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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.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007


It has been just over a week since I started sleeping well. I suppose it's silly to believe there will be no relapses. However, if I want something desperately enough, I generally disregard all reason in an effort to make it become true, especially if it's all in my mind. I'm not naive, just obstinate. I have insisted on believing that once I was able to gain some control over my dreams they would never trouble me again. This is problematic for a few reasons:

1. I have not yet been able to navigate my dreams solely on my own--aggravating, but true. I've tried to go solo with no success, but at some point I have to be able to change the outcomes by myself.

2. The memories are now firmly entrenched in my mind and insert themselves randomly, unbidden, in my daily thoughts. I don't know how I can expect to control those memories at night when I can't seem to keep them at bay when I'm conscious. Frustrating.

3. I suppose the biggest problem is that the dreams are my reality. I can't say much about this because it makes me feel like I might explode. I don't want the dreams. I don't want the reality. There is nothing I can do about it...but when I gain superpowers, one of those will be to remove this part of me. And please don't say anything about how it's made me a better, stronger person, it's a part of me, and everyone has a cross to bear. There are many crosses which, in my opinion, should never have to be borne. I suppose that's why I'll never be "super". God knows I'd remove my own cross, delete my own past, and actually live.

Last night Darrin suggested I go to bed at a reasonable hour (10:30 p.m.). So I did. I was asleep almost immediately. Right away, as if it had been lying in wait, the dream began. I used all my methods to direct and control it. I thought I was having some success because the dream was definetely changing. It became bigger, more frightening. My cousin, who until now has been mostly faceless and expressionless, became an interactive being. I have often been able to remove myself from the situation, and while I was still forced to watch, I was able to be separate from the actual experience. Last night I could not separate, and endured every second of what was forced on me once again--but it seemed so much more angry and brutal. I felt a pressing need to die, something I've not recognized in the dreams before.

Darrin woke me before the dream had run it's course. Not even 30 minutes had elapsed since I had fallen asleep. I heard him say, "Sam, wake up. It's okay. You're okay." But he's wrong. I'm not okay. I woke with a terrifying need to apologize to him for the simple fact that I exist. I'm sorry, Darrin, that I can't make this go away. I'm sorry that I asked you to go through all the stuff that exists because of messed-up me. I'm sorry that I can't shove everything under the rug anymore. I'm sorry that I can't sleep, that I keep having nightmares. I'm sorry, Darrin, that I live. I'm so sorry.

I didn't say it. And Darrin mumbled something about oranges as he went back to sleep.

The most horrible aspect of the nightmares is that in the aftermath I am overwhelmed with loneliness, sadness, and utter despair. I watched Darrin sleep for a long time, fighting the urge to wake him, to ask him to hold me. To tell me again that I'm okay in spite of the fact that I feel I will never be okay. I walked upstairs to my daughter's bedroom and looked carefully at the almost 12-year-old Tabitha, who is similar in size to young Samantha. I wanted to understand how someone could look at me and enact the things I had just seen in my sleep. She looked innocent and beautiful...did I not look the same?

Sometime after midnight I went back to bed. I did the careful visualizations I've worked on for the past three months. It seemed easier this time. When I went to sleep I wasn't alone. This time when the dream came I was successful at its direction, and once again I dreamed about being asleep, protected and loved. The only problem is, it's not real.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Warning: Sexually Explicit Post Again

(Sorry--but it is my blog)

Everyone who has ever spoken with me knows--I'm crazy about Darrin. There are many reasons for this, but it takes someone extremely special to want to marry a person like me. Being attracted to one's own gender is a challenge. Couple that with sexual abuse and the odds are against any marriage relationship being viable for me. However, I've never allowed the odds to dictate the outcomes in my life.

When I decided to get married, I was determined to make that marriage real in every sense of the word. This was not a lifelong roommate relationship. I planned and prepared for a sexual relationship with Darrin as well as I could prior to marriage, and continued to work on it afterward. That's not to say we were completely successful from the get-go. I got a physical exam about two months prior to my wedding, at which time the doctor suggested I have a hymenectomy. I had not, of course, disclosed any of my past to him, and he had done a very brief physical, suggesting the procedure because of my intense discomfort when the speculum was used. I agreed to allow this minor medical procedure.

I told Darrin about it, also letting him know how petrified I was of any medical probing in that area of my body. There was too much to process--knowing the necessity of examinations--fighting the uncontrollable fear--not being able to reconcile any of the emotions. Darrin just hugged me and said he would come with me. I scheduled the appointment.

Darrin and I went to the office, and sat in the waiting room. He knew I was nervous and ill. He didn't know I'd been throwing up the entire night before and that I hadn't slept. He said, "I brought something along for you to look at. You might find it a little distracting." Then he gave me my engagement ring. Not the most romantic of times, but certainly unusual. It was a beautiful ring.

I went into the room where the procedure would be done. My doctor explained that they would numb the area and then, "Clip the hymen." It would take about 10 minutes. Ten minutes later he said it might take longer than expected. Twenty minutes later I was becoming agitated. Thirty minutes later my entire body was shaking. Forty minutes later I sat up and said, "Aren't we finished yet?" And the nurse next to me said, "Doctor, I think she's had all she can take." The doctor put in some sutures and asked me to dress and come see him in his office.

I was seated in front of his desk. He asked me if I there had been any "trauma" to my genital area. I said no. He said that there was a lot of scar tissue, as if there had been tearing or injury. I said no, again. He sighed and handed me a paper with instructions. He said, "I removed as much of the scar tissue as was visible. I'm hoping it will help. In a perfect world, your sexual relations with your husband should not be painful, they should be delightful. From what I saw, you will probably have some sensitivity, and also pain." I took the instructions and left the office. I felt very ill and tired. I didn't tell Darrin.

The doctor was right. Initially, sexual intimacy was shockingly painful--emotionally and physically. There were times when I wondered if this was what sex would always be like, and nearly five years passed before I stopped experiencing at least some degree of physical discomfort in intimacy. Even now it's important that we be very careful or I can still be hurt. Add to that the fact that Darrin knows I have less than average sexual attraction for him, and that I'm mentally working through the separation of the violent act of rape and the loving act of sexual intimacy and our physical relationship becomes enormously complicated.

In spite of all this, Darrin seems to feel that it's worth it to stay with me. And he continues to desire a physical relationship with me. I'm always amazed at his gentle kindness, and his ability to communicate and listen as we work together to find success in sexual intimacy. I worry that his needs aren't met--he assures me they are--but I still worry. I worry that it's more of a chore than a "delight", as my doctor termed it, but Darrin says that our physical relationship is joyful to him. And sometimes, in the aftermath, I've heard him laugh almost exultantly as he realizes that we've triumphed over some pretty daunting odds. Weird, to think of conquering something that for others, is natural and easy.

I've been criticized in the past for discussing my intimacy with Darrin on a public blog. I don't feel apologetic about it. This is a part of my life that I've worked on for a very long time, and one which is absolutely essential to mention as I work through the issues in my life. There have been times when we've been less successful than others. There have been times of abstinence for various reasons. There have been frustrations and sometimes, from me, tears. I'm certain that it's been confusing and stressful at times for Darrin. I love him for not giving up and for working with me to create the relationship we now have where we can celebrate our love for each other with fewer complications than we've had in the past. I've come to realize, though, that it is in our physical relationship that Darrin and I absolutely belong to one another. In all other aspects of our marriage we are very independent and love our individuality. In our intimacy we acknowledge that we can only be one if we concentrate on a common goal with the well-being and needs of the other person in mind. There is tremendous joy in that--especially for me.

When I think of my spouse I realize that there are few people who would grant me the measure of love and dignity that Darrin does. And his patience is remarkable. He will probably never speak openly of this, as I do. Personal expression about intimacy is not something with which he's comfortable. However, he's not alone in his amazing ability to love a spouse with SSA. Another Other's wife, Leslie, has begun a blog in which to express her own views as the straight spouse in a mixed-orientation marriage. It's brand new, with only two posts as of today, but definitely worth reading and visiting often.

I've tried to be expressive without being immodestly explicit about a part of my life that is extremely important--both to my marriage as a whole, and to me, personally, as I try to make sense of all that is happening in my life. I'll probably revisit the subject again before I'm finished with my journey. I am, after all, a sexual being just like everyone else, in spite of past experiences. Cautionary notifications will accompany all posts. Consider yourself warned. :)

Friday, January 26, 2007

A Phone Call Yesterday

...and another today...

From Therapist.
Reminding me that I'm supposed to be in love with him, and I haven't seen him since November.

Reminding me that I have a tendency to believe I am capable of leaping tall buildings in a single bound, when in reality I simply keep crashing into the building walls repeatedly.

Reminding me that things go better when I spend time with him more regularly.

Reminding me that if I'm not eating like I should (although I ate last night), I still have unresolved issues--delightful topics of conversation for us to share.

My response:
I know he isn't as in love with me as I am with him.

If I'm unable to go over the building, I simply go through the walls.

He only wants me to spend time with him because I pay my bills promptly.

I no longer have a craving for plain mayonnaise, therefore I consider the eating problems solved.

His response:
"I have an opening at 11:00 on Wednesday. I'll see you then?"

My response:
"Okay, but I don't do this for everyone, you know. I'm only agreeing because I'm in love with you."

His response:
"Sam, you're hilarious."


Sleep is so good.

Tabitha mentioned to me this morning that I seem "more excited all the time." She's right. I am. A side-effect of finally sleeping through the night is a return of the almost limitless energy I used to enjoy most of the time. Anyone who's had the misfortune of chatting or talking with me on the phone in the past few days would have to admit that I've become enthusiastic about everything from brands of toilet paper to proper posture--nothing is boring to me. Tabitha also expressed a bit of regret. Her words: "Well, it's been nice for the last few weeks to be able to sit next to you at Sacrament Meeting without having to ask you to sit still. I guess that won't happen this week?" Nope, probably not. I hope she doesn't take away my toys either.

Last night Sully and Annie joined us for dinner. Sully was helping me cook--his job: whip some cream. He was very thorough--and got splatters all over my countertop, kitchen window, himself and me. The habitual cleaner in me started wiping things off--only to have the clean spots spattered once again. Last week I probably would have thanked him for his help and finished the job for him. This time, my normal predilection to giggle at everything kicked in, and I leaned back against the counter and laughed helplessly as the mess got larger. It felt so good not to be stressed about the little things.

My verbal capacity is returning to normal--although I still have moments when I absolutely cannot recall the proper word or person's name. However, I was able to win our Boggle game last night by finding the word "plimsoll (with all it's spelling variants)", which is possibly a proper noun (but I don't think it is) which might not be acceptable. But my opponents all surrendered anyway, and I was pretty amazed that I found more than one five letter word, since, for the last couple of months, I've been limited to smaller word recognition while my poor brain begs for sleep.

As can be expected, I did extensive research on the effects of lack of sleep while that was my state of being. While verbal skills definitely suffer, it seems that math calculation abilities are enhanced--something I found to be true for me. I've completed several complicated returns more quickly than usual, and when I had the figures checked by a couple of associates in the same field there were no errors. Not that I plan to cut back on sleep for the rest of tax season, but it's nice to know there was a little perk in my sleep deficit.

Now that I'm able to talk once again about a variety of subjects, Darrin has remarked that it's good to be able to have a conversation with me--he's been missing our evening talks (imagine!! a straight man missing conversation!! he really is an honorary gay guy, no question about it), and he even asked me out on a date. I'll probably say yes if he brings me flowers.

Some very good friends have suggested that I stay in this state, relax, gather strength, and take things slowly before barrelling into the next obstacle. I think I'll do that--at least for today. Tomorrow, however, I may need to go find the next horrible thing...and conquer, prevail against, subdue, triumph over, and master it. After all, if one waits too long to use those newly developed muscles, they atrophe. We can't have that, now, can we?

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Just Wondering

I'm paying $1.97 per gallon for gasoline right now. Is this typical throughout the U.S.? How much are you paying?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

At Last

"What's madness but nobility of soul
At odds with circumstance?...

"The mind enters itself, and God the mind,
And one is One, free in the tearing wind."

I don't quite know how to explain this, and it may take more than one post. AtP asked me about it a couple of times and I put him off, telling him if we ever spoke on the phone again, I'd tell him, but it was too complicated to explain otherwise. Yet, here I am, giving it my best shot. And by the way, to the person who asked me if I speak to AtP everyday...the answer is that I probably do. He's not the only online friend I chat with nearly everyday, but he might be the most attractive...

Eighty days. That is how long I have been plagued with the nightmare. It hasn't stopped yet, but it is different. Eighty days. That's about the same number of nights my cousin, David visited me in my room. Eighty days is a long time, at least to me.

I've had two (almost three) nights of quality 8-hour sleep. I feel almost human again. I've finally been able to make the directed dreams work in such a way that I can sleep through the night and get some rest. I say "I", but I haven't done this alone, which is where it begins to get complicated. And I don't quite know how to explain what I've done. And if I do explain it, I'm afraid it will sound more than just a little odd.

So for now, I have to stick by my first decision. It's too complicated to write about it right now. If you call me on the phone, or stop by the Stevens house, I'll explain it all to you. Otherwise, I'll just say that I'm no longer alone anymore. Someone was able to rescue me in more ways than one. And now it's time to sleep.

Dear Darrin

Dear Darrin,

I'm in love with Dave Barry. This fixation has been brewing for many years, but I'm finally able to admit to myself that he occupies a special place in my heart. There are several reasons for my enamored state, but as I'm breaking this to you gently, I will cite only the basics. I am not planning to leave and pursue him, but I may daydream about him occasionally, especially when the speakers in Sacrament Meeting do not adequately prepare their talks, when you're watching car auctions or sports shows on television, or when I'm having insomnia at 3:00 a.m. You'll notice that I'm trying to include you in my love-fest, since I presented you with the Dave Barry Daily Desk Calendar for your Christmas gift this year. My love affair is not sexual in nature ( never is...), but these are the reasons I adore the newest object of my affections:

1. I think he understands you in a way that I never will. Read this, for example:
See? Now, instead of shaking my head and wondering if I'll ever "get it," I have the comfort of knowing there's another person in the world who understands everything I'm thinking, and the trepidation I feel when you find another gadget you want. I will never forget our first day of marriage, in our first apartment, when you spent four hours playing with our new toaster--trying to make it "better." It was an omen.

2. Dave Barry understands my hatred of wrapping gifts. Granted, his view is slanted in an exclusively masculine direction, but I'm used to being a lone female in a male dominated setting. I can't count the times I've gone to dinner with groups of men and no other women. And I'm perfectly comfortable with that, which may have something to do with a complete lack of sexual tension or my inability to sense it. However, I have never had the knack of wrapping a beautiful gift, nor have I seen the logic in that since the beauty will be destroyed in order to get to the loot inside. This is one more topic on which my mother and I agree to disagree. She's all about the visual tantalization--I like to cut to the chase, which is why my children will agree that the best gifts come wrapped in the bag from the store in which they were purchased. They have no other choice because they really have no basis of comparison. However, I do have to say, that AtP made my day last Christmas, when he told me he thought the ribbon I used on his gift (yes, I actually wrapped it) was pretty. So perhaps there is some basis for a well-wrapped present, if only to inspire a compliment on the wrapper's taste in ribbon choice.

3. Dave Barry has a blog. You know what that does to me. And I know you have one, as well, but I've read all of yours. Dave's is extensive. And he actually adds to it. Regularly. Often. Sometimes more than once a day (blogwhore). I can't help it...few things make my heart beat faster than a fellow blogwhore, especially one who makes me laugh (a very easy thing to do, as you know). I'll try to keep my adoration under would help if you'd get a little more excited about writing in your own blog...when you do that the sexual attraction factor multiplies exponentially...truly...I'm not kidding...and you have to admit that for people like us--that's a really good thing...

Okay, there's a slight problem with my fixation with Dave. He's old enough to be my father. And I don't think he'll go skydiving with me (but neither will you, which is why I have a date to recreate in the clouds with AnotherOther and -L-). And he's married to a sportswriter (although they've been married ten years fewer than we have), and I can't compete with that. I couldn't write an accurate sports column to save my life--but I could probably write an entertaining one--does that count? But he does have hair, which is quite an accomplishment for an old guy. Oh yeah, so does my dad. So perhaps I'll just have to throw myself behind Dave's campaign for president, and forget about romantic entanglements.

Politics, though...that's kind of a turn on...I may have to keep daydreaming after all...


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Strength and Weakness

This is something I've been thinking about for the past year. There is no question that my perceptions of myself are distinctly different from the perceptions about me, held by others. Part of that is my fault--I've learned to present myself in the way I feel will be most acceptable and admirable, even if it isn't a strictly honest presentation. No one needs to know the things that make me feel inadequate, and in a business setting, they shouldn't know those things. That's just bad business acumen.

Here, however, I've worked on being honest and presenting a true picture of me, largely because I need to see it, myself.

As I've watched myself relive my past in my dreams each night, the dread has increased, my fatigue is becoming intolerable, and the pain and loneliness are overwhelming. And so today, I add one more piece to the picture.

