Lack of Womanhood…

The Change in Status

A few years ago, after years of pain and reproductive health issues, I had a full hysterectomy. While it was the best thing to happen to my body, since the pain has diminished significantly and I avoided the possible malignancy of a tumor on my right ovary, I still feel great loss. I no longer have that reproductive connection to what we call the Divine Feminine. I have two wonderful boys, though I also wanted a girl. That will never happen now. The possibility of a daughter is my loss. I love my sons deeply, but never thought the choice of having a daughter would be taken from me by the organs that I depended on to give her to me.

Additionally, the loss of reproductive organs also means the loss of hormones. When I had the ups and downs of my cycling, my husband would duck for cover not knowing when my premenstral dysphoria would kick into high gear and lead to a reenactment of a feminine death metal band all in a single woman. Yet, the most extreme loss was connected to my Gaia loving, hippy pagan connection to Mother Earth. When my doctor took my uterus and ovaries, I didn’t know I would wake up with a huge void of emptiness. This void encompassed my faith, my sexuality, and my sex drive. The trifecta gone forever to be replaced with a physically pain-free life. I find it difficult to make the connections to call down deity, since I’m frequently met with silence and a candle extinguishing itself.

What I want to know is why I fell “less than” even though I have what other mothers have, beautiful children? How can an organ that failed you for 20 years and negatively impacted your interactions with others, end up making you feel so empty once it is gone? Tonight has been an evening of no longer feeling attractive sexually. To no longer encompassing what that spark is that makes me a woman. To placing all my corsets, stockings, and sexy underwear in a garbage bag and stuffed in the back of my closet, until I am brave enough to trap them or wear hem again. To being deemed as uninterested, even though a lack of hormones means you lack a vigorous sex drive, physical readiness for sex, and makes everything so fragile and sensitive.

I face each day wondering if someone will perceive me the wrong way, because I lack a filter. Wondering if there is a use for me in society, or if I will be another Aunt Martha ushering in young girls on the eve of their childbearing years. How can I warn them that the organ that society views as needing legal representation could one day decide it no longer wants to function properly, and puts you at risk for cancer, lupus, fibromayalgia, tumors, migraines, and a permanent change in your brain composition? This little organ that can create and bring forth life is also the bringer of death upon so many women. This organ that failed me, attempted to ruin my marriage, and denied me the chance of a little girl is my bringer of pain, loss, and death. Now I need to figure out how to heal from its impact to once again connect to the divine feminine and become something more than the angry woman behind the heartbroken words.

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Marital Woes…Time and Energy

brown-bulova-wall-clocks-c4821-64_1000Time is a strange thing. It can pass quickly, move slowly, and escape you as you move through life oblivious of your impact on the world around you. To be unaware of the effects of time on a marriage is fatal. One of my personal pet peeves is time. I hate wasting it; I hate losing it; and I hate when others around me fail to understand the impacts it has on me.

For instance, giving away the time you do not have wears you down. It puts you in the position of failing to care for the things you already have an obligation to. Sometimes work obligations can interfere, and that is a difficult pill to swallow but must be done. I had to learn to swallow that red pill; it was part of my growing up. Yet, now I find that not only am I having to deal with my own and my spouse’s work obligations that go beyond our normal work week, but I am now dealing with his gift of time to others.

Gifting your time to others is a beautiful thing, as long as you have the time to give. When it is given away or promised to others, but impacts the only time you have with family, then it no longer is a gift you can give without a price paid by your family. In Freemasonry, we were taught to use the measure to balance our lives. You use the golden mean to create that balance. So, it isn’t an equal split. Instead, you divide the measure by 3-5-7 parts. So, if that represents the 15 hours in the day that you have (because the other 9 are the times you need to rest), then 3 is for the self, 7 is for work, and 5 is for family and obligations to keep your relationships healthy.

Now, I know my work day is not seven hours. I’m a teacher and I am there from 8:00am until 4:00pm or so. That is eight hours. I also teach two nights a week from 5:30pm to 8:15pm. I definitely cut into the time I have for my self and for family. My husband takes one of our boys to karate and goes shopping for groceries at that time. He works overtime on extra projects with his clients, which cuts into his time. As our boys get older they are getting better at being independent, but our autistic son sometimes needs an extra nudge at night to get things done. We just don’t have the time we need to nurture our marriage in the week. We are overworked.

