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Bethany G. Paget

Midwife of words

Month

July 2014

The Light Between Us – By Beth Morey…. Oh and a giveaway

I met Beth last summer and seriously my life has not been the same.  We are kindreds.  I cannot imagine my life without her cheering me on in the background, nicknaming me Anne Lamott and the way she has supported me through my journey.

Recently Beth wrote a book.  In ONE month.  To me this means she’s a badass writer and some cojones.  I read the book as a beta reader and fell in love.  It is a gentle and sweet tale of unconventional love.  Which is just what we need sometimes.

I told Beth I would post a review on my blog (see above) but I also wanted to host HER.  I emailed her some questions regarding her writing process and the book itself.

Even better one random commenter will receive a kindle version, just for commenting.

Also…….. Slight Spoiler Alert

Now to introduce to you, my dear friend Beth Morey and her book “The Light Between Us”

 

  1.  You’ve written several other novels for NaNoWriMo correct?  What was different about this book?

I have!  I think what was different about this one was me.  I believed in myself and my writing skills and my story.  I took myself seriously, as a professional.  For the first time, I think, I saw my dream of being a published author as an important thing, for me if no one else, and went after it.

Also, I think the evolution of the publishing industry since I wrote my previous novels helped.  Traditional publishers are offering their authors less and less support, and indie publishing is becoming more respected.  The idea that I’d be able to keep full control over my book and not have to ask someone else’s permission to have the career I wanted was and is very energizing.

 

  1. Where did the idea for a romance novel come from?

My father-in-law, of all people!  He is a published indie author himself as well as a screenplay writer and, knowing my love of words, has been encouraging me to go after my writing dreams for as long as I’ve known him.  And early this year, he mentioned how he’d read on a fellow independent author’s blog how lucrative romance writing is.  Curious, I read a few self-published romance novels and thought to myself, “I can do this.”  And I did.

 

3. I know you wrote the book in a short period of time.  What helped you to stay focused and disciplined?

Paying to put my son in childcare.  Oh, and, uh, fear.  My husband and I are lucky enough to have found a situation that our son loves, has great teachers, and isn’t super expensive . . . but even so, it’s an investment.  And I’m afraid to waste that investment of both time and finances.  So, even when the writing is damn hard, I do it, because otherwise that’s a good chunk of change down the drain, not to mention the time missed with my amazing boy.

 

4. Did you ever think of changing the ending to where the two main characters don’t end up together?

Yes, definitely.  Although I set out to write to the typical romantic trope of happily ever after, I couldn’t help but write a love story that’s a little more challenging and messy and painful than most novels in the genre, because that’s what life is like.  And my story took on a bit of a feminist life of its own.  I seriously considered having Ruth and Derek finishing out the story separately, but in the end decided that would be unfair to both my characters and my readers.

That said, I do have a sequel in mind . . . so who knows what could happen next for them.  😉

 

5. Do you have any advice for writers that are diving into their first novel?

Just do it!  And have fun.  And just do it.  Keep going.  Get support from trusted friends and loved ones who will cheer you on and remind you why you’re doing this when it’s hard.  You were and are one of those people for me, Bethany, and it’s a priceless gift.

 

  1. Tell us more about self publishing.  I know it’s the new thing to do right now.  Any tips?

The amazing thing about self-publishing is that you gt to keep total control over your book, and take home all the profits.  It’s really powerful.  But there’s a flip side – as a self-published author, you are also the one responsible for the whole project, from editing to formatting to marketing to cover design to distribution . . . it’s a lot.  It’s more than it seems – definitely more than I expected.  And if you screw it up, you’re the one and only person who’s going to get hit.

I learned this the hard way regarding editing.  I thought I could edit my book all by my lonesome, and that was a huge mistake.  I ended up missing lots of copy errors – and releasing my book with those glaring errors included.  I got a couple of scathing reviews thanks to that, and even the positive reviews mention the poor editing.  Oops.  Like, mega oops.  As you might imagine, I’ve already hired an editor for my next book.

 

However, though I didn’t exactly have the most flawless book launch ever, I’m so glad I did it.  I pushed a book out and got it into readers’ hands, and I did it largely myself.  And this is an accomplishment that I will never quit being proud of.  Regardless of sales or reviews, I’m living the dream, because I’m pursuing my dream.  This, for me, is what makes self-publishing truly amazing.

Told you she rocks!!

