Victory at Home

I was standing on Fulton street waiting for the Number 15 to take me to the corner near my home. The wind was brisk with an occasional chill, but the lifting of the hood of my sweatshirt over my head blocked most of it. This particular stop homes three buses headed out and about town. It feels quite familiar as all three round the corner coming out of the transfer station down by Van Andel Arena. I switch feet. I look across to Veteran’s Park where I danced with wild abandon at a Thursday night drum circle held after the Jazz concert at Ah-Nab-Awen park. The Main Library is behind that. I spent hours of research in those rooms. Everything I was looking at seemed familiar, but with a dream-like quality.

I came to the conclusion that I was but a drop in the puddle in their eyes, but in mine, I was so much bigger.

When I moved away from West Michigan in 1989, I had no idea who I was; broken, discouraged, full of lamentations. I had no direction or purpose. I molded myself into the ideals that I believed I was supposed to be. I became a fair wife, a devout church goer, a preacher of God’s love, a model citizen in every way. I provided Christmas for impoverished children, took them on camping trips, advocated for their protection always seeking approval from outside sources. I was miserable.

After the loss of Jordan, I began rethinking my life and the choices that had brought me to a point where I could no longer stay. My marriage was a disaster, my friends were there but they were all much younger than I so their freedoms were different. I still had no idea who I was or what I wanted to be or do. At 25 years old, I decided to find out who that woman looking back at me in the mirror was. I left everything behind. I cut ties with family, friends, acquaintances, and moved back to a small studio apartment in Kentwood. I married again but it crumbled basically from day one. I moved around the country for about a year, using Greyhound as my means of travel.

By the time I ended up in Arizona I was a disaster. I married for a third time. I found a group of friends that, for the first time, not only saw me for who I am, but encouraged me to be everything I was meant to be. I felt like a toddler whose parents delight in the antics of the little one, but at the same time, I was an adult. I radiated humor and enthusiasm. I decided I was strong enough to move, so I did. I moved across the country again to Tennessee where I lived with my father for a brief time. He was a miserable human being that rejected me just as fast as he embraced me. It was constant mixed messages from him which led to uncertainty and instability.

I found God living in a little church tucked away behind a natural shade of trees. I was told to go there and I’m glad I obeyed. It was like coming home. It was the first group of collective people that not only appreciated my wildness, but saught me out for companionship, help, and entertainment. I imagine it’s what being a rockstar feels like. What’s even cooler is that I adored every one of them right back. I couldn’t help it. I’d waited my whole life to know what it was to be me. I learned it at their knee. It was the most difficult day when I had to say goodbye to them and return to my hometown of Grand Rapids.

Only, it wasn’t my Grand Rapids.

It wasn’t the place where the broken little girl made up ridiculous fantasies of being the President of the United States or curing cancer with a brightly colored cardboard box and a stick found on the playground. This wasn’t the city where I dealt with childhood tragedies with self destructive behaviors. Nothing was the same, including the absence of the monsters that didn’t live under my bed but were under the same roofs as me. The dark secrets were held up to the light until their power whimpered into submission.

This city doesnt know me, power in my words, body thick with laughter, hair demonstrably wild, my secrets laid open to the beauty of rainbows once forbidden from my fingertips. This city is unaware that within its limits, there is a woman with courage as deep as a wristcutters truth, but as furious as a hurricane battering abusers with education. Grand Rapids has yet to understand that I, that had all along existed but had been nearly crushed by history, rose up to find my feet.

I’m standing in the middle of Division and Fulton in my mind, screaming with laughter at the pure wickedness of possibilities to be reached. This may not be my Grand Rapids, but it is my home.

The Abuser’s Abuse

Forgiveness is easy for some

They let the nefarious acts,

Committed by an ABUSER,

S

  L

   I

    D

     E.

But I cannot swallow deceit, for

I’ve tasted the destruction

from the pants of Mephistopheles,

felt weapons to my head,

heard the bloody rhetoric

with innocent ears,

clawed my way from denigration,

Felt the punishment unjustified.

I recognize what I see.

I will not say I’ve seen something else.

I will not lie and say it’s okay or maybe.

I will not wait and see.

