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Wounds Will Heal, But You’ll Never Be Over It

Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault

One out of every 6 females in the US are the victims of “attempted or completed sexual assault”.

I don’t want to speak for any other person, so please understand this is MY story and MY experience. I speak for myself only.

Sexual assault was just part of growing up. I was touched as a child both by other children and adults. some of that child to child interaction was based off of curiosity by both parties, but a portion was blatantly non-consensual on my part. I think we can all agree that any adult to child experience I had was nonconsensual and move on… 

My first sexual experience was heavy petting that went too far, which led to me saying no, no, no, please I’m a virgin, no….and then silence, which the other party took as consent, I’m sure. 

Without going into more triggering details, sexual assault was just another element of my human experience. I learned that: my boundaries didn’t matter, I was not protected by anyone around me, and I was only there for others to use as they pleased. I was an adult before I realized that many of these events were rape and sexual assault, but by then I was numb against the emotions that should have come with that revelation. 

I suffered through my 20’s with all that untreated trauma until I had enough and received years of various types of talk and group therapy. I finally had a hold of my life, true self esteem, better thought processes, healthier boundaries and saw myself elevating in most areas of my life. I could talk about past trauma and not be numb but healed. Or, so I thought. 

I pursued a career as a promoter and personality in the local hip hop scene. As a female, in a male dominated industry, it was a struggle gaining respect as a PERSON, let alone as a female. I know other women who slept their way into opportunities and refused to be seen as that. I kept my sexual relationships discreet and wore more conservative clothing. I wanted to be judged on my skills, not my sexuality. 

I was a few years in and on the right track when I started collaborating with another promoter in my city. He was married with children and kept things 100% business when we spoke. He let me put a few artists in different shows, gave me VIP meet and greet tickets to all of his, and in return, I would help promote and organize the show – whatever was needed.

There was one show where the artists I managed didn’t sell the amount of tickets we had promised. After the event ended, my friend and I were in the green room with this promoter. He asks, “So what happened with your artist?” I begrudgingly repeated the same excuse to him my artist had given to me. When I give my word it means a lot, and it’s never okay for an artist to not hold up their end of the agreement. As their manager, my name is on the line, too. The promoter asked my friend is she could let us talk. Without hesitation, she exits the green room, and I’m thinking he’s trying to save my dignity by bitching me out alone. 

But that’s not what happened. 

He locked the door and proceeded to try and put his hand up my knee length pencil skirt, rubbed his genitals on me, try to kiss me and “persuade” me to engage in sex right there on that green room couch. I somehow maneuvered myself away from him, unlocked the door and found my friend. 

“Let’s go outside I need to smoke RIGHT NOW,” I told her. She saw the urgency on my face and once outside asked what was going on. “Don’t ever leave me alone with him again, I almost got raped,” I told her in disbelief. She wanted to confront him but, in that moment,, I went into flight mode: it’s his word against mine, I had been drinking, I just started as a promoter and people will treat me different, it’ll just cause more issues than it’s worth. I convinced us both to just walk away from the moment, and I continued to work with this man. 

There had been more of a sexual tone with the promoter after that. He would compliment me at shows, grope my butt, suggest we do other sexual things. I would just laugh it off or joke about his behavior. Then he started taking away the privileges he had originally given me like VIP meet and greets and putting artists on events. I knew it was because he finally realized he wasn’t going to get sex from me and that was the only reason he had done it in the first place. I felt disrespected one night and angrily text him, “One day someone will Harvey Weinstein you and I will be there with a #metoo.” 

“Callie, I apologized to you. I don’t know what you want from me.” He admitted to everything.

He had never really apologized for anything specific; he once made a comment after reading a social media post of mine that made him feel guilty and said if he had done anything to offend me in the past, he apologized… right. 

I told a few people what happened. Some wanted to say something, and I told them not to. That time had passed, and it would be more of an ordeal that I wanted to deal with. Eventually, his wife found out and called me. She urged me to not go public because they were already suffering with family problems and she couldn’t handle that right then. I told her I had no plans to.

