Bethany G. Paget

Midwife of words



Needing Community

My girl and I are going through some really hard times. Hard enough to were we may lose our apartment. There are bigger things at play, my chiari is still causing me debilitating headaches. Leading to being told I have to file for disability.

Our lack of vehicle makes things difficult as well. Rent is another thing. I had a housing grant that was cut this month.

My friend Caleigh set up a gofundme page to help with rent, necessities, bills, hopefully a car and a move to Portland.

The two years have been hard, brutal for us and we need some peace and light.

Here’s a link to the page

As Always,


I will stand


I write this for my friends who have been sexually abused or assaulted and are afraid to talk about it and the shame it brings.

I write this to tell you that, that shame is not yours to carry, this isn’t your burden. You carry it yes but you did not put it there.

The person who perpetrated against you put it there.

That fear of going to the rape crisis center because you don’t want to talk about it, I walk next to you because I am there right now.

I write this for those who don’t have contact with their blood families because of generational lines of abuse.

I write this for those who have experienced their children being sexually abused.

I write this for those who feel the justice system failed them.

I write this for those who have seen their abusers go to jail.

I write this for the ones who still cannot walk away, because the abuse doesn’t feel or abnormal.

I am sitting with you, you who are still being abused and don’t know what to do.

I write this for those who continue to be abused, spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically. For those who aren’t sure if what they are living with is abused.

I write this for those that now struggle with chronic health problems because of what trauma does to the body.

You who like me, takes a handful of medications every morning, noon and night just to keep the pain at bay.

I pray for those who are not able to go to therapy.

Those who go weekly and sit on a couch and cry, I know those tears.

I hold the hands of those who have spoken out because they know that bringing it into the light will bring healing.

I also hold the hands of those who don’t want to tell anyone because they are afraid of losing the relationship.

I will walk with you truth bearers, light bringers and those who walk in hope.

I will walk with those still afraid. I will hold your hand as we walk together in through those doors where hope will be sitting at a table of other survivors.

Fearful ones stand up because you are not alone, Not for one minute. The person who hurt you can no longer have that power over you.

I will pick up that sledge hammer with you and knock down those walls of fear that we both carry.

I am with year dear one as you wake up with sheets soaked from nightmare sweats.

I will walk with you, hold your hand and sit on the floor with you.

You are not alone.

As Always,


Sons of Anarchy as Family

“Riding through this world all alone
God takes your soul, you’re on your own
The crow flies straight, a perfect line
On the Devil’s Bed until you die”


I have been watching Sons of Anarchy.  I originally tried it months ago but one of the opening scenes was incredibly triggering and I had to turn it off. I decided now would be a good time (or maybe not) to try it again.

I am finding that I love it.  I realize it’s dark and there are themes that are terrible for some people.  But I love it.

And I figured out why.

Because they are all about family; protecting family, loving their families and making sure that justice is served.  I know in real life that family is probably not a biker gang but there is something alluring about it when you have never had a nuclear family.

I did grow up with my parents but I wouldn’t call us a family.  It was them, my mom, step dad, brother and sister…….. And then there was me.  I was always on the outside looking in, feeling like I didn’t belong and at times being told I don’t belong.

I didn’t have protection; my own parents were my abusers.  Anyone I turned to for relationship or safety either wasn’t in the position to take that on (teachers) or they were not people who stayed in my life for a long time.

So watching this show and seeing (albeit illegal and reprehensible at time) the way they love and protect their family and those that hurt them.  I’m thinking in terms of, though what they do is dangerous and illegal; they love their family and they show them by protecting and always having their back.

That’s where the allure is. It’s not to be a biker’s chick or be a part of a family that beats the shit out of a drug dealer for selling crank to his pregnant ex wife.  It’s to be protected and loved.  To always have someone watching my back and protecting me if I when and if I need it.

I know that I cannot always be protected.  I see this in my own life now that I am responsible for protecting myself and Abigail.  As an adult now of almost 33 I still long to be protected.

I gather that most of it is about having someone to stand up; to advocate for me and honestly, deeply loving me.

I don’t doubt that there are people who love me; I am experiencing a gigantic part of that love now as I sit here writing this post from a beautiful front porch with my coffee.  There is still that griefs that it’s not love from my parents I am receiving.  It’s the love of a community of people who have banded together as a tribe of hooligans to love each other.

The hard thing and trite as it may be but you cannot truly love anyone else until you love yourself, for me that includes sitting in the freshness that I am also deeply loved by God.  Seriously, try sitting for 30 seconds and mediate for 30 seconds on the fact alone that you are DEEPLY LOVED by God.  It’s mind boggling.

