“You’re gonna do real good up there.”
Sally, the heroin addict sat with one knee up with her hand on her knee,
she was shaking her other leg, she was eyeballing the clock until she got her fix.
Sally was a woman I had worked with (name changed to keep confidential), we were sitting in a court in Baltimore. She had always been in and out of court- I had helped her quite a bit. I told her I was moving.
It was interesting because she and I had quite a tumultuous relationship.
“Fuck you, you stupid bitch- you’re not doing shit for me,” was a voicemail I had heard from Sally one random Thursday morning. Enter some more explicitives, you get the point.
Time to time again I wonder where Sally is, and what’s going on in her life. She and I certainly ended on good terms when I left
So did I and Scooter girl (what a coworker of mine would call a client of mine).
Of course advocacy is my strong suite, it’s what I live for.
“You’re gonna do real good up there.”
She was sad, it was understandably so.
A part of her life, was lost.
She ventured forth my way, came inside.
Escaping the stale air of routune and slumber,
We walk along the green grass.
She takes my hand, we continue to walk.
Through the path and through the fields, up a slight hill.
Amongst stood a tree with a rock at its base.
The rock held their angst and bottomsides so they could take in the view.
It was the view of the mountainside.
The time was early spring, so the snow still capped it’s temples.
What you lost, has already been reborn- proof is in this,
Look amongst you- this view and the beauty it bestowes.
The love you feel is the agony you fear,
there is a balance in everything.
With life, there is death, with death there is life.
It is recycled, replenished.
The forms are changed, but the evidence remains.
**DISCLAIMER: THERE MAY BE SENSITIVE MATERIAL THAT SOME DO NOT WANT TO READ. VIEWER DISCRETION ADVISED**
Epidemic from dictionary.com is defined as: (of a disease) affecting many persons at the same time, and spreading from person to person in a locality where the disease is not permanently prevalent.
When we generally think of an “epidemic”-what do we think of? AIDS, cancer, cholera…the plague. There is one epidemic that we as human beings, as a society-and as a world fail to recognize: violence against women.
I currently live in Vermont, and there has been an event in a community within the state that has pushed me to write this post. It is the strangling homicide of a young woman, teacher, mom, daughter, community member, a woman named Melissa Jenkins. No, I did not know her-however I don’t need to.
When untrained eyes view this story, they do not see the links between this murder and domestic violence. However, from reading many articles and hearing information about the case, all of the components are still there. The male perpetrator of the violence, had made advances (gaining power) towards this young woman, which were ultimately turned away(lost control). Somehow, the male’s wife (yes, wife) was also involved in this murder. Was she going along with this act? Was she coerced into killing this woman just as this young woman was coerced out to “help” the couple? My rapid brain asks many questions.
This is an extremely, horrifying event that has occurred-and so many lives have now been affected. Her own child being the most affected. My thoughts are with the community during this time of need. Although not knowing Melissa personally, I have met many women like her.
If you don’t know me personally, then you don’t know my line of work. However, for the past number of years- I have been working in the field of domestic violence as an advocate for women attempting to escape/deal with/understand a life of violence. A common question I hear is, “Wait-there can be domestic violence towards a man by a woman, right???”
My answer is: absolutely. In any relationship where there is a dynamic of power and control exerted by one party over the other party bringing fear to that person-that is domestic violence. I won’t go into more details about what that looks like because that really isn’t the point of my post. However-
statistically, the perpetrators of domestic violence are primarily men perpetrating against women. It gets more complicated when you add the LGBTQ community in, and yes-domestic violence certainly happens in those relationships as well. However- in my years of being an advocate, how many men have I met that I truly can say, they were a “victim” of domestic violence based on my expertise and knowledge? 1.
That is one man, whom I will never forget.
However, how many women have I met that were true victims of domestic violence? Hundreds.
I have heard stories of women being pushed.
I have heard stories of women being isolated from their friends and families.
I have heard stories of women being loved, and then manipulated.
I have heard stories of women being bitten.
I have heard stories of women being beaten with bats.
I have heard stories of women being punched, dragged, kicked.
I have heard stories of women being told what to wear, how much makeup to put on, who to talk to.
I have heard stories of women with weapons held to their face, necks, backs, heads.
I have heard stories of women being chased with cars.
I have heard stories of women being accused by their partner of being cheaters, and then beaten because they denied it.
I have heard stories of women being threatened by their partners: to kill them, to chop them up, to bury them alive, to hurt their children, to kill their pets.
I have heard stories of women’s limbs being broken.
I have heard stories of women being sexually violated.
I have heard stories of women’s “womanly body parts” being ripped off.
