13 Years Stronger

CW: Abuse, Rape.

Today is a difficult day for me. 13 years ago my ex, the same man who saved me from suicide mere weeks before (which I wrote about here) became my rapist. For a long time I believed his excuse: “he mistook me for his ex wife. He thought I was her in his bed, and he thought she was there to sleep with him,” but now looking back on the incident pared with how he continued to treat me through the duration of our relationship I understand that his “reason” was just one more in a mountain of lies he used to take advantage of me.

While December 13th marks the first and most violent rape, it wasn’t the last. The theme of our entire relationship revolved around his sexual gratification and he often coerced me, threatened abandonment, or forced himself on me whenever he saw fit. However, there were also moments when our intimacy was consensual, passionate and beautiful which made coming to terms with the majority of when it wasn’t incredibly difficult. It’s taken me a long time to be able to look back at this date without crushing depression, flashbacks or tears.

Today? I don’t grieve for myself as an innocent young woman who unknowingly walked into a hellish relationship. I don’t grieve for my ex, the man who chose to give in to his demons instead of fighting them. I admire myself as the young woman who survived and thrived despite everything I endured with my ex. His choices are his own, and someday he’ll face consequences if not in this life perhaps the next. He chose the easy way out; giving in and giving up. I chose to fight, to rise and conquer my demons. I am a warrior for myself and other victims who are unable to speak out. This day is no longer a day to mourn, but a celebration of new life.

13 years stronger.

Here Comes the Hate

I’ve always know Publishing my memoir would mean backlash of various sorts. Up until this last week I’ve been lucky enough to dodge that bullet so far.

Now as my audience is growing and things are beginning to pick up the pace I’ve acquired a few negative reviews and comments. Most of them I simply brush off, the ones I choose to engage with will usually receive one or two comments and then I go on my merry way no worse for the ware.

One I received last week though, struck a cord with me. Not because it was particularly hateful or inflammatory, but because of the miscommunication between what I feel my story conveys and how the commenter interpreted it. I engaged because I wanted to dialogue about the entire thing. It intrigued me and I was hoping to learn more about their viewpoint. Instead I got blamed for the down fall of society, blocked and reported… but that’s neither here nor there. Lol.

I’ve always been fairly open with the fact that while I recognize the relationship I shared with my ex was toxic and unhealthy, I don’t regret it. He abused me in horrific ways, yet I’m able to forgive him. I understand the why behind some of his behaviors and share a decent amount of empathy for the guy. I’ve also been guilty of enabling his abusive behavior in the past and struggled with codependency during the relationship.

All of those things are in my book, and a fair share of my marketing because that’s what people can relate to. That’s why my fans love it. It’s honest, revealing, and relatable because I don’t make excuses for my poor choices. I maintain my compassion and forgiveness for my ex and various abusers in my past not because I “need them to like me” or want them in my life as a codependent would. I’m just a soft hearted person who’s capable of those emotions and chooses those things over hatred or apathy.

I feel like that’s generally what I convey in my writing, or at least those are my intentions. I don’t feel as if I’m glamorizing or “promoting” unhealthy relationships in anyway. It’s very clear that I was significantly damaged by what happened during my time with my abuser and that I took many years to come to terms with and move forward from the abuse. That’s not glamorous, and I certainly hope that no one goes out seeking a relationship like the one I shared with my abuser after reading my book.

But of course I’m doing all this introspective thinking about the impact of my story and my art, when the commenter themselves didn’t even take the time to read the entire thing before passing judgement on it… they didn’t even engage in a conversation. Apparently they saw what they wanted to see and no about of reason was going to change their minds. No fault toward them really. It just surprised me that something so simple as compassion and forgiveness could be twisted so easily into something so destructive . 🤷🏻‍♀️

Angel Child

My Little has been struggling in school again recently. Hubs and I could tell that she was struggling with something, but no matter how many times we spoke to her we couldn’t get it all out of her. She wasn’t ready to talk about it. 

Yesterday, as we were getting ready to head to the bus stop she looks at me in her neon pink fluffy hat, puffy coat and backpack with the saddest eyes and says: “Mommy, Ariel says she wants to kill herself and I don’t want her to be died.” 

