Sunday’s Song

I’m always trying to do and say the right things, yet somehow constantly coming up short in others eyes. I know, logically, that I can not make everyone happy, even with the best intentions. Yet, whenever I deem somebody to be upset about things (that have absolutely no bearing on me) I try time and time again to “fix” it.

I must learn the subtle art of not giving a fuck. Literally, I could care less. It appears to work out better for those who care less. Well ‚Ķ the others appear alive and fulfilled, but they are the walking dead. They’ve gone numb for self-preservation’s sake. They can’t see or hear you.

This means all the sugar I was spoon fed through my church upbringing is what now makes me sick. Being told to do unto others as you would do unto yourself (or is it: as you would have others do to you?) in principle, is lovely. Out here in the hard knock life, the reality is quite the opposite though. Everybody is looking for real and nobody is bringing real to the table. The most socially acceptable and fashionable means of intimacy is sexual, but sex does not equal love; and it does not quench our soul’s deep thirst for connection.

We’re left with sadness, feeling incomplete. Those feelings are valid;

And also, I am done with them.

A side order of awkward

A girlfriend of mine asked if she could take me out.

I replied, “Hell yeh. Let’s do that! I’m so excited.”

This is someone I used to work with. It’s been awhile since we’ve had hangouts.

Then she says that she was glad she asked me. She said, “I was thinking to myself, ‘I’m feeling quite ballsy. I’m going to ask her out.'”

I swear to God, I am figuring out that this was a date I had just agreed to go on while she was simultaneously telling me about how depressed she had been, anxious and about intrusive self harm and suicidal thoughts.

(sidenote:this is not as alarming to me. this is something people often reach out to me about due to my volunteering as a crisis counselor and that i’m an open book when it comes to my personal experiences with mental health issues)

So, while I would have liked to have just explained the misunderstanding, timing was real bad.

I asked my teenage daughter what she would do in both situations. Tell her was the obvious go-to, but when she heard me talk about the depression, she look up at me, shook her head and said, “I guess cut your nails, Mom” *i am dead ūüėā*

Look, I’ve experimented, but mostly with a partner. It’s more for them than me. If I was in a relationship, I might even pitch the idea. Is that wrong?

Then, I started to review how many things I have done in my life that I was uncomfortable with, but didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings so, I just went along? The answer is a lot. THEN, I thought: exactly how far does consideration go? Jesus Christ! Is it possible to be too empathetic? Because I think I’m doomed ya’ll.

*clips nails*

Sunday’s Song

Im a cool girl or so Ive been told by associates of the male gender. Im the girl every guy wants to hang with. Ol buddy, ol pal. Its really not a compliment, just an observation. 

The definition of cool girl is much trickier. Apperently I am the girl you know beyond a shadow of a doubt you could tell anything to, hell, Id tell you the same and mean it. It doesnt happen that way though. Theres always an unnecessary secret. The secret hurts, the details do not. I could have been saved so much trouble. But here we are again. Listening to what people think I want to hear. 

And lately theres this rash of “I dont deserve you and Ill prove it” going around. Self fulfilling prophecy. 

I just want to be free like all of you. Arent relationships a two-way street?

Here, let my girl Tove summarize:

Waiting Game 

I’m thinking it over
The way you make me feel all sexy but it’s causing me shame
I wanna lean on your shoulder
I wish I was in love but I don’t wanna cause any pain
And if I’m feeling like I’m evil, we’ve got nothing to gain
What if I never even see you cuz we’re both on a stage
Don’t tell me listen to your song because it isn’t the same
I don’t wanna say your love is a waiting game
Baby I’m thinking it over
What if the way we started made it something cursed from the start
What if it only gets colder
Would you still wrap me up and tell me that you think this was smart
Cuz lately I’ve been scared of even thinking ’bout where we are
What if I never even see you cuz we’re both on a stage
Don’t tell me listen to your song because it isn’t the same
I don’t wanna say your love is a waiting  game

via: Banks

Fingers: A Prose Poem

Fingers trace everyplace
and into the base of his back, Encouraging the pace,
of his secret being buried in my skin, That’s the ace … in the hole.
Fingers trace down my vase.
And I brace.
As he reaches the chas, it’s a race.
We are breathless, trying to circumnavigate,
the space … the time.
We both take what’s ours,
while giving grace,
with fingers laced,
nothing gone to waste.

