Friday, October 23, 2015

A religious experience on the 350 Humber Fastcat bus to Hull

So I have done some things in my life that I am deeply ashamed of. That's not news to anybody who knows me well, but I just thought I'd throw it out there. Most of them were as a direct result of my rape at age 17, a fact which I realized during my therapy sessions to treat my PTSD (did you know I was officially diagnosed with it?).

I heard about this book, "The Body Keeps The Score," by Bessel van der Kolk, and it sounded right up my alley, so I asked my local library to get it in for me. They happily obliged for a reservation fee of £.75. It came in late last week, and it turns out that it is maybe the best £.75 I have ever spent.

This is a "smart book." No skimming allowed, because it is so densely packed with information that you have to read and comprehend every single word. But it is so profoundly interesting that you wouldn't want to skip anything, even if you could. It is all about the effects of trauma on the body, and it is fascinating.

I have spent the last week discovering why I did all of the things I did after my assault. Everything was basically a direct result of neurological functions. A way for my brain to process everything that had happened and get past it. And as I sat on the bus, reading this book, I had a moment of revelation. I realized that my actions in the face of the first rape, and in the years after it, were more than just mistakes. They were ways for my body and mind to try to heal themselves. And I knew, with every fiber of my being, that God does not judge me for the things I did then. In fact, God is proud of me for finding a way to get better, in the face of some pretty horrific things that had been done to me. I wasn't able to go to anyone else for help at that time, so I had to try and help myself. And, in a weird way, my actions seem to have been guided by God even though they were not necessarily "good." Because as I look at those early years, I realize that so many things I did are very nearly textbook examples of how to treat PTSD. And that could NOT be a happy accident. The odds are too high against it.

I needed therapy. It was the last step to help me in my recovery. But I was functioning before that. In a nearly normal way. And after the things that happened, I should not have been. I have no reason to be ashamed. I should be proud of myself, just like God is.

I sat and cried on that bus. Because for the first time in years, I felt truly clean.

Friday, October 16, 2015


Ten years ago, we moved to England. We had been married for not quite four years. I was only 26 years old, and had no children and no responsibilities other than making sure I had a roof over my head and food to eat. Martin and I spent most of our time doing a whole lot of whatever we wanted to do. I had a flat stomach. Boy, how things have changed!

I took Dylan to his first ever football training session last Thursday. I took him there in my new-to-us Renault Scenic. It's a long chassis vehicle. Basically, a minivan that only seats five. It is totally a mommy car. I've never had one of those before. And though I love it, because we all have so much more space on long drives now, I also hate it. It's like I've finally given up on my youth and have resigned myself to parenthood and impending middle age.

But the kids have tray tables, just like on an airplane. And there is underfloor storage. And I can fit Edith's bike in the back seat!

Getting older really sucks. I know a lot of people are fine with it. But they are only fooling themselves. I don't think about it very often, but when I do I mourn the passing of my youth. Most of the time, I don't feel like I'm getting any older. But when I see how grown up my children are getting, or when I buy a soccer mom Scenic and LOVE it, I realize just how much things have changed in the past ten years. And though I love my life, and especially my children, it makes me sad. Because I don't deal well with change. Never have, never will. And, unfortunately, that's what life is all about.

Autumn always makes me slightly melancholy. Watching another growing cycle come to an end, and seeing mother nature shutting down for a long winter's rest. It always feels like the end of something, even though I know that life is cyclical in nature. It's as much a beginning as it is an end. But the days get shorter, the nights close in, and everything starts to die. And I start to think about ageing, and the inevitable changes that come with it.

I think I need to up my happy pill dosage.

Friday, October 02, 2015


Most especially, the internet ones!

After three weeks of absolutely no home broadband, we are officially connected again. It feels like freedom!

So that was the highlight of the week, for the whole family. But it hasn't been a great week. Here's why:

Saturday, Dylan was allowed to "play out" (possibly the most useful British phrase since "How do you feel in yourself" and "I can't be bothered") with instructions to be home in half an hour. Nearly an hour later, when he still hadn't showed up at home, I went to collect him from one of the two places he was supposed to be. Imagine my surprise when I discovered he wasn't there!

I wandered the neighbourhood for the next half an hour, searching for my missing eight year old son. Had to leave poor Edith at home alone to do it, as well, in case he showed up at home whilst I was out searchng!

He wasn't in any of the usual spots, and I was nearly panicking when Edith called me to tell me he was home. I rushed back, and that kid got the spanking of his life, as well as properly shouted at for the first time ever. He was, in addition, grounded from all tech for a week, and grounded from playing out indefinitely. And when I told him all that and he was still being defiant and indifferent, I hit him where it REALLY hurts. I took away his Barcelona football kit. That drove the message home, obviously, since he sobbed for the next 30 minutes. And I can tell you one thing--that kid will NEVER do that again!

Sunday was the Primary Sacrament meeting presentation. It went well, with few mistakes and lots of brilliant moments. Mostly, I am just glad it's over. Not my favourite thing to do in the whole world!

Monday was when it all started to go a bit wrong. I drove to Scunthorpe to give Gill her weekly massage, but she was having one of her long (read 3-4 day) sleeps, so we decided to give it a miss. I did my weekly shop, grabbed some lunch, and headed for home. When I got back to Barton, I realised that my house key was locked inside the house. We have no spare key. So I had to drive over to our estate agent's office to borrow their copy. As I was rounding the corner to go to their office, the EPC light came on in the car and the engine died. I couldn't get it restarted, so had to call work to come and bail me out. Which they did. Which was awesome.

My lovely boss, Chris, gave me (and my groceries) a ride home. Then I found my own keys, returned the estate agent's keys, and was home just in time for the kids to get back from school. And Chris told me it was most likely the cambelt. Ouch! It will cost more than we paid for the car to get it fixed. Time to shop for a new-to-us car.

Tuesday was great, actually. I unpacked all of the boxes in the dining room, and it is looking really nice. That was also when the BT engineer came out and sorted our internet. It took 3 1/2 hours, but the man was tenacious, and got it fixed.

The rest of the week has just been, for lack of a better word, blah! I haven't felt this way for a long time, and really need something to pull me out of this funk. It totally sucks! The kids are going for a sleepover at their Auntie Cathy's house tonight, and they are super excited for that. Martin and I are going on a hot date, so maybe that will shake things up enough to snap me out of it. Oh, and we hope to buy a car tomorrow. That should help as well.