The murderer came up to you at the party
```Frothy cold beer in hand and said,
`````` “You are clearly thirsty.”
````````` “Drink from my cup.”
Though you do not drink, his offer was tempting….
```the beverage so cool on your tongue.
``````You asked, “Just one more sip?”
`````````as the golden drops brought relief to your body.
“I have been so thirsty,” you confessed.
The murderer smiled, gently caressing your cheek
``` as he summoned the waiter to bring you another.
`````` He whispered close to your ear, “You are so beautiful.” …
**Caution: Some material may be disturbing to some readers. If you have survived childhood trauma and/or if you feel harmed reading religious beliefs different than your own, this article may be activating. Please take care of yourself — even if that means not reading this one.
**Note: In order to protect confidentiality, identifying details have been altered and/or the individuals depicted are composites of actual persons.
“Come see this,” my dear friend motioned with her hand as she pulled her cell phone out of her back pocket. I had just entered the office from my lunch break and was rain-soaked from a much-welcomed winter rain storm. She spoke quickly as her words rose higher in pitch as though something was ready to burst from within her. Her impatient energy communicated that one more minute’s delay (like me taking off my rain-coat) might be the end of her. …
Today, I grieve.
I first thought it sadness. But no, it is grief.
Heavy. Achey. Murky. Grief.
I am exhausted.
I am so exhausted trying to understand you.
I am so tired trying to explain myself — my thoughts, my beliefs, my hopes, and my heart. I am tired of having my efforts mischaracterized and turned upside down to attack me.
I am tired of saying, “That’s not what I said!” and you dismiss me with a wink to your friends, “Hysterical!”
I grieve over feeling vilified. I grieve over being continually misrepresented.
I grieve over your use of power over me. …
Let me be honest.
I don’t know much about guns.
My only personal experience shooting a gun was on my uncle’s farm at a family reunion in South Dakota a few summers back. (My mother grew up on the same farm, but had moved to Colorado as a young adult, where she married and raised me and my siblings.) This trip back to her home state took some coordination, but we all longed to reconnect, and made it happen. …