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abuse

Lost And Found – Getting Home

 

This is the type of thing I love to write – part of this is based in fact, but told like fiction. Emotions dictate, music added to set the mood for you to match what I was feeling as I wrote … and in the end – a message. I hope that you enjoy! Take the time to listen to the music and let the messages sink in.  ~ Jesse

 

A wall paper

 

 

 

 

I Keep Holding On

I was awakened by the smell of ocean air and the sound of waves softly rolling up onto the beach. The breeze blowing through the screen of my camper was cool as I snuggled down further into my comforter and pillows, not quite ready to give up on my cozy slumber. My mind began to drift as it always does in the early morning hours; half in and half out of sleep. I thought about the day ahead and what I would do with the hours. So much time on my hands left me with constantly seeking something to keep myself busy. Boredom truly can become exhausting.

I began thinking about my last conversation with Raleigh. She truly left me puzzled sometimes. Raleigh was that sort of woman who would tell you to not try to fix her problems; she just wanted me to listen. She would clearly tell me that she had boundaries. This wasn’t what puzzled me – I was glad to have a forthright person in my life who wasn’t afraid to talk about anything. What left me confused was the way that she would jump in, whenever I was trying to vent about something, and start offering suggestions and tell me what I should do. I sighed out loud and thought to myself that it was probably my own fault for not setting my own boundaries. I decided that day that the next time we talked, I’d address this issue and the way I felt about it.

As I swung my feet out of bed, I made my mind up that the next time we talked, I was going to have to tell her how this was making me feel. I didn’t like feeling like I wasn’t allowed to share my feelings about something without being chided for being negative. I knew I was not typically a negative person, but felt that everyone deserved to feel down sometimes and should be able to share that with someone they they trust. Getting told what to do and told not to react the way I did, just made me feel like I had to close part of myself off…and I hated that feeling. It didn’t feel safe. I spent a lot of time being “up” for other people…fans, friends and sometimes suicidal people that I volunteered to help listen to and encourage to get proper help. I felt like I had to maintain for them all…but in private, I needed to feel safe to be able to just “be” however I felt. I shook my head because it made me feel sad. I had to get the thoughts out of my head and I decided that a walk on the beach was in order.

I stumbled past the galley and into the tiny bathroom to relieve my bladder before making my way back to the coffee maker and starting the morning brew. As it slowly dripped and steamed, the coffee began to emerge in the pot. I put creamer in my big plastic coffee mug and then went to go put on some board shorts and a sleeveless t-shirt. As I was slipping on my flip-flops, the coffee maker groaned and gasped for air as it gave birth to the last few drops of caffeine that would start my day out perfectly. I poured my cup of coffee into the large mug and walked out into the world.

The campground was beginning to stir with evidence of life. I could smell someone’s breakfast cooking on an outdoor grill. I saw another family stowing gear and rolling their hose and electrical cord. They were just passing through; probably on their way to some attraction or theme park.

My flip-flops tossed the sand into the breeze and I could feel it on my shins as I made my way to the beach, only a short walk away. The closer I came to the water’s edge, the finer the sand became and eventually my toes were baptized by the cold water creeping onto the shore. It only took a moment for my feet to grow accustomed to the cool water and it began to feel so good that I slipped my flops off and tied them to the string hanging from my waistband so that I could walk with free hands. Why is that as soon as your toes hit cold water, you feel like you need to pee?

My toes sunk into the cool, wet sand as I enjoyed the walk. Every so often I would feel a hard shell and stop to take a closer look at it. While I rarely picked them up, I was always on the look-out for the perfect shell. Sometimes I would come across a clam but never had the heart to remove them from their environment and eat them. Typically, I tossed them out into deeper water to ‘rescue’ them from other clam hunters. I hadn’t killed a spider in years. I’m not sure I honestly have a mean bone in my body, though I was able to show my Scottish temper from time to time. I knew I could get testy about some things … especially when it felt like I was being judged or told that I was living my life “wrong.”

To be perfectly honest, I’d never gotten over the dominant rule of a mother who was abusive, ill-tempered, quick with a fist and even more vicious with her tongue. It took me so many years to believe that I was capable of anything at all, that anyone even questioning me immediately put me on the defense. I was aware that it was an issue … but not really sure how to fix it. I didn’t like being that way. Raleigh said that it often took an equal number of years to get over the amount of time you were in a bad situation. My mother was a dark spot in my world for almost thirty years. I sighed deeply and become aware that my forehead was creased and my eyebrows were furrowed. I brought myself to the present moment and consciously relaxed. Still, I knew that ‘just letting go’ wasn’t so easily done in this case. I walked on.

Closer To Fine

By the time I had returned to the camper, the sun was getting high in the sky. I had no idea what time it was because I’d almost completely stopped wearing a watch. For so many years, wearing a watch had been an anal part of my personality. From years of working in fields that required I manage others and know what time to start projects, I had always worn a watch. Knowing what time it was had become an obsession; almost compulsive. After becoming a writer and deciding that I’d live by my own rules, even if that meant going without a lot of things sometimes, I also gave up caring about the time. Recently, I’d become so carefree about it that I often forgot what day it was and holidays came upon me with complete surprise. Every day of my life was a holiday in so many ways now.

While it was true that I really had little money and couldn’t afford the finer things in life, I was predominantly happy now. It was a little unsettling to me that I had become so reclusive, but there was no drama that way. I avoided drama and stress almost as passionately as I wrote. Sometimes it bothered me that I may just be avoiding a natural part of life, instead of learning how to just deal with it in a healthy way. I considered that perhaps I was just ‘taking a break from it all’ and that was okay … but how was I going to re-emerge? When would I know the time was right?

Raleigh and I had seen a lot of each over the summer. There was a relationship between us that was deeply rooted in friendship. It was more than a friendship …  but then it wasn’t. There was really no description that fit. We had both reached places in our lives where we resisted being labeled, placed into boxes or having expectations placed upon us. Neither of us did well with that sort of thing. We never talked about how we felt about each other, it was just the way it was and we accepted it the way that you accept the breeze upon your face … it is welcomed but understood that even the best of breezes don’t last forever and one cannot fully depend on a good breeze being there for you all the time. This was how I thought of her. She was a gentle breeze at times, that made my life a happy place. There were times that she was a hurricane force wind that made me uncomfortable or knocked me off my feet, but I still relished the adrenaline rush that came from it. Other times … there was no breeze at all and I knew that she was still out there and patiently awaited her return. It was free, as all things should be. I respected it as something that was not to be controlled or always understood. It was imperfect, in all the most beautiful ways that something, or someone, can be – it was, in fact, perfect.

Who Says You Can’t Go Home?

 

I poured another cup of coffee and sat down in front of my computer. As I pushed the button that would connect me to the world beyond, I was still pondering how I’d come to be where I was. Home is something that I’d sought for most of the last twenty years of my life and it had only been in the last year of my life that I’d come to realize that home is inside of me.  I’d been getting ‘my house’ in order now for a few months and it hadn’t been easy – once your shit falls so far apart, it takes a while to go through all the pieces and figure it out. What I was coming to realize was that I’d been running away from so much, for so long, that finding my way back to the beginning was like following a trail of tears that had long since dried-up. I got lost sometimes.

Raleigh had confronted me about spending so much time in my home town earlier that year. Apparently, I’d been sounding pretty negative about the place over the phone and she didn’t understand what it was I’d been seeking. I supposed that she’d known me well enough to know there was a reason? At that time, until thinking it over, I hadn’t been sure either. It was just a gut feeling I’d had. Visiting my hometown was something that I had always been compelled to do, but it was less about the present and more about reclaiming my past. That was the place I had been abused, traumatized and belittled behind closed doors. It was a place that I should have felt safe … but I never did. It was a source of angry energy that I had been drawn to, like a moth to a flame. I’d either burn alive or the flame would be extinguished. That had been my resolve.

As an adult, I was able to stare at the house I grew up in and reclaim some happy memories. I had made a journal, with a list of all the bad things I remembered. Back in Florida now, I intended to burn those memories to ashes in a can, take them to the cemetery my parents were buried in and spread them over their graves. With this ritual, I also meant to forgive them once and for all. I knew that when I did this, I’d never return to their graves again. I was cutting the cord and releasing the Karmic debt. I would be absolving myself of the past and freeing myself to move on – burning the symbolic bridges and breaking the invisible chains.

For some people, I supposed this could be seen as walking away from the past and therefore just running again. I imagined that some people may view my way of dealing with it to be very extreme. I didn’t really care. For me, it had become a trip towards something – a return of my soul to self. This had been my way of ‘going home’ and finding my way back to who I was when I was not burdened with the memories. Who says you can’t go home? Don’t question the trip, question where home really is!

