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Magical World

Wouldn't it be lovely if, with just a twitch of the nose, life, or any aspect of it could be changed. Instead, positive changes always seem to involve tremendously hard work, determination, and endless setbacks. How lovely it would be to have the powers of Samantha Stephens.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

The End

This blog is finished. To those of you who have commented and lent support, thank you and I love you. I wish you well.

P.S. Okay, I admit that I was sort of abrupt. I also admit I have many other blogs. I hope you'll come visit me at my new one.

Part Three

So now I am here. I understand much of what has happened and what I need. A few nights ago I gave a recital. In the past I have analyzed each performance, agonized over every tiny mistake, and felt miserable that I might not have played perfectly. That night I took my bows and walked off the stage feeling an interesting sensation. Something happened. As I left the concert hall and walked to my car a feeling of peace settled inside me, and I realized what that stage of grief, acceptance, means to me. Part of this realization came about through many conversations with a dear friend who always knows which questions will make me think. Part of it came because of the work that I've been doing for many months. Part came because it was time--time for me to heal and move forward--time for me to apply the atonement in my life--time for me to become whole again.

Acceptance does not mean I have to live my life in helpless anger that I survived something horrible and it still haunts my days and nights.

Acceptance does not mean that I will always be afraid of people and relationships.

Acceptance does not mean that I am giving up my need to fight for what should have been but never was.

Acceptance does not mean that I have lost my self-respect or self-esteem.

Here is what it means to me:
1. I accept the fact that sometimes things happen that are beyond our control. Those events can cause incredible pain and are sometimes the result of another person's selfishness. When that happens, all that I can control is how I will live with the aftermath.
2. I accept the fact that I am human. I've made many mistakes. I've acted in unwise ways in order to ease the pain I could not control. This happens sometimes. I am no better or worse than any other person. I can choose to dwell on the past, or I can allow myself to accept that it is the past, and make a new future.
3. I accept the fact that there will always be some things in my life that I cannot change. I cannot change how my parents treated me--only how I will treat them now. I cannot create a charmed childhood and adolescence. I cannot wish away my experiences of mistreatment and abuse. I cannot change the physical scarring. I cannot change the fact that all this makes me feel sad--and it's appropriate for me to feel this.
4. I accept me. There is so much about me that is good and worthwhile. I've been blessed with intelligence and talent. I have a joyful spirit. I have a deep appreciation of beauty. I love without restraint. My smile and laughter are contagious. I've overcome so much, and worked so hard to attain that which I've achieved in my life. I have a deep love for and faith in God and I walk with Him daily--and I know He loves me.

Acceptance doesn't mean my life will be perfect from this point forward. There will be times when I'm sad or angry. There will be times when I want someone to hold me. There will be times when I struggle or wish things were different. And it's all right for those things to happen.

There is much that will never get better--I will go on in spite of it. There is much that will remain tragic--I will continue to triumph. There is much I will always need but never have--I am not the only one on earth who experiences this and I will draw strength from others who continue joyfully against the odds.

I am me. I will keep trying until one day my life becomes beautiful. I will accept nothing less.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Part Two

Most of what I wrote in the last post is just reiteration of previously posted information, but I'm trying to put everything where it belongs. I realized as I was researching grief (something that started in January), that I actually started the process long ago, but kept stopping it from completion because the anguish it aroused was too difficult to cope with, and also because there was too much that I couldn't understand. I've complained a lot since I started this blog--that was it's purpose. But in all honesty, I believe there has always been someone watching over me throughout my life. And when I have had a need for someone to help me emotionally, there has always been a person who has found me or whom I have found. The fact that I'm whole and sane today, for me, is proof of that.

If you are reading this I must state now that the following things are written in order for me to continue taking inventory and to arrange facts and events in such a way that they make sense to me--but they aren't appropriate for everyone to read. And most of this has been said before, but I'm now putting everything together, so I'm repeating myself. Feel free to move on to a blog with something funny or inspirational. This is completely written for my own benefit.

If I chronologize major events in my life pertaining to my abuse it looks something like this:
1. Age 4--taken into a bathroom at church by unknown person. Because of my age, details are muddled. I remember being partially unclothed and fondled. I have no information beyond this. I don't remember feelings or responses. I told no one, not having a large enough frame of reference to make a value judgment on what happened. I remember being afraid, but mostly because the restroom was kept in darkness.
2. Age 8--once again entrapped in a church bathroom by a man, undressed and fondled. In this case I recognized that this should not be happening, I fought back and was released. I reported the incident to my father who left me alone to find the man. I experienced feelings of abandonment and deep shame.
3. Age 9--Cousin David invaded my sleeping bag as we "slept" under the stars. Actually, I was sleeping when I was awakened by him touching me in my genital area. When I recovered from the shock I went into the house and reported what happened to my parent. I remember crying a little bit. They responded by telling me I could sleep in the house for the rest of the night. I made a bed on the floor in their room, but I didn't sleep. I felt guilty for telling on my cousin, angry that he had touched me where he had no right or permission to touch me, and I wanted very badly to be held and kept safe by someone.
4. Age 11--Cousin David came to live with us. I confronted him about the previouis incident when he had fondled me. He apologized and began to befriend me. He held me and cuddled me, which felt wonderful. He often put his arm around me or stroked my back. I thought we were really wonderful friends. When I was completely emotionally connected to him, he began to visit my room at night. For the next three months he sexually molested me with all the imagination and variety that his 15-year-old mind could produce. I felt that I had somehow made him believe that this was okay, that I was responsible for the abuse. I believed that if I told my parents I would be punished. I was confused at what was happening. I did not think there was anything I could do to stop it. In the end I was left with the belief that I was filthy and worthless. I had thoughts of suicide, which I usurped with cutting and anorexia--something inside me still wished to live. The following fall I turned twelve and had my first opportunity to go to the temple to do baptisms. In my interview with my bishop he asked me if I understood what it meant to be morally clean. I told him I wasn't sure. He explained it to me. I replied that I guessed I wasn't morally clean. He asked for details. I explained what my cousin had done. I watched as his eyes got large, and I interpreted the expression on his face as one of disgust--aimed at me. I completely understood that feeling. He asked if I had talked to my parents about this. I told him I had not and didn't really want to. There was a long pause, and then my bishop said he thought it was probably fine for me to have a recommend for baptisms. I thanked him and left the room feeling that he had confirmed my knowledge that I was dirty and disgusting and not quite certain why I would be allowed to go to the temple in that state. More confusion.

