winter

winter

Friday, October 28, 2005

Harrowing.... little else describes it.

This morning as I was on my way into work, I came upon a sight that has left me shaken all day. A young man, 17 years old, was laying on the side of the road. About him were four to five people, all looking very upset. Something in my heart said there was something horribly wrong so I turned the car around and went back.

Sure enough, something was wrong. The young man had been the victim of a hit and run accident. He was crossing the street when a carless driver struck him with their car. The young man was flung from the car and to the curb, after which the party had sped away. Shortly after I had arrived, the police and then the EMTs arrived. I offered my meager first aid kit and what every effort I could take to help.

In the end, I spent my time comforting this young man. As distressing the sight of his obviously broken leg and his bleeding from what appeared to be mild to moderate head trauma (including but most likely not limited to a broken noes) was... I found myself even more disturbed that this poor young man felt that this accident was his fault. He looked at me like a three year old does when in pain, seeking comfort and some magical ease of their suffering. Raw, naked fear shone in his face.

I knelt by him, smoothing the hair where his head wasn't injured. I quietly told him what was going to happen and that he would be all right. I assured him that it was most certianly not his fault. As the people about me worked to get him physically ready for the help he needed and to contact his family, I did my best to soothe the terror out of his eyes.

Thinking of it now even makes me want to weep. When I was assured that he was safely on his way to the hospital and the police officer on the scene told me that I was not needed any longer, I left to finish my trip to work. It was a meager 1 block away. When I got there, I was 15 min late. When I saw the young man laying on the side of the road, I was on track to be 10 min early. As I got into work, I heard the children laughing and playing.

Visions of these children laying in the street with people just looking at them as they were quite possibly bleeding to death assailed me. I sat down and wept for a solid 20 min. Even now my eyes itch and I can feel the burgeoning twinge of tears. While there was deep anger, if not rage at the casual inhumanity of such an action as leaving another to die inthe street after you hit them, I felt a greater sense of ... anguish.

I feel a horrid pain in the core of my heart. How can a person be so sadistic.. so thoughtless... so cruel to potentially commit vehicular homicide? This is a frightening and all to common occurance. Some of it is due to people just having poor skills as drivers. Those are the horribly tragic incidences. Some of it is due to gross negligence. I am certian that a signifigant portion of the accidents are due to some combination.

I can't help but feel heart broken and wounded. So many people injured from such thoughtlessness. And then more often then not, left to lay in their pain and terror alone. At the mercy of the elements and the people about them. And so frighteningly many people just would stare at the event, not lift a single finger to help that suffering soul. May God have mercy on those people and help me to be charitable and compassionate to them, even help me to forgive their blindness.

God... why? Why must so many people be brought to the edge of death by sheer laziness, gross negligance, and blind stupidity? I have this horrible sight that I witnessed today in such stark odds to my inheirant belief that people are fundamentally good. Even now I still hold that belief.

Am I a fool for this in the face of such blatant evidence of ... evil?

Monday, October 24, 2005

Winterizing your home is not fun.

Well, hubby and I haven't started the joy of getting our apartment ready for winter just yet. I'm starting to think that we need to do that as soon as possible. The National Weather Service has us under a Winter Storm Advisory. The projection is for the higher elevations to get between 3 and 6 inches of snow tonight and all the area to get a combination of rain and snow tomorrow.

I've got my draft doger ready. Now we put plastic sheeting up over all the windows. I make heavy curtians. And pray that the heating bills don't go up too high. :p

I really thought that we had almost a month before it got like this. I was *such* a fool for listening to the people around me. Next time, I go with the horse sense and start getting ready when the weather starts looking like it's heading south. Big, woolen looking clouds mean snow. Don't care what time of year, those clouds with snow are unmistakeable. Good thing I don't have a garden right now or all of my crop would probably be dead from the frost right now. And it was a bumper crop of apples this year, lots of big ones. Means it's going to be real cold again, just like last year.

I don't like it when it's so cold my hands hurt. Let's hope we don't get a lot of sub-zero weather. :p Especially before the actual winter hits!

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Ok, what's the deal with *SPAM* in the Comments?

Is it me or is it kinda ... well... foolish to slap spam into some one's comment book for their blog?

I don't know about you, but that really annoys me. I don't know if it smacks more of desperation on the part of the spammers or blatant harassment. Please, dear Reader, allow me to list off the locations where I have recieved some form of spam (aka Junk mail/communication)

1. e-mail
2. guest book on my web page
3. blog comment book
4. cell phone voice mail (yep, that's right, my *phone*)
5. cell phone text messages (see above, yeah, you read these correctly)
6. junk mail in my p.o. box
7. junk mail on my door step (read pennysaver w/ god knows how many inserts)
8. news paper (hey, the inserts do count, who wants a billion ads for lingere?)
9. i.m.
10. my parents' mail box (yeah, they send stuff to my parents for *me*)
11. parents' phone
12. inter-office mail (I don't care if youre selling tupperware, don't bother me.)

Umm... I think that covers it for today. If I start getting more via carrier pigeon or something, I may start killing pigeons. I don't know yet. Hasn't happened. If we're lucky I didn't give 'em any ideas. Good thing I can't read smoke signals. :p

Woah! Like minds! Cool!!

Sorry, that was my inital response. I had to use it as the title of this post. :)

Mom-R-K-Tet had some great points in her comment on my work rant no. 3. I just have to hilight 'em here. It's wonderful to see that I'm not the only one who says this system is broken and needs fixed. Who knows, we may get lucky and all of us can brain up a solution to it together! Wouldn't that be cool?



