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My Person

Recently, someone came back into my life.

This person was my whole entire world for three years. This was My Person, the love of my life.

They loved me.

Completely.

All my flaws.

My Person made me feel whole.

my person

My Person calmed the negativity I had in my life.

My Person held me when I needed to cry. They listened when I needed to yell. This person sat behind me and picked head lice out of my hair for 8 hours when I cried because no one else in my life would help me. My Person was so beyond good for me.

Then, slowly I started letting the negative creep back in, I let the people that were supposed to care talk me into believing them instead of this amazing person I had in my life.   

You see, I always knew I was a failure. 

I always knew I would never amount to anything.

My Person believed in me and my worth and well… I really don’t know.

I have no excuses except I was young and dumb and influenced easily by people that should have been supporting me.  I longed for THEIR approval and love and if I didn’t have that, why should I deserve anything else.

I left this amazing person with a heavy heart but headed in a direction I was being basically shoved into for many years.

I married, had kids, was verbally and emotionally abused before I finally left.

Even after I left I tried to make it work. I mean, no one else would ever want me.

During this time I searched out My Person.

They’d moved far away to another land.

They seemed happy and from what I could see from my computer screen didn’t want me anymore.

I did reach out, I called, I emailed, I basically stalked this person.

But they had moved on. I was just a memory to them; that was okay. After all, I didn’t deserve them.

Fast forward a few more years.

I still watched My Person from afar. I was friends with their family but still had not contact with My Person.

That was okay. I was happy knowing they were happy.

I met someone, dated for a few years, got married again. And I am finally HAPPY!  Well, at least most of the time. My old negative thoughts are all still there but I’m mildly successful at pushing them down.

A couple weeks ago, My Person showed up in my life again like a whirlwind.

They have never been far from my thoughts; I still watched.

But here they were in my inbox and we’ve been talking and it’s like the last twenty years disappeared and I am right back where I was, where we were; My Person and I.

And I am so so so in love. I always was.

And I’m torn: how can I love two people this much?  What do I do?

I need this person in my life, they are a part of me has been missing for so long.

It’s like I got my right hand back.  I need them to know I love them. Because I do…

…but we can’t be together.

I love where I am now, I love the person I’ve married. I love my home and my job. Right now? There’s half a century and twenty years between us, but I still need them in my life.

I find my mind wandering a lot lately.

The what if’s. 

I find myself wanting to wake up in one of those stupid romcoms where everything is different but it just seems right and you don’t want to wake up.

I want to find a damn DeLorean and make different choices.

Breaking The Cycle: The Bipolar Monster Inside My Mother

Growing up with a mentally ill parent is a challenge under the best of circumstances.

This is their story:

I want to tell you about the monster that tries to eat me.

Each day there’s a new challenge to overcome.

Living and breathing are a luxury.

I live with her.

I’ve known her.

Nobody knows her the way I do.

Nobody has met the monster inside of her, the one they call Bipolar Disorder.

Abusers either target everyone around them or one person in particular. I am the person she targets.

Maybe it’s because I am the only child or maybe it is because I resemble my father, whom she despises.

The monster has two faces; one is sweet and caring in front of everyone who is watching, and one violently screams and tries to break me to the point of no return.

People often see her as a victim, a victim of a spontaneously rebellious child.

I’m called spoiled, a rebel, bad, violent. For years, I’ve felt guilty for these things.

But I realized I’m not an angry person – I’m just pissed off at everything that has happened.

I’ve also realized I am not guilty or responsible for her demons.

I have my ways to beat the monster, to tame it. But ignoring is not one of them; neither is feeding it.

Quick wit can get you far, as will patience, but you can’t be tolerant because with tolerance comes more abuse. You have to show it that you won’t be broken down, that you won’t stay passive to everything it does.

Giving into the victimizing is as big a deal not as engaging in a screaming fit.

How can you deal with it?

The formula is simple: you don’t give it what it wants. It confuses the monster, and it puts it down.

Think ahead.

This is a survival game; every day you’re on defense.

Every day, you need to examine the opponent, and every moment you have to be ready.

It can drag you down or make you stronger, whichever you choose.

