May has been mayhem for me. On Mother’s Day weekend, I suffered a physical injury that has left me partly immobile. I have been dependent on my husband and children to help me with my daily mom chores and more. I have never been in a position like this—depending on others to do work while I sit still, resting and healing.
One week after my injuries, my husband was effectively terminated from his position as a barn care manager. One day later, my father-in-law told us that since my husband can no longer care for the hog site, he doesn’t “deserve” to live in the house he has nor does he “deserve” to farm the land he has been renting from his father. After 11 years of living in this home on this farm, pumping all our time and money into this site, my father-in-law retaliated by threatening to take it all away from us.
This past week, a local sheriff arrived on our property with intentions to arrest me. The allegation was that I had violated a harassment order. After speaking with the officer, and having my husband there as a witness, the officer found no cause to arrest me, nor could he interpret that I had done anything wrong. A harassment order was granted to my in-laws last May after they created quite an imaginative timeline of events that they deemed were evidence enough to prove that I was harassing them and a threat to their personal safety. Of course, I appealed these findings, but to no avail, the HRO’s were not dismissed. For the last year, I have had several calls and check-ins from the local county and sheriff’s department as they have been fielding complaints from my in-laws. You see, every time I post a podcast or a new blog, or make a post on social media, my in-laws are right there watching me and my every move, just waiting to find something to demonstrate that I directly targeted them in my existence.
Next month, I will have to sit in a zoom hearing as my father-in-law is attempting to silence me on social media and on my public forums. He requested a motion to amend the original harassment order to include that I not be allowed to say anything about my life experience if it includes mention of my in-laws. Essentially, his request is that nothing he has done to me and my family be mentioned.
The events of the month have obviously created turmoil, both internally and externally. Emotionally and mentally, I am drained. I have never experienced injuries like this physically nor have I had to face so many adversities in such a short time space. I have been in constant pain since my injuries. Externally, my relationships have been affected by all this drama. My husband and I have been doing our best to not let this come between us, but it has from time to time. The fear of insecurity and uncertainty unearthed a lot of past traumas that we discovered we had not resolved.
I am not writing this to garner pity or empathy. Writing is healing for me. It is after I write the words out that are swirling in my mind that I can see it all for what it is and sort through it all. I know I am not the only one dealing with family drama or relationship interruptions. I know that I am not the only one who has suffered physical injury and as a result, have had to depend on someone else. These events, combined with the last 15 years of drama, trauma, and blatant fuckery, have really forced me to open my eyes and see my entirety of reality for what it is: A gift.
It’s all a gift. It’s a gift to remind me that love is the antidote.
I could be filled with rage, contempt, and hatred. I have every right to justify those feelings and contemplate revenge. Even as I write these words, I worry that somehow, they could be used against me in a court of law. It’s been a constant crisis-mode for my family this past month and it has overwhelmed me to the point where I was ready to just give up and will myself to death in my sleep. But once the activation of the physical pain and the activation of the ego subsided, I found clarity in all this shit. I see what is really there, and what is not.
It’s all a gift. It’s a gift to remind me that love is the antidote. More than that, it’s a gift of insight into those who actively oppose me and work to ruin my name and all the hard work I have done. The insight I have gleaned, the voice of reason in my head, and the voice of God in my dreams, all point to the very same thing, those who are working against me are suffering from a love deficiency. And to be quite honest, that’s not my fault.
Every family wants a scapegoat. Isn’t that why “the black sheep of the family” is a thing? My husband and I are both the black sheep of our family. Not because we have been in the most trouble, not because we have made the most mistakes. It’s not even because we defied the narrow confines of our religious and societal expectations within our family. It’s because we rise above the bullshit and do things differently. And for that, our families have been punishing us with judgment and shame since we were in our teens.
I also see how beautifully poetic and relatable our dