Lucky Little 13

Many of you have already read this story, but as my audience continues to grow year by year and I continue to reflect on how much my Little has grown each passing year, I’m choosing to share her birth story once again. I’m looking forward to what the next year has in store for us.

Happy birthday, Baby Girl! I am so proud of the young woman you are becoming. I can’t wait to support you in all of the wonderful adventures that lay ahead of you as you continue to grow.

Love, Mom 

💕


Everything started on Wednesday the morning of the 12th. I woke up in a cranky irritated mood, with some mild stomach cramps. Nothing painful, just sort of a dull ache like I had eaten something that didn’t agree with me. I dropped Hubs off at work and had planned to take a walk around the park in an effort to get the Little in gear. As I was leaving the parking lot after dropping Hubs off, I noticed that the brakes in the car were extremely spongy. My foot hit the floor when trying to stop, which was odd I thought. Hubs drove into work, so I assumed everything was okay, and perhaps I just hadn’t noticed the last time I drove. It had been a week since I’d last had the car, so I adjusted my driving and continued on toward the park and Walmart in search of a bottled water and some brake fluid.I drove all the way across town, only to find out that I didn’t have the debit card, so I turned around and headed home. I still wanted to walk, but I definitely didn’t want to walk around without some water on hand. Especially since I was already thirsty before even starting the walk. I lounged around at home for a while, watched a few movies, took a nap and cleaned up a little. I was still having the annoying cramps, and trying to figure out what had changed in my diet to make my stomach so upset. The only thing I could think of was that I had eaten a spinach salad every day for the past few days. So, I ignored them. I did have the forethought to download a nifty contraction timer app to my phone, but other than that I went on about my day.

Eventually Hubs’ lunch time rolled around, and I set off to meet him with bologna sandwich in hand. When I got into the Jeep and began to back out of my parking space I heard a loud snap as I applied the brakes and then the dreaded brake light came on. Now, the thing about Nowheresville is that the entire town only consist of about 10 square miles. We live less than three miles away from Hubs’ work. I mean in a dire emergency he could walk there in less than an hour. So instead of rolling back into my parking space and calling some one to bring me brake fluid, I went on over to meet him. With no brakes. Like I was coasting to a stop most of the time, no brakes. There are only three intersections between our apartment and his plant, and because he works second shift he goes on “lunch” at 7:30pm. There wasn’t a whole bunch of traffic, so I wasn’t really worried about it. I had driven cars with no brakes before farther distances in worse weather. lol. It probably wasn’t one of my brighter moments, especially considering what all was really going on with my body at the time, but hey.

I coasted to a stop in the plant parking lot and waited for Hubs to make his way out for lunch. I told him I thought we might need brake fluid, and explained the situation. He gave me a lecture about driving over with no brakes 9+ months pregnant, and then called his sister to come pick me up. lol. She came, drove me to Walmart to pick up brake fluid, back to Hubs’ work to drop it off, and then home. I fixed dinner, took a shower, watched a movie and got ready for bed. I got a text message from Hubs saying that he would be home earlier than expected, and our night progressed like any other Wednesday night.

Until about 3am. Hubs had fallen asleep on the couch, and I had made my way into the bedroom. I was laying there sound asleep, when I woke up with an awful pain in my abdomen. I rolled out of bed and headed to the bathroom. I mean what else would you do if you awoke with a crazy abdominal pain, right? I returned to bed shortly after. Before I could fall asleep, again I was struck with this intense pain. I was kind of annoyed and confused at this point. Not only was I trying to get enough sleep to make my doctors appointment at 9am, but I hadn’t felt well all day. Then, after about half an hour of enduring this weird pain it donned on me that these could be contractions!

I whipped out my phone and contraction timer, and started timing them. To my surprise, they were only about 2 minutes apart. Two minutes apart?? Already? I thought to myself. So I gradually got up, and went out to the living room. I tapped Hubs on the shoulder and woke him up. I told him that according to my nifty phone app that we would probably be heading to the hospital in the next half an hour. Now, honestly we both thought that this was just false labor. Especially since the Little is my first child. Everyone had always told us that because she was my first child that my body was still trying to figure things out and false labor wasn’t uncommon at all. When I was eventually in true labor it would take hours to even days just because it was something that my body hadn’t done before. You know, all those don’t be surprised that labor takes forever it’s not like TV things.

So Hubs and I reluctantly drug ourselves out to the car at 4am hospital bags in tow just in case, and made our way to the hospital. We arrived, and sat in triage for about two hours. Just as we suspected, the first nurse that examined me had said it was probably false labor, but they would give it an hour and see how far I progressed. They hooked me up to several monitors and away they went. Hubs and I both sat there patiently waiting for the verdict. My contractions were getting ever more intense, but not exceptionally close together. When I arrived they were close, very close, but after sitting there for a while they started to fade. I was disappointed, but again. Hubs and I went into the trip assuming it was just false labor, so it wasn’t too disappointing.

Then, at about 6:30am, everything kicked into over drive. Up until that point I had been able to yoga through every contraction with only minimal discomfort, but as another nurse came in to check me before making the decision to admit me or not it was crazy insanely uncomfortable. She actually ended up doing the exam during one of my ninja contractions, which is a good thing. If she hadn’t I would have been sent home.

