Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

13775939_10154419102853628_4075369557919475460_n
As I continue to write my book and publish it online (check it out and follow along at: https://www.patreon.com/SusanLewis), I am struck by how natural and easy it is for me to talk to people and conversely, how difficult it is for so many other people.

Why is this?

Short of someone actually physically assaulting you, what’s the worst thing that could happen?

They insult you? So what. You’ve insulted plenty in your life.

They make fun of you? Yeah…again…so what? You’ve done that too.

They scare you? Walk away then.

They disagree with you? OH MY GOD! HOW HORRIBLE! Lock them up and throw away the key.

I remember when I was doing extensive work in the criminal justice system. One thing I needed was help and 99% of the time I’d hear “Yes, I’ll help you but don’t make me go with you in there. I’ll help with mailings or phone calls or even a few bucks, but…no…not…them.”

I’d sort of pause for a moment and look at them.

“Why? What are you afraid of? Another human being? You’re perfectly safe. In fact, you’re safer in there than out here, so what’s the problem? Looking at a student scares you?”

No one could ever really answer my question, so I began to realize it wasn’t the environment (though it is different). It was the fact that they would have to look at another person and take responsibility for them.

Holy hell, what was I thinking?

Well, I’ll tell you what I was thinking and it’s this – that it would be fun, different and I could learn and see “the other side” of things and maybe…just maybe…make a difference.

That I would get out of my comfortable and boring life and stretch my wings and abilities and DO something.
DO something. Not talk about it. I couldn’t handle another conversation about the latest TV show or how difficult someone’s life was because they couldn’t afford to take another vacation or buy the latest phone or car or whatever crap they were worried about.

So I went and now I’m writing about it. I’m remembering as much as I can and I see that on some level, I miss these women. I’m finally at the part of the book where I’m introducing some of them to my readers. I’m struggling with how to describe them so the reader feels they know them and are standing in my shoes.

What did these broken and horrible people do for me?

Well, that’s pretty much what the book is about, but in a nutshell, I can tell you that I learned as much from they as they did from me.

Last I heard, my program was pretty damn successful. 5 years after completing my stint, I heard back that not one of the them was a repeat offender. All of them got out, went back into society and behaved themselves.

The secret?

First of all, I had some great data and help to give them. You can’t get anything done without the correct tools.

Secondly, and I think the most important, is I listened to them. I did not try to change them. I sat down and heard every word they said. I did not coddle them. I did not allow them to be victims. I pointed them in a better direction and let them make their own decisions.

Thirdly, I pulled no punches. I ran a very tight ship, made the rules clear and never let anyone abuse those barriers. I even brought in a whistle to use if they stopped listening to me.

Sitting with the broken is tricky. You cannot allow yourself to get pulled into their crap, which they created, and sympathize and go along with their justifications. We are the ones who build our own traps and we’re the only ones that can unbuild them. Kind of cool and kind of sucks.

You’re the only one that can fix you but it’s almost impossible to do it alone. I tried and it almost killed me emotionally.

We all want everyone to listen and understand us, but how often do you do that for another? Huh? When was the last time you took the time to just sit and listen to someone and not judge them or tell them what they did wrong?
If you want to fix you, first go help fix someone else. Trust me, you’ll find that you’re really not that broken.

You just think you are.

Advertisements

The next installment of my book:

Sam saw the scissors in my hand and froze. I don’t know why I grabbed them. I looked down at them and was surprised to see them in my hand. Everything was spinning around in my head. I had a thought and then it was replaced with 10 more, maybe 20. Everything meant everything and nothing at once. Somehow this was my fault and my first reaction was that he was right. It was my fault. All of it. Somehow I knew he was right and then I knew he was wrong. I felt like I had been raped and was blaming myself for it. I grappled with that thought that it was something I had said or done that made him sleep with someone else. Someone else in my bed. My bed. Not her bed. Mine.

Then I remembered why I grabbed the scissors. I held them tightly as I raised up my hand and looked at him. His eyes darted from the scissors, to my face, and back.

He was scared.

So was I.

“How is this my fault?” I asked. I waved the scissors for effect. Seeing the fear in his eyes made me feel powerful for a moment. I waved them again, wanting to see him scared some more.