For now, life was coming back together. I used my walks along the beach to call my energy back to me. Every ounce of energy that I had freely given to others for so many years, I was now calling back to me. I stopped to look at shells on the beach and I savored every breath that I took, knowing that it could potentially be a last breath at any time. My house was getting in order and though I had no idea where tomorrow would lead me, I was happier than I had ever been; I was home.

 

If you enjoy the writing, please consider purchasing a book. Everything I earn from my writing allows me to have the time to publish this blog and write more books. Remember that independent authors are also artists and our work is how we earn a living. Thanks for coming by to visit!

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Categories: abuse, child abuse, death, Free Books, life lessons, love, self-help | Tags: , , , | 7 Comments

Falling Into The Abyss

I wanted to take the time to remind everyone that my latest book is out. “Falling Into the Abyss” deals with child abuse and how it can touch your life forever, if you let it. Even when you think you are a survivor, something may just come along and remind you that you have things you haven’t truly dealt with.

 

 

“A tale of child abuse, suicide and survival. An account of surviving the worst things life can throw at you and coming out on the side, changed for the better and able to look at life with new eyes and a new perspective. This is my story. I’ll take you from the the time 

I’ve shared my life and my journey with thousands of fans through my blog at butchramblings.com and now I tell the whole story, with all the background. See how I came out and got to where I am today. Learn why I advocate for those who have no voice.”

 

Set to launch October 17th.

Set to launch October 17th.

Categories: abuse, ADHD, Adoption, child abuse, death, equal rights, gay lesbian, lesbian, life lessons, love, Politics, self-help | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Butch On Tap – Why I Hate TSA

Please, follow this link to the story by my friend Butch Jaxon.  This is very typical of the treatment that butch women and transitioning people go through. Being publicly humiliated is NOT cool. I’ve been through it in many places and situations. read  on to see why Butch Jaxon “hates TSA” – excerpt below.  ~ Jesse MacGregor-Jones

 

 

WHY I HATE TSA

Why am I ranting today?

You may remember that a few days ago the gay flight attendant called me sir. Right, duh. Anyway, whatever. Indeed, today as I am writing this on a different plane, the flight attendant called me sir, and didn’t even acknowledge me when I corrected her. Dumb people suck. But, the reason for my rant today is TSA. I am going to tell you why I hate them. [Hate is a very strong word and I never use it casually. Indeed, it’s a bad word in my house and the kids can’t use it either. So, I use it here today to really convey the depth of my anger…]

On at least 3 other occasions, I have gone through the body scanner at security and had to wait a moment longer, or be rescanned. I know that this is because they thought I was a guy, but my naked body scan showed a body other than what they expected – boobs and no penis, to be specific. Waiting in the security line, when there is a body scan has become quite anxiety producing for me. Will they get it today? Will they ask themselves while looking at the scan, “Where is that guy’s penis?” Or, “Why does he have boobs?” Ugh. How embarrassed will I be?

 

…for the rest of this story, please follow the link to ButchOnTap.

http://butchontap.com/2013/02/13/why-i-hate-tsa/

Categories: abuse, equal rights, lesbian, life lessons, Politics | Tags: , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Battered Woman Syndrome Not Just About Physical Abuse

one reason to hold on

*PLEASE take the time to read the comments below. I am adding comments from actual survivors of abuse that are coming from my facebook page in which I asked battered women to sound off and explain what they went through and why they stayed. The comments are heartbreaking but TRUE from REAL women who have BEEN THERE!

 

The Psychological Damage Is Often The Worst

 

Many women are the victims of abuse. Often as high as 1 in 2 women have been abused at some point in her life. This abuse doesn’t always have to come from a male partner. The issue is just as high within the lesbian community and this has bothered me for many, many years. I’ve seen it first hand and I’ve been in it. I was in a relationship that was very emotionally damaging for me. It took me 7 years to leave, but not before being in the mental ward twice and attempting suicide twice as well. (Thus my visits to the psych ward)

The abuser typically starts off small. You accept it, forgive them and they take another step. This keeps happening until the next thing you know, you have no life and you walk on eggshells all the time, fully believing that this is a normal life. After a while, you feel so damaged and so defective that you can’t see a way out. You have no idea what anyone would ever want with you and you think that staying is the best thing to do. Being alone feels like an overwhelming black hole that you are sure you’ll die in.

Verbal abuse is often more damaging than physical. Bruises heal and scars fade…but damage done to a soul and the psyche is sometimes never undone. Most often, it requires help from a counselor. I myself, went to 3 years of therapy. I’m glad I did. One day, my therapist announced that I was as well adjusted as could be expected and declared that I was free of her…unless I ever needed her again. I have not. I blog. This has become my therapy. I started blogging to help me come out of my inner emotional chains. I have rarely had a panic attack in the last two years. My writing has helped me. Not all people write though. Some people have other outlets, like riding horses. Whatever it is … seek it out.

Emotional damage in abusive relationships come from things that are a pattern. In talking to many abused women this month, I hear the same things. “I was hit and it scared me in a way that I cannot describe. I was frozen and literally could not make myself leave.” “I was told I was ugly and that I didn’t matter until I believed it.” “As much as I wanted to leave, I believed the death threats.” “The drama was low as long as I was ‘good’ so it was just easier to let it happen to me. It wasn’t until I got out that I began to see how horrible my life really was.” The remarks go on and on and they all resonate with me.

Typical pattern of the abuser is to isolate the victim, bit by bit, until they no longer have friends or a support system. The victim begins lying about things to cover up what is actually happening. This causes issues with friends and family who do not understand that this is classic behavior and the victim cannot help it. The victim rarely thinks of themselves as a victim…this is just their life to them. Everyone on the outside actually knows what is going on and sees them as a victim but rarely will discuss it.

When thinking about leaving, the victim will more often than not begin to feel sorry for the abuser as an excuse to stay. They do not even realize that they are doing it. This is classic Stockholm Syndrome – relating to the perpetrator of the crime/abuser. Understand that to the victim, life on the outside of the abusive relationship is almost more terrifying than staying in the relationship is. The relationship is the only thing that is predictable to them. Everything outside of that is scary. This is classic symptoms of “battered woman syndrome” and many women will stay for years in a relationship that they are clearly unhappy in and not even understand why they do.

They do not realize that they have been slowly manipulated and brainwashed into believing that they somehow like it and deserve it. They “think” they love their abuser, even though they openly admit from time to time that they hate them. Hate and love are two very powerful emotions that the abuser has learned to manipulate the victim with. Typically, they are good at playing the guilt card. Many times they will explain away the physical abuse as love by saying things such as, “I only hit you because I love you so much and I just get so jealous….” The victim is so brainwashed at this point that they believe it  – because they WANT to be loved. This begins to be the definition of love to them. This is normal and part of the process. This is why women in these relationships don’t just leave. When anyone says, “They can just leave, can’t they?” It is obvious that they do not understand anything about psychological abuse.

 

Do They Ever Leave? How?

 

Most women will leave eventually. It takes them a long time. One woman I recently interviewed stayed with a man for 12 years who beat her repeatedly. One time, he ‘messed my face and back up so bad I had to lay in bed a week and couldn’t move. He wouldn’t dare take me to a hospital for fear of what he did. Then he’d cry and say he was so sorry every time. Fact is, he was never happy and didn’t stop hitting me until one of us was bleeding. THEN he’d wanna cry and be sorry.” I asked her why she stayed. Her response, “The first time he hit me it was square in the nose and I didn’t see it coming. All ’cause it was taking me too long to cook dinner. After that, part of me like died. I was too scared. That man, he put the fear of God into me that day and I just shut down.”

She went on to tell me that she had no friends and if anyone ever came to the house, he’d move them to a new apartment. No one was supposed to know where they lived. He kept her isolated in this way. Her family tried to talk to her and she wouldn’t listen to them. When pushed about this, she explained, “You don’t want your family to know how bad things are. It’s just natural to hide.” How did she finally leave? Her adult son came to see her and happened to come by on a morning after a very bad beating. He drug her from the home, kicking and screaming and told her that if she didn’t come, he’d kill her husband. She never went back to her abuser, though she has seen him once or twice. Fifteen years later and married to someone else, he tried to tell her that he still loved her. She said she walked away as fast as she could from him on the street that day.

 

What Support Do Battered Women Need?

 

If a woman is to get out of something that is emotionally and/or physically abusive, she must have a support system. She needs to know that she has somewhere to go but she cannot be pushed. She often has to reach her lowest of low breaking point before she will finally realize that she has to leave. Sadly, 19,000 women each year die because they don’t realize it and get away in time. Yes NINETEEN THOUSAND woman DIE in domestic abuse situations. Most of them didn’t believe the abuser would ever go that far.

