Patmos

Hours. Days. Weeks. Months. Years. As time moves on and I sit here in my world of one, I find it ironic that as the world trembles under the pressure of “shuttering in” with family, I am coming of my own in my journey alone. It has been 5 years and 3 months since the divorce was final. The threat you meant for harm, “I will make it so that you are all alone”, is becoming my freedom.

While so many people are suffering from the past 5 months of closure, I hear their complaints and think they know nothing about being alone. Even you, with your threat was clueless of the very thing you planned for me. I find that God is in this place and separation from people cannot separate me from God. He is here.

My house is finally becoming a home.

My work is not enough to pay the bills but remote work has alleviated some of the financial burden.

My process in my art has slowed down. I think that’s starting to show. Combining the slower pace with what I have learned in my experiences, I think can be seen in my last few pieces. My eye for composition grows. That was once my greatest weakness.

I’m going to go to sleep now. It’s late and my eyes won’t stay open. Rest. Relaxation. These things are new. I will embrace them. Maybe soon I will tell you what I wrote on my studio wall.

Good-night.

 

I Have My Own Voice

3 Skulls #2

After years of you drilling into me day after day that I must find my own voice I finally realize I have a voice. It is the same voice I have had all along. What were you trying to do? Take it away? Make it null and void? Deceive me into believing that your struggle was my struggle?

My voice has been here all along. It was in my mark making, my color choices, my ability to see and create space the whole time. Your voice however is chaotic, afraid, trembling behind veils of fear. Afraid to allow itself to be heard.

It’s too bad your chaos gains you attention, no doubting it does you that much, but it never allows your voice to come through. It hides behind the resonating noise and vibrations of the chaotic strokes and unintelligible color choices. It’s why Tom always came down on you when you went full on chaos. He’d say, “are you painting that crap again?! Stop it and just paint!”. Like me, he knew you were hiding you voice.

That’s okay though, you hide, your better off hidden. I know the real you more than anyone on earth and several of us know that it’s the you that you have chosen over all the possibilities. Over all of the options. Over all of the beauty. You intentionally chose the ugliest voice you could muster and quite frankly, it fits you now. It fits who you have become. So let the chaos ring out the violence and suicide you keep inside because when you let that violence out, you are more dangerous than any man I know.

Are the Dark Days Over?

After a near fatal divorce with so many people involved in the intimate details, who do not belong even nearby, there has to come an end to the dark days. After the dark days healing begins. How deep the events were drenched in darkness is equal to how much time it takes to process healing. As with most major injuries there are scars, aches and pains, plus the rainy days bring on soreness endured in the cold wet air of the weather.

So what does the healing look like. Gosh it’s so basic. Sleeping more, that’s a big one. Having more energy to put into each day, that’s appealing. Enjoying coffee again, that one is the best! Fewer nightmares, that helps bring more clarity in day to day thinking. So overall healing, when it reaches a stage of notability, is nice.

When I think of going back I appreciate the good things I have here in a very real way. It helps remind me how simple my life is now. When you aren’t loosing energy avoiding disaster at every turn, life looses a lot of its complications. It becomes easier. I really like that part.

Starting over is not so desirable as people make it sound. I have worked a whole lifetime to achieve the network, resources, compatibility and companionship that comes with familiar people and territories. Loosing those and building new is not easy. It’s not like childhood years when friendships felt hard but actually came easy. Adults are much more guarded. They are so busy with nothing. They have walls up where there is no danger on the other side. They have learned more yet behave as though they know less. It is bizarre. They don’t take to change. They act as though social interaction outside a daily routine is invasive. Meaning there is no room at the table for the 5th wheel. We didn’t think in terms of couples as children, adults do. Far be it for adults to take on more than an acquaintance meeting with the new kid in the hood. So what does that mean in practical terms? It means over 3 years in and I still don’t have a buddy to call on. I am still at the minuscule beck and call of those I know. An occasional invitation, like an after thought. I am still told I should call more while being turned down when I ask “what are you doing”…or “would you like to” 9 out of every 10 times. Play time is a closed door with adults. There is no more recess, sleep overs, movie nights, game nights, or just hanging out. What’s even more bizarre is so many adults mention loneliness or depression in their daily lives. I think they just need to go back to the school yard, come out to play, or again…just hang out.

