Flashbackapalooza

Trigger warning.  Just sayin’.

First, let me just say that PTSD sucks.  Big hairy donkey balls.  Today, it destroyed a playful moment with my kids.

I was in my bedroom, folding clothes.  My daughter was doing dishes in the kitchen, which is adjacent to my bedroom.   She and I had had an argument earlier, and I was feeling kinda bad about it.  Now, anybody that knows me knows that when it comes to my kids, I am a hugger.  I hug them a LOT.  I was not hugged a lot as a child, and I didn’t want my kids to know what that felt like.

So anyway, I called my daughter in, and she sat next to me on my bed, and I hugged her.  Then I started teasingly poking her, and we landed so that I was on my back and she was somewhat on half of me.  Then my son runs in, yells “HUGGING!”  and jumps in, landing on both of us.

We were all laughing, and I told them that since they were looming above me, I hoped they weren’t going to eat my face off or knock me out with stinky breath.  In the interest of the fact that I love my kids and I’d kinda like to continue living, I will not disclose which one had the ass-breath.   😉  So then ( of course!) they proceeded to breathe exaggerated, giant breaths in my face.

All of a sudden, I flashed back to The Rapist.  I could feel his hands on my throat all over again, and I couldn’t breathe.  I started choking just like I did that night.  I managed to convey to my kids to get off of me, and I sat up and immediately vomited.   I just wanted to sit there and cry.

I hate that flashbacks happen like that… One minute, I’m having fun with my kids, and the next, I’m a puking mess.  It makes me sad, angry, hopeless and frustrated all at once.

Upward and Onward!

I’ve been having a hard time moving on from Bad Things.  I’m trying, but it doesn’t really feel like I’ve progressed very far.  I think it’s because unless I’m actively doing something specific, I feel stagnant.  Kinda like I’m just running in place.

I think that in order to move forward in a way that I find more measurable, I need to take action… so I’ve decided to form a “battle plan”, so to speak.

Every 30 days, I’m going to set a new goal to achieve.  Sometimes it will be a little thing, sometimes it will be more substantial.

I feel like I’m taking better control of my own life this way.  The only thing left to do now?  Decide what my first goal will be.  🙂

Graduation Day

This Thursday is a day I’ve waited a long time for. My son is going to graduate high school. I am so proud of him. He’s overcome a lot of obstacles and hardships throughout his life. The hardest? Dealing with his father.

I was 17 years old and about 4 months pregnant when his father and I got together. He was 21. I had stars in my eyes. Boy, that didn’t last very long.

His father is one of those men that appear chivalrous and charming to women… At first. Then, things change. First, he begins by dismissing anything he doesn’t agree with. Your opinions do not matter. In fact, you have no opinion unless he gives it to you.

Then, he discourages clothing choices he doesn’t like. STRONGLY. I had a lot of my things mysteriously disappear.

Verbal abuse comes next. I was called a fat pig, even when I was a size 6. A SIX!!! Slut, whore, ugly bitch, lazy cunt… Just par for the course.
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I remember the first time he hit me. I was beginning labor, pregnant with DD. I was in considerable pain. He slapped me in the face, and told me to stop being a silly bitch. When we were at the hospital, the nurses kept telling him to stop yelling at me. They finally said if he didn’t, he’d have to leave.

Fast forward to about a week later. He was pissed because DD was extremely colicky, and cried. A LOT. I asked him if he would please help me, and he said, “If it was my kid, I might.”

Then he decided he was going to have his own kid. Whether I wanted to or not. I was still healing from childbirth… I had 7 stitches in my perineum, FFS. He didn’t care. He assaulted me, and voila. Pregnant again.

You’d think that since I was pregnant with his kid, that he’d not be quite so abusive, right? WRONG. He once pushed me over a canister vacuum so hard that my pelvis cracked. I was about 8 months pregnant at that point. Of course, he told everyone that I tripped. He was usually very good at only leaving marks in inconspicuous places, though.  I wasn’t allowed to have outside friends, or a social life.

