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Magical World

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

Saturday, December 30, 2006


I've spent the last few days visiting with many different people, and I've recognized a number of things:

1. I love my sister and her family in very small doses.
2. Some people love and tolerate me--in very small doses.
3. Tito is gracious even when people drop in unwelcome and uninvited.
4. Tolkien Boy has pointed out on a number of occasions that I am somewhat unique--and although I believe he was not being derogatory, what that amounts to is that I really fit in nowhere, which is sometimes uncomfortable, but certainly something I should be getting used to.
5. David spent some time last night discussing his feelings and asking questions pertaining to SSA/SGA/homosexuality/being gay. AtP said he has enough friends available to him if he feels a need to talk about the same subject. Although I am perfectly willing to discuss their feelings with them, I, myself, am unable to talk about it personally. I'm not sure what that means, but I'm afraid it might mean they're more mature than I am--which is sort of pathetic.
6. I've been taking a break. I don't want to think about anything frustrating, depressing, frightening, or emotional right now. I don't want to do anymore "healing". I'm tired and even though I know I'm making progress, it all feels overwhelming right now. Add to that the fact that my sister is going out of her way to make certain we only talk about the weather--very tiring.
7. I need to go home and hibernate for a day or two, regroup, re-emerge as Sister Stevens: seminary teacher, Laurel advisor, perfect and perfectly happy. This is how I feel--because pretending everything is wonderful takes less energy than acknowledging the things I've found out about me and my life over the last year.

All in all, I have to say I've been really happy to see/meet those that I've visited with these last few days--I need to do it again when I'm less messed up.

I did get to see my favorite cousin, Jeff, tonight. He's my favorite for a reason. He makes me feel at peace--as if no matter what I do, no matter who I am, he just loves me. I wish I could surround myself with people like that.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A Date with DJ

DJ and I went out a few weeks ago. We purchased the clothes he's been eyeing, got him a haircut, saw a movie, and went to dinner. All in all we had a wonderful time (and yes, I'm speaking for him, because I am tons of fun to go on a date with!!). We went to dinner at a favorite Chinese restaurant, and as usual, compared the prophetic omens found in our fortune cookies.

Mine was good: You will have good friends and financial security.

DJ's was not so good: Life is not a struggle, it's a wiggle.

DJ snorted when he read his and said, "What the heck is that supposed to mean???" I gloated a bit over mine. He snatched the paper out of my hand, put it in his mouth, chewed it up and swallowed it. Then he offered to share his fortune with me.

Sometimes I have to keep reminding myself that he's sixteen--not six.
My grandmother was very tall and extremely strong. She was a farmer's wife in every sense of the word. She milked cows, drove tractors, hauled hay, and raised chickens side by side with my grandfather. The two of them had endless energy and because of their frugality, amassed a rather amazing fortune before they "retired" (because no true farmer ever really retires. They just get up a little later, and keep on working).

I have a rather special love for my grandma. She always told me she thought I was beautiful, then would mention traits I had that she felt made up that beauty. Some were physical, others were more important--a good deed she had witnessed, a talk I had given at church, kindness shown to others. When my grandma spoke to me I felt that I was very special, and I believed that I must be beautiful.

Grandma loved the gospel. She served a mission with Grandpa when I was nine years old. She and Grandpa studied the scriptures intently. They were well-versed, but humble about their knowledge and always willing to learn from another person. Still, Grandma never thought she would ever be good enough for that Celestial Kingdom. I believe if she hasn't earned a spot there, no one else will, either.

Grandma had her weaknesses. As I said before, she was a true farmer's wife, which means if you were present in the barn at milking time, you might be admonished by her to avoid stepping in that "shit," or she might just be milking a "damned cow." Swearing was not allowed in my family. I have never heard my father swear, and my mother--only once or twice. So Grandma's colorful language was something of a novelty. I have a couple of cousins (boys) who are older than I, who were visiting Grandma and Grandpa one evening during milking time. One was five years old at the time. He showed up at the house, found his mother and told her, "You know what? Grandma has a cow with a really funny name." His mom (Grandma's direct descendent) asked, "Really? What's it's funny name?" My cousin said, "That cow's name is 'Dirty Bastard'." Then he dissolved into giggles, "Isn't that a funny name? I never heard that before!" Apparently the incident inspired a Mother/Daughter heart-to-heart, and Grandma toned down the barn-talk when the kids were present.

Grandma was eminently practical. We always knew that for our birthdays we would receive from her a month's supply of lunch tickets. As we got older, we might also receive shampoo/conditioner, pantyhose, or a slip. We forgave her all that because at some point everyone received a beautifully pieced, intricately handstitched quilt, and on our 16th birthdays, the girls received a cedar chest. The boys, to their chagrin, just got money in their mission funds. Nothing fun for them.

My Grandmother taught me things I could not learn from my mother. She was always aware of the antagonism I harbored for my mom, and often diffused arguments or anger. I spent much time at Grandma's house, helping her with chores, making bread or a meal, and listening to her talk. Sometimes she would pull out her worn photo album and show me pictures of me as a baby, and of course, she would say, "You were just about the most beautiful baby I've ever seen!!" and I believed her. Then she would tell me I was even more beautiful now, and show me pictures of my father as an infant, toddler, young boy, and man. We would look over the photos of her daughter who died in her second year, and Grandma would weep as she told me stories of the sweet little girl she missed so much. When Grandma passed away, we found, tucked away in the back of a drawer, a pair of tiny pink mittens belonging to the toddler aunt of mine. I cried when I saw them, remembering how much my Grandma loved her daughter, picturing Grandma holding the mittens, wishing she could cuddle the hands that would have worn them.

When my grandma passed away, I went to her funeral. I felt her beside me, supporting me, loving me, as she had done all my life. And amazingly, she came home with me, following the funeral, and spent some time with me. During that time I learned many things about this life and the one that follows. I was strengthened and prepared for something that was coming--I knew there would be a difficult trial--I had no idea what it would be. She made certain that I knew she was mindful of me, that she loved me, that I would not be alone.

In the midst of all I have been through this year, all I have remembered, worked through, ached about, wrestled with, I had almost forgotten her amazing gift to me. I was reminded on Christmas day--through something completely unrelated. A conversation with my sister triggered a memory and all that had been given to me was brought to my remembrance. I have a feeling Grandma would be a little unhappy with my weakness. I'm not sure she would be proud of my bitterness, hatred, self-centeredness, and anger. I think she would wish that I could work through things with more grace and less agony.

But in spite of all that, in spite of everything, I know she would embrace me, tell me how beautiful she thought I was, and then she would tell me she loved me and she was privileged to have a granddaughter like me. And she would mean it. I adore my grandmother. It feels good to have someone like her on my side. She makes me feel that I can make it through anything. I can become strong. I can become the person she believes I already am.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Bad News

As I have previously written, when I was about fourteen years old I recognized that boys liked me. Because of the abuse, I hated and feared them--and so I used them to work out my feelings, to hurt as many guys as I could. This is not something I want to remember, but it also doesn't go away. And something happened today to remind me, once again.

When I was sixteen a very cute and unfortunate young man decided he wanted to date me. Naturally, I took him on as my newest victim. We started dating in early October. My normal cycle usually lasted six to eight weeks, then the victim was burned and I had moved on to someone else. This particular young man, R, lasted longer than the rest. I dated him until the end of the following March. I think part of the length had to do with the fact that he really did care about me, although that was something I couldn't fathom at the time. All young men were evil, they wanted to hurt and use me, I would hurt them first--that was my thought pattern.

R, however, added a dimension the other young men had not. He let me meet his mother. I loved R's mother immediately. She was older than my parents, not particularly pretty, but there was a sense that she cared about me. I loved visiting her. I extended my relationship with R simply because I wanted the contact with his mom. I spent hours at his house, visiting with her, helping her clean, preparing meals. I adored her.

There was no question that I had substituted R's mother for my own. I felt she valued me. She told me she loved me and hugged me often. I was so starved for healthy affection--for the first time in many years I felt whole. But through all this, it was obvious that R was growing bored with me. I suppose it's difficult to be in love with someone who's in love with your mother, in a manner of speaking.

