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Category Archives: friendship

One Month of Quarantine

One Month of Quarantine

A video on my one-month-a-versary

 

A friend asked me to make a video about a day in the life which I will do next week sometime.  I think a day in the life on the weekend won’t be nearly as much fun because I won’t have any classes to teach.  Just prep work, long arduous, sitting in front of a computer all day.  So, I’ll wait until there’s something to break up the monotony.  But until then, enjoy the ramblings of the video I made this evening.  Sorry about the squeaking….  I have no idea what it’s about or how to get rid of it.

 
 

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What Makes You Beautiful Day 1 Wendi

 
 

Getting ready to start again

A new adventure!

I’m always amazed when I first get to a new country.  There are so many things to learn, look at, eat, and know.  Once I arrived, I knew I had found a place I could stay a while.

Along with a few ESL classes, I am the new Science teacher at an International School.  I’m spending my Winter Break creating science units and lessons for grades 3-8.  It’s So, So, SO much fun!   That is not sarcastic.  I’m really enjoying it.

My classes are truly international, with students from Europe, the Middle East, the Balkans, Asia, and the Americas.  I’ve been welcomed in from the first day and have met many other expats as well.  What a fun place I’m living in!

Dancing on the weekends never disappoints!  And, I have a new puppy, Zoe.  Technically, she’s not mine, my bestie rescued her, but I get to claim her while I live here 🙂  Zoe’s about 7 months old and had been hit by a car when very young.  She’s got a funny little gait, but she keeps up on our walks.  Getting to know how to be a good doggie second mommy has had its ups and downs, but mostly ups!  Yeah for conquering fears a little more every day.

I’m grateful for a good job, in a good city, with good people.  It’s the season to show our love for humanity.  And so, I will also be doing some volunteer work at the local orphanage hospital.  Holding and comforting tiny newborns and infants sounds like a pretty sweet way to celebrate the Season well.  I will let you know how that goes, because I expect pure, exuberant awesomeness to come from those days.

I need to get back to planning for a semester of science, but I wanted to check in with everyone and say Hi!  Go be awesome.

Tell ’em Ms. McKahsum told you to!

 

 

 

 

Hormone 15 – a Mari-ism

Hormone 15 – a Mari-ism

My 15th year was a doozie.  Lots of things.   So many things made that year a humdinging, what-the-heck kind of year.  But it also set my mind to the trying to understand that year.  It made me want to figure out what it is about 15.

When my oldest son was a teenager, things were a bit of a whirlwind.  I wish I’d had the understanding and the ability to articulate what I know now, but as I tell him every birthday, he’s my guinea pig.  He’s my first go round at being a parent of someone his age.  So most of my parenting has been winging it with him.  However, I noticed and started to pick apart that 15th year of his as well.  Things weren’t great up to that point, but 15, that’s when they hit their fever pitch.

I learned that hormonal changes are far more than armpit and facial hair in our boys.  They may not have periods, but those hormones take hold of our boys and chew them up, same as our girls.  I watched, I took notice.  It’s the science-y part of me; I observe, I question, I contemplate these types of things.  I have learned so much by being his mom.   And I’m pretty lucky for it  🙂

As my daughter came up on 15, I took notice.  Like me, she hit hormone madness with a full speed ahead, hold onto anything not tied down, double-engine train.  The lack of subtlety made it easier to see the stark contrast of “adolescent behavior” pre 15, and smack dab in the middle of head-on 15.

I am grateful that even through their teens, we had a good enough relationship that we could talk about whatever.  They usually turned bright red or did this (especially my daughter)

when I talked to them about sex, but, I’d rather have red, gaggy faces than STD’s, early babies, and naïve meanderings that could end up with emotional trauma.  (yes my kidittos, you’re welcome, btw)

So I was able to talk to her a little and help her understand, a little better than if we weren’t able to talk, the madness that hormones wreak.  It was a more modest, less developed version of the talk I had with my youngest son, but it got most of the main points across.

And so, as I combined my observations with myself, my oldest son, my daughter, other parents and their teenagers, I was able to finally formulate and articulate the “You’re going to be 15 soon” speech.  A speech which I attribute much of the continued success in communication with him to.

