Sunday, November 13, 2011

She Lives!

Well it’s been a long time. And I must say I do feel better albeit “woozy”. So it’s weird being out of “intervention”. I am not sorry I went but now it seems like all the coping skills I had don’t work (of course they stopped working anyway which is why I needed intervention).

It wasn’t necessarily a cry for help. It was a request. I knew I was getting to a point where life no longer looked good to me.  So intensive outpatient for me, I went.

It was hard to be there. I was surrounded by all these people. The very first day, within 20 minutes, I was thrust into “group”.  This is where you fill out a sheet that explains what you are thinking and feeling. It gave you a direction for goals that day. My first sheet: 3 emotions: nervous frustrated and anxious. It was very hard to be there. One of the student nurses for the day actually knew me. She attends our church. Her daughter is also Autistic. We both looked at each other with a quiet “knowing”.

It was my job while I was there to figure out how I had gotten to this point. That was an easy task. I have what the psychiatry peeps call “excessive caregiver strain”. Duh!

I spent hours talking to the staff about my life and my family. You know you have a complicated life when you can make 2 social workers cry just by telling your story. The psychiatrist was surprised that he hadn’t met me sooner. He told me I would be in antidepressants and have to attend therapy probably for the rest of my life. Everyone that I talked to told me, “There is nothing we can do for you or resources we can offer you. You are already doing everything right, everything you can. Sometimes things just turn out that way.”

And that was where I truly lost hope. I sat in a dark corner and cried. For hours. I felt as if there was nothing I could offer my children. That I had failed. And I hate failing. But I tried. I worked hard. There was no respite, or break, or even sleep for the past 8 or 9 months for myself and WH. WKD was backtracking; no signing and his speech was fading. WKG was supposed to have respite and a personal care attendant by now (PCA).

It was there, in the hospital for the terminally depressed, that I learned that my visit could have all been avoided. My son, WKG, had been awarded the Autism Waiver, a $22,000 grant, just 2 months before. He would be awarded the grant every year until he turns 18. The grant covers respite, a PCA, and a behavior therapist, along with anything else WKG would need. The man who was supposed to implement the plan wasn’t doing his job. If he had, all of those things that would help me and my family keep our sanity would have been in place. At least the drugs here kick ass!

The PCA has started working with WKG every Saturday. We also have a behavioral plan in place from a qualified Behavior Therapist that knows WKG well. I already see a difference. WH is more confident and less stressed. I am “allowed” J to express my feelings.  And once again, there is therapy through the eyeballs for the rest of the family. It’s getting better.

What else can I say? Besides that it took me to almost end my life to get shit done around here. Oh, well….live and let live.

Sunday, October 2, 2011


You haven’t heard from me in a while. I am not sure when it all started. But the sheer weight of it began just a month ago.

….I noticed that I just couldn’t keep up. My bedroom, shared by 2 ½ people was constantly messy. Sometimes if you where lucky you’d be able to see the floor.

…..My children, as great as I know they are, started to show to me, their "flaws". No didn’t mean no to them. It meant: “Barrage and harass Mom in the name of negotiations sake until I can get a better answer than no”

…..When my kids would receive a negative consequence, I would get punished. Behaviors from anything to slamming doors, talking under their breath while I was in the room, glaring at me, stopping, to even snarling, all because they were grounded for a week.

….The house was constantly dirty. So much to clean, and fold, and wash. The kids stopped making their own beds. When I told the children to “make your bed” or “pick up your clothes” or even “take a shower”, their response would be flat out “No!” I found myself being less of a mom and more of a maid.

…..WyrdDotD had a chance at a job. She went to pick up the application and even filled it out. I asked when the interview was. She told me she had just turned in the application and she was waiting for their call. I nodded. Later that week I found the same application, filled out but balled up in the trash. She lied to me.

……WyrdHubby blatantly stated he does not and will not deal with the kids…especially WyrdKidG. If something needs to be done he will wait for me to tell them to do it. He refuses to deal with WKG due to the kid’s possible violent outbursts.

The therapist told me to find some ME time. I started walking a mile every day again. I went to the library with a good cup of mocha from QT. And I went and got a job. One day a week. 7P-7A at a small homelike AIDS center. It was clean, warm, inviting, and I feel really appreciated there.

…..and then everything went to crap.

The very first night I received 4 phone calls from WH in less than 45 minutes complaining in the nastiest venom voice he could muster how he was inconvenienced and tired. WKD didn’t want to go to sleep without me and wanted to nurse. WH was waked many times. One of those times he held the phone up to WKD while the baby was crying. Again, I was at work. So the rest of the night I had to deal with the worry of whether or not WKD would be alright at home with his dad. Even when I am there and WKD doesn’t go to sleep, WH will get up to another room to sleep, leaving me to fend for myself. I would have to function the next day on 3 hours of sleep or less.