My Teenage Self

I’ve been thinking a lot this week about who I was as a teenager. I dont know if it’s because Jedi’s 13th year ends Sunday and so much of my teenage self started at 14…

When I was first inspired to write about my teenage self, I thought it would be fun. I dug up old pictures and listened to old music. It soon left me in tears and trying to wrap my head around it all mostly because my teenage self was a fucking mess.

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Just before turning 14, something happened that changed me forever. It turned everything I knew to be true to that point about love and family into a completely, useless shitstorm. It left me raw with emotion and not wanting to think. I was love sick. Desperate to know that something I had once known. I was silly and fun like what I imagine most teenage were like all while being sullen, pained and full of angst at the same time. Not your normal teenage angst, but one that still affects me now.¬†It wasn’t that I never felt joy, but as a teenager, I felt happy through other people. If I could make someone happy, I was happy. People pleasing was my drug of choice.

I was also full of raging sexual curiosity. This wasn’t new to me. I can remember thinking and desiring sex at a very young age. I’ve written about that before. It was just that as a teenager, I was hell bound and determined to have it which was much to the dismay of the angel on my shoulder. Believe me, she was a real thorn in my exploration. Such is the life of a teenager who has grown up in an ultra religious home. I made a bargain of sorts with her. I reasoned that if I was in a committed relationship while having sex, it was ok because I wasn’t a whore.

No relationship + sex = bad, no-no. Relationship + sex = A-OK.

That’s how I became a serial monogamist.¬†Having explained this…I feel the only real way I can tell the story of my teenage self is through relationships.

The first relationship, was a non-relationship.

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Kevin was the first, heart-aching crush I ever had. I was thirteen. I would walk nearly a mile out of my way to 7-11, knowing that he would be outside playing basketball with his friends. Just to walk by. I would never acknowledge him first. I’d pretend to be to involved with my Walkman even though it wasn’t even on. I mean, if he said something, how else would I hear him? On my way TO 7-11, he would always go on playing basketball and as far as I knew, didn’t do anything more than give me that slight, upward thrust of his jaw to acknowledge me. Then on my way BACK he eventually started tossing the ball to a buddy and would hussle over, all sweaty and stinky. I didn’t care. His buddies would complain. I loved it. He had a nerdy girlfriend who I¬†did not concern myself with. He obviously like me better anyway because he broke up with her after I let him feel me up at a school dance. He put his letter jacket around me when it was cold and kissed me with his this annoying, turtle tongue, but I was certain that’s what love felt like. It wasn’t long before I found out that it wasn’t. This is just what he did with all the girls. So besides dressing pretty skanky and making him walk over to my house to get his stupid jacket, just to give him enough of a look at me as I threw it at him before slamming the door in his face, that was that. I was certain this is what women in charge of relationships did. Even though it wasn’t one.

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Jason, was the first guy who pursued me. I was certain this meant true love had found me and since it was true love, I was certain this meant we would be together forever and I would lose my virginity to him. Only one of those turned out to be true. Sex with Jason was not inspiring but we were in sweet, sappy love for almost a year before his best friend cheated on my cousin and he *tried* to do the same to me.
Pffft. I was devastated, but wanting to remain on top of  the spin control so I brought Chris into the picture.

