Click here to play music

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.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Counseling 2--Second Session

I have a unique memory. Sometimes things are etched deeply and replay repeatedly in sight and sound. Other times I can consciously choose to forget things, especially if they are stressful to remember. I don't remember a time when my memory was not consciously selective. If I choose to, I can remember things indefinitely, especially if the memory is verbal/visual (i.e., I read it) or musical/aural (i.e., connected to music in some way, and I heard it). This could stem from training. I memorized lots of scripts when I was involved with theater--and anyone who's done that knows you don't just memorize your own lines, you memorize everyone else's, as well--at least that was my experience. And all my recitals had to be memorized, which usually entailed about seventy-five pages of music for each hour of performance. Because these had to be memorized detail by detail, it's difficult to forget them, especially when they've been reinforced with the physical act of performance. Regardless, I have difficulty forgetting things unless I consciously choose to disregard facts, experiences, sights, sounds, tastes...Sometimes the space in my head feels a little crowded.

When I discussed things with my counselor this time, he mentioned that my thought processing of any experience is non-emotional. Basically, the mind tries to make sense of any experience that occurs in life. There are times when people will link an experience to the emotions it triggers (a death, for instance, is a typical emotional experiential link). Sometimes people link an experience to the senses it pertains to (trying a new food, smelling an odor, having sex). Other times people link new experiences to prior experiences and try to process them in a logical sequence or argument line. Most people use all those resources at different times when categorizing and processing life experiences.

However, it seems that I'm retarded, because when my brain says, "Hey!! Feel those feelings--aren't they grand/sad/beautiful/happy/angry...", my response is, "NO WAY!! I have to understand the situation first, then I'll allow myself to feel something about it." Basically, if I have a spontaneous response to any situation, it would be to laugh, which allows me an outlet of feeling, without having to acknowledge exactly what that feeling is. Many people have moments when this happens in their lives, because feelings are scary and can be stressful. Unfortunately, for me, I don't have moments--this is normal for me.

Moving forward, when my brain says, "Stay in the moment--savor the taste--connect with that scent--feel the sensations...", my response is, "No WAY!! That would be a vulnerable act. I would be unprotected. Someone might take advantage of me." The more twisted response is, "NO WAY!! I felt some of those sensations in my past, and it was scary and horrifying and left me feeling terribly sad. I don't want to feel that again."

So my way to work through every experience is to let my mind make logical connections and create scenarios that make sense to me. Then, if there is an emotion to be felt or a sensation to connect with the situation, I'll add that in. Basically, no spontenaeity. Which is not to say I'm not spontaneous. Anyone who's chatted with me would probably concur--I think...

The point of all this is that my previous counselor had me do some exercises that were deeply explorative of my emotions--something I had never done before. Because it is my nature to flinch from such things, my current counselor feels that those exercises were probably highly upsetting--but since I don't acknowledge such feelings, I didn't express that to my former counselor, and we continued with exercises which, although helpful in many ways, were also a bit detrimental in breaking down my ability to deal with emotions and sensations in a rational way. Hence, my weird relationship with friend David, my problems with weeping after having sex with my husband, my strange attachment to my need to rid myself of my body.

The process he has recommended is highly rational. I can analyze to my heart's content. If I feel an irrational (my assessment, not his) feeling (i.e., hatred toward my body, sadness after sex), I am allowed to approach those feelings from an entirely analytical standpoint, and, if I choose to do so, I'm allowed to forget any negative memories attached to them. I don't have to confront my cousin, or even report him to DFS, as my former counselor suggested. I don't even have to acknowledge his existence. I haven't seen him for fifteen years. I don't have to see him again, and if I happen to run into him, I don't have to talk to him.

Amazingly, this new approach also gives me the freedom to choose to explore any feelings I would like to. New counselor says he has several suggestible options for exploration. His sole focus seems to be to get me back to a place where I can eat, enjoy eating, and stop connecting that physical sensation with horrifying past experiences. I listened to his proposals with interest. He asked if I'd like to try any of them right away. I said no. He wasn't surprised. He said, "You think about this. I'll see you in a couple of days. Then we'll discuss which of the options you'd like to try first."

So he's allowing me space to think. He's allowing me to decide on my own without pressuring me. He's not threatening me with medication or institutionalization. He says this method is unconventional--then he said I'm a little unconventional. He said most women love the emotional exploration, the sensation connections. Just one more piece of evidence that I'm not "most women". But my life experiences don't mirror a typical former abuse victim's experiences, nor do my SSA experiences mirror a typical woman's pattern (although I disagree that there is such a thing as "typical". Just me on my soapbox, saying each individual is unique, as are their defining experiences). So perhaps this approach will help me.

I'm hopeful--and a little desperate at this point.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

True or False

Sometimes I wonder about stark contrasts, finite boundaries, black and white. As my life increases in time (i.e. I get old), the edges seem to soften, fuzzy lines blurring into one another. Perhaps it's just my eyesight failing...

I read -L-'s latest post with interest. So many of his words resonated with me, which is unusual since, in general, my involvement as I read, is clinical, at best. I've trained myself to be detached--it's the only way I can investigate my feelings without becoming immersed in, or overwhelmed by them. I don't believe I'm the only one who does this, although I might be one of the few who will admit it. But in the process of searching for truth, I have to admit, it's really an unnecessary quest. I've found my answers. I won't be turned from my convictions. I am where I will be for the rest of my life. So why do I continue to explore?

I think it's more than passing interest or idle curiosity. I've never needed validation or support when it comes to the things I really believe. I think I continue to read, seek, question because the answers come with deeper clarity each time, and repetition seems to be an essential requirement to lifetime learning. But along with the clarity comes an easing of austere judgment, especially as that judgment pertains to others. As I understand what is true for me, what is best for me, I become more and more certain that my path is mine alone, and truth seems fluid, certitude is dubious, at best.

This is not to say that I am finding elasticity in the gospel I believe--no, there are certain constants that do not change. I'm finding that flexibility inside myself...the ability to accept flaws, to deal with humanity, to realize we're all in this together--like it or not--and we were put on this earth to love and help, and to accept those things in return. I often believe I don't have to accept anything from anyone, but if I had been meant to journey alone, that omnipotent God would have created a planet for me on which I could live my solitary existance. Obviously, that didn't happen.

As I read through -L-'s words, he created one of those black/white, right/wrong dilemmas for me. "So, which is it then? Be true to yourself, or forget yourself?" The interesting thing is that, regardless of what I've yearned for, no matter what I may have missed, I've never felt that I've been untrue to myself, and I've never forgotten myself, either. In fact, as I've immersed myself in learning to love in a way completely different from what felt natural, I've discovered a depth to myself that I never knew existed. And that depth seems to grow with each life changing experience.

In twenty years there have been many experiences. The one that seems to stay with me happened eleven years ago. My tiny daughter, six weeks old, weighed in at about 5 1/2 pounds. She was in the hospital with RSV--and not expected to live out the week. Her skin was purplish-gray, and she labored for every breath she took. She crashed four times the first day. I sat beside her bassinet and cried. Darrin held my hand and cried. Then they started an airborne treatment. The doctor told me it was unlikely to help, but we should try it anyway. The medication they tented to my daughter triggered my asthma. I was not allowed in the room with her. I stood at the window, wishing I could hold her, wondering why this was happening.

I remember watching Darrin, as he entered Tabitha's room. I was so envious, and relieved at the same time. I watched as he cuddled her tiny body, as he rocked her. And I realized that this was not my daughter, it was our daughter, made with our love, because we worked together to get past the obstacles. We had created the beautiful life that was cradled in my husband's arms. I realized how tenuous that life was, and how in just one day, it could be gone. I realized that any perceived sacrifice was not a sacrifice at all. And I knew that what I had built with my husband was real and tangible and must continue. I would never be happy in any other circumstance, regardless of what my body might say.

Prayers, priesthood blessings, faith...the doctor told me the day Tabitha was released from the hospital that he had been certain she would die. The nurses told me they had never seen a baby so ill recover. One nurse told me she had never seen anyone love another person as much as my husband did. I told her, "Yes, he's a wonderful father." "Oh no, honey," she said, "I was talking about how much he loves YOU!" I looked at her, surprised. She laughed, "It's in the way he looks at you, the way he touches you, the way he speaks to're very lucky."

-L- said: "I think the 'real me' took a backseat when I got married. I signed up to give myself away. And I think the promise that, 'He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it,' rings true in this instance." I can't debate that point with him, and perhaps my statement here will actually make his point for him; but all I know is that when I got married, I discovered, over time, the "real me." The me that acknowledges that I may always feel a need to be held by someone other than Darrin, but I feel complete when he holds me at night. The me that feels a physical response when I make eye contact with a beautiful woman, but feels safe, whole, and right when I make eye contact with my husband. Darrin makes me feel more "me" than any other person. When we are together, I have no doubt that what we have is sacred, special. When we are apart, I feel that even more strongly. Did I initially "lose" my life, only to find it?

"Many people die with their music still in them. Why is this so? Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it, time runs out." What exactly is the music inside of me? Is it the song the world tells me to sing? Is it the song of the heart required of the Lord? Am I allowed to write my own composition? I believe I've been making music for my entire life. Sometimes that music was of higher quality than others. But now the tune is familiar but not boring, played with ease and finesse, with the occasional mistake put right with daily practice. The tune is carefully constructed through conscious choice, and trial/error experiences, not inspired by perfect pitch or natural ability.

