jadedmusings: (Writing)
Misty at Shakesville made a post to remind everyone that October isn't only Breast Cancer Awareness, it's also a month for Domestic Violence Awareness.

Something hit me I wasn't expecting to:

Physical Abuse It isn't "only" hitting, slapping, choking, shoving. It also is using the body to intimidate. Physical abuse is also causing fear and intimidation via punching holes in walls/doors and throwing objects. It is intentionally scaring a partner by driving unsafely. It is preventing a partner from leaving their home. [Underline Mine]

I suppose getting in someone's face and possibly yelling to cow them into backing down would count too. By the end of it all, there were several holes in the walls of the home I shared with Tofu. Most were from his fist during fights, or sometimes when he was mad at something else. Two were from thrown items. One hole in particular was from him throwing a dining room chair at the wall while fighting. He once destroyed a carpet sweeper after I managed to leave the house to get away from him for a couple of hours--he'd tried to stop me by switching to begging and crying and trying to wrap his arms around my legs, which brings me to the next thing, one I already knew.

Emotional Abuse It is real--not being hit or raped doesn't mean not being abused. Emotional abusers isolate their victims. Emotional abusers will use emotional blackmail, guilt, and shame to get victims to stay and may threaten suicide if they leave.

My mother can fit in here somewhat, but again, so does Tofu. Whenever I tried to talk about what was wrong, it always got back to how I was guilty of the same things. I could at least leave the house if I wanted because I was the only licensed driver (see above as to why that was laughable even though I bought into it at the time and felt endless amounts of guilt). Another strange thing was that I'd go to him for comfort and it'd always wind up that I was comforting him. Something about me became all about him. It never failed. I couldn't be the only one going through crap, he had it rough too.

I think the worst times were when he'd get really quiet. Sometimes I could see him trembling with rage, but most of the time he'd sit there and just, well, sit there. Eventually there'd be an explosion either with a thrown item or with him screaming, but it was the waiting for the explosion that always sucked.

And yet because Tofu never raped me or hit me, it's hard for me to feel like I have a right to talk about what happened in that house as abuse. Add in the fact that he was both slightly shorter and had a smaller frame, and I worry people would never believe he could physically intimidate me. Maybe he couldn't have if the foundation for male intimidation hadn't been laid for him by previous men. I guess that's why sometimes I look at Sam who is over six feet tall and considerably larger than Tofu or me and feel boggled that with him I feel safe. With him I don't worry about having a disagreement (well, not like I did with Tofu at least). I know even if we're mad that I won't have property destroyed around me and that he won't get in my face unless it's to hug or kiss me (when I'm receptive to it), and if I need comfort I get it.

I don't know why I'm sharing this. Maybe someone else can read it and feel, I don't know, like, "Hey, that's me," or, "I'm not alone." It's not exactly what I'd call comforting, though maybe it is in some way. And maybe there's a couple of people who will read this and go, "Aha, that explains a few things."

As far as the kiddo goes, I don't know how much he remembers. He was four when we finally moved out, and due to all the time I was spending with Dad that last year, things had sort of calmed down at home, but it was no less tense. His speech delay makes it difficult to have conversations about what happened long ago and what he remembers. Someday that'll change, but for now I can't really learn much. So far he doesn't seem to show any ill effects from it, but time will tell if he does remember and if he'll understand why I chose to leave his biological father.
jadedmusings: (Pagan - iHades)
I knew it was coming. As I said the other night (possibly filtered, don't know), Prissy had been slowing down over the last month or so. This past week she'd been sleeping more, though she was still eating and drinking (and fussing at me). Last night, she got up to get water and eat a little food, and then she went to lie back down and she let out this one brief yowl and I knew something happened. She still got up to get more water and eat, but there was just something different about her.

She slipped away this afternoon while I was out of the house. When I left, she was sleeping peacefully and purred a little when I petted her. I was planning to take her to a vet tomorrow (Monday) because I knew it was nearing the end as she spent all day today sleeping.

She was and always will be Dad's cat. I've only been taking care of her for the past almost three years until she was ready to go see him again. That sounds maudlin and probably silly to the atheists out there, but for my spiritual side it makes sense. She was there with him when he died, not leaving his side until they came to get his body.

I haven't cried yet. I will at some point this week when it hits me that she's not here. She's been part of my family since I was in middle school and I can't explain how great she was for Dad after he was forced to go on disability and later divorced Mom. It was always kind of like entering a bizarro dimension to see this tough ex-Marine who supposedly hated pets always fret over her and talk to her all the time. Whenever I went over to see him, there was inevitably a new story that began with, "Guess what Prissy did to me now," or "Prissy is mad because I didn't get up this morning to turn up the thermostat." (True story.) I noticed since moving here to North Carolina, that whenever I'd come home to Prissy fussing at me, I'd talk to her like he used to.

I don't know where she spent the first year or so of her life. I know we adopted her after some kind soul brought her into the vet's office after finding her at the lake with a fish hook in her upper lip. Their hope was that someone would take her in and give her a good home. I'd say for 16 or 17 years, she had a long haul. Prissy was the name Mom picked out for her, and she really lived up to it.

Anyway, enough rambling. I'll probably cry tomorrow or Wednesday. Kiddo didn't cry when I told him, but that was because I could tell he was fighting it. He's upset, he just doesn't want to show it (probably because I'm not yet). Going to call the landlord in the morning to ask where we might be able to bury her (it was already dark when we got home, so it's not possible to go out there tonight with the bears and the coyotes).
jadedmusings: (Supernatural - Worst Date Ever (Bobby's)
The LJ questions won't post here on DW, but this is one I wanted to have in both locations, because the story is important to me...and it's kind of funny in certain twisted ways.

What's the worst thing you ever did to a partner during the course of a relationship? Did you ever move beyond it?

