Co-Parenting: Violence

I’ve heard so many sad stories on this journey to co-parenting with my ex. People who’ve suffered abuse and have to deal with mental health issues. I’m not judging. I’m just saying that my transition is not like everyone else’s.

I saw this video last week on Facebook and my heart broke. This woman is smashing up her ex’s car. The children were in the back seat:

Now, what is scary as heck about this situation and what has garnered a discussion on co-parenting is whether or not this woman’s behavior was acceptable. I said “Hell, no. She’s dead wrong. The children were in the car. She could have hurt them babies.” But, another woman said “You don’t know what she’s been through.” Umm, whatever.

Then another woman talked about violence in her relationship and how she literally flipped on her abuser who was her child’s father and did the same thing. Was she right? Nope. But, we don’t know the full story. I paused.

I’m not advocating violence on any level. With anyone. Especially with your children around. But, no man or woman is worth me losing my job over because I am mad at them or the situation I find myself in. I get it.

I grew up in a violent home. My dad was abusive. There was blood and the sounds of fists hitting flesh. I don’t wish this on anyone. Those images have stayed with me for years. I can’t ever forget and neither will these children.

It is important that we understand the cycle of abuse. If you are in an abusive situation, please get out. Immediately. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Get help!

If you have children with your abuser, please get them out of that situation. Report all acts of violence immediately to your local law enforcement. You have to be an advocate for yourself.

Don’t lose your children because you are in jail. Don’t allow your partner or ex-partner put you in a situation where you can’t defend your children. If you won’t protect them, then who will?

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/.

Commit

“Today I commit my life to you. For better or worse, I vow to honor you and love you with all that I have and with all that I am.”

I sat there listening to that sentence over and over. We were more than this. I thought there was a deeper level of connection. How could I have been so wrong?

When I met Cameron 10 years ago, I had just committed to living a new life. I was in graduate school working on my MBA at Georgetown University. I had lived a life well beyond my years. I was a survivor.

Our dating life was surreal. Perfect with the right amount of friction and issues to remind us that we are only human. We dated for 3 years. Laughing, dancing and traveling allowed us to grow closer. I never shared much of my past with Cameron.

He knew that I had a traumatic life, but not to the point that I could ever talk about. He said he understood. He didn’t want to pressure me. He just wanted to love.

And he did. Everywhere. I was the envy of all my friends.

I had happiness. I had security. I had love.

What more could I ask for or ever need? Nothing. Which is why I was surprised when Cameron asked me to marry him after 3 years. I mean I said yes, but was shocked because I never imagined getting married. I was happy with the way things were, but being his wife meant that I could enjoy a legal sort of bliss.

Our wedding was perfect. The beautiful island of Capri. The sun, the sand and his family and friends made it perfect. We would honor our commitment with a beautiful destination wedding. I love Cameron.

My dress was perfect. Just enough sex appeal to keep him wanting, but beautiful and feminine to not be embarrassed when we had children. Heaven. I was in heaven.

I was also drunk from the sun and wine. I stumbled to the bathroom at the venue. The women’s had a line. I didn’t care. I pushed the door to the men’s room opened. I was horrified at what I saw.

My eyes wouldn’t register. What is this? I must be dreaming.

The sounds of guttural sex were both familiar and real. I pushed open the stall. I saw the man that I loved and just married screwing my maid of honor.

I began to scream. “Whore! Slut! Asshole!” My blood was boiling as I began swinging at both people. I was going to commit murder.

 

This post was inspired by the Daily Post. The word prompt was commit.

 

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/.

Volume

I turned down the volume on the radio. I had a headache. The stress of my situation was weighing on my spirit and I couldn’t take it. I sighed “Two more weeks.”

Two more weeks until I was free to move away. Move to another place far away from this mess of a life that I had managed to create here. My job was transferring. Bigger raise. Bigger opportunity. Bigger city.

The promotion spoke volumes about my professional career. My love life on the other hand wasn’t as finalized. I had been dating a man for the last six months. I don’t know if you could really call it dating. It was more of a relationship of convenience. We hooked up when we were available.

He was a Virgo. Moody as hell. Fine, but definitely not a long term option. He didn’t seem to care when I told him about the job offer and move to Chicago. He just grunted “Good for you.” I guess I knew where we stood in those three words. They spoke volumes.

I couldn’t wait to get out of D.C.. So many memories, both good and bad, but Chicago was a new city. Time for a bigger change. I had already connected with some of my sorority sisters and they couldn’t wait for my arrival. I could just imagine the jazz clubs, the deep dish pizza and the winters. I was ready.

