I didn’t want to, but I am…

The #metoo that’s going around has had me at odds with whether or not I wanted to talk about it, but after reading about Joy Bryant, my heart broke as I found a touching similarity to her story. Read it here… Joy Bryant’s story

I do not know the entirety of the story behind my conception save for the he say/she say versions my parents have served up, but I do know that neither parent knew how to parent well.  Their varied backgrounds prevented them from loving their children in the right way.

From what I’ve learned of my father’s childhood it was violent, angry, bitter, and strict.  He was academically smart; however, his father prevented him from seeking further education , so he filtered his skills into being a good craftsman and working with his hands.  His relationship with his mother was tenuous and the foundation for his misogyny.  My father was an extremely attractive man and that parlayed into his ability to score women and oftentimes in inappropriate ways.

After conversations with my half-sister and his current last wife, I learned some extremely ugly things about my father, and while I was in many ways appalled, I can’t say I was entirely shocked, as I saw things first hand growing up that my half-siblings did not and it set the tone for how I viewed him.  I saw women come and go on the weekends I spent with him, and learned not to get attached to any of them because I didn’t know how long they’d last.  Some were nice and some were not, but again, it didn’t really matter because I wasn’t sure if they’d last as I said.  This fluctuation in women translated into my inability to bond with women or even fully trust them since some of the women my father dealt ill treated me.

I learned how abusive my father then, and as recent as this February when he passed, I learned more.  And again, while disturbing, I was not entirely shocked, but what sickened me the most was hearing my half-sister detail her own conception, which led me to thinking, I could have very well been conceived the same way…out of violence/force/coercion…Rape!

I wanted to ask my mother about it, but don’t really want to dredge up the past and have her go into one of her many tirades about my father.  I’d actually rather know about her childhood and relationship with her mother.  Her father passed when she was two.  She’s never really detailed what it was like growing up, but from the fragments I’ve heard from my deceased aunt/uncle and my mother’s sister, it wasn’t great.  The little she’s shared about her relationship with my father was drenched in bitterness and anger.

About ten years ago, she blurted out that he raped her, but I dismissed it, not that I didn’t believe her, but she said it in mixed company; (around MY friends) and it was an inappropriate time and place for such a revelation.  I never brought it up again. Given what I learned from my half-sister, previous conversations with my half-brother, and my father’s last wife, I don’t dispute my mother’s revelation.  I don’t have any resentful or angry feelings about it in all honesty because I had an acrimonious and tenuous relationship with my father anyway.  I have long since reconciled my feelings; or lack thereof toward him, so when he passed, I was completely fine.  I’d been previously estranged from him for ten years and it wasn’t until 2007 that I allowed myself contact with him again.  Those seven years were fraught with drama and I merely tolerated his existence all while forging a very close relationship with his now widow of whom he treated her poorly too!

I have always had an oil and water relationship with my mother; a little similar to how Ms. Bryant explained hers with her mother.  She was verbally, emotionally, and mentally abusive toward me and there were a few extreme physically violent episodes too.  I think there was a lot of envy that she had toward me as I succeeded in things she’d hoped to and she found ways to either take credit for my accomplishments, demean them in some way, or find ways to steal the spotlight.  The myriad of things she’s done to assassinate my character, make assumptions about me, or misrepresent the facts of my life has caused a lot of hurt and pain over the years and fractured my relationship with my siblings and my eldest brothers children.  (Fortunately, we’ve grown through and past them now – but that was decades in the making)  The combination of my mothers abuse and that which I fortunately escaped from my father sexually, served as a painful foundation for my life. For decades, I lived with a level of self-hatred, in spite of the Colgate smile I wore and then somehow amassed herculean strength to overcome all of the pain of the various abuse I endured.

My own #metoo is something I’m choosing not to discuss because it’s not necessary.  I know what I went through and what’s more important, is that I came though it to be where I am today.  Speaking about the foundation of it all is a sealing part of the healing package.  Reading Ms. Bryant’s story allowed me to speak to parts of my #metoo in a different way.  I even more understand the adage, “hurt people; hurt people“.  I make zero excuses for my parents behaviour in any way as it is inexcusable.  I just see it all for the ugly truth that it is.  MY truth! MY healing! MY catharsis!  MY closure!

I wholly empathize with the women; and men, that have been sexually assaulted, molested, raped, and/or sodomized.  I wholly empathize with those who have been abused in any way and I stand in solidarity with those who’ve had the courage to speak up about their experiences.  I understand why it was “easier” to not say anything than to speak up.  I commend those who now have come forward and are speaking publically about their experiences.  I silently pray for those who still do not have the voice or courage to speak up and pray they’ll one day be able to heal and not remain in emotional bondage.

In closing, I hope that we can and will find a way to accept the ugly truth about what is truly an epidemic in society and find ways to embrace and heal those affected and hold the perpetrators accountable for their actions.  Abuse in its varied forms should not be swept under the rug and victims should not be shamed or disbelieved for speaking up.

#Solidarity!