All of that said I have to end with one of the loveliest times I’ve had since I have been here. A friend came over and we had such a great evening. This is what we did:

Split a beer,

Rode our bikes,

Hung hammocks by the inter-coastal,

Hung out each in their own hammock, quietly, swaying in the cool breeze, observing nature, barely speaking a word to one another, so so quiet.

The end result? That was the most relaxed I have been in years! It also gave me the most energy I have felt in a very long time. And…I bought a hammock.

 

I see what you did so I see who you are.

No one will ever know you as well I do, you made sure of that. You revealed yourself to me in very intimate ways. You revealed yourself to me in such subtle ways that I am only seeing some of them now.

Intentionally you set out to hurt me. You knew, saw, felt, and even planned it. You gave me great hints that were so elusively played I can only see them now, what you did then.

The books you recommended. The games you played using other people as pawns. The words you spoke to me and to them. The insight you bore. The movements to mimic men you knew hurt women all the while claiming yourself as innocent. How sick and insanely bizarre you are, behave, and intentionally describe yourself and those whom you mimic. Wow. Like an insidious parasite worming it’s way throughout the mind, body and soul to devour and use so long as there is any life left to take host from.

I see that there really isn’t a real you. Underneath it all you don’t really exist as a real person. You only exist as a persona.

I see what you are doing now. I recall when you started doing it. I recall your leading up to it the entire time we were together, from the moment we met. And now you are stuck there. Your whole being taking a direction to thwart and hurt me and now you are stuck there. You can’t come out of it. You can’t come out of what was us. We have been apart for years, and years, and you are stuck in the persona that is all about me. Wow.

You are scary. I am not afraid of you, you are not that kind of scary. You are too weak and lonely for that. You are the kind of scary where it would be a terrible fearful thing to be you.

I believe I am ready now. I have been through the excruciating suffering that it is to have been with you. The excruciating pain that it is to have been the object of your attention. I was weakened as a host, but I am a former host. I survived. I am growing strong. I am ready for my next adventure and my next adventure is to thrive.

4 Years & 27 Days Later

I want to live in a world where dreams come true.

I want to live in a world where love heals wounds.

I want to live in a world where people care, even when it’s uncomfortable.

I want to live in a world where loneliness drowns in companionship.

I want to live, to stand, despite your plans to break me into nothing.

Memory

It’s funny. When you think of writing and you consider writing autobiographical your mind floods with so many memories that it’s hard to narrow down where to start. When you are in an abusive relationship your memory fools you, hiding the intensity and often specifics of your terror, keeping you calm ultimately for safety. It’s too dangerous to not place recollections way back in the lower far recesses of your brain. Sometimes, even when there are triggers, the full essence of a memory cannot be recalled when your well-being is on the line. There is a box or a drawer you know is there but you just can’t recall what’s in it.

If you are lucky enough to have circumstances arise that allow you freedom from an abusive relationship you will start to recall events, conversations, betrayals, lies, violence you didn’t know you had forgotten. When you ramble the memories out of your brain listeners query, flinch, taunt, and worst of all blame. You become the sole accusation for your pain. Oh not from yourself, from those listening. They become your accusers. You see the gears turning in their minds, watching them flicker like metal on metal behind their eyes. Nothing can prepare you to hear the words of blame that comes piling out of their mouths. And you have nowhere to run. Much like Indiana Jones fleeing from a large stone ball, you feel their stones of blame about to close in, locking you in the cave of your pain while tying you in binders of friend induced shame. Then you know there is no escape. You have been caught, bound, and forced to bare the weight of each giant stone coming aptly from their mouths. You have nowhere to hide. You know nothing you say will take the stones away. There is no explanation they will understand for they have sealed their judgement, juried and hung you on the spot.

Why did you stay?

Why didn’t you leave?

You let him come back.

You had the money so you had the power.

You don’t have to tell anyone what you have been through.

The most healing words I have ever heard was when trying to share casually in a group of ladies one of them exclaimed “come on ladies, let’s go get him!”. Wow! Powerful! I raised my fist in solidarity and yelled “Yeah! Let’s go!” and then we all were able to move on to the next subject. It was an absolutely beautiful moment.