Bear it until you are able to really escape.

I’m Tired

I’m Tired
I’m tired of acquiring but never keeping nice things; possessions I work arduously for that are torn up, soiled or otherwise destroyed.
I’m tired of endless piles of laundry, clothes strewn across the floor, indistinguishable as clean or dirty, but washed again nonetheless.
I’m tired of chaos, of the arguing, of the drama and constant conflict that ages my soul.
I’m tired of being shown how for granted I’m being taken.
I’m tired of never knowing if I’m coming or going.
I’m tired of feeling responsible for the complete care of everyone else and sacrificing my own care of self.
I’m tired of feeling chronically exhausted.
I’m tired of my complaints and concerns being pushed aside, minimalized and marginalized.
I’m tiring of knowing “things could always be worse” as a means to not being able to be entitled to my emotional journey.
I’m tired of listening to others during their times of deepest sorrow, frustration or fear and being a pillar of strength for them but rarely being given my own time to grieve.
I’m tired of being told I’m hormonal.
I’m tired of having my emotions rationalized for me.
I’m tired of being expected to “deal with it” and accept that “it’s just part of being a parent” or “being an adult”.
I’m tired of feeling like I cannot still express my inner child, have big dreams and be encouraged to chase them.
I’m tired of adults bullying other adults.
I’m tired of divisiveness and actions that only perpetuate further trauma and abuse.
I’m tired of being an angry white female.
I’m tired of feeling threatened by PRIVILEGED WHITE MEN
I’m tired of fearing for my own safety, bodily autonomy and well-being EVERY DAY.
I’m tired of, when expressing my concerns and frustrations, being called names like snowflake, FEMINAZI, bitch and CUNT.
I’m tired of working myself until I’m literally ill and yet still feeling immense guilt for purchasing that $19 shirt at Target.
I’m tired of the pressure to be the perfect mother, the perfect wife, the perfect daughter/sister/nurse.
I’m tired of attachment titles.
I’m tired of being expected to take a side when my beliefs lie somewhere in the middle.
I’m tired of women having no safe place to candidly talk and share without fear of persecution, name calling or mean-spiritedness.
I’m tired of male violence against women.
I’m tired of watching so many of my fellow brothers and sisters continue to live lives full of anger, resentment and self-entitlement, oblivious to their own inner demons.
I’m tired of Dr. Google. I will always side with evidence backed scientific studies.
I’m tired of watching parents put their children at risk for a lifetime of illness because of a handful of conspiracy theorists.
I’m tired of trying to explain facts to those same people and them finding a means to justify EVERY SINGLE TIME.
So, I’m tired of selective ignorance where there is a literal WORLD of information at mere fingertips.
I’m tired of reckless, self-serving decisions of others that may adversely affect countless people.
I’m tired of online battles, egocentric conversations and people’s inability to say “I’m sorry” or “I was mistaken”.
I’m tired of being oppressed because of my gender.
I’m tired of being objectified because of my outward appearance.
I’m tired of consistently having to maintain a stern exterior to protect my children and myself from pervasive predators.
I’m tired of mean, bitter people.
I’m tired of always being strong.
I’m tired of being responsible for everyone’s emotions, blatantly disregarding my own.
I’m tired of letting things roll off my back all the while knowing they will  puncture me on the way down.
I’m tired of pretending I’m always unbreakable.
I’m tired of violence, both via the media and in the world.
I’m tired of endless wars, of which neither party will ultimately win.
I’m tired of our elected officials, having taken oaths to serve citizens and country, acting like nothing more than selfish, insecure middle school children.
I’m tired of relentless mind games, fear mongering and empty threats.
I’m tired of being tired.
I’m tired of taking on all of this weight.
I’m tired of being accused of attacking others when I can no longer keep it all in and finally break down and speak my mind.
I’m tired of the fragile male ego and the need of constant reassurance.
I’m tired of watching women lessen themselves to help a man feel significant.
I’m tired of toxic masculinity.
I’m tired of men trying to justify their bad behavior as “urges” or “needs” or the old adage “boys will be boys”.
I’m tired of watching the world in its current state; its destroyers in utter denial.
I’m tired of ALL THE GREED- It has caused abuse, war, human mutilation and countless children’s deaths.
I’m tired of society’s RIDICULOUS expectations of the ideal female form.
I’m tired of fake tits, tight asses and flat tummies.
I’m tired of men expecting “perfection” in a woman while they fill their ever expanding waistlines with chicken wings and beer.
I’m tired of the ass-patters, the at-a-boy-ers.
I’m tired of seeing blame shifting, scapegoating and flat out lying all in pathetic attempts to save face and avoid accountability.
I’m tired of feeling stretched far too thin, always dancing on the edge, but never actually jumping.
I’m tired of cooking countless dinners, only to have them picked at by children.
I’m tired of washing dishes with tears of frustration in my weary eyes because the dinner I made and threw out was the last of the food budget.
I’m tired of pretending to be OKAY.
I’m tired of never being allowed to own my feelings.
I’m tired of sharing and being condemned for doing so.
I’m tired of hard swallows and “I’m fines” through gritted teeth and clenched fists; anxiety attacks in the bathroom between motherly duties.
I’m tired of pushing through my own emotions inappropriately in order to quickly address the needs of others.
I’m tired of finger pointing; defensive, argumentative conversations.
I’m tired of waiting for inevitable civil war, feeling riddled with anxious anticipation EVERY DAY.
I’m tired of the pandemic that is disrespect, both for others and self.
I’m tired of trying to fix everything.
I’m tired, I’m tired. I’m tired…
I think it’s time I rest.

