is strange; we think if we only could fix ourselves, if we only did better they (the ones who so terribly harm us) would stop. It isn’t of course true but we have been so badly damaged we believe it. We don’t love ourselves. In not loving ourselves, we also lose the flight or fight reaction.

In 1972, there was nothing to save me. Police, had no resources and DA offices had no laws under which to prosecute unless we were fortunate enough to be killed. If we ran, if by some off chance our flight instinct kicked in the courts were against us, we ran with nothing, no resources and no access to resources.

oneinfourwomen

The Violence Against Women Act changed that. It has been over 700 days since this act expired. Women, men and children are at risk. The reasons for the Congressional GOP members to stand against this act are frankly their own ideological ignorance. This act has Bipartisan support and always has, this is the first time since 1994 this act has not been reauthorized; all because it expands services to under-served communities.

What you and I can do:

Contact your representatives in Congress and demand they pass the Violence Against Women Act as it stands today with expanded services: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

Other sources:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/docs/vawa_factsheet.pdf

http://denisedv.org/what-is-the-violence-against-women-act-and-why-is-congress-playing-politics/

What I think in Retrospect

Today is New Year’s Day 2013; we survived the Mayan Apocalypse as we have so many other predictions of the end of the world. I kept asking people to send me their valuables for safekeeping, just in case mind you. It was a no go, I got not a thing except a few giggles, my friends are all so smart.

Yesterday I thought about all the things this past year brought, good and bad, bright and dark. Yesterday I also slept a great amount of the day away; I have been doing that a great deal lately with the assistance of my broad-spectrum painkillers (thanks doc).

This is in no way an attempt to make New Year’s Resolutions; I don’t do those anymore they simply add to my feelings of inadequacy when I systematically ED TV Ads Viagra Ad fail to achieve them. Do not mistake me, I do not feel inadequate on a regular basis only sometimes, like any normal person even if we don’t admit it at least aloud and in public. I don’t think there is Viagra for the heart and mind, well
there is actually but you can’t take it based on ‘periodic feelings of inadequacy’ versus ‘all the time’.

Did I just compare my now and then feelings of not measuring up to Erectile Dysfunction? Gad

Well, back to the main thrust of my ruminations yesterday, what did I learn as I pondered the last 365 days?

I am still capable of passion. It is in fact a core of my being too long ignored, too long tapped down so others are more comfortable with me. Even here, in my writing I have worked hard to be balanced, fair, pragmatic and inoffensive knowing those who I have great respect and love for might turn away from me should I let my passions fly.

Though I have exposed much of my history on these pages, I remain very much a private person holding myself within the four walls of my soul. This dichotomy has caused me to withdraw from friends, from those who wanted to draw me in, even from self at times. The more I drew back the curtains of the past the more I retreated.

I lie, yes, I said it I lie. I lie to myself every now and then but I lie to others also. I say I don’t care what others think but that isn’t really true at all; of course I care, I am after all human. My investment in caring is long-standing; it is part of who I have always been. Caring what others thought kept me in miserable marriages long past the time I should have exited. Caring what others thought kept me standing and laughing with my bullies in school when I should have demanded justice. Caring what others think now keeps me from standing up sometimes and saying, “No, I will not be quite, accept your judgment or your bad behavior”, simply because I need the connection.fourwalls

I say yes when I should say no. This is true in every aspect of my life. I allow others to dictate my direction based on their need and desire without consideration of what I might need or want. My narrow shoulders carry a huge burden yet I don’t seem able to say NO. The only thing I seem able to do is crawl under the covers and allow ‘sad’ and ‘pain’ to dictate my response to ‘no more’. This reaction is new this year. As I have debrided the past it seems I have also found new ways to hide from others and myself. For a year, I have lived in chaos, emotional and environmental chaos. The ability to say either HELP ME or NO has escaped me and thus I have lived chaotically all year.

I am fooling myself, not really but yes, I am fooling myself. I have spent the last year in pain. I tell others I have a high pain threshold and thus living like this is simply ‘what it is’. That answer is frankly Bullshit. That answer is destroying my life, my marriage and my future. I do have a high pain threshold, which should not matter a whit. This year has seen me go from working with a trainer in 2011, walking fairly regularly and actually losing weight to being nearly sedentary in 2012. My body hurts, I have gained weight again, I look and feel like warmed over…..well you know. I cannot live this way. Not only is it unhealthy, I do not feel good about myself.

 There are still things I want to accomplish in this life! There are still things undone.

That is the greatest conclusion I have come to. There are still things undone. Still lessons to learn, people to meet, love to give, passions to explore, waves to ride.

I admit it, I spent yesterday beating myself up a little bit. I felt as if I had let some people down over the past year. I hadn’t always lived up to my end of the bargain in our relationships, whether marriage, friendship or business. I always knew when I failed, when I fell down; what I failed so often to do is say to them, “I am sorry, I couldn’t do what I promised”.

I have to get better at only promising what I am able to deliver. I have to get better at judging my own capabilities and capacity. That is one resolution I plan on actually working on, just trying to be a better friend, wife and business partner.

I have to get better at taking care of myself. No, not working through the pain that is only for the fools who enjoy abuse and I am long past that. I am going to find a way to reduce the pain, go back to my trainer and do something to get off my azz this year. I simply cannot live this way.

I am going to find a dream or two to follow, chase like mad even. I have them, really. I have had them for a very long time. It is past time for me to put myself on the front burner, stop saying yes to every damn-body else and say yes to me.

I am going to continue to evolve the relationships I started this past year with long lost family members, including siblings and my first mother. They require nurturing; I am going to work on that garden.

momandI

So there you have it, my non-Resolutions based on my thoughts of this past year. How was your New Years?

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