Rolling With The Punches

On the 15th of June while sightseeing over the border I had a bad fall and fractured my spine (L-1) An ambulance was called and I found myself immobilized in an Emergency room undergoing a series of tests which involved X-ray, CT scan, and MRI scan. The test results showed a piece of my vertebrae which looks like a wedge of a pizza cleanly separated from the main part, they called it a stable fracture. For the first time in my life I experienced how it was to have a catheter inside me which took them too long to insert because apparently, I have an almost nonexistent urethra. Which reminded me of the paramedic in the ambulance who had to administer an intranasal delivery of morphine after failing to locate any of my veins. Speaking of morphine, that was another first time for me. Never had them before. Now I have two kinds, extended-release morphine, and the usual short-acting opioid plus other things to lighten the overall burden that comes with the condition.

For someone who is as active and energetic and wanderer as me, lying in bed for weeks in one position is deadly not only physically but mentally and emotionally as well. For somebody who is always been independent and proud, being totally dependent on another person for everything including personal hygiene is murder for the soul. I’m ashamed.

I am ashamed and angry with myself for allowing this to happen. A split second of stupidity and error of judgment from my part resulted in this. What I was thinking? 

If there is something positive that I would carry with me from this accident is the truth that I have to admit the fact that like it or not, I am not anymore who I used to be. A lesson learned the hard way but it had to happen or otherwise, I will be forever deluding myself that I’m still that person from years ago who knew no bounds, daring and fearless. 

Doctors said I’m lucky. It could have been worse. In any other circumstances, I could be paralyzed or dead. The way I fell they suspected a worst-case scenario. I should have not landed where I landed but with some curious twist of fate, I was saved from the life of being forever wheelchair-bound. 

But something will never change no matter what, that is my quest for independence and freedom.

I ditched the morphine in the first week and wrestle with pain. I prefer that over addiction and constipation. I was advised not to take the stairs and don’t do challenging work yet but I can’t lie there doing nothing. Besides, our home office is upstairs now since we have converted the downstairs bureau into my bedroom. And there are so many things to do in the garden. I was cooking already the first day because in order to have palatable nutrition I have to cook. I can do a lot of things standing including eradicating climbing plants totally and pruning the roses but sitting is too painful and bending is a big no-no. I cry at night from the pain and my body is in a constant battle with exhaustion but I’m still standing. I don’t dare to take a shower alone and laying in the bath is not yet for the near future but I’m still mobile and I’m glad for that. Pain or no pain.

I will be more careful in the future knowing what I know now. But I doubt what happened will change me as a person. I am who I am.

I will not be able to blog often for a month or two. Another blow to my already shaky constitution watching things that matter to me being taken away one by one but I don’t want to dwell on that for the moment. It’s not good for my healing process. I want to concentrate on getting better so I can catch up fast.

I hope to find you there when the time comes.

Take care all of you and till then.

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No, I Do Not Have Proof.

I do not have proof.

But, I know it happened. I know because I remember. I know because I was there. 

I was six going on seven. I remember what time of year it was—summer—and I remember it was at a party or maybe it was a picnic. I remember it happened in my own backyard behind my house.

It happened with people laughing and talking and drinking in the distance—not watching, but right under their noses. It happened in the woods, in broad daylight.

I remember it was quick. I remember his mouth coming down on mine, how he grabbed and squeezed my little girl face. I remember being pinned against a large rock. I remember his hand, how he put my small hand beneath his big one and worked himself over. How he shoved his big fingers up inside me and told me I would like what we were doing a lot more when I was older.

I remember running away and hiding in my bedroom. I remember that I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t get enough air, and I wanted to vomit, so I did, right in my mouth—the taste sharp and sour when I swallowed it back down.

I remember how terrified I felt. I remember being mute, unable to speak, holding my words hostage inside my belly, a belly filled with bile. I remember I had no idea what the f*ck just happened to me. Or why it happened.

Because I was six.

I remember the pain between my legs—but no, I don’t remember his name. I’m sorry I don’t remember his name. I’m sorry I don’t have the proof you are looking for, but does it count—is my story “credible”—if I tell you about the blood? Because I remember the blood. I’m sorry I didn’t save my underwear. And I’m sorry I don’t remember what time it was, but I remember his bad breath and his curled, wet lips.

Does it count if I remember this? Will you believe it happened if I told you exactly what he said? How he snarled and told me he would kill me if I said anything to anyone? How he called me a f*cking brat as I ran away from him? Does any of that count as proof?

