Monday, April 30, 2012


Photo: Mbukushu mother and child crossing a river

Tonight, I held the downy soft head of a newborn.

Less than 24 hours old and welcomed into our world by bright lights and a rush of nurses, only finding comfort in his new mothers soft body.

How absolute are mother and child?  Each made for the other.

A new mother terrified at the pains and cramping of labor, unsure of the road ahead and blown away by unreal idea of a baby coming from...WHERE??

All anxiety disappears with the first touch, the intake of their first breath in unison, the closeness of his first meal.  

So soft and fresh, the back of my fingers skimming his doughy little cheek. Snuggling my nose into his tiny neck, I inhale his sweetness.  This isn't the first time I have met this little traveler.

Months ago, I had a dream.  In this dream I saw a small sad boy and he was alone.  He had the look of a child who was abandoned.  In the fuzzy way that conversations happen during a dream, the boy told me he wanted to live.

"I want to live," he whispered.  "I want to live!"

You see, his mother had made an appointment with Planned Parenthood that week.  She had chosen abortion.  She is young, her ex-boyfriend uninterested, she has no job and lives with her own mother.  Becoming a mother seemed next to impossible.

Unsure of what to do or say, I simply wrote her a post-it note.

"Please talk to me before you decide to do anything."

Tonight I held him, his heart next to mine, he slept.  Tears washing my face at the miracle of this Boy.  The miracle of this young mother who chose to be brave and take her place among the mothers of time.  All the mothers who have gone before us, they welcome her.  Our first mother leads the way, passing an infinite love and crown of motherhood to this young girl.  The miracle of life is undeniable and so is the destruction of it's unnatural loss. 

I cannot help to think, maybe I had a small part in giving this little traveler, this little boy a life.     

Lying in bed, my own children with their dirty feet and uncombed hair cuddle next to me.  I am so grateful for the magic of motherhood, for the wisdom, love and nurturing that has been secretly passed from generations of our mothers, connecting us all.  Thank you.

Friday, April 27, 2012


One of my fav tumblr's

On the agenda this weekend:

Hope you do too

Have you heard this lie before?


Follow the story.
Read the previous entry here.

July 2011

Abruptly there was change.  It was a tangible change, the sweet wind had switched directions and heavy dark winds began to blow.  I knew the honeymoon was over.

The last three weeks were a gift.  Our second honeymoon.  His vulnerability is what made the difference, he was finally human again.  When the addiction of sex and porn take over it leaves a mean, ugly carcass of a human being.  My husband was beginning to find his soul.  We were healing!

The second honeymoon was filled with bonding, lots of sex, deep passion, love and rediscovering each others bodies just like our first honeymoon.  Our guards were down.  The hardened walls that existed before were gone.  It was sweet.

Eight months had passed since I'd begun to know his awful secrets.  Three months had passed since I demanded he moved out of the house.  Three weeks had passed since his full disclosure and excommunication from our church.  Twenty-four hours had passed since I knew something had drastically changed.

This is where I learned to trust my gut.  My heart always tells the truth but my mind explains it away. I had done this a million and one times.  But not anymore.

Ten minutes had passed since my heart told me he was lying. The black lies were seeping into our conversations.  The vulnerability was gone.  The bonding had turned to disconnect.

Two seconds passed before I ask the right questions.  I pounced, ready to draw blood.  Prepared for battle.

Three hours passed until the lies were filtered and the truth was told.  Like water pouring into a sieve, no matter how frantically you tell lies, they never stick. The truth involved porn and gambling.

Have you heard this lie before?  "If we had more sex, better sex, I wouldn't need pornography."
He didn't say it now but I had heard it before.

My mind heard, "you could have done something to stop this".  If only I had added the right amount of adventure with a pinch of seductiveness and a whole handful of the right kind of blow jobs.  If only my body were barbie proportions and if I were Asian.  If only I had stroked his ego and maintained the house in perfect condition.  Then I'd have the exact concoction for marital bliss and eternal happiness!

My mind wanders to the memories of finding pornography in our home for the first time.  Why didn't I fight harder?  Why did I allow it to continue?  Why did I believe the lies of, "every guy does it"?  If only I had demanded it to stop, then things would be different...

Again, my guilty mind takes me to memories of going back to work.  The sexual attention and flirting with men at work was more than I was getting at home.  When the flirting escalated and Mr. Scabs was royally jealous and angry.  Why did I allow myself to flirt with other men?  If only I hadn't made that mistake.  If only I hadn't shaken his trust in my fidelity, then things would be different...

Guilt shifting from me to him and back again.  We're a sinking dingy on a white-caped sea.  No hope.

The post-honeymoon lies taught me with vivid clarity that his addiction had nothing to do with me.  Nothing.

Maybe it was a marital-experiment.  Our life before was the control, the norm, the standard.  Setting up the experiment, I gave him everything, this was the independent variable.  The results were clear and I didn't need any repeat trials.  No matter how much sex or how awesome our life was he still couldn't find happiness. His compass had been demolished and he was collateral damage in a war far bigger than our marriage.  He was debris shifting in dark heavy winds.

I had read Step One a million times:  Accept the truth and reality that we are powerless over our loved ones addiction.

I am powerless over his addiction.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Scab's Guide to Post D-Day Love Making

Scab's Guide to Post D-Day Love Making
circa 2009 -Riding the Bull at Big Kahuna
My cousin is a genius whitewater raft guide.  She sits calmly at the rear of the boat calling out commands and laughing as we navigate the violent turbulence and undercurrents, huge rocks and drops and eventually fall into the fantastically dangerous hazard of Big Kahuna!  The rivers roaring climax!