So Sons of Anarchy; will I keep watching?

Probably, I have enough warnings from people to know when it starts to get dark.  For right now its how I am witnessing and processing each episode with my own grief.  It’s incredibly painful but so necessary.

As Always,


Don’t Worry it Wasn’t Zombies

When I wrote the two posts about how I was drugged and raped (mine and the one for Micah’s blog) I did it because I honestly needed my community to know so they could stand beside and support me.  I didn’t realize that it would be like opening a Pandora’s box of vulnerability and added emotion within my soul that would shatter me.  I later described as taking the bandages off of an infected gunshot wound and having all of the pus come pouring out.

I have an extremely detailed trauma history which includes sexual abuse and repeated rapes.  So being raped again brought back each and every memory in the form of anxiety attacks and flashbacks.  I was entirely numb the first week after it happened, a defense for which I am now thankful for.  The terror came when the #yesallwomen trend hit twitter that Saturday night and the reality of what happened sunk in to a place in me that I was unable to handle.

By Sunday, which was eight days later I knew in my gut that I needed to report what had happened.  I couldn’t bear the thought of him doing this to another woman and not getting caught.  I had amazing support and without that I do not that I would have been able to make it through the reporting processes.  It is incredibly painful to share the story of what happened multiple times.  I left with several different resources and a prescription for Ativan for anxiety.

The new week started and I was trying my best to hang onto reality but I couldn’t.  Not that I was losing perception of whom and where I was rather the anxiety and flashbacks were so bad that I was dissociating nearly every day.  I was trying my best to take care of not only myself but Abigail too.  The issue lied in me telling her that it’s okay that she can have ice cream for breakfast.  I wasn’t eating or getting off the couch except to go to the bathroom.

That Tuesday night the 27th I didn’t sleep at all, I tried called the RAAIN hotline at 2am and it was busy (which made me sad) I was in the midst of a constant anxiety attack and the flashbacks were hitting me one after another.  That morning after Abigail got on the bus I tried to rationalize that I was okay to stay home.  I called my therapist because I needed someone to tell me what to do.  My decision making skills were nil by that point and fear and flashbacks had taken over my body.

I finally decided that I needed to check into the psychiatric hospital.  Not because I was suicidal.  I have been down that road way too many times.  It hurts too many people.  I had to go because I absolutely could not take care of myself or Abigail and that was scaring me.  I have no one in my life that can be a back up parent and if I am not at 100% she suffers.  So I went in, did an intake and by 530 last Wednesday night I was a patient at Highlands Behavioral Health.

I felt major shame in being admitted back into a mental health facility.  It had been since early 2005 since I had needed that level of care.  I also was carrying shame about the rape.  There was shame and anger that right now he is out living life while I was behind locked doors.  I was away from my daughter and only able to make phone calls at certain times.  I felt guilty that she didn’t know that my friend was picking her up from school early and she was expecting me.  My friend has two little girls but I know that once she settled in it did get better.

With all that I knew I was in the right place.  The psychiatrist was able to start adjusting some of my medications, taking me off of the ones I really did not need to be on that are ineffective and putting me on some that help with panic, anxiety and flashbacks.

The hospital isn’t too bad.  I mean despite the fact that you cannot have strings on your pants, your own hair and body products and the worst……. No pens.  Pencils only and they were the stubby little golf pencils.  I know why they make those rules.  It is for safety and usually because someone has tried something with say a pen so now we a relegated to golf pencils.

There are always people that become fast friends because everyone is in such a raw vulnerable spot.  I believe that can be a good thing.  It gives each client someone other than their psychiatrist or therapist to talk to and sometimes the clients, having been through similar things can offer a different perspective and a different kind of hope.

The staff was amazing, by far the kindest of any hospital I have been in they knew what had happened and showed a level of empathy that I needed.  The stigma I felt attached to me being in the hospital was that I had slipped back to old Bethany.  However I know that if I hadn’t admitted myself I would have made choices that would have affected both Abigail and I and I am not willing to make those choices.

I said in a facebook status right after it happened that I have never dealt with a rape or my sexual abuse sober or without resorting to some sort of self destructive behavior.  This time I am feeling every.single.feeling. that pushes it’s way in and flows over my body like a tidal wave.  When I talk about it I am still very detached from how much it hurts.  Yet five minutes later I’ll be overcome by a wave of emotion and break down on the floor sobbing.

I know that all of these emotions are okay, and expected to be felt.  Checking into to hospital was the best thing I could have done.  I was able to get my medication figured out which was really nice because my doctor at Kaiser doesn’t seem to have the time to that.

