Chattahoochee Child, Domestic Abuse, Family, Uncategorized

Domestic Abuse — “A Family Matter”


Dearest Readers:

Below is an excerpt from “Chattahoochee Child.”

A FAMILY MATTER…

Domestic Violence…Domestic Abuse… Regardless what it is called, it is truly a vicious monster. A wild, destructive monster that roars with such anger and turbulence I vowed never to allow it to knock at my door as a grown up. There were times I felt domestic violence knocking at my door, especially whenever Garrett felt threatened by his green eyed monster of jealousy. At times I was horrified of my husband, especially on one occasion when we were fighting most of the day. He was in one of his PTSD rages, shouting at me, raising his fist, threatening, and when his anger got the best of him, he thrust his fist through the doorway of the hall. I jumped back.

“Was that directed at me?” I asked him, rubbing my face.

He smirked. “No. I’d never hit you.”

I raised a manicured finger at him. “If you ever hit me, our marriage will end. IMMEDIATELY. Domestic violence is something I will never forgive.”

Garrett rubbed his fist. “Whatever,” he said, walking away.

In my marriage I was blind sighted to domestic violence. I made excuses. He didn’t mean to swing at me. He didn’t mean to squeeze my arm so tightly, he left a bruise. I smiled at the wrong person. Garrett just doesn’t understand. I LOVE getting attention. He will never hurt me. It’s because he loves me so much… Always forgiving Garrett’s jealous rages, I tolerated his verbal abuse. Excusing his quick, hot temper as another rage from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, I apologized for making him angry. Whenever men looked my way, I quickly glanced away. I did not want Garrett to lose his temper, or shout at me. I closed myself inside my home, afraid that if he called and I wasn’t home, he would retaliate with another shouting match.

Domestic violence I knew much about as a child, although at the time it did not have the title of domestic abuse or violence. It was labeled a “family matter…” It’s just the way marriage is… Shunned…Never mentioned. Ignored! As a married woman, never did I consider that my husband might become violent, and on the day that he thrust his fist through the door, I felt the fear that a victim of domestic violence fears and I promised myself that I would not become the next victim.

At the age of five-years-old, I saw domestic violence for the first time. My mother was outside, gossiping with neighborhood women at Joel Chandler Harris Homes in Atlanta, Georgia. I was inside our apartment playing with my doll babies when I heard my daddy shouting, calling in a harsh voice for my mother. I screamed at him, “Daddy, she’s outside talking to the neighbors.”

“Go get her.” My daddy demanded.

I rushed outside. “Mommy. Daddy wants you inside.”

My mother laughed. “He can come get me,” she said. One of the five women she was gossiping with snickered. “Guess you better get inside. Gotta keep the ruler of the house happy!” All of the women roared in unison.

Living in a housing project, the women were not exactly the Donna Reed style of women, dressed in fine clothing and high heels. My mother wore bed room slippers and a dirty housecoat. No makeup or lipstick. Two of the women were dressed in raggedy jeans and T-shirts. Their hair was messy and they smelled like dirty ashtrays. I decided on that date that I would always do my best to look my best – to groom myself like a woman and wear makeup and have my hair styled. Never did I want to be ‘frumpy’ or a plain Jane.

“Mommy,” I said, my voice rising a bit. “Daddy’s gonna get angry.”

The back door closed. My daddy rushed outside, waving his fist, shouting.

“Sa-rah!” He roared. “You get in here now.”

My mother did not move. Daddy rushed to her, grabbing her arm. She pushed away from him and he shoved her, knocking her to the ground where she hit her forehead on the concrete curb. The metal trash cans by her fell over. I saw blood on my mother’s forehead. Daddy grabbed her arm. “You get up…Now.” He barked.

My mother struggled to get up. I reached to help her. I touched her forehead. “Are you, Ok, Mommy?”

I stood between my parents, my arms crossed tightly in front of me, daring my daddy to reach for her again. “Daddy, don’t you ever do that again!”

My mother glared at me. “Hush, child.”

Daddy stomped back inside. Never did he show any concern for my mother. Mommy followed. The women standing nearby snickered amongst themselves and I realized I was the only one who came to my mother’s rescue. No one cared. Domestic violence was a family matter at that time. Everyone looked away, with exception of me.

One of the women turned to move away, whispering something about a family matter while exhaling smoke from her mouth. I didn’t understand her words, but I did know I didn’t like any of these shabbily dressed women, and I hoped that woman would choke on her cigarette smoke. I wanted to shout at them, asking why they didn’t help my mama. After all, I was a small child. Too young to help, too young to have any rights or say-so. I decided these women were nothing but trouble! ‘Poor white trash,’ I thought to myself…’Nothing but white trash!’ I followed the blood trail from my mother’s forehead back to our apartment.

After Mommy got inside, I got her a cold washcloth, placing it on her forehead.

She rested on the tattered sofa of our apartment, blood still pouring from her forehead. I brought her another washcloth.

“Get me a butter knife,” my mama screamed. I rushed to the kitchen. She placed the cold blade of the butter knife on her forehead.

“Don’t cut yourself, Mama. Please. You’re still bleeding.”

“The butter knife will make the swelling go down.”

That night when I said my nightly prayers, I prayed that my mama would be all right, and I ask God to make my daddy stop hitting and knocking my mother around. After my prayers, I made a promise to myself that I would never allow any man to ever hit me, or knock me down, like my daddy knocked my mother down. At the age of five-years-old, I became the referee to my parents.

Ten years later, I served as the referee for the final time… Arriving home from Russell High School in Atlanta, I rushed inside; anxious to tell my parents I had the lead in a play at school. I knocked on my parent’s door. No answer. I rushed to my room. A voice inside my head encouraged me to go back to my parent’s door. I knocked again. I heard the shuffling of feet, and a slap. I opened the door. My mother was standing hunched over, blue in the face, gasping for breath. A handprint was on the side of her face.

“What’s going on in here?” I asked. My mother was getting weaker. I rushed to her side. My dad stood by the bed, cursing and throwing mail at me.

“She’s made all these damned bills. They’re garnishing my wages. I can’t afford this. To Hell with her.”

Moving my mother to a chair, I sat her down and moved closer to my dad. “Don’t you ever hit her again? Do you hear me, Daddy? I’ve watched you over and over again hitting my mother, and I’ve watched her hitting you, but this has got to stop! One of you needs to leave this house and marriage. One of you needs to leave before someone gets killed.”

The next day, I rushed home from school, horrified I would find my parents fighting again. My mother was sitting on the couch with tissues in her hand.

“Is everything all right?” I asked.

My mother threw a tattered pillow in my direction.

“I hope to hell you’re happy now,” she shouted. “Because of you your daddy left me today. It’s all your fault. He’s divorcing me. I hope you’re really proud of yourself, you stupid girl.”

“How is it my fault? Yesterday, he was beating you. You said you hated him. You called him words a child should not say. All I did was make him stop beating you.”

“That ain’t all you said. You told him to leave, and he did. He came home this morning. Packed up his things and moved out. It’s all your fault. You ain’t never to say his name inside this house again. Do you hear me, child? Never! Your daddy is dead. DEAD. Dead. DEAD! It’s all because of you. We’re moving from Atlanta, and I never want to see that bastard again. NEVER!”

“Where are we going, Mama?” I cried, tears rushing down my face.

“We’re moving to Columbus, to the mill village. We’re gonna live with your grandparents now. I hope you’re happy.”

I was heartbroken. I would not get to be in the play, or have the lead. I would not sing on stage. All of my hopes and dreams were vanishing.

Years later, I became an advocate for domestic violence. I was thankful when laws against domestic violence became a crime and I was thankful that I did not have to be the referee between my parents anymore. In their later years, I became their caregiver, serving as a parent to my abusive, cruel parents.

After their divorce, my dad became a new man. Kinder. Happier. Religious and gentle. I received birthday gifts on birthdays and Dad and I bonded as a father and daughter. Never did we discuss domestic abuse. We focused on happy times. The birth of my child. The home Garrett and I bought in South Carolina. Our strong, happy relationship as father and daughter. Before his death in 1999, we were closer than ever. Dad was fun to be around. Never did he show any anger or hostility at my mother. Reborn inside the body and mind of my father was a man easy to love. So different. So kind. So caring.

My mother? Slowly, she became outraged. Violent. Bi-polar. She died a questionable death after suffering a stroke. The one concern from my youngest sister on the day after her death was, and I quote, “Do you think they’ll do an autopsy?”

My youngest sister spent the night at the hospital with our mother on the night of her death. Suppose I’ll let this story decide if an autopsy was necessary, although I suspect an autopsy should’ve been completed – to discover the true reason our mother happened to die on the one and only night my youngest sister chose to spend the night at the hospital. Interesting?

And so – now I am developing the poignant story of “Chattahoochee Child.”

Family Matters…Oh how they matter!

Domestic Abuse, Free Writing, President Donald J. Trump, Super Bowl Sunday, Uncategorized

Super Bowl Sunday – Let’s Go, Atlanta Falcons!


Dearest Readers:

After all of the hatred and the refusal of so many people to accept our new President, Donald J. Trump, I have decided to leave social media sites for a while. Yes, I will probably ‘stalk’ Facebook, just to scroll down to read posts from friends; however, I do not plan to post things. This post will arrive on Facebook, after I publish it. Nothing says I have to check to see if people are reading it.

I have noticed my website is getting more traffic since the New Year. For that, I am pleased. This week has been another week of disappointment for me. While I do not watch the Today Show anymore, I do listen to GMA. I quit watching Today after the ‘reorganization’ of Today, when Ann Curry was terminated. Now, they have lost another great personality and talent – Tamron Hall. She resigned on Wednesday, I believe. I suppose Today needed more space for Megyn Kelly. Since I don’t watch Today, I do not know the politics of Today, nor do I care! Let’s face it, Corporate America does not care about its employees. Maybe Corporate America never cared. “Just work hard and don’t talk back,” is what Corporate America believes.

When I worked in Corporate America, ‘reorganizing’ was a yearly practice. Those who worked hard were released. In a ‘Right to Work’  state, I was told Corporate America can terminate employees without a reason. And, if someone stood up to voice their concerns on ‘reorganization’ issues, they were shunned. Every year those of us who worked in this environment would wonder just when will my number be up?

I am happy I no longer work in such environments. Working as a writer is so much nicer.

So much for Corporate America!

Tomorrow is the Super Bowl. I plan to make homemade chili for dinner, and I will grill pimento cheese sandwiches to compliment the chili. I made my first batch of pimento cheese a few days ago, so the Super Bowl will be a time for Phil and I to watch silly boys chasing a deflated, or maybe it’s actually an inflated football being chased, grabbed and scored while these football boys pat each other on the butts, and maybe other places. Can’t help wondering just how many of these players actually prefer being so close. I pray no one gets injured. I find football a violent sport, and men (and lots of women) actually get a bit too involved with this silly game. Domestic abuse increases during Super Bowl. And why wouldn’t it? Tickets for the game are an outrageous price, and I imagine alcohol and beer sales will escalate. The game will take probably half of the afternoon and late night activities on TV during Super Bowl Day. Personally, I’d rather watch a Hallmark movie!

Who cares? It’s a game. I can only imagine the amount of money spent on football lotteries. Think I’d put my money on the Atlanta Falcons this year, but I’m not someone who bets.

Reportedly, the Atlanta Falcons will wear the initials of fallen heroes on their helmets this year. http://www.atlantafalcons.com/news/blog/article-1/Falcons-Paying-Tribute-to-Fallen-Heroes/70b5dff6-3d5c-48f1-8465-101df268c1e5

Isn’t it about time? These fallen heroes gave their lives for their country, so these football players could play a silly game on Super Bowl Sunday.

To strengthen the connection between the players and these families, the Falcons will be delivering special tributes throughout the week.

According to the website, “The Falcons will be hosting the families of these fallen heroes at the team’s walk-through on Saturday. Furthering their commitment to the military, the organization has also provided flag football equipment to each of the military bases in Georgia.”

As you can see, I’m really not a fan of football. I might be sitting in my chair watching it, with a stack of magazines set aside so I can read while the steroids of football kick in for these football players. Personally, I’ll be glad when Super Bowl Sunday is over. Maybe we’ll not hear anything else about football until August, 2017. Something tells me football stories will continue while the players chase the silly ball – over and over again.

When I started this freewriting episode, I had no idea what I would write. Looks like Super Bowl Sunday won the prize. At least I’ll be in the kitchen while the stories begin. Yes, the TV will be blaring, but I’ll just turn my music up and sing!

I suppose you will watch the Super Bowl too. I hope the Atlanta Falcons win. Why? Simple. I am a native of Georgia, so I must root for the State, while those silly boys chase that silly ball. Let’s not even discuss how much money they make as Super Bowl jocks.

Have a great weekend. Stay tuned. I’ll have more — next week!

 

 

Domestic Abuse, Election Day, Family, President Donald J. Trump, Uncategorized

Hatred…Negative Thoughts…Enough Of This…


Dearest Readers:

Have any of you noticed all of the hatred on your social media sites lately? Apparently, Facebook is filled with it now. Let’s don’t even discuss Twitter, etc. I’m simply not interested. I have a Twitter account, but I do not do all of the #######.??

Years ago, I was the Type A Personality. Always anxious, competitive and just a bit impatient, I strived to take over a room whenever I walked in. Yes, I still have the personality of someone who enjoys attention and loves to be noticed; however, after watching my father battle esophageal cancer during 1997-1999, I learned to appreciate life — regardless what it throws my way.

Although I still LOVE to be on stage, and to be noticed, it doesn’t matter to me if others decide they do not like me, nor do they want to be friends with me.

My philosophy now is simple. If you don’t like me, or want to be around me — as a LOYAL friend, I consider it your loss, not mine. A bit presumptuous, but – this is my life. I know who I am, and what I am. It doesn’t matter to me if you choose to look the other way or socialize with me. I’m not a game player, nor am I a gossip.

If you are reading this, you probably are familiar with the current events, along with the hatred spilling out of so many people’s mouths. Discussions of President Donald J. Trump. Discussions of wanting Obama back??? Really??? Sorry. America needs to move forward, not backwards! We MUST make America Great again!

Personally, I like President Trump’s style. He does things His Way!

There are many hateful discussions about immigration, and dare I say it, illegal immigrants? A few weeks ago, my nail technician stated he did not have a green card. My question to him was – how do you work here — a corporate discount store — and earn money when you do not have a green card?

He smiled, refusing to answer. Maybe I don’t want to know how he does this!

I suppose I’m just a bit too honest. I’ve never been known to lie with a straight face. My eyes reveal EVERYTHING about me, so I could not be ‘illegal.’ I believe that all of us in America were once immigrants. Our heritage reveals this. My heritage traces back to the 1600’s in England. My family has lived in America for generations, so being illegal isn’t something I truly understand.

Please understand. I am not saying those who have crossed over the border are not legal, but there are many, many illegals running around our country, and I fully believe they need to walk the walk…talk the talk that most Americans do. I do not believe in working without paying your share of taxes — just like we do, nor do I believe in getting a free lunch, or free life. I’ve known many who have abused the privilege to live in America. That is a shame.

I am proud to be an American citizen, and I’m proud to be considered middle class. How I would love to be rich, but that isn’t in my heritage, and so my husband and I continue to work to take care of ourselves. No one has ever given us a free lunch, or a free lifestyle. Everything we have and everything we’ve earned has been from working hard and being responsible.

I’ve decided to take a break again from social media sites, especially Facebook. Yes, this post will be on my Facebook page. If you don’t want to read, simply move on!

There appears to be such hatred now on these sites. People disagreeing…writing in CAPS, as if they are shouting. People who think their opinions are the only opinions we should agree with. PLEASE. Grow up! Negative thoughts equal negativity. I’m not a negative person. Honest? Yes. Opinionated? Yes. At times!

So for now, to those who follow me, I will be posting more on my website/blog. I will be writing on my book, and I will be taking a much-needed break from negativity to enjoy life. I pray for our new President, Donald J. Trump. I must say, when he revealed he would run for President, I laughed, thinking he was just a bit eccentric and arrogant. I remember saying to my friends I would never vote for him.

Never say Never!

Just from my perspective, I think he’s doing a great job. Yes, some people find him arrogant, and at times, he is; nevertheless, I admire him and his tenacity. We must step back and see what all he accomplishes within his ‘first 100 days.’

I must say, the more I learn about Melania Trump, the more I believe she is a true and classy lady. She knows how to move, how to speak and how to make an impression. Yes, she’s made a few mistakes along the way. Haven’t we all? I certainly have! The beauty of making mistakes is if you do not learn from your mistakes, then there’s a problem.

I imagine I’ll get a bit of a backlash from many readers, just like a recent question I asked on Facebook created a few ugly comments. Someone called me negative? Imagine that! All he wanted to do is fight on Facebook. I basically told him to get a life and move on!

No, I’m not a negative person. I am intense. A bit opinionated, but willing to open my eyes and heart to hear the comments of others. I am a positive person. Willing and able to reach out to others. In a disagreement, I am the first to apologize — unless, I truly believe in the issues of the disagreement. Then, I stand my ground! I believe in Civil Rights. I believe in Women’s Rights, and no, I was not one of those wearing those, shall I say, interesting(??) ugly pink costumes around their necks and bodies during the Women’s Rights Walks. I found that offensive! Somethings in life should be kept private! I was a feminist. Not certain I am now, since I do not advertise on my body!

I debated if I wanted to walk in the Charleston walk, but something kept me back. I was busy on that day, and after seeing a few of the photos, I was happy to remain at home. Still, I am an advocate for women’s rights, animal rights, children’s rights, and I will stand tall and speak up, and sometimes stop a domestic dispute between women and men. I do not believe, nor do I promote violence of any type. If someone uses the “F” bomb around me, I interrupt – nicely, letting them know I find their language offensive.

I’ve been called a prude. According to Webster’s Dictionary, a prude is:  “a person who is excessively or priggishly attentive to propriety or decorum; especially : a woman who shows or affects extreme modesty.” Yes, I am a bit modest, at times, but I certainly enjoy being a woman, and acting/behaving like a lady, and I can dress up or glam up with the best of them!

I’ve been described as Pollyanna: Merriam Webster describes Pollyanna as: “Someone who thinks good things will always happen and finds something good in everything.”

Nope. A Pollyanna I shall never become. I do look on the positive side of life, and I do not like to argue; nevertheless, I do not always find ‘something good in everything.’ Life can be a challenge sometimes. It is how we cope and move forward that makes us good humans. Good citizens. Good neighbors, friends and extended family members.

Also, I’ve been called a snob. Imagine that! And here we go again. According to Merriam Webster Dictionary, a snob is: “Someone who tends to criticize, reject, or ignore people who come from a lower social class, and may have less education.” Oh please. Believe me, I am not a snob. Growing up in the projects, and in the mill towns, who was, or am I, to criticize others? I do not criticize others, or reject those from a lower class. When in a social setting, I sit back, watching others, and do not think I do not see them looking at me, then cupping their hands to the other women sitting around. Sometimes, from their actions, I know they are talking about me because I do not sit with them. I do not participate in their “Chatty” “Gossipy” ways. I enjoy being a Lady! Simple put, I know who are my friends, and I certainly know who isn’t a friend. And so I keep my distance. Let them talk. They’ve just lost the best friend they would’ve had.

I do not hate. I do not feed negative thoughts. I live my life — MY WAY!

 

 

 

 

 

Domestic Abuse, Family, Motherhood

Reflections — On Mother’s Day…


 

Dearest Readers:

Perhaps this essay will be another chapter in “CHATTAHOOCHEE CHILD.” [My latest work-in-progress]:

Mama wore her best house dresses when she was in a good mood, which wasn’t often enough. Those days, it felt as if the sunshine from the window kissed the living room with colors of the rainbow, at least for me.

Mama would smile at me and say, “Honey, can you curl my hair?”

After I shampooed her hair, I curled it with jumbo rollers. My fingers shook as I rolled her hair. If the curl was too tight, she’d get a headache.  She screamed in pain while her hands slapped my face. If it was too loose, the curl would flop and she’d remind me I had no talent to style hair, or do anything right. Her actions spoke volumes about her lack of love for me.

Sometimes, she smiled into the mirror, nodding with delight when finished. During those special moments with her, I took the time to make my Mama up with makeup. Her skin was olive, as smooth as a baby’s behind. No wrinkles or age spots. When I lined her eyes with black velvet eyeliner, she could equal the beauty of Cleopatra or Elizabeth Taylor. I never understood why Mama failed to make skin care and make up part of her daily routine.

Mama never believed in routines. She lived her life only for the moment and the next handout from someone else.

“It don’t matter to me or to your daddy if I fix myself up,” she said. “He doesn’t care about me. Why should I?”

Never did Mama hug or kiss me with her acceptance. I dare not ask if she liked her hair or makeup. I knew better. The sting of her palm on my face told me when I was not meeting her approval. I prayed she wouldn’t notice my anxiety, or my trembling hands. When I asked how she wanted her hair styled this time, she looked in the mirror, scratched her head, pulling the gray strands out.

“Stupid girl, you should know how I like my hair styled! Cover the gray roots,” she said. “Tease it high. Don’t let nobody see how gray I’m getting. I don’t care how it looks, as long as the gray roots ain’t showing.”

She refused to get her hair colored, afraid the chemicals would do something to her brain. She said, “Cancer runs in our family. We can’t take a chance to get that disease ‘cause it kills. My great grandmother had head cancer. She had such bad headaches her mind was gone. Don’t you put no chemicals in my hair. I don’t want my brain, or my head fried with cancer. You listen to me, Rebecca Sue. Don’t let nothing fry my head.”

 

May, 2002 was the last Mother’s Day I shared with my mother. Reportedly, she suffered a fall at Savannah’s apartment in early April. Savannah shouted at her, shoving her down the stairs. She was in a hurry, and she was tired of taking care of her ‘old lady,’ so she chose to leave our mother suffering on the floor. That afternoon a home health nurse came to check on our mother, discovering her lying face down, her clothing soiled from body fluids and feces. Her face was pulled down to the left side, left lip bruised and battered. When she struggled to move, she could not. The nurse documented her condition, diagnosing a possible stroke.

The home health nurse phoned me. “I suspect your mother has suffered a stroke. She’s at E-R now.”

“I’ll make arrangements and leave later this afternoon. It will take at least eight hours before I can be there,” I said. “Where’s Savannah?”

The nurse hesitated, suggesting I should speak to the doctor on call when I arrived.

I knew something was questionable. This was not the first time my mother had injuries while under Savannah’s care.

On Mother’s Day, Mom was still in the hospital. On that morning, I arrived early, placing a pale blue gift bag on her bed. Her eyes opened. She glanced at the bag, struggling to speak.

“B-Blue skies,” she muttered. Her right arm moved to touch the bag. I reached inside the bag, removing a blue gift box. I opened the box slowly. Mom’s eyes blinked as she struggled to smile, admiring the cultured pearl earrings inside the box.

A few minutes later, I placed the pierced earrings in her ears. Mom sighed, touching the right ear with her right hand. She slurred ‘thank you’ and fell back to sleep.

