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This evening I was indulging myself in a Family Size bag of spicy nacho cheese Doritos with spicy cheese dip and scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed to come upon some interesting and controversial news per the Sports Illustrated magazine. Apparently model Hannah Davis is going to appear on the cover of the 2015 swimsuit issue and many people believe that the manner in which she is pulling at her bottoms is vulgar and shows too much skin.

Hesitant to abandon my comfort food, I began to scroll through the comments, I noticed a lot of parents who were very concerned about their children coming across such a scandal at the local grocery store and being exposed to this risqué photo.

I found myself very confused by these responses as I am more concerned about what my children are exposed to during a mere trip to the local Wal-Mart: from bountifully exposed butt-cracks to the courageous display of camel-toes, I find myself timid to turn down the next isle for fear that I could run into the guy who embraces comfort by sparing no one from the scenic view straight down his oversized tank-top sleeves. (AND THAT’S IN REAL TIME PEOPLE! REAL FREAKIN’ TIME!!)

I’m saying, these are people making conscious choices to wear these ‘clothes’ and they’re not even getting paid to do it!

At least maybe this young lady is putting herself through college or buying her impoverished family the house they never had; or maybe she is sending a group of small children to DisneyLand.

I wonder if you all would feel bad if the only reason she agreed to pose was because she simply could not afford to eat, because she was unable to eat, the suit did not fit and so she had no other choice but to try to hold it up.

Perhaps, like those at Wal-Mart, her bikini simply did not fit and she was not pushing her bottoms down, she was holding them up.

I think before we judge this woman we need to get the entire story.

Maybe they bought the swim-suit at Wal-Mart (??)…Maybe?

I’m just sayin’…

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From childhood I was taught the mantra: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” From as early as I can remember, I was picked on; teased at school and had very few friends (but for those who were, I remain thankful), I would come home and cry, beggining to move, “somewhere, anywhere.” My desperate request, always met with the aforementioned saying and the scolding that I should not allow what others say to,”get to me and bother me.”

However, this advice was fallacious as words are extremely powerful particularly when the one speaking them has agency; whether spoken or written, words have built and destroyed nations: inspired and decimated.

As human beings we want to invest emotionally in people, to not make that investment in at least a few could render one a socio-path who has no sense of humanity or empathy. Our emotional investment is what allows us to form lasting relationships.

Sure, there are certain people who I do not know or couldn’t care less about knowing and they can say whatever they would like about me and I would be more preoccupied with how often my neighbor picks his butt after exiting his car from his evening commute than their slander, but if my husband came home and said, “I’ve been thinking and you’re a real bitch.” I would be torn to pieces.

And that is because I have given his words agency in my life.

In my first marriage, I did the same, obviously because I was married and I loved him and he not only abused me, but he abused the trust and love that I had given him. When the verbal abuse started, I was very hurt and saddened that he would feel like I was just a, “nasty, useless, whore that couldn’t do anything right.” Some of the things that he said to me and about me were very hard to swallow and process and somewhere in his horrific orations, I began to buy into what he was saying.

When people think of abuse or domestic violence, they jump straight to the physical aspect: broken bones, black eyes, or tremendous bruising. They don’t understand the emotional and verbal aspects when it really is not that complicated of a subject. They tend to think that if there is no apparent physical violence then the victim was not really abused.

They are so very wrong.

Bruises go away and when treated properly, broken bones heal as well. The most exhausting aspect of an abusive relationship is the verbal and emotional abuse that is suffered by the victim. Those words become grenades that leave permanent holes which never quite heal, breaking more than mere bones. After a day of severe verbal abuse, I remember looking in the mirror and not even recognizing my own face. The deep lines under my eyes formed scars that were far worse than any black eye he could have given me; the swelling in my face worse than the harshest slap, and the exhaustion more far-reaching than any could fathom.

If he had caused physical harm, I could have called the police and received medical treatment. What he did, caused me to suffer  alone, and in silence.

