Saturday, August 22, 2015

Broken Promises (Photo Story)

Walter’s reaction to Deirdre’s desire to take a break from their relationship left her worried about what he might do. She phoned Lena that night and arranged to meet the next morning.

Thanks for inviting me over. I know you must have a dozen things you’d rather be doing on a Saturday morning. (Deirdre)

Deirdre, I’m here to help in any way I can. So tell me what happened. (Lena)

Well, Walter showed up at my place pissed because he couldn’t reach me, and then he started making these crazy demands. I had been thinking all afternoon about the stuff you said at the cafe and I was fed up, so I told him I needed a break and…and he just snapped. He started ranting and raving about broken promises and… (Deirdre)
Did he threaten you? (Lena)
In so many words, yes…. (Deirdre)

Then our first priority has to be ensuring your safety. I know Walter hasn’t been physically abusive, but that doesn’t change the fact that the most dangerous time for a victim is when she is trying to leave. The lack of physical violence doesn’t make him any less dangerous, so do not underestimate him. (Lena)
I was a little worried about that, so I stayed in a hotel last night. (Deirdre)
Why waste money on a hotel? Do you have anywhere else you could go? What about Robyn’s place? (Lena)

I don’t want to worry Robyn with all of this just yet. Besides, the room didn’t cost me anything. I went to a place in the city where I’ve performed in the past. The manager offered me the room for free when I told her I was in town for the weekend. I’ll go home Monday since I have an appointment at PS Records. (Deirdre)
I really wish you’d reconsider talking to Robyn. If you’re worried about her saying, “I told you so” then you can stop worrying. I don’t think she’s that kind of friend. And I’d feel better if you were staying with someone, and avoided going places alone. (Lena)

Can’t I do something to keep him away from me? (Deirdre)
You can file for a TPO, a temporary protective order, which will order him to stay away and avoid all contact with you. The order is punishable by arrest and jail time if he violates it. But as the name indicates, it’s only a temporary solution. The two of you would have to go before a judge about a month after you file. At that time, the judge will hear evidence and decide if the order should be made permanent. (Lena)
I don’t know about all this. (Deirdre)

And when Walter pops up, make it clear that you don’t want any contact with him and be a woman of your word. Don’t take his calls or agree to meet with him and avoid being alone with him at all costs. (Lena)
Don’t you mean if he pops up? The TPO should keep him away, right? (Deirdre)
No, I mean when he pops up. He will have a hard time coping with what he feels is a loss of power and control over you. And he will certainly stalk and harass you in an effort to regain that control. His desperation will make him dangerous. Keep records of every phone call, email, and text message so you can prove to a judge that a permanent restraining order is justified. (Lena)

Lena and Deirdre finish their tea. On her way back to the hotel, Deirdre mulls the idea of filing for a protective order after her appointment on Monday.
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Monday Afternoon:

Deirdre is waiting for an elevator down to the lobby of PS Records when Walter approaches.

Walter, what are you doing here? (Deirdre)
I need to talk to you. I knew you wouldn’t miss your meeting with the record execs today. I didn’t want to come down here, but you left me no choice since you won’t answer my calls and haven’t been home any of the times I’ve stopped by. (Walter)
You shouldn’t be here. There’s nothing to talk about. (Deirdre)

Did you get the flowers I sent? (Walter)
Yes, I got them this morning- all twelve arrangements…but it’s too late to apologize, Walter. And I don’t have anything else to say to you. (Deirdre, pushing the elevator button)

You can’t do this to me. (Walter)
Huh? I don’t understand. (Deirdre)
No, you don’t understand! I love you, and you promised to love me. What gives you the right to walk out on me and break the promises you made? (Walter)

Deirdre is speechless. The elevator doors open.

After you… (Walter)
No, you go ahead. I’ll get the next one. (Deirdre)
I insist. (Walter)
I don’t care. I’m not getting on that elevator with you. (Deirdre)

Get on the f#ck!ng elevator. (Walter, gripping her elbow firmly and steering her toward the elevator doors)

Deirdre jerks away. As Walter reaches for her, he spots a security guard approaching.