And it goes a little something like this:

 Son, you’re going to turn 15 in a few months.

When this happens you won’t like me.  I won’t like you.

It’s ok because we are going to love each other all the way through it.  We’ll be alright, because soon after that, you’ll be 16 and we’ll like each other again.

You see, somewhere around 15, a brand new hormone will hit your body.  One that will change the way you see everything.  One that has plagued humans since the beginning of time and probably threatened our existence more than any other natural cause.  It is the hormone that spawned the saying,

eat their young

 

And here’s why.

Up until this point, the only way you know how to understand and relate to your moods and feelings is by what just happened.  EVERYTHING that affected your mood, happened outside of you.  If someone took your candy away, you got mad.  If someone brought you a present, you got happy.  If your favorite cartoon came on, you felt elated.  If someone said something mean to you, you got hurt.  If everything was just normal, you were just normal.

Your mood and emotion was, and is for the time being, entirely dependent on external events.

That is all about to change.

Don’t worry.  It’s part of life.  We all go through it.  We will survive.

The problem lies in how little we understand it.  So I’m gonna break it down for you.

Once this hormone hits your system, NOTHING, absolutely nothing outside of you will change, but your mood will.

Oh will it change.  Your mood will fluctuate like your vocal chords bud, with no sense of timing, or reason, or care for social circumstance.  Hormone 15 will mercilessly twist your brain up like it’s saltwater taffy on a roller coaster, out at sea, in a hurricane.

Yes, you get to add this to your changing voice, the fact that you stink, your Shaggy-esque hairs, and your extendo-limbs.

And because, so far, your mood has only ever changed by external events, you are going to try and find external events to lay blame on.  There won’t be any.  You’ll look for them anyway and you’ll find a few things that it could be; so you’ll turn all your hormonal driven emotion at whatever that is.  You will get confused and hurt and frustrated as you try to find the thing that made you so ……. whatever emotion you’re feeling.

(Usually the blame will go to me.  I get that now.  So I’m going to be able to handle it a bit better than I did with the last two, you lucky duck you.)

You are going to wake up one morning and hate life.  The sounds of morning that once made you feel happy because you love breakfast, will be heard with hormone-affected ears and you will feel The Hulk want to rage out of you with each clank of a dish.

Your clothes will piss you off.

Your pillow will make you want to cry.

The sky, in whatever state it is in, will frustrate and confuse you.

The smile and hug I am used to, as you leave for school, will be replaced with a scowl, because your inner hormonal demons don’t want to be touched and can’t believe they have to go to school.

All of your friends will be going through the same thing and you will run the gamut of emotional torture, frantic clinging, and bouts of ecstatic wonderment in all that is new in the world, which unmistakably, now you all can see more clearly than any other humans that have ever lived.

Oh, that Hormone 15 is a doozie.  You’re about to get flip-turned upside-down.

The good news is that A) after that first rush year, it calms down, B) you start to figure out how to live in your new body, and C) you start getting so interested in girls you forget about not liking me.

Of course, that’s when we’ll have the next set of talks generally titled, “Respect” and “No babies”.

 

* I got very lucky with my children that I didn’t have to have the Respect and No babies talks before the 15 talk.  I did have a sort of graduated/ age appropriate series of talks with my kidittos…..  In fact my daughter chose to skip one, because she knew it was coming and didn’t want the embarrassment; and instead learned a valuable lesson the harder way.  Which taught me that age appropriate is “while it’s still informative, i.e. before it’s needed”.

 How was my “talk” received?

One morning, my daughter was already in her usual teenage morning huff when my youngest son woke up, within a few weeks of turning 15.  I heard the uncharacteristic banging of doors.  The, (characteristic) yelling at each other about time in the bathroom, but with an added, and new, note in the male voice.

There was a grumbly boy eating his breakfast, hunched over and scowling.  And a frustrated and bordering angry re-entry into the kitchen after being reminded to rinse his dishes.

A refusal to be hurried for his sister and subsequent second argument, followed by a slamming of the front door as he left to go to school.

And then, as he reached the end of the walk, he turned around, still storming.  I watched by the front door, prepared to rationally deal with what was CLEARLY the first day of Hormone 15.  I stood my ground, stuck a smile on my face as he opened the door.

