“Rather than love, than money, than fame, give me truth.”

Truth. It’s one of those things that everyone values and yet a lot of people can’t bear to face. So here we go, the uncomfortable and awkward expansion on that bit of truth that I brought up in my piece about Why Ice Cube Got It Right When He Said Women Are Bitches, Hoes and Tricks: the story of breaking up and kicking out my abusive ex-boyfriend.

Why is the “truth” so difficult/scary/uncomfortable for so many people?

Perhaps you’ll have to confront something about yourself, others, your situation, and the world around you that you would rather not face.

Then you have two choices: either face “the truth” OR put the blinders back on.

Uncomfortable truths that I face about myself are: I trust people. I forgive easily. I’m a recovering perfectionist. I’m a compulsive organiser and cleaner. I’m used to and quite capable of taking care of myself so I have a hard time asking for help. I have a problem with so-called authority and rules that I perceive to be pointless or unjust and will disregard those ones. I don’t believe that there is anyone on the planet who is better or more deserving than I am of anything, basically in my mind everyone is equal, and that doesn’t work for those who buy into antiquated hierarchical thought constructs. I’m a risk-taker and sometimes that works for and against me. I intimidate people. I don’t believe in or conform to gender roles. I love my family but I don’t like most of them. I still love my ex-husband and this abusive ex-boyfriend in spite of it all. I believe the truth should be honoured above all else, including friends.

So in the context of the violent ex-boyfriend, I have discovered that the truth is incredibly difficult for people to think or even hear about. People can be incredibly sympathetic and obtuse when they do. They’ll say interesting things like “I would call the police if he did that to me.” and “It’s horrible what he did to you but I’m still going to be friends with him because….” And for those who like to put people on pedestals, they are disappointed and sometimes disdainful of you, as if you told them you just accidentally on purpose broke their favorite dish. I had one person say to me when they heard about what happened that it was “terrifying” for them to think about.

For them.

Puh-lease, seriously???

That’s just fucking insulting to hear after you’ve been through a truly “terrifying” experience.

Terrifying is having the person who supposedly “loves” you holding a huge-ass knife an inch from your throat and threatening to kill you.

A friend said to me “Don’t post it on Facebook.” and another just stopped talking to me. The ex’s parents thanked me for not telling too many people. A now ex-roommate moved out after he found me sleeping on the couch and I told him it was because my ex-then-boyfriend hit me. People even asked me questions like “Why did you stay with him?”, “Do you love yourself?” and “Are you going to go back to him?”

The questions were not asked with malicious intent but it’s clear that in their shock and dismay of hearing the truth, they were not really thinking very clearly about what they were saying and why. Nor were they really thinking about how saying these things affects a person. It’s like asking a war veteran “How many people have you killed?” or “What does it feel like to kill another person?” or a cancer victim “How does it feel to have cancer?” and expecting the person to not think you’re an insensitive asshole.

Yes, asking questions like that makes you an asshole.

Asking those kinds of questions goes beyond bad manners and poor taste because it is dismissive and invalidating to the horror a victim has suffered. And if you have been a victim of some sort of threat or attack then you know what I’m talking about. Let me put it into a context, if you were fired from your job without good reason would you want people asking you “What does it feel like to get fired?” and “What did you do?” as if it your experience is some bit of reality TV programming for their entertainment.

I didn’t think so.

So let me break it down, the awful truth about the domestic violence I’ve experienced that still has me only sleeping about five or six hours at night, and my skinny jeans baggy on me:

My ex-boyfriend shoved me around, called me awful names, and said other nasty things to me. He tried to destroy and threatened to sell/keep my laptop unless I did what he told me to many times. He threw things at me. He strangled me three times, once to unconsciousness. I had a broken toe from kicking the floor while he was strangling me at one point which took about two months to heal. He hit me twice in the face, once so hard that my nose started bleeding and I had a black eye which extended over the bridge of my nose. The other time the blow landed on my right cheek but indirectly so the bruising was minor. He punched me in the back while I was lying in bed and in the back and sides of my head. He held a knife to my throat and threatened my life several times. He nearly cut half of the tip of my little finger off with one of his knives but luckily the cut, while deep, was clean so it healed well.

