I’m not entirely sure when in the mess that was May this happened, but I think it was before the rest. So this is the order of the story.
Coffee and I have been besties for some 4 years now. We text nearly 24/7 and voice chat with our friend group on Discord. But like proper millennials, we don’t really talk on the phone properly. We have each other’s phone numbers, sure. But we default to text.
So when my phone rang one Wednesday morning while I was on my way to get my allergy shot, and my car announced it was “Capt Coffee” I knew it was serious. Sure enough, her dad had just had a heart attack and was being life-flighted to the city. Coffee was mid-transit following the chopper via her car with her despondent mother in the passenger seat. Coffee is the one you want in an emergency, not her mother.
So here is where I stop to explain my friend group. First of all, everyone in the group has various shades of not great mothers. My mom is the best and by far the least horrid of the group. Most of the mothers are severely abusive. This is why I’m up to like 10-12 kids (I lost count). On the other hand, most of us have pretty great dads. Coffee’s dad has become a group favorite because he’s a math teacher that knows a lot of science and has taught Coffee explosives. He’s just super really cool and we’ve dubbed him Science Dad. He knows about this.
Anyway, Science Dad is ok now, but his heart attack was one of four medical emergencies the group faced in the month of March. We’re really very tired.
So there is a Tumblr user who will go unnamed for their own safety that I’ve been an adopted mom to for a while. They live in a shitty situation with their parents and are a constant victim to all sorts of abuse with no easy way out. Also, please note that they are 20 so what I’m about to do is legal. However, being an adult doesn’t always make leaving any easier.
I consider this person to be like a daughter to me. A daughter of my heart if not my blood. You know how found families are. They are a core member of my friend group and over time they’ve revealed more and more details of the abuse they suffer to the group.
I finally reached my breaking point and with their consent, the whole group is now in rescue mode with me playing a central role.
First I need a new job that pays a living wage, which I’m looking for no matter what anyway. I’m about to graduate, this is the next step in my life. But with that living wage, I should be able to sort my finances and make it so I’m no longer dependent on my mother. This is key. I can’t initiate the plan if my mom is giving me a few hundred dollars a month to support my family. I don’t currently have a death wish.
Anyway with finances in a better position, and a tax return in hand to fund the trip, in early March I’m making the 12 hour drive to a state I won’t identify (actually my mom is driving me in her car because I’m a horrible driver and my own car is guaranteed to not survive this trip, bless its soul) we’re packing my found daughter up, and bringing her home with me. All while her parents are at work so we have no resistance. (A note will be left and the local police will be notified that this is a rescue and they are not missing, just leaving a bad situation.)
Once back in Ohio they will live with me as long as they need to get on their feet and establish their life as an adult, just like I will allow my other 3 kids. I don’t see a difference. It won’t be the most ideal living situation as quarters are cramped. But they’ve declared it much better than their current situation. So that’s something at least.
My friend group is working out the logistics of this plan. Everything from where I can rent a little cargo trailer and a trailer hitch, to making sure they can finish their current degree and move on to the next, to health insurance, to getting them in therapy the second we’re back in Ohio.
My immediate family is on board with this. Pat is a little more resigned than excited. But Pat understands who they married and how I am. My purpose in life is to rescue those in need with whatever power I have. That, and I’ve been talking for years about being done having kids, but wanting to foster older kids and give them a loving family once we’re financially stable and the kids are grown. This is about 10 years sooner than I had in mind, and it’s an adult we’re fostering. But hey. This is the path I’ve been led down.
Sammy is super excited to have a big “sister”. The boys are accepting. Lucas is hesitant but he’s autistic and is really hesitant with any strangers. He’ll be fine. He has 8 months to warm up to it. Most importantly, while I’m aware of his stranger danger tendencies, he’ll at no point be in any danger so trust will be built.
Mom is hesitant but also on board enough to drive me 12 hours and back to make this happen. You know how mom’s can/should be. Cautiously supportive.
So yeah, that’s what I’m up to these days when not studying.
Longtime readers know my relationship with my dad, over the last 20 years especially, has been a rollercoaster.
The worst of it was when we lived together 6-12 years ago and he was trying to be head of house, while not really contributing to the household, and over stepping some boundaries when it came to the kids. I won’t hash it all up. It’s history and I’m trying to let go of some things. But I’ll sum it up by saying, 3 generations living together is rough, especially when it’s the middle generation that’s “in charge” and it was made worse by the fact that dad and Pat don’t really get along. It was a rough situation and it lasted too long.
Once we got dad out of our house, things were still sort of rocky for awhile. Not bad, just not good. Mostly awkward, with unsure footing.
But then Rachel almost died. And I realized I couldn’t take the relationships that matter for granted.
Now I would like to stress here that had my father been abusive (I know my audience, potential and confirmed) I would have cut the ties and walked away. But my father has never been abusive. It was just a bad situation and then an awkward one.
