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Monday, July 30, 2007

Things that are good for me but not easy to do

1. Sleep beyond 5:30 a.m., even if I didn't go to sleep until 3:00 a.m.
2. Breathe while running the seventh mile.
3. Practice two hours of Bach.
4. Stop working before 10:00 p.m.
5. Tell people how I feel, especially when I know they would rather not hear what I have to say.
6. Continue a difficult conversation.
7. Shop with my daughter.
8. Make eye contact with men while conversing with them.
9. Shake hands with people, even if it makes me feel sick.
10. Eat.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Welcome, Welcome, Sabbath Morning

1. Stupid talks in Sacrament Meeting (I'm going to Hell)--the fourth Sunday this month that the topic was America the Beautiful. And while I understand the point of being patriotic occasionally, this is overkill and I just have to say that there are a lot more relevant things to talk about in Sacrament Meeting, like, oh, I don't know, The Gospel of Jesus Christ...or something like that...
2. My son told me it was irreverent to draw stick figure cartoons during talks and said he wasn't going to give me any gum if I didn't stop.
3. My daughter patted my hand and suggested I sit still for a few minutes because I was making her crazy.
4. My other son suggested I go to the bathroom and get a drink of water.
5. I went to my car and slept through Sunday School because something about the teacher makes me want to misbehave in his class.
6. My daughter came to get me for Young Women--except it was the fifth Sunday, so I had to go to Relief Society instead.
7. We talked about pornography in RS. Some stupid man said, "We've done without the internet for thousands of years. We can keep doing without it. There is no reason to have the internet in your home." Stupid, stupid, insane man. I pity his children. They probably won't have electricity or cars either--we've done without them for thousands of years...
8. I told all the pious brothers and sisters that they could put all the locks and safeguards they wanted to on their computers, but if someone in their family wanted to find pornography, he/she would find it. I was booed and hissed.
9. I told all the pious brothers and sisters that people they knew and loved, perhaps even they, themselves, were viewing pornography, and if they thought otherwise they were blind and stupid. More boos and hisses.
10. I told all the pious brothers and sisters that pornography probably would be a little less enticing if, instead of telling their children not to have sex, they talked about things like arousal, orgasms, foreplay, and other sexual body functions, and the ways those wonderful activities are used to draw two people closer together. People reached for the nearest stones.
11. I told all the pious brothers and sisters that men are not the sole viewers of porn and that women are not the sole "victims". Many women view pornography on the internet and if they have daughters, they should be aware of that. It was very quiet in the room. I decided I should probably shut up.
12. I saw my friend from the mentally deranged ward of the hospital. We were happy to see each other and exchanged fond reminiscences of our unfortunate incarcerations.

All in all a pretty distressing Sabbath. Yay.

Phone Call

Jen: Hey Sam, this is Jen.
Me: Wow, I didn't recognize your number. I'm glad you called. It's been awhile.
Jen: Ummm... not that long, really.
Me: Well, it seems a long time.
Jen: You're sweet. Anyway, I wanted to say something about what we were talking about.
Me: Okay, but first, how are you?
Jen: Fine. It's not that big of a deal, really.
Me: How are the kids? Your oldest in is Junior High now?
Jen: Is this Sam?
Me: Yes.
Jen: Samantha Miller?
Me: Oh. No. Is this Jennifer Sims?
Jen: Oh. No.
Me: Wow, sorry. This is weird.
Jen: Yeah. What are the odds?
Me: No idea. Have a nice day?
Jen: You too. I love you.

Long pause....

Me: (giggling) I can't believe you just said that.
Jen: (giggling) I can't either. Well, even if you're not my friend Samantha, I think you'd be a good one.
Me: I think you'd be a good friend, Jennifer, too. Call back anytime.
Jen: I just might do that. Bye!
Me: Bye!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Wrong Answers

For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.
--Henry Louis Mencken

1. My experience is similar to yours and you'll feel better if I tell you about it.
2. In a while you'll be able to put everything behind you and get on with life.
3. Homosexuality is simply an addiction like that of drugs or alcohol and can be dealt with in the same way.
4. Everything in life happens for a reason.
5. You were given trials so you could use them to help others.
6. If you don't dwell on the negative aspects of abuse you'll find the positive.
7. You were abused as a child so that you could be a better parent.
8. In time you'll understand why God let you suffer.
9. You're strong enough to endure whatever challenge you've been blessed with.
10. Only you can decide what your attitude will be and how you will use your pain to bless the lives of others.
11. Nothing is meaningless.
12. You just need to try harder.
13. I'm sure your cousin was hurting as much as you were, in his own way.
14. It probably wasn't as bad as you remember. Otherwise you wouldn't be so well-adjusted.
15. You really are suppressing a vital part of who you are. The day will come when you have to express it and your whole family will be devastated. Your choice to have a family was unwise.
16. You use your belief in God as an excuse to conform to archaic societal norms. You're not helping anyone in doing so, least of all those of us who are trying to affirm who we are and bring about a better way of life and equal rights for those who are gay and lesbian.
17. If you really believed in the Lord and in the atonement, you would no longer feel the pain of your past.
18. You just need more faith.
19. You should confront your cousin and work things out.
20. Your relationships with single men, even if they're gay, are inappropriate. You're married and should concentrate on building that relationship instead of seeking out opportunities to be close to other men.

I appreciate the fact that you believe you can make my life better with your advice and judgments. I must state unequivocally that you are ignorant, insensitive and incorrect.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Final Seminary Moment

I just finished cleaning out my seminary room. I was overwhelmed with memories of joyful mornings with beautiful young men and women, wonderful talks about things spiritual and secular, silly mishaps, fun trivia about each student, sunrises, and breakfast parties. I miss them. Funny thing--it made me cry.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Things that made me laugh today

1. Tabitha made enough oatmeal for everyone in the entire Queerosphere, then insisted that she would eat all of it. I've never seen anyone look quite as sick as she did thirty minutes later.
2. Adam owned up to not changing his underwear for three days because he really likes the color of the pair he's been wearing. And even though I find that horribly disgusting, I also think it's kind of funny.
3. I went to a movie with Tabitha and Annie and slept through most of it. Okay--that made them laugh first, but then I woke up and laughed with them.
4. I ran down a very steep hill. I have no idea why this makes me laugh exultantly, but it does--every time I run down it.
5. Four people called today for George's plumbing. I didn't play with them, but I did laugh when I hung up the phone.
6. Tolkien Boy told me he was not attracted to me. I have no idea why I find this hilarious. Nor do I know why it makes me incredibly happy.
7. I stood outside while it rained softly--it was joyful and delightful--and it made me laugh.
8. Darrin told me the bed was much nicer with me in it. That's just funny.
9. I got some junk mail advertising a sex instruction manual and video--in Spanish. The thought crossed my mind that perhaps it was time to learn how to have sex in a foreign language...I don't even know what that means...
10. DJ hugged and kissed me while I was fixing dinner, and he said he loved me. That's not really funny, but it made me laugh anyway. He laughed with me.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


1. A couple of weeks ago I started receiving mysterious letters from the IRS. Now, while I'm scrupulous about my clients' tax deadlines, I will admit that last year I filed my return late. I owed money and I was feeling a little unhappy about paying it, so I procrastinated preparing my own return. However, I did file with a nice fat check for the IRS, which they promptly cashed.

