Mrs. Lefon

The first time I met you I knew almost instantly that you would have a big impact on my life. As I walked past your classroom, there was was a boy in your class that yelled something at me. I cannot remember what he said, but it was enough to cause me to tell him to go screw himself. I made it a few feet down the hall before you stuck your head out the door and asked me to return. You asked me my name and I hesitated at first, knowing that I was probably in trouble for what I said. You brought me into your classroom and called the boy to the front of the room where I was standing. You made him apologize to me, and then you told him that it was not ok to talk to women like I that. I was in complete shock because no one had ever even acknowledged the situation when I was being harassed like that. It was you who made me realize that I would always speak out about harassment, assault and rape.

I got to know you well over the next few years in school. I got to have you as a teacher a couple times, and you really helped me find my love for cooking. The first time I cooked a thanksgiving turkey, it was an assignment from you and it turned out perfect. I learned so much from you, and it not only made me a better cook, but it also made me a better person.

In the years since school, we stayed in touch, and you continued to be an inspiration as well as a huge part of my support system. You were always up front with your opinions and feelings about things, but you never judged or condemned me. You always encouraged me to go after what I want and never settle for second place. And most of all, you always believed in me.

To say that I was saddened when I learned that you passed away, would be a huge understatement. My heart, once again, has been broken. Knowing that I will never get to see or talk to you again is devastating….

I will miss you, not just as my teacher….I will miss you as my inspiration, my support, my confidante…and most importantly….I will miss you as my friend. Thank you for everything you’ve done for me and my family.

I will love and miss you, always.


My Story

I wrote this out several months ago, to share specifically with one person. I never intended on it going any farther than that, but I feel like it’s important that it does. This is not an account of my entire past experiences….this is one incident that accounted for just a tiny amount of time in my life….what seemed like hours at the time was surely only minutes, though I never thought it would end. A moment that I should have been able to have a say in. A moment that I should have been able to have as a positive, and probably awkward, memory. But instead, I remember it as the night I had my innocence stolen from me.

He was the older brother of a guy I liked. I was 14 and a virgin. The farthest I’d ever gone was getting fingered in a car. I was there for a party. He had been trying to flirt with me all night, and was getting pretty pissed that I was giving my attention to his brother. He was at least 21 at the time.

I went inside to go to the bathroom, when I came back out he was standing in his bedroom doorway. He asked me to come in his room, I told him no. I started to go back outside and he stepped in front of me and blocked the hallway. When I tried to get past him he grabbed my hair and pulled me He threw me down on the floor and already had his penis out before I knew what was happening. I tried to yell, so he tried to put it in my mouth to shut me up. When I wouldn’t open my mouth he sat me up and slammed my head into his dresser. Over and over until I opened my mouth. He kept me against the dresser, and slammed so hard into my mouth that he made my throat bleed. When i would gag, he just did it harder. And once he was tired of that he turned me onto my stomach…He got in front of me and put it in my mouth again, got behind me and I tried to keep my hands in his way…I kicked…I screamed…it didn’t matter…He got what he wanted. He slammed my head into the floor every time he pushed inside me, and was so rough that I lost enough blood that I almost passed out.

At one point he acted like he was going to put a knife inside me. He hit me…he left me bloody on the floor and then walked away like nothing happened. There was only one bathroom in that house…I heard people walk back and forth past his room. I don’t know how many people heard me scream, but nobody did anything. I walked down the road clothes torn, bloody and beaten until my friends mom picked me up. Not a single person that drove by stopped to see if I needed help.

And before anyone asks, no…I did not report it. What was the point? Even the people that were there didn’t do anything to stop it…There were at least 30 people in that house that saw me. Not a single person even acknowledged me. There were at least another 30 outside. I walked straight through them and no one did a single fucking thing. They didn’t ask why I had blood dripping down my thighs…they didn’t ask why my clothes were torn and bloody…hell, no one even questioned why I was walking down the road in the dark. Nobody cared about what had just happened to me, and all I wanted to do was forget.

But we never really forget, do we? I remember the way he tasted…the way he smelled…I remember how it felt to gag when he was inside my mouth…i remember that I felt like I was being ripped open…I remember the way the blood felt as it ran down my legs…I remember the way that it smelled. And most of all, I remember walking out of that house, but it was almost like I wasn’t in my body….like I was watching myself from somewhere else.

I’ve seen him a handful of times since then, and each time leads to days of panic and anxiety attacks….he found me once on Facebook and messaged me, telling me that he missed me and that we needed another night together. The guy I was dating at the time laughed and said that he must have enjoyed himself if he wanted more.

It’s been more than 18 years, and I still see his face when I close my eyes. Not every night, like I used to….but even one night is one too many.

Capture Your Grief 2018-Day 1 Sunrise

This project is going to be very different this year than it has in the past. I am getting a late start (as usual), though this picture was taken on the 1st of October, in Virginia.

