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Prince Saved My Life

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Prince Rogers Nelson, that purple-loving pint-sized bundle of musical virtuosity, died today. As with the rest of the world I mourn his passing. His music was the soundtrack to my first year of college. My college friend, Amy, and I would sit in my room at our small Southern liberal arts women’s college listening to his albums over and over and over – dapurplerain_124pyxurzncing and singing and feeling ever so naughty (have you ever READ some of his lyrics? Sex. Sex. Sex.) Together, she and I must have seen his movie Purple Rain about 20 times in the theatre. Amy even had her hair cut in that curly asymmetrical style he rocked in the movie. I practically lived in a black cape, like the one his love interest in the film wore. For two girls who felt out-of-place in that small Southern town, he gave us some weird sort of strength. Well, at least for me there was a reason for the strength he gave me.

You see, a few weeks before I left for college and met Amy, Prince indirectly saved my life.

As I have written before, in my senior year of high school I was in a terrible, horrible, emotionally abusive relationship. He kept me under his thumb by making threats as to what he would do to himself if I ever left. And because of some odd sense of responsibility for his well-being, I put up with it all and I stayed. I felt so small. So helpless. So powerless. But, that’s how those kinds of relationships work, isn’t it? There is always one with all the power and one with none.

But, despite all the emotional turmoil he put me through on a daily basis, he hadn’t hit me. That’s what I told myself on a daily basis to justify his behavior. It could be worse. He could have hit me.

In late July 1984, just a few short weeks before I was to leave for college, Purple Rain hit the theaters. Opening weekend, the abusive jerk and I went to see it (I had to pay because, well, I had to pay for everything because the idiot couldn’t hold a job, but I digress). He didn’t want to go, but I somehow convinced him, and as long as I was paying, he grudgingly agreed.  I loved the movie. Oh, sure, the acting isn’t the best. And the story is weak. But, the music. THE MUSIC! Amazing. BTW – the abusive jerk hated it. Quelle suprise.

About half way through the movie, there is a scene when “The Kid” (Prince himself) slaps his girlfriend, Apollonia, to the ground.

A shock ran through me. I had an epiphany. Right there, in the middle of the movie, I turned to my abuser and said, “If you ever hit me, even once, I will leave you. I promise I will.” Of course, he said he wouldn’t. And a small part of me wanted to believe him. Really. I did.

It wasn’t long – a week maybe – until he backhanded me, sent me backwards into a bathtub where I whacked the back of my head, and passed out for a moment. When my vision cleared, I climbed out of the tub, gathered my things, and walked out the door. Never to look back again.

You see, I made a promise – to myself and to him – that I would never let that happen. So, I left.

Even now, thirty-two years later, I am positive that if I had not made that promise and if I had not walked out, I probably would have died in that relationship.

I am still not sure what gave me the courage to look at my abuser in the middle of that movie and draw my line in the sand, but I did.

Maybe I was caught up in the music.

So, thank you, Prince. Thank you for the music. Thank you for the memories. But, most of all, thank you for saving my life.

Rest in peace, our sweet Prince. See you in that world of never ending happiness – the after world.

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You Can’t Take That Away From Me

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 We were robbed.

I mean that in the literal sense. Not in the idiomatic “We were robbed” after one’s favorite team has lost (yes, FSU, I’m talking to you).

I mean our home, Happy Monkey Land itself, was broken into, searched, and had things removed from it. Someone we do not know smashed a window, crawled through, slinked through our safe haven, rifled through our drawers, and took our THINGS.

I know we were lucky.

We could have been home. But, we weren’t. We were at our respective schools.

We could have walked in on the offender. But, we didn’t. We came home to discover the broken carport door window, well after the event.

We could have walked in to find everything we own had been loaded into a truck and carried away. But, we didn’t. We are missing only the electronics the offender could load into the backpack he found in my room and carry out with him.

The Wii, the games, the girl child’s DS, my camera, and yes – even my laptop – can all be replaced. The THINGS can be replaced. But, yet, I mourn.

