The End of A Season

Hello. I have been quiet for quite sometime, and for good reason. I am approaching my 40th year and I promised myself that I would shed toxic people from my life before I reached that milestone. I finally left a toxic relationship I had been in for more than 10 years. Tomorrow will be 1 year since I left to make a new and peaceful life for my children and I. It hasn’t been easy because there is always the obstacle of standing firm in my belief when the other party tries to re-assert control over me. I am more acutely aware of the behavior patterns during this month because I left during this month and because it is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

I have to fight for my safety and that of my children because I don’t know who may be watching that need encouragement. Many people unfamiliar with the terror of being in an abusive relationship believe that you can just walk away – it’s not that simple. Especially when children are involved. The officers of the family court system are not trained properly to effectively handle domestic violence situations leaving many victims (men are abused also – but because of social stigmas they are less likely to report being abused) and children in serious danger. This has been my season and it is coming to an end.

I have a long healing road to travel but I am grateful that I am alive to travel that road as so many women did not have the fortune to. I have reconnected with friends and interest in activities I had stopped doing. I have begun writing, knitting and crocheting again. I have even knit a pencil skirt free hand! Although that last season was painful, it was necessary for me to grow and re-connect with myself. I accomplished several of my long-term goals I didn’t think were possible for me and that felt amazing!

This is the first time I have been single in 13 years and it feels good. When I go to sleep at night it is peaceful. I laugh more. I smile more. I hug my children more. I am slowly learning about who I am at this point in my life. The old me is introducing me to the new me that is emerging from these challenges and I love her. She is spunky and funny (I don’t tell jokes I just state the reality of some stuff) and excited to experience the goodness that life has to offer.

 

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October Is Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Many times when October rolls around many people are thinking about Columbus Day, Halloween, domesticviolenceawarenessThanksgiving and Christmas plans. Many times the quiet woman nursing bruises is overlooked. The timid woman in the office is ignored. The mother who averts her gaze when picking her child up from school is mistaken for being stuck up. Many times this is not the case. Many times she is trying her hardest to avoid abuse at home should she not return fast enough, should she be caught or suspected to interact with others. Our job as a community is to learn what the warning signs of domestic violence looks like. Our job is to speak up and speak out to end the cycle of domestic violence in our communities.

The media always portrays domestic violence as always being physical violence, like when Rhianna’s image flew across the internet after Chris Brown abused her. Yes, that is domestic violence but that is not the only form it comes in. Because society believes that is the only face of domestic violence many women stay silent for fear of being ridiculed and judged for not resembling Rhianna. In all cases of domestic violence the dvam imagebeginning stages include emotional and psychological manipulation. Loving words and gestures while slowly, methodically, and quietly separating the prey from any and all forms of outside support, i.e. friends, family, loved ones. Once the separation is complete then the loving words turn into judgments, put-downs, insults, ridicule and cruelty. The longer this stage is allowed to continue unchecked and unchallenged the more dangerous the situation becomes. In the most dangerous cases sexual and physical abuse begins.

Recognize the mental and psychological abuse: “You’re fat. Nobody’s gonna want your fat ass!”; “You didn’t have anything when I met you!”; “Everything you have is because of me!”; “I saw you looking at that person, so I know you slept with them!”; “You ain’t shit! Everything you think is an idea that came from me!”; “If you try to leave me I will call the police and have you arrested!”; “But baby I said those things because I love you. I NEED you! I can’t be without you!” Other forms of domestic violence include financial abuse, and sexual abuse. Being in a relationship does not entitle anyone to sex. NO means NO! Another misconception is that only women get abused. It is rare but men can also be victims of domestic violence too. Recognize the signs, ask careful questions, lend a listening ear and offer genuine help. Especially when children are involved. Children learn what they live. If you or someone you care about is in an abusive situation call the National Domestic Violence Hotline (from a secure phone line) for help: 1-800-799-7233

Domestic Violence Awareness
Domestic Violence Awareness

Excerpt from Ego Trippin’

public-domain-images-free-stock-photos-apple-iphone-iphone-6-1000x667A few days later Nathan met up with Mark at the Red Roof Inn on Roosevelt Boulevard. Mark was sitting in his Black Acura MDX listening to All Eyez on Me by Tupac when Nathan tapped three times on the tinted window. “Aye man what‘s good,” Nathan smirked.
“Come on man, let’s go relax. My girl Diamond is in there and she brought out all of her best girls.”
“Is Ruff Ryder in there?”
“You know it. I told you, Diamond brought all of her best girls. You need to relax after what you‘ve been through. We‘re in room 313.”
“Then let’s go.” Nathan stepped back from the car so Mark could get out and they began walking towards the hotel.