Another time, WKG became very angry when he was given his allowance but couldn’t spend it yet. I needed to sleep and things needed to be covered at home. WH and WKD were about to go buy milk when WKG slammed the door on them. As WHG started to walk away, WH punched him in the back. I had been lying down for less than 5 minutes. I had to get back up just to monitor the house and calm everyone else down.

Then there are the never ending appointments after meetings after therapy sessions that have to constantly be met. We easily go through $300 in gas money in only 2 weeks. Money is so tight these days we have resorted to food pantries to eat. On the days I choose to have a ME day of lounging and reading, I instead have to endure 3-4 HOURS of phone calls from case managers, or social workers, or therapists, or teachers dealing with WKD and WKG. WKG’s last SOC (Systems of Care meeting) included, myself, my husband, WKG’s case worker, his behavioral analyst, his case manager’s boss, a juvenile officer, his counselor from school, his OLD case manager, the state mental health people, a social worker, and State  Medicaid who sat in by phone. That meeting was all about WKG’s care in and out of the home and lasted 2 hours. We still had WKD’s IEP meeting to go to because he is transitioning to the school district.

When I picked up WKD from preschool, he would get upset and sign “daddy!”. Yay me.

Even though we have the resources for it, we still have no PCA (Personal Care Attendant) for WKG. The request through the Autism waiver was lost among other paper work..or the PCA is requesting more money. I can't say I blame him. WKM has started therapy for his anger. But it isnt' helping. He is as angry as ever. Nothing was getting any better. And no one was listening when I spoke. I truly believed that no one cared about what I did except when I didn’t do it. Like making dinner, or “where’s my clothes? Didn’t you wash them? I need them now!” or Where's my stuff? Did you pick it up? Sex with WH was truly for his benefit at this point and not mutually satisfying. And THAT last time was about 2 months ago. I can’t believe I got a MS education for this. I am technically the house bitch.

It was at this point I went "away"…..

I stopped answering my cell phone calls. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. Not even my dad whom I love with all my heart.

I stopped smiling. I couldn’t find one damn thing to smile about.

I stopped all warm - friendly - kind interaction with my children (except WKD..he's too young, severely Autistic, and wouldn't understand why Mommy is mad.) My other children, however, had turned into greedy selfish little spoiled brats. I didn’t want to be around them.

I stopped talking to my husband. Not a far stretch. We had stopped REALLY talking long ago. He would either cut me off in mid sentence or correct me or just tell me I am flat out wrong...even if I was regarding my own personal motions. I was even told to stop crying in front of the children and go do it in my room. It was inappropriate to show negative emotions in front of the children. Now that REALLY pissed me off.

I stopped eating. I wasn’t hungry. I would look down at my belly or hips and saw how fat and ugly I felt and became. Never mind I had lost 40+ lbs since February.

I though that maybe I could just grab my laptop and MP3 player and start walking, leaving everything behind….never to look back.

 And I had other plans: They just built a new bridge here where we live...maybe I could go for a nice...long....permanent swim.
I could go to a shooting range to “practice”.  Or I could take this OTC medicine, wait 30 minutes, then take a handful of these other pills that I had laying around the house with a beer we have in the fridge. I would gently peacefully go to sleep…for good.
 Sometimes the internet is dangerous but ineffective. But when combined with knowledge, skill and application, it can be VERY dangerous....and EFfective .

I won’t divulge the meds here because 1) my MS in Death investigation was an excellent and thorough education which means I know they work and 2) These items are easily attainable.

I sort of didn’t want to die but I didn’t want to keep on living.

I know you know what the name is for all of this. It’s called Clinical Depression.

You can’t pull yourself out of the funky cloud over you. Your head feels full like sinus congestion. Your eyes lids are always heavy. You’re tired. And so very sad. You don’t laugh or cry or smile or frown or scream. Sometimes when you DO show or feel a hint of positive emotion, it doesn't feel right. You feel broken. You are an empty shell. To say you feel worthless is more like saying you feel dead. No vital organs. No vital anything.

Now I did something that most people don’t do. I told people. I even told them the plan. I went to my church and told my 3 closest friends. I hugged those that loved me and I loved them back. I told our therapist during couples counseling. He listened. There were 3 people in the room. One person was talking but only 1 other was truly listening.  The therapist wanted me to check into the hospital so I could get some respite for myself. WH’s take on it when asked was that when I go “away” he has to pick up the slack at home. “The house would dive into utter chaos…so what’s the point?”

WH and I have reservations on October 14. Parents’ weekend at a really nice local hotel. Everything from hot breakfast and dinner to evening drinks are free. We make plans to go every 3 months. We missed the last 3 opportunities because we had no one to take WKD.  He requires so much care and everyone is so busy. We can’t find someone even if we pay for it. WKG has it set up in his Autism Waiver Grant for respite care over the weekend every 3 months. Our mental health worker is so incompetent that it hasn’t happened. I doubt it ever will.

