The Push to Speak Up

Hey Jude, don’t make it bad. Take a sad song and make it better”

                 -The Beatles

     Where in the world have I been? I know, it’s been a while since I’ve typed up a blog for you all. I wanted to share something that was a dagger in my heart tonight with you all.

     It’s the night before Thanksgiving, and the Walmart here in our town is moving everything around to make room for Black Friday sales (chaos included.) I was sitting in my house when I realized I didn’t have any more soap, which is detrimental to a shower for me. My skin is so sensitive, and the air is so dry up here, that if I showered minus the soap I would surely dry up into a prune. Not a cute image. 

     So the quest began for some more soap. I threw on pants and drove to Wal-Mart at 9:00 at night. 

     If you’ve ever been shopping with me leading the pack, you’ll know I don’t just go in for one thing. I go in. I look at the chocolates just for the hell of it, then move on to the clothes. I’ll go to the specific item in the store I want more than anything. Then maybe I’ll mosey my way on to where I’m actually supposed to go. After checking out the on sale candy, I went to look at the off brand Sherpa pullovers that Wal-Mart was selling for $9. Not a bad deal. 

     In the midst of me feeling the softness, a couple walks towards the back of the store. The man follows the woman, who is obviously in distress. He is short and tubby, wearing a snapback and pants that fall way below his waist. He is huffing and puffing as he walks, yelling at her to stop. The woman with dark hair and dark eyes does as she’s told, but doesn’t turn around to meet his gaze. And then it unfolds something like this:

     Him: “You better slow the fuck down. I’m not fucking chasing you through all of Wal-Mart.” 

     Her (in a muffled voice): “Calm down, you’re humiliating me.”

     Him: “Humiliating you? No this is humiliating you.” (he raises his voice) “Slow the hell down or you can walk home!” 

     Her: (turns the cart and herself away from him and starts to walk towards the front of the store) 

     Him: “I’m not doing this. The way you treat me is unbelievable.” (To me and the family I was near in the Women’s Clothing section) “Can you believe this?”

     Her: (turning herself and the cart back towards him) Stop. You’re making a scene.

     Him: I’M making a scene? Do you see yourself right now? All I did was ask you to slow down and you couldn’t even do that for me. I could just leave you here, you know.

(They disappear to another part of the store leaving us all to ponder what was going to happen.) 

     I felt sick to my stomach watching this all play out, and after they left, I felt even sicker. The whole time, I just sat there, stricken with fear. I wasn’t even a victim and I was scared. Frozen. And although my body was in one place, my mind kept repeating Say something. Do something. Tell someone. Intervene. But I didn’t.

     I skipped the rest of my Steps of Shopping and went straight for what I needed. I wanted to go home. 

     As I headed to the Self Checkout, I see the two, the man waddling behind her. He’s shouting something at her and the 5 1/2 people in the store all stare. 

     Him: “Man, no more Christmas. No more Thankagiving. How lonely that will be for you, huh?” 

      Her: (stares straight ahead)

     Him: “If only these people could see how badly you treat me.” 

     He waddles right by me, so close I can smell his cologne and the weed on his breath. For a split second, I wonder if I was on an episode of What Would You Do and I think fast about what to do. My mind goes through millions of filing cabinets in my brain, thinking back to any and all articles I’ve ever read.

     And that’s just it.

     What do you do?

     What would you do?

     I’ve always said I would step out to someone abusing their child in the middle of the milk and cheese section. But what about a man being verbally abusive to a woman in between graham crackers and Sherpa pullovers? We can easily say “Oh 100% I would beat him up right there.”

     But would you really? 

     Endingviolence.org says “Chances are that at some point in your daily life you have witnessed, heard or seen someone act in a way that was derogatory, degrading, abusive or violent towards women. Be it in the form of a joke, cat call, comment, put down, or physical or sexual assault, this is all violence against women. In these moments, people often feel that their only choices are to say nothing, look the other way or physically intervene, potentially exposing themselves to violence. There is much more in fact that can be done.

     The same site suggests that rather than being violent towards the abuser, you rather speak directly towards the victim. Stand near them to offer your presence. Then, give her control. In this case, I should have gone directly to the woman and asked “Is he bothering you? / Are you okay? / Is there anyway I can help?” In any case, however, if there is a threat or physical harm of any kind, get help from security or 911 immediately. 

     I share this information with you, not to seem like I’m writing an essay for an english class, but because most of us don’t know. I left Wal-Mart, sat in my car and cried for this woman. As a female myself, I felt I had failed her. If I had been in her shoes, I would have wanted someone to say something. But I didn’t know what to say. So of course, I trusted my old friend, Google with that help. 

