Monday, October 27, 2014

Rabbit Rabbit

  If you had asked me in early 2013, I would have said that my marriage had become difficult, my relationship to the person I had married was strained on good days. I knew this was the way of any long term pairing. I could reason my way around most anything. Even an abusive marriage. It's what I did best, making excuses for other people's actions at my own expense.

It's the echo of that little girl so long gone now, but ever present. The five year old who was a pedophile's favorite play thing.

  Sometimes, to survive, we bargain ourselves away. It is a hard habit to break.
In July of that year I was finally finished negotiating with my abuser. Harsh words lead to threats, threats to a physical attack. I was done. We were done, but I had to bide my time.

   Just as on every other occasion apologies were made. Attempts to keep me silent. I obeyed. I stayed still. Every trapped animal knows not to move when their predator has them cornered. I watched the clock, knowing he would be catching a flight in a few hours.......It's funny how survival instincts come back to you, just like being pushed off a bike, you learn how to fall so it hurts less. It took me one more day before I was brave enough to report it. I was trying to minimize things again. Trying to find a way to stay in the balance between reality and the fairy tale I had lulled my judgement, my dignity, to sleep with.

  The Deputy who came out was named Larson. I showed him the bruises on my arms and wrists. The ones that were a perfect map of what was done to me, in blues and reds and purples, some of my favorite colors. There was a bloom of vivid hues on my chest where I had been held down, a knee with weight behind it, on a stone floor. Deputy Larson agreed to take pictures, only after my son insisted. When I bared my shame, my humiliation his response was almost flippant  "Those don't look too bad" he remarked without emotion. I should have known then. I should have realized abuse here was tolerated. His questioning was odd. Did I think my husband was cheating, was he seeing someone? I did not care, that was the last thought in my mind.

   You see the artist, who left me a canvas study in realism, had promised to kill me, to kill my family and I believed him. I still do.

  I forced myself out of the house and filed for a Domestic Violence Restraining Order. I cried the entire time. I hated crying. However I could not stop the flow of tears and with them self blame. I had to enter and reenter information at a Domestic Violence kiosk near my home. I misspelled my name, my address...forgot my birth date. All I could think of was what he was going to do... When he found out I told, what was he going to do to me?

     It's not what you don't know that hurts you, it's the truth that leaves scares that burn.

  Somehow I thought that little paper Pierce County issued me was a shield. A safety net. I was such a child. By January he had broken the order multiple times. Deputies would be called out, but nothing was done. I was told if he was still there when they showed up they would arrest him. That would prove a lie. In September, that flimsy court order was no match for an angry estranged spouse and a sympathetic Deputy. I had been gone out of town for a few days. When I came home I discovered the garage door had been kicked in. I called 911. It took an hour or so, me sitting on the concrete block block steps, grown cold as the sun faded out. That time the Deputy was Kreis. He stepped out of his police vehicle already speaking. "I was just here the day before yesterday. Do you know why I was here?" I confessed I did not. He said my husband had called him out to the house. That he had wanted to file a report against me. That I had taken his things.

  I had my own question. I was shaking as I asked it. "Why didn't you arrest him? He broke the restraining order and you were right here." Deputy Kreis was unmoved. He stated that my estranged husband had said it was not in effect. He later said he didn't check to see if there still was one. He didn't want to discuss it with me. What Deputy Kreis did want to talk about was my divorce. He asked me "what it going to take to end this?" four times he asked. He stated that my estranged husband had told him "all about me." I stood in my driveway stunned. Silent.  Deputy Kreis was not done. Taking a step towards me,  he made air quotes with his fingers and said "Let me give you some "friendly Deputy advice", sign whatever you have to sign, get out of here and get on with your life."

  What is the proper response to such a statement? I stayed still. That night I made an online report of the incident, not for the first time.  Sargent Batista called in response.

  He promised to talk to Deputy Kreis. He assured me there was no reason to make a written reprimand in Deputy Kreis's file. He would not need to talk with my Step Father who had witnessed the conversation. Actually, that was about the gist of his phone call. It was not about the continuing escalation of my abuser's actions, or any plans to keep me safe. No, it was all about helping his own officer.  In the weeks since, there have been more incidents, my mother has been threatened and things stolen from her property. There is no need to point a finger in these things. My estranged husband readily admitted he did it. Yet he is free and I am still trapped.

   I would discover the man I married had a history of assaulting others. A history of arrests. A history of being in possession of guns despite being banned from them. He had been a member of two local gun ranges. He spoke before Kitsap County Counsel to support Kitsap Rifle and Revolver Club. I cannot wrap my mind around that one. When questioned by Pierce County Deputies, in the Summer of 2013, he stated the weapons belonged to me. They did not. In fact they were held in the name of his friend, a gun dealer who sold them to him. Ironically the very man who introduced us, on the gun range in Gig Harbor.  Now, in his latest filings with Pierce County Superior court, my abuser states the weapons are his personal property, that they always were and he seeks them back in the divorce.

  It doesn't matter what he does. He has become emboldened and I am hunted, haunted, tormented with no end in sight. That this is happening here....HERE unfathomable.  For all the fine talk, nothing has changed. I was at the Crystal Judson Justice Center today and I had to ask...."What happens to the others like me?"  What happens when no one will help. When Pierce County Sheriff's Department not only refuses to uphold retraining orders, but actively inserts themselves in domestic violence cases on the behalf of the abuser?

  I am afraid to leave my home. Afraid to be outside. I am fearful when I see a patrol car. Fearful of people. I trust no one. How can I.

I cannot be the only one.

  Where do we turn? Well, for me, I turn to you. Please, pass my words on...remember those that came before and those that will come after and let there be a clear message "This is not okay."

 I send you love, strength and hope, never forget hope. I've no idea what to do, but I am not going to cower. I have overcome too much. This will not be the thing that ends me. I pray, I am not prey. I will not be silent, I will not be still and I will not give up. I will slip the snare.
An Update
I went to the Crystal Judson Justice Center and spoke with an advocate, she was kind and understanding and seemed incensed at the way I had been treat. She walked over to the Prosecutor's side of the building and spoke with someone. She said she would find out why nothing had been done, why charges weren't filed. When she came back she was just as earnest, but not as passionate. She numbered off the list of reasons that the prosecutor chose not pursue the matter. Firstly, she explained they never got the pictures. The ones Deputy Larson had to be prodded to take. Secondly, she said I waited three days to report the incident. I did not interrupt her, I just sunk further into despair as I didn't matter, what happened to me was never going to matter. I did not bother to correct her. You see, I reported the assault the morning after it happened, correcting her was pointless. I have gotten used to this by now. Then she gave me a third reason, the one that carried real weight. I was in the middle of a contentious divorce and they had not moved forward. 
 Actually, it was 2 days before that and one day after I said I wanted a divorce, he was several states away. When I felt safe. I just left. They weren't going to help me. He had been so determined to file first. I didn't care. I had made an appointment with an attorney, but that was a week away. I really didn't realize that it mattered who filed first. How wrong I was. By not filing the paperwork myself, something he did, I set myself up as the villain. A scorned wife. Here we are in 2014, in a no fault state, and if the male files first the female is automatically not to be believed. How 1950's, stereotypical. I am many things, however typical is not on that list. I am a person. I have the same right to not be hit, not be harassed as anyone else and I have the same right to justice and safety. I have never been in trouble with the law, my last speeding ticket was in 2004 for 3 miles over the speed limit. I am private and don't make friends easily. I am guarded. That doesn't make me less than. The fact that in this county a man can still get away with this is nauseating. The things that Pierce County Sheriff's Deputies feel it is appropriate to say to potential victims, whether they personally believe then are not is appalling. Nothing has changed. Nothing. When this man abuses his next victim, and I am sure he will, Pierce County will hold a bit of responsibility. They have sent a clear message and a road map on how to get away with domestic violence. The CJJC says there is nothing they can do for me and they have no idea what I can do. It is devastating. The prosecutor never spoke to me on this matter, never asked for pictures, never even gave me a reason as to why charges would not be filed. I wonder why weapons charges haven't been dealt with. On this last day of Domestic Violence Awareness and while gun control is on the ballots I sincerely want to know why the laws we already have set in place to prosecute violators are not informed. Kitsap Rifle And Revolver Club has my estranged husband signed in as a shooter in there log books. They have him recorded firing on their range. Recordings they have been required to keep. He was listed as a member of that range and on February 13th 2010th (I will check that date) they have footage of him illegally buying a shot gun from a duped retired police officer. A deal that was struck with that same gun broker who supplied his other weapons. It will be on those recorded tapes. Taken on the rifle range on one of the 4th or 5th range, if I remember correctly. I remember it because I am so...shocked panicked that someone who was banned from being around weapons would knowingly do such a thing. It is still the good old boys club and they stick together. Laws are what they use to intimidate those who don't silently scamper away, not for those that they favor. 