Another strong woman in the music industry had joined forces with this promoter, becoming the VP of marketing. She found out and called me. I told her the story. She apologized on his behalf for, “acting in a way I found disrespectful”, and said she understood why I was upset. At the end of the conversation, she added, “You know if you go public with this, it will ruin my career.” I was floored that she even said such a thing, that HER career was more important. 

Word got out to more people, but the majority of them saw this promoter as a way to elevate their career and chose to turn their head. I didn’t blame them; I mean I even continued to work for him after the violation. Why shouldn’t they? 

News about a popular DJ sexually assaulting a few ladies in the area broke. He was immediately fired and ostracized, forced to remove himself from social media and from the music scene as a whole. A few of these artists who knew about my situation and still continued to work with the promoter start using sexual assault as a way to get some pats on the back and social attention. 

“If any of you ladies ever experience this type of thing, let me know. There’s no room in the DFW music scene for men like that.” Yet this person talked to me about what happened in that green room and was a huge supporter of this promoter and reaped all the benefits that came with that. After a few more of these types made their stance against sexual assault, knowing full well that their icon was accused of such acts, from a woman they actually knew and worked with, and did nothing…  I reached the end of my give-a-fucks. 

I had to call these fools out. My wounds from past and current trauma were open and bleeding. I was once again unprotected, unable to ensure my personal boundaries were respected, and once again used by people who had no regards for my needs. I was being hurt by those in the music scene I had grown to consider a family. It made me hate doing the thing I love with all of my heart. I no longer wanted to be a part of something I helped build. I felt like I didn’t matter, and it cut me deep and wide. 

So, I came forward. 

“Do you see what she wears at events, though?”

“Callie gets so drunk, even I could have fucked her.”

“Why is she saying something NOW if it was that big of a deal?”

“She’s just clout chasing.”

Everything people say to minimize sexual assault were said, but this time it was about me. People chose sides and this promoter was doing bigger and better things than myself, so I wasn’t the popular choice. My own friends chose to continue to work with him although they let me know what he did wasn’t right. I met with him and told him I forgave him and moved along with my life. 

If I said that coming out about the situation didn’t hurt my career, I’d be lying. I felt a noticeable difference in the type of respect I got and by whom. It helped me see who a real supporter was and who was an opportunist. Some even stayed neutral with a stance I couldn’t be mad at. Eventually, we all moved on with our lives and it became a distant memory. 

I found it hard to be around some people. It was harder to trust, and I still did not feel protected. But I also became more self assured, less concerned with approval, and outspoken about what I will and will not allow. I took this as a growing experience and chose to focus on the positive. 

But I never fully healed. I’m no longer traumatized by the event itself and I have forgiven the promoter. The wounds I suffer are from the aftershock. The blatant disregard for the fact I was violated by those close to me. The turned heads of those that continued to work with him, even after knowing. Those who came out AGAINST me, defended him, or even said in so many words that I had deserved it. 

A very smart friend of mine told me, “People mostly don’t know what to do. This isn’t a cop out. Most women are the victims of abuse. Instead of standing together, they usually subconsciously are like – who is she to deserve more protection than me? And men are abusers- so they don’t want to say anything or bring attention, in case it falls back on them. People ain’t shit.”

Then she said something that inspired me to write this blog post: “You’re going to heal but never be over it. It hurts when we trust people and they violate it. I hope you never get immune to the feeling because it’s what makes you such an advocate.” 

I’m not even sure what alternative chain of events could have made any of this better. Saying something when it happened? Keeping it under wraps and going on with my life? Any scenario has its own bag of tricks. The only scenario that would have had a positive ending would be the one where he never locked me in that green room or ever tried to use me like a sexual object. He should have treated me as peer, like he does with the men in his circle. I can only hope that by speaking up, he was able hear the suffering he caused and was able to change. I just hope to let other women know they are not alone, that they find strength in telling their own stories, and heal by taking control of their narratives. 