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Chris was trying to make his recent ex-girlfriend jealous and this seemed like a splendid idea to me. Aside from using one another he¬†introduced me to rock music for which I will always be thankful. He was a couple years older, in a band, hot as hell in his navy uniform and if it weren’t for that stupid angel on my shoulder and if our couple, hot and heavy make out sessions were any indication, that boy would’ve had his way with me and I would have loved every two minutes of it. No such luck though as I had made my deal with the bitch and I would stick to it. We were not in a relationship which meant no sex for us, but it was all for the best since he served his purpose and Jason and I kissed and made up.
IMG_5697 Compared to Chris though, he was pretty goofy. I loved him as much as any fifteen year old loves their first true love, but was pretty bored. I remedied this by creating drama and making him feel guilty. I have about 100 handwritten notes from him to prove it. I guess he was bored too because he suddenly decided to be a “gangsta” and started selling weed. My angel shoulder and I were having none of that so I broke up with him certain this would motivate him to do better.

I turned to my long time guy friend and neighbor growing up, Darryl. He was always the guy who I talked to in depth about everything and vice versa. We vented about parents, school, whoever we were dating at the time and I found it endearing that he walked me between classes just because. He picked on me as much as he playfully flirted with me during our basketball one-on-ones.

That guy always had a basketball. To this day, if I hear a basketball ball bouncing, my first thought is him.

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Because it wasn’t about THAT with us and I was well aware he was a player, we had a very reality based, platonic relationship. But as fate would have it, right around the time a girl tried to pin a fake pregnancy on Darryl, Jason and I’s relationship met it’s final demise. Jason had started playing nice again and I was sure he had seen the error of his ways even though Darryl was not and minced no words in telling me so. But before I had made up my mind about making it official again, one of my friends spotted Jason at another girl’s house. They were in her pool together and being much more than friendly. I hung up the phone and walked out the door just in time to seeing Darryl pulling up from work. I walked up and got¬†in the car asking him to take me to my friend’s house to see for myself exactly what the hell was going on. On the way there, every emotion I had ever felt boiled. I shook uncontrollably while Darryl assured me everything would be ok. When we pulled up to the house Jason was at, I walked straight into the backyard. He was so involved in making out with this ugly, heffer in her pool that neither of them noticed me until I was walking back out. When Darryl saw the look on my face, he unlocked his trunk and grabbed a baseball bat and started towards me. I ran into Darryl arms, crying. All it took was him wrapping his arms around me and¬†pointing that bat at Jason, saying only the word “No” to make Jason turn around and retreat. We just stood there in the middle of the street, me crying and Darryl rocking and SHHing me.

That was what I remembered of love. Pure and undiluted. This is what I wanted … and it scared the shit out of me.

I avoided him for a couple days afterwards, not knowing what I could ever say to him again.

A week later, I grabbed the mail from the box at the end of the drive when I got home from school, as I always did, but found only a single rose and a hand written note that read:¬†If you’re going to avoid me, I had to find another way to make you smile. Darryl.¬†¬†I looked up to see him sitting on his porch with a basketball wedged between his legs. So, I walked over and sat on his porch. I couldn’t look at him, but I was trying to find words when he stopped me. He said he knew everything had changed between us and while he didn’t ever want to lose me as a friend, he couldn’t have this as a “what if”. I told him I knew too much. I knew all about the girls upon girls, I couldn’t trust him that way and then he promised me he would never do that to me. He told me I wasn’t other girls.

It was everything my little girl heart had ever longed to hear and I gave in. Darryl treated me like a queen. He was the first guy who ever taught me how I should be treated as a woman.
IMG_5708¬†I felt like I had just walked on the set of rom-com where two friends who grew up together finally realize they’re in love. In fact, we shared a lot of movie-worthy moments that I’ll always hold close to my heart.

But everything outside of us was so complicated. My Dad hated our relationship even though he treated me better than anyone ever had. He almost had him arrested when he found out we were having sex. His friends, who were once our mutual friends, began to hate the seriousness I brought about in him and all the time we were spending together before he left for Air Force basic training. He wrote me everyday. He started to talk about getting married when he finished tech school and got his first orders. I traded in my extra credit to graduate early so I could be with him. Then, I went to see him when he graduated from boot camp just after I started my senior classes. He was different … suspicious. Asking me about Jason of all people. I couldn’t understand how he could think I could even find a place for another boy in my life, much less why I would want to when his brother had classes with me, his family lived on one side of me and his best friend was on the other. Yet the thought of him doing anything had never crossed my mind until I heard his own accusatory tone. After all, where the hell was all of this coming from?

I left on good terms, but full of doubt. I didn’t sleep for days on end. I didn’t eat. I went through the motions at school and work while my mind wondered. Then I became full of resolve to be completely selfish. Start doing me. Bought all new clothes. Sporty Spice was a thing of the past. Hello Sexy Spice, all day, everyday. Fuck being good. Bye shoulder angel.

It got me the attention I needed while Darryl did whatever he was doing in the background. In fact, every time I looked up in English, this guy across the aisle, which faced me, would meet eyes with me and then try to look away. His¬†name was James. I started to toy with him little by little. He started to dote and spoil me. But while he was lavish with gifts, he was stingy with vulnerability, something that I never could seem to get past. ¬†So things between us were very sexual. It was good and I was in charge. I got sexual with him in ways I never had before. I didn’t think any teenage guy would dislike the arrangement , but before I saw it coming, he was in my heart.

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I could act unattached and not bothered by the lack of intimacy, but once I was alone, behind the wheel of my car, I would cry. All the way home and then crying myself to sleep. I had been foolish for ever trying to convince myself my feelings weren’t on the table. I now knew no matter what I did, I was going to hurt someone. Darryl, James or even myself.

About a month after graduation, while James and I were driving back from a Hootie and the Blowfish concert, with my head on his shoulder, his fingers playing with my hair and Mariah Carey on the radio, it hit me hard. I was IN love and I wanted James. Everything was about to change and just like I wanted, I would call the shots. Except this meant for the first time, I was actually ending a relationship.

It was two weeks before I was supposed to fly out to see Darryl again and I was freaking out. I asked James to give me space, but since he¬†was just as freaked out as I was about the whole thing, he couldn’t do it. So I ran. I used my graduation money to buy a ticket to Louisville to be around my extended family and stay at my Nana’s. If I was going to do this, I had to get distance from James and figure myself out. After two weeks, I decided that it was more than possible that James was holding back because of Darryl and that Darryl and I were better off as friends. So I flew from Louisville to San Antonio to see Darryl and say our goodbyes, with love, as friends.

James and I ended up being together for over two years and were even engaged, but my teenage years ended with me starting a relationship with a man who was awful. Even after meeting my first husband, I hung to hope with James. It didn’t help that we¬†couldn’t stop coming back for more sex. But I learned in a very harsh way that it was just sex, not hope and I married the horrible man because I fell in love with his son, Pickle, perhaps as my way of punishing myself for my own transgressions.

I don’t know. I guess that’s just a lot of water underneath bridges I have burned.

The only happy ending that came of all these teenage dreams is that I still remain friends with Jason, Darryl and James to this today.

Now, I wonder what teenage me would think of me. I mostly wish I could let her know that for all the struggle we thought was in vain and mistakes that were made, it did get better. Id like to tell her that it’s ok to be immature and make mistakes. It doesn’t mean you’re a horrible person and unworthy of respect and love. It’s a part of growing up. Even as a grown woman, you’ll still have that little girl heart that wants to be kept safe and treasured. Being vulnerable isn’t something you grow out of, it’s something you must learn to lean into. I’d tell her that we found out who we really were all along, good and bad, and we made a life worth living. This life now, this love, these children were our collective dream. Its not what we thought it would look like, it’s better.

I hope she’d be damn proud.

My child thinks they might be gay

Well, 2015 isn’t messing around.

Jan 2nd and just as Im about to lay down my sleepyhead and dose off I get this text to my phone:

Mom what if Im gay or bisexual

As fate would have it, having several LGBT friends and family members and living in Ohio, most of my newsfeeds this week have been largely about Leelah Alcorn. I was rendered frozen hand to mouth the first time I heard about the suicide. Having experienced a suicide as a family member, I am instantly taken back to the gut wrenching heartache that follows. My heart hurt for this young life lost, the potential stolen and the family.

It has started an important conversation. One that I hope every parent stops to have. What do you do if/when your child comes out to you? I don’t know that you can ever fully prepare yourself for it. However, Just as we prepare our children for potentially awkward conversations, we need to prepare ourselves. There are moments and words and decisions that we can never get back.

I am convinced that there is really only one right response and it’s remarkably easy to arrive at. No matter what your background, beliefs, race, gender, sexuality et cetera because it’s etched on our hearts and every fiber of our being the moment that child is placed in our arms.

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Hyper Sexual Women and Mental Illness

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I have a hyper sex drive. I’ve had it since before puberty. That might seem strange but I can remember having sexual longing as far back as eight or nine years old. I can remember “making out” with girl friends at that age. It wasn’t until I had kids of my own that I had the slightest hint that this may have been abnormal.

After hearing too many stories of child sexual abuse, I began to wonder if something had happened to me as a child that I was suppressing. Then just over the weekend I was watching ‘Dirty Dancing’ and remembered that I had seen it around the same age. My older cousin had conned our naive grandfather into buying our tickets. When I remembered that, I thought, “OhMyGAWD! This is what has been wrong with me my whole life. This movie ruined me!” The dancing, romancing bad boys who were best is bed, the “Nobody puts Baby in the corner” rescue. AHA! This was it!

I began talking to my friends about this theory, to which most agreed that movies have set us up with unrealistic expectations in our relationships. When I explained that I thought my exposure to this specific film at such a young age may have made me hyper sexual and voiced my sexual frustration, I was looked at like an alien. In all of their marriages their husbands are sexually frustrated and they have little to no interest in sex. That didn’t make me feel better.

Upon further examination I realized that while I do have a few other friends who can relate to being hyper sexual, as Im calling it, all of us had one thing in common: mental illness. Diagnosed or not, it was the only common denominator we shared. Except for me, all the others were also victims of child sex abuse.

I just finished a short conversation on this topic with the friend I can share anything with and vice versa. She told me this is probably the number one issue she’s had in every single relationship. Even going in if she says “I have a REALLY high sex drive”, they always say the same thing “Me too, I know what you mean, that’s awesome” and EVERY SINGLE TIME they get annoyed with her because she wants sex all the time. It becomes an issue and they feel emasculated and it usually spirals from there.

So I can conclude that it is normal to have these feelings for any woman with a mental illness and to be a normal woman … sexual suppression and lack of interest?

What then of men and their sexual appetite? Why does it mean there’s a problem when a dude has no sex drive?

Is it just me or is that a double standard?

Is it just a double standard though?
OR Is there a connection between hyper sexual women and mental illness?

The silent epidemic continues

Over the summer, Diva attended a youth church camp.

That sentence contains all the sacred this post will contain.

When we picked her up at after camp the first Friday in July, Diva began to tell us all about her “boyfriend” who we will call Lil John. Being that Diva is all of eleven, this prospect did not delight me, but I am also aware that this is a part of the growing up she must do. I took solace in the fact that Lil John lived some two hours away from us. This would be a long distance, short lived, complication free relationship in my book. I had no idea how wrong I would be.

The first thing that rubbed me wrong about Lil John was that he was asking her to use Snapchat and insisting that this was the only way in which he could talk to her. I, not being born yesterday, allowed her to download it only for the sole purpose of finding another way in which they could communicate. This was accomplished, Snapchat was deleted.

As part of the deal of my kids having technology available to them, they had to sign contracts agreeing to certain rules established by the husband and I. Rules such as, I will not show other people my private parts, I will not access pornography, I will not use social media accounts to bully others, etc, etc. These rules also allow for my husband and I to have the ability to review their phones at anytime without warning. This is not something we do unless we catch wind of a reason. I like my privacy, I want them to have their privacy as well. In an effort to not let this technology run amuck though, it is, dare I say, a necessary evil.

I caught wind of something. I asked Diva for her phone and lo and behold, Lil John was not very boyish, but certainly coy. He was asking my daughter to send pictures of herself that would make him “happy” and detailing lewd ideas he had about the two of them. Remember, my daughter is 11. As luck would have it, the phone rang as I was reviewing these messages and it was Lil John. Lil John and I had words. I was cordial and kept my wits about me despite wanting to say things that no adult should ever utter to or even around a child. Thinking back on my own adolensce, I thought hearing from me would put the fear of God in the boy and that there would be no additional issues. I was also comforted by the fact that my Diva did not appreciate the tone that he took with me and decided that they shold just be friends.

Fast forward…Septemeber. Diva spends the night with her BFF, Hepburn, and husband and I take a much needed break ALONE. A fun night out at a Black Keys concert, a pub or two and crashing at an upper scale, downtown hotel. Just as husband and I are getting into bed to “relax” my phone starts getting text message after text message. BUZZ! BUZZ! BUZZ! BUZZ! right? This doesn’t happen. There is something going on and I must attend to it. Husband, having had a few drinks and not being accustomed to nights on the town, rolls over and falls asleep. I don’t fall asleep, but end up in a nightmare. It’s Diva. She’s upset. The texts details how her and Hepburn decided to prank Lil John. Of course they did. (eyeroll) He apparently went right into mission mode and asked for pictures again. So my genius Diva googles “boobs” and sends him the picture. And then the lewd idea commentary starts again. I ask her to send me the texts. They go like this.

LilJohn: Next year when we go to camp we should have sex
Diva: What? Arent we too young for that? What about the counselors?
LilJohn: We can sneak away. We won’t get caught.
Diva: My Mom would kill me. Besides I dont want a baby. I want to go to college first.
LilJohn: The p has sperm in it so the v can make a baby.
LilJohn: How about a blowjob
Diva: Whats that? I don’t know anything about it.
LilJohn: The p goes in your mouth
Diva: WHAT? Gross. Im not doing that!
LilJohn: No. The penis goes in your mouth. Only sperm comes out.
LilJohn: *picture down pants*

This is when Diva stopped talking to him and texted me. Of course, I’m livid at this point. So I send LilJohn a text message telling him that I had tried to extend him some grace and allow him to redeem himself by staying in contact with my daughter but that he had disrespected her and myself for the last time and “Do. Not. EVER. text my daughter again. Ever.”

I didn’t sleep that night. Not sleeping is a BIG no-no because of my autoimmune complications. It just sends my body into hyper-hositle mode. My mind is racing. It isn’t sitting right with me. I know boys will be boys, I have a couple myself, but THIS isn’t normal. So, why would a boy do this? Something in this situation is amiss. After not biting my nails for over a year, I gnaw them down. Thinking…stewing. My gut is turning over. This situation begins to make me think of all the child sex abuse issues I’ve come across. While I’m up, I see one of my friends is logged on Facebook at work. He happens to work for the sex crimes unit in a police department. I send him a text asking if I can talk to him about something and vaguely descrobe the situation and he calls me right away. He tells me to go with my gut. With no way to get ahold of the parents, he recommends that I file a report with the police department where we live. I instruct Diva to turn off her phone and give it to Hepburn’s mother after also explaining the situation to her because now her own daughter has been exposed to this mess.

When Diva got home Sunday morning, husband and I decided that it was important to sit down and talk about what had happened before we did anything else. We needed all the details and I needed to check her phone. I immediately looked to see if the location services were on his texts and thankfully they were. This was the only way I was able to obtain his address and possibly track down the parents. I blocked LilJohn from contacting her and sent everything from her phone to my own and deleted it. Within about an hour, I get a message via Voxer from a number I don’t recognize and sure as shit, it’s LilJohn. This kid has cajohnes.

