Tag Archive | family

Mr & Mrs….

Just the other day I was thinking how much I miss blogging on a regular basis.  Life got busy and I let it go.  On my last entry, someone commented on their struggles with a long distance relationship.  I know the heartbreak well!

Back in January I started doing some serious praying and even contacted a church in Hawaii which has prayer warriors in order to get back to my Ben.  By the middle of February, I had bought a ticket to Nigeria.  We quickly scheduled our wedding date and got all the preparations done.  There was a flurry of activity which ensued over the next month!

I was talking to a good friend, Kaitlyn, about  how to get to Ben.  The money was here, but I didn’t have the time off available at work.  I was terrified to ask for the time off in order to go get married.  The long months of stress had worn me down emotionally and I was cracking at the seams.  I requested a six week leave of absence from my job in order to take care of myself.  Part of my self care included going to see my love!  Getting some movement again in bringing us together again.  Kaitlyn told me, in essence, that God brings us true love rarely and that is what I have with Ben.  Do whatever I have to do to marry this man!  After that conversation, my decision was that no matter the cost,I was going to marry this man!  I put in my request the next day and got confirmation a few days later.  I have never been so willing to do whatever it takes to have what I want before.  God provided for me in the ways I needed.

I arrived in Lagos, Nigeria on March 5, 2012.  The flight was long and exhausting.  I was 2nd to the last person to pass through immigration and customs.  The wait was unreal.  I think the last hour in the airport was one of the hardest times in all my life!  When I walked out the doors, I panicked when I didn’t see him at first.  There were people trying to get me in a taxi and carry my bags.  A moment later, I heard my name.  Seeing him face-to-face was siimply amazing!  It’d been 18 months since we’d seen each other.  We picked up right where we left off last time.  No time had elapsed and there was not a moment of awkwardness or uncertainty.  We hugged so long there on the sidewalk that a guard was telling us to take it home!

I met my brother-in-law for the first time at the airport.  He was away in school when I was there the first time.  I was so happy to see him there with Ben!  Upon arrival at the house, Mom was walking through the gate just as we pulled my suitcases from the trunk.  The hugs and reunions were so special!  In those first few hours, I got to see nearly all the family.  I was astonished at my young sister-in-law.  She was only 9 the last time I saw her.  Now 11, she is a young lady and extremely beautiful!  She was so excited to see me.  She was telling me that all day at school she’d been telling her friends that her sister-in-law was arriving from America.

I stayed in Nigeria for 22 days.  The first week of my stay was not very exciting,  but extremely busy!  We only had three weeks to plan our wedding prior to my arrival, so that first week was full of wedding details.  The taylor came and fit my dress and took it for alterations and embroidery.  Ben and the taylor were negotiating price and what work was to be done.  I didn’t understand a lot of the conversation.  To me, it sounded like they were on the edge of going to blows!  I asked Amaka if they were arguing.  She laughed at me and said they were only negotiating.  When I got my dress back a few days later, I was amazed at how lovely it really is!  He had added hand embroidered purple detailing with a fringe.

Two days before the wedding we went goat shopping.  We went across town to a goat market with Ben’s brother, Placid and his wife, Coco.  What an experience that was!  There were hundreds of goats tied to traughs bleating.  I was appauled at their treatment.  What kind of life is it for a goat to be tied up with only about 18″ wiggle room waiting to be bought for slaughter?!  Placid found the perfect goat and dickered with the man on the price.  $200 for a big goat.  They hog tied the goat and put him in the trunk of the car!  I told them to turn up the radio so I couldn’t hear him kicking and crying.  The three of them laughed at me, but come on now… I’m a California city girl!  I couldn’t watch them slaughter the goat the next day.  I knew if I did, I’d never be able to eat it!

The following morning, I got up to the sounds of about 10 guys downstairs in the yard slaughtering the goat.  I stayed upstairs for a long while.  Curiosity finally got the better of me.  I’m really glad I went down!  This was one of the true African cultural things I experienced on this trip.  The goat was already dead and on a fire when I arrived on scene.  I stood with my hands on my hips looking at this not sure what to think.  I decided it wasn’t so bad and joined in on the fun and celebration of the day.  By the time they actually butchered the goat for cooking, I was pretty immune to it all.  I joked with the photographer that he should take a picture of me holding the goat’s head.  Well, the joke was on me when everyone cheered me on until I did it.  It’s one of my favorite pictures from that day!