There are shelters for abused women and a lot of support groups out there. Most women will never use them. Someone who has anxiety, PTSD, OCD, and other symptoms that are all TYPICAL of being abused emotionally and physically, is not going to go seek out this type of help. To them, this is far too terrifying. Asking them to file for divorce or leave is like asking a goose to lay a golden egg. It nearly takes an act of God. Terror is simply not the word for what these women go through. They cannot be pushed for this reason. If they are, they will simply stay put. To them, it is easier to stay than to look for help.

Counseling is most often a ‘must have’ for any woman leaving an abusive relationship. She’ll need to learn how to adjust to being able to think for herself, make her own decisions and even to have life goals of her own. She will need emotional support, whether with friends or a partner that can be understanding and encouraging. It is a fine line between being supportive and enabling someone though. Be careful that you aren’t used or take for granted. Some women will easily fall into letting you be there for them emotionally while continuing to stay in what is harming them. Set boundaries and keep them. If you truly care, tough love may be the only way you can really help.

For the women who get away, the prognosis is good. Once they realize that it is very possible to start over, be safe and have a life, healing begins. Healing is a long and slow process. Counseling or therapy helps with this. These women have to learn to love themselves all over again. Anyone who attempts to help them and be there for them, will have to have a lot of patience. It helps to have a clean break and move to a new area. Many women go to different states to avoid ever seeing their abuser again. It can take them many years to get over feeling sorry for the their abuser too. Many women blame themselves for the abuse for years. This is why counseling is so essential. Believing that they said or did something that started the attack, whether physical or verbal – they believe that they deserve it somehow. Many abused women even seem ambivalent about their situation, as if they don’t care. This is a form of emotional shock. It keeps them from leaving, but it keeps them from losing their minds too. It is a common symptom of Battered Woman Syndrome. Recognize the signs so you can help.

Physical scars heal and fade. Emotional scars stick the longest and are the hardest to overcome. Where there is support and love, a woman has a hand to reach out for when she is ready. All you can do is be there to offer her that hand when she is ready and tell her that you are there.  Never give up on her. She needs you and you might just be the one thing that keeps her holding on.

Categories: abuse, child abuse, lesbian, life lessons, love, self-help | Tags: , , , , | 11 Comments

Why I Live Like I Do – Blown By the Wind

Great live version!

 

All My Dreams Pass Before My Eyes of Curiosity

Nothing lasts forever, but the earth and sky….no truer words were ever spoken. My philosophy on life, the actual process of living and the purpose for our existence, is far removed from that which most people feel. Firstly, I don’t believe that this is our only ride on the pony. I believe that we come back many times to this earthly realm and we learn more and more as we progress up a ladder, so to speak. In all honesty, I think it a little bold to believe that you could learn all there is to know from living only one lifetime.

I have nearly died a few times. I’ve known others in the same place. All of my life I have been very intuitive and after my parents passed it became very strong and I had to work with a woman to help teach me how to ‘turn it down’ when I needed to. I feel emotions far more deeply than many others do for this reason. I also tend to know when I am being lied to. What makes me different than most people is that I’ll forgive the lies and try to get straight to the root of the thing that is causing you to tell the lies. I am not like most people. Some might call me crazy…that’s okay. I can take it. I forgive them too. I am actually very quick to forgive, but I don’t necessarily let everyone back in. I weigh the circumstances and I wonder whether or not I can help them…or if there is another lesson for me at hand. This determines my decisions.

My belief is that before we are born, we actually plan this life out to a large degree…like an outline. You are still free to write the story the way you wish, but the general outline will guide you. I believe that we choose the battles that we are going to be facing, based on the lessons that we need to learn this time around. I was told by a psychic in 2007/08 that this was my last time to be reincarnated and that I had asked to make this lifetime to be a very big challenge. In her words, “You really wanted everything possible thrown at you so that you could really go out with a bang this time. You wanted to experience it ALL.”

To be perfectly honest….at that time, I thought she was little bit full of shit. She knows it because I sort of told her that. She’s still on my Facebook friends list and she’s honestly really good. As it turns out, I believe her now. It took me a while – it was a slow progression and almost like a game…to see what else could possibly happen and what would I survive. You see, I have complete faith now that I’m SUPPOSED to just keep going through more shit and that I will survive. I also know, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I have a reward of some sort coming. I know that God is going to give me peace and rest, love and somewhere to put down roots. I can feel it moving towards me. Faith. This is my only explanation. I’ve survived many things that should have killed me. I know that I am SUPPOSED to be here, sitting in this booth right now, writing this. Someone out there is being moved by every word and their life is beginning to make more sense to them as they read on. YOU! You may be that person I am supposed to be helping right now. Have some faith and know that you are not alone. I’m aware of your pain and many others are too. You can and will survive, my friend.

My days are spent attempting to touch people with a dose of reality and trying to show others that humility is a good thing. Yes, I get confused and I get scared. You see, while my soul knows the outline I am following, I have no memory of it. For now, I’m just a human being that is also making mistakes and getting by through much trial and error. I’m simply trying to trust that I’m being shown opportunities to grow and given chances to rise above. I’m challenged and tested each and every day. We all are! Some just don’t understand it.

Same Old Song…Just a Drop of Water In An Endless Sea

I’ve risen above homelessness, hunger, my father’s suicide, near death experiences, child abuse from my mother, being cheated on by at least two people that I loved, lied to by people that I trusted with my life and being put in harm’s way, having no family in my life at all…I’m a complete loner, being diagnosed with diabetes in 2005, put on psychotropic drugs that actually caused me to lose my mind for a long time, watching someone die in my arms, being beaten half to death by three grown men just because I was a lesbian, having an older brother come to live with me and take me for money, hit me and break everything I owned for going on two years, having a younger brother go to work at the job I helped him get and tell everyone that as far as he was concerned he didn’t have a sister as long as I was gay, living in a cabin in the winter of 2011 with no running water, no heat, no electricity and surviving by letting the dogs sleep on top of me on those nights when ice formed on the inside of the walls. I’ve tried to help a lot of people who burned me badly. I’ve had people tell lies about me and others judge me. I have been diagnosed with ADHD/ADD and auditory processing disorder, anxiety, agoraphobia and a few other things. All of those issues come and go. I had a panic attack last night and my chest hurt. I knew that it would pass.

In the last month, I came to IL to help someone. She told me she loved me and she tried to hide a lot from me…but I already knew she was lying to me. Again, like I ALWAYS do…I forgave her. It just isn’t worth being angry anymore. I let go of all my anger last summer. God showed me that my life was my own and that He had honestly given me every possible chance to turn things around. This is when I realized that my purpose…my TRUE purpose in life was to help other people. Even if it is a kind word and nothing else…I feel that I can touch people in a way that can change their life. This is what I try to do each and every day now. I don’t hold onto anger and I don’t let things keep me down. Yes, I get down because I’m human, but I quickly recover and remember that I have a purpose and a meaning to my life. I move on.

These days, I’m being tried and challenged with each breath that I take. I’m single and it looks like it’s going to stay that way. You cannot help someone who refuses to be helped because their path has not yet led them to have any faith in themselves or in the world around them. I weep for her, not because she’s hurt me…but because I could not help her. I have still offered to be here and be her friend, but one thing I have become very good at – turning my feelings for someone off. If I choose not to let you in, then you are done. I only resort to this when I feel that the damage I am incurring is greater than I can heal. One of my very first lessons in life was how to save myself, even when it was very traumatic. Honestly, that trauma has followed me for many years and only recently I believe that I was forgiven for it in a way that was meant to help me move on from this current experience faster as well.

I don’t tend to regret much, as I know it is a learning experience. I do regret when I can’t help someone…but it is time for me to move on. It is time to let the wind blow me again. I place it in God’s hands and where I end-up, I trust I am supposed to be there.

~ all we are is dust in the wind….

 

Categories: abuse, ADHD, child abuse, death, equal rights, gay lesbian, lesbian, life lessons, love, self-help | Tags: , , , , , | 7 Comments

Surviving Life – Christmas Blessings and Miracles

I survived

This is dedicated to a very special lady. This is her story and mine. It’s a tale with a twist. It started with an ending before a new beginning… 

It never ceases to fill me with wonder at the way that things work-out in life. I want to talk a bit today about things that I’m feeling. Don’t I always?

My fans write to me and thank me for letting them in. I found it curious that the last person I dated told me over and over that I didn’t let her in. Sometimes I found myself wondering what on earth more I could have told her or shared with her? Then I realize that some things are not meant to be and no amount of trying to figure it out, when it is over, is going to ever really help.

We often pray to God, or ask the Universe or “Cupid” to help us get the one that we have our sights on. We get brokenhearted when it doesn’t work and fool ourselves into thinking that it is the end of the world. The real truth is that those endings bring us new beginnings and we must be open to them or else we’ll miss them.