He glared at me as he asked, “This is that hormone thing you talked to me about isn’t it?”  To which I calmly nodded my head.  He grunted, half smiled, and said he’d see me after school.  Then he closed the door and walked back down the path.

Hormones suck.  Being real helps.  Boys and men are just as complicated as girls and women.  Society teaches them not to show it, or to recognize it; to push their complicatedness away and ignore it.  But it’s there.  All teenagers go through these emotionally havoc wreaking, scary, hormonal changes.  I sure wish someone had explained any part of this to me when I was a kid.  But hopefully, I can help other parents and teenagers figure out a good way to get through it.

 

15

 

What do you think?

 

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The endeavor to walk in the world : Colors.

The endeavor to walk in the world : Colors.

They say when things get tough, that’s when you see people’s true colors.

In each of my trials, I’ve been shown the “true colors” of my friends.  I’m lucky to have so many good friends.  I appreciate all the calls, messages, shows of support, and offers to hang out now that I’m stateside again.  And, I truly appreciate my online friends as much as my in-person friends. 

Blog of many colors

Right now I’m coming to grips with how this atrocity even happened.  I was handling all that Mother Nature was dishing out; no electricity, no running water, violent storms, horrendous heat, Typhoid Fever, with a fair amount of grace I think.  And then without warning, at the end of my weakest state, John Goosen went on an unprovoked ape-shit rampage and decided to fling me around like a rag doll to make me listen to his drunken rant.

Some days are good.  Some days are bad.  That’s normal.  I write more on my good days, but lately it’s writing about my bad days.  That’s also normal.

I value being able to read through other blogs to see the uplifting and helpful information out there.  Feeling like there is a community of people who understand the process I am going through is so wonderful.  Sometimes it can be difficult for my in-person friends to understand.

And then there is always the hope that through this blog someone else can be helped as I work through everything and keep living the day to day as well.  Life goes on and this is how I’m trying to learn as I go.

All the Colors change

Once something traumatic has happened, you see the world differently.  I see the world differently.  Not better or worse, just different.  Things that were once important aren’t any more.  Things that weren’t important suddenly are.  Everything is colored a little differently.

Different or not, I’m still trying to walk through this world. I’m still trying to learn from this and become a better person for it.  I still see the beauty in the sunrises and sunsets.  I love listening to the birds in the morning and the coyotes in the evenings.  I enjoy conversations, cold beers, painting, reading, laughing.

But behind it all I’m trying to find my voice, give voice to those who don’t have it, and blaze a trail for change.

I pick at and piece through the trash pile that is the ways abusers work.  It is alarming how often I pick up a piece of that trash and think, “Oh, that looks familiar, that must be mine.”  Only to turn it over and see an Abuser’s name on it. It’s a bit disheartening to see how pervasive the blaming/ shaming way we treat victims is. 

For example, we all have heard “there’s a way victim’s walk, or hold their head, or (….) that clues abusers in that they are a good target”.

First,

and I want to scream this at the top of my lungs,

NO ONE SHOULD EVER. BE. A. TARGET. 

It doesn’t flipping matter if PersonX walks around with a real sign that says, “I let people abuse me”, PersonX should not get abused.  PersonX should not be a target.  PersonX should feel and be safe.  End of story.  Even if the sign has shiny flashy lights with arrows.

No one should be a target.

Think about that for a minute.  If PersonX has poor self-esteem, (and that shows through their posture), there are people out there who are compelled to hurt PersonX because of it.  Abusers look for people who already feel inferior, then Abusers humiliate them, isolate them, manipulate their emotions, make them feel crazy, makes others think they’re crazy. 

And instead of denouncing the Abuser, instead of stopping the Abuser from finding and hurting others, the general population looks at PersonX and says, “hold your head up more, walk straighter so abusers won’t target you”.  Everything gets shifted over to PersonX.

Why are people so afraid of Abusers that they can’t stand up to them?  I stood alone in trying to get people to see see John Goosen as an abuser.  The other people in Mozambique were so afraid to stand up to him.  He needed to work. He needed his space.  It wasn’t good what he did, but he’s sorry.  He needs medication.

Not a single person, other than myself, looked at him and called him out.  Not one person actually stood up to him, except me.     

