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The Winds of Change

Welp: it’s official: I’m a grandma!

Actually, I’ve been a grandma for some time. I have a rocking grandson, Roman, whom I’ll probably never meet, unfortunately. Long story. I’ll try to explain: Be patient, dear reader. I’m about to tell you a story that is incomprehensible. Indescribable. So hard to believe that you may think I’m making it up. I assure you. It’s all true. Read on…

The Scoop: I was framed by an evil (former) mother-in-law, Sandy, who set up myself and my family to blatantly steal my kids. She framed my Dad for heinous crimes he did not commit (against them), and when that didn’t work, the government (the hellish CPS) switched tracks and went directly after me instead. What ensued was a decade of the most hellish experiences I’ve ever endured. Having your children ripped away from you and then brainwashed to believe you’re a monster, well…all I can say is karma is REAL, (Sandy and) Davey. It’s a real deal and your cup is gonna runneth over, honey.

So, to make a long story even longer, my brilliant daughter, Moriah PEACE- who I’ve heard is my virtual twin in every way (and I believe it), pretends I’m dead and I pretty much do the same with her. Sad situation, but I did fight the good fight for 10-12 long years.

I never told her this, but Davey remembers. (Davey is the former foster mother who continued my former mother-in-law’s vicious course by plotting to sever my parental rights so she could adopt Moriah. The attack on my entire family was so vicious, so hideous…we all endured a decade of trauma- all so a greedy woman could steal a baby. TRUTH.)

I can’t go into the details too much- out of respect for everyone involved, but what started this entire evil ball rolling is something that nobody knows- even to this day. (Except for my children. I shared it with them.) Nobody, except them, myself, and Sandy know. One day, I was at Sandy’s house. She wasn’t the paternal grandma. My x-husband (James) had cheated on me while in the Navy, so I repaid him the deed and ended up getting pregnant with my Italian lover’s baby at the time. I explained to her that my child was not her son’s baby. She explained that she didn’t care and that she’d love her just the same.  I was so naive! We bonded during that time, and I ended up confiding in her with a secret that ultimately destroyed almost anyone whose ears it touched.

I shared with her that I had been molested as a child. Sigh. I thought it was the right thing to do at the time. I was confused. I was pregnant, hormonal, scared, and appreciated her motherly bonding at the time and it sort of just came rolling out. Had I known the damage that that one act would have caused, I’d never had uttered a breath of a word! Alas, I did, and it was too late. (Unfortunately, by the time my girls landed at the last foster home, Davey’s, she continued what Sandy had initially begun, because you see, she too used to work for the system and she too knew that the quickest way to adopt a foster child is to accuse the mother, father, or family member of molesting the child. She took that ball and RAN with it. And that’s how Davey ended up with those claims. After learning about that info. from the case, she began rehearsing my girls to accuse several of my family members of “molesting them”. They gave my innocent children “anatomically correct” NAKED dolls to “play with” to see what they would do. if that isn’t perverted I don’t know what is.)

Back to Sandy. I trusted her. I believed her when she said, “You can tell me, Birg!” So I shared with her the awful thing that happened to me as a child. She ended up taking that information months later and using it to build a case with CPS by accusing a certain family member of molesting my child. It wasn’t true: nobody molested my child. I took my child straight to the hospital and had tests run, etc. and took the report straight to CPS, showing them that my daughter indeed had not been molested. It mattered not. Sandy used to work for the system so she knew exactly what to do to gain access to my child while suspending ours. She knew all the tricks in the book.

The level of betrayal I experienced was indescribable. She knew that I was the one who was molested, yet she used the information to gain access to my child, while simultaneously ceasing access for myself and my entire family. They stated that since they had to open an investigation, our rights were “temporarily” suspended. All of us. And so began the longest court battle of my life.

The whole case was like a nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from. As my kids were shuffled around from foster home to foster home, the case grew larger and larger. The harder I fought, the worse it got- for everyone. It was like this crazy ball rolling down a hill at high speed- collecting every stone or blade of grass in its path. The case was comprised of and built upon trumped-up lies. Just total garbage.

After 10+ years of a hell I cannot describe, one day, I asked a police officer where the foster parents lived. My Mom was with me. I wasn’t supposed to be anywhere around them, but only by what I can describe as a miracle, the police officer told me right away where they lived. He gave me their address. (He totally wasn’t allowed to do that.)

My Mom and I drove right up to the foster parents’ house. I knew she wanted to adopt Moriah, and frankly, I was ready for it all to just go away by that point; I had two other children that needed protecting from these monsters. I knew that as long as I continued to fight to bring my children home, the foster mother (Davey) would continue to poison them against me, so, I did what any loving mother would do: I sacrificed myself.

I knocked on the door. Davey came out and her eyes were as big as saucers. She couldn’t believe I was standing on her doorstep. I asked her if we could speak- off the record- just the two of us. She complied and we sat on her steps and smoked a cigarette together. (I still smoked back then.)

I explained that I in no way wanted to let her adopt Moriah, but I wanted Moriah to be able to be happy (and to live in a home which wasn’t toxic, and being told what to say for “the agenda”.)  Being told her mother was a monster. Being told terrible things were done to her that absolutely were not. Davey pulled some very evil crap. We both knew it. I used to think that Davey was actually pure evil, I really did. Who could do that to a child? THAT is child abuse.

But now I realize that she had simply fallen in love with Moriah and wanted her at all costs. She was ok to condition my child if it meant getting her in the end. She had conditioned herself to believe the very stuff she was slinging, because it eased her conscience. She could sleep at night if she believed in her “crusade”; if she told herself that she was “protecting Moriah from a terrible person”- it was much easier for her to follow through with it all.

