Life After Gaslight 5-19-18

Meet “Ron”. “Ron” was a 68 year old retired San Francisco firefighter. He is also my ex-boyfriend. I met “Ron” in 2012. At first, I was apprehensive about him but he was persistent in his pursuit to capture my heart. He showered me with compliments and gifts. He called me cutie pie, baby and would constantly tell me how “fine” I was. He uttered the words “I love you” after knowing me for only a month. I recall thinking his infatuation was too good to be true, but his words also came with his promises of a wonderful life filled with travel, love and affection. He was so sweet, after only a few months he swept me off my feet.  Unfortunately, I quickly learned that this was merely a facade with words he said to all the women he manipulated. “Cutie pie”, “baby”, “fine” and “I love you” was something he had said to all the girls.

Looking back there were a mine field of red flags, however “Ron” had a way with showering me with such kindness in the beginning that it was easy to overlook the flaws. And when I say flaws, I mean some serious issues that no woman should have to deal with ever in their life.

My experience is not unique.
“Ron” is a good guy. I think he has a good side to him. He’s been married twice like most people in America. Both divorces ended due to his infidelity.  He was the cheater but “it wasn’t his fault” or so he claimed. Red flag number one. He was also in a long term relationship with a woman who he referred to as “Mo”. I think because she brought so much havoc and “mo” trouble in to everyone’s life than one can imagine. She certainly brought trouble in to my life.  In her defense, “Ron” brought the insanity out in her. I later found her story with “Ron” was nothing short of tragic. Worse was what he did to his first wife. Sadly she was one of the sweetest women I ever met and in my opinion did not deserve what he did to her.  No woman deserves the kind of treatment myself and I’m sure many others have endured.

“Ron’s” past consisted of drunken behavior. He was an alcoholic/addict who had arrests for driving under the influence under his belt.  He stopped drinking while we were together after humiliating me with his drunken behavior. He also had an infatuation with young women in their twenties and was known to engage in sexual acts with many prostitutes. I later learned he had been on house arrest for engaging in these acts. Of course, I can’t say for sure since this was merely hear say.

“Ron” had a volatile temper and exhibited many mood swings that were enough to turn a sane person in to a psychotic nut. I should know. After three years with this man, I lost my confidence, my self esteem, my self respect, my identity and I felt like I was losing my mind. I really believed I might be crazy. My biggest regret….I only wish I had known these things before I allowed this man to capture my heart.

“Ron” was a pack rat. He had junk all over his condo, which was located in a well to do area of San Francisco. You would have never known it. His condo belonged on an episode of Hoarders. He had so much clutter and he even had old plastic bottles filled with water all over the place. Maybe it was his age.

Two years after I moved in with him he finally opened a carton of lemonade that had been in the refrigerator and had an expiration date of 2010. It had been expired for four years yet he refused to throw it out insisting it was still good. The lemonade was so spoiled when he finally opened the carton to have a glass, he had no choice but to throw it out. What a surprise. Mind you he had vilified me for wanting to throw it the year prior.

“Ron” had odd sleeping habits. He was up all night and slept all day. When I say all day….I mean all day. Often times “Ron” would arise from his slumber at six in the afternoon. Two or three was early for him. He also liked to conserve water. He was a dedicated California resident who only bathed once a month and always on a Thursday. I firmly believe he deserved accolades for being the most conservative California resident during a drought. However, if you ask me he should’ve opened up one of his plastic bottles of old tap water and taken a bath.

At times he had white crust around his ears that was creamy and had the appearance of cradle cap.  At times he smelled so bad I would want to vomit. His solution was wipes (he was the poster child for cottonelle wipes) and he would also use lots of cologne. I often wondered if he was European but was inclined to believe he might be crazy. He led me to believe he was suffering from dementia. In my experience when “Ron” would shower it was His cue for wanting to be intimate.


   “Ron” was wonderful in the beginning. He took me on trips, showered me with gifts,  he catered to my every whim and treated me like a queen. He always held my hand and opened my door.  But that stopped and he would throw the door in my face. He portrayed himself as a family man. An attribute that was merely a facade. He was also lots of fun.  We went dancing and even took salsa lessons. He would hum in my ear every time we danced. He was a terrible salsa dancer but no worries….he would always blame me for his shortcoming and would become extremely verbally abusive.

