Category Archives: non-fiction

The End of A Local Landmark

I was saddened to learn today of the passing of a local institution, almost a landmark in the Portsmouth and Chesapeake area, one that holds many pleasant memories for myself and my first two children, as well as many others.

This was my weekend to have my little one, and in the course of playing Saturday night, she set up some play bowling pins from when she was a toddler, and pretended her dolls were bowling.  I mentioned her older sister (my two older children do the same, and also refer to their mother’s children by her second marriage as sisters) was a duckpin bowling champion, and she voiced the desire to try the game herself, and I offered to take her to Victory Lanes.

I checked online, and it appeared to be open today, although when I called, I received a recording saying the number was not valid.  Deciding to take a chance, we drove there, and although the van for children’s league was in the parking lot, the building was closed. Not wishing to disappoint my little girl, I took her to Funville indoor playground instead, where she was able to run and play.  She was happy to go, but stated she would really have liked to see if she was anywhere near as good as her older sister.

My first two children both participated in the chldren’s duckpin league at Victory Lanes throughout their stay in Virginia.  It was initially done as an activity – the sort of regular thing that all children can benefit from – and despite some initial reluctance, they both blossomed under the instruction of Mr. Askew, the children’s duckpin league coordinator.  Under his tutelage, the both became excellent players, along with many of their team mates (although my oldest daughter was unquestionably one of, if not the, best among them). Simply put, they became kick-ass duckpin bowlers.  There wasn’t enough room on their bowling shirts for more patches, no more room for their trophies.  They met many fascinating and fun people, got to compete in a friendly atmosphere in a skill-based sport.

In 2002, Mr. Askew passed away.  The league at Victory Lanes were determined to honor his memory, and set about bowling their way to the National Championship, becoming almost unstoppable, leading at least two teams and both my daughters to the final competition.  My oldest daughter led her team in many of the achievements, and the team dedicated their win to the memory of their teacher.

I have only fond memories of the man, and the many lessons he imparted.  My first two were the age my little one is now when they first began bowling, and formed friendships that would last many years, ones that spanned race, gender, and even sexuality.  The only thing that mattered, was they were all part of the same team, and it was a lesson that was learned through the easy interaction and the bonds of team competition.

Sadly, duckpin bowling seems to be a dying sport in this country, and that is a shame.  It has so much to offer to children and adults, both socially in an entertainment value.  It is an indoor sport that does not involve hard impact on the body, and is just plain fun.  Whether a victim of the pandemic, or a move toward more home-based electronic entertainment, places like Victory Lanes are a dying breed, and that is a cause for regret.  For me, it came as a reminder of how quickly things change, and how precious our memories really are.

Until next time,’

Namaste

Writing Excerpt – Valentine’s Day

The following is a writing excerpt from the first draft of my upcoming non-fiction work, much of which consists of private journal entries going back to the origins of my last relationship to the current day.

Valentine’s Day.  Those that know me well, know I used to be the romantic type.  I enjoyed surprising both my significant other and my daughters with reminders of how much they mean to my life, buying them gifts and taking them on adventures.  These days, however, this day only serves as a reminder of how much I have lost, of how willing my ex-wife was to tear apart our family and bring false allegations against me in order to steal away my little one.  As much as I do not want to think about it, my mind keeps turning to fact she is likely having a romantic weekend with the ghetto trash for which she went to the effort of causing so much pain to others. The injustice of this cannot be escaped, no matter how much I attempt to distract myself.  Worse, it comes with the knowledge I will never again know the pleasure of an intimate embrace, never feel my arms around a woman as I pass into sleep, will never have that empty room in my heart filled.  The realization of how much my life has been changed by the abuse I suffered, of how much it has changed me as a person, are not pleasant thoughts, and haunt me every day of my life, this day in particular.

Valentine’s Day will never be the same for me again.  Then again, nothing has been the same ever since I discovered the true extent of Michelle’s cheating, the depth of her evil intentions, and the lengths she would go to lie. Had I not been through some of the previous traumas I have experienced, I would be able to heal faster from the physical damage I experienced, but that, combined with the effects of the abuse on my immune system and general health, has all but destroyed my body’s natural healing ability, as well as my immune system.

This is bad, but nothing compares to the emotional wounds, which are fresh today as the day they were inflicted.  I have doubt I will live long enough to heal from those cuts to my emotional self, for they take longer to recover from than mere physical damage, as any victim can attest.  The combination of both – with a world pandemic thrown in the mix – has made even the simplest aspects of my life more difficult

I don’t say these things out of self-pity; it is merely an expression of truth, of how I feel, and the events which inspired them.  This negative emotional connection is now associated with so many days of the year, including all the holidays, but the fourteenth day of the month is especially hard.  November 14th is my former wedding anniversary, April 14th my ex-wife’s birthday, and then there is today.  Even after more than three years, the wounds are as fresh now as they were then.

Don’t get me wrong; I don’t disparage others who are capable of enjoying this holiday, but for me, it appears it will forever be a reminder of everything that has happened and continues to happen to me as a result of abuse.  I no longer believe a normal relationship is possible in my life, and even if it is, it is not worth the risk of encountering another narcissist in my life.  This is the extent to which such toxic relationships can affect the victim, and I will always encourage anyone involved in one to get out while they can, lest they suffer possibly life-changing – or even life-ending – consequences.

A Narcissistic Christmas

Another Christmas.
It would have been at least somewhat pleasurable, despite the memories this and all holidays now instill in me due to the narcissistic abuse I suffered for a decade. I got to spend some time with my little one, and even though I have an extremely limited income (most going to my abuser, more salt in the wound twice a month, and a reminder of how little justice there is in our court system), I managed to get a fair collection of presents for my daughter. She was delighted to get them, and I enjoyed watching her open her gifts, one of the few pleasures I have left in this world. Had I been left alone, the holiday would have at least have had some moments untarnished by the effects I live with every day.
But of course, one of the many trademark behaviors of a narcissist is that they cannot let holidays or other special occasions pass without attempting to control the emotional reactions of their former and present victims. This behavior can range from the obvious, to the very subtle and sublime. In the case of my ex-wife, it takes the form of the latter, usually disguised as ‘friendly communication’, texts that are sent to your phone intended for ‘someone else’, and other actions that would appear innocent to those who are ignorant of narcissists, or of the particular person in question. I get to deal with both, and know the true purpose behind such – reminders of the pain, of the discard, and the ghetto rat my family was torn apart for.
Case in point, when they send you ‘innocent’ pictures of holiday gatherings, with subtle or not so subtle objects in the background. To an outside observer, this may seem accidental, but make no mistake: the narc knows exactly what they are doing. I know I should expect such behavior, and do what I can to avoid it by not engaging, but I cannot completely avoid contact, as we share a child. Even after three years, such things stab deep, and bring with it all the normal reactions I have when faced with betrayal, cowardice, and a complete lack of honor or even common sense. After all this time, the wounds still feel fresh, and likely will for as long as I continue to feel the effects, physical, emotional, and financial, that was inflicted on me by a such a creature. This will in all likelihood be for the remainder of my time here on earth, and I cannot stress to anyone dealing with these sociopaths the importance of getting out while there is still time, for the damage can be severe, even life-altering. Should they gain a foothold to the point where you become a victim, nothing and nowhere is safe. Nothing is sacred, from the vows of marriage, to the smallest of traditions or pleasures. Do yourself a favor, and get them out of your life.
Otherwise, your life could be tainted forever.