March 30, 2012

Excerpt From My Book: A Creative Non-Fiction Memoir Essay ~ The Sweet Taste Of Freedom and Domestic Violence

Posted in Excerpts Of My Book: Cheatres Sinners and Saints tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , at 5:52 pm by greeneyezwinkin3@aol.com

                                                         

                                                           

  The sweet taste of freedom

It’s hard to look for the light when your lost in darkness ~ Anonymous

Back in the day, I was a lesbian and very proud.  I can remember the feelings of being a lesbian and having a woman touch me in a very sensual manner. The curves of a woman’s body, her sweet scent, lips and eyes would always beckon me. Sparkling Green, translucent blue and seductive deep brown eyes were the colors I once beheld.

Being with a woman had been one of the most spiritual experiences that I had ever known. As I close my eyes, at this very moment, I can envision the women who were a part of my life, emotionally, physically, mentally and spiritually. Each woman had their own inner essence which touched my heart. True love always existed in the beginning in my relationships but, with time comes change and well, people change.

I believe in the back of my mind there appeared to be a reflection of the perfect life filled with the perfect lover who would stand by me, always. I don’t believe that I ever asked for too much or maybe I did. All my wants and needs were based on trust, unconditional love, respect and cherishing that special person, me. Fairy tale images danced before my eyes yet, reality crushed each of them, one by one.

One incident in particular is etched in my mind forever. My lover and I lived in Brooklyn between my apartment and her parent’s house. It was a quiet neighborhood except for the sirens that woke us at three in the morning. Houses were lined up like little soldiers guarding their turf. Six months out of the year we house sat for her parent’s two story house and lived in the basement as they were snow birds in Florida. The other six months were spent at my apartment eleven blocks away. I worked as an accountant for a company located in the Empire State Building, in the heart of Manhattan and I had been a college student taking a full load. My commute consisted of two trains and a bus to get home.

It was around 11:30 in the evening when I stepped off the bus. I pulled my gloves out of my pockets from my red fleeced lined coat as the night chill went right through me. The streets were quiet as the moonlight reflected off the parked cars. I slowly made my way home passing houses that were dark and peaceful.

I had just gotten into the house and heard the television in the living room blaring. A Cinnamon broom hung on the brown paneled wall. It intoxicated me, surrounded me, whispering in my ear, Christmas is next week. My lover continued eating popcorn and watching the end of the news broadcast.  I had not eaten dinner and my stomach growled, moving like a freight train. So, I quietly entered the kitchen and made a toasted raisin bagel. The warm bread filled the air with its sweet aroma. I quickly cleaned up my mess, whipping down the beige counter top and I threw the empty container of cream cheese into the large green garbage pail.

“Did you clean up your mess?” she asked. I responded quickly, “Of course I did.” I proceeded to enter our bedroom where the walls reflected baby blue and the five drawer dresser against the back wall resembled a relic with filigreed angels carved into the wood. On the top there were proudly erected black and white family photos of her mom and dad dating back forty some years ago. The curtains were black making sure sunlight never existed in this tomb we called home, and on my pillow laid a small Hershey’s kiss.

I immediately opened the silver wrapper and tossed the candy into my mouth while savoring its melting consistency. I flipped on the small television to catch the end of a comedy before going to bed. We never liked the same shows, but then again I rarely watched television since I had an extremely tight schedule.

While sitting on the bed enjoying my down time, I could hear her voice coming in waves from the kitchen. It was escalating yet, still mumbled. A few moments later, she stood in the doorway. Last week she went to a barber shop and left with an extremely short haircut. I saw an image of a small boy standing before me. She was short just like me. Her eyes were hard and dark like the black hole in our universe. Her feet were bare, her hips were slim, and her jeans were perfectly creased.  Biceps were bulging and donned a white Metallica t-shirt with a small red stain near the hem. Red sauce slid off her fork and nosedived splattering on her shirt when I made an Italian meal three weeks ago.

She was screaming and pointing her finger at me while in the other hand, an empty container of cream cheese. “Didn’t I tell you before to stop wasting money? Every time I turn around it’s my hard earned money I see going down the toilet. I’ve f*cken had it” she said. There had been a thin layer of that dairy product on one side, pretty much empty in my opinion. But to her, I had wasted money “When are you going to listen to me, bitch” she blurted out.