Thursday, February 13, 2014


The Smallest Bird is 

While the others vied for power
Sloth could not be bothered. 
He refused to grow in stature, 
instead he honed his energy on
escaping the carrion's glower. 

In fact so tiny was his
and so easily 
was he missed 

he neither flew on 
his own wing 
 hunted his own grist.


He kept himself perfectly still 

until the watcher's eye grew

then slowly ever so 

he would latch onto 
bird and 
ride as if a lord. 

He was a trickster of 
another sort

 using no slight 
of hand 

It was by doing 
the very least 

that he took grew to take 

The toll of this 
was very high
and of course it
 brought him 

He had no choice 
as to what he ate
nor where he chose
 to go


Too weak to hold 
himself aloft 

he was sure to 
someday tumble. 

His body was too 

his achievements


Monday, February 3, 2014

Philip Seymour Hoffman Has Died

   Philip Seymour Hoffman has died. We have all lost more than can be put into words. He was quietly, elegantly, perfect at his craft. So much so, that we forgot it was an act, a character and not the man himself. I first saw his brilliance as Freddie Miles, in The Talented Mr. Ripley and he made the movie.  I can see him so clearly all these years later, understated, powerful, dressing down Matt Damon with a glance and a few careful words. There was something in his presence, he was more aware then the others. You would lean in to hear him speak. He had a way of delivering a line that let you know he knew things, secrets, the names of the demons that plague us all.

   As with any great gift comes equal parts sorrow. All genius must be fed on suffering, and Mr. Hoffman was not spared. You need never have had to see an interview he sat for, or talked to him in person, it was written in the set of his face. It was in his eyes when he played the role of the questionable Father Brendan Flynn, in Doubt. He had  easily access to a reservoir of pain to draw upon. And he drank it in huge gulps, so that we could all believe in whatever story he was telling us at the time.

  Philip Seymour Hoffman has died. He cannot be revived or replaced. He has left us, abandoned, alone. His talent came at a high price, too high. Do not allow anyone to drag his name or reputation low because of the circumstances of his passing. Mr. Hoffman knew the names of so many demons because he lived with them. We only caught a flash, a small glint of their shadows, however he faced them straight on and they set their teeth upon him, one needle prick at a time. Their jaws became unhinged to take in more of him and leaving him less. Emptied at last.

  For those who cannot find mercy, stop looking for fault. It is no treasure, and it buys nothing of value. No one has lost more, or suffered as much, as Mr. Hoffman himself.  Please see it for what it was, this was a theft. He lost all of his tomorrows, his hope, everything that he could have been and done. Gone.

  Philip Seymour Hoffman has died, and with him, so has his demons. It was a brutal and valiant battle, in the end it was a draw. They took his life and he took his leave.


Saturday, November 23, 2013



  The birds were seven in number.

A flock of black ink blotting out the light.