Victims of abuse need powerful moments. They don’t need judgement about things not understood. And if you are a victim and you blame, you are in even worse shape than those subject to your hurling stones of blame. So what are some empowering phrases to replace the phrases of blame?

Wow, I am so glad you got away.

You are a survivor, that’s amazing.

Keep healing.

Keep talking when you need to talk, I will listen.

And of course my all time favorite – let’s go get him!

 

Out to Destroy

I have never in my life had anyone say to me “I am out to destroy you” but you did. Not only did you say that but later you changed the phrase to “we’re out to destroy you” and wow, did you have a list of we working with you with such intensity. And the destruction attempts are still coming 2 years after our divorce even with me leaving my home town for safety from you and your sick posse. A sick group of people confronting me every time I left my home. Threatening me even more, reminding me there is a large team of very sick people out to destroy me.

Why Destroy. Why Me.

So why would any of these people join your efforts. I have had no argument, no falling out, no offense between me and any of these self-appointed assassins. This is so strange. They consist of my friends, your friends, your family, my business customers, and an entire church.

Why destroy. What is this destruction supposed to be revenging me for?

*Saving your life – getting you the medical assistance you needed when the whole medical community in KC  rejected you, sending you home to die?

*Paying every medical bill for 8 years. This included travel, hospital fees, doctors fees, medicine for a severe heart condition that left without care you would have died in 2006?

*Maybe paying for all of your food, housing, entertainment, clothing, art supplies, buying tools, vehicles. Was it too much for me to include you in my life and not leave you hanging?

*Maybe it was the unconditional love. Loving you regardless of the ups, downs, alcoholism, violence, pissing the bed or on the living room floor not knowing where you are. Maybe the days upon days of laying in bed or on the sofa in a fetal position unable to eat, move, or be involved in life. My enduring the screaming at people who were not there, the sheer destruction breaking things from tables and chairs to every door in the house. Patiently talking with you during your calm moments working out plans for how we would manage it all safely for both parties. Maybe it was keeping my word, sticking to the plan and not blowing you out of the water for so many years. Until the escalation of violence was so intense, fear for my life gripped me. You came at me screaming with your hands lunged out at me as if you were going for my neck, to ring it. I admit my “fight or flight” reaction did cause me to quickly dial 911, but you foolishly hung up the phone. You did not let me talk to the police dispatcher who was asking “what is your emergency”. Your doing that sealed your fate. There was no way the police were not going to show up. There was no way they were going to walk away when they saw the sheer destruction you caused. Damage to the walls and doors everywhere. Your putting on a disgusting puppy dog face denying the fist marks and boot marks all over our home.

Ahhh the destruction is for my having to take action to protect my life. Ok, certainly something worthy of planning, plotting, call in the service of others to vow destruction, right? NO, not right. Sick yes.

So now two years later you top it off by placing an incredible, fraudulent statement in your artist bio at your Sept 2017 solo exhibit at Leedy-Voulkos curated by your sister, showing in your sisters’ best friends gallery. “Owner of DalArts”, WOW! Incredible! We were not married, you did not contribute a penny, your name was not on any legal document, you had no legal, financial, nor authoritative responsibility or claim to MY BUSINESS! Your stepson Andrew once said “to Troy, if he touched it he believes he owned it”, in your false claim is the ultimate evidence. So now you add fraud, career fraud, to your long list of demented decisions. Just WOW! Careful, your vigor for my destruction is seriously looking like your self-destruction.

What Makes Us Tick?

Often I wonder what it is that makes some of us compassionate and others not. Although I have a deep belief in the Creator of the Universe and all it contains, with an adjoining belief that He created us each unique, there still seems to be a longing for some to keep our inherent sensitivity for compassion while others toss it aside like a used shoe in the way of life. This brings to mind the biblical term ‘searing of the conscience’ but for some it appears as though it is more visceral. Like an inward instinct relied on as an allied animalistic nature. Though I sincerely believe to get to the place where you rely on what is deemed by some as our animal nature, you have to skip over something inside of you. I do not hold the concept of humans as animals to be actually emotionally real. While we breathe, bleed, heart beat, bodily function as animals, that is just nature. Animals do not have the soul, brain, and timeline space cognizant thinking of people. (People just like to think they do equating animal emotion and instinct on the same level as human emotional feeling.)