And so here I am. I refuse to go on medication. I was on Celexa once. It turned me into a doormat. I didn’t care when others walked all over me. I stopped living then, as well. I was more like a loopy smiling idiot labrador. One week I had run out of my meds and started seeing how people talked to me or manipulated me. So I decided to start weaning myself off. I would rather know when someone says something to me in an unkind fashion. That way I can respond like an adult and not just nod my head, smiling like an clueless imbecile.

SO yeah, I’m still here. Sort of functioning. But I truly wish I was somewhere else.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Life goes on....

 I believe I was 14 years old, soon to be 15 in just 2 or 3 short months. It was January 1989. I got word that I had a new baby cousin. I was so very surprised! My Aunt, this wonderful; beautiful woman who raised me, had been alone for so long. I went to visit. There on her lap was a beautiful baby boy. He had TONS of black curly hair; the biggest curls I had ever seen. When he smiled his eyes…disappeared… and his baby smile was endless. His father was Asian; my aunt, Black. His name was Ryan Scott Downey and he was a little chubberball of love. He would grab your face and suckle on your cheek. I was very endowed at that age. He would bury his face in my chest, shaking his head back and forth; squealing with delight. My aunt and cousin laughed, saying Baby Ryan had a thing for the ladies. As he got older, Ryan loved to make people smile. He was always telling jokes and coming up with funny names for the people he most cared about. He would call his mother, “Baby Llama Mamma”. He called me “Boo-Ba-Lumps”. (I was still very well endowed.)  He was always dressed “to the Nines”. He never wore tennis shoes as an infant or little kid. He always wore dress shoes, slacks, suspenders, silk dress shirt. He attended Catholic school. It was the best education my aunt could afford for him; living in the inner city with a failing and ailing school district. He graduated with honors. By now his hair had become long and thick. He wore it in cornrolls down his back and over his shoulders. Now Ryan wore Jordans for shoes. Ryan was always willing to help another. He loved his mother and his sister fiercely. My cousin, Dana, his big sister, had a baby girl shortly after Ryan was born. Elizabeth and Ryan grew up more as siblings than uncle and niece. They even attended youth programs together. They were 3 years apart. Ryan was soon to be married. He has a beautiful daughter, Aliyah. She is 4 months old and looks exactly as Ryan did when he was a baby. She is just as loving; suckling on peoples’ faces and cooing with delight when you talk to her. I rubbed my nose with her, smelling her sweet baby breath.

On August, 22. 2011, at 2:02 pm, the world stopped for him. Gunshots were reported in a 911 call.  He was found in his car with a gun in his lap. Someone had shot him 7 or 8 times in the chest. His last act was trying to get away; his car driven up onto the curb and into a tree. By 2:14 pm while the police were processing the scene and before they could remove him from the car; Channel 5 NEWS was there and broadcasting LIVE!, his car, and him, on TV. This is a poor economy. Not many people have jobs. One of Ryan’s friends was home, and watching the NEWS when she recognized his car. Immediately phone calls were made and questions were asked. “Where is Ryan?” “Does he have his cell phone?” “Someone call his mother.” Before the police even had a chance to notify the family, my aunt was already told. Ryan Scott Downey, aged 22, was shot and killed. His ID was on him. His cell phone and wallet was gone. They had shot him in broad daylight while he was still driving his car.


Ryan’s funeral was Thursday. I was scheduled to have a job interview. I canceled. Life as I knew it stopped. Everyone wore his colors: black and red. His casket was beautiful. In life, Ryan was tall, 5’7”. He was muscular and strong, full of life. Laying there in the casket, he looked so small, fragile, and flat, his life force ripped from him. His hair was braided in cornrolls; down his back and over his shoulders. He wore his new Air Jordans. The pain and anger and anguish felt by the community and those that loved Ryan was, and still is, insurmountable. My brothers didn’t handle it well. Ryan was the baby; the Angel on earth. My youngest brother and Ryan grew up as brothers. Where J went so did Ryan. J leaned in to the casket, trying to pull Ryan close. He wrapped his arms around Ryan, kissing his head, over and over, one last time, stroking his chest; trying to give Ryan comfort. “Damn, Dawg, what happened? Tell me who did this to you? I should have been there. It should have been me!” My little brothers feel anger and pain. They see nothing but revenge. My oldest little brother holds everything in; exploding in words and actions but only around the people he feels the most safe with. Elizabeth had to be dragged to the casket. She wanted to see Ryan; but she didn’t want to see his death. Ryan’s fiancĂ© was in shock. My aunt was so sad, and yet so strong. My mother was there. She was inappropriate and embarrassing. WyrdHubby stayed by my side the whole time. He and my brother’s wife were 2 of the only 4 white people out of  the100 family members present. It was a Baptist service.We were hoodwinked, led astray, bamboozled. The pawnshops failed Ryan. The economy failed Ryan. The Mayor failed Ryan. The police department failed Ryan. The City failed Ryan. We failed Ryan.WH, the skeptic, took it very well.

