We are not alone

I want to share some links to other blogs and social media that express the same feelings I have regarding the “transgender bathroom” issue, the reason I will not shop at Target and why I will vehemently speak out against them. A Rape Survivor Speaks Out Against Transgender Bathrooms

Nostalgia

This is my mom’s pasta maker. We used to hand make the dough, run it through the hand crank machine, and hang long beautiful flat wide flat noodles along a dowel between chairs to dry. We spread clean towels underneath to catch them as they dried & fell off. Then mom would make delicious meals. This has been sitting on a shelf in my basement for at least 4 years. Have I made pasta with it. Nope. Why do I even keep it? Memories. Good ones. The ones that are rare from my childhood. Mom was an amazing cook. Meat & potatoes was more than you’re basics. Gourmet stuff. She sewed costumes for a ballet company and all my clothes until 6th grade. Her rose garden and hand made pond with little waterfall was so pretty that she had a wedding in her small backyard. Her home was immaculate. Mom was the perfect homemaker but wouldn’t teach me because I wasn’t “born with it”. She’d tell me I was too uncoordinated and that I either knew how or didn’t know how but that she didn’t have the patience to teach me what she knew. I watched her dry herbs, can and bottle everything from her abundant garden. Make and so quilts for the state fair. Macramé, needlepoint, ceramics, The labyrinth latch hook creations. You name it, she did it. Me? I cleared the rocks out of the garden and washed the dishes. I fed the dogs and I vacuumed and dusted and ironed, and modeled the Easter dresses and new school clothes and Halloween costumes. I was mostly in the way.  I have beautiful things she made and created with her own hands and I have saved to remind me of the good things. These things always bring me back to memories of alcohol, her hospital stays, her unsuccessful rehab, the embarrassing ambulance ride with her when I was 16 &, when I got up to get ready to go to school I found her on the living room couch begging me to call her ex because she was having DTs or something, but I called 911 and knew for sure that everybody in my little town would see me riding in the front of that ambulance and know what was going on. The yelling and her desperate screaming at him when she knew. Him beating her and me trying to intervene, having the bedroom door slammed in my face as she was screaming and crying.  After the divorce the homemade meals devolved over time into takeout, local pizza delivery & Stouffers frozen entrees. Years later as the arthritis developed the rosebushes started dying and the pond and waterfall fell into disrepair. The dust accumulated on top of the good memories; The canned food dried herbs and handiwork on the walls. 

This started out as an innocent, fun Instagram post as I found my moms noodle maker I thought it was pretty cool. The more I typed, The more words kept flowing, the more it evolved into this blog post. I hang on to the things that brought me joy in my teen years. Music was the biggest one. I could take it with me anywhere and I could escape into it and enter another world. Now I don’t need to escape. No one uses alcohol. I hate it. It destroyed my mom, kept her from saving me, and almost took my husband and almost destroyed our family. If you need to get buzzed to have fun then you are weak & selfish. If things are so bad that you need to drink and please get help and stop. Stay checked in. I’m in my own safe home that I have created with my loving, amazing, fun husband.  We enjoy things together that bring us happiness and we create our own adventures and life. 

NYT Take a Walk Down Memory Lane. It Can Be Healthy.

 He is Risen!

In a blog post from 2016 I titled Hang On, I referenced an Easter in 2010 that changed my life. This Easter Sunday, I want to share it with you in detail. The atonement of Jesus Christ has honestly healed me. It is a miracle in my life. If it can heal me, just one person, just one sinner, who felt isolated, singled out, and unworthy, He can heal you. Please hang on and let Him!

The day after that Easter my aunt called to tell me that my stepfather had finally died. I had not seen him since I was about 17.  I was now 40. She had heard that this man was living alone and dying of pancreatic cancer. A very painful, lonely, slow death. I admit that it felt good to me to know this. I felt hatred and a very small bit of vindication. I was happy for his pain and suffering. I was happy that his end was near. My feelings were a natural human reaction but in the Lord’s eyes, a sin. I knew this, but it still felt good. This was exactly the way the adversary wanted me to feel – judgmental with this crazy hate-happiness mixed in. In the scriptures Christ teaches us to turn the judgment over to Him and tells us that it is not our job to carry this out. Period.