Sometimes if we are VERY lucky, we may get a second chance at something that we let pass us by. I believe that a second chance has come to me from my past because I wasn’t ready for her and I needed to learn some other things first. Now I believe that I can be there for her.

For a short spell, when I broke things off with the woman who always chose to remain nameless in my world, I felt guilty. I was ready to move on almost immediately. I’m kind of like that. It isn’t because I didn’t ever love the people in my past, it’s just that when I have finally reached the point to say good-bye to them, it’s because I have been slowly transitioning there for a long time. So while I feel bad for her, because I know that I did hurt her feelings and it blind-sided her when it shouldn’t have, I am moving on with my life. Why? That is what a survivor does!

As fate would have it, I was messaged a few weeks before Thanksgiving by “DJ.” I hadn’t heard from her in about two years. Let’s go back in time. I was living back in my hometown. A friend on my Facebook wall said I should talk to this girl, she was married to another woman but from the area and could probably show me around and introduce me to people. Next thing I knew, DJ sent a friend request and we talked. We talked and talked and talked. It came out that she was indeed married and not happy. Her girlfriend was over the top crazy, mean and abusive.

I consider myself a ‘gentleman’ – an old school butch. I don’t mess with anyone else’s woman, especially their wife. Still, this girl was in a lot of trouble and really needed a friend. I have never turned my back on anyone in need. I don’t see me ever doing so.

One night, while talking to me via instant messaging on her computer, DJ says to me that she’s being attacked (I knew by who) and suddenly she was offline. By this time, we were talking as if we had something to hide, even though we had not done a thing. It was sort of happening, even though we both fought it tooth and nail. We had never done anything out of line, but we’d both been developing feelings for each other. It was, at this point, harmless crushes.

As you can imagine, I was freaking out and didn’t know what on earth to do. I was miles and miles away – an hour drive. I did what I knew was risky, I called the apartment phone number. It rang busy … fast busy. Something was wrong. I didn’t know the exact address, so I couldn’t call cops. I waited and I worried. 

FINALLY! A day or two later, DJ showed up on Facebook, posting photos of her destroyed laptop. Her ‘wife’ had yanked it away from her, for talking to me, and destroyed it on the floor. Now … I want to STRESS that we were not flirting, we had not done ANYTHING. We were only friends and I was there to listen to her. She was terrified of this woman she lived with. We chatted by phone now, off and on, when she could. I knew where she worked and though it was a long drive, I drove by on occasion to say hello and check in on her. She was afraid to talk to me. I was not interfering with her work and her boss didn’t care….but her wife and her wife’s family were actually watching her. They would sit with binoculars and keep tabs on her all night while she was at work. I started to wonder what in the hell I had gotten into, but still … I cared and I wanted to help her. Suddenly, one day I found myself deleted from her friends list. I knew that DJ didn’t do this. I tried to call her and the phone just rang and rang and went to voice mail. I tried a few times. Finally, I called the apartment. Her wife answered the phone. “Be cool,” I told myself. After all, I was not sleeping with DJ, I had never even kissed her or touched her in any way. I was only her friend. Just because this crazed woman thought there was more to it, that was her problem. “Is DJ there?” I asked.

“No. Who is this?” came the response.

“Just a friend. Do you know when she’ll be home?”

“No. I think she’s at the neighbor’s place. Who is this? Can I take a message??”

“Thanks!” – I hung up.

I got in my car and I drove the 50 minutes to get to her apartment. I drove by. DJ’s truck was there and so was the wife’s car. I couldn’t knock on the door with the wife there. What would I do? I had no idea. I drove past the apartments to the end of the street, went around the block and turned the corner. When I did, I glanced to my left and swore I saw DJ on the balcony at the neighbor’s upstairs apartment, which was across the street from her place. I turned my car around and I honked the horn and leaned out the window. Her face lit up and she said “What are YOU doing here?”

“Checking on you. You aren’t answering your phone and I’m not on your friend list anymore.”

“Ugh. Yeah, ***** did that. My phone is in pieces too.”

Right about that time, the stalker wife comes out into the middle of the road and starts waving her arms in the air, shouting, “Really, DJ? REALLY?” Obviously in a huff that she was talking to me at my car window.

DJ to me, “You wanna park your car and come up and sit with me and Leo? We’re having a few beers while she cools off over there.”

I parked and got out. The wife was still screaming and carrying on across the street. We ignored her. It seemed best. “Did she really destroy your phone too?” I just couldn’t believe this.

“Oh yeah, it’s in little pieces. Like my laptop and the home phone.”

We drank a few drinks with Leo. He was  a nice guy. When DJ disappeared to use the restroom once, he told me she was a nice girl and deserved someone better than the psycho across the street that she lived with. He’s seen a lot of things happening over there.

A little while later, as it had turned dark and we were just talking and laughing, trying to make the most out of a bad situation, suddenly the door across the street flew open. DJ’s possessions started flying out onto the sidewalk. The ‘wifey’ was going nuts. It appeared to me, at that time, that this woman was sincerely nuts. Now DJ gets up and runs across the street and it turns into a full blown scene.

I didn’t get in the middle of it, though I would have if I felt like she needed me. I watched DJ clock her wife’s male cousin right in the nose for helping to throw her stuff out. Apparently he had shown up while we were enjoying our conversation with Leo. She punched him right square in the nose, full force. I was proud of that little Army brat right at that moment. It showed me that she was feisty for sure!

She had been in the reserves, so it wasn’t like she was a weakling. She’s about 5’7, but only about 120 pounds. Her wife was shorter but built like a linebacker – typical butch chic. The male cousin made no attempt to hit her back, but he called the cops. He tried to charge her with assault. Great. Now it was a real scene. I stayed out of it and watched from across the street. I really couldn’t afford any trouble.

When all was said and done, about an hour later, the wife, advised to do so by the cops, left to go spend the night at the cousin’s place. DJ didn’t get in any trouble because the officer said she had a right to tell him to get out of her home and protect herself and her belongings. He had no right there. When the police left, I was still across the street and DJ had locked herself in her apartment. I knew she was upset.

I walked across the street and  I gently tapped on the door until she came and opened it. I stepped one foot inside the door and she fell into my arms. She cried on my shoulder. I held her for what seemed like forever. She said to me, “Now you know my secret. My dirty little secret that I didn’t want you to know. Even my family doesn’t know. I live with an addict. She drinks and she does drugs. She spends all our money on drugs and this is my life.” She sobbed on my shoulder and I wanted to steal her away to another world, another place.

I did nothing more than hold her and help her carry her things back in that night. A few days later, I showed up with a friend and a van and I BEGGED her to leave with us. “Come on, you don’t have to come to my place. I will take you anywhere you want to go….to your dad’s place…anywhere but here.” I begged for over an hour. She wouldn’t go, but she had a hoodie pulled up over her hair. It had all been shaved off and it wasn’t exactly a nice haircut. “Did she do that to you?”

She nodded without looking up or looking me in the eyes. She was like a dog that was afraid to make eye contact….so beaten down. “She said now no one else would want me.”

No matter how I begged, she just wasn’t ready and wouldn’t leave. She was so terrified. I had tears in my eyes again. Her eyes looked so hopeless and so sad. I hugged her and I held her again for a few minutes, because I really did understand. She was terrified and brainwashed to believe that she couldn’t get away.

A few days later, I went to a dollar store and I bought a cheap cell phone. I drove by her job, after hiding the phone and the charger in a Styrofoam cup from a convenience store, and I handed the cup to her. I said, “It’s not a drink, it’s a phone. You hide it. Keep it on silent. Don’t let her know you have it. In an emergency, you can call for help now.” I drove away. A few minutes later I got a text, “I am not sure which is crazier…you bought me a cell phone…or that you gave it to me in a cup?” I smiled and drove home. That was a Thursday.

That weekend, Sunday night, I received a text message from her, “Can u call me right now please!”

I called her. She was hysterical. **** had gone out and gotten too drunk to drive home. DJ had become the designated driver to get her home. DJ was driving when the wife started punching her. God only knows what was said or what they were fighting about, but DJ told me that I needed to come get her right away. She had stopped the car and kicked her wife until she had gotten out of the car. DJ had sped away, leaving her on the side of the road drunk. She was now at their apartment and scared to death. “When she gets back here…I’m dead. She will have her cousin come get her and then they will come straight here.” She sounded completely terrified.