The interesting thing about sacrifice is that, when all is said and done, in the face of the blessings received, one often wonders exactly what was lost. "Self-denial … is not the negative, forbidding thing that often we shake our heads about. In one sense there is no such thing as self-denial, for what we call such is the necessary price we pay for things on which our hearts are set.”
--Henry Emerson Fosdick

Thursday, August 24, 2006


**Ugh!! I finished this post and tried to publish it and Blogger lost it for me--so this is take two--and it's not even a GREAT post--bleh!!! And I'm sure if I get any comments it will be from helpful bloggers telling me how to not lose my posts again, instead of addressing the content of this mediocre post...sigh...**

Nurture (verb):
1. Help develop, help grow
2. Bring up
3. Provide with nourishment
4. Encourage somebody or something to flourish

I mentioned my blog to my therapist. He wanted to know if I had any vistors. I said yes. He wanted to know what I talked about on my blog. I told him I had posted my counseling assignments about abuse, about my relationship with my to day stuff...general complaints about life...depression and woes...frustration because I can't solve my most recent problem. My therapist drew the mistaken conclusion that my visitors must be females who also have suffered abuse in their lives. No, I said, I actually have very few female visitors. He asked how many visitors I averaged. I told him three or four commented on a regular basis, and occasionally a female guest commented, as well. He asked me if the guests were random, all different, or if they had anything in common. So I told him they were pretty much all gay. He said that didn't surprise him. Men with SSA are drawn to nurturing people, especially women, and I must seem to them to be a very nurturing person.

And THAT is the first time ANYONE has EVER said ANYTHING like that to me. As a new mom, my own mother would telephone me every couple of hours to remind me to hold my babies. As a teacher, my general response to a problem is to exhibit initial sympathy, but I insist the student take responsibility for his/her own problems. As a parent, currently, one would have to note that my children are extremely independent and self-sufficient, and I'm impatient with their friends who expect me to do anything for them. As a businesswoman, I would have to say I'm a little manipulative--just enough to tip the scales in my favor, but not unethical. When my family is sick, I leave and let Darrin deal with the fallout (although, when they were younger, I was the one who held them when they puked, and rocked them back to sleep). I am not viewed as a largely loving or sympathetic person, and if you come to me when you're sad--my likely response will be to laugh and tell you how hilarious I find your plight.

ATP told me he thought I was nurturing. But I'm not sure that's valid because everyone nurtures him. That just kind of goes along with the "youngest guy just coming out" motif. I told my therapist all this--and his response was that just as SSA men seek out nurturing women, the reverse is also true--women seek out nurturing from SSA men, and he indicated that perhaps my blog was a call for nurturing to which they had responded. Now, I suppose he could be right...there have certainly been times, especially recently, when I've felt the need to be nurtured. But I guess I don't think that it's unusual for people in vulnerable positions to want that.

Regardless, if I think about some of the commentary, I still find myself disagreeing with my counselor. For instance, I don't find it at all nurturing when -L- calls me crazy, or says: "...get the hell to a doctor!" (although it cracks me up when he does). And when Master FOB says that in spite of the fact that I'm an extremely accomplished musician with a scintillating personality, the only way I can enter his elite inner circle is if I'm a tall, African-American male, well, I don't find that nurturing at all. Extremely funny--but not nurturing. And I'm trying to be sad about the futility of it all, but can't quite get it right.

I guess I'm a little aggravated that my therapist is stereotyping. I suppose he's entitled to do so, since one of his specialities is working with SSA men (hence, David's therapist), and the other is working with clients who have eating disorders (of which I am one), but it still bugs me. It's kind of like saying girls aren't as good at math as boys. Considering that I never had to take a math class in college because I AP'd out of it (but I still took two advanced calc classes just for fun--and an easy A), I don't find that statement true--even if it's accurate in a majority setting. And given the verbosity of the male commentary in blogworld, I'd say that destroys all credence of the generalization that women are more verbal. But given the fact that most of the blogs I read are not written by straight men, perhaps the point is moot.

I believe all people have a universal need to be nurtured. I have a difficult time believing those needs can be met in cyberspace. I have a problem with my therapist making judgments about my writing, when he's never read it, about my visitors, when he's never met them, about my life, when he knows only what I told him during a 50 minute session. And I guess I'm feeling a little hostile about this because generalizations and categorizations made in ignorance infuriate me.

Hmmmm...maybe I just need some good nurturing...

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Counseling 2, Session 1,
Let's try this again and see
if we can get it right this time.

I hate counseling, therapy, psyche evaluations, and any other kind of inner probing.

That being said, this session was relatively painless. My new therapist is a man. For me, that's slightly problematic. I don't know why.

For the most part the session dealt in generalities. I made general statements about the fact that I was abused. He asked general questions about my desire to live. I made general statements about my quality of life. He asked general questions about my self-esteem. I told him, "I am one of the most capable people I know." I figured false modesty wouldn't be helpful. He just as well know now that I'm an unapologetic ego-maniac. He tried to ascertain my career. I told him I was a musician, tax-preparer, financial consultant. He asked me to define musician. I told him that this year it meant I taught piano lessons in my studio, was guest lecturing for six weeks in the "Historical piano literature" class at the university, was the rehearsal conductor/oboist for the Messiah orchestra, and the assistant coordinator of the RACE piano exams. He asked if it was stressful to juggle all those things. I said it was more stressful to not have enough to do--it only takes about 45 minutes to clean a house.

We moved to church involvement. He said he assumed, since my husband was a bishop, that I was active. I said I was. He asked what my calling was. I told him I was Laurel Advisor and that I'd begin teaching early morning seminary in a couple of weeks. He asked if I ever got tired. I said, sometimes.

He told me Darrin had said he was concerned that I was running so much. I said I didn't think that was a real problem. I usually only ran about seven miles at a time.

He asked what caused me stress. I told him, not being able to eat, not understanding why my brain thinks stupid things about my body, knowing I was abused but not understanding why, and having to buy smaller clothes. He asked why buying smaller clothes made me stressed--besides the expense. I told him it meant that I was smaller, and I don't like, misses clothes are sized in even numbers from size 0 up to 150 (actually, I have no idea what the largest size is). I'm wearing a 4 now. That only leaves two smaller sizes. That's not a lot of leeway, and I DON'T want to get any smaller. Smaller means less able to defend myself--and I hate that.

He told me he wouldn't focus on whether or not I was eating (YAY!! no more food journal). He said my disorder was not typical, and he felt it was more a defensive reaction to an emotional confusion, than an actual disorder which would be based in the need to lose weight in order to control one's environment. Whatever...I don't want to think about whether or not I'm typical.

I'm thinking about telling him about my SSA when we meet next. I haven't decided if it's pertinent. I'm still trying to decide how I feel about having a male counselor. I'm still trying to decide how I feel about having a counselor who is also David's. That's creepy. In his last e-mail, David said, "I find it hilarious (you have rubbed off on me so much! I never would have thought this funny before I knew you!) that we have the same counselor. It's not hilarious, it's just...odd. And coincidental. And kind of cool." What a weird person he is. He's seventeen--I'll forgive his weirdness.

My counselor said one of the things we have to decide is whether probing the past is healthy or whether it exacerbates the current problem. In essence, if remembering causes more pain than healing. And he sort of gave me permission to forget, if we felt that would be more helpful to my situation. Amazingly, I felt relieved.

"For God has not given us
the spirit of fear..."

Santorio made a comment recently, on -L-'s blog, pertaining to risk-taking behaviors. He said: "...risk-taking behavior has genetic roots (cf matt ridley's somewhat dated but excellent discussion in "genome: history of a species" or something like that). there are evolutionary advantages to risk-taking, but not if everyone is a risk-taker. while joe is climbing a mountain to see if there are better lands on the other side, fred needs to stay behind tending the fields so joe doesn't starve." I think the absense of feminine characters in this scenario is interesting, especially as women are not thought of, in general, as risk taking entities.

Truthfully, I think MORE women take risks than men. I think of pregnancy and childbirth as a great example of this. Many would think skydiving, hunting, being in the military are more risky behaviors. But, and Dr. -L- might argue with me about this, I believe childbearing involves much greater risk-- both long and short term.

I will preface this with the caveat that my personal experience with childbearing was nowhere near picture perfect. In fact, I was never able to carry a baby beyond 35 weeks. From about week 20, my body wanted that foreign object OUT, and did everything in its power to expel it. I was in the hospital way too often, trying to keep my babies in-utero until they could be viable human beings. I remember, about 2 weeks following the birth of my daughter, driving past the hospital and feeling the strongest compulsion to GO INSIDE, get hooked to an IV, and be miserable. It was horrifying. But this has nothing to do with my original premise.

Looking at the physical aspects of pregnancy, I find it difficult to believe that anyone would voluntarily say, "Yeah, I think it would be an adrenalin rush to have something inside of me that would gradually stretch my abs to the point it looks as if there's a watermelon inside--and that should last about 40 weeks. I think it would really enhance that experience to not be able to eat without getting indigestion, or to throw up daily for about 5 weeks. Oh, and having to fight for breath during the final four weeks--that's a rush in and of itself." If one looks at the risks involved in the previous description, they are numerous. I get tired of hearing people talk about how amazing the female body is, as it endures those abuses. To be stretched from the inside out??? And it can't be good for the body to retch daily, not to mention the damage to tooth enamel and esophagus. People wonder why pregnant woment seem a bit insane? I believe it has to do with lack of oxygen due to decreased lung capacity.

Anyone can jump from a plane, get caught by a parachute, and land--hopefully without breaking an ankle. This takes a matter of minutes. Anyone can hang-glide, scuba-dive, drive recklessly, chase tornadoes. Again, over in a short period of time. Pregnancy is forever, because even after it's finished, there's a side-effect that never goes away--one that can bring incredible joy or break your heart. That's pure risk. Which is why, I suppose a male partner is necessary and good. Given the stress of the risky behavior necessary in pregnancy, it's nice to have someone in a supportive role--sort of like the guy with the extra parachute, just in case the first one doesn't open. Oh yeah, and since that guy helped start the whole process, it's good if he sticks around and sees it through to the end...and I'm not talking about the "nine months" ending, either. I'm talking about the real end, the one that requires staying around as the wrinkles form and the gray hair comes in.