As time passed, R and I grew further apart, and R's mom and I grew closer. When R and I broke up, his mom was more sad than either of us were. She came to visit my parents to see if they knew why R and I were no longer dating. My parents, of course were clueless, since I never told them anything. R's father also made a visit to talk to them. Apparently he, too, cared about me.

I continued my friendship with R's mom for the rest of that year and into the next. When R left for college, and later, a mission, my contact with his mom began to dwindle and eventually ceased. She came to my wedding reception, and I have not spoken to her since. I have saved birthday cards and small notes from her. She represents to me someone who proved to me that I could be loved when I was certain that was impossible. She was aware that I had treated her son badly--and she loved me anyway. She saw beneath the hurt and anger to the person I was inside--the one I wanted to become. She was beautiful.

I say "was", not because all this took place in my past. R's mom was killed in a car accident yesterday. I've not had contact with her for many years--but she has always been in my heart. I've toyed often with the idea of visiting her, calling or e-mailing her. I know I told her I loved her. I know I thanked her for befriending me and letting me spend time with her. I never told her why that was so important, and maybe it doesn't matter. But today the reality that I can never talk to her again has set in, and it hurts a little.

I've decided however, rather than dwell on the regret that I didn't do something when I had the chance, I'll focus on how her beautiful life touched my own. It was in the time that she cared about me that I was able to stop nearly all my coping devices that involved self-harm, and my eating disorder eased, as well. My nightmares were less frequent, and I remember fantasizing that if any person tried to harm me again, R's mom would help me and comfort me. It's not true, of course, and I read much more into our relationship than that which was actually there--but for a very short while, in my mind, I had a Mom, and much of the pain of the sexual abuse I'd encountered seemed to ease. I have no idea what the correlation is between those two things. I only know that's what happened.

I'm so grateful to have had her in my life. I'm so blessed that for a few months I had relief from the agony inside me, because of her. My heart aches for her family, for their loss. I feel it as well.
AtP once told me that my blog was so scary that he could never recommend it to anyone. And I know that the emotional intensity I sometimes pour into this could be frightening--it frightens me. So since that time, I've felt the need to put up an advisory when one of those posts is coming, just for AtP. So here it is: Potentially scary post, probably best avoided by nineteen-year-old gay guys. Now you can't say I've never done anything for you.

The year after my cousin left was one of the most horrifying of my life. I remember not being able to sleep--I still suffer with this. I remember writhing in pain as memories of what had happened would not leave my head. I spent much of my school year at home with a mysterious illness that no one could diagnose. I was experiencing headaches at school, as well as panic attacks. Because I was so stressed out, everything I tried to eat caused me to be ill. I had migraine medicines prescribed. I tried a special diet which didn't work, of course. I disappeared into books and I practiced the piano endlessly. These were two activities, where it seemed I could finally find relief.

As Christmas approached that year, I found myself hating everything about the season, and at the same time wishing I felt differently. I watched the excitement of my siblings with envy and disdain. My dad tried to involve me in our carolling activity, and for the first time in my life I wouldn't sing. He asked if I was ill. I said I was.

I met a friend, Pam, in sixth grade the previous year. She seemed sad all the time. So I asked her to come home with me one day. She got permission, I asked my parents if we could keep her, and from that point on she was at my house more than her own. Pam was the daughter of alcoholic/abusive/neglectful parents. They were more than happy to have her out of their hair. They would come to our house to visit her, Pam would go sit in the truck with them (they never got out of their vehicle), and leave with some money in her pocket and looking more sad than ever. I hated it when her parents visited. Eventually, other members of Pam's family decided that she needed to come stay with them. I was devastated when she left, but that year for Christmas my "adopted" sister/friend, was joining us. She had been staying with an aunt during the school year, and I hadn't seen her for nearly four months when Christmas rolled around. Pam noticed that I seemed different when she arrived. She tried to involve me in family games. She tried to talk to me. She tried to play with me. I ignored her. Years later, Pam told me she thought I was angry with her for leaving. She still has no idea why I acted so strangely that Christmas.

Christmas Eve ended with all our traditional festivity. I waited till everyone was sleeping, then arose and used my current coping device to try to make it through just one more night. I had decided not to sleep to avoid the nightmares. But I remember the vivid memories flashing through my head. They seemed to intensify in situations where the rest of my family was happy, but I was not. I felt so angry and so unable to express that anger. I put on my coat and boots and walked outside. The snow was beautiful. I lay down in it and thought about staying there forever. I'm not sure how long I stayed there--long enough that I felt completely numb when I finally decided to go inside and get warm. I dreaded the morning. I didn't want it to come. It came anyway.

My mother insisted on giving us a doll every year for Christmas. I'm not a doll person. I tolerated them, pretended to play with them, then put them away where I couldn't see them (dolls sort of freak me out--a fake baby/person? Whose idea was that?). We received our last doll when we turned twelve. When we got up on Christmas morning, the dolls were always in some arrangement which I'm certain was probably beautiful, but only served to creep me out. This Christmas was no different--except that there was an extra doll for Pam. My dad handed them out. I took mine, said thanks, but didn't look at it. I was relieved that this was the last year I'd have to receive one.

Then I noticed Pam. She was talking to my mother. She held her doll like a baby, and I overheard her saying she had never had one before. She was crying. I watched them together. Pam was everything my mother had ever wanted in a daughter. She never misbehaved. She was grateful for everything. She was sweet and loving. I saw my mom reach out and embrace my friend. She told her she loved her. I was not envious of Pam. I loved her, too, and no one deserved to be loved more than she did. But the last hug I remembered receiving from my mother happened three years earlier, and I couldn't remember her ever saying she loved me. I was deeply sad.

I walked slowly up to my bedroom and lay on my bed. I noticed I was still holding the doll I didn't want. I got up and placed it gently on my desk, then returned to my bed. I stared at the ceiling and wondered why Pam could be loved, but I could not. I came to the conclusion that there was something inherently wrong with me, which was why my cousin had treated me as he had, and why my mother did not love me. As I lay there an acceptance seemed to come, and with it a sense of relief. I was who I was--there was nothing I could do to make my mother love me. There was nothing I could do to make the horrifying events that hurt me still, go away. Eventually, I fell asleep.

I think about this sometimes. As an adult, I realize that my logic was flawed, but I also realize that I was trying to process emotions I didn't understand, and to somehow make my life have some sort of sense to me. But the feelings linger still, and sometimes they resurrect at Christmas time. Much to my chagrin, my daughter adores dolls, and I have purchased them for her each year. This year I tried to doll shop, but found myself overwhelmed by the memory of my mother holding another person, when I longed to be held and comforted by her. I can't seem to separate the memory from the item, and I left the store empty handed--and empty inside.

And so tonight I am awake. I don't want the memories or the nightmares. I don't want to feel the sadness from so long ago. It's trivial, I know, but it's also very real. Tomorrow I'll try once more to find a stupid doll for Tabitha. But more than that, I'm going to hug her, and I'll probably kiss her, as well. I never want her to doubt that I love her, that she's precious to me, that I can't imagine my life without her--and I want her to feel safe. All the things I wanted for myself, I will give to her.

Merry Christmas, Tabitha. I love you.

Friday, December 22, 2006

It all started with Adam and Eve

Recently, Tolkien Boy posted this blog entry which stirred some memories and philosophies that I need to write down. These thoughts are nothing new or earth shattering, and I'm not certain why I want to blog them but I do, so that's enough of a reason for me.

