Tag Archive | friendship

Goals

goals

It has been close to 30 years since I was first struck by the man who would become my husband. After numerous brutal beatings, three children, non-stop threats of murder if I dare leave, in addition to my own prayers for my life to end so I could be free of the abuse…somehow, I survived.

The depth of my fear, fueled by my hate, gave me a pinpointed focus to raise my children and upon the last turning 18… get the hell out! Well, that time is upon me.

I’ve been counting down the days for way longer than I can remember.  Once they became a realistic number, I thought to myself… this is about to get real.  FAST!  Then before I knew it, the days went from 365 to less than half of that number, to within the same calender year and now… mere weeks.  Now, mental preparation.

There is still so much to get done before I go.  Loose ends to tie up.  People I want to explain my inevitable absence to.  And then there is my family.  I allowed my sister and mother to enter into my secret life and read my blog.  When they had a full understanding of my life thus far they seemed genuinely distressed over what I had been through.  My parents had only known about one episode early on but I did a good enough job hiding the life I endured that they had no idea it continued, most especially not for 25+ years.

Since absorbing that I most definitely do intend to go through with my exit plan, my mother and sister seem (to me) to be more concerned about what they need to do to protect themselves than they are about anything I will be going though.  The words, “how can we help” have yet to be spoken.  As these last days are closing in, these words, or lack thereof, have shaken me.  Although I do have friends that have offered their help, I can’t help but feel very much alone.  I’ve been taken back to a mental state where I need to fend for myself, and fear has kicked in.  Worst of all, every specific I had planned for this exit, I now feel unsure about.  I’m second guessing, feeling anxious and deciding whether or not I need to make changes.

On another note, I work from home.  I guess that being helpful or hurtful is up for debate but the point is, I work.  And I do so for many hours a day.  Yet, like many, many others, I live from check to check.  I have been able to put some money to the side for this event.  However, I did not start doing so until the end date was too close for comfort realizing I was broke.  So yeah, my resolution…save something…anything!  I am very much aware that is not nearly enough.  This has added panic on to every other emotion I’m feeling.

How the hell, where the hell, what the hell…am I going to do?  I do not like borrowing.  I’ve had to in the past and it’s just so uneasy for me.  I know I’m not the only one that feels that way.  Unrelated to financial issues, when asking for help – on any level – I’ve been let down more often than not.  So even being here right now, asking, begging, is surreal.  This is so uncomfortable and I apologize for even attempting to have the audacity to think anyone….everyone… doesn’t have a million other things more important to donate money to than me.

I am not even close to a special case.  There are so many of us.  Abuse victims.  And although I haven’t felt like a “victim” for a long time – due to my abuser’s very painful rheumatoid arthritis (lucky me) – Now, I am just a victim of my own poor financial planning.  I don’t even know where to start in asking people to donate, or what an appropriate amount is to ask for.  All I can think of is that if I can afford to pay rent for at least six months, then maybe I can be less stressed about the initial “hiding” period.  My son will be with me and I am not going to be ready for either one of us to be out and about, at least not for the first month or so.  I need to make sure we are completely safe.

This is going to be the hardest thing I’ve ever pulled off.  If there is just one aspect of it that I don’t have to worry over, I would be beyond appreciative.  Once I am fully free, paying it forward will be in using my voice and being as loud as possible for those of us that are still in hiding.  It has been 30 years since I was abused by someone who claimed to love me, and it is clear that this epidemic is far from over.  It’s not even close to ending with me; there are so many others out there.  Every anonymous account needs a voice.  A new fight I look forward to getting into head on.

For those of you who find it in your heart to donate anything to me… I thank you in advance and will be forever grateful.  If you are unable to donate, please share this on your social media.  XOXO

Click here to read my full story.

Meanwhile…

…back at the ranch.

This seems like as good a time as any to update y’all on what’s been going on.  Before you get too excited, my address hasn’t changed.  Rest assured, when that day arrives the accompanying blog post title will be straight to the point with something like…I’ve Moved or My New Address Is or more appropriately…It’s Finally Over! Nevertheless, there are a few things that have been happening in between all of the poetry sessions and lack of [this is my life] blogging.

So. In the proper order, last month, my blog turned 2 years old. What?  How have I been blogging for two years?  How have I been talking about this Godforsaken subject for two years?  And how the hell have I still been here for two years?  I know.  Except what I see is… oh man, those two years FLEW by and I can smell the finish line!  I know it’s hard to really fathom how and why I’m still here but I’ve discussed that already.  And in all honesty, the violence is no longer there and there are minimal to no verbal outbursts at this point in time. So it’s really like sitting in a waiting room watching the clock with the stereotypical grumpy elderly folk we see on television who complain about everything.  In fact, funnily enough, while I’m doing the necessary legwork for my exit, he seems to be in a nesting phase for the future of “growing old together”.  It’s really pathetically entertaining because I already know how the show ends.

