Thursday, August 11, 2016

Beautiful Strength

I haven't blogged in months. My life has been crazy the last half a year. So... updates! I haven't ran this year. Not even a little bit. In February I decided to go to NYC to visit my siblings and have a bit of a vacation. It was so much fun! When I got back things within my already deteriorating relationship with my spouse person pretty much sunk. He got mad at me because I spent a lot of money in NYC. He didn't see the cultural and educational value of exposing our son to the sights. I felt it was priceless. Something he'll remember his whole life. Things got even rockier when money was stolen from our home and he blamed the whole thing on me because it was one of my relatives. At the end of February we fought over one of our cars and he blacked my eye. That was it. I had had it. I could excuse and excuse the emotional abuse. I could not excuse him hitting me. I left as soon as I could, in the middle of March.

In April we celebrated his birthday together. He got mad about the cake and ended up vandalizing my vehicle. Some things were said I'm sure he didn't mean but I got a restraining order against him. During this time I met someone who was selling furniture. I bought some things from him and we became friends... or so I thought. He was from the Midwest as well and his voice sounded so much like home. During this time it felt good to have someone so supportive. We spent a lot of time together and he ended up sleeping on my couch a lot. He was having issues finding a job without a car and had wound up alone without any of his possessions. He had a beautiful dog who got on well with my dog.

During this time I was going through getting an accommodation at work for a service dog. My illness has flared dramatically. Even though Fibromyalgia is not supposed to be a degenerative disease my pain has shot through the damn roof. I don't say this to complain or to get people to feel sorry for me. It's  just the facts and I'm  not going to hide I don't' feel well. Don't get me started... ha. My friend stayed at my house during the day to babysit my dog. We spent many nights together in the backyard of my new little house drinking, talking. It was so good to have a friend! My little boy ended up hospitalized during this time and I was beyond lucky to have two great people welcome us into their home while he was in Sacramento. Things leveled out between me and ex-spouse. We were able to come up with a parenting agreement that leaves me with legal custody of our two children.

The summer, so far, has been awesome. Camping in Yosemite, swimming at Highlands, watching the strawberry moon rise. My new friend was with me for all of this. I developed feelings for him, I get attached to people so easily. I love so freely. I really do wish to believe that people are inherently good. And so, I open myself up for being hurt. He kept telling me he only wanted to be friends but did some more than friendly things to show that wasn't necessarily true. I believed him, I tried to give him space. I wasn't really ready for a relationship either. During this time I tried to help him out best I could, fed him, clothed him, did what I could. I guess I'm too trusting especially when someone is as charming as he is.

On Saturday I went and bought groceries and came home. He had stayed overnight and was acting a bit strangely so I had asked ex spouse to take the kids overnight. Something was up, I didn't know what. A friend of mine wanted to hit the town so I started getting ready. When I got out of the shower I started counting my money out because I only wanted to take $50 with me. It was then I realized that $300 was gone. I told him to leave and that he was not welcome to return... who else could have taken that money? No one else had been in the house! He denied it, of course. I left, had a great time out but came home to a lovely note that said he had taken my tablet and put it in the trash. It actually was not in the trash, so I know he took it. Also missing was a bottle of Xanax and half my bottle of Lyrica... the one medicine that actually helps my pain!

I was heartbroken. The person I trusted and had became close to had done stolen from me. I felt so stupid. I had been so lonely those first months away from Rick that I was literally starved for a affection. Someone to commiserate with was so lifting. Even after I broke off our friendship I felt bad for casting him out. He had messaged me after I couldn't find my tablet that I was gross and a troll. I still felt badly but I was sticking to my guns, the friendship was over. That was until I got on my back up tablet and there was his Facebook page opened up to a message from someone I know well. It was details regarding a drug deal. I looked through the messages and this was an ongoing theme. Message after message indicating use of Xanax, Norco, acid, and mushrooms. Then another message to a mutual friend. Him propositioning her for an intimate relationship... the kind he said he didn't want.

