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The Clearing

On St. Patrick’s Day a few years ago L and I started our journey side by side down the path of adoption. At first the path was a little rocky and felt like it would take forever. Once we completed our classes, were certified to become parents, and our house passed inspection (not to mention that it was move-in ready), we took our first steps into the forest that the path took us along.

My arms were full with two binders of information about adoption and girls around the US that were available for adoption, and a mind full of random parenting traumatized children facts, while I edged my way through the darkening forest behind him; his automatic tendency to protect me. The ground grew thick with slick moss and spindly tree limbs pulled at us as we kept going. Surely God would reward us for continuing along this horrible path.

So many times I’d think I saw the light for us, but was wrong, and L would have to hold me until the tears passed and try to caution me from letting my heart get involved while we were still in the forest. But I was in love with the idea of finally getting to be a mother, so a bit of my heart broke every time that light was just a trick of the forest.

Finally a very kind woman joined us and helped lead us out of the last bit of the woods, and my heart soared. We made it through the forest, we started the walk with distance between us but had grown closer throughout, and now we could enjoy the sunshine of the clearing, while we awaited our reward for working so hard and diligently. For my loving so much despite the pain.

For a few weeks it was absolutely incredible. There was a young lady to learn about, to take care of, and to work every day to make her know that she was loved and valuable. She said “I love you” and even called me “Mom”, yet I had to keep from sharing the highs and lows with the world. Until the papers would be signed at official placement, the edges of the clearing filled with shadows of all of the secrets about her that, by law, we were supposed to keep. The shadows of secrets became so thick it was hard to see beyond the clearing anymore, especially after the woman left and most of the time it was just the girl and I. One day I finally looked clearly into her eyes and saw Evil. I had narrowly escaped murder before and knew that look well, and knew deep down that my life of dreams, work, and family was about to collapse.

With the help of a friend who understood that Evil, I was able to tell L that I was scared and he immediately stopped the proceedings. I spent the next three months sitting in that clearing, shadow secrets and trees pulling at me, the sky as dark as ink nearly all of the time. L would come and hold me close, but no one can hold you close enough or be there for long when you live in Depression.

An illness contracted from being around the child, coupled with my weak immune system, left me on bed rest for well over a month, and left me in that shadowy world to think and mourn. (I just saw my world’s-best-doctor who is now treating it and my immune system is no longer under attack! Yay! I may actually get off bed rest soon!) Although I still don’t see a light and don’t know where the path from this place is quite yet, it’s not quite as dark now that I’ve been forced to face my fears and forced to mourn.

We never received the blessings that I expected, but in some ways we came away with different ones. 15 years after our vows and I love him more than I ever did before, plus we went through such horrible times that I’ve never felt closer to someone. I learned that it doesn’t take a child to make us a family – we have four fur babies and another one planned to adopt once the youngest two are out of their terrible twos, and we finally made our house a home. Together we make a family.

I also learned a very painful lesson about myself while being forced to face it all. I never truly mourned miscarrying my daughter from my first tango with Evil and was so caught up in the idea of a pre-teen or teen girl because I wanted to share those moments with her that I never got to share with Sierra. I never got to get a dress and her hair done for a formal dance, never got to take one of those holiday card family photos, or even got to plan out a themed birthday party. I missed those special moments that parents often take for granted. But I was just substituting another for the daughter and her moments that I missed out on. That was a hard pill to swallow and an extremely hard failing to admit to, especially putting it out there in the public. If it helps one person in their journey though, I’m thankful I had the strength to write it.

I felt such sorrow for that child with so many secrets and such pain, that I truly wanted to help that young lady. I was in love with being her mother though, not with her. If she didn’t have the other issues, I know I would have grown to love her, but now I don’t know how much would have been for her alone versus a stand-in for Sierra. I also can now see just how much she was manipulating me with the “I love you” and “Mom”, as well, which I would never have realized. As disappointed as I am in myself for motives I was unaware of, I know realistically that we both had severe failings in our motivations.

In those long hours in the darkness I also realized that I have never mourned the other two children that I lost because of my ex. I didn’t carry them as long and, in a way, it was just easier to not recognize that they had been a part of that horrible phase of my life. I had shoved that pain and knowledge deep into the shadows of my mind, and had done quite the job of keeping that corner sealed off. It’s ironic that it now hurts that I hadn’t mourned or allowed myself to think about them. One was my Angel while two were secrets that my mind tried to hide, because it hurt so much. Yet again I caught sight of that tarnished silver armor when I brought the subject up to L and he said they were just as special, just as much Angels, as Sierra, so I should memorialize them too. They deserved just as much, even if I didn’t get to carry them as long. Forget the roses and poetry for me; this is the type of gift a partner can give that can truly change and improve your life. I have a whole shelf and binders of poetry, but have never read something as touching as what he said that day.

