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desperate devotion

March 11th, 2014

If today were the day that he killed you
would you wonder why you stayed?

tomorrow is not the thing
to stuff our pillows with
and hope to dream of better times.
twisted trees
if you are being physically abused
you know that you are in danger.

if you are staying in that situation
for reasons that seem good to you,
but make you wonder if you should,
consider,
that if you wait until tomorrow,
to leave,
or think about leaving,
or to try to stop the madness
you may just be too late.

for a battered woman,
there is always a chance
that tomorrow may be the day he kills you
or
that you may turn the tables
and become the thing you fear.

don’t let this desperate devotion to a failed relationship
keep you in this dangerous place.

it’s not worth it

and you might not live through it.

brutal honesty

January 16th, 2014

carmel beach treee

your brutal honesty
and painful truth
are no excuse for being just plain mean.

do you think that you are entertaining?
or, did you really mean to say those things?

I think that i will never understand
why some folks have a need to be unkind.
Does it make you feel more powerful?
Or more important,
to have some private laugh at my expense?

and then, about that time,
my emotional museum dregs up some dusty piece of trouble
from a basement closet
that opens inward, but not out. . .

blows off the dust,
shines up the lies, and those many precious good intentions,
so that I have today and yesterday to handle
all at the same time.

No, your mean spirited truth can not destroyed me,
nor will I fall apart while you slice the very air with the
sharpened knives of your unkind words.

I am older and much wiser now,
no longer will your brutal honesty break my heart to pieces.
I can live with ugly truth,
It is the lies that I find difficult to bury,
tossing my shovel full of dirt onto the hollow casket
of your love.

the winds of change

January 10th, 2014

first rose of spring

The first rose of spring has opened her petals and fairly shouted RED to the universe. We have many rose bushes, red, of course, and peach and yellow and white and pink. They are strong, independent, living creatures with purpose and joy and love to share with one another. They are beauty, and I enjoy sharing my life with them.

I’ve said before that I don’t trim the bushes down so that they are just so, I love to allow them to be wild. I let them grow tall. The beautiful red rose I saw this morning was over my head. I celebrated that for her. She is reaching for the sun and the wind and the stars. And she is amazingly beautiful.

The flowers appear so delicate, yet they survive the spring rain showers (monsoons if the truth be told); the Santa Ana winds; and the extreme heat of summer. The best thing about roses is that they thrive on healthy neglect. I don’t fuss over them. Trimming here and there.

There are no “perfect” roses or rose bushes. Each bush lives with many different stages of life and death on each branch growing out from the center. The thorns are so mysterious to me. I wonder how that came to be?

I have written before about the aging of the flower; the wrinkles in her petals, and the fading of her colors. How beautiful she is, young or old, vibrant or fading.

Their freedom is special to me. I can not explain in words, I can only reach out to you with my heart, because if you read here, you know why I leave them wild.

I do not cut them. I do not bring them into the house, to die in pretty vases filled with water, simply for my pleasure. I encourage them to live. I talk to them. Sometimes I take pictures of them. I hope they don’t mind.

They grow more beautiful and vibrant every day; until they begin to tire and long for the next stage of their becoming. I let them pass to the next world exactly as they have lived. Freely. In the sun and the wind and the rain.

uphill, both ways

November 20th, 2013

dreamscape small2Abuse hurts.

Would you allow an employer, a neighbor, a friend or another family member to berate and batter you the way your abuser does?

You wouldn’t do it with your best friend: “I’m so sorry that I was late for our lunch date. Please don’t hit me this time.”

You wouldn’t pick up your paycheck and say: “I know you didn’t mean to give me the black eye, I’ll be back tomorrow, right on time.”

No, of course you wouldn’t. Why do you keep taking it from someone who says he loves you?

Realizing that you are in a violent relationship is often the steepest part of that uphill trek. We rationalize, make excuses, and blame ourselves. Finally, when denial has failed us and we are staring straight at the truth without flinching, we are faced with the next uphill battle: what to do about it.

Thousands of women would tell you the same thing I am going to tell you.
Run.
Leave.
Get out.
Don’t go back for anything.

The thousands of women who were killed by their abusers can’t tell you anything at all.

grandmother’s gift

September 8th, 2013

petals

What happened to me is not who I am.
I will decide who I am.


Recently I was privileged to read an account, written by my elderly aunt, of her memories of a family reunion when she was just a child.

Her story was lively, full of the details a young girl would notice, now seen through aging eyes. She talked about the many differences between her own family’s life in the city and the lives of her grandmother and aunts and uncles and cousins, deep into the red mud of Mississippi.