Leave a comment about with your favorite part, if you have read the book already OR leave the name of your favorite romance novel.  Contest ends Thursday the 31st. 🙂

 

Beth writes, paints, and dreams in Montana.  She is the author of The Light Between Us, a new adult romance, and the creative healing workbook Life After Eating Disorder, and is also the owner of Epiphany Art Studio.  Her words and art have appeared in various publications, such as Somerset Studio, to linger on hot coals, Still Standing Magazine, Wild Goslings, and Disney’s Family Fun.  In addition to her quirky little family and their three naughty dogs, Beth is in love with luscious color, moon-gazing, and dancing wild.   She writes soul into flesh at her blog, and is saving the world at Act Small, Think Big

Dear Abigail

Dear Abigail,

Today is your eighth birthday.  These 8 years have flown by but they have also felt very long.

It was December 2, 2005 at 315pm that the nurse called and said my pregnancy test was positive.  The joy I felt was unexplainable.  There were not good things happening in mommy’s life when I found out I was going to have you. But as soon as I heard the news I felt from God that this was the path I was supposed to be on and that everything was going to be okay.

Things hadn’t been good with your dad for a long time either and even though I quit doing some of the dangerous things that I was doing.  Your dad didn’t and things weren’t safe for you or I so I left.  I know that decision hurts you now, as you think about him.  One day I will be able to give you more o the truth so that you can make your own decision. 

Your life started with a flash.  First you weren’t ready to be born and then BAM! You changed your mind, decided you wanted the 27th to be your birthday and made your grand entrance into this world.  The first few minutes were scary.  You were a little blue and needed to be prodded. But then those beautiful lungs screamed and I knew.

You were here.

I was so tired after you were born.  But I think I had tired for a long time.  I wanted to have that bonding moment that so many mom’s seem to have I just wanted to eat and get cleaned up.

When they brought you to me and I looked at your little face. Your nose, your big puffy lips (like mommy’s) and those big, brown, puppy dog eyes.

I was instantly smitten with you.  Our time in the hospital together was spent snuggling, eating and me in awe that I had a baby.  I was still amazed that God was going to give you to me as a gift, I just didn’t understand then what that meant.

I did not know how to be a mom Abigail.  I knew only what my mom had done and that wasn’t something I wanted to repeat on her, but somehow I did.  I can’t say that I didn’t know any better is a good excuse.  I made some seriously horrible choices for so many years.  I didn’t know what or why I felt the way I felt.  The thing that made it scary was I thought it was a lack of faith or sin in my life.  I believed it was and tried everything in the church and the bible to change.

Those things weren’t the only kind of changes I needed.  I needed to discover why I was just so angry and controlling in our relationship.

I made the choice to start therapy in 2011 because I knew that our family was in trouble and that I needed to make some serious changes.  You were important enough to me to know that repeating vicious family cycles.  I wanted our relationship to be something different.  So I started therapy, started learning why I was so triggered and hurt and sad.

Once I started to make changes, things started to change with us.  It was nice.  Then when you started therapy things got better.

I don’t want to dismiss the things I did or the kind of mother I was.  I deeply apologize to you for the kind of mommy I was for the first six years of your life.  There were serious things going on inside mommy’s brain and I took it out on you and that was not fair.  I love you to the ends of the earth and back and remembering that I hurt you, hurts me.

I am working really hard now to be the kind of mommy that you deserve.  A mommy who listens, hears you.  I want to be the kind of mom who helps and allows you to make memories, have fun, learn amazing things and grown up knowing and never doubting my love for you.

Every time I call you my baby girl you get mad at me and I can see why.  You want so badly to be grown up and I am doing what I can to respect where you are, show you empathy while also being firm and loving.

I really want to make sure that you do not have the kind of childhood that I did.  I want to make sure you know without a doubt that my love for you in unconditional, not dependant on your behavior or if you have struggles. 

You are heard and your opinions to me are valid and worthy of being said.  You may have a wild, spirited streak a mile long but it serves you well now and will really serve you well when you are older.  Your sense of humor is unlike anything I have seen and though sometimes it gets you into trouble; it never fails to make me laugh.

We have grown in our relationship baby, you trust me now and I believe you know that I love you like crazy.  The redemption and grace that I have seen cover us is nothing short of a miracle.   I loved you at birth, the first time I saw you and the day I knew that you were going to “be”

As you have grown there have been our differences and struggles.  I have learned to ebb and flow with those changes.

With you being eight, and having this awesome personality we have a blast.  The conversations we have, the jokes you tell and the pranks you pull make me think of the child I wish I had been.  I know I cannot live through you but being your mom has given me the chance to be a kid again and make new memories.

I get to make them with you, which I wouldn’t have any other way.

I love you Abigail, more than all of the ice cream in the world.

