Friday, May 06, 2005

Two Things

I read my friend Lisa Samson's book Tiger Lillie tonight, and it was one of those books that affected me on so many levels. I kept crying. I mean, those oh-no-I-must-be-going-through-the-change-of-life crying things every 3o pages or so. She just kept breaking my heart, and piecing it back together with characters real enough to be my best friends, plenty of love, sour cream and paprika, and the color orange.

I sat here after I read, with my heart split in two, once again remembering those painful years of abuse. I never wanted to tell those stories, but when I hurt so, I can't keep them in. Maybe that's why it took me so long before I could seem to get a hold of a copy. Maybe God knew I wasn't ready.

So friends, let me tell you a story or two. Help me to cleanse and heal.

There are two things I'm remembering tonight. One is the day I left him. I was pregnant. New pregnant, about four months along. This was when I trusted my body to have a baby. I'd had one hospital birth, and one home birth, and I felt like I could have a baby with the ease and grace of a gazelle. It was the one thing about me that I felt was wild and uncomplicated, and that he couldn't control.

It was that damned book that set him off. Some awful thing, that made it sound like black women were evil incarnate. The author, if you can call him that, said that black men should abandon us. He himself had an Asain wife. I read that book (he required it), and I remember that I cried when I finished. I didn't understand that kind of unmasked hate. Written by a black man, it rivaled anything the KKK would come up with. He loved it.

By this time, it was near the end, and it didn't take much for him to start slapping me around. I don't even remember what I'd done. It didn't matter. Things had gone so far, that what I did was meaningless. What I was was the problem.

He got mad at me, and slapped me. And I said something. I don't know what now. He slapped me again, and he just kept slapping me, until I told him, with that dead seriousness, and I do mean dead, that if he hit me again, I would kill him. And I meant it.

Of course, he hit me, again.

And I picked up a butcher knife, ready to do what I had to do. I remember standing there calculating this. I cared nothing about going to jail. This is it, I thought. I've got one chance. I'd better make it good, because I don't injure the hell out of him or kill him dead in one stab, he will kill me. I will die today, or he will. That's it.

His hand slammed into my jaw again, and I got ready to kill or be killed, and for some reason, I don't know what, but I looked just briefly away, and I saw my babies, My sweet little boy of 4, and my little baby girl who couldn't even walk yet, and they were quiet with those wide terrified eyes, and I felt so damned tired and I was so very sorry that I threw that knife across the room, and told him I was sorry. I was sorry that I made him hit me. Pregnant me.

He had deadbolts on the door that used a key, and he locked us inside the house. I took 20 dollars or so that I had hidden, and wrapped it in plastic and inserted it in my body like a tampon. I put my social security card and my drivers license in the pocket of my dress. I had on the wine colored, Indonesian batik one, and a pair of thong sandals. I started my life over with that outfit, my two pieces of ID, and money hidden in my most secret place. I was sitting by the door when he got home, and I said, "I'm leaving. He kept the kids as hostages. When I walked away, after he'd frisked me, I heard him telling my babies, the only thing that kept me with him, that I didn't love them and that I was leaving them. I kept walking. I just kept walking.

I walked all over Mt. Ranier. I called the safe house and they didn't have any room for me. I called my family, and they found a way to get me home. Without my babies. I left them to save my life. I left my babies.

I lost the child I carried a week later.

The other story.

It was early in our relationship. My son was 10 months old, and my daugter, was still a twinkle in her mama's eyes. I worked with him. We were vendors. We did everything from set up on the street, to vending at little events on campuses, and festivals and fairs. We sold African stuff. And some Asain artifacts.

We were at George Mason University. I was working with a new guy he was training. I had fasted for 5 days. and I was nursing my son. I was tired, and let's face it, I'm no tiger lady. A young woman found a nice little way to steal from me. The police caught her. I didn't. But that was no colsolation to him. I should have seen, I should have known. He called me everything but 'daughter of God' on the way back to Maryland. He raged the entire night at me. He called all of his friends and told them about me. Finally, I told him I heard every awful thing he had to say five times over and I was going to bed. He said no I'm not.

I said yes I was.

He told me if I didn't sit down and listen to him he would kill our baby. I thought, I know he's crazy, but he wouldn't hurt the baby. I really believed it.

Do you want to know the exact moment that I died inside. It was just after he snatched my son out of my arms, and walked to the second story window, and told me him would drop him out of the window if I didn't sit down.

I didn't sit down.

I didn't sit down.

I didn't sit down until he dangled my son by his feet outside of the window and I FINALLY realized he would drop my child. My first born on his head, and then I sat. I didn't believe him at first. Honest to God I didn't.

And he gave my baby back to me.


I'm sorry. Oh, God. I'm sorry, and you know what. I didn't get those years back. I didn't get that moment back. I let my son down so profoundly, and it killed me. It killed me. It killed me.

I'm still waiting for the resurrection.

Please, please, please.

Forgive me.