Years ago, when I was young and very stupid (AKA my late teens/very early twenties), I cheated on a partner. Twice. Physically, it was only once, and it never went beyond kissing because that guy was a terrible kisser and a biter who liked to bite with no warning and nearly split my lower lip in two. The other time it was purely online with another woman (more role-play than anything serious), but it still counted as cheating to him and that's what counts.*

That relationship was horrible and my needs weren't being met either emotionally or physically, but that doesn't excuse what I did. I was unhappy and pretty damn miserable. I think I tried talking to my partner at the time, but I lacked much in the way of communication skills. That, and that boyfriend was...well, a jerk at times. I've faced similar problems in relationships since him, but now I actually talk and am not afraid to say, "This aspect isn't working for me. What can we both do to try and find some middle ground?"

I'm not saying that me having better communication skills would have helped that relationship any. Knowing more about myself, my wants and needs, and knowing that the problem didn't 100% lie with me as to why I was unhappy would have helped me leave a hell of a lot sooner. It was a three-year relationship that lasted three years too long.

And yes, I'm still in the wrong for cheating.

* = He also thought my godawful lesbian erotica writing was cheating on him in some way, even though I was just writing stories and had no actual experience (woe). He wasn't supposed to know about it, but he'd snooped on my computer which is how he found out about the online cheating (and blamed it on the cat; no, really) and read it. Apparently that hurt him too, and I was a horrible person for writing about...completely fictional people.
jadedmusings: (NCIS - Ziva Never Broken)
What's included in quotes is not attributed to any single individual. I have heard these arguments made time and time again from more people than I care to count, and the problems with such statements are discussed on a variety of feminist and progressive blogs. You are quite welcome to disagree with me, to dismiss me, whatever, but again, this is my life and my opinions will not change because I've experienced this and I've spent a lifetime learning so much about this. This is something I'm passionate about, but at the same time it's difficult for me to discuss without becoming emotionally involved, so chances are I'm not going to engage in debate much over this. I'm putting this out there not to argue, but to offer my experience and to maybe help others understand why just getting help isn't as cut and dried as doing. In short, I've said my piece with this and the previous post and I'm done for the night, perhaps for a long time. I won't fight anymore than this.

I've talked about the idea of whether a person chooses to be happy or unhappy and how such a notion is wrong in the context of mental illness. Now I want to expand on that and address the concept of choosing happiness or misery in the form of choosing to get help and how sometimes that's just not an option for some people.

Some reading this are going to claim I'm naive, that I'm ignorant of the fact that there are people out there who are just miserable assholes who live to suffer and don't get help because they're selfish/spoiled/whatever.

No, I'm not naive. I'm compassionate. At thirty years old I have spent the past twenty-six years witnessing the effects of mental illness on others and on myself. I also have had quite a bit of experience in the realm of psychiatric care as both a patient and a family member of a patient. I've also realized that we don't all live on an equal playing field and I have had the privilege of access to decent care. I do know a little bit about which I speak, so don't waste my time and yours if all you can say after this is that I'm just being a stupid idiot or a bleeding heart who just doesn't understand the reality of life. No, this is my reality. I have lived it.

Read more... )
jadedmusings: (NCIS - Ziva Never Broken)
What's included in quotes is not attributed to any single individual. I have heard these arguments made time and time again from more people than I care to count, and the problems with such statements are discussed on a variety of feminist and progressive blogs. You are quite welcome to disagree with me, to dismiss me, whatever, but again, this is my life and my opinions will not change because I've experienced this and I've spent a lifetime learning so much about this. This is something I'm passionate about, but at the same time it's difficult for me to discuss without becoming emotionally involved, so chances are I'm not going to engage in debate much over this. I'm putting this out there not to argue, but to offer my experience and to maybe help others understand why just getting help isn't as cut and dried as doing. In short, I've said my piece with this and the following posts and I'm done for the night, perhaps for a long time. I won't fight anymore than this.

Over on another Social Network Far, Far Away, there's been talk about finding happiness/being happy and whether or not this is a choice people can actively make. In other words, do people choose to be miserable and/or ignore opportunities for happiness?

When the subject came up, it wasn't in a mental illness/mental health context, but it's honestly hard for me to view this question outside of that context because I dealt with so much bullshit surrounding this question. (However, I think even in the absence of mental illness I can't say that people actively choose misery over happiness, I really can't.) I wish I had a nickel for every time I heard, "You need to smile more," "You need to just cheer up," "Listen to happier music," "Eat peanut butter" (true story), "Just think happier thoughts/Be more positive," "Say positive things in front of a mirror," etc. I wish there was a stadium big enough for everyone who thinks this about Depression and other mental illness so that I could sit there and scream into a microphone over and over that IT'S. NOT. THAT. EASY.

I'm not sure what's more depressing: That people believe this stuff or that I actively tried doing all those things hoping it would work, that I could be Fixed (as if I'm some piece of machinery that's in need of repair) or Cured(TM). If it really was a question of just thinking more positively or putting on a happy face, there'd be a whole lot of therapist/psychiatrists out of work and I'd have been the Queen of Happy-Land in high school. If I'd had a choice between contemplating suicide, feeling hopeless to the point that I couldn't stop crying, or feeling happy or at least comfortable with my life, I'd have chosen the latter in a heartbeat.

Read more... )
jadedmusings: (NCIS - Ziva Never Broken)
Note: I'm waffling between keeping this post public, filtering it, or making it private. I think, though, that it should be public because there are a couple of people who don't have an LJ or DW account who might need to see this, so this will be public.

I haven't talked any about my New Year's/birthday weekend, mostly because I've been recovering from it and trying to get back into the swing of things with the kiddo returning to school and all that. (Man, it was only two weeks, but boy it's easy to fall out of a routine.)

