#AlltheFeelsFriday: Digable Planets - Where I'm from



This is from Digable Planets and it is so lively, punchy, and clever with the lyrics. Here's the song (from the early 90s) with the video and the lyrics are below so you can read them while you listen to them. 




Boogie jive and rap is life, where I'm from
Where I'm from, I might play with Izzy where I'm from
Where I'm from, it be like, "Run your coat black"
Jupiter, keeps her fat beats by the pack

Where I'm from, nappy hair is life
We be reading Marx where I'm from
The kids be rockin' Clarks where I'm from
You turn around your cap, you talk over a beat

And dig some sounds boomin' out a jeep
Where I'm from, cocoons hide the youth, swoon units 100 proof
You want some beef, they will cut you some
Where I'm form, the beats is infinite where I'm from

Voodoo, Ashubani, gangsta lean where I'm from
I'm interplanetary, my insect movements vary
It's kinky if it's hair, G, where I'm from
The firehoses blow, it's purple wind and snow, I do a hit and go, split

It's hip, what's hip? When hip is just the norm
'Cause Planets pledge allegiance to the funk in all it's forms
The kinks, the dance, the prints in all the shirts
My grandmother told my mother it's Africa at work

On vibes, we freak, them universal beats
You find it at the spot you hit at ends of every week
We twist, exist, to spin the maddest hits
Up here funk is our neighbor so we paid her a visit

For rock we can't do nothin', for this we come equipped
Off disc, off tape, rap blastin' 'til from 8
The really truly fat the fly on the flip

Cocoa gotta know, how Planets, gotta roll
Speak the mega cool, get funky as a goal
It's calm, relax, we're only some new jacks
That acts from the funk but don't play the role, where you from?

Weekend, "Dig Plans" got T's where I'm from
Where I'm from, it's Collins 13 where I'm from
Where I'm from, brothers took the beat and got fly
Why? That's most asked by 85, where I'm from

Fakin' the funk you get did
Projects, tenements, pyramids
Where I'm from, we're livin' off the boom boom crack
It's that hip hop rockers jazz when I max

Peace be the greeting of the insect tribe
Pestilent forces can't catch the vibe
We live to love and we love to rock mics
We speak in ghetto tongue 'cause ghetto's the life

Food for thought so get a buffet plate
So just watch me step alone, into the sunset
Left foot right foot 1-2 mic check

Brewin' funk inside my soul kitchen
So pull up a chair here's a bit have a listen
Of hardhead intervene, damn I know you're fluent
Yeah, 'cause Doodle ain't havin it and Butterfly knew it, where you from?

Venus acts a fool at the square right? Yeah
Doctors engineer in apparel right? Yeah
Hip-Hop made a point last year right? Yeah
But Planets is the joint this year right? Yeah

Planets got the dubs and live to grass-hop
Duck out from the fuzz, that sweat the hip-hop
Risin' like we foam, get it from the dome
I'm from where the fat beats stretch for mad blocks

We can get a kit, without, no thread
Feelin' funky beats go straight, to the head
Fall into a club, dig on what we love
It be past six, before we reach bed

Butter freaks on relics we say, those are fat
Doodle makin' silk, LaQuan, where it's at?
We need to stack a sack, for rap to take us dap
So we treat our clips, just like, bustin' caps

Rip it 'til dawn, kick it 'til dawn
Hip-Hop is the fix, or else, we be gone
People thought they canned it, rap is not by bandits
Digable Planets got it, goin' on

Everywhere, every everywhere
Everywhere, every everywhere
Everywhere, every everywhere

Getting rid of the terrors at night

Question: You know what's worse than having a nightmare?  
Answer: Waking up to one... 



My daughter and favorite student (and, as a natural extension, the rest my family) have done our best to manage this sort of thing since my daughter was very very young - an (almost) waking nightmare for everyone involved and including her. 

Imagine, if you will, blissfully sleeping and being woken up by your child doing something like this:
That, my friends, was a video of what is called either a night terror or a sleep terror
It's something that has plagued my daughter from her most tender years of early childhood and it used to happen at least once a night and sometimes multiple times a night. Thankfully, in the past three years, there has been a drastic reduction in how often we are all forced to contend with them. 
After a lot of research and diligent commitment to finding a workable solution to combat them, all of these things are how we were able to help minimize the likelihood that they would happen and almost stop them from happening all together. All told, these things took over five years to happen...