I know I’ll be in the dark clearing for a while longer, but I have Faith that I’ll see the path out once I’m ready. It is sad and hurts that we went through such a long and difficult journey to get to this point, but I’m learning to be thankful. I don’t know that I could have ever realized that it’s us together that all ready makes our family, and I don’t know that I would have ever felt peace in that without this pain. There may (and that’s one mighty big may) be a fork in the road in the future, but I’m not in such a rush to get there now. I have a lot of myself to learn about that I had suppressed, I still need to get over the PTSD and horrific nightmares about my ex that Kiddo triggered, and I want to enjoy this time with L. I never expected to have such a loving and close relationship; we were Blessed after all, just not as we expected. Although part of me would still love to be a mother, I’m very thankful that God has better vision than I do.


PTSD is a long road

The incorrect diagnosis of our potential child, and the subsequent danger from her, has unpacked a lot of the PTSD from my ex that I thought was long ago packed away in foot lockers in the recesses of my brain, with just a few touches from it still evident in my personality. It’s rather amazing how much your mind can help hide when needed, but packs one helluva wallop when the shadows come to light.

For a long time I blocked that I knew where my ex was planning to dump my body after the attempted murder. Sadly I find myself in those fields, just off the highway going around Lawrence, in my nightmares at least once a week. I don’t know now which one of them is who triggers my brain to send me crashing through the thick weeds and brush, falling over my battered body. I can see the necklace of bruises along my pale throat, dark fingerprints contrasting sharply even in the limited light. I remember seeing them in the mirror all those years ago and trying to cover them up. Sometimes, after any of the nightmares, I can see the necklace again for a few minutes when I look in the mirror after splashing water on my face to wash away the tears. I’m thankful that the image fades quickly and the memory slides back away for a while, but honestly don’t know which is harder to cope with – my mind playing tricks during current time and seeing them in the mirror again or stumbling over my dead body in my dreams. At least in my nightmares a little part of me knows that this is the would-have-been version of me and didn’t happen.

Most of my other nightmares feature her in some way, usually ending with that predatory look in her eye and the inky black aura slipping along the floor toward me. I’m slowly learning to mourn the loss of the dream of adopting our preteen daughter and those hopes for that life, but the coping of how things turned out has been impossible so far, because that look and her suddenly violent aura always cling to each effort.

Pre-adoption is filled with so many secrets bound by the confidentiality statements signed, too, so few can even fathom how things went so very wrong so suddenly. It’s sad that after a lifetime of trying to be a good person, worthy of this happy family dreamed about, that others question our character and blame us for things not working out. In some ways I think that hurts more than all of the loss, and it brings back the shame of the PTSD caused by being a victim of abuse. In a very painful way it brings back the feelings of guilt, shame, and regret of domestic violence. It doesn’t have to make sense; it just is what it is and is there to deal with, all over again. Someone I trusted and loved deeply texted to me that we deserved for the adoption to fail, because of our poor character, when they didn’t even stop and try to learn the circumstances. For all this time I thought rape was the ultimate violation of my being, but I’m realizing that it’s actually the questioning of my character. Like proving it wasn’t my fault that he raped me or wanted to kill me. I’m now expected to prove that the adoption was stopped by us, for reasons so very far out of our control, and I’m finding it hard again to trust anyone beyond the select few that gave immediate, unwavering support without asking for that proof first. My practical side realizes this is being strongly swayed by my PTSD from before, but it’s almost impossible to step beyond that right now. And it scares me that now it’s snowballed into a much bigger issue that even with my Victim Advocacy and TIPS-MAPP training I am ill-prepared to handle.

I know that this is going to be a long and difficult journey, and that I have some incredible people to be there when I need a hand to hold along the way, but at least there’s one good part of the frequent mental attacks. I have finally realized that I am worthy of being treated right. I won’t be thankful for the scraps of love and attention from some, as I have been in the past. I am me and proved my character, and worth, a long time ago, and I can finally see that. L has tried to show me for so many years, but for some reason I could never see my worth or even why I’d be worthy of love. Thankfully he stayed around despite the baggage, despite the poor self esteem, and despite my belief in his ability to love me. No matter how these shadows from the abuse and the child change me, nothing will ever be able to take away my knew knowledge that I am worthy of true loving and kind behavior, and that I don’t have to be okay with being manipulated or strung along with tiny bits of attention in order to feel loved. And I know now, without a doubt, that I have good character that I have shown through my actions over the years, so I don’t need to prove myself to anyone ever again. Although coping with the PTSD will be a long and hard road, at least I can close some old baggage and am growing stronger with each lesson this journey teaches me.

What Kiddo Left Behind

I have debated writing this for a long time, but decided that maybe I’m being called to write it so that those that need it can stumble across it. Maybe it can help someone not feel alone in the struggles or help someone understand the story underneath what they see or hear.

