Day 20

Day 20

Describe 3 significant memories from your childhood.

1.) The first one that comes to mind is the last time I saw my Grammy alive…summer of 1997. I was freshly 9 and just the weirdest, most sensitive little thing you’ve ever seen. We were sitting in her darkened bedroom, a room so cozy and familiar to me I can still remember how it smelled. She had a small shoebox full of little trinkets and knick-knacks and mementos that she wanted me to take home, to remember her. I don’t remember all that was said, but I do know she told me to not be afraid because she was going to a better place where she wasn’t sick anymore. Even though she was sad and knew I was too, I didn’t really have to be sad because she would never leave me. She told me every time I felt a gentle breeze brushing my cheek, that was her saying hello. I still believe it, and I still feel her presence. Even on her deathbed, my saintly grandma made a big, scary concept like death seem not so scary and more manageable. What courage and foresight that must have taken her. And she pulled every one in my family into her room one-by-one. She must have been exhausted by the end of the day.

2.) September 11, 2001. I was 13, standing outside staring up at the sky. I had just been picked up from school early, to sit huddled around the TV with my brother, mom, and best friend Bekah. We had no idea where my dad was, or when he was coming home. Both the WTC towers had collapsed at this point. All air traffic was grounded. I stepped outside to catch my breath, and realized how eerily silent it was outside. The normally busy skies above us where silent….no commercial flights from the Colorado Springs airport, no training drills from the Air Force Academy, Peterson AFB or Ft. Carson. Nothing. Suddenly a fighter jet tore across the sky, startling me. My common sense kicked in before panic could, and I realized it was probably just patrolling NORAD which was literally in our back yard. Finally the magnitude of what was happening in my world hit me. We would most certainly be in a war. My father was active duty Special Forces. He would most certainly be apart of that war. My happy little life that I knew up until now would be drastically changed. And boy was I right.

3.) Not all of my childhood memories are heavy and morbid. But even as a young child, I felt things more deeply than most kids my age

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did. I was very intuitive, perceptive, and emotional. I caught on to things that weren’t even in my brother’s realm at the time. But I do remember happy times too. I remember being wild little woodland creatures, just running barefoot through our woods, lost in our own games, just….free. Children. Sometimes my brother and I played harmoniously together. More often than not though, we played separately, though close by to each other. Sometimes we had friends over who were equally as weird and wild, and we spent hours screaming, running, and laughing until we (okay, just me) peed our pants. We had schoolwork and chores and familial responsibilities but my parents were fantastic about letting us be children. As odd, and nonsensical, and wild as we wanted to be.

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Day 19

If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?

I don’t really have a specific place that I’m dying to move to. Being an Army Brat and a gypsy soul, I could happily move pretty much anywhere if the opportunity presented itself (except cold places like Alaska or Minnesota). I have been wanting to move to Arizona, mostly because it’s ALWAYS sunny and because my parents are there too. But recently I have re-fallen in love with the Carolinas. I visited North Carolina last week for a childhood friend’s wedding, and was smitten right away. The other night I had a dream about this adorable townhouse

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that we were moving in to in Columbia, South Carolina. I don’t know WHYย Columbia, but it was very specifically where we were. The townhouse was brand new, open and bright with big bay windows and little fruit trees out front. It was within walking distance to a coffee/wine shop and bookstore. I woke up so excited for that new place only to realize it was just a dream. Now I can’t shake the idea of moving to the Carolinas.

I’m happy here in the Pacific Northwest, though the winters do get tough for me. If we do end up moving out of state, I’d prefer somewhere warmer and sunnier. I don’t do well in the cold…it makes me very cranky and depressed. I could easily adapt to the hot, dry weather of the desert although I would desperately miss my ocean. I’d totally be okay with island life too, if I could find a job to support that life!

Basically anywhere with the sun and ocean. If it was summer year round here, there would be no need for me to lust after other places! We have everything…the ocean, trees, mountains, gorgeous farmland and vineyards…but from about October-June it can get pretty dismal with all the rain, drizzle and grayness.

Day 18

Day 18

What has been the most difficult thing you have had to forgive?