John 5:22,27,30   22 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all bjudgment unto the Son:

2 Corinthians 5:10 10 For we must all appear before the ajudgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

Up to that time my life had chunks of anger, hatred and bitterness and I sure didn’t want to feel that way anymore! Was God mad at me that I felt this way. Nope. Is He mad at you for the natural feelings you have? Nope. He loves us. I just wanted so badly to have it wash away. At one very low point before Easter of 2010 I went (again) to rock bottom.  I had been praying and begging God to take away my PTSD, sadness, memories, and all negative thoughts and emotions that came from the abuse. I begged for the Lord to just let me live a happy pain-free life. Ok…I totally knew that was not the plan. Nobody lives that way! But come on! Enough was enough and I had been trying to be a Christian and to do the right things. I knew I had to repent of my own sins but I was sick of suffering for the sins of someone else and I wanted God to cut me some slack. (Even Christ himself suffered so who the heck was I to think I could live a super happy pain free life?!) But when it really, really hit me and I realized that this abuse was never going to disappear I was flat out devastated. I shrank into an abyss and was unable to function for 2 weeks. I had no intent of suicide, but I begged God to let me die and take me home. I felt guilty for allowing the abuse to affect me. I thought I sucked as a wife and mother. I was a failure with a big F on my scorecard of LDS womanhood. I could be successful at lots of stuff, so WHY couldn’t I be successful at getting rid of this mess after so long!? I felt like the sparrow in Psalm 102:7. In being so selfish I didn’t think of Christ who had to go through Gethsemane. Even Christ who needed our Father in Heaven to make him whole. Even Christ who had to suffer horrendous pain although he had done nothing wrong.  He was made whole, but I didn’t believe I would be. I believed in Christ, but I didn’t believe Christ. Even though I was weak and worn down, Heavenly Father answered my pain with others who held me up and helped me to hang on, including my stellar love of my life, my husband, who honorably keeps the priesthood in our home. So I promised Him that I would hang on.

So then we come to Monday, April 5, 2010. It for sure was an emotional couple of days (and ones that I will save for another post)! Then my personal “atonement” happened. On Wednesday, April 7, 2010 I woke up. There was no pain. There was no hatred. There was no suffering. No feelings of loss. No fear. I had held on and God fulfilled His promise to heal me. The literal words that came into my mind and soul from the Holy Ghost on behalf of Christ were these: “I’ve got this now“. I can sit here 7 years later and still feel His love and the sheer peace that washed over my spirit that day with those really simple words. I had believed Christ and He fulfilled his part of the promise! Now that is happiness! As for the insignificant sparrow, the scriptures remind us of this:

Matthew 10:29,31

29 Are not two asparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. 

31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more avalue than many bsparrows.

Not to sound disrespectful, but in reality, Christ had my 6 all along. It was His turn now to impose judgment on the one who’s time had come but He expected me to remain faithful and do my best to be a righteous daughter of God in the process. Does this mean I don’t think about it or that it doesn’t hurt once in awhile? Nope. If that were the case I wouldn’t have compassion or a desire to help others and I’d loose my empathy. I just don’t have to carry it around with me and I am free to help others without my own abuse getting in the way. 

Mormon 3:20,22

20 And these things doth the Spirit manifest unto me; therefore I write unto you all. And for this cause I write unto you, that ye may know that ye must all stand before the ajudgment-seat of Christ, yea, every soul who belongs to the whole human bfamily of Adam; and ye must stand to be judged of your works, whether they be good or evil;

So here I am telling you to please, please, believe Christ! Allow Him to “have your 6”! Study His words – Invite the atonement into your life and know for a fact that you can be healed. You are loved! You have great worth and can be happy in the gospel!

