Formal Introduction

For years people have been trying to talk me into writing my story. I have notebooks stacked all over this apartment, in drawers, in bags, in suitcases.

It’s hard to begin. To begin at the beginning would take too long, I lose too many details along the way. The best way to do it is by writing this blog so that whatever may have been on my mind that day is what I will write about, with some poems with explanations of the why I wrote it thrown in here and there. In this first post I will give the briefest synopsis I can manage in order to make you want to continue to come back and see what I have written. By brief, it doesn’t mean it will be short. Trust me. It can’t be told in a few paragraphs. Before I begin I want to say I love my family. It may not sound like that at times but I love them despite their individual broken parts..and because of it. Many of them are dead now, which makes writing this easier so they don’t get hurt. HERE WE GO


I’m 43 years old and I live and groom dogs in a small studio size duplex in the hood of Monroe, Georgia. I love it here. My rent is only 250 a month and if loud filthy hip hop lyrics blaring from next door and the houses surrounding me is all that I have to complain about then I think I am one lucky lady. The music doesn’t even bother me. I just worry it will bother the clients who come to bring their dogs for me to groom. I sit on the toilet and pull the grooming table over my lap. I have a plastic yard wheel barrow with holes drilled in the bottom in my tub where I bathe the dogs. It’s cheap and its ghetto and fabulous. I can groom just about anywhere and do an amazing job, which is why I have people who will follow me all over the state  when I’ve up and decided it’s time to run again. I’ve been running all my life, you see. At the first sign of discord or strife, I’m deciding what’s most precious to me and packing it in duffel bags and disappearing into the night. Even though therapy brings the realization of why we have certain behaviors stemming from childhood, it sometimes can’t curb the behaviors. The “why” is not the glue to fix what’s broken.


I spent my entire 20’s in Prison. I was 19, married to my soul mate, with a 10 month old son and anther son on the way. My husband was over seas in the Navy and I was at home with my Meth Amphetamine addicted mother and her Drug Dealer  boyfriend. The physical abuse she endured to obtain dope and have a young good-looking boyfriend was horrendous. I had a 7-year-old little sister who already had that dead stare in her eyes that children who live in broken homes with no hope of rescue get. I’d left a dozen times. Slept at friends houses, relatives houses, strangers houses. My mother would come get me and talk me into coming home every time. I was codependent at a very young age. My mother would be in the midst of getting her ass beat by my dad for running around and she would run into my bedroom and grab me so he’d stop hitting her. Most often he did, so my developing brain told me it was my responsiblity to keep her safe.


I’d only been back a week the day I shot my mother’s boyfriend during one of their fights. I awoke to screams and breaking glass. The fight went on for what felt like forever. He had her locked in the bedroom and wouldn’t let her out.  I couldn’t wait for my husband to finish his sea duty so I could go be with him in Virginia and get away from this hell. The hardest part would be leaving my sister. Three weeks before, on Christmas eve, I went into my sister’s room to tell her goodnight and Santa would be there in the night. I will never forget how she cried pitifully and said she wish my mother’s boyfriend was not there. My mother told her to dry it up, stop being a baby. I remember being very confused at why on such an exciting night in a child’s life my sisters main thoughts were wishing someone away. She sobbed like few children sob. A sob of heartbreak and fear. (I found out years later he’d been raping her. She had HPV and cervical cancer before she was 14 years old. And for the first time ever I was relieved of the guilt that had been killing me.)