I haven’t written in nearly a week, due to this post. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to write it out. I balked, got writer’s block, had an anxiety attack then went on a quick trip across the country for a wedding. I had very little time to sleep, much less write. And about this topic no less. So I’m taking a big breath and letting it out. Better late then never right?

I don’t think I have actually forgiven him. And I think everyone knows who I mean without having to say a name. I was gaslighted, lied to, and mentally abused almost every day for 6 years. When I found out I was pregnant, I was told everything I had ever hoped to hear. And like the brainwashed weakling I was, I believed it. Things absolutely fell apart when Little Bee was 2 months old. While I am not claiming to be completely innocent in this whole ordeal, I was treated worse than I ever could have imagined when I decided to take the baby and leave. I was stalked and harassed. My family and friends were harassed. I was threatened with every means of police or legal force you could imagine. Little Bee was threatened. I was called an incompetent mother suffering from a postpartum psychotic break. My name was slandered all over our small town, and I was drug to court no less than 5 times in a 6 month period. After the courts granted my move across the country the mental torture and mind games continued in earnest. I was forced to hand over an infant to man that I had zero trust for. I left the airport in tears listening to my child shriek and scream for me, thinking I had abandoned him with a stranger. The harassment never stopped. The accusations never stopped. The blame was always laid on me, and always will be. After seven years things have calmed, but not ceased. There is always a threat hurled my way when I refuse to believe the newest lie and don’t bow to his every want. It has been over a decade of mental, emotional, financial and spiritual torture. But still I stand, my voice roars louder than ever and my spine is unbreakable.

I don’t think I ever will forgive. How do forgive someone who torments your child every chance he gets, and uses a sweet, brilliant, innocent child as a pawn in his fucked up game??? But I have learned to no longer let it consume me and eat me alive from the inside. Which might be the same thing as forgiveness. I have accepted that I will never get an apology, and I can live with that. Sitting waiting for someone who has no faults to apologize for something that was all my fault* is like waiting to sink in the Dead Sea. It will literally NEVER happen. That was a huge life lesson for me. And then I realized that I didn’t needย him to validate my pain and betrayal by apologizing. I knew what I felt, what I suffered, and what I said. I knew when I was in the wrong, and when I wasn’t. I was aware that I was mentally and emotionally abandoned at a time I needed him the most. I could never forget the burn of realizing everything I had ever been told or lead to believe was a big, fat, stinky fucking lie. I knew without a doubt that he threatened my son and that I unflinchingly did the right thing for us by fleeing in the middle of the night. There isn’t a doubt in my mind that he has caused, and is causing, trauma to my child’s emotional development. I will not lie down and accept that. I will not, however, let him have anymore control over me, and by nursing the bitter resentment and burning rage I felt, I was giving him control. He caused ulcers and insomnia and weight loss and an unmanageable anxiety disorder by being the chip on my shoulder. Once I could feel that weight of the righteous injustice I felt, I knew it had to go. It took work, but I consciously tried to release Hatred’s grip from my throat. I recognized that as a narcissist, he could not see his errs, nor would he ever confess to them. You cannot apologize for what you didn’t do, right? I stopped waiting for the apology that would do nothing for me but validate my strife. I didn’t need that from him. I didn’t need anything from him except peace. So I turned my back on that Hatred and Rage, and almost immediately found C. He took me in his arms and helped me walk the rest of the way down that path of Acceptance/Forgiveness. I feel they go hand-in-hand.

I do not necessarily forgive him for what he did to me or (especially) my child. But I accept that it happened, that I survived and did the right thing. When he uses scary words like “attorney” “court” or “parenting plan” and I refuse to bat an eye at him, he backs off and changes his story. That tells me that he KNOWS I am in the right, and no longer quaking in fear of him. Which means, he KNOWS he fucked up. And that’s the closest thing to an apology I’ll get.

 

“Life becomes easier when you learn to accept the apology you never got.”
~R. Brault

Day 17

Day 17

What is the thing you most wish you were great at?