The nose of the raft is called the Bull. If you are absolutely brave or a frenzied lunatic you might ride the Bull, bearing into what seems to be your departure from this world!  Straddling the Bull, both hands looped tightly around the ropes, your thighs grabbing the sides of the raft,  you ride head first and stomach dropping into the tumultuous waves of Big Kahuna!

Soaking wet and out of breath you emerge from the waves...ALIVE!  My cousins genius navigation has not only saved you from a sure fate of drowing and churing in the boulders of Big Kahuna, you're also euphoric!

Then again, as my father says, "Mess with the Bull, you get the horns."

I want to be clear.  Sex post d-day is extremely dangerous water to cross.  It's like the Bull, if you have the right guide you'll come out alive.  If not, you'll get the horns.

You are all such wonderful readers, really!  I feel your pain, your loss and your triumphs.  Recently, I've received a lot of emails asking how to recreate a love-life and intimacy post discovering a porn/sex addiction.  I am only one woman, with only one experience, but there are many who have gone into the depths of Big Kahuna and come out ALIVE!   I'll share my opinions on the subject and hope you will join the conversation too.

Scab's Guide to Post D-Day Love Making
Rule # 101: Buy Matching Sweaters

Scab's guide to post d-day love making

"Sex is such a strange, strange thing.  It can be so healthy and healing, and so unhealthy and destructive.  An expression of deepest longings for each other or a weapon to be wielded in an abusive onslaught of the other person's very soul."
                                                                             - our lovely friend Angel 

Rule #1:  You don't have too.

He will survive.  You will survive.  In fact, I believe a little fasting (or a lot of fasting)  from sexual intimacy after d-day is good for the loins, the heart and the mind.  And, if you decide to move on, that there is too much damage, then do so.  Jacy taught me this.  She's a beautiful example of moving on, healing and finding happiness in life after such a devastating experience.  She knows first hand, you are never required to stay or create intimacy when there isn't any.

Jess a member of the Hope and Healing forum made this comment and I wanted to add it to Rule #1
"I think that it is so important to know that it's okay to say no and its okay to feel what you need too - he will survive! I also think on the flip side, if that is what you need and want - ask for it! Don't wait until your hubby asks, YOU are just as important and you can tell him that right now, this is what I need. "

Rule #2  Be safe.

Use protection.  Both partners must be tested for STDs.  Not the anonymous register online and go to a blood lab testing.  A real physician must examine each of you along with blood and other necessary testing.  Mr. Scabs get regularly tested.  I hate to say this, but even if your husband is a porn addict and hasn't acted out, I would insist on a STD test anyway.  Better safe than dealing with "the clap". 

If either of you are positive for any STD, don't have sex.  Get medical help right away.  There's a whole world of sexual dangers out there.  Don't risk it.  The onslaught of an STD is sure to trigger deep emotional pain and sex would only intensify the pain and betrayal.  I remember the pain of thinking I had contracted some disease, terrible.

Physical/verbal abuse.  If physical abuse is occurring to either you or you children this is a gigantic RED FLAG.  No amount of sexual attention you bestow on your abuser is going to stop them from hurting you or your children.  RUN.  Pack your car, take your children and go stay with family, friends or a women's shelter.  Stop at a fire station or police station, someone will help you.  Get the hell away.  You and your children's physical safety is the number one priority.

Emotional safety.  Check yourself.  Feel your feelings.  Are you stable enough for intimacy?  Are you moving toward a physical connection because you want too?  Are boundaries being respected?  Honesty? Is emotional intimacy building between you two?  Is your self-esteem intact?  If yes.  Then you get green light for some love making.

Are you being pressured?  Do you feel sex will solve problems?  Do you think sex will control the addiction?  Do you think the addiction is because you weren't good in bed, or your boobs were the wrong size or your rear end has some dimples?  If yes.  Then stop.  You might be too vulnerable and not have had enough healing for sex.

Rule #3 Change the sheets.

Get some new bedding.  Rearrange the furniture.  Change the scene.  These adjustments can give you a fresh perspective and keep useless triggers at bay.  I bought fresh bedding.  I threw away his old body wash, the smell was a trigger.  He bought new underwear (of course he had too...remember, i lit all his undies on fire).

Rule #4 Go slow.

My blog friend, Elsie, shared this rule with me.  Stop if your uncomfortable.  Build your confidence together.  Take it slow.  Talk about it.  Go to a therapist knowledgeable in porn/sex addiction, someone who can guide you through the choppy waters of building intimacy.

Mr. Scabs would ask for a hug or some hand holding and I couldn't.  Instead I would hold his hand with my index finger.  It was a joke, a funny take on reality.  I couldn't touch him.  I had the darkest feelings of disgust for him.  The one-fingered hand hold evolved into two fingers, then three and then one day I was ok actually holding his hand.  Some days I revert back to the one-fingered hand hold.  And that's ok.

Sex is an enormous step take it slow. Is there anything more vulnerable than being buck naked in bed with the man who has betrayed you?

Rule # 5 Mutual Commitment.

Communicate and make sure you share the same intimacy goals.  Talk about hard things, angers, resentments, fears the future.  If there isn't open dialog then you might not be safe opening yourself to sex.