Alma 12:15,27

15 But this cannot be; we must come forth and stand before him in his glory, and in his power, and in his might, majesty, and dominion, and acknowledge to our everlasting ashame that all his bjudgments are just; that he is just in all his works, and that he is merciful unto the children of men, and that he has all power to save every man that believeth on his name and bringeth forth fruit meet for repentance.

With love on this Easter ~Chris

https://www.mormon.org/  #PrinceofPeaceAtonement

 

Anger and fear

Heads up to my readers: This is not a happy, feel-good sunshine post today. This is an all-out angry, raw, tell it like it is post. There’s going to be some very strong language so if it will bother you, don’t read it. Here’s the thing. The abuse and hatred in the lives of abuse survivors warrants anger and nasty offensive language and there are simply times that you have to get it out.  This is an appropriate time and place.

I haven’t posted in a while. I started a new, highly demanding job dealing wtih people who have not exactly brought out my best side. I am gone 11-13 hrs a day. I love what I do and have been busting my ass for the last 3 mos. That is all true but honestly I have been nervous to post because I know myself and I know for a fact that I have not had the emotional energy to think about these things. Problem: I also know myself very well – to the point that I can physically feel the building up of the dread, anger, pressure boiling and building slightly enough that I feel it, I think I can ignore it and focus on my standard workaholic method of stuffing the unpleasant crap. When I get to the point of recognizing my body and soul is pounding on my brain shouting “HEY! WAKE UP AND LISTEN TO ME!” then I know it is time to spew more tar and hopefully help someone along the way. Here goes…

I have a friend who reached out to me after my first blog post. She told me that she, too, had been sexually victimized as a child and said that we need to talk. She has been on my mind for about 3 weeks. Have I called her. Nope. I have been afraid. “Bull shit!” is what I say to myself.  This doesn’t scare you anymore-the bad guy is dead! Gone to burn in hell! And you, my beautiful, sexy, ambitious, brainy, fun, competent, not crazy, rock-solid bitch, have created a better life! Bam!

I am still afraid… sometimes.

I am afraid. right. now.

There is no one on this Earth who can ever again do to me  what was done. So what is happening to me? I’m damn fucking scared because I can feel a flashback coming. Holy….I just right now realized that. It will happen when my mind is quiet and not distracted. When I feel safe and can cry and wail like a Banshee without thinking of anything else, and my husband will sit on the bed or on the floor next to me, without touching me because he knows I need to see him and hear him but not touch anyone, and he will know I am still completely sane.

Ok, me, what do you know about dealing with these fucking rotten memories that blindside you so that they don’t destroy you? Breathe slowly. Do not fight it. Never try to hold it in because this healthy mind will absolutely painfully force it out to save itself fragment by fragment over years and years if necessary. My mind is pretty damned healthy so no way do I want to let this…whatever it is going to be…fester and rot away in there. I am afraid because of the unknown. I don’t have conrol. WHY IS THERE MORE? WILL I EVER KNOW FOR CERTAIN IT IS ALL GONE?

Getting a grip here….Just because I have some shitty memory that is slowing breaking free and coming to the surface to be sent away into space does NOT mean the dead guy has a hold on me still. does it? Of course I know rationally it means that.  It only means that I am still healing and that is a good good thing. But, the PTSD traumatized mind of a person who was abused for such a long period of time doesn’t give a rat’s ass about coherent thought. great. I will say that I am over the top grateful for my ability to sit here and “get it” even tho I think I am trying not to hyperventilate and I am actually kind of dizzy. I want to pick up my makeup mirror and throw either that or my flat iron against the wall. I may feel batshit crazy but for hell’s sake I’m not stupid! I must have some seriously mad skills. I impress myself 🙂

 

401b

The Clothesline Project

I participated in the Clothesline Project at UVU many years ago. I wish I could find the original post with the actual words on my shirt (page 318 of 378 as of today) because I think some of their translation is wrong. I want to sit here and type some profound correlation, uplifting words of wisdom between the fading words on my shirt and the pain. At this moment I got ‘nothin and it would just sound like bull. To my dear friend/fellow survivor, I will call you – I think it is time for me to be someone else’s Red Velvet Car.  I always love a good road trip. Crank up the radio!

