Beauty Vs Beastie – the dark intimacies of domestic violence.

wings

The first time he hit her, he did not leave bruises that could be touched.

The second time, he did not leave a mark, but tore her clothes. There are many life-long advantages to a youth dedicated to Rugby.

He had the strength to rip her library book clear in half. Cracked horizontally across the spine. Kierkegaard: Fear and Trembling went spinning across the bedroom floor. She returned it a month late, with a weak excuse.

“I just don’t know how this could possibly have happened,” she had said, quietly. Because every body knows; you cannot tear a book!

You could tell a lot about her by her library card at the time.

Rembrandt_Harmensz._van_Rijn_035
“Yes, when in mournful moments we want to strengthen and encourage our minds by contemplating those great men, your chosen instruments, who in severe spiritual trials and anxieties of heart kept their minds free, their courage uncrushed, and heaven open, we, too, wish to add our witness to theirs in the assurance that even if our courage compared to theirs is only discouragement, our power powerlessness, you, however, are still the same, the same mighty God who tests spirits in conflict, the same Father without whose will not one sparrow falls to the ground.” Two Upbuilding Discourses p. 7[17]
Kierkegaard says, “Infinite resignation is the last stage before faith, so anyone who has not made this movement does not have faith, for only in infinite resignation does an individual become conscious of his eternal validity, and only then can one speak of grasping existence by virtue of faith.”

In other words, one must give up everything but faith, and in so doing, realise that this too, is proof of a loving God. That’s Kierkegaard.

Her boyfriend told her, in the painful, long hours of his assaults, that she should be more careful than to push him like this.

During his night-time attacks she would go to bed, with books.

She read Nietche, Joseph Campbell, recipees, looked at garden design, how not to age badly, how to handle difficut teenagers, and interpretations of The Lords Prayer, some pop thrillers which she couldn’t get into.

He would maintain a routine of working out, blasting music, or stock market news, then bursting in to switch off the lights, singing wildly or whistling happily, clicking his fingers to the beat. Telling her to get out. Telling her she looked like shit. Throwing books.

Giving lectures.

Favourites included:

The Trickery and Deception of Women.

Women as the Real Perpetrators of Domestic Abuse.

How Women Disguise Themselves as Victims to Cops, to Courts and to the World.

The Secret of Life – Harden the F@ck Up!

People are All, At the End of The Day; C@nts.

You Cant Beat Luck.

and one of his favourires; A Man’s Gotta Eat”.

 

“Once this boat has sailed, there is no stopping it!” he would promise.

And he was the captain of that sick vessel. And he was the storm he loved to thrash her through as well.

Ω

The third time he roughed her up, he made a mistake.

She struggled after the first hour or so of pushing, of screaming, of tearing at the sheets and marching her through the rooms. He had to manage her with a little more force.

That time, he left a patchwork of vivid indigo across her body. Across her neck. Down her side. And a scatter of fingerprints that left a trail of blue frangipanis around her arm.

That time, he pinned her to the chaotic bed, and pressed his lips with an erotic ferocity right up to hers. He looked at her, with a passionate beauty in his golden eyes, and breathed the hot breath of intimacy, heavy in her face. He pinned her, breast to chest, and whispered, like a lover;    I will murder you.

demon3
Henry Fuseli, The Nightmare, 1781,

 

And she believed him. When he got up, he stood a while to bask in the view of her wreckage.. He stood over her, pulled her up to sit square to his chest, straddling him. She wriggled free, pushed him back, stood up, and smacked his face so hard his skull span sharp right.

He liked that.

Ω

Today she finds herself at a ‘recruitment office’ in her girlhood neighbourhood, wearing a dress that has been washed to transparency, in tatty $7 sneakers, being offered $400 for clothes.

She had given up her job on her tiny island home as a yoga teacher, and all her private coaching work, and actually, an entire plot line to be here. She had told her friends; I am going to be the soul of the love story, and he is going to make the whole world safe for us. They had looked at her sideways and picked at their gluten free muffins with tiny forks in manicured fingers, and said… well, we’re really happy for you, honey.

She had moved to a world where a hair cut cost the equivalent of 3 weeks rent, and where she did not have even a fingerhold on the culture anymore, let alone the corporate world, which had become more Survivor than she remembered.

