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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.

Monday, April 30, 2007

How things are going--the truth

It's 2 a.m. I should be sleeping.

Many things have happened recently. For awhile things were on an upswing and I was making incredible progress very quickly. Then everything came to a grinding halt. Heartache and betrayal are a part of life. There's some of that happening in my own right now. In order to protect my reputation, because I am known personally now to so many people, I have removed any posts that might be harmful to me in any way. Those of you who have emailed, asking why, I thank you for your concern. My hope is that, given time, things will calm down and I will once again be able to use this blog as it was intended. If not, it has certainly served its purpose in more ways than I had ever imagined.

I will just say briefly that I didn't intend to make anyone worried when I started deleting entries--but it's kind of gratifying to know that there are people who not only notice, but also care. I don't feel that I can answer your emails individually right now--sorry. So in general, no, things are not well right now, but I don't expect that to last. I'm struggling (perhaps for the rest of my life, who knows?) with my eating disorder, depression, and the compulsion to cut again. I'm saying this because my impulse has always been to hide everything, to never say anything. I don't want to do that anymore.

Last week I posted a quote from Protean's blog: "Life is hard. For many people life is brutally unfair. I'd like to believe that death is the wiping away of every worry, care, heartache, trauma and fear that you experienced and carried through life. Death should be the complete safety that the nature of living never affords you." I posted this because it affected me deeply and for the first time in a long while, I found myself longing for a rest that only death could afford me. I removed the post because the intensity of that feeling left me feeling frightened.

Today is better. Granted, we're only two hours into today, but I'm not feeling compulsion to hurt myself, or wishing for death. Tonight I'm only wishing that I could sleep, and that I were not alone (Darrin is in Utah). Those sound like healthy wishes to me.

I'm realizing that I'm stronger than I think, and that I really can make it alone. For awhile my learning consisted of trying to figure out how to rely on others. I've done that now. I understand why it's necessary occasionally. But truthfully, in the end, I must rely on me.

In spite of setbacks and heartaches, all part of living, I'm going forward. There is no other choice, really. I have spent a year and a half dismantling myself. Now I will put all the pieces back together and return to my well-ordered existance. That's just who I am.

A sidenote: My love affair with Therapist is coming to an end. He will be moving away in a month. I have four to six weeks to figure everything out and be all better. Wish me luck.

Oh, and to those of you who have been concerned enough to email me: I appreciate you so much. There's something very healing in finding that people who don't even know me actually care enough to contact me and let me know of their thoughts and feelings. I will be removing this post, as well, in a week. Just thought I'd let you know.

Sunday, April 29, 2007


Four-year-old Nephew: Look! We found some ants!

Me: Is that what you have in that can?

Four-year-old Nephew: Yep! See! They're nice!

Me: I guess they are. You sure have a lot of ants in there.

Four-year-old Nephew: Yep! Want to smell them?

The Radio

Four-year-old Nephew: My dad took me to see the radio once.

Me: Really? What happened when you went to see the radio?

Four-year-old Nephew: Well, there were some bad cowboys and some good cowboys.

Me: Are you sure it was a radio?

Four-year-old Nephew: Yep.

Me: Tell me about the cowboys.

Four-year-old Nephew: The bad cowboys rode some horses and chased cows until they caught them with a rope. Then they tied them all up. Then the bad cowboys went away. The cows tried to stand up, but they couldn't, and they were sad. So the good cowboys came and untied them.

Me: Wow. It sounds like you were worried about the cows.

Four-year-old Nephew: Yeah. Next time we go, I'm going to yell at the bad cowboys, "You leave those cows alone!"

Me: Good idea.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Lamb

My father chose not to raise sheep. He did that as a youth and didn't enjoy it, and really could see no financial benefit to adding those animals to our farm. In our third year of farming, however, one day my father brought home a bum lamb. Lambs are often born in pairs. It's not uncommon for the mother to abandon one and not allow it to nurse. Those are referred to as "bum lambs" and must be bottle-fed. They require lots of care and don't always live.

I have to say that lambs are very sweet. They love to be cuddled and held. We fed our lamb. We held him and cuddled him. We spoiled him rotton.

Something many people don't know about lambs is that they will often take on the characteristics of different animals with which they are raised. Our lamb spent much of his time with our very special cowdog who was also the family pet. The lamb followed the dog to the fields to round up the cows and could often be seen rolling head over heels as the cow it was chasing, who knew the lamb wasn't a dog (which just shows that the cow was more intelligent than the lamb), kicked it away. The lamb's bleating approximated barking, and it trotted over to all our guests, asking to be petted along with our dog.

Our dog was a great jumper. When we took our pickup truck to do farm work, he could always be seen sailing over the side of the pickup to ride with us in the back. We enjoyed his company immensely. After the arrival of the lamb, this process became supremely complicated. As the lamb grew more certain that he was, indeed, a dog, he also tried to jump into the pickup to ride with us. Not being able to jump quite as high as our dog, he would end up slamming into the side of the truck. Undeterred, he would get a running start and try again, repeating his collision with the truck. Again and again he would jump and slam. Finally, in pity for the stupid but determined animal, my dad would lower the tailgate so that the lamb could at least get his forelegs onto it. We would pull him in and the lamb would take his place next to our decidedly aggrieved and long-suffering dog.

There are many scriptural instances when Christ refers to himself as The Good Shepherd, and to his followers as "Lambs". After my firsthand experience with our lamb, I've never wondered if Christ has a sense of humor--he does. But it's interesting. Just as the lamb couldn't get into the pickup without help, there are many things in my life that I cannot do on my own--which doesn't mean I don't try, even when I continuously slam into a metaphorical metal wall. I'm always so grateful when a compassionate Savior lowers the tailgate and helps me in (mostly because at that point I'm really bruised and battered and it's all my own fault). I also find it very interesting that Christ compared us to an animal that takes on characteristics of the animals it follows. That ability to try to become something it is not is precisely what we are asked to do when we are told to become like Christ--an impossible task. No matter how hard we try, those around us will always see the reality, that we are human and imperfect, and sometimes unkind people will send us reeling as we are kicked away. But that trait to try to become more than we are exists in all of us, and the beautiful thing is that in the end, Christ can actually make up any deficit we may have and we can achieve what the lamb could not--we can become that which we strive to be.

Christ also refers to himself as the Lamb of God. There is much symbolism in this title, which has been pointed out to us since we were in Primary. However, the farmgirl in me prefers to believe that just as we strive to become like him, so he strives to become like his Father. There are traits of the lamb in all of us, Christ included.

The end of the story is this: We ate the lamb...he was delicious...lessons were symbolically internalized...true learning...okay, maybe not...

Farm Stories

I spent nine years of my life on a dairy farm. As the second of five girls, I was a farmhand. I fed calves, cleaned the chicken coop, gathered eggs, drove tractors, seeded fields, harvested grain and hay, helped in the barn, raised and trained horses, cats, lambs, dogs and other various animals. I don't care if I never have contact with a cow or chicken again. There are some things that I just don't miss. However...

I learned many life lessons, things I still remember and think of often. So for the next little while, I'll be sharing those here. Fair warning? I think so.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

In Praise of The Great -L-

I just have to say this: I love -L-.

I love the fact that he lets dialogue take place in his comments, regardless of whether or not he agrees or disagrees.

I love the fact that he'll do almost anything to garner a surfeit of comments--and he revels in that.

I love the fact that AtP believes that -L- is not actually a real person, but is, in reality, my male alter ego, and is still confused as to why I would have conversations through Google Chat with myself.

I love the fact that, in spite of all the blog improvements that have taken place in the last few months, -L- still has the coolest blog in the Queerosphere.

I love the fact that, for an over-emotional gay guy, -L- actually thinks fairly logically, which is beautiful for me to behold.

I love the fact that he's married, which makes me feel less lonely when my own marriage is bashed by those who cannot ever understand...mostly because they'll never try.

I love the fact that he talks about so many different things, regardless of his ulterior motives.

I love the fact that he might go skydiving with Jason and me if he ever stops trying to decide whether or not that's a dangerous thing to do. (p.s. Yes! It could be dangerous! You're a superhero! Get over it!)

Okay, I'm finished gushing. Don't worry, I won't let it happen again for awhile.

The Prodigal

There are many lessons that can be learned from this parable. I thought I'd found or heard them all. But one more detail was pointed out to me last week.

I have a friend who is walking a path where I cannot follow. Naturally, this is a rather painful fork in the road, because I will always love him, and I've spent lots of time with him in the past months. So I struggle with the part of me that wants to hold on, and the part that knows I must not.

