Family, Sobriety, Yoga, spiritualilty

True friendship has no limitations.

IMG_0946 Today, I am looking forward to being available for a good friend. This person is someone I have known since high school. We used to party together. I remember (vaguely) one time when her friend carried me out of a house because my legs failed to work after smoking way too much pot and drinking. Before graduation, we had a falling out, but then years later we became close again when our daughters were little. Eventually, the high price tag living in Massachusetts was too much so she and her family moved to Maine while I moved on with my life with its many curveballs. In spite of not seeing her in person, I always enjoyed seeing her updates on Facebook so in that sense we stayed connected.

Melissa was the one who saw her post about losing her dad and told me about it. I only go on Facebook about once a day and for a limited amount of time so I missed it. I reached out via Messenger to let her know how sorry I was. I didn’t expect her to respond, but she did. I knew in that second what I needed to do.

This friend was available for me when I lost my best friend, Christy. She was there at the train station when I was too shocked to drive home. She was there when I went to a meeting later that night and watched my daughter for me so I could try to get support. She was there when I relapsed and drank after 7 years of sobriety because I couldn’t handle the pain of losing the closest person to me. She was there when I lost my job, and again when I started my life over again.

I wasn’t a great friend back then. I took more than what I gave back. I still do that sometimes, and it’s something I work on every day. I don’t want to be selfish in my relationships with people. I feel it in my soul when I have shorted someone. I don’t like it and the awareness holds me accountable. I meditated on how I could best help this person who had given me so much during one of the hardest times in my life.

Meditation is something that has become an integral part of my routine. My latest obsession is following the teachings of Ram Dass, who reminds me of my dad. He looks a lot like my dad, with his Ashkenazic Jewish look and smile. I love listening to his older talks because his sense of humor was similar to my father’s as well – self-deprecating and full of intelligence. The topics he speaks on stress on the importance of seeing the whole picture and how being present in the moment is essential to that picture. Letting go of judgement, of how others perceive you, and understanding that there is a realm of possibility outside of what the 5 senses tell you have been life changing for me.

I can’t get enough of his talks and philosophy of loving the soul. It has brought me to a place of acceptance that no amount of reading a certain page in a certain text would ever have gotten me (12 step reference). I am able to step back and let people be who they are without taking it personally. It also allowed me to move past the awkwardness of not having talked to Kelly in years and reach out to let her know I am here for her regardless.

Recently, I have made an effort to focus on being available for the people I have in my life right now at this moment. My life means nothing without the people I care about in it. I want to be there for those who went out of their way for me. Like my friend Kelly, was for me on March 27, 2000 as I stepped off the train trying to process the fact that I would never see my best friend alive again. Kelly and I haven’t talked in years like we used to, but that all disappeared when she responded to my message in great pain. I recognize that pain. I had the same pain when my father died unexpectedly almost two years ago. It knocks you off of your feet, and in my case, onto a couch for 18 months.

Kelly and I sat at the same table at Prom and danced together. We went to the Senior Dinner Dance together. She made me laugh and became my friend in spite of my many faults. We even got into a huge fight that lasted a whole summer and we worked it out before I went off to college. Ten years later, she rushed to my side without me asking. Now it’s my turn to be there for her and for that, I am grateful. #classof1990

Family, Sobriety, Work (or lack thereof)

Getting Off the Couch via the Mop Bucket.

Tonight as I washed the dishes, I noticed that my kitchen floor was dirty. I dried the plates and set them down onto the kitchen table. The dish rack had already become a modern art sculpture of drying bowls, pans and glasses so the table was the next logical choice. Placing the mop bucket into the sink, I reached under the sink to get the Meyer’s cleaner. One of the cats was pondering whether to jump onto the table, saw me staring at him and decided the chair was a better place for him.