Quick summary of the rant: I feel that mainstreaming students with learning disabilities is generally a disservice to those students when those learning disabilities are severe. It is something that not only results in fustration for the students but can prove more then disruptive to the classroom and ultimately hamper *everyone* in their efforts of academic success. I feel that education should be to mastery of a subject and that students should be given the opporutnity to proceed at their own pace. This means that students should be taught to their abilities, not some predetermined standard. The rant rambles all over the place, including a description of problems due to mainstreaming as found where I work. But that's the gist of what I'm trying to say. :)

Mom-R-K-Tet said:
[...] To avoid this kind of "inclusion," we have provided private placements for our autistic daughter for the last six years. It has cost us, to date, more than $150,000 in education and other services, and we have another six years to go. [..]

A question for y'all: Why do we have to commit "financial suicide" to get our kids what they need? Am I the only one that finds it more then a little sadistic to ask for a parent that's sacrificing functionally everything they have for their children's well being to give up their ability to support themselves to get their kids what they need? They're trying to provide for their children. That's what parents are *supposed* to do. We're not asking parents to *pretend* they care about their children. Kids aren't dress up dolls or pets. They're people who need to be protected and assisted as needed. Kids are amoung our most helpless members of society, can't anybody remember that?

Please pardon the outrage, but that number makes me a little angry. None should have to spend that much to help their kids start out in life. It's just not right! (Remember, dear Reader, deep breath in, count to 10 and then a deep breath out. It works to help keep stress levels down as well as incidences of rage inspired homicide.)

Next excellent point:

She is, for now, in a private placement paid for by the school. But the state is trying to eliminate such arrangements, to move toward 100% inclusion. Will we be able to beg, borrow and steal the fortune in educational expenses needed for this child? I lie awake every night, fearing what will become of her if we do not manage it.

There's injustice and then insult to injury. I know that the state (any state) is trying to save money. Why is it that the first concern is to cut back on the things that are actually going to *help* in the long run? Schools fund football fields before programs for tutoring. The state pushes to mainstream learning disabled kids (and there by spend less on education) but yet will vote the legislature a raise. And who hurts in the end? The kids, their parents... all of us. After all, these kids who are getting the short end of the stick are going to be our leaders.

Imagine that, for a second, here we are old and grey. Maeby we have social security, maeby not, but that's a different rant. We're pretty much to the point where we're depending on the good graces of the younger generation. And what do we have, kids who got pushed through school to keep graduation numbers up. Kids who's education was dumbed down for the sake of making the graduating classes looking smarter then the year before. Did you know that the national reading level is now a little above 4th grade? Not that long ago it was at 7th grade.

Do you know what that means? It means that a growing percentage of our population is functionally unable to read. Do you know who makes up that growing percentage? The kids graduating from highschool right now. How's that for scary? Do you want your country run by people who can't do basic math or read the Consitution of the United States? I certianly don't. Let's stop people from stealing our kids futures from their hands.

Educate them. Sure, little Billy may have a learning disability. But it's no different from any other disability. There are tools to work with them, and that learning disability could prove to be a *huge* benefit. Imagine if you had severe ADD. There's alot of jobs that you'd have a hard time doing. There's some that you'd be amazing at. I know a woman that's got a 3 second atention span and she's one of the most amazing phone operators you'll ever meet. She can handle a 50 line phone system with hardly any problems and keep things running smoothly. Her ADD makes her a natural for multi-tasking. That thing that's so tough for the rest of us.

And you know what, don't assume that kids with learning disabilities are dumb. They're not. On the whole, kids with learning disabilities will get higher scores on IQ tests then people who are not. Why do you ask? No one knows for sure yet. It's one of the things with learning disabilities that they're reasearching. For my part, I suspect that it's one of those trade offs in how the brain is "wired".

Mom-R-K-Tet, keep fighting! You're kids got a great mother in you. They're going to grow up to be strong and smart because they've got a great role model. I know that's one reason why they'll turn out to be great people. Don't give up!

hmm....

Well, I changed my template for this. I think it's easier to read, but I'm not 100% sure. I'll leave it as is for a few days. If I still like it, then it'll stay. Otherwise, I think I may just go ahead and change things again. :)

Eeeww.... I feel gross. :p

I'm sick and I'm miserable. This is the first time all week I can say that I've functionally been awake all day. Don't know what I've got but everything hurts when I don't take my pain meds. :p

Did I mention that I hate being sick? Not only do I have the percieved uselessness (all percieved on my own part, Friend, but I also have the physiological misery of being ill as well. So, I not only feel like I am a lazy wretch for letting dishes pile up but I have the back ache from hell (plus the headache, stomach ache.. well, you get the picture).

I feel guilty for it. My dear husband works very hard to keep things running smoothly at work. When I get sick, suddenly he's stuck taking care of everything and me. It's not exactly fair. Especially when I get really sick. I don't know if I should be furious with myself or just cry with fustration some times.

Ah well. Today I had enough energy to do dishes. though i took a nap afterwards. Now I'm on the computer doing stuff, less effort then dishes. I don't need to stand while I do it. Though I'm sure that I"ll sleep deeply tonight. I'm making myself stay awake, though my body is arguing with me. I'm sick of sleeping all the time. Though this is getting uncomfortable. :p I'll be missing work on mondy, here's hoping that I don't miss another week of work.

I hate this.

Never compromise, never surrender!

I have a dear friend going through his dark night of the soul. I am sure that I seemed callous and uncaring in my responce to his suffering. Gentle Reader, please understand, I am by no means a callous person. It grieves me deeply that he is suffering like this. Even more so that he feels he must start on the road of self-destruction to evade that suffering.

The conversation I've had with him has returned me back to a feeling that's been rooted in me ever since I left an abusive monster years ago. Never ever compromise your well being for the sake of another's comfort. Never surrender your self, your very soul for the sake of some one's conveiance. I suppose some may say it's foolish and maeby even selfish to take this stance. I know more then a few people would argue that it's clearly against the beliefs that I am now espousing.