It has been enlightening to say the least, to realize every single person I’ve discussed abusive situations with has given ways to change PersonX.

Ex:   “I’d try to get them alone to tell them I could help them if they leave the abuser.”

“Abuser has a (…) problem.  PersonX needs to be more understanding.  I mean get away, but then they need to worry about themselves, not Abuser.  Good riddance, they can deal with themselves”

“If you just tell them to leave, they say ‘it’s only one time’, or ‘Abuser loves me’.  You have to give them little examples how to leave without really saying they need to.”

“I don’t understand why PersonX would go back after that.  PersonX needs to get their head examined.”

Not a single person suggested that the Abuser needs to change. 

The Abuser straight up thought, “Hey PersonX looks (insert adjective of choice ie, lonely, sad, etc.).  If I make them a little less (adjective) they’ll take any shit I dish out.”  “If you feel bad, I want to make you feel worse.”  “And I’m going to make you and everyone else think it’s your fault.”

And everybody else thinks, “PersonX should’ve made themselves look less like a victim.”

This is what abusers do.  They work the whole scenario from the beginning.  From the initial lure to the end, everything and everyone in their environment is part of the set up to get off scott-free.

Our True Colors

I think we are so entrenched, as a general population, in generations upon generations of dysfunctional families, war torn memories, secrets, and lies that we don’t even know how to see the first red flags anymore.  Abusers have done such a trick on the mainstream psyche that when we finally see the red flags, we all point fingers at the victims.

But how can we stop the abuse from happening if we start at the end?

What do you think? 

As you’ve heard/ read my and other stories, how many times have you asked the ‘questions of change’ to the victim rather than the abuser? 

How can we change that scenario?  How can we really stop abuse if we don’t change it?

 

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I keep on dancing.

When I arrived back in the US, I began eating everything!  I was eating full meals 5-6 times a day.  I have been eating steak, burgers, bacon, burritos, chile, cakes, chocolate, real – delicious – amazing – wonderful FOOD. 

I finally weigh a healthy weight of 123 pounds!!  120 is the lowest number I should be at, so I’m grateful to finally have crossed it.  6 weeks of stuffing myself like a pig getting ready for Christmas and I’m finally there! Thank you mama for being such an amazing cook. 

Now, it is time to start getting my healthy weight into a healthy state.

While I’ve got a few things burning on the back burner, up front I’m recovering by restoring myself to general health.  It feels good. 

As a former personal trainer,  you would think I could train myself, yes?  

I can, but we all need external motivation to get started.  I don’t care who you are.  If you are having to start over from square one, it is infinitely more difficult to do it on merely your own will power.  I thought, ok, now that I’m back in the world of way too much, I’ll use my smartphone and give myself a little boost with one of these new-fangled apps.

I found about a million different exercise and fitness apps when I searched.   Aye, how is a girl supposed to know which one?

AND THAT MY FRIENDS IS WHEN I DECIDED ON MY NEW CHALLENGE!

Mouth curled in, head turned, eyes squinting, fingers typing anyway. I admit, I am not, so far, very good at finishing my challenges.    I am working on it already….  It’s a challenge. 

For 3 weeks I am going to try 6 apps.  Then I’ll try a different set for 3 weeks.  I’m only committing to twice for now.  Trying to keep it real here.

But I’m going to post my thoughts and progress about the apps I try. 

Nope, I am not turning into a fitness blog.  It’s still my life.  I try to be fit amongst all the other things I do. 

OK you ready?   Here are the apps I’m trying for the next 3 weeks.

 

s_health 

S Health came with my Samsung super phone, so it seems right to check it out first.  My phone has a heart rate sensor!   Who the freak knew?  I didn’t when I bought it, but hey, I’m psyched about it now!  It uses the GPS, the heart rate monitor and who knows whatever other cool gadgets are in there to track my steps, knows when I’m running vs. walking, and keeps me posted on my heart rate.

I need to be more active apparently.  I started it this morning with my little walk/run.  But I know I’m starting easy, so I’m ok with the 20% of daily activity.  Besides it’s only noon.

