“As the Shade Spins” A tra-com-edy of dysfunction and disillusion

once upon a time

long ago and far far away, in the beginning of a dark and stormy night, it was love at first sight…then shit REALLY got interesting!

2014
The new year’s babe came roaring into existence
dragging what was left of her meaner older brother
2013
by the roots of his dead gray short hairs

I had hoped to see the end of The Year That Almost Totally Sucked Ass (T.Y.T.A.T.S.A.) around the same time I saw Massachusetts in the rear view mirror

Seems Ol’ 13 had other ideas.
Seems Ol’ 13 wasn’t quite ready to belt out Auld Lang Syne
And it’s obvious good Ol’ 13 conned his newborn kid sister into taking him along to continue the never-ending days of madness and mayhem

No way was he going out like a lamb
If he was anything at all, he was a wolf in sheep’s clothing
And determined to stick around for the final act he called

 “Wanna see the crazy old crow lose her mind?”

IMG_0007 (3)

WHAT’S HAPPENING?
(shades of poltergeist…at the 2.08 mark to be exact!)

My enthusiastic and optimistic return to enthusiastic and optimistic blogging in March of T.Y.T.A.T.S.A., has not gone quite as I had planned.  Then again, how does one plan life anyway.

I won’t recount the entire war, as I have already shared a few of the bloodier battles here already.

Those days were the “Once Upon a Time” and “In the Beginning” days.

And, I’ll leave it to you to decide whether to visit the “”Long Ago and Far Far Away” tales and wade through those deep and scoured trenches.

For now, if you choose, a quick peak at what optimism looks like (On the Road Again), then maybe a bit of “Love at First Sight“…

For soon, we’ll pick up where the shit REALLY gets interesting!”

Somewhere between Moving Day and Moving Day II

The can of worms is in the pan and on the stove, so join me for dinner and a show…

Next time on “As The Shade Spins

😳

Survivors

Of the many reasons I blog, this is at the top of the list: Meeting, befriending, supporting, and being supported by a woman like Susan. Thank you for this amazing piece my friend…I love your voice and am honored to stand beside you…

 

Susan Daniels Poetry

There is choice.  We can die
from the shame of what is done
to us.  We can wear the names
like letters branded into our skin
and quietly disappear,
become the nothings
they say we are, banished and vanished,
or we can wear our own words.

We can show them
women are not sheep.
Girls are not fruit.
There is no shearing of hair
or reaping a harvest from us.

We learn through breath
the difference between being a victim
and becoming a survivor
is subtle, delicate
before it grows strength:

That shift across the line
of being versus agency
is a thing danced, not learned;
sidestepping guilt and spinning it
back where it belongs
with something simple as a lifted head,
a turn around to shout back
at what is muttered under breath,
or the woman who did not stand in shame, wordless,
but blocked a door 
shouting for police,

View original post 31 more words

White Space and Gray Matter…

I never thought, when I began blogging, that so much of my white space would be devoted to the subject of rape and sexual assault and abuse

After all, my blog is not called

“50 Shades of Retribution”

or

“50 Shades of Horror”

It’s called 50 Shades of Gray Hair

And as I write that last sentence, I realize I’m doing exactly what my tagline suggested I was going to do

Exploring my own 50 shades of gray matter

And in exploring what tickles me and ticks me off…this matter happens to be one big, fat, hairy, gray one

Matter that took me more than 45 years from the start of it to face, speak out about, seek help for, and begin the process of forgiving myself by working to place the responsibility where it belongs

Not in the heart or on the soul of a 5-year-old, 6,7,8,9…19 year old girl! Or 20, 30, 40, 50…..80 year old woman, if I’m lucky enough to live that long.

No!

It needs to be thrown into the faces, stabbed into the hearts, and tattooed onto the souls of both the familiar and the unknown faces of those with black hearts and ruined souls who felt they had the right!!

Those who felt they were owed!

Those who felt we asked for it!

Those who believe a 5-year-old wants it!

Those who thought it was no big deal!

