#metoo Warning: this may offend you.

#metoo

#metoo may seem like a tag line, annoyance, or a trend that has over stayed it’s welcome.

A female friend said to me a few months ago: “I think this #metoo thing has gotten out of hand!”

I disagree.

It has caused the world at large to finally hear to women.

I don’t know a single woman who hasn’t been assaulted, abused, harassed, or raped at the hands of men.

The first time it happened to me: I was 14 and the father of a child my Mother baby sat told me on numerous occasions about how beautiful I was. He would sit beside me on the floor while I was playing with his son and my little brother. He did this  while the of the other adults were there to pick up their children. He would sit close to me, smelling like stale cigarettes. My skin would crawl. Something about it made me feel dirty and ashamed. I have never told anyone about it until right now.

The second time it happened it happened to me: I was 14 or 15. My family and I were really good friends with the young couple and their precious little girl who lived across the street.  The husband, Mike and I would talk about science fiction and horror movies sitting on the tailgate of his truck drinking sodas. I would tell him about the problems I had at school and he would tell me about hunting with his dad as a child. I saw him as a big brother or Dad (My father died when I was 10 & my brother was 6 months old).  I ate dinner with his family. I baby sat his daughter. My mother adored Mike, his wife, and his daughter. Mike’s wife had a very complicated pregnancy with their second child.  One summer night she had to be transported via ambulance to the hospital. I rode with Mike behind the siren and flashing lights.

When we arrived, he was crying and told me he was scared. I hugged him.  He then proceeded to violently grab me and force me against the passenger side door. I was completely terrified! I screamed “Stop Mike! No!” I remember his breath smelling of stale booze and the way his rough hand felt touching my still developing breast. He was really strong! I pushed, and begged him to stop. He didn’t. But I finally managed to open the passenger door and fall out of the truck, on to the pavement. I slammed the door and went as fast as I could into the emergency room while he begged me not to tell anyone. Luckily, my friend and her boyfriend were already there waiting for us and I rode home with them. I told my friend and her boyfriend about it. My friend said: “He’s been drink’n as if that explained everything. I never set foot in Mike’s yard or his home ever again.

I was raped when I was 18. I was an active alcoholic at the time. I was passed out drunk. I woke up to my boyfriend whom I lived with raping me. I could hear the other people partying in our living room. I called out for help. He said: “Shut up no one can hear you.” I was confused about what happened. When I confronted him the next day he laughed at me and said he did it all of the time when I was passed out. He said it wasn’t rape because he was my boyfriend. I told a woman that I didn’t know very well what happened to gage her reaction. I told her it had happened to a “friend” of mine I remember her saying that it wasn’t rape because he was my “friend’s” boyfriend.  She said my “friend” had been taken advantage of because she had been passed out. I didn’t talk about it again. I figured it was my fault because I was drunk. Years later, I told a therapist about what had happened and she told me I had defiantly been raped.

I have been groped, cat called at, or had inappropriate comments made to me at almost every job I have ever had.

REALLY.

At one job right out of college, I reported my boss leaning over my desk to stare at my boobs to the human resources person. She told me to ignore him that he did it to everybody. I then called the department of labor and told them what happened. They told me there was nothing they could do unless he touched me.

The last time I was harassed at a job I stood up for myself. I told the perpetrator that it was harassment, it was inappropriate and that I wanted no part of it. I told him “Leave me alone. I won’t say it twice.” He complied.

No, I didn’t report it to human resources. At that point, experience had taught me that I would be ignored.

I have over heard friends and co-workers talking about the recent Bill Cosby verdict.

I have over heard both men and women saying: “I don’t believe that!” Why would these women wait thirty years?” “They all want money!” “I don’t believe he did everything they’re saying he did but I believe he did something.” “How can you even know what happened to you that long ago!” “It’s so sad everybody loves him!”

What I find the most interesting is this: NOT ONCE DID I OVER HEAR ANYONE,MAN OR WOMAN SPEAK ANY WORDS OF CONCERN ABOUT THE VICTIMS.

