Sunday, December 23, 2012


Thank you to those who have given your help and your best thoughts.

Between online and contributions from the kids, we have $260 to take Charlie clothes shopping.

I know others plan to help after the holidays... but I wanted to thank you all now. The idea of taking Charlie out to do something entirely for him is going to overwhelm him but it's going to be a beautiful thing to see.

Love to you all and thank you. I wish I could express in words what your kindness means to me and will do for Charlie.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Christmas(ish) Request

This is a hard post to write and I'm not sure at all how to put this into words.

I love my husband.

I could go on and on about how he has lived sacrifically for his family and countless others... those of you who know him know he puts himself last. Always.

This last year, each time we've tried to get a little ahead there has been a crisis. The car, someone's health, kids needing something unexpected... you name it.

I don't want to sit here and tell a sad, weepy tale so I'll just spit it out.

Charlie needs clothes. He hasn't purchased anything but socks for himself in more years than I remember.

EVERY shirt and pair of pants he owns is torn, worn out or stained. He tries not to say it but he hates going out in public because he is embarassed by his wardrobe. He's a big guy. Thrift stores and regular stores rarely carry his size.

Each time I've tried to set something aside for him, it goes to someone else.

I want to do something for him but I need help. I've honestly sold everything there is to sell for extra cash. I want to take him out and buy him pants, t-shirts, polos, dress shirts, underwear... all these things he needs. Those things he deserves for being a man who has sacrificed himself, his resources and his body to care for his family. I want to show him he's worth it and he matters.

There's a link on the bottom right of this page. "For My Hero". I don't care if it's $1. If you have anything you can spare this time of year, when I know you're probably down to your last, please help me give Charlie this gift.

Every cent will go to taking him shopping for what he needs. Him and only him. I'd like to take him after all the post holiday craziness settles down... around the first week of January.

If you can, please help.

Thank you in advance and thank you for reading.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Memories of my Dad

Without getting into the difficulty of mining through my childhood memories... I am a terrible letter writer.

This year, in addition to a regular Christmas letter (which I've only done a few times since the tradition began), we've been asked to celebrate Dad's Christmasday birthday by sharing through email our memories of him. This has been a knot in my stomach since the request went out 2 weeks ago. For every wonderful thing, there is another incredibly painful memory that fights to get my attention.

Today, I managed the letter.

 Picking through the bits and pieces of a scattered memory, there are glowing pieces worthy of framing and hanging in the rooms of a mind that sometimes still tends toward darkness.

- The feel of small hands on Dad’s forehead when riding his shoulders. Feeling big and tall and safe on those strong shoulders. Covering his eyes to be silly. But more than anything, the sense of pride in having that time just with him.

- Walking with Dad (I think at Goshen) through the forest and seeing my first beaver. The patience and passion in Dad’s voice as he told me about how they build their dams. It was like seeing a Wonder of the World.

- The dancing doll. I purchased one several years ago at a craft show but have yet to master Dad’s ability to make the little man dance. It was always such a special occasion when the dancing man came out to do a jig along to Freddy Fender music. Dad and the doll together were magical.

- Being allowed to participate in Scout meetings. I can remember standing with the Scouts, all in a line on the front walk in Dale City, learning John Jacob Jingle Heimer Smith and all the other wonderful songs I’ve tried to pass on to my own kids.

- Bedtime stories. The nights when Chris and I would beg Dad to make up one of his silly songs or stories before we went to sleep. He was so good at his silly songs, there are a handful of classic children’s songs I was convinced he’d made up as well.

- Josephina Seraphina Marquadul Oscar Pickadilly Rose Tony Pedro Junior. I was 6 when I heard Dad answer the phone with “Richard Dick Quintana” and realized maybe that was his real name. To this day, it’s one of my favorite Grampy stories with my own kids. It’ll carry on through Dad’s kids to their kids and on until it becomes a small legend about the man with the coolest name.

- The cradle made for my 8th Christmas. The handmade gifts that year will forever be among my greatest treasures.

- Six Flags and my first upside down roller coaster. I know I had nagged and begged and whined to ride it. When Dad agreed, as we were leaving the park, I was ecstatic… until we got it line. I spent the entire wait in line trying to convince Dad I’d changed my mind. It was the scariest thing I could imagine and I no longer wanted to do it. By our turn, I was crying hysterically. On the ride, I sat hunched over, eyes closed, with a death grip on the rails. When Dad told me to open my eyes, I looked up and saw the ground. This thing I’d wanted and feared so much became the most exhilarating thing I’d ever done. I’ll forever be grateful to Dad for making me go through with it.

- Music. Always there was music, but the nights when Dad would bring out his guitar and play along while Nora, Zac and I danced around were the best.

- I think I was about 14 the day I asked Dad to walk a little behind me so it wasn’t obvious I was with an adult. I’d walked maybe 20 feet before I heard something strange and turned to find Dad, in his work suit, doing an exaggerated Igor walk, with snuffling and grunting included. I asked him to walk with me and never again tried to pull the “I’m not with him” in public again. At the time it was mortifying. With each passing year it becomes more of a treasured and hysterical moment. I think that was the same day he purchased several cases of beer then asked the shocked cashier if they took food stamps. The brilliance of Dad’s dry wit was a perception changer that day.

There are so many others… but the memory that guides me to this day is the one that truly showed me who Dad is at his very core.

I’d been invited to a military school ball in Front Royal. On the way home, we stopped at a diner in a small mountain town. I was exceedingly uncomfortable, dressed to the nines and with my business suit attired Dad in a place which was the poorest I could ever remember seeing. I think I tried to tell Dad we should go somewhere else… but he insisted.

Within moments of sitting down, the various people in the diner began coming over to talk to Dad and to meet the daughter he’d so bragged to them about. I remember him telling me he’d chosen this place because they had the best waffles or something he’d ever tasted. I came to realize this was where he’d waited for me while I was dancing. The fact of the matter is, I remember nothing about what I ate that night. All I remember is Dad.

My discomfort and embarrassment, in this strange place I felt we didn’t belong, was replaced with awe as I watched Dad interact with the simple, down-to-earth folks in this out of the way diner in the middle of the night.

As I watched Dad easily converse with people I had a hard time understanding, I saw what I later realized was a living example of Jesus. He sat among “the least of these”, treating them with dignity, respect and not the least bit of condescension. He fed them, both before bringing me in and during… giving of himself in a way my teenage brain could barely comprehend.

You changed my life that day, Dad. It was some years before the seed planted that night grew… but it’s been the most powerful example of the Love of Jesus I’ve ever seen. In one night I saw the most powerful living example of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (I’m sure you needed it with me) that I’ve seen then or since.

Thank you for who you are… in your family, in the church, in the community and in every life you have and will continue to touch.

I love you.


Sunday, August 12, 2012

And On it Goes

About 1am this morning, I came across a hashtag game on Twitter. The game is #AspieMovieTitles.

As I giggled to myself over some of the submissions, I made the mistake of mentioning it to the boys and then Charlie. After spamming my own profile with their rapid-fire ideas, I announced I was going to bed and they could submit their continued suggestions in writing.

