Finding the Volume of My Voice


I attended a luncheon last Fall for trauma survivors. There were ten amazing women aged 20-69 who sat together and shared (as much as we were comfortable) our experiences, talked about our healing and learned about trauma-informed leadership. Most of us didn’t know each other, and the facilitator made it a safe, respectful and comfortable environment.  We each had up to three minutes at the beginning to stand up, introduce ourselves, share what we wanted about our story and talk about what we would like to bring to the survivor community in any form of advocacy.

At the end of the luncheon, the facilitator asked us to write on a sticky note what we wanted to do for other survivors after what we had learned that day. I wrote, I want to find the volume of my voice.

Last month I was invited to be on a television show where…

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Room for a Pony

Last year when we sold our home with the intention of building, the idea was to upgrade from our small, rural, starter home into something worthy of a long term investment. A large, suburban home where we could comfortably raise the kids until adulthood, gain equity, and resell with a healthy profit for our retirement. That was our goal. 

Now all of the sudden, Hubs has found a trailer in the literal middle of nowhere that he has his heart set on. It is the exact opposite of what we originally set out to do and our realtor has highly advised against it. Not only because buying a trailer is basically like buying a car, it will depreciate over time not accrue value like a brick and mortar, but because the realestate market in the area is AWFUL. Nothing sells there, even the brick and mortar homes. The town has never had a population of more than 900 people in its entire century plus of existence. 

There is no potential for a return on this investment. It doesn’t even have any rental potential down the road. It’s a HORRIBLE financial decision, but all Hubs sees is the $70k price tag vs the $150k+ homes we’ve been looking at. It’s true, this trailer is really nice. It’s been completely updated and renovated. I’m not above living there at all. If the kids were grown, and he wanted to buy it? Sure. It’s four walls and a roof. We don’t need an expensive suburban home after the kids move out.

Now? Before the kids have even started their school career, and we’re still working toward retirement? (If such a concept even exists in 20yrs) No. Now is the time to be investing. Spending money, to make money later. Working hard, long hours so we can enjoy our empty nest. I thought Hubs and I were on the same page, but now he doesn’t want to take on the payment of a more expensive home. Even though it’s only a few dollars more per month than the rent we’re paying now. We’re approved for it mortgage wise, we don’t even need a downpayment, but he is refusing to budge claiming that he doesn’t want to waste his time being “house poor”. Making an affordable investment is not being “house poor”. Making a shitty investment to keep up with The Jones’ is being “house poor”. We got approved for $200k+. If I immediately went out and started looking at homes at the top of our credit approval? Yes… that’s “house poor”. Staying with in range of what we already spend now? Normal investment. 

*brain explodes* 

I mean, on the one hand I get it. The trailer does have the same square footage as the homes we’re looking at for almost half the up front cost. If it was a short term investment, like our first starter house was? Great. Sure. Let’s go for it. But short term investments are low up front cost with a quick return. This is a low up front cost, but with no return potential, and even the possibility of depreciation!! I’m like HUSBAND WHAT ARE YOU DOING? 

The only potential this place really has is the fact that it has two lots. Which means at some point we could technically build a brick and mortar home on the site, but with the real estate market being practically non-existent in the town to begin with that’s too much of a gamble in my eyes. If it didn’t sell we’d be out the cost of the trailer, plus the cost of the new build and stuck living in the boonies forever. 

There are some good points too. We would finally be able to live together again. The payments on it would be dirt cheap, freeing up money for Hubs and I to focus on going back to school together instead of one after the other, and hey with two lots we even have room for a Pony! The mother/wife in me wants to go for it for the immediate good of the family. Business sense, money management me is screaming and tearing my hair out. 

Truth, Lies, and Alibis

Two years ago when I first set out to publish the worst of my most recent traumas, I wrote this post: I Should Tell Them kind of getting into the intracicies of why I kept the secret of my sexual assaults from my parents for so long. Over the weekend, I finally told them. 

I didn’t sit down and have a conversation about it with them, I can’t physically talk about it without sending myself into a panic attack no matter who I’m discussing it with really, but I did print out an article I wrote in October and share it with them. Well, I shared it with my dad and gave him permission to share it with my mom, but I’m not entirely sure if he did or didn’t yet because my mom is busy getting ready for a funeral this week. Plus I made it very clear that I didn’t want to discuss it beyond what I shared in the article so we (hopefully) won’t discuss it. 

