I am a Survivor. With a big ol’ capital S. Why the big S? Because being a Survivor requires the acknowledgment of something stronger than just a name or description. It’s not who I am totally, but a big portion of my heart, soul and body. - Shani Kenny 2015

Monday, December 26, 2016

Baby I was born .....

..... this way! It's true, I was/am! :)

Having been away all weekend due to being sick, I had no idea that George Michael passed away. It's so sad! My thoughts and prayers go out to his loved ones and to those who loved him. It's a loss that creates so much heartache. A loss of life is harsh no matter who it is, if you knew them directly or as a fan. I've been a fan since I was a little girl. Music healed my heart in so many ways and distracted me from so much. 

I have to share this funny story with you all for a number of reasons. My BFF, Miss B. loved to sing when we were little. I was shy (I know, I know....you're saying WHAT? No way! It's true!), she was louder lol. She was bossy, and overly protective of me. Gosh I love her to this day. Anyhoo, She decided that she needed to sing in the front yard. She grabs the tape player (We're talking early 80's here) as we go out. She tells me to stand over in the corner of the yard by the driveway and when she tells me to, hit play. She's going to dance and sing for anyone watching. LMAO...I was too sit and be the DJ! ;) So I did of course, and she proceeded to sing loudly and obnoxiously! We both loved WHAM! and she was singing to "wake me up before you Go Go" as I clapped to the rhythm. It's one of my best memories and I can look back and laugh hysterically. But you know what? For a kid like me who was going through hell behind closed doors, having a BFF who would do anything to make me smile was like giving me gold. Music encouraged our friendship and in that moment, those guys gave us a memory we'll hold on to forever. We still talk about it! I tease her about her bossy side as kids, but as an adult I see it differently. She wanted the world to see me as she did, and she'd make damned sure they did. Oh man, I have so many stories about those times. But I'll leave them for now since I'm rambling lol.

With George Michaels passing there are those that are saying horrific things about his sexuality. Does his sexuality really define him? No, it doesn't define any of us. He didn't make a choice to be gay. To quote that awesome song, "I was born this way!" He was, and it was just apart of who he is.

So for those who are being so hateful, degrading and horrific, KARMA is a bitch and then some. You can say YOUR God is punishing him for his choices, is it YOUR God that has instilled such hatred in your heart? Is it YOUR God that tells you to ignore this message: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you? Because if you claim it is, I'm sorry friend I do believe you're a bit delusional. Regardless of your faith and your chosen religion, we're all human. We all bleed the same and breathe the same air. We are human, and we make mistakes. Take a moment to step back and think about it, would you want someone to hate you because something about you is different? I hope not! My mom taught my brother and I that everyone is different for a reason. To love others as they are. She taught us to be open minded and to be open to religion and different beliefs in general. I do, and I teach my kids that as well.

Now that I've shared my memories with you and my thoughts on his passing, I have just one more thing to say....

Hello my name is Shani. I'm a bit of a weirdo, a ninja master, zombie loving freak who believes in love, faith and good times. I'm a creative soul who lives to laugh and I cherish those in my life that are good to me. I haven't always been easy going, but I've learned a lot of things along the way and have helped me to let it go.  Oh and in case you didn't know, I'm Bisexual. If that alone makes you not like me, love me, care for me, tolerate me, then I'm sorry. Not sorry because of my sexuality. But sorry because you're missing out on a friendship/family member that is no different than before you knew. I was born this way, and I'm damn proud of it. I haven't always been as open about it, and that was my choice. Sometimes, it's just the right time to shout it to the world.

I wish you many blessings, love and cookies,


Saturday, April 23, 2016

My Sexual Abuse Story

I know I'm wordy, and I apologize for the lengthy post. I promise it was longer before I edited it! Please, read through the whole post. May it possibly help someone. <3

My 13th year was one of the hardest years of my life. I didn’t fit in at school, and was bullied a lot. I’ve never fit in, I had my own style, thoughts, reasons, etc. I’ve never been one to follow the crowd, especially then. That year my Mom  had to have major back surgery because of an injury she sustained a few years before. It was horrible for her and for us. The amount of pain she went through, the medication issues and the doctor who ended up messing it all up was hard to understand. Shoot, it still is. I start with that because it is a small part of why I kept it under wraps. She was suffering so much and dealing with even more than I knew at the time. In my own thought process, I thought I was saving her from it all. Funny how we think we’re protecting the ones we love you know? I also thought that if I kept it to myself that she couldn’t be ashamed of me. I didn’t think anybody would ever believe me. I mean, who was I? That weird, quiet somewhat chubby kid that everybody points fingers at and makes fun of. I was nobody in a sea of people who all fit in. That’s what it felt like in so many ways. My home life sucked. I’ve talked about it before in past posts. To me, I just was better off to keep it in.

The taunting ended up including sexual harassment.  It went far beyond what I looked like on the outside. It now became how I was so ugly nobody would want me. I would never have sex with anybody because I was so nasty. It moved on to things like I gave it up to anybody and anything. Yes, I said anything…that’s as far as I’ll go with that one. I’m sure you can figure it out. I would cry my eyes out every single day on the way to and from school. I was wary of walking up our street by myself in fear that some of the threats of physical harm were going to happen. Wherever I went at school, I was followed. I fell into a deeper depression as it got worse and worse.

The day the incident happened, I was a wreck. My Aunt was in the hospital, and my mom was with her. We lived a good distance away and that meant she had to drive there. Everything was just crashing around me all at once. On my way to P.E. I stopped at my locker. There was a note stuck in the little vents on the door. I heard snickering around me as. I ignored them mostly, like I always did.

Ugh, my heart is aching here a little. I’m tearing up and I’m struggling. I thought I could just rip this band-aid off quick and the scab below it. My thinking was if I could do that, I could heal faster. Yikes, I don’t know. It’s weird the memories that trigger other memories that you’ve shoved away so much. It all comes blasting back at you and you swear you were there all over again. I know that’s part of my PTSD. Well, partially that is. But it’s just weird. Ok deep breaths….let’s get back to it….

Closing my locker I opened the folded paper. I now know that it was someone who was in my typing class with me as it had been typed up using the same paper and typewriters. It was “fresh” because some of the ink smudged when they folded it. There are parts of the note that I can remember vividly and bring out some heavy emotions. There are other parts that get a little bit pushed behind those but are still there. I went through so many negative emotions. This was it; this was what was going to make me lose it. I crumpled it up in my hand and carried it in my fist with me to the locker room. I stashed it in my locker basket with my other other things and went to class. We were playing volleyball that day. Oh joy, I sucked at it and I hated just being there. I was on the sidelines waiting for my turn when I got hit with the ball the1st time. “Oops, sorry!” one of the girls said. More like, “Sorry, Not Sorry!”. This happens a few more times and my anger just keeps going up. This kid, “Bob”, wanted to see how far he could push me. He spiked the ball and it hit me right at the top of my head breaking my plastic head band. I saw stars and got dizzy. I looked over at Bob and saw red for a different reason. I remember walking up to him honestly.I started screaming at him and his friends how I didn’t need this shit! How dare they mess with me.  The nurse tended to me and my goose egg. I got a verbal warning about my “attitude”, and sent home.

When I tell you I’ve heard just about all there is to hear/know about sex and shit, I literally mean that. But at 13, I had no idea how sick people were. The note was very graphic, and very detailed. It could have been a mini script for an amateur porn video. They even included “background music” in the note.  It’s a song that is a trigger for me. I held that all in and held onto that note. I finally told my mom and her boyfriend at the time (idiot who abused us, Mr. E.) And all hell broke loose. I don’t’ even remember why it was my mom pushed me to tell her what was going on. I can remember sobbing my eyes out. The words felt like they were cutting me from the inside out as I shared. I was gutted, humiliated, devastated and angry. I was so sure that nobody would believe me. I was even positive Mr. E would accuse me of lying. They both believed me, and it made me cry harder. All of the tormenting and bullying from the months leading up came pouring out. We used to say she might have been tiny (barely 5 foot) but she was mighty. I can tell you now, the counselors at my school became intimidated when my mom walked in.

Both she and Mr. E talked to me about it and who was involved. As I told them literally everything about the sexual stuff, they both became white as ghosts and angry. They told me how the things that had been happening, lead up to rape. When an attacker/abuser is looking for a victim, most of them do this. They look for ways to intimidate and break you down. It starts out small until they get to be more daring and sometimes more open. It all comes to the point of violence. It scared the holy hell out of me.

After a long talk of what to do next, my mom went with me to school the next day. We had a meeting that ended up to be utter bullshit. Basically I produced the note, gave details of it all and waited. They didn’t believe me. They told me that the Bob and his boys had typed it up but threw it away in the trash can after he crumpled it up. Then supposedly I went and took it out of the trash and kept it for whatever reason. It had my name on it even!  At one point they tried to spin it that I wrote to myself in order to get them to “like” me. This group of boys and a few girls got away with it. There were no consequences because I didn’t have more “proof” and believed that I had a crush on one of them.  I had known a few of these boys my entire life! I had stopped liking them on any level a few years before when the bullying started at grade school! I was so angry and so hurt. My mom was livid and got her lawyer involved. Sadly, it went nowhere. The only people who believed me were the ones in my house. No, my abusers never had to face the consequences of their actions.

All through that I had pretty much given up on so much. They had succeeded in doing what they set out to. They humiliated me, bullied, beat me down and stripped me of anything positive I had felt about myself. In that one incident they made me a victim of their cruelty. Even though there was no physical rape or physical assault, they had emotionally raped me. Yes, strong words I know. But for anybody who has gone through something like this, it’s how it feels. I lived with the stigma of being a victim for a lot of years. I had to rebuild who I was on the inside to reflect the strength I showed on the outside. I had to fight to change the horrible title of “victim” as the world views us  into the title of “Survivor”. A title I proudly hold now and know that had it not been for my Mom, my faith and the tiny bit of strength I found….I would still be that victim.

Through all of it, no matter what my Mom was going through she validated my feelings. She reminded me in the lowest of moments that none of it was my fault. She held me when I’d cry my eyes out from a whole long list of bull shit. Even though she had a hard time with physical touch after her accident, she made that effort. I was lucky enough that one person believed me. The person who mattered the most. I’m forever thankful to her for that. For her love and guidance.