The biggest and most important thing we did was this (this might not apply to your situation):

After we started doing the previous, we did these other things:
  • We reduced the way "screen time" was used and modified the schedule in order to help allow focus and attention to decompress itself. This is a fancy way of saying that we started a bedtime routine that included NOT running screen time usage closer to bedtime routines.
  • We changed bedtime clothing wardrobe options as well as bedding so that everything used was only breathable fabrics. In the midst of the night terrors, we discovered that my daughter was drenched with sweat and her body temperature was unreasonably high. By ensuring that she wouldn't overheat, she seemed less likely to have night terrors.
  • We kept ice cold water (in either a drinkable vessel OR as compresses) nearby if/when my daughter would be on the verge of the night terror. We did our best to observe and time when they would start presenting and then we would try and get her to either drink the water OR we would apply the compresses to the back of her neck OR to her forehead. This helped us to wake her "system" up (and cool it down from overheating) but because of how the sleep cycle works, she would be able to comfortably go back to sleep.
  • We created movement of air in her sleeping space both with fans (yes, more than one at times) to help keep her cool at night. The white noise of the fans also helped her to sleep more peacefully. 
  • We minimized and attended to her many fears and anxieties (both legitimate and irrational) by having conversations with her regularly (at dinner time as much as other times). We did this with the help of child psychologists as well as by just spending good quality time together. Our conversations were very specifically directed by her and nothing was off the table for us to discuss. We talked about things in very kid-friendly ways as steered by the many family support professionals we partnered with.

Dealing with night terrors has required a real process of figuring things out in real time. We based all of our solutions that we found to actually work and not just once but be consistent and actually make things better over time. 

Being rid of night terror didn't require anything special, "magic," or inaccessible to most anybody. It was exhausting (both metaphorically and actually) for all of us to deal with. There were lots of actual lost nights of sleep. Still, I'm happy to report and SHARE what has worked for us and continues to work for us. Hopefully, if you are dealing with night terrors too, what we shared can help you and yours.

Unmasking the abuser

Trigger warning: Content you are about to read addresses abusive relationships and specifically domestic violence and abuse. This is a very hot button issue and some of what you read as much as what you will see (in a video) could be very triggering. If you (or someone you know) is in a situation of abuse, there is help and it is ok for you to seek it out, accept it, and move on from it into better and healthier things. 

Not gonna lie. I have really struggled with trying to write this particular blog post.

This is despite the fact that the other blog posts I have written about domestic violence and abuse (per my blog stats) are the most read and popular of all of the rest. This one specifically is one that continues to outrank everything else I have written on here.

I guess I'm glad that people are finding it and reading it and it's hitting home with others but at the same time? I just wish it never would have happened. I wish it weren't something that is such a major part of not only my life but also my child's life.

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One thing that has recently helped me with my own recovery (a lot) is a TED talk that very specifically addresses, examines, and explains the intricacies and complexities of the major issues of domestic violence and abuse. Here it is... (and it's quite long and you might need to take breaks when watching it because there are a lot of things that are hard to hear from the speaker)...

TED talk: Unmasking the Abuser || Dina McMillan

One of the really major things that really resonated with me from the video was how something like domestic violence and abuse even starts. This is because (for the longest time) I have carried around a lot of shame with the fact that I even ended up in a situation the way I did.  I mean - really? Didn't I know better? Weren't there warning signs? How did I miss them all? And how/why did I stay (a little more than six years all told) in such an abusive situation for as long as I did?

This video finally articulated answers about how it even started. It's because I was groomed to be in the relationship from the get-go. (HERE is an article about such abusive behavior and HERE is another one.)

I have endured years of counseling and therapy and had years of time to reflect back and accurately remember how it all started with my ex/my daughter's father. Dina McMillan (in her video above) nailed it with the fact that my ex did this to me (classic grooming behavior).