The scent of rosemary and lemon filled the air. Our hot water heater is on the fritz so I filled the bucket carefully. I have no desire to waste any hot water. Karma could come in the form of an icy shower in the morning so the ratio of detergent to water must be precise.I grab the mop and place it headfirst into the cloud of lemony-rosemary bubbles. There is a rustling of paper bags behind me. The other cat decided that watching me mop the floor could be entertaining.

The dishes are done. Coffee is all set for the morning. I bring the mop over to the blobs of mud that magically appeared on the floor this afternoon. I glance at the clock. 10:40 PM. I have to get up early tomorrow for an appointment in Waltham. What the hell am I doing mopping the floor this late? I stopped. Wait a sec. I’m mopping. I’m actually cleaning.

So why is this a big deal? Shouldn’t people always keep their kitchen floors and counters clean? Well, yeah. They should! Especially when they have children, one of which has a compromised system. This entire week I have been either straightening the cellar out, re-arranging the living room, and getting rid of clutter. Last week, I spent my days binge-watching ‘Grace and Frankie’, ‘Victoria’, and documentaries about food production in the US while laying on the couch.

For the past 18+ months, I have been laying on the couch barely doing anything that was not essential. Screw that- I missed essential shit too. The blanket on top of me made me feel cozy and I would be there for as long and often as possible. I napped, ate my meals, scrolled through Facebook, and occasionally socially interacted on the couch. I didn’t clean. I didn’t go out. I stopped going to the meetings that ultimately saved my life 18 years ago.

I just laid there and waited for it to end. 

October 6, 2016 my father passed away unexpectedly. I didn’t expect him to die. I thought I had more time. He was supposed to have met my younger two children. They were supposed to hear his jokes and stories about how silly their mother was when she was their age. I would have that chance for us to be together.

I have been grieving that chance since October 6, 2016. As complicated and difficult our relationship was, I held onto hope that I would always have that chance of being with him. There was always that chance that once again I feel that connection with the man I called ‘Dad’. That chance disappeared that Saturday morning when I heard my sister softly tell me in a shocked whisper that he was gone.

I had my moments of tears during the days after his death. I figured that since we didn’t have the best relationship, I wouldn’t grieve like my sister. I was right about one thing. I wouldn’t grieve like her. I have been grieving like me. My way of grieving is laying on the couch, eating bags of Smartfood, and watching Netflix to oblivion.  Here is the moment my sobriety had prepared me for, and I choose to do the opposite of what I needed. My choice was based on what I wanted, and what I wanted was to be on the couch.

As I mopped the kitchen floor tonight, I realized that I was beginning to care about little things again. I made healthy dinners for myself and Melissa to have during the week. I cleaned and straightened up Liz’s bedroom. I made room in the cellar for the clutter I had upstairs, but I also made sure I wasn’t replacing clutter with more clutter. I threw things away. Even my old AppleCare policy from 2007.

This past October, I started a new job – coincidentally on October 6th. I traded my Whole Foods apron for a navy blue shirt and jeans. My confidence began to grow as I learned how to channel my passion for all things Apple. In January, I purchased an Applewatch. I include this in my progression because it was the activity rings that gave me incentive to keep moving. I like seeing that I haven’t been laying on the couch all day.

I wrung the mop out and placed the empty bucket by the baker’s rack in my kitchen. The floor is mud-free. I am tired, but happy. It’s happening. This fog of great sadness and loss is beginning to lift. I can feel myself breathe easier. My heart doesn’t hurt as much about what could have been or what should have been. It was how it was supposed to be. My father meant the world to me. He didn’t always meet my expectations, but I was proud to have his last name, proud to be part of his family, and most of all- grateful that we had some incredible memories that will live in my heart forever.

Boston Children's Hospital, Family, HLHS, Sobriety

Keeping it in the day.

In 2012, I became acquainted with the Schultz family through Mike’s blog ‘Echo of Hope’. The description of hospital life with a great sense of humor added in lifted my spirits during our hospitalizations. You can imagine how excited I was to see the Schultz name on my trip to the patient family kitchen. I introduced myself to a weirded out Mike, and mentioned how much I appreciated his writing. His posts gave a sense of validation to the crazy unpredictable life we were having. I wanted to thank him personally for lifting up my spirits. I also met Ari on that day.