Truthfully, all this is masking the true reason for this post. I've held snakes, chased spiders, jumped off roofs, ridden motorcycles, climbed trees, flown a plane, walked a tightrope, and swung upside-down on a trapeze. Oh, and riskiest of all, I've had three pregnancies.

But I'm afraid to go see my new therapist today. I'm afraid to talk, once again, about the things that really frighten me. The fear that maybe there's no help for me, that maybe I'll never be able to figure out how to get better. The fear that I'll be swallowed up in the agony inside me. The fear that the pain which stops me from eating will continue longer than I will live. I'm so terribly afraid. Really...really...scared...

Sunday, August 20, 2006


Today I was teaching Young Women. The lesson was "Personal Purity Through Self-Discipline." I have to say, first of all, that I believe the YW lesson topics are inspired and necessary. However, I am unhappy with the content. The questions are pendantic, the stories/illustrations lean toward sentiment rather than inviting spiritual introspection. There is little invitation for further study, just pat answers that will satisfy for a little while--that is, until they're challenged. In short, I see little that will help build strong testimonies in our Young Women, nor anything that will inspire them to seek strong relationships with God and Christ. Does my assessment here belong under the auspices of "criticizing the Lord's annointed?" Perhaps...I hope not...but I stand by my words--our youth need MORE.

So my process is to take the topic, pull out anything from the lesson book that MIGHT be helpful or inspiring, then read all I can about the topic in the scriptures and conference talks. It takes a long time, and I usually use about 1% of all I study, but thanks to the mixed blessing I've been granted of being able to remember pretty much anything I read/see, if I need to retrieve more than I put into the actual lesson outline, I can do so. As a result, the girls get the benefit of more scriptures, gospel resources they can study at home, and, let's face it, a less than typical point of view from Sister Stevens. The standard compliment I receive from the other YW leaders is, "That was an interesting way to present that topic. I'd never considered it quite like that before." Which I suppose is a euphemism for, "Wow!! You totally screwed up the lesson! What were you thinking???" But I really don't care...I teach those things I feel are confirmed by the Spirit, and I assume that as long as my sources are scriptural (which includes conference addresses), I'm okay.

I haven't always been this brave, and I think it's good for me to chart my progress because I could use a little boost right now. I was called to be in Young Women (2nd counselor) when I was 19. I had been married a couple of months. Darrin was called to be the Young Men's President, as well. So we were both young, working with the youth, trying to figure out our mixed-orientation marriage, trying to go to school and work, trying to make ends meet... it was a lot.

I served in YW until I was 27. In those eight years, I was less than effective. My three younger siblings were in my ward and in YW when I was called. That was weird. I had several troubled young women who came to me for help or advice. I had nothing for them. One young woman shared with me her personal story of being molested repeatedly by her step-father at age 6. You'd think I could give her some help and support. But my own abuse was only seven years old. It still ached even though I refused to acknowledge it. I had nothing to give her. Another young woman struggled with an eating disorder. I looked at her, thought she was very silly to indulge in such a habit, and continued with my own eating disorder. Again, nothing to give her, either.

I continued to teach lessons, plan activities, be physically active in my calling, but emotionally unavailable to all the girls. Interestingly, there are quite a few who have come to visit me over the past years. Many have said they thought I was a good leader--I was "fun". Maybe that's okay...perhaps there's a place for "fun" leaders somewhere.

When I was 27, I was a Miamaid leader. I had 17 young women (14-15 years old) in my class. They were bright and beautiful. I went through the motions of entertaining them on Wednesday nights, and being with them on Sundays. We had a new young woman with us that year. I'll call her Gina. Her family was somewhat odd. Darrin called them the Adam's Family, because they ALL wore black to church each week. I felt oddly drawn to Gina. She was extremely intelligent. She was pretty. But there was more. I knew there was more. I noticed that her hair was always strategically placed so that it fell across her face, but not always on the same side--not usual for girls--the part is always on the same side. I watched her carefully, and one day, the hair fell back, exposing a multitude of purple bruises on her jaw and forehead. I felt sick. I saw more signs of abuse as time went on. I know now, I should have gone immediately to my bishop, but I didn't know that then. I didn't know what to do.

As I watched Gina, I noticed more about her. She was definitely sexually attracted to other girls--and she seemed very confused by those feelings. I wanted to talk to her--I didn't know how. She stayed away from the group, never mingling. She stayed at my side during activities, and I allowed her to do so. I wanted to protect her--again, I didn't know how.

The violence in Gina's home seemed to accelerate that spring. She was often absent from church meetings, which, prior to this, was unheard of. I called her. I told her I missed her, and hoped she'd come to the next activity. She came sporadically over the next month, always with evidence of abuse on her arms or face.

One day I got a telephone call from a member of the Bishopric. He asked me to come to a local safehouse. Gina was there with her sister. She was asking for me. She said she needed me. That day, Gina's father had shot her mother, then shot himself while Gina watched. I went to the safehouse. Gina came to me immediately and wanted a hug--this was the first time I had known her to allow anyone to touch her. She was laughing, giddy. She was experiencing terrible sadness (loss of mother), accompanied by intense relief (death of abuser), and horrible guilt (over the relief she felt that her father was dead). I held my Miamaid. I listened to her slightly hysterical laughter, and as I wiped away her tears she told me I was the only friend she had ever had. After a couple of hours, the social worker in charge of Gina's case told her she would be going to live in another town, about 350 miles from here, with her older, married sister. She was to leave right away. I hugged Gina once more, and watched her drive away. I have not seen her since.

I went home, consumed with my own guilt. I was her only friend--but I never helped her as a friend should have. I was aware of the volatile family situation, the physical abuse, the SSA. I said nothing to anyone. I was the worst sort of friend. I was not a responsible leader--and I knew it. I called my Bishop and asked to see him immediately. I went to his home, and asked for a release from my calling. He protested, wanted to know why...I said, "I've been working with young women for eight years, and I'm tired. Please, let me be released." I was released the next day in Sacrament Meeting.

For ten years, each time a member of the the bishopric has asked to meet with me about a calling, I have prayed that it would not be in the Young Women. Thankfully, the Lord has granted my request. Two years ago, I decided to stop praying for that. I was over 35. I was past that "Young Women Leader" age. When my bishop extended my calling to me (Laurel Advisor) in January, I sat in his office and wept. I was emotionally raw already, as I was trying to resolve my issues with past abuse with a therapist FINALLY. I didn't understand why the Lord would want me to go back to a calling where I was so haunted by my past.

I told the bishop everything about my experiences with young women. I told him I didn't want to accept the calling. I had been working as a Primary teacher, and I loved my class. The bishop said I was welcome to accept the new calling, or keep my old one--he was grateful for my service wherever it came. I went home, relieved that I wouldn't have to work with the YM. I tried to prepare my Primary lesson. I couldn't think. I prayed for help. It didn't come. All week I tried to prepare my lesson, with no success. I was panicking, because my Primary class was large, with many "active" seven year olds. I needed to have every moment planned.

Finally, Sunday morning, I knelt by my bed and told Heavenly Father I'd do as he'd asked--I'd serve in the Young Women, if he'd just help me finish preparing this last Primary lesson. I went to the church building, knowing my bishop would be there. I met with him, and told him I'd accept the Laurel Advisor calling, then I left his office. Immediately I knew what I should do for my young Primary class. I was able to put everything together in an hour. As I taught my class for the last time, the Spirit confirmed that I was making a good choice, and the Lord would lead me as I tried to fulfill this new calling.

I had a very difficult time meeting with the young women, at first. I was worried about making mistakes, about not doing the right thing. I was welcomed with open arms by leaders and youth, alike. That same welcome was extended to me from youth throughout the Stake. Within a month, I was working in my calling as if I'd been there for years. It was truly amazing.

When I was set apart, I was counseled that I should allow myself to love the youth. I have tried to do that. I was counseled to allow them to choose, but to offer them support and advice as they came to me. I have tried to do that, as well. I was told that as I fulfilled this calling, I would be healed of the emotional wounds I have carried for years. I pray that this might come to pass.

I still don't want to make a mistake, and somedays I'm still afraid. I know my life is not one that any of the youth should emulate. I'm very aware that I'm weak, that my words are not always followed through by my actions. I see so many other adults who would strengthen the youth in ways I cannot. But I also understand that it was time for me to stop carrying around my baggage--it was time for me to heal. These young women of mine are strong enough that they can deal with a less than stellar leader for a few more months. And they are amazing, sweet, and kind as they heal my broken heart.

Weird Memories of Guys

When I was fourteen, I remember one day, comparing the "Venus" to the "David" (yes, this is figurative). I was perusing pictures of naked forms of both genders. I was trying to understand how some friends of mine could possibly find beauty in or be attracted to the male form. I didn't get it. To me, everything about the female body was beautiful, and everything about the male form was frightening. I didn't realize that my feelings were based in fear at the time. I just labeled the male body "ugly" and left it at that. I remember confiding my feelings to my best friend, C. Being male, he wasn't particularly complimented at my assessment of his attributes, but he was also my best friend, so he said, "Maybe when you're older, and not surrounded by guys whose voices are still changing, you'll change your mind." The fact that I was homosexual was not even approached. Many young women have feelings of insecurity about the male form--it's not something we see often when growing up. But two years later, one of the David's in my life made his appearance at school, all grown up, well-developed, and incredibly beautiful. He gave me many opportunities to watch him because he was trying to date me. Our dates often included swimming (we both loved swim), so I saw much of him. I realized there was something to admire in the male form--which doesn't mean I wanted to get close to it. Aesthetic pleasure is not akin to physical attraction--at least, not to me.