So where am I going with all of this? For me compassion is something I hold dear. I keep it by my side night and day. I wear it in everything I do and say. Sometimes quite well and other times in epic failure. None-the-less it is always with me. I operate from that mode. Yes I get tired, defensive, protective, and fearful. Yes that all interferes with my goal of keeping my sense of compassion by my side at times. But overall it is the basis of who I am. This was evidenced in me as a child. My mother constantly teasing while simultaneously berating and praising me for what she called my deep sense of justice. She thought it a downfall. In retrospect I think she was intrigued by it because she spoke if it so much. She sometimes tried to teach me out of it. “Life is not fair, you have to understand that”, she would say. But from my perspective then and to this day, it is not life that is not fair, but people.

Everyday we make decisions. We make choices. We choose how we treat others, how we treat animals, how we treat plants. We cut grass, kill spiders, kick dogs, and tell others to f#@% off, or not. We do some responsibly like planting vegetables, and flowers while giving them room to grow by pulling weeds. Feeding cats while limiting how much food goes in the bowl when the cat is too fat. Not allowing our child to have every little thing they reach for in order to keep them safe, and healthy. The question is this, how do some people then turn around and say thoughtless things without consideration, harm other peoples property or person without concern, or worse yet intentionally cause another person harm without conscience for the suffering caused.

What is it that makes us tick?

I have actually lost friendships due to being too compassionate. I have lost money, belongings, home, children, and security because I have allowed my sense of compassion, justice, and fair play to take priority. I do this with hope. Hoping beyond hope, hoping beyond reason. Hope for that outside chance it might, just might, help someone somewhere along the way. That it may help them heal, love, have clear direction for a better way for themselves and for us all.

So what makes us tick? Why do some care all of the time, some care some of the time, and others appear to not care at all?

What makes you tick?

Do you care?

 

Struggles are inevitable but are they required?

Struggles are inevitable but are they required? In the past few years they come as though they are required. Just as I think “peace” a new struggle springs forth. While the pain of struggles feel like weeds, the relief when a struggle subsides creates the beauty of flowers.

Struggles are inevitable but are they required? Every few months since I have been on my own there has been struggle after struggle. Always another pushing in or to keep the same analogy, pushing through the surface. Each so overwhelming by itself. I cannot think of them all at once or my mind shuts down then I find myself in bed waiting to face another day. Bed… not often sleep.

Struggles are inevitable but are they required? Why so many? I don’t know why there are so many. Were there this many struggles when we were together?

Struggles are inevitable but are they required? Struggles bring pressure. The pressure can bring pain and suffering. The pain and suffering can debilitate. Debilitation causes paralysis. Paralysis causes acquiescence. Acquiescence allows complacency. Complacency ignores suffering. Oh wait… what a vicious circle.

Struggles are inevitable but are they required? Okay, there is a part of struggling with someone by your side that makes each struggle seem more survivable BUT there are struggles that appear survivable while they are actually killing you piece by piece, section by section, bit by bit until there is nothing left of your mind, will, personality, and any form of self that is recognizable. The death of self by struggles are the struggles you intentionally created for me. Created for me so that you could look on and feel your own sense of self worth. A value you don’t really have, not because I take it from you, because you take it from yourself. I am not saying you do not have value as a person, a human, or on any other level. What I am saying is the value you assess to yourself by attempting to devalue others is not real value.

Struggles are inevitable but are they required? So now I struggle on my own. Not alone mind you but on my own. I make my own decisions on how to manage each struggle no matter how difficult or the frequency. What is most interesting about surviving these struggles, rough as they may be, the end product does not kill you piece by piece, section by section, bit by bit until there is nothing left of your mind, will, personality, and any form of self that is recognizable.

