Why I stayed…

1991…

The first three months were like a dream… we saw each other almost every day…. he called me every night to wish me sweet dreams…. he brought me flowers… took me on wonderful and exciting adventures… he was perfect…

Then one day in 1991 it all came crashing down… Garth Brooks released Ropin’ the Wind and I had to work late to put the display together for sale in the morning…. I called him, my angel on earth, he didn’t answer so I left him a message telling him I wouldn’t be home until late… I told him I loved him…. I told him I’d call him as soon as I got home….

11pm I pulled into my driveway and stood in front of a very angry man… fuming… He took my keys, opened the door to the house and pulled me inside with so much fury I almost fell to my knees… The next hour was a blur as this 6’6” stranger stood over me, yelling in a whisper, a very loud and terrifying whisper… Telling me he owned me, that I wasn’t allowed to stray from the order of things without his ok… when I finally was allowed to speak, through my sobbing tears, I explained I had called him, he wasn’t home and I left a message… Apparently, him not being home, not getting my message, well…. it was my fault…. And yet I stayed…

The next day flowers arrived at my work, with a note… “I still love you”… I interpreted it as “I am sorry for last night, I love you” and things went back to normal… So I stayed…

As the weeks went on my mistakes seemed to increase… As did his temper… the whispers turned to yelling… the yelling turned to humiliation…. and then came the first slap… it came out of nowhere… and it concluded with… “Next time, you will think twice”… and I did, I thought twice, three times… a hundred times… I thought, “What am I doing to anger him so much?” I paid such close attention to each situation… I stopped talking unless he asked questions… I stopped going out… I stopped my life and only focused on what would please him… and yet the slapping turned to hitting… the hitting turned to punching… the punching…. it turned to burning…. And yet I stayed…

When I left him, it wasn’t my choice… he had beaten me so badly I couldn’t stop throwing up, my eye was swollen shut and my nose was broken… my friends made me leave… They took away my right to choose because… I wanted to stay…

I write this, not for sympathy, but for those who keep asking women, like Janay Palmer, Ray Rice’s wife, why the hell would you stay with someone like that? While I can’t speak for anyone but me… I’m guessing it’s a similar story… A friend of mine stated he thought she was staying because of his money…. I know his intention wasn’t to hit me where it hurts, but that’s exactly what his comment did…

Perhaps for some, it’s what they get out of it… But for most, it’s what we put into it… I stayed because of a number of reasons:

1. Because I thought he loved me…
2. Because I thought I loved him…
3. Because that’s what I thought love was…
4. Because I never once, not even for a fraction of a second, thought he was in the wrong…
5. Because I was convinced, I deserved it…
6. Because I was convinced I kept making mistakes and he was teaching how not to…
7. Because I believed, if I can change, if I can finally get it right, he’ll stop…
8. Because I believed his apologies…
9. Because I didn’t think I could do any better… or didn’t know there was better out there…
10. Because I hated myself…
11. Because I hated myself…
12. Because I hated myself…
13. Because I hated myself…
14. Because I hated myself…
15. Because I hated myself…
16. Because I hated myself…
17. Because I hated myself…
18. Because I hated myself…
19. Because I didn’t know how to love myself…
20. So…. I stayed….

There are a myriad of reasons why we stay… a million reasons why we don’t leave… and sadly while we are in the thick of it we can’t see clearly, we can’t see we deserve better, we keep on hating ourselves, allowing the torture, the torment, the violence, the humiliation… we allow it to continue…

I’m left with scars on my thighs from cigar burns, scars on my vagina from cigarette burns, a scar on my chin from a punch with his ring on and because he broke my nose I snore so loudly I wake myself up every night… for close to 20 years I didn’t take my clothes off in front of a man with the lights on, I never left the house without covering the scar on my chin with makeup (honestly, I still don’t), I couldn’t look at myself without feeling the shame…

It wasn’t until I turned 40 did I make the conscious decision to right all the wrongs I’ve gone through…. to speak up and speak loud, to fight for my sisters who are staying… whatever their reasons are… to heal myself, to love myself, to forgive myself… an unending process, but one I won’t give up on…. It took me 20 years to get to this point and I plan on growing, evolving, changing every day, I’m not staying anymore….