I could go on, but I won’t. There is one primary word that is repeated in that montra, “women”. We have a new coming value of equality and making sure that men and women are on equal playing fields-however there has been, and continues to be an epidemic of oppression of women.
I attended a conference in Washington DC about a month ago: The 2nd World Conference of Women’s Shelters. This was an amazing experience. It was where 1600 women from 96 countries around the world, got together in unity to learn from each other, and share with each other stories of pain, victimization, hope and survival. The one thing that was so astounding to me was that this truly was, aglobal issue.
Recently, the government of the United States is having a debate whether or not to re-authorize the Violence Against Women Act which is a federal fund that provides financial support to domestic violence agencies, advocates, shelters around the country. VAWA actually provided my salary for a time at my previous job.
The fact that there is even a debate about this, absolutely astounds me. The argument for NOT authorizing it is because it will give illegal immigrants experiencing domestic violence, a way out, it “promotes divorce” and “creates an ideology that all men are guilty and all women are victims.”
Sigh. If there is someone with black and white thinking looking at that? Maybe they will see it that way. However, if you and other advocates like myself do this work (and YES! I also know MALE advocates!!), you will understand that it’s not a generalization- it’s a reality.
My message to the US government is to please, PLEASE, reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act in order to be able to assist those women who DO live in fear everyday of their lives.
For women reading this post, thank you for your time. Stay strong, and support your fellow sisters in urging lawmakers to reauthorize this bill.
For men reading this post, thank you also for your time. I do not think that all men have the belief system that they feel it is right to be violent towards a woman. In fact, there are many men who do not. However-STAND WITH US! WE NEED YOU IN THIS AS WELL! Hold your brothers accountable for aggregious acts towards women, and stay respectful.
We ALL need to respect each other, regardless of race, creed, religion, sex, gender or ethnicity.
Violence is learned, not innate.
Winter is certainly upon us
Montpelier, Vermont – view from highway 89
a photo by me, Krista M.
As I sit here in front of an illuminated screen, I can’t help but think how different this would have been twenty years ago.
If I had the inclination to “write” I would be grabbing a pen and piece of paper.
Swirling my fingers around to make sense of the scribbled lines,
But instead I am tapping. Tapping. Tapping.
Into a story that has no real plot or ending,
Simply my thoughts that need to jump out of my brain.
Leaping, bounding through the outback was a grey kangaroo.
Didn’t expect that, huh?
We all have our place in this mind boggling abyss,
It’s sometimes too much for us to handle.
As incense burn, I satisfy a hunger, a habit, what feels like a need.
It is inside each of us, we just all satisfy it in different ways.
Attend church, opiate of the masses, it will make you feel like you are doing a good deed.
Another helping of this spaghetti meal? Don’t mind if I do,
Venti Latte, Cappuccino-why, daily-sometimes two!
Need to get in some running, crunches-5 miles a day is key!
Marlboro lights, how about a pack?
Michelob, Coors, sometimes both if the night is young,
Add on some vodka, tequila, bloody mary’s too
After that, some video games will make the time fly by- being in another world, another dimension.
Roll a blunt, pass it around the room
Tap out your vile on the plate glass mirror, snort it up quick and fast
Adderall, Ritalin and Oxy’s too-
A variety of pills that become either crushed or dissolved
Each allows a different feel, depending on your past.
Small pinches on a track lined arm means escape for those that love the letter H.
We all seek pleasure,
We all have pain.
Acceptance that we are all alike, the choices we make are what differ.
A poem by me, Krista M.
I am halfway on track for NaNoWriMo, that is actually better than I thought I would be. I have a few different stories written with no real plot or connection between any of them. I guess I will figure that out somehow. I’m trying to think of other ways to push myself creatively….
Anyone else having NaNoWriMo woes already?
Thirteen Observations made by Lemony Snicket while watching Occupy Wall Street from a Discreet Distance
1. If you work hard, and become successful, it does not necessarily mean you are successful because you worked hard, just as if you are tall with long hair it doesn’t mean you would be a midget if you were bald.
2. “Fortune” is a word for having a lot of money and for having a lot of luck, bu…t that does not mean the word has two definitions.
3. Money is like a child—rarely unaccompanied. When it disappears, look to those who were supposed to be keeping an eye on it while you were at the grocery store. You might also look for someone who has a lot of extra children sitting around, with long, suspicious explanations for how they got there.
4. People who say money doesn’t matter are like people who say cake doesn’t matter—it’s probably because they’ve already had a few slices.
5. There may not be a reason to share your cake. It is, after all, yours. You probably baked it yourself, in an oven of your own construction with ingredients you harvested yourself. It may be possible to keep your entire cake while explaining to any nearby hungry people just how reasonable you are.