I woke to both an email and a composition notebook list. *facepalm*

I did promise... so here goes:

Aspie Movie Titles
- On Aspie Pond
- The Lost World: Aspie Park
- Aspies vs. Predator
- All Aspies go to Heaven
- Hellboy: The Golden Aspies
- Frankenaspie
- The Aspie Whisperer (Saw this one on Twitter but sharing anyway)
- Aspie Like Me (Love this one)
- Buckaroo Aspie
- Aspie McFee
- The Lone Aspie
- Aspies of the Caribbean:  At World's End (Aspies of the Carolina's: at Wits End)
- The Aspie of Egypt
- Beauty and the Aspie (Or conversely, Aspie and the Beast)
- Snow White and the 7 Aspies
- Inspector Aspie (You'll never get away with anything)
- Aspie Bueller's Day Off
- Aspie's Day Out
- Aspie of the Opera
- The Aspies Under the Stairs
- Aspiebusters (This sounds like one of those BS cures)
- A Few Good Aspies
- Dark Aspies
- Aspie Hole (Don't even want to go there)
- Revenge of the Aspies
- The Aspie Returns
- Good Aspie Hunting
- Abraham Lincoln; Aspie Hunter
- Where the Wild Aspies Are (My house, clearly)
- Aspies of Endearment
- Aspies of the Baskervilles
- One Flew Over the Aspies Nest (My suggestion after the fourth time boys had come into the room to read their list.)
- Dude, Where's My Aspie? (Regular question for many of us, I'm sure)
- The Aspie With the Dragon Tattoo (Quite appropriate fot the Millenium Trilogy, actually. And also, 2 of my daughters)
- An Aspie and a Gentleman
- The Scent of an Aspie (Okay, I wouldn't know if it's normal for teen males but PUT ON YOUR DEODORANT!)
- Aspie on a Hot Tin Roof (In a Carolina summer, hiding from chores)
- Ben Aspie (Trying to picture the chariot scene here)
- Aspie's Daycare
- Aspies Attack (At 2 am when MOM wants to sleep!)
- Monsters vs Aspies (Again, Mom at 2 am)
- Aspies, Inc. (Newest Silicon Valley success story)
- The Aspie Way (I adore my kids but can't count the ways this makes me twitch)
- The Last Aspie
- The Good,  The Bad and The Aspie
- Pink Aspie
- The Sound of Aspies (Again, I am sleep deprived but this makes me think of Dumb and Dumber)

Aspie and Aspier? Nah... but some days...

- Aspie Story
- The Hills Have Aspies
- Aspie Knows What You Did Last Summer (and never lets you forget and tells the story to the pastor and your parents)
- The Dark Aspie Rises
- Grumpy Old Aspies
- The Aspie With One Red Shoe
- The Aspie and I
- Aspie at a Funeral
- The Aspies Apprentice
- Dances with Aspies
- The Astronaut Aspie (Likely)
- Aspie Ever After
- True Aspies
- Aspie and Juliet
- The Taming of the Aspie (*giggles madly*)
- Raising Aspie (sounds like a real book title)
- Aspie in Seattle
- Aspie Run
- The Aspie Games (Death match chess)
- The Aspie Who Knew Too Much (as one who knows too little is non-existent)
- The Aspie Brothers
- Doctor Aspie
- Aspie in Wonderland
- Aspie and the GF Factory
- Aspies by the Dozen
- Diary of a Wimpy Aspie
- Fried Green Aspies
- Aspie's Travels
- Aspie on Fire
- Aspie Shines
- Mom and Aspie Save the World
- Operation Aspie Drop (your butt on my boot)
- My Big Fat Aspie Wedding
- Robo-Aspie (John's personal dream)
- Star Trek- The Search for Aspies
- The Trouble with Aspies (Sounds like a letter from teacher)
- Trading Aspies
- You Don't Know Aspie (Could be a real book title)
- Aspie Boom (otherwise known as the Millenium)
- Aspie on a Wire (John's adventures with parquor)
- Dead Aspie Walking (unlike the death row film, this is about zombies, duh)
- Field of Aspies
- Aspie Quest (every interest)
- Happy Aspie (every parent's dream)
- Aspie Dredd
- Last Aspie Standing (gets the x-box)
- Life as Aspies Know It (another good book title)
- Mad Aspie (the post-apocalyptic adventures)
- The Mark of Aspie
- Rise of the Planet of the Aspies
- The Three Aspies (working on a long ass list while I try to sleep)
- Aspie-Men First Class (this is a movie I'd totally go see)
- Blazing Aspies (Shoot low, sheriff. He's riding a Segway!)
- 8 Aspies in a Duffle Bag (I'd settle for 3, right now)
- Aspie & Confused (*giggles madly*)
- Aspie Hears a Who (and every other annoying sound)
- Secondhand Aspies
- Starship Aspies (again, totally possible)
- Winnie the Aspie (can I get the stuffie version?)
- Army of Aspies (don't know whether to be terrified or reassured)
- Code of Aspies (anyone figures this out, we're golden)
- Falcon and the Aspie
- Father of the Aspie
- Kindergarten Aspie
-The Quick and the Aspie

 Told you it was a comprehensive list... and no, they didn't go searching IMDB or any place like that.

If you can think of others, add them in comments.

In the meantime, I'm taking a freaking nap.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Which part of Love Don't You Understand?

So much to post about but at the moment, frustration and anger are getting the best of me.

The simplest yet most complicated (because we make it so) bit of the entire bible involves love.

The following italicized quotes are borrowed from Christians For Peace

Below are Jesus' words. Jesus never advocated any form of violence or dominance. Instead, He commanded us to love, show mercy, and to forgive others.

Non Violence: Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for those who live by the sword, die by the sword. Matt 26:52.  

Meek, Merciful, and Peacemakers: Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth... Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy... Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Matt 5:5-9.

Forgive Those Who Sin Against Us: Then Peter came up and said to him, "Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven..." Matt 18:21-22  

Love your Enemies: But I say to you that hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. Luke 6:27-32  

Love Your Neighbor, But Who is My Neighbor?: And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, "Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?" He said to him, "What is written in the law? How do you read?" And he answered, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as yourself." And he said to him, "You have answered right; do this, and you will live." But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, "And who is my neighbor?" Jesus replied, "A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road; and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion, and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, 'Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.' Which of these three, do you think, proved neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?" He said, "The one who showed mercy on him." And Jesus said to him, "Go and do likewise." Luke 10:25-37

All of Jesus' teachings center on love, humility, and mercy. The idea that we would fight a war in the name of Jesus is inconceivable, because Jesus taught us to love one another.

Early Church and New Testament Quotes for Peace

No Evil for Evil: Do not return evil for evil. Avenge not yourselves, but rather give way to wrath; for it is written, vengeance is mine; I will repay, says the Lord. Therefore if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsts, give him drink: for in so doing you shall heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:17-21

Do Not Hate: Whoever hates his brother is a murderer: and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. I John 3:15

Do Not Hate: If anyone says, I love God, but hates the brothers or sisters, he is a liar...Whoever loves God must also love the brothers and sisters. I John 3:20, 21

No Revenge: See that none render evil for evil to any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. I Thessalonians 5:15

Can ANYONE point to any verse quoted above that suggests those who claim Christ are better because we claim relationship with Him? Can anyone find evidence in the words of Jesus to suggest that "repentant" sin is better or more acceptable to God than "unrepentant" sin? Can anyone find in His words where we "separate" ourselves from those who don't believe by putting ourselves above them in any way?

We are in the world but not of the world. (paraphrase) This does not mean we live segregated from anyone who does not share our beliefs. This means that we are new creatures with a promise of life beyond this world. While we live HERE, it's our job to follow the teachings of Jesus... and Jesus spoke more of love than anything else.

I don't want to bash other Christians. Y'all are my brothers and sisters. But the New Testament is pretty clear that while we are to correct one another in love, that correction is for those of us who believe in the Lordship of Jesus. It is neither our right nor our responsibility to sit in judgement of ANYONE else.

Granted, rebuking in love is a pretty tough prospect. Some have such a thin skin in regards to their faith that anything which doesn't follow their mindset is offensive, especially from another Christian.

I accept that I've reached a point in my walk with Christ (which is not now nor ever will be perfect) that I'm likely to incur the wrath of other Christians before anyone else because I WILL NOT let go of love. Not just love for my family in Jesus but love for ALL.

