Monday, August 15, 2011

Ending The Cycle of Violence

As I lay here in my bed tonight, the largest thought looming in my mind is one of violence.  This last week, the world lost yet another woman to domestic violence.  A girl I went to high school with, but someone that I did not know.  A woman with a child.  A woman my exact age was viciously murdered by her husband.  A man that stood in front of God and made vows to protect and love and cherish her stabbed her to death in their home.  When asked why he did it, he responded that he was sick of her shit.  

Now there is a small child without either one of his parents.  A little boy who will have to grow up knowing that not only did he lose his mother too soon, but the story behind the loss.  He will never again be able to hold her hand or have her read him a bedtime story or hear her voice when he wakes up in the morning.  His children will never know the woman who would have been their grandmother.  Parents have lost their child.  Friends have lost someone who was by all accounts a bright light in their life.

And why?  For what?  When will the madness end?

Another friend was recently called out to help someone who had been savagely beaten by her boyfriend.  A man that she thought she could trust put her in the hospital.  Was there a sign of the monster behind the mask?  Was there a hint that he wasn't everything that he purported himself to be when they started dating?  Did she think that a few weeks later she would end up with broken bones, bruises and cuts and scars on the inside that will probably last her a lifetime.

This has to stop.  I don't want my own daughter to ever have to go through pain and agony at the hands of someone who claims to love her while he is putting bruises on her face or pushing her down a flight of stairs.  And maybe the only thing that I can do is to write about it, but at least it's a start.  A beginning.

So here is my story.  A story that begins the first time I remember being hurt by a man.  I was about seven years old and my sister and I were picking blackberries by the driveway to the house we lived in at the time.  As punishment, I was beaten with a leather belt until I could no longer stand.  By my stepfather.  Why?  I don't know.  But it didn't end there.  For years, we were hit.  Abused.  Hurt.  As a sophomore in high school, I was once hit so hard with a two by four that I ended up in the emergency room because he almost broke my arm with it.  By the time I was a junior, I had enough.  The last time he came after me, I kicked him in the jaw and almost broke it.  I told him that if he ever touched me again, I would have him put in jail.  I don't know where I found the strength to do that.  I was not only terrified of him, but I was afraid of what he would do to other members of my family.  I wish I could say that it was divine inspiration, but I think that at that point in my life, I didn't really care if I lived or died anymore.  I just knew that I couldn't live every day being afraid.

Since then, it would be nice to be able to say that I broke the cycle, but that would be a lie.  I have been physically, mentally and emotionally abused by men who have professed to love me.  The latter two most recently.  And I thought that it was my fault.  I let my children see me cry over a man that I thought loved me.  But how can someone love you and call you a whore and a slut and a bitch and any other combination of names that there are out there?  How could I, an intelligent successful, business-savvy woman allow a man to dictate my entire life to me?  How did I fall in that trap again?  

Not only did I fall, but I bought the bullshit hook, line and sinker.  I allowed someone else to make me feel inadequate.  I began to question myself.  I wondered if I really was the person that he made me out to be when he was angry with me.  I distanced myself from my friends and family and didn't tell them about all of the bad things because I was so embarrassed by them.  I was made to feel weak and impotent.  Like the world held nothing but bad things for me without him in it.  That I wasn't able to stand on my own two feet.  That I shouldn't really have this friend or that in my life.  That I shouldn't go do that because it reflected poorly on him.  That I should be with him every second of every day.  That he was the only person I needed.  Not my friends or my family.

While I did have moments of sanity, it seemed like every time I started to draw away and get out, I would get reeled right back in.  I would fall for the lines.  I would forgive him what really wasn't his fault in the first place.  After all, how could I be compassionate and not be forgiving?  How could I hold someone's childhood against him?  All of the lines and explanations served to undermine my own convictions and strengthen his position.

But in the end, I finally severed those ties.  I stopped the cycle of forgiving someone for something that they never regretted in the first place.  I stopped allowing myself to be used as an emotional punching bag.  Of course it was two years, a lot of words and emotions, a kick to my dog and the threatened murder of another pet later, but it finally sank in that I had to get out.  And really there is so much here that is better left unsaid.  Things that I don't even want to write about.  Feelings that I just can't let out yet because I don't want them to overwhelm me.

When I tell women to get out, I mean GET OUT!!!!  If you are afraid, trust those instincts.  Don't become another statistic.  Be strong.  Know that you really can turn to your friends and family without being ashamed.  There are places that you can go for help.  And you can always call 1-800-799-SAFE.  Especially if you think your computer use is being monitored.  

I did turn to friends.  They have held me while I have cried and had panic attacks.  They have talked me through those tears and fears and doubts and tough times.  And they have reassured me that I am strong.  It doesn't matter that I wasn't physically abused this time.  For me, I already knew I could survive the physical abuse.  It was the mental and emotional abuse that I didn't know how to walk away from.  And I think that predators sense your biggest weaknesses and fears and use them to their own advantage.

There are GOOD MEN out there.  I am not bitter.  Nor do I think that every man is evil.  Some of the greatest people in my life are men.  They are amazing friends, brothers, fathers and husbands.  They are not perfect, but they are good.  I have seen the men in my life grow over the years.  I have seen them overcome abuse in their own lives and I have seen them break the cycle as well.

I haven't cited anything that I have discussed, not because I don't want the attention turned in that direction, but because this is where I come to share my feelings.  Not to intrude on the private mourning time of others.