Something else new and exciting (NOT) that has happened is that I turned 45 this month.  I know, how joyous.  It’s all good because I still feel super young.  Probably younger than I should which must be a good thing, right?  For longevity and all that.  And even though I consider myself pretty keen already, I’m really starting to get into the endless possibilities that the future holds.  It’s not just about living my life, this life, free from drama.  Now it’s more like…what else is there?  What have I been holding myself back from that I may have not even realized.  Even the smallest nuance of change will be a big thing.  And with each little thing will be an ever evolving me.  A friend of mine always says he’s a work in progress. Now I get it.

Okay, now hold on to your seats because this one is a biggie.  If you’ve been following me since the beginning or have read my story in full or are just happening upon this blog for the first time…you’ll get it.  Look at the title of my blog.  I just turned 45.  This has been my life for the last 28 years. I knew the time was approaching.  I could feel it coming.  I wasn’t sure how the hell I was going to do it or what I was going to say but… I told my mother.

I know.  You’re like…she totally already knew.  Yes and no.  She knew of an incident that happened in the past.  She knew I left to go to the shelter a million years ago.  And she knew he was an a-hole.  But she had no idea to what extreme. And she sure didn’t know it’s been going on this long.  I was concerned about telling her because I didn’t know how she’d react to some of the things I discussed about my past.  People have a funny way of interpreting the written word.  I didn’t want anything I wrote to sound as if I was blaming anyone else, especially her, for my predicament.

The day after my birthday, I spoke to my mother on the phone.  I told her that I had a secret.  I reassured her that I was not ill and I figured I’d lighten the mood and told her not to worry that I wasn’t going to “become Bruce”.  With that, I explained how no one ever knew that I liked to write and that I’ve been writing since I was a teenager.  I told her that I started blogging a couple of years ago and that I felt like now was the appropriate time to share it with her.  I didn’t mention the topic.  I had shared the blog with my sister a few months ago and she was with my mother so she was there as a sort of buffer.  Then I waited three long days until she read it in it’s entirety.

My sister seemed optimistic when I told her I was ready to share it. She was glad I was ready.  I was nervous but hopeful.  After writing about it for the past two years, I feel somewhat detached from it now.  Like, this is more of a story to me than the reality of it being my life.  So when my mother called, I was almost more concerned about the writing critique than about the overall horror of this breaking news.  I knew it was going to impact her.  I kept checking with my sister to see if my mother was okay while she was reading it.  Being a mother myself, it’s almost more painful knowing after the fact that your child went through something so unimaginable and even though you were right there you had no idea of their despair.  So I knew her emotions would take her all over the place.

You can all breathe a sigh of relief.  I’m not really sure what negativity I anticipated but her response was anything but.  We live in different states so it’s hard to really discuss this openly  now without being interrupted by people on both ends walking in and out of the rooms we’re in.  I’m thinking a more in depth face to face conversation is in the near future.  All and all it was a positive response. Another huge bolder has been lifted off of my chest. Another person knows and I’m still breathing. Another person who knows ME knows.  The wall is getting lower.  That’s almost as scary as the actual departure!

Now that I am older and wiser (not THAT much older – or wiser), I can see a lot of the err of my ways.  The biggest is… I chose to stay silent.  If you don’t act as if you need help, how can anyone know it should be offered?  I was a pro at covering up mental and physical warfare.  So for anyone that may have known of even one incident or suspected any future incidents, I tried my hardest to keep it hidden so that I would never be confronted by anyone. Either for fear of having to admit it and be embarrassed that it was happening or for fear that they’d try to help me leave and then all hell would break loose.  The same hell that I had been trying to keep from happening since day one.  So I slowly removed the possibility of anyone finding out by just removing mostly everyone from my life.  I kept it down to the bare minimal and the further the better.

Friends and family at arms length worked best for me.  Over the phone relationships were even better.  That way, I was able to breathe.  No sudden pop ins.  No expected dinner and drinks at my house.  In living that way for so long it became normal.  So much so that people would joke with me that they were going to pull a drop in.  I would laugh.  It was all funny ha ha but I would be physically panicking.  What if they were serous?  For years my abuser wouldn’t care about arguing in front of other people.  of course nothing insane.  Just him having an a-hole opinion about one thing or another to show how he was a big mouth.  So to avoid the possibility of that, I would just shut it all down.  Lights out.  Television off.  Everyone in one room.  No one goes near the door.  Don’t even open the refrigerator so the light doesn’t go on.

