Archive for Chronicles

The Most Successful Failure Wins

The Most Successful Failure Wins
The Makings of a Personal Celibacy Challenge

Challenge #4: Mr. Young, Fly, & Articulate

“Your hair is beautiful.”

Four words and I am smitten.

It doesn’t matter that the strands are wind-blown and my eyelashes
are under attack. It doesn’t even matter that this isn’t my real hair.
What matters is the quiet sincerity of this guy’s gentle humanity, his kindness and consideration. This young man is well-groomed and prepared for the best. So, I reward him with a fair introduction – my Instagram name.

He wastes no time.
He follows me. He reads me. He watches me. He learns. He comments. He likes. Then, he finally texts:

What kind of champagne do you drink?

He gets it.

We meet at his place, which is near my place; so, I don’t travel far. We talk and linger in the day-to-day of our routines. Then, we dash through the past, our yesterdays, and last weeks. Finally, our thoughts meet and tap an unspoken code to conduct our unplanned dance throughout the night.

We agree to leave and meet, sip, vibe, and socialize with his friends.
We stare, touch, talk, hug, kiss, and agree to leave, again.
A kiss as the camera on my phone clicks.

Then…
He kisses me again.
The forehead, it’s goodbye.
I go in.
He doesn’t.

Instead he sits, outside my door, on the floor.
He says he’ll wait.
I pray I change.
Then, I change.
Now, we feel the same.
I walk out of my space, invade his, and we lay.

We rub, he licks, and I
close my mind
and open my soul
to a stranger.
Twice.
Almost three times.

But just as the sun rises, I say, “No.”

He says, “You don’t want me anymore.”

His question is a statement.
So all I say is, “I have to go.”

“You won’t call.”

One night and he thinks he knows me or is this his reverse psychology? This guy is good. Good like the devil. That’s why I must go.

It happens so fast, so quick, so seemingly unabashed. Until it hits me… he hit it… I missed it… the mark, the challenge… I failed – privately, but publicly too.

And it’s important enough to share because the shame or guilt lasts only as long as we allow it. Once we push it aside, we announce our new beginning -publicly or privately, our new challenge -publicly or privately, and our new failure -publicly or privately…

But, because God’s love never fails us, our failures don’t have to lead to embarrassment, shame, or a rush to fix the wrong. Instead, the failure can plant a new seed, fertilize our spirit, and strengthen our reach and our growth – privately, but publicly too.

The quicker we fail, the quicker we learn: FALSE.
But, the quicker we succeed, the longer it takes to learn.
So, we fail again and again, until we learn to change.

See, we can’t speed through the lesson, life, moments, people, sex…
and expect to understand any of it at first glance. When we do, we fail. And then, we get right back up, tweak the process and move even faster than we did the first time because now we’re late, embarrassed, or even ashamed. So, we fail again.

To change our failures into successes, we must slow down to learn about our circumstances and the people involved. Then, and only then, are we prepared to change enough to win for everyone around us. (Jeremiah 29) That’s the type of success worth failing for.

So, I will reset my celibacy, resurrect the challenge, and restore faith in God’s power to change someone through my failures and my successes. Failure will never stunt my growth or the growth of my family, friends, or supporters who have grown closer to God through me.

I love you all as I love myself, and God loves us all way more.
Who else will help turn our epic fails into our epic success?

Thanks, Jesus.

Kissing in the Dark

 

 

Kissing in the Dark
The Makings of a Personal Celibacy Challenge

Challenge #3: Mr. Beautiful

My eyes lock in on his biceps when he enters the bar. But for poise, my chair almost swirls to follow him . Luckily, there is no need. After he daps up my photographer, he sits directly across from me. One whiff of his pheromones and I am under attack. My only defense: the uncertainty and curiosity of his sexuality.

Does it even matter?

Nope, not when I’m lusting.

I don’t want to make out with him. I don’t want to date him. I certainly don’t want to marry him.

I just want to watch him.