I stayed with my mother all of that Mother’s Day, feeding her and making her comfortable. That Mother’s Day was the last Mother’s Day we shared.

On September 11, 2002, my mother died under ‘questionable circumstances.’ Savannah spent that night with her at the hospital. When Savannah phoned me in the late evening of September 12, she appeared intoxicated. Her last slurring words to me were, “Do you think they’ll do an autopsy?”

 

Two years after her death Garrett and I drove to Columbus. We dropped by the cemetery to see my mother’s grave. The years of mental and physical abuse from my mother were buried with her. I placed a bouquet of red roses on her headstone, kissed it and whispered, “I know we were never close, but I hope you’ve found peace now. May you rest in peace, Mom. I loved you.”

Thinking about my childhood, the physical and mental abuse, I found it strange that Savannah was repeating the vicious cycle of physical abuse while I found peace, refusing to allow violence or abuse of any kind within my family.

 

On Mother’s Day, 2015 I reflect on my mother, our estranged history together and the questionable circumstances of her death. Savannah buried her in a closed casket. Due to another bout of acute bronchial asthma, I was unable to get to the funeral. Perhaps there was a reason for an autopsy to be performed, but now, my mother rests in peace. I hope and pray she died peacefully. Mother’s Day is always a day of reflection, sadness and curiosity and I pray that all mothers will have a wonderful day enjoying motherhood.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you who truly know the definition and love affiliated with motherhood. May your day be filled with the love and best wishes of family on Mother’s Day.

 

###

 

Chattahoochee Child, Domestic Abuse, Friday Reflections, Uncategorized

Friday Reflections…


Dearest Readers:

If you follow my blog on a regular basis, you will know I haven’t written much in this column in about two weeks. Last week was truly the week from Hell for me. Beginning with suspected car problems where the technicians replied, “The engine light wasn’t on when we checked it…” Of course, that is a typical response from men to a woman at a service department…now, isn’t it — WOMEN! They were slightly mistaken. The engine light icon returned, and on Wednesday, it took over three hours to get it repaired. Of course, the main reason it took so long is due to the fact my car warranty was purchased with the car ($1549.00) at Car Max. Still, I am furious with Car Max; however, I will go on record to say that the service tech at Dodge possessed an amazing amount of patience with them — JUST — to get the warranty approved. Thank you, Dodge…and NO THANK YOU…to Car Max!

But — that chapter is closed and I am pleased to share that the repair that I had to pay for in the amount of $477.21 has been compensated to me – minus the $100 deductible since I DID NOT USE CAR MAX FOR THE REPAIR… Heck, I could not get Car Max to return a phone call, or the Mouse Lady to acknowledge me! Can you detect my frustration with Car Max???

Enough about Car Max! I suppose this post should actually be Friday frustrations, instead of Friday Reflections; however, since I am a person who looks for the positive in life and not the negative, I will do my best to reflect with a positive attitude.

While I am reflecting on Friday and this week, I would like to share that I was finally able to attend my weekly Weight Watchers meeting yesterday — the first meeting I’ve attended in four weeks. I confess, I anticipated a weight gain of 3 or 4 pounds and was a bit happy when I had only gained .06! It was wonderful to get back to my REAL life again. This reflection proves to me that I cannot complete my Weight Watchers journey alone. Like someone with an addiction, I must attend weekly meetings to share my ups and downs with all. I confess, I think the only reason I did not show a weight gain of four pounds or more was due to the fact that I have worked out on the treadmill every day since last Saturday. It was suggested at the meeting for me to ‘shake up’ my exercise routine a bit, so this week I will go for an extended walk — on the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge, and I will return to walking my dogs again. I’ve been slack about walking my dogs ever since we lost my precious Shamey-Pooh. The last time I walked the dogs on our three-mile journey someone actually stopped me to inquire where the ‘beautiful silver dog was,’… when I replied that he died, they apologized and I burst into tears.

Undoubtedly, there has been a black cloud over me for a few weeks, or maybe it is the full moon returning; nevertheless, this week started off — shall I say unpredictable. Monday afternoon, Phil and I left the house a few minutes after 5pm, headed to the Coastal Carolina Fair. What would normally take about 30 minutes was at least 1.5 hours. We arrived at the fair at about 7pm. Never did Phil get annoyed about the traffic and we had a great time at the fair. Little did I know how things would change within 24 hours!

For those of you who do not know – My husband has PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. If you do not know what it is like to live with someone with PTSD — count your blessings! Tuesday afternoon when Phil returned home from work, he had a strange look in his eyes. I know that look well — PTSD! Within 30 minutes, we were fighting. I cannot recall what set him off, or me off – but our fight continued. I decided to shut myself away in the bedroom. That night, I broke our rule – a rule made when we were newlyweds…the rule of “never going to bed angry, or without a good night kiss!”

Wednesday – we had the same scenario. No matter what I said, we could not stop the fight. Listening to someone is difficult with him. I approached him carefully, telling him ‘we need to talk.’ When someone has PTSD communication does not exist. Every time I said I needed to talk to him, we fought. The real kicker was when Phil shouted to me that I was exactly like my mother. Yes, he does know the right buttons to push! I exploded although with a calm, diplomatic voice letting him know that I was ‘nothing like my mother!’ Never did I behave, or deceive him in the manner my mother deceived my father.

I gathered my dogs and off we went to the bedroom. I pretended to be asleep! No kiss. Nothing! Breaking the rules continued. I should add, Wednesday, Phil called me several times. No doubt, he wanted to end this scenario on the phone. I stood firm.

Thursday morning, after Weight Watchers, I had lunch with a close friend from Weight Watchers. As I was leaving the car to meet her, my cell phone beeped with an e-mail. From Phil. Subject – Peace! He said he was tired of fighting…recognized that at times he could be difficult, only that is not the word he used! And he was sorry. I phoned him. Fight over.

