Check it out at amazon.com! There are 5 really creative projects for 6-12 graders! Works great for home-schooled kids, too!
I Am Who I Am
is not full of students
waiting to learn one thing
a classroom is full of people
and like them
there are things
i want to know
and things i don’t
there are times i like to sit
and times I want to take a walk
sometimes i feel like crying
and other times
i can’t stop laughing
i feel sick
i feel well
i want to dance
i want to sleep
i want to curl up in a ball
and i want to fight
i have something to say
i have so much i feel
i have worth
i have truth
i have a life
that lives outside
i want choices
i make decisions
i have different tastes
i wear clothes
i feel represent me
my hair is a statement
my eyes reveal
only what i allow
i don’t like being forced
i am who i am
and it’s enough
Let me start by saying I really wanted to be an architect when I was younger. And it wasn’t Craig in the story who designed the spaceship house: it was me. And the design of the house rebuilt is also mine. I would love a house with a Bridge to Nowhere, secret passageways, and train tracks running through it. I also designed that house for wheelchairs, to include going through the pool, but again, I was very young at the time. It’s the thought that counts, right?
As for the tarot card reading scene, that was real. No one was with me at the time, as my children live in different houses in different cities, but I thought of each of them, to include the characters of Craig and Jason, and did an actual tarot card reading. It was dead on for my kids and myself, and I believe dead on the Craig and Jason’s characters.
A women’s shelter where I live read my book and loved it, and thought that if they had the funds, they
would buy a bunch of them and hand them out! There is a real need for women who have been abused
to read this book, to have some hope. If you are interested, this is a great way to give back. Because I
self-published, the book is kind of expensive and my hope is that a publisher will pick up my book, and
the cost will go down! For now, though, if you feel so inclined, why not buy the book and donate it to a
shelter near you?
Again, the book is for sale on amazon.com.
After the kids and I left him behind in the Hemet, CA dust, and moved to Nashville, we all sighed some relief. I knew I had to move as far away from him as possible. One reason was to protect us all. The other was that I knew he didn’t have enough money to come see us. During the divorce hearing, I brought up the abuse. The judge said I was making everything up. I was devastated. Actually, let me back up. There was a mediator, a woman, who was to talk to each one of us separately, and then the children collectively. Cezar must have charmed her because she recommended visitation, all four of my babies to go to his apartment, two full weekends a month! That’s when the judge said I was making everything up. I think I turned to stone that day. Numb. Dead. My children were ages 1.5 to 6 at that point. And they were being made to visit their abusive monster of a father every other weekend. But I knew somewhere in my heart that this wouldn’t be allowed for long. I knew Cezar would hang himself. I just wish I could have been there to see it. Actually make the noose, tighten the knot, secure it around his neck, kick out the stool from under him.
After court, we all went outside. Cezar came up to me and said, “Don’t ever do that to me again.” He meant telling all of our secrets. I felt threatened like old times, so like an abused person with no self-esteem and my head in a fog, I nodded. But somewhere inside I knew I was lying, and I would have a second shot at telling my story.
The visitations began. I hugged all four of my babies tight against me, not wanting them to go. I glared at Cezar as he drove off with them. I went inside my now childless house, full of horrible memories, and cried. Not long after, Fia called me crying. She was so tiny back then, so afraid. She wanted to come home. I talked to her for an hour I think. Finally convinced her that she could call me anytime she wanted to, and that seemed to comfort her. She did call several times that first weekend. I was elated when his car drove up on Sunday, giving them back to me. I asked them a lot of questions to make sure nothing horrible had happened. Other than traumatizing them all, no, nothing had happened.
One weekend Cezar didn’t show up at all. I jumped around the house with joy. My children joined in. In knew they didn’t want to be there either.