  First was always Envy, an evil little beast. Surveying all with cold dead eyes.
Measuring out who had what, and more importantly how she intended to take it.
 Her days were spent on memories of what she had been made to live without.
Having been neither graced with beauty, nor any other great talent to set her apart
She had settled on becoming the very best at being the very worst.

  A younger bird might have cawed at the unfairness of the world. Crying out
for someone, anyone to right the accounts.

  But not Envy.

  Envy is it's own bookkeeper. She is a ledger maker, with a withered heart. Thrusting her head first
one direction and then another. Endlessly scheming on what to embezzle.
What must she have? Envy will swoop into your window the crown of friendship on her
craven head. Beware her attachment to you will become obsessive. Plying to win your adoration.
Be careful, be quick. If you must find a place at your hearth for Envy, place her in the liar's chair.
It is the only honest thing to be done.

   She will claw at your back while she curries favor with your love.
  Hoarding your belongings, let her go.
Nothing she can take from you, is worth mourning over.
No matter what bauble she gathers, it will never be enough.
She sits in her nest crowing her victories.
The things she has stolen. The hurt she has caused.
The power she wields in the expanse of her wing.

Envy is a hateful, foolish creature.

 A cousin to jealousy though her robes are colored carbon, not emerald.
She is ever her first victim. With each sin committed, age falters.
Feathers scattered in the wind. They fall from her molted form.
Leaving patches of bald, pinkish, puckered flesh.
Bleeding wounds where once there had been ebony plumage.

Envy is a liar, a thief, a petty discount version of what she was meant to be.
She is a promise lost. So intent was she on keeping others from the
air, she forgot that she too could have flown free.
Envy believes herself clever, she is not. She is merely a wicked
being whose soul has been lost.

 The first bird to fall is always Envy. She has not the heart, nor the strength
to survive on her own. Having spent her days in thievery and vice she has
no reserves of hope nor love. Weep for her as she lifts from her throne of
lies. See her off one last time. Close up your house and your heart.

Envy is death on pinion spread out to cast shadows on the living.
She has no power unless you allow her yours.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

You Will Never Pee Alone

   I spent the last afternoon and evening doing one of my favorite things. I am a voracious reader.  So
   when a blogger/author/unicorn lover/ Queen of all things sporky started posting about a book that she had contributed in writing, I knew I would have to investigate this. The name alone is a testament to Parenthood. "I Just Want to Pee Alone" I think every parent has dreamed of the sheer bliss of being able to close the bathroom door and let nature take it course naturally. Alone, without a chorus of "MOM, MOM, MOMMY, MAMA." But just like that old axiom "If you want your dinner to be served quicker in a restaurant, go to the bathroom" there is "If you want to spend some, not so quality time with your entire brood, head for the Toto." I volunteered to read it and let you know what I honestly thought.

  So, I settled down fully preparing to enjoy a stroll down memory lane. I am in that sweet spot where my children are all adults. Living and loving and working all on their own. I still see them on the regular, but now when they visit, they usually don't barge in the bathroom, usually. When I started reading though I got far more than that. This book is more than you'd think. This is not just some quickly thrown together group of stories about the trials of parenthood. No, this has real tips you need to get through life. Like the need to take your own wet naps when burying your mother...oh, and a small scoop too. Trust me and rubber gloves and maybe a poncho.

  Also, do not, no matter how excited you are to meet Patti, from Insane In The not kiss her on the mouth. Or share a beverage with her. I do not care if she gargles first with hand sanitizer the answer is no.  Get your own damn glass....I will not tell you her shame...lets just say it involves baby poop and her mouth. Enough said. Moving on.

   It would be so easy to say that this is a mommy bloggers, funny book. It is and it is raw and real. There are so many bare naked truths shared. So much honesty about the ugly side of parenting. The one that they do not tell you about. Even if they had told you, you would not have listened. You never know more about parenting your children than when they are still pretend children who are shiny and perfect and don't spew biohazards at you.