I’m sorry I didn’t talk about it. To anyone. What I told my mother that day was I had a stomachache. That I didn’t feel good. I didn’t talk about it that day or at all until I was 45 years old. I still don’t talk about it.

Tell me, was I supposed to keep my underwear locked in a box, tucked away like a keepsake so I could pull it out in the future to prosecute my attacker, someone I knew, someone who would deny my story, call it crazy, call me crazy, and tell everyone I was lying?

Was I supposed to ask someone how to spell his name so I could write it down on a piece of paper? A piece of paper I could put inside the box, pinned to my underwear? Tell me, what was the best way for a six-year-old to handle the situation?

I can tell you how I suppressed it, though. How I buried the memory. How I held it down, muffled it so that it wouldn’t kill me. How it tried to kill me for years and years, and how I fought with it—my demon memory. How I carried it around inside my body. How I ate and ate and tried to stuff it down in order to control it.

And how it just kept coming back up again. How it still does.

If a branch fell on a woman walking alone in the woods, and she told you about it 32 years later, would you believe her? Maybe you would because she could point to a scar on her arm if she had one. If she had a scar, one that you could see, she could call it proof.

7.6 billion people inhabit the planet. Roughly half are women. One in four women and girls have been or will be sexually assaulted, which is close to one billion women. 

When will one billion women be enough proof?

We don’t carry proof around in our purses waiting for just the right moment to “ruin” our attacker’s life. We carry it in our hearts and in our heads.

Our assaults come along for the ride in every relationship we ever have. We carry them on our hips and in our bellies when we turn to food to cope. We carry them in pill containers and wine bottles. They sit next to us in AA meetings. They’re tucked into the folds of our divorce papers.

We carry them like rocks in a sock and we wield them as weapons with our sudden bursts of pent up anger and unexplained rage.

We are labeled moody and troubled and bitchy and unpredictable. We put our proof in a bag and we drag it to our therapy sessions where it sits on the floor, heavy, next to our feet. We pass it down to our children, our daughters—like toxic heirlooms.

Our dysfunction, our depression, our damage are the gifts that keep on giving.

Don’t talk to me or any other survivor of sexual assault about proof. The proof is often invisible, but we are not. We are right under your noses.

A proof is in the moment that haunts us forever, the thing we cannot forget.

We do not “have” proof, we are the proof. Because we were there one billion times over.

AUTHOR: KIMBERLY VALZANIA

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My Story

And at night , as I lay in my bed, they came my darling Erinyes, laughing softly in the dark, cold and triumphant, tender and merciless, their claws and teeth loving, beautifully seductive. Together they explore the cavities of my brain, with a mother’s tenderness, tearing, slicing with exquisite delicacy… By day they were invisible, barbed gossamer beneath my skin, a mesh of finest steel tightening and contracting on to my heart’s bloody core. I prayed- or tried to pray- But God wanted none of it. My sufferings and guilt were tastier morsels. God fed well on me.

Days… Weeks of obscene delirium at the hands of my darling Incubus. Like God they were hungry; vicious mow on their desperation.

I knew what they wanted, snapping at the leash, snarling and foaming for a glimpse of prey. I knew what they wanted. The story. My story. And I wanted to tell it…

~ Sleep, My Pale Sister

Witch_IV_by_love_chizue

Pedigree

…mine is shocking. Both in tales and in reality. At least from one side. Father’s side. If I’m going to believe (which is very difficult not to when evidence is staring me straight in the eyes and based on my own personal experience I have no reasons to doubt) I came from a family of cheating conniving  incestuous gypsy witches and nomad warlords who were/are fond of betraying and molesting each other in all possible ways. From my maternal side, I can easily describe them in few words: They are a bunch of upper middle class (possibly even rich) educated prejudiced narrow-minded tyrannical self-righteous people who have written my mother out of a will (for marrying my -to their eyes substandard- father) and refused to recognize our existence till I married my (foreigner therefore rich) ex but by then I was a rebel enough already and only too happy to defy them. Our very own little family… Well, what can I say? You have to read few of my post to get a little bit of insight how dysfunctional and pathetic we are. End of my pedigree sum up.

