Write A Story With Me – Part 75 – The Other Woman

Looking at the High Council’s faces, Yoran knew he had said too much when he revealed his true beliefs, but it was too late to take it back. He’d figure out a way to get out of trouble, he always did, he thought, and prepared himself to appease the High Council once more. Besides, The President would never act against him. That, he could count on.

“As for you… Protector Sumner, we are all concerned about the direction your philosophy has taken lately. While we all agree democracy is not a system we would ever encourage, openly admitting you see yourself as a dictator is rather difficult to hear. Because that would render us all quite useless, don’t you think?”

The President, Madam Serrano, watched Yoran closely, looking for a reaction that would seal the Council’s decision. She was a beautiful woman in her early forties, and had known Yoran since their youth. Rumor had it they had been sweethearts during their teenage years, and their fathers had been best friends before a mysterious fall-out brought a bitter end to their relationship. But nobody knew the truth for sure, since all the records of their lives had been long gone. And nobody dared ask either one of them.

“Madam Serrano… I apologize, perhaps I misstated my position. I find the council’s direction invaluable, and always will. What I meant to say was that in the context of my ship, it’s imperative that I maintain a tight grip on the entire operation. Especially on the crew. Lax rules will lead to chaos. And I know that the Council is the most dedicated defender against chaos.”

The High Council exchanged glances, then Madam Serrano received subtle nods from her fellow members. She hid a smile by biting her lips for a second, then she looked straight at Yoran and spoke with a resounding voice.

“Indeed, Protector, we are. Yet it seems that chaos has been following you around lately, despite our best attempts to curb it. So it’s time we took more drastic measures.”

She stood up, towering even higher over Yoran, who was trying hard to maintain a pleasant smile and not clench his jaws.

“Beginning today, Sir, I will oversee the mission to defeat the Fae. And you will be working for me.”


Write A Story With Me – Part 63 – Double Agent

Morath had no recourse. The look that passed between her and Yoran told him what he needed to know.

Yoran looked at his wife, broken on the ground, despair engulfing her like a gray veil. His daughters were behind them, crying—even Sian, the strong one, was shedding silent tears.

“Natalia,” he whispered and kneeled next to his wife. “Look at me.” He lifted up her chin. Those eyes, he thought. Those beautiful green eyes watching him lovingly. Despite Natalia’s sorrow, he could still see the love behind it, and his heart beat a little faster.

“Yoran, please, there must be a way,” she pleaded.

“Yes, there is a way.” He looked her in the eye and smiled sadly.

“No, Yoran,” Natalia cried. Deep down she knew she had to choose between the only two men in her life. Her son or her husband? An impossible choice, yet one she had no time to ponder. Not that more time would make it any easier. So she decided.

“Oh, Yoran… Promise you’ll come back to us. You’re a fighter, Yoran, you can make it out alive. We can all be happy together again,” she said with a mix of hope and defeat in her eyes.

Yoran nodded, smiled, and kissed her forehead. Then he looked at his daughters. Marci and Bethany ran to him, wailing, and hugged him tight.

“Everything’s going to be alright. You have to be brave for your mother and for each other, ok?” But the smile on his lips never touched his eyes. “I’m going to be just fine, don’t you worry about me for a second,” he said, trying to escape their embrace. He was finally able to force their arms off, and pushed them away.

He turned toward Sian, smiled, and nodded goodbye. She immediately skipped over the space between them, and hugged him. “I forgive you, Dad,” she whispered, and it was the first time he really wavered in his decision.

“I love you, Sian. Take care of your sisters and brother for me.”

With a nod from Morath, who had used her Fae circle to summon back the ship, Yoran walked away under his family’s watch and stopped in the middle of the round spot of light projected by the beam that had taken his son. The beam carried him away and mid-way, he saw the second beam transporting his son back to his wife’s arms. He watched him, detached, and for a moment, he allowed himself to dream about what could have been.

But that was just a dream. And he had a mission to fulfill. A mission both sides thought was theirs. Only Yoran knew the truth.