Rule #6 Work Your Recovery 

My friend from the Hope and Healing forum came up with this one.  She says,

 "I have heard of some bad experiences where women have taken it too far the other way, withholding intimacy in anger, never doing their own recovery work, etc. I think real self-honesty has got to be important too, no?"
I remember doing this.  I did this the first 9 years of my marriage where I thought  Mr. Scabs worst sin was indulging in a little pornography.  I withheld lots of intimacy.  Anger and disgust filled me and punishment was the name of the game.  Just recently I've softened and healed a little and felt honest  enough with myself to see that I took it too far.

On the flip side, guilt and self-punishment will only take us farther away from healing.  So, I had a healthy amount of guilt about withholding sex as punishment and I changed my attitude and moved on.  Really, there is no reason to dwell on the past.

So, that's it.  If your heart feels ready, take the leap.  No regrets, no matter if you stay together or break up.  
Riding the Bull is a terrifying experience. I'm still riding.  Find support, all us girls have been heart broken and we can help each other.  This is a big step and if you're without a guide you might find yourself flailing in the unforgiving waters.  Watch the video below to see what happens when you don't have a guide.

Like my Dad says, "You mess with the Bull, you get the horns."
Looks like these guys got the horns.  



Friday, April 20, 2012

Twins, Porn and Shelley Lubben

my thoughts on the porn industry
Photo Credit
Follow the story. 
Read the previous entry here.

When I was 5 we lived in Montana on Blue Bell Rd in a yellow house.  I loved that house.  It was perched on a gravel road where I learned how to ride my blue banana seat bike (the blue-light special).  Trying to balance and steer my front wheel through the thickly laid gravel, I crashed into a parked car and had lots of skinned knees!

The house was part of a new development with other homes scattered near-by surrounded by empty lots and fields.  To my 5 year old eyes the backyard was enormous.  My parents grew a jungle of corn that in the spring began as soft green shoots and by summers end were a wild leafy wilderness.  In fall, the crunchy yellowed stalks were constructed into a tee-pee.  My brother and I played endlessly.  At the far end of the yard there was a small hill leading up to a canal.  It had no fence, in fact we had maneuvered a rotting 2x6 board across the canal to use as a bridge so we could feed the horses on the other side.  How we didn't drown, I have no idea.

Twins lived a few houses down from us.  Ricky and Randy.  They were fun kids with huge buck teeth smiles, brown skin and blonde hair.  They also had a kick-butt swing set in the back yard.  When you were swinging it was like flying!  We'd drag an empty garbage can up the canal hill and then one of us would get inside and roll down inside the can.  It was the most painful kind of fun.  We'd get knocked around and bruised and smashed but jump out laughing and drag the can back up the hill for more.  Ricky, Randy, my brother and I were best friends.

t was with these twins and my younger brother that I discovered the secret delights of pornography.  

While wandering in the fields near our house we found a magazine under a pile of pallets.  It was a magazine with naked girls!  This was my sex education.  I was 5.  The boys were more ennamored than I was but I can't deny the warm sexual excitement growing inside me.  A natural instinct burgeoning prematurely in my life.

I had been introduced to sex and sexuality, which flipped a switch and couldn't be reversed.

We were proud of ourselves gaining the attention of the older older boys in the neighborhood and promised we'd show them the magazine.  Marching through the field, grasshoppers flying in every direction, we led the boys to the secret hiding spot.  One of the boys took the magazine home and later I heard he got in trouble.  His mother had found the mildewy mess under his bed.

Although the we no longer had the visuals of the nude 1980's styled girls, we couldn't forget them.  Our play was riddled with conversations about, sex and wieners and boobs.  We giggled about the older girl across the street that confessed she slept naked.  And were questioned by the older boys who wanted to know if we'd found any more magazines.  All this was followed by "I'll show you mine if you show me yours."  We had become sexualized 5-year old kids educated by pornographers.

The next year, we said good-bye to Ricky and Randy.  My family packed our bags and moved to another city.

So many are blind; thinking pornography is a victim-less habit.  Or, that sex with prostitutes is between consenting adults and it's their business.  These aren't just guilty pleasures.  

Pornography includes a myriad of ugliness.

Shelley Lubben is fascinating.  I love her.  She was that woman, the woman on the other side of the screen, the porn star.  Get a box of Kleenex and watch this clip.  The horrors she tells are unreal!  She is a savior and healer to many and fights for lives everyday.  The Pink Cross Foundation, is her home base.  I could barely scan across the interviews with other former porn stars describing their own abuse.  Read her site with caution, it is disturbingly graphic.


Sadly, pornography is as much about supply and demand as gas and oil prices.  Simply put, these women, men and children are commodities, like cattle.  I cannot handle this!  I want to fight too.

The awful reality is that my husband contributed to the growing disease of sex-trafficking in my city.  He knows now, with the bitter taste of sobriety that his actions weren't victimless.  We are fools to believe that porn is just a tool for pleasure.  That if we accept porn on a mild level that we're progressive and cool.     I spent many years in my marriage making believe that pornography was ok.

This blog post sent me reeling and I had to voice my opinion.  I hope you do too.

Have you heard about the Groupon to a tourture porn stuido?  It's unimaginable!  Groupon is on my blacklist.  Porn Harms is fighting this battle.

The truth is told through many voices.  Even, Annie Lobert, sex-trafficked survivor and founder of Hookers For Jesus.  I love that name, funny but true.  She's freeing victims of sex-trafficking on the Vegas Strip, the city with no soul.

We are part of a revolution demanding the safety of our daughters, sons, husbands and wives.  It's a revolution against power and money, sex abuse and lies and we're going to win.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

His Perspective...Part 1

sex addiction, lies and how mr scabs told the truth
lost my photo credit...oops!