So the weekends are very important for us to nurture our marriage. We attend a spiritual group every two Saturdays, which is healthy to build bonds between us. Yet, the desire he has to give away his time, because it makes him feel needed and helpful, to others is becoming damaging. If I express a need to have him take time to work on something, I am faced with aggravation and resistance. If others express a need to have him work on something, they are faced with eagerness. There is something broken.

To add to this, if I feel anything about the situation that is not blissful happiness, I am being inconvenient and blindsiding him with my emotions. I am, I guess, “Too Much?” What I desire is a husband that communicates with me before promising his time and talents to others. I am constantly put in a position of being the harpy that prevents him from helping others. I’m not approached with the thought that he would like to help someone out before he obligates himself to help them out. If I tell him after he had made plans that I wanted to do something else, I am faced with two options: 1. give up on my plans or do them on my own without him, or 2. if he changes his plans to help me out then there will be a negative payment later on. Basically, I give him up if I want us not to fight.

Therefore, everyone else has first dibs on my husband’s time. It isn’t everyone else’s fault, because they have no idea that he does this. He like to play a good game of being the helper, the man who has talents he can provide, the man with all the time in the world with a wife who is gracious enough to give up her husband. I really am not that wife. I am the wife who is not given a choice. I am the wife who is placed between a rock and a hard place, who is given the option to not have productive time with her husband, but instead is gifted with arguments if she protests or asks to have a a brief notch of time in his schedule of giving his time away. In fact, I will be the wife that pays the price for expressing my thoughts in this blog, though I have refrained from asking him to come home. I have no options that will result in positive solutions.

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Christmas Disaster 2018…

So, Christmas vacation started on Friday morning on my way to work….

how headlights work

It was dark and rainy. The cars coming at me through Fort Mill had their lights on bright, and they were directly in my eyes. I attempted to avoid the pothole, but failed. It was more than a pothole; it was a sink hole in the road. My tires on the right side hit it. It sounded like my whole car hit it. Yet, things seemed fine as I approached the light and turned left.

38929448-burst-tire-carThe sound was my warning. My car did not make that sound. If you could imagine a piece of strong sticky tape on your tires catching the road as they turned — that was the sound my car made. I became concerned, turned down the audiobook playing in my car, and began listening to the tires. As I drove they became louder. Then the wobbling began. It felt like the car was driving over the pleats in an accordion. I slowed down and pulled into the middle lane to check things out. The rear tire was flat, and I just figured that was yet another issue with the rear right tire that I had battled for the last couple months. Then I looked forward at the right front tire — flat!

I went back to my driver’s seat, took a breath, and called my principal to inform him of the issue. He asked me if I had lesson plans ready. Um…I didn’t plan for this; but he did ask me if I was okay and safe. I just told him I was mad. I texted my team and my fellow English teachers to let them know of the situation. I called my husband to let him know. He was dropping the kids off at school and would be on his way to me immediately. As usual, I had my laptop and was able to find the print outs I needed and emailed them to my fellow teachers. They were amazing and made copied for me. My team changed the schedule to accommodate the issue, and my principal got one of the substitutes to cover for me until I got there.

Audi-A3-Sedan-1_4-TFSI-2016-blue-(1)I called Audi once I got my lesson plans sent and was able to take a breathe. Turns out Rock Hill roads do not show up on their roadside service. Yay! It was all I could do not to scream at the girl on the phone. One my husband arrived, he stayed with my car while I took his truck. The day progressed with finding out not only were both tires destroyed but that the rims were also damaged. To repair the rims for straightening them out was $650, but it was not a foolproof fix. To replace the rims would be $750-ish each. I just wanted to crumple up and cry. Then I was told that the sales team at Audi could get me into another lease. Let’s just say they did get me into another lease, though I have to now pay more (which I expected).

54adc12fdcf66b08b4e9e632cb372dcbclothes-dryer

 

The great thing is that I feel safer and love the new SUV. I also made sure to get the coverage that would replace the tires and rims for incidents like the one I experienced. Therefore, there will be no more issues with tire because I have protection on them.