So, she had come to fulfil her monthly appointment, an hour late, because she had lost the first three hours of the day staring at the wall of their bedroom in a quiet, aimless kind of prayer.

This prayer went something like…. God – or that non-anthropomorphic mystery behind the various God-like masks out there: help me!

It was not really an emergency sort of prayer.

There was nothing really clingy about it.

It was the sort of prayer you might make if you had accidentally run into a glass wall – in that moment before you passed out, or shook yourself. Where there is no real pain, just a sort of elongated Oooowww….  And a huh?! It was more of a swoon, really.

The cup of tea beside her was stone cold. It has tasted sour, as usual. She wondered if this was because of how they treat the cows, to get the milk. Or because of how she has become lately: much like those cows, she was imagining.

I have another boil today.

That makes four.

She has a boil on her butt, one on her right side, one on the chin, and one on the inside of her nose – making its return after two months and two courses of antibiotics. Boils, as she has discovered, are not fun. They hurt. They seethe. They are stubborn, squat little bloating volcanoes of molten puss and lava that never give the satisfaction of erupting. They just keep widening their haunches, topping up the ammunition that only seeps from their oozy craters. The worst of them lies deep under their seeping cones. They swell. They get hot. They beg to be squeezed but do not know how to succumb to that disastrous pleasure.

Whatever gruesome force of nature that produces boils as its flowers frog marches invisibly through the rest of her body, curdling her tongue, thickening her lymph, wrapping tentacles around her heart, which feels limp and ugly, like a strange thing, netted out of the deep, and left to die slowly, flapping on the desolate shore of her geography. She is an infected continent, wretched with poisonous subterranean rivers of secrets and infection, causing her to be coming ever closer to the condition you might well see in a battery farmed dairy cow… misery.

There is a misery that cracks open, causing spectacles of hopeless wailing and catharsis. But this is not the variety she is being apprenticed to.

This misery is a far more bright, and even bouncy variety.

This misery does not cause all day in bed, or nights on the floor with Tori Amos and cigarettes.

It causes, frenzies of house cleaning, baking of cakes, making of little wild flower posies, washing of floors and putting on of lipstick. And it causes, boils.

Boils, which, according to Louise Hay, are the manifestation of unexpressed rage.

In Hay’s writing, which is itself, part of the foundation of the possible boil that is the whole New Age Idea, which she has been flirting with for over a decade of great hope and rising irritation, Louise diagnoses the psycho-emotional root of physical illness to help us read the language of the body. So our dis-eases can help point to our personal growth, instead of directly to the pharmacy.

flower

 

BOILS: Anger, Boiling over. Seething.

 

Louise’s cure is affirmations.
This is the one she gives her: 

 I express love & joy. I am at peace.

 

So, you can see just how deep this trouble is going to get, right? But she, because of a combination of disbelief, psychological disordering and chemical deluges which would later be explained to her by a doctor, and a writer and a lawyer, had absolutely no idea how to help herself.

She cleaned windows. She polished doors, walls, fridge shelves, teapots, and dog collars. She made muffins. Squeezed juices. Became obedient. Pleasing. Tubby. Depressed. Despairing, and jubilant on those days when The Words didn’t hurt her, when she was not dragged out of bed to sleep with the dogs – on those days she felt so delirious with hope and happiness, she could be radiant with joy. There were so many happy days.

On those days, the boils itched with the seething part of their business, she supposed. There is the seething, and then the raging – they go together, one drip-feeding the other. Louise says the problem is what is not said.

But that’s not quite right, she would tell her, because the anger that fuels her furious volcanoes has been extremely well expressed.

Ω

demon1

C@nt!

Fucking no-hope, religious, loser fucking c@nt!

Bogan.

Dirty user, fat, wrinkled miserable old boiler c@nt!

I’m not going to put up with any more of your shit!

I deserve better.

I am a good man.

I am a great man.

And this! After every thing I’ve done for you!

You sexless old bitch.

I want a girlfriend better than this shit.

I want passionate loving!

I want to fuck.

And you… you’re just a dried up battle axe user!

He shoots a final c@nt! Before he closes the front door neatly and steps out into the glorious early summer morning in Sydney to head off for his office job in the city.