My thoughts all began several years ago when I had only been married a short time. Marriage was tricky. I was trying to figure out how to make it viable, and Darrin was still proving himself to me (unfair, I know, but I'm being honest). We had an institute director and family who lived in our ward. Everyone thought this particular brother and his wife were on the verge of translation, hung on their every word, and adored them. I regarded them with suspicion. No one was that pious 24 hours daily. After observing them for a few months, I noticed things that made me highly uncomfortable about their relationship. I noticed that he was a figurehead dad. He rarely touched any of his seven children (all under the age of eight), and got upset at his wife if they misbehaved. He chatted with his buddies, ignoring any problems his wife might be having as she juggled two toddlers and a set of twin infants. He often made comments about how she really didn't know anything of worth, but that was fine as long as she remembered how to cook. He would make offhand remarks to other men, comparing their wives to his--she always got the short end of the stick, not being as pretty, thin, or talented to his way of thinking. All in all, I thought he was disgusting, and I was a little impatient that she put up with him. In truth, she was slender, bright, and very beautiful (you can take my word for this, I know beautiful women when I see them), and he had no grounds for making any of the comments, or for his treatment of her.

One day, at a ward breakfast, Darrin and I were in the church kitchen, cooking. Institute Director (Brother ID) and wife were also present, along with some other men. Somehow the subject of polygamy was introduced. Now I have to say, I don't spend much time thinking about that subject. It's not something of which I'm an enthusiastic proponant, but it's been around for a very long time, and many cultures today swear by it, and given my inadequacies in the "wife and mother" department, well, I suppose it's a logical avenue to increase one's posterity and lend variety to one's sex life, if that's the goal. However, if given the choice of participating in polygamy or not, I would have to choose "not".

I stayed out of the ensuing conversation at it's outset. But then Brother ID's wife made an unrelated comment about his cooking (he needed to turn the pancakes--they were burning) that irritated him--and his resulting comment infuriated me. He said, "When I get my other wives, you can just sit back and shut up." I understand that he thought he was being clever. I understand that he was trying to get a masculine laugh from his buddies--and he did--and Darrin was one of those guys who laughed. I, however, have never been able to keep my mouth shut, and when I saw the hurt and defeat on Sister ID's face, I lost it. With all the indignation that a 20-year-old semi-newlywed can muster, I turned to Brother ID and told him what I thought. Key points:
1. He was stupid and crass to make such a remark at all, let alone in mixed company.
2. Anytime a husband makes a comment in humor at his wife's expense, he should be emasculated.
3. Obviously he didn't understand the laws of plural marriage, because my understanding was that only those who could make marriage work with one wife were considered for that calling, and the first wife's consent was required. From the way he treated his first wife, that wasn't even a possibility for one as boorish and mysogynistic as he.
4. If he were lucky, he'd get to keep his beautiful wife for eternity--but if she were smart, she'd request a replacement for her defective husband from God when they eventually met up.
5. He would have so much more success in the "human being" department if he recognized what a miracle it was that anyone would marry him in the first place, and spend his life in endless gratitude to the woman who condescended to live with the lowlife that he was.

Then I turned to Darrin and told him that any man who laughed when another man demeaned his wife was not someone with whom I would spend my life, and it would be a cold day in hell before he was allowed to talk to me, let alone touch me, again. And I stomped out of the kitchen, hearing behind my back the catcalls and comments of the stupid men, now aimed at me.

Darrin caught up to me by the time I got to the car. He was very upset. He apologized repeatedly, told me he was wrong, tried to explain why he'd laughed, admitted there was no excuse...then he got into the car on the passenger side and said, "Let's go home, please." I said, "I don't want to be with you right now." He didn't say anything. We sat there in silence, then I started the car and drove home, where he tried to make me understand that he loved me and promised he would never cave to priesthood peer pressure again.

Obviously, I eventually forgave Darrin. But I've often wondered why certain men in the church would view women as second class citizens, objects of ridicule, not equals. Because I am who I am, I cannot imagine that the earth was created without feminine input and oversight. And I'm certain that when Eve was created, the conversation went something like this:
Male Creators: Wow!! Finished--she's hot!
Female Counterparts: No, you're not finished, her boobs are crooked, and way too large, what are you thinking!!??!? Wait, don't answer that, just fix it.
MC's: She looks fine the way she is. Adam will love this.
FC's: This isn't about Adam. Look at her--imagine how uncomfortable running will be.
MC's: Eve's not supposed to run. Adam will do all the running necessary.
FC's: You're being stupid. Have you never seen a toddler before? Of course she'll have to run.
MC's: Oh, never thought of that. We're still a little hung up on the fact that we'll get to have sex. Okay, we can reduce her a little.
FC's: A LOT!!! Reduce A LOT!!
MC's: Fine! Sometime's there's no satisfying you FC's. You made such a big deal about how the flowers had to smell nice and there had to be fluffy, as well as stretchy clouds, and how we had to tell Adam to bathe and use deoderant...and you had to say stuff about his genitalia creation, as well. Next time, we're not inviting you to come along.
FC's: Not inviting us? Did you forget? You can't do it without us...
MC's: Oh yeah. We need to talk to the Big Guy about that. One flaw in his grand idea...

The truth is, that in spite of the disagreements there, obviously the MC's slipped some genetic code into Eve's DNA when the FC's weren't looking, but that's all water under the bridge now. Regardless, my hope is that someday, when fairness is dealt and we all get what we deserve, Brother ID realizes what a beautiful gem his wife is, and he burns in hell for how he treated her. It's not going to happen, I know, but I still want it to. And I'm certain, if, against all odds, it does happen--I'll be there to see it, because my penthouse in Hell has already been reserved.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


I'm stuck in a winter wonderland. My kids and I left yesterday afternoon to go shopping in a nearby town. The weather was not the greatest, but I grew up where the roads became snowpacked by October 31st and stayed that way until March. Driving was kind of fun. I'll admit it, I love driving in storms.

The roads closed behind us fifteen minutes after we left. We got to our destination without mishap, listening to Christmas music and watching the snow swirling around the car--occasionally we could see the road. We stopped at a restaurant for lunch, and while we were eating, we were informed that the city just went on blizzard alert and all the stores were closed. So much for shopping.

I called my sister, who lives here, and we drove to her house (not easily--there was a reason for the blizzard alert), and are still here. There's a four-foot drift behind my car and no sign of a road anywhere. We may be here till June. Hope we don't run out of won't bother me, but everyone else will be highly uncomfortable if we do.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

I've talked with a couple of young men recently about the effect adoring or flirtatious young women have on their emotions. Because they're not attracted to girls, these two friends find the feminine attention draining and annoying. This annoyance spreads to anyone female, and I've watched at least one of them focus his disdain on the closest unsuspecting young lady, which leaves her feeling confused, which in turn increases the disregard shown to her--almost to the point of rudeness. We've talked about how, regardless of how he's feeling, he needs to be careful about how he treats others, and being unkind hurts him even more than the person at whom the unkindness is directed.

I must say, however, that while I talk a good talk, sometimes it's difficult to walk the walk. Like my friends (in reverse, of course), I have difficulty processing unwelcome male attention--especially such attention as I received on Saturday night. I spent the next two days despising men, in general, young men, in particular. I found myself biting back rude comments, although I wasn't always successful at that. I was sarcastic when my bishop asked to talk to me at church (and I didn't go talk to him). I was unkind to a couple of online friends, and a few in person ones, as well. I told Darrin I needed space. I told my sons to let me be. Then I brooded and despised all men for a couple of days.

It's interesting to me that after years of learning how to control my feelings in a heterosexual world, there are still times when those feelings seem to control me. And it's also interesting that I sought out my lesbian friends for companionship during this time--not that it helped in the least, but that's who I wanted to talk to. One of my best friends, Lydia, has moved to a town an hour away. She commutes to the university daily, but I usually only have phone contact with her, and occasionally we go out to lunch. We talked for about an hour--we didn't spend a lot of time on my recent experience, but we did talk about it. She began a relationship with another woman last year and is very happy in that situation. Lydia shared some of the things that make her happy. Needless to say, this phone conversation didn't help with the feelings I was having--at all.

Finally last night, I talked to Aaron. I still haven't told him what happened. I'll probably do that tonight. I had lunch with David's mom today and I told her. Amazingly, that felt better. When I told Lydia about my experience, she condemned all men in a thoroughly satisfactory manner, complete with graphic expletives and wickedly funny commentary. And it made me feel worse. David's mother listened sympathetically, and expressed how uncomfortable and upset she would have been in a similar situation. I'm not certain why telling the straight person helped more than telling Lydia. I find it very interesting.

