Teela Hart

Surviving Domestic Violence


48 Comments

Just Call Me Rocky


I have to say this has been a helluva week.

So, I’m just gonna spill the beans or at least a few of them. I’ve learned something over the past couple of days and I think it’s important that I tell it.

I’m going to be forced to see *Jon* every day this week and for the sake of legality I can’t tell you the reason outright. But know this: IT’S OUT OF MY HANDS. It was a blow. A HUGE blow. Not to mention all the regular shit that occurs on any given day.

My initial response, as is usual with me, is to shrink back into my cocoon and hide. So I made the post “I’m Out”.

Then I saw all the support ya’ll handed out and was overwhelmed. As luck would have it today, I stumbled upon Rocky and I watched (for the 4th or 5th time) , needless to say I had an epiphany.

I’m in the ring, up against Mason, “The Line”, Dixon, getting my ass beat to a pulp (in my own mind). And each and every one of you have my back. Standing in my corner, cheering me on.

You’re all my “Micky”.  The bell dings, round 573 is over and you give me a stool, rub my shoulders, shoot hydration down my throat.

You advise, remind, pump me up, tell me “you got this, you can do it, now get out there and show him what you got! You trained for this all year, you’re ready, you know what to do!”

What you don’t do is give up on me because you believe in me, you know that I got this. You know he’s got a TKO comin’ to him and that I’m gonna be the one to oblige.

I thank the hell outta ya’ll for that shit. I really do.

I can’t think of any better way to say it.

I love ya’ll.

Almost forgot.  What did I learn?  I AM NOT ALONE!

 

Ok, I admit I ain’t no Rocky, mainly because I’m a chick.  I won’t cite the other obvious reasons

But ya’ll get the drift.

 


42 Comments

Do Ya’ll Want To Know The Truth?


The day before my escape from the war zone that had been my life, I ran to my neighbor’s house with my children for safety.

The week prior to my court date I asked my neighbors to testify to what they’d seen.

Their answer?

“It ain’t none of our business, we remain neutral.”

My 12 year old son had to testify, because of course, I’m crazy.

Three months before abandoning EVERY fuckin’ thing, social workers were sent to our home to determine why our children hadn’t been to school.

His reply?

“I worked Black Ops, I don’t even exist. I know ya’ll have an agenda here, I’m a human lie detector, now what are you really doin’ here.”  The only black op he’d ever seen was in his own black soul.

The week prior to my court date I paid a little visit to said social workers and asked them to testify.

Their reply?

We don’t recall any such conversation.

Four months prior to my exodus, I hid in the bathroom to call my dad. I stood next to the door so I could hear footsteps. I didn’t, but he was there, listening to my every word, became enraged and kicked the door in. The door put a gash in my forehead. The phone flew from my hands.

His response?

“I told you your mama’s crazy, look what she did to herself, now she wants to blame it on me.”

My response:

W-A-K-E   T-H-E   F-U-C-K   U-P   P-E-O-P-L-E

You want to save the animals, the ozone, the economy,  the fuckin’ trees and while I agree with all that shit, how about you take into consideration that without the fuckin’ woman there’d be no one here to admire all the other shit you’re tryin’ to save.

Three women are killed by their husband/intimate partner/boyfriend EVERY single day.

LEARN SOMETHIN’ ABOUT THIS SHIT.  HUG A VICTIM INSTEAD OF A DAMN TREE.

 

 

 


26 Comments

Quintet of Radiance


Picking up the Pieces  authored by Amy Thompson also found on twitter @AMarie nominated me for the “Quintet of Radiance award.  Amy is an unmovable advocate and support for domestic violence victims and survivors.  I am truly honored.  If you haven’t met her already please go by and pay her a visit.  You will be welcomed with opened arms.  Chances are, she has already found you.

According to the rules for accepting the award.  I must choose a word that describes me using the Alphabet.  A challenge for sure.

A-Activist

B-Blessed

C-Charitable

D-Decent

E-Engaging

F-Forgiving

G-Generous

H-Honest

I-Improved

J-Just

K-Kind-Hearted

L-Loyal

M-Merciful

N-Nurse

O-Open-Minded  (daughter says sometimes 😉  )

P-Playful

Q-Quirky  (says my daughter 😉  )

R-Responsible

S-Strait Forward

T-Trustworthy

U-Understanding

V-Valuable

W-Witty  (my daughter chose this one; I obliged)

X-Xtra-Special (made that one up   🙂   )

Y-Young’un (according to Lance)

Z-Zealous

My nominees are:

afterthepsychopath.wordpress.com

behindthemaskofabuse.com

Unload and Unwind

The Phoenix Again

The power of silence

Lady with a truck

My life a day journey

Finding my inner courage


42 Comments

The Next Step


I decided, after three (or more) days of self- loathing, mindless distraction and fear (self-imposed and otherwise), that I would venture out from the confines of my cozy corner.

I discerned a distinct lift in my spirit, listening to Vivaldi’s “Winter” as I began putting away, picking up, rearranging, dusting, sweeping and mopping. Oblivious to anything else, it felt good, right, and free.

A knock at the door, my son running down the hall, and a slightly sinking feeling ended my harmony. Jon was at the door. I suppose, since the restraining order had timed out, he felt he could stop by any time he pleased.