As Always,

Mama

iPhone 009

On this day

PicMonkey Collage

I wasn’t ready

He knew that

Trusting me anyways

My finite, human self

Being given a gift of life

When I had no hope

Her presence slammed into me like a wave against a wall

I repeated what I knew

I was so tired

Walking away into the darkness felt right

The Spirit came in like a gust

Settling like softness

Forgiveness showed her beautiful face

Redemption showed me her birth was foretold

Faith allowed my eyes to see this was about her

Not me

This lioness was mine to raise

One day, I’ll set her free

Sure that we’ll hear her roar.

As Always,

The sniffing, sobbing Bethany that I cannot believe her baby is 8

Puff Puff Pass

I am a marijuana user, but I am not a stoner or a pot head or any of the other insults that are thrown our way.

I have a legitimate medical condition (Chiari Malformation, leading to brain surgery) that leaves me with constant debilitating headaches and nausea.  It is to the point right now that I cannot work, according to my neurologist and he predicts my disability to last one year.

When I was diagnosed with the Chiari I was in so much pain I was immediately put on narcotic pain medications and benzodiazepines for muscle relaxation and pain.

After surgery I went home on Morphine, Oxycodone and Valium.  I depended on those medications to heal and also to keep my pain at bay.

I had surgery in February of 2013 and was almost headache free for five months. 

Then they came back.

With a vengeance. 

I had been off the painkillers for three months when I went back on them because I couldn’t work in pain.

I was also doing physical and speech therapy at the time.  I

The therapies were helping but I was still blinded by the pain.  I was trying to work full time, raise a child and heal from effing brain surgery.

I saw a doctor one time in December because I needed an emergency appointment.  He decided that he didn’t agree with the long term use and immediately said I was going to stop them.

So I did and I spent the month of December in withdrawal, including Christmas but I knew it was the right thing.  The headaches subsided for a little while and then I got hit with another flare that started in February and it’s been non stop pain.  First we threw every medication that we could think of at it to at least make me comfortable. 

Then my neurologist figured that the headaches were being caused by too much medication.  So we stopped everything.  Which had me in sheer agony for two months, and I’ve had brain surgery so agony is no secret to me.

Because of the Chiari and the degenerative disc disease I have permanent nerve damage on my right side, I have no gag reflex, I have constant nerve pain running down both of my legs and the headaches I am left with are better, but still leave me debilitated.

My primary care doctor and I stated to discuss marijuana, medical of course as a treatment option.  I have known of and believed in it’s benefits for years.  We discussed how beneficial it would be for my pain and health issues but we also discussed the negative side which is simply – I have an addiction history, is this smart?

But when I think about all the other medications I have been on.  Morphine daily, Oxycodone, Percocet, Valium and Ativan I can’t help but think that pot is better, safer and cleaner than any of those medications.

Marijuana use medically is so stigmatized because it’s a medication that makes you feel good.  But so do opiate pain medications.  I also realize we are in a pain pill crisis with more people, esp young kids abusing them.

I also know the recreational pot scene, pot is now 100% legal in Colorado.  I suppose you can say there are the stereotypical stoners who sit on the couch all day, eating anything covered in cheese and saying stupid shit (think “Dude where’s my car)

That’s not my scene.  I went to a doctor and explained my condition and pain to him.  He knew of Chiari which helped because not many people do.  I was approved for my card which means I can have a certain amount of marijuana on my person and if I chose to grow I can have a certain number of plants.

When I go to the dispensary it’s heavily regulated and monitored.  My ID and registry card are scanned and I go behind a locked door.  It’s safer and more regulated than alcohol.

Which brings me to my next point.

I have seen the dangerous (several) affects of alcohol.  What it does to families, people and the community when a drunk person kills someone.

Marijuana doesn’t have those problems.  You still cannot drive while high, a driving under the influence of drugs charge gets the same consequences as a DUI.

Opiate pain medication says the same thing, yet it’s widly used and some I would say think of it as a benign medication.  But it’s not.  The body becomes dependant on opiates within weeks.  Tolerance increases but the pain isn’t relieved as well.  That isn’t because the person is taking too much or abusing it.  It’s a natural bodily reaction to an addictive substance.

Nothing like that happens with Marijuana.  I have however seen the effects of someone who smokes all day everyday for years.  It really is like talking to someone who isn’t fully there.  But have a conversation with someone on opiates, short or long term and it’s the same thing.

  However for someone who uses it medically, for specified conditions doesn’t have that reaction. I can actually function when I smoke, which is bare minimum.  I’m able to cook, clean and do the dishes.  Not everything feels so overwhelming I am able to live life.  Without it I would be bedridden most days, rather than 3-4 a month when I smoke.