All his positive attributes stopped three months after moving in with him. That’s when the “real” “Ron” emerged. The trouble only got worse when a his 27 year old Latina Stripper “friend” continued to call and text at all hours of the day including when we were on vacation. Harassment that continued the entire duration of our relationship. “Ron” also began to withhold any contact with me intimately. We went from having an active intimate life to a periodic one, provided it was on his terms. “Ron” had a penile implant. I suspect many of his issues might have stemmed from this creating his own insecurities however, I’ll never know. I will share that on occasion I would wake up in the middle of the night and catch him naked in the bathroom engaging in questionable acts or even plucking his pubic hairs. I found myself in such disbelief that I would run back to bed and keep quiet.

“Ron” did crazy things such as pluck his facial hair while watching tv. He often had a scowl on his face and would pluck to the point he would cause sores on his face. He would often file his feet over the couch. This odd behavior caused me to believe either he was crazy but he convinced me I was crazy for thinking this behavior was odd.

He was very private about everything. He caused me to believe he had many secrets. Especially, since I wasn’t allowed to ask him even simple questions like “how was your day?” I wasn’t allowed to say “have a great day” and God forbid I wasn’t allowed to express how he made me feel. I wasn’t allowed to ask any questions….period!!!  He would explode and punish me  for days calling me names, accusing me of being suspicious and rejecting me to the point I couldn’t breathe. I would cry for days. Rejection can cause so much pain and anguish.

When I was diagnosed with cancer, I got zero emotional support from “Ron”. He was extremely un-empathetic and lacked any ounce of compassion. He would insult me and make me feel so bad about myself that more often than not I found myself in the bathroom on my knees crying from the pain this man would cause. Somehow in the midst of it all he managed to blame me for his behavior and would punish me for days by ignoring me and giving me the silent treatment. In my experience, I’m not sure what was worse, chemo or “Ron”. This man made fighting cancer the hardest journey of my entire life.

I posted the following post on Facebook after my first treatment.  The following five treatments were not much different.  In the end he admitted he had treated me poorly because I was no longer attractive. In my defense, when you’re in a fight against cancer, it’s rather hard to remain the beautiful person you once were. Hair loss doesn’t help.  I take solace in knowing God is a just God and my abuser will get his in the end.


    

Ron showered me with love, trips, gifts, fancy dinners, compliments, concerts…..everything and anything. It was short lived and it came at a very painful price. I now know that this is not just my experience, it’s been the experience of many women who have found themselves involved with their “Ron”. While my story may seem tragic I know I’m Not alone. There are many “Ron’s” out there and I feel they dont deserve to have any women in their life. In fact, they should be locked up and throw away the key.

If you happen to be approached by any man who exhibits any of these behaviors, my advice is run and never look back. Do not make the same mistake that I made getting involved with a man like this. It’s hard to get away once he’s got you under his spell.  I can assure you the life you have today will be no more. Happiness, joy, self respect, confidence and love for yourself will be a thing of the past. You will find yourself questioning your own sanity, when clearly the one with the mental issues is your knight in shining armor. However, if you don’t heed my advice and find yourself in a crazy relationship I will warn you..don’t bother reaching out to anyone because no one will believe you. “Ron” had two personalities. The one I dealt with at home and the other who was sweet and loving around his friends. Friends, family, doctors and church begged me to leave him but I resisted their warnings hopeful for the man I initially met to return.  Finally one day, I snapped and saw this man for he really was. I was heartbroken, humiliated and felt like there’s no way out.

On May 16th, 2015 with the help of the Deacon and sisters from my church, I packed up and left this emotionally abusive man. I left this relationship with a broken heart along with a diagnosis of anxiety, severe depression and PTSD caused from this crazy relationship. You might ask “PTSD?!” It’s a result of the war zone I found myself in. The sad part is  I really cared for this man.

Healing from this relationship has taken three years. Counseling was inevitable and it’s taken a lot of strength and determination to come out on the other side. The pain and scars left behind from a three year nightmare has taken a long time to heal. Occasionally I still experience flashbacks. Three years ago I found myself broken hearted and on my knees praying for strength to get through this. I am happy to say I made it.

I’m sharing my story tonight because May 16th was the anniversary of leaving my abuser. On May 16th, I was blessed to be given the opportunity to fly to Maui where I’m spending time with my cousin. I couldn’t put my finger on why this trip fell in to place. It was crazy how it all happened. My friend who owns a condo here offered her condo to me for a week for free. The dates she had available were May 16-24. I accepted her offer not even knowing how I would pay for my flight. My brother and sister in law used their air miles to buy me a ticket. Everything happens for a reason. I knew there was a reason I was coming back to Maui. I love Maui however, Maui is also reminder of the time I shared with my ex. We spent many weeks here together. Today I found an old blog and noticed that May 16th was the day I broke free from my abuser. Three years have passed. I suspect my trip here is somewhat of a Re-birth for me. I no longer have to look behind me. I can finally move forward and what better place to be to begin my new life than to start my new beginning in Maui on vacation with my cousin who is also my best friend.