Nowadays, I think about how it will be living on my own.  Mostly, I look forward to the silence and in all honesty, being alone.  I’ll probably be like that for a while.  However, once the dust settles, I think it will be easy to merge back into “society” so to speak.  Life on the other side of 45, seems to be bright and shiny.  I’ve got a lot of catching up to do…God help society.  🙂

This Guy I Know

There’s this guy I know who has been a part of my life since we were about 8 years old. We went to school together all the way through high school and then lost touch. He went off to college and I became a mother. We didn’t see or speak to each other again until 20 years later, and there was no one I was more excited to see than him.

You know how when you’re a little kid, and you have your bestest friend ever or someone you will call on to come play outside or confide all your secrets to – well, that wasn’t him. However, if you were to make a list of friends from your childhood of kids you always thought were in your “circle” that you never minded if they were around or part of the group or just in eyeshot…he was always on that list. I guess there was just an air about him that I picked up on back then. Something that I would never be able to explain as a child, or a teenager – just an innate sense that there was something.

Over the years, I often wondered about him. If he was still in the same area, whether or not he got married, had a family, moved out of state. You may recall, before all the social networks, there was a website called “Classmates”. It allowed you to put your name in a database according to the school you went to and the year you graduated. I believe you had the option to make your information public in case people wanted to get in touch with you or you could click on the names of registered people and the website would send them an email letting them know so and so is looking for you. When I signed up on that site, he was one of the first people I looked for.

It’s now been just about 7 years since our renewed friendship and I would never have been able to predict just how important he’s become to me. I can’t imagine going any significant amount of time without speaking to him – which is mostly via text because he is always working. Even when he’s on vacation with his family for only a week, I am losing my mind waiting for him to get back so I can tell him whatever funny or dramatic story happened while he was inaccessible.

He has without a doubt become my bestest friend ever. He probably doesn’t believe me when I tell him that he is the only person on Earth that knows 99.9% of everything about me. There’s just some sort of connection that made me so comfortable in confiding things to him that I would not tell anyone else. In short, he’s become my confidant, my listening ear, my guru, my therapist, my consigliere, and more importantly – my family.  Whatever the topic may be, there’s always some piece of sound advice that he gives that just makes more sense in the way he says it than if I were to have thought of it myself.

Now, I’d like to say I am all this and more to him, I’m sure on some level I am. After all, he’s a man and men don’t always pour out their feelings and emotions the way women do. But when he does, I appreciate the fact that he is letting me see a side to him that I’m sure he keeps out of view from others. It’s rare that you really get a glimpse into what a man feels and thinks, and it’s actually very endearing.  And it makes me feel extra special when he let’s his guard down with me.

The hard part about this friendship is that we live in different states and so I don’t get to see him often. He doesn’t get time for too many phone calls because his job is beyond ridiculous and he’s basically always working. Plus, being in my current situation, I can’t really just pick up the phone and talk to another man without it causing some type of fallout – unless of course it’s a relative. Also, probably as a result of being in my situation, I feel a certain level of consideration for his wife’s feelings because I wouldn’t want her to think there was anything more than a sincere friendship, so I don’t bother him when he’s on family time. Not to mention, from a woman’s viewpoint, I don’t know that I’d be so comfortable with my man (of the future) being on the phone with another woman, even if I knew her and was friends with her, no matter how innocent.

With all of the above being said, this post is being written as part of #BeWoW which stands for Be Wonderful on Wednesday. In which we are asked to share something inspirational, motivational, encouraging or something that just brings a feeling of wonderful to our lives. This friendship is all of that to me and so much more, and although I try to sneak that in there every once in a while, I’m not sure he gets it. So, why not post for the world to see?

I’m letting you know, ever so publicly, that you truly mean the world to me and I am so grateful to God for reconnecting us. There has not been one day that has passed that I am not aware that there is a reason and purpose for you being such a strong presence in my life – and I am beyond blessed for that. You are a wonderful human being, a wonderful man, son, brother, husband, father and friend.  I hope you know and believe that.  It’s something you should be told often and by many.  I am also fully aware that you are gonna have at me with this, telling me how sensitive I am – that’s fine – I can take it. 🙂

For everyone else who reads this, my advice to you is to let the wonderful people in your life know what they mean to you – whether it be a friend or family or someone you only know on social media. If they make you feel wonderful…let them know and reciprocate.

