A is for Afflicted

“Two people can only keep a secret if one of them is dead.”

Out of all the crazy stuff my Dominican abuela (I mean, grandmother) used to say, that was the wisest and truest thing to ever come out of her big uncensored mouth.

You see, the secret I’ve been keeping has been eating away at me. And with each passing day, the story keeps bubbling up inside of me, trying to escape.

I’ve never told anyone about what happened, at least not all of it.

But I have to get this weight off of my chest and the only way I can do it is by writing it down. If I was really smart, I wouldn’t write it down at all, especially online where people could find it. But I need to tell my story and figure out how I ended up here in the first place.

This blog is really meant for me and my eyes only. I mean, who would even care about my incoherent ramblings?

But just in case someone does stumble across this blog (and if you are reading this, I mean YOU), please remember that I’m not a bad person. I had to take Abuela’s words to heart and I did what needed to be done to save myself.

Truth be told, a little part of me hopes that you do find this blog. I mean, maybe you’ll help me piece this all together and help me see where I went wrong, though I kind of already know.

And of course, I’m writing this anonymously so I won’t tell you my real name. But you can call me “Cara”, short for “Caramel”. That was Abuela’s nickname for me because she loved the color of my skin. She also said that I was like burnt sugar with a bitter aftertaste. Back then, I never knew what she meant by that and the only time I had the nerve to ask, she had simply shrugged her shoulders and said:

Mas sabe el diablo por viejo que por diablo“.

Yes, the devil knows more from experience than from being the devil. Maybe Abuela saw something in me back then that I only discovered later and that I’m reconciling with now…who knows.

But I’m getting off topic. Maybe I’ll write about that later.

Right now, I need to start at the beginning and tell you how I met my abuser Dex..

Cara

_A_ is for _Afflicted_

Continuation: B is for “Bomb”

All Rights Reserved ©2018 Marquessa Matthews. Graphic above created with Canva.

 

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This guest post by Marquessa Matthews. It is a repost from her A to Z Challenge and you must read all the posts in this challenge. She is an incredible writer that I’m praying gets to publishing a collection of her short stories soon. Please check out her blog at https://marquessamatthews.com/

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Podcast 06: Knowing When It’s Time To Let Go

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I want to share my 6th podcast with you all (I’ve been on podcast hiatus for a few weeks contemplating the universe and it’s creation)… I believe that oftentimes we want a thing so badly, we’re willing to go through hell to get it. The fact that we waited so long, fought so hard, that we don’t want to let it go when we finally have it.  I’ve been that guy.

Have you ever been in relationship or dated someone for a time, only to find out you should have let them go long before you did? The signs were there, but you held on? Or maybe you had separation anxiety and you were too fearful of being single again.

In today’s podcast, I will talk about the obvious (and not-so-obvious) signs of separation anxiety. Also, when you should stay, when you should go, and coping with hanging on to a relationship past it’s expiration date.

Please click on the stream below to listen:
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https://www.spreaker.com/user/10276049/podcast-06-knowing

If you would like to direct download this podcast, please click play below.

The Curious Case Of The Often Ignored Red Flag

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That notorious red flag. We’ve all seen them. We’ve all ignored them, and later acted like we didn’t see a thing.

You know the role, we’ve all played it well. When we act like the person we’re dating, changed into a different person overnight—when they were the same person we discovered them to be a week into the dating process. They never changed, they were always the same. Those blinders are semi-permeable. We see what we want to see at times, to, “enjoy the ride,” or, “maybe it’s nothing.” When in fact that red flag is, everything.

Dating Is Already Difficult

While dating can be fun, the process of vetting can be exhausting. There are countless dating blogs about the misadventures of each dater, where they chronicle each experience they’ve had. So, the challenges are well documented.

So how do we still fall for the, “banana in the tailpipe?”

“The mind is the most skilled Photoshopper. It can rationalize anything and paint any picture of anyone, depending on our initial perspective. There is a psychological phenomenon known as the ‘confirmation bias,’ where we are inclined to discard all evidence that does not align with our views and only keep those that do. And with a potentially toxic person, they have worked to create a false positive impression to worm their way into your heart. So even if they do something bad or say something that’s off, you may think, ‘He’s only this way because he went through X.’ This is when ticking boxes of ‘Is he rude to the waiter?’ ‘Is he nice to his family members?’ doesn’t work. He could be all that — the sleekest toxic people are. But underlying it, if he says things like, ‘So they’ll treat us better the next time,’ or he has a mean mouth towards some people, and if you find yourself justifying his transactional mindset or meanness, then it’s time to pause and step back. Our brains work overtime to convince us of someone who’s not good for us, even when our guts know it.”