All this flap over Chick-Fil-A has brought out a lot of political and spiritual posturing. I haven't seen much in the way of love except for that poor cashier who was bashed by a customer who videotaped his stupidity. Her example is far closer to the one we should follow than most others I've seen on the web.

But this isn't about politics. This isn't about who is right and who is wrong (or who is more right over who is more wrong).

If we are in Christ, we are to live in His Spirit. If we live and grow in His Spirit, there are results. Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control.

I've always seen Love and Self-Control as... almost bookends. They are the beginning and end of the rest.

I'm so tired of hate. From whichever direction it comes. I'll not be pulled into another one of these ridiculous internet/cultural wars.

No matter what anyone's personal beliefs, I've been called to love.

That's what I'm going to do.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Looking Good

Athena is back to her old self this morning. Rather than go on about it all day on Twitter, thought maybe I'd just post here and include a picture.

Athena is lighter colored as she has little fur. It looks like she'll end up being either a double rex (curly hair and occasionally hairless) or a hairless. Hairless rats occur when 2 rats with the rex/curly gene have pups...

Anyway, both Athena and Zeus are doing really well. Despite Athena's brush with death last night, she's fully recovered. She's got several scratches still to heal but the bruise on her head is all but gone.

I've been surprised and touched by how many people have been supportive of these little guys. Rats get too much of a bad rap. Thanks so much for the encouragement. Seemed appropriate to show you their new playground.

<3 br="">

Sunday, July 29, 2012

And She Lived to Tell the Tale

For those who haven't heard, I've spent the last month nursing a litter of rats abandoned when they were less than 48 hours old. It was a long, sleepless adventure but we beat the odds. Sadly, we lost most of the litter but 2 have thrived. Zeus and Athena have become just about everyone's babies... especially Elena, Dora and John. I won't even go into the depth to which Charlie has become attached.

Anyway... from day one we have kept the babies in a modified 12qt tote box on our bed. Their box is situated on a heating pad between Charlie's and my pillows. Yeah, rats in the bed, blah blah. Whatever. Anyone who has ever nursed babes in the middle of the night knows it's a heck of a lot easier to have said babes close by. As these guys needed feeding every 2-3 hours for the first 3 weeks, they were staying close by. Period.

This last week, they were introduced to solid food (soy formula and baby rice cereal) meaning I no longer have to get up at night. I can give them enough for 6 hours and SLEEP. It's been glorious.

Getting all that sleep though, I let my guard down.

We had all the kids over for Rachel's birthday today. Any other day, there is almost certain to be an adult in my room. This is important because we also have 2 very active (and interested) adult cats.

We forgot to kick the cats out and close the door while we were all out in the rest of the house enjoying each other.

2 of the cats attacked the box and got the lid off. By the time Daniel got to them, it didn't look like Athena would make it. Aside from several scratches and shallow gash the length of her tail, she had an injury to her head that looked fatal.

As an aside, I'm no stranger to animal first aid. I have the ability to go into perfect calm in the face of a wounded animal. One one occasion, I actually performed what could easily be described as abdominal surgery on a hairless rat almost gutted by another.(She was picked on because she was a hairless) Without getting too graphic, she had insides on her outside and didn't look like she stood a chance. Using adhesive stitches and a hell of a lot of disinfectant, Stephanie, Reese and I (yeah, group effort) patched her up. She healed beautifully and lived another 15 months as a happy, though slightly less acrobatic rattie.

*A little graphic content here*

Poor Athena looked like her skull had been crushed. She was conscious but stunned and barely moving. After cleaning her scratches, I accessed the wound on her head. The blood was pooling under her scalp and causing obvious pressure and pain. I took the chance it was a giant bruise, drained a little blood from the puncture wound and wrapped her in a sling so she could sit close to my chest in warmth and security.

I honestly expected I'd be holding her for her last breath.

Trying to type through tears...

When she started crawling up the sling and hiding under my ponytail, I felt some hope.

2 hours later, she's had a little to eat and a little to drink. She's back in the box with her brother and sat patiently while he bathed her from head to toe.

I probably won't sleep tonight... and yeah, I'm not above asking prayer, warm fuzzies and good mojo for a 1 oz baby rat... but the bruise, which looked like a black skull cap on her head, is slowly fading. Her energy is improving and I'm cautiously optimistic.

We've put so much of each of the last 27 days into preserving these little lives. I'm not sure Charlie or I could stand losing her before she's an old rattie fart.

But she's here. I'm so grateful she made it and probably won't breath easy until that bruise is gone and she's tackling her brother and bouncing like a jumping bean again... but there's hope.

When she's a big rattie and her teeth are strong enough, I have no problem letting her inform Cleo and Autumn why they should never mess with rats. One nip to the nose cured the rottie and the other bigger animals. I'm sure Athena will be up to the task.

Here's to survivors.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Creeping on the Creeper

For the last 3 evenings, I've spent time talking in Twitter Direct Message with someone who, initially, seemed to think I was an alter in another Tweeter's system.

If you know me, you know I'm all about education and advocacy where DID and childhood trauma are concerned. I was more than willing to answer questions. Always am willing.

However, it didn't take long for my "CREEPER" alarms to start ringing. I gave it some time, hoping I was being overly suspicious... but am now convinced my gut feeling is dead on.

I'm posting our exchange (with a little snark in bold parentheses) and plan to write another more ranty post about it.

I'd like your honest take on what he says. Please share in comments.


Him: Hello

Me: Hello

Him: I understand that you’re friends with just call me frank… are you one of (their)

Me: I’m integrated. A former multiple. Learning to live as one.

Him: Um… I don’t mean to be rude but could you explain that a bit.

Me: The integrated part or the multiple part?

Him: The word integrated and how you are using it.

Me: I mean to say my Crew and I blended over time. All the parts are still there. Just no longer separate.

Him: Is everyone conscious?

Me: Very much so. We took time to get to know everyone, learned to work together and share consciousness.

Him: Is that difficult?

Me: It took 8 years of treatment with a good doc and a trauma specialist. Integration happened on its own though.

Him: Wow, can I say congratulations?

Me: Yes and thank you. Not everyone chooses integration but it was what we all wanted.

Him: Congratulations

Me: Again, thank you.

Him: Welcome

Him: So is living together difficult?

Me: It was very weird at first. 24 hours seemed a lot longer than it used to. I missed talking to them and my family missed them.

Me: Over time, as I learned to freely express all the aspects of me that were once separated, it became easier. I feel their echo, so to speak.

Him: Should I be referring to all of you as individuals or as a whole? (What part of one person do you not understand?)

Him: I’m going to be leaving for a bit. Be right back.

Me: I’m a whole person. My name is Marisa. Some people online still call me The Crew because they knew all of us.

Me: Okay, I have some work to do here at home. Will be around later.

Him: Hello

Me: Hello :)

Him: I wanted to ask a few questions on integration. Is that okay?

Me: Sure. If I may ask, are you or someone you love multiple or is this personal interest? I’m cool either way. Just curious.

Him: I just always fascinated with D.I.D and it was always a subject that always eluded me.
Him: Of course, the trauma is something that isn’t I’m too happy about but the identities is what always captured my imagination.

Me: Okay, ask away.

Him. It difficult trying to write. I read that there is multiple writing styles. (I'll try not to be too picky on the grammar but damn!)

Me: (accidentally posted as a tweet) For many people, that is true. Mine certainly did.

Him: Um… Did you put your answer on twitter?

Me: I may have. I responded via text. Sorry. 4 hours of chuck e cheese has fried my brain.

Him: What are you doing in chuck e cheese? (And what effing business is it of yours?)

Me: Home now. Party for grand daughter. My kids are 23, 20, 19, 17 & 14. Grands are 21 and 24 months.