Blog Challenge: Day 26 — Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?

suicide

This is an incredibly painful one as I’ve lost someone very close to me to suicide.  I knew of his pain, the alcoholism, the depression, and over the years tried to intervene in an effort to prevent it; sadly nothing worked and four years ago, he took his life.  He left behind a daughter; his only child.  His family.  His friends. And to date, no one has comes to terms with it.  There was no note; therefore, no explanation; only speculation.

Even though I self-injured, which is a NON-suicidal coping mechanism,  for almost three decades, I can’t actually say I’ve ever really wanted to give up on life.  I know I had a lot of issues that contributed to my pain and reasons to self-injure; suicide has never been an option.  Life, even with its pain, chaos, and turbulent nature still has many good aspects to it and is worth living.

Given my proximity to suicide, I find myself angered by a society that constantly thrusts things, people, and images in our faces and lives that contribute to people feeling inadequate, alienated, chastised, and marginalized, which are triggers for suicide or attempts at suicide.  It’s not solely because one is weak why they take their lives and more needs to be done in forms or acceptance and tolerance to prevent suicides from occurring.  We need to be more interactive, more kind, more willing to help others in order for those feeling like they have no way out; to have a person and/or resource to help them cope.

The second week of September is National Suicide Week, but it should be everyday.  We each can take a stand to be more proactive, more loving, more kind, and certainly more aware of change in another’s behaviour, mindset, or emotions.  There are many resources available for those in need of counseling and the following Google link shows some of them Suicide Prevention Information

love yourself untitled

 

Seeking help makes you stronger than your weakness and I pray that someone in need will reach out and get the help they need.

 

Yea, I said it!

Never under estimate me…

Truth be told, of all the fights I’ve had in my life; there have been many, the majority have been with a guy.  I grew up with brothers and hung out with them and/or their friends often.  I was a Tom-Boy growing up, so the likelihood of my getting into a situation was pretty high.  Couple that with the fact that my youngest brother and I are only two years apart, it was pretty much a given that if you messed with one of us, you’d be running the risk of messing with both of us.  No matter how things stood between us, there was no way you were going to eff with my family.  I can’t say I was a mouthy kid, that was mostly my brothers and their friends.  I was more the silent, vengeful type who’d open a can of ‘Get Right’ and unleash it like a wild cat in pursuit of her prey.  I’m actually still very much that way.  As long as I’m still talking, you’re pretty much safe; however, it’s when I’ve stopped talking and you think things are cool, is when I’m likely to strike.

whoop ass

When I was in Basic Training, I went through it with two male platoons, which was pretty much unheard of at the time.  There wasn’t enough girls for start a company without keeping us for weeks as holdovers and the males were a platoon short of a full company, so the powers that be decided to merge us all.  Many of the girls were unhappy about having to compete against the boys citing they had greater strength etc, than they did.  Really?  You’re in Basic Training hun!  Take off your Garanimals and put your big girl panties on!  Basic wasn’t going to be a cake walk for anyone regardless of gender.

Given that I’d grown up with the boys and had infiltrated their world, I had some insight to how they operated.  Couple that with my having been schooled about the ins and outs of Basic from guys friends and family who’d already been through it, I know how to play the game and roll with the punches.  Over the course of the eight weeks, I became a force to be reckoned with and was both feared and loved by my peers.  There wasn’t a challenge I wouldn’t accept and there wasn’t anyone I allowed to try to punk me.  Not that I’m actually proud of it, but I was actually quite the bully in my platoon. I’d cash checks on those that wanted to write them, dared both genders to try me, and refused to allow anyone to intimidate me; that included the Drill Sergeants.  The odd thing was, it wasn’t that I was so strong, it was that I had so much repressed anger and pain bottled up inside me, that environment was the perfect place for me to unleash it all and unleash it I did. I was strong.  I was fierce.  And I was determined.

Some of the girls hated me because I wouldn’t be or act weak or try to use my feminine wiles to get over.  C’mon chick!   That was neither the time or place and I especially despise when women reduce themselves to this tactic.  The guys actually respected and feared me because I wouldn’t play dumb and I met them head on.  A few were literally scared of me given some random acts of violence I inflicted, but at the end of the day, it was all about survival and achieving the ultimate goal of graduating.  I’d given up too much to not succeed.

Since Basic to now, I know I’ve maintained the same source of strength and refuse to ever appear weak, even if that’s really how I’m feeling.  I’ve overcome too much to let a man think he can rule me or that I won’t stand up and fight.  My ex-husband came dangerously close to testing me on that one.  Hence, his being my EX!!!

I won’t speak for all women, but I know this about myself…I’ve earned who I am as a woman and I’ve earned my strength by never allowing a man to think his balls are bigger than mine.  I give as good as it gets and I give as good as I can take.  I still prefer the company of men to women and am the “go to gal” with my guy friends.  I have a couple of women in my life that I know would employ from frightening means of having my back and me theirs.  I’m not game for the bullshit and drama that often comes with having too many women friends.  As you saw in my post Blog Challenge: Day 16 — Someone or something you definitely could live without, I strive to avoid the drama as much as possible.