I had an amazing New Year's Eve with Sam's family. I finally got to meet his uncle and a couple of other family friends he's wanted to introduce me to for quite some time now, and they were all very lovely people. Sam's father's band put on an amazing set and I heard them cover everything from Pink Floyd, the Beatles, to Toad the Wet Sprocket, and Counting Crows, plus a few original songs in there too, one of which was adapted from a poem Sam's mother wrote several years ago. (Seriously, his family? So talented it's freaky.) This was my first honest to goodness New Year's Eve party. I mean, sure I've done get together's with my father's friends when I was a kid, but this was the first time I was in a bar with a large-ish crowd with live entertainment in a bar/restaurant. Yes, I turned 30 at midnight, and it was my first real party.

My birthday itself was awesome too. Sam's family put together a dinner of finger foods and gave the kiddo and me our belated Christmas presents, and then I was given birthday presents. That last part? Overwhelming. Looking back, I think I should have thanked them more than I did, but I was speechless. My gifts were amazing, and really the first time since I was a teenager that I had an actual party with more than just my parents giving me gifts. I felt guilty because I haven't been able to get Sam's family any gifts yet, though I plan to remedy that soon -- and I realize this looks like I'm doing this out of obligation, but no, I'd planned on gifts before this. It was the best birthday I've had in years, maybe a decade or more, and...well, I simply don't have the words.

And then I woke up Sunday morning and sobbed for an hour straight while Sam comforted me.

Some of it was this anxiety that's come upon me out of nowhere, and some of that combined with the grief of another holiday and birthday without my father around. But thinking back on it, I think what really moved me to that moment, what pushed me over that edge, was what Sam's family did for me.

Someone else's family did something nice for me, spent time and money on me, and then told me that I was part of their family and they welcomed me. And it undid me.

I try not to talk about my past relationship experiences too much. It's sounds like I'm whining and complaining and going, "Woe is me, nobody loves me." Really, that's not my intention, it simply is what's happened. That, and I know I'm loved now even if I wasn't cared about then. I don't like admitting that my college boyfriend's mother hated me so much she tried to forbid her twenty year-old son from seeing me. She flat out told him that if he ever wanted to marry me, she'd drag him off to meet other women who would be much better than me. She broke into his e-mail account and read some very private e-mails that were only supposed to be between me and her (remember, he was an adult) son. She even threatened to pull him out of college at the very last minute because she hated me so damn much, and this was based off one meeting. Oh, and she never apologized for that, never made an effort to admit she may have made a mistake, and yet it was my fault for holding a grudge. Would you want to spend time around a woman who openly and unapologetically admitted to hating you? Damn right I never spoke to her again for the three years I was with her son.

As for Tofu's mom, she invaded my privacy in a horrible way (that I only found out after I was up in Maine and pregnant) by posing as someone she wasn't and getting my then-landlord to share extremely private information about me. She threw her daughter an amazing baby shower with tons of gifts and guests, and then I got a card, potted plant, and a family dinner with just Tofu's immediate family when it was my turn. So, I never even had a baby shower despite the fact I was as dirt poor as her daughter and lacked anything in the way of baby clothes, furniture, and well, everything. I never received any gifts from them, not that I expected I deserved any. And since we moved, the kiddo never received so much as a birthday card from them and only gets the occasional gift from his father on Christmas and his birthday. The entire time I was with Tofu I don't recall him giving me one gift at all, not even a handmade card.

I'll spare you the stories of my own extended family's treatment of not just me, but of everyone else. Suffice to say, I've never exactly been welcomed with open arms into anyone's family. My reaction to Sam's family has been one of utter shock and amazement. They've been so wonderful to me and I don't know how to tell them that. Yeah, yeah, I can say "thank you," but those two little words are so small and insignificant compared to what I feel. If they'd ignored me, pushed me away, and treated me like crap, I'd honestly have been okay with it because that's my expectation. It might have even been easier than this. What's happened now, I don't know how to react to it, and it's not the gifts. They could have skipped on the gifts entirely and I'd still be sitting here gobsmacked by how much they've offered me, how they've tried to include me into the family, and how much they've taken to the kiddo and how much love they've already shown him, and he's not even their blood.

I've spent most of my life feeling like and being told I wasn't good enough. I wasn't good enough for previous boyfriends' families, even when I had a child with one of them, and the fact that my son is their blood doesn't matter to them because, hey, he's still mine. Dad's friends forgot about me as soon as his body was in the ground, and they said I was a selfish bitch and probably think I just wanted his money, never mind the fact that no one ever asked me what was going on in my life (or that they even knew what it was like to live with him). I'm no better than the shit they scrape off their shoe. I've believed everyone and accepted the barest minimum of politeness from the people in my life. Who the hell am I to ask for me? Even now, I'm in this weird position of feeling like "Finally, I'm respected and wanted," and going, "I don't deserve this, any of it." And I'm tearing up while I type this and damnit, I hate that because I rarely cry. Sunday morning was the first time I've cried that hard for that long in years.

People are loving and supportive around me, and I simply don't know how to handle it, I don't know how to show my gratitude. I don't know how to react to hearing my boyfriend say not that he's there for me should I fall apart, but that they're there for me and the kiddo. And for the first damn time in my life, the first time in 30 years, I actually mostly believe it.

I'm sorry I didn't say it Saturday because I was simply too overwhelmed (and dealing with severe anxiety on top of all that, but that's neither here nor there for the moment), but I feel like I can say it here as I'm better at writing out what I'm feeling instead of saying it in person. Thank you so much, for everything. Even the Christmas shopping meant so much to me. I'm sorry I'm not better at this, but I'm trying to learn.

Lyric Spam

Dec. 31st, 2010 04:39 pm
jadedmusings: (Default)
As I mentioned, I'm dealing with some Stuff from the past and that means processing a lot of things in preparation of letting it go. Music is often great therapy for this, somewhat because sometimes the things I can't put into words are said much more beautifully by those far more talented with language than me. So really what I'm saying is not to read anything into this. I just like the song and it speaks to me about things from my own past.