Him: I never understood the months thing. (Poor you. Dumbass)

Him: Oh happy birthday I guess…… (You guess? Can you piss off?)

Me: Sorry. Phone battery died and the computer is hard to get to as we only have 1. I refer to the kids by age on twitter rather than names.

Me: The grands are so close together it makes no sense to go by year age right now. I’ll be back when my phone has a chance to charge.

Him: Oh, if it’s for personal reasons completely understandable. (Why thank you for your permission, asshat)

Me: My blogs are and They might help answer some questions too.

Him: I’ll go through it tonight, should be easier when everything isn’t hectic.

Him: How did you deal with growing up?

Me: I split. I had obvious mental health issues by 9 and spent a good chunk of my teens in hospitals. Was a mess.

Him: So have you grown up? (WTF? I'm a grandmother. What do you think?)

Me: Grown up? As in grown more emotionally, intellectually and mentally more mature, of course. I am, by any possible measure, an adult.

Him: Does your childish aspect still show? (I'd have chosen "childlike" as "childish" has a more negative ring to it... but that's semantics.)

Me: Honoring a love of play, humor, innocence and wonder aren’t exclusive of children.

Me: All My parts still show.

Me: Think of a rainbow. The colors are the separation of the components of light. Not seeing the individual colors doesn’t mean they are gone.

Him: Is there a proper way to interact with a D.i.d. person?

Him: I found the answer I was looking for, it was really explained thanks, before the rainbow part, wasn’t sure how to response. (Oh, I'm sorry for answering more of the question than you asked. I didn't realize you were trying to figure out if you could talk to those parts)

Me: That’s a loaded question.

Him: What does this mean?

Me: I’d say, treat a multiple as you would anyone else; with the same basic respect you would want to be treated.

Him: I didn’t mean it like that, I’m just not familiar with the terms or I was wanted to know if there is something I shouldn’t say or do (Way to backpedal douchebag)

Him: I honestly would never be demeaning to a person. (Not to your view)

Me: Do you know someone with DID?

Him: No not at all, but I am familiar with the subject, but very little, I have some family with child abuse and things in that range. (familiar but very little. In other words, you are fascinated by something of which you know precisely jack.)

Me: Any multiple who expects kid glove treatment isn’t ready to be healthy and shouldn’t be treated differently. Unless you know them well enough to know their others by name, there is nothing special to do. DID doesn’t exist to be seen but as a way to keep functioning in a tough life.

Me: I blogged my recovery in part for my benefit and in part to educate others. I would caution you that multiples are not keen on being “studied” or looked at as “curiosities”. It’s a difficult enough path without being looked at that way. I’ve been asked to switch. Not cool.

Him: I dug myself a hole. I was trying to find ways to not upset anyone. (Dude, this is life. You will upset people. Are you really that stupid?)

Me: To be perfectly honest, this really isn’t a 140 character conversation. My email is on both blogs. Feel free to continue asking via email.

Him: Ok…

-Italicized quotes are his email to me.

"Ok I've obviously done something to upset you and I would like to know what did I do to upset you."
- For a complete stranger, it is rather presumptuous for you to assume you know my feelings.

I find twitter DM to be an inefficient forum for an in depth conversation such as this one.

I also hoped that by moving to a forum which allowed an unlimited space to express yourself, your questions might change tenor and make a little more rational sense. Sadly, that didn't occur.

"As for regarding on the question "how to interact with a person with D.I.D", it was meant so that way I could get to know each personality individually, and I want to be cautious and respectful as much as possible."
-My question is why? Why do you want to get to know each person individually? In 35 years of living as many, only a handful of people outside my treatment team and family were given the privilege of knowing my others. They knew my others because we had a long established trust with the person involved. I have yet to meet a person who wants to "get to know the individuals" whose interest was a concern for the multiple. It has always been a case of the person expecting a multiple to behave as a dancing monkey, switching at the pleasure of the other person. It's selfish, to say the least.

When a multiple switches in the presence of any but the most deeply trusted or "safe" people, it's because the switch was triggered and that means a line was crossed that the multiple feels incapable of dealing with on his/her own. It is NOT a positive thing to get a multiple to switch. In all likelihood, the only "other" you would meet in such a circumstance would be a protective alter who will go out of his/her way to get you back off or suffer the consequences.

Your interest in seeing or experiencing this is suspicious, at best.

"I feel my intentions weren't to belittle anyone, and I think it upsets you that I don't know anyone with D.I.D, but I understand the trauma, my grandparents were part of residential schools, I'm (native American) aboriginal, and from what I can tell you are a very passionate person, and want to educate people on D.I.D."
- Again, it is presumptuous to think you know what upsets me. If you do not have a multiple in your life, I cannot fathom why you would intentionally seek one out to know.

I understand you are "fascinated" by us but that is not reason enough.

Would you ask an epileptic to let you witness a seizure? Would you ask an autistic person to have a meltdown in your presence? Would you ask a stranger to stand naked before you simply because you are interested in how they look?

By asking your questions about how to talk to a multiple, you are asking to be part of a very private and personal thing. You are asking me directions on how to violate the boundaries of a vulnerable person... and that makes it impossible for me to think your motivation is a good one.

In addition, your seeming interest in the "childish aspects" makes me again question your motives. What possible reason could you have for wanting to trigger a child personality in an adult? Again, I can see no justifiable or positive reason for such a desire. To be perfectly honest, it's creepy and borders on pedophiliac behavior.

I am happy to answer questions about my personal experience with DID but will not "teach" you how to approach others. It's a line I will not cross. I will not betray other survivors in that manner.

All the best,

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Just How Integrated is Integrated?

Feel free to take the title in a tongue in cheek manner. I know I'm integrated. I also know I have a basic lack of self-control in certain areas. Baby anything (except, maybe spiders) is one of those weak spots.

In the last few weeks we have acquired a kitten, dozens of tadpoles, a small fish (which will be released at summer's end) and 2 yellow eared slider turtle hatchlings.

In addition to the animals intentionally brought home, We've watched a clutch of 4 house wrens hatch in the back yard. I'm taking a picture a day so we can watch their growth. Today, I found a clutch of anole lizard eggs while repotting a plant. They are now in a pot of their own so we can watch them. When I realized I had accidentally killed one, I kinda lost it and the frantic search for the others ensued.

Before the lizards, the kids and I were cleaning out the back shed. Daniel went to move a box and a rat jumped out. We've known there was a rat in the shed for some time. Coincidentally, it showed up within a week or so of one of our female fancy rats disappearing into thin air. Fantasy and hope tell me she is that rat.

Inside the box she was using as her latest nest, we found 7 babies. They are between 3 and 6 days old... Just getting the shadow of dark fur but their eyes are not yet open.

Wild rats tend to react to humans around their babies in 1 of 2 ways. They abandon the nest or they eat the babies.

From what I can tell, she's not coming back.

And being the person I am, (batshit insane about animals)the idea of leaving these little ones to die or become a food source makes my heart feel it's being ripped from my chest.

What this means is, Charlie is at the grocery store buying the needed supplies so I can spend the next week or so feeding babies every 2-3 hours. My biggest comfort in this is that Charlie is as bad as I am and will be more than willing to help.

The reason I bring up integration is because the whole baby animal issue is very much a Little Crew thing. They are why we started raising tadpoles and why my garden was a butterfly sanctuary for so many years. The mere presence of baby animals sends my brain into squealy, bouncy overload and all reason vanishes. This is why I try to avoid pet stores and other places where small furry animals are sold.

I was talking to Becka about the rattie babies and started to cry because as ridiculous as it is, I cannot help the drive that refuses to allow me to leave them be and let nature take its course. I'd lose sleep and end up in a depression if I didn't at least make the effort.