Let me clarify, if I can, Friend, where this statement comes from. I have seen the hell wrought by surrendering your self to another as a plaything to their whims. There is an amazing degree of power that you give up. A startling degree of vulnerability and also... a frightening potential for grevious abuse. Please know that I do not assume that all relationships of deep intimacy will be abusive. I have enjoyed (and if the good God is willing, shall do so until I am quite old) a passionate and deeply intimate relationship for 10+ years.

The line in the sand needs to be an granite wall of uncompromising strength and insurmountable height between the core of yourself and the world about you. Only you should control what you sacrifice of yourself and just how deeply you are impacted by the world around you. You must not ever surrender your psychological, emotional, spiritual, and phsyical well being for the sake of anyone. To do so places you at risk for deep, deep harm if not death. Even today I have wounds buried in my heart and soul from the abuse that I suffered over a decade ago.

I wake afraid that the man who hurt me so deeply will come to harm me and my dear husband in the night. I'm terrified that I'll be kidnapped and have everyone I love murdered before my eyes before I am finally raped and murdered by the monster. Why is this, you ask? Because I allowed that person such intimate access to my sense of self. I allowed him into my heart to that degree and gave over enough of my control to him that I was fearful to dress outside of colors he liked seeing on me.

Never, for the love of everything sacred, never give up that much of yourself. It will kill you. It will rip the life out of your eyes and leave you either dead in the street or effectively a zombie. Either way, you will not be the person that you are today, loved and cherished by your friends and family. Make limits on how close people can get to you. Even those dearest to you, you still need a limit. And enforce them fericely.

Anyone who feels that they can wound you with impunity, cut them off. Keep them as far away from you as possible, for they are your enemy. These people are the ones who want to hurt you for the sake of their empowerment and satisfaction. These are the ones that turn into the monsters. Run from them as if all the fiends of hell were at your heels, because I assure you that in some shape or form, they most likely are.

And, dear Reader, know that I pray for you. I pray for everyone to be kept free of that hell. No one deserves it, not even the monsters themselves. Fight like hell, Friend, fight like hell and save yourself.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Work Rant no. 3: Ugh!

The title says it all. How on Earth, or anywhere else in this Universe, do you manage to look for a job, work the job you have, endure endless moronic antics and keep up the facade of being happy? I'm starting to understand why Postal employees snap and go buy a sniper rifle. I've been eyeing a few in my spare time... then I remember, I don't like guns and can't hit the broad side of a barn with one.

I have to say that the days that I get 10 to 8 hours for my shift should be days that I'm thankful for. It covers my health insurance payment a little better and helps me stay out of that black hole known as debt. At the same time, I am finding that I just want to quit towards the end of the day. Last Friday (10/7) I had that feeling at about noon. Called my dear and darling husband, asking him for any sage advice he could offer. Being that he's out side of the situation and usually more level-headed then I am, I figure he's a good one to talk to. That quick request for advice turned into a 40 min crying jag.

I was rather embaressed. At least it happened with me in the car and he was on his lunch break as well. I suppose, my dear Reader, that you are curious as to why I hit this proverbial wall of misery so quickly. Having to work with children that have learning disorders is a particularly trying task. It is made even more difficult when these children are intermingled with children with out learning disorders. A mild learning disorder or a learning disorder that doesn't impact behavior is usually fairly easy to work with. Severe learning disorders and learning disorders that impact behavior is (to be perfectly honest) hellish in an environment that is not specificly tailored to help the child and adults around come with them.

When a learning disabled child is placed into a classroom with children that are without learning disorders, this is known generally as mainstreaming. Mainstreaming is touted as a humane thing, allowing these children social interaction and opportunities to build relationships with their peers. Mainstreaming, however, can be a very difficult, if not cruel thing to a child. Especially if the group they are placed in exceeds the functional age level of that child. Unfortunately for me, I was in a room with two children that were mixed into a room that functioned at the level of 5 and 6 years old. These two children functioned at the ages of 2-3 years old.

That right there spells disaster. Add to this mix one other little fact, the class room had approximately 20 children. This is well outside of state mandated ratios, but we're lowly employees. Who are we to ask for assistance when the management refuses it and states that we're the ones who must take care of it. Now, the two children who were struggling to keep up with the rest of the class did so with great difficulty. They also have problems with ADD and ADHD. The one who functions at the younger age (who is actually just shy of 4yrs old) also has a problem with being violent. Thus, we had fights breaking out so often you could set your watch by it.

I had hit the limit of what I could tolerate when this particular boy began throwing items such as wooden blocks at people with intent to harm. I marched him into the office (actually carried him kicking and screaming obscenities at me) and said that I needed the office to monitor his behavior for a few minutes while I got my classroom under control. The office's responce was "We can't do it. He's your problem." Then came nap-time. The two boys with the learning disorders just happen to hate each other. So, at nap-time, they sat antagonizing each other from across the room.

I stepped in, as that my co-worker seemed to feel that just yelling would resolve the problem and proceeded to isolate these two boys from each other. That was when the tempertantrums started. I had one and then the other flailing and spitting at me. They screamed obscenities, when what they screamed was coherent. They attempted to strike other children, throw things at people, and generally use violence to intimidate me into giving them their way. When this occurred, I wrapped my arms around the child and held them until they stopped trying to attack people. Thus, they directed their attempts at violence towards me. Thank goodness I have reasonably fast reflexes.