I maintained, I think, as he stood at the door while every thought you can possibly imagine crushed my mind. He had decided to lighten the proverbial load with a menial monetary donation out of the goodness of his heart and look in on the children. (As if)

Refusing to make eye contact, I stared down at my feet and asked him if he had tried to call first. My insides vibrated; I held the doorknob tightly to brace myself just in case the quaking decided to seep into his view. I took in a long, unhurried, breath. I couldn’t give him a glimpse of the storm going on inside my body as well as my mind. The door closed behind him. At first, I thought I’d done pretty well under the circumstances.

Out of nowhere, like a slow winter approaching, my hearing muffled, tunnel vision replaced peripheral, I could feel my body growing cold as the blood literally drained from the top down.

I sat on the bed; huge bullets of liquid terror formed on my face and I closed my eyes and slowed my breathing. Shortly after, I regained my composure only to realize the dread growing in my belly.

I should’nt have been so curt. He is going to ‘get me back’ for that little tort. Maybe I should call him back and clarify. Maybe I should apologize. What is he going to do? How will he take it?

Even now, as I type this very post, I’m debating, hoping to stay a controlled, violated and blemished mind. I have somehow landed right back where I started today.  Cautious of every next step, I take it anyway.

The Nature of Innocence


19 Comments

Innocence Lost



I have said many times that I would never be with a man who abuses me. As a nurse, my training taught me to recognize the signs of abuse; as an ER nurse, I had occasionally cared for abused women (not that domestic violence is a respecter of either sex).

I employed educational materials and I prepared a “one size fits all” speech completely bereft of first-hand knowledge, and gladly so.  I was innocent to the trappings of Domestic Violence.

I understood the physiological outcome of domestic violence easily enough and I believed that I understood the psychology behind the abused and the abuser. I followed protocol in expediting cases of domestic violence with empathy and compassion.  It had been my experience, unfortunately, that the abused returned to the abuser. My intellect could effectively deduce those reasons; however, I could never get a tight rein on the workings of the deadly cycle.

Any self-respecting emergency care worker knows that a full moon invites all sorts of characters to the ER.  The graveyard shift had run amuck with code blue calls, gunshot wounds, and shackled prisoners from the local jailhouse.  The ambulance bay had more traffic than the bypass at rush hour.  Rounding my twelfth consecutive hour, I was looking forward to using the bathroom (bathroom privileges are not always guaranteed) and going home to the man of my dreams for some much needed down time. 

We will call him “Jon.” Jon and I met at church; I had known his family for years before we met.  Jon’s sister-in-law informed me, one Sunday morning, that he wanted to meet me and before my inner gatekeeper could assemble a proprietary lock-down, the word “sure” escaped my lips like a desperate criminal. A demanding nursing career, coupled with two small children, left the proverbial totem pole without a ‘dating’ sign; in fact, I vaguely remember deciding not to put it on the totem pole at all.  Yet, there I was, giving my consent. 

At the time, I was very strong in my faith and all the outward appearances proved Jon to be a decent man in his thirties with a heart for the Lord.  Humble, seemingly shy, extremely polite, and handsomely chivalrous all described him to a tee. 

I walked through the automatic doors into the humid night air; the wind whooshed around my body as tresses of hair overcome by the blast whipped my face. My scrub top tugged to the left from my pocket being loaded down with surgical tape, hemostats, various pens and notes. I leaned against the concrete support, lit a much-needed cigarette, and deliberately took a long drag while massaging my neck.   A lab tech, getting off work at the same time, stopped to exchange small talk about the night when Jon arrived.  We had only been married a few weeks and I was looking forward to seeing him.

Worn from the trials of the night, I flopped into the seat of the car, leaning in for a kiss at the same time.  Jon glared straight ahead, his facial expression intense, and before I could get the door closed, he stomped the gas pedal and chucked me back into my seat.  The force of my body colliding with the back of my seat forced a deep exhale from my lungs.  Shocked into silence, I tried to make sense of what was happening.  Lunging forward I grabbed the door and secured it with a slam.   I gasped, “What is wrong with you, Jon?” Tears welled up in my eyes, a lump formed in my throat and fear began its ugly inception.  

“Who the hell was that? You fuckin’ him? I knew it…I knew I’s gonna’ have trouble with you working with them damn hard-sides….”  By this time, we were on the interstate and my heart was in a power sprint inside my chest; my son and daughter were in the back, in their car seats, screaming bloody murder.  Deciding it was dangerous and futile to engage Jon in this twisted game, I begged him to calm down.  

 Jon continued his verbal assault driving faster than the law allowed.  The man who wooed and doted over me was rapidly devolving from my white knight into a monster.  His anger escalated, he slammed on the breaks, the tires screamed and smoke bellowed from beneath us as the car made a 180.  Facing North on a southbound interstate, at a dead stop, with headlights approaching, terror overcame me. My body was shaking violently; my breath hitched as I tried to stifle my cries and reassure my children that everything was going to be OK.  Grinding the gears, Jon righted the car quickly.  During the rest of the ride home, the kids were silent, I was silent, and Jon was silent.  My whole world changed in a matter of seconds on that night. 

“I will never be with a man who abuses me” played in my mind like a broken record.  The faces of the women I had counseled flashed before my mind’s eye.  In rapid succession, memories of the well-rehearsed speeches I had given, pamphlets, social workers and shelters haunted me.

No longer was I bereft of first-hand knowledge.  In some cruel twist of fate, I found myself no longer innocent to the trappings of domestic violence.  I was now a victim.  Survivor would not become part of my vocabulary until 19 years later.