He had been ironing his Friday clothes – casual-wear Friday – through the hours-long barrage this morning. He had showered, applied a heavy dose of his newly replenished favourite cologne, Egoist, ironed a fresh white T-shirt and light blue chinos. He had made espresso from a pod, patted the dogs, checked the stock market, said goodbye to his son, and taken his meds.

Between all of which, he had made diligent return visits to her, propped up in bed, to fire a succession of point-blank rounds of The Words that did not, really, any more, even hurt her.

She was passed being hurt.

He had shot to kill so many times in the last 3 months, there was nothing left to bleed.

wings

Besides, he would come home at 6, perhaps with flowers, or a little white bag with three tiny pairs of Calvin Klein knickers, or a pot of expensive cream, or perfume, a dinner invitation, and they would have fun together again. Or, perhaps he would sustain this raging menace through text and email all day, and walk in at 6, with his heels hard against the wood floor in leather soles, to unleash a cyclone for the entire night. It was uncertain: there was always hope. They might cook together, and dance in the kitchen, and sip champagne. If She was very good.

 

But she did boil.

She boiled up.

It was his rage that filled her harvest of summer boils. Not hers. She wasn’t even angry any more.

And she wasn’t even frightened.

 

He had already told her, in a wild cascade of scorching blunt word weaponry and wrestling a few weeks ago that there were easy ways out of the tempest. She could fuck him. The ways he wanted her to. Every time. And she could just be gentle – like she promised everybody that she was, like she ‘sold herself’: then everything would be perfect.

He had laid out the rules to help to make things perfect. And then he would make her his wife. And they would get a puppy and go on holidays to New Zealand.

Pyjamas were forbidden.

Well, not exactly forbidden. If she wanted to wear them, and if he was tired, or gorged, or drunk enough, then they had better be ‘lifters’; then he might let it slide.

But if she wore them and he wanted to cuddle, or sex, and had the energy – or woke up with it – then there would be hell to pay. Wrestling matches with all 90+ kilos of him. Torn clothing. Screaming. Sheets ripped off and commands to Get Out!, or to sleep with the dogs, or texts to her brother, or friends, accusing her of domestic violence, or calls to the police, “to humiliate you, like you have done to me!”

monster1

“I promise you, I will do these things. You have to be taught. You have to be taught theconsequences!” Or, “Ok, bitch,we’re staying up all night doing this. I’ll take a day off work tomorrow, just so I can have the pleasure of doing this…

Or there would be The Words.

 

 

 

Bitch. Sl@t. Boiler. Loser. Liar. Evil human.

Locked doors.

Hidden keys.

Passage ways blocked.

A dark house.

Me clutching a shambles of bags I could run away with.

Feeling along the dark walls, looking for a window or a door I could get out through.

Him, in all the shadows.

Him, wrestling my laptop out of my hands and dangling it over the pool.

Him easily grabbing my wrist and tackling me into the corner of the couch. There are so many benefits to a youth invested in rugby.

Him demanding; Look at me! Keep looking at me. I never want you to stop looking at me while I do this.

Lecturing, shouting, slowly pinning me down, sucking me down, demanding my answers to his salad of bizarre demands and accusations.

The police at the door.

Tears.

Terror.

Yes, I am safe.

Closed doors.

A weeping man.

 

“I’ll murder you.” He said it like a kink.

“I’ll fucking murder you!” Softly.

Ω

But she didn’t panic then.

In a sense, in the main sense of it, he already had.

And she had Louise Hay: “I express love and joy: I am at peace.”

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She had unconsciously made small paper animals out of torn tissue she was clutching. One of them looks like a stingray. She is utterly amazed! There, on the tear and adrenaline-soaked couch at 4am, swollen and completely punch-drunk, she is holding a tiny, perfectly made little origami stingray.

 

The next day, she looks up Stingray in an online totem guide to see whether her fragile little friend is part of some over-arching meaning system that will help her understand this experience. To put it in a context other than horror.