 “All parents damage their children. It cannot be helped. Youth, like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers. Some parents smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.”
― Mitch Albom

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Stress

It was my toe (the big one) I first became aware of… I could not move or even wiggle it so, I tried to open my eyes instead__  negative. Yet I could hear my mother humming post-war tunes in the background. In my mind’s eye, I could picture the sun slanting through the wooden Venetian blinds across the bed; it was always like that when I wake up around this time of the day on the same month, year after year after year… I imagined feeling the warmth of it on my face.

This was not the first time something similar happened to me. The initial experience occurred when I was fifteen years old. I know that eventually, I would properly wake up and everything will be alright. (If I fight as hard as I could at least) So, I laid there and waited… after a time, I tried to shock myself into movements… nothing. I concentrated hard, waited some more and repeated the effort, this time a nerve gave in; I was able to twitch.  After several tries, I succeeded to slowly displaced myself. It felt like swimming in sticky thick syrup, every movement was a fight; the gluey glutinous surroundings holding me back. I could envision how a fly might feel caught in a fly trap.

Again, I tried to open my eyes, thinking if I could only manage to do this, the rest would be easy… found out I still couldn’t, so I slid myself out of bed… butt first. When my toes hit the floor, I stood up; my hand involuntarily circled a post, I realized I must have fallen asleep in D.s room.

I made my way blindly to the door, opened it (handy if one knows the layout of one’s house perfectly in case something like this happens) and called my mother. What came out was a gurgling sound. I slightly panic. I was not only blind but mute as well? Almost playfully, I groped for the banister, found the thing and slowly glided myself down using my butt. The house has a spiral staircase and I could easily conceptualize what would happen if I slip.

Reaching the ground floor, I realized I had to pee; probably from using my butt so much. My mother’s humming stopped. I heard the television came to life; someone must have switched it on. I paddled to the living room and once again attempted to open my eyes to see what program was being watched, I succeeded half way and only the right one; she wasn’t there but bombing somewhere in the middle east was still going on. I saw bloody mutilated bodies being loaded on stretchers… I proceeded to the toilet.

When I opened the door, I saw a man sitting there, no face wearing black. I slammed the door shut and became aware of the fact that I could see again. I thought I must be hallucinating. So, I opened the door once more to confirm my doubts and he was still there! This time he acquired a face and was looking at me straight in the eyes. He was a middle-aged man with an ordinary face, devoid of any emotion; as blank as an unused slate. Then he slowly smiled, the expression spread on his face like someone was pulling the corners of his lips upwards. I saw rotten teeth and were there fangs inside there somewhere? He languidly reached out to touch me and I must have passed out because everything went black.

The next thing I know I was back in bed. Around me, there were voices; several of them including D. I felt hands all over me, touching … poking… Then I was lifted and something sharp pierced my skin. I lost consciousness again.

I woke up in a hospital. D. was watching. He looked worried. Apparently, I had nightmares and aroused screaming. Then I fainted and he could not reanimate me and it was Sunday, contrary to my belief that it occurred on a weekday.  When I asked the doctor what happened, he uttered to me one word; just one: stress.

It__s_Grating_Me_by_DiskoFaery

Knock, Knock…

“Words have no power to impress the mind without the exquisite horror of their reality.”

(Edgar Allan Poe)

…this time I got a clear view of him!

He was wearing a black and white striped shirt and some light coloured baseball cap.

He even was carrying flowers! White, unknown species of some prairie blooms.

I saw him by the door; the b*stard!

Then, all of a sudden: Wham! Bam! He was by the bed choking me!

I can smell his rotten smell! Feel his protruding stomach, my nails digging into his forearm… the s**t!

Reciting the names of my dear children (I didn’t know why? Just felt I needed to call someone who is important to me) and praying to God; I gathered all my strength and one by one prised his sausage fingers away from my throat, bending them backwards till he howled in pain!

I opened my eyes and he popped out of my sight!

G*ddamn being! Unlike his predecessor, this one is ruthless!

He didn’t do any preliminaries like the others; he just came to do his business.

Bad, bad person! He thinks I’m scared of him?

No way Jose! They have been visiting me for so long I have gotten used to them and their untimely arrivals! Bunch of no good….!

But this was the first time I encountered him though. For years it was always been the same someone who was paying me a call. The one I called Humprey Bogart, the gentleman assassin. Didn’t work out; so, they sent somebody new?

The altered appearance of this visitor maybe designed to scare me. Who knows?

He will come again, that’s for sure. I’m not looking forward to it but hey, what a girl can do?

