Having My Words Stolen

I’ve written since I was about 8-years old, journaled since I got my first diary on my 8th birthday. You know, the kind with the tiny lock on it?

locked

When I was 11, I let Suzette read my diary. Stupidest thing I ever did. In there, I wrote that I’d tried smoking and she went and told my mom who let me know if she ever caught me, I would be eating a pack in front of the family.

cigarettes

I stopped writing in a journal for a couple of years, but when I was 15, an older friend said I had a lot to say and gave me a lovely hard and cloth-covered journal with no lines in it and an amazing Japanese-inspired cover.

letter
Mine looked similar to this picture.

I wrote in it a lot, wrote about my boyfriends, my gay boyfriend (when I was 16-years old), going to the gay bar (when I was 17-years old) and sleeping with my first girlfriend Kelly (at 18-years old). By then, that one book had turned into 2 and then into 3.

My dad had a new girlfriend and, when I was 17-years old, I came home from school one day and my Japanese journal was laying on the dining room table. I was horrified. She had gone into my room, snooped to find my journal and then read it aloud to my dad. Their excuse was they were worried about my going out all the time and didn’t like my friends.

I felt incredibly violated.

risingcairn_2
Rising Cairn, Celeste Roberge

I hysterically called my mom who came and got me. I gathered all my journals and put them in a box and carried them with me, getting into mom’s car and going to see La Cage aux Folles with her and her boyfriend. It is one of the funniest movies ever, but I sobbed through the whole thing, my mom wrapping an arm protectively around my shoulder as she laughed and laughed.

la cage

I grew up in a house where words were sacred. Privacy was maintained. None of us would have considered reading another’s words/letters/journals without being given specific permission. To have my father be a party to that betrayal was horrific. It was the first moment I hated the woman he eventually married. (She betrayed me and my siblings many more times after that.)

sacred2

Mom kept all my old journals (I knew she would never even take a peek inside any of them) and I carried my Japanese one and the one I was writing in with me everywhere. I never left anything home for them to see or read.

Once I moved out, I felt relief in having my words back with me.

Many years later, after I married and had 3 kids, I came out as a lesbian with my (now) former partner of 28 years. My first husband was crazy mad (as one might expect) and went into our storage unit and found all my old journals and those funly-folded notes from junior high school and tossed them in the Dumpster by our house. It wasn’t until I was packing to move that I learned he had stolen my words and threw them away as trash.

trash

That time, I was heartbroken.

heartbroken
MissPoe, Heartbroken Art

And when the Love of My Life, my partner of 28 years, sent me from Germany to San Diego to live with his mom (me and the 4 kidlets), I wrote him every day. He, someone who has never written a letter he wasn’t forced to, wrote me about once a week or so. I cherished those letters, knowing how rare they were. I kept them neatly in a shoebox under my bed.

shoebox
Haley Fischer

When he broke up with me a couple of months later, I took the beloved shoebox and put it on the headboard of my bed, touching it and crying often. All those words of love and honoring our commitment to each other… all just memories.

A year later, I finally got up the nerve to read the precious words he’d written to me. I’d mourned the entire year, face on the carpet listening to Melissa Etheridge sing her pain-filled songs directly to me, endless tears soaking the fibers on the floor as well as throughout my body.

melissa

I took the shoebox one night after the kids were asleep, sat on the floor and began opening the envelopes.

Inside the first one was a blank piece of paper. Confused, I opened the next one. Two pieces of paper, folded exactly how my love’s letters had been. Realization began to set in as I began opening more and more of the envelopes, finding blank pages inside. Every single letter, gone… replaced with blank sheets of papers.

Notebook paper background

I called the person I still loved so very much and asked who would do such a thing?! He said he would call me right back.

It was his mother.

She told him she did it because she thought I might publish the letters one day and they would ruin his life if people knew he was gay (he was presenting as a woman then).

As badly as my heart was broken when he left the kids and I, I was 1000 times more hurt with his words being burned in the fireplace. He knew how important words were to me, having held me as I recounted the stories of others reading and then stealing and dumping my words. Regarding his mother, he apologized dozens of times, but there was no fixing it. (Tears are falling even as I write this.)

paper_burning

When we got back together a few years after that, the first thing I insisted on was his mother apologizing to me. She did. It did not remove one iota of the pain that still lived inside of me.

When I have told this story, people point out: but you blog! I have considered this truth and even worked on it in therapy.

