Once and Now

Credit: acelebrationofwomen.org

Once cowering, a wallflower at a junior high dance

Now prancing, a thoroughbred fresh from a sweet victory lap

Once previewed and reviewed through the warped lens of  snide criticism

Now judged in the reflection of the mirror born of her own making

Once held back by the selfish needs of another

Now setting her own pace, advancing audaciously to meet her own desires

Out of the shadows

Into the light…

 

Day 18. Started the first two line this morning and got a bit stuck. Then I read Mark’s post over at Maleko’s Art.  His piece was all I needed to help me finish.

This is once again dedicated to all of you experiencing any form of abuse or working your way out of the situation. Man, woman, child. It doesn’t matter. You deserve your own life.

 

Self-Savior

Credit: www.bwss.org

In this season of renewal and reawakening can you transform yourself?

Can you peel back those layers that cover and cloak you?

Can you abandon your hibernation

and rouse yourself from winter’s slumber?

Can you escape from your own darkness

and fill the hole in your soul? 

Or will you let those layers weigh you down?

Will you face the ground carrying burdens

or cast off your afflictions and face the sun?

Will you be clearminded and level-headed? 

Or will practice continued insanity?

Repeating and Repeating and Repeating

and expecting a different result?

Or will YOU be the creator of your own deliverance?

 

Day 15.  This came from a place I haven’t tapped into in a while. A good sign. This is for Suzy Q and others who may need encouragement.

Invisible Woman

Credit: vi.sualize.us

Kept out of sight

Shielded and veiled

Would the taste of sweet freedom ever prevail?

Used for another’s purpose and pleasure

She learned to keep secret her own inner treasure

No voice of her own

Living in fear of his twisted ire

She learned to tamp down her simmering fire

No voice of her own

Her movements dissected and judged

Her body reflected his ideal

Her intellect she learned to conceal

No voice of her own

‘Til one day she burst forth

A near nuclear force

Her voice shouted out

Now in plain sight

Unshielded and Unveiled

Her voice shouted out

Her treasure no longer hidden

No need to do his unending bidding

Her voice shouted out

Her world was on fire

No longer stuck in the muck and the mire

Her voice shouted out

The whole world could hear

No Fear! No Fear!  No Fear!

 

 

Will She Rise?

Credit: lily-lou.deviantart.com

She felt the heat of his hand like a burn on her back from lying too long in the sun

Her wound would not find relief with the cool salve of aloe

It oozed with blood and the discomforting sensation of an itch she could not scratch

Every movement gave way to an involuntary gasp

The pain a reminder of his secret rage

This was his first but would it be his last?

Silence turned to fear

Fear to silence

A tenuous tango

A wayward waltz

Awkward dance partners

Stepping on each others’ toes

 

Day 3. For those past and present who’ve experienced the physical and emotional pain of abuse.

 

 

Wrapped in a Black Bow

Credit: www.idolbin.com

Today I gave myself a gift. It’s wrapped not so neatly in a word document for now. I’ll unveil it after the new year and I’ll share it with my therapist but no one else. It’s a letter to my ex-one that will never be sent; yet one that needed to be written. One last bit of closure. A chance to shut the final door on the house of shame that I once lived in.

It’s funny how the past reveals itself in unexpected places within our hearts. I understand that it is a normal process when undergoing an enormous life change. (I’m getting married in six months and moving to a new house for those who are new to my site.) It is important to examine these nuggets, these itches that don’t seem satisfied with just a mere surface scratch.

Sometimes I do wonder if I will be permanently scarred by the emotional and verbal abuse that plagued my first marriage. I no longer consider myself a victim nor do I present as one. I am a survivor, I think. Although that seems like such a heavy and misapplied term given that there are worse things that humans have endured compared to my experience. I mean, really, I have an amazing and very happy life now. I don’t wallow in past hurts. I’ve gone through all the stages that victims of abuse pass through on the path to healing. I’ve been lucky enough to have been in therapy two years before the marriage ended; I had acquired the basic tools for surviving the dismantling and its endless aftermaths.

