Do you like reading happy Christmas stories? Or even those not so happy?
As several of my Pittsburgh Lady Lawyers did, I worked for many years with survivors of domestic violence. It happens to women and men, to poor and rich, to unknowns and even the most famous. Mostly the question is, how much it costs to hide what’s happening and what’s at stake.
I feel like people have been trying to educate the general public for so long about DV and the reasons why it happens and the reasons why people stay in relationships that could threaten their lives. It baffles me that it’s not generally understood. Especially by the person affected.
Usually, physical abuse isn’t what comes first. The abuse can creep up slowly. A putdown here or there. An odd excuse to keep you away from family or friends. The violence often ramps up once you’ve been cut off from other people. By then, you feel trapped.
Having been married more times than I’d like to confess, I admit there are lies one tells oneself to keep moving forward. It’s not so bad. At least he doesn’t (smoke, drink, stay out all night, hit me, stalk me). Sure, there are people who have it worse than you. But why shouldn’t you want better? Life isn’t a dress rehearsal. You don’t get a second take at this life if you wasted too much of it settling for second, third or fourth-best.
In the current political climate, when women’s rights are being threatened or at least disregarded, some abusers are trying to make the subjugation of women a new “normal.” DON’T LET THEM.
How do YOU feel about you, in your relationship?
, describes a list of symptoms a victim may have:
Victims of an abusive relationship may experience some of the following emotions and behaviors:
Victims of domestic violence can also have physical symptoms that aren’t directly caused by physical abuse. These symptoms are instead caused by the constant stress and tension of living in an abusive relationship. These symptoms include:
Does any of this sound familiar? For you or someone you love? Help is available at every income level and social standing. Find a public computer, do some research and reach out for that help. Start at the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, at thehotline.org. Start at your local shelter. START.
Lily Pearl Evans has run the Sassafras Social Club in Chaparral, New Mexico for 15 years, and she’s seen some things. But there are still some things she’d like to see. But not chickens.
See, Lily Pearl has been lucky enough to deal with a more affluent clientele–credit approved only.
Things don’t always run smoothly, but none so rocky as the night a dehydrated, dirty stranger shows up on her front steps. He’s not a client–doesn’t even look like he’d be applying for services. But he’ll change her life in ways she can’t even imagine.
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Leyla Brand had one perfect day in her life: the day she met rock singer Arran Lake at the Bele Chere Festival. They seemed to share so much in common, Leyla was sure they were soulmates and had a future together. The next day he received the call to hit the big time and vanished into the world of California rock and roll, becoming an international star and leaving her behind. Five years later, a stranger contacts her on social media, wanting to know if she’s the Leyla Brand he met at Bele Chere. Should she open that door and discover who this might be, or, if it is him, will Arran just break her heart again?
We read stories all the time about people who reconnect with long-lost lovers, old high school sweethearts, cherished beaus who just didn’t stick around… You’ve got to wonder how they have changed, or how you have changed, over the time passed. Is it possible that if last time was the wrong time, that now might be the right time?
Here’s the lead-up to the big question:
Is this Leyla with an E from Bele Chere 2005? If so, please answer me.
The Facebook message, like the last, was from Bonsai Boy. Leyla with an E? Now that sounded a little more familiar. Who was this Bonsai Boy? She clicked through to his homepage, but found that he kept most of his information private except for those he’d chosen as friends. All he listed publicly was his hometown, Salinas, California, that his occupation was ‘farmer’, and that his birthday was March 11. A Pisces…Who did she know with a March birthday?
When was Arran’s birthday? Had she ever known that? She couldn’t recall him telling her. It hadn’t been relevant. Damn.
Think, Leyla. Someone should know. She typed an Internet search for Arran Lake, seeking one of those intrusive fan pages that collected information like a crazed stalker. She found several, and clicked through to be confronted with a host of photographs of Arran, in concert, on the red carpet, with his arm around a succession of young actresses or musicians his name had been linked with over the years. He was still jaw-dropping gorgeous, even six years later. The site featured articles about his concert schedule, his charity to raise money for the homeless, and…there it was. His birthday. March 11.
Could it be?
She went back to Bonsai Boy’s page, then his message. Why would he list his occupation as farmer, when he was a famous performer? She thought back to she and Arran, strolling through the greenhouse at the Biltmore, when he’d known so much about the plants, his education in that field.
Could it be?
Only one way to find out.
What would you do?
THAT GIRL’S THE ONE I LOVE….
In CONVICTION OF THE HEART, attorney Suzanne Taylor is a single mother of teen girls who hasn’t really considered dating much–until she meets police sergeant Nick Sansone. It has been years since she’s gone on a date other than something super casual, so she’s anxious as hell over every detail. What to wear. Where to go. How sexy to look. She doesn’t know what Nick’s expectations are, and she’s not going to take her daughters’ advice (which was something along the lines of “woo woo momma’s got a boyfriend. Is he gonna see your tattoo?”
Here she is getting ready to go:
Her hair wasn’t right.
She stood in front of the mirror in the frou-frou restroom that served the office and the rest of the tenants on the floor. She hadn’t decorated it. The ruffled pink curtains and wallpaper practically bleeding fuchsia butterflies were not to her taste at all.
She took her hair down again. Pinned it back up.
How is it her clients always managed to begin the dating life without difficulty or reservation whatsoever? For Suzanne, it was a major trauma.
She held her hair left, right, her eye critical. The Moody Blues were a sixties band. The Age of Aquarius. Hippies. Free love.
She took her hair out of its band, brushed it, then fluffed it with her fingers.
She’d chosen a feminine silk blouse, black with turquoise medallions, and black dress slacks instead of jeans, since they were going to the Benedum. If the concert had been at Star Lake, they’d have lawn seats and a blanket, and more casual would have been appropriate.
Suzanne thought about Nick, and a blanket, listening to music under the stars…going from zero to sixty pretty fast along that imaginative track. A long time since she’d made love with a man.
She shook her head to clear her mind. Focus.
The overnight bag she’d brought to the office held a pair of black pumps with a mid-height, chunky heel. She slipped them on, then looked in the mirror again.
Satisfied with her clothing, she dabbed on a hint of makeup, nothing garish, and added small dangle earrings, blue gemstones wrapped in silver, and a spritz of Opium, her favorite perfume. A deep breath gave her a moment to examine her appearance. A little less than professional, a little more than Sunday church. It would do.
What do you thinking about dating after forty? Easier or harder than at twenty? What special considerations have you made or seen others make to present a good first impression on a date?
I’m on the Romance Lives Forever blog today with an introduction to Inessa Regan from SECOND CHANCES!! Thank so much, Kayelle Allen! Come by, check it out, and get a copy for your Mother’s Day reading!!