So, I watch.

The hour passes and just for good measure, I tally the number of women he hugs and fondles. There are four.
The number of hugs and handshakes for guys: zero.
Case closed.

And it doesn’t matter. He bypasses me like most dudes bypass my Instagram.

“You got all of these damn quotes on here. Nobody’s reading that,” he says.
“I’m a writer…”
“Well, maybe you’ll get a few intellectual types.”
“Good.”

Good? That’s what I say. But that’s not what I mean. What I want to say is, “Why am I not attracting you as much as you’re attracting me?” Instead, I continue to watch him. He orders drink after drink and shot after shot. I sip my champagne. Once he’s tipsy enough to accept a FaceTime, the picture becomes clear: he prefers the simple sugar over my raw mixed molasses.

This is never a surprise, but it’s always a buzzkill. It definitely changes the forecast from 100% precipitation to dry skies with a light shower -maybe on the beach at night and definitely in the dark. But this is good because I’m celibate. Right? No, this is great. It’s wonderful. I can wipe the sweat from my breasts and drink more champagne. I can live a little.

“Yo, I have a new limited edition bottle in my place. Let’s grab it and get it in…”
That’s what he says.

I say no. Then, he grabs my hand.
He pulls me in for a group hug with his two lady friends and something changes.

My pheromones are slow to release, but they pierce his Skinny Jeans with vigor . He has no time to retreat. The scent of my skin keeps his hand in mine, his lips in mine, and his body against mine. Finally, I reach the turnstile to La La Land.

I go in.
I caress and kiss- with tongue- and I mean “My Hands on His Bald Head” with “His Hands on My Bubbly Bum” type of tongue.
We go in.

My initial temptation is replaced by distant admiration which probably provokes his new temptation and it is certainly about to lead to my non-celibation… no, that’s not a word. But in these fearless moments of lust, my “write” brain switches back to my right brain and the wrong words I create are the only words left.

Then… without notice…
The kiss ends. The night ends. The possibilities end?

Mr. Beautiful ends up with her, Simple Sugar.
While this Sweet Molasses ends up with a cold shower.
But the beads never evaporate; they only vibrate as I breathe life into the night’s dreamscape .

Hence, I wake. I wake up with anything but fear of my poor judgement. I am stuck in La La Land. I luxuriate in the memories of salacious kisses and throbbing hearts and other body parts. I even tell a few girlfriends, “I made out with a boy who I believed liked boys -and I liked it.” I replay the clips several times and focus on his eyes, his upper lip, and his shoulders. I don’t want to forget.

So what if it isn’t true. So what if it isn’t real. So what if it isn’t with a man who actually wants to be with me, a celibate, beautiful, woman of color who posts quotes and lacks self-control when it comes to chemistry, kissing and licking and sucking… LUST, it’s a fruitless deed of the darkest night disguised as the sweetest nectar of our dreams.

Even after I turn on the lights, I am still asleep. The taste of fawned intimacy lingers long throughout my day. It is not until I crack open the Word that I am completely awakened by Romans 1:24-27. I won’t preach, but read it and know that when you get to know God, he never forgets you. He won’t let you fail as long as you desire to succeed.

But, Success at Celibacy means:
Don’t kiss if you’re celibate.
Don’t tongue kiss if you’re celibate.
Don’t tongue kiss, while holding a bald head if you’re celibate.
And Definitely
Don’t tongue kiss, while a bald-headed man is holding your bum if you’re celibate.

Thank God I’m still celibate.

Sometimes God doesn’t have to say or do anything to show us He loves us.
Sometimes we don’t have to say or do anything besides love Him.

My behavior that night showed no love for God. It probably made Him sad. I kissed a kiss that will never be unkissed. It will last forever to be compared to even the sweetest kisses of the one God sends my way. I followed the lusty desires of my heart. I traded the Truth for a lie. I worshipped the beauty of man, even if only for a moment, over the beauty of the Creator.