Maybe I am more of a karmic avenger for others who themselves have been or are currently in a similar situation. Because I have lived in my community for nearly twenty-six years, many, many people have seen my transformation. Some have needed an ear, a shoulder to cry on, or words of wisdom to help them through their journey. (And for those of you in blogland, it has always been my sincere wish that this space serves the same purpose through my posts.) When you’ve been there, done that and crossed to the other side, people seek you out. They see it. They sense it in the way you carry yourself. They want some of that! And why not?

It takes supreme psychic bravery to free yourself and move forward out of an unhealthy relationship. The hard work of healing can take you down roads that are often dark and full of pitfalls. It is at times very uncomfortable. Sometimes you find yourself on a temporary detour when you least expect it. (Like me, this month).  Most of all, it takes time, lots of time.

Are you ready to receive the best gift of all?

Mistaken Identity

Credit: imgarcade.com

An All-American look

An A-Frame Shape

Ass-Kickin Abs

Strong-shouldered

Sleek-skinned

Strapping in Stride

Your Youth Yielded

to the Years spent Yearning

for Daring and Dastardly Dreams

Groping towards Goals of Disingenuous Grandeur

There is Little Left of your Lofty Life

The Face that once glimmered with hope

and turned many a maiden’s head

is but a sunken ship

Moored in the Muck

Wrinkled and Wretched

with the scars of brokeness

etched across your bow

Renewed Liberation

 

Haunting Thoughts…

Ruminations and Deliberations …

Affirmations of His Implosion 

His Dearth of Self-Examination 

And Unending Needs for External Gratification

Just  a Twisted Quest for Self Satisfaction

A Mere Existence

Never Present

My Fertile Heart

Unearthed

Revealed

A Treasure for Mine and Another’s own Good Keeping

My Soul once Secluded

Pummeled into Submission and Secrecy

Sings without Restraints and Restrictions

My Mind once Sculpted So as to Please

Unselfishly Speaks for Itself

 A Voice Resonating and Resounding

My Body Once Picked Apart

Used and Discarded

Now  a Scrumptious Delight in the Tender Hands of Another

Where once My Very Being was at Stake

Torn Asunder by the Winds of His Words

I Reemerge Retooled

One Righteous Babe

Ready for Reckoning

 

 

A New Voyage

Source: We Heart It

 

Late summer. You’re wandering, lost in the woods. You come across a gypsy wagon, and you call out…”hello?”

 

A stilted stillness settled in the air

 The ground gave way

Moist, muddy and mucky

Her skin soaked and sweaty

Awash with the effort of escape

Her breath languid

Near to heaving in its heaviness

Limbs listless

Flagging with effort and exhaustion

Her mind dank with dread

Heart shredded and asunder

Soul decimated and desolate

Cloaked in wretchedness and woe

Path unclear

Shrouded in shadows

A  dank darkness closing in

as she stumbles in the thicket of stones and naked roots

Sleep washes over her

A comforting wave of release and rejuvenation

Rays of yellow drench her awaking

A sense of rebirth and  renewal surrounds her

A vivication

Her eyes enlighten upon a vessel of vindication

A deliverance from doom

Seizing the moment, she cries out:

“Have you come for me?”

 

 

#FWF Free Write Friday: Time & Place Scenario

 

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Another great one from divine Kellie Elmore!

 

 

 

 

 

The Summer I’d Like to Forget

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#FWF Free Write Friday: Are You Up For This?

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I’ve been debating with myself as to whether it is even worth writing about a decade old story. I have alluded to it in poetry ( Hidden Hunger ,Witness ) but never in memoir.

