Saturday, January 7, 2017

Didn't shower, don't have to (and a cute dog)

That's a rule when snow-pocalypse hits the Research Triangle area.  I slept all day and couldn't be happier for having done so.

How bad is it?  Here at the house, we are buried under what might be as much as two or three inches of snow and ice.  Northerners, feel free to laugh; we deserve it.  (On the serious side, the ice is the issue.)

The view out the front door at a bit after six is gray and white.

Click an image to see a larger version.

Intrepid as ever, Holden is willing to brave the outdoors--though admittedly only because he has business to conduct.

"It's come to this," he says, "you're using me as cheap traffic bait?"

Why, yes, Holden, yes, I am.  We all gotta earn our kibble, and this is part of how you earn yours.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Time for something light and frothy

After two days of rough posts, I figure it's time for something completely different.  When you want light and frothy, The Monkees are a reliable source.  I considered "I'm a Believer," but in the end I opted instead for this bit of fluff.


Thursday, January 5, 2017

Guest entry: One reason abuse survivors don't tell their stories

One of my correspondents sent me the following reaction to yesterday's blog entry.  It moved me enough that I asked her permission to reprint it as a guest entry.  After consideration and with some softening edits, she agreed to let me share the following with you.  I am proud of her bravery.

Want to know another reason why we don't tell our story and try to hide what happened?

People look at you differently.

They treat you like you are dirty and unworthy. You are blamed for either having it happen in the first place or continuing to allow it to happen. Allow it to happen. How fucking sick is that thinking? I didn't allow my father to hurt me, molest me, beat me...I had no choice. I was a little girl. Was I going to leave home at the age of six? I did what i was supposed to do. I told anyone who would listen at the time. But, no one would listen. My own mother told me I made it up. My grandmother believed me but didn't do anything to him, yet she let me stay with her as much as possible. Everyone was afraid of him.

Being beaten was awful. Having things shoved up your vagina when you are six years old is horrible. Jacking your dad off when you are six years old is horrible. Being told no matter how much you tried you are hated is horrible. Thinking that sex was okay because he did it to me and I was an obedient little girl was horrible.

Being left with the scars and trauma for the rest of my life is horrible. Hearing the sound of a whip or belt cracking that causes me to have a panic attack is horrible.

Not being able to sleep with the lights off or extreme quiet or being in the dark sucks. Not being able to hear a voice raised without cowering sucks. Never feeling good enough or worthy to be loved sucks.

Thinking that I caused it, I did something wrong, I enticed him, I was too evil to be treated well, sucks.

I don't want you to ever stop talking about it. You do what I can't. I am too ashamed, too embarrassed, and too scarred to be normal, and I can't voice my pain.

You give it words. I give it terror. I wish I could feel worthy of anyone wanting me. I don't, no matter how much I try to convince myself I am.

It sucks. Thanks, Dad...and thanks for teaching my brother how to follow in your footsteps so that he could abuse me.

To this brave woman: By letting me print this, you did give it voice, and that voice might inspire and help others.  It certainly inspires me to keep fighting.

To everyone:  I'd like to say that this woman's story is the only one I've heard from my correspondents, but it's not.  I've heard so very many.

We must all fight the culture of secrecy that surrounds abuse and rape.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Five top lies abuse survivors tell themselves

I'm a survivor of child abuse.  I write about it in my novels and occasionally on this blog.  Over the years, a fair number of folks have contacted me with their own stories of abuse and rape.  Our culture teaches, in ways insidious and overt, all of these survivors lessons that are not true and that boil down to:  it's your own fault.  From those lessons, and from the abuse, we learn to tell ourselves a lot of lies.  Here are five of the worst.

5.  If only I had...


Nothing you were going to do was going to stop your abuser.

4.  If only I were...


The abuse was never about who or what you are or were.  It was always about the abusers.

3.  It didn't happen to others, so it must be me.


Others didn't have to deal with the asshole(s) who abused or raped you.