So, considering all of those things, I hated her a tad bit less. I don’t blame her for wanting Moriah. Moriah was a special baby. Her name “Moriah” actually translates as “The place of skulls”, AKA “Golgotha”, it’s Biblical. Mount Moriah (in the Bible) was the mountain that Abraham took his son, Isaac, up on, to be tested. God instructed Abraham to slaughter Isaac, so he tied him up on an altar, drew out his scythe, and just as he was getting ready to strike, an angel of the Lord stopped his hand. God was pleased for He knew that Abraham would choose to follow Him (God) anywhere, even if it meant sacrificing his only son.

This is why I named her Moriah Peace. Because while Abraham was traveling up one side of the mountain, distraught, God had already sent two rams up the other side- at the same time- so that when he (Abraham) passed the test, he looked over and saw a ram caught in the thicket. God had prepared a proper sacrifice all along! The fear and terror melted away and Abraham was filled with an incredible new peace he’d never known.

Hence her name, Moriah Peace. Who knows, maybe someday she’ll see this and understand that her name was indeed prophetic, and I too had to lay her on the altar and give her back to God. It was not easy.

When talking with Davey that day, I told her that I needed to protect my two other children I had had since the long ordeal had begun, ten years before. It’s true that I hated Davey vehemently for what she did to Moriah (and my other daughter, who was taken from me as well), but at that point, it was about doing what I could to protect Moriah from any more vicious foster parent-adoption games. All foster parents know and understand that if you want to sever the birth mother’s or father’s parental rights, you simply accuse somebody in the family of molesting the child. Everybody knows that.

Her husband was running for Sheriff every year on TV and rubbing elbows with all the judges and I was a poor Mom, with little money, fighting every year for my children’s return the only way I knew how- with my sheer grit and determination. You do the math: the odds were not in my favour. I had no less than 4 breakdowns in the process. It absolutely destroyed me- for years. I literally begged God for cancer and death. I know. Not cool. But I can’t describe the level of pain and trauma that I lived in- year in, year out. People have absolutely no idea the hell I’ve lived through. Not a clue.

After recovering from each breakdown, I got right back in the ring. Moriah will never know the sacrifices I made for her, or how I suffered to simply try and bring her home. We had only shared 8 months together before she was taken, but we had bonded so strongly! We used to play a very sweet game. I’d put her in her car seat parallel from me, in the back, so that I could turn around quickly and randomly (while driving) with a surprised face- eyes and mouth wide open- smiling. She would bust out laughing hysterically every time. It was the cutest thing ever. She was such a sweet baby. And that kid loved to ride in that car! If I had to guess, I’d bet she loves to just get in her car and drive- radio on- wind blowing her hair so she can feel free for a while. How do I know that? Right…the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

So back to that day, in the driveway.

I told Davey that all I cared about was Moriah’s happiness. After all, all she knew was that she was in a “good home” with good food, clean clothes, etc. and had her needs met. That’s it. She didn’t know or understand the political sharks who fed upon her monetarily- including the foster parents. Everybody made a lot of money off of her! Thousands per month.

I explained to Davey that if I could speak to Moriah personally, I would ask her what she wanted. I already knew what the answer would be, but I needed to hear it for myself. I respect every person’s autonomy and right to decide for themselves what they want- regardless of their age. The heart knows what the heart wants! Besides, I could’ve been the Easter bunny at that point. She really didn’t know me. And, we had all suffered enough.

Davey blew my mind and actually went in and retrieved Moriah. She brought her out and Moriah was sooooo excited. She was smiling and bouncing and SO happy to see me. Also, she showed off her new tooth she had just lost. I reminded myself that I couldn’t go into deep topics or try to explain what was really  going on. I needed to remember that she was clueless about everything- all the political garbage and evil doings of others. She had no idea and I wanted it to be kept that way.

So, I asked her, “Moriah, do you like living here?” And she said, “Yes!” And I said, ‘Do you want to live here forever?” And she again said, “Yes!” As I knew she would. And I asked her the final question, “Do you want to have the last name Harrod like everybody else?” And she again shouted, “Yes!” And it was a done deal.

I told Davey that I would move forward immediately with the adoption process with her. I’d work with her and sign off on any paperwork necessary so she could be adopted. Only then could she live in a truly healthy environment with no games  or selfish agendas attached. Davey looked at me and said, “You’ll never know what a gift this is, Birgitta. You are blessing me so much.” And we both cried together.

I told Davey to take good care of Moriah and gave her (Davey) a hug, despite our history. I looked at Moriah and said, “Be good for your Mommy, ok?” To this day, that was the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life- calling another woman “Mommy” for my daughter’s sake. That absolutely crushed me. Whew…..no words. That was my final gift to her.

I got back in the car with my Mom and as soon as I was out of sight, I slid down into the floorboard and just bawled my head off….for hours. I was definitely not ok for a long time after that.

So yeah. Some time back Moriah had a son, Roman. Naturally, I’m not even a memory in anyone’s mind in that loop- not at all. But isn’t that the way the cookie crumbles? Some women would’ve clawed their way in that direction to try and see their only grandson, but I’ve always respected Moriah’s privacy. I’ve never sought her out or tried to explain anything. As a matter of fact, this is the first post that I’ve posted about that situation at all. I’ve exercised incredible restraint to not blast anybody or air out dirty laundry about all of that, etc.

