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Abuse Is Not Just “Being Harsh”

The Eyes Don’t Lie by Vennie Kocsis

“No, you don’t understand.” I explained through the phone. “I witnessed abuse; cruel, verbal abuse.”

Well, you know,” the lady on the other end replied, “some people can be a bit harsh.”

Harsh, that’s what my mother’s generation called verbal abuse. Harshness. Harsh meant you could be spoken to however an adult wished. Harsh meant you were a pain in the ass, always fucking up, couldn’t do anything right, controlled, sequestered, gossiped about, and all the while your abuser feigning to the outside world that they are a good person.

Too many times than I care to count, I have heard how wonderful and kind my mother was.  Yes, it was hard to watch my mother be nice to other people for the sake of appearances.  My mother’s abuse was subtle. She could pinch you on your upper arm to shut you the hell up while smiling at the stranger she was speaking with.

Harsh. This woman I was speaking with had just called blatant verbal abuse “a bit harsh.” I knew in that moment, that none of this was worth my energy.  It was futile to even try anymore, so I said, “Well, I love you.” Because I do. I have love for her existence and the gifts I’ve seen her display.

Then she laughed at me, as if the statement of “I love you” was ridiculous.  She actually outright laughed at me.  I was momentarily stunned.

“Well, I wouldn’t say THAT. That’s not something we just throw around.” She retorted.

I realized even more, that this is the problem. Lady, your generation didn’t tell us you loved us. You didn’t “throw around” love when we needed it, and you still don’t. You throw denial. You throw self service, because “who is going to do this and that for you because you didn’t keep up with age of technology?” You don’t throw out, “I’m sorry you had to witness that. This is not okay. I understand why you ethically wouldn’t want to be associated with that kind of behavior.”

Instead, I received defense statements which melded into victim blaming as if we are over-exaggerating; as if our feelings and observations and hurt don’t matter.  As if we don’t understand your blurred line between “Harshness”and blatant Abuse.

“Well, I say I love you to people I appreciate, so know you’re loved.” I reply. I realize it doesn’t matter. I can feel love for whomever I wish. If she chooses to mock it, that is for her to feel, not me.

I don’t have the where with all to associate myself with these kinds of apathetic mentalities. They are damning and counter-productive. They are petty and cruel. They are lacking depths of self-accountability, and there is not healing within those confounds.

There is a generational gap where the strong are over taking the weak. I feel a sense of empathy for the dying. A Generation of Sociopaths created a grave problem in our societal construct, spent the next fifty years studying these self-created problems, used their children as test subjects for their abuse and study and wrote mass books about it; books which contain no “on the ground” solutions. Regurgitation is not for our generation.

I feel empathy for the waning because they will never know how good it is to heal, to love, to stand in truth instead of denial, to call moments for what they are, to own their own behaviors and make a choice to change them; to speak truth no matter who throws stones, instead of running on passive aggression. They’ll never what it’s like not to care what others think of them or not base their worth on another’s opinion. That’s rather sad, yet that energy is a dense weight on this rising Earth, needing to be healed or dispelled.

When a person is hanging on the edge of a cliff, there comes a moment, their hands become weak.  They know that death is inevitable.  Yet still, they grasp onto that rock with all of their might. Finally, they take that last breath, and free fall into the inevitable destiny of change.  Welcome to a new era of letting go and flying.

Vennie Kocsis is the best-selling author of CULT CHILD, and hostess of Survivor Voices radio show every Sunday at Freedom Slips.

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VennieKocsis.com

 

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GASLIGHTING: The Movie That Should Make You Shudder

Gaslighting

GASLIGHTING is a twenty minute film packed with a raw and candid look into the true-life story of a teenage girl named Brooke, played by Hannah Walters, who has suffered sexual abuse as a child. In just a short twenty minutes, her whole life unfolds. With a mother who is caught in a domestically violent relationship and rearing three other children, Brooke is often left in the care of questionable adults who use her compliance and fear to their advantage. The child welfare system continually fails her. Held silent in mental fear, she is victim blamed by teachers, her own mother and a court judge. In essence, for Brooke, there is no safe place.

If this film makes you cringe, cover your eyes, gasp or even cry then you are one of the good ones. This movie is a raw depiction about how a child protection system, justice system, parents, teachers and caregivers continually fail children who have been abused.