It's not fun to have a child spitting in your face, but it is better then having them claw your eyes out. So, I had first one and then the other sitting on my lap, spitting in my face as I held them against my body so they couldn't hurt anyone or themselves. After all, it is my job to keep all of these children safe. My rewards for this effort, which was a solo act because my co-worker went on his lunch break even with these children behaving this way...

A look of pity and "Man, they were being bad." What I just described... that happens on a fairly regular basis where I work. I've gone home with bruises. Once in a while, it's rather unplesant. I now appear to have vericose veins as a result of the repeated bruising of my legs. It was the child who's temper tantrum including clawing the living daylights out of me that just tipped the scales on that front.

I came home and my legs were purple and black from mid thigh down to my ankles. Scratches on my arms... I was amazed that she hadn't bit me. To be honest, I'm amazed that I haven't been bitten yet. Children have tried, I guess it's the moderately fast reflexes.

What on earth do you do with this mess? I'm really getting tired of raising other people's children and not being allowed the authority to dicipline them. You just can't acquies and allow these kids to behave like this, or attempt to bribe them into not acting this way. If you do that, you're doing these children a grave disservice. But I think you've already seen my thoughts on that matter.

Yeah, "ugh" sums it up rather nicely. And tomorrow is Monday, a *holiday* even. I'm not looking forward to work. Ah well, back into the trenches we go.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

Updates & Apologies

Well, I've no finished posted almost all of the file folder of essays I had waiting. I hope you enjoy reading them. I also must apologize for the length of many of them. I had written them, not ever intending to publish them on the internet.

Please forgive any errors, dear Reader. It is my dearest hope that you enjoy my writings and that you do not find the format too painful to read. I will be attempting to post in here once a week.

Happy reading!

Essay: Family History pt. 2, Summer '04

My great-great grandfather (that's my grandfather's grandfather) has an interesting story. His emigration to the United States takes place before the first World War. He left Prussia to come to the US to search for some of the wealthy relatives to help the family in the Fatherland. Or atleast, that's what many family stories say. What we do know is that he visited the US some time before he came here to live.

Willhelm passed through Ellis Island and the immigration offices there. He couldn't find any where to stay in New York city. He had no family there and he didn't know anyone. So, he went to Central Park and fell asleep on a park bench. While he slept, some one had stolen his shoes and what little money he had. After alot of hard work and faith, my great-great grandfather had acquired a farm on Long Island. There, he grew potatoes and shipped them to the City to be sold at the grocery stores there.

The fruits of his labor didn't just have the farm and his family doing well. His efforts have supported the family long after his death and that farm was sold. Part of the inheritance has funded the new family farm in Western NY. It helped fund my college education. And it helped pay for my youngest neice's treatment for her medical problems. That's an amazing feat for a man who knew almost no English and had nothing but the clothes on his back.

Essay: Family History pt. 1, Summer '04

My great-grandmother Hazel was an interesting woman. It's a shame that all of her great-grandchildren didn't get the opportunity to know her. Great-grandma had alzheimers and it did all sorts of odd things to her brain before she died. During her times of lucidity, she told my brothers and I such facinating stories.

Once, Hazel was writing a letter to a friend who was a soldier in World War One. Her adopted mother didn't think too highly of her writing much of anything. Hazel used to write poetry and hide it in an apple tree that grew near the house. At the time that she was writing, she was called into the house to do some chores. So, great-grandma climbed up into the tree and hid her letter in the tree's forked branches before going into the house and doing those chores.

Before she could go outside and finsih her letter, it started raining. Great-grandma's letter was ruined by the rain. She said that she lost contact with that friend after the letter was destroyed and she looked back on the event with a mixture of sorrow and regret even in her 80's. I don't know, but I believe that she was in her teens when that happened.

There was a time pefore that letter incident that made for an interesting Sunday afternoon story from Hazel. My brother asked her what cars were like when she was a child. Great-grandma laughed and explained how cars weren't too common when she was growing up. Then she told us about when she saw her first car.

Hazel was down by the barn with her adopted father/grandfather (the story changed, my grandmother thinks it was actually an uncle.) and shw as watching him do something with the horses. As they stood there a car drove by, I think she said it was a Model T. Hazel thought it was just facinating. The man with her said that he wouldn't ever buy or even ride in one, and then he complained about how they spooked the horses. When he did finally use a car, apparently he enjoyed it, but never admitted it, or so great-grandma said.

Essay: the darkness passed, 5/2004 (very long)

Sometimes it takes a little love to get them [abused people] to a safer, better place. [...] Do you ever really recover from abuse, or do you just learn to live with the past?
- Journal entry, 5/04

It's amazing how two random statements can define a process that's been in place for years. Love truly does heal a broken heart and battered soul. And the road to recoverly looks alot like acceptancee of the past at times. I'm almost twenty six. it's a little over tn years since the last time N- raped me and a little less then ten years since I sent N- a "dear John" letter when he was over seas, telling him it was over.

Hard to belive it's been so long. Feels like only a few years ago I was hiding bruises on my back from where he slapped me and bloodied underware from his advances. Goddess only know where I'd be today if I stayed with him. Probably in a box six-feet under. That's why I left him. On a subconscious level, I knew if I stayed he'd kill me someday. Even today, my blood runs cold at the thought of him finding me.

You'd figure approximately 10 years of safety and a loving fiancee that'd skin the first person that looks at me funny, along with a host of other things like that, would convince me that N- is never going to bothe rme again. Goddess have mercy, some nights when I can't sleep, I'll shake with fear that he's coming for me.

N- told me that he'd kill me if I left him. He said that I left him for some one else, he'd kill them infront of me. N- was also enough of a b- to say that he'd kill my family too, just to punish me. At the time he had a rife in my face, the business end. To say the least, it stuck with me. Kinda hard to ignore some body holding a gun in your face that may or may not be loaded and they're off their rocker.