So… now we have to find the strength to live and celebrate his life. For the past 2 weeks, without thought, I have been wearing Ryan's colors: black and red. I guess that if I wear his colors then he will always be with me. Because Life does go on. Aliyah is growing up strong. That Friday after the service was my Aunt’s birthday. And Ryan’s fiance has learned she is pregnant.

I’ll be seeing you….until we meet again.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Who Knew?.....

So I had a crazy week. I had to call 911 on myself for a possible (luckily not) heart attack. All of the kids were home this week. School shopping ensued. And 20 year old WyrdDotD had to move back home....again. We even discussed how my MIL drove me crazy in couple’s counseling. So WyrdHubby agreed to talk to her about boundaries. Ya know, like calling and/or knocking when you come over. That subject alone almost started an argument.  It was a very stressful week. So I thought “Saturday, Dammit!, we WILL go to that party!”

You see, our friend turned 40. There would be a  scheduled a live band, a keg, and BBQ. Sounds like a pretty good time. And with WyrdDotD here, she can watch the kids so we can be adults for an evening.

The band was fucking fantastic; playing Sid Vicious, Slayer, and Metallica. Very cool! Coolers and a keg were always ever flowing. The BBQ kicked ass complete with sweet jalapeno chutney.

And my IN LAWS were there. Imagine, if you will, the King and Queen of College life. 67 year old-ish J and W were the shining center of this party. It seemed so foreign to me. This is the same woman that comes over to my house every day and drives me crazy and here, 30 people or so practically bowed down before them. J and W gave advice and shared their wealth that is peace, love, understanding, and the knowledge of life. They passed and drank many beers. I never knew I actually married the “Prince of Collegetown”.

I was envied for having such wonderful in-laws. People knew J and W from 20+ years back. People confessed that their lives fell apart when my husband’s parents moved to the bigger city.

I never knew I was so fortunate. Apparently J walks into EVERYONE’s house unannounced. It’s considered an honor. She cleans and brings items of goodwill and offers herself as a center of resource. If you just had a baby, she knows someone who has extra baby stuff. She passes it along. W helps bring about the livelihood of others. He mentored and apprenticed the very man whose party this really was for. W taught him everything he knows to be an electrician so that Big J can now have a wonderful job in the city getting things done.

It’s funny. I was so stuck on my own hang ups and my troubles in my inner world; I never really looked outside the window to see the bigger picture. I never knew I was surrounded by so much love and support. Instead I was stubborn and selfish like a little child; never knowing just how good I really have it. Plus I have “Mother Issues”.

I am very blessed and lucky to have found such a wonderful family. Thank you J and W.

J, I’ll see you Tuesday….and you don’t have to knock…ever again.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011


WyrdHubby and I are always reading anything we can get our hands on when it comes to raising the Wyrd-O kids. One thing that we learned early on is a very sad fact.

80-95% of Marriages involving an Autistic Child end in divorce.

We have 2 autistic kids….

Now let’s be clear. The standard for divorce today has been stable at around 50%.  My husband hates it when I recite these facts. I don’t do it to be mean or shove it in his face. I do it to remind myself (ok and maybe him) just how much we have to work on our marriage EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY DAY!

We have done quite a bit to stay together for the past 4 years to raise the "Wyrd-Os 5"…(yes, he inherited the other 4 kids but he always tell people these are MY kids :) )

Every 3 months we try to go away for the weekend. Our favorite so far is the Drury Inn. Free EVERYTHING!..drinks, internet, long distance phone..and a very nice king size bed! On this weekend we have 3 rules: No talking about the kids. No talking about the house or finances. Focus on us as husband and wife, man and woman. The problem is WKG usually gets kicked out of the one and only place that we can find for him to go to respite. We also have to find someone who can handle WKD because he’s Deaf, Autistic, and very, very, very busy…since he’s 2 and all. With that said, we haven’t gone on our weekend in almost 5 months.

We attended a World Wide Marriage Encounter Weekend. That was a wonderful experience. It was also very interesting because the soonest one I could find that was near us was being sponsored by the Catholic Church. 0_0 I didn’t know what to expect and I immediately started to regret it. WyrdHubby just smiled and took it all in. He was wonderful! He attended and was present in a positive way. He dialoged WAY better than me and even wants to bring the concept to our UU church. It has really helped us communicate with each other. We recommend it to anyone who wants to nurture and enhance their relationship. The WWME is sponsored by churches from almost every denomination so don’t be afraid. Give it a try.