As I stood up slowly, she proceeded to raise her fist above her head. I cried out, “I’m sorry, I swear I won’t do it again. I promise.”  My knees became weak and my heart raced. I could feel my blood surging through my veins a million miles an hour. “You f*cken don’t listen to me” her voice became deeper as words began to burn holes into my being. I could feel the fire of the dragon’s breath upon me. My voice screeched, “I do, I do.”  From that moment on I knew I was in trouble and alone. Even though she was only two inches taller than me, her upperbody strength surpassed mine. She made a direct hit to my chin and I lost my balance falling to the floor. My bagel went flying through the air as if it were a speeding bullet. It landed face down on the carpet, “What a mess, I’m not going to clean that up,” I thought.

The blow was hard enough that I could feel the swelling immediately. She hit me with all her strength. My heart palpitated. I felt a lump in my throat as tears streamed down my cheeks while tasting my own bitter salt. My body began to tremble uncontrollably. As I gathered my thoughts I tried to get up but, I was struck repeatedly. My glasses went flying into the baby blue wall cracking the left lens. I crawled on my hands and knees out of the bedroom listening to the shrieking of a mad woman two feet behind me.  “Where do you think you’re going?” she asked.

When I first entered the lion’s den that night I placed my purse on the large two toned hand crafted wooden chest next to the front door. It was a wedding gift for her parents, forty something years ago. The filigree work consisted of inlaid angels and cherubs. But, the angels were not there to protect me or were they?

Gradually I found the courage to stand up again. She stepped towards me with wrath in her eyes as they seemed to glow a blazing red. “I’m going to teach you a lesson and this time you won’t forget it” she said. “Please stop, no more,” I whimpered. She forcefully pushed me against the wall and we struggled. I pleaded, “Please, stop your hurting me.” She shouted, “You stupid bitch, my money, my house you piece of sh*t.” My words fell onto deaf ears. I had knocked hanging family photographs onto the floor as I tried to fight back. Broken wooden frames and shattered pieces of glass lay everywhere.

Then the phone rang. Were the angels looking down upon me? It distracted her for a brief instant. I breathed a small sigh, grateful for the diversion. I grabbed the opportunity to push her away, turn and take hold of my purse. I ran out the door into the midnight hour. “I’m not done with you” she hollered. She didn’t follow me. I was grateful.

Everything was blurry and all I could see was the street lights glistening. Giant stars everywhere. When you are as nearsighted as I am plus crying, it just made matters worse. I stuck my hand into my black purse in search of a tissue. Damn it, there was nothing. The air was bitterly cold as the wind seemed to seep into my bones on that wintery December night. I walked, cried and proceeded to ruffle through my purse again in search of my dark shades. I needed to wear my sun glasses to see as much as I could.

Not a soul was on the streets that morning. I past houses in which families resided. Lights out, everyone comfortable in their beds sound asleep, dreaming. The funny thing was that a song kept racing through my mind about this guy wearing his sunglasses at night. I started to sing the song as loud as I could in hopes to calm my nerves.

“I wear my sunglasses at night so I can, so I can Forget my name while you collect your claim And I wear my sunglasses at night so I can, so I can See the light that’s right before my eyes…”

It was a devastating night that terrified me. The memory will linger in my mind forever.

Every time the physical brutality ended, it was the typical classic case of sudden remorse that would come over her, or was it? I would receive roses and other fragrant smelling flowers, chocolate candy as that was my favorite and love notes saying sorry and I love you. Weeks would go by in which she would not have any eruptions. It was like living with a volcano, you never knew when it would blow. We went back to our daily lives as if those events never happened. But, they always reoccurred.

The finale finally arrived and that day came on July 4th, Independence Day for me and the world. I walked away and never looked back. She felt I was leaving her because of her physical illness of MS and could not see the fear in my eyes or the pain in my heart. She was blind to see the truth.  Our love was long gone. I felt like I was running for my life, to safety wherever that might have been. That commitment lasted for five and a half years.

I know now that I was a statistic in 1985 and not alone as other women traveled down the same traumatic path. I had taken an inward journey as many other women before me, and found the courage to be free from the oppression. I have tasted freedom and it is sweet. I found me and I like me for who I have become. I can close my dark hazel eyes and hear the peaceful silence of a new found woman.

