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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.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Counseling--the end

Okay, this doesn't mean I'm finished with therapy. I have to continue for a little while longer. But I'm going to finish up my very long report in this post.

Therapist and I spent some time discussing Darrin's role in all that I've done over the past few months. I'm so incredibly blessed to have him. Then we talked about some of the fun things I did with other people when I was in Utah. Finally we discussed what comes next.

Therapist spent a lot of time pointing out my phobias and erroneous thinking, especially as it pertains to me (that was pleasant...). He gave me a list of assignments:
1. Write about my experiences leading up to, including, and following my meeting with David. Include feelings, motives, and conclusions. Post it on my blog.
2. Scrutinize my feelings for others, especially my closest friends and family. Write about those feelings for three or four of them. Post the writings (I did, but not on this blog).
3. Therapist selected three people who are friends of mine and gave me some questions to ask them. I hate this assignment. The questions are deeply personal and make me uncomfortable when I think of asking them. The point of all this is that my perceptions of how other feel about me are wrong.
4. Through the answers given to my questions, make connections about relationships, love for me, friendship and loyalty. Use those connections to work on establishing a somewhat different relationship with Christ.

There are more assignments, but I haven't decided yet if I'll do them. I have until May 2nd.

What is this?

From C-Fam: At the Human Rights Council in Geneva this week, a radical homosexual umbrella group released a homosexual rights document authored by several UN human rights officials that claims that even the youngest children are capable of discerning their sexual identity and they should be given governmentally protected free reign to express it. The document goes on to demand revision of international and national laws to reflect these and other ideas on the far frontier of social policy.

Called the Yogyakarta Principles, the document lists 29 rights that already exist in binding international law such as the right to life and freedom from torture, and reinterprets each one to include homosexual rights. Based upon the idea that “international human rights law imposes an absolute prohibition of discrimination in regard to the full enjoyment of all human rights,” the Principles assert that nations are legally bound to change their constitutions and penal codes to incorporate homosexual rights.

The Principles also assert that states that must force changes in school curricula, facilitating “access" by those who seek sex change operations, “the right to express identity or personhood, including through speech deportment, dress, bodily characteristics, choice of name or any other means”, non-discrimination “against asylum seekers on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity and “the right to found a family, including through access to adoption or assisted procreation (including donor insemination)”

According to the Principles, “sexual orientation is understood to refer to each person’s capacity for profound emotional, affectional [sic] and sexual attraction to, and intimate and sexual relations with, individuals of a different gender or the same gender or more than one gender.” The document states that “gender identity is understood to refer to each person’s deeply felt internal and individual experience of gender, which may or may not correspond with the sex assigned at birth, including the personal sense of the body (which may involve, if freely chosen, modification of bodily appearance or function by medical, surgical or other means) and other expressions of gender, including dress, speech and mannerisms.”

Of the 29 human rights experts who drafted the Principles, 11 are UN special rapporteurs or treaty monitoring body members. Other members include former UN officials such as Mary Robinson, former High Commissioner for Human Rights. Conservative observers at the Human Rights Council told the Friday Fax that by signing onto the Jogyakarta Principles, “These UN Special Rapporteurs have betrayed the requirements of impartiality and independence required by their mandates.”

Conservatives argue that the Principles’ equating sexual orientation and gender equality to other established discrimination categories such as age, race, and religion pose threats to the freedom of speech and freedom of religion for any individuals, organizations or institutions that present a traditional view of marriage and the family. They also point out that the term “sexual orientation” has never been included in a non-discrimination clause of any binding UN document. Likewise, the terms “sexual rights” and “gender identity” have never been included in a binding UN document or defined by the UN General Assembly.

The document concludes by calling on the UN system to endorse the principles and incorporate them into the work of the organization and calls for action from all levels government, the media and civil society.

Counseling--about the end

Therapist was really interested in what happened after lunch on Wednesday, almost moreso than in what happened in the meeting with my cousin. So I told him about the walk in the park, and the return to my hotel where I was allowed to express all the nastiness I was feeling inside. I told him Tolkien Boy held me while I slept. Therapist asked me what my reaction to all that was. My answer:
1. The walk was wonderful. It was a gorgeous day and it was a relief to see normal people doing normal things (kids playing, people talking and eating lunch, jogging, walking, etc.).
2. I felt really horrible--worse than I had ever suspected I might feel. I was so glad to not be alone, to be with someone who would listen, to be with someone who wasn't afraid to touch me when I felt that I was untouchable.
3. I was tired. I can't even express how tired I felt. Not just sleepy, but emotionally and physically exhausted. I needed to sleep.

Therapist said that was all well and good, but here was what he saw:
1. In our walk I saw people of various ages participating in life. I saw children playing in safety, adults in healthy interaction, and I, myself was participating in that. That was a healthy way to deal with the stress I was feeling. He suggested that I could have taken Tolkien Boy home and then tried to cope on my own (apparently I'm fairly predictable). The fact that I allowed him to stay--that I wanted him to stay is unusual for me, and also very healthy.
2. I talked about my feelings with Tolkien Boy, face to face. I've only done that with Therapist (very limitedly) and Darrin (poor guy). TB and I have talked about feelings, but never in person, which is something I have a great deal of difficulty doing. I also allowed myself to be held. Except with Darrin (who is exempt from everything, thank goodness!) I don't do that--ever. I can count on one hand the times I've allowed anyone to hold me--and for the most part, those times have been of very brief duration. Therapist said that he was really happy that I'd allowed myself to be vulnerable in a one-on-one venue, that I'd accepted comfort from a person other than Darrin, and that I had not shied away from physical touch beyond a brief hug. Then Therapist asked me to share how I felt when TB held me. I was a little amazed when I realized I wasn't afraid--I'm always afraid. Usually I have to move away from people and create my personal space or I get very nervous. That nervousness was, for the most part, absent. There was the brief moment when I went to the other bed because I felt it coming. Bu it went away and I was able to come back. I felt comforted and relaxed and unexpectedly safe. Therapist says this is a really good step. I think he's right, even though I'm still trying to understand everything.
3. Therapist said it was significant and symbolic that I slept while TB held me. He mentioned that it was a sort of fulfillment of my childhood desire to be safe at night and he believes I allowed myself to stay in that situation because of the groundwork laid when TB and I did our virtual dream visits. Therapist pointed out that I was alone with a man (regardless of orientation) in an extremely vulnerable setting after a highly emotional experience, and I had no fear of anything. I knew I would be safe. He believes I did more to heal in the time TB and I spent together Wednesday afternoon, than in my many months of therapy. He could be right. There probably is no other setting in which I could give and receive love from an unrelated man with a complete absence of sexual tension--which is absolutely vital as I try to realign my beliefs and perceptions about men. I have to reiterate once again that I'm very much in love with Therapist (in spite of the fact that I also hate him for giving me a million stupid assignments to do before our next visit). I love the fact that he understands that sometimes we have to think outside the box, that not every situation is what it seems to be, and that he's willing to let me have autonomy as I try to figure out how to find peace.

