“The feeling of being doubted…is an ever-present background noise…”
Did you ever wonder if people believe you? Is that only the mental stomping ground of the addict? The alcoholic?
The feeling of being doubted, of my integrity being questioned, is an ever present background noise…especially when I am sick. I was even afraid, just now, to write the word ‘sick’. (wouldn’t it be better to minimize?)
One very HUGE contributing factor to this constant was the years upon years of describing extreme pain to a plethora of physicians who could find no ‘easy’ or ‘obvious’ condition to label me with. There were no broken bones, I had a history of drug abuse, I had a history of a mental illness diagnosis, and I am a woman. I was also very strong, working difficult physical jobs normally held by men, which may or may not have been a factor.
My experience has not been an isolated one when it comes to women who have Fibromyalgia and/or similar diagnosis. During the years before the medical profession widely recognized this condition I was one of a multitude who went thru years of mental anguish and physical agony before finally being given a smidgen of relief.
Finally a Diagnosis !
It took real determination (and very real disability and pain) to keep pushing on towards a diagnosis. I was told it was all in my head, that I was just overweight and needed exercise and that what I was experiencing was just a consequence of aging. At this point I was crying every night from the burning in my joints, in my muscles and in my spine. My best description for that time was as if I were wearing a dense heavy coat that was soaking wet, all the time. A coat that weighed about 100 pounds and was crushing me.
At this point my work was suffering, a kind boss had taken me aside after noticing my wincing, and suggested a Rheumatologist. Initially even he was sceptical until he got back the results of the CT Scans and MRI’s. (He was the first to order these types of tests!) I distinctly remember the initial shock at him gently taking my hand and apologizing, so sincerely, for not believing the severity of my discomfort. He went on to ask me if I had been in a car accident, the images showed that level of damage to my spine.
There were a myriad of issues the films brought to light, and from that point on my care finally addressed them. The physical relief was matched and even surpassed by the rush of validation! I was taken seriously!! I was, finally, believed!
. Fall in a heap, exhausted. Then get up, clean up, and do it all over again.
. There is joy in this. This “living” we do. No matter how sweaty, or dirty, or ugly, this “living” is a beautiful thing.
. There is no ‘give up’ here, no ‘quit’ , no ‘over it, no ‘packing it in’.
This is where every. breath. matters.
. DO YOU HEAR ME?
EVERY BREATH MATTERS.
Right now, in my little trailer in the middle of down, down, way down and out USA, I am deciding to care. I am deciding that my sufferings will amount to something, that all this silence and fear and worry in my heart will be done away with, that with this breath of life my Creator blessed me with will be used to help someone else live, too.
. I know I’m a rag-tag mess. I can’t think straight most of the time, and there are days I can’t leave my house. I am oppressed by an illness that tells me I don’t have it, and that feeling like I’m sick is a sin. I’m not exhausted, it tells me, I’m lazy. I’m not in excruciating pain, I’m a dope seeker. I was not abused, assaulted and raped, I was promiscuous.
. I am here, I am now, and with my God’s help, I will reach out to someone else. And with my God’s help, I will not believe the lies. Instead I believe the Bible, God’s own letter to me, and to all his children. I want to live.
. That’s my “I’m so tired I can fall down right in this spot and sleep for a month” face. And it’s none too pretty. It’s also the most unflattering view of my nose…I was never unhappy with my nose until my Ex broke it . We were pretty high, and the cops had a roadblock we were going to drive past, and in my nervousness I didn’t realize he was just waving us around a broken down car. So I was going to stop and roll down my window, but that psycho husband of mine hit me with a right hook that I knew had broken my nose the minute it landed. Now with my nose smashed and bleeding and my lover screaming, “Just Go! JUST GO YOU STUPID @#$!%&!!” I rolled right thru the zone just praying that the cop would see my pain and lock my old man up forever.
. Unfortunately, I had a long way to go with him, not only in miles on that specific trip, but years in marriage as a hostage to this monster. I cried and whimpered while he continued to berate me all the way to our friend’s house, at which time I ran into the house to pry my broken contacts out of my eyes, and ask for an ice pack. And a stiff drink.