The majority of this all happened over the course of six months after we arrived in Spain. The first time it happened was in his parents house while they were away in Colorado on vacation in January or February earlier this year, I forget now. During that first time he shoved me around and I sprained my right hand. That took a couple months to heal but I stayed with him believing his story about having PTSD and having an episode.

The fact is, as awful as all that happened to me was and sounds, it could have been much worse.

You don’t realise how bad things are/were until you sit down and talk to someone, write a thing like this, are out of the situation. And an even scarier thing is, if I had stayed with him, it probably would have gotten worse if I hadn’t finally decided that I’d had enough, that being in a foreign country, having nearly all my financial resources depleted, not speaking the language well or having a job no longer mattered.

The day I shoved him out the door, literally pushed him out the front door as he stood in the doorway (thank god without his keys) and slammed it closed after he attacked me was the one of the best days of my life. And of course the worst.

That last day, and every day since, I’ve had to face some more uncomfortable truths about myself and my situation.

The fact that I had been fooling myself for several months thinking that everything was alright and things were going to get better between the ex and I. The fact that I was being stupid and careless with my life by being with that guy. My propensity to auto-trust people and give in some people’s minds, give them more credit than they deserve. But I know that bad habits can be broken over time with practice. So yes, I will continue to endeavour to persevere in loving more as Thoreau suggested because I decided it’s best for me to forgive myself.

I forgave my ex-boyfriend as well.

I still talk and interact with him. We argue about the details of what he did to me because he tries to twist them about. I correct him so he’s not operating under a false and distorted pretense and about what actually happened and what he did. But this is proving to be a fruitless endeavour. But being the person I am, I have hope that by being in his life…maybe he will learn, grow from this experience, and one day be a better version of himself.

But the truth is he may never make those things happen for himself.

So why share all this?

It’s pretty simple really. I want other people, especially those who may be in an abusive relationship, to know what happened to me. It’s better to be truthful about oneself, others and a situation you are experiencing than to conform to this foolish idea that you shouldn’t talk about such things because of how others may feel and react.

Fuck that.

Whatever it is you’re dealing with in life, it’s important to talk about the experiences you’ve had, both “good” and “bad” so you can process how you feel about what’s happening or happened. Sharing, reaching out, connecting, whatever you want to call it, is important so you know you’re not alone. Especially in situations involving violence.

It’s important to take comfort in realising that other people have been in a similar situation. And that they overcame and survived. Or not.

IMG_0340

“He strangled me three times, once to unconsciousness.”

It’s important for others to know who those violent abusive people are so they can protect themselves and not find out the hard way, like I did.

It’s important to face the truth of who you are by admitting to and accepting the things about you that make you a beautiful, unique and yes, an imperfect individual. It’s important to realise that if you don’t like various truths about yourself only you have the power to change them into ones that you do like. And last but not least, it’s important to keep in mind that death happens to us all, can come at any time, and that your opinion of you and how you choose to live are the only things that truly matter.

Stop living for others, waiting until tomorrow to do things that bring you joy, and start living your life for you.

Start now.

Published in: on 12/11/2015 at 04:05  Leave a Comment  
Tags: , , , ,

11.25.15

all gone

woooooooooooooooooooooooo

happy I gave you the rest
of your baggage back today
your eight or ten illegal knives
a-walking down Bravo Murillo
along with one very corny
and very sharp katana
a DSLR camera
an Ice Cube CD insert
you taped over the hole you made
when kicking the bedroom door open
one of those times you attacked me
an unopened package of crab meat sticks
bought months ago
not real crab meat of course
fake crab meat
a constructed and shaped lie

like you

and that last lie
AKA ”cognitive distortion”
AKA me-“in a bad mood”
AKA your-“What’s the difference?”-
when-I-called-you-out-on-it-BS
I caught you in before
walking away

because I’m not your mother

your emotional attachments
your subjectively reasoned
thought constructs
are no longer my concern

 

Composed by Nichole Hastings

Published in: on 12/04/2015 at 11:44  Leave a Comment  

Nature Inspires Life Inspires Art No. 1

Earlier this year in April, I moved to Spain to attend the Escuela de Ceramica de la Moncloa located in Oeste Parque in Madrid. Two months ago on October 1st I put my hands back in clay. For the past ten years I’ve been living life, having taken a 10-year sabbatical from ceramics. Technically my work was good but it and I were missing something.