Buuuuuuuuuuuuuut

It’s so commonly stigmatized because of the way pot, and the people who smoke it are viewed through the lens of that Cheech and Chong stereotype.  I also believe there are those are morally opposed and truthfully I am not debating whether or not Christians should smoke pot.

I know I don’t smoke it because I want to get high.  I personally prefer low THC high Cannaboids.  With that there is less of a psychogenic effect but the pain relief qualities are there. 

I don’t want to hide behind a secret stoner curtain anymore.  Because I’m not a stoner. 

I have two severely painful medical conditions that leave me debilitated and I have found a medication that works, that doesn’t kill my liver or my stomach. 

I have hope that they pain is going to end one day.  Being able to live my life, move around, start exercising and being able to participate with the people I love.

I suppose I could judge if you want, deuces and toss up my middle finger.  But that isn’t cool.

I hope that more people can start to understand marijuana and it’s amazing benefits.  Like with seizures.  I have a nurse friend whose 3 year old gets the non psychoactive Charlotte’s Web for her seizures.  She went from having more than 20 a day to a few each week.

I hope you won’t throw stones at me.  I am doing the best I can to care for myself and medical marijuana helps me do just that.

As Always,

Bethany

The God I Miss

I miss God.

I miss knowing that his presence will never leave me.  I miss the tightly held assurance of salvation.  I miss being able to read my bible without getting triggered (that doesn’t always have to do with the bible) I miss going to church every Sunday and hearing Abigail talk about Sunday School.

I miss the excitement that came when a truth really sunk in, and not in a superficial way.  I miss that thickness of the Holy Spirit, never leaving my side.  I miss sitting in the quiet, darkened sanctuary before service would start and whispering deeply held prayers to God.

That’s the god and the faith that I miss.  I still long for that on a daily basis; and half of what I was hearing and believing was false.

I don’t miss the heavy performance based relationship I had with god.  It was performance based and I remember feeling like I had to thank god everyday for his sacrifice or my salvation wasn’t worth anything.

I don’t miss the person I became because of what I believed.  I fell hard for the conservative Christian, republican rhetoric. It seemed to “make sense” to me and I was so hungry for a family that I would eaten anything spiritual they put in front of me.

I don’t miss having to stifle my identity.  I *partially* loved my good little Christian ministry personality.  I have cheerful to the point of weariness.  If you don’t do the shit with joy then you are not really showing people Christ in difficulty.

I don’t being told I was over dramatic, strong willed and stubborn.  Or feeling like I couldn’t explore certain things because A: it wasn’t Christ like and B: grown ups don’t do those things.

I am talking about things such as getting my nose pierced, tattoos, the way I dressed.  My emotions were always shut down.  I was told by a former mentor/friend that “I needed to put on my big girl panties and deal with it” when it came to my trauma.  It seemed as though she wanted me to walk the exact same path that she had.   Having my physical appearance being judge through the lens of Christ was disheartening.  I felt like who I really wanted to be was shut down because I was a grown up or a “good Christian woman.”

I don’t miss the god who convinced my house parent to cheer me on as I threw away over 75 cd’s that were unholy.

I don’t miss the god that I felt demanded me to spend hours with him just so I would reflect his character throughout the day.

I don’t miss that performance based god at all.  The one who people swore the loved him and then treat his children with disdain because of their choices.

I knew he was real, I watched my life change; it was a life that I had unsuccessfully change myself for many years.  There were still a lot of things that I kept off limits and trauma that had been buried in my sub conscious came rushing out. As it turned out I had a Jesus image on the outside but on the inside I was miserable.

My heart really started to change after my trip to Africa in the summer of 2012.  I don’t want it to sound cliché or trite but Africa really did change me.  It wasn’t so much the poverty or lack of basic necessities.  Those things impacted me in a big way.  What shook me to my core was our worship experiences together.  Church in Africa blew me away.  Singing with ne instruments except hand made drums, the voices of his people a nation away joining together.  I got chills.  Whether we were in that small, dirt floor church or the bigger one the praise of God was the same.

They praised him and thanked him for every.single.they had and even those things that they didn’t have or were waiting for.

They were thankful.

I realized when I came back church was not going to ever be the same.  It wasn’t.  I would keep attending church through my sickness and surgery and even started to teach Sunday school last semester.  I started to become uncomfortable with what they were teaching and how the adults responded to the children.

I finally stopped attending in October. We tried Nadia Bolz Weber church for awhile but it was too far, and at night and with school/bedtime it was overwhelming.  Then my car broke down so now we really can’t go to church.