I don’t particularly enjoy sharing the details of my past relationship. After three years, I’m still so embarrassed. I take comfort knowing there’s a term for what I went through. It’s called “gaslighting”. Gaslighting is a term where someone uses manipulation to cause you to question your own sanity. My “Ron” did just that. Today I’m free from that relationship as well as that toxic environment. Slowly but surely I’ve gotten my confidence back but more importantly my sanity back. Like so many women, I never thought this would happen to me. What I’ve learned is even the smartest and most intelligent women can find themselves in a relationship such as mine. I still ask myself “what was I thinking? How did I allow this to happen to me?” I still have flashbacks and I’m no longer the woman I once was but I’m happy to report I’m a new woman in progress.

Today I’m hopeful again. I’m eager to laugh and have fun again and I believe my knight in shining armor is out there and more importantly I know that when I find him I will never allow him to manipulate me to the point where I lose myself.

Life happens. Today I’m on vacation in Maui. I am waking up to the sound of the ocean and the cool breeze coming in through my lanai. I have no plans other than to spend the day at the farmers market then the beach taking in all that healing spirit Maui has to offer. Life is good again. I heard a quote once that said “I may not be everything I want to be, but thank god I’m not where I used to be!” Truth!! I’m not close to being who I want to be. Thank god I’m Not where I used to be!!

She Came Out Swinging 2-13-17

As of late, the news media has been inundated with news of sexual harassment against women by powerful men in various industries. This has brought on the “ME TOO” movement. A movement where women are taking their power and dignity back.

Last week scandal broke in the White House. It was revealed that the presidents aide had abused his two ex-wives as well as his girlfriend. Despite his history, he was allowed to continue to work in the White House, even being considered for a promotion despite his abusive history. Watching this news has brought back so many feelings that I have fought hard for three years to overcome.

The president of the United States has defended his former aide citing what an incredible job Rob Porter had done while working at the White House. He has shown more concern about the abusers feelings than that of the abused women who endured years of abuse.

On Sunday, Kellyanne Conway made a comment that insinuated abuse only happens to women who are weak. I found her comment to be extremely insulting. I have always been a strong woman however I fell victim to a very abusive relationship. Abuse can happen to anyone!!

I watched the interview of Rob Porter’s ex-wife. My heart started pounding as I heard her describe her personal story. I couldn’t breathe. It was as if she was describing my own story. Her story really hit home. However, as I listened to Jennie Willoughby share, somehow I felt vindicated. I have spent the last three years suffering in silence. Humiliated as I’ve asked myself over and over “how did I let this happen to me?”

What I’ve realized is I’m not the only one this has happened to. I’m hopeful as I watch this movement of strong women come out swinging and take their power back. I’m hopeful somehow abuse will finally be recognized for what it is. Wrong! There is no room in society for any type of abuse against women or men for that matter!

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow. On February 8, 2015, I blogged about my Valentine’s Day with my own abuser. I haven’t read it since I wrote it, but it popped up as a memory on my Facebook page today. I have said many times, Facebook has a way with bringing back memories that we’d rather forget. I’m attaching the link for those who would like to get a small glimpse of my experience with my abuser. An experience which I now know has a name attached to it. It’s called “gaslighting”. Once upon a time I loved Valentine’s Day. I haven’t been a fan ever since.

https://fiercefabulousfunny.com/2015/02/18/the-stranger-in-my-bed-2-18-15/

Three years have passed. It’s been a very long road for me. Healing takes time but it’s possible. I’m proof. I’m healing every day. I’m not mad anymore. The pain no longer rules my life. The memories are still there but that’s what they are. Just memories of a painful time so long ago. Today I’m healing and I’m hopeful again. I’m not yet the woman I want to be but thank god I’m no longer the woman I used to be.

I hope that by sharing my own story, like the many strong women across the nation who have inspired me by having the courage to come out and say “Me Too”, somehow, I can inspire other women to come out swinging and say “Me Too” also.

There’s a song by Tom Petty called “Swinging”. I am posting this song because it inspires me to believe that no matter how hard things get, I have to pick myself up, dust myself off and keep on swinging. I hope it inspires you too.

Gaslighting 4-28-17

A few days ago I was in the phone with a friend. During the conversation she mentioned the term “gaslighting”. I had never heard the term nor was I aware of what it meant. She briefly explained the term but encouraged me to look it up so I did. I came across the following article written by Natasha Tracy. I copied the article and felt the need to post on my blog this evening. 

This article really hit home for me. It described my previous relationship in complete detail. After reading the article everything made sense. If this article hits home for anyone reading my blog, you’re not alone and You’re Not Crazy!!  