There were a number of things that contributed to my feelings of low self-esteem and worthlessness, other than the abuse incidents. My relationship with my parents was volatile and on my part, hateful, by the time I was twelve. I have no memory of ever being held closely by either of my parents. My mother would make comments about how awful it was to hold me as a toddler because I wiggled so much (I still do). My father's way of expressing affection was to chase us down and tickle us--not a good form of physical love to show to one who has experienced sexual abuse. And as much as I wanted hugs and touches, part of me just wanted someone safe to hold me for a very long time.

I've come to realize that something I have wanted for most of my life was non-sexual physical love. As infants and children, most people receive this from their parents and other adults in the forms of being held, caressed and cuddled, and the need for it decreases as they grow to adulthood. I'm certain that some need this nurturing more than others--apparently my need for it is fairly great. For many reasons, I did not experience this to the degree that I needed or desired it. Result--as an adult, this lack coupled with the abuse in my life have created an even greater almost consuming need that can't be filled. Darrin will hold me indefinitely--but in his embrace there is a sexual component that is vital to our marriage, but which separates his affection into a different category (sexual affection, which I also need). He cannot fill my need for the type of love that I did not receive as a child.

Linked to this physical need is my feeling that I am never safe. There have been a few times when I've felt false security and misinterpreted that as a safe environment. That has led to even more situations (almost always sexual) in which I've become more insecure and frightened and the need for the proper type of love has simply increased.

Part One

I almost don't know how to begin this post. When I met with Therapist a couple of months ago he said that I was in "working" mode, and that I had been there for nearly eight months. He told me that when we first met in August I was numb (and I was so much better then than I has been six months prior to that--I wonder what he would have thought of me if he'd met me at the very beginning of my counseling adventure). Apparently, being in "working" mode means that I'm no longer ignoring things and am actively seeking resolution to whatever is bothering me. Therapist said that most people will be in that mode for short intense periods of time (3 to 6 weeks), then take a break to regroup and begin again. He's been a little concerned because my short intense times have stretched into a very long period of intensity with no rest times. He told me he doesn't want to interrupt the work I'm doing, but he believes that the lack of down time has contributed to my nightmares, relationship insecurities, high stress, return to unhealthy coping mechanisms and depression. I told him I didn't know how to stop. He didn't have any suggestions.

In retrospect, I'm grateful that I didn't take time off, regardless of the cost. I believe Therapist may be one of the few people who could connect with me and help me find the things I need to discover in order to find peace--and he's leaving. I've been blessed to have the past nine months with him. I trust him and I've found the guidance he's given me incredibly helpful. He was comparing me to a typical client and he said: "Sam, if there is a choice between taking a long, gently winding path to the tip of a mountain, or scaling a sheer cliff, you'll take the second option every time." I'm sure he meant that I always do things the hard way, but I prefer to believe that he was complimenting me on my rock-climbing skills--or maybe he just means I'm a very hard worker--or that I have a remarkable fitness level. Regardless, I have worked incessantly in the past few months.

Things I have accomplished:
1. I was able to cry. Not often. Not as I would have liked to, and I'm still afraid that someday the tears will start and everyone will have to build an ark in order to survive the flood that will ensue. And I'm also afraid that when that happens I'll be alone. Perhaps it's selfish of me, but I really would like to have someone with me then, because for most of my life I have forced myself to endure any heartache alone, embarassed that someone might see and think less of me because I was weak. I'm ready to face that--because I finally believe that there are a few people who will love me even when I'm vulnerable and who won't feel it an emotional intrusion if I need to be held for a moment.
2. I researched all that I could in conjunction with my situation and applied that research to myself. I researched abuse, support groups, pedophilia, control, manipulation, relationships, parenting, loss, grief, addictive behaviors, coping devises, dreams, depression, side-effects of stress, body language, humor, emotions, faith, the atonement, the nature of God, and many other pertinent topics. It wasn't always fun. It was definitely worth it.
3. I met with David. I had lunch with him. As Tolkien Boy is my witness, I was delightful and charming and I'm certain he wants to be my best friend for the rest of our lives. It was horrible. But Therapist said that he will spend years with clients helping them get to the point where they will accept the suggestion that a meeting might someday take place. I not only did that, but I initiated and followed through with the meeting (he says that's "freaking awesome!!") without him even suggesting I do so, and I'm better because of it. I don't want to do it again. I'll be okay if I have to.
4. I have finally let my husband go. By this I mean that for most of our marriage I have been stabilized by the fact that there was one person in all the world who loves me no matter what. He's seen me sad, ugly, naked, miserable, sick, angry, confused, and pregnant. And he still loves me. However, when he has gone on business trips or anytime he has had to leave me alone, I've been insecure and miserable. And I've made him miserable because of it. Fortunately, I married someone who understands the root causes of my poor behavior and who makes allowances for it, or he would have left long ago. But I've finally grown up. I made an extended solo journey without my husband for the first time since we were married. I was gone for a week. I did not depend on him in any way. We've both done some individual travelling lately and it's doesn't bother me. Darrin's trying to adjust to my new emotional independence, and while he's happy for me, it's definitely new for him. But it's really good for us both.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Grieving 5

Grief Stage: I don't want to do this anymore

Strangulat inclusus dolor, atque exaestuat intus,
Cogitur et vires multiplicare suas.
~Ovid (Tristium)

Surely there's a better way. Last night I stayed up until 4:30 a.m. Fortunately for me, I had company until 2:00 (just a warning--if you call me late at night, I probably won't stop talking, and you may have to hang up on me, as my friend did last night). The next couple of hours I alternated between watching the weather channel and trying to decide if sleep was worth it. I have new nightmares--ones which, in my mind are worse than the first bout. I'm keeping Darrin up at night now, as I seem to be talking/yelling/moving constantly in my sleep. There have been a few nights of sleepwalking, and one night that I just got up and went running. So my solution this week has been to sleep as little as possible. I know--stupid.

Suppressed grief suffocates...

The dreams began about mid-March, shortly after my therapist had talked with me about grief and sent me into my latest research project. The problem is that as I tried to allow the feelings to manifest themselves, my feelings of vulnerability began to increase drastically. It felt as if in grieving I was exposing myself, feeling all the hurt and anger I've been suppressing for many years, and that there would be further occurrances of betrayal and hurt in my life. I began to feel insecure in all my relationships, especially those with men (for the first time, Darrin was included in this--until now, he has been exempt from every negative feeling I've had toward the opposite sex). As those feelings of vulnerability increased, the dreams became violent, terrifying, and uncontrollable. Any event in my life that placed me in an adversarial position with a man triggered horrible cycles of the dreams that night. rages within the breast, and is forced to multiply its strength...