When the truth about the sexual abuse of male children in the Catholic church came out, not once did I hear anyone remark that the men who came forward waited too long to tell truth about what happened to them.

And everyone was talking about the victims.

Men made allegations of sexual harassment and assault against Kevin Spacy and he was fired from his hit Netflix show immediately.

Sixty women accused Cosby of drugging and raping them before he was brought to trial.

The reality is that society listens to men and not to women.

Even other women don’t believe other women when they come forward after they have been sexually assaulted.

Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court proves that.

One thing I can tell you is this: Christine Blasey Ford isn’t a liar. YOU DO NOT FORGET BEING SEXUALLY ASSAULTED. IT BURNS ITSELF INTO YOUR BEING. IT STAYS WITH YOU FOR LIFE. And you remember who did it. 

Women: stop pandering to men to make living in their world ok. Create your own world. Create a world in which you speak your truth and believe your sisters when they speak theirs.

Men: let women have this moment in time. Step aside. It is our time. Let us have this. 

 

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2018 INTENTIONS

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2017 was incredibly exciting, fun, and a bit terrifying.

Last year I:

  • Spent a lot of time I praying Jo wouldn’t die. She almost died in my arms once. And she spent the entire month of March into the first week of April in the hospital.
  • Moved to Richmond to live with my soul mate! This meant not seeing my Mom every day as well as leaving my family and friends. However, my Mother, family and friends could not be happier for me and I couldn’t be happier period. I travel the short distance home frequently.
  • Started a new job and shut down the business I had owned and operated for a 8 years
  • Saw PJ Harvey in concert for the third time. Thanks Amy!
  • Traveled a lot with Jo. Our trips included Williamsburg, York Town, the Eastern Shore, and New York City!
  • GOT ENGAGED (!) at the huge Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, and met Cyndi Lauper on the trip to New York City! It was the most incredible vacation of my life!
  • Experienced the sting of homophobia and acceptance all within the same holiday season. Jo’s family disowned her because she and I posted pictures of us getting engaged on Facebook. They have known she is a lesbian for 38+ years. This meant no phone calls, texts or invites from her family on Christmas. To say she was devastated by their reaction to our joy is an understatement. However, my family has only known I am gay for a year and a half. They completely embraced Jo with open arms. My amazing Mother told her she has a new family now. To receive complete acceptance from my family is the greatest of many blessings I have been given. I kept my true sexual identity hidden for decades because I was afraid of losing my family. Instead, what I was really doing was denying them the opportunity to accept me.
  • I forgot who I really am. I got angry, judged those who are sick and bashed them. I did this constantly with our current president and those who hurt the ones I love. I got righteously pissed off! I posted negative things on social media and spit out hate plenty. I forgot that I am a spiritual being, a Buddhist, and a bringer of peace.
  • I participated in some nonreciprocal friendships. I went above and beyond, reached out, ran errands, rescued, and sacrificed my time and energy for people who didn’t care about me really. Either because they are sick or because I made a bigger deal out of our friendship than they did. These people reached out a little or did me a small kindness just so I would stay on the “back burner” in case they needed me.

 

 

 

 

 

MY INTENTIONS 2018:

  • Allow my deities Guanyin and Green Tara to take the lead in all I do, to stay out of their way and allow life to unfold.
  • Trust that everything that happens or is happening is for my good.
  • Be in and apart of the flow of life and allow the process to be as it is without trying to change it.
  • Raise my voice in irritation less.
  • Act, speak, and think positively even when I don’t feel like it and even when it is difficult.
  • Allow others to have their own experience without interfering.
  • Only participate in friendships with people who return my calls, texts, and efforts to stay connected, who want to see me and have a genuine interest in who I am and not what I can give them.
  • Living in the present moment instead of fearing the future.
  • Look at my phone less and engage with people.
  • Planning my wedding and honeymoon!
  • Traveling a lot!
  • Celebrate my joy with Jo every day!
  • Be a good friend, daughter, sister, aunt, cousin and partner
  • Be a force of love, compassion, and peace even when I don’t feel like it and even when it is difficult.