This may seem simple and silly but yet so effective. (as these things often are). Dinner is always served at 5:30 pm. no matter what chaos is going on. The TV goes off (Signing Time and Rachel can wait) and everyone, yes EVERYONE sits at the table whether you eat dinner or not. WKG doesn’t like this rule sometimes because he doesn’t want to eat or would rather be in front of his computer geeking out. It’s wonderful what a meal can do even if its Hamburger Helper or Hot Dogs or BBQ ribs…WE TALK! WKG gets engaged and connects. For an Aspie kid that’s a damn near miracle! WKD will even respond with verbal tics and everyone is allowed input. I love that part of my day.

WyrdHubby and I also attend marriage counseling. Because I actually like the guy sometimes and want to keep him around! Sometimes its hard to talk to each other. Even when the kids are in bed and the house is, dare I say it, QUIET! When the days are stressed and the kids are demanding, its so easy to turn your stress into a mini ass chewing because the other person is  somewhat emotionally available/vulnerable and they just happened to already be “snarky”.

We also have a rule. We are not allowed to even mention “Divorce” until WKD has graduated from high school. He’s 2 ½ now…so 15 more years….The kids are too important and it really isn’t just about him and me. It’s about US, Mom, Dad, and 5 beautiful smart funny brilliant kids. WyrdHubby likes to say I’m stuck with him for at least a total of 50 years….we’ve been together for 4 now….it’s gonna be a loooong road! :)

Oh yeah, we also attempt to have sex at least once a month! :D

Now THAT takes real effort!

So does it work? Sure!...for a while. Then the stress boils over like a pressure cooker on the 4th of July. Someone snaps and forgets all the coping skills they’ve learned. WKG throws something and it almost hits WyrdFairyPrincess because her singing and dancing annoys the Hell outta him. WKM finally explodes with the anger that he’s been trying to hold in all week. WKD bites the crap out of someone. WyrdHubby leaves in the midst of all this chaos, stating “THIS FAMILY WOULD BE BETTER WITHOUT ME!” because he HATES the aggression of it all…and all because I tried to take a shower for 10 minutes.

But I have to say this. My family REALLY is wonderful. When I am sick WKG does his VERY BEST to be compliant. It’s his way of letting me rest…such a sweet boy. WKM, who is already a saint, rises to the occasion and starts to cook dinner. My husband becomes, one again, my White Knight and takes over everything from pills to WKD’s bath to “cleaning” the living room. Or if I’m not sick maybe the boys actually get along that day and duel in Yu-Gi-Oh where WKG actually loses gracefully. 0_0 (wow!) and they all play with the WFP so she can make a cake in her Easy Bake Oven and WKD gets to play in his therapy rice bath.

Those days I just look at WyrdHubby and smile…
                                        45 more years baby….
                                                                                               45 more years…

Sunday, August 14, 2011

???'s answered...

After my presentation of my Odyssey, I was asked many questions.

·        Why the song “Sympathy” from the Goo Goo Dolls?
o       So why do I like Sympathy? Because people are always apologizing to me for how I was raised. It doesn’t make sense to me because they are always so nice and they didn’t do anything to me.
o       And like many of their other songs before and since, this one kicks ass! I LOVE PUNK!
·        Have you ever confronted my mother?
o       No. What’s the point? I’m no shrink. But I have gone to school for many years. Psychology was one of my favorite studies. One of the things I learned was that my mother is crazy. She will never understand what she did to her children unless intensive therapy is involved. I already know that I will be in some form of therapy for the rest of my life.
·        You were around drugs all of your life. Do you use any?
o       No. I actually have a very messed up nervous system. Maybe due to all the beatings/trips of falling/getting kicked down stairs. Most drugs have a severe profound affect on me so unless I am in severe pain (I I’m a chronic pain suffer-er) I don’t take anything stronger than ibuprofen. And I’m allergic to marijuana. It makes me sneeze like crazy. Go figure.
·        You are obese now. Any correlation to how you were raised?
o       Yes. I weigh 260 lbs and am 5’4”. I have recently lost 40 lbs and am still working on a healthier lifestyle. Food was one of my early loves. Food was around when love was around. And love wasn’t around all of that much. Now my husband and children are around all the time.
·        You have a very vibrant personality. How can you be so happy?
o       Since I didn’t have a very good role model for acceptable behaviors or social standards there is not a moment (or second) that goes by that I don’t stop and think “Did I just offend someone?” or “Were my actions socially correct?”
o       At the same time, I thrive on the happiness of people around me. I love my friends and they are what makes my family complete.
o       I also have one hell of a temper. ( My husband is absolutely amazing when I am angry…and very brave) If I get mad I have to be very careful. I don’t in any way want to turn into my mother and hurt anyone and that becomes a very probable possibility when I get angry. If I stop talking, please don’t ask or engage me in conversation. I am trying to protect you from me until I get somewhere where I can blow off steam. If I start crying, leave the area immediately.
·        You have 5 kids. What parenting model do you follow?
o       I believe that all children are “tabula rasa” or blank slates at birth. This is before ideas such as political parties or race or religion is even a concern for them. It’s us, the bigger and “smarter” people that tell kids who what where and why they are different and what they are to do about it. And most times we should. However, in doing so sometimes we accidentally ( or even intently) take away the one thing that all babies know the very moment they are born: LOVE and acceptance.
o       I want kids to get into my world and me into theirs. I don’t know what happened before they met me or what they will see and hear afterwards. But for that brief moment. I want them to know that love and kindness and compassion exist in this world and that all good things are possible.
o       My husband and I co-sleep. I still breastfeed WKD who is 2 ½. I hug my 16 year old son every day. Even if his friends are around (they usually want a hug too). I practice baby-wearing when my back lets me. Otherwise WyrdHubby carries WKD on his shoulders. We are very involved parents and have a very hands-on parenting attitude.
·        What about stranger danger and pedophiles?
o       If I find one I’ll rip his/her throat out.
·        Anything else?
o       I am who I am. I am not here to please anyone. I make no excuses because I already do my best not to hurt those around me. Life is too short. When I do, I apologize and make amends. If you still don’t like that, please see the following message…