GASLIGHTING is a perfect example of what society must fix in order to bring about change in our world. This movie is a reminder that the planetary social construct can no longer ignore the horrors being wrought upon the most innocent of its inhabitants, our children.

Children deserve to have a safe space. Children deserve care, love and protection. GASLIGHTING will remind you of something incredibly important. That teenager you can’t stand, who you think is so horrible, is most likely in even more emotional pain. Beneath their sullen silence, the lashing out, the self-harm and inability to communicate, is a child needing someone to listen to them tell us why they are broken.

As a survivor of sexual abuse I can assure you that this ripping of innocence shatters the very core of a child. I am a firm supporter of anyone working with children being required to go through an intensive course on recognizing the signs of child abuse. GASLIGHTING should be added to the list of required viewing.

Anger is not a base emotion. Pain is. Anger is the projection of that emotion. When you see anger you are really seeing pain.

Watch GASLIGHTING here:

Gaslighting

Please support  GASLIGHTING by leaving a review or donating to the work involved in utilizing this film for global education.

Vennie Kocsis is the author of CULT CHILD and other publications.  She is the host of Survivor Voices Show on Freedom Slips / Studio B, each Sunday at 6PM EST.  She is a child advocate, artist and uses her passion for creative therapy to reach other trauma survivors. Visit Vennie at her personal website, Vennie Kocsis Official.

A Story of Religious Abuse and Torture

Introduction:  This piece is a contribution from an abuse survivor.  It details extreme abuse and could be triggering to readers.  Please consider caution if you are a trauma survivor.  

By Lusciana Philomena

I was born in the US in the nineties. My sister was quite older than me. She had her own issues, but this is my story. What I will say, is that at one point, I discussed my childhood abuse with her. She believed me in our mutual conversation, then betrayed me and told one of my parents about it. The result was the family turning against me and calling me a liar. It created a new wound in me. Yet, I also saw that the Narcissistic triangulation that my parents created with my sibling never ended. It was hurtful to have a moment of validation taken from me by the betrayal of my sibling.

My parents were blue collar workers who both came from military families. We didn’t move around a lot, but we did move churches quite often. Yet, regardless of what denomination my mother and father were trying out at the time, we always reverted back to fundamentalist, Pentecostal Christianity. This was my life from birth into my twenties.

For those who don’t understand the Pentecostal religion, it is a belief system of rituals such as prayer through laying on of hands, speaking in tongues, frenzies, clapping and dancing as if filled with the “Holy Spirit”. I imagine Christianity is wide spread enough that most people have a grasp on this sect of the religion. We were taught about demons, ingrained with demonic threat and fear. We were often put through rituals where throngs of the congregation members would lay their hands on us children to fill us with the spirit of God so that the demons wouldn’t enter us. I was claustrophobic. I felt panicked when I was in these moments. They scared me, and the energy pressed down on me, as I felt small inside of these moments.

I began having nightmares as a child. I would lay in bed awake for hours at night praying and pleading with God to please not let Satan take me. Because of the extreme nature of the fear and torture I was experiencing, I became adept at dissociating away from my body. I was often threatened with eternal torment in a place called “Hell“. I was told that I could lose my salvation and be damned. Yet, in those same breaths, I was also told how much God loved me. I could not make sense of anything around me. Many days were filled with fear, uncertainty and there was no safe place for me. There was gossip, deceit, and trickery everywhere in my environment. I never knew who I could fully trust.

I also attended a private Christian school from kindergarten until I graduated high school. Private schools are not required to adhere to the same curriculum or child safety rules as public schools. In private school, abuse was constant. Since the religious belief systems were also the same as the church we attended, they used the same methodology of punishment. Teachers subjected me to solitary confinement in closets and rooms until I lost track of time. There was physical abuse, severe mental and emotional abuse, spiritual abuse, public shaming and humiliation, degrading remarks, inappropriate sexualization and touching, and isolation from other children and the outside world. I was kept inside of a bubble of fearful compliance.

There were layers upon layers of cover-ups at school, as the staff was always watching us and each other. I felt constantly surrounded by human predators waiting to pounce. My mind was terrorized. I was often the focus of being targeted. I thought I was just the worst child in the school. In the beginning, I was a well-behaved child who merely daydreamed. Looking back, I believe at that time I was actually beginning to dissociate from life as a whole. Soon, I decided that since I was going to be in trouble anyways, I might as well give them a reason to punish me, so I began to act out. This at least gave me a satisfactory feeling of justification versus being punished for nothing.