Listen to Heart’s RVC

 

 

Naming the manipulation

A well explained and relevant article. When we are victims of sexual abuse and assault there’s so much more abuse manipulatively and skillfully layered on us to create a prison that we carry around. This prison our abuser locked us in will affect everything we do. It’s like a mental game that we CAN escape and when we do, we choose to have power over what we think, believe, and act rather than react. Knowledge is truly power! Knowing what you’re hearing from someone else’s mouth gives you the power to recognize what’s happening and to walk away from it. Waking up in a sense and seeing the manipulation for what it is is incredibly healing & freeing. This knowledge helps you become the compassionate Christlike woman or man you deserve to be and gifts to you the ability to stop the cycle. 

20 Diversion Tactics Highly Manipulative Narcissists, Sociopaths And Psychopaths Use To Silence You

Breaking the cycle of Inherited family trauma

It Didn’t Start With You: How Inherited Family Trauma Shapes Who We Are

Hang on 

Hang On.

This is a FB post I shared on Easter 2016. 
Some of you don’t care for religious messages, but I’m sharing because Jesus Christ and his atonement saved my life and I can’t read all the Easter messages without tearing up. Many of you know the circumstances in my life growing up. So many times I didn’t think I could go on one more day. An Easter morning 6 years ago changed my entire perspective and in that one event, that I didn’t even know about until the next day, ERASED of a significant chunk of pain. Christ took that pain from me and at that moment that pain and suffering was in His hands. I think about the love and the healing He gifted to me and I cry every time because my heart is so full that I can feel it. I held on with faith and believing the promise He made to me and reminded me of so so many times, that I would be OK. I am forever grateful for holding on. It crushes me that my mom thought God hated her and wanted her to suffer. I’m fully at peace knowing she has been healed now, too, and has happiness I can’t explain. I feel my mom’s love. She didn’t have to live in pain and anger. I chose not to. The “hanging on” was worth it. Please don’t ever give up. Please believe that no matter what has happened to you that was no fault of your own or by your choices, you really are not alone. Hang on. #Hallejujah 

Mother’s Day

I lost my mom almost 3 yrs ago but in reality only had her for a short time anyway. We didn’t have a good mom/daughter relationship & she just wasn’t a person who deserved my respect. Although she adopted me when I was less than 1 mo old it saddens me to think how my birth mother and the moms at the children’s home would feel if they knew she failed to protect me. Nonetheless there came a point in our relationship a few short years before she died when she decided she was ready to take my invitation to treat me & my family with respect and she resumed contact with us. We would chat on the phone about her dog Maggie May, the yard, her flowers & the birds, the latest episodes of Burn Notice, anything but an “I’m sorry” from her or any substantive meaningful conversation. I knew she wasn’t capable of it and that this was her way of trying to repair the damage of mean words, insults, and lies. She was an alcoholic and always had been. I chose to accept that and let go of her shortcomings and weaknesses as best as I could because I knew Christ loved both of us. How could I be a better woman if I followed the other women in my family by holding grudges and following in their footsteps instead of Christ’s? I chose to let Christ heal me. I prayed her heart would soften enough that she would allow Him to heal hers, too. It didn’t happen in this life but I know beyond any doubt it has happened. My mom has faced her sins. She has faced her fears and the things that caused trauma to her. She has overcome them & she has allowed Christ to work His miracles on her in the hereafter. I love her and I still miss her terribly. There’s something about finally getting to the point where I could pick up the phone to share good news and accomplishments with her that I’ll never get back, and that was stolen from me for the vast portion of my life by the adversary. 