There. Now I have to hurry up and get my shower in so I can make myself all pretty for tonight. (Stop laughing.)

"S.O.S (Anything But Love)"
Apocalyptica feat. Christina Scabbia

Bound to your side I’m trapped in silence
Just a possession
Is this sex or only violence
That feeds your obsession?
You send me to a broken state
Where I can take the pain just long enough
Then I am numb - Then I just disappear

So go on infect me
Go on and scare me to death
Tell me I ask for it
Tell me I’ll never forget
You could give me anything but love
Anything but love

Does it feel good to deny
Hurt me with nothing
Some sort of sick satisfaction
You get from mind fucking

Stripped down to my naked core
The darkest corners of my mind are yours
That’s where you live
That’s where you breathe

So go on infect me
Go on and scare me to death
Dare me to leave you
Tell me I’ll never forget
You could give me anything but love
Anything but love

Without any faith
Without any light
Condemn me to live
Condemn me to lie
Inside I am dead

So go on infect me
Go on and scare me to death
I’ll be the victim
You’ll be the voice in my head
You could give me anything but love
Anything but love
Anything but love
Anything but love
jadedmusings: (NCIS - Tony New Slashfic)
Day 19 - Something I Regret

Oh, there's plenty I regret. Not finishing college for one (even though I had something of a good reason for dropping out). I regret getting a perm in fourth grade and again in ninth grade (you'd think I'd learn). I regret that I let other people's opinions of me, real and imagined, keep me from trying out more things in high school and college. I regret I stayed with my college boyfriend for as long as I did and I allowed myself to accept being his dirty little secret for so long. So, yeah, there's a lot of things I regret.

But I don't let those things keep me from planning my life.

I can go back to school. Maybe it won't be for the sorts of degrees I was initially planning to get, but I can still get a higher education so long as I'm still breathing. I can't change the bad hairstyles or go back and fix my dating life, but those don't things don't matter now except for the wisdom they give me not to repeat my mistakes.

One of the wisest things my friend Deec ever told me shortly after we first met was, "It's impossible to live a life without any regrets. The best you can do is minimize the amount you'll have." It's something I still believe and bear in mind when life throws me those delightful curveballs.

The Meme )
jadedmusings: (NCIS - Abby Unbelievable)
Feeling a bit better today. Spending several hours in bed probably helped with that. Also, the kiddo is at an afterschool Thanksgiving-related event so I get another couple of hours before I have to head out to get him. Anyway, time to catch up on the meme.

Day 17 - My Favorite Memory (Yeah, I know the meme uses the British spelling, but it's my right as an American to be as obnoxious as possible.)

It's hard to pick out a favorite memory given that I'm dealing with one of my depressive episodes and going through Stuff(TM), but that's the "joy" of living with a brain that doesn't function properly.

The one thing that pops into my mind is my first clear memory of my father. I mean, I know stuff happened before this memory, but it's the first one I recall with as much detail as I do. It was the first time he took me fishing (or what I think was the first time; it's quite possible he took me fishing before then). I was probably about four years old. I remember him teaching me about watching for the floater to go under water, helping me set the hook, and, when we were all done, we laid the fish out on the bank and he taught me about the different species of fish (pretty sure we caught some birch and maybe a carp, but I could be completely wrong -- I was four, what do you want?). Then we went home and he prepared the fish for dinner all the while telling my mother how great I did.

We went fishing and even hunting together many times after that when I was young, but that's still my favorite memory.

Day 18 - My Favorite Birthday

Oh boy. I have an unpleasant history with birthdays and incredibly bad luck when it comes to them. To give you an idea of how bad, two days before my sixteenth birthday, my then-boyfriend ran over and killed my dog. I almost missed my seventh birthday at McDonald's because I had the chicken pox. The doctors cleared me for contact with the outside world just in time to save it, but I was still visibily healing and so the other kids and their parents were all kind of "Um, do not want" around me. My thirteenth birthday was the day I got my first period, and let me say there's nothing like going into the bathroom and having to call for your mom while your two friends are outside wondering what's happening. Awkward.

While no pets have died and I haven't had any major illnesses around my birthday since then (knock on wood), they haven't exactly gotten better. My birthdays are typically met with dread because of this. Add to it that my birthday is on New Year's Day and you see why it's kind of hard to plan around friends' plans since everyone wants to party December 31 and January first is when they're recovering from hangovers.

I guess if I had to pick, I'd say my twenty-seventh birthday was my favorite, even if there were some some awkward emotional moments. It was the first time I met Sam in person, and we spent three pretty awesome nights together (and not awesome for the reason's you're thinking, perverts). I even got to see Sweeny Todd in theaters with him.

The Meme )
jadedmusings: (Supernatural - Worst Date Ever (Bobby's)
Day 16 - My First Kiss

My first kiss was also my first love. At fifteen years old, I felt as though I was the only girl in my class who hadn't been kissed. Even my father made a mocking comment about being "Almost-sixteen and never been kissed." It was mid-October 1996 when I started really dating Dark-Haired Boy. We'd shared a couple of pecks on the lips and cheeks, but I still hadn't had my French kiss.

One weekend afternoon we were at his house watching movies and sitting on the couch. Well, being 15 and 17, we snuggled and started to kiss. He was very aware that I'd never been kissed before, that I was nervous as hell, and that I feared being really bad at it. Thankfully, Dark-Haired Boy took it slow and before I knew it, I had my first real kiss.

And I hated it.

Yes, me of all people hated her first kiss. In fact, I was pretty much convinced that I was never ever, ever, ever going to do that again. It wasn't that he was a bad kisser -- far from it. Sure, I've had better since, but he totally wasn't bad at it, and not that I knew any better being a kissing virgin and all. It was simply that I wasn't accustomed to having someone else's tongue in my mouth and, well, I'd built up this idea of what a kiss should be like in my head, and as usual real life wasn't quite like the fantasy. About the only good thing I can say about it is that at least it wasn't as disasterous as my first attempt at sex.

