I’ll pray for you…that your brakes go out

Hello, darkness, my old friend…. I’m in the laundry room again…. One of these days, I will fully teach my offspring the process of cleaning clothes from start to finish.  Today is not that day.  Today, I want Mount Washmore to stop haunting my dreams, so I am doing it my damn self.  This is following a fairly ugh day filled with really LOUD alarms that I am too stupid to know how to turn off, one tiny little hassle after another and a high blood pressure head ache to beat the band.  These visit me after I give a psycho-mom impression to one of my teenagers in order to get them to attend school.  One of the tricky things about being a single parent – really flying solo, 100% only you are making the executive decisions, is that you take all the blame.  No one ever says… hey, didn’t they have another biologically imperative parent?  That lives a block away and is the biggest waste of oxygen to ever walk the earth??

I have news friends…If Child Protective Services opens a case against a family, it is in Momma’s name, even if she is dead, because the gestation process makes us matter more.  Hang your hat on that, girls, because even if you are fucking dead, it is still your fault.  It doesn’t matter if your seventy hour, kinda manageable workload just increased to ninety hours on account of somebody decided they are too delicate of a tulip to hold a job.  At the end of the day, mother is the name of God on the lips of little children.  Here’s my final word on dead beat dads…twenty years ago, one of mine beat me until I had a compression fracture in my spine. Some days, every step is an agony, and I wish for a morphine drip.  I get my ass up every day and go to work anyway because I had kids who need things like food, shelter and stupidly expensive sneakers.  What I don’t do is expect the universe to provide. But I’ll pray for you.

Tonight I say, save your sanctimonious fuckery for someone who still has fucks to give and that is not Miss Shannon, who does not give one fuck, two fucks, red fucks, blue fucks what you think.  I know that I am doing what’s possible for me, right now today.  I know that I love the squeaky wheel beyond all reasoning and he knows it, too.  I don’t give two shits if he digs ditches for a living, I care that he is happy.  If you think your job is your life, you don’t understand life, and I can’t help you.  But I’ll pray for you, too, cupcake.  I hope your momma is, too, because you are in very dire straits if I’m the one praying for you. Please know, I did all my best parenting before I had kids, too.  Back burner your judgment, because really, if you fuck up your kids, what the hell else is there?

Good Ride, Cowboy

Miss Shannon (who is routinely referred to by both adults and children as Miss Shannon in the regular course of her life and enjoys referring to herself in the third person) generally considers herself to be tough.  I’ve been married to Lucifer’s first cousin, lived to tell about it and he wasn’t even the worst one.  After a while, tenacity becomes a way of life and you just embrace the feeling of clawing your way through.  Bonus points if you never let them see you cry. If I have taught my kids anything at all, I hope it’s to not cry out loud.  There are few things that make me flat out helpless like a turtle on its back.  Sparking outlets. Marauding squirrels that trap me inside houses are on the list.  Mice, dead or alive, and freaking car trouble.

My car began spewing smoke and sounding alarms yesterday morning because if it weren’t for bad luck, I wouldn’t have any at all.  I was on Western Avenue, which means if my car wasn’t sick I’m about twenty minutes from home.  Learn how to drive, that’s how long it ought to take from Western to Mechanicville.  The speed limit is a suggestion, people.  You should pretty much always be going faster than the posted number otherwise, just stay home or at least all the way to the right, please and thank you.   Anyway, the smoke billowing out of my engine struck me as bad news so I parked the car.  Cue hysterical ten minutes making phone calls to staff daycare appropriately and then calling Dozer so he can come rescue me.   Initially, he tried to talk me through the difficulty.  No thank you, Dozer.  Miss Shannon remembers vividly the day she learned she was putting freaking power steering fluid in the brake line, multiple times, and admittedly at the advice of Lucifer’s cousin.  I put gas in the car and that’s as far as it goes.  Please know, if you hold a bottle of any type of engine fluid over an engine while looking confused at any service station on earth, a man will come and do it for you.  They’ll also put air in your tires, fyi.  No, playing dumb woman doesn’t trouble me even a little bit.