I drove to meet her at a convenience store. She was wearing a hooded sweatshirt, pulled way up past her face. I walked up to her and ripped it back. Her eye was swollen shut and black. Again, I had tears in my eyes. She got back to my place with me that night. I gave her a cold washcloth for her face and some ibuprofen. I tried to get her to sleep in my bed and I offered to sleep on the couch. She wouldn’t move and would let me move either. She had a grip on me. I could tell she was honestly terrified. She slept on top of me, on the sofa, all night. The next morning, she told me she had to go to work and she was going to take care of some things.

Within a few days, we had her moved into her parent’s home. I helped her pack things into her car and my car and got it all to her mom and dad’s house. Things were very hard for her every step of the way. Her wife sold her truck without her permission. The state called it ‘community property’ because they were legally married and deemed the sale legal.

She got trespass warrants and more. The ex walked right through them. She violated the writ within the first week by calling DJ. The harassment continued. DJ and I continued to talk. One night, she met me at a StarBucks and we had coffee. We talked for hours and I held her hand. She showed up in the sexiest dress I have ever seen a woman wear for coffee. It was well after dark when I finally walked her to her car. We kissed for the first time, there in that parking lot. I remember it like it was yesterday.  Beyond the shadow of a doubt, it was a kiss that is second only to the very first kiss of my life – only because you never really forget your first kiss. This kiss was electric. It was meant to be, as if we were both right where we were supposed to be in that one moment of time. Looking back on it, I remember every detail of that night as if I was living in a fairy tale.

Then it happened, without warning …. she started seeing that woman again. She felt sorry for her abuser. Slowly but surely, she opened the door and let her right back into her life. I have read about this behavior. It’s common but I couldn’t take it. I just couldn’t take it. I didn’t react very well at all. I was hurt, angry and I let it show, I admit it.

DJ, also being temperamental (remember she’s feisty?), didn’t take my temper very well and words were exchanged. The words that stung me  like no others were, “****** owns my heart and nothing is going to change that!” I was done right then and there. I had to be. I still cared and it all hurt me very much, but I had to move on because I was going to be hurt more if I stuck around. I could see it coming.

I made a difficult decision; I walked away and I left her behind while I traveled to Missouri and then on to Florida the following year, to try my luck with the woman down here. We never really fully connected and something was always lacking for me. You know what I mean? Some relationships are just okay…but that spark…that thing…is just missing.

A few weeks before Thanksgiving, DJ found me. We talked, just out of the clear blue. She told me about going to school now, how her life had moved on, how she was free and finding herself again. I made it clear I was seeing someone, out of respect for that person. I didn’t tell DJ that I was really very unhappy. Then, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, ‘she who remains nameless’ said something so stupid to me that I just couldn’t take anymore of her naivete’. I told her I really didn’t have any desire to see her anymore. It felt good to be basically free again. I mentioned it here and there, because that’s me; I’m pretty public.

Three days later, DJ contacted me again. She made it pretty clear that the door was still open between her and I. I suppose it was all very unresolved the way it ended before, and it shouldn’t shock me that I’d still have feelings for her? We’ve emailed back and forth several times. I can tell that she’s changed a lot. She’s different and it shows. She’s more upbeat and positive.

She’s also made more of an attempt to tell me how she feels. She told me she’s scared. She doesn’t trust easily. She is still dealing with some harassment from the ex but hasn’t lived with her in a year. She told me how much she regretted not leaving that day with me when I brought a friend and a van. She told me how abandoned she felt when I wasn’t there anymore and how much more crap she had to endure after that. This made me feel truly awful.

I really want her to know that I admire her. I want her to know that I really ‘get it’ all and I understand what she went through and how she still suffers. She lived through some of the worst things being done to her that a human being can endure. She lost her freedom, she was a prisoner, she was brutalized and emotionally damaged. She’s fought ten times harder to have her life back than most people ever have to fight for anything. She’s a good woman and she’s winning her fight. I understand her needs and I know how fragile she is, but I also know how strong she can be too. I cherish her for all that she is. I want to celebrate her accomplishments and raise her up now …. never to bring her down.

Today, I’m thankful that what I wanted here in FL didn’t work out, because maybe that closed door allows room for this one to be opened again? Maybe unanswered prayers are much more of a blessing than any of us ever realizes? Who knows? I can’t predict what tomorrow will bring, but I’m very happy to have DJ back in my life and I just hope that she realizes what it means to me and how special she has always been to me. I am not certain why she’s back in my life, but I choose not to question it. This is me, surviving life. Isn’t this what we all do?

Categories: abuse, equal rights, lesbian, life lessons, love, self-help | Tags: , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

How Walmart and Capitalism Have Actually Killed America

Know Your History and Get An Education

I am going to go out on a real limb this morning and tell people exactly why America is screwed and how it became screwed. Better yet, I’m going to attempt to show you how you have played a part in it. Companies like Walmart supplied you with the sword and then they coerced you into cutting off your own toes, one at a time, until you can barely stand. The most unbelievable part of the story (which would almost be funny if it weren’t so sad) is that they have convinced you that the sword is the problem and not them. The have convinced you that they are actually on your side and that you should trust them and invest in capitalism because ‘that is what America was founded on’ and  it works. It does work, indeed … for them.

Now, when I say to ‘get an education’ I’m certainly not implying that without a college education you cannot understand these things. My mother was a very smart woman. She never graduated high school. What she did do was to read constantly. My mother did very little for me that I am thankful for, but this is one thing I learned from her. I read. I read and read and read. I don’t read the same things that she did. She was a fan of murder mysteries and romance novels. On rare occasions she’d read a James A. Michener. As for me, I prefer to read things that I can learn from. I like books about history, science, politics, human interest, ‘how to’ books, and things of that nature. This is what I mean when I say ‘get an education’ and I intend no insult when I say it.

Abraham Lincoln was one of the greatest presidents that this country  has ever seen. Most of his education was from the books that he read, by the light of the fireplace, as a young man. ‘Honest Abe’ was one of the greatest republicans who ever lived. Strangely enough, he was the president who freed the slaves, yet the party of his legacy is also the party who still rules the slave states and has tried so vehemently to suppress votes. Don’t believe me…look at the photo below.

This map clearly shows that slave states have also remained discriminatory through all of history. Even today, racial prejudice is rampant in these states. The republican party has become the oppressive party. Strange when they are the party that lays claim to a great man like Abe Lincoln, whose “Emancipation Proclamation” freed the slaves.

President Lincoln saw a world where inequality was fundamentally wrong on every level. He saw this as a great social injustice and his party was the party of social justice. The republicans of yesteryear are actually represented by the democratic party of today. The parties have gradually evolved (or devolved depending on how you look at it) and changed places. Please visit the Lincoln and Freedom webpage and click on the interactive map that will show you the progression of slavery in the United States. Also, take the time to read the Emancipation Proclamation while you are at it! This is one of the most important speeches ever given in the history of this country. It can be viewed here, in Lincoln’s own handwriting, on the original documents.

“I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons.” ~ Abraham Lincoln, President of the United States of America.

How Capitalism Has Brought Us Backwards

Since the days following the Civil War, capitalism has begun running out of control. The “carpet baggers” started it all by coming to the south and buying land and businesses, which had been decimated by the war. Those with money began seeing how they could become wealthier than they already were. They took advantage of the war torn south and gradually took over. These people brought their money, their ideas and effectively bought the control of these states.

Now I already know what the naysayers are going to say … ‘so you are saying that the freeing of the slaves was actually where we went wrong.’ Yes, I know how that faction of our society thinks. It is sad, but this is how they argue. I reject this argument emphatically. One good deed … an ethical and morally correct decision that human beings should be free and capable of living a life without the fear of bondage and beatings, made by a good man who was forward thinking, is not the problem here.

The problem was the selfish, capitalist way of thinking that drove money and power worshippers to the south.  They pounced on the aftermath of the war, with people living in poverty; broken and in disrepair of spirit – those who were their own families and brethren. They took advantage of the system and that is when it all began. To this day, those who are in a position of wealth and power continue to take advantage of those who are less fortunate, less educated and dependent upon this broken, capitalist system for a job and income.

Corporate Greed and the Money Machines

As the country has progressed, technology has led the world into a more global economy. Once again, the mega capitalists have stood to gain the most. Already in a position of power, they have used this power to open their market places to goods from other countries because they can now make more profit than ever. Walmart was one of the first companies to do this on a large scale. Corporations have become money machines that get hungrier the more that they are fed!

As more and more products have been brought here from China, Taiwan and other countries that we used to pride ourselves for being more advanced than, Americans have found fewer and fewer of our own “made in the USA” brands available.

Making matters even worse, we now stand back and watch these major corporations shipping our jobs over seas. The American people have been taken advantage of by their own people. We have been bought out and sold out. Those who tell you there is no such thing as class warfare are either in that class that doesn’t want you to see the slaughter that you have been led to over the last 150 years, or they have just not read enough to educate themselves.