Those who blame their victims!

The following link shows just how deranged, deluded, and dangerous these predators are.

In their own words…as (forever and ever) remembered and demonstrated by their victims:

PROJECT UNBREAKABLE – an online photography project that aims to “encourage the act of healing through art.”

It’s not pretty

It’s not nice

But it’s real

Very, very real

Please, take a moment and click the above link.

If it doesn’t make you mad, it’ll make you cry.

If nothing else…it should remind you to

never forget or take for granted the power of words.

In the wrong hands, they can fatally wound a heart, forever scar a mind, indelibly stain a soul

In the right hands…they can free the world…one victim and one share at a time

And this shade of gray looks good on me…a fighting shade, a warrior shade, a sharing shade

By all means, choose your own shade

Wear it loud and proud

But do the world a favor…Share it!

Thank you

R

*

*

Related Shares:

http://susandanielspoetry.com/2013/09/24/survivors/

Masks Off

https://50-shades-of-gray-hair.com/2013/09/19/the-answer-heard-round-the-world-wide-web/

https://50-shades-of-gray-hair.com/2013/08/08/number-3-rape-rise-against-punishable-eccentricity/

https://50-shades-of-gray-hair.com/2013/08/07/number-2-rape-rise-against-punishable-eccentricity/

https://50-shades-of-gray-hair.com/2013/08/06/rape-rise-against-punishable-eccentricity/

https://www.facebook.com/RapeHurtsEveryone?hc_location=stream

http://www.reddit.com/user/twistyrockets

The Answer Heard ‘Round the World (wide web)…

Reddit Ask Women asked the following:

“Among women here who have experienced sexual assault, what fate do you want, most of all, for you attacker(s)?”

For me, this is the answer heard around the world…and was given by a Reddit user named http://www.reddit.com/user/twistyrockets

I thank her, thousands thank her, for putting into words what most cannot.

I also thank Join the Conversation for sharing it on Facebook so that those of us non-Reddit users could see it.

Thank you Andrea and Bless You twistyrockets…

Her answer:

I want them to be walking around in a public place, like a grocery store, and suddenly recognize what they did and dissolve into panicked tears. I want them to lie awake at night and spend hours replaying those scenes wishing through choking, pathetic sobs that they could change the endings. I want them to be terrified of being around the opposite sex because it might happen again. I want them to be so deeply ashamed of themselves that they truly believe their own parents would stop loving them if they really knew the truth. I want them to get the cold sweats and shakes whenever someone mentions the word “rape”.

I want them to look at other people who are happy, who have healthy and pleasurable sexual relationships, and feel broken. I want them to feel enraged whenever someone spouts off “just world” philosophy bullshit. I want them to avoid mirrors because they can’t stand to look at themselves. I want them to spend countless nights getting drunk so they’ll finally have the courage to commit suicide only to realize that they’re a coward (just like they already knew). I want them to spend 15 minutes of every hour in the handicap bathroom at work trying to calm themselves down. I want them to feel inescapable panic about half of the time they have sex for years after the fact. I want them to think about my face any time they’re feeling sexual pleasure or getting naked or masturbating and I want that image to crush any hope of arousal.

I want them to explain to a significant other, through hysterics, exactly what happened on those nights. I want them to fear being out in public because it feels like the truth of those experiences is written on their faces. I want them to spend years in therapy. I want people to tell them that their pain is not a big deal and that they should just stop thinking about those nights because honestly, what is it really helping? I want them to feel a deep, unabiding sadness when people tell women not to go out alone or drink too much or wear sexy clothing because they know it’s not going to help a damn thing.

I want them to feel like I know them better than anyone ever could because I was there, I know what they look like when they rape someone. I want them to feel like I’m inside them, all the time, mocking them for every failure, panic attack and sick day. I want them to believe that it’s always going to be like this. I want them to feel like trash, actual use-and-throw-away trash. I want them to feel angry and have no outlet for that anger except their own body. I want them to feel weak and useless. I want them to feel DEFINED by those experiences. I want them to feel like a monster.