In my home life my father was a confusing man. He could be the most loving father and also the most brutal. Since this was all going on at the same time as the abuse at church and school, I tend to remember these time periods as one, long bundle of abuse. My father taught me “games” that I eventually was conditioned to ask for and even enjoy, which haunts me to this day. I believed that I was born to please my father and make him happy, protect him, and do his bidding at all costs. I also believed that once my father died I would have nothing left to live for therefore I would have to end my life after his. I was conditioned to be my father’s puppet by him directly as well as his immediate family, who told me that I must do what my father commanded.

Some of the “games” he played with me included nerve shock torture where he pressed his fingers deeply into trigger points in my body, pulling the tendons up and away from the bone, then twisting and grinding them. Places he targeted were behind my knees, my neck, and my pelvis area. He purposely created a mixture of pain and sexual pleasure in my body. Regardless of my age, my body scientifically responded, giving him the results that he wanted.

Other forms of torture included tickle torture where I was forced to stay still or else the game started over; he used light breath, fingers and whiskers to tickle my body. All of my father’s sadistic leanings were filled with sexual elements. My household was rife with sexual inappropriateness. My mother would also sometimes behave in inappropriate sexual ways, behaviors that I should not have been exposed to as a child. I soon believed that my mother knew what my father was doing and didn’t care. My father would freely smack me on the behind, as if I was his girlfriend, whenever he wanted. He pinched my skin in inappropriate places, tried to get me to kiss him and chased me around the house. My mother simply hollered at us to settle down.

My father contorted my limbs, bending them the incorrect way. This caused excruciating pain, and I would scream. He threw ice water on me randomly when I was showering. Sometimes he would just stand in the doorway and flick the light off and on, off and on, repeatedly. I could not say a word or ask for him to stop. I was in complete compliance. My mother sometimes participated, throwing water on my face in the morning until I woke up feeling like I was drowning. I was yelled at to get up for the day, again my lights being flicked on and off, on and off. It was all because I was a heavy sleeper, they would say, sometimes laughing at me at the same time.

The torture my father enacted on me seemed endless. He would press into my sternum until the pain was excruciating. He pulled my fingers apart so wide it felt the skin would rip. He’d instruct me to stick out my tongue, grab it with a towel and pull until I screamed from the intense pain. He would laugh when this was happening. He would laugh intensely, as if it was the most entertaining thing. Sometimes he would lead me around by my tongue as I was in pain. Yet he would be laughing, since to him, it was a game. My father allowed me to have pets. Not because he wanted me to be happy. No. It was so he could use them to abuse me further by abusing them. I had the belt used on me to the point that I dissociated from my own body in order to withstand the pain.

As I became older with my father grew more deeply confusing, because coupled with his “games” of inducing mind blowing pain on me; he also showered me with love. At times he whispered in my ear that he loved me and would whisper other loving sentiments. There were moments of doting on me. He had endearing pet names for me. He also treated my pets the same way, sometimes loving them, sometimes cruelly abusing them. These moments induced a great love and bond with my father which intersected itself into the fear state that I existed inside. His behavior created a duality through which I could not critically navigate emotionally.

This abuse was also coupled with ritualistic religion, such as my father quoting Bible verses in the middle of abusing me. I have many gaps for which I don’t have answers. My body and my intuition have an idea of what hides inside those gaps. I often don’t even want to think about the possibility of what more my father did to me, that my mind has chosen to suppress. My mother projected jealousy onto me and in doing so, also physically and mentally abused me. She made me shower with her. Both my father and mother bathed me far beyond the years that I should have been being taught to bathe myself.

My father was an alcoholic and pill user. One night when I was a young adult he physically and sexually assaulted me. I hit him multiple times to get him to stop. Years later, when I confronted him, he alleged not to remember those moments. Yet, with persistence, I finally got him to admit to abusing me, and he said he was sorry. Then he proceeded to use emotional blackmail on me, victim blaming me and trying to make me feel sorry for him, saying that I was “killing” him. My mother was no help when I called her, blaming me for the situation and saying that she didn’t have time to be bothered. I felt helpless and in shock. She further stated what a terrible person I was for hurting my father with such lies. I knew that when it came to accountability in my family, I may never have it.

