#MeToo

Me too.

I did not elaborate when I posted to Facebook, because, well… I have shame. I am so embarrassed to say that I didn’t know which time to share. I have been sexually abused as both a child and and adult. I have been slapped in the face by grown men, choked against a refrigerator, back handed, had my hair pulled, my “pussy grabbed”, I have been beaten… all on separate occasions. I didn’t think it was important to speak specifically at first. Until I started reading other people’s stories. I think we have to talk about what actually happened, because I can say that I was raped, and you already put your walls up, you already have a preconceived notion of what rape looks like. Do you know what mine looked like? Do you know what mine felt like?

Someone very fucking dear to me was brutally raped a few months ago. I feel the need in this case to say “brutally” because society puts rape in categories. Rape is rape. And you need to know the details. And you need to think about your daughter, and your wife, your sister, your niece, your mother. You need to make this personal because it is. Because your Facebook feed is blowing up with “me too’s”, and you don’t want to think about it.

When I was about four years old, my neighbor molested me. He was a child too, and he was probably molested himself. (Do you see me making excuses?) It wasn’t ok for him to do the things he did to me. Even if he was molested. It’s not ok. I was too young to know better, and he presented it as a game. I felt so uncomfortable and gross and confused. I did not stop him. And it went on for months. I was four.

When I was about eight years old a man, and older man who looked like he may have been someone’s grandpa (I fucking hope not) molested me and two other girls. One of them had been repeatedly molested by him, he asked her to invite her friends over to go swimming. I was eight.

When I was fifteen a boy put his hand in my back pocket during a prayer (remember I was in a cult and we went on “double dates” and purity culture was very prominent.), I didn’t stop him because I did not want to make a fuss. And I actually had a crush on him. It wasn’t so much that I didn’t like him touching me, it was that he knew better. I “confessed” the next day, and he denied it, and I was rebuked for lying. And of course I had already been chewed out for not stopping him initially. This situation shaped me in many ways. This was the day I learned that men could get away with anything if no one else witnessed it. And that women would be blamed for anything a man did. I was fifteen.

When I was eighteen I was at a party and my friend had left with some guy. I didn’t have a ride home, so I asked the guy who owned the house if I could stay there, but specifically if I could sleep in his room with the door locked until everyone left. He assured me that he was the only one with a key. He gave that key to this guy I had been talking to that night. I planned on maybe seeing him again. His name in my phone was “Josh Guitar Guy”. I don’t think I will ever forget that. Josh Guitar Guy used the key and climbed into bed with me. I woke up to him pulling off my jeans. I pushed back, I tried to sit up, I told him to stop, I said “NO.” He covered my mouth and I stopped resisting. I stopped because inside my head I thought, “It’s not rape if you just let it happen” and I was so scared. I didn’t sleep for weeks. I was eighteen.

A week later I was held down and forced to watch my friend be raped on the ground outside of an abandoned house. I was the one who showered her after, and watched blood pour out of her. I wiped the dirt off of her face. I put ice on her neck, her swollen bruised neck, where his hands had been. Her vagina looked like it had been turned inside out. I was still eighteen.

When I was nineteen I went to a party with friends and was introduced to a drinking game. I had never played one ( I should point out that at this point I had not been under the influence for ANY of these situations, I had not discovered wine yet, I didn’t really drink.) so I didn’t know that you should not drink in between hands. I ended up throwing up in the back yard. I blacked out. My “friend”, Carl who was in his thirties picked me up and took me upstairs. I know that’s how I got there because the other people at the party watched him drop me on the stairs. He took my pants off. I woke up the next morning to his penis between my legs as he was trying to have sex with me (again??). I pushed him away and demanded to know where my pants were, he said that I had thrown up on them so he “had” to take them off. And he slept in the bed with me because he was “really worried about me”. I threw up most of that day, and never spoke with Carl again. I was nineteen.

Not long after this situation I met the boyfriend who never actually hit me, but would not stand up for me when his brothers would hit me, touch me and verbally abuse me. He also emotionally abused me. He unplugged wires in my car so I could not leave without permission. He would park directly behind my car so i couldn’t back out of the driveway. He took me to the bank after I would get my paycheck and I gave him all my money every time I got paid. He read my journals and my texts. He followed me when I went anywhere without him. He interrogated my friends, my family and me. I was stuck, and so alone because over time I wasn’t “allowed” to go anywhere other than work. He guilted me into sex, and forced me to have sex with him. Ok no, he raped me.

When I was twenty his brother kept putting is hand up my dress and called me a slut and a whore. When I defended myself all hell broke lose. I’m still surprised I survived that day. I was twenty.

I am thirty now. In the last ten years I have been groped by strangers more times than I can count. Videotaped during sex without permission. Coerced and blackmailed and manipulated into sex. While I have responsibility to take, I will not do that here because the point is that I have been abused sexually and otherwise countless times. It’s NOT ok. And I will not be shamed into silence. I am pretty sure that a few of my abusers are reading this, and to you, I need to say that

You hurt me.

I lived in fear for years because of you.

I have nightmares because of you.

I don’t trust myself because of you.

My body belongs to me.

It was not my fault.

Karma is real, and I trust that you will get what you deserve.

To anyone who needs support, I am here. You did not deserve what has happened to you, you did not ask for it. I believe you.

#PinkHairDontCare

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So the other day I’m sitting in my therapist’s office discussing one of the most traumatic moments of my life, and kinda laughing it off because it almost sounds silly. I wasn’t discussing being molested or raped- not to say that’s not a discussion, it absolutely has been for many years, in fact, it has monopolized many a’therapy session. So much so that I have blown off other traumatic moments because when you compare them, you kinda can’t top sexual abuse. Well, that was my mainframe, anyway… But let’s not compare apples and oranges…. trauma is trauma. These moments can define you, and they did define me in many ways. I’m working towards living MY life and not basing everything off of my past.

SOOOO I’m discussing the days leading up to my baptism into the (cough* CULT *cough) ICOC. I was 15, it was the summer before I started high school, my parents FINALLY let me dye my hair pink, and I really wasn’t buying “the god thing”. My parents/teen leaders expected me and my sister to go to Teen Camp, and we did… At this point my closest friends had been kept from me for months. You know how I was a bad egg because I questioned, and am not easily silenced. The “church” decided it was better to isolate me… and they were right. Being left out was awful. It didn’t make me believe in god, it made me feel like there was something wrong with me. Like I was broken for not having the same blind faith as everyone else. It came down to being treated badly and either ignored or rebuked, or I could “study the bible” and be baptized and be treated kindly.

At this point, you have to understand that I literally didn’t see life beyond the ICOC. I didn’t dare to imagine it. I was RAISED drinking the koolaid. I felt like it was wrong, but what did I know? I was trained from the get go to believe that this was the only way to live. So when I questioned, I felt like I was “in sin”. It was scary and lonely and confusing. No one sympathized. Even the kids who rebelled still had some sort of faith in god. I was the only one that didn’t. So I told myself that I was wrong, and I should at least try because if I TRY, if there is a god, he will “soften my heart” and I will have my friends back, and my parents would be proud of me. That’s what I did. I studied, (studying The Bible in an ICOC or ICC church is pretty intense. Over the course of a few studies, you have been brainwashed into believing that the only way to achieve salvation is by confessing your sins to someone *who’s going to share with other people*, having a specified discipler and being baptized by someone in the ICOC/ICC. You’re eventually expected to distance yourself from family members that are non disciples.) memorized and regurgitated. After passing the “Prove It” study, my disciplers informed me that I could be baptized by next Sunday, but I had to dye my hair back to a normal color because I was” too noticeable and that’s sinful. God doesn’t like that sort of thing.”

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Remember how I was 15 years old and I had been begging my parents to let me dye my hair pink for like 3 years??? And FINALLY they said yes???? But, guess what, my cool pink hair was sinful. Just like my personality “made the boys struggle” (You guys, I wasn’t even cute, boys didn’t like me. I was awkward and mousy and plain. Flat chested, short… I wore glasses and read books. TRUST me when I say that I was not the girl that “made boys struggle”.) I was infuriated! Of course to be saved I had to conform. After deliberation and prayer, I bleached out the dye, and was dunked into the Pacific Ocean that Sunday. I really hoped my first breath after my baptism would feel like my first, that I would feel cleansed and new. It was a devastating slap in the face to see that I felt exactly the same. Only… pissed. These people have been lying to me my whole life. (I know some of you feel like your baptism meant something, and, OK I’m not saying nothing changed for you, I’m saying it didn’t work for me and it wasn’t for lack of trying.) Never mind the fact that at 15, how much sinning could I have done. I was actually on the more angelic side of the spectrum when it came to actual “sinning”. Realistically, I just wasn’t a bad kid. And after fuming for a few minutes and receiving awkward hugs, responding as honestly as I could when people asked me over and over, “How do you feel?” (probably just to reaffirm how they tell themselves they felt after the baptisms. In fact, I remember asking my best friend the same question before I was baptized, if she felt new, I would, too.) to which I answered, “cold.” I thought, “And I dyed my hair for this?”

Jenna and her rad blue ombre
Jenna and her rad blue ombre

Just over a year later I “fell away”. Afterwards I pierced my belly button, my nose, and tongue. At 18 I started getting tattoos, but I stopped dying my hair. Weird, right? I don’t remember consciously deciding I wouldn’t dye my hair again, but it’s been roughly 10 years and I finally dyed my hair a few months ago, nothing crazy, just blonde streaks. a month or two later I went a little further and went very blonde ombre… kinda dipping my toes in. I remember that feeling, the change every time you look in the mirror. New. Baptized.

And that’s the revelation I had.

For years I have avoided “ceremonial” signals of change. I stopped believing in these big moments that signify transformation.

And then, I decided it was time to dye my hair pink. Why? Because I want to, and I’m an adult now, so piss off! (Yes that was a drop Dead Fred reference) And guess what… I absoFUCKINlutely LOVE my hair! (I especially love that my husband dyed it for me #keeper) Also, we decided that all the kids should rock colored hair, because, why not?

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Stop means STOP

This one is kind of a rant….

I have a question:

Why are victims the ones who have to make all the changes? Why is it socially acceptable to give victims pointers on how not to be harassed, bullied or raped?

I asked my husband yesterday as he was giving me ideas to tell a friend of mine who is being cyber bullied by her ex husband. He said, “Because Douchebag (No his name isn’t really Douchebag, but I changed his name for his privacy lol) is never going to stop. If she wants it to stop SHE has to do something.”

To me that answer sounded an awful lot like, “She was wearing a dress, she was asking for it.”

Why doesn’t the abuser have responsibility to take in these scenarios? Why doesn’t STOP mean stop? Why doesn’t NO mean no? Why did my friend have to run away from an abusive man, and get rid of her cell phone because he had enabled the GPS and was following her? Why did she have to sit in a court room and be victim shamed because she couldn’t afford a lawyer?

Why doesn’t he stop? Why is he allowed to text her 20-40 times in a row? Threatening litigation over and over for every little thing. Blaming HER for his actions. Somehow its all her fault, but he is the one who abused her. And he is still the one harassing her.

In the 4 or 5 years that I have known Douchebag, he has been possessive and controlling. I watched my friend’s phone ring 32 times in a row. 32 times! If she silences her phone and puts it away while we are out to lunch or something, when she picks it up again there are dozens of missed calls and texts. When they shared a car, he would threaten to call the police and report it stolen if she wasn’t back in a reasonable time. For a few years I rarely saw my friend because it was just too stressful for her to leave the house. And she is not the only person who has been harassed. He will call my friend’s parents to “tattle”, or show up at their house in the middle of the night in a panic. He threatened to kill himself, and sent a photo of himself lighting the title to my friend’s car on fire. He has cyber bullied me via Facebook and text message. He showed up at another friend’s house at 2am and began ringing the doorbell over and over looking for her. Their daughter told me that “Daddy is scary at mommy.”

Somehow in his brain this is all her fault.He has no responsibility to take. The judge didn’t think a restraining order was necessary, and ruled that Douchebag is allowed to talk to his daughter on the phone every night, so my friend had to give him a phone number. Which he uses constantly.

A few hours after court I received a (drunk?) text from Douchebag threatening to sue me for “deformation” or character and slander. (It’s defamation you idiot!) I had been on the stand that morning, and I told the truth, (although, funny enough, I wasn’t allowed to tell the whole truth. I was cut off at any chance that I tried to explain an answer. Why was I even sworn in?) and he didn’t like it. No kidding, it makes him sound like he’s insane!!! But he can’t own it.

Last night I got a text from an ex boyfriend of my friend informing me that Douchebag contacted him in attempt to locate my friend. He threatened legal action. I found out later that he also contacted 3 other people as well.

When will it end?

When will stop mean stop?

I am infuriated by the disrespect. This man truly believes he’s in the right, he believes he has every right to harass whomever, whenever. It’s not OK. I encourage you to speak up when you witness bullying of any kind. Teach your children about respecting each other, when your child says, “stop” then stop! And reinforce that you respected their words. Let’s not raise bullies. *****Obviously, be safe, don’t put yourself in danger.*****

Parents have responsibilities to their children and to society to raise respectful children. Bullies don’t just pop out of nowhere. It’s a product of some type of trauma, or abuse or neglect. (Monkey see monkey do.) As parents we must nurture, and encourage empathy. Teach our children that other people have feelings, too, and it is equally important to validate your own feelings, as it is to validate other’s. There are too many little assholes running around, one day they’re gonna be big assholes. And it’s much harder to tame that kind of behavior in an adult. Let’s teach our kids that it’s OK to say, “I don’t like the way that makes me feel” and to remove themselves from uncomfortable situations. It’s OK to to walk away when someone is hurting you, or or making you feel yucky. I wish I was taught this. I wish my friend was taught this. Sadly she put up with it for too long. The problem with allowing bullies to bully, is they have learned that it’s ok to treat you like that. At this point we have responsibility to take. I am always called the bitch because I won’t put up with “certain people” who treat me badly. I will not be yelled at, name called or disrespected, and I make every effort to avoid situations where this might happen. I avoid certain functions because I know that I am not respected, and I won’t just sit quietly and take it. Because it’s viewed as “rude” to defend myself, I stay away. While everyone gives “certain people” excuses. “That’s just how they are.” Not to me they’re not.

If you have suggestions on how to deal with a bully, please comment below.

Stop! Hating is bad.

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OK let’s be honest, how hard is it to press one for English? Personally, it’s not an inconvenience. As much as automated systems make me want to throw my phone out a window, I have never been frustrated that I have to press a number for the language I speak. I have to press a number for “technical support” and “billing” as well. It’s logical for companies to give a language option. Especially in The United States. This country, as it is today was founded on immigrants. Unless you are American Indian, your ancestors immigrated to the US, at some point. Parts of the US used to be Mexico, even, so explain to me, what’s the problem with people speaking Spanish? I have heard people rant about immigration over and over, and while I see there is a problem, I certainly do not blame immigrants for wanting to come here.  People from all over the world have immigrated here since the Americas were discovered. We even have a plaque at The Statue of Liberty that reads: “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free”. If that is not inviting immigration, than I don’t know what is!

Next time you bite into a delicious strawberry, why don’t you think of the immigrant that picked it for you. Next time you order a bucket of fried chicken remember the immigrant that has the job Americans don’t want, the immigrant who has the dirty job you don’t want to do. It’s easy for you to eat the dollar cheese burger when you don’t have to get your hands dirty. Did you know that you’re supporting illegal immigrants? Big chicken and beef companies purposely hire illegal immigrants because they can pay them next to nothing, work them to the bone, then call immigration when they are done with them. Produce companies even hire children, and work them until late at night. Orchards are dangerous places for anyone, let alone a child because of the pesticides that are used on the fruits, pesticides that are not supposed to be breathed, but for some reason are “safe” to eat.

“Why is there Black History Month, but not White History Month?” This one baffles me to no end. For starters, RACISM. We need to remember the horrors that happened before us, to put these things into perspective, to give us empathy. Black History Month is not “feel sorry for black people month”. It’s education. We have all been told the importance of learning history, so it does not repeat itself. Slavery was a dark time in American history, a shameful time. A time when we were not all considered equal. Not to mention, initially African Americans were kidnapped, taken from their families and brought to America as slaves, so it wasn’t even their choice to come here. Slavery isn’t the only severe injustice, for decades even our government treated minorities as if they were “less than” white people. Humans are human, and we all deserve respect. It is embarrassing when I look through my Facebook news feed and see hatred, bigotry and ignorance. I think ignorance is the best word to describe the people who feel so entitled to be Americans, but choose to forget that a huge part of American history is the African Americans who served in our military, raised our ancestor’s children and put food on our great grandparents tables. Slaves used to do the tough, dirty jobs that we now use Mexican immigrants for.

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Thanksgiving is this month, who remembers the Native Americans? If ANYONE should feel entitled, I would say the American Indians have first dibs. Yet their populations have dwindled, they are on reservations, they have been through genocide over and over. During World War II American doctors  sterilized Indians/Gypsies  because they didn’t fit into a “normal” mold., therefore they were not allowed to procreate. When brain washing, and hospitalizing didn’t work, they used electro-shock therapy, and lobotomies. But this was their land, and yet, they are a minority.

 

We are privileged to live in a time where humans are becoming more aware, and more accepting of differences. In 2008 we elected a black president. Regardless of your political (or religious) affiliation, this was a huge step toward equality. Just a few months ago the Supreme court overturned Prop 8 and legalized same sex marriage in California. As of right now, 14 states have legalized same sex marriage! There should be no shame in loving someone, and personally I think it’s ridiculous that same sex marriage had to be legalized in the first place. Marriage should be a human right. I know a lot of people feel that marriage is Christian, I hate to break it to you, marriage has been happening LONG before Christianity, and was not always religious. Marriage is a spiritual bond. If marriage is simply a “religious right” then 1. You shouldn’t recognize any marriage that was not ordained in your religion, and 2. atheists shouldn’t be allowed to marry, Oh! and 3. The government shouldn’t have anything to do with marriage, as there is a separation of church and state. I know a lot of heterosexual couples that have abused marriage, and if heterosexual couples can marry and divorce and cheat, then marriage must not be all that sacred. So the best bet is for each of us to focus on our own lives, our own marriages, and create our own sanctity. I for one do not model my marriage after Biblical marriages. From my memory, marriage in The Bible was not always pleasant, it was arranged, it was for the purpose of making babies, men were allowed many wives, a man who raped a woman would have to marry her (how horrific!) women were expected to put out, regardless of them being “in the mood” or not. None of this strikes me as a happy marriage. Not to say marriage is always happy, it takes work, but in the very least marrying the person you love gives you a shot at a happier life because it’s easier to put effort in, forgive and apologize for someone you love.

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My point isn’t that you have to learn Spanish, or change your opinions (although racism is disgusting and you should be ashamed of yourself for hating someone for no other reason than the color of their skin, or the language they speak.) or even “agree” with homosexuality. My point is that we are all humans, and as humans we can simply respect each other. Not everyone has the “luxury” of being born in America, and for those of you with families, you know that you would do just about anything for your family, no mater what. I am also not saying that breaking the law, is OK, it’s not, but I am saying that until we have walked in someone else’s shoes, we have no place to judge. Try a little empathy.

***DISCLAIMER*** This is all my opinion, based on my personal feelings from personal experiences and research. I am very well aware that we are all entitled to our own opinions, as this is MY blog, it’s my space to say my piece. I could have said a lot more on each of these subjects but I chose to highlight a few points.

Bridesmaidzilla!

Last night as I was skimming through my Facebook news feed I came across an adorable picture, It was a box with herbal soap, a face mask, nail polish, and a few other things, and there was a card that said, “I can’t say “I do” without you”, and in the lid it said, “Will you be my bridesmaid?” I thought it was the cutest way to ask your friends to be a part of one of the biggest days of your life.

I’m getting married, so of course I thought, who will I build my boxes for, and what will they look like? I was very immediately crushed when I realized that I don’t have my friends anymore. I’m not saying I don’t have friends, I’m just saying, things have changed. When I got engaged I immediately planned about 6 bridesmaids, there was no question in my head, these women have been supportive, and have stuck by me, they love me, they love my daughter… who better to share these awesome experiences with?