GASLIGHTING DEFINITION, TECHNIQUES AND BEING GASLIGHTED -Natasha Tracy

Gaslighting is a form of emotional abuse where the abuser manipulates situations repeatedly to trick the victim into distrusting his or her own memory and perceptions. Gaslighting is an insidious form of abuse. It makes victims question the very instincts that they have counted on their whole lives, making them unsure of anything. Gaslighting makes it very likely that victims will believe whatever their abusers tell them regardless as to their own experience of the situation. Gaslighting often precedes other types of emotional and physical abuse because the victim of gaslighting is more likely to remain in other abusive situations as well.

The term “gaslighting” comes from the 1938 British play “Gas Light” wherein a husband attempts to drive his wife crazy using a variety of tricks causing her to question her own perceptions and sanity. Gas Light was made into a movie both in 1940 and 1944.

Gaslighting Techniques and Examples

There are numerous gaslighting techniques which can make gaslighting more difficult to identify. Gaslighting techniques are used to hide truths that the abuser doesn’t want the victim to realize. Gaslighting abuse can be perpetrated by either women or men.

“Withholding” is one gaslighting technique where the abuser feigns a lack of understanding, refuses to listen and declines sharing his emotions. Gaslighting examples of this would be:

 • “I’m not listening to that crap again tonight.”

 • “You’re just trying to confuse me.”

Another gaslighting technique is “countering,” where an abuser will vehemently call into question a victim’s memory in spite of the victim having remembered things correctly.

 • “Think about when you didn’t remember things correctly last time.”

 • “You thought that last time and you were wrong.”

These techniques throw the victim off the intended subject matter and make them question their own motivations and perceptions rather than the issue at hand.

It is then that the abuser will start to question the experiences, thoughts and opinions more globally through statements said in anger like:

 • “You see everything in the most negative way.”

 • “Well you obviously never believed in me then.”

 • “You have an overactive imagination.”

“Blocking” and “diverting” are gaslighting techniques whereby the abuser again changes the conversation from the subject matter to questioning the victim’s thoughts and controlling the conversation. Gaslighting examples of this include:

 • “I’m not going through that again.”

 • “Where did you get a crazy idea like that?”

 • “Quit bitching.”

 • “You’re hurting me on purpose.”

“Trivializing” is another way of gaslighting. It involves making the victim believe his or her thoughts or needs aren’t important, such as:

 • “You’re going to let something like that come between us?”

Abusive “forgetting” and “denial” can also be forms of gaslighting. In this technique, the abuser pretends to forget things that have really occurred; the abuser may also deny things like promises that have been made that are important to the victim. An abuser might say,

 • “What are you talking about?”

 • “I don’t have to take this.”

 • “You’re making that up.”

Some gaslighters will then mock the victim for their “wrongdoings” and “misperceptions.”

Gaslighting Psychology

The gaslighting techniques are used in conjunction to try to make the victim doubt their own thoughts, memories and actions. Soon the victim is scared to bring up any topic at all for fear they are “wrong” about it or don’t remember the situation correctly.

The worst gaslighters will even create situations that allow for the usage of gaslighting techniques. An example of this is taking the victim’s keys from the place where they are always left, making the victim think she has misplaced them. Then “helping” the victim with her “bad memory” find the keys.

Are You a Victim of Gaslighting Emotional Abuse?

According to author and psychoanalyst Robin Stern, Ph.D., the signs of being a victim of gaslighting emotional abuse include:

 1. You are constantly second-guessing yourself.

 2. You ask yourself, “Am I too sensitive?” a dozen times a day.

 3.  You often feel confused and even crazy at work.

 4.  You’re always apologizing to your mother, father, boyfriend,, boss.

 5.  You can’t understand why, with so many apparently good things in your life, you aren’t happier.

 6.  You frequently make excuses for your partner’s behavior to friends and family.

 7.  You find yourself withholding information from friends and family so you don’t have to explain or make excuses.

 8.  You know something is terribly wrong, but you can never quite express what it is, even to yourself.

 9.  You start lying to avoid the put downs and reality twists.

 10.  You have trouble making simple decisions.

 11. You have the sense that you used to be a very different person – more confident, more fun-loving, more relaxed.

 12. You feel hopeless and joyless.

 13. You feel as though you can’t do anything right.

 14. You wonder if you are a “good enough” girlfriend/ wife/employee/ friend; daughter.

 15. You find yourself withholding information from friends and family so you don’t have to explain or make excuses.

The Stranger In My Bed 2-18-15

The past few days have been challenging. I find myself in a situation where I can no longer take the pain and suffering I feel deep in my heart. A feeling I’ve been experiencing for a really long time. Ironically this pain has been brought on by the very person I gave up my life for three years ago, leaving my family, friends and everything I knew because I believed I had finally met the man of my dreams. My heart was filled with love as well as hope for a new beginning.