I originally wrote this for my blog this past September and it remains one of my favorite writings to date. Thanks for reading!

#feminist #metoo #womensrights #angryfeminist #female #motherhood #powertothefeminist

Dear Friend,

This is part of a letter to a friend in response to her mom’s suicide.

Dear Sarah,

It’s been a long time since you’ve asked me to comment on the book you wrote about your mom’s suicide. I think you are amazing to write about it and I’m glad that you did. I don’t enjoy bringing that chapter of life to mind, given the chaos of those years, but I’ve thought about it often. Especially when I think about what it means to be a mother and uncovering fresh layers of fucked up that we both learned from our mothers.

I know it’s not fair of me to judge them now — but it’s hard not to. 

I took your mom’s suicide hard.

Talking about my relationship with your mom is hard for me because I admired her very much — I was flabbergasted by the way that she slipped back into drugs and addiction.

I was shocked that she abandoned you like that. I was just shocked.

I couldn’t believe your mom would die by suicide.

I still can’t.

I remember the first time I met your mom, I was playing in the front yard while she moved in across the street. She introduced herself from over the fence and told me that she had a daughter just my age, with my name: “I have a Sarah too.”

By the time you came to visit for the summer she had already arranged that we would be playmates.  She even arranged a phone call between us before your visit.

When you showed up at my front door, I knew we would be lifelong friends.

mom's suicide

My mom worked a lot and my dad was physically or mentally absent most of the time, so your home was like a second home to me.

During these years, your house felt like a Norman Rockwell to me, though now I see that it was far from it.  

My mom remarried a man who was addicted to heroin, while at your house, your mom packed lunches, set up the tent in the backyard for us to “camp,” and made goody bags filled with candy. She took us to the zoo, the mall, and the flea market. She prescreened movies, took us for mint chocolate chip ice cream cones, and insisted that you wore a bike helmet. I remember going with her to an NA picnic in the park and how proud she was of her sober chips. We’d to admire the shiny metal coins she earned for racking up months and years of sobriety. 

I envied the amount of time and attention that your mom spent with you when she was sober  As a kid, I saw your mom as kind, fair, the type who would take the time to listen.

When your mom died by suicide, I was glad that she had doted on you those years before she started using again.

As my home life became marked by violence and fear, I began that the world was full of bad people. I quickly became withdrawn to protect myself.

Beth was a reminder that there were safe adults in the world.

When my stepfather and my mom first started fighting, I called your house in the middle of the night. I was so scared. I didn’t know what was happening or what to do.

It was very late and your mom answered the phone and insisted that I tell her what was happening. My stepfather hadn’t started hitting my mom yet, but the yelling was really over the top. She gave me a speech about how adults sometimes argue and it can be scary for children to hear and explained that my mom and step dad would never want to do anything to scare me. She told me to go downstairs and tell them that they were scaring me and I couldn’t sleep. They told me to go back up to my room.

mom's suicide

Many nights of fighting followed with growing intensity and I tried to call you but ended up talking to Beth.

Beth eventually called my mom and told her that she was concerned about me – I was in big trouble. I was forbidden to speak about “private family business.” It worked: I didn’t speak of the violence again until after his death.

The violence escalated and my stepfather began beating my mom and my brother when he was angry. We moved on several occasions to get away from him.

The emotional abuse from my stepfather became our new normal and we began spending school nights on random people’s sofas, hiding our car down the street.  

I spent as much time as possible at friend’s houses and took up babysitting to get out of the house on weekends.

Beth was the only person who knew what was happening; I’d assumed that she would be the person to help me out of that situation. I’m no longer sure she understood how bad things had gotten. She provided me a safe place to go whenever I needed one and a reminder that there are kind people in the world. She told me that I should become one of them. She affirmed that there were a lot of fucked-up things in the world and they would probably never make sense.

Honestly, I don’t know how I would have turned out without Beth as a moral reference point during those years.

Beth became addicted to codeine cough syrup and her behavior changed: she didn’t take us on outings she slept all day everyday. One occasion when she woke up, I remember her running down the hallway singing “boo boop be boo.” This is when I learned that there was something wrong. I was pretty sure that people with bronchitis didn’t do that kind of thing normally.

I knew things were coming unhinged for you, but was too young to appreciate the full weight of what was happening.

I lived in Beth’s house twice, once for a short time when I ran away after my stepfather died and for the school term after that.

By the time I officially lived with Beth she was pretty far gone in her addiction. She slept or was gone most of the time. 

It seemed that you were on your own, too.

I still cared what Beth thought of me. She seemed one of the few people who didn’t see me as a lost cause and so I didn’t see myself that way when I was around her.

On Fridays, Beth would take us to the grocery store. She taught us how to grocery shop and some very basic cooking skills.

Things went sour when my mom suspected Beth was using the money she gave her for things other than my upkeep. You and Beth were at odds more often than not. I decided it was best to move back home. Home was a sort of hell, but it was my own hell and I knew how to navigate it. 

I didn’t see much of Beth after that.

I’d spend weekends at her apartment while she agreed to leave us totally unattended. The last time I saw her, she’d picked me up from my house to bring me back to your house for the weekend.  I remember her being warm and chatting with me for the ride, though I can’t remember what about.

I remember her smiling and I remember that she mentioned that you were unhappy with her these days. 

The next time I saw her she was in a coma.

Atrophied hands, hair cut short, dead to the world.

No warm smile, no more sun-kissed freckles, no more frizzy bun atop her head.

She was gone to the world and she couldn’t recover. That’s the last I saw her.

died by suicide

I couldn’t talk about her death with you. It didn’t seem like you wanted to and then you were gone I knew that she let you down and ultimately abandoned you with her suicide. You have every right to be angry with her; hell I was angry on your behalf.

I was just shocked and sad. I think I felt abandoned too.

The next few years were hard for us; the one person I saw as a safe adult had succumbed to drugs and took her own life. It didn’t add up.

Suicide was cruel and yet I remembered her as such a kind person.

There was nothing I could say that would lessen the pain for you so I said nothing.

You remind me of her because you look so much like her now. If you want to talk about what happened, I’d let you start.

What is there to say now, after all of these years?

That was fucked up. There is some fucked up bad shit in the world and it will never make sense, but there is some wonderful stuff too. I think that, despite it all, we both turned out to be people who contribute more to the good than to the uglyl.

I hold you close in my heart, my sister and my dear friend.

With much love,

Sarah 

Ask The Band: When Can A Child Decide Not To See The Other Parent?

Welcome, one and all to our semi-weekly event where YOU get to be bossy! 

Have an issue? Click here to Ask The Band!

ask the band afraid of daughter

Hello The Band!

This is my first post ever here, I’m very private about personal things, especially having to do with my daughter, but I really need some input or suggestions as my daughter is afraid of her father.