Each year, day one is sunrise. And each year I know I will not be awake to see the sunrise, and this year was no different in that aspect. But the love I feel when I see this picture is infinite and unconditional. This year I am using this project to talk about Bryce and Keiran as I always do, but it is also about Nathan…and about the beginning of the next novel in the story of my life.

At the beginning of this new novel, is an amazing man. He took this picture for me. And when I look at it, I can see the beauty that he sees in the world. The same beauty that he sees in me, as well as in my little family. Here’s to new beginnings!

I love………

What do you do when you have a heart like mine? A heart that has been beaten and broken so many times, but somehow still manages to continue to love? What do you do when all the broken parts of your heart just make you love deeper, instead of turning you away from love? The depth of the things I can feel in my heart isn’t something I can describe.

So much of my life was spent following the “rules” as far as love was concerned. You couldn’t love someone if you hadn’t known them for a long time…don’t say I love you first…love could be a fairytale…if he was mean it was only because he loved me so much…the belief that I would never be cheated on, because I was faithful to a fault….And so many other ridiculous things that got me nowhere. My view on love was a distorted mess…And that was before the relationships that just about killed me. By the time I came out on the other side of those, I figured I’d leave all the broken pieces on the floor…I wasn’t trying to put them back together this time. But I did, and I found someone….I got pregnant, and then he raped me.

And then there was nathan….it was Nathan who kept me alive after my babies died…it was Nathan who saved me….it was him who kept my heart from turning to dust and blowing away…I always joked with him that he used drywall mud to keep it all together. When he died, there was nothing left to hold it together. I didn’t care what happened to my heart, because I didn’t have him anymore. For the last three years I’ve grieved my husband, I’ve grieved what we had, I’ve grieved what we should have had…I’ve cried so many tears, it’s a miracle that my eyes haven’t gone dry yet. I’m still angry that I couldn’t keep him…angry that I have been put in a situation where I have to even consider a new relationship. There are so many shitty people in this world…why was it him that was taken? Why was it me that had to lose my love? There have been a few occasions when I have decided that I’m ok with being single for the rest of my life, because truthfully Nathan did love me enough to last a lifetime. But the fact is that I am still young, no matter how old I feel. I shouldn’t have to spend the rest of my life alone, and Nathan would not have wanted me to. Someone new will never replace him…but the beautiful thing about this broken heart is that it still has the capacity and desire to love. However….the way that I love, the way I feel about love, all the rules about love….it’s all different. For me there is no time frame…if I feel something, then I feel something…I’m not waiting around for “the right time” to express that…fuck all that timing shit. The right time is nothing but a myth. There is no right time for anything, especially love.

Now, what I could have told you at the beginning of this post is that I opened my heart again. And how awesome would it be to have then ended that with “And we are so happy and so in love”. How awesome….except that is not how shit goes. Not for me anyway. Here is what actually happened.

I fell….I fell hard and I fell fast…not just for him, but for me. Now, this is not a case of “i loved who I was when I was with him”. Because that wasn’t it at all. Because I didn’t actually spend much time with him physically, and we were never together. I don’t know if it was even really him, or if it was that allowing myself to just let go of all the rules and bullshit made it possible, but during our brief time talking, I fell in love with myself.

I’ve always said that Nathan knew me better than anyone, better than I knew myself. And he did, because he could see through all the bullshit and the walls…he could see through all the pain…he could see me. But what I didn’t realize until the last couple months is that I have never seen myself…not until now.

There are some things about myself that I’ve always known. I have a big heart…when I am passionate about something, then I’m all in…when I love, I do it with all of myself…I am sarcastic…I am stubborn…I hate liars….these are all things that I already knew. But what I didn’t know is far more important..

I am beautiful. Maybe not in the ways that the world thinks I should be. In the eyes of other people, I’m fat…And that alone is enough to deem me unattractive and therefore, unlovable. But what I realized is that I don’t care what the rest of the world thinks. I don’t care what other people see when they look at me, especially if they can’t see past the weight. What is here…inside me, and on the outside…is beautiful…broken in so, so many ways…but incredibly beautiful. I am no longer ashamed of my body. I am a sexy, beautiful woman that owns everything that I am.

I am allowed to want more…more out of life…more from myself…more from others in my life. I am allowed to not settle for less than I deserve….to an extent, this was something I knew. What I didn’t know, was that I deserve a hell of a lot more than I ever knew.

I will never accept or allow someone to take advantage of me. I will never be the girl on the side, I will never be someone’s little secret.

I will not be made to feel ashamed of my sexuality in any way. Yes…my husband died…I didn’t. I am still allowed to have needs…wants…desires…yes, I’m a widow. Yes, I’m a mom. But before I was either of those things, I was a woman…I still am…And as a woman, if I choose to act on the things that I want, there isn’t a damn thing wrong with that.

The last thing I will list, I owe directly to someone else. Someone I called my inspiration. He told me that I was my own muse…I didn’t get it then…but fuck, I get it now. I didn’t need someone else’s participation to write my story…I won’t need anyone else’s participation to continue my story….know why? Because it’s MY FUCKING STORY. My story to change as I see fit.