Unfortunately, my little fairy tale wedding plans went down the drain very quickly. Within weeks the thought of my wedding gave me anxiety, and conversations about it often ended in tears. I couldn’t understand, I was so happy, I was finally going to marry the man of my dreams, I had the fairy tale engagement! Things were supposed to be happy! But they were terrible. My friends all had their own ideas, and were not willing to work together, one friend all but hated 4 of my bridesmaid choices, one of them lives out of town and felt left out and bitter because she really couldn’t be involved in the plans as much as she wanted to, and she didn’t like 3 of my bridesmaid choices. Me and most of my potential bridesmaids dislike (to say the least) one of my bridesmaid’s husbands, so much, in fact that I have no intention of even inviting him to the wedding, which will cause problems, and the last thing I want to do is force her to choose between us… but he no doubt will give her an ultimatum, one that I won’t be competing with. In the past I have lost, and I can’t take that kind of heart break, especially over my wedding.

Fast forward to today… I’m not even on speaking terms with my potential maid of honor, I’m only superficial friends with one of them. The one with the husband doesn’t feel like she can be honest with me, although she tries… and thanks to this new development, who knows if she will even be able to attend my wedding. I don’t even know what’s going on with my out of town friend, but if my dreams are any indication… I don’t have high hopes. Another one has pulled away because she owes me money (that I don’t care that much about, but the fact that she is blowing me off over it… that’s just wrong.)

If you had seen me with any one of these women a few months ago, you’d think nothing could separate us. Now I’m afraid to pick up my phone to call them. I have responsibility to take. The past few months have been so busy! I recently became a step mom, and a work at home mom. I did not have a decent phone for months, so I could not even talk to my friends on the phone. I don’t have a car so I had to end my usual Saturday happy hour/shopping girl time plans, plus I started working weekends to save up for the wedding. Not to mention, I had a few melt downs that effected my friendships negatively. Looking back I see it clearly, my wedding was basically a battle field, and I felt like I was caught between 6 people. I started lashing out, I must have been subconsciously trying to make them hate me so I wouldn’t have to keep up with so many high maintenance relationships.

I miss my friends. Thanks to all of this, there may not be any bridesmaid boxes. In fact, we have decided to have a destination wedding. It’s simpler this way, and it won’t hurt as bad when 6 of the women that I love so much are not there. But it hurts now, it hurts whenever I get a chance to actually pick up my phone, when I want to share my life, ask advice, laugh. I don’t have anyone to call anymore. I mean, yes, there are people I’m sure I could call, but a few months ago I had 6 people on speed dial, they were my life lines. Granted I am not in need of as much venting time anymore, I’m a lot happier than I was. I also don’t have as much time, but I would gladly make some time to catch up with my friends.

To the 6 of you, I want you to know that I am sorry I did not appreciate you when I had you, and I love you.

***DISCLAIMER: I am super excited about our wedding plans!!! I’ll write a whole blog about the beautiful tropical location we chose!***

***ALSO, I did not include my sisters in the 6 because neither of them caused drama, and they go without saying***

Live and Let Live

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Today is the first day the the word “ego” resonated with me. I have heard the word used a lot, especially having grown up in a home with recovering alcoholics. My brain always replaced the word “ego” with “prideful”, and for some reason I never identified with either word… until today. My ego is on steroids and it is so cunning that I did not even realize it had taken over.

 

I knew there was a problem a few months ago, I had been overreacting, and over thinking, and fighting. My ego has been fighting me to the death, and my response was to fight everyone around me. What I did not- could not realize was that I was allowing my inner battle between my heart and my ego get in the way of my life. I have talked about it before, in terms of my relationships, how I really had to break down my walls, and sit with myself (naked), and just be. It has always been a struggle for me to be intimate because the WORD was hard for me to say without gagging! I don’t mean sex, I mean true intimacy, holding hands, honesty, being close, crying, making love, all of that was a foreign concept to me for a long time. Looking back, I can see now, it’s my ego.

 

My ego has been in defense mode, never wavering ever since I fell in love. It was like, suddenly I had to be me, and prove myself, and not let myself get lost. Suddenly my opinions became bigger than just things I think, but things EVERYONE should think, and if you disagree with me, well, fuck you! I would listen to myself and think, “Okay, okay, calm down, it’s not worth it, it’s not gonna change anything, you can’t change their mind.” But my ego was screaming, “No, don’t give up! You can’t lose, they won’t take you seriously if you give in!” I pushed friends away, I pushed family members away. My ego said, “You are hurt, she hurt you, she deserves to hear the truth, no don’t stop just because she is crying, she deserves to feel pain, and this is nothing in comparison to what she made you live with.” The funny thing is that my relationship with James is awesome, we talk about everything, and yes we get heated, but for some reason, I can fight my ego off, tell her to shut up and reach for his hand, no matter how irritated I am. He is the only one I can fight my ego for.