My daughter is a nine-year old, straight A student who has received honor of the Principal’s Scholar Award. Smart cookie; so smart that she is afraid of her father – for really good reason.

We’ve got issues with the people on her father’s side of the family, that make me and my daughter afraid of her father. When I told his family that he was abusing me, it was assumed that I was lying because their Golden Boy would never!

I left him when my daughter was a baby by sneaking out one night through an open window, leaving a note behind suggesting that my ex get help – I was tired of the emotional abuse and domestic physical abuse. 

Now, he’s got a new wife and stepson and still has an every other weekend arrangement to see my daughter. Rather than do anything with her, he most often picks her up and takes her to his parent’s house – he actually sees our daughter very infrequently, but boy when he does, she’s afraid of her father.

See, he  treats her like she’s in boot camp or something. She told me she was terrified of him and he [alcoholic] drinks in the car. His wife isn’t much better, not only is she unstable like he is, but they fight and scream around my daughter. She’ll frequently use her as a pawn “Get your kid out of here!” He doesn’t spank our daughter since I established a no-spanking rule but she’s scared of her father nonetheless.

daughter afraid of father

She hates the environment they put her in: her supposed protectors spend their time with her swearing, fighting, throwing things at each other, and kicking each other out of the house on the regular.

His parents try to bribe my daughter with money, toys, and clothes if she agrees to live with them full-time, though they have no rights to custody. My daughter is really smart and she’s picked up on the fact that her father and his parents liked to say mean and ugly things about my family – especially me. I refuse to speak ill of her paternal side because I knew she’d see it when she was old enough and formed her own opinion.

She has.

My daughter is scared of her father, his temper, and the unhealthy environment where those who are supposed to protect her are abusing each other. She’s explained that she doesn’t want to see his side of the family or go to their houses any more; she’s just too scared of the volatility and is afraid of her father.

I’ve made an appointment with the magistrate to discuss our options; while I am the primary parent, legally I can’t keep her from seeing her father and their abusive family every other weekend. Most adults are afraid to speak in public but my daughter announced she would speak to a courtroom of people about how and why she never wants to be around them again – she’s so scared of them.

I guess I’m just wondering if anyone has been in a similar situation -what do you do when your child is afraid of the other parent

Do any of you have opinions on this?

What age is old enough to be able to tell them how she feels and for her to say NO I don’t want to see you?

What should I do?

Thank you for reading this, The Band.

13 Is My Happy Number

We at The Band do understand that a lot of our subject matter can be very dark and dense. This, however, is not a story of sadness, but of rebirth, finding a place in the world, and knowing just how valuable you are. 
We encourage each of you to tell us one of your stories – happy or not.
This is her incredible journey:

13 has always been my happy number.

Today is no different.

13 years ago today I left my first, abusive marriage. I didn’t know where I was going, what I was doing, or how I was going to survive or take care of my two boys (and their sister who was due in five months. But I did know this: the best place for all of us was NOT with their father.

Leaving was the first hard decision I’ve made as an adult, the first time I felt like an adult, the first time I ever felt like I had the ABILITY to make a decision for myself or my children.

a photo of carnival people on swings

Life after his abuse was not an easy time. it was easily one of the three hardest times I’ve ever experienced in my life.

I am so thankful that a support system came out of the woodwork when I needed it and helped us get through the transition and helped me feel secure enough in my choice to leave that I didn’t end up going back.

I can’t imagine where my children or I would be today if we hadn’t had that.

Mike and I met shortly after that fateful day, in a chatroom. Two years later on August 20th we found out we were having a baby! Baby Eliza blessed us with her presence on April 21st.

I know that it’s no coincidence that today would also have been my father-in-law’s birthday, may he rest in peace. I wish I’d had the chance to meet him.

Today has so many memories, meanings and significance for all of us. This is truly a day we will all cherish forever.

a crowd of people hands shaped into a heart

13 happy years of freedom, 12 years knowing my true love, and so many other memories. Amazing memories.

Before, After, and Between.

Today is a good day every year, and always will be.

How about you? Do YOU have a happy or lucky number or thing?