This was the first I’d heard of Ariel anywhere so it was shocking on two accounts. I asked her who Ariel was and if she was in her class or if she was in another class. The only thing my Little knew was that she was a bit older and sometimes sat next to her on the bus. My Little is six years old. Her bus is an elementary school bus. Even though Ariel was older she was still an elementary school child at some age range. My heart broke into a million tiny pieces. 

I promised Little that I would call the school and see how we could help. She seemed satisfied with that answer and hopped onto the bus with a smile. I did call the school, and thankfully they were able to find the right Ariel. She is safe, her parents have been informed, and the school counselor has an action plan in place to give her the support she needs while she works through this difficult spot in her life. 

I was relieved that they were able to find her, and everything seems to be heading in the right direction for this precious little child. At the same time it triggered a whole bunch of depression and a huge emotional roller coaster which eventually led to me making an appointment with my therapist. 

Little doesn’t know this, but several of my friends are participating in a fundraiser to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention which I’ve been promoting. Little also doesn’t know that Nov 24th was the anniversary of my own breaking point and contemplation with suicide so many years ago before I sought help for my PTSD. My Little, her beautiful soul simply did the right thing. She knew that someone contemplating suicide was a serious problem and needed to be addressed by an adult. It took her a day or two to finally figure out how to talk about it since it was emotionally overwhelming for her just as much as it was for Ariel, but once she found the words a weight of responsibility fell from her small shoulders and it was painfully obvious. 

Little had a meeting with her school counselor, and I think I might make her an appointment with our private therapist as well to help her understand the weight of the situation. Everyone was incredibly supportive of Little’s empathy and bravery for speaking up which is nice, but as adults we were also hurting for the fact that my child has been exposed to such a bleak and dark level of the human condition at such a young age.

I called the school which was the rational thing to do. What I really WANTED to do as soon as Little explained the problem to me was to hop on that school bus, find this Ariel myself and give her a giant hug. I don’t know the circumstances for Ariel’s pain, and having some random pajama clad mom jump on the bus to give you a hug probably isn’t going to help. And yet, having been in the situation myself, the lowest of low points where all it took was a gentle hug and some validation of my own situation maybe a hug from a random pajama clad mom on the way to school would have made a difference.

I did give my Little a giant hug when she hopped off the bus yesterday. We talked about it as a family and took her out to dinner as a celebration for her good deed. As much as I struggle with parenting learning as I go, it brings me so much joy to see that my children genuinely care about others. They may not be the most socially adept kiddos, or the most well behaved, but dammit they appreciate their fellow human beings enough to speak up when something is wrong. That’s a parenting win in my book.  

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Fundraiser

Rebecca MacCeile

In addition to the wonderful efforts of  Tim Baughman, Eve Jacob, Tabitha, Sounds Nerdy, and our friends broadcasting the  podcast We Were (Kind of) A Big Deal in College . RIGHT NOW 100% of proceeds from Candy Apple Butterscotch and Novelties: A Collection of Unfinished Short Stories are going toward a donation to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Thats right! 100% of all proceeds from November 20th- December 25th 2018 will be donated to the AFSP. Kindle and paperback editions are eligible.

Candy“I was running. Fast and furious through a forest full of cotton candy pink pine trees. Running from what? I still wasn’t certain. Something in my mind was buzzing. The only thing I could think was to run. I heard a faint voice screaming in the distance, and a crash of glass falling to the floor. Suddenly I was rocketed out…

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The Zoo

Hi. Yes. Hello, I’m speaking to You.

Unless the first words out of your mouth/onto your screen addressed to me are: “I’m sorry; I’m turning myself in” and/or “I’m sorry; I’m getting help” there is nothing more that we need to discuss which hasn’t already been yelled/written/emailed between us over the past fucking decade since our relationship ended.

I don’t hate you. I don’t wish ill will upon you. I do and will continue to look back on the rare occasions when you decided to behave like a decent human being during our time together fondly. I understand there are certain physical circumstances out of your control that affect some of your behaviors which I don’t hold against you. Your recent choices, however, have exhausted any amount of patience I might have maintained for you.