Valentine’s Day is supposed to be a day for couples. A day where we express the love we have for one another. I’m a romantic at heart so naturally, I hold this day very close to my heart. For Valentine’s Day I walked to Union Square where I purchased a mushy card along with a box of See’s candy specifically picked out by me to ensure the box was perfect when I gave it to my significant other. I also purchased a pair of well needed pants for my special guy. I gave my gifts to my “Valentine” sealing the gifts with a big kiss. The response I received wasn’t exactly what I expected. My “Valentine” lashed out at me saying I only bought him this gift so he would be indebted to me. He called me names, gave me the silent treatment and in short hurt my feelings. He ignored me for 24 hours and has continued to vilify me since. I should also mention that he gave me nothing for Valentines Day. Nothing! Not even a card or at the very least, a thank you. Since that day, things have gone from bad to worse. I’ve been punished ever day. Name calling, silent treatment and yesterday my loving “Valentine” left and never returned for over three hours. I have no idea where he went. My phone calls went unanswered. When I asked him where he was he blew up and was kind enough to say “Get the fuck out!” He knows I’m in the middle of treatment, I have nowhere to go and leaving at this time just isn’t an option. I’m trapped and I’m broke to boot!

I met Ron three years ago. He was quite a bit older than myself. I was 46 and he was 65. The man I met is nowhere near the person he became after I moved to San Francisco to live with him. The man I met was kind, affectionate, loving and pampered me in a way I had never been treated by any man. He opened my car door, he held my hand, he showered me with gifts and trips. I recall the first Valentines Day after we met I was surprised to receive two flower deliveries that consisted of two dozen roses. He called me beautiful all the time, he laughed at all of my jokes and he was a lot of fun. That all changed three months after I moved in with him.

Prior to moving here there were many red flags that as I look back I wish I had not overlooked by allowing the sweetness of this man to take precedence over the warning signs that were gleaming like a bright light. It began with a former girlfriend who continually called and texted at all hours of the night once I moved here. She was an ex girlfriend who also happened to be a 27 year old Latin Stripper who works at the Hustler Club. From what I understand, she had been “using” him for his money. Ron supplied her with $2000 per month along with many other perks but he insisted their relationship was over. However, I found it hard to believe since wherever we were, whether on Vacation, dinner or a movie, this woman was continually reaching out to Ron with messages of love or asking for money. In addition, her mother lived and still lives at one of his apartments. One day I found a dirty pair of underwear in his bag after he returned from his apartment building. I confronted him about it but he had an excuse that somehow turned things around to be my fault. After returning from a visit to Washington I found women’s underwear in our room that didn’t belong to me. When I questioned Ron he insisted they were mine and that I was “suspicious”. This went on and on and continues to this day. Every time I would confront Ron he somehow managed to twist things around making it all my fault and for many days after I would receive the silent treatment along with some name calling in between. I began to second guess myself and the result is I’ve become an insecure individual who is no longer the fun loving, free spirit with a sense of humor I once was.

As I said, three months after I moved here Ron began to change. The man that began to emerge was clearly not the same man I had met only a year prior. This new man insulted me, he called me names, he lied and a very angry person emerged that exhibited a very hostile temper. I began to feel like I was walking on egg shells. In addition, his sleeping habits changed. He was up all night and slept all day. When he arose from his slumber he would spend the entire time on the couch with a remote in one hand and tweezers in the other as he plucked the hairs from his face. If that wasn’t enough, he wouldn’t shower for up to three weeks. Attributes that continue today. Through all this I became very depressed. I felt like such a failure. I lost my confidence and my ability to even make the slightest decision or even do my own thing. I became lonely and very isolated. My demeanor changed and so did my last name. Ron insisted I had to change my last name. He vilified me every day until finally on a trip to Washington I went to court to have my name changed. Deep down I knew I had to get out of this relationship but the voices in my head reminded me of the person I initially met so I began to feel like there was something wrong with me. In addition, we travelled and on many occasions the kind man I met would emerge and I found myself believing and hoping things would get better. A few months ago I was informed of Rons infatuation with hookers and in December when I returned home from Washington I not only found earrings that weren’t mine, I found “spooge” all over the clean sheets in the closet. There were other things but somehow I managed to convince myself, it was nothing. I confronted Ron and at first he denied it and insinuated I was a lunatic until finally admitting it then punishing me…again. It’s my fault as usual.