You can’t gaslight me.

I’m calling it straight out, ABUSE

From an ABUSER

in a position to ABUSE.

I will not excuse ABUSE for anyone.

I will not TOLERATE

ABUSE

FROM

ANYONE

PERIOD.

Third verse unwritten

Youthful feet, bare of shoes,

The tattering of proven roots

from family tree, judge recused

Forgiving of a prostitute

Mercy Seat, sang the blues

Eating of forbidden fruit

Self-mistreat, allowed abuse

Rejecting every business suit

Purely obsolete, troubled muse

Punctured soles of ill repute

 

Gypsy heart, wandering free

Creating life to love in hands

Brightly colored, feathery

Wandering compass of all lands

Fully engaged bourgeoisie

Complete with impish contraband

Lustful laugh, bountiful in jubilee

Sometimes dirt, sometimes the sand

Ripened joyful, blissful sensuality

Worth no roots in wonderland

NaPoWriMo: Fifteen TRIGGER WARNING

TRIGGER WARNING: You had no idea

By this time, I was already being taught horrible things; I was six in this picture.

By this time, I was already being taught horrible things; I was six in this picture.

I don’t think you could possibly have meant

For me to return from where I rose my ascent

I was broken, abused, nearly destroyed

All because my father didn’t want to take away my “new toy.”

I held secrets so dark that nobody could love me

Not that way, not no way, not even the slightest possibility.

At fifteen I had not recognized the horrors I’d seen

At fifteen I hadn’t even realized it was safe to breathe

Although the constant abuse had stopped a decade earlier

It didn’t take much to re-abuse me, just be a little squirrelier.

I ran around raw as if chained to a razor blade

The slightest momentum and I’d dive back into my shade

The fears that accosted me, drove me wild with anguish

It took me a quarter century, those demons to finally vanquish.

No, I don’t think you would have, if you’d known what it means

To return to the age of fragility, loss of innocence, the unclean.

magalyguerrero.com/napowrimo-with-magaly-guerrero-2015 NaPoWriMo

magalyguerrero.com/napowrimo-with-magaly-guerrero-2015
NaPoWriMo

TRIGGER WARNING! Break the Silence, STOP! The violence!

TRIGGER WARNING: I’m going to post this without using names because I don’t want to be disrespectful but needs to be addressed.

A while ago, I saw this video and it disturbed me. It was encouraging to some extent but the second part really made me wonder what would I do if I were in the same shoes witnessing this happening in front of me. Here is the video. Again, POSSIBLE TRIGGER WARNING:

I truly hoped that I’d be brave enough to stand up for anyone no matter who it is/was should they forget they have a right to feel safe, to not be humiliated, degraded, or otherwise emotionally abused. I witnessed an attractive young man be told by his girlfriend that he’s a fatty, that if she found someone with more money she’d leave him, but worse, in my eyes (as if those aren’t bad enough) she told him in front of other co-workers that he has dick sucking lips and should go find someone to blow. I said nothing at that time. It really truly bothered me, but I remained silent. Until today.

After witnessing another bout of her abuse, this time not only of this young man but of myself and another person, I went and spoke out against the consistent pattern of abuse found in her behavior. She holds a position of authority so I didn’t feel comfortable confronting her directly but asked guidance from a trusted superior who advised me to report it which I did. As I described what I’d heard and witnessed and the accommodations I’d made to avoid the confrontation I would not be able to restrain much longer, I was scared shitless. Not whether or not I was doing the right thing, but because the last time I reported someone in authority at a former job I held, I was fired.

My point in explaining all of this is because I feel like I shouldn’t have waited to say something. I should have reported it sooner. I should have, but I remained silent. I do not regret speaking out. I only regret that I allowed someone to suffer because I didn’t want to rock the boat. It’s rockin’ now, and I won’t back down not now, not ever again. He doesn’t deserve any less protection because he forgot he had a voice. NOBODY deserves abuse. Absolutely NOBODY!

P.S. This wouldn’t be so short, but I’ve yet to completely process this. I reserve the right to come back to this and revisit it once the processing has completed. (Keep in mind my brain is the 1968 model and may take longer than others.) 🙂