But He Only…

It’s hard when sheltered little girls start to grow up and get interested in boys, and boys return the interest.  You only want to really talk about positive things with your daughter, because she’s your little girl and you cannot imagine adult types of things happening to her.

Then it’s time for the first date, and she’s excited and going on and on about how good looking he is, and how sweet he was when he asked her out, and you’re thinking “Good.  Because that’s what my daughter deserves.”  Not that you’ve told her that.  She should know that.

She goes out on the date and he’s a perfect gentleman, and everything is storybook.  She’s so happy she’s giggling as she goes about the house, talking on her cell phone to her girlfriends.

After about a month of dating, he asks her to go with him to a dance.  She’s very excited and “I can have a new dress, right?  Can I have a new dress?  Can we go shopping, Mom, please?”  And of course, the answer is Yes.

You go shopping with her, and you find the perfect dress: it covers in all the right places; it’s something your own mother would have approved of for you, and she looks beautiful in it.  So, you figure, that everything is fine.

The night of the dance, he picks her up wearing a tux, has a corsage for her and promises you and your husband that he will have her home promptly at midnight.

You’re confident in him, because he’s never broken a curfew in the month that they’ve been dating.

He returns her home at 12:05, but that’s hardly worth mentioning.  She comes in and she’s happy, she says she’s happy and says she’s tired and wants to go to bed.  You wish her a good night’s sleep and off she goes.

In the morning, when she awakens, she calls her girlfriends, and tells them that he pushed her last night.  He got upset because, while he was getting punch for her, a boy from her Chemistry class came over and was talking to her about the last lab they’d had, and how crazy their teacher is.  She was laughing with the boy, because she agreed.  Her boyfriend, as he was walking back to her with the punch in hand, saw her laughing and talking with this other boy.  The lab partner excused himself and walked away when her boyfriend returned.

Her boyfriend asked: “Who was that?  What did he want?”

She replied: “Oh, nothing we were just talking about Chemistry.”

He accused: “You were laughing.  Looked like you were having a good time.”

She told him it was no big deal, and then his face darkened and he pushed her.

She didn’t fall to the floor or anything, but she felt scared.  He had never been anything but gentle with her, until last night.

Another phone call comes in to her cell phone; it’s her boyfriend, she has to talk to him.

He’s sorry.  He shouldn’t have pushed her.  He wants to make it up to her by taking her to the movies tonight.

She says, yes, and gets ready.

You notice that she’s all bubbly and happy again, and wonder what the dark cloud had been that you’d noticed earlier, while your daughter was on the phone to her friends.  Maybe it was just those teenage hormones.

You don’t ask.

She goes to the movies and they have a wonderful time.

About a week goes by, and she’s walking down the hall in school, with a bunch of her classmates — boys and girls.  One of the boys is her Chemistry lab partner.  Her boyfriend is looking for her, and he sees her having fun with all of these people, and with that one boy from the dance, laughing and talking with her.

He can’t see anything else but the just the two of them.  Laughing.  Together.  Very together.

He walks up and grabs her and drags her away from everyone else.  He’s holding her arm so tightly, as he pulls her to her locker to talk, that he leaves bruises.

“You’re hurting me!  Stop!”

He begins to rant.  He accuses her of cheating on him with her lab partner.

She’s confused; her lab partner is just a friend, she doesn’t know why he’s upset.  And he’s hurting her.  She tries to pull away.

His hand reaches back and slaps her face, and calls her a whore.

Nothing like this has ever happened to her before.  She doesn’t know what to think or what to do.

She tells him to leave her alone, and she stalks off to class with her arm hurting and her face red, still feeling the handprint.

During class, she’s distracted, thinking about what happened.  How could this have happened to her?  Why would he do this? He’s always been so gentle, so charming.

And she thinks, she must have done something wrong.  He said she had, she shouldn’t have been talking to those kids, that boy.  She didn’t mean to be doing anything wrong.  But that’s what upset him, so she must have been doing something wrong.  Right?

Over the next few weeks, she pulls away from her friends, gradually and steadily.  Her grades go down a little bit, but not enough for her teachers to worry, to call her parents.

You don’t know.

Then, it’s spring.  She comes down for breakfast with a turtleneck on.  It’s a beautiful, warm spring day.  You ask her why the turtleneck?  It’s a beautiful morning!

“I’m cold,” you’re told, tersely.

She’s running late, she doesn’t want to talk, and she hurries out the door before you can ask anything more.

