Tag Archives: Personal strength

Why Lily White

English: Lily in garden

Image via Wikipedia

The term Lily White has a long and ugly past as it applies to American history and its culture.

Specifically, the term Lily-White Movement, as defined by Wikipedia, was an anti-civil-rights movement within the Republican Party in the United States in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The movement was a response to the political and socioeconomic gains made by African-Americans following the Civil War and the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which eliminated slavery.  Black leaders gained increasing influence in the party by organizing blacks as an important voting bloc. Conservative white groups attempted to eliminate this influence and recover white voters who had defected to the Democratic Party.

“The lily white movement is one of the darkest and underexamined eras of US Republicanism.”

This movement is largely credited with driving blacks out of the Republican party during the early 20th century, setting the stage for their eventual support of the Democrats.

In essence, the movements goal was to suppress the votes (or in my opinion, the VOICE and Validity) of Black Americans.

As I began to speak up and speak out about a problem that touches far to many lives I realized pretty quickly that most people didn’t want to hear about the reality of the problem. It almost seemed as though the words I spoke offended a falsely innocent view of american culture and the violence that is going on in american children’s lives at the hands of adults, usually the adults that are closest to them.

A few definitions from around the web:

Defined by Double-Tongued.org

1.) Lilywhite

n. a person without a police record; someone who does not trigger suspicions; a clean-skin.

This particular definition is the one that solidified my decision to use the term as the Pseudonym I would blog under. I started blogging specifically because the subject of Childhood Sexual Abuse, a subject that has recently and violently thrust itself into mine and my family’s life, was one that seemed to offend the public so much so that even as a victim/survivor, speaking about any aspect of the issue is highly frowned upon publicly. As I understood it, if I wanted to speak up, if I wanted to talk about this issue, it would have to be done privately and somewhat UNDER THE RADAR, so to speak.

The bottom line is, MY VOICE WON’T BE SILENCED. I WON’T CONFORM AND SHUT UP. But like many things, sometimes the best approach is one that is the least abrasive, for the moment at least.

I have quoted Dr. King many times before on this blog. Here are some that have resonated with me:

He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
The hottest place in Hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.
Martin Luther King, Jr.

TheFreeDictionary.com

2.) lil·y-white (ll-hwt, -wt)

adj.

1. White as a lily.
2. Beyond reproach; blameless.
3. Informal Excluding or seeking to exclude Black people.
lily-white

adj

1. (Fine Arts & Visual Arts / Colours) of a pure white lily-white skin
2. Informal pure; irreproachable
3. US informal

a.  discriminating against Blacks a lily-white club
b.  racially segregated

Adj. 1. lily-white – restricted to whites only; “under segregation there were even white restrooms and white drinking fountains”; “a lily-white movement which would expel Negroes from the organization”

white

segregated, unintegrated – separated or isolated from others or a main group; “a segregated school system”; “a segregated neighborhood”

2. lily-white – of a pure white color.

achromatic, neutral – having no hue; “neutral colors like black or white

 

Yourdictionary.com

3.) lily-white

adjective

white as a lily

innocent and pure; unsullied: often used sarcastically

practicing discrimination against, or segregation of, nonwhites, esp. blacks

 

White Washing or White Washed has a specific meaning as well and I found would be appropriate to be included into the Pseudonym.

To white wash something would be To conceal or gloss over (wrongdoing, for example).

The biggest problem with CSA is the refusal of adults to acknowledge that there is a problem at all.

This post is a work in progress and may be revised…

 

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Tomorrow Won’t Be the Same As Yesterday

image It was painful to read this article as it parallels my own life so closely. Its a short read bit worth the time.