Thankfully, He knows me.

He knows that I want to be loosened from the bondage of lust. He knows that I am willing and able to break free but only through Him. And because of this, He will not let me die in my sin. Instead, He will nudge the handsomely kissable men away and send a sisterly soul to say, “Girl, go to bed.”
It’s true, the longer we have to wait for the real thing, the harder it gets to say no to the fantasy. But with faith, He will restore our patience and renew our minds. He might let you walk into La La Land, but He won’t let you get lost in the park. He’s not even the type to hold your hand, but He will give you explicit directions on how to get the heck out of there.
We just have to hear them and Follow Him.

So…
Pray for ’em.
Faith for ’em.
Celebrate for ’em.
And Wait for ‘em..
Those Real Kisses from those Truthful Lips, they are coming soon.

Thanks, Jesus.

Drunken Hot Girls are Not Celibate Forever

The Makings of a Personal Celibacy Challenge

Challenge #2: Mrs. Bottle Girl

The last two Saturday nights led to missing church the last two Sunday mornings. I talked and listened. I drank and smoked. I danced and laughed. I hugged and kissed. And most importantly, I lived.

But after all of that, I laid and cried. I questioned and wondered. I called and listened. I regretted and apologized. I felt like someone had died.

When did the woman with common sense sneak off into the darkness? She was here with me at the first glass of champagne. We toasted to life and longevity at least three more times. We were still together as the next set of glasses clinked between the next set of verses. We sat soul to soul until the first shot of hard liquor pierced our connection. The second shot weakened our bond. By the third shot of tequila – or was it vodka?- we were no longer fastened. The lady in me, my better half, walked away and left me like a pig with a diamond ring in its snout… ugly.

Thankfully, I hadn’t become unsightly in the depths of those nights; although, I have starred in that movie too. But, I know the alcohol had tangled my hair, smudged my blush, and adjusted my waistline in a “drunken hot girl” kind of way.

Those that know me might have recognized the change for what it was. But those that don’t know me, saw beauty in my disgrace. They were intoxicated by my intoxication… aroused by my arousal. They praised my dance and savored my kisses. And, they wanted way more. I did too.

I caressed a chest and grazed an ass. I rubbed an ass and smacked an ass.

Then, I heard it…

“Go home and lock your door!”

I heard it clearly, both nights.

Then, I considered this: God wants me to lock my door… and I don’t think he wants me to do it quietly. It’s time to let some things and some people know that they can’t come in… at least not until God says I’m ready.

Cultivating friendships that lead us astray seems like an obvious mistake. Still, we waste time with ideas and spirits who go against our soul. And fail to make time for wise counsel and honest criticism from those who know us best.

Why don’t we make a better effort to treasure our true supporters, the ones who sharpen our edges, as opposed to the ones who, intentionally or not, dull our blades.

I, Mrs. Bottle Girl, might have missed the mark, and been slow to move because of my satiation; but, I didn’t miss the message: I can’t work towards celibacy sitting at a bar in a strip club smoking shisha and sipping champagne.

Yes, I am a self-proclaimed lover of all things bubbly. But, knowing when to say when needs to come a lot sooner than when God SCREAMS, “When!” We must avoid letting the wisdom we pray for float away with every bubble of fun, no matter the shape or size.

So, my challenge this week is a two-part challenge. First, I must minimize my champagne intake. One bottle per evening on Fridays and Saturdays… and only one to two glasses on any given weeknight… no matter the occasion. And no hard liquor – NO MATTER WHAT.
Second, I must pass on all invitations to strip clubs… no matter how much I want the lemon-pepper wings. Pray for me… I’m serious!

Once I get a handle on the number of things I consume, the places I go, and the people with whom I go, I will be back in church every Sunday morning: listening, dancing, kissing, hugging and living the life God says I was born to live eternally as a single hot woman… Celibate until I’m married.

Thanks,
Jesus.

Stop Fücking. Start Loving.