Please know, you’re not alone. You will Survive all that you are going through and you are loved. No matter what your circumstance is, there’s help out there. Reach out and seek it. Tell someone you trust. Don’t hold it in, please. Use that incredible voice that you have to share your story. It might be a weak voice at first, but it gets stronger and stronger. Your voice can and will help someone else to use theirs. Reach out and seek help through your local community even. Call a crisis center, lean on a friend, a teacher, a co worker, anybody you trust. You don’t have to do this alone. I encourage you to take the steps needed to regain your strength. <3

Brooklyn, thank you for using YOUR voice to help all of us. You may not have realized it, but you give hope and strength. Success comes in so many forms in this lifetime for all of us. As a writer your success grows and grows and we all become great big fans. Your success as a Survivor, gives hope, love, strength, support and most of all, a voice. You my friend are a ROCKSTAR! Thank you for giving me hope that I could finally share what happened to me. Only three people up until this point ever knew about this. Words are powerful. Whether they are written or said out loud. Words give us the chance to share.

If you’d like to connect with Brooklyn and find out more about her books, check out this link HERE.

To find help check out these lists

A letter of love to my younger self.....

This will be one of two posts that addresses some of the abuse from my past. Some I've shared, some I've never really talked about. I want to thank Brooklyn Taylor for being an amazing story teller and sharing the lives of Elise and Ford "Finding Me". It spoke volumes to me and oddly enough, helped me find a little bit of peace. Brooklyn you and I have talked a tiny bit about this, and I wish I could give you a ginormous hug of thanks and understanding. Finishing that book helped me to make the decision to share one particular moment in my life. You are very much appreciated and loved. Your friendship has meant a lot to me. Don't ever stop sharing and giving a voice for all Survivors out there. <3

Please go to this link HERE to find out how to connect with Brooklyn and purchase her books. Tell her hey and that I sent you!

- Shani

Dear Shannon Banana,

I love you. I wish that you had known that at age 13. If I had only known then what I know now…..

What you have gone through is not your fault. You didn’t ask for the fighting, hitting, emotionally damaging words. You didn’t ask to be violated over and over again. You didn’t decide one day to walk up to someone and ask them to rip out a part of your soul. I repeat, it is NOT your fault. Ever. You will Survive this, I promise you that. It’s ok to not be strong all the time. No matter what someone has told you, it’s ok to be weak sometimes.

I have two important things to share with you. First, my new definition of the word Survivor: I am a Survivor. With a big ol’ capital S. Why the big S? Because being a Survivor requires the acknowledgment of something stronger than just a name or description. It’s not who I am totally, but a big portion of my heart, soul and body. - Shani Kenny 2015

The second thing is this, it’s time for me to share. To give you the voice you didn’t think you had. It’s time for me to help you to heal. The reason I decide to do this was not an easy decision. I had been contemplating it for quite awhile but constantly erased the words I typed out with such care. It never mattered how far I got, I erased it. I recently won a book from an amazing author, Brooklyn Taylor. The book is called “Finding Me” and it follows the story of two young people who face hardships in life that alter their path in huge ways. I laughed, I cried, I felt anger, sadness, loss and love. I cried my eyes out until I couldn’t anymore. I cried for US, for Elise and Ford, for all of us who have become Survivors. It was a very powerful story for me. That night, the nightmares did come. Just not as severely. I dream of coming face to face with the man who abused us. Just like in previous versions, I told him he could no longer hurt us. It was different this time, and I think I know why. Because this time, it included the people who hurt me in this incident.

Remember, you’re going to come through this and so much more. You will find strength you never knew you had. You’ll accept that being weak is ok and you’ll learn to be ok with the love from others. I love you so much more now as an adult, than I did.

With all of my love and more,

Shani Banani - your adult self.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

We're all a little mad here.....

We’re all effed up. We all have extreme issues in one way or another. Some just even a small amount of things. But we’re all human. We all deal with shit in our own way. We all use different outlets to express our frustration, sadness and rage over it all. For people like me, posting random crazy BS to my FB wall, or ranting, help. I also delve into PSP regularly to work on many things at once. The reason for it is, it gives me some peace. It’s calming and soothing. I have OCD tendencies with my PTSD and it’s soothing. I’m a traditional ritualist. Things have to be done in a certain way. So for me, that’s one of the things that help. Writing helps, griping, bitching, t.v. binge watching, movies of course, music and books. All those things help.

The thing that gets me, is when people freaking bitch about how someone spends their time on social media. Look, I’m a FB junkie like most. I love reading up on what my friends are doing, posting random, shameless posts about my family and just crazy shit. Here’s what I think.. STOP FREAKING BITCHING! When I log into FB, I use MY email address I’ve had for 15 years, MY password. When I look at my page, it says, “Shani Kenny (Scrapping Yoda/Neenja Master)” at the top. I see the profile pic and cover that I CHOSE! I post wtf I want to. Anybody who knows me well, knows I post just about ANYTHING. FFS I even post about how smelly my family is! You know what? It’s MY choice.  Nobody else can tell me what I can and cannot post. I mean for real? Who made anyone the social media police? It’s MY page, so I’ll post WTF I WANT! Do I bitch about my health? Fack yeah I do! Why? Because I’m human. Because  it’s a release. It’s a point to put out there what I’m dealing with and sometimes get ideas of how to deal with it from friends. And what else? ZOMG….. HELP! SUPPORT! UNDERSTANDING! LOVE! All from my family and friends. It’s called SOCIAL MEDIA for a reason FFS. Dude, really? Who stood up next to some ridiculous asshole and deemed you the facking post police? You get paid for that shit? If you are, then that’s a waste.