I woke up this morning feeling frightened asking myself “what am I going to do?!” As I reflected on some of the horrible things Ron said last night I remembered him telling me I had changed. He accused me of trying to change him. He told me I need to accept him the way he is…..hmm A volatile, hot tempered, name calling person who doesn’t take a bath isn’t exactly what I signed up for. I stood up for myself for the first time. No tears, no begging I just explained that I wasn’t trying to change him, I was just trying to find the person he was when I first met him. This new guy is a stranger. I explained that I agreed I too had changed. I was no longer the fun loving, happy go lucky woman I once was. My only excuse is when you live in a negative environment with a negative person, it’s only natural to become the same thing.

I have no idea what I’m going to do. March brings two infusions and a cancer screening to ensure I’m cancer free. It also brings an appointment to begin my last phase of treatment to finally be on the road to healing. My treatment will be done on June 1st. After that I will be on hormone therapy for five years. At this time my medical treatment is being paid for and transferring to another state is not an option. I feel the need to stick this out for the four months required to beat this cancer. As I look back, I find myself wishing I had never moved here. I wish I had acted on the red flags but sometimes as women we meet a man who portrays himself as a dream come true. We are blinded by the good things and overlook the mine field of red flags coming at as like exploding bombs. If it’s too good to be true, we need to have the courage to walk away before finding ourselves in a relationship that’s hard to get out of.

I’m sharing my story today because I hope that someone reading this will take my experience to heart. If you’re in a relationship and something stinks…..run and never look back. I wish I had done the same. I believe that the stress of this relationship played a huge part in my depression, low self esteem, feeling of failure which ultimately led to my cancer. I’m better than this and I deserve someone who is going to treat me with love and respect and so do you. I have a faith in God so today my prayer is that the lord will see me through this and take me to a place where I’m loved and I can begin to heal from all this trauma I’ve experienced for a very long time. I also ask God to touch Ron’s heart in a way that he will once again be the kind and loving man I once knew and be nice to me. I don’t want to be hurt anymore. I’m looking forward to the day I can finally put this nightmare behind me and start living again. I pray for strength, courage and faith to persevere until that day. I pray the same for you. For all those young women out there looking for a sugar daddy….my advice is this. All that money, gifts, trips etc come at a price. These men are single for a reason. The woman before you paid a price and finally walked away.

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Sleeping Angel 1-19-15

I’m not sure where to begin as I write tonight. Today my friend Lola reached out to me from New Jersey. She called and offered me so many words of encouragement and more importantly she encouraged me to use my gift of writing in a positive way. Lola is a woman of God. She is filled with so much love and is a powerful prayer warrior. I’m so grateful to call her my friend. Lola prayed for me and encouraged me to put all my faith in the Lord, trust him and pray, pray, pray. After we hung up I found myself feeling hopeful. I have to admit, the challenges of cancer and my life in general has really brought me to my knees. More often than not, I feel defeated and hopeless.

This afternoon Ron and I had an argument. It was ugly and I felt sick about it. I didn’t have anyone to talk to so I got in my car and drove to St Dominic’s Church. Somehow going to church felt like the right thing to do. St Dominic’s is so beautiful it takes my breath away every time I walk through the door. I always feel a sense of awe when I’m there. At times, I’m in such awe, my eyes begin to fill with tears. It’s such an emotional experience. I lit a candle when I arrived. I got on my knees and prayed. As I talked to God, I found a sense of peace come over me and for the first time I felt as if the Lord had actually heard me. After I prayed, I sat on the pew and just stared at the altar. Finally, I stood up and left.

As I drove home, I found myself feeling peaceful. I wasn’t worried about going home and being greeted by the wrath of Rons volatile behavior. I trusted everything would calm itself and things would work out eventually. I prayed asking God for a small sign that he had heard me, even though I knew in my heart he had. When I got home, Ron was still angry. I opted to stay in peace and trust the Lord would take care of everything. Ron was still behaving irrationally, so rather than allow him to make me feel bad about myself like I usually do, I got my sweats on and went to the gym.

I love to listen to music when I’m at the gym. I have a very extensive playlist on YouTube. Tonight I pulled up my playlist titled “Cancer Bravery”. This list consists of songs that have somehow offered a sense of courage as I’ve fought cancer these past few months. As I went through my list of songs, I noticed a song by Stevie Nicks. I didn’t recognize it and truthfully, I don’t recall ever hearing the song, much less recall how it even made it on my list. I clicked on it and as I listened to the lyrics, the words began to resonate with my own personal struggle to trust in a power higher than myself to work things out for me.