That said, I do reserve the right to be able to tell my own story. And any parent’s story involves their child or children. That doesn’t mean they don’t get to tell their own story though. Everybody has their own truth and their own version of the truth. And everybody has the right to express their own truth. Including me.

So, despite having a grandson, I’ve been like the Virgin Queen- ha. (Or should I say, the Virgin Grandma?) Having a child that you can’t be with is hell. Having a grandchild that you can’t be with or will never know is its own hell too. This is why I’m so excited to share the news that I am now a grandma (again) and will be going to see my new grandson tomorrow for the first time. 🙂 My son, Brian, just had a baby and his name is Matthias Isaac. I’m so proud of him! He’s going to be such a good Dad because he’s a great person. Loving, kind, sensitive, thoughtful, merciful, and freaking brilliant. He is an incredible person, and I’m proud to be his Mom. 🙂

I had no intention of writing all of that. It just sort of spilled out. Perhaps it was just time.
I am Gam Gam and Josh is Pee Paw. 🙂 I’m over the moon with love and joy!

I’ll make another post somewhat soon (ish) and post a few pics of my beautiful grandbaby, who looks so much like his father. Life is so strange and beautiful and dark and scary and bold and bright- all of it. No matter who the story is about or how it’s told, it always comes full circle. That’s the law of Love and Life. ❤

My circle is complete. I used to long for the day when I could cross the river to the other side and simply exhale. The grass certainly isn’t greener on this side. But it sure as hell is a lot prettier. 🙂

To purchase print, click here:

Title: “Crossing Over”
Location: Perrin Park, 10.28.19. Taken early on a cold, foggy, October morning.
Lens: Carl Zeiss jena Flektogon- vintage film lens- imported from Bulgariafor EtsySMALLER

 


New Work

Set of 4, vegetable fine art prints. Click here to purchase, or click on print:

8 x 10 (set of 4)- $85
13 x 19 (set of 4) -$135

VEGGIESET

Bird’s nest fine art print, in colour and black and white. Click here or click on print to purchase:

8 x 10 -$30
13 x 19- $55

BnWNest
Nest1

 


Ghostly

Title: “Ghostly”

Click HERE to purchase in Monochromejunkie Ebay store.
(Brand new and under construction. 🙂 )

8 x 10 – $25, Set of 2 – $45
13 x 19 – $55, Set of 2 – $85
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Ghostly1
Ghostly2

This is for you, Sean.
I’m so sorry you couldn’t find the comfort you so desperately needed in this world.
I’m sorry that the system failed you. (It failed me too, in many ways.)
I’m sorry that the only solution they offered was to shove fistfulls of pills into you.
I’m sorry they convinced you to undergo Electric Shock Therapy.
I’m sorry that you were hurting so badly inside. More than anyone knew.
I’m sorry that you spent your entire life doubting that anyone cared for you.

I can’t accept the fact that you’re really gone.
I found your book on Amazon: Stories of How I End. Which is like your entire blog, pressed into a book. I’ll buy a copy soon, and I’ll do what I can to promote your work.

I will make that promise to you. And I will keep it, friend. I miss you.

I’m sorry. x

#suicideisnevertheanswer

 


I Think I Died Yesterday

Manchester, Ky. July 22, 2019Manchester Farmhouse

So the strangest thing happened to me yesterday. I died. Sort of. Or at least I think I might have almost tried to. (I’ll explain.)

So I was lying on the couch, fairly exhausted after returning from Manchester, Kentucky, to find Josh’s childhood home- and the apartment where his mother was murdered. I’ll touch on that later. So I had been watching my beloved Egyptian and Roman history documentaries, when I drifted off into blissful sleep. (The kind of which you don’t remember drifting off at all.)

Next think I knew, I had “come to” in a dark, circular room- like a circus tent. I couldn’t make out any edges. I sort of was just there. It was a bit creepy. And to make it even more creepy, I was completely lucid. I knew I was “dreaming”, or at least I thought it was a dream. (I used quotation marks because I know the difference between a dream and being out of one’s body. This sure seemed to be the latter of the two.)

It’s been a few years since I’ve dealt with floating out of my body. When I was a teenager, it began happening more and more and it got to a point where I could simply push with my mind while holding my hands up (like Superwoman) and I immediately was flying at what seemed like hundreds of miles per hour. It’s super fun at times, but more times than not, it’s scary as hell. One of the best times was when I was flying over a forest and could control my direction, and one of the worst times was when I was sitting in a movie theater, surrounded by occupants. Every now and then a person would look over at me. This became more frequent until most everyone in the place was looking at me, simultaneously. If you don’t think that’s creepy AF, I promise, it is.

I knew I needed to get the crap out of there so I stood up and when I turned toward the door, I began to fly- super fast- with my arms outstretched. I was flying down a hall, when I turned around to see all of the people (who were actually vampires, and I knew it then) were close behind me- flying after me. I saw a window at the end of the hall and flew right through it- despite it being closed. I escaped, thankfully. Anyway, these are just a few examples of my lucid “dreams”.

Lately, I’ve been slipping out of my body and into vacant, dimly-lit buildings. It’s so crazy! I’ll suddenly “come to” in my consciousness of being there, and I’ll recognize that I need to wake up. So, I try to find the exit door and can’t. I wander around here and there for what seems like 20 or 30 minutes. Lucid dream time is the same as real time. It’s not speeded up or slowed down, but exactly the same as if you were there IRL.

