Saturday, October 26, 2013

My Scarlet Letter ~ Moment of Freedom

Oddly, someone asked me about the first moment I felt free of my horrendous childhood a few days ago. I recall like yesterday, turning my head toward the sun as its warmth embraced my porcelain face, my only thought was 'the air smells different!'

Not like all the moments in my young life when what I wanted for was ignored. More than anything in the world my need was to be a normal teenager.  My hopes were destroyed by every assault, every sexual battery and every rape.  After, I would dream of the possibilities. Maybe that was a champion gymnast, maybe a college cheerleader, maybe a beauty contest winner.  I had the strength of mind and body to look beyond the tragedy of my reality and regain hope for a better tomorrow.  

That first instant in time that I felt free and things would be different than all I'd ever known: walking on the sidewalks of the University campus in the fall wind I smelled a freshness, a freedom, a lightness in the air around me.  I closed my eyes, soaked up the rays and inhaled the crisp air.  I can feel this moment any time I want to. That moment is so embedded in my memory I am able to recreate the serenity by recollection.  I breathe and feel peace.  My moment of freedom.  

And, I am one of the few.  5% actually, based on facts presented to me at a self defense introduction.   I know I am one of the fortunate ones who have gotten away, but not only that, pressed on to a healthy way of living.  Past active alcoholism and many other dangerous and deadly situations to become a productive citizen taking care of myself. 

So today, I breathe in and slowly grasp the air in each moment.  I may not stop and mentally note that I am free now, but each breathe is a reminder of how truly lucky I am.
And now I must head out and help those who are not yet as fortunate as I.  Each one, teach one, we can be SURVIVORS.  

Please help them too by signing a national petition to assist victims trying to survive their own horror: Your support means the world to me. 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

My Scarlet Letter ~ Springback Delayed

Seems like it takes every ounce of energy to try the next thing, one more time, striving to reach my purpose.  I have been staggering this way and that: another layer, another round, another struggle, another desire, another time, I must overcome.  I do not want to relive the moments that scar my existence.  All I want to do is get as far away from the unimaginable as possible and never think of the crimes against me.  Not to feel those feelings ever again.  But that is the only way for me to fulfill what I believe to be my mission of life. The unbelievable events must be brought to light to awaken society and shock unbelievers into understanding what many unspoken voices from the world of incest cannot think about, much less talk about.  
This round I will conquer the cause for stalling on my journey. I must forget the comment, expression of another's belief that my task is un-daunting, as if I didn't realize this already. Of course it is.  And I must remember to thank him for the offer of networking to assist my next steps as this has opened doors.  Never a setback, always an opportunity. 

Yes, this set me back somewhat and I found myself asking the question, is this all worth it?

I am always tired because sleep does not come easy.  I stay on edge for any faith and trust I have in others is so limited.  I fail to recognize the need to take care of myself which is a habit from ancient days that I fight to rid my being of every day.  Somehow I always seem to end up at the end of my list.  I find hardship being in this place, time and again.  I muddle in my recollections and ultimately the question arises, am I worth it?  Does what I am doing matter?  

I was honored to hear +JoshSundquist deliver a most inspiring speech yesterday. After I sat and cried as I listened to his story and paralleled the questions he asked of his life to that of my own, I walked outside to get a breathe of air.  I gathered the emotions that were seeping from my body.  Breathe, again.  He said he had put two acronyms on his skis: "1MT, 1MT".
Look what brought me to this point and all the things that have been overcome to get here.  Don't step away now. Do 1 more thing, 1 more time.  That's how I got here. By doing one more thing, one more time. And that one thing could matter for one survivor. So that's what I will pick up and do again. 

Bear with me while I regain my momentum.  