7Min 

This is the 7 Minute Workout, by Abishkking.  It has a calendar, a classic (full body) workout option, an ab workout option, and a soon to come butt workout option.  I looked at the 13 exercises listed, jumping jacks, wall sit, push ups, crunches, step ups, squats, tricep dips, plank, high knees, lunges, push up with alternating rotations, and side plank, and think, this might just be pretty good. 

I can set up reminders throughout the day as I choose.  I decided each morning, post run. 

PushUpsSitUpssquat  

Each of these apps, by NorthPark.Android, create a program based on where you start.  I haven’t started yet, so I can’t tell you what my program is…   But I got a pretty good laugh when I realized that my push up trainer expects me to touch my phone with my nose or chin to count how many I’ve done.  Hehe  that makes me giggle for some reason. 

These I’m going to do in the evening to keep life rounded out ‘round here.

Water 

Water Your Body is also by NorthPark.Android

This one asks my weight and sets a goal for how much I should drink each day.  It let me set the perimeters for when to start and stop each day and the increments of water.  I chose 5am to 7pm and 9 oz glasses.  It says it only gives me a reminder if I haven’t checked in that I’ve drunk enough water.  

Seems like it might be labor intensive with keeping up, but, we’ll see.  I foresee a lot of toilet visits in the next couple weeks.   I know it only takes a little while to get used to it, but, in the meantime, I’ll keep the tp in plentiful supply.  Smile

Nothing keeps me down too long.  There are some interesting things coming up in my future.  Lots of changes happening slowly.  I’m grateful all the time for how lucky I am.  Life keeps me on my toes.

So I keep on dancing. 

I love the music of life. 

 

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The Blog Tour Blog Post

Thank you BetterNotBroken for your wonderful and thoughtful blog; you have helped me and many others.  And thank you for the invite to be part of The Blog Tour!

Let’s see there are a few rules…..   I need to answer 4 questions, write an original piece, and nominate 4-5 other bloggers.   If I nominate you, and you accept, you are supposed to answer the same 4 questions, nominate other bloggers, and write your original piece to be published on Monday, June 8.

This is not the first time I’ve been invited to something similar or given a blog award. It’s not the first time I’ve accepted. But it’s the first time I’m following through. I have been worried about having too many people read my blog. But, as I’m in “conquer fear” mode, well….. let’s do it!

1             How does your writing/ creative process work?

Oi. I don’t really know. I write how I feel at the time. That’s about the only prerequisite I have for myself. I don’t write on a prescribed topic or stick to one thing. I write when I feel like writing, I don’t stick myself to a schedule. I’ve tried a few times to do the 30 day challenge and I have yet to complete one. Doesn’t mean I won’t, just haven’t yet. My process: write when I feel like it about what I want to.

2             What are you working on at the moment?

Right now, I’m working on how to spot the abusers. I’m trying to pull out the secrets and display them so that we can all just be safe. No one should have to worry about their safety. There are tells, I want to put them out there.  Oh, and my fear of dogs.

3             Why do you write or create what you do?

I started as a way for my friends and family to know what I was up to as I finished University and embarked on my journeys around the world. Now I write because it keeps me whole. And hopefully it brings goodness to the world on some level.

4             How does your work differ from the others in your genre?

Well, how does it not really? I think all diary type blogs are unique. We all have different lives, learning different things. Maybe mine is different in that I jump from topic to topic.

The blogs I nominate are:

MarriedNomads

MeerkatTravelGang

Taiwanna Adventure

Our Life in 3D

And now for my original post:

Dear Me,

I hardly ever tell you, but I know how strong you are. I know I tell all the ways you aren’t strong too often. I’m sorry. I know you put your brave face out there and make comments about how awesome you are to make-up for all the awful stuff I tell you.

Those words are not true, but you don’t like to hear how good you are. I was just trying to keep you comfortable. I shouldn’t keep repeating them. It’s not fair to you. You’re good with uncomfortable. It’s one of your strengths. I’ll be better.

I don’t tell you often enough how brave you are. I know you say you aren’t, you’re just living your life. But you live your life by your heart. That’s bravery. You don’t take no for an answer when you make up your mind. That’s bravery. I sit silently hoping nothing goes wrong and ready to help you pick up the pieces in case it does. But maybe if I told you more that you are brave, told you more that your courage in the face of obstacles, that taking that first step, every time, made me so proud of you, maybe you would take more first steps.