Stop Fücking, Start Loving:
The Makings of A Personal Celibacy Challenge 

Challenge #1: Mr. Wingspan

Two months ago, I was awakened at two in the morning. I felt alone when I wasn’t. I reached desperately for the smoothly carved curves of my lover’s chest.  In that moment, the light of his cellphone captured for me the fear of a man who knew he had been caught texting a 21-year-old while I laid with, and dreamt of, him.

“Had anyone asked me 6 months ago,” he said, “I would have told them I planned to propose to you for your birthday this year.”  However, in the same breath exactly five weeks short of my 39th birthday, he explained that he was “no longer interested in being in a relationship.”

My move-in moved out.

I couldn’t grasp the idea of life without this kid because he had practically become my young handsome manservant. He volunteered to do everything for me, including love me, in exchange for food and shelter. Once he no longer needed those things, he left.

I wasn’t ready.

So, I cried with him. I prayed with him. I slept with him. I ate with him. I slept with him again.

Soon I realized he was doing at least two of those things with someone else. Still, I reluctantly resigned -unprepared to be alone.

I immediately fasted. I prayed. I praised. I cried out to God as I read Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John for nearly 24 hours straight. During the fast, I listened to God. He said things I needed to hear. He said things I wanted to hear. But, He also repeated some things which I’ve ignored in the past.

Stop Fücking. Start Loving.

I don’t think that’s exactly what God said. But that’s exactly what I heard.

I wasn’t ready to stop… but I was ready to start the latter.

After eight or so days of incommunicado with the ex, I called him up again. I wanted to show him I still loved him. That’s what God said to do, right?

So, I spent Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the day after… my birthday, with him. I ate with him. I laughed with him. I drank with him. I slept with him again. Hell, I had planned to sleep with him once more on his Birthday… which was 3 days later. But, that didn’t quite go as planned.

The point is, I had made some type of deal with God to start loving immediately, but to stop fucking on January First. God laughed and rescheduled my stop date for 12/27.

Since then, I have been reading. Besides two daily devotionals (Today’s Moment of Truth and Kingdom Woman), I’ve begun a book by Dr. Danny Aiken called God and Sex. Thus far, it has shown me the importance of intimacy without sex during courtship. As well as the high priority that should be placed on both sexual and non-sexual intimacy within a marriage.

Now, I desire to give my sexual desires to God.

Really, I do.

Seriously.

“BUT.”

Anyone who knows me, knows that outside of God, I live off three things in this world: egg whites, champagne, and sex.  Hence, this celibacy thing is going to require a lot more than consistent prayer and praise.

So, how do I start? How will I keep it going? How will I end it? Why would I end it?

I don’t know.

I mean, no, I haven’t had sex since 12/26. But, I haven’t really wanted to either.  I even spent the  weekend in Alaska on the Best Date Ever. It was adventurously amazing, but not “drop my draws dreamtastic.” There was a lot of fun and a little intimacy. I was even horny once or twice.

Finally, a day where I didn’t really need to have sex.

Now, I can’t take it for granted that Aunt Flo did travel along. However, had she not been with me, I don’t think it would have been too difficult to fan the one or two flames that were sparked.

So, when or how does this actual challenge begin?

I could start today. But, there’s this one man: Mr. Wingspan.

The last time he flew me to La La Land, the  night ended with high grade marijuana, a long talk with Jesus, and a couple hours in the urgent care attached to an IV funneled bag of Potassium. I’d definitely like to replace those memories with a bottle of Nectar Imperial, a long kiss hello, and a couple hours wrapped in the arms of a man built to outlast time.

Sigh.

Decisions are not hard when they are made with purpose. If the action serves no purpose toward the betterment of my future, then it’s the wrong action. But if it does… (and this last ride could technically make this non-sexual journey a lot smoother) I might really be able to stop fücking until I’m supposed to… like, after marriage.  And only God knows how long that will be.