Saturday, July 20, 2013

What It Took ~ Never Stop Trying

I wanted to stop trying so many times.  From the appearance of one coping mechanism after another, a person would have to be blind not to see there was some underlying issue that I was trying to cover up.  I understand addictions are translated to 'coping mechanisms' for me.  I understand from travelling down the addict's path that self-destruction is an attempt to stop everything, not just trying.  What I acknowledge now is that I survived.  The addictions only part of my story.  Nobody asked the real question 'what is going on?'  I was so used to things being the way they were. I didn't know I was being self-destructive.  I just thought, this is how life was for me.
Today, my mind recalls these thoughts.  I have to work, to eat.  There's no way around that. I am not independently wealthy.  Anything extra takes tremendous effort and energy, only because 40 hours a week takes a lot of wind out of my sails.  If I am depressed or anxious, focusing becomes a great hardship.  Occasionally, I ask myself if this is all worth doing. I am fearless in pushing a tiny step forward when I can.  The thing is, I keep moving toward the goal.
I wrote to the Health and Education committee for some assistance with my goal.  Much to my surprise, what followed is a conference call with a member on staff.  He requested some information and I have submitted documents in part.  I talked to Bill this week and shared that I felt if I completed the task, somehow I would be disappointed in the outcome. First thing he said, 'wow, what you wrote must have been suitably articulated and resonated with the audience.'  I blinked, astonished at his response.  He continued to insight where the reader recognized that my goal is not shallow, but rather a heart-felt issue.  Unbelievable and so far from my expectations, I find impossibility in the thought this it truly happening.  My skepticism is okay, he added.  It's not about failing.  It's about that I tried. I didn't let the possibility of failing crush me as I realized, even if I don't hear from the Senate HELP committee again, getting the information together for anytime is what I need to do.  
Onward and upward! 
Synchronously, this popped from my timeline via twitter today ~ I don't want words, I want actions! I shall lend you my pen... Go on, I know you are brave enough to change things!  #AForceToBeReckonedWith  
An inkling to lower my aspirations is aborted and fierce determination overcomes.  The take away will be different.  Not trying is the losing move.

Please sign my petition and help me change things
Take a tiny step with me on my path!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

What It Took ~ Faith, Hope

This past week I had a tremendous opportunity to reflect on how I arrived at my today.  I think about what has been overcome and what roads I walked to rise above the leftovers of my young adult life.  
I ponder one thing that showed consistent throughout those years of wicked condemnation and unbridled attacks I endured physically and mentally.  Letting the memories seep into consciousness and dwell in the whirlpools of emotion that coincide with them, I mark the constant, my faith.  Faith that suffering does end and faith that I would be released from the bondage that molded the me of today.  My sole belief that is not based on proof, but on a feeling that someone greater any one of us, is taking care of me.  I have always believed GOD takes care of me, even during the extreme suffering from brutal violations of my mind and soul, as well as my physical being.
I pulled strength from my faith and although there were times I have been at great distance from GOD, he remained within me only to show his love at my darkest moments.  He spread peace over me to be able to withstand the torment of childhood sexual abuse. Abuse, I am reminded from my dad's own voice, that slowed down to 2 or 3 times a week toward the end of many years of torture. I held fast that the end would arrive and I could flee my personal hell.  
I wanted to share the spiritual journey I traveled in knowing that not all survivors feel this way.  And that is okay.  I know for me, had it not been for my faith, I would have long ago been lost and/or dead as a result of the choices I made. The radio show I did with Butterfly Dreams and Abuse Recovery thriver, Tricia McNight (@triciagirl62 for those on twitter) raised these questions within me and I spent the last several days in deeper contemplation about the answer I gave.  
Today I rose to the sunshine of another glorious day, opened my Bible as I often do and there before me was the answer in a nutshell.  The passage jumped off the page as I read, "And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.  Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us."  He has given little me the Holy Spirit and with his love, HOPE. That is how I made it through the fiery hell of my young life.  Believing and carrying the hope that I would survive victorious.
That's how I continue to heal from the horrors that almost destroyed my life and the lives of others.  AND today, love, faith and hope burst from my heart that leaps with great joy each and every day.