Here are the major red flags for how abusive relationships often start:
  • Too much
    • Big promises and grandiose shows of affection that include gifts - small or large, tangible or not - and an insistence that there is "so much more" to come just "trust" them 
    • Things (whether words they say, events they plan, or private/public demonstrations of affection toward/about you) that really go over the top in the frequency that they happen because they "just can't help it."
  • Too soon
    • Almost immediately professing love and pushing for bigger commitments all while insisting that it's only happening because of some "cosmic" reason or otherwise that they might even be able to rationalize in some way, shape, or form. This sort of thing is also called Love bombing. (Here, here and here are things you can read about it.)
    • Reasons or things occurring where they insist on quickening the timeline of the relationship to happen even faster than what was originally agreed upon or what you even felt comfortable with
  • Transforming
    • Pushing for major life changes or shifts under the guise that they know better for you and they are trying to do their best for just/only you. 
    • An insistence that what you have is "special" and "just for you" and that the life you now have is almost your own personal "fairytale" come to life because you are just "that special" and "that important"
The way the relationship started with my ex? It completely adhered to the "Too much, Too soon, and Transforming" checklist. There was other stuff as well but I will save that for another blog post.

It's only now (after enduring counseling and therapy and even having third party individuals being involved to report and verify things that actually happened) that I can see things so crystal clear.

What is scarier about all of this is that in the last few months, someone took the time to try and find me because they said that my ex tried to do the same thing to them and they "hoped" that I could help them to stop him from doing it to the next person that he had recently moved on to.

Despite the fact my ex is (mostly) out of my life with my daughter, it was devastating to me to hear that he was continuing to do this to others and even had a string of other women that he was victimizing. What my ex did to me? I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy.

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Not gonna lie, I'm still working (every day) to heal from and move on from what I have been through.

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If there is one thing that I know I can do to keep moving forward, it's that I know I can speak out about it.  It's the very reason why I established this blog to begin with. Nobody should have to go through what I did and by sharing what I do, I truly do hope that it helps somebody to either not get into the situation that I ended up in OR to recognize that they are in an abusive situation themselves and perhaps help spark in them something that will help them find help and rescue.



If you are interested in more about Dina McMillan's expertise and work or would like to read more about the topic of covert narcissistic abuse, here are some more things you can read:

  • This blog post gives a decent overview of Dina's book (as much as the video below) if you prefer to read another perspective.

#AllTheFeelsFriday: Frou Frou - Let Go

I don't remember where/when I first stumbled upon this song of Imogen Heap. There are a lot of good songs of hers to choose from. This song is one of my favorites though...

I love this song so much that a little more than three years ago, I even created a work of art because of how it inspired me. It's hard to see it but here's (kind of) what it looks like. 

I guess you could call it graphic design or digital art or something like that.

Question: It's complicated

(Answer: What exactly do you do for work?)

Blog friends, I am so incredibly tired. If it were not for the miracle that is paper planning, I would not be able to get anything done let alone maintain my sanity.

My paper planners trying to "play nicely" together. 

Yesterday, I had to take a last minute day off (from my dayjob) so that I could take care of some stuff that I will talk about at some point a lot more openly. On Monday, so... the day before yesterday, I had my planners opened up on my desk (as you see in the picture above) and one of my coworkers passed by and remarked, "Wow! That's colorful!" This is because the way I manage my time and many tasks is by color coding almost everything.

Also? Since I easily work 40+ hours over 6.5 days of any given week... it's pretty common that I might not know what day it is and I wish that I were kidding about that...


 

Almost all of the planner stickers (and planner "stuff") I use, I also sell from my etsy shop.


Not gonna lie, living at this pace isn't easy and it's also not for everyone. It's for this reason that I do my best to simplify just about every other area of my life so it's as straight forward and easy to manage as possible.

Case in point: my work wardrobe. I try and wear sheath dresses as much as possible because they are all one piece (and, in turn, easy to wear) and they look professional whether I am having to do work in the office or out of the office...


And the work that I do? Overall... I do a little bit of anything that I might have to.

First thing this morning, I had to do some graphic and visual design stuff for some IT stuff I have been dealing with for the last few weeks. Last week I had to do some filming and video production for some internal professional development. Later this week, I might be doing some corporate event planning for some community fundraising. At the end of the week, there is an internal training session at a local work site for professional development purposes. And all of this is in addition to me being a mom to my favorite student...

Pardon the subpar lighting. We were touring a historic location and I was trying to respect the no flash photography rules.

So... this is all (and maybe a little more that I will share at some point or another) is where I have been if/when I am not here on this blog. 

Thanks for being patient with me and the fact that I have a whole lot going on. ;)

#AlltheFeelsFriday: Flower duet - Anna Netrebko & Elina Garanca (Lakmé de Delibes)

You don't have to understand what is being said in opera to truly enjoy it but know this: very much like country music, opera songs also tell stories...