So after lunch I went Christmas shopping, and I put my favorite men (and boys, I suppose, because Adam isn't quite a man yet--and maybe DJ isn't either) back on my list and got some fun things for them. Then I went home and gave myself the lecture about treating the opposite sex with respect and love, even when I feel like I want to dig a big hole and shove the lot of them into it. I reminded myself that not every man is disgusting, that some are really quite nice, and that I love them. It started sinking by the time I talked to AtP on the phone, I believe I was actually myself again, and I didn't despise him. In fact, I quite liked him which is a very good thing.

I'm wishing I didn't have to keep rehashing the same miserable reactive emotions, but I'm glad they don't last long anymore. I've also decided that I need to stop believing that I'm safe in any circumstance, and be more aware of possible circumstances that might not be the best for me. Because of my past, because of my orientation, I need to be more careful about my environment and the company I keep. There's nothing wrong with prudence, and I think there are times when it's okay to protect myself.

Monday, December 18, 2006

It's a bad day. I say this after a night full of terrifying dreams--dreams I thought I had left behind me. And I'm starting to realize that even though I fiercely contend that I am more than the things I have experienced, it's not true. I am the sum of my experiences. I can't make them go away, they have shaped who I am, and inevitably, all that I have worked for to get beyond the things that make me sad may be pointless.

I'm locked into the why's. Why was I the chosen one? Why didn't I have the strength of character to run? Why can't I make this better? Why would anyone do the things done to me--to a child? Why did I have to grow up before I was twelve years old? Why can't I get over this? Why can't I let go? Why do I feel that things are getting better, only to have everything return full force because of an incident of stupidity? Why can't all the good things in my life make the bad things just disappear? Why can't I stop feeling used and filthy?

I realized yesterday that I adore my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. I love them desperately--because without them there is no hope for my life. I can't continue unless I believe that somehow, someday I can figure out how to release all my fear and sadness to someone else. Otherwise it will destroy me. In spite of all this, there is something inside me that says God and Christ love everyone else, but there is too little that is worth loving in me. My head tells me that's completely false--that's not how things work. God is no respecter of persons. I've been preaching that all my life. But I realized that I also consider myself a little less than human, and certainly not worthy of being loved by deity.

I've been thinking about my perception of love lately, which might have been apparent to anyone who has chatted with me recently. When I love someone it's tangible and joyful--and I am powerless to make that stop. I remember telling David once that it didn't matter what he did, I would always love him. That wasn't a promise of conscious effort, it was a statement of fact. I am unable to stop loving--I know this--I've tried. This puts me in the unenviable position of being vulnerable and easily hurt, and no doubt cheapens the value of that love, but the facts remain the same in any case. Once I've seen who you are, once I start loving, I'm lost. You could become an axe murderer and I'd probably say, "Yes, that person is a really horrible axe murderer, and I love him/her so much." I'm hopeless.

Unfortunately, I can't seem to accept love on the same level that I give it. A friend will say she loves me and I immediately think, she loves me because I help her out when she's in need, or because I let her talk to me, or because we have fun together or she perceives me as a happy person--but if she knew I'm sad most of the time, or that I feel worthless, or that sometimes I would rather die than eat--that love would be withdrawn. I think I feel the same way about God and Christ, even though they do know what I'm really like. I feel that as long as they have use for me, they love me--but when I am no longer useful, that love will be withdrawn--because I'm not really like the rest of their children. Something about me invites abusive situations, and deep inside I'm certain that's a character flaw that makes me inherently unlovable.

Now, because I'm not stupid, I know all that stuff is completely untrue. However, knowing something with one's head, and feeling it with one's heart are two different things. Unfortunately for me, the glaring differences between what the Lord says about loving all his children equally, and my perception of myself as a creature who is not quite a child of God seems to be keeping me from progressing like I want to. I need to figure this out. I'm feeling overwhelmed by the deeply illogical feelings inside, and I can't seem to turn things around.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Last Night I Dreamed

I had a dream last night. I was near a very large building. It had many floors and the building seemed to ramble in many directions as if there had been several remodels and additions. The building seemed comfortably familiar. I knew many things about it and had spent much time there.

I started on the bottom floor of the building. I was with friends, some of whom I know in person, others that I have met online only. We were talking and eating lunch. At one point my dream skipped a beat and I was outside the building with a few friends. One of them pointed out that there were windows, indicating another floor that none of us had found. We began investigating.

We found many other rooms and floors but couldn't find the one we were looking for. There were strangers in the building. Some of them told us the floor didn't exist, others that it was off-limits--restricted to authorized personnel only. My friends would remind me of what we saw--of course the floor existed. And as for being restricted--well, who really cares about that? We wanted to find what we were looking for.

We went up and down staircases, and at one point my friends even talked me into joining them in the elevator. We blocked the elevator so no one else could get in (I don't know how, obviously my friends are magic), and spent a lot of time riding in it. Someone had brought treats so we sat on the elevator floor, ate the treats and sang Christmas carols--which is very seasonal, but when we were outside the building it was obviously summer--weird.

Finally, we found it. We were stepping onto the elusive floor, congratulating each other on a job well done, when an alarm went off, high-pitched, shrill. I jumped, awoke, and realized it was my alarm clock.

The interesting thing to me is that when the floor was discovered, I felt such an amazing sense of joy--as if something truly wonderful and amazing had happened, or was about to. Dreams are funny.

Friday, December 15, 2006


I must send thanks to whoever sent me the one about rat poop in the glue on envelopes because I now use a wet towel with every envelope that needs sealing.

Also, I scrub the top of every can I open for the same reason.

I no longer have any savings because I gave it to a sick girl (Penny Brown) who is about to die in the hospital for the 1,387,258th time.

I no longer have any money at all, but that will change once I receive the $15,000 that Bill Gates/Microsoft and AOL are sending me for participating in their special e-mail program.

I no longer worry about my soul because I have 363,214 angels looking out for me, and St. Theresa's novena has granted my every wish.

I no longer eat KFC because their chickens are actually horrible mutant freaks with no eyes or feathers.

I no longer use cancer-causing deodorants even though I smell like a water buffalo on a hot day.

I have learned that my prayers only get answered if I forward an e-mail to seven of my friends and make a wish within five minutes.

I no longer drink Coca Cola because I've learned that it can remove toilet stains.

I no longer buy gasoline without taking a man along to watch the car so a serial killer won't crawl in my back seat when I'm pumping gas.

I no longer drink Pepsi or Dr. Pepper since the people who make these products are atheists who refuse to put "Under God" on their cans.

I no longer use Saran wrap in the microwave because it causes cancer.

I now know that I can't boil a cup of water in the microwave anymore because it will blow up in my face...disfiguring me for life.

I no longer check the coin return on pay phones because I could be pricked with a needle infected with AIDS.

I no longer go to shopping malls because someone will drug me with a perfume sample and rob me.

I no longer receive packages from UPS or FedEx since they are actually Al Qaeda in disguise.

I no longer shop at Target since they are French and don't support our American troops or the Salvation Army.

I no longer answer the phone because someone will ask me to dial a number for which I will get a phone bill with calls to Jamaica, Uganda, Singapore, and Uzbekistan.

I no longer have any sneakers -- but that will change once I receive my free replacement pair from Nike.

I no longer buy expensive cookies from Neiman Marcus since I now have their recipe.

Thanks to my many internet friends, I can't use anyone's toilet but mine because a big brown African spider is lurking under the seat to cause me instant death when it bites my butt.

And thanks to the great advice, I will never pick up $5.00 I dropped in the parking lot because it probably was placed there by a sex molester waiting underneath my car to grab my leg.

If you don't send this e-mail to at least 144,000 people in the next 10 minutes, a large dove with diarrhea will land on your head at 5:00 PM this afternoon and the fleas from 121 mangy camels will infest your back, causing you to grow a hairy hump. I know this will occur because it actually happened to a friend of my next door neighbor's ex-mother-in-law's second cousin's husband’s beautician...

Have a wonderful day....