About a month ago, after everything had been transported and we were to be in the mourning stage of the failed adoption, we realized that there was a lot more going on for me than we were told to expect.

I began to have horrific nightmares and even ones where I relive some of the abusive situations with my ex that I was blessed to have blocked out for so long. I can’t sleep for long, especially when it’s quiet; we set a timer and stream a documentary or such until I can fall asleep, if I can. And I wake as soon as I hear rustling, with my adrenaline spiking in a fight or flight response, usually until I realize the kittens have woken up and are tearing through the house in playful abandonment. No one is creeping through the house or about to attack.

To top it off I’ve been sick with a couple of ailments this whole time that have really attacked my immune system. She had a comfort blanket that apparently carried ringworm spores and due to my immune system issues, it hit me hard. By the third round (after rounds of medications and complete household and pet decontamination, mind you), my immune system has been pretty well decimated, so I’ve fought virus after virus on top of my usual problems.

Then about a week ago we realized that extreme depression and PTSD were hitting pretty strong as well. We’ve had more meaningful conversations since the failed adoption than through our entire marriage, it seems, and finally got to the core of these emotional issues. I wasn’t mourning the child we took into our home. I was mourning what we could have had and what our future lives could have been like if she had been a different child. I stopped loving the girl who said “I love you Mom” the moment she looked at me the same way my ex did. That was a hard realization. Even harder was realizing that I was mourning the life that could have been, and the possibility that we will choose to not pursue parenthood again; that we will never share those milestone moments of a child’s life as a family. And it was exceptionally difficult to know we made the right choice for her and for us when we were told that parenthood is tough. It went so far beyond that. It’s been even harder to let go of the huge amount of guilt that is embedded in each part of our choices.

The worst that she left behind was the unexpected massive trigger of my PTSD. I handled the recovery from my actual abuse so much better that in some ways this is absolutely puzzling. Until we realized that I never actually allowed myself to mourn my ex causing the miscarriage or deal with all of the fear and pain of the abuse. I survived and did the best I could as independently as I could. These feelings are like trying to make my way through a swamp. It feels like I’m going to go under any moment, and so dirty, and so utterly terrifying.

Being so sick covered up some of the mental damage for a bit. We just realized that I am now scared that the next person I encounter, the person walking down the street or doing their shopping, could be Sociopath #3. I survived two of them…what are the odds that I can survive if another ever comes near me again? So I’m scared to step past our deck, even in this sleepy little town. I’d rather not eat if I’m too tired or sick to cook, than go out around people to eat. Thankfully there’s a little blessing in this, because L was the first person that I told about things, way back when, and was the rock that kept me steady, and we’re naturally much closer now, so he’s my safe harbor. When I have a decent day I can get out of the house as long as I know where he is or if he’s in sight. If I sit in the truck while he runs into a store real quick, the panic hits a little after a few, but it’s not as crippling as trying to walk through the store to the pharmacy by myself or such. I hate to sound like some needy girl, but I’m so very thankful that I have a tall, intimidating husband. I’ll admit that.

I know that this is irrational and we’re working hard for me to take my first step into immersion therapy this weekend, into the public without him, but with close family still. I absolutely hate that I have lost power over myself and my fears again; that I’ve given the power to the unknown instead, but I can’t add a pill to my daily regime to make this better. I have to live this and we have to just make it to the other side, this time facing a hell of a lot more than I did the first time.

And I’m absolutely pissed off that a system that’s supposed to help bring families together let a child like this slip through instead of making sure she had the environment that she needs to prevent becoming what she’s possible of. It’s still such a vital system and has such potential, but we need to make sure others aren’t going through such horrible journeys as we have, even without the terrible ending. This system needs an overhaul immediately and it shouldn’t be so hard to take these children in. There’s a good chance that a successful adoption just a few years before could have prevented Kiddo’s behavior according to my psychiatrist. I don’t even know how to handle my anger over such a failure to these children.

Meanwhile I’m trying to learn how to handle the pieces that were left behind. I’m trying not to see that look that they both had every time I close my eyes. I’m so exhausted that I long for normal sleep instead of a short burst filled with horror or a medication induced collapse. I know it’ll simply take time and work to stop thinking that #3 is just waiting for the right moment. It’ll take time to enjoy regular life again and be able to go to the grocery store without it feeling like a significant outing. And it’ll take a long time to stop being angry. Being angry with the system and the PTSD – at least I can do actual actions to begin to feel control. I’m not sure how long it’ll take to stop being angry at myself or to learn to trust my judgment of a person again. Just like the rest of the journey has gone for the past two years…I guess time will tell.


Nearly twenty years ago he left his legacy, quietly lurking in the darkest shadows under the scars where I spent years slowly stitching my heart and faith back together.