This is one of my all-time favorite renditions of Lakmé, Flower duet (Duetto) by Léo Delibes that you can find online. There are other versions but I think this version is the most pedestrian (and, thus, enjoyable) for someone to start liking opera.

Good design just for your feet

Real talk about two things that can/will ruin even the best day for me: an uncomfortable pair of shoes or underwear.

Seriously. 

Thankfully (and this is NOT a sponsored post), I think I might have finally found the holy grail of decent shoes to wear for the corporate life that I have to live at least during the business hours from Monday through Friday.



Blogfriends, the Audrey from Native shoes was finally restocked in the color I wanted and even though I have had them for maybe a week now? I wish they came in at least two other colors (warm grey and tan/nude) so that I could wear them with everything I own and also beyond my working mom life.



They are everything a shoe should be: comfortable, stylish and sophisticated, resistant to foot odors (keepin' it real, friends), and they also make me look taller and like my legs are longer the way pointed toe shoes are supposed to. (And that's why I wear pointed shoes more often)

The style of the shoe is a D'orsay flat. (Here's a more detailed write-up about the d'Orsay shoe style by Live About blog)  The name of the shoe, "Audrey," is absolutely fitting for exactly how they look when worn. I have been wearing my shoes with fitted jeans/pants and the other day I wore them with a skirt.

I've read some reviews about them - people saying they will stretch out over time but honestly? I like them so much I would even get them again if this sort of thing happened to me because that's how much I like them. 

Getting lost in translation might happen to you

Last evening, I finally did something that I have been dreading doing and have put off for almost three whole years. 

I very reluctantly ordered my daughter a new Bible. Honestly? I have did not want to do it and I really had to push myself to pick a Bible and then actually submit the order. 


No matter how you "slice" it, religion and faith and the organization and learning/teaching of it all is something that is very personal no matter who they are or from where they come. This goes for ALL faiths and religions. 

What someone believes in, how they believe in it, what they understand (or don't understand) and how all of these things come together are what ends up being who/what someone is. It all makes up the living, breathing existence of a person as much as it creates what their lifetime will say of them.

Even more important than just all of what I have said? How all of that is first "seeded" and then cultivated to develop... that's the kind of stuff that is even more important because once something (like religion and faith) take root? It can yield extreme consequences that nobody intended, ever anticipated, or even wanted to expect. 

And why? Because (like I said) what an individual believes in becomes who and what someone is as much as the things they do. 

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I haven't mentioned it before but I used to work in evangelical and non denominational ministry. I did this in a private educational setting. Working there the way I did was way harder even than when I worked in clinical psychiatric care (read: at a mental hospital). And not only did I work there, but my favorite student started our her school age years there as a student. 

When my daughter started in kindergarten and for almost that whole year, she hated school. 

Her first grade year that followed was even worse and all of this was despite my best efforts of advocating for her and earnestly trying to support and partner with her teachers. 

I even paid (out-of-pocket) for licensed clinicians of educational and child psychology for the "issues" that my daughter as much as myself were told she had. I was also pressured to put her on medication for those same "issues." This was even after we tried the medication (that hadn't made things better "enough" for her) and I was pushed to give her more "medicine." 

Her second grade year was a better (without the medication, at that) but still, the "damage" was done enough to/with her. Enough was more than enough to give me even more of a shove to just leave as we did. Without going into more specific details? I will just say that I knew enough and I had had enough and my child/my family is what I chose and will choose beyond everything else. 

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None of this is to say that religion, faith, and/or the organization of it all is all bad or all good. 

Rather, it is the reason why/how I have been so reluctant to bring it back into the life of my family and most specifically my daughter's life. 



Because I used to work in ministry (and specifically children's education and ministry), I am very aware and just as much particular about how/why there are so many translations of the Bible. 

Depending upon how something is said, presented (much like in teaching/learning/training), it's easy to understand things in specific ways and a great deal of it is informed by how something is said, the words that are used in order instill why something matters or applies to the reader. All of this, essentially, is about reading comprehension.

Depending upon an individual's reading lexile level, there are certain translations of the Bible that are completely inappropriate for them simply because it's unreasonably beyond their reading comprehension level.

This isn't to say that they can never read a certain translation so much that much like with there being different kinds of books that you use to learn to read (vs. reading to learn), if a person is able to read the words on a page, that doesn't mean that they are fully comprehending what they are learning OR that they will be able to even if/when you have the conversation to "unpack" what they read. 