I am thinking that I blog because I get to choose what comes out to the world. I get to share my thoughts. I have control over the experience of who reads my journals.

blog

I do not censor much, my thoughts fall out of my fingers without much planning. So it isn’t like I am not sharing deep, intimate details with you all; I am. But, I feel empowered that it is me who hits the Publish button and not someone who has no right to my thoughts, feelings or words.

And that feels magnificent.

free
Breaking Free, mdderouin

Biliary Obstruction

(This was written the first morning of NaNoWriMo. I was dreaming about writing so thought I might as well get up and write! 4:00am)

I have an off again, on again Biliary Obstruction. Biliary Obstructions are rarely like this, from what my Liver doctor says.

Apparently, because I went about 10-12 years before getting my gallbladder out, I seem to have a gallstone stuck in my bile duct. What is weird, though, is it moves around, sometimes blocking the duct and sometimes not.

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Every time I pee, I look in the toilet to see what color my urine is. If it is clear, I can breathe a sigh of relief. If it is darker, like it is today, I get worried the gallstone is moving to block the bile duct again.

pee comparison

Why this matters is because when the stone is wedged in, I get really sick. I feel horrid, can hardly sit, but instead, lay curled on the bed in horrid pain, alternating between constant nausea and periodic vomiting. I also have a fever and that makes me feel terrible on top of it all. Twice, I have had incredible itching, so bad I was using scissors on my back to scratch, finally going to the ER when I saw blood on my sheets from cutting myself (accidentally) with the scissors.

Itching in Primary Biliary Cirrhosis

Then, after that specific episode, the obstruction crazily vanished over a 12-hour period and I felt perfectly normal again. It was bizarre! Everything I read on Biliary Obstruction said SURGERY, but here I was, feeling fantastic and peeing clear again.

A few weeks ago, the obstruction began… my pee turned rust colored first, then my poop turned the color of white clay, then the nausea and stomach ache set in, then the vomiting and fever. I called the Liver doc and got an appointment 2 weeks hence.

Then, after 3 weeks of this, the obstruction left again and by the time I saw the doctor, I was feeling normal. I was able to ask two main questions:

Why was this happening? And When do I go to the hospital?

He explained the stone moving back and forth.

Retained stone in a bile duct. In some cases, a gallstone will remain in your common bile duct after gallbladder surgery. This can block the flow of bile into your small intestine and result in pain, fever, nausea, vomiting, bloating, and jaundice soon after surgery. You may need an additional procedure to remove gallstones that are retained in your common bile duct.

No, there was nothing I could do to change its movement… no positioning, no food choices, no drinking extra water. It was completely random. Sheesh!

He said to go to the hospital when I had nausea and vomiting and a fever.

I looked at him and asked, “That’s it? I don’t wait until I am itching to death?” He turned and looked at me and said by the time I am itching I am near liver failure. “Do NOT wait until you are itching.”

Well, alright… I had a plan!

Part of why I got the new bed was for when I am sick with the Biliary Obstruction. After I had the gallbladder removed in February 2017, I remained feeling horrible, even worse than before it was removed, and it wasn’t until the discovery of the obstruction that I learned why.

So why don’t they just remove the gallstone? Because I have to be symptomatic before insurance will pay for it to be taken out.

I have to wait at least one more time to feel yucky before they will do something about it.

Until then, I look at my pee and wait.

Who Is “45”?

“45” is what I call POTUS, the 45th president of the United States, that horrid man who squats in the White House tweeting (LYING) about random topics to divert our attention from the fucked up bullshit he does that will, PLEASE GODDESS, get him impeached.

crapfarm

Pick a Cause, Any Cause

(For some amazingly strange reason, this post cannot be formatted correctly, no matter if I work in WYSIWYG or HTML; I have tried for 2 days to fix it, to no avail. I apologize for the bizarre lack of paragraph breaks/doubling of paragraph breaks.)

I have a theory (that has surely already been discussed in other places) that the new administration has an entire strategy to create as much turmoil as possible, knowing there would be protests (because the Women’s March on Washington was planned well in advance of the Inauguration), then seeing even more protests with each Executive Order, their idea took on greater and greater maniacal glee.

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artist, Darwin Leon, Chaos After The News

Piling On of Causes

Suddenly, there are causes to the left, causes to the right, causes above, below, front and center. People are flooding into the streets to protest the lack of women’s rights, Muslims being banned from our borders and white supremecists wanting to speak at colleges.

