Friday, February 29, 2008

Liar Liar Pants on Fire - and other Rants of the Day

I hate being lied too. I hate when people try to pull one over on me. It infuriates me.

It would be so much easier if all liars had a nose that grew when the lied.

Or their pants really did catch on fire.

Remember the Liar Liar movie? Where the attorney, played by Jim Carrey, is incapable of lying and when he tries to lie, his face and body go into every contortion imaginable as he tries to suppress the truth.

There is an attorney here in town, I'd like to inflict with any of those syndromes - growing nose, flaming rear end or contortions. I have sent this attorney letters in THREE different files. Today I get a two page letter back. "what is the problem with the Order?" The problem, you dingbat, is that I have been waiting for your approval of the changes we discussed over one month ago and have heard NOTHING.

Paragraph two says he has re-drafted the Order (why the heck was my redraft not good enough) and underlined ALL his MINOR changes. No you have not. Do I have "Idiot" stamped on my head. First you did not underline all your changes. Second, they are not minor. Third, you completely added in one section.

Lastly, YOU, yes you, suggested one change and I agreed. So don't write in the letter that ~I~ and putting stuff in the Order.

Unfortunately for you I take good notes. And have been lied too often enough by you that I document EVERYTHING in writing. So take that.

Okay, now I'm off to dictate the nasty letter, which I will then instruct my assistant to hold 24 hours, at which time I will have calmed down sufficiently to remove the four letter words, replace them with more appropriate choices, and move on.

The other Rant of the Day is that ~I~ have to figure out how to pack up my office for this new carpet installation. Because, I can't have non-firm members touch the files. My assistant will help, but this is a pain. How am I supposed to get work done when things are in boxes?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

I've got Medicine! - General Update

Saw the midwife today and have a prescripton for nausea meds. Yippee! Just in time, because they are stripping carpet out and putting in new stuff in my office. Blech! The workers say that the stuff they use is environmentally friendly. The head crew guy assured me it is safe to be around while pregnant and told me his wife was around it during all her pregnancies. However, he did warn me that it STINKS and I should try to leave my door closed, window open and fan on. He's right. It is a nasty smell.

This afternoon it is time to visit the tax man. Our goal is normally to owe nothing and get nothing back -- I hate to think of having lent the IRS money all year - which if you get a refund, is essentially what you did. However, this year we thought we'd get hit by the Alternative Minimum tax, withheld extra from our paychecks, only to find out the government delayed its imposition another year. (thank you government). So we will get $$ back. Fingers crossed, prayers said for enough to cover delivery of this child.

Midwife was wonderful. I loved her. She has the disposition of my therapist which is so comforting and soothing to me. I felt completely at ease - even during the exam. The midwives (there are three that rotate) stay with their patients during delivery, unless the patients are sleeping. I love the sound of that. My husband is a nervous nelly who focuses his anxiety by making sure he is comfortable. Not so good in a labor coach. With my daughter, he rambled on and on about wanting a Mountain Dew and how the couch was uncomfortable. I would have hit him, but that was difficult in the midst of labor contractions, and my aim in throwing the pillow was off. When the nurse had trouble finding daugther's heartrate, and then when the NICU team was called in, I thought he was going to pass out and leave me to deliver alone!

In today's exam, he kept rambling about whether he should take our daughter out. I kept telling him she was fine, and I was fine with her being there. I finally got a clue and asked if he wanted to leave. He replied, "well I don't really need to be here during the exam, do I? It makes me a bit uncomfortable." I had to choose my words carefully given that our 4 year old was there, but I told him that pregnancy and labor was not about him and to get over it :) Good man, he shut up after that. Only to pester the midwife with a zillion and one questions after that.

Good news is that husband "approves" of the midwife. He liked her a lot (lucky him, because I wanted her anyway). I think he is actually relieved that someone will be there besides just him.

This weekend a friend is sending over her husband with an electric power sander to finish our bathroom. I can just hear the Tool Man "rrrroooaaarrr" sound now! Men with power tools. Nothing manlier than that. Friend and I are taking bets on which one will require a trip to Urgent Care first. She is sending over her 13 year old step-son and five year old daughter too. Our girls will play together and the 13 year old will supervise, all while I lounge around in comfortable bliss thanks to my new morning sickness meds. is good!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Disconnect, Sick but Doing Okay and in a Good Mood

I had T yesterday. It was pretty low-key. I find it hard to talk about tough subjects when I’m doing okay and in a good mood. If things are not bothering me right then and there, I tend to just ignore them. Which is why I write them down and email them. But that doesn’t stop me from glossing over them. So yesterday I was in a good mood, but also feeling the disconnect I’ve been experiencing lately from morning sickness. Which both contributed to an inability to bring to mind anything to talk about, let alone verbalize it. Bleh, I hate that.

Lynn talked about a feeling of disconnect recently. She said, “I’m very far away and empty….. I don't yet know how to do things differently, though. I'm not as productive as I was a few days ago. I don't know what's building in here, but I'm not less productive because I'm more emotionally connected, which is how things would most usually be. I'm less productive because I'm further away.” I can relate. I feel like I’m floating around half the time. It’s kind of like an out-of-body experience. I do not feel connected to my body at all. Part of it may be the nausea and tiredness – I tend to be more disconnected when I’m not feeling 100%. I hate being sick in any form or fashion – it’s very triggering and so I tend to live in LaLa Land. Part of is it is knowing that it is unsafe to allow myself to feel any anxiety, because I do not have the medications to rely on in coping.

I was lying in bed last night thinking of all the things I should have talked about in T. Realizing that things have been smoother around the house. I am far less jumpy, triggered or anxious. That seems odd to me. I’m actually more needy and less able to do things around the house right now. I am off all medications. I am completely out of control of this pregnancy, which was not planned down to the last detail. Somehow, though, DH is more acceptable of my needing “special accommodations” due to morning sickness than due to PTSD. It is also far easier for me to say I am having issues due to morning sickness than PTSD too. Far easier to say, “I really can’t talk about that right now – the thought just makes my stomach queasy and that’s not a good thing with morning sickness.” The out-of-control feelings cause less panic when they are associated with pregnancy than with anything else.

With my first pregnancy, I knew I was pregnant almost immediately. She was planned down to every step. We temped, charted, everything – it took us a mere four months to get pregnant. I felt an immediate bond. The pregnancy felt “real” from the very beginning. There wasn’t any forgetting I was pregnant or was/wasn’t supposed to do something.

This time things are different. Start with the beginning where I had no idea I was pregnant, nor was planning to become pregnant. We’ve always wanted another child (or two) but funny me thought that surely my body could not become pregnant unless I okayed it and was planning/trying. You would think with morning (all day) sickness, pregnancy would be in the forefront of every thought. But I find myself at a deli ordering lunch meat, only to remember after my sandwich is fixed that I can’t eat that. Making plans with friends only to realize that 8 am coffee is probably not a date I will make.

There are also all the physical changes with pregnancy. Last pregnancy I had just hit my goal weight, which looking back now was about 8 pounds too low for my height and body type. Because I was so skinny, I could see all the changes taking place. This pregnancy, I am 30 pounds heavier, and at least 15 pounds over where doctors say I should be. I can’t see the changes as well. My clothes don’t fit right anymore, but the scale says I’m losing weight (morning sickness). So while intellectually I know it is pregnancy, it still looks like regular belly fat to me. That is difficult for me to deal with. I don’t mind putting on weight with pregnancy. But seeing all my muscles turn to flab because I can not work out is difficult.

On the positive body changes, I’m more accepting of those body parts typically associated with sexual things. They now have a purpose – aside from my husband’s amusement. They are there to birth and feed this baby. That makes me more relaxed and less jumpy about things, especially about comments or stares from my husband.

I’m more likely to cut myself slack at my inability to juggle everything when the inability is caused by morning sickness instead of anxiety. It’s just a more acceptable reason. One I’m not afraid to share with others. I do wonder how much of this is a good thing – refusing to bow to the pressure to do everything is a good. But am I pushing stuff away and ignoring it because I’ve learned to let myself of the hook of feeling I have to do everything? Or because I’m so sick I don’t care? Or so disconnected I don’t care?

(and the million dollar question – why do all these questions, thoughts, etc come to me at 11 pm on the night AFTER I’ve been to counseling and not BEFORE or IN counseling? Ugh. I guess there is some benefit in struggling through all these disconnected rambling thoughts on my own for a week or two before the next session? Maybe?)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Arsenic in Rice - A Twist on an Old Dream

I have dreams - both uncontrollable daydreams (runaway thoughts, especially when I'm zoning/dissociating) and nightmares. Two reoccurring ones are that (1) I will run into Mom and/or Toilet or (2) that I get a call from someone official saying that Toilet has done it again and wanting my help in some way with the case. This involves my testifying which is terrifying. I know what attorneys do on cross-examination.

Toilet's illness, death (okay just for a minute or two I'm guessing he was technically dead) and resurrection (bastard) made me see a momentary glimpse of life without those nightmares. Because if he's dead, then they are not a possibility. Unfortunately, he is a live and doing okay. Although he is driving my mother absolutely nuts with his demands (so says the grapevine through my sister).

I've had to have more contact with my mother recently. She co-signed on a school loan of mine and always gets the tax information I need. Maybe it is our recent emails that triggered the change of the nightmare. In any event, last night it was different. I went to bed about 10:30, laid in bed sick for awhile, took a Dramamine and was still up sick until midnight when I finally passed out, and the nightmare began -----------

I am in T's office, but it is different. The setting is different, but I know she is there. I hear my phone vibrate. I glance down, prepared to ignore it, when I notice it is the area code of the state where my mother lives. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it fuels me, so I answer it.

"Is this {my name}?", asks an official sounding voice.

"Yes, this is she," I respond, automatically shifting into professional mode.

"This is Detective B. Are your parents Mr. and Mrs. Toilet?" asks the voice."

That is my mother," I answer, refusing to associate myself with Toilet.

"Ma'am I have some bad news." says the voice.

"Bad? What kind of bad?" I ask, knowing that bad to some people might be good to me.

"There was a murder-suicide here," he says.

"They are both dead." I gasp. "Both. Murder-suicide? He killed her?" I ask.

"No, ma'am......not exactly.......she did." he says. "She shot him and then herself." He continues on after my silence. "We were called in by a co-worker when Mrs. Toilet, ah, ah, your mother, didn't show for work."

"But how do you know? I mean that she did it?" I ask.

"Well, he was shot in the chest and she in the head. And, uh, there was a note." he explains, still in that calm, professional voice.

"Oh. A note? What did it say? Wait, are you sure he is dead? I mean that it is him?" I ask. Not fully comprehending anything about my mother, but wanting to be sure about him.

"It's their house ma'am. Although we would like your help in identification. Can you come here to do that?" he asks.

I stutter. "There? Come there? Um, I mean, I guess. If I have too. Can't you just, like, email me pictures or something?"

"Pictures. Sure we can email pictures. Give me your email address," he says.

I give him the email and then ask, "can you scan and send the note too?"

"Sure," he agrees. "Now I need you to contact me after looking at these and make sure it is them. Is there someone there with you? These are kind of gruesome."

At that point, I hang up. I promptly run for the bathroom, which is pink, just like in my real house, then return to an office, which is laid out like T's office, but lie on a couch - and there is no couch in her office. Very odd.

The pictures come and I look and it is them - or parts of them. Mom's head is half-missing. I promptly get sick again. Then open the note. And the words swim before my eyes. The gist of the note is that he did it again. Mom found out and could not deal with the blame she knew would come her way, the pressure of a public trial that was apparently imminent, the loss of income as he would probably lose his job, and the stress on her. It was all about her and the suffering she would undertake. Blaming him for doing all these things to her. Nothing about the little girl, the fact that he had done it again.

Reading the note, I reel, pass out, get sick over and over and over again. It's like the nightmare visions are fading in and out as I drift into deeper sleep and then wake up again, then doze off again. Things get fuzzy after that.

Calling my sister to tell her. Going to bed and waking up to realize that I've not told my grandparents or other relatives. Having my husband come home and juggle watching my daughter with not letting on to her what is going on. Realizing that I'm pregnant in my dream - but more like 6 months or so. Trying to reach Toilet's children. Being asked to make arrangements and doing so for Mom. Them asking what to do about Toilet and saying, "I don't give a damn." Wondering if Mom will come back to haunt me if I don't bury them beside each other, or if, after killing him, she'd rather not be buried around him at all.

Then the questions about what he did. Who was it? What happened? Why did what he did to this non-relative, stranger, matter more to my mother than me? Was it all about this little girl? Or about my mother's own selfishness.The calls from investigators. What did my mother mean by "do it again?" Had he done this before? Wondering how much I should put myself through in giving them information, while at the same time knowing the criminal case is over because he is dead. Thankful that this other child will never have to fear him coming around again.The rest of the dream was fuzzy.

Little snippets of events and feelings here, there and everywhere. Nothing concrete.

So what do I take out of this? I'm not sure. I think the little girl represents the person I wanted to be (and still want to). I often wonder what I could have done differently to make my mother choose me over him. I think the little girl has that power - at least somewhat - then again it wasn't really mom acting out of protection for the little girl, but out of self-protection. So it really wasn't all that different?

I think maybe this was triggered by my sister and I's conversation yesterday, where my sister shared a bit of my mom's whining with her. Mom is back at work and now having to do nursing duty, along with work. Of course, Mom's work is twenty times more taxing than anyone else's work. She was complaining about having to come up with 3 meals a day. My sister said, "yeah, so?" Because, after all, my sister and I generally do that around our house. "But," whines mom further, "they have to be full meals. And healthy." Apparently, my sister forgets that sandwiches and cereal is not good enough for the high-and-mighty Toilet. He requires 3-course meals. Chicken, rice and veggies is about as plain and mundane as he allows. Hmm. I wonder if Mom is serving that with vodka and cigarettes, his usually side dishes of choice. And I wonder how well arsenic can be hidden in rice?

Sunday, February 24, 2008

I Need to Whine More

I am not a whiner. It was against the "rules" to be sick, whine or otherwise down in the dumps at my house. First, it allowed you to be taken advantage of. It allowed Toilet to try to minister to you. Second, you couldn't show weakness. When you're sick, there is nothing you want more than to lie around in your pajamas - couldn't do that in my house. Had to at the very least, wear pants or shorts, a top, a bra and socks. Third, sickness equaled money. You could never be sick enough to require medical treatment or any other money expenses.

I consider sickness to be a weakness. It means vulnerability. So while I might mention a detail of a pain or sickness, I'll not let on how bad it really is. Same with my mental health.

Last doctor appt, the doc asked how often I would have taken xanax if I hadn't been pregnant. I gave an honest answer. My husband later asked me why I hadn't told him it was that bad. He was upset that I didn't tell him - he said he would have cancelled his hunting trip if he had known.