Your fearlessness scares me sometimes. But we get to have wonderful adventures because of it.

It’s ok to stay open. It’s ok to still be all of who you really are. You have been so true to yourself these last 10 years. I know I keep telling you that you should be more like other people. Sometimes I get so frustrated when you refuse. But, it’s only fear I’m speaking.   Why should you listen to my fear? I’m really grateful you don’t. It’s habit, but all habits can be broken. I will work so hard on this. I don’t really want to be like everyone else. I like you just the way you are.

I’m sorry I keep stringing out those mean questions, flooding you with doubt. You don’t bring these terrible circumstances to you. You are not defective. You don’t have a sign that says, “abuse me”. Those people are out there, with or without you. It’s their place to choose their actions, not yours. It is their wrong doing to harm you, not yours. Their abusive nature is their legacy, not yours.

I know you’ve been hurt. It’s ok to feel the pain. It’s ok. Feel it and keep speaking. Speak up. Speak out. You have a voice that can help others, which can help stop abuse all over the world. Your strength can help, can make a difference.

Go ahead and do it. I will be here supporting you. Along the way there will be more people supporting you. Look how many friends you have supporting you right now. Please forgive me for a life time of misguided thoughts meant to derail you from the inside. Remember this when the naysayers start talking. Remember to dismiss them. They are not speaking from truth, but rather from their own derailing misguided inner voices.

You are kind and patient and accepting and loving. That is your legacy. You know thousands of people and only a small handful have hurt you. Kind and accepting are not bad traits lady, they’re pretty damn good ones. Thank you for not entertaining those doubt-inducing questions, no matter how persistent I was. I am ashamed I ever asked them. I won’t again.

I want you to stop joking when you say that you are awesome. Please believe it. You are. Keep taking the hands of others and help them see how awesome they are, but believe it of yourself as well. Because it’s true.

It’s almost lunch time, so I should probably stop writing so we can eat. Keep strong my darling. There are bright beautiful skies ahead.

If YOU also want to join the Blog Tour, let me know  🙂  

Good Luck to you all in your many adventures!!!  Thanks for reading  🙂

 

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I forgive you

Dear Louis and Caroline,

I am writing to let you know I forgive you.
I forgive you for writing your Facebook post.
I forgive you for feeling you needed to write it when I had only ever sung your praises both publicly and privately.
I forgive you for writing it while you knew I would be flying and unable to read or answer it until after all your friends had seen it.
I forgive you for deleting any responses my friends put on it and then making it only for your friends to read.

I forgive you for believing that such a violent act against another human being needs nothing more than his say so that it won’t happen again with no consequences.
I forgive you for taking such a harrowing experience and trivializing it.

I forgive you for lying to me about what you felt I owed you.
I forgive you for lying to me about paying for the classes I taught.
I forgive you for believing that asking to settle between what I owed and what the classes cost, was asking for money.

I forgive you for not emotionally being there for me.
I forgive you for blaming me, instead of John Goosen by assaulting me, for the inconvenience of my staying in your home and eating at your restaurant.

I forgive you for accusing me, not John Goosen, for any part of the missed honeymoon time of our friends.
I forgive you for saying I “complained”.
I forgive you for only helping me move my things after being asked to by the honeymooners.
I forgive you for refusing to help me to have John Goosen arrested for his crime of assault and battery.
I forgive you for calling me selfish because I hadn’t gotten over it a mere 9 days after having been violently assaulted.

In replace of anger and frustration, I give forgiveness and compassion.
I give you a brush, with a mirror, for your daughters.
I give you a long, two person hammock that will easily fit two very tall individuals.
I give you all the things I left you, knowing that you could use them well.

I know that you both are also victims of the abusive cycle. It hurts me to see two sensible people behave the way you have, but I can
understand the need to find release from such a frustrating situation.  I understand it’s easier to release it on someone who isn’t there.

It hurts deep inside a person to know that they have been, and are friends with someone who is a violent abuser. You have long known that John is verbally assaulting at most times, that he becomes physically aggressive and out of control when he drinks, and now you know he is actually emotionally capable of killing someone with his bare hands.