Mr. Scabs and I have worked together to write this post.  
Although I form the sentences, many of these words are his own.     Trying to capture raw honesty from the past.
April 2011

The wheels are burning, riding the slopes down from the mountains and back home.  I'm driving fast.  Love the all-wheel drive on this Subaru!  I'm in control.  Bending into the twists and turns of the pavement.

My wife's steaming in the seat next to me.  Demanding I slow down.  She never trusts me.  Not even my driving and I'm the best driver I know.  The kids are snoring in the back seat and the hot breath of my dogs fog the rear window.  Even the dogs piss her off!  Camping this weekend with our friends was a bust.  I yelled. She yelled.  It's so frustrating.  Everything blows up!  Geez, what's her fetching problem?

But, I know her problem.

5 months ago I confessed about my exotic mini-vacation overseas and how I'd possibly gone to a dance club and had a few drinks and then maybe I got a blow job from one of the dancers, once.  I deserve it.

Of course, none of that is the truth, but it's enough to get her off my back.

Anyway, how am i supposed to get with her when she hates me?  There's no love, we're empty, abandoned. She hates me.  I can't touch her.  She doesn't smile.  We don't laugh.   If she won't give me love I've got to find it somewhere. I'm so alone.

Driving in cold silence, the road flattens, descending from the mountains into the valley where we live.  Our mood flattens too.  The hot steamy anger we felt earlier has vaporized.  Putting the argument behind us, we decide to go home, clean up and take our kids out to eat.

Yet something happens between cleaning up and going out.  It's confusing and almost hypnotic.  I hear the office door click shut.  My heart stops.  There she is, standing next to my desk, her eyes clear and perceptive.  As if she can see through my camouflage.  Straight past my dual life.  She can see what i refuse to acknowledge.

My wife, my friend, the woman I choose, the woman I love asks one question,

"Have there been other women?"

I don't know how, but I'm broken.  Hit with a heavy ax, I split like a dry log.  Splinters flying in every direction.  The pressure of secrets bulging at my seams, crushing the valves in my heart, choking the flow of my blood.  Pain threatening to dispose of me as my eyes ache, dry and itchy.  Oxygen strangles, struggling in the shrinking passage of my throat and I can't swallow.  I can't breathe.  There's no way I can tell the truth.  No way.

Five years earlier I spied from the safety of my truck.  Parked a few spaces away from the OK Massage parlor, I watched a man. He's a regular guy.  A regular husband who drives a regular sedan, a family car, he's walking toward the red "OPEN" sign hanging in the tinted windows of the parlor.  I ate my sandwich and made a few phone calls while I waited.  Nothing was unusual about his face as he left his happy ending.  Opening his regular looking car door and driving home to his regular life.

Another time, I was the regular man with the regular car.  Entering the parlor was like being in the lobby of a low-end dentist.  There are cheap plastic chairs and regular office magazines covering the tables.  The tinted sliding glass window opens and an Asian woman asks if she could help.

"How much for a massage?"

She answers. I said ok and left.

Other times, I'd go in and the woman behind the glass would lead me to a back room where I would pay full price.  But, it isn't that bad.  That's not the real me.  That part of my life doesn't exist.  Unknown and hidden from eyes and ears.  I can't feel it.  I'm not that man.

Again, she asks,
"Have there been other women?"

The nitty-gritty truth.  I'm frozen.  The truth makes me look bad. The truth means I'd have to see myself.  I can't.  She hates me and the truth would destroy everything.  My eyes glazing, I hear the impatience in her voice.  I could lie again. If she doesn't know maybe she could believe I'm not that bad of a guy.  Maybe she could love me.

Like a primal reflex the words spew from my mouth spilling like water into sand.  Endless.  Submerging into her conscience.  Soaking her with my betrayal.

"There have been other women."

An awful silence, a blackout.

She turns and grabs the car keys.  The roar of the engine fades away and she disappears.

Numbness takes hold of my body spreading from my fractured mind and my leperous heart.  Wandering as a shadow of myself.  I don't know what to do.  A sudden stabbing pain as I feel for my children.  What have I done?!!  It's over.  My life extinguishing with every breath.

I'm a broken man, laying open.  Diseased puss frothing from my chest.  Exposed. I'm an outcast, marooned in my own hell.

sex addiction, lies and how mr scabs told the truth
Photo Credit

Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Sea

circa 2008
May 2008 (pre d-day)

Our family loves adventure.  When I was 4 months pregnant with my Boy we went camping on the beach in Kauai.  The 6 hr flight from the mainland was a little uncomfortable but squeezing myself countless times into the airplane potty was worth it. I love floating on my back rocking with the waves of the sea.  I could float for hours letting the currents carry me.  After an endless plane ride, this was especially soothing on my achy pregnant body.  My eyes toward the sky.  Breathing the balmy air.  I'm captivated!  I adore this slowed pace of life.

She has blonde salty hair, a brilliant smile, bare feet and loves the sea, our 6 year old daughter is an island-girl by nature. She snorkels, discovering all kinds of sea life and spends every spare minute lapping up the oceans waves.  

We have a favorite beach for camping.  Anini beach.  Originally is was named Wanini but the stories say a vicious hurricane tore the "W" off the sign.  Ever since the beach has been known as Anini.  That's some Hawaiian style for you.

There's a grassy outcropping where we've perched our tent.  The grass mingles with sand and then drops off into the beach and then to the endless blues and greens of the briny sea.  The tent faces east and each morning the first rays of daylight are felt before they are seen.  The roosters crow right on cue!

circa 2008-Forgive the creepy smiley faces.  This is the cutest picture but you know I need to protect the innocent.