This weekend my husband got a sense of how bad the morning sickness is. During the week, I'm at work most days and in the evenings am super busy. He was upset that I hadn't told him. It's not that I lied about it. I just didn't complain about it. He wanted to call the doctor, but I convinced him it is okay to wait until our regular appointment this week. I'm also hoping to actually gain back some of the weight I lost so it won't look TOO bad (there I go minimizing again).

People ask how I am, and the worst I'll admit is "I'm okay." I figure they really don't want to hear me whine. Surely no one really wants the details.

If I were to admit how I REALLY was doing, I'd have to say that I'm nauseous 90% of the time; gagging 50% of the day; actually getting sick 5% of the day; aches and pains 50% of the day; lightheaded/dizzy 75% of the day; tired and rundown 75% of the day; generally apathetic 95% of the day; wanting to crawl under the covers and sleep forever 90% of the day; having vicious mood swings 85% of the day; down in the dumps 55% of the day; thinking of sharp objects 15% of the day; deep breathing 10% of the day; anxious/panicky 25% of the day; crying or trying not too 25% of the day.

So that's it in a nutshell. But ask me to my face and I'll say I'm okay. My husband says I need to whine more. To let him know how I'm REALLY doing. So he can help. Or just listen -- he's s...l...o...w...l...y learning that I sometimes just want a good listener, not a problem solved. So I guess I'll try. It's totally unlike my character. But it would be good to shed some of these problems and let him bear some of the burdens. I did 'fess up to how bad the house repairs (or lack thereof) was stressing me out. And lo and behold he spent most of the day working on one.

Friday, February 22, 2008

He Chased Me and other wild and crazy tales of courtship

If you've read prior posts then you probably already know that I was in an almost-two year relationship toward the end of college. I was sure that he was "the one" I was going to marry. We even discussed it, looked at rings, etc. But alas, he couldn't handle the wild and crazy beings called my family, and so he went on his merry way, as I was not quite ready to cut the strings then.

"Bob" and I broke up close to Valentine's Day. I stopped eating, moped, whined, cried and did the broken heart dance for many weeks. Then I stood up, dusted myself off and started working out. I was determined he would regret dumping me. I was still in the "physical attraction" phase of life, where I was convinced that appearances were what mattered most. I showed up to our joint classes in cute little summer dresses, hair all done nicely, bragging to friends about the guys I had danced with at the country club the night before. It didn't work.

For Easter, I realized I was stuck. Bob had been my form of transportation and my ride home for holidays. Another hallmate, Kelly, invited another hallmate and I home with her. Friday was Good Friday and no classes - thus making it VERY good in our books :) We decided to meet up with Kelly's folks at the campground they were staying at. We went over there, walked around the ponds, visited the sites and promptly got caught in a downpour. We raced back to the camper where we dried off and crashed on the sofa type thing to watch General Hospital. We looked cute, we did, all sprawled out with stringy wet hair and muddy legs.

Knock - came at the door. In walks, Kelly's brother and cousin. Her cousin catches my eye, as I note he is pretty cute, and then go back to watching soap operas. That night we decide to meet up with them to go to our favorite line-dancing hall. Kelly's cousin tells Kelly that he thinks I'm cute. And in typical young-adult fashion, it gets back to me. So I take extra care with my appearance, deteremined to make a better impression.

Kelly's cousin, (my Future Husband - FH) and I dance quite a bit that night. He asks me if I'd like to go out sometime and I say, "sure." We try to set a date, but this is late March and graduation is coming up. So I have pre-graduation events, as well as senior exams, nearly every weekend. I tell him that I'm not sure when I can get away but tell him to call and we'll set something up. He thinks I'm blowing him off.

We go home and the next day, Kelly, our friend and I go to Kelly's house. We decide to wash her car and lay out to get some sun. So bikini-clad we proceed. In typicaly college girl fashion, we soon fall asleep in the sun (sure beat studying). And in comes FH and Kelly's brother. To find me, again, waking up after being wet from washing the car, stringy hair and sleepy.

That night we crash on the couches in Kelly's living room, after staying up too late watching chick flicks. Kelly's Dad thinks it would be funny to send in Kelly's brother and FH to wake us up - having learned that FH thought I was cute. So in he comes at some awful early hour (sunrise service of course) to wake us up. Ugh - third time is a charm, right? Again, catching me waking up. This time with glasses and bed-head.

Despite all of this, FH still asked me out. Well sort of. See he was convinced I was blowing him off. So we played that game usually reserved for pre-teens, using Kelly as our go-between. We finally set up a date. FH comes to my dorm room to meet me. Actually, he went to Kelly's dorm first since he knew where that was and she escorted him over. He was very nervous and so Kelly kept us company for awhile and then we left for dinner and a movie.

Having seen me at my worst, with wet, stringy, just woke up hair, and STILL wanting to date me, I figured this guy deserved a chance. Less than three months later, I took him to my family reunion. Having survived that and not run off screaming, I decided to give him a further chance.

A few weeks later, he dropped the 4 letter "L" word on me. I just ignored him. Yes, I was one of "THOSE" cold heartless females that you only see in sitcoms. A little bit later I tried to break up with him. I was going off to law school and was sure that studies would prevent me from having any free time. He conveniently (kidding) got mono and was unable to help me move. I, was less than sympathetic, more concerned about catching mono from him and not being able to attend law school. I left on a Saturday for the two hour drive there. FH asked me to call just to let him know that I and the U-haul, pulling my car, had arrived safely.

Less than two hours after arriving, I was on the phone with him, crying over having to live in this small, tiny, graudate house with tiny bedrooms. He talked me through it. Then I found out that we were not having orientation that weekend and so I would be stuck in this TINY town with nothing to do all weekend. He invited me to come stay with him and his parents. (he still lived at home). So I did. And thus started the two year tradition of leaving school on Fridays and staying at his parent's home for the weekends.

In those two years, I discovered that I did love him. I also loved being a part of his family. His parents welcomed me in with open arms and his mother spoiled me rotten. His father was a bit gruff, but he lightened up - he didn't know how to deal with girls. I was never aware of one complaint regarding my "mooching" off them every weekend for two years. In fact, they were very disappointed when I refused to live with them during the summers and instead got my own place. His parents even offered to finish a section of the basement and make me a room there.

So that is the wild and crazy tale of how I ended up with FH. All because he fell in love with someone like me - who was obsessed with appearances yet met her husband after being drenched by rain and having a bed-head. Someone like me that had never been chased by a guy but had done the chasing. Yet here he was coming after me, with emotions displayed on his sleeve. And somehow he managed to convince me that marrying him, who had never lived on his own, was the right thing to do.

It's not been an easy 11 years together. Courtship and marriage is hard work. But it's been fun, interesting, never dull and full of laughter and love.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

When my Husband met my Family

Why didn't he run away screaming? Any sane person would have. Any semi-sane person would have. That should have been my first clue ;)

So I've known this guy less than 3 months and I get the bright idea to bring him to my family reunion. Actually he expressed concerns about my driving 6 hours by myself and that just made my heart melt. Someone concerned about me? So I asked my mom about it (keep in mind I was still playing the "happy family" game at this time and in contact with my mom and Toilet - my sister, however, was much more "enlightened" and did not have contact with either). My mom's biggest concern was money, of course. And where he would sleep. Apparently my mother had determined that it would be appropriate for me to sleep in their room - there would be two beds, after all. That further convinced me that Future Husband (FH) needed to go. So I told my mother he could sleep on the floor and she said okay.