Monday, May 27, 2013

21 Gun Salute ~ War Victims

I stepped into the morning sunshine today, thankful for all the things I have received from GOD's blessings.  In memory of the countless lives sacrificed for me, I move to raise the American flag in their honor.  Tediously, I make sure the cord that raises this symbol of freedom is not entwined or hindered as my flag rises to the pole top.  
Do you feel the power of God when you look at all he has done for this nation?  Do you stop for a minute and think of all that has been given and lost to ensure we citizens remain free?  Not only have those called to serve in years past, but young women and men have volunteered and continue to step up to protect what our founding fathers began with deep thoughts, determination and many actions toward freedom as we enjoy today.
Tears start to roll earthbound as I say a prayer to honor those in my life that have endured the pain and agony of war.  My dad was one of those.  He rose to protect me and you.  He moved around the world to do so, more than once, much like many women and men that serve in the armed forces today.  He saw many atrocities and horrors of war in Vietnam and then later in Korea.  He only spoke twice of these things to me.  I was too young to share his everyday army life that encompassed many of his days of war.  He spoke of losing friends, men who served next to him in battle as they stood feet from him.  I recall the image in my mind as if this story is being told to me today.  How unimaginable the depth to which he was affected.  His mind and life outlook changed.  The man I knew as Dad returned damaged and very different.  He tirelessly attempted to sleep only to be awakened startled by his own screaming.  He jumped when encountering the least little movement by anything around him: his kids, his wife, the doorbell, our dog and many, many more things.
My life changed too, for he brought the pangs of war home with him. I was lost to any understanding of my  childhood battleground. I became a victim of war. Having never served a day of service for country in my life, my days were victim to man's conflict of existence to remain a country with freedom.  I reach to comprehend how I accept and resolve this conflict within me.  
I too, became part of America's war to remain free.  A casualty of war, repeatedly assaulted and raped so many times as a youth, I grew up with monstrous confusion and consternation about what to do about this polar conundrum.  How do I respect and love the one who fought for me, yet took so many things from me because of those battleground fights.  Too many tears have fallen by now and I accept what was good and bad about my father's service for freedom.  
In explaining how I feel today, all I can think of is a quote from 'Road to Perdition' when Tom Hanks shares about Michael Sullivan, the father in this epic, when asked if Sullivan was a good man or a bad man, he would always give the same reply, "He was my father."  

A single tear drops to the ground and I turn away to try and live another moment in faith knowing this is God's plan for me.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

My Scarlet Letters ~ Emotionless Facade

Lately, I have taken some time reflecting on the grave differences between what was  expected of my response to emotional damage and what others did to maintain their control of me. 
Several examples come to mind, but the most dominant in my memory is the response or behavior I was required to exhibit when being in circumstances where another disapproved of my actions or felt they didn't have control of our situation.  Take for example an incident when someone intentionally hurt my feelings.  Not only was I not allowed to cry and express the true emotion related to the pain, but take that a step further.  
My compliance turned to emotional destruction in that I was not to express any emotion at all.  Others expected me to mask feelings of duress at being belittled or chastised and to put on a happy face as if the treatment didn't affect me in any way.  Not one moment of sadness was allowed to be revealed externally on my person.  Not one instant that I was injured emotionally was allowed to escape my being.  I was to appear transfixed, not bothered and that nothing was wrong; that I hadn't been impacted one iota by the way I was treated.  Pushing the pain inside and holding myself emotionless regardless of the thoughtless attack on my child or adult.  Displays of utter disappointment and hurt were to be hidden and suppressed as if nothing had happened. I found myself responding this way in many relationships.  I seemed to automatically react as if I was not allowed to express my turmoil and disbelief about the intended harm someone attempted to lay upon my heart.  Their actions indicated I am the one who was overacting by crying or wanting to be left alone for a bit.  Their words told me that my response to their actions was uncalled for and irrational, sometimes even saying 'you're crazy' for responding in an irate or disbelieving manner that I had been treated improperly.  These individuals become less and less a part of what makes me who I am today.  
Now, I understand the control embedded in the exclamations of my state of mind are just that, attempts to control my emotions and ultimately the totality of me.  I have learned to deflect this type of intense control now.  I find difficulty in remaining emotionless in direct attacks on my character and feelings.  I walk away without explanation, mainly because I know I need to feel the pain and release the anger from the disappointment or betrayal.  Being human is expressing ones self, whether it be sadness, happiness, distraught reactions, elated joy, indifference or injury.  
I still find freedom of expression difficult at times in relationships that have been founded on the me I was before healing.  Showing emotion in these circumstances leads me to believe that I am not allowed to change and grow and become a whole person.  I know THAT IS NOT TRUE. No one should be so bold to think that I will succumb to the atrocity of emotionless existence anymore. I am no longer a shell.  A body that existed without expression of my own feelings and expressions of recognized betrayal by others inflicting their perspectives on how I am supposed to act.  I listen to their perspective and toss them away like garbage finding that with each additional attempt to be controlled, I become stronger to be my own person.  
My humanness grows and I am unable to suppress the emotions that we as human beings are meant to not only feel, but be able to express and share.  For in learning to share these experiences, good or bad, relationships become fuller and more meaningful.  And ultimately, LOVE INVADES MY HEART because another individual respects who I am and what I'm feeling.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

