7 (or so) things I will only cautiously write about

I’ve been wanting to climb up into my writing perch for such a long time, but there don’t seem to be many things that I can write about, just now, or that I’m sure HOW to address here. 

I’m not feeling certain about describing my work situation, save to say that I am eager to arrive and not in a hurry to leave. It feels like I’m supposed to be there. I get to work alongside of some genuine individuals who feel the same about their jobs as I do mine. 

My boys are each developing into their own characters. I’m too far from one to have any real contribution, and the other…he just turned 17, and is having more than the usual struggles of that age. 

My cats seem to be developing a resistance to the flea stuff I put on their necks. The most disturbing thing about that is that I’m itching all over but can’t see any reason for it. Thinking about putting a couple of the tubes of medicine on the back of my neck. 

My extended family(s) (including non-blood relatives) have issues coming and going: various ailments and conditions, both mental and physical. Mostly age-related, but some not. As with my older son, I’m too far away from the other relations to be in a position to be of any assistance. 
When we first moved to the Eastern side of the country, I had thought that finding a job wouldn’t be too hard. Yet, here I am, just over 2 whole years later, and just 90 days into this position. And I really REALLY like my job. It’s more than a job: it’s really who I am. 

Thank God my husband’s job is pretty good, and he’s remarkably skilled at what he does. I’m proud of his willingness to do what he must, to care for us. 

God has been patient as ever with me. I told someone earlier tonight that it seems like I’ve been in the LONGEST transitional period ever. As the wise man said “His grace is enough for me.”

Actually, the only occasionally irritating part of my life (phantom-flea bites not included) at the moment has to be some of the ways the Stigma rears it’s ugly head among some of my co-workers. That’s it! I can’t think of when I was so content – like 85%, I’d say- with my day-to-day. 

In the morning I’m gonna go check out a church down the road. Word has it that the preacher is an ex-alkie. I like the sounds of that.

Thank you for coming by. I hope to have something more to say soon, but no promises. 

Gentle readers, you’re the sh*t. 😊

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Int’l Overdose Awareness Day

As someone who has attended too many funerals due to overdose, I am asking you to share this image. How many people do YOU know that would give anything to hold their parent or child just One. More. Time? 

As long as we continue to share our stories and educate our world as to the truth about drug addiction, there will be hope. 

If you are one who’s had a loved one taken by addiction, please don’t stop speaking out. The less condemnation an addict feels from those who could instead be helping them to learn how to live again…the more likely that addict is going to be to actually ask for help. 

Outside of recovery – which is available as long as there is life – addicts only have three choices for their tomorrows: 

Jails

Institutions

Death.

Contempt and disgust haven’t worked to spare any addicts life, so let’s try love and compassionate action. What can it hurt? 

This could easily be you. Or me.

This story was from February of last year. 

http://wishtv.com/2016/02/04/addicts-discouraged-by-lack-of-options-for-uninsured/

And a year later, almost to the day:

http://whtv.com/2017/02/08/mother-of-fatal-od-victim-shares-story-in-hopes-of-helping-others/ 

****************************
I’ve had people look at me strangely, even people who are in recovery, when I talk about how it disturbs me when relapse is treated like “no big deal.” Of course, it happens, but it DOESN’T HAVE TO. “Everybody relapses” is something that just makes my blood boil. Addiction is a progressive, fatal disease. 

When I got clean/sober, it wasn’t unheard of for a recent relapser to be told to SHUT UP during the meeting. “You obviously don’t know how to stay sober, so sit there and listen. You may hear something that will save your life.” I’ve heard of much “worse” things said or done, and the people who took suggestions eventually learned how to quit and STAY quit.

I was told similar things in early recovery. They hurt my feelings!! (Insert pouty emoji here) The truth will do that when you’re not used to it. That’s where I learned about caring enough to tell you the truth even if it pissed you off. I can live with you not liking me. If there’s a way that I can prevent or at least help to postpone that next drink/drug, I will do it. Like me or don’t.