 

In my world, I was having a red, white or blue emergency.  This is the sort of crisis that is grounds for my kids waking me up… Red: blood or fire. White: smoke or choking to death.  Blue: po-po, an ambulance or someone is actually turning blue…  Now, if I call AJ and say there is smoke coming from the hood and alarms going off, he knows to just give me an ETA. Granted, I have been his defacto wife for about twenty years and he knows when I am losing my shit. (Poor bastard has three wives: me, my sister and Miss Melissa.  He has all the work of polygamy and none of the benefits, since he only gets conjugal visits with one of us.  I make him an apple pie for Thanksgiving)  I’m sure the mild hysteria in my voice when I said, you know you need to come here, right???  Clued our pal Dozer in that I am not qualified to deal with an automobile emergency so he jumped in his truck and rescued this damsel in distress. We parked my car safely and then he took me in and gave me breakfast.

Tonight I say… the fat lady has not yet sung.  Dozer and I still need to go to DC and Luckenbach, Texas. We haven’t ridden Route 66 or been to Daytona.  Hell, we still need to go to Jackson.  Tonight, I thank God for unanswered prayers, cowboys that ride steel horses, and the stars and stripes.  I’m grateful for Dozer, who spends half the day fixing a trailer so he can tow my car.  All I can say is Good ride, cowboy, good ride…

 

You keep on swimming

This week’s funny story is that with a little prodding, I decided to try consigning some of the jewelry I make at a spa in Guilderland.  Dozer, being his good helper self, says: text me some pictures.  Please know, Dozer hates every single artistic endeavor I undertake.  As in, actually says out loud, “That’s fuckin’ ugly!”  This is at least 50% because all his taste is in his mouth and 50% because he doesn’t understand women.  That is not how one gets to tag home base.   Miss Shannon’s delicate tulip self doesn’t respond well to harsh criticism of her newest medium. (YES, I AM A DELICATE FUCKING TULIP, CAPICE??)  So, I already don’t want to play this game.   After additional prompting, I text him the last four pieces I made while holding my breath and simultaneously praying I don’t want to stab him with a fork, largely because I don’t have any, by the time we’re done.

Style is subjective, people.  Friendly reminder, if you don’t look good, you don’t feel good.  Do your roots, add a sparkly, do something that makes you feel pretty.  Try not to ask Dozer what he thinks of your outfit, he will tell you.   Anyway, he picks this nifty tiger’s eye piece with these little metal beads that catch the light well.  He wants to sell it for $120, which is so far above my pay grade, it’s not even funny.  It’s the one he liked best, which means it’s the one that didn’t make him retch.  I am supposed to use this as to gauge how well my stuff will sell, except I would have priced it at $40.  Maybe $45, because I have shopped before and know what I would pay for something like that. Please know, I made my Ma a necklace for her birthday. She works in a nice jewelry store, also far above my pay grade.  One of her customers tried to buy it off her neck.  My stuff doesn’t suck and I know it.

Nary a nibble on the jewels, as expected.  Meanwhile, I have discovered the identity of the fork thief and she looks a lot like me.   When I was twenty-two, I was not stealing my mama’s forks, just mentioning.  I’m not even mad, it’s too funny.  On second thought, when I was twenty-two I was hauling two kids with one on the way and shacking up with a guy who liked unemployment better than pretty much anything on earth.  Keep stealing my forks, kid, you’re doing better than I was by a long shot.  Can you feel my love??  (Bombs away!!)  That song bite was brought to you by the letter F and my salt and pepper holder, Geronimo.

Miss Shannon is under an inordinate amount of pressure right at the moment.  Opening a second site, trying to finalize the tax year for my clients, the deeply felt loss of my forks, and there’s a kid in a Pikachu suit jumping on my furniture.  I’m actually spending the evening with Mount Washmore and wishing I had a full time cleaning person.  All those voices in my head, calling Gloria… They’re really saying Shannon, Shannon… I have a task for you!!!  This is part of why I look at Dozer like he has three heads when he blows up his kitchen and then wants me to clean it.  No thanks, I have enough for any three women to do, I’m overwhelmed, and I really want a woobie.  In less than two weeks I will turn 41, and I am no where I intended to be and that kills me.  I will prevail…it’s what I do but right now I have to just keep swimming, swimming, swimming.  That’s what you do, you keep on swimming.

 

A fork is a fork…

Recently,I decided I want to know all the great mysteries of life and I am starting with Casa Gypsy.  Where does the silverware go? Is there a vortex for spoons and forks, like the one that lives inside my dryer eating socks?  Are the children feeling a little anemic or maybe they just have the munchies?? Am I raising goats??  What happens to it? They aren’t tucked into any of the furniture, I know because I looked.   Please know that my youngest child is approaching double digits and the oldest is 22… these aren’t babies who don’t know better.  So where the hell are my forks?