LilJohn: What did I do
Me: *forwards all text messages that he sent Diva the night before*
Me: Do not contact me and especially my daughter anymore.
—silence—
I mean really? What is there to say at this point?
But, when I thought this nightmare was finally nearing it’s conclusion, it got worse. WAY worse.

When husband and I sat down with Diva it became painfully obvious that she was afraid. There was more to this story. When I explained that I was going to have to contact the police and that they may want to talk to her just to hear her said of the story she broke down crying and ran into my arms.

Diva: Mommy, what if they get mad at me and I get in trouble.
Me: Baby, this isn’t your fault. You didn’t do anything wrong. You tried to be his friend and he was very inappropriate. That is wrong.
Diva: But what if he lies and says I did do something.
Me: Hey. I believe you. We’re on your side. You don’t need to worry about anything, ok? Just make sure that you tell us anything that you can rememeber so that we know about it, ok?
Diva: I have to tell you something … *sobbing*

My heart dropped.

Diva: When I was at camp with Lil John and because I was his girlfriend he always wanted to touch.
Me: Well you told me about him always wanting to hold your hand. Did you guys kiss or something? Or did he ask to touch you somewhere else?
Diva: He asked me if he could touch my boobs, but I wouldn’t let him. I told him that was wrong.
Me: Well it’s not wrong but…
Diva: But for my age…
Me: Right. Exactly. You’re so smart.
Diva: But when we were in the pool, he grabbed my hand and put it in his swim trunks. I got away from him because the camp counselors saw him just with his hands near me and we’re not allowed to touch and grab in the pool so no one drowns or something, but as soon as they went away he tried to do it again and I had to get out of the pool and go back to my cabin to get away from him.
Me: Honey, why didn’t you tell Mommy?
Diva: Because they won’t let us make phone calls
Me: No, I mean, when you got home? When we picked you up from camp you were so happy and excited. Why didn’t you tell me then?
Diva: Because he apologized and I still wanted to be his girlfriend.

It really is amazing how many times your heart can be broken in a lifetime and yet … you survive.

At that point we decided we had no choice but to contact the police. I mean, my daughter is 11 and this is borderline assault. Regardless of the fact that the home address revealed no home number or connected names, it had to be done.

The police officer I spoke to didnt treat me like an overprotective parent. That was what I was expecting. In fact, he referred me to the sheriff’s office in the county where the camp had taken place to file a report there as well while he handled the phone harassment portion. I decided to contact the camp as well prior to contacting the sheriff in the hopes that they could provide me the parent’s contact information, but they couldn’t do that do to privacy laws. Then, after all of this, I filed a report with the sheriff’s department.

Today, I received an email from the sheriff’s department following up on this whole situation and also passing long LilJohn’s mother’s contact information. She was apologizing profusely and wanted to contact me, but … laws. Without wanting to overthink the situation into a frenzy I dialed the number and introduced myself. She broke down in tears. As I suspected, LilJohn had been exposed in the worst way. He was another child victim of sexual assault. The story is eerily similar to my Pickle. I knew this mother’s pain. I knew LilJohn’s pain. Then, we were crying together. Me apologizing for her pain and hurt. Her apologizing that her son had drawn my daughter into the mix. Every ill feeling I had for this boy was gone. All I wanted to do was take this mother into my arms and reassure her with solidarity that she would get through this.

I told her our story. I offered to make every resource I have had available to me, available to her and I told her I would be there for her…and I will.

Child sexual abuse is a silent epidemic in this country. It’s victims are shamed into silence and the supporters are too busy being of support to the victims to be advocates. Once your eyes are opened to it, you see it everywhere. Someone will start to tell you something about their childhood and you see the memories comes and the eyes gloss over. You know.

I don’t know why this happens. I can’t even begin to pretend to understand how it happens…how a grown person can look at a child in a sexualized way. I certainly look at little girl’s Halloween costumes and think we have some sort of mental deficit as a whole, but other than that, I can’t figure it out. I can’t understand.

I just survive.