My Scarlet Letter ~ Hurting Hearts

Tears fall and I am unable to stop them. They blur the screen in front of me, but I am determined to try and make sense of all this.  Taking a child's innocence and squishing the joy they have for life is tragic. It is senseless to me as I look around.  No smile on their little faces.  A distance in their eyes that reminds me of my pain, pain that I suffered as I grew to understand the world is not an oyster, pretty and shiny mother of pearlness that attracts all to its beauty within.  Each of us have the capacity to open our hearts with unconditional love and yet, so few do.  So few share a child-like feeling that everyone has joy in their heart.  I still have that desire to live life with an open heart, but others will not allow that joy and happiness to enter their own.  I want to share love that can penetrate any pain and restore a sense of peace to these damaged pieces that lie within each of us.  
How is that possible, I ask myself?  Does caring about another human being mean so little these days?  So it seems.  Moments when people do or say things they tell us they won't, occur far too often.  My inner being is wounded and I feel the hurt and suffering from disappointment.  Disrespect of me and trampling on my feelings happens, sadly, almost every day including thoughtless comments about deficiencies one sees in me. Often the Irrational statements or responses damage my soul without a second thought to long-lasting effects. 
Tears continue to fall as I search for an answer.  I reach for my answer with a prayer. I feel God nudge me toward your desire. I place my hands upon His book and turn the pages in search of the truth. What am I to do?  How do I survive this tremendous trepidation that children today are not being handled delicately and being showered with love they so richly deserve? I dive into reading and know he will share with me some understanding. He does not fail me. Never has. Never will. He comforts me to know that I am living as He would have me live.  By my example, others may be influenced and infected with the love that we all should feel and share in our relationships with each other.  I feel his spirit come over me and know that through me, some will see my passion for life and joy for living and take it on their person too.  
All I can think is to say, 'Thank you, God'!

Monday, April 1, 2013

21 Gun Salute ~ Honored by Country

The 21 gun salute represents our nation's salute to a soldier, men revered by society, admired  by boys for bravery and courage for God and our country. Upon this fallen soldier was bestowed  the highest honor a nation rendered, including burial on honorable ground as a final resting place.  Isn't it ironic, no one ever questioned what lie beneath the glorified  service uniform that adorned my father's lifeless shell.  His status provided him an unquestionable position of authority as a parent, add as a soldier and his authority seemed (appeared) endless.    
Most individuals find difficulty trying to understand how I could love a person so despicable and monstrous.  Some have suggested how crazy I am to have any feelings toward him at all.  But, the understanding of those emotions is paramount to recovery.  He was my dad, once. I admired him because he laid his life on the line for me... love and loyalty to country. He served 20 years in military service, the first 18 years of my life spanned the last years of his service.  I served almost as long as he did.  I grew up inspired by his commitment to family and country.  We stood together, no matter what, because we were family. That bond, that constant reinforcement of obligation, made me strong. I thought I would always be able to count on what he said. 
Until I disagreed with him. I defied him with countless arguments about what he was doing and that it had to stop.  Threatening to run away only prompted him to challenge me with 'if you run away, I'll just come and get you. And then it will be worse.' Worse than what? What I was already putting up with?  I waited for the day I turned 18.  
I dreamed of escaping.  When the time came I would packed enough clothes so that there was no need for me to return. I had no intention of returning home for a long time.  Unbeknownst to me, I also carried a number of coping mechanisms that are pretty standard for survivors with not an idea that these survival methods were self-destructive.  These habits did not take up any space, literally.  They did, however, bear harshly in my mind, lurking.  
Years later as I fought for my life during my psychiatric sabbatical, he called to reinforce his ever echoing verbiage "if you let this secret out, it will kill your grandmother".  My eyes closed and I imagined my words striking his mother dead.  His words revealed the power he maintained over me even after years of separation.  My response was forcefully instantaneous for the first time in my life, 'I can't promise I will keep the secret this time'.  I found myself hanging up the phone amid his last threats.  Shaking all over, I kept thinking he couldn't get to me here. I made sure his name was removed from the visitor list. 
The nation recognized the hero in my dad and that is what I loved. I wanted to remember him that way too.  But there was no doubt in my mind that he would go to any lengths to keep me quiet. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Society's Quicksand ~ Welcome to Stupidville?