I was talking with my dad about it, and he brought up the parable of the Prodigal Son. I thought to myself: Oh no, not this again. I don't want to hear all the crap about how one day he'll come back, because quite frankly, that's not true, and it's not my purpose to decide if he will or not. And I hate being optimistic about things that bug me.

However, Dad surprised me. He said, "When the Prodigal Son left home, what did his parents give him?" I thought for a moment as realization of what my dad was telling me dawned slowly.

When their son left home, his parents gave him all they could. His entire inheritance. They didn't tell him to spend it wisely. They probably knew he'd waste it on living in ways they did not approve. They were probably sad and a little bit weepy. They knew he was moving in a direction they could not follow--but they withheld nothing. They gave him all they could, and sent him on his way.

And so I will do the same. I have given whatever my friend would accept of my time, love, and friendship. I have made nothing conditional on his decisions, convictions, or actions. I cannot go with him, but I hope he will take with him the knowledge that I will always love him...and if he ever needs a place to rest for just a moment, I hope he remembers that there is a place of safety and peace with me.

There is much to be learned in the words of Christ. That never seems to change.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Sort of Answers

Some people emailed me today. Three had noticed that my blog has changed. One was searching for a former post and couldn't find it. A few others noticed that my sidebar is different.

Actually, I was a little surprised. I have a firm belief that no one actually reads my posts, they just look at the titles and make up whatever they believe would go well with those. Apparently I misjudged those who emailed me. My apologies.

I was going to just give a general reason for all the changes/deletions. However, I find myself at a loss for words right now. So, I'll respond to you as soon as I can.

Thanks for stopping by.

Five Questions

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, back in September (because I just can't decide how I want to begin this post, so I'm being all-inclusive today), I met Tolkien Boy online. We talked about everything. He confessed deep, dark secrets and I made certain everything was saved in my Gmail for future blackma...I mean, reference. I tried to confess deep, dark secrets, but as I have none, that attempt fell flat on its face. However, I believe I should be given credit for trying. It is not my fault if Tolkien Boy has a life more interesting than mine, and there are definite perks to having a relatively boring life. I'm certain that it makes me a better listener, mostly because I'm fascinated by everything from the colors of socks to why people enjoy eating meat.

In the ensuing time period between once upon a time and today, Mr. Boy and I progressed from Google Chat to phone calls, and even met in person a couple of times which is really rather huge for one as reclusive as I (after all, I choose to live in one of the least populated states). It is possible that we communicated at least five days in each week. In spite of the fact that Mr. Boy has only lived 26 years, it is difficult to expound the details of all those years unless one is able to chat rather frequently. I believe that at this point I could successfully write a five page storybook detailing at least one aspect of the life of Tolkien Boy if called upon to do so, and since my lifelong pursuit has always been to become Mr. Boy's autobiographer, I consider the time spent with him not only highly entertaining and emotionally fulfilling, but it will one day be enormously lucrative.

However, it seems that after all this time and numerous conversations, Tolkien Boy has found that he has a slight interest in Samantha Stevens. Naturally, I'm a little surprised as my life follows a set pattern daily and as far back as I can remember (at my age, this is usually only one day), has never varied. But because I like him and don't want to discontinue our regular chats, I have agreed to answer his questions. I must say, I find the questions much more interesting than the answers, but that falls in line with the nature of my relationship with Mr. Boy--he is fascinating and I am simply the perfect foil for such fascination.

Mr. Boy's first question: You don't eat blue food, I understand. In Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, a girl becomes blue food. If you were to become an item of blue food, which would be the most terrifying for you and why?

My answer: I don't eat blue food because it doesn't exist. Even blueberries are actually purple. The closest natural blue food is blue corn, which I don't eat simply because it isn't widely available--but I still wouldn't eat it on principle if it was. Any other blue edible is artificial and therefore, not real. However, if a real food were to become a blue food, and I had to become it, I suppose I would find blue beefsteak rather terrifying. One would have to surmise that the bovine from which it came (of which I would necessarily have to be a part--a terrifying thought in and of itself) had been deprived of oxygen for an extended period of time in order to achieve said blueness, which seems rather unpleasant from the perspective of a steak. I believe I would really hate that, as I enjoy breathing on a regular basis. One might even say I take it for granted.

Mr Boy's second question: The people in charge of the National Emergency Broadcasting system have given you the opportunity to announce your own personal emergency, nation-wide. What is it?

My answer: It's rare that I have emergencies, and if I do, announcing them would bring me great discomfort. However, a personal emergency that always bears announcing is that of running out of toilet tissue when the need is greatest. And yes, I believe I need the entire nation's help when that happens to me.

Mr. Boy's third question: Dorothy Parker once said "Men seldom make passes at girls who wear glasses." Possible replies to this include "Men always make passes at Jacqueline Onassis" or "Men never get lasses who pass, passing gasses." What extra-clothing fashion adornment can similarly sum up your entire existence?

My answer: There isn't one. I truly mean that. Because I would really rather go naked than not, and I think I look much better that way. However, if I must choose something it would be a man's necktie. Anyone who knows me well, knows why.

Mr. Boy's fourth question: You have the opportunity to bring one extinct animal back from the dead, with the assurance that its being alive won't actually destroy all the rest of life on the planet. What animal do you bring back, and what do you do with it?

My answer: I would bring back the golden toads, which makes perfect sense considering that I am a witch, and witches love toads. However, I also love these animals because both the male and female are brightly colored--something usually reserved for males--and I believe females should be given equal attention always. Besides that, they are amphibians and I love all amphibians because they have very cute smiles. What would I do with them? Put them in my tropical flower garden and allow them to breed with abandon.

Mr. Boy's fifth question: There's a fire in your house. Thinking quickly, your children have evacuated. Do you fly away home anyway?

My answer: Yes.

I find it interesting that it has taken me nearly seven months of constant conversation in order to barely scratch the surface of the wealth of personal information about the incredibly fascinating Tolkien Boy--and I expect it will take years before I will even come close to comprehending the vast scope of the essence of him. And yet, in five simple questions, Mr. Boy has managed to find out everything there is to know about Samantha, and then some--how does he do that?! And the problem with this, of course, is that now that he knows all about me, boredom will set in and our friendship is over.

Therefore, I'm wondering if my one solitary blog visitor would mind if I ask five questions about him/her? I'm definitely going to need a friend in the near future, and I love getting to know people...what do you think? Will you play?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Yet another seminary moment

Occasionally the seminary teacher loses control of her class. This would be less of a problem if she didn't think her students were so hilarious.

Seminary Teacher: Give me some examples of times in the past that the Lord has asked unusual things of people.

Various predictable answers from class: Nephi is told to kill Laban, Abraham is asked to sacrifice Isaac, Israelites are cured from snakebite from looking at Moses' staff, etc.

Unusual student: How about when Adam and Eve's kids had to marry each other?
Class response: EEEEWWWWW!!!! GROSS!! YOU'RE SICK, MAN!!!

Ensuing discussion as Sully and DJ leave class:
Sully: What if you didn't have any sisters?
DJ: You could marry your niece?
Sully: I'd have it made--I have lots of sisters.
DJ: Yeah, Adam and I would have to fight over Tabitha.
Sully: I can see it now...Dude, you can't marry our sister! I'm marrying our sister!!
DJ: Oh yeah?? Well, I'm gonna marry your daughter...
Sully: That's really sick...
DJ: Yeah...

Seminary teacher collapses in giggles as students move out of earshot.

Friday, April 20, 2007


Last night AtP asked me why I've been hiding the past few days--and I have been. The truth is that I've been recovering from a recital performance, a more busy than usual tax season, and I've been researching (of course) grieving, because if I have to do that, then I want to know everything about it first. I've been drafting information and will soon post about the topic when I have everything figured out as it applies to me. But on top of all that, I've been thinking about a different cousin of mine whom I'll call Kevin. I love him. He's had a very difficult life.

Things to know about Kevin:
1. He grew up in a horribly abusive home.
2. His father once tried to kill him.
3. He spent his growing up years trying to protect and help his numerous younger siblings.
4. He was unhappy and felt lost most of his teen years and early adulthood.
5. He is gay.
6. He served an LDS mission.
7. He married and had two children.
8. He divorced and ultimately left the church.
9. He dived into the gay scene with a vengeance.
10. He became addicted to drugs, partied a lot, had sex a lot.
11. He has AIDS.
12. He wants to die.

I've been weeping about this more than I would like to. How I wish things were different for Kevin.

So--I'm going to say this because I want to and I really don't care at this point, whether or not anyone is offended:

If you read my blog and I'm at all in love with you...
If you read my blog and you're gay...
If you read my blog and you have a lifestyle where it's possible to contract AIDS...