About seven letters later, I finally called the IRS to find out what the heck was going on. After two hours on the phone it became clear that whoever was responsible for data transfer at the IRS clearing house in Fresno took the data from my 2005 return and transmitted it as data on my 2006 return (which kept getting rejected when I tried to efile it--now I know why). So now I "owe" increased penalty and interest on the return that I already filed (although I'm going to fight that one, because, after all, they did cash my check), and I have to refile my 2005 return and amend my 2006 return. And I was very calm and collected while talking to the stupid IRS phone rep who couldn't understand line numbers, until he suggested that next year I might want to get some help from a professional tax preparer, at which point I laughed hysterically and said, "I am a professional tax preparer who happened to send in her return lamentably late. The data transfer mistake rests solely with the IRS, and you might want to check the "Occupation" line of the return on your screen before you insult someone for your mistake. And while I understand that you didn't, personally make the first mistake, only you can take credit for the ignorance of the second one!" And while he fumbled around, trying to decide what to say next, I hung up on him.

Three hours later, I have finished my scathing letter to the IRS (which they will most certainly disregard, but which also makes me feel vindicated), amended and finished the paperwork for the stupid re-submissions. Ick!

2. Three weeks ago I planted my garden (thank you all for your wonderful suggestions). This morning it looked gorgeous and smelled wonderful. We planted various flowers, herbs, and tomatoes. I planned to take pictures this afternoon when I had finished working on the tax fiasco. I am posting them here:

Unfortunately, while I was doing the paperwork, a freak storm blew through. Nickel-sized hail, heavy flash flooding, and wind stripped my plants clean. One lone tomato clings to a leafless vine. So much for my garden. Wish I had some "before" pictures. It really was beautiful.

3. My father-in-law is staying with us for a couple of weeks. He has a "treat" that he enjoys daily: Ritz crackers crushed up in coffee with sugar and cream. It looks and smells completely nauseating. He insists on showing it to me each time he makes it. I smile and pretend it doesn't bother me, and hope I don't puke when the smell reaches me.

On the bright side, this morning I ran forever while I watched the sun rise. It felt wonderful.

Things I saw before I went to bed tonight

1. A red fox. It ran across my path while I was jogging. I watched for a few moments. I love foxes.
2. A Mountain Canary. They're so beautiful.
3. A pink and purple sunrise.
4. An incredibly blue sky.
5. A Bald Eagle. There is something amazing about watching them fly.
6. A half moon, haloed and glowing as it floats through black clouds.
7. My children and husband, sleeping.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Something I wish had not happened

1. My bishop met with me for an update on my mental health. I assured him I'm not as crazy as my doctors say I am.
2. He told me that my non-acceptance of the RS president calling last year was one of the best things I've ever done for the ward. Thanks, Bishop.
3. He told me that he was sure I'd continue to make progress toward putting everything behind me. Funny, I didn't know that was the goal. If I had, I never would have entered counseling in the first place. I've been "putting everything behind me" for many years.
4. He told me that one day I'd be grateful for all that I've gone through and would see a great purpose behind it. Then he made the unfortunate mistake of comparing my experience to one he had years ago, in which he lost much of his right hand in an accident. He kept talking about how painful that was, but how he's had so many opportunities to help others because of what he learned through the misfortune. The metaphorical application, in my mind was inaccurate and insensitive.
5. I became angry. When I could no longer listen to what I felt amounted to denigration, I finally told him that he could be right. Someday I might get over the fact that when I was eleven and helpless, an older person raped me repeatedly, night after night, with more imagination about how to cause pain than one person ought to have. I said that when I finally finished paying for his acts--monetarily, because I was never able to carry a baby to term, physically, because my body will never be normal, and emotionally, because obviously, I'm still working through the aftermath--I might consider how the crap I've been through will be helpful to others, if I'm not dead first. Then I told him I wasn't even close to considering a mission in sainthood because for years I didn't believe that God could exist--because no God would allow a little girl to go through what I went through, no God would allow her to be hurt and tired and confused, and yet left alone to change and wash herself and clean up the mess left behind--unknown fluids mingling with her own blood--so that at some point she would be able to sleep...
6. I cried. I've never cried before in front of him.
7. I've never seen him look so horrified.
8. He apologized for being insensitive and for making me cry. He said he had no idea how much I'd been through, or that the abuse had been so extensive. I said that even if it had only happened one time, even if he considered the abuse "mild", each person heals at his/her own rate. It was not up to him to issue a time-table or to tell that person how to feel about the abuse in the end. He apologized again and thanked me for "setting [him] straight."
9. I feel terrible that I screamed at my bishop, who was only trying to help me.
10. Somehow, it seems that no matter how much I talk, no matter what I say, the people around me view this whole thing I'm going through as a tiny step that I'm afraid to take, but that when I finally stop being a coward and take it, all that bothers me will disappear in a puff of smoke, and life will be perfect.
11. One day I will be able to look at my past without feeling that I'm being strangled. One day I will be able to talk about what has happened with the knowledge that it does not make me less of a human being. One day I will be able to manage emotions, not avoid them. One day people will love me even if I never forget, don't "put it behind me", but instead, learn to live my life beautifully while accepting the fact that something horrific and life-shattering happened to me, and I survived.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Shopping with DJ

DJ: SICK!! That guy just checked you out and smiled at you!
Me: Yes, so?
DJ: SICK!! You smiled back at him!
Me: DJ, people look at each other and smile at each other all the time. That cute girl over there just checked you out.
DJ: SICK!! You're not supposed to notice that! You're my MOM!! Besides it's okay if she checks me out. I'm kind of hot.
Me: Okay. But remember the source of half your gene pool, oh Hot One.
DJ: Well, even if you're half as hot as I am, that guy is way younger than you are. By the way, he's still looking at you--stop smiling at him!
Me: DJ, this is not a sexy smile, this is a friendly smile, and I smile at everyone.
DJ: SICK!! You said sexy in public.
Me: You know, DJ, this kind of thing seems to bother you more as you get older. I think it would bother a normal person less.
DJ: Normal people's moms are different from mine.
Me: I'm going to pretend that's a compliment.
DJ: SICK!! That guy that just passed us just checked you out! And you smiled at him, too! I can't take you anywhere!
Me: Fine, I'll drive next time.
DJ: Okay.