For the past 4 years, I have been following their journey, praying for their journey to get easier like ours did. Isabelle had her last open heart surgery in the Fontan sequence and was doing very well. When we got home after 7 days inpatient, she instantly wanted to ride her bike. Congenital Heart Disease was not going to keep her down and she has been that way since. Her Dad and I are grateful that she has been able to grow and thrive in ways we could not have imagined.

We wish everyone could have this outcome like we have. But that isn’t reality unfortunately. Not everyone has the experiences we have had with her being so active, and staying out of the hospital with the exception of a dehydration episode. Every day, I thank God for blessing her with good function for that day. I am aware that things can change without warning.

When you have a child with a condition like Isabelle or Ari, you find yourself between having hope for the future, and keeping expectations in the day. When I start thinking about Izzie’s future, there is a voice that reminds me that moment may not come and to enjoy what is happening right now. I want to believe that she will grow up and follow her sisters’ paths through school and other life events. But that voice is still there, and whispers in my ear to hold on to what is happening now, for that future may not come to fruition.

I hate being dramatic like this, but in the wake of Ari’s unexpected passing I can’t help but feel an indescribable sorrow for Mike and Erica and all of their hopes for Ari. They had just started to let themselves think about the future, and the unexpected happens. Their son was given a second chance with a new heart, and that still wasn’t enough to save him. I hope people understand my frustration or response when I am asked “So if Izzie gets a transplant, she’ll be ok, right?”

No. She may not be okay. We will always have to be on our toes regardless of how pink her lips are at the moment. We will always have to stay vigilant, check her saturation levels and worry about how hydrated she is. We will always be cautious when talking about the future. I am even reluctant to talk about her 5th birthday, which is a huge milestone for HLHS kids because it means her survival rate improves dramatically. We aren’t there yet.

There is no finish line to this race, and we are forced to remember that every time we see another family struck by the merciless heart of CHDs. All we have is right now, and that needs to be enough.

Please remember the Schultz family as they walk through this immensely difficult time. I cannot imagine how awful this is for them and for their children.

Family, Sobriety

Feelings.

Feelings are funny creatures. They don’t listen to logic, they are impulsive, and whimsical. They never seem to care about when the right time to present themselves might be. People generally underestimate them, and try to put them into boxes or containers so that they can maintain an outer appearance of being ‘together’. Some feelings are so old and deep, there is no box or container in the world that will keep them locked away.

My feelings are very strong. When I was a child, they would overwhelm me in such a way that I had absolutely no control of what I was saying or doing. I had a hard time chasing them around and finding containers to put them in. My bedroom usually reflected this inner conflict, with clothes strewn on chairs and books scattered on the floor. It always felt that there was a lot of noise going on inside of me as I struggled to organize my thoughts.

Some days, my feelings pantry was quiet. Everyone was in their rightful place. Sadness, anger, fear, and insecurity were staying in their boxes on the first shelf. Other days, all of the boxes would be flung open, and I would be a mess. When I think back on my childhood, I remember being frustrated that I couldn’t control these unruly feelings like everyone else seemed to. Why couldn’t I be like everyone else? Sound familiar?

Last night I was having an emotional conversation with someone, and the Abandonment Issue Box was flung open. My heart beat faster and I began to sense that I was losing my grip. Logic was not helping me reduce the whirling dervish that was growing bigger with each breath. My mouth opened and out came “She threw me away like I was garbage.”

Whoa. Thank God the person on the other line wasn’t having any of that because she cast a line of logic that whipped that sucker back down to size.

“She didn’t throw you away, she was giving you a chance! A chance we were not given, and it sucked!”

Back into your box, Abandonment. I’m not a child anymore and you need to calm the f*ck down.

