Wednesday, December 16, 2009

GO AWAY!




Here it is 11:30 @ night and I'm up wide awake not wanting to go back to sleep. Anyone that knows me knows that I don't usually stay up past 10pm. I was extremely exhausted from my day so I went to bed early right after I tucked the kids in bed. This is the first time in about year that I woke due to a nightmare. This is what I can remember of the dream: I was standing in my daughter's room and I closed and locked her window. I left her room and came right back in and the window was unlocked and open. I remember feeling a panic come over me. I shut and locked the window once again then rushed to the kitchen looking for a broom or something that I could put up in the window (u know like a stick) to keep anyone from being able to open it again. I was tearing through drawers and just in a panic. When I could not find anything I rushed back around the corner into her room again to find the window wide open. I knew there was someone outside the window taunting me saying "SEE I CAN OPEN THE WINDOW EVEN WHEN IT'S LOCKED, YOU CANT KEEP ME OUT!" Those were the words I head in my head even though no one was speaking. I then ran up to the open window and just started to scream at the top of my lungs...."GO AWAY...I KNOW YOUR THERE!" Then when I stood up I sensed that he was standing behind me in the room. He being my ex husband.
It was then I woke up in this panic. I've checked all the windows and doors. I set looking out the windows making sure I didn't see anyone out there. I feel like someone is sitting on my chest. WHY? WHY NOW! Where does this come from. What has triggered it? Then I start to play tricks with my mind. I'm not afraid of this man, or am I? He is not stupid enough to come back around here, or is he?
The window in my dream was the same window my son had to jump out of to go get me help the last time my abuser attacked me.
The truth is I feel safe in my home and I don't really think about him coming back around here, but I know it's only a matter of time. It's gonna happen he is gonna show up or contact me in one way or another that is just the type of person he is. I have no restraining order because of the fucked up judicial system. So there really is nothing stopping him not that a piece of paper ever did that anyways.
I am so exhausted and I just sit here listening for any little sound. Close my eyes? I don't think so. Turn on the lights? I don't want him to know I'm awake. So all there is left to do is sit here and pray. Soon enough the sleep will come and I hope that when it does it's peaceful.

Home for the Holidays

It's been a minute since I posted to my blog and I apologize. Just like everyone else I get all caught up in the daily struggle we call life and it seem like with the holidays things get a little bit more complicated. Holidays are really special to me and once again I think it is because of having to go without that has made me more thankful for each year that I get with my family. For another year that I can see the joy and amazement in my children faces on Christmas morning. While I was in my abusive relationship the holidays seem to just disappear all together. There was no family gatherings, there was no joy, no tree and no present for the kids to open on Christmas morning. Most years we would just pretend that Christmas didn't even exist. Now to an adult Christmas day can seem just like any other day of the year but when your a child it holds so much more meaning. We never really verbally addressed it and the kids were young enough the day would come and go without them even knowing. That was until one year, one year that will forever live in my memory and bring tears to my eyes every time I think about it.
Just as the years before Christmas day came and went without a word. Tavian was five years old. It was a few days after Christmas and I can remember waiting in the cold for the bus to take me and the kids to the grocery store. When the bus came Tavian sat down and I sat across from him with his two little sisters. The bus driver turned around looked right at Tavian and said "So were you a good boy this year? What did Santa bring you?" I will never forget the look in his eyes when he turned and looked at me for the answer. He was confused and didn't know how to answer the mans question. I don't remember what I said to the bus driver that day but I will never forget the look in my son's eyes. It still brings a lump to my chest. After that day I promised that I would never let that happen again. I would never let my children go without.
Now I know that people always talk about the true meaning of Christmas and that it is not about getting presents, but you know what those same people have gifts under their tree to give to their children. They have a Christmas Tree.
The year following that Christmas was full of struggle and growth. We went from the shelter to a transitional housing program that provided us with a 3 bedroom house. We moved into that house in October 2003 just in time for Halloween. I have to say that because of the guilt I felt that Christmas was a little over done but the kids so deserved it. There was a program that donated us a real Christmas tree that they left for us on our front porch to surprise the kids. There were so many present under the tree that it took them hours to open them all. I've since scaled down our Christmas a little each year but just as I promised I will NEVER let my children go without for another Christmas.
I'll never lose the guilt of that day on the bus and I should of done something then but we can't go back and change the past so all I can do is continue to make our future the best it can be.
Merry Christmas to all of you!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Internal Scars

