A letter to my parents

My life did not really begin until I moved to South Seattle in 2006.  I was 35 years old and finally started to live my life as my authentic self.  I started to only do things that I felt matched my belief system and only included people into it that I deemed uplifting.  I am grateful for the past that helped me find my true self, I am just sad it took me 35 years to find her.

Dear Mom

I am separating these letters because they address different things.  Mom, I am addressing you first because you were the one who was most prevalent in my life.  You were the nurturer and the counselor.  First off I apologize if this seems cutting and cruel. As part of my healing I need you to know and understand exactly how I feel and the pain I have gone through.

In the past I have blamed you for many things.  I blamed you for not being a good parent, for being abusive and neglectful.  I blamed you for forcing me to do things that were not in my best interest but most of all I blamed you for this sense of guilt that I carry with me over the things that were truly out of my control, yet i felt responsible.  I always thought you loved my sister more than me, I blamed you for giving up on my brother and for doing everything to control my life until I left home.

In the end it was not all your fault, I see that now.  I want to address some specifics.  Things that I found most painful and tell you how they affected me.  You always told me to reign in my rebellious spirit.  You even told family, friends and the pastors about my rebellion.  What you did not really understand was that rebellion is part of who I am.  I was not rebelling against you necessarily, but against those things I viewed as wrong in the world.  I found that suppression of my spirit so painful and stifling.  What you may not have realized, this caused me to hate myself,  I have low self-confidence because that voice in the back of my head that says reign in your rebellion.  I now see most of my actions as rebellion and a bad thing.  I often fall asleep thinking of myself as a bad person.  I do not trust my intuition and I tried for years to fit in because that was what was expected.  It took me moving away and not telling anyone for 6 months where I went to get any sense of place and belonging.

I tried for years to be a good Christian.  Going to church often, praying and putting money I could not afford into the tithes.  I tried to have faith in this imaginary being in the sky.  I tried so hard to connect, but could never find that connection, I faked it often.  I always felt that I was not ever going to be good enough.  This stems not from you so much as from the church.  I do not know if you were ever told about that night of the New Year’s Eve party at Jim and Cathy’s home?  I arrived with my sister and all the cool kids were outside in the street singing and being obnoxious because they were all drunk.  They were at the party with the pastor but they were all drunk.  I met a new kid that night, much younger than me.  He and his brother had moved in over Christmas break and they did not know anyone or anything about the town we lived in.  I told him there was a park near the school.  He was shocked he had no idea there was a park.  I took him down the road showed him the park and the school, it was still light out at that point.  I guess I should have told the someone where I was going, but the cool kids were all outside drinking, like anyone was paying attention to me?   I got back and Cathy grabbed me by the neck and threw me into the back bedroom.  She screamed at me and told me if I left the house again she was going to call my mom and tell her what a whore I was.  I was still a virgin and those words stung so deep.  I knew she was going to tell you something happened and I would get beat for it anyway so I had my first sexual encounter that night.  Rumors spread fast after that.  Not that the boys at school needed any more ammunition.  To this day I have an open view of sex and sexuality.  I have been called a whore so often that it does not even bother me anymore.

The next thing to address is how much I resented you for not hearing me.  I used to think you just liked to see me in pain, but now 30 years later I realize maybe you just could not hear my cries for help.  I begged to go live with relatives, I begged to move out of our school district, I even took a half day class through a college program just to escape.  You see the cries you did not hear were from daily abuse.  I was sexually assaulted daily and harassed so much that I gained weight after high school in an attempt to hide any form of attractiveness.  I married the first man who showed enough interest in me.  I never really loved him, but I needed to escape.  I married because I was basically told that was my only option.  I do not even know if those words were ever uttered, but the idea was embedded in my head so deep I could not let go of it and see the bigger picture.  I always thought this was another form of  your trying to control me, to make me submissive, by making me finish school in a place that tortured me daily.  I had one moment when you stood up for me, but that was more standing up for yourself as a parent, but I did appreciate you telling the counselor that I did not wear inappropriate clothes and you would not allow them to tell me my clothes were why people treated me like that.  It was just over half-way through my junior year, I think, maybe my senior year.  And yes you were right, I got more and more rebellious the closer I got to my 18th birthday, because I saw a way to escape.  I finally could walk away from the constant abuse.