Sometimes, when my emotions dip unexpectedly and exceptionally low, the whispers slither out of the darkness and into my mind. I’ve spent years learning how to cope, trauma techniques, all of it. There’s no training for the whispers in the shadows.

Long ago he’d mete out a “lesson” and at the end was a whisper that he knew would hurt deeper than any punch or kick. He figured out what meant the most to me and he’d attack that. A few words at a time. Then add a few more, a few more. They build up to create this huge injury that so many work to fix and most of it is beautiful in its scars and stitches, because every stitch is a healing moment or regaining power. I don’t know if anyone can ever quiet the whispers when I hurt the most.

When I learned this morning that the girl who’d inspired our going national with the adoption, the one whose case worker responded so quickly, was going to be adopted the ground dropped out from under me. I know there are the others, with two responses that I’m waiting on info from our SW to give to them, but she was the one I could actually picture in our lives. While grasping that tiny flame of hope, I had to cope in the only way that I do. I work myself until I collapse. My doctors hate it, and it’s not exactly pleasant, but it’s what keeps me sane.

As I sat praying and crying yet again I felt too sore to keep praying. It’s hard to explain. And I don’t handle complicated emotion well. I’m the first to admit that. So I got my gloves on and intended to just get a few hits out to let loose of the anger of it happening and taking away that happy moment. With the first uppercut I heard the whisper, so clearly, and was trembling in front of him again. Eddie, my boxing buddy, is named after Bastard and maybe that wasn’t as therapeutic as I thought it would be…because, with my arm pulled back and ready, that whisper cut through me. “You’re not good enough to ever be a mother. You couldn’t even keep Sierra through one hit. You never even got past a month with the others. You’ll never be a mother. God knows you failed Sierra.”

Absolutely shattered I tore into him and hit so hard I was holding myself up with my forehead on his chest, so I could keep hitting his stomach and sides. It took a few minutes to realize that the strange noise I heard was coming from me. A deranged mixture of sobbing and screaming.

I had meant to stay quiet so that I wouldn’t disturb L, since he was trying to sleep for tonight’s shift. Apparently creepy howls are difficult for him to sleep through. If only I’d known that when he was snoring…*small smile*

I just kept hearing those whispers, even as L pulled me against him so that I’d stop hurting myself by trying to hit anymore. I’d rather have physical pain than emotional. One of the few “lessons” that actually became a coping mechanism that is debatably healthy. I’m lucky that L knows what it means when I say that it’s just like “his whispers…they’re coming true…” And he gentled the worst of the storm. He’s the first guy I ever met that could handle, even before he understood them, those dark shadows and he’s the one who helped stitch me up. Despite it all, he can’t always quiet the whispers.

So I worked. I keep the house clean enough that it’s still healthy to live in, but on an average day there’s a lot that is left to be desired. And until I grow wings I will never care about the dust on the ceiling fan blades. Sorry, not sorry. But today I threw myself into it from one room to the next like it was the old days, before I became disabled. (Yeah, I know you other Spoonies are shaking your head, knowing the storm that’s edging in.) I have one room to really organize, which I couldn’t, since it’s where he was sleeping. Eight hours in and two doses of my anxiety med, and the whispers are finally getting quieter.

Tomorrow, if I can move my arms, I may sketch in his scars lightly. Immersion therapy. I just don’t know if the actual therapy can work until I truly believe we have a chance at one of the girls we want not getting adopted when we show interest. It’s getting a bit excessive now, with it happening out of state even. I think at one point I screamed at Eddie that they shouldn’t be marked as available if the foster parents may want to adopt if someone else is interested. It’s like saying today’s special is rocky road ice cream, but sorry, we don’t sell that. So I’ll have to text my therapist and ask about which is the best coping technique for this.

The whispers don’t usually last this long. They’re cut into my soul, but thankfully I can usually keep them buried in the shadows. I’ve succeeded a bit with “being the Ice Queen that can’t give or be loved”, although that was a rocky recovery and somehow L found the one thing that silenced that whisper (our vow renewal tattoos). I’d never have thought of it honestly.

I don’t know how to quiet these whispers for good. I’m going to work on meditation to start building the wall around the damaged area, yet again, because at some point I unthinkingly stopped messing with meditating about reinforcing the damaged zones. We have two other responses in the meantime, although we can’t act on them until we get the info from Kansas, and maybe with time one of them will feel more right. Or maybe one of the others’ case workers will like us. While we wait to get the information and see what the future holds on the others, it’s time to find a way to quiet the whispers. I know that my trauma would be mostly fixed by becoming a parent, and getting rid of that deep seated fear of never having the one goal I ever set in life, but it’s still trauma that I need to work on now.

