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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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Truly

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Five days until school is out. Woohoo! 

I swear I’m so tired of talking about school. But, since I’m already on it, let’s update.

Still to go:

5 exams
1 videotaped diagnostic interview
1 biology Biome assignment (due today)
3 5-10 page APA research papers to write in 3 different classes
1 video presentation on Autism

Piece o’ cake. I could do that in my sleep by now. 

I’ve decided to change plans. Again.
I’ll be taking the whole summer off and taking lots (and lots) of pics. I can afford to take the summer off without working- it’s going to be pure Heaven, I tell ya. And after the year I’ve had so far? 

I got it coming to me I think. 

FIVE DAYS!


Another Sleepless Night

It’s 4:27 a.m. and I’m wide awake. There’re only three weeks left in the semester and I’m running out of time fast. I still have 4 major research papers to write (APA, of course), 30 hours of practicum/intern/volunteering at the psych ward and youth shelter, a diagnostic interview to videotape, and an oral presentation on Autism to prepare and record. (Not to mention 6 more exams.) My accumulative GPA is 3.65: not too shabby.

I tried sleeping but darn it, I have a career to plan! Besides, I have an executive decision to make: transfer immediately over to Indiana University Bloomington to begin working on my B.S. in Criminal Justice, or stick it out for the summer semester at my current university, Vincennes, and receive my 2nd degree- an A.S. in Social Work. I’m 97% finished, according to my audit, which means if I take only 3 more social work courses this summer- I’ll have my 2nd degree.

Granted, little can be done with an A.S. in Social Work (apart from residential counseling, youth director, case manager in a group home or Substance Abuse facility, etc.) but I do also have the degree in Behavioral Sciences too, along with the CPC in Substance Abuse. Technically, it’s 5 academic years combined.

My short term primary objective is to become a probation officer, and possibly, parole- ultimately. (Perhaps 3 years in probation working with juveniles, then a transition over to parole so I can take a few years experience with me.) I’m really wanting to stay in the area of juvenile work: I’d rather work with impressionable, responsive, and “workable” adolescents who haven’t already been hardened by poor choices and criminal deviance. However, my dilemma is that most probation office facilities require a bachelor’s degree. I have the equivalency, and I’m sure I could sell myself in the area if I tried, but I really think I do need the Criminal Justice training. I’m not entirely loving “Social Work”, and so I’m tempted to simply transfer over to IU Bloomington so I can begin working on my Criminal Justice degree over the summer. But that means tossing my A.S. in Social Work when I’m 97% finished!

I suppose I’ve ramble-typed enough to have worked this out: I’ll remain at Vincennes for the duration of the summer and complete my Social Work degree. In the meantime, I’ll have registered at IU Bloomington and will be ready to go this fall.

I still have my heart set on Forensic Psychology, but for now, a B.S. in Criminal Justice is what I need to focus on. I’m hoping to be able to integrate photo therapy into my work (down the road) and do more school readings with my children’s book, but I have to keep my irons in the fire down to, oh…say FIVE or so.

I’m considering taking my Abnormal Psychology chapter test on Theories, Perspectives, and Models but I s’pose that can wait until the morning. I’m so super excited these days! I’ve waited 20 long years to be able to go back to college, get a few degrees under my belt, and start my career. My kids are mostly grown (17-24), so I’m allowing myself the luxury to focus on ME now. This has all been carefully planned for a very long time and it’s exciting that I’m finally actually doing it.

Only two more years!

Along the way I’m going to join and pick up certification in IAAP (Indiana Association for Addiction Professionals ) & ICAADA (Indiana Counselors Association on Alcohol and Drug Abuse). My Substance Abuse professor suggested that I join these two organizations. I’m not necessarily going into the Substance Abuse/Intervention field, but I think more than a Criminal Justice degree is necessary if one wants to be an effective probation officer. Many juveniles will have already experienced drugs and alcohol by the time they’re 13. Juveniles that are sent to the probation department? Their experiential substance abuse percentage is closer to 100%. I want to have a few extra tools in my belt: a solid substance abuse education and credentials are essential when working with juveniles.

Juveniles + substance abuse = probation
adults + substance abuse = parole

substance abuse – college education = homelessness, jail, criminal behavior, etc.

It’s only a matter of time before a juvenile experimenting with substance abuse ends up homeless, in prison, or on parole. There’s a very strong correlation between juveniles who are on probation and substance abuse.  I want to do what I can so that he or she doesn’t end up going down that road.