My dad and my Hubs share the same level head. They don’t really get flustered by much of anything, but as I handed my dad the six printed pages that made up the article, he read the first paragraph and jumped out of his chair yelling: “I knew something else happened with him! I could never figure out what it was, but I knew it was more than just a bad break up.” He didn’t even read the entire article and he was ready to hulk smash things. I’ve only seen my dad get that upset twice in my entire life, both times relating to run ins with my ex. Lol. 

So that’s done. It was really the last part of my recovery surrounding the entire event that I had yet to address. I don’t really feel any different, but at least now when they ask me about how things are going in relation to all of that mess I can just be honest instead of making up vague reasons/statements trying to avoid the pain of the truth. I’m also hoping they’ll really grasp the severity of the situation now and stop sort of dismissing it  as me being overly emotional.

I mean, duh, I am emotional which is perfectly understandable when you know the severity and specifics of everything that happened. Just sort of coming in blind with me not being unable to verbally articulate why I’m that way doesn’t make any sense. Lol. I get it, but that doesn’t make speaking about the events any easier, so we’ll see what happens in the next few days and weeks. It’s anyone’s guess really.

Even if we do end up talking about it at some point it will be good for me. That’s really my next phase of treatment right now. Working on my ability to verbalize what happened to me, is the next step. I’ve been able to put things in perspective using my blog, writing about it in general, now I have to get my actual voice on par with my figurative voice. Especially if I ever end up in court over this stuff. I have to be able to talk about it with the same grace and poise I write about it with. 

My therapist has been working on exercises with me the past few sessions we’ve had, and I’m slowly starting to get my voice back. I didn’t really know that I lost it over the past few years, but it’s become pretty obvious as I try to navigate my way around the adult world I’ve never learned how to really correctly interact with anyone. My brash, curt, unfiltered self was endearing in my early 20’s. Not so much now as I’m coming up on 30 lol. 

Rape and Victim-Blaming

Child of Cynicism

Approximately 85,000 women and 12,000 men are raped in England and Wales every year alone.

Generally speaking, I don’t like statistics-primarily because they tend to take the emotion and personality out of heart-breaking events. But under some circumstances, the shocking reality of numbers empowers us to make a stand against what we know is wrong and speak out on behalf of those in the world that need us the most.

Living in a day and age of so called “gender equality”, it would be forgivable to make the assumption that everyone shared the same viewpoint that victims are never at fault in an attack; yet, shockingly, this isn’t always the case. Social media is awash with accusations and downright pro-rape-culture propaganda. Whether it be a debate over what she was wearing, how much she’d had to drink or whether she’d been leading the perpetrator on, the blame doesn’t always tend…

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Fading Into Apathy

So much stuff happened over the past few days. The Trump inauguration, having Hubs home with me for the weekend, the Women’s March, changing our housing plans at the very last possible second AGAIN, finally telling my parents about the extent of the abuse I suffered during my previous relationship, and the loss of my uncle who’s been battling mesothelioma for a really long time.

I have thoughts and feelings about every single one of those events but my brain is completely overwhelmed with the magnitude of it all and I can’t figure out a way to get all of my thoughts and feelings out onto the page. I don’t know if it’s a side effect of my medication, or the fact that my writing has always been a form of hypergraphia, and primarily emotionally driven. Basically a coping mechanism for my intrusive thought patterns. Now that the meds are taking care of that… I kind of just sit here staring at my cursor for a while before getting called away to tend to the kids. If I don’t sit down to write about my thoughts and feelings at the VERY MOMENT I experience them, I kind of lose them.

It feels like I’ve become somewhat apathetic, at least in my expression of my feelings. I still HAVE the feelings, so that’s good, but I’m not quite able to capture them and put them to paper like I have in the past. It’s some what of an adjustment. I don’t really want to lose all of my feelings, but at the same time I am SO THANKFUL that I’ve finally been able to trigger the accurate emotional response. I get to feel, and I get to let go of those feelings too instead having them bouncing around in my brain until I can’t stand it and start exhibiting physical symptoms. At least much more than I have in the past. Some things that really trigger me still get stuck, but it’s not nearly as bad as it was at the end of last year.

I guess it’s just another swing of the pendulum of my recovery. I went too far one way, and now I’m sort of swinging back the other way. Eventually I’ll find the balance I’m looking for… Hopefully before I completely dissolve into an apathetic mess. lol.


It happened. B1 is officially toddling around the house now. My baby boy is growing up too fast! Make it stop! Lol. He was so proud of himself yesterday, smiling ear to ear as he took about four or five steps at a time before toppling over, jumping right back up to try again. 

B1 is by far the most exuberant of my children. Every new thing he experiences is the BEST THING EVER, unless it scares him. Taking his first steps was so exciting he didn’t stop giggling and smiling until bed time. The happiest, most accomplished baby boy I’ve ever seen. 