PRIMAL ZODIAC SIGN OF STINGRAY

A seeming contradiction in terms, those born under the sign of the Stingray are adventurous, humanitarian, generous, sincere, rebellious, and emotionally fragile all at the same time. To some this energy may come across as chaotic and wild, which it certainly can be from time to time, but Stingrays are also deep thinkers, dreamers, and idealists. Though they can be sullen and elusive from time to time, members of this sign always stand up for what they believe in.

Like their animal namesake, those born under the sign of the Stingray are mostly harmless. They spend most of their time sitting back and observing, planning, and considering their options. Also like the stingray, members of this sign don’t strike out unless pushed. While they may spend a great deal of time quietly lingering in the background, they are not afraid to stand up for themselves, and can be a very formidable opponent to those who assail their deepest beliefs and personal freedom…

Stingrays are often attracted to mysterious people, places, and things as well. They relish the unusual and the unexplained, and believe there is far more to life than what our five senses can reveal. Stingrays are also very emotionally unstable. They can vacillate between moods at any given time, and are not very good with moderation. This is a sign that is prone to addiction and escapism if left to their own devices. Though they seem to be very stoic in their beliefs, members of this sign are always second-guessing themselves and others. They are much more emotionally fragile than they seem and get their feelings hurt very easily.

Does not strike out unless pushed.

Emotionally unstable.

Ω

She is at the job finding agency she has been sent to by Centrelink. They are ‘doing the paperwork’.

She is sitting next to her ‘case worker’ in her ‘back to work’ cubicle. She is a tiny Asian woman in a spectacle of glitter synthetics and new heeled dancing shoes. She doesn’t even look at her. She hasn’t spoken one word to her in the 10 minutes she’s been sitting here. She doesn’t know her name.

 

Agnes Cecile
By Agnes Cecile

She is probably repulsed by the boils, she thinks.

 

Maybe she thinks I am ugly.

Or a failure.

Or a spoilt old white woman who should have got her shit together years ago.

Maybe she thinks I’m fine?

Maybe I look fine?

It’s hard to believe.

The boils prod her with their stumpy elbows, move in deeper to her jaw, nestle in and take up more space, secrete their sick streams of secrets through all her flesh and rivers. She feels hot. And weak. And hideous.

Maybe she thinks I am an HIV case?

A drunk?

Maybe she thinks I am a loser c@nt no hoper spiritual bullshit boiler as well.

She is, afterall, here on Centrelink.

 

They do the necessities.

She is upset.

Or maybe she is angry.

Can anybody see me?

I mean… helllloooo! Here it is: the whole sorry, dripping, swelling face of At Risk…

 

She has heard a vivacious ‘case worker’ in the next cubicle offering another ‘client’ education, courses – “we can do incredible things for people, really! There’s just so much on offer; training  courses, introductions.. most people have no idea!” she had been brightly promising.

She wants to put her hand out, in a sort of Please, sir… way, but she is afraid to. Ashamed to. And then she blurts out anyway, to the dancing shoes lady; “is there maybe any more you can do to help me?”

Like what? The synthetic lady snaps.

“Oh, courses, training, introductions.. things like that, perhaps?”

Hhhhfff!

You want to do a Cert in Scaffolding?

Business?

What do you want? She demands.

What do you want!

Ω

She met this boyfriend of her almost exactly six months ago, to the day, at a reunion. She had flown in to Sydney from Asia where she had been living for 8 years, on and off, between work and research and travel around southeast Asia, South America and the States, studying health and mythology, reporting for magazines, looking for a better place, teaching and watching how quickly the old things are falling apart. Being pulled apart, really, everywhere.

She had flown in to the adopted city of her youth after 15 years of never looking back.

But she wanted to go back. To see this group of people she had a history with. The first ones to befriend her, betray her, admire her, smoke with her, bully her, make her one of their counselors, a captain, a subject of disturbing, inexplicable tensions and desires that swarmed and swelled in this Australian culture in which she was not raised… all of that.

She wanted to bless it all, the whole fiasco, by showing up, at this stage of the game, and seeing us all now as equals, made vulnerable by the decades, and the few that remain – and to pay respects to all their roles as friends, foe, lovers and villains. It seemed like a sacred thing, of sorts.

And it was a wonderful night!

She kicked on.

Because she could.

No kids. No spouse. No 9-5. No cat. Nowhere to be tomorrow.