When I first arrived, I was at 2cm with that looked like minor contractions on their fancy monitor. An hour later, when checked again I was at 7cm and even though my contractions still weren’t showing up on the monitor as anything other than a basic muscle twinge I was in visible discomfort. They called my doctor, who was actually already heading to the hospital to check on another patient, and he gave the go ahead to admit me. It was shocking and surprising to Hubs and I, but it was also a relief. Little was 13 days over due, and if I had made it to my doctors appointment instead of going into labor her induction would have been scheduled.

Before we made our way to the delivery room, the nurse asked me if I had intended to get an epidural. I asked how long I had to decide, because it was so early in the day and I assumed I would be in labor for hours. The pain wasn’t UNBEARABLE, I just didn’t want to deal with it all day on less than an hour of sleep. She said the way I was progressing I should decide now, because if I waited there wasn’t any guarantee I would be able to get one. So… after several moments of thought, and one heck of an intense contraction later I said yes. Go ahead, drug me up.

Good news, I don’t have an opiate allergy! I also have insane muscle control apparently, because for being completely numb I could still move relatively freely. So freely in fact that instead of bringing in a whole team of nurses to help with the delivery it was just one nurse and Hubs. Yep, Hubs was there the entire time, and actually assisted in the delivery. lol. He did very well, and thanked me profusely for getting the epidural.

We got settled into the room around 8am, still with no contractions on the monitor. My doctor arrived, did some initial assessments, and gave us the good news! We would be delivering our little one sometime during the day on September 13th. He also explained that it could still take hours or even most of the day because: “It isn’t like the movies where you labor for an hour, push for ten minutes and your baby arrives.” I was completely okay with that, thanks to my wonderfully spontaneous decision for an epidural. lol. Little did anyone know, that less than an hour after I started pushing my Little would be born. 10:31am she made her entrance into the world.

It was pretty intense in those first few moments after birth. Because she was over due she had passed her first stool inside the womb, (which is what I was worried about with attempting castor oil and the pitocin induction) and because her head was so low they couldn’t do anything about it until after she was born. There would be an increased risk of infection, but they would do their best to clear her airways before she took her first breath. Which meant that instead of having her birthed, and hearing her cry right away there was a few moments of nothing but silence as they whisk her away to be cleaned up. Everything happened in the same room, so it’s not like they rushed her to a different room, but it was still scary until she started crying.

Once I heard her first little wail, everything was okay. I was SO relieved. Both to have her finally outside of my abdomen, and that she was safe and after they got her all cleaned out otherwise healthy. It took the doctor almost an hour to get me all put back together, which Hubs said was insanely brutal, but I was just floating on cloud nine the entire time. I don’t know if it was the epidural, or the fact that I had just “officially” become a mom, but either way I felt nothing other than happy, and as soon as I got to hold my Little and see her for the first time other than as my protruding belly button it just made everything that much more awesome. *sigh*

So, since she was born on the 13th, after all of those crazy circumstances we have affectionately dubbed her our little Lucky 13. Still even almost a week later, she has been nothing but a wonderful little blessing. She even sleeps through the night most nights. ALREADY. Her feeding has taken off with out a hitch, she hardly cries more than a few minutes at a time, and she is bright eyed and alert. I too, bounced back insanely quickly. We’ve already been out and about on the town several times this week, my house is clean, the bills are paid and we’ve all settled in to our new lives. It’s going to be a great ride Bloggies. I’m so glad she’s finally here.

Almost Forgot!!

OH. I almost forgot!!

I was also able to finish my latest book release over my small blogging hiatus. It’s available for pre-order now on the Kindle Store, with a scheduled release date of November 1st.

Stay tuned for more info as the release date approaches. I’m really excited about this one as it’s my first complete work of fiction. I tackled NaNoWriMo at 36 weeks pregnant with my daughter. She’ll be seven (?!) on Friday, and I’m really excited to share this with her when she’s a bit older. It’s not written in the typical young adult genre, but it’s not a children’s book either. It’s like a… I don’t really know. Lol. It’s kind of an adventure fantasy thing.

I’m just really excited about it all around.

Dyslexic Authors Anonymous

I’m a blogger. (Obviously) I’m an author. I love reading when I have a spare moment, and so 90% of the time my very mild dyslexia doesn’t bother me. Every once and a while it will get me with a reversed letter or backwards phrase, but most of the time I’m okay.

Until it comes to functional organizational writing skills. Then I drawn one large blank. I can read the instructions. I can understand the concept. I get it but when it comes to the application of these concepts, ideas and such my brain just short circuits lol

So this semester started off on a rough foot. I needed to take a break blogging wise, and I had the whole plagiarism thing to content with again. I was supposed to take four weeks for this class, but with all the extra time I had not blogging (ironic no?) I was able to finish it up in two. As challenging as it was I passed with an 88 maintaining my 3.7GPA 🙌🏻

I am so close to being done with my GedEd classes it is infuriating that time will not go faster. Lol. I’ve got like one more science class, one more math, and literature; then I can start working toward my actual degree. Which will probably slow me down a bit. GenEd stuff is easy since it’s basically repeating high school. When I actually start learning vs simply reviewing I’ll need to make more of an effort with my studies.

Hubs and I got a lot accomplished around the house this past week and a half too. We finally got rid of all the junk left behind by the previous owners of our house, got the Twins’ room redone and moved Little into one of the actual bedrooms and out of our dining room.

While we were in the process of figuring out Champ’s sensory issues we needed to separate the Twins into their own rooms. Little Crash was the butt of most of Champ’s aggression and I wasn’t about to have him suffer if I could help it. They needed their own space for a while. Now that we’ve got an action plan for Champ, they can safely share a space again, which gives Little more privacy and me a formal dining space!

