Bad Romance

I woke up from my nap today literally singing Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance. I had been dreaming strange things, but nothing frightening or bad. My brain is still processing the death of my exhusband and this song came out just as I was having my awakening after surviving the horrors he put me through. For the last few years it has been a comfort to me in ways, because I do not live down to the lyrics. The catchy tune was there to be a stress reliever when I needed it. It was my anthem to not return to the abuse, to not trust his platitudes through my door, and that the fears that I felt were valid. It was the musical reminder that I had survived.

I have been thinking today about all that I have survived. I cannot list it because my hand, recently injured but healing, won’t last that long and while my health has never recovered from his abuses and never will my mind has. Without knowing he was dead I had begun to push myself, because I decided to live. I went to the mall we used to frequent. It was his favorite place and I needed things. Instead of just getting what I needed and bolting I went through the entire mall and had fun with it with my carer. I even went into the bookstore. We made a day of challenging my PTSD while rewarding the impulse. I found things I would have bought online for four times as much, which for me is a reward. Apparently frugality is all I need? Frugality and dolls.

In those struggles and the darkest moments when I couldn’t even go out my own front door, I found my willingness to live. I was never willing to let him imprison me in this home because of fear. It wasn’t about him winning, but it was about being alive. I felt free of him before I knew he died and the freedom feels all the sweeter because I overcame those emotional things that I could. I will never sleep with my door unchained or unlocked, but I will go out more. Being afraid is exhausting.

I may date again, I may not. All I know is that the end of that last Bad Romance merits a playing of the song one more time. I am trying to remember why I fell for him and I can. That easy charm, saying the things I needed to hear on an emotional level and even the cats liking him. I wonder where that man went, but even him I do not mourn. I find myself mourning for his children. Not because of their father dying but because of the pain I know is in their lives. In the end though, it is a party at my house. Ra ra ra!

Being Suicidal (Trigger Warning)

Before I share my writing today I am giving a bit of a prologue. This is serious, and this post is a long time coming. My scooter is repared thanks to your support, and that is one of the better things. I have a full time caregiver who is fantastic, and I am working on getting better.I will write about the good stuff soon.

Please read more, I am covering this due to the serious trigger warning. I don’t do that often.

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Homelessless

I just got the call, and between texting people and emailing people, I am announcing here… I am not going to be homeless. I am not. Going. To. Be. Homeless.

The rosebush is my rosebush, the tree is my tree, the door with 17 locks (15 of which are being removed) and a chain? Mine.

I have a home. I am going to really make that wishlist now, only, one will be a list of wants, including the superfluous, the other of needs. I will actually use this as a shopping list offline, because most of what I want can be had for less than the internet demands. I can dream again. There is room for frivolity, which is a basic need in a way.

The need to dream, imagine, create, and not struggle and not feel pain. Frivolity in small doses can be the most beautiful thing you ever experience. Anything can be frivolous and my favorite flavor of frivolity? the joy of children with ridiculously complex but durable toys and my cats with their own desires.

I will post here if I have any trouble with the state keeping it’s word. They said they would help me with the deposit and first month’s rent, and so help them… they had best keep their word. If they do not, I will have to go to the media. That promise is the only reason I held out any hope for this.

Sprite is overly affectionate because I am unable to stop crying, tears of joy and relief. The instant I heard the place was mine I felt like my chest had exploded from the sudden drop off in my personal terror. I am still afraid but, now my fear is limited to the current and present dangers that moving will also diminish.

I may never be completely safe, but, I believe I can sleep at night again. Plus, no one vacuums at 6 am where I am going to live.

Corned Beef Homelessness

I was humming “The Rising of the Moon,” today and remembering Saint Padraig’s Days past. Part of it was the entire discordance in my body, the rest of it was a mixture of too much green and random facts about Saint Pats. I had seizures all day, starting directly after the TVC Toastmaster’s Meeting began. This left me exhausted, and my mind was not on the evaluation.