But will I be punished for disobeying God’s Word? I doubt it. Now, there are always consequences to stepping outside of His Godly umbrella. Hence, I know I must exercise caution when going against God’s will.

But why would I go against it? Why do any of us go against Him? It almost always ends in pain. Still, for those few seconds, minutes, -or in this case- hours of bliss, we plan to make the sacrifice.

Luckily, God laughs at most of us for second guessing His Word. He finds some way to bring us closer to Him, and then he holds us tighter than Mr. Wingspan ever could.

That’s when we realize He does everything for us, including love us, in exchange for ourselves.

Thanks, Jesus.

The Birth of a Discussion on Rape, Race, and Revolution

“Where do you stand?”

A dear friend of mine posed this question to his “strong black sistahs” regarding his conflicting thoughts on supporting Nate Parker’s now highly controversial film, “The Birth of a Nation.”

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Nate Parker, creator of “The Birth of a Nation,” and Parker as Nat Turner, leader of 1831 slave rebellion. 

The film documents the events that lead to Nat Turner’s 1831 revolt against his and other slave owners in Virginia. Meanwhile, the Pennsylvania Centre County Court documents the murky events that lead to an acquittal of rape on behalf of the film’s creator, Nate Parker.

This poses a conflict for many African Americans. For some, seeing the film means supporting a man who denies sexually assaulting an unconscious woman. For others, not seeing it means supporting the tactics and strategies of Hollywood insiders who consistently deny African Americans the opportunity to share our truth on the big screen.

As a strong black woman, I refuse to purposely jeopardize the success of a strong black man’s (or woman’s) plight toward positive change based on his/her poor decision made as a teenager. The Lord only knows the poorest decisions I’ve made; some of which were made far beyond 19.

As a survivor of childhood sexual assault by my father’s youngest brother and date rape, I understand the trauma associated with sex crimes. Still, as much as the actions of my molester helped to cultivate my early life of poor decisions and possibly lead me into the arms of revictimization, I can’t hold him accountable for my actions forever. The day either of my rapists writes an essay, not to mention a movie script, to convey the horrors of rape for the masses to try and understand, I’m supporting it. Whether either of them admits they raped me or not, is not a factor. I don’t need my rapists to confirm what I already know: they hurt me.

As an educator and student of creative non-fiction writing, I believe this is a film that needs to be supported. The impact of sexual assault on black women (and ultimately the black family) during slavery has not been lessened with time. The story can be researched and read, yes. But as much as I enjoy reading a well-written, non-fictional account of my history, I know that there are millions who prefer watching that same well-written account.

As the author of a critical thesis about writing literary scenes that convey the unrelenting impact of sexual assault and rape on its survivors, I stand with victims of abuse, survivors of abuse, and writers against abuse. I’m not big on movie theaters, but I will definitely support this film.

Those of you who do not support the messenger, I get it. It’s unfortunate that our people are constantly faced with such harsh decisions. It’s similar to the bashing of Bill Cosby. Fortunately for Blacks, Cosby’s actions ruined him after the masses heard his message. By bashing Nate Parker now, we bash his message (possibly of partial redress for the rape case) before it’s shared. Why shun a message that seems to illustrate why Blacks must STOP TALKING WITHOUT ACTION, STOP PRAYING WITHOUT ACTION, AND START STANDING UP AND FIGHTING against the injustices we are still facing today?

With all that being said, I have obviously reached a place where I can comfortably say that my pain will never outweigh the pain of my ancestors as a whole. I empathize for those who aren’t here yet, and will continue to pray for the healing for all involved in sex crimes.

Same Morning, New Day

The alarm rings out from 5:45 until my fingers crawl to the snooze button.  By 6:15 God should be tired of my prayers for forgiveness for the prior hours spent in debauchery. Two boiled and peeled egg whites sit on a napkin in the microwave while I brush my teeth.  I scrape the remaining waterproof eyeliner from my lids or rinse speckles of glitter from my face.  I slide into a gym outfit, douse the egg whites in hot sauce and scoff them down as I hit the button for the elevator. After 45 minutes of obsessive body sculpting, I thank God for an amazing life.