. The woman who lived there with her common law husband was no stranger to domestic violence, I had seen Jim go at her plenty of times when he was drunk. They had a 2 year old little tow-head named Gregory who I loved dearly, he came over with his blue eyes big with compassion, and said, “Bwoke?”while pointing his tiny finger at my face.
. Lori took me aside while I was lameenting, “He broke my nose. HE BROKE MY @#$!&%!! NOSE!” and told me I should be taking pictures of all the injuries my husband had been inflicting on my person almost daily, I was too mad to listen, but years later I now wish I had. I guess the scars, PTSD and crooked nose will have to do.
. Anyway, I was still ticked off and full of the kind of courage that comes from straight whiskey, so I sat on the couch loudly lamenting my poor nose. That’s when Lori’s husband Jim looked at me laughing and said, “What’s the difference? You already had a big shnoz !!!” My husband thought this was a riot also.
. That was the day I began to hate my nose.
. About 5 years after this incident, Lori and Jim were fighting again, and she came to us (well, to my husband ) asking for help to buy a gun. She claimed she feared for her and her son’s life, Jim was “wild”and “dead set” on killing her. In our cocaine induced insanity, we went to a guy my hubby knew , and purchased a gun for Lori. Later that night, we met up with Lori in a Grocery Store parking lot. My Ex showed it too her, she had many questions. She purchased it. (By this time , after years of this woman’s unusual interest in my husband, I had learned to hate her. It turned out I had good reason to do so.)
Approximately six months after the “transaction” my husband was working with a crew of guys subcontracting welding for the Charleston Naval Shipyard , and the ATF and FBI threw down on them all in our van while they were at the Shipyard . Lo and behold, little Lori, our “best friend”, had been wearing a wire during, not only the gun transaction, but in ALL the “meetings” she had with my husband. He had been sleeping with her for years, as I learned at his trial.
. Well, he got 15 to life as a habitual offender, I sold my hot rod 71 Mach One and his Harley to hire his attorney. After that I eventually made it to my parents home in Florida, got clean and sober and divorced jerk face. That was in ’02. He got out in 2011, remarried another womedan he had been cheating on me with. He died on February 7th alone at their home of a major coronary. And so ends that chapter of my incredible life.
What do I say to a black mother whose son was murdered at the hands, or knee, of a white man?
. I saw George dying, in front of all the world, murdered. Every fiber of my being cried out for action to save him, knock that cop off of him, hurt those who were hurting him, scream “STOP!!!!!” at the loudest volume my wind and stretching vocal cords could scream. I saw him die. I could see the actual moment the life left him, we all could. His killer’s arrogance galled me, I cried as if George was my own. Those awful, endless minutes are now emblazoned on my conscience, and the world’s. But George’s suffering was finally over, the pain had ended for him. His family’s pain goes on.
. My daddy died unjustly, and it took years for my anger and pain to subside. But, then, I am white. And it wasn’t a police organization, or even a police man who killed him. For me it was a hospital, who killed him just as surely as if they kneeled on his neck. And he was a Sicilian man, very dark complected, 1st generation borne of immigrants to this country, but I suppose he will be considered a “white” man by history.
. But the pain I felt is the same pain George’s loved one’s feel in this sense: there was death, it was not natural, there was injustice, and there is anger. I feel it now, these years later. I was righteously indignant, I loved my daddy more than any girl ever loved her daddy, ever in the whole world. Whole universe I thought. I never saw his flaws, he was a hero to me, and they murdered him, and someone had to pay. I had to make it right , for him. For his memory.
. They hated me at that hospital, I believed. They had been out to get him, because we were poor, and because everyone knows doctors and hospitals only want one thing, right? Money. And we all know that there are very baaaad people in the medical field, there is a long, very, very long history of distrust in the Sicilian immigrant community against the “establishment”. It carried down from tyranny and mafioso, in the “home” country, where my ancestors were murdered and enslaved and oppressed by terrible injustice. Not only was the regime murderous and corrupt, even the local officials were, requiring payoffs and inflicting gross injustice and physical pain on the poor people who were supposed to be under their care. They had no choice, starve, be murdered, or board ships of misery with their last pennies to try living in a beckoning land across the great sea.