Don't think I ever told D- about that. Told him about the kinfe weilding and the choking, but not that, I don't think. D- has been here for me through it all. One time, when I was still with N-, and D- and I were just friends, D- saw a handprint. He threatend to beat N- within an inch of his life if it happened again. Poor D-, he thought that it was the first time and that he could save me. I got beat up later ofr his attempted intervention. N-swore that I was cheating on him with D-.

Funny thing was, I left N- and was with D- not two months later. We're getting married in September. D- has seen me at my worst in all this. During the first few months, he and our mutual friends stopped from walking into traffic several tiems. After that passed, there were the screaming fits and the non-stop crying. It was pretty ugly in spots, but he's stuck with me. I don't know if I'd have made as far as I am today with out him.

When things got bad, he'd hold me, tell me I was safe and that he loved me. Even when I was violent, it was a bear-hug then. That where the love comes in. Love, real love, is relentless. Forget the patient and kind stuff, it's an emotional guerilla warfare. Especially in situations like ours. I did crazy, cruel things to everyone. D- just countered with his own crazy, loveable things, like making me laugh when I was furious. It drives me nuts, he still does it and give me that boyish grin the whole time. It's almost as maddening as admitting when I'm wrong on something. But I have the bad habit of taking myself way too seriously. D- pokes fun at that too.

Somewhere between getting flashbacks undercontrol and coping with my axiety problem, it went from trying to "get better" to trying to integrate these things taht happened into my life. some peeople say that I'm incredibly brave for trying to figure out how I'm going to live with the effect that being abused left. If you're a healthy person, virtually all of the aspects in your life are integrated and it's natural for you to compensate for your unique challenges. What is it about a person that has some psychological trauma that they're expected to reach a point where it is as though it never happened?

It convinces me that we are a truly sadistic people because we have this expectation. You can't expect an amnesiac to remember things any more then you can expect an amputee to regrow the missing limb. Just as a person may have permanent limp from an injury they healed from, so will a survivor of psychological trauma have an effect left on them. It will range from mild to severe, each avhing their own unique characteristics.

At the same time, perhaps it is not sadism but a weful ignorance that causes this expectation. Women and men who are abused face an interestingsituation. on one hand, people expect them to abhor what happens to them, and they expression confusion at how these abused individuals are remaining in that environment. At the same time, there is a sickening assumption that these abused people are enjoying the torture they are put thru and the ones who cry for help are just play acting. The assumption is one of the most vile concepts I have vern encountered.

It is disturbing how common that assumption and it's varients are. Especially on the topic of female victims of sexual abuse and assault. Masochisim and abuse are two very different things. I should know, I'm a survivior of abuse and a bit of a masochist. Abuse and the sexuality of BDSM afficianados like myself may appear to be the same thimg to the casual observer. Many of the popular scenes played with have an echo of the darkness of abuse, even. But there is a stark difference between them. Abuse is nonconcentual and the power in the situation is biased towards the abuser. BDSM and simmilar sexualties involve consentual acts and the power in the situation is shared, usually biased towards the "submissive" or the recipiant of the act, such as flogging.

People often comment on my strength when they hear of the story of my relationship with N-. They make it sound like some superhuman effort. It was hard, as has the years since been, but it was not some impossible task. It all came down to one statement that I got from my mother. If you made it far enough to wake up today then you can make it farther. You're breathing and alive, so they didn't defeat you. Recovery turned the daily battle into if you give up, they win.

Abuse is war. Abusers are fiting a war of attrition with their chosen target. In the end, some one will be destroyed. Even when the abused escpaes, the war continues because of the mind games. If you are sucked back into an abusive relationship, the abuser wins. If you kill yourself or otherwise harm yourself, the abuser wins. The goal of the abuser is to elevate their self image through the debasement, humiliation and maltreatment of another. If they can accomplish te three, then they have a victory.

To destroy the abuser, one must seize power,defend themselves, and keep themselves alive. This breaks the hold the abuser has and defeats them. Some people may think I am odd for viewing this as a war but I see no other appropriate descripion. One wil fight a war to defend their life libery and livelyhood, These are the very things that abusers wish to take from their targets. In the face of this war of self preservation, on will take steps that may confuse others.

Often, men and women stay with their abuser because they see it as the safet route on some subconscious level. Perhaps the abuser has directly or indirectly threatened the life of their targer or those dear to them, such as children. these are thigns that often are not considered in looking at why one would stay with an abusive partner. Fear is often the most powerful tool in an abuser's arsenal. The body can sustain great damage and survive. Fear, howeer, lingers and gradualy builds to a paralyzing force if not promptly dealt with. By keeping the target off balance, the abuser does not give their target time to master their fear. This is way abusers are frequently unpredictable in their modus operendi.

I've been asked why I don't refer to the people who are abused as victims. My answer takes some people aback. The victims are dead. I fyou are alive, then you have survived that day. That means there is hope. A victim is with out hope, there is no tomorow for them. If you have breath in your lungs and a heartbeat, then you have a chance to take back your power. Ultimately, it is the dead who are powerless, and truly with out hope. They can not better their chances or look forward to another day. Perhaps this is too fatalistic of me, I don't know and I don't care.

This is my grim faced truth. Take it or leave it, it is all I know to be true.

My dreams are haunted by the fears that were planted in me. i still wake, convinced that N- is coming or me. from tiem to time, I get a cold chill in the pit of my stomach and I wonder if all a given man sees is flesh for raping. these things don't happen too often anymore. Each day that goes by, I look in the mirror and tellmyself that I am still free from him.