And now I’m off to bed.

Oh, and just in case you’re wondering what a cell looks like during its anaphase cycle of mitosis, this is it:

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Cell during anaphase cycle of mitosis: created by Josh and me for my Biology: Life Sciences class.

Ingredients used:

Centromeres: whole black peppercorn
Spindle Fibers: uncooked pasta
Chromosomes: Ramen noodles soaked in Srirracha sauce
Microtubules: whole green tea

Grade received: A


Operation H A R D B O D Y

So early this morning, as I was serving Josh some creamy oat meal and coffee, I asked him if we could start planning our Puerto Rico vacation. I’ve calculated that it’ll cost around $1,000 each for a 5 day getaway stay in a private chalet in the El Yunque rain forest in the jungle. A round trip flight for two is only $800- insanely cheap. The chalet is $150 per night- again, insanely cheap and we’ll be 15 minutes away from a private waterfall lagoon in one direction and a white sanded beach filled with tiapas kiosks in the other. PARADISE. 

The only problem I see here is that I’m about 30 lbs. heavier than I’d like to be, so…I have to kick my sick sugar habit and start working out. I absolutely HATE to “work out”. It’s so freaking boring. The fact that I’m a former athlete and trained intensely every day (for years) helps; I’ve got some killer muscles in my legs, etc. from being a cross country runner, but I’ve been a bit of a slacker for about 25 years. 

So…

I’m going to start today. An hour per day, 5 days per week. By the time Josh and I are on our private lighthouse beach in Caja de Muertos (Dead Man’s Chest), I’m going to have a super sick body. Because I’m a former athlete, my muscles are well formed- they’ve just been asleep for awhile but it’s time to wake those suckers up!

I’m feeling pretty excited these days. Apart from a video recorded diagnostic interview and a handful of research papers (and finals, of course) I’m pretty much wrapping this semester up. I’ll be able to have a month down in May (in between semesters), so the entire month will be spent picking blanket fuzz out of my hair, eating Ben and Jerry’s rice crackers while watching the ID Channel and catching up on reading my MGM era biographies. Heaven? I think so.

I’m off for a morning photo shoot with my Super Tak (SMC Super Takumar 135/3.5) for my first spring shoot.

Life is pretty damn sweet right about now. 

And here’s why!

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😉


Love is Grand and other Great Things

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Mr. Bob Hedge, himself (AKA: my son) /Helios film 44-2/natural lighting

So Josh is in the living room belting out a rock-blues ballad that he’s making up as he’s going along. Today we’re rejoicing: he just got a new job and I’m changing majors from Sociology to Criminal Justice. Hoo ha! I’m pretty excited about it. I’m thinking, I need to knock back this school thing while I’m in school-mode. A few more years! Two and a half, in fact. I’ve been told that up to 90 of my credit hours could transfer over to my BS in Criminal Justice. I’m pretty happy about that. Sociology is great and all, and I’m most passionate about that, but at the end of it all I’m going to need a jobby job, as in, actual “career”. Sociology doesn’t ensure that but Criminal Justice does. My dream job would be as a criminal psychologist or a Profiler, but that requires no less than a Master’s degree. Hmmm…we’ll see. I’ve decided to move in the direction of a probation officer for starters.

My plan is never vague or blurry when I calculate one. I gather facts, research, strategize, formulate the plan clearly, and execute it precisely. So the new plan is this (which could change at any time, mind you, but for now, it’s a done deal):

Short Term Goals

  • Transfer 30-60 Behavioral Sciences credit hours over to SNHU and apply them to new BS in Criminal Justice
  • Receive BS in Criminal Justice
  • Build up community work with PBS/Peanut Butter Soup– my children’s book- volunteer, etc. or possible school readings (This is the area that needs most attention) Ulterior motive: bulk up resume + gain experience

Long Term Goals

  • Work as probation officer/secure job for $30,000 to $35,000 annually-starting pay- minimum
    (The starting pay for most probation officer jobs is $35,000-$40,000)
  • Continue with Master’s degree in down time/online- snails’ pace, obviously (never more than two courses at any time)
    (Studying Criminal Psychology)
  • Work to pay off student loans and other debt (which is minimal)

I never envisioned moving into the direction of law enforcement (gasp!) but as a probation officer, I would need to be a licensed gun carrier, and, carry a badge. Yep. A badge. I’m halfway through the semester and am miraculously holding on to my A’s (and a B), so I’ll transition over to my new University in June to begin work on my Bachelor’s. Exciting stuff!