Pardon me. Are you alright, Miss? (guard)
She’s fine. (Walter)
Miss? Is everything alright? (guard)
I said she’s fine. (Walter)

And I heard you, but with all due respect, sir I wasn’t talking to you. (guard)
What’s your name? (Walter)
Kevin. (guard)
Do you like having a job, Kevin? (Walter)

Deirdre interjects.

I just remembered I left something in the board room. I could use some help finding my way back, Kevin. My friend was just leaving. (Deirdre)

Kevin leads Deirdre away as Walter looks on. As soon as they’re out of earshot, Deirdre thanks Kevin for his help but warns him that Walter has enough influence to have him fired for interfering. Kevin isn’t worried.

I could walk you to your car when you’re ready to leave. (Kevin)
Thanks, that’s very sweet of you, but I don’t want you to go to any trouble. (Deirdre)
I don’t mind at all. That guy back there, your friend, didn’t look too friendly. (Kevin)

Deirdre reluctantly allows Kevin to accompany her to her car. Neither of them notices Walter watching from a short distance away.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award- UPDATED

Phyllis of A Day in the Life of My Dolls nominated me for the "Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award." Here are my answers to her 10 questions:

1. Do you collect anything other than dolls?
Yes, I collect frogs. No, not real ones, silly! I collect plush, ceramic, resin, and other cutesy display frogs. My frog collection resides in my classroom. I started collecting frogs almost ten years ago.

2. Why did you start a doll blog?
I was captivated by the community of doll enthusiasts sharing their love of all things doll related. I saw clever and crafty people with a cool hobby forging friendships and thought, "I wanna be a part of that!" And when Phyllis took the leap and started her blog, I was inspired to do the same. I think I started mine a couple of weeks later...which reminds me Phyllis and I just had blog anniversaries!

3. What is your grail doll?
Fashion Royalty Homme Fast Track Victor James, because not only is he pricey, but he doesn't show up on eBay all that often. 

4. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you travel to?
That's a hard one, much too hard for one as indecisive as I am. A Mediterranean cruise seems like a good compromise.

5. What kind of music do you like?
My taste in music is a bit all over the place. Scrolling through my playlists would have someone thinking I have multiple personality disorder. I have favorite songs in just about every genre including but not limited to country, hip hop, pop, rock, gospel, and R&B. I also love movie soundtracks. I have a play list specifically for my favorite songs from movies.

6. How did you get started collecting dolls?
When I was a girl, my grandmother used to buy me porcelain dolls. She built up my collection over many years, but I donated it after high school I think. She also bought me Barbie dolls as a young girl. My grandmother loved to look at doll catalogs. I can remember her pouring over pictures of dolls designed by Bob Mackie as well as the American Girl catalogs.

7. What are your feelings about doll articulation?
Any doll intended for play should be fully articulated. I just don't get the idea of making playline dolls that can't be played with. And that is exactly why I stockpile articulated bodies and swap heads. I previously swore off further purchases of dolls lacking articulation, but I lifted the ban for the 2015 Fashionistas with the interesting new faces.

8. Do you know exactly how many dolls you have in your collection?
Yes, I do. It's a very modest number by collecting standards- 88 dolls with plans to add six more before the year is out.

9. What type of dolls do you collect?
I collect 12 inch fashion dolls with normal- or near normal-sized heads. My collection includes Barbie and friends, Dynamite Girls, Mixis, Prettie Girls, and a few others. I find the Ever After High dolls cute and the Monster High dolls intriguing, but I don't collect them.

10. Do you set up dioramas for your dolls or do you keep them in display cases?
My mantra used to be, "I am a player, not a displayer" but thanks to Georgia Girl, that is now only 95% true as I have a glass display case of brides in my doll room. And though I vowed to play with every single one of them, I'm finding it hard to upset their perfect hair and dress. I set up dioramas (nothing too elaborate as I'm not that crafty) for all the other dolls to enjoy. Two new dios are coming soon- a patio for Lena and a bridal salon.

My questions are:

1. Which doll is the one that started it all for you?
2. Why did you start a doll blog?
3. Do you collect anything besides dolls?
4. What kind of movies do you like to watch?
5. What's your favorite song from a movie soundtrack?
6. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
7. If money were no object, what doll related purchase would you make right now?
8. If you could have any celebrity made into a doll, who would it be?
9. Do you prefer your dolls boxed or deboxed? Why?
10. Which doll is the one that got away? This should be a doll you decided to pass on purchasing, sell or give away and you regret that decision.