No, I was not refusing to take the first step to end this emotional battle, but when you live with someone with PTSD there does come a time when you must be firm so they can see the issues related to PTSD. I’ve had several friends ask why I tolerate his behaviors and mental treatments. My reply – simple –he is the only person who has ever loved me. He rescued me when I needed rescuing. If you’ve followed my blog for a while, reading my issues with my mother and the domestic abuse of my family, then you must understand. When someone grows up in such an environment, never do you anticipate a life of love and peacefulness. Never did I EVER see my parents hug or kiss, so — due to LOVE(??) that is why I tolerate such behaviors. I do recall my parents shouting and I shall quote:
Mother – expressed to my father: “I hate you…You no good Son of a B—-!”

Dad’s reply: “I wish I never married you!”

Mom’s reply: “I hope you die soon…”

Those cruel expressions echoed in my ears as a child, and they still echo in my ears. Once you live in an abusive family situation, you never forget it!

Maybe that is why I strive so hard to be positive. When I hear others gossiping, ridiculing others, I say something positive about the person. Maybe that is why I’ve lost “friendships” because I do not wish to gossip about others. I do not function well with gossip or negativity. As a child, I recall my mother dragging me to the beauty shop in Bibb City, GA where she would sit for hours gossiping about women, men and the couples within the village of Bibb City. I hated these moments and would rush outside, or sit with my head covered with one of the bubble hair dryers so I would not hear their shrewd gossip. Women can be so dangerous and cruel. I suppose those ‘toxic stories’ made my mother feel better about herself, and I do recall saying to my mother, “God don’t love ugly.” My grandmother’s favorite expression! My mother’s response, “You shush your mouth, you stupid girl!”

Later in my life, I focused on a new definition of STUPID!
S – Sensitive
T – Tenacious
U – Unique
P – Passionate
I – Imaginative; Independent; Intimate
D – Dignified; Dependable; Desirable

Perhaps for today, these are my Friday reflections. I am hopeful next week will be a positive, happy week for me, and for you. What are your Friday Reflections?

Domestic Abuse, Friday Reflections, Uncategorized

Friday Reflections…Exhaustion…And How To Cope In A World Of Stress


Dearest Readers:

Today is Friday…a day of looking forward to the weekend. As for me, it is another day of exhaustion.

Why? Allow me to explain…Undoubtedly, this week has pushed me to the limit, starting with Tuesday. Early Tuesday morning, my husband and I had to be at Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center. Hubby was scheduled for an eye lift. We arrived on time. Checked in at the kiosk and waited…like everyone does for their name to be called for prep. The waiting area was packed! Hubby was scheduled to arrive at 9:00 am. We were early. Parking was an issue, so we used the valet for parking. After check-in, hubby waited impatiently for his name to be called. The procedure was scheduled for 11 am. And so, we waited…and waited…and WAITED!

I don’t recall the time when his name was called, although by the time, I made a few friends, chatting with the ladies in attendance, checking my phone for e-mails, calls and of course, dearly beloved(???) Facebook.

About two hours after the procedure began, the doctors spoke with me, letting me know the surgery was successful and he might have a bit of bruising. The bruising arrived later! After he was cleared for dismissal, we gathered our things and left. On the way home, Phil’s eyes began gushing a ‘bit of fluid…’ AKA — BLOOD!

When he got home, I encouraged him to rest, relax, keep his head back and let the ice pack ease his discomfort. By now, the fluid is streaming down his face. I checked the list of instructions from the hospital, dialed the number for an emergency…having much difficulty getting through. About 15 minutes later, with his face streaked with blood, we were told to get back to the hospital at E-R. Phil did not wish to go back. I stood firm. “This isn’t open for negotiations…Get in the car.”

Reluctantly, he followed me, telling me I was “really being bossy!”

Perhaps! I suppose I don’t deal with a grown man behaving like a two-year-old! Upon arrival, Phil was rushed back to E-R…the doctors and nurses settled him in bed and the eye doctor was called. The eye clinic closes at 4:30. Fortunately, the doctors were still at the eye clinic, so they rushed down. I must compliment Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, their staff and volunteers…what a difference they are from another time and visit where I wanted to claw the eyes of a nurse out…but I am not a violent person. [Incidentally, that experience is posted on my blog, if you care to read it.] I believe in diplomacy…or “killing with kindness…” Never did I have to invite my Julia Sugarbaker style to kick in. Everyone at the hospital was kind, courteous and helpful to us. Never did I have to request anything. Such a difference! Maybe the hospital, along with the VA, is getting their act together now. Thank you, Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center…I do believe Ralph H. Johnson would be proud of you!

The complication with the bleeding was a result of Phil taking his blood thinners a few days before surgery. After the doctor cleared the blood and got it to stop, his eyes were severely swollen and as black as midnight. He reminded me of a raccoon…or someone who was in a violent fight — and lost. Everyone who has seen Phil has joked about me finally getting my revenge with him and beating the H— out of him. Rest assured…I am not a violent person. Even though I grew up in a family of domestic violence and severe child abuse…where shouting, beating, cursing and knocking each other around was almost a daily ritual, I have never been a violent person. Even when my youngest sister slapped me, I simply wiped my face and walked away. I refuse to become another domestic violence statistic. Whenever I am mistreated, I crawl inside myself, a tactic I learned as a child, and I walk away…so the black eyes are simply a result of surgery.

Phil has been at home the remainder of this week. I must say, having to take care of him, making certain he applies the ointment, rests…applies the ice pack…and doesn’t bend down…has been quite a chore. Tuesday evening I was too exhausted to open my mail. Now, I have four days of mail stacked high. I haven’t opened any of it. Most of it will be shredded, including the never-ending catalogs I did not request. The usual clutter of mail many of us get…so no doubt, my starving shredder will be stuffed with the junk mail I will shred. I do recall getting a catalog from Montgomery Ward’s…didn’t they go out of business years ago?