Please promise me that you'll be careful. Please don't give me reason to cry over you. I want to miss you because we haven't talked for a few days, or because I haven't seen you for awhile, not because you're dead.

That's all.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Grief is the healing process that ultimately brings us comfort in our pain.

The five stages, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance are a part of the framework that makes up our learning to live with the one we lost. They are tools to help us frame and identify what we may be feeling. But they are not stops on some linear timeline in grief. Not everyone goes through all of them or in a prescribed order.The stages have evolved since their introduction and they have been very misunderstood over the past three decades. They were never meant to help tuck messy emotions into neat packages. They are responses to loss that many people have, but there is not a typical response to loss as there is no typical loss. Our grief is as individual as our lives.

T = To accept the reality of the lossE = Experience the pain of the lossA = Adjust to the new environment without the lost objectR = Reinvest in the new reality

Stage 1: "Acclimation and Adjustment"
In this first stage, the tasks largely involve dealing with the initial emotional shock and disorientation often brought by death:

adjusting to changes brought by the loss
functioning appropriately in daily life
keeping emotions and behaviors in check
accepting support

Stage 2: "Emotional Immersion and Deconstruction"
Although the initial impact of the death has passed, emotions are often deeply felt during this stage. The bereaved face and have to deal with the changes that the death has brought, and often challenges to their beliefs about the way things should be. This stage incorporates the most active aspects of grief work. It's not that this stage is any more intense than the first stage -- in fact, it's difficult to imagine that anything could be more intense than the period immediately following a loss. But during this stage, people are likely to become deeply immersed in their feelings, and very internally-focused. It's also quite common for the bereaved to undergo a "deconstruction" of their values and beliefs, as they question why their loved one was taken from them. The tasks associated with Stage 2 include:

contending with reality
development of insight
reconstructing personal values and beliefs
acceptance and letting go

Stage 3: "Reclamation and Reconciliation"
In this final stage many issues about the death have been resolved, and the bereaved more fully begin to reclaim and move on with their lives. This stage is generally thought to be one marked by "recovery" from grief. But the loss of someone close leaves a permanent mark on people's lives in the sense that things can't be restored to the way they were before the death. However, people can begin to rebuild, creating a new life for themselves and re-engaging with the world around them. As this stage ends, the bereaved become reconciled to the death itself, and the changes it's brought to their lives. Perhaps most important, they begin to live in the present, rather than the past, re-establish who they are in the world, and plan a future. The primary tasks of this stage are:

development of social relations
decisions about changes in life style
renewal of self-awareness
Acceptance of responsibility

Friedrich Nietzsche says:

Perhaps I know why it is man alone who laughs: He alone suffers so deeply that he had to invent laughter.

Precisely the least, the softest, lightest, a lizard's rustling, a breath, a flash, a moment - a little makes the way of the best happiness.

Shared joys make a friend, not shared sufferings.

Yesterday was the tax filing deadline

Yesterday was glorious. The sun shone, the sky was incredibly blue, the wind was soft, and when I went running I noticed the wildflowers are beginning to bloom. That was ante meridian.

Around noon the clouds rolled in. Within a matter of minutes the sky was dark with them and I was using artificial light in my house. Lightning and thunder put on a spectacular display aurally and visually and we lost our electricity briefly. Rain and hail poured down--it was amazing. When the electrical storm wore itself out, the rain continued softly for about an hour, then sprinkled randomly throughout the evening.

Everything cleared off at night. The stars seem brighter after a thunderstorm. I know--silly. Still, it seems that way to me.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


I'm making great progress. I'm putting everything together, drawing wonderful conclusions, finding out what I need to know. Thanks, Therapist.

So why am I becoming more sad? I thought this was supposed to make me better.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

We must not study ourselves while having an experience.

Yeah, I'm still reading Nietzsche. Not that I agree with all that he says, but I love the things he makes me think about when I am both agreeing and disagreeing with him.

I have so much to learn. This is exhausting.

In my life I have been emotionally intimate with exactly one person. I think I'm beginning to let others come closer, but just when I think I'm really doing well, letting people know what I'm thinking, sharing joys and sadness, etc., I'm also realizing that if I'm not the one in control I fall completely apart, feel afraid and unsafe, and I want to run away. This is not emotional intimacy--there is no sharing involved in this--it's just me posturing about what a great job I'm doing in the "allow myself to be vulnerable" area--which is a big lie because I'm not.

Ugh. I don't know how this works. Help me out here, please. How do you allow people to know you, all of you, without feeling like you might throw up? How do you accept help and care without freaking out because maybe you might appear weak? How do you know when someone is safe? I'm not getting this at all...

I have to see Therapist in two weeks. I haven't finished my assignments yet. He wants me to come this week but I said no. My dad tattled to Therapist and said I'm having more than normal emotional distress--is there a time when one stops being a child? I don't want to talk to Therapist yet. I'm still thinking. I want to hear what other people have to say. I want more opinions.

By the way, someone told me at the Matis FHE that he'd heard I don't like it when people comment on my blog. I'm guessing the rumor got started because I probably said something like, "I don't like it when people comment on my blog." It was a lie. I really do want to hear what anyone has to say about emotional intimacy--and I'm hoping for various opinions and ideas to sift through and think about.

Help me? Please?

"Samantha needs..."

Okay, so I found this old internet game you can play, and it goes like this:
Google your name and the word "needs" in quotes, then list the top 20 things you need. My results:

1. Samantha needs sex.
2. Samantha needs prayers and financial support.
3. Samantha needs to have highly stable, consistent, predictable environments.
4. Samantha needs some cheering up.
5. Samantha needs a home.
6. Samantha needs a best friend.
7. Samantha needs adoptive parents who are willing to meet her needs for structure.
8. Samantha needs to learn to fill her own personal emptiness to save her own life.
9. Samantha needs to develop material for a multi-media environment.
10. Samantha needs to develop worker participation programs.
11. Samantha needs a better looking guy.
12. Samantha needs a laptop.
13. Samantha needs salvation.
14. Samantha needs to have an area set aside for her to rest when necessary.
15. Samantha needs frequent transfusions.
16. Samantha needs to have OAC physics.
17. Samantha needs physiotherapy sessions thre to four times a day.
18. Samantha needs a tan and a waxing.
19. Samantha needs rest.
20. Samantha needs surgery.

Now you and the google know more about me than I knew about myself!!

Friday, April 13, 2007


Sometimes I just want to be like everyone else.

I know that's stupid because every person is different.

I suppose what I mean is that I'd like life to be fairly straightforward with no second guesses or hidden meanings.

Just when I begin to see what I need to do to grow and progress, life throws me a curve ball, reminding me that nothing is easy, and really there is no place, no person who is always safe--and I will always have an added dimension which makes me hypersensitive to things many accept as normal. For just a moment I had forgotten that, and it was beautiful.

Someone asked me yesterday what it is about a person that makes me want to get close to him or her. It's actually very simple. I know the people I wish to keep as friends because when I am with them I don't hurt. It's as if, just for a moment I can shelve the pain inside me and I feel relief. My questioner looked astounded and wanted to know if I feel emotional pain all the time. Yes, of course. Doesn't everyone?

Apparently they don't. I didn't know that.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Just for -L-, Sex Talk

Sister Three called my husband an "angel". She said I was blessed to have a person who could share my life who was able to think beyond normal boundaries and see the benefit of allowing me to grow and progress in unusual circumstances. She's absolutely right.

Sister Three pointed out that faithful members of the church have been cautioned against being alone with members of the opposite sex to whom they are not married. This includes casual visits, email and chat rooms, even riding in cars. In the past, I've adhered to this counsel as a way to insure emotional and physical safety. No man can harm me if I don't put myself in a situation where I am alone with him. I understand that there is a moral safety implied in the counsel--it doesn't really apply to me. Sister Three asked how I deal with situations where I'm alone with another woman, especially one for whom I may feel attraction. Funny, I've never shared that with anyone before.

The truth is that I'm very aware of physical and emotional feelings that draw me to another person. I'm not afraid of those feelings, nor do I feel guilt or frustration anymore when they are manifested. I feel that I have every right to look at someone and admire her beauty, smile, eyes, etc. Women do it all the time, and I'm definitely a woman. It's not unusual for women to give deeply personal compliments to each other. I have a friend who tells me all the time that I look "hot"--no, she's not gay. I have beautiful friends (and I tell them they are) who tell me I'm beautiful. Women discuss physical beauty in each other as a matter of course. I willingly participate in that dialogue. It's fun. And of course, it has another dimension for me--and I love it.