I would also like to know why only I can detect wetness in clothing that are not yet ready to leave the dryer.  If it were a special sensation tracked by estrogen, I might understand… but much like my ovaries doubling as a tracking device, only a seasoned mother is able to recognize moisture in fabric.  It’s quite the same as the fact that the toilet paper roll is a magical device only I can operate and only I know the secret recipe for ice.  This is your superpower, Miss Shannon… the ability to see and eradicate dirt and buy new flatware.  There’s my claim to fame, everybody’s got one.  I consider myself to be multitalented (verbiage for a jack of all trades and a master of none) but this is ridiculous.  If the goal is to prepare our little humans for life, I have failed this city.

Which brings me to the fishbowl… In many ways, this town has been good to me. In others… not so much.  People laugh when I say I keep to myself, but it’s how you survive here.  I have lived in the fishbowl off and on for the last twenty-five years.  I cannot go to any store in town without running into someone I know, which is apparently not true at the bike run hosted here.  Can you even believe the only people I knew there were Dozer’s people?  Yeah, me neither, but true story.  Bikers are usually good people… Sons of Anarchy is just a show, friends.  In real life, those folks show up with dinner and labor when you’re down and out, not blow torches they want to fry your flesh with.  They like babies and cream puffs and Miss Shannon’s pierogis.

We’re talking about forks (which are actually becoming a life crisis for me) and bikers because my privilege is showing.  I have to take a hiatus from politics because I’m a heartbeat away from accusing friends and loved ones of bludgeoning baby seal pups on account of their willful unwillingness to agree with me.  (How dare you?)  I’m actually fairly moderate… I can’t even imagine how people who are seriously left or right must feel.  For me… fiscal responsibility, two thumbs up!!  Martin Luther King, Jr. had a dream he gave his very life for…respect it.  The American people do not starve our children, instead we feed them and provide them with a free public education. Please, please look for the trees in the forest.  There is so much more at stake than your tax bill… Maybe the kid in the Ghetto can cure cancer, diabetes or maybe he just deserves a shot to succeed.  Level the playing field, the kids (human beings) you think lack value will prove you’re wrong.  And who the fuck are you to decide who’s worthy?  Miss Shannon cannot even keep track of her forks, so cannot decide for you.

The music never really dies

Hail, Merry Christmas! I don’t know about you, but I’m not really sorry that’s over.  I managed to disappoint every single person I buy for, except for my sisters and Tuggy.   An excellent way to wrap up the Year of the Fire Rooster, which was fairly eventful at Casa Gypsy.   Go me, woohoo.  Next year, I’m buying gift cards.   For me, this year came in with a bang and out with a bump, but believe it or not, I’m having a record year that is bringing a a lot of change to my life… some good, some bad and some are just downright scary.

Last time I checked in here, I was generally opposing the institution of marriage for pretty much everybody.  Not weddings… weddings are fantastic. There are sparkly things, amazing cake structures, happy tears and dancing.   It’s the next sixty years that scare the hell out of me. I kind of want to talk about the guy who won’t bake wedding cakes for gay couples, because apparently you must fill out a social history to partake of his buttercream.   Since Mercury is no longer in retrograde… I’m deciding against too much detail but know this:  I will not feel sorry for that guy should his business fail.  I’m also going to continue to advise you to think very, very hard before you have a need to deal with jerks wielding icing bags.

For the onset of the Year of the Dog,  I am skipping resolutions (again,) with the proviso that the best revenge is living well.  In 2018, I will open my second site of daycare.   This is the thing I am doing afraid…. It’s the next logical step in my career, I am more than qualified, and I will succeed if it kills me.  Good luck usually looks a lot like hard work, which I can handle.  Days like today, I think about the guidance counselor who told me to marry a nice man and I think about the me who told a good friend that she had awfully high standards for such a short girl.  These days, she is someone I try to emulate and also happens to send me Gnomeland security statues, because she’s just that fantastic.     I also think of who I was and how far I have come…. Funny how experience changes your perspective.

As ever, I can only tell you what not to do.  Today’s thing not to do is undervaluing yourself.  We do it every day, we minimize our general fabulousness and downplay that things that make us so very amazing.  No one else writes your story, nobody decides whether or not you find happiness and fulfillment.  Just you.  Tonight, I’m talking to myself as much as anything else.  Some days are better than others…. I don’t even have a soundtrack; can you even believe that?  Maybe today’s the day the music died for me… Nope, there it is… Oh, no not I… I will survive.