I don’t think I am ready yet anyways.

I think right now my church is writing, the different books I am reading, the conversations I am having with all sorts of people and the experiences I am having.

I saw God on social media yesterday.  I found out my electricity was set to be shut off if I did pay the full balance.  I have been there before when I was with Abigail’s dad and I got extremely triggered.  I put a shout out on Facebook and Twitter about it and within hours people had donated enough for me to catch up on my electric bill but I can also pay my cell phone bill as well.

That was god, the God I know I love.  I have seen him come through in many situations.  My whole battle with Chiari; if there was not a god I loved I would have gone nuts.  It was then that I saw that I needed to find out who God was on my own.

I couldn’t listen to other people tell me that Jesus is always faithful; I had to find it and see it myself.  I have.

I had to go through a sifting period.  There were so many things I believed in the past that were keeping for seeing the God I see today.

But sometimes I miss that old faith.  It was controlled and structured.  I always knew what I was going to get.  It’s scary to leap out on your own and just believe.

But I am willing to leap.

As Always,

Bethany

Pro Life, Pro Choice, Pro Education

The battle inside my soul about abortion has been going on since Junior High. That is when I was really heavy into Jesus and youth group. Naturally I learned to believe that abortion was wrong. We never told why it was wrong, only that you never got one or were in the position where that would be a necessary procedure you were automatically a sinner.

I am thankful I never got pregnant during high school, I had a scare or two and I would have had a tough choice to make. A 16 year old with a baby growing up in an abusive family would not have fared well.

I always considered myself pro-choice. Meaning that I don’t know if I personally could have an abortion but I do not believe it’s the governments right to tell me what I can and cannot do with my body.
When I became a Christian it was automatically assumed that I would switch sides and become a pro choice advocate. In the house I lived in they constantly used my story to show that keeping the baby is possible, that you don’t have to have an abortion.

Yet the way I heard these women talk about it and how they would talk to the women they counseled it was almost forceful. Like “you have to keep this baby or else” Yet they didn’t offer much hope for after the baby was born.
There was always an uncomfortable feeling in my chest when I thought about abortion. I knew in my spirit that what I was hearing was wrong but wanted so badly to please God and others that I went along with their anti abortion rhetoric. I “knew I needed to be pro life”
For some being pro life is about saving the babies. I understand that, I really do. When their only motive is to save the baby but then leaves the mother high and dry by cutting her benefits; how pro life is that?

Those that support the death penalty are often pro life when it comes to babies. I know there are several arguments about innocence versus guilt but to me if you’re going to claim prolife status then it must carry across the board.
There are too many children being born into households that cannot always afford them. And before you start the birth control topic, it’s even expensive at Planned Parenthood.

I believe there are so many other things so that we as believers can grow together and not be so divisive on this issue.

There are several things that will help (I don’t have exact statistics or numbers) lower the number of abortions and help raise healthy families and healthy children.
There needs to be a much more comprehensive education about sex. Abstinence only doesn’t work. It becomes a white knuckle battle to get to the altar. Many people getting married these days are young and inexperienced when it comes to sex. Either they didn’t get a proper education at home or the school taught it in such a text book way that the information wasn’t always accurate. I also know from several home schooling families that they don’t teach comprehensive sex ed. Instead demanding they stay pure as they hear at home about being a sinner for premarital sex.

Where I stand right now is being pro-woman, pro education and access to birth control. People (teenagers) are going to have sex if they want to, regardless of their faith or not. The least that can be done is to educate them and make sure they have the access to birth control and STD testing as much as possible.
I wonder if the more education that is provided to teens and women at a higher risk of having an abortion would change anything. It would make sense to be that if there was better access to WIC, food stamps, low income childcare and birth control. I tend to believe that those things would reduce the number of abortions.
I honestly do not think Roe v Wade will ever be overturned. As a woman, a feminist and a rape survivor I stand by each woman’s choice to do what she feels necessary for herself. Domestic violence rates go up among pregnant woman as do murders.
Then there was the personhood movement trying to get voted in. It sounded great on the surface but as you read deeper a woman could lose her baby an go to jail for using. Not that I agree with that at all but if that personhood amendment were to pass it would keep women who are pregnant and addicted from seeking treatment.

I know women who have had abortions and it has wrecked them for a long time. I also know women who’ve had abortions that, though they are sad and remorseful they have been able to move on knowing that they made the right choice.

It’s not a choice that I would ever want to make. When I found out I was pregnant with Abigail, abortion never crossed my mind. If I had been in a different situation or if I hadn’t truly believed that my life was going to change I might have looked at other options.