So what's the difference between the above thoughts and actual flirting? Probably nothing. I have an adult piano student/vocal coach. She's also a very close friend. We flirt with abandon--she kisses me in public--if I'm sitting next to her in a meeting, she'll have her arm around me or even hold my hand. She's beautiful and fun and I adore her. But I'm not attracted to her in a romantic way. There's definite chemistry between us because we love spending time together, but it's not sexual. I admit to the physicality, and I think it's really important. Those loving touches fill spaces inside me that have been existent since I was about nine years old and realized that my mother didn't want to touch me at all. My friend heals me in ways she cannot know.

I don't recall ever feeling the giddy delights of infatuation. I've felt sexual attraction so strong that I almost felt nauseated by the need to be with the person to whom it was directed. But I've never felt the things that people describe when they are infatuated: caught up by a smile, word or touch from the person desired, fantasy of future events or sexual fulfillment, anticipation, excitement...I wonder why I don't feel that for people when I feel attraction. It's all pretty basic and very physical. There's no romance or happily-ever-after desires. This is as it has always been for me.

I'm sure this isn't the norm. I often wonder if there are others like me. I watch my friend Lydia in the first stages of attraction. Honestly, I hate being around her. She's giggly, energetic, completely focused on the person to whom she's attracted. She swoons when she's touched, sighs when snuggling...ick... I have to leave or I might want to shake her. But when I'm away from the sight, I wonder why I never feel that way for anyone.

A friend asked me recently about my feelings for Darrin. Those feelings are extremely complex and difficult to explain, and I rarely talk about them because deep in my heart I have a feeling that no matter how well I say it, no one can possibly understand. My love for him began because he allowed me to be who I am. He wasn't deterred from loving me and wanting to marry me when I asked him to date other people, or when I told him about my past, or when I told him how scared and unworthy I was. He was never overbearing or forceful, and if I had said at any time that I wanted our relationship to end, he would have granted me that. He let me know that he wanted to be with me forever, and then he waited to see if I felt the same. He gently and kindly taught me how physical relationships between men and women should be, and even though it took a very long time, he simply waited for me to figure things out, always letting me know how much he loved me--always making certain that I understood that he cared about all of me, even the bad stuff. He was interested in my thoughts and dreams. He let me talk incessantly about my students, favorite composers, and music history. He took tax prep and accounting classes with me even though he had no real interest in that, because he was interested in me and he wanted to be with me. He trusts me to do what is best for me. He has never been jealous or possessive. I feel beautiful and alive when I'm with him--as if simply by being together, I just became the very best I can be. Most of all, there are times when I'm aching inside, that I am soothed simply because he touched my hand or kissed my cheek.

I don't feel physically attracted to Darrin most of the time, but my desire to be with him physically has increased with time. Bluntly put, I enjoy sex with my husband-- a lot. Part of that enjoyment comes in knowing that I'm participating in something he enjoys, as well, and also in knowing that this is exclusively ours. I'll admit to feeling a certain triumph when the act is complete, for the simple reason that I never felt I would ever be able to express physical love for a man, given the abuse I've endured, and my feelings for women. I've proven to myself that not only is it possible--it's wonderful and beautiful.

Therapist once told Darrin that he was kind of lucky--he doesn't have to worry about me being attracted to another man. I realized a few years ago, though, that I've morphed a bit. I think, in the right circumstances, I could learn to be in love with any person (barring those that make me nuts simply because they're alive)--and I could figure out how to express that love in every acceptable way. Not that I'm looking for that to happen because I'm extremely happy with my current partner. It was just a passing thought as I was doing some soul-searching. Therapist also mentioned that if I were ever widowed at a young age, I would probably remain single for the rest of my life. It's the probable scenario because I don't believe I'll ever find another person like Darrin. But I'm sort of comforted by the fact that if I did encounter another with whom I wanted to spend the remainder of my life, I think I could do it. I don't know that I would choose to, but believing that option is available to me makes me feel a little bit powerful--as if I have control of my destiny in some way.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

You must have chaos within you to give birth to a dancing star.
--Friedrich Nietzsche

Sunday, April 08, 2007


It's Easter and I have one flower blooming. It's a small orange pansy that hasn't yet figured out that it's an annual left over from last year. I must say, it's a very brave flower considering that it was covered with more than a foot of snow last week. I'm reconsidering the slang connotation of the word "pansy".

I've been thinking about the atonement and Christ a lot lately. I actually think about that often, but perhaps now I'm applying the thoughts to myself, and really thinking about what it all means to me.

When I read the accounts of the atonement in the New Testament, I see an interesting pattern.
And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy.
Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me.
And he went a little further, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt. (Matt. 26:37-39)

Jesus knew the importance of what was about to happen--and he took two friends to be with him. Christ, the Greatest of us all, didn't want to be alone. He was sorrowful--even unto death. I've felt that. I've felt sadness and grief so great that I wanted to leave this life to escape it. Christ felt that in anticipation of what he was about to experience. He fell on his face and asked God to take it away from him. In Mark it's stated even more eloquently:
And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.
And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.

It seems that in his description of the Father, the Omnipotent, that there is a hint that Elohim could make it possible for Christ to escape the atonement and leaves all sorts of speculation floating around my brain. But the truth is, in the end of all his pleading, Christ bowed to God's will. Twice he asked his Father to allow him to avoid what would be the most astounding, painful, and eternal act in the history of mankind. But when it came to the point of choice, Christ did what he promised each of us that he would do. According to Luke, a loving Father sent angels to strengthen and comfort his son as he bled from every pore and did for me what I cannot do for myself.

There have been times in my life when I've fallen on my face and begged the Lord to take away the task, trial, or challenge before me. There have been times when I've asked repeatedly to not have to endure what I am asked to endure. I cannot deny that as I've gone forward, bowing to the Lord's will for me, that there have been angels sent to strengthen me--most have been in mortal form.

I'm eternally grateful that the atonement allows me to repent and that it adds the necessary grace to allow me to grow and progress. I'm grateful for the resurrection that allows me to continue after my death. I'm grateful for the healing and empathy I feel when I appeal to Christ for help when I have come to the end of my strength. But I don't believe that's what that amazing sacrifice was all about. It's all part of it for sure. But in the end, what it boils down to for me, is this: Christ didn't want to do it. No one would. He was afraid. He didn't endure the enormous pain and suffering because of duty or courage (although they certainly played into it). He finished the atonement because he loves me and every other of my brothers and sisters and he wants us to be with him someday. This was the only way--if there had been another, it would have happened, because Christ pled with the Father to make another way.

I can never feel what Christ felt in that atonement and live--and I don't want to. But I can feel his love for me and for others in a way I cannot describe. I know he loves me. I know he loves you. I don't believe there is anything stronger that could have motivated him to endure what he did. And in the end, I think he wanted to--because he understood that by feeling our pain, sins, weaknesses and other imperfections, he could help strengthen us and love us in a way that no other being can.

I'm learning how to accept his love for me. Slowly, is going to happen. I have felt palpably the depth of his love for others. Surely he paid the price for me, as well, and I am his. I will always belong to Christ. I cannot express my gratitude. I understand that I am insignificant--but he loves me--and with his love, someday, I can be as the pansy that blooms in the snow--too focused on Christ to realize that I'm an annual and not supposed to bloom this year. Someday it will happen. Someday I will do this.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Putting it all together--Part 1

So there was actually another question that I asked Tolkien Boy on the phone, but I don't think it's necessary to beat the dead horse. Suffice it to say that I was wrong.

I was driving home from Utah on Tuesday. I'd met some really wonderful people, and visited with friends. I'd spent time with my family. I was alone and thinking like crazy. I was thinking about my last visit with Therapist and our little role playing game. Here's how it went:

