Monday, June 6, 2016

Rape Culture....

So, this week, I have been inundated with the stories of the swimmer who raped the unconscious woman he dragged behind a dumpster. He was sentenced to 6 months (he will serve 3) because the judge didn't want to ruin his life.

He has vowed to travel to colleges and high schools and expose the dangers of binge drinking and promiscuity on campuses.



So, this male is claiming that it was alcohol and promiscuity that provoked this rape....not his need for power over an unconscious woman....

As a a mother of daughters and sons...I call bullshit.

My sons understand that no means no and yes means yes and unless yes is said clearly and understandably, it is a no.  My daughter understands this as well.  She is 7.

I am frustrated with a culture that condones a light sentence to "not ruin his future."  What about her future?  What about the past year for her?  What are those things worth?  I am angered, as a mother of boys, that my sons are looked at as people who can not control themselves when a woman walks by...that there is something inherent in their DNA that makes them not responsible for their own actions.

I don't care how drunk she was or how promiscious she was or was not....I don't care if she is naked and gyrating against my son....they have been taught that unless she uses the word "yes" she is still saying no.  That word has to cross her lips in a coherent manner.

can a person who is unconscious give consent?  Can a person who can't stand up give consent? Can a person who is altered in any way, give consent?


I can't believe that 20 years after I underwent questions asking what kind of clothes I was wearing and if I was sitting with my legs closed or if they were parted, another woman was asked the same questions.  Were my breasts showing when I bent over to hit the pool ball?  Why was I wearing perfume that night?  Had I ever slept with guys on the first night meeting them?  Did I laugh provocatively? Did I find many people attractive?  Did I tell dirty jokes?  Did I laugh at dirty jokes?  At any point in the evening did I lick my lips?  Was I looking at the defendant?  Where did I purchase my underwear from?

Do any of the answers to those questions change what he did?  Nope...not for a second.  Did I ever say yes?  Nope.  Did I say "no?" Several times.  Was I injured? Yes.  Was he convicted?  No....

I thought that 20 years later, campus rape would be looked at differently...that it would be looked at as rape...

I was wrong.

One son is 18.  He is in the army.  My other son is 17 and will be leaving for college in a couple of years.

Today is the day I speak to my sons means no and it never means yes.
Today is the day I speak to my remind her that she can wear whatever she wants...she can speak to whomever she pleases...she can love whomever she loves my heart...I will try to believe that is true.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

New Diagnoses call for new measures

I had never heard of "conversion disorder."  I had heard of major depressive disorder, chronic depression, bi-polar disorder, anxiety disorder, addiction, and PTSD.  All of those things I had already been diagnosed with at one time or other.  Conversion disorder was a new one for me.

I don't remember much of that day.  I remember feeling poorly, having a migraine (not unusual) and crawling in for a nap with my bird.  That is what I remember.  Afterward, I have no recollection of but my family does.  They remember me not being able to walk correctly and toppling into walls and chairs.  They remember me not being able to speak correctly and laughing and making no sense.  They remember me seizing and asking for my dead grandmother and not recognizing them or knowing who or where I was.  They remember the hospital where I continued to seize and the ambulance ride with lights and sirens.  They remember the MRI, two CT scans, EKGs, EEGs, and more blood draws than they can count.  They remember the next 5 days.  I do not.

I have been spared the memory of not knowing who they were or thinking it was 1998 or 2011.  I have been spared the memory of being told my grandma had died two years ago, every day, at least twice a day.  I do not remember having multiple seizures...over 17 in all.  I do not remember.

This is conversion disorder.  My stress, anxiety, and depression, along with my migraines, are manifesting themselves in physical symptoms.  This can be "cured" with meds and talk therapy and stress reduction.

Stress reduction.  Hmmmm. I have two teenage children, one is in the army.  I have a tiny bird with autism and epilepsy.  I have all the other diagnoses, still...and now I have a new one.  Reducing stress and anxiety seems kind of hard.  Which is stressful....great.

I usually write stories about my birds...about their nest.  Today, the story is about me.  I am the mama and my job is to keep the nest running smoothly and lovingly.  My job is to greet the struggles with strength and a "can do" sort of attitude.  I can't do my job.

But then, is that really my job?  Is my job to protect the birds from life or is it to show them that sometimes, we all need help.  Sometimes, the help isn't something like "can you throw in a load of laundry" but it is something like "I need a break."  Sometimes the help needs to come from someone outside our little flock...or sometimes from someone inside the flock but outside of the nest.

Sometimes we all need help.
Sometimes the mama bird can't fix everything.
Sometimes things are broken and can't be "fixed" but they need to be worked around and with.

So this is our new season.  It requires some adjustments and some new understandings.  It requires some new ways of approaching things.  BUT...we will do it.  We will do it together and with the help of others.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Boot Camp, Baby birds, and big changes

The oldest bird just recently graduated from boot camp!!!  This mama bird's heart was bursting at the seams.  Holy cow...who knew there was another level of proud?!?!


The middle bird went to two proms....TWO PROMS!!!  Be still my heart!


Baby bird has her dance recital coming up AND is going to turn 7!!!  Where did the time go?

Right now, my brain is having a hard time adjusting to the reality that my oldest is a soldier, my middle is in love, and my baby is walking to school by herself.

I also resigned from my well-loved teaching spot and am moving on to a new school.

All this change is hard on an old bird.

But it is exciting too...all the fresh possibilities...all the differences to learn about...all the potential!!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

It's been awhile

Sometimes life seems to get extra hectic and I don't get the opportunity to write as often as I would like....well...that is ALWAYS the case.

This month has been a stressful month.

Sometimes the personal issues we deal with happen to get in the way of the life we are trying to live and that has been my most recent reality.

Some of the stuff is mine
Some belongs to other people and affects me in the periphery
Some belongs to other people and I just pick them up...even though I shouldn't.

My oldest bird leaves for basic training in 12 days.  12 days.  It doesn't seem long enough to hug him and love him and tell him how proud I am of him.

And like all moms, I worry.
I worry about the realities and I worry about the "what ifs."  Those darn "what ifs" get me every time.  I can't seem to stop them, and like a ball of snow headed downhill, they pick up debris and gain in size and momentum.

I can't stop them.

They start off as tiny snow flakes...just one or two...and I allow them to drift around and don't see the danger.  It's just a couple of snowflakes, after all.  Before I know it....BOOOOOOOM....avalanche.  Too many snowballs to stop.  Some I can head off but the rest, I am powerless over and they hurl down that mountain getting bigger and bigger.

And, you know how insidious that one snowball is....he brings friends.  And, before I know it, there are more snowballs than basic the snowballs have words like "seizures" and "autism" and "self-injurious behaviors" and "girlfriends" and "jobs" and "laundry."

Those snowballs don't seem to stop.

And now....
I am buried.

Trying to tunnel my way out from under the crushing weight of all that snow.

It's been hard

But....I am getting there
I am still breathing
there are small victories

every day
my tunnel out gets bigger
and safer
and clearer.

So to all my friends...

you are not alone

It won't always be winter
It won't always be cold
It won't always be lonely.

Today, on my drive to work, it was snowing.
But, the trees were covered in a glint of ice and the reflections of the flakes were beautiful.  And the breeze was not blowing and the snow was not sticking.  They were just single flakes, drifting in harmony, from the sky.

The thaw is coming.