The whole experience, according to Therapist, was extremely important and rare, and I'm very blessed to have had that opportunity given to me. He said if I look back, it seems that my path has been mapped out almost every step of the way, and that all I have needed has been provided. He also pointed out that even though to me, it seems I've been working on healing for a very long time, most of his clients take years to even make it to the point where they will consider meeting with their abuser. And he's fascinated by the fact that I've reached out to gay/homo/ssa/whatever men to help me overcome my fear of men. Someday I'll go to a bishop interview without feeling sick and scared when the door closes. Someday I'll make an appointment to have a physical (it's been 10 years since my last). Someday I'll ride in elevators again. Someday I'll hug people without being afraid, and it won't bother me to shake hands anymore. Someday I'll figure out how to stop feeling ugly and contaminated. Someday I will live and life will be beautiful. I've decided this--and I hate to be wrong.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Counseling--still not the end

I posted the background in my last post because of its pertinence to my experiences a couple of weeks ago. Tolkien Boy and I worked together as I tried to get rid of my nightmares for close to two months. For me it was extremely hard work, and I hated the fact that I had to rely on someone as I tried to control my dreams. At this point the nightmares occur rarely, and are usually less real--more dreamlike.

I think I began planning to meet with David as the dreams became less horrifying. I was able to direct the dream in such a way that my cousin was stopped at the doorway of my bedroom, and sometimes he didn't come at all. Sometimes when left alone, TB and I played Speed. I don't know who won.

I suppose, after all the time I spent with TB in my dreams, the things that happened after the devil-cousin meeting were perfectly natural. At this point I have to say that what I'm going to relate will probably have a very strange feel to it. Once again I will say that I'm trying to put everything together, so in this entry I'll just give details, and I'll save Therapist's analysis for another blog entry.

1. Following lunch, Tolkien Boy and I went to a park. We walked around. I'm certain we talked, because that's what we do, but I don't remember much about what was said. I was a little stressed. The walk was nice, it was a beautiful day, but I kept feeling worse and worse.
2. I finally asked TB to take me back to my hotel so I could rest. I was toying with the idea of taking TB home and going back to my room to sulk and feel sorry for myself. Instead, TB stayed with me.
3. I'm quite certain I said a number of inane things. I probably ranted a bit and had huge moments of self-pity. I was still feeling disgusted that I'd been touched by the icky man I ate lunch with.
4. When I wound down a bit, TB hugged me and held me. I was so tired. I hadn't slept well since November, I'd driven many miles to get to Utah, I'd stayed up past midnight the previous night, I'd been through a stressful ordeal--I could go on, but I will just reiterate that I was exhausted and let that suffice.
5. I told TB I was really tired. We lay down on the bed and I went to sleep. TB held me the whole time. I have no idea how long I slept. I don't know if TB slept. All I know is that I was too tired to really care about anything. A couple of times I woke up. I had awful dreams. TB was there when I woke and I remember just going back to sleep.
6. When I finally awoke, we talked for awhile. At one point my personal space phobia set in and I moved across to the other bed. We talked some more--the phobia eased, and I went back to be by TB. For most of the time that we were in the hotel room, he was holding me or touching me in a comforting way.
7. We ate dinner, and I took TB home. Then I went back to my room, and read until I went to sleep.

That's all I want to post right now. Later I'll add what Therapist had to say about all this. But before I end this post I want to say something more: Tolkien Boy was born with a kind heart. At any time he could have left me. He didn't. He stayed when I really needed to not be alone. He wasn't afraid to touch me or hold me even though he saw the nasty cousin in person (maybe he doesn't believe that I'm tainted--or maybe just not contagious). The things we talked about were really helpful--and not everyone will fly down from Seattle for his spring break and spend an afternoon of that vacation with a friend while she sleeps.

Counseling--not the end yet

I was talking to Jason on the phone Sunday night and mentioned that I'm no longer having dialogue with those who comment on my blog. This is rude, I know. So I'm apologizing now, but I also have to say that the past few months have been intensely emotional and accompanied by a horrible lack of sleep. I'm so grateful to those of you who have taken time to talk on my blog, give me a phone call, or email, and most everything said has been supportive and helpful. I'll address some of the effects of all that as I continue to write about my counseling visit (but it might not be in this particular post). Please don't stop commenting--believe me, I'm really listening, even if I'm not talking back.

In order to understand what happened in the hours following my meeting with David, there needs to be some background given. So in the interest of putting everything together (for myself, mostly), I'm posting some exerpts from one of my super-secret blogs. I need to say that I keep those blogs private for the simple reason that they're not fun reading, and much of what I say is really ugly. However, because I've been assigned to put all the connections in writing, I'm pulling from those blogs and putting everything here. I suppose I'm just warning anyone who happens to be reading that this probably won't be delightful. And I'm okay if no one reads it--I just need it here for now.


He tore my night shirt. It was light blue, made of woven cotton, and it was my favorite. There was a picture of a little girl in a flower garden on the front of it. I picked up the shirt and fingered the tear. It was small, but it made me sad. Carefully, I folded the shirt and placed it in my bottom drawer, then pulled out a clean shirt and underwear and turned to my bed. I took off the soiled sheets, white with clusters of pink and red roses, and made my way downstairs.

In the bathroom I cleaned the unidentified fluid from my legs and washed my genital area repeatedly until I felt cleaner but even more raw and sore. I had begun to tremble as shock set in. I couldn't stop the tremors--I wrapped myself in a towel and sat on the edge of the tub, but eventually slid to the floor where I rocked myself, trying to forget the things that had happened moments before. Eventually, I slipped the clean nightshirt over my head, ignoring the bruises that were beginning to show on my chest, stomach and arms. Carefully I pulled the underwear over my aching legs. Then I put the sheets into the washer with the towels I had used, and turned on the machine.