Music. Absolutely. I have tried learning the piano and also the guitar and was awful. My heart is in it, but I just don’t have the talent for music. I practiced, though not nearly what I should have. I’d get frustrated because I wasn’t on the level I thought I should be, so instead of practicing harder, I’d give up. And then suck even more once I picked up the instrument again, so I’d for real quit. Music is such a huge component of my life…the right song at the right moment can completely alter my mood. I have always longed to be able to bring that to people, to myself. To channel my pain and anxiety into a song instead of internally. But alas, I’m a terrible musician and even worse singer so…I resort to writing and yoga to get out the big feels. I may have the heart and soul of a musician, but I definitely don’t have the God-given talent or drive of a musician.

That doesn’t, however, stop me from belting it out to my favorite song while I’m driving, or dancing all crazy in the kitchen. Once you got the music in you, you can’t ignore it! Even if you gave the worst piano recital in the history of piano recitals.ย more-cowbell_o_1184159

The Movement

In case you haven’t noticed, social media has been swarmed with countless “me, too” statuses. It is saying the author of that post has been a victim of sexual assault or harassment of some form. It is to raise awareness to the prevalence of sexual abuse in our society…even now (especially now) in 2017. It has been astounding to me the vast number of people on my friends list alone that have spoken up. Some I would have never thought. Some others, I’m sure, aren’t speaking up and that is totally okay. It is their story to tell when it’s time.

Thankfully, shockingly, I cannot add my “me, too” to the masses. ย I have always felt lucky to not be a statistic in that category, but it is even more evident to me today how fucking blessed I really am. I have never had to feel those flames, stare into that depth of hell.

But.

I have been stalked (briefly in high school). I have been catcalled and honked and whistled at as if I was a dog while walking down the street. I have had crude, tasteless comments directed to me about my body. I have been coerced into having sex when I really did not want to. Over and over. I have been used purely for my body, and then cast away like a cheap party favor. I have had rumors spread about me because I was blackout drunk and could not defend myself (my friends were aware enough to make sure I was safe, but that didn’t stop the stories in a small town). I have had so many inappropriate “jokes” or comments flung my way I cannot tell you them all. I have had to be careful for the way I dressed in case I was “too distracting.” This is not healthy. It is not okay. Yes, it is the least of what could happen -and frequently does- happen to a women. But that does not make it any less disgusting.

We as a society need to say, E N O U G H. Our women are worth more than snide jokes and ass slaps. Our MEN are better than that. The men in my life are loyal, tender, and in love with their women for her spirit and soul and heart, not just her ass. My man knows I am capable and smart and strong and will do whatever I want. He is my protector, yes, but he also respects me as a PERSON. (And in case there are any questions, is not the perpetrator in the above scenarios) So to dismiss crude, misogynist behavior as “boys being boys” or “locker room talk” is bullshit. Yes, it happens. But it shouldn’t. Men need to be held to a higher standard than that, because they ARE better than that. Women are expected to be classy and proper and perfect, but men are expected to be horny predators that can’t control themselves? No. That double standard needs to be abolished. And now.

We need to raise our children better. Our girls need to hear their voice as soon as they learn how to talk, and NEVER be afraid of it. Our girls need to be taught to trust her instinct, to speak her mind, and to never back down. Our boys need to be taught respect for ALL beings, and that you don’t have to be a sexist douche to be “masculine.” It is up to US ย to prevent the next generation from suffering through all these “me, too’s.” It is up to US to break this whole chain of sexual trauma that has plagued our society generation upon generation. It is time to say “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH.” ENOUGH lives have been destroyed. ENOUGH innocence has been lost. ENOUGH predators have been let free. ENOUGH excuses have been made. ENOUGH victims have been silenced. ENOUGH.

ENOUGH.

ENOUGH.

ENOUGH.

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Day 16

Day 16

What are your 5 greatest accomplishments?

I almost didn’t write this one. I’m really struggling with the purpose of this writing project/blog…is it being useful to others or is it just me yapping about myself? I don’t want to just sit here and talk about how funny and awesome and bad ass I am. I want to write stories or paragraphs that are relatable, that people can connect to or learn from. Writing about my greatest accomplishments after just writing about my strengths just seemed a little too close to the narcissistic line that I’m tiptoeing here. But…I have no other idea on what to write about as I am absolutely exhausted from a busy and fun weekend. And plus, why SHOULDN’T I be proud of my accomplishments? Yes I’m young(ish), but I’ve done some big things. So. Bear with me here, okay? And I want feedback, people. Am I being an egotistical tool?