Sleep has been a major issue for me this week. Monday night — no sleep. Too afraid of what I might have to face on Tuesday, especially since Phil is a heart patient, having the tendency to do what he wants and not what the doctor advises. Tuesday night, I carried my cell phone to the bedroom — something I NEVER do, in the event Phil needed me. His doctor advised him to sleep in the recliner, so I placed his cell phone on the table next to the recliner, with instructions to phone me if he needed me. On Wednesday — now sleep deprived for two if not three days — I was a total B—-! Compared to Julia Sugarbaker, I was truly the wicked witch of the Southeast! Not a Southern Belle…not a Steel Magnolia…just an exhausted, raving B—-! I was so physically exhausted that I wanted to run away from myself.

Wednesday afternoon I managed to go grocery shopping. Since I am doing Weight Watchers, I needed fresh fruit, fresh vegetables, almond milk and bread. How I prayed that no one would get in my way! While driving home, I had a serious discussion with myself, realizing that I was so grouchy — actually BITCHY — because of fear. The last time Phil had a procedure at the VA Hospital, he had a problem with his breathing. I suppose I have learned to keep these fears within myself while recognizing I needed to relax and say a prayer to God, thanking Him for keeping Phil safe. I suppose the gushing blood from his eyes horrified me. He absolutely looked like a monster from a horror movie. I needed to breathe…inhale…exhale…relax…and SLEEP!

Wednesday night I managed to sleep – finally. Thursday morning I awoke at 9:15 — too late to attend a Weight Watchers meeting. Refreshed, but still a bit tired I decided I needed to exercise. I worked out on the treadmill for 31 minutes, aerobics for 35 minutes. Much to my surprise, I felt amazing after my workout!

Today is Friday. A day to reflect. No doubt I haven’t lost weight this week, but on a positive note, I’ve discovered ways to make one of the “two B’s in my name,” recover and relax. I must remember to appreciate the little things in life. The warmth of sunshine. A warm lick from my precious, beloved animals…and mostly, I must appreciate that my husband came through the procedure with only a mild complication that the staff at Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center worked quickly and extremely professional to resolve.

Now, I must get on the treadmill…afterwards, I will tackle the mountain of laundry I must fold after doing laundry yesterday…and I must attack that stack of mail. My shredder will be so full and happy as it gobbles the stack of unwanted mail.

Hopefully, next week will be a better week…more relaxed and quiet…with a weight loss!

My Friday Reflections…I hope your week was much better!

Domestic Abuse, Free Writing, Uncategorized

Ray Rice…Let’s Just Say…He Isn’t A Role Model…


Dearest Readers:

Yes, it is a true…everyone has an opinion about Ray Rice. Of course you must know, I have an opinion too and my opinion is this story is about Domestic Violence…from both sides.

In the TMZ video, I noticed Janay Palmer (his fiancee at the time) slaps Ray. This appears to start the fight BEFORE the fight intensified after the elevator door closes. I imagine this video is edited, after all, many of those broadcasting sites have the tendency to report, and I quote, “If it bleeds…it leads…”

As an advocate against domestic violence of any type, I believe Ray Rice is finally getting what he and his wife deserves! Reportedly, Ray Rice has been suspended from the NFL. President Obama has spoken out about the suspension stating and I quote, “…Stopping domestic violence is something that’s bigger than football, and all of us have a responsibility to put a stop to it…”

I am just a bit annoyed at all of these comments. Domestic violence has been happening within the closed doors (or elevators) for generations. Most people have always looked the other way…! “They don’t want to get involved…besides…it is a family matter!” Why is it suddenly coming to the surface, and finally getting the attention of a President — NOW! Because of football???

It is a known fact that domestic violence INCREASES during football season. Maybe it’s the testosterone that gets a man’s blood rushing thru his body while watching his favorite, and violent sport — football! I certainly had opportunities last night to observe this scenario at a football bar and grill locally. Sitting at the bar with a friend while my husband and her husband watched the game, I looked around the bar area. We were the only women sitting at the bar, so it was just a bit easy to listen to these men as they fought over that silly brown ball. During half-time, the discussion of Ray Rice began, so I listened — not to the TV, but to these testosterone overloaded, booze drinking men. Among the words I heard were:

“She got what she deserved…”
“She put herself in a man’s place…”
“Why is the NFL getting involved with a situation between a man and woman who love each other…”

My Julia Sugarbaker demeanor was steaming!

I looked at one guy speaking with another guy. “She started the fight…did you see her slapping at him? She was asking for it.”

“Excuse me, gentlemen,” I interrupted. My husband shook his head and mumbled something. I suppose I was embarrassing my husband, but I didn’t care. I had a message to deliver:

“You gentlemen keep saying she got what she deserved. After all…
“She put herself in a man’s place… Obviously, you are not educated about domestic abuse. While I agree that she shouldn’t take a swing at him, she did not deserve to be knocked down. And IF you saw the video, you will notice HE did not knock her down within public settings…He waited until the elevator doors closed…and THEN the swinging, pushing, and knocking her around began…This IS what happens with domestic violence…The perpetrator waits until the doors close, and then he goes after his prey!”

The two men glared at me, along with my husband. I am certain my husband was livid that I was speaking, but this was my moment to voice what domestic violence is! Let’s just say, my husband knows that when I feel a passion about issues, I definitely attempt to voice my concerns, AND, I will not go quietly into the night!

I continued. Much to my surprise, these men were not interrupting me! “You also questioned, and I quote, “Why is the NFL getting involved with a situation between a man and woman who LOVE each other…”

“All of you need to understand, domestic violence is not about love. It is about control…jealousy…anger…outrage…never is it LOVE. A man who loves a woman, and a woman who loves a man, will not swing out at each other, slapping, hitting, shouting and knocking the partner to the ground.”

The two men glared at me again, ordering another beer. I cannot imagine why, but they got extremely quiet, choosing to gulp the beers and watch the beloved football game. I hope and pray the team they wanted to win — LOST!