So after wandering around, meandering about, I start to get bored. Nothing’s happening and it still hasn’t dawned on me that I need to wake myself up- myself. As that realization comes to me (after a while), I know I need to “push” with my mind and concentrate and then I usually wake up after doing so.

Back to yesterday. So, not unlike most other times, I “came to” in this dark, circular room. I perceived that I was alone. Something was off though, and after trying to open my eyes completely, I realized that my right eye was stuck. This had never happened before. I moved my face around, trying to force open both eyes widely. Nada. I couldn’t figure out why my right eye wouldn’t open!

Suddenly. I became aware of a presence in the room with me. I saw a glowing form in the center of the room, but I was too scared to look at it. I told myself that if I looked away, it wouldn’t materialize. (It worked.) But shortly afterward, a male voice called out from the direction of the form and said, “Whatever…”, somewhat malevolently.

That did it for me! I knew that sometimes I needed to move around and shake myself in order to wake myself up, and so I jumped up and down 3 or 4 times. Weirdly though, my feet weren’t on the ground. I was floating and when I jumped, I was moving really fast, like super fast. It seemed that I was in spirit form. It didn’t work and I began to realize that I was stuck in this place- with a hyper-awareness of my consciousness and situation. It was extremely unsettling.

I began to think that maybe I was dead. Maybe I had died in my sleep. I remember having the overwhelming feeling that there was a whole lot more darkness in front of me, in that direction, and around me to the left and right. But I remember having the acknowledgement that “light”, and life itself, was behind me. As in, proximally. I needed to get back to the light! I couldn’t turn around (physically) and was just stuck there, with my right eye sealed, thinking I was dead, but wanting terribly to get back to my life. I had an overwhelming feeling of being alone; like I would never see my loved ones again. I tried jumping again, and focusing on trying to find a way back.

Not too much time had passed when I became aware that I was lying sideways, but I couldn’t see, and both eyes were shut now. I was lifted upward, as if I was floating, upward and then floated backwards and down, as if a wind had blown me up and back in and down again. I could literally feel my spirit going back into my body. Needless to say, it was not fun! I opened my eyes, so very thankful to be back again. Back to the land of the living! I thought about what had happened and realized that what had actually happened was that I had left my body- partially- only my left side had moved out and my right side (around my eye, in particular) was still very much in my body, which would explain why my right eye felt sealed shut. I’ll be happy to never experience that freaky situation again. It really is quite terrifying.

Basic Update: Josh and I are doing really well. I’ve been away from my blog here for so long, with only the periodic update several times per year. Things were really hard between Josh and I when I was still active here, and then I had some heartbreaking situations with one of my daughters that I couldn’t write about- I had to stay very quiet and low-key. Then my little brother died. I was slammed pretty hard, and it was relentless for a while. I’m finally in a good place again and Josh and I have grown so much closer over the past year.

I love that man with a love that is beyond this world. He’s my heart and my very life. Fourteen years is a long time to be in somebody’s life! We’ve grown up together, and love the life that we’ve built together. He’s grown his beard out all shaggy. He’s such a hippy. 🙂

My Baby- Headed to Manchester.
MyBABY


So we decided to take a trip over this past weekend. It was a spontaneous decision. We were thinking about going to a recording studio and checking out where we might begin recording our music together. He had mentioned going back to his childhood home, in Manchester, Kentucky, to seek out his childhood home, and the home that his mom was murdered in.

She had been in an abusive relationship with a guy named Abe. He was the manager at the apartment complex. They began dating, and he began physically abusing her.  Josh was only 7 when she decided to take her two kids and leave. Abe had other plans. He cut the phone lines to the entire apartment complex so she couldn’t call for help and then “accidentally shot and killed her when he was cleaning his gun”.

I can’t begin to list the many ways in which her death has affected Josh’s life. I never knew her, but as a woman, I feel that I owe it to her to give him the love and protection and goodness that he deserves. Every now and then she’ll cross my mind, and I’ll go and give Josh a hug- for her. (I usually don’t tell him that it’s for her. I’d want somebody to do that for my son if I were gone though.)

As for my schooling, despite my many obstacles lately, I’m still chugging away at this Master’s degree (Psychology and Addiction Counseling). It hasn’t been easy, but by golly, I carry on. I only have two more classes left after this one, which is Psychopharmacology for Counselors. Good stuff. 🙂

Until we meet again. XoXoxOxO

Manchester, Ky. Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35/2.8 film lens
MyBabyinManchesterJuly2019
DoorAsylumManchester


The Ties that Bind

Disclaimer: All are welcome here, and welcome to read my blog posts, I welcome you with open arms. That said, I’m a bold speaker and a truth-teller. I don’t sugar coat things and I don’t play games. I say things like they are and make no apologies for anything I say. If you’re a family member and happen to be offended at something I write here, I suggest you either stay away from my blog, or perhaps learn how to respect other people’s rights, which include the right to express their thoughts, ideas, feelings, notions, and anything else they feel like expressing. Remember, this is my personal space. I’m entitled to write about my personal life, and anything that involves my personal experiences, including my experiences with “family”.

Also, do keep in mind that I speak on family members as an outsider sometimes. As a studying psychologist and counselor, it’s my job to study family structures, family units, and the many intra-personal relationships within families, and that includes wonderful families and family members and it also includes toxic relationships and toxic family members. When I write about “toxic families”, for instance, that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m talking about my own. Many times, I’m speaking about families from a therapeutic perspective. Afterall, I’ve studied family relationships for a decade now, academically via psychology and counseling.