I wish for ALL of you to experience love, joy, and serenity this year! Happy 2018!

 

Patterns

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The patterns that I keep repeating in romantic relationships can no longer be ignored. They surface in waves of unwanted revelation. Theses waves of truth wash over me and are forcing me to get completely honest with myself.

Although I am aware of the patterns, I have absolutely no idea WHY I keep repeating them.

I’m going to start online therapy to address these issues. It has a very high success rate as your therapist is accessible twice a day as opposed to once a week. I’ll keep you posted.

The Patterns:

  1. Someone shows an interest in me and I start to pursue them. I have always begun my relationships with people that gave me their attention. I chose to be with them based on their attention to me not my interests in them. In some cases, I wasn’t even attracted to them.
  2. I have never “dated”. I have always started a physical relationship quickly. I always make these encounters into love relationships. Even when I have only wanted a “hook up” I will try to make it more meaningful than it is or should be.
  3. I will stay after multiple “red flags”. I will ignore the warnings. EVERY SINGLE TIME they will turn out to be abusive but I will bend, mold, and compromise myself to make the relationship work. In my late teens and early 20’s I had two relationships that were physically abusive. All of the rest of my relationships have been mentally and emotionally abusive.
  4. EVERY SINGLE PERSON THAT I HAVE EVER BEEN ROMANTICALLY INVOLVED WITH HAS UNADDRESSED MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES. Cutting, depression, what may have been untreated bi-polar disorder, anger issues, etc.

 

Perhaps the greatest truth that I am facing is how incredibly ashamed and scared I am of what my family, some of my friends, and society will think of me. I am struggling with the fact that one of reasons that I have gotten into relationships with men so quickly is because I am deeply attracted to women. And being in a committed relationship with a man protected me from having to face the possible rejection of my family, friends, or society.

This is only a very small piece of the puzzle. My past relationships or encounters with women have included all of the above patterns minus the physical abuse.

I feel like a coward. I DO NOT LIKE CARING ABOUT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK OF ME OR MY CHOICES.  In all other aspects of my life I don’t care.  Hiding this aspect of myself from the world due to shame feels like a betrayal not only to myself but to the people in my life who are members of the LGBT community that I love deeply, support completely, and celebrate always.

Please know that my intention here is to help others on their journey by sharing my own. PLEASE GIVE PITY TO THOSE WHO ARE TRULY IN NEED NOT TO ME. And no matter what: NEVER HIDE YOUR TRUTH FROM ME. I will never judge you. 

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We Are Sacred

childless rock

A couple of years ago, I decided to make the day before Mother’s Day my own personal day. I’ve decided to call it My Other’s Day instead of Not a Mother Day. My Other’s Day has a more positive ring to it don’t ya think? 🙂 I realized quite some time ago that as a childless woman there is no celebration for me or those who are like me.

Childless women nurture the world by giving of their time and energy. We are the ones who pick up the slack, drive sick friends to appointments, rescue those in need, volunteer at various charities and organizations, answer the phone calls in the middle of the night, take the nieces and nephews to give the parents a much needed break. We are the confidants, the ones who can be trusted to show up when no one else is able. We stand in when a “Mom” is needed and the biological one is unable to be present (these are the moments we treasure). We are the friends you can always count on. And we still show up to help the Mother’s in our lives celebrate the children they were blessed with. We like the countless Facebook photos of cute babies and kids that Mom’s proudly post. We, celebrate birthdays, births, and milestones. We spend hundreds of dollars a year on gifts for the precious children that are not our own. And we love each and every one of those children with our whole hearts. We really get how special and important they are!

Women who are childless not by choice are sacred beings. We give of the time we have that is not filled with caring for children without asking for acknowledgement, gifts, or praise.