. My granparents had experienced the ghettos in New York when they arrived, cramped, dirty, unlit, no facilities, living in dark, dank, freezing, stinking tenant housing in their new country. Now, instead of their tropical isle, where they knew the enemy, there were new enemies to contend with. Such hatred, such predjudice, such injustice, such poverty. All these conditions shaped the mentality of generations, the distrust of the “system”, the lack of eqaulity, the oppression…
. My father was an angry man. For as far back as I have memory, he was mad at what he perceived as injustice in government. In another age pehaps he would have been a radical, I dont know. But he worked so hard, all his life, had access to more education than his parents ever had, served in the military and was able to move to Florida in his early 50’s. which had been his lifelong dream. He never stopped working, even then, and I had everything I needed as his kid, except love. But I adored and idolized him, to my mother’s dismay. When I became his sole caregiver, he was my child, and I determined to never let anything bad happen to him. For all the grief I had put him through in my life as an addict, now that I was sober I would appease his every whim, and ease his Dementia and Alzheimer’s. He was my reason for being, for except for my dear shih-tzu’s I had lost everyone in my family, and had no children.
. I was a she-bear when it came to his care. Endless research, talking to pro’s and others on caring for the elderly. But no matter what I promised him, no matter how good I cared for him, and no matter how totally committed I was in my devotion, I was not able to save him from being killed.
. So, then. What can I say to the millions of traumatized, oppressed, angry people who are fighting right now? They will do what they believe they must, to find relief for their anger. But to the loved ones of a man who died unjustly, there is something I can say, even in my proverbial “whiteness”: I am so, so sad for you. I can relate. I can relate to the sickening feeling in your gut, that horrendous hot ball of lead where your heart used to be. I remember the anger, the absolute bursting feeling of helplessness, the burning knowledge that this should never have happened to your child, your son, your daddy, your husband, your brother, your uncle, your nephew, your cousin, your dear, dear friend. Your Beloved.
. My pain was real… Your’s is all too real right now. I will never question your pain, or think I know what you should feel, or do. I never want to exaccerbate your suffering. everyone grieves in a different way, for different lengths of time, for different reasons. there is never a right or wrong way to grieve. I wish you peace, someday…healing…a lessening of this great burden you carry.
. My anger was only relieved by my learning the true reason for death, suffering and in justice. Knowing and believing in the the knowledge that God will soon do away with the true source of the evils we experience as humans. the tormenter of us down thru the ages, all the way back to the garden of Eden. The father of the lie, Satan.
God had an answer to Satan’s lie right there on the spot: Jesus Christ, God’s Only-Begotten Son and The King of God’s Kingdom would crush Satan and throw him and all his cohorts into the Abyss!! It will happen very soon, when God says it is time! Then the words of Revelation will come true!
Revelation 21:3-5 reads:
. ” With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them , and they will be his people. And God himself will be with them.(4)And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away.”
(5) And the One seated on the throne said:”Look! I am making all things new.” Also he says:”Write, for these words are faithful and true.”
. Such beautiful words…a beautiful dream, perhaps? No. A promised reality from our God who cannot lie, whose purposes always succeed, and whose prophecies always come true. I have a favorite scripture about the surety of all God’s promises coming true, maybe because I am a farmer at heart, who has always loved the rain.
. This is in the Bible book of Isaiah, in Chapter 55, beginning in verse 8: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not my ways,” declares Jehovah. (9) “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So my ways are higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (10) For just as the rain and snow pour down from heaven And do not return there until they saturate the earth, making it produce and sprout, Giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,(11) So my word that goes out of my mouth will prove to be. It will not return to me without results, But it will certainly accomplish whatever is my delight, and it will have sure success in what I send it to do.”
. Yes, The Creator of the entire Universe has everything taken care of, he has told us that he will be the only Judge, and His Son will carry out his Judgement. The Ride of the Four Horsemen is already well underway. One day soon our dead loved ones will be resurrected and what joy there will be, when this earth is finally free of evil and we will live forever in peace.
. Please take the time to learn what the Bible says, I want you to have the peace of mind and heart that I finally found. It is not too late, my friend.
I hope that it means that some where, in this great big world, a child won’t be violated tonight…because someone talked to a parent, a trusted adult, a mental health professional, a trusted member of law enforcement, a dear friend, and told them what had happened. And that the child in need was protected, held fast and kept safe, warm, and loved.