I’m acknowledging your recent escapades to prevent them from escalating any further. Although really it’s pretty much a coin toss either way. It’s Christmas. I’m not fucking fighting with you.

Now, please, go have a good holiday and quit creeping on my book marketing.

Struggle Bus

Ever since my last bout of sepsis I have had one hell of a time staying awake. Even though I’ve been careful to not over do it at work, cut back on the intensity of my workouts, and do everything in my power to get adequate sleep at night I still find myself falling asleep midday. Not just like sitting down and gradually falling asleep whilst doing something, but being in the middle of my chores or playing with the kids; then BAM crash gotta lay down or I will fall over, borderline narcoleptic exhaustion just strikes.

Even with my crash naps through out the day I still find myself passed tf out for at least 12 hours when Hubs is home to tend the kiddos. I’m sleeping all the sleep and still feel super ultra mega tired.

While I’ve been struggling with this since I got out of the hospital, in the past few weeks it’s began to affect my daily activities. Where I used to be able to manage my time fairly well and keep up with my book marketing, blogging, school, kids and work now I’m struggling simply to get out of bed and interact with anyone at all.

I’m so close to finishing NaNoWriMo this year with another win, but every time I sit down to my computer for more than 15 minutes at a time I pass out asleep. I’m slacking on my school work too. I’m not behind, but I’m having trouble keeping up with my previous pace.

I know fatigue is often a side effect of your body trying to kill you via sepsis so I wasn’t concerned with it until the past two weeks. I finally made an appointment with my GP and had some tests run. Hopefully I’ll get the results back today or tomorrow and hopefully it’s something that can be easily corrected and not a lasting affect. Chronic fatigue with toddlers is NO FUN. 😴😴😴

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Many of you already know about the holiday charity fundraiser in support of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention several of my friends are participating in. For those of you who don’t: now – December 25th, 2019 join Tim Baughman, Eve Jacob, Tabitha, Sounds Nerdy, and our friends broadcasting the podcast We Were (Kind of) A Big Deal in College through their various efforts to raise money for this wonderful organization.

Today, we’ll focus on my personal reasons for participating in this wonderful initiative. I’ve previously mentioned that the AFSP is an organization close to my heart, and I’ve finally had time to sit down and share a little bit as to why. There have only been two times in my life when I was so completely overwhelmed that I wanted to end my life. The first time, someone was there to save me. He literally picked me up off of the floor and convinced me that life was worth living. Unfortunately, the same man would later abuse me and inflict deep wounds contributing to my most pervasive trauma and PTSD.

Yet, I’m still thankful that he was there that afternoon the first time I felt the weight of depression crushing my soul so severely that death seemed like a welcome retreat. I’d like to share the details of that afternoon with you here today. What follows is an excerpt from my own memoir which I don’t really publicize all that much here. But I felt under the circumstances this excerpt at least was appropriate to share.

Names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy and integrity of those involved.

‘The evening passed ever so slowly as I waited for Noah’s phone call. Eight came and went with no word. I figured that, much like the rest of the world after a big Thanksgiving meal, he had gotten home and fallen asleep. I didn’t take it personally, but I was a little disappointed. I had been looking forward to spending the evening together.

   Then, just as I was changing into my pajamas for the evening, my phone rang. It was Noah and, as I had suspected, he had fallen asleep. He apologized and invited me up to his apartment. I quickly redressed, made my way upstairs and headed toward the door.

   “Where are you going?” Mom asked as I passed through the living room where the rest of my family was watching a Christmas movie on television.

   “To hang out with Laura,” I answered without a second thought. The first time I had spent the night with Noah, I had used the same excuse. It was true, nothing sexual was going on between us, but I didn’t feel like explaining or arguing with my mother about it.    

   “Oh, okay. Have fun,” Mom said as I continued out the door.

   I arrived at Noah’s apartment, let myself in and found him fighting with a giant area rug in the kitchen.

   “Hey, what are you doing?” I asked as I patted Dusty on the head and tossed my purse and keys on a small wicker shelf just inside the door as if I had lived there for years.