I went to the linen closet and pulled out the only pair of sheets available--tan striped. I hated striped sheets. Numbly I went up to my bed, made it as quickly as possible, and got inside. I was very cold, and still shaking. I felt one tear on my cheek, and then I sqeezed my eyes shut as tightly as possible, wrapped the sheets and blankets closely around my body, and wondered what to do next.

I fell asleep fantasizing that someone would come take care of me. No one did. Not then, not the next time, not ever.

I have to say that at this point I'm losing some clarity of thought. My past and present seem to be converging in one spot. I believe I've mentioned that, far more devastating than the abuse itself, was the feeling of loneliness and weakness that seemed to consume me when I was left to clean up and dress myself. The most terrifying part of my repeating nightmares of the past few months has been the knowledge that I would have to live through those feelings again and again. When I finally was able to direct the dreams successfully, my greatest triumph came because I was able to dream of a friend who helped me. That friend, of course, was Tolkien Boy. He became the chosen one through a series of dreams in which I was able to talk with an embodiment of myself as a child. I'm not analyzing this, just stating facts.

I tried to introduce a number of people into my dream (including Christ--too abstract, and Darrin--who seems the obvious choice). For reasons I won't go into right now, everyone except TB was rejected. In retrospect, it's easy to see why he was the person who could help me, but I was a little bit discomfitted when I realized that he was the one I'd be asking for help. I'll save that for another time. For now, this is the blog entry in which I recorded what happened when I was finally able to successfully direct my dream sequence:

January 11, 2007

Tuesday night was frustrating. I kept waking up. I couldn't maintain Tolkien Boy's presence, and the dream became fragmented and even more terrifying. I was exhausted all day yesterday, and I didn't want to try the lucid dreaming techniques last night.

However, once I got to bed I decided I'd try for just a few minutes. I did the initial visualization. I remembered the things TB had said to me today and a few days ago. I told myself that I had Darrin's support, and he'd be with me physically if I needed him. I reminded myself that this might help the nightmares cease. I fell asleep thinking about the things I needed to remember.

I don't know anymore if I'm actually asleep or in the twilight between sleep and waking. I feel awake, but recognize that I'm not. There is no recognition of my real surroundings, I am truly back in the bedroom of my childhood. Darrin disappears and I cannot hear or feel him next to me. So I suppose I must be sleeping, even though I feel alert and conscious. I found myself in darkness, in my bed. Tolkien Boy was seated on the edge of the bed next to me. My cousin entered the room and the nightmare began.

Over the past few days, when I could keep TB in the dream, he simply was a presence. He made no comment or movement. This time he was substance. In the most difficult times, I sometimes felt him touch my shoulder or head. At one point, he reached down and took my clenched fist into his hand, and just held it. The abuse seemed to go more quickly, and was more endurable.

When my cousin left me, TB did, as well. There was a feeling of abandonment greater than I have ever felt before. I lay feeling incredible pain and defeat, my eyes shut tightly. Then I was aware of someone with me. It was TB. Somehow, he had found an old quilt, made by my grandmother. He carefully wrapped me in it, pulled me onto his lap and held me. For the first time that I can recall, I started to cry. I don't know how long I cried. There is a lot of sadness in me. When I had finished, TB placed me on the bed, walked to my dresser and got clean clothes for me. We went downstairs. He hesitated at the bathroom door. I felt discomfort, knowing that at this point I would clean up and dress. Once again, he disappeared.

I sat on the edge of the tub. I knew I needed to wash. I was too tired, too scared, too sad that I was once again alone. A few moments later, TB handed me a warm washcloth, took the blanket, and turned away while I cleaned up. I was amazed at the effort it took to clean myself. I was so tired. I finished, placed the cloth on the edge of the sink, and sat down. It was too much of an effort to do more. I didn't care anymore that TB would see me. I didn't care what would happen. I was just so exhausted. TB took a towel and dried my front and back. He helped me put on a clean night shirt, and I put on the underwear myself. Then I began to shake and had to sit on the floor. My whole body was in pain.

It's a good thing dreams give us super powers. TB picked me up, wrapped me in the quilt once again, and carried me upstairs to my room. He placed me on the floor, changed my sheets for me, and helped me into bed. At this point I was sobbing from reaction, pain, and gratitude. As he had said he would, he came in next to me and held me until the trembling stopped. He was very warm. I noticed because I felt so cold. As I grew warmer the pain seemed to grow less. Eventually I fell asleep (how odd to dream about sleeping...).

In my dream I woke a couple of times. TB was still there, still holding me. Several times throughout the entire dream sequence, he reminded me that he wasn't going anywhere, and told me he loved me. For the first time, I felt a sense of safety. I hadn't had to ask for anything. All that I felt I needed had been given to me.

I slept through my alarm this morning. I never do that. I was late for seminary. I actually slept last night--real sleep. I have awakened each morning since the first part of November with "ghost pains". I know they're not real, but they feel as if they are. I didn't have those this morning. I'm actually more tired today, but I think that's because I'm recognizing how sleepy and exhausted I've been for the past few months.

There are some things I've been thinking about this--firsts in my life:
1. I talked to someone besides my husband or a therapist about the things I felt I needed--things that exposed my vulnerability and that were extremely personal. For me, that's so huge.
2. I pursued an avenue that helped me, even though I was skeptical. I didn't do so alone. I talked about this with Darrin, Therapist, and TB. Normally I wouldn't do that, just in case I failed.
3. I asked for and accepted personal help from an outside source, someone who was unrelated to me by blood or marriage, which is unheard of in my life. I was honest with him and allowed him to see my weakness and need. I'm still feeling vulnerable about this--but I did it. That's something.

I think I'm going to make it. Even if the dreams don't stop, I think I can deal with them.

Okay--this is getting too long. I'll continue later.

Monday, March 26, 2007

I can't do this

Stupid Therapist says that the reason I can't "finish", in essence, hand my hurt to the Savior, is because I don't believe that anyone really loves me. When someone treats me with love or does something beautiful or sweet to help me, I make up reasons that those things were done, none of which have to do with love or friendship. I don't believe it's possible to love me or remain friends with me--that's what he says. And he also says that spreads to my relationship with the Savior--I don't believe he can love me either.