What books are you reading? Who wrote them? Are you being spoonfed information by a system and a government that only give you what they think you can handle and what they want you to know? You should question EVERYTHING. You should also open your eyes, America! Capitalism is what let banks gain control of your money, your finances, your companies, the brands you are able to buy, the things you can and cannot afford and the news and media that you are watching. Your churches are run by corporations that donate enough money to keep your churches in a tax free status.

Then you are taught from books that are printed by huge publishing houses that are also controlled by the same media and the same corporations. The conspiracies run so deep that you’ll never be able to trace them all! You are not given anything to help you think for yourselves because you are truly sheep not only be led to a slaughter, but you are being handed your own guns and told to shoot yourselves!

Small Businesses Killed By Capitalism

Walmart has grown to mega proportions and put smaller mom and pop grocery stores out of business all over the country. You shop at these box stores because ‘they are cheaper’ and what happens is that you give them all the money and all the power to control the jobs. Now you are in the position that you must accept what they are willing to pay you. As wages continue to stagnant while the cost of living goes up, you are now more reliant upon these very big box chains because now they are truly the only thing you can afford. Suddenly you have no choices because you can’t afford them and because they have been put out of business anyway.

Small gas stations are gone in favor of huge chains like Texaco, BP and the companies like 7-11 and Circle K convenience stores. Grocery stores in home towns are gone and people have to drive miles to get to large chains like Kroger, King Sooper (both owned by the same company), Winn Dixie, Publix and Albertsons.

The corner pharmacy, with the friendly home town guy that could talk to you all day if you needed his advice, are gone. The people who knew your family and your children have been replaced by a Walgreens or a Rexall or Osco on every street corner. Walmart pharmacies are now trying to get to a position of putting THEM out of business because it isn’t enough to be the biggest grocery store and retail chain…they wish to also be the biggest pharmacy as well. They want ALL the business of ALL the people and you will shop there more and more until you have no choice because there are no other choices. THIS is what capitalism run-amuck has done in this country.

Effects On Other Business

The next time you complain about the cost of dental care or health care, stop and realize that capitalism has created the same issues here. The same few companies are the ones who manufacture equipment and parts for dental offices and procedures. Your dentist is in the same position as you are. They are being forced to purchase their goods from a very small  list of providers. These same providers can charge exorbitant prices for their goods because the dentist has no choice but the purchase the supplies that they need. These costs are passed on to you. In order to stay competitive with other dentists, they doctor who runs their own practice is forced to make less profit.

This same dentist is now fighting to earn business from the large chains who are opening clinics all around the country, like Comfort Dental. As a large chain, they have more buying power and get the better deals from the companies who supply them from coast to coast. Your hometown dentist, who has the same student loans to pay off, higher malpractice insurance than ever before and tons of overhead, is now faced with no budget for advertising and fewer ways of competing with these large chains. They sit back and watch their patient base dwindle over the years. Without the few patients who remain loyal and understand the benefits of one on one care that they will never get at large clinics, your hometown dentists in private practices would simply go out of business.

Don’t Talk To Me About Ayn Rand and Atlas Can Go F@$* Himself

So in reality, capitalism, as with anything, is harmful when it is allowed to run with no checks and balances. It is not for the benefit of most of the people. It is for the benefit of the super wealthy. The people who are well off and the people who buy into their line of bullshit will honestly try to explain to you that the democratic party and the people who are liberal want to ‘redistribute the wealth’ in this country. NO….what people like I am trying to make you see is that the wealth has been slowly been redistributed for many years already. The money has been going from your pockets to them and then being sent to other countries for goods and services. It isn’t really that hard to understand people.

Look at it like this. The country starts with 100 oranges. You all send those 100 oranges to Walmart for food, prescriptions and so forth. They spend 30% of their overall oranges on payroll. That means that 30 of the 100 original oranges go back into the US population. 60% of the oranges go to other countries to pay for the imported goods that were sold. That is 6 oranges that are just gone from the US that we most likely won’t ever get back! The folks at Walmart keep an orange for themselves. It sits in a bank somewhere so it is out of play. That is another orange that the people never get back.

Think of those oranges as dollars and think in terms of YEARS of this going on. All the money and all the debt that we print and write-off is because the money is going out of our own country. The ONLY people profiting are those at the very top…the 1%.  So if you are making excuses for capitalism and making less than $250k per year, you are truly one of their favorite people. They have brainwashed you into making the plea for them, making them look good and continuously voting for them. It’s like a dog, asking to be beaten. You’ve gotten good at it.

I realize that I may be almost over-simplifying this, but it is important to make it as simple as possible so that people GET IT. You are being used. You are being misled. You are not in control of your country and you have not been for many, many generations. Capitalism doesn’t work. On paper it looks great. On the backs of the poor and the middle class and those who were not born with a silver spoon in their mouth, it really doesn’t look that good.

Is anything really possible in the US? Yes! Freedom means that you do have the right to keep trying, which is more than other countries have. The odds dictate that sometimes people can get lucky and they can find ways to do better for themselves, but in reality you are oppressed even if you are just poor and white. There is not any security for you unless you are white and wealthy … and most likely male.

So Why Don’t I Give Up?

This election proved something in this country. People are waking up. Things are changing and eyes are opening. We DO have the power to change things. The American people have choices that they can make. Choose to sacrifice some of your toys and pay a little more to support your local business. Tired of the cost of gas? Ride a bike, invest in a car that is electric or gets great mileage. Change your ways, your patterns and rebuild America the way that you want it.

The fact is that you are going to have to sacrifice some things if you really want change. Do you want to make your voice heard? Then speak in terms that the ones at the top understand…withhold your dollars from them. Refuse to spend money at Walmart for Christmas. Teach your children the importance of supporting your own country and that the true meaning of Christmas isn’t about going to a store and beating smacked by an old woman as you fight for the same last copy of the hot toy for the season. There is more to life and there is so much more at stake here.

I believe that we have the ability to take our country back. We showed we have the moxie this year. Let’s keep up the momentum! Support your local farmers and take the power of Monsanto (who is poisoning you and your family) away. Support the local craft store instead of buying the Ipad that is being manufactured in China. Choose what is REALLY best for you and your family and give your children the best gift of all this year…hope for a future as an American that has a choice and pathway to a better life in a country that is truly theirs!

Categories: abuse, American government, equal rights, gay lesbian, lesbian, life lessons, love, Politics, self-help | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Coming Out Early, Coming To Terms Late, Coming Full Circle Finally

Today is National Coming Out Day! Congratulations to those of you who like myself, have been out for many years. You have paved the way for those who will come out today!

To those of you who are just out or coming out now, congratulations to you as well! This is a very serious and personal decision. Only you can decide if this is something that you want to do. Some of you will come out to strangers but not to family. Some will come out at work but not to others. Some of you will come out to family only. Many people come out in stages and others jump out of that closet with a vengeance. My friend, Lisa, told me many years, “Dawn (my given name), you didn’t just come out of the closet, you jumped out of the whole fucking house!”

My own story was that I was very closeted in early years. I moved away from home when I was 19 and came to Florida on my own. I was not really out yet but working towards it. My family put their home up for sale and sold a lot of stuff and actually followed me to Florida. I was not very happy about this at all!!

As it turned-out, when my parents had moved, they had neglected to clean out the closet that had been in my room very well. I had forgotten about a journal that I had kept…and kept hidden in my closet. (appropriate place eh?) The people who moved into the house had school aged kids and they found it. They took it to school  – the same school in the small town that I had attended. Pretty soon, I received a letter in the mail from the person who used to call herself my best friend.

The letter explained that the whole town now knew and it would be wise if I probably never came back there. She made it clear that she didn’t really want to talk to me anymore. Of course, I was mortified and it became a race –  either ME telling my parents or someone from the hometown telling them. I sat my mother down and I told her. Now, you must understand that my mother and I had a very bad relationship as it was. She had been my abuser and tormentor in so many ways growing up. Now I had to face her in terror and tell her what I was. (I still felt very abnormal and often referred to myself as a mistake and a monster)

Things did not go well and to make a very long story short, my parents and I didn’t speak to each other for about two years. I moved AGAIN, to another city in Florida so that I could have space, privacy and be myself. Oh what a process it was! My life has been full of confusion and a trail of bad decisions, all of which I had a hard time owning up to. It was easy to blame everything on how unfair my own life had been.

In the end, things worked out for me. It took me many, many years to understand how to come to terms with the fact that I always had the ability to be me. I never owed anyone any explanations or apologies. More importantly, there were never any reasons for me to have anger, regrets or pain over this.

To those of you who are concerned with what others think of you now, I want to tell you that you are special. You are unique and wondrous just as you are. There is someone out there for you, even if you think there is not. You are not alone and you never will be if you don’t want to be.