Three weeks later, when he was dropping me off at home, I turned the tables, took charge, and kissed him. For some reason, I really enjoyed it then and I learned just how intimate a kiss could feel. Needless to say, I changed my mind about kissing and to this day I find I still enjoy making out quite a bit.

The Meme )
jadedmusings: (NCIS - Ziva Never Broken)
Day 14 - My Education

This is a bit of a sore subject for me, so I'll be brief. I was the honor student everyone hated in high school, though I didn't ever really apply myself as hard as I could have so I wasn't valedictorian either. Still, I graduated in the top 20 of my high school, which was an accomplishment considering quite a few ahead of me went on to Ivy League or close-to-Ivy-League schools. Me, I went to the University of South Carolina (which is actually an excellent school) and dropped out after three years, never even maintaining C average. Then I went off to Maine and got knocked up (yes, I am being a bit facetious here, though I did get pregnant obviously).

Shit happened in my life around my junior and senior years of high school. My home life was beyond stressful, school had always been sheer hell thanks to my peers, and then right out of high school I was dating an asshole and sincerely believed I could do no better. Things got worse after I went to college, and pretty much, I mentally fell apart. A decade-plus removed from the situation, I can look back on it and be amazed that I held it together for as long as I did and also wonder why no one in my life, teachers or family, thought to question why it is that someone who normally did so well in school was starting to come apart. I can only guess they figured I somehow lost a massive amount of my intelligence and/or just wasn't as smart as I'd shown myself to be for, oh, the past twelve years or so. I had no support. None. Even so, the fact that I never finished college (and did so poorly at it) is something that I'm still ashamed of and hope to one day remedy, but for right now I've had to focus on other stuff like raising my son, helping take care of dying relatives, and basically be a support system for everyone else but myself.

Uh, yeah, that's part of why I moved this year, to finally start fixing the things that I can and coming to terms with what I can't repair. Also, I still have a bit of anger to process over the people who were supposed to be there for me utterly failing at that on every possible level.

The Meme )
jadedmusings: (BtVS - Buffy does not approve)
Day 03 - Your Parents

Well, this is going to be a short entry. Maybe.

Really, there isn't a whole lot to say about my parents, at least not a lot that I'll speak about publicly with too much detail. It's not hard to look through this journal or to read comments I've made to learn a bit about them.

My father passed away two years ago from pancreatic cancer. He was an ex-Marine who worked for eighteen years at a chemical plant until a (fourth) back injury forced him into early retirement and onto disability. He had been a chronic pain sufferer for years even before that final fall at work (which was the fault of a contractor doing some work at the plant). Our relationship was kind of a weird one, and if you knew my father, you'd wonder how the hell it was we were related. He was a staunch neo-conservative and would probably be a member of the Tea Party had it been around when he was alive. I dreaded traveling anywhere with him between the hours of twelve and three on a weekday because it meant listening to Rush Limbaugh.

Okay, maybe this was longer than I thought. )

The Meme )
jadedmusings: (Default)
Day 02 - Your First Love

One day, when I was in sixth grade, I was hanging out in the library, I think, during some sort of break. It might have been after school while I waited for some activity or other to begin. Either way, there were a couple of eighth graders there as well and one of them was known by someone in my class. About four of us sat down at a table to play a hand of cards, though I think I was more observing. One of the eighth graders caught my eye, mostly because he had black hair and was really pale (you're shocked by this, I know). He was kind of sullen and I suppose I picked up on the fact that he'd suffered at the hands of some popular kids too, but he still managed to be a little funny. I thought he was pretty cool and I found out he'd just moved to town that year, but other than that I didn't learn much about him. I remember this was toward the end of the year, so we got our yearbooks and I found his name mostly out of curiosity, and then, seeing as he went on to the high school and I had two more years before I got there, I kind of put him out of my mind.

Fast-forward to eighth grade. I was able to join the high school marching band when we got a new band director. Now, seeing as I've always been a geek, getting into the marching band had me stoked beyond belief. It was the entire reason I joined band because I'd loved the marching band concept ever since I went to my first high school football game in elementary school. My father would later say I jumped about ten feet off the ground and squealed excitedly when I got a letter in the mail telling me to get ready for band camp. (Why yes, I've always been a dork. Why ever do you ask?)

Anyway, over the course of the season I got to know one of the girls who played the xylophone on the sideline. She was a senior and her brother was a sophomore. Her brother was, you guessed it, that boy I'd been so intrigued by in sixth grade. He'd since let his hair grow out and I heard he was on the yearbook staff, a photographer. (I can hear the chorus of, "Neeeerrrrdssss!" now.) I never saw much of him, but I thought he was kind of cute and was, again, intrigued by him. His sister was totally awesome to me and to this day I miss her. Again, I put him out of my mind because, well, after the marching band season was over, I reverted back to being in the middle school band.

Oh, it gets dorkier. )

The Meme )
jadedmusings: (Default)
Because this seemed appropriate given that for some of us this is a time of remembering those who have departed this plane/world/life.

"Dante's Prayer"
Loreena McKennitt

When the dark wood fell before me
And all the paths were overgrown
When the priests of pride say there is no other way
I tilled the sorrows of stone

I did not believe because I could not see
Though you came to me in the night
When the dawn seemed forever lost
You showed me your love in the light of the stars

Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me

Then the mountain rose before me
By the deep well of desire
From the fountain of forgiveness
Beyond the ice and the fire

Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me

Though we share this humble path, alone
How fragile is the heart
Oh give these clay feet wings to fly
To touch the face of the stars

Breathe life into this feeble heart
Lift this mortal veil of fear
Take these crumbled hopes, etched with tears
We'll rise above these earthly cares

Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me
Please remember me
jadedmusings: (Writing)
Read this post on bullying. Read it now.