   “Trying to get this rug laid out. Some of the stores are open tonight for Black Friday and I stopped on my way home to check out the sales. I needed a rug for the kitchen, so I picked this up,” he answered as he man-handled the rug into place before attempting to cut the ties to unravel it.

   “Okay, well, a rug I can see, but isn’t this a little excessive? It basically covers the entire floor,” I said, taking the liberty to pour some cat food into Cosmo’s dish as he batted and meowed at me.

   “My ex-wife hated walking around on the cold tile, so I kind of got used to carpet in the kitchen, and it was on sale,” he answered.

   “Oh, well, I guess I can see that, but what about all the food and spills? Doesn’t it get really gross?” I asked, stepping out of the way as he slid the rug into place.

   “Not really.”

   “Well, whatever. It’s your kitchen. What are we watching tonight?” I asked.

   “I don’t know. What do you want to watch? Pick something from the shelf,” he answered. “I need to take the dog out. I’ll be right back.”

   I wandered out into the living room and started browsing through his movie collection. I found one that I had seen in theaters and greatly enjoyed. I wanted to watch it again. It was the only one I was familiar with in the entire collection. I picked it off the shelf and returned to sit on the couch as I kicked my shoes off and made myself comfortable.

   Noah soon joined me, removed his jacket and plopped down next to me for a moment before getting up to put the DVD in the player.

   “What’d you pick?” he asked as he took the movie from me and hopped up. “Oh wow. You like this one?”

   “Yeah, I saw it in the theater but I haven’t seen it since. It was really good. Actually, funny story about that. When I was there, I saw Derrick’s wife with another man. She turned around and asked me a question. Thankfully, she didn’t recognize me, or maybe she did. I don’t know. It was really awkward,” I answered.

   “Seriously?” he asked as he returned to the couch.

   “I know. I didn’t say anything, obviously, because I mean… I don’t know. It could have been a guy from work or something. I didn’t know, and I wasn’t about to go around destroying lives for no reason,” I explained as the movie began.

   “Yeah, you’re right. Come here,” he said, pulling me close to him. “I had a really nice time this afternoon. Your family really isn’t so bad.”

   “No, they’re not so bad in small doses. You don’t have to live with them,” I laughed as I snuggled up next to him and stretched out on the couch.

   “Your dad’s pretty cool. I can see how your mom gets on your nerves, but I like your dad,” he said as he rested his arm across my shoulder and settled into his corner.

   That was the last we said as the movie began, and I quietly dozed off.

   That evening went much like the first night we spent together. Although, instead of the earlier awkwardness that came with the invitation into his bed, we were much more comfortable. It seemed to be understood that after the movie we were going to go upstairs.  

   Somehow I had managed to get the next day off. I don’t know if it was just the luck of the draw as I was generally off on Fridays, or if it was intentional because Troy was in charge of scheduling and knew Noah and I were planning on spending the holiday together. Either way, I was glad I didn’t have to wake up early and work on a hectic post-holiday schedule.

   “Hey, would it bother you if I slept in my boxers?” Noah asked as I plopped down on the bed fully clothed.

   “No. I don’t care. It’s your house. You can do what you want,” I answered.

   It didn’t bother me, and I wasn’t entirely sure why he was asking me since we had spent our last two encounters cuddling together. While we weren’t sexually intimate, everything else about our relationship was very personal. I did like the fact that he respected me enough to ask. It just seemed to come at an unusual time.

   “Oh my God, thank you. I hate sleeping in clothes. Well, actually I sleep naked, but boxers are way more comfortable than my clothes,” he explained. “Do you want a tee shirt or something more comfortable to sleep in? I’ve got a closet full.”

   His implication to “get more comfortable” went right over my head, thanks to my child-like innocence. An older, wiser me remembered this exchange as I was writing it down and laughed. If only I had understood what he wanted from me then, on that night, the course of my life would have changed dramatically. Whether for better or for worse, I can’t say for certain. I only know things would have been much different.

   “Thanks, but I’ll be okay,” I answered, quietly watching him haphazardly undress and toss his clothes into a pile in the corner.

   “Are you sure? If you change your mind, just let me know. Do you mind if I sleep under the blankets tonight? I mean just because it’s cold,” he asked, literally hopping into the bed with somewhat of an excited exuberance.