I'm not really sure where it comes from or why it comes when it does, but when it hits it hits hard. Watching the Rihanna interview today has brought back a lot of my own feelings and memories. She talked about the internal hurt or what I like to call the internal scars. Like she said the bruises fade away but what people don't see are the internal scars that are left. The hurt that is left for us to deal with for the rest of our lives. Sure we would like to forget and move on and for the most part we can do that but like Rihanna said we have flashbacks. If you have ever went through something traumatic in your life then you can truly understand what that is like. For the most part I can talk about my past and what I went through and it not affect me. The hardest time for me is when I'm alone and especially at night when I'm by myself and the house is quiet. There is something about being still and silent that allows your mind to open up to go places sometimes you are really not wanting to go. I don't know if other women have the same experience as I do with flashbacks but what I experience is extreme. When my mind starts to visualize places and events that I went through I go right back to that time and place. I feel exactly whatever it was I was feeling at that time and place. It is not usually one time or one event but a series to explosions in my mind. I know when it is coming and I allow myself to go through it knowing that at the end I will be one step closer to where it is I need to be.....mentally.
Tonight was one of those nights. I don't know if it was watching the Rihanna interview or just this whole past month of domestic violence awareness that has stirred it up but it came and it came hard. I laid down in my bed and when I closed my eyes it started. All over again I felt scared, I felt hurt, I felt anger but what I felt most of all was alone. The feeling of being alone like there is no one there to help you. Nobody to save you. You can't run where will you go. You can't scream cuz no one will hear you. You can't leave because you have three small babies to carry. Your alone you have to stay. You have to endure each hit, each ridicule until he is finished and hope that this wont be the last time. You curl up in a ball and just rock back and forth and hope that this time he does not go to far, that this time he doesn't choke you to long. I set up in bed and just rocked and I cried wanting the feeling to go away but the pictures just kept coming. "Make it stop! Make it stop!" It gets hard to breathe but I want it all to get out. I want this feeling to get out so I allow myself to go through.
I hate the feeling of being alone, being alone is one of my biggest fears still to this day. It is something that I've been working really hard on and it is getting better and I'm getting stronger. The difference now is that I'm not alone and I just have to remind myself of that. I get up and I walk through the house and go into my children rooms where they sleep peacefully and remind myself of that. I'm not alone and I am not there anymore, I'm not in that place.
It's been quite awhile since I have allowed myself to break down like this but I do believe it is necessary. I believe that in order to heal you have to allow yourself to feel. You cannot close yourself off to your emotions. Now don't get me wrong there is a time and place to break down and it is not healthy to allow yourself to stay in that place for long. So I allow myself an occasional break down and then I get right back up and continue on with my life. I have three exceptional human beings that come 6am in the morning are going to be counting on me and I can't let them down and I hope I never do again.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Going Public......