-Perpetua Neo

A Few Red Flags

Their communication is spotty…

…and inconsistent. Nothing is worse than rarely being able to reach someone. I’m not just talking about a phone call either. I”m talking about all forms of communication. Direct messenger, text message, email, smoke signal, and carrier pigeon are all unsuccessful.

This is why communication is so important. This person doesn’t necessarily have to be doing anything disrespectful or unsavory. They truly could be busy, or bad with prioritization—which is another issue (or red flag).

They love to challenge you

This is one of my pet peeves. Every-single-thing you say, or do… they have to interject, show they’re better, offer some opinion to the contrary, or confront you . This reeks of

insecurity, or an inferiority and/or superiority complex. Don’t be surprised that when you find an inferiority complex within, that there’s a superiority complex hidden beneath it. One compensates for the other.

This person cannot bear the idea of their inferiority, so they overcompensate in other areas that will test you. They feel as though they are superior (in compensation mode) when

they are actually not. An example would be… a man with a small penis would feel inferior to a well-endowed man. So he will overcompensate with an over-exuberance of oral sex. Another example would be someone who truly feels they are inferior to another race of men/women, and uses every opportunity to tear them down, so they can feel superior. This may occur when you give a compliment to someone in the race they feel superior to. These comments may come off as jokes, or back-handed, passive comments.

They want to test your boundaries constantly

This person wants to see how far they can get you.

  • You tell them you’re not ready for sex, and they still try to seduce you, or engage in sexual conversation.
  • You’re not ready for them to meet your family, or children and they make you feel bad about it with a “guilt-trip.”
  • From the beginning you told them certain days you are unavailable, and they still try to plan outings or meet-ups on those days.
  • You may not like talking about how much money you make, so they ask you, “what do you do you?”
  • They may not like your style of dress, or the way you wear your hair. Or, even the way your house is decorated. So they “low-key” offer suggestions.

Your intuition, foresight and “Spidey-Sense” kick-in

Then, your gut tells you…

  • “Nah… something ain’t right…”
  • Then you say to yourself…”he/she is cool, but I just don’t know about them…”
  • You feel this tingling in your head that says, “THIS AIN’T THE ONE!”
  • She complains a lot, but maybe she’s going through something.
  • I’m always pulling my wallet out when we spend time.
  • Why are all her photos from the neck-up?
  • They talk about themselves all the time
  • He/she is always talking about his/her ex.
  • They are a total narcissist. Always pointing the finger, always projecting.

So what do you do?

You date them anyway. When they mess up, or manage to arch your eyebrow, you justify their actions. You overlook the red flags that are presented to you on a silver platter. Later on down the road, maybe a few months or so, things go Topsy-turvy, and you’re now in reflection/hindsight mode.

My point… signs are always there. Although they are difficult to read at times, they are always there. Some people can detect red flags immediately because they literally look for them. Others do not look for them and get, “caught slipping.” Of course there are those that fall in the middle. They see the red flags, question them, and when the line is dropped in the water—they bite. Typically this is because they want it to work out so badly, you love them… or, you’ve had sex with this person, and their judgement is clouded. Even worse, they know there’s something wrong, and stay regardless out of desperation, or low self-esteem.

Choices Choices

We always have a choice. We can act on the red flag(s), or, we can can ignore them. If you choose to ignore them, be ready to reap the whirlwind. Remember, not all red flags are truly red flags. It’s best to communicate your concerns. If the person becomes defensive, that could be another red flag. Regardless, you need to voice your concerns. Never hesitate. If you do, it’s to your own detriment.

You may find out that the red flag truly was a false alarm. If you never bring it up, you will never know until it’s further down the line. Even worse, you may never find out, or you may find out when you’re in a relationship, or married to this person. Obviously this isn’t ideal.

Keep your eyes open, and happy discerning!

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Kiss From Death

He appears before you when you least expect it.  The embodiment of your heart’s deepest longings, you are enchanted.  Like a Siren luring her victim with her song, so too are you caught within Death’s grasp.  You greedily drink his words from his goblet, so tender and sweet.  Enthralled by his promise to fill the void, you are intoxicated by his poison.