Geo said...

You my beautiful sister are forgiven and have been for 2005 years. My heart cried as I read of the pain of these events in your life.


Anonymous said...

it really never ceases to amaze me how much u've overcome and how free u are with God and He with u because of it.

surely u know that forgiveness and redemption are already yours. surely u're teaching your amazing sons and daughters the same.

chris said...

How i will pray with you and love you and love you some more.

some dreams just go away, and some nightmares move in to remind us to dream.

s-p said...

No matter how badly we have betrayed, beaten, been beaten, abandoned and fallen, the Cross shows us that the greatest sins against Love can be worked together unto redemption through Love. Christ was not only crucified, He is Risen indeed!
Life reigns, Love reigns, God reigns. In the end no sin shall stand before Him to control the universe. Not anyone's, not even yours.

Jaime H. said...

My dear sister,

I love you. You are my hero.

Father, please restore to Claudia the years the locusts have eaten. She is here, waiting for You. Make her KNOW that You love her more than she can imagine. Make her to FEEL Your love. Rebuke Satan and the demons that haunt her. She is Your child, Father. She is Yours, and he cannot have her. Make her believe this in a very real way. Do this for the sake of Your Son, I pray, who did not shed His blood in vain for her. Amen.

Alison Strobel Morrow said...

Oh, my sister.

These poisonous memories that have taken up residence in your mind and refuse to be torn up just make me weep. And yet the woman you've become despite of/in spite of/because of them astounds me with her faith and her heart and her soul that clings so tenatiously to her Savior. It is time for some crop rotation, sister. Pull up those weeds by the root and let Jesus plant the sunflowers that grow straight and proud and boldly turn their faces to follow the Son. You may have died inside, but the Lord can resurrect you. Be Lazarus and listen for His voice to call you out of the cave.

I hope I meet you in person some day, Claudia. I just want to give you a hug.

markwashere said...


"He knows you've been crying
sometimes weeping thru the night
He sees your frustrations
although He's out of sight
He hears every prayer
your burdens He will bear
so when you feel that you're all alone
the Savior is right there
oh Jesus knows
all that there is to know about you
He sees, He hears, He cares
if He can make the flowers bloom
i know He will take care of you
don't worry, for Jesus knows...
don't worry, i know He knows
don't worry, i know He knows
for Jesus, He sees you, He hears you, He cares...
don't worry...
i know he knows."

hey mama rags. *kiss* our own strength is never enough to get through these things... even the healing afterwards. so use His. He'll get you through.

God bless,

Heather Diane Tipton said...

I'm not a huggy person but this post makes me want to give you a hug.
and Tiger Lillie just freaking rocked didn't it??

Breezze said...

I sat and read your story in horror... horror that something so terrible could happen to you and to your children. I am so sorry.

I thank God for you... Ragamuffin that you have taken your pain and decided not to be bitter... not to live in it... but to live in the power of the only one who is able to heal and forgive.... and move us forward...

I hate that it actually happened to you... that you still have those memories. God knows though... He heals... He comforts... I pray His comfort and healing.. and for other's healing each time you remember or tell your stories.

Larry said...


You're still here.

God is holding you.

Jesus has forgiven you, pain and all.

I wish I could do something, but I can't. Only the Holy Spirit can reach deeply enough into your soul to heal what has happened to you. Let him hold you in his hands. Yah, it's hard. I have a similar problem, and I run a lot, but God really does know what he's doing. Every once in a while I actually trust him and things get better.

He loves you, and enjoys your company, as you are. Right now.

spiritual ingenue said...

I am so sorry these memories found their way back to you. may God take you to a place of coexistance with them, where only the beauty of His presence shines forth from their depths.

God's amazing grace covers our babies. I have called on it often, and He always accompanies it with the reminder that He loved them first, and most.

You are so strong and so loved.

Blessings over you,

bobbie said...

oh dear one - thank you for bringing these into the light. i love you so, and i'm so sorry you had to live through such horror, such abuse.

i will wait with you for that resurrection dear friend. much love and tears.

Candy said...

All I can say is I love you even more, if that's possible.

Paula said...

Sweet sister,
Peace, be still. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. You know this. Live it. Don't take someone else's sins upon yourself and forgive yourself for not being perfect enough, strong enough or whatever enough that you are beating yourself up about. There is none perfect, not one. Only our Jesus.
Peace, be still.

It changes nothing. God loves you just the same. Always. Completely. Unconditionally. Receive it.

Peace, be still.

You are the daughter of the King. He looks upon you with pride and cherishes you. He has collected your tears in a bottle. He weeps with you. Peace, be still.

Trae said...

Wow. Thanks for being transparent.

upwords said...

That book was deep, right? I told Lisa she messed me up with that. And here you are with this. Beautiful, beautiful you. You make me turn inside out, you know? I need to go outside, sit in the van, cry awhile but I want you to know that I love you. I know you're all good now and everything, but these things are important--for all of us.