 

The election really made it evident that my ego was getting out of control. While I still absolutely believe very particular things that I will refrain from typing here because… honestly because my ego wants me to. My ego wants me to tell you how you should vote, how you should believe, who should or should not have rights. My ego wants to tell you that you’re wrong for having or not having faith. My ego just whispered, if you don’t write it, nobody will take you seriously, they will think you don’t have facts and reasons. They will blow you off.

 

I spent YEARS being blown off. It’s the hardest thing for me to handle, and one I do not handle gracefully. If someone waves away my words, shakes them off and walks away when I am expressing myself (not necessarily about politics, but in general), I will raise my voice and stomp my feet and use profanity, because I am talking dammit! My ego has been bitch slapped so many times, and once I let my ego get big enough, she swore never to let anyone take advantage again. I became an expert arguer. And I’m not gonna lie, I like it. Not arguing with James, I don’t want to hurt him, and we agree more often than not, anyways. But with other people who put their opinions out there. Facebook has become my battle ground. Being as opinionated as I am, I post articles on things I think are important, just like many others. The problem is if I see your opinion. Agree, or disagree, I will say my thoughts, and someone may get offended. My ego says we say things because we want to enlighten people. My heart says it’s not our job.

 

I’m not saying I’m gonna stop posting my opinions, but I will definitely try to turn a blind eye to things that I will never be able to change. There are people who I pick on, not to be mean, but because I care, and I don’t think it comes off that way. And eventually my ego gets in the way, and it’s not fun and games anymore. I think I have offended a lot of people, and it was not my intention. It’s not my place to tell anyone how to believe, maybe growing up being told what to believe, how to behave, what to wear, having my life dictated has given me the impression that it’s my job to fix everyone around me. It’s not my job, it’s not my place, and who am I to say who anyone should be. In my heart I do believe you all are special, and those of you who have opinions, I think it’s great, I appreciate you for having a thought in your head, and even if I don’t agree with you, I’m making an effort now, to live and let live.

(Fast) Food Fight!

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I waited until I calmed down a bit to begin writing. This morning my (soon to be) father in law brought my sick step son, Lj Mc Donald’s, a diet coke and chips! My jaw dropped when he walked in the door!!! I said, “He doesn’t eat that stuff anymore.” And Grandpa blew me off. (My fiance has already talked to his parents about fast food). Last week my (soon to be) grandma brought a bag of chips for Lj. They were promptly thrown out, and I let Grandma know that we avoid processed food, particularly with Lj because he has ADD and we are trying to clean up his diet as much as we can because he has responded so well to the changes we have already made.

Let me give you a little insight into this situation. When Lj started kindergarten he got notes home every day, these were not encouraging notes, they had sad faces and explained that Lj had thrown fits, hid under his desk, yelled at the teachers aid, refused to listen, refused to come in from recess, had meltdowns when he was not picked… the list goes on. We knew we had to make a change, and are hesitant to try medication. I had already been cleaning up the kids diet, so I decided quickly, OK time to talk to the grandparents and let them know that fast food has to stop, and NO MORE SODA. (They never had that with us, in fact, they drink water here.) Then I ordered the kids the same shakes that I drink every morning, they are organic with whey from grass fed cows who have not been treated with hormones or antibiotics, and it’s 99% lactose extracted. I love them, and the kids do,too. I had read that kids with ADD need higher protein, and Lj does not like meat (I’ll admit that I do love that fact) so I figured this was the best way to get quality protein in his system along with 90 other nutrients that our bodies need to function properly. It has been like night and day! He still comes home with notes, but they are filled with stars and happy faces! He is responding to directions now, he listens, he has said several times that his “brain let’s him listen now”. I am convinced that better nutrients has helped him have better mental clarity!

 

So you can imagine how PISSED I was seeing this crap in my house!!! Mc Donald’s is NOT food! It’s GMOs, fillers, hormones, antibiotics, preservatives and grease! And soda should not even be legal, it’s so bad for you! There is nothing in soda that a kid needs! (Or an adult!) Not to mention diet soda, so it has a chemical shit storm of ingredients!!! “Diet” anything is nasty, and confuses your body. Children are getting diabetes these days, and they wouldn’t be if they didn’t have access to this crap!!!

Grandpa completely blew me off and said, “My kids grew up eating this stuff and they are fine.” Everyone thinks they are just fine until they eat clean! All of a sudden they have more energy, mental clarity, they feel good, they get sick less, their workouts are better, they look better, their skin clears up! So many awesome things happen when you eat clean, and you would never know how good you could feel unless you actually experienced it! When I got my fiance on Product B (magical vitamins!!!) he had always felt fine, he was tired, but he works really hard, outside, and gets up early, we have a hectic schedule, it’s no wonder he was always tired. But it never stopped him. A few weeks into Product B he forgot to take it one morning and for some reason he felt like crap that day, tired, not motivated, wanted a nap all day. The next day he remembered it, and he had a great day, tons of energy! He said he couldn’t believe the difference when he doesn’t take it! James would never have known how good he could feel, how much more productive he could be if he hadn’t made dietary changes. His doctor even told him how healthy was, but he didn’t feel how drained and depleted he was.

