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Posts tagged “college

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

 


One Semester to Go

I’m pretty excited that I only have one semester remaining before obtaining my bachelor’s degree in psychology. I’m almost there!

Here are just a few of the obstacles I’ve overcome since my academic journey began 5 years ago:

  • Dropped out due to chest pains and stress- 2010
  • Asked for $1,200 school debt to be forgiven so I could return (It was.)
  • Had a breakdown and had to temporarily withdraw 2011
  • House’s foundation crumbled/flooded due to freak thunderstorm/flood- causing my children and I to be homeless- 2012
  • Car accident which caused me to have to drop 1/2 my classes- 2013
  • Filed appeal to have balance deferred so I could complete AA degree
  • Filed (full) refund appeal for math course-2014 (won the appeal)
  • Filed another appeal to have 6 classes (erroneously added) removed from remaining course load (won the appeal)

It’s definitely been an uphill battle, and what should have taken me many more years to complete, I was able to complete in just 3 years. (Associates degree in Behavioral Sciences and a CPC/Certification in Substance Abuse.)

I’ve worked so hard and have fought through hell and back to be able to get to this point- relentlessly– and can finally see the finish line just ahead. My final semester begins in two weeks; and my last 5 courses are:

  • Marine Biology (Bio. elective)
  • Psychology of Personality (Psych)
  • Sensation and Perception (Psych)
  • Senior Seminar/Capstone Project
  • And that damn Statistics class

After I graduate in May (2016), I’ll have the summer off before beginning my Master’s in Forensic Psychology. Things are looking pretty good. 🙂 I received all A’s last semester so this next semester, it will be extremely important to make mostly A’s as well so that I can get into my Master’s program.

The years are flying by! Another year is gone. This year was the hardest year of my life. I have no doubt that 2016 will be a much better year on many levels.

I’m coming for you Bipolar Barbie-Q!

Early edit from 2009, from my Photoshopping days (friend’s daughter)

TheDayTheEarthDiedforNoe_zsyz7n2xrx


Down to the Wire

I can hardly believe a whole month has passed by since I’ve posted anything here. I can’t say I’ve been busy, really; just enjoying my summer vacation, mostly. I’ve had a little too much time on my hands lately and have been feeling restless. Part of that restlessness is knowing that I have just over $6,000 remaining in financial aid for 2015-2016- and 13 classes to go. If I’m really careful, it can be done. (By the skin of my teeth- maybe.) But I was just thrown a serious curve ball by my school. I was assigned a new adviser- a real sweetheart- who caught an egregious oversight in my records. When I transferred my Associates Degree in Behavioral Sciences (and CPC in Substance Abuse) from Vincennes University, I was allowed 92 of those credit hours in to IU East. That was pretty generous, I thought. However, my new adviser pointed out that they’d made a terrible mistake and only 64 credit hours were allowed. And I was told this a whole year later!

That alone should have given me clemency, I thought. That’s not a light mistake, because that effected my financial aid and how many classes I chose to take per semester, etc. My adviser took the matter to the graduation committee and pleaded on my behalf, but they told her that they never make exceptions. Nice. Now I’m having to rethink my entire next 3 semesters and facing the possibility of having to graduate in the summer to fall of 2016 rather than in the spring of 2016. Frustrating! Not only that, I may not have the financial aid I need for all of my remaining classes- it’s just so tight. I’m having to work all of this out with my Isuzu Rodeo starter dying half the time and my water heater bursting open and gushing through my son’s walls. It’s…challenging, to say the least. But, as always, quitting is not an option. That’s just not in my vocabulary- not when it comes to college, anyway.

So now, despite the fact that I’ve got 111 credit hours under my belt, I now have 36-39 more to go. My heart actually sank for a moment when I got the news, but I’ve been in survival mode for so long; I can’t afford to focus on any negativity. I applied for a Federal Perkins Loan so that I can take two summer II courses to get an early start on my last batch of classes. If not, I’m going to have to bulk up my fall and spring semesters to 5 courses each term. Fingers crossed that I get that loan!

If I’m able to take the two summer classes (starting in July), they will be:

Forensic Anthropology
Topics in Criminal Justice: Serial Killers

-both upper level courses. Yes, they actually have a serial killers course! I’m so there. Forensic Anthropology is the study and analyzation of human remains at crime scenes. These classes are right up my alley! I’m so ready to get back to work.