I believe in God, as I refer to him. I believe he exists. Trusting him is another story. I think I’m not alone. I believe many of us are believers, however trusting in something we can’t feel, hear or touch can prove to be a difficult task. As I listened to the lyrics of this song, I knew in my heart God had heard me tonight. The lyrics describe my thoughts and feelings that have prevented me from letting go and trusting things would work out according to Gods plan, on his time and not my own. I’m continually on this roller coaster of “trying to believe you. I’m learning all the time”. Like the song, I know I need God in my life because without him I wouldn’t be able to breathe. However, I have this “love affair” with the him that’s as dysfunctional as my current and past relationships with all the men in my life. At times my relationship is up, while other times are down. I want to believe that God loves me. I want to believe he has a plan for good, but it’s hard.

Earlier this morning, my friend suggested I write a letter to God expressing how I feel. I couldn’t express my feelings better than the lyrics from this song so here it is….my letter to God.

Dear God (as I call him)

Take me if you need me, but never hold me down. You’re asking me to trust you, well there’s little of that around. I’m trying to believe you. And I’m learning all the time. Two-part personality, the flower and the vine.

Take me, sleeping angel. Catch me, when you can. Real love affairs are heavy spells, for a woman and a man.

I need you because you let me breathe, well you’ve taken me away. But never take me lightly, or I can never stay.

Someday, when we’re older and my hair is silver grey. Unbraid with all of the love that you have, like a soft silver chain.

Take me sleeping angel, catch me when you can. And unbraid with all of the love that you have, like a soft silver chain.

I’m a work in progress, Lord God, but I pray that you won’t give up on me yet. I’m a work in progress but I’m ready and willing to give you my best shot. Thank you God for believing in me and thank you for never giving up on me even on the days, I’ve given up on you.

Love always,

Velma

Home By The Sea 11-8-14

Welcome to your home by the sea……those are the words I heard two years ago when I packed up my bags, abandoning everyone and everything I knew and moved to San Francisco. Since then, every morning that I wake up I have thought to myself “help me someone! Let me out of here!”

One week ago yesterday I had my sixth and hopefully final chemo treatment. This past week has been the week from hell! I can’t begin to tell you how sick I’ve been. I won’t go in to detail by boring you with all the details, I’ll just say that recovery has been a challenge. I’ve prayed a lot, I’ve cried out loud a lot, I’ve felt sorry for myself a lot and I’ve reflected and wished my life was different a lot. Yesterday I managed to walk to my monthly Professional Women’s group luncheon. I was having a conversation with one of the ladies and I shared how I had prayed for so long for the doors to finally open so I could finally go home and be reunited with my children. Her reply struck a cord with me. She said “maybe your prayer hasn’t been answered because it’s God’s will that you are here to receive the medical treatment you need to get healthy. You’re not any good to your children or family if you’re not well”. As soon as she said that it reminded me of my dear friend and attorney, Garth Dano. I will never forget the day we were standing at the courthouse. I had just been released from Sundown for alcohol abuse and I had lost custody of my kids. Those of you who know my story know that my last drunk was three fifths, a bottle of wine and a half gallon of whiskey. I had burned my eyelashes off and I had cut my arms, legs & face with a knife. I looked at Garth that day with tears in my eyes and asked “Garth, what am I going to do now?” His response was “honey you’re rock bottom. There’s no where to go from here but up. You’re no good to those kids until you’re good to yourself.” I’ve never forgotten those words. I picked myself up out of the gutter and a year later after a lot of hard work, determination and sobriety, I got my kids back. As I walked home I kept thinking about that day along with Garth’s words. I reflected how I had beat my alcoholism and went on to get my kids back. I couldn’t help but wish I was reliving that same experience only I had beat cancer and I was finally in my car on my way home. When I got home I went to the mailbox to get my mail. I had a letter from the Columbia Basin Herald. I opened it up and found a letter Garth had written me and was accidentally mailed to the Herald. When I read it, I began to cry. It was ironic I had been thinking about Garth and to receive such a moving letter from my my dearest and most loyal friend only gave me hope to believe I can get through yet another challenge again. And soon I’ll be with my kids again.

I chose to share this song today because I can relate to the lyrics. Like the song for the past couple of years I’ve prayed those same words “help me someone! Let me out of here!” I also have spent the past couple of years “dreaming of the time I was free. So many years ago before I heard the words welcome to your home by the sea!” My life has always been an open book. I’ve never shied away from sharing the intimate details of the ups and downs of my personal life. I’ve shared my struggles in my relationships. I’ve shared my struggles overcoming alcohol/Ritalin addiction, anorexia/bulemia, divorce, custody battles and these past two years I’ve shared my very intimate struggles and downfalls since I arrived in San Francisco on social media. Whether it was on Facebook and now on my latest venture blogging. Like the song “I’ve relived my life in what I tell you”. Not long ago a very dear friend of mine offered some advice. She said that while my stories were entertaining, maybe sharing such intimate details wasn’t in my best interest. I have to agree. I don’t share my story as a way to entertain people. Rather I share because my hope is those who hear or read my story will learn from my experiences and not make the same mistakes themselves.