6. Nobody wants to fall into a safety net, because it means the structure in which they’ve been living is in a state of collapse and they have no choice but to tumble downwards. However, it beats the alternative.
7. Someone feeling wronged is like someone feeling thirsty. Don’t tell them they aren’t. Sit with them and have a drink.
8. Don’t ask yourself if something is fair. Ask someone else—a stranger in the street, for example.
9. People gathering in the streets feeling wronged tend to be loud, as it is difficult to make oneself heard on the other side of an impressive edifice.
10. It is not always the job of people shouting outside impressive buildings to solve problems. It is often the job of the people inside, who have paper, pens, desks, and an impressive view.
11. Historically, a story about people inside impressive buildings ignoring or even taunting people standing outside shouting at them turns out to be a story with an unhappy ending.
12. If you have a large crowd shouting outside your building, there might not be room for a safety net if you’re the one tumbling down when it collapses.
13. 99 percent is a very large percentage. For instance, easily 99 percent of people want a roof over their heads, food on their tables, and the occasional slice of cake for dessert. Surely an arrangement can be made with that niggling 1 percent who disagree.
**We have the power to change what is in front of us, it is just that a few don’t want it.-Me**
These are a few pictures I took this morning. It was a gorgeous fall day for picture taking!
I read this blog the other day, and then became inspired. For October and November-I will be participating in NaNoWriMo 2011-which is writing a 50,000 word novel in one month, the month of November. November 30 the novel should be complete. In order to complete 50,000 words in one month, you must write at least 1,667 words a day.
I will be writing the novel in my blog, so for the next several blog posts-expect this to be novel material.
I encourage comments ! As well as writing your own novel!
As I was looking around, the lights became brighter- more beautiful. I sat in a blue camping chair in the middle of a field in Tennessee. There were trees in the far off corner of the field that I couldn’t look away from. The leaves began to form the images of mermaids flowing in the sea, with their hair waving and flipping their fins. I turn to my right. I see a truck-all equipped with pin stripes along the sides. Even the pin stripes begin to dance around. Chemically treated paper melting on my tongue is changing my perspective, making me more physically aware. A few others around me did it too. They flutter away with a variety of other distractions to attract their curiosity.
To begin with the lightest feeling-holding so much confidence, inhibition feeling as though you can conquer the world-or at this present moment, the festival- to the weight of the world sitting on top of your shoulders. It will hold you down so hard that you understand the meaning of “heavy”. It can make you nauseous, it can make you sick.
You’re bad and acting weird, this is sick-I feel sick.
Hide. In between the intial truck and the one next to it. I sit down and lean against the tire-billions of thoughts running through my brain. Tilt my head back.
Although that is the case, the positive thing about the entire experience is that it continues in moments. One moment you are feeling light, and the next moment you are feeling heavy. Long enough so that you experience the good but short enough so that you don’t have to be engulfed in the bad. However there is a fine line. There is a particular moment where you begin to be engulfed in the bad, and if you allow yourself-you can continue to bury yourself in shame and negativity. Sometimes going so far down you experience a personal emotional death or imagine gory images-but at this particular moment it didn’t happen.
He whispered in my ear:
“You can sieze the moment, you are in control-everything will be alright.”
That was all I needed to hear when I was at that “particular moment”. The light feeling came back.
He takes my hand and we strip ourselves from the campsite. Running through the maze of cars, camping tents and intoxicated festival goers, the evening breeze served as a valid face cooling agent.
The sound of our own footsteps on the grassy path. Pitter, patter, pitter, patter. We headed towards a bright light that became blinding if we got too close. Turn quickly away from the light and follow the path towards the gathering of people dancing in the moonlight. STOP!
I stopped dead in my tracks. I look up at the sky and see a light floating in the air, its twinkle glistening as it wafted. It was a floating lantern. Its glare was entrancing to the open minded.
Ever since the lights became beautiful, everything became beautiful.
Continuing on, not trying to draw attention to ourselves- we joined the vibrations of the pulsating crowd. Heads bobbing, bodies moving to the beat-the flow of the music in an open field. Glowing colors on the walls surrounding the gathering, on people, as lights. The musical drum beats pulsed throughout your body. You smelled colors, tasted emotions and understood common confusions. The physical being and environment around us became heightened in our awareness as we participated in the dancing of the masses.
The night was right. It was understood that it was right, and you felt it in your bones that it was right.
As I walked around, still bearing the weight between the light and heavy-I saw many faces, eyes, statements on faces, emotions on faces. I thought to myself,
“They have no idea what it’s really all about.”
That’s about all I have for now. I have many more ideas- just wanted to get a good start on it .