The news took me by surprise. This wasn’t just my house, this was my home. I lived there my whole life, & it was being taken away from me. My whole life was being taken away, and I had no idea what to do to stop it from happening. What was I going to do about school? I was in my Senior year and already missed two weeks of school. What about my friends? The ones I grew up with since I was four years old. What about my life? The one I’ve grown used too, the one that I couldn’t imagine living differently.

http://www.divinecaroline.com/22062/121835-tomorrow-won-t-yesterday

https://lilywhitewash.wordpress.com/2011/12/14/the-reality-what-was-actually-lost/

https://lilywhitewash.wordpress.com/2011/07/08/digital-detention-2011-has-finally-come-to-an-end/

https://lilywhitewash.wordpress.com/2011/06/29/tech-no-crisis/

https://lilywhitewash.wordpress.com/2011/06/10/destination-unknown/

https://lilywhitewash.wordpress.com/2011/06/09/life-filed-away-into-boxes/

https://lilywhitewash.wordpress.com/2011/05/22/theres-no-place-like/

https://lilywhitewash.wordpress.com/2011/05/05/topic-117-pick-something-you-dont-like-and-choose-to-accept-it/

https://lilywhitewash.wordpress.com/2011/04/29/theres-no-place/

https://lilywhitewash.wordpress.com/2011/04/29/refugee/

https://lilywhitewash.wordpress.com/2011/03/20/the-sins-of-the-ones-we-love/

https://lilywhitewash.wordpress.com/2011/03/06/if-you-have/

Lessons of Failed Relationships

image

Plinky prompt:
Share a lesson you wish you had learned earlier in life.

Every failed relationship you have ever had is your fault.

I’m not saying that you were the reason your ex cheated, absolutely refused to work, or was abusive… but you chose that person to be your partner – potentially unaware of the ‘type’ of person he or she was, and remained in that relationship up to a certain point… that point was when you learned your lesson.

… think about your last relationship, and why it ended…. There was something there that you just would not accept… and because of that, your relationship came to an end. Something else happened, though… you became smarter.

Bravery is Beautiful

The image above is the property of The Star Online

Check out this astounding young ladys blog. Her story is heartbreaking. Her bravery is remarkable and her resolve to inspire change is heroic.

http://sacrilegeofthegoddess.wordpress.com/

She is a warrior in my opinion, fighting to bring awareness to an epidemic of injustices suffered by children across the world. She fights not with her fists, but her body, in beautiful dance. A dance to bring awareness to the problem of childhood sexual assault. My message to her is to stay strong. You have an amazing opportunity to inspire change and bring awareness. Who knows how many young lives will be changed for the better through your stories and sharing your dance. Though I’ve never met her, I feel a strong bond forged by similar stories we’ve endured. She’s a warrior for the young and innocent. I admire her strength and send her much love and respect.

You can also read more about her mission and her story from The Star Online.

http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2011/12/29/nation/10167925&sec=nation

The Revolver- Look Closer Edition by David from Raptitude

http://www.raptitude.com/2011/07/the-revolver-look-closer-edition/

At the beginning of American Beauty, just as Lester Burnham is beginning is spectacular breakdown, the movie’s tagline can be seen behind him, pinned to the wall of his cubicle. A little white sticker reads, “Look closer.”

Photo by: Senscience
http://www.raptitude.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/roundabout.jpg

Another GREAT Post from David @ Raptitude…

Another GREAT Post from David @ Raptitude…

I can’t say this enough times, Raptitude is an amazing website full of well thought out and elegantly written posts that, if you give yourself the time to read, has the potential to a enhance your quality of time spent on this watery rock called Earth.

I will be sharing a link to his posts often but i encourage anyone who reads this to bookmark Raptitude and subscribe to the rss feed.


photo by: David Cain and the Raptitude website

The link:

The internet allows us to share a brain, sort of. You have an idea, or an understanding, and now it can be anyone’s, with no need to get a  publisher to agree that it’s worth sharing. If that idea changes the way someone lives, that change can change the way someone else lives, and that’s all culture is. Twenty years ago this medium wasn’t a part of our lives, and now we’re influencing each other at an astonishing rate. This is evolution.

http://www.raptitude.com/2011/07/the-revolver/

Molesters versus The Sex Lab

http://www.postandcourier.com/news/2011/jun/06/molesters-versus-sex-lab-controversial-testing-tec/

Molesters versus the sex lab: Controversial testing technique a key to stopping child abusers
BY GENE SAPAKOFF
gsapakoff@postandcourier.com
Monday, June 6, 2011

It is another disturbing and productive day inside William Burke’s modest Summerville office. A photo of a scantily clad little boy pops up on a laptop, followed by a picture of a bound and gagged young woman.