Ever so gracefully, the phantom whisks his prey onto the dance floor of twilight’s masquerade.  You notice not the talons that dig deeply into your flesh, for you are bewitched.  A veil he places over your consciousness, which you gladly accept.  Numb to the wounds inflicted are you, as you dance this dance with Death.

Ensnared in his clutches, you desperately cling to idle promises.  Weary you become, as your light slowly begins to fade.  Once a star burning ever so bright, now a mere ember you are.  A shadow of your former self, you feel your spirit drifting away.  A mere shell you have now become, and you are dying.

You are drowning, engulfed in despair.  Yet, as you struggle to lift your head above the water, you manage to catch a glimpse of the phantom behind the mask.  Choose to release yourself from his enchantment, for you hold the power.  Give not into his sweet illusion, for it is merely a mirage.  I beg you, ignore not the phantom’s true identity.  For by doing so, you will be given a kiss from Death.

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This post was contributed by Feather from Beyond The Light. I stumbled on her much by coincidence as she found me in October when I did my Domestic Violence series. An incredible woman who is also a survivor of domestic violence who wishes to break the silence that shrouds survivors on a daily basis. She knows that there is hope that we can break the shackles of domestic abuse together.  Check out her blog: Beyond The Light

Read: Men Rape Us And You Let Them

One of my favorite sites is For Harriet and I read such a powerful essay the other day that I just had to share it. This writer’s words resonate with so many of us that have been victims of sexual assault. You know that I’m a survivor, but many of you are also a survivor. Many of your friends, family or acquaintances may have suffered sexual assault or abuse. It never ends.

Before Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein or the many other famous men that have been accused, there are just normal men out here that are hurting women and children. No one should have to be a victim of abuse. No one should have to tell the story of their #metoo assault for you to realize that we have to be advocates. Advocates for every one.

My prayer is that you will start seeing that this is a problem in our country and finding ways to stop the violence. To stop the predators. To protect the victims before they even become victims. It will take a village.

Please read this powerful essay by Nicole Shawan Junior entitled Men Rape Us and You Let Them

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Note: I don’t own the rights to this photo. Through a Google search it came up.

 

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Surviving the BS – Part 2

This is a continuation of my post yesterday

I’m tired of staying silent. I’m tired of wearing a mask hiding the pain of what I’m enduring and everyone taking sides not knowing half of the truth. It doesn’t matter. My life. My story. My pain.

God has given me great people to help support me throughout my life. I am thankful for them. For their continued prayer and support. For their strength when I forward the emails that I receive because I’m filled with such anxiety over what will be said next.

It’s October. It’s Domestic Violence Awareness month and I’m tired of protecting the person who abuses me. I will no longer allow the oppressor to continue to oppress me. I am not going to be silent. Verbal and emotional abuse are just as important as physical. Could you imagine receiving emails from someone throwing your pain of when you were a child in your face? Verbal abuse is abuse and is never justified.

Think about the allegations against Harvey Weinstein. It’s been 30 years of accusations that this man victimized many over the years. Some spoke out and some didn’t. Many victims don’t speak out. Fear. Ridicule. Humiliation. Loss of opportunities.

“He was violent toward women and men, and his abuse came in many forms — from screaming and berating to character assassination and nonconsensual advances. His behavior was both an open secret and a secret ritual.” – Violence. Threats. Begging. Harvey Weinstein’s 30-year pattern of abuse in Hollywood. – Monica Hesse and Dan Zak 

Sound familiar? But, men can be victims of sexual assault as well. We learned that when actor Terry Crews spoke out about his sexual assault. He gets it. Do you?

I am overprotective of my son. So, what? I know that 1 in 6 boys will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18. The number is probably larger than that as many boys don’t report the assault. They repress the memories. Think Tyler Perry. He was abused and shared his story for the first time while I was pregnant with Munch.

I stand for all those that have been victimized and/or abused. I stand ready to add my voice to the list of people that have suffered. To speak for those that have lost their voice and to defend those that are too tired to fight. You matter. I matter.

We all matter.

I had to remind myself of that these last couple of weeks. I had to stop the tears, the nightmares and repressed memories that are seeping through from yet another trauma. I had to regain my strength, dry my tears and let you know that I’m a victim too. But, no more.