Works Cited

Hart, Corey. “ Sunglasses At Night lyrics.” Elyrics. 2011 http://www.elyrics.net/read/c/corey-hart-lyrics/sunglasses-at-night-lyrics.html

Advertisements

February 19, 2012

Excerpt From My Book ~ Creative Non-Fiction Personal Essay ~ Just Say No To Hate!!!

Posted in Excerpts Of My Book: Cheatres Sinners and Saints tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:39 pm by greeneyezwinkin3@aol.com

Always put yourself in others shoes. If you feel that it hurts you, it probably hurts the other person, too. ~ anonymous~

This quote is a reflection of diversity and the negative views associated with it just as the protagonist felt the pain as she dealt with closed minded people.

            It was like being a jet black social creature, a tiny ant following the trail of hundreds of other ants, or should I say gays, straights, transgenders, bisexuals and lesbians. We crawled through an overcrowded parking lot where they led the way to the Van Wezel, a giant purple building that holds events like plays, musicals and on this day, the Gay Pride celebration. The festivities included drag shows and a performer that was transgender, a she who was now a he. People were different here in Sarasota, Florida because when they pushed in front of me at least they smiled when they did it, not like in New York City where they just pushed. I remember those days well in the crowded trains, buses and jam packed city streets. I waited patiently in a long line that ran outside the door to purchase two tickets to enter this wonderland of sights and sounds. I waited with the young and old, male and female, couples and singles, all who gathered for this event.

Three years have passed since the almost hate crime, at least it could have been in my eyes. Since my divorce with my transgender ex-husband my friendship list has grown thanks to the World Wide Web. I have ventured into chat rooms, blogs and websites to try and fully understand the inner and social fights of the transpeople.

Hate crimes are a main topic. I’m in school for cultural studies in writing to become a better writer and critical thinker because I want to write about what the world needs to know about. One can only write from experience, right?

            It was on May 10th 2008, a beautiful ninety degree spring day with the wind puffing gently as the sky filled slowly with light billowing clouds. My transgender boyfriend, Peter, a handsome red head and I had attended a once a year Gay Pride celebration and drag show. There must have been five hundred people, drinking, laughing and enjoying the entertainment. Drag queens/men dressed up in glamorous evening gowns, brightly colored Crayola crayon poofy hair that walked graciously around in their high heels and packed on makeup which consumed their faces, a definite sight to see. It was all in the name to promote their shows. Some of the queens were wearing stilettos; I envied them because I would fall flat on my face if I attempted that feat, no pun intended. Music was blaring out of the eight foot high black boxes as I made my way through the masses. Gays and lesbians and transgenders, oh my! People were talking, smiling and singing along to a popular song, What a shame.

            Concession stands for safe sex, beer, auto insurance and t-shirts were overcrowded as people flashed their dollars in the air. Then I saw food. The smell of burnt coals and meat slapped me in the face. As I passed the food display of hot dogs and hamburgers my stomach screamed out, “Feed me,” but we couldn’t stop as Peter was on a mission.

We found our way to a small patch of grass and sat down. In front of us was a huge stage surrounded by posters promoting diversity with rainbow flags moving leisurely in the breeze like small sail boats on a lake. I watched a man perform a song that brought a tear to my eye. Fifteen minutes later we met up with Peter’s newly found Trans buddy, Ronny. He was blonde, “six-pack”, hence his stage name and a little on the short side. He just finished performing on stage, What a shame by Shinedown. He was wearing angel wings as he flashed names of transgenders, gay men and lesbian women that have died from hate crimes on small pieces of colored construction paper, blue, green and yellow:

“What a shame, what a shame

To judge a life that you can’t change

The choir sings, the church bells ring

So won’t you give this man his wings?

What a shame to have to beg you to

See we’re not all the same, what a shame…”

            After the performance Ronny introduced us to a couple. They were a cute happy couple, a transman, Hank Canster with short brown hair who had a dry sense of humor. His girlfriend, Vainita Smith was the typical blonde bombshell with the attitude to match in her bling bling shiny pink metallic tank top and tight blue jean shorts, “Nice to meetcha,” she screamed over the music. We spent the entire day and most of the night together. The sun had gone done hours ago and the lights from the building exterior were blindingly bright. It was late, we swapped phone numbers and parted, “Don’t forget to call tomorrow,” Hank said as he shook Peter’s hand.