I haven’t had a formal dedicated dining space since my second apartment waaaaaaaaay back in like 2007. Lol. I am excited to get everything put together. We’re getting things together to renovate our kitchen in the Spring. New paint, new cabinets, and possibly new floors although I haven’t quite made up my mind about that yet.

It’s nice to have our own space again. There are many things I miss about apartment life, but I really love our little home too. The kids love the yard, and it’s nice not to have to worry about a landlord or maintenance staff. I got lucky with Hubs who’s pretty handy when it comes to general contracting and repairs. Lol.

Once we get the inside all squared away we’re hopefully going to get the driveway resurfaced and siding replaced next year. We have the siding in the garage, we just have to find time and energy to install it… or the funds to hire someone to install it. Hopefully… next year. But, a lot of things can happen in a year so we’ll see. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Stove Top

There is a skill most survivors of abuse possess. It’s not exactly something to be proud of, but something engrained and very difficult to overcome even in the midst of recovery.

We can be absolutely savage assholes to those who repeatedly ignore our basic requests for various boundaries. I’m not immune to the use of this skill. It’s almost a reflex especially when my buttons have been pushed eighty bazillion times. Something clicks inside my head and the compassionate, caring, empathetic Kelli goes right out the window replaced by cut throat savage asshole Kelli.

I’m not proud when that aspect of my personality pops through, but I’ve learned especially over the last year and a half that it isn’t entirely something to be ashamed of either. It’s something I need to take responsibility for and be aware of for certain, but it’s also a valuable part of defending my self worth against those who would take advantage of me.

I guess it’s part of my larger fight response. Having such a hearty fight response kept me alive in many of my more violent instances of abuse, but now that I’m not in an abusive environment finding a productive healthy use for my very valid F the F off when I’m annoyed is difficult.

It really boils down to self control and understanding what deserves my response and what doesn’t. It’s still a balancing act that I’m working on. Often times I slip off and my savage comes out in full force which can damage relationships. Of course, not all relationships are worth having in the first place and sometimes a little savagry is necessary to completely end lingering connections to toxic people dancing around the fridges of my life.

My therapist explained that sometimes to really end a toxic relationship especially with a bully or someone who tries to manipulate your feelings, you have to use the skills gained from your abusive past and strike back with as much snark, apathy and ferocity as you can muster. I still don’t really know how I feel about it, being one who opts for kindness 90% of the time, but the way my therapist described it makes sense. You can tell someone the stove is hot and will hurt if they keep pushing buttons, but some people just don’t believe it until they get burned.

The Eyes Have It

*sigh* Well I wanted to be okay. I sincerely wanted to be okay this year as Labor Day approached. My broken brain had other plans. I took part in mountains of self care, scheduled all sorts of projects to keep my mind busy, addressed my most recent trauma last week to avoid them and still the panic attacks came. The nightmares, the migraines, the whole nine yards. It’s been a rough week in PTSD terms for me.

Labor Day Weekend 2006:

My ex and I both took time off work to attend a local fireworks display in celebration of the holiday. It was the annual ceremonious end to Summer. I’d never been, but he had once or twice before. We headed down to the venue early in the day to secure our spot. We ate lunch, grabbed a blanket at a local mall and made our way into the venue to claim our spot.

For some reason my ex was in a particularly rapid cycling mood. One moment he would be joking, the next he would be fighting with any and everyone about trivial things that didn’t really matter. He almost got tossed out by security over a water bottle, and we briefly argued over the paternity of his ex wife’s youngest child. Or rather we discussed it, which only proved to sour his mood even further.

God only knows what was truly troubling him, but over all the evening was pleasant. We fought our way out of the crowds after laying next to one another in a cozy embrace for the duration of the show and made our way to my apartment. Once there we immediately shed the days sweaty clothes and snuggled into our pjs before promptly falling asleep.

A few hours later my back began to ache and I moved out to the small love seat as I usually did anytime I couldn’t sleep. It was generally understood when one or the other of us disappeared from the bed in the middle of the night we’d moved out to the couch for a variety of different reasons. That night something was different. Almost as soon as I shut off the living room lamp and closed my eyes my ex began to shuffle around in the bedroom before eventually wailing my name and stumbling out into the hallway, tripping over himself in the process and smacking into the opposite wall before collapsing to his knees in tears.

He was sobbing and yelling my name with repeated cries of: “don’t leave me! Please don’t leave me. I don’t want to be alone. Please don’t leave me.” I immediately rushed to his side to assure him that I hadn’t gone anywhere and that’s when I realized he wasn’t really there. His body was there, but his mind was lost somewhere entirely different. His eyes were open but instead of the usual bright glint of awareness and intelligence, they were dull, dark and flat. I can only describe them as dead eyes because that’s what it seemed like as he stared past me while looking right at me as tears streamed down his face and he continued to beg me to stay with him.

I’m not sure how long the moment lasted, but I held him until his rhythmic sobs and pleas faded before eventually coming to a complete stop. Like a damn light switch he was back. Disoriented, and exhausted, but the light returned to his eyes, he wiped the few remaining tears off his face and returned to bed. I joined him and held him the rest of the night.

