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.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

What now?

Every once in awhile a sense of futility overwhelms me. It's very strange because my life is rather focused, and certainly very busy. I believe it's based in the continuous battle I fight to merge my emotions and my thoughts. I keep telling myself, okay, I'm understanding more and more, I'm making good connections, I'm really trying--why can't I eat? Why, when I do eat, do I loathe myself? For that matter, why do I hate myself at all? Why do I still feel that I have no right to be with people? Why do I still feel nauseated at the thought that now people who know me understand just how broken and used I really am--that purity was taken from me and I can never be innocent again? Why, when I look at my husband, do I wish with all my heart that someone as wonderful as he, could have a wife without my experiences--one clean and chaste--one with whom he doesn't have to go to counseling every two weeks? Why do I still have a deep aching sadness when I understand that in the end, I have to finish this alone? No one else can go with me, because there is no one who has lived my life, made my choices, felt my feelings. And the truth is, I don't want to do this alone--sometimes I'm afraid that as I move forward I'll lose the person I've built--the "me" that is now. And sometimes I'm just plain afraid. And while I understand that Christ can make the journey with me, sometimes I find myself yearning to put my trust in some tangible, visible, arm of flesh.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Counseling 2: Sixth Session

Progress is good.

My talk with Aaron helped me realize some things--not necessarily related to the topic I was supposed to discuss with him. I realized that one of the things I'm struggling with is that I can hardly bear the fact that a little girl was deeply hurt. The fact that the little girl was me seems peripheral to everything else. And I think a little of the desperation I feel is that I was there when the abuse happened, but I was helpless to do anything about it. And I REALLY want to change that. But I can't.

Writing about the abuse in detail had a profound effect on me. Adult Samantha wants to dismiss the past--she doesn't want anyone else to have to think of the ugliness that lives in hidden corners of her mind. She doesn't want to know of similar experiences that have happened to others, as people try, misguidedly, to comfort her with those. The terrifying reality of her own past is enough without having to realize that abuse is common, that children are disregarded and disrespected, that she is only one of many little girls and boys who cannot cry because there are no more tears left. Child Samantha wants to tell everyone. She has been silent for many years. She wants people to know of the hurt and confusion. She wants to be held and comforted and protected. She pokes and prods at adult Samantha, giving her no peace. As I finally acknowledge and describe my experiences, I realize that what I have been afraid of for so long, is over. And I also realize that I'm ready to be finished with this.

I talked with Therapist about what I had done. He was surprised. He paid me a compliment, "You've got more guts than most of my clients." I was surprised. I thought that, like my first counselor, Therapist would tell me that looking too deeply at the past can do more harm than good. He talked about how I was taking charge of my life--I was no longer reacting, but becoming proactive in how I would deal with past problems. So I told him, I was having trouble applying the atonement--which I felt was the next step.

Former counselor talked endlessly about applying the atonement--it's wonderful, it can heal, it brings joy and peace...but she never addressed the problem I had--how do I do it? What's stopping me from handing my problems to Christ?

Have I mentioned that I'm in love with Therapist?

He asked me what I thought it was that was keeping me from letting go. I thought for a long time, then I said, "I know that Christ has already suffered my pain. He did it long ago. But it breaks my heart that anyone else has to feel what I've felt--NO ONE should feel that. I love Christ. I don't want him to have to feel that. I keep thinking if I don't hand it off, he won't have to. I know that's stupid, because it's over and done with--but I still don't want him to feel that hurt."

I waited for him to tell me all the things I say to myself: That's silly--the atonement has already taken place. Christ won't thank me for not taking advantage of his sacrifice. I can't change anything by holding onto my hurt. This is but one more futile attempt to change the past.

He didn't say anything like that. He said, "That sounds very empathetic, and it doesn't surprise me that you would feel that way. You've spent much of your life trying to help alleviate pain in the lives of other people. It sounds to me like you feel that, by allowing Christ to take on the pain you have suffered, you personally, are responsible for inflicting that pain on someone you love." I thought about that, and realized it was true, and it made me cry. I really did feel that way, and I didn't want that responsibility.

Therapist (by the way, I love him) was really kind--which is something I often believe I don't deserve. He asked me to think carefully. He said, "Who, really, is responsible for creating the pain you don't want to give away?" I admitted that my cousin was the responsible party. Then Therapist, who is insightful beyond anyone else I know, said, "If your cousin chooses to repent, do you think he should have that opportunity?" I thought for awhile, again. I said, "I don't think he will. But if he wants to, I hope he will. I don't think I'd be able to live with myself if I had done the things that he has. I hope he will." Therapist asked me, "Should he be forgiven?" That was easy...I'd done this with my last counselor, "Of course," I answered. "What he did was wrong, but I don't have any idea what, in his past, might have motivated him to mistreat me. Everyone deserves forgiveness." Therapist said, "Maybe it's time you gave his responsibility back to him." I asked him what he meant. He said, "Christ suffered the agony of paying the price for your cousin's mistreatment of you. He felt your pain so that he could heal you. You've been stopping the process, even though you believe in it, because you don't know how to let your cousin take the blame for what he has done. YOUR COUSIN is the one who has caused Christ's pain--you have not. He is the one who committed the sin--in this particular experience of your life, you have none, you are not responsible."

Sometimes we have "AH-HAH!!!" moments. As soon as he said that, I felt something inside me give way. It seemed as though a knot suddenly loosened, released. My head told me, Samantha, he's right--YOU are not the one who caused the pain. You don't have to take ANY responsibility for that. And as I thought more about this, I felt the most incredible peace come. And I think I can let go. It might take a little more time for everything to sink in. It might take a week or so to get used to the idea. But I think I can do this. I think I'm finally ready to let my cousin shoulder his own burden, to accept that the work to heal me has already taken place, to allow Christ's love to step in and comfort that broken child that is me.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Bad things do happen;
how I respond to them
defines my character
and the quality of my life.
I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness,
immobilized by the gravity of my loss,
or I can choose to rise from the pain
and treasure the most precious gift I have:
life itself.
-Walter Anderson

Sunday, September 24, 2006

I talked with Darrin for awhile last night. We discussed my stupid counseling assignment and so much more. He assured me that he's still glad to be married to me--which is good, because in the event that he decides otherwise, I will have to move into an old Victorian mansion and raise snakes and reptiles, and, let's face it--they're lovely, but not very cuddly.

I talked with another friend about my anger/hatred issues. I'm told that it's normal and okay for me to have these feelings. It does not feel normal. It does not feel okay. It feels scary, and dark, and frustrating.