Seed pods- taken early this morning with the Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35/2.4 vintage film lens
seedpodsAAG


Substance Use vs. Abuse

So I’m studying all of the psychoactive drug groups and their accompanying behavioral properties in my Behavioral Neuroscience class, and I came across a fallacy in my instructor’s PowerPoint Presentation. She had written this:

Substance abuse = a pattern in which a person relies on a drug chronically and excessively for the psychological and behavioral changes the drug produces.

I can’t tell you how much I disagree with that statement/definition. That defines substance use, not abuse. By that definition alone, that would mean that every person who counts on his or her daily antidepressant to make those necessary biochemical, physiological changes in both their brains and behaviors are “addicts”. This is so untrue.

Keeping in mind that I have my CPC in Substance Abuse (from Vincennes University), I’ve created my own definition of substance abuse, and it’s as follows:

Substance abuse= destructive behaviors that accompany the drug-user in which he and others are affected in negative ways.

Very simple.

Just because somebody takes a drug regularly- with hopes of behavioral and psychological changes (even chronically/daily or “excessively”)- does not make that person a substance abuser.  The word “excessively” is a tricky one because what is excessive to one person will not be to another. Some people take one Ibuprofin- some take 5. Every person’s body is different and each person’s drug use is both circumstantial and situational. I think we really need to be careful labeling a person as a drug abuser if he or she continues taking a drug for holistic/homeopathic, and or medicinal reasons.

Back to your scheduled program. 🙂

(Don’t worry peeps- it’s only toilet paper from a ‘toilet paper challenge” I hosted at a photo site once.) 
TokeUp


Spring Semester

You read that correctly. It’s positively confirmed that I’ll be returning within a week to begin my spring semester. BUT- it’s only part time- 2 courses (because I do need a break). I’m used to tackling 12-21 credit hours per semester and so this will be a cake walk. (Sort of.) My two chosen classes are Social Psychology (on the 300 level) and Behavioral Neuroscience. Taking two courses isn’t hectic at all. I’m stoked that I’ve just been inducted into the Honor’s Society at IU East. Hooray! 🙂

HonorsSociery

That’s pretty rockin’. I’m pretty sure I’m only 27 credit hours away from receiving my B.S. in Psychology. I’m also pretty sure I’m addicted to going to school. Some people are adrenaline junkies; I’m a grade junkie. I still have a whole ‘nother week to loaf around and I’m taking full advantage of it.

Hasta luego, amigos.


Midterms

I’m starting to feel the stress of midterms; two if which are due by Monday. I made my guys (Josh and Brian) a delicious supper of oven-roasted turkey, polenta squares, fresh collard greens, shells-n-cheddar, over-sized baked yams, green onions w/sliced grape tomatoes + lemon ginger tea for Josh and Honey Vanilla Chamomile for Brian- along with freshly made cinnamon rolls. I love my guys! I hear them laughing as they play Gary’s Mod. in the living room: I’m very happy. 🙂

I have a massive Excel assignment due in my Research Methods class (where we’ll be working with Analyses of Sample Demographics) which I was supposed to already have started on, another research topic proposal due in my Cross-Cultural Communications class, and worst of all, I’m supposed to take my midterm in Everyday Psychology- but get this: it’s 132 multiple choice questions + short essay and we only have 1 hour and 15 minutes- for a 132 question exam! That’s sheer insanity. I don’t think my professor has any idea what he’s asking. There’s just no way to accomplish a 132 question psychology exam in 75 minutes. It’s not even a realistic expectation. I’ve written him and asked him to change the allotted time to at least two hours. At this point, I still have a 100% (A) in the class, but after an exam like that, I could drop a whole letter grade. Short essay too? That’s insane!

Still, I’m in good spirits and am feeling content and relaxed. I’m still holding on to my strong A’s in 3 of my classes and am trying hard to recover my grade in Ethics. I’m fighting to keep my B; it’s a really difficult course. It’s my first semester at my new university and I’m really fighting hard to make the Dean’s List! I won’t know for a bit yet, but I’ve been on the Dean’s List at both my other schools (Ivy Tech and Vincennes University) and although this school is much harder, I’m putting my best foot forward and am working really hard this semester.