Therapist gave me a list of questions to ask people close to me, and I tried it. It's stupid. I hate it. It makes me feel even more vulnerable and afraid, and I just want everyone to go away and I want to be alone. I can't do this. I think it's better if people don't know what others think about them. I don't want to know.

So I guess I'm screwed. I have the guts to look my molester in the eye and make pleasant conversation with him, but I can't ask those I love to love me forever, because I'm terrified they'll say no, or that they never really loved me in the first place, and then they'll run away because I'm messed up and scary.

No atonement for me? That's the least of my worries tonight.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Counseling--I think there might be an end

I'm going to talk about this in more than one post, partly because the session was really long, and partly because it's difficult for me to write about.

I felt miserable when I got back from Utah. Monday was the worst day ever. I couldn't seem to shake the fact that someone horrible had touched me, and that somehow I was contaminated and would pass that on to anyone who touched me. I was cranky and miserable. Tabitha wanted to cuddle. I told her I was too tired and went to my room. DJ came to see if I was okay. He hugged me and tried to give me a kiss but I flinched away. He looked hurt and left.

Tuesday I was certain that I was not going to be all right again--ever. TB caught me being despondent online, called me on the phone, and assured me that I wasn't contagious. We talked until I had to leave to meet with Therapist. I had to meet him in a nearby city, and since the floodgates are now open and I keep crying, I wept most of the way there.

Therapist made me do one of those stupid surveys that assigns a numeric value to stress levels. I hate those. Of course, mine revealed that I was feeling stress--big surprise! I told Therapist about my meeting with David. Then Therapist asked me to talk about how I was feeling after meeting with my cousin. I told him David is slimy and horrible. I told him it made me sick to think how that person had touched me. Then I got very angry. I yelled that it wasn't fair that David messed me up so badly inside that I had difficulty getting pregnant and then was never able to carry a baby beyond 35 weeks (Tabitha only made it 33 weeks)--but that bastard of a stupid man was going to make babies with his new wife and I hated him.

Therapist said he was really glad I was finally expressing the emotions he'd been watching beneath the surface for many months. I wanted to hit him, but I didn't. I just cried and hated everyone in the world.

Therapist asked me if I was finally allowing myself to grieve. Actually, I think I've been doing that for awhile, but I'm finally allowing myself to express what I'm feeling, which, apparently, is important. I shut down and wouldn't talk. Therapist told me he was really proud of me--that what I had done was not only really courageous, but essential for my emotional health. He went through the steps of what I did to maintain control in healthy ways in setting up, meeting with, and leaving my cousin. This is what he said:
1. I made contact through email. This allows me to control what I will say and I have a record of it.
2. When given my cousin's phone number with a request to call him, I refused, continuing to communicate through email.
3. I accepted the offer of a friend when he said he would come with me. This was someone who was both younger and larger than my cousin, and even though there was no possibility of confrontation between them, Therapist assures me that any straight guy would see this as intimidating, which was not my intent, but something Therapist says was a definite plus (How about that, Tolkien Boy!! You were my strongarm man, and neither of us knew it!).
4. I arrived at the meeting place 20 minutes late. I didn't call or apologize. This was absolutely an accident. Therapist laughed and said it was perfect for setting up David for an unknown situation in which he would not be in control. I have no idea what to say to that.
5. I hugged my cousin. Therapist says I have an innate desire to help people around me be at ease. This helps me to maintain control of the situation and eases stress. The hug was a greeting appropriate for family members. It was brief, but still managed to convey that the meeting wasn't confrontational in nature.
6. I gave as little information as possible about TB. I didn't want my cousin to establish any tie with my friend. I didn't invite TB to join in the conversation (sorry if that was rude), simply because I wanted my cousin to forget him as soon as possible. Therapist said that was me being protective of TB, and trying to minimize any contact between him and someone I perceive as a threat to him. Interesting. I hadn't thought about that.
7. I remained in control of the conversation at all times. I answered questions briefly, giving as little information as possible. I asked all the questions and received all the information I needed to.
8. I did not offer to meet again. I gave one last brief hug and said good-bye.

So there you have it. My analyst's analysis of my meeting with Satan. And that's all I'm going to talk about right now, because it still upsets me and I need a break.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Happy Anniversary

One year ago today I started blogging. I had begun therapy. I was talking for the first time about myself and there was an element of relief in that. But I realized when I went home that everything was still a secret. I wanted the world to know that I'd been hurt, that I had a life, that I was gay...but I didn't want anyone to know that those things belonged to me. Anonymous exhibitionism?

Since that time I've come a very long way. Many people know who I am. Some have met me in person. Some have spoken with me on the phone or through the chat venue. I have announced from a church pulpit that I was abused. And at some point, perhaps when the repercussions won't hurt my children, I'll become more public about living with same-sex attraction. In the meantime, my life has been nothing if not interesting, and I'm learning more about myself (and about Darrin) daily.

Yesterday my therapist said that the real hero in my life is Darrin. He never questions me--even when I propose something as odd as going to lunch with a pedophile (although he does express concern). He allows me to do whatever I think is necessary and he supports me even if he disagrees with me. It's not easy to continue daily with someone whose life fluctuates from one crisis to the next. He does so with courage and grace and makes me feel loved and cherished in the process. He makes me laugh and holds me when I cry. I wish he could be home more. He makes me feel human.

Therapist also noted that the things I've worked out in my blogging have probably been more beneficial than our actual therapy sessions. I believe that's true because there are still things I hesitate to say to Therapist which I'm not hesitant to write, either here or on one of my super-secret blogs. After those things are written, I read them several times and think about them. This often leads to some self-discoveries I would not otherwise realize.

Therapist pointed out that I'm the world's greatest opportunist. As people have expressed interest in me, I've participated in dialogue with them through comments and chats which have provided the opportunity for me to gain immediate feedback on various concerns and issues. Therapist believes this has enabled me to accomplish things that otherwise would have taken much longer, and has also allowed me to begin to change my belief system about people and their actual feelings for and about me. I have to work on this particular item this month and have several assignments (which I find completely asinine) to complete before the first week of May.

My blog does not currently reflect the actual day I began blogging. This is because I change and delete entries often, and my first entries are all gone. Nonetheless, I wish myself a happy blogiversary. I think it is happy. It's been an amazing year.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Return and Report--Part 2

Okay, I think I can finally talk about this. Maybe.