About two weeks after dating David, I pulled out my pictures once again. No, the female form was still highly superior. So, two-dimensionally, I could see nothing of beauty in a man. But when I was with David, the three-dimensional specimen was amazing. I could watch him for hours. But he was gorgeous enough that I don't think anyone, regardless of gender, could resist watching him. One time I asked him if it bothered him that I stared at him openly when we were together. He said, "In case you didn't notice, I do it, too." I totally missed his point, and emphasized it when I said, "Don't you think that's a little conceited?" He laughed (I loved to watch him laugh) at me and said, "I meant, I keep staring at YOU!" We were sitting in the sun on the edge of the swimming pool, our legs dangling in the water. Because we had very little clothing on, because I was staring, I noticed his beautiful body could change at a moment's notice. I suddenly got very cold, very afraid. I said, "We should probably go." David looked me up and down and said, "Okay."

I often wonder how I can appreciate the male form, understand how my other friends are drawn to it, and yet, not experience those sensations myself. I've told Darrin about my relationship with that previous, amazingly gorgeous David. He says I'm very lucky. He believes most teen guys wouldn't have been content with talk, and would have tried to force something physical. Interestingly, David was the one person (male) who could touch me without causing me to feel repulsed to the point of physical illness. He was gentle with me--always. I think he knew, somehow, I was all broken up inside. I think on some level he understood I'd been deeply hurt. I also believe he was the first young man (other than best friend, C.) who really loved me. Maybe I loved him, too, I don't know. In retrospect, I love him now. I love that he allowed me to explore male-female relationships with him, without ever asking anything of me. I love that he let me look at him without embarrassment or shame. I loved that he held me, but never tried to kiss me, or touch me inappropriately.

I talked about David with C., because he brought up our "beauty in gender" discussion one day. I told C. that I thought David was gorgeous and I could look at him all day. C. said that I needed to be careful. He told me that he was watching the way David looked at me, and if I wasn't careful, things could get out of control. I teased my friend, "Are you jealous???" "A little," C. admitted, "We never get to hang out anymore. And even though you like to be with David, you don't seem like you're really into him." I told him I didn't think I could ever "get into" any guy--that just wasn't me. C. asked if I'd kissed David. I told him, no, and I probably wouldn't. I only made out with guys I planned to dump. C. said, "You're so weird." I told him to shut up or I'd have to make out with him--then we both grossed out and started laughing.

C. and I were both members of the drama club--and we weren't bad, either. C. was always better at acting than I was. I used to accuse him of overacting, but that was just jealousy. The two of us were always being cast in the "romantic" roles, as a pair. I'm not sure why. Maybe, because we'd known each other so long, we were able to anticipate the other's responses so well that we created some chemistry on stage. Regardless, we always had to kiss in whatever play we were in. The first time was when we were in tenth grade. We were rehearsing after school, and were at the kissing scene. Everytime C. moved in to kiss me, I started giggling. Our drama coach became exasperated and said, "Go to the music room and practice kissing!!"

We giggled our way to the music room and sat down on the risers. C. said, "Well, shall we try?" I told him then, how scary it was to kiss guys, and how much I hated it. I also told him about my cousin. C. put his arm around me and I leaned against my best friend. We just sat together, saying nothing. It felt very peaceful to be with someone who had always been my friend. Then C. said, "We kind of have to kiss, even if you don't like it." "Yeah, I know," I answered. So we decided to try it, and I promised not to laugh. So we tried.

It wasn't horrible, but I don't think either one of us liked it. C. said, "I think kissing my sister would be easier." I told him, "You don't have a sister." "That's the point," he answered. I didn't get it--I still don't get it. We tried to kiss again. We decided to get our drama coach's camera and video tape ourselves. So we did--then watched and critiqued the clip--then taped again--and again--and again. After about 45 minutes we considered that we were not only beautiful kissers, but that ANYONE would want to watch us kissing. Then we watched all the clips from beginning to end, and congratulated each other on our vast improvement.

Before we left the music room, C. said, "Hey Sam, I'm sorry you were hurt when you were a kid." And then he gave me a hug and kissed me three times--once on the forehead, once on the cheek, and one more real kiss on my mouth. It wasn't romantic--it wasn't intended to be. But it wasn't gross or disgusting, either. It was just C., letting me know that he was my friend, and that he loved me. He hugged me for awhile, and that's how our drama coach found us. He said, "You're supposed to be practicing the kiss--you've had the hugging down for awhile." C. told him we'd been practicing and we had video to prove it. Our drama coach was so proud.

Saturday, August 19, 2006


I think, if we're judged based on our desires here on earth, that I'm destined for a life in hell. I base that assumption on my ability to have desires for things I understand are REALLY BAD FOR ME. I know I shouldn't want them--but I do.

I've talked about being addicted to the euphoria that comes when I don't eat. Last night it kicked in full force. And I felt horribly guilty. I also felt enormous relief, light-headedness, and incredible strength. Did I mention I felt really guilty, as well?

I was chaperoning a regional youth dance when the feeling began. I ran on adrenalin for three hours, went home and crashed. Darrin made me some soup and insisted I eat it. For him, I did. No more euphoria. And I want it so badly...

My only hope is that when I'm judged, someone will remember that even though I wanted things that felt really good, but were really bad--I also loved lots of people with all my heart. I hope someone will remember that even though I couldn't always resist harming myself, I tried so hard to be a good mom. I hope someone will remember that even though I wasn't always successful, I tried to follow Christ--to let him lead me in my life--and I loved him, too. Is there enough good to balance the bad? Does it matter in the end?

I'm praying for a miracle. I'm praying that somehow I can figure out how to stop wanting my own personal high. I'm praying that my new therapist, whom my doctor and husband believe will work miracles with me, can somehow help me understand how to end this cycle. I'm praying that I can be forgiven for abusing myself, and that someday I'll understand why I feel I must do so. Yeah, a miracle would be very helpful--soon.

The lesson I have to teach tomorrow is about "Personal Purity Through Self-Discipline." There is a large amount of hypocrisy in my life right now.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

In a Dark Time
Theodore Roethke

In a dark time, the eye begins to see,
I meet my shadow in the deepening shade;
I hear my echo in the echoing wood--
A lord of nature weeping to a tree,
I live between the heron and the wren,
Beasts of the hill and serpents of the den.

What's madness but nobility of soul
At odds with circumstance? The day's on fire!
I know the purity of pure despair,
My shadow pinned against a sweating wall,
That place among the rocks--is it a cave,
Or winding path? The edge is what I have.

A steady storm of correspondences!
A night flowing with birds, a ragged moon,
And in broad day the midnight come again!
A man goes far to find out what he is--
Death of the self in a long, tearless night,
All natural shapes blazing unnatural light.

Dark, dark my light, and darker my desire.
My soul, like some heat-maddened summer fly,
Keeps buzzing at the sill. Which I is I?
A fallen man, I climb out of my fear.
The mind enters itself, and God the mind,
And one is One, free in the tearing wind.


"Jesus Christ came to bring beauty for ashes," Professor Robert Millet said, "to replace distress with comfort, worry with peace, turmoil with rest. The Good Shepherd came…to right all the terrible wrongs of this life, to fix the unfixable, to repair the irreparable. He came to heal us by his tender touch, to still the storms of our startled hearts. Again, he came to replace ashes with beauty… Each one of us needs to know—needs the conviction, deep down in our souls—that our Master is not an absentee Landlord, not a distant Deity. He is 'touched with the feeling of our infirmities' (Hebrews 4:15), knows from firsthand experience all about our pains, our afflictions, our temptations (Alma 7:11-12), and thereby understands 'the weakness of man and how to succor them who are tempted' (D&C 62:1)."

A very wise, sweet friend sent me this quote yesterday. I'm working on remembering that I believe it. Deep inside me, I really feel that something is wrong with me if I can't fix myself. My logical mind tells me that eating disorders are stupid. It tells me that in order to get better, I simply have to start eating. It focuses on the external manifestation, not the internal problem, because it's not certain exactly what the internal problem is. And, truthfully, I'm mortified that someone as well-educated as I, can be troubled by something so...what??? I can't even describe the disgust I feel as I succomb to my physical need to cope.

As I read the words of this quote, I wonder why I lack the faith to believe that Christ can not only help me now, but the Lord can help me find the strength to get the help I need. It seems that my spiritual strength wanes with my phyiscal well-being. The two, spiritual/physical are intertwined, and as much as I might desire it, I can't separate them. As of now, I don't know when my counselor will see me. He said he was trying to make room for an emergency visit. I told him I didn't think that was necessary--this isn't really an emergency. He didn't answer me.

So today I'm trying to find the trust necessary to let Christ shoulder some of my burden. It isn't easy, especially because I'm so ashamed of that burden. I want to hide it--to hide FROM it. I can't decide whether to curl up and weep, or to go outside and run till I can't run anymore. Unfortunately, I don't have the luxury to work this one out. I have to go to work. I have a young friend in need. I have three children who want to play. I have laundry to fold, furniture to dust, a garden to weed, and bills to pay. Life is going on without me.


I was awake before the alarm went off at 5:15 a.m. I'd been laying in bed, wondering if I should just get up for over an hour. While Darrin got ready for work, I read scriptures, prayed, did my computer thing and went for a run. It's getting cooler each morning. I ran my six-mile circuit--then, knowing I probably shouldn't, I ran it again. It's becoming more and more difficult to stop running. I have so much peace when my body is in motion. I can think more clearly, and there's an incredible joy at being outside, alone. But I've been told running more than 8 miles, given my caloric intake, is excessive, and I'm trying to do as I'm told--trying to get healthy. Today I just needed that extra running time.