I am BEYOND furious with stupidity of others right now. How dare anyone else say shit about someone else posting about their health? Yup, I realize it’s YOUR page…so I respect that, to a point. But if you’re going to post something like that, grow the fack up and be bold enough to post the name of who you’re talking about. FFS, is this middle school? Are we 12 again? I mean I know my inner child is stuck at 12 and I’m 38, but even I can see the stupidity in keeping it “quiet”. I’m not guiltless of this in the past. I’ve done it too…but I’ve faced a whole lot of BS and grown the fack up and faced my own stupidity face on and had to atone for said stupidity. So let’s be real shall we? If you can shout how it’s your page and you can say what you want and demand respect for that, do the same. Respect the fact that someone needs an outlet to pour out their own pain and frustrations. You may claim you know someone’s health history but that’s BS. You have no idea how hard it is on anyone and how they struggle. Last I checked, you’re still wearing your own shoes. So unless you’re prepared to remove your stinky, pathetic shoes and step into someone else’s, give it a rest.
I dare ANYONE to take a step into my raggedy ass high tops with the mismatched laces and take a few steps in my world. I guarantee you, it’s not an easy world to be in. For real. Just as much as I probably wouldn’t last in your shoes. I don’t want t hem.

I’m going to say this; I don’t stand for this kind of BS. We have our own ways of dealing with things. Respect it, or walk away. There is the really awesome miracle on all social media that allows you to un-follow or unfriend someone. ZOMG! FOR REAL THOUGH! You don’t like it, change it. Remove the persons account from yours. Instead of making passive aggressive comments just say it and get it over with. Especially if it’s someone you’re supposed to be “friends with” I mean when someone says shit, there will always be someone who screen shots it and sends it to someone else. FFS, I’ve seen that a lot in the PSP community. It’s how it is. It doesn’t make it right.  Honestly, it would be less hurtful if you were just up front about it. Don’t pretend to like someone when you’re just hanging around to gather shit to spew. Try a breath mint and duct tape your own raggedy shoes and be honest.
You demand respect for your social media rights, respect others. I’m ranting about this now, thanks to some BS I’ve seen off and on today. Oh and heard via phone and my lovely in-laws. Ranting about what my kids post or what I have. People who bitch about me bitching….people bitching about others. I’m just fed up with it all. Before someone points at me and tells me I’m doing the same thing, I’m saying it about my in-laws for one, and for two, it’s a ran about the whole universe doing it. The person who bitched me out, knows who they are and I don’t’ have to give a name. Because at least it was addressed.

I wish people had more compassion for each other. If we all stopped fighting and being arseholes, we could have a lot more peace. In the end, all we want is world peace. ;)

I leave you with this rant my friends and maybe a few things to reflect on. I know it’s got me thinking!

With love and cookies for all.....

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

When fears hit home.....

Over the last few days, my son has been sharing more with me about what’s going on with his friends, and his latest run in with the idiot kid who believes that anybody who wants to kill themselves should be left alone to do it. It sparked up some questions he had for me. I wasn’t expecting it when he asked me, “Ma, why do you feel so angry about that kind of stuff? You know…the people who do it?” He meant suicide and my strong/angry feelings toward the whole thing. Believe it or not it was a very hard thing for me to talk about. I had told him the usual when I’m faced with something that deep rooted to give myself a day or two or more to prepare… “I don’t want to talk about it today. Someday…soon…we’ll talk about it.” He sat up from his spot on the couch and looked at me and said, “Ma, you always say that. Please can you tell me?” How could I deny this kid? I couldn’t.

So I proceeded to tell him about how my mom had witnessed my grandfather (paternal) slash his wrists right in front of her. He had severe PTSD among other things from his time in WW2. It wasn’t easy for my mom to deal with, as it wouldn’t be for anyone. BTW, she got him help right away and he lived. There would be more attempts through the years. My mom had told me as an adult that it stayed with her forever. She still had nightmares from it. I then told him about how hard it was for her after her accident and that the severity of the trauma she went through caused some serious emotional and mental issues. I didn’t go into detail on that, because he knew about her accident and I didn’t want to make it worse. I told him that over the course of five years, she would attempt to take her life 3 times. One of the times, my brother was pulled out of school to come home as they loaded her up in the ambulance. Thankfully, she didn’t succeed in her attempts.