You know, an amazing thing happened to me over the last few months. My confidence has bourgeoned. I made decisions I never thought I made and became so strong. Strong enough to end a toxic friendship. Strong enough to support my children alone. Strong enough to fight wtfe is going on with my body. Strong enough to realize that I might not be beautiful or thin, but with my kind of strength I can overcome anything. I'm looking forward to the rest of my journey, and a 30th birthday to begin a new decade.

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Darkest of Nights

People know me as a spiritual person, not a religious one. I believe that the universe is tied together and that we all vibrate when the universe vibrates. I believe everything happens for a reason. The timing of things are not coincidental. I do not believe in coincidence. I do not  think that the visitation that I had in March was anything but divine.  

Recently a series of events have happened. The universe has deemed fit to warn me about these things beforehand. The universe often deems fit to give me insight into things before they happen. I don't think this is divination, I don't think I can tell the future or anything silly like that. I just believe I sometimes get a warning, an inkling... kind of like the gut feeling I was talking about just a few days ago. The last of these events I dreamt about last week. I was in the hospital with a friend, the friend was not shown. I just knew whoever it was I loved dearly. I was at their bedside telling them it was OK to die. I often did this with people who I cared for when I was a hospice provider. Sometimes they just  need to know that it's OK to die. They are scared to leave behind their loved ones. People will often hold on until that one special person is there. I told my father in law this prior to his death, he passed on not more than 10 hours later.

I got a message last night from one of my inner circle. I am lucky enough to have a close knit group of friends where I can't say I have just one very best friend. She told me that our friend, J, had been a bad car accident that morning. A woman high on Ecstasy and meth had decided she wanted to commit suicide. The method she chose was to ram her car into another car head on at high speed. The car she hit was J's. J was a passenger, not even the driver. He was in bad shape and was transferred to the regional trauma center ICU about two hours away. I am not going to go into the details here out of respect for him and his family. The driver of J's car was OK and so was the homicidal maniac. HM was arrested and is being held on 1million dollars bail.

I broke down in tears as soon as I heard the news. Flashbacks of my horseback riding accident were prominent in my head as I muddled through dinner and Christmas tree decorating with my children. My son, who has a problem with empathy, saw me crying and asked what was wrong. I explained to him that J was in an accident. He then gave me a big hug and said he was sorry and that he was concerned about J. I could not eat and did not sleep last night at all. At work this morning I could not concentrate on anything I was doing and it took me. I left early and went down to see him. Several of his other friends were there as well as his father and his sisters. It felt good to know my Muffin is so loved.

They were only letting people back there two at a time so I had to wait my turn. While waiting a woman put her hand on my leg and she asked if I was waiting to see my brother. I often refer to J as my brother but I told her no, that I was waiting for a friend. She then asked me if I was a Christian. I told her not really, that I lean more on the agnostic side. She seemed surprised at my response. She told me her name was Bev and that she had a message for me. She explained she sometimes has felt moved to give a particular message to strangers. Her message for me today is that everything is going to be OK. She told me that even though things may seem so very dark right now that the light is near.

When it was my turn to go back J was about half awake. I held his hand on top of his blanket as he drifted in and out of consciousness. Between falling asleep he talked to me and his other friend in the room. He took his hand out from under the blanket and motioned for me to come near. He cupped my cheek and croaked out that he loved me. I told him I loved him too. Don't get me wrong, I'm not meaning any kind of romantic love. Rather the deep admiration and respect one has for a close friend and confidant. I kissed his hand before I left and felt that everything really would be OK. I don't know what that OK will look like, but I know that life and love will go on.

Tonight is a holiday that I am reverent to. The Winter Solstice. The night the axle of the earth in the Northern Hemisphere is tipped back the most, where we are the furthest away from the sun. Our light. I always observe this holiday and imagine what our ancestors must have thought. The winter was the time of year of the most deaths, what terror our ancestors must have felt during this time of year. What celebration they must have had when the sun returned. And, so, I KNOW the sun will rise again after this, the Longest Night.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Living life without hesitation and other rules of the road

I remember when I was learning how to drive my mom would scream at me if I was making a turn at an intersection "Don't hesitate! That hesitation is dangerous!" I remember her voice every now and again while driving and I see someone hesitate while they're maneuvering. Usually while passing another vehicle you'll see the car hesitate prior to moving into the left lane and overtaking the slower vehicle. That small hesitation can be dangerous because in that split moment another vehicle could have moved into the space which could cause a traffic accident. I find this a wonderful metaphor for life in general, that gut instinct prior to making a decision, that small hesitation that may mean the difference between overtaking a problem in your life or choosing to lag behind to wait for a better opportunity.