I went home and roused the sleepyhead kids. We worked on laundry--still catching up from our weekend, and did minor chores. Then they went to play tennis, while I worked. I've been working at home, because we're having trouble with our office computer. I do so much online work that I need a faster computer, so until the one in the office is replaced, I'll work at home. I had forgotten to turn off my chat windows--and some of my friends hit me immediately. Since I was gone last weekend, some of my young friends wanted to talk A LOT. Apparently, for a couple of them, they'd had some rough experiences (fights with parents, disagreements with friends, a little bit of boozing, all those normal teen things). I told them to be sure to keep talking to Mom and Dad, and to stop being stupid. Usually I say those things with love and tact, but I was supposed to be working, and I was tired, so I wasn't as kind as I normally am. One of them was a little miffed. She said it was her CHOICE if she wanted to go drinking with her friends. I told her, actually, that was true, but breaking the law (underage drinking) was pretty stupid, and if she intended to make any progress toward better grades next year, better family relationships, and more responsible behavior, her CHOICE needed to be to not drink. She signed off. She was the last straggler of my chat buddies, so I signed out of chat and got some REAL work done.

The kids came home for lunch and lounged in front of the TV for an hour. Then I took them with me to the store. I replenished our food supply while they shopped in the electronics department. We checked out, and I took them to ice cream. We sat and talked. DJ and Adam have made lists of the school clothes they want to buy. We'll shop for those this week. My boys seem ready to return to school this year--usually summer can't be long enough for them. Tabitha would live in year-round summer. She's not excited yet for school to start.

We went home and made dinner together. Darrin arrived just as we put it on the table--good timing. We finished dinner, played some family games, then threw everyone in bed. We have to start going to bed earlier, so we'll be regulated when school begins. DJ has early morning seminary, so he'll be getting up around 5:30 a.m. Tabitha and Adam can sleep later, but probably won't. We have about two weeks to get used to retiring and arising early. Otherwise that first week of school will be miserable.

Darrin and I went to bed early, but talked till around midnight. He's frustrated because I haven't been able to see my counselor yet. I'm coping as well as I know how, in the meantime, but it's not good enough for Darrin. He made some comment about "try harder." Yeah, that's probably all I need to do--problem solved. You know, I was blessed with above average intelligence. I understand that the feelings I'm having are not only bizarre, but probably evil, as well. I know that a REAL person does not hate his/her body. I know that the end results of not eating and excessive exercise are...not good. I know all this. But I feel powerless to stop anything. I listened to Darrin tell me about his frustration. I heard him say he doesn't understand why I just don't eat. I understood his feelings that I'm setting a bad example for our children. I felt numb and sad and totally defeated.

The first two lessons that I have to teach in my seminary class are on the Plan of Salvation. That should be interesting.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Peeking Out of the Closet

I wrote the post below about four months ago. I didn't post it because I didn't want to see it on my blog. I suppose, in my own way, I hoped that in writing it, I could resolve some of the conflict I feel about my nature. It didn't help.

A couple of months ago, because they were asking questions, because I felt they deserved to have all the information about me, because I was seeing and speaking with their son on a regular basis, I told David's parents that I had experienced feelings of SSA in my life. I gave no details. I related no specifics. I hoped they would better understand my motivation in trying to help David through some really difficult times. I hoped they would be open-minded, accepting. I hoped it would be alright to allow someone besides my husband and David to see the complete Samantha--made up of the Entity and the child, who would finally be allowed to take a field trip out of the closet.

I'd like to say everything went as planned, acceptance was wonderfully immediate, and I have no regrets. I can't say that. I'd like to say I'm making plans to help the child stay visible, that she no longer lingers in the dark. I can't say that. I'd like to say I have hope for members of the church--hope that they can accept and love all people regardless of the burdens they carry. I can't say that. People are extremely complex, and I've learned one can never really predict the outcome of any situation.

The lonely child is back in the closet. The Entity is visible and incomplete. And I am left to battle my inner demons, still trying to resolve the issues that surround past abuse, still wondering if I'll ever want to eat again, and feeling, with growing certainty and dread, that there really is no help, no hope left for me.

Hiding in the Closet

As a child I was deathly afraid of closets. Always, at night, the door needed to be closed. All manner of frightening entities lived there through my imagination. Formless, faceless monstrosities lurked in the dark...I'm not sure what, exactly, the menace was...I only knew I was afraid.

As an adult, the closet is still with me. But with my mature understanding, I know very well what makes me afraid. I have carefully constructed an Identity, which I present to all I know. The Identity goes to work, raises children, performs in public, and interacts with other adults in social situations. The Identity is strong and self-confident--and incomplete. Left behind, in the dark closet, is the child, still struggling to understand why she is there. The child feels keenly the pain of assumed rejection, misunderstanding, and prejudice. And with the innocence of childhood, the child believes that one day, she will be allowed out of the closet and welcomed into the light with open arms. This is not true, of course, but she is a child, and can be excused for such naivete.

Because the child has been in the closet for so long, it has become comfortable, familiar. She is a threat to the Identity, who wishes to keep the child entombed in the dark. The Identity understands that the child is unacceptable, and, if allowed outside, will not be embraced but ridiculed and destroyed. It is, simply put, safer for the child in the closet.

This would be a viable plan if it were not for the Problem. The Problem arises in the fact that the Entity is incomplete without the child. They have been separated for many years, and now long for a melding that will make them both whole. Being separate is exhausting. But the fear and insecurity involved in such a blending keeps it from taking place, and the child remains safely in the darkness.

The Problem looms larger as time passes. The child longs for escape. The Entity increases in conflict. Is resolution possible? I don't know. I just don't have any answers.

Monday, August 14, 2006


Today I was reading over some archival entries in my blog (I don't know why), and I noticed something. There were some times in the past six months when I felt attraction for my husband. STRONG attraction. Now this should have been a, "well, DUH!!" moment for me, since I'm the one who wrote the entries, but honestly, I was just recording data at the time--not analyzing it. As I read what I wrote a few months ago, I was amazed. I felt sexual urges for my husband while holding hands, in a movie theater, and several times at night. I initiated and experimented with sexual intimacy. I WANTED to make love with my husband.

I'm not sure what this means. I didn't even think about it at the time. I must have been caught up in the moment? But I think this is important. I write about not having to talk myself into foreplay--which I've had to do for most of my married life. I write about enjoying my husband, not resorting to fantasy, connecting with him physically and emotionally. How did I miss the significance of all this when I was experiencing it, when I was writing about it? Did it all happen so naturally, so normally, that I didn't think twice about it? Since I did record it, something must have registered, at least subconsciously, that this was remarkable? What was it that triggered those feelings? Why did they happen at that time? When I was writing about it, I think I linked the manifestation to successes in my therapy as I worked through abuse issues--but I'm not sure I agree with that analysis now. That doesn't make sense to me.

The intensity of those moments is no longer with me--perhaps it's being overshadowed by my preoccupation with the stress of trying to manage an eating disorder--or maybe it was evanescent and I will never experience it again. But for me, the important thing is that it HAPPENED!! And I actually documented it.

But I still don't know what this means.

Sometimes You Just Have to Get Away

We've been planning a trip to our family property for about a month now. Originally, we'd invited some friends to join us, but they baled. In the end, it's probably just as well, because I'd have spent the weekend making sure they were enjoying themselves, playing the hostess, etc. Without them, I just relaxed.

It didn't start out that way, of course. Darrin called and said he had to stay at work longer--maybe we should just stay home?? I was crabby and said, "NO! We're going!!" So we didn't leave till three hours past our target time. The kids were restless and grumpy. They got in the car and started fighting. Darrin got out and said he was staying home. I started the car and waved good-bye to him. The kids started apologizing at the top of their lungs, begging Dad to please come. He got back in the car as it pulled out of the driveway--yes, there was Love at Home.

Two hours into our drive (which was actually going quite nicely, because Darrin was sleeping and the kids were listening to their music), the engine shut off. I was right next to a freeway exit, so we coasted off the interstate and stopped. I tried, without success, to start the engine. I popped the hood, and Darrin and I stood in front of the car, looking into into it's guts, wondering what to do next. We wondered for about two minutes, then an officer stopped to tell us to push our car further off the road, which we did, then pondered the car innards some more. Darrin kept asking me to describe what happened, over and over again. Finally, he walked back to the trunk, popped it open, walked back to me and told me to go start the car. I turned the key and it started right up. He grinned, got into the passenger seat and said, "Let's go!"

It seems there is a panic switch, located in the trunk. If a large enough bump is hit, it triggers the switch and turns off the engine. The car won't start again until the switch is reset. The only thing is, we didn't hit any bumps, so I have no idea why that happened. I was happy, though, that it wasn't something BAD that had to be fixed. We continued our trip west.

All in all, the drive wasn't too bad. We tried to get fishing licenses at a Wal-Mart along the way, but the very well-trained man couldn't find the license book. In the twenty minutes it took him to look for it, Tabitha and Adam got a cart and found bunches of things to buy, all of which went back on the shelves. We had no spare room in the car for their bargains. We also got dinner in the town. Our trip just got an hour longer. We finally hit our destination around midnight. We stopped at a Maverik Country Store to get cereal, milk, and gasoline--AND they sold fishing licenses, so we got those, too. We arrived at the old house around 12:30, unloaded the car and got to bed at 1:00 a.m.

The morning light woke me at 6:30. I got up and went for a run. It was incredibly beautiful. The sun was coming up from behind a mountain, sunbeams spreading out from the crest of it. The air was moist (unlike the dry climate I'm used to), and smelled of pine and wildflowers, and 2000 feet lower elevation means more oxygen in the air. I ran about four miles, then turned around and ran home. It was heavenly.