Because of my childhood, I endure flashbacks, complex PTSD, an eating disorder and fibromyalgia. I have insomnia to avoid the night terrors. I am hyper-vigilant about being followed, and I am often in fight or flight mode, feeling trapped. My capacity to develop my own spirituality as an adult has been severely hindered due to having a constant, tangible fear which lingers inside of me. Being an abused child left me with mental health and physical disorders. I have severe body somatic pain which can’t be associated with any one specific physical injury, leading doctors to connect my body pain to the reality of body memories.

Body memories are caused by trauma settling into our cells. Therefore, the body manifests the abuse on a daily basis, causing severe genital pain, joint and tendon pain, neuropathy that shoots nerve pain through my whole system. The nerve pain mimics the tendon shock rituals performed on me as a child.

The most confusing part about my abuse is how my parents could be so loving at times and so sadistically brutal at others. I realize that my identity belongs to them and now, I am struggling to figure out who I am before I was born into a childhood of abuse and confusion. I am sifting through broken pieces to integrate them so I can get to know who I really am.

Because of my experiences I have a great capacity to understand others who have been tortured. I know that as I continue to work through the aftermath of my own abuse, I will continue to grow and be a strong support for my fellow survivors.

I don’t know if I’ll even understand why I was tortured, except to understand mind control on a level so deep, a parent believes a religion justifies the abuse of their child. I want to know who trained my father to utilize such specific torture methods on my muscles and limbs. There are so many questions that leave tangled pieces in my mind. As a child my mind fragmented into “pieces or aspects” in attempt to endure what I was being put through however they have more or less integrated now. I wish my parents knew how much accountability and truth would change the course of each of my days. I wonder if my paternal grandfather learned these torture methods while serving in the military, and in turn, used them on my father. Again, I may never have these answers.

And so, I must stand inside of radical acceptance and continue creating who I truly am.

ART

When art comes out of me, it can take on varying forms, depending on who is holding the pen or the paint, as you will see in the pieces below.

 

POETRY

                Another outlet for my pain is writing poetry.  This expression has been a crucial part of my healing journey.

Porcupine No Longer

Ashamed and frozen in fear, time stops.
Pretending to be asleep; staying very still…
Lying and waiting, pretending it’s all just a dream.
“NO! Get up! I have to do something!” SCREAM!
*Silence*… I don’t make a sound. No one can know. Ashamed!
Eyes now scrunched up tight and fists form into balls.
Go into my mind. Pretend I am a porcupine.
Can’t touch me! Can’t touch me! I am a porcupine!
Doesn’t work…
Porcupine’s quills have been plucked clean away! Exposed.
Body is a map whose lands have been plundered before.
Monster’s fingers are legs, walking the map, exploring it all.
Monster is greedy: taking what is not his to take.
Too scary. So scary. Can’t be happening.
Dumb, wretched girl.
Pretend. Pretend. Pretend. Smile. I’m alright.
Tomorrow I’ll pretend I don’t remember what happened at night.

Healing Under a Canopy

Stroll through the shaded wood I must;
Liniment for a marred soul.
In love with the seclusion it offers;
I yearn for the peace it brings.
Amble about in nature’s song
I stroll along to such sounds:
Singing birds, dinky feet on Forest’s floor, water-a-trickling.

Healing from a pain so deep
It threatens to crush my voice.
I rebel, fight back, scream, kick, cry.
I will not allow this.
You cannot have my soul.
My past will not destroy me!
Your ‘control’ is merely an illusion.
I am no longer a child.

For I see the light.
It’s above me,
Filtering through the leaves.
It streaks my face with gold.
I feel its warmth on my skin.
This is the color of confidence.
I give myself the permission.
I can heal.
No one else can have
Me.

I smile.
I laugh.
I cry.
I’m filled with joy.
I am at peace.

Up ahead, I see a bridge.
I will cross it.
I will burn it down.

My story is the story of countless children being raised just like I was. Please don’t forget them. I want other survivors to know that you are not alone. Time and self-work make days easier. Please know that healing to a level of thriving is absolutely possible. To kids everywhere being abused, you are so strong and brave. You have the right to speak up; to tell your story; to be believed, heard and protected. You have the right to be safe and loved. You are not alone, and there are many of us Advocates dedicated to rescuing you and helping you heal.