Hope vs Experience

The grandma of one of my daycare kids and I were talking today… We’re in same age group, because people my age have grandkids, just like I do.   (TF…I’m forty.)  It IS a seriously cool gig, in case I haven’t been clear. I love those babies to bits and pieces, would literally throw myself in front of a train for either one, right after I feed them a lot of cookies and hand them back to their mothers.  Bliss.  Remember, we are not aging on this side of the room.  Anyway, we were talking about boys, of the man variety.   Our girls and their guys, as well as ourselves and our guys.  I remember when I was as young as my girl children, I did a whole lot of things looking for happily ever after that I regret.  I try to hold that in my heart while I watch the train wreck.   Fact is, I’d do it all over again because I have the best five little humans anyone could ever ask for.

Anyway… other grammy told me she needs a rest.  I feel her.  Sometimes, that picket fence is just not attainable. Stockade fences also rock out loud.   Hell, be a rebel and forgo fences altogether. Fact: you have to be able to sleep alone.  Now, I love Dozer, he’s one of the better things that have happened to me in my life.   He’s fond of telling me that I’m not a princess (because I am the Queen, of course, but I don’t think that’s what he means.) and this isn’t a fairy tale… and he’s right. Doze is happy to roll up on a Harley to let me ride behind him like the queen of the May.  He’s not a white knight.  Except when he is.  Me loving Dozer doesn’t change the fact that picket fences aren’t really my style.   Once upon a time, maybe… but I need to be able to sing along, do the project and make the executive decisions.  Other grammy needs the paperwork.  She is the second lady friend of mine in a month who’s ready to roll over a signature and I can’t decide if I’m broken or if they are.

Once upon a time, I thought it was so very important to be roped and tied… then sweet freedom whispered in my ear.   For myself, marriage is not an attainable goal because I lack the ability to acquiesce.  This works for the guy in my life because he just really wishes I’d still wash his dishes. Autonomy and commitment kind of cancel each other out…   which is very a sad state of affairs.  So…Dozer neither needs or wants my papers…I hope my lady friends get the papers they desire, even though I don’t understand the need, anymore.   I remember when I was a bit less jaded and I thought a happy ending included a trip to the alter…. Now I know that Happily Ever After is a town with Denial River running through it.   I think my saddle trained purple dragon is hanging out there.   Miss Shannon is going to keep driving her Chevy.

Don’t ask me why

Last week my son dumped about a half a gallon of paint in the hall closet.  The best way to clean that up is with a ripped up cereal box used as a scoop, FYI.  My fridge is freezing fruit, so I probably need a new one.  I had to barter with my oldest son for the use of my stereo.  My ex-husband is refusing to pay child support for reasons best known to himself.   Guess what, kids???  My life is still fantabulous.  That’s a word because I said so.   My 9yo is dancing in his sister’s wedges… I know Dozer would have a shit fit if he were here.  Tugs is also trying to teach me fight blocks in the wedge.  Shine on, my beautiful boy.  At Casa Gypsy, the Situation’s Normal, All Fucked Up.

Ever want something so bad you can actually taste it??  Miss Shannon has a business opportunity right now that is just shy of impossible.  I’m reminding myself that nothing is impossible in this wide world…. Let’s cliché for a hot second… Mind over matter, if there’s a will there’s a way, if you can think it, you can do it.   Please send me any extra faith, trust and pixie dust you have on hand.   I could really use it, just about now.  My sister says, “Start ticking.”   Which means, scratch your brain and make it happen.   I’m going to do my damnedest to make this work.  I’m scared of this step, so I’m going to do it afraid, and I will either succeed or fail.   Every hand’s a winner and every hand’s a loser… It’s not just the luck of the draw, it’s about what you’re willing to sacrifice and how well you wear your game face.

When I opened the daycare nine years ago, I was shaking in my boots.  Lots of things in life are just a gamble.   Lately, I’ve really felt like I’m out of aces… but I’m currently trying to open my heart and mind to more spirituality so I’m presently telling myself that The Powers That Be (Whatever you call that; Spirit, Gaia, Jesus or Allah… I rather suspect they are one and the same.)  Anyway… that entity closes doors, opens others and sometimes leaves nothing but a fox hole to crawl out of.  Miss Shannon can army crawl with the best, she has already been through several layers of hell and surely, it’s gotta be up from here.  Ha!  Don’t kid yourself, it can always be worse, just like it can always be better.   The trick is just to roll with the punches… and shoot for better.  Better is…well, better.

