Thursday, August 14, 2008

Grandpa, the Internet is Better than a Billboard.

Ah! Two posts in one day! I'm dizzy with excitement. Let me tell you why I now post again even with my just-turned-two-years-old distraction wrangling around on my lap! Carol Davis- Morning Show Host Extraordinare and THE most entertaining woman attending the Proverbs 31 conference in June, "tagged me"! I'm not sure what I'm suppose to do, but I will tell you I about passed out with joy that someone other than my mother was reading my blog. (Sorry, Mom!)

The drill:
1. Link to the person who tagged you
2. Post the rules on your blog
3. Write 6 random things about yourself
4. Tag 6 people at the end of your post and link to them
5. Let each person know they have been tagged and leave a comment on their blog
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up

So, apparently, this is less like freeze tag and more like, "Hey.... do you remember when your Grandpa told you not to reveal anything about yourself that you wouldn't post on a billboard? Let's do it anyway!"

1. If you were to climb into my bed and fluff my pillows, you might just find hidden treasures. I tend to take things off while napping... my watch, hair-ties, maybe even the phone.

2. When I was waiting for my husband to get out of the slammer (don't I sound trashy?) I measured the time by a little toenail experiment. I went out for a pedicure just a couple of days before his incarceration (see, not so trashy) and applied light pink polish. Because I was too labored with kids, work, depression, and oh, yeah... kids, I didn't have a chance to get another one. So, after a few months, I got curious and wondered if I'd have ANY toe polish left when the hubby got out. Guess what? It takes exactly eight months for my large toenail to grow out.

3. My favorite kind of film is a documentary... action films put me to sleep.

4. I am not responsible enough to have a cell phone. In the last ten days I've misplaced it countless times and as of now, haven't seen it in 6 days. It doesn't really bother me and the mere fact that it doesn't, drives my friends and family nuts.

5. As a young girl , I would sometimes comfort myself by quietly singing an obscure Amy Grant song when I felt lonely, insecure or afraid. In my most distressful adult moments, I sing it in my head.

6. I am a dental oddity. I enjoy straight teeth even though I sucked my thumb until I was... um.... lets just say old enough to have a crush on The Karate Kid.

Real Men Take Out the Trash

In the time it took to for me to drink a sinful double-tall-decaf-mocha-breve, I was reminded of why I call my hometown, “Fishbowl, USA”.

I was simply sitting at the coffee shop, enjoying both my highly coveted window seat and my high fat, high sugar coffee bomb. I felt rather urban with my laptop and all. I fooled myself into thinking I was just an anonymous, city-dwelling girl who scored a great seat by an electrical outlet. My fantasy was short lived.

I was interrupted when an Old Friend walked in. Old Friend being someone my age that has known me long enough and well enough to recall in detail the contents of the proverbial trash can that sits outside my home. It’s a rusty dumpster filled with the stinking, rotting, scraps of sexual abuse that God asked my children to quit hiding and my husband to purge. And guess who wants to dig through it?

He sits down next to me and with the kind of lowered voice reserved for widows, the destitute and sometimes those who don’t speak English, asks, “how are you?” My mind goes blank for a moment.

Oh yeah.

I’m suddenly in the category of people that evoke tremendous sympathy from others because of a random, tragic life experience. In these moments, I can either give him an easy-breezy “I’m Great!” (which, said just right will be taken as the blow-off it’s meant to be) or, I can bite on his invitation to walk around in my trash with an honest, vulnerable smile. Because, that’s all it takes, really. Any sort of opening, and people will bite on a chance to walk in garbage.

A better Christian would’ve seen this as a time to lead this lost soul to Christ. A stronger woman wouldn’t have cared if he were offended by “I’m GREAT!” A more prepared version of me would’ve foreseen this. But on this day, I was none of those things.

I allowed Old Friend to say ignorant things to me. I allowed him to talk about my family as if he had walked in my shoes. Somehow HE needed to talk about my situation, and I passively indulged him. In this hour long, roller-coaster ride of a conversation, here are just some of the comments that have lingered:

“I can never forgive your husband. I don’t even have the time of day to think about him. If I were you, I couldn’t live here. I don’t know how you do it. I had a bad childhood, too but I must just be a stronger man. A bad childhood seems like a lame excuse. When I think I’ve had a bad day? I just think about you and I feel better.”

And I thought I was just going out for coffee.

The struggle I have with all of this isn’t about what Old Friend said. God has been so gracious with me. He’s gifted me with more than enough grace to spare for this situation. Old Friend has not walked in my shoes. Old Friend may even need to talk about this more than I do…. After all, he was also disappointed by my husband’s actions. For that, I will not throw a stone.


My dumpster? Consider it hallowed ground, Old Friend. That garbage was drug outside with blood, sweat and tears. Removed with heartache, passionate faith and heroic strength. The mere fact that you even know it exists is a privilege. When you walk by and turn your head in horror, remember this: I’ve known you as long as you’ve known me. As far as I can tell? We’re different in only one way.

My trash is on the curb.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Where There's no ego, There is no Limit.

I just did something a little bit bold. I posted a question in the forum and in that post, invited readers over. If you came over, Welcome! What you should know is that as of now, only three people read this blog: My mother, Jenn (who was kind enough to leave a comment- thanks, Jenn!) and myself. You may have just doubled my readership.

Until today, I've been struggling with whether or not to disclose the nature of my husband's crime. Dragging my feet a bit, I guess. Wives of criminals suffer as many punishments as their husbands when they are incarcerated, but when your husband is then known as a sex offender, these punishments become even more shameful and ultimately more burdensome. Because one of the consequences of the crime is for my husband to be listed on the sex offender registry, our family now lives in a new reality. A reality where privacy and discretion even for the victims no longer exist. Where even the innocent are punished every day. The only modern place where a person's basic civil rights don't seem to apply. It is an instrument of punishment done in the name of safety used in the same humiliating fashion as stocks.

My husband was inappropriate and sexually compulsive within our family. When the matter was disclosed to me, I first maintained the safety of every family member and then supported my husband as he dealt with his demons and encouraged my children as they dealt with theirs. Practical advice from legal counselors and friends was to do what most families do: try to work it out within the home in fear of the legal consequences. At the time, I was determined to "do the right thing" and not just allow punishment, but even ask for it. I question the wisdom of that decision every single day yet even as I say that, I know with certainty that this experience has allowed our family to see each other as heroes, find more freedom than bondage, and to clearly hear the voice of God in this painful valley of life.

On the internet, we can be anyone we want. We can have a new identity by escaping into a fictional person altogether. We can choose to disclose just enough information of ourselves to create an inaccurate caricature of who we wish we were. For the first few posts, I happily and wrongly avoided the topic of sexual abuse. In part because this blog could've been an escape. In part because knowing my mom was my only reader makes posting here feel much like the time she found that note in the wash.

Because Prison Talk served me so well, I felt it would be a disservice to all the people in the Loving A Sex Offender forum to have anything less than the truth here on my site. If you are really here, Thank You. Thank you for your replies when I posted in the middle of sleepless nights. Thank you for your wise legal advise. Thank you for your love, acceptance and comfort. Thank you for your 24 hour, 7 days a week saving grace.