We got married on Thursday, March 15, 2012.  My mom called us at 4:30 am to wish us well and start the day off for me with love from family.  It was really hard getting married without any of my family or friends being there.  A few days prior, we watched the “Mama Mia!” video.  I had to leave the room when Meryl Streep is holding her daughter and helping her prepare for her wedding day.  The emotions and tears overwhelmed me.  I knew it would be hard, but I had no idea it would be like that!  So, having mom call me first thing  that morning meant a lot to me…. to both of us, really.

Getting dressed was a group project.  Ben helped me put my dress on.  I did my own hair and make-up.  Placid cinched the tie on my dress.  One of the aunties straightened it all out.  Mom gave me her red royalty earrings to wear.  Coco loaned me a hairpin she wore at her wedding a few weeks earlier for the something new, something old, something borrowed, something blue tradition.  The end product was amazing!  I hadn’t planned what jewelry to wear and it just kind of fell into place that morning.

The wait at the Federal Marriage Registry at Ikoyi was long!  We arrived at 9am and weren’t married until a little before noon.  The morning looked like it might rain.  The day ended up being ungodly hot! I was getting a little cranky and ready to go home by the time they called us up for our turn.  Funny how quickly my mood and attitude changed when it was our turn!

The ceremony was very different than an American court marriage.  The vows are similar, but different in ways that are more meaningful to me.  The offciant told us how to sit, stand, hold each other.  It seemed a little riduculous when I was watching the couples ahead of us.  It did when we were doing it, too.  Afterwards, looking at the photos and the video I am glad he had us do it his way!  It added to the meaning of the ceremony.  For a court marriage, it lasted about 15 minutes and he didn’t rush us through.  We were given our special moment and allowed to honor it.  I value that a lot.  With so many civil marriages here, you have 5 minutes and it’s done.  Move it on out!

I can’t get over “washing” the official who married us.  We paid really high costs for our marriage both in fees and bribes prior to the ceremony.  He demanded bribes from each of the wedding party.  I was the first to give him Naira and he tossed it back at me telling me I had to give more!  This was not giving him an offering for his services.  This was a straight out bribe!  Ben had to give him even more that next Monday when he went to pick up our marriage certificate.  The corruption is unreal!

The interview process prior to the marriage was a little intense, too.  When Ben set the date, they told him we’d have to under go some counseling.  We had no idea what this would entail.  We got there and sat before this man who asked us all of these questions about the validity of our marriage, how we met, our courtship, where we’d live, our financial plan, what foods I would cook for my husband in the States, plan for children, am I sure I don’t have any children, and finally, how we planned on making our marriage work and being good and loving to one another.  The process was a little intimidating, though not terrible.  The worst part was when we had to do it again the day of our wedding with yet a different man!  I can’t believe they asked me if I’m positive I don’t have children from a previous relationship!  Why on earth would I lie about having children?  And I’m pretty certain that I’ve never gone through labor or pregnancy.

The party was so much fun!  All of my life, I have wanted to have a party-party.  You know the kind… dancing, music, singing, drinking.  A party which wasn’t just sitting around talking and eating with some laughs.  I finally had the party I have always wanted!  I got to be young and the center of attention.  I had a camera or video camera in my face for the entire day, but I honestly didn’t mind most of the time.  Everyone there wanted to dance with me and talk to me.  I can’t think of another time in my life where so many men wanted to dance with me… and all of them good looking!  Of course, my husband was the most dashing of them all!!!

Speaking of my dashing husband, he just woke up and it’s time for our video chat.  Tell you more later!



Gratitude and Relationships

It’s Wednesday night, December 28h.  It’s been a long week, or so.  Was feeling pretty sorry for myself on Christmas.  I’m done with that!  I had the rest of the family come over just as I was finishing up my last blog post.  There were gifts and merriment.  I spent the rest of the day with friends from a support group I belong to.  What a wonderful experience that was!

Do you know how nice it is to go be with people who CHOOSE to be with you on Christmas?  Where there is no sense of obligation or any long time history of an unhealthy dynamic?  It’s fabulous!  I recommend it to everyone!  We don’t get to choose our bio-families…. but we can choose our supportive family.  Thank God for small miracles!