I have been told throughout my life to, “Toughen up,” or, “grow thicker skin,” and to some extent I have; but, I refuse to completely harden up and stop emotionally investing in people.

“When you’re drowning you don’t think, I would be incredibly pleased if someone would notice I’m drowning and come and rescue me. You just scream.”
― John Lennon

winterblog

Once upon a time in suburbia came an evening of bitter cold; and even through the screams of my threenager which were shrill enough to crack the ice cubes in my 7-11 Big Gulp full of Mountain Dew, I was able to hear the sharp fingers of the trees tap against the not so extraordinary insulated siding of our humble home which is strangely reminiscent of a dwelling one might come across while sitting in front of his or her plasma television, eating a Big Mac, and watching a rerun of “Three’s Company.”

My glistening yellow snuggie proved fallible that evening, as I watched small bumps rise up on my arm reinforcing what I already knew to be true: I was, indeed, cold (the fact that I was indulging in a triple chocolate Magnum bar may or may not have acted as a contributor to my current state of misery).

Panicked, I hastened to my thermostat. The temperature was already set to 70*. My dilemma seemed impossible:

crank ‘er up one more degree or suffer?

I could feel beads of moisture rising on my forehead as plainly as I could feel the dollars coming out of my checking account as I turned the temperature up not one degree, but two.

I spent the remainder of my evening drooling over Ian Sommerhalder with no shirt on while simultaneously indulging in a bag of Lay’s potato chips and French union dip balancing my checkbook and reworking my budget.

The End.

foodblog

Before children, I never had a reason to watch what I eat. I indulged myself in BBQ dripping with grease, fantastic cakes made of chocolate with chocolate icing, and (gasp!) deep fried delicacies: Oreos, Snickers, and even soda.

Those days long have passed and for years I have been shamefully hiding in dark closets under the black veil of the vapid night consuming everything from spicy nacho Doritos to Ghiradelli fine chocolates. Many days I find myself absentmindedly pausing at the green light outside of our local Krispy Kreme doughnut store,

— drooling. Eyes wide and staring with intensity at the glowing red light, taunting me into a caloric abyss that one might easily compare to that one guy who has absolutely NO business hanging around an all you can eat buffet.

Now for those of you who expected me to profess an unwavering commitment to counting calories in a futile attempt to burn off that muffin top, I apologize (my muffin top is way too sexy and I don’t for see it going anywhere!). The title of my article might be a bit misleading as my intent would be to literally watch what I eat: after having children, any food I leave lying around for the most minute period of time disappears.

Where did that Hershey’s dark chocolate bar with almonds really go? The answer lies in a pair of big brown eyes staring up at me. The mouth that professes that she did not eat it, lends evidence in the form of a cocoa colored ring.

Hmmm…A bit suspicious?

I will no longer leave a smoking plate of salmon sitting leisurely on the countertop. I will watch it with an unyielding eye, while unloading dishes and taking out the trash. My food will no longer disappear.

With a total of eight mouths in the household, my ability to watch what I eat means the difference between procuring bits of chewed, wet morsels of chicken nuggets off of my toddler’s high chair trey and a good, warm meal.