Monday I drove to my grandmother's house (8 hours). It was actually a very nice drive. I cried most of the way. I'm a coward--what can I say. This is the grandmother that David and I share. I love her. She made me a wonderful dinner, and fussed at me because I didn't eat much. We talked till around 10:30, when I went to bed.

Tuesday I was up at 5:30. I ran for a couple of hours. I went down to the temple and made a few laps there. When I got home I said, "Grandma, there aren't many walkers or joggers around here." She replied, "Oh, that's because we have a quite a few sexual predators who live in the neighborhood." Thanks Grandma.

I left for Logan (cried all the way there) and spent a few hours with Darrin's sister. Then I left to find Tolkien Boy. We checked me into my hotel, at which point I believe I had a rather undignified temper tantrum. Thank you, TB, for not making me feel worse in my bad behavior. We went to TB's house, played Scrabble with his parents and I overstayed my welcome because I knew when I went to my hotel room there would be no one there, and I'd have ugly dreams if I slept. I think I finally left around 1 a.m. I went to my room and read until I finally fell asleep. I hate dreams.

Wednesday morning I picked up TB around 10:00 and we headed for Salt Lake. We ran an errand, and drove around. I think we got lost (TB was driving), but I don't know for sure. We couldn't find the designated meeting place. TB called one of his adoring fans who pointed us in the right direction. Good thing he knows so many people who know so many things.

We went into the restaurant (20 minutes late), and found my cousin. I hugged him (one arm). I don't know why. We ordered lunch. TB and David ate theirs. I played with mine. David asked why I wasn't eating. I said I wasn't particularly hungry. He suggested I may have eaten a late breakfast? I lied and said yes.

I have no idea what was said. I know I asked lots of questions. David's new wife is a registered nurse. He has "encouraged" her to not work. Imagine that! The stepdaughter is 17. I believe she's safe from David. David and new wife have plans to make more babies. Ick. David is having trouble with his teenage sons. Shocking. He made some odd comments to me. I ignored them, for the most part.

TB said very little. I was so glad he was there. I didn't throw up. I didn't scream. I was delightful company. I hugged David again (one arm) when he left. Then I walked out of the restaurant and leaned against the wall. I didn't fall down. I wanted to cry. I didn't.

TB took me to a park where we walked. I suggested I wanted to break something. He said we could go buy some breakables and destroy them. I said I was thinking more of the windshield of David's car. TB agreed that we could do that, too. Only we couldn't, because I have no idea what David's car looks like.

It's not fair. I don't care if I'm whining. I don't care if I sound petulant. I don't care if I'm having another temper tantrum. It's stinking not fair!!!

Amazingly, even after meeting the slimy person who touched me, Tolkien Boy was willing to hug me. I'm thinking he probably went home and took a very, very, very long shower afterward, but I'm still very grateful. I needed a hug.

I'm miserable. Now that I've met the reality of who David is, after all these years, I feel terribly guilty when I touch people. And I ache because I feel awful when I hug the people I love.

And I'm sad. I guess that's the bottom line. I'm just sad.

Return and Report--Part 1

If I haven't said much lately, it's because my internet access was severely limited last week. So, a few things first.
1. Thanks to those of you who sent comments and emails. I probably won't respond because I'm a little freaked out and mixed up. I hope you'll forgive me. I truly do appreciate those of you who sent prayers and good thoughts/wishes. AtP's mom fasted for me. She is amazing.
2. I know I needed to meet with the slimy cousin. It was yucky. I didn't like it.
3. I meet with Therapist tomorrow. I'm hoping he can help me make sense of everything. I actually feel worse than ever.
4. That person touched me. I want to scream.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Friday Tabitha and I joined four other females of various ages, and had a girls' night. We ate smoked salmon, fresh fruit, vegetables and cream cheese. I understand that's girl food. I can live with that. I made a chocolate cake which was not for wimps, and someone brought ice cream. We played with make-up, giggled, and played with a wii. So I got to go bowling, play tennis, and do some boxing. Our hostess, who is my sister-in-law (whom I love) got us party favors which included fuzzy slippers. Mine say "Wild" on one foot, "Thing" on the other. I left Tabitha there overnight. I think she got an hour of sleep.

I went couch sledding yesterday--very, very, very fun!!! I got to go twice and wanted to go more, but the snow was getting too wet. Adam and I tried to sled together on one of those round disc things, but we're a little too big to do that. We ended up falling off, of course. So we tried a long toboggan thing, but it kept turning around so we had to go backwards down the hill--I suppose we could have started out backwards and ended up facing foreward, but this way was more fun. Adam and DJ decided to have a snowball fight and Adam got a bloody nose. Tabitha explained to him, all the way to the car, just how gross that was. Lack of sleep makes her nigh to intolerable. She was too tired to get out of the car when we got home, and slept there for about an hour.

Today I made chocolate covered gummy bears in honor of Tabitha's first day in Young Women's. I hate the lesson topic, but hopefully I'll be able to make it interesting. I also made chocolate covered cinnamon bears (shall I bring you some, AtP?).

My insides are all crappy. I'm very stressed about seeing my cousin still. I've started scratching myself in my sleep again, which is messy. I haven't had that problem for at least three months and some of the scratches are visible (very upsetting). However, I suppose most people have one or two things about themselves they wish they could change. I'm hoping I'll be able to stop when my stress level decreases.

A good thing though...I smell really great today. DJ told me so.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Fast Forward Rewind

It's all right if I'm more stressed than I ever remember being in my entire life, right?

Part of me wants to hurry time forward and get this over with--the other part wants to wait forever and never do it at all.

Part of me is angry and sad and frustrated. That part makes sense, I think.

The weirdness: there is also a part of me that wants to see David, a part that still misses the young boy I used to play with, a part that still loves him. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME??????!!!!!!???? I don't understand this. I'm truly messed up.

TB is going to be heartily sick of me and this whole situation by the time next Wednesday rolls around. I whined at him till the wee hours of morning yesterday. Now I'm whining to everyone else. I can't help it. My guts are all twisted in knots.