   “Sure, I got a little too hot the other night anyway. You were freezing. I covered you up before I left,” I said as I rolled over to face him.

   “I noticed. Thank you. I was pretty cold,” he said with a smile as he crawled under the blankets with me and extended his arm to pull me close.

   I smiled and snuggled in next to him underneath the crook of his arm. It felt a little weird with me in my khakis and sweater while he was practically undressed. It was also a new experience for me to be snuggled so close to a man with body hair. I wasn’t entirely sure how I felt about it at first since I went out of the way to shave most, if not all, of my own out of personal distaste for it. As I lay there with my face on his bare, hairy chest, though, it became somewhat comforting – a feeling I associated with safety and security.

   We lay there talking well into the morning about everything and nothing. The only thing I really remember is discussing how he was looking to find another roommate, but he expressed concern over inviting another young woman into his home after the mess that had resulted from his first attempt at a female living partner. He never did tell me the complete truth about what had happened between him and his former roommate – only that her boyfriend was extremely upset with him and kept coming to the apartment trying to break in, threatening him and generally being a nuisance. I didn’t think too much of it at the time, but now I have to wonder if the same thing that eventually happened to me hadn’t happened to her.

   The next morning we woke together. It was nice to stir to life at the same time, and it was funny that we had both opened our eyes and stared at the ceiling in silence until he finally asked, “Becca? Are you awake?”

   “Yep. I’ve been awake for half an hour, but I didn’t want to disturb you,” I answered honestly, rolling over to face him.

   “That’s pretty funny. Me too,” he replied.

   We both laughed as he hopped out of bed.

   “Hey, I’m going to take a shower. Do you need the bathroom?” he asked as he stretched and then lumbered across the room to his closet.

   “Yeah, I guess I better.”

   “Okay,” he answered, sitting down at his computer.

   I sat there in silence for a moment until he looked over at me with a puzzled look on his face.

   “Are you… gonna go do that… or?” he asked.

   “Where it is?” I asked, returning his expression.

   “Oh! Yeah, it’s just out the door to the…uh… left. Left, yes,” he replied after pausing to look at his hands to figure out the direction of the bathroom.

   I laughed to myself as I rolled out of bed and brushed past him into the hallway, where I also had to get reoriented with proper directions before entering the bathroom.

   “Thank God, I’m not the only one,” he yelled after me as I found the bathroom and closed the door behind me.

   For the bathroom of a single man, it was surprisingly well-kept. Everything was organized and clean. I returned to the bedroom just as he was getting ready to head to the shower.

   “After I get out of the shower, I’m heading up to hang out with a buddy of mine before work, but you’re welcome to stay as long as you want. Make yourself at home,” he said with a smile as he bounced past me into the bathroom.

   I didn’t have anywhere to be or anything else to do, so I snuggled into the bed and closed my eyes while I waited for him to get out of the shower. I could have made my way down stairs, but I just wanted to lie there. Noah’s bed was the one place I’d found away from my mother where I felt safe and secure, a place that calmed my racing mind and where I was able to fully and completely relax. I hadn’t intended on going back to sleep, but listening to the water running in the bathroom, with the room warming up as the sun rose higher in the sky, I couldn’t help myself.

   The next thing I remember was a hand placed lightly on my back and a gentle shake to rouse me from sleep.

   “Becca? Hey, I don’t mean to run you off or anything, but I’m getting ready to head out the door. I’m already like an hour late,” he explained softly.

   I opened my eyes and rolled over to see him staring down at me with a rushed, but content, smile.

   “Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to fall back to sleep. I’m up,” I said, sitting up and rubbing the sleep out of my eyes again.

   “It’s okay. My buddy has known me since we were, like, five. He doesn’t expect me to be on time, but he lives out of town and is only here for the night. I need to get going. I’m going to go let the dog out. Wait for me, and we’ll leave together so I can lock the door behind us,” he said, heading out the bedroom door and quickly down the stairs.

   I followed closely behind him. As he headed out back to let the dog out, I headed to the living room to check my phone. I had turned the ringer off and left it downstairs on purpose. I assumed that my mom would call when I didn’t return home, but what I hadn’t expected were the hateful voicemails she left.