Now, as ever, if I want something done, I do it myself.    For whatever reason, the song I’m channeling is Billy Joel’s Don’t Ask Me Why.  Don’t ask for favors, don’t talk to strangers, don’t ask me why.  I kind of know why… I’m about to take a leap of faith in myself, without any real assurance about having a soft place to fall.   Newsflash… there isn’t really a soft place to fall when you’re a single mom entirely dependent on yourself.  If I fuck this up, there will be hell to pay at a level I can’t afford.  That’s why I’m going to do it afraid. I’m not waiting for answers, I’ll take my chances…don’t ask me why.  Don’t ask me why.

#METOO

#METOO…. There are people shaking their heads because women are doing this.  I’m proud of you.  Those of us who have been victimized in every way are here to tell you… you didn’t do anything wrong.  This is not your fault.  You didn’t ask for it: I don’t care how hot you looked, how much you drank or that you dared be walking down a street at night.  Your body belongs to you and nobody has the right to force you into being touched in a way you do not like.  That was what the doctor said to me, “At what age were you when someone touched you in a way you did not like?”  I couldn’t answer then, but I’d venture to guess it was three or four.  I was a “hot to trot” toddler.  See how stupid that sounds?

In my experience, once you’ve been victimized, you are more likely to experience abusive behaviors again.  Statistics agree with me… and maybe you have gotten it into your head that you are doing something that compels others to harm you.  Like maybe you caused it, you’re asking for it.  Nu-uh.  What’s happening is that you have a certain hurt about you and abusers look for that.  They deliberately seek it out because you become an easier target… I swear, I think they smell it, like the rabid beasts they are.  We compartmentalize this because that, my friends, is how you survive.  Do whatever you must, beloveds… survive.  Thrive.  That night does not define you.

 

One night, Dozer and I were having too many drinks and singing songs and I said something or other that compelled him to ask me if I have been raped.  My response was… well, yeah.  Not one woman that I know intimately hasn’t been, this is a reality to me.  I knew he was one of the good ones because it hurt and shocked him.  I’m proud of him, personally, because he knows it doesn’t make me less.  Miss Shannon has very little shame but along the way, there have been fellows who tried to make me find some.  Dozer has never done that and I am profoundly grateful.  Sooner or later, you will find someone who can just accept you as you are.  Your rough edges are the thing that make you sparkle.  Shine on, baby.

I feel a compulsion to say that good girls go to heaven and bad girls go everywhere… I want you to be a bad bitch… the kind that takes no prisoners when it comes to standing up for herself.  You didn’t do anything wrong.  I found my power through my fairly shitty experiences… Nothing and no one can take away who and what I am.  Forgive yourself and find your shine.  On your journey, you take all of Miss Shannon’s love.

Roadblocks

I made coleslaw tonight, which brings me to Sweet Annie… She was my Grandma.  I probably take after her more than just about anyone else in my family.  She’s who gave me my love of cooking, which is an art, people.  I made my coleslaw in a food processor which I think she’d probably disapprove of.  I was teaching Tuggy to do it… he’s about the age I was when she taught me.  I remember her telling me that there are no short cuts, and you have to be the best at whatever you present.  Sweet Annie is why- to this day – I travel bike runs with play it up powder, argon oil and a brush.  And eyeliner, you just need it, girls!  A healthy desire to present your best self to the world is a good thing.

Until it’s not, of course.  When your image is more important than your self-worth, when you have to pretend… when you would rather walk on glass than continue to do whatever it is you’re doing…. Maybe it’s gone too far.  I really believe that shame is the tie that binds and chokes us.  Back in the day, I never wanted anyone to know that I was experiencing abuse because I was sure they’d think less of me.  You know, because I’d said…Ooh, ooh, pick me!!  Most people experience abusive relationships between the ages of 18 and 24… I’m here to tell you, you are still just young and dumb then.  Sometimes, you’re just trapped.  You can’t see anyway out so you just keep on keeping on.  If God doesn’t open a door, there is a window somewhere with your name on it.  You never, ever have to stay.