Whose idea was this? Oh yeah, mine.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

More E-mail

Sent yesterday:

Dear Cousin who makes me feel like I'm going to throw up (yeah, I wanted to say it),

How about Wednesday, 11:30 a.m. at the O? I'll actually be in L visiting some friends and there's one at *** R Road in L, but I'm guessing this would be quite a drive for you--maybe longer than a lunch hour will allow? There are also a couple in Salt Lake, one at *****, and one on *****. If the restaurant choice is okay with you, would you mind choosing the location you prefer, and I'll plan my schedule accordingly? Or if you have another restaurant suggestion, feel free to offer it. Thanks


Received this morning:

Hey Sam,

You are correct that L would be too far. The ***** would work. That location is downtown. 11:30 should be fine. I will see you there.

Thanks David

Why am I doing this? Oh yeah, because I need to and it will help me. Right now, though, it would be nice if I was sure it was worth all the stress and fear. Someday I need to stop being so afraid. FDR was full of crap when he said, "There is nothing to fear but fear itself." Obviously my cousin never raped him. Unfair comparison, I know, but I still completely disagree with him.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Something that frustrates me


They came to church this week--married two weeks. I watched as she returned his adoring glance. They sat close together, making certain that every decently possible part of their bodies could be in contact. They arose in turn, confessing undying love, secure in the fact that they were meant for each other, looking forward to the rest of their lives...and each declared the sweetness of coming together pure and untainted, expressing physical love for the first time--no comparisons, no regrets, no need to forgive...

Something angry twisted inside me. I felt the same frantic, gnawing feeling in my stomach that was present as a teen, when well-meaning instructors told us to save our purity for one who would do the same. How could they possibly know that at 13 years of age, I knew more about the perversions and violent possibilities of sex than they had ever imagined. Purity was not even a distant dream.

My spouse remained clean as instructed. But instead of the promised reciprocal, he received me. No joyful celebratory union for him. No sweetly beautiful virgin bride. Just second-hand merchandise who could fill a book with knowledge about sex positions, anal sex, oral sex, and how to use sex to hurt...icing the cake, of course, would be fun trivia about lesbian sex, but I didn't see how that could be remotely interesting to him.

In a gesture I could never comfortably imitate, I watched her cuddle against his side and briefly touch her lips to his neck. Unable to stop watching, I wondered how it would feel to come together in a blinding flash--no fear, no remorse, no self-loathing. My desperately active brain visualized them cuddled together in the loving afterglow--no tears for this beautiful couple. Imagination forced me to see them ecstatically entwined without fear or hesitation, and I felt dreadfully cheated. And today, after years of practice, when I know there is nothing to hurt me, I am still afraid...

I have heard sexual interaction described as a basic need, simple and pure. I am aware of the purpose it serves as it binds couples together and provides cathartic tension release. I know of its potential procreative power.

I also know of terrifying sexual violence. I have felt its savage power tear me from the inside. I have felt violated in places that should have been exclusively my own. And there are times when I am too tired, too sad, and too weak to reconcile the fact that those acts are unrelated to the loving touches offered by the one I love.

I watched that couple...I listened to their innocent words...and I wept, not because they touched my heart, but because there is no more beauty to be found in me and I am forever broken, used up, and lost.


I told Therapist that my issues with recurring nightmares had pretty much resolved themselves. The nightmare comes infrequently now, and I've had some really good nights of sleep recently. Therapist told me that he was so excited and took lots of notes. I'm the best Guinea Pig of the bunch. Then Therapist asked me what I planned to do next. I told him I'm already doing it.

I explained that I've contacted my cousin and will be meeting him for lunch next week. Therapist said that was " freaking awesome!!" Then he wanted details. So I told him why I was meeting:
1. I'm tired of being afraid.
2. It's time for me to see the human side of David.
4. David recently remarried.
5. David now has a 12-year-old stepdaughter.
6. I feel compelled to do this.
Therapist said those were great reasons and I was doing exactly what I should to resolve the issues left by the abuse. He said even though I wasn't actually planning to talk about the abuse itself, what I am doing is called "confronting", which basically means I am no longer afraid of my abuser. And that is completely untrue. I'm absolutely terrified of him. I can't eat and I don't want to sleep. Now I have weird nightmares with solo body parts and all sorts of bizarre things. I told Therapist this, he said he'd be worried if I wasn't afraid, and it was okay. Then he said, "Who will go with you?" I said, "What if I want to go alone?" Therapist said, "If anyone can do this by herself, it's you. Who will you take with you?" I assured him that I had someone already lined up to go with me, and that Darrin knew, approved, and was grateful for my friend's willingness to escort me.

Therapist wanted to know how I would present my friend to my cousin. I said I hadn't gotten that far, but I was thinking of not saying anything and letting David draw his own conclusions. Therapist suggested since my friend was male, that I make certain David understood the friend was known to and approved by Darrin. He said he felt it important that David know my marriage is solid and healthy. I told Therapist I'd think about how to convey that.

Therapist wanted to know how my emotional stability had been. I told him it hadn't been good. I expressed some frustration and anger about a lot of things I've been thinking about lately (I'm going to post one of those things later). He again thought it was "freaking awesome" that I was showing more emotion and anger. He said that means I'm finished ignoring everything and have become ready to address the issues. While that may be true, it doesn't make me feel better.

We talked about my feelings of self-hatred and inadequacy, and discussed my compulsion to cry after having sex. He said that's all understandable, and we talked more about how I have to go through this or I'll never be able to make it past the things that are hurting me. Again, doesn't make me feel any better.

I told Therapist I really thought this whole thing was completely unfair. I said I didn't want to have to "go through" any more crap. I think I yelled a little bit, which of course, was also "freaking awesome". I believe I made Therapist happier than he's ever been in our sessions, although I'm not quite sure why.

Therapist assures me that one day I'll reach the end of all this. I'll figure out how to live with it or how to put it behind me. He also says he's "so stinking proud" of my progress. He's just full of delightful catch phrases today.

I have to see him again in two weeks. He wouldn't let me bargain for a month this time. However, he also said if I feel things are going well, I can call and reschedule the appointment for two weeks later. I may do that.

On a different note, I bought a car today. I'm now the proud owner of a black 2005 Honda Accord with a very lovely bumper scrape. I'm superstitious about cars. I have to buy them used and with at least one cosmetic flaw. Tolkien Boy agrees with me that one must always buy used cars, "How else will you know if they work?"

Tabitha turned 12 and attended her first youth activity.

Adam wanted to talk with me and kept calling me, "Dude!"

I have to stop thinking or I'm going to explode.