The incident happened so fast and was so surreal it’s still to this day shocking at how 5 minutes can change the course of one’s life. Danny had left. My mother had called their supplier and asked him to come make Danny leave. The supplier was still there, and my actual father was passed out on the couch. He lived in a camper outside. Despite how much I loved him, I hated him. He was allowing my sister and I to live in that hell and did nothing to stop it. I dont know if he were living there for free, if he got his dope from them, if he took pleasure in watching my mother get beat and found it proper retribution for her sleeping around on him all those years. Who knows. All I know is on more than one occasion my little sister would come running from the main house screaming bloody murder that Danny was going to kill her mama, she would pound on my father’s camper door and pull on him, begging him to stop them, to please stop them. He would push her off and say there was nothing he could do. So that morning after the supplier had made Danny leave, I was finally downstairs making bottles for my son. He was playing happily in his play pen. I was on the phone with one of my friends trying to get her to come pick me up. The dope supplier was having coffee at the kitchen table. He was a quiet man and had never done anything rude to me but I still hated him for being the one the dope came from. My mother handed me a stack of laundry and told me to give it to my dad. I shook him trying to wake him up but he was passed completely out. I was standing there by his sleeping body when the door was kicked in, breaking the lock. Danny barged in stating that he was going to “Knock that bitches teeth down her throat before he left” It all happened so fast, the next thing I know he’s in the laundry room and her screams stopped, replaced by an odd gagging sound. I run to the back and find he has her up against the wall by her throat and this is the moment that changed my life forever. I screamed  a blood curdling ‘STOP! IT ENDS NOW! IT ENDS TODAY! NO ONE IS BEATING MY MOTHER AGAIN! GET OUT!” It worked. He let go, and turned around to storm towards me. Oddly enough, he was laughing. “What you gonna do little girl huh? I dont have to get out, what you gonna do? Either me or that bitch is going out of here in a body bag today” And my stupid, pregnant, emotional 19 year old self threw away my freedom and marriage by saying “I’ll kill you first” That statement was the statement that made my crime technically premeditated, although it happened only two minutes before I pulled the trigger. “Oh is that so?” He said, laughing. “Well let’s go get the gun!” I followed him into Mom’s bedroom bravely enough. Mom had hidden the gun cabinet key the last time he held a shotgun to my little sisters head saying if Mom left him he’d take her baby out of this world. I thought he couldn’t get into the cabinet. But somehow he had a copy, and he was in it and had a 9 millimeter popping a clip in it so fast my head spun. All noise left the world, there was just silence, the supplier was in the doorway. I seen his eyes wide and his mouth moving but I couldn’t hear anything but my heart pounding. I remember all I could think was I should have not been afraid of airplanes. If I wasnt so afraid to fly I’d be in Chicago with my husband’s family, where he wanted me to be because he hated my family. I should have went to Chicago. I should have went to Chicago. And then the gun is pointing at me, and then the gun is put in my hand, he bent over, mocking me, pointed to his head and the silence is broken by his last words…”Pull the trigger bitch” So I did. His body shot up for a second and I threw the gun on the bed and started to run, but then I heard his body hit the ground. I felt so calm, so strangely calm. I still heard my heartbeat, everything was in slow motion. I literally had no thoughts. I was looking down at him and said, “It’s over. It’s finally over.” Mom ran into the room screaming and beating my chest with her fists “You killed him Candy! You killed him! Why? Why? Danny! Danny!” I was confused. “Mom, it’s over. No one will beat you ever again” Her response was to run and grab the dope and commenced flushing it down the toilet. And surprise surprise, my dad is now awake.


Danny was not in fact dead yet. Once I realized that I ran and got towels and put it against his head to stop the bleeding and grabbed the phone and called the police. I didn’t think I was in trouble. I had no idea I’d be arrested. I stayed by him putting pressure on his head until the ambulance got there. The cops arrived and sat me down at the table questioning me as I fed my son his bottle. This is where I lose some of my memory. All I remember after that was being in the back of a cop car being driven away from my son. I remember being glad my sister was in school, and looking down finding blood on my shirt and finally coming to the realization that I’d shot a man, he would probably die, I was going to jail and there was no one to tell my husband our son was in the hands of my mother.


Danny passed away and My husband sent me divorce papers and a dozen roses on the day of our anniversary. He was able to get emergency leave and was at his mother’s house. I called him from Jail constantly. His mother refused to raise our son unless he divorced me. He was angry and hurt and said none of this would have happened if I’d just came to Chicago the year before like he told me to and I chose my mother over him and our son. He said he was not upset at me for killing a man, but for not being by his side like I was supposed to be. He told me I’d chosen my mother over him for the last time. He cried and told me he loved me but I’d forced his hand, he couldn’t let my mother raise our son. I never called him back after that, despite his letters. He sent me a birthday and a christmas card every year right up till his death.  We’d been so close. We fought like cats and dogs but we were soul mates.  I was so upset for his divorcing me I had nothing to say to him. I felt like he abandoned me. I didn’t realize he had to move on with his life until I got out of prison. I will regret that for the rest of my life because he killed himself while I was locked up, leaving our son with no parents and in the hands of the very demented woman he had married.