I honestly do not know what is next.  There isn’t enough direct evidence to charge him, it’s all circumstantial.  The detective in charge of the case said it’ll stay a deactivated case meaning it can be reopened at any time if anything suspicious pops up.  That also gives both Abigail and I access to the crime victim compensation fund.

That’s where things stand now.  I am working each day on just doing the next right thing.  Sometimes that’s hour by hour, sometimes I can go longer.  I have great outpatient support and I am not going to let this take me down.

That bastard doesn’t get to have the final say.


As Always,


Sacred – The Dark and the Light. A Guest Post by TC

I first met TC through an online blogging workshop we were both taking.  We just kind of clicked and turned out we had a mutual friend so our relationship blossomed from there.

Back in February I was joking around one night, posting on Twitter movie quotes and I said that the first person who gets the quote gets a “free” guest spot on my blog.  Ha!

Turns out several people commented so I decided to run another series.  The word sacred has had several different meanings for me and as my faith ebbs and flows my definition runs with it.

Here to kick off our two month foray into the word sacred and it’s many meanings is TC:




There’s something about a cliché that makes my eye twitch.

…Maybe not literally, but you get the idea.

It’s the same with Christianese and those answers all neatly packaged that serve nothing except to shut down conversation. If I can shut you up with a tidy answer, then I don’t have to entertain your idea as valid. If I lift the drawbridge, then your issue with a certain doctrine or theology shall not pass.

There are those who don’t need to wrestle their beliefs because they’ve arrived at an understanding that soothes their questions. However, there are also those who can’t be in the same room with questions because then they’ll be forced to look that question in the eye, and if they do that, the other questions will line up behind the first, and the faith that seemed to sound, so solid, could get tippy and unstable.

For an example of a lousy cliché, let’s take the beautiful idea that we will never be given more than we can handle.

(This can go hand in hand with the verse that says God will not allow you to be tempted past your endurance, but will always provide a way out. (I Corinthians 10:13))

In the instance of “handling it”, I call bullshit.

We are given more than we can handle, sometimes way more.

Some people don’t handle it – some people don’t have the resources to do so and it isn’t right to expect it of them. Some people could no sooner lift an elephant barehanded than be asked to “handle” one.more.thing.

Some of us are bleeding.

Some of us have heads thick with sorrow.

Some of us buzz with indignation, anger and offense.

We can’t in good conscience be given anything else to handle.

The thing that’s the killer, the thing that makes this both beautiful and infuriating is that many, many times, when we can’t handle it, those are the times when we’ll let someone step into our lives and help us.

Those are sacred moments.

Those are moments I like to avoid.

I don’t want to be in a place where I need help. Darn my pesky individualism but I want to do it myself. I don’t want to be pushed past my endurance. I like being capable, I like managing, I like getting it done. To be unable to “do it” – whatever the “it” is – means admitting a weakness or a shortcoming. However understandable the circumstances, however excusable the reasons, I don’t want to be weak. I don’t want to be pitied. I’d rather pity the fool while wearing thick gold chains and a Mohawk than be the fool myself.

As someone who generally manages and putts along just fine, to be in a place of need is uncomfortable.

Regardless of how uncomfortable, it is also a divine position.

It is a place where I finally allow others to express God’s care for me. It is a time when I stop controlling everything and let God shower me with his provision, his love letters that arrive in the details and the little things.

Sometimes I need to be the guy on the mat.

Relying on the faith of others

Do you know this story?

Jesus was teaching in a packed out house, no room left inside, people leaning in the windows, not even any more standing room. These guys in town had a friend who was paralyzed, and they wanted him to be healed. So they haul this guy on his mat up to the roof of the house. They work and strain and pull away tiles or hardened mud or thatch or whatever they used for roofs in that area. They’re dirty. They’re sweating. And they’re disruptive – there’s no way to be in the room below and not notice something funky going on with the ceiling. Finally they get through the roof and carefully lower this paralyzed man through the hole. I imagine him being kind of folded up at first, like he’s sitting in a roll-away cot or a pull-out couch, until he’s far enough down for the ropes to clear the hole and straighten out his mat.

They lower him down and Jesus forgives him, which causes a stink with the religious leaders. Then Jesus goes to something that is probably like yawning to him, he tells the man to get up and walk. And the man does it. (Luke 5: 12-23)

Here’s the deal: sometimes I need other people to carry me. For any number of reasons, I find myself unable to walk, unable to believe, unable to bear up under the burden of it for one more day. And even if it is in a mystical, transcendental way which I don’t understand, I need to rely on the belief of others to shore me up until I can walk again. This is the place where the sacred visits the scruff, where the divine stoops down, gently smoothes back my hair and offers a cup of water to soothe my scratchy throat.

