My homes have always seemed like friends to me, places where I have put down roots, planted myself deep in the ground, and molded each home to fit “me”, allowing me to settle in, comfortable and safe, removed from the hectic life of work, politics, and other periodic necessities and the insanity of life in general. A retreat and a refuge.
My most favorite home was in Mississippi, a rolling five acres that I named “The Farm at Serenity Hill”. Offering both me and my judge husband plenty of space to cultivate over 400 roses, plant over 100 trees, build arbors, out buildings, and ride our tractor, The Farm at Serenity Hill was, simply put, just wonderful. I was so attached to that home that I used it as a model for Allison Parker’s home in the mystery series of the same name. I hated to leave it when we moved to North Carolina.
My North Carolina house has been my residence for almost five years now, but it was only in the past few months that our Appalachian log home changed from being a place where I resided to my actual home. About two and a half years ago, I became the target of vicious, hateful, and unwarranted attacks. The assaults were so intense that they provoked a PTSD attack, replete with an outbreak of hives and several severe anxiety attacks, necessitating medical care and extensive work with a therapist. Not only did I feel emotionally attacked, I felt unsafe in my own house. In fact, for over a year it took extraordinary will power not to put the house on the market and leave, for who wants to live among such hatred? But, I persisted, in no small part to my husband’s refusal to succumb to bullies and lies, and the encouragement of friends who urged me to stay.
It is no exaggeration to say that surviving this attack on my integrity almost did me in. But as with many trials by fire - and that is what it felt like - a stronger, and many times different, person emerges from the flames. And so it was with me. I decided to be a warrior.
In Norse mythology, when warriors die they reside thereafter in a special heaven, Valhalla. I’m not dead, of course, but I believe a part of me died, so that the warrior could emerge. My Appalachian log home IS heaven - at least to me. I have fought to stay here, fought to live here, fought against the hatred directed towards me. I am changed, and in that change, the name of my home, not my residence, came to me - VALHALLA.
The progenitors of the attacks on me are still around, but their power over me has been vanquished. The warrior lives, and she is enjoying her North Carolina Valhalla.