 

You would think things would be better. I was a sloth throughout the next couple days and procrastinated washing my clothes. I decided that Christmas Eve was the best day to wash my clothes. On this I discovered that my clothes were not drying at all. The husband checked on this and discovered that the dryer element was dead. So my clothes were drying slowly and were very cold. I friend came over to spend Christmas with us, so things had to get better. Boy was I wrong!

ccfe434aab2c4b6ae8ce6d05476f0bf3We opened presents on Christmas Eve. One of our boys wanted to go ahead and get his new computer parts installed and upgraded. He was so excited. So, the new fan did not fit and upon putting in the new processor the computer did not turn back on. Joe investigated the system and discovered that one of the memory chips was bad. Then we discovered later that the video card was damaged (possibly), which then led to the motherboard being fried by the time we investigated the issue by Dec. 26.

mb_joker4December 26 arrived and I was so certain things were settling down. I was so excited about almost finishing my shawl — Joker and the Thief in autumn colors. Well, I looked down at the shawl, after working on it off and on for months, to notice that there was a hole at the start of the shawl. I thought a stitch had been dropped and was trying to plan on a way to fix the stitch. That led to the discovery that the stitch was not just dropped, but the drop was due to the yarn having broken. In order to break the yarn, you have to pull really hard with a fast tight yank. Nothing in the pattern involved a fast tight yank from a hard pull. I broke down and cried and just screamed at my yarn. Joe hugged me and we planned on a bonfire to burn the yarn, shawl, and pattern to burn off the energy connected to the magic impacted by everything breaking.

bushes_wrapped_lights_0420My mom and stepdad came over and spent time with us for Christmas. It was nice, though I wanted to do more for both of them. Her earring  began falling out at the house. She caught it the first time, but upon them leaving she apparently lost one of her earrings. Luckily we found it on our sidewalk. Yet when we were saying goodbye to them I looked over and discovered that the lights on the huge bush at the corner of our house were not on. One strand died. The lights are brand new.

We are now in the process of trying to fix all the issues…..

christmas-lights-2x1-fullres-0011-1024x512  DREAMZTIPS.10.zoom.1 redhairdye-58d05bc53df78c3c4f902864

A video card, motherboard, and computer case is now on the way. Joe bought RAM today at Best Buy. The plan is to rebuild a complete computer for our son. I will not try to make Joe’s chef knives until this  period of breakage is over. The parts for the dryer is on the way. I have burned the knitted shawl, with plans to buy replacement yarn. I also need a new set of needles, since one of the needles in my set broke. We plan on looking at the light strand and finding the broken section. I’m still a little concerned about getting my hair done and want to be sure I still have hair after my appointment.

The one thing I have realized in this experience is that if someone you confide in tells you the it is just bad luck, disregards your concerns on an issue, and invalidates the details surrounding you as unrelated to a larger matter — do not second guess your instinct. I did just that. I second-guessed what I knew to be true. Actually, I didn’t really second-guess, but I know I did not voice my concerns loud enough to be heard.

 

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Therapy to avoid the Rabbit Hole

It has been a long while since I blogged. I had to place my blog on the back burner while I finished grad school. This past May, I graduated with my doctorate, which was both an achievement and a relief. Now I can focus back on my life, my family, teaching, and returning to blogging.

co-founder-1So one new thing that has happened while I was on hiatus is that my Autistic son started a new therapy. We had been trying to find a therapist who could work with him since he plateaued in his ABA therapy and they refused to continue services due to his violent reactions. He was deemed a threat. Yay, the teenage years. His new therapy focuses on talk therapy for Autistic teens who also suffer from depression. This seems to be effective for him right now. We are seeing slow progress, but we are seeing progress. I am finally hopeful. His focus is to work on his interactions within society, online, and with family. He also is working on hygiene, since part of his negative interactions with myself and his dad focus on a denial of bodily functions and then lying about his bodily state to us.

He has truly negative perceptions about women’s roles in society. He is a misogynist, which baffles us since neither my husband nor I teach the boys to act in this way, nor do we model this behavior in the home. In fact, we converse as equals in the home, my husband cooks and does a majority of the cleaning, and I study, read, and work on teaching and lesson plans. He also sees that my female friends are strong women, who have feminist viewpoints, and that I am similar in my viewpoints. We wonder if he gets it from friends or a faulty perception from his female teachers at school, but I have not seen this directly from them. We are very baffled by his development.

puzzle-piecesSo, developmentally he shows difficulty in his perceptions of women, continues to struggle with self-care of his bodily functions, and falls back on denials and lies as the best option to deal with his difficulties. He is working on communicating his needs, working on thinking about his impacts on others, and working on recognizing when he needs to attend to his physical bodily functions. We have added a fiber-enriched chocolate treat into his diet to help with defecation difficulties. Apparently it was painful for him after he decided holding in his feces was the best option to avoid painful bowel movements. That resulted in his inability to recognize or control defecation. We are working through this issue slowly. There are good days and bad days. I’m pondering a natural cleanse for him to use to help reset his bodily functions. He just needs to be willing to go through this.