So the relationship was worth fixing.
I still didn’t jump right on it. I spent time with him occasionally. Like when I was at my mom’s house. And a few one-on-one daddy/daughter dates. But things weren’t really in motion yet.
Then I started weekly therapy just right down the road from him, but 30-45 minutes from my house, getting out of therapy as rush hour traffic started. It seemed like the perfect situation to be like, “Hey. Let’s spend time together.”
So now every week I have therapy from 4-5 and then I go and have dinner with my dad. Sometimes it’s fancier sit down. Sometimes it’s fast food. Sometimes we run an errand or two while we are out. I’m not up at that end of town too often, and dad doesn’t drive. So sometimes there are things that just need to get done, so we run errands together. It’s nice. Really nice.
This past Monday night we saw Captain Marvel together. I’d already seen it with Pat and the kids, but dad hadn’t. He has no one else in his life to see movies with, right now. So I suggested we catch an early showing. I think we are going to work movies into the plans more often. Maybe not monthly, but when there is something he wants to see.
Movies are especially good since there is company, but no talking. Dad and I talk about surface level stuff, but things just stay shallow. At least right now. It’s not bad. The frequent silence is comfortable. It’s just not deep. So movies are a good way to spend a few hours together in companionable silence, and still have entertainment.
I should have him take me to the new Men in Black when it comes out sometimes in the next month or so.
Anyway, there is room for imporvment in my relationship with my dad, but we’re actively working on it. So I think we’ll be ok. We may never reach deep waters, but some relationships are like that.
I know my dad loves me. And I think he enjoys my company. So that’s good enough for me.
I just… I need to work on trusting him. But that’ll come in time.
We’ll start with the old. I saw my old therapist, Cindy, off and on for some 12 years. I was pregnant with my middle little when we paired up and I started DBT. It was right before I got pregnant that I was diagnosed with BPD. And he’s turning 11 in just a few days so almost 12 years seems pretty on the nose.
And Cindy was/is great. She specializes in BPD and DBT and I adore her. I would not have the skills I have now, if not for her.
But I’m at a point in my life where one of the primary things I want to talk about in therapy is my identity of being queer. (Which is how I choose to sum up my sexuality and gender identity.) And Cindy is not afraid to talk about me being queer, but she has no experience with it personally or with people in her life so she had no practical advice to offer. She had great listening skills, but I need a little more.
So I did a literal google search for trans therapists that are local to me and I found Ruby. I don’t know if she herself is trans. I honestly can’t tell even after a session with her (which is fine) but I do know she has a Master’s in Gender Studies and gender queer people in her life, beyond her own experience. (She did say she is queer. It just hasn’t been defined out. Which again is fine. I don’t need her life story beyond the generalization that she’s qualified in this topic and issue.)
Additionally, she’s also fully versed in BPD a lot like Cindy is. So I’m not completely sacrificing whatever help I need with BPD, just to have someone whom can relate to gender issues.
Anyway, as of now I’m going to start seeing Ruby every Monday after work. My first session was this past Monday, the 14th of January. And I want to talk about it. Not the details of what we talked about, though I will sum it up, but instead the general feel of it all. Why Ruby is the perfect fit for me.
She was just coming in from being outside when it was time to start our session. So we go into her rented office and she starts going around the spacious room and turning on a dozen floor and table lamps. No harsh overhead florescents. Nope. This isn’t a sterile office, this place has a living room feel. There are comfy places to sit with an abundance of pillows and blankets. Rugs on the floor. A play area for children. Huge, wall conquering book cases filled with books. This place just immediately felt like home. Which, as nervous as I was, it put me at ease.
After she turned on all the lights, she sat in her own comfy chair, bent down, and took off her boots revealing fun cat socks. Like. There are just no words. I picked her off this long list of therapists that I found because she was friend shaped. I was delighted to discover that she specialized in what I needed her to specialize in. But the initially what made me go to her website, off the list, was that she just looked warm and friendly. Warm. So warm. So to have her kick off her shoes, which is honestly my person aesthetic, was revoltionary. I didn’t know therapists could do that! From now on, any new therapists I try out, if they don’t kick off their shoes, then they just aren’t for me.
The office. The no shoes. I just felt really safe.
Moving on, though I could spend another 5 paragraphs talking about the no shoes and fun socks…
I’m pretty secure in my gender identity now so while I wanted someone who specializes in it, it won’t be the main focus of therapy. We talked about that some. Most the session was just a brief outline of who I am. Standard first session shit. But we did discuss the goals.
My main objective is to deal with my anger issues I’m finally admitting I have. I… when I’m frustrated by my kids or spouse I turn red with anger and before I even realize I’m doing it, I start yelling. All the fucking time. I don’t want to yell anymore. I need to replace it with something, I don’t know what because the kids don’t listen. But I don’t want to yell anymore. It’s just not how I want my home life to go. So over the next however many weeks and months, Ruby is going to help me learn skills to stop the yelling, and parenting skills as to what I can do in place of it to get the kids to listen.