My nominees (if they'd like to play along) are:
1. Janainah of Jaye's Doll Space
2. The grandmommy of Big and Little Creations

I look forward to getting to know you all better : )

The start of school put me behind on my blog reading, so I was surprised to learn that Debbie of Black Doll Enthusiast had nominated me for the award, too. Thanks so much Debbie for the nomination and for your kind words about my story telling.

My answers to Debbie's questions are below.

1) When did you publish your first blog?
My first post was made on July 14, 2014.

2) What inspires you to write a new post?
I'm always eager to share my excitement over new doll-related purchases. And then there's the need to tell my stories. I swear I'm thinking them up faster than I can post them.

3) Other than your blog, what else do you write?
I wrote a poem last week. I teach elementary school and I model the writing process for my students, so I write a variety of poems, narratives, and essays over the course of each school year.

4) Has any of your other writing been published?

5) How long have you been a collector?
I've been a collector for about a year and a half.

6) List everything you enjoy collecting?
I really only collect two things: fashion dolls and frogs. If you asked my husband, he'd probably add shoes and purses to the list, though.

7) How do others feel about your collection?
My students (fourth graders) think it's really cool, and my husband is amused by it.

8) If you could purchase anything you enjoy collecting, what would it be and why?
I recently started a collection within my collection- Barbie brides. I would love to purchase the Vera Wang Traditionalist bride and the Carolina Herrera bride.

9) Please share anything about yourself that you would like your readers to know.
I really enjoy the camaraderie of the doll community. Doll people are some of the most creative and inspiring people one could ever meet. You all inspire me, and your positive feedback encourages me.

10) Share one thing about yourself that would surprise most people.
Most people would be surprised to know that I grew up in poverty. I still remember the taste of government milk and cheese. I remember winters without heat when our house would get so cold that the water in the toilets would freeze. God's grace has brought me a mighty long way.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Intervention (Photo Story)

Readers are cautioned that this particular story line contains adult themes and is intended for mature audiences.

Deirdre arrives at the deli to meet Robyn for lunch. She doesn’t know that Robyn’s growing concern has prompted her to invite Lena to join them. Lena is a trained interventionist, and a domestic violence counselor.

Hey, girl. (Robyn)
Hey. (Deirdre, looking perplexed)

Dee, this is Lena. Lena, I’d like you to meet my friend, Deirdre. (Robyn)
It’s nice to meet you, Deirdre. (Lena)
Hi, Lena. (Deirdre)
I asked Lena to join us for lunch so you two could meet. (Robyn)
Cool. Lena, are you a business friend of Robyn’s? (Deirdre, taking her seat)

No, I don’t know Robyn from the club. We have a mutual friend who put us in touch because of the kind of work I do. (Lena)
Oh, what kind of work is that? (Deirdre)
Well, in this case it was my work as a domestic violence counselor that interested Robyn. (Lena)
Really, why? (Deirdre)
I’m also a trained interventionist, which brings me to why we're all here. (Lena)

Excuse me?

Dee, you know I’ve been concerned for a while about how Walter treats you. This relationship you have with him is toxic, and it’s time to face it. Girl, I’m worried about your safety. (Robyn)

Worried about my safety? You act like he beats me or something. He’s never laid a hand on me. (Deirdre, indignantly)
Deirdre, physical abuse isn’t the only kind. There’s also emotional, sexual, and financial abuse. Any pattern of behavior intended to maintain power and control over a partner is abuse. And if one type of abuse is present, then it’s only a matter of time before things escalate to include others. (Lena)

So, both of you think my relationship with Walter is going to become abusive? (Deirdre, crossly)
Relationships don’t become abusive. They start out that way. In the early stages, it can be difficult to recognize the aggressor’s actions for what they really are. Abusive partners don’t often give the impression of being possessive and controlling right away; instead the behaviors emerge and intensify as the relationship grows. All too often, the signs don’t become really clear until the relationship is pretty serious. (Lena)

May I ask you a few questions about the man you’re seeing? You don’t need to answer them out loud, but if you find yourself thinking “yes” in response to any of my questions, then it could mean trouble. Has he isolated you from friends and family? Does he make you feel guilty about not spending large amounts of time with him? (Lena)
Yes and yes. (Robyn, interjecting irritably)

Robyn, we know you’re convinced there’s a problem. But we need Deirdre to decide for herself if there’s a problem. It’s the only way she’ll be able to get help. (Lena)

Deirdre shifts uncomfortably in her chair.