His interactions with me are like walking on egg shells. There are days when he is kind and loving and there are days when he is absolutely disrespectful and rude. Today seems to be a good day. The days that are bad typically result in his unwillingness to trust that I have his best interest at heart. He assumes that I will embarrass him and thinks that I do not care for him. He believes that being honest with him and holding him accountable for his actions is being mean to him. What is interesting is that his dad could do and say the same thing as me, but have drastically different results.

61JBkyc1agL._SX425_There is a disrespect present from him towards me that is unexplained and difficult to understand. He says I am stricter than his dad is. He says he wishes I could be fun like other kids’ moms are, wishes I could joke around like they do. The sad part? – When I have joked around in the past with him, he takes it as insulting, embarrassing, and me picking on him. It results in him being angry at me. So, I am careful with him. I do not tease him. I try not to hurt his feelings. I try to be sensitive to his needs. I am direct with him and do not communicate with him in confusing ways. I am the careful, sensitive mom — not the “fun” mom. I am the mom of an autistic son with trigger points when you least expect them.

 

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I think I am mourning the husband I thought I had years ago. I just keep getting the return of a man who makes promises to treat me with kindness only to be talked to with sarcasm and venom. Then when I stand up for myself and what I deserve, he is sad for the rest of the night. I haven’t been perfect, but I’m aware of why I fight back and am refusing to feel bad about it.

The times I did feel bad about getting angry would spiral into pure rage at myself and the situation. That never made things better and only made it hurt worse. Now? I’m just numb. I know when I am not being responded to with kindness. I’m so aware of my anger, owning it, living it, and refusing to feel bad about it. That’s what my mom did, she would bottle up her anger because it wasn’t how she was supposed to react.

Me? I refuse to react like her. I’m a fierce woman with a sensitive heart. I need kindness and respect. Not to have that feels like knives cutting me to pieces. I need that to stop.

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Down the Rabbit Hole again…

Monday night our son had another fit of rage at bedtime. Due to soiling himself, his psychiatrist decided to try weaning him of the Depakote since it could be causing the soiling issues. Downside is that the Depakote was his mood stabilizer. Over the past two weeks he has been weaning off the medicine from 700 mg to 250 mg. We have seen the bonus of fewer soiling accidents, but the negative is that his anger and rage became uncontrollable at night during his bedtime routine. Most things that cause him transitioning tend to upset him, but the past few nights have been extreme. Monday night was our breaking point.

We had gone to Asheville for the day, and he begged me to teach him how to weave. I agreed and let him pick out two cones for his warp and weft. he ended up picking out the same hand dyed purple and gold cones I had, but in chenille. The child likes soft things. We ended up having a very good day. Then we got home. His younger brother decided he did not want to bunk with him, so that began the downward spiral. As usual, we stressed the fact that he couldn’t force his brother to bunk with him when he was being rude and aggressive. To our autistic son, we were being unreasonable.

He began lashing out at something in his room. I called up to ask him what he was hitting, since I needed to make sure the computer was safe and secure. He yelled, “I’m not telling you!” I asked again with the same response from him. Then I warned him that if he didn’t tell me, I would take his computer away. Again, the same response. So I did what I said I would do, I marched up the stairs (hoping he would fold and tell me what he was hitting as he heard my approach) and took the computer. We tend to always take it to safeguard it when he is raging. Tonight was different since he had progressively been getting worse. I told him he would need to earn it back. I also rescued the monitor and his LEGO Kylo Ren ship we had built together. I knew he would regret it later if he broke his new ship.

The removal of items from his room resulted in his anger progressing to violence. His father tried to hold him back while I talked with him, but our son punched him in the arm and kicked me in the chest fairly hard. we knew we were at another breaking point and were determined we needed to get help from his doctors again. we did exactly what the therapists told us we needed to do and left him in his room and refused to engage with him any further. The goal was to prevent from allowing him to harm us or his brother. We secured the lock on our younger child’s door so he would be protected from the violent outburst. (He has a key lock on his door so his brother can’t get in but those of us with keys could.)