Things got better for quite a while, at least in the sense of her issues had settled down more. Part of that was the move we made to Oregon I think. I was 21 when I noticed more often the destructive path she was on. She went out with a friend who constantly wished to party. With the way I would later find out mom was feeling, she felt it was the only way to escape it all. I had just turned 21 so I was out there partying for a bit too. At first I was cool with it, at least I could make sure she was safe, you know? But then when I was done with the drinking, she still was going. There would be quite a few times where she wouldn’t come home at night or I’d have to pick her up from where ever. One night even as she sat on the side of the road. Yeah, so not ok. I found out about two months later that I was pregnant with Otelia. She was my first baby, and I was petrified. We didn’t see eye to eye over what she was doing. So I spent a lot of time away from the house. At one point I didn’t want her to come to the hospital when it was time. Which crushed me and her both. But at the time I questioned how much she truly wanted to be a part of our lives, you know? She slowed down the two months before I had Otelia. When I had her, the only person besides my husband I wanted in there was her. I was so thankful, and I am to this day. She told me once that Otelia saved her life. Talk about humbling! It was so much so. She stayed sober for about a year, choosing to go out but not drink. She spent so much time with Odie (Otelia’s nickname) and they were inseparable. The love they so obviously felt for each other even then was just amazing. I often talk about it to Odie. She doesn’t remember much but she loves to hear about her. By then I found out we had Christopher on the way. During that few months, she slipped up and pretty much fell off the wagon. Things were getting harder for overall. The constant pain she was in, the PTSD and depression as well as anxiety got worse and worse. She did what a lot of people suffering from such things did. She self-medicated via alcohol. Again, she sobered up. Christopher was born and he and Odie became her life. She stayed sober for a while too. She would go out a few times during that last year and slip up, but nothing like she had. Once again, one of my babies saved her life. We had her around longer than I ever expected. When Christopher was 15 months old, we lost her. I still fully believe that she knew that last year. The hospital visits for various things were coming through a lot. Still, the shock of it gets me to this day.

I told my son about all of this. And he sat and listened, interjecting a little. He said, “So Ma, I saved her life??” he asked me in shock. I was honest with him and told him yes, and I wish I could help him understand more what he meant to her. A different start, a way to change things. To make up from the wrongs she felt she had brought onto us. I could hear the emotion in his voice when I told him thank you for helping to keep her around for longer. We sat silently for a minute or two.

I told him about my cousin Greg and his death. Greg was only two or three years older than I. He had done good in his life, he was Assistant Fire Chief at his station. Something we were immensely proud of. He’d gone through some rough patches here and there. We talked a lot, especially after my mom passed. Hew as in D.C. for something work related but he called me and told me how sorry he was. How much he loved us and wished he was there. The thing about Greg was, he meant what he said. We talked a lot after that, often about our mom’s. He was one of the only two people whomever talked about her. I told him how Mae loved watching Emergency! With Dave all the time. She wanted to be a “fire fighter guy” when she got old enough lol. He would send messages via me to her; send her information on fire safety, training videos, etc. They had a unique bond, I’ll never forget. It shook me hard when I found out about his passing. I’ll never forget how I found out…disgustingly via Facebook. Yup… saw a family members post and called my aunt thinking they meant Greg Sr., his dad. I won’t go into detail about his death, but will just tell you this, we never saw it coming. He had been suffering from a deep depression that he hid from everyone around him. I think about him all the time,  you know? It’s the moments that you wish you could have saved him, how did we not know? Every situation is different, every person handles their demons differently. He saw a way out, no matter how selfish I see it. But he thought that it was the only way to deal with it. God I miss him…every single day of my life. There have been so many times where Mae seen a fire truck or ambulance and would tell me, “there goes Cousin Greg!” and I cried a lot over that. She understood better than us, even though she “knew” he wasn’t there physically, he was in spirit. He spent most of his young life saving everybody else around him. Sometimes I think we failed in saving him. Other times I feel like he failed us. I struggle with it a lot.

I told my son all of this, and he got a better understanding of it all. I then told him how proud we were of him for standing up against someone who made a comment about his friend’s sister. His friend turned to him in anguish about her sister self-harming and was suicidal. Christopher lost a friend to suicide and found out this summer. It crushed him…it was so hard to watch him go through that and not feel his pain. He voiced what we all do, how could I have made it different? How did he not see it? All I could do was hug him as he cried and help him through it. Fast forward to about two months ago at school when this friend told him all this. He offered up support and asked how could help. He talked to her about seeking help, and perhaps figuring out a way to help her. Someone sitting near them told them that if the girls sister wanted to kill herself, to just let her do it. My son, who is pretty chill and goofy, flipped out. When I tell you flipped out…he jumped out of his seat and starting screaming at the kid. “NO! you talk them out of it. You get them help, you do everything you can to help them through it. you don’t let them do it!” It got intense enough that a teacher aid had to step in and calm him down. I was shocked when I heard this. But I was so damned proud of him.  Last week another kid said something to Christopher along the lines of “go kill yourself”. He flipped again and told him in not so uncertain terms if he didn’t STFU he was going to go to the violence way. In better terms. Again, I told him how proud we were of him for standing up. Next time, maybe not so much violence lol.

Last night he told me that his friend had called her sister to check on her at lunch time. He though ti was her mom and yelled out “Hi Amy’s mom!” and she told him it was his sister. He insisted on talking to her and said one of his favorite lines from TMNT movie. “yo, we’ll find you.” And then says, “By the way, this is batman.” She laughs hysterically and says in good humor, “I’ll see you in hell.” Again another movie quote lol. They laughed so hard. Today, during her daily call to her sister, she wanted to talk to Christopher. She told him thank you for talking to her and cheering her up yesterday. I told him that it should make him feel so awesome to know that he could make something positive out of her day. Sometimes it takes just something so simple to help. I told him how I felt about that and said, “We’re so proud of you and to know that you go out of your way to help, makes me feel like we’ve done something right by you guys.” He looks at me and says, “Ma, you always do good by us.” Oh man…talk about CRY! I cried my heart out. There could be nothing better said than at that moment. My boy made some of my pain go away. He repaired the crack in my heart. Even if it was just a small one. Suddenly, I felt some peace and forgiveness come into my heart for those I lost to this kind of thing. I told him that and it humbled him as well. I hugged him and told him thank you for everything.