            Our Gay Pride celebration evening should have been a continuation of our day, fun and care free with a sense of being unified. It was about 11:30 pm as we drove home on that warm clear moonlit night. In the distance, there was an all-night restaurant with a neon sign, it flashed, blinked and lit up the sky. Both of us were hungry so Peter pulled in and we walked hand in hand to the entrance. After being seated, he excused himself to go to the bathroom.

            There are many stories out there that depict the biggest dilemma when a transgender is considered in “limbo.” At that very moment, he was passing as a man, one hundred percent of the time with the goatee and no female breasts due to surgery and testosterone. He had an “M” on his driver license but, with the name Peter Marie, a feminine name that lingered along with his birth certificate that stated he was still a she. He did not have his name legally changed yet and it concerned him deeply in the recesses of his mind. It was the thought of a potential altercation with another man could take place in the men’s room so he felt he had no alternative, but to enter the ladies lavatory. Timing can be your best friend or your worst enemy.

            Five minutes later a group of young Spanish men wearing t-shirts, leather jackets and blue jeans came into the restaurant with their voices raised as they spoke in a vulgar manner, “Fuck this and fuck that.” They sat catty corner to our table. Men like that I have passed in the street and usually they would whistle or make crude comments to me, “Come here girl, you are so pretty.” I would hear them say, “Vienen chica que son tan bonitas!” It was a large group, eight to be exact and in my opinion, they held an air of a street gang. They were loud and obnoxious. I paid no attention and proceeded to read some of the pamphlets that I picked up earlier in the day. I tried to look interested in something other than their major outbursts.

I had never before been so aware of restaurant noises, the extremely bright lights, the waitresses talking and giggling in the kitchen, the clanking of dishes being piled up as the tables were cleaned and the commotion of twenty five people all in conversation, I counted. In the distance I heard two young Spanish women as they walked down the aisle and approached their table speaking in their native tongue while snickering as they walked passed me. “El hombre en el baño de mujeres!” a young woman shouted. I understood the words that were spoken, a man in the ladies bathroom. As they sat down the story of a man in the woman’s bathroom had begun to flow around their table and it seemed like it ignited an uncontrollable fire that blazed from their eyes as the men glanced around feverishly.

            I became anxious and wondered where he was. Another five minutes passed and I stood up in order to locate him when he turned the corner. We both sat down in a pit of silence for a moment. He didn’t have to say a word since we both knew the events that transpired just moments before.

            Neither of us wanted to move at that moment. Peter was facing them. They were staring at us. My hands trembled, but I tried to hide it by keeping them under the table in my lap. What else was said between those Spanish individual’s I will never know. On the one hand, I did understand the confusion and anger at first glance of the situation. Peter did look like a pervert, a man in the ladies bathroom. It could have been cause to call in the police, but they had no clue what led up to that incident and why a man was using the ladies restroom.

We were both frightened. Could this be a hate crime waiting to happen?

            It would seem the definition from the dictionary.com web site reported that the verb “hate” is another word for “loathing,” or “disgust, possibly what the ethnic group felt. “It means to feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; detest.” The Merriam-Webster web site defined it from the Old English “hete,” it was first used before the 12th century. The thesaurus web site explained that the noun means “intense dislike.” It means “to hate the enemy.”  Were we the enemy? The verb also can mean “to provoke; to be diabolic.” The fear I felt was instilled deep within me to the point of never being able to release it. US Legal stated that, “A hate crime is usually defined by state law as one that involves threats, harassment, or physical harm and is motivated by prejudice against someone’s race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, sexual orientation or physical or mental disability.”

            We ate breakfast quickly, not even once did we acknowledge one another. I know I had scrambled eggs with ketchup on them, toast and bacon, yet I don’t remember the taste of anything, not even my buttered browned bread as I woofed it all down within record time. Prior to our departure I will be honest, for a brief moment I glanced at the unused stainless steel knife that sat quietly on the table. “Maybe I should take it for protection. I could slide it into my purse and no one will notice,” I thought.

            I remember watching several transgender movies, some good and some were pitiful. One that always stuck with me was The Soldier’s Girl and how a male soldier died in a hate crime by his own people, his so called army buddies, because he loved a woman who was different, a transgender. I cry every time. That was me, I loved a woman who transitioned into a man.

Definitely not the norm in our society, he was a man that few recognized as having an inner struggle between two souls, male/female. The Native American’s referred to transgenders as Berdache because they are considered to have two souls, male and female. They were touched by the spirits of the ancestors and had powers on the order of the shaman. (The Two-Spirit Tradition).