I miss the really deep, introspective writing that I’m used to; I just don’t have time to do that these days! My days are flying by and already, we’re getting ready to kiss this year goodbye. Time to fold the clothes and watch Intervention.

Flowers in Kentucky/Bluegrass state- Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35/2.8(film)/natural lighting/all manual

FlowersMJ


Unhappy Customer

It’s 3:10 a.m. and I’ve just finished up 7 hours of Statistics. Why 7 hours you might ask? Because my professor was unable to get our class up and running for the whole first week (and our corresponding online homework site) and it set us back a week. Rather than move our schedule up by a week, he’s left the due date for 100+ 3 and 4 part math problems (some taking a 10 minute completion for one problem) at Sept. 6th at midnight. I was only able to access the site 3 days ago, so this left me trying to complete a GAZILLION freaking problems today. I actually managed this insane task- barely. (My only other option was to drop the course and that ain’t happening.) 

Rather than sleep, I’m going to jump right into my assignments in my other classes, because:

a.) They’re due today by midnight, and

b.) Who needs sleep anyway?!

The good thing about this schedule is that you’re both too busy and distracted to be depressed. 

Josh hasn’t had a day off in more than a month: We see each other in passing these days. We still managed to sneak in a dinner date last night at the river where we dined on Vietnamese just before midnight. 

I need a freaking vacation already…

The  Big Sleep


Changing Lanes: The Trilogy

Ole Betsy’s been dead since about last year. (Ole Betsy’s my car.) My sister gave it to me 5 years ago because she thought it would kick the bucket any day. I expected her to last a year or so. Certainly not 4 & 1/2! She overheats at the 2 mile marker, so when Josh and I risk taking her out for a spin, we have to turn it off at the stoplights- you know- just in case.

I’m still able to smile at the (semi-romantic) notion of driving such an eyesore around town when I think about how great it’s going to be one of these days. And one of these days is about 8 years from now. I’ve gone and changed my majors again.

See, I was going to be a probation officer and so thought about taking Criminal Justice + Psychology (double major). But I can’t shake the feeling that I’m forever bonded with CSI and forensics, given that my Dad shared his True Detective magazines with me and my brothers- sparing not the eye at all. Some of the images branded me for life: I suppose that’s why I feel such a connection with criminology and forensics, etc. You’re either cut out for that stuff or you’re not and I certainly am.

I know without a doubt that I’ll be in school for the next 6 years solid. It’s not likely that I’ll get a B.S./B. A. in anything at all and hop right to it. Nah. I’m going to jump in up to both eyeballs, as is my way. So, I’ll be double majoring in Biology and Psychology (which is actually Neuroscience/neuropsychology) which suits me just fine. Afterwards, I’m hoping to transfer to the University of Florida where I can work on a Master’s in Forensic Science.

If you think Forensic Science can be achieved with just “college algebra”- think again. You have to master Calculus (I and II) as well as Chemistry (I and II) and let’s not forget Physics. (I and II) Not for the faint of heart!

I shared my grand academic plan with Josh earlier. It only took his two-word reply to make me shudder, “Imaginary numbers,” he said.

Yep. That did the trick!

“What is I?” He went on.

I stared back stupidly.

“I is the square root of negative one. There is no square root of negative one which is why they call it an imaginary number,” he finished.

Right.

I certainly have my work cut out for me, but if I can actually pull this off, I’m fairly certain that I will have found my calling after all.

Back to Betsy. She’s been really good to me while I’ve had her but I’m afraid I’ll have to trade her in this fall. When I’m combining grocery trips with photo shoot (opportunities) because she’ll only go two miles- that’s pretty much my cue to get a new one.

Josh, leaning against a stranger’s car outside of the grocery store- taken today/Helios film 44-2

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Same car
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God Walks

These past few days have been nothing short of incredible. Some things have happened here at home that have caused both Josh and I to be soft-hearted, more so than usual. Take for example, his wallet, that was stolen from a department store. His birth certificate, ID, more than $100, my credit card too- and lots of other goodies were inside of it.