That said, there have been a number of times that a specific family member (you know who you are) literally stalks my blog, and if I so much as write the word “family”, she sends me raging, angry texts- lashing out at me, hatefully. *Newsflash* I’m allowed to post my life experiences and feelings that involve families, along with my own family. You’re not the gatekeeper and you’re not my personal warden. Back the hell up and respect my autonomy. I’m a writer. You’re allowed to create your own blog posts and say whatever you like there. But you’re not going to silence me, and you’re not going to control me. Due to the fact that I was sexually abused as a child- BY A FAMILY MEMBER- that forced me to be in my own little boat. I wasn’t allowed to have the same relationships that my other family members had, so from the time I was 9 years old, I’ve been a loner- even among my own family.

I’ll never reveal the secrets and private things that my brother, John, shared with me many years ago. But he too suffered some of the same things that I did as a child, unfortunately. As tragic as that was for us, it bonded us in a special way, and I thank God that he and I were in our own boat. When he passed away in January (four months ago), I feel like I lost the last true family member I had. He loved me unconditionally, and he’s the only one who did (besides my Dad). They were the only ones, though. Everybody else loves me conditionally. (Meaning, sometimes.) When John passed on, he was the last of the Mohicans. He was the last one. Now I’m on my own.

Disclaimer over.

I dreamed of my sister again. She’s almost always cold and distant in my dreams; much like in real life. We haven’t spoken in more than 5 years, and that’s an absolute tragedy. As Pentecostal Christians, we were raised to understand the importance of forgiveness.  There are so many scriptures in the Bible about forgiveness, and Jesus clearly states that if you don’t forgive your brethren (and that includes sisters), there’s no place for you in Heaven. As a matter of fact, Jesus makes it crystal clear that if you say you love God, but hate your brother (or again, sister) and refuse to forgive her, then you’re a murderer. That’s a pretty serious charge! I honestly don’t know how any “Christian” can go on in her life, making a deliberate choice to not forgive, but instead, harbour hatred in her stone cold heart but still try to call herself a Christian. You’re a fraud. Jesus said so.

Whosoever hateth his brother (or sister) is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.   –1 John 3:15

Understandably, not everyone has the capability to forgive. They really don’t. They’re shallow and selfish and have no depth for the long roots that forgiveness needs. See, it starts in childhood. As I said before, because I was molested, I had no choice but to forgive. I had to. I had to go on living in the same house with everybody else, and despite my anger or hatred at what was done to me, I had to suck it up, forgive, and still try and have “healthy relationships” with everyone (including my offender) regardless. Needless to say, being sexually abused will change your relationships with every single family member, how could it not? For the longest time, I couldn’t even say the words “sexually abused”- it terrified me. I had no idea why it happened to me, out of everyone in the house, it was me.

For years, I told no one. But being sexually abused by a family member and then having to carry on daily with all of the other family members- as if it never happened- it created fractures within my core. You see, I never knew these things until I began studying psychology. I began to understand why I was clinically depressed at age 10, and at age 11, my Mom had to take me to the doctor because my stomach was in knots, and I was a nervous wreck. I couldn’t eat or sleep. That deadly secret was so toxic- so heavy and destructive- that it threatened to destroy my entire family if I told anyone.

So I carried that burden alone. For years. All the while, I was being destroyed on the inside. I began having breakdowns in my 20’s, because it was all just too much for me to bear. Again, thank God for my schooling and psych. studies. I learned exactly why I was having breakdowns. I was labeled “crazy” by other family members and was pretty much branded as being “mentally ill”. I actually bought what they sold me for many years. I believed it too. After my 5th year studying psychology, I began my new course which was “Abnormal Psychology”. I learned that my fragmentations and mental breakdowns were absolutely appropriate for what I went through. There’s just no way that you’re going to be molested as a child by a family member, and continue living with that family member year after year, having to interact with that family member- along with everyone else- and be “normal”. It’s just not going to happen.

What is going to happen is you’re going to start breaking up from the inside out. Clinical depression is just the beginning. There’s also the rage and anger- and that’s appropriate as well. There’s shame and guilt that’s heaped on you in huge mountains that you’re forced to carry- day in, day out. As the years roll on, you begin to feel highly abnormal- like a circus freak. It’s so damaging. The majority of all women who were sexually abused as a child- especially by a family member- end up mere statistics. Alcoholism is basically a prerequisite. I too tried to drown out my pain with alcohol for a number of years.

But most women who’ve gone through what I’ve gone through end up so damaged, they’re either suicidal or a complete basket case. I consider myself a living, breathing, miracle. I was so tired of that disease (disease = being sexually abused as a child) controlling me and confounding me and destroying me…I knew that I needed to do something that I had never done before…I needed to address it. As I said, for a number of years, I couldn’t even pray about it and ask God for help. I was so scared of even saying it out loud- even to God! But I knew that as long as it lay in the back closet of my being, I would continue to be consumed by it. I needed to address it, so that I could move beyond it. 

You might think, “Well, for somebody who’s moved beyond it, you sure do mention it a lot,” but you see, secrets keep people sick. Let me say that again, “SECRETS KEEP PEOPLE SICK’. By broadcasting it, addressing it, and discussing it openly, I took its power away. I began to gain control over IT, rather than it continuing to control, me.

I stopped drinking hard liquor, stopped smoking weed, quit smoking cigarettes, and stopped taking prescribed medications all around the same time. They were smokescreens. And they only complicated things in the end. Instead, I faced the biggest demon I’ve ever known, and I stared that awful evil right in its disgusting little face, and I took my life back. 