It’s true you know…this kid…so smart at 14, healed my heart. I truly feel humbled and honored to have him as my son. Even when he’s driving me bonkers, making me mad, and being an ass. He has so many positive sides to him and so many amazing things. He deserves all the happiness in the world. Someday, he’ll see all of that. We have a really good relationship, and our bond has gotten stronger over the last year. We have this crazy side of us though. We’re both music freaks and drill each other on who sings what songs. We say movie quotes constantly lol. He brings out the kid in me. Especially as he’s running through a store yelling, “Larry!, Where are you Larry?!” for fans of Impractical Jokers show, you know what I’m saying. Even more so when he grabs this stuffed dog almost as big as he is and says, “I found Larry!” OMG…my husband acted like he didn’t know us lol. We play off of each other and our sense of humor is similar.  We talk a lot, and no matter what happen in life, he’ll always know how much we love him and his sisters. I couldn’t ask for more.
In closing, I encourage you to do what he has done. Reach out to love ones and friends, bring some sunshine to their lives. If they’re in any situation that is traumatic, hard or suffer in so many ways and look for a way out, help them. Give them the hope that it will get better, have faith in them and if needed, search out help. Nobody should feel like the way to make the demons lose is taking their life. You could just end up saving a life. Let this inspire you to do well and reach out. My hope is that all of this wordy moments, brings you some peace and sunshine as well.

With all my love and then some,

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Giving into the emotions.....

……is sometimes all that’s needed. As most everyone knows, I’ve had a really messed up few weeks. Between my constant tummy issues, lack of sleep, stress and over all frustration and anger (towards all of the things mentioned before), I’ve just had a bad attitude. You know? For three days now, I’ve felt way better. Just out of the blue! Thank heavens for a reprieve. I’m more than sure that it won’t last as long as I hope it will. Thankfully, I see my doctor next week and then a specialist in two weeks. It WILL get better. I have faith in that.
But my reason for posting today, I’ve had a few days of reflection also. Through some awesome talks with my “Twin” Shannon, it’s triggered some of the memories and dreams I’ve had of my mom. BTW, I call Shannon my Twin, because we’re so much alike, it’s scary. My given name is actually Shannon. Even though I go by Shani. The scary part? Shannon’s boyfriends name is Chris! My husband’s name is Chris and so is my sons.  I love her to pieces and adore her. Our friendship hasn’t always been at it’s best, hell nobodies is perfect. But in all the years I’ve known her, I’ve grown to love her like a sister. Someone who is so selfless in so many ways it’s amazing. There moments where she has listened as I rambled on and on…she gets things that most don’t. We understand so much and she often tells me It’s a “Shannon” thing lol.

But like usual, I digress. Oh please like you didn’t realize I’m totally random and ADD and run off on other things and getting away from my point? LOL…but there I go…randomness hits!

Today is her mother’s birthday. She passed away a few years ago. She was very close to her mom, like I was to my mom. I get the feelings she’s having and the heartache. She’s had a rough year over all. I won’t post her business here, that’s private. But I’ll tell you this, she’s a TRUE Survivor. Remember what I’ve said from the get go about that word? I am a Survivor. “With a big ol’ capital S. Why the big S? Because being a Survivor requires the acknowledgment of something stronger than just a name or description. It’s not who I am totally, but a big portion of my heart, soul and body.” It rings true for her as well as so many other Survivors. It’s a role we may not have wanted, but it’s there. We’re Survivors and we’re going to make it through.

As I’ve been thinking of my Twin, it’s made me reflect on my own mom. You could say it was a “trigger”. Any Survivor or Survivor of PTSD understands what that is. It’s one thing that can set you off on to a different path of flash backs, memories or terror. PTSD is one of the hardest thing for Survivors to live with. So yes, her talks triggered that for me. Ironically, not in a bad way. In a good way. I’ve been plagued with nightmares for weeks since I’ve been dealing with this BS with my health. But Shannon’s chat with me triggered GOOD dreams.

I had a dream this last few days where we had this HUGE celebration. I’m talking concert worthy celebration. It was so weird!!!!! She was there, I was, so many of us Survivors. We got to get up and talk about our loved ones or our experiences in life. In the dream I stood on a stage with a microphone and said, “Never was my mom perfect, but she was my mom. She was everything to us. The one lesson she forgot to teach us how to live with out her. But in reality, she did. Losing her, we were forced into that lesson.” By the way, part of what I said was exactly what I said at her memorial. My mom wanted to always be celebrated, never a funeral. Hence the memorial and “party” after. But this was so weird, this dream. So raw and just… odd to me. But it made me think  A LOT about my mom. Suddenly memories started flooding back in. GOOD memories at that!! Mostly, some bad. But I’ve been able to open up with my kids as I’ve remembered stuff. Remembering is huge for me, because of the PTSD but also because of the fibromyalgia. Remembering my name some days is just hard lol. But these memories, they pushed the anger and sadness out of my head and heart some. Memories that I can look back at and smile and laugh. In this dream, we all got to celebrate our loved ones. We told stories about them to this huge crowd. I’ve always, always been open about my family and am notorious amongst my friends for my posts about my family on Facebook. Sometimes yeah, I’m an over share kind of person lol. But this dream….I really, really got to get a message out. Like I was yelling to her in heaven, telling her I get it now. I love her, and it’s really going to be ok. For me, with the way I’ve been for the last two weeks, so negative and just angry, it was a smack in the face. A smack I needed. I needed to look at things differently. For the last four days, I’ve felt so much better. I miss my mom every single day of my life. I still cry, get angry, get happy, etc. Some days or moments are worse than others. When you think you’re ok, it hits you hard. Whether or not it’s a good trigger or bad one.