It is okay to need help. It is okay to be unable to handle it. In those times of need and exhaustion, Jesus himself tucks his head and slings my arm over his shoulder, places his strong arm around my back, and helps walk me to a place of safety and rest, a place I could not get to by myself.

I’d be wise to accept this, rather than limp along under my own power, but how often do I shun the assistance of others or muscle through it, jaw clenched, heart racing?

Much too often.

And why? Because if the acceptance of a sacred mat requires me to be unable to walk, too many times I have crossed my arms, stayed on my feet and been unwilling to see it for what it is:

a holy opportunity for the sacred to draw near.

What holy opportunities have you been offered lately? How did you receive them? How do you tend to cope when given too much to handle?

Like a Wrecking Ball

Joking about how I don’t remember the month of March or that I have missing pieces.  Now laughing that I’m finally living the Hollywood dream of Botox is my way of making a really shitty circumstance seem pale in comparison to what the last year and half really was.

I have only shared the story of my brain surgery once and I kept it simple.  I shared mostly how I wish people would have reacted rather than what actually happened and subsequently how my life was radically altered.

In July of 2012 I was angry.  Pissed off and bitter I made sure to let everyone know that I could not believe that God was doing this to me.  I acted as if I was this prized, golden and faithful child of His that surely should have streams of gold laid before her rather than her health ripped apart.  I was angry yes, but deep I didn’t ever think I would be ready to talk about it outside the comfort of my laughable defenses.  down there was that deep seated fear that God was mad at me for not living up to His expectations and this was my punishment.

I felt like Job.

In October of 2012 I was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation, a brain disease in which ones cerebral tonsils are forced through the brain stem and into the cervical canal because the skull is to small.  The area becomes compacted, cutting off the flow of cerebral spinal fluid causing neurological symptoms such as unsteady gait, loss of motor skills, speech and memory difficulties.  The most common symptoms of Chiari are debilitating headaches and neck pain.  My symptoms started backwards.  I started with the neurological then once diagnosed the extreme headaches hit almost immediately.

My first visit with the neurosurgeon through Kaiser was a disaster.  He saw me all of 12 minutes, had not even looked at my MRI or chart before seeing me then proceeded to say he didn’t think I had Chiari but that he would do the surgery anyways if it would make me feel better.

Through a series of unfortunate events I was taken out of his care and moved to another doctor and hospital completely, thank God.  As angry as I was at the time I can look back now and see how it really was God that moved on my behalf even though I was so bitter about having to start the process over, with more MRI’s and a new doctor and different tests.

This whole time Abigail was home with me because before I started to get super sick I had made the choice to home school her.  The worse my health got made having her home increasingly difficult.  By the time Thanksgiving rolled around I was bedridden and taking pain medicine more often than I was up and about.

The same time I was fighting this physical battle I was fighting a spiritual one as well.  I was desperately trying to cling onto these rigid, legalistic ways that had kept me safe for so long all the while God was gently working the clay of my heart into a softer, more gentle and “notsomanyrules” bound follower of Christ.

I wanted nothing to do with it.

He wasn’t only using my time in bed He was also using my work in therapy which just happened to become more intense at the same time.  It was like getting hit on all sides by these waves that felt 10 feet high and nothing I grasped onto was able to pull me high enough to get my head above them.

So I choked on the saltwater of my health, faith and my parenting until I couldn’t do that anymore and I lay in a heap on my kitchen floor, sobbing, screaming profanities and gave up.

I just couldn’t keep up anymore, with anything.  It was December by this point and I knew that in the new year I would be having surgery and that having Abigail home would make recovery difficult.  So I made the choice to put her back in school.  It felt like a death to me to make that choice, mostly because of all the criticizers I had towards homeschooling her.  It wasn’t about them though.  It was about us and what was best.

I was still walking forward in my work in therapy, showing up, working hard and not backing down.    Honestly as hard as it was to do really tough trauma work while that sick I don’t regret it because had I not I believe that my progress would have become stagnant by the surgery and recovery period.

I met with my neurosurgeon on February 13, 2013 and right away we made the decision to go forward with surgery.  He said in my case was is the best option and since my Chiari was progressing there weren’t many other options.  Though Chiari is very grey and rare and often asymptomatic in my case the symptoms were causing so many problems it needed to rectified surgically.  I was lucky enough to get a surgery date for the very next week.