I went to an AA meeting later Christmas night.  There was a woman sharing who was clean and sober off alcohol and meth for only 30 days.  She was divorcing a man who abuses her.  Two of her three sons are in prison… one with a life sentence, no possibility of parole.  There was a fellow who staggered in straight up drunk.  Yes, falling down, “I love you,man” drunk.  I was filled with such a sense of gratitude.  Drinking has not ever been my main issue.  It is just the program I went to which got me into the one I need to be in.  Much easier to accept an alcohol problem than an eating problem.  I shared in that meeting that I’ve been sober for just under 8 years now.  The problems I have now are truly “luxury problems”.

What is a luxury problem?  I asked that question for a long time when I was first getting my life straightened back out after a major manic episode which left me driving drunk on the wrong way of freeway on ramp, in a psych hospital for danger to myself, and out of a job and back on disability.  I was looking at the world around me asking what in the hell a “luxury” problem was!  I just totally couldn’t relate.  Today I do.  I have a job. I have a home to live in.  A warm bed to sleep in.  A man I love.  A relationship I cherish.  Friends who love me like family.  A strong support system when things are hard.  Money in the bank… even if it is just a little!  The list goes on!  Not living exactly where I want to and having my own car are really pretty small compared to the problems other have.  I have come to believe that GRATITUDE is the key to a happy exhistence.

Right this moment, I am feeling afraid.  Mildly,but afraid.  I have started to set boundaries and ask for what I want and need in my relationships.  Both close to me and those at more distance.  I sent Benneth an email talking about my desire for each of us to work on jealousy issues.  As indivuals and as a couple.  How do we overcome this difficult issue.  Is there willingness for each of us to look at our core beliefs about ourselves and our relationship.  I don’t doubt the stability of our relationship one bit.  I believe strongly that this is something we can accomplish.  I know I have the ego strength to pick up and deal with this issue by the horns.  My fear is that it will bring up more discomfort between us.  Looking at the hard parts in a relationship is just that…HARD! 

Being married and making a relationship work is more than just paying the bills, cleaning house, making love, and the day-to-day mundane things.  There is so much more to it if it is to be truly strong and healthy.  This is something I’ve never had.  I’ve had relationships in the past which left soo much lacking!  I want to have a marriage with Benneth where we do the work and have a marriage and love others look at and envy.  “How do they do it?”  That is the question I want everyone to ask.  With all the obstacles we must overcome to have a marriage at all… I want it to be so solid that not even the most destructive disaster…or God himself…  can break it apart!  Working on the issues which make things more difficult in the long run upfront make things so much easier.  This is a lesson I wish to learn from other’s experience.

I  know this is going all over the place tonight.  There is just so much on my mind and in my heart tonight. 

For my Benneth…  I love you deeply and forever.  My wish is for you to never doubt my love or commitment to you.  And for me to never worry I am not enough to keep you.  We have a love so deep and so pure that I have no doubt this wish can come true.  Afuru ngi naya, Obi m!


I know I’ve mentioned Oli before kind of in passing.  I’m feeling particularly loving towards my little furry housemate this morning.  I took her in about a year ago now.  I thought she was just a stray born in the complex that had never been a pet.  She came to my door and would stand up on her hind legs to look in at me and see what I was doing and “talk” to me.  I have this large rhododendron planter outside my door which I found her curled up in sleeping on more than a few occasions.  She was adopting me.  I wasn’t sure I wanted to take her in.  Such a big responsibility.  Am I really home enough to have a cat?  She was sooo cute though!  One day I decided to open the door and offer to let her come inside.  She was all about that!  Wandered around, sniffed everything, and finally settled down on the sofa cushion next to me.  That was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.

I work odd hours due to the type of job I have.  They are consistent from week to week for six months at a time.  She ended up spending quite a bit of time alone. At first her reaction to me being gone was to come talk and talk and talk and demand that I just pet  her non-stop for a good 20 minutes.  After a few months of that she decided it wasn’t good enough.  She would greet me at the door by “yelling” at me for a good 10 minutes while I tried to coax her over to me so I could give her some good mama-kitty time.  Eventually she would come over and make me scratch her and give her lots of time and affection.  The day came that when she felt angry with me for leaving her, she peed on my leather sofa.   This pattern lasted for a while.  I was angry at her for nearly destroying my leather sofa and she was angry with me for not spending enough time with her.  She went outside and stayed there for about 4 weeks.  Oh, she’d come look in the door and talk to me, walk to my car with me every morning, and follow me to the mailbox each day…she just refused to come in the house.