Therapist: I'm going to ask you the questions I want you to ask your friend, and you answer as you believe he would.
Me: Oookaay... I guess.
Therapist: Why did you come with me to see my cousin.
Me: Because you (Samantha) are needy and pathetic. And I'm sort of curious as to what your cousin looks like.
Therapist: You don't really think that.
Me: Are you still being me? or are you Therapist again.
Therapist: I'm me. I'll just say that people, as a general rule, don't make a flight to go be with a needy and pathetic person.
Me: Therapist, he was on spring break. He was coming anyway.
Therapist: So--how many college-aged, single guys do you know who will spend nearly a day and a half of their spring breaks with their married, older friend?
Me: Okay, point taken. I'll ask him the first question.
Therapist: I'm you again. Did you feel compelled to stay with me after we had lunch with David? emotionally or otherwise?
Me: Yes. You looked like you were going to yak up a cat. You were all messed up. I was afraid you'd get into a car accident if I let you drive. I wanted to leave, but you were in no condition to take me home and drive back to your hotel.
Therapist: You must think your friend has an extreme sense of responsibility.
Me: Are you still me?
Therapist: No.
Me: He does. He's told me so on numerous occasions. I feel terribly guilty that I took advantage of him--and even moreso because, given the opportunity to do everything again, I wouldn't change that. I know that doesn't say anything nice about me--but I needed to have someone with me, someone I loved. And he was there.
Therapist: It's awesome that you're admitting you needed someone. That's a wonderful step. But in my experience, most people don't stay that long with one person unless they choose to.
Me: I'm the one with the car. I didn't drive him home.
Therapist: Did you offer?
Me: Well, yes. And I would have taken him home whenever he said he wanted to leave.
Therapist: It sounds to me as if he stayed because he wanted to.
Me: Fine. I'll ask him.
Therapist: I think you should. I'm you again. What did you feel when we were alone in the hotel room.
Me: Awkward. Weird. Like I wanted to be somewhere else.
Therapist: Sam, what did he do when you got to the room?
Me: Are you still me?
Therapist: No.
Me: He hugged me for a long time.
Therapist: In general, do people hug you when they feel awkward or out of place?
Me: No.
Therapist: You'll ask him the question?
Me: Yes.
Therapist: I'm you again.
Me: (sighing) Fine.
Therapist: I'm going to make some comments that you, as your friend will respond to: I don't understand why I wanted you to stay when I like being alone especially when I'm not in control of myself. I don't like people to witness my weakness. I don't understand why I allowed myself to be held, or why I wanted that when I don't really like people to touch me.
Me: I don't know what to say.
Therapist: Say what you think your friend will say.
Me: I just did.
Therapist: (laughing) Sam, you really hate this, don't you.
Me: Yes.
Therapist: Okay, just do the dialogue thing with him and listen to what he says, okay?
Me: Okay. Is that all?
Therapist: No, a couple more. You said you gave your friend a kiss on the cheek. If he'll allow you to do so, ask him how he felt about that.
Me: I know how he felt. I'm a girl, he's gay. It was gross and disgusting to him.
Therapist: So, how did he react? Did he push you away?
Me: No.
Therapist: Well?
Me: He hugged me, and he laughed a little, and he asked me if I was sure I wasn't attracted to him.
Therapist: That's an inside joke between the two of you? or did he mean it?
Me: A joke. It always makes me laugh.
Therapist: It doesn't sound to me as if he was repelled. It sounds like he completely understood your intent and was celebrating the fact that you're wonderful friends by inserting your inside joke and allowing you to laugh.
Me: I don't want to ask him.
Therapist: I think you should consider it.
Me: I'll consider it.
Therapist: You should also consider asking him how it felt to hold you in his arms.
Me: No.
Therapist: Why?
Me: That's too much.
Therapist: How did it feel when you hugged him back--I'm assuming you did--when he held you?
Me: It felt right, comfortable, and relaxed. I really felt no awkwardness, and it was really comforting to have someone to hold onto. I'm not sure this makes sense.
Therapist: It makes complete sense. I think you should ask him.
Me: Therapist, no one really wants to touch me--ever. You can't imagine how guilty I feel, allowing him to hold me as long as he did. He actually saw the vile man who touched me, and he still was willing to comfort me. I'm more grateful than I can ever express. But I don't want him to tell me that he did it even though he was disgusted by me. That's not something I can stomach right now. It's one thing to know it--another thing altogether to have someone I love confirm that.
Therapist: He won't.
Me: You don't know that.
Therapist: I'm 99.9% certain.
Me: I'm not going to ask him.
Therapist: Okay, but if you change your mind, I think you'll learn a lot.
Me: No.
Therapist: The last thing you should do is ask him if he has any questions for you.
Me: Why?
Therapist: I think his question will really surprise you.
Me: What do you think he'll say?
Therapist: I guess you'll have to ask him to find out that answer.
Me: I'm not happy with this assignment.
Therapist: All assignments are entirely optional.
Me: But you think this one is important.
Therapist: Probably the most important assignment I've ever given anybody--and I wouldn't give it to most of my clients. You're a different sort. I think this might take you closer to the goal you've set than anything you've done so far.
Me: I haven't set any goals.
Therapist: Yes, you have. One very large goal.
Me: Really? What would that be?
Therapsit: To be finished with "this".
Me: Oh yeah. Okay, if you think this will help, I'll think about asking the questions. Maybe I'll do it.
Therapist: Good. Let me know how that turns out.
Me: Stop stealing my lines.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Questions--The Following Day

me: Do you like the stuff you write?
Tolkien Boy: Usually. I hate it when it doesn't do what I want it to do. But, I always enjoy looking at it, and reviewing what I said, and what I said. I'm kind of an ego freak maybe.
me: No. It's when you're your best self maybe? Sometimes I listen to recordings of what I've played, and I think, "Wow--that's beautiful. I don't think I can ever play in quite the same way again." It's not ego--it's me at my best.
Tolkien Boy: Yeah. It's a strange distillation. It's like me and not-me.
me: For me, it's me without all the distractions, the negative, the sadness. Transcendent?
Tolkien Boy: Interesting, because most of my poetry/best writing is about the sadness and the negative.
Like a queen in an old, sad song, maybe?
me: You take the sadness and the negative and you make something from them. I take those things and put them aside, and for just a moment I feel alive.
Tolkien Boy: May it never end.
me: It will. The truth about all performers...they get old. Someday I won't play anymore. We're having a huge windstorm. Very loud.
Tolkien Boy: I like windstorms. Though I wouldn't want to walk home in one today.
me: Are you leaving?
Tolkien Boy: Eventually. I have a few things to finish up.
me: I'm almost finished with my list of therapy question (fancy that! and I'm still alive). Shall I wait until tomorrow (or indefinitely) to ask the next one?
Tolkien Boy: Do you want to?
me: No. But I want to be done.
Tolkien Boy: Well, perhaps you should forge ahead, then.
me: Aren't you tired of this?
Tolkien Boy: No.
me: I have two more questions for you. I told Therapist that I kissed your cheek when I left you that night. He asked me why, and I said I always give cheek kisses to the people I love the most. I kiss my kids, and my friend C, and Darrin's aunt. Therapist asked me to predict what your thoughts and reactions would have been to that gesture. So I predicted, and he said I was wrong, so now I'm supposed to ask you. What was your reaction? Oh yes, I forgot to tell you, Therapist also said I'm supposed to let you know that if the questions push beyond your comfort level you just have to say so, and no answer is required.
Tolkien Boy: Okay. That doesn't discomfort me, though. I kiss the friends that I love. I felt that your kiss to me was a gift. You showed me that you loved me and held me as a dear friend.
me: Okay, my stress level is becoming unmanageable in conjunction with this assignment so first--thank you for being willing to discuss these things with me, second--thank you for answering the questions. And I'm going to ask the last one now so I don't have to do this again. Last question: Therapist said I have to allow you the opportunity to ask anything you would like to. So, do you have any questions for me?
Tolkien Boy: Do you know how much I love you?
me: I think it must be a lot. Do you know how much it scares me to have people love me?
Tolkien Boy: I think it must be a lot. There is a certain kind of desert frog that only comes out of hibernation once a year, when the rains come. Every other time, it hides. Please don't be that frog. I love you.
me: I love you, too. Tolkien Boy, Therapist said that I've spent my life running from people who would love me, or sabotaging my relationships with them so that they would leave--because I can't live with the unknown, and if they leave, then I know what will happen. I don't think that's true, but I do know I'm afraid of being left alone in a mess--even if the mess is just me. And I feel stupid telling you this. I feel stupid feeling this.
Tolkien Boy: Well, I can't tell you to stop feeling stupid. However, I can tell you that in my eyes, you're not stupid. You're not even close.
me: Well, everything you said, with very few exceptions, Therapist predicted. And I was completely wrong on pretty much every answer. How can I know you, but know so little about you?
Tolkien Boy: Well, when it comes to how you see how I see you, you're naturally going to be a bit...biased?
You know what things make me happy, what things make me sad...the deep fears I have and the high joys I have. What more could you know?
me: I think, because you know so much about me, I assumed you feel the same way about me that I feel about myself. And I don't think I've ever thought about this before.
Tolkien Boy: Strangely enough, for all my cynicism and pessimism, I have a vastly better (and, I argue, more accurate) view of you than you have of yourself.
me: This makes me so tired.
Tolkien Boy: I can see that. Paradigm shifting is exhausting.
me: Do you know how much I love you?
Tolkien Boy: I think so. I have an inkling of it, at least. You kissed me.
me: :) That's true.
Tolkien Boy: How does the poem go? "Jenny kissed me."
me: Jenny kiss'd me when we met,
Jumping from the chair she sat in;
Time, you thief, who loves to get
Sweets into your list, put that in!
Say I'm weary, say I'm sad,
Say that health and wealth have miss'd me,
Say I'm growing old, but add,
Jenny kiss'd me.