This morning I felt the same, but it was a very different day.  Sprawled across a bed at the Millennium Hotel, I was awakened by the sun blaring in tandem with that day’s alarm. Though the margarita pitcher was not at arm’s reach, my brief daydream of tanning nude with a 6’8” 240lb Small Forward on South Beach seemed tangible.  Well, it did until the snoring of a 360lb Offensive Tackle beat out the second ringing of the clock radio.  I looked over, shook my head, and thanked God that my Goliath bedmate hadn’t tried anything freaky with me.

I had met the recently separated oversized jock on Miami’s Ocean Drive less than 10 days before. After we had discussed the opportunity for my public relations firm to represent him, he invited me to sit in on a meeting with his lawyer, Johnny Cochran, in New York City.  I had arrived in the city the night before and crashed with him downtown instead of my friend’s place in Harlem. It was closer to Mr. Cochran’s office and there was a gym.

On September 11, 2001, the alarm rang out at 5:45.  Scheduled to meet in less than four hours, I threw on my favorite blue sweats with the red stripes down the side.  The sweats were packed alongside my boiled eggs which I warmed in the water-filled coffee pot while I brushed and rinsed.  I checked the mirror before I left and I grabbed a matching jacket to cover my sports bra. This wasn’t Miami – some discretion had to be taken.

As I left, I grabbed my key card, bank card, driver’s license, and Nextel.  I figured everything else would manage without me for the short time during which I planned to be away.  I jumped in the elevator with a mouthful of egg whites and happily headed to the gym.

I still remember fighting with the drops of sweat running from my hairline as I glided through my last five minutes on the elliptical.  My fingertips were like windshield wipers keeping the mixture of sweat and hair gel out of my eyes.  Meanwhile, I had done so many squats that my butt cheeks were aching, and of course, I told God all about it in the elevator ride up to the 39th floor.  I don’t recall thinking much of what was in store at the meeting, but I was confident it would go as God had planned.

When I returned to the room, I realized my roommate had closed the blinds while I was away.  The considerate by desperate sun lover in me re-opened the shades just a bit. My laptop sighed with relief, as the breath of sun prompted the giant to roll over, uncovering and hence saving the HP from its near death experience. He had fallen asleep with it after he checked his email, or played Solitaire, or did something.  I pulled it off the bed and asked if it was okay to open the rest of the blinds.  He didn’t respond.  So, I slowly pulled all the blinds open to share the rays of sunlight that beautified the city.  By the time I began to coil the laptop’s power cable in the shape of an eight, he sat up and looked at me like I was crazy.

And then there was thunder.

The explosion briefly invoked a Miami daydream of being soaked by a midday thunderstorm. We then rushed to the floor-to-ceiling windows only to see paper, thousands of sheets of white paper, drift through the air.  The slow motion of the paper forced us to stand still in time. We stopped and watched it as it began to reach our eyelevel.  I was in absolute awe that the top of the building across the street had just exploded.

“You mean to tell me they’re having a ticker tape parade and JC ain’t let us know?”

The idiocy of this guy calling Johnny Cochran “JC,” coupled with his parade theory, made me think he had mush for brains. I only responded with fear in my eyes before I immediately began to pray for guidance.

“Please stay in your rooms, your safety will not be guaranteed outside. There is too much debris falling from the air.  I repeat, please stay in your rooms until further notice.”

I did not recognize the voice, but I knew it was not God’s.  I began to get my things together and planned to get my aching ass out of that hotel.  Meanwhile, we had turned the television on at some point.  As soon as it was reported that a plane had flown off course by accident, God clearly spoke to me. I heard, “Planes don’t hit the World Trade Center by accident.”

I have no idea what the Hulk did as I packed his jewelry for him. I was focused on my conversation with God. I asked that this be an easy task. “God, get us out of here quickly and safely with everything which we had entered with.”  That’s when God directed me to the buckets of red paint falling from the windows across the street.  I was confused by these buckets of paint.

