Monday Morning Missive

It is Monday and the voice from Saturday night’s dream is still with me. I insisted that he leave by dawn, but he lingered. He is persistent. He always was. He can smell my fear and self-hatred and they are so very compelling. Like a yellow jacket at a picnic, he hovers and threatens undeterred. I am mesmerized. And in the cold darkness, I find it impossible to turn away.

But now it is Monday morning. Gentle snowflakes are falling outside. And I will write until he sees that he has worn out his welcome. His invitation to have a place in my life is irretrievably revoked. No gift or sentimental gesture will alter that status. Besides, there is nothing exciting here. No fear. Well, not much fear. Or, at the very least, not nearly as much fear as there used to be. And, as fear abates, peace begins. Small particles of peace accumulating like the snow I can see through my window. Peace is a powerful antidote to fear and self-hatred.

I can’t recall the specifics of what he said on Saturday. Maybe this was the version where he reminded me that I am a stupid whore.   Or a terrible mother. Or utterly and completely unworthy of love or respect. Perhaps this was the one that begins with the list of my physical flaws and ends with the reminder that I will always be white trash. Candidly, I can’t remember what he said. Sometimes my memory is kind.

What is still vivid in my mind is the sound of his voice.  It is soft with a sing-song quality that reminds me of how one speaks to a child. It is the duplicity of the voice that I find unbearable. So soft but, listening closely, you can hear hints of the violence that is waiting. Maybe, if you are accommodating and sweet, you can stave off the onslaught. Probably not, but maybe. After repeating your efforts a number of times, you begin to understand that it is a sucker’s bet. You have no control over the violence. You never did.

And so we come to the message I want to communicate on this snowy Monday morning: you won’t win. To be clear, I don’t think I will win either. In fact, most of me wishes I could give up. My long list of obligations makes that option unavailable. Enough about me, the important thing here is that you won’t win. So long as I breathe. You. Won’t. Win.

The only chance at victory belongs to my daughter. We saw Big Eyes a few weeks ago. There is a dramatic scene in which Walter Keane publicly claims credit for Margaret Keane’s paintings. She stands quietly and does not dispute his assertion. And, on her face, we see that the price of her silence is the death of some part of her light.

After that scene, I turned to my daughter and said, “Never let anyone do that to you.”

The typical 12-year-old girl might have rolled her eyes or mouthed “Whatever, Mom.” This old soul maintained eye contact with me and said, “Don’t worry about me. Never let anyone do that to YOU.”

Again, I thought. Never let anyone do that again.

  7 comments for “Monday Morning Missive

  1. Kerry
    February 2, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    Oh honey, what a tragically beautiful piece you have written. You have won, he has lost far more than he ever deserved to have.

  2. denise
    February 2, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    At my desk I am sitting. But in my head, I am standing, applauding loudly, yelling, “Bravo!” Over, and over, and over. Bravery wins.

  3. cathy corbin
    February 2, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    This is indeed a beautiful piece of writing that comes from a soul who MUST remember that it has WON! The voice and all the evil that it brings has been DEFEATED.

  4. Dianna Walke
    February 2, 2015 at 11:16 pm

    My dear Kim, how brave you are! I’m so glad you are now in a safe place surrounded by family and those others of us who will always love you. Snuggled there against the hills we love, you will find peace and I pray his voice will go away permanently.

  5. darlene
    February 2, 2015 at 11:18 pm


  6. Chance
    February 3, 2015 at 3:12 am

    This reminds me of just how powerful standing up for oneself is…not just for oneself…but for all those who watch closely.

    Silence is never golden. It is at best a tarnish over your soul.

  7. Sarah Cooley
    February 11, 2015 at 2:15 am

    I stumbled upon your blog via Joanna Simoni’s FB page. I haven’t yet read all of your posts but the ones I have read resonate.

    Both of my parents are from KY (western) and I grew up in the Appalachian Mountains in NC. I went to UNC-CH as an undergrad and I started graduate school there, the MSW program. My first year I did a research paper on the settlement work of Katherine Pettit in eastern KY in the early 1900s. I really, really enjoyed writing that paper and reading the first-hand accounts of life there during that time.

    And there was something else I read on your blog and it was like I was reading part of my childhood. The whole “Who is it?” “It’s the plumber. I’ve come to fix the sink.” OMG, my brother and I watched that in the 1970’s and we continue to refer to it well into our 40’s!!

    And then another. Although due to different circumstances, it appears, I am a single mother who has weathered some very dark times. I’ve enjoyed writing a blog too, but I stopped my blog just when things in my life began to crumble. I have so many stories that need to be told. So so many. I’m ready to write again.

    So nice to have found you here.

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