It's funny how reluctant I've been to write down teh story of what happened between N- and I. I don't hae any problems telling it verbally. But the written form has started and stopped more times then I can count. I suppose part of it is based in a fear that my words aren't the truth, that they are all just one twisted lie to justify breaking someone's heart or something. But then I stop and I lok at myself and the core of who I am. I wouldn't beale to sleep at night or look at myself in the mirror if I were to wntonly crush someone's heart like taht.

Being honest with yoursel flike that is hard to do when for so long you found yourself in a position that that type of honesty was dangerous to your wellbeing and safety. It beomes something of a survivial taictic to deny truths about yourself. It is even worse when your are socialized or conditioned form childhood to do so for the sake of making others more comfortable around you.

It is amazing how different things will lead you back to these truths, sometimes dragging you kicking and screaming. C- was a friend of mine. He tried to assault me sexually, noticing that when he made advances, I "checked out" and ran on auto-pilot for a while. When I came back, I generally had no recollection of what happened. I didn't completely check out. Acting on the self defense training I had, I blocked him and told him in a dispassionate tone to stop or I'd befored to kill him. The blustering fool he was, C- said "Oh, how?" I thin lightly placed my hands in the necessary positions to snap his neck. C- avoids me since then. D- had a little talk with him afterwads. I was still too shaken by it all to tell C- to never darken my doorstep again.

The truth I was treturned to was simple, stark and terrifyingly liberating. I have the poer to defend myself and the undeniable right to kill in that name. Nothing is more humbling thento know you hold one's life in your hand, even that of a foe. C-, in that moment, was helpless before me and he knows this. Fear haunts him, but something greater preys on his mind. A question as to why I did not kill him. Mercy is an alien concept to would be rapists and abusers. they fear it, for to have recieved it they must be vulnerable.

Why do I show mercy to men and women such as these? Mercy is an unkind act to one who does not deserve it. Living longer then your blood-foe is a greater revenge then destroying them, especially if you raise them up in some way. For this forces them to compare themselves to those you hold dear and realize they are trapped in a no-man's land between indifference and hatred, never to wound you or face confrontation. In time, you could drive them insane.

Thoughts: untitled, March 2004

Forgiveness is a blessing. One that we would be wise to impart to troubled souuls indanger of death. In this we become a living conduit for the unending and unconditional love of the Divine, thus bringing solace to the tormented. Which is the work of the priesthood in any faith.

Charisma, grace. These are sacred terms. They are different forms of blessing. Of a specific blessing, mercy.

We plead mercy with those who are harsh or unjust. We plead mercy with those who are exaulted and hold power over us. Mercy is the child of compassion. Compassion is the child of love.

Essay: Home & Family, fall 00

Somethings don't change. Things like your old room at your parents house, the faded wallpaper in your mom's laundry room, or the big family gatherings complete with the same corny jokes from every year before. Home isn't a place but a feeling. If you carry that feeling with you everywhere you go, you will always have a home.

Until recently, I felt like I didn't have a home anymore. I felt like the foundations of my life were build on quicksand or a sinkhole. But just tonight, a realization came to me. Home is where you fel you belong. It is where you feel that your place is. Some homes are safe, others need work to make them so.

Family is simmilar to home. You feel a special bond with a group of people. A bond that is sometimes stronger then death. These people are those you can go to for support, encouragement, direction and help. You don't need any false faces to earn their love because it is unconditional.

Essay: untitled memoir, Apr. 2004 (Long)

Every day I am struck with the realization that I am at a beginning. Now, sometimes worries, fear and general strss will blind me to this beginning. I find myself in constant danger of losing hope. Flailing about to flee this danger of dipair, Ifind myself struggling against the expectations placed about by the conservative, rual Yankee society I grew up in.

Now, I'm not saying that I grew up in some proverbial back-water where anything more complex then a gun is looked at as the "Devil's work." We've got the bragging rites of having the birthplace of the Women's Rights movement in our backyard and the home of some of the ceturies' greatest inventions too. But there are certian attitudes that stifle you. Attitudes that say thingas about how a girl or a woman should dress, carry themselves and even what's best for them.

Being the only daughter and eldest child of a German-American family that still has alot of Old World views, I was in an interesting position. my family, while not generally viewed as the community's great hope or pride, has always been staunch supporters of the American values of life, liberty and the persuit of happiness. As children, we're raised with a clear view of our rights and the responcibilites attached. Perhaps that bit of Revolutionary heritage helps in that department.

We were also raised to value, nearly crave, knowledge. As children, my brother and I asked innumerable questions. Instead of being told pat answers about matters like why the sky is blue or where babies come from, we were taught. If we didn't understand it was explained. And education wasn't some dusty thing tosit on a shelf, it was alive and practical. We were taught applied knowledge about things ranging from mathematics to science to language. All of this was in the home.

If my parents didn't know the answer, they'd help us find it. We were encouraged to experiment and grow. Most importantly, we were taught to think. Growing up in my parents house, tehre was one rule, think. If you couldn't explain your actions, you caught alot of trouble. If hou had shown some evidence of thought before doing something foolish, like throwing lighters into a burn barrel to watch them explode, the punishment was less severe then for such an act that was thoughtless.

Stupidity came to be defines as a combination of willful ignorance and a refusal to make one's gray matter do more then hold up thier skull. Each of us kids had our stupid moments, but we weren't stupid as a general rule. We were reckless and crazy with the fearless believe in our own immortality that gave our parents and nearby relatives more grey hair then their contemporaries, I'm sure.

I've told many friedns the humorous anectdoes and little stories about our escapades. Quite a few have wanted me to write a book, usualy immediately preceeded or followed by the statement "It's hilarious, like Little House on the Prarie on crack." Apparently not too many folks had either the inclination or the opportunity to do the insane things that my brothers and I did. On one hand I say that may be a good thing, but at the same time it may not be such a good thing. Now I'm not saying that all kids should try to duplicate the stunts of Wil E. Coyote.