The quizzical thing about all of this (to me, at least) is the fact that just as people will fuss about denominations of religion (as much as they will their favorite pro sports teams for that matter), they will fuss even more about what they swear by for translations of the Bible. 

At the same time, they will completely disregard the fact that just because you can read words on a page doesn't mean that a person will understand any of it (or even develop the understanding AND in the time it needs to to be able to keep reading to actually learn something).

Considering all of the previous, the Bible that I ended up getting for my daughter is this one...

https://amzn.to/2upv4P1

I picked this one even considering the negative reviews and critiques I have read - found all around the internet including on Amazon. This particular translation is the ICB one and that stands for International Children's Bible and HERE is more information on it.

Why wear harem pants when you can wear a cone of shame

Guess what. Moses can stop wearing pants as of yesterday.

His new cone of shame finally arrived:

https://amzn.to/2L5trgr

We are thrilled with it and happy to report that the largest size fits him very nicely. (It's an XXL and it's the Noah Lion one from Alfie by Petoga Couture and this is NOT a sponsored post. I researched this to find it and invest my money in #thankyouverymuch)

One really amazing thing about it that I did not expect at all is the fact that it is incredibly plush as much as it's very well-made. The velcro fastening also allows for it to be adjustable so that if/when we do trim some of Moses' coat down, it will still fit him in the snug way it needs to. It's also made of a material that is the same as the "minky" blankets that are popular for kids - it is so soft and silky.

https://amzn.to/2L5trgr

We are VERY pleasantly surprised by just how well made this "cone of shame" is and it is so much better than the rigid plastic ones that you might get from the vet or can buy off the shelf at any big box pet supply store. 

Even better than the fact that we like how it looks as much as it is actually functional, it was less than $20 shipped from Amazon and that is less than what I have paid for other recovery collars. 

https://amzn.to/2L5trgr
I haven't tried to machine wash it yet but I am pretty sure it will be fine to do that - something that I couldn't do with the standard rigid plastic cones that we have used in the past. Gotta love being able to just chuck something into the washing machine instead of having to scrub it when it gets gross as it will likely do. 

When you can't move houses but you really hate your home

When I was doing my undergraduate studies, I took a human development course that looked at all facets of how and why an individual's life ends up looking the way it does.

That course (and one particular part of it that I am going to try my best to share with you) changed the entire trajectory of my life in the most positive ways ever so that I can be here and now and completely intact the way I am.

Here's the core understanding of what the exercise is meant to teach and most specifically SHOW on the most individualized and personalized (that means for YOU, alone) lesson to learn and fully know...



Here's the thing of your life (as much as my life):
Dysfunction is not fun (nor is it a joking or laughing matter) no matter how many times we might try and make light of it so that it is that much more palatable for any of us to taste as much as allow to consume us and become what our lives are.

The real problem with dysfunction, though, is that we often learn it when we least expect it and then it will conveniently hibernate within us only to be awoken (and in such a way that is scary for ALL to experience) and we will be left feeling helpless, hopeless, and confused about how it got there to start.

For some types of dysfunction, it's easy to identify and say, "Hey... maybe this isn't right." For other types of dysfunction, it's so much harder to identify it and then call it what it really is so that you can truly have a life (and be a person) that you would rather be.


Here's how it works...
Step (1)  Get a fresh piece of paper and your favorite writing/drawing utensil (pen or pencil - doesn't matter)

 Step (2)  Draw an outline of a house with enough room for you to write words inside.   Don't get caught up with how the house looks. Just a basic idea of a house is fine. 
Here is an example:




Step (3)  Start writing as many descriptive words as possible inside that house that remind you of the home/house you grew up in when you were little. 
Examples of descriptive words would include the following: neat/tidy, chaotic, quiet, loud, bright, lonely, warm, inviting, bare, open.
Do this for about 3-5 minutes and try and write as fast as you can -  kind of like recording a "brain storm."



Step (4)  Once you have written your words, take a moment to read ALL of them. 
Here's how this works.  It's very likely that what you read will be what you "create" - meaning: what happens/occurs in your home and life (whether you realize it or not) is your idea of "home sweet home" no matter if you agree with it, like it, or not. This is the standard of "home" that you have learned from the beginning. 
This means that you will involuntarily (meaning: without your own permission), end up creating all of the words/thing written in your house UNLESS you INTENTIONALLY do something to keep yourself from doing so.