It’s interesting to think that the same prospect only one month ago made me want to shake, shudder, and run for the hills. That’s what utter loneliness can do for the soul! Despondency and silence eat away at the core until everything looks so grey and near impossible to achieve. I had predicted that my heart would thaw out this spring: who knew? 🙂

But love indeed has taken its toll on me and I’m helplessly goofy and happy lately. Josh makes an incredibly strong impact on me. Isn’t it funny how different people will reflect different parts of us? He reflects genuine goodness and he brings that out in me. I mentioned this to him one day and his reply was this, “I only reflect back what I see.”

[Kumbaya]

The kitchen is a wreck and I’m still in my PJ’s at 3:11 in the afternoon, but the sound of the electric guitar in the living room tells me to relax- take a break- smile, and let the dishes marinate a while longer.

Love has its ole hook in me once again.


Day 1: Back at School

I tell you, school couldn’t come fast enough. For some people, beginning their next semester entails stress, anxiety, uncertainty, procrastination-anxiety, feelings of being overwhelmed, and feelings of general excitement mixed with doom. For me, it’s just the opposite. When I’m in school, I’m completely in my element: I know what to expect and I work best when I’m in the pressure cooker! It’s just how life has molded me to be.

I’ve added my 14 exam dates for Abnormal Psychology onto my wall planner, as well as my deadlines for my case studies and oral case study presentations. (Isn’t that a bucket of fun waiting to happen?) I’ve watched my video for Anorexia and other eating disorders for my Social Work Practice class and have submitted the accompanying assignment work sheet. My homework for the evening is to read 25 pages in each of the first chapters and take 10+ pages of notes that I’ll be tested on this week.

And then there’s my Biology lab course and Intro to Social Work! I’m still sorting out those assignments, dates, deadlines, video presentations, and other important assignments/folders. Apart from my oral presentations (and 30 + hours of volunteer work), I’ll also have two separate 15 page research paper projects in two different classes.

I’ve been hammering away at getting things sorted for the past 5 days solid: it’s a lot of work, but the preparation beforehand saves me stress later. You can hardly be too prepared for college classes.

I’m really hoping that I’ll be able to squeeze a vacation in soon as I won’t be taking a summer break this year. Four months this spring at VU and then it’s straight over to SNHU to begin work on my BA in Sociology where I’ll work without a break for the next year. I can now say that my life is planned out for the next several years!

I haven’t had a horrific migraine in more than two months; that in itself is borderline miraculous. I believe I’ve made a profound discovery. There are triggers that set off migraines when you’re a chronic migraine sufferer, as I have been for several years now. I have specific triggers that I avoid at all costs:

  • too much sugar and salt
  • too much audial, radial, and visual stimulation
  • weather/change in barometric pressure
  • grinding teeth [bruxism/night grinding]
  • stress
  • stress
  • stress
  • lack of sleep
  • alcohol [never more than two glasses of red wine- ever]
  • no yelling or heightened displays of anger
  • insufficient exercise
  • too much heat
  • being too cold

In other words, I have to walk very softly or I can get a vicious migraine that lasts for 3 days. (My blog is filled with days like that.) I’ve been my own guinea pig for more than a year in experimental home trials where I’ve undergone numerous self-testings: I’ve made some very important discoveries.

The most important discovery of all is that it could be allergens which are triggering the histamines to go to war against my own body. The result? Migraines! Through my own researches, I’ve come to learn that the sinus cavities swell when the body is under attack from various allergens. The most common ones come from cats and pet dander. Several of my family members are allergic to cats and need to take antihistamines when they’re around cats. Armed with this knowledge, I decided to start taking 1/4th of a Phenergan (prescription: it’s a powerful antihistimine that fights nausea) daily, without fail, to dry up the almost constant sinus drainage I have and have had all my life. It works like a charm! Benadryl is too strong for me, so the quarter strength Phenergan is ideal.

I’ve been doing this for a while now, and have noticed that since my histamines are regularly controlled, my triggers have become subdued as well. I haven’t taken a whole Phenergan in more than 5 years- that stuff’ll knock you out cold, but at 1/4th the strength; it allows the antihistamine to do its job (dry up the sinus cavities) while mitigating the histamine and body’s histamine reaction, resulting in a dramatic decrease in migraines, so much so that I seldom get them at all any more.