I hope that this year a young person remembers the warnings their elders give them about safety, about drinking, drugging and having sex, about going out with strangers, or getting into dangerous situations. That by remembering he/she sees the warning signs, feels the prickle of fear and runs home just as fast as their legs can carry them. I hope they tell their friends to leave too, to be brave enough NOT TO CARE WHAT THEIR FRIENDS THINK! (I can tell you that, for me, those friends sided with my abusers the next day, and I was all alone in my shame and embarrassment and pain. My girlfriends laughed right along with the men at my torn undies hanging from a tree branch… )
Be AWARE !!! BE aware of your surroundings, be aware of where the streetlights are, be aware and stay away from dark alleys, dense shrubbery and people who make you feel uncomfortable. Don’t tell yourself that you are just “being silly”. I never thought ill of anyone when I was a kid, I liked to be around older guys, and I thought they liked me…I never thought that I could be the one they raped- The other girls were pretty, and “sexy”. I never thought a couple beers could hurt, or some weed-a few tokes, right? I was no match for an adults strength, especially not with my guard down and buzzed.
What I want you to know is that if I could turn back time, I would listen to people who told me to take care, but I know this is such a tough world. We get lonely, we want to grow up so we can have “fun”, and no one at home seems to give us attention. That’s how I felt. All my friends had “boyfriends”, they all had “boobs”, they giggled at all the boys. And my folks were always working, or sleeping or watching t.v. I couldn’t wait to hit the night air, pull my jean jacket on and take a long swig out of a bottle…
My life changed forever. I see kids I knew with beautiful families, homes, and feeling good about themselves…I have spent the last 45 years recovering , healing my broken mind, my beaten body, and my crushed spirit… Please, please be aware that these things can happen.
My heart breaks for the families of children who just made that one error in judgement, never to be the same again.
If my experience could just get one person to think for a second before making a decision, then please, take it to heart. I am truly grateful to have survived the violence, God has seen fit to use me today. I hope you can draw close to Him too. He will never hurt or abandon you.
If something ever does happen to you, please find someone to talk to who can help. A rape/crisis center, or hotline can let you be anonymous if you want to. Please don’t carry it around inside. For me it just hurt too bad to keep in. But when I let it out and got help, I began a wonderful healing journey!
I wish you love, and peace tonight. Just be aware.
Cant wake up. I feel like I am sick inside, hot and cold, sticky and uncomfortable one minute , all dry and freezing the next. I feel like I’m going thru withdrawals, and twitchy, jerky-but from what?!? I feel that it is the Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo that I have endured since a series of concussions in 2013…BPPV is a type of vertigo from crystals in your inner ear becoming dislodged from a blow or hit on the head, and generally rights itself after 1 Epley Maneuver, which a trained pt performs.
This is Sooo frustrating, because I don’t have a pt here, and the condition makes me so discombobulated and groggy that I can hardly go anywhere!So I have attempted the maneuver 4 times on my own, with no success it seems, and keep falling asleep everywhere I sit down. The other wrinkle to Post Concussion and TBI cases like mine, is the head injury caused a short-circuit from brain to diaphragm, so when my shuts down for sleep mode, I quit breathing. “Sleep Apnea!”, you exclaim, brandishing a Bi-pap and Mask… (oh, I just want to interject that I have had brief BPPV free days when my excelkent PT Tom helped me for 2 years… he would do the maneuver when needed and I balance trained and did exerciwes regularly)
So, going back to the CENTRAL Apnea, I have been sleep studied a second time since moving here, and had my poor septum done again, and the Nose Guy (ent) who performed the surgey said, “If you cant breath thru this nose then I dont know what else to do for ya!”
He checked out my sleep settings on my machine, said they were fine and sent me on my way with a script for little nasal pillows instead of the “Alien” mask I wear now.
Insurance doesnt pay, etc, etc So I go to bed, fight with the Mask until I’m finally exhausted and angry, then I drift for 20 minutes before ripping the parasitic thing off my face , flinging it wildly across the room, knocking my water off onto my med box…This causes me to rise up like a crazed Mama Kodiak, comforter flying like a war hero’s cape, kicking my medicine box across imaginary goal posts, with different colored pastel tablets raining down, as if confetti!
After this nightly comedy of errors and arrows, I give up and decide to paint faux chintz wallpaper onto my bedroom walls. At 4AM.
Is it any wonder I am tired all day?