Does he frequently show up unannounced or call excessively? Does he insist on knowing every detail about your whereabouts and who you’re with? These behaviors are signs of insecurity and attachment issues. (Lena)
Okay, I’ll admit he does some of those things. Are you suggesting I walk away from the man I love just because he has security issues? (Deirdre)
Not exactly. Those kinds of issues can sometimes be sorted out with intensive counseling. Do you think he would agree to see a therapist? (Lena)

Deirdre shakes her head, “No.”

I just don’t see how those things alone make him a bad person. (Deirdre)
I’m not saying that he’s a bad person. I tend to think of it as an emotional illness. Sick people aren’t bad; they’re just sick and they need help. Speaking of emotions, I have another question for you. Does he ever make you think of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde…does he oscillate from charming and affectionate to cold and domineering? Case in point, how does he react when he sees you speaking to other men? (Lena)

Deirdre flashes back to the party at Robyn’s club but doesn’t say anything.

Ummm, I’m not sure how he would feel about that. (Deirdre)

Lena suspects Deirdre isn’t ready to admit everything, so she offers some tips on what to do if a mood change turns violent. Then she shifts her attention to getting Deirdre to agree on a plan of action for getting help.

I’m going to suggest a couple of actions. First, I want you to call and visit your family and friends, especially Robyn, more regularly. Isolation is a dangerous tool in the hands of an abuser. We have to take that tool away. Secondly, I’m going to ask you to keep an eye out for the warning signs we discussed. If you see red flags and you don’t think you can convince your partner to get treatment, then you have to walk away. I want you to put my number in your phone. Call me if you need help figuring out how to exit the relationship safely or if you ever just want to talk. (Lena)
Okay, I’ll do that. (Deirdre)
Now, can we please order some food? I’m starving. (Deirdre)

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LATER at Deirdre's place:
Just as she’s about to call Walter, she hears a knock at the door.

Hey, baby. I was just about to call you. (Deirdre)
Is that so? (Walter, entering)

Yep, I just got in about ten minutes ago. (Deirdre)
Uh-huh. I called twice and got your voice mail. Where were you today? (Walter)
I had lunch with Robyn. (Deirdre)

Walter is clearly bothered by this.

Well, if it was just Robyn, I don’t understand why you couldn’t answer the phone. (Walter)

Deirdre hesitates, not wanting to tell Walter about the intervention.

Well…she was laying some pretty heavy stuff on me…stuff that seemed to require my undivided attention. (Deirdre)

Walter sits down on the chaise and tries to unbutton Deirdre’s jeans.

What are you doing? (Deirdre)
Checking your panties. (Walter)
For what? (Deirdre)
You know what. (Walter)
No, stop! (Deirdre)

Why?! You got something to hide? (Walter)
This isn’t right. This is crazy. (Deirdre)
No, what’s not right is that I haven’t been able to reach you all morning and afternoon! I don’t know where you’ve been or who you’ve been with! Now take off your clothes. (Walter)

Deirdre sits down and puts her head in her hands.

Walter, I can’t… (Deirdre)
Fine. I’ll take them off for you. (Walter)
No, I can’t do this anymore. I love you so much. I really do, but it’s exhausting trying to convince you of my fidelity and you’ve changed. You’ve changed SO much, and it worries me. I think we need to take a break. (Deirdre)

I can’t believe what I’m hearing. You want to take what we have and throw it away…throw me away? There's someone else then?

No, of course not. (Deirdre)

Or maybe you think someone better is going to come along? No one else is going to love you like I do. I’ve given you everything…everything you could ever want. You ungrateful b!tch. (Walter)
You can have all that stuff back. (Deirdre, shocked)

No, keep it…all of it, because if you think I’m going to let you walk away from the promises you made to me, then you’re wrong…dead wrong. (Walter)

Deirdre is relieved when Walter takes an important call on his phone and has to leave suddenly for the office. She picks up her own phone and considers calling Robyn, but decides to call Lena instead.

Thanks for reading!