It worked. He gulped and took a step back. I heard Maverick crying at the patio door.

“What are you going to do with those?” he asked and nodded towards my hand holding the scissors. I had no idea.

“Are you worried that I’ll stab you? Do you think I’d be capable of something like that? Is that why you’re afraid? Huh? Is that why? Are you afraid I’m going to turn into Lorena Bobbitt and cut your dick off?” I asked and stepped forward. I had no intention of hurting him. The thought hadn’t entered my mind. As angry and hurt as I was, I was too busy fighting my own battle in my head of blaming myself and then blaming him. Back and forth it went, rapidly and with no control.

“Please put the scissors down. You’re making me nervous,” he said.

I looked down at them. I nodded, turned around, and marched down the hall and into our bedroom. I closed the door behind me and locked it. I opened up his closet and looked at all his clothes hanging there. All the clothes I had purchased for him, washed and ironed, arranged by the type of clothing and color, and all on wooden hangers. No wire hangers! I had probably spent $10,000.00 on him for his clothes over the last few years.

How many had he worn for her? What was her favorite? Did she go through my drawers and touch my things? Did she use my shampoo and hair conditioner? What about my razor and favorite soap in the shower or did she draw a bath and pour my favorite bubble bath while he rubbed her back and washed her?

I felt my heart explode with anger and jealousy.

I grabbed the expensive suit I bought him last year for us to attend a formal wedding. The wedding was for a colleague at the insurance office I worked at. I had been surprised to receive the invitation but gladly accepted. I took Sam to buy a suit and of course, we had to go to Nordstrom’s. Nothing less would do. Sam didn’t like anything on sale and I wanted him to look good, so I plunked down a few thousand and bought the suit, shirt, tie, shoes, and socks. He had no need for any suits but had to have the best. I agreed and had to admit he looked so handsome in it, I didn’t want him to take it off.

I held the suit out in front of me and took the scissors and cut the jacket from the bottom up, all the way to the shoulders. It cut smoothly and easily. I did that to his slacks. I looked for the shirt that went with his suit and cut the arms off of it. I watched as the fabric fell to the floor of the closet.

I started to feel better, so I cut up each piece of clothing, one by one, and watched the pieces fall to the floor.

I heard Sam try the door and then knock on it. “Suz, you OK? What are you doing? Open the door. Let me in,” he said and kept tapping at the door. I walked over and opened it. I still had the scissors in my hand.

“I’m fine, just busy,” I said and turned around and walked back to the closet. I heard him follow me. I took his favorite Hawaiian shirt and cut the sleeves off of it and watched the fabric fall.

He walked over and looked at the pile of his ruined clothes on the floor of the closet. “What in the hell are you doing?” he asked and tried to grab the scissors from my hand. I stepped back and put them behind me.

“No, you can’t have these. Get away from me!” I shouted. I knew how this looked. I was acting crazy and wouldn’t have argued with anyone who said so, but I didn’t feel crazy. I felt clear headed and aware. I felt as if I was taking steps to claim my life back. Somehow destroying his clothes was a way to do that. I knew if I didn’t do something, we’d end-up in another horrible fight, one that I might actually stab him. It was the type of crazy that made sense, if only to me. It was better that I cut his clothes rather than him. This was perfect logic to me in my  state of mind.

The rest of the chapter continues on my Patreon site. I do hope you’ll join in. It’s $2.00 a month. An amazing deal!

My Name Is Chantelle

 

 

He tried to open the door and was met with the chain locking him out. Hearing him try again and call out somehow made me feel angrier, even though I was the one who locked him out. Standing just off to the side of the front door and behind the wall where he couldn’t see me, I leaned against the wall and looked up at the ceiling. I couldn’t decide what to do.

On one hand, I wanted him to struggle and try to get in. If I didn’t let him in, at some point he would try the garage door, which I had also locked, and then the patio door, also locked, along with all the windows. It was hot but I shut them all and double checked.

On the other hand, I wanted to let him in and let him know I knew what he had been up to. I wanted him to know he wasn’t going to get away with it. I wanted him to hurt as badly as I did.