Cindy probably could have done that for me. But now, with Ruby, when gender issues are on the forefront of my mind, I can bring them up and we can tackle them as a team. It’s not the primary objective of therapy, but it’s still a thing that can coexist.
So every Monday at 4 I’m in therapy with Ruby, who works out of what could easily be a living room, if not for the insurance agent across the hall, and who kicks off her shoes to reveal relatable socks. I’m… it’s a good way to spend my Monday afternoons.
And then after therapy I have a standing dinner date with my dad. Which will make for a long day, but it lets me avoid rush hour traffic in getting home (therapy is on his side of town, my house is decidedly not) and I really should spend more time with him anyways. So this is good. I get home 10 hours after I left it and exhausted, but that’s just how it is sometimes.
Ugh. I’m suppose to be working on a science paper. However, I have time to do that later, and I have not written here in a while, so why not procrastinate?
I am a little more than halfway done with my bachelor’s degree. I am estimating my graduation, if everything goes as planned, to be the spring of 2020. Which I know sounds so far away. But that’s me going halftime, taking two classes a term, and also me taking (hopefully) next summer off. I’m due for a summer off. And apparently we can do that now and still work. See as a work-study I have to study to be allowed to work. But they realized that sometimes we need a break from the study part. So as long as we have studied the previous fall and winter terms, we’re allowed to take the summer off. I would have done that this summer but I didn’t know about it in time.
Fall term has officially started. I’m in week one of it. I’m taking a general science class that is more focused on critical thinking and analysis than it is on a specific field. But that’s ok. We live in a world of global warming deniers and this is a business school. So basically I took the science class that was both offered and required. It’s a 12 week class (compared to the usual 6 weeks) and then I have a 6 weeks management course. I don’t remember the specifics of the management course. I’d look it up but I’m about 11 weeks away from giving a crap. It’s an elective that seemed important to me at the time. So I’m sure I’ll benefit from it.
Still doing the work-study for the mathematics department gig. I basically plan to do this until either my boss gets sick of me or I graduate. Hopefully the graduation happens first. Then I’ll do a work-study, or whatever the equivalent is for a grad student, gig for OSU or wherever I end up. Hopefully OSU. Anyway, work is going well enough. I just had a performance review. My first of many. 18 months, almost, into the job. But eh. Anyway, there were no surprises. I knew going into it where I need to improve and we agreed on everything. So we discussed how I can do better in some areas and that was that. I’ll get another review in 30 days or so. I think. At least that seems to be the plan.
Everyone is happy and healthy. Funny story, actually. Sambam had a couple of major cavities in two of her molars, and at that size and at her age, they don’t fill them, they put crowns on them. Something medical jargon here about the crown lasting longer and they’re just baby teeth. Seemed weird to me but I got a second opinion just to be sure. (We had a bad experience with a dentist when Thomas was this age. The dentist did unnecessary work for the insurance money and was later the recipient of a class action lawsuit. So like we’re a little paranoid.) Anyway, it’s legit so we took her to get her crowns this past Thursday. They put her on laughing gas to calm her before using the needle to numb her. And I’m telling you, my daughter was so calm and high (as a kite) she didn’t even notice the needle. I sure did though and I hurt for her. Anyway she got the crowns and was like the number one best patient of the day, everyone agreed. And I was super proud of her. She’s a good kid.
They all started school this past Wednesday. Sammy is in first grade and loving it. Lucas is in fourth and start intermediate school, which means he now has 8 periods, or so, and is switching classrooms. He was nervous at first, but seems to have taken to it like a duck to water. Thomas is in eighth grade and in his last year of middle school. He’s growing up. I’d say he’s as tall as me, but if I’m being truthful I think at some point in the past month he’s officially passed me. And I’m not short. I’m about average height, but he’s going to be tall. Sammy turns 6 in a couple of weeks. She’s maturing into quite the big kid. She’s also turning into quite the artist.
So most of her birthday presents this year are various art supplies. The grocery store sells sketchbooks for like $2.50. Plus colored pencils and of course huge boxes of crayons. Then she is also getting coloring books just because. Coloring is fun yo! Anyway, the whole family is in on it together to supply her with all her art needs. Plus a few other odds and ends. But I think she’ll be happy with her haul this year.
I have more friendship in my life right now than I’ve had, well, ever. It’s mostly online, but I’m ok with that. I do need someone local to meet for coffee or dinner once in a while but I’ll work up to that. In the meantime, I have so much online friendship that like, I don’t feel like there is anything missing. We’re all on Tumblr and it’s just this big group of us. You should come chat me up over there. I will warn that my feed is a constant stream of snakes and reptiles and fish. One posting automatically every hour. And then when I am on, it gets really political. Like really political. So like if you can’t stomach snakes or politics, maybe you shouldn’t join me on Tumblr. Anyway, here is the link.