“Protector Sumner,” he heard as soon as he arrived on the ship. “Welcome aboard Sir,” the ship’s commander saluted, with all the men around him saluting as well.

“At ease, Commander,” he ordered. “Took you long enough,” he said with a smirk, and walked past the men, toward the ship’s command center.


Write A Story With Me – Part 46 – “Fae-reness”

The delicate crown on Morath’s head and her gilded garments gave her an air of old-world aristocracy, of riches that the world almost forgot had once existed. The rustle of her long dress filled the hall as she sat on her throne and gazed upon her subjects with gentle, yet inquisitive eyes.

“Be seated, my kin,” she ordered, and her subjects complied. “Today’s gathering is long overdue. We have been suffering for far too long. Our freedom has been taken from us, and along with it, our dignity and safety.”

Vigorous nods and shouts of approval from around the room accompanied her words. “It’s time we regained our rightful place in the kingdom of Argot,” Morath declared. “It’s time for justice.” Her subjects’ voices became loud and angry, but the shouts ended as soon as Morath lifted her right hand to ask for silence. “Our kind of justice, not theirs.”

She paused and smiled at Yoran’s girls, who were sitting together to her side. Tears were streaming down Marci’s face, and Bethany, too, appeared on the verge of crying. Only Sian sat defiant, her eyes cold and unmoved.

Then Morath turned her attention to Yoran.

“Protector Sumner. Some would argue—most, in fact—that you don’t even deserve to be in this room. That your actions have already condemned you to the pits of hell, and there’s no need for us to review the past. But I believe in justice. And I believe, unlike you, that everyone should be given an opportunity to explain their actions. Including you, a man who has spent his life trying to eradicate our kind from the face of Argot.”

Yoran watched Morath with disgust. “I don’t need your filthy justice,” he shouted, followed immediately by fiery protests from the audience.

“Daddy, please,” Marci cried, her words lost in the cacophony of voices.

“Silence in the court,” Morath’s voice boomed. Her eyes remained fixated on Yoran. “Want it or not, you will receive it, Protector. And all your children will bear witness,” Morath said and turned to face an officer of the court standing to her left. “Officer, bring the child,” she ordered, once again accompanied by murmurs.


Not Today, Yoran – Write A Story With Me, Part 29!

It’s my turn again for Write A Story With Me. You can find the whole story on Jennifer Eaton’s blog. Looking forward to your thoughts!

“Marci,” Yoran screamed as he opened his eyes, but his cry was lost in the chaos that trapped him like a coffin of wind and fire. The ship was crumbling around him and his men were sliding down into the water, lifeless. Covered in blood and hanging by a thread—literally, as his jacket had hooked itself onto an open cabinet door—he watched his two young daughters jump off the ship and disappear into the tempest below them. As he reached for them, screaming their names, he heard a snap and started rapidly sliding down toward nothingness once again.

“Please keep Natalia safe,” he prayed, and closed his eyes, ready for the end. “Good bye my loves.”

“Not today” he heard a woman’s voice behind him, and felt her grab his hand and pull him after her. As he opened his eyes, he and his mysterious savior were free falling into the eye of the storm that had appeared out of thin air before the ship went down. All he could see in the midst of the gray cloud that engulfed them was long, red hair flowing behind a young woman dressed in a blue starship uniform. Their hands were welded together, and the moment he allowed himself to feel her grip, he knew. The pain of losing his eldest for the second time hit him like a boulder coming off a steep mountain and he lost consciousness once again.

“Daddy, daddy, wake up,” Marci cried. Yoran opened his eyes to find his two youngest daughters shaking his arm as they knelt beside him on the frigid marble floor of an opulent room open to the sky above. Behind them, with a stern look on her face and her arms tightly crossed, stood his stolen child, his beloved Sian.


The Perfect Man

It was love at first sight. When he saw me, it was like heaven finally sent him an angel. And I was only wearing sweats, no makeup, and I hadn’t taken a shower in two days. My hair was a complete mess. Plus I stumbled on thin air and almost fell on my face. But he didn’t care. In fact, it only made him love me more. Because his love for me transcended time and space.