My husband and I talked over the options we had. We discussed the possibility of having him hospitalized for a short period of time like he was at the beginning of the school year. We decided we would be okay with that if needed. We also decided what it was we needed from our son’s doctors. The first thing we needed was a way to decrease the outbursts. The second thing we needed was a way to tamp down the rage when it occurred, or to prevent it from occurring. So the next morning we called his doctors.

Lovely thing about his doctor’s is that there was an emergency unit we could take him to for help. Once we got him there they took him to the back and went through the process of asking us questions, him questions, and then discussing the options with us. Due to his lack of using the strategies from his previous hospitalization, the psychiatrist stated he believed it would not benefit our son to have another stay in the unit. Instead, we discussed adjusting his medications for the next two weeks and meeting for another appointment to further discuss the options. we asked about what the next options would be if the change did not result in positive results (because it is a continued decrease in the mood stabilizer and an increase in two other meds he is already taking). The next stage is Lithium and another drug in the same class (can’t recall the name). While this sounds scary and extreme, his doctors are in agreement that the present goal is to keep the family safe, especially his younger brother.

Over the past year we have seen our child progress to preteen inabilities to manage his rage. He’s threatened his school and teachers, become more violent with us, and continues to bully and rage at whomever he sees as the weakest person in the family. Sometimes that is his brother and other times it is me. He’s broken furniture in his room, kicked holes in his walls, and destroyed beloved items during his rages. He’s become abusive, which we are having a difficult time dealing with. As parents, we are stuck between a rock and a hard place knowing he’s autistic and wanting him to get the help he needs, but not having the insurance coverage for Applied Behavioral Therapy for autism and needing to remain safe. This year has become more difficult and frustrating, but our rabbit hole is narrowing and hopefully the right treatment is near.

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The Force Awakens – and I cry

Blame Facebook and Jimmy Fallon! My friend posted a video on Facebook today that showed the cast of Star Wars: the Force Awakens singing an a capella of the opening theme song of the movies.  As I watched the song being sung, which I adore and laughed at, I began crying. I sat there wondering why I was crying. Was it a release of stress after a long week (that isn’t yet over) of teaching middle school kids right before Christmas break? Was it just a frustrating day? Or was there something more to it. As I pondered the possibilities, I realized that I have only shared Star Wars with the most important men in my life, and now I was about to share it with my two boys.

May 25, 1979 I was two weeks away from turning four years old. I remember my mom taking me to a homebound student’s house, like she normally did during the week. This day was different, which is probably why the early memory stuck so clearly in my mind. My dad came to pick me up. I remember my mom being concerned about the decision he made and her saying to not scare me. What he did was far from scaring me; he took me to Star Wars: A New Hope. In the theater a man with a huge head sat down right in front of me, so my daddy put me in his lap so I could see. When the movie started and I saw Princess Leia with R2D2, I became a loyal fan forever. I went from adoring Dorothy and Toto skipping down the Yellow Brick Road to worshiping the image of a beautiful princess with a gun defending her people. As I grew up, my daddy took me to every Star Wars movie, telling me how the plan was to be a total of nine movies together. Once Episode 8 ended and no other movies emerged during my childhood I realized that there would only be three.

After college I reunited with my high school sweetheart (Joe) and moved to South Florida. When news surfaced that Star Wars Episode 1 was to be released we made plans on attending the movie. During our first years of engagement, marriage, and parenthood we saw Episodes 1-3. In the moments of Episode 1, Queen Amidala influenced my perception of womanhood as a strong woman defending her people against an oppressive force. Yet, what I didn’t realize was that I was doing more than watching movies with my husband. Instead, I was making a connection with him, as I made with my father a a young girl, through the genre of Star Wars. Joe became the important man in my life who meshed with my love of Jedi, droids, and independent princesses.

Now, as December 18 approaches and my two boys get excited about going to the new Star Wars movie, I find my life as daughter, wife, and mom coming full circle. I am about to continue a tradition of sharing Star Wars with the most important men in my life. It makes me a little sad my father passed in 2008 and did not get the chance to see the last three episodes. But I know he is proud I am taking his grandsons to it and immersing them in the world of Star Warsphoto-9 

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Hiatus of a Mom of Autism

The past year has led to a long time from blogging. Last Fall I began applying to PhD programs in English and one in Education. I was wait-listed by the University of Tennessee and was wanted for the program, but the person in front of me accepted. In the end I was waiting on a program in Canada and the one I ended up accepting in South Carolina. I ended up telling the Canadian school that I had accepted the local program. this allowed me to continue teaching in my field and attend doctoral classes. I also started my program in the Summer session, so I got started in an earlier cohort.