  There are many things in this world that are hard. Waking up at 6:30, smearing hello kitty make up on your face and using baby oil to slide into your wet blue jeans before the bus comes on the first day of high school is hard....Being the designated driver on ladies night with dollar well drinks and cute guys trying to liquor you up, is hard. Not killing your husband for making "that time of the month" jokes. Still being attracted to him after he dutch ovens you...also hard. But listen up buttercup it is nothing and I mean nothing compared to being a snot rag, vomit catcher, poop licker baby breeder. There is practical useful advice here and war stories. Learn from their battles, because there will be blood. There will be tears and sickness and sleepless nights.

  And if that little bundle of bio waste is not what you expected. If in this world of perfectly formed beings, yours is not, well then it gets real. Ask these women. There is nothing so harrowing as fighting for your child just to create something like a normal life.  So, when these talented loving, brave writers let you see behind the curtain, please take the time. It is well worth the price of admission to the madness of mothering. These women share their hurts, faults and fears, and in doing so they honor us. They are revealing their foibles and failings. Also, they are really saying that we are not alone. We all struggle with loving parenthood. No matter what you have read or how you have scheduled and organized parenting in advance, you will fail. Accept that going in and you and your young will be the better for it.

   Nobody asked me but I will tell you are never going to be able to pee by yourself. There I told you. First it will be your children, then your spouse and later, your grandchildren. yes...just let that sit there and ruminate. You will have grandchildren. Try not to laugh at your children when they come in after a long night of no sleep, smelling like week old kitty litter and looking even worse. Hand them this book, it will still be relevant. Good writing is ageless.

                                  I Just Want To Pee Alone

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Words that Wound

  I remember the first time I ever noticed that some children were born differently. I was at a new school and I was filled with both wonder and fear. Not just about a new school, or other children. Everything scared me. Having lived a life of virtual solitude the stimulus of it all overwhelmed me. I was a quiet child, watching everything. Measuring the threat level of everywhere I went. So, when we were led down into the basement of, what to me was a giant, dark tomb of a building, I was already fearful. I noticed them almost immediately. They were at the other end of the long, low space. Someones brilliant idea of the perfect place to unleash children in the winter months. In my mind it was very dark, which I am sure added to my perception of these new creatures. No matter how dim it was, it could not hide the fact that they were different. I remember one day edging closer...they were always kept away from us and I did not know why. There was one boy, with a red padded helmet and as I watched transfixed, he stood very close to the concrete wall and banged his head on the flat cold surface. I ran to my teacher, filled with confusion and afraid for this other child. I pointed him out and begged her to help him. She waved me off dismissively and said that he was retarded.

  I tried to ask her what that meant. She was done with me. She told me to stay at my own end of the play area (that is what they called it) and to go play or sit with my back to the wall in the corner. She stared me down, waiting for me to decide my own fate. It took a long time for me to ask my mother. She was not one to take questioning well. She would rather we were still. It was the school's role to educate us. Finely I did ask and she to her own credit, explained that this meant that these children had had some part of their development retarded and something in her words, I truthfully do not remember them in detail, that made me think they were doomed. Or somehow broken or less than. But she did say, that I was not to use that word. And with that I had my full education of children with special needs.

  I remember that they kept them in a separate part of the school. They ate before us, so we did not share the cafeteria with them. I once was sent to pass a note from the office to one of their teachers. I had never been down that part of the school. Where our hallways were decorated with craft paper turkeys and colorful paper plates painted with happy scenes, here they were bare. I could hear them before I ever opened the door. It was all strange noises. That filled me with even more fear. Guttural outbursts and loud voices I could not understand. I tried to look down and not stare at them and give the little yellow paper to the stern teacher and then as the door closed behind me, I ran. We were not allowed to run in the hallways and I was always one to follow the rules. But, not that time. I ran for the safety of happy pictures of happy children and the quiet comfort of a classroom mored in controlled discipline.