The Old-timers weren’t there to make friends. They weren’t there to pat me on the butt & tell me everything was gonna be OK (if I wanted to hear that, I could get it at the bar). The Old-timers were there to carry the message. 

Thank God there were crusty old farts sitting in those smoke-filled rooms who cared enough to confront me on my bullsh*t. If they hadn’t, I may still be lying to myself. 

So, don’t smile & joke about people relapsing. Not around me. My friends whose kids are dead aren’t laughing. The kids whose Mom will never kiss them goodnight again, they’re not laughing…

Do me a favor, will you? Say a prayer for those left behind when addiction claims another life, and while you’re at it, pray for the still suffering alcoholic/addicts. God loves them, too, you know. 

Smart People Take More Drugs

​I wish I could take credit for this piece, but, alas, I can not. However, I was educated by it & think you may be, as well.  

I’ve heard alkie/druggies described in many ways, and smart isn’t usually one of them. There’s a reason why AA has the slogans. For example, “Think think think.” – Sponsor says “That doesn’t apply to you.”

https://www.blvdcenters.org/blog/smarter-people-take-more-drugs

What happened…(Part 2)

​I continued living a fast and dangerous lifestyle until I discovered I was pregnant at age 27. I was married, but since I was  a REAL alcoholic/addict, it wasn’t my husband’s child.  I knew that I needed to make some changes to how I was living, so I stopped dropping acid as soon as I knew about the baby, and cut out the drinking soon after. 

The pregnancy went easily enough. I loved the idea of having a baby growing in my belly, and I had dreams of finally being loved by someone who wouldn’t leave or betray me. 

Growing…up

I began attending IOP classes at about 4 1/2 months pregnant, and after that was over, I moved into a residential Mother/baby program. My clean/sober date fell when I was  6 months along (I wasn’t ready to give up the weed at the same time I quit everything else, so that took a little longer), on Thanksgiving of 1992. I wasn’t elated about going into the program, living with so many other (CRAZY) women, but it made sounded to me that it was my best option. I had enough sense to recognise that my child was going to need the best that I could give (him), and getting clean and sober in a place that would take care of us both sounded like a brilliant idea. 

God used that tiny boy to teach my battered and scarred heart how to REALLY love. 

A week after my son was born, I was out at a meeting picking up my 3 month chip. We were still living at the Residential treatment place, and I was starting to become familiar with the little guy. 

I came in and found the woman who ran the place, sitting with my boy laying under blankets, on her chest. She said “The poor little thing just can’t get warm.” So she instructed me to take him and lay down with him on my chest, under some blankets, until he got warm. She was a Nurse, and I was learning to take directions. It was probably around 10 pm. I did what she told me and we tried to go to sleep. At about 4 am, after a sleepless night, I went to the office to the staff on the night shift to see what she thought. I found out later that she used to work at the local Children’s Hospital and it was no coincidence that she was working that night. 
She took one look at my baby and told me to get my coat on. 
We went to the closest hospital and they swept him into the Emergency Room quicker than I’d ever seen anyone go in.  He didn’t even go through triage. After a few minutes, the nurse told me that he was going to be taken to the Children’s Hospital by ambulance because they couldn’t help him there…

If you missed the first post, you can find it here http://www.abbieinwondrland.com/2016/09/17/one-grrls-story/

2 Brown Paper Bags

Adulting on a Saturday morning

It’s gonna be a hot one here, so I put on my Big Girl Panties and got up early and came to the laundromat, while the temperature is still tolerable.
I found a nice little place just up the road from us, and the price isn’t too bad. When I opened the door with my laundry basket in my hands, the cool greeted me: sweet, sweet (working) air conditioning. Ahhhh, yeah, this was a good decision.

Coolness, and quiet

Now I’m sitting here with only the swishing of the machines to keep me company, and I think I’m in that Zone. You know, the one where your old body isn’t giving you too much grief, and you’re able to focus on the Now, and, well…I’m feeling content.

