Make sure you don’t start seeing yourself through the eyes of those who don’t value you. Know your worth even if they don’t. Author unknown
Bitter Women Chronicles: Volume 1 began the moment I went into Social Services four years ago. One evening I grabbed a notebook and pen and wrote down the thoughts I heard in my head. The women I’d seen in my dreams became real every day women I worked with. Many come from different walks of life.As I jotted down my thoughts, It didn’t matter how much education they had, if they had kids, were married, single, poor, rich, or middle class. What they all had in common was: They’re all women. My words flowed like rain on a cloudy cold day. In my line of work, I see many wonderful women who are scared, lonely, uninformed and bitter.
Each woman told me their story, and I wrote it down. No, they aren’t real women, but the stories represent real women around this world. Jasmine the Pole Dancer, and a Girl Anywhere in the USA were born in the journey of this work. These two poems starts the Bitter Women Chronicles: Volume 1. I’d like to mention that I first heard the phrase, “Choreopoem, ” from Ntozake Shange. The author of, “For Colored Girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enough.” Thus, I decided to follow in her footsteps and create poems that come to life. I want the stories to jump off of the page into your souls just like they did mine. Each woman is apart of me.
Raised on bald faced whiskey and country music like Patsy Kline.
We were poor and didn’t have any money to buy new clothes.
I wore hand me downs, jeans with patches, and shoes that were ate out by wood rats.
Townspeople called us,” pile up with trash and corn-fed critters.”
I have no idea when Pap started selling bald face whiskey, or growing marijuana. All I know that life for us changed. Pap sold whiskey to local coal-miners and marijuana. At night he’d get drunk and hit ma-maw until she turned black and blue. One time he hit her so hard, she couldn’t see out of her eye. It’s like he nailed it shut.
Puberty came knocking on my door and Ma-maw and Pap introduced me and my sister to a lot of things. I’m not sure if it’s bad or not, but it was a way of life. We had Sunday night parties where marijuana, whiskey and sex went on until 2 in the morning. Then Pap would leave for his boating trip for a week.
Things aren’t always the way they seem. One minute they’re playing cards.The next, I’m seeing ma-maw having sex with my Auntie. It’s as if my sister and I weren’t there. I feel that they wanted us to see them.. I thought they were sisters because I called her Auntie all my life. When we tried to leave they made my sister and I sit at the bottom of her bed and watch.
Then she threatened to feed us to the Ghost on the Appalachian trail if we ever told Pap. She and Aunt Benny laughed a wicked laugh, ” Nasty Naughty Girl.”
“Come over and touch them,” she said holding Auntie’s breast. Sissy and I ran out of the room screaming. I threw up on the kitchen floor. I don’t know if it was the whiskey or them that made me sick.
A Week Later
Pap came back from a boating trip with a man-a stranger. This man looked was about Pap’s age and wore a patch on his left eye. He walked with a limp too. The stranger had a nice boat. It was beautiful and it looked shiny and new. Pap said, ” Sweet child don’t be shy. Come say hello. Show him a good time like ma-maw taught you now.” Pap gave me a drink of whiskey and made me smoke some marijuana first. Now this wasn’t the first time Pap gave me whiskey or marijuana. He gave me my first taste of whiskey at age 7.
Pap said, “It’ll take the edge from you.”
I cried and said, “Why Pap….no I don’t want to do this.”
Pap did something to me that he’d never done before, he beat me with his fishing rod and threw whiskey on me. Then he threatened to throw a match on me if I didn’t have sex with this man. With tears rolling down my face, I laid there on that bed where I seen the act of sex performed by Pap, Ma-maw , and their lovers. Our eyes met, and Pap didn’t look away. He sat and watched , and I hated him. I hated me, and I hated ma-maw who set in the next room doing nothing. When the stranger finished, Pap called ma-maw to come into the room. When she came in I looked into her eyes for comfort, and for tears of regret. But instead she said, “You a lost soul now little girl!”
All this time…..all these years I thought they loved me. How could they do this to me? What I do to deserve this?
Then Pap Said, ” Daughter you’ve entered into womanhood, and its time to leave home.”
I said, ” No Pap please… I don’t want to go with him.”
Pap said, “Go ahead he paid me a nice amount of money for you. Come on….let’s not keep him waiting.”
One last time, I looked to my parents who birthed me for consolation. I thought that this was one of Pap’s sick jokes.Until the stranger dragged me out of my parents house. No it was true….pap sold me to this man for $500. And in that moment I realize that I was nothing to them, but a lost soul.
With no regrets of my childhood. I wanted to express myself so I told the world,
I’m ready to explore- so I ran away.
Escaped on the back of a white truck with a man that I didn’t even know.
He showed me the world of cyber space, chat lines, and pornographic pictures.
A Preacher’s Daughter
Womanhood called me and I ran to her. She held me close and stretched her arms wide around me.She rocked and cradled me with hard liquor, weed and PCP. We danced all night like crazy lovers wishing that the party would never end.. Soon a day turned into 3 days and 3 days became 2 weeks.
A Preacher’s Daughter
Drunk in Lust and high from whatever potion the man cooked on his kitchen stove. He told me his penis was magic and I believed him. I’m eighteen and he gave me LIFE. One day our adventure stopped. We stopped at a Truck Stop. Our adventure ended cause he paid 5 truckers to perform a TRAIN on me.
