For the first 50 years of my life, my perfectionist self mistakenly believed it was all about knowing more, getting it right, planning, attempting to prevent bad things from happening, and keeping all of my chicks in a row. It took me this long to discover that the JOURNEY is all that matters. This quote from Gilda Radner sums it all up:

"I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next.

Monday, October 31, 2016

What A Difference A Year Can Make!

I wrote recently about my daughter Annie's struggle with depression over the past year.  It was about one year ago that she reached her darkest point. When I logged into Facebook last night, I received one of the greatest gifts a mother can receive.  My daughter, Annie, had written a new post in her blog.  In that post,  I read these words:  

"I often struggle to wrap my head around the stark contrast between who I am now and who I was exactly one year ago now.  I don't feel I've returned to the Annie who existed prior to depression; instead, I feel like an Annie who has been put back together in a new, happier, healthier way.
What a difference a year can make!"

While Annie has seemed so much happier this fall,  we were very aware with the start of a new school year that there could be setbacks.  We check in with her often, and I know she makes an effort to do the same.  That, in itself, is so different than a year ago when she avoided talking with us. It sometimes would take days to get a response from Annie from a text message.  

When I read those words,  I really believed them.  I've seen for myself the extra sparkle in her eyes.  I've heard the lightness in her laugh.  I've felt her energy and enthusiasm for life.  I've noticed her positive attitude.  But I wasn't able to relax into believing it all - yet.  Until now.

Please look at these recent photos and see for yourself the newer, better Annie who has been put back together!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

My Own Experience with Sexual Assault

With the events of this past weekend and the release of the Trump video where Mr. Trump brags about his ability to use his power and stardom to make unwanted sexual advances on women, I have been reminded of an event from my own past.  

I was 15 years old.  I was home alone during the day.  

My dad was very active in the Democratic Party in Burlington.  He was also very Catholic.   Before he met my mom,  he was in the seminary with the goal of becoming a priest like his older brother.  And he was Polish.  While working for the Democratic Party, my father became friendly with a fellow Pole. He was younger than my father.  He worked as an orderly at the hospital, and he was also very Catholic.  In fact, he became a "Brother" in the church (I'm not exactly sure what that means).  I think my father felt sorry for him because he was also legally blind and could not drive.  His Polish nickname was "Stosh".

Over the years, Stosh came to the house now and then, often showing up after drinking a few.  He was loud.  I thought he was obnoxious.  I also remember that he seemed as if he liked my mother and thought she was pretty.  I didn't like him much.

One summer afternoon when I was home alone,  Stosh walked up the driveway and came to the door.  I told him my parents weren't home, but he came in and sat down at the kitchen table.  He had been drinking.  Being respectful, I sat at the table and talked with him.  He asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.  At the time,  I was considering going to medical school and told him so.  Being an orderly at the hospital,  he obviously wanted to spout his incredible medical knowledge.  He asked me if I knew all of the "pulse points" and proceeded to show me.  The first pulse point was on my wrist.  I knew that one.  Next, he put his hand to my neck to demonstrate that pulse point.  Then he asked me to stand up, which I did.  He said there is another pulse point, and the next thing I knew he was putting his hand inside my shorts.

In that split second,  a lot of things went through my mind.  I knew it was very wrong, but he was a 6 foot tall man and I was a 96 lb little waif of a girl.  He was a friend of my parents. He was a Brother in the church.  He was drunk.  I didn't want to make him angry.  In my naivety, it never crossed my mind that he could actually rape me.  But also in that split second,  I heard the sound of our car coming up the driveway - and so did he.  My older sister had come home.  He removed his hand and I went upstairs to my bedroom. 

I didn't tell my parents right away.  I was embarrassed. When I did get up the courage to tell them,  I was surprised when my mom asked me what I was wearing.  It was unbelievable to imagine that this flat-chested, naive 15-year-old girl may have been enticing this man.  I don't know what went through the minds of my parents.  Maybe they made allowances for him because he was drunk.  Maybe they felt sorry for him because of his disability.  I don't know.  What I do know is that he continued to show up at the house from time to time over the years and they continued to be friendly with him.  

I watched and listened to the video of Mr. Trump, I was disgusted.  I am sick of powerful men, who are so full of themselves,  thinking they have a right to do and say whatever they want.  I'm sick of people, men and women, who are willing to make allowances for this kind of behavior.  

This is not a political post.  If you know me, you are aware that I am a Democrat through and through.  This video has not changed my vote because Mr. Trump never had a chance of getting my vote to begin with.  

But if Mr. Trump represented the Democratic Party,  I could not vote to put him in the Oval Office.