But that inventive chaos lead the three of us to life skills that have been a benefit to us. One brother is amazingly good with any machine. He was the one who built most of the contraptions (or death traps, depending on your perspective). The other is a fine Marine who has been rising up through the ranks quickly. That was the fearless daredevil who was usualy the test subject for the inventions of the other. I'm not sure where my childhood skills have flowered as I've matured.

But I know the more practical ones that our parents grille dinto us have benefited us too, like basic fist aid and how to control a fire. Life on a farm isn't all that the media and hollywood shows you. Not every farm has livestock. Where I grew up, we raised grain and rented acres to others to do the same. I can proudly say that we've some of the best gardening and planting soil in the county.

My brothers have always been facinated with machines. They'd take their toys apart to see how they worked. They would continually change and modify their bikes. Not even Dad's bike was safe from their tinkering. It wasn't cars or modle trucks that drew us closer to our father, though. It was kites and model rockets.

Dad helped us build countless kites and model rockets. We went to airshows every summer. And all of us were always eager for Grandpa to take us up in his airplane. Something about the sky caught our imaginations. We religiously watched science fiction sitcoms and devowered books. My brothers focused on airplanes, usually military. I looked at astronomy and weather.

Now my brothers are raising children. They're passing on lthe love of science. One of my neices is already a huge fan of cars. She's facinated by them and loves to watch her father work. She's only five. I'm eager to see how she develops and where her intrests lead her.

Essay: Writing Fiction, 7/05

Writing fiction used to be easy for me. I would put pen to paper and these vast stories and singing poems would pour out of me. Now, I feel gnawing sorrow and disappointment creep over me as I reach the outer edge of that place where the world hans suspended as I write. It turns that magical moment into aching silence, shutting off inspiriation before fully voiced.

I feel deep sorrow. It's like the reputed "phantom limb" because i remember that rapture so clearly. it doesn't come to me any more. I have a few lines and then nothing. How can one fulfill the yearning to write when the muse has abandoned them? How can you sing with out a voice or song? No tounges in all the world can be loosed from the imprisioning hell of this cold sorrow that stops my pen from dancing acros the page.

And yet, just as fire burns in the impossible vast cold darkness of space,the star of hope burns in my breast. My dream of a novel. My vast mountian of half started attempts. Partially woven plot lines and characters in need of colors in their sketches... This is what haunts me. This is what drives me to write. The ghosts of a girl's love of the fantastic, of dreams, and childhood games.

My novel was born of a child's play acting. Scenes and images played out for m a hidden place, where no audience could decry me. As a women, these things are not afforded to me. My days are full of grown up things and haunted by the questions of propriety that forbid girlish games.

Thus does my adult life prove harbringer of an author's demise. Now I have only this stilted melencholy tone. these words of dismay, angst, regret and grief. Gone are the fantasy flights that transported me to realms of dazzling fiction and bore me home on the wings of precious inspiration.

Essay: untitled, fall 01

Once, I yearned to be some one other then I truly am. now, as I learn more about other women and their experiences, I find that I am becoming more comfortable with who I am. It gradually had become apparent to me that women with gifts for empathy and compassion, as well as a lively intrest in the realm of the spiritual, are viewed with an increasingly high regard and looked on as leaders. I read of these women and I find myself saying they're so much like me that it is incredible. Then I say "why can't I do that?"

Shortly after, I'm full of doubt and anxious. Saying that I don't know enough to write or speak on these things. Goddess has given me gifts, why am I so afraid to use them? What prompts me to deny my abilities and the oporutnities that I have, only to lament them later?

he is abeautiful man, I love him dearly. But I refuse to listen to his wisdom. It scares me. The sound of my own laughter makes me uneasy, almost as uneasy as my own tears. Why am I so terrified of admiting all the wonderful qualities that I have, of accepting the beautiful and deeply spiritual person I am? As I write this my anxious twitch ash intensivied signifigantly.

Ah beloved, if only I could have the same loving, compassionate and calm acceptance of myself that you have of me. You love me for my weaknesses, flaws, faults, wounds and mistakes, even as you do for their opposites. It is so easy for me to have the same acceptance of you, and yet I ... I flee this healing for myself.

Am I a fool or am I blinded by something? Does something hold me back, is there something I can not understand. Some basic knowledged that I need to accept myself? Or, am I even asking the right questions?

Essay: untitled, fall 97

For some reason, writing by hand is soothing to me right now. As a girl, I went through reams of paper writing my stories and little poems. They were always such flights of fancy. If only I could write again with such youthful vision and joy. But now, now I'm a woman grown and must act so.

I mourn my childhood often. I mourn the loss of that wild eyed tomboy who hated math, loved books and could climb any tree, or so she thought. i was a brash, graceless and bold thing .. then something changed. Some where that ferice joy of living and daredevil courage was replaced with some other thing.

We speak of sex, gender, and gender roles. I suddenly ask, was my problems because I didn't know what my gender role was to be at that point in time? I don't know, but I'm not going to search for the answer. it would probe more of a difficulty then a blessing.

I want to write, but my mind has gone blank, my eyelids grow heavy, and I find that I want to sleep.

Essay: Enough (dated 10/98)

*note: this is listed as an essay though it is a fictional argument. This is due to what it paints.*

Some day, I'll be woman enough for you to accept me. Some day, I'll be pretty enough to be counted amoung your ranks. Some day, some day, when? when will I be smart enough, rich enough, nice enough, good enough for you?