I want them to feel like me.

How To Dismantle a Life

Leave a 3 decades long marriage to the only person who ever knew everything about you, but forgot you were there while he got on with his life

Meet and fall in love with another, heart first, sight unseen, and for whom there was no question that he was my future and I his

Make plans together for that future

Share every detail of yourselves and your lives with each other

Become THAT vulnerable

Learn too late that you love too much, yet are not enough at the same time, and figuratively get left at the altar

Wonder why you are not worth loving, while you fall apart, feeling in your heart, it must be true…for the old one forgot you and the new one didn’t want you

However, be asked to return to that 3 decades long marriage to that one person who knew all along you didn’t belong anywhere but with him, no questions asked

Spend months trying to come to terms with being tossed out of one heart and not understanding why

And allowed back into another and not quite trusting why, but feeling grateful and wondering if that feeling is justified

Working to keep a friendship alive while the question still burns “where did the future go when I wasn’t looking?”

Working to keep a marriage honest and true, yet at the same time, struggle with the two questions “how can he still and how come he can’t” love me?

Helping a husband find a new path in life

And willingly so

While feeling the ghost of pain as the other follows another without you

Unwillingly so

Clearing your life of all material possessions because it’s all become too much

Watching your life put into boxes and carted off like box lots to auction

Standing in an empty shell that once held a family’s heart

Heading into the unknown in the second half century of your life with nothing more than you started with

Wondering if you’re strong enough to handle starting over

With the old love

Without the new one

And not sure you deserve either

And through it all, come to grips with your own past and its demons

Shedding light on a life spent in the dark in the most public way possible

Light that will hurt and help you…as it hurts and, you pray and hope, will help others more

Light that allows you to be okay with the similarities/contradictions of love and hate

But still leaves questions, burning questions, about whether you are doing the right thing

And needing

Always needing

That and whom, which does not want to be needed

No one wants the burden of constant reassurance

No one has the responsibility of convincing me I’m worthy

No one deserves the mantle of “someone to watch over me”

I’m a lot of work

And the only one up to the job

Equipped for the job

The job of re-assembling my life

Is ME

I’m sorry if these words or these thoughts spoken out loud hurt anyone

That is not the intent

As it is when assembling anything

We must first lay all the pieces out on the table

Take inventory

And (if female) read the instructions

I’ve found the instructions of my life are complicated, often in a foreign language, and perhaps even missing a step or two

But I’ll stick with it

Trial and error

Use my Yankee Ingenuity if I have to

So that in the end, I’ll be reconstructed, reassembled, or re-purposed…

Whichever it is…it’ll be me.

And it’ll be great

We must first break it down to build it up

Let the rebuilding begin

NO

Let the rebuilding continue…for this journey didn’t start today or yesterday

It started November 3rd Nineteen Hundred and Sixty

A long project…a lifelong project…with a punch-list of changes ten miles long

A worthy one?

You bet!

Did I ever mention “I had a hammer?”

If I Had a Hammer…and a paint brush

Hear the words….GET BACK UP by Toby Mac

Tomorrow is a big day for me.

I’m scared shitless.

A day that requires a strength I’m not positive I have.

Yet I’m committed to faking that strength if I have to.

A day to speak-up, speak-out, and step-up.

To use the tools I have; tearing down old walls, kicking open locked doors, and shattering the stained and grime covered glass windows that have kept the dark in and the light out for too long.

Then, I can put the sledgehammer down, pick up my paint brush, and add my own colors to the palette of those brave souls already building a sanctuary from the prisons of abuse.

If aiding those who have already begun fabricating the framework; the architects like Andrea Bredbeck, and the carpenters, masons, and painters who swing their hammers, glide their trowels, and stroke their brushes of truth; if that is all I can do, then it’s what I will do.

Support is the – KEY – stock-photo-skeleton-key-symbol-31783060  to this sanctuary.  Without it, the door will remain locked.