Taking care of business...

My counselor instructed me to journal about my experiences as I allow myself to feel emotions. She told me to be explicit--to talk about the things I think about, the connections I make, the feelings and resulting responses. So I am doing that--but not here. In that journal, I will discuss things that can be uncomfortable, things that not everyone will want to read. I want to keep these things separate from this blog. I want them to be in a place all their own so that only those who wish to will encounter them. If you are one of those, I have placed a link on my sidebar (compulsive whining) which will take you to my journal.

This is an interesting step for me. Normally I would place these things in a super-secret blog and allow no one to read it. My counselor suggested that I might feel better if I stopped hiding the things that embarrass me or make me uncomfortable. She said that, regardless of whether people respond or not, and regardless of whether such response was positive or negative, I would feel that I have shown myself as I am, and that I would worry no more about presenting myself as people expect me--while at the same time being afraid that they might discover who I really am and reject me.

So, I'm taking her advice. We'll see what happens next.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


Yesterday I made my decision. I will do as my counselor has said.

I met with a couple of friends and had a long talk with Darrin. I suppose my hope was to build some sort of physically present support system. I think the results were as good as can be expected. One friend indicated that she was supportive and empathetic--then she helped me understand that her life was fairly busy right now, but she was sure if I gave her some advance notice she could pencil me in if I needed to talk. The other friend said that she felt what I was doing (i.e. allowing myself to feel the emotions from my past) was a really good step, and that I'd find it wasn't really a big deal. She said I'd probably not need any support, because feeling emotions was a natural thing--everyone does it. Then she listed all the things I do well, and said she was certain this would be a breeze for me. Then her phone rang and our conversation was over. Darrin was concerned that the timing for this is bad. He's right. My Father-in-law is coming for a 2-week visit on Tuesday night. Darrin also has reservations about the necessity of doing this at all and is concerned that I might become overwhelmed to the point that I can't cope. He also indicated that he's not sure he can be available for me when I need him.

So my support system is "iffy" at best. It really doesn't matter, however. I've decided that I'm tired of living each day, carefully watching for something I might feel that will make me uncomfortable, and using all my efforts to push that away. I'm too tired to do that anymore. Some of you who have been with me in the past two weeks have been the recipients of inappropriate comments I've made in reference to being raped by my cousin. The comments have been unsolicited, compulsive, random, and rude. I'm realizing that my ability to suppress my feelings at any given time is diminishing, and that at some point I will express them in some way. If I don't deal with my need to work through the feelings in a positive way, they will expose themselves unexpectedly and without my permission. Regardless of convenience, it's time for me to do this.

If you were unfortunate enough to chat with me last night and early this morning, I probably asked you to not talk to me about my feelings over the next few days. My thought was that I really don't need anyone. I can acknowledge the feelings, analyze them, give them permission to stay and even cry about them without help. And there's nothing anyone can do anyway. If I'm miserable, that's sort of the point--to allow myself to feel miserable without devaluing the feelings causing the pain or insisting those feelings leave. And in my case, misery truly does not love company. I feel a deep need to be very private about this. I suppose part of that stems from knowing that if someone asks what I'm feeling or what I need, I won't be able to give adequate expression to help them understand. But probably the most honest reaction I'm feeling about going through this fun exercise, is that I'm embarrassed that I feel the things I do, because it makes me feel tremendously weak, and I don't wish anyone to know about that.

I was up most of the night last night establishing a framework for what will come. I was envious of those of you enjoying your midnight Harry Potter parties. That would have been much more fun. I practiced analyzing the emotions of a few with whom I was chatting, until one of you pointed out that it's a little uncomfortable for you when I do that. Then I apologized to the others (at least I hope I did). But I learned a lot about how you allow emotions to stay, how you feel them, and it was interesting that many of you don't think twice about the emotions and rarely, if ever, qualify those feelings in any way. So I beg your forgiveness, once again, but also thank you for sharing with me. It was helpful. It's from that information that I was able to understand the methods I use for shutting emotions down, and I think I can circumvent the process now.

Things I must do in order to allow the emotions to stay:
1. Acknowledge what I'm feeling--name the emotion.
2. Notice if there are other accompanying feelings.
3. Decide if the emotion is related to a present or past event.
4. Understand if the feeling is directed toward a person, and think about why I would feel that way about him/her.
5. Do not qualify the emotion in any way.
6. Allow any physical response that may accompany the emotion, to take place.
7. Write about the feelings. Create a tangible record.
8. Allow the feeling to be resolved. This may take several occurrences of the feeling before catharsis can happen.
9. Do not use the feelings to define anything about me. Remember that they are normal responses to events or people.
10. Pray for all the strength I can get because this is really gonna hurt.

At about 4:30 this morning I recognized that there are some things I wish for, in conjunction with this "feelings" thing, that won't happen. I wish there was a person who would be able to sit with me while I cry, who won't feel helpless or feel a need to make things better. One who will understand that it's okay for me to feel awful right now. I wish I could go through this without crying at all, because I hate that--but my counselor pointed out that I need to allow myself to cry and I suppose she's right. I wish I didn't feel alone.

So I'm rescinding my request. If I asked you not to talk to me about this, please pretend I didn't. I still may not be able to answer you. I may not be able to say anything at all. If I don't answer, I'm not avoiding or ignoring you. But please talk to me anyway, because I think I might need some help--even if it's just expressed interest from people I love. So I suppose I'm asking for anyone who loves me to just help me understand that what I'm doing is okay, and it won't make you think less of me if I ache and cry. I guess I'm saying that I need you and I don't want to be alone. And I'm really, really scared. And this sucks.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

I hate this.

Her: Would it be safe to say that you feel, no matter how much work you've done, you keep ending up in the same place?
Me: Maybe.
Her: Why do you think that is?
Me: Because I'm a masochist.
Her: Try again?
Me: I know why. I don't want to say it.
Her: Why?
Me: Because it sucks that I'm still here.
Her: Saying what the problem is won't make that any worse.
Me: I know. I still don't want to.
Her: Okay.
Me: Look, I've done this. I been over and over the abuse crap. I don't want to do it anymore.
Her: I believe you've done a great deal. And you're right--it sucks and it hurts. But you're not finished.
Me: Why? I want to be finished.
Her: You keep saying that. It's not something you just choose. When you talk about things that hurt, sometimes you cry a little, but you don't allow yourself to stay there. You shut it down, laugh a bit, and try to move forward. That's what's holding you back.
Me: The fact that I'm trying to move forward? That makes no sense.
Her: Because you believe you can solve this while avoiding anything that makes you uncomfortable. You've been avoiding emotions, fairly successfully, I might add, for most of your life. But they're still there. And they're tired of being ignored.
Me: I really don't understand what you're saying.
Her: Partly because it makes you uncomfortable. But you've made some good observations today. You didn't admit, in the beginning, that you actually told your cousin to stop hurting you. You didn't admit that because in your eyes, it made you feel weak. Only now, when you've accepted the fact that, physically, a tiny girl has no defense against a well-built teen, especially one for whom she felt friendship and love, are you able to admit that he ignored your efforts to stop him. But as you speak of this, I see many emotions flowing from you, and you stop them before they are expressed.
Me: I don't know how to express them.
Her: Sometimes you just need to allow them to be. Tell me one of the strongest feelings you experience regularly, but shut down because it's uncomfortable.
Me: I don't want to.
Her: Okay. I understand that even talking about it can be stressful.
Me: I suppose loneliness. But that's stupid, because I'm the last person in the world who should be lonely. I have a hugely supportive and present husband, my kids are also very supportive. I have people online or in person who will talk to me. I have no reason to feel lonely.
Her: Good. So when the emotion comes, rather than telling yourself that you have no right to feel it, I think you should try letting it just be.
Me: No.
Her: Why?
Me: That's miserable. I have better things to do.
Her: Emotions are interesting things. They usually bring some sort of message to us. It's good to try to figure out what our emotions are trying to tell us.
Me: I don't know how to do that.
Her: Well, this might sound silly, but some people write a letter to the emotion: Dear Loneliness, I'm feeling you more often lately. When you come I also feel (name emotion) and (name any other emotions that might be in attendance). Another time I felt you in my life was when (describe event)....
Me: (laughing) No.
Her: Too abstract?
Me: Definitely.
Her: Well, the more practical way to do this is simply to pick the feeling apart. Talk about contributing factors, accompanying emotions, past events that brought forth the emotion. You can even chart it if that makes you feel safer. But the point is that you need to notice that you're feeling it and then give yourself permission to feel and to try to understand. Pushing the emotion away will only ensure that it reasserts itself repeatedly.
Me: I don't want to feel these things.
Her: I know.
Me: I have to do this?
Her: At some point, yes, I think you do. You can choose if it's now or later. But you also keep saying you want to be finished, as if you can just leap from the starting point to the finish line. That's not how it works. There are no short-cuts.
Me: It's going to hurt.
Her: Probably. But you're very strong. I think you can do this.
Me: I think I'll go now.
Her: Okay.

Recommended reading: The Courage to Heal, Bass and Davis

Concerned Interest

I have a counseling appointment today.

I've been trying to understand why I don't like this therapist. I thought at first, that I was unfairly comparing her to Therapist, but I'm realizing that's not it. Tolkien Boy said something to me today that helped me understand what bothers me about visiting with her. He said: I'm... interested in how you're feeling. There is no further involvement in this post pertaining to Tolkien Boy. I'm saying this because the following remarks have nothing to do with him, my feelings about him, or our friendship. He simply made a comment that helped some things I've been wondering about click into place.

Interest--this is what bothers me. I've often had people interested in me. Clinical interest is good and proper, especially in a therapeutic setting. But my problem is that I think I've had enough. The therapist is "interested" in things that are deeply upsetting and personal to me, and I'm tired of sharing those things with people who barely know me, who will forget about me five minutes after I leave their offices, who are only interested because I pay them by the hour to tell me what a bad lot life has dealt me, and then tell me to carry on doing the things I've been doing because they don't know what to tell me next. I don't want "interest" anymore.

I want someone to say (s)he cares about how I'm feeling. I understand this is completely inappropriate in a therapy session. But I always felt that Therapist cared. I knew he didn't. I was very aware that I was deluding myself. But it felt like he cared. It felt as though what I said was important. I was willing to share anything with him because I knew it would help me find peace--but mostly because I felt that he really wanted to hear what I said because he cared about me. I know, that was a silly thing for me to feel. Nonetheless, I made more progress with Therapist than I thought possible, and I believe it was because I felt safe with him, and because I felt that I was more than a science project, social anomaly, or favorite pet.

So, today I get to go sit through another hour of verbal dance with my new therapist. And I'll walk away wishing I hadn't gone. I'll wish I could trust her. I'll wish I dared to really tell her what's hurting me. I'll wish she could pretend to be more than just interested. I'll wish that she could care about me...

So, if you ever ask me a question, and I dodge it, now you know why. I'm not sure if the question is asked in polite human interest, or if by some miracle, you care--not about the answer, but about me.

I really don't want to go to my counseling appointment.

What's For Dinner? - The Muppet Show

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A departure from the norm

WARNING: Possibly sexually explicit (probably not, but when I post that warning, I find the Google searches that show up on my visitor stats rather hilarious)

A long time ago, my favorite superhero of all time, The Great -L-, asked me if I was "THE ONE." Naturally, I said yes, because I truly do believe I am "THE ONE." However, as it turns out, he and I were speaking of completely different things. Had I read his blog (Keep Changing: A Gay Mormon Journey--have you noticed, -L-, how many times I've plugged you here? And I know the answer is "NO" because you never visit anymore), I would have realized he was speaking of the gay person who has become straight, "THE ONE" who has become fully attracted to the opposite sex, "THE ONE" who wishes only for platonic same-gender relationships. Although I still firmly believe that I am "THE ONE" in my own context (i.e. the most friendly blogger, the most fun Scrabble player, the person who can chat the longest, the youngest looking eighty-year-old, the best memorized-recipe-cookie-baker, the best ex-seminary-teacher-tax-preparer-financial-advisor-bishop's-wife-musician-therapy-junkie-non-blue-food-eater...come on, you guys, admit it--you think I'm "THE ONE", too), I had to concede in my most humble way, that I was indeed, not "THE ONE."

I admitted to a friend this weekend that I thought a mutual friend of ours (whom we had both just met) was absolutely adorable (and if you're reading this, no, it's not you. I purposely chose for an example one who would never read my blog). She was funny and cute and...okay, the purpose is not to go on and on, simply to note that I thought she was adorable, which I've already done. However, the point is that while I still feel attraction to other people, I don't feel overwhelmed by it, nor is it a super-human effort to avoid fantasizing. In fact, I would say that after years of practice, I acknowledge those whom I feel are "adorable" and move on. There are several reasons for this:
1. I love and respect Darrin with all my heart. Regardless of any natural inclinations, he is my husband and my partner. I would never betray his trust or demean his love in any way.
2. It's way too much trouble for me dwell on things I really don't want, especially when having those things would mean the sacrifice of so many things that make up my value system and, well, me (which, of course, contributes to the fact that I believe I really am "THE ONE", even if that means something different from what the resident superhero believes it means).
3. I have true love. I have someone who wants to be with me forever (I know!! Absolutely mind-boggling!! But true!!), and the cool thing about that is that I want to be with him, as well (those of you who have witnessed us together just can't imagine me without him, can you?). Why would I ever give that up?? The truth: I never could.
4. Sigh...I'm well beyond my prime. No adorable woman wants someone my age, and I know that (but I will love Beautiful Swan forever and ever and ever, for saying that I'm beautiful and alluring--and I really don't care if that's coming from a gay guy! I intend to believe he was being sincere).
5. Bottom line--I have what I want. And I never want to lose it.