I can’t speak for others, and I can only attest to my own experiences, but I was tired of going to therapy and psychiatrists and psychologists and other professionals who weren’t helping me much. I began to understand that all of the breakdowns and emotional problems that I’d had in my life were a direct correlation of having been sexually abused as a child. I wasn’t “mentally ill”, I was trying to live through devastation and tragedy and post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). I had gone through my own war, and I began to learn how to live- for the first time in my life- rather than just survive.

Shortly after having these epiphanies, and after removing substances (alcohol, weed, cigarettes, etc.) from my life, I enrolled in college. What better (and really, who better) major could I select than Behavioral Sciences? So, I began studying psychology and the brain, and coping mechanisms, and psychological perspectives, and learned how to have healthy relationships. I learned all sorts of things about family structures, family dynamics, etc.

I began to learn and truly understand that when a family is raised by an alcoholic parent, the entire family is sick. Being yelled at or hurt by an intoxicated parent creates distorted filters. Abusive behavioral patterns are passed down from parent to child, so that when the children grow up, their own filters of perception are distorted. This is why drug and alcohol counselors teach people that addiction is a family disease. The entire family is sick- as a whole- so that the relationships between the family members can be, and often are, toxic. Rather than forming close bonds, and protecting one another in love, anger becomes the base that relationships are built upon.

When a family is raised by an alcoholic parent, their methods of communication will be anger-based as well. When family members are getting along, they’re tolerating one another more than truly forming loving bonds. The children learn to communicate angrily, and as a result, when problems arise between family members, there’s little to no “healthy conflict resolution”, because it was never learned. Instead, they freeze up in anger, against one another. This is why toxic families (such as this example) who never receive any type of group or family therapy, never truly learn how to communicate in a healthy manner. They don’t even know they’re toxic! But yet they are, because anger was integrated into their family unit from childhood.

I am SO grateful for my psych. training. I began to understand why the communication patterns are the way they are in my own family. It all began to make sense.

Because addiction was such a huge part of my life growing up- having been raised by an alcoholic parent- I knew I needed to get a formal education regarding substance abuse. So, while I was studying Behavioral Sciences, I also received my CPC/Certification in Substance Abuse. (It tacked an additional year onto my associates degree, but it was well worth it.) I graduated with honours and transferred over to a 4 year university and began working on my bachelor’s in psychology. After receiving my bachelor’s degree, I transferred a final time to my Master’s program, which is where I am now. I’m just over a year shy of receiving my Master’s degree in Psychology and Addiction Counseling. Eleven long years!

I can’t thank God enough for the training I’ve received. I quite literally became my own therapist, and client. 🙂

People who aren’t educated in family system theories will hear an individual say “toxic family” and naturally, they become judgmental and heated- emotionally charged and angry. However, when you’ve had an entire decade of mental health training- particularly in abnormal psychology and toxic families 101, it becomes a general study. There’s no bias or judgment or anything along those lines. You classify it for what it is because it fits the criteria, such as being raised by an alcoholic parent. (And that’s just one point, among many.) That’s not to say that it’s not an altogether loving, wholesome family, etc. but it’s liberating to be able to see it for what it is and then say, “Alright, so this is what was handed to us. How can we be the best that we can be, together?

And this is where the heartbreak lies, yet again, between my sister and me. I’m more than capable of moving past any hurt, any anger, anything. As I said, I had to learn how to do that 40 years ago- for the sake of my family. it is literally NOTHING for me to forgive. Absolutely nothing. It takes less than a second to do! You simply have to choose it, and once you choose to forgive, truly, every bit of anger and hurt and blame and everything else evaporates- completely. As if it was never there. That’s how powerful forgiveness is!

God forgives us, so we must forgive others. If God forgives you, and you don’t forgive others, you’re a thief. You’re literally stealing His grace. God’s grace is a gift- it’s true. But you don’t get that gift if you choose UNforgiveness. It doesn’t work like that.

…and you’re running out of time.

For what it’s worth, sister, I forgive you. I’ve been standing on this bridge for 5 and 1/2 years, waiting for you to take those steps of courage. Thankfully, you didn’t suffer the things I did as a child. So you’ve never had to forgive somebody “against your will”. I did that for you. I forgave my offender for you, and everybody else in my family., so we could continue being a family. I had a choice to make. I could choose to either report my offender’s actions to the authorities and watch our family be ripped apart and deposited into foster homes (as my offender told me would happen, if I ever told), or I could remain silent and say nothing, so we could all remain a family.  We know what I chose, because we stayed together as a family, but that came at a heavy price, and I’m the one who paid it. Me. Not you. You were protected and given a large room with a  lock on your door. Must’ve been nice. I, however, had no lock on my door, and was repeatedly molested while you were in your locked room.

So you see, I paid a heavy price to keep our family together.

I do hope you find it in your heart to choose love over hatred, and forgiveness over unforgiveness. You see, I kept our family together, as I said, and as it’s now obvious to those who never knew my story. (And they never knew it because I’ve kept the details private for all of these years.) But those details are mine- they belong to me- and I’m the one who gets to share them or not. Nobody else can choose that- because it didn’t happen to them or you.