The Visual Sexual Preference test images keep coming, one as innocent as a girl in a one-piece swimsuit —department store catalog stuff —and the next something way more sordid.

Burke explains that his clients, many of them prisoners, must watch carefully before the exam is over.

“The first time, you just see the slides,” Burke says, nodding at the screen. “The second time, you have to rank them on a scale of 1-7 by how sexually interested you are in them or how disgusted you are. So I guess you get the idea on how that works. Later, we can go down the hall.”

Down the hall is the Sexual Arousal Lab. ‘We’re testing someone right now,’ Burke says.

Inside a 12-by-12-foot room, a shackled and handcuffed man let out of an Upstate jail for the day is viewing a series of 27 photos —with a state-of-the-art plethysmograph firmly attached.

An armed guard stands watch as the device —essentially a penile polygraph —measures arousal.

There is audio too. For instance, the voice of a man who has spotted a boy in a camp shower room.

Burke, 53, has been using the plethysmograph (or PPG) and other innovative ways of preventing child abuse since 1996. Not everyone endorses the technology in use at more than 100 testing facilities in the U.S.; results are challenged in court, and a Lowcountry judge once dubbed him a ‘witch doctor.’


Photo by Wade Spees This prisoner is undergoing a sex-offender test in William Burke Summerville office.

But this facility and Burke’s other offices in Columbia and Lexington are South Carolina’s primary stops for the risk assessment, treatment and supervision of sex offenders. Law enforcement officials, South Carolina’s volunteer Guardian Ad Litem staff and the Department of Social Services have Burke on speed dial.

A few of his current 300 clients come voluntarily for treatment. He gets referrals each week from men —or their workplace HR offices —seeking help with Internet pornography addiction. But roughly 80 percent of Burke’s work, he says, involves men who have sexually abused children.

Goal: Stop them.

“Our assessments are very thorough and they meet the standard of care, which dictates the kind of instruments you should be using,” Burke says.

Sometimes there are interruptions.

The phone rings.

‘Excuse me, I have to take this call,’ Burke says with a sudden frown.

Another crisis.

“Of course, our first interest is always the safety of the children, and what you’re telling me is bad enough,’ Burke tells the caller. ‘But if video has been put on the Internet, uh, that’s taking it to a whole different level.”

Risk assessment

The Czechoslovakian army, of all institutions. It christened the PPG during the 1950s ‘Cold War.’

‘They wanted to test guys trying to avoid military service by claiming to be gay,’ says Burke, a Rock Hill native who received psychology and clinical counseling degrees at The Citadel and a PhD in counseling at South Carolina.

The PPG has been in use in the U.S. since the 1980s. Burke’s Canadian-made Limestone Preftest model features straps that measure phallic size increases by blood flow as patients are exposed to photos and/or recordings. The data shows up on computer graphs in an adjacent room.

The Visual Sexual Preference test and Abel Screen also are included as part of a basic Burke assessment, which lasts from eight to 14 hours spread over one or two days. The Abel Screen is an evaluation concept with more than 1,000 questions and 340 slides aimed at categorizing and correlating sexual arousal.

The PPG test is Burke’s pride and joy.

“The most exciting thing for us is the stimulus material and how that has evolved,” he says.

Burke played a role in that development, by accident.

“Up until two or three years ago, what a person would listen to in the laboratory was a male monotone voice telling a story about sexual behavior,” Burke says, “and the response rates were not that great. By that I mean we positively identified, say, a person aroused by a rape scenario only about 58 percent of the time. Now it’s over 90 percent.”