She kicked on with a little fray that got smaller, got more honest, more drunk, a little mean, a little ugly. Some were nasty drunk . One spat at her, “don’t you dare tell me you know what it is to struggle!” and plunged, scowling into her vodka, supported by two men of their party, wearing anguish deep in their skin, and sitting like fierce guardian bookends to the two women between them. It was messy, but there was loyalty there. She saw evidence of something deep and terrible that she did not have the grammar for.

There were two guys she had mostly stuck to; a self-confessed bully-turned gentle giant, and the other one who she never knew before, but seemed clean-cut now, seemed sober, reserved, quiet. And who invited her home at 3am, under the glittery stars, in the clean velvet sea-kissed beauty of the witching hour of the world’s most exquisite new city.

Are you safe? she’d asked him, tipsy, but not in the habit of going to anybody’s home, ever, really – overnight. Even now.

Are you safe? I mean, I’m not…. You know; I’m not coming home to go to bed with you! she laughed. She had been laughing and dancing and listening and wide open to the incredible stories of 100 people’s lives all night. She was wearing a white dress she had picked out with her brother. She had glittery shoes on.

Yes.

Yes. I am totally, honestly, truly safe, he said. Come. It’s not far, and I can drop you back to where you stay in the morning tomorrow. Let’s talk more. I’ll make you some tea. It’s fine. Really. Come.

Sure?

Promise.

Promise?

Promise.

 

She looked him dead in the face. “Yes, but what do you really want” she’d asked him.

And the world stood still.

And they both knew it.

beast2

Ω

They left.

Together.

In a taxi.

To his place.

And she moved in two months later.

 

He had flown into his first rage on the first night she had come with her boxes.

It was about sex.

It went on for hours.

And hours.

And hours.

Ω

She can feel her breath: it’s a yoga thing.

She can feel her breath as if it were dry, processed air traveling though weathered old tubes, heaving through the plumbing of some old factory.

She can feel the whole cosmos – the world seems compleltely open to her – too open – the air dangerously thin, like the ozone has been burnt out of it, the sun dangerously close, all moist things in cinders.  She feels like a very small thing, traveled way too far. And drifting, without that gentle clutch of the earth, beyond the fingertips of gravity that pull us all back to a world the right size for a woman.

She notices the sky outside the window.

It is a thin blue-grey. Like fine tissue – like a sheath of fine skin, fascia, bloodless and stretched to a discomforting sheen. The big gums bounce and sway. Their delicate leaves caress the breeze prettily. Birds. Australian birds make pre-historic squeaks and screeches as they wheel between the roof tops and wheelie bins and power lines and empty parks and gardens.

Inside the room she is under linen printed with lovely flowers, leaves and little birds. This is her unquiet nest. She is allowed about one quarter of this space. The side close to the window. All of her possessions are in three piles beside her – a few dresses hang ridiculously in the mirrored robe. There is the tumble of books, a wash bag, clothes that, day by day, seem to be the shed skin of somebody who was once here, somebody who died, and left a scruffy mess behind.

She has this one little bit of territory. It is only invaded periodically. She is allowed to perch here, sometimes alone, quietly, and sometimes as subject and spectator to assualts of The Words, of hands, explosions of muscle, tackles and lectures… there are so many advantages to a youth dedicated to rugby… to those eloquent streams of abuse – each word almost lovingly polished, arranged for a beauty of tempo and impact, that it’s as if this has all…..

beast

Ω

Back at the recruitment office she can feel something coming. She is going to fall apart. There is panic. A thick, mucousy fluid is rising from her heart to her eyes, slowly, like syrupy in a syringe. It is pushing up to where there would once have been sweetwater; tears.

The misery is going to do it. It is going to seep over the leathery old edges of the Leviathan inside her. It is going to betray her.

She does something like crying. She seeps a strange, gluey resin from her eyes. If they are tears, they are amber. They don’t run. They coagulate.

Her mouth dries out to the point where she feels it might crack, like eroded soil, and she will need to spit out dried up husks of her own tongue, petrified teeth, demolished gums and scant streams of a rancid scum that is squeezing up off her sick waters.

The case workers open their eyes extra wide.

They make ‘oh dear’ sorts of noises.