In closing, I’ll rest on this quote and let that resonate in your spirit for a while…

betty white

 

 

Yea, I said it!

 

What I’ve learned so far…

As I said in a previous post, I’d be taking on the 40-day journal.  I started on 14 Feb with the intent on writing every day for the 40 days.  Well, that sadly has not happened.  No, I’ve not quit; I just realized this journey has taken me into places within myself that I needed to apply some further attention to or gave me such room for pause that I had to pause.

The things that are presented are as follows:

  • A paragraph for you to read and lament on
  • Biblical Wisdom (scripture verse(s)
  • Questions to ponder (relating to the paragraph)
  • Psalm Fragment
  • Journal Reflections (where I have to make the entry after reading another set of questions)
  • Prayers of Hope & Healing
  • Prayer for Today

For each day, I wrote from my heart.  I didn’t pause to think about what I was writing, I simply wrote what came to me as I answered each question.  Some entries were pretty easy to write, while others made me really think.

I did not go back and re-read the entry; I just left it raw and uncensored and it wasn’t until about the 8th day and I went back and read those initial entries and boy did I fall into the abyss of my life from childhood until now.  I came to some astonishing realizations about my childhood, my parents, siblings, environmental influences, people I’ve interacted with, and my faith/spirituality. 

If I has a weaker constitution, I think I might have quit after Day 8 as I don’t think I’d have had the stomach to discover the depth and breadth of what has made me who I am etc. 

I read a lot of hurt, pain, and sadness in my words, but oddly not a lot of anger; well, at least not so far; I’m now getting to Day 16. 

My accountability partner who is also on this journey and I have met and spoken over our entries and she, too, has had moments where she’s had to take a step back and ponder.  We’re supporting, encouraging, and inspiring each other to be so much more than the things we grew up living, experiencing, and accepting because we know we are more than the sum of those experiences; however, the impact of their damage is now being more clearly defined and understood. 

Even though some of what I’m learning has been and may continue to be painful, I’m still happy to be on this journey.  I feel stronger and wiser for the revelations and even a little sorry for those who took pleasure in causing pain on me, but are now living their own suffering.  I have a forgiving spirit and refuse to be bogged down by the weight of someone else’s actions; Lord knows I spent too many years doing that already.  A part of me feels sorry for them as they’ve lived their lives in such a sad, lonely, and depressed state that they can’t have had the joys I’ve live in spite of my misfortunes.  God is good!  His grace has been sufficient for me as the Word says. 

I’ll give an update again at the middle point. 

In the mean time, I’ll share this image as it speaks sufficiently to how I regard myself.

im_no_princess_tn-282361

 

Live the life you love; love the life you live!

Quiet Is The New Noise…

I listening to a playlist I found on Spotify and decided to listen to one of the artists featured in the playlist; Kings of Convenience since I’d never heard of them before listening and liking one of their songs.

While perusing their discography, I came across the title of one of their albums; “Quiet Is The New Noise” and the title screamed at me like a restless newborn. I paused to reflect on the title, which was conveying a very powerful message…In spite of how much we may want quiet, there is always something creating noise. Well, that’s my interpretation! I think of all the times when I’m alone and all I want is to hear nothing, but there’s always something making noise and the distracting cacophony ruins the moment.

I have oddly keen hearing and hear sounds many don’t or simply are able to ignore like the sound of fluorescent lights, the odd sound that emanates in malls or stores; even the ticking of a watch in an otherwise quiet room. I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing; I’ve simply accepted it as being a part of who I am and again I’m brought back to the powerful title; “Quiet Is The New Noise”. It makes me wonder how those who meditate with ease are able to do it so well. I want to be like that. I want to be able to shut the voices of the world around me out and relish the moments of stillness and mindlessness.

The title also reminded me of when I used to consistently take moments of exile where I refused all electronic interaction and distraction and confine myself to my library where I create a space of serenity and tranquility to find the peace within and give in to the solitude. I miss those times. I feel like I’ve betrayed a part of myself and given it over to everything and everyone around me. I don’t want to have to schedule those moments, but I will need to in order to get back to that place again; that place where I belong and need to be. I want quiet to simply be that…Quiet!

I have Maya Angelou’s book, 40-day Journey, “Editor Henry French selects forty inspiring passages for readers to ponder while taking a spiritual journey with Maya Angelou. Such a journey may be made at any time but, as with other titles in the 40-Day Journey series, is especially inspiring to take in the seasons of Advent and Lent,” which I want to commit to working through; however, I don’t want to wait until a particular season to do it. I think the time is now.

I truly believe everything is appointed and purposed and the intercession of my listening to this particular artist was of no coincidence, so I’m going to do it. I’m going to start this journey and see where it takes me. There’s a revelation to be had and a lesson to be learned, so I’m going back to ‘school’.

Every five days, I’ll review what I’ve written and learned and I’ll make notes on it. At the end of the 40-day journey, I’ll compile all the notes and post about what was revealed and what I learned.

Live the life you love; love the life you live!