It wasn’t the first night terror/split of consciousness I’d experienced with him and it was far from the last. I have no idea what triggers it. Maybe it’s his stress threshold, maybe it’s the aftermath of smashing his head into one too many windshields. I don’t know. I just know that those eyes are permanently burned into my memory, and I don’t like it one bit.

I actually gave his two personalities different names so I could speak to my therapist about it without causing mass chaos and confusion. One is J and the other is JNathan. J is a fairly good natured, happy, albeit a bit insecure but generally a nice guy. Impulsive and dishonest, but overall decent. JNathan is the scary one. He’s cold, distant, callous and dangerous. JNathan has the dead eyes. J has the sweet sparkle and smirk to match.

JNathan broke into my apartment and didn’t give two shits if I knew he was there. J fought for dominance and surfaced a few times. He was terrified that he would get caught. J hid. J (thank God) spoke to my daughter. J eventually won and got the hell out of there. JNathan fought with me in my bedroom. JNathan laughed after I punched him. JNathan smirked when he grabbed me and held me down.

The same way that JNathan almost threw me down our townhouse staircase, grabbed me by the ankle and tossed me across the bedroom directly into the dresser dislocating my hip. More recently JNathan spewed caustic veiled threats at me while J complimented my hair, and kids. “God I fucking hate you” *breath pause* “but your hair looks really cute blonde. You should keep it that way.” *breath pause* “God why can’t you just die already?” *breath pause* You have a daughter! That’s really awesome. *breath pause* I would love to see you get hit by a bus crazy ass bitch.” Etc etc. JNathan’s voice is about a pitch and a half lower than J’s voice too. It’s not just what the words are, it’s how they’re said and watching/hearing him flip back and forth with the ever so slight pause in between has really left it’s mark on my own psyche.

I think the most disturbing thing aside from the physical differences is that J has no memories of when he loses control and JNathan takes over. It’s almost like a blackout. Although, with J’s chronic dishonesty maybe he does remember and just denies it to avoid taking responsibility for JNathan’s behavior. I’m not so sure it’sIt’s simply denial/dishonesty though since J has other memory issues related to his head trauma. I don’t know. I used to vehemently defend J due to the simple existence of JNathan, but now… it is what it is. Whether JNathan is the dominant personality and J developed as a way to hide in plain sight or J is dominant and JNathan was born out of trauma I’ll never know. J is the only one who really knows (or maybe not if he really has no memory after the fact) and JNathan only appears at random overwhelming stressful moments. The memory thing might work both ways too. They may not be aware of each other to begin with, J’s compulsive dishonesty aside.

I’ll never know. I’ll just go on hating this trauma because those eyes are by far the most painful and terrifying thing I’ve ever experienced. It’s one of the only traumas I haven’t been able to overcome yet. It’s frustrating as much as it is triggering. Arggggghuggggh.

Rebel Rampage 8/21/19 The Melody Inn

I did a thing! Last week I got to participate in an amazing event and meet some really cool people. Click through to check it out. 🙂

Rebecca MacCeile

Last week I had the extraordinary opportunity to volunteer at a show sponsored by A Voice for the Innocent. AVFTI is an organization that is extremely close to my heart as they’ve been instrumental in my personal recovery as a victim of sexual violence and abuse. As soon as I had the opportunity to represent them I cleared my schedule. Before I was asked to volunteer I wasn’t aware of the upcoming show. There were two local bands and the headliner, a relatively new project Rebel Rampage.

I’d never heard of any of the bands before last week, but I wasn’t the least bit disappointed. The show was really well put together, everyone played very well and having the opportunity to talk to the band was really cool, especially considering the passion behind the project itself.

Rebel Rampage is classified as protest rock and styled after the likes…

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Conflict vs Trauma

I’m publishing this early to get it out of the way before the holiday weekend. I intend to enjoy my three day weekend and I don’t wish to get entangled in a mess.

August 28th, 2018:

My daughter was struggling during her first year of school. I was working a crazy swing shift overnights and unloading deliveries. I was tired, stressed and had a respiratory infection that would not die. All of my energy emotional or otherwise was stretched to the max dealing with my current circumstances when out of the blue comes Stalker Pants with a message on Facebook.

I’d unblocked everyone from my extensive social media block list as part of my healing process. It was where I was at, and it was fairly pointless to have them blocked anyway when you can just create another account to bypass 99% of security features on social media. I mean, yeah it ads to the case that they won’t leave you alone when you have them blocked, but really there is zero point to it all.

ANYWAY… she was unblocked and had been unblocked for several months without incident until the random ass day of August 28th. I didn’t read her message at all. As soon as I saw it I called the non-emergency dispatch number to the local police and filed a report. The reporting officer was kind enough to call Ms. Pants on my behalf and tell her to leave me alone (like the SIX officers in different jurisdictions before) and that was that.

The next day I went to work and when I left work a few hours later I made my way to the ER in the most excusiating pain I’ve ever experienced in my life. YES. I was in even more pain than LABOR. Legit… most physically painful thing I’ve ever experienced is sepsis. Apparently my respiratory infection was actually pneumonia that untreated had sent me into sepsis for the second time in my life. Being the second event it was much more severe than the first and I was admitted to the hospital after a hellacious few hours with tests galore as my organs were clearly shutting down but they couldn’t figure out exactly why.

Three tests later they discovered double pneumonia hidden in the bottom of my lungs. It didn’t show up on the standard chest xray, but only made itself known on an abdominal CT scan. Once they figured out the problem they were able to quickly administer treatment and I rebounded in about three days. I was hospitalized for two and spent the third resting comfortably at home.