Interestingly enough, rather than being angry much, we’ve been teary-eyed and hyper-emotional. But that’s to be expected under the circumstances. As for me, I’ve been pondering my life (imagine that!) and contemplating my absolute direction in which I’ll go. I was in Business Administration five years ago when my Pastor suggested I switch majors to something that might better utilize my talents. I considered what she said and decided to go into Human Services/Behavioral Sciences. Generally, I wanted to work with homeless people and troubled juveniles, etc. From there, I considered Criminal Justice and probation/parole, and up until yesterday, I was alright with that.

But I’ve been praying and asking God to guide me to the place that He wants me to go. His answer: Psychology- specializing in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder/OCD behaviors- but most importantly- child sexual abuse and trauma. He’s really been digging around in my heart these past few months, stirring up some things I’d rather not acknowledge.

I was sexually abused by a relative when I was nine years old. Up until a year ago, I couldn’t even string those words together in the same sentence. I haven’t been in denial- but so very apprehensive to even look in that direction. It means pain. Heaps and heaps of pain. At some point, we sexual abuse survivors really do just get tired of this old monster that eats away at our heads and hearts. It’s emotionally and psychologically draining. Well, perhaps that is a form of denial. But as long as I don’t want to see it, it’s still buried. I couldn’t speak about this issue while my Dad was alive. This type of thing destroys lives- it’s like a locomotive with razor-sharp teeth- eating souls along the way. It devastates families. So for many years, I’ve stayed silent. I’ve taken my lashes privately to spare my siblings what would have been much ruin, both privately and publicly. Not surprisingly, my family has preferred that as well. Nobody ever talks about it. It “doesn’t exist” in their worlds.

I was told (when I was a child) that if I ever told anybody, my brothers and sister would be taken away and we would all be put in foster homes and that I would have been the cause. I was only 9! What a terrific and horrendous burden to place upon a child so young. So I kept my mouth shut. And suffered alone. And suffered. And suffered. And suffered.

My siblings got to keep each other and nobody went to a foster home. Hooray.

But I can’t stay silent any more. God has been walking through my heart. He’s telling me that I have a story to tell and it’s ok to tell it! I’ve suffered enough. I can hardly believe the number of women I’ve met online who are my age that have been sexually abused. A good many of them are taking multiple medications and cannot even leave their houses without another family member. That was me a handful of years ago too.

For four years now I’ve studied psychology and such in college. I used to slag on therapists, thinking they were goofy- spitting out “mumbo jumbo Freudian crap”. How ignorant! Naturally, I’ve come to understand just how hard psychology really is; all of the various sections of the brain and their functions that pertain to specific disorders and so on. And that’s just the physiological aspect- there’s the sociological aspect too; perspectives and theories and research methods. The field is so extensive, it really does command respect.

I’m 44 years old and I’ve never been treated for being molested as a child. The shame and pain that goes along with it keep women like me silent. And so we suffer silently. Year after year. But God has touched my heart today with His finger. It burns with a super fire! I’ve decided for the first time in my life to seek treatment for my childhood trauma. The silence must be broken if the remedy is to be successful. Besides, this is the area I want to study and specialize in in my studies. How can I possibly be of any help or use to other women who’ve suffered from this if I don’t become the client and receive professional help too?

And so I shall. I’ve called my local Behavioral Health facility and have scheduled an appointment for June. The first step really is the hardest. I know that the road won’t be particularly easy, but I know that I’m making a good emotional and psychological investment for my future. I’ve been so encouraged by the many (many many) brave women who have shared their similar stories through their blogs.

Some people think that such things shouldn’t be aired in public, but every one who has and continues to do so is my hero. We never know just who we’re going to touch in this world, or who may be reading our posts that have no idea what to do, where to go, who to talk to, etc.

I have a great, new outlook on life and I’m excited at the prospect of finally getting professional help for such an ugly disease: child sexual abuse.

Today is my mother’s birthday.  She doesn’t know it yet but I’m going to give her my (college) diplomas as one of her gifts.  I’ve fought so hard to finish my degree- for myself, yes, but especially for her. And she’s so proud of me. :0)

Happy birthday, Mom. ♥

My Mom’s one and only sunflower

 SunflowerMJ


One Down: Three to Go

 

Social Work Practice
Abnormal Psychology
Intro. to Social Work
Biology

 

TWO. MORE. DAYS.

!

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