In addition to the nightmares, I find it difficult to cope with the depression and sadness I'm feeling. I can't understand why, after all these years, I'm still agonizing over a mere three months that happened so long ago. The next stage of grief, perhaps the final one, that I'm supposed to discover is that of acceptance. I find myself feeling angry that I am placed in a position where I must accept things that I find reprehensible. Last night I was particularly upset and very confused about having to accept my life as it now is. I had a small temper tantrum in a chat box, where I let loose some of the nastiness I'm feeling:

Samantha: I'm learning about the acceptance stage of grieving--the stage where you're supposed to accept that whatever loss/tragedy has occurred is real--and then, presumably, you go on with life having made peace with all that. What is it that I have to accept?
1. I accept that my cousin is a bastard and he used me.
2. I accept that I will live with that crap the rest of my life in some form, emotional or otherwise.
3. I accept that it permeates most every part of my life,.
4. I accept that I may never sleep again without being aggravated by stupid dreams.
5. I accept that this whole thing sucks and I get to have it with me forever.
6. I accept that I have a very bad attitude tonight.

Yeah, I'm not good at accepting anything gracefully and with good humor. And the absolute truth is that I've spent my life trying to become someone who is strong, motivated, loving and joyful--but as I walk through the stages of grief I realize that it's not really me. "Really me" is sad, helpless, yearning, and vulnerable--everything I despise--and facing that truth hurts because part of me feels that I'm this way because of my past. And then I realize I'm making excuses for what is real because I can't accept that I'm not the person I've tried so hard to become.

The final truth, the one I'm just beginning to accept, is that part of the reason I flinch from coming unto Christ is that I'm a little bit angry with him and his father. They saw me being abused. They knew I was hurting and alone. They allowed me to endure pain no child should know exists--and they didn't help me. As an adult I have all the explanations as to why that is, and I'm aware that I'm not the only one in the world who suffers, and that in comparison to many, my hurts were small. But the child inside me still can't understand why--why did no one come? why did no one care? why do I still feel abandoned and alone? How can I fix this????

Anyone who knows me well understands that what I've said in the paragraph above has no bearing on what I believe now. I love God and my Savior--I believe in their divinity and their love for us--I believe that it is only through Christ that I continue to live. But I also believe you can love someone with all your heart, might, mind, and strength...and still feel a little bit angry or betrayed by him...even if he's God.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

With friends like these...

In the past eight weeks I have spent large amounts of time with the ever-so-attractive AtP. Our activities have spanned everything from the spiritual (attending General Conference and a singles' ward church service--okay, we weren't exactly spiritual, but we would have been if that were possible, and I was very well-behaved when By a Single Thread was teaching the Sunday School lesson, and I didn't pretend I was socially retarded and follow AtP to Priesthood meeting even though they made us take off one shoe in Relief Society and my foot got cold) to the profane (AtP took me to shop at Ghetto Walmart twice, and we drank double shots of wheatgrass--which we should never do again, but now our systems are CLEAN). I have to admit that when the two of us are together, that alone is a little odd (given the age difference, if nothing else), but unusual things seem to happen, as well. I'm guessing that's just par for the course for AtP. He seems like the type of person who always has encounters in life that are stranger than fiction, but for me it's atypical. My life is fairly boring.

Case in point: One afternoon AtP and I were having lunch with our moms (don't ask) at my favorite place to eat in Utah. A young man in his early twenties entered the restaurant with a person whom I believe to be his father. The young man had a mohawk, sides of head shorn, remaining hair braided down the back of his head (I'm certain AtP will correct me if I'm remembering the hair incorrectly--he's much more observant of that type of thing than I). The braided hair had been dyed two different colors--white and a lovely lavender hue. It looked very soft. He also had pierced lips. I didn't notice this until we were leaving and he held the door for me as we smiled and chatted a bit, remarking on the beautiful day. I had two very strong compulsions toward this young man, whom AtP and I decided must be named "My Little Pony" (seriously, the hair looked like the tails on those toys). First, I really wanted to pet his hair. Second, I also wanted to kiss him. I've never kissed anyone with pierced lips before and I'm guessing it feels weird. All this is certainly going nowhere, but the point is, things like this only happen to me when I'm with AtP. He's a weird situation magnet. And the last weird thing: I honestly believe that if I'd have asked My Little Pony to let me play with his hair and kiss him, he would have said, "Okay." And it would be all AtP's fault.

It also astounds me how we talk about the oddest things. We were sitting in God's Bookstore one day, eating cookies with toffee in them, our copies of In Quiet Desperation sitting beside us, talking about how to improve AtP's lesbian-dar (I wouldn't say he's hopeless, but neither is he a natural), whether or not his cologne was still working, which paintings I should learn to like (not one of my strong points), and whether or not one should wear flip-flops or heels with capri's--oh, wait, that might have been the going-into-the-store dialogue. Regardless, when I reflect on our conversations, I'm sort of grateful that no one else speaks the same language we do, because even if someone could understand the words we're saying, I'm not sure the full meaning would translate. There's a lot of body language and weird facial expressions involved and I think you sort of have to be born knowing what everything means or you just don't get it (sometimes I don't think AtP and I get it either, but then we just laugh and it doesn't matter).

I don't know why I'm thinking about this today. And I can't decide whom I miss more, AtP or My Little Pony.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Seventh Grade

Junior High boys are something of a puzzle to me. They're about as awkward as any creature made. They alternate between swagger and mortification. They seem to feel things more fiercely at this time in their lives than at any other--or perhaps they just learn to hide it later in life.

My Adam is thirteen. He's intent on challenging stereotypes this year. He has a group of friends who think he's very smart and who listen to everything he says (which just goes to show you that intelligence in 13-year-olds is void). Recently while at lunch, one of the boys in the group remarked on the fact that after lunch each day, the girls their age adjourn in a large group to the restroom. The young men tossed around possible reasons why the girls did that, none of which seemed satisfactory. So Adam walked over to a group of girls and asked them just what transpired in the bathroom. After about ten minutes of giggling, the general consensus was that they just went into the bathroom and talked.