I was out on bond for a year. My trial came and I was convicted and sentenced to 20 years in prison. I went in at 20 and walked out at 29 years old. I had nowhere to go but back home. Back to a mother who never learned her lesson about drugs and men. Back to live in my fathers old camper. I was not there long. A few months. 9 years in prison made me hard, gave me a voice. After suffering with no ability to escape I vowed to never suffer again. I will pack up and be gone before the dawn. Ask my mother or any of  my ex’s. I don’t need to take anything with me either. I lived out of a small locker for a decade. What are personal possessions to me? Freedom from strife. That is all that matters.


I got on Depo Provera when I got out but the first time I had sex the condom came off inside me and I got pregnant with my daughter Kaitlyn. (Yes, Depo AND a condom. When life wants to make it’s way into the world, it does it despite the odds) I didn’t know I was pregnant until I was about 4 months along because I didn’t have periods with Depo. My teenage sister, now a drug addict herself because my mother didn’t want to do dope alone, informed me that I’m only a bitch like this when I am pregnant. I immediately found someone to adopt the baby and moved out of my mother’s house much to my Parole officers joy. I couldn’t raise a baby. I’d been in prison, I didn’t raise my own kids, I didn’t have money or skill to raise this one. No one would hire me because I was on parole with a big ugly ankle monitor on for a violent crime.  I couldn’t get public assistance because of my violent crime supposedly. I couldn’t sleep on my ex boyfriends couch forever. So what’s a girl with two adolescent boys to feed to do? I became a Dominatrix. Yes folks, for the low low of 200 dollars an hour I bound and gagged men and beat them. I’d learned to shut off my emotions in Prison. I became Mistress Charlie. I’d made enough money to get a car, rent a house and have a nest egg till I could find a job. I did that for only two months, then my pregnancy started showing and I started again on a job hunt. I finally got the printing company I worked for when I was in the work release program in Prison to hire me as a proofreader. I worked there for about 6 years on 12 hour night shift. The money was not good and we were poor. My 15 year old son had hidden his runaway girlfriend in his walk in closet and I never even knew until he contacted my mother to please come break the news to me that he’d gotten the girl pregnant. She moved in with us and I had yet another mouth to feed and a baby on the way and what perfect timing for the company I worked for to go under. Now I was without a job, a mortgage to pay and a houseful of kids depending on me to feed and clothe them. I searched three counties trying to find work. Even after all that time no one would hire me because of my background. So after I started receiving threats of foreclosure on the house, I dug out my flogger and was forced to become Mistress Charlie once again. I was a beautifully striking woman. I’d learned a thing or two about hardness in Prison. I was like crack to the submissive corporate blue-collar man who for whatever reason, needed a mean ass woman to dig her high heels in his kneeling back and whip the blood out of him. The year I was a ProDomme ruined me of a normal relationship probably forever. I’ve seen things that make me realize the depravity of the human mind. I heard stories from my clients that broke my heart and made me cry while torturing them because I knew all too well that my glue would never fix them, was probably only making them worse. The guilt I felt toward the unknowing wives at home who would never know nor understand why their husbands would need someone to put makeup and a maids outfit on them and order them to clean my toilet while I watched. The money was rolling in and I was paying off my debt, was able to feed the kids good organic food, had the time finally to spend with them that I never had before. I wish I could have enjoyed myself more but what I did for a living followed me everywhere I went. I had such tremendous shame weighing me down. It was killing my spirit. The best thing that ever happened to me was the day I got busted by the police. I made the front page of two county newspapers. I most certainly could not get a job now. The bills got behind again, we started having to cut back on food again, I was going to food banks and selling everything I had on Ebay. One of my regular clients who seen me on a weekly basis asked me to move in with him. I didn’t want to, I told him I didn’t want to. But before it was all said and done that is what I chose rather than go back to my mother’s, which by this time was a full fledged dope house. My step sister looked after the kids the first month so I could make sure Brooks house was safe and he was not hiding bodies under the house. I could not understand why this man who used to pay me $200 an hour would want me to come play housewife. I told him I’d never love him and he was making a big mistake, but he didn’t care. So there’s that.