Struggles are inevitable but are they required? Besides surviving the betrayals and sabotage you dealt to me during and after our divorce, I have so far survived the following:

Finding homes for the livestock; fixing or surviving the extensive damage you did to me and my property (body, house, barn, tractor, family, friendships, and more); paying excessive amounts of your debt required by court order based on your false testimony; selling the farm, traveling long distance to buy a new home, moving long distance, a wreck totaling my car; damage done to my new house totaling thousands in repairs; being in a unknown town surrounded by unknown people and places; my job being threatened.

And I continue to move forward. I continue to find beauty in a flower. And greatest of all, I continue to grow, not just survive… grow!

Struggles are inevitable but are they required? Growth is its own from of struggle. The struggles of growth are felt deeply only with a much better outcome. Yes, I grow. I keep growing. And I am not oppressed. It may not be easy, I may feel very sad at times, I may be alone such a great deal of the time, but I am not oppressed because I am not with you! This is a reality I must learn to celebrate more and more each day.

abuse-quote-2-1-healthyplace

Broken

Definition:

bro·ken
ˈbrōkən/Submit
adjective
1.
having been fractured or damaged and no longer in one piece or in working order.
“a broken arm”
synonyms: smashed, shattered, fragmented, splintered, crushed, snapped;
2.
(of a person) having given up all hope; despairing.
“he went to his grave a broken man”
synonyms: defeated, beaten, subdued;

Synonyms:

busted; collapsed; cracked; crippled; crumbled; crushed; damaged; defective; demolished; fractured; fragmented; injured; mangled; mutilated; ruptured; severed; shattered; smashed; burst; disintegrated; dismembered; hurt; pulverized; rent; riven; separated; shivered; shredded; slivered; split; fragmentary; in pieces. Broken.

I will never forget the day you came in through the back door after leaving me alone for 5-6 hours ill, not answering your phone or returning texts. One of the things you said to me was, “We have a plan, we have been planning how we are going to break you”. From there you plotted and executed for months and months, day in day out, saturating every moment possible with your planned movements and potions. Then when the largest cracks appeared you actually said to me, “Wow, I am scared for you. You are losing it. You’re not okay.” I yelled back at you, “What did you think it would look like? You wanted to break me, this is broken. What did you think broken would look like? What did you think would be the result of breaking a person, breaking a human being?”

Did you win? Now this is me. This is who I now am: busted; collapsed; cracked; crippled; crumbled; crushed; damaged; defective; demolished; fractured; fragmented; injured; mangled; mutilated; ruptured; severed; shattered; smashed; burst; disintegrated; dismembered; hurt; pulverized; rent; riven; separated; shivered; shredded; slivered; split; fragmentary; in pieces…broken.

I am broken.

The day you told me you were scared for me, I now know was a day of great pride and pleasure for you. If you knew me now you would revel with great joy in the pain, suffering and loneliness I experience. Satisfaction would overtake you. You would taste and believe you have won.

Psalm 51:17
The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

Psalm 34:18
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted And saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 51:8
Make me to hear joy and gladness, Let the bones which You have broken rejoice.

Isaiah 57:15
For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite.

Is 52.14: …so His appearance was marred more than any man.

Jesus was broken. On the cross He bore the sin of your executed plans. He bore them in order to bring me revival.

Revival Definition:

re·viv·al
rəˈvīvəl/
noun
an improvement in the condition or strength of something.
“a revival in the fortunes of the party”
synonyms: improvement, recovery, rallying, picking up, amelioration, turn for the better, upturn, upswing, resurgence
“a revival in the economy”
an instance of something becoming popular, active, or important again.
“cross-country skiing is enjoying a revival”
synonyms: comeback, reestablishment, reintroduction, restoration, reappearance, resurrection, regeneration, renaissance, rejuvenation
“the revival of traditional crafts”
a new production of an old play or similar work.

Revival Synonyms:

reanimation; rebirth; regeneration; rejuvenation; rejuvenescence; renewal; resurgence; resurrection; resuscitation; revitalization, revivification

Revival Related Words:

renaissance; renascence; reinvention; reactivation; rally; recovery; recuperation; restoral; restoration. Revival.

In Christ I will be; I am in the process of; I am revived. You asked me several times why I did not believe you know Jesus. I know you do not know Jesus because you didn’t know about His plans. You didn’t know that He revives those who know Him. In Christ I will be; I am in the process of; I am revived.