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A Lover’s Tiff…? Nope… Violent wife abuser? Yip!

Please watch this video, and then read on…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5hsX2MAW-gQ

Isn’t this sweet, simply a “lovers tiff”, according to Nigella Lawson’s husband, Charles Saatchi, he was emphasizing a point to her and the photos misrepresent that… so do the tears in her eyes, the fear and terror on her face…. and what I am sure are big giant bruises left behind… Yip, just a misrepresented lovers tiff… I am so glad he cleared that up….

If this is what he does out in broad daylight, in public, on the patio of a restaurant, what does he do to her in the privacy of their home, and what does he do to their kids?

Violence is not based on a certain social structure, or economic class, or on education, or lack there of, it’s based on people who are sick, who thrive off of dominating the weaker sex, who feel it’s their right to do what they want to their ‘possessions’, it’s a power thing, it’s a thing full of hate and anger, it’s got to stop…. It is NOT the victims fault, it’s not as simple as ‘well, why she doesn’t pack the kids up and leave’ and anyone who says so needs to stand in these women and children’s shoes, just for one day… To see the scars, physical and emotional…. to see the years of emotional abuse, that have broken them to the point where they feel there is no place to turn… no one who can help, and that it is their fault….

It’s our fault, who ever had the damn camera should have put it down, gone over there and put a stop to the obvious abuse…. Someone should have stopped it…. plain and simple, no ifs ands or buts… you see someone being hurt, you stop it, you call the cops if you are at risk, but you make damn sure you don’t leave that situation until the person is safe….At the very least the person with the camera should have stood in front of him, so Charles (Mr. Lovers Tiff) could at least see his actions were recorded and he would stop… Somehow, some way, it is our absolute duty to protect those who cannot protect themselves…  And whether the victim is a famous, rich, white female, or an impoverished person of colour; whether they are sitting outside a fancy, expensive restaurant or if they are in the park in the poorer section of town… if they are being hurt we step in…. we help… end of story.

Some of my Best Friends are Gay!

Subtitled “I’m on the Pro-Gay Bandwagon… are you?”

I’m going to begin this with a bit of poignant humour, this is a clip of Nathan Lane on the Ellen show, it’s his response to a group of closed minded homophobes who tried to have Ellen DeGeneres removed as the spokesperson for JCPenny, and how JCPenny not only stood by their choice, and didn’t give in to petty threats, but Ellen’s response of humour, grace, class and confidence, as she says “My haters are my motivators”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2YNXikPtknM

I work in an industry that has such a diverse group of people, all races, ages, religions, sexual orientations, etc. and we all just… get along! It’s like in the park, when you see someone feeding the birds, pigeons, chickadees, crows… they all hang out together and eat in peace… sure every once in awhile a big bully of a seagull swoops down trying with all his might to take all the food, but the tightly knit group bands together, defends themselves, and actually invites the seagull to join them, sharing their feast… sometimes the seagull does in fact settle down and joins in, and sometimes he flies off to find another weaker group to take over… In one shift, during the course of an 8 hour event, I have witnessed this… the group, defending their territory, with love, compassion, humour and kindness, have won over the bully, and by the end of those 8 hours, we were all nibbling on stale rolls together… It warmed my heart to be a part of that progress, I felt proud to be in the company of such fine birds!

So, like the title says, “Some of my best friends are Gay”, and they are! And so what? Why does it matter? How does the fact my saying they are gay change the fact that they are some of my closet friends. Being gay doesn’t take away from the person they are, it doesn’t make them less of a person, it doesn’t make them non-human… Every time I sign a petition, read an article, or hear a story about a gay couple not being allowed to marry, or offered basic human rights such as being allowed to roam the streets freely are stripped from the gay community, or people being imprisoned or beaten and even put to death for being gay, a little piece of me dies inside.

“An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

If I were, at random, to choose 5 straight friends and 5 gay friends and simply wrote one page each about them, about their life, about their choices, about their dreams, about their values and handed you those 10 sheets of paper you wouldn’t be able to tell me that these 5 are the gay 5 and these 5 are the straight 5. They are just 10 stellar human beings, doing good things in this world, seeking the same things we all seek, love, friendship, acceptance, joy, beauty, etc.