That is hard to deal with on a very deep level. A level that many people don’t like to uncover and look at in themselves.

I didn’t like looking at that part of me when I was married. How could I love someone who hurt me all the time?
But I’ve already had to take that part of me out and give it a good long look-over. I’ve already spent many years and dollars on dealing with that part of me.

I’ve already had to deal with knowing and understanding the capabilities abusers have; the capability to look remorseful in order only to escape consequence; the capability to use faces, lies, and time to change how people see what happened.
I’ve already had the experiences that show me what to do in this situation. You haven’t.

I’ve had someone stand up for me before and have learned how to stand up for myself because of it.  You haven’t.

No one likes to stare abuse in the face.
People want it to go away. They want to think it isn’t really true, it wasn’t that bad, he wouldn’t really do that.
Because it’s easier that way.

Humans like things to be easy, simple, and not abusive. But this situation isn’t any of those things.
I only know what to expect and what to do, because I have already overcome it before.  You haven’t.
I don’t blame you for wanting things to go back to normal.
And I forgive you for expecting it to.
I forgive you for the pain you have caused me in addition to the pain of having been assaulted by your friend.

From this second on, I completely forgive you both, Louis and Caroline.
I cut my cords to you both with forgiveness, compassion, and love. Forgiveness of the acts, compassion for where you are, and love for who you are and what good you did do for me.

I forgive you.
Good-bye.

 

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Victim Blaming, one of the worst parts of violence against women

I have arrived in Albuquerque.  I am home safe with my mama.

The craziness of Mozambique continued as two men attempted to mug me and take my purse as I walked back to the hostel from eating my last meal in Mozambique.

I discovered something interesting about myself in that moment.  No matter what those two men said or did, I fought for my purse and my safety.  I kicked and yelled and flagged down a passing motorcycle.  I kept all but one shoe.

Why couldn’t I fight when my former friend assaulted me?  I’m still working on that.  Part of it was because I knew he would feel even more validated in hurting me if I had fought back.  And part of me just couldn’t.

That is the part of me I am really struggling with and need to work through before I head back out into the world.

Mom and I are going to be doing a lot of energy work in the future for this.

When I had arrived in the US and was able to get internet again, I found that I had been tagged in a harsh victim blaming post by the husband of the couple that I have previously been thanking for their help-

Though I understand their desire for things to be like they were before all this happened, for the bliss of ignorance, their post really hurt me.  All of the times I had asked them what I owed them had been met with “nothing, this is what friends do”.  Telling them that my mom was sending money, they just needed to tell me how much, and they said none.

Now it is all being reneged because they don’t feel I should continue to press charges.

None of us had done much sleeping.  All of us were trying to continue doing what we needed to because life goes on.  But, I was slowly being outcasted by them.  All the ways they were “helping” me, they began to see in a negative way, because I wasn’t dropping the charges.

My belief is that it’s because I was the reminder that things weren’t normal any more.  I was the one living in their house, so I became the easy target for displacing all the frustrations of the situation.

The sad truth that seems to be missing in their argument, is that none of the need for their help would have been necessary had my “housemate” not been aggressive, abusive, and finally assaulted me.

None of my living with them, or need of translation help with the police, or any of the kindnesses they showed me would have been needed if it weren’t for his actions.

I didn’t do this.  I didn’t ask for any of this.  This is not my fault.

I desperately tried to be as little a burden on them as possible.  I began eating as little as possible.  I helped with the house and girls whenever they asked, and have still been met with this painful reminder that people will attack when your back is turned.

I can’t blame them.  It’s human nature to want things to be “normal”.  It’s normal for people to take the path of least resistance.  I left, I’m not volatile. He’s still living there, they are still living there. I’m the least resistant path to displace the frustration.

Victim blaming is just as much a part of the abuser cycle as the abuse is.  It’s what happens when those around don’t want to think about it anymore.

I just didn’t expect it from them, so it hurts more.

Please, all of you out there, don’t revictimize by displacing blame.  It makes it so much harder to follow through.  So much harder to fight the good fight when you feel isolated and alone.

So much easier for abusers to feel empowered.