The Horror at 1379 Milepost

If you take a drive from Fairbanks, Alaska, an hour down Richardson Highway, through Delta Junction, you will arrive at 1379 Milepost. There you will turn onto a solitary road. At the end of that road is a religious commune with a history so horrible, the average person can only listen with radical acceptance, in order to grasp the total truth about the roots of this cult.  Child Abuse.  Sexual Molestation.  Mental Brainwashing.  Torture.  Public Humiliation.  Sleep Deprivation.  Control.  Triangulation.  All orchestrated in a patriarchal society of narcissists.

Three years ago, a couple of young reporters made a trip out to two of the Alaska compounds. At the 1379 Milepost compound, where I lived from the ages of seven to fourteen, they were met by a man named David Johnson, Their eyes were wide with disbelief. What my fellow survivor and I had told them was in fact, truth. There are compounds deep in the Alaskan woods, secluded, patrolled and controlled, a place where they were not allowed to step foot anywhere, except the office inside of the Tabernacle.  A tour of that compound was out of the question, according to David Johnson.

Plans for The Land Cult Compound 76-74

The original survey plans for “The Land” cult compound at 1379 Milepost, Delta Junction, Alaska

The compound I was on had several names including, but not limited to, Dry Creek, Living Word Ministry, The Farm, Game Creek or as we referred to it when we lived there, “The Land”. They quit claimed the deeds back and forth, most likely to avoid taxes, changing names, hustling land parcels together. Douglas McClain, Jr was just a child on this compound with me. His father, Douglas Sr, groomed him on a path into prison, where he sits today, awaiting appeal. They were hustling a drug derived from goat’s blood. You can read the actual court complaint here:

Security and Exchange Commission vs Stephen D. Ferrone, Douglas A. McClain, Jr., Douglas A. McClain Sr., and et al.

Doug McClain Quit-Claim Deed

This is just one of several deeds I have showing the quit claim sell of The Land between Douglas McClain and George Harris.

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Sam Fife in the green coat, with his wife and their private plane, scoping out “The Land”

The words the main reporter used to describe his brief visit to the compound felt familiar to me:

Creepy.”
The energy was so thick and heavy it could be cut.”
An air of sadness hovering.”
Desolate.”
Isolated.”

Indeed. I nodded. I know. I remember David Johnson, with his slit eyes and foul energy. He doled out a few beatings.  Many of the adults where abusers. It was, after all, God’s will to strip a child of its flesh, as Brother Sam Fife would instruct. If we weren’t being punished, we were being humiliated, gossiped about, and any sexual abuse that was found out in later years is blamed on the victim.  Still today, the mentality remains the same. Religion cloaking forced insanity.  We were monitored, lived in continuous fear and told the “night watchmen” were there to keep the bears out.  Yet, the compound was so large, it was impossible for them to watch everything at all times, hence my brother’s success on his second escape.

Bryce and Pat Alloe

Young men at “The Land” approximately, 1980/1981, monitoring with guns.

Three years ago I was there as an adult, hunkered down in Fairbanks, Alaska, just miles away from so many people who had either abused me directly or who I had witnessed abuse other children. I wanted to drive onto that compound myself. I remember the layout like the back of my hand. I could navigate it in the dead of night. I wanted to find Marilyn Hagley and ask her why she beat me so much when she was my teacher.  Maybe if abusers experience what they have doled out onto children, they will get a notion of the affect it leaves behind.

Not far from The Land at 1379 Milepost is another compound owned by this cult. It is controlled by a man named Bill Grier.  Whitestone Farms is located not far from The Land. Some cult apologists have adamantly denied being associated with Sam Fife. Yet, Whitestone is on the cult’s Convention schedule, and Bill Grier’s criminal record began in the 1970’s. Their website proudly boasts about the man who helped broker their land; a man named Doug McClain.  When the pieces fit, they fit.  When the puzzle reveals the picture, it’s existence cannot be denied.

History of Whitestone Screenshot

ScreenshotBillGrierArrestedforExorcism

Press release naming Bill Grier in the use of exorcism on children in school from “Today’s World”, edition dated: 5/23/1974

I remember conventions. Six, sometimes eight hours of sitting with no breaks or food. My mother sometimes kept mints in her purse.

To give us all a little sugar so we won’t get faint.” She’d say.