The legacy of abuse. You will never see the bite marks, the scars in my hair, the broken vessels that the doctors say won’t heal, and you might not even notice that I have problems hearing certain pitches from being hit in the ears so often. You’ll only know about the broken nose, because I need to get a second septoplasty done soon. You won’t understand why some words instantly make me shut down; you won’t understand why someone who talks a lot about limitations is doing an insane amount of cleaning and packing things away for “maybe someday”. The legacy of true evil is to tear someone apart so completely that they may stop watching for you, but they can’t get rid of your cursed whispers. We can quiet them. They’re still in there though. Back in the shadows like a lurking vampire.

I’m angry that he has a legacy. I’m angry that he has children he left behind all over the place. I’m angry that I hear his voice sometimes, instead of the smooth, sarcastic, amusing voice of an amazing man who loves me even when I don’t feel like there are enough pieces left of ME to be worthy of love. But I don’t hate him, even though I want to. I look forward to my next boxing session when I’m more in control and can land better hits, and with each hit I can shatter another bad memory. The whispers are still in those shadows because my own heart still has those shadows; he didn’t put them there. He just verbalized them. He stepped in and did what abusers do. They find your deepest fears and make them a living, breathing, part of you. My fear of ever being good enough, of being enough to be loved, and of ever getting to be a mother, especially once I lost Sierra and carried that guilt for so long; those were mine. His legacy is the worst of my fears.

And please do not take this post as a desire for sympathy or comfort. Putting it out in the wild binary code is therapeutic. Plus, I sincerely hope that maybe someone who needs to will come across this and learn that they’re not so messed up that leaving it all behind is the only option. I’ve known that feeling and you, the survivor, can slowly heal. Just imagine yourself as Sally, from The Nightmare Before Christmas (TM- on app so no handy symbol lol). It’s taken me a lot of healing and a lot of years, but it’s the first time I’ve ever formally acknowledged that his whispers stayed because they’re my deepest fears. Trauma is a lifelong project to work through. It’s why I empathize with foster and adoptive kids so much. We’re a work in progress. Everyone is. Ours just takes a little more work behind the scenes. I believe in us both.

19 Years

Yesterday we celebrated the nineteenth anniversary of surviving attempted murder and escaping my abuser.

I was raped and had miscarried from his abuse before I turned 19, so it feels really weird to wrap my brain around the time frames. I survived the strangulation, escaped, and started to deal with my trauma while I was 19. And yet I still have him a little power up until the past six months. The part of me that was still holding up my emotional wall became terrified that he would go after our daughter once we adopt, knowing from experience how I feel about motherhood; he witnessed just how effective causing the miscarriage was for devastating me. Thankfully my amazing psychiatrist helped me work through the residual fears while we discussed preventing triggers for me with the adoption. I hadn’t even realized that I was still giving him that tiny bit of power. I always feared him taking away another child.

It’s also hard to believe that nineteen years ago people acted like they didn’t know and didn’t try to help me; they turned a blind eye essentially. Now we are in a culture of “#metoo”. It’s sad to know that some are seeking fame and money, but I’m glad we have finally reached a point that we stopped looking the other way. Domestic violence is finally a cause that we discuss instead of gossiping about behind closed doors.

I hope that surviving and working so hard to help others will also help with our daughter’s trauma. I hope that the next nineteen years will be empowering for all victims and that our society will truly begin to help the portions of our population that in general have been neglected for far too long. I dream that before my daughter’s own nineteenth anniversary of surviving her traumas we learn to help our veterans, the elderly, victimized people, and especially our children.

One last note that I hope helps. I learned from a close friend this anniversary that most people don’t know how to handle hearing about survivor anniversaries. Thankfully she told me that she didn’t know how to react, which was so enlightening and encouraging. Celebrate with the survivor and cheer their strength for coming so far. They trusted you enough to share their accomplishment with you. They’ll even feel heard well enough to share any mixed emotions then, if they have them. But first, please celebrate that they worked hard to become a survivor.



While the medicine is keeping my symptoms at bay, I’ve decided to write about my latest step toward empowerment. Settle in for a long one. I tried to shorten it as much as I could. ūüôā

I saw my disability psychiatrist last week; we’ll call her “H” for being such a huge help my learning to cope with becoming disabled so young, just as my career was truly starting. During some of the sessions we’ve discussed how sometimes the symptoms from Fibro can trigger my PTSD from the abuse I suffered years ago. That’s when I realized that a lot of the things I did over the years was to empower myself, so that he couldn’t have control ever again, and why I’m such a control freak.