1.) Graduating college.
No easy feat for anyone, but my last two years happened to coincide with the absolute collapse and rebuilding of my life. My last semester I was 2000 miles away from my family, mentor and peers, doing independent study while raising a baby. My only chances to study were when he was asleep at night. And since he was a horrible sleeper, that wasn’t ever a sure thing. I have a sneaking suspicion my professors just let me pass because they felt sorry for me. But then again, I know them and they would never allow that. And I kept my GPA up over a 3.5. So I felt like a total fucking bad ass walking across that stage with shaky legs.

2.) Raising an amazing kid.
Ugh…yeah yeah everyone says their kid is amazing. But this boy has a heart the size of Texas and is so empathetic and emotional it’s astounding. He’s all about fairness and will be the first one to stand up if he sees something he doesn’t agree with. He is the kid in class that befriends the new students or the ones that are the outcasts. He is polite, well-mannered and just a charmer. I can’t, and don’t, take all the credit. C has been a huge influence in establishing morals and teaching him how to be a proper gentleman. Little Bee will change the world one day.

3.) Not letting The Drone win.
There have been several times in the years since I left that it seemed easier to just throw in the towel and agree to whatever insane term he was demanding of me. But I didn’t, and I never will because I no longer believe the bullshit he says about me, about Little Bee, or our family. I know what is best for my child, and I will go to my grave fighting for that boy. He will never win, and he won’t hurt us anymore. I am bigger and stronger than I ever was with him, and I continue to grow. He may have crushed my spirit for a solid decade, but he will NEVER squelch my soul. When it comes to my child, I am a fire that will never burn out.

4.) Giving Love a second chance.
It can be so easy after a catastrophic heartbreak to turn bitter and rage against the opposite sex. I was there. I walked around with an enormous chip on my shoulder and a perpetual glare on my face for a steady 2 years. Talk about “resting bitch face”….I had it MASTERED. But when a bearded guy with a sweet smile and sad eyes handed me a beer at a gathering, I didn’t kick his ass. I took the scary plunge into being vulnerable and letting him see the absolute disaster that was my life, and inviting him to be a part of it. For some crazy reason, he jumped at the chance and we’re going on 4 years now. Letting myself be open to love again has been one of the best things I ever did for myself and Little Bee.

5.) Studying Abroad.
Not only did I have to overcome enormous fear and anxiety to travel to a different country with a group of people I had never met, but I also had to scrape together thousands of dollars to pay for the trip. Even though it was way out of my norm, I knew I had to go on the trip to Greece. I worked my ass off, applied for financial aid, and even asked for donations from family members. Somehow, I made it work and those 4 weeks were life changing. Greece altered the path of my studies and life forever. And I was so close to chickening out too!

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Author unknown

Day 15

Day 15

If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

Without a doubt I’d be a sloth. Maybe a cat. Shit, now I don’t know which one I’m more like! Okay, I’ll write about both of them.

I chose sloth first because they sleep. A lot. That’s all they do. If I didn’t have a job or a child, you would never find me out of bed. Pre Little Bee days I frequently slept for like 14 straight hours. Of course that was because I was either in class or working, so my rare days off I caught up on sleep. But that doesn’t matter. Any chance I get, I sleep. I move very slowly in the mornings and my showering is sporadic so I definitely identify with the sloth. They eat, sleep, and sleep some more. Just hanging out in trees with a perpetual sleepy half-smile on their faces. They’re my spirit animal, I’m convinced.

But then I second guessed myself because I have always been envious of a cat’s life. They sleep most of the day away, get petted and snuggled and loved until they don’t want to be and then they flip out, hiss and runaway to hide. C can attest that that has happened a time or two in our house….and it wasn’t the cat (*hint* it was me). They are very untrusting of strangers and prefer to hide when people come over instead of socializing. They’re particular about their people, but once attached they’re good companions. And they loooooovvvvveeee squishy, soft places to sleep. My entire apartment is nothing but blankets and pillows. I mean, my couch has freaking down filled cushions for Pete’s sake!! Yeah, I’m a cat. Part sloth, part cat. Cat-sloth. A slothat. A catloth.

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