The Ugliest Bully

The Heart Of The Matter

My faith in the human race wavered today for a moment.  On a social media news-site a thread dedicated to a grieving mom was desecrated by the most judgemental adults I have ever in all my days had the misfortune to encounter.  I got as far as ten comments into the thousands before I slammed the top down on my laptop and cried. I wanted to say something but my words would be lost in a mountain of cruelty.

I don’t cry. I work around death daily, around pain and around the misfortunes of life and have learned not to cry.

I pulled myself together in the hope that my words will strike home today.

She choked on her words today.  A mom grieving her nine year old boy. I sat and watched her as well I could with tears pooling in my lower lids. She spoke of how she…

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2018 Wrap Ups

I’ve seen an interesting debate making its rounds online in the wake of yet another rash of celebrity suicides. While I didn’t know much of Kate Spade aside from her name, Anthony Bourdain was another significant influence on my life much like Chester Bennington.

I can relate much to Mr. Bourdain pretty much growing up in restaurant culture. While my stay at a formal restaurant has been relatively brief compared to my tenure in fast food, many of the dynamics are the same. It takes a certain type of person to work in food for more than a limited season of their life. Those people, are my people.

Incoming Rant

Yesterday we, the kids, Hubs and I, left the house for a few hours. While we were gone there was a power surge that triggered the broken switch in Little’s ceiling fan. When we left the house: fan was off. When we came back: fan was on.

Hubs and I thought it was odd so we checked the security system and camera footage. Nothing. Then I got a text from my mother in law explaining they were without power on their side of town. That’s when we figured out the power surge and such. Hubs and I relaxed, but Little was bouncing around at a million miles an hour terrified that the Bad Man has found our house and snuck in again.

TWO HOURS Little would come up to me and ask me if I was certain no one broke into our home every five minutes. I showed her the security system, I explained how it works, I showed her the camera footage from the entire time we were away from the house, and nothing in her mind would calm the fact that the Bad Man had found us and come into our home again.

It’s been nearly two years since my ex made his appearance as the Bad Man in our apartment, and while I’m thankful that Little has finally overcome her nightmares surrounding the event it still boils my blood that the Bad Man made such a negative impression upon my daughter.

Holi-Daze

The holidays have frustrated me this year…

Let me start out by saying that Hubs works an average of 50+ hours a week on top of his hour commute to and from each day. In addition to working those hours he’s enrolled in classes with me.

I work anywhere from 20-30+ hours outside the home (my schedule varies due to business demands), plus an additional 20+ hours at home taking care of my marketing and author related adventures. On top of school, house work, and making sure the children stay alive and have at least an hour of one on one time with me per day.

Our schedule works because I have it down to a science. I can keep things fairly well balanced with a decent amount of flexibility but it’s not as fluid as things used to be before Little started school and I started working.

This year I’ve organized time for Christmas celebrations ON CHRISTMAS DAY. It’s important that we spend the morning opening gifts at home with the kids, after that up until 3PM the next day the K. Hale Family is available to visit/celebrate all the Christmas things. Considering I’m putting two different online class schedules, three work schedules and one elementary school schedule into account it’s honestly a miracle that I have Christmas Day set aside at all.

Trying to coordinate with my family and in-laws this year has become pretty much impossible. Not because their own Christmas Day holiday traditions aren’t important, but because everyone wants to do their own thing on the actual Christmas Day our branch of the tree is left out of everything else this year. Hubs won’t really come out and say it, but I can tell that it bothers him as his family makes plans we can’t be a part of and doesn’t really give a second thought or try to work with our schedules.

Of course they’re also trying to juggle their own work, school and other activities. It’s not like they’re just picking days when we can’t make it to spite us or something. There just isn’t much discussion about it from our end. It’s “we’re doing this this day because of blah blah blah reason come to it” from his family and even with the most valid reasons it’s disappointing to say: “we can’t for our own blah blah blah reasons” Instead of trying to come to a compromise it always seems to be “oh well. Next time” as they go off and participate in fun traditions and activities without us.

It’s just not working at all this year for anything, and it’s driving me batty. Christmas is damn near here already and the only festive thing we’ve managed to do is put up our indoor decor and watch The Grinch with Hubs’ mom.

I will have my annual cookie baking party after work on Christmas Eve. I’m looking forward to that. Maybe then it will feel more like the season and I won’t be such a grump. 🎄 🎄 🎄

13 Years Stronger

CW: Abuse, Rape.

Today is a difficult day for me. 13 years ago my ex, the same man who saved me from suicide mere weeks before (which I wrote about here) became my rapist. For a long time I believed his excuse: “he mistook me for his ex wife. He thought I was her in his bed, and he thought she was there to sleep with him,” but now looking back on the incident pared with how he continued to treat me through the duration of our relationship I understand that his “reason” was just one more in a mountain of lies he used to take advantage of me.

While December 13th marks the first and most violent rape, it wasn’t the last. The theme of our entire relationship revolved around his sexual gratification and he often coerced me, threatened abandonment, or forced himself on me whenever he saw fit. However, there were also moments when our intimacy was consensual, passionate and beautiful which made coming to terms with the majority of when it wasn’t incredibly difficult. It’s taken me a long time to be able to look back at this date without crushing depression, flashbacks or tears.

Today? I don’t grieve for myself as an innocent young woman who unknowingly walked into a hellish relationship. I don’t grieve for my ex, the man who chose to give in to his demons instead of fighting them. I admire myself as the young woman who survived and thrived despite everything I endured with my ex. His choices are his own, and someday he’ll face consequences if not in this life perhaps the next. He chose the easy way out; giving in and giving up. I chose to fight, to rise and conquer my demons. I am a warrior for myself and other victims who are unable to speak out. This day is no longer a day to mourn, but a celebration of new life.

13 years stronger.

Here Comes the Hate

I’ve always know Publishing my memoir would mean backlash of various sorts. Up until this last week I’ve been lucky enough to dodge that bullet so far.

Now as my audience is growing and things are beginning to pick up the pace I’ve acquired a few negative reviews and comments. Most of them I simply brush off, the ones I choose to engage with will usually receive one or two comments and then I go on my merry way no worse for the ware.

One I received last week though, struck a cord with me. Not because it was particularly hateful or inflammatory, but because of the miscommunication between what I feel my story conveys and how the commenter interpreted it. I engaged because I wanted to dialogue about the entire thing. It intrigued me and I was hoping to learn more about their viewpoint. Instead I got blamed for the down fall of society, blocked and reported… but that’s neither here nor there. Lol.

I’ve always been fairly open with the fact that while I recognize the relationship I shared with my ex was toxic and unhealthy, I don’t regret it. He abused me in horrific ways, yet I’m able to forgive him. I understand the why behind some of his behaviors and share a decent amount of empathy for the guy. I’ve also been guilty of enabling his abusive behavior in the past and struggled with codependency during the relationship.

All of those things are in my book, and a fair share of my marketing because that’s what people can relate to. That’s why my fans love it. It’s honest, revealing, and relatable because I don’t make excuses for my poor choices. I maintain my compassion and forgiveness for my ex and various abusers in my past not because I “need them to like me” or want them in my life as a codependent would. I’m just a soft hearted person who’s capable of those emotions and chooses those things over hatred or apathy.

I feel like that’s generally what I convey in my writing, or at least those are my intentions. I don’t feel as if I’m glamorizing or “promoting” unhealthy relationships in anyway. It’s very clear that I was significantly damaged by what happened during my time with my abuser and that I took many years to come to terms with and move forward from the abuse. That’s not glamorous, and I certainly hope that no one goes out seeking a relationship like the one I shared with my abuser after reading my book.

But of course I’m doing all this introspective thinking about the impact of my story and my art, when the commenter themselves didn’t even take the time to read the entire thing before passing judgement on it… they didn’t even engage in a conversation. Apparently they saw what they wanted to see and no about of reason was going to change their minds. No fault toward them really. It just surprised me that something so simple as compassion and forgiveness could be twisted so easily into something so destructive . 🤷🏻‍♀️

Angel Child

My Little has been struggling in school again recently. Hubs and I could tell that she was struggling with something, but no matter how many times we spoke to her we couldn’t get it all out of her. She wasn’t ready to talk about it. 

Yesterday, as we were getting ready to head to the bus stop she looks at me in her neon pink fluffy hat, puffy coat and backpack with the saddest eyes and says: “Mommy, Ariel says she wants to kill herself and I don’t want her to be died.” 

This was the first I’d heard of Ariel anywhere so it was shocking on two accounts. I asked her who Ariel was and if she was in her class or if she was in another class. The only thing my Little knew was that she was a bit older and sometimes sat next to her on the bus. My Little is six years old. Her bus is an elementary school bus. Even though Ariel was older she was still an elementary school child at some age range. My heart broke into a million tiny pieces. 

I promised Little that I would call the school and see how we could help. She seemed satisfied with that answer and hopped onto the bus with a smile. I did call the school, and thankfully they were able to find the right Ariel. She is safe, her parents have been informed, and the school counselor has an action plan in place to give her the support she needs while she works through this difficult spot in her life. 

I was relieved that they were able to find her, and everything seems to be heading in the right direction for this precious little child. At the same time it triggered a whole bunch of depression and a huge emotional roller coaster which eventually led to me making an appointment with my therapist. 

Little doesn’t know this, but several of my friends are participating in a fundraiser to benefit the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention which I’ve been promoting. Little also doesn’t know that Nov 24th was the anniversary of my own breaking point and contemplation with suicide so many years ago before I sought help for my PTSD. My Little, her beautiful soul simply did the right thing. She knew that someone contemplating suicide was a serious problem and needed to be addressed by an adult. It took her a day or two to finally figure out how to talk about it since it was emotionally overwhelming for her just as much as it was for Ariel, but once she found the words a weight of responsibility fell from her small shoulders and it was painfully obvious. 

Little had a meeting with her school counselor, and I think I might make her an appointment with our private therapist as well to help her understand the weight of the situation. Everyone was incredibly supportive of Little’s empathy and bravery for speaking up which is nice, but as adults we were also hurting for the fact that my child has been exposed to such a bleak and dark level of the human condition at such a young age.

I called the school which was the rational thing to do. What I really WANTED to do as soon as Little explained the problem to me was to hop on that school bus, find this Ariel myself and give her a giant hug. I don’t know the circumstances for Ariel’s pain, and having some random pajama clad mom jump on the bus to give you a hug probably isn’t going to help. And yet, having been in the situation myself, the lowest of low points where all it took was a gentle hug and some validation of my own situation maybe a hug from a random pajama clad mom on the way to school would have made a difference.

I did give my Little a giant hug when she hopped off the bus yesterday. We talked about it as a family and took her out to dinner as a celebration for her good deed. As much as I struggle with parenting learning as I go, it brings me so much joy to see that my children genuinely care about others. They may not be the most socially adept kiddos, or the most well behaved, but dammit they appreciate their fellow human beings enough to speak up when something is wrong. That’s a parenting win in my book.  

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention Fundraiser

Rebecca MacCeile

In addition to the wonderful efforts of  Tim Baughman, Eve Jacob, Tabitha, Sounds Nerdy, and our friends broadcasting the  podcast We Were (Kind of) A Big Deal in College . RIGHT NOW 100% of proceeds from Candy Apple Butterscotch and Novelties: A Collection of Unfinished Short Stories are going toward a donation to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

Thats right! 100% of all proceeds from November 20th- December 25th 2018 will be donated to the AFSP. Kindle and paperback editions are eligible.

Candy“I was running. Fast and furious through a forest full of cotton candy pink pine trees. Running from what? I still wasn’t certain. Something in my mind was buzzing. The only thing I could think was to run. I heard a faint voice screaming in the distance, and a crash of glass falling to the floor. Suddenly I was rocketed out…

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The Zoo

Hi. Yes. Hello, I’m speaking to You.

Unless the first words out of your mouth/onto your screen addressed to me are: “I’m sorry; I’m turning myself in” and/or “I’m sorry; I’m getting help” there is nothing more that we need to discuss which hasn’t already been yelled/written/emailed between us over the past fucking decade since our relationship ended.

I don’t hate you. I don’t wish ill will upon you. I do and will continue to look back on the rare occasions when you decided to behave like a decent human being during our time together fondly. I understand there are certain physical circumstances out of your control that affect some of your behaviors which I don’t hold against you. Your recent choices, however, have exhausted any amount of patience I might have maintained for you.

I’m acknowledging your recent escapades to prevent them from escalating any further. Although really it’s pretty much a coin toss either way. It’s Christmas. I’m not fucking fighting with you.

Now, please, go have a good holiday and quit creeping on my book marketing.

Struggle Bus

Ever since my last bout of sepsis I have had one hell of a time staying awake. Even though I’ve been careful to not over do it at work, cut back on the intensity of my workouts, and do everything in my power to get adequate sleep at night I still find myself falling asleep midday. Not just like sitting down and gradually falling asleep whilst doing something, but being in the middle of my chores or playing with the kids; then BAM crash gotta lay down or I will fall over, borderline narcoleptic exhaustion just strikes.

Even with my crash naps through out the day I still find myself passed tf out for at least 12 hours when Hubs is home to tend the kiddos. I’m sleeping all the sleep and still feel super ultra mega tired.

While I’ve been struggling with this since I got out of the hospital, in the past few weeks it’s began to affect my daily activities. Where I used to be able to manage my time fairly well and keep up with my book marketing, blogging, school, kids and work now I’m struggling simply to get out of bed and interact with anyone at all.

I’m so close to finishing NaNoWriMo this year with another win, but every time I sit down to my computer for more than 15 minutes at a time I pass out asleep. I’m slacking on my school work too. I’m not behind, but I’m having trouble keeping up with my previous pace.

I know fatigue is often a side effect of your body trying to kill you via sepsis so I wasn’t concerned with it until the past two weeks. I finally made an appointment with my GP and had some tests run. Hopefully I’ll get the results back today or tomorrow and hopefully it’s something that can be easily corrected and not a lasting affect. Chronic fatigue with toddlers is NO FUN. 😴😴😴