I had put Maverick outside in the backyard, but could hear him fussing and crying because he heard his dad at the door. He wanted in. He wanted to run to the door and do his happy dance. Scout sat on the fireplace mantle piece, casually licking his paws and grooming his face as if this was an everyday occurrence. I had always admired his aloofness and lack of care or concern about anyone but himself.

“Hey! Are you there? Let me in. You put the chain on the door and it won’t open. Susan? Honey? Are you there? Where are you?” he shouted and kept pushing at the door. This was typical of Sam. Something doesn’t work, but keep doing it anyway. Door won’t open so keep pushing it. I wondered how long he would keep trying that.

I heard my cell phone ring. It was on the table near me in the living room. He could hear it too. I turned my head and watched it bounce slightly from the vibration.  It stopped after 3 rings. I waited and listened to him leave me a voice mail. I felt like I was in 2 different dimensions. The one that was where I was standing and the other wherever it was that contained my voice on the voice mail. I closed my eyes and rubbed them. The mascara was long gone from my crying. I didn’t want to look in the mirror and see if I had raccoon eyes or if I had shed enough tears to have washed it all away.

“Susan, if you’re there, pick up…” I heard him say. Once again, he couldn’t quite get the difference between leaving a voice mail and talking into an answering machine. I sighed and came around the corner.

For the rest of the story, please come over to my Patreon site and follow along. I’d love to see you over there!

“My Name is Chantelle”

 

 

If you’ve followed this blog for a few years, then you’ve read many of my stories about the battered women and convicted felons I’ve worked with. I am now writing the book I promised them, many years ago. The book is about Chantelle and myself, and how our two opposite lives came together one day and how we helped each other. I hope you will join me and cheer me on and support me as I write this.

She sat on the edge of her bunk, eyes closed and reminding herself to breathe. She breathed through her mouth because her cell smelled of urine and hot dogs. They must have been serving hot dogs and beans again, along with a piece of bread and cold coffee. Her lips were swollen and her head hurt where she had slammed it on the dashboard of the car the night before. She hung her head down and tried to block out the sounds. The constant talking and clanking and yelling of the people in the ward never stopped. Her cell mate was snoring soundly with her back turned towards her. She was huge and her orange jumpsuit barely contained her massive ass and thighs. The fabric was stretched thin against her back and she could see the outline of the woman’s bra.  The cell mate arrived yesterday and immediately wanted to chat with her. She asked her her name.

“Jane. My name is Jane,” she replied. Jane seemed like a good name to use. It was the name first given to her as an infant and her head hurt too much to be clever or witty. Jane was her fallback name. It came out of her mouth effortlessly.

“Hi Jane, nice to meet you. What they got you in here for? Oh, my name’s Clarice,” she said and extended her large and black hand towards her. Jane remained seated as she stuck out her hand and gave it a limp shake. She didn’t like being touched but it seemed easier to shake hands rather than explain it. Clarice looked at her for a moment and then sat down on the bunk across from her.

“Is that your bunk?” she asked Jane. “I hope it’s OK for me to take this one…”

“It’s fine. I’ve been the only one in here today,” she said. Why was it people could never take the hint when you didn’t want to talk? Jane was tired of talking and explaining herself. It seemed like people had an urge to tell you all about themselves, when in fact, no one gave a fuck. Maybe they just liked to hear themselves talk. Maybe it made them feel important or at least alive. Jane didn’t know and didn’t care. She leaned back and stretched out on her bunk and stared at the stained mattress above her.

The place was dingy, but that was to be expected. It’s not like this was a 5 star hotel. It wasn’t even a 1 star hotel. It was the County Jail and she was being housed, fed, and clothed on the taxpayer’s dollar. She knew that because she had been reminded of it her entire life.

“Oh is that right? Well it’s nice to meet you,” Clarice said and sat down. She looked around but there wasn’t much to see. Two bunk beds and a toilet in-between them. Concrete floors and walls and bars across the front, which looked across to another cell. They were in Ward C. The hallway was long with 30 cells built-in. All of them were full. This was where they brought everyone and stored them, to be sorted out later. Jane couldn’t count the number of times she had been placed here. Four? Or maybe five? It didn’t matter, she knew the routine.