Now I am being labeled as a “psycho” by them for continuing to believe that justice needs to be served. He’s not a psycho for having assaulted me, I am for pursuing charges.  He doesn’t need consequences that will follow him so that others will be protected in the future.   Because in their eyes, I should let it all go, on his word that he will get help. I am the one who behaved wrongly by continuing the process.

And he is taking all this in.  Realizing he’s gotten away with it, for the time being, again.  He is being empowered by their actions.  And they don’t even realize it.

I surely wish that this will never happen to them or their daughters. I can only hope that no-one in their family goes through what I have, but if they do, I hope even more that their friends don’t do this to them afterward.

This is one of the worst parts of violence against women……

 

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The heartbreaking realities

The first month of any class is the toughest.  Creating routines, getting basic English words for keeping the class moving along as they learn new material, and learning English phonics.
It’s right around week 5 when I get to start seeing the little lightbulb moments as they recognize they’ve learned and can understand.

We’re just getting there in all my classes. This week I saw three little lightbulb moments. And this afternoon, as I was walking around the island, two little girls were walking down one of the side streets.  They were quiet and walking hand in hand.   They happened to look up and the one little girl , who is my student in the preschool class, opened her arms wide and ran to me,  teacher Mari!!  Without any hesitation she jumped in my arms and let me pick her up.
She gave me a beautiful hug and as I put her down, in her best new English she tried to introduce me to her friend and coached her in how to say, my name is…
The two girls and I parted with them smiling and happily laughing.
As I kept walking down the coast, I started hearing, teacher Mari, teacher Mari!  I looked up further and a small group of my elementary age students were gathered and called me over. I was so happily surprised with how well they were using English to explain the game they were playing and show me off to their friends.
My evening adult class is a newer class, only two weeks, but they finally understood the pattern I’ve been teaching them this week and three of them right away started using other words they know in the same pattern!
It’s these moments that I teach for. These moments when they realize they know, they try to share, and they take it farther on their own.

I LOVE teaching. I LOVE it.

And it breaks my heart, shatters it, to have to leave right now, just as it’s getting better for them.

Why does such terrible circumstances have to stop this progress?!  Who the fuck is this “nice guy” that everybody likes, that feels he has the right to keep me in a room against my will, and use ANY, let alone the amount of force, to make me listen to his drunken rants.  Who still maintains that if I had just sat and listened instead of trying to reach the door, he wouldn’t have hurt me so bad.

And as he’s all nice and calm again, admits he has a disease,
Well gosh! I should just let it all go, what’s the problem? , he’s going to get help.

Yeah. The fucking problem is that is a TRIED AND PROVEN PATTERN OF ABUSERS.
Diagnosing a disease doesn’t change the fact that abusers pick and choose, are in full awareness, and know how to look remorseful, and put on enough charm to get away with it.  They use time to make it feel like it wasn’t that bad. And they use their friendships to make it look like the victim is making too big of a deal out of it.

Tried and true classic pattern.

And the heartbreaking reality is that it doesn’t just affect me. The bruises are gone, I can almost put my backpack on, get dressed, or scratch my own back again without my shoulders hurting.  My wrists still hurt but you can’t see anything wrong. People don’t look at me and flinch, or ask how I am.  Time is passing.  But it’s a time bomb, and I know that.
A time bomb that I can’t be here to see go off.
The bomb may not go off here, if I leave. So in order to protect those that are helping me right now, I’m leaving here.
BUT THAT TIME BOMB WILL GO OFF SOMEWHERE IF LEFT UNCHECKED
I can’t leave that bomb unchecked. I will pursue the trial and whatever else is necessary to put checks and balances in place to ensure I’ve done my part.
Abusers don’t stop. They don’t get talked out of being abusers by the people around them.

The charming person isn’t who they are, it’s their cover up and protection against consequences. The charming side makes sure people, “can’t believe it” could be something the abuser would do.

This was a thought out act of violence. And because of it, my students will suffer.  My work here will be paused for who knows how long. These children don’t know what happened, all THEY will know is that I left. The adults have just another person who comes to help and leaves.

The heartbreaking reality is that it’s not just me that got hurt. But it’s me that will be doing the hurting of leaving.
And that sucks so much.

These tears fall with conviction. If education is my target, let violence be my arrow, and awareness be my breath.

 

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