PS: A South American scientist from Argentina, after a lengthy study, has discovered that people with insufficient brain and sexual activity read their e-mail with their hand on the mouse.
Don't bother taking it off now, it's too late.
“Some people are like Slinkies - not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you see one tumble down the stairs.”

Thursday, December 14, 2006

November 27

November 27th was an important day in history. On this day, in the year:
1095 : Pope Urban II ordered first Crusade
1924 : First Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade was held
1940 : Bruce Lee was born
1942 : Jimi Hendrix was born
1868 : Custer massacred the Cheyenne on the Washita River
1970 : South Vietnamese forces attacked near Cambodian border
Of course all these things happened before pretty much everyone in bloggerland was born.

November 27, 2005 is a landmark day for me. On this day my cousin's wife took her life. When I learned of her death, my entire body seemed to spasm. I didn't know what to feel. I was deeply sad--I loved her. She was sweet and kind. She was survived by two young sons in their teens. She was unhappy and addicted to drugs for most of her life. Inside, I wept. But another part of me was exultant. My cousin had lost something--he was hurting. Alternately I felt vengeful and guilty, triumphant and mournful. The result of all this was that I felt that I might explode at any moment, and the anxiety created by the intensity of feelings was almost unendurable.

As I sifted through my reactions, I realized many things:
1. For many years I had disregarded and trivialized something that had been a major traumatic event in my life.
2. I had always been deeply afraid of men, especially young men between the ages of 14 and 18.
3. I had no emotional connection to my husband in our sexual interactions.
4. I had avoided family reunions and gatherings at which my cousin might be present for nearly fifteen years.
5. I had many issues concerning personal space and privacy which precluded close friendships of any kind, and did not allow for casual touch from people I did not trust (that would be pretty much everyone except my husband).
6. I was angry.
7. I was sad.
8. I did not trust people.
9. I felt I had no value.
10. My life was a lie.

After a few days of introspection, I gathered myself together and prepared to get on with the business of living. After all, one can't spend forever feeling sorry for oneself. It seems to waste too much time, and there was work to be done. For a few more weeks, life returned to normal. I was capable, motivated, and driven.

About a month later my father proposed a family party in Utah. All my siblings and their families were to be present. It sounded fun and we were excited to be there. But a week prior to leaving, my eldest sister told everyone she had invited my cousin to join us--it would be good for him to be with our family as he mourned the loss of his wife. Almost immediately, the confusion of feelings descended on me. This time I lost control. The thought of seeing my cousin was overwhelming and frightening. I wept and could not stop. Darrin insisted we go to my father and tell him everything. I refused.

The next day I was still weeping. Darrin drove me to my father's office, escorted me inside, and waited for me to speak. Through my tears, I begged my father's forgiveness for the words which I would speak. Then I told him that when I was eleven, the cousin invited to live with us for four months had molested me repeatedly during that time. Then I said I could not go to a family gathering if he was invited.

My father was silent. When I looked up at him he looked shocked and disbelieving. Quietly he asked me for more details. I told him as little as possible--unable to verbalize most of what had happened. He asked me why I hadn't come to him for help--which led to more confession--Dad hadn't helped me before in similar, but less extreme circumstances--I didn't think he would help me then, either. My heart broke as my father began to weep. I said to Darrin, "See!! We shouldn't have told anyone! This is just ugly--it should never be told!" I was very angry with him.

My Dad came to me and took me in his arms. He said, "Sam, this needs to be told--has needed to be told--for a long time. I'm so sorry. Please, please forgive me. I wish I could take this all away. I can't." Then he sobbed in a way I have never before witnessed. He told me it would be necessary for me to get counseling, and asked me to please allow him to pay for the cost. In that way, he said, he would feel he was helping a little. He told me I didn't have to worry about seeing my cousin, my dad would make certain that was not a problem. He was still weeping when Darrin and I left.

And so, I began my journey. It has been horrifying, enlightening, and highly emotional. I have discovered many things I wish I did not know, and acknowledged things I have hidden for many years. My wise father has had to undergo counseling himself because of my revelations to him. I have grown to the point where, nearly a year later, I am able to talk to most people, in some degree, about the abuse experience. The end of October brought a stake meeting in which I spoke about acceptance to all, regardless of their challenges. I used my abuse as an example of things people might not know about me--but something that might cause me to need love in a different way from one who has not experienced abuse.
So I look at where I am today, and where I was this time, last year. And I realize I have so far to go--it's an overwhelming feeling. However, I also realize that last year I was saying (only to Darrin): "The abuse happened. It was kind of awful, but it was a long time ago, and it doesn't matter anymore." And today I say, "The abuse happened. It was really awful, and hurt more than I can express. But the more open I am about it, the less control it has over me. I can tell others. I can get over this. I can live with it--I don't have to hide from it. It does matter, but in time, I believe I will be all right."

It's taking lots of time, more than I ever dreamed it would. But I can see progress and I have hope.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Things that must be shared

I discovered a new book. It's called, Nancy Drew's Guide to Life, and has hints, tips, and answers to many questions. I will be sharing excerpts from this book over the next few weeks, because even if it isn't helpful, I find it funny, and that's a good enough reason for anything.

Survival Strategy: "If the ceiling collapses, breathe through a handkerchief to avoid inhaling dust." --The Hidden Staircase

Dating: a Primer: "Make your date work for you--send him on B-level errands you can't seem to fit into your busy schedule." --The Clue in the Diary

Sleuthing 101: "Never sleuth on an empty stomach." --The Hidden Staircase

The Delicate Art of Etiquette: "Don't let your troubles get in the way of enjoying a leisurely and delightful lunch." --The Secret of the Old Clock

Wilderness Tips: "A bright overhead light will dull an owl's vision enough to remove it from indoors. Of course, thick gloves and quick reflexes help." --The Hidden Staircase

On Being a Lady: "A face distorted with anger will only accentuate a person's innate ugliness." --The Secret of the Old Clock

Powers of Observation: "If you spot a disdainful shopper damaging an item and then walking away, you may be able to snatch it up at a serious price reduction." --The Secret of the Old Clock

Accoutrements: "Take matches from restaurants and hotel dining rooms. You just might need them to light a kerosene lamp!" --The Bungalow Mystery

I leave all who might encounter my blog to ponder these pearls of wisdom. And, should there be a return visit, you will definitely find more. I'm thinking Nancy has the answer to everything.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

You should do the hokey pokey once a week, just in case that’s really what it’s all about.
--Scott Friedman
I grew up in a family of seven children. Money was never abundant and Christmas was a small, intimate affair. We focused on caroling and making special foods, telling stories and visiting with others. In January my classmates would come to school with their lists of Christmas gifts received, but I was far more enthralled with the family and friends who had visited and the activities we'd participated in, probably because my list couldn't compare. Oddly, it didn't seem to matter that I didn't have the latest trend in music or electronics, or that my wardrobe wasn't extensive.

When I was ten years old, we started a trend among the seven children which is continued to this day. We each had the name of a sibling for whom we would purchase gifts. We were given a limit of how much we could spend, Mom and Dad helped us earn the money, and then we shopped for our selected person. There was one rule--we could make a list of what we wanted, but we accepted whatever we got.

As a young teen my view of Christmas became cynical. It was a stupid holiday. There was no God, therefore no Christ, and those responsible for the ideas of caroling and Santa had way too much time on their hands. I enjoyed shopping for my sibling, but there was no purpose in the gifts--I was just spending money on someone in my family. By the time I was fourteen I simply endured all the "crap", knowing it would be over soon. I spent a lot of time in my room, and came out only when my parents insisted that I do so.

My youngest brother was born when I was eleven. Like puppies and kittens, he was a beautiful baby, but unfortunately, grew out of that by the time he was twelve. However, when I was fifteen, he was four, still beautiful, and I loved him. He had my name for Christmas. As had been my norm for the past three years, I went through the motions of enjoying the holiday. I caroled, I baked, I played games and visited with family, and I escaped to my room at every opportunity.