During those three days I had a hell of a lot of time to think about Ms. Pants. Of course the whole near death thing was traumatic in itself which stirred up a lot of my other traumatic memories. It also happened around Labor Day which was a fairly significant trauma anniversary in itself. It was the perfect storm of emotional chaos to create a retraumaizing event. Which is a really long reason to explain why I’m addressing it today.

After I was feeling physically better as the infection and my rogue immune system began to subside I revisited Ms. Pants’ message. Still feeling under the weather and emotionally fragile I opted not to read her public posts about the incident and instead had a trusted friend read them for me and relay the important plot points without any of the bs detail ranting.

I was told that Ms. Pants wanted forgiveness for her behavior and to apologize for invalidating the previous trauma I experienced. She did want to apologize, but she never wanted forgiveness. She just wanted the self gratification of spewing an unecessary apology at me against the advice of every law enforcement officer in South Western Ohio. Which would be noble if it wasn’t for such selfish motives.

Still being emotionally exhausted I responded without ever reading what she said myself, and pulled zero punches about my own feelings about the recent interaction. I was not kind, but really all things considered kindness wasn’t required. Firm, unwavering boundaries needed to be upheld/established and often it’s impossible to do those things while sugar coating your own feelings about the matter.

Pants did not take it well. I just recently went back and read what she had to say surrounding the entire incident and whew did I dodge a bullet with that one! I was called everything from a coward to a hypocrite. Selfish, manipulative, dishonest… lol. If there is a negative adjective to describe an interaction with another human being it was included. Which, okay, fine. Her feelings were hurt, and she was shocked at my blunt response when I’ve been fairly forgiving and understanding in the past.

The thing is, in her very first message she said: “I hope this isn’t triggering” and that’s really what I want to discuss in this post. I am still struggling a little with the emotional after effects of the trauma from my hospital stay. That’s the nature of a PTSD brain. I’m going to be stuck on them for a bit and I’m going to include every aspect of the trauma in my recovery process which includes the brief interaction with Ms. Pants. The fact of the matter is, no matter what her intentions might have been it was fairly triggering to see her name pop up in my notifications attached with several messages. Pile that seemingly innocent event on top of the other already stressful things going on in my life (like LITERALLY dying) and my PTSD kicked in to over drive leaving the emotions lingering far longer than any other minor conflict that might arise in my life.

When someone comes to you and says: “I hope this isn’t triggering” they mean one of two things. A) They genuinely think that it might cause you harm, and want to be cautious or B) they know damn well that what they’re about to say is hurtful or insensitive but don’t really care about YOU they just want to make themselves feel better. It’s exactly like the phrase: “No offense, but…” Whatever you say after “no offense, but…” is going to be offensive. It just is. There’s no way around it. It’s a stupid passive phrase. Just state your opinion and continue the discussion after the fact if someone is offended. Don’t try to skirt your responsibilities by tacking on “no offense”. It’s lazy and dismissive really.

Now, of course there’s really no way to tell what Ms. Pants’ true intentions were outside of my own perspective. She might have genuinely been concerned about triggering me and the negative effects, but based on her subsequent reactions it’s safe to say that was she was really worried about was how she, herself, might suffer as a result of her actions. IE She didn’t want me triggered because it would lead to this down the road. Me blogging about my trauma as a result of her short sided actions. WELL OOPS.

To some, I can see how it would look as though I’m being hypocritical. I mean, by writing this post I understand that there is a risk of Ms. Pants reading it, getting upset and reacting somehow. In essence writing this could be a trigger for her in the same way she triggered me by sending me a message. The DIFFERENCE, (and it’s a very important one) is that I’m not seeking her out. Yes, I am responsible for my choices. I can only control myself. I’m choosing to post this, fully aware of the potential consequences.

However, I’m not FORCING her to participate in my healing, or witness my emotional instability and/or reaction to her. Unless she makes her own conscious choice to click on this post and read these words? She will never know they exist or what I’ve said. While my writing can be a catalyst for her own triggers, I’m not the CAUSE of the trigger itself. That rests squarely on her own shoulders. If not her, whomever is telling her that I’m still writing about her involvement in my past.

And I am. I am still writing about the chaos and conflict surrounding her brief involvement in my past. As I already stated a few paragraphs ago getting stuck emotionally is the defining difference between a normal conflict or inconvenience and a traumatic experience. Trauma is subjective. It’s different for everyone which makes it difficult to navigate in the public at large. What might seem a minor inconvenience to one person can be a devastating life altering event to another. It’s really easy to unintentionally come off dismissive of the depth of another person’s emotions, especially if it’s something that you can’t relate to on a personal level. That’s the outward difference.

The difference when it comes to science and medical researching facts is trauma causes a disconnect between both hemispheres of the brain. Nonessential cognitive function is shut down and all energy is redirected to the things necessary to survive whatever emotionally overwhelming event is happening. In essence the neural pathways are severed which causes short circuits down the road. Almost all symptoms related to PTSD can be traced to these broken neural pathways and the “short circuits” resulting from them. Trauma is a physical injury manifesting in emotional ways.

Run of the mill conflict, on the other hand, doesn’t travel those severed neural pathways. It’s easy to “move on” from conflict by ignoring it, or not giving energy to it. If you stop thinking about it, the emotions/effects will eventually fade and everything will go back to systems as normal. Conflict is not a physical injury. Trauma is.