So we leave and drive to my Aunt's house. The plan is to crash there one night and then leave the next morning in a caravan to the resort where the reunion is being hosted. We get there late - about 7 or 8 pm probably. We walk in to the living room with my aunt, her husband, their two grown children, my mom, Toilet and maybe some other relatives.

Keep in mind, FH has met my mother and Toilet briefly at my college graduation, but just briefly. Like an introduction and hello is all.

So we walk in and it is obvious that the family has been drinking for quite some time. My uncle starts telling me that they just returned from a bar where the "ladies" were consuming shots. Not just any shots but shots with a name akin to a certain "act" woman do to men. (insert red face here). I look over at FH and he is red - or at least he looks red in the darkened room. I shrug and figure "trial by fire." If he can survive this, then he's okay in my book. I sure didn't want to get involved with anyone who couldn't deal with this kind of crazy crap my family pulls.

So we decide enough is enough and leave to go to play pool with my cousins. They leave us in this strange pool hall and come back much later - reaking of pot. Which is a smell FH has never smelled before. We return back to the house and the "powers of be" determine that FH and I must not share the same bedroom - fine with me - not my intent anyway, although I did find it ironic that someone actually cared now. So he goes off to sleep in the top bunk bed of my cousin's bed while I sleep on the pull-out sofa with my other cousin.

I wake up to find FH is still there. Funny, I thought he'd run away in the middle of the night. We drive on to the resort. On the way there, FH is talking about morals and other standards of "right living" - we're just chit chatting and still getting to know each other. inside I'm laughing, thinking, "if this guy only knew more about my family."

During the rest of the trip, he got to see my grandfather and grandmother consume alcohol (something I've only seen 1 or 2 x in my life) and the drunken behavior of all adults. He got to see my crazy, intoxicated Aunt cry into her wine glass over all the misfortune life had bestowed upon her. He got to hear the wild and vastly different versions of why my sister was not there. He got to see my cousin brought to the reunion by his father, who is divorced from my aunt (blood relative) and who stayed with my other aunt because his own mother didn't want to pay for him to be there. He also got to witness embarrasing things, like being confronted by Toilet upon our return walk down to the lake one evening - being questioned in a joking matter about what we had been doing. And having Toilet say things like "I saw you down there by the water...." insinuating we were doing something other than kissing. Although to FH, that in and of itself, was embarrassing enough.

When we returned from that trip, our relationship continued to grow. I did wish I could have been a fly on the wall to see what he told his parents about my family. Shortly thereafter I "spilled the beans" and confessed all to him - not nitty details but the basics about the sordid facts of my childhood. He didn't run then either. I haven't figured out if that makes him crazy or really loveable.....

(I'm doing this a bit backward, but the tale of how I knew FH was THE one is next)

Blog Carnival - first call for submissions

Check out the new item on my sidebar. It is a place for you to submit to the next Blog Carnival against Child Abuse. Or you can click here to submit. Next month is being hosted by yours truly (yeah me!).

If you want to see what a Blog Carnival looks like, check out the Feb 15th post here at Suvivors can Thrive. The submission deadline for March's issue is March 12th. Publication will be on March 14th. The theme is dealing with Spring and the issues of re-birth and new beginnings, including awakenings, revelations and starting over

So what is a Blog Carnival and how does it work?
Like traditional fair-type carnivals, this one travels around. It is hosted each month by a different blogger on their blog website. There are lots of Carnival types and the purpose of this one is to raise awareness on all types of child abuse--physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, spiritual.

You can nominate one of your own child abuse awareness posts or one of another blogger whose work you like. (don't worry, if someone nominates you, I'll check with you first before publishing)

Here's exactly how you submit to our Carnival Against Child Abuse, in four easy steps:
  1. Decide if you want to participate (or one of your aware blogger friends should) in a blog carnival to raise awareness about child abuse. Please overwhelm me with responses!!! It's a problem I'd love to have.
  2. Choose a post you already have from your blog, or write a new one and post it to your blog as usual. It should be able to go under one of the following six categories: Survivor Stories, Poetry, In The News, Healing & Therapy, Aftermath, or Advocacy & Awareness.
  3. Go to the Blog Carnival website and use the submission form to nominate yourself or someone whose blog you admire. Fill in all required fields. Select one of the six child abuse awareness categories from the drop-down menu. Leave any words of wisdom, remarks or advocacy statements you'd like to have considered for publication on the day of our carnival.
  4. Visit my blog here (or link to me from the Blog Carnival site) on March 14th to see the submitted posts and remarks, then link to the posts and comment on them so we all support each other.

If you have never submitted before, please do so now. If you need help, just leave me a comment and I'll be glad to try to help you out.

I'd love to see some submissions by supporters of survivors. Even if you've never been a direct victim of child abuse, you can be an indirect victim - maybe you are the son, daughter, mother, father, wife, husband of a victim. Tell us how it has affected you.

Many thanks to the Blog Carnival against Child Abuse founder, Marj at Survivors Can Thrive.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

When the Past Bites you in the Rear

In my life there is definitely a "before-Christ" and "after-Christ" line. So much so, that my childhood friends, astonished at the transformation accused me of joining a cult. They quickly came around, but still were shocked at my sudden distaste for certain previously-enjoyed activities.

The first person I dated thereafter was a life-long, born and raised in Church, Christian boy - the kind that normal people love to take home to their parents. This young man (I'll call him "Bob") went to college with me. He knew my prior campus escapades and saw the changes I made. I allowed him to help "mold me" into a new and improved person (or so I thought). I told him everything about my past. (this is the same person that later broke up with me because he and his family couldn't handle my continued relationship with my mom and Toilet - a reaction that infuriated me at the time, but which I now understand).

Bob would periodically throw my past up in my face. He and I strugged with the whole "where do you draw the line" in intimate encounters stuff. When I would put my foot down he would make comments like "why? It's not like you haven't done it before." I should have broken things off then, but I didn't.

After Bob and I broke up, I swore of dating for awhile. I needed to discover who I was as a Christian, and not just who I thought Bob wanted me to be. God, however, had different plans. One month later, I met my husband. I knew I was leaving town less than 5 months later for law school, so I tried to keep things low key. But he fell pretty hard (it took me a bit longer). We met in March. In June, I took him to a family reunion. I didn't tell him anything about my childhood. Just took him to meet everyone cold turkey. He did pretty good. Didn't run away screaming but didn't condone some of their outlandish behavior either. (and oh yes there were behaviors - the likes of which I should write about sometime).

Shortly thereafter we had a talk where I spilled everything. No real details. Just the basic facts. I figured he could take it or leave it. He said he was okay. And he never pressed further for more details.

To this day, my husband knows just the basics about the abuse. Not the nitty gritty details (okay - only you blog readers and my T know the real details). He's not really asked either. He also didn't ask details about my past relationships. Not even when we had pre-marriage counseling. Not even when we, at the advice of some good friends/mentors, read a "how to" book on sex.

My sister's husband and my husband like to get together and talk junk about Sister and I. Apparantly, they became convinced that Sister and I spend our days reminiscing about prior boyfriends. And that the reason why were "not so romantically inclined" is because we missed the ex relationships. WTF?