Just know, that a woman is not always stupid for not getting out.  It's easy to stand on the outside and judge her.  It's a lot harder to hold her hand and help pick up the pieces when she breaks.

So to all of the wonderful people out there who have helped a loved one through a time like this, I say thank you.  Thank you for being able to put your own feelings aside and stand by someone through the toughest time in their life.

Love and light,


Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Daily Annoyances

I am supremely annoyed today.  With people.  Ignorant, rude people who have no sense of responsibility or self control.  

I always say that people tend to mistake my kindness for weakness, but if I know one thing, it is that I AM NOT WEAK!  When my back is to the wall, I will and do stand up for myself.  I try my best to be a good friend and to accommodate people.  Especially now when I have plenty of time on my hands and a lot of flexibility in my personal life.  But when people constantly abuse my good nature without apology, I start to get ticked off.  I don't have time in my life for fools or users.  People who constantly take from me and never give anything back. 

Now don't get me wrong.  I don't expect a lot from people.  But when I ask someone to do something very simple for me because I am changing things around in my schedule for them and they can't do one very simple little thing, I tend to get annoyed.  And when I get annoyed, I am not going to be returning your texts or doing you favors because you have shown me exactly where I stand in the importance rankings in your life.  I don't expect to come first with the people I care about, but I do expect them to acknowledge that I have gone out of my way to help them and be respectful of my time in return.

Learn some freaking manners.  I know that in today's day and age of constant communication with technology that it wouldn't take more than 5 seconds for you to do what I asked of you, so it's not like I was asking you to give me one of your kidneys.  

No one is completely altruistic.  And while I tend to try and do anything I can for my friends and family, I absolutely refuse to be friends with and care about people who take from me any longer.  You are off of my radar.  I am irritated as shit right now in case you can't tell.  With people in general, but a few people specifically.  And no, it's not you if you're reading this.  Trust me.

Why do people think that they can walk all over me?  Do I have "doormat" tattooed on my forehead or something?  Is there some kind of pheromone that I give off that makes you think that I am an easy target?  If not, maybe I should invent something.  I shall call it Eau de Dickhead and do my best to switch scents.

I have good people in my life.  People who actually do care about me and worry about MY health and well-being.  People who call me up for advice and who try and help me before I ever have to ask for it.  But it seems like there are always a few folks on the fringes of my life who are leeching off of me and I need to cut them out completely.  

I want to live in a bullshit free zone, which means that I need to flush those turds right down the toilet, wave goodbye and let the alligators in the sewers eat them.


Goodnight, from an angry pirate.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Random Thoughts From the Drive In

Last night some I went to the local Drive In with my family and some great friends.  I hadn't been in years even though my city has one of the last remaining drive ins in the country.  I think there are less than 200 left.  After approximately 20 seconds, I remembered the million reasons why, like Wal Mart, I usually stay away from the Drive In Theater.

  1. It makes me feel strangely good about myself - to the detriment of others in attendance.  I mean I have teeth, so right there I am a leg up on everyone else.
  2. I once got caught having sex there in a Geo Metro hatchback.  I was 17 and ended up marrying the guy, but I am always afraid that someone working there is going to point at me and say "Hey remember that chick!  We busted her en flagrante delicto with a gearshift wedged in her ear.  Although she was a lot hotter at 17."  I shudder.
  3. It's basically located at the edge of a swamp, so you are continuously barraged with giant blood-sucking mosquitos that are immune to all types of bug spray.  The city once bombed them with Agent Orange and all that did was piss them off, so I always walk away with about a pint less of O Positive than I had earlier in the night.
  4. The people who built the Drive In, which I think was back when they called movies "talkies", did so in a very interesting location.  Right next to railroad tracks.  And the railroad is still alive and well.  At least in my city.  Because a train goes by like every ten minutes.
  5. The bathrooms smell like cat piss.  Really.  It's worse than the gift shop at Hemingway's house of six-toed cats in Key West.  I think the urine has aged over time to a point where it is so pervasive, if you stay in the bathroom for more than a minute, you will die of asphyxiation.
  6. Hillbillies.
  7. The Drive In turns into a flea market on Sunday Mornings and I am always fearful that one of my kids will accidentally step on a hypodermic needle from some crack-head selling used McDonalds Happy Meal toys.
  8. I end up eating the most disgusting things from the snack bar.  And then I spend Monday mornings sicking it all back up.
  9. You don't have to bring your own chairs and blankets to a real movie theater.
  10. I end up getting hit on by some freak, weirdo, pot-head who is there with his baby-mama and their 8 kids.  Really?  You are going to treat me like a princess?  Which one?  Princess Trashy McTrailerPark?

I guess now that I have trashed the Drive In, I should say something nice about it.  The only problem is, I really don't have anything nice to say.  And let's be honest.  If I went by that little gem about not saying anything if you have nothing nice to say, then I would have nothing to write about.

The only positive thing that I can really impart is that it's fun for the kids.  They really seem to enjoy being devoured by pigeon sized bugs, don't mind the constant noise from the trains and ignore the rest of the crap.  And the adults have fun chatting and laughing with each other.  

And when next year rolls around, I will conveniently forget all of the reasons why I don't go and will load up my car with chairs, blankets and illegal snack foods and go back.  Because?  It's tradition.  

Well, tradition and good material for writing.