Charleston-based FBI agent Cynthia McCants mentioned to Burke that often when computers were seized from pedophiles, the evidence discovered was not visual but audio versions of victimized children.

“That got me thinking,” Burke says.

He approached a talent agency in search of kids. Parents were informed and signed waivers. The child actors were given scripts.

“We would have them say things that had nothing to do with sexual behavior,” Burke says. “Like a scenario with a lady walking her dog, and you want to pet the dog but you are a little nervous and you ask, ‘Can I touch it?’ We clip that sound out and drop it into a story of a guy in the camp shower with a 10-year-old.”

The child voices have been echoing in Burke’s office, and other PPG facilities around the country, since 2006.

“I have difficulty saying this because it sounds so outrageous,” Burke says in a hushed tone. “But on average we had 200 percent or greater levels of (phallic) response in the laboratory to the voices of the children. That is cutting edge and that’s really cool to be a part of.

“Now, the false positive identification rate is next to zero. It’s just not going to happen. There are just too many safeguards for that.”

Burke stresses that his role is not to decide guilt or innocence, but to make risk recommendations. He does pre-trial assessment, offers second opinions and sometimes first opinions.

“If a man accused of molesting his stepdaughter is brought in and tests positive for arousal to young girls,” Burke says, “I will suggest he not be allowed back home.”

It goes beyond ‘gotcha.’

Burke also monitors and treats patients. Some are on probation. Some are awaiting trial.

There are no “typical” cases in this line of work.

“A lot of folks come in and say they didn’t do it,” Burke says. “Well, OK, we’ll start there. We have our interviewing and a variety of tests.

“Say someone has been accused of molesting a couple of boys and he denies it. I get a history from him and then we put him in the Sexual Arousal Laboratory and, lo and behold, he’s aroused by little boys, and after the test I say, ‘Hey, you’re aroused by little boys.’

“Sometimes that’s enough for them to say ‘I did it. And maybe I need some help.’ If that’s enough, we polygraph them to find out more information.

“It’s not guilt or innocence. But if I’m responsible for whether or not somebody is going to be released into the community, or if a judge is going to take my recommendation and report, I have to know what I’m dealing with.

‘I’m not going to be able to sleep at night if I think I’ve played a part in somebody dangerous getting out.”

‘A witch doctor’

Burke and fellow PPG lab managers —including Burke-trained R. Gregg Dwyer at MUSC —have fans, and critics.

“He does a phenomenal job,” said Micky Talley, agent in charge of the Dorchester County Probate, Parole and Pardon Services. “I don’t think we could supervise the sex offender population or do our job without Dr. Burke. It certainly helps reduce recidivism,” which is repeating previous bad behavior.

PPG testing is a condition of Dorchester County sex offenders on probation and parole. Talley and Burke meet regularly to go over test results and compliance.

Charleston County Assistant Solicitor Debbie Herring-Lash likes the PPG concept too.

“It helps (defendants) be able to go into court and admit it,” she said. “They’re going to get out of prison eventually, and sometimes it helps to be able to have treatment after they have served their sentence.”

Among his court roles, Burke offers expert testimony and participates in parole revocation hearings and sentencing phases.

His recommendations have been challenged.

“I’ve had a judge look me in the eye in a courtroom full of people and say, ‘I don’t think you’re any better than a witch doctor and I don’t believe any of this,’?”Burke says.

Some defense attorneys consider PPG testing “Orwellian.” Expensive too —$2,200 per test, at least (initially billed to those tested). British Columbia last July established a moratorium on PPG testing of youths. Fresh and objective studies on the disputed device and recidivism are hard to come by.

But South Carolina’s Sexually Violent Predator act of 1998 has made the PPG more palatable here and in states with similar laws.

“Research says it’s the single greatest test of recidivism for child molestation, over any other factor,” Burke says, citing studies done by Canadian clinical psychologist, researcher and author R. Karl Hanson and different partners. ‘If you had one thing you could choose about who is going to re-offend, it’s going to be the PPG result.