They [Coy dogs] don't actually bite the prey all that much. A nip at the heels, a few ambitious leaps to worry shoulders, haunches, beefy necks. They don't have to. Once the blood starts running, all they have to do is keep the prey moving, moving, moving, until exhaustion and fear do their magic. It doesn't take long. The point will come where the prey doesn't have the strength to fight anymore. The hooves that should kick away, flinty hooves that can crush a skull, if the strength is there, do not have the strength. It's over, the coy dogs have won, and the end of the game is as much surrender as capture -- even fighting to the last, the prey's been run too hard, too long, to win.

That is what bullying is. Pure and simple, what we're seeing is humanity taking on that coy dog aspect. No one person has to do that much -- what's a comment? what's a shove? what's possessions trashed, families threatened, rumors started, video shared? It is the aggregate effect that kills, the preponderance of hate, delivered daily, hourly, inescapably. Animalistic behavior, the basics of human decency abandoned for the thrill of the chase, the toxic exhilaration of pursuit -- and above all, the embrace of the group, the knowledge that you have a place in the pack. You don't have to do so much, really. Take a turn in point position, if you've the stomach for it, but that's not even truly necessary. All you have to do is hiss little comments. Or laugh. Or look away and do nothing.

Someone in the comments argued that bullies "move on" or "get bored" (said comment has been redacted and commenter has apologized and listened to differing view points -- a virtual miracle when it comes to the Internet). The trouble is, as others pointed out, an individual bully might move on and/or get bored, but other bullies are always there to take hir place. To use [livejournal.com profile] cbpotts's analogy, once you've been marked/cut, there's no getting the scent of blood off you.

The few times I recall standing up to my tormentors, I was punished in some way. I was told I was rude, I was being unfair, or I was being emotional and there was no need to cry about whatever event set me off. The onus was on me to be nice, to be polite, and ever forgiving (that's what Jesus would do anyway). The one time the school administration did anything (when they pretty much had to or else I was going to file theft charges for money stolen from my wallet), the bullies' friends threatened me and acted like I was in the wrong for having my money stolen. One of those friends was the principal's own daughter.

Adults in my life, particularly my parents, told me they weren't adult issues and I should get over it. I was told, "It won't last forever," and it was hinted that maybe one day I'd look back on all this and laugh. Yes, nearly twelve years out of high school and I'm still waiting for the laughter.

The problem with telling children to wait it out or saying "it gets better" is that it never addresses what's happening right now in that child's life. It gives the bullies a sort of silent permission to continue bullying and tormenting without punishment because, hey, you won't always be a kid forever and we'll all grow up to be adults. Never mind that to a child facing down how ever many years are left of school filled with torture, death seems preferable. Speaking from experience, if you talked to sixteen year-old me, I'd flat-out tell you that my life was hopeless. Truth is, I'm only still here now because one day I couldn't remember the combination to my father's gun safe. I was fifteen years old then, starting my sophomore year of high school. What's even scarier is that I had been contemplating suicide since I was thirteen.

Thirteen. Young teens grappling with suicidal thoughts at thirteen, sixteen, or even eighteen should not be considered a normal part of childhood development. Yet, we almost treat it as such. We treat bullying as a given, that those unable to fight back, unable to keep from succombing to that desire to end it all are weak-willed and maybe deserved to die because they're cowards. And always, always we tell kids to get over it, that it'll get better, but there's very little done to address the bullies and tormentors. They almost always get off scot-free.

Being called a lesbian in a crowded cafeteria during a high school debate meet with students from schools around the state in a very conservative area of the country was terrifying, especially when it wasn't unusual to hear threats against people who were "different" than the norm. I was so scared rumors that I might be gay would fly out around my small town thanks to the jerks from my school. My very homophobic father might have caught wind of it, and if he'd believed it, I'm not sure I can say he would be terribly accepting. (He went to his grave never knowing I'm bisexual, nor does my mother know my sexuality if only because I present as straight given I'm in a heterosexual relationship currently.)

That's the reality for kids facing down bullying. And you don't always get over it as soon as you're out of high school. I'm better than I was, but I'll always bear the scars. I'll never forget being told I was worthless, that I should kill myself, that no one would ever want me or love me. I won't ever forget it because it still shocks me when I hear my boyfriend tell me he loves me. Tell me he cares. When others tell me I mean something to them.

Life did get better, but it took a very long time for that to happen. It's only now, at nearly thirty years old, that I can say things are better, that I'm happy. But just because I eventually turned out okay doesn't mean it's acceptable for children to continue tormenting other children. I didn't escape unscathed and I was one of the luckier ones all things considered.

Bullying is not okay and there needs to be accountability. It's as simple as that.
jadedmusings: (Default)
[Trigger Warning]

Just when I think humans can't shock me any further than they already have, someone inevitably has to prove me wrong.

A twelve year-old girl is raped by a fourteen year-old boy while at school. One witness fled to find help and another witness attempted to intervene on the girl's behalf. The fourteen year-old has been charged with felony sexual assault. While all this is truly depressing, this isn't the bad part.

Here's the bad part: School employees defend teen accused of rape

Nevermind the victim pointing the finger and calling it rape. Nevermind the two witnesses - students at the same school - who actually saw it and went to get help/physically stopped the fourteen year-old. Let's just assume for a moment that the employees in question have a reason for defending the teenager, for saying "Oh, not him! He could never!"

"If she was being raped, why didn't she scream?" Dones asks. "Why did these students have to come up and tell us that somebody's down there?"

Mustapha Cannon says, "It was hormones going wild."

Cannon is another full-time site supervisor at Portola and says, "I know the girl and I know the guy. I know... and I know the girl's family. I know for a fact that that girl could've knocked that guy out with one hand tied behind her back."