I'm afraid. I'm afraid of sleep, of life, of my cousin, of myself...

I'm tired. I'm losing the desire and ability to keep trying. I feel like something inside me is going to break...something important is dying.

I'm lonely. I'm surrounded by people who love me. But that little girl is begging for someone to save her. I've tried to direct the dream so that I tell my cousin to leave before he hurts me. I've had no success. Deep inside, I want protection, and somehow, I don't feel I can protect myself--and yet, I'm one of the most capable people I know.

I'm sad. I watch each night as I am molested in various ways, and above all else I know that I, Samantha Stevens, have no importance to the person hurting me. He does not perceive me as having any worth. And no one comes to my rescue. And while I understand that no one really could (it's hard to come to the rescue when you have no idea someone needs help), it still makes me horribly, overwhelmingly sad.

So today, as I meet with clients and assure them of my expertise in tax advice, as I teach their children the gospel, as I lecture passionately about playing a particular musical passage with just the right the back of my mind I see myself: afraid, tired, lonely, sad, and desperately needing something. I wish I knew what.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

More Research

A few months ago, one of the topics Therapist assigned me to investigate was friendship. He did this because he noted that I become extremely uncomfortable when my friends try to get close to me--to know me better. He said it's not a normal thing for me to expect people to accept a prolonged absence of a year or more, and then welcome me back. I told him it might not be normal for everyone, but my friends make that compensation for me. He said I should count my blessings. Then he asked, if I had a crisis in my life, which of those long-distance friends I would talk to. The answer: none of them. I would probably not talk to anyone. If it became unbearable, I would eventually talk to Darrin. Therapist said that's a lot of pressure to put on one's spouse, and mentioned that people should usually have a few people with whom they can discuss life's ups and downs, and not lay it on one person all the time.

So, I decided to try out the close friendships thing. I did it in a very safe way. I allowed certain people that I trust to have daily, or almost daily contact with me through chat or phone. But these people didn't live close to me, so I didn't have to face them frequently in person. I know, I'm a coward, but that's a start. I didn't analyze (or at least, I did it less than I normally do), or try to figure out what was going on or where it was going. I just enjoyed their company. If I misunderstood something said, I tried to talk through it rather than assuming I was being asked to leave, and I think I was somewhat successful at that. Result:'s been kind of amazing. I fully expected that after a few days the conversations would cease and I would lapse into the once a month communications which would morph into non-existence eventually. When it didn't happen I was mystified, but sort of happy, too.

Four months later, only one of those friendships has had any negative results. But last week I came to the point where I had to do some investigating. My poor friends got the third degree as I questioned them at length about what their ideas were about friendship, what they wanted, long-term expectations, ideals, etc. As I often do when researching, I am posting some things I want to think more about. There is no logical thread to this, these are just bits of information I'm considering as I draw conclusions. Last time I did this I enticed unwanted visitors to my site--I can't imagine this thread of research doing the same, though it would be all right with me if bunches of "friend" people were lured here. They might help me with my research...

F1: I don't see you trying to keep a friend if you thought they were trying to leave.
Sam: Why would I? Friendship isn't something that should be forced on another.
F1: Sometimes people seem as if they want to leave, but really they're just testing you to see how important the friendship is to you. Will you fight for it? Will you tell them you want them to stay?
Sam: That seems dishonest. Why don't they just say, "I'm feeling insecure. Will you tell me that you love me?"
F1: That's not how people work. You're not the only one who ever feels insecure. And have you ever done that?
Sam: I have.
F1: Well, I don't think that's what most people do.
Sam: I think they should.

Sam: I think friendships should end quietly, without drama.
F2: If someone decided to stop being friends with you, you'd probably blog about it in one of your many blogs, then you'd hide.
Sam: I wouldn't hide.
F2: Yeah, you would. And you'd never tell that person that you missed him or that he'd hurt you.
Sam: What would be the point of telling him those things?
F2: Then he'd know you cared, and maybe he'd come back.
Sam: If he's been in contact with me on a regular basis, there should be no doubt that I care--I tell my friends all the time that I love them and think they're the best people around--you've heard me say it to you more than once. To do so when someone says they've had enough, seems manipulative and pathetic.
F2: I don't believe you wouldn't be hurt if someone stopped talking to you, and you didn't know why.
Sam: It might hurt at first. It would stop hurting after awhile.
F2: Do you always just deal with being hurt or having conflict by waiting it out?
Sam: Doesn't everyone?

Sam: I'm trying to figure it all out. Not the perfect friend part, just the friend thing, in general.
F3: Well, I've had A as a friend for four years now. And we're just as close as we ever were. And that's pretty marvelous, isn't it? For me, the key has been getting into a place where I can be myself. Perhaps you've found your place now? Or one of your places?
Sam: Every time I think I'm getting close, I realize I don't have any idea what I'm doing. You and A are veteren friends.
F3: Well, no one knows what they're doing. We're all just trying.
Sam: Yes, but trying for different things.
F3: And there are still times when we have to say to each other, "Don't go?" Or we fight. Or wonder if it doesn't make us more tired to be friends than not.
Sam: It does seem to me that it is more work than it's worth. There's a lot of safety in being an interested observer. However, it makes me happy that you have her--that she has you, and that friendship has lasted a long time (in Samantha years).
F3: Well, she's maddening, but loveable. What is it about friendships you don't understand?
Sam: Well, I suppose the longest lasting friendships I've had are the ones where we only have limited contact. I call once or twice a year. We exchange Christmas cards. Occasionally we visit. But I'm told that's not really a relationship. So I'm trying to understand why a friendship with close contact is better.
F3: For one thing, it's a lot more dangerous, and therefore more self-affirming.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Something I never would have thought of:

I just read the "Caution" tag on my blow dryer. It said: "Do not use while sleeping."
Calvin: People think it must be fun to be a super genius, but they don't
realize how hard it is to put up with all the idiots in the world.
Hobbes: Isn't your pants' zipper supposed to be in the front?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Well, I just think it's funny!

It's only when you look at an ant through a magnifying glass on a sunny day that you realise how often they burst into flames.
-- Harry Hill

Sleep would be nice...

I mentioned in a previous post (or maybe more than one--today I can't be held responsible for remembering) that I am having trouble sleeping because I keep reliving the molestation glory days of my life every time I drift into dreamland. That all started with the delightful blog visit of the pedophile, whose kind and thoughtful, but deranged, comments brought those memories into the foreground. In spite of all that I did consciously to deal with the trespasser, my subconscious has been unable to stop remembering.

The result of all this it that, starting on November 4th, 2006, my sleep habits became even more erratic, and I've been giving thanks to God if I get more than three hours of sleep nightly. Seventy-five days later, I'm SO FREAKING TIRED!!!! And I would love to have just one night without watching myself being raped, or dream-experiencing it. Just one. That would be really nice.

I got so desperate that I started researching lucid (directional) dreaming. I don't believe in that. I rarely find meaning in my dreams. They're usually pure entertainment. So trying to predict the outcome, or change what's happening seems pointless. Until now. Now I would do almost anything to stop the cycle. So I've been using the my research findings to try, with limited success, to change what I see when I sleep.

As the dream has repeated itself, I've come to some important realizations. I've also enlisted the help of a person I trust to support me as I work on dealing with my subconscious needs. Someday, when I'm not feeling as vulnerable, when I've had eight hours of sleep, with the permission of that person, I may blog about it. It's been an amazing journey and I can't complain about the company even a little bit.

Unfortunately, even as I make slow progress, I'm still not sleeping. In the last three nights I've had very little sleep--perhaps 7 or 8 hours total. I find that when I don't sleep I become extremely self-centered and oversensitive. Words that normally would go unnoticed seem insulting, and I spend my day frustrated and hurt for no logical reason. Add to that my disgusting craving to eat nothing but plain mayonnaise (which I loathe--I refuse to give in to this craving), and I'm completely miserable.

I would write more, but I just went blank. I have got to get some sleep.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Progress Check

There are some things I do today that I would never do eighteen months ago. I do them because I'm no longer afraid, or because I no longer feel the need to protect myself in the same way I used to. I think that's progress, and since I'm trying to chart my progress, I'm documenting it here (I know, AtP, you just think I'm making up one more reason to make a list--and you could be right--but I'm not letting your ridicule deter me, so nanny-nanny-boo-boo!):

1. Blog. I wouldn't touch it before. It seemed an exhibitionistic activity in which I would never indulge. Besides, there was no way I would ever allow anyone to know anything about me that was anywhere near personal. I now have seventeen blogs, eleven of which I update fairly regularly. Three of them exist under my real name, five belong to Samantha, and the rest are divided between two other blog identities. I find the individual purposes of each blog extremely therapeutic as I work through all the intricacies of my life, and I suppose, having the different identities helps me as I separate the events from the person (me) and try to look at them with objectivity. I love technology.

