An open letter

The other day I was driving to Gabby's house and it was one of the first really cold fall days. It occured to me that four years ago, I was being kicked out of Mercy because I was "too much" and they honestly believed I was possessed or something. At first as I thought about this I felt very sad, hurt, ashamed and defeated. As I processed this more, I began to feel anger in a new way. Everything they said about me was actually pretty wrong. So, I mentally composed the following letter to them:

Dear Mercy,

I am 31 years old now, a successful program director in which lives are saved every day, and I have people in my life that are healthy and good to me. When I came to the program in St. Louis, I was very hurt and very broken. The desperation I felt then is something I will never let myself feel again. In fact, I believe that because I was so broken the intent was to fix me and exploit the success as you all increased your marketing around human sex trafficking. I believed that Mercy was the way to heal my heart and prepare me to live a Christ-centered life.  I believed that all the "love" and "attention" and "Jesus" was the way I would relearn how to be a well-adjusted, God-fearing adult. I was so very wrong. 

After a very short period of time in your program, I was taught that people are just people and God is all. The way in which the staff would pray over all of the girls and tell us how much they loved us also juxtaposed the very point you were trying to make. Your program put itself in the role of an authority, and despite believing that you were all trying to do what God had told you, ultimiately you completely retraumatized me. I do not think any person at Mercy is a bad person, but I do believe most of you are badly guided and stuck in what social pscyhology calls "groupthink". If Nancy Alcorn doesn't believe in it, then it must not exist! That is why you failed me, and you failed to follow your own belief in God. 

I do not believe in the God that you all do. Why? Because the God that is good, and maker of all, and binds our hearts together would never give the authority to throw a traumatized woman back to their abusers because she is "of the devil". The God that I believe in knows that science, and psychology and human connection all play vital roles in undertanding the experience of others. EMPATHY is of the God that I believe in. 

What Mercy taught me was that people ARE just people, and even the "good Christians" are sometimes pretty unhealthy, and ungodly people. I was taught that the only way to healing was to find my reasons for living, and find a real family that can actually show me that through their love, something bigger is out there and guiding us. I don't need to be isolated on a hill in St. Louis, completely saturated in Christian only music and books. I am capable of hearing things, seeing things, and reading things are that not Christian and every day choosing to go to my job that actually does make a difference in peoples lives that does NOT include judgement or isolation. In fact, my entire job is to be non-judgmental, emapthetic and non-directive. Hurting people need a place to land, without lies and broken promises, a place with boundaries and educated people to help. Hurting people need resources and not a club of pretty girls with stories of triumph. 

Mercy, I forgive you because I know the heart of many of those that I crossed in St. Louis. Forgiveness however does not mean forgetting, and it does not mean that the energy I now have from letting go of resentment will go unnoticed. My voice is much more powerful now, I am getting it back and I know who loves me for real, and I know I have a purpose...and it was never to be your success story. 

I survived. And I did it without Christian music. 




All the changes...

I work in a place that helps people cope in crisis. I am on TV regularly talking about the impact of suicide and loss. I present a lot of community education pieces on how to help others in crisis. Crisis theory is pretty much what I live and breathe. Yet, here I am, in total chaos and crisis and not a single person in my life either knows, or even comes close to getting it. 

When I stir up the self-created chaos, I like to go big. Go big or go home right? So, over the past 7 weeks I have been promoted to a program director position, which is as high as you can go in this program. I have gone through a organizational acquisition. I've started my fall semester at school. I moved out of Gabby's home and into my new apartment. Then I adopted two kittens. Oh, and I started a romantic relationship. 

Yeah. Every single area of my life is in crisis. Just like crisis theory tells us, any change can create crisis and that could be positive crisis, or negative crisis...or just plain chaos. The timeline on this is early August. And just like crisis theory also tells us, this has a shelf-life of about 4-6 weeks. So, that means I am on the upswing where I am finally beginning to have some feelings about the beginning part of the crisis curve, despite having newer crises added along the way. I project having a solid 8 more weeks of complete emotional chaos until it peters off. 

All of this is completely dumb. So very dumb. On the one hand I am super glad to spray chaos all at once instead of having a whole dumb year of more dumb. The other, more logical and rational part of my brain wants to know what the hell I was smoking when I devised this crazytastic plan. Moving out of Gabby's house was supposed to be the best thing for me, and more importantly for her. She could have her life free from my drama and intensity. She could resume her normal, happy married life and not have to give a shit about me. Once I told her I was leaving, she immediately supported the move but constantly told me that she didn't want it to "be this way". I am not sure what that meant, but considering that she helped me plan my move and helped to pay for a few things, I assumed it meant that she was satisfied. This all began back in June. So I found my apartment, and eventually got here last week. Amidst all this chaos, I also had really bad dental surgery and I was unable to move when I signed my lease, but I'm here now. 

Gabby immediately disliked my apartment, and suddenly revealed that she really did not want me to leave. She wanted me to come home. She tossed out the idea of not moving in the first place and just getting out of the lease. She told me that she supported me, etc. Then I moved, and she told me things would not change, she would have time for me, and that she wanted to be super supportive. For the past week I have done what I needed to go to keep everything locked up so I could function and work super long hours. Of course, today is the first day I have had substantial time to think. And obviously, thinking is not good when you are coming up the crisis curve. Everything feels intolerable. It feels like Gabby really does not care. For instance, after she went to a presentation with me this morning, she came back to my apartment. I had asked her earlier in the week if she wanted to come over and so schoolwork at my place (she just started her graduate program). I told her I had not been able to get any course work done and it would be nice for the both of us to study hard and get things done. 

She did not get the memo that I needed to work too. So, the entire time she was here I was not able to do anything other than help her with schoolwork. Not that I really minded, I just thought that maybe she would be more sensitive to the fact that I needed her to process some feelings, and I hoped she would save some time for me that wasn't totally about her schoolwork or her being busy doing other things while I talked. She did not pick up on that, so i told her directly what I was experiencing. She missed that emotional invitation and pretty much did everything exactly in a way to compound my belief that she does not really care, that I am irrelevant, and I am only good for helping her with schoolwork or doing something that needs to get done. 

It hurts. It makes me angry that I feel hurt. It makes me so angry that I HAVE to beat myself up for hours for even considering for a moment that I actually mattered.

And like clockwork, I tell her how I feel and I am "overreacting" and she is "trying" and if I want to talk tomorrow, I should let her know.

There was never a moment in which she stopped, refocused and asked me what I needed. She just passively accepted everything I said and then went to bed as if it was no big deal, and it does not matter that I feel really hurt and angry and immensely alone. She is happy, in her bed, being super cared about by her family and I sit here. 

I've spent my entire life being accommodating, and invisible. I am so desperate for love and care that I stretch myself beyond my limits for accommodation and I put myself in the position of being hurt. Well done Tempy. Well done sucking at life at least 95% of the time. One day none of this will matter. One day I will slip all the way into invisibility and it will not matter. One day, I will be a "was". I am at peace with that. 


Sand in my shoes...

I am lucky enough to be here for the week, and I wanted to share. 




You poor unfortunate soul...

Phew. Life just does not let up...ever.  I thought things would ease up as school concluded for the summer but my work life only increased with everything I put off during the semester.  New contracts came in for additional services and all my time just got sucked right up.  I am still plugging away in therapy and trying to figure life out the way I need to.  There never seems to be enough time for me to think or feel anything.  Some of this is probably an unconscious set up so that I do not have to actually think about anything. The rest is pretty much just the problem of having an hour commute each way, working in non-profit and living with two small kiddos. 

Therapy is getting weird.  I've been out of real DID treatment for a long time and it is tough to trust and get back in it all the way.  Not to mention, EXPENSIVE. My new therapist seems fairly experienced and nice enough, but at times I feel like she is trying too hard.  That sends me the signal to shut down because the last thing I want is another person "worried" about me or on me to do something I don't feel like doing.  New Therapist is also kinda pushy. When she wants me to go somewhere, she pushes me there whether I want to or not.  This is definitely not something I am used to as Therapist (as in old Therapist) did not push as much because I would push back even harder.  I have definitely grown and changed, and that is not something I tend to do as often.  Still, it feels new and different and of course...terrifying.  What I think is going on is that odd feeling that occurred after I returned from Mercy, where I felt like I lost my voice.  My throat literally closes up and a tightness in my chest happens.  When I feel this way it is as if I have lost the ability to speak, or to even find the words to articulate my experience.  I truly felt that after Mercy I would never be able to share my story again, or share what I am going through.  That emotional experience has turned into somewhat of a physical experience and I'm not sure how to break out of it.  

I am sure that all of this isn't all that apparent to New Therapist.  She just kind of goes along for the ride. I have an appointment today. I can never tell if I am looking forward or completely dreading my appointments. Maybe I can find the middle somewhere. 


Make this go on forever

There is something to be said about how social media impacts survivors of abuse and domestic violence.  Places like Facebook are breeding grounds for the past, and reminder that either you have a past full of people you do not want to remember but still remain, or a blank past because on ThrowBackThursday, you seem to be the only person without anyone tagging them.  So for all the people out there who had to leave their past behind in order to remain safe, I hear you.  It is really sad, it is really lonely, and every Thursday can be a reminder that you don't have the ties or connections to others that you wish you did. 

What I find is most interesting is that most people would never consider this whole #TT culture is really a 2014 clique of who is still cool, and who is not.  It is like a miniature people's choices award every week.  You will see some people get tagged every week, and every one reminisces about how amazing the past was and how cool they are, and my much everyone misses each other and wishes that could go back to the past. Why are we all so focused on where we would rather be than where we currently are?  If it is so bad you want to go back to the drunken days of college, or the days when life was just "that fun", then I think something might be wrong.  There is joy in reminiscing, and some of that is healthy and normal. At other times, I begin to wonder why 15 years ago was so much better than right now?  

The flip side is those of us who had to leave our past behind to stay safe, or those of us whose past is so bad, we either do not have anyone from 20 years ago that is safe, or the people from 20 years ago were the ones causing the pain.  For me, this whole social media clique reminds me just how little I have from my past.  The people I went to school bullied me, made me feel like a freak, and just plain socially tortured me because I was different.  I was not different because I had a disability, or a delay, or because I belonged to an outgroup.  I was different because I was often in physical pain from the abuse I suffered, often startled, threw up because my mother was poisoning me and did not know that reality for me was not reality for everyone else.  

What is seriously lacking in the adult community is inclusive activities, empathy, compassion and most of all...awareness. Not everyone wants to participate in watching the clique occur, and not everyone feels like it is ok. Maybe instead of tagging and making more outgroups, possibly using language to share these moments as a part of what made you, or at least a part of you from the past, and sharing instead of exclusively reminding who was who in the past. 

Just a rambling.