And he… HE is perfection personified. He’s Adonis, Hercules, and Zeus combined. He’s endowed with the power to get anything he wants. He’s smart, and witty, and incredibly romantic. He’s the greatest lover there ever was. He’s a millionaire. And I still can’t believe that he would be so head-over-heels in love with me. Lil’ ol’ plagued-by-mediocrity me.

Of course, this man doesn’t exist. And I like to think I’m not plagued by mediocrity. I hardly ever wear sweats, I shower daily, I’m not a klutz, and I appreciate makeup. So is that why this man doesn’t exist?

Here is why I dare ask such a… umm… “profound” question. Because if you look at most of the mega-bestselling mass market fiction published in the past decade, this is the man that sells books. Off the top…

Twilight’s Edward Cullen — a perfect man, with the experience of a hundred-some years, but in the body of a seventeen-year-old. He’s ridiculously handsome, rich, and romantic, and he’s in love beyond words with miss mediocrity. (I’m ignoring for the purpose of this rant that he’s a vampire.)

Fifty Shades of Gray’s Christian Gray — a perfect man, super handsome, incredibly well-endowed, millionaire, owner of his own business, helicopter and chauffeured cars. He’s also madly in love with yet another laughable miss mediocrity. (I’m ignoring for the purpose of this rant that he’s a sadist.)

In Death series’ Roarke — a perfect man, also super handsome and incredibly virile, blah blah. He owns half the Universe. In a somewhat refreshing twist, however, he’s in love with a tough, smart lady cop (her hair is sh*t and she doesn’t care about her appearance that much, but otherwise she’s pretty great). (Nothing to ignore for the purpose of this rant.)

(Nora Roberts’s) The Witness’s Brooks Gleason — he’s not entirely perfect, I’ll give you that, but he’s not too shabby. He, too, is handsome, great in bed, persistent and romantic. He is in love with a woman who’s not precisely mediocre, but is plagued by a complete lack of social intelligence (a  tragic effect of misguided nurture) and lack of a sense of humor (in my opinion, a fatal trait).

Fill in the blanks with any hero of a mega-bestselling novel — perfect this, perfect that, perfect the other; you get my point. (I’m also ignoring for the purpose of this rant the writing quality of my first two examples–first two because what can I say, I happen to like JD/Nora.)

How does one reconcile the fictional Roarkes of the written universe with the men of real life? How does one keep from comparing every man she meets with that perfect, fictional man? Because he may be fictional, but when you keep reading about “him” in every book, you fall for it–he must exist if every book is about “him.” Story blends with reality and eventually you can’t tell them apart anymore. The next thing you know, you’re looking for the perfect wrong man while life passes you by. (Not I, of course; I just imagine that’s what happens.)

Also, why do most of the women these fictional men fall in love with always have to be mediocre, or one step shy of being so? Are the authors’ self-esteems so low that they can only relate with that kind of woman? Is the ultimate female fantasy a man who doesn’t have many standards? Or perhaps, is the ultimate fantasy a world where women need not make a single effort in order to get the love of the perfect man? Is it because love is supposed to be blind?

Really, what is it that makes the “love” story between a perfect man and an uber-mediocre woman so incredibly appealing and bankable?


Visit To Earth

I wrote this post back in October and never published it (or any other post since for that matter). I’ve had an interesting few months, filled with all sorts of things. I’ve been trying to balance my day job with my writing and it hasn’t been easy. Hoping 2013 will make that easier. Happy new year to all!

This past week I had the great nerve of taking a week off. I know, I know, a week off is almost unheard of nowadays. And in all fairness, I had my work ball-and-chain, aka smartphone, on me at all times and checked email a few times a day; but it was a vacation regardless.

To make it even better, not only did I have a week off, but I also got to spend it in a magnificent village on the Central California Coast called Cambria. And, the cherry on top: I drove there! Imagine: no standing in a security line, no limit on how many bags I can take with, no limits on liquids (which came in quite handy since I stopped en route and acquired a serious stash of Dreamweaver), no worries about what to wear that’s both public-ready and comfortable, no headphones necessary to listen to my music and books. And I stuck mostly to the PCH,  which meant that the views stayed spectacular as soon as I hit Malibu.

