Back in Therapy

This all started when I had to get a new doctor because mine was no longer doing teledoc or Telehealth or whatever it’s called. I finally found one, and he got me in to see a new therapist. I was dreading the first appointment – you know, going through everything that happened and why you’re there and whatnot. It’s exhausting. I came home ate dinner and fell asleep on the couch.

The thing is, despite it being exhausting, I felt like it actually went really good. As far as I can remember, the first appointment – you don’t actually get anything out of it, just giving the therapist all your background information. This first appointment, however, went quite the opposite. I feel like not only did we go through the background information (the difficult parts and the boring parts), but I really felt like I got something out of it, you know? She helped me some. She gave me a name of someone to look up who had interesting and helpful views for me in my situation.

I feel like we really clicked. Normally, or at least in my experience, the therapist doesn’t talk about themselves at all – which I completely understand. But she gave me some information about herself (only as in how it pertained to me in the context of what we were discussing). It made her seem like a real person and made me feel like how I “experience the world” (for lack of a better phrase) isn’t so alien at all. It’s one thing to know that everyone goes through something, and there’s someone who’s gone through the same thing I went through, but it’s something else to have that proverbial “someone” be a real person that you actually interact with. It was a really nice feeling. It helped me to think that I may not be as horrible a person as I think I am.

Bi Pride?

So I’ve been asked things along the line of, “Okay, so you’re not straight, do you have to go around being proud of it and shoving it in everyone’s face?”

Answer: yes

Explanation: It’s not exactly about shoving it in everyone’s face. It’s not my entire identity, just like your “straightness” isn’t your whole identity. The point of it is for those of us who can, be open and show that there’s nothing wrong with being who you are for those who can’t show who they really are. It’s about making it normal and making homophobia and transphobia not normal and unnatural. For those of us who can be open with our sexuality, we have to stand up for those who can’t be open. Our openness about it, our pride about it is a privilege. We have to exercise our privilege to give a hand up to those who don’t have it. Just like white privilege should be used as a power for good and help those around us and educate others to get rid of the ignorance. Ignorance breeds fear and hate. That goes for race, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender identity.

Where I’ve Been

So many things have happened since the last time I was on here. My grandmother has health issues and is going in for surgery. My dog had to have surgery and is still recovering from it. I had to scramble to find a new doctor which took a surprisingly long amount of time and caused a lot of serious anxiety. So that was fun. Right now I’m so tired, I have no doubt that I’m missing something, if not more than one thing, that has happened to keep me from the blog.

Anyway, so many things have just piled on top of me that this blog has had to take a back seat. Hopefully that will change soon. Until then, I’ll see you around! (I might be able to keep up my Friday posts…we’ll see!)

Stop Telling Me What I Want!

One day when you meet the right man, you will.

You say that now, but later on you’ll change your mind.

Your biological clock is ticking.

…all when someone hears that I don’t want to have children.

It’s not that I don’t like kids. I mean, I’m not particularly fond of most of them, but I love my nephews to death. But seeing my siblings raising them, seeing the issues that they have to deal with, it all just reassures me that I am not meant to have children.

I’m not patient enough. I’m not selfless enough. I’m just not enough to raise a child full time. I mean, I can babysit, but long-term, I think it would be a real struggle for me. Not to mention that I don’t particularly want to pass on my genes or my mental issues. Having PTSD, I just know that my paranoia would mess with a kid’s brain – being constantly on edge, hovering over them, watching their every move to make sure that nothing bad ever happens to them.

Also, things like tantrums and potty-training. Not my thing. Changing diapers for years? No, thank you. My mom did the math; between the three of us kids, she was changing diapers for seven years. SEVEN YEARS?!? No way. That’s too much poo for me.

So, thanks, but no thanks. If I ever feel like I want kids, I’ll adopt or do foster care or something. But I doubt I’ll ever even do that because I really don’t feel that urge to want to become a mother. And I never want to be told I’m making a mistake, I haven’t met the right man… blah, blah, blah.

It’s almost as if my identity as a woman is tied to whether or not I have children or that my worth/value is whether or not I have children. But it’s not! So stop asking people why they don’t have children! It’s a personal choice and oftentimes it’s for a personal reason that just because you asked, doesn’t mean you’re entitled to an answer. Deal with it.

Family Etiquette 101

Do not talk politics with family!

I found out there’s an extended family member who is pro-life. Now, I know that everyone is entitled to their opinion. I think I’ve said on here before that I won’t talk about politics because it’s a hot-button issue. But the thing is, if you just never talk about the hard things, nothing will change. (Not that I think my little blog will change anything, but I still feel like I need to say where I stand and why.)