  I never thought much of those children again. My life was full of so many of my own challenges. It would not be until I had my own children and volunteered in their schools that would I find out the bittersweet joy of actually knowing a special needs child. Her name was Kara. She was in a special little wheelchair that had a little cushion to support her head. I would read to the children. That was my special talent. I loved to teach them words and introduce them to the magic that lived in books. Every Wednesday I sat down with the children one on one and helped them understand how a string of letters became something more. I had seen Kara, I had smiled at her and held eye contact. My son seemed to love her. It was while sitting with her and silently puzzling in my head how to help teach this child. I had no idea what she knew or could do. She was a clever little minx. She smiled and laughed and understood my words. She may not be able to speak clearly, but she had no trouble absorbing the lessons.

  She became one of my favorites. She seemed always to be smiling. I did not know, when I sat down with her that first time, remembering the only experiences I had ever had with such a child, that she would be the one to teach me. She was not interested in limits that others had set for her. She could not run or even stand, but she was far freer than so many adults. There came a day when I would be called into the office. My son, who was a middle child and very much a loving soul, had gotten into a fight. Through telling and retelling the events of the day it was reported that one of my son's favorite things was being chosen to help Kara navigate around at recess. Times had changed greatly from when I was a child. And it was while doing this that some other child had used the "R" word. I had never talked to my children about it's use. I think their teachers must have taught them. I had not thought of that word or it's loaded meaning for a child's lifetime. My son had first stood up for Kara and then there was pushing, which of course is how we all landed there in that room discussing it.

  I had taught my son to keep his hands on his own body and it was not like him to be physical. I remember that he got off with a warning and that I told him that it was not okay to push people and he answered me with a child's simple truth. "It is not okay to call Kara that. She is not retarded. She is my friend." We would as a family have the opportunities to get to know and love many children of different levels of special needs. They have enriched all of our lives. There are words that are so egregious, so harmful that they should not be uttered. Surely, when this particular word was first used to describe a set of challenges a child may be born with, I would like to think it was not meant to be offensive. However, like so many other seemingly benign labels that have come to mean something far different than their origins, this word has come to mean less than, not worthy, stupid and a slew of other evil connotations which should never be said to or about anyone. Most especially not the sweet spirited souls who every day live beyond limits that their bodies and minds may try to set for them. I have a deep love and respect for both these children and their strong, brave parents. Who, not only have to deal with the day to day demands of bodies that do not move on their own, or children who will never say " I love you mama, daddy" and my hear breaks for them. I hold them in the highest esteem for the daily trials that we will never fully understand. We cannot. I can relate to a harried mother who's two year old will not eat his food or take his nap. That I understand.  But that mother or father who will never know the joy of a day with no accidents. Or the promise of all of those special dreams we hold out for our children. Little league and training wheels, first dates and proms. They let go of many of these dreams that die ever so slowly when faced with this worlds realities.

 I think of all these things and I am overcome. I cannot for the life of me grasp the depth of strength of pure will power to deal with this jaded world that would think it appropriate to use such language. I would not make it through the stares and rude comments, there is no way I would stay out of jail if someone dared to use such a diminishing hateful word in front of my child or myself. We all carry our challenges, our own special needs. Most of us can hide them. We are all broken and we all suffer. Ladling out pain to others will never lessen our own. Ignorance is no excuse for throwing out hate. In case you have not been told, incase you did not know... it is never okay to call anyone, in any context "retarded".  Remember that words have power. And you are a compilation of your thoughts, deeds and words. The next time you see a parent out and about, trying to have a normal life just running errands with a child who may never walk or talk or sing, show compassion. Give them a smile, a kind word a place ahead of you in line. Send up words of prayer for them and their family. You may not even realize the harm you inflict with a side glance and a grimace or a downward stare. These are tiny paper cuts. But using the "r" word is purely hateful and for that you have no excuse. When given the choice be kind. Life is hard enough, do not add to another's burden.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Power of Words

                                                         The Power of Words
  Today I am thinking on limits. We all have them. What is acceptable and what is not. It starts as children. The lines and boundaries that give society it's structure. There are rites and rituals set up surely for our own good. It is never about control, not really. But it becomes a slippery slope when I don't believe in your lifestyle and you don't believe in my faith. I don't approve of this and you do not like that. When did it become this way? When did we each come to believe that whatever we thought was right and anything else was wrong? Why are we so set on our course that we not only will not alter it, we will allow no one else to express an opposing view.  Why have we become so myopic that we can no longer see any other way of thinking to be anything but an attack on our very wellbeing.