Although we don’t discuss my ex that often, I had to go over the main parts of the abuse, over and over again, as part of the adoption process. They want every little detail of your life, which I don’t begrudge them for, since they’re trying to find good homes for these children and to keep them safe. Plus, sometimes an adopting parent that has been abused is like a ticking time bomb for their PTSD to kick in while helping a child cope with their own trauma. Thankfully I’ve learned a lot and will be able to handle it, since I’ve been dealing with PTSD from several life events. I’ve worked hard to understand abuse, so I got my certification in Victim’s Advocacy, and then I worked to never be weak enough to be a victim again, mentally or physically.

At the previous appointment H and I discussed how I can’t allow my illness and disability to define me, and she blew my mind when she pointed out that I’ve been angry for so long. Anger at losing the life I was on track for before my relapse, anger at having physical weaknesses again, and anger that I had to lose my career that would have helped improve our financial situation, so I wouldn’t feel so guilty for L having such a burden on his shoulders. Although I felt it, I never was able to realize that it was anger at my disability that made me frustrated so often. And that I had never truly mourned the losses in order to move on. Losing that life and all of the dreams that went with it; they’ll never be my path and I will have different abilities, choices, and paths that I will take. With the mourning I also need to deal with the associated triggers and work on my PTSD before I can help Kiddo.

So I worked for months to let go and mourn each piece. I still have trouble sometimes with dealing with my inability to visit friends when I want to, or the independence of driving anywhere if I wanted to, not being able to access all of my knowledge at times, and most especially my physical weakness. Mourning my previous life and trying to embrace my new path became very empowering, and when we decided to adopt I decided that I wanted to be a good female role model for her – I want to show her that no matter what she went through, we can take back the control and stop being a survivor or victim. I hope my being empowered will help her to tap into her potential and find her happiness. I don’t want her past traumas to define her life, either, so if I can work through mine, I can help her through hers…I hope and pray.

During last week’s conversation H also asked how I will handle my PTSD being possibly triggered by Kiddo’s traumas, especially if I will have to help her work through the same traumas I suffered. Thankfully I have a great support system of loved ones that can step in, if needed, but I also truly believe a quote I was sent that basically said that I had survived because God had plans ahead where I would use that knowledge and compassion. However, I admit that there are a lot of unexpected triggers and I am slowly working through them. The waiting period triggered a lot of my fears and my greatest fear now is that my ex could come after Kiddo.

I know it will shatter me if he decided to punish me by hurting what I value; it’s the specialty of an abuser, and after seeing me mourn the loss of Sierra, our daughter, he will know that I’d rather die than lose Kiddo. With his twisted justifications, what if my traumatized Kiddo ever gets attacked or raped by him because of me? Until H and J talked about it I didn’t realize how much that fear had taken hold of me. It took a long time for him to stop stalking me; even L didn’t realize that we were stalked during outings in our first couple of years. I don’t know if any other girl ever managed to get away from him, if any other girl ever stood up to him like I did once I had given up…I don’t know if a switch can suddenly flip and make him decide to revisit that hatred and find me again. And now my info is out there after I hid it for so many years; social media has made it difficult to stay in the shadows.

“Know thine enemy”, so I know he moved back into the state and where he currently lives. He isn’t even an hour away. It would be easy to take up the stalking again, especially when I never understood what triggered him to become fixated the first or second time.

Without fully acknowledging where my risk analysis and PTSD trigger had taken me, I became terrified of being the cause for more trauma to Kiddo. When I finally realized it is when H leaned toward me and said I needed to stop giving him that power, if I want to teach Kiddo to learn from her trauma and to grow. I can’t actually teach that to her when I’m giving someone else the power to make me afraid again. And, when it comes down to it, my fear won’t protect Kiddo. I have to focus on letting go of fear and feel strong again, so I can be living proof for Kiddo that the trauma can teach us how to become even stronger. If we can both take away the power of victimizing us from everyone in our pasts, I’ll truly be able to help empower my daughter to mourn her losses and not let life’s challenges define her.

With that frighteningly vulnerable post I am going to turn on Fun’s “Carry On” and snuggle in my favorite blanket. Time to pamper myself a bit. ūüôā

If you need help working through your abuse, please call The National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 (if you live in USA). The Hotline and 911 can and will help you if you are currently being abused. It seems impossible now, but it gets better, I promise, and if you need help working through it, a nerdy stranger on the internet will be there for you if you reach out.


I took up boxing shortly after I moved back home following my escape from an abusive relationship. I’m one of those people who handles things by finding ways to be in control of at least part of whatever is wrong. I hated feeling vulnerable, watching over my shoulder, and wondering if the next time he found me would he finish the job (he did a bit of stalking after I escaped, so it has been a legitimate fear for years)? So I found emotional strength and control by making myself physically stronger and prepared. Although I thankfully haven’t caught sight of him wherever I’ve gone or been for around ten years now, I still find inner peace with boxing.

My canvas punching bag accidentally got wet and basically turned into cement, so I gave boxing up for several years. Two years ago my husband bought a strike shield, but was unavailable to hold it when I got the urge to box, so we hung it on our bedroom door. When I closed the door it would hold the pad in place. However…it sounded like I was breaking the door! Needless to say, I went back to Wii boxing, but the satisfaction just isn’t there when there’s no impact. *laugh*

As an early joint Christmas gift we bought one of the BOB stands (Body Opponent Bag), which was a display and a price match, so we got three discounts on it, making it one of the most guiltless workout pieces we have ever bought. *grin* Until we get our spare room situated he hangs out in our living room. I’m going to put some “ink” on him once I make up my mind on what scars and tattoos I want in him, but in the meantime we made him into white thrash. I named him Eddie (there are just too many impolite things BOB can stand for, so I couldn’t do it lol). The name is a play on part of my ex’s name, but we don’t have to actually soil our home or conversation with his real name. I really wouldn’t want to say the bastard’s name all of the time, honestly, and especially not have my husband say the name often (excuse my language). The name comes up enough when we work through my trauma, so I decided a play on it would help. And it makes boxing doubly satisfying and therapeutic.

L poured 350 pounds of sand into the base to keep it in place, which is the max. Recently we discovered that if I’m upset about anything I am actually able to hit hard enough that I moved Eddie all the way until the base was stopped by the wall. Needless to say I was impressed! I truly didn’t think I had that in me. The flattened ring pattern on the carpet from where the base used to sit is like a badge of honor, so I haven’t tried to lift the pile there yet. *laugh*

If you’re like me and need some physical release, but can’t do much exercising, and especially if you’re dealing with the lifelong effects of abuse, try out boxing. It’s great for helping you get into working out, you totally lose the dreaded “droopy chicken wings” on the underside of the arms, and it may just help you become a little more emotionally fit, as well. After lots of broken and bleeding knuckles, I caution you against ever using tapes or training gloves on canvas bags or BOBs. I just wanted to throw that out there in case you’re interested in picking this up. It’s worth spending more for the pro gloves, trust me! If you would like more information or tips, don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m totally not professionally trained, but I love it and have learned a lot along the way, so I’d be happy to share what I’ve learned.

So this is one of the Habits I established for myself for this year (see my resolutions post for an explanation if you’re lost). It’s a three-win for me. Have you started or plan to start a new habit for the year? If you need someone to encourage you while you make it into a habit, I’m happy to help! After boxing, don’t forget to do a little pampering, of course! ūüėČ

A Candid Discussion

As you’ve probably figured I’ve been incredibly sick and then recovering from a small head injury, too, so I didn’t focus on a whole lot of anything.¬† Now that I’m finally starting to do better I am trying to get back into the groove of things.¬† I know that typically I write on here about the mishaps and amusements of what I’m working on or am dreaming of.¬† However, today I’m going to go serious and it’s totally not about bath or body products, so if you stop reading here, I understand.¬† *smile*¬† Recently something occurred in my neighborhood that really bothered me, though, and even if it helps raise awareness with one person, then it’s well worth it to me.


I live in a very small, and usually quiet, town in rural Kansas.¬† It’s not quite Mayberry, but the town’s violent crime rate in 2010 “…was lower than the national violent crime rate average by 100%…” and it “…was lower than the national property crime rate average by 100%” (via¬† After spending half of my life in a very rough city in California this is a safe little haven usually, although I sure miss pizza delivery, especially now that I can’t drive.¬† Lol.¬† Anyway, things do happen behind closed doors, despite the statistics, and I’m here almost 24/7, so I usually know when things are hitting the fan on my sleepy little street.¬†


For the past year the peace was disturbed by a couple that moved into the rental next door.¬† Screaming, yelling, loud thumps, crying, and even things being thrown around outside.¬† When I heard crying and a sudden silence I called the police, because I was scared that she had been seriously injured or killed.¬† Sadly in rural areas the police aren’t usually in the area, so it often takes twenty or so minutes to report to a scene.¬† Thankfully she wasn’t seriously hurt, but didn’t press charges.¬† For several months they continued a horrible cycle of their form of peace and then have violent fights, sometimes leaving her with a black eye and once even an injured arm.¬† I called the sheriff every time and finally a few days back there was a huge fight as they were being evicted.¬† Police officers and sheriffs descended on the neighbors as things started to quiet down, and they were both arrested.¬† There’s a lot more to the story, but that last fight really scared me.¬† The guy had always creeped me out anyway and I don’t handle being around angry guys very well, and the police had made the mistake the first few times of making it obvious that I had been the one to call in.¬† I heard the shouts and looked out the curtain to see them shoving each other next to a fire in their backyard.¬† Then he looked up and saw me as she dashed inside.¬† I figured that yet again nothing would come of it, but that I had to call the sheriff and try to get her help.¬† I couldn’t do much for her, but I could do what no one did for me.