What a difference

Sure, I’d be happy to still be in bed, listening to the sounds of my hubby next to me, and the softly-playing music from the radio in our room. But I would not be in this Zone. No, I’d be thinking about hauling the laundry up and down the stairs at home, and how each minute that I waited, the heat would be increasing by leaps and bounds…definitely not The Contentment Zone.

And…paper bags?

Oh, yeah. So there’s a little convenience store next door where you can get change for the washing machines. Being that I could have slept for at least another couple of hours, I thought grabbing a drink with caffeine in it sounded good. I got a large can of tea, and set it on the counter. While I was digging out my wallet, the cashier did her usual (I’m sure she didn’t even think about it, really), and put the can in a little bag.

image

Memories, right?

I smiled to myself, as I remembered (kind of) so MANY times in my early-to-mid 20’s when there was certainly not gonna be anything as benign as iced tea in that brown paper bag. I’d (felt like I) was fairly cosmopolitan, washing my clothes like a good little haus frau, getting sh*tfaced by the time the spincycle had begun. Frankly, it’s a miracle I didn’t lose my entire wardrobe. And don’t get me started on the laundromats with TANNING BEDS! Oh crap! Two of my favorite drinking activities in one?! I wondered aloud to my partner in crime “Why don’t they just add a bar, here in the laundromat!?!” Yeah, I WAS quite brilliant.

In the zone

So, today, I’m here, not “getting away with” anything, doing The Next Right Thing. They tell me that there are kids who figure this sort of thing out, maybe even before graduating high school, but I’m not buying it.
Well, my sleepy-voiced hubby just called to find out where I am. (If this were back in the day, I’d have NEVER answered my phone this early, knowing who was on the other end. Just sayin.) I told him what I was up to, and how I’m just Adulting all over the place, and he was impressed. So, I’m gonna call this post Done, and get ready to fold.
It’s funny, isn’t it, how a simple thing like iced tea in a brown paper bag can bring back memories of so many, many brown bags in the past? Yep, there are triggers, but only for memories, NOT for wanting to return to that place of chaos and insanity.

What are YOU doing to beat the heat today?

Posted from my seat in the laundromat.

Sharing: An African-American Woman Reflects on the Transgender Movement

Yes, that just might be the longest post title I’ve used, yet. I had another subject in mind for this morning’s post, but then I read this.

Gender Identity Disorder. Is. A Thing. It’s got another name (for now), but the mental illness is the same. It’s insanity. I feel like our country is living in “The Emporer’s New Clothes”, and this is the best example of the child in the story stating what nobody else has the courage to say.
I’m not afraid of people with mental illness. Duh! I “identify” (see what I did there?) as a person with mental illness.
So, check it out & tell me what you think.

An African-American Woman Reflects on the Transgender Movement
Supporters of transgender ideology believe that they are freeing people from restrictive understandings of gender. In reality, the more our society tries to free itself from gender stereotypes, the more it becomes enslaved to them. By saying that people can be born in a body of the wrong gender, transgender activists are saying there is a set of feelings that are only allocated to women and another set for men.

My parents never bought Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, or Snow White. They weren’t stories told in our house or movies played on our TV. There was no Princess Tiana then, but my parents only showed us films with “colored” princesses: Mulan (Asian), Pocahontas (Native American), and Jasmine (Arab). We also loved the African animals ofThe Lion King. We never idealized whiteness in our house. None of this was done overtly, though it may have been intentional. Only in retrospect did I realize the kind of tacit self-love my parents were embedding in us.

Still, it wasn’t enough. Around the age of thirteen, I realized that the world was telling me that light skin and “good hair” were better, skinny was better, and whiteness was better. In fleeting moments, I wished I could be white. I begged my mom to straighten my hair, and she did. I went through sometimes unreasonable means to lose weight, and I tried to keep my somewhat light skin out of the sun.

If I had gone to my parents begging them to be white, I think they might have laughed, cried, comforted me, and worried what they did wrong as parents. But what if I had told them not only that I wanted to be white but that I actually was white? What if I had declared that the race of my body simply didn’t match that of my mind? I think they would’ve been deeply troubled.