   I plopped down in the middle of the couch, picked up my phone and punched in my voicemail password. Listening to the first voicemail wasn’t too bad. She was upset, but mostly concerned that I hadn’t returned home, nor had I called to tell her. The second voicemail she left started to get a little hateful. She informed me that when I hadn’t returned home by morning she went to look for me. When she hadn’t found me at work, she asked where she could find Laura. She found Laura and asked where I had gone after I left her house. Laura, unaware of her role in my lie, honestly answered that I had never been to her house at all.

   I had been caught.

   Mom asked me to call her back. When I hadn’t returned her call, she called and left yet another voicemail. I was upset by the second voicemail, but I couldn’t even finish listening to the third one, which began, “I know you weren’t with Laura last night. You were with Noah, weren’t you? You’re still with him, aren’t you? How long has this been going on? Are you sleeping together? You’re nothing but a deceitful, little whore. How dare you lie to me….”

   I burst into tears and collapsed onto the floor, throwing my phone across the living room. I lay there crying, curled up into the tightest little ball I could manage. There are only rare moments in which I’ve felt so completely helpless that death seemed as though it would be a welcome release. Crying in the middle of Noah’s living room after listening to those voicemails from my mother was the first of those moments in my life. I was crying so hard, trying to purge the pain from my soul, but the only thing that came was more tears.

   “Becca, what’s wrong?” Noah asked, rushing back into the house and immediately to my side. “What the hell happened?”

   He pulled me up off the floor and sat us both down on the couch. I was still sobbing uncontrollably as he put his arms around me in a protective embrace.

   “I got voicemails from my mom. She found out that I wasn’t staying with Laura so she went looking for me. When she couldn’t find me she assumed that I was with you and called me a slut and a whore for spending time with you. I don’t know what to do anymore. I just don’t know what to do!” I sobbed, still too emotional to fully articulate what my mother had accused me of.

   “Wait. What? What did she say?” he asked, pulling me closer and holding me tighter.

   “She called me a whore because we spent the night together. She won’t believe me when I tell her nothing happened. She never believes me. That’s why I didn’t tell her I was coming here. It doesn’t matter. I can’t take it anymore! I can’t! It doesn’t matter what I do. It’s never good enough,” I choked between erratic sobs. I was in so much pain and agony from everything regarding my mother. And it was all coming to a head with these hateful voicemails. “I don’t even want to live anymore!” I wailed before launching into another fit of erratic sobs.

   I collapsed once again onto the floor. My head landed on Noah’s lap and he placed his hand on my shoulder as I cried it all out.  It was the first time I ever felt completely broken, open and truly raw. I had done my best to keep my head up throughout a lifetime of abuse inflicted upon me, but at that moment, my spirit was so heavy I just didn’t want to go on. All I wanted to do was fade into nothingness.       

   My hope had been that once I turned 18, my mother would back off and leave me alone. Instead, things had only gotten worse. From the time I was very young, she had always threatened to kick me out of the house when I didn’t comply with her demands, but now that she wasn’t legally obligated to provide for me, her threats intensified to the point that they were almost a daily occurrence.

   I had my own car and a steady job, but my salary was too low to be able to afford an apartment on my own, and it was too high for any sort of government assistance. Mom knew this. She knew I was stuck and used it to her complete advantage. I don’t think she expected me to find a place to live or to find someone who would challenge her treatment of me. Thankfully, in Noah, I inadvertently had.

   “Becca, you’re not a whore. It’s okay. Your mom doesn’t know what the hell she’s talking about. Don’t listen to her. That’s not right. She shouldn’t treat you that way. You need to get out of there. That’s not a healthy environment for you to be in. You don’t need that,” he reassured me.

   I looked through my tears into his eyes riddled with concern, sadness and an ever-so-slight tinge of anger.

   “But I don’t have anywhere else to go. I can’t afford my own apartment on my salary, and I don’t really have any friends. Other than you and Laura and…. Well, that’s really everyone.”

   “Are you SURE you don’t have anywhere else to go?” he asked, searching my face for any sign of dishonesty.

   “No… not really,” I answered.