I’m sure eventually I will share more about all of this, but for now I’m gonna stop…And I’m going to end this with an “I love you” and a kiss…all to myself xoxo

Three truths and a photograph

I came across this post on the page of another widow. I read it, then read it again…then read it three more times. Normally I avoid doing things like this unless it’s something that really catches my attention, and this definitely did. I found myself in a very rare situation when I started to respond, only to realize that I had no idea what to write. I had very specific questions right in front of me, and I still couldn’t figure out how to respond. I decided that I would wait a couple of days and then come back to it, but each time I get the same result: I’ve got no fucking clue.

So, here it sit writing a post with no idea of what I want to say….but damn it, I’m going to try.

Here is the original post:

Let’s play a game…

Let’s pretend it’s many many years from now and you’re on your deathbed.

There is no electricity, so photos are costly to print and social media is gone.

Ink and paper is expensive (again).

You have 2 small pieces of paper: one that you can write 3 truths on (3 things you want people to remember) and the other to print ONE photograph from your entire lifetime.

1) What are your 3 truths?

2) What would you want a photo of?

My three truths:

1. Life is entirely too short to spend a second of it unhappy. Don’t be afraid to take chances, don’t let a chance at love pass you by because of bad timing or fear of rejection, take risks, make mistakes…don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game…if you love someone, TELL THEM…you may not have another chance.

2. Love. Love your family, your friends, your spouse or significant other….love them with all that you have inside of you…tell them you love them everyday, and show them too. But more importantly, love yourself. Know your own worth and don’t ever settle for less than you deserve. Always be true to who you are.

3. Never let hate win. Do not perpetuate the cycle of racism, homophobia, sexism or anything else along those lines. Do not contribute to the rape culture. Do not use your religion as an excuse to be a vile human being. Embrace the things that are the same in all humans, but also embrace the differences.

My photo:

This picture is literally a piece of my heart. The turtle tattoo on my chest for Bryce and Keiran. Lucas and Tristan. And Nathan. This is my life…my happiness, my broken heart, my love and my grief. This picture is worth a million words that I will never be able to communicate in any form.

Rape-18 years later

I came across my poetry book the other day, and opened right to the page that contained the story of my rape. It’s been 18 years and it still destroys me to think about it. I still remember every horrible moment, the pain, the tears, the loss of my innocence…

Hurt me.

Hate me.

But please don’t take me.

Take advantage of my body,

Use it for your own pleasure.

Bring tears to my eyes,

And pain to my soul.

Scar me.

Hit me.

But please don’t take me.

Let me go on my way,

Moving past this awful day.

Your touch remains,

Rough and careless.

My will was broken by your force…

The world shattered around me.

Wound me.

Leave me.

But please don’t take me.

Break me.

Shatter me.

But now you can’t hurt me anymore.

You took my emotions.

You took my innocence.

But you can’t have me.

I’ve found a way out…

An escape from the pain.

People to confide in.

Almost a year has passed,

And now I see,

That letting it hurt me,

Was letting you win….

Letting you tear me apart.

I won’t let it happen anymore.

I’m moving on from your touch,

And seeing my body as something better.

Knowing that I’m safe now….

In a better state of mind.

– Julie Breslin

A widow’s valentine

Just three days ago I passed the three year mark of losing Nathan, and I am still in denial that he’s gone. I am usually pretty smart about avoiding places like walmart in the weeks leading up to the 11th because I know I will walk into the land of Valentine’s day. There are times when I make comments like that, that people respond by telling me that I shouldn’t be bitter. I should just be happy for those who have love. So please, allow me to provide some clarification.

For me, it isn’t really even about the holiday. Valentine’s day was the start of me and Nathan. Him messaging me on Facebook, and then apologizing for interrupting when I told him I was making Valentine’s dinner. And then laughing with me when I revealed that my hot Valentine’s date was my sister, so he certainly wasn’t interrupting anything. He would tell you that it was at that moment that he “had me”, and he was absolutely right. I was pregnant and terrified, but from that moment on he had my heart…no matter how hard I tried to guard it.

And now here I am, 7 years since that day, hating that I am faced with Valentine’s day. It isn’t because I’m bitter. It isn’t because I don’t want to see other people show their love…I’d actually like to see more of that…It’s because my heart is shattered and there isn’t a thing in the world that I can do to fix it. No matter how many times I hear people say that if there is something that you don’t like about your life then it’s your job to change it, I never can figure out how it is that I am supposed to be able to fix something that is irreparably damaged. I can’t bring him back. I can’t unbreak my heart. This cannot be fixed, no matter how much I want it to be.

So this year for Valentine’s day, I’ve painted my nails black….I’m wearing my black veil…and I’ll probably watch sappy movies and cry till I can’t cry anymore. I’ll eat junk food. I’ll write my heart out if the mood strikes. But most of all, I will embrace my widowhood….because that is what I am. I am a widow.