As a victim of domestic violence you never think that the people around you know what's going on in your life. You try so hard all the time to keep it secret that when it finally comes out no matter how bad it is there is a sense of relief on your part.
We moved to Baltimore in July 2000 and our daughter, Kiah was born in February 2001. They say that when a victim becomes pregnant that the violence becomes worse and I'm not sure that is true in my instance. I think he remained pretty much consistent throughout our whole relationship. It was the end of February and I remember getting to go out for the first time with out the kids to the local mall. I remember I had bought this dress that was a little form fitting and it had this chain belt. I couldn't wait to try it on for him thinking that after being pregnant for the last nine month he would find me attractive again. I returned to the apartment to find it empty so I went upstairs to his parents apartment to find his mother watching the kids. I was a little disappointed because I had been impressed that he had offered to stay home with the kids while I went out. Now I found out he took the kids to his parents and had went somewhere. I picked up the kids and took them home just waiting for him to return so I could show him what I had bought.
As soon as he walked in the door I could tell that he wasn't himself. He just walked throughout the apartment and was very silent as if he was looking for something. Thinking I could cheer him up I decided to put on the dress. This only made matter worse. He started to question where I had been and who I had been with. I proceeded to tell him every little thing I had done in the past few hours, even showing him receipts from the store and my bus pass. I learned very quickly to be able to account for my wear about down to the minute. I don't know why I did this cuz he never believed me. I could have receipts, witnesses but as far as he was concerned I was a liar and a cheat.
He started to tell me how I looked like a whore in the dress and proceeded to rip the dress off of me. I remember being crouched down in the fetal position in the corner as he would come and go from the room hitting and kicking me each time he would return. He then took a pair of scissors and cut up my favorite boots and most of my cloths. This lasted what seemed like hours all the while my 2 year old boy was in the next room and my newborn daughter lay in her crib. Things would die down for periods at a time but I dared not move as it might spark something in him to start up again. At some point my daughter began to cry and still I froze and did not move until he told me to. I was allowed to get up and fix her a bottle. I decided to hold her and try to feed her thinking that as long as I had her in my arms I would be safe from his attacks. Oh was I so wrong. He decided then as I sat there holding our 1 month old daughter to take the scissors and cut off my hair stating "IF YOUR GONNA ACT LIKE A WHORE THEN I'M GONNA MAKE YOU LOOK LIKE ONE!" I could not do anything I had to just sit there and let him do it. I had my daughter in my arms and I dared not try and fight him when he had scissors in his hands.
He then took our daughter out of my arms and put her back in her crib so that he could resume his attack on me. This time ordering me to strip down and give him oral sex. It was at this time while he lay in the bed that I started to undress in the doorway and saw my chance to escape.
I was able to get out the door with just a t-shirt on and make my way upstairs to his parents apartment.
Knocking on their door was a hard thing for me to do because now my secret would no longer be a secret. Truth is they already knew but as long as we never talked out about it I could pretend it was a secret.
I thought knocking on their door was hard, but the truth is what came next would mean breaking my silence to my family. The same week this all happened my mother had planned a trip to come visit me and I now know that this is what sparked some of William's rage. He knew with my mother coming our situation would become public and his secret would be out. Calling and telling my mother what had happened was hard but having to meet her at the airport with a bruised face and my new hair cut was humiliating. I hated that I had to let my mother see me in this condition. My secret would now be out in the open and everyone would know.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Where is my heart???


Have you ever heard the saying "Home is Where the Heart is."? Well what happens when you don't have a home? Where is your heart then? We moved to Baltimore, MD in 2000 and I entered the Harbor House in 2004. Just 4 short years when you put it in those terms. Those 4 years were the longest of my life. Those four years seemed more like 10, 15 years. There was no stability in our lives. When we got to Baltimore we moved into a one bedroom apartment that we shared with his family friend. William and I shared a double bed and my son slept on the floor. There was only one bathroom which you had to go through the bedroom to get to. Not the ideal living conditions by any means, but when I look back over those four years that was one of the nicest places we lived. I took the time to sort of jot down a time line of all the places we lived during those 4 years. Let's see if you can follow along with me.
One bedroom apartment to a hotel for a few days then we moved into a short stay apartment which was attached to the hotel we were in. From there we moved in with William's parents who were in the process of moving into another apartment a few floors above us. We were in that apartment until shortly after our first daughter was born. From there we moved to a suburb of Baltimore to a nice townhouse. That didn't last long as we really couldn't afford it and soon got evicted. From there we went to another hotel where we stayed until the money ran out which was just a few days. When the money was gone we found ourselves at a local church asking for help. The church put us in contact with a day shelter. Now for those of you that don't know a day shelter you check in around 5pm they feed you dinner and you get to sleep there. When morning came they fed you breakfast and then you had to leave and were not allowed back in till 5pm that evening. The men and women were not allowed to sleep together so at night I slept on a twin mattress with a newborn and 3 yr old. William decided at the last minute one night that we had to leave and we soon found ourselves sitting in an all night laundry mat. William was on the phone all night till he found someone who put us up in a hotel for a couple of days.
After that the church put us in contact with a single women who belonged to the church that was willing to rent out the upstairs of her house and take whatever we could pay in cash or food stamps. She was a really nice women and did a lot for us. I will never forget Ms. Margie but that is a story for another time. Again William moved us out of there into a hotel but this time he checked out with the kids and left me. I had no money and no where to go. I found myself walking through the streets of Baltimore in the direction of where I had been working. I was not even sure where I was or if I was going in the right direction. I walked for over 4 hours and into the night through neighborhoods that no person especially a white women should be walking through at night. I finally found my way to the daycare I had been working at and slept that night on the playground equipment. I talked with my boss the next day and explained my situation and she allowed me to stay in the daycare at night for the next three nights. William then finally came and got me and moved us a row house. We were not there very long before once again we got kicked out. From there William took me and the kids to the bus station and put us on a bus going back to my parents in Kansas. While home I found out I was pregnant with my 3rd child. My parents put me back on a bus by my wishes and before long we were back in Baltimore. At that time William had secured a place for us to stay. I don't know if secured is the best word to describe "The Big White House" or so we called it. It was a room in an old house that could best be described as a crack house. I won't even get into the details of that place because once again that's a story for another time.
While we were there I gave birth to our 2nd daughter. We then moved from there to this apartment over a business. During our stay there was the first time I officially left William. I took the kids and went to a woman's shelter which to say the least was pretty disgusting. It didn't take me long to go back to William. Once again we were evicted and moved to a family shelter which was rather nice. I know it sounds weird to call a shelter nice but I had a lot to compare it to. From that shelter we went into a hotel for about a week and then made our way back to Kansas.
Once in Kansas things didn't change and went from hotel to apartment to hotel to friends house to the "Blue House" (the kids call it). It was while in the Blue house that I left and moved me and the kids into the woman's shelter.
Writing all of that you would think it took a life time and it TOOK a lifetime out of me. It was after entering the woman's shelter that my number one goal became STABILITY. Stability for me and for my children. It was Very Important to me that they have a place to call HOME! In May 2007 that dream became a reality. I purchased my very own brand new home. Now I have a home and now I know where my heart is.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