I assured Husband that I was not comparing him with anyone else and did not long for anyone else. And that my not-so-romantic nature had to do with the anxiety, panic and PTSD issues - not him or anyone else. We talked in detail about how men are more visually inclined, but that woman are not - and that I was definitely not comparing his physical features to those of anyone else. (frankly the thought disgusts me, but then again I'm not a guy so maybe he sees things differently).

So Husband became convinced that knowing everything about my prior relationships was key. Specifically he wanted to know how many people I'd been intimate with. I didn't want to tell him. If he had asked before we got married, or even during our premarriage counseling, I'd have probably told him. But to ask now? Why? Husband has no reason why he wants to know - not that he can articulate. He "just does." I told him to really, really think about it. The subject was dropped for awhile. But it came up again over this past weekend.

One thing that happened recently is that at my college Homecoming (Nov.), I was out with some friends. He was there too. I don't know what drink we ordered but it was stronger than I'm used too. And while I hate using alcohol as an excuse, and while I take 100% responsibility for it, I made a comment I should not have made. Someone was talking about "Joey" the hottest man on campus. Every girl loved Joey. His name came up, just like everyone else's, as we talked about where people were and what they were doing. Someone made a comment about my having spent the night with Joey. Others at the table were like "what? You're kidding." My Husband was looking at me, so I explained that it was Fall Break, I went to a party, had a bit too much to drink, and realizing that dorms were locked and not wanting to have to call security after drinking underaged, I went back to Joey's dorm. We kissed and passed out. Nothing else happened. I got up and went home and he and I remained friends and never mentioned it again. (note - this was in the "before" time period). Of course comments were made about "was he cute" etc. I said "yes, and that's the one time I wish I hadn't put the brakes on but had gone further." OOPS. Insert foot into mouth. I knew as soon as I said it that it was wrong. The glare of my friend staring at me (she's one of those great friends that will tell me when I'm wrong) confirmed it. Husband left soon thereafter. After dinner, when I got home, I apologized profusely to Husband and asked him to forgive me, which he says he did. But, since then he keeps bringing it up.

So this time at my sisters, we are talking about childhoods, as we often do. She makes some comment about her prior drug use. I can't relate much to that - that is one area I did not venture much into. But Husband thinks I am "bragging" about "past escapades" and gets mad. So he asks again about my past relationships and tells my Sister that I keep bringing the issue up. He tells Sister all about Joey. I explain and again aplogize, taking full responsibility and saying that I never should have said that.

Then he pushes, "well how many people have there been." I told him I didn't think we needed to discuss it (especially in front of my Sister). My sister told him that he really didn't want to know because she and her husband had discussed their pasts and it had caused problems. Sister said she's been known to throw it up in her husband's face during arguments. But Sister did caution me that she thinks my husband thinks it is worse than it really is. But I had previously told him it was more than I could count on one hand but less than on two. I figured that was pretty non-specific and he out to drop it.

This time, I told Husband to wait and ask during our joint session. He balked and said "no way." I told him that if he really wanted to know, then ask at that time and be prepared to say why he wanted to know. He wouldn't agree to that. (ironically I'm the one with the "no sex talk during joint sessions" rule). He kept pushing and pushing and pushing but refusing to wait until we were in a counseling session, or until later. I finally answered him. Mostly because I was pissed off. (Well I think it's the right answer. I'm ashamed to say that I'm not entirely sure and I'm not sure how to "officially count" either. And I'm also pissed that he made me really think about it and remember some events I'd rather not have remembered. What he doesn't realize is that these weren't long-term, romantic relationships but things I was coerced into or pressured into because of my lack of self-esteem and my belief that sex was meaningless).

So is that the end of it? Nope. He still can't say why he needed to know. Can't say that it made him feel better. Now he wants more information. I knew this was coming. I knew he'd want more information.

That next day, I told Husband that I had emailed my T about his question and that he better be prepared if it came up during our session. He visibly blanched. I think that is why he was so quick to raise a topic of discussion (discipline) when we met - and to make sure there were no pauses in the conversation.

So my thoughts are this - at our next joint session, he has free access to ask questions. A one time deal only. But he has to have the balls enough to ask in front of both counselors. I figure that will curb his random curiousity. Problem is then I have to answer him in front of them. But frankly, if I'm pissed off enough (and I would be) I might could do it. And put this issue to bed once and for all (no pun intended). As conincidences would have it, I just realized that my individual T session is at 10 am and our next joint one at 11 am on the same day (and no I didn't plan it that way). Hmm.....

There are a couple things going on here. One is the sense of shame that I have over all the junk I did. Two is the fact that I'm worried he will throw this up in my face later (at which point I will justifiably kill him). Three is that I don't want to talk about it - it is very difficult for me to talk about. Toilet would ask too many inquiring questions and then make snide comments to me which embarrassed me greatly. (shudder as I think of it). There was no privacy about intimate things at my childhood home. So talking about this stuff is very triggering to me.

On the other hand, I'm not one for keeping secrets. I think my husband has the right to know - somewhat. But I can't see any purpose in knowing all the details. But I also don't want his imagination to be worse than the reality.

Anyone have any advice?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Get Over Yourself (and a general update)

I'm back from a trip to my sister's house. Thing went well except for a meltdown by my 4-year old toddler (is a 4 year old still a toddler or pre-schooler?) We're talking biting, hitting, head butting, etc. All to me. Because my husband was watching the Daytona 500 race. I totally lost it and spanked her harder than I ever had (didn't phase her) then threw her back down on the stairs where she was in time out. She cried that I hurt her. I ran upstairs, gave myself a time out, and cried too. My husband came upstairs, sees me crying (which I've probably only ever done less than handful of times since he's known me) and leaves. I was livid.

Then the next day, my husband is playing "boogie monster" (which is like hide-n-go-seek) with my niece, two nephews and daughter. My nephew takes a broom with him. He whacks my husband across the hand with it. My husband grabs him, spanks him three times, and goes upstairs, saying that the game is "over." My other nephew (big instigator) starts saying youngest nephew is hurt and has a "welt." Really it was just a red mark. My husband starts getting upset that he hurt my nephew.

I wanted to say to my husband

It is NOT all about you. Ugh. I assured him my sister was not mad, nephew was fine. Said all the things I would have wanted him to say to me the night before. He goes on and on and on and on. I finally told him to shut up.

Today we had a joint counseling session. I had emailed T about the issues we were having with discipline (before the incident with Nephew) and about one other issue. So we get in there and Husband immediately says "we're having issues with discipline" and starts in, with agonizing detail about what he did to Nephew. This goes on for awhile. I finally said "I don't care about Nephew." This is about OUR DAUGHTER. In other words This is NOT all about you. If he has issues about himself, then go see your counselor. This is about US and OUR issues with US and OUR family. Not you.

We did finally get to that. And interestingly, did not have time to discuss the real issue that Husband did not want to discuss. Hmm.... cause he didn't want the spotlight on himself there. And maybe that was deliberate. But that is for another day.

(confession time - I saw my nephew take the broom. I said to my sister, "I hope Hubby jumps out to scare Nephew and Nephew whacks him upside the head." We laughed. Oops).