I woke everyone up, nudged them along, and we all went fishing. No one wanted to brave the thick underbrush with me, so I left them behind, fell down frequently, and made my way to my favorite fishing hole. I caught my limit of cutthroat trout (one was about 30 inches--YAY!), then made my way vertically up the steep embankment. I was grateful for all the climbing wall opportunities I have at home--those came in handy. I met everyone at the car. They had caught a total of one fish, and were a little cranky at me. We went home, everyone showered, and we ate fresh trout--yum!!

Darrin and Tabitha accompanied me on my pilgrimmage up the ledges. Adam and DJ opted for naps in our absence. I go to the top of the ledges whenever I return to my girlhood home. I stand at the top and remember that I never jumped, and say a little prayer of thanksgiving. Darrin thinks it's morbid. He always goes with me, even though he hates the climb. I love the upward climb--but this time, hampered by Tabitha, it took me longer than usual. The two of us made it to the top and looked at the magnificent view. We waited fifteen minutes for Darrin, then decided he must have suffered a heart attack on the way up, so we went to find him. He had made it almost to the top. He finished the climb, then we went down.

I hate going down from the ledges. Because it is so steep, I've never made it down without falling. My cousin, Jeff, and I used to just slide to the bottom on our rears. As an adult, the rocks look pretty sharp, and I didn't want to do that. I made it half-way down, my feet slid out from under me and I landed on my left hand. Sure enough, those rocks were sharp. Five smaller ones embedded themselves in my flesh; a larger one cut an inch-long gash in the middle of my palm. It was ugly. I finished the downward climb without falling again, then waited at the bottom for Darrin and Tabitha. They had fallen multiple times, as well, but no blood, just bumps and bruises. Cuts, bumps, bruises...for me, it was worth it.

We met my sister and her family at her house (about 30 miles away) and went out to dinner. We relaxed, laughed and enjoyed each other's company. We got home around 10:30, and crashed in our beds--TIRED!

Sunday morning we packed up, cleaned the house, and went to church. It was wonderful to see old friends. They were sweet, hugged me, and told me I was more beautiful as I got older. Everyone needs to hear that, even if it's not true.

We went back to the house, closed it up, and headed home. We decided we would only make one stop at the midway point for lunch. We were on the road shortly before 11:00. We stopped for lunch at 1:30, and once again at a rest area, briefly and made it home by 5:00. I practiced a musical number for a fireside, then Darrin and I showered and dressed and left for the fireside. My cut hand was SOOOO painful, but I played anyway. I don't usually shake when I play, but this time I did. But I didn't make any mistakes, so thankfully, no one noticed.

Darrin and I got home around 9:00, prayed with the kids, and put everyone to bed.

I needed to get away. It was amazing to be surrounded by beauty, to do what I WANTED to do, not what I HAVE to do. It was wonderful to be in an environment where I am loved by people who watched me grow up, and still love me after all these years. It was a delight to share these things with Darrin and my kids. I felt really happy for the first time in a long while.

I came to some conclusions this weekend. I have reinstated my link to my blog. I needed last week to not have as much traffic, to think, to decide if this site really was helping me. It is. And now that I've had that private time, I'm okay with letting my blog be public again. Also, I've had some email from some of my friends, wondering about David--Why is he gone? Why don't I talk about him anymore? I haven't answered those questions because I've been a little ambivalent about what I should and shouldn't say.

This weekend I realized, I can't apologize for who I am. This is ME. I'm not anything close to perfect. I have more major flaws than the regular person. I have problems, some of them are pretty daunting to me. I have problems with self-esteem. I'm trying to heal from past abuse. I am married, but, from experience, know all about being same-sex attracted. I struggle daily to eat as I try to work through an eating disorder. Sometimes I'm sad.

But I also know this--I love David, and he has told me that I helped him. In an e-mail, he said: "You have been an amazing friend for whom I will be eternally grateful. Nobody can ever take your place. You have given me so much advice, so much help, and so much love that I cannot repay you nor express my gratitude for the above mentioned gifts. You have given me so many opportunities to meet amazing true disciples of Christ, among which you are one of the most amazing. You will always be in my heart and in my prayers. You single-handedly helped me come across a desert of emotional distress. The tears you shed with me, the laughter we enjoyed together, and the constant, unwavering love are gifts that are priceless to me. I love you more than I could ever tell you. You are such an amazing daughter of God. I feel so privileged to have known you. I know, without a doubt, that God allowed you to come into my life to be one of my greatest blessings. So many things I could never have done without your love, support, advice, and encouragement. I love you. I will always. Never doubt that." I removed David from my blog at the request of his parents. This saddens me because helping him was a two-way street. He helped me, as well. Much of my healing came because he proved to me, time and time again, that I can accept love from young men, that they don't all want to hurt me, that friendship extends beyond age and gender, that I don't have to be afraid. Because of my friendship with David, my relationship with my own son grew and developed. But because David is not MY son, I have bowed to the request of his parents. I think that is appropriate. I still see my sweet friend, and I still love him. Should you wish to know more, I welcome your email questions.

In spite of the busy weekend, I'm feeling rested, refreshed, and ready to tackle whatever comes my way. That's a good feeling.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Weirdness and Other Stuff

Darrin has been trying to contact my "new" counselor for the last couple of days. He wanted me to talk with him before we leave today for our mini-vacation. It's not going to happen. I'm sad for Darrin, but glad for me, because now I have time to think about how I want to approach the new guy. Still trying to decide how I feel about going to see a man, rather than a woman--definitely weird.

In the meantime, I'm very excited to go to the other side of our state, enjoy the mountains, take my kids fishing, and forget about life.

My dad asked me to come talk yesterday. He's worried about me. He asked me to please tell him why I can't eat. I didn't want to, but did anyway, and of course, he cried. He said he wanted to help. Honestly, sometimes I wonder if help is possible for me. But that's negative...I'm trying to be more positive. We talked a lot. Then my dad offered to give me a blessing. Of course, I accepted. The blessing was really long, and my dad wept the whole time. He said some wonderful, amazing things, which were really helpful to me. Then the weirdness....he said the Lord was aware of the work I was doing on the internet and in real life, in working with youth who struggle. He said he was aware that I was contemplating stopping my contact with youth on the internet, and instructed me that the work I was doing there was good, and needed to continue. Then more instruction about the direction I should go as I talked with the young men and women I've never met. The weirdness????? My dad doesn't know I've got this blog, that I talk to youth over the internet, and he only knows of one young man I talk to in person. When the blessing was over, he didn't even mention it. Just hugged me.

Before I left my dad, I mentioned that I knew he'd be going to a family reunion in a couple weeks, where he would see my cousin who abused me. I said, "Dad, when you see my cousin, don't hate him, please. He made a really bad choice. But he was fifteen, and it was a long time ago. Please, Dad, don't hate him. It will eat you up." He started to cry again, and told me he'd try. I hope he will. He needs peace.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

This Made Me Laugh So Hard

Darrin and I were watching TV tonight after the kids were in bed. He was channel surfing rather quickly, and I was listening to the snippets of audio as the channels went by, when one of note took us both by surprise: " erection lasting more than four hours..."

I looked at Darrin and said, "That sounds uncomfortable." He said, "Yeah--Panic time!!"

Then we both cracked up.

Cheap entertainment at its best...

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Could I Be You (Matchbox Twenty)

Something is wrong with the sum of us
That I can't seem to erase.
How can I be the only one
Without a smile on my face?

Well now, you're laughing out loud
At just the thought of being alive,
And I was wondering,
Could I just be you tonight?

You show your pain like it really hurts,
And I can't even start to feel mine.
Well, I'm standing in place
With my head first and I shake, I shake...
I see your progress stretched out for miles and miles...

You're laughing out loud
At just the thought of being alive, yeah,
And I was wondering,
Could I just be you tonight?

This is the sound that I make.
These are the words I chose.
Somehow the right thing to say
Just won't come out,
Just won't come out...

And you're laughing out loud
At the thought of being alive,
And I was wondering,
Could I just be you tonight?
And I was wondering,
Could I just be you tonight?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

There are times when I think all the introspection, all the writing, and all the self-discovery were not worth it. There is a certain peace in refusing to look at ugly parts of oneself. There is a sort of wisdom in allowing oneself to live in denial.

The problem is that I see myself as normal. I know that's weird, because it should be perfectly obvious that "normal" is a fictitious state of being. Everyone carries some unique "non-normal" experience, habit, or character trait. But I still see myself as, "just like everyone else". I also understand that I'm the only person I know who sees me in that light. It doesn't change my perception.

So when I decided I was finally strong enough to confront the demons of my past, I though it would be a journey of, say, four to six weeks, and then I would be all better, and life would be grand. Yeah, pretty stupid. I admit it. I'm not sure why I thought everything could just go away in a matter of weeks, when it's been hanging around for years. Regardless, seven months later, I find myself with a number of issues that I will finally look at and address, which I suppose is a good thing, but life seemed so much simpler when I was pretending those things never happened.

An example of how I dealt with things a year ago: Memory surfaces--Waaahhhh!!! What was that???? Wait, I remember...yes, that happened. It was a long time ago. It doesn't matter anymore. It has no bearing on my life today. Memory is shoved back below the surface. Sam smiles and life continues.

An example of how I deal with things today: Memories no longer have to surface because Sam dwells on them pretty much every day. Blogging helps. Talking helps. Praying helps. But for the most part, everything seems raw and ugly and exposed. Acknowledging the past is supposed to be healthy--but it just seems to get in the way. Looking at it makes me shudder. But the frightening reality is that I HAVE to look, and it's not going away.