Adam returned to his cronies and relayed the information. Then he proposed that the young men form an after-lunch restroom conversation group. So they did. They met in the restroom and did rock/paper/scissors to decide who would get to choose the topic of conversation. The lucky winner was trying to decide what to talk about while the other boys explored their new domain. Unfortunately for the rock/paper/scissers winner, the explorers found some remains in an unflushed toilet and whatever the chosen topic was going to be was usurped by the item of interest in the toilet, which, apparently was rather remarkable in size. The young men gathered around the toilet and talked about the remains in disgusted, but nonetheless very impressed tones. At that point the bell rang, sending them on their way to class. As the group adjourned, plans were made to regroup after class in order to have a flushing ceremony.

As planned, when class ended, all members of the male bathroom group met once again around the toilet, expressing awe and revulsion prior to the rite of flushing. They were amply rewarded for their interest as the item got a bit stuck and required two flushings in order to expel it. As the group left the bathroom, one boy said to Adam, "This was a great idea. We should have asked the girls about it before." All present young men agreed.

The after-lunch-boys-bathroom group continues to meet daily now. Adam reports to me on their conversations and assures me that all they do is talk--and flush any necessary left-over human waste. I'm trying to decide whether or not I'm worried.

A side note to this--I was accompanying a seventh grade band student on his festival solo today. He stopped in the middle and said, "Mrs. Stevens, J (another seventh grade boy) thinks you're hot." I thought about saying I was old enough to be his mother. I thought about saying that wasn't particularly respectful. I thought about laughing. Instead I just said, "Well, that's because I am." The young man looked a little bit surprised and said, "Yeah, I guess so," and finished playing his solo.

Grieving 4

Grief Stages: Bargaining and Depression

You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present. ~Jan Glidewell

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love. ~Washington Irving

A heavier task could not have been impos'd,
Than I to speak my griefs unspeakable.
~William Shakespeare

I'm addressing these two together because I really don't believe the bargaining stage has been an issue for me (no, I'm not in denial about this). Basically, I'm more of a survivor than a bargainer. And I don't believe things that are real will be taken away. I might wish my past were different. I might balk at addressing issues. I might be a coward who runs from (literally) or ignores the things that are hurting me--but I don't believe I've ever bargained when it comes to my abuse experience, because I don't understand how that works. My research on grief has said that not everyone passes through each stage, because there are times when one or more grief stages is not applicable. I believe this to be the case for me. However, I'm open to the opinions of others. If you disagree with me, please state your case and help me understand what I'm missing.

Depression, on the other hand, is a very close friend. I realized, after taking medication for about a month, that if I was medicated, I had no desire to work through any of the problems of my past--actually, I had no desire to do anything except sit around enjoying the numbness. My motivation was gone. My joy in life was non-existant. I got up in the morning, went to work, cleaned my house and watched the world pass me by. So I told my therapist I'd rather be depressed and in pain, because at least then I felt something.

To spare oneself from grief at all cost can be achieved only at the price of total detachment, which excludes the ability to experience happiness. ~Erich Fromm

I have a mother and some siblings who are clinically depressed. They have assured me that I just need different medication and they could be right. However, I choose not to take anything, and to feel what is happening inside, so that I will know when things get better. I have not been diagnosed as chemically unbalanced or clinically depressed. I am not suicidal. I think I have the right to make this decision.

To me, depression is sadness. There are times when the sadness overwhelms me to the point that I don't function as well as I have in the past. However, I believe I have reason to be sad. Reasons I'm sad:

1. I wish that I had been able to be a child longer. I think I was probably delightful. I loved to read and recite poetry. I giggled at everything. I loved caterpillars and butterflies and baby animals. I cuddled my little brothers and sisters. I sang. I was good at dancing and gymnastics. I couldn't play softball and I threw like a girl--but I played anyway. I climbed trees, caught frogs, snakes, and salamanders, and collected autumn leaves and wildflowers. I lost much of that the summer before I turned twelve.
2. I wish that I had had a relationship with my parents. I wish they had wanted to hold me or give loving touches. I wish that I had trusted them enough to let them know I was being hurt. I wish that I had loved them and felt love from them. I wish that the word "parent" did not have a negative connotation to me.
3. I wish that I had not begun the habits that now enslave me. I wish that I abhorred the thought of cutting, as my friends do. I wish it didn't feel compelling or comforting. I wish I could eat regularly and healthily--that I didn't feel miserable when I ate or powerful when I didn't. I wish I didn't feel compelled to run, but did so because I wished to.
4. I wish I could feel safe around all men. I wish I could see them as people--not monstrous entities who wish to hurt me. I think I have missed many potential friendships because I have been afraid.
5. I wish that the person I present to the world was real. She's not. She's smart and confident. She can accomplish anything she wishes. She smiles and laughs and is perfect. Inside her is someone who is afraid every day, who weeps for that which has been lost, who feels broken and used and unworthy. But there are parts of me in both personae. Somehow, I need to figure out how to merge the two and use them to help each other.
6. I wish I could be whole--for me, for my children, for Darrin. Especially for Darrin. I have no idea why anyone would want to marry me, to be with me every day, and sleep with me every night, but he seems to want that. He probably gets really tired of having to help me through everything, but he doesn't complain. He probably wishes for someone who isn't hampered, sexually, by SSA or past abuse, but he never says that. However, I wish it for him--even though I never want him to leave me. I love him, but I don't feel I can ever be good enough for him.
7. What happened to me was sad. Horribly, gut-wrenchingly sad. That's all.

I don't think being depressed is an unnatural state of being. I believe we all have down times, and I don't think that's a bad thing. Not being able to recover from those times would be bad. But I believe anyone who has spent time with me understands that even though I have things that make me sad, I also have a huge love for people and life, and enormous appreciation for beauty. And in my life the joyful moments far outweigh the sad ones. So if I'm sad, occasionally, I think that's okay.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Grieving 3

Grief Stage: Anger

Give sorrow words; the grief that does not speak whispers the o'er-fraught heart and bids it break. ~William Shakespeare

If you're going through hell, keep going. ~Winston Churchill

The truth about all this grieving crap is that I know I've been in this process probably for many years--I just kept putting it on hold. So I suppose the only difference now is that I'm allowing it to continue, even though I really hate it. Actually looking at each aspect and noting how it affects me, somehow allows me to continue forward. I don't understand that, but it seems to be true. This particular stage comes and goes with differing degrees of intensity.

Anger is an extremely uncomfortable emotion for me. I avoid it at all costs. To admit that I'm angry, somehow, makes me feel weak. Therapist, Darrin, Jason, and Tolkien Boy have all assured me at various times that I have every right to be angry about what has happened to me, which doesn't change the fact that I still don't like the emotion. However, the truth is that I am angry.