Let your loved ones know, BEFORE they need it, that you’ll always be there.

Don’t assume they know…hammer it home it you have to.

That’s YOUR tool…use it.  With love, but use it.

♥ And to those I love and to those that love me…thank you.  ♥

Number 3 – RAPE: Rise Against Punishable Eccentricity

The third and final post in the RAPE:  Rise Against Punishable Eccentricity challenge to join the movement to raise our voices in the fight again Rape and Sexual Assault, as well as lift our voices in unison toward helping women feel empowered to take charge and take action.

I particularly love this one because it’s quintessential Susan (the Green Thumb Goddess).  She can always pack a wallop in her poetry but I think she especially nailed this one.  The seed planted here is powerful, visual, and easy to relate to.

I would also like to thank my daughter-in-law Lindsay for allowing me to use her beautiful face in this image.  While she’s not a victim of sexual abuse…she absolutely ‘gets’ it!

A side note:

Women do not have to be victims of abuse to feel like and see that ‘stranger’ in the mirror…sometimes lost, sometimes less than, too often unrecognizable.  Because I know that feeling all too well, not just as a survivor, but as a woman in general, there’s an added incentive to lead by example; to show that we must not be silent; we must not become part of the backdrop of someone else’s life; we must not lose sight of who and what we are…special, unique, and empowered to change the world by virtue of our voices, our minds, and not the least, raising our children.

We must step up and out of the supporting role and take the lead when we need to; show our sons and daughters that just because we plant and tend the garden, it does NOT make us gardeners.

And our choice to be housewives, does NOT mean we are ignorant of the world outside our four walls.

If our choice is to be stay-at-home mothers, it is just that – a choice.  NOT an open door to disrespect, condescension, or a sign that we feel ourselves unworthy.  If anything…it’s the complete opposite. 

Here then, for her, you, me, us….WE 

Stranger by Susan Daniels and Rhonda

Stranger

Number 1 – Rape Hurts     Number 2 – She

Thank you Susan, it was an absolute pleasure to be part of this with you.

And, thank you all for reading.

Number 2 – RAPE: Rise Against Punishable Eccentricity

The second in this 3 part series by Susan Daniels and myself for RAPE: Rise Against Punishable Eccentricity.

If you missed the first one – Rape Hurts – I hope you view it now.  As well as taking a few moments to read the other powerful messages through the links on the KnowYourStar.com‘s page.

Thank you KnowYourStar.com for giving us a safe place to shout…for some, it’s all we have.

SHE by Susan Daniels, Image by RhondaShe

RAPE: Rise Against Punishable Eccentricity

RAPE: Rise Against Punishable Eccentricity

The link above will take you to their page…but here is what they ask:

  • 1. Write an article/poem related to Women & Women Empowerment and post in your blog.
  • 2. Link back to this article of KnowYourStar.com with a hyperlink so your readers and friends can join us if they are interested.
  • 3. Enter your name and link into the Linky widget. (It should be the post link, and not your blog link in general. In your blog, click on the post title. The URL in the address bar would be the post link.).
  • 4. Read and enjoy as many of the other writers as well. When you read more, most of them return to read yours.
  • 5. Don’t miss this golden chance to impact the society! Let’s change it for better!

In collaboration with my dear friend and fellow blogger, Susan Daniels and her amazing ability to put what we feel into poetry…the following is our response to the challenge!

We did a series of three poems/images.  The poetry is classic Daniels and the images are composites of photos of my own that I’ve manipulated to show what her words mean to me.

Please join the challenge is you feel you can, but if not, Join in the Conversation, visit KnowYourStar.com and read some of the other powerful entries in the effort to get RAPE out of the closet.

Thank you, and thank you Susan.

Number 1 – RAPE HURTS by Susan and Rhonda

Women need simple things
for safety.
To walk alone at night
I want fishhooks and barbed wire
for clothing; vaginal teeth
and a smile that neutralizes acid.

Number 2 – She will post Wednesday August 7th

Number 3 – Stranger will post Thursday August 8th