Okay, I admit that there might be something I'm missing. I admit that sometimes there are things that only a woman can understand about me. I admit that sometimes I hate wishing Darrin's mustache didn't poke me when I kissed him--HOWEVER--I also admit that I love being with him every night (Darrin, I really missed you when I was in Utah), that he's one of the best dads in the whole world, and there is no one else who allows me to be who I am in any instance, loves me in spite of me, and still wants to have sex (HAH!! the warning is hereby justified!) with me even though I'm ancient--and I think he'll probably still feel the same way about me when I'm 20 years older and almost dead. And the bottom line is that no marriage or coupling is perfect, which is sort of the beauty in all of it. You get to work together to make common ground and learn to love each other every day. I really like that., I haven't changed my orientation. I'm not "THE ONE" in the context of my favorite superhero. But I am "THE ONE" when it comes to Darrin and he is "THE ONE" for me. And this post is also "THE ONE" because it is cheesy sentimental drivel, which I so rarely write. Enjoy it, because it may the "THE ONLY ONE" I ever write.

By the way, even if -L- disagrees with me, I'm still believing that I'm "THE ONE." I don't really know what that means, but I refuse to be dissuaded.

Monday, July 16, 2007

I've come a long way, baby...

Last night I was supposed to check into a hotel and come home this morning. For whatever reason, around 10:30 last night, I just wanted to go home. I didn't want to stay in a hotel or sleep in someone else's home. I wanted to be with my family. It was stupid. About 15 miles outside of Evanston, Wyoming, I started feeling ill. I'd been having blood sugar issues the whole day, but didn't feel like addressing them. At that point they refused to be ignored. I started feeling faint, so I pulled over and waited for that to pass. Instead I was overwhelmed with nausea. I emptied my stomach of the one meal I'd eaten and lay in my car until I could drive again. I made it to Evanston, checked into a hotel, lay down in my room and I have no other memory until around 6:00 this morning. At that point I woke up feeling much better, fed myself, went for a run and got ready to drive again.

Whenever I travel alone I have lots of time to think. I realized on my drive home that there are still many things that I avoid thinking about. I tried to decide what the biggest reason is for avoidance. I came up with these:
1. They make me feel sad.
2. They make me feel weak.
3. They make me feel vulnerable.
4. They frighten me.
5. They make me feel abandoned, rejected, lonely, or horrified.
I believe these are all very good reasons to avoid thinking...but then I realized that the most honest reason for avoidance is that I'm still ashamed that I have a past which includes the events I'm trying to forget. After all this time I still feel guilt that they are there.

It aggravates me that I still have to work to get past the feelings of shame. It was difficult when I was working toward resolving past events in which I was abused. Logically, I could see that I was ultimately not responsible, but it still took some time for that logic to work its way into my heart. But now I'm dealing with the feelings and deficits that remain, and it seems harder not to assign blame to myself because I somehow believe that if I don't take responsibility for what I feel, I will lose control of my life.

Also, there are too many parts of my past life that I wish I could change. I know I can't, which simply adds more frustration.

In spite of all this, I'm also realizing I actually have made progress over the past year, and given time, I can make my way through the newest appearance of yuck in my life. I don't want to, of course, but for whatever reason I'm feeling stronger today, and I think I'm going to be okay. Someday I want to be able to look at the events that still haunt me, the deficits in my needs, the things that make me feel less than human, without shame or guilt. Someday I want to be able to talk about them without feeling that I'll be abandoned and rejected. Someday I want to be stronger and better, and I really want to stop hiding. Until then, bear with least today I know what I want...I'm miles ahead of where I was this time last year...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

For Attempting the Path

I found AtP's blog in April 2006. I read for about a month, then I finally began commenting. In general, if I comment more than once on your blog it's because of at least one of the following reasons:
1. I like your writing style.
2. You've commented on mine regularly.
3. I'm interested by what you have to say.

If I haven't commented on your blog, but one of those reasons apply it's because of one of the following reasons:
1. I'm backed up at work and am not currently browsing blogs.
2. I haven't decided if I'm comfortable with you yet.
3. Everything I wanted to say was already said by another commenter.
4. I'm pretty sure what I say will be offensive to you.

AtP's blog was unpretentious and largely conversational. He has a way of making you feel that he's actually speaking to you. There's little editing and the occasional typos that find their way in seem to add character rather than annoyance. Also, you can tell a lot about a person if you analyze their typos.

I was charmed by what this young man had to say, so when he began reciprocating my visits, I was somewhat alarmed. At that point my blog was uncensored and had many extremely personal posts about my counseling visits, people I know, even my sex life. I was sort of amazed that he was able to read through those and not only emerge unscathed, but still continued to visit. As time went on and more people began visiting, I moved many of the posts to a different blog and closed it.

AtP and I began emailing in early July of 2006. I was even more charmed by him as our personal correspondence evolved to the chat venue. By August I knew I wanted to meet him, and in September I finally did. He has the distinction of being the first blogger/online friend that I have ever met in person (Well, technically, I met Smurf and Pinetree first, because AtP and I ate at the restaurant where they worked. But I didn't really meet them until the next day). I have the distinction of being the oldest blogger/online friend that he has ever met in person. One might think we would have nothing in common--and I suppose that's possible--all I know is that I have loved being with AtP from the first time we met for dinner, and that his presence and friendship bless my life. I love him.

Tomorrow is AtP's birthday. I am leaving for another trip today, so I am posting this a day early because I definitely want it to be on my blog when his day arrives.

Ten things I adore about AtP:
1. He can laugh at just about anything.
2. Sometimes he reads my mind.
3. He has an amazing smile.
4. He gives really wonderful hugs.
5. He has empathy for others.
6. When he tells me he loves me, I believe him.
7. He listens even when I'm being dramatic and unreasonable.
8. He doesn't seem to understand that I'm ancient.
9. He lets me be myself. When I am with him, I can be spiritual, silly, serious. It's all good.
10. He brings beauty to my life because he is beautiful inside and out.

I love you, AtP. I hope your birthday is wonderful and memorable--just like you!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Counseling - bleh

It's been almost a week since my last therapy visit. I haven't talked about it here because it upsets me. I recorded some of our conversation in my stupid super secret blog because I wanted to process it. I was hoping I'd feel better about it by now. I don't.

Her: It sounds as if you feel you've worked through the abuse in your past and are ready to concentrate on dealing with any lingering after-effects.

Me: Yes. I've done a lot. I don't really feel that the abuse is an issue anymore.