As happy as I was to know that the next Thursday, February 21, 2013 it was going to be over, but then the panic set it.  Throughout the whole ordeal I had been alone.  Meaning I had been taking care of myself.  I did not (still don’t) have a very big network of people in the flesh to walk beside me and help out.  The people that were my community proved to be unreliable.  It was a stinging reminder of the neglect and abandonment that I experienced as a child.

I in fact had to set extremely strict boundaries with them when I was having surgery and coming home because they were attempting to take over, make my choices for me and make my illness about them.   It felt like a slap to the face when people would ask what they could do and then not follow through.  Or ask and then back out.  When I went into the hospital for surgery I still had no idea who was going to be with me at home, who was going to help me with Abigail and I was told that I just needed to be ok with that.

I would say that in a normal circumstance with someone who is used to things working out that, that statement might not have freaked them out.  However I needed to know.  I feared coming home after brain surgery and having to take care of Abigail alone; which I didn’t but the all encompassing fear was there.

The five months leading up to surgery felt like a tug from God and a push away from people.  I sat alone in the midst of wondering why this was happening and hearing people say “Just trust God” and “He’s going to do something SO BIG with this”  Instead of having those that for so long stated they cared and loved me deeply, rally around me.

The trite, overly spiritual sentiments about God, who He was in the midst of my struggle (which was apparently known to everyone but me), were infuriating.  I didn’t want to know what they thought God was going to do, I didn’t want to ask for help only to be turned down repeatedly, bailed out on or controlled.  I wanted someone to sit next to me in bed, to weep with me or to offer to have Abigail come over so I could rest and she could play and not be bored.

I went into surgery elated.  I was ready to get this thing done and over with.  I was ready to move on, heal and start my life over.  Pain had been constant for so long I wanted to know what a pain free life was like.

I came out of surgery in pain (obviously, I’d just had my skull opened) vomiting and asking for my phone.

My hospital stay is a blur (hello Morphine, Oxycodone and Valium)

I did witness some incredible acts of Jesus with skin on which is why I said earlier that I do stand by believing  God meant for me to be moved to a different doctor and a different hospital.  The whole staff was so kind and gentle.

The nurses sat with me as I vomited from the surgery.  There was a CNA who took such good care of me.  She showered me when I couldn’t even lift my arms but needed so badly to be clean.  They answered my questions, made sure I had my meds, if they saw me looking uncomfortable while I slept they would reposition me or tell me to push the magic button (the morphine button)

Jesus showed Himself in the still whispers while I was in the hospital and in those burning bushes that I’ve often asked for.  At the time I know I couldn’t see it.  It took what was about to happen in the coming months to be able to realize just how present He was.

I carried and still do carry hurt over being afflicted with this “thing” I couldn’t have escaped because it’s congenital and sooner or later it would have reared its head.  As much as I wish that I could go back and wipe it all away and relive the last year and a half differently I really don’t believe I would.

I think my anger comes from feeling like I had my shit together before this happened.  I had a good job, was making good money and didn’t need to ask for help so much.  My relationship with God was “awesome” and I was going about my good Christian girl ways.  On the outside everything looked great.  Especially to those who wanted me to be a particular brand of Christian.  Internally there was so much chaos that I was working so hard to keep shelved, organized and pushed down.  Every time I spoke a word about God or His faithfulness it felt fake as it escaped my lips.

When I got home from Africa the end of June of 2012 and everything in my life started to fall apart that chaos started to seep out.  For appearance sake I did my best to stuff it down yet when life hit another brick wall those pretenses dropped and shit became real.

I had to say something to God that I never felt like I could say before.


I never knew He could handle my “whys”

I had always been taught that questioning God or being angry at Him is sinful because “who are we to question the Great and Mighty God?”

As if He was more like the wizard in The Wizard of Oz; a fake little man, hiding behind a curtain.

He’s not.  He is the God of the universe and He can handle anything we say to Him, our temper tantrums and the extreme emotions that come when faced with tragedy.

I sat with the profanity I shouted at Him daily with fists raised, the flared temper and the “I really don’t like you and your ways right now but I’ll be back tomorrow”

I did not have a foundational relationship that was built on seeking my own truth about God.  Rather I took in what everyone around me told me about God, what they told me to believe and because I was so afraid of going back to who I was before I accepted their notions and beliefs.

I had such rigorous standards for myself and a “law book” of sorts that I kept for myself because that is what I thought I needed to be deemed worthy to God.  When the wrecking ball came and shattered life as I knew it I could not keep up with myself imposed rules.   Therefore my relationship with God felt distant and stagnant and then came the anger.