My answer to Abandonment is Connection. Connection to other people that make me happy. When I connect with other people- it makes my soul happy. My heart opens. I feel whole. The downside is, when Abandonment decides it wants to go for a walk, I crave feeling whole so much, that I don’t realize that I am overwhelming other people who are not like me. What made this recent episode so interesting, was that in spite of knowing logically that I am loved, the mere thought of being rejected AGAIN, ignited Abandonment’s box.

The lesson here is don’t underestimate childhood emotions. They are bigger than we realize and if left unchecked, they can wreak havoc on relationships that you are working so hard to keep. It also goes back to “It’s not all about me.” The world doesn’t revolve around me. Abandonment really thinks that we are the center of the universe, so when I am able to view the world holistically, it stays in the Box. I used to cringe in meetings when people would share about their ‘inner child’. Not anymore. I believe 100% that emotional scars from childhood can impact your life today. The goal is to not allow the scar tissue to warp how you react.

I shouldn’t have been so selfish by saying that I was thrown out like garbage. She was right. I grew up in the best circumstance that anyone could have asked for. I had no right to be selfish when others have suffered because they were not given that chance. My heart is heavy today, but I will focus on what I can bring to the day instead of what can I get out of it.

Family, Sobriety

Taking Ownership

Like most people, I have a few flaws. I’m scatter-brained. I forget things like birthdays, anniversaries and doctor’s appointments. I say what is on my mind, whether you are prepared to hear it or not. At times I appear as if I am not listening to you or not interested in what you are saying. My ADD brain doesn’t always like to cooperate and share my attention span.  My facial expressions are dead give-a-ways of what I am feeling. I tend to jump into things and instantly want to retreat because I overwhelm myself with responsibilities.

I am not perfect by a long shot.

February 23, 1993 I woke up with the awful realization that I had hurt someone I care very much about. The pain in my heart began as soon as my eyes opened and was growing by the minute. Shame, remorse, disgust, and despair weighed on me that morning. I knew I had to see my friend that I had hurt. I got dressed, threw my hair up in a ponytail and grabbed my cigarettes. I knew I had done something horribly wrong. What I didn’t know was the whole campus already knew about it.

Well, maybe not the ENTIRE campus knew but it certainly felt like it as I walked along the path towards the dorm I was asked to vacate months earlier. I couldn’t meet anyone’s eyes and struggled to hold myself together. There wasn’t anyone (thank God) at the sign in desk. I ran up the steps to my former suite. I opened the door and saw a few of my former friends sitting on the couch. I said hi and asked if my friend was there.

“Did you hear what happened last night?” I asked not wanting to hear the answer.

Anne, one of my former suite-mates, flicked her cigarette ash into the ashtray. “Oh we heard what happened. She’s in there.” I saw the glances between herself and the others. I looked as sorrowful as I felt, hoping that they would feel sorry for me. When I looked at them, the expression was pure “You have a lot of balls to show up here.”

I slowly opened the doorknob and timidly opened the door. The door felt like it weighed 500 lbs. All I remember is my friend not being able to look at me because she was so angry. Her face was swollen and basically I had to get out after I expressed how sorry I was.

From there I went to the library and saw my ex Jim at one of the computers. He always made me feel better. I sat down next to him. I opened my mouth to say what an awful night I had and he immediately said “I heard what happened to Martha.” I stopped. Jim knew the story before I had gotten there. I asked him what he thought I should do. He told me he didn’t know, but what he did know was that people were fed up and that I had to stop. My hands shook as I wiped my tears away. I wanted to stay with him so I didn’t feel so alone but he had other plans. I went back to my room carrying a sense of loneliness and despair I had never felt before. This was it. I could not drink again. Ever.

That was the beginning of my journey to sobriety. It was an experience I never want to forget. It made me into who I am today. I own it. It’s mine. I did something horrible and learned from it. I didn’t get sober right after that, unfortunately. Instead I had to experience more insanity that eventually led me to where I am today.