A Preacher’s Daughter
That day I looked in his eyes for validation, love and hope. But his eyes were hollow like somebody drained life out of him. I cried, “Mamma!” He said,” Hush girl yo mamma can’t do nothing for you now!” Visions of my mamma scolding me on the day I left was only a memory now.
A Preacher’s Daughter
Oh I wish she was here. If I could hear her hollering at me or saying something- anything but this.
My soul left my body. I laid lifeless on that dark, dirty meat truck floor. ALONE
The purpose of writing this series, “Am I My Sister’s Keeper,” is to look at the emotional baggage that women carry around with them. No woman should have to be in an abusive relationship, or feel pressured to do things that they don’t want to do. My desire is to tear down walls of low self-esteem, fears, social stress, etc. This isn’t going to be solved overnight.
Several weeks ago at my job, I facilitated a group called, “Free to be Me.” I introduced this topic, “Learning to Say No,” and I wrote the two letter word, “No,” on the board. Many of the young women dropped their heads. When I asked, “Who can tell me what this word means,” two women answered in unison, “it means no to something.” As the evening progressed, I found out how hard it was for women to say no. Some described how hard it was to say no to their men, especially, when he wants money or sex. Some would do anything just to keep him happy.
Your Kind of Shades, your kind of price!
Yes, I know that you probably recognize this quote being a COVER-GIRL ad with Queen Latifah smiling like she doesn’t have a care in the world. Now there isn’t anything wrong with her smiling or posing for cover-girl; however, many women wear shades and it has nothing to do with feeling beautiful. Many of them don’t see themselves as beautiful. One young woman did drugs with her boyfriend just to keep him from beating her. She never did drugs before she met him, so to keep peace she took the drugs that he forced either up her nose or through her veins.
Someone may ask, “What price did she pay?” She paid a price that led her into jail, drug treatment, and at the clinic because she caught a std. Another young woman gave her EBT card to her cousin being considerate of the cousin taking care of her children for the evening. When she went to the store the next day, her card read a zero balance.
Then the young woman started crying and yelling, “Why did she do me like that? She’s my family.” Another young woman yelled, “Well, that’s on you. I’d never give my ebt card or the pin to my number to anyone.” The other women started agreeing with her and talking loud. I had to call the room to order, “Ladies let’s not talk about her because the next time it could be you. Instead, let’s help her brainstorm ways to say no.”
Here’s my own unscientific summary: If you’re not given the necessary skills to succeed-you remain powerless. In the past, many of my clients haven’t had opportunities to succeed. As a Case manager, I teach them many skills on learning how to say no, building up their self-esteem, 12 steps/ recovery, etc. It’s more about validating them and teaching them new ways of learning.
He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge;
his faithfullness is a shield and buckler.
God is faithful to his children who believe in his name, and his promises. When he makes a promise, he’s faithful to fulfill it. How often I’ve heard people say,” God doesn’t hear my prayers! He doesn’t love me!” God loves everyone, and he enjoys answering our prayers. If only we’d trust in him and stand on his word.
My little brother, Joseph, at the age of 7, ran away from school onto a four-lane busy Highway. It was the busiest of the day, and he almost got hit by several cars. Yet, God protected him. The worst thing that happened to him was the fear of crossing the highway. We’re so grateful that God protected Joseph.
When God calls us to do a certain task or assignment, the enemy will bring opposition. Daniel 10:13 says,
“…the prince of the kingdom of Persia opposed me twenty-one days. So Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, and I left him there, with the prince of the kingdom of Persia.” NLT
God gave us His word, life and strength. We must tap into his word by believing in our hearts, and confessing with our mouth. We must confess, “I believe that God is protecting everyday!” God is the one and only true light in this world. When we pray to God, he listens to us.
Years ago a friend of mine called me at 10 p.m. to come rescue her from an abusive boyfriend. I didn’t want to go by myself, so I took my father with me. When we got there, the door opened, and we heard screaming. My father went in first, and I followed behind him.
As we went upstairs, my friend’s boyfriend was dragging her across the hall. She was kicking and screaming. Her boyfriend took his fist and hit her several times in her eyes, face, and in her mouth. My father pulled him off of my friend, and he started fighting my father.
I grabbed my friend’s hand and led her downstairs to safety, but she went back upstairs. She started calling her boyfriend names, and he jumped on her again. I couldn’t believe this, and wondered if trying to save her was God’s will. Eventually my father got him to leave with him. I’m not sure what my father said to him. I know that God was with us. As my father escorted him outside, he told me to stay with my friend. Literally, I felt my heart jumping from fear.
When they left, I said to my friend, “He would’ve killed you, and us too. Why did you come back here?” She looked at me with tears in her eyes and declared,”I love him.” I went over and quietly started praying for her. I’m not sure how long we stayed in that place, or how long my father was gone.
Ps. 91:4 tells us that, “His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.” I believe, that the wings of God protected us. Usually, her boyfriend carried a gun, but he didn’t have his gun that night. God isn’t only a shield but he is a strong tower too. The amazing thing about God’s wings is that, they aren’t fragile like a bird or hen. His wings will not break or puncture. Instead, they’re strong and powerful to hold and cover us.
This scripture has two meanings of how God protects his people from dark situations. His wings act as a shield and a tower. We can run to God and find safety. God’s promises aren’t only for the people in Bible days. His word works for 2013 too. Think about who protected you from danger, healed your sickness, kept your mind sane, blessed you to keep your job in this economy, and blessed you to see another year.
Here’s a list of organizations that help women suffering from domestic violence: