Back in the Saddle Again

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Well, I failed at my first attempt at blog-keeping. As it turned out, selling/building/moving house, starting grad school on top of working full time, and the ending of a relationship were too much all at once. Ah well. The important thing is to get back in the saddle after spectacularly falling off, right??

I’ve been thinking about the blog lately, because this month (March) is Self-Harm Awareness Month, and I started this blog off with a post about my butterfly tattoo on my worst scar. You can read about it here.


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Parent, Personality, Poly

Acceptance – Letting Go of the Need to be Right

Would you rather be right, or would you rather be happy?

My husband and I have been telling our parents about opening our relationship and becoming polyamorous. We’ve been doing this for over two years now, and while I was open with my mother about it right off the bat, my mother and I have a unique relationship. With the other parents, we waited to talk to them about it until we had some history behind us, so we could show that it wasn’t a phase and it wasn’t the end of our marriage or partnership. The youngest of the relationships within our pod is now over a year old, so our ties are pretty well established, and we’re all a big part of each other’s lives at this point.

The reactions have been pretty mixed. Interestingly, both the mothers suspected the other partner of initiating this journey, while the fathers didn’t ask about it, if they wondered about it at all. Overall, my parents have been very accepting; they may not understand it, they may not agree with it, but they are supportive of my happiness and my marriage, regardless of the forms those take. They are kind to our partners and open to seeing them at functions. And that acceptance means a lot to me and my family.

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Your Life Matters – The Dangers of the Suicide Chain

Never let a stumble in the road be the end of your journey.

I am not okay this morning and having trouble organizing my thoughts. Earlier this week Kate Spade completed suicide, and this morning I awoke to the news of Anthony Bourdain having completed suicide as well. Both of them left behind daughters.

The suicide chain phenomenon is long-known and well-documented at this point. Last year was particularly brutal. A hard blow for the mental health community occurred when Amy Bleuel, the founder of mental health non-profit Project Semicolon and poster child of survival and persistence in the face of crippling depression, completed suicide in March (three years after losing her father to suicide). My generation lost two major musical figures to suicide: Chris Cornell, the lead singer of Soundgarden, took his life in May, and on his birthday his good friend Chester Bennington, the lead singer of Linkin Park, followed suit. Both of those men left behind children as well. A young man in our community completed suicide soon after, shaking our social group to its core, and sadly his father followed him soon after that, leaving behind a mother and brother who will struggle with that loss the rest of their lives.

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Pagan, Parent

Witch School – The Dedication

“No matter where you want to go, as long as you follow your path with faith, dedication and hard work, you are going to get there.” — Russell Simmons

My older daughter Munchkin has been asking me for two years to go to “Witch School”; why exactly she thinks that’s a place or a thing, I don’t know. She will be turning 7 years old this summer and her reading made amazing strides this year, and we’re lucky enough that a Pagan partner can stay with her during summer break so we don’t have to put her in summer camps. (This was a huge concern of mine when I went back to working out of the home late last year; three months of having to find and pay ridiculous amounts for childcare is something we haven’t had to tackle yet.)

So, my partner agreed that he could teach her, and I set to work designing a curriculum. And because I’m me, it is a super-organized curriculum packed full of lessons, activities, outings, etc. We are all really excited about it and I think she’s going to have a phenomenal time.

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Butterflies – The Magic of Transformation

Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, she became a butterfly. — Barbara Haines Howett

I have been a cutter off and on since I was 14 or 15; I had stopped for a while in my late 20s/early 30s, but a little over a year ago I started again. This culminated in April of 2017, when I accidentally cut myself so badly that I had to go to the ER and get stitches. I was terrified I would be hospitalized or my children would be taken away. Unlike all my other tiny, barely noticeable scars, this thing was huge, and ugly, and very noticeable, and freaked people out, and for a long time severely itched and occasionally caused me stabbing pain. I couldn’t stand to look at it for several days, maybe weeks, afterward; members of the pod cleaned and dressed it for me. It ended up needing repeated and painful injections of steroids and a prescription cream to heal. For a while I referred to this as “my little accident”, a la Beetlejuice, but now I refer to it as The Big Cut. I haven’t cut myself since… but sometimes I still desperately want to. This is a hallmark of Borderline Personality Disorder.

 d18170d5add8371d6fb9b7154f14dbd7Have I mentioned that I have a morbid sense of humor?

So I did a thing this month. A thing I’ve wanted to do for a while. A good thing; a reclaiming thing. A healing thing. It was 13 years to the day since I was date-raped by the guy I liked and his roommate after a party I threw for Cinco de Mayo; it was a little over 13 months since The Big Cut that left this horrible, ugly, embarrassing, shameful scar that has haunted me every day since, an endless reminder of what I am capable of doing to myself, glaring at me from even the happiest pictures.

IMG_8401You probably barely notice it, but it ruins every picture for me.

I have hated and loathed and been upset by and ashamed of this scar in ways I can’t even begin to express. For months afterward I would look at it and start crying, “How could I do this to myself?” But the answer lies in the dark depths I don’t like to explore: that it was easy, and that the ache to do so is always there, if I get upset enough. I could easily do it again.

So this was what I had wanted: to get something that symbolized to me that something beautiful could come out of something ugly and dark. That I can still be beautiful and live a beautiful life even though sometimes my mind is ugly and dark, and sometimes my world seems ugly and dark. That all the struggling against darkness and the tangled emotions that tie me up so I can’t move is worth it, and will metamorphosize me into a world of color and grace and hope.

My best friend came with me to support me in my recovery and show me that she’ll be here for me for always. The artist finished, and I admired it. And then I glanced in the large mirror on the wall of his booth, saw my arm hanging at my side casually, like it does in pictures, and instead of the angry scar that always catches my attention… it was a butterfly, and it was so, so beautiful. And I started crying. And I hugged my best friend. And I thanked my artist. He will never know how much this meant to me.

He offered to cover the scar, but that wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted to still be able to see it, clearly. I didn’t want to cover it and try to forget it; I wanted to use it as a constant reminder to myself. I wanted to see that it was one thing, and now it is a part of something else, something beautiful and artistic and rich in personal meaning, as well as something I share with someone important to me. And he was very respectful of it, taking care to incorporate the stitch lines and set it off well. I can’t stop looking at it. I absolutely love my tattoo. I love that I did this thing for myself.


Our tattoo artist: Dave Potter at Mystic Marks in San Marcos, TX

For the evolution of the stitched cut to angry scar to calm scar to tattoo, see the slideshow behind the Continue Reading cut below. *Trigger Warning*

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