Thanks again.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

To everything, turn, turn, turn...

I love the Goo Goo Dolls. The lead singer, John Rzeznik, and I both had a crazy upbringing. We were both also raised Catholic. And we are both sexy beasts…(you too Robby!..oh ok and Mike the drummer,…sheesh)

Here! Check this out!

One of my favorite songs of theirs is “Sympathy” and not because of what you think….I’ll explain in a minute.

So I didn’t blog for like a week. I was really agonizing over this piece I’m about to share with you. It’s called a Religious Odyssey. These should, in my opinion, be done by everyone. It makes you think about how you came to "Be".  But many are completed by those that attend a Unitarian Universalist Church.….

This is my story. It’s not for the light hearted or innocent ears. It has some strong language and some fucked up situations. It’s a very loooong story (about 20 minutes or so). I also have changed the names to protect my family. My “Mother”, however, can go to hell…

I was born here in this large metropolis. I had the potential of having a wonderful life but alas it wasn’t to be so. It’s hard to explain.

My parents divorced when I was 2 or 3 years old. It was hard and a lot of details are in dispute.  But as in those days my brother Stanley and  I were to live with my mother.  It wasn’t easy. My mother lives, “functions” with a severe mental illness. NPD. Narcisistic Personality Disorder. It wouldn’t be so bad except she also has Bipolar disorder. What does that mean? That means my mother used my brother and I as tools for her to get attention from others. Almost like Munchhausen by proxy. Anything from staged behaviors to bruises, sexually inappropriate jokes cutely told by a 4 year old girl in pigtails, broken noses for bad teacher notices, hair pullings, extension cords, fists, and other creative beatings. Sometimes she would even pull the car over first. She also would say or tell my brother and I things that may or may not have been true. Most times not. The kitten that was born yesterday is now for dinner. Your father has girlfriends that he loves more than you. She would “faint” at the grocery stores to make a scene. My brother and I were to just stand there. We were to act and speak (or not speak) and dress accordingly. She is also an addict…with at least 4 drugs that I know of.

When we did as we were told, we got love. A pat on the head. A look of approval. Otherwise ….you don’t wanna know.

The beatings started early. One time I remember vividly. I was in Kindergarten. I was so excited to tell my mother that I had learned to jump rope. I had always wanted to learn and the gym teacher has taught us that day. I picked it up right away and the teacher said I was very good at it. I liked jumping. I ran out of the school playground at the end of the day racing for the car. I thought I did everything correctly. I looked both ways before crossing the street to the car. But I was just 5, excited, and in a hurry. I ran out and almost got hit by another car. It scared my mother. But she didn’t react like a typical mother would. She told me as I got into the “I’m beating your ass when we get home.” I got scared. Sure enough when we walked into the door, she grabbed my pigtails, threw me to the floor and stomped me in the face. She then punched me around and sent me to my bed. Later my favorite uncle came over and heard that the car had ACTUALLY hit me. Since it was dark in my room, he didn’t notice that the tread marks on my face was from a shoe and not a tire.