She’d go up before a judge, be assigned a public defender, and plead innocent. This would annoy the judge, but a court date would be set. She’d not be able to make bail because no way Razor had the money to bail her out. He hadn’t done that the last time or two. She was getting older but not too old to keep working. Razor had other younger and prettier girls he would take care of before her. If he bailed her out, great. If not, she was prepared to do her sentence again and wait it out. At least this way, she had a place to sleep and food during the day. It was boring as shit, but it was better than being out in the cold. December was a horrible time to be a whore. Trying to look enticing without freezing to death was impossible. She had her regular customers, but they were home with their beautiful wives and adorable children for the holidays in their warm houses with wonderful food on the table. She imagined their homes as she lay there, listening to Clarice prattle on.

For the rest of chapter, and to follow along as the book is published, go to: https://www.patreon.com/SusanLewis?ty=h

I’m still here

Posted: September 8, 2015 in Uncategorized

Yeah, been a long time, but I’m still here. I am hard at work on my Patreon site:

https://www.patreon.com/SusanLewis?ty=h

I’m publishing my book about Chantelle, one chapter at a time. The story is done, for the most part, but now I’m doing the final draft. Once it’s done, the plan is to get it over to an editor and then publish it.

I hope some of you – or all of you – will wander over there and see what I’m doing.

I’m not someone that is trying to make a living as a writer. Sure, it would be great, but that’s not why I’m doing it. I’m doing it because I want to tell her story and then the story of others.

I’m also toying around with a children’s book about my pit bull, Blue, and what happens when he meets a dragon. Telling the story of Blue was actually my mom’s idea and I liked it. A lot. So I’ve been throwing that into the mix as well.

I stopped blogging because, as you can see, I never put ads on my site or tried to make a dime out of it. I’m not against anyone doing that, but it’s just not my deal. Plus, in my opinion, there’s too many people blogging without much to say.

So, yeah, not going to do that.

My life is very complete and busy. I didn’t start writing until a few years ago. It was something that I put on the back burner and I only meant it to stay there for a while. Well, guess what?

That “while” ended up being decades.

So here I am and I must say, it’s harder than I thought. Much harder but I like the challenge. I want to leave at least one good book behind me before my short time here on Earth is done, at least for now.

Thanks for being such wonderful and loyal followers. I am here..but I’m not.

If you know me, then you understand what I just said.

I can explain

j91VVkAhGlvDD7IrND8-Q3zIvHexHdhjYmhvfm5FEIw5sq6OImoijT1bPtUSJzr4p1v2ebuxHOI-tR1HRM87tmvR2eveB-WVAaAloAQaYM8hhbkYvw=w130-h130

OK! OK! I know. I know, I haven’t been blogging but I have a really good reason. Honest.

I’m working on my Patreon site instead. I decided that I REALLY needed to finish my book – the one I’ve been working on for 2 years – and working a full-time job and a part-time job doesn’t leave much room for writing.

That’s also not counting the volunteer work I do every week nor a few other projects that I’ve been doing.

Yes, I keep myself busy. It’s the only way I know not to go insane. Well, that and not have another dipshit boyfriend, but I digress…

Here’s the link for it and I’d love for you to check it out. Sponsor, if you can, or check back for a few random free posts:

https://www.patreon.com/SusanLewis?ty=h

I know most of us writers don’t make our living with our writing, but that…

View original post 104 more words

This story is more in line with this blog.

Happy Memorial Day!

I can explain

Story

Some of you know that I do volunteer work in the field of criminal rehabilitation. For those that don’t, well now you know.

I am currently working with 30 inmates, all via the mail. I do this in the very limited amount of spare time that I have. I’ll usually grade lessons and get caught-up on my correspondence with them during my lunch hour.

I really don’t take a lunch hour. I’m entitled to one, of course, but I always work through it. I’ll grade lessons or write and once in a blue moon, I’ll sit back and get in some additional reading time.

Today I opened a letter from one. Let’s call him Bubba. Generic name and I don’t really know anyone by that name, so I should be fine in using it.

He’s been in prison a very long time and he won’t be getting out soon. I’ve…

View original post 229 more words