Yeah, I'm a lesbian...
Tolkien Boy: Or perhaps, redeemed as we all are, by human care?
me: Someday, I hope so.
Tolkien Boy: Make it today.
me: There was nothing I could give you that came close to what you gave me. I know it's not a contest or a trade-off, but I still needed to let you know how important you are to me--"before you sabotaged your friendship and chased him away"--Therapist.
Tolkien Boy: I don't think Samantha does that. Not the Sam I know.
me: I hope not. Therapist is pushing me, I think. It's making me really confused. Maybe I'll tell him it's time to stop.
Tolkien Boy: Perhaps you can ask him why he says the things he does.
me: I will. But I think I know the answer.
Tolkien Boy: What is it?
me: He wants me to stop balking about having lasting relationships with people. He wants me to accept the fact that even if people don't want to be really close, they can still love me. But Tolkien Boy, I don't want lots of sort of friends. I've done that already. It's empty and not really very fun. And you never know where you stand, and it always feels like a very complicated game about which no one took the time to explain the rules. I like having just a few close friends. I'm not explaining this well.
Tolkien Boy: You want real, close friends, not shallow, good-looking friends (so to speak).
me: I want friends who will actually miss me if they go away, because I'll miss them, too. I want friends who love me even if they know the bad things about me, because they know I'm not perfect and I'm not expected to be. I want friends who let me think what I want to, even if they disagree with me--who aren't afraid to say they disagree, but who won't get upset that we think differently. I want friends who don't care about conventions and what other people think, because I'll probably be bucking the system for the rest of my life. I want someone who isn't ashamed to hold me when I'm sad, even if I never ask him/her to.
Tolkien Boy: I think you have a few people like that now, and you can only get more in the years to come.
me: Next time we talk, can we talk about you instead?
Tolkien Boy: Perhaps. But now I'm getting kicked out of the library. So, I'll have to say I love you, and depart.
me: I love you, too. Good night, Tolkien Boy.
Tolkien Boy: Good night, Sam.

Questions--Four Days Later

me: Are you ready to answer more questions?
Tolkien Boy: Of course, of course.
me: I don't like these questions.
Tolkien Boy: Okay. Do you want me not to like them, either?
me: You won't. However, since I seem to be compelled to do as I've been asked, I'm going to ask the assigned questions.
Tolkien Boy: All right. I'm ready.
me: And you remember all the crap about honest answers, no emotional consideration, and we have to still be friends when we're done, right? I think maybe I'm feeling defensive. Sorry.
Tolkien Boy: I do remember.
me: Okay. Part of the stupid assignment was that I had to tell you what I felt when we were together after meeting devil-cousin--which I did, and I would have done anyway without the assignment, but knowing that I was asked to do that might help put this question into perspective. So, the question (by the way, asking this makes me want to throw up--very upsetting): Will you tell me what you were feeling--even if it was nothing?
Tolkien Boy: Afterwards?
me: Yes. Specifically when we were alone.
Tolkien Boy: I felt very calm. I kept expecting it to be awkward, but it never was. I felt sorry for you and the things you were thinking and feeling, but there was an added feeling that what you were going through was a necessary passage, if I can use those words. I felt, strangely enough, very relaxed. Angry at your cousin, of course, but mostly just glad that I was there.
me: Why were you glad?
Tolkien Boy: Because I was, on many levels, happy to be with you. I enjoy our conversations, even when the subject matter is sad. And I was happy that I could be around to be the human being present when you were in need of comfort.
me: We're supposed to have a dialogue now (I hate this so much!). I'm supposed to tell you some of the things I told my therapist, then listen to your responses.
Tolkien Boy: All right.
me: 1. I don't know why I wanted Tolkien Boy to stay. I like being alone, especially when I feel out of control. I don't know why I wanted to be held. I don't like people to touch me.
Tolkien Boy: Do you want me to respond now, or is there more?
me: There's more, but I'll number all the parts. I'm supposed to listen to any comments you may have.
If you have none, that's fine.
Tolkien Boy: Well, I don't know when the number is done. But I'm going to assume that it is.
And I don't know the reasons why you felt safe. I know that you were safe, because I would never do anything to hurt you, and I think you could feel that. I hope you can, anyway. And I think you really do want to be held by people, and loved by them, but you need a space in which you know they won't take things from you.
me: I can't do the rest right now.
Tolkien Boy: Okay.
me: Do you understand that pretty much everything (including the cousin meeting, and my overstaying my welcome at your house the night before) that took place in those two days, was completely out of character for me? And I don't understand.
Tolkien Boy: Do you want me to respond to that?
me: I don't know. I'm confused. I think so.
Tolkien Boy: I think that much of your character has been forged in trying to avoid "meeting" your cousin--whether physically or mentally. It's no surprise that you acted in a way that seemed out of "character" when you decided to meet your cousin for real. When you were with me, you allowed yourself to feel human emotions and fears. And that's a wonderful thing, even if it feels strange and makes you doubt yourself.
me: But now I want to hide from everyone. I feel that they--especially you --know all the ways in which I'm vulnerable. Maybe I'm afraid. That sounds stupid.
Tolkien Boy: It shouldn't. If I were you, I'd be terrified of me.
me: So, you won't be upset if I told my therapist that I love you, but I wanted you to go away?
Tolkien Boy: No, of course not. Do you want me to go away now?
me: I want everyone to go away. I feel like I just triumphed over myself, and failed the humanity test.
Tolkien Boy: How so?
me: However, my stupid therapist says that's me being afraid and trying to put walls up again. He says I need to figure out how people really feel about me (which is terrifying), and stop running away. And I'm supposed to learn how to allow myself to be vulnerable in a relationship--and then keep that relationship intact. I think I hate him right now. Okay, this is crap, and too much to ask of me and of you. No one does this! Part of the dynamic of friendship is allowing each participant the freedom to build walls as necessary. My apologies--thank you for answering my questions and for commenting. I think I need to be done with this.
I'm going to go to bed, I think. Good night.

Questions--Day One

me: These are Therapist's ground rules:
1. The questions must be answered honestly.
2. There can be no consideration of feelings.
3. It doesn't matter what I think. The truth is what I'm supposed to find--and I'm tougher than I look.
4. This is research/fact gathering. All emotions are on hold.
Tolkien Boy: All right. That seems reasonable.
me: We'll start with the first question on his list. Then I'll decide if I want to go further.
Tolkien Boy: All right.
me: Background: Therapist and I had a rather jarring disagreement when he posed these questions to me. I had several answers that he said were "crap". I insisted I was right. He said we'd both know the answers if I asked the people in question.
Tolkien Boy: Okay.
me: His first question to me: Why do you think TB came with you to see your cousin? Since he nullified my answer, I'm asking you -- why did you come with me?
Tolkien Boy: Because you shouldn't have to do such a huge and scary thing alone. I wanted to be there so I could help you if you needed it, and protect you if you needed it, too. I wanted you to be as safe as possible and supported as possible, too.
me: Why?
Tolkien Boy: Because you're my friend and I love you, and I don't want someone I love getting hurt or being afraid.
me: Do I seem as though I need protection and support?(I'm asking your opinion, not questioning your motives)
Tolkien Boy: Hmmm. That's an interesting question. I would say that personality-wise, you don't. You're not the sort of person who is needy, for example. But, I guess my belief was that I could be a support and a protection of sorts, and because I thought it was possible to ease the burden a little, I wanted to. Because of the situation. I wouldn't want anyone to have to do that without a friend nearby.
me: Did you feel compelled to stay with me afterward? Emotionally or otherwise?
Tolkien Boy: Can you define "compelled" in the context of your question?
me: As in, not necessarily what you would choose, but compelled because you saw a person in need, and felt that it was the right thing to do.
Tolkien Boy: I stayed because I love being with you, and I wanted to be there to help you because you were sad. I didn't feel like you were tricking me into staying, nor that I was only staying because it was the right thing to do. I didn't think about what was right and what was wrong, because what I wanted to do was stay with you, and so I did that.
me: This is the truth?
Tolkien Boy: And nothing but.
me: Therapist is right. I'm cynical beyond what is reasonable.
Tolkien Boy: Or, perhaps, have difficulty believing people love you?
me: He says that's the last step. He says that's one reason why I can't accept the atonement. He says I don't believe that anyone really loves me, and I make excuses for them to not love me. He says it's time for me to rethink that behavior and figure out why it's not helpful. I don't want to.
Tolkien Boy: Why not?
me: I think because if I always accept that there is something unlovable about me, then when people leave it's perfectly reasonable, and there's nothing to get upset about. Therapist's right--it is crap.
Tolkien Boy: Well, yes. But perfectly understandable crap.
me: So if I set up the scenario last Tuesday, with TB being compassionate and caring, and me being pathetic and needy--then if something happens and TB disappears, I have my reasons for that happening, it makes sense, and I don't have to spend time grieving the loss. Therapist says that's what I've done with all the abuse stuff--made me the unworthy central figure, deserving of all that happened, so that I don't have to mourn any losses.
Tolkien Boy: Right. And I suddenly see why it's scary to let that go.
me: So, Therapist says I have to embrace a new scenario. I have to ask people about their true motives and feelings, accept that those are sincere and if a loss happens, allow myself to feel sad, to mourn, and to accept that. I think that's crap. He says no.
Tolkien Boy: I agree with him.
me: Maybe it's a man thing?
Tolkien Boy: No.
me: He says it's unfair of me to profess the reality of my feelings for others, but not accept their feelings for me. "Hypocritical", I believe he said.
Tolkien Boy: Well, that might have been a little harsh. However. He is right that it's not very good for you to do that.
me: Okay, I asked your permission to ask you questions, not to expound on them, so we can be finished with this.
Tolkien Boy: What do you want to know more?
me: Nothing right now. I have to think about the first stuff.
Tolkien Boy: Okay.
me: You were there. May I just tell you the thing that makes me more angry than anything else?
Tolkien Boy: Yes. Of course.
me: TB, he messed me up inside. I never could carry a baby to term, and then I dealt with the expense and stress of trying to keep pre-term babies alive after they were born--because of him !