I have no compassion for Ray Rice, and I have a limited compassion about his wife. Never do I understand why she married him, but that is for her to decide, and I imagine within a few years there will probably be a divorce…when she gets the courage to say — Enough is enough.” Perhaps money was a deciding factor???

Nevertheless, I do hope the scenario between the violence of Ray and Jayna Rice will open the eyes to the reality that domestic violence occurs daily in America. While there are laws regarding domestic violence, http://www.mincava.umn.edu/documents/ffc/chapter5/chapter5.html, we need shelters, venues and education pertaining to domestic violence. Unfortunately, the State of South Carolina has the highest rate of domestic violence in the nation. My, ain’t we so proud! This state appears to have the tendency to just slap the good ole boy on the wrist while giving him community service, or a night or two in the jail system. Yes, I live in South Carolina — a state — way behind the times!

As for the Rice Family — It is sad that they have a beautiful little girl. Why? Simple. She will grow up observing her parents fighting, sometimes slapping and knocking each other down. I walked in those shoes. Since I served as a referee between my parents when they fought physically and verbally with shouting and boxing matches I fought to end, and I promised myself at the age of five-years-old that I would not treat my family in such a way. It is horrible to watch your parents fighting, shouting, cursing and demonstrating what Love IS NOT! I pray that this precious child will not have to stand between her parents. One thing I did notice in the environment of our home as a child — whenever my parents were around company or family, never did they shout, curse or fight. All of these actions were behind closed doors with exception of when I was five years of age. On that occasion, my dad knocked my mother to the ground — outside, around other women. The other women simply walked away, never saying a word. As for my actions, I stood next to my dad telling him he was a mean man and I never wanted to see him hit my mother again! Never did I SEE him hit her again, but I did see the bruises!

Children need to grow up in a LOVING home, not a home filled with the monster of domestic violence. Regardless, I will still say, Domestic Violence is not LOVE! Love is gentle and kind…not control or violence!

As for Ray Rice, I pray that soon there will be another news story to broadcast, not another tragic story of domestic abuse. Maybe Ray Rice should join another long line — isn’t it called the unemployment line?

Domestic Abuse, On My Soapbox!

Domestic Abuse — Just WHEN Will It End???


Dearest Readers:

This will probably be the shortest blog I have written in a while. I am busy with life today…cleaning the house, getting dressed to go to the doctor for my last Supartz injection and caring for a husband with a neck ache. I’ve always said my husband is a pain in the neck, and now I suppose that is true!

Today, I simply must express a bit about domestic abuse. I know lots about the subject matter since I served as the referee between my mother and dad when they fought, sometimes attempting to kill each other from their raging, violent tempers and toxic voices. Back when I was a child, domestic abuse was not an issue or a crime. People simply swept it under the rugs, while whispering “He Beats Her…” Yes, and she “beats him!” Never could I call the police, or 911. Crimes of ‘passion’ from parental hatred and jealousy simply did not exist. Thank goodness our Nation finally recognized that domestic abuse DOES EXIST, and it is definitely A CRIME!

Yesterday, I got a phone call from a close, respectable friend, sharing with me that one of our co-workers at Johnson & Wales University was killed by her boyfriend. http://www.postandcourier.com/article/20130824/PC16/130829578/1009/boyfriend-charged-with-killing-woman-in-west-ashley&source=RSS

I am so outraged I could scream. Reportedly, he is in jail now. How I hope and pray he will remain there for the rest of his life, but as we know, these maniacs manage to get out of jail. Reportedly, he beat her badly, leaving internal injuries and strangulation. Obviously, David Reagan meant to kill her. They found an empty purse by her body. He reportedly used her credit cards after the crime, to purchase beer. Just what an abusive maniac needs, isn’t it!

I don’t have many details at the moment, but I am so sad to hear and read about how Kathy Hawkins died. She was 52 years of age, with a nine-year-old daughter. Like all who succumb to domestic abuse, she did not deserve to die in such a violent manner.

As I’ve stated, I know a lot about domestic abuse. Not from my husband, or any prior boyfriends before marriage. I observed domestic abuse as a child, standing between my mother and father, telling them it was time to stop the fighting and be nice to each other. When I was five years old, I saw my dad knock my mother to the ground for the first time, leaving her head bleeding from the force of his temper and rage. I made a promise to myself that I would never allow anyone to beat me, and that is what domestic abuse is — a beating — and now, a crime.

Please, let us do all that we can to STOP DOMESTIC ABUSE. And let us remember, it is not just a crime for women. There are many women in the world who abuse their loved ones, regardless of who they might be. Domestic abuse is wrong. It should end…NOW! No one deserves to die from the violence of someone we once loved and trusted. NO ONE!

Stop the abuse now – the abuse related to children, spouses, elderly, family members, animals…just abuse in general. I will have more blogs about domestic abuse later..after all, I observed it as a child. Never did I speak about it to others. I was too afraid I would be physically abused because I spoke up. Years later, I do speak up about it. My husband and I rescued one of my sisters from a domestic abuse situation many years ago, moving her closer to get away from a maniac, now ex husband. I will continue to vocalize my beliefs about domestic abuse. I will stand on my soapbox to do all that I can to stop abuse. I’ve seen friends abused and when I do, I react – jumping right into the fire, daring the abuser to hit me. So far, no one has taken my dare. I suppose they know — they will end up in jail. I will not be quiet. I will not walk away, and I will make certain I do not look the other way, like so many people choose to do.

Kathy Hawkins was the victim I am speaking about today. She is now deceased, from the hands of a boyfriend. Kathy was a lovely, friendly woman who deserved to see her nine-year-old daughter grow into adulthood. She deserved so much more. Rest in peace, Kathy Hawkins. How I hope David Reagan remains in jail, but I doubt it! Someone will probably bail him out.

More later! Trust me, this issue is not something I will keep to myself. Domestic abuse MUST END! It is a crime. Too many victims are murdered and murder is a crime!