As weekends came and went, my youngest three were severely traumatized from being away from me. A new court hearing was set. I told my story to a new mediator, a man this time. Cezar wasn’t able to charm him. The mediator, who I thought of then and still do, as an angel in disguise, or at the very least, my prince, told the judge that the three youngest were never to go back to Cezar’s apartment. That they were so traumatized that he was worried about their recovery. The only way Cezar could see them was in my home, supervised visits, one hour, every other Saturday. The eldest, Rhona, was still allowed to go over to his apartment, but only if she wanted to. I was elated! I thanked the mediator over and over again. I might have even hugged him.
Rhona did want to go back, even though she was the one most abused by him. One time she came home and said that she saw Cezar’s older daughter in his bedroom. He had given her candy, or money to rub his back and feet with oil. It made me sick. The last time Rhona went over there she came home with bruised ribs. Cezar’s older son had pushed her into a coffee table. When she said, “I don’t think I want to go back again,” I cried. Finally I had them all back, he couldn’t do anything about it, and as I knew he would do, he had hung himself.
Sorry for the delay in writing but that always happens when I write about Cezar.
The trip to Nashville described in the story is very real. All those things did happen to us not only on the road, but before: the church. Which is why I no longer attend.
The agony and pain inflicted by “christians” was the worst I think I’d ever felt, because I associated them with a loving god. I had to divorce myself from the people in order to find out who god was to me.
And he was not who they said he was, what their cold stares and rock hard opinions portrayed him as. He wasn’t how they lived, spoke, judged. I know not everyone is to blame, not every christian is like this. But where I was, and the few who were unbelievably cruel, were.
Rhona, a very mature seven-year-old, did come through that crowd that last day in church, took my hand, and led me out of there. It was a miracle. I saw god in her that night. I knew that was who he was. I knew that he would not look down on me for leaving Cezar.
Cezar left early October. We left for Nashville the next June. I had $1031 in cash, I had my sister’s Firestone credit card, her phone card, a car my old roommate sold me, and as much as I could fit in the little wooden trailer, and what I could fit around my four little kids in the car.
The car had all those breakdowns, and the police did stop and say they were sorry but thought I was a guy they were looking for. When we got to Nashville, I did have $2 in change. We slept in the car in a campground that first night. And the mosquitoes were relentless.
The friend did let us come to stay with her in Knoxville for a week, but I could tell her husband was not happy and it made me feel bad. Like we were a burden. She did pay for us to stay in a Days Inn for a week which really saved our lives. The day our hotel visit ended, the landlord said we could move into that wonderful, three bedroom brick house. The first night we moved in, with the few possessions we had, we all slept in the living room on the floor, on blankets. It was one of the best days in my life.
There’s so much to tell about Nashville. How we walked everywhere after the car died. How DC Talk used to drive down our street in their tour bus. How Toby from DC Talk came to hear me sing at a restaurant bar, and asked if I was ready to go on tour with them. I did turn them down because they wanted me to leave my kids behind.
There were the babysitters and my attempts at working. I lasted four months as a Shoney’s waitress. I couldn’t do it anymore. Not after the babysitters. Seven in four months. One watched horror movies that gave my kids nightmares. Another put Fia in the trunk of the car when they went to the store. Another, a man, took Gregor in the bedroom when he was three. Rhona stood at the door listening, waiting. She heard nothing. When Gregor finally came to the door his face was red, he was gasping for air. When he got home I asked him to show me what had happened. He took a pair of his underwear and put it over his head and face. I still don’t know what happened to him, but the guy was soon arrested for raping his six-year-old niece. And I had left all four of my children with that man and his wife. I tried one more babysitter who called me at my job to tell me I was going to have to pay for a very expensive vase my son had accidentally broken. I went and got the kids. And I stayed home from them on. I got public assistance, rental assistance, and was grateful to be able to stay home and just be their mom.
I think I’ll stop for now. This is hard.
Man this sucks. I don’t want to really write about this.
Every abuse from Cezar in Anna Blair’s Visitors was true. There were only two times when I witnessed kindness from him. When I had the flu and fainted in his arms, and one time I didn’t come home when I said I would and he had tears in his eyes when I did get home. He said he was worried about me getting hurt, and I never could connect the idea that he would be that worried about me and yet do the things he did to me and my kids.
