All You Need is Love


I recently came across a post in which an actress had come under some fire and was bashed publicly for kissing her 4-year-old son on the lips. I was immediately dumbfounded at the fact that there are people out there that felt it was inappropriate! The very thought that a parent pouring out affection on their child could be seen as disgusting is highly disturbing. Love and affection are basic needs for a child to thrive.

A September 2013 study from UCLA, titled “Childhood Abuse, Parental Warmth, and Adult Multisystem Biological Risk in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study” suggests that a loving parental figure may alter neural circuits in children that could influence health throughout a lifespan. Inversely, the negative impact of childhood abuse or lack of parental affection may also take a mental and physical toll that could last a lifetime. Childhood neglect increases adult risk for mortality, morbidity, and poor health later in life.

Are we really so caught up in the hustle of making a living that we’re forgetting to ensure the most important people in our lives aren’t being deprived of the one thing they need most. . . love.

Our children want to be noticed. They want your attention. They need your hugs. A kiss on the cheek. Snuggles. These are the things that guide them, make them compassionate, and help them succeed.

Love and discipline go hand in hand. You cannot give discipline without displaying love in return or your child will begin to withdraw, and take on the mindset that they can never do anything right.

Kiss your child on their little cheeks or lips. Tell them how much you love them and how proud you are to be their parent. They need love like they need breath, shelter, food, and clothing.

~Christa G.

Lorelei: Chapter One


(To read the Prologue, follow this link).


I felt different. Like only I could see the true color of the world. Like only I could see the lighthouse through the storm. I felt like this for as long as I could remember, since my sister and I were carefree children, killing the hours with our stupid games of fantasy and adventure. I would like to say it set me apart from everyone. That I had a special gift that others respected and envied. That they cherished my insight and opinion. That I had purpose in this sad, short existence which plagued our kind. But I can’t. It set me apart, but not in the way I desired. The first time I discovered my gift, I was ten, too young to know what happened to me. Life-changing moments or turning points in our history don’t always come on the crest of a tidal wave, sometimes they sneak in under the guise of a perfectly normal day.

I awoke to Lorelei twirling around our bedroom in her pink satin Sunday dress, singing a made-up song. I moaned and rolled over, pulling my pillow over my ears. Her singing grew louder and her twirling more violent. She annoyed me in the mornings. Despite the fact that she preceded my birth by two years, I felt older and more mature. Perhaps because I tended to see the darker side of things, while she flounced around in unending optimism. Even as a ten-year-old, my mind leaned toward the macabre.

I’ll never forget the time Lorelei and I found a baby bird lying dead on the ground. Lorelei sobbed, but all I could do was stare helplessly at its naked little body with its tiny beak parted slightly open. Our cousin, Elijah, happened across us while we grieved over the loss of life. Lorelei and I were debating on where we should bury it, when Elijah kicked it with his foot. I watched in horror as its limp, little body flopped in the grass. He laughed coldly.

“Disgusting little bird,” he picked up a twig and walked over to it. “I wonder if it’s just as ugly on the inside.”

Lorelei screamed and ran toward our house, but I sat frozen on the ground, watching in horror as my cousin brutally dissected that baby bird with a stick.

When he finished mutilating its body, he turned to me, bloody twig in hand, and said, “Want me to find out if you’re just as ugly on the inside as you are on the outside?”

My heart raced as he stepped slowly toward me. “You’re the disgusting one,” I spat angrily as I stood to my feet.

“You little brat! How dare you speak to me like that!” He quickly grabbed my arm, tightening his grip painfully around my thin wrist. “You’ll wish you never said that.”

I squirmed furiously, but could not loosen his grip. He was older and stronger. I felt completely helpless. He lifted the stick to my wrist and scraped it slowly across my skin, drawing blood. I yelped in pain.

“I don’t think you’ve learned your lesson yet, maybe I should go a bit deeper.”

“You’re sick!” I screeched. Bringing my other hand up to his face, I dug my nails into his cheek and dragged them down as hard as possible. His grip on my wrist immediately loosened. He stumbled back, dropping the twig as he put a hand to his cheek.

Lunging toward me, his bloody hand swiped the air as I ducked away.

Turning, I sprinted for the house.

to be continued . . . 

~Lindsey V.

Finding Yourself Again


Abusive relationships systematically work on taking away your identity. You lose your sense of self, everything in your life revolves around pleasing your abuser, making sure you do and act according to his wishes, in order to avoid an incident. That’s why it’s important to make time for yourself after you leave. Rediscover yourself. Do all of the things you couldn’t.

I had given up so many parts of myself while in my abusive relationship. I no longer wrote creatively. I no longer drew or painted. I had been doing these things voraciously for as long as I could remember. Yet, while in that relationship, all of my efforts were exhausted on pleasing him. All of my mental energy was focused on whether or not I was behaving appropriately for him.

When I left him, I gradually felt more and more liberated as I began to exercise my freedom. I started writing a book (I never finished it, but it served as exhilarating therapy). I started creating digital art. I watched all of my favorite TV shows. I ate all of my favorite foods. I lazed around in my pajamas on my day off and didn’t feel guilty about it. I made so many day-to-day decisions without having to agonize over whether or not those decisions would affect anyone but myself. I could finally breathe. I could finally embrace myself again.

So I urge all of our readers. Whether you are recovering from an abusive relationship or not. Do something for yourself. Discover the things that make you happy again.

~Lindsey V.