There are even more protests, not pounding the pavement, but striking the keyboard or dialing the phone. Some, like the scientists, have found even more creative ways of protesting bans, denials and dissolutions. And others are crazed by the potential nominees for various posts in the administration or losing their Obamacare, incessantly calling & emailing their representatives to voice their opinions.

 Folks who have never protested a thing in their lives are making signs and finding their way to join hoards of others who have also never found themselves in a mass of protesters.
An aside: In a piece about an ACT UP workshop, this really important point was made:
You learn activism by doing it, they said. One of the main obstacles to activism is the idea that you have to be an expert to do it —

Spinning Plates

finding_peace_amongst_chaos_by_jessica_joy
artist, Jessica Joy – Finding Peace Amongst the Chaos

Because there are so many causes to fight, it can be challenging to protest everything one feels strongly about. Surely, the administration is having a field day cheering that fact.

I see people in my own life swirling around, grasping at causes willy-nilly, protesting 1 one day and another, 2 days later. This frenetic energy cannot possibly be maintained. Speaking up, living in crisis mode, changing one’s life patterns, even for a short time can exhaust someone, causing Outrage Fatigue.

Madison Wilburs says it perfectly in “On Outrage Fatigue“:

Every morning, we wake up to a fresh Trumpian outrage, as the orange one’s fat little thumbs have tapped out the latest vitriol via Twitter before we lift our weary heads off of the keyboards we fell asleep on because we were up past midnight planning how to block his Cabinet, or save ACA, or get to Burr and Tillis, or, respond to Russian hacking. Is it any wonder that some of us are experiencing outrage fatigue?

As the Day of His Ascendence (formerly known as Inauguration Day) approaches, the more the sense of impending doom and inevitability grows. After the election, outrage and disbelief propelled many into passionate, but ultimately quixotic pursuits. Flipping the electors. The Jill Stein recount. As those prospects faded away, and the names and hideous bios of Trump’s Cabinet appointees came out, many geared up to protest and block that odious pack of cronies, capitalists, and cranks from running the country. Lists of committees were drawn up, scripts written, action plans mobilized. The GOP then ganged up on ACA, as Trump fanned the flames. No, no, protest that! many online cried. Russian allegations exploded; Trump kept tweeting. Crooked media! Overrated Streep! All-talk John Lewis!

los-angeles-anti-trump-protest

Outrage Fatigue

As sure as I am sitting here, the White House and even much of Congress are devising ways to wreak havoc on America and betting “libtards” will be out en masse protesting within a couple of hours. They are counting on it. So far, we are not disappointing them.
But with the passage of time, people become numb and mute, collapsing with exhaustion, creating  an open, wide and clear, path for the “president’s” coup to complete itself. (And I do believe we are in the middle of a coup!)
Long-time protesters each speak about outrage fatigue, previously called burnout, in their stories. ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power), ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) movement and even the LGBT(QAI+) (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Asexual, Intersex, etc.) all find themselves teaching younger generations how to avoid the outrage fatigue that comes with long battles, ones we are surely just beginning with this “president.”
actup_demonstrators

What I Can Do!

I have Bipolar Disorder and struggle with depression and must be hyper-vigilant to not become overwhelmed with sadness and pain, something that’s been quite a challenge the last 6 months or so, increasing each day. I’m also physically disabled, unable to go out into the streets to protest.

But I can write.

Since the Inauguration, I have been sitting back and pondering… considering what cause resonated most with me, which one I would be most effective battling.

What bubbled to the top was Censorship.
As a writer/blogger, I’ve been censored several times, from Blogger slamming my blog shut for having nude women (giving birth and breastfeeding!) to my midwifery licensing organization strong-arming me to “edit” one of the most important blog posts I’ve ever written. (I did and deleted the original, something that still brings tears 9 years later.)
Government censorship has always made me crazy, but it’s been over there… you know, in other countries.
Until this “president” brought it front and center in the United States.
I could enumerate so many examples, but the loudest and most obnoxious recently came from “president steve bannon” when, on January 26, 2017, in the New York Times, he said:
“The media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while….”
You can imagine the response.
From shock to hysterical laughter, CNN’s Jake Tapper gave the best answer of all; an emphatic, “NO.”