2. Talk openly about being gay. Granted, I do this only among a select group of people. There are currently eight straight people who are aware of my orientation: Darrin, my bishop, David's parents, AtP's parents, a friend whom I happened to run into at the Evergreen conference, and my brother (my first family outing, which happened two days ago). I'm not expecting to become a public figure or a poster child for anything (no competition for Master Fob--I would lose to his abundant charm and charisma anyway), so I don't expect this group to become much larger. However, those who are also gay consitute a larger group of people who are aware of my orientation, and among those we often discuss (or laugh about), online or in person, the different aspects of humor, awkwardness, sensitivity, joy and pain, that this attribute brings to our lives. There is relief in the sharing ideas and experiences.

3. Friendships with young men. This is an unusual time of life for me to begin fostering such friendships. However, it has been vitally important as I try to understand that I don't need to fear young men. I have pushed away most of those who were related to me (my brothers), as they approached their mid- to late-teens. I'm trying to remedy that. The extraordinary David has allowed our friendship to deepen and continue beyond the one-year mark. For reasons that escape me, even after reading my entire blog (before censorship), AtP has allowed our friendship to flourish, and continues to care about me even though he knows all the "bad stuff". DJ and I went shopping for a birthday gift for one of his friends last week. I behaved badly, as I always do, suggesting toy make-up kits, Little Mermaid colorforms, or a Hannah Montana cd. He laughed good-naturedly and said no. Then we both found a really funny gag gift. I said, "If I were one of your friends, I'd go halves on this. It's hilarious!" He looked at me very seriously and said, "You are one of my friends--one of my best friends." Then he pretended the books about pet care on a nearby display were particularly interesting, and he sniffed and swallowed a bit. Three guys in their teens who consider me a friend--one friendship has lasted longer than a year, another for more about eight months, and the last mentioned one is with my son. I find all that a little amazing.

4. Friendships, in general. I have to admit that the majority of my current friendships are with men. Gay men. However, I'm trying to find ways to foster friendships with women, as well. The healthy feminine relationships are difficult for me to maintain regularly--I find it much easier to check in every year or so, just to see if they remember me. This has nothing to do with my feelings for them, it just seems that we're always busy. It's no excuse, since I make time for my male friends, but my female friends really don't seem to care if I stop talking to them spontaneanously, whereas, I believe I have a few male friends who might notice if I did that to them. Since Lydia moved 60 miles away, I see her less often, and we don't phone as often, either. This could be because she's working on her new relationship, and lesbians, as with other newly coupled people, often become absorbed with one another as they work out the kinks of living together. Anyway, Darrin says I should concentrate on finding married female friends, then he can help me foster the relationship with his involvement--two couples, double dating, men and women--I suppose that could work...

5. Living in the moment. I'm doing it. For the past ten years, my life was very well planned. While spontaneity was not unheard of, it was relatively rare. In the last twelve months I've been known to contact old friends, put myself in awkward situations, allow myself to be embarrassed a large number of times, speak Spanish online (even though I don't know how), skip a music lesson and do lunch instead, cancel a seminary lesson in order to just chat with the students, take my kids to lunch unannounced, talk on the phone after 9:30 p.m. (unheard of!! I don't even answer the phone at that time of night), call a complete stranger for a friendly chat, drive to the mountains to read a book, eat ice cream (even though I don't like it), ride a pogo stick, do cartwheels and handsprings in the park, dance with my son, hug people in public, kiss a perfect stranger, and once I screamed out loud. It's a step in the right direction. Who knows, maybe one of these days I'll take off my shoes without untying the laces first.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

This is about Darrin--if married relationships make you squeamish, don't read it.

Darrin is getting tired. I've seen it coming for about two months now. As I pass the one year mark of when I decided to finally deal with the things that have been hurting for so long, and head into year two--still not finished and not even certain what, if anything has been resolved--I'm watching my staunch supporter showing wear and tear from the stress.

Our marriage, of necessity, has always been one of active communication. We've benefitted greatly from the need to talk about anything, regardless of its intimate or uncomfortable nature. One of the side-effects of learning so much about each other, however, is that each has the ability to read the other fairly accurately, and sometimes we see things that can be stressful or alarming. I watch my husband hurry off to his take care of bishop duties, and sense his relief at being able to remove himself from the horrifying intricacies of my current life. I can't blame him. He's been working with me for many years. Sometimes I wonder why.

I remember when we first met. I watched him interact with others. People trust him almost immediately. He quietly lets them know that he loves and accepts them, that he enjoys their company, and that he wants to know more about them. I reacted as I always do--I was nice and friendly, but gave no information about myself. He lost interest (I thought), as I had intended, and was drawn to one of my friends. They corresponded throughout the rest of the semester.

But Darrin had not forgotten about me. I received unexpected phone calls from him throughout the summer. My friend had broken off communication. Darrin asked me about this. Because I communicated with very few people, I had no idea what the friend in question was thinking, and I really didn't care. Darrin mystified me. He was friendly, made no romantic or sexual moves toward me, and seemed to enjoy talking to me. I decided he might be a good friend when I went back to school. After all, he had a car, and I did not. He could really help out with those grocery shopping trips, and my life could move a little further off campus if I could access that vehicle.

When I went back to school that fall, Darrin was officially enrolled as a student. He was happy to lend his cute little car to my apartment for our shopping trips--and pretty much anything else. He was around every day. He dated many different girls, always sharing his experiences with me. I offered no advice, as my experience with healthy heterosexual dating was minimal, at best. One day I suggested he date my favorite roommate. I did this for a couple of reasons:
1. She was my best friend.
2. He had become one of my best friends.
It was a match made in heaven. Darrin agreed. He dated M a few times, and as usual, came to talk about it with me. It was during one of those talks that my confused self realized that if the two friends married, I would probably lose all access to Darrin--or at the very least, the current closeness that we shared would have to morph into something else. It was also during this time that I decided I might want to kiss Darrin, and when I realized I did not want him to marry anyone else--ever. There was a bit of discomfort when I told M what was happening, but she was my best friend for a reason--she cried, told me she was a little confused, then said she was happy for Darrin and me.

From that point on, Darrin jumped through one hoop after another. Looking at him today, one would never guess that he was so agile--but he was. Every time I threw another curve ball, he gracefully caught it and I loved him more than ever. Even with the intimacy issues that followed after marriage, he pushed forward, suggesting ways to deal with the obstacles, always communicating, letting me know that it was me he loved, and all that came with me.

I have loved our life together. It hasn't been easy. There have been many things we've encountered that the average couple does not. Unfortunately, nearly every obstacle has had me at the center--dealing with my emotional or physical health--and Darrin on the sidelines lending support and love, and helping our lives continue to run smoothly. There have been very few times when Darrin has had need of me, and when I began to really dig in and try to resolve the horrifying issues of my past, the scale of help and need tipped decidedly in my direction. Darrin was loving, supportive, attentive, helpful, and understanding. Every avenue which I have pursued to find relief or help has had his help and participation. There has been, however, no reward for Darrin.

This week I realized that Darrin has begun distancing himself from me. He no longer asks about the things I'm doing, or the people I talk to. We stopped having prayer as a couple in November. We were too tired, and I was avoiding sleep because of the nightmares. Darrin's health is not good. His cholesterol continues to climb and his triglycerides number hovers around 500. His heart disease risk is very high and he has a family history to support that--his father had his first heart attack at age 43, and his mother had quintuple bypass surgery in her late 50's. I'm acknowledging that I've taken most of Darrin's life away from him, and he's tired.

Selfishly, I feel I've made progress over the past year, and found some relief, and I don't want to stop. But it's not worth losing the person who has made my life not only bearable and worth living, but joyful and filled with delight. He has been my fast friend, even when he knew I was wrong. He has loved me and been in love with me when he knew my feelings were not quite the same as his. We have built something strong and beautiful with our marriage, and it needs to continue.

I remember a time when the kids' bedtime was Darrin's favorite part of the evening, because then we would have our alone time, to chat, play games, watch a movie, or just cuddle for awhile. I remember when he would sneak into my shower because he thought I was beautiful and he wanted to join me. I remember when he wanted to take walks with me, go to dinner with me, dance with me... And all these memories are from only six months ago, before I became so obsessed with my past and my misery that I forgot to foster that relationship. I also have to admit that Darrin has been busier than ever with his new calling, and he loves his ward, but being a Bishop is very demanding, and Darrin cannot be everything to everyone.