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Reply To Daily Prompt: Second-Hand Stories

The darn Cat

“For the most wild, yet most homely narrative which I am about to pen, I neither expect nor solicit belief. Mad indeed would I be to expect it, in a case where my very senses reject their own evidence. Yet, mad am I not — and very surely do I not dream.”  

(Edgar Allan Poe in Eleonora)

I saw him. Yes, I did. I wish I hadn’t.

Like I said before, I cannot sleep when there is someone lying next to me. I need to be alone in bed, or otherwise, I cannot fall asleep. Besides, I can’t stand the smell of another person on my sheets and pillowcases. I want my bedroom to be clean, fresh and smells like me.  So, since the beginning of time, I have my own corner and later my own room. Even back then when I was with my ex and he raised hell because of it, I insisted to have my own private quarter and got what I wanted. The result was nobody could lock any room in our house. He made sure of that.

That particular (extraordinarily dark) night I was not in my designated space. I didn’t want to risk the chance of my ex-bothering me there so, I decided to hide in my son’s bedroom.
I could have put a dresser against the door in case__but experience taught me that it will only encourage him furthermore.
My son that time happened to be sleeping at my aunt’s house, but my ex-didn’t know it and that was good; it means my son’s room was the most unlikely place he was going to look for me. No matter how fucked up the man might be, he more or less still is a good father; unless it’s that time of the year again, then nothing counts.

My son had two clever annoying spoiled cats named Dulce and Snooze, they were mother and daughter. Both of them loved to swing themselves on my draperies and could open doors by themselves. I caught them in the act of doing exactly that. From a reasonable distance they would run at full speed, then jump; grab the handle and hang on there till the door opens. Hateful little pests. If only my son did not adore them…

I was already deep in my slumber when I felt some presence in the room (I sleep like a duck or a dolphin, with one eye open. With my ex in the neighborhood, you never know…) and I thought: Snooze. She was the favorite and treated the room of my son as hers, technically I was the intruder; I sighed and told myself for one night it didn’t matter, I could share a room with a cat.

After a while, I felt some weight pressing down on the mattress. She must have jumped on the bed with me. A moment later I felt something was on my chest so, I said: “Snooze, go away” and I swept her off me.
My arm must have fallen off the side of the bed because I realized that it was on the floor and the darn cat was licking my fingers. Once again I shooed the animal away.
But she continued sucking my fingers, biting at them tenderly, then harder and harder slowly swallowing my entire hand bit by bit.
I reached the top of my patience and retrieved my hand from inside her mouth and put it under the sheets. Yet for some reason, I could not go back to sleep. So, I opened my eyes and saw that the cat was sitting next to the bed watching me. I could see the top of her head and half of her body sticking over the guard rails of the bed. My uncle put it there to stop my son from falling off while sleeping.

That was when all the warning bells in my head started screaming at me: “Wake up! Wake up! There’s definitely something wrong here!” All at once I realized that it could not be the cat.
She wasn’t that tall. If it was Snooze who was sitting there, I would not see her at all; even in sitting position, the bed plus the rails were going to hide her entire form from my sight. So, I sat up and I saw him!

He was the most handsome man I’ve ever laid my eyes upon. His face wore a kind of indulgent amused expression one might wear when looking at something or someone he is very fond of, not threatening at all!
I could clearly see the outline of his perfect muscular naked body kneeling on the side of the bed.  For the rest, he was shrouded in darkness except the tips of his horns; there was this sort of red illumination, like the kind of light you get when you put your hand over a candlelight or shine a flashlight from under your palm.
When our eyes met… he smiled.

That did it. I jumped out of bed, got tangled up in the sheets and landed face down on the floor. I got up and ran; hitting every light switch I passed by and ended up in the room of my ex. I dove under the cover next to him, put the cover over my head and hugged him from behind.
The next morning, he asked me what I was doing in his bedroom and why all the lights were on when he woke up, and why my son’s room looked like a tornado had been there. I didn’t know how to answer him so, I just cried and cried…

To this day, from time to time when I think about the whole thing, I question not only my sanity but the authenticity of the creature’s existence. Did I really see him? Or it was only my imagination. Did I dream the whole thing? But If I did__ weren’t I supposed to wake up in my own bed instead of running like mad to the very place I wanted to avoid at all cost, to someone I will never feel safe with hitting the lights on all the way through? I doubt it…

Darkness_and_Flame_by_Wargh88