I did a lot of thinking this week. And how can one not have lots of quality thoughts with this view before one’s eyes?

I won’t bore you with the details of every rumination I had, but I will bore you with the most important one:

We, the people, are effing messed up.

There’s so much beauty around us yet we fail to see it. And there are so many truly significant things in this world that need our attention and energy–HUNGER, POVERTY, WAR, DISEASE, SOCIAL INEQUALITY, EDUCATION–yet we waste our lives on absurd pseudo-problems and ridiculous emotions (guilty as charged right here, by the way).

I know this is not an original thought. In fact, many have been talking up a storm about this forever. And yes, there are those who are focusing on the right issues. But in our country in particular, we also seem to have an overwhelming number of people who are glamorizing the idea of savage capitalism, who believe value is equal to wealth, who desperately want to start new wars and put more resources toward killing others, who think people who are poor are so because they’re lazy and entitled, who think the color of one’s skin or one’s gender determines one’s superiority. I could go on forever, but I have a feeling I don’t have to. I have a feeling that those whose souls still dwell in the land of humanity, know what the issues are. Now only if there were enough of us to start a spiritual revolution that would make all these issues things of the past.

You may think it’s a bit strange (and even ironic) that I would start with my great vacation, and I would end on this serious, somewhat depressing note. The point I’m trying to make here is that we don’t need to renounce our current lives in order to be human every day. We don’t need to give up our worldly possessions in order to make a difference in this world. I can still have a vacation, which I’ve earned in the environment I live in, and at the same time try to become a better person and course-correct. Excess and ignorance do not equal happiness or peace of mind. Living in the present and manifesting our humanity, however, will get us closer to it than anything else.

I’ll leave you with some more shots from my week in Cambria.

Cambria CoastBoardwalk on Moonlight Beach Vineyard Houses Little Sur Inn Sunrise Furry friend Surfers Boardwalk2 Houses 2


Lucky 13 — Where Enemies Become…

It’s STORY TIME!!!

Jennifer M. Eaton started a cool writing project on her blog: Write A Story With Me. Each participating author contributes about 250 words (ummm, that is, 400ish.). My turn came this week (yup, I did jump the gun two weeks ago–sorry!), and my installment is below. These are the previous installments:

Part One – Jennifer M. Eaton

Part Two – J. Keller Ford

Part Three – Susan Roebuck

Part Four – Elin Gregory

Part Five – Eileen Snyder

Part Six – Mikaela Wire

Part Seven — Vanessa Chapman

Part  Eight – Ravena Guron

Part Nine – Vikki Thompson

Part Ten — Susan Rocan

Part Eleven — Kate Johnston

Part Twelve — Julie Katherine 

Once you’re all caught up, I hope you find I did justice to the story and to my fellow writers. And if you want to have fun with the rest of us, you can always add your name to the list.

Thank you for reading! Looking forward to everyone’s comments, thoughts, critiques, feedback, hellos… any words you have for me, I’ll welcome them with open ears.

Kai

***

Write A Story With Me — Part Thirteen — Kai Damian

“Can’t find anything wrong with her,” said the doctor after prodding and probing Marci’s frail body with a series of medigadgets. Behind him, Marci’s parents watched their daughter lie unconscious, her breath so shallow that they could have sworn no air was reaching her lungs.

“Then why isn’t she waking up?” Marci’s father asked. His wife broke into sobs as she sat next to her daughter and caressed her frozen cheek.

With trembling hands, the doctor packed his medigadgets away. “I’m sorry Protector Sumner, I wish I had an answer for you.” He watched Marci for a few moments, a wave of anguish washing over his face, then finally said, “Let’s give her twenty-four hours, and if she doesn’t wake up, we’ll take her in.”

“No, you can’t take her in, I won’t let you—”

“Natalia, please,” Marci’s father said, ending his wife’s lament with an icy stare. She lowered her gaze back on her daughter, silently acknowledging the mistake she almost made: rebel against the Establishment’s Rules under one of its servants’ eyes.