I noticed last night that Darrin keeps a card from me on his nightstand. It says, "In my heart, there is a place that only you can reach. In my heart there is a feeling of trust and the security that you always want the best for me. In my heart, there is the knowledge that I can turn to you with my greatest hopes and my deepest fears. In my heart, there is a childlike happiness knowing that whether I'm silly or serious, frowning or smiling, happy or sad, you'll always love me. In my heart, and in my very soul, there is deepest joy and truest contentment, for all I could ever want is what I have with you." I meant every word of that when I sent it. I still mean it today.

Darrin is tired. I'm tired. It's time for me to stop and rebuild. The agony of my past will wait for another day. I have lived with it all my life--and it has not defeated me. Some things must take precedence. Darrin will always be more important than events that hurt me long ago. He has taken a very broken, horribly used, Samantha, and told her she has value. He has risked his heart and his happiness with a person who will probably never feel conventional romantic love for him, but who will love him without restraint, in every way she knows, for the rest of her life. He fell in love with me. I don't know how, I don't know why, but I don't want him to stop loving me. Ever.

Friday, January 12, 2007

"I think I'd miss you even if we'd never met."

That's a quote from Protein's blog. And I believe it's from the movie The Wedding Date. I can't vouch for the source, since I've never seen the movie, but the quote means something to me.

There have been times in my life when I've met someone and felt like something fell into place. I'd been missing that person, even though I didn't recognize it until we actually came into contact. Some people call that "clicking"--interpersonal interaction in which one or more people seem to get along or understand each other without prior sociality or personal history. All I know is that I feel that certain people have been friends with me forever, even if I've only known them a day or two.

Therapist says that's probably just because they have personal characteristics to which I respond well. They make me feel safe and cherished in a very short time period. Obviously he doesn't know me well. Even with the feeling of friendship longevity, I still don't necessarily feel safe, and I'm not sure I've felt "cherished" by anyone. I don't even know what that means. My friendship infrastructure consists of the following ideas:
1. If we make each other laugh, we're friends at least for today.
2. If you confide in me, and I find what you say interesting, I'll probably keep talking to you.
3. If we can play board games together I will never forget you.
4. You can gauge the depth of my friendship feelings for you by the frequency and time duration of our hugs--basically, if I allow you to touch me longer than 20-30 seconds, we're probably friends. 10-15 seconds constitutes "new person I'm still not sure about".
5. If I make fun of you to your face or laugh at your weaknesses, you must be someone I consider a friend for life. And while I understand that's cruel and heartless, it's also my way of telling you that there's nothing about you that I don't love.
6. If you know me personally and I've told you that I'm gay, you're probably one of my more trusted friends. Either that, or you caught me in a weak moment...
7. If I've kissed you on the cheek (European style) you're either part of my family, or I consider you to be so. If I haven't, but I still consider you to be family, you're probably just too tall for me to reach--or you hate that kissing thing.
8. If I confide in you, you'll find it difficult to get rid of me as a friend. You'll also notice that I become extremely insecure and expect you to bail, and I'll probably make many opportunities for you to do so. No doubt you'll be ready to escape my friendship clutches at the earliest convenience. But I hope you won't. Because if I trust you enough to confide in you--that's the second to the last step.
9.The final step is proving to me that you're staying in our friendship because you want to--not because you feel obligated, or because you feel sorry for me, or because you don't know how to leave. You're there because even after jumping through all the hoops, talking to me regularly, and seeing who I really am, we still "click". We still smile when we see each other online, or when the phone rings and we recognize the phone number, or when we see each other in the store (on the street, in the library... you get the point...). We can't wait to be together because it's fun!

The truth is that I have only a few close friends who make it to the end of step nine. I'm trying to decide whether that's good or not so good. But it's also true that those are the ones I think of when something significant happens in my life. I truly did miss them before we met. I just didn't know it.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Sometimes I'm an Idiot

I went grocery shopping last night around 5:00--usually, I like to go when no one else is there (i.e. very early in the morning), but I slept until 5:45 yesterday morning and had to get ready and go straight to seminary instead. 5:00 p.m. is a very busy shopping hour, and there are way too many cranky people there for my taste. However, last night everyone seemed to be going out of his/her way to be nice and friendly--to me, at least. I just assumed that was because I have a pleasant face and a nice smile, and the holidays were over, and it was close to dinner, but not too close...okay, I had no idea why people were smiling and laughing, some gave me a wave, a couple of young men high-fived me...that got me wondering...I became a little paranoid...I finished quickly and went home...

Tabitha pointed out while I was making dinner that I was wearing the hoodie DJ gave me for Christmas...the one he'd put a couple of stickers on earlier that morning...from the clementines...the ones that say, "I'm a Cutie"...yeah, I wore those stickers all day...

'fessing up

Okay, I'm going to address this once, just to get it taken care of:
1. No, I did not pierce my body. I adore AtP, but not that much. However, I did eat ice cream (which I do not like) when I was with him, so I consider that ample representation of my adoration of him. Yes, it was a joke. Yes, it was in poor taste. Yes, I do think I'm hilarious.
2. Yes, I deleted your comments (not once, but twice), because I think people who believe my salavation hinges on my ability to not smoke, become drunk, or live on caffeine are insane. Those who believe I'll go to hell for having a hole or a tattoo are just plain stupid. And yes, I believe the prophet speaks for God, but if ink and holes are the only things I'll have to be accountable or forgiven for--well, I'll count myself very lucky.
3. I'm not going to talk to you about my underwear. And I really don't care if you think combining a rainbow thong with temple garments is sacreligious--however, thanks for sharing. The image will never leave my mind--and here's one for you: if I wore a rainbow thong, I would probably wear nothing else...enjoy...
4. Yes, I teach seminary. Yes, I attend the temple. Yes, I partake of the sacrament. Now...can I have a cookie?
5. My husband has never told me what to do, what to believe, what to wear, or how to feel. If he did I doubt he would be my husband anymore. This does not constitute disrespect for priesthood in any way shape or form. If it does for you, you're screwed up. That's all.
6. If you want to write me an email again, please include a joke. I enjoy laughing--but it's probably rude to laugh at you the whole time.
7. Having sexual or romantic feelings for members of my own gender does not make me evil. It just makes me different from you. I do not perpetuate any kind of agenda, I just live as I see fit. My love for the Lord, for the gospel, and for my husband are my own business, but if you'd taken time to browse my site a bit, you would know that those loves take precedence over any other inclinations or desires. How much have you sacrificed for the Lord? My guess is that you haven't laid on the altar the very feelings that draw you to another human being, nor have you obeyed in an area that feels foreign and undesirable at times--and committed to that for the rest of your life. I could be wrong...but as long as we're judging each other...
8. You really should learn more about what constitutes devotion to God. It reaches much further than the food we eat, the markings on our bodies, the color of our skin, or the people with whom we fall in love. Truly. I'm not kidding.

Monday, January 08, 2007

New Year's Anti-Resolutions--One More Thing I Will Not Do In 2007

Shop for a rainbow thong ever again--it could end up being the one returned by The Great -L- (which should be an honor for anyone else, just not me).

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Happy New Year, AtP!!

This post is dedicated to Attempting the Path, who decided to figure out his sexual orientation on this day, January 6th, one year ago. Be sure to offer felicitations--even though I'm not going to post this till tomorrow because today AtP has no internet and I'm hoping that will change...

I have celebrated this day by having my navel pierced and recommend that everyone do the same, if you have not done so already. It's the least we can do for the most attractive member of the Queerosphere, especially since he magnanimously granted his "youngest" title to Sully. If you're too chicken to have a hole placed in your midriff, then a second option would be to wear a rainbow thong for the day (if you have to buy one at the store, please don't try it on first--you have no idea where it's been and for heaven's sake, wash it before you put it on when you get home!!!).

Just a thought, though. Now that you're one, AtP, will Sully have to give his title back? You're confusing the Queen...

P.S. I rationalize my body piercing in the following ways:
1. No one can see it.
2. I only wear tasteful, conservative studs.
3. I have no other piercings, and women are allowed one in each earlobe--perhaps my earlobes conjoin in my navel? A serious birth defect...
4. It was for a good cause.
5. Who will ever know for sure if I actually did it? Darrin would never tell...

New Year's Anti-Resolutions--Things I will not do in 2007

1. Eat cow innards.
2. Go to the wilderness without toilet paper.
3. Teach a lesson in Priesthood Meeting (although I firmly believe they would like it if I did).
4. Flirt with Brother Expletive-Delete Honey.
5. Marry a rich man.
6. Pole dance in public.
7. Come out of the closet.
8. Show my navel in seminary (even if I did get it pierced in celebration of AtP's first year as a gay person).
9. Change clothes while driving 75 mph on the freeway (tying shoelaces is the hardest part).
10. Wear a rainbow thong to a bishop's interview.