            My mind wondered for an instant to flashes of a horrific nightmare that unfolded in my confused brain, blood was everywhere. Peter and I lay on the ground. And then I got a grip on myself. As we stood up to leave a small voice told me to take it. I looked to the left and then slowly the right. When no one was looking I grabbed the gleaming knife from the table and slidit into my black leather purse. We proceeded to walk to the front to pay our bill. I was extremely paranoid and will be the first to admit it. Being the Scorpio that I am, I thought the worst. Could we make it to the truck safely? Would the group of men follow us outside? Were they carrying weapons?

            We walked out of the establishment, looking back every so often until we were half way to the dark truck. And then, there they were. Eight mean looking guys with kick butt in their eyes stared right at us. I don’t believe that I have ever been so petrified in my life. I know that Peter was affected by this incident because his hands quivered. My right hand slid into my purse and my fingertips touched the cold metal. At that moment, he grabbed my left hand and pulled me to double time it back to the black SUV. I could hear the sound of what seemed like wild horses as their hooves galloped behind us. “Faster, come on,” he yelled. The doors unlocked and I jumped in like I was in search of a long lost sanctuary because if I didn’t fate would have taken a different turn. We took off speeding and the truck was like a “Bat out of hell” as Meatloaf would have said leaving screech marks on the gray pavement. Words were not spoken while, What a shame by Shinedown played on the radio.

            On November 20, 2011, the LGBTQ Nation held a ceremony called the, “13th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance around the world, a day when the LGBTQ and allied community honor those who have lost their lives to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice, and seek to raise awareness of the ongoing threat of brutality faced by the transgender community.”

            Today is a day to remind ourselves to love because in reality, that’s all we have. Many have lost their lives at the hands of another due to hate. What makes people kill?

What makes people physically and emotionally injure innocent victims and why? The reason is because they are different? I live my life each day and can remember the fear that they felt before leaving this earthly plain. To feel trapped in a place of no return. LGBTQ Nation reported, “In 2011, there were at least 23 more lives lost to anti-transgender hate, including seven in the United States.” I am grateful that Peter and I did not become a national statistic because in 2008 as the FBI National Press Office reported, “There were 5,542 hate crime offenses classified as crimes against persons…” And according to the FBI’s Hate Crime Statistics report for 2010, “The 6,628 hate crime incidents reported to us by our law enforcement partners stayed consistent with the 6,604 incidents reported in 2009.” I see a pattern that the numbers are increasing each year, do you? I have always been a fighter for the underdog and will continue to do so. I have learned that there is plenty of work to be done in getting word out about diversity. People’s fears need to be addressed head on to realize we really are all the same.

Take a good look because this means that in 2008 at least 5,542 were the assaulters, in 2009 at least 6,604 were the assaulters and in 2010 at least 6,628 were the assaulters. What does this say about our sense of humanity? Are we as tiny in thought, love and respect as those little jet black creatures that roam our earth?

Work Cited

Community, allies remember victims lost to anti-transgender hate crimes. 2011. 20 Nov. 2011    <http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2011/11/community-allies-remember-victims-lost-to-anti-    transgender-hate-crimes/>

FBI Bureau of Investigation. Hate Crimes Remain Steady. 2011 14 Nov 2011             <http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2011/november/hatecrimes_111411/hatecrimes_11141            1>

FBI National Press Office.  FBI Releases 2008 Hate Crime Statistics. 23 Nov. 2007. 29 Nov             2011<http://www.streetgangs.com/news/112309_hatecrimestats&gt;

“Hate.” Dictionary. 2011 <http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/hate&gt;

“Hate.” Merriam-Webster Dictionary. 2011 <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hate&gt;

“Hate.” Thesaurus. 2011 <http://thesaurus.com/browse/hate&gt;

Meatloaf. “Bat out of hell.” 2011 <http://www.elyrics.net/read/m/meat-loaf-lyrics/bat-out-of-       hell-lyrics.html>

Shinedown. “What A Shame.” Elyrics. 2009 <http://www.elyrics.net/read/s/shinedown-            lyrics/what-a-shame-lyrics.html>

The Two-Spirit Tradition. 1 Mar. 2007. 2011. 30 Nov. 2011             http://androgyne.0catch.com/2spiritx.htm

%d bloggers like this: