Archive | August 2014

The Neighbors (preferable)

Continuing on the topic of The Neighbors, I completely understand that stepping into a situation that you are unsure of is not easy.  Especially when it comes to something as scary as Domestic Violence.  It’s not easy from a woman’s perspective – fearing if the man is actually violent he could try to attack her too.  As I’m sure it’s not easy from a man’s perspective – being equally concerned that if the man in question is violent what could the repercussion be for interfering.

That being said, I take it with a grain of salt that no one has ever stepped in on my behalf.  It’s one of those things that would probably have to be acted upon without thought, in the spur of the moment, if you happened upon the situation going on before your very eyes.

Somewhere deep inside me, I imagine there are hurt feelings.  Do my neighbors not suspect?  Do they not care?  Does everyone just care about what goes on in their own home?  Enough that they wouldn’t even attempt to offer a kind word?  From one woman to another?

I guess my emotional state has hardened over the years because, honestly, at this point in time, I don’t really care.  I’ve been on my own for a very long time.  On my own – out of my parents home – and on my own in a marriage that I’ve had to survive on a daily basis.  The lack of care from my neighbors stemming from 1988 is  the least of my concerns.  However, in writing my story from a different perspective, this would have been a nice conversation…

Female Neighbor 1:  I think I’m going to approach her and speak to her. Let her know if she needs to talk, I’d listen.

Female Neighbor 2:  That’s a good idea.  If you want I’ll do it with you, so she’ll know there are more than one of us she could turn to.

Female Neighbor 1:  (Talking to me)  Can we talk to you for a minute?  I’ve actually been wanting to speak to you about this for a while but didn’t know how to.  Please hear us out.

Female Neighbor 2:  (Talking to me)  We are concerned for your safety.  I’m sure you know most of the block can hear you guys arguing.  It sounds like he gets pretty angry.  A lot.

Female Neighbor 1:  We don’t want to assume what is going on in your home.  We just want you to know if you ever need to talk we are totally here for you.  Anytime.

Female Neighbor 2:  I’ve heard some of the things your husband says and it frightens me.  Even if you’re not scared, I’m scared for you.  It’s not right.

Female Neighbor 1:  Please don’t take it the wrong way, but if you are ever in real danger, you can knock on my door.  You and your kids.

Female Neighbor 2:  Even if it’s just arguing, I can’t imagine how you can listen to that day after day.

Female Neighbor 1:  Let your kids know where I live.

Female Neighbor 2:  Me too.  This way if there is serious danger and you can’t get out maybe one of them can ring our doorbell.

Female Neighbor 1:  I’m sure you were not expecting this conversation on your way to wherever you are going.  I’m sorry if we upset you.

Female Neighbor 2:  As women we need to stick together and help one another.  We’d be wrong if we just stood by and said nothing.

Female Neighbor 1:  If we’re out of line, I apologize.

Female Neighbor 2:  Same here.  I’d rather be wrong and say something than to be right and say nothing.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I’m not really sure what my reaction to this type of conversation would have been.  I guess it depends on what time in my life it would have taken place. Now that I’m older and wiser, it would be a kind offering to have had this said to me.

I’m sure that someone somewhere at some point in time has said some portion of this conversation to a person who truly needed it.  To those people I say…thank you.  I guarantee it was appreciated.

————————————————-

To read from the beginning… my story starts here.

The Neighbors

Over the years, I’ve often wondered what the people surrounding me knew or thought they knew about my situation.  Especially in the early years, when things were always happening and whatever was happening was always…loud.

In our first apartment, my landlord lived downstairs from us, and the floor, ceiling, walls were…thin!  They once called and asked me to lower the radio because it was too loud.  I was always conscious of the level of noise and the music was nowhere near loud but my living room was over their bedroom so I could understand that any noise is accentuated while you are trying to sleep.

We were a young couple, 18 and 23, our landlords being probably mid 30’s at the time.  So I’m sure they had their own opinions.  They argued too but nothing remotely near what was going on upstairs.

There were many neighbors on the block that we lived but we didn’t really mingle with any of them.  Most of our friends were work related or people I knew forever.  He didn’t keep many friends.  Over the 4 to 5 year span of us living there, the number of my friends started to dwindle, which is what happens with these types of relationships.

As I had mentioned in my post, Refreshed & Ready, I have been thinking about this story [of my life] and telling it from a different perspective.  This style is a far less accurate account being as it’s what I presume people may have been saying about me.

Many times in the past 25 years, I have walked down the streets where I’ve lived and passed by my neighbors with a polite, bright eyed greeting such as, “Good morning.” or “Hi, how are you?”  Always with just as polite a response back to me.

We’ve lived in our current home now for 17 years.  And although the physical issues have truly lessened since the first half of the marriage, the verbal abuse has always been loud and proud.  In fact, he has always said – during our arguments – he gets louder on purpose so when I walk out of my house I can be embarrassed.  What he never realized is that…I never was.  I have no idea why, but I held my head up and acted like there was no issue.  To those I would speak to, sometimes I’d add in a joke (if the topic allowed) and would mention how he would argue over anything (never alluding to abuse – just in his being an idiot) or how he is so loud “As I’m sure you can all hear.”, followed by a hearty bout of laughter.