Christmas morning came. I watched with detached interest as everyone got up excitedly and waited until my father said we could enter the living room. The presents were divided and I waited as everyone opened their gifts. I didn't care what I got. I was numb and sad and there really seemed no point to all that was happening. Suddenly I became aware of a tiny four-year-old snuggled into my side. He looked up at me and asked me to open his presents. I gave him a hug and said, "Of course!" I opened the first package. It held fabric yardage of fake fur--blue. I looked at it in surprise. My little brother, D, stroked the fur and said, "I thought Mom could make you a really nice fuzzy dress out of this. It will be warm and I can pet it when you wear it." I looked at my mom--she was laughing. Accompanying the fur were a pair of sueded leather shoes (actually really nice ones), which D said he knew weren't as good as the fur, but they were fuzzy, too. Eagerly my brother handed me the next gift. I opened it. Therein was a twenty-four inch plastic T-Rex dinosaur. D took it out of the box with some pretend roars, and asked, "If I'm really careful, do you think I could play with this sometime?" Now my dad had joined my mom in the laughter. D handed me his next present. He said, "These are books. Mom said you might read them to me." I opened a set of classics, Dickens, Poe, Shakespeare, the Bronte sisters--this was something I would really enjoy! I promised to read to him anytime he wished. D wiggled onto my lap, hugged me and kissed me. He said, "I'm not telling anyone, but you're my favorite sister, so I got you presents I knew you'd like." Then he ran off to play with his new toys.

I watched my family silently. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry as I looked at the huge dinosaur and the blue fur. My mother came to me and quietly said, "Sam, he was so excited to buy his gifts--so we let him. I'll replace the fur later, and we can exchange the dinosaur, too." I shook my head, no. Then I gathered my gifts, went to my room and cried. I cried because I wanted to feel what everyone else was feeling, because I was empty and sad. But then my tears changed. I wept because I knew my brother loved me. I hugged the stupid dinosaur, and gently stroked the blue fur, remembering his warmth snuggled up to me, his brown eyes excited, his sweet hug and kiss.

Then I knelt by my bedside and prayed for the first time in four years. I asked God to help me find him. That was all. I went downstairs, ate breakfast with my family and sang with the Christmas music. I thought about the possiblity of Christ. I wondered if such a thing could be real. D came to me with my new dinosaur and we played for about an hour, then I read him to sleep with my new books.

Christmas has since become my favorite holiday. I no longer have the blue fur, but the dinosaur is still mine. It represents the love of a little boy for his big sister and led me to look for love from my Lord and Savior. A plastic tyrannosaurus rex--my own personal religious icon. I believe there is nothing more appropriate for one like me.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

10 Things

10 Things I Wonder About:
1. Why do some people enjoy eating stinky cheese?
2. Who decided the pitch at which microwaves beep?
3. Why are stop signs octagonal?
4. Why does my mother believe that feet never stop growing?
5. Why does Adam have one pair of underwear that he prefers to the other fifteen that he owns?
6. Why, Tabitha? Why?
7. How do people endure not flossing?
8. Why does Darrin fix things that are not broken?
9. Why does time seem to move exponentially faster, the older one becomes?
10. How does one survive without a daily shower?

10 Things I Really Love:
1. Being outside on a warm spring day.
2. Having roses on my table.
3. Chocolate chip cookies (or just dough, if AtP is with me).
4. Lindor Balls (amaretto or hazelnut).
5. Playing with my kids.
6. Talking with Darrin.
7. Having friends who love me even when I'm obnoxious or sad.
8. Hot chocolate.
9. Smelling nice.
10. Clean teeth.

Saturday, December 09, 2006


This actually begins on Thursday night. At Messiah rehearsal I was feeling tired, a little under the weather, not quite my usual happy self (really, I am happy most of the time. I'm that way because I dump all my less-than-happy thoughts on this lovely blog, and then my life is really quite wonderful). I kept napping in between pieces. When I got home, Darrin reminded me that I hadn't eaten that day, and fixed me dinner--which I ate, because one should always indulge a loving spouse. Then I went to bed.

Friday morning I woke feeling even less well. I went to seminary, bungled through a lesson, because my mind was wandering and my stomach felt sick. After seminary, I drove my daughter's carpool, went home, and have very little idea of what happened after that. I recall losing the contents of my stomach and I know I slept because I have a vivid recollection of a snake-squirrel living in the wall above my entertainment center. It leapt/slithered down to land on Darrin, then joined me on the couch where I was sleeping. Thankfully, the phone rang and I was able to wake up, recognize the impossibility of a snake-squirrel, and realize that Darrin was still at work.

I believe I chatted online with a few people, because I've seen the message history. My apologies to all of you. I don't recall arising from the couch, but obviously I did, since I have the virtual proof available. Actually, most of the conversations seem lucid, which is a blessing. I also managed to e-mail about seven people (again, no recollection of this), and pay some online bills (with the correct amounts--amazing). I awoke around 6:30 p.m., hearing Adam and DJ whispering that they'd never seen me sleep so much before. Adam wondered if I was dead, and stood with his hand in front of my nose for a few minutes to make certain I was still breathing. I really need to remind him to wash his hands more frequently.

My dad had come at some point during the day. He brought me ginger ale. I have a hazy recollection of him telling me that we just got a new account and I'd have a bunch of paper work to draw up on Monday. After he left I drank some ginger ale--which was a mistake.

Adam and DJ watched in awe as I emptied my stomach around 7:30 p.m. They've never seen me throw up before. Adam commented that I'm much quieter about it than Darrin is, and he was pretty impressed that I didn't need anyone to hold back my hair, pat me on the back or anything. There is nothing better than an appreciative audience when one is barfing one's guts out.

Around midnight I woke up again. Darrin had gotten me some Coke (caffeine free, of course. He figured I should avoid that since I'd been sleeping for about sixteen hours). He suggested I try some, so I did. It threatened to make a second appearance around 1:00 a.m., but thankfully, did not. I slept the night through.

I'm taking a poll on the best invalid foods. What works best, tastes best, won't make me yak? Please, please, please tell me.

Public Service Announcement

Okay, I need to talk about blogger-beta. There are parts of it that I really like--okay, most of it I like. I don't enjoy having to log in with my gmail account. And there are little buggy things that I don't appreciate. But the thing I'm having trouble with is that there are secret keyboard shortcut thingies that I keep finding by accident. For instance, earlier this week I hit a beautiful keyboard combination and about twelve of my previously published posts reverted to draft status. I'm not sure how that happened, but it's happened before and it bugs me.

Anyway, my blogsite is wigging out. I keep republishing, because it is my blog, after all. But the spotty disappearances of posts are trying my patience. I've decided to let the site morph into whatever it wants--disappearing blog posts, weirdly activated rss feeds, ghost music that appears randomly...whatever, I'm being flexible. No worries...just don't be surprised if a guest blogger suddenly starts posting, or I begin selling items/herbal supplements for natural male enhancement. At this point anything can happen.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Things I'm Thinking About

friend: You still have the desire to cut yourself from time to time, don't you?
me: There is very little for which I hate myself more.
friend: Why?
me: Because while I understand the child who did it to help herself--I don't understand the woman who has no more need still yearning for it.
friend: Isn't it the same reason? There's emptiness inside.

"Someday I would like to trust someone without every part of me telling me that I'm stupid."

"The people who love us aren't waiting for an excuse to leave"

"I can listen. I can love you. Trust still escapes me."

"...sometimes, anger helps us survive. Having an enemy keeps us from dying."

"There is a part of me that is still very angry. And very hurt."

"At some point, I want to stop being required to do things that are hard and hurt. I want to be able to wallow in self-pity for at least 90 seconds, and cry and scream and be angry that I have to do this."


I've been sleeping in until 5:30 lately. That gives me an hour to get ready for seminary, which is plenty of time. As much as I love to teach, however, I'm starting to get tired. I know I'm doing too much, but if I stop I'll have to address the things that bother me. I'm not ready yet.

After seminary I went home and ran a few miles--only six, because I ran twice yesterday. I thought about eating. I believe thinking about eating counts as a full meal. I read my scriptures, worked through a complicated return, drafted some power of attorney forms, taught 2 piano lessons, practiced oboe for 45 minutes, and piano for 2 hours (not necessarily listed in order). Then I went for another run--only four miles this time. At some point I thought about eating lunch which counts as another meal.