I’m a better mom than she was. I broke the cycle of addiction and abuse. I took the wrongs done to me, gave them to my Savior, and put my trust in Him. What else could I do? I would never be like her – wallow in the despair. But no way am I the picture perfect Christ-like mother I hope to be. Who is? Don’t we all hope our kids will do better than we did or are doing? I let Christ help me be a better woman. My mom came to recognize that! She could see I was happier than she was and although at times that made her bitter she came to be happy for me. This made me love her more. 

Happy Mother’s Day, mom. I’ll see you again. A beautiful, healthy, smiling, Robin. 

His light 

Photo credit: Sheldon Black
     Mom & I moved in with grandma & grandpa for a short time over Summer vacation. It was the early 1970’s in Pleasant Grove, Utah. I loved living there and I do have good, real, genuine memories. Going to the grocery store grandpa managed and seeing him sitting high up in the manager’s booth where I could run up the short flight of stairs to sit on his lap and look out over the store. Playing with their big white husky dog Sammy girl. Running in the backyard, singing and dancing. Going on walks with grandma. Sitting on the ivy covered porch listening to the Summer chirping of crickets.  My uncle, who was still in high school, showing me how to play pool while listening to his rock & roll. Riding in the Jeep or my grandma’s red Thunderbird. Stirring my red white & blue ice cream until it turned purple.  Making breakfast with grandpa and listening to his laughter when I mistook the buttermilk for regular milk in my cereal. Crying during a thunderstorm while grandpa told me funny stories so I wouldn’t be afraid.  Then mom & I moved to our own place. I guess it was a really big deal. Mom had her first house and a job. 

It was a very small house in American Fork that was actually a converted Army barracks. Tiny. I distinctly remember the details. This was just a peaceful, short couple of years where I retained a complete chunk of memories. Details. This is still amazing to me and I’m 46 years old. Mom drove a burnt orange Vega and in the Winter we’d spin donuts on the lawn.  We had a little plum tree. 1st grade. 2nd grade. Mom sewed my rabbit costume for the Alice in Wonderland program at school & I was the only rabbit with a floppy ear. Mom worked at Deseret Pharmaceuticals in Sandy and would drop me off at my aunt & uncle’s house very early in the morning where I’d sleep on the couch til it was time for school. I believe she & I were happy. I felt loved. It makes me cry to realize this because that may have been the one time in my youth that I can recall feeling completely safe. Real childlike happiness. Nothing to fear. There was no hitting. No drinking. No police in the middle of the night. 

My recurring nightmares came about the time he & mom started dating. This is where I loose track of time. Dates are gone. Everything blurs. I don’t know when they started dating. My grandpa, the man whom I loved more than anyone in my family, passed away in October, 2014 at 91. As we talked that last year, he told me how terrible he felt that he was the one who introduced them. 3rd grade. Brand new house. New school, friends, Girl Scouts. He was going to adopt me and I’d have a real dad. I can’t tell you when it started but it just had to have been while we still lived in A.F. They married quickly. He was divorced with a son in high school and one who was older. He did adopt me & I remember the adoption hearing at the old Utah County courthouse. Why he did that I don’t know. We didn’t go to church. They would drive me from Lehi to the Community Presbyterian church in A.F. every Sunday. The same church filmed in the movie Footloose. They never came in or stayed with me. He was LDS but not at all active. They drank. A lot. We didn’t talk about God or Jesus in our home. We had home teachers but mom only agreed to let them come over if they didn’t talk about religion. Everyone was so happy mom had finally found a good guy. 

I went to Sego Lily Elementary & I loved my teachers. They were all kind and gave me encouragement. Even now when I think about them I feel a security & trust I can’t describe. Mr. Christofferson, Mrs. Blackburn, and Mr. Rasband were my rocks & anchors. I wanted them to be proud of me.  I must’ve been pretty beaten down by 4th grade. I was reserved; shy to an extreme. I cried easily. Insecure; low self esteem. I embarrassed easily. Bullies at school knew I was an easy target. I had a close group of friends but it was a small group. Here’s the thing. From 3rd grade through 11th I was blocking the abuse. Maybe I was like a functioning alcoholic who worked & had  a life, but at home was someone you never knew existed. I only cried when I was away from my house because negative emotions were scary. My mind flat out took every instance of rape and locked it away in a tiny room, deep, deep away so I wouldn’t die. Jr. High & H.S. were a nightmare. I was bullied, teased, laughed at, made fun of. I was a victim & a target. I still had a very close group of friends & we know beyond any doubt that God placed these friends in my life, and me in theirs. 