“But, again, we don’t want to do these tests to say whether somebody did something or didn’t do something. Because it’s certainly possible that someone might have some arousal to kids and he didn’t do it.

“It’s certainly possible he did do it and it didn’t show up. I don’t think that’s a valid reason to use the test. It’s a risk assessment.”

Burke also gives each patient conventional polygraphs twice a year.

“Just by threatening a polygraph, offenders start admitting to having victims and a greater number of victims,” Burke

“Just by threatening a polygraph, offenders start admitting to having victims and a greater number of victims,” Burke says.

Not everyone is cooperative. Some Burke patients have thrown PPG devices against the wall and attempted to flee —hence the armed guards for those incarcerated. And the off-duty police officer on hand for group therapy meetings.

Once, a patient tried to corner a female therapist. Burke has been the victim of a bomb threat.

“Another guy was beating on the door of my house at 2 a.m.,” he says. “Sometimes when we say, ‘I’m sorry, we don’t think you should have access to your children,’ people get really mad.”

Anti-fake technology

You want no part of this chair, or anything attached.

The PPG fits around the penis.

A respirator monitors breathing patterns.

When you feel like squirming —and you will —a motion detector in the seat picks up every wiggle.

This afternoon, the shackled male is well into the PPG series of 27 “trial challenges.”

The first part of the test includes nude images of adult women and adult men in hopes that there is some response. No other nude photos are used.

“One way of looking at it is that if there is no arousal to nude adults but there is arousal to a kid in a bathing suit, that’s significant information,” Burke whispers as he observes the process from an adjacent room.

In each trial challenge, a photo appears for seven seconds.

Then a 90-second scenario.

Then six other photos related to the scenario.

Two of the challenges include ‘neutral’ stimuli, a skyscraper and furniture.

The entire test is videotaped.

“Just another way of measuring across the board,” Burke says.

But here comes trouble, the rape of a young girl at a desolate beach. She pleads. She weeps.

Then a scene in which a man beats his daughter for her apparent failure to pick up around the house.

The patient is restless.

The graph lines on the computer start moving.

“Unfortunately, he is getting aroused,” Burke says of the one-man captive audience.

This patient already has been through the Visual Sexual Preference exam, part of which includes an audio/photo scenario featuring an adult male preparing to molest a fourth-grade girl: “Why don’t you come sit with me on the couch.” “OK.” “Let’s snuggle up close so we can both see the book.”

Elements to prevent faking are built in. It’s hard to close your eyes or tune out photos when part of the drill is pressing a button whenever a picture changes or the audio gets violent.

“When you combine the tests together, the probability that you’re going to pick up whether or not someone has deviant arousal goes up to 96 or 97 percent. Which is valuable information,” Burke says. “If you just do one test independently, you’re in the low 70s.”

Ultimately, Burke says, the PPG lab is all about breaking down denial.

“Most guys deny, deny and deny. Most guys would rather say ‘I murdered my grandmother’ than admit that they have sexual fantasies about children,” he says.

“Often the only time we can get to that is through this process. That helps break down their denial, which helps us increase our ability to help them. Because sexual fantasy is the basis for 99.9 percent of all deviant sexual behavior.”

Reach Gene Sapakoff at 937-5593.

What to look for

Search for registered sex offenders in South Carolina:
icrimewatch.net/index.php?AgencyID=54575&disc=

Signs of sexual abuse

Consider the possibility of sexual abuse when the child:
•Has difficulty walking or sitting
•Suddenly refuses to change for gym or to participate in physical activities
•Reports nightmares or bedwetting
•Experiences a sudden change in appetite
•Demonstrates bizarre, sophisticated, or unusual sexual knowledge or behavior
•Becomes pregnant or contracts a venereal disease, particularly if under age 14
•Runs away
•Reports sexual abuse by a parent or other adult caregiver

Consider the possibility of sexual abuse when the parent or other adult caregiver:

•Is unduly protective of the child or severely limits the child’s contact with other children, especially of the opposite sex
•Is secretive and isolated
•Is jealous or controlling with family members

Childwelfare.gov, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

http://www.postandcourier.com/videos/2011/jun/06/1745/

http://bcove.me/adw2d5p3

SHATTER THE SILENCE



This Day…

This day will never happen again…


This is true for everyday. Maybe posting something about the good days will help me remember how blessed my family and myself truely are.
After all, its always easy to remember the crappy days. The key is… to help myself remember, and focus on more of the good days.