General update -
  • I love dramamine - not only is it a cure-all for morning sickness, it knocks me flat. I'm talking unable to hear the sound of screaming toddlers flat. I love it.
  • My child has finally, after 1 hour and 13 minutes, stopped screaming "I want you," "I want to sleep with you," and "I don't like the dark." (she has a nightlight on). Ahh. Willpower. Hoping she can turn that energy into good use someday. Getting back into a routine stinks.
  • I skipped work today. I slept from 10 pm when I stopped driving and let Husband take over, until 1:30 am when we got home. Went back to sleep and woke up at 8 am this morning. Still skipped work :) Took Daughter to daycare, came home, cleaned the house spotless, did laundry, went grocery shopping, to counseling, came home and cooked a homecooked meal. Then told Husband that if we won the lottery, he could come home to a house and a meal like this everyday.
  • Husband was appreciative of the house and meal. He remarked about how glad he was not to have to worry about getting everything done before we go to his parents for his last hunting trip of the season. Ha. I told him he "owed me 3 hours" (take that you "tit for tat" being) and could pay me back by sanding, stripping and painting the bathroom. I'm determined that he will not slack off on these home improvements. He promised to get them done in decent time when I agreed to buy this house.
  • Tomorrow it is back to work and hopefully to the gym in the morning. Lost more weight at my sisters - not sure how that happened. I ate quite liberally, and even found a new love for Dove chocolate truffles.
  • My mother finally caught Sister and I online when we were at her house. She was surprised I was there. Forgot (or maybe she didn't know) I was going. Ha - now you're out of the loop too mom.

(and Yes, I'm a bit irritable and in a "take that" mood these days).

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Blog Carnival Against Sexual Abuse

Check it out here. A great carnival with lots of new posters.

Friday, February 15, 2008

A Little of This, A Little of That - general update

Don't forget the Blog Carnival Against Child Abuse posts today at Marj's site - Survivors Can Thrive.

I'm outta here in 1 hour. Headed home to do some last minute packing and then we hit the road to see my Sister. I can't wait. I dread the drive but am excited about visiting.

Morning sickness still rears it's ugly head on a daily basis. I haven't (knock on wood) actually gotten sick lately but the nausea is enough. I have dramamine, sea bands and my preggie pops/drops for the trip.

OB appt went okay this week. I'm signed up with the midwives (yeah), have to switch from the hospital I delivered at last time (my preferred) to the other in town (yuck), and I'm officially in the "overweight" category meaning I am restricted to gaining 25 pounds. I was referred to a nutritionist to help with the hypoglycemia and low iron issues I had last pregnancy - and to make sure I don't gain 60 lbs like last time, especially since I'm "just 2/10 shy of being in the higher risk BMI category." (shove it lady - if I hadn't lied about my weight I'd have been in that category!)

I am not to be on any anxiety/depression meds at all for 8 more days. Ideally they want me to wait until I'm 12 weeks. (well really they'd rather I not have anything). I'm going to talk to the midwife next appointment and really see what my options are. I know they'd rather I take nothing but this stress can't be good either. I also can't get a straight answer about risks or whether I have to wean off before I deliver. I tell you, if I was as evasive with answers to my clients, I'd be out of ajob. What is with doctors? I'm paying you to figure these things out. Don't tell me to go look on the internet.

The weather is great and the sun is out and that makes me HAPPY.

Had a great Valentine's dinner with my husband last night with some wonderful food.

Got an email forwarded from my sister to me - originated from my mother. I think I win the bet - it only took mom 1 day of "the patient" coming home to start whining. And yes, she calls him "the patient" - not sure why??

Hi. The roads were horrible this morning, but I made it down there okay. Got the patient home, and fed, and medicated. Picked up $275 of prescriptions for the month (that's with the pres card). And the note from his work, saying that now he's out on family medical leave, we are responsible for sending in the ins. payment, (for the medical and short and long term disabilty) For $185 a month. So I'm rather depressed at the moment. Hope to get to bed early tonight and get some sleep (?) Did stop by my work to pick up my sad check, and told Roy I'd probly be back to work on the 24th, if everything went okay. Hope everything is going okay there. Love and hugs, Mom

Hello Mom? If you are paying disability insurance, that means he has some. Duh. Go collect. Oh wait, that's always been my job and she won't know how to do that.....

So last appointment is here and it is time to hit the road. I burned some kickin' music to jam too all the way up. Well, I'll like it. My husband - not so much. But come on, what better to keep you awake on a long nighttime drive than 80s hair bands?

Hugs to all - see you soon.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

What happens when I talk spontaneously - update after T appt

Had T Tuesday night and it was different. We did EMDR with the situation with Toilet. I wasn't sure what to expect - it wasn't like there were any repressed memories, as with prior EMDR sessions. But I found out there were repressed (or maybe unrealized is a better word) feelings and thoughts. I would close my eyes - feels safer - and then open them and say "no" automatically. Or "I think" My T told me not to think - just to talk about whatever came to mind - without thinking.

Me speak spontaneously? Without thinking? Now there is a thought. LOL. I wasn't sure how that was going to work. But I did it, albeit with some rambling thoughts and inability to voice some words (nothing irks me more than being able to articluate clearly - I'm supposed to be good at that in my profession. I hate stuttering, grasping for words, or talking nonsensically).

Last week when I first learned of Toilet's heart attack, I said I felt nothing. I was certain he would die then. Prognosis was grim. I wanted to hear of his dying - not for wishing death or suffering on him - but for the knowledge that I was safe. That I wouldn't have to worry about running into him, or getting a call that he had hurt someone else.

My mother was not contacting me to give me updates. She told my relatives not to contact me. She told my relatives it was not a good idea to call and suggest I come to the hospital. All of that was very weird. If there were any time I expected her to break the "rules" of talking about him, it was then. And I probably would have been okay with it. Since that day, I've caught her on IM one time and gotten an update. I've gotten a two line update by email. Nothing else except a bit of info through my sister. And she's not getting much either. I've gotten emails from all my relatives talking about how bad they feel for mom. Funny thing is that none have commented on feeling badly for him or wishing him well???? (that just popped in my head) Maybe they are sending that directly to her/him?

I had two profound thoughts/connects from EMDR - first I want to know. It's driving me bonkers not knowing. Knowlege has always equaled power. When I know what is going on, I feel in control. I can plan. I've learned, however, over the past three weeks that all the planning in the world doesn't mean I will react that way or that things will work out that way. Not knowing how he is doing is bothering me. T says my mother likely knows that. I specifically have not asked how he is - I've only asked how Mom is doing. She's not responded back at all with how she is doing - just short updates about him. I hate to think of her being intelligent enough to be that manipulative but maybe she is. T always says that she's smarter and more manipulative than I give her credit for. I think though, that it is harder and more hurtful for me to think she's doing this on purpose.

I have to give myself a big thumbs up because I have not emailed her to ask how she is. I keep asking myself "am I doing this because I want to know or because of guilt (or in a manipulative attempt to gain info)." Since the answer has always been the latter, I've not done it. I did email her a general, post-ob appt update. Same email I sent to my sister.

I do want to know when he is released home. It's a safety thing. His home is 2 3/4 hours away. His hospital is 1 1/2. I want him to be further away. And there is something that just sounds further away when it is in a different state. I did get an email this morning saying "the patient" will be coming home but that "I" (Mom) have to stay with him 24/7 the first week. What the heck, mom? The "patient"????? We've told Mom not to talk about him, use his name, or use plural subjects like "we" or "us." But really, if you are going to break the rules and send us an update about him, you might as well go all the way and use his name. Weirdo.

I do want to know his condition. Secretly I want him to suffer. I feel bad about that. Guilty even. I like knowing he got out of breath when he sat up teh other day. I like knowing he is suffering from being deprived of alcohol and cigarettes. (I probably am a bit too gleeful over that one).