I don't know if that makes me a softie, a lunatic or just an over grown kid... but whatever.

I am who I am and Thank God my family knows and accepts it.


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

John's Baby

At long last, John has his own baby. Cleo was meant to be his cat but my nursing of her created a pretty strong bond when she was tiny and he wasn't really mature enough at that time to grow close to a kitty. He's grown a lot in 3+ years.

He started bonding with Tiger, which worried me. I tried telling him from the start that Tiger wasn't ours and he would have to say goodbye come Monday. When Tiger left, John sat on the couch with tears in his eyes. It broke my heart to see.

I told him it was okay to miss Tiger and that Taffy would be missing him too. I asked him to make sure she got plenty of personal attention and for him to consider her his cat.

To Daniel's credit, even he has gone out of his way to not try to bond too closely with Taffy. Cats tend to gravitate to him and he's 100% cat person (has been since he was a toddler) and his affinity for cats has been a point of contention between the two boys. Especially as John felt he was the only person in the family to never have a kitten of his own.

Taffy is 6 weeks old, at most. She had no interest in humans while she had Tiger to play with but he went to his forever home Monday. Since then, she's been all about people and her person of choice is John.

I love seeing them together.

He walks around with her in his arms and when anyone reaches out to her, she buries her head in his armpit. She'll snuggle with anyone on her own terms but only John gets the trust to hold her as he pleases. He says he's teaching her "Be right back". I don't know that she really cares or understands... but do know it's important to him to feel he's building her trust... and he is. She trusts him.

God knows we have enough animals in this house. I'm always saying "No more"... but can't help but feel the crazy cat lady attack I had last week was meant to be.

We brought home a little boy we knew we couldn't keep and he had a new home before we'd even gotten him back to the house. I knew fostering one for only a few days would drive all my boys (Charlie included) crazy, so chose this little tabby from a litter of feral kitties up the street. Honestly, I thought she'd be "mine" as it my my little "gotta have a baby" fit that brought her in the house...

But she's John's... and the timing couldn't have been more perfect. She has the same need to receive love as John's to give it. His heart is enormous and his capacity to love is deep. Studies show pets can lower stress levels and blood pressure as well as elevate moods. John can have a hard time calming down when he's overwhelmed but I've seen him focus on his nieces to stay positive. Snuggling with Taffy gives him someone outside himself to focus on when he needs to calm down.

Plus, she's freaking adorable.

Something tells me Taffy has filled a need in John's life... a need I didn't truly understand until I saw him holding her and the look of total peace on her face as she nestled in his arms. She calms him. She slows his mach 10 mind a little and she loves him. Everyone needs to feel like the most important person in someone's life sometimes. Everyone needs to feel needed beyond the daily chore routine of life. Taffy needs him. It's been 2 days since Tiger left and it took less than that for her to decide it's John she'll leave the front room to follow.

John's her human.

Sometimes rash and emotional decisions bring small miracles. I'm grateful to be part of this one.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Ragey Post

I don't want to get off on a rant here...

But saw this under "Kindergarten Teacher" on Pinterest and threw up in my mouth a little.

Yes, we want to teach our children boundaries and those boundaries should be clear whenever possible but a poster like this screams to me "Screw your imagination and creativity! Screw your not-quite-there-yet fine motor skills! If you aren't doing it this way, you get a big frowny face to tell you that you aren't good enough!"

I DO NOT color inside the lines. I try and I fail. I'm 43. I'm only just learning the joys of "coloring" because crap like that poster told me I'd never measure up.

So forget the lines. Forget the colors that "make sense". Forget that and celebrate the purple dog and the green sky. We will never encourage creativity and imagination in our children if we try to box them up from the start.

Art has purpose. Creativity has purpose. It's not about making things or drawing accurately. It's about tangible emotion. It's about stirring hearts. It's about triggering discourse. It's about neurons firing and creating new pathways between logic and dream. Above all, art is subjective.

Teach your children there are lines in life. Some are not meant to be crossed... others should be ignored. Encourage creativity in your child. There are many ways to teach fine motor skills without killing the art in a kid.

Love them, lead them, encourage them and let them find their inner art. Otherwise I might have to find you and kick your ass.

Monday, February 27, 2012

"I Thought I Was Better"

That's a quote from second season Tara and the thought running crazily through my head last night.
The difference is I know the Crew didn't just go away and it isn't a switch that set off the panic.
It was just a black out. A brief blank in my day when something I should, and usually, would have remembered is instead a black hole.
I was in a fog of exhaustion Saturday. I've clearly been stressed to the limits. I often have moments when I don't recall a conversation. In almost every such case, I was doing something like writing during the conversation and my attention was divided.  When I'm writing, I can't just snap away from my train of thought and by the time I do, the person has already spoken several sentences. This is common. This, I'm used to happening.
Saturday, one of Rachel's school mates from Coker came to the restaurant. Someone I've met before. We spoke. I identified myself as Feathers Mom. I served her order.
I remember nothing of this.
Usually, there is some spark of recognition. Some sense that yes, this happened but slipped my mind.
Not this time. I got nothing. Zip, zilch, nada.
It's too much like being filled in after a switch.
Charlie said not to worry. His words were enough to stem last night's mounting panic... and it doesn't seem so huge a thing after a night of sleep... but I thought I was past completely blacking out. Why something so harmless as a conversation?
It scares me. I don't have the time or energy to even explore why it scares me so... but it's a deep, almost unconscious fear.
I've grown used to owning each minute of the day. Good or bad, I'm present for each one. I don't have to send in the troops to manage the daily stresses of life or a surprising tide of emotion. Those moments are mine to experience. I fought hard to get here.
I can't let life's circumstances take that away again. But the what ifs have got me...
Dear God, enough already. Please let me rest.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

This Looks Like More Than I Can Do

You must think I’m strong
To give me what I’m going through
Forgive me if I’m wrong
But this looks like more than I can do
On my own

In 3 weeks time: Charlie was hospitalized with A-fib so bad they wanted to shock his heart to get it back to normal sinus.

The Lexus died, yet again. Despite it not being in his best interest health-wise, Charlie fixed it... costing $200 more than we had to spend.

We broke down and called my septuagenarian parents to ask for a loan to buy a long overdue second car.

Daniel made a mistake, leaving a knife in his pocket at school. He was caught with it and arrested on weapons charge. At 17, he’s considered an adult and this is a charge that will certainly get him expelled and possibly send him to jail. This the same week that his girlfriend confessed she’s being treated for DID and today ended their nearly 3 year relationship.

Charlie has a cardio cath scheduled for Tuesday. The same day we have to be there for Daniel’s expulsion hearing. A day I have to work due to switching days with the other driver. Plans can’t be adjusted. Unless we have the second car by then, we’re toast. I’ve missed 4 days of work this month, kicking us back more than $400 and making getting to the end of the month a real challenge.

Oh, and we need money for the public defender. $40 non-refundable ‘assessment’ charge.

I don’t know who my oldest child is anymore but I know I don’t get to spend time with my granddaughter and what I do see of my daughter… is hard to like.

Becka’s ex got mixed up with human traffickers who are blowing up her phone with demands for money for Noeli’s life and threatening to kill him. Even if she had money, she wouldn’t pay coyotes. Noeli shouldn’t have gotten involved in the first place. But she lives every day wondering if the father of her child is ever going to even get the chance to get his butt home to Cancun and survive to know his daughter.

John is in need of some intervention again. Not as drastic as last year but he’s asked for counseling. This is the closest thing to good news I can even see right now.

I find myself fantasizing about swallowing a bottle of klonopin or buying a pack of single edge blades… I haven’t and won’t but the thoughts are fucking exhausting.

My physical health has so deteriorated that I can now do for 1/2 an hour what I could do all day last year... and it takes most of my 3 days off to recover from 4 days of work... meaning sometimes NOTHING gets done... and it's all on me to do.

I took a nap this afternoon and dreamed I not only split again but completely fell apart. Given the sobbing in my dream, it’s a wonder I wasn’t crying physically… and I’m to the point of hoping that little bit of dreamed emotional release will be enough to keep me from snapping.

The people in my everyday life (church folks) are wonderful for prayer purposes but not people who could hear any of this without platitudes. Last time I told my pastor I was fighting off depression, he reminded me that singing praise helps. Yeah, because I don’t already sing my guts out every moment I’m in the car because it’s helping me stay from teetering on the edge… but damn, it’d be nice to be taken seriously for frikkin once. Answers like that make it hard to care that I haven’t been since my job made getting to service a nightmare. They can accept others so ill they can’t function but I guess I’m held to a higher standard.

I’m scared for my family. I’m scared for my mental health. I’m at my limit. I’m done trying to be strong. Stop fucking expecting it.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Decompression. Need Some

I love the way things sometimes coincide. Over in The Crew diary, a friend is visiting from Vermont for the first time. There, you'll read his name is Harley. Over the years we've also called him by his middle name of Eli. These days we're back to his first name of Jonas.

Jonas lives nearby and after a heartbreaking separation of a few years, the brother/sister relationship we've enjoyed for over a decade is going strong.

Like me, Jonas is a recent singleton. He lives with Krys and Steve. Krys, as an avid Tara fan and the one who introduced me to the series, recently sat Jonas down for his introduction to Tara.

"That is a hard show to watch!" You'll get no argument from me there.

"Did we really look that crazy?" No matter who he asks, the answer is some variation on "Oh, yeah."

Now we've both seen the series, it seems perfectly natural to talk about our "many" days in a way we really haven't before.

I didn't realize until we talked how much I needed to sound off with someone who understands it from the inside. I can discuss it ad nauseam with family and friends who knew us then but talking with Jonas offers a validation that is needed but can't get from anyone else.

More than validation, there are stories from that time that weren't blogged. Having someone else to remind us helps to solidify memories. Then there are the stories neither of us really remember but we can glimpse through the eyes of family who was there.

Krys' favorite memory of Jonas and me was on the day he first arrived for his visit with us. Based on details from Charlie, Amelia (then 6) had brought Jonas' little Sam (5 1/2) up to the bedroom to play.

It's unclear which of the two started it... but I think Amelia took offense to a comment about her "girly" toys. She responded by telling Sam that boys have cooties. This started an "Uh-uh!" "Yah-huh!" back and forth that gradually grew in volume.

Picture two full grown adults, sitting on a floor, surrounded by toys,  having this exchange. That's what Krys walked into.

I don't know how long it went on or who finally intervened... though I have a vague sense Charlie tried a dad maneuver. To be perfectly honest I don't think even my vague memory is actual memory. It's more likely the pictures pieced together from hearing about it.

The argument did end and Sam and Amelia eventually came to a peace with each other, despite the very, important and serious gender difference.

Its this kind of story that makes me want to really explore what life was like then... beyond the never-ending work of treatment... the day to day living. It's nice to know Jonas wants that too. Our couple of back in the day talks this week have offered not only some wonderful laughter but some needed stress relief.

Jonas suggested we take at least one day a month to just hang out for several hours. No kids or babies... just us and a chance to rehash our multiple days and piece together enough of those times to remember the good and the not so good in balance.

Maybe he can offer some insight on the Tara entries too.

Whatever... I'm looking forward to it.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Deconstructing Tara: Aftermath Part 2

"Oh please, it's all you."
Charmaine's attitude drives me nuts... but it really is the dismissive attitude of those who can't be bothered to educate themselves about DID.

The husband of a freind used to refuse to acknowledge Reese and Stephanie. They found this hugely offensive and would intentionally bait him to get him to react. It caused stress for his wife which I felt bad about later. She didn't need to get stuck in the middle of that power struggle.

To this man's credit, while he didn't acknowledge the others by name, he didn't do it to be disrespectful. To him, the best way to help was to treat us all with the same love and care he had for me, Marisa. By not differentiating between us, his hope was the acceptance for all of us would eventually translate through the system and encourage oneness. Not a bad thought. Just not one we were the least interested in at the time.

“Maybe the kids are responding to trauma.”
“What trauma?”
“You know, your Schizophrenia situation.”
And again with the ignorance. I love Tara's simple but accurate explanation of the difference between the two.


Awkward moments with acquaintances who have seen a switch but don’t really understand what’s going on. The patronizing attitudes of the ignorant. It’s interesting that despite the crap she gives Tara, Charmaine sticks up for her to others.

You get to see here how being emotionally overwhelmed opens the door for another to come forward. I thin I need to do an entry apart from the USoT entries discussing the emotional compartmentalization that occurs here and is displayed by the switching. Tara couldn't deal so the calmer Alice stepped in.

I had a lot of these situations with acquaintances, especially with neighbors. Some were supportive and others were like the bitches from the school. One went so far as to go out of her way to bring up my mental illness every time a conversation didn't go as planned. It's like she needed to feel superior at all times. Stephanie eventually had a conversation with her that effectively ended any future contact with the woman. Thank God and Stephanie.

“You’re so co-dependant!”
“It’s called love, Bro!”
 Okay, I'll admit there's some co-dependence working between Max and Tara. Fact is, MOST marriages have some aspects of co-dependence. The difference between a marriage relationship and unhealthy co-dependent relationships is that one can function and work and the others is destined to explode. I just wish I could articulate exactly where the line exists.

The dainty music with the rock undercurrent while Alice is baking. I love it! The accompaniment music for each alter is so fitting. As is the music at the end of every episode. Diablo Cody and her minions did and amazing job there… from indie to classic rock to everything in between to fit the mood of each individual episode. It would have been kind of nice to have a soundtrack playing to my life. Might have made things a little less confusing for the family. Oh, it's shit fit music. Best keep a distance.

I never really had to deal much with The Crew introducing themselves by name to people outside our closest circle of friends. Part of the function of DID is to keep the chaos hidden and that includes not letting on there are many in one. It defeats the purpose. That habit of Tara’s alters is one of the details that irritated me in the first season.

Alice putting the bitches in their place though. Can't say I disapprove.

“It’s time to start loving Oral.” LOVE, LOVE Max’s face after that line.
Psychological dressing down.
Stephanie did something similar to a school psychologist about 10 years ago. The arrogant woman went out of her way to talk to all the school people involved in the IEP but literally turned her back on me. She discussed all the plans of how to help Daniel while only occasionally tossing a comment over her shoulder about "the mother".
Eventually Stephanie stepped in. She stood up and moved to sit where the psychologist could no longer avoid her. She then proceeded to remind the bitch who the mother was and that whatever her opinion, it would take teamwork between family and school to give Daniel his best shot. She very clearly and very... courteously made it clear who was calling the shots with regard to Daniel. After she'd had her say, the entire air of the meeting changed.

It was awesome.

“Tara’s not equipped to manage to manage this family at the moment. Now, we’ve all come to a consensus, and I think you need me right now.”
I call Bullshit. My guess is Alice took advantage of Tara being overwhelmed and decided to make a coup.

While Alice had no real business taking the matter into her own hands, I have to admit, I don’t blame her one bit for washing out Kate’s mouth. Also, the graceless ingrate comment is probably something Tara would have liked to say herself.

Max comforting Tara instead of Kate. At least Kate had Marshall.
That's a scene played out all too often in our house and I regret it. No, can't change it and one day I'll fully forgive myself... but too many times Charlie put his effort into comforting me when the kids needed him as much or more. It's that damn squeaky wheel... and kind of explains why Kate was so impulsive and destructive in her choices. She had a lot of competition for some attention at home.