   With one more small sniffle, I began to dry my tears, and I pulled myself up off the floor. We paused there silently for what seemed like an eternity. Eventually, I picked up my purse and headed toward the door, not entirely sure what I was going to do. Silently, I was hoping that an auto accident or some other means of quick and painless death would meet me.

   “Where are you going?” Noah asked as I opened the door.

   “I don’t know. Probably home. I don’t have anywhere else to go,” I answered with a shrug

   “No. Don’t do that. Stay. Stay here. You can stay here.”

   I looked at him and saw the concern and worry that blanketed his face. “Are you sure?” I asked.

   “Well, no. I’m not sure. But we can work something out. Just don’t leave right now. Don’t go back to that. You need to calm down, Becca,” Noah signed.

   I looked once again into his deep jade eyes and started to tear up for an entirely new reason. Here he was, this rough and tumble, reckless man, taking me into his home against his better judgement for no reason other than he wanted to give me a safe place to stay. I made my way back to the couch and sat next to him as he stared at the corner of the coffee table with an intensity I hadn’t seen from him before.

   Silence took over the room for an unusual amount of time before he eventually looked up at me.

   “Are you going to be okay here by yourself? I really need to go, but I’m not going to leave you alone if you want to die,” he nearly whispered, searching my face.

   “I’ll be okay. You can go,” I answered, wiping a new batch of tears from my cheeks.

   I had most definitely been on the brink of disaster after listening to the voicemails from my mom. Noah and the fact that he cared about me enough to open his home quickly brought me back to reality. My life wasn’t truly all that bad, and there were many solutions to the problems that weighed me down. I was so tired of battling my demons alone, but with someone in my corner, I found a renewed sense of strength.

   “Are you sure? I don’t need to take the razors out of the bathroom and hide the knives or anything do I?” he asked, still not sure I had recovered. “I don’t want to come home to your body bled out in the bathroom or something.”

   “No. Thank you. I promise I’ll be okay,” I answered with a small smile.

   “Well, if you need anything, and I mean ANYTHING, you call me. If I don’t answer, call again and I will. I’m meeting my buddy and then I have to go right to work, so I won’t be home until pretty late.  If you get bored or really lonely, come hang out,” he said as he stood up and headed toward the door. “Hey, your mom is wrong. I just want you to know that.”

   I smiled with tears in my eyes as he turned to check on me one last time before disappearing out the front door.”

If you’d like to read more about Noah’s roll in my life you can purchase my memoir on Amazon! Also from Now – December 25th 100% of my proceeds from sales of both my memoir and Novelties: A Collection of Unfinished Short Stories will be donated to the AFSP.

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Loaves and Blunts

It’s weird how the most mundane and random things will trigger long forgotten memories. Even if they aren’t particularly bad or traumatic memories.

This year we’re having a small family Thanksgiving at home. We had plans to travel to visit my parents in Ohio, but they changed fairly last minute. As such I scrambled around trying to get our traditional Thanksgiving foods together at the last minute. Neither Hubs nor I really wanted to prepare an actual turkey so I set out to find a turkey loaf.

I remember the classic microwave/tv dinneresc turkey loaves from the Thanksgivings of my youth. Which is what eventually finding triggered my memories of the last Thanksgiving we spent at my grandparents home in Dayton. It was a warmish year, and my cousins and I were sitting out front. I was the youngest by several years so I was playing in the leaves as my older cousins entertained themselves with other games.

I don’t remember if it was before or after the Yellow Sweater incident, where I was accosted by several older kids from across the street as I played in the leaves alone one afternoon. I do remember two kids walking out of the same infamous House Across the Street and approaching my oldest cousin.

It was a huge to do because they were trying to sell him marijuana, he said he wasn’t interested and told his younger sister and I to stay away from them, they were up to no good. I was still too young and sheltered to really understand the significance of the event, but I knew there were drugs involved and that drugs were scary and bad.

After that incident we went inside and ate the last big family meal that I can remember at that small house. Until the house sold and my grandparents moved, we relocated our family gatherings to avoid the growing crime problem in the area.

