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*Trigger Warning: Domestic abuse

In the history of the world, no one has ever loved anyone the way I loved my husband.

I felt that way all the way up until the moment he dislocated my rib cage.

He bought me my first car. I didn’t own a car until I was in my 30’s. I grew up dirt poor. My first car was the BUS.

Our first Christmas together, he presented me with a cherry red Mazda Miata convertible.

I loved that car. I named him “Herbie.” As in, the movie “The Love Bug?”


The very first week, I logged 800 miles, visiting every friend I had in the tri-state area.


For the first time in my life, I experienced the exhilarating sense of getting behind the wheel of my very own vehicle. He gave me my love of the open road. He called me “Road Warrior.”


In a world where everything changes, one constant for me has been my love of road trips.

He gave me that.

He also unearthed the soft white underbelly under my fierce determination to rely on no one, EVER. Found in me the little girl who grew up abused and abandoned. And filled that great yawning abyss of feeling unloved.

Accepting love is a muscle that can atrophy if you let it go unexercised too long.


We accept the love we think we deserve.

–The Perks Of Being A Wallflower


His love for me was stronger than anything I had ever experienced since the death of my oldest brother. The first few years of our marriage were unequivocally the happiest years of my life.


In a world where everything changes, the only constant is change.

My husband got into serious trouble, and lost everything – including his ability to make a living. I stood by him, because I loved him. For Better Or For Worse.

We switched roles. He became the stay at home parent, and I the provider. I backed into a successful business purely by accident. But this unorthodox and unexpected role reversal was brutal for him.

It soured our relationship irreparably.


Love truly is blind.

I was blind to the years he gradually bankrupted me.

I was blind to his pathological lying.

As it all unraveled he transformed into someone I didn’t recognize. Or was he always like that?


Eventually all his financial malfeasance surfaced.


That doesn’t begin to describe your feelings when you realize your spouse has destroyed you financially.


When it first erupted into violence, I was FEARLESS.
I’m from New York. If you’re gonna hit me with a shovel, I’m going to hit you with a bigger shovel.

We might have beaten each other to death, Mad Max Thunderdome style, in my garage, had my then 4-year-old son not wandered in. I saw the fear in his eyes, and stopped.

I threw my son in the car and got on a highway. Drove to my NY BFF’s house upstate New York.

I filed for a restraining order and threw my husband out.


One night I received a phone call from my gym, which is affiliated with a medical center. A child in the playroom had been diagnosed with bacterial meningitis – the fatal kind. They were contacting every family who’d recently had a child in that playroom.

My son had come home that day with a fever and a stiff neck. I was told by the nurse on the telephone to wake him up immediately and bring him to the ER. I argued with her that to do so would terrify him.


Our conversation was interrupted by the ambulance she had dispatched, screeching into my driveway.

My son screamed in pain and fear for hours while they ran a battery of tests on him. Around dawn my husband showed up and my son calmed down. Daddy was here.

Maybe, if I had family or friends nearby.

Maybe, if I thought I could handle parenting my son alone.

Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.

The next day, my husband moved back in.


For the next few years I accepted his outbursts of violence and told no one.

We accept the love we think we deserve.


Then, more crushing debt surfaced. Reluctantly, I decided to tap into my son’s college fund.

There was no money in that account.

There was no money in that account?



That doesn’t begin to describe your feelings when you realize your spouse has emptied your entire life savings.



I started the fight that time, punching and kicking him.

He smacked me away, and caught my lip, which opened and bled.

I tasted the blood. And got up in his face.





I literally flew across the room.

He’d full-on punched me square in my chest. His 220 lbs to my 110.

My heart stopped beating.

Every time I tried to sit up, excruciating pain tore through my chest.


Slowly, painfully, I put my 6-year-old in the car.

And got on a highway. Fled like a thief in the night all the way to Boston.

I made up an elaborate story to my college BFF about my injury.


It was a dislocated rib cage. But really?






I’ve had to file for bankruptcy. The house I broke my back saving the down payment for – is lost.

It’s just a house.

It was my first ever backyard with a swing set and trampoline and everything my son deserves and will no longer have.



My Ex erupts into violence frequently. I’ve been advised by my lawyer, my therapist and the police to keep a bag packed at all times. Store it in the trunk of my car. Have a place ready to flee to with my son.