Emailed last night:

Dear Cousin who molested me repeatedly for 80 days when I was almost 12 (okay, I didn't really say that, but I wanted to),

It's been a long time since I've seen you. I'll be in Utah next week and was wondering if you have time to have lunch with me? I'm thinking Wednesday, if possible. Let me know if you'd like to do that, and if the time works for you. Hope to see you then.


Received this morning:

Dear Sam,

I should be around on that day. My cell # xxx-xxx-xxxx, give me a call.


Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Okay, anyone who labored through my last post got to the little tidbit at the end where I announced that I'm seeking out the person who messed me up just a bit, and I want to have lunch with him. I still want to do that. I'm still planning to do that. But it's a week away.

I'm scared out of my mind. Really, freaking scared.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Boys Will Be Boys

Okay, I got a little freaked out and sidetracked after I said I was going to write about relationships. However, I'm now recovered and ready to explore a little bit. There will be no structure or logic in the order of the posts, nor do I know how many I will write. This may be the only one. However, I want to get at least one written before I see Therapist on Wednesday.

I've mentioned previously that my feelings about people, in general, have undergone significant change in the past year. Although I find it difficult to understand, it seems that I've spent most of my life building walls around myself. Even Darrin has never been able to get through all of them--until this year. For the first time in my life I've finally felt safe enough to allow my husband to connect with me completely. That sounds very pathetic, but truthfully, this is the first time in my life that I've finally accepted the fact that he doesn't want to leave, that he enjoys being with me, and wants that to continue. I wish I could have understood that years ago, but I'm realizing that some other things had to happen before I could reach that level of understanding.

Darrin is the only man who has ever accepted every part of me. This is an unfair statement to make about men, in general, because Darrin is also the only man who has actually known everything about me. Given that he's my husband, I think it's appropriate that he's given that privilege. But my belief that he would not accept me, ever, is based on my perception of how the general population of men views me. That perception has evolved through experiential information received over many years, but actually beginning with the first time a man tried to molest me.

I was seven. The man was mentally impaired (which doesn't necessarily excuse the behavior, but does explain it a bit). He followed me into a women's restroom at the church and undressed and fondled me. Result: I was outraged and scared out of my mind. I developed a pathological and very stupid fear of public restrooms (especially church ones, which all have a weird, distinctive smell), and a huge fear of men. When I reported the event to my father, he became openly angry, sat me on a chair and told me to stay there, and left. Result: I thought somehow I was the reason he was angry. I thought I was being punished. I developed the belief that I was responsible for any situation similar to this one, and my trust in men diminished more because what I wanted was for my father to hold me and physically protect me. Instead he went to beat up the guy who molested me--but he didn't tell me that. All I knew was that I had been violated and scared, and then left alone.

Subsequent abuse from my cousin left me feeling angry and resentful. I had open disdain for men and boys, but truthfully, it was directed at myself because I believed (and I still have difficulty combatting this belief) that I was ultimately responsible for all that happened to me. Some men managed to get through the walls I erected, by acting in ways that surprised me and forcing me to re-evaluate my preconceived notions, but these were perceived as exceptions to the rule. This was backed up by those men who felt it their privilege to grab my behind in a public setting, whistle or catcall, or simply look at me longer than was necessary (those looks lingering in places that did not include my face). Compliments on my looks were received as demeaning to me. It often became imperative for me to prove to certain men that no matter how smart they were, my intellect was greater--for the sole purpose of maintaining that I was a person, not an object. Again, ultimately, I believe I was trying to prove this to myself even more than the male population.

Two years ago I got to know Sully. This was a terrifying thing for me, because when we started meeting one-on-one for piano lessons, he was the same age as my cousin when I was molested by him. I have no idea if Sully knows that I was afraid of him, but I was very frightened. But within a few weeks I felt that I had met an old friend, and I felt a love and friendship for him that I had not felt for anyone for a very long time. It was strange and uncomfortable for me professionally and personally. By the time I asked him to come talk to me about the problems that were causing him pain (one year later), I loved him enough to disregard any fears and to allow him to know personal facts about me that I hoped would help him find comfort and eventually, peace. I have always felt love for people of both genders, but disqualified any affection a man might express to me (Darrin excepted, of course, but he's married to me--he has to love me). With Sully, for the first time, I started to believe that people of the male persuasion might actually have real, wholesome feelings of affection toward me. This opened up a whole new world for me.

Because he is the type of person that he is, Sully helped me understand the following things:
1. Not all men, especially young men, want to hurt me.
2. Some men can and will treat me with respect.
3. It's good to love men and express that love.
4. Some men really can be trusted.
5. I cannot judge all male people based on my past experiences which are not typical nor normal.
6. Men can actually be sympathetic, gentle, kind, forgiving, loving, and comforting. I truthfully believed that the only men in the world like that were Darrin and my high school friend, C.

I don't know if Sully understands how much he helped me, simply by being the person he is. I don't think he went out of his way to prove any of that to me. I was able to reach those conclusions by observing Sully in his interactions with me and with others, and also through the deeply personal communications we had over the subsequent months.

However, it didn't stop there. By June I had encountered many men who showed interest in and care for me. Ward Cleaver started the ball rolling. For about two months he was my sole blog buddy. He was compassionate and loving, as well as giving some really helpful advice and support. And he was a good friend. He has since disappeared, as is the way in in blogland, and I miss him, but he was another who helped me in many ways to understand that I can form healthy relationships with men.

Elbow ushered me into a social circle that actually became my relationships Petri dish. Because of his blog entry which spotlighted me, against all odds, I suddenly started receiving more interest than I ever wanted. I had been perfectly happy with my monogamous blog-friendship with Ward, but now I had many visitors, almost exclusively male. Not only that, but they were kind and concerned, to my surprise. Friendships began to form in the most unlikely circumstances. Ward and I were close to the same age (he was a few years older), but suddenly I was talking with young men more often than not. It was a rather bizarre development. Comments and email developed into online chats. Occasional phone calls developed into more frequent ones. I met with many of those I had gotten to know online, and felt a huge desire to meet with many that were too far away. Suddenly, my trend of having no friendships with men had become non-existant.

There are a few factors which I believe are crucial in this developement:
1. Of the men I have had contact with in this venue, almost all are gay. I believe two or three are not.
2. This negates my fear that I can be physically abused or hurt by them. It's just not going to happen.
3. Because of the circumstances under which we've met, these men know much about me that no others do--and vice versa. This allows a familiarity and acceptance that doesn't always exist in first meetings.