I made some decisions today.
1. I decided I don't want to think about my past. I'm don't want to talk about it. I don't want it. I can't change any of it, but I think I'll just ignore it for awhile, and maybe it will go away. Hey, it works with people.
2. A friend I met at the Evergreen Conference told me that his preconceived impression of me, from reading my blog, was that I was a scary, angry woman. I've decided he's right. I am. I'm not sure what to do about that, but facts are facts. But I'd like to be someone different. I can't be, if I'm always consumed by stupid things that aren't important anymore. So I'm changing my focus. I think if I always write about funny, fluffy things, he can't be afraid of me, and I'll feel better, too.
3. I've decided I'm not gay. No one thinks I am. I don't act like I am. I'm married. I have children. As long as I'm ignoring my feelings, I'll add SSA to the mix. Again, if it's ignored, surely it will go away.

Okay, while I admit that all those decisions are stupid, I still want them. And I have to see stupid Therapist with Darrin on Wednesday. And Darrin's going to tell me I'm not allowed to make those decisions. But what he doesn't understand is that I'm tired. I'm tired of knowing I'm inadequate, and that I CAN'T DO THIS anymore. I'm moving from "unwell" to "crazy" and I need to just stop. I think there should be a therapeutic "recess" available to me, when I can take a break from feeling.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Conversation With Adam

I went to the grocery store yesterday afternoon. Adam asked if he could come, too. So as we were riding in the car this conversation took place:

Adam: Can I tell you something?
Samantha: Of course!
A: There's a girl I like.
S: Really?
A: Yeah.
S: What's her name?
A: Cheyenne
S: Wow! pretty name.
A: Yeah.
S: What is it that you like about her?
A: I don't know...she's pretty.
S: What color is her hair?
A: Brown.
S: Brown is nice. I like brown. What color are her eyes?
A: Brown.
S: Brown is nice. I like brown.
A: (giggling a little) Me too.
S: Is she nice?
A: I don't know. She's in one of my classes, but I haven't talked to her.
S: Does she have a nice smile?
A: Yes.
S: Is she tall? or short?
A: She's about the same size as you.
S: Hmmm...well, I think it's really nice that you like her.
A: Yeah, but I don't want anyone to tease me or tell me to hold her hand or stuff. So I'm telling you instead of my friends at school.
S: I see. You understand now, that as your mom, I have to tell you that you can look but not touch.
A: MOM!! I'm scared to even talk to her! I'm not going to touch her!!
S: I was pretty sure you wouldn't, but thought I should probably mention it. That's what mom's are supposed to do.
A: But you're not a real mom.
S: Yeah, my children keep reminding me of that.
A: That's a good thing, Mom.

Adam makes me laugh. I love that boy.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Partial Disclosure

I had a conversation with my 11 and 12 year old daughter and son yesterday. We talked about homosexuality--what it means, how people feel when they are attracted to members of their own gender, how it can be both amazing and horrifying. My kids had many questions. I let them ask, and answered them to the best of my ability. They were very curious. They asked good questions.

Then I told them that the majority of people I chat with or e-mail are gay. I have talked about these people often. Tabitha and Adam are familiar with their names and also with portions of their blogs. My children are familiar with the background and stories of many of my friends. Now they added in the "gay" dimension. They were silent and thoughtful for a moment. Then, almost as one they talked about how everyone needs to talk to someone. They told me they were glad my friends and I could talk to each other. Then my kids said they hoped, someday, all my friends would come visit us, so they could meet them, and become friends with them, too.

My children are amazing. I really, really love them.

Counseling 2: Fifth Session

I was very anxious to go to my counseling appointment. Something happened this weekend and I really wanted to discuss it with Therapist. I had forgotten to cancel one of my students, so we hurried through her lesson, then I drove the 55 miles to my appointment WAY too fast. I was 15 minutes late and frustrated--I wanted that whole hour! Therapist makes me fill out what I call "state of being forms" when I come. Basically, it's the same form each time, which poses statements such as "I feel fulfilled and happy in my sexual relationships." or "I am frequently angry at co-workers." or "I have thoughts of suicide or dying." Then I get to mark the box that appropriately describes my feelings about those statements--never, rarely, sometimes, frequently, always. Each response has a point value assigned. Those numbers add up to indicate my emotional, social, mental states. Usually I don't mind the form--today it was a nuisance. Therapist wanted to talk about my progress. Basically, according to the forms, there was none. Today, my numbers were higher than ever--which is not necessarily positive for all areas. I told Therapist I'd had a busy week, and was a little stressed, and could we talk about something else?

So we talked about my assignment: Analyze my relationship with God. What does He represent? How do I feel about the fact that He is the creator of the body I'm trying to get rid of? I told Therapist that I'd tried to do the assignment without success. I talked about my different strategies. I outlined the development of my relationship with the Lord. I worked out my feelings for Him currently. I thought about the connection between Him and the creation of my body. Nothing. I can't make this work. I'm not getting anywhere.

Therapist asked me if I'd had anymore thoughts about my role as the abuse victim. Actually, I had. I told Therapist that I'd been thinking, and I realized that I've always defined my life's beginning at the point in time when the abuse happened. I've never really thought about my life prior to that. So I sat down and pondered it. I realized that when I think of myself before the abuse, I think in terms of a child. I remember childish feelings. I did silly, childlike things. But after the abuse, my memories are all in terms of adult feelings and reactions, which makes no sense because I was still a child. Therapist asked me to describe something that 10-year-old Samantha did that was within the realm of childhood. I told him how I decided I needed a job, so I applied to a mail-order supply to be a door-to-door salesperson. They sent me a kit, and I went selling. My mom told me she wouldn't help me at all (she wanted me to stop). I didn't care. I sold lots of stuff. Then it came for delivery in a big box, COD. I used almost all my money to pay the delivery charges, then a friend and I rigged the box to my bike, we both sat on the seat, and we pedaled to each house to deliver the merchandise. I'm certain we looked amazingly silly. But we felt pretty cool as we made repeat sales and delivered "stuff".

Therapist laughed. He said that's just the way a ten-year-old thinks. She wouldn't care how she looks, she would be very focused on what her goal was. Therapist asked how much money I ended up making. I believe the actual sum was between $7-$8. He laughed again. Then we talked about how, one year or so later, my thinking was entirely changed. My life had changed. Therapist asked what kinds of feelings I had for my cousin prior to the abuse. I acknowledged that I probably had a crush on him. He was older. He treated me like I was special. I watch my daughter have crushes on older young men, trying out those feelings of attraction in a safe arena--one where she doesn't have to worry about the feelings being returned or complicated. I believed I, too was safe in exploring those feelings when I directed them toward my cousin. I was wrong.

Therapist believes that because I was forced into an adult situation, my brain adjusted its thinking to reflect that. Even though I was just entering puberty, and still a child, my thoughts were very adult in nature. I still wonder why I didn't try to leave, why I didn't tell him to stop. Therapist says that is because I am attributing adult reactions to a child who was in no position to act in the way I wish she had. My assignment this week is to talk with Darrin about these sentences: "If I could have gotten away, _____________ would have happened." and "If I had done _______________, perhaps I could have gotten away." The truth is, I know the answers to those questions, but Therapist believes that discussing them in depth with Darrin, will help the belief move from my head to my heart. We'll see.