Her: Okay. Let's talk about anorexia.

Me: I don't think it's anorexia. I just have trouble eating sometimes.

Her: Why is that?

Me: I don't know. I feel overwhelmed sometimes. The thought of eating makes me feel sick. There's no room inside.

Her: No room. Can you tell me what that feels like? When it happens?

Me: There's really no pattern. Sometimes I just can't eat.

Her: Usually, when people have trouble eating, there's something their bodies are trying to tell them. There's a huge emotional connection we have with food. As infants it's a source of comfort and security. And those feelings go with us into adulthood.

Me: I'm not sure what you're saying.

Her: Something's happening and you're ignoring it.

Me: I don't want to know what it is.

Her: That's understandable. Have you done a lot of research about anorexia?

Me: Yes.

Her: And have you researched the link between anorexia and sexual abuse?

Me: A little. I know there seems to be a higher incidence of eating disorders in men who have been orally raped. But I'm not a man, and I really don't want to think about that.

Her: It's true that men can develop eating disorders for that cause. But they don't have a corner on the market. It happens in women, as well.

Me: I don't want that to be the cause.

Her: That's understandable.

Me: I want to be finished. I don't want to work through this.

Her: You seem to be very aware of how to manage your eating disorder. But the problem is that unless you address the root problems, there may come a time when you won't be able to. That's dangerous.

Me: I know.

Her: It's okay to be tired. You've been working really hard.

Me: I guess, maybe, I'm not finished working through the stupid abuse yet.

Her: I was waiting for you to say that.

Me: That doesn't make me feel any better. Am I ever going to be finished? Will I ever be able to live my life like everyone else?

Her: You're the only person I've ever counseled who was not only able to control her eating disorder without outside help, but had it in remission for a very long time. You're the only one I know who has been able to not only change your nightmares, but you've found a way to suppress the flashbacks, as well. You're very strong. I think you're closer to the end than you know.

Me: It feels like forever.

Her: I know. And I have a feeling that the reason the eating disorder is hanging around is because you're using it to cope with more than just abuse issues. There are other things feeding into it. We can address those later. In the meantime, do some research on the link between sexual abuse and anorexia, journal like crazy, and see if you can figure out what's going on inside when you feel the need to stop eating.

Me: Okay. But this feels really awful.

Her: Take your time. And be nice to yourself.

Me: Easier said than done.

I've been half-heartedly doing the research. I really don't want to address whatever it is that's causing distress when I eat. It just seems like I've done enough. And it isn't fair that no matter how hard I try, there always seems to be one more horrible thing to deal with. And lately there have been more and more days when I just don't think I can do it.

I know. I'm whining. Sometimes I do that.

That's all.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Monday and Tuesday, July 2nd-3rd

Darrin and I met AtP, Jason (of AnotherOther fame), Leslie, and their baby in Provo. I have to add a little background here. Jason is the first online contact I ever made. I read his blog and emailed him, wanting to know more about him. There were other reasons for my wanting to get to know him better, but the point is that we've been communicating through email, phone calls, and chats for over a year, and I've been wanting to meet the Lockhart family since this time last year. It was an absolute delight to meet and spend time with them, and AtP and I have both fallen in love with Leslie (whom neither of us had contacted previously). We were already in love with Jason, so that was nothing new, and their little girl alternates between monstrous and adorable, as is expected of babies when they're trying to walk, talk, and grow up.

We all walked to the Wilkenson Center to enjoy the air conditioning (what is with the heat here???), and commenced to talk nonstop for hours. Tito joined us around 3:00. About that time Darrin decided everyone needed deep-fried, artery-clogging foods to eat (I did not join in those festivities), and we continued our eternal conversation for another hour or so. Then the married people ostracised the unmarrieds (Tito and AtP, who had discussed finding some female gendered people and getting married just so they could see what we married Mohos would be talking about. However, they decided against it. I call that wisdom.), and headed north to meet two other married Moho couples for dinner. It was fun to spend time with them, but we broke up the party around 8:00 so that the Lockharts could visit other friends, and other people could work/study or sleep.

Tuesday morning I woke up and wanted to just stay in my PJ's all day. I did not want to shower or do anything. I sat around, playing my nieces, chatting with my sister, and finally made a move to get ready around 10:00. We met the Lockharts, AtP, and his friend, for lunch at Costa Vida. AtP, Jason and I became the designated food fetchers. We were standing in line to order when AtP said, "I love how we left all the straights at the table." Hmmm...funny how that happened.

We had another marathon conversation for a couple of hours, then AtP became the shuttle for Darrin and Leslie to move our cars a little closer to the restaurant (we'd parked sort of far away and walked, but it was too hot to do that again). Jason, Baby Lockhart and I were left to sit in the shade, which wasn't really any cooler, but better that the sun. I have to say, there's something wonderful about meeting in person. No matter how well you get to know another person online or on the phone, actually being with that person is so much better.

Darrin and Leslie rejoined us, but AtP and his friend had other plans. We wandered around the shops, ate ice cream and chocolate and tried on shoes (well, Leslie and I did). We finally ended up back at Costa Vida (because it was air conditioned) and just sat and talked. I kept thinking we'd run out of things to talk about, or get tired of each other. I love the fact that when we finally left, all I could think was, "We have to do this again!" I hope the Lockharts feel the same.

AtP and his friend joined Darrin and I back at my sister's house. I love my sister. She told me to be sure to invite AtP to stop by and visit. She has baby ducks (one of them pooped on my hand when I picked it up!) and a great lawn and she's just a really amazing person anyway. AtP and friend left after about an hour. My sister and I went to get dinner and Darrin and I spent a really nice evening with she and her family. We even got to bed before midnight...oh, maybe that was just me. I crashed around eleven. I have no idea when everyone else went to bed.

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Sunday, July 1st

Even though Darrin told AtP Saturday night that I'd make him late for church the next day, I was ready long before he was. We drove to Provo to meet AtP and then go to Tito's apartment, where Salad and Drex were supposed to meet us and we would all caravan to Ken Gobiddles' ward. It was not to be.

AtP did not answer his phone when I called him. I called so many times that his phone would not record any more messages. I pounded on the door of his apartment several times--no answer. Finally, Darrin and I left and went to Tito's. No Salad and Drex. The three of us left for the church service (Tito was wearing the Moho uniform, I wasn't). I was a little worried. I've spent a lot of time with AtP. He's never stood me up, and I'm usually the one who's late. I'm not sure that I've ever left a message on his phone when he hasn't called or texted me within a few minutes. So this was just odd.

Ken sat behind me at church. He was on the end of his bench. I walked over to him, perched on the arm rest, put my arms around him, cuddled up and started whispering in his ear. I've never felt someone freeze up so fast! I let him sweat for a few seconds before telling him who I was. He pointed out Tito on the bench in front of us and asked if we'd met, suggesting I sit with him. I laughed, told Ken that Tito and I had come together, and showed him my husband sitting near Tito. I know--not nice of me to surprise poor Ken like that, but very fun.