I suppose, as with all hurts, this, too will heal with time. I attempt to give it the first-aid necessary. I try to keep moving forward. But the impulse to push everthing away--to say, "This is over. This is ancient history. This is not important," is very strong. Still, after seven months of trying to resolve issues, I want to hide from them. I am still afraid.

I would like to wake up one morning, kiss my husband and kids, help everyone go to work/school, and have no other thoughts on my mind except that which I will do to make my home more beautiful (except I haven't got a clue how that works--I think you hang pictures or something), what I will make for dinner (this is something I CAN do well), what music I will practice, where I will go running, and what clients/students I will see throughout the day. That would really make me feel happy.

I was told that when I allowed myself to cry, I would begin even greater healing. I think, to some extent that's true. But it also increased the intense vulnerability I already feel, and my anxiety levels skyrocketed. "Tears are good." Both my bishop and my therapist have told me this. "Tears express a multitude of emotions. You have only allowed them to occur in times of high stress, anger, or frustration." That's true. Those would be the times I could no longer suppress them. "Tears can happen in times of great joy, empathy, sadness, and during laughter. Sometimes they can happen just because we're tired. Tears are a normal response to a variety of emotions and circumstances." Still trying to internalize that one. It may take more time, but I'm getting better at it, I think.

I suppose, in a way, this is my seven month evaluation. How far have I come? How have I changed? Do I want to continue? Well, I think I'm better at being real. I admit to myself that I can't do everything. I only answer the phone when I feel like talking. I allow certain people, sometimes, to see that my life isn't perfect and that sometimes I feel sad. Wow--not sure those are positives--but...maybe... I've accepted that my past is a part of who I am, and that the person I become must include that part of me. I've realized that ignoring things doesn't make them go away, nor does it make me a strong person--just a stupid person. Stupid, because ignoring issues makes them grow until they become unmanageable. Do I want to continue??? That's the big question. I'm not sure that what I want is important, because NO! I do not want to continue...but there seems to be no other option, and I know I can't go back.

Sunday, August 06, 2006


A long time ago, in blogger time (because those obsessed with blogging understand that, because of the immense amount of information that can be posted daily, a month seems like forever...), a fellow blogger who is often hilarious, described himself as having two distinct personalities. You can (and should, because it's funny) read about it here. Unfortunately, as I was enjoying this post, my brain switched from "laugh track" to "truth found in humor" and I realized the dichotomy of my own persona. It's not nearly as entertaining as Tolkein Boy's, and I've actually sort of spoken about this with selected people in person and cyberspace, but, nonetheless, I think it's time for self-evaluation.

My personal dichotomy exists as a blogger persona and an "in-person" persona. Neither one of them is a true picture of who I am. I'm not sure that together they create a true picture, either.
Blogger person:
-consumed with anxiety
-unforgiving of self
-insensitive to societal norms and conventions
-sometimes sad

In-person person:
-in control

The problem is that I'm a grown-up on the outside, but inside I'm still trying to figure out what happened to me as a child, why I have so many conflicting emotions, what makes me happy, and what makes me sad. So maybe my blog persona is more descriptive of my inside, while on the outside I function well in the adult/professional world. As a teacher, as a financial advisor, as a tax professional, in all my worlds I'm successful. People seem to trust me--even when I REALLY goof.

Example: Two years ago, a couple brought their taxes to me. Their return was complicated since they not only had a W-2, but also ran their own business. And the tax deadline was in two days. Since they were personal friends of my dad's, I accepted their request to put a rush on the return. I spent longer on the business schedule than I had planned because they were poor record keepers, and I had to double check many of their deductions, figures, etc. I finished the return, rushed to input the W-2 info, and delivered it to the couple. This year they got a letter from the IRS informing them that when I reported the income tax withheld on the W-2, I moved the decimal one space to the right, making the figure in the thousands, rather than the hundreds. This resulted in their receipt of a larger refund than that to which they were entitled, so they have to pay back the difference. Now, I would assume this couple would be a little upset at this stupid mistake--but, no, they were perfectly nice, and asked if they could assign me power of attorney to discuss their case with the IRS to negotiate a payment plan, and they wished to pay me for my services in this, as well. Naturally, I would never charge them, the mistake was mine. Ultimately, they have the responsibility to check the return and make sure all the figures are correct, but there's no question where the mistake originated.

Okay, that was a very long story--but the bottom line is that I've never had anyone get upset at me in any of my jobs, and I've made plenty of errors. That includes my piano studio, and also my seminary classes. So something about me staves off angry attacks when I do something wrong. Darrin thinks it's totally unfair, and has a number of theories as to why this happens:
1. I'm small, and people feel bad bullying me (yeah, I don't buy that).
2. I'm a little intimidating, because even when I don't, I always ACT like I know exactly what I'm doing or talking about (which kind of negates #1, right?).
3. I always crack a joke, put people at ease, and assure them that whatever the problem is, we can solve it together (okay, this one I really do, but I consider it a really good business strategy--I won't apologize for my business acumen).
4. I have a nice smile, and I'm not above fluttering my eyelashes at any man or woman who seems to be in attack mode (again, just good business acumen, and Darrin is totally prejudiced when it comes to my looks--also, I've been known, occasionally, to use those tools on him, and it works, which aggravates him).

Regardless of whether or not Darrin is right or wrong, I will admit that I was blessed with an abundance of natural charm, and I've never been above using it to help inspire good feelings in a bad situation (euphemistic? maybe...), and Darrin could learn a little from me, sometimes.

My blog persona, however, isn't nearly as together. And she seems to vacillate wildly on the emotions pendulum. She is very scary to me--but when I let her out, let her spill her guts in bloggerland, I feel better. Everything feels better. Life, as a whole is just--BETTER. I read what she writes and I feel unbalanced, a little insane, and out of control. She admits things that my other persona buries, runs from. She addresses issues that are painful but real. She never solves problems, just brings them to the foreground for innocent blog-hoppers to peruse. I personally think of that as a public service, because then all the bloggers can go back to their personal spaces feeling fairly confident that no matter how screwed up their lives are, there is one who is even more so. They think, "Wow!! I thought maybe I wasn't handling the stress in my life well, but at least I EAT. At least I respect my body. At least I'm not insane...Yeah, that was a good visit. My self-esteem got a real boost. Life is good." So in her own way, my blog persona is just as helpful to mankind as my outside persona.

The problem is that I am unable to reconcile the two to each other. Neither wants to admit that the other exists. Neither wants to coexist peacefully together. The two war against each other creating extreme conflict. The outside says, "Ignore that blog-girl. She just upsets you. Look at me--people love me, I'm in demand socially and professionally. Bury those little problems--don't look at them--keep being the you everyone expects you to be." But blog-girl responds, "Are you insane??? Oh, yeah, you are...Anyway, you NEED to look at the things that are hurting you, resolve them, and get some peace. You can't live your life for others. You can't pretend forever. You need to listen to the things that are inside you, even if you're afraid, even if it hurts. You need to get healthy."

In their own ways, both of them are right. There are times when I need to push the feelings aside, and deal with the personal and professional day-to-day things. There are times when, if I keep ignoring the things that are hurting me, I end up coping in stupid ways. I need both of these extremes because they make up who I am. Someday, I have to learn how to peacefully work simultaneously within both realms.

I can see it now:
Client: Sam, you just made a HUGE mistake.
Outside Persona: Why don't you tell me what I've done that's bothering you.
Blog-girl: A mistake???? How did that happen?? I need to think about how that makes me feel.
Client: What? I thought we were talking about how I feel.
OP: We are. I'm very interested in getting this resolved.
BG: Who cares about how you feel. This is my blog, and it's all about me.
Client: Blog? There no problem with a blog.
OP: No? Exactly where has the problem occurred? What's going on that's causing a problem.
BG: Of course there's no problem with my blog. It's where I take care of the inner me. You have no right to even talk about it.
Client: I think I need to talk to your supervisor. I'm getting confused.
OP: Actually, I AM the supervisor and the business owner, so let's try to get to the bottom of this.
BG: I think I'M the one getting confused. I need to think about how that makes me feel...

As you can see, there's no logical connection between the two me's. I'm not sure there ever can be. I'm not sure connecting the two would even be a good thing.

I need to think about how this makes me feel...

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Foolish Traditions and Propaganda

I believe I'm finally at a place, emotionally, where I can talk about this without seeing myself as a total idiot. As a rule, I am not someone who buys into "mormonisms"--you know, the belief that a loaf of homemade bread and a casserole will cure cancer-- that if you have enough faith a total stranger will replace that car of yours which sits on the lawn with no engine-- that there is a ONE AND ONLY (and you pledged yourself to each other in the pre-earth life) for each person to marry--that every church speaker should begin with a stupid joke, a chronicle of how the bishop had to chase that person down in order to get him/her to talk, or an apology about how unprepared (s)he is (and I ask you--whose fault is that????)--or that homosexuals are "that way" because they choose to be, were fence-sitters in the pre-earth life, don't have enough faith to be "healed", or just haven't tried the other way--I hope I'm not stepping on any toes here, but please remember, this is MY blog and I can say whatever I want to. Anyway, I'm a cynic, and I don't believe most of what can't be backed up by scripture or a manifestation of the Holy Spirit. That's just who I am.

So the propaganda about accepting a calling, which I've been taught all my life, is this: You should always say yes. It might be difficult for you, but God will help you find a way. You owe so much to the Lord, that you MUST do whatever is asked of you. In doing so, your weaknesses will be made strong, you will be blessed abundantly, in short, you will become a sort of super-church calling-hero, if you only have enough faith to do what you were certainly foreordained to do, and probably agreed to and signed in the pre-earth contractual agreement. Also, there's a bit of a hint about temple covenants requiring us to serve wherever asked...