Callie Dee

Thoughts of Me Will Rise With the Sun

He sent me a picture of the sun set. He knows I enjoy watching the sun rise and sun set, and as he witnessed the day turn to dusk and surrender into the night, he sent me something I loved to let me know I was on his mind. 

I smiled, and then I realized how powerful the relationship between the sun and my memory could be. 

No matter how near or far I am, every day he will see something I adore. Each night, while our closest star bursts into colors across the horizon, he’ll think of me as it slowly sinks into the abyss of night. And every morning, thoughts of me will rise with the Sun.

The Key to My Happiness

Growing up, I wasn’t much of a “girly girl” and found myself more comfortable around the male gender and masculine energy. I found the feminine energy types to be catty, two faced, and shallow, and I was bored by the chatter of most of the girls I found myself surrounded by. I played in the dirt, with toy cars, played video games, and generally enjoyed the company of the boys in my neighborhood and school. 

As I grew older, I understood the benefits of having friends of the female gender. One of my guy  friends had a long time girlfriend that quickly turned into a close friend, and I found them both to be my “best of friend” in their own, but equal, ways. I hustled and talked money with my guy friends, and did girls nights, discussed motherhood, domestic issues and relationship dynamics with their counterpart. Even though I felt I was fairly balanced with the feminine and masculine energies, my lady friends would always note how I seemed more like “one of the guys”. 

I was competitive, ambitious, decisive, self reliant and direct. I also displayed empathy, knew how to nurture those around me, and had a sensitive, selfless, creative and forgiving nature about me. The masculine side insured my survival, and the feminine side fostered my relationships. 

Somehow this “balance of energies” didn’t translate the same in romantic relationships. 

In love, I was an independent woman who didn’t need a man. When I saw something I wanted, I went for it. Gender roles were so 1950, and this Generation X/Millennial wasn’t afraid to pursue anyone I set my sights on. I could do anything a man could do, but better, and wasn’t afraid to peacock around reminding every one of my accomplishments. I was sexually liberated with a high libido, not conforming to societal rules on relationships. 

Being progressive seemed like a badge of honor to wear proudly, but I found myself in unfulfilling situationships that rarely went further than a causal sexual relationship with men who considered me just a friend they liked to fuck. Time and again I was sidelined while the high maintenance, superficial “girly” types of women were chosen for the position of girlfriend. 

WTF?

After years of repeating the same song and dance, I decided something had to change. 

First I had to admit that I did want a masculine man. I knew I didn’t want a “mama’s boy,” a man that was still influenced by and relied heavily on the help and care of his mother. I needed someone I highly respected and who earned the respect of his peers. I needed a man that knew what he wanted in life and was willing to go out and get it. I wanted to feel safe, secure, and cherished by a man that loved me. 

So what was turning the type of men I wanted away? 

They didn’t want “one of the guys” as a significant other. They wanted a woman in touch with her feminine energy. So I studied what it meant to be a woman in her feminine, practiced staying in my feminine energy, and allowed the men in my life to take the role of the masculine.

I started wearing playful dresses, showing the fullness of my breast, and accentuating the curves of my hips. I showed off my long legs and wore things that made my butt look good. I made sure my nails and toes were maintenance and polished, wore long lashes, and rocked bold red lipstick. My hair is long and goes past the small of my back, so I would make sure it was soft, clean, and either curled or straightened. Whenever I’d wear my hair in playful pigtails, I seemed to get a lot of compliments. When I walked into a room, all eyes turned to notice the goddess I embodied physically. 

My skin was soft to the touch, clean shaven, and I lavished myself in creamy lotions and scented oils. My secret was to drink plenty of water so that my skin never felt or looked dry or ashy. I invested in expensive perfumes and nice body sprays. If a suitor complimented me on a scent, I made sure to wear it whenever we were together. Smell triggers memories far better than most senses, and I wanted mine to be one he wouldn’t soon forget. I pampered the kitty, making sure she was clean, maintenanced, and ph balanced.  

Finally I let the man lead. He texted first, he asked me out, he planned and paid for the date. He made the first moves to kiss, hold hands, and to initiate intimacy. I let them chase and pursue me ,and I encouraged this behavior with words of affirmation and gratitude for doing so. I bragged less and made it a point to have no sense of competition in our interactions. I kept my voice and tone soft and flirtatious. 

I also kept strict boundaries and gave less grace. If a man behaved in a way I didn’t like, I let him know how it made me feel and explained how I expected to be treated in a soft and gentle manner. I’d repeat my affirmations to him as I would repeat them to myself. “The men in my life want to see me happy. They know how their actions effect me and are careful to treat me in a loving and respectful manner.” If this statement was beyond their realm of comprehension, I no longer allowed them to take up any more of my time. 

And most important of all, I did things that made me happy. I bought myself flowers, I scheduled time with close friends, I took vacations alone, and kept positive people who were also full of life around me. I lead a full and juicy life that did not include worrying about any man who didn’t see my value.

Before too long, staying in my feminine became second nature and the quality of my romances increased drastically. When I found that I could stay in my feminine with a man that was a natural in his masculine, the dynamic of our union was like that of a storybook romance. It was everything I had wanted, and more. The vulnerability I found in my feminine not only attracted the masculine, but it gave him cause to protect and cherish me, the very things I had lacked before and never knew I needed. 

Keeping myself in my feminine energy helped me discover the woman I desired to be. It balanced the relationship dynamic I longed for, and became the key to my happiness in finding love. I’m still an “independent woman” and I can still out hustle and out work most anyone. My core values as a woman are still the same, I just present myself differently to my romantic partner. I am the Ying to his Yang, I am goddess and he is god, I’m his Queen and he’s my King. My feminine energy gives me a power in life and love I never knew I had, and has helped my confidence in all areas of my life.

I challenge you to get in touch with your feminine energy and see what a difference it can make in your life and relationships. 

Here are some resources to help you on your path:

Adrienne Everheart

MJ Harris’ earlier YouTube videos are great

Esther Perel

Shelly Bullard

2020/2021: It’s Not You, It’s Me

At the end of 2019, I decided I’d had enough of being the “Fall Back Girl”, I had enough of emotionally unavailable men, and I was going to open myself up to healthier relationships that would lead to a long term partnership. I vowed to get out and date, date different types of men, and not fall into the same infatuation traps as before. I started reading different books on relationships and why we choose the way we do, listened to dating coaches, dating podcasts, and just generally expanded my mind to help me end the pattern of surface level relationships.

But, old habits die hard. 

A 6 year situationship came to an abrupt halt at the beginning of the 2020 pandemic. Years of friendship, intimacy, and mutual respect dissipated at my drunken request to be told he loved me. He was angry at the audacity of my request, and I was angry at his reaction. Over the years, he told me he loved parts of my body, but to actually love ME was out of the question. I left his home immediately, and we ceased to communicate any further. It left me emotionally damaged and beyond heartbroken. I knew this relationship wouldn’t turn into anything more than it was, but I also didn’t see it ending so harshly. It took months to get over.

And as rebounds go, I found myself entangled in a pandemic fling trying to get over my heartache. It was fun at first, but soon sizzled out when the outside opened. He wasn’t interested in a relationship, wasn’t interested in respecting my boundaries, denied our relationship in public, and gave more attention to potential conquests while trying to keep our regularly scheduled dick appointments on the low. I no longer was willing to sacrifice my own self worth for a smidge of attention, refused to repeat the mistakes of my past, so I went along my way. Of course, I had to come back a couple times to make sure it wasn’t going to work. Every encounter was less appealing than the one before until I was finally DONE. We parted friends, at least, and less of my time was wasted than the situation before, so I felt like that was growth.

Emotionally starved and a sucker for romance, I was perfect prey for my next lesson, the love bombing, covert narcissist. I was well read on this bag of red flags, but I still fell for the future faking, fast moving, depth of a kiddie pool “love” of an emotional manipulator who was AT LEAST more than willing to claim me. At first, it was everything I had dreamed of. Like a drug, dopamine surged through my veins, high on the positive attention, words of affirmation, and the accomplishment of being “chosen.” I was on top of the world. But also like a drug, the floor came out from beneath me. I found myself in the depths of the anxiety ridden despair of a dishonest, secretive partner who was unwilling to align his actions with words, and who would switch from adoration to contempt without rhyme or reason. I rode the highs and lows of this emotional rollercoaster until my self respect could take no more. I gathered the scraps of what dignity I still possessed and removed this toxic tumor holding space in my life. I had finally learned to get out sooner than later, so I was proud I spent months versus years with someone who would inevitably end up being nothing to me but a mistake.

A friend of mine asked me why I kept repeating the same cycles over and over with men. Different dude. Same shit. At some point I had to face the fact that I was just as responsible for getting into these relationships, so what’s wrong with ME?? 

And then it hit me: in my core, I didn’t believe I deserved it. I had a life built on trauma responses and triggers. I didn’t NEED a man, I just WANTED one. If I let them get too close, they’ll leave me like everyone else had. They’ll realize I have flaws and it will be too much. Or worse, I’ll realize they have flaws, and it will be too much. I had loose boundaries, I gave way too much grace, and I wanted to believe the best in people. I saw the red, and sometimes pinkish red, flags and thought they could be turned to green with the right motivation and support. I believed people have the ability to change, even if they didn’t see the need to. I had to reestablish the value I saw in myself, build boundaries like Fort Knox, and quit being so understanding of bad behavior. I deserved the best and that’s all I was wiling to accept.

It was time to be 100% open and honest about my recent situations. No sugar coating, no excuses for the bad behavior, no fear of embarrassment for being that dumb girl, no hiding the fact that I allowed myself to act out of character over some guy. I told my therapist, if a friend asked I was truthful, and most of all I was honest to myself. I surrounded myself with respectable women in healthy relationships and kept a “What Would *respectable lady* do/say” mentality. 

I got sober so I could properly heal my wound instead of slapping a quick band aide on something that needed more extensive care. I found without the vice of alcohol, I wasn’t as easily persuaded into a sexual situation. My boundaries became solid. I didn’t have the “I was drunk” excuse. Charm and good times no longer replaced effort and intention. Disrespected boundaries were an immediate turn off. I quit idealizing, romanticizing, and constantly ruminating about these men who have shown me in every way they weren’t worth another thought.

I focused on things that made me happy and fulfilled. I continued my self development, spent time alone, got lost in my routines. I bought myself flowers, got my nails done, enjoyed a pedicure, and dressed in ways that made me feel beautiful. I went on lunch and dinner dates with friends, rebooted my podcast, and wrote poetry. I wrote and listened to positive affirmations, started a self care journal full of things that make me happy and set attainable goals. 

In a short amount of time, I saw growth in my career, my relationships, and my self respect. 

I’m dating again. This time, intentions are clear, effort is rewarded with my time and attention, and I’m content with a slower paced love story. It feels different because I am different. 

Thank you 2020/2021 and the relationships that came with you. I finally realized, it wasn’t you, it was me. 

-Callie Dee

Fused at the Wound

📸 by Drewlio Photo

Fused at the Wound
By Rick Belden

fused at the wound
is it love or is it addiction why not both
she knows tears + I know anger
together we almost made a whole person for a while fused at the wound.
but our little house of lies isn’t big enough to hold us now she won’t stand up for herself + I can’t stand up
for both of us at the same time anymore
so we ride the broken lover’s seesaw of staying + leaving
one foot in + one foot out
we dance in the kitchen like unloved children + wait
for fulfillment of old pain’s expectations.
so anxious to leave so anxious to be left so anxious to be right so anxious to be hurt so anxious to be disappointed
so anxious to be alone again.
when this whole thing started
I wanted us to be immersed in each other
I wanted us to fix each other
I thought that was what people were supposed to do
I don’t want that anymore I don’t need that anymore
but I still don’t know
how to love someone I don’t want to fix.