With a little prodding and coaxing she started coming back in slowly.  A few minutes at a time and leaving quickly.  She was exerting her control.  After a week went by and she learned she could come and go as she wished, she chose to stay.  Now she is back to being my little love staying mostly in the house with me again.  She’s even begun to sleep with me again.

My neighbor, Brad, and I were sitting on our separate patios one morning chatting.  He told me the story of Oli.  Apparently the man who lived in the apartment on the other side of me had two little cats, Oli and her brother.  When he moved out of the complex he just left them.  My poor little kitty had been abandoned.  Then I understood why she would be upset with me for leaving her for long periods of time.    She was afraid I wasn’t coming back… and needed lots of reassurance when I got back that I love her and won’t desert her.  Hmmm… interesting that my cat and I have the same issues!  lol

Did I tell you how I came up with the name Oli?  Benneth is from the Igbo tribe and over the past 2 years I’ve been learning a little Igbo as I go.  I picked up a pocket dictionary on Amazon.com last year before I went to Nigeria.  Has been a fun little book to own.  🙂  Well, I wanted to give her an Igbo name with a meaning I liked.  My first choice was Obi, which means heart.  When I told Ben, he said we can’t have a cat named Obi.  His brother’s middle name is Obinna and the family calls him Obi for short.  Plus, he calls me Obiuto which means sweetheart.  Just won’t do for him.  We tried on different names and ideas.  I wanted to stay with a name sounding close enough to Obi that it wouldn’t confuse her.  Oli is was.  Oli means hope.  Seems an appropriate name for her.  I affectionately call her Olinaya.  Naya means love… so she’s hope + love.  Sweet.  At least I think so.

We have spent a quiet day around the house today… just kind of lounging and being together.  She did her early morning demands for food, scratches, and in/out.  After about an hour we both settled into a comfortable state of just being here.  She’s been snoozing on the sofa and I’ve been curled up in my favorite chair  under a blanket with a book.  What a nice day it’s been.  Rather than looking at today as yet another boring Sunday with nothing to do and no one to talk to, I put a positive reframe on it and am seeing it as quality mama-kitty time.  🙂

In Nigeria cats are seen as handmaiden’s of the devil.  An interesting perspective, I think.  How anyone can see a sweet and loving little cat as having anything to do with the devil’s work, I’ll never understand.  So when I told Ben I’d adopted the cat he wasn’t thrilled about her living in the house with me in the first place.  Then that she had his brother’s name was even more not OK.  Over the months, as I told him stories about her and talked about her all the time (as most proud mama’s do), he started asking me about her.  Then one day he pronounced his love for this little cat.  She knows when I am talking to him on the phone.  Since I first brought her into the house I would tell her I was talking to “Daddy”.  She meows and usually demands my attention, like any small child does, when I am involved in a conversation which doesn’t include her and seems to make me happy.  The three of us have fallen into somewhat of a routine.  Ben and I talk about Oli as if she is our child we are raising and training well.  She is a demanding child who wants attention while we are having our adult time.  And all three of us love one another.  Oli has not met Benneth, but she has certainly seen his face enough times that she will recognize him when he moves in with us.  The amazing world of cyberspace and video-voice chats brings families closer.  lol

Speaking of my Oli, I should get back to her.  She doesn’t like it when I’m in on the computer too long.

Power of Choice

Touchstone was the jumping off point for me to really dig into my past and my family dynamics.  Funny how such a simple thing as seeing similarities between two different people in your life can result in a massive unearthing of pain and trauma.

I spoke with a good friend today about my emotional revelations, along with some of the actual story details.  For the very first time in my life I had someone validate my pain and just how horrible it actually was for me.  To see my parents fight and my father brutally beat my mother in front of me, never knowing if my dad would come home or not… or how long he’d be gone if he didn’t, would it be safe or not if he did come home, feeling responsible for my parents fighting, and never being allowed to talk about the trauma and my feelings around it.  All of this happened between birth and 6 years…. the fundamental formative years of who I am, how I function in the world and how I form relationships with others.  The validation was exactly what I needed to hear.  The next thing she told me was to repeat this mantra over and over-  I have a right and deserve to be loved, protected, and safe.  What a powerful statement to hear and tell myself.

