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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Unspoken Tragedies/ Being a Survivor

The buzz of the Penn State cover-up is now dying down. Many people do not agree that Joe Paterno should have been fired. But most people can agree that the recent events at Penn State (that shocked the Nation) were heart wrenching as were the acts of Jerry Sandusky. As sad as these event are, hopefully it will be the catalyst for positive change especially when it comes to protecting America’s children.

I have NOT shared my views of Penn State openly because I did not want to offend others. Recently I went to an open forum hosted by the Baltimore Child Abuse Center and realized how important it is for the general public to be educated about child abuse and proper reporting. In addition, it is tantamount that survivors speak up and let victims know that they are not alone and that there is life after abuse (Thank you Oprah and Tyler Perry). Saying that you are a survivor of child abuse is not an issue of trying to relive past wrongs but changing society’s view of victims as damaged goods. Perhaps over time empathy will become one of America’s core values and we can create an environment for healing and change.

I like so many others am a survivor. I am claiming my voice for all those who can not speak up. I will not publically disclose the names of those who abused me and have no desire to hurt those closest to me. I just want people to know that living in silence will kill you and that it takes courage beyond measure to speak out. My heart goes out to the Penn State victims. I know what it is like to have your life torn apart by a trial. I hope that once the cameras are off, the verdicts are in, and the guilty have been punished that they will find the healing, support, and understanding that they need to move their lives forward and someday emerge on the other side to embrace all the goodness life has to offer. May all of our hearts be with them! This is my fervent wish.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Best Kept Secrete in DC

Ealin is and immigrant from El Salvador who has been drawing since he was 5 years old. I met him on the Metro when I was going into DC this weekend. He works at an organic restaurant on 19th street. Ealin is very talented young artist who creates amazing sketches in pen (yes--I said pen). But I am sure that most people have never seen his sketch pad. He is struggling just to survive and suffers from not knowing how to get ahead in the United States or how to market himself or go to school. I hope his talent is not lost. Ealin generously gave me a picture exhibiting flowers and a butterfly—he is such a kind spirited young man. The picture said in broken English, “Love doesn’t make the world go round; it is what makes the ride worth while.” May he get the love he so desperately believes in.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Finding Your Center

Athena and I took off our shoes and walked barefoot on the grass at the Baysox minor leage field. It was so peaceful. It made me think of this phrase.

"There is a silence into which the world can not intrude. There is an ancient peace you carry in your heart and have not lost. There is a sense of holiness in you the thought of sin has never touched."

A Course in Miracles--Lesson 164

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

The United States Capital Building

It has taken me a long time to own (openly) that I am a victim of child abuse and neglect and I have a unique perspective on life to share with the world. Abuse touches so many lives and is destructive because the experience is isolating and long lasting. If I close my eyes, I can remember the exact day my childhood ended. But this experience is not about me. The numbers of abused children ranks in the millions—it even out ranks cancer. One in every three women is abused and one in every six males is abused. These statistics put the amount of abuse as the leading systematic problem in the United States. This should never be!

Child abuse has a very real face. My face and the millions of others holding on to their sad secrets with scars so deep that they penetrate the bone and change who you are. I am here to tell you that tears really can kill you slowly from the inside out.

I never thought that such a childhood would lead me to the Capital of the United States of America to talk to Senators and Congress staff about federal funding regarding child abuse and neglect on behalf of the Children Advocacy Centers (CAC) and the National Children’s Alliance (NCA) that represent front line workers like the Baltimore Child Abuse Center who work with rape victims.

I was in awe of the day on Capital Hill. I live in the most powerful country in the world and I had the chance to help make a difference and speak for victims who still hurt inside. How humbling and gratifying it was to be apart of something bigger then myself.

On a personal note my favorite part of the day was riding on the private train from the Senate to the Capital Building and then to the House of Representatives. I was filled with childlike wonder at the experience. It was like being at Disney World but better. How often do we have the chance to walk in the halls of greatness? The feeling of being at the Capital of the United States of America was overwhelming. This childlike wonder is not to take away from the sad topic of federal cuts. Everyone should have the right to hold onto childlike wonder--especially the young.

We need people to work together on funding programs to alleviate Child Abuse and Neglect. This topic transcends the dynamics of being a Republican or a Democrat. It is a human issue which affects us all. Because when the light goes out of a child’s eyes they grow up to be adults that feel empty at their core and society pays an even bigger price; and the light that leaves-- is the light of God.

On the way home I saw a great advertisement on the Metro that struck me. It said "be seed planters not bean counters.” I believe this phrase applies very well to the budgetary cuts for child abuse and neglect.

Museum of Natural History

Last weekend I canceled everything off my calendar and took Zefram to the Museum of Natural History in DC. He loved this personal “mommy and me” time. We ate a bagged lunch, went to the exhibit on the human body and the new butterfly exhibit where we saw a brilliant blue South American butterfly-truly exquisite. However, Zefram was more impressed by the metro ride and turning his penny into a piece of art that looked like a lion. He had a great time in DC and I must admit that this is one of the best times that I have had with him. There were no melt downs and I got to see who Zefram really without any other distractions. For a brief moment life was all about him and this does not happen every day for a middle child. I am finding that in a family of 3 children it is important to give this personal attention. Sometimes parents just need to cancel everything off the calendar for the more important things like spending a little mommy and me time

Walking Pneumonia

Athena has Walking Pneumonia. This was discovered last week. She had a fever for 2 days in a row so I took her to the doctor but had dismissed the cough that she was having previously as spring time allergies. We were shocked to find she was really ill. She is doing better. They gave her a treatment with a nebulizer and put her on antibiotics. Sometimes it blows my mind that things like this pneumonia can slip through the cracks. It is a reminder to slow life down and pay attention to the little things. As for Athena, she is no worse for wear. She is happily drawing, dancing, and enjoying life. Her only complaint is that we have curtailed her running and biking.

End of Year Fun

Alex practices his skills at Field Day at Crofton Woods Elementary School.