     Right before I left Wal-Mart, I went back inside and bought the Sherpa pullover I probably didn’t need, to remind me of this woman and all women who endure domestic violence, as corny as that may sound. And while most of you out there will go on with your Thanksgivings tomorrow, stuffing your face and watching football, I would like to ask a favor. Please think about these women who don’t get happy holidays, or happy any-days. The women that are suffering, or have suffered. Take a minute out of your day tomorrow to think about them. Then go back to your turkey, and enjoy the rest of your day. 

     For more information about what to do in case you find yourself in a situation where you happen to be a bystander, visit http://endingviolence.org/prevention-programs/be-more-than-a-bystander/what-you-can-do-to-be-more-than-a-bystander/ 
Until next time,
TayπŸ’™

Advertisements

My Senior Year and Joining the Bovee Bunch???

“Here comes the sun, yeah don’t you know, it’s gonna be a good day.”

     This is the most exciting blog I have written yet.

     Surprise, surprise! Hooray, hooray! I’ve been keeping a huge secret from you all and you find out today!

     You see why I don’t dabble much in poetry. I’m definitely not the next Dr. Seuss. 

      Due to extenuating circumstances, I did not get to graduate high school last year when I was supposed to. I was forced to move unexpectedly away from Woodland Park to Texas. (A story for another time. I know, I know. How much crazier can this girl’s life get?)  It was hard for me when graduation rolled around and all of my friends were decorating their caps and taking senior pictures, meanwhile I was stuck in a situation I never wanted to be in.

      Nevertheless, a miracle came into my life. And to be quite honest, I can’t even remember exactly how it all came about.

     Noelle and I had been keeping close contact since I left Woodland Park. I was in a position where I wasn’t going to be able to graduate like a normal teen was. I was very upset to say the least. She knew this, and somehow or another she brought up “You can come live with me. You can graduate here. My parents have raised 3 kids before.”

     Thus began the plan of moving me there.

     It was sort of a long process. Once the idea was up in the air, Noelle had to convince her parents that I was someone they’d love, and someone they could trust. We Skyped, and talked through things over video since it was nearly impossible to do it in person. 

      The moment they officially asked me to come live with them was will forever be noted as one of the best moments of my entire life. 

      I still had a lot to do. For one, the car I had was not going to make a 12 hour drive. I sold it, and bought a new one. I had to find a time to move up there a register before the 22nd of August, when school starts. We moved dates about a hundred times, I think. 

(My new car)

     But finally, my mother, sister, brother and I made the trek up to Colorado. Saying goodbye to my aunt back home and our animals was so hard. I kept telling myself that this is all for me, and most importantly, a good thing.

     It was a long drive. None of us slept the night before, whether it be nerves or sickness or just plain insomnia. We turned a 12 hour drive into a 17 hour drive, from stopping to eat or get food. We ended pulling over at the Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo to sleep for an hour and a half.

(My old room as I finished packing)  

 (My sister, Amber, and I showing signs of exhaustion)

(A funny picture of Andrew)


     We eventually made it to Colorado, and enjoyed the next day and a half together before they had to go home. I apologize for all of the pictures of them I’m about to give you in advance. 

 (Amber and Andrew in their natural habitat)

(Amber found a dog she loves)

(All of us together on our last day)

(Amber and Andrew once again)

(My mom on top of the mountain looking as gracious as ever.) 


    It is a little strange. While most of my peers are moving in to their college dorms and apartments, getting ready for new classes, I’m doing the same; but instead I’m going for high school. There parents just dropped them off and settled them in. Mine have done the same, but again, it’s for high school this time. 

     The day they left was really emotional. But we got our emotions out right away, and once they left I was part of the Bovees. 

     They’ve been absolutely incredible to me with every aspect of adjusting. Every morning I wake up on my bunk and I have to remind myself that I’m not spending the night; I live here. This is a permanent placement for now. (What an oxymoron.) I love it here. I love the red paint in the kitchen and the way the floors creak, despite how light you try to step on them. I love the way I can’t figure out the shower for the life of me. I love the “I Am Enough” messages posted around the house. Most of all, I love the never ending string of hugs here that always seem to come at just the right moment. There’s always enough love. You never go to bed here worrying if you are loved, because that’s just not something you have to worry about.

     You are loved. Plain and simple. 

      And don’t worry. Noelle and I get along just fine, even with our limited space. 

     Tomorrow I start my senior year. A year late. And although it may be different than what life what was “supposed” to have in store for me, I am always under the impression that life is wonky. Life is screwed up and crazy and doesn’t always go the way we plan for it to, or necessarily want it to. But that doesn’t mean that it is wrong. It doesn’t mean we can’t still become doctors or poets, or even just for the fun of it, physicists. To quote from my favorite book of all time, “We can’t choose where we come from, but we can choose where we go from there.” I choose happiness. I choose what’s screwed up and wonky and different. In the end, maybe this is what was really “supposed” to happen with my life. I’ll never know. I’m not the big man with the strings controlling it up there. 

     But life is full of expectations. It is full of crazy roads that lead nowhere that turn you around to start again. Here I am. I’m starting again.