I used to think that the arachnoid cyst in my head caused these severe migraines; not any more. Perhaps the neurologist was correct: he suggested the migraines weren’t caused by the cyst and shared with me that arachnoid cysts are often congenital. Many people have them (from birth) and never know it. Some people have problematic cysts though, and the sinuses and arachnoid membranes flare up, which exacerbate the onset of migraines greatly. I believe my own body’s histamines have been the culprit the entire time. My daughter loves the kittowies too much to let them go, so I have to adhere to a strict code of health  and watch my “triggers”, but hey, I’m practically migraine free now, and as a result of my super-tight-lifestyle, I’m healthier than I’ve ever been. No complaints here.

🙂

(You know you’re getting old when you actually want to be healthy…)

ImageHelios 44-2 film lens/digital Rebel- private retreat at friend’s house- January 2014


Flatline

I woke up this morning to a sink full of pee. Also, there are two rolls of toilet paper missing. I scroll through my mental rolodex of people, friends, animals, and other beings who have been in this place for the past 24 hours. What could this mean?

It’s kind of like the game Clue, except the wrench or gun has been replaced with a sink of pee. Josh thinks our dog did it. He does sometimes climb up on the counter (over the sink) and tear into the trash. Yes, yes, perhaps. Could he have peed in the sink? It’s possible. But the two rolls of toilet paper. How could they have simply vanished? No traces of their whereabouts. 

These are things that I can ponder over the next twelve days without the internet. I’ve been stashing game and entertainment folders like a hoarder preparing for the apocalypse. Twelve days without the internet! That’s a lifetime. I’ve been chained to this bed and laptop for days- knocking out assignment after assignment. Criminology final- check. Cultural essay (with MLA citations) in Spanish II- check. Five remaining assignments in Lifetime Fitness and Wellness- check. I’ve knocked back 4 classes (and my finals) a month early in preparation for the internet crash. I remember taking pictures outside…and shadows! I like shadows! Two more days of school madness and it’s over. I’m hobbling through the finish line but dang it, I made it.

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I’ll be back with stories of my graduation. Until then, farewell all!
♥☺♫☼☻♪♥☺♫☼☻♪♥☺♫☼☻♪♥☺♫☼☻♪♥☺♫☼☻♪♥☺♫☼☻♪♥☺♫☼☻♪♥☺♫☼☻♪♥☺♫☼☻


Final Grade- Health PSYCH

Email from instructor:

Thank you for the comments.  It has been a pleasure to oversee your excellent work.  Your final grade for the Health Psychology class is 92% which is an “A”.  I wish you success in your future academic pursuits and career choice.  Stay well! 

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1 down- 3 to go!


No Dreams Tonight

ImageJosh, blemishes and all

It’s 5:29 a.m. and I’ve been up all night. Josh is sleeping in the other room, bathed in the (deliciously) cold air. We’re now the semi-proud owners of three air conditioners! That’s reason to celebrate around here; things have been so rough lately. Apart from general hassles and stressors in life, the extreme heat was making us all a little bit crazy. It quite literally felt as if our brains were simmering in our own stupid juices.

Maddening!

I can actually think now and focus on my schoolwork again (which is drastically overdue). My teachers gave me an extension; I really don’t like to do that, but in this case, it couldn’t be helped. I’ve decided that I’ll be more than likely working on my B.A. in Criminal Justice after I graduate, minoring in Psychology. I’m interested in working in the areas of probation, parole, and rehabilitation. Here’s my theory:

There are two major gaps in our penal system. The first gap is within the age ranges of 17-24. Many of these candidates are still juveniles/young adults and have never been incarcerated for an extended length of time. They’re petty offenders and are still in a somewhat malleable state: they can still be reached and easily molded for correction and productivity. Some of these people will fall through the gap however, ending up in prison after several bouts with crime. This is the first gap and should be considered to be at one end of “prevention”. This is also the area that falls into probation rather than parole.

The second gap deals with people who are between the ages of 40-55 (give or take a few years). These are the ones who have fallen through the first gap and have been through the many revolving doors of the penal system, having never been rehabilitated. These are much harder cases because they have spent years in prison already, and when they are released, they hardly stand a chance at successfully rebuilding their lives due to the fact that the majority of our U.S. prisons aren’t implementing applicable programs that will help to restructure their lives. This is the second gap, and should be considered to be at the other end of the line, which is “cure”. 