Right after I was accepted and the state high stakes testing began, we got a call from my son’s school. He had a breakdown like ones we only see at home. He ended up threatening to kill a teacher and then indicated that he would blow up the school. This then led to him threatening to kill himself. he was suspended from school and we were told he could not return until he underwent a mental health evaluation with the local psychiatric services associated with the school. Mind you, our son already has a psychiatrist, psychologist/behavioral specialist. He’s been through numerous evaluations, occupational therapy, auditory tests, and behavioral therapy — none of which the school would qualify him for receiving services because he just didn’t test on a high enough scale for their determination. We have paid everything out of pocket. At that time we had an official diagnosis of ADHD, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Writing Graphomotor, and Auditory/sensory Processing disorder…due to these official diagnosis not being determined by county/school agency we barely got an Individualized Education Plan in place for him. It took us years to get that in order. Now he was deemed a behavioral issue for his school — a school district that determined in 1st grade and Kindergarten he was too smart to qualify as needing services.

Right before school started the next year we saw extreme changes in his behavior. He took a downhill slide into depression and anger. He is now 11 years old and about the start middle school. As a middle school English teacher, I experience every day the struggles my students face from their peers. The bullying and attitudes and lack of acceptance is heartbreaking for these teenagers who are still children but want to grow up so fast. My son is no different, yet his depression and rage undermined him and he fell into despair. He threatened to commit suicide. I couldn’t bare the possibility that he was possibly serious and that I could lose my son, so we did the hardest thing we have ever done and took him to the hospital to have him admitted to a psychiatric ward for another evaluation. That was a long hard 2 weeks. I cried when I was home feeling I had let my son down, but at the same time knew my youngest needed to know what a life without his brother’s rage and violence should be like. We were all sad and cried together. In addition, we knew our child was safe and getting treatment. The word from his psychiatrist was that he was probably bipolar, which my dad suffered from.

Once he did go through evaluations, the therapists at the hospital and then at the outpatient center began suggesting autism. I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs. I expressed my concerns about autism when he was 1-2 years old because of how he played with his toys and acted around other children. I was treated like the mom who just wanted her healthy child to be sick or have difficulty with something. Sure, my young son wasn’t pervasively ill, but my instincts told me things weren’t normal and being a mom of a child who would have 1-2 hour long meltdowns, bruises on her arms and legs from her child biting and hitting her in rage, get head-butted on a daily basis, and various other incidents was not what other moms dealt with from their toddlers. I realized this was the case when our second child was born and he did none of these things during a tantrum.

So, autism… guess what? We have amazing health insurance that covers Applied Behavior Analysis therapy for children up to age 6. Well, we tried getting him diagnosed before age 6 and were denied, and what about the kids that turn 7? Do they all of a sudden not have autism or are considered hopeless after age 7? But we have been told ABA therapy is the best thing for him. We have found that this diagnosis is the cause of his bowel issues and now he wears a protective pad every day to prevent accidents and to stay hygienic. The social workers through our insurance state that they’ve never seen scores as high as his in their autism evaluations, and that we should call 911 and hospitalize him when he acts out. We can’t see how this is a solution, when ten minutes later he is laughing and playing with pure happiness. I wonder every day if his is both autistic and psychotic at once, which has made a clear diagnosis and effective treatment impossible. To add to this, his symptoms have been creeping into his school life, which before seemed to be controlled at school by the medications he takes. His life, our youngest son’s life, and our lives/marriage have been negatively affected by this disorder.