Will this road be easy? No. Certainly not. Being GLBTQ is very difficult. You are not going to have things easy when it comes to fitting in or being respected. You will work harder to be equal and when you love someone, you will have to work harder to stay with that person. Being respected as a couple in the eyes of society is not simple but it IS getting better. I used to harbor much resentment over these things, as well as other things from my childhood and what my parents put me through.

Here is what I have come to learn:

The moment that you accept that all suffering, pain, tears, heartbreak, conflict, loss and grief have been to make you strong enough for the path that God (insert Universe if you are not Christian, for to me it is all the same) has in store for you, everything becomes clearer. Instead of being angry, feeling cheated and unfortunate, you begin to view things from the opposite direction. It suddenly becomes easy to let these things go and look to the future, eagerly awaiting the good things we’ve been training for. Suddenly you realize that THIS IS your purpose! THEN God, can move in you. Peace is the domain of God. When we truly feel peace inside of ourselves then we know that we are right in the center of what he wants for us. This begins with acceptance of your place and your life lessons. You are always okay just as you are, don’t let anyone tell you that you are not worthy or that something is wrong with you. You were born with purpose from the moment you took your first breath, you had a destiny. You should be proud of all that you are. God and the universe are not ashamed of you in any way, so never be ashamed of yourself.

I Peter 5:7 – “God’s presence in our life is our sustaining peace.”

If you are coming out today, know that you are not alone in this world. You now have a support system, thanks to the internet, that I did not have 26 years ago. There are suicide hotlines for you, via the Trevor Project – 1-800-273- TALK (1-800- 273-8255). There are people who are part of that project who are signed-up to help listen and guide you. My facebook page is http://www.facebook.com/jessemacgregorjones and you will notice that my photo has the “Talk To Me” logo from the Trevor Project. I’m here as a mentor and guide for anyone who feels that they have no where to turn. Just as it says, you can talk to me.

Coming out is normally not easy. It can be traumatic but it can also be freeing. In the end, my story has been happy. You need to know that it is worth it. I did eventually reconcile with my family before my parents passed away. I am now free to be me and I don’t hide in a closet, in fear. I have someone in my life that I adore. I’m free to follow my dreams and my heart. So can you. There will be pain and grief along the way and this is the case with any life. Remember that this is simply to prepare you for the joy and the path you are meant to follow. Consider it training and keep it all in perspective. Know that you aren’t alone. Pick that phone up if you need it.

God bless,

Jesse

PS: That friend who wrote me the letter, contacted me YEARS later on Facebook and apologized. She admitted to being a stupid teenager and that life had taught her lessons since then as well. We are friends again, all these years later. Things CAN end well! Let them!

Categories: abuse, child abuse, death, equal rights, gay lesbian, lesbian, life lessons, love | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What Suicide Looks Like To the Ones Left Behind – Please, Find Another Way

“Some people misinterpret my stories of my father’s death as my reliving it and living in the past too much. The truth is that I’ m very much moved beyond this story and the pain.

What I honestly hope for, more than anything else, is to use graphic descriptions and the sadness to reach out to anyone else out there who has or is currently contemplating suicide as a way out. This is what you’ll do to those left behind. No matter what you think, people really do care and no matter how flawed your life may be…you are still valued and they still want you in their lives.

The world is ALWAYS a better place with you in it. You may not see your purpose or your reason for being here now, but it will become clear to you soon. Hang on long enough to see what you are capable of. You might just be surprised what you can do and how strong you are. “

Trevor Lifeline: 866 488 7386

National Suicide Hotline – 

1-800-273-8255

Dad had been missing for four days. His body had been hanging from a tree until it had decomposed and fallen to the ground below. It was my understanding that his head was detached from his body. The Florida heat and bugs had made him nothing more than rotting, bug infested flesh that was falling from bones that had been nibbled at by wild animals in the region. This was no longer our father. This was something that used to be a home to his soul and nothing more.

The coroner told us, “Don’t let your son see his father like this. It will give him nightmares the rest of his life.” We agreed and my mother gave the go ahead for the body to be moved to where it would be cremated. My brother never really forgave either one of us for that decision I don’t think? It’s sad that he held my mother responsible for a lot of things, including my father committing suicide in the first place. All along, she tried to protect him and in the end, he was just simply awful to her.

The events that followed were very surreal and I only vaguely remember the days that immediately followed the finding of his body. I know that the funeral for my dad was tiny. There were less than a dozen people there. His own family didn’t come. Two of my mother’s brothers were there and so was her little sister. I was bitterly disappointed that a man who was fifty-eight years old and had touched the lives of so many people only had a handful of people show-up to say good-bye to him.

I had to go pick-up the flowers. My brothers and I were supposed to split this. They both stiffed me. I grumbled to my mother about it because it was so typical and because I was also worried about paying my rent with all this time off work I was taking. I wasn’t going to receive any bereavement pay because my company didn’t offer it.

My mom’s sister, my Aunt Jenny, insisted on giving me money for them. I remember how I felt then. I had rent to pay and it was due in a week. I couldn’t afford the $300 for the wreaths and such. I was relieved that she gave me the money back but I also felt like a heel. It was one more thing that added to the grief and the stress.

Eventually came the day that we had to go collect Dad’s possessions from the sheriff’s department. Mom and I went together. I remember walking back to the window that we were directed to. Everyone seemed to keep looking at us and I felt that they knew who we were. I felt like they felt some sort of sympathy that they couldn’t express. It came out as an awkward silence.

The man behind a window pulled out an envelope. In it was my father’s wallet, his wedding ring, his keys to his car, and his watch. It was the watch I had given him just the year before for Christmas. He’d loved that watch. He always wore it. This thought made me smile.

My mother opened his wallet and began to look through it. I’m not sure why exactly, other than it was probably some connection to him that she felt. She turned it over in her hands, rubbed it and opened it. In a way, it was almost as if she was trying to conjure his spirit from it, as one would call a genie from a bottle.

She pulled out a photo and she gasped, “My God, … you always thought your father didn’t care but look.” In her hand was a photo of the three of us kids, from many years in the past, and on the back of the photo were our names and our dates of birth, in his handwriting. Again, it made me smile, but it was bittersweet. My father had never been the kind of guy to look at you and tell you he loved you. He showed it all the time, but he never ever just came out and said it.

Growing up, he’d been the guy who would cut you a hockey stick out of a sheet of plywood and sand it and paint it, just so you could go out back and play with some other kids and knock around something that we had used as a makeshift puck. He never missed a ball game while I was growing up. He never missed a birthday or an important event ever. Now I was coming to terms with the fact that he would be at nothing else for the rest of my life. It hit me like a rock landing in the pit of my stomach. I didn’t know why my mother said I thought that he didn’t care. I knew he cared. I didn’t know why he had never protected me from her, but I knew he cared.

A deputy who had worked the investigation came up and tried to be comforting. I really cannot say enough nice things about the Marion County sheriff’s department during this time. They treated as like human beings and not just a case they worked. Another deputy walked-up behind him and she said, “Well, at least you have the note he left.”

“Note? There’s a note??” My mother’s face looked shocked and hopeful. She seemed so excited.

“Yes,” the deputy went on, “he left a note. No one told you?” The deputy seemed genuinely shocked and concerned.

“My God! NO!” Tears started to form in my mother’s eyes.

The kind deputy told us to wait where we were. A few minutes later, the female deputy came back. The male deputy walked with her. In her hand she held a paper. She had made a copy of the suicide note and she handed to to my mother. She caught Mom’s hand and squeezed it as she released the note to her. I’m sure she must have realized what this mean to us. These were his last words to us and while they didn’t explain much, those words gave my mother so much comfort and for that I was very thankful.

We poured over it. It was short. It didn’t really make any sense other than to show he wasn’t in the soundest frame of mind when he wrote it. He also stated that he would miss us and loved us all. I’d never heard or even seen these words written from my father, in his own handwriting, in my entire life. Still, I did not cry.

Mom made copies for all of us. My copy is folded and lying in the bottom of a jewelry box to this day. Every now and then I will pull it out and look at it. It helps me feel close to him and to remember his handwriting. There is something in seeing his handwriting that gives me a little bit of comfort from time to time. It is like I still hold a piece of him.

Finally, the last business was that I had to drive my father’s car home, following my mother. It was the longest drive of my entire life. Mind you, I’d driven all over the country already. I’d driven from Florida to Illinois a dozen times and sometimes straight through. Yet this drive, alone with the ghost of my deceased father, was the longest drive of my life. I laughed, I yelled, I asked him “why?” and I sincerely wanted answers. None came.

At the funeral, my brothers both wept. I saw my younger brother’s shoulders heave. My older brother has always been a weeper and he had tears streaming down his face the whole time.