Now he talks of having more children like it's the easiest thing in the world--like he's entitled--It's stinking not fair--and there's nothing I can do about it.
Tolkien Boy: You're right. I mean, you can make it so that his current wife divorces can probably sabotage his career, even turn his family against him. But you can't undo what was done. And that isn't fair.
me: All right. I'm finished pouting. Thanks for letting me vent a bit.
Tolkien Boy: You're more than welcome.
me: I'm going to go to bed. Thanks for letting me ask my questions--for not being offended by them.
Tolkien Boy: I just hope you weren't offended by the answers.
me: I'm not able to be offended when in research mode. That happens later, when I ponder, if I choose to let it. I won't--there's nothing offensive in what you said.
Tolkien Boy: I hope not.
me: You said it was the truth. If that's so, then it's reality. I deal best with reality.
Tolkien Boy: I'm glad. It's one thing in which we're opposites.
I love you, Sam.
me: I love you, TB. Is it okay if I say I'm a little afraid of people loving me?
Sleep well?
Good night.


There's a lot going on in my head right now. I can't seem to process everything. I'm confused about what I'm feeling, what I'm thinking. I told Darrin for the first time in all the years that we've been married, that I've always felt that one day he would leave me. He was astounded. It's incomprehensible to him that I could ever think that. He doesn't understand that I feel that way about everyone. Therapist understands. It's why he gave me the assignment that I hate so much.

Therapist said that I'm not the kind of person people forget--nor do they want to leave me. I told him that he'd only seen me for an hour at a time--for a total of twenty times or fewer over the past eight months, and that in my opinion, those brief times didn't qualify him to make that judgement. He gave me a weird look and started a role playing "game". He said, "I'm you, and you're Tolkien Boy. I'm going to ask you questions and you answer as you believe he would answer." And so we did. And each time I gave an answer, Therapist told me I was wrong, TB wouldn't say that. I started to get frustrated--after all, Therapist has never met TB, whereas I've spent many hours with him. What makes Therapist think he knows what TB will say?

But then I finally got the courage to actually ask Tolkien Boy. It took me several days to ask the questions. I'd become frustrated and overwhelmed while we were talking and I'd have to take a break. However, because I think I'm finally understanding something, I'm going to post our conversations.

P.S. I'm beginning to think, when it comes to me, Therapist just might be a genius. Maybe.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Confused Again

When I talked with my sister on Tuesday I found out a number of things that are making me feel unusually emotional.
1. She knew I was being molested. She saw what was happening. She was nine. In her mind, I was grown up. She thought, because I made no move to stop it, that I was consenting. As an adult, she knew something should be said, but did not know how to procede.
2. She was never held or hugged by our mother after the age of 10 ( I believe I was 6 or 7 when I last remember being hugged by her). She longed to be held physically by our mother. I'm sure I must have felt the same feelings, but I don't remember.
3. Cousin David attempted to molest her, as well. She was afraid of him and ran away.
4. In her eyes, even as an adult, she sees me as larger and stronger. The truth is that she's six inches taller than I am and outweighs me by at least 20 pounds.
5. She is completely devoted to her husband and has always been attracted to him. In spite of this, she still feels sexual attraction to other women. The difference in our attractions is that hers are usually virtual (i.e. actresses on television or models in pictures) and mine are real people.

I'm not sure what to do with all this information. I keep thinking about the what-if's, which is completely pointless. In times like these I want so much to have everything taken away--abuse, SSA, sadness. There is so much futility in what I'm thinking and feeling.

I need to regroup and become strong again. I can't seem to stop being tired.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I haven't posted enough today

Darrin got his results from his last blood test today. His cholesterol is thirty points higher. His triglycerides are nearly 700. He has elevated stuff in his thyroid whatever. Nearly everything that should be lower is higher. I keep remembering that Darrin's father suffered his first heart attack at age 43. I keep remembering that his mother had quintuple bypass surgery at 59 and suffered heart failure on the operating table.

Sometimes I joke about what I'll do if Darrin dies. Truthfully, I really don't know. So I've decided he's not going to. Denial feels good.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

I get up and get ready to leave for home. Sister Three wants to talk. We chat for awhile. I tell her I'm gay. She tells me she's bisexual. All in all, a fairly interesting conversation.

I leave for home. The trip is uneventful. I arrive 30 minutes before my first piano student comes. I teach lessons for a couple of hours and then fix dinner.

I'm tired--in more ways than I can count. And for some very stupid reason which I can't figure out, I'm terribly sad.

Monday, April 2, 2007

I'm supposed to pick up AtP this morning. I go work out, then go to my room and shower. I'm getting ready when my mom shows up at my door insisting I join them for breakfast. I tell her I need to get ready because AtP has a deadline. She makes some comment about my needing to spend time with my daughter before she leaves me today, then something about being concerned about my eating disorder, and skillfully guilts me into joining them. I eat quickly and take the girls back to my room.

It takes too long to get the girls ready to go. There's a mix-up when I try to check out. I end up being nearly an hour late picking up AtP. He's very sweet and says nothing, but he misses his appointment because of me. I repay his kindness by spilling the truth about Bigoted Friend's Husband, and talk about my frustration with family. Ick!

AtP and I make a cake for a potluck at the Matis Home Evening, then go to meet some friends. We spend some time chatting with them--AtP is sort of excluded since we talk about our marriages. AtP and I leave and head for the Matis Home. We bring a very ugly cake (which tastes delicious but looks so bad). I meet many, many people. It's a fun evening.

I drive to Sister Three's house, arrive at midnight, and crash on her couch.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

I get up late and chat with Sister Four while our daughters go swimming. My dad comes to our room and we have breakfast together. He leaves and Sister Four and I go to the workout room. We watch conference while we work out. I believe if there were more opportunities to work out during church the membership would increase dramatically. Just a statistical thought.

Sister Four and I go back to our room where we take showers and she packs up to leave. Niece and Tabitha come to the room and take showers. Niece goes to Sister Three's house, Sister Four goes home, and Tabitha and I drive to downtown Salt Lake to meet AtP and go to conference. Parking is impossible. I sit through 10 light changes, then do a very illegal manoeuver and make it into the parking garage. Tabitha and I walk across temple square. I am very friendly and meet lots of people. Tabitha says, "Mom, you know everyone." I agree with her. We walk to AtP's apartment, then to the Conference Center. I embarrass AtP by talking to the anti-mormon guy with the sign. We stand in line. We make it to our seats in the balcony, but can't find my parents. We sit down. One of my former seminary students sits next to us. I hug him as Tabitha and I exit to use the bathroom.

When we come back from the bathroom, AtP is gone. We look for him. My mom finds us. Apparently she has stolen AtP. We have to go sit with her and my dad. AtP is already seated. I sit next to him. He asks if I will switch seats so he can hear me better, indicating his deaf ear. I'm not fooled. He's afraid of the large female seated next to him. I trade places with him because I love him. Large female takes all of her seat and part of mine. She's scary. I huddle next to AtP.

AtP and I are not reverent during conference. Tabitha is. She loves it. AtP and I pass notes and giggle. We see amazing sights. We hear nothing. I should not ever go to conference in the Conference Center again. I should not go anywhere with AtP ever again.