How I got here?


I can remember laying on the cold bathroom floor with my head laying on the toilet seat thinking how did I get here. Blood was running from my nose and mouth so much that it was choking me. I didn't know what was going on.....I didn't realize that he had just about broken my nose. He was yelling at me that I better make sure I clean up all the blood and not leave a mess. After the blood stopped gushing from my nose and mouth I remember him returning to the other room and going to bed. Leaving me on the cold bathroom floor, five months pregnant to clean up the mess. We had just gotten to Baltimore, MD a few months prior to this incident and it was then that I felt trapped, lost, hurt and scared. How did I get here??? How did I let this happen.....to me??? We were only together for about 9 months when we picked up and moved half way across the US to Baltimore. I was pregnant with our daughter and thought it was the right thing to do .... to be with the father. He had successfully alienated me from every friend I had and I had pushed away my entire family. I'm sure they didn't even know me anymore at that point. I just up and left without a word and now here I was alone, pregnant bleeding on the bathroom floor.
I remember how it happened but not sure what started the fight. He wanted me to get out of the bed and sleep on the floor with my son who at this time was 2 I think. I refused to get out of the bed and he picked me up and when he dropped me on the floor my face hit a wooden chair. I didn't even realize what had happened until blood started to run like a river out my nose.
He didn't show any concern till the next day when he made me go to the emergency room to see if "HIS" baby was ok. I remember making up some story about falling out of bed, which I knew none of them bought. They made him leave the room while they questioned me about how it really happened and I refused to tell the truth. I denied it all. Why? Who knows why? I'm sure I had my reasons. I was alone in a city where I really knew no one but his family. I had no money and I had pushed my family away. What was I gonna do if he went to jail. I was totally depended on him and now I know that is exactly how he wanted it.
Well there was no broken nose and I ended up with two black eyes for awhile which I explained away to people. So there I was.....where was I gonna go. I was in it and there was no way out.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Poem


The following was not written by me, but these could of very well been my words....very powerful!