The amazing thing to me is that several of these friendships have now been ongoing for much longer than I've ever allowed most friendships to continue--and in a much more personal vein. the first people I contacted were Jason and Smurf, in April. I met Smurf in September--and have yet to meet Jason, although we have plans to go skydiving at a later date (The Great -L- will join us if he doesn't chicken out. Jason and I have even promised to fast and pray for safety and -L- is still waffling. But I want him to come, so I hope he will...). I subsequently had the opportunity to meet others, among whom were Tito, German, Silus, Kim, Pinetree, El Veneno, Naked Native, Carrot, and of course, the Most Attractive AtP. More recently, I've had the privilege of frequent dialogue with Tolkien Boy, whom I met a couple of months ago, and who helped me through my bout with nightmares over the past few months. The truth is that in an odd and amazing way, getting to know these men, and fostering friendships with them has changed me.

The change actually began with The Great -L-, who invited me to call and talk to him at a time when I was really in need of some support. My eating disorder was escalating and I was completely frustrated. The phone call was unusual and a little awkward, because I thought he was going to play doctor and tell me I was stupid for having an eating disorder in the first place. Instead, he was compassionate, helpful, and kind. I hung up the phone feeling that somewhere, someone was concerned for me--and that someone was male. Darrin was amazed that I had called in the first place (so was I), but happy that I'd stepped out of my comfort zone and that it had been an extremely positive experience. From there, my personal contact with others increased as I deconstructed many walls, and re-evaluated my judgments of men.

Okay, I think I've either made my point, or I've completely missed it. However, I've meandered enough, and it's time to wrap this post up. I'm going to see AtP next week, because I love his guts and he makes me laugh. If TB can stop worrying about it long enough to be decisive and make his airline reservations, I'm planning to see him for longer than an hour, as well. If not, we'll just have to continue our ongoing conversation through chat (even though his computer hates me) and phone (even though his phone wants to die). I also want to catch a few others, if possible (and if you want to see me, let me know), and I just want to point out that this would never have happened a year ago. Not ever. I wouldn't even have considered it.

One last thing. I want to see my cousin, David. I don't know why. I'm going to ask Therapist for his ideas about it, but I'm feeling more and more compelled to see David face-to-face. I don't want to accuse him. I don't want to hurt him. I don't want to talk about what he did to me. I just want to look at him, to talk to him. Maybe we'll go get lunch together next week.


First Adam

Adam: Mom, if guys like a girl, they call her "hot". What do girls call guys that they like?
Me: Hot.
Adam: Really? Are you sure?

(Teenybopper television program suddenly features a young woman, indicating a young man and whispering audibly to a friend, "He's so HOT!!")

Adam: Wow! You really do know everything!!

Second Adam

(Watching me move a piece of furniture that was bugging me)

Adam (to DJ): Our mom is buff.
DJ: Yup.
Adam: She has biceps of steel.
DJ: Yup.
Adam: She has abs of steel.
DJ: Yup.
(pause in conversation)
DJ: forgot buns of steel.
Adam: Oh yeah, she has buns of steel.
DJ: Yup.

Women's Restroom

Girl One: This dress makes my boobs look flat.
Girl Two: have really nice boobs.

Question: Do guys make similar comments about man parts while standing around the urinals?

Friday, March 02, 2007

You Should Come Visit Me

Okay, I realize after the last post that I'll have to stop being resentful, offensive, and I'll have to behave myself. But you should come anyway. Tonight we have Richard Bushman (author of Rough Stone Rolling) visiting our university. He's giving a lecture tonight: Joseph Smith’s Place in History, and tomorrow morning he's presenting selected readings from his book at our library.

Seriously, you should all come. When we run out of beds and couches, you can sleep on my floor. I make really good fake 'n bake cinnamon rolls for breakfast.

This is my blog...

I'm a little sidetracked right now. I'm not wanting to continue my "relationships" posts today. It's not a good day and I'm feeling a little resentful. So in honor of that I'm posting something I have on one of my super secret blogs that a few of you have been asking about. Now that you'll be able to see the sort of thing that I post there, I'm certain that the curiosity will be satisfied and that this blog will be absolutely scary enough. By the way, yes, it's blatantly offensive. No, I don't care. Don't read it if you're sensitive.

No Wonder!

The average erect penis measures just under 5 1/2 inches, with a circumference of about 5 inches. The average vagina measures about 4 inches long and 1 inch in circumference. For a young girl of just under 12 years, subtract about one inch from the vaginal length and 1/2 inch from the circumference. Do the math.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

More Musings About Relationships

This has the potential to be offensive. I hope it doesn't prove so. Obviously I've been thinking about relationships. It seems to be an obsession. I'm fascinated by the commonalities I've found in others which I thought were unique to me and based on the betrayal and abuse I've experienced. For instance, after extensive research (i.e. reading personal blogs, talking with others, reading and comparing studies), I've found that these are things many people experience when contemplating, initiating, or participating in a relationship (which would be defined as close friendship, love, courtship, marriage, commitment or any combination thereof):
1. Insecurity.
2. Fear.
3. Anxiety.
4. Self-doubt.
5. Loneliness.
6. Sadness.
Of course, these are felt in varying degrees and durations dependant upon each person's level of self-worth and confidence, and based on their prior experiences with relationships.

My perception has always been that I am flawed because I feel those things. My belief has always been that emotionally healthy people just accept others and build relationships which are without the feelings listed above. Apparently it's normal to feel them. The abnormality happens when they overshadow the positive feelings:
1. Love.
2. Acceptance.
3. Validation.
4. Intimacy.
5. Excitement.
6. Joy.
My experience has been that my negatives have overpowered the positives so that in almost every case I have distanced myself from others. We can have a friendship as long as it's casual. I can listen and empathize as long as I don't have to admit to having personal feelings, myself. In the end, if I feel too afraid of the relationship, I will probably run away. That's a given.

However, in the past year there have been some profound changes in my viewpoints and in the relationships I've fostered. I'm a little amazed by this and want to examine it more closely, so I'll be doing that in the next few posts which is where the offense potential is. If you're my friend and you disagree with my thoughts, feel free to tell me. I've come a long way--I just might stick around and talk about it.
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