The Bluest Eye

The famous Toni Morrison book, The Bluest Eye, parallels this idea. The main character, Pecola, is a dark-skinned girl who desperately wants blue eyes. By the end of the story, she has blue eyes—or at least, she believes that she does. We, as the readers, don’t applaud this. In fact, by the end of the novel, we think Pecola has lost her mind. We know that it’s not really blue eyes she wants, she wants something much deeper  
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An African-American Woman Reflects on the Transgender Movement

by  Nuriddeen Knight
within Bioethics, Culture, Sexuality

 

June 4th, 2015

 

 125K  3157  129K

Supporters of transgender ideology believe that they are freeing people from restrictive understandings of gender. In reality, the more our society tries to free itself from gender stereotypes, the more it becomes enslaved to them. By saying that people can be born in a body of the wrong gender, transgender activists are saying there is a set of feelings that are only allocated to women and another set for men.

My parents never bought Cinderella, The Little Mermaid, or Snow White. They weren’t stories told in our house or movies played on our TV. There was no Princess Tiana then, but my parents only showed us films with “colored” princesses: Mulan (Asian), Pocahontas (Native American), and Jasmine (Arab). We also loved the African animals ofThe Lion King. We never idealized whiteness in our house. None of this was done overtly, though it may have been intentional. Only in retrospect did I realize the kind of tacit self-love my parents were embedding in us.

Still, it wasn’t enough. Around the age of thirteen, I realized that the world was telling me that light skin and “good hair” were better, skinny was better, and whiteness was better. In fleeting moments, I wished I could be white. I begged my mom to straighten my hair, and she did. I went through sometimes unreasonable means to lose weight, and I tried to keep my somewhat light skin out of the sun.

If I had gone to my parents begging them to be white, I think they might have laughed, cried, comforted me, and worried what they did wrong as parents. But what if I had told them not only that I wanted to be white but that I actually was white? What if I had declared that the race of my body simply didn’t match that of my mind? I think they would’ve been deeply troubled.

The Bluest Eye

The famous Toni Morrison book, The Bluest Eye, parallels this idea. The main character, Pecola, is a dark-skinned girl who desperately wants blue eyes. By the end of the story, she has blue eyes—or at least, she believes that she does. We, as the readers, don’t applaud this. In fact, by the end of the novel, we think Pecola has lost her mind. We know that it’s not really blue eyes she wants, she wants something much deeper—love, acceptance, respect, honor . . . the intangible human desires we all crave but are not equally given. We know that she has not received this, but instead is a victim of perpetual abuse, and there is no easy solution to her problems.

But what if it were really possible for me to become white or for Pecola to acquire blue eyes? Would that be the end of the story—the happily ever after? Would changing our physical appearance magically erase all our issues of self-esteem and self-worth?

No, of course not. The eyes and the skin color were never the problem: racism and abuse were. We would only be putting a Band-Aid on the real issue. The many men and women who “passed” as white during America’s shameful Jim Crow era may have gained the social privileges bestowed by being white, but they also lost their heritage, their family ties, and their integrity, thanks to the lie they were forced to tell every single day.

Race, Sex, and Gender

But what if, instead of wanting to be white, I wanted to be a man? What if, instead of crying to my parents that I was really a white person, I told them that I was really a man and that I desperately wanted to change my body to match my mind? If, in this scenario, you think that my parents should applaud my courage, accept my new gender identity, and run to the nearest surgeon, please ask yourself: “Why?”

There’s no doubt that race and sex are two very different issues. Race is a social construct invented during the era of slavery. Before the European enslavement of Africans, there were no united “black people” in Africa, and there were no united “white people” in Europe. Thanks to slavery, the labels of black and white became a convenient way to continue oppression, but they are a relatively new way of identifying one’s self.

But sex is not a human invention. Yes, gender roles are culturally created. Still, that does not erase the fact that every human being (except intersex individuals, who represent a tiny percentage) is born with a distinctive set of physical and biological attributes that constitute them as male or female. That is a truth that cannot be erased with time.