May 16, 2011
This day will never happen again…
Today was the first time I worked with my father. It was hard work, but not to hard. It was also very much of a relief that my dad got the contract to do the job. We have both been in need of work for quit some time. Granted, our individual circumstances for being in a “work drought” are vastly different, it matters little when work presents itself.
He’s pretty easy to work for. As a laid back and easy going guy, hard work just doesn’t seem as hard as it could be. More importantly, I had the great fortune to see my dad smile more than he has in a while. He thought he would get me back for all the times I’ve taken pictures of him. Often sneak snapshots of him doing silly stuff, like the day I was fortunate enough to have my camera ready, just in time to catch him doing a dorky dance while leaving the pool house and on the way around the pool to where we were all sitting. He was trying to make us laugh. We did. Then I was able to make him cringe with a sneak snapshot.
So, guess who was the pic taker today….



On the long drive back from pawleys island this is the picture message I got. Ugh, he got me! No, I wasn’t doing a dumb dance, I was doing “BOY” work. Ugh, double ugh. Oh the humility of femininity demished and caught on film. I’m gonna wear extra lipgloss today, lol, to recuperate.

Nobody said it was easy. But no one ever said it would be this hard.

I’m going back to the start

Parents Helping Parents

http://parentsupportforchildsexualabuse.com/default.aspx

Omg, if only I had known of this websites existence a year ago, six months ago, yesterday. My God. I don’t feel completely alone in my tortured feelings and emotions. One of the first threads I came across had a response that was written on the page as though it was my own personal dialogue downloaded directly from my brain and displayed in in black and white, my language, a font that my browser can understand. This is the post I read from someones brain that has heard my thought.

I find that CSA is the “gift that keeps on giving”. It ruins you emotionally, psychologically, physically, financially. We are approaching the 1 year mark since my daughter’s disclosure. It is “easier” than last year. It is “easier” than 6 months ago. I still feel the sadness, rage, disillusionment and every other feeling I’ve had, but it is not every day. There are good days, lots of them and often many in a row. Then there are the bad days. While I don’t believe it will ever go away, I do see that it gets better. Hang in there, you are in my thoughts.

Omg, I’m not alone!

Awesome Moments

I just love the 1000awesomethings blog. I think I’ll start my own list. My search for lifes awesome moments are sure to be little treasures as each are discovered. Likewise, I can only hope for some long term “positive outlook” benefits.

In the mean time, anyone interested in lifes “SCHWEEEEET” lil moments, you can check out 1000Awesomethings website at:

http://1000awesomethings.com/

Though I’ve read many of this sites awesome things, I figured I would share the one that inspired me to start my own list of LIFES AWESOME MOMENTS!

http://1000awesomethings.com/2011/04/28/256-when-the-bass-kicks-in/

What you did is not okay! And I am staying depressed to prove it! | Psychology Today

“What you did is not okay! And I am going to be depressed to prove it!”Nobody wants to be depressed! Or do they? If you have suffered depression, you might be aware of the irrational part of you that objects to letting go of depressed feelings. In depression people are more inclined to feel the unfairness of life.

http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/depression-management-techniques/201105/what-you-did-is-not-okay-and-i-am-staying-depressed-pro

Beer Bottle Caps Wanted

I am increasing aware of how difficult it’s gonna be to save the amount of beer bottle caps it will take to make the pixel picture art I want to make.