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I know I can’t hammer this into everyone’s head. Some of you like your ignorance, it’s easier to go to a drive thru than go grocery shopping and make dinner. I get it, That used to be me (years ago). I’ll be honest, making these changes is not easy and it does not happen over night! Reading labels, is obnoxious and discouraging sometimes!!!! Going to the store when all I want to do is go home because it’s been a long day sucks sometimes! I am so lucky to be a stay at home mom and have the time to prepare and there is a lot of prep involved! Pureeing, cutting, prepackaging things for easy access, it’s never ending!!! And the dishes, oh my god!!! So just know, I’m not judging. I would hope you would think about making small changes, or even one big one (NO MORE FAST FOOD!), but if not, it’s ok, it’s your decision. Just like my families diet is mine! I hope the grandparents will start to respect me, and understand that this is all about keeping my kids healthy, so they can live long amazing lives! It’s not about creating more rules, and making it harder on anyone. Seriously, if only it were easier!!! I believe it is worth the effort. And in case you’re wondering, yes when the kids go to birthday parties we let them eat cake and pizza, I don’t want them to resent us over food!!!

My fiance is cutting up a Mc Donald's gift card that was given to our daughter
My fiance is cutting up a Mc Donald’s gift card that was given to our daughter

Parenting and health: Uphill battles

There is no winning… I have been used to the dirty looks for a long time. As a breast feeding mom I had a lot of negativity thrown my way. People were uncomfortable that I publicly breastfed, I had people… family, even tell me that breastfeeding is not healthier than formula. No offense to any formula feeding parents, but that’s bull. Not to say there is anything wrong with formula, it’s fine… it’s just the second best nutrition for a child. I chose, because I was blessed with the ability to breastfeed, not all parents have the option, and it is a huge commitment. As if becoming a parent isn’t enough of a commitment, right? I even had my daughters pediatrician tell me she would have mental issues because she was not getting enough iron. (Upon research I found that the iron in breast milk is easier absorbed than formula, solid food, or iron supplements!) She was never underweight, she is bright as the sun, she was speaking sentences before she was a year old, I never once worried that she was not getting proper nutrition. My daughter just would not eat food. I’m not kidding, all she wanted was boob. I had a child who was potty trained when she was 14 months old, but would gag and throw up if she ate solid food. She did not start eating solids until she was 19 months old, which is when we weaned.

P!nk breastfeeding on the set of a music video
P!nk breastfeeding on the set of a music video

Having survived breastfeeding, I was relieved to think the ridicule regarding my daughters diet was over. Ha! Far from it! When you begin feeding your kids solid food it is a whole different ball game. All of a sudden there are parents who feed their kids gerber, organic, juice, soda, alcohol, hot cheetos (that was me…), you name it, and every other parent has an opinion. So personally I try to stick as close to organic and plant based as possible. After reading ingredients I can’t help but to feel guilt over the food I have given my kids, yes, hot cheetos (chemical crap), crap granola bars (just as unhealthy as candy bars, just not as tasty), top ramen (MSG, salt, chemicals)… I still do give her some of this stuff. Not daily, but occasionally, I try to have easy HEALTHY food available so I don’t offer crap. Sometimes I feel like they need to have some crap so they don’t get obsessed, deprived and start hoarding (living in recovery from an eating disorder and being treated with all kinds of food related disorders and growing up in a cult, I am very aware of the effects of forcing a belief.) I have another approach, I am trying to train their taste buds to love healthy food. I add salad into several meals a week, and even the boy doesn’t complain anymore!!! Snacks are usually carrots, cucumbers, apples, and occasionally crap. For now balance works for me, and I really hope just as they love their fruits and veggies, they will lose interest in the other things. Now that I have explained this and you all understand my thought process with feeding my kids, I have to endure the never ending judgments of parents. The parents who give me looks when I won’t allow my kids to drink soda, (no, not even diet,), or juice (which inevitably is not juice, but liquid sugar and chemicals that tastes like fruit) or milk (my kids do drink almond milk, but we keep dairy out of the house besides occasional organic treats). Or the questions I get when I do allow something obviously unhealthy. Here’s the deal. I am trying. I research food, I read labels, I sneak veggies in, I do a lot. I’ll let you in on a little secret, my 8 and 5 year old’s get hot lunch. Am I happy about it? No, I’m really not, I won’t even let them tell me what they eat at school, however, making lunches everyday is one more thing to add to this endless list I have going, and less food we have to buy. I hope I can get to the point where buying and preparing lunch for the kids is not a pain, for now it really is. Luckily, their schools have salad bars and avoid processed junk.

I am so sick of judgments! What do we know? So what you feed your kids hamburger helper, mac n cheese and T.V. dinners. That’s up to you. So what if I don’t give my kids milk… does that effect you? We all have different parenting styles, just like we all have different faiths. I’m not Christian, do I have faith? YES! Does it clash with your religion? No… well it shouldn’t, but inevitably someone is going to have a problem because they think I’m not going to heaven. OK, sure according to some standards, and my own knowledge of The Bible, no I’m not, but do I judge you for giving your kids liquid crack? (I’m sure the fact that my eminent afterlife in the fiery pits of hell is worse than the fact that you are willingly giving your kids diabetes.) We are all parents, humans for that matter… Let’s make an effort to support each other. I need support. Parenting is hard enough without all of this negativity.

drinking their Isagenix shakes!
drinking their Isagenix shakes!