Wow, this is so easy... I could go on and on...I'm limiting myself to ten much easier than resolutions I never seem to keep...I love this...

Saturday, January 06, 2007

I can't stop

When realizations start to come to me, they're usually accompanied by a nasty memory or equally unhappy emotions. I'd like to shy away from them, but each time I feel that I'm about to make an important discovery, so I push forward, forcing myself to look closely at the things that make me miserable. Fortunately, I usually figure something out in the process, however small the discovery may be.

My nightmares began increasing in frequency and intensity toward the end of October. There have been times when I have stayed awake all night, simply to avoid seeing what will come when I sleep. However, as time has passed, I've come to some realizations.
1. I no longer want the abuse in the dream to stop. I think that's because I've finally realized that I can't change my past. I can't make it go away. There is less agony as I endure the acts, simply a feeling of waiting until everything is finished. I believe I've accepted that this is and always will be a part of my life, and I can continue to live in spite of it.
2. The painful part comes in the aftermath. As I watch myself deal with taking care of myself, cleaning up, putting myself back to bed, there is a horrifying longing for someone to be with me. I talked with Darrin about this a couple of days ago. He asked if I wanted to talk to him about all that happened--details about the abuse. But he is too close. There is a sense that he's really wishing he could help me, but at the same time a helpless rage because he can't make anything better. I'm not able to deal with his feelings in tandem with my own. Also, I don't want him to think of those things when he's with me--and he's with me every day. We need to see Therapist again and talk about this.
3. In my dream, I long for someone to be with me. But I want that person to be able to know everything that has happened, but still be willing to stay with me after my cousin leaves. Someone who will help me clean up, who will hold me when I tremble, who will stay with me so that I can sleep. Someone who will not go away when things are violent or ugly, but will allow me to work through all that I must do on my own, without having to do it alone. I know this makes no sense, but it's what I'm feeling. I'm still trying to take this apart and analyze all that it means in my healing process.
4. I'm getting too tired to make sense of all this. I have to sleep. But I hate reliving this each night--more than the acts themselves, I hate the incredible loneliness that follows. It gnaws at me, it means something...I have to figure this out.

Gay by association

DJ is shopping for a man-purse, or "murse", as per AtP. DJ has been wanting one since we first met AtP in September. Also, I've noticed a marked change in his choice of attire leaning toward the taste of AtP, fashion guru of the world, who informed me yesterday that he owns fourteen hoodies. DJ asked for another hoodie for Christmas, and bought one for me, as well.

I mentioned to David, when DJ's quest for a murse became an obsession, that he was emulating AtP. David expressed some humorous dismay, then said, "I'm going to have to give DJ lessons on how to act more straight."

I have nothing left to say.

Friday, January 05, 2007

"...the crooked shall be made straight..."

It seems I've been spending a lot of time lately, wandering down memory lane. Part of this is because my parents cleaned out their attic. Some background is needed here: my parents moved from our family home the year I got married. I had left my home and family when I was seventeen. Before I left, I took a couple of boxes full of papers and mementos out to our family garbage pyre and trustfully left them to burn. Apparently my mother, the pack-rat of all time, recognized them as mine, and rescued them. Knowing I would one day wish to have all my scraps and scrawls again, she sealed up the boxes and stored them for me. Imagine my shock when I found out that those boxes made it through three consecutive moves and had been stored in the attic of my parents' current home for many years. Darrin called me from their home to tell me of the find. Having somewhat of an inkling of what I had wanted to destroy years before, I hastily ran to my parents' home to remove the boxes before anyone explored them.

I spent some time going through the boxes. Most of it finished its interrupted journey to destruction, but I also encountered some things I wanted to keep. Most of these I had no recollection of ever writing or receiving. I found Valentine cards and love letters--from both guys and girls. It was a bit confusing to read through them, to say the least. I found a journal in which I expressed my illicit feelings for members of my own gender, and which also chronicled my escapades of revenge with the opposite sex. I found a notebook I had entitled "Story Starts" which had numerous beginnings to stories of all types--none of which I remember writing. At the very bottom of the box I found a tiny notebook on which I had scrawled "STRAIGHT (to Hell)".

Curiously, I opened the notebook (again, not something of which I have any memory). There were very few entries, all of them descriptions of experiences I had in which I felt "straight", or at least less gay. On the last page I had expressed how these feelings felt foreign and frightening. I was a little sickened that I had felt them at all, and that the experiences had ever occurred. It was obvious that I found everything in the notebook upsetting and revolting.

As I read the anecdotes and thoughts written, I realized that most of the experiences were fairly mild, and probably developmentally appropriate for a heterosexual teen. I was also interested that in the descriptions I expressed none of the disgust revealed by the epilogue. I simply recorded each occurrence, and sometimes the expressed feelings accompanying an experience were the opposite of what I had written in the final notebook pages. One experience filled me with wonder--another David who made a sizeable impression--I had forgotten it.

"We left for string clinic on Wednesday. We had rehearsals all day Thursday and Friday, and our dress rehearsal on Saturday morning. We performed our concert that afternoon, and left for home early Sunday morning. We had evenings to ourselves. This trip was short on chaperones. Our conductor put several friends and I in the largest hotel room. We had a sort of suite which was situated at the end of a building, and had an outside entrance. The room had a small sitting room and two adjoining bedrooms. L said we definitely needed a party with a room like that. She called some local friends she knew (guys) and asked them to bring more friends. There was one friend, David, she wanted to set up with my older sister, so she asked him to come early. He did. He was not interested in my sister.

"David walked into our room and asked to be introduced to everyone. L pointed my sister out. He walked over to her, talked for a moment, then sat by me. I ignored him. Since I was staying a few nights (and sharing a bed) with some rather gorgeous females (two of them I would love to make out with--maybe at the same time--I'm going to hell), the last thing I wanted was to have an interested male around. David didn't say anything to me, but he stared. Finally he asked, "Are you wearing contact lenses?" I decided to look at him. As guys go, he's probably very good looking. Blonde, blue-eyed, great smile, nice body??? (like I would know--L told me later that every girl in the room wanted to jump him). I said I was, he asked if he could see them. Bored, I took one out and handed it to him, telling him not to lose it. He disappeared into the bathroom, asking me to follow. I didn't.

"'Samantha--come in here, okay?' L told me to stop being an idiot and go see what he wanted (in the bathroom?? Come on!!), so I went. David asked me if he could try on the contact lens. I said, 'Okay--whatever...' and started to leave. He grabbed my arm and said, 'Tell me how you do it.' I took out my other lens and demonstrated putting it back in my eye, he did the same with the lens he had, then walked out to show everyone his new contact lens. Okay, I was laughing at that point. I really didn't think he'd do it, and I also thought it would hurt him if he did. Sort of gutsy and very unsanitary, to say the least.

"He came back and couldn't get the lens out (imagine that!). I helped him remove it, then washed it about sixteen times, and put it in my own eye. From that point on I had a shadow. David came to our rehearsals ate lunch and dinner with me and arranged a party at a friend's house for Friday night. Thursday night, when we were all at our hotel room he pulled me outside so we could 'talk' (this is me gagging a little), and amazingly that's all we did--except he kept touching me and playing with my hair. I said I was a little ticklish and he was bugging me. He didn't stop, just said something stupid about my skin being soft and touchable.

"On Friday we found out the party would probably involve lots of booze. Being on a school trip, (and not having permission to leave our hotel in the first place) we decided it would be better not to go. David showed up to pick me up. I told him I couldn't go because if we got caught with alcohol, even if we weren't the ones drinking, we'd be suspended. He said he'd take care of it. I said, 'I don't believe you can do that. In fact, I don't believe you can go one weekend without getting drunk.' David had a friend with him who said, 'I don't think I've ever seen you not drunk on a Friday night.' David said, 'Okay, I won't drink--no booze this weekend. And then Samantha has to make out with me.' I said no. 'Just for one minute?' No, again. David's friend leaned over and whispered in my ear, 'There is no way he'll stay sober. No way. Tell him you'll give him one kiss.' So, feeling that the friend was probably right, I made the deal.

"We went to the party. True to his word, David got all the booze to disappear and the party became much smaller immediately. We played silly Mormon games, which were actually pretty fun. I, however, was getting nervous because without beer, David was going to stay sober and I'd made a deal I didn't want to follow through on. Mid-way through the night, an older friend showed up with a case of beer. He walked to the kitchen, followed by David and his friend. All my friends started making bets as to how many beers David would drink. Five minutes later he appeared next to me, 'I told him this party was booze free. And I didn't drink any.' I was starting to feel sick.