The abuse goes beyond the initial domestic violence, abandonment, and lack of any sense of stability.  I am the product of a second marriage after my mom divorced her first husband and left the other kids.  This is not the story she tells, but I know this how they all felt, as they have all told me at one time or another.  Not only did I always have my mom all those years, but I am the child of the man who beat her.  I am also the child of the man who threatened the older kids physically.  So many layers of trauma and abuse for all of us kids. Being in this position in the family, much unfair neglect and abuse have come my way.  My older brother has been the worst offender in abusing me emotionally on so many levels.  At this point, I am not able or willing to have empathy for his feelings about the family history.  What I do know is that regardless of what he feels, wants, needs from anyone… I AM NOT AT FAULT for his pain… and I will not longer fall victim to his abuse.

The same holds true for my mom.  She won’t admit it, but I’m now very sure that part of her neglect and emotional distancing of me is because I am my father’s child.  For years she has told me I am not part of “that family.”  I am her child and nothing like them. I look a lot like my father and have many of his personality characteristics, minus the violent tendencies.  This must be very painful for her… to look at her child and see the product of a man who hurt her over and over.  I would imagine it to be similar to being the product of a rape… except there was love between them on some level.  Does this give her the right to deny who I am?  To disrespect my thoughts, feelings, experiences?  To withhold love and an emotional connection?  Absolutely NOT!

I have the power of choice now that I can clearly see what all the dynamics are in the family and how I fit into them.  I can choose to stay in the mix and continue to be on the receiving end of neglect and emotional abuse, I can walk away completely and find my own family,  I can cut some people out of my life and not others, or I can do some varying combination of these things.  As of today, my choice is to remove the most painful people from my life altogether, keep the ones who love and support, and set clear boundaries and expectations with those who are in the middle… and be willing to walk away (temporarily, as the case may be) when the boundaries are not respected.  I, too, have to commit to respecting other’s boundaries and expectations.  This is not a one-way street for any of us.  I did not become the victim of abuse for 39 years without playing my role, too.

Being rejected and abandoned on multiple levels for so many years, when I did realize it hurt to be part of the family, I made a choice (not a cognitive one!) that it was better to keep quiet, watch my P’s and Q’s, and accept the abuse in order to maintain my place in the family.  Losing everyone and truly believing that if my own family didn’t really want me that no one else would either.  I would be all alone… and TOTALLY unsafe in the world.  Through years of my own therapy and personal growth, I have come to know this is a fallacy.  Each of us has our own special gifts and we are all so lovable… and there are many people out there who will see us for the person we really are and love us to bits!  Writing that “we are all so lovable” made me think back to a teacher at my high school, Mr. Custodio.  He was an ex-priest and taught latin.  All the kids at school used to joke about him making all his students repeat this following phrase each day in his class:  I Am Lovable And Likable.  (IALAL as it was posted on the wall.)  What a beautiful gift he gave each of his students.  I wish I had recognized it then.

I am flexing my power of choice to allow people into my life who are loving, kind, accepting, gentle, and just plain old make me feel good being with them!  I am also choosing to tell myself each day that I have a right and deserve to be loved, protected, and safe. 



Over the years I have had many feelings and opinions which I have kept to myself. By and large, in my family I was taught not to have feelings… and if I do certainly not to talk about them! Constantly being told not to feel that way, that my expression takes too long or better yet told how to better phrase my own feelings, that I’ve been talking too much, being punished and judged for having and expressing feelings, or simply diverted completely from even entering into a conversation about feelings with the all famous saying “Let’s not go there tonight, Jodie.”

In my family, I am the IP (identified patient). I’m the one who has gotten psychiatric help, therapy, and actually learned how to live a very functional, happy life with meaningful relationships. Yet I am the one who is always pointed to as the weak one. Being diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 25 after making some bad life choices and realizing things were going badly has kind of labeled my entire existence to a degree. Today, I identify with the diagnosis, but it is not who I am anymore. I will be the first one to admit that I had a lot of trouble managing my life, behavior, and choices for a while. Once I asked for help and got on the right meds, my life pretty much straightened out. It’s been nearly 10 years since I’ve really had big issues. I still cycle and have some minor mood abnormalities, but for the most part they are only a day or two in duration and easily controlled before creating any damage in my life. I have excellent insight into my symptoms and coping skills for keeping things on track. It irks me to no end that my brother still finds it necessary from time to time to comment on the fact that I’ve been doing well for “a while now” and remind me that I have some limitations and not to pressure myself too much or take on too much.