It was fascinating to learn something about how they lived on their small farms, the sense of community they all had, the way they helped each other. She saw her widowed grandmother as a strong woman whose faith was unwavering, a woman who was up to any task that was put before her. They had nothing fancy, but they had love, and they had each other.

My favorite part of the story was something my aunt wrote about some difficulty she was facing in her own life many years later.

“I am Mary Jane Wasson’s granddaughter. I can get through this!”

Is it coincidence that my sisters and I say nearly the same thing to each other, and have for many years? “I am a Wasson girl.” It is all I need to be reminded that I have whatever it takes to handle anything that needs to be done. It gives me a sense of belonging, of having the power of all of those grandmothers who live in my soul.

We are who we have become, and yet, we are also what we are made of. The determination of my great-grandmother can be found in my aunts and my sisters and my cousins, and in me. Her strength is her gift to us, and I claim it as my own.

dying for love

July 13th, 2013

So, you think that you still love your abuser?
Really?
You think that you can work it out with patience and kindness?
Or maybe you think that you can handle it, until it gets better.

beach music

Counseling might help.
Forgiveness might work.

Or not.

If you think that calling 911 on your cell phone will protect you from your abuser in a real emergency, I hope that you will reconsider. Immediately.

Here is a link to an article published in the New York Times about Philadelphia police changing the way they deal with domestic abuse calls in their city. It’s from December 30, 2009, and I’ve published it in this blog before, but its message is timeless.

Here are the cold, hard facts:

“Commissioner Giorgio-Fox added that 21 of the 35 domestic homicide victims [of 2009] had made a total of 178 calls to the police, and that some of the callers had restraining orders against the individuals suspected or convicted of killing them.”

Every one of them are dead.
Thirty-five domestic violence deaths, in ONE year, in ONE city.

They do not get another chance to reconcile, be patient, forgiving, or work things out.

How much abuse do you want to take?
Do you want to stay until the bitter end?
Threats are not always empty.
Promises are sometimes kept.

I repeat myself here, but I hope that, if you are in danger, and if you know, deep down, that you need to leave, you will reach out to your community and locate a shelter. Get away while there is still a chance for you to do so. Don’t wait until there is a gun pointed at your head to realize that you are in a bad situation. Domestic violence is already a bad thing. Don’t wait for it to get worse. And, please, don’t expect it to get better.

There is hope.
There is help.
Please get out before it is too late.

Domestic Violence escalates – it’s a fact.
Don’t make excuses.

Your stuff isn’t worth your life.
The holidays aren’t worth your life.
Waiting for a good time to leave might be deadly.

The excuses will kill you.

No kidding.

the flowers

June 4th, 2013

“I bought some sunflowers, they were so cheerful.”

I can’t buy them. I can’t even cut them.
We have roses. . .

“You hear the flowers screaming . . .”

Yes, I do. (How did you know?)

Pacific Grove coast in May

come back, Mister Boyfriend

December 28th, 2012

In our second lifetime, post abuse, my girls and I lived in a small, two bedroom, second-floor apartment. During the summer, new tenants moved in across from us. A woman and a little girl.
bw peach

I don’t remember when I started to notice that something was very wrong over there. It seems like maybe it was a Sunday morning. I heard the woman berating the girl. This wasn’t just “pick up your toys” or “go make your bed” – this was really ugly character assassination. The girl was probably eight years old. I was weak in the knees. Sick to my stomach. The verbal abuse shook me violently back into the ugliness that we had so recently escaped.

I struggled with “what to do” for several weekends. There was no way to avoid hearing the mom, she had a voice like a train coming through a tunnel. As far as I could tell, there was no physical violence. The child didn’t seem afraid, just sort of withdrawn and quiet. Now, where had I seen that behavior before?

I wanted so badly to go over there and do something, say something, anything at all, to break the spell. How do you tell a child to go to a Shelter? Can’t do that. Do you call Child Services and risk the mother thinking the child made the call? What if the mother gets violent? What will I have then done to help the child? Nothing. I will have made it worse.

I suppose that I could have tried to befriend the woman. Tried to find some way to help her. I knew the pressures of being a single mom. I certainly could understand what she was going through. But, I failed. Miserably. I never got up the nerve to face that abuser. I cried and paced the floor and waited for it to pass. Just like I used to do.

About the third or fourth Sunday morning, it was quiet. I could hear talking, but no yelling. Nothing that sounded angry or mean. There was a man in the apartment. They were cooking breakfast together and chatting like they were enjoying each other’s company. The window was open. Soon, they were sitting at the table together like a family. Quiet. Happy. Just normal stuff.