Life is hard. I haven’t been a saint. I’ve taken the wrong path many times in my life. I’ve made some really bad choices and the consequences have been overwhelming at times. Believe me when I say, I have many regrets. If I had a do over, I certainly wouldn’t have done many of the things I’ve done. Today I’m fighting cancer. I can’t change that. I’m trapped here in my “home by the sea” and everyday I’m praying to get out of here and go home and be reunited with my children. However going home is not the case today but like Garth said so many years ago “I’m no good to my kids until I’m good to myself”. With that said I have to get healthy and hopefully history will repeat itself and like many years ago I will be with my kids again. Soon!!!

If you’re reading this today and you find yourself struggling or you’re thinking the grass is greener on the other side, take a lesson from me. It’s not. Be thankful for what you have. Don’t make the mistakes I’ve made. Sometimes the easy way out only complicates things and makes everything worse. Like I said, I’m not writing to entertain you, I’m writing and sharing to encourage you to take a good look at my story and learn from it because if my story helps anyone then all this crap I’ve been through and wrote about was worth it.

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Snow White & The 7 Dwarfs 9-10-14

Relationships are hard. Whether you’re married, dating or cohabiting, It’s not only hard it’s a lot of work. Some days are good while others are bad. Even if you’re in a relationship with your soul mate, you can bet that there will be days when you don’t get along or worse! You don’t like each other.

Men always complain about a woman’s mood swings. They attribute our moody behavior to “that time of the month”. It always makes me chuckle when I hear that. The reality is we are moody not because it’s “that time of the month” but hello!!! Men have mood swings too!! At times they are grumpy, happy, sleepy, bashful, sneezy, dopey and on a occasion you may find your partner becomes. “Doc”.
Sound familiar?!!

Well ladies, I’ve come to the conclusion we aren’t moody after all. No Siree!!! The fact is, there’s a name for this. It’s called Snow White and the seven Dwarfs!!! And, you’re in a relationship with either one or all of them!!!! I’ve been in a few relationships in my life time. I’ve been with them all. Grumpy , Happy…..heck I’ve even added a few to the list. Asshole. Jerk and Arrogant. I can attest that in every relationship, I could count on one of the dwarfs emerging once or twice. Then blaming “my time of the month!” However, I never dreamed I’d hit the jackpot and find a guy with all seven dwarfs hiding inside of him! Lucky me and lucky you because if in the back of your mind you’re wondering if you are experiencing the “Snow White and the 7 Dwarfs” relationship, I’ve taken notes and I’m about to reveal them to you. Now keep in mind, I am not a professional. These tips are strictly based on personal experience.

Doc – Doc is the guy who is glued to the TV Monday – Friday at 4:00 when the Dr Oz show comes on. He records every episode and can easily win an award for being Dr Oz’s biggest fan! He usually wears 2 hats. Doc & Happy.

Sneezy – Sneezy emerges when you wear a fragrance you know he’s allergic too after he’s been “Grumpy”.

Sleepy – Sleepy is the guy who stays in bed until 2 pm. He’s very sleepy from being up all night watching TV. He’s also the guy who still takes a nap after over 12 hours of sleeping.

Bashful – Bashful is the guy who is shy when it comes to going to a hair salon. He’s so “Bashful” he insists on cutting his own hair. The positive of Bashful is your guy occasionally looks just like a very important TV personality in your life. Captain Kangaroo!!!

Dopey – Dopey is the guy when confronted about something you know is true, he immediately throws on the “Dopey” hat and acts dumb!!

Grumpy – I don’t like Grumpy. He’s mean!! I don’t like meanies. Grumpy can be described as a real buzz kill. A real Debbie Downer and/or on occasion very insulting. When Grumpy emerges, meditate or take a walk before you have a “mood swing” and want to throw a shoe at him!!!

Happy – Happy is the guy that smiles and showers you with love and affection. He’s a real blast to be around and so much fun. He laughs at all of your jokes!!

After experiencing all 7 dwarfs, I’ve come to the conclusion that “happy” is my favorite. I can do without the others. If you find yourself dealing with all 7 at the same time…it means you’ve landed a guy with multiple personalities so my personal advice is….RUN and don’t look back!!!!

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