How can a nation, as ‘forward thinking’ as the United States of America think their government has the right to deny their own citizens the right to marry one another? Their own Pledge of Allegiance states: “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

“Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

How can we sit by while innocent people are being imprisoned for simply uttering the word “Gay”? While our brothers and sisters are being sent to re-education sessions to ‘fix’ them? While they are being put to death for the simple act of being true to who they are? Silence and inaction isn’t the answer…

“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies,

but the silence of our friends.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

I know this post is long, it’s all over the place, has no real form to it, and probably not my most eloquent piece and for this I sincerely apologise… However, I believe that is because I am at a loss for what is happening in this world. I’ve tried numerous times to write this, put my inner most feelings out there for the world to read… I’ve rewritten it dozens of times and finally decided to just vent, and pray my message is heard.

I tried to write this post from a place of compassion, a desire for change, and I pray my rage doesn’t come through. To, one last time, quote the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (snippets from his brilliant and beautiful speech ‘I have a dream’ while based on the equality of the race all mankind, I truly believe his intention was for worldwide equality of all mankind in its entirety, race, religion, sexual orientation, body type, etc) :

“I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed:

‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’”

“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

And when this happens, when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual:

Free at last! Free at last!

Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Peace & Love

What if, for just one day, the entire world was kind?

What if, for just one day, the entire human race decided to not to gossip? How would this affect our world? Not one peep about ‘so and so in the copy room with so and so’, or ‘oh my God, did you see what so and so was wearing yesterday?’ no rumours, and even go as far as ignoring Hollywood gossip, leaving those celebs alone for 24 hours… no National Enquirer, no TMZ, no Perez, not even Entertainment Tonight! Don’t discuss the latest fashions, hook ups, divorces, deaths, suicides, pregnancies…

 “Entertainment news keeps you up to date

on the withering of your soul.”

Tom Papa

What would happen to society if we went ‘dark’ on gossip for one day, 24 wee little hours? What would happen to those we leave alone and for goodness sake… what on earth would we talk about?

To be completely honest, I don’t rightly know… I can tell you what I hope we would talk about…

I would hope we would talk about what is truly important, our lives, our brethren, what’s happening in this world and what can we do to make it better? Starvation, war, and atrocities against humanity… we are ALL responsible for the actions taken against the world and we have to be the voice to stop it.

But also, as above, what would happen to those we leave alone? Rumours and gossip are the oldest form of bullying, and while the old adage “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me” is thrown around so easily, words hurt… they make hearts bleed and leave scars so deep, so long lasting, and most times so invisible to others that we rarely see the damage until it’s too late.

Perhaps if we left Celebs alone, didn’t pick on them, didn’t worry about what the gossip mags and channels and websites say about them, simply focus on the art they produce, maybe, just maybe we’d still have the brilliant beings such as Whitney Houston, Amy Winehouse, Chris Farley, River Phoenix, Kurt Cobain, Janis Joplin, John Belusihi, Michael Jackson, … and the list goes on, and on, and on…

And what if we stopped bullying people in our own lives? What if we taught our children to stand up for those who need help, who aren’t able to speak up for themselves, taught them compassion, understanding, doing what’s right… what would happen then? Maybe these beautiful souls and countless others would still be with us…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=38JuIicgmKM

I urge you to think before you speak and act and make the right choice…

My Nickname in Grade 4 was “TIT WIGGLE”

I know that may sound funny to you, but just stop and imagine it… a 9 year old little girl with a chest size larger than most grown women… a C Cup… a freakin’ C Cup! Boys would touch me, grab me, pinch me… Girls would chant Tit Wiggle, Tit Wiggle… I remember going home to my mom one day after months of this nickname being spitted at me daily, crying and saying, “Mom, I am tired of being called Tit Wiggle, please help me!” I think this statement hurt her as much as it did me… In her eyes and heart I was her baby, her 9 year old baby, and she didn’t realise what was in front of her… a child in a woman’s body…

So, before I knew it we were in her car on our way to Sears to buy me a bra! Sadly no training bra for me… I jumped right into the regular bras, I still remember it, it was peach in colour and satin. Very pretty, as age appropriate as a 9 year old in a bra can be and above all, it was very sturdy… in this bra my Tits no longer Wiggled!