It is difficult to admit that there was a time that my family went hungry.  The details of how we arrived at our sorry state are way too complicated and frankly, too boring. Here are the highlights:

  • Husband gets fired-not laid off- from six figure job.
  • Husband decides to start own business causing significant decrease in income.
  • Wife works part-time while in a year-long clinical graduate program.
  • Wife told that her job must now carry the benefits, cutting her measly salary in half.
  • Wife told that since her job does not pay in summer, she must get full-time work and the children can stay home alone all day without mom and dad.
  • Wife is not able to get full-time job but finds work that keeps her away from home for just a few hours.
  • Wife’s tiny wages go to food.
  • Wife eats less to save food for kids.
  • Husband squanders all savings  and other finances while secretly making major purchases.
  • Wife tells no one about situation even though her parents live just eight miles away and her brother thirteen.

I spent the summer of 2004 in a state of shock, or as a friend said “survival mode”.  I knew things would get better in the fall when my job resumed to a nearly full -time position. But the 12 weeks of empty bellies seemed endless. A wall of resistance and repudiation was put up by my husband. In his eyes it was my fault for not getting full-time work. Not his fault for getting fired and pursuing something that barely brought a paycheck in to pay bills.

I felt stuck. As summer turned into fall, a latent anger was born. I took it out on everyone but him at first but then it boiled over when I found out about another major purchase he had made. I went into therapy where I began to unravel the pieces of my situation as well as my marriage and more importantly, myself.

We never went hungry after that summer. I refused to have my sons experience that dull, hollow feeling that comes from not having enough to eat ever again. Their father never accepted responsibility for his decisions and instead continued to lay the blame on me. But for the  next summer and for all subsequent summers, I secured positions where I could make money and have my children productively occupied and supervised.

Life trucked on, the marriage ended, battles were waged and the three of us (as many of you know by now) have a wonderful, wonderful life. He lost us but we gained ourselves. I still worry about food and going hungry. I cannot have the refrigerator or cabinets or the pantry ever be empty. It triggers that feeling again.

The boys and I did talk about that time a few years ago. I apologized to them for what happened but they both said I did the best I could. They had come to understand the circumstances that caused the situation in the first place. It was just one of many moral violations committed by their father.

I eventually confessed to my family, who were at first angry that I did not come to them for help. I was too ashamed and I knew I would suffer the consequences of revealing the secret. It didn’t seem worth it at the time.

And do I have shame today? No, I let that go a long time ago. Although I was not conscious of it at the time, I was being abused. The blaming, the passive aggressive behavior, the snide remarks began in earnest that summer. They increased over time until I finally realized what was happening.

When one is in the midst of negativity and abusive behavior, it is nearly impossible to see a way out. One only wants the abuse to stop-not for the abuser to leave. Strange dichotomy but oh so true. Lucky for me, he left. But he still abused from afar in various ways. I only got stronger and my children got wiser.

We know how to feed our bellies and our souls. Loaves and fishes abound. Abundance is present. And we are very grateful.

Never let yourself be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.

~Robert Frost

 

This was THE most challenging free write for me.  I really went back and forth as to whether I could write about it. Frankly, I didn’t want to. But sometimes you just have to put your muscle into it. It was NOT cathartic. It just had to be written and done with once and for all.

Shifting Shapes, Narrow Escapes

Credit: pixels.com

Stumbling in a dreamscape

Sleep deprived nights illusively hot

Sweat soaked skin

A body in transition

Transforming and chaotic

Shifting waistline

Squaring hips

A new morning brings a new view

Changing perspective, acceptance

There’s a strength to these bones

Muscles and sinew firmed 

Mind honed by wisdom

Struggles vanquished

Evil extinguished

Still, I prepare myself 

This new day brought a tremor to my hands

A churning fire to my gut

An inner knowledge borne of past trauma

I dress adorned with a fetching scarf  that sings of summer

Alluring and potent

My voice proven right 

You’ve been seen once again in that store front distance

Marginally recognizable

Yet grace has given me my covert protector

He whispers quietly and holds me in his gaze

You approach and graze my arm with yours

Attempting to establish dominance

A marking of territory

Such a fool of  a man

Desperate and Depraved

Deprived

Lonely but not Alone, not quite

Yet still without awareness and tact

Your false bravado rebuffed and refused by this half century warrior queen

Transcended and Ascended

Fully realized, Divinely Inspired

Living at the Apex of  her new Incarnation