Conflict doesn’t require investment or years of therapy and discussion to resolve. Trauma, like any other physical injury, does. Writing is the best way for me to process my trauma and repair the broken neural pathways. It’s worked wonders for me over the past six years in addition to my EMDR. Ask any trauma therapist and they will tell you that writing is one of the best ways to capture and reign in those rouge traumatic emotions. Is it the only way? No. Some people process better by physically speaking about their traumatic experiences. Some people process through music or painting or other forms of artistic expression. There are a million different ways to overcome trauma each as unique to the individual as the trauma itself.

I choose to write. I understand that it may be painful for my ex and Ms. Pants to read. That truth is why I kept my own healing on the back burner for so long before coming forward and sharing my story about the rape and abuse I suffered at the hands of my ex. Yes, I completely understand and even sympathize with them both. What I will not do, is tolerate or accept the responsibility for how they choose to react and/or respond to my words. They are making the choice to be here reading this, and if it upsets them stresses them out or even hits their own emotional triggers that responsibility is their own.

Yes, I have reached out to them in the past. I’m guilty of my own surprise inbox message BEFORE I started working with my therapist and realized how inappropriate and inconsiderate an out of the blue message can be. The last direct contact I’ve had with Ms. Pants or my ex THAT I INITIATED was in February and October of 2014 respectively. I’ve sparred with them since then, yes, but I’ve never initiated the conversation by sending a message or making a phone call. I’ve kept to myself here, or my own personal social media. I’m not tagging them, I’m not trying to get their attention, I’m just focusing on my healing the best way that I know how.

A really big part of my grieving process with the entire trainwreck relationship and severing my trauma bonds to my ex has been misplaced guilt for the suffering he’s endured due to my writing. I don’t care that he treated me less than shit while we were dating, or has done some really irrational and stupid impulsive things since we’ve split up. I’ve never wanted to hurt him back aside from a few sarcastic barbs out of pure frustration. I’ve never hated him, and in all likelihood never will.

I understand the difference between what I thought was love and traumatic bonding now so I won’t say I still love him, but he’s still a human being and he still deserves compassion and empathy even if doesn’t appreciate or understand it. I’m as over it as I can be. I’ve dealt with it and will continue to deal with it to the best of my ability. I’ll probably write about it a thousand more times. I’ll probably realize some other stupid mistake I’ve made along the way and address sadness or regret for it. This is how humanity functions. Everyone has moments that they can reflect on. Some of us choose to share them, and others keep to themselves. I’m a sharer. I’m probably an over sharer to be honest lol. What you, Ms. Pants, choose to do about it is entirely your own prerogative. If you want to keep tearing open your own wounds reading this, and stirring up drama hither and yon by all means: continue, just stay away from my family. That’s all I ask.

Whimsy and Sterling

Christmas afternoon 2007:

My ex and I arrived at his parents house for our annual family dinner. It was kind of a weird time during the day because we had been bouncing around different celebrations with various friends and family. We walked into the kitchen where the family had gathered as his mom finished up the meal preparations.

That year was the second Christmas I’d spent with his family and the first where I had actually bought gifts for his parents. I don’t remember why I didn’t get anything for his sister, or maybe I did… I just really remember the gifts I got for his parents. My ex handed them each the envelopes with gift certificates I’d found at locations that he recommended. His mom tossed hers on the counter and continued finishing up dishes or some other kitchen chore while his dad took his envelope and opened it.

I really remember his dad’s reaction because it made me giggle. When he was handed the envelope he was apprehensive. Like what is this? Why are you giving me a gift? You could like see the wheels turning. He was really disinterested in the whole thing but being polite. I don’t know what he thought it was, but he definitely was not expecting what he got. He opened it, read it and responded with the most genuine: “Oh, thank you!” I’ve ever heard from an adult. He folded it and tucked it into his shirt pocket, thanked me again and immediately shot a death glare across the room at his son.

His mom had quietly opened her own gift during the surprise from his dad, and walked over with a dish towel in one hand and a small gift box in the other. “Thank you, dear. We’ll go together and get you some real nails so you don’t have to wear those cheap press on things. Although they are appropriate with your jeans.” She quipped. I’d purchased her a gift certificate to her favorite local salon/spa. The jeans remark was a stab at me for our last encounter during my ex’s birthday. It hit it’s intended target and while I started to reply that my nails were in fact acrylic that I had merely repainted to match my Christmas outfit my ex quietly shushed me instead.

“This is for you dear.” She said after folding the dish towel handing me the box.

I opened it. Inside I found a sterling necklace with gold kanji inscribed across the small round charm. It matched the earrings she had gifted me the year before.

“Isn’t it beautiful? I saw it and I immediately thought of you. It means happiness, and I wanted you to have it because you deserve happiness dear.” She explained. “Don’t you think she deserves happiness?” She directed across the room at her husband.

“Most certainly. She deserves happiness, loyalty, honesty and someone who treats her well. Don’t you think so, son?” He replied.

Now, mind you, this entire conversation is taking place with my ex (their son) standing less than two feet away. I was kind of offended and thought it was rather insensitive of them to be speaking about their son like that when he was standing right there so I ran over and gave him a giant hug and a kiss before he had a chance to reply to his dad.

“I am happy. He makes me happy. He treats me pretty well.”