It’s made me think a lot about Shannon, and her own grieving. I don’t care who you are, you will always have some type of grieving pop up when you lose someone you love and especially when you were close to them. It’s been 13 years since I lost my own mom and this year, it was super hard on me. I felt like a shell of myself, crying, getting angry, fighting for understanding and just plain sadness. I think part of it is how effed up my health is. A reminder that she went through so very  much at my age. It’s hard to reflect on the bad stuff. You know?

In that, I want to make a point of saying that it never matters how long it’s been. I know my Twin is hurting, and I wish I could magically across the country and knock on her front door and just hug her. Hug her until some of that grief settles away. Take my babies and my Chris and just harass the hell out of her. Make her laugh, smile, have a shoulder to lean on. For both her and her Chris. To have us together as a family and help her through this. It’s hard on someone who has gone through as much as she has this past year. It’s hard when all is failing and you want that person right in front of you and you can’t have them. From her stories about her mom, I understand how special she really was to my Twin. She’s one of the lucky ones you know. Having a mom who truly loved her unconditionally and was there. Not a lot of people can say that. She was/is very close to her mom, just like I was with mine. It’s not something you can turn on and off. The grief and mourning will come back. It never truly goes away. And for her, that’s part of the reason it’s hitting her so much. She’s so strong even though in this moment, she doesn’t feel like it.

My Twin – Shannon, I want to tell you this….YOU my wonderful, beautiful, amazing, crazy, hilarious,  smart, selfless friend, are just amazing. You ARE a Survivor in every sense of the word. You have the ability to just share your love for your friends and family. The walls are  there, just like with all of us. But the ones  you’ve let over that wall, you love them beyond what anyone ever expected. I know this is so hard on you right now and I would take it all away in a heartbeat if I could. I’d make it better for you, and give you peace. It pains me not to be able to do that. You and I both know, it WILL get better. But don’t beat yourself up for feeling this pain. You’re allowed you know, to just sit back and have an off day. To just let it all out and not push it down and out and fighting you. I know you my love, we’re so much alike. Right my Twin? Let yourself go…allow your emotions to flow out and even through it, you’ll find a little peace. I know for a fact your mom is so proud of you.  You’ve come so far in the many, many years I’ve known you. I’m so proud of you and the strides you’ve taken and have a better life than you did just a few years ago. You found such an amazing Chris to be there and to love and knowing he loves you just as much. How many people can say that? I think he’s so wonderful and just the best.

My friend, I love you more than I can ever put into words. You know I’m serious when I tell you that I love you, and in so many ways, you ARE my sister. I always wanted a sister you know. Brothers just aren’t the same! ;) you are so strong, you are a Survivor. Rejoice in her love, and the love you have for those close to you. You deserve all the happiness in the world.

In closing, to all of you…no matter what you’re going through, you’re not alone. Reach out, put your hand out there and tell someone you trust and love that you just need a hug, a moment to talk,  whatever it is. Share what you’re feeling, and it WILL bring you some peace. I can guarantee you will. Celebrate the love you have for your loved ones who are gone. Celebrate the memories of good and the love shared. No matter how long it’s been, you’re still going to grieve. Allow yourself to do that. If you don’t, you hurt yourself and those who love you. Do it for your loved one. Allow every emotion to come through that connection then rejoice and celebrate.  Sometimes I think, “What would my mom do?” and I reflect on that. Do as she always told me, celebrate her life.

Celebrate and rejoice my friends in all the love you have and the ones gone. Because no matter what happens, you deserve to pull out and bring out all the emotions you’re feeling. Grieving pops up out of nowhere. Embrace it, and find some peace.

I’m so thankful for all of my family, friends and supporters. I hope that through my ramblings and craziness, this brings a smile to someone’s face. A moment of peace.

With all my love, hugs and maybe a cookie…..

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

There will be no miracles.....

..... this Christmas Virgina. I know that's some off way of quoting a movie, but I don't care. Never could say I explain things right! LOL For the first time in 15 years, my kids won't get Christmas like they should. YES, they've received wonderful gifts from friends already. YES, they'll get stuff from my in laws and Great Grandma. But in the process from the in laws, there will be stipulations and put downs. It's done in such a way that for a long time the kids didn't realize it. Now they're older, they know. They know that now since my husbands sister and family are back at there house (from back east, Army) they won't see them as much. I'm ok with it, but it hurts them in the long run. It really does. It makes me so angry and hurt. I can't help it. I can't help that I can't get used to it. I can't be ok with it, you know?