No one has a right to tell you that you don’t matter. No one has a right to harass, intimidate and bully you. No one has the right to break you down after you’ve been broken down by so many other men. No one has the right to deny you the right to live your happy ass life.

So, I’m choosing me. I want you to choose you too. I want you to let go of all the pain of the past and give it to God. I want you to find peace. Like I’m trying to do. I’m letting go. I’m allowing this battle to be fought by God. I will continue to love and raise my son as I see fit. I will no longer be a victim for anyone. Including my ex.

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Surviving the BS – Part 1

The goal of my blog has always been to tell you what’s going on in my life. In all honesty, I started writing to blog about my life and family when I was happily pregnant with Munch. I had many starts and stops and I wasn’t consistent. Life got in the way.

I came back to it at the end of my marriage. It was a way for me to maintain my sanity through all the drama and the noise. It was my free therapy. However, I held back a lot. I was doing it under the guise of protecting my son. But, I was hurting. I was dying.

No more.

I’m tired ya’ll. I’m exhausted. I can no longer remain silent while I continue experiencing this drama. It’s not fair to me. It’s not fair to Munch.

For the last year, I’ve gone back and forth to court with my ex-husband. I told you how it stressed me out. The last court date was on September 11th. They accepted our parenting agreement. An agreement that we supposedly entered in a good faith effort to co-parent.

But, we don’t co-parent. We can’t. I hate him. He hates me and we’re left trying not to mess up Munch. Every therapy appointment I tell my therapist that is my fear. That my son will be damaged by the choices his parents have made. She reminds me that children are resilient and that I can love and do the best that I can and it will make a difference.

I’m not as optimistic.

How did I get to the point of hating my ex? From all the senseless back and forth. The name calling, the BS passive aggressive behavior, the court drama, the insertion of his wife, the mediation, etc. My life was in suspended animation and I had no choice but to participate in this custody drama. I thought there would be peace. At least for a little while.

However, I was wrong. I underestimated the man that I was dealing with. I believed that somehow we would call a “cease fire” and leave each other alone. No contact or communication unless it pertained to our son. All email communications would only be about our son.

But, I was naive.

It was a rough first week in October. We went back and forth on our son’s flute and swim lessons. Unnecessarily long emails that really don’t matter. I was tired. I was tired of receiving the emails and asked him to please stop contacting me unless it had something to do with our son because these back and forth emails were harassing and emotionally draining to me.

This was what I received:

BSabuse

 

I highlighted the piece of text that caused me anger, angst and feelings of violation. I realized that I was being battered and suffering emotional abuse by my ex-husband. He copied his wife on the email. I blacked out the email addresses and names. Why? Did they care when they sent me this BS? Probably not.

You see I told you about being a survivor of sexual assault, molestation and rape in my post: I Know Not. I shared my story because my ex-husband wanted to use it as an excuse to verbally abuse me. He wanted to harass and embarrass me in front of his wife as a form of intimidation.

So, if she wanted to know what really happened as a woman and a mother, she could read about it in my own damn words or she could support the man that continues to abuse me. But, it’s not about her. It’s about him. It’s about me. It’s about me saying that I will no longer allow this man to continue to insult and humiliate me. I am a survivor.

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I will no longer be silent.

-To Be Continued-

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Let’s Talk About Sex

So, we’ve all heard about Usher giving herpes to a woman that he had sex with and then paying her off. Now, another woman has come forward and said that she had sex with him back in April (he’s married) at her house and then in New Orleans and that Usher never shared his diagnosis with her. She’s asking for 20 million! Say what? Yep, 20 million.

Now, back to the paid settlement woman. This woman said in court documents that she saw a greenish discharge from his penis and Usher told her he was negative for any sexually transmitted diseases. What is wrong with this woman? Let me be clear to any man or woman….If you see some green stuff coming out of a man’s penis or a woman’s vagina – please run. Why would you then have unprotected sex with someone after that? Because they are a celebrity?

That was mind-blowing. On to the next case where she is asking for 20 million. I understand she’s scared and is now saying she has she tested positive, but is money going to make it better? Why’d you have unprotected sex with him? He’s married. Why were you even sleeping with him? Ugh! I suspect that a lot more women are going to coming forward and bring law suits against him. I feel for Usher. It is his private medical that has been shared publicly, but dang man. Why didn’t you tell the women you were sleeping with? Give them the option to decide if they want to sleep with you especially since you knew you had herpes.