One night, he flew into one of his irrational rages.

He smashed my laptop. He grabbed the extension cord and began hitting me with it. I tried to diffuse his rage, hoping to not wake up my son, dodging the blows that were opening up cuts on my arms and legs.

He wrenched our child out of bed. My son was crying and terrified, and I was screaming at my Ex to get out.

Madness. Dysfunction. Chaos.

I ran for the bedroom and locked us in there until he left.


Just a few minutes later, my phone buzzed. Lizzi was Facebook messaging me.

And in that moment – I needed her desperately. Her kind words; her gentle voice. Her beautiful soothing English accent. Her humanity.

We skyped.

Never before had anyone seen me like that. Broken and bleeding and bruised.

We spoke until daylight.

At last.




And now I need to tell it. If even one woman feels less alone, then writing this will have been worth it.


I want this story to end the way other domestic abuse stories do.

With hope.

But even with him out of my house, and locks changed, I don’t feel safe.

You think the police can protect you from an irrational person who wants to harm you?



It’s not even me I worry about. What toll is this taking on my son?

And should I end up dead? What will happen to him?


The height of irony is my Ex accusing me of wanting to be with another man.

I will never, EVER allow myself to get close to someone again.

If I suspect someone likes me, I make sure to drive them away.

If I’m intimate with someone, I keep feelings out of it.

We accept the love we think we deserve.


People often tell me that I’ll heal when I find the “right person.”

For what? To strip me of my worldly possessions and my self-esteem?

Happily ever after isn’t REAL.

What’s REAL is that I spend my life looking over my shoulder.

We accept the love we think we deserve.


I have that bag packed in my trunk.

I’m ready.


Some day, I’m just going to get in my car.



Get on a highway.

And just drive.



and drive…

And keep on going.





*This post was originally published on Sisterwives. It is dedicated to all of my SisterWives, who supported me in writing this. Thank you. I love you.


Do you have a story about domestic abuse?
Talk to me. I’m listening.



After all this time as online friends, it was time for us to meet.

And meet we did!

Yes, they were two of the most fun days I’ve had in a long time. But it was more than that.

These women are the family I chose.


It was a pretty intense couple of days. There was a blood moon. Beth won a major book award. Facebook broke.

And The Sisterwives finally got to meet one another and spend time together.

Don’t tell me these things aren’t all connected…

If you’d like to read the highly amusing tale (I wrote it!) of what happened when we took over Dallas, click here!

I’m closing comments, so you’ll head over to Sisterwives to read and comment. See ya there, okay?



The Kids Are Alright!

September 24, 2015



Recently, a super cool 14-year-old kid named named Aidan Thomas Hornaday was brought to my attention.


This kid is not only a kick ass blues harmonica player, he’s a young philanthropist out to make a difference in the world. He started working for change when he was just seven years old.

Aidan recently gave a TED talk which is on YouTube. The Sisterwives were so moved by him, and so committed to spreading awareness of Aidan and his work, that we decided to watch his video with our own children.

Then, we asked our kids to write about what they thought being a “difference maker” meant.

Any of you who follow us on social media already know who Little Dude and Hastykid are. And you get to hear from some of our other kids as well. These kids are all amazing.

I’m going to close comments here, in the hope that you’ll comment over there. So please visit the SisterWives site today, and read about what the “Children Of the Sisterwives” are doing to help make a difference.

And let me tell you, These Kids Are Alright! 


Obligatory Post

May 22, 2015 — 73 Comments

obligatory post


The saying “still waters run deep”

implies that the act of being still connotes depth. Of thought, of feeling


Sometimes I’m still because there’s nothing to say that will amuse or challenge you.

Or I just don’t have the energy to navigate the dashboard.

Sometimes there’s so much going through my head at once, it bottlenecks at the opening and nothing flows.

Some things, I just won’t share.



The only in-real-life person I allow to be friends with Samara Speaks on Facebook is Owen, my IT guy.

When I tried to post my education rant in all my Facebook groups, social media went absolutist on me and none of the links worked. I wondered if it was a conspiracy against me.

Give me some drugs, a friend to do them with and a good conspiracy theory, and I can keep myself entertained for hours.


My 3 home office computers are all connected. Bitch with Wifi.

Things go wrong. Owen fixes them.

He’s seen everything on my computers, so it’s safe to say, Owen is a trusted confidante.