She’s running from herself, but you don’t know that.  She’s running from a situation that she just can’t understand.  She’s afraid, and you can almost see that, but you can’t understand why.

What you don’t know is, the night before, on their last date, her loving boyfriend tried to choke her.  The turtleneck is covering the bruises on her neck.  She knows you would never allow her go see him again if you knew.

But he loves her.  He told her he did; well, after he choked her.

And she loves him.  Well, usually.

She wants to ask one of her old girlfriends if this had ever happened to them.  But it was embarrassing.  What if it hadn’t happened to them?  What if they thought it was her fault, if they knew she did something wrong?

She can’t talk to you.  You’ve never talked about anything like this.  You’d never understand.

She decides to just keep the information to herself.

Six more months go by.  He asks her to go steady. She eagerly says yes, but there’s a little voice inside that’s saying, “Run.  Run.”

He tells her that now, she will be His.  And no one can every interfere with them.  He’ll take care of her, she won’t need anyone else, because she has him.

Several more months pass.  They have a horrific argument and your little girl comes home.

Her face looks like pulp.  He punched her this time, and she cannot hide this from you.

He had the right to do it, he said, because she belongs to him.  They were going steady, after all.

You see her.  “What happened?” you ask, and for the first time in months, she tells the truth.

But she still thinks it’s her fault.  He always says she’s stupid and ungrateful and a burden to him, and she’s lucky he loves her at all.

But he does love her.  He says.  Between the punches.

“Do you love him, this boy?” you ask.

“I..I think so,” she says, and she starts to cry.  “I don’t know,” she admits and you hold her.

“Mom, I’m scared.”

And your heart breaks.

 

 

This young girl has found herself in a spot many young girls find themselves in.  They think that abuse is only broken bones or going to the hospital.  That’s never happened to her.  He only pushes.  Only shoves.  Only yells. He’s only REALLY hit her once.

What these girls don’t understand is that a slap, a push, a shove, twisting her arm, punching her face; belittling and calling her names; separating her from her friends — isolating, it’s called — it’s all abuse, battering.

They don’t understand that they are in danger, and this one person is the person they should be terrified of, and should get away from.

Hopefully, after talking to a counselor with or without her parents, and dating some other young men who treat her with the respect to which all young women are entitled, she will learn that she did not deserve the violence her now ex-boyfriend introduced to her life.

Hopefully, in the future, the men that she picks will not be abusers, and she will not spend years of her life living in violence in fear.

 

But  you could have helped, long before it started.  You could have talked to your daughter, let her know with words and actions that she IS special, and worthy of love.  You could have told her that no one ever has the right to push her, or shove her or call her names, and if they do, she should always come to you.  That you will always be there, and you will always listen, and that you would never think…

She deserved it.

Because she never could.

Because NO ONE ever deserves to abused.

 

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Barbara Mattio

idealisticrebel

love is not abuse

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Our Individual Paths to Peace

When we begin our journeys in this life, I don’t think we really have a concept of peace. As children and teens, we are looking for other things in our lives. Without peace, life can seem dull, cruel and worthless. As we find our peace within, we see more and more of what is really happening in our lives. With inner peace, we can survive more easily the hits the world sends our way.

So we are on our path and we decide we need inner peace. Well, then what? There is an inner landscape within us that is a source of peace if we but spend time there. Our peace takes choices: Do we hate or forgive? Do we judge others or accept them as they are? Do we look at others and think they are less than we are? Why would we do that? Because their skin color is different, they are less educated, because their clothes seem strange? We can’t look at others in a peaceful manner unless we are filled with peace ourselves.

What happens when others believe differently than we do? Do we fight? Do we make a judgment? No, we reach into our inner peace and spread some around us. We spread peace and everything becomes lighter. We spread peace and hope rises up like a beacon in the darkness. We spread peace and we become calmer and easier to deal with.

When we can live in peace, we look around us and see some very rare gifts we might have missed otherwise. I do not believe there is just one way to find inner peace. For myself, as I looked around at the world I saw dichotomies of peace and hate. Every time I did not choose hate, I found a little more peace within me. Every time I did not judge others harshly, my life grew more comfortable and peaceful.

Every time I helped someone else with a problem, a problem in my own life grew smaller and I felt better. Every time I committed a random act of kindness, one would unexpectedly return to me. Time after time, year after year, I got more comfortable with this huge cushion of peace in my life. When someone was mean, cruel or nasty, I found that I just sunk deeper into the cushion of peace that had formed around me.