At about 2nd grade, my mother decided we would be Catholic. It’s a very “showy” religion. Lots of crosses, and aerobics during service time. She told me I always was Catholic. She says that I was even baptized without my father’s consent. I have no recollection. She said the moment the holy water touched my head, I laughed the sweetest baby laugh and the bells of the church spontaneously rang, angels took flight yada yada yada… She also said when my brother was baptized he screamed like a demon and the sky got dark. ..whatever :/

I don’t remember much of 2nd grade. I was enrolled at one of the catholic schools here in town. My teacher was NOT a Sister, but a Mommy. :-D She was very kind and very pregnant. She had to leave our class before the end of the school year to have the baby. I immediately took to her. I do remember that during a parent encounter she told my mother that “I exuded love to everyone I met” Didn’t know what that meant but I assumed that because she was so nice that the comment was nice too.

4th grade wasn’t so nice. I had Sister MaryAnn for a teacher. I attended a different Catholic School here in town. Now sure why my mother didn't let us stay at the first one. One can only speculate. At any rate, it was awful. I got kicked a lot. And rulers were used if you didn’t hold your pencil correctly. Plus you had to go to mass every day. But no science was taught. At least not any I can remember. I was so glad when my mother said we weren’t to do to Catholic school anymore.

We had to move again. It was about here that things were getting harder to deal with. My baby brothers were born. I was about 10 or so. To save money she pulled us out of catholic school. I had to start learning how to change diapers. It was my job every time William was dirty to change him. I was 10. I liked it ok. He was born with severely clubbed feet so he had casts and correction splints. My mom would make fun of him. She called him ugly and said she had to cover his face to breast feed him. So I loved him with everything that I had. Still do to this day. He’s about 6 or 7 feet tall and weighs 300 lbs. Feet are basically normal. Football sized hulk of a guy and he’s my "wittle baby brudder-kins!":-D

I was taught about social justice which when I look back, its like very weird. I think my mother did it because it fed into her NPD scheme of thing. When I was about 12, my mother introduced me to her friend, Anna. Now this woman was beautiful! She had the perfect body, perfect boobs, everything! Her blonde hair was always in place. I was jealous. I wanted to grow up to have her body. Anna was married. Had been that way for over 10 years. Her husband Frank was nice. They had no kids but that didn’t stop Anna from decorating her house to the hilt every holiday.

Once day my mother told me she was sick and in the hospital. She wasn’t doing well. I asked to see her. I was told that I was underage and would have to lie to get onto the floor to see her. I didn’t understand why. So my mother and I went to the local hospital, It was 1985.

I walked into the room and saw her. Her hair was now gray and a VERY dark brown. She was bloated. Her long lashes gone,…she had stuble on her face. I didn’t really care. My mom told the nurse I was small for my age and actually 14 and not 12. Anna winked at me. I smiled and kissed her cheek back. She couldn’t talk.. She had a NG tube in., Her hand was swollen where the IV was. Her whole body was swollen. I sat down, took her sore hand in mine and told Anna all about the new dresses and shoes I saw at the store the other day. She loved fashion. And I kept seeing her wincing and getting mad. I wasn’t sure why. The nurse in the room was a coworker with my mother. She was updating my mother on Anna’s condition (way before HIPAA). And she kept saying “HE”. “He received a unit of blood” His T-Cell count was…”he he he” and I got mad.

I turned around and said to the nurse, “HER name is Anna! Get it right!” I was sure I was gonna get back handed or beat when I got home. I was actually ok with it. I would take a bloody nose or a shoe imprint on the face for that. Because it wasn’t right. And I loved her.
It turned out that Anna used to be called “Bob”. Anna had one more operation to go. But she got sick. And because of that lack of one operation, the medical profession, and legal profession still recognized her as a man.

It pissed me off.

My baby brother “Joshua” was about 7. He had brought home his 3rd conduct notice for that week from school. They wanted to talk to my mother. I couldn’t hide the notes or sign off on them anymore. She would have to see this one. So Joshua took it to her. She sent him to his room. I thought well that’s not bad! I started reading a book. All of a sudden I hear this blood curdling scream from Joshua’s room. And he kept screaming. For about 3 hours. We had no phone service. It got turned off again. I knew that if I left the house to find a phone, she would kill him. So I did what I thought was the next best thing. I told her to stop. She said she will when she’s tired. When she took a break to smoke a joint, I checked on him. He was kneeling praying to God for her to stop. I went downstairs and told her. She said “Well it didn’t work ‘cause I’m not done.” And she wasn’t. I was so pissed! At her, at me, she stole away his faith. My faith. And I failed to protect him. I felt that I had failed to act.

Joshua was in bad shape. She had to take him to the hospital. She made him tell the doctor he got beat up by some street kids. His front teeth fell out, never to return. My mother then committed him to the Kansas Institute. He was there for 2 months. She believed that her reason for the whole thing happening was that she never bonded to him. Her idea of fixing that problem was teaching him at the tender age of 7 to smoke a joint with her. I took over my house at that point and made my brothers and their well-being my responsibility. Even in their schools. I forged lunch account forms so my brothers could eat. My mother would refuse to fill them out every year. So there were many times I sat in the lunch room eating off of my friends trays or whatever they wanted to share with me. I ended up having to steal what money she had in her wallet so I could eat at school once in a while. I hated that and I wasn’t proud of it.