The waterfront is spotted with tents.  

A few yards to the north camps a family of 6.  Their tent is connected by tarps and strings, with towels hanging and sandy, dirty clothes shoved in black garbage sacks.  They've been living on the beach for weeks awaiting government sponsored housing.   There's Isa, a mother of 4 daughters ranging from 2 to 8 years old and a useless boyfriend.

At low tide, the whole family can be seen on the beach for hours collecting tiny little pink shells.  This is their many source of income, selling shells to jewelry makers. Wanda's the oldest child.  Dark hair and skin with wild eyes.  Her body's strong just like her personality. Elise is the second oldest.  Same dark hair but fairer skin, light eyes and a splash of freckles across her nose.  She's feather-light with eager hungry eyes.  

A little farther north, under the Kamani trees  another single mother camps with her 2 young daughters.  Her name is Tanya.  She's a loving attentive mother with long brown hair and salty beach curls.  Her legs and armpits share that same long brown hair.  I love her body.  She's tall and slender with strong healthy legs.  A vegan's body.   Her home is in Portland Oregon were she sews custom baby slings for a living.  Our families become quick friends as our daughters play.

To the west is a small single man's tent.  A young entrepreneur from San Francisco occupied that little space.  He spent most of his days laying back in his camp chair reading and telling us where we could get the islands best fish tacos.  Vacationing on this beach in his chair with a book is a yearly tradition.

As the sun crosses the sky and dusk filters through the campsite we all gather and share a meal. Usually a mishmash of fresh fruits and veggies with rice from the farmers market.  My husband and I feel sick as we watch poor Elise fill her belly till there's no more.  Her eyes roaming the table for any extra scraps.  I have no idea how it must feel to always be hungry and neglected.

Although we'd only know them for a few days, their mother didn't blink when we asked if we could take them for the day.  So, Wanda and Elsie joined us on our daily adventures.  Their mother had no cell phone and no curfew and no way of knowing if her girls were safe.  She was oblivious.  

Wanda is our personal tour guide.  Seeing the island from an 8 year old child's eyes; showing us the secrets of the island, which flowers were edible and which shells could be sold or eaten and pointing out the best secret beaches.  

Elsie waited anxiously for a meal. 

Wanda stood nearby as I was buying beans from the farmer's market, she was checking out the necklaces at a nearby table.   I heard the sickly-sweet voice of an older man persuading Wanda to come near his table.  He singled her out, she's dirty, tan and young...with no mother watching her back.  A vulnerable target.  The intention in his voice was shameless.  Quickly, I was at her side.  My eyes on fire, "She's with us."

Another afternoon we stopped at Bubba's Burgers for lunch.  Elsie ate two cheese burgers, all the onion rings and fries she could stuff into her mouth and a chocolate shake.  The girl still needed more, consumed by the grumble of her belly.

Heartbroken, we watched as the useless boyfriend trade shells and necklaces made by the girls mother for beer.  BEER!   Within the hour, they are drunk in their tent, rustling beneath the blankets as the children draw pictures in the sand nearby.  The useless boyfriend stumbles from the tent, my eyes following him.  He offers Wanda a sip of beer!  Predator.  A somber reality that not all children are born into safety.

My thoughts drifting to the small life taking hold inside my belly.  

We decide to spend our last afternoon on the sands of Hanalei Bay with Tanya and her 2 daughters.  Such a cool little family, we'll miss them.  Tanya, my husband and I sharing the responsibility of watching the girls play in the waves and build their last sand castles.  The sun warms our skin as we laugh and share sunscreen and munch leftover bits of pineapple peppered with sand.  

We all feel the disheartening hopelessness while talking about Wanda and her sisters and their mother, who's nurturing heart has been stolen.  Realizing the constant battle they face from abusers and perverts.  Wishing we could pack those children up and take them safely home.

As I brush the sand from my legs and pregnant belly, gather our things and get ready to drive to the airport, Tanya mentions how refreshing it is to hang out with a couple that isn't jealous.  She compliments me, saying most women she knows become anxious and suspicious when there is another woman in the mix.  I laugh it off while watching my husband splash and play with the kids.  I've never been a jealous wife.  

Always trusting in my husbands complete fidelity.

Friday, April 13, 2012

My King Size Bed


June 2011

At the end of the day.
After a hot shower and a yummy dinner.
With heavy eyes and an exhausted body.
Kids and dogs asleep.
Silent house.

There is nothing so wonderful as falling alone into the fluffy comforts of my king size bed.  Spreading my arms and legs wide, snow angel fashion.  This is one of the indulgences of being seperated from my husband.  The bed is mine.  Surrounded by white pillows and a feathery comforter, smells april fresh. YUM!  Floating away on the salty sea.  Renewing.

Sleep tight and sweet dreams my friends!
Hope your weekend is filled with good things.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Walk of Shame

Follow the story.

Read the previous entry here.

November 2000

With "Just Married" graffitied on our car, we sputtered around the American northwest. Romantic nights in bed and breakfasts.  Lazy in our wanderlust, traveling, kissing, Candid photo's on bridges and holding hands.  Soaking up the fresh love of newlyweds.

We traveled for days with no plans.  Eating at mom and pop shops, cuddling around the fire during a blizzard.  We were happy.  Silly, but I remember arguing about the car temperature.  He was always flipping it to super HOT or super COLD.  Me, I liked a more moderate temperature.  An indication of our personalities?  Maybe.