Therapist commented that I've lost more weight. I haven't seen him for nearly two weeks. I have--but it's negligible--possibly five pounds. Therapist asked about my weekend at the Evergreen Conference. FINALLY!! This was what I wanted to talk to him about. Here's the amazing thing: when I was at the conference, I ate. I didn't even really think about it. I ate two meals daily, and while I didn't eat tons, I ate more than I usually do. It didn't seem odd or remarkable in the least. I didn't even realize this until I got home. Then it hit me--I didn't even have ONE negative thought about my body or my eating disorder, the entire weekend (that would be Thursday-Sunday). So I asked Therapist, why?

Therapist asked me to just talk about the weekend. He had me go into great detail about the people I met, my feelings about them and the situation, how I was treated, how I acted. He asked questions about the gender of the people I was with, whether or not I stayed with Darrin the whole time, and how I felt about those things. He asked me if any of my phobias were manifested during the weekend and wanted details about how those felt, how I dealt with them, and how others around me reacted. Then he asked me what I thought happened.

I said I thought maybe, for the first time, I was in a large group of men, and I wasn't afraid. I felt at ease. By the second day I was absolutely certain that none of the men I was with would hurt me in any way. Those feelings were peaceful, wonderful, and joyful. Therapist said he agreed. He also pointed out how my interactions with the young men I was with were at once accepting and affirming. We joked and played, but could also take time out to be honest and serious. We were in a setting where nothing needed to be hidden. He suggested that for the first time, perhaps in my whole life, I was completely myself with someone other than Darrin. I was myself with people who knew of the abuse in my life, who knew of my SSA, and who still wished to interact with me.

Therapist believes that one of the problems I'm having in accepting the abuse and the reason I've targeted my body, is that somewhere inside me, I don't believe I'm of value. The affirmation and love I received this weekend contradicts the belief structure I've erected, and I absolutely forgot about it as I interacted with "men" whom, as a group, I have previously feared. So I asked Therapist, how do I keep this going? Now that I'm no longer around these friends, I'm feeling myself slowly returning to my norm. I don't want to do that. Therapist told me this is a problem which I have to solve myself. Second assignment: Make a list of ways to cling to the feelings and growth I had this weekend, which I can use to reaffirm myself as time passes. I suggested that I just import all those friends to my home and hold them there indefinitely. Therapist said that was not an option. I have to do this myself. Therapist also said he thought what had happened to me was " as heck!!" I do, too.

I left my session feeling still confused, but happier. I have lots to do in the next week. I'm glad I don't have to see Therapist twice a week anymore, and also a bit sad about it--because I'm in love with him again. He gets my jokes. He thinks I'm funny. And he's helping me get better. What's not to love?

Monday, September 18, 2006


I've been gone. Darrin and I left on Thursday, and got back this afternoon. Here are some things I learned while I was gone.

1. I can survive without a computer for at least three days.
2. Meeting people you already know, but have never seen, is an amazing experience.
3. The Evergreen Conference is long.
4. I'm glad it was long because it gave me a chance to get to know many people.
5. I'm shorter than everyone I met.
6. My kids miss me when I'm gone.
7. My son, DJ, is one of the kindest, coolest guys in the world.
8. More people think that my husband is gay, than those who think I am.
9. There are some restaurants where it's not a good idea to order the pork.
10. I love sleeping in my own bed.
11. There is something healing about being among those you love, and who love you back.
12. If you laugh really hard, your gut aches, and you have to go to the bathroom.
13. If you want to play a trick on me, my husband will help you.
14. Friends can be found anywhere--age and gender are immaterial.
15. Always take the stairs.
16. Sometimes you just need to read Isaiah.
17. Neon sticky notes are not recyclable.
18. Gay guys will use ball point pens that have purple or pink ink.
19. It's okay to take a nap on the couch, rather than sleep through a workshop.
20. "Parting is such sweet sorrow."

To those of you who met me at the conference--what a beautiful experience!! You are more incredible in person than I ever imagined. I will keep you in my heart.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Just Thinking

When I was in seventh grade I met an angel. She was in high school. She was a Senior. Her name was K. I saw her often because she and I were both in the high school orchestra, even though I was only a Junior High peon. Everyone loved K--and she loved them back. I don't believe there was a speck of malice in her. She was the most amazing person, and when I was with her, I felt that I was better because she was with me. Some Senior's would ignore a twelve-year-old. K went out of her way to come talk to me whenever she saw me. Her voice was gentle, and I loved to hear her laugh. I remember the first time she smiled at me. She was sweet, absolutely kind, funny, and the most beautiful person I had ever met. I chose her as my role model.

I remember after she graduated, hearing small stories about K. She was struggling. She was sad. She had a mental disorder. She had to come home from college because of the stress. The stories continued over the next few years. When I was a Junior, K took her own life. My role model was schizophrenic and also suffered from multiple personality disorder. One day, left unattended at home, she took a butcher knife and slit her own throat.

I went to her funeral. I wept through the entire meeting. I don't remember anything that was said, any songs, any heartfelt prayers. I just sobbed, remembering my sweet friend, her gentle ways, her beautiful smile. I had always been taught that suicide was evil--that those who took their own lives were selfish and would forfeit any heavenly reward in store for them. As I cried, there was one thing of which I was certain: My angel friend was not selfish. She was not evil. She deserved more of a reward than I will ever earn in my lifetime. She was sad, tortured, and, in her own way, suffering a self-abuse that no one can understand. And at the same time, I missed her with all my heart.

A friend, chatting online with me, observed a couple of days ago, that my eating disorder did not profile that of a typical anorexic. He mentioned that it seemed to be "different... like you're trying to commit suicide, not that you're struggling for an ideal." When he said that, my stomach lurched, I felt helpless tears beginning. I continued to rationally discuss that which was making me feel hopelessly out of control. I sobbed behind my computer screen while I typed reasonable, calm responses. I thought of my friend, and wondered, am I her?

The strange thing is, I don't feel depressed--just helpless. I've never been presented with a problem I could neither solve, nor cope with in some way--till now. The reality is that I really don't want to die. I just cannot understand what is happening to me. I realized that I felt those same feelings when my cousin would visit me at night. I absolutely did not understand what he was doing, I had no idea how to react or cope with the situation, I did not know how to proceed. I haven't felt that way for many years. Now, once again I find myself helplessly confronting those feelings--but this time I'm an adult. I should know what to do! But for whatever reason, I don't.

There is a nagging, horrifying fear inside me that I'm going to fail. That even though I'm trying so hard to get to the bottom of my problem, it will eat me alive before I can conquer it. That fear is tangible and paralyzing. I shudder as I try to confront it. I'm exhausted as I try to control it. And as this happens the realization hits me that as fatigue sets in, my resolve weakens. I just feel so very tired. Then the desire to just be finished--to give in--is overwhelming. I immerse myself in work, in new projects, in my children, in my callings, in pathetic pleas to my God for some small deliverance.

My daughter is now the same age I was when my nightmare began. She is slender and beautiful--eleven years old, and 65 tiny pounds--as I was at the same age. I look at her and am suffused with agony. I want to protect her, while at the same time I am consumed with envy at her innocence. I love her with all my heart, but a part of that heart wishes that I was her. That I could look at my life one more time, unmarred with ugly realities I had no business knowing. That I could have the luxury of romantic childish fantasies, unmarred by fear and pain. I'm ashamed that I want this--that I want to run from my past and into her present. But I do want it. Someday, I just want to be free.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


For years I have taught in different capacities in church service. I love to teach. I have a friend who is a master teacher. She and I used to bounce ideas off each other when we taught in Relief Society. Her motto was: Find the Hook. So we would discuss the topic, discuss the women we'd be teaching, then try to figure out what would draw them in. We came up with several different ways to engage our "students" and we had so much fun teaching. Perhaps that's what gives the illusion of a good teacher--the degree of fun being had by the person in front of the class.

However, in general, when I teach youth, they have a wonderful time ( I see to that), but other adults present will inevitably remark, "Well, that was certainly a different perspective. I hadn't really thought about ______________ in quite that way." Yes, well, I have a different perspective on many things. Which does not make it wrong, just different. I am very careful to make certain that my sources are acceptable (i.e. scriptures, conference addresses, that's pretty much all I use), that I inquire of the Lord prior to and during presentation, and that I avoid personal anecdotes that may be funny, but really have nothing to do with what I'm talking about or will not invite the Spirit.

I've had the opportunity to present lessons, which have included the topic of temple marriage, to youth in two different settings, recently. The first was in the Young Women's organization. The second, in seminary during the Plan of Salvation lesson (which took four days--yeah, we had lots to talk about). In both classes there were members who may or may not get married during their lifetimes. When I went through the presentation suggested in the YW manual, I rejected it point blank for a few reasons:
1. My view of being sealed in the temple has little to do with goo-goo eyes and romance.
2. I do not believe young women will find a story about dying young, knowing you will be with your spouse forever, a motivational force in deciding whether or not to be married in the temple (and I find that kind of sentimentality highly distasteful).
3. The REAL reasons behind the importance of being sealed were not presented to my satisfaction.

So I did bunches of reading and research and tweaking and thinking and praying. Then I put it all together and presented my lesson. It was devoid of starry eyes. It was not about love at first sight. I did not share my own personal love story--nor anyone else's. In fact, we spent little time talking about couples and intimacy. The girls loved it. They asked millions of questions. We still talk about it in other lessons. And, of course, the other leaders said: "What a unique perspective. I hadn't quite considered temple marriage in that way."

Then I had the opportunity to revisit key parts of that lesson as I discussed the Plan of Salvation with my seminary class. This time the lesson was presented to a mixed audience. Again, the reception was sort of amazing. These are beautiful young men and women--bright and intelligent. My son told me later, "Mom, I thought about some things today that I hadn't before." Good. My work here is done.

I can't apologize for my "unique perspective." I worked a lifetime in order to gain it. And so, because it is my perspectve, I am recording it here on my blog. It is, of course, rooted in the LDS faith. It is, of course, religious. It is, of course, part of what motivated me to try to become who I am today. So for me, I am recording my ideas about this topic.

The first thing I wish to say is that I believe the root reason for the importance of being sealed as a unit in the temple is based in choice. That's easy, right? You choose that attractive person you wish to have sex with, then you get married so no one will call you a slut. Actually, there's more than just that "marriage" thing. We existed, prior to coming to earth, in a family unit. We had a Father/Mother/brother/sister relationship. Granted, it was on a pretty huge scale, and there may have been sub-units within that colossal family, but that would be require speculation, and I'm avoiding that.

When we came to earth, that family unit still existed, in some form. But here's the thing: when we lived as spirits within the family, it was not by choice. We were included as family members through the power of our parents, in much the same way we are included in mortal families into which we are born. Some people speculate that we "chose" our earthly families before we came to them, which may be true and certainly presents a very romantic picture, but again, requires speculation, and I do not believe it. I have three children. The youngest two are mine. I felt a spiritual tie to them at their births--with one of them I felt that tie prior to her birth. My oldest son, however, is a gift. He is different physically, spiritually, emotionally, from the rest of his family. I have always known that there was something very special about him. I don't know why I've been privileged to have him be with me in this life. He's like my own personal, mortal, ministering angel. He heals my soul, comforts me with his presence. He is like pure sunshine. But there was no spriritual recognition similar to what I experienced with my other two children. So from my own experience, and simply from pure logic (if, indeed, there is a "one and only" for everyone, what if one of those dies? then who do the children belong to? what if they never find each other? what if one has children out of wedlock? The possibilities for failure with such a fallacious dogma are endless), I do not believe our mortal families were predetermined in the pre-earth life. Such a belief is romantic and beautiful, but bound to fail in any number of circumstances. I prefer reality. So we became members of mortal families, not necessarily (although possibly) by choice. And that caused somewhat of a shift in that spiritual family of our Heavenly parents.

I want to switch gears and talk about temple marriage. First, the marriage part. I would love to say that when people fall in love, those lovely attractions that cause toe curling, jaw clenching, stomach churning, swooning intensity stay around for life--but they don't. And thank goodness for that, because no one enjoys being around two people who are experiencing sexual tension all the time. It's horribly uncomfortable. That attraction serves the purpose of drawing them together--it's up to the couple to see if they can continue after the initial attraction thrust subsides. But that's only a part of the big picture.

One of my seminary students said that, really, being sealed was all about couples. They get married, have children, raise children, then they are a couple once again and forever. Wrong. Absolutely wrong. And it alarms me that this is a prevalent attitude, one we teach our children, and perhaps one we accept throughout the "church". And it's wrong. It's EARTHLY--mortal--for this life only. Yes, it certainly is true that we marry, have children, they leave, and we are a couple again--but then a spouse dies--no longer a couple--oh yeah, they're sealed--but so are the children. Our current earthly existence does not determine our eternal state of being. So I reiterate: sealing blessings are not about husband and wife--husband and wife are but a part of something much larger.

So now we come to Samantha's unique perspective. When we come to earth, one of our beautiful choices is whether or not we want to continue to be a part of that first (and I use that term loosely) spiritual family. And the vehicle used to make that choice is temple marriage. When we are sealed to a spouse, we are also sealed to God and all that he represents eternally. That new sealing incorporates two families, their progenitors, and their posterity, which will be linked to another earthly family unit through another sealing, and another, and another, ad infinitum. And all within those units will have the opportunity to choose to remain within that sealed unit through their choices and actions on earth. Some will have opportunity to accept sealings made in their behalf after death. But the bottom line is that through the sealing ordinance, we are putting back in place that first family, but this time, anyone who remains in that family will do so by choice, not by nature of birth or creation. This includes those who are born "in the covenant" because even though those blessing are provided at birth, the choice of accepting those blessings remains with each individual.