  Gone is any attempt at polite discourse. I have watched as friends tear long strips of mental flesh from each other over politics or religion, relationships or parenting. Why? Why are we so intolerant? So angry? I have been there. I have been that narrow minded, foolish person who felt somehow challenged or disrespected if my voice was not the only one heard. I was wrong. I believed mine way was the only way. It was all about walls and angry words. A kind of release of that slow boiling rage that was always with me. I would jump into any discussion and proclaim to be the holder of the only truth. One is never as foolish as when they are declaring someone else wrong.

  Oh, and the heady feeling of sticking a sharp steel blade between the ribs of another's well laid argument. The pure unmitigated joy of harming another with my best weapon, my words. The telling and retelling of battles fought over faux positions. As if this made me more. Somehow better. I was a clanging woeful creature who allowed my beast run free. As if my wit and humor at another's expense was a valid occupation. I had become the rat. I am ashamed, as I sit here going over so many horridly placed words. I remember far too many of them and I live in the hope that those I harmed have forgotten them. Not because I wish redemption, although I do. No, but for there own  piece of mind. My words had no value. They were unworthy of other's thought. As much as I am sorry, and I most assuredly am, I am thankful. Thankful for learning the lesson of weighting one's words carefully. I rarely bring God into my words here. Not because I have no faith, but because I do not wish to force my belief on others. But, I am going to now. The Bible says that God spoke us into existence. If you take nothing further from that book, take this; words have power.  Edward Bulwer-Lytton wrote it true when he stated "The pen is mightier than the sword".  And so it is. Be careful. Learn from my mistakes. It is so easy to wound and so hard to heal. Ladling out pain will not lessen your own. 

  It took me a long time to see my own flaws. I was so prickly and harsh. I saw conflict everywhere. I had the need to show that I was strong. To be so tough that no one would or could hurt me. What a terrible place it was. The one that fear and mistrust create. Filled with dark tunnels of misunderstandings and miserable, lonely caves of my own making. I built my own prison and locked myself away. I was scared and alone and I could do nothing to change my fate. Or so I thought. I had turned my life over, willingly too. It was a self fulfilling prophesy of solitary confinement. I pushed people away and was surprised when they stayed away. I would venture out now and again and inevitably get my feelings hurt by some little slight and that would be excuse enough for me to retreat further into myself.

  It occurs to me that many people who are constantly angry are not so far from who I was. There are always reasons. Someone had done something and it had caused us to become something other than we were indented to be. If you choose to be unhappy, you will be. That is the power you hold in your own life. I know it sounds overly simplistic. I have been there. So stuck in my own shadows, counting out all the things that were wrong that I completely missed what was right. I have with a sense of glee looked for what was wrong. As if it was some special gift to find fault in everything around me. I was becoming bitter and entirely too familiar with my inner bitch.

  The more I wrote, the more people reached out to me. The more people reached out the more I listened to other's stories. I began to realize, we all hurt. We will all feel pain and be treated unfairly. It is universal. What we choose to do with that experience makes us who we will ultimately be in this world and how happy we will be. I would much rather be remembered for my kindness than for my ability to harm others. To be thought of as kind, I would have to be kind. It is an art. It takes no great skill to harm another, however it takes the greatest of one's abilities to help someone mend their broken lives. They must do the real work, but we, you and I can give them encouragement. We can aid them in changing their world and there by changing ours. What a wonderful goal. I may not reach all the people I would like. I may be mocked for my Pollyanna ways. And that is fine. It bothers me not one bit. I would rather walk alone in the sun then travel in a pack filled with darkness.