I desperately needed to be filled with a fresh faith; new and alive; a life giving breath from God that was my own.

There is a line in a song by Mumford and Sons and all it says is

“And I was told by Jesus all will be well.  So all must be well”

I was tired of listening to other people tell me that “all would be well” I was hungry for Jesus to tell me, directly to my face that indeed with Him, his way that we would work this out.

It wasn’t well for a long time.  As I sit here and write this, the night before the one year anniversary of my surgery, things are still not well.  Externally and circumstantially one would say they are worse.  But internally and in my faith they are better.

I have a fluid faith, a day by day faith where I know that regardless of what I go through God is with me.  Daily I am trusting that He can handle me and that I am not too much for Him.  I burned that law book and started going outside the box of rule bound, legalistic one way only religion.

I have Hope and Faith and Love.

The Church Thinks it’s a Sin

Today I am posting over at my dear friend Victoria’s corner about my deep struggles with mental health both within and outside the church.

It’s a deep, dark and raw look into where I have been and what I have struggled to walk out of.

I hope you’ll wander over to her place and give it a look, it would mean so much.

As Always,


Columbine Friend of Mine

I have shared this story many times.  With friends, in therapy, like I have shared it over and over; it feels like. Yet I have never shared it publically because part of me feels like it isn’t my story to share. It is though.

I experienced it to a depth that many can never say they have experienced something like this.  I have listened, wept with, prayed with victims.

I have yelled at God in pure, doubtful anger over the tragedy that was and will always be Columbine. This is the depth of my heart. As we go deeper into school shootings, as they seem to get worse.

When the news of Sandy Hook came across the wires and I heard of kindergartners gunned down two weeks before Christmas.  When 26 college students are murdered on a college campus;  when a high school boy goes into a high school five miles from my home and shoots a student because he was angry with his debate coach; and she dies before Christmas.  My heart wretched, it vomited internally at the memories of that day; the fear, the aftermath.

April 20, 1999; that day is etched into my memory forever.  I remember every.single.detail.  It was the weekend after prom, so the details were being around the hall.  You know “the details”  I even remember what I was wearing.  It actually came to me this morning as I was processing in my journal the anxiety I am having about writing this post.

It was my senior year.  We were countdown of days left of school.  30 and we were done.  It was 420 (puff puff pass) so kids were skipping school like woah.

My best friend Sara and I ditched English, went to her house for lunch and as we were leaving cop cars, ambulances and fire trucks were flying down the main road through Littleton.  We thought nothing of it.  Littleton was a safe town.  The biggest thing we were known for was our mega crazy car chases.

Heading back to school around 1230 there were more, and more and more.  Cops.  Fire trucks.  Ambulances.  Something wasn’t right.  We knew.  It wasn’t normal.

Back at school the rumors already were flying.  Drive by shooting.  Gang shooting (in Littleton? No.)

Then it was principal teacher and security officer overload in the main hallway. “Go to your classrooms NOW.  Do not stop.  Go and do not LEAVE” No explanation, just GO.

They obviously knew what was going on and there had been a threat at our school as well (Dakota Ridge, where I went is five minutes from Columbine) also received bomb threats as did most schools in the surrounding area. This was the first school shooting; they didn’t know how to handle it.

Panic mode set it and they shooed us to our classrooms right away.  There was no protocol for this.

Lockdown.  I

Immediate lockdown.

As I was rushed to my temporary building outside of the school I remember thinking oh this cannot be a big deal.  Because big deals don’t happen here, we live in a safe community.

The last time something big happened was when an angry ex husband went to a local grocery store and opened fire.  The sheriff’s officer he shot was the father of a friend of mine. But we still felt safe.  That was a domestic incident.

Once in our classrooms we were given more info; school shooting, bombs, bomb threats at our school; you cannot leave unless a parent comes to get you and signs you out.

I was in philosophy class and my teacher was a grade A douchcanoe.  He had unhooked his intercom.  When my mom had come to pick me up, after she had picked up my brother and sister I could not hear my name being announced over the loud speaker, although I could see her car in the roundabout.

I was trapped.

We had the TV on, watching the ugly, tragic scene unfold before our eyes.  We watched scared as students ran out of a school we play against in sports with their hands above their heads, SWAT and FBI storming the school.  The news ticker at the bottom of the screen at that point was estimating 25 dead.

Phone calls were impossible to make because every parent, student, teacher and person was trying to get through to someone.  I kept calling my mom to have her come back and get me.  I wanted out.  I felt trapped.