Notice no one is even denying he was assaulting her. Immediately the adults are pointing the finger back at the girl and saying "Why didn't you scream? Why didn't you fight back? You're just scared to admit you really wanted to be held down and fucked."

What pisses me off is that even another fucking child could see that what was happening was not consensual. Not just one, but two, and one of them risked coming to harm himself/herself to save the young woman being raped. The children know it was wrong, but the adults, the authority figures at the school are standing up for the perpetrator and claiming it was "hormones."

And you fucking wonder why she didn't call out for help? You wonder why she didn't fight back? Seriously?! Maybe, just maybe she already knew your answer. She knew you'd call her a liar. She knew you'd tell her she wanted it, that she consented to it, and she knew it was hopeless.

I was never raped at school, thank deity, but I was sexually harassed in middle school. I can't recall one week that passed when some part of my body wasn't touched against my will for my entire sixth grade year, and though it lessened in seventh and eighth grades, I was still harassed and touched. No, I didn't tell anyone what was happening. Know why? I was told "boys will be boys," and that I should take it as a compliment that they wanted to touch my body. It was a compliment to have my ass pinched and my breasts groped. They must have really liked me to one day corner me and a friend at school, push up against the wall and only permit us to leave once their hands had fondled a breast or buttock. It was their way of flirting.

I learned at eleven years old that my body was not mine. My breasts and ass were theirs to touch, to be admired, to be commented on. If they wanted to touch me, I had to consent, otherwise it got worse, or...well, let's just say I played along because I didn't want to imagine what was worse.

It never once ocurred to me to tell anyone what was happening. I knew I didn't like what was going on, but I was embarassed to talk to my mother about it, and forget talking to my dad about my body. My mother told stories of boys hitting girls and running away in her day, or pulling on pigtails to show affection. My friends who were harassed alongside me told me the ring leader was older and that he liked us. It was funny, though looking back I now realize her laughter was forced and she was trying to convince herself as much as I was that being liked by boys this way was a good thing. Didn't we all want to be pretty and have boyfriends later? Plus, they were older than us, that made us more grown up, right? Fighting back? Yeah, maybe I could have taken on one or two of them, but if I'd hit them hard enough to leave a mark, or in front of a teacher, I'd have gotten in trouble and suspended. Plus, I was a good girl. The straight-A student. I wasn't supposed to fight. I was too smart and too sweet for that. Too good.

I was eleven/twelve years old. What did I know about sex, relationships, and physical boundaries? I barely understood the menstrual cycle at that point, what the fuck would I know about sexual gratification (of others)? All I did know then was that I didn't like what they did to me - that it made me feel sick to my stomach to be touched, and that these days I rarely hug people who are not my son or my boyfriend. I can't even tell you the last time I initiated a hug with my own mother. But, whatever, right? Boys will be boys!

And you wonder why a girl, trapped in a stairwell, forced down against her will and raped never thought to scream. Maybe she didn't know, or maybe he threatened to do worse to her if she told anyone. Maybe it wasn't the first time, either. Chew on that next time before you start blaming a child for her own rape.
jadedmusings: (Default)
I know I've brought this up before, or maybe I've only told Sam about it, but about eight or nine years ago there was a double homicide at the Sonic here in town. I was in my second year of college when it happened, and I was an acquaintance of both murder victims (I graduated high school with one's older sister, and the other I knew through my then best friend). They were both only seventeen years old, and their lives were cut tragically short by a gun fired by a fifteen year-old boy whose only motivation was to get his final paycheck after he'd been fired earlier in the week.

There was a third young man there that night. I didn't know him, but I knew who he was from my yearbook and from a friend or two pointing him out in the past. He was sixteen at the time, and somehow he survived a bullet wound to the head, played dead, and went an hid in the bathroom after his two friends were killed right next to him. It was too dangerous to remove the bullet, and he's since gone through life suffering permanent physical and psychological damage.

I mention all of this because I found out today that the one survivor of that horrible night died of an accidental prescription drug overdose this week and his funeral was today. His family and friends said he never recovered from that night, though he tried, and he was on medications to ease anxiety and other symptoms of PTSD and I assume pain medication since the bullet probably aggravated many things. He leaves behind a two year-old daughter and many family and friends, most all of whom were close to the other victims as well.

I wish there was something I could say, something deep and profound, but all I can think about is the emptiness I felt the night I heard of the deaths, and the sorrow that someone so young could be so full of anger at the world that he had to take two souls out, and now a third dies from the effects of one boy's actions. And that boy has lost his life as well. He was a black boy and his victims were all white, and if he had been just a year or two older, he'd be facing the death penalty, but he was spared by a Supreme Court ruling that effectively outlawed applying the death penalty to juveniles delivered not long before he pulled the trigger. As it stands, he will likely never be released from prison, and sometimes I admit I can't quite convince myself that's a bad thing for someone so broken - and the progressive/bleeding heart liberal inside of me cringes at those feelings. I know he'll never receive any sort of quality psychiatric counseling - not that anyone gives a damn because of his crimes. Hell, how would you even begin to fix this? It goes deeper than just murder. It speaks volumes about race, culture, and all those nasty little things we like to sweep under the rug or joke about being "too PC." Hey, it's almost 2010. Aren't we past this bullshit yet? No. Not by a long shot.

One day my son is going to ask me about the ugliness in the world and he'll ask me how it is one person's actions can destroy so many lives, and why there isn't more done to stop it. I'd like to think I'll have more to offer him than "I don't know," but I know I never will.

May all the families affected by that night find peace and a way to heal their pain, and may S finally find the peace life denied him.
jadedmusings: (Default)

Gwen January(?) 2000 - July 13, 2009

Eight years ago, around June of 2001, I was at PetSmart in Columbia, South Carolina, with my then-boyfriend. They had cats up for adoption as part of the company's program to find homes for homeless pets. There weren't many cats there at all, in fact I only saw a little gray kitten when I first went in to find myself a companion. I asked to hold the kitten, and while he was absolutely adorable, he was a bit too active for me and I feared he would be the sort to climb on things when I wasn't around. I returned him to the volunteer and was about to leave when my boyfriend said, "Hey, there's a cat over here."