Turns out, it wasn’t just other people’s kids. He wasn’t fond of his sons’ crying, either.   Or his lack of *manliness*.  Or the signs of ADHD and Aspergers’.

Anyway, to cut a long story short, he was abusive to DS, DD and myself.  A lot.  The last straw was when DS accidentally spilled a plate of mac & cheese, and his father grabbed him by the throat and held him against the wall almost to the ceiling.  DS was 5.  I later found out that there was more abuse that I hadn’t been aware of.  We got the first PFA against him.

Several years later, when DS was 16, his father convinced a magistrate that he was a good father, and that I was keeping DS from him out of spite.  He got shared custody, over mine and DS’ objections.

Visits went badly.  No physical abuse, but plenty of verbal & psychological abuse and intimidation.  We ended up getting another PFA.  He said in open court that he kept track of all of us all through the years through his mother.

Anyway, back to graduation.  I am very, very worried that he will be there.  I’m almost sure of it.  In his mind, since DS is 18  I can’t keep him away.  DS doesn’t want him there, and told his grandmother not to tell him about it, but his father won’t care.  He sees it as his right because DS is his son.

Actually, I am more than worried.  I am freaking the fuck out.  But DS and DD will not know this, because it’s my job to be strong. For them.  For me.

I Am Not a Fetish

I’ve been thinking about something for a few days now, and it’s been bothering me.  

“I’m not a chubby chaser.”  

 I was having a conversation earlier this week with a customer from work.  I was shopping downtown, and ran into him.  He’s one of those types that just gives off this really skeevy vibe, and tells you waaay more about himself than you ever wanted to know.  

I was trying to figure out a polite way to extricate myself, when the conversation took a rather offensive turn.  He said that I have a “pretty face and a nice rack”, but that he’s “not a chubby chaser.”  

Whaaaat?  I asked him to clarify, and he said that only men who are “into fatties” like girls like me.  Keep in mind, this guy is nothing to write home about… what with his brownish teeth and perpetual… ahh, shall we say, aroma.  

Whoa. Hold up there, fella.  I am NOT a fetish.  Besides, who decides what size woman is ok for “normal” men to be attracted to?  100 pounds?  120?  Maybe up to 150?  Higher?

Pfft!  I call horseshit.  Some people prefer smaller ladies, and some prefer curvier ones.  And some are attracted to large, small and everything in between.  Some people are into men, some are into women.  Some people, like myself, are into both.  All are “normal” and valid choices.  

Also, I have to add… I don’t want to be judged solely on the size or shape of my body.  What you can’t see, the inside?  It’s pretty great.  🙂

Forgiving The Rapist

…but not for him.  For me.

I saw him today.  At my doctors’ office.   He was there with his daughter and his wife.  They were going in as I was coming out.

At first, I immediately felt like I was going to vomit.  Then… he asked if we could talk for a minute.   I didn’t quite know what to say.

Then… he apologized.  For everything.  He admitted right to my face that it wasn’t consensual.  He apologized for breaking my ribs, choking me, violating me… all of it.  Even the stalking bit afterward.  He said that since his daughter was born, he had changed.

THAT snapped me out of my speechlessness.  I explained that I, too, had changed.  How I startle so easily now.   How I panic just a little every time I’m walking somewhere and a man is walking toward me on the same sidewalk.  How I smell a certain cologne and it sends me right back *there*.  How scared I was for months until I could get an HIV test and trust that the negative result was accurate.  How hard it is for me to trust my own judgment.  After all, I thought HE was safe enough, and look where THAT got me.  Raped.

Then I said that I forgive him.  Not for him.  For my own benefit.  Because I refuse to let him affect so much of my life anymore.  I told him that I hoped he HAD changed, because no child deserves to be raised by a monster.   Then I walked away.  Not just physically, but emotionally as well.  I left all the anger, hate and poison where it belongs… with him.  I forgive him, so I can move forward and LIVE.