This is not exclusively a woman’s problem.  Yes, more women are victimized than men… 1 in 3, vs 1 in 4… but men tend to have extra shame about being abused by their partner, so that may be underreported.   Your common sense is telling you why that is, so I’m not going to insult your intelligence.  Are you aware that there are 3800 animal shelters in the US?  There’s 1500 dv shelters…next to none accept men or teenaged boys.  I’ve got nothing against the animal kingdom (unless it’s in the rodent family) but stop asking why people stay.  Even if your family is willing to help, that might not be a safe place to go…. You know what’s safe for you, in your situation.   Just…. always be looking for an escape route.

If your loved one isn’t safe at home, stop being mad at them.   They need your support, not your condemnation.  Not very long ago, I watched someone very near and dear to me being horribly verbally and financially abused.  I had little doubt that it would eventually escalate to physical violence, it wouldn’t surprise me if I just didn’t know about it.  I wanted to shake her.  I wanted to say what my mother said to me…. “Don’t you know how much I love you??  How can you let this go on??”  Unlike my mom, who meant well… I knew that I couldn’t dig in my heels.  I had to be a soft place to fall, I couldn’t be the one to deny her one iota of her power.  Kid… never in my life have I been so goddamned powerless or so very grateful at an outcome.  Whatever you’re going through, survive by any means necessary.  I want you to live long enough to tell your mother you love her, too.

Survivor

Happy October… I love the fall.  The colors alone are fabulous… along with the return of sweatshirts, stews and my ability to bake increases with the cooling temperatures.  For me, it’s also a time of raising awareness for domestic violence.  Twenty people every minute are injured by an intimate partner.  Every minute.  Only 34% of them will seek medical attention for their injuries, which might make you think it’s not so bad.  Unfortunately, it’s more common that they are prevented from seeking care by their batterer or are too ashamed of having walked into a door again.  An average of 200,000 emergency calls are made daily in this country… and those are just the ones that make it to the phone.  Not one time did I ever call the police, not even on spinal fracture day.

I’m feeling survivor-ish today, so I want to talk about what comes after.  When you are no longer walking on eggshells, when you are no longer in any imminent danger.  You’re still broken.  At least, I’m still broken, following many years of therapy, groups, etc.  I have PTSD and sometimes the way I see the world is skewed.  Like… Not so very long ago, I found myself deeply, profoundly attracted to a fellow.  The kind of attracted where their soul calls to you.  He was a batterer.  Now, Miss Shannon can usually smell a batterer at forty paces.  I knew that this fellow I found myself just wanting to play with was bad for me, exactly the sort that would cause me grievous bodily harm and still I responded to him.   Feelings are neither right nor wrong, they just are.  This is where your higher order thinking comes in…. every decision you make is a choice.  I choose to not follow the yellow brick road again.  I choose safety and good sense.  I choose me.

Sometimes they call the PTSD that evolves from DV Battered Women’s Syndrome.  The reality is that if somebody hits you in the head while demanding you proclaim the sky purple enough times, eventually you get to seeing a purple sky.  To a good extent, it’s the path of least resistance that keeps you alive.  I will not apologize that I have scars… I earned them.  I will not be ashamed that I still falter now and then… I’ll be proud that I can see the danger and walk the other way.   I fight like a girl… I use whatever means necessary to survive.  Recognizing that I was caught in a cycle that just kept circling the drain was only a little piece of getting out of it… You have to look for the part where you’re cutting your own throat and put down the knife.  A whole lot of domestic violence is psychological.  You develop coping mechanisms that help you survive, but those same things are a hinderance later.

My therapist would have said this is a psychological response to a pattern of systemic abuse.  He would be correct… but, fact is, I have enough education to know not to follow the primrose path.  It will not end well, I know it, and it’s on me if I am stupid enough to do it anyway.  Once again… my momma raises gypsies, tramps and thieves… never fools.  What I am saying is that you, too, have to decide.  Are you going to continue to tolerate whatever Mr. Not So Right throws your way??  Or will you stand… for yourself, for your brothers and sisters who no longer have a voice, for the right to live violence free?  For your kids, who sure the hell didn’t choose to live in a war zone?  I can’t answer any of this for you.  I will say this… survive another day.   Give me a call… I got you… your ride, your court petitions… whatever you need, baby.  If anyone, ever, had had those things for me, I would have got out a whole lot sooner.  I actually have a rescue scheduled for next week.  Please pray I survive it and the victim and her kids do, too.