"Ten minutes before midnight we started cleaning up so we could go back to our hotel. David grabbed my hand and pulled me into a bedroom. He closed the door. I said, 'I don't want to kiss you.' He said, 'Sam, I stayed sober tonight because I wanted to be with you. It was really fun. I'm glad I did. The deal is off.' Then he gave me a hug. I was a little surprised and looked up at him to see if he was serious. He just grinned at me. But then, and I don't know how it happened, we were kissing--and it wasn't horrible. I wasn't afraid or sick. I didn't want to throw up. Truthfully, I think I liked it. It makes me wince to say this, but I even felt that knee instability that L tells me about when she describes kissing a guy.

"David wasn't smiling when we stopped kissing. He hugged me really tightly and said, 'We should go.' I said yes, but he didn't stop hugging me. He asked if he could kiss me one more time. To tell you the truth, I was a little curious to see if the effect would be the same, so I agreed. The effect was not only the same, but there were other feelings that started and this time those did scare me, because I've never felt those toward a guy before. He stopped kissing me, and said, 'Wow.' (my thoughts exactly) I said, 'We have to go.' So we did.

"I know all my friends know I made out with David, who I barely know, and they all think I'm a slut (which I am--just not with guys). David and some other guys were in our hotel room all night Saturday night--we just stayed up and talked till about 5:30, an hour before we had to board the bus. I let David cuddle with me (something I never do) and it was actually kind of nice. I kissed him a couple of times more--just to see if it felt the same--it did.

"I find this all very confusing. David gave me his address and phone number. I didn't give him mine. I don't want to see him ever again."

I'm thinking I need to get rid of all my past writings. They make no sense to me--especially the ones in the "STRAIGHT" notebook. Besides, there are way too many David's in my life as it is.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Still Thinking

On Saturday AtP will be one year old. He can explain this better than I, so you should ask him. I'm not in the business of talking to toddlers on a regular basis, but I make an exception for him for two reasons:
1. He gets the majority of my jokes, and he thinks they're funny (which gives you an idea of the maturity level of my humor).
2. In turn, he makes me laugh, and if he has any idea how clever he actually is, he never advertises it.
However, there is more to our conversational experiences than simple hilarity (although people who have spent time with us, in person, would probably say otherwise). A recent conversation, with all typos and spelling errors left intact, went like this:

AtP: are you really therE?
me: I am.
AtP: how are you?
me: I'm thinking tonight, but otherwise, fine.
AtP: you think all the time--is there anything thats making tonight different than other times that you think?
me: More serious?
AtP: what're you thinking about?
me: Not sure where to start...
AtP: how about where you are right now
me: Wondering about you--did you meet with God's Bookstore person today?
AtP: no
i went back to bed for four hours after you left
me: I suppose I'm also thinking about how exhausting it is to be with my sister all day--not talking about anything that might be personal or controversial, but because I love her, sort of wishing I could be honest with her. I can't.
See. Just serious stuff.
AtP: that does sound kinda serious
me: I try to avoid that when you're around.
AtP: why>
me: Come to think of it, I've spent most of this trip avoiding things.
Why? Because I hate being serious.
AtP: Good!! what else have you been avoiding?
me: I'm not sure--and I'm not sure I care.
AtP: Okay
me: I think if I come to UT again, I'm not going to stay with my sister. Too stressful, which is completely unfair, because she's really trying to be sweet. She knows I'm in counseling for abuse--she'll ask questions, then change the subject. You shouldn't ask me about my thoughts when I'm pondering, because chances are...I'll tell you.
AtP: I count on you telling me
i'm sorry that youre stressed though
me: Why do I feel like I have to protect you from me?
AtP: i don't know... you don't though
me: Last night, I know Tito wanted us to go. Under normal circumstances I would have insisted on it, but I wanted to hear what he was saying. I wanted to hear David talk to someone besides me. But I didn't want to answer the lesbian questions.
AtP: I know.

The actual point of all this is that I am at my most vulnerable when caught in deep thinking. And AtP is right, I do think all the time, but when I'm pondering myself, my life, I'm in a fairly weak state of mind. At that point I rarely weigh my words before speaking, and I've been known to think aloud--which is no doubt, confusing to anyone listening, not to mention the discomfort it causes when I talk about things better left unsaid. However, the unfortunate AtP will just have to take what he gets when he talks to me because I don't intend, personally, to end or curtail our chat time. He'll have to do that himself, because I selfishly enjoy chatting with him. However, given his age (one-year-old), I suppose he could accuse me of child abuse...and then I might have to flirt with his Beauty Queen Mother (his words) to keep him from pressing charges...

I keep straying from my intended topic (a normal occurrance when I'm talking to or about AtP--he has that effect on me), which was "thinking." Actually, for the past few days I've been consumed with thoughts. I'm really grateful to g'pa bob, who has given me much to ponder in reference to my own thoughts--and I'm still thinking about his recent comments. I can't say more about that until I'm finished thinking, mainly because I'll change my mind several times in the process.

Another unfortunate recipient of chats with Sam during her thinking times is Tolkien Boy. He has the dubious honor or offering questions and insights that make me recognize things I already knew, but probably haven't admitted to myself, and recognition of those things always seem to catch me off guard in rather ugly ways.

me: I don't want to belabor last night's conversation, but I got some emails and comments about my blog entry (which deals with the same subject), so I blogged about the stupid subject again, and realized something interesting and, to me, a little appalling.
TB: What's that?
me: When I'm dreaming, more than wanting to be out of the situation (because in the dream I really don't feel that it's possible to escape what's happening), I desperately want someone to be with me--someone on my side who will comfort me when everything is over, and maybe help me clean up and go back to sleep. There--I was just vulnerable at you.
TB: :) How does it feel?
me: Pretty awful
TB: I'm sorry. I promise you I'll not misuse your information.
Why does it appall you?
me: Because having someone with me means that they'll witness the crap I have/had to go through. No one should see that.
TB: Remember when we talked about protecting people from the monster that we believe ourselves to be?
me: Yes
TB: I think that this is the same sort of thing. It's something that needs to be shared, because the burden is too great for one person.

First insight gleaned from this conversation: I didn't want to be alone when I was being abused, and in the resulting aftermath. I wanted someone with me.

Second insight: I'm having difficulty bearing this burden because it is too heavy for me. This is the first time I've admitted such a thing.

TB: Who would you have with you?
me: Someone who would still love me when it was all over. Who would care that I hurt inside and out--who wouldn't see that I was used, but would hold me and let me cry.
TB: Do you think that person exists?
me: No.

Third insight: Somehow I still believe that no one really cares. I don't think there is anyone who can look at the actual reality of all that happened without flinching away from me. My belief system keeps telling me that everyone would just rather that I continue to hide all the ugliness from them and pretend that nothing happened and that everything is fine. But after all these years, I still want someone to hear all the bad stuff, all the horrifying details, and then to take me in his or her arms and tell me I'm not ugly or evil, and to say (s)he would have protected me if possible. Admitting that I want this is rather horrifying to me.

TB: I think he and she does exist. I understand that it doesn't help you much, my belief,
but I think there are several people in your life right now that would/will hold you, love you despite anything, and don't see you as used, ever.
me: Can I just tell you how tired I am of reliving everything. Underneath being afraid and sad, I'm just tired.
TB: Can I ask you a very difficult question?
me: Yes.
TB: Do you think God was with you when it happened?
me: No.
TB: How does that work, in your mind?
me: I know he was. I know I was protected. But I don't think he was...I just felt very alone. Especially immediately afterward.
TB: Yeah. Have you ever thought about taking that up with him?
me: I've done so. My head and my heart are in such different places. And this desire to stop having to deal with it alone is making me crazy.

Fouth Insight: I'm having difficulty believing that God could have been present when I was being abused. As a rational adult, I do believe he was there, and that I had some protection granted me, but the child inside still feels desperately alone and wants a real corporeal person to love and comfort her. She cannot understand how God, if there is a God, would allow her to be hurt as she was, and I cannot seem to help her understand.

TB: Is there someone, a physical person, you can go to and relax with? I mean, let them take part of the burden?
me: I feel incredibly guilty just talking about it with you.
TB: Why? I want to help bear what I can.
me: Maybe because for me, in my life, it's about the worst thing I've experienced. I'm protecting people (you) from me again...yes?
TB: Yes.