Reasons I am angry:
1. My cousin betrayed my trust--once when I was nine, and then again when he lived with us when I was eleven.
2. My parents didn't protect me.
3. I felt helpless to tell someone what was happening, for fear of retribution. I was certain I would be punished.
4. I felt unloved and worthless.
5. I had more pain than I knew how to deal with--and no source of comfort.
6. I didn't understand what was happening--or why.
7. The only way I could think of to cope with my pain was to add more pain to that--to cut and to stop eating.
8. Even today, I feel certain that if people know that I have "indulged" in cutting, they will judge me. They will believe that I'm mentally unstable or stupid. They will not trust me or love me. I will become a freak in their eyes (I am not mad. I would to heaven I were, For then 'tis like I should forget myself. O, if I could, what grief should I forget! - William Shakespeare).
9. My cousin abused my 65 pound, immature body. My uterus was harmed in such a way that I could never carry my children to term. I had difficulty becoming pregnant. I have one pubic bone that sits higher than the other and a contusion on my tailbone as a result of trauma to those areas.
10. I have lived with fear of men most of my life.
11. Sexual intimacy has always been complicated. At times I have had to stop altogether because I've been so afraid--or I've allowed myself to close off and let the act finish--in essence the same thing I did when I was raped. This should never happen when a married couple is trying to express physical love.
12. Sexual intimacy still makes me cry sometimes.
13. I wonder, often, who I would be, what I could have become if I had not been hampered by fear and isolation.
14. I have phobias and PTSD. I don't want them.
15. Being angry makes me even more angry.

There are so many things about the whole situation that enrage me. And the reason I suppress this is because I find no outlet for my anger. There is nothing I can do to change the past. There is no satisfaction that would come from punishing my cousin. There is no good that comes of expressing this. It just leaves me messed up and crying and wondering how I can make this all right someday.

I hate this stage. I am not an angry person. I didn't ask for this. I don't want it. Can I please just make it go away?

Sunday's Sage Suggestion

If you have a bad cough, take an entire bottle of laxatives. The desire to cough will magically go away.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Something to consider

Living Life Backwards

I want to live my next life backwards:
You start out dead and get that out of the way.
Then you wake up in an old age home feeling better every day.
Then you get kicked out for being too healthy.
You enjoy your retirement and collect your pension.
Then when you start work, you get a gold watch on your first day.
You work 40 years until you're too young to work.
You get ready for college: drink alcohol, party, and you're pretty much a free spirit.
Then you go to primary school, you become a kid, you play, and you have no responsibilities.
Then you become a baby, and you spend your last 9 months floating peacefully in luxury, in spa-like conditions - central heating, room service on tap, and then...
You finish off as an orgasm.

I rest my case.

Grieving 2

Grief Stage: Denial

I've done this. I'd like to say I'm finished with it, but I'm not. There is so much of me that rebels at accepting the fact that I could be hurt by anyone. It's defensive, I know, but it's also very real. However, I believe I'm making progress. Even though I hate it, I acknowledge much of what I used to ignore, and even though I don't want to, I'm accepting that many of my beliefs were incorrect.

Things I no longer deny:
1. The abuse I endured was a big deal. It was important and significantly changed my trust and fear instincts. It shaped my feelings about men and reactions to them. It makes me sad.
2. The feelings and aftermath of the abuse are not "over". I've said they were over for many years. They weren't--they were simply ignored because addressing the issue was overwhelming to me.
3. The abuse affects me every day. It filters into work, play, family life, sexual interactions, friend relationships, impulses, sleep patterns, and health issues. I don't want it to, I don't invite it, I wish it was gone. It's not.
4. I cannot continue alone. For many years I was isolated. Thank God for a husband who understood and loved me in spite of me. He simply waits for each wall to come down and loves me more every day. Thank God for friends who don't leave me when I'm irrational and scared, or when I act delusional or vulnerable. Thank God for those friends who let me talk about the most frightening and hateful aspects of my life and don't run away from me or treat me differently. I need people now more than ever--those who will recognize that there's someone of worth inside the freak on the outside.
5.I'm sad about what happened to me--deeply, agonizingly sad. It tears me up and makes me cry. It was terrifying and painful, and what hurts more than anything is the loneliness that still lingers, the certainty that I will be horribly hurt by someone and then abandoned, and that betrayal is an inevitable part of any relationship.

This is a good thing, right? No longer hiding or denying? It doesn't feel good. I don't like admitting these things. I'm trusting Therapist--but only because in my couseling he has never guided me in the wrong direction. In the meantime, acknowledging all these things makes me feel very small, weak, insignificant--and I don't like it.

Saturday's Sapience

Have a bad toothache? Smash your thumb with a hammer and you will forget all about the toothache.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Search of the Week

This one wins hands down, and I think it's really funny that the visitor found my blog through this search:

"What sort of magical trucks do witches play on people?"

Wow. I really do wish I had a magical truck.

Skip this one--I'm just venting

There are certain things I cannot endure--especially if you are a straight man.

1. Never assume that because I'm married that I'm straight. Your bigoted beliefs, regardless of whether or not they are vox populi among your equally ignorant and intolerant peers, are reprehensible, inane, vacuous and just plain vile. The anguish you exacerbate among those you revile is inexcusable and if there is justice in this world it will redound to you and your proponents.

2. Never assume that because I'm a woman I am not your equal--scratch that--always assume that because I'm a woman I am your superior. This, of course, does not apply to men en masse, but only to you because you are brainless, dazed, deficient, dense, dim, dotterel, dull, dumb, foolish, half-witted, idiotic, imbecilic, inane, indiscreet, insensate, irrelevant, irresponsible, laughable, ludicrous, mindless, moronic, naive, obtuse, puerile, short-sighted, stolid, thickheaded, unintelligent, unthinking, witless (no, I don't expect you to notice that I alphabetized those--that would be asking way too much). For once in your life, notice that I can do more than try to look pretty (which I think I do rather well most days, even without your supererogatory, extrinsic, opprobrious encouragement. And if you make one more comment about me doing enough by just being beautiful I will vomit on your shoes). Don't ever do my job for me again, don't ever speak to me in those condescending tones again, don't ever make personal comments about my physique again.

3. Just so you know where you stand--your grammar is reprehensible, you misuse words (I don't even think you know what most of them mean), your off-color jokes are inappropriate and heteroclite (not to mention operose and seriously not funny), your hair is not a big deal and neither are you. I can't help but wonder if you're trying to compensate for inadequacy in another area...

Ick. After spending two hours with you, I really need a shower.