I decided I was not the type of woman to sit around all day doing nothing. I was going out of my mind. I needed something to do. My memories were too much for me to deal with all day. Brooks never brought in much money. I don’t know what he did with it but I imagine he had found a new mistress because once a man sees you vulnerable, your Dominatrix persona is shot to shit. I put in applications all over the place and the first place to hire me was Petsmart as a bather. The rest is history. THIS is what I was mean to be doing all along. All my thoughts go straight out the door when I have a dog in my arms. Nothing matters but that dog and making him feel and look better. The admiration and recognition I got from the clients moved me so much I cried a lot my first year. There was something so touching about how HAPPY a dog gets when his groom is over. They smile, they prance, they feel great. It was the first time I’d done something for money that I felt was giving and not taking. And I was GOOD at it. Petsmart sent me to grooming school ahead of people who’d been there a year. Once I got out of school and paid off my kit I started my own company out of my house. The flood gates opened, there was so much work via customer referral I couldnt keep up with it all. It got bigger and bigger and they money was so abundant even though I kept my prices lower than anyone in town. Dogs saved my sanity. They brought back my humanity. There are days where I am so sore and exhausted, covered in vomit or poop, my hands cracked from staying wet, dog hair splinters in my skin that i have to sit naked in the bathroom picking out with tweezers, scratches all over me sometimes bites and even on the WORST of those days, I dont regret what I do for a living for a second. My artistic side is voiced while grooming them, my loving side is nurtured in the silent exchange of handler and canine working together as one. I know every mole, every bad tooth, every dislocated knee of most of my clients pets. I know the turn of their muscle and the beat of their heart and the smell of their breath. When I am alone with an animal I am closer to God.


There is my story. There is so so sosoooo much more involved and that is what this blog is about. My decades of grief over the loss of my husband is the one constant in my life, despite every loss I’ve ever suffered, loosing him was the most painful and the one loss I can’t recover from no matter how many relationships I’ve attempted. There is not one week that goes by in the years since his death that I have not cried or at the very least choked back tears for him. I will love him till the day I die. I will never give up hope that that kind of love is still out there and despite how tainted I am by life’s experiences, there will be a man who will still make me blush and give me butterflies when he kisses me. If not, I know Ed will be waiting on the other side with a big lecture, a huge fight, and an embrace that finally brings me home back to his arms.

I’ll be talking about my 13 year old daughter who has Borderline Personality Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Conduct Disorder and Attention Deficit. I still say it was the Depo Provera I was on at her conception. She has been fighting mental illness since the age of 3. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster and I know because I’ve lived it that there is hope for her. She is like my boys, strikingly beautiful, dangerously intelligent, and full of potential. She has been in residential treatment for almost 6 months now and the grief at the loss of her presence in my days is heavy.

I’ll also be talking about Asian Cooking, Primarily Korean Cooking. I learned with little money and too many mouths to feed that Asian Cooking is Filling, Nutritious, Healthy and once you have your basic Pantry stocked, VERY economical. My inlaws taught me the basics when I was young. I didn’t pay proper attention to detail at the time though.  Rice is a staple in my house and in my adult son’s houses. I battle a genetic tendency towards obesity and diabetes from my father’s side. All my half sisters are over 300 pounds and diabetic. I fight a good fight and eat right as often as I can. I raised my children on those values and the boys grew up and took their holistic kitchen and lifestyle principles out into the world with them. I was not the best mother, I made stupid mistakes and choices out of desperation and lack of a sane upbringing myself. But I did my best, I have a very good relationship with them and they seem to value me in their lives and adore my cooking. In the end, that’s all that matters. We are survivors determined to break the cycle of addiction and mind control in order to create a more sane and loving generation. The sins of the Mothers is no longer a chain around our necks.


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