And this is the writing exercise that my college professor guided an entire class through during that one elective class of human development way back in my undergrad years. When we all finished the exercise, you could have hear a pin drop in the room because the majority of us were stunned by the truth of it all. I think the class even ended early that day because the gravity (meaning: the metaphorical heaviness of it all) was very hard to deal with in the moment.

Does all of this mean you are doomed from the start? (No.)

What does it mean? Well... just that, dysfunction is something that (perhaps) we learn how to have in our life (and live with) at a time and of an age when we just don't know any better. However, once you learn about it... that means you know about it and can do something about it so that you can live without it if you want to.

And even though it might take a while to learn how to live without dysfunction (because maybe you didn't even know it was there to start), now that you know that it was there all along, maybe if you learn a little more about how/where it gets it power? You can start the process to pull the plug on it so then your house can be illuminated with GOOD stuff that will help it feel like the "home sweet home" you always wanted it to be.

Warning: Disappointment awaits you

Do you ever wonder if there is/are any reasons why this blog is called Deerest Dahling? 

Do you ever wonder the reason why I go by the moniker Deerest Dahling?



Do I liken myself to a deer?

Am I admittedly obsessed with deer? (Meaning: do I have deer-related tchotchkes all around and about my personal life - whether that's in my physical space or otherwise)

There HAS to be some special meaning or connection to/with deer, right? 

WHAT IS UP WITH THE ASSOCIATION WITH DEER????

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Here is the truth: There isn't really any special meaning with deer as far as I have meant there to be. I hate to break it to you, but it's kind of arbitrary.

And, if there is any connection, association, or similarity to deer, the only thing that I could say I could identify with (of deer) is #this that I stumbled upon in the last year because of social media:


If I am like any deer ever, it would most likely be like that deer right there. Seriously.

#AllTheFeelsFriday: The Black Eyed Peas - Fallin' Up (Lyrics NSFW)

Did you know that The Black Eyed Peas existed before Fergie joined their ensemble and they sounded totally different than how you might know them to be?



I get why they recruited Fergie but I enjoyed (and still enjoy) their music before the Fergie years. 

The new normal of life after domestic abuse and violence

Yesterday, my favorite student and I celebrated Independence day with having our regularly scheduled (though often spontaneous) very much needed "good cry." In between her heaves for air as I helped her to "remember to breathe," she said, "I just want our life to be normal. I just wish life could be normal. Why can't our life just be normal?" and then she cried a bit more while I told her the following...
  • It's ok to cry.
  • It's ok to feel angry.
  • It makes sense if you are disappointed.
  • If you feel hurt, then you should be.
  • All of this is absolutely normal even if it doesn't seem like it is. 
  • Normal sometimes isn't what we might have thought it actually is when it happens.

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One of the reasons why she was crying was because she just had to do a video chat when she actually really didn't want to have one. It's not always like this but in the past few months, it's become like this because of all she has had to witness. She has also more quickly been developing both the maturity and aptitude to fully understand completely what her life really is and how it came to be.

To say it's been a long process to get to this point would be a ridiculous understatement. 

Ultimately, she doesn't even know the half of why our life is the way it is.

Still, no matter what she can/would ever be able to figure out on her own (and it's a lot that she already has figured out), there's plenty more that I have absorbed and shielded her from already...
  • The real fear because of the real threats of what would physically happen to me if/when I would finally fall asleep
  • The real fear because of the real threats made if/when I was just trying to come home from work like I wanted
  • The real fear and shame that was repeatedly put upon me for talking about, bringing up (even a mention) of the actual abuse (of all kinds) that I was enduring because the person doing it to me couldn't "bear" hearing how much they hurt me and "it" caused them so much hurt and pain that they couldn't deal with it themselves -- yet, they still did "it" to me for years on end
There's more, but... all of the previous communicates the basis of most of it.

And by "it," I mean the actual domestic violence and abuse that both my daughter and I have been able to move on from to be where we are now. 



What's been harder than all of the previous is that, through it all, people we always thought would be "there" for us even if just to be compassionate let alone empathetic were anything but. 

People we thought were friends - and even some who were actually family - treated us like pariahs. People were completely dismissive and they victim shamed us for how/what we were going through.  Additionally, it is expected that if/when there might be a get together of any sort, we are told "can't we all just get along" and "smile" and "be happy" because that's "easiest for everyone, ok?" 