I kept our family together all of those years, and I had to sacrifice a lot to endure what I did, year after year. But you, are continuing to rip our family apart. And isn’t it funny that I was blamed for that instead! Ha! I dare say…

For every year that you continue to not forgive me, or speak to me, and continue pretending that I’m dead, is another lash upon our mother’s back. YOU- are keeping this family separated. I love my family- very much. I’ve longed to patch things up and move the crap on already. You remember, on the way back from our camping trip, after our blow out, I begged you. I said, “Let’s work this out, man. Let’s not do this. Let’s forgive each other and move past this. Let’s say we’re sorry and and move on! if we don’t patch this up, we’re going to go back to Jeffersonville and probably not speak for months. Let’s not do that! Let’s not be silent like this!”

And you looked at me, icily, and said, “My silence is serving me well.”  And you looked away from me, and that’s the last time you spoke to me- ever.

Let me ask you, is your silence still serving you? Are you at peace with your unforgiveness and iciness? Really?

Who in the hell stays mad at somebody for almost 6 years?! That….is insanity. And that is a deliberate perpetuation of sickness and toxicity. I truly hope that God fills your heart with His warmth and love and grace. I really do. And I’ll tell you- I’m terrified for you. Because you can’t take that crap into Heaven.

As long as you continue to choose silence, you continue to keep our family apart. What’s that about the 99? Remember? Not good enough.

I just needed to get some things off my chest. Needed to open the windows and let the dust fly out. You may wonder why I’m choosing to address you openly like this. Well, I’ll tell you. Because you’ve single-handedly murdered our relationship. You’ve suicided yourself. You said yourself; you chose silence over forgiveness.

And that’s your right. You do have the right to remain silent. You get to be as silent as the grave, in fact. But you don’t get to choose silence for me. You murdered your relationship to me, but I never murdered our relationship. I’ve been standing on this damn bridge for almost 6 years, waiting for you. But I can’t do your work. I can’t take your steps for you. You have to do that.

Just so you know, I’ll continue standing on this bridge with the hope that someday, you’ll have the courage and the guts to back up that “Christian claim”- because that’s what Christians do- they forgive one another. That’s all I’ll say on this matter. (For now). But again, I may or may not write you again in the future, and again, it’s my right to do so. Like I said, you can be as silent as you want, but it’s not within your rights to silence me. I get to talk (write) alllllll I want to. If you don’t like what you’re reading, you have the right to exit and go about your business. But I have the right to talk/write to you all I want- you don’t have any authority when it comes to my rights and choices here. My rights are mine.  /end

Ahhhh… the rain is pouring down! There’s a beautiful thunderstorm outside- lightning crashing. It’s supposed to rain for the next four days and that makes me blissfully happy. 🙂 Nothing makes me happier than a torrential thunderstorm. Life is good now. I’m in a good place in my life. I just purchased a new 13 x 19 professional photo printer along with professional photo paper. I’ve had it for more than six weeks now and there it sits- in its box. I haven’t quite gotten around to setting it up yet. I will at some point, hopefully soon. I’m not ready yet. As long as I’m still in school, I’m not quite ready to dedicate 100% of my time to starting my photo business, but I’ll work my way in that direction down the road a ways. One more year of school, and I’ll be done for good.

I used to think that I was in school because I wanted to help others- especially other women who’ve lived through the same things I’ve lived through. Now I know that I was in school to learn how to be a mentally strong and healthy human being. I’m finally free from those chains that kept me bound for so long. 

 

And it’s about time… ❤

 

Jacksonville, Texas- just down the road from my grandparent’s house- Helios film- 44-2.country-road

 


Kissed by the Light

Bernheim Arboretum and Research Center. Clermont, KY- last day of winter 2019. [Helios 44-2. film]

13 x 18 = Large = $53
8 x 10 = Medium = 33
5 x 7 = Small = $18

Click image to purchase.

Bernheim Helios2


Nature’s Jewels

 

Click on pic to purchase. (Free shipping on all U. S. orders.)

13 x 19 = Large = $53
8 x 10 = Medium = $33
4 x 6 = Small = $18

NaturesJewels


Monochromejunkie

There’s a reason I chose the username Monochromejunkie: It’s because I’m obsessed with black and white photography. To me, nothing is more beautiful than a bold black and white image with heavy, dark blacks and stark whites. These days, people are so used to simply slapping a filter on something or doing a quick and easy B&W conversion.

it takes a well-trained eye to look out upon a landscape or street scene and be able to convert that over to a B&W in your mind and truly “see” a black and white. Because reds, greens, and blues all convert into various shades of black, white, and grey, you need to know what would truly make a good black and white, because not every scene does.

This past year, I’ve been in a photographic funk and sorely uninspired. 2018 was one of the hardest years of my life. So many troubles with some of my children and their private struggles, along with the death of close friends and loved ones. It really kicked me in the teeth and that alone can kill your passion for your art.

After coming back to my blog and writing again, I rediscovered my friend Gav’s black and white photography. He’s an excellent street photographer, but what he’s really good at, more so than anyone else I’ve ever known, is staying in black and white mode. Nevertheless, year after year, he continues shooting in black and white and never seems to grow bored with it.

Seeing his beautiful black and whites have woken up my first love: black and white photography. I’ve wanted to shoot in B&W mode (only) for a year straight- for a long time, but never had the courage to take that plunge. I know though, that if I don’t do that, then I’ll never commit. And if I don’t commit to truly knowing the ins and outs of black and white and really learning it, then I never will grow as a photographer and artist to the degree that I want to.

I’ve decided to finally take the plunge! I’m putting my camera in monochrome mode and leaving it there for an entire year. It actually began yesterday, so until March 8th of 2020, I’ll be shooting in nothing but black and white. This way, rather than focusing on various colours, I can keep my focus on lighting and exposure. So Gav, if you’re reading this, thank you! You’ve been a major inspiration and have woken up my love of black and white again. It’s not for everybody. But for people like us, it’s what drives us.