What a beautiful concept. And to me, it helps me understand why my Heavenly Father has instructed our prophets to place such great importance on things like chastity, parenthood, families, purity, and temple work. The worth of souls is great in the sight of God--because He wants us back. He loves His children. He let us go. He hopes we'll choose to return, bound with the sealing bonds to Him.

Is the sealing ordinance about romance? Not in my mind, although that would certainly make parts of marriage "easier". But it IS about love, including but not exclusively, romantic love. It's also about love between parents, siblings, children, and friends, spanning all generations of mortal time, pre-earth life, and the life to come. It's about a loving, wise Father, who understands the needs of His children to choose whether or not they wish to be with Him, to become like Him. But above all, through all, and beneath it all runs a current of deep love from an amazing Father for each one of us. Because no matter how much He wishes for our return, He loves us enough to let us make that choice for ourselves, knowing full well, that not all will choose Him.

So now you have it. My way of thinking outside the box. Perhaps it is only a "unique perspective" for those who are locked into mortality and the finite ideas presented and accepted by many. Perhaps this is important to no one but me. But because it is important to me, especially when I view the circumstances and beauty of my own temple marriage, I post this here, so that I will always remember.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

I look at my circle of friends now. Interesting.

I have women with whom I go to lunch and giggle with at church. But I still avoid close friends. Janey is close, but we are too busy to be really close friends. Perhaps that's intentional on both our parts. I have a "walking" friend, but her parents are ill and we only walk together a few times monthly. I'm friends with my mom when I want to be. My sister, Lila, is probably my closest female friend, emotionally, but furthest away, geographically.

Then there are men. My Dad and I are wonderful friends. We share a similar sense of mischief and humor. We love to play board and card games. We love being outdoors. We love music. My husband is, hands down, my best friend. He accepts every part of me. He makes me want to live. He helps me feel that the best in life is yet to come. He tells me I'm beautiful. After these two men, though, by and large, more men know me, know about me, than women. I think part of this is because I'm less afraid of being myself with men, most of those men know me anonymously, and the bottom line is--they ask questions.

Most women don't ask personal questions. They make leading statements. They encourage confidences when they come. They act interested, but they rarely ask point blank what they want to know. In this, I differ from the rest of the female populus. I've always asked what I wanted to know. This has made my circle of feminine friends somewhat unique. Those who don't deal well with me speaking my mind consider me blunt/rude. Some just dislike me. Those who stay have beautiful senses of humor. They take me as I am, they ask me, "does this make me look fat?" only if they want my true opinion. We discuss REAL subjects: literature, politics, finances, music, funny things, our children, religion. I'm terribly uninformed about home decor, the latest weight loss trend, recipe exchanges, hair dressers, monthly cramps, and boorish husbands.

Darrin has noticed the amount of time I spend chatting with others, and came over today, to see my chat list. He mentioned that there were no women on it. I said if I wanted to talk to a woman, I'd go visit her personally (which is actually preferable to chat because I'm not good at all the nuance chat decorations like smiley faces and verbal sound letters). I suggested that going to visit men and chatting with them was less socially acceptable, so chat was a better forum in which to exchange brilliant ideas with each other. Darrin made that irritating snorting noise ( I think it irritates me because I don't know how to do it). He stayed to "eavesdrop" for a moment, lost interest and left to chat with my nephew (Darrin's chat list is equally balanced with men and women).

There is no point to this post, nor is there a conclusively stunning declaration with which to end it. So I will stoop to my sixteen-year-old's vernacular and end with this random statement: "I'm just sayin'..."

Friday, September 08, 2006

Counseling 2: Fourth Session

Darrin and I went together to this session. It was weird. Both of my therapists have assumed that I tell my deepest, darkest secrets only to them. When I've told them I tell Darrin everything, I get a token comment of approval with underlying currents of disbelief. Darrin laid this disbelief to rest. He was amazing. He told Therapist that there was very little that he and I did not discuss. He was aware of most of my issues, my fears, my past. Therapist looked at me and said, "You weren't kidding when you said you two talk about everything." I said I rarely "kid" about anything. I just laugh all the time, so people don't take me seriously.

Therapist said that usually, when he works with couples, they learn ways to improve communication. Darrin laughed. Then he told Therapist that if we (Darrin and I) hadn't known how to do that for most of our marriage, we would not be married today. That comment gave Therapist the opening he'd been waiting for. He asked Darrin question after question about our mixed-orientation marriage. I sat back and listened as Darrin gave his perspective of living with a same-sex attracted, abuse victim. It felt as though the subject of their conversation was someone other than me. Darrin painted me as courageous, heroic, generous. He said I was strong, faithful, and he told Therapist he felt blessed that I was his wife. He said that because of my past and my feelings of SSA, he felt that our marriage was stronger than most. We worked through issues most people never face. Darrin said his love for me was strengthened each time I overcame another obstacle and remained steadfast in our marriage. He compared our marriage to those of our parents. My parents have been married for 43 years. Darrin's mother and step-father have been married for sixteen years. Darrin said, in his opinion, our parents really didn't have the kind of love and intimacy he and I experience, because they don't know one another. They've grown used to each other. They live together. But they simply tolerate differences because they aren't strong enough to confront and work through them. We have to work through our differences if we choose to stay married. There is no other choice.

Therapist said to me, "I'd be interested in hearing why you chose Darrin, and in how you got to the point where you felt that you could be intimate with a man." I said, "That's a pretty personal question." Therapist laughed, and Darrin gave me a dirty look. "Well, it IS!" I told him. So I went back to my lovely teen years, when I had the horrifying need to hurt young men emotionally. Therapist said that made total sense, and was actually a healthy reaction to the abuse I'd suffered. Interesting.

I told Therapist that I decided when I was about 16 that I wanted to be married. So I'd read everything I could about homosexuality and same-sex attraction. Then I'd drawn my own conclusions, and worked toward what I wanted. I told him I knew that wasn't the norm. But I was finished agonizing over who I was, and I developed a method which helped me cope with feelings, and deal with them positively. When I met Darrin, I knew he was one who would work within the parameters I'd set for myself, he'd be willing to help me grow, he had the patience and the love necessary to help me work toward my goals. Therapist asked me if I was attracted to Darrin, initially. I sad no, but attraction is a fleeting feeling that doesn't last. There are deeper feelings that DO last.

Therapist asked what types of things had made me certain that I wanted to marry Darrin. I told, for the first time, of the "tests" I'd put him through. Darrin had never been aware that I was testing him, so this was something new for him to hear. Darrin came through the testing period with flying colors. Even in the temple, when I told him I thought we should call everything off, he gave the right answer.