You told me you loved me

I thought you were true

But how can that be

When my body's black and blue



You were drunk and you're sorry

That's all you can say

But now I beat myself up

For not leaving you that day



One would think having my head

Continuously banded against the floor

Would have knocked some sense into me

And I’d have walked out the door



But I didn’t and forgave you

Because of my childhood curse

I hoped and prayed things would change

But they only got worse



You threw me against the wall

And I fell to the floor

Pierced your teeth into my flesh

Then called me a whore



With both your hands around my neck

I gasped frantically for air

Choking on my tears

As you ripped out my hair



My entire body started shaking

While you slammed my head against the ground

All I could hear was my heart breaking

And I’ll never forget that sound



As you lifted yourself off of me

The room began to spin

You kicked me as you left the room

Shut the door and locked me in



I laid there in shock

So confused and afraid

Grazing my fingers across the marks

A man who loved me made



My legs trembled with fear

As I tried to stand

I picked up my torn clothes

With my unsteady hand



I yanked on the door knob

To free myself and leave

As you apologized and proclaimed your love

Expecting me to believe



But there was no way I could

After all you’ve done

A man who raises his hand to me

Could never be the one



I looked at you and realized

I can’t have you in my life

Overwhelmed with devastation

As you reached for a knife



Terrified I cried and screamed

And begged you to desist

Rushing to your side

As you snapped and slit your wrist



Your blood soaked through me

As I prayed to God you’d be ok

I raced with you to the hospital

Thinking of you the entire way



Your wounds were bandaged

Yet mine still remain

Because I didn’t leave you

I must be insane



You became a different person

So cruel and rough

Even if you never do it again

Once is more than enough



You broke more than my heart

What you did was a crime

I finally found the strength to leave you

And it’s about damn time



I will never forget

What you did to me that night

Next time you slit your wrist

Make sure you do it right

Friday, October 2, 2009

Why me??

When I went to bed last night I could not stop thinking about this blog and wondering where I should go with it and what I should talk about. I had all these ideas rolling around in my head so I guess I will try to start in the beginning or at least what I consider the beginning. When you go through something traumatizing in your life you have a tendency to look back through your life and ask yourself....Why me? What was it about me that made me susceptible to this? How could I have let myself get into this sort of situation? We all like to go back over our childhood and try to blame things on our parents, but the truth is our parents do the best they know how and it is up to us to make the right decisions as we grow. My abuser was abused by his father and saw his mother abused by his step father but is that an excuse for what he did to me? It may play a factor in the way he is but we are all born with free will so I don't accept that reason. I had a pretty normal childhood from what I remember. My parents were hard workers, not alcoholics nor did they abuse me as a child. They were good parents and did the best they knew how with me. I can't quite explain why but for some reason I never felt like I fit in, in my family that is. It was nothing they did at least nothing that I can remember. I just felt different. Why??? Who knows. At family get together I felt to young to hang with the bigger kids and to old for the younger ones....kinda in the middle and lost some how. So my rebellion started pretty early. My parents could probably tell you more about that then I could. When I entered High School it was very important for me to fit in...to be liked and so I did somethings that I'm not to proud of. I always had a boyfriend....went from one to another and was never single for long.
Its funny only now can I tell you that my first abusive relationship was not my exhusband, but my first steady boyfriend. He was much older than I was and took contol of our relationship pretty quickly. We never hung out with my friends, it was usually his older and much more mature friends that I didn't even know or feel comfortable around. He was very jealous and I can remember one weekend when he was gone forbidding me to go out. He was also my first.....well you know. They always say your first should be special.....well mine was not at all. Everytime with him was not. I can remember crying through it one time and it not even phasing him one bit. I'm not saying he forced me but it was pretty clear that it was not something I wanted to do but did for him. It wasn't until I met this other guy that I was able to break away from him. I remember when we broke up he came up to talk to me on a Sunday. We went for a ride and he was very upset. I remember him saying he had a gun under his seat and that he wanted to kill himself. I was terrified. I didn't know what to say and we were out in the middle of no where and I just froze. It was hard to breath. Somehow I convinced him to take me back home and that was that. It was over.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Gotta Start Somewhere


Hi, for those of you that don't know me my name is Nicole. I'm not even sure what I am doing here or how to accomplish what it is I'm trying to set out to do so please bear with me as I go through this process. I am the mother of three of the most beautiful children you will ever meet. They are beautiful inside and out. I'd like to think I had a lot to do with it. I am also a survivor of domestic violence at the hands of my boyfriend turned husband and now ex husband. I've wanted tofor years to do something to talk to help to get my story out in the hopes of helping someone else who is going through what I went through for so many years. I don't know if this is the avenue that I need to take but I guess its a start. I've done a few interviews and the people who know me know my story pretty well and are probably tired of hearing about it. I've also started volunteering at the very shelter that helped me to get back on my feet just 5 years ago. I still feel not satisified and know there is more that I can do or should be doing. Maybe someone will read one of my blogs and hear my story and be able to relate. I know that it was so very important to me when I entered the shelter that others shared my story with me that I was not alone and they knew how I felt. I'm really not going to have any set format for my blogs but will just share when I feel it is right. I hope this reached just one person. For those who know me but don't know my whole story maybe this will help you better understand who I am today and why I do the things I do. Thank you for reading till next time stay safe.