Mark called Diamond after he left Nathan’s house three days ago. He was positive that Nathan was the cause of all of Lydia’s ‘accidents’ and miscarriages. Just like with Georgia. Nathan didn’t know that Mark bought the plane ticket for Georgia and her son to leave and gave her money to start her life over in California. He knew Nathan was insecure about getting older but not to the point of targeting young girls so he can manipulate and viciously abuse them. After explaining what he saw at Nathan’s house with Lydia, and telling about Nathan’s treatment of Georgia, Diamond was all too eager to get even.

5

Nathan walked into room 313 and smiled when he saw the variety of women waiting. In the far corner of the room on a chaise lounge, sat a slender Thai woman dressed in a pale pink, sheer baby doll trimmed in fur. Her tight nipples were visible from where he stood at the door. She smiled at him and gave him a thai bow. Sitting next to her was a curvy Puerto Rican mami, with fiery red hair and a Caribbean blue thong on with matching bra and boots. A set of twins, Russian, were teasing each other on the floor wearing matching white leather one pieces. Sitting on the floor in front of a desk near the window was an olive colored Italian beauty. Large, almond shaped eyes and dark hair accented full breasts cloaked in an emerald green velvet gown. A black velvet choker with a chain attached drew the attention from her eyes to her full breasts. The chain led up to a leather handle held by a deep chocolate woman with curves like Nikki Minaj and Kim Kardashian who sat on top of the desk dressed in a black leather cat suit and boots, watching everything.

“That bitch must be Diamond. Sitting there like she run shit. Hmph. She better watch her step. I’m no body’s punk bitch,” Nathan thought as he eyed her up and down.
“You must be Nathan.” Diamond extended her hand as she rose up from the desk and stepped towards him. Nathan looked her in the eye, “Yeah.” Pulling her hand back she smiled and waved her hand at her ladies, “These are my ’diamonds’. I have cultivated each of them to be skilled in pleasure, be it their own or someone else’s. I understand you are a fan of Ruff Ryder. She is unable to be with us today but I am sure the rest of my ladies can thoroughly entertain you in her absence.” Nathan began smiling, “This bitch think she slick. She fucking with the right one. She mess around and I’ll have her bent the fuck over, fucking her in the ass to let her know I’ll fuck her up.”

Diamond recognized an egotistical, bitch-ass man when she saw one. It had only been fifteen years since she got up the courage to dispose of her own after living in a tortured hell for ten years. Her elite ‘diamonds’ were very skilled at entertaining customers such as Nathan…

My Interview with Lisa Sparrow and How Mental Illness Affects All of Us

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Lisa Sparrow is an inspirational woman. She sat with me for an hour on my blogtalk radio show, On Why Yet’s Watch, and was completely open about her daily battle with mental illness. That in itself is bravery in my book. Mental illness is such a touchy topic to speak on because growing up we (as a society) were taught to only speak of such things in the house – especially when it pertained to a relative or close loved one. Lisa shared her story with our listeners and I am truly grateful.

Depression is the most common form of mental illness that people are familiar with. There is NO one single cause of depression. There can be a combination of causes that can trigger depression:

  • Trauma – a serious trauma that occurs early in life can change our brain’s response mechanism.
  • Genetics – mood disorders and risk of suicide tend to run in families but anyone with a genetic tendency would be more likely to show signs of depression at an early age
  • Life Circumstances – marital status, financial standing, where you live could all influence or trigger depression
  • Brain Structure – depression is associated with changing how your brain responds to hormone stimulation
  • Drug and Alcohol Abuse – 30% of people with substance abuse problems also have depression

16 million Americans had a least one major depressive episode last year, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). Women are 70% more likely than men to experience depression. Young adults aged 18-25 are 60% more likely to experience depression than people aged 50 and over. Unfortunately, Blacks and Latinos are more likely to be misdiagnosed.

There are many forms of treatment:

  • Medications
  • Psychotherapy
  • Brain Stimulation Therapies
  • Light Therapy
  • Exercise
  • Alternative Therapies
  • Self Management Strategies and Education
  • Mind/Body/Spirit approaches

Should you or someone you know suffer from depression or believe you do, seek help. There is strength in asking for help because we all need help at one time or another. For more information about depression and some of the causes of depression check out the following websites:

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)

Joyful Heart Foundation

To listen to the interview with Lisa Y Sparrow, listen to On Why Yets Watch with Author Lisa Y Sparrow

There is nothing to be ashamed of when dealing with ourselves or a loved one who battles mental illness.

Stay blessed.