The truth is that each side can battle about abortion until they are blue in the face but nothing is going to change unless our sex ed programs change, we drop abstinence only education and make birth control more accessible.
I believe that the number of abortions would drop if those things were mandated at school and if parents would step up and be honest. That’s mostly directed towards the Christian purity culture that makes sex seem dangerous until one is married.
Poverty plays a big part in this battle. The very people who need the benefits or the raise in minimum wage are the very same people who contemplate abortion. I am not saying its right or wrong. I am not anti choice and I struggle with identifying as pro life because in the evangelical world it’s just about the baby.
I won’t vote against Roe v Wade because I think that it helped make strides for women in claiming choice over their own bodies. It also gave us the right to stand up for ourselves. I want to believe that the hope back then was “I don’t have to let a man decide my future”

I know we still live in a male dominate world however I think some amazing stride have been made by females, and males alike.

I hope that these strides continue, I hope that women all over the world will stand up and say enough is enough. We have so many strong, female leaders right now that it gives me hope for my daughters generation.

As Always,
Bethany

He Wrecked Me

Dear Jeffrey,
I don’t remember meeting you, however you always said you remembered meeting me. I remember our first kiss, your lips and tongue on mine. I wanted it and gave in. Gave into you; all I wanted was for you to love me the way I loved you. I don’t think you were or are capable of that given our current circumstance. She’s 8 Jeffrey, where the fuck have you been for the 4 years. You fucker. I came in like a wrecking ball into your life and really all you did was wreck me. You said to me that nothing would ever tear us apart. You said that to me as we were living in an apartment with no electricity. None of thThis was the beginning of our downward cycle. I thought I was valuable to you, so I believed you.

Now I sit here on a donated, gifted trip watching your daughter sleep I weep. I am remembering you and who I thought you were and who you actually are. I love you but I hate you. I love you because you gave me a daughter, I love you because you loved me in the way that could and gave me what you thought I wanted. I love you because I love you and I probably always will. I hate you because of the abused I indured from you. I hate you because you made me feel like trash and unworthy love. You put me last always. So that’s why I hate you.

Even if Abigail wasn’t 50% you biologically I would love you because you gave me courage (in your twisted way)to leave. I wonder if you caused me to leave on purpose because you knew you could never be the man that Abigail deserves to call daddy. I haven’t even ever thought of that before but maybe you pushed me away on purpose rather than throw me out. Then again it always took someone else to do all of your work for you so I did what you could never do. I left; I may have looked back three or four or a hundred times. I left to give our girl a better life Jeffrey. And you just demolished it; like your father before you, you chose the cowards way out.

As I lied in bed with our daughter last night, breathing in the deep scent of her hair I realized you will probably never know that scent. You’ll never know the scent of her morning breath or the way her genuine kisses of love make your heart go pitter patter.

She misses out on the Father Daughter dance and donuts with dad at her school. She tells her friends that we got divorced because she doesn’t want them to know that your have chosen to not be here. WE have adapted to our lifestyle of mommy and daughter.

You know how I feel about ultimatums but when it comes to Abigail there has to be strict boundaries. Yet I don’t think any of that is possible because at 41 years old you aren’t able to follow through something on your own.

I gave you the chance to stay, clean up and really show me that you are willing to change, for her. For your daughter Jeffrey; the one whose name is tattooed you had tattooed on your home. You don’t deserve t mark her name on your body. You’re not a father, you don’t get to “claim her” like you tried to claim me.
Choosing to be so in and out of her life has been devastating.

You made your choice and I don’t know if it was out guilt or just that you didn’t want to be a father.

Maybe you are/were the great love of my life. Not that I won’t ever find love again but that you were the one who taught me what a relationship is and isn’t. Not that we ever had a relationship that fell on the spectrum of healthy. You showed me how I don’t want to be treated anymore.

I love you because you didn’t chase me, even though I wanted my movie moment. You know how I have always felt about my movie moment.

I never thought that ten years later I would be sitting alone, with our daughter lying inside peacefully asleep and that you wouldn’t be here.

You were always supposed to be here, remember that? I said it in the beginning you told me in the beginning that “nothing would ever tear us apart”

I think several things tore us apart.
Drugs
Selfishness
Physical and Sexual abuse

I didn’t realize how abusive you were until I left.

Now I do.

I really hope someday that you get the help you need and can heal from the abuse you suffered. I may be incredibly angry with you but I have a certain amount of empathy for you. Simply because I know that you were just repeating what you went through when you were younger. However that doesn’t make what you did okay, or excuse the abuse but moving into an empathic place allows me to continue moving forward and healing.