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I'm not sorry that I cannot and will not conveniently "forget" and call things "water under the bridge" to help make others feel "better."

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I get that "it" is all hard to have to confront as "it" is the truth of what my life is as much as what my daughter's life is. 

I get that "it" is unsavory

I get that "it" is something nobody should wish on anybody let alone their worst enemies. 

I get that "it" is a lot easier to deny and ignore rather than confront

I get all of the parts of "it" because "it" was a real life that I had to call my own for more than half a decade. 

Additionally, it's something I had to call a "life" with a child in the mix. 

And just as much? When I speak up about it - whether it's in written form or directly to the individuals who didn't have the guts to say things directly to me - the immediate "pain" and discomfort they experience when it's time for them to confront their own lack of humanity won't come even close to the pain, added torture, and anguish I have had to endure (still) for the way they metaphorically kicked, shoved, and pushed me when I was down. 

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Something that has really helped my daughter and me (a lot) are two songs from Rachel Platten. This one in particular has been incredible in helping us to go beyond any "good cry" we have and just keep moving on and further away into the "new normal" of life that thankfully, keeps expanding for us to walk into together. 


I don't ever expect my daughter to be fearless, or not to be angry, or not to be hurt or disappointed, confused, etc. etc. etc. etc.

This is because negating what was real and did happen helps nobody.

Negating things actually perpetuates a cycle of abuse that only gains momentum and ensures damage that never should have been done to start. It doesn't make it easier to deal with but it and it also doesn't make any of it go away (ever).

Seriously.

Not talking about things or dignifying their existence is maybe the most destructive thing in the world and is completely counterproductive to actually recovering from and thriving despite being a victim of abuse (of any kind, for that matter). 



And me sharing all of this? 

What my daughter and I have to regularly deal with and what we are doing to endure the pain of healing (so we can keep moving on) is because there needs to be a new normal and not just for us but for others just as much. Starting the conversation and continuing it is how a new normal can and will happen and not just for myself and my daughter but also for everyone else. 

Change is a beautiful and magical thing.


The best friend a boy could have

Four summers ago I accidentally got into the doll customizing business where I would buy people's well-loved American Girl dolls on ebay and then I would take them apart, clean them up and "refurbish" them...

A look back at the makeshift studio I set-up with all of the things that I did to take apart the dolls and then put them back together again.  It was pretty fun as much as it was creatively challenging. My daughter liked to help and watch and sometimes she would say, "Mama, can I hold the head of that one?" I know... it's both completely weird and strangely endearing. 

My inspiration and motivation for doing this sort of thing came from the fact that my daughter wanted to have brothers for her dolls as much as my nephews didn't have the joy of being able to have a "My Buddy" like what there used to be in the 80s.


I know the whole topic of boys having "dolls" is a sensitive one. Boys can have action figures but not "dolls." It's a HUGE deal for a boy to have a "doll." But why is that considering there is reasonable amount of child development focus that strongly indicates the power of play therapy as a way to help a child (no matter the gender) to develop into the strongest, most well-balanced and WHOLE version of themselves. 
Read and LEARN more about the importance of play therapy...

Play therapy and specifically doll play is even common practice for licensed clinicians to use when helping children overcome trauma of all sorts and even specifically with helping children to communicate and process what they might have experienced because they simply don't have the words or the developed maturity to deal with what they have been forced to experience. 

(There has even been new research that has shown how dolls are being used in Alzheimers treatment to help with complications of dementia. It's still being decided if it's a good idea or not but all the same? Play therapy is good for a lot of different folks it seems.)

Once I figured out that I could customize dolls, I made it a bit of a personal mission (of sorts) for just one summer to customize as many boy dolls as I could and then sell them on ebay. All told I was able to make about 17 boy dolls. They were all restyled from the once well-loved girl dolls. People "adopted" them from my etsy shop that were of all ages and for all sorts of reasons and I got the nicest messages from people with thanks that their sons (and daughters as much) LOVED being able to finally have a "best friend" (or a My Buddy, just as much) so they could pal around together or play alongside their sisters...

My own critique for myself  for all of them is this: There is not nearly enough COLOR represented in this picture.
I could have done a much better job at this. I know better now and I stand corrected if I were to ever try something like this again.