Oh, the truly funny part is that I went to bed at 7pm. so that I could be alert and well rested today!!
I did something today that has me all twisted up inside like it just happened…And I thought I was SO far Over It, So Healed, So Strong, So SMART. All the years and years and years of therapy, and here I am again. Bruised, tattered, and lying on the cold floor of a dark green tent, somewhere in the woods near Coraopolis, Pennsylvania. I was a thirteen year old misfit of a girl, never had a real boyfriend, only been kissed once, a true virgin in the full sense, with a facefull of glasses and buck teeth…all I had wanted when I set out was a sleepover with my 2 best friends.
But here I was, in the wee hours of the next morning, dirty and snotty-faced from screaming and crying, bruised from the force of the 2 young men who had raped me, naked and bleeding with my underwear now flying from a tree near the bonfire. “the two young men”h Ha! Who am I kidding? The animals, the dirty rotten dogs who stole my honor, and ruined me forever. From the shame of my friends seeing me, when they woke up and sobered up, and their stony rejection that claimed I had “stolen their boyfriends”, a rejection that lasted for years…to my father’s face when I was shoved out of the guys’ car at 7 am, when he saw my smeared face and smelled the stink of sex and Southern Comfort on me, his thirteen year old child, and when his face screwed into an ugly mask and uttered the searing, scorching words: “You’re disgusting…”and turned his back on me and slammed the door…
It all just came back, hitting me like a sledgehammer, when I looked up the rapists on Facebook, and saw found one of them, bald now and married for 25 or so “happy ” years… How dare they have happy , normal lives? I didn’t know I was still so angry, so scarred…
I will turn 55 tomorrow. I spent twenty 23 of those years as an Alcoholic and Drug Addict,Dealer, Thief , a violent, broken girl who never had a loving relationship with a man her whole adult life. Every single one was abusive, punching me, kicking me, choking, even stabbing me and shooting at me…(and that was the one I married!)
But, you know, I am someone those rapists can never claim to be. I am honest now, and clean, sober, forgiven, loved, and working hard on being whole. I am sorry for all my mistakes, and sorry for all the hurt I have caused. My God has forgiven me, by his Son’s Ransom Sacrifice. And now I will get my bearings back, I will take a deep breath, and let all that anger and shame go… I will pray for the a calm heart and a healed mind, and I ask God to help me to help others get on the road to life… I may never be completely free of the flashbacks in this current world, but one day, when God makes this earth a paradise and does away with all wickedness, I will never think about these matters or feel that pain again.
It has been such a struggle during this cold and gloomy weather to drag myself out of bed, to put my feet on the floor, to be motivated at all. I have in my mind always that I should be helping other people to come to know Jehovah, to help them see His great love for them. That I pray daily for these things is some comfort, but this huge burden of immobility just crushes me down and makes me feel unworthy, and lazy.,
Over and over I have been reminded that Satan uses this as a tactic, that discouragement can distance us and keep us stuck in the mire of self hate, the sediment of low self esteem and depression. Recently at my meeting for worship
one day soon!
we went over the fact that those feelings can be overcome by considering the ransom of Jesus Christ, and by earnest prayer for soundness of mind, which is promised to God’s faithful ones.
It is very easy for me to not take the steps I need to take, but then the way to death is a wide and spacious road the Bible tells us, while the road to life is a narrow and cramped one. I must struggle thru the weeds and brambles on this hard and narrow road, not fall prey to the worldly wolves and lies that are strewn about like stumbling blocks. Keeping my eyes fastened on the light I see before me at the head of the path I will throw off these burdens and keep climbing.
Physically I may be weighed down, and my mind and body are full of sin and imperfection, and my breaths come more shallow and labored than ever before. But just like the Bible says at 2 Corinthians 4:16-18,” Therefore, we do not give up, but even if the man outside is wasting away, certainly the man we are inside is being renewed from day to day.(17) For though the tribulation is momentary and light, it works out for us a glory that is of more and more surpassing greatness and is everlasting,(18) while we keep our eyes, not on the things seen, but on the things unseen. For the things seen are temporary, but the things unseen are everlasting.”
one day soon!