As of this point I haven’t spoken with you in 3 ½ years. That’s when I told you it was all in or all our. You choose out. I cannot change that. I can ease my daughters hurt, answer her questions about you with grace and do the best job as I can to give her the love, nurture and support she needs. This is a hole in her heart where you should be but you don’t belong with us.

I never speak poorly of you to Abigail, when she’s old enough and when the context is right she and I will talk about it. I want her to be able to make her own decisions about who you are and if she wants a relationship with you.
I cannot stop that then but for now I can lie down strict boundaries and protect my girl.

As Always,
Bethany

The Hardest Part

***TRIGGER WARNING, DESCRIPTIONS OF RAPE***

it was October 31, 1999, I was attending my freshman classes and getting used to campus life. Being away from home was like a get out of jail free card and a “what they don’t know won’t hurt them all one.
Once I started college my drinking escalated quickly. I was drinking at least five days a week and would consume a half gallon of vodka in that one night.
I knew I had a problem; I started becoming the drunk who cries and begs God to make it stop. Drinking consumed me. My friends started to worry about me and make comments. I let them go because I was 18 and I could “do what I wanted”
I will admit to making risky choice my when I would drink. I would go home with guys I didn’t know, I’d wake up passed out in unknown places and give my body to whoever wanted it.
On that Halloween night I had decided to dress a disco queen. I was wearing tight black pants and a gold sparkling tank top. When we left to go out that night I felt invincible and on top of the world. It was my first college Halloween and I was sure we were going to have a memory making night.
Besides myself there were four other girls in our party. We went from frat house to frat house drinking at each. I am not sure at what part of the night we decided to go back to a friend’s dorm room. One of his suitemates was a guy named Adam. He always gave me the creeps but there were other people in the room with us so I didn’t feel as uncomfortable.
I did notice that he kept trying to give me more to drink. I knew I had already had plenty and was babying the one I had in my hand. He wouldn’t take no for an answer though.
He left the room 30 minutes after we got there, saying he was going to check on a friend of his. I stayed and drank some more with my friends before I decided it was time to go home. My dorm room was on the other side of the building. I had to walk across and then go up to the fourth floor.
As soon as I turned off the elevator Adam came out of someone’s dorm room. It was almost like he had been waiting for me. Later, after some years went by I realized that I had been set up by not only him but his roommate as well.
He followed me to my door and when I said no that he couldn’t come in he tried to manipulate me by saying “Oh I will only stay a few minutes” or “you look like you need help getting into bed.” I believed him, of course I did. I was drunk. He came in and sat on my bed and tried to listen to me blubber about how I just tried to commit suicide the week before and how lonely I was.
I wonder if that’s when he realized that he would have a challenge. He asked me if he could kiss me and I said no. The next thing I remember is lying on my bed, without someone having sex with me without my consent.
I couldn’t of consented even I wasn’t intoxicated because to me consent was a foreign language and I grew up not understanding what consent was or that I had the right to my own body. I attribute that to growing up being sexually abused.
When it was over he got up and left, left me lying on the bed wondering what had just happened. The first thing I did was take a shower because at that point I didn’t think I had been raped. I just wanted his stench off of me.
It was the next day when talking to a friend that I realized that he had raped me. He set it up with his roommate so he knew where I was and when to start following me.
I never told people about it, it felt like my fault since I had been drinking and I didn’t technically say no. In the coming years I would be in rehab or another hospital and they would talk about how certain behaviors and situations make it more likely to be raped.
I choked when I heard that, because even knowing now that no matter what I am wearing, if I am drinking or invite him in, it does not excuse rape.
Not in the slightest.
He never said another word to me after that. I did find out later from someone who was in the room that his plans that night were “to fuck me.”
It’s been 15 years and I have finally gotten to the point where I don’t think about it as much. Yet when you layer trauma after trauma on top of the human soul and spirit one abuse leads to another. Meaning the way I think about it and how it affects me. I don’t have flashbacks from that rape anymore but when I was raped again two months ago those old lies of it being my fault came back. I couldn’t help but say to myself “well you were drinking again and you invited him in, it cannot be rape”
But it was and it is.
As Always,
Bethany

Unconditional Love

July 26, 2006, I was nine months pregnant and oh so ready to meet my baby girl.  It had been a long pregnancy and the struggles I had with her “father” left me ready for her to get here.   My induction and labor lasted over 36 hours, non eating hours that is.  By the time she was born I was so tired but felt guilty for saying that.  I needed to sleep and process the fact that I had just given birth but I felt like I needed that hallmark, messy nursing baby story.