It’s not something that I discuss often, but that last fight that the neighbors had, and the anger on that guy’s face when he looked at me, triggered a flood of memories and fears.¬† Just a few months after I turned 18 I moved away to a city with some¬†“friends” (what we think of as friends when we’re young and na√Įve) and shortly after that I got raped while I was passed out¬†from drinking some stuff that this hot guy kept pressuring me to drink.¬† Ah, the na√Įve belief in humanity was strong back then.¬†¬†To make a long story short I was ashamed and didn’t know what to do when I realized that I was pregnant from that almost completely blanked out night.¬†¬†I was raised that¬†bad things didn’t happen to good girls.¬† And it was one of the few times I had colored outside of the lines, so to speak, so obviously I was bad and had to¬†figure it out on my own.¬† When I told the father he insisted that the child would know him and spun lots of stories about how well things would work out.¬† I give him¬†credit for being a really amazing speaker that is incredibly believable and could probably¬†talk you into buying a bag of dog poop from him.¬† Add being terrified out of my mind to that skill and I¬†believed it would all work out.¬†


As I was getting ready for work one morning, about four-and-a-half months along, my preparations woke him and he was furious.¬† He didn’t even bother to fully get out of bed when he hit me square in the stomach.¬† Of course¬†he wouldn’t let me go to the hospital or¬†leave the house,¬†because no one could know what had happened, and it was somehow my fault anyway, so I¬†miscarried there at the apartment.¬† He threatened to kill my parents and their pets if I ever told or left, and since he had killed his own baby, I believed it and stayed.¬† Thankfully I can’t remember all of the abuse over the following six or so months and what I do doesn’t need to weigh on anyone else’s heart or mind.¬†¬†I tried so many times to get away, but no one ever opened the door when I¬†managed to run outside and was crying for help.¬† None of my roommates ever called either.¬† Every time I would be punished and reminded that my parents were going to die if I¬†left or told.¬† He made sure I was isolated and worked hard at making me feel absolutely worthless, not to mention terrified for my family.¬† I didn’t have much to live for anymore, but they didn’t deserve to be hurt by what I had gotten into.


Finally in April¬†of 1999 he attempted to strangle me to death.¬† I can’t tell anyone about most of the details, but when I blacked out I had this moment.¬† You can call it a¬†hallucination from lack of oxygen or a clarifying moment of faith, but a sense of calm washed over me and the words that if I didn’t¬†get away tomorrow I would die that night went through my mind, and I¬†knew¬†it was true.¬† I wouldn’t die this time, but I wouldn’t survive another.¬† When I came to he was crying and shaking me, with lots of apologies and reasons that it was my fault¬†tumbling¬†from¬†his mouth.¬† I stared at the ceiling and didn’t move for hours, except when he ordered me to do things, and then I would obey.


He made a mistake that next day and left the car with me with promises of how he would make things up to me once he got off work.¬† I drove to the town where my mom and stepdad lived and called them from a payphone.¬† Some rules that he had ingrained into me were still hard to shake, even after what he had done, and I wasn’t allowed to go to their house.¬† Thankfully¬†just by my saying where I was¬†my parents dropped everything and came to me.¬† I didn’t even tell them about the abuse.¬† They simply asked if I wanted to leave and if I did they would move me out that day before he got off work.¬† And that’s what we did.¬† I started my life over on¬†a Good Friday.¬† ¬†


It’s been a hard journey, but I found a “good ol’ boy” that wasn’t afraid of my emotional¬†baggage and helped me learn to trust again.¬† I still look over my shoulder when we go to that city, although we usually avoid it, and I still have problems when men are angry or upset.¬† Time and ten years of marriage has helped with a lot of that, but seeing my neighbor with that look, the same as what I looked into as I was being strangled, shook me.¬†


So I ask that if you suspect that something is going on behind closed doors, please call for help.¬† The worst case is that the police check and find nothing wrong.¬† If someone is danger and doesn’t feel as if they can get away, they might not make it out alive if you don’t spare those few seconds and free phone call.¬† It’s a small thing that can truly save lives.¬† We all know the police, but if you happen to know someone, or are yourself, that has survived, the following information can help them on the road to recovery.¬† or 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) can help those that are dealing with the effects of abuse, and most have such a jumbled up view of their self worth anymore that they consider suicide, so 1-800-273-TALK (8255) can be a very valuable resource when they are feeling lost.¬† The necklace of bruises faded long before I learned where to turn for help.¬† Bad things happen to everyone and we really need to raise awareness.¬† Domestic abuse and suicidal ideation shouldn’t be ignored and we DO need to get involved.¬† Help is a phone call away.¬† Even if you write these numbers down and leave them stuck to the refrigerator or bulletin board, or this confession spurs a discussion with someone, you might just save a life.¬†

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