I missed the sign ups for the Christmas program for low income families. I had strep for two damned weeks along with this stomach BS. It totally went out of my head along with everything else. I'm mad at myself, and it hurts me for them. Mae would have been the only one who got anything probably because of her age. But still, it sucks to sit here and know for the first time in their lives, I've got nothing to give them. With Chris work hours going from one extreme to another, we're playing catch up on bills as fast as we can. That leaves nothing left over. Of course, my crazy husband hoards his reward points he wins or gets from doing reviews from the store he works at and uses that to get things as he can when he has enough. But it's not the same.

They may not believe in Santa anymore, but they still love Christmas. yes, it really is about being together, doing fun things as a family, being silly and happy. Those are the best presents we can have. But for me, a kid that suffered through so much bullshit as a kid, it's difficult to choke down. I stopped believing in Santa by the time I was 5. Why? Because I was smart enough to know that no matter how good I had been, Santa didn't come to my house like he did to my friends;. I knew that Mike's (Mom's long term BF at the time) family bought for us, and treated us ok. But it wasn't the same. We were never with my own family during the holidays. Well let me re-phrase that...I can count on one hand how many times in 16 years we were around family during that time. I'd say just about 3. Even then, they all chose to walk away from us. Am I bitter? I'd be lying if I said I wasn't. There is that part of me that still hurts for the 5 year old who stopped believing in just about everything that kids should believe in. Jaded at 5. How sad is that?

So you see, it hurts. I can't give them things like other parents do. They never complain about it, they never want shit all their friends have, and they are always happy with what they get, no matter what. But it doesn't stop us from feeling the pain. The pain that makes you feel like a failure in every possible way. This year has been so fracking hard on all of us. The last three months have been the worst I think. I find myself not posting to FB with silly stories of my family. I'm retreating back with in myself like I used to and closing off the ones who care about us most. It's easier that way. you find out that it hurts less and the more you keep it away from everyone, the less they have to endure and bitch about. I want to give my kids the world. How many parents do? A lot of us, and some not so much. 

Have I mentioned how I don't really like to take charity? Yup... I really do. I grew up in a household where you didn't take charity. If you did, you were a failure, an incompetent asshole and disgusting. I lived in a nice house, good neighborhood, yeah, but lived worse than we do now. SMH...I'm getting away from my points here. It kills my gut to have to suck it up and get help. It burns a hole in my soul..... all because of those few times during my childhood that I did accept the help. All because of one asshole who thought it was ok to bring on the pain whenever he could. I can't blame him totally though, for a lot of reasons. I've yet to learn to forgive him and what happened. I honestly don't know if I ever will be. It's what fuels my anger at moments like this. It's the honest truth.

I hate that we have to wait until tax time to make it up to them. To buy the things we want for them to have, new clothes, new goodies, etc. It hurts as a reminder of how effed up things were. Usually, I'm pretty ok during the holidays about everything. I really am....but this year...man...everything has me doing the bah hum bug quote. It just REALLY hurts. I'm not used to feeling like I failed my family so much, you know? 

No, I didn't post this for sympathy, for charity, for hand outs, for criticism or anything out. I'm posting because I'm trying to do what my mom always taught me. Writing it out, and getting it off my chest. I used to write a lot as a kid and teenager. I still do and figure here's a way where maybe, my stories might help anyone at all. Even if it's the bad shit. Maybe a time to later on look back and revisit how I was feeling. A reminder that it will get better. Right now, I just don't have the patience for it.

Sometimes, being a parent hurts a lot more than it should. Even though my kids are awesome about all of this and rarely pout about it...yup..rarely....it still hurts. I haven't broken that cycle it feels like. I've let them down and I don't know how to make it up to anybody in my family. I really don't. I can't work outside the home. The at home jobs, pfffttt. You realize how long it's been since I've done customer service work? Nearly ten years! I used to love it, and I don't mind it so much now. But I can't do it. My health is all tuckered up and I'm sitting here in the quiet, crying to myself as I type and having a pity part for one. It won't last long, I'll suck it up and distract myself. But for this one moment, I need to just get it all out. My heart aches for them and so much more. Knowing that my world is crumbling around me scares me worse than my health. It's hard to shut everything off and push forward some days. It really does.

I know in my heart of hearts, I'm not failing them as much as I think I am. But I could be doing so much better. I'll get there. I will....it's just a matter of which path to take.I have no real desire to do scrapping stuff and running huge sales, or getting organized to help bring some money in. I've totally slacked off and let so many people down. 

So yup..pity party for one up in here! I'm shutting the pity party and train down at noon, so I better get it on out while I can. 

In closing, I'm hurting. But I know it will get better. I just wish that I had done more or been able to do more for them this year. They're my whole life and my reason for breathing every day. I want to give them the world and more....and I can't. I really don't care for Christmas this year. But I'm keeping that away from my babies. Next year, maybe, just maybe, I'll have things put back together and have some plan to do better by them.

Even if I am all like Scrooge and Bah Hum Bug, I WILL be thankful and I AM for my family and friends. I'll rejoice in their love no matter what. My hope is that we'll all find peace this year and make it better. I know for sure that come tax time, we'll be able to spoil the hell out of them and then some. Just sucks it's AFTER the holiday. BLAH.... damned government! LOL jk....

Many happy wishes, thanks for reading my story, and may you all continue to be blessed.