I mourn that someone, some criminal, touched my things. I am tempted to burn all the panties that had been in my top drawer, but were carelessly tossed to the floor, all because he touched them whilst looking for hidden gems. (Thank you, Mr. Burglar, for leaving my vintage silver jewelry collection)

I mourn the pictures “saved” in my laptop. Pictures of our past two and a half years. Pictures of birthdays and special events and field trips. Pictures of our vacation this summer to Washington and New York. Pictures from the vacation my former love and I took with our children. That amazing week on the beach. Not that I looked at those images from that summer. I didn’t. Why dwell? Those pictures were tucked away in their own little folder, but they were there. Visual proof of what we once were to each other. And while I no longer mourn the loss of the relationship, the fact that I no longer have that proof, that data, that EVIDENCE, has hit me harder than I ever could have imagined. It is as if it never happened. I have lost them all over again.

But, mostly, I mourn the loss of The Monkeys’ sense of security in their home.

The Girl Child didn’t want to sleep in her own room last night because the offender was in there. He took her DS from off her bed. She made sure I not only reported the DS as being gone, but also its Hello Kitty case. She counted all her American Girl dolls and has proclaimed them all present and accounted for. She wants to inventory the “buddies” on her bed, just in case some rogue stuffed-animal-thief comes and takes THEM, she’ll know what is missing. You, my dear baby girl, know what is important in life.

The Middle Monkey is quieter than usual, none of the trademark arguing with his sister. He quickly ran upstairs to count his books, and check to see if the Kindle and HIS DS were there (everything was, the boys’ rooms were unscathed). He will randomly come up to me and hug me and say, “I hate burglars.” It’s happened about 10 times since yesterday. I understand, baby. Really, I do. So do I.

Monkey #1 has taken it upon himself to be The Man of the House. He has been updating me on the value of all the missing items, especially the missing games, “so we get the right amount back.” He allowed his little sister to sleep on his futon last night, even though what he really wanted was to be left alone. When I came out of my room this morning to let the dogs out, he was standing in his doorway, holding the dowel that keeps his window shut, standing guard. “Just let anyone try to come in.” He has spent the day with his Nerf gun always by his side, threatening to “shoot in the brain anyone who tries to hurt my brother or sister.” My sweet little man. Excuse me. My sweet almost-full-grown-man-who-shouldn’t-have-to-feel-the-weight-of-the-world-on-his-very-narrow-shoulders.

We all took the day off from school today, The Monkeys and I. A day to clean-up and call insurance and make lists of missing items. But, most importantly, a day to heal and cuddle and to try feel comfortable in our own skins again. A day to reclaim Happy Monkey Land as our own.

So, Mr. Burglar, you may have broken our door. You may have taken our things. You may have pawned them for a quick buck. But, Mr. Burglar, you will NEVER take our love for one another. For, you see, we are the Mighty Monkeys of Happy Monkey Land, and no matter what happens to us, no matter what is taken, we will ALWAYS have each other.

No, no. You CAN’T take that away from us.

Not now.

Not ever.

Absolution


I harbored the pain
Inside my heart
Allowing it to grow –
to fester –
Until it consumed my soul.
Unwilling to permit it to ebb
Forcing it to flow once again
Until it drowned my thoughts.

Releasing the pain meant –
Releasing you,
Releasing us,
Releasing what we were,
Releasing what we were to be.

Releasing my pain meant –
Releasing you,
Releasing your guilt,
For what we never would be again.

My pain –
Your guilt –
Became our life line
Keeping us tethered
Unable to rejoin the past,
Yet
Unable to move forward.

Only in allowing the pain to ebb –
Only in severing the bond –
Only in releasing you –
Can true healing come.

So-
I offer you forgiveness
For my pain.
I offer you freedom
From our ties.
I offer you absolution
From your guilt.
And the peace that can only come
From
Release.

Just Turn Around and Walk Away

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Tell us about a time you did a 180 — changed your views on something, reversed a decision, or acted in a way you ordinarily don’t.

via Daily Prompt: 180 Degrees.

Isn’t it funny how the faceless word of blogging can give you the courage to reveal things that you haven’t told many people in your life?  This is one of those things.

My senior year of high school, I dated a very very bad man.  He was controlling, even taking a job at the same place I was working so he could keep an eye on me.  For just about the whole time he and I were “together,” he was also “going with” another girl.  A freshman.  And of course, all of her friends took it out on me.  At the same time, he was already planning my entire future.  He was emotionally abusive, threatening to kill himself if I ever left him.

It was the worst time of my life.

Yet, for some reason, I didn’t “break-up” with him.  I loved him.  Or what I perceived was love in my 17 year-old brain.  And I was terrified of what he could do.  I believed all his threats to his own safety.

He was threatened by my going away to college.  As the time drew closer, he grew increasingly more controlling.  He frequently would tell me that he would not allow me to go.  I began to be worried for my safety.  But, I told him that of course we would stay together.  That I’d be home for breaks.  That he could visit me.  That we could make it work.

Then came the day of my 180 turn.

The day I knew I had to get out of the relationship.

Four days before I was to leave for college.

The day he attempted to slit his wrists – in front of me – as an attempt to get me to stay.

The day, when as I was trying to stop him from doing it, he shoved me and I fell backwards and knocked my head on the edge of the tub and blacked out for a moment.

The day I looked at him and told him he would never see me again.

The day I took control of things.

The day I turned around and walked away.

The day that potentially saved my life.

The day I have held close inside and have shared with very few.

Today I share it with you.

The Present, Part Deux

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When your past

Is still your present

How do you see the future?

 

When your past

Is still your present

How do you enjoy what is yet to come?

 

When your past

Is still your present

How do you let it all go?

 

When your past

Is still your present

How do you open up to what is to be?

 

How do you put it all behind you?

How do you begin to heal?

 

When your past

Is still your present

How do you learn to love again?

The Present

A Plot of Earth


Daily Prompt: A Plot of Earth

You’re given a plot of land and have the financial resources to do what you please. What’s the plan?

Daily Prompt: A Plot of Earth.

My own little corner of the world

“In my own little corner in my own little chair I can be whatever I want to be.
On the wings of my fancy I can fly anywhere and the world will open its arms to me.”

Such an interesting question.  The logical, Spockish, part of my brain is thinking, “I am missing a much-needed variable.  You have not indicated how much land I have been given or where this land is located.  Highly illogical.”  It could be a 1×1 foot plot, or it could be several miles squared.  Not having been given any other parameters, I will just let my mind envision my ideal space.

I was born and raised in South Florida.  I have watched land being purchased and built upon until there is very little resemblance to the landscape that originally brought people to the area.  Sand dunes were leveled out so that condos could rise like sentries guarding against the beauty of the ocean.  Blocking out all but the tiniest glimpses to all but those wealthy enough to “deserve” the location.

This summer my former love and I took a combined family vacation.  His two kiddos and my three monkeys.  A lovely condo, right on the beach.  On one of our outings, we drove to the Canaveral National Seashore.  In all my years living in Florida, I had never been.  It was like driving back in time.  Nothing but miles and miles of original Florida landscape.  I was moved to tears.   My senses were bombarded.  It was amazing, and just what my psyche had been demanding.

It may seem I have veered away from my original question, but trust me – I’m geting to it!  Be patient!

If I were given a plot of land, I would want it to be beach-front property, somewhere on the Atlantic coast of Florida.  But, the kicker is, I would want it to be untouched.  And I would leave it that way.  Call it a natural sanctuary.  Not just for the native flora and fauna, but for us lowly humans as well.  A place for soul-searching and soul-cleansing.  A place where I could BREATHE.  I would not be selfish, I would share.  BUT, I would limit the number of people each day.  After all, this isn’t about a place just to frolic at the beach.   It is to be a meditative place.

The one human element I would add, however, is a BATHROOM!  With a SHOWER!  Near enough that I don’t have to hike to get to it when the need arises.   I don’t care how much it costs, but I think having a civilized bathroom near the beach is a necessity.

Welcome to my own little corner of the world.

Scars are inevitable – but they can fade if we know how to properly treat them.