That first year, life began in a tiny basement apartment just down the hill from the University.  Our queen mattress pushed up against one wall.  The desk doubled as a kitchen table.  The bathroom shower so small we couldn't enjoy it together.  A kitchen full of every gourmet gadgets thanks to generous wedding guests. I was a minimalist and couldn't see the use for all those gadgets.  I returned them for cash.  Later, I'd regret not keeping that dang salad spinner!

Within the first 2 weeks of marriage I ran away.  I know you're not surprised.  Always a runner!  One night while he was sleeping I was afraid, lonely and felt rejected.  What had I done? I was married.  MARRIED!  Not just forever but for E T E R N I T Y!  gulp.

The finality of it sank into my bones and anxiety overtook me.  Visions of my parents cold controlling relationship flashed in my mind.  Quickly, I threw some things in a duffle, got in the car and drove halfway down the canyon before tears fogged my vision.  I spent the night parked by the river, recling in the front seat and counting stars.  Before the sun peeked over the mountains I pointed my wheels west and drove back home.  Recommitting to my promises and our life together

It was barely dawn as I slowly cracked the front door, cursing the squeak as I shut it.  Silently dropping my things to the floor I crawled next to my sleeping husband.  Warm and oblivious.  Lying my head back, the pillow was cold.  I watched his sleeping face.  My arms wrapped around him as i whispered my sorry's into his chest.  He hadn't even known I was gone.

June 2011

Did I really let that happen?

Did I just let my husband, a confessed sex addict with a preference for Asian hookers, touch my body?  Kiss me?  Run his fingers across my hips?  And I him? Did I touch him?  My body wants him.  My mind rejects him. My heart weaves bitter, salty strings of disgust with sweet honey flavored yarns of healing.  None of it makes sense.  I love him and I hate him.

Had the numbness of trauma dulled my senses?  Was I a victim of my own lust and desire?  Or, maybe I have no grasp of self-preservation?  Is this how the walk of shame feels?  Sigh.

Pressing my nose to the pillow where he slept, the sheets still warm, I inhale his scent.  Wildly familiar and at the same time absolutely foreign.  His tangy spice filling my nostrils, proving...

I really did let that happen.

The morning after left me naked, exposed and tender. Vulnerability had settled on me like a million tiny diamond stars ready to light my path.  Or, without warning the stars could burst into a scorching super nova hurtling me, forever lost into a black hole.  The outcome of last nights hoopla could be devastating.  It's like I'd done something i knew i shouldn't.

But one thing was certain, I had risked all I am.  If I was a gambler, I'd thrown in every last chip and played my cards.  The prize was hope and I was willing to take the wager.  No matter how foolish.

Over the next three weeks, the night of our passion, love and forgiveness repeated itself.

It was full of sweetness.  Gentle understanding.  Compassion.  Timid trust.  Endless sorry's.  Sharing confidences.  Revealing secrets.  Tears and agony bathed in relief, the beginnings of forgiveness.  He spent many nights in my bed but only as a guest.  With sensitivity and respect he left when there was no invitation to stay.  Sometimes my broken heart needed silence and distance.

This three weeks was a gift.  A promise.  A second honeymoon.

* Disclaimer about sex

I Did It!

Photo Credit

They say step 4 and 5 of the 12-step addiction recovery program is the scariest.

This is where you take an inventory of your life story accounting for ALL your wrongs, resentments, fears, people you've hurt and selfish behaviors.  And then you admit or confess these wrong-doings to God, yourself and your sponsor.  

So today, I divulged my deepest secrets with my sponsor. 

I survived!

Monday, April 9, 2012

bike rides

The best things in life are free
                  -Frank Sinatra

 then, she {snapped}
Linked up with Rachel and Alicia
Just trying my hand at some blurry

It's Monday

photo credit

Weekends over.  Back to work and I'm hoping to find a little something like this in my closet!  Adorably tomboy, no?

Friday, April 6, 2012

Excommunication & pity sex

photo credit

Follow the story. 
Read the previous entry here.

Remember me?
Skinny kid from the Midwest who wasn't really good at much except running fast?  Here's more.

I was raised Mormon.  This wasn't the warm, compassionate, "families can be together forever", free-agency promoting Mormonism.  It was a different version.   My father led his family through the waters of religion and faith with the cold, coercive hand of obedience.  Some people live their religion with their heart and others with their might.  My father was in the "might" camp.

As a child I didn't grow a spiritual connection to being a Mormon.  It was more a tool of parental control.   He was obsessed with religious obedience and I wasn't.  We clashed.

When I was 4, I burst out the front door into a drenching thunderstorm and ran away to the garden shed in the back yard.  I was dramatic.  This began a pattern that I've followed throughout my life.  When I was 5, I ran away to Safeway with a paper sack full of shorts and a toothbrush.  When I was 6, I ran away, hiding in a little cove under a neighbors bush.  In my childhood brain I planned to run away FOREVER and live as free as a bird in some wildly exotic country studying the grazing patterns of zebras.   After a few hours of daydreaming it was always with the heavy pang of disappointment I drug myself back home.  Why did I never think to bring a sandwich!?

As I got older my running away evolved into sneaking out.   When I was 15, I'd give my parents the ole' "good-night" routine then jump out my window and meet up with friends.  Once, after returning from a night out I was horrified to discover my window was locked shut!!  Horrified isn't the word.  I was terror-stricken!  I'd been caught.   Instead of face the music...I ran away. Are you sensing my life pattern?  Is it coincidence I was the fastest runner in my school.  A sleeping bag on the floor of my best friends room was my home for a week.