All the abuse of the children is real as well.
He did get a vasectomy and he did get an infection. It was one week I didn’t have to perform sexually, and I was grateful for it.
I remember watching so many romantic movies on television back then. I was desperate to see if I had those kinds of feelings for anyone, or was it just Cezar. When that burning passion sizzled after watching George Clooney in One Fine Day, I knew I still had it. After all those years and all those counseling appointments. The doctors and counselors who never said “Maybe something has happened that makes you not want to be touched by Cezar,” but instead they only looked at what was wrong with me. What had I done. Was it physiological? Biological? Spiritual? I sought out god then. It was a profound moment when I realized the only truth I needed: if I was messing up by leaving Cezar, god’s punishment would never be as bad as the anguish I felt living with Cezar. I knew I had done everything I could to better myself. Cezar never agreed to any counseling, but I got it and found the courage to finally scream “get out!”
I thought I was stuck forever in a torment that was indescribable. To be forced over and over again to have sex with a man I hated. No, hate is too mild a word. The torture of knowing I had to be on guard 24/7 where my kids were concerned. I couldn’t leave them with him even to go to the store. I held my breath and listened when I’d simply take a bath, just so I’d know if he was hurting them. He would tickle them until they urinated, whipped them behind closed doors while I stood on the other side, my head against the hollow wood.
I have often said he would be dead now if I had owned a gun. I still hold on to all that guilt. I don’t feel I deserve to let it go. All those times I didn’t/couldn’t protect my babies.
The only time I ever struck him was the last time he whipped my oldest daughter. He came out from the closed door and I hit him on the chest with both fists. He just laughed. Called me crazy.
Same as when I would get up enough nerve to meekly confront him on an issue I was upset about. He was so good at manipulation and I was so messed up with PTSD, that he could dance around any issue I had, and in the end, it was me that would apologize. He’d laugh then, too, call me crazy. And I believed him. Because I was mentally ill. I just didn’t know it.
When I did finally tell him I wanted a divorce, his first comment was, “God will never bless you in your life if you divorce me.” My first thought…who gives a shit.
Then for two agonizing weeks I had to help him get a job because he said he wouldn’t leave unless he had one. I got the paper every day and circled all the jobs he’d like or do well at. Finally, he got a job, got an apartment and was gone. I still had his two children from a previous relationship, plus our four. Then my pastor asked me what was I doing with his two kids. He said Cezar needed to be responsible for them. When I realized I had a choice, I was overcome with a peace I had not known since Cezar had brought them both home to live with us. He said they were his kids, I was his wife, so I had to raise them. And I did while he watched Bonanza and Twilight Zone reruns. He didn’t work more than 2-3 years sporadically out of our 8 year marriage. So I raised six children, cleaned the house, cooked the meals, allowed the rapes. He did nothing but take.
The first thing his two and my four kids did when he walked out our door was put on rock music. We danced all over the house.
After I had talked to the pastor, I called Cezar and told him his two kids needed to go with him. He laughed and said, “I knew you couldn’t handle it.” I pressed the issue. “When are you going to come and get them.”
He came over a few nights later, after the kids were in bed. He had a legal document in his hand. He said, “my lawyer says that if you sign this, you can have my two kids.” I never had the heart to tell them that his father was ready to give them away.
It was heartbreaking when I sat them both down and told them they had to go with their father. They cried and so did I. No matter how hard it was raising them, how I didn’t want to share my love that I so naturally gave to my own four, it was still crushing to see that they would choose me rather than their own father. But I had to let them go. He was right. I couldn’t handle it anymore. Not him. Not his two children. I just wanted my four babies. Just me and them. It was all I had left in me to give.
I’ll probably talk more about Cezar, but for now, I just don’t really feel like talking about it anymore. I wince, sigh, feel pain when I write about it, just as if it happened yesterday.
Thank you all for listening.