I wish I could say he just views life through a different lens and that he’s so sweet and misunderstood. No, our son takes any reason to manipulate the situation with a firm grip and barrels ahead with the force of a rodeo bull. He yells in public when we tell him he can’t get a toy, he fights us and attempts to hit us in public when we stick to our answer, he runs away in the store and scares other families when he rages. He demands anything and everything of us and creates a scene when he does not get his way. I try to lure him out of his rage and redirect him, which is instinct as a teacher. My husband attempts to barter with him, which makes the manipulation continue. But I understand why my husband handles him in this way, the man hates conflict and this is much harder on him. Just this evening, the Target shopping trip before getting a Christmas tree resulted in a tantrum over not getting a toy. He refused to follow us, ran away back to the toys, and I heard my husband and son in the distance of the store. As I approached them, he child hit his father in rage over the lack of a toy. They were waiting on me at the register. Once in line the child ran off again. I went to get him. I told him he lost his computer but that if he got up I would buy him a coffee. Sometimes the coffee calms him down. He got up but was mouthy the whole way to the front. I had the running mantra in my head reminding myself that the child was walking with me to front as I asked him to. He was in compliance.

We got the tree then off to dinner. The boys were insistent on where we went. When we walked in and were seated, the hostess rolled her eyes at us. I cannot express how many times this happens to us. We are those people who don’t control our children to so many in the world. They have no idea that when an autistic child is excited about drawing on a chalkboard and think the cool stools that look like hamburgers are things he doesn’t want to give up is unruly, what they are seeing is pure happiness and joy. But happiness and joy from a child with autism is deemed as misbehavior because their excitement is loud and vivacious. Dinner was a disaster, and I know our server was confused. She did nothing wrong and I believe she began to see our calm and quiet struggle with our son who ordered a salad but didn’t want it on a rectangular plate. He obsessed over needing it in a bowl so he could mix it all together. She brought him a small bowl and I put a small portion in the bowl. Then he told me he didn’t like the salad. I felt defeated after I dispersed all the ingredients equally while my food got cold, and convinced our server to find a bowl, only to be told it was all a waste. I truly believe he plays games of power and control just to hurt us. In a blink of an eye he’ll just move on to the next thing. If I had told him to deal with it the next outburst would have occurred. Dinner was defeated before we even got our food.

Having a child like this is hard. Feeling defeated by the insurance company, doctors who ignored your concerns, and by the child you are fighting so hard for is impossible.

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Medieval Selfies

Just reposting so I will have a copy of this.

medievalbooks

Self-portraits of medieval book artisans are as exciting as they are rare. In the age before the modern camera there were limited means to show others what you looked like. In the very late medieval period, when the Renaissance spirit was already felt in the air, some painters made self-portraits or included themselves in paintings commissioned by others. Stunningly, the medieval painter Jan van Eyck showed himself in the portrait of Giovanni Arnolfini and his fiance: he is staring at you from the mirror that is hanging behind the couple. For those who still didn’t get it, he painted above it Johannes de eyck fuit hic, Jan van Eyck was here” (Fig. 1, more here). He added the date 1434 to the picture, making it a particularly early selfie.

Jan van Eyck, Giovanni Arnolfini and his fiance, 1434 (right) and mirror detail (left) Fig. 1 – Jan van Eyck, Giovanni Arnolfini and fiance (right)  and mirror detail (left)

As far as producers of books is concerned, there were only two kinds…

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I got bogged down in school…

There are a few things I need to address that I’m sure all of us bloggers have experienced. One is the negative poster, who thinks it is their duty to correct the grammar of everything they see on Facebook without ever reading the book where the quote came from. The other is the poster who attacks a comment you made to a friend, whom you were trying to help, without posting a helpful suggestion to the said friend. This may be a rant, but there area few points here that I believe need to be made.

Negative poster number one:
This morning, while perusing Facebook and drinking my coffee, a friend posted a beautiful picture from the upcoming series on Starz called Outlander. Some of you may know of Diana Gabaldon’s epic story of Claire and Jamie. Well this pic was of Jamie from the series with a quote, something he said to Claire, as follows, “Ye need not be scairt of me nor of anyone here so long as I’m with ye.” Now, that is the beautiful Scottish dialect,and is perfectly acceptable, but a man decided that it was grammatically incorrect since Ye is a plural pronoun. I am an English teacher with two Master’s degrees focused on English (M.A.T. & M.A.), so grammatically correcting dialect of a writer’s character makes me twitch. I responded, since I thought he was being too literal. I said, “Dialect…it’s dialect.” Simple, sweet and to the point. There should be no debate, right? Wrong. He responded with, “Dialect doesn’t matter. Ye has never been singular. If that is what you are implying.” Now, I didn’t imply anything, so I needed to clarify because I just can’t stand someone who thinks they know how a writer should write the conversation of a character. I explained that ye is how a Scotsman says you. I further explained that ye was commonly mistranslated during the shifts from Old English to Middle English when the letter thorn was dropped and then replaced with the letter y, and gave the example of shops that have the names Ye Olde…. The letter thorn has a th sound, so the y should be a th and say “The Olde…” I reiterated the Scottish dialect and also insisted that dialect was very important with the example of Mark Twain’s Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. He responded with the insistence of the you I was implying as being plural. He bantered on about you in the form of ye only having a plural form, though you is both singular and plural. The character of Jamie is not written in Biblical or Shakespearean Modern English, but written with a dialect of saying you that sounds like ye.