Fast forward a decade later and another holiday memory popped into my head. It was the last holiday my ex spent with my family. We’d had a wonderful meal together at my grandparents home, and it was one of the only holidays we shared with my cousins and their families. As my ex and I were leaving and heading off to another holiday function he said to me: “I feel like I know your cousin. Like I’m sure I’ve seen him before.”

My reply: “Well yeah. You hung out at the house across the street from my grandparents’ old house, right? My cousins were there just as much as I was. Actually, ironically, you tried to sell to him once during a holiday get together. That’s why I was never able to play out front again. Drugs are bad mmmmkaaaay?”

“Oh… I probably did.”

“You definitely did. Ever the industrious business man.”

“Do you think he remembers me? Does your family know? About… that?”

“I don’t know if he remembers you, but no. I didn’t go around introducing you to my family as the former drug dealer across the street.”

“Yeah. Let’s not. I don’t want to talk about it anymore.”

Of course this year, long after the relationship with my ex fell apart, I’ve gone trough my PTSD recovery and dealt with the various different traumas I endured with him the memory doesn’t have much emotional weight to it. As the years have progressed and things about the past have come to light I don’t even know if what my ex told me about being “the dealer across the street” was true. It was just something that crossed my mind today as I’m sitting here reflecting on the past and all of the things that I’m thankful for.

You see, today also marks 13 years since the fateful Thanksgiving where I almost tried to end my life. It was technically the Friday after Thanksgiving, but the events leading up to it began a few weeks before and came to a pique on Thanksgiving Day 2005.

I’m not going to go into depth right now, I’m busy enjoying my time with my family and don’t want to dig up those old memories anymore than they’ve already been on my mind.

I simply wanted to say that this year, 13 years and lifetimes later, I’m thankful for the people in my past and their roll in my life, even though many of moments we shared were painful. Some of the moments we shared weren’t painful; they were beautiful. Many of those quiet moments didn’t make it into my book. Not because they weren’t important, but simply because editing lol. I had to trim a lot out. No one wants to sit down and read a 500 page book about every day life. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Anyway… I’m thankful for all of them, the good and the bad. Without them, I wouldn’t be here with my husband and children Christmas Light Hunting tonight.



Well my first promotional event for my books was pretty much a flop. Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong. I advertised it as a signing, I had every intention of it BEING a signing, but then the ice storm happened and my shipment of books TO SIGN didn’t show up. I had a few but not as many as I wanted to have on hand. But really, even the few I had were more than enough considering my audience was approximately five people and the staff. Lol.

I knew going into it that it was going to be a tiny event as the bookstore where I hosted it had just opened. They haven’t found their customer base yet, plus the ice storm and freezing drizzle on and off all day prevented a lot of people from venturing out.

The entire thing wasn’t executed very well, I was ill prepared, and the weather didn’t cooperate. I sold precisely one book and I sold it to one of my best friends who trekked up from Ohio. Lol.

I’m not discouraged though. From a sales standpoint the event was a failure. From a healing standpoint: it was a huge success and pivotal point in my recovery journey. I’ve been writing about my trauma for almost six years now. It’s been extraordinarily helpful over all, but my writing has reached a plateau as far as self therapy.

Now, I need to talk about it. To say it out loud and regain my physical voice as well as my figurative voice. Sure, I’ll talk about it with pretty much anyone who asks one on one or even a small group of friends but actually speaking to the public at large like this event was.

I’m calling it a success and I can’t wait to see what happens next! I’ve got at least one more event in the works and we’ll see what happens from there. 😁

Statutory Rape is Still Rape


Yes you read that title correctly and YES there are people in this world who somehow “don’t get it.”

I was scrolling on Twitter and this man (bless him) was advocating for rape/sexual assault victims and dropping the mic all over the damn place.

He literally had to explain to someone that statutory rape is still rape.

Here’s what happened.

So there was this article about how two teenage girls – 14 years old – went to the wife of one of their teachers to tell them that he was having an affair……with them.

*brb need to go vomit*

Alright I’m back. So the police came to arrest this man and somewhere in the article it says that both teenage girls “consented” to this “relationship.”

Here’s the thing that apparently is hard to understand (even though it’s really not).

The legal age to give consent in the States is 16…

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