Sadly that did not stop even after I left home.  Men at the bar I worked at would touch me and try to stick their hands up my dress.  That was the point I started to gain weight, I though I was pregnant and they seemed to back off quite a bit.  It gave me some power back.  Being fat gave me a tiny bit of power.  I do not know if you knew that my husband’s father was a little touchy feely with me as well. It is amazing I am not some kind of drug addict to be honest.

The final thing I want to address is when I was fighting my ex for custody, you said something that cut so deep, I never thought I would speak to you again.  It was part of the reason I moved away and told no one where I went.  You told me maybe the kids would be better off with my ex.  I seemed to want my freedom and they seemed better off with him.  What you did not know is that he is mentally abusive and Jessica was going to suffer the same low self-esteem issues I did if I allowed him to bully her over every aspect of who she is.  You cavalier attitude about my custody battle and your lack of support hurt so bad.  In the end I know it was more about putting my nephew back with my sister.  You always made me feel like you thought I stole her kids from her.  Here is a big piece of myself I am going to share.  I do no like kids, I never wanted them.  I resented you telling people who I had my nephew not because I stood up and took on the responsibility, but because my sister made the best choice for him.  I took on a child that had attachment issues, one that could not build a bond with me.  I struggled with him every single day and you made me feel like a failure about it all the time.  You made her to be the saint and me to be the child thief.  That probably hurt the most.  You could not or would not acknowledge that I stepped out of my comfort zone and took on a responsibility that was not my own.  One I was not prepared for.

In the end I am done playing the victim.  I am done blaming you for the pain I have suffered. I am letting it go.  I finally realize that some of that pain was not your fault.  It was not that you wanted me to suffer in pain, it was that you were unable to hear my cries.  Maybe you were too busy dealing with your own pain, maybe you were too busy trying to be a good Christian, or maybe you just were not able to hear, whatever the case, I am letting it go.  I do want you to know that you were right, if you had divorced dad and he had moved away, I would have gone with him.  It was never really you that I was trying to escape, it was the pain inflicted on me by my peers, my pastor and the school.  I was trying to escape that little hell hole as fast as I could.  I do not know if you realize that coming home causes me to physically be sick each time?  I get anxiety and fear overwhelms me just driving in that general direction.  It took finally escaping to understand how much pain I went through.

Dear Dad:

Since you were gone more often than not this is a short letter.  I feel my relationship with you is much stronger than the one I have with mom.  But you are not blameless in this pain I suffered.  I resent being lied to. I have you to thank for that.  You were always a chronic liar, I suppose it was not your fault.  I resent being called a liar, and there were times you allowed mom to go off on me and you knew I was telling the truth.  Like the time there was a beer bottle on the car floor.  It was yours, you told me so and asked me why I did not toss it out when I found it?  Because it was not mine and I did not want anyone seeing me with it in my underage hands, that is why I did not toss it out.  Or the time my sister took all your change and there was a ton of it, and I got blamed for it.  I ran away and was gone for hours that day, because no one believed me.  Every time a car drove by I dove into the brush or ditch to not get caught.  I know that you cannot help your lying, but allowing me to be accused of infractions I did not commit is deplorable.

Another thing I want to address is your lack of support.  You just allowed mom to assume the worst about me.  You allowed her to deny me things based on her warped perception.  To top it all off you partied for years with the kids I went to high school with when I was not allowed.  Do you think this helped my self-esteem issues or the ongoing abuse?  Hell no it did not.  I got to hear about what a cool guy my dad was every Monday.  How my dad drank with them all and partied like a high schooler.  You made friends with my abusers.  You allowed them to tell me how cool you were while they sexually assaulted me daily.  I never told you about this because you were so distant and you seemed to not really care about us.

The final thing is you moved in with my ex boyfriend.  The man who owed me a ton of money for supporting him for two years.  You betrayed my trust.  How could I ever trust you after taking that idiot in?  Do not worry you were not the only one, my best friend did the same thing.  As did another friend who allowed him to hide something of value at their home so I could not sell it, who the hell needs a $600 weed whacker?  Yeah he was supposed to pay mom back for a car she sold us, but instead the fucking idiot buys a $600 weed whacker!  Yeah I am still resentful because mom held that over my head for a long time.

Ultimately I guess you never heard my cries, because you were too busy being anywhere but home.  You were too busy being cool.  But I forgive you, you had your own stuff to deal with.  I just have a hard time accepting that you might have slept with some high school classmates, and that makes me feel very creeped out.  Sorry but it does.  It also makes me wonder if some of my abuse was a direct result of your actions?  I will never know really.  Because even if you told me the truth I probably would think you were lying.  We all reap what we sow.

So mom and dad, I am done blaming you.  I am done playing the victim.  I need to take back control.  I need to let go of the pain and let go of the past.  This does not mean I am coming home, because it never truly felt like home.  I always felt like a foreigner in an unforgiving land.  What this means is that I am letting go of my anger and blame.  I cannot heal and move forward until I do this.  I am moving on, you are no longer going to clog my energy.  I love you both, and I wish you the best.  I thank you for raising me to adulthood and just so you know all that abuse and all that pain made me a very strong person.  I have a refusal to give up that just never stops.  I still have self-esteem issues and a lack of faith in my own decisions, but I never stop fighting for those I feel are abused, and that is all due to my pain and suffering growing up.

I just wanted you to know that I forgive you, for things you probably had no idea I blamed you for, because as I said, you probably could not hear my cries.


Keeping positive when life takes a crap on the lives around you.

I have this complex.  I have had so many struggles in my life, that when life is flowing smoothly, I get this guilty twinge.  Then when my life is going great and a shitstorm happens in the lives of my friends and family, I feel guilty as though it were my fault and I am bad luck.  I need to get over this, but it is so hard.  I have a natural talent for taking on the emotions of being responsible.

So this new years starts off with major shitstorms.  My housemate is having some issues and my partner had his iPhone stolen right out of his work truck.  My immediate reaction is to be so sorry, and to emotionally bash myself for having things work out in my own life. I do feel bad, and that is not a problem, the problem is that I feel somehow responsible.  I will have to sit and meditate on this for some time.

I often try to figure out when I began to feel responsible for other people’s problem.  I think it started in my marriage, when my ex and his whole family blamed me for our financial issues.  I went to school, I refused to take no for an answer.  In fact I never asked, I just did it.  Somehow this caused us financial issues, funny since he never actually paid any of my loans.  He made me defer them for years.  The idea that I was responsible, has been left on my shoulders for so long, that maybe I just accepted it and carried it through to all aspects of my life.

It is really strange to me, that this has manifested as it has.  I have to reign in those feelings and realize that I am not the cause of anyone else’s problems.  I did not tell the thief to break into the truck, I did not tell fate to drop a bomb on anyone.  The issue is clear, but solution is not so clear.  I can see the cause, I cannot see a way to break that cycle.  This is my challenge for the next year, to let go of feeling responsible for others.

As strong as I am, sometimes this feeling of responsibility weighs very heavy on my shoulders.  I try to remain positive, yet it always tends to bring my spirits down.  As a side note, my mail goes to my partners place currently, the mailbox was broke into this week.  Fortunately there was nothing worthwhile in there, except that the box will have to be replaced.  So weird how theft really brings your whole spirit down.  I know nothing worthwhile of mine was stolen, yet it still feels like a huge violation.

I think maybe dealing with theft is the hardest part.  Theft leaves you feeling lost and vulnerable.  The thief takes more than just your stuff, they take your security with them.  I have had my home broke into only once, and it was so devastating.  I guess I am lucky in the fact that I have given up everything, so I have very little attachment to stuff.  I still feel violated, but that feeling of loss is no longer there.

chest plate

The reality of the situation really hit me the other day on the bus.  I have this chest plate tattoo that says survivor and a date.  A very friendly man got on the bust and told me he liked my plate.  He asked what it meant.  I told him I was hit from behind by a truck going 40 mph while I was on my bicycle.  His eyes got really big and he simply stated, I bet you walked away with more than your life after that.  I know he meant a settlement, but I stated yes, I have a greater respect for each day.  You never know when it will be your last.  A shitty few days is better than none at all.  You have to change your mindset and understand that life is not fair, but it can be enjoyable.

neck piece

My partner is stressed out and frustrated, but in the end, he was not hurt and he has his life.  I am happy it played out that way.  Not that I rejoice in the theft, but that it was not an armed robbery and he was in danger or hurt.  I am grateful everyday that those I know and love wake up and come home daily.  That is really the only thing that is important.  I got into a habit of texted or calling when I get home to whoever I was with.  I started this after the collision.  My partner demanded that he was notified that I made it home, or if I sidetracked I at least let him know I was safe once I left him.  It’s so strange, my mom wanted me to check in as a teen and I refused, I now understand the whole point behind this.  I was informed that one of the rules of the Peace Corps is that they have to know where you are at any given moment.  This may seem strange, but in case of violent uprising in the country, they need to know where you are to evacuate if necessary.  So it really does make sense to check in with someone when you are alone in the world.  It is nice to know that someone cares where you are.  I guess this is the only positive way to see it.


How minimization has changed my life.

Last year I was asked to help a friend out.  In the process I began to feel as though I had a hoarding problem.  I frantically watched ever episode of Hoarders there was in a week.  My family has a hoarding issue.  I escaped my mother’s house to get away from it.  The problem was I brought my own hoard with me.  I have a ver hard time parting with stuff.  I collect all sorts of things. I keep broken bits around, I may fix that one day.  I keep old screws and nuts around, I may need that one day.  The problem is after awhile, one day never actually comes.

Last January, I came home and just cleaned my place out.  I got rid of things that I really had no use for.  The fact that one day I would love to live on a Sailboat really helps focus this purging process.  I bought a French Press and gave my old coffee pot away.  I started going though books and discarding them.  I like to leave stuff on the covered porch out front for the neighbors to grab things they can use.  It amazes me that most of the time the stuff is gone in a day.  Since my family is small, and I am usually cooking for one, do I really need a full dish set for 12?

When I first moved into this little apartment I left my microwave behind.  I really had no space for one, so I just left it.  I have never regretted that fact.  I now simply reheat the way they did before microwaves were invented.  I also wonder if the food is healthier without it?  I wish I had the option of not using one at work.

I am not the greatest housekeeper.  In fact I kind of suck at it.  I like to organize and pile things up.  I have been known to have a bag or a box of paperwork that is over 6 months old.  Oh, I think that might be a hoarding tendency.  Yesterday my plans were completely changed on me.  I took that opportunity to get some serious cleaning done.  I went through those boxes and bags and now I have a small stack of magazines by my bed and a few items left to finish up on my table.  My bedroom is all cleaned up and it looks great.  I guess it helped that I had my bike at my boyfriends place.  It is much easier to work without trying to work around it.

What I have noticed, is that by purging a couple of times a year, even though I am a terrible housekeeper, my apartment is not that messy.  There is space to move, and places to sit.  This makes for a bit of peace in my place.  Unfortunately my daughter also has a hoarding tendency and I need to really get her help with that.  Strangely enough none of the men in my family have this problem.  Well not my dad or my brother or my son.  All direct relations to me.  I am not certain about cousins.  I do need to point out this this is a problem on my mom’s side, not my father’s.  My dad used to try to purge by burning up stuff.  He would just grab stuff and burn it when we were not home.  He burnt up a favorite shirt of mine.  I was so furious, he said it was an accident, but seriously he threw it in the fireplace.  Problem was I bought the same shirt for my mom for Christmas that year, so he may have thought it was hers.

By minimizing and purging, I have a cleaner place, I can find most things and I have space to do things.  It also saves me money, knowing that I can go home and not have to stress about a mess or stuff.   By being able to let go, and that is what hoarding is all about, I have cleansed not only my living space but my emotional space as well.  There is room now for more people in my life.  There is more love and more adventure.  By learning to let go, I have found peace, and that, my friend is the most valuable commodity there is.

I deserve better.