Ego Trippin’ Part 3

Thunder rumbled, rattling the kitchen windows as Lydia sat on her knees frantically scrubbing blood off of the vinyl flooring. With each crack of thunder Lydia’s hand gripped the sponge tighter until her knuckles began to turn white. The rhythmic tink, tink of the raindrops hitting the awning over top of the kitchen window was comforting. Lydia began thinking about what the nurses said to her when Nathan went to the cafeteria for a sandwich.

“Mrs. Williams, do you remember what happened to you?”
“Not really. I came into the kitchen and a strange man was there. Before I could call out for help I was knocked to the floor. I hit something on the way down and blacked out.”
Scribbling on a clip board the nurse looked Lydia in the eye. “You’re lucky to be alive. The trauma to your head could have been more severe. There was a 4 inch gash on the side of your head. We stitched you up but a vessel in your right eye ruptured and the force of the blow to your stomach ruptured your uterus which is why you miscarried. I am sorry to tell you this Mrs. Williams but we were unable to repair the damage. You will not be able to have any more children…”

“Wait… my uterus… no more children?” Lydia’s vision blurred as the tears absorbed into the patch on her eye. Instinctively her right hand went to her belly to massage her baby and she flinched in pain.

“We had to perform an emergency hysterectomy. You have 13 staples in your abdomen. In about two weeks you can come back in and have them removed. In the meantime you rest. No lifting more than 5 pounds. No standing for long periods of time. No strenuous activities. No sexual intercourse for eight weeks because of the trauma to your abdomen. You may…” Lydia zoned out as the nurse rattled off her discharge instructions. A soft knock, knock at the kitchen door jolted Lydia out of her thoughts. It was Nathan’s friend Mark. Favoring her right side, Lydia grabbed the handle on the cabinet door and pulled herself up onto her feet and opened the door.

“Damn. Nathan told me what happened. I’m sorry about the baby.” Mark said as he inched into the kitchen. He handed Lydia a bouquet of daisies to cheer her up. “If you recall anything about the cat who did this to you let Nathan know and we’ll go handle that right now.” Lydia averted her eyes as she felt her cheeks flush. Mark had always been nice to her. He didn’t know how Nathan treated her. Nobody did.
“Thank you Mark. The flowers are lovely. Let me put them in water and tell Nathan you’re here.” Walking gingerly to avoid the poking of the staples in her stomach, Lydia half-slid, half-tiptoed to the kitchen sink to grab a vase for the flowers. That’s when she saw the blood on the edge of the counter.

Nathan walked into the kitchen just then and stopped in his tracks when he saw Mark standing in his house. He looked from Lydia to Mark, sizing up the situation. He noticed the flowers Lydia had placed in the vase. Um, hm. Looking at Mark, he smiled but the smile didn’t touch the rest of his face.

Ego Trippin’ Part 1

Ego Trippin’ Part 2

Ego Trippin’ Part 2

“Oh baby, come on baby. Don’t leave me. You can’t leave me. I love you. I don’t know what I would do without you babe, come on, please.” Nathan pleaded, his head on Lydia’s chest, listening to the slow rhythm of her heart. Wiping tears from his face, he turned to the nurse. “I feel responsible for this. I should have never left her in that house unprotected. I just ran to my car in the garage for my cell phone. I didn’t even notice the window was ajar until it was too late.” Sniffling, he wiped away some more tears with the bottom of his t-shirt.

The nurse was heartbroken. “Mr. Williams, we’re doing everything we can for Lydia. I am so sorry about the baby. There was nothing we could do. Lydia was hemorrhaging from the force of the blow to her stomach.” Nathan released a fresh stream of tears and threw himself across Lydia’s body. “I’m so sorry baby. I should have been there to protect you and our little girl. Now she’s gone. I’m so sorry. Please forgive me.” The nurse, fighting back tears herself, quietly left the room and closed the door.

Hearing the soft hiss of the door closing, Nathan leaned towards Lydia’s ear. “Bitch, when you wake up you do what the FUCK I tell you to do. You fuck around again and it’ll be you down in the motherfucking morgue! Now wake the fuck up so we can go home. You got some shit to clean up.” Nathan hissed at Lydia’s unresponsive body. As to acknowledge his request the blood pressure monitor began to beep.

Several nurses came into the room and began checking Lydia’s pupils for dilation and checking her pulse. Nathan stepped away from the hospital bed and looked out of the window, trying to appear hopeful. Just as one nurse was changing out Lydia’s IV bag she felt a hand touch her. Lydia opened her eyes just a little bit and the nurse sighed. “Oh, Mrs. Williams. Oh I am so glad to see you awake. You gave us such a scare. No, no, no. Don’t move. Just lay still. Your husband is here. He never left your side.” The nurse smiled as she stated that last part. Lydia followed the nurse’s gaze over to her ’husband’ and felt a chill course through her.

