I don’t know about you, but I always look people in the eye during a conversation or silence even. Emotions are displayed through our body language. I love observing facial expressions and gestures when I am people watching. I remember when I was a child and I lived within walking distance of a mall. My younger sister and I use to go over there all the time to see friends, eat ice cream, and walk around. I use to sit in the center of the mall where there was a fountain. We would throw change in the water and then put our hand in to get it out. We did this over and over. It was entertaining, but we had to be discreet because of mall security. They frowned on playing in the fountain water. I also sat near this fountain and watched people. I was in a zone. A very relaxing zone.
I still people watch but I changed my method. I observe facial expressions, listen, and really look into their eyes. The saying ” no one knows what happens behind closed doors” is so true. You don’t know because you are not there but if you take the time to look into someone’s eyes you can see happiness, anger, concern, confusion, sadness, deceit, love, etc. It is easier to understand emotions when you are listening to a person speaking and looking into their eyes. What if you looked into a child’s eyes and thought you saw despair, but it could not be verbalized? What if a child could not be comforted? You just never know.
My younger sister and I are 14 months apart. I have a half sister that is 6 years older than me. Per an evaluation conducted by Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland, my biological father is a textbook pedophile. My half sister got the brunt of the abuse. I would say 99.99% of the sexual abuse occurred against her. What a sick asshole! She observed him abusing me. My younger sister was spared physically but not emotionally. What do you think when you look at us? What do our eyes say to you? Anything?
Younger Sister on Left, Me on Right
Younger Sister on Left, Me on Right
Younger Sister on Left, Me on Right
Younger Sister on Left, Me on Right
You never know what happens behind closed doors. My younger sister went psychologically deaf for 2 years. There was nothing physically wrong with her hearing. I wouldn’t let anyone touch me. I would walk by my mother and all she could do was pat me on my head. My half sister left to live with her grandmother. She was so traumatized. I wonder if anyone looked at us outside our home. I mean REALLY looked at us. Did I look sad? Did my eyes show all the pain I was experiencing? What about our facial expressions? Would I be able to look at a child and know something was not right?! I can and I did. The sicko got remarried. He had a son and daughter. He sodomized his son and who knows what he did to his daughter. I saw a picture of them that he sent. It was the two of them. I could barely look at it. I looked into their eyes. I saw fear, sadness, and they looked so lost. It made me sad. It broke my heart. I couldn’t throw the picture out but I could not look at it. You never really know!
Lily and I spent most of Christmas eve outside in our yard. A wonderful family and friend bought her a swing set with a slide. I was sitting on the grass watching her swing on her belly and flip over off the seat. She would run so fast through the yard and jump up to swing on the trapeze bar. It was really entertaining and made me laugh. I finally gave in and agreed to push her on the swing. I knew it was inevitable and even though I kept saying no, I could think of nothing else I would rather be doing. She brings me such joy. “Higher. Higher. Higher Mama” she said.
We finally decided to sit down on the grass and throw the Frisbee back and forth. We rolled it to each other, threw it up in the air, and then came the tricks. Lily makes up cute rules when we are playing games. I love hearing them in detail and watching her face as she explains them. She is so articulate. I try not to smile when she is serious but it is crazy hard. She really liked it when I spun the Frisbee high up in the air and it came flying down to the ground. If it landed near me then I had to get it, but if I couldn’t reach it she was willing to run over and grab it. Sometimes she gave me a funny look like “Really Mama!?”. Sometimes she actually said that, but in the end I would win. I secretly hoped it was out of my reach so I didn’t have to get up. Giggle.
It was during this time that Lily asked “What is Christmas?”. I sat there quietly. She then asked, “Is it a celebration?” and I said, “Yes Lily. It is a celebration”. I immediately had a sense of peace and confirmation about how I answered her question.
This past year has been rough. It was psychologically painful. It was utterly exhausting and it was incredibly taxing trying to shield Lily from the insanity. One thing that remained consistent during this chaos was our wonderful bond as mother and daughter. Even in tears, we were able to smile, laugh, and hold each other through the good and the ugly. God kept us strong even though I felt like we were being ripped to shreds. We kept going.
Yes my dear Lily, Christmas is a celebration. We survived this year and we are together. I had faith. It is a celebration that God, our father, showed me the way and I followed. He opened doors and the hearts of many people. It is a celebration that we have a place to call home. After all we have been through, we survived and will recover no matter how long it takes.
Lily and I live in the middle of nowhere. I am sitting on my front porch tonight as I do every night. My coffee tastes great with the cool air around me. I think it is colder in the country and I have no idea if that is possible or a fact archived somewhere on NOAA’s website, or just psychological on my part. It is cool and quiet; other than the sounds that come with living in the woods.
The stars get brighter as it gets darker. There are beautiful clusters of stars that congregate in the sky behind me. I refuse to move the location of my chair so I just turn my head around and look up. I smile every time. The constellations are breathtaking. I really wish I had kept that map that came with Lily’s nightlight, firefly, that projects constellations on her bedroom ceiling at night. Lily said we need a book and I totally agree.
The first night I sat out here, I heard owls having deep conversations with each other. I listened to every word. The next night two deer walked out from the woods, crossed the deserted road, and walked through my yard. I didn’t move. I couldn’t believe it.