Prevention……………………………(Incarceration)…………………………………..Cure

The two gaps are crucial points for either category, because they are both PRIME TIMES for a juvenile delinquent (or former inmate) to utilize ready programs that will help him or her change their lives for the better.

My main area of interest will be in working in one of these areas: prevention/probation or cure/parole.  And I don’t want to go and punch a time card, “do my job”, and go home. I don’t want that to be my life. I want to put every bit of what I have within me into my job, wherever it will be, and combine my personal and empirical experience in life with my academic education so that I can “actually make a difference” in the lives of others. 

We’re heading out of here at 10:00 a.m. 
We’re going to Tennessee to pick up Brianna from her friend’s house; it’s a beautiful stretch of country. 

Time to see the sandman…


Hell Week x 3

The heat is making us all a little crazy. It’s 86 degrees in this place.

“How do you feel about being cremated, mom?” Brianna asked me nonchalantly.

“Is that what you want? To be cremated?” I asked her.

“Being buried is one of the most vile things you can to to another human being. They drain your blood, fill you with embalming fluid, and stuff cotton in all of your holes.”

“They stuff cotton in all of your holes?” I asked.

“Yeah.”

“Well, there’s a Scripture that says we’ll return to the dust. I think that’s a commandment, not a request,” I said. “Do they really stuff cotton in all of your holes?” I asked again.

She said something else but my mind wandered off to thoughts of me, lying on a cold table with bits of cotton hanging out of my holes. Not that I would feel it at all.

“And I don’t want a funeral,” she continued.

“So you’d rather be burned up?” I asked her.

“I don’t want a funeral either,” I said. “Actually, I’ve left that up to Heidi. She’ll do what she wants with me.”

We sat quietly and reflected on the possibilities.

‘”Oh damn! Where did I put my mother?!'” I said to Brianna, mimicking Heidi.

“No,” Brianna said, ” she would pick up a homeless man with you in the back seat. He would be like, ‘What’s in the back?’ And she would be like, ‘ My dead mother,'” said Brianna, sitting upright with a no-nonsensical far away look, pretending to be Heidi.

I laughed as I pictured Heidi toting my cold body halfway across the city, picking up transients along the way- pushing bags and shoving heavy body parts to make more room.

“Well, I’ll tell you what,” I said to Brianna. “God forbid, if you should go before me, I’ll honour your request and have you cremated. I give you my word.”

She seemed appeased.
I got up to make noodles.

Josh and I were up at the buttcrack of dawn, as Heidi puts it, praying and getting ready to start our day. We went for a “coffee walk” at 9:00 a.m. which lasted for 20 minutes or so. We’re planning a chamomile tea-walk this evening. We’ve been working relentlessly on our schoolwork since this morning (squeezing in a doctor trip in between classes). I’m so glad Josh and I are both in school simultaneously; we’re a great support system for one another. We know when to put extra pressure on each other and when to tell the other to take a break.

The next three weeks will no doubt be the most academically challenging thing I’ll have ever done. I have no earthly idea how I’m going to do everything I’ve scheduled. It’s shocking to think about. My schedule looks like this:

June 12-Wednesday

Study for Midterm Exam in Earth Science/Take Midterm Exam
Math 2.5 & 2.6
Health Psychology Unit 3
Read Public Speaking Chap 7

June 13-Thursday

Take Math Quiz 2.4-2.6
Read Chapter 10 Earth Science
Read Public Speaking Chap 8

June 14-Friday

Take Earth Science Test 10
Do remaining Assignments in Earth Science
Read Public Speaking Chap. 9

June 15-Saturday

Public Speaking ALL DAY
Do # 3 Public Speaking Written Assignment
Take next EXAM in Public Speaking
Prepare for next 4 speeches

And that’s just the next few days.
Each chapter of each course covers 30-40 pages.

The remainder of the month is staggering. I’m fairly certain that after I graduate, I’ll be working on my B.A. in Sociology and a double minor in Criminal Justice and Psychology. Lots of fun in store for me!

I have so little time now; I’m off to compose a 5 page Health Psychology assignment, read another chapter in Public Speaking and do 25 (more) pre-calculus problems- that will be 50 total for the day. That will add up to over 200 math problems in just the past few days, apart from my other courses.

Time to get cracking.

Au revoir!

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Fun in the Sun

Not really.

It’s neither sunny here, nor fun.
As a matter of fact, I’m in the middle of intercept slope forms, functions of graphs, and linear equations.