I took these yesterday, at Sellersburg park (Indiana) while taking Chance and Diamond on our mile walk. Just as we were getting ready to leave, it started snowing. That was a nice touch. 🙂 (These are basically SOOTC/straight out of the camera.)

A new bud gets its first taste of the snow. Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35-2.8
1Flektogon35_2.8SellersburgPark
2Flektogon35_2.8
4FenceBabdWcarlzeiissjenaflektogon

3DogsFlektogon35_2.8Sellersburg
6ZeissFlektogon35_2.8SellersburgPark.jpg.

 


Call me Gam Gam

For the first time in many months, I’m behind in my work.  My large-ish assignment was due yesterday evening, but when I awoke from my deep slumber, it was 41 degrees in my house. I could almost see my breath. I huddled under my (Egyptian cotton) flannel sheets, like I was in a tee-pee, and texted my professor on my cell phone. There’s no way I can work in those conditions. She’s amazingly supportive, so she afforded me as much time as I’d like.

I had a good run for a while without my 3 day migraines. There were times when I didn’t get one for months in a row. But recently, they’ve been visiting me more often. And when I say visiting, I mean like a drunken husband that grabs you by the throat and slings you around mercilessly for 72 hours, incessantly. Now try to imagine that, truly, and now try to imagine eating a sandwich while that’s going on…or sleeping at all. Right.

Last week, I could feel some very unusual hairline fracture pain, coursing through my cranium. It feels like it’s the diameter of a hair. So tiny and thin, but so brutal in nature. It’s savage. One minute, all is well, calm, and peaceful. The next moment, I’m gripped in electrifying pain that quite literally takes my breath immediately. All I can do is squeeze my eyes tightly together, and cringe, as I wait for the moment to pass. This is nothing like my usual migraines. I’m used to a specific course of actions. This is all new territory.

Luke Perry just died from a massive stroke. No warning of any kind. That’s terrifying! He complained of head pain, and was taken in to the E.R. He was heavily sedated so the physicians could try and get the attack under control. For several days he lay there, sedated, surrounded by his loved ones. And then he slipped away- never to return again.

When I think about that, and then I think about just how many 3 day migraines I’ve endured, which is accompanied by blurred vision and slurred speech, and tingling in my left hand and arm, I wonder just how much time is left on my clock. I can’t help but think about death. When you feel like you’re living on borrowed breath, believe me, you think about death just as much, if not more, than you think about life.

People are ridiculous. They think they have all the time in the world, and they carry grudges and choose to not forgive others. All of that anger means absolutely nothing in the end! It’s all wasted energy. Useless. It serves the ego only. There’s no reward there. And it’s a fool’s meal and they eat it up with every angry chomp!

It’s sad, really. And it’s funny how, some people would rather stop talking to you altogether than simply say, “I’m sorry. I was wrong.” And that’s a tragedy.

As for me, there’s no one person in the world who I wouldn’t feed or clothe or hug tightly if they showed up on my doorstep. I’ve been tried already in the fires of hell itself. It wasn’t always easy, but I chose to forgive. I forgave every single person who ever wronged, hurt, or abused me. Not only did I forgive them, I chose to love them too. I CAN back up my words with a long history of action. Unfortunately, the ones who’ve turned their backs on me cannot say the same. They have no idea how to swallow their pride and choose love over anger. I pray that God will find them in the Way before it’s too late. because we all are only given so much time, and then we don’t get any more time to try and make things better.

Today one of the greatest things happened to me. I was called to my son and daughter-in-law’s house as they had some news they wanted to share with me. When Josh and I got there, my son’s sweet little gal showed me her pregnancy test, and it was positive! I’m going to finally be a grandmother! Oh happy day! I’ve had to sit silently in the shadows of all of my friends, as they post pics of  themselves with their grandkids. I’ve always felt like Queen Elizabeth, but not in a royal way.  She was known as the “Virgin Queen” (and that’s a total farce, because she was a trifling ho, actually, who even had her lover’s wife murdered so she could have him- Robert Dudley- all to herself. That’s how big her ego was.)  But no, I always felt like the “Virgin Grandma”. But no longer! 🙂

And so after some thought, Josh had a good laugh and suggested “Gam Gam” for my royal title, and then Gabbie chuckled too and sanctioned it, officially. So, yes, I will soon be known as Gam Gam. I love it. 🙂

It feels good to be editing again. I edited a pic of my son, brian, and his gal, Gabbie, from our trip to the Smoky Mountains, in Gatlinburg, Tennessee on Thanksgiving of last year. It was shot in colour, but I did some work on it- cleaned it up in Photoshop- as well as did some contrast and gamma adjustments and mixed the exposure- midtones/shadows/and highlights. I added some grain (which I adore) and hit it with a gaussian blur + selective unsharp mask and mastered the overall RGB curves, then each channel individually, aaaaaand mixed the colour balance channels, individually- shadows, midtones, and highlights there as well.

You may think when you see a pic of mine that I hit one or two tabs to edit it in post processing- like most everybody does these days on their phones- ha. If you only knew. Many of my photos are usually a combination of 15+ channels, mixed, blended, erased, flattened (wash, rinse, repeat 5 or 10 more times) so by the end, it’s entirely mastered in practically every area. I make it look easy, but I’ve had a good 15 years at this now.

Brian & Gabbie- Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35/2.8 vintage film lens/Canon Rebel t3i
BobandGab


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