Mixed-Up Mothers’ Day

I never enjoyed Mothers’ Day growing up.  You see, I didn’t have a mother.  Or a father, but that’s a story for another day.  I always felt left out.  All my friends had mothers, and I didn’t.   I always wanted one, though.  My own left when I was very young, and I felt that there must have been something wrong with me that even my own mother didn’t want me.

My father was arrested for child molestation when I was 7, and my brother and I went to live with our aunt.  It was HARD.  I know my aunt loved us, or she wouldn’t have taken us in.  But I never felt like we were as important as anyone else there.  There was a clear pecking order, and my brother and I were on the bottom.  An obligation. I remember being told that I was too much too handle and that I should just be “given back to the state to deal with.”  To be fair, I WAS hard to deal with.  I had mental health and behavioral issues.  Now, I don’t want any pity or sympathy… Just giving a little context here.

Then I had my own kids.  DD at 17 & DS at 18.  Then, it hurt all the more, because I knew what I had been missing.  A MOM.  Someone who loved me absolutely unconditionally and always would.  That’s how I felt about DD & DS.  Immediately.  I was completely hell-bent on making sure that they had everything I never did.  That they would always feel loved and wanted. I actually began to enjoy Mothers’ Day.  🙂

I think this one might be a little more emotional for me, though.  There’s someone missing.  Rowan is not here, and never will be.

I’m going to enjoy the day with my amazing, wonderful kids, but I’m also going to hold a little piece of it for her, too.  Even though I never got to hold her, I’ll always be her mom.  ❤

Grieving

Not much witty to say here today, just a bit (ok, a LOT) of introspection.

Yesterday, I would have been 34 weeks pregnant. If I didn’t lose her, that is. My sweet baby has been on my mind a lot lately. I’m not really sure how to describe how I feel, except that I am all over the place emotionally. I still feel a lot of anger and guilt over how she came to be in the first place.

I hate her father for what he did. He was supposed to be my friend, but friends don’t do that. He knew I was on meds and wasn’t fully aware. He also knew I wasn’t interested in him that way. AND he knew what I had been through with The Rapist, FFS.

Even though I know it’s not rational, I also feel incredibly guilty. I didn’t want to be pregnant. Hell, I wasn’t even supposed to be able to conceive at ALL. My first thought when the test came back positive was how fast I would be able to get an abortion. I didn’t want a baby with him. I didn’t want to be connected to him.

Then something in me changed. I began to feel things. I would dream about her, and then it slowly dawned on me… I LOVED her. Just as much as my other two children. I decided to keep her and raise her alone. Her father agreed to sign away his parental rights if I agreed not to file a report.

Then she was gone. Just like that, she was gone. I felt like somehow, it was my fault. Like by not wanting her at first, I had made it happen. Logically speaking, I know that’s not how it works… But I can’t help how I feel. like maybe I didn’t love her enough and didn’t deserve to have her.

Most of the time I’m ok now, but sometimes… Not so much.

I miss you, my little Rowan Sage. So much. I wish you were still with me.

People, Poverty and Phones (or the Woman on Welfare doesn’t have an iPhone)

I agree with this blog posting. Every. Word.

And in the interest of full disclosure, I used to be on welfare. Food stamps, TANF, Medicaid, the works. I am fully self supporting now, though. Not because I’m any better than I was, just more fortunate. My mental health is much improved, and my family is recovering quite nicely from domestic violence, to the point where I am able to work outside the home and do a kickass job at what I do.
Welfare sucks. Very few people are on it by choice.

Sunflower Chalice

This morning I woke up, and I as I tend to do, after centering prayer and meditation, I checked through email, texts, Twitter and Facebook.  I’d feel bad about this except a friend has explained to me this is the modern equivalent of heading down to the corner coffee shop for coffee and chatter with the other regulars.