I thought I'd be okay if he lived or died. But now I know I want him dead. I just want this over. I want living on edge to be over. Plus it's so much harder to have anger toward a suffering, sick person. Invokes all sorts of guilt feelings.

In T, we also talked about my wanting mom to ask me to come be there at the hospital - because I could say No to that. But by not asking, I feel guilty at not going. Mom's not even whining like normal. No whines about money being tight, having to drive back and forth, trouble getting off work, etc. Nothing. So unlike her. She typically thrives on the sympathy and "poor pity me" she gets.

I feel a bit selfish saying this - but I'm pissed that this pregnancy is being overshadowed by him. I wish I hadn't sent out that announcement the morning before his heart attack. I'd rather have treasured the news to myself and stolen his thunder later.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Dr. Phil show today

I'm not a big fan of Dr. Phil or his show. However, my sister emailed me and told me that I might (or might not) want to check out his show. The clip is here (Wednesday's show - "Behind Closed Doors".) If you don't want to watch the clips, you can read the slideshow.

I wasn’t sure I would watch it. However, the introduction sucked me in - Meet Heidi, who was molested by her stepfather, walked in on by her mother, who did nothing. John continued to molest Heidi for years – the mother denies knowing about that. Now Heidi's mother wants to know why Heidi won't have a relationship with her. The abuser, John, will also be interviewed.

My mother's husband is named John. The words coming out of this mother's mouth are exactly like my mom. She is trying to justify things – “I had to stay, I had no money, I had to stay. I had a breakdown - I could not cope. It's not my fault. The military shoved it under the rug. It's their fault.” That is my mother "not my fault - someone else's fault."

The daughter said, "I was so relieved and thankful when she caught him molesting me," Heidi recalls. But that feeling didn't last long. "He continued to molest me. My mother did not ask me how I was doing. My mother did not hug me. She went and sought out consoling from her friends." Heidi doesn't understand why her mother did not press charges against John. "My mom was supposed to be my protector."

The mother admits "I probably did blame her." "He told me that because I worked late, he turned to my daughter." The mother says "we were both victims of circumstances." My own mother admitted once that it was “so hard on her to think that her husband preferred me (her daughter) over her.” She saw me (still does) as the “other woman.”

The mother on the show keeps telling the daughter that the daughter is lying and “has an attitude.” Dr. Phil says, “Even now, you’re not saying, ‘You’re right. I’m sorry. How could I ever make it up to you.’ You’re saying, ‘You have an attitude.’ Well, hell yes, she has an attitude!”

“I look at her and all I want to do is grab her, and hold her, and hug her and tell her how sorry I am, that I was wrong. I made mistakes. I wasn’t aware, and she sits there with a cocky attitude that I can’t even get through to her,” Susan says.

“You keep making this about her bad attitude,” Dr. Phil says. “The fact that she is even willing to sit on this stage with you and address this, to me, is the real attitude that I see, and the fact that you think that she has a chip on her shoulder, that she has a lack of trust — You own that lack of trust. You own that chip on her shoulder. You own that attitude. You can’t criticize it, and it begins with acknowledging what went wrong at that time.”

The mother blames her daughter for going to visit this man at age 18 (daughter denies it) or going to visit this person’s barracks, or exposing herself to John as an adult. The mother keeps pointing out that Heidi did bad things later on too. (my mother did that too – you dressed too provocatively. You continued to be around him. You chose to go with him. You wanted to go with him.)

Dr. Phil interrupts to say to Susan, “I really believe that you just don’t get it.”
“I do get it,” she says.
“You can’t get it if you say, ‘How could she? Why would she?'” Dr. Phil says.

“Because she continued exposing herself to him when she was older,” Susan says. “She’s making up stories that aren’t true."

Dr. Phil explains to Susan, “The dynamic between a molester and their victim can go on for years or a lifetime. You subjected her to that. You allowed that to continue. You can’t poison her, contaminate her, change her and then criticize the result. Do you not get that when you are molested it changes who you are?”

The mother keeps saying, “but I was in a foreign country. But I had no money. But I had no job. But I had nowhere to go.” Dr. Phil points out that at this time those facts don't matter. “You are a mother. It’s not the military’s job to protect your child. It’s yours,” he says.

The mother says, “I should have….but I had a 4 month old.” BUT BUT BUT – always excuses.

Dr. Phil says “You don’t take your daughter back [to him] and trade her for rent.”
My mom did that. Traded my sister and I for rent and security.

I am glad that I watched this clip. It helps every time I see someone (even if it was Dr. Phil) get mad at a mother saying these things. It helps every time I see someone (even a studio audience) get outraged and upset. It helps every time I hear about another survivor who did and felt some of the things I did – and who survived. So if that sort of thing helps you, go check out the clip.

What is Love Anyway? - Valentine's series part 2

(Part 1 - what love is not - is here)

I didn't have good examples of what Love looks like, or is supposed to look like. I'm not really sure what a normal family looks like or how they express love. If a genie ever pops out of a lamp, one of my wishes will be the ability to be a "fly on the wall" so I can observe what normal families do. Every so often, an opportunity will present itself and I'll catch a glimpse of normalcy and true love.

I relish those times. I store them up in my memory bank and pull them out to ponder on frequently. Most of the time the participants have no idea that their off-the-cuff statement meant so much to me or that I am learning love by watching them.

When I became pregnant the first time, and when my daughter was born, I had a moment of panic. How was I, an emotionless numb person, going to demonstrate love to my baby? Like being struck by lightening, a thought flew into my head that I did have examples of love in my life - sometimes in little things. And sometimes in big things. I just had to search my memory bank for them.

Some of the things floating around in my memory bank are -

* Love Looks Like This - The neighbor who lived around the corner from my childhood home. She took my sister and I in before and after school so that we would not be home alone (I was in 3rd or 4th grade and my sister was in 1st). She also took us to a Bible kids' activity in the evening sometimes too. She demonstrated love for me. Another time, I saw love when I had an unfortunate accident and my in-laws dropped everything, left work immediately and came to our house to be with my daughter so my husband could come be with me. My own mother would never have done that.

* Love Sounds Like This - One time I was in a meeting with someone when their daughter called. It was late and we were just chit chatting. She took the call and I tried not to eavesdrop but it's hard not to hear things when you are in the same room. This mother was reassuring her daughter (an adult) that things would be fine. Giving support without offering platitudes. Her voice softened and I could hear love. Another mother I know commented that she was sleeping on the couch downstairs because her adult daughter was recovering from oral surgery and might need her. What is that like? Having a mother sleep near you, just in case you need her?

* Love Feels like This - A time someone mentioned her daughter (an adult) being sick and coming to her office to curl up on her lap. I don't remember doing that with my mom as a child, let alone as an adult. That is what love looks like. It’s also in the feeling of safe hugs from safe people.

* Love Tastes like This - A cold frappucino coffee drink delivered to my house after I had jaw surgery, from someone stopping by to visit and make sure I'm okay.

* Love Smells like This - the smell of my newborn baby daughter when she is curled up beside me.

Love is sometimes found when you least expect it -

* In college, hearing rustling and see $200 cash come sliding under my door. Put there by my mentors I'm sure, although they tried to be anonymous. Put there so that I could stop being forced to call and "make nice" with my father just so he would send me money for my medical bills. Delivered anonymously so I would know there were no strings attached. The sacrifice they made is what love is.* Strangers taking an off-the-cuff, joking comment about wanting to be adopted, and opening up their hearts and lives to me. Without knowing much about me at all, or having ever met me.