This nickname was the first of many that followed as I have been over weight pretty much my entire life… I lived with names such as:

  • Butterball
  • Fatty
  • Wide load
  • Fat ass
  • Lard ass
  • And so many more…

I remember at my junior prom, grade 9, nobody asked me to dance, all my friends had been asked except me… then the very last song a boy I had known pretty much all my life, we lived on the same street, his mom used to baby sit me and my brother, asked me to dance… Inside I was jumping for joy, I was elated, I felt so pretty, and for a few brief moments I forgot I was fat, and forgot how ugly I felt… But… there’s always a but J half way through the song he took his arms and made a big space around my waste while he and his friends laughed at me. I ran out of the gym crying and never went back in.

I had great friends, they did what they could, but they themselves were kids… But they never did abandon me, I am forever grateful for that. I had one in particular, Melanie, who was by my side from the time we were 2 until we left high school, even though I moved away for 3 years we were still the best of friends and when I moved back we picked up right where we left off.

“If all my friends were to jump off a bridge, I wouldn’t follow,
I’d be at the bottom to catch them when they fall.”
Anon

Enter high school, I was still made fun of, still called names, still singled out for being over weight, but I was a little stronger and a wee bit smarter and had my circle of friends and I did my best to ignore it, impossible, but I tried. I even had a boyfriend! Not just any boyfriend, but the hottest guy in school! Elroy, LOVED me! Huh? Me??? FAT, UGLY ME! HE LOVED ME! He never missed a moment to tell me he loved me, to tell me I was beautiful, to treat me better than any man has ever treated me, to this day! Alas, our relationship stirred up a whole new side to my being bullied, he was black and I am Indian, I was bullied by some of the black girls, and someone who I thought was a great friend just walked away… He actually said, “as long as you are with the ‘boy’ I have no use for you”… I was saddened by this, but not because we were no longer friends, but that someone would actually have feelings like that about the most beautiful person I had ever known. Even the Vice Principal of the school tried to ban us from holding hands in the hallways, but the same race couples were left alone. Thankfully the Principal, Mr. Vale, was on our side, he was our supporter and our friend and he put a stop to her right away.

I know you are expecting some horrific ending, like he was using me or something… but he wasn’t… Elroy was truly a wonderful boy who entered my life at the most perfect time. Who gave me the memories every girl should have from high school. I’ll love him till the day I die.

I was really good friends with a boy, a boy who was very effeminate, who was into fashion, who was into art and drama, and who was clearly struggling with his sexuality. And the guys in high school were cruel, the names they called him, the way they would rough him up, I did everything I could, to stop it, to the point I was called “Faggot Lover”. I alone couldn’t stop his being tormented… I’ll forever feel that sense of being lost…

The reason for this post is to tell you, that it’s so important to be a friend, a true friend! My life was saved, truly saved, because I had friends who were by my side, who loved me, who were there for me… Friends who called me by my name Leilah (I went by my first name until I was 24 and switched to Lalita), they called me Lei for short, they called me Fozzie, as in Fozzie Bear, because I was funny… They never called me Tit Wiggle, or fat or butterball, they called me friend.

“The most I can do for my friend is simply be his friend.”
Henry David Thoreau

 

 

Hatred… when will it end?

Yesterday I posted the following status “I am so tired and quite sick literally and figuratively, of close minded, hate filled, racist, homophobes, who claim to be good Canadians… When will love prevail?

It was based on a conversation I had with someone on Facebook, not one of my friends, but a Facebook friend on someone elses page, I do not know if they are close or not.

After some serious consideration I decided I needed to post this for all to see, in the hope that people will fight for what’s right, will stand up to hatred, and seek out peace and love. My honest feeling is I do regret, in my last statement, point b), my anger got the best of me and I sunk to his level, but I am posting it anyway as I have nothing to hide.

I have removed his name and replaced it with DUDE, the best replacement I could think of while still being respectful.