My mind spun, “Why are pails of paint plunging from the building. Did the plane crash on to a floor being renovated? Were people using the bucket to break the windows?”

I guess the mush-for-brains syndrome was contagious, fully transferable into another innocent bystander.  All of a sudden, Mr. Not-So-Mushy-Brains alerted me of my idiocy.  The paint buckets were not pails of paint at all – they were people.

Dead people.

Burnt People.

People that must’ve endured the worst pain imagined.

Tears filled my eyes as quickly then as they do right now as I recount this realization.  My hands trembled I lost my ability to breathe easily.  I looked away from that particular window, and inadvertently looked towards another. That’s when I found myself standing a street’s width away from even more people.  But these people, who were forced to make the unfathomable decision to jump, were clearly diving to their deaths right before my eyes.  I sobbed as he pulled me away from the window after we silently witnessed several more tragedies.

Time flew beyond us and the last words he screamed in the room were, “Here comes another fucking plane!” I barely saw more than a slice of white before my strong, quick-thinking hero – my Super Man, literally carried me over the threshold to safety.

Needless to say, my morning ritual had not been broken this day and I believe it ended just as God had planned.  He guided me to safety with the most unlikely Moses.  Without diminishing the memory of those lost on September 11, 2001, I have to say that the best usually does come out of all of us in the worst situations. I am blessed to have survived that day. Thank you, Orlando ‘Zeus’ Brown – may your valiant soul experience life in God’s realm forever.53341996

Orlando “Zeus” Brown
December 12, 1970 – September 23, 2011

Janay Rice: She’s Not Stark Raven Mad

Two years and two months ago, I came back from the dead.  Yep, I escaped a certain hell on earth where my sweet, charming, ex-boyfriend served as the head adversary on duty.  I know it was hell because no one could see my agony or his brutality.  Thank God it wasn’t the real bottomless pit described in the Good Book; otherwise, I’d still be there.Faith Action Life Logo

He was the last to physically assault me in a succession of way too many.  Being abused as a toddler set the pace for me.  I was too young to know my options and too humiliated to consider them as I grew up.  Each predator I encountered detected my veiled dark mark of shame like they had a special decoder pen. The kid down the street, to the sweet-talking boxer, to the stylish sugar daddy, to the doting boyfriend, to the sexually-frustrated boss, and even the least expected – a person I considered a friend, had me all figured out.

No, I don’t believe they were part of some secret society who hunted abused women. But if there was a fraternity of frauds, they all could have taken the pledge.  Whether I was punched or raped, whether I fought back, surrendered, or escaped – I was ashamed.  I was embarrassed that I was a serial victim who was not only re-victimized by new assailants, but re-victimized by myself as well.

It’s easy to judge those embedded in abusive relationships as self-deprecating beings, desperate housewives, and the most absurd of all, greedy opportunists. But no one stays because abuse is better than loneliness.  No one stays because a bruised rib is better than a hug.  No one stays because black eyes are cured by money.  And, no one stays because the burden of being temporarily or permanently handicapped is worth the “chance of a lifetime.”

I, and every survivor of domestic violence I have met, stayed because we forgot about the power of God that lives within us.  We stayed because the devil and his team worked hard to isolate us, their captives, from the Truth. That’s right, the Fraud Squad made embarrassed and ashamed victims like me, lie to family, lie to friends, and lie to ourselves.

But what else can you do when you believe you’re lying to protect the ones you love, to protect yourself, to protect what little dignity you believe you have left?  NOTHING. There’s nothing else you can do besides start telling the truth.  But who do you tell?

In my case, I was not prepared to tell my family.  Hell, I had just come to grips with the fact that my dad might not kill his youngest brother for molesting me.  I was not prepared to tell the police either.  In the past, I had been naïve enough to believe the police would protect me.  This time I wasn’t so sure.