 

sisterhood

 

To all of my sisters who did not get to be mothers: take today and acknowledge yourself. Do something nice for yourself. The world could not function without the contributions you make.

And please know how very special and important you are to me!

Peace is a Commitment.

quote-nonviolence-means-avoiding-not-only-external-physical-violence-but-also-internal-violence-martin-luther-king-15-90-33 Over the past few weeks I have come to realize that peace is a commitment. I made a decision to give my will and my life to the care of a power greater than myself more than a decade ago. And I am a Buddhist. Therefore, non-violence and peace are the principles that I want to practice.

It has been easy to keep my commitment to peace when life is normal and all is well. However, I have given up my commitment at the drop of a hat on many occasions when people “don’t act right” or “everything goes wrong”.

In other words: when it’s convenient I keep my commitment to my principals.

However, I have realized that I must keep my commitment even when it is difficult. 

Not doing so is like saying “Oh I’m not going to drink anymore but I’m still going to the bar every night.”

Martin Luther King Jr. said that Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit.

It’s an inside job.

And if I am truly going to remain open I cannot fight against anything or anyone. I have to accept what comes and feel what I feel about it without trying to make it be something that it isn’t. If something or someone is not good for me I simply need to walk away instead of attempting to bend it or them to my will.

This doesn’t mean that I’m achieving saint hood or that I think I’m better than anyone else.

Honestly, I’m just tired of fighting. My inner peace means too much.

 

Remain Open

Epiphanies come upon me of late like waves crashing on the shore. Within the past few weeks I have come to understand that I have been standing in my own way.

I mostly have done this through my impossible expectations. I will have a picture in my mind of how things are supposed to be.

I will fall off of the edge and into the pit of dark despair when the picture never comes to fruition. I set expectations for myself that are not humanly possible to meet.

With people I will not trust what I see and know within myself about them because I want to believe the picture I create of them more than I want to know the truth they show me. When I can no longer push the truth down and it doesn’t match the picture I have created, I feel betrayed. I feel like I have failed.

Iyanla Vanzant sums up the reason my relationships failed

My only goal right now is to remain open. As a result, I am very sensitive and emotional lately. I find myself getting choked up and/or crying easily.

I am profoundly afraid. I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen or what I am doing. I never really did. I don’t think anyone does. However, up until very recently, I had those pictures that I had created. And I thought I was headed toward them.

My heart has been cracked wide open. I will allow it to remain so. Sprit has been guiding me to simply BE OPEN. So, I will simply be afraid. I will be confused. I will cry or become teary. I won’t apologize for it. I believe I am being guided to truly embrace all that happens instead of resisting it.

Epiphanies while driving last week

 

The Things That Matter Most

TSarah and Tara VA Beach

Love is what matters 

This weekend, I’m in Hampton, VA visiting two friends that mean a lot to me. We went site seeing in Virginia Beach today and have plans to visit a Buddhist temple tomorrow. It has been such a pleasure to spend time with them. They are in my tribe. They are wiser than they realize.

Tonight at dinner my friend Sarah said something that really resonated with me. She said: “You know, people are so interested in chasing and getting things. But all I want is to be happy. I want peace and happiness. You know? That’s what’s important. That’s what I care about.”

After I dropped my friends off, I turned Sarah’s words over in my mind. As I was driving I had an epiphany: I have lost my focus.

Since my break up, I have realized a lot of truths of late. However, in the midst of managing my crisis, I forgot the greatest truth: I must focus on the things that matter most.

  1. Showing up for the people in my life and being of service in whatever way I can.
  2. The deep and abiding joy and peace that is the greatest blessing from my Goddesses Kwan Yin and Green Tara.
  3. Loving the amazing people that fill my life and spending as much time with them as possible.

When my short life is over, I will not remember the days I spent pursuing a living or what I failed to do. I will remember the people who filled my heart and whom I was able to help in some small way. And I will have known great peace and joy.