He Love Us!
looking west at sunset
I hope no one else suffers from the disquieting thoughts that I do, recurring images of the life I once lived, that come unbidden to frighten and distract me. But these I know, and I want others’ to know, will one day vanish forever, and will NEVER AGAIN poison our lives. We will be free from all the flashbacks, all the debris, all the residual effects our current circumstances inflict on us. I believe this, I know and have faith in this fact this because God has promised it to me, and to all who serve Him .
I want to read it now, so I will write it down here:
Revelation 21:3-5 With that I heard a loud voice from the throne say: “Look! The tent of God is with mankind, and he will reside with them, and they will be his people. And God himself will be with them. (4) And he will wipe out every tear from their eyes, and death will be no more, neither will mourning nor outcry nor pain be anymore. The former things have passed away”.(5)And the One seated on the throne said, “Look! I am making all things new”. Also he says, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”
What incredibly beautiful words. What a certain promise.
The decision to enter my painting in an art show at a real art gallery was easy to make. I believe I am being motivated by fear, having learned while Pops was in hospital that I will basically be destitute after he dies or if he must be placed in a home. I had always hoped that I could make a living with my art, knew I could, really, but I never wanted to let anyone see it. It isn’t that I am ashamed, it is just so personal. That is my heart on the canvas, my veins torn open, my blood on the page.
I never wanted to sell out. to allow complete strangers to dissect my innermost thoughts, to critique my self expression. My life has been so full of can’ts:
You aren’t a boy, Susan. You can’t play ball like that.
You can’t just draw from your imagination- you must be trained properly.
You can’t go to art school, it is not realistic.
You are too sensitive, you can’t take everything to heart.
YES I CAN!!!!
The latest critic in my life is an elderly aunt, who believes she has my best interest at heart by terrifying me about my future. She wan’ts me to look into selling my antiques, selling my china, selling my whole sense of home and safety in preparation for the big nothingness that she keeps reminding me that looms ahead when Dad dies.
I try very hard to be smilingly pleasant on the phone with her, but it is the most negative words she can say. She totally does not understand my bipolar disorder or depression. I absolutely CAN NOT focus on what MIGHT happen. I will dwell on it, I will obsess about it, and if I am not careful, I will drink and drug over it. Her constant warnings of doom will be a self fulfilling prophecy for me.
I was on my own for many years without any material possessions, and those were some of the most meaningful years of my life. Meaningful in that I learned how to survive happily with nothing, that I appreciated every single meal, blanket, pot, pan, article of clothing, tree, water faucet, sunrise- and every single human being who crossed my path.
I was much younger, sure, but I learned how to SURVIVE. And I succeeded.
Jesus had no place to lay his head- he lived by faith. He lived free, and appreciated all His Father’s blessings. He did not fear not knowing where he would sleep, what he would eat, and the Bible counsels us to follow in his footsteps.
I do not want to sell Mom’s china, and I won’t. If I have to eat dog food on it in the dark, then that is what I will do. I will use my considerable brain function to keep my head above the proverbial water, but not by selling the things I hold dear, or by giving into fear of what may or may not happen.
If something good can come out of my anger at her doubt in me, it is that I am taking a leap of faith and taking my painting to the Gallery.
And I might just take a binder on my writings to an editor while I am at it!
So thank you Auntie Doubtful for the motivation. I remember that I am still the brave girl who jumped on a freight train and rode across Arizona, hitchhiked through 6 states, dumpster dove for greasy Mcdonald’s burgers, and that they tasted like T-bones!
I am the brave girl who worked 27 jobs in 25 years, rigged for the crane building Missle Silos, worked with Belgians and Shires and Clydesdales and Andalusians, and groomed the Atlanta Police department’s horses, learned to decorate cakes and operate forklifts, did lawn maintenance and worked on the tip of an island in the Atlantic. I have befriended train tramps and illegal immigrants, and helped a 15 year old Mexican kid hide in a grain car to get to his uncle’s house, his only relative in this world! I have accepted gifts of food, and given some, accepted rides and given many, and I have loved and believed in the very best of my fellow man, and I also believe in myself.
I am the brave girl who survived rape ad beatings, being stabbed and shot at, falling in holes and having horses roll on me, having a riding lawnmower flip over on me, divorcing a dangerous man, jail, drug addiction, alcoholism, hepatitis C, and the death of my beloved Mom, and losing my sanity, and I am still standing, even if it is crooked.