My Strategy to Avoid Outrage Fatigue

I have chosen to focus on that one strength of mine… writing… and the topic that most resonates… Censorship.

liberty

This way, I will be able to pace myself. During the couple of weeks with this new strategy, I’m finding myself able to see-and-toss the non-censorship posts, news pieces and videos, but am seeing, quickly and clearly, the pieces that relate to me specifically. This prevents news overload, which pulls me down towards depression. It is, sometimes, challenging to ignore the information on the periphery, but as I do, I find myself more and more at peace.
By focusing on my life-long writing skills as my major protesting mechanism, I am able to keep my interest level high and will have long-term focus on the censorship issue.

Many Hands…

guanyin
Guan Yin (觀世音菩薩), the Chinese Bodhisattva/Goddess of Compassion, Mercy and Kindness. I have “known” Guan Yin for about 3 decades working in birth, she is the Goddess who overlooks childbirth. When I remembered her “thousand arms” (in some depictions), she was the perfect representation of how I visualize the community (protestors/protectors around the USA) working to save our country’s liberties & laws… with compassion, mercy and kindness… for, and with, each other.
One last strategy is for me to connect with other writers, especially those who focus on censorship. Companionship fosters support and support can manifest in many ways including encouragement, reminders of the mission at hand and backing each other up when conflict gets nasty.
I’m hoping that as I send this out over the airwaves, it will find other like-minded people, but especially writers. I could use the support and suspect you could, too.
LET’S WRITE!

My Inner Islamophobia

I have often said here that I have a Muslim (Internet) lover/boyfriend, my cub. With all these horrific Islamophobic things happening in America, I’ve seen my saying this in a totally different light.

fobiareal

You know how it sounds when someone says, “I have a black friend/boyfriend/partner,” and are saying in parenthesis, “So I can’t be racist,”… how racist that sounds… how racist it is? It is the same with my making loud declarations of having a Muslim boyfriend. I am clearly professing, “See me? I’m not Islamophobic, but I am a really progressive liberal atheist who can sidle up to a person that much of the world wants to destroy,” making it All About Me.

I find that really disgusting.

Islam

I know very little about Islam and discussing it with my cub has taken us into really uncomfortable territory. We’ve pretty much abandoned the topic because my atheism is so contrary to his deep beliefs. I have Googled and read about Islam, sharia law, the different ways to be Muslim, Islam in the United States versus in mainly-Muslim countries and, the really tough part, Islamic extremists and why violence is so important to their causes.

modislam

Islam is an incredibly complex and varied religion, much more so than Christianity or Judaism, both religions I know and understand pretty well, having been both in this life. I’ve been told that it can take many years and a plethora of scholars to explain the Qur’an. How does a heathen learn about Islam when it is such a pain in the ass to understand?

Just looking up “Moderate vs. Radical Islam” images for this piece brings intense emotions for me because the hate in the photos and comics are so, so despicable. (Is my cub considered a moderate? A liberal?) I don’t even know what to believe anymore. Is Islam a cruel religion that does not delineate between a Muslim here or in Syria? Are all American Muslims really potential terrorists given the right circumstances and their anger level at how they are treated by Americans? (This is, I have found, one of the most common beliefs and it is excruciating for me to even utter it because I know how my cub is going to hear it.)

moderate_muslim
One of the nicer comics I could find.

For fuck’s sake, how brainwashed am I? Where did it come from? Islam is a brand new experience in my life comparatively. The horrible things I’ve learned have all been based on violence against others… against the LGBTQIA+ communities, women, American journalists, random strangers who’ve made life difficult for the killers… really skewed pictures and stories that have clearly imprinted in my mind.

understand

How do I counter these negative beliefs? I am not sure where exactly to look because the information on the Internet is widely contradictory and, I have learned, laced with radical ideas the murderers use to recruit marginalized Muslims. When I’ve asked my cublet for help, things devolve into major discomfort so we just agree to let the topic go.

I’m lost, but I don’t want to be anymore.

no-bigotry

When Suicide Seems the Right Choice

A woman being sent back to Chile instead of being let into the United States tried to kill herself on Friday at JFK airport in New York City. She was found and Narcan administered, saving her life. She is at a hospital in stable condition.

Airports

Today, folks from the countries that evil man listed, were detained at airports around the world, many sent back from whence they came. Families were separated, some people arbitrarily allowed into the United States while others sent away.