I am personally pro-choice. I’m a Christian, so in certain circumstances I don’t agree with abortion. But certain cases like when the mother’s life is in danger or the child’s is necessary. Or if it’s a child of incest or rape. But no matter what – it is a personal choice. It is a woman’s choice. It shouldn’t be decided in politics just like elective surgeries (e.g. breast augmentation, liposuction, fillers, etc.) shouldn’t be decided in politics. It is a woman’s personal choice.

I don’t think people who are pro-life are thinking about anything other than their religious beliefs and imposing them on other people – which is also wrong! I’m a Christian but I’m not going to go up to someone and tell them they’re going to hell for being a Hindu, Buddhist, pagan, Wiccan, etc. That isn’t up to me. God is the judge, not us. And he judges us based on our decisions. Decisions that are ours and not dictated to us by the government.

So, Roe v Wade, what did it do? To put it simply, it was a decision of the Supreme Court in 1973 that said the Constitution of the United States protects against a pregnant’s woman’s liberty to choose to have an abortion without excessive government restriction (here).

What does overturning it do? One, obviously, it takes away women’s choice to have an abortion. This means more women are having children, many of whom cannot afford to have a child. The average cost of a vaginal birth is $13,024. This is the price with no problems in delivery. If a C-section is required or chosen, without any complications, the average cost of a birth is $22,646. The average household income of the average American woman is $50,982. This is the average income – not everyone lives on this kind of income. Many people live month-to-month, minimum wage jobs. And these women are having children, having to pay the costs I reference above. Those are the average prices with no complications – many have complications. They have to pay for ambulance rides. Not to mention the cost of raising a child! There is little assistance for these women once they have the child, but people who are pro-life aren’t considering this or they simply don’t care. I believe most of them are imposing their religious beliefs on others (and a majority of them being Christian – which in my opinion, is not a good look for us).

Unborn babies can experience pain at 20 weeks gestational age. This is where things get tricky. I think maybe if they can give some kind of pain killer to the fetus, an abortion might be okay.

In 2008, 21.6 million unsafe (i.e. illegal) abortions were estimated to occur. This caused the death of approximately 47,000 deaths of women. There are so many statistics in that link, you should really read/skim the article.

Now, I found out a member of my mother’s family is pro-life (also pro-gun with a gun safe so heavy and large they had to reinforce the floor beneath it). This sent me on a rant about how unsafe it would be to make abortion illegal. And there is so much more information now – about specific states and their laws.

Okay, my ranting about this is over. I’m done. But seriously, if you’re not a woman – you don’t get to tell me what to do with my body. If you’re a different religion than me, you don’t get to dictate what I do or not do. My life is my life and no one else’s. My business is mine and mine alone. So stand up. Even if you’re a man. Speak up. Call your local senators, politicians, whoever. Call. Go to marches. Speak up. It’s about equal rights.

Isolation vs Solitude

Solitude: the quality or state of being alone or remote from society; a lonely place (such as the desert)

Isolate: to set apart from others; to select from among others, especially to separate from another substance so as to obtain pure or in a free state; being alone; an individual socially withdrawn or removed from society

Solitude lets the enormity of our brainscape roam free. solitude allows our most sensitive feelings and memories and self-judgments to surface. Solitude frees us from what psychiatric science calls the spotlight effect: the tendency that we have in public to overestimate the attention others pay to our accomplishments, our errors, our appearance, and the words that come out of our mouths. Solitude unshackles us from the compulsion (for some, an addiction) to curate and display our lives on social media, thus allowing our interactions with ourselves, others, and the natural world to be entirely what they are in themselves, not superimposed upon an artificial narrative for which we seek validation and approval. Solitude allows our brains to form interconnected neural root strands beyond those we typically utilize.

Rooted: Life at the Crossroads of Science, Nature, and Spirit by Lyanda Lynn Haupt

My whole life I have always preferred solitude. Maybe that was part of my mental health issues, but even so. When I was growing up, I don’t remember ever having people spend the night at my house. I don’t remember going to anyone’s house to spend the night. My birthday is in the middle of summer so I never had friends from school for my birthday party. It never bothered me either. I didn’t mind it. My birthday is two days after my sister’s so for many years we shared parties. For even more years we were always with family. (I know that sounds pathetic probably, but at the time I really didn’t mind or feel bad about it.)