DUDE:  (FYI this is the comment that started it all)

Its the Canadian human right bs.. They have a muslim lady with that shit on her head as a cop.. Now thats taking human rights a little too far..

Lalita O’Patel

Wow, normally I wouldn’t respond to someone I do not know, but DUDE that was VERY offensive.

We do not live in a country of all white Christians, the BEAUTY of Canada is our multicultural blending of all races, religions, creeds, sexual orientations etc.

We accept and don’t judge… We open our arms to anyone who wants to live in a country of acceptance.

These are the reasons I am PROUD to be a Canadian! I love all my brothers and sisters for who they are, and relish in their innate FREEDOM to express their individual choices without being condemned or have fear of living a FREE life. Live and let live… Lest ye judge, I believe that is in the Bible…

DUDE

I do agree with u Lalita.. Im a Christian Lebanese and i do believe in the bible.. Im proud to be a Canadian also.. I do respect evrything Canada has.. I dont agree with defferent religions coming here and try to change to abuse the Canadian rights.. In France last year 2 muslim women where not alowed to wear that shit on there head cause of the school rules and they could not do anything about.. In Canada it would be defferent.. I dont care what religon u are u should not break rules.. Thats my point.. They r changing xmas cause of other religons.. I dont agree with that..

Lalita O’Patel

Sorry but I disagree with you… The ‘shit’ to which you refer is called a burka, and whether you agree with it or not, it is Muslim law… Orthodox Jewish women have to always wear a scarf or wig so that no one but their husband can see their hair, is that ‘shit’ too? Catholics denounce homosexuality and birth control, ‘shit’? And true Canadian laws should be Native/aboriginal laws, as the Europeans came and stole their land and claimed is as theirs. How does wearing a Burka, or ‘shit’ to you, abuse Canadian laws?

DUDE

U can wear ur hijab anywhere u want but when evry cop in canada has to wear there cop uniform u have to do the same.. thats my point.. The Canadian rights doesnt see it that way.. They let her where that shit on her head and be cop at the same time.. She does not respect the Canadian laws to wear the uniform.. Now how unfair is that for every Canadian?

Lalita O’Patel

Still calling it ‘shit’ eh? 😦

Its very VERY fair for EVERY Canadian, it means we EMBRACE our people, our differences, we adapt, we accommodate, we CARE!

If we push everyone to be the same, to assimilate, then we may as well be the Borg from Star Trek, ‘you will comply, resistance is futile’. Robots wandering around, all looking the same, acting the same, losing what makes Canada so special, our ABSOLUTE RIGHT to individuality, religious freedom. How on earth does wearing a burka, yes it is called a burka, affect their ability to perform as well as any other officer on the force, positivley or negatively?

My humble interpretation of your comments is everyone MUST do it your way (or your version of Canada’s way) or get the hell outta Dodge, or in this case, Canada…

Do you also agree with the US’s ‘don’t ask don’t tell’ policy for the military? It would stand to reason, based on all your comments, that you do…

DUDE

Ron i agree with u :)) Lalita, i realy dont care about the states.. they wanna be gay thats there problems not mine.. i have problems with muslims coming to this country and trying to change it.. Its realy getting too much.. They wanna practice there stupid religan they can.. dont tell me how to practice mine.. do u know my brother works in the arab countries and he has to hide to eat his lunch cause of stupid ramadan.. do u know that when u go there u have to wear that SHIT before u enter there country.. but when they come here they wanna change everything to suit them.. just because canada is great and gives them some rights. they abuse it.. i came from there and i know those people more then u will ever know.. u think u know then but u know shit about them.. Get ur facts in order before u open ur month and make an ass of urself.. im done with u cause u know nothing.. Tracey, sorry about all this.. im done and i didnt start it..

Lalita O’Patel

Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

Again a quote from the Bible…

a) I AM IRANIAN, so don’t go saying I don’t know what I am talking about! Born and raised in Canada, but of Iranian descent…

b) I am so over this conversation with you, insane, rude, arrogant, closed minded racist, homophobe… I fear for those around you, with that much anger and ignorance…

Tracey you know me, I am not sorry at all for standing up against hatred…. I won’t ever apologize when I am trying to protect others against evil hate filled people…

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