     Screwed up. Messy. But okay. I’m okay with it. Senior year, here I come.

     I really hope you’re a good one.
Until next time,

Tay❀

P.S.

I have joined the vlogging community with The Bovee Bunch (even though we should all remember my blog about how I should never do that again.) Please like and subscribe! You don’t want to miss a second of what happens this year!

https://youtu.be/QYp_zEeF5lQ 

My Best 4 Years

 “I remember your bare feet, down the hallway. I remember your little laugh.” 


      I have to talk about something hard today, because my heart has been hurting.

     My little brother came into the world on September 24th of 2012, and made my heart so full of love. He was the child of my father and his wife, so my half-brother, but I never felt so close to someone. He had bright blue eyes, and the second I saw them I was locked in. He was so perfect and pure. He hadn’t made any mistakes yet, and didn’t have time behind him where the world messed him up. I vowed to protect him, no matter what, and never stop loving him. 

     Having my little brother made the time spent with my father easier. He made me laugh and smile, and I knew I would be okay because he lit up the room with his smile, or dancing. 

     He gave me the best hugs.

      He was ticklish on the bottom of his left foot, and he used to scream when I blew raspberries on his tummy. He couldn’t function right if he didn’t have juice when he woke up in the morning. The thing I loved most about him was when he squeezed my pinky finger with his tiny, tight fist.

I can still feel you hold my hand, little man.

     Things got tough in the few years I was with him, as most of you know. I made a very hard decision to leave my father’s house after the abuse got too bad. 

     With that, came the consequence of losing my precious, baby brother. I knew this. I thought I was prepared to leave without him. 

I remember your blue eyes, looking into mine, like we had our own secret club.

     When I knew what decision I had to make, I couldn’t stand to look at him. One of the nights before I left, I ended up having to babysit him. He was with me in the living room, dancing to Pharrell’s “Happy”, his favorite song at the time, when I just burst into hysterics. He stopped dancing and sat in my lap with his Cheerios. He didn’t understand why I was crying. I didn’t want him to understand.

     He started laughing, then realized I was crying and put his fingers on my chin. “Tay Tay, was wrong?” I didn’t answer, obviously, because that made me cry even more. He then put out his finger, circling it around my nose and making a bzzzzzBOOP noise, something we did to each other. “Tay Tay okay?”

      I just smiled at him, tears falling down my face like Niagara Falls at this point. “Tay Tay okay.” 

     He stood up, wobbling on his heels and bent down, kissing me with his eyes open. 

      “I love you, I love you, I love you.” I remember repeating to him. 

      “I wuv you too.” He said, stretching out to escape my hug. He walked away and started playing with his firetruck. 

     That was the last conversation I remember having with him. I wish, more than anything, I would have made it last longer. I would have made him hang on a little longer. I would have kissed him harder. But I didn’t.

     I don’t regret leaving my father’s house a bit. With any decision comes consequences. And this is a consequence I will forever have to deal with. 

     I can’t protect him anymore. I can’t see him anymore. My sister updates me all of the time on how he is, what he’s learning in preschool, what joke he made. Without her, I wouldn’t even know he was alive. He doesn’t know that I am who I am. He refers to me as “Amber’s sister.”

     That breaks my heart.

     I have a song for him, that I listen to when I miss him more than usual. I encourage you to read the lyrics, though they don’t fully pertain to my situation. I’ll post a link to the song as well.

I remember your bare feet down the hallway
I remember your little laugh
Race cars on the kitchen floor, plastic dinosaurs
I love you to the moon and back

I remember your blue eyes looking into mine
Like we had our own secret club
I remember you dancing before bed time
Then jumping on me, waking me up

I can still feel you hold my hand, little man
And even the moment I knew
You fought it hard like an army guy
Remember I leaned in and whispered to you

Come on baby with me, we’re gonna fly away from here
You were my best four years

I remember the drive home
When the blind hope turned to crying and screaming “Why?”
Flowers pile up in the worst way, no one knows what to say
About a beautiful boy who died

And it’s about to be Halloween
You could be anything you wanted if you were still here
I remember the last day when I kissed your face
And whispered in your ear

Come on baby with me, we’re gonna fly away from here
Out of this curtained room in this hospital grey, we’ll just disappear
Come on baby with me, we’re gonna fly away from here
You were my best four years

What if I’m standing in your closet trying to talk to you?
What if I kept the hand-me-downs you won’t grow into?
And what if I really thought some miracle would see us through?
What if the miracle was even getting one moment with you?

Come on baby with me, we’re gonna fly away from here
Come on baby with me, we’re gonna fly away from here
You were my best four years

I remember your bare feet down the hallway
I love you to the moon and back

https://youtu.be/7WiGTaD1VRc

     Tay Tay always loves you, Austin Ray. To the moon and back.
Until next time,

Tay❀