I can still, vividly see the image of the students running out of the building with their hands over their hands.  I can only imagine how tragic that was for them.

When we had to go to the bathroom, they called a security officer, took us to the boy’s locker room, but went in first and searched for bombs or any type of threat; came out and said “be quick”

Fear is an inadequate emotion to describe what was running through my body.  It was surreal.  All I could see were those kids running out of the school with their hands up because they did not know who the shooters were.

When the SWAT officer infamously pulled Patrick Ireland out of the window, our hearts pounded with relief.  I know the officer who pulled him out and after Columbine he retired.  The gravity was something unexplainable.

Our whole community was struck in places that we never expected; the next days’ were like an aggressive nightmare that you never wake up from. I finally left school around 5pm, got home to the sound of the phone ringing.  Ringing.  Ringing.

That damn phone would not stop ringing for days.   It just wouldn’t stop.

Out of the woodwork came people who hadn’t spoken to us in years wanted to know if it was my school and if I was ok.

NO, I was not ok. There had been a vicious attack, five minutes away from my school, I was trapped in a building for five hours watching news coverage.

NO I most certainly not okay.

The next days and weeks were like a being high but not high.  There was a memorial made at the park by the school where the nasty, vicious reporters set up camp.  I say vicious because they were.  They wanted a story.

I don’t believe for one second that they cared about what actually happened.  Maybe they did, maybe their hearts broke.  In reality they wanted the story.

We hung out at the memorial.  Leaving flowers and posters, gathering together and holding each other; even holding those we did not know because we needed the closeness. Two guys in the community wrote this beautiful song, which is where the title of this post comes from.  It held us together.  At the public memorials. At the Walk for Columbine.

Everyone seemed to flee to churches, because for some reason God felt safe yet later that would be my biggest questions as to how a loving God could let something like Columbine happen (please leave your answers out of this)

We went back to school after they had all been searched for bombs, weapons and any sort of threat.

I had a month left and then I was done.  If we got school work done we were lucky.  Some teachers were better than others about us letting us process.  Some had a boot strap mentality.

I still hurt, I still grieve.  I don’t understand.

I know that Rachel Scotts (the first victim shot) family set up Rachel’s Challenge afterwards and now they go to various schools and youth groups sharing her message of hope in Christ.  They actually came to the youth group I went to when I was pregnant with Abigail and they showed the video of the kids running out of the school and it sent a trigger through my spine so bad that I had to leave.

The ache it still causes me is a big part of my past.  I carry it.  Every time there is a school shooting I lose it.  I want to grab my baby and hold her tight and scream “NO NO NO, you should not live in this world”

When this last shooting in Colorado happened  I got the email that her school was on lockdown and I couldn’t get her.  I was at Target and I fell down in the baby bottle aisle and sobbed.

Sobbed for Sandy Hook.  Sobbed for Virginia Tech.  Sobbed for the Amish School House. Sobbed for Platte Canyon High school (up in the mountains) I sobbed and panicked that my baby girl was stuck in school and not five miles away (again) there was another shooting.  A boy with such hurts that he felt like his only option was to take a gun to school and shoot.

After the shooting ended at Columbine there were 15 dead, including the shooters.  I include the shooters in the death count because there is a deep reason why they felt that they had to plot a massacre like that.  Deep seeded wounds.

They built a beautiful memorial with the names of all the victims (leaving out the shooters) with quotes, some bible verses and memories.  I like to go there and sit, leave flowers and remember.

There are bricks with words and quotes from students, Bill Clinton, and various others from the community surrounding the memorial.  It’s an almost Holy memorial.  There almost always seems to be a breeze. I shiver and remember and grieve.

I’ll always grieve.

There are some things you never stop grieving.

As Always,


Accepting a Reality That Breaks You

***Trigger Warning Strong Mentions of Abuse of All Forms**

But it’s worth it to read.

I was 22, and I have shared this before that I met him in the Kansas state hospital.  There is so much about my adolescence and early 20’s that is messed up and scary and me landing there is no surprise.  Neither is moving in with a man I met there, 8 ½ years older than me.

I talk about Abigail’s “dad” in regards to him not being here for her and his absence in her life.  However I have never spoken about him in regards to the pain he caused me.  Not just in his leaving and making the choice to walk away from us both but the pain and abuse he inflicted in our relationship.

In breaking reality is terrifying, heart pounding and unbearable at times.  It involves acceptance of what is true versus what was perceived by victims of trauma because mostly we thought what we were experiencing was normal.