It is important to distinguish between positive solitude and unwanted isolation. To be beneficial, solitude must be willingly chosen, and there has to be an out-the option of returning to societal life if needed or wanted. The effects of chronic social isolation are grim, including a 26 percent higher mortality rate for people isolated from human company due to life circumstances than those who live with a modicum of human company

Rooted: Life at the Crossroads of Science, Nature, and Spirit by Lyanda Lynn Haupt

The thing is, I was okay with solitude. But now after so much solitude, it’s turned into isolation. During the pandemic, it’s been nice for me because I’m lucky in my situation. I don’t have to go to work. I did online schooling. I still live with my parents so I don’t worry about groceries. I know I’m lucky. I know I am, but it didn’t turn out so well for me because I never had to go out, so now my anxiety is worse. It’s a struggle for me to go outside. That is not good for someone who wants to move away for graduate school for my masters. I have to be able to get out and go places. I know that I’m an introvert though, so even as I force myself to go out, I have to remember to give myself permission and space to be in a positive, healthy solitude.

Finally Coming Out

Pride Month started to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in Manhattan. It started out as just a march on June 28, 1970 – the anniversary of the the Stonewall Uprising – but pretty quickly spread to the entire month of June. The Stonewall Uprising started like a typical night – a police raid on a gay bar. What was different this time was that the gay patrons fought back! LGBT History Month is in October.

I’m sure you’re familiar with the acronym LGBT. But there are other variations of this acronym. LGBTQ, LGBTQIA+, LGBTQIA2S+. So what do all those letters mean?

L is for Lesbian – a homosexual woman

G is for Gay – homosexual (usually specifically about men)

B is for Bisexual – sexually attracted not exclusively to people of one particular gender; attracted to both men and women

T is for (1)Transgender, (2)Trans, or (3)Transsexual – (1) denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex; (2) denoting or relating to a person whose sense of personal identity and gender does not correspond with their birth sex; (3) a transgender person, especially one whose bodily characteristics have been altered through surgery or hormone treatment to bring them into alignment with their gender identity

Q is for (1)Queer, (2)Questioning – (1) denoting or relating to a sexual or gender identity that does not correspond to established ideas of sexuality and gender, especially heterosexual norms; (2) the process of a person determining their sexual orientation and/or gender identity

I is for Intersex – a person born with a combination of male and female biological traits; a general term used for a variety of conditions in which a person is born with reproductive or sexual anatomy that doesn’t seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male

A is for (1)Asexual, (2)Allies – (1) a person who doesn’t experience sexual attraction; (2) a person who is not LGBT but who actively supports the LGBT community

2S is for 2 Spirit – a third gender found in some Native American cultures, often involving birth-assigned men or women taking on the identities and roles of the opposite sex; an umbrella term across American Indian and First Nations cultures for a person who embodies both male and female spirits within them

+ is for – used to signify all of the gender identities and sexual orientations that are not specifically covered by the other initials (pansexual, demisexual, agender, gender fluid, non-binary, polyamorous, sapiosexual, etc.)

This post is to give a small taste and explanation about what Pride Month is. I live in the south, so there’s not anything done for Pride month where I live specifically – nothing that I’m aware of anyway. But there’s something else.

I’m bisexual.

I told my mother that for the first time a couple weeks ago. I was so nervous coming out. I felt shame because everything in my culture and society said that what I am is wrong and means I’m going to hell. I didn’t want to upset my mother, stress her out, or hurt her. For a long, long time I said that I was sparing her the potential pain and trauma of knowing that about me, thinking that she would never need to know. But over the past several months, I’ve felt this need to share it with my mother, my best friend, the person I’m closest to. I started to cry before I even got the words out. And what I said in the beginning didn’t even make sense to her.

“Mom, I’m not straight,” I blubbered.

“Straight about what, honey?” she asked, all concerned and worried because I’m crying.

“I’m bi.”

“By what?” I continue to cry. “Oh! You’re not straight.”

That’s how it went. I had had two cups of coffee so my anxiety was through the flipping roof. I was scared. I felt like a child. But my mother took it with grace and love and made me feel secure and safe and loved.

She did add that I was the one who had to tell my father. Which, as of writing this, I have not done so yet.

My mother explained her position like this. God made us all the way we are. We don’t choose who we love, it’s not a choice whether you’re LGBTQIA+ or not. And if God made us that way, why would he not love us? And if he loves us, who are we to judge and condemn someone for being who they are?

It was really hard to not cry at that for me. She explained it so easily, so simply but with so much love in it. I really am very, very lucky. I’m blessed.

Below is a version of the bisexual pride flag. It’s also my phone background now. For Pride Month and in honor of my (at least halfway) coming out of the closet.

Happy Pride Month!

Surprise Party!

So this weekend, my sister and her family went to the beach. They came over to our house for the day. We had cupcakes and birthday presents ready for her oldest son (just turned 3, but when asked, says he’s 4 😂). They get here, and we immediately have cupcakes and open presents, then it was off to the pool for fun and games. They threw some balls around in the pool and this weird squishy frisbee that absorbed the water.