Friday's Foresight

A mousetrap placed on top of your alarm clock will prevent you from rolling over and going back to sleep after you hit the snooze button.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Five Stages

The five stages, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with loss. They are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. But they are not stops on some linear timeline in grief. Not everyone goes through all of them or in a prescribed order. The stages have evolved since their introduction and they have been misunderstood over the past three decades. They were never meant to help tuck messy emotions into neat packages. They are responses to loss that many people have, but there is not a typical response to loss as there is no typical loss. Our grief is as individual as our lives.

Grief Research 1

Grief is the healing process that ultimately brings us comfort in our pain.

I don't want to do this.

To me grieving means the following:
1. I suffered a loss.
2. Something was taken from me.
3. I needed something that I didn't receive.
4. I was vulnerable.
5. I am vulnerable still.
6. At some point I was weak.
7. I must feel sadness.
8. I will have to let something go.
9. I will lose something more.
10. I will have to feel.

Once again, I don't want to do this.

Thursday's Thought

You can avoid arguments with girls about lifting the toilet seat just by using the sink.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Wednesday's Words of Wisdom

If you are choking on an ice cube, don't panic. Simply pour a cup of boiling water down your throat and – presto - the blockage will be almost instantly removed.

It's Over

Okay, we all knew it was too good to last. I find my one true love, and wouldn't you know, he leaves me. He did tell me he would miss me, and that he's sad to leave me behind. And then something about his wife loving the fact that she's going back to Utah...apparently she has something I don't...oh yeah, she's married to him...and attracted to him...okay, I know when I can't compete...

I met with Therapist for the last time today. We talked about all the things that have been causing me stress, and the fact that I don't always cope in the best way. However, Therapist also pointed out that the stress I'm currently under would have broken me a year ago, and even though I had a few bad days, I'm still here working through everything. The negative coping was momentary and not repetitive. He's concerned about the eating disorder, but has given me the responsibility to decide if I need further therapy to address that. My decision is: not right now. I'll deal with it later. Darrin has been brought in as a watch dog. He'll monitor my weight and eating habits, and if he feels intervention is needed, he'll let me know. I'm not happy about that, but it's better than being referred to another therapist at this point.

So there it is. I've been blessed to have had the greatest genius Therapist in the world for ten months. Who could ask for more? Things he told me during our therapy session:
1. I had mentioned to him a couple of months ago that I was thinking of going back to school to attain more training in marriage and family therapy (mostly because I want to do more research with SSA and MOM's). Therapist told me today that when I feel that I've reached resolution with the personal issues I'm currently researching and working through, to let him know. He'll give me a recommendation to any school I choose--as long as I give him access to all my research. He also said I was a better candidate than most who enter the field because I had excellent boundaries, good intuition, and was a wonderful listener. Coming from him, that's high praise, and even if I don't follow through and return to school, it was worth going to therapy just to hear that.

2. He told me that he'll have quite a bit of latitude in choice of clients at his new job, and said that if I ever felt like sending him referrals, he would love to work with people I know and have contact with.

3. He said it had been a joy to work with me, and that he'd learned a lot during our time together. He promised me that I'm stronger than I think. He told me that most of my success has been because of me, not because of him (which is a lie, but still kind of nice to hear). He told me that I just need to keep working on things and thinking/researching as I have done for the past ten months, to be aware of my work load and take breaks as needed, and I'll be able to eventually come to a point where resolution will happen.

4. He told me that even though it hurts, I should finish my research on grief, and then allow myself to go through the process. He told me to rely heavily on any support person who will allow me to do so as I grieve, and to talk a lot, blog often, and eventually I'll make it through the worst of it. He made me promise not to do this alone. He says it will be the worst of all I've done thus far, because I'll have to allow more vulnerability, trust other people to help me find comfort, and change some belief structures that have been in place for my whole life. He told me I need to be certain not to overload myself during this time or take on more jobs to mask or ignore feelings. He did say I could run to my heart's content, as long as I eat regularly. If you're a person who is close to me, and you don't want me to take advantage of our friendship when this begins, let me know now. It will probably be ugly, and I might even cry or act irrational, so believe me, I'll understand if you need a friendship sabbatical during that time.

I don't know what else to say. I'm going to miss Therapist's unique assignments (he confessed that he's never asked another client to do most of what I've done--interesting), his sense of humor, his willingness to be open-minded and to think outside the box. I suppose, if I'm being honest, I understand that I'm losing a major support person. I need to think about what that means. I think it means that I'm sort of sad. I'm going to miss him.

Tuesday's Timely Tip

Clumsy? Avoid cutting yourself while slicing vegetables by getting someone else to hold them while you chop away.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Monday, April 30, 2007

How things are going--the truth

It's 2 a.m. I should be sleeping.

Many things have happened recently. For awhile things were on an upswing and I was making incredible progress very quickly. Then everything came to a grinding halt. Heartache and betrayal are a part of life. There's some of that happening in my own right now. In order to protect my reputation, because I am known personally now to so many people, I have removed any posts that might be harmful to me in any way. Those of you who have emailed, asking why, I thank you for your concern. My hope is that, given time, things will calm down and I will once again be able to use this blog as it was intended. If not, it has certainly served its purpose in more ways than I had ever imagined.

I will just say briefly that I didn't intend to make anyone worried when I started deleting entries--but it's kind of gratifying to know that there are people who not only notice, but also care. I don't feel that I can answer your emails individually right now--sorry. So in general, no, things are not well right now, but I don't expect that to last. I'm struggling (perhaps for the rest of my life, who knows?) with my eating disorder, depression, and the compulsion to cut again. I'm saying this because my impulse has always been to hide everything, to never say anything. I don't want to do that anymore.

Last week I posted a quote from Protean's blog: "Life is hard. For many people life is brutally unfair. I'd like to believe that death is the wiping away of every worry, care, heartache, trauma and fear that you experienced and carried through life. Death should be the complete safety that the nature of living never affords you." I posted this because it affected me deeply and for the first time in a long while, I found myself longing for a rest that only death could afford me. I removed the post because the intensity of that feeling left me feeling frightened.

Today is better. Granted, we're only two hours into today, but I'm not feeling compulsion to hurt myself, or wishing for death. Tonight I'm only wishing that I could sleep, and that I were not alone (Darrin is in Utah). Those sound like healthy wishes to me.

I'm realizing that I'm stronger than I think, and that I really can make it alone. For awhile my learning consisted of trying to figure out how to rely on others. I've done that now. I understand why it's necessary occasionally. But truthfully, in the end, I must rely on me.