cartoon happy woman One night, after one of my long tulmutous days, I sat down at the laptop to browse on Facebook for a bit just to sit in shock and awe as my newsfeed was blown up about a very pretty mother who found herself convicted to no longer wear yoga pants. Has anybody else viewed this article? How could you not? It quite literally comprised the first 10-15 posts in my newsfeed. I really couldn’t care less as it is not my business what people are choosing to wear and the mother certainly was not trying to impose her views on me. I am so not judging this! It did, however, get me thinking, if these lustful men with wandering eyes are looking at her, perhaps they are also looking at me; I thought back to earlier that morning: there I was in the grocery store, wearing a hoodie and sweatpants, frazzled hair up in an untidy bun, dark circles under the eyes blazing, all six children in tow and as I thought about the scenario I became fearful that perhaps these lustful men were after me too!! Collecting myself, I asked my husband if he ever had lustful thoughts about other women. He admitted that sometimes he found himself wildly out of control, particularly when we were at Wal-Mart as women tend to dress as though Halloween could be everyday of the week. He said that some of these ladies who sport their undersized tank tops that expose voluptuous muffin tops entice him to ponder thoughts that would be better left to those who are in need of Catechistic exorcisms and the like. He also found that his arousal became increasingly notable upon the absence of dentition. As I stared in the mirror at my own muffin top, with protruding stretch-marks and all, it made me feel vulnerable: here all this time has gone by, with all of these men: tongues hanging out, drool slowly creeping to the floor, and lil’ ol’ me: completely oblivious! YIKES! It was then, that I resolved myself to wearing heavy plastic tarps and sackcloth complete with hemp sandals. I knew that even though not every woman would understand, my actions could possible raise awareness that these perverted men who cannot seem to control themselves long enough to shop at a supermarket for a simple gallon of milk could be anywhere, and they could be anyone! Imagine: your plumber, your accountant, neighbor, co-worker, or what about that creepy guy who sits in the small booth at gas stations and always seems to remember your name even though you have no clue what his is? I woke up the next morning, my resolve stronger, I eventually realized that with all of these creepers among us, I could not leave my house again. These men would then need to go out of their way to come to my home in order to lust after me. And then I finally thought, with my six screaming kids, ever increasing crows feet, and thinning hair….They Just Might!  🙂

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When I left my abusive marriage I realized that I would be afraid: I had a lot to fear. Not only was my ex in possession of multiple fire arms, he was well trained in using them. That, combined with my knowledge of his mental and emotional instability left me in a constant state of anxiety and fear; I can easily recall the panic moving from my weighted chest to the pins and needles feeling in my arms and hands and eventually to sweat on my pulsating finger tips. Imagine looking down at the floor and instead of 5 ft. 3 in. away, it looks as though you have climbed a 100 ft. high, teetering wooden ladder that could fail you at any time. I refused to be alone and would lie in bed at night, waiting for the door to burst open with him standing over me. His voice haunted everything I did, his face glaring at me. His hot breath burned the tiny hairs on my neck.

He Was Winning

I really do not like using this phrase because I feel as though it categorizes the notion of control and abuse to a menial game of chess or Jenga; admittedly though, even after I got away from him, he still had complete control over me. I feared every aspect of my life from a visit to the grocery store to pumping gas. I was, quite literally losing my mind.

My attorney had advised me to not speak about the situation (like I wanted to keep reliving this hell), and he freely composed fictitious allegations that led to extremely vicious attacks toward me. In a sense, these claims re-victimized the victim and I will post on this another time. This contributed to my anxiety.

Taking it Back

I had to realize that I can only control myself; I cannot control him (heck, he couldn’t even control him). And I could not control the one-sided opinions of others.They key being: I CONTROL MYSELF. This means building the courage to not only ask, “why did I leave if I am still so scared? What was the good of being out of an abusive marriage if I am still going to be abused?” I had to be courageous enough to take a critical look at my actions and devise a solution.

I could not control if he decided to come after me as he had promised so frequently throughout our marriage. I could only be prepared for it. This meant, without being overnparanoid, devising a safety plan for myself, my children, and close friends. We made up safety words such as: “fire” and each of us had instructions to execute.

I realized that even one week, one month, one year of feeling like a human being, an individual or feeling like I was more than just the bacteria on a dirty McDonald’s wrapper abandoned in a parking lot, would be more meaningful than the rest of my life (however long that would have been) in such a horrible circumstance.

In other words: staying in that marriage would have been risky and leaving it was risky. At least, by getting out, I could have the quality of life that everybody deserves.

To those women who are afraid:

You CAN do this! YOU CAN DO THIS! YOU  CAN  DO  THIS! 

(Note: This is only observations gathered from my own, unique experience. This may not be applicable to everybody)