I still did my best, but, instead of baseball I wanted to think about the children i used to know. When I was homeless, at the first shelter I was running under the presumption that there was no joy to be had there, no safety, no happiness, no love. So far this had been proven correct, until I woke up on Saint Patrick’s Day Morn. This was about four years ago, I was all alone in the world. What woke me was a soft bundle of skin clinging to me tightly, crying.

The little girl was blind, and could not tell where her mommy was, and I felt nice and safe. So, sitting up I carefully ran a hand down her back and asked her what her mother’s name was. It was an hour before wake up call, and the girl had just gone to the bathroom, but her mommy had left her there, or so she thought. I put my shoes on and forced my body to move. Once I had my footing we walked to the bathroom, through the snow, my coat wrapped around the girl. I was cold, but, she was smaller and I decided she likely needed it more than I did.

I could hear someone calling, “Maggie?” In the darkness, I could not see but I could hear her. “I hear my Mommy!” The relief filled the child and she wanted to run off, but was afraid because this was their first night at the Shelter and she had fallen a few times, trying to find her mother. We made it to the bathroom, over 500 yards from the main building. Her mother was in tears when she saw her child and scooped her up. “I thought you were gone forever.” They said this in unison. I took my coat, her mother had hers, and wrapped myself in it, creeping back to bed.

I tried to go back to sleep but it was too late for extra rest. Still, I reasoned this wouldn’t be a big deal. They often treated women like garbage there, I am certain they still do. This day was different, if you could ignore the fact that the men had a restroom inside the main building and did not have to go outside with wet hair, they even had six toilets instead of just two and theirs was accessible. I couldn’t ignore it but was told if I so much as protested I would be out with no shelter.

When we cleared the floor, set the tables and had our breakfast, a bowl of sugary cereal each, the children came in. They rarely got breakfast, unless someone saved it for them, first come first serve, and children without a home are just as reticent to leave their warm beds as those with. I often saved my cereal for a child, and this morning I presented it to Maggie, after it turned out there was no more food. She recognized my voice and told her mother I was the nice lady who had saved her. I smiled for the first time, since losing my home. For a moment I didn’t hurt so much either. Then my stomach started whining at me, it wasn’t hungry it was just the sheer amount of allergens I had to eat in order to not die. The knife’s edge I walked on had become narrower and more harrowing.

I pulled on the very shirt I wore today, one of the few I managed to salvage. It was my only green at that point. I let my hair down, liking how it felt. I felt pretty again, a first since my back injury and homelessness. I wanted to dance, though I did not trust my legs for that. Then the staff asked for volunteers to run arts and crafts. The adults all grumbled, no one wanted to bother with the kids. I raised my hand. I have this strange reaction to chances to do things, I usually say yes.

There were acrylic paints, glitter glues, glitter, glue, and a lot of paper. I was given the one pair of scissors and we set out to work. Maggie was the first to want to try something, so, I helped her cut out clover and let her smear the glue all over the paper. She was having a blast. I remember her laughter, “It’s gooey!” Her mother watched, but less carefully since I had returned her unharmed without knowing either of them. Another girl came over, then a boy, and they made green paper chains, then, on white paper we painted leprechauns. Soon, the entire building was covered in green.

That smile kept returning too. After the first chain was hung, a few of the men began to pin the decorations, growling out playfully, “We need more green over here.” Smiling as one of the kids ran a decoration over, the smiles started to spread. By the time the annual news cameras came, filming us just to show how great the people who run the place are everyone was smiling. I remember the reporter, a short man with a puce tie, muttering, “Why are they so damned happy? Don’t they know they are homeless?”

As we sat down, a kind man bringing me a plate as I had begun to fall over again I realized why I was happy. I had stopped focusing for one day on my homelessness, and had instead focused on making someone else happy. I wanted to make sure that those kids had a happy day. I wanted to see their smiles. It was cold out, snowing, but inside the warmth of family and friends was found. I also had the first meal that was not going to make me sick since arriving there. Corned Beef with a side of freshly mashed potatoes. There was enough for everyone, a rarity there. I even was allowed seconds on the meat and potatoes.