“You know, someday, if everything goes the way I’m hoping, I’ll be here all the time. Won’t that be fun?”
Mutiny, mutiny, mutiny. I had some who tried at times... but as their desire to take over had zero to do with what was best for family, we all fought it hard.

Max trying to smooth things over and pick up the pieces. He’s good at it. Must be all the years of practice.

Alice and Radcliffe.
Stephanie had her own history too. Stephanie was born of short stories I wrote in my early teens. It's actually pretty common for alters to have an entire history separate from the host. It's a way of denying they are part of one person... and often the 'history' gives a clue as to their function, abilities and world view. Real or not, knowing an alter's history is a valuable part of getting to know them.

I'll finish this entry with what, again, is an incredibly poignant moment... when Max meets Alice's eyes. Searching.
“Nothing, just looking for someone.”

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Charlie is much better. I'm still a bit worried about what we'll hear from the cardiologist on the 22nd... but for the first time since his diabetes diagnosis 10 years ago, Charlie has gotten his glucose under control. I can't put into words how proud I am of him.

Things are very weird these days. I can remember thinking that at some point on the future, DID would not in any way be a part of my daily life. The way things are right now, it will be part of our lives for a very long time. That didn't come out right... but I'm too mentally and physically exhausted to explain it so it doesn't sound like I'm complaining. It's not a negative thing. I'm simply dealing with it coming from a new direction.

One of the projects is getting the house under control I'm happy to report it is actually progressing. We may not end up on an episode of Hoarders after all!

Building a pen this week so we can have more ducks and chickens. Decided it's worth the money to order ducks I know are female... so maybe next fall/winter we'll have ducklings. Also, wondering if it would be possible to convince the neighbors a pair of miniature sheep are just weird looking poodles...

The kids are all doing well. The grand babies are growing too fast and 3 days off simply doesn't seem enough to catch up on all the family time I want.

I've found that reading through old writing as I post to The Crew diary is mentally draining enough to kill inspiration for current writing. So tonight, I'm scheduling entries for the other diary and tomorrow, I plan to kick butt on some Tara entries.

For now... sleep.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Busy Making Other Plans

You'll have to go here my facebook page to read the latest entry. It's public.

It's not bad news. Blogger is just being a douche.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Deconstructing Tara: Aftermath Pt. 1

Deconstructing Tara: Aftermath

“Having Multiple Personalities is like hosting a kegger in your brain only you’re passed out cold while everyone else is just trashing the joint.”
Reese was always too concerned with “being in the way” to leave a mess. Stephanie would scour the house when she was pissed. For me it was less hosting a kegger than an endless sleepover for a bunch of elementary school girls.  We had Stacy and her Barbies (which she learned quickly not to leave out because my daughters would play with them and lose stuff), Amelia and her crayons and paints and any of the other littles with their precious things... Over the years, they each were given a few belongings of their own. From the Braille tablet and stylus for Laura to the mind-numbing amount of stuffed animals the youngest of the young adored. Oh yeah, I could tell who had been out by what had been moved around or left out in the open.

It was never quite as bad as Tara deals with. I think part of the reason for that is my Crew was expected to behave as part of an already large family with 5 young kids. There was an almost built in sense of protecting their belongings from “sisters” or “brothers” that would get their hands on them and leave them in less than good condition. I vaguely remember a couple of tantrums from Amelia and Stacy about “those other kids” borrowing their things without permission.

No, it wasn’t so much a kegger for me as it was the Dugger family, without the sense of order and discipline.

Family Meetings-
Oh sure. We tried. When the kids were younger it was easier. They loved talking about and to anyone in the Crew who happened to be around. They had grown up with it, had their own favorites and knew Mom needed the details afterward. They also got a kick out of sharing stories about the others. We’ve always been a story-telling family and filling me on the actions of the Crew was an opportunity to tell a story.

As they grew older, the meetings became more difficult. Trying to keep everyone’s attention (including the Crew’s) for more than 10 minutes was an exercise in frustration. We also fell into the habit of only really holding family meetings when the kids were in enough trouble they all needed to hear the same thing at the same time. It’s no wonder resentment built towards such gatherings in my house.

I homed in on the detail that T smokes menthol. In the first episode we see Buck smokes reds. It was kind of a head shaker for me because for the first year or so after diagnosis, I caved and let Stephanie and Reese have their own cigarettes. I was buying full flavor, lights and ultra lights. I eventually begged both girls to please just deal with one flavor. I didn’t care if they cut or took off the filters… it just made no sense to keep buying something different for each of us.

“It’s that’s really good we can discuss this as a family. It doesn’t have to be weird.”
“It’s weird.”
Kate pisses me off SO much. If I’m honest about it, I think Kate hits all the guilt buttons. Looking at her I see al the anger and resentment my own kids, especially my oldest, never felt they could express. All those “I’m fucking up my family” feelings rise up and try to choke me when I see Tara and Kate together.

“Look, we knew when you went off the meds the whole gang would resurface.”
“Yeah, Multiple Personality Reunion Tour.”
… “Anyway, I can’t… we can’t begin to understand why you need them unless we let them show themselves”
Meds and DID- It bothers me how often DID is treated with anti-psychotics. The doctor treating me when I was diagnosed had no experience with DID. His immediate answer was Risperdol, a medication then used to treat Schozophrenia. If I hadn’t had such severe side-effects, there’s no telling how long I’d have taken it. The side-effects were a blessing in disguise because I’d already locked the Crew behind a wall for 7 years. It would have been damned cruel to medicate them into silence just as we were coming to know them.

Some medications can help in treating DID. Anti-depressants, anti-anxiety and even some of the older anti-psychs… but it’s a crapshoot and not an answer. Meds should aid in treatment, not be the treatment. The idea of doping up a patient to make them easier to deal with sets my teeth on edge. But then, before the Wall fell, I’d already had plenty of experience in being medication into oblivion for the sake of making me easier to deal with rather than better… so my perception here may be skewed.

When it comes down to it, DID might exist in tandem with depression and a whole host of other problems but the DID itself is a trauma response and not a biological illness. You can use a medication the way we use Advil, to ease pain… but if you aren’t dealing with the source of the pain, what’s the fucking point? You can’t deal with the source using a drug as the main tool. Not with trauma disorders.

“Last thing you need is to worry about my stupid school stuff.”
It sounds like Marshall is being helpful in trying not to add stress to Mom’s life... Let’s not even go into the issue of kids feeling the need to protect their own parents or be the parents… but when I first saw this episode, my immediate sense was Marshall either didn’t trust his mom to follow through in a helpful way or didn’t trust she could do it without switching.

Tara trying to talk to Kate about sex- Ugh… More guilt. Seeing it from the outside, I realize my efforts to be cool mom probably made me look even more an idiot to my kids. I know much of that is normal parent/teenager stuff but like Tara, I have a hard time truly believing it’s not me failing in some way.

“Evil fucking Bratz Doll.”
I can’t think of a better way to describe an angry, teenage daughter. I’m still worried things are too screwed up for the “adult daughter” with children friendship thing… but there’s hope.

“And tomorrow, I’m gonna talk to Marshy’s teacher and we’re gonna get that straightened out as well.”
Oops. Cat’s out of the bag. Marshall doesn’t want Mom talking to his teacher. What a horrible, horrible feeling… and all too familiar. It’s that stupid guilt thing again.

“It’s like they don’t even want me around when I’m me.”
“Please, it’s all you.”
Forgetting for a moment Charmaine’s comment… It’s been how many integrated years now and I still feel that way. Like I’m not good enough as I am… or I’ve screwed things up so badly there is no healing or forgiveness. There’s also the fear they simply liked the others enough that I’m… I don’t know… boring and 2 dimensional in comparison.

