John Emil Augustine grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota and toured in his twenties and early thirties with local and national acts; writing, arranging, and performing with notable jazz, blues, gospel, reggae, post funk, prog rock, and folk groups. John has also been a landscaper, mail carrier, forklift operator, and English professor with Master’s degrees in Adult Education and Communications. He currently lives in Minneapolis with his wife and four boys. John is writing the From the Abyss book series and has recorded the albums Chants for Renewal, Presence and Awareness and Postcards From the Abyss. John is also in the planning stages of Write Is Right workshops for abuse survivors.
John is my friend, a man with a big heart, a survivor. You all know I don’t share funding, donating etc. stuff on my blog like, well, ever, but John’s case is worth an exception. So, here’s John’s message for all of you:
I’m a writer, musician, educator, and an abuse survivor with a big story and an even bigger idea. Essentially, I am in the midst of modeling the very thing I want to facilitate for abuse survivors: writing in order to heal. For many like me who are unable, for whatever reason, to verbalize their own abuse, writing can often be the right alternative. It is also a right few abuse victims think they are entitled to: revealing their story. I’ve dared to write my story, and the process has been incredibly healing. I will turn around and facilitate writing workshops for others using my model. For now, it is time for me to begin appearing publicly with my series, and I can’t do this step alone. I am reaching out for help so I can get to The Great Lakes Book Bash in Kalamazoo, MI and continue my work. Read about what I have accomplished so far as well as about how you can help here: http://ow.ly/Apn4t.
“I can’t believe I am still here!” She screamed. Charles cried and twisted in my arms as I moved this way and that to hold onto him. I had nothing to say to that.
Cindi went to the kitchen, twisted her feet into her sandals, and opened the door. “From now on, you’re on your own!” She screamed.
I stood there with a crying baby and watched her open and slam the door. I moved to the kitchen window, only to see her run through the backyard.
Where was she going?
She opened the gate, went into the driveway, quickly got into the car, backed away from the garage, and screamed out of the driveway.
As I stood watching, I had set Charles onto the counter and against my chest as he cried. I picked him up, sat down on the kitchen floor, vexed, and held him up near my face. “Hey, little boy,” I half-whispered, “You’re ok. Hey, Charlie, no worries. What you wanna do? You tired? Hungry? I suppose you’re going to need something to eat, huh bud?” He calmed a bit when he heard the sound of my voice. Those big baby-sobs started to come as he reversed his own crying. “Well, what do ya say? Should we get some food? At least we can try to eat something; and if you don’t want to do that, you can sleep, huh?”
I slowly got up and held him close, all the time looking at him and talking quietly. “I know, Charlie, I know. It’s tough all over, isn’t it? Well, we won’t let that get us down. Nope, not us. We’re gonna be just fine.” He began to close his eyes. He was tired, the poor guy. I laid him down in my left arm. “There ya go. You sleep a little, and I’ll see what I can do, ok? Yeah, you’re tired, huh? Just have a little break there, guy. Now we’re cookin’. Now we’re cookin’.”
He was falling asleep, and I was shaking uncontrollably.
We were out of formula, so at two in the morning I went to the Rainbow Foods on Snelling and University to buy baby formula. There I was in the store with a sleeping baby in my arms, trying to remember what Jackie the doula had said was the best kind. I took my best stab at it, went through the checkout, and loaded Charles back into my truck under the lights of the grocery store parking lot. “This is crazy,” I thought. The air was cooling.
When I got home, I saw that Cindi’s car was back, but there were also two squad cars with flashing lights in front of our house. “Now what?” I thought.
I walked in the back door ready for anything. Cindi had come home, found us gone, and called the cops on me. She took Charles as I walked through the door, and then she identified me to the officer. She bounced and rocked the baby, saying, “There, there. There, there. Shhh, shhhh, shhh.”
I tried to explain that I was at the store buying formula, but she insisted she had been home and said I had taken the baby from her. I tried to describe the situation as it had happened, but cops tend to believe the mother. When I showed them the baby formula in the grocery bag, they finally told me that
if I left the premises there would not be trouble. If Cindi wanted, she could file for a restraining order against me.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post. Together we are stronger ❤