Nobody can tell the Establishment what they can and cannot do. What they can take. When they can take it. Even if the taken is someone’s child. It was a Rule solemnly recorded in the Tablet of Truth, which no planetary raider had ever defied.

Marci’s father thanked the doctor and showed him out, then rushed back to his daughter’s room.

“I’m sorry, my love,” he said gently, and kissed his wife’s forehead.

Natalia shook her head and squeezed his hand. “You did the right thing, dear,” she whispered and wiped off another tear. “But we need to bring her back, Yoran, before they can take her. I don’t think I can survive another Recall.” She rose to her feet with a pant, holding her belly with both hands. “I’ll go make some tea, you stay with her and think about our options,” she said and left lifeless Marci alone with her father.

He sat next to Marci and caressed her cheek. “Oh poppet, why won’t you come back?” he whispered and leaned his forehead against his daughter’s cold hand.

“Perhaps I can be of service.” The tiny voice reminded him of the crystal wind chimes hanging outside his daughter’s window. Hand on his laser gun, he turned around.

“What the—” were the only words he had time to utter before the sight of the enemy rendered him speechless. Speechless, but not mindless. Because in that moment, Yoran Sumner knew that the creature before him—the one he had learned to hate since he was a little boy—was about to turn him into a Rule breaker.

###

http://jennifermeaton.com/2012/09/25/write-a-story-with-me-part-13-with-kai-damian-laser-guns-and-whaaaat/


The Pace Of Nature

I wonder how many people have true patience. And most importantly, what true patience feels like.

I feel like I’m confusing patience with fear sometimes — as in, “yeah, of course [insert thing you desire most] isn’t going to happen just yet, I have patience” when in fact, what you really mean is “I’m so crazy scared that [insert thing you desire most] isn’t going to happen, that I’m going to shield myself from the avalanche of pain by trying to want it less.”

Sometimes I feel like I can be patient. But it’s always with things that I don’t hang my spiritual hat on. Because when it comes to things I most desire, I find it very hard to be patient. And that’s why I wonder how many people truly know what patience is, and how many are just using the word patience to describe fear, laziness, cowardice, lack of focus, lack of passion, false wisdom…

Today I’m trying to be truly patient.

 

Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

The keys to patience are acceptance and faith. Accept things as they are, and look realistically at the world around you. Have faith in yourself and in the direction you have chosen. — Ralph Marston

For anything worth having one must pay the price; and the price is always work, patience, love, self-sacrifice – no paper currency, no promises to pay, but the gold of real service. — John Burroughs

Abused patience turns to fury. — Thomas Fuller (or Francis Quarles?)

A man who is a master of patience is master of everything else. — George Savile

He that can have patience can have what he will. — Benjamin Franklin

Genius is eternal patience. — Michelangelo

The two most powerful warriors are patience and time. — Lev Tolstoy

Patience, n. A minor form of dispair, disguised as a virtue. — Ambrose Bierce

Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet. — Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Patience has its limits. Take it too far, and it’s cowardice. — George Jackson

Patience is the support of weakness; impatience the ruin of strength. — Charles Colton

Patience is the art of hoping. — Luc de Clapiers

Patience, that blending of moral courage with physical timidity. — Thomas Hardy

Patience is the best remedy for every trouble. — Plautus

 


You Know How I Feel

This is the perfect metaphor for the writer I dream of being (I wish I were?). I bow down to young Carly Rose’s perfect mix of innocence, talent, confidence, and old soulfulness. Here is hoping she’ll hang on to this amazing spirit forever and won’t listen to those who will invariably come out of the woodwork and will try to project their own bitterness on her.


Write A Story With Me Coming Soon…

Jennifer M. Eaton started a cool writing project on her blog: Write A Story With Me. Each participating author contributes about 250 words (ahemmm, that is, 400ish). My turn is going to come in a week or so. But to get you started on the story, here are the previous installments:

Part One – Jennifer M. Eaton

Part Two – J. Keller Ford

Part Three – Susan Roebuck

Part Four – Elin Gregory

Part Five – Eileen Snyder

Part Six – Mikaela Wire

Part Seven — Vanessa Chapman

Part  Eight – Ravena Guron

Part Nine – Vikki Thompson

Part Ten — Susan Rocan

Part Eleven — Kate Johnston

Part Twelve — Julie Katherine (coming soon)

Can’t wait for my turn!