Have a Wonderful Wednesday!

Right > Wrong

Apparently, I’m always right.  Well, at least most of the time I am.  I didn’t always have this – gift.  I don’t know how it happens, it just does.  Of course, it also depends on who I’m dealing with.  If I tried to figure out where it stems from, I couldn’t pinpoint it.  However, my guess would be that after so many years of dealing with a person who wanted me to shut up 9 times out of 10 and thought I was lying every time I opened my mouth, it taught me to keep it shut unless I knew what I was talking about and could prove what I said was true.

Plus, with age comes wisdom.  And since there came a point where I didn’t want to speak to the other adult in the house I just watched television, the news, the dreaded shows we hated as kids that taught us about history, geography, etc. And of course with technology, everything we want to know is at our fingertips.  Not to mention having to keep up with the Kardashians.

Now, in no way am I saying I’m this uber smart person.  In fact, this post is mostly tongue in cheek.  The point I’m trying to get to is that…since I’m so used to being the right one I sometimes come off as {some would say} – cynical.  That too depends on the topic and the person I’m dealing with.

However, I do enjoy proving I’m right, most especially when there is a disbeliever about whatever the topic is.  (i.e. The difference between seltzer, club soda and carbonated water.)  That being said, when I’m wrong I do admit to it.  And now it’s become a sort of game with my friends, that when I’m wrong they get to hear the oh so coveted…

“You were right and I was wrong.”

They LOVE when I have to say it.  I will say it when it’s due but that just fuels me up to make sure that same person never hears it again.  Although, once hearing me say it also fuels them up to try and get to hear it again and again.

One of those pain in the neck friends is not only getting it again but he’s getting a big fat post about it.  So this one is for YOU…

YOU WERE RIGHT and I WAS WRONG!

That’s two in a row and I’m not enjoying having to say it.  Do NOT get used to it! 🙂

This Is Why I Didn’t Tell You He Was Beating Me

As I read this article, almost every sentence rang true.  Memories were jumping up at me, reminding me of the shame I felt and the excuses I used.  Although, I’m not sure that I could ever say for sure that any of my friends felt the way this woman assumes her friend felt.  Maybe now but not back then.

I know for sure one of my friends that I’ve known for as long as I can remember knew about the abuse.  She even mentioned it in a letter she wrote me during one of our own disagreements.  She matter-of-factly threw it in my face.  Not once did she seem concerned and if she ever was, she never showed it.  Not once did she ever offer sympathy or a shoulder to lean on or verbalize that if there was anything she could do to help to let her know.  Never.  Just her one statement.

Would I have accepted help?  Doubtfully.  I was so caught up in the fear of the wrath my abuser would unleash at the mere possibility of my leaving.  Any devastation caused by his hands would surely be on my hands.  That is a big part of why I stayed put for so long.  I figured, I knew how to handle him.  I knew what angered him.  In other words, I knew how to play the game.  If I could keep him at bay then everyone else around me had no need to get involved.

However, a few years later, when I left to go to the women’s shelter – and subsequently left there the same night – I had called her.  She and her boyfriend took the 3 hour drive to come and get me and my daughter.  No questions asked.  I stayed with them that night and returned home the next day.  After that, things went back to normal and nothing was ever mentioned again.  My abuser had no idea where I went or that they had helped me in any way.  I’m sure she was not too happy with my decision but she didn’t say it.  Needless to say, our friendship eventually drifted apart.  Last we spoke was about ten years ago.

Little did I know that all these years later I’d be sharing my story or that I’d be okay with (some) of my own personal friends knowing the hell I’ve been through.  I sometimes think about my friend and letting her read this blog.  I’m sure she didn’t know the extent of the nonsense that was going on.  So at the very least, it would explain some of my behavior.

For those of us that have been involved in a Domestic Violence situation, most of our behavior can be explained in this one article…

This Is Why I Didn’t Tell You He Was Beating Me
Originally posted in Dame Magazine

When I fled my abusive relationship for the last time (yes, I left and went back), one of the first things my well-meaning friends and family asked was why I never told them what was happening to me.

“Why didn’t you say something,” they’d ask, looking concerned and confused.  “I could have helped you. I could have done something!”

And I believe them. Had they known how horrible my life had become, I have no doubt that they would have done their best to help me. But all this happened more than twenty years ago. Today, I’m healed, emotionally healthy, and over it—and have the clarity of hindsight to see that my friends and family would have helped me.

Read the full article here: http://www.damemagazine.com/2014/10/29/why-i-didnt-tell-you-he-was-beating-me#sthash.QilhzgKD.dpuf