At some point during church AtP, Salad and Drex texted us, letting us know they were coming/already there. AtP had slept in (bad friend!!). We gathered after church, briefly, then went our separate ways. AtP, Salad and Drex joined Ken and family for dinner, Ty had other commitments so we took him home, and Darrin and I went to visit other friends and family, ending up at Ambrosia and Bawb's house for dinner.

Darrin and I picked up AtP and went to the Matis Home Evening. List of people we met (not for the first time, necessarily):

Baker's Son (so good to see you again)
Bro and Sis Matis (best people in the world)
Borealis (yay! I got to have dinner with you and your wife the next day!)
By a Thread (whom I love to hug--and I'm not a hug person, really)
Danish Boy (I love his smile)
Elbow (Yay! he came!!!)
Gimple (but we didn't get to talk much either)
Greg (briefly met, sigh...)
Hybrid (a new person in the bloggosphere--I invited him to come because I wanted to meet him)
Hybrid's friend (a lurker in the Queerosphere for nearly two years)
Mom of Danish Boy (I told her I was gay--maybe I shouldn't have?)
NakedNative (I haven't seen him since September)
Online Friend Andrea (we keep missing each other and I really want to talk)
Original MoHomie (Yay!! I love him!)
Parents of Attempting the Path (AtP wants me to be in love with his mom)
Playasinmar (Thank you for the hug :) )
Salad and Drex (of course), and Salad and I Riverdanced on the trampoline
Tito (one can never get enough Tito--ever!)
Wolfie (He plays the organ)

Okay--I KNOW there are more, but I was a little overwhelmed by all the people. So if I met you, please remind me--for instance, I'm certain that Baker's Son introduced me to someone, but I have too many people in my head right now. So don't be offended if you're not on my list--just remind me, please. There were lots of people there.

We took AtP home and Darrin told me he had really had a wonderful time meeting all the people we'd spent time with over the past two days, but he was exhausted. I laughed. He needs to do this more often.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Friday and Saturday, June 29th-30th

Darrin and I left later than we expected, but our seven hour trip only took six. I'm not asking Darrin why (he drove), I was just grateful to hit my sister's house before midnight. I think she was glad, as well. Darrin and I spent the drive reconnecting and talking about a lot of things we just haven't had time to talk about. There's also a chance that I slept a little.

Saturday: We met AtP around 11:00, talked with Elbow and arranged to meet for lunch. Darrin, AtP and I arrived at the designated restaurant before Elbow, sat near the front door and played the "Do you think that's him?" game. AtP got endless entertainment out of watching people try to enter through a locked glass door. He only knew it was locked because we had done the same thing. Finally AtP said, "That's him." I told him he wasn't playing the game right. He's supposed to ask me if I think it's him, but he was right--it was Elbow. We had a really nice lunch together and, wanting to see him again before I left, I pressed Elbow to meet us at the Matis Home Evening the next day. He said he'd think about it.

Elbow left us and Darrin decided he had to be prove that he wasn't the gay half of our marriage. He took us to Harbor Freight Tools. Naturally, AtP and I love that store (AtP loves it more than I do). However, we opted to browse through the other stores in the mall and leave Darrin to his own devices. We looked at food in a natural foods store, lingering by the hemp waffles (AtP wants to smoke them) and looking at odd shaped imported bottles of water. I like the red and blue glass bottles.

We decided to find out if Darrin was finished shopping. No such luck. We tried to be good sports by trying on the welding helmets, opening the cute little drawers on the tool chests, and avoiding the urge to take down the red wagons and give each other rides. But we left again, partly because we were causing a spectacle by laughing so much (apparently, people in tool stores are very serious about shopping), and because the cashier ladies looked like they could bench-press AtP and I at the same time. Scary.

We went to a Mexican market which had interesting stuff in it, and AtP got olive juice on him. It was purple. I keep wipes in my car, so we cleaned up and went to Sierra Trading Post to check out the clearance items. AtP almost bought a large punctuation mark, but thought better of it. We examined ugly ties, I talked AtP out of buying any girl pants, and we crashed on the comfy couches, wondering if Darrin would ever stop browsing in the tool store. Eventually he found us and we tried to figure out where to meet Tito for dinner. The helpful clerk who was wondering why we kept sitting on her couches gave us a good restaurant suggestion, we called and arranged things with Tito, and went on our way.

Dinner with Tito was fun, as always, because he is one of my favorite people. AtP and I weren't particularly hungry, so we split a wrap, sort of. I think we picked out the chicken and AtP ate the fries, but we'd both drunk lots of water that day and at dinner, so mostly, we just visited the bathrooms. I have never been at dinner before and said, "I need to use the restroom,' and had a man say, "I'll come, too." Women, yes, often. Men, no. New experience--that happens often with AtP.

We picked up one of AtP's friends and got to meet another new person. She was adorable, of course, and closer to AtP's age. The four of us went to AtP's house to meet his nephews and niece (also adorable) and to visit with his parents for awhile. I spent some one-on-one time with his mom, whom I absolutely love. We left after awhile and went a park to swing and play on the jungle gym. Then we went to visit Salad and Drex.

Actually, we went to pick up a movie AtP had left there, and I don't think they were expecting us to stay, but dropping in and forcing my company on someone is a necessary component of any Utah trip I take. In December Darrin and I crashed a Moho gathering at Tito's apartment, in March I overstayed my welcome at Tolkien Boy's house, in April I surprised By a Thread more than's a tradition, so be time I might be rude in the place where you live. This time Drex and Salad were the recipients of our uninvited presence. We stayed past midnight and I think Salad and I are now bonded for life because of the red plastic fish.

Darrin and I dropped off AtP and his friend after making arrangements to crash the ward where Ken and Barbie Gobiddles would be blessing their baby the next day. Then we headed back to my sister's house to get some sleep.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Thinking again

On Easter I wrote a post about Christ--just like everyone else, I suppose. But my thoughts at that time have not left me. When I wrote the post I was spiritually wanting in many ways. I was experiencing horrible nightmares and flashbacks once again, and I was beginning to weaken. About a month later I ended up in the hospital, wondering what was happening to me. I have had to reevaluate many things in my life, and in doing so, have had to rely on God and Christ more than ever. I've realized that there is hope for me, but only through the atonement. I can become mentally healthy and strong if I continue to work, but I can't be free, truly free, on my own. I've spent some time talking with my Father about the things that are required of me. I've told him I don't want to do them. I've asked for a different way. And in the end, I've realized that there is no other way that will bring me the peace I desire.