Let’s not forget all the shooting stars I saw the first night. Holy cow. My head was whipping left and right and back again. Shooting stars?! It’s not like I haven’t seen them before but never so many in a row.
The north star. I stare at this one star, I think it is a star, every night that is by far the brightest. It sits there and stares back. I think of all the things it could be like an airplane tower with a light on top or an antennae. It seems to drift to slowly drift to the right. Do stars move or just hang out in place? No idea. Maybe it is the north star or simply a dot in the sky. Now that makes me giggle to myself.
I am relaxed. My brain slows down. I inhale the cool air through my nose and out my mouth. I feel less anxiety and my body calms down. It is peaceful. This is the life I wanted for Lily and I. The journey to get where we are now was so agonizing but we are here now. Forever.
Almost three weeks ago, the community stepped in and furnished our new home. They also made sure my daughter had an abundance of Christmas gifts. Less than a week ago, a mother brought me over a box she received for me from her friend. I opened it up and my breathe was taken away. There were numerous pieces of colored paper that had been cut up and folded. I opened one by one. On every piece there were encouraging and uplifting quotes that she had handwritten. She is also a single parent and understood what I was going through firsthand. What a blessing to my heart and soul. What an amazing woman and mother.
I love the smell of possibility in the morning.-unknown
I prefer to wake up to five-card-draw pokes. Each morning a new hand, some days, junk; some days, a full house; and every day, the challenge of playing that hand to win.-Wendy Resd Crisp
Where I was born and where I now live is unimportant. It is what I have done with where I have been that should be of interest. -Georgia O’Reeffe
There is as much greatness of mind in acknowledging a good turn, as in doing it. -Seneca
Time is a great teacher, but unfortunately it kills all its pupils.
We can never untangle all the woes in other people’s lives. We can’t produce miracles overnight. But we can bring a cup of cool water to a thirsty soul, or a scoop of laughter to a lonely heart. -Barbara Johnson
Don’t forget to wear your smile.
The more you allow within you, the brighter the world you live in will be. -Shakti Gawain
Many things which can not be overcome when they are together, yield themselves up when taken little by little. -Plutarch
When confronted with a Goliath-sized problem, which way do you respond: “He’s too big to hit” or, like David, “He’s too big to miss.”
Lympth (v.) to walk with a lisp.
The Lord is our spiritual road atlas. When we rely on Him, we’ll never get lost.
The key to listening is knowing the right times when to nod. -Salt & Pepper Comic
Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless. -Mother Teresa of Calcuta
True courage is not only a balloon for rising but also a parachute for falling. -Karl Ludwig Borne
Keep calm and pretend you’re at the beach.
It’s over when you quit, not when you lose.
The glory of tomorrow is rooted in the drudgery of today.
Live so that you wouldn’t be ashamed to sell the family parrot to the town gossip.
Admire your accomplishments. Large or small, they contribute to the well-being of this world. A little light somewhere makes a brighter light everywhere. A speck of sand can turn into a pearl. -Douglas Pagels
Since you are like no other being ever created since the beginning of time, you are incomparable. -Brenda Ueland
Soul-er energy is a renewable resource, as long as you stay in the Son. -Frank Johnson
Once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back in the same box.
It is not the lamp but the manners which give light to the home. -Ethiopian proverb
Nothing I am sure, calls forth the faculties so much as being obliged to struggle with the world. -Mary Wollstonecraft
Sometimes the Lord calms the storm; sometimes he lets the storm rage and calms his child.
In the midst of chaos, there is also opportunity. -Sun Tzu
Ignore the odds. Even though you cannot do everything, you can do something. You may be only one, but you can still make a difference. -Charles Swindull
God never asks about our ability or our inability-just our availability.
Open the windows at the center of your chest and let the spirits fly in and out. -Rum
Live for today but hold your hands open to tomorrow. Anticipate the future and its changes with joy. There is a seed of God’s love in every event, every circumstance, every unpleasant situation in which you may find yourself. -Barbara Johnson
It has been a really rough year. I am sure it has been challenging for other people and families as well. The struggle is real and always has been. A few days, months, years. It doesn’t matter how short or long. Life is so very real. I know you realize this. You might even think “Thank you captain obvious”. LOL
I can’t seem to talk about the last year Lily and I have experienced without thinking that other people have suffered so much more. I need to just get over it and focus on myself. I have neglected myself. I am so focused on Lily and other people. I have been a paralegal for 16 years. I have a gift for public service and I love helping people. I utilize resources available to be an advocate for anyone and everyone.
Right now, in this time, I am going to take steps to work on my mental and physical health. I told my VA mental health doctor that I probably need therapy and then I thought about a blog. Get it all out little by little. It seems like a lot as it all started when I was 3. After all these years, I truly believe that the last year was absolutely the most intense time in my life.
I have been thinking about my life lately. So much has happened and I feel like I have significantly aged. I am 37 years old. Is that old? I feel old. I am exhausted physically and mentally. Lately, I have been researching advice and tips for writing a book. I decided maybe a blog is a good way to start. I want to tell my story. Honestly, I don’t read blogs about anything. Maybe I will start or I am incapable of doing so at this point in my life. I am decompressing. I wonder how long that will take?! Anyway, my goal with this blog is to get all my experiences and thoughts out of my brain. I want to be free.