Watching his brother seemed to inspire B2 to try and get up on his feet too. He WANTS to, but something keeps stopping him. He can hold himself upright on his knees and he’ll kind of scoot around that way, but something about his feet is preventing him from standing up completely. He curls his toes under and starts fussing, getting frustrated. 

We’ve been following the doctor’s instructions to play with his feet, and sort of get him acclimated to the sensation of pressure, but he simply isn’t having it on the carpet. He does okay on solid surfaces so maybe some shoes would help him at least build up his leg muscles or something. I’m not sure. It’s kind of scary to think about him being diagnosed with something else at such a young age, especially with insurance laws in limbo. 

He and I both are pretty much out in the lurch if the ACA is repealed without a replacement. We both have pre-existing conditions. If something ever happens to Hubs and we lose the insurance he has through work? B2 and I are out of luck. I’m worried that if he keeps getting different diagnosis his future health care will get bleaker and bleaker. 

Not to say that I entirely supported the ACA as it was. It definitely needed more fine tuning, and better legislation instead of getting rushed through and put into place before they worked out the kinks, but some aspects of it were beneficial and repealing the entire thing is just as reckless as those who rushed it through in the first place. 

It’s a scary world we’re living in right now for lots of reasons, and thinking about what might become of it as my Littles are growing up makes it even worse. Parenting is hard. 

Tired Tuesday

Yesterday the weather was nice and I decided to get the kids out trying to make it to the duck pond before the weather turned, or it began to rain. We didn’t make it to the duck pond, but on the way home we did swing into the local Target after diapers and a few other random groceries.

I won the parking lot lottery and snagged the closest parking spot to the door that wasn’t marked as a handicap spot. As I was celebrating my parking victory and getting the kids out into their stroller I heard a strange noise, kind of a hissing sound. I didn’t think too much of it until I closed the last car door and noticed my rear passenger tire deflating before my eyes. Ah yes. The source of the strange hissing sound. 

Last Spring we traded in our little Honda for a bigger vehicle before the Twins arrived. I’d never even looked for the spare in the new car because I was pregnant when we bought it. I wasn’t going to change anything while pregnant, Hubs wouldn’t allow it lol. So here I am in the parking lot with three kids, a flat and zero idea where any of the necessary tools to change it were. I didn’t even know what shape my spare was in, if/when I could find it. 

I called Hubs to ask if we still had roadside on our insurance, which we did but it was one of those pay up front and they’ll reimburse you later deals. Not worth it if I could find someone to help with the kids and do it myself. So I called my sisters who were working, they called mom and she came over to help. She sat with the kids while I fought with the tire. I found the jack, and got it set up. My parking spot victory wasn’t so nice after I discovered being so close to the curb I couldn’t properly use the jack and instead had to take off the handle and re-set it every quarter turn. 

So I get it lifted off the ground and then I can’t get the lug nuts off. Last time I had my tires changed/rotated they tightened them too tight. Nothing I could do was getting them to loosen up and on the phone with Hubs, he told me to stop before I inadvertently sheered them off. Plan B: Fixaflat. So here I go back inside after half an hour fighting with the jack and lug nuts. I go to check on the kids who were still waiting with my mom in the cafe, and mom says: “well there’s a Tire Discounter right around the corner. Why don’t you go there and see if they can come help you?”

Plan C: Tire Discounter. So I walk across the shopping plaza to the Tire Discounter and ask if they can help me with mounting the spare and getting my flat tire off. They apparently don’t have any off sight tools, or the insurance to help with tires off the premises. I’m leaning more toward the second option, but either way. They couldn’t help me unless I could get the car to them. So I walk BACK across the shoping plaza, into the car and limp it over to them. It took me forever but I managed to make it without damaging my rim. THANK GOD FOR THAT.

Now the last time I had an issue with a tire, it was stabbed, but I neglected to report it to the police which ended up coming back to haunt me later down the road. So this go around I asked them to carefully inspect the tire for any signs of vandalism, and let me know immediately. The guys behind the counter looked at me like I was crazy, but whatever. I’m not taking anymore chances. 

Thankfully, it didn’t appear to be vandalism. Somewhere from my apartment to the duck pond, I managed to find a missed piece of accident debris. They found what looked like a brake handle from a bike/scooter/motorcycle bent in half and punctured through my tire. It was lodged in there so far they couldn’t even get it out to send it home with me. Which I mean, I didn’t need it as long as it was just road debris anyway lol. But the damage was so extensive there was no way to save the tire. I just needed a new one. They said it would take about an hour, so off I went on my third trek across the parking lot back to find mom and the kids. 