Does this mean nothing ever hurts me or upsets me? No, it doesn’t, but it gets easier feel the inner peace than the hurt feelings. It is easier to reach out to others in kindness than anger. The peace we carry within is like a pebble we throw into a pond: as it ripples out in ever widening circles, it touches more and more people. Their inner peace flows outward to us and we become stronger in our own peace. It is a cycle in the wheel of life. The inner peace flows outward and touches those who need it. The cycle never stops.

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GerberGerber Daisy, grown and painted by Barbara Mattio. Acrylic paint on canvas, copyright 2009

http://idealisticrebel.wordpress.com/

Achieve peace with understanding.

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This month, the Artists4Peace are writing about celebrations of peace. The world has seen quite a few of them. The end of WWI was named Armistice Day; the celebration of the end of the first war that almost destroyed the world. WWII ended with a celebration of peace. The Berlin Wall came down and the world celebrated. I was at a weekend retreat of meditation and prayer when the Berlin Wall came down and there was much celebration. These were all huge celebrations of peace. It was as if the world had a second chance.

 

We had peace and then we lost it. Are there other ways to bring peace into being, to create peace out of the pain and suffering we inflict upon each other? Yes, but we must begin with ourselves and then move to our neighborhoods, communities and countries. Our world leaders must bring the peace we create and celebrate and multiply it until it encircles the globe.

 

Each day that we live and we work on peaceful behavior, we have cause for celebration. Peace is important whether it is on a grand scale or if it is small. Peace counts because each minute it exists it is a victory. If you have a peaceful day, that is huge in a world full of haters and violence; a world filled with greed, jealousy, and a constant desire for more.

 

Talking about peace, trying to create peace in our lives, recognizing peace when we see it in others all keeps the dialog flowing. The dialog of peace makes us all more receptive to the actions that we can do to bring about peace.

 

Peace is something that will not come unless we work for it and talk about it. Peace will come when someone else is more important than we are. Peace enters our lives when we have spoken harsh words to a person and after realizing what happened, we speak from our hearts and we speak from love.

 

Peace comes when no one acts out of malice, anger or hate. Peace comes when no one desires what another owns. Peace comes when countries don’t try to take land that isn’t theirs. Peace comes when one person does not shoot another. World leaders are needed to make peace. They are needed to put their citizens needs before their own egos and lusts.

 

We are all needed to bring peace into dialogue with spouses, children, neighbors, friends and strangers. Peace needs to never be far from our thoughts. It needs to be with us every day and every day we shall celebrate each moment of peace. When each moment is added up, there will be more and more reasons to celebrate Peace. Peace for us, for others.  The five major content areas will know peace; with ourselves, relationships, society and our beautiful planet.

 

 

    s

Imagine Peace, explore peace, live in peace.

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Needlepoint done by Barbara Mattio 2005  

My Message in a Bottle

To whomever finds my message:

I have filled this bottle with Love, Peace, Patience, Compassion, Empathy, Gratitude, Beauty, Forgiveness and Kindness.

I believe that when we sow the seed of these ideas with words and plant them in the soil of life and add water and sunlight, we can grow Peace.  Peace is the trunk of the Tree of Life.

If, every day, every person performed one Peaceful act, shared beauty with one other person, shared forgiveness with one who needs it, then we would have the beginnings of the Peace we need.

Every day that you touch someone else with kindness, with compassion and peace, you make an imprint on their heart and on their soul that will gradual help them find their way to a life lived in peaceful harmony with everyone in the world.

This could erase racism, sexism, ageism, all forms of bigotry and the violence that comes from it.

There are people who are haters, and bullies.  These people need our kindness and empathy perhaps more than other people, because bullying comes from insecurity and troubled minds and the inability to know how to be kind.

Statistically, 97% of American families are dysfunctional to some degree.  But what I know and have experienced is that with self-compassion, self-understanding, self-love, everyone can learn to grow beyond what traumatized or hurt them, and continue on their way to a life filled with kindness and peace.

You may know someone who has had a very difficult life, and you can make a difference in their life by living your peace, your empathy, your forgiveness, your gratitude, and they can learn from your example and from living within the light of your being.

After a while, someone who carries darkness and hatred and negativity and violence within themselves can be changed by the daily dose of gratitude, love, acceptance, peace, empathy, and kindness that touches their heart and soul even if they don’t want it to.  These gifts are much stronger than the negativity within any soul.

Please open my bottle and spread the contents around.  You won’t be sorry.