I turned to him when Facebook was censoring my post, and real world and blog world collided.


I dematerialized for a few days. Sometimes even I need a break from myself.

Is it funny, sad, sweet, ironic – that Owen was the only one on Facebook who noticed I wasn’t around?

The Great Cosmic Joke: While we obsess over what others think of us, the reality is that everyone is so busy wading through the muck and mire of their own lives, no one really gives a fuck about what you do.

It’s supremely liberating, and why I get to drive my kid to school in footy pajamas.


I wonder if I died while my son was away at sleep away camp, how long would I lay there before anyone knew? Probably days. That’s the one thing about being single. When you die, you die and no one knows.

Although it’s still not compelling enough of a reason to get into a relationship.



I wrote a story about getting arrested for disciplining my son and It was picked up by another publication and shared on Facebook over 60,000 times in a day.

Between the blog and its Facebook page, there were over 1100 comments, half of them dripping with the kind of vitriol that burns your face off. You need a White Light Psychic Protection Shield to block the negative energy.

Or a sense of humor.


SM comment.jpg 2


It was fun being The Worst Mother On the Internet for a few days.

The best part of the experience was my online friends storming the battlefield. My Sisterwives and my fellow Bunker Punks fought valiantly against the trolls hungry to Dahmer me.

I laughed a lot at the comments, and cried when my friends stood up for me, and maybe was exhausted at the end of it.

I mentioned to someone that writers really need thick skin, and he reminded me that once you publish on the Internet, you leave yourself open to judgement.

True. But I only invited a hundred people to my party.

You know what happens when you invite a hundred people to a party, and 100,000 show up?


And people died there.

But people were born there, too.



My kid has a social niche carved out for himself. He and his friends are  “cool nerds.” Kind of that in-between group. Not super popular, but not outcasts.

I get it. He’s a quirky kid.

I told him, “you’re a quirky kid. Know when you’re REALLY gonna hit your stride? College.”

I’m nothing if not honest.


He’s on his skateboard a lot, and he wanted skater clothes. Hurley. Volcrom. That crap.

So, we got him set up. He looks cool as fuck.

One of the popular jock kids at school dresses like this. I’ve known this obnoxious crotchfruit for years. He’s the kind of kid you want to take to a playground with a quart of beer and beat the shit out of.

He accused my kid of copying him, as if the malls weren’t full of stores like Tillys that sell nothing BUT this look.

So what if my kid did copy him, anyway? Who on this planet is original?

Some days I like to think I’m copying a pale Goth hobo at a Marilyn Manson concert. We all get to channel whatever inner vision we have of ourselves, and copying others is another name for survival.


Even as it gets warmer, I’m still missing the extra layer. The one that keeps me from feeling things 10 times more than everyone.

I think about vacations at the beach, or what it might feel like to have electroshock current waking up my body.

I remember that sometimes, the people we love most tell us to we need to find other people who can deal with us, because they cannot.

And that Brutal Truth is better than Sugarcoated Fantasy.

Although the latter would make a much better porn name.



So, it’s the little things.

The right weather at night for a leather jacket.

A new person to make me tingle.

A new rock tee that fits perfectly.

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Watching Richard Linklater’s  magnum opus Boyhood with Little Dude and feeling pretty smug that I’ve turned my kid into a fan of my favorite director.

Letting the sink’s dishes be the sink’s problem.

The frightening glory of being showcased in a blog post by the Gangsta of Love, my friend Brenda Keesal, along with women whose writing frankly intimidates the shit out of me.

The quiet victory of watching my son view an entire Nirvana concert on YouTube.

Is it ridiculous that it was a Proud Mama moment, one I videoed? Probably.

I did it anyway. Some things are pivotal to me, and me only.

And that’s all right.


This blog post brought to you by the need to feel my fingers tap the keys.
Talk to me. I’m listening.

white girl

January 5, 2015


stapleton 11


I haven’t performed spoken word in twenty years.

Actually, I avoided it as much as I could. It brought back some memories that I didn’t want to think of.

But somehow, this piece leapt off the page and needed a voice. So, I gave it one.

It’s about growing up white in an all-black housing project. You can read it – or listen to me speak it.

Today, on the Sisterwives blog.

Thank you for joining me as I step into my past and my future, simultaneously.