My father also made a lot of mistakes. All were made due to lack of self control. What I love about him and who he was, was that like me, he owned them. My father took responsibility until the day he died. He didn’t try to lie, make up a modified version of the story to make himself look better, or dodge the subject. He stood up and accepted it. As I see others around me try to manipulate truths, it makes me even more proud of him. It’s not easy owning huge mistakes, especially ones that are the result of lack of self control. Decisions made when you are in the throes of your addiction are especially difficult to reconcile in this society where being ‘strong-willed’ and in control are ideal.

Don’t get me wrong- my father ultimately paid the price by giving up on life and choosing to be alone his last years on this earth. The weight of his mistakes crushed what soul he had. Instead of embracing the forgiveness that was given to him, he succumbed to guilt and his heart just couldn’t go on anymore.

One thing I have learned in my life is that when you run from your problems, your mistakes or poor decisions, eventually they catch up to you. You can only run so fast and so far before the consequences are nipping at your heels. I am grateful that I faced the music for what I did to my friend, and have for other mistakes. When I did try to ease the pain for myself, it didn’t work. It hurt like hell but the reward is knowing that in spite of my weaknesses, I am stronger than I realize.  It is better to say “Yes, I did do that and I know it hurt you. I am so sorry and will make an effort never to do that again” then it is to say “It wasn’t me.”

For me it brings back the question of “What kind of person are you and what kind do you want to be?” If I want to be truthful, accountable and a decent human being, then I need to accept all of me and step forward. My father’s example of not hiding who he was, on one level, inspires me to continue doing the same.

 

 

 

Family, HLHS, Sobriety

Inviting in Compassion while shutting the door on resentment

When she awoke the next morning after a very restless night, she realized that she still had blood in her hair. Wincing as her arm slowly moved upward to the source of the pain in her head, she was still trying to piece together the events that happened the day before. The strap of her bra dug into her shoulder. She went to adjust it and realized that she still had on her sister’s white bathing suit. They were supposed to go to the beach. “That was how the day started,” she thought, “we were going to go to the beach after we picked a few things up for my bat mitzvah.”

The events began to knit together. We went to Paperama, where Christy and her practically wetting her pants laughing over the silly books we were reading. We stopped for ice cream. Christy had Cherry Vanilla. She had Heavenly Hash. Then the next thing she knew, a woman’s hands were reaching toward her through the glass window and her mother’s head was at an unnatural angle in front of her. She could hear her grandmother crying out. She turned her head to the right and her eyes met Christy’s.

“Are you ok??” Christy shouted, in complete shock and bleeding from the back of her head. She had been wearing her father’s oxford shirt. It was a complete mess now. The ambulance ride consisted of her trying to remember what happened, and what was happening to her mother. Where was her grandmother? And Christy?

She smacked her lips together and reached for the tepid water that was next to her on the stand. It felt good going down her dry throat. Her head hurt so much. She could barely handle the sunlight in the room. Did she still have her period? Oh crap. She paged the nurse to help her get out of bed. Slowly she swung her legs to one side. Stepping down gingerly, she began to make her way to the bathroom. A wave of nausea overtook her as she stepped forward. She saw her when she looked up and out of the door into the hallway. Instant rage trumped the nausea and her eyes narrowed. Her fist clenched around the IV pole and she could feel her palm pressing so hard on the metal it was turning white. She regained her balance immediately and stepped towards the hallway.

“If anything, anything happens to my mom, I will fucking kill you.” She managed to spit out through her clenched teeth. Her voice became louder. “If she dies, I will tear you apart!” She took another step towards the hallway. The nurse quickly pulled her back into the room and sing-songed her into the bathroom. When she opened the door to leave, the girl was no longer visible.

“That bitch better stay the fuck away from me.” She said to no one in particular. She heard the door shut across the hallway. Exhausted from the bathroom trip, she closed her eyes.

True story.

This is actually what happened to myself, my mother, grandmother and my best friend on a beautiful summer day in August. A 16 year old without insurance was drinking with her mom and blew through a stop sign doing 65 mph. She hit us without hitting her brakes. My mother’s neck snapped with the force of the impact and I was knocked unconscious. The impact hit my grandmother’s ribs and broke them. Christy fell on top of me and was ‘lucky’ enough to catch all of the glass.