In spite of setbacks and heartaches, all part of living, I'm going forward. There is no other choice, really. I have spent a year and a half dismantling myself. Now I will put all the pieces back together and return to my well-ordered existance. That's just who I am.

A sidenote: My love affair with Therapist is coming to an end. He will be moving away in a month. I have four to six weeks to figure everything out and be all better. Wish me luck.

Oh, and to those of you who have been concerned enough to email me: I appreciate you so much. There's something very healing in finding that people who don't even know me actually care enough to contact me and let me know of their thoughts and feelings. I will be removing this post, as well, in a week. Just thought I'd let you know.

Sunday, April 29, 2007


Four-year-old Nephew: Look! We found some ants!

Me: Is that what you have in that can?

Four-year-old Nephew: Yep! See! They're nice!

Me: I guess they are. You sure have a lot of ants in there.

Four-year-old Nephew: Yep! Want to smell them?

The Radio

Four-year-old Nephew: My dad took me to see the radio once.

Me: Really? What happened when you went to see the radio?

Four-year-old Nephew: Well, there were some bad cowboys and some good cowboys.

Me: Are you sure it was a radio?

Four-year-old Nephew: Yep.

Me: Tell me about the cowboys.

Four-year-old Nephew: The bad cowboys rode some horses and chased cows until they caught them with a rope. Then they tied them all up. Then the bad cowboys went away. The cows tried to stand up, but they couldn't, and they were sad. So the good cowboys came and untied them.

Me: Wow. It sounds like you were worried about the cows.

Four-year-old Nephew: Yeah. Next time we go, I'm going to yell at the bad cowboys, "You leave those cows alone!"

Me: Good idea.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Lamb

My father chose not to raise sheep. He did that as a youth and didn't enjoy it, and really could see no financial benefit to adding those animals to our farm. In our third year of farming, however, one day my father brought home a bum lamb. Lambs are often born in pairs. It's not uncommon for the mother to abandon one and not allow it to nurse. Those are referred to as "bum lambs" and must be bottle-fed. They require lots of care and don't always live.

I have to say that lambs are very sweet. They love to be cuddled and held. We fed our lamb. We held him and cuddled him. We spoiled him rotton.

Something many people don't know about lambs is that they will often take on the characteristics of different animals with which they are raised. Our lamb spent much of his time with our very special cowdog who was also the family pet. The lamb followed the dog to the fields to round up the cows and could often be seen rolling head over heels as the cow it was chasing, who knew the lamb wasn't a dog (which just shows that the cow was more intelligent than the lamb), kicked it away. The lamb's bleating approximated barking, and it trotted over to all our guests, asking to be petted along with our dog.

Our dog was a great jumper. When we took our pickup truck to do farm work, he could always be seen sailing over the side of the pickup to ride with us in the back. We enjoyed his company immensely. After the arrival of the lamb, this process became supremely complicated. As the lamb grew more certain that he was, indeed, a dog, he also tried to jump into the pickup to ride with us. Not being able to jump quite as high as our dog, he would end up slamming into the side of the truck. Undeterred, he would get a running start and try again, repeating his collision with the truck. Again and again he would jump and slam. Finally, in pity for the stupid but determined animal, my dad would lower the tailgate so that the lamb could at least get his forelegs onto it. We would pull him in and the lamb would take his place next to our decidedly aggrieved and long-suffering dog.

There are many scriptural instances when Christ refers to himself as The Good Shepherd, and to his followers as "Lambs". After my firsthand experience with our lamb, I've never wondered if Christ has a sense of humor--he does. But it's interesting. Just as the lamb couldn't get into the pickup without help, there are many things in my life that I cannot do on my own--which doesn't mean I don't try, even when I continuously slam into a metaphorical metal wall. I'm always so grateful when a compassionate Savior lowers the tailgate and helps me in (mostly because at that point I'm really bruised and battered and it's all my own fault). I also find it very interesting that Christ compared us to an animal that takes on characteristics of the animals it follows. That ability to try to become something it is not is precisely what we are asked to do when we are told to become like Christ--an impossible task. No matter how hard we try, those around us will always see the reality, that we are human and imperfect, and sometimes unkind people will send us reeling as we are kicked away. But that trait to try to become more than we are exists in all of us, and the beautiful thing is that in the end, Christ can actually make up any deficit we may have and we can achieve what the lamb could not--we can become that which we strive to be.

Christ also refers to himself as the Lamb of God. There is much symbolism in this title, which has been pointed out to us since we were in Primary. However, the farmgirl in me prefers to believe that just as we strive to become like him, so he strives to become like his Father. There are traits of the lamb in all of us, Christ included.

The end of the story is this: We ate the lamb...he was delicious...lessons were symbolically internalized...true learning...okay, maybe not...

Farm Stories

I spent nine years of my life on a dairy farm. As the second of five girls, I was a farmhand. I fed calves, cleaned the chicken coop, gathered eggs, drove tractors, seeded fields, harvested grain and hay, helped in the barn, raised and trained horses, cats, lambs, dogs and other various animals. I don't care if I never have contact with a cow or chicken again. There are some things that I just don't miss. However...

I learned many life lessons, things I still remember and think of often. So for the next little while, I'll be sharing those here. Fair warning? I think so.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

In Praise of The Great -L-

I just have to say this: I love -L-.

I love the fact that he lets dialogue take place in his comments, regardless of whether or not he agrees or disagrees.

I love the fact that he'll do almost anything to garner a surfeit of comments--and he revels in that.

I love the fact that AtP believes that -L- is not actually a real person, but is, in reality, my male alter ego, and is still confused as to why I would have conversations through Google Chat with myself.

I love the fact that, in spite of all the blog improvements that have taken place in the last few months, -L- still has the coolest blog in the Queerosphere.

I love the fact that, for an over-emotional gay guy, -L- actually thinks fairly logically, which is beautiful for me to behold.

I love the fact that he's married, which makes me feel less lonely when my own marriage is bashed by those who cannot ever understand...mostly because they'll never try.

I love the fact that he talks about so many different things, regardless of his ulterior motives.

I love the fact that he might go skydiving with Jason and me if he ever stops trying to decide whether or not that's a dangerous thing to do. (p.s. Yes! It could be dangerous! You're a superhero! Get over it!)

Okay, I'm finished gushing. Don't worry, I won't let it happen again for awhile.

The Prodigal

There are many lessons that can be learned from this parable. I thought I'd found or heard them all. But one more detail was pointed out to me last week.