They tutt. They keep going with the job. They say that maybe she should come back when she’s calmer?

The bright one invites her to move to her cublicle. There is so much we can do for you. “We saw a lawyer, only yesterday. A high-powered criminal lawyer. He was on $300 thou plus, but he quit because of the stress. He was just over it. So he was here with me. Like you. Looking for a Survival Job. Thats what we call it. It’s ok. It’s normal. Don’t worry. Sometimes that’s all you can do.”

She doesn’t pass her a tissue. She takes two anyway. No totem animals appear in either of them. Somebody brings a polystyrene cup of frightened-looking water. She feels herself gasping through the dry old tubes attached to her body, she is losing contact with the shape of it, floating too close to strange planets, sucking like a coma victim on mechanical air, while somebody close by talks about studying English Teaching, Counselling, about how she could get some new clothes, maybe a phone, and …

They strongly encouraged her to see a doctor about the boils. They look very painful. Go and get them seen to.

Ω

labyrinth

At the Mall she stumbles about in the glamorous corridors to find a pharmacist to ask if there is anything for boils. He takes a look at her face, and flinches. He says, I really think you need a doctor for those.

She stumbles on and finds a Medical Clinic. It’s first come, first serve. She is first. He is Indian Australian. With a nice clean shirt, ironed pants and a wife.

He takes a swab.

He writes a script for three courses of antibiotics.

“There’s one for you, and one for your boyfriend, and a spare,” he says. “He is probably infecting you. He will need to be treated.

And, maybe you should get a different boyfriend?” he quips, inexplicably.

They laugh.

Well, he laughs. She does whatever her uninhabited body manages to do. And then there is a sudden, split second nuclear event in which her soul, estranged astronaut, lands heavily back on her continent in time unmeasurable by linear tools, and she knows she is going to do it. She is going to tell somebody. Somebody with power.

Yes. I should. she says.

He’s not a good man. The doctor chuckles, reaching for the script off his printer.

He is hurting me…. and a scum of hot, gluey tears fogs the room and tangles up her eyelashes before spilling, like tree sap, onto her face, which feels like it has been peeled.

The doctor, miraculously, snaps to, takes time into his clean hands, and shapes it into a large body of clear water. He pushes his chair back, sits deeper in it. He puts down his pen. He moves to face her, body to body, and says… “Tell me. What’s happening?”

.. Ω ..

And Kierkegaard had had a dream: “I have thought of adapting [the legend of] Agnes and the Merman from an angle that has not occurred to any poet. The Merman is a seducer, but when he has won Agnes’ love he is so moved by it that he wants to belong to her entirely.

But this, you see, he cannot do, since he must initiate her into his whole tragic existence, that he is a monster at certain times, etc., that the Church cannot give its blessing to them.

He despairs and in his despair plunges to the bottom of the sea and remains there, but Agnes imagines that he only wanted to deceive her. ..if only the Merman could believe, his faith perhaps could transform him into a human being.”[55]

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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26 thoughts on “Beauty Vs Beastie – the dark intimacies of domestic violence.

  1. Oooooohh Jade. That came from somewhere very deep. A painful place. Touched a nerve. Arohanui, Linzi

  2. It came from cooking, collecting flowers, being a bit mean, bumping into a snorkel renter man, and sitting down to the writing. Now, come on. It’s your turn. What have we been working on…. get going! x

  3. Just lacerating. A harrowing depiction of abuse. – castration without anesthetic would be too kind. At least you’ve ritually disemboweled him with some fine words. Trust you’re in a better place now.

  4. Thanks Bentt,
    I didn’t really write it for revenge. I wrote it to try to get the colour back in my life by alchemising it out of the black and white it had been hiding in inside, looking to make words. I think, in a way, he is at the mercy of whatever force that drives this.. it’s a kind of possession … it does not only cause this sort of violence, but a witch hunt, stalking, efforts at entrapment, public humiliation and shaming that remain ongoing.
    But.
    What is really in my craw is the girlfriend who knew, and threw me under the bus.
    Nothing I despise more in my life than cowards and opportunist spectators.
    She’s the kind who cries poor me about her own ‘recovery’, plans to be a ‘therapist’ to make use of her ‘victim’ identity, but will betray anybody she can, to prop her own security. She is the secret fly in the ointment of ALL the ‘I was abused’ stories, because there were ALWAYS women who knew, women who could have helped, and women who prospered, watching their sisters cop the full fury while they took the spoils on the side.
    Blah!