The first thing that came to my mind when I heard the news regarding the Steubenville Ohio rape case verdict of 'GUILTY' was elation, for a NANO-second. I continued to read the tweet via, "Until CNN Apologizes to the Steubenville Rape Victim, Change the Channel" by former OH Congresswoman : via .  I clicked and read the article by Huffington Post and the clip is point on.  And if you have not had a chance to read this story, may I suggest that everyone do.
I was catapulted to one thought and only one. I was consumed with rage and realized I better step away from the keyboard.  So, I did.  
I moved to a safe place so that I could focus solely on resolving my angry fury.  To my garden, where I pulled weeds making sure to get every root.  The physical act of pulling weeds allows me to extract emotions buried deep in the core of my being.  Emotions that spike when I am triggered.  I am stronger now, but still impacted years after my abuse ceased.  This is the life of an incest survivor living with PTSD and major depression.  
I am no longer stupefied by society. I am, however, pretty damn tired (wanted to put fucking tired) of hearing daily that society's rape culture is fine with our country's citizens. This is not OK with me.  The article is a petition requesting the news media giant to apologize for an interview done earlier today, Tuesday, March 19th, 2013.  
The news media giant aired a news story where two female news reporters step toward the side of not one, but two convicted criminals of a brutal crime.  In my opinion, Candy Crowley and Poppy Harlow engaged in conduct unbecoming a citizen.   Instead of voicing concern for a young lady whose life has been scarred forever, their conversation focused on the distress of the two convicts masquerading as fine, upstanding football players.  Role models for younger boys received sympathy for the criminal acts they committed.  The traumatized victim is disregarded and seemingly chastised. The  heinous acts were caught on tape which more than suffices for the evidence required by a victim of violence just to file charges.  Are you kidding me?  
Minimalism of another documented case of rape portrays the victim as a destroyer of lives.  Isn't that what these sports players are?  Destroyers of the victim's potential.  Murderers of this young woman's innocence.  And our society is accepting of that behavior.  
I believe the tipping point is fast approaching for society's rape culture perception to change in our country.  Social media is giving few survivors the chance to tell their story and be heard.  We need to continue to speak up and out and say, "NO MORE".  Scream "NO MORE" if we have to.  I can no longer be silent and imprisoned by the memories that stole my fullest potential.  The time spent healing takes years, and I am still paralyzed in thought when triggered by events like today.  
This acceptance exhibited by society HAS TO CHANGE.  Please stand with me and let's GET THE LID OFF this atrocity that is destroying our country and its future.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

What It Took ~ Bad Things Happen II

four by six cell containing a steel cot without so much as a thin blanket or flat mattress to soften ones butt forced me to sit on raw wire mesh or the floor.  I was starting to come down.  Feelings of disappointment and despair consumed me.  Tears stained my blouse as I continued to cry.  I had always tried to better myself, but alcohol was a release, the only thing that dulled the pain.  I didn't have anyone to call.  Looked like I would be in for the long haul.  I never dreamed I would ever be in this place at anytime in my life. My roommate was taking the time and making the calls to arrange whatever was necessary and possible to get me out. I had no hope and expected a full 4 hour stay.  The night was young.  I knew there would be others joining as the evening progressed, so I marked my seat on a most uncomfortable spot.  
How had I gotten here?
In jail, you ask?

The day was a beautiful September Friday and I had been so looking forward to getting home at the end of a long, difficult week in much need of relaxation with my friend, Stoleys.  Frozen cold for better flavor, straight over ice, my drug of choice.  I did not have an opportunity to get my newest bottle hidden in the freezer because it would never make it home. 
Almost home... my apartment, my home up around the next curve.  A passing vehicle swerved abruptly into the left lane and then jolted back into the correct path. I topped the hill and as the hood of my own car leveled out, I saw a white utility van in the oncoming traffic headed my way. And then, on the shoulder of road in the lane I'm driving in, I glimpse a person. An instant was all there was to brake with no place to go.