What I’ve always wondered though, is what do they say about me when I walk away from that greeting or that quick and witty conversation?  This is what I imagine…

Female Neighbor 1:  They argue all the time. I hear her husband screaming at the top of his lungs almost every day.

Female Neighbor 2:  I know.  I always here him as I pass by coming home from work.  I’m pretty sure he hits her.

Female Neighbor 1:  Definitely.  He sounds like a psycho.  I wouldn’t doubt it.

Female Neighbor 2:  Yeah. For sure.  I’ve even heard him screaming how he’ll kill her “if”…whatever they may be arguing about that particular day.  I usually hear him say she didn’t clean or water the plants.

Female Neighbor 1:  Who would stay married to a person like that?  If my husband ever spoke to me like that I’d be getting a divorce!  Let alone if he actually laid a hand on me!! Forget it.  I’d be arrested for sure.

Female Neighbor 2:  I know, right.  Everyone argues but they’re the only people I can hear clearly from down the block.  I feel bad for her but she must love him or something because she’s still there.

Female Neighbor 1:  Either that or she’s just stupid.  Why would you want to be around someone like that?  My son went to school with their oldest daughter.  She’s really a smart kid.

Female Neighbor 2:  All their kids are smart from what I hear and they’re really so well behaved.

Female Neighbor 1:  Who wouldn’t be with a father like that?

Female Neighbor 2:  That’s true.

Female Neighbor 1:  I’m surprised she even talks to anyone on the block.  I’d be embarrassed it I was her.  She has to know we hear what goes on.

Female Neighbor 2:  Of course she knows.  I would never let on that I’ve heard anything though.  That’s not my business.

Female Neighbor 1:  My husband has mentioned hearing him and says if he ever saw him yelling at her in public he’d punch him in the face.  I tell him he better not.  That’s none of our concern.

Female Neighbor 2:  Exactly.  Especially if he hits her.  If she wants to be with a man like that…let her.  She obviously likes it.  She’s still there.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I’m sure someone somewhere has said some portion of this conversation at some point in time.  To those people I say…thank you.  I appreciate your help.

————————————————-

To read from the beginning… my story starts here.

Quietly Hiding

I’ve been thinking a lot lately. More than usual, I guess. In doing so, what I have come to realize is that for more than half of my life, I’ve been in hiding. It sounds ridiculous, I know. Just the overall general statement of it…I’ve been in hiding. What does that even mean?

How can someone be in hiding if they go to work everyday, have friends and family that they speak to regularly, go out with said friends and family – shopping, for lunch or dinner, visit at their house, eventually mingling with parents at school and having play dates and birthday parties for their children. To me, none of these things go hand in hand with someone who is – in hiding.

The problem is, I had no idea. It never occurred to me. Even if someone came up to me back then and called me right out on it, I’d think they were nuts. My response would likely have been, “Who the hell am I hiding from…and why?” Heck, if someone would have called me out on it last year my reaction would probably have been the same.

Here is the sad truth…

The definition of the word hiding (as per Merriam Webster Dictionary):

1. a) To put out of sight: secrete
    b) To conceal for shelter or protection: shield
2. To keep secret.
3. To screen from or as if from view: obscure
4. To turn (the eyes or face) away in shame or anger.

Wow. I don’t think it really sunk in – not even until this very moment – when I read the legit definition. All of that…has been the story of my life. That’s pretty sad. Admitting to it really doesn’t make it any better. It’s still sad.

No matter how outgoing and happy and funny the “real me” was on the outside to everyone who knew ME – the [other me] was always hyper vigilant to keep the signs of what was happening at home under wraps.

It’s funny, as children we keep secrets all the time. Whispering in the ears of our friends…”Shh, don’t tell.” Little minor baby secrets. Harmless stuff. Who can even remember what secrets we told that we thought were such a matter of life and death back then…”If you tell I won’t ever speak to you again!

Barely out of that secret telling stage of life, at 17 years old, here I was keeping a whole new set of secrets. Adult sized secrets. But these, these were not being shared. No one was allowed in. I kept my new secrets to myself and I never thought I’d share them with anyone, let alone…everyone.

It’s been almost a year since I (anonymously) came out of hiding. I anxiously dumped all of my secrets out and let you rummage through them. I wouldn’t change that decision – ever. It was a heavy burden lifted and…they needed to be dusted off anyway.

————————————————-

To read from the beginning… my story starts here.

Refreshed & Ready

Hey everyone. I’m back. I didn’t really go anywhere, just needed a blogging break so I took the summer off. Writing about this topic is so exhausting, most especially when you’re telling your own story. Usually it ends up being totally therapeutic and quite the emotional release. Other times, depending on the details, it is mentally draining.

In my self imposed down time, I’ve been deciding how I was going to come back and broach this topic. My past is already out there and I’m not sure how much more can be added to it. Honestly, I’m tired of thinking about it. There’s only so much purging a person can do until they’re completely on empty.

Until I’m able to actually get my therapy on, I’ve decided to write my story from a different perspective. Maybe it will help to churn up any other underlying emotions that are beneath the surface that I’m not aware of. I’ve got a few ideas but I’m not exactly sure how it’s going to come out until I’m in the zone…so just bear with me.

I’m refreshed and ready to go. xo