  5. I have enjoyed immersion into your wordplay, fancy way of saying I adore your writing. This one though…raw, dark and so, so sad. I’m an old crusty first responder, retired, and it broke my heart.

  6. There’s nothing like the cathartic act of putting it into writing to gain distance and perspective from a period of heightened emotion is there? Lanced a boil as it were. I’d concur with your gripe. Legitimate for sure. Long live the sisterhood… ho ho. It’s the Jekyll and Hyde aspect to the perpetrator that’s particularly galling in these sorts of tales. Bloviating empty charm wedded to a toxic undercarriage.

  7. Why, thank you. And on the process of writing.. yes, sort of. A story has to boil (!) away and simmer for ages, with all sorts of weird and unnamable spices added and fermented under all sorts of kooky conditions before it is ripe for the telling. Otherwise it comes out like a spectacular car crash, which I hope this doesn’t. Boils. Sadly. Cannot be lanced. They can only be cured in the subterranean seas that produce them, like flowery things off a coral reef. It takes aaaages! I have still got the rush edges of some and have to resort to the gruesome sweaty nausea hot wash of hot yoga and turmeric smoothies as a site remediation strategy for the scene of the toxic spill.

  8. You know… Leonard Cohen and that song? It’s really true – a broken heart is what lets the light in, but it takes a true human to help us step over the glass and out through the crack into the dawn. xx There are not many of those yet, but they are coming – we are making them, gently but surely.

  9. No car crash, just a visceral scream that haunts, hence being prompted to comment. Affecting. Really. Turmeric smoothies sound the business. Yum! Good to hear there’s a happy healthy postscript.

  10. Just have to share this… because I think it will be useful for others…
    Oh..this morning I woke from a turbulent night, something moving in my body. I curled up this morning to read your latest post…you once said that when you read, it is the body that is reading.
    This is so very true…parts cut like a knife through my heart and man did I weep. Thank you for sharing your truth. Your carthasis transmuted into mine. I am so happy that you escaped and are in the safety of mother nature again. May you heal quickly and shine in your triumph for it sounds as if you were your own knight in shining armour.
    I wish I could say that I feel sorry for your perpetrator and have compassion but that would be a lie.
    I feel angry because your villain shares similarities to some villains I’ve met along my own path. It makes me sad and sorrowful to see how one person’s unchanneled grief creates a ripple effect into the world and how easily it can shut down the heart leaving a trail of destruction in the lives of others.
    All this being said, the heart has a courageous spirit and is far stronger than I had ever trusted.
    To be in its space on this plain comes with risk…as you say it’s not an even playing field…but my dream is that those who decide to act from this place will plant seeds in others who have been hurt along the way.
    That they will somehow see the invitation of their pain as an opportunity for growth. Perhaps a childish and naive fantasy but if we can all fall in love with a beast then I don’t feel it’s impossible. Sending you a big hug xxx

  11. blo·vi·ate
    blōvēˌāt
    gerund or present participle: bloviating: talk at length, especially in an inflated or empty way.
    Had to look it up – wow! That is an excellent word – one of those ones that just sooo does the job. Thank you. I am going to keep it forever and look after it carefully so as it can have more moments in the sun.

  12. oh good! I’ve always liked it. It was a pleasure to deploy. But I did slip up with the tautology of ’empty’ plonked along side it. Damn.

  13. Mate, I was so hoping this story was not your own experience I skimmed light as a dragon fly over that putrid pond. Shit! What a bastard. And you such a strong and present soul. I feel in your story my own exploitation and marvel in your courage to tell your story!!! How do you do that?
    I come and go from writing so scared of what others may think. So ashamed at being sucked in by promises of salvation, so wanting to be judged ‘perfect’ by my spiritual leader i could not see let alone name his exploitations of me. And yes, I have a short story. Shall I send it?
    Love and healing to you. xx

  14. Well, it’s like this – if you are a writer, and you don’t write it, it eats you!
    So, eventually, you just have to.
    And there’s some shame in it. But that’s all part of being human. Remember what I taught you!!!!!! The shame and the status beasties are the guardians of the work – if you cannot bow to those guys, you are not coming through.
    We have a massive, toxic gas bubble choking up the psychic plumbing of the cosmos – somebody has to burp at least a part of that out, to get the goodness flowing again, or at least to prevent a horrible explosion.
    Besides, if the ones who already went there don’t tell about the journey, but sit back, gnawing on their fists, while others innocently take the same route… then we carry some of the blame, because we knew… and we didn’t say anything.. and that is nothing to be proud of.