Now, I have to admit, I've pretty much accepted every calling I've been given. There was a time when I was called to be in the Primary Presidency right after I'd been put into the hospital to keep me in bedrest so my second baby would stay inside me until he reached 34 weeks. I said I'd do it, but since I'd be in the hospital indefinitely, I wasn't sure how much help I'd be (I was currently at 29 weeks). They asked someone else. There was the time when I was asked to serve on the Cub Scout committee when my daughter was five weeks old, just under five pounds, and in the hospital dying of RSV. I said they needed to talk to me when I knew whether or not I'd be planning a funeral or nursing a baby back to health. They chose someone else--oh yeah, and my daughter was released from the hospital about 10 days later. Yeah, I think those were callings of desperation, not inspiration, and somewhere along the line, the person approving the calls should have, perhaps checked on the status of the callee...just a personal opinion. And honestly, those types of things have been rare. For the most part, I've served willingly, wherever asked, and not really worried about whether or not I could do the things required. Somehow, I could.

My bishop believes that he needed to extend the RS calling to me, so I would have to address the fact that I'm still struggling with the resolution of my eating disorder. I'm having a hard time accepting that. I think a visit from an angel would be more believable (no, I'm not serious). And as much as I would like to say that I feel my bishop was out of line to ask me to serve in that capacity, knowing the emotional stress I've been under, knowing my commitment to teach seminary this year, knowing my husband is a bishop of another ward, knowing I'm mentally unbalanced (WHAT WAS HE THINKING?????), in spite of all that, I find myself still falling victim to the false doctrines preached by self-righteous, non-sinning saints. The fictitious tenets which say that if I'd been worthy, if I had enough faith, if I was truly committed, if I really loved God, if I was humble, if I was righteous...well, I just would have thrown caution to the wind and said, "YES! I'll do it or die trying (and, truthfully, death would have been a real possiblity, considering that I stopped eating after the call was extended), and the Lord will make certain that I succeed!!!"

Okay, that last paragraph is just stupid. Unfortunately, because of my background, because of the ingrained teachings and traditions I've lived with throughout mortality, part of me believes all that crap. And I'm left feeling guilty, knowing I've fallen short, wishing I could overcome something that is eating me alive, wanting to give my life to God...but knowing that if I do it in this way, I may meet Him in person a whole lot sooner than I'd planned.

Mental anguish sucks.

Friday, August 04, 2006


Every once in awhile there is a day when everything seems to fit, life is good, and my whole life seems to relax. Today was one of those days.

I think one thing that has helped is that Darrin and I have been able to talk openly about the problems I've been encountering in our lovemaking, and simply knowing that he knows, and cares is an amazing relief. As we make love, Darrin talks to me, making sure I'm still with him, that I'm not afraid or sad, that every step is in my control. As a result--no more tears, and very little frustration. This has really helped me feel like less of a freak, and much more like a real person. And how can I help but feel valued, as he takes the time to make certain our experience together is "safe", for want of a better word, which is exactly what I need right now.

Last night I had Darrin read my post about my body. I felt like he needed to understand the feelings I've been experiencing, because they seem to be getting larger, less manageable, and I'm a little afraid of them. He didn't say much, just hugged me. Again, knowing that he knows and cares is a relief.

We had only been asleep for a couple of hours when the dreaded stomach flu hit our daughter. She was up most of the night, very ill. She's a great patient, though. She takes care of herself. I asked if she needed me, but she waved me away. When finished worshipping the porcelain god, she made herself a bed near the bathroom, got a big bowel (just in case), brushed her teeth and told me to go to bed. She was up several more times, so Darrin and I didn't get much sleep.

Amazingly, though, at 5:30, I was wide awake. I did my morning devotional, then I blogged a bit, chatted a bit, answered email, then went for a run. It was so beautiful this morning--the temperature was in the 50's, which was perfect. When I got home, my friend from across the street was waiting for me. We walk after I run in the mornings. We walked four miles, talking the whole time. I love visiting with her.

Tabitha was up when I got home. DJ was at my brother's house babysitting his nephews, and Adam was playing computer games. I made Adam shower (I did the same), then we did our daily chores. DJ got home and the my kids and I sat and chatted about life, school (coming in three weeks), our last vacation trip, everything. Even Tabitha roused herself enough to talk with us. I LOVE my kids.

DJ wanted to go to the library, so he left on his bike. I sent Tabitha to the shower, and Adam and I left to get invalid food for her. When we got home, Tabitha had made herself the obligatory jello water, and was feeling better. She drank some gatorade, ate some soda crackers, and went to sleep.

I worked for a few hours, then Adam and I made a traditional Italian dish my in-laws taught me to love, beef steak pizzaiola, using oregano and basil from my garden. Adam ate more herbs than we put in the steak, and smelled like pizza the rest of the day. While we waited for the meat to cook (it takes about three hours), we made biscotti, and watched cartoons together. Then we made a spinach salad (his choice) and I let him cut the french bread with our electric knife--nothing like using gadgets to make a guy happy!

Tabitha roused herself to eat a little pasta and bread, then went to bed for the night. Adam and DJ stayed up and watched Star Gate with Darrin, while I surfed blogs and did more research for work.

I'm not sure why I felt so much peace today. Maybe because I was just at home, being with my kids. I worked at home today, as well. Maybe it's because my stress about my intimacy with Darrin has relaxed. Maybe it was walking and talking with my friend. Maybe it was chatting with online friends. Maybe time is helping me heal.

All I know is that I felt really happy today, and it was wonderful.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Phone Call

I had an interesting conversation with my mother-in-law tonight. It seems my sister-in-law has finally come forward and told her family that she was a victim of sexual abuse as a child at the hands of some older girls. My SIL is ten years older than I. So, because my MIL has limited knowledge of my past, she immediately thought of me--how I could certainly help her daughter!!

Now, first of all, I have to say that not all victims of abuse can be lumped together in one pot, stirred about, and come out as something well-cooked and tasty. We all have vastly different experiences--and abuse from older girls (they were about 10, my SIL was 7), is completely different from abuse from an older young man which took place when the victim was 12. Apples and oranges--sorry, but I firmly believe this. It's like asking me to compare my situation to a victim of rape--I can't. And I have no desire to hear about my SIL's experience, given that my personal healing isn't really going so well right now.

So here's how the conversation went:
MIL: Samantha, I just know it would help Cindy if she knew she wasn't alone. I think it would really help her if you two talked things out.
Sam: I'm willing to talk to her if she wants that, but I probably won't share any of my experiences. It seems to me that those things just inspire even more frustrating emotions because you not only have to deal with your own hurts, but you are trying to deal with the feelings stirred up by learning of a loved one's abuse, as well. But she can talk to me, I'll listen.
MIL: I think it would be helpful for her to hear of your experience. She just feels like she's the only one in the world who's been hurt this way, right now.
Sam: I don't mean to sound callous, but she CAN'T feel that way--she just adopted two foster daughters who were both victims of abuse by their mother, her girlfriends, and their grandmother. I'm sorry, but it seems to me, if we're talking comparatively, the experiences of those little girls are far more deplorable than anything she or I have gone through in the abuse department. So I have a hard time believing Cindy feels she's the only one who's ever been hurt.
MIL: Well, you're probably right, but she just needs to talk to someone who understands.
Sam: I hope YOU understand that her experience is totally different from mine, the residual effects will be dissimilar, and, honestly there's nothing I can tell her that will be helpful.
MIL: Why don't you just give me the address to your blog. Then she can read about things there.

Now I just have to interject--I mentioned my blog to my MIL when she came to visit in April. I told her I'd found so much relief by spilling my guts here. But I also told her that I didn't allow anyone but Darrin to read it. And my MIL knows nothing about my sexual inclinations and evolutions--one needs to be a bit selective when disclosing personal information to those who WILL NOT UNDERSTAND!!!

Sam: The address to our family website?
MIL: No, your blog. The one you started in order to record your thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Cindy needs to read it. What's the address?
Sam: No.
MIL: What?
Sam: No. That blog is anonymous for a reason. It would not be good for her to read it. It's not good for ME to read it. It's not good for ANYONE to read. I don't recommend it, I don't EVER send anyone to it, and I NEVER will. The address is not something I will share.
MIL: Not even if it might help Cindy?
SAM: I've already said, it won't--but even if it would, I can't share it with her. This is a part of me that stays with me.

So then my MIL talked with my husband, asking him to help me see sense. And my Darrin--have I mentioned that I love him???--told his sweet mother that she had no right to even ask to for the address. He said it was the equivalent of asking me to parade naked in front of the family, and that HE would be uncomfortable with his sister reading my words, given the deeply personal nature of them.

So now we are both in the doghouse. We've been labeled unsympathetic, unhelpful, uncharitable, unloving, and any other "un-" word you can think of.

But it's not true. I feel terrible that my SIL went through sadness and hurt as a child. But I'm intelligent enough to know that the best help she can get will be in counseling, with someone who REALLY knows what he/she is talking about. And my blog can only help ME. So I stand by my decision.

We have a family get-together in November, for a cousin's wedding. It's in New York. That gives my MIL three months to get everyone there hopping mad at me. Should be terrific fun. Just because I know what to look forward to, Darrin took me shopping today for a dress (the wedding is one of those outrageously expensive, formal, go all night and get drunk things at some upscale NYC place). We found a GORGEOUS one, so at least I'll look really great while everyone is snubbing me. Also, Darrin's helping me practice my flirting skills. He thinks if all the men fall in love with me, his non-practicing homosexual wife, the women will have to stop being catty about my inablity to feel empathy to a fellow victim of abuse. And I don't follow his line of logic in the least, which leads me to say--WHAT A FAMILY!!!!

This is too weird to even talk about anymore.

eXTReMe Tracker