We wandered around Target; then headed off to browse through a few more stores trying to keep the kids entertained. Yep, my quick trip to the duck pond turned into an entire day out trying to entertain bored kids and wait for a new tire. Ugh… 

For the Love of Little

So last Monday the no contact order was lifted and mom came over to our apartment. Little has been devastated and didn’t understand why mom (me) and grandma couldn’t talk or see each other for a while. Sitting in the same room, doing what we’ve always done after a fist fight and pretending everything was fine gave Little the best sense of comfort she’s had in a very long time. She was thrilled, much better behaved the rest of the afternoon, and went right to sleep without the level of anxiety that’s been so worrisome. She also stopped worrying about the sirens off in the distance which have bothered her ever since she watched mom get arrested. 

So for the remainder of our time in Ohio, on Little’s behalf, we’ll be spending one afternoon weekly with grandma. At least we’ll see how long it lasts anyway before the eventual tension mounts and mom does her mom thing. If all goes well we aren’t planning on being here much past six weeks or so anyway. We finally found a house in Indiana, we’re just waiting on some financing things to come through. 

Yeah, I know. I’ve been rather tight lipped about where exactly our apartment was trying to avoid any additional stress from other people in Ohio. It didn’t really work, and on the practical eve of our return to the Hoosier State I don’t really care if they know I’m here anymore. 

The kids and I were supposed to stay with my parents the entire time we were having our house built. After the legal fiasco with my mom happened, we scrapped the build, and we only had two weeks to find an apartment. We searched high and low in Indianapolis, and even some of the surrounding cities but nothing was available in our time frame. Three bedroom apartments are harder to find than you’d think, especially in decent areas for a decent rent.

So out of any other options we began looking in Ohio. We found one not too far from my parents which made it easy for my dad and sisters to help with the kids, but it’s also been the reason my PTSD has spiraled out of control in recent months. Constantly being on high alert so I don’t run into anyone from my past has literally worn me out. 

I shouldn’t run into anyone since I made sure to move the opposite direction from the last place I knew they were, but being inside of my previous 200 mile buffer zone has created all of the recent anxiety issues I’ve been experiencing. Ohio and the urban environment I’m in is comforting in one sense, because it’s conveient, familiar and my childhood home. However, I’ve discovered with this recent mess that I can no longer live here.

It hasn’t been all bad. I’ve made a lot of great strides toward closure on a lot of the issues I originally ran away from when I first moved to Indiana. There was a good amount of healing done in between the panic attacks. Lol. I just know that when we leave here to start the next chapter of our lives in a town with a population smaller than the number of people living in my apartment complex, I probably won’t be coming back. Or if/when I do it won’t be for any extended period of time.

I don’t really know how I feel about that yet. On the one hand struggling so much with my PTSD makes me feel victimized all over again which makes me angry, frustrated, and fairly combative with anyone I perceive as a threat. Lucky me, out of fight, flight, or freeze I rolled fight 3 out of 3. Lol. It’s how I managed to survive the trauma I’ve experienced, but now it’s kind of a burden always being quick on the draw, often shooting myself in the foot before my rationale catches up and I can assess the situation. 

On the other, I’m just sad. I had done so well with my initial round of therapy, jumping over obstacles, and applying the healthy alternatives to my disordered thinking. I knew the disorder would never go away, but it felt like it had. My symptoms were practically non existent there for a while and I thought I was strong enough to withstand the challenges of facing my past head on. Being literally sidelined by my body short circuiting before my mind could catch up, reminded me just how real, and very present even after all of the hard work I’ve put into my recovery the disorder is. It’s discouraging, and heart breaking all the same. 

I will literally be fighting this until my very last breath. It’s a good thing I also got a whole lot of extra tenacity to go with my fight response. If nothing else, I will survive. 

Justice Fails


They chose a diversion program for my mom. Which is handy on the one aspect that I don’t have to go through the stress of an actual trial, and disappointing on the other that she gets away with it. The one time she gets caught after a lifetime of abuse, and she still gets away with it like nothing happened at all. Six months of an online course teaching her more tactics to toss in her arsenal of manipulation. Supposedly an anger management course, and then we’re back to square one with the aside that now when everything is said and done she’ll be all about trying to get my “forgiveness” and saying how “blessed” she is that God answers her prayers, and help her poor daughter who struggles with anger… Etc etc etc narcissist bullshit. 

In the end the diversion really was the best choice for everyone, so I’m not upset with the fact it was chosen in my particular case. I’m upset that something like these diversion programs exist at all. In my case I’m already outside the realm of abuse. I’ve escaped with my safety and sanity intact. Even after the court ordered no contact is lifted and she can start hounding me I have the ability to say no and ignore her. I’ll be fine. 