An Ode To Freedom

I invited him in

I gave him a home 

But he just could NOT

Leave the others alone.

I chose him to love

To provide domestic bliss

While he added admirers

To a really long list

I was no longer special,

Like he once had said. 

He sent them the words 

He used in MY bed. 

I invested in his passion,

Helped him reach goals. 

He devalued my efforts

And Devoured my soul.

I saw anger & rage

When I found him out. 

No accountability 

Just hurt followed by doubt.

I was warned of his ways,

And Ignored the red flags 

I can’t even count the times

I demanded packed bags

I was a ghost in his life,

Just there to be used

Then he’d flaunt my jealousy

His groupies, amused. 

Charm and charisma

He showed to the world 

But contempt and disgust

Dished out to his girl.

I walked out the door,

Because here’s the deal….

The man that I loved

Wasn’t even real. 

-Callie Dee

Soul Mates Are a Myth

Plato tells a story of a jealous Zeus, afraid the humans were too powerful, so he split the humans in two. As a result, humans walk the earth feeling like a part of them is missing, searching for their other half or their “soul mate”. When they find this person, their souls recognize each other, understanding that they belong together in order to be whole again.

Any hopeless romantic fantasizes about the day they meet this one true love. But how realistic is this fairy tale? Is there really ONE person that completes each of us, with the desire to search, find and love us each lifetime? 

There are 7 billion people on Earth. With social media, dating profiles, video calling and several modes of transportation, we are more connected than ever. We’re no longer limited to the social connections of school, work, church and our immediate neighborhood, town or friends group. People meet from across the world, fall in love and marry while others reconnect with High School crushes, finally achieving the connection they only dreamt of. Are some of us just looking in the wrong part of Earth for our other half?

We’ve all seen those people who have been able to find their “soul mate” and have what we would view as an ideal relationship. Then one partner dies while the other has more life to live. The surviving mate eventually finds another person they feel strongly about creates a life with their new partner that is just as good if not better than the first. Does that mean ONE person was not their TRUE soul mate? Or would that mean some of us humans are lucky enough to have multiple soul mates, while others are only limited to one? Who decides what a soul mate is and how many a person is allotted in a lifetime?

How many of us have felt strongly connected to a person unwilling to give us what we need, what we deserve, but continued fighting to keep the relationship together on the basis that they were our “soul mate”? I felt so deeply for my first love at the age of 20 that the thought of finding that type of connection with anyone else seemed impossible. I had convinced myself that he was THE ONE and that no one else could complete me the way he did. I stayed in a toxic and abusive relationship for years, gave him my best, loved him with all of me only to have him leave me for another woman. For years I found it impossible to feel so strongly for any other man. I questioned whether or not I got cheated, that my soul mate didn’t get the memo and I was destined to walk the Earth as only one half a soul. 

Eventually I found that spiritual like connection again, and not just once. Each different in their own way, but a deep connection nonetheless. Each relationship I experienced, whether a strong soul mate like experience or not, taught me more about myself, about life, and what I want my future to look like (or not look like) with a partner. And if I’m being honest, I’m not sure I’d change my journey if I could.

I had the chance to reconnect with my first love almost a decade after we split only to find out I had no feelings for him other than a deep appreciation for the lessons I learned. I’ve also had a high school crush confess their feelings for me years later only to realize there wasn’t a romantic spark after all. What I thought I wanted at 20 is not necessarily what I need at 25, 30 or 38.