Thankfully, around the country, people came out in droves and protested at major airports.

Lawyers also came out, pro bono, to help folks get into the country, stationing themselves at all the major airports and working, sitting on floors, in fast food restaurants and wherever they could find to help those that needed it so badly. Goddess bless lawyers!

lawyers-lax
Immigration Lawyers at LAX.

Then the ACLU initiated the fight against the executive order and “a federal judge granted an emergency stay Saturday to bar deportation of people with valid visas who landed in the U.S., following chaos and detentions after President Donald Trump’s executive order related to immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries.”

Absorbing the Pain

Today is only Day 8 of that evil man’s reign in the US and I already feel immense despair. I do not watch the TV news or even look at video of the news on the computer. I get all my information from Facebook and Tumblr feeds, reading the articles posted there. I am not supposed to listen to the news… my psychiatrist and therapist have both forbidden it because of how it affects me.

As the day wore on, I felt more and more despondent, falling to a very low place about 10pm. I talked to my Muslim lover, each of us sharing our own sadnesses… and then feelings of hope at how things were playing out around the world as the hours passed.

david-kessler
artist, David Kessler

I’ve had some really horrid thoughts about that man in charge of our country today. I am not a violent person, do not visualize mean things happening to anyone, but out of nowhere, really ghastly thoughts manifested all day long. I tried not to judge my random thoughts, but just allowed them to come and go without holding onto them too desperately. (A Mindfulness skill.)

My Own Despair

What was disconcerting were my own feelings of not being connected to my body, my mind floating around without having much control over it. I wrote “Immigration Ban Horror” trying to get some of the pain out of my body, but the distress actually grew instead of diminished.

I’ve thrown up several times, wanting to purge the awful feelings inside.

When I was talking to my cub (my Muslim love), I confessed I have been having thoughts of such despair I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to make it through the night.

sadbath

My cublet was very loving and gentle with me, reminding me of all the reasons I must stay here on the earth (kids, grandkids, my mama, for him… and to write). Just sharing with him released enough of the pressure, the near-compulsion, that the urge has passed.

(And yes, I know enough to go to the hospital if it gets too bad again.)

What distresses me is I am not even Muslim, a refugee or someone who is being targeted with being kept out of the United States, yet my emotions have been so strong.

I can so relate to the woman from Chile who tried to kill herself on Friday; I understand her desperation intensely.

I need to figure out how to moderate these feelings or else just get off the computer altogether for the next 4 years.

Helplessness

I feel helpless to do anything. The only thing I can do is write and most of what I am writing is news already out there or my responses to the news. I don’t feel like I have anything new to offer, nothing of real substance, just my emotions as I react to it all.

writers1

My cub said my writing has joined the chorus of support for Muslims and disdain for the horrid man in charge, that my voice is important to the message. That was soothing.

Exhausted

Writing has drained me. I am going to go lay down and try and sleep. I have Hamilton on (it’s been on all night) and I’ll probably leave it on… I love it so much!

Hopefully tomorrow will be better.

thinking nasty thoughts about that evil person in DC that would make tomorrow better

Immigration Ban Horror

How can this be happening? Just when you think nothing can get any worse with that horrible, evil man who is our president, he descends deeper into a hell the world has to cope with.

Of course, those fleeing torture and death… they definitely have it worse than many of us… directly affected by the sweeping executive order that slams the door of salvation in their faces.

Does This Make You Sick? Cry? Want to DO Something?

dead-child
3-year old Aylan Kurdi died fleeing Syria.
child-syria
5-year old Omran Daqneesh

Tonight at JFK Airport

extralarge

How can these horrible “christian” people and lawmakers turn their backs on human suffering? I cannot wrap my head around any kind of logic they could conjure. Pro-life? Fucking pigs. What about the children who are dying waiting to enter our country? The women being raped and tortured in refugee camps? Men, hopeless, feeling useless and powerless.

I wish I had answers. I suppose letting our representatives know how we feel? They don’t give one shit. No one has the cajones to stand up against that fascist dictator we now have “leading” our country.

Thank you Canada, Germany and France for stepping up and saying they will accept those trapped in American red tape. Strangling red tape.

My heart feels like it is going to fall out on the floor, I am in so much distress over what is going on. All I can do is write my feelings, trying to see through the tears, knowing I am not alone dealing with this disgusting, horrid man.

heart-f-hearts