I was with my friend Carrie and she told me that I have this strength within me, yet I tend to perpetuate an attitude that I deserve the things that have happened to me.  I am a strong personality, and I can withstand a lot, yet I do not think that I should have to endure the things that have happened to me in my past.  I do not believe I am a bad person, nor do I believe that I have wronged anyone to the extent that life has exacted revenge upon me.

This is not a blog about self pity, but one of strength and declaration of enough is enough.  I am no longer going to carry the pain or the wrongs of others.  I am no longer going to sit silently and allow life to plow over me and bury me in the mud.  I am standing now and saying this is the last of the bad dealing I am willing to take.  I do not deserve the darkness that overwhelms me, nor am I willing to allow this to overtake my family.  I live life simply, so why is it that I have to endure the many pains of my life?  I have not excessively wronged anyone that I personally know of, so why has life dealt me such travesties over and over?  The only conclusion I have is that for some reason I have an incredible story to tell, I also have a great purpose in life.  I have known this for many years.

The bike accident is the second time in my life where the doctors cannot explain how I survived with minimal injuries.  I should have been dead in 2001.  I tend to block this out of my mind, simply because I cannot explain it, nor do I have any idea why I should be the one to survive.  I do know that I have a powerful energy, yet for some reason a darkness surrounds me.  As of today I have decided to take the power in my life away from the darkness.  I will not believe that objects are cursed, but that my aura is being followed.  I have a great amount of strength and I know that no matter what I will continue to thrive.  I, however, believe that my thriving does not require me to suffer any further.

The financial difficulties are no longer going to fog my mind.  My difficulties are going to just be bumps along the road.  What I intend on doing is taking back control of my destiny.  I am no longer going to allow life to suck up my good spirits.  I am no longer going to allow myself to worry about things.  My kids are almost gone, I have plenty of life left to live and worrying about things that are out of my control are not a priority for me.  So to a new beginning is where I am headed.  I have made choices in my life that I will continue to adhere to.  Things such as bicycle and transit advocacy.  Things like real true foods in place of processed foods.  Things like putting people before corporations and money.  These are the things that I will fight for.

The things that I will let go of are from my past.  The things that hold me back, my resentment of my divorce and all the things that I went through over it.  I will release my failed past relationships.  I will release my debt to the ashes of the Phoenix, my rebirth is about letting go and never looking back.  So to all those that I have felt wronged by, I forgive you and I also release my pain and anger to the ashes of the Phoenix as well.

Bike Blog #9: Roxanne the 3rd!

I picked up my baby tonight from the bike shop.  The girl brought her out to me and I swear they took my beautiful baby and chopped off her nose and put boobs on her.  Seriously, she looks completely different, I basically have a brand new Electra RatRod with Kevlar tires on it.

Something is just not right.

Ok so this is the one I just brought home.  She feels right but the fenders are way different.  Not that I cannot love this bike, but it is not Roxanne, I was expecting a frame change, I guess the fenders are welded to the frame.  The hand grips, seat and pedals are all new as well.  I wonder if the chain and sprocket are new, since I just replaced those.

As you can see the fenders are way different.  I guess I will just have to get used to it, I kind of liked the white one.

When the friendship has run its course.

Sadly as I enter the year 2011 I am certain that I am going to lose friends as I grow and stand up for what I truly believe in.  These relationships, though I am sad to lose, are most likely on the toxic side anyway.  I went out last night and a fairly good friend was downright rude and unpleasant to me.  I tried to be nice, I was mature about it and just went about my night.  I had fun but the interaction put a damper on the end of it.  I wish I knew what I had done to anger her as much as I obviously had.  As I was talking with Richard about how I felt, I told him I was going to let it go, this is my year to let things go.  I wanted to seek closure, but as I realize this is something I likely will not get from her.  She is angry and not supportive and quite negative, which she never used to be.  When I needed help moving she was one of the people that came over so many times and she was a dear friend.   Something has happened in her life and apparently I do not fit her ideology any longer.  I wish her the best and I hope she succeeds, but for me I am moving on.  I cannot spend time walking on eggshells around the negative people I come in contact with, so here is to my declaration of letting go.   Just let it be, as The Beatles sang.Let it be.