My mom was almost taken out by a drunk driver. Thank God she wasn’t, but she could have been. I could have been sent to live with my dad, which would have been disastrous since he disappeared over a year later. My sister was in Israel and had no idea this had happened. Today, even talking about it still gives me feelings of anger and I think I may be onto why I get so turned off when people drink with their parents. If I want to be honest, my mother was in fact taken from me that day because the woman she became after that is not the same person. She lost full rotation of her cervical spine, and was in a neck brace for what felt like months. She was afraid when she rode in a car. She couldn’t play golf anymore and struggled with the intense pain her surgery had left her.

Throughout the years I have wondered if I would meet this girl or woman in the halls of AA, if they ever learned from their mistake. A close friend made a similar mistake the other night and is facing some serious consequences. Since Sunday, I have been angry at how thoughtless this person could have been. No one was hurt but still- what the fuck are you thinking when you get behind the wheel after drinking a decent amount? The resentment and disgust stayed with me until this morning.

This morning, I realized that I wanted to invite compassion in because I know that is what this person needs at the moment. The last thing they need is another person telling them what a piece of crap they are. I have been shown compassion by those around me who choose to be in my life in spite of what I did to them while drinking. Wouldn’t I have wanted the same when I was in a similar pickle?

When you love someone, even as a friend, you accept them exactly as how they are. You don’t pass judgment, you pass on love. You don’t try to make them pay for their mistakes, you forgive them so that maybe they can forgive themselves. I care about this person very much and I know that with each minute they are praying that they could go back and make a different choice. We can be harder on ourselves than others are on us.

The girl who hit us in 1985 could have used some compassion too. She was young and probably thought she would never get into such a horrible car accident. I remember how frightened her eyes became when we saw each other. Her muffled sobbing could be heard through the door.

Justified anger is just anger. It doesn’t do anyone any good to hold onto it. As I flowed through postures that were designed to open my heart and chest, I breathed in the intention to welcome in compassion. I have to say that today has been an incredible day and I hope to do it all again tomorrow.

 

Sobriety, Transgender

The bathroom agenda

I find this whole bathroom discussion absolutely ridiculous for a variety of reasons, most of which stem from my experience with both sexual assault and a transgender male-to-female whom I happen to live with. Unless you truly know what a transitioning transperson does to make themselves the gender they feel that they are in every fiber of their being, the effects of their therapy, etc., then you have no idea what you are talking about.  Everyone should know how to Google at this point. There is no excuse for ignorance in this day and age of Google.

I live with a person who is transitioning from male to female. No, I had no idea when I first saw them again after 25 years that they, in fact, were really a woman underneath the goatee and extra pounds. That didn’t come out until later, after a slew of issues began cropping up and I was completely puzzled as to the reasons for them. Issues that are personal and none of anyone’s business, and those like “Why does he want to know whether I am wearing my boots to work or not?” What the hell was going on? Anxiety attacks? What? And why the f*ck did he shake like that? I didn’t remember the shaking from when we were kids.

The night I was told that sometimes this person liked to wear my clothes while hiding their face in their hands was one that I will never forget. The moment when I realized that this was much more than someone wanting to wear my black dress is also one that I will never forget, and it was excruciating. I realized in that second, that this person never existed; they never were who they said they were. Moments we had from our youth were completely different and I no longer understood them. I couldn’t look at photos of us from that time period for a long time. And then the day came when I saw that the shaking had stopped. The anxiety attacks lessened. The true person began to emerge and I made the decision to learn how to love that person. I could really see them and who they really were. I still can see them, and more of that person comes out every day. It’s pretty amazing and worth every second.