I decided we were having pizza for dinner because I was running out of time to get the kids to their activities. I also decided to stop thinking about food and eat some, so I ate a piece of pizza. That actually does count as a meal. So three meals today.

Okay, I'm stressed because I have some things to talk about with my therapist. I haven't met with him for almost three weeks--which is good, actually. But he had to cancel my appointment today, and while I understand that it was necessary, I'm frustrated about it. Obviously, I need to get a grip. I can't live my life around my counseling appointments. Also, next week I have to go have another stupid blood workup done, which makes me unhappy.

This weekend Messiah will be over. I'll be happy and sad. Happy because, as I keep saying (because it's true), I'm getting tired. Sad because I love being with the people in the orchestra, and I love performing. Next weekend I have to conduct a piano monster concert (six pianos onstage, and the performers play ensemble pieces). That will be fun--I conduct the first half of the program, and a friend conducts the second half (so I get to play in some of the ensembles). Then I will immerse myself in Christmas--because I love it.

But the bottom line of all this is that I'm tired--and I can't stop. And I don't know what to do.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

There are times when I look at my life and wonder...times when I wallow in self-pity as I try to figure out all that has happened...when I'm certain I'm never going to become the person I want to be, because I have so very far to go.

Then people clarify for me the things that are important, and help me remember what I'm really seeking. They don't have to spell it out for me. Just by hearing their shared feelings and experiences, I remember.

Today I visited El Veneno. He shared his experience of giving service to the Lord:

"I just got back from three hours of vacuuming in the temple. It was our ward temple cleaning assignment. Vacuuming made me nostalgic for my glory days at the Marriott Center, but late night vacuuming in the Lord's house turned out to be better than any BYU custodial experience. I felt an amazing calm. My mind stopped spinning and everything felt strangely fine. I really didn't want the moment to end. I don't want this feeling to go away... which is probably why I'm still awake right now. As soon as I get in bed, I'll have a blink of an eye and I'll be late for work again and back in the dark and dreary world.

"I'm thankful for the occasional little glimpses of heaven that make reality a bit easier to swallow."

I have to admit, I've begrudged the Lord my time in the temple lately. I've felt a little bit like the things I've been asked to experience are beyond my ability to endure. More than that, I've wanted so much for those things to just go away and leave me alone. It won't happen. And wanting that spectacular disappearance is pointless.

As I read El V's experience, I realized that much of what is hurting me now--is over. The Lord has been trying to soothe my soul, to help me heal, and I've been ranting and raving so loudly that I can't hear him telling me he loves me, he'll help me, he's always been with me. I realized that the reason I never want to leave my seminary class is because that's when I'm listening intently to the Spirit as it whispers the things I need to share with my students--it's a place where I'm close to my Heavenly Father. I lose that closeness when I go home, or to work, and start battling with myself as I try to unravel all the why's and wherefore's of what makes me sad.

I'm not saying I need to stop working through the emotional mess I'm in. I'm just thinking it might be easier if I let the Lord have a hand in it, and stop blaming him for allowing the mess to happen in the first place. Because really, I'm the one who made the choice to come to this life, and I really believe I knew what I was in for before I came. I also think, because he loves me, that my Father told me he'd make sure I didn't have to endure the things that hurt me, alone. And if I make it through this--if I can rebuild my soul that was disgraced by another-- if I can love my spouse faithfully, in spite of feelings for others that might make themselves manifest--if I can serve as I've been asked--if I can love others with all my heart--if I can, someday, forgive myself of all the things I wish I had not done--I think my Heavenly Father might even be a little bit proud of me. And I hope he'll be happy that I'm his daughter.

"I'm thankful for the occasional little glimpses of heaven that make reality a bit easier to swallow."

I'm thankful for people who have those glimpses, who aren't ashamed to share them, who remind me that I need to keep looking forward. I am more than the sum of my experiences. I need to remember that.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Reasons Why I Shouldn't Sit Behind David During Messiah Practice

1. His stand partner's name really is David, which makes me giggle.
2. Sometimes he makes mistakes, which also makes me giggle.
3. Sometimes I make mistakes which makes me want to curse, although I never do but if I did he would hear me so I can't anyway.
4. We both hear the same audio typos from our conductor: "Choir! Keep those bowels open!!" Backward look from David. Sam cracks up and says, "This really isn't the place for that." Someone clues us in that the conductor actually said "vowels". Our interpretation is much funnier.
5. We both find humor in the audio non-typos from our conductor: "Choir! You're dying out on the word "Lord." Hold it out for the full value of the note. Don't let the Lord die!!" Backward look from David. Sam says, "Wait, this is Messiah. I thought that was the point." Sam and David laugh. No one else does.
6. David doesn't iron his dress shirt. That alone is reason enough for him to sit elsewhere.
7. Oboe stand partner doesn't like the fact that David and Sam think everything from carpet to ceiling tiles is humorous.
8. Conductor's patience seems to be wearing a bit thin.
9. It is difficult to play the oboe effectively while laughing.
10. I'm out of reasons. I think when David is gone next year, Messiah won't be half as much fun. I won't laugh as much. No one will get my jokes. The person in front of me won't look backward with a grin, admire my shoes, or tell me I have dainty feet (although that one was entirely unexpected--thanks, David!) Next year's prospects look grim...

I'm changing my mind. I love sitting behind David, and I only get to do it for one more rehearsal. You should all come to our performance on Saturday. David and I promise not to laugh. Plus we both look stunning in concert attire. And that's a good enough reason for anyone to want to attend.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


One day, when I was around sixteen years of age, my mother asked to talk to me. This was highly unusual since we rarely spoke, and then not civilly. Curious, I followed her to her bedroom. She shut the door, turned to me and gave me a brief hug. Then she told me she had a very vivid nightmare the night before. She dreamed that I'd been attacked and raped by a young man. She said I had been physically harmed, and hurt badly, but the part of the dream that got to her, that made her feel she had to tell me was that after the attack, I had tremendous emotional and mental anguish. She said she felt as though I was lost to our family because of what I had to endure. She wept as she talked.

I looked at her, amazed. I bit back every sarcastic comment that came to mind. I calmly thanked her for the warning, promised I'd be careful, then said, "But just so you know, I'm stronger than that. If someone happens to rape me in the future, I'm sure I'll be fine."

I went upstairs to my room, unsure whether this was something I should laugh about. My mother was concerned that someone might attack and rape me--when that had happened to me repeatedly in her own home. She was afraid I would go through some mental anguish...when I was cutting, anorexic, and completely emotionally detached about life. She was afraid I would be lost...when I had spent hours contemplating suicide, and even chosen my place to end life. She was five years too late. There was no way a little thing like a passing rape could even phase me. I'd lived the nightmare, and continued to live it each day. I'd promised her I'd be careful, but there was no need. It was too late--her dream was not prophetic in the least.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

"...of you it is required to forgive..."

Warning: This post contains "The Gospel According to Samantha" and is not accepted nor endorsed by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints--although, if your teen is in my Seminary or YW class, there's a good chance he or she may have already heard this.

D&C 64: 9-11
"Wherefore, I say unto you, that ye ought to forgive one another; for he that forgiveth not his brother his trespasses standeth condemned before the Lord: for there remaineth in him the greater sin.
"I, the Lord, will forgive whom I will forgive, but of you it is required to forgive all men.
"And ye ought to say in your hearts--let God judge between me and thee, and reward thee according to thy deeds."

I taught about Section 64 this week in Seminary.

For a long time, especially as a teenager, references such as the one above seemed to alienate me from God. My thoughts then ran along the lines of: Wow! So God gets his own set of rules--which is fine, after all, he is GOD. But still, he says we're supposed to become like him, then he tells us, "Do as I say, not as I do..." But we're also told to follow his example. It all just seems a little inconsistent and very impossible, and I'm not sure I like this "God" guy, anyway. He seems a little harsh, judgmental, and unloving.