Conventions are hardcore mind control sessions with the Elite Move Leaders all gathering, vying for the position to preach their sordid interpretation of Biblical text. None of it matters. It’s all just long sessions of angry preachers feeding the fear of Hell and counter love bombing with the concept of Heaven and God for the good people.

Conventions provide a chance for the Movite “big wigs” to cavort with one another and shake their peacock feathers to impress the gathering of cult members, who often travel thousands of miles to attend the conventions and participate in lengthy frenzies of speaking in tongues, singing and serving their religious Handlers who feed their minds controlled instruction.

I wonder if the poor children still have to sit like we did for hours, on hard, backless benches or folding chairs. We sat so long, our hips ached.  Do they at least break for meals now?

There are mini countries inside of America. They make their own rules. They abuse children and swindle their “citizens”.  They are mind terrorists who get away with abuse under the guise of religious freedom, and American citizens have chosen to look away for too long.

I wonder when people will begin to care about the cult no one ever talks about?

I Don’t Have a Boyfriend, and Apparently That’s My Fault

A male friend told me that I don’t have a boyfriend because I don’t want one.

What does that even mean?” I asked.

He said “You want too much.”

It left me perplexed. How is that possible? How can I ever want “too much” when it comes to the peace and comfort of my own existence.  This does not even equate in my own mind.  No.  Those days are over; you know, the suffer in silence type of give in to bullshit type of not going to do that anymore because I matter to me now.   Say that twice.

So what should I do?” I asked him.

I love to ask questions of people to satisfy my fascination with psyche; to listen to the thoughts and words of the human; soak them in and read what lives beneath their skin.

Like quit being so picky. You know, if a dude is married, for instance, sometimes he’s not happy or it’s on the rocks. That doesn’t make him a bad guy. Like, open yourself up.”

::BLANK STARE. TRULY. BLANK FUCKING STARE::

That doesn’t even need explanation. I’ve been that route. It’s called self abuse. Now at this point, you guys, I’m giggling to myself inside, in a hysterical kind of “am I really hearing this ridiculousness?” kind of way.

I don’t have a boyfriend because I don’t want one. I don’t want one because I want too much like…

laughter
time
special presence
dedication
loyalty
passion
integrity
ethics
stability
commitment
insane sex
understanding
acceptance

you know, all those far fetched things that might take a little,

emotion
giving
selflessness
true interest

Yeah, the type of things I tend to freely give in a relationship.

Once, I sat across the table from a man who said, “I just need to get me a trophy wife.”

I got offended. Then later learned what a trophy wife was and immediately stopped being offended. There are just some superficial terms that I didn’t understand the meaning of. Trophy wife was one of them. When I found out what it meant, I immediately thought “Oh no. I don’t want to be one of those.”

Emotionlessness does not become me. Putting on airs is not my forte’. Giving a shit what anyone thinks of me is not something that often crosses my mind. I’m me equivalently. I have passions. They matter.  Anyone else’s opinion just doesn’t. I’m amicable.  I have grace.  I form relationships.  We’re not swimming in the shallows, though.  I don’t stay there long.  I like the bottom, where the coral reef and colorful fish live.

Here is my answer, dear friend. I don’t have a boyfriend because I am at peace with my aloneness. I am so at peace with this aloneness that I will disallow anything less than what is at one with my own state of being to enter my temple. If these parts that make me feel at peace do not match the current male existence that is floating in my grid, then I am fully at peace with the resulting aloneness.

I haven’t time for small talk, and I love to be silly. I am deep as oceans and crave savant conversation. I like silence that is not mistaken for anger. I can ride in cars and listen to music and not need to speak. I am most comfortable with space and time around me. I need to be allowed to BE. And if that means being with only me;

Then okay. I am in acceptance.

I have moments I long for touch, to be held to a chest, looked at with tenderness, surprises and early morning not giving a shit breath, but they do not override my unwillingness to bend from what contributes to my heart’s happiness, and the greatness I know that I am.

You see, I believe chivalry was murdered during the feminist movement when human beings mistook the right of women to have equal pay, equal treatment and the right to vote, to mean we no longer wanted to be involved in romance and connection. Illusion killed chivalry. Feminists didn’t.  Apathy replaced empathy, and that is a choice.

and I figured that all out… alone.

[image credit: “The Arrival” by Paul Bondart art – paulbondart.com]