I looked around my apartment and tried to finish packing up my life. No real attachments. My walls held the standard black art and my shelves contained the acceptable amount of English and Russian literature to show that I was educated. I had no personal photos of men that I dated or my family. I was too busy.

Always working. Always striving. I was the most accomplished in my family. That in itself spoke volumes.

I grew up dirt poor in Frog Jump, Tennessee. Not much to see, but the minute I graduated, I packed my bags and headed to Atlanta, Georgia.  I was a southern girl at heart. I attended a prestigious HBCU, graduated with honors and got a job in NYC. After a few years working my way up the corporate ladder, off to the nation’s capital I ventured to work on my MBA at Johns Hopkins and work in finance.

I just knew that I would find love here. I did. Derek was his name. He was tall, sexy and educated to boot. He was my first real love. He showed me the world. I gave him my all. Including my womb where he planted his seed. We were having a baby. It was unexpected, but I knew that Derek would be excited.

We had talked about children, marriage and a future after we had both established ourselves professionally. We were going to be a power couple. Until the baby. Until the night I told Derek that I was carrying our future. He looked at me with so much power that I knew that he would gather me up in his arms and kiss me.

But, I felt the force of his fist across my eye. The venom and anger in which he hit me with his fists and his words spoke volumes. “You whore!” he screamed. “You know that I am not where I’m supposed to be. You trapped me you slut!”

I laid there as he continued to hit me and kick me. I couldn’t fight back. He was too big. I tried. I cried. I tried to protect my belly.

My neighbor called the police. They broke in. They saved me.

I was another statistic. Another battered woman. My degrees didn’t matter. My job status. My race.

I lost more than my baby that night. I lost a piece of my soul. The quietness of my womb spoke volumes as I lay in my hospital bed.

 

This piece is inspired by the Daily Post. The word prompt of the day was volume.

 

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/.

None

She had none.

No money. No food. Nothing.

Her children were hungry.

What would they eat?

Her babies.

Her failed marriage had left her nothing.

Her ex-husband was a narcissistic abuser.

She left him. Dead of night. Two kids in tow.

With $2,000 to her name, she found a safe place for her and the children in a new town. She had no family. No friends. He made sure of that. None.

All she had was her kids. Her life. Her car. Nothing else mattered without her kids.

They lived cheaply.

She found a job. It didn’t pay much. But, it was something.

She had to make more money.

She washed her clothes out on hand in the motel room and hung them to dry.

She had an idea. She put her hair up. Put on make-up. Put on some nice clothes.

She put on some heels. Grabbed her coat and purse. Left her sleeping babies to make some money.

She walked the streets. Wishing that someone would stop and give her some money for a service. The kids would be up in a few hours and she had to feed them breakfast.

A car stopped. She asked him what he wanted. He told her “A blow job”. She told him a price “$50.” He told her that was too much. He would pay her $20.00. She could take it or leave it.

She thought about her pride for a moment. She was willing to sell her body on the streets to feed her children. Is this really what life had become? She slowly opened the door to his car and hopped in. He drove off.

She realized that she didn’t need to think about pride. She had none left.

 

This post is inspired by the Daily Post. The word prompt of the day is none

 

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/.

Remembering I’m Enough

I am enough. That was one of the hardest things that I had to tell myself. As someone who is extremely self-confident, I seemed to lose it when I got married. He became bigger than me. Not because he wanted too or even asked me to. It was me. My choice. I thought that’s what you do when you get married. You sacrifice yourself for the greater good of the marriage.

But, I was wrong. Marriage is much more than that. How can one be expected to have a healthy and functioning relationship when you’re jacked up mentally? If you lose a piece of yourself in the process of attaching yourself to someone else, how can you be expected to know that you’re enough?  Truth is…you can’t.

I couldn’t. I didn’t. Because I was broken. Broken people can’t seem to realize that their enough. Life and storms knock you out and you feel as though you are drowning. You can’t swim. Why did this have to happen to you? Why not? This was the question that I truly had to answer. Was I above trials and tribulations? I knew from church and prayer that the road wouldn’t be easy, but dang. I couldn’t drive over those spikes without getting a flat.

Until I realized that at least I have the ability and tools in my car to fix and repair that flat. I didn’t have to drive on that flat tire, damaging the rim. I could pull over and keep repairing the tire or use the spare. You see it right? The Aha Moment…I could do it. My attitude towards my situation and life’s circumstances had to change just like that tire or my soul would be damaged.