I still went to church. I don’t know why. I took my brothers with me so they would be safe. It was a place where they could be normal kids for a while. I didn’t really feel it anymore. I knew there was no God. Because if there was why didn’t he save us from my mother. Why were we starving? It got to a point where I was to be confirmed. I had given birth to my daughter. I was just 16. My mother was horrible. She even got mad one time and tried to beat me again. I looked her in the eye and said “Can we hurry this along? I have to pee.” She knew I wasn’t scared of her anymore. But she REALLY hated me. I had ruined her life by getting pregnant. Never mind I was making straight A’s in Military school and had received acceptance to 6 different colleges across the state. She didn’t have a perfect daughter anymore. I wasn’t really worried that the bishop would not grant my request for confirmation. I was going through the motions. But then I started to not-so-silently rebel. I started an issue in my confirmation class. I refused to go to confession.

I didn’t believe that I should sit in a booth or tell a priest want I did wrong to someone else. And why is HE forgiving me? I would have rather go to the person and say sorry myself. It didn’t make sense to me and I was very vocal about it. And that whole blood and body thing? EWWWWWW! I am not a cannibal and never want to be! Unless I’m stuck in the mountains somewhere (rump roast anyone?)

I didn’t go to any of the good colleges that accepted me. They were all too far away from my little brothers and I couldn’t take them with me. So I stayed at home as long as I could and went to Penn Valley. Life again happened. My brothers got older and I was able to move away.

When I was 25 years old, I was divorced with 3 kids. I was almost done with my BS from a decent university. I went in for a check up and later got called back into the doctor’s office. He sat me down, told me to get a will and a guardian for my kids. He was waiting for the 3rd confirmation test to come back but he was pretty sure. I was diagnosed with adenosquamous carcinoma stage III. As close to terminal cancer you can get and not just give up. So I fought. He scheduled surgery, chemo, and radiation right away. He gave me 2 weeks to get everything in order. My kids were 4, and 2. I was scared so I called everyone. I called my dad who had just moved from LA to be closer to me. We had so much to catch up on and now it seemed as if there wasn’t enough time. I told my daughter’s school and the boys daycare director. Then I went to my local catholic church. I figured that “Once a Catholic Always a Catholic” held true. I told the priest I was sick and dying. The priest said and I quote “We’ll pray for you.” And no one in the church helped me. One day after a horrible cryotherapy treatment session, the boys were at the daycare director’s house. My daughter was at school. I tried to get to my bathroom. I was very weak and I fell. I don’t know how long I laid there. But someone came. This nice lady knocked on my door and came in. She helped me get cleaned up, did 2 loads of laundry, cleaned the house, and brought my family food. I had never met her before. I don’t remember her name but she said she was from some “Unity University”. I was just grateful she was there. My cancer came back 3 times that year before I finally beat it. In the process I had suffered brain damage from a fever of 105 and had to go through memory re-training. Things like how to drive a car, change a diaper, understand spoken English, and keep a planner so I wouldn’t forget appointments or hen my kids needed to get to school. And I wouldn’t see that lady again until almost 7 years later.

Jump ahead. Going through a divorce a 2nd time. I had graduated from college with my BS in Biology and 3 minors: Chemistry, CJ, and Forensics because knowledge is power. And working on my Masters because I love learning about how to get rid of dead bodies J  I am at a party of a friend. She had been trying to get me out of the house for weeks. She says I was too involved with my kids. What ever! There holding a diet mountain dew in his hand, is this kid. He doesn’t look old enough to be a freshman in high school let alone college. He was VERY Geeky…which in my book made him very cute! He was talking a lot about science and logic and math. And I thought, what a hottie! He even took time to talk to my kids. That was pretty cool too J  That geek turned out to be 31 year old, no glasses, no mustache, Isaac. We started talking. He thought I was pretty hot too which works for me. He was telling me that he was an atheist and a believer in truth and logic and science. He didn’t believe in God or the Devil or heaven or hell. But, “Do you want to go to church with me?”   Wow…um…..really? He followed me home that night and never left my side.

So after all that I’ve been through, you may wonder what I believe. Family is my religion and everyone is family. I believe to seek the truth in all things, with love. I believe that it’s my responsibility, my duty, to teach my children the concept of “truth, compassion, and love”. If you have those tools behind you, then you can truly change the world. I believe that family and community are intertwined and should be nurtured. I also believed that all relationships should be fostered. That it’s up to you to change this world for the better. There is no God that will save you.  But there ARE angels that work in kindness and demons that are blinded by selfishness. But all have the potential to change lives for the better.  This is the path I have chosen.