I hid from the camera, this was helped by the smile that would not abate, I could not stop grinning. After all, the children were laughing, our temporary home felt like a home for once and until it was time to sleep no one fought, there was no need to try to steal food, and we were all content. The next morning there was no green, just the cold snow. There was too little food once more and it all went back to being a gray existence, dull and painful. Except, that I still felt happy.

My happiness was not permanent, yet, my acceptance that I could feel happiness made it easier to exist in a state of contentment. Without that day, I might very well have been too depressed to fight for survival a month later, when I nearly froze to death. That shelter is a special hell, for those in need, for those who no one cares enough about. It is not up to code, safe, and they do not try to make you safe or happy. It was merely a whim that lead to that one day, a kindness so rarely given.

As more and more families lose their homes, they head to shelters just like that one. Today, I remembered my own agony as I fondled a bit of green paint hidden just inside my sleeve, the paint stain is left over from that day. I too considered why I kept the shirt, and I realized despite it being a bit uncomfortable, always too warm , I keep it because this shirt has memories attached. It isn’t just the shade of green that sets my hair afire, smooths my skin, and makes me feel absolutely beautiful. The beauty I feel is instead in the subconscious associations with happiness.

When you have nothing, you still have your soul, your life, and the ability to love.
Happy Saint Padraig’s Day. May the road rise to meet you, your friends and family greet you, and love fill your heart today.

Brownies

Too often my writing focuses on difficult topics. I challenge myself to put out a call to action with every word. This is wearing at times and tonight, I decided I needed a treat. There is so little that I can actually eat, I miss things like bread. I miss the texture of it in my mouth, the flavour, but not the pain. I miss a lot, and at times my food allergies debilitate me. I am about to eat home made brownies. They won’t poison me either. Gluten Free brownies are among the best in the world. In some ways my gourmet back ground has helped me to adapt to my limited diet. Being allergic to vitamins I have to try and keep everything balanced. I also have need of more sugar than average to keep a normal reading. My system tests out normally but I eat a lot of sugar. I lost weight once I started giving in to the need for sweet. My sugars often come from fruit.

Not tonight though. Tonight, I dessert in Heaven. I am rarely able to cook, but, aside from taking them out of the oven I did the work. I felt the batter as it swirled beneath my wooden spoon, the crack of the egg sent a shudder of glee into my soul. I also know that my brownies will not be adulterated by a flavor blocking agent. Gluten Free chocolate is the best. Some of the most famous chocolate desserts lack wheat. There are crustless cheese cakes…

I do not feel limited now. I have licked the bowl clean, my Person just took the brownies out of the oven, and I can smell them. The cats are even dancing. They had their own food treats today. Miniature hamburgers. They both are special needs, and the treat made their day. They both curled up at my side until it was chocolate time, sharing in the glee of good food.

It is easy to forget to nourish our bodies with pleasure. Sometimes with food allergies it is difficult to find anything safe, and so bland rules the day. I rarely add spices to food, I hardly use salt, but, tonight? I will have spice and flavour.

Chocolate, my version of catnip. Special brownies for me are the kind I can eat. What is it that you do to reward yourself? Today was the most difficult day I have faced in a very long time, but right now I feel as if I am floating in a heavenly state. It isn’t the chocolate alone, but the sheer amount of love that pervades my home. I hear the soft and tinkling bells of heaven, I feel the song of life in my soul.

Have a brownie, have some life. Feel the love and pass the digital brownie plate on.