May peace fill all of your lives.

 

Namaste,

Barbara

s

 

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Bottle floating on the Ocean. Charcoal drawing by Barbara Mattio Copyright 2009

http://idealisticrebel.com/

 

 

DON’T LIVE WITH VIOLENCE

If you are living with violence, you must protect yourself and your children and get out. We all go into a relationship feeling love and having dreams. Your wedding day was just what you had wanted it to be. You had a beautiful honeymoon and you were so happy and so in love. It was a perfect wedding night.

 

Now, you are dressing for dinner. The two of you had had such a lovely afternoon and a delicious dinner. People toasted you in the dining room and when the band began to place you danced in your husband’s arms. A nice man asked to dance with you, but your husband said no. He was pretty quiet for the rest of the evening.

 

He decided you were going to go up to your room. You didn’t really want to leave but tomorrow was sightseeing. He says nothing on the way to your room. You are thinking about the nightgown you are going to wear to bed. He walks into the room behind you; then shuts and locks the door. You turn around with a smile on your face and he opens up his hand and hits you so hard that when you look in the mirror, you see the red hand print.

 

You are stunned. What happened? He is yelling and calling you names and telling you are a slut because that man asked to dance with you. You face aches. He grabs your arm and twists it while telling you that you will never dance with anyone else. He is shaking you so hard that your teeth chatter. You are trying to get away and are terribly afraid. What is going on?

He walks out, slamming the hotel door. You stand there with tears running down your face. Why did he get so upset? What should I do? You clean up and carefully get ready for bed. Carefully, because your face is very sore and your arm hurts. You cry yourself to sleep.

 

In the morning, you wake and his side of the bed is empty. You are shocked and very confused. Then the door to the hotel room opens and he walks in. He looks awful. You can tell he has been crying. He has brought you a huge bouquet of red roses. He is sorry. He never meant to handle you in a violent way. He loves you and it will never happen again, he swears. He kisses you and cuddles you and you make up. Your world becomes whole again. He is so wonderful to you, considerate and thoughtful.

 

Life goes on. Everything is fine. And one day, a girlfriend calls and asks you if you want to go shopping. You said, “Sure.”

You quickly get ready to meet her at the Mall. You leave a note on the kitchen table in case you will be late coming home.

You and your friend shop, have lunch and a couple of glasses of wine. It had been such a fun day. You are now a little bit later than you expected, but you left a note. No problem. You walk into the house and call out, “I’m home.” Your husband walks into the living room where you are hanging up your coat and  begin to show him your purchases. His voice drips with sarcasm. “Where have you been?” You mentioned the note you had left. He says you hadn’t had his permission to go shopping. What? What is he talking about?”

 

He grabs you and punches you in the face. You hear a crack and then another punch. You go down to the floor and he begins to kick you. He kicks you where bruises will be covered with clothing. You are screaming at him to stop and he is screaming at you. He accuses you of meeting a man and cheating on him. He picks up your purchases and throws them everywhere. You can’t stop crying. He holds up the nightgown you bought to wear for him and he rips it apart. He screams you had worn it for your lover.

 

He took you to the hospital and refused to leave you side. You had taken such an awful tumble down the stairs. The staff allows him to stay. There isn’t much they can do for you. They bind your torso, give you pain meds, suggest you carpet the staircase which your husband agrees is very important. You go home with your discharge papers and he gently helps you out of the car when you reach home.

 

He is again sorry. Terribly sorry. It will not happen again. Please don’t leave him. He can’t live life without you. He will kill himself if you leave. You are in agony, the pain pills are making you fuzzy and soon you just fall asleep.

 

You used to discuss this type of incident with your Mom and your sister. You met a woman who is being battered but what she suffers is so different from what happens to you. As the months and years go by, your lady friend went to a Domestic Violence shelter. You never see her anymore. The shelter moved her to a new state so she could start again with a new identity. Your mom develops Cancer and he gets edgy when you go to see her. The day your Mom dies, you feel totally lost and there really isn’t anyone to talk to. You don’t realize that he has gradually isolated you from all of your friends and your sister. He calls them trouble makers. He is the one who really loves you. The only one who loves you.

 

Now, you just do what he says. Nothing matters anymore. Then one day you think about the battered woman you had been friends with. You wonder if the Domestic Violence Shelter is still in town somewhere. You get ready and call a taxi. You tell the driver what you need and he delivers you at the Shelter.