You think you're so much better the me, moving in your noisy gaggle of brainless, leggy prom wonders. You think your designer clothes, Gucci handbac and facny car makes you so much more of a woman. So, I don't shame my legs, wear makesup or tweeze my eyebrows. So what if I don't watch the movies or listen to pop music. You say you're a woman, but can you bake bread?

Can you change and clothe a squalling toddler? Can you plant a garden as well as you plant kisses or mend socks and fences like your flase promices? Have you cooked stew or soup without the can? You say you're more womanly then me. I say your acceptance and admission into your gay sorority of scyophants is not enough.

Now, if you excute me, my bread is rising, the baby's crying and I must hang the wash to dry. Take care not to step on the freshly planted peas and look out for the fence gate. It's rusty, but I'll get that tomorrow.

Work Rant No. 2: I lothe my employer! (warning this is long)

I once felt that I had the greatest job in the world. Then I got the coworker from Hades. Please, my dear and gentle Reader, understand that I am not generally a woman to malign anyone or to comitt the grave error of vicious gossip. I find such things to be abhorant and something to be scorned by any proper adult and most definately by any proper lady. I thank my mother for her influence on my with respect to this matter.

I must, however, give you a brief character sketch of J- for you to understand why I have been functionally begging my employer to place me with a different lead teacher for the past 2 1/2 months. For any offense, I shall beg forgivness in advance. I am afraid that my language may be most unbecoming.

J- is at her heart, I'm sure, a very sweet and compassionate woman. I am certian that at the core of her being she is benevolently inclined towards all and prays nightly for the good of humanity. Her actions and apparent attitudes at work, however, do not present such a rosy picture of her. Neither has what I have learned of her outside of work. I get ahead of myself, however. At work, J- is rather two-faced and fork-tounged. The woman seems to have some kind of control complex.

She feels the rediculous need to compete with me for the attention of children, down to the point of even making herself look like an absolute fool for that sake. Regularly antagonistic and bitter, J- seems to think she is justified in her holier-than-thou attitudes. She also seems to feel that she is some how justified in being demeaning and condencending to her co-workers, especially those who she feels are her subordinates. At the same time, her attitudes towards her surperiors is that of a fawning servility that is rather disgusting in a woman who is living in a free nation uninhibited by the risk of life and limb for minor social faux pas.

Outside of work, I have learned, she has an almost neurotic need to control every aspect of people around her. It is apparently even worse then her control issue at work. She is morbidly still wrapped in raw grief from the passing of a close family member, mind you that death was over three years ago. She also seems to blame the world for her problems, stating that she is always the victim in any incidence of conflict. Apparently that pattern of behavior is unchanged between the work and the social environment.

I find myself torn between loathing and pity of this wretched creature. I do know, however, that if I must work with her I will not act with my usual decorum. I have been taxed to my limit and I find myself wishing at times, my dear Reader, that I could rend her limb from limb for her thoughtless behavior that regularly endanger's the safety and well being of the children. When this rather regular anger is aggrivated by her deliberate antagonisim and denigration, it is ... extremely difficult to remain civil.

After her repeated attempts to provoke me into an argument on 9/27 I realized I couldn't handle it any more. I found the limit of time I could tolerate with this woman and it was just shy of four months. I had already reached such a high stress level that I was scarecly able to sleep and several of my bodily functions were not acting as they properly should. When I woke on 9/28, I found myself on the verge of tears at the thought of going to work. every act I took towards getting prepaired for the day drove me closer to sobs of abject misery. I knew that if the events of the past day were repeated, as they would be, I would possibly fly into a rage and scream at this woman infront of the children (a thing I refuse to do, for the children need not be subjected to such incivility), sit down and weep, or just simply quit my job. I had no desire to quit my job, lose my temper or be embaressed by weeping for no apparent reason in public.

I did the wise thing and stayed home. My mother called such days "mental health days." And I desperately needed one. When I called my boss, she chastised me. She stated that I should have discussed the woman's inappropriate behavior and it's unfortunate effects upon me. This is a rather rich version of situational irony because I discussed just that matter on 9/25. I did not take offense to my boss's behavior. After all, I was one of 5 persons that had called out and I will acknowledge that discussing the situation with my employer is a wiser course to take then just hiding from the problem.

When I returned to work on 9/29 I learned that my status as an employee has changed. I am no longer a full-time employee but part-time. I did not argue with this, for it had been mentioned in my rather desperate plea on 9/25 as a more favorable option then working with J-. The full implications of it hadn't struck me until that evening. I would be unable to afford my health insurance and I knew with the certianty of the bones in my body that my hours were going to be cut rather neatly in half. I discussed this with my husband, that dear man.

He was righteously offended. He clearly delineated the injustice of what is functionally punishing me for doing what I could to remain employed and begging for assistance from my employer with regards to a hostile work environment. We have agreed that I must look for another job. He does note that there is a possiblity that this period of my reduced activity at work may change for the better.

I doubt this, however. If they couldn't resolve the situation between J- and I over the period of 4 months, then I won't be back to full-time status for well over 9. And that was how long it took for them to make me full time. Ironically, I was hired for a full time position, but my supervisor at that time hadn't enough positions open for it to happen. I was lied to. I was a fool to expect these vipers to be honest with me. I have learned.

Whew! I did, I made a web page. :)

Well, I finally got over the case of nerves and did it.

I made a web page, actually a website. It's via my pseudonym, but with the internet those are quite wise things to have, I suspect. Feel free to have a look it's right here!

I'll be updating it monthly. And I hope to be updating this on a weekly basis. This way I don't go off forgetting that it exists. So, now, gentle reader, you can learn more about who I am and some of the things that interest me.

The best part about this is I did it all on my own. Hubby is going to be *so* pleased! I finally am learning how to do some of this stuff, and I don't think I broke anything to do it! Of course, he needs to wake up to see it...