This is an official SOS (send out supplies) call for help. If anyone, anywhere happens to have a stash, be it small or super size, that they’d be willing to part with, your donatation would be put to good use. Not to mention that I would also be forever grateful of your generosity. SO PLEASE, ANYONE AND EVERYONE…SEND ME YOUR BEER BOTTLE CAPS!

Just comment that you’re interested and I’ll tell ya where to send them : )

Oh, and wish me luck. When I finish the piece I will post pictures and the names of any contributors that helped make it happen. (Any contributions/contributors that wish to remain anonymous will be noted only as anonymous.)

SO GRAB A COLD ONE AND ENJOY, AFTER ALL, IT IS SUMMERTIME…FOR THE LOVE OF ART

Refugee

We got concert tickets as soon as we found out Tom Petty was coming to the coliseum. As the date for the concert grew closer so did my contractions. August 15, 2003, the night of the concert, I knew for certain that my size and irregular contractions wouldn’t allow for me to go to a concert I desperately wanted to go to. Danny took my place next to my husband and reported his enjoyment afterward. They had a blast.

My 3rd child was born less than a week later. Kieran Emily Sumpter came into the world on a very stormy August evening. The lightening was so intense that it knocked the power out, on the labor and delivery floor for as far as I could tell, just briefly until the backup generators kicked on. The only thing that was left unrestored in my delivery room was the machine that monitors heart rate and contractions. It wasn’t long before I was in more pain than I’ve ever been in in my life. My epidural drip had run dry. Next to me was a gentleman who was working tirelessly to restore the HR/contraction monitoring machine that would have validated my pain had it been functional. He never did get it back up and running before my daughter made her grand appearance. Much like the anesthesiologist who never made it back around to my room in time to refill my empy epidural drip. My 3rd child, 2nd daughter and 1st natural child birth all occured the same day, August 21st, 2003. Though I had given birth to two children previous to her, I had never experienced such pain in my life. It was foreign to me, and scary. I kept saying… I’ve already had two children and I didn’t feel like this. Somethings wrong. I’m ripping in half. Please help. I was wrong in that nothing was wrong at all, it was what women had felt while giving birth for all of humanity up till recent and the marvels of modern medicine had unveiled this wonderful little thing called anesthesia.

The song Refugee by Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers is a song me and my husband held close to our heart. It was a song we cranked up loud and sang the hell out of when it came on the radio. It was a favorite we played on our home stereo via cd. We sang it word for word, loud as possible and probably even more hideous than loud.

Its a song that I haven’t been able to listen to without crying, and I mean the ugly kind of crying to. The kind of crying that you should hide your face from any onlookers due to the painful contortions ugly crying cause your once pretty little face to be mangled into.

The words have recently sounded different to me. The lyrics mean something new. Not good new. Just new. It occurred to me that for the past year, my children and myself have been living very much the life of refugees and would like to be granted a much needed asylum. There’s no place like home, and for us, for now, homeless is where we are, and where we’ll be until we can find our way back. Back home.

Refugee

Writers: TOM PETTY, MIKE CAMPBELL By Tom Petty and Mike Campbell

We got somethin’, we both know it,
We don’t talk too much about it.
Yeah it ain’t no real big secret,
But somehow, we get around it.

It don’t really matter to me baby,
You believe what you want to believe,
You don’t have to live like a refugee.

Somewhere, somehow,
Somebody must have kicked you around some. Who knows why you wanna lay there and revel in your abandon.

It don’t make no difference to me, baby, Everybody’s had to fight to be free,
You see you don’t have to live like a refugee.

Baby, we ain’t the first.
I’m sure a lot of other lovers been burned.
Right now this seems real to you,
But it’s one of those things you gotta feel to be true.

Somewhere, somehow,
Somebody must have kicked you around some. Who knows? Maybe you were kidnapped,
Tied up, taken away, and held for ransom.

It don’t really matter to me, baby,
Everybody’s had to fight to be free,

“Refugee”