Our time in the hospital was fraught with allthepeople that wanted to come see us (her.)  I never really had a moment alone to breath her in, take in the face of the baby I created and absorb new motherhood.  None of that happened. 

Honestly I don’t think I had many moments like that with her.  At least until she was older.  They would come out of nowhere when I would look at her and realize that she was in fact my daughter.  Part of her is my DNA, my spirit and my very being.  There are times now that I look at her and I am awestruck by the little girl that grew from my chubby cheeked six month old to my as tall as me almost third grader.

It’s taken my quite the journey to get to the point where I can see those things in her.  I have shared before that the first several years of our walk together were difficult.  I was repeating what I learned from my parents and was raising her out of total reactivity from my PTSD.  That doesn’t lift the responsibility from me to continue walking forward and making the changes I need to so that she gets the mom she deserves.

I think about how I feel about Abigail and I could never imagine hurting her.  Now or as an adult she will always be my child and I would do whatever it took to protect her. 

Thinking about the way I feel and relate to Abigail makes it difficult to not look at the way my mom was with me.  There was blame and taking sides.  My voice was never heard and anything that went wrong, even in my mom and step dad’s marriage was my fault.

I could not escape from the feeling that I would never amount to anything and learned very quickly that my place in my family was limited. 

I left at 18 and only came back once or twice.  It no longer felt like home and my parents never felt like there was a deep, intimate love.  There never was that kind of love but after all of my problems started it seemed that they completely withdrew their love from me.

When I moved back home in 2006, when Abigail was three months old I honestly thought that everything was going to be fine.  I had stopped doing drugs, I had a baby now and was ready to move forward.

It seemed as though that was possible for awhile but after being back in their house made it very apparent that nothing changed on their ends and that nothing I could do, except for saving them myself was change our relationships.

I finally started to see the truth of my childhood and reflect back on the truth after I had been away from them for awhile.  It is certainly a painful thing when you realize that the childhood you just thought was normal was in fact abusive and damaging.

It was then that I started to walk away from my family and made the final split in September of last year.  It was the best and healthiest thing I could do for myself and Abigail. 

My parents weren’t very good at respecting my boundaries.  One night I was sick and in bed and Abigail got a hold of my phone and called my mom.  I hung up because of my boundaries.  That was the first time that my parents called the police and said that Abigail was in danger.  Everything was obviously fine and the deputies left, keeping my parents from coming near my apartment.

Then a week before Abigail and I left for Portland I had a note from a Human Services case worker on my door step.  She wanted to talk to me about Abigail.  Aparently someone made allegation abuse based on a blog post I wrote.  It was taken totally out of context though and the other things that the reporting brought up were things I haven’t struggled with in at least 10 years.

I was broken hearted over this.  I couldn’t figure out who would do something so vile when everyone I know and that knows me can see that Abigail is not a victim of abuse.  I tried to let it go and have fun on our trip. 

However it nagged at me who would report something like that, and two and two came together and I realized it was my parents who made the report.  Since I haven’t seen them since last year and they have no contact with us there is only one reason I can think if them doing something like that.

They want Abigail, that’s all it’s ever been.  My parents don’t take to kindly to people setting boundaries and the only thing I can think of for why they would do that is so the case worker would call them to take custody of her.  Granted she’s  eight and isn’t on her own.  However I can not imagine being that manipulative towards her.  I know that my parents have their own deep issues, that they have never been willing to seek help for. 

If they felt so strongly about what was in the blog post (which was taken out of context and the rest of the blog was skipped over) then I think they could have spoken to me about it.  Asked if I needed help or if they could help us get on our feet again.

But they didn’t.

They called and reported me to CPS ( which I was cleared of anything ASAP)

When I think about how much I love Abigail and would always want the best for her I cannot imagine treating her that way.  I do and would always want the best for her.  Not to put her through devastating and traumatic events.

I know that I did the best I could with what I had in my first few years as a parent.  I also believe that my parents did the best they could with what they had.  Unfortunately they never grasped what it meant to change and being loving, healthy parents.

I know there are people that have lost parents and that is a grief I cannot understand.  But I am grieving my own kind of loss with having to make the choice between being healthy and trying to maintain co dependant relationships with my family. 

It breaks my heart that my words were used against me and part of me wants to be passive aggressive and write a snotty post about it, seeing if they’ll read it.

Right now I am just focusing on the love I have for Abigail and the knowledge that I will always love her unconditionally and without manipulation. 

As Always,

Bethany

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