 

You talk with a counselor, have a bite of lunch. They explain what they can do for you, including legal representation. You decide to go home and pack a suitcase. You have to get away from him. So you go home. The shelter gave you a list of things to bring. You are moving as quickly as possible and try not to forget anything like your medicine. You hear a small noise behind you and you turn. Your husband is standing there screaming that you cannot and will not leave him. He pulls a revolver out of his jacket and shoots you dead. The neighbors hear the screaming and the gun shot and call 911. You are dead on arrival at the ER.

 

More women are killed trying to get out of a battering relationship than at any other time. Abusers have a motto. I call it a motto because it every one that I ever worked with would tell the woman, ” If I can’t have you, no one will.” I can tell you from my experience that they mean it.

 

Does this mean you should stay? No. Never. But the leaving must be planned in advance and in secret. No one can know where you are going. There is an underground railway to move women who are in the greatest danger. Some abusers are just much worse than others. Though none of them are good. Usually a well executed plan can take a month or more to put into place. Don’t go back. He will kill you in time or you will kill him trying to protect yourself. There are so many women and men working to help abused women. You are never alone. Domestic Violence is a crime. The court system will punish him for what he did to you.

 

If you are a man being abused I must give you the same advice. Abusers don’t stop abusing. Male or female. They will simply move on to another partner and begin the battering again. People care about you. So try to get out. Try to get to a safe place, a shelter or even a hotel. Talk to counselors and the police. No matter what, it is never all right to hit another person. You deserve better. You deserve to not live in fear and violence.

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Zentangle by Barbara Mattio. Copyrighted 2014 for Artists4peace

 

 

idealisticrebel

The Chautauqua Experience

I wanted to share some more of my experiences at Chautauqua with you. It truly is like walking into another world. A world that is quieter and beautiful. Fragrance fills the air. Faintly, from the direction of the lake you can hear laughter and giggling.

 

My first thing to do is to take pictures. I took over 600 photos. No you won’t have to look at all of them. I allow the energy fill me and take me to my calm space. We walked down the main street, which is brick, and found ourselves at Bestor plaza. I released a sigh of contentment.

 

After the big band performance, we went down to the lake for the fireworks. I sat on a bench while Amy video taped them. Chautauqua has a bell tower and it played patriotic songs while we watched the July 4th fireworks. We left about eleven to go back to our motel. The next day was filled with walking the streets and looking at the great old homes, a little food, going to the lake and seeing the opera, Madame Butterfly. It was a fantastic performance. I have seen it before but this one had perfect music, every note was precise and the voices were angelic. We had run into friends and we all ended up going to the opera together.

 

Amy did an internship for the opera almost thirty years ago and she went to visit her old haunts. I went to the bookstore and noodled around and went to the bookstore. Complete happiness descended upon me and I moved slowly through the shelves. They touch all subjects with their inventory and promote Chautauqua authors.

 

We went to a poetry and prose reading. I love to go to readings anywhere. Here the readings took place on a wide porch which wraps itself around two sides of the house. Authors can stay there if they wish. We sat in wicker furniture, feeling the gentle breeze on the cheek and words sailing through the air to your heart. A really good experience. Then we went to an art show in the park. It was fun to wander around enjoying the beauty and immersing ourselves in all of the talent and beauty that filled the park.

 

 

 

 

 

 

St. Elmo's Door. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

Inspiration stump at Lily Dale. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

Flowers photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

 

 

Lily Dale, NY. Spiritualist community

                                       Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

All-women's big band from Buffalo NY. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio

 

Hall of Philosophy. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

 

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

 

Day Lily. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

 

 

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

 

 

Clematis. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

Art show. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

Art Show. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

 

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

 

 

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

Father and son. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

 

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

 

 

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

 

 

 

photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

 

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

 

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

 

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

 

Bats the official night visitors on the grounds. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

 

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 Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

 

 

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

 

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           Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

 

 

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio  2014

 

 

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

 

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         Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

 

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

 

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

 

 

 

Fourth of July fireworks. Photographed and copyrighted by Barbara Mattio 2014

What do we Need? When do we Need it?

idealisticrebel

peace; peace; peace, peace, peace, peace, peace
Live in peace, live in love
Stop the wars, stop the fighting
One day this will all change
Treat people the same
Stop with the violence
Down with the hate
If we don’t stop the wars
People will die
Stop the war for the sake of people
Live in peace peace peace peace peace peace peace peace

—Hasnat Hussain

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Black and white Monarch ButterfliesBlack and white Monarch Butterflies

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