Fifth Insight: Even people who will listen to me patiently have limits. This was a very gentle suggestion that it was time for me to find someone else. I wasn't quite ready to do so at that point, but started moving toward acceptance of his need to stop talking as soon as the suggestion was made. However, I had one more insight to glean before the conversation was over.

me: When I think about the experience, the worst thing was not the act itself, it was trying to process everything when I was alone, having to clean and dress myself, wanting to go to bed and sleep, but wondering if I'd be left alone or if I'd have to endure more. Sometimes I see me in my mind's eye, and I want someone to hold me--I want it so badly I could scream. TB, I think I need to stop. I'm terrified that I shouldn't be saying these things.
TB: Why shouldn't you say them?
me: They make me cry and they're awful.
TB: They make me cry too. But I want you to be able to let them go, too.
me: I don't want you to see me that way.
TB: Because I can hurt you then?
me: No. Maybe. Mostly because now you know. You know what makes me cry.
TB: That you are alone and asked to deal with something horrific on your own?
me: Yeah. And that I'm not strong enough to do it. Someday, I'm going to have to ask for help, and I don't know if I can--and part of me is angry that I even have to. Everyone should have someone--they shouldn't have to ask.
TB: I think you have a lot of people who want to help. You might have to allow them to.
me: Every time I talk about things like this with you, I feel like you've just witnessed me having a temper tantrum. I used to believe that one of my tasks in this life would be to learn how to come to terms with the things that have happened to me. Now I'm afraid that I'll never be able to do that on my own, and my task will be to find the people who will be able to help me and still love me--which is much more difficult. Or maybe, it's more difficult for me to feel justified in asking for that help.
TB: Yes, I can appreciate that.

Sixth Insight: It's possible that there are people who actually can help me. Not in a therapy way, but in the way that I need to understand that others can know all that has happened to me, and still love me. Even if I never experience being held and protected, there might be those who would have done so, if given the opportunity. There is a correlation between my need to be physically held/protected, and my subconscious belief that this cannot happen because of my personal filth sustained when I allowed myself to be used by another. I had thought that Darrin would fill the need I have for this but there are two problems that stand in the way of his being able to do so: First, as my husband, I expect that he will love me regardless of my past--in essence, it's not a choice for him, but an obligation, and I can't seem to get past that. Second, Darrin has yet to be able to listen to the extent of the abuse. He stops me before I can tell him. He is unable to hear what I need to say. I understand that it makes him feel angry and frustrated, but the child inside believes he just doesn't want to know--that he doesn't care enough about her to allow her to talk. This is, of course, untrue. I know it's not true. I just don't feel it.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007


Warning: Another one of those posts that is better left unread.

When I first started blogging I had one person who regularly read and commented on my blog--and he was about as messed up as I am, although that's probably debatable. Now that normal people seem to stumble onto my blog fairly regularly, I sometimes feel guilty exposing them to the things I feel, so even though I still fully endorse the belief that I am entitled to write whatever I wish on my own blog, the warning makes me feel better.

I received some email and one comment on my last post about dreams in general, which gave good advice and in a normal setting, would probably be very helpful:

"I find that most of my nightmares are less frightening when I concentrate on the symbols within them. Usually those symbols represent things in my life that need attention or something that I've forgotten to do. If I pay attention to those things and take care of them, the nightmares go away."

"You should look for hidden meanings in the dreams. There really is no such thing as nightmares. It's just your brain trying to make sense of life. So don't be afraid of that."

"I used to have nightmares until I found out that they were caused by not doing things I needed to do. When I quit putting off things I slept better."

"Writing down and understanding my dreams contributed significantly to my healing. In the nightmares I viewed from a child's point of view were grown-up messages of love and concern to myself for myself. And when the nightmares were replaced with pleasant dreams I knew I was well."

When I've had "regular" types of dreams (i.e., not nightmares), I have occasionally shared those with Tolkien Boy, dream interpreter extraordinaire, who finds logical meanings in them that are probably very true, but which I don't always wish to accept. Nonetheless, there is no question that dreams have meanings, and that confronting or analyzing them is worthwhile. So I appreciate the advice and suggestions offered above, but I believe I need to further explain what I'm experiencing. Perhaps, if those who have offered that advice had more information, they could give me more help in this area, especially if they have experience or expertise in dealing with dreams and nightmares.

I actually spoke at length about this with a friend last night--not because I was trying to solve the problem, but because the haunting feelings that accompany the dreams make me feel ill, and admitting that to someone who won't despise me for being a coward helps me feel more human. He had some good ideas, as well. However, on with the further explanation of my nightmares.

My fearful dreams are simply a reenactment of my encounters with my cousin. In them he continues to violate me in every possible sexual way, and when he is finished he leaves me and I am left alone to clean up and try to comfort myself. The physical pain is felt when I awake, even though nothing has occured. The loneliness, self-loathing, fear, anger, guilt...all the feelings I felt as a young girl are seething inside me. I am left with a horrifying sense that I can't protect myself, and no one else will come to my aid.

Differences between the dreams and the reality:
1. In my dreams I am an adult. And yet I'm still immobile and weak. I allow him to perform the acts that make me feel inhuman and objectified. Somehow, even as a grown-up, I'm afraid of him. How can that be?
2. The setting is not always the same. Sometimes the incidents occur in my childhood bedroom, sometimes in my current one. Perhaps I feel unsafe in my own house? I know this is true.
3. I am unable to ask for help. And in spite of the fact that I long to be strong enough to save myself, I also feel an ache inside that there is no one to help me--and I really want help. As a child, I don't remember acknowledging that I wanted someone to save me. I just remember a horrifying acceptance that no one would. In my dreams, I don't want to go through the horror alone. Even if I have to endure all that my cousin does to me, I wish for someone beside me to help me endure it and to comfort me when he leaves. And I feel guilty wishing for that, because no one should have to be exposed in any way to the things I've experienced--vicarious or otherwise. But I still don't want to be alone.

I look at my life today. Each weekday morning I get up and meet with some of my favorite people in the world, to teach them about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. My only qualification for this vocation is that I love the gospel and Christ with all my heart--and I love the students I teach. I spend a few hours each day advising clients how to invest and spend their money and helping them to maximize their pretax spending. I prepare their tax returns and paperwork. Then I teach students how to love music and enjoy learning to play the piano. I spend a few hours practicing. I run a few miles. I clean my house and work on learning to be a real mom someday. I think about and implement ways to keep my marriage and love for my husband strong in any circumstance. Then I go to bed and find out that I'm not even strong enough to deal with past experiences that still haunt me, and I wonder where my reality lies.

Something I haven't mentioned is that the nightmares seem to be occurring more often and with greater duration and intensity. And my ability to cope with the aftermath is becoming less effective. I'm going to have to do something about this. I'm just not certain what that will be.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Confession for the first day of 2007

Last night I visited an old friend. I shared with her the things of my past and all that I've been working through during the past year. She told me she loved me and always would. She held me in her arms and rocked me like a child, and I didn't ever want to leave. For the first time in a very long time I cried about the things that make me ache. When I had finished, she kissed me on the forehead, hugged me tightly and walked me to my car.

I slept last night. I knew, with everyone staying up to ring in the New Year, someone would have to be ready to drive home--so I did what I normally do not--I slept for about seven hours straight. People have asked me how I survive on so little sleep, but the truth is that sleep is not a haven for me. I have not learned how to stave off the nightmares, nor how to separate myself from the feelings that come as I relive nightly the reality of my past. I need to discuss this with Therapist, but don't quite know how to admit to him that I'm afraid of the imaginary horrors I see in my sleep. I realized today that even though the dreams are not real, they represent my reality, and each time they come I relive the pain, disgust, and fear. I have to remind myself that it can't happen to me anymore. I have to try to remember that I have worth, that somewhere inside me is a strong, good person--and that's the most difficult thing. I emerge from the nightmares, sad, spent, fearful. I feel filthy, unworthy to be in anyone's presence, and I ache horribly inside.

When I'm at home and this happens, I run--sometimes more than once, until I'm too tired to think or feel. I didn't have that option today. I cleaned my sister's house, packed my family into the car and went to lunch with AtP and El Veneno. I wanted to be good company. I wanted to enjoy my last day of vacation. Instead I felt like screaming. I can't eat when I feel this way, so of course my surrogate mother, DJ, spent his entire meal asking me if I was okay. How can I answer that question? Yes, I'm fine--I'm just a horrible coward who can't recover from bad dreams. AtP said I was unusually quiet, something for which he should be very grateful, because all I wanted to talk about was how my guts are all messed up, how I resent not being able to sleep like everyone else, how I'm really feeling sorry for myself today.

Now I'm home. I'm contemplating going to sleep tonight and I don't want to. I think maybe my seminary lesson preparation might keep me up. And we've been gone for a few days, so maybe I have some cupboards I can clean out or rearrange. I'm certain I need to stay up and do the laundry. But, truthfully, I really just want to scream and cry for as long as it takes to feel better--but I have a feeling the "feel better" part might not happen for a very long time.
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