I looked at the kennel he was pointing to, and a beautiful calico cat took one look at me as if to say, "You're taking me home today. I'm going back to sleep, ok now?" She turned her head back and promptly went back to sleep and I immediately told the volunteer, "I'll take that one." And that was how Gwen came into my life.

Gwen was there for me after my break-up with that boyfriend, and she was there through the therapy that came after said break-up and my parents' separation and divorce. She even made sure that I went to sleep in my bed as opposed to the couch in the living room, as odd as that sounds. She pretty much helped me hold it together at a time when everything else in my life was falling apart. She moved with me up to Maine to be with Tofu, she was there when I had a baby, and she returned with me back to South Carolina.

After Dad passed away last year, I moved into his house and left Gwen with Tofu since I knew she preferred being out there where she could roam in the woods surrounding that house. Well, I thought she did anyway. One night I was dropping Tofu off at his house and I had opened my door in the truck for some reason. Gwen ran up to the truck, jumped into the cab and promptly sat down on the center console next to me. I petted her head and said, "I'm going home, you sure you don't want to stay?" She looked up at me as if to say, again, "You're taking me with you, and I'm not taking no for an answer." And so she came here to live with me, the kiddo, Dad's cat, and Penny.

I tried to force her to be an indoor cat, but after winter, she starting insisting she be able to go outside to lounge in the sun on my back porch. Since she's got her claws and was accustomed to being outdoors, I allowed it, and she kept near the house at all times. I don't recall a time when she was outdoors that I couldn't go outside and find her right away. That's what she was doing today when I let the dogs out. In fact, I looked at her from my backdoor at one point before sunset while she was busy grooming herself and she seemed to say to me, "I'm not done yet. I'll come in when I'm ready." It wasn't an unusual occurence, so I let the dogs back inside and figured I'd call for Gwen later. Sadly, she didn't get to come back inside tonight.

Around 10:20 PM, I let the dogs outside once more. Immediately I knew something was wrong because I heard one of the neighbor's dogs (one I have had trouble with many times before) in my yard, barking. Penny and Sasha ran over to see what the fuss was, but both of them were afraid to go into the woods a few yards behind my house because it was dark and because the other dog was there (he's a bully). I looked back to the porch and noticed Gwen wasn't there - that was when I heard a cat yowl between the dog's barks. With a sinking feeling in my stomach, I ran inside to get my flashlight. When I came back out, the dog ran away and my two dogs stuck by me as I walked over to where they had been. I was too late.

Gwen was alive, but dazed. I carried her back inside, saw no visible wounds on her, but she wasn't able to sit up or use her back legs at all. I called my mother who was able to get me the number for a 24-hour emergency clinic in Augusta, GA - an hour away. She was quiet the entire way there, and when I could, I'd reach into her travel crate and pet her. The way she nuzzled my hand, and the way she slept most of the way only made me worry more. When I got there a little after midnight, the vet told me what I feared. Nerve damage. She had lost control of the lower half of her body, and it was highly unlikely she would ever recover. I did the only thing I could do for her - the kindest thing I could do at that point. I signed a slip of paper, and then I said my good-byes.

I lost a great friend tonight. She's been a part of my life for so long and has seen me through so much hell. I thanked her for being there while I petted her. I told her I was sorry I didn't get there sooner, and that I loved her. I think she understood, and she let me pet her as I said good-bye. I cried, and I'm crying again as I write this. She deserved better than this, and I'm going to miss her so very much.

Good-bye, Gwen.
jadedmusings: (Default)
We were talking about The Goonies, which I am so buying later this week or next week since I saw it on DVD at Wal-Mart:

[23:41:41] <NinjaWeazel> I bet he'll love it. lol
[23:42:09] <JadeNSC> He will, and then there's Monster Squad. hehe
[23:42:32] <NinjaWeazel> "Whaddya mean 'doesn't couht'?!?!"
[23:42:52] <JadeNSC> Yeah, I'll avoid explaning that one to him until he's older.
[23:43:20] <NinjaWeazel> snrrrrrk
[23:45:28] <JadeNSC> I remember my parents asking me if I knew what a virgin was because in the 80s, all the movies kept referring to virgins. We were watching Revenge of the Nerds or something and I said something about "They always have to get a virgin." My parents asked me if I knew what a virgin was.
[23:45:45] <JadeNSC> I turned around and said, "Of course. They're women who can read weird stuff, like foreign languages."
[23:45:53] <JadeNSC> As that was all I knew about them. :p
[23:45:54] <NinjaWeazel> LMAO
[23:46:18] <JadeNSC> Because they always had to read something or do some ancient ritual with a virgin.
[23:46:35] <NinjaWeazel> oh god, laughing so hard. I think I may cry.
[23:46:55] <JadeNSC> I was an innocent child once upon a time.
[23:47:08] <NinjaWeazel> sides hurt
[23:47:26] <JadeNSC> Oh come on, it's not that funny. :p
[23:47:57] <NinjaWeazel> my dear Jade you have no idea how much I beg to differ.
[23:48:42] <JadeNSC> I wasn't much older than the kiddo!
[23:49:41] <NinjaWeazel> Still. Oh man I needed that. God my sides ache.
[23:49:58] <JadeNSC> Yes, and look how I turned out.
[23:50:12] <JadeNSC> ...remind me to lock him in his room once he hits puberty.

And yes, it is a totally true story. I was maybe six or seven years old and had mostly gotten the idea from The Monster Squad. Heck, I didn't figure out what being horny meant until I was nearly thirteen. ...I was very shielded as a kid. :p


jadedmusings: (Default)
Wrathful and Unrepentant Jade

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