Let’s go back to the start here and talk a little more about not having feelings. There has been all sorts of crap in my family starting with the initial parental neglect and hurts. For my older siblings,they were physically neglected. As for me, I was emotionally neglected by my mom and abandoned by my dad. All of this pretty much spells a recipe for disaster! Then you bring in the dynamics between us kids and whatever hurts there have been between us. No where in any of this do we ever talk about our feelings, acknowledge our own hurts, or validate that we may have hurt someone else. The one time I did try to talk to one of my brothers about something he said which really hurt me I was criticized and then judged for having tears around my hurt and disappointment. The statement which followed will haunt me forever. He hit me below the belt for expressing emotion and being honest about how hard things were for me at that time. He told me he didn’t trust me to be alone with his children. He was afraid I would say or do something which might hurt them and he needed to always be present to protect them. Now there was no need to speak these words…unless the iintent was directly aimed at hurtnig me!

There are things brewing in my life outside of my biological family which triggered some of these feelings to come back up for me again.

The first is around work. I work with mentally ill adults. I’ve done this type of work for 10 years now. I have a lot of experience both professionally and personally. After learning not to speak up and express myself, I have tons of resentments around my co-workers which are at the breaking point for me. There are things ranging from personality differences to actual treatment of the clients. I would be willing to admit that most of these things are hitting me personally around not feeling respected, listened to, along with a need to protect those who can’t stand up for themselves (since no one ever stood up for me). I’m seeing that despite my personal feelings around these issues, they are troublesome and inappropriate nonetheless. Today I stood up for a decision I made which was countermanded by a fellow staff member. When I took the 2nd stand, my intent was to actually bring peace and understanding to all of us, so that there would be no question as to expectations from all involved and erradicate any possible disputes or hurt feelings. The end result of this situation was my boss taking a stand (quietly) for my position and shutting down the arguments of the other staff person. My first response was to feel self righteous about “winning.” The the guilt set in about how upset my co-worker appeared. Now that it’s been hours since the incident, I am feeling relieved and at peace with myself for taking a position. Whether it was right or wrong, I took a stand for something and followed through with asking for what I wanted and needed. The fact that the result was positive was just an added kudo.

The second areas lies in my relationship with Benneth. I know I talked yesterday about not asking for what I wanted and feeling left of center. The only times I’ve ever gotten angry with him are when I’ve felt distanced or unloved in some way. Asking for what I want and need instead of being angry would be so much more effective in rectifying that situation, don’tcha think?! lol I want you to love me, so I push you away. Benneth is the first relationship I’ve had since I got all of my meds totally straightened out and my life in order with no baggage… at least tangible! The strides I’ve made with him around communication, trust, expectations, forgiveness, etc. have been immense! In the process of being in this relationship, I have come up against a number of challenging things within myself. How do I tell the man I love I’ve been in a psychiatric hospital? That I have to take medication every day for the rest of my life to stay “normal” or my life gets out of control fast? How do I explain to him what “out of control” looks like? How can I ever be honest about all the things I’ve done in my past which will impact some areas of our future together? Over the years the answers have come to me. Not all at once. They seemed to come on God’s time…. when I was ready for the next level of trust and honesty. Just a week or so ago I finally told Benneth the last thing hanging over my head to deal with. I was soo afraid to even broach the subject! Once I told him there was silence for a minute (felt like 5!) and then he came back with the most loving response. It was outside my realm of imagination get a response like that! He came from the perspective of marriage, partnership, teamwork, respect, and helping each other with those things the other has a weakness in. The reality is that for the first time in my whole entire life….. I am loved, supported, and accepted EXACTLY AS I AM! What an amazing feeling! I had an awakening tonight where I realized that I trust him completely. I don’t mean that figuratively. I mean, there is absolutely no area of my life that I am afraid to share with him. Learning to talk about feelings easier will come in time with more practice.

There are so very many reasons for which I have regailed this epic tale to you. Most important to me in this moment is to support anyone in my boat who is afraid to speak up and express your feelings and opinions for whatever reason.

The reinforcement I got Monday was phenominal, to say the least! I went to my supervisor and asked to talk with him. Two hours later, I left with a sense of honor and validation. Not only did he see importance in my insights and view points, but he was willing to assist me with sharing them with everyone else.

He has been looking for my spirit name for the past four years. (He is a gestalt therapist… this speaks volumes to anyone who knows what gestalt is.) He found it Monday.

Touchstone: The one who centers the group and speaks out to what is right.
(Even if I’m terrified to do it!)

I am happy. Content. Filled with love. And so honored to be considered a touchstone!