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About five weeks ago, during dismissal at school,  I fell and badly skinned my knee.  Just stepped off the curb, and BAM! right down on my knee!  When it happened I immediately thought, “DAMN! That’s gonna leave one nasty scar!”  It took FOREVER for it to heal.  Just as I thought it was looking better, it would look ugly again.  I was right, it is a nasty scar.  And since it is on my knee, it is a DAILY visual reminder of the fall.  When others see it (which is quite easy to do) I hear, “What did you do to your knee?  Is that from the fall?  It looks so bad!”  I must hear it 10 times a day – and I have to recount the story again and again.  Oh sure, there are things I could do to make it fade.  Vitamin E Oil, Mederma, Time.  But I’d much prefer a QUICK FIX so I don’t have to be reminded of it.

In contrast,  about six years ago I had a mole removed from my lower back.  No biggie, I’d had them removed before.  But, the biopsy came back as pre-cancerous and the borders weren’t clear.  So, more had to be removed.  A year later, I go in for my check up and the doctor find it has re-pigmented, and had to be removed – again.  And once again, it was pre-cancerous and MORE had to be removed.  I am now the proud owner of a two-inch scar on my lower back.  The thing is, I can’t see it.  No matter how hard I try.  I know it is there, but there is no VISUAL reminder.  Occasionally, someone will see it and ask how it happened and I have to recount the story.  But, it’s not often.  So, I don’t have to be reminded of it – or of the scare of the situation.  Yet, I don’t ever have the feeling that I need to do something to diminish the scar…out of sight, out of mind…

But, not all scars are physical.  Some are hidden deep inside.  The emotional scars.  Ones left by people, experiences, and the worst – those left by ourselves.

Relationships (romantic, family, co-worker, friends) leave scars on our heart as well as on our psyche.  It is inevitable.  But how we chose to deal with those scars is vital.

The instinct is to obsessively pick at it.  We dwell on the “injury.”  We play the “WHY ME?!?” game.  We keep thinking about how deep the scar will be.  We think it will speed up the healing.  The faster we get rid of the scab – then VOILA! no more problem.

But as we all know, that can actually DEEPEN the scar.  We removed its protective barrier before it was ready. We had not left enough time for the WOUND to heal. Ironically, this continues the vicious cycle of continued obsession and picking.  We become even MORE cautious of the next experience – afraid of further scarring.  We become scared of being scarred even further.

Either that, or we want the quick fix.  We want the wound to heal NOW!!!! But, this is equally destructive.  Again, we haven’t allowed the time for the wound to organically heal.

So, how do we accomplish that?

First of all, we have to stop picking at it.  Continuing to pick at the wound (in this case, obsessively dwelling on the wrongs that were committed to you) will only keep the injury in your forebrain.  It becomes impossible to let it heal.

Secondly, we must acknowledge the fact that it is natural to think about it.  It is human nature for us to analyze what happened to cause the “injury.”  It is NOT natural to continue to rehash it.  What’s done is done. At some point in time we have to realize that the injury occurred and we can not go back in time and make it not have happened.  Release it.  Tell yourself there is nothing you can do to make it NOT to have happened.  That keeps the injury from making the scar even DEEPER. Learn from what happened.  I know I am much more cautious stepping off the curb after my fall!  I am going to be even more cautious about opening up my heart.

Thirdly, we have to allow the wound to heal.  We have to give it TIME.  We become tired of feeling lonely.  We begin to CRAVE human companionship.  We convince ourselves that the wounds are all healed and LOOK!  the scars aren’t as bad as I thought!  So, HEY!  Here’s a thought!  Let’s move into a NEW relationship!  So, we rip off the band-aid and say “Let’s go!”  However, frequently all that manages to do is to open the wound back up.  This causes you to flip back into clean up mode.   The wound wasn’t fully healed.

I think the biggest thing though, is that we can’t be scared of being scarred in the next situation.  Oh, sure,  it may happen.  The next situation may not turn out the way you wanted.  You may have another misstep and land smack on your knee.  But on the other hand, you also might successfully step off the curb.

Scars – both physical and emotional – are going to happen.  It’s all a part of life.  But with time, and the right kind of “medicine,” we can make them smaller – and if we are lucky, we can even make them inperceptable to the human eye.