Therapist asked how long it had taken before we were able to be comfortable in intimacy. Darrin estimated about six months. I didn't answer. There are still times when it's not comfortable. They're rare, but they still exist. Finally, I spoke of this. Darrin was a little surprised. He asked if it was connected to the crying thing. I told him that the two things were unrelated, but equally uncomfortable.

Therapist believes that, even though I've been able to reconcile my feelings about my abuser, to some extent, and about the abuse, to a smaller extent, that I haven't reconciled all my feelings about men, in general, and I haven't even begun to search out why I'm still insecure and afraid around certain women. My assignment for the next session is to explore my feelings about the Lord, especially his role in the creation of my body. I'm supposed to discuss this with Darrin.

I have to say, I really don't want to do this. Of all the things I've been asked to do, I believe this one might be key in helping me heal, but I'm afraid of what I'll discover. I'm afraid to explore. I'm wondering if I'm afraid to heal.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Just one more thing

I share a birthday with Jane Curtin (old enough to be my mother), and Jeff Foxworthy (not quite old enough to be my father). Sigh... comedians...

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Wednesday, Sep. 6, 2006

There seems to be a distinct dichotomy inside of me, and the two separate sides seem to grow farther apart daily. The logic thread that reiterates that eating is not the goal--that I need to rid myself of my body--that death is the ultimate protection--is growing stronger. It is difficult to ignore. It is becoming impossible to ignore. It tells me that I am worthless, that I am broken, contaminated by one who disregarded my right to be human. The other part of me says this mantra is wrong. It tells me to live. It reminds me that my family needs me. It asks me to eat, if only just a little. But it is so difficult to believe in that part of me. The physical evidence of my past nullifies the whisperings of the voice that asks me not to give in. I don't expect that understanding can be found anywhere. There is nothing logical about this. I, myself, still do not understand. But somehow, in a freakish misery, I find comfort as my body feels pain. And I know, if those who entrust me to teach their children were to read the words I have just written, I would be sleeping in tomorrow.

Happy Birthday. Darrin's mother and step-father called to wish me one. I told them how fine I am. Life is wonderful. My children are perfect. I am the lovely bishop's wife. I have all the answers. They hung up, reassured that I am the most capable, sane person they know.

Happy Birthday. I finished working on my mom's computer. She thanked me, then went to visit a friend. I tried to feel slighted. I couldn't, because really, I don't enjoy spending time with her. She gossips. She self-aggrandizes. She bores me. She frustrates me.

Happy Birthday. Darrin was supposed to go to my counseling appointment with me. He believed it was a morning appointment. It was an afternoon one. He rushed off to work saying that he probably wouldn't be able to make it. For the first time in our marriage, I felt like a liability. The flawed, evil logic line became more pronounced. Self-hatred reared its ugly head. If I am an inconvenience to the person who loves me the most, what is the point?

Happy Birthday. A parent of one of my students told me she'd noticed I've lost quite a bit of weight. She said I must be very happy about that. Yes, I must be. Everyone else would be. She told me I was beautiful. I thanked her, then, after she left, took a look at myself in the full length mirror. Why don't I believe I'm beautiful?

For the first time in many, many years, I wept for me. A selfish gesture beyond my control. Then I bottled all the emotions back inside, dried my tears, and ate a pear. I ignored the desire to choke, to gag. Then I ran six miles, came home, showered, and went to my counseling appointment. Darrin was there. I must be important to him, after all. He hugged me and apologized for being tense this morning. I kissed his cheek and said I hadn't even noticed. I'm such a liar.

The counseling appointment was entertaining, to say the least. I believe Therapist was absolutely elated to be fortunate enough to have both members of our mixed-orientation marriage in his clutches. I tried to be upset with Therapist, but I'm in love him, so I can't be. He asked many questions. Darrin answered most of them. I had nothing to say. After about fifteen minutes, Therapist turned to me. "You're very quiet." Yes, I am. "I'm used to you having funny things to say, as you tell me about the things that are hurting you." "Maybe I'm all better," I said. Therapist looked at me steadily, then asked if I'd like to tell Darrin and him about it. I said no. Therapist made a few more well-placed comments, started the ball rolling, and finally, I talked. I told him more things about my past, about the abuse, about my feelings that I want to ignore. He gave me an assignment. I have to examine my relationship with God--the MAN who is responsible for giving me the body I'm so desperately trying to destroy. I don't want to do it. For the first time, I am balking at his suggestions, and he's insisting. I am not in love with Therapist anymore.

I went home to teach piano lessons. When I was finished, Tabitha suggested we get pizza for dinner. Darrin arrived just as we were leaving. Adam ran to him and said, "DAD!! You forgot Mom's flowers!!" Darrin told me he was sorry. He said things got crazy at work, and he forgot. Actually, this day was feeling less and less like a birthday, so I couldn't even feel unhappy at being forgotten. There was a numbness that set in around noon that had consumed me. I told Darrin this was not a big deal. Then I sent he and Adam to get pizza.

I worked on my seminary lesson for tomorrow. I sat with my family at dinner. I went grocery shopping with Darrin. He bought me flowers. DJ came home from his tennis match. He won.

I left and went for a walk. I told God that I don't want to do my therapy assignment. The sunset was amazing. My numbness eased into peace. I went home and ate a piece of pizza. David and Scott stopped by to get some of my basil for their dinner tomorrow. I worked on my lesson some more.

To those of you who have wished me a happy birthday--I thank you. I sincerely appreciate the wonderful thoughts. A couple of you have offered, in email, to remember me in your prayers. I'll take all the prayers I can get. Funny, I often mention many of you when I pray. I wonder if the Lord knows your blognames. I suppose he does...that omniscient thing...


I was born on this day, quite a few years ago. It's an unfortunate time of year in which to be born. In the bustle of going back to school, my birthday was invariably forgotten. I have an older sister whose birthday is on the eleventh. In general, my birthday was celebrated with hers--when my parents realized it had passed and they felt guilty. One time they masked their oversight with a surprise party. It was a fun party. It was nice to have a celebration that wasn't joint with my sister's. But I knew they had forgotten.

It's a family joke that Samantha can't have a birthday cake that isn't ruined. It's kind of my fault. On my special day, when I was old enough to realize that it was being forgotten, I would wait until the evening, just to see if anyone might remember, then when they didn't, I would mention to my mom, in an offhand way, "Just thought you might like to know...I was born today--oh yeah, nevermind--you were there." Then she would be consumed with guilt and try to throw a cake together before I went to bed. Naturally, it would always fall, or be frosted while it was warm, or break apart because she was hurrying--I'm so glad my children are not like me. And honestly, even when my mom tried (there were a few years), the cakes either tasted bad, or looked terrible. I tried not to take this personally.