Instead I chose to tell my friends, his friends, my therapist, his therapist, the concierge in our building.  Hell, I told everyone who would listen to me. But, I told no one who would act for me. It sounds silly, but that was by design – I had to act for myself.  And when I was ready to believe in myself again, ready to reacquaint myself with the power of God within me, that’s when I packed my shit in a U-Haul and drove as far away from Hell as I could.

For me, it’s heartbreaking to see footage of a man assaulting anyone without warrant.  To see a man assaulting a woman, a mother, and a fiancée – a woman who cares for him and their child.  For me, it is all bloodcurdling.  It was my intent to reignite the Callie Chronicles with a celebration of life.  The irony: I planned to salute a former Baltimore Ravens player who helped to protect a woman’s life, not the recently banned player who helped to almost destroy one.

With Janay Rice, and billions of other abused women around the world in my heart, the last thing I want is to undermine solid attempts to forgive trespassers, let go, and move on.  But neither do I want to cosign the deliberate neglect of the safety and or well-being of themselves or their children. What I want is to raise awareness of the power of Self-Love, the power of Truth, and the power of God.  His power is within us all.  I reconnected with mine; and with this seed of faith in action, I truly believe that those in need will reconnect with theirs.

CALL: National Domestic Violence Hotline: (800) 799-SAFE (7233), TTY (800) 787-3224
(24hours/day, for referral to state and local programs)

Links:
Immediate Protection for Victims of Domestic Violence
http://www.theiacp.org/portals/0/pdfs/ProtectingVictimsOfDV.pdf

Immediate Protection for Victims of Sexual Assault (Children and Adults)
https://rainn.org/get-information/aftermath-of-sexual-assault/receiving-medical-attention

Shelters for Survivors of Domestic Violence in Miami,Florida
http://www.advocateprogram.com/domesticviolenceshelter.htm

Therapists for Survivors of Domestic Violence
http://www.thehotline.org/

Therapists for Survivors of Sexual Assault (Childhood & Adult)
http://therapists.psychologytoday.com/

Dancing with My Father: After I Told

To be clear, I had yet to tell my parents about the sexual abuse I suffered as a child before I started writing my memoir. I had wanted to tell them since college, but I still hadn’t found my big girl panties.  I felt they deserved to know why their baby girl became so distant from the family after graduating high school. Yet, my nerve recoiled quicker than a twelve-gauge shotgun every time I considered firing away.  Then, just last week- well past the last time I wore any panties at all, I simply picked up the phone and let it all out like morning sickness.

This wasn’t the first time I disclosed what had happened to me. I’ve told boyfriends. I’ve told girlfriends. I’ve told therapists. I’ve even told a few family members. But, I chose to tell those people for a reason. Neither my boyfriends, nor girlfriends, would dare tell my parents. My therapists couldn’t tell my parents. Hell, the few who could have told my parents, or even confronted my abuser, were raised in the same family of secrets as I. They weren’t about to tell my parents either.  But why was I scared to tell the most supportive people in my world?

Believe it or not, it was all about my rep. Yep, I was scared of ruining my reputation within my family: a favorite daughter, favorite granddaughter, favorite cousin, and favorite niece would possibly be no longer. However, my No time is Better than Now Moment hasn’t ruined anybody’s reputation -yet.  I tolerated the despicable behavior of my father’s brother without protest for decades, and I’m sure it won’t be long before one of my parents – namely Daddy- confronts my molester before I can. Should that occur, faithfully, it can only go as God plans.

On Father’s Day, I danced with my father to the tune of the same name by Luther Vandross and felt secure in knowing that my reputation will never be on the line when it comes to either of my parents. In the end, I know it will be my molester’s reputation on the line… his livelihood on the line.  There’s no more shame in my game… I’m giving it all to him, and he can play with it all by himself.

Quick Links

Healing From Sexual Abuse

Overcoming Sexual Abuse

Pandora’s Project