Sometimes when we go out, people call us “ladies”. She beams from the inside out. Me, I begin to feel the anxiety grow in the pit of my stomach. What if she has to use the bathroom here? What if someone overheard the hostess calling us “Ladies” and then she goes into the Mens room because we haven’t crossed that line yet? Will she be safe? She can’t afford to get into a fight with someone. All of these thoughts go through my head as I watch her get up and make her way to the restroom. When she comes back and there are no police entering the premises, I breathe easier.

You see, this is my life now. I choose to have it this way. I choose this because underneath all of the transitioning, I still love the person. We still have a connection, and she is the first person I have been able to work through arguments with. I don’t know why. It would have made my life much easier if it had been my ex whom I could have had this with. But it wasn’t. He is a very good person and the best father I could have asked for my girls. At the same time, I guess I was more of a lesbian than I thought. Who knew? I certainly didn’t. Well, out loud anyway. I always believed that if anything happened with my marriage that I would just go out with women. I had no idea that this would actually happen.

So where does the sexual assault experience come in? I have had the unique pleasure of being in a situation where I was pressured to have sexual relations when I didn’t want to more than once. When you are a female drunk such as myself, it tends to happen more often than not. I would like to focus on the first one because it was  the most devastating, and because these were boys (yes, there was more than one at this lovely event) whom I had known and grown up with. I thought highly of these boys and one I was particularly fond of. When they came into Friendly’s where I worked, I was thrilled to see them. Except this type of attention wasn’t what I was looking for that night. Beer was part of the equation and what little sense of judgement I had went out the window. I was taken advantage of and they didn’t stop. Even as I had tears fall down my cheek, and said in a heartbroken whisper to no one”But I really cared about you, I loved you” I couldn’t understand why this was happening. It wasn’t enough to snap him out of it. This boy who was from a good Plymouth family, went to a private school, was an excellent student and good samaritan.  And I was….me. A drunk girl who should have just gone home. At the time I felt unworthy to get away. I had finally gotten the attention from him I had been wanting for so long. Attention that made tears fall down my face as I pretended I wasn’t really there.

I remember the car ride home was in complete silence. I was shoved out of the car at the bottom of my driveway. No goodbyes necessary. My bra was missing, my clothes were wet, and I had no idea what time it was. My mother was waiting for me at the door, not having a clue what happened. She didn’t speak to me for two weeks. This was right before I went to college. Again, as an adult I take full responsibility for putting myself in a precarious situation. However, when I asked for them to stop- when I had tears running down my face and looking like I wanted nothing more than to go home, they should have stopped.

One of them has at least one daughter that I know of. Sometimes I wonder what he would do to someone who did to her what he did to me. I’m sure he thinks of it and maybe out of guilt is friends with me. Who knows. Here is what I do know – if someone is going to assault someone, a law isn’t going to stop them. What it will stop,  is people trying to be themselves being able to use the bathroom in peace.  Someone commented that some MtF still look ‘male’, so that would certainly be a red flag to people. I guess is their own fault since they can’t afford surgeries or hormone therapy, or maybe haven’t been able to take that step because they will lose their job if they came out. It’s their fault that others are uncomfortable, when they themselves have been uncomfortable their ENTIRE FREAKING LIVES. Live and let live. Pretty simple.

I am sure you must be wondering where the hope is in all of this. The hope in this for me is that I hope people realize that these people aren’t men in dresses drooling over their kids. I hope that people see that a person who is transitioning isn’t interested in anything other than using the facilities. I hope people understand that there are predators out there, and some of them hide behind masks of a private school, good family and educational background.  I hope that people understand that I am who I am because of these experiences, that I rose from those fiery pits of alcoholic despair and rose above to begin caring about myself. My hope is that my girls will  love themselves more than I ever did at their ages- and in doing so, will make decisions based out of love, not the fear I see around me today.

 

Speaking of fear- I was so worried about this echo that Izzie had today, that I actually kept this a little to myself. Our cardio texted me that everything looks great. Her energy levels have been all over the place but now that we know that her heart is showing no signs of concern, I feel like we can relax a little.  Always can find hope in that!