So many times in my life I've partaken of the goodness of the atonement. Often, I haven't even realized it. There were times when I was alone and aching, my child-body bruised, my mind reeling with horror and confusion, when, in my heart, I called out to anyone for relief. I remember vividly, occasions when I felt peace wrapped around me like a blanket, and I was given rest for a moment. In my journey to adulthood, there was always some force that carried me forward, certain that the next day would be better and that I could continue on. Even when I knew that there was no God--for what loving Heavenly Father would stand by and watch while his daughter was repeatedly raped, abused, and discarded?--I wanted to believe. I wanted Him to come to me and tell me why. I wanted an explanation. I felt that I was owed that. It didn't happen. And for me, the why's eventually became less important than the what's. What will I do next? What will I choose? What if I live? What will I become? What will I make of myself?

I reread, recently, the accounts of the atonement in the New Testament.

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

I read the words and find such interesting ideas. Jesus knew the importance of what was about to happen--and he took two friends to be with him. Christ, the Greatest of us all, didn't want to be alone. He didn't isolate himself, or tell his friends to give him some space. He wanted to be with those who loved him and whom he loved. I need to learn from that. He expressed his sorrow to them. He told them how he felt. He wasn't afraid that they would think less of him, or belittle his feelings. He trusted them to sorrow with him, and uphold him. He felt dread and he was afraid, so much so that he fell on his face and asked God to take it away from him. In Mark it's stated a bit differently:

And he went forward a little, and fell on the ground, and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him.
And he said, Abba, Father, all things are possible unto thee; take this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.
Father, please don't make me do this...take it away from me...I don't want to go through or take on the task or trial before're asking a lot...I don't think I can do this--so many times in my life I have spoken those words. Christ himself, asked to be released from what would be his most difficult task. At one point he did not want to do it. He understands when we shrink from what is asked of us.

According to Luke, a loving Father sent angels to strengthen and comfort his son as he bled from every pore and did for me what I cannot do for myself. Had I known then what I know now, I would have begged to be among those angels who were with my Savior. Had I understood how much I would need the atonement in my life, how many times I would use it, how there would be times when that was all I had left--nothing would have kept me from standing beside my beloved Lord, giving him every ounce of strength I could give, knowing that in the incomprehensible act of the atonement, every part of me could one day be healed. I know it probably wasn't so, and that I was not among those blessed angels privileged to be with the Savior in his moment of agony. But if I was not allowed to be a part of those chosen to be with Christ at that time, I believe that I must have looked on, praying for strength for him, filled with gratitude that he would perform the act that would save my soul. And, because I am who I am, I'm certain that I wept because my life would cause him pain--but perhaps my understanding then was greater than it is now.

I am slowly giving in, giving up, allowing all things to go to their proper places. As I let go I am afraid, but also hopeful that in allowing the atonement to work as it was meant to, I can overcome that fear, and one day be so much more than I am today. I don't know if I will ever understand why I have had to endure the circumstances that life has brought to me, but I have endured, and I believe that where I have been battered and broken, Christ's atonement can make me whole, inside and out.

I have to believe that. Ultimately, in spite of everything I do, my journey over the past 18 months has taught me that I cannot heal myself. If the atonement is not real, if there is no Christ, I am lost.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Sesame Street - I Love My Elbows

This is dedicated to Elbow.

I Love My Elbow

Almost exactly one year and one month ago, my life as an obscure blogger came to an end. I had several reasons for starting a blog:
1. I was trying to get to know former blogger Ward Cleaver.
2. I was exploring the possibility of finding online support for a young friend in my community.
3. I was venting.

For about three months my blog had one avid reader, Ward, and two regular lurkers who never commented, and whom I never identified. But in June of 2006, Elbow discovered my blog and spotlighted me in a post. From that point on, obscurity was not an option. Elbow's blog was fairly well known in the Queerosphere. When people started visiting and commenting on my blog, I began to panic. There were many things on the original blog that rapidly disappeared, and even though I maintained my goal to use my online journaling to help me through counseling, I was also aware that I was not invisible.

Elbow and I visited each other's blogs fairly regularly, and emailed occasionally. A couple of months ago we began chatting. From the time we encountered each other online, I have wished to meet him. And I finally did last Saturday.

The end.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Straight Girls

This evening Darrin and I had dinner with three other couples--all MOM's. I, of course was the token lesbian, Darrin the token straight guy. After dinner, as couples often do, the females drifted away from the males to talk about female oriented "stuff". I was asked by one of them if I was more comfortable with the men. The answer, of course, is yes. I'm far more comfortable around gay men than any other subgroup. This is not something I choose, necessarily.

I thought about one of the couples. I've chatted extensively with the husband, online and on the phone--but never with his wife. She's completely comfortable with that, and should be, I suppose, considering the orientation of both her husband and myself. I thought about how much I love having that friendship. AtP said this weekend that some of the "acceptable" norms just don't apply to gay people. I guess that's true, but one day I'd like to feel more drawn toward being in the female group, than hanging out with the gay guys. No offense, guys, I love you to death, it just makes me feel a little more odd than I'd like to.

I have no idea why I'm posting this. But I'm just going to say, to end this post: Salad, Leslie, Boo, and Fourth Girl--you're some of the most amazing straight girls I've ever met. That's all.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Meeting People

I spent yesterday visiting people. For the first time since last December, Darrin is with me. It's a different dynamic with him beside me. I'm less nervous, but I also keep falling into the "if I know this person, you must also" trap. He has no knowledge of many of the people we meet (because he is a lame blogger), but I sometimes forget to fill him in. Thank goodness he's so easygoing about things like that. We dropped off AtP and his lovely friend last night at midnight, then Darrin and I went to a grocery store because we're cooking dinner today, and Darrin had bunches of questions about the people we'd met today. I laughed because I realized how odd much of our conversations must have seemed to him, and I was really happy that he just sits back and listens and waits for the right time to gather information--not at all like me--I just ask whatever I feel like asking.

Anyway, even though I'm missing my kids, it's nice to be spending some time with my best friend (he doesn't seem to be missing our kids--what's up with that?), and sharing that time with other friends. I'm going to spend more time, when I get home, talking about the people we've seen and things we've done, but I want to say thanks to those of you who've made time to share meals and let us drop in unexpectedly. We have enjoyed every minute of being with you. And I just have to say, AtP, you're in a class by yourself. I love being with you! Today we'll be seeing more friends, and if you're one of them, I expect a hug, even if we've never met in person. Please don't disappoint me.

Time to go get ready for church. Darrin and I are headed to Provo to crash some Moho's ward. We'll be the very reverent old people sitting in the back, grooming ourselves for the time when Darrin becomes a general authority and I am his dutiful wife.


Ummm...yeah, actually, we'll just blend in, you won't even notice us...except that I might be with AtP...and he's sort of noticeable because he's never pious...and even when I try to be good, he interrupts me...which is why we're both going to hell...want to come????