Terrible horrible no good very bad… luck.

I really wish I was perfect. I am sitting here giving myself a hard time about how long it took me to complete everything today… Last night when I planned out my day it didn’t look like this!!! I was going to throw in a load of laundry, workout in the morning, shower and clean up, go get LJ from the bus, clean the kids room and then have time to catch up on these emails and follow ups that seem to grow by the minute!! Then I wanted to blog. PSH! Did not happen like that. Even though yesterday I did all the big cleaning… if you have kids you know, the bathroom will be need to be cleaned again 20 seconds after you leave it. The floor will have to be vacuumed twice a day! And for some reason I had to mop again! Seriously, I just did this YESTERDAY!!! Ah, but this is life. I did not finish my tasks until my fiance got home, and, I was not actually done yet. I was folding the laundry, and had not even turned my laptop on!

I was so overwhelmed! I think part of the reason I feel like such a failure today is because yesterday was my fiance’s birthday. A little Fun Fact about James, he has bad luck. I know, I know, you don’t believe in bad luck… well, if you met him, you would. I really want to list examples, but he reads my blog and might not like that idea. I’ll give you one example though: A few months ago he took a job that had better hours than his last job, but for 90 days he had to take a pay cut. So, we weighed the pros and cons and figured, we could make it 3 months. We would figure it out. It’s been a tough month, at about the same time the kids were out of school for summer, and since his new job is Monday through Friday I could not work during the week. So I ended up getting a pay cut, too. Then the check engine light comes on in the car, and it starts leaking. It’s going to cost $1,000 to fix it. The car payments are $400 (ridiculous, right??? At the time that he bought the car a few years ago, he was making great money, but wouldn’t it be his luck that the owner of the company would go off the deep end and use all the companies money and fail to pay the employees for 5 weeks, then filed for bankruptcy and leave everyone jobless and broke.) and we don’t have an extra $1,000. We thought we would refinance. Of course this company does not do that, and since he asked them, it red flagged his account and the other night the bank towed the car because we were 30 days late on making the payment. Normally they would let you slide a little, but since we asked to refinance, they assumed we were not going to pay and took the car. That was Tuesday. On Wednesday James aunt went to the hospital and we were told it was time to say goodbye, she had officially lost her battle with cancer. Thursday was James’s birthday, and his aunt passed away late that morning.

That’s a lot. He is not OK. He is worried about his family, he is worried about us, he could not even celebrate his birthday (not the first time that has happened, but absolutely the saddest reason). Here I am trying to hold together what I can. I can’t fix our troubles, but that raise is expected hopefully next week, so that will alleviate a lot of stress, (but knowing James’s luck watch the raise be microscopic…) and I feel like the only thing I can do is all of my jobs. I do not know what to say to him, or how to console the kids. When the house is not in order I get anxiety, and I already have that, so I have to focus on keeping everything in it’s place, and following through with my commitments. I broke down today. Completely. I don’t know how to deal with it all, so yesterday I shut down, and today I was just pissy. I feel helpless.

 

Fool proof, my @$$

When I decided to make this site I had noooo idea what I was in for. I knew it would not be simple, but I had no idea I would cry! Honestly, I don’t do well with electronics. I can read the instructions 5 times and still have no clue what I am doing. It’ like my brain shuts off and blocks anything technical. I have the same problem with numbers! I do not comprehend numbers whatsoever. If I ask how far something is and you say 9 yards, my brain literally goes blank. I need you to give me something I know the size of to measure by. If you say, “It’s the size of that book.” I will understand you. I’m not stupid, and as I write this, I’m thinking about how dumb this will sound to so many of you. There was this quote on Facebook a few months ago that described me perfectly: “If you have 5 apples and 3 ice cubes, how many pancakes fit on the roof? None because aliens don’t wear hats.” The first time I read that, I laughed so hard I was snorting, I had tears in my eyes, and I could not read it to James because every time I started I would explode in a fit of giggles. It’s funny because that IS math to me!!!

So here I am attempting to buy this site, and I swear, nothing was working. It took me 2 days just to get passed the initial screen! I actually ended up paying twice! Then I finally get to the menu and I can’t do anything. It’s telling me my site does not exist, but I can log in and they saved my payment info. OHKAY… what? I clicked every button, I could not find a phone number, I sent 2 emails, I watched How-To videos, I yelled at my laptop… I cried! I was so frustrated!

Then my phone rang. Normally I don’t answer unknown numbers, but I was so irritated and needed a break. You will never believe who it was. The Word Press people (magic!) calling to see why I had ordered the site twice!!! I was so happy to hear this ladies voice! I thanked her 20 times and she connected me to this awesome guy who fixed my problems! I was so relieved! I know it’s not healthy to need to be rescued, and I really try to do things myself, but this technical stuff just does not work for me.

It took me another few hours, and a day to get it to look like what it look like today. I don’t have the patience to do anything else to this site. All I wanted was a place of my own for my blog!