Since my cancer diagnosis in 2013 I've tried my best to live my life trusting that gut instinct and to not hesitate to live the life I deserve. What this has meant for me is finishing what I start, grabbing at opportunities to advance, and enjoying every moment I feel well.  The feeling well days have been getting more and more as my treatment had progressed. I'm enjoying my running, enjoying my kids. Recently, the life without hesitation came in the form of a job opportunity. I've been working the last three and a half years with welfare recipients, promoting my way from a line worker to a specialist in cash aid and trainer. I was accepted to interview for a senior position a few months ago. The process for getting hired as a government worker is an arduous process. It involves first applying, then taking a test, then interviewing and THEN the waiting game starts. I was actually surprised when I first got accepted to test. I was unsure if I qualified. The test was scheduled the week I was out of town for work. So I ended up taking it over the phone (it was an interview style test). After you test, you are ranked in order of how well you did. Much to my surprise I was ranked first! That in itself caused me to happy dance.

I got the calls to interview about a week later. The first I was excited about, it was in the Behavioural Health unit. I dressed up and I thought the interview had gone well. The second interview was over the phone because I was supposed to be driving to San Fransisco but ended up not going. I ended up sick as hell instead. I didn't think it went well. But, lo and behold I got a call with the promotional offer on Thursday last week. I was so excited, no hesitation I took the promotion even though I wasn't 100% sure what I would be doing. Turns out it's in the SNAP-ed unit which is responsible for helping to promote good nutrition and prevent obesity. How cool is that?!

I keep wondering, though, if they would have hired me had it been an in person interview. I am not a small person. I'm very excited, though. I start with the new year and I'm anticipating this upcoming year to be awesome. I'm very much resolved that my best years are ahead of me, not behind me. You know, this morning I woke up at 5am ( my regular to work time), and felt energetic enough to lace up my running shoes, put on some tunes, and walk up the hill behind my house.. without hesitation.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

FAQs or How Running Saved My Life

It's occurred to me that my life literally revolves around running... even when I'm not. It's not an obsession, really. Nor is it something I talk endlessly about but it's always there. In the back of my mind so... on to the FAQs!

Question: Why did you start running?

Answer: I was into running on the treadmill as a warm up for weights. When I was on vacation with my son without access to a gym, I started running with him in his stroller (he was about 2 at the time). It just stuck as something easy to do without leaving him behind. He loved running with me. Now, my daughter didn't so I still ran with him even after she was born. I'd switch kids but I wouldn't do a double stroller since Will was 3 when she was born so it wasn't worth the money for a stroller I'd only use for a year or so. I did end up being gifted a double jogger that was tandem instead of side by side but I ended up donating it to someone who had triplets since Maggie HATED running the first year or so of her life. I should do a "running with a stroller" blog soon as I see so many people doing it in an unsafe manner... with newborns. Yikes. Prior to becoming sick with thyroid and uterine diseases running helped me lose the baby weight and then some!

Question: You're so big... doesn't it bother your knees?

Answer: NOPE! I listen to my body. I have chronic pain, but my knees aren't the problem! I invest in good shoes and change them often. I suggest anyone who wants to run get fitted at a running store.

Question: How is it that you're "healthy"? You're fat... you can't be healthy too. It's just not possible.

Answer: Obesity is a risk factor, just like any other risk factor, like smoking or having a parent with heart disease. Running and eating right helps mitigate the risk factor that obesity brings. Being fat does not mean that someone will automatically develop obesity related diseases. Inherently because I have chronic disease (early menopause, Hashimoto's, chronic pain) I am not healthy. However my blood sugar is great, my blood pressure is wonderfully low, and I usually have energy to do what needs to be done. If it weren't for other chronic illness I wouldn't have a problem. I also probably wouldn't be Fatty but that's not the point. The point is that because of my running I've become aware of my body and know what works for it. During the time I was being diagnosed with a thyroid issue, I kept a food log to insure I was getting the proper nutrients for Tough Mudder. My doctor had the audacity to tell me I had gained 60lbs in 3 months because I was overeating and lazy. So I whipped out my log. That's when he went and did the additional tests. That's when they found the tumor. And 2 years ago this week I had part of my thyroid removed. Running has given me the incentive to make sure all parts of my body are taken care of and advocate for myself when they are not. I go through the same routine with almost every doctor I see. It's exhausting. The last specialist I saw just basically said whatevs, just live with it. So I said whatevs, I'll find a new specialist. Ha. Bitch.

Anyway, the fact is that because I run and eat right I do NOT have diabetes. I do NOT have heart disease. My blood pressure gets checked once a month and last month it was 108/60. Do you know how fucking awesome that is? I can push through and work full time/ get done what needs to be done.This is directly attributable to my lifestyle. This is directly because I run!

Question: Speaking of Tough  Mudder, why are you always wearing that shirt?!

Answer: Wearing my TM shirt gives me hope. TM was over 10 miles long and required a lot of stamina. It reminds me of what I'm capable of doing. It lets me know it's going to be OK and that I can push through it all. When I wear the shirt I remember how strong I am and how far I've come. It reminds me I'm not a stereotype. It tells me I have to keep going. And so I do.

Don't forget to check out my tabs at the top, I've done two events since my last post. Including one where I placed. So check it out ;)

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Kicking Butt and Fat Shaming: Donut Run Recap

Nothing makes me more irate than fat shamers. There has been a trend in the past few years, maybe because of the so- called "fat acceptance" movement, that it is OK to shame people publically for their body mass. Well, guess what? It's not. The assumption is that people who gain weight or have always been bigger are lazy, do not understand nutrition, and generally have something morally wrong with them. The comments that I have seen lately in reference to Kelly Clarkson and Alyssa Milano's weight have made me literally ill to my stomach. The common consensus is that someone loving and accepting themselves is not OK if you happen to poses a larger body. It's not OK because it "promotes unhealthy behavior". Oooo it's just so unhealthy, people say. In my experience everyone who uses this excuse to fat shame do not care about fat people's health. the truth is, fat people do not need to be told they're fat. We already know that. We already know that we're at risk for other health related problems because of our weight. We already know that we are not aesthetically pleasing and that we jiggle when we exercise. We DO NOT NEED TO BE TOLD THIS. Fat, in and of itself, is not a health issue. It is a bi product of other issues. Always. It's a symptom. Now what it's a symptom of is wide and varied. It could be as simple as a sedentary lifestyle. It could be as complicated as autoimmune disease.

Anyway... when dealing with fat people and health, we should be encouraging healthy behaviors. Not shaming people for the way they look. We should be rooting them on when they are doing things that are good for them, not criticizing them because their butt jiggles.

So, back to my point... recapping today's race. I ran in the Donut Run 5k in Kelseyville today. I have not run a 5k since August and have been sort of easing into physical exercise since my accident. It seems as though my thyroid is leveled out as I have been steadily losing weight with just a few tweaks in consumption here and there. I have figured out that I really do not like ear buds of any sort so I have been running with my phone in my bra and the music turned on through the speakers high enough for me to hear but low enough that it's not causing a distraction to others .So I turned on my phone and started my run jamming to the Black Eyed Peas. The first mile wasn't too bad. I started feeling some heaviness in my legs but nothing I couldn't deal with. I have been unable to find my Garmin so I have no clue what pace I was at during that time but I did pass the 1 mile mark at about 13 minutes. The second mile is always my "resting" mile before I kick it into gear for the last mile or so. Around mile one two women pass me and I can hear them talking in front of me. I do not like to "pace" people. Although I run for time, I do not run as a competition against other people. I'm only competing with myself and my previous times. But there are times when you're keeping up with those in a similar grove. These two women were talking about me in front of me, saying how they wish they had music and that I had the right idea having music piping in from my bra.

At the first turn around Sarah from City Fitness saw me and we high fived. It's always  nice to see her, she is so encouraging. So I'm walking and getting passed, not a big deal. Finished mile two in about 17 minutes. I was in a groove and not feeling too bad. I can tell I need new shoes because it was about this time that my feet started to feel like they were blistering. I kept telling myself that I was going to run the last mile or so but I could feel that I was tiring out. Now mind you I just got over having pneumonia as well so my lungs were kind of killing me. I was fighting off some coughing fits when the second turn around came but then felt better. I sped up about that time and I was coming up on the women who passed me earlier, who had walked the whole way except for the small amount of time that they had ran in the beginning. So I heard one of the women say "Oh I hear her behind us". At that point I was at a light jog (which was exerting to me). So I passed them on the right at almost exactly mile three, knowing only a tenth of a mile to go and the ending in sight. So I sped up even a bit more.

That's when I heard it... giggling. And then "Look at her butt, it's just so there. her thighs are jiggling. Just disgusting. Why wouldn't she wear looser pants? It looks like animals are fighting in there". I looked down. of course I was jiggling. I'm a big girl. I jiggled when I was a smaller girl too. I'm just a jiggly person. And there was nothing wrong with my pants.

I was shocked and disturbed. Here I am, a cancer survivor, a person with a major thyroid disorder and overweight and they're making fun of me for running? Why? I shook it off and finished. Sarah happened to be at the finishing line and cheered me in. I really had wanted to finish in under 50 minutes and I did! 48:49.5. I couldn't have been prouder had it been a PR.

Such things obviously bother me as much as I don't want them to. Everyone has their faults. But, why be mean about it? It serves no point and doesn't help anyone.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Visiting Angels and Running in Louisiana

I took a trip to Louisiana over the weekend. I had a wonderful time until about the end where I had a streak of bad luck that cumulated in me coming down with pneumonia. But I don't want to talk about that LOL.

I've been training for the Donut Run which will take place in April. I feel confident that with the training I've been doing I'll be able to finish with a decent time. When making the hotel reservations, I made sure that they offered a gym room. I have to tell you, I was hoping for good weather so I could run in Louisiana and see the sights. Unfortunately, the forecast was for thunderstorms. So, I ended up on the dread mill instead.

My plan was Friday go to Sacramento (2 hour drive) in the AM then drive to Oakland (2 hour drive)after my work meeting in Sac. Oakland would hop on a plan, land in Dallas (3 hour flight) then drive to Shreveport (3 hour drive). A friend of mine was in a play so I was to attend the play, stay in Shreveport then drive to New Orleans (5 hour drive) to meet with another friend. After NOLA I was to drive back to Dallas (7 hour drive), hop on a plane and land in Oakland (4 hour flight) again before heading back home (3 hour drive). So, in a 3 day time span, 27 of those hours were devoted to being in transit. Seems excessive but so worth it in the end!

I wound up in Shreveport at 5am on Saturday morning.  I wasn't super tired  but got a nap in before getting up, working on my book, and eating the best gumbo I've ever tasted. After attending my friend's play (Bonnie and Clyde, A New Musical) I went back to my hotel and fell asleep. That night I had a dream that my father in law (who passed away in 2006) was with me in my hotel room and I was telling him how much I missed him and why in the world did he grow a beard?

Sunday morning I got up, and had a nice jaunt on the dread mill before driving down to Mandeville, which is the town across the Ponchartrain from NOLA. I got there about an hour early and spent my time walking down the lake and just taking it all in. After the dread mill it was nice to be out and walking in nature.
I spent a good half an hour just gazing at the lake, it's huge and beautiful. I saw a lot of people running along the lake. Unfortunately, it was more humid than I'm used to and it felt like I was sweating even though I wasn't. I couldn't live here, I wouldn't be able to run outside and this wasn't even a bad day lol.
So, on my way to Dallas, I wanted to drive through NOLA. I ended up not doing so. Now, I'm going to use this qualifier: I am not a Christian. I identify a agnostic, meaning I think there's something out there but I'm not going to put a name on it. I believe in spirits, helpers, energy, etc. I believe that a spirit world runs parallel to our world and that spirits have the option to impact our lives. The unexplainable, I suppose. I could feel energy radiating from NOLA and it felt as though something were chasing me as I drove through the swampland. It was strange. It felt, dark and scary. I started praying that I get to Dallas in one piece. Right outside of Shreveport, I blew a tire and wound up missing my flight. I rebooked and got to my destination just fine. Now, the bad thing about this is that the non stop flight from Dallas to Oakland turned into a flight from Dallas to LA to Oakland.
So, on the flight from LA to Oakland, I got settled into my seat so ready to be home. I got a little excited when it seemed as though no one else was getting on the plane and the seat beside me was still empty. Just when they were going to close the doors, another passenger appeared. He was tall and lanky, older gentleman. He said he was 84 and was named George. What was striking to me is that he looked just like my father in law but had a beard. I saw his hands first that had those bruise-blood splotches older people get when they're on blood thinner medication. They looked like my father in law's hands. As I was talking with him I noticed he had problems hearing, just like my father in law. I tried to tuck my bad arm in and we began a conversation about my accident. I told him that I had stopped breathing after surgery and that I was worried about my future health, etc. He looked me right in the eye and said "Don't worry, you have many years left to live. You have important work to do." I thought that was a strange comment to make. He also told me that he didn't have a ride home because he was originally supposed to land in San Fransisco but had to change flights. I told him that I lived off Hwy 101 and he then told me he lived in a rest home right near there and would I mind taking him in exchange for $20 and dinner. I can never say  no to someone in need.
 As the flight went on, I started thinking about landing in Oakland and getting some Chipotle on the way home. There isn't a Chipotle near my home so it's a nice treat. About 15 mins before we were to land, he was pondering dinner and said "I want to go to this one place, I can never remember it's name. They serve sustainable food and it's a National chain. YOU know the name, I know you do." so I asked "Chipotle?" and he smiled really big. "Yeah, Chipotay" he said. He started telling me he was a minister and that he was at the Selma march. That he was big on civil rights.
So, I took him to Chipotle and headed over the Richmond bridge to 101. He then started telling me not to worry, that everything would be fine. He told me that I had an inner sweetness that is rare in people (I'm not being conceited, he told me this), and that what I do is important. He told me that I am needed here on earth for a long time. Just really nice things to hear, I guess. You go your whole life and want to feel important and needed. It's rare that anyone actually tells you these things. I pulled up to his rest home and dropped him off. He reached for my hand and kissed it (also something my father in law would have done), told me not to worry that it would all be fine. He told me that if I needed anything to call the rest home and that he would pray for me. He then got out of the car and walked into the rest home.
As I was driving up 101 back home a voice in my head whispered "He's not real".  I called the rest home today to ask for him.  I wanted to thank him for the companionship and let him know I got home alright. They've never heard of George...


Wednesday, March 11, 2015

It Wasn't My Fault

I know, I know, I typically blog about running but I think that this is important. Today we had a training in Domestic Violence/ Domestic Abuse. Surprisingly, I got through this fine until the end. Well, I shouldn't say surprisingly. Nothing in the training was something I hadn't heard a million times before. However, when someone said something to the effect that only a perpetrator's attorney would treat a victim of abuse like crap. I had to walk out, shut my mouth, and not make a scene. You see, I know better. I've lived it. And, frankly, I'm not done processing it. I function at some level as a mature, responsible, ambitious adult woman. But, one word, one phrase, can still bring back a rush of intrusive memories. Of blood, of bruises, of pain, cell walls, asshole judges, dead  babies, incompetent social workers, and smug faces...

You see, my childhood was complete hell on earth. I was emotionally and physically abused by all of my parents. I say all because I had four major players. When CPS stepped in eventually, I was 14. I was more than capable of understanding what was happening and SHOULD have been a player in the process of placement. I SHOULD have been receiving counseling for what had happened. My concerns about being placed with my father SHOULD have been taken seriously. And, my Guardian Ad Litem (AKA my attorney) SHOULD have actually met with me... say once or twice... before making a recommendation to the courts. Yeah, none of that ever happened. So, here I am already knowing that whatever I do won't be heard or taken seriously. That no one in this mess of people who were deemed to be taking care of me would give a flying fuck. Every time I told of abuse in my father's home it was ignored. Medical neglect? Ignored. Being spit on? Ignored. Beaten with a switch? Ignored. Having my door taken off so I couldn't change my clothing in privacy? Ignored. Educational neglect? Ignored. Requests to be placed with my pastor (who was more of a father to me than mine EVER was) and his wife? Ignored So... why would I trust the people who put us there? Oh right... I wouldn't.