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Good stuff. And look! Only 24 more to go!

I want my Mom. 😦

****************************

8/1/14

Tonight, I paid $109 of Mom’s electric bill: I surprised her, because she was behind and in a hard place.

And here you are. You could be loving her, truly loving her. Instead, you seek my hurt- my destruction- and it delights you to break your own Mother’s heart.

Let me tell you- hell will find you tonight. And death will come upon you as a whirlwind, because you have turned away from the love of God.

And let this be a testament against you for you are full of hypocrisy and harm. DEATHEATER.


Forgiven

 

Wow. 
So my school had penalized me for dropping my two classes (College Algebra and Public Speaking) due to the car accident that I was involved in on October the 1st. Although it wasn’t my fault, they put $1,380 back onto my balance (meaning that’s what I now owe them) as well as a transcript and registration hold. Without help, I could practically kiss college goodbye. 

But I’m a fighter and I simply refuse to go down like that. I wrote a compelling letter simultaneously to the Dean, the bursar, and the director of financial aid, begging them to help me, and asking them to not allow me to fall through the cracks of society and become a statistic of “what could have been”.  Two days later I received a letter from my adviser stating that the balance would remain, but they lifted the registration hold, allowing me to return for the spring semester. (!) I know a handful of people who have had to drop out altogether for similar holds and situations- this is nothing short of a miracle. 

So, I’ll get to return in several weeks to finish up my degree. I’m ecstatic. 🙂 
I’m not crazy about math, but I’m going to give it my best shot. This will be my fourth semester of college algebra; the first three were developmental and I didn’t receive credit, so this will be somewhat gratifying.

I have three weeks to play in the snow before the madness begins!

Let it snow…  

 [Taken today, on my snow walk.]

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Dropping Classes

 

I’m so disheartened. I haven’t had to drop a class in years. After the car accident, I’ve awaken every morning with a splitting headache- as if I have socks stuffed in my head completely; accompanied by nausea and a stiff neck, along with an aching back, shoulders and now I’m having unidentifiable pain shooting through my eyebrows and the bridge of my nose- that’s a first.

I feel like I’m 75 years old in my body. This is not good.
I can’t focus. I’m disoriented and find myself as if I’m in a daze. I want to do my Algebra but keep finding myself in a stupor, having to push, metally very hard, just to comprehend what the instructor is saying. This was not like this before the accident.

I have no idea what’s happened to me but I know that I didn’t receive the care I needed at Clark memorial Hospital. A cat scan won’t even pick up my cerebral cyst- it takes an MRI for that, and I didn’t receive a post-accident MRI. As far as I’m concerned, I’m still “unseen” regarding medical care.

I can’t believe the nurse actually gave the patient in a wheelchair a cigarette! He was threatening a doctor even!
In the grass, in the front of the hospital, there’s a sign that touts that the hospital is a “tobacco free campus”.

Hmmm….

It grieves me that I’m going to have to drop my Algebra and Public Speaking classes. They’re simply too much for me at the moment- my head is a total wreck. 😦

I wanted to work on my songs too. A CD even perhaps, and, revise my children’s book “Peanut Butter Soup” and start doing school tours, like the one I did at Pine View in New Albany. The mayor and I took turns visiting classes and reading to the children.

Looks like everything is on hold for now until I know what is going on with my head and back.
I’m still having sharp pains shooting through my right ear too, only now, it’s joined by pains in my left ear.

Every day is a battle to simply “go through it”. This accident has really messed me up.

I’ll have to postpone my degree, but I’m still working toward it. I will stay in my Nutrition class, which isn’t too demanding, and my Substance Abuse Treatment Centers class as well. I was scheduled to intern at an actual treatment center beginning next semester. Looks like that will have to wait also.


Photo Therapy

So my assignments are stacking up already.

College Algebra
Fill out proctor forms/fax back to instructors
Read 28 pages in Nutrition/take first quiz
Finish up reading in Alcohol and Other Drug Problems- type out 2 page report as a treatment center assistant, specializing in prevention
Prepare for my first speech

They’re not due until next Monday, so…there’s time.

I’m tempted to go play hookie. Down at the river. With my camera. Maybe- maybe I could do research of some kind. For school. Or something.
With my camera.

Josh is frustrated. He’s on his laptop rambling on about his inconsiderate teacher.
I really didn’t hear a word he said.

“Is that your Spanish class?” I asked.

“Yeah,” he said, seemingly appeased.

I passed.

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