Dad started to correct me, but before he could get the first word out Mom interrupted and asked him to help her carry food to the formal dining room. Which is where we had quite possibly the most awkward Christmas family dinner I’ve ever participated in. I felt really bad for my ex at the time because his level of abuse, dishonesty and other shenanigans hadn’t yet come to light.

Looking back on this exchange later, when I’m older and wiser I understand that his parents weren’t actually being cruel or insensitive, but merely trying to hold their son accountable for his behavior. He wasn’t treating me well, he wasn’t loyal or honest and I didn’t deserve to be miserable even though I didn’t yet understand that I was. Back in the day I took it very personally that his parents kept encouraging him to end the relationship. That’s the biggest reason why I never took the initiative to get to know them outside of basic pleasantries. I loved their son and listening to his bullshit about them never caring about him, or never loving him (ie never enabling him) I really had no interest in knowing them at all.

Which is one of my only regrets about how the entire relationship with their son panned out. I wish I had taken the opportunity to invest in building a relationship with them outside of their son. I wish I would have asked about his dad’s military career accomplishments, I wish I would have met his mom for lunch even if she did think less of my jeans, and I wish I would have really listened to his sister when she was sharing her experiences about her own life.

Anyway… can’t go back in time and change it now so: long story short(ish) the relationship ended and when it did I didn’t bother to keep the jewelry his mom gave me. I wrote about it back in December of last year I think… A friend of mine asked for the pendant and I gave it to her. The earrings disappeared in the shuffle of moving a million times during my young adulthood, but I never particularly cared until recently. Almost 12 years later lol.

Ever since I realized the true sentimental value I’ve been looking to replace them. Mostly the necklace since I can wear it at work and don’t have to worry about this kids running off with it. The earrings would be nice but impractical until the kids get older. I’ve been searching high and low all over the internet hoping to find something similar if not an exact match for almost a year now. It’s not something that I really put a whole bunch of effort into, but here and there when I have a moment to browse shopping sites I’ll look for them. I still haven’t found anything exactly like what I lost, but I did find this which is fairly close.

It’s sterling, the kanji is the same so I figured it was about as close as I could get after months of unfruitful searching. It was definitely better quality than all the costume jewelry alternatives that kept populating my search results so I bought it. After it shipped from the seller I discovered that it’s even closer than I thought. The damn thing is from Central Ohio, and the seller acquired it in a large lot of vintage old stock at an auction.

Excuse me while my BRAIN EXPLODES. Like I said it isn’t an exact match to my original set. Those were round, sterling and gold. This is square and completely sterling that’s tarnished to have a black patina behind the kanji. If anything it just happened to be made by the same designer/artisan but still… I’ve searched high and low for almost an entire year literally across the globe to find nothing even remotely close to my originals until this thing pops up in Central Ohio auctioned off in a lot. The seller didn’t remember the exact details of the auction, but she’s had it for a while.

It does make me wonder… the last time I spoke my ex’s mom she said she wanted to have lunch because she had something for me and wanted me to call her so we could get together. I never followed through with the phone call, and never spoke to her again after that. Since I’ve never been able to find anything else like her gifts anywhere else besides Central Ohio and this was lost in storage for who knows how long before it made it to auction… well now. That’s one big af coincidence right there.

It’s kind of neat to think about. This tiny little charm finally finding its way to it’s home over a decade later… Of course realistically it probably is just one big af coincidence. Lol. It certainly would be amazing if this eventually found it’s way here after so many years, but I doubt it. It’s been well loved and maintained during it’s previous life. The edges are worn and the careful polishing over the years has left tell tale scuffs and buffs ingrained into the sterling. It brought someone else many years of happiness before it wound up in a box at auction.

Regardless of it’s origins it does give me an idea for a new book, and coming from Ohio adds a layer of whimsy to something already sentimental. Winning all around!

The Story of Kim

Once upon a time my ex told me the Story of Kim. Kim was allegedly his first girlfriend and they had a fairly lengthy relationship in high school. His mom absolutely adored Kim and was disappointed when the relationship finally came to an end. I heard a lot about Kim honestly lol. Never really enough to interact with her in any way, but kind of a lot for some random girl he used to date.

Anyway… I don’t know why this managed to stick with me so many years later. The details of the story itself I’m certain are exaggerated or embellished somewhere, but there was enough truth there to prick my conscious when it crossed my mind recently.

Basically, in his outlandish yarn my ex also confessed to forcing himself on this girl. Sharing details with me of another sexual assault/rape more than likely to normalize the way he had been abusing me in our own relationship. Back then I wasn’t healthy enough or really aware enough to catch the inferences he shared with me. I just thought it was a crazy story that was very on brand for my ex and the way our relationship worked. It wasn’t the first story I’d heard about a former partner and it wouldn’t be the last.

Now, being healthy and socially aware of how he essentially confessed to another rape it made me worry about her. Which sounds absolutely insane. I know. Why the hell should I be worried about this woman whom I’ve never met and only really know because the ex boyfriend who still (?!) will not leave me alone always talked about her?? My concern was mostly born from the way my he chose to end the story.

The story goes like this: he snuck over to Kim’s place while her mom was out running errands. They ended up in her room, one thing lead to another and while Kim wasn’t interested in actually having sex my ex decided that he was. So my ex gets his way through coercion but Kim’s mom comes home early and Kim freaks out putting herself and my ex in a compromising position.

Mom comes up to the room to see what all the commotion is about and catches them. Awkward phone calls and conversations ensue, Kim is ashamed and embarrassed by it all and never speaks to my ex again. She eventually dropped out of school and disappeared. That was it as he told it with most of the embellishments and details left out.