Thing is, it’s STILL not the kid’s job to reassure me there. At some point, I have to get over myself and move on. Most of my kids are adults now. It’s time to let them think and feel what they choose and to let them accept the consequences for their choices without looking at it through my useless guilt filter.

And again, less than halfway through an episode and I’m pretty sure this entry is as long as it needs to be. Perhaps it would ease some worry to accept that, for now, there’s enough to comment on in each episode that it’ll take more than one entry to cover it all. Ease off on the self-imposed pressure and deadlines and give myself a break…

Yeah, I crack myself up.

In That Order

Really Blogger? I type in a perfectly good, snark entry and you EAT it again?
It's time for you to go on a diet.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Just Sayin

I will not allow typos in previous entries to stop me continuing to write. Typos can be fixed LATER at my LEISURE. I will not allow the lack of punctuation and capitalization in the Crew entries to stop me posting them. Just do it.

Rinse, lather, repeat. 

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Deconstructing Tara: Pilot Pt. 3

"Why can't she just stop?"
That line, uttered by Charmaine, was enough to nearly send me over the edge. I already knew the character was going to be my least favorite but... seriously?

I guess it makes sense to include someone who makes such asinine statements. Anyone who has battled an addiction or unhealthy behavior pattern has probably heard that question. The same could be said of anyone dealing with mental illness of any kind. I've even heard "Snap out of it." in regards to depression. It wouldn't be remotely believable as a story without someone questioning the validity of the protagonist's struggle.
Didn't stop me wanting to reach into the tv and throttle Charmaine.

One of the biggest battles multiples face outside their own mind is dealing with the overwhelming degree of ignorance there is related to DID. Even now, jokes that confuse Schizophrenia and DID simply piss me off. I still fight the urge to get in the offender's face and set them straight. I guess ranting about that topic is what subtweets are for...

After Charmaine's conversation with Max, the show jumps to later in the evening with T trying to seduce Max. I can't intelligently address that particular hazard (in relationship with a multiple) because I was blessed to avoid it. The Crew was, for all intents and purposes, asexual. There were a few times when others came onto Charlie but most of the time it was about shocking him or pushing him away.

There was one... A teen who was never named, who assumed sexual favors in exchange for kindness was the expectation. To Charlie's credit, he was never tempted. Some how he managed to put all the Crew but me into the emotional category of being foster children. He only ever wanted me, Marisa, no matter how seductive the behavior of another.

All that said, the scene between T and Max came off as plausible and well handled... especially the direct jealousy expressed with regard to the amount of "airtime" others were allowed. We not only went through that often over the years but as a former deejay, airtime was a commonly used term for us too.

I love the idea of a shed or other such place for an alter to go cool off. Despite my issues with seclusion rooms, it would have been nice to have a place to send an unruly alter. It's the equivalent of sending her to her room. The closest thing to that for the Crew was going behind the back fence at our old house.

Kate reminds me so much of Krys in her anger, sarcasm and defiance... Also in her seeming preference for asshole guys. (Mikey, Krys' ex, will come up later) I hope when my kids talked about my others (which they weren't supposed to do but did anyway) their friends were more supportive than Kate's douche bag.

Max's "Welcome back" when Tara joins him in the shower is so familiar. It still amazes me how much truth and reality was put into this show. For those living with DID in their lives, it could be hard to separate the entertainment factor from the reality factor... as I frequently saw on message boards and forums dedicated to USoT. Multiples and loved ones would enter debate about realism while those who had no direct experience would shout that it was just a tv show and who cares about reality!

I can't think of any other program where reality and entertainment were so artfully intertwined.

"I want to thank you for being such a strong, supportive kid."
"We're lucky, Mom. Because of you, we get to be interesting."
I had countless such conversations with all of my kids over the years. The most memorable with Krys when she compared our intact and loving family with all the broken, addicted or violent families of her friends. Like earlier in the episode when Kate points out the implants her boyfriend's mom has. Every family has its shit and my kids were quick to point out their preference of our particular brand of insanity over that of other families.

I'll try not to spoil that assurance by mentioning either Marshall's possible undercurrent of sarcasm or my own fear my kids were suffering a form of Stockholm Syndrome.

"Am I high?"
For all the seriousness of DID, there is a reason this show was billed a comedy. At this point, in part because writing about out is helped by playing it at the same time, I've heard this line more than a dozen times and it still makes me giggle. In my situation it was more often realizing I was drunk put hung over... but I can relate all too well... and let's face it... it's better to laugh about it than to cry.

Speaking of waking up...

Yes, I'm skipping Tara and Max's moment from the night before. It will come up in future entries... No pun intended. Also, do you really want to read my every single thought about 36 episodes? It could go on forever. I'll spare you for now.

The quiet exasperation on Tara's face as she wakes to see her freshly painted black toe nails is brilliantly done. The wide range of emotions displayed in that wordless few seconds is brilliant.

When Tara is delivering the costume for Kate's recital and sees the boyfriend treating her roughly, her reaction, to me seems like that of any mother in the face of a jerk treating her daughter in a rough manner. Between the anger Tara must feel and the reaction of an embarrassed Kate, it's no wonder Buck appeared.

He didn't jump right in and take over... first he got away from the situation and made an effort to  decompress by planning to go to the gun range. In typical Protector form, it never occurred to Buck to tell Max what happened at the school, nor why it was Tara wouldn't be around for the recital. Protectors don't ask for help... they can take care of things on their own, thank you very much.

Despite the apparent selfishness Buck displays here and his asshole demeanor, he was really only looking to let off some steam for Tara's sake.

Having said that... I HATE the way Buck talks to the kids. Much was said about my kids to others, usually Charlie and people in the treatment team, but my others didn't make the kids of disparaging comments Buck makes to Marshall. I have no idea how typical this is in a family with a multiple... but I'd have gone batshit if I found out Stephanie treated any of my kids the way Buck does Marshall here.

If I try to be objective, I can acknowledge Buck's attitude as being an expression of what makes him him. The badass, vietnam vet (Stephanie had her own history too) who believes in me being men, blah, blah. Still, it annoyed me.

I do love the idea of the gun range being "guy stuff". In different ways, we had things like that for the Crew. Midnight runs to Wal-mart with Krys were a time for Reese and Stephanie to hang out with someone their age. Saturday mornings were Cartoon time with Daddy (Charlie) for the littles, etc... It's good to have that for a system. It gives the personalities a sense of belonging that can be valuable in learning to cooperate.

"I did watch him. I watched him leave."
All I'll say here is Bravo to Marshall. While it happened often enough for us, I always hated the idea of having the kids basically "babysit" my alters. It's an unfair responsibility to put on kids. The need parents, not to be parents.

There's plenty of time later to go into stories about when Stephanie stood up for my kids, so will just say I adore Buck for taking on the boyfriend. It is why he had no intention of stepping back and allowing someone else to go to the recital. He was going to take care of things. Marshall sticking up for his sister reminds me very much of my kids.

The Crew all had an unspoken pact to, as far as was possible, not give themselves away in public. They only identified themselves to people the knew (or believed) the could trust. So a very public situation like the one with Buck never happened for us. According to the girls, they were never publicly embarrassed by the Crew. Seeing Buck at the recital makes me VERY thankful for this.

Later, at the bowling alley, you get a glimpse of Buck's ability to be responsible. He doesn't allow Kate a beer. He tries to give her advice, in his backwoods goofy way. He also makes an effort to bond with Marshall, in his unique, Buck way.

The beautiful irony of the last scene shouldn't be expanded upon. I'll just leave it as it is...

"It's weird how Buck's a lefty and none of the others are."
"Yeah, that's one weird thing."