We wait until nearly everyone leaves the Conference Center. I"m supposed to go to Sister Three's house for dinner. I call and tell her we're not coming. AtP, Tabitha and I break the Sabbath and eat dinner at a restaurant. There's too much food.

I talk AtP into coming to Sister Three's house and meeting my family. He does. It's terrifying. We stay about an hour, leave Tabitha there to play and go visit more of my "gay friends" (complimentary quote from Sister One). We talk for awhile, then the Friends put on a movie. I stay a little longer, then leave for my hotel. I have Tabitha and Niece there. I need to be with them.

I stay up and play cards with Tabitha and Niece until 1:00 a.m. Tabitha wants to stay up longer. We fight because I insist she go to sleep. It's lovely. I turn the lights out and we all crash. Tonight I have my own bed.

I have decided that when I'm rich I will live at a Marriott. I love their beds.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

I wake my sister (sister number 4) up early. Our daughters are swimming in the hotel pool. I tell Sister 4 that I'm gay. I get up and go running. I'm at an elevation 4000 feet lower than that at which I live. I run for a very long time. Tabitha joins me in the workout room. My sister and niece have gone to the conference center with my parents. I'm supposed to pick up AtP and meet my friend/former roommate at her house for lunch after conference. I'm trying to place some support people a little closer to some of the young men I talk to. Support people (men) who can talk, hug, give blessings, etc. as needed. My friend's husband would be perfect. When I get back to my room there's a message for me. It's from Friend's husband. They've had more company come into town and will be spending the day with family--so no lunch meeting with them. Also, he's not sure he can provide what I've asked for my young gay friends. He has sons he doesn't want to expose to "that" and a son preparing for a mission--he doesn't want missionary son to have to deal with "that" either, and he's concerned that his children might be harmed.

I sit on the bed, very angry. I take deep breaths. I resist the impulse to call Friend's husband and tell him I'm as gay as the day is long, and that I lived for two years with his wife. The truth is, Friend's husband is not someone I would allow around my gay friends if he's as ignorant as all that. But I love Friend's husband and am having difficulty dealing with the fact that he's a bigot. I shower, dress and go find AtP.

AtP, Tabitha and I go shopping, then find a place to eat. We drive up to the Bountiful temple which I have never seen up close, then go to AtP's friend's house to watch conference. Tabitha falls asleep on the way, and I lose a contest of "Man or Woman?" to the ever gender-conscious AtP (I swear, if it wasn't for the full beard and mustache, she would have been a woman!). We watch the Saturday afternoon session of conference, which I hate because I'm still angry and because it's about a building, not the gospel.

I take Tabitha back to our hotel to go to meet with my sisters for our Priesthood session festivities, then I take AtP to his apartment where I proceed to shoot my mouth off and mess up his insides a lot. Good thing he ate while I talked. Receiving my counsel on an empty stomach could end up causing dry-heaves. I take AtP to a nearby Stake Center to watch Conference, and I go to meet my mom and sisters at a Denny's for dinner (I hate Denny's).

I meet my mom, three sisters, two young nephews, and five nieces. The nieces have their own table and are giggling loudly. I order something, eat it and promptly get sick. We leave and go to Walmart. I'm entrusted with the nieces and nephews to take them to the bathrooms. I lose them. The moms are mad at me so I go hunting for the nieces and nephews. I check the toy department. No blood-relative children there. Tolkien Boy calls while I'm checking shoes--where I don't find any children, but do find very ugly shoes which I describe to Tolkien Boy. I keep looking. I pass the hardware counter. On the stainless steel surface someone has placed a neon blue rubber duckie. Next to it is a neon pink duckie. Near both of them is a large sledge hammer. I pick up the hammer. I think about the duckies. I put the hammer down and walk away quickly. People should not put rubber duckies near sledge hammers. I find everyone at the checkout lane. The children are with their mothers who are no longer mad at me.

We go to my sister's (sister number 3) house where we chat and put together a puzzle. I'm asked to talk about my meeting with cousin David. I tell about it briefly. My oldest sister has written a letter to David in which she tells him he's the bane of the earth, evil of evils, and she never wants to see him again. I don't want her to send it. Apparently someone told her this. She asks me why I object. I tell her I don't want to allow David to enter into any discussion about the abuse. I don't want to hear his opinions or ideas. She says maybe he'll just want to talk to me and apologize. I think that's fine, but I don't want it to be because he receives a letter from her. She gets emotional. I have mentioned, when I recounted the incident, that I took TB with me. She wonders why I didn't take Darrin. I try to explain. She says it looks weird that I hang out with another, younger guy when I visited David. Then she starts talking about "all those gay guys you spend time with". Sister Three defends my choice to visit David with whomever I please. Sister Four defends my choice to spend time with "all those gay guys". Sister Four and I take our daughters and go back to the hotel. We get there around midnight.

Friday, March 30, 2007

We've been snowed in for two days now. The roads opened at 9:30 this morning and we left for Utah. I'm supposed to meet up with Loyalist and AtP around 3:30. I swear, every big rig in the U.S. has been stuck in our town since the snowstorm. I know this because they are all on I-80 going 5 mph. The meeting with friends is looking dismal.

Traffic finally picks up after about 30 minutes and we move along at 45 mph for awhile. It takes three hours to travel what usually takes us less than an hour. Then we reach the wonderful 75 mph that all Wyomingites know and love.

We pass my sister sitting on the wrong side of the freeway. I pull over and call her to find out what's wrong. Her rear passenger tire has blown. I leave the car, instruct my daughter and niece to stay put and lock the doors, wait for a break in 75 mph (those would be the slow ones) traffic, and make a mad dash across the freeway praying I'm not killed. My sister and I change the tire, still praying we won't die, as trucks pass and nearly blow us onto the freeway. Cars honk, no one stops to help. We are self-sufficient, finish changing the tire and drive to the nearest town, 45 miles away, at 50 mph (do the math). At this point there is no way I'm going to be able to meet AtP and Loyalist. I'll be lucky to make it to SLC in time for my business meeting at 8:00.

I leave the girls with my sister and travel on alone. Traffic is moving well. I make an hour's journey at 75 mph, and traffic comes to a full stop. I wait 30 minutes without moving. The two young men in the car in front of me get out and walk to my car. I lower the window a crack to see what they want. They say they've decided, if we're going to be here awhile, they'd like to get to know some people. They introduce themselves, I introduce myself, and we go meet the trucker to my left. He joins us and we meet more people. We all stand on the freeway, chatting. Someone brings food. A police officer instructs us to get back into our vehicles. The party is over.

Traffic moves at 5 mph for about 20 minutes. We take a detour past a freeway bridge on which sits a semi-truck with smoke billowing out of it, return to the freeway and I finish the trip to SLC at the proper speeds.

I pull into town at 7:30 and try to find my hotel without success. I find a deserted parking lot behind a construction company in downtown Salt Lake at which point I dry-shave my legs, change clothes, brush my hair, and redo my make-up so I can be all business-like for my dinner meeting. By the way, it is nearly impossible to zip up a straight skirt in a car seat. Stockings are a challenge, as well.

It's conference weekend. Finding a place to park is impossible. I'm supposed to meet my group at The Garden restaurant at the Joseph Smith Memorial Building. I finally find a place to park and reach the restaurant 10 minutes late. Dinner goes well. I make money. Life is back on track.

I leave dinner early and call AtP because he texts me and asks if I'm finished being a grown-up yet. I meet him at his friend's house, and meet his friends and El Veneno, too. We visit for awhile, I get Mapquest directions to my hotel, take AtP back to his apartment and arrive at my room around 1:00 a.m. My sister, daughter, and niece are sleeping. I get ready for bed, move my daughter to her side (she's sleeping cross-wise), and fall asleep. I spend the night being awakened by Tabitha who alternately talks, sits up, and kicks me.

It's been a very long day.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Rules For Attending Conference

In the Conference Center:

1. If you're somewhat large, please don't take half my seat, forcing me to cuddle with AtP (who is very cuddly, I'm sure, but this is neither the time nor the place.
2. No wearing ties with cows appliqued on them.
3. Even if you're husband and wife, you should not do things with your hand on your partner's inner thigh.
4. No picking your nose repeatedly throughout the session.
5. Think before wearing fake nails painted blue with large specks of glitter.
6. If you choose to wear above mentioned nails, don't text throughout the session--not only is it rude, it's ugly.
7. Check your cleavage spectacle before leaning over to make out with your male friend.
9. No wearing skirts with fruit printed on them--especially if you sit partially in my seat, forcing me to take part of AtP's seat.
10. If you bring candy (and it seems that everyone does), keep it in a non-metal container.
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