Me being empathetic me immediately felt awful for this girl even back then. My ex nonchalantly brushed it all off (of course) like it was no big deal and insisted that Kim just didn’t want to be embarrassed at school. At the time I thought that made sense, but now realizing the fact that he actually assaulted/raped this girl believing she eventually dropped out of school concerned me. What if she didn’t have the support she needed? What if she fell into a spiral of depression and substance abuse? What happened to Kim??

So I set about finding her a few days ago, and in the process sifting through more of the bullshit my ex left behind. I don’t really know why I felt compelled to look for her. It’s not like I could help if she was struggling or ask what happened between them, but my mind would not let it go so…I found her. Or at least I found someone that matches what I remember but now knowing how entirely full of shit my ex actually is the person I found could just be a random classmate. He’s attracted to a very specific type and this girl matches his type in addition to the other random details I remembered about her. For the sake of my own sanity, I’m going to assume it’s the right Kim. Lol. Mostly because she’s doing quite well at least as much as she chooses to share on social media. She didn’t drop out, and went on to finish college and begin her career not long after. That gives the Story of Kim as I “knew” her a very happy ending, and gives me peace of mind. Yay, Kim!

Ugh, more tangled webs from my ex. Going back each time a random memory won’t leave me alone, now (without my rose colored glasses) some of his lies actually make sense but the majority just don’t. The Story of Kim is one of those that just doesn’t make any fucking sense. It was like he wanted to confess, but couldn’t bring himself to really say the words. Kind of like the way he started to break up with me so many times; then took it all back and wouldn’t let me leave. The same was he started to tell me how sick he really was so many times; then denied it in the next breath. In our most recent argument the man lied about lying to me. So… yeah. I don’t know.

Maybe he only talked about Kim so much while we were together because the circumstances between us reminded him of what happened with Kim. Maybe it was only because both of our names start with K. Lol. God only knows. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Wild Weekend

Friday afternoon after enduring a particularly hectic shift at work Thursday I got a call from my husband about five minutes before she was due to arrive in the driveway after leaving work. I have his departure and arrival times down to a science because he doesn’t have his phone when he’s riding his bike. Getting phone calls from him at any point after the “I’m leaving now” text and hearing him pull into the driveway is nerve wrecking.

Especially when he says: “Hi. I’m checking to see if I’m leaking anywhere and the bike still runs. I about got hit by a semi.”

Part of me wanted to scream, part of me couldn’t breathe enough to form a scream, and the rest of me was trying to be logical and thought “well he’s calling me so he can’t be hurt too badly”.

Needless to say Hubs survived a near miss. He did a little off roading, bruised a hip pretty badly, and we still haven’t had a chance to get his bike in to the shop. But he’s alive, and mostly unscathed.

Apparently he was coming up on an intersection and a semi driver didn’t see him. The semi swung out completely into Hubs’ oncoming traffic lane and came within six inches of a head on collision with Hubs. Hubs could have touched the front bumper if he hadn’t been busy careening into the four foot deep ditch and hanging on for dear fucking life as his bike rocketed up into the air at least twice before he could come to a complete stop in the middle of a random driveway.

Hubs was traveling at 50mph somehow managed to hang onto his bike, and safely come to a stop even through the ditch going airborne and 1/4 mile of slick grass. I don’t know how he managed to do it. Hubs doesn’t even know how he managed to do it, but my God he did.

Only one car stopped to see if he was okay. Six others flew past without a second thought, and the driver of the semi took tf off. Thankfully Hubs called and filed a police report, and we have the name of the trucking company. Boy they are going to get an earful when they open tomorrow let me tell you.

So this all happens at about 3:15pm. Little is scheduled to get out of school at 3:40pm and Hubs needed me to come up and meet him at the accident site while he filled out the police report. Well I don’t know that he needed me there, but he wanted me there and I wanted to be there with him so I snatched the boys out of their beds tossed them into the car in their boxers and took off before I really noticed the time. Thankfully Little’s school was on the way to the accident site and I was able to pick her up early.

I called the school office and said that her father had been in a minor motorcycle accident and she needed to leave immediately. The office staff had her called down and waiting for me when I arrived, carrying both boys in their undies into the office waiting room. The staff didn’t tell Little why she had to leave early and instead left that up to me. Me, the frazzled mom with two 40+lbs half naked toddlers, one in each arm, with an upset confused first grader asking a millionty questions.

Somefnhow I managed to remain calm, sign my big kid out while holding on to my little kids, and explain that Hubs had been in an accident but he was okay. Little took the news really well, which is a testament to my own ability to somehow remain calm during all of this.

Of course as soon as I get all the kids back to the car and into their car seats Hubs calls. He doesn’t need me anymore, the officer took his information and filed the report. Hubs didn’t need obvious medical attention, and the bike was running enough to at least get Hubs home. So that’s where we went.

We all went home.

And once we arrived safely, we stayed there all evening as the shock wore off. I’m still not sure if it’s really sank in. The gravity of the situation I mean. Hubs almost fn died Friday night and I can’t quite wrap my head around it.

I don’t even know how to articulate how I’m feeling/felt because I didn’t. In the moment after so much other stress piling up over the week I just didn’t feel a thing. Which I’m sure will come back to bite me here in a day or two. Probably when he leaves for work in a few hours actually.

Idk… all I know is that this was one wild weekend.