So let's fast forward a year. My mom had jumped through all  her hoops and, honestly, was a lot more emotionally stable than I had ever seen her. We were placed back with her. Meanwhile I was a mess. I sought solace online, in a faceless friend who promised to always be my friend. See where I'm going with this? I was victimized again. Long ass story short, I was kept as a sex slave for several weeks three hours from my home. I... have never spoken publically about this before. Some of my nearest and dearest know. It still brings up feelings of shame, guilt, and anger. I was a weak, naïve 15 year old. I was looking for comfort, a friend, a parental figure of stability. This man lured me from my home and forcibly kept me in his apartment with another woman. I was raped daily. I was made to color my hair. I was tied up, hidden, and threatened.

When the police finally found me, I was scared and broken. Guess what the police did? Put me in handcuffs! Charged ME with being an unruly child for leaving my mom's home. BLAMED ME FOR BEING AN ACCOMPLICE IN MY OWN RAPE!  After the handcuffs, I didn't want to talk to them. I didn't want to give a statement. So I lied. I lied and lied and lied. And I kept lying because I couldn't change my story, you know. They took me to a juvenile detention facility. I then faced the same judge who was the judge in my mom's CPS case. Um.. HELLO! This asshole had just dealt with my mom, knew all of our family dirt and basically called me little more than a slut in court. Ordered me to a detention facility until I could have a psychological eval. Oh, and ordered that I was kept in isolation during that time. 4 cell walls, only allowed out to shower, go to "groups", and the occasional visit from my mom. The staff somewhat took pity on me. It wasn't over with the police. One day, I was interrogated in handcuffs and leg shackles for several hours. Threatened with total isolation if I did not comply, threatened to have my mattress taken out of my cell so that I would have to sit on cold concrete with my thoughts instead of be able to sleep. Threatened with no visits. Threatened with having meals taken away, and  being kept indefinitely in juvenile hall.

When I finally got out, guess what? More blame. By social workers, my parents, my foster mother. I started to believe the things they said. I was a bad girl. So what does my stupid ass do? Try to contact my rapist. I didn't know how to cope. Talking to him was how I had coped before. Even though he hurt me. Even though I was scared of him. I called him anyway. My mom found out and beat the living shit out of me. I was then taken back to juvenile hall, faced the same judge AGAIN, and then... placed on probation and taken to a foster home. A few days later I found out that I was pregnant. I started hemorrhaging badly and my foster mom took me to the hospital. She had the sense enough to tell them I had been raped. Because, honestly, even if it was totally consensual, this man was over 40 years old. I was 15. It was rape. She knew that and was really the only one who had any sense in this whole situation.

The counseling they sent me to was completely ineffective. I didn't want to talk, I didn't want to tell anyone what had happened. It was my fault, I truly believed that. I brought it on myself. The irony of it all is that the book was thrown at my rapist by the judge in his criminal trial. In the juvenile court system, I was told I was old enough to know better. I was held accountable and LEGALLY LIABLE for my actions. Meanwhile, the criminal system (in an opinion from the judge) I had been classified as someone who was too naïve to know what I was doing. How is that possible?! How confusing to a child to be told on one hand it was her fault and the other that she was a victim! Who the hell was in charge here? Who decided that this is how you treat a child who was a victim of domestic and sexual abuse. Seriously... who? Why? How?

It's taken me years to not blame myself. It's taken me years to come to terms with the loss I suffered as a result of the miscarriage. Years to be able to trust anyone and form meaningful friendships and relationships. The internal rage I have felt since then hasn't subsided yet. And now, after 14 years.. that is my story. No, I'm not "over it". I may never be. It doesn't run my life anymore but that period of time is connected to me in a way that is indescribable. A phrase, a thought, a misconception about our justice system. Our justice system is broken. Our misconceptions about victims is detrimental. How can we change this so another child doesn't go through the same things? What stereotypes are YOU willing to give up?