All this drama got me to thinking when did we get so cavalier about sharing our bodies with just anyone. I don’t care if he’s a superstar or Rodney on the corner. What happened to practicing safe sex?

Remember, in the 90’s there was all the talk about wrapping it up and safe sex and even Salt-n-Pepa sang Let’s Talk About Sexy Baby. When did we stop caring about safe sex? When did we see so little value in our bodies?

Was it when we realized that Majic Johnson is still living with HIV and fine? When did we become risk takers? With our bodies? With our minds?

A friend of mine told me a few years ago that most people don’t get tested for Herpes when they do their annual physicals or gynecological visits for women. It has to be specifically asked for. What? How the hell are doctors not doing this?

His doctor told him that herpes is so common and causes no problems that it’s no big deal. So, the medical community is in a conspiracy? What the hell! We have to be an advocate for our own health. This is no joke.

Wrap it up. Protect yourself. Know your status with everything.

safersex

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links: Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.

Ordinary

It was an ordinary day. On an ordinary street. In an ordinary house. In that house sat three ordinary girls. They were laughing and playing and giggling like the 13 year old girls they were. They talked about boys, dreams and their parents.

They discussed how they hated some of their teachers and school was so boring. They dreamed of summer vacations and new clothes. It was almost over. Summer was almost here and they vowed to make this an extraordinary summer.

Savannah logged into her laptop. She quickly logged into a website and started chatting up her new friend. He was an older boy. He was 18. She liked him. They had been chatting on-line for a few weeks now.

She sent him pictures of herself and he always told her that she was beautiful. She liked that. She never thought of herself as beautiful. Cute and ordinary. However, Paul (that was his name) always made her believe that she was beautiful.

He told her she could be a model. Paul asked her to face time him with her friends around. She did. They giggled and smiled and posed as Paul said that they were beautiful and could all be models.

Paul asked them to meet them in the parking lot at the local mall. They agreed. They told their parents that they were going to the mall and would be back in a couple of hours. They were careful. Nothing would happen to the three of them.

They were taught that you always travel together. So, they did. It was nothing special. A bus took them to the mall and they waited in the parking lot by the local Macy’s. They laughed with the fact that one of them had a boyfriend. They giggled.

They weren’t able to date yet.

Across the parking lot, Paul approached them. He was so sexy. He had on nice clothes and shoes and the biggest smile. His teeth were straight. Wow! He was gorgeous.

They were so busy pointing and smiling at Paul that they didn’t see the van pull up behind them and the men grab them and stuff them in the truck. An ordinary black van filled with men holding them down as they struggled and screamed and then went limp.

Ordinary girls are sold into sex-trafficking every day. We need to do something about this. No more silence please.

 

 

This post is part of the Daily post. The word of the day was ordinary.

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links:  Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/

Minimal

He assumed that there would be minimal damage. What harm was there in the game he was playing? He wanted her. He had to have her.

She was beautiful. Kind of shy. But, he was attracted to her. Not just her. Others too. But, she would be the one that would be in his bed tonight.

Slowly he hunted her like his prey.

He wined and dined her with minimal thought to how she was falling in love with him. She laughed at his jokes, smiled when he told her she was beautiful and fell captive to his charm. She required minimal things.

She told him that she needed a man that was authentic and transparent. He had to believe and practice honesty in his daily life. His words and actions must be above reproach. He had to be a man that she could trust.

He lied to her about his intentions. No thought or concern to the words that he was using to bring her in. She fell for it. She fell in love.

With a man that was using her for sex. She didn’t know it. She gave her body. Her soul. Her heart and her mind. He was an amazing lover.

He made her feel as though she were the most beautiful and loved woman ever. It was a game. A game of manipulation and seduction. She was of minimal concern. She was dismissed.

He left her alone. Beautiful and broken. She would always remember him. He had left her with HIV because he couldn’t be concerned about how having unprotected sex would affect her. After all, she was of minimal concern to him.

This post is inspired by the Daily Prompt. The word of the day was minimal.

 

Want to keep in touch? You can find me on social media at the following links:  Twitter @mskeeinmd, Facebook page A Thomas Point of View and my Instagram page https://www.instagram.com/mskeeinmd/.