I believe that it is unhealthy to idealize the myth of a soul mate. It’s time we normalize the fact that relationships end. 50% of marriages end in divorce, so how many love affairs do you think end as well? Instead of entering an agreement with someone thinking we are the best thing they’ll ever have and vice versa, know that you have to both work on a relationship to make it long term. There needs to be clear communication and expectations. More than likely, there will be hurt, even if the partnership lasts until death. More than likely both people will grow and change. Or even worse, one person will grow and one will not… It does’t mean we can’t enjoy the company of a person we’re attracted to. It doesn’t mean this person won’t serve a purpose in your life story. Be honest with yourself, be honest with them on what you want/need in love, set clear boundaries, AND ENJOY IT WHILE IT LASTS!!! 

We only live once. How sad would our stories be if we were only able to LOVE once? I, for one, hope to love as many times as I have the opportunity to. I prefer the notion that I am ALREADY whole, that finding someone I feel deeply for doesn’t make me any more of a person, and not having that connection doesn’t make me any less. When I’m on my death bed I’ll know that I gave my all to those I cared about, I loved with my whole being, created beautiful memories (and humans) with others, and have no regrets. That is more important to me than believing in the fictional fairy tale of “soul mates.”

Love: What Are You So Afraid Of?

The dreaded L word.

In today’s society it is common to guard our heart. Men “don’t want a relationship” and women take pride in NOT catching feelings. We don’t date to marry and in FACT, we don’t “date”. We hook up, but only long enough to get our fill. Then the minute someone catches feelings or asks to put a label on the relationship, the other party throws up their hands, repeats some trite rhetoric, and exits stage left claiming they don’t want to hurt you. What an empty existence.

I get it though. I had my experiences, loving someone that used me. Someone that put their hands on me, but because they “loved me” and I loved them, I stayed. I’ve loved someone only to grow bored with them and fall out of love. I loved someone so much I would have denounced all my beliefs just to keep them. You said that I have to believe the sky is pink to keep you, well MF THAT SKY IS PINK! I’ve loved beyond reason. 

Then once it’s over, we focus on all the bad things. We want to take back things we did and said because, in the end, they didn’t deserve it. Love caused us to experience excruciating pain, self doubt, and a lowered self esteem among other negative emotions. 

But what about all the good stuff? 

Remember when it was you and them against the world? For a time that person made you smile, just for the simple fact that they existed. They looked at you a certain way and your heart fluttered. When they touched you, it was electric. That person made you FEEL. For a moment in time you had an intimate human connection. You learned from them. They taught you about life, about yourself, and about love. Maybe it turned into what you DON’T want from life, yourself and love…either way you learned. 

I think we can all agree that sex with someone you love just hits different, literally and figuratively. There’s no one night stand or casual fling that can replace knowing someone’s body, trusting them enough to let go and venturing into new kinks whether with toys, position or role playing. When you love someone, sex is a spiritual experience. Also, regular morning sex. That part is pretty cool.

We live in an era where NOTHING lasts forever. If we all know this and accept it in every other area of our lives, why is love different? Why do we expect someone to commit to FOREVER when most marriages end in divorce? Why do we attach so much anger and hurt to something that is most likely going to happen? Everyone dies, does that mean we quit LIVING just to avoid a loss through death? Some might say that because they KNOW they will die eventually, they live MORE! How can we take this same outlook on love? I, for one, do not want to be on death’s door step and wish I had said those words, held someone in my arms and shared with them how much they made me smile. I’d hate to have someone’s life end before I had the courage to express (and accept) how special they are to me. 

I’m a different type. I love unconditionally and without expectations other than respecting my boundaries and treating me like someone of value. I give love even if its not returned in the way that I expect to receive it.  I’ll love someone enough to know that maybe they’d be happier with someone else, let them go, and cheer for their success. Do I set myself up for hurt? Sure. But a life without love is like food without spices, or art without color. It’s a story not worth reading. 

I challenge you to face your fears. Take a chance on someone. Get close, share moments and memories. Open yourself up to giving and receiving love. You never know when it might be your last chance to experience something so beautiful. Just do it.