It was so much fun bringing these boy dolls to life. I gave myself a budget for each of them to be restyled in the way that seemed to make the most sense and every single one of them had their own sweet charm and personality after all was said and done. (Pro Tip: if you ever want to buy a used American Girl Doll - even if you don't want to do what I did - the best time to buy them is in the summer time on ebay)...



The last little boy to be adopted out was this guy. He was called Malcolm...
He was adopted by an adult collector who even sent me messages long after she received him telling me how appreciative she was to have him. I was so thankful that he was able to go to home to her where he was fully appreciated and obviously loved. Doing what I did gave me such appreciation for maybe what toy and doll makers used to do as a recognized profession and respected artisan.

I hope all of these boys are still being loved and appreciated, now, four summers later.

Eventually, I moved into just customizing a doll just for my own little girl to enjoy - because no other dolls existed (yet) that had textured hair to correctly and lovingly depict some of her very best friends. Now there are dolls that exist like that (I think I have seen them in Target, at least) but it took almost half a decade for that sort of thing to be readily available.

Doll customization can give pre-loved dolls all sorts of looks that they always should have had. Here is my daughter with three of some of her favorite girls. 

It is heartwarming to me that there are a lot more dolls to represent the very many underrepresented that kids (and adults) can now have. I hope that in some way, my little summer mission from years ago helped to push the market and make happen in the grand scheme of things. 

I hear that train' a comin'

I've been thinking a lot about the movie called Crash. Do you know this movie

I have suggested movies before this one but be forewarned that this particular movie is definitely not for the faint of heart. It is not for children, it is not safe for work, it is thought provoking as much as it can make you emotionally volatile and leave you feeling incredibly raw. 

The basic premise of the movie is that it shows you not just a big picture of life but it also helps you walk the different walks that other people might be walking all at the same time. It shows concurrent story lines of people's lives (of different ethnic, socioeconomic, educational backgrounds) and shows how they all intersect and overlap each others in ways that you might never imagine or think of because you are so caught up in your own. 

There are parts of the movie (and specific story lines) that you might really agree or disagree with just as much as there are lots of personal "aha moments" to be had because you realize something (and then connect it to something personal) that never occurred to you.
And then after you watch the movie, you might continue to have those moments. It's because the movie really challenges who and what you are as much as your connection of where you have come from and where you might realize you want to go (in life).
Still, it's a very good movie and not just because it won a lot of awards when it debuted in 2004.  Here is the original trailer for it and honestly? It just doesn't do the movie justice at all. 
Here it is on Youtube for $2.99 
Here it is on Amazon for $3.99+. I think if you have a prime membership you might even be able to watch it with that. 
Or you can always check your local library to check it out for FREE.

Sometimes my dog has to wear pants

Last week felt like the longest week ever for me. The weekend was much needed and then something happened to my dog that just ended up getting worse and now, he has to wear pants...

I'm not kidding. He has been wearing pants since last evening and (thankfully) these fit him in just the right way so that he isn't trying to take them off. Let's not even talk about how ashamed he looks wearing them. 

So here's the thing about Moses, my goldendoodle... he gets very nervous sometimes which prompts him to lick himself compulsively to the point where he will lick himself raw and can get an infection. Generally, he's pretty healthy and OK. Sometimes though? He gets worked up about stuff that we cannot figure out and he will just start licking himself and not be able to stop.

We used to have a "cone of shame" for him when things got too bad.


And, yes, I made planner stickers for my planner for the occasion because why not? If my dog has to wear a cone of shame, I might as well have a planner sticker for everything like I do for anything else in my life. *shrug* (There are worse things I could have, friends. Example: Pants that don't fit Moses while we wait for his new cone to arrive because his last one finally fell apart despite all of the duct tape we tried to use to hold it together.)

Moses doesn't do well with the plastic cones because they make it hard for him to see and he will also take corners to sharp and scare himself. Thankfully, I found a new cone of shame that will be a lot better for him. Thank you, Alfie brand , for making something that will help Moses out...


https://amzn.to/2KqJZmH

We had to get him an XXL because he's a pretty big guy. I ordered it from Amazon and I'm looking forward to when it gets here sooner rather than later.

Until then? Moses is wearing these harem pants (of sorts) that used to belong to my daughter...


I have matching pants (because I have a growing wardrobe of matching clothes with my daughter) and I decided to wear my own pair on this first day that Moses is wearing them. Practice what you preach, right? Solidarity is very important when you are forced to wear pants and you might not want to.