I have a friend who is walking a path where I cannot follow. Naturally, this is a rather painful fork in the road, because I will always love him, and I've spent lots of time with him in the past months. So I struggle with the part of me that wants to hold on, and the part that knows I must not.

I was talking with my dad about it, and he brought up the parable of the Prodigal Son. I thought to myself: Oh no, not this again. I don't want to hear all the crap about how one day he'll come back, because quite frankly, that's not true, and it's not my purpose to decide if he will or not. And I hate being optimistic about things that bug me.

However, Dad surprised me. He said, "When the Prodigal Son left home, what did his parents give him?" I thought for a moment as realization of what my dad was telling me dawned slowly.

When their son left home, his parents gave him all they could. His entire inheritance. They didn't tell him to spend it wisely. They probably knew he'd waste it on living in ways they did not approve. They were probably sad and a little bit weepy. They knew he was moving in a direction they could not follow--but they withheld nothing. They gave him all they could, and sent him on his way.

And so I will do the same. I have given whatever my friend would accept of my time, love, and friendship. I have made nothing conditional on his decisions, convictions, or actions. I cannot go with him, but I hope he will take with him the knowledge that I will always love him...and if he ever needs a place to rest for just a moment, I hope he remembers that there is a place of safety and peace with me.

There is much to be learned in the words of Christ. That never seems to change.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Sort of Answers

Some people emailed me today. Three had noticed that my blog has changed. One was searching for a former post and couldn't find it. A few others noticed that my sidebar is different.

Actually, I was a little surprised. I have a firm belief that no one actually reads my posts, they just look at the titles and make up whatever they believe would go well with those. Apparently I misjudged those who emailed me. My apologies.

I was going to just give a general reason for all the changes/deletions. However, I find myself at a loss for words right now. So, I'll respond to you as soon as I can.

Thanks for stopping by.

Five Questions

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, back in September (because I just can't decide how I want to begin this post, so I'm being all-inclusive today), I met Tolkien Boy online. We talked about everything. He confessed deep, dark secrets and I made certain everything was saved in my Gmail for future blackma...I mean, reference. I tried to confess deep, dark secrets, but as I have none, that attempt fell flat on its face. However, I believe I should be given credit for trying. It is not my fault if Tolkien Boy has a life more interesting than mine, and there are definite perks to having a relatively boring life. I'm certain that it makes me a better listener, mostly because I'm fascinated by everything from the colors of socks to why people enjoy eating meat.

In the ensuing time period between once upon a time and today, Mr. Boy and I progressed from Google Chat to phone calls, and even met in person a couple of times which is really rather huge for one as reclusive as I (after all, I choose to live in one of the least populated states). It is possible that we communicated at least five days in each week. In spite of the fact that Mr. Boy has only lived 26 years, it is difficult to expound the details of all those years unless one is able to chat rather frequently. I believe that at this point I could successfully write a five page storybook detailing at least one aspect of the life of Tolkien Boy if called upon to do so, and since my lifelong pursuit has always been to become Mr. Boy's autobiographer, I consider the time spent with him not only highly entertaining and emotionally fulfilling, but it will one day be enormously lucrative.

However, it seems that after all this time and numerous conversations, Tolkien Boy has found that he has a slight interest in Samantha Stevens. Naturally, I'm a little surprised as my life follows a set pattern daily and as far back as I can remember (at my age, this is usually only one day), has never varied. But because I like him and don't want to discontinue our regular chats, I have agreed to answer his questions. I must say, I find the questions much more interesting than the answers, but that falls in line with the nature of my relationship with Mr. Boy--he is fascinating and I am simply the perfect foil for such fascination.

Mr. Boy's first question: You don't eat blue food, I understand. In Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, a girl becomes blue food. If you were to become an item of blue food, which would be the most terrifying for you and why?

My answer: I don't eat blue food because it doesn't exist. Even blueberries are actually purple. The closest natural blue food is blue corn, which I don't eat simply because it isn't widely available--but I still wouldn't eat it on principle if it was. Any other blue edible is artificial and therefore, not real. However, if a real food were to become a blue food, and I had to become it, I suppose I would find blue beefsteak rather terrifying. One would have to surmise that the bovine from which it came (of which I would necessarily have to be a part--a terrifying thought in and of itself) had been deprived of oxygen for an extended period of time in order to achieve said blueness, which seems rather unpleasant from the perspective of a steak. I believe I would really hate that, as I enjoy breathing on a regular basis. One might even say I take it for granted.

Mr Boy's second question: The people in charge of the National Emergency Broadcasting system have given you the opportunity to announce your own personal emergency, nation-wide. What is it?

My answer: It's rare that I have emergencies, and if I do, announcing them would bring me great discomfort. However, a personal emergency that always bears announcing is that of running out of toilet tissue when the need is greatest. And yes, I believe I need the entire nation's help when that happens to me.

Mr. Boy's third question: Dorothy Parker once said "Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses." Possible replies to this include "Men always make passes at Jacqueline Onassis" or "Men never get lasses who pass, passing gasses." What extra-clothing fashion adornment can similarly sum up your entire existence?

My answer: There isn't one. I truly mean that. Because I would really rather go naked than not, and I think I look much better that way. However, if I must choose something it would be a man's necktie. Anyone who knows me well, knows why.

Mr. Boy's fourth question: You have the opportunity to bring one extinct animal back from the dead, with the assurance that its being alive won't actually destroy all the rest of life on the planet. What animal do you bring back, and what do you do with it?

My answer: I would bring back the golden toads, which makes perfect sense considering that I am a witch, and witches love toads. However, I also love these animals because both the male and female are brightly colored--something usually reserved for males--and I believe females should be given equal attention always. Besides that, they are amphibians and I love all amphibians because they have very cute smiles. What would I do with them? Put them in my tropical flower garden and allow them to breed with abandon.

Mr. Boy's fifth question: There's a fire in your house. Thinking quickly, your children have evacuated. Do you fly away home anyway?

My answer: Yes.

I find it interesting that it has taken me nearly seven months of constant conversation in order to barely scratch the surface of the wealth of personal information about the incredibly fascinating Tolkien Boy--and I expect it will take years before I will even come close to comprehending the vast scope of the essence of him. And yet, in five simple questions, Mr. Boy has managed to find out everything there is to know about Samantha, and then some--how does he do that?! And the problem with this, of course, is that now that he knows all about me, boredom will set in and our friendship is over.

Therefore, I'm wondering if my one solitary blog visitor would mind if I ask five questions about him/her? I'm definitely going to need a friend in the near future, and I love getting to know people...what do you think? Will you play?
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