Good Luck! -Callie Dee

Letter To the Next Target

A Letter to the Next Target:

In nearly every toxic relationship, there is another partner: the replacement. At first, this person is the main source of contention and hatred in your recovery journey. They are presumed to be the home-wrecker. They ran off happily with your soul mate, flaunting themselves all over Facebook for the world to see. You became the crazy, jealous ex. This person stole your dream.

But with time, you come to see that this person actually saved your life.
This is a letter for every “next target.” I’m not suggesting you send it to anyone. That wouldn’t accomplish a thing and would only serve to hurt you, pull you back in. But we all want to get to the point where we can write this letter, and I suspect we would all wish, in retrospect, that it was a letter we were sent.

Dear __________:
I cannot reach you directly, for it would only send me back into a world of insanity that I have no desire to revisit. But I can hope that you might come across this letter and learn that there are always two sides to every story. You have already been told one. Here is the other.

I hated you. I watched you run off with the love of my life, happily and shamelessly showing the world what you had done. It took me weeks to realize that the infidelity had been going on long before our relationship ended. It took me months to realize that my pain and tears were used as a device to manufacture your sympathy. And now it will take me years to recover from the insecurity that comes from being triangulated with another person.
But I do not hate you anymore. I fear for you.

Although we have different personalities, bodies, and spirits—when it comes to this relationship, we are no different.

You see, I once rode the high that you’re currently riding. I was the special one. The most beautiful, perfect, flawless partner in the world. I saved them from the pain inflicted by their last, crazy ex. I sympathized with them about how horribly they were treated. I was elated to be the one who finally made them happy after all of their alleged suffering. They were fascinated by me. They spent every waking moment texting me and showering me with attention.
Does this sound familiar?

One must wonder, in this short span of time, how I suddenly became crazy. Bipolar. Jealous. Needy. Clingy. Abusive. How did that happen? Is it really possible for a person to go from flawless to horrible in the blink of an eye? And furthermore, is it really possible that their previous ex was all of these things as well? And what about the ex before that?

The common denominator has become startlingly clear.
For so long, I punished myself. I truly believed that I deserved my pain. Something must be wrong with me, I thought, in order for them to run off into the sunset with another person. But then I realized, I was once that person. I was you.

And because of that, I understand that I can never save you from this nightmare. Victims of psychopaths cannot escape once they have been groomed. For the rest of your relationship, you will deny reality and invent reasons that you might be the exception. You will lie to yourself, desperately trying to re-create your perfect dream. But ever so slowly, your identity will begin to fall apart. They will push your boundaries until you don’t even know who you are anymore.

Another person will enter the scene. It is inevitable in relationships with narcissistic predators. You will be strung along for as long as possible, as I once was. Your increasingly volatile reactions will be used against you, to evoke sympathy from the new target.
And eventually, you will be me.
This is why I fear for you. I would not wish the pain and suffering I’ve experienced on anyone. I know that your intentions were not malicious. I know that you were being spoon-fed the exact same lies I believed a long time ago.
The story you’ve been told is false. It was a pity ploy, designed to enhance your fairy tale and consume your heart. You will not believe that today, but someday this letter will make sense. Brutal, heartbreaking sense.

I can only hope that the aftermath of your abuse might be guided by this letter. I can only hope that this might provide you with the tools that I was never given. A puzzle piece, to jump-start your journey.

I do not hate you. That is what they would want.

I will not carry on their legacy by taking part in these triangles anymore, injecting jealousy and hatred to fill the void of their soul.

I’ve made it through to the other side, and I know you can, too. Please have the same empathy for the person who replaces you. We can only ever stop this cycle of abuse with compassion for one another, by recognizing that all human beings deserve to be treated with respect, kindness, and honesty.

Wishing you love, hope, and above all: freedom.

Jackson MacKenzie is the author of Psychopath Free & Whole Again:

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