My mother was seated right next to me. I was the only one of her children who sat next to her. I remember thinking that was strange. Why me?

Nearing the end of the small, graveside service there was a twenty-one gun salute and then we had to endure Taps. This had come at the insistence of my younger brother. Being in the marines and my father having been in the army all those many years ago made this meaningful to him.

Never mind that my father was drafted and never had one nice thing to say about being in the Army. He hated it and could hardly wait to be discharged. I remember him talking about it from time to time. He’d been drafted as a young man who had been married already for a few years and taking off to basic training hadn’t been his idea of what he wanted to do with his life.

It was Taps that finally caused silent tears to stream down my cheeks. Still, I never openly wept. There was never any shoulder heaving, nose blowing, sobbing that seemed ready to come out of me. Perhaps I was still in shock or perhaps it was just that I had made a lifetime of holding things in and stuffing things down a little deeper? I just was shoving this all down into the abyss that I didn’t realize I was tethered to. The more weight I shoved down there, the further it drug me down with it.

Four days from the time I had first been told about my father’s death, I was back at work. I tied my tie and put on my vest as if it was any other day and off to work I went. I had a job to do and I was ready to get back to life as usual, and so I tried. I was now driving my father’s car. My mom sold it to me for a few hundred dollars. Leave it to her to make me pay for it. She would, just a few short months later, give my younger brother her Lincoln when she got the insurance money from Dad’s death. She bought herself a different vehicle and started spending that money as fast as she could.

I was finally back at my place and staying in my own bed again, leaving my mother to her lonely house. The first night that I was back in my own bed, the strangest thing happened to me. I had a dream that I was sitting on the branch of the tree that my father hung himself from. I was sitting there, swinging my legs. I was trying to talk him out of doing what he was doing.

He never looked at me. He just continued with his work of tying the rope over the tree limb. He ran the rope under the car and anchored it on the front axle of the car. The other end, he had already carefully tied a noose that had a perfect not. I knew this instinctively because my father was a master at tying knots. He taught me to tie a knot and to this day, people who knew him and see me tie a knot will comment that I must have learned that from my father. I’m sure that they mean nothing by it, but it stings a little.

As I begged him not to do what he was doing, he put the rope around his neck and he jumped. I awoke with a start. I was sweaty, had tears running down my face and I was deeply disturbed. I’ll never forget this dream as long as I shall live.

In a way it was healing because it made me realize that there was likely nothing I ever would have been able to say to him to change his mind, even if I’d have known his plans. He probably was going to have done what he did anyway. I adopted the philosophy that it was his life and he owed me nothing. If he was in pain, he had the right to end it. Right or wrong, this is what got me by for sixteen years after his death.

A few days later, I had a second dream. This dream, I would later come to understand was a ‘visitation dream’ and they are frequently bestowed upon those whom the deceased wishes to have some final contact with of some sort. Whether this dream is meant to clarify, give closure and instructions of some sort, it is a way for the loved one left behind to have some answers and to know that the person who has crossed over is in a better place.

I remember going to bed. My dog, Cheyenne, was sleeping next to me in the bed like she always did at night. It felt as though I had barely closed my eyes and drifted-off to sleep when suddenly a sound outside caused me to wake with a jolt.

The room was dark, but the moonlight streaming through the windows rested on the fog that had engulfed my bedroom. There was a waist-deep fog in my entire apartment. It was a blue-gray haze that seemed eerie yet I was not afraid in the slightest.

Again, I heard the noise from outside. It was an engine revving loudly, as if someone was about to drag race outside my back door. I hopped up and put my feet on the wood floor. I made my way to the back door, which led to a porch and another screened door. I walked to the screened door and peeked outside.

In the parking lot, which was just across from the driveway to this house which had been renovated to have two apartments in it, was an old, black Plymouth. It had a chopped top and it was raised in the rear end. This was a fast car, no doubt. It was quite an impressive hot rod and it was still rumbling.

There was an arm resting on the driver’s side door, and it led up to a short-sleeved, white tee-shirt. The arm looked vaguely familiar to me. I ducked my head down for a closer look and the face came into view for me. It was my father. He was much younger now. In fact, he looked like he was very close to my own age. I was twenty-eight and he looked about thirty.

“Dad?”

“Hey. Yes, it’s me. I need to talk to you,” he said as his arm motioned me to come closer.

I stepped out onto the wooden steps. I was barefoot and I could feel the steps on my feet. I remember thinking to myself that this had to be real because I made a mental note of what the steps felt like. I even felt the gravel as I tip-toed across the driveway to the parking lot and I could feel the relief of the grass on the other side. When I was finally standing next to the car, I was within two feet of my father’s arm. I looked back and forth at this old car. The words, “nice car,” escaped my lips.

“Thanks! Its your Uncle Kenny’s. I borrowed it.”

I remembered thinking to myself that Uncle Kenny had passed before I was even born. I was happy that Dad was able to see his brother again after all these years.

The ghostly specter that seemed so real spoke again, “I’ve got to talk to you. There are some things that are going to happen because of what I did. I need you to keep an eye on your mother. Can you do that?”

“Sure, Dad.”

“Listen, your mom is going to have a really hard time. She’s in danger and she’s going to die much sooner than she was supposed to and it’s all because of what I’ve done. I’ve started this all in motion. It can’t be changed now.”

“Okay. What do you mean ‘danger’?”

“You’ll know. Just promise me that you’ll be there for her and look out for her.”

“Okay. Are you okay, Dad?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. Everything here is great. You don’t need to worry about me.”

“Okay.”

“I’m never far away if you need me,” were his last words to me.

Suddenly, I was wide awake and the sun was shining. The dog was sitting there looking at me as if she had been awake already for a long time. I couldn’t help but feel that everything that had just happened, had really happened.

This dream would haunt me for a long time. It bothered me a great deal. It let me know my father was okay, but it also told me my mom wasn’t.

It seemed so typical of my family, let’s not do anything easy or the ‘right’ way. Let’s turn the nice, sweet good-by visitation dream into some ominous foretelling of gloom and death. I remember shaking it off and going about my day, but that dream would come back over and over in the next couple of years that were to follow.

Categories: abuse, death, life lessons, self-help | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Present And Accounted For

 

 

I SPENT THE EVENING TALKING ABOUT STABILITY WITH FRIENDS

So we are all clear … I’m not a very stable person and I never have been. Here is the real issue: I’m not sure I even know what it is!

What IS stability? What does it mean to you? If you have never had it, do you miss it? Does it mean the same thing to me that it does to you? What if we aren’t on the same page and you are asking me for something that I just don’t understand? What if I am so dysfunctional from my past that I can’t be? How do you know when you have it? How will I know what it is when I find it? Can I find it?

Yeah…I’m really this confused by it all. Honestly and for real. As an abused child who never knew from one day to the next if my mother would hate me or love me, I never had emotional stability. I never felt safe and I never trusted other people. The ONE time I told a counselor what was going on at home, she honestly called my mother and talked to her about it. Seriously. I never told anyone ever again about the things that went on behind closed doors at my house. I lost all faith in any adult ever helping me again and I learned that I shouldn’t tell people anything if I wanted to be safe, truly.

Carrying that into my adulthood, I have drawn lines at what I share. I’ve hidden my deepest feelings and I have had very few real friends. I try … but relationships of all sorts are hard. I simply really don’t know how to have them. I don’t know what healthy things look like. I have nothing to compare it to. When someone gets annoyed with me … I feel my mother bearing down on me all over again. When someone that I care about gets annoyed with me, it’s familiar to me and it scares me at the same time. It’s frightening because I know it isn’t normal now. It took me years to learn that it isn’t normal. It’s comfortable like an old tattered blanket. Even though it is full of holes and doesn’t really give me any protection anymore…I wrap myself up in the confusion and the chaos that has been my life and I hide in the familiar.

You are the unknown. You scare the hell out of me. The way I feel is unfamiliar. It isn’t comfortable. There’s nowhere for me to hide. You are totally out of my comfort zone. I love you. I’m scared of that. No…not scared….petrified. You call me out…you make me face myself and you make me so annoyed sometimes. Not at you; annoyed at my own short comings. I self-sabotage. I always have done this. I’m fighting a battle with myself to not do it this time. I can only take one day at a time and do ONE thing at a time.

You say you are scared to get to know me or be more open with me. You expect me to leave. Today, the only thing I know how to do is just stay when you expect me to go. I can love you when you expect me not to. This is my start. I cannot promise you the moon…but I swear on my own life that I can love you and I can stay. This is me…not running away for the first time in my entire life. This is me, terrified and not sure what to do next…just holding on.

 

Categories: abuse, child abuse, lesbian, life lessons, love, self-help | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

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