At 17 I gave my virginity up to some stupid boy.  I felt tricked.

The next day while walking the high school halls he slipped a mix-tape in my hands.  A MIX-TAPE!  It's alright, you can laugh.  I promptly broke up with him when I listened to the tape and the first song was "Wild Thing".  I was no one's Wild Thing.  This gets more embarrassing and humiliating.  Read on my friends...

My father has the gift of premonition.  He knew I had sex with this boy.  I felt the red flush of humiliation when this boy explained he'd found a phone message meant for his mother.  My father had called demanding we all sit down for a chat.  Can shame and humiliation kill you?  My heart should have exploded right there.  I don't remember what was said but I do remember feeling utterly belittled.

The summer I was 17 I ran away for good.  I rented an apartment.  I bought a pan, a spoon and a box of mac-n-cheese.  That first night while boiling noodles I felt a chapter closing and the freedom of new fresh pages with nothing written on them.

I went to college.  Earned my degree.
Changed my life. Found faith and love.
Served a mission.  Helped others change their lives.
Met the man, fell in love and got married in the temple.

June 2011

Three months into our separation I get a late night call.  He's audibly shaken and asks to come over.

He has written a fearless moral inventory (Step 4 of sex addiction recovery) and shared it with his sponsor and our church leaders.  That night he was excommunicated.  His name was no longer on the records of the church.  He had been formally removed.  Oddly, this was devastating to him.

He shared his moral inventory with me.  I listened.

On my sofa he sobbed.  He was vulnerable, defenseless. The anger and haze of darkness were lifting leaving him broken and scared. I held his hand as he talked and cried for hours.  I held him as he trembled and apologized.  I didn't say much. I ran my fingers through his hair and met his eyes with mine.  They're blue and clear and honest.

Our bodies knew each other, like familiar lovers with renewed depth and compassion.  There was no fear or resentment.  No reactions drenched in PTSD.  This was a moment I had believed would never happen.  As we loved each other waves of healing washed over us.  That night I slept in his arms until the sun rose.

In the morning I made him leave.

Now what?

* Disclaimer about sex

Belle Norte Linens

Origami Bunny

Happy Folding

We have an origami holiday tradition. 
This Easter it's an origami bunny. Adorable!

Each holiday we check out Jessica Jones's rad origami picks. Who's Jessica Jones? She's talented graphic designer and the curator of How About Orange.

It might take a dozen pieces of crumpled origami paper but we're gonna give it the ole' college try.

We made this for Easter too.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

My Boy


                          My mind's record player has been on repeat with this song the past few days.  
There is no end to how much I adore my Boy.

We live in an old neighborhood.  Right off Main St., downtown, next to pawn and taco shops. Saturday night smells like BBQed carne asada and roasted peppers.  There are old houses. Old trees.  Backyard alleys.  We have a cranky old man neighbor, fabulous neighbors and tons of kids.  We go on bike rides and throw impromptu street baseball games in "Grandma Elma's" front yard.
I support local lemon-aide stands.  My kids play in homemade tree houses and chase feral cats .  There's even an abandoned house right next door complete with an overgrown yard, chain link fence, pecan trees and a wrap around front porch.

The sweetest retired couple just bought the house.   They've got roots in this neighborhood.  In a little yellow house on the same block they raised their 6 kids.  That was 30 years ago.  They want to retire here.  Rumors say the abandoned house was the coolest house in the neighborhood.  
Lucky for me, they are restoring it and it will be gorgeous.

My Boy, he's 3 1/2 with long blonde hair and a mischievous spirit. I am crazy about him!
Instantly, he became BFF's with these new neighbors.  
Armed with a little hammer and a tool belt and has invited himself to help with the remodel.  

I spied on him from the kitchen window.  His hammer secured in the belt, he got down on his hands and knees to shimmy under the fence escaping into their backyard.  With just his legs squirming on our side of the fence I snuck up behind him grabbed the ankles of his overalls and pulled him out from under the fence!  Busted!!  

He laughed and I tickled.  Nestling his giggly little body and kissing his filthy dirty nose.  I let him go and he wiggles back under the fence and plays with his new grandparent neighbors.

I'm thankful for my sweet Boy and kind grandparent neighbors.

Love these crazy true life stories of the Boy who's imagination created
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory!
I read this book to my kids last summer, great read, reminds me of my Boy.

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Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Salute to my brave friend

Nikki Ormerod Photography

Follow the story.
Read the previous entry here.

The sisterhood of 12-step is an instant love.  Bound by tears and hope and a great metamorphosis.  I love them all but one night a dark haired beauty caught me off guard.  She said something.  Then I said something and we realized we knew each other from what seems like another life-time...COLLEGE!

She was the little sister of my boyfriend's best friend.  A boyfriend I really liked. A boyfriend who'd asked me to marry him.  Why did I say "no"?   I joked that since I was at 12-step recovering from the trauma of a cheating spouse I may have made the wrong marital decision. ha ha

Turns out my friends story is parallel to mine. Her husband lies and cheats and visits the ever alluring darkness of the exotic Asian massage parlor.  Damn him for destroying a beautiful family!  She is sweet and young and has tiny little children that deserve more than they are getting.

But she is brave.

She has actually, physically done what I day-dream and night-dream about.

She is bold.

She has cojones.