Self-Love as a Virtue

When we want to be something other than our true authentic selves, that is self-hate. A black person who wants to be white is practicing self-hate, and so is a man who wants to be a woman or a woman who wants to be a man. We live in a climate of incredible self-absorption, but we won’t encourage people to love the body they’re in? We tell women to love their curves and love their age and love the skin they’re in but we won’t tell them (and men) to love the sex of their bodies?

We cry out about the horrors of female genital mutilation, yet we allow the practice in our backyard. We ignore the cries of patients who wake up from surgery full of remorse. We ignore their suffering and delude them with the promise of quick fixes and instant happiness. At The Federalist, Stella Morabito quotes a man who, upon waking up from his surgery thought, “What have I done? What on earth have I done?”

Eerily, in his Vanity Fair interview, Jenner echoes this man as he recalls his own thoughts after his ten-hour face feminization surgery: “What did I just do? What did I just do to myself?” Another post-op patient says in an online forum, “I am grieving at how I have mutilated my body.” Here at Public Discourse, Walt Heyer has written about the regret he experienced after his sex-change surgery.

We are playing a dangerous game. A man or a boy whose penis has been surgically removed can’t go back in time and return to his God-given nature. What if we spent the money we spend on surgery and drugs on therapy and learning self-love? We should be teaching a message of self-acceptance instead of buying into the latest surgeries or believing we’re born in the wrong body.

The Slavery of Freedom

Paradoxically, the more our society tries to free itself from gender stereotypes, the more it becomes enslaved to them. By saying that people can be born in a body of the wrong gender, transgender activists are saying there is a set of feelings that are only allocated to women and another set for men. Therefore, they believe, those who feel things that do not conform to their sex’s acceptable set of feelings must outwardly change their gender to match their mind.

Why are we colluding with narrow ideas of femininity or masculinity? What does it mean to “feel” like a woman? Should we question that idea as much as we have questioned ideas of a “woman’s place” or a “man’s role”? When did we come to accept the idea of “gendered thoughts” or “gendered feelings”?

As a linguistic student of Arabic, I recently learned that women and men are not opposite so much as they are complementary. The idea that one could feel opposite from one’s biological gender is actually nonsensical, linguistically and in reality. Men and women are different, but not so categorically that one can feel as though he or she were the other. We are full human beings, free to think as we wish without questioning our authenticity as men or as women.

“Bruce lives a lie. She is not a lie,” says Bruce Jenner in his interview with Diane Sawyer. Bruce, now Caitlyn, Jenner, told Sawyer that he has a “soul of a woman,” that he spent his life “running away from who I was.” At the time of that interview, Jenner’s voice and appearance are strikingly different from what they have been in the past, but not drastically enough to give the illusion of being female. Admittedly, Jenner looks much more feminine on the cover of Vanity Fair. Still, if he chooses to go through gender “reassignment” surgery, he will not become a woman but merely an illusion of one. As Dr. Paul McHugh, former psychiatrist-in-chief for Johns Hopkins Hospital, has written, “‘Sex change’ is biologically impossible. People who undergo sex-reassignment surgery do not change from men to women or vice versa. Rather, they become feminized men or masculinized women.”

People opposed to the transgender movement are often accused of being bigots. In truth, I—like many others—harbor no hate for people who suffer from gender identity disorder. Rather, I feel deep compassion and concern for them in their suffering. As someone in the field of psychology, I hope we can one day find a more holistic, less invasive means to treat this disorder. However, I will concede that I find something quite insulting about the entire phenomenon. It is an insult to the other sex to think that by “dressing like them,” “talking like them,” or claiming to “feel like them,” you can therefore bethem. Being a man is about more than wearing a suit, and being a woman is about more than putting on makeup. If we feel confined in our bodies, perhaps it is not our bodies we should try to correct but our spirits we should reconnect with.

Nuriddeen Knight is an alumna of Teachers College, Columbia University, where she earned an MA in psychology with a focus on the child and the family.

An African-American Woman Reflects on the Transgender Movement

Posted from my cabin in the mountains.