This Girl Is On Fire

The latest addition to my Karina Vega play list…


The Kindness Of Strangers And Friends In Need

Two days.

That’s how long it took for Healers to make it to #4 on the Kindle Science Fiction High-Tech list, #22 on the Kindle Science Fiction list, and #432 on the overall Kindle free list (from #390,000ish the previous day).

Healers entered a five-day free promotion on Friday at 00:00. I had hoped the free promotion would get the book a little closer to the surface, because a book ranked in the 390,000s technically doesn’t exist (I can attest to that, as I couldn’t find my book in search results on Amazon, including when I searched for “Healers” specifically–no kidding). And when you hope to someday make a living as a “real” author, that can be a little disheartening. Though, in all fairness, I didn’t make any significant efforts to market Healers — and I’m still not, as I’d like the full Carpe Terram Trilogy to be on the market before I give marketing a real shot.

So imagine my surprise when I woke up on Friday to find my book had climbed the ranks over night to make it to #19 on the Science Fiction / High Tech list and #3,384 on the overall Kindle free list. I had a flight to catch that morning and I almost missed it because I couldn’t un-glue myself from my computer screen. By the time I made it to my hotel in Salt Lake City in the afternoon, the book had climbed further, and by Saturday morning it made it to the numbers I shared in the first paragraph.

So what happened?

Well, the first happening was the lovely editor at Free Ebooks Daily, who agreed to feature Healers on her Friday free list after I submitted it on the site. No charge, no begging. She responded shortly after I submitted the book and told me she was going to run the book on Friday.

She is the kind stranger in the title. I’m always amazed at all the angels scattered around the world who help others out of sheer kindness, or conviction, or desire to make a difference. Sharrel — and others like her — helps authors spread word about their books, and readers learn about new authors. For me that’s an angel.

As for friends, there’s no better way to determine who is one than to be in the vulnerable position of asking them to support your dream. It’s not a “can you take care of my dog for the weekend” or “can you give me a lift to the airport?” It’s a “I need you to market my work regardless of what you think of it.” But I’m lucky to have some great friends. All the ones I was counting on shared my book with their networks right away, and were excited to do it too. My amazing friend Jeff actually took the time to create a banner for my book on his heavily-trafficked music site, and asked his audience to download the book. I was moved to tears.

All of this resulted in my book breaking the top 25 on the Science Fiction free Kindle list. A-MA-ZING.

The book started sliding today, but only a couple of spots. I imagine it will continue to slide, unless the hundreds of readers who downloaded the book read it, like it, and tell their friends. I guess I’ll just wait and see. Or better yet, I’ll keep working on Rebels, the second Carpe Terram installment,  and let everything else work itself out.

Thank you for the support!


Free, In More Ways Than One

Healers is free. Free because it’s published. Free because my thoughts ran wild in it. Free because it’s on a free market. And FREE for the next five days on Amazon.

Please do me a huge kindness of great karmic consequence: download Healers. You may end up liking it, or it may not be your cup of tea (or, dare I say it, you may end up really disliking… though I hope it won’t come to that).

But you’ve got nothing to lose, literally, because it’s FREE! So hit that download button, I’ll be forever grateful and will pay it forward to all struggling writers with books on promotion. 🙂

http://bit.ly/HealersFREE



Meet Karina Vega

She saves lives and then jumps off buildings. She’s a rock on the outside yet plagued by secret insecurities. She’s beautiful but she doesn’t really know it. She wants to be loved but she won’t allow it to happen.

And she thinks she’s reached the peak of her existence at the age of thirty.