There is likely a good majority of trauma victims/survivors who never had their experiences, traumas and abuses acknowledged or validated, when it finally happens it can be a huge struggle to finally say or accept that what happened is TRUE.

This is a place I have started to come to about certain events in my life.  It has been so painful and reality shaking that I struggle to grip and grasp onto saying yes this happened and yes it was bad.

The reason why? I didn’t know our relationship was abusive until I had been out of it for six years and had been in therapy for almost one.  Once I started to see what boundaries and consent are, what abuse actually means and consists of and my brain began to clear up and show me the reality of our relationship—I was able to see the truth.

It’s a painful reality to accept that someone you loved, that you truly thought loved you and was looking out for and taking care of you was actually abusing and controlling you.  He would do things like demand all the change back and the receipt from when I went grocery shopping because he would accuse me of keeping money to go shopping for myself.  His constant insistence that I was his property and that he claimed me was the one thing I tried to fight back on because it made me angry.  I am able now to look back and see that it was triggering a deeper emotion and trauma reaction from my abusive childhood.

Including the trauma of being considering (and told that I was) “the property” of the people who abused me.

I was never wanted, nurtured or loved the way a child should be, deserves to be.  A baby comes into this world, typically to parents who have planned or at least become ready to love the baby coming.  Mine did not do that.  I was a pawn to them. A nuisance who just got in the way or was along for the ride in whatever they needed or wanted to do.

Weekend drunken parties; sure.

Being told that it was my responsibility as a 10 year old to take care of my younger brother and sister; meet their needs.  Even when it meant that my basic needs where not being met; and I was parenting myself.

Being accused of doing things I did not do and being punished for them.  Yelled at and violently screamed at and called names.  Pinned down and having hands around my throat because I refused to continue to be screamed at by the man who was supposed to be “my step dad.”

I tried to leave that night—to go stay at a friend’s, to be safe.  I was scared and he threatened me with calling social services and having me taken away for being a “bad child” or me never seeing my mom, brother or sister again.  When my mom came home that night she took his side.

I never thought that what I was experiencing was abuse because it started so young that I thought it was normal.  Moving in with Abigail’s dad and starting a “life” with him seemed like the next right step.

I shared at the beginning about meeting Abigail’s dad and in my mind it seemed like the best way to “start over”  Here was this man who promised to love me, cherish me and take care of me.

His words were “Nothing is EVER going to tear us apart.”

We started using drugs immediately and it just seemed normal.  I started using drugs at 12.  With the childhood I had it was a safety mechanism.  I coping skill.

The drugs were the only thing that kept our relationship together.  When we were smoking crack, pot, meth or doing cocaine we were “perfect together.”   But when you are high everything seems perfect – ish.  We were relatable and the things we did bonded us.  I am not proud of what I did but I am no longer ashamed because I realize now that it’s all I knew how to do.

This is why I didn’t’t realize that what he was doing was abusive.  His behavior was all I knew.  His sexually abusive ways were so linked to my father and to the other men in my life that weren’t outright abusive; but passive aggressive about it.  His forcing me to do what we did didn’t seem unacceptable or my saying no did not seem strange to me because consent was a foreign word.

His controlling behavior with money, calling me property, showing a complete lack of interest in my declining mental health, not calling me or visiting when I was in the hospital was all normal because that was exactly what my parents did.  The abandonment was made out to be my fault because I was “the crazy girlfriend who needed to know where he was all the time”

Yet when I really needed him he was out the door.  He made the rules, laid down the limits, thought they were unspoken but very well understood.

That form of passive aggressiveness is sometimes almost worse than being hit, or raped or pushed up against a wall with hands around your neck.  You always have to be on guard because you never know when the next strike is coming.

To say that Jeffrey used my abuse history against me and to his own advantage is an understatement.  Jeffrey knew what to say and do to get under my skin.  He knew what he could do to make me complacent and do what he wanted and make it seem like it was what I wanted.

Leaving him was one of the best choices I have ever made.  I walked away and gave Abigail a better life, a life with a mom who loves her and gives her wholeness even though in some circles “we are missing an element”

This clear ability to break through the perceptions of who I thought he was ( a deadbeat biological specimen provider) did not break through until I had already had intense therapy and a broken hearted truth experience within myself of who all three of my parental figures were.

Or were supposed to be.

And it all ties into one you see.  Each layer of abuse I experienced from each person just added another layer to what I had already been though.  Every experience is somehow intertwined with one another and that’s what makes it even harder to break through and accept that reality.

Because I never really knew what abuse was.

It was all normal.

But it’s NOT anymore.


As Always,


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