For a few years I decided to feel sorry for myself and bemoan the fact that I was forgotten. I have a little brother, who felt terrible that no one remembered. During those years, I always received a well-chewed, much loved plastic dinosaur wrapped in tissues. It was always the same dinosaur, since I managed to return it to him within the next 365 days. When he was old enough to recognize that his gift was unappreciated, his generosity ceased.

One beautiful birthday, I realized that the status quo was in place--it wasn't changing. I became philosophical about the whole thing, and decided I would celebrate in my own way. I had a special place in the mountains that was peaceful and quiet. I would pack myself a snack of sorts, take a book and an old blanket with me, and I would go to my place for an hour or two, and treat myself to some alone time (rare in my large family). Then I would sing myself the birthday song, reflect on my year, choose one or two rather outstanding events that made me happy, and go home. It felt peaceful, and I no longer tried that "guilt" thing with my mom, which was helpful to our relationship.

When I turned sixteen, I had been friends with N. for almost a year. She came to my house the night of my birthday. She had presents. She said, "Everyone needs presents on her birthday! I love presents!!" There were six. Nothing expensive--just personal. Each gift had a note, an explanation, a joke. Some were things I would never use. I am not a pack rat, but I have kept them all these years. It didn't matter what the gifts were, my friend was telling me that she loved me, that she celebrated my birth, that she was happy I was here. N. has no idea how important that small gesture was. She did that on the day that my "special place" was the high ledges near my home. The day I walked to the edge, thought about flying, changed my mind and walked away. She reaffirmed to me that I needed to live.

Darrin has never understood my family's attitude toward my day. Birthday's in his family are major celebrations. I received more cards and gifts from Darrin's family in the first year of our marriage than I received in a lifetime in my own family. It frustrates Darrin when he asks me what I want for my birthday. I can't think of anything. I don't think that way. I finally told him that the only things I ever really want are roses and going out to dinner with him (and sometimes our kids are invited, as well). For his birthday this year, he purchased another expensive tech toy. It makes him very happy. He doesn't understand that I don't equate "birthday" with "getting stuff". That's not how I grew up. I still treat myself to alone time. I still do one thing, just for me. I still reflect on my year, and choose a couple of outstanding events that have made me happy. Darrin says that's sad. I just think it's me. It's who I am.

Yesterday, my mom was looking at the calendar while I was working on her computer. She said, "Oh, your birthday's tomorrow. Well, happy birthday, just in case I forget." I said thanks. And, true to form, she has forgotten. But Darrin won't. He'll bring me flowers. And if he forgets, well, I'll buy them myself. Everyone needs flowers on her birthday.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


I'm assuming that everyone acquainted with me knows I am. If they don't it becomes apparent within 30 seconds of talking to me. Honestly, I probably could help it if I chose to do so--but I don't. Being irreverent makes me happy.

Now, I'm not talking about being irreverent when it's blatently innappropriate. Like, during the sacrament. I'm very reverent then. Or in the temple--although, I have to admit to having the briefest of lightmindedness in my thoughts occasionally when I attend. I need to work on that. Or at a funeral--no, scratch that--I've been irreverent at funerals. My cousin died of leukemia when he was 36. He left a wife and four small children. The disease ate him up. He looked frightening at the viewing. A skeletal head with odd colored skin and a creepy smile. A woman came by and said the usual, "Oh...doesn't he just look so natural..." I couldn't help it. I cracked up. And I swear, my dead cousin was standing next to me laughing his head off, as well. If that's what he looked like alive...well...he's better off dead.

But sometimes I just have to let off steam. Life is so serious. My son gave me a frown today in seminary when I said, "And thank goodness Adam and Eve partook of that forbidden fruit, or they'd still be in the garden, naked with the animals, and we'd still be waiting for them to figure out what to do next." I think it was the "...naked with the animals..." part that got to him. He also gave me a look when I was making up the last words of Steve Erwin before the sting ray got to his heart. Everyone else was laughing with me--but DJ's sense of propriety is way too developed. I'm certain he's not my biological offspring.

So today I found the title of a book: Behind Every Great Woman is a Fabulous Gay Man. Now I'm not trying to intimate that I'm a "great" woman. But if I ever am, I look at the men I interact with in person and in cyberspace, and I have to admit they're pretty "fabulous", and many (okay, the majority) of them are gay or some approximation of the term. And on that premise, the title of that book just made me laugh. -L- has a name for me...derogatory, of course... but it also fits in with the book title, and only furthers my irreverent enjoyment.

Life is beautiful, and incredibly funny. I'm going to burn in Hell when I die laughing.

Monday, September 04, 2006

"Not for these I raise
The song of thanks and praise;
But for those obstinate questionings
Of sense and outward things,
Fallings from us, vanishings;
Blank misgivings of a Creature
Moving about in worlds not realized,
High instincts before which our mortal Nature
Did tremble like a guilty thing surprised..."

--William Wordsworth

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Musings on music...

"When you play music you discover a part of yourself that you never knew existed." --Bill Evans

Once I told my husband that all my dreams are in color (vivid) and have a musical soundtrack. He gave me a weird look and asked, "How do you know? People don't remember all their dreams." Which I suppose is true, but I was only talking about the ones I remember. So then he admitted that he had no idea whether or not his dreams included colors and music, and determined to pay attention the next time he dreamed. He reported to me the next week that he remembered no colors, and no background music, although there was an annoying song that someone kept singing in one recent dream. My respect for him decreased significantly.

As a child I was drawn to anything musical. I remember my father taking me to a Native American ceremony. I listened to the chanting, singing, dancing. I felt it in my soul. I wanted to join them. One beautiful man in feathers lifted me in his arms and continued his rhythmic movements. I wanted him to dance with me forever. I was three years old.

That same year I learned to read. I remember my mother pointing to the individual words of a hymn as we sang, so that I could sing, too. I asked her why she sang a different song from the lady sitting next to her. She asked what I meant. I said, "You say the same words, but you sing a different song. It's pretty." Realizing I was talking about part-singing, she asked if I could sing her song with her. I did. Then she asked me to sing with the sister beside us. I did. Then I sang my dad's song with him, an octave (or two) higher. I told my mom her song was the prettiest that day.

There's something about creating music that stops time. It makes me catch my breath as I feel pure joy. There are times when I'm practicing that a certain passage cadences perfectly. I'll play it again, just to hear that moment of perfection. I say I'm practicing, but I'm not. I'm listening, feeling, staying in the moment. There is no need to practice that passage, but I play it anyway. The feeling of being able to create such sound is at once exhilerating and humbling. I'm amazed that the music has come from my hands. I'm grateful to the composer for giving me the gift of his musical thought. I'm entranced by the beauty which can be quiet, pensive, angry, intense, fast or slow, sometimes, even comical. I allow the emotions to sift through me during my hours of practice. I allow myself to be distracted by them, to be interrupted by them, to drown in them--because when I perform I cannot allow myself such luxury. Which isn't to say I don't put emotion into my performances, but it is controlled and appropriate, with none of the abandon which allows me to repeat passages incredible in their beauty, or to allow myself to improvise on an idea presented by the composer.