But the Universe has other plans for Karina Vega. Bigger, bolder plans, that will turn her life upside down in a matter of seconds. It’s nothing supernatural, mind you. No lightning flash, no witch’s curse, no alien intervention. It’s just science; a gene she’s always carried finally comes into play. And now she’s able to perform miracles outside the operating room. Miracles that put her in danger’s way, make her question her sanity, and push her heart’s limits.

Genetics favor some and punish others. Karina Vega still doesn’t know which end of the stick she’s got. But she’s willing to find out.

And Nicolas Aragon is willing to teach her. If only he could do it on his terms. But even he cannot control the wheel of destiny. And when destiny brings Peter King to Karina’s proverbial doorstep, there’s just so much Nicolas can do to stop its plan. And so their journey begins. Tanzania, India, China, Cuba, and beyond. At each step another decision, another lesson, another piece of the puzzle.

But ultimately, it boils down to this: Karina Vega saves other people’s lives. Now she needs to decide if her own life is worth saving. But why save it, if the only option she’ll have is to give it right back to the world?

Karina Vega is the heroine of Healers, the first installment in the Carpe Terram Trilogy. Healers will be available as a free download on Amazon between Friday, August 24, and Tuesday August 28. Please download it and give it a shot!


Wrong Words = Wrong Thoughts = Wrong Actions

There are words that once uttered cannot be taken back. Because they’re such a crystal-clear reflection of who you are spiritually, that no explanation in the whole wide world can erase them, other than, perhaps, “I was held at gunpoint and coerced to say it.”

I am a lover of words. I feel words deeply. I think about the meaning of words constantly. I lose myself in nuances. I use words consciously. Words tell me what I need to know about the person in front of me. So when I hear claims that “wrong words” were used, and one’s deeply disturbing remarks were not a reflection of that person’s beliefs, but mere semantics, I call bullshit. And that’s a mild word.

I am a survivor of rape and domestic abuse. I wasn’t kidnapped and held at gunpoint, but I was repeatedly abused by a man I chose to be with, and lost several years of my early youth recovering from that abuse. So when I hear an old, self-righteous, privileged jackass, with primitive views of the world, classify rape as “legitimate” (which means there’s also “illegitimate” rape–attention survivors, you should get a stamp of approval on that rape and get your rapist to sign a certificate of authenticity, just to make sure it’s legitimate and you’re not just crying wolf) and spew nonsense about what a woman’s body does when she’s raped, I burst into flames of rage. My blood boils. I clench my jaw so hard I’m afraid I’ll break it. And I curse a storm in my head in the hope that the rage will stop.

And in that rage, I can tell you exactly how it feels to be raped. How your heart beats so hard you’re sure it will burst any second; and how after a while, you will it to break. How your skin crawls and every inch of your body is a massive, raw nerve ending that you just want to scratch off. How your soul struggles to stay alive as it drowns in a stormy ocean of shame, humiliation, self-hate and despair. How you suffocate as you try to not throw up your internal organs. How you ask yourself over and over what it is that you’ve done to deserve this. How you feel like garbage when he’s done with you, and you wish you were dead, because being alive hurts too much. How you know your life will never again be emotionally intact.

But I know the rage won’t stop. Not until men who believe they have the right to make choices for women die out, women who defend those men die out, politicians who think they own women’s bodies die out, religious fanatics who claim moral superiority die out, and debates about absurd claims that should be dismissed with a smirk and an eye-roll no longer exist and those who make the claims are rapidly shipped off to get treatment.

Which means the rage will never truly stop. It makes me sad that I will not live long enough to see a spiritually-illuminated world; that humanity will continue to roll in the refuse of small minds well beyond my passing.

Despite all the words I’ve just shared, despite the rage brought on by other people’s words, I’m not bitter. I can still love and be emotionally present. Philosophical sadness does not equal bitterness; it’s not synonymous with the inability to enjoy life. I’m lucky enough to have healed, grown, and learned from my past, and I can tell you that these old words are truer than true: what doesn’t kill you does make you stronger. Just the way scar tissue protects an old wound: it’s not always pretty to look at, but when you poke at it again, it no longer gives in as easily as the first time.

P.S.: If you’re looking for rage explained in more vivid detail, read Eve Ensler’s words.