Others, who suffer domestic abuse aren’t always so lucky. The diversion only gives them a reprieve for a while until it gets a million times worse on the return. Women (and men really) with abusive spouses aren’t always able to escape the way I did, and once the diversion is complete the, charges are dropped, and if they survive the next time to call the police they’re right back to square one. This is a HORRIBLE idea. At least in the cases of true abuse.

Now on the flip side, a diversion can be a good thing in regards to those falsely accused of abuse, after defending themselves. Such as myself. Basically because I hulk smashed after my fight or flight response kicked in, if we had gone to trial it would have opened Pandora’s Box digging into all aspects of my past. 

So… I guess in the end the greater good did prevail, or put off the inevitable for six more months… Guess we have to wait and see. 

Bridges Burned with Explosions


Mom’s first court date was today. Apparently they charged her with everything they had, even after giving us (i.e. The rest of the family) the impression that there wasn’t much of a case to go on. Not exactly a problem doing their job prosecuting on my behalf with the tiny little exception that it shocked and appalled my entire family. My mother fully expected me to just drop it like nothing ever happened. 

Okay, let me break it down for you here: mom left my kid unattended, she hit me first, I hit back, she throws coffee mug at me, I hit her again, Little starts crying, I walk away to tend to Little, mom decides to call the police and have me arrested. PLOT TWIST: she hit me first, making her the aggressor; the police took her away instead. Then suddenly after all of that, plus an entire childhood of abuse, I’m just supposed to pretend like nothing happened? Um…. How about ef no? 

So the victims advocate calls and we discuss everything. I tell them the truth, this is the first time she’s been caught but it’s not the first time it’s happened. Sending her off for community service isn’t going to do any good, she needs psychiatric evaluation and treatment, because she has obvious mental issues. Little did I know that meant they were going to go full bore and throw the book at her. I didn’t say: “throw my mother in jail to rot.” But that’s precisely what they’re trying to do. Even if she does get jail time it’s only six months, which is a horrible experience I’m sure, but it’s only six months. It’s not like they’re going to lock her away for years.

So the family was shocked, appalled, and angry with me because the way the prosecutor argued it made it sound like I wanted her to go to jail. Which makes living with them really awesome at the moment. And now once again here’s Kelli stuck in the middle of a horrible situation where no one really wins no matter what happens, and it’s all resting on my shoulders trying to decide which way to go. YEP. My therapist predicted this with mom’s fairly clear pattern of disordered behavior, so I’m not entirely surprised.

I am a lot disappointed with my family’s reaction to the entire thing. My entire life it was told to me that if I ever broke the law and ended up in jail I was on my own. No one was coming to bail me out, I was to face the consequences of my actions because they loved me. Well if that’s the case then aren’t I obligated to hold the charges against her? Isn’t it the responsible, loving thing to do by holding her accountable? Or is it like so many other things where it’s okay for her to do to me, but if I turn it around on her it’s brazen and wrong?

No one can tell me what to do since it’s a pending case as I’m currently writing this. Obviously I can’t publish it until after the fact, but I needed to write about it the day it happened before it got lost in the shuffle. My dad is all like: “just do the right thing.” Which is code for: “don’t send your mother to jail.” The really tough part is that according to my upbringing  I am doing the right thing. Apparently the whole charade of “we’re not bailing you out if you get arrested” was just a farce to scare me or manipulate me or something. Or no one ever assumed they would be in this position in the first place. 

A lot of it is just plain old denial. Dad refuses to believe mom’s behavior over the years has been abusive, one of my sisters understands but can’t quite cope with it actually happening, and the other one thinks I’m just being stubborn and spiteful and will eventually come around to realize how wrong I am. No one is really mentally prepared to deal with this aside from myself.

It’s not easy. I’ve been able to keep it together right now mostly because I have to. I have to give my kids a safe place to live, I have to move forward with the charges, I have to do this for my recovery and healing. Mom is a criminal and always has been. This is the first time she’s been held accountable, and could potentially be the last. I’m not going to give her any more chances. I’ve been giving her second chances my entire life and nothing changes. Even this won’t really change her. I’ll end up the bad guy, estranged from my entire immediate family, unable to return to my childhood home, my kids will lose aunts and grandparents, and I am still moving forward. That is the right thing to do. Potentially sending my own mother to prison with a felony is the right thing to do. 

Bridges in my life burn with explosions. There are no quiet exits, no fading into the night. A blaze of glory or none at all.