One day I realized that I had to figure out who God really was. I did an extremely in-depth search (because it seems impossible for me to do otherwise), read everything I could find, and after about six years I had come up with my "God profile". I had also developed an extremely close relationship with the entity with whom I will spend the rest of my life. I had come to know and adore my Heavenly Father.

There are certain traits that make up my Heavenly Father (please remember that this is "The Gospel According to Samantha" and that THIS IS MY BLOG!):
1. He loves unconditionally. It doesn't matter who you are, what you have done, or what you are now doing. He loves all His children.
2. His whole focus and purpose is to bring His children (whom he loves) back to Him. Moses 1:39: "For behold, this is my work and my glory--to bring to pass the immortality and eternal life of man." According to this scripture the Lord is glorified as we received immortality and eternal life--which seems, in my eyes, to be a rather interesting fact about God, himself. He links His glorification to our progress. One cannot happen without the other. In essence, He links Himself to His children. He doesn't want to be without them. He wants us back.
3. If numbers 1 and 2 are true, then it stands to reason that commandments given by the Lord are designed to bring us back to Him. They are to benefit us, personally, and not to allow God to have some weird power trip--which He really doesn't need--after all, He is omnipotent.

So that brings me back to D&C 64: 9-11. Why is it that WE have to forgive, but God does not?

When I presented this in class, I got all the usual answers:
1. It's our responsibility to be obedient. This is one place where we can show God that we are willing to do as He says.
2. We just have to forgive. It's not our responsibility to judge and punish others.
3. Forgiving others will help us be humble and learn charity.
4. It's the loving thing to do.

Then I got the "yabbut" that used to get to me in reference to this scripture (thereby granting me my opening to preach my opinion--so I was really glad someone else thinks along the same lines I do):
It doesn't seem fair that if someone commits a huge sin (say, someone murdered your son or daughter), and you're unable to forgive that could lack of forgiveness be a greater sin than murdering someone's child?
The student posing this question went on to say that there was a "sort-of" answer in verse 11 ("let God judge between me and thee..."), but it's not particularly satisfying.

So here is my humble opinion, and right or wrong, it is what I believe motivates God to give us the commandment to forgive all mankind:
1. It's all about "me".
2. When we are wronged, we experience many horrifying and destructive emotions in various degrees and intensities. Those feelings are natural, need to be acknowledged, and are not sinful in any way.
3. Clinging to those feelings seperates us from the Spirit, and keeps us from progressing. Further, it can damage us physically, mentally, and emotionally.
4. Heavenly Father knows what we need to do to stay globally healthy and continue our progress as we make our way back to Him. Remaining in an unforgiving state stops that progress.
5. When we can not longer progress, we are "damned", stopped, finished. Therein is the "greater sin" referenced by the Lord. When we separate ourselves from Him, we sin against ourselves, we keep our souls from exaltation--in every way a greater sin, and one over which we have ultimate control.

After God tells us what we need to do to continue our progress when we are hurt by another, He then tells us how to do it. For"give". Give it to Him. Let Him be the judge. "And ye ought to say in your hearts--let God judge between me and thee, and reward thee according to thy deeds." Give it up, give it away, give it to God.

Our Heavenly Father never says that it's okay for others to sin against us. He never says we have to believe everything is "okay." He never says we have to befriend or trust the person who has hurt us (although, if we could, that would certainly show charity). All that He requires is that we hand off all that hurt, anger, sadness, and anything else inspired by the trespass, to Him. In that way we can continue to make our way back to the Father who loves us and who wants the very best for His children.

It's not an easy task He has set before us, but I believe He prepares a way. Someday I will reach the point where I can give to my loving Father all the ache in my heart, allow myself to be healed, and continue forward. What a sweet and loving commandment: "...of you it is required to forgive..."

Friday, December 01, 2006


Sam: Hey, guess what the temperature is here.
AtP: 12?
Sam: 5
AtP: why do you live there?
Sam: Our high tomorrow is supposed to be 9. I live here so that I can be a part of a Stake that loves porn addicts and gay people. Oh, and people who masturbate.
AtP: LOL your stake loves everybody!

It's so true!!

Counseling Evaluation

Next week I see Therapist for a periodic evaluation--which basically means we have a counseling session and then he asks me if I think I need to see him anymore. Truthfully, I want to say no.

Emotional Health:
I think I'm doing well. I've had huge ups and downs during the last four months, and even though there were some really troubled times, and some times when I wanted to revert to less than healthy behaviors, for the most part I coped. I didn't always cope well. And there were times when I really thought dying would be preferable (how melodramatic!). But I made it through those times, and I'm feel fairly level now. I've realized that there will always be things that I find upsetting--things that might not bother a person without my background. That's a part of who I am based on things I have experienced. My job is to work through any feelings that may come and not hide from or ignore them. I'm not good at that yet, but better than I was a year ago.

It's still a part of me. But now, instead of being afraid 80% of the time, I'm only afraid about 30% of it. Something that still bothers me is being alone in an enclosed space (like an elevator or a small room) with a man. It bothers me that even if I know the person well, and love that person--I still feel fear. There was a time during the Evergreen Conference when AtP and I took the stairs alone...and I know he would never hurt me...but I still felt that irrational fear. It made me sad. And when Darrin and I were at the airport recently, we took the elevator and, alone with my husband, that random fearful feeling returned. That time it really made me angry. I should be able to be with people I love, in any circumstance, without being afraid.

Fewer, for sure. I've had a few that woke me up, drenched in cold sweat, in the past month. There was a period of about two weeks this month when the nightmares were out of control, but they seem to be a little less extreme now. I need to find a better way to cope than just simply not sleeping, though. That's not a very positive coping device.

Interpersonal Relationships:
Okay, this one's still a challenge. Maybe it always will be. The sad truth is, if I have a good relationship of any kind, it's probably because the friend/spouse/etc. is incredibly patient, and for reasons that escape me, somehow finds value in our interaction. I'm still, on some level, trying to push people away, especially when I have a negative experience (usually involving someone male), or when I am overwhelmed with feelings of worthlessness. At those times I am also overwhelmed by feelings of love for people in my life, then guilt because they are exposed to someone like me, then frustration and isolation attempts because I don't know what to do with all the feelings. Then I wonder if I'll ever be able to just relax and accept friendship and love as it's offered--just be glad to be a part of it--quit worrying that I'm going to ruin someone... I had a friend tell me last week that he loved me, but it was a little too much work to maintain a friendship with me. He felt stressed when we talked, and worried about me. He said I was unpredictable, and often made him tired. He said he loved me, but we needed to take a break from each other. What can I say? He's right. But someday, I'd like to stop failing at this. On the bright side, in about 2 weeks it will be the one-year anniversary of when David and I began our rather unusual interaction. If I don't blow it before then, that will become one of my longest-standing friendships. Pathetic, I know, but still for me, quite an accomplishment. Also pathetic is the fact that I have to track my "friendship progress". Really--who does that???

Okay, some days are better than others. But the problem is that I always feel that my presence defiles others. I try not to feel that way. I understand that I didn't ask to be used. I understand that my will was overshadowed by another. But the fact remains that he did things to me that were filthy and vile--and he left me alone to wonder why, to deal with pain, and to clean up the mess, a symbolic gesture of my own desire to be clean again. But I've never felt clean. Deep inside, I'm certain that the filth that marks me will spread like a disease to anyone I touch. This is a feeling I want to be rid of. It aches more than anything else. So, I suppose I would have to say that I'm not doing well in this area. But still, better than a year ago, so that's progress.

Not good. But I'm starting to believe this is just something I'll need to be aware of and stay on top of it for the rest of my life. When I'm under stress, it's difficult (impossible) to eat. But I do it anyway, to a certain extent. Truthfully, this is something that causes me stress just to think about, so then I don't want to eat anyway--it's a vicious cycle. I think I'll leave this one for another day.

I haven't yet decided what I'll tell Therapist about further visits. Part of me wants to say, "Good job, Therapist! I'm all better. No need to keep coming. Thanks for your help!" But I also know that a couple of months from now I might wish I'd kept working. Ugh... I hate this. I'll keep thinking about it. I still have a few days before I have to decide.
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