One day I woke up. 

Two days before Christmas. The night my mind snapped into focus. Where my God-given gift of self preservation started in a different direction. No more hiding. My mind about to come out of its self-induced coma. 

It was a Friday night & I was coming home from babysitting a for a neighbor. I was glad I’d get home in time for MTV Friday Night Videos. I think it was my Jr. year in high school. He was waiting up for me on the couch. I sat down and was determined to watch my favorite program even though I was tired and I felt this strange paralyzing fear. I barely moved or breathed. If I pretended to be made of stone nothing would happen. He was next to me. One sentence was all that I heard – I want to do something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. A door in my consciousness was kicked open, with a thrust kick to the door jamb. But that kick only opened it just enough that the air sucked in with a noisy WHOOSH. A door that was so damn tightly sealed that I never knew it existed.  I stood up. I said aloud “NO MORE!” I walked down the hall & barricaded myself in my room. I sat against my door so he couldn’t sneak or force his way in. I didn’t sleep. I sobbed all night because I knew. There were still no memories. But I knew. And it would never happen again. 

I’m drawn to the sun, like a plant that needs nourishment and warmth. I’m always admiring the sky and its beauty. Something inside my soul, my Heavenly Father’s love, was there all the time. I just didn’t consciously acknowledge it because He had put me on auto pilot until I could come to Him. One cloudy evening when I was a teen I was walking to my friend Carrie’s house. I looked up and thru the clouds were beautiful & perfect rays of sunlight coming down towards the Earth, seemingly in my direction. The immediate feelings of peace, love, and protection came over me. I knew it was God. This night, God grabbed me by the shoulders, woke me up and told me that the only person who could help me, was me. 

I planned and practiced what to tell mom the next morning. I was finally angry. Angry enough to not care what anyone said or thought about me. I wasn’t afraid of what would happen when I told mom. Or grandpa. I wasn’t afraid of him. I wasn’t afraid he would take it out on mom because if I brought it into the light he couldn’t hurt us physically any more. People would know!  I was telling. People who knew me in school may have noticed a change in me that year. I didn’t take crap from people after that. I distinctly remember a jock on the varsity football team a year ahead of me who was teasing a mentally handicapped student in the hall just down from my locker. I remember yelling at the jock. Yelling. Loudly. This is not a memory of me watching the video play. This is a true memory. I can see Mr. letterman jacket in the hall near me. In the most sarcastic & caustic voice that I didn’t know existed I told him what I thought of him and demanded that he stop bullying the other kid. Then I stormed away and went to class. The scary part is that in visualizing this moment I feel the anger. This anger came out of me with zero warning. 

Saturday morning came. He was at work. Mom was in the living room. I told her he had done something last night and what it was. She questioned me over & over & over like I’d made it all up. Are you sure? How do you know he was going to hurt you? Maybe you misinterpreted him. Well, he didn’t actually do anything, right? Here I am, this teenager telling her mom that she needed help and begging for her to kick him out and I’m thinking, are you serious??! I was crying and adamant that I wasn’t lying. THIS was not all in my head. Lunchtime: He comes home. She confronts him.  Yelling. Tears from her. He literally accuses me of propositioning him. Says I’ve been coming onto him for a long time & now I’m mad because he refused me. I cannot believe this discussion is happening. But it’s Christmas Eve. They’ve gotta keep appearances up for tomorrow. He sleeps in the spare room. In the morning she makes me climb into that damned truck and sit next to him cause the gear shift hits her in the knee. We start the long drive to grandma & grandpas Wallsburg ranch. I’m prepared to never go back to that house again. No. More.