When I tell people that I practice many hours (although my daily hours currently are much fewer than they were when I was working on my music degrees), they look at me as if I'm insane, wondering how anyone could possibly work that hard. They miss the fact that it's a labor of love, and that the spiritual nourishment I receive in return is well worth the time. As my soul communes with myself, with dead poets and composers, with sound and touch, I fight the demons within me. I balance out feelings that threaten to overpower and devour. I pour my energies into a focused point, remove them from myself, and emerge unscathed and at peace. And in the process I create something of infinite worth and beauty, something I can share with others.

When I leave the physical act of creation behind, it lingers in my soul. My mind remembers the sounds and sensations of making the music. My feet trace the rhythms as I run. I close my eyes and see the black and white patterns as my ears hear the music in the silence. It sustains me, strengthens me, uplifts me--and brings me back day after day to work again at perfection. And every once in awhile I touch that perfection for which I strive, which reminds me that with a little work, my piece as a whole, can attain that same status.

And so I pour my soul into my practice time. I leave my emotions there. I commune with the dead and pay them obeisance. I emerge to deal with live people, happy face intact, feelings carefully controlled, funny and entertaining. I know they don't understand--only those who have experienced what I have just described could understand. I know they think I'm insane to waste my life in such a way--but they don't understand that this place is where my life begins. They believe my time should be spent more constructively--but they don't understand that I've just created beauty, a masterpiece, an extension of my soul.

Sometimes, I wonder if they dream in color. I wonder if the soundtrack to their dreams is as memorable as my own. I wonder if they take the time to remember, to listen. I never ask...but still, I wonder.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Counseling 2--Third Session

Don't tell Darrin, but I think I'm in love with my counselor. Truly. Not the "I want to rip your clothes off and ...." in love. Nor the "I'm drowning in your eyes..." in love. No, it's the "Wow, I think I might even trust you and allow you to help me..." in love. Which is altogether a better type of love when it comes to a therapist/client relationship. Each time I meet with him, I come away hopeful--such a different mindset from what I was experiencing formerly in counseling.

Things about Therapist that make me love him:
1. He never asks me to tell him things point blank. Today I ended up telling him all about the abuse, sans details, and why my parents were not notified about it by me. He never asked. Just talked about possible reasons, conclusions that could be drawn...oh, I take that one point he asked me if my cousin, David, had insisted on secrecy. So, one real probing question. That's all. I don't respond well to personal questions. This approach makes me feel more comfortable than having to write the experiences down and share them. I feel that, at each step of the way, he is allowing me the choice to protect myself or allow myself to be vulnerable--but I always feel in control. That, to me, is extremely important.

2. He lets me laugh. He thinks I'm funny. He laughs with me. Former counselor always seemed to want me to cry. She never laughed with me. Truthfully, I'm a riot!! People should laugh with me! Granted, the subjects we're discussing are not funny...but allowing them to descend to a level of intensity that makes me uncomfortable makes me shut down. As long as I feel I can crack a joke or just laugh a little, I'm much more willing to talk about what hurts me. I even admitted today that I was using laughter/humor as a defense mechanism, and he said, "That's completely normal. You've been put in a position where you had no defense. You have to be able to approach your social interactions, especially with men, from a standpoint where you feel in control. If you can disarm people with humor, keep them off balance, you maintain that feeling of safety in any situation. Also, laughing is a great way to release tension." And that's what I've always believed, but former counselor said it wasn't being true to myself--it was hiding. New Therapist says I'm allowed to hide as much as I'd like to. He also says that we sometimes discover more about ourselves through use of our defense mechanisms, rather than through their disposal.

3. He read me a story. I love that. It was a children's story. I collect children's books. He asked me questions about relating to the story. He allowed me to tell him what I thought, instead of telling me what to think. I was free to disagree with him if I felt his conclusions were not accurate or not completely true. He didn't keep bringing up the book once its discussion was concluded. It served a purpose, then we moved on.

4. He believes we can "fix" the problem. Notice I said "we". He said the not eating is a symptom of a process that isn't quite finished inside of me. I started something, emotionally, but didn't allow it to go to the finish before shutting it down. So somewhere inside, I'm still agonizing about it. Now all we have to do is identify the subject and follow it through. Is this not the most beautiful logic ever expressed? I LOVE this man!! He speaks my language.

5. He believes that the only way I can successfully overcome my anxiety is to involve Darrin in my therapy and make him my regular confidante. I said I already do that. Therapist said he has no doubt that I'm utilizing my best friend, but Darrin needs to be given the tools to help me when I go to him. Otherwise, I'm just venting, and that only helps for a little while. By giving Darrin more information, he can determine if I'm just needing to talk, or if the problem is escalating beyond my control, and take the proper steps to give me appropriate help. Sounds like Darrin's going to get more therapy than I am. So Darrin will accompany me to my next session, and the three of us will talk.

Therapist said, "Before I meet with the two of you together, is there anything that might be helpful for me to know? Things that make your marriage unique?" MY MARRIAGE????? UNIQUE?????

Samantha: Hmmm....I'm not sure I'm comfortable answering that. And isn't my session time about up?
Therapist, laughing: That was really creative--and you have great comic timing--and yes, your session is, indeed, over in a couple of minutes. How fast can you talk?
Samantha: Okay, remember how you said if I was telling you something I didn't want repeated to my dad, to let you know? What I'm going to tell you now falls into that category.
Therapist: Understood--that's fine. He probably shouldn't be knowledgeable about your intimacy with your husband.
Samantha: Right. So first thing, I've dealt with same-sex attraction for most of my life. It's not something currently troubling me--hasn't been for a very long time. Darrin knows about it. We work together to make sure our marriage is good. I'm committed to it, and I think we have a really terrific relationship, because there has never been a time when we haven't had to work on it. Also, in the recent months, there have been times when I've cried after physical intimacy with my husband. I don't know why. Darrin and I have discussed it. I don't know how he feels about that. Okay, I think those two things are the most important things you might want to be aware of.
Therapist: Wow. Yeah, those two things are certainly pertinent.

Then Therapist spent about 10 minutes quizzing me on different aspects of SSA throughout my life. He wanted to know how many people I had told, and was relieved when I said my bishop knew. He said he'd like to address the intimacy issues when Darrin is present and can express his feelings (YAY!! See why I'm in love with my therapist???). And then I left.

So I left for home (3-hour drive each way), feeling hopeful, and I stopped at Sam's Club to get some things we need. While there I bought a pretzel and some fresh fruit and ate for the first time in a couple of days. And it felt okay to eat.

I just have to say it one more time. I am so in love with my therapist.
eXTReMe Tracker