Mr. Boyfriend was there for several more weekends. There was no yelling. The woman was happy. The girl was still quiet, and I had stopped crying about the situation.

Then, one Sunday morning, I heard the yelling again. I knew right away that Mr. Boyfriend was gone. I prayed to God to please bring Mr. Boyfriend back so the little girl would be happy. God, of course, was silent. Days and days and days I prayed. Mr. Boyfriend appeared to be well and truly gone.

Then, a few days later I noticed that they were gone. Moved out. What could I do for that little girl now? Absolutely nothing! Now I could cry and pace and be sick to my stomach without knowing where they were or what was happening. I prayed that they were with Mr. Boyfriend, somewhere.

That little girl is a woman now. I hope with my entire heart that she has found something to love about herself, something to be proud of. And, I hope that she has become someone who loves, not someone who hates.

I would like to think that, given a few more days, or weeks, I would have overcome my PTSD over the situation and tried to approach the mother, or come up with some other possible way to help the child. As it is, I am still disappointed in myself for doing nothing. I should have been able to do something, I just still don’t know what that would have been.

normal

December 24th, 2012

If you are being physically abused,
you probably know, on some level, that you are in danger.

You may not want to face that danger.
You may decide to wish it away, soul song (detail)
pretend it doesn’t exist,
but what you may not know
is how close you might be to terminal violence.

About one-third of women who are murdered
are killed by their lovers, or their husbands –
not by some random bad-guy
who just wants to hurt somebody who looks like you.

If you are being emotionally or verbally abused,
you may not even realize that your life isn’t normal.

Well, okay, what’s normal anyway?
Normal is feeling unafraid.
If you can say that you are unafraid
then you probably have a healthy relationship.
If you have to think about it – then think about getting out.

Someone who hurts another person is not “normal.”
You can never find normal with a person who hurts or harms
or beats their way through life.

There is no shame in leaving this kind of relationship. Take a look at this synopsis of a larger article from www.mendingthesoul.org (there is a link below). This site is just perfect for someone who believes (as I did) that God required me to stay with my abuser, no matter what, because we were married. I believed that I would somehow fail the Creator of the Universe if I couldn’t stand being tortured any longer. Anybody else in that boat? Come on, take a look at this article. It is going to change your life!

God’s covenantal design for marriage is broken by abuse, and Scripture does not mandate that an abused wife must remain married to an abuser; therefore, the body of Christ is called to model God’s compassion toward abused women through effective strategies designed to meet the needs of women who are trying to escape abusive relationships. 

from: MendingTheSoul.org The article is rather lengthy, but the synopsis is only about half a page, and worth reading for sure.

Good tidings of the season to each of you. Blessings and Love to you, and I wish you lovely and very normal holidays.

belonging

September 3rd, 2012

belonging
is not so much what matters,
as participating.

if i participate in my own life,
who can tell me whether i belong?
and to what?

purple flowers

whether i am part of you,
or any part of anyone else,
if, at the very least, i am being me,
then all is not lost.
I am someone.
I am not nothing.

what draws a woman to a man who berates her?
to a person who takes power over her?
what flame is that with such power over us?

and, why,
tell me,
is there always a “next” man?

why are we not content to be solitary?
to live with our books or our pets or our gardens?

what draws the battered woman to the batterer?
who can tell that truth with a straight face?

I do not know the answer.
I wonder, if, just perhaps,
it is the need to be accepted,
or approved of
in spite of feeling unloved and unlovable.

if we did not need to know whether anyone approved of us
we would not care whether we were acceptable
we would not grovel
or pray
or beg for acceptance in the face of terrible rejection.

by this time, rejection should be a celebration
not a fear.
if the batterer rejects us for our many (imagined) crimes,
or for our (even more and terrible) sins,
or our disgusting ugliness,
then we should rejoice!

the problem that i always found
was that while the batterer would often beat his chest
and demand retribution for wrongs done against him,
he never actually walked out the door.
that was left to me.

so, I will tell you, with every ounce of truth in my soul,
if you are being battered, and you need to leave
to save your life
or your soul, or both,
then YOU need to do it.

he will just keep battering you and lugging his cave-man club around until you finally get it.
he is not a reasonable man
he is not evolved
he is a creature who loves pain and killing and hurt

so, why does belonging matter?
i don’t remember.
i hope that you will free yourself
before belonging becomes more important than your life.
because if it does,
that will likely be the cost.