I found this graphic on my news feed, posted by one of my facebook friends.

Every day, I work with people living on the very edge of our society. I work with people on welfare and people so near the bottom of our society they can’t even get financial assistance due to a lack of residence or inability to prove their identity and so on.   The work I do with these folks, of necessity requires phones and phone numbers. If they can’t come in to my office in person, they need to…

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Solitude, Deep Thoughts, and a Fat Ass

So here I sit in a hotel suite.  I’m at the kitchen island, and I’ve just polished off (by myself!!) a whole bottle of pink champagne.  Good stuff, by the way.  I’ll be buying THAT again, for sure!

Anyway, I’ve been super-stressed for quite some time now.  With the encouragement of a friend, I decided to take a mini-vacation, and rent a hotel room for a night.  I felt that I needed some time to be alone.  Time to be just ME.  Not a mom, not an assistant manager, not a DSP.  Not a woman who lost a baby, not a woman who was violently sexually assaulted, not a person with mental illness.  Just ME.  Michelle.

At first, I was a little skeptical about the whole idea of going to a hotel by myself.  What in the world would I DO? It’s not like I even went out of town.  As a matter of fact, I am just over half a mile away.

But then I was excited.  I went shopping and bought a bunch of stuff to bring with me.  A bottle of champagne, fabulous candles, a new bath sheet, soaking mineral salts.  I even bought Hello Kitty bubble bath.  Hey, don’t judge… That Hello Kitty is AWESOME!  But I digress.

As the night went on, I started to feel a little guilty.  I spent (am spending) a fairly substantial amount of money on what?  A hotel suite, a fancy whirlpool tub, etc.  Absolutely nothing functional or lasting.  For just ME.  THAT thought kinda stopped me in my tracks.  Why NOT “just for me”?  Don’t I deserve it?  Aren’t I, just me, all by myself, worth it?

A lot has happened to make me feel unworthy of anything good.  I’m not going to go through the whole list, because I’ve done enough of that.  Suffice it to say, it’s amazing I’m not even more of a raving lunatic than I am.

Anyway, a lot of things have happened throughout my life to make me feel like I belong to somebody else.  Like I don’t own my own thoughts, dreams, fears.  Hell, I’ve not even felt like my very body was entirely my own.

That ends now.  I DO deserve this!  I am worthy!  Most importantly, I own myself.  Mind, body and soul.  

I will no longer put my own needs and wants behind everyone elses’.  Other people are important, but so am I.

I will no longer feel ashamed of how I look.  Yes, I am fat.  It’s ok.  Due to the several full length mirrors in this suite.  I couldn’t help but catch several glances of myself, in varying states of undress.  I actually took the time to look at myself in the mirror, completely nude.  Sure, there are some things I’d like to change.  My stretch marks, for one.  My belly, thighs, and upper arms, which are saggy due to weight loss.  But I no longer loathe how I look.  I am still beautiful.  Stretch marks, saggy bits and all.

I love myself, in a way I never have before.  To me, that is worth every penny I spend on this little getaway.

Now I’m all red-eyed and snot-nosed due to emotional tears.  That’s ok, too.  Still beautiful.  🙂

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Successify!

This article is from Chiara Fucarino. Enjoy!

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to address those with clinical depression or other mental illnesses.

happinessThere are two types of people in the world: those who choose to be happy, and those who choose to be unhappy. Contrary to popular belief, happiness doesn’t come from fame, fortune, other people, or material possessions. Rather, it comes from within. The richest person in the world could be miserable while a person living in the slums of a third world country could be happy and content. I have spent plenty of time amongst both groups to have seen it first hand. Happy people are happy because they make themselves happy. They maintain a positive outlook on life and remain at peace with themselves.

The question is: how do they do that?

It’s quite simple. Happy people have good habits that enhance their lives. They do…

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