I realized that I deserve to be forgiven and I deserve to forgive because I’m enough. Knowing and believing that you are enough in the midst of difficult situations can impact your self-esteem in a major way. You doubt the little things. You act out because you feel like you’re not enough.  But, balance is what I’ve learned. Faith renewed. Spiritual growth. They happen when you stop acting out and expecting everyone to fix or understand the messed up you.

Once you start to grow and walk with the confidence you truly have, it shows. People can see the light in your eyes when you genuinely laugh. They notice your change in hair color or clothes. They notice that effervescent smile plastered all over your face. They want to know what it is it about you. You were broken and messed up last time they saw you. What changed? You know what you tell them?

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/.

The Third Love

Let me tell you about the types of men I’ve loved. Some good. Some bad. Was it all there fault? Nope. In many cases, I didn’t know who I was so they could never love me the way that I needed to be loved.

I didn’t know me.

I didn’t love me.

I couldn’t love them the way that they deserved to be loved.

Love was a concept to big to put in words and yet I desired it so much. I believed in it. I craved it. I wanted love and I needed to be loved.

Don’t most people?

What happens when you wake up and realize that you keep falling in love with the wrong type of people? What happens if that love abuses you or leaves you so messed up that you can’t fathom the pain of ever giving of yourself so completely? You sigh. You withdraw. You start to believe that you will never know love. True love.

That’s how I felt. I kept falling in love with the same kind of men. Until Mr. C. He was different. I couldn’t explain it. For the first time. I felt safe. I felt wanted. I felt loved. It was easy. It felt natural. It was healthy.

I was in shock. I was surprised. I was scared. I didn’t believe that a love without cursing or yelling, cheating or hitting was possible. We women are taught that no one is perfect and that we must fight for love. That love was hard.

However, that’s not true. I read this great article called  We Only Fall in Love with Three People in Our Lifetime – Each One for a Specific Reason by Kate Rose while perusing Facebook about a month ago. Man, this article was the truth.

This article had a profound effect because it basically summarized my  life story. I wasn’t alone. It basically said that we fall in love with three people in our lifetime:

  • Idealistic love—the one that seems like the fairy tales we read as children.
  • Hard love—the one that teaches us lessons about who we are and how we often want or need to be loved.
  • Third love  – the one we never see coming. The one that usually looks all wrong for us and that destroys any lingering ideals we clung to about what love is supposed to be.

I’ve had 5 idealistic loves. I’m not sure if they knew it. We just existed in this space between fantasy and reality and planned lives we would never have and futures that wouldn’t be. We believed in fairy tales. These loves occurred between high school and college.

I’ve had 2 hard loves. These loves were painful. They were loves that I tried to fit. Loves that I wanted to mold and manipulate into the greatest love ever to be. But, they couldn’t. They weren’t designed to be my forever love. They were designed to teach me about myself. I was hurt. I was broken. They shaped my belief that this can’t be real. This can’t be the love that God has for me.

And then there was three. The third love from the third type of person. The love that just works. That’s the best type of love. I know because I have it. For the first time in my life.

You can too. We just have to get out of our own way and love ourselves enough to heal from love #2 to get to the third love.  We can’t let number #2 have all the power over how our lives turn out. We have to move past the pain,the anger, the resentment, the failure – all of it. Once we do, we allow ourselves to know and appreciate a safe and easy love.

FBF: Self-Esteem

I found a book that I had created my junior/senior year of photos of me and my friends in high school. It was weird looking at the hairstyles and some of the outfits, but it was good. I was looking back at the photos and remembering how I thought I was fat at the time.

I was always the biggest girl it seemed but I really hated my shape. I had a big head, big nose and a big butt. I thought of myself as the odd girl out. The oddly shaped girl who wasn’t quite right. But, I was perfectly fine.

See at that time I just wanted to be invisible. To be seen as a beautiful girl to one boy. I smiled on the outside when many times I was so broken and damaged inside that people couldn’t see it. You can’t see the scars of the abuse. You can’t see the pain that I carried while trying to have a “normal” childhood.

Normal. What the hell was normal?

I guess it was boyfriends and dances. Dates and parties. Friends and fun. I had those memories. Hidden inside my size 12/14 frame.

What I learned…We are our own worst critics. Stop judging yourself and just love the person looking back in the mirror. You are beautiful just the way you are.