I am frustrated since dialect is not important to writing to so many people reading books, or not reading books. I have an irritation toward posters who think correcting the dialect of a character is needed and that the dialect is a problem. Why is the dialect a problem? Mark Twain specifically used dialect to provide characterization and a sense that they were real and believable to his characters. In his time period it was controversial, but Gabaldon has only taken Twain’s lead in creating round characters for her series. I believe it is a sad situation when someone who is neither an English teacher nor a writer determines that a successful writer is grammatically incorrect because her character has dialect, and that the dialect (a Scottish brogue in this case) does not matter. So put the sexiest man in a great kilt, in the highlands of Scotland, and give him a New York City accent. Kill that image for you?

Negative poster number two:
So, a friend posted about a concern with her hearing and asked if she could get input from friends. I asked her if ever in our university classes she was distracted by noise and couldn’t hear the professor. I asked her this since I have this issue and have a mild case of ADD that doesn’t require medication, just strategies and management. She answered “Yes!!!” Now I perceive that as a pretty strong answer, so briefly responded with, “It’s ADD. I have a mild case of it.” This friend is one who I know will not self-medicate and will get an actual diagnosis from a doctor, so I feel comfortable being direct. She and I are very blunt with each other. Other posters were suggesting a busted ear drum or teeth grinding, but never asked the friend her experiences. Then came the poster who decided I had diagnosed our friend, was being dangerous and harmful, and negated that it could be ADD. Well, that was rude, plus, she didn’t give anything helpful to to post to help our friend out. I just said, “I didn’t diagnose her.” She accused me that I did since I had said “it’s ADD.” I told her I was giving perspective like everyone else, and that to me it was ADD. I also asked her to stop negating my perspective and my responses to our friend. Her response was ridiculous, “I’m not prohibiting you from talking to said friend but you are being harmful since you don’t have the expertise to diagnose.” I asked her to stop being negative since busted ear drums, TMJ, teeth grinding, and all the other “suggestions” were also to be determined by a medical professional. Now I’ve seen that I may have been blocked by my friend because I was attacked. This is disheartening since others were starting to state how ADD was an excuse being tossed around for everyone’s problems.

I truly believe that the “normal functioning people” in society think of ADDers as lazy and excuse makers. I get the feeling that society deems those with ADD as lesser humans because of how it affects those who suffer with it. Like I said before, I have a mild case of ADD and take no drugs to cope with it. I do have strategies in place as coping mechanisms and have learned to manage it. As a child, since there was not a diagnosis for me growing up teachers misunderstood me, I was bullied, and my grades faltered in elementary school. My intense desire to fit it with the smart crowd caused me to study probably harder than my peers. I did timed drills in math instead of playing. I read everything I could get my hands on because characters in books were my friends and didn’t make fun of me. I perceived attention of boys as flirting, when they were making fun of me. The best thing my parents did was to move to a small town and I got to start over. I was still a weird kid, but I came into my confidence in 8th grade when I became a cheerleader. Yet, all through school I felt distracted and annoyed by my peers tapping their pencils, clicking their pens, and even hearing the sound of dull lead scrawling on paper agitated me. I joined ROTC because it was a quiet place I could retreat to in high school. I excelled in it and even received a college scholarship. Yet, when I went to college I became distracted by all the activities around me. I burned my candle at both ends because I failed to focus on the most important thing, my studies. That is one perspective of an ADDer, and I am watching my son who is formally diagnosed go through the issues I experienced at his age. It makes me sad to see that the mere mentioning of ADD as a possibility to a friend is immediately attacked by society. The idea that an ADD diagnosis is a farce to those who have no idea what it is like to live with the symptoms is horrifying. There are new medical diagnosis every year for things we previously didn’t understand, so why is society so resistant to adults recognizing they may suffer from ADD, and why is that so very dangerous and harmful?

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