2.  I shouldn't have been there.


You shouldn't have been at home?  You shouldn't have walked home from class?  No.  Where you were is not and was not the problem.  The abuser was the problem.

And, the root lie, the one that plagues us all...

1.  It was my fault.


It was not your fault.

Rape is not a victim problem; rape is a rapist--usually male--problem.  Child abuse is not a victim problem; child abuse is an adult problem.


People who know me sometimes make it clear that they're more than a little tired of me writing and talking about this topic.

I'm sorry for them, but I'm not going to stop.

I have talked to victim after victim after victim, the vast majority of them women, who have suffered and are continuing to suffer and will suffer until they die with the consequences of being abused or raped or both.  Most of these women are understandably afraid to tell their stories, because the first reaction of most listeners in their experience, time and again, is to ask, what did you do to cause this?  That very question shuts up the victim and teaches her to live not only with the pain but also with a secret.

Think it doesn't happen?  A few years ago, I told a friend--a very smart man, a good man, a man famous in several circles--the short form of my story.  His first question was, why didn't you leave?  I pointed out that I was ten years old, had just lost my father, and had a sister and brother to protect.  I was supposed to go exactly where?

That sort of question is exactly what victims face all the time.

So, no, I'm not going to stop, not for as long as I have voice.  It's not all I talk about, as any reader of my blog or my books knows, and it's not even a big chunk of what I talk about, but it's going to continue to be part of what I talk about.  And I'm not going to stop.

I'm not going to stop because more of us need to speak for and stand with the victims of abuse, not shame and blame them.

I'm not going to stop because I don't care if you want to try to shame and blame me.  Yeah, I fight the same demons as every other survivor, but I refuse to do so in secret.  Come at me with your shaming and blaming, and I will fucking tear that shit from your throat and stomp all over it.

Only when we create safe spaces for all victims and when we acknowledge the real sources of the problems--the abusers, the rapists--will we begin to address this horror. Only then will all survivors feel safe to tell their stories.

Only then will I shut up about my own.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Ways to fight back in the years ahead: Be kind

The early news from the Republican-led Congress is as bleak as I'd expected it to be.  Trump's behavior remains unsurprisingly consistent and upsetting.  Rather than dwell on them, I've decided to focus on positive ways to fight back, and I'll be writing a short series of these suggestions over the coming weeks.

Today's is simple:  Be kind.

Be kind, of course, to those in your immediate circle, your friends and family and co-workers.  This is the easiest one, because you know those people and you see them often.

Be kind to those you encounter who in those situations have less power than you.  The person cleaning your hotel room.  The server bringing your food.  The person with the leaf blower cleaning the walkway at your office building.  To so many people, these folks are invisible.  See them, and treat them with respect and kindness.

Be kind to those who may become targets in the U.S. ahead.  LGBTQ people.  People of color.  Muslims.  This list, sadly, is long.

Be kind to those you disagree with.  If you voted against and cannot stand Trump, fine; I'm with you.  But be kind to those who helped elect him, and try to understand why they did.

Be kind.  Period.  Treat all people with the kindness you would like them to display to you.  Model the way you wish not only people but companies and governments would behave.

Be kind.

Please note that I am not saying here to take abuse, or to avoid conflict; I'll talk about both of those situations in future entries.  As a general guideline, though, we could do far worse than to be kind.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Why I'm so hopeful about John Wick 2

 To borrow from Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry, a movie franchise has to know its limitations.  If it does, and if it works within those limitations, a franchise can last for many successful iterations.

If this second trailer for the upcoming second John Wick film is any indication, the folks behind this sequel understand and are working within the limitations of the first film.

The result certainly looks promising, because it appears to focus on what made the first movie so much fun:  non-stop action with quirky characters and a violent Keanu Reeves who never has to change his expression much.

I am so there!

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Holden sees light and dark in the year ahead

As this picture shows, Holden lives in both the light and the dark, and he sees both in 2017.

Click the image to see a larger version.

He advises us to seek the light, do our best to illuminate the dark, and buckle in for some rough days ahead.

Sage advice from a sage hound.


Blog Archive