After pool time we made some delicious smash burgers on the grill. I was running back and forth from the grill to the kitchen helping my dad grill and my mom with the rest of the food. Back and forth. Back and forth. Back and forth.

The weather was really nice – mostly sunny and warm and the pool water wasn’t cold (not warm either). It was kind of the perfect. My sister and her family were here, so was my brother and his family. We had a full house. Kids were running around everywhere, being wild and funny.

But then after dinner, everyone suddenly vanished. They were all gone from the main room (open floor plan house) and they were quiet. I just put in my headphones and continued to work in my journal. But then they slowly come out of my parents room, walking slowly (to music I couldn’t hear). After noticing them weirdly walking and avoiding my eyes, I notice they’re wearing matching t-shirts! All from the university I went to! Then they tossed me a t-shirt. I slipped it on and followed into another room. There, they’d somehow managed to get in a cake and decorations without me noticing!

We took a family picture together (even the toddlers had matching shirts, it was adorable). We ate cake. And everyone told me how proud they were of me. The truth was I absolutely hated the attention, so I’m glad it wasn’t a bigger party with more people. It was actually really sweet and nice. I also got presents! I got some candy from my parents, a shirt from my sister. I also got a book I’ve been thinking about getting! The Night and its Moon by Piper CJ. I’m reading it now – devouring it really. I love it!

Anyway, it was a great day! I hope y’all all are having a great Memorial Day weekend!

Honey and Hiking

The other day I went hiking with just my dad through the state park that’s near our house. It’s usually a nice hike (if you have bug spray), but this time we didn’t have bug spray. It also happened to be the worst time of the year for these biting flies. It was horrible.

There’s my snuggle-buddy Cammie looking out over Beaver Pond.

Despite the bugs attacking constantly, it was a nice hike. It was very hot and very sunny. But a little easier to bear in the shade of the trees.

My dad was working (from home because of COVID) and he was getting work calls and I know he had a lot of work to do. I didn’t realize this until we had already left the house and entered the park. He really didn’t have the time to go on a morning hike with me. But he’s been trying to encourage me to go out more and I’ve been trying to get out more. Thanks to my PTSD and anxiety of various causes, I’ve developed agoraphobia – which is enabled by the pandemic and avoiding going out for health reasons. So the whole reason he went was because I asked the night before, not knowing how much was actually on his plate. I have really great parents. I know I’m lucky. I also know that I don’t deserve them and I don’t appreciate them as much as I should.

On the way out, we bought some local honey that the park sells. And that honey, by the way, is delicious. I mean, I don’t think I’ve ever had honey that tastes so good and fresh. If you can buy local honey, you really should. It might be more expensive than the honey in the grocery store, but it’s better tasting, supports your local community, and helps support the local bees (which, as we know, are dying out). So buying local is best! Buy local! Buy small! And go on a hike!

A Time for Everything

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,

a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

a time to tear down and a time to build,

a time to weep and a time to laugh,

a time to mourn and a time to dance…

Ecclesiastes 3:1-4, NIV

The list continues, but that doesn’t make it any easier to understand. My cousin should still be a mother of three right now, but she’s not. After only a few days, her twin boys were taken from her. They were life-flighted to another state then to a different hospital in that state. In the end, it didn’t work out. The babies both died.

One of the reasons that I struggle with Christianity and doubt it is for reasons like this. Why did God give her those two beautiful baby boys, and then take them away? Why would she get only a few days with them? How is she supposed to explain to her first born (who’s only 3) that his baby brothers are gone? That he’s not a big brother anymore? It breaks my heart.

I want to cry just thinking about it. For days their lives were hanging in the balance, not knowing if either would survive, not knowing what was wrong with them, praying constantly for them, for my cousin and her husband…

And God answers by taking them away.

I don’t understand. I don’t know anyone who would understand, or be able to explain it. Other than to say that it was “God’s will” and who are we to understand the ways of God? To me, that feels like a cop out answer. I don’t feel satisfied with that. If it’s all in God’s plans, if he knew it was going to happen, why would he let her go through that pain? I can’t imagine the kind of pain she’s in. She’s lost her two sons, but she still has to be strong and try to explain it to her other son. The pain that she’s in that she can’t show because she doesn’t want to frighten her son… None of it makes sense.

I don’t understand. I don’t get it. Is everything in God’s plan? It’s all his will? He knows everything that’s going to happen? He can do all things? But he can’t save the babies, he can’t spare the family the pain of that loss? How does that make any kind of sense?

My heart breaks for her loss. I cry about it. I can’t even begin to imagine the kind of pain she’s in and going through or the kind of strength it takes for her to continue to be a good mother to her firstborn son. I’m so frustrated and sad. I just… I have no words.