The Rape of Innocence (Trigger Warning)

Literal. I lost my innocence, as defined as physical virginity to my father. It was rape. It was never consensual. Incest is bad. Typing these words is extremely difficult but my day has already been one full of tears, therefore, I am going to go with it. His excuse for rape, his reasoning that made it A-Okay to violate, subjugate, and to hurt me sexually was this. “You look just like my mother.” I was four years old. Today I was triggered. This isn’t an easy thing to admit, and I feel uneasy each time I come across things that remind me of him, and at times my PTSD is triggered by a harmful thing. Today I was already in a bad way due to pain, some of it is residual effects of my abusive childhood.

Some of it comes from feeling violated at having to see another doctor, since my service animal makes me unworthy of another. Some of it comes from this post on Feministing.com. I do not care that this game came from Japan originally. That does not make it better. I do not care that their society has a history of subjugating women, so surely all of their rape fetish bull is perfectly acceptable. Not to me. I want to reach out to the women of the world, for an uprising. It is in this moment that I state I am a feminist, in the definition that states I am pro women’s rights and equality, I am pro disabled equality, and I am pro mental health equality. I want to be healthy, I do not want to feel the edges of Victim burning at me again and again when I skim the internet, go outside, or even sometimes when I try and think of a happy moment. It is always there.

I am not the cause of my own rape. How can I be at fault for it? Yet games like this propagate the victim is at fault mentality. I remember when I turned my neighbor in. He was molesting me during the same period when my father decided to rape his mother allegory. I remember being asked by the prosecutor, at the age of five, if I wore short skirts to turn boys on. I didn’t even know what that meant. I remember, however, the after effects. I rejected my body, myself, and I tried to become a boy.

This attempt at maleness included trying to cut off my breasts when I was thirteen, shaving my head repeatedly (and discovering that my head is very lumpy) as well as rejecting my identity. I could not be Rebekah. I had to change my name. I did, as an adult. I found a name that fill sme with the sensation of security, health, and the desire to be happy. I do not cringe when I hear my name anymore. I never out grew the after effects of being raped. I was repeatedly assaulted through my life, and this was also used to overshadow real medical problems.

When I was eight years old my mother and father sent me away for hypochondria and Bulimia. It took adult hood to realize I never was bulimic. I also have a great deal wrong with me, and none of it is in my head, except what neglect and trauma put there.  All of my current illhealth cannot be attributed to the childhood neglect, but, a majority can. I am an advocate for anyone who needs it because there is so much to choose from. How do I choose between mothers and their need for proper nutrition, childhood health awareness, Celiac Awareness, Rape is Bad Mkay awareness, and the awareness that as a wheelchair user I need a door that is wide enough for me to not scrape through.

I am in tears today from pain, physical and emotional.  I am a woman. I am 24 years ago and it has been 11 years since my father last raped me. I have since seen him and he cowers with fear, he actually pissed himself when he saw me using a walker and fled in terror. I am not someone who causes fear but, I am a survivor. I was a victim and when I tried to say something, when I found out I should, I was denied that right. The district attorney felt that my case was not compelling enough because I was a mere child and had been sent away by my rapist for not being exactly what he wanted. I was denied justice, and I know my assailant is out there.

Knowing he is afraid of me doesn’t take away from being afraid of him. It does not take away from the sensation of the little hope I had being crushed because I wasn’t worthy of the time to take a bad guy off the streets. It doesn’t make it alright.

I hope whoever reads this finds either peace, awareness, and the understanding that if they themselves are a survivor of rape, abuse, or anything at all, that they are worthy. I understand as an adult why so few women report rape, when it is always the Victim’s fault. Eventually I will write more on my experiences with the mental health system as a child. I will write about my diagnosises, and the secrets that I am not sure my biological mother wants shared online. Someday she will google me and will discover that I am not the all accepting child she still perceives me as. I do not take the burdens she places upon me. I leave them behind.

I was about to submit this when I came across this in the comments on Feministing.com, another link. Amazon pulled the english version of the game, though it is still availible elsewhere. I am shaking with relief and rage. How do we protect our children when things like this pervade? What is to stop this from normalizing rape in our world? It might. It might not.

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