There's no telling what kind of flesh-eating bacteria is lurking* as she wraps her hand in Kleenex, grabs hold of the door handle while crappy brass bells hanging on red string announce her arrival.  This girl, this little brave, bold girl with serious cojones has just burst onto the scene of the dank Paradise Massage brothel!

"I know what you do here.  Prostitution is illegal and you need to stop!  This is a DIRTY PLACE WHERE YOU SELL SEX AND TRAP LITTLE GIRLS INTO A LIFE OF WHORING!"

The little old Asian lady's crinkly flat eyes look up and from behind the glass says, "Ooooh, no miss.  You are confusssed.  We are not like that."

No doubt her accusations were heard by "johns" and girls alike.  The doors are cheap and thin.  The whole place is cheap and glows under yellowed lights.  It even smells like cheap sex.

Salute to my brave friend!

*On second thought, I know what kind of flesh-eating bacteria lurks in massage parlors...the kind that eats floppy wieners and turns them into unrecognizable nubs.  Was that bitter?  :)

About Me
A Well Traveled Woman
(one of my favorite tumblrs)

Follow the story.
Read the previous entry here.

The smell of cows and corn fields remind me of home.  I'm from a small town in a loosely populated mid-western state.  As a kid I built a "save the salamander sanctuary" in our back yard. of them died and I bawled.   My blue banana-seat bike was nick-named the "blue-light special" and hidden behind a lilac bush I camouflaged my face with mud while slinging bombs at my 2 younger brothers.  I was shy, awkward, skinny and never felt too comfortable.  My best friend lived down the street.  She was AWESOME!  She had a mullet!  Which we called the Fem-ullet.  Her mom always had Capri-Suns and she had a slobbery-kiss giving chihuahua named Frisky.

Frisky had a thing for my best friends sister's hair.  Her hair was shiny platinum blonde and fell to her waist.  The weirdo chihuahua loved to to get all messed up in her hair and chew it.

We died laughing one day cause there was a foot-long string of hair coming from it's little anus with a tiny chihuahua-turd dangling at the end!  He was running around chasing a stranded turd on a string of hair that hadn't finished digesting somewhere in his large intestine!!  Our sides ached, we couldn't breathe and tears squeezed from our little 9-year old eyes!  We laughed and laughed!

Seems I mention poop a lot...see here and here and here.  Poop is funny, even for a girl like me.
My Dad didn't think poop was funny.  Being nice wasn't natural for him.  His eyes were steely blue,  he was ridged, yelled at a lot and thought spanking was good idea.  He was a talented spanker, a gift he inherited from his father.  Sometimes I thought it was a bit manic.  I wasn't happy at home and I learned more about being mean than being kind.

He's an artist and our house was always filled with buckets, cans and bottles of paint.  My brothers and I were latch-key kids and after school was the best time of the day; 
we were unsupervised!

The garage housed a massive collection of spray pain., I was fascinated with the endless colors and textures.  We sprayed everything: the walls, the tool bench, sticks, rocks, spiders and styrofoam.  Have you ever seen what spray paint does to styrofoam?  Try it.  My brother spray painted his arm and then lit it on fire!  He scorched one eyebrow off and lost part of his coat sleeve.  Yes, we were all spanked when my Dad got home.

My Mom thought poop was funny, until she caught the scolding look my Dad sent her.  She was quiet and seemed afraid.  I love her.  She was soft and kind, she liked to fish, had long strawberry hair and wore pink homemade pants.  She made me a matching pair.  When we were too poor to buy a real Cabbage Patch Kid she made me one out of nylons!  It was perfect.  She was an awful cook but she always made a delicious breakfast.  It's still my favorite meal.

She was creative but my father squelched it with criticism.  Somewhere along the way I lost respect for her; she never stood up for her children or herself. I felt sorry for my Mom and knew she wasn't happy either.
Math hurt my brain.  I wasn't a savvy cook. Baseball, basketball or volleyball always ended with me on the bench with a goose-egg and ice pack on my head.  I got fired from my paper route (allegedly, I threw all the newspapers in the garbage).  At 13 I got caught stealing a piece of candy from the gas station. Classic!!  I was voted class president my freshman year but was replaced by the v.p. when I never attended an officers meetings.  My drama teacher always cast me in the most minor of non-speaking parts. My spirit was adventurous and not afraid to try new things but, honestly, I wasn't very good at any of them.

Seventh grade rolled around with its hairspray, big hair, acid wash jeans and an annoying monthly visitor called a period.  This year the high school running coach asked me if I would like to train with the JV cross-country and track team.  So I did.  This skinny, clumsy pre-teen was finally good at something.  I was fast.  My first pair of running shoes were a cheap pair of white Keds but that didn't matter, I was still fast.  My lungs were strong and the farther I ran the fast I went.   By my freshman year I was faster than anyone in my school.  Running healed me.

Nothing in my childhood built my self-worth more than being good at something.

My husband didn't just hurt me.  His sex addiction hurts our daughter too.  She's a little girl becoming self-aware on the edge teenage befuddlement.  Can't he see how necessary he is? Doesn't he know his love can teach her she's safe and adored as herself and not a sexual object? He can offer her confidence to stand up for herself and say "no".  Has his power and influence as a father escaped him?  Doesn't his wholesome attention and affection provide a solid foundation for her self-esteem? This is heartbreaking; I can never offer the same gifts a loving father can give her.

My heart beats faster as my Keds propel my feet and my self-worth takes root, making permanent residence in my heart. I think it's time to take her for a jog.  Oh, and we'll be sure to dodge any unassuming piles of poo!

Follow the story.
Read the next entry here.

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