I haven’t almost bled to death in a couple of months. So that’s a plus. And last we checked my hemoglobin was up to 12.7 which is in the normal range. The low-end of the normal range, so I’m still on the iron supplements, but I’m not like as anemic as hell as I was even a month ago. Anyway, I’m just going to keep up with the iron and hopefully I’ll stop almost bleeding to death, and things will be good, yeah?
Mental health wise I’m ok. Mostly just really tired. I could have used this summer off from school. Really really. But it’ll be good in the long run to keep pushing though. I’ll have a nice long break soon. 2 weeks for Christmas and then I think I can schedule another 6 weeks on top of that during winter term if I take 2 6 week classes and neither of them start in the beginning of the term. Terms are 18 weeks long, so this is doable. I just have to make it until then. Also, that two weeks off for Christmas, will also be two weeks off from work, because the whole university shuts down. So like, I’m counting the days.
I have not had any medication changes lately, but it’s been awhile since I’ve listed my meds, so why don’t I do that now? In no particular order, and everything I take:
Gabapentin 900mg for fibromyalgia.
Ativan 1mg for anxiety – up to twice a day, but usually only once
Vitamin D3 2000mg because I get no sun ever
Ferrous Sulfate 650mg this is the iron
Protonix DR 40mg this is a super antacid that helps prevent my stomach from eating itself since I keep nearly bleeding to death
Geodon 100mg this is an antipsychotic I use off label for Borderline Personality Disorder. It isn’t for everyone but it can be very helpful for those of us with BPD to be on a medication like this. It helps with things like impulse control and angry outbursts. In general I just feel more in control of myself on this medication. However, a medication like this is not to be taken lightly. There are serious possible and likely side effects so really talk it over with you meds doctor and weigh out the pros and cons.
Topimax 100mg for headaches mostly, but there is the added benefit of weight loss. Again talk a medication like this over with your doctor. There are better medications for headaches generally, but as I’m obese, I wanted something that would help with weight loss and I knew this one did so I asked for it by name.
Fetzima 80mg this is my antidepressant. It’s a newer one and my insurance is not happy about it, but dudes I’ve been on them all and this is currently the one that works. It has the added advantage of a norepinephrine boost so like it helps with my energy levels. Which, between depression and fibro and anemia (these days), I need that boost.
And that’s everything. I take these all at once in the evenings. Which is not ideal but I’m horrible about remembering to take meds and this is the system that works for me. So this is what I do. My doctors know this about me a prescribe around it.
Also, on the subject of health, I have given up regular pepsi, and have switched to diet (coke). I’ve lost 20-30 pounds in doing so. I know it was the switch because that’s when I started losing weight. So yay? I have a long way to go and I’m working on it. Taking walks. Making healthier eating choices. Eating less in general. But I’ll get there. I’ll never be super skinny. It’s just not my body type and I’m on too many major psych meds that cause weight gain. But I want to be at a healthier weight, whatever that means for me. I’m also over all more interested in a healthier blood pressure, blood sugar level, and cholesterol level, than I am the actual shape of my body. Health over size.
That’s everything I can think of so I’m signing out. It’ll be awhile, I imagine, before I write again. Life has me pretty busy and since my mental health is stable, it’s pretty boring. Which is a good thing. I promise to try and touch base next month. I promise to try anyway. If I can write monthly, I think that’s a good goal. And of course, if anything interesting happens, I’ll write sooner. In the meantime, I leave you with this photograph of my daughter cracking up on laughing gas. She really is a doll baby.
I need help saving Christmas for 4 amazing, young boys and their father. These boys have had a rough go at life. Some parts have been rougher than others. This past year has been the roughest yet, as their parents battled for custody. Their father, the more stable of the two, has finally won this battle, but doing so has seen his finances get stretched beyond comfort. He had to give up his second job, and when is babysitter stopped showing up, he missed a lot of work, nearly losing his job in the process, and a lot more. Upon hearing what was going on, I stepped in and have been hanging out with these amazing boys, aged 4-9, every day after school until their daddy gets off. In doing so, their daddy has been able to get back to being financially stable, however, not enough so to make Christmas happen. He’s afraid the illusion of Santa will be shattered when they realize what Christmas coming after a tax return really means.
I call bullshit. There is too a Santa and his magic is alive! However, not being made of money myself, I can’t do this alone. So I’m asking for your help! This family needs some Christmas magic now more than ever. It’s been rough for them the past year. I think a Christmas miracle is exactly what they need to see.
Please help me give this to them.
We are aiming for a deadline of the 14th so that there is plenty of time for phase 2: shopping.