First impact occurred thudding against the front passenger quarter panel with an immediate second whomp against the windshield on the same side.  Oh my god, someone had been walking on the narrow asphalt that edged the street.  I immediately turned right into the first entrance of the complex.  Stopping instantly and opening the car door, I jumped out and ran to the edge of the street being careful not to get in the way of traffic.  Someone was screaming at me to call 911.  I hustled my ass back into my car and pulled off up the hill and headed home via the back way. What the fuck do I do?  What the fuck do I do with this bottle of vodka?  My mind was frantic. Should I dispose of the indicator for my problem.  I diverted going directly home, stopping briefly several buildings away from my own.  Looking around to make sure others would not see what I was about to do, I slipped from the driver's seat up aside the dempster dumpster and tossed in an unopened quart of my favorite and one of vodka's finest.  I piled back into the driver's seat and backed out to quickly reach my own multi-unit a couple of buildings away without detection.

I ran inside to call emergency response units.  As I reached for the phone, my roommate jerked me around to ask me what was happening and all I could say is, 'I hit somebody.'
Hearing the sirens in the distance told us both the call did not need completing.  I turned and returned to the scene as I had promised to see an ambulance and police cruiser already on the scene.  As I exit my vehicle, I hear the officer cite 'hit and run' into his communication device.  I yelled in his direction, 'No, it's not. I'm here' totally unaware of what that brought on the months that followed.

Looking up at the ceiling of my tiny cell appeared to be an ocean away, I felt so small and unworthy of living. 

Sunday, January 20, 2013

My Scarlet Letter ~ ORION's Prey

This entry has spent a long time in my posts queue.  Reaching the realization that I wasn't treated as a human being is quite a shock and shameful to admit to myself.  Brings to mind memories of the things I tried to do to stop the assaults.  I'll save those for another post.  I know this truth is not something I could understand or handle before now in my recovery.

And, I WILL do something I believe this person can do ~ help other survivors through the painful recovery of child sexual abuse by speaking out and sharing my reality to help stop crimes against children.

I have always loved looking at the stars.  Laying in the fresh cut grass on my front lawn when I was in my first year of junior high, all was right with the world.  I had two best friends that I did everything with.   My family actually lived in one place for more than 2 years.  I am the daughter of a U. S. Army Captain 20 year veteran.  As a consequence, we moved around a lot when I was a kid.  I think at one point there were more schools than years in school through freshman year in high school.

Always the new kid on the block, seemed I stuck out like a sore thumb because I didn't have any friends the first day of school unlike everybody else.  Nobody that I had known since kindergarten.  Nearly every kid around me had known every other kid since they started school.  Sometimes my family would move in the middle of a school year which was more stressful than the previous 'first day' run through.  On those days all the students would stare at the new kid when I got introduced by the teacher.  These educational milestones definitely reinforced a feeling of being on the outside very young in life.  Being open, friendly and funny was what I learned early would help me blend in.  These characteristics would provide the base for hiding for many years of my life.

During the first few months of star gazing I became interested in astronomical science and began to learn the constellations for the northern hemisphere from a parcel of earth in western Texas.  One can see millions upon millions of reflective diamonds speckled in the heavens from the edge of this western city, where there are no street lights to light up the night.  I learned to identify the constellation ORION, the hunter, and set my desire on learning all of them.

What I did not know in those moments of free-spirited bliss, lying in the grass, ironically, is I would become prey.  The hunted.  Day in.  Day out.  Night in.  Night out.  At no time would there be an opportunity to rest from the hunter.  Be watchful.  Be wary.  Be ever on guard.  Shields up, as said many times in Star Trek.  

I became painfully aware of where the hunter was at all times, in all seasons.  In an instance, I could spot  ORION in the sky.  I lived my life in fear the hunter would corner me and coerce me into severing the bonds of family members and friends. Little by little, he was successful.  Separated in every way: a spontaneous trip to the grocery store with my mom was prohibited.  He would carve away a slice of my soul with each trip she took away from the house.  Even times when she was tending and weeding her glorious gardens that lined the backyard fence of stone and concrete, he would attack.  Right under her nose.  He was fearless with the kill.  Slowly, he sought to slaughter every inch of me.

Symbolic reflection, now as I look into the sky and spot ORION ~ I think, I won, you bastard!  I'm still here.  I don't have to know where that star cluster is every night anymore.  My hunter is dead.  Never to hunt again.