  15. What is really in my craw is the girlfriend who knew, and threw me under the bus.
    Nothing I despise more in my life than cowards and opportunist spectators……
    How sad that you felt thrown under the bus…. the girlfriend who you reached out to…who told you he would never change…. the girlfriend with whom you exchanged desperate tales of abuse… who shared her own toxic experience at the hands of the narcissistic trader with a taste for fine cognac and crystal glasses. No reason for you to stay… unlike the girlfriend… who stayed and protected young hearts and minds until it became unbearable…. a courageous woman who had been under the bus for many years. Her story is profound and deep….and tinged with regret and sadness too

  16. Dear Captain Cook (cringe). I’ve had a few of these sharp little messages, and am just going to allow this one up, to show the sort of vibe that ripples through the cluster of people involved with this story.
    FYI – I am talking about one of my girlfriends… who betrayed me when she could have easily helped me, and then helped fog up the conversation, saying I was a violent abuser – very unhelpful.
    You’re talking about his ex, who has likely motivated a string of not very … nice…. little messages like this. I told you so’s. Cheap shots.
    You don’t realise it, but it shows how confusing it likely is for him, since he is surrounded by some not so very nice people, who are in to this sort of rivalry and point scoring stuff.. no matter what the odds are.
    First – a woman who still wears his ring on her engagement finger, calls him constantly, stayed with him 17 years, uses her teens to provoke and hook in to him, allows her children to Iive with him unsupervised, and to travel with him without restraint hardly seems to think he’s a problem – she more comes across as a person who validates that he is the incredibly nice guy I met, and sometimes got to be with, and a regular separated dad. She muddied all the water by skilfully puppeteering her kids to cause some of the rages that put me in a degree of danger she sometimes warned me about, and sometimes says she never experienced. Second – she set up so many situations that caused distress, and danger, as well as accusing me of all sorts of madness, including stealing, lying and setting mean boundaries with the children – one of whom’s behaviour was already ‘out of this world’ – so she could participate in all the chaos. She shared private and dangerous information with her daughter, which she knew she would pass on, and which would lead to attacks upon me. Her story is sad, but why the hell she enables all this is not that much of a mystery. She is free to write her story on a blog, or anywhere – if she had have, maybe I wouldn’t be having to do it. And if she did something other than foster all this, maybe she won’t have to watch as this all keeps rolling out through the generations. It’s very easy for you, incognito, to be so sassy and brave now that I have done the hard part… I have set all your other posts to one side now. Thank you.

  17. Re read Jade.
    So well written and yes gut wrenching.

    Thanks for making me “ feel “ again

    And humbly realise I am not yet a writer.

    I like your fearless ink and how you wait….till she spills.

    Love anna

  18. Darling. You are in full flight already. We just need to get some branches under you so can rest sweet, with the breeze still gently rising , and the beauty in your writing singing out far and wide, as it so truly should. x

  19. wow powerful stuff, this post really struck a chord with me. I decided after 12 years of domestic abuse (which resulted in me having to relocate with my children) to finally be brave enough to write about my experience in the hopes that it raises awareness.

  20. Good for you on both ‘surviving’ and leaving…. by the time you had endured 12 years of it, I am sure that getting out was very, very tough. Abuse is so.. insidious .. right? Now that I have eyes to see it, it’s as though the world suddenly divided in a very clear way, with the weak who steal power by shaking the abuse tree, and the strong, who must sit on the sidelines with their jaws dropped when they hear these sorts of tales. I hope yo do write your stories as it will help to free them, and perhaps help others untangle before they have to do the hard work of wrestling with the hooks.

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