* Online friends who care enough to call, text, email, and write me.

* A childhood boyfriend who stayed with me on those nights when my mother would work the third shift, just so he could be there when the nightmares would come.

* A sister, ready to drop everything, and fly down here when I'm struggling. A sister who loves me enough to threaten (and she would do it) to "kick my ass" if I do anything to harm myself.

* Hearing 1 John 3:16 "this is how we know what love is. Jesus Christ laid down his life for us." Knowing that this pertains to me and that I'm "okay" in God's eyes. It’s also in the sound of the voices of a few people I know. I’ve been privileged enough to hear them pray - hear the way their voice softens when they talk to God. Knowing instinctively that they are engaged in a very important, intimate conversation. I especially see love in the ones that encourage me to really explore my relationship with God - without hiding my anger or uncertainty.
Love is sometimes shown in appropriate anger - like the sound of a father’s voice, outraged that some passerby would dare make inappropriate comments to his daughter. In the anger and outrage, I hear and see (although it still startles me) on people’s faces when I mention something that happened in my childhood - often something I considered "normal."

Love is shown in the kindness of my in-laws who used up all their vacation time to come stay with my husband after knee surgery so I could get back to work, because I had used up all my vacation time on maternity leave. My mother-in-law does not drive in cities and was terrified of having to drive my husband all around - but she did it anyway, out of love for us.

I’m so grateful for having friends and family, and even internet blog "strangers" who demonstrate love in my life. It has taken me awhile to learn what love is. But I feel more confident that I will be able to demonstrate love to my daughter so that she won’t have to learn what love is NOT.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What is Love Anyway? - Valentine's series part I

What is Love anyway?

The Beatles say, “All you need is love, love; Love is all you need.” However, that doesn’t explain what love IS.

Is it a physical reaction? Tina Turner says it is – “It’s physical – only logical. You must try to ignore that it means more than that. What’s love got to do, got to do with it?”

Is Love used to justify bad things? U2 wants to know “what more in the name of love?” and discusses violence in the name of love?

My background and childhood certainly didn't equip me to know what love is. But I learned a lot about what love is NOT ....

* Love isn't supposed to wake you up with flashing blue strobe lights in your window because the cops are there again. Love isn't supposed to show up as red marks and ashes on your mother's face.

* Love IS supposed to involve flowers - but not like this -

* Loving "hickies" aren't supposed to look like this. Unlike Def Leppard's song, love is not supposed to bite or bleed.

* Love isn't supposed to hurt innocent people (or animals). Love isn't supposed to make you think you deserve to be treated like this.

* Love is supposed to instill a respect and love your yourself in you - not take it away. It isn't supposed to be shameful.

* Love isn't supposed to be learned physically before you are emotionally ready. Love is not taking advantage of a child. Love is not making a child think it is their fault. Love is not keeping silent in the face of knowledge that someone is abusing your child.

* Love is not awakening a child's body to physical reactions they are not developmentally ready to feel. Love is not telling a child it is their fault. Love is not blaming a child for your response. Love is not using a child to fullfill your own twisted sexual desires.

I learned a lot about what love is not. The word pictures above here are ones I found on the internet, but I have my own -

The love I learned caused me to hide -

It caused me to go from this happy smiling family....

to this

Love isn't supposed to hurt so bad that you want to cut it out.

If love looks like this in your life, please seek help.

(part II - here - will focus on how I learned what love really looks like)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Check these out - Cool sites, links and questions

I've discovered that one key to minimizing panic is distraction. But it has to be intense distraction where my entire brain is consumed with busyness. Word searches, sudoku, online games, blog reading, book reading are all good things. Active busyness is good too, but I have to balance that with the morning sickness that rears its ugly head when I'm busy. My house is pretty organized now. I re-did my entire closet. I stripped the wallpaper in the bathroom. Then I took a nap and got sick. Haven't quite found that balance between compulsive busyness and relaxation.

Anyway, in my browsing around the internet and blogs, I came across some things I had to share.

Ani at My Dissonance (I love the way that blog title sounds) has created this video called The Secret, you just have to see. I don't know how to link YouTube videos, so click HERE to go watch the video.

My Dissonance also discusses IRRT therapy and links to a video where you can watch a session Angela Shelton did. I can't yet watch the whole video - it's pretty intense. But I'm curious if anyone else has done this and how it differs from EMDR. It looks more inner child related to me.

Marj at Survivors can Thrive is hosting the February Blog Carnival. This is a love theme - "Submit posts about learning to love and trust again after abuse, loving and forgiving yourself, loving your inner child or alter parts, etc. Let's spread the love, y'all!" The submission deadline is Wed Feb 13th and the Blog will publish on Friday the 15th. I'd encourage you to submit - here. Even if you don't submit, be sure to check out Marj's blog on Friday and read the Carnival.

Speaking of Marj, check out her Feb 8th post for a link (again I don't know how to insert Youtube links) to a Michael Skinner video. It's really good.

I like to finish (or start, depending on your perspective) my week by checking out PostSecrets. This week has a great video presentation. Check it out here.

For a totally light-hearted start to Monday, check out Nick's Bytes. His jokes are a perfect way to start Mondays.

Another source of laughter was Austin's post here. Given my "warped" sense of humor about Toilet's demise, I found her post refreshingly honest. Her therapist's comment cracked me up too. I also really like her new artwork here. But considering I STILL have not hung up anything on my walls at the new house, including the last piece I purchased from her, I'd better resist for now.

I am giving myself 10 points for resisting the guilt feeling that I should email mom and ask for an update. I've not heard anything. She probably thinks I don't want to know or is uncertain about how much to tell me. And truth is, I only want to know so I am aware of how much I need to "watch my back." (as long as he is incapacitated, I feel safer). Then too, I'm secretly enjoying every day he is in the hospital, being deprived of his cigarettes, cigars (he's a two pack a day guy), alcohol (vodka is his preference) and greasy food. So, since I carefully thought about WHY I felt the need to sign into IM or email mom, realized it was guilt, and resisted, I award myself 10 points -- no deductions this time :) because my friends say I shouldn't do that!

Lastly, I'm updating my blogroll. Deleted some blogs where there haven't been any new posts in a long time. Added some others. If you'd like to be added (or re-added) or if you've been added and don't want to be listed, please let me know.

(disclaimer - darn spell check has been broken on blogger for weeks. I can spell, I just can't type or proofread well. So just ignore the misspellings).

Sunday, February 10, 2008

What 'cha reading?

Eclexia tagged me (when I get around to updating my sidebar of blogs I read, I'll be adding her). I am supposed to talk about a book. Here are the rules:

Here are the rules of the first meme:
1) Pick up the nearest book (of at least 123 pages).

2) Open the book to page 123.
3) Find the fifth sentence.
4) Post the next three sentences.
5) Tag five people.

This was my response -
Hmm, we just moved mid December and many books are still packed away. We are working on unpacking and getting organized. Right now the nearest book over 123 pages is “The Name Book - over 10,000 names - their meanings, origins and spiritual significance.”
Page 123 starts with Halle, Halla, Halley and goes through Hanan, Hannan, Hannen.
The fifth “sentence” (which I’ll interpret to mean name) is Haman or Hamilton - meaning from the fortified castle; faithful - Proverbs 20:6 - many a man proclaims his own loyalty, but a faithful man, who can find?

I'm to tag 5 but I'm going to cheat. If you're reading this, consider yourself tagged!