I couldn’t quite place my finger on it but now I know.

Now I know, who I am. Now I know, what I want. Now I know, my own soul.

I share my soul with you in three parts:

20140701-151216-54736365.jpg

 

7.30.14

Fresh for day
Past tall aspen trees
Down windy mountain roads
Cold sunny wind shining on my face
I think of you

I hear your song
On wind rushing by
Calls of early morning birds
And the low rumble of the car engine
Navigating turns

 

Utah Aspen Forest

Lift Your Lamps Beside The Golden Door

Dear fellow countrymen,

I am an American citizen because Americans adopted me in the late 1970s and gave me a better life from the one in store for me in Seoul, South Korea. I may be a naturalised citizen but in fact I was a refugee too. If you don’t know anything about our history or the situation in South Korea at that time I recommend reading up on it. As human beings first, we are all obligated to know the past so we can avoid making the same errors.

Like many South Korean children I came here without any papers. There was no adoption procedure. I don’t have a birth certificate. All I have are naturalisation papers. I had a different life, belonged to a different culture that is older than our country’s, and was given a different name….Nichole Hastings is the name that my adopted parents gave me.

The close-minded, insensitive, inhumane comments and reactions I have seen online against helping refugees to escape a situation our country created is heart wrenching. If you are one of those, I’m crying tears of sadness for you and those refugees who have lost their homes and loved one. And I’m crying tears of joy for all those who want to help them.

I know these harsh and ugly things you are putting forth is just a product of frustration and fear. Frustration because our government has been failing to take care of us for many years now. Fear that the ones who have destroyed these refugees lives will do the same to your own. But open hearts, open minds and open arms are what will make us better people, a nation as a whole, and members of the human species.

Please don’t give in to your frustration and fears, examine where they are coming from and turn away from hate. We as human beings on the planet have more important things to worry about – climate, water, land and air pollution. Not these petty wars driven by close-mindedness, greed, and misguided conclusions of what we’ve been told is important in the world: money, fame and reputation, domain, etc.

The birth of the American nation was one founded by refugees. We are all in fact refugees or sons/daughters/grandchildren, the descendants of refugees. However many generations removed. I hope you’ll think long and hard about the following:

“Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“’Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!’ cries she
With silent lips. ‘Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!’”

My port of entry to the United States was Denver Colorado. I have tried a few times to see the Statue of Liberty and for one reason or another it never came to be. Perhaps because you’re so generationally far removed from your own immigration and status as a refugee you’re unable to understand the hope and happiness the engraving on the Statue of Liberty has for so many.

Maybe you’re just trying to put food on your table and keep a roof over your head. Maybe you’re feeling as frustrated with the system as I am. That’s okay. But however you feel and whatever your circumstances are, these do not excuse insensitivity, meanness and selfishness. So, please, do yourself and others a favor, because one day you might be in similar circumstances, have some compassion and kindness for others. And be a better you.

Peace, love and being the change you want to see in the world.

He Also Said “I love you.”

criticizing
controlling behavior
sprained hand
broken house
won’t let me out of car

blocked door
stabbed things
choked out once to unconsciousness
while he strangled
me three times

broken toe
punctured car tire
three blows to the head
in the face twice
punched in the back in bed

name-calling
nose bleeding
black-and-blue eye
held at blade and point
of his knives many times

deep
dark red
knife cut
crying
gushing blood

he said
“We fight because you’re too masculine.”
“My mother hit me as a child.”
“If you tell people, you’ll be seen as a victim.”
“If you tell others, they’ll walk away and leave your life.”

and he casually issued
double suicide
death threats like
“Why shouldn’t I kill you first,
if I’m going to die?”
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