“My baby. Girl. Is my Baby girl alright?” Lydia asked weakly. Before the nurses could respond, Nathan swiftly moved next to her bed. “We lost her. Our baby girl is gone. I’m so sorry. I should have been there to protect you both. Please forgive me.” He cried onto Lydia’s shoulder ensuring the nurses would hear his plea for forgiveness. The nurses, feeling saddened by the loss of the unborn baby, finished checking Lydia and left the room.

“Are the nurses gone?” Nathan hissed. “Yes”, Lydia responded. “Good. Now if the cops come asking you better tell them exactly what I say. A man broke into the house when I went to the garage to get my cell phone out of the car. When he saw you in the kitchen he punched and kicked you until you blacked out. You understand me?” “Yes”, Lydia whispered as she nodded her head slowly. “You know I love you. I don’t know why you always want to do things to piss me off. I promise that when I get you home things are going to be different. I love you and I don’t know what I would do if I ever lost you. Don’t ever leave me baby, okay?” Lydia heard these lies before so she just nodded her head to assure him of her cooperation.

A tear slid down her cheek as she silently said a prayer for her baby girl. This was the third miscarriage in four years.

Ego Trippin’ Part 1

Ego Trippin’ Part 1

Lydia laid in bed staring outside, at nothing in particular, listening to the birds chirping. Pulling the sheets tighter over her nude body she wondered why she kept finding herself here – like this. A tear slid down her face as the memory from the previous night surfaced. She squeezed her eyes shut to block out the memory then slowly climbed out of her bed and walked towards the bathroom until she heard him in there. Quietly she grabbed her jeans and a t-shirt from a nearby chair. Spotting her keys and cell phone on the night stand she picked those up and tiptoed out of the room. Grabbing her sneakers from the bottom of the stairs, Lydia Left the house through the back door so Nathan wouldn’t hear her.

A cool, spring-like breeze caressed Lydia’s face, uplifting her spirits. “I have to leave him”, she thought to herself. “I know he’s no good for me. But how can I leave now?” She whispered the last while rubbing her swollen belly. Just then she felt her daughter kick. Smiling, she massaged the imprint of her baby’s foot. “It’s okay Natasha. We’re going to be okay. Mommy’s going to take care of us.”

Turning the water off and pulling back the shower curtain, Nathan flexed his pecs as he admired himself in the bathroom mirror. “Not bad, not bad. Ba-by! Lydia! Wake your ass up! I’m hungry!” Wondering why she didn’t come when he called her the first time, Nathan snatched open the bathroom door and stormed into the bedroom. “Lydi… Now where the fuck did she go?! See this is the shit that I be talking about.” Nathan had just slid his boxers on when he heard the house phone ring downstairs. “Aye Lydia, pick up the goddamn phone! What are you letting it ring like that for?! You know I hate that shit! And tell that dike ass friend of yours to stop calling my house so motherfucking early! Aye! Lydia! You IGNORING me now?!!!” Zipping his slacks, Nathan snatched his shirt off of the bed and stormed down the stairs. When he reached the doorway to the kitchen Lydia was coming in from her walk.

“Oh, shit”, Lydia thought as soon as she saw his face, “he must have finished his shower early and saw I wasn’t in the room. Damn.”

“Bitch where the fuck were you! Who did you go see?! HUH!?” he screamed at her as he stepped dangerously close. Grabbing her shoulders he screamed in her face, “WHO THE FUCK DID YOU SNEAK OFF TO SEE?!” Lydia lowered her eyes and stared at her belly, terrified to say anything. Shoving her into the kitchen cabinet Nathan followed her eyes to her stomach.

“OH! YOU DIRTY BITCH! YOU DIRTY TRICK ASS HOE! I KNEW YOU WAS FUCKING SOMEBODY ELSE! YOU TRIED TO PLAY ME BITCH! ME!!! I TOLD MARK AND THEM THAT WASN’T MY MOTHERFUCKING BABY, I KNEW IT WASN’T MINE AND YOU GONNA LIE AND TRY TO TRAP ME BITCH!”

As he was saying it Lydia knew what was coming and she knew saying anything was pointless. All she could do was protect her baby. Just as the first blow spun her around Lydia wrapped her left hand around her belly to cradle her baby girl. When the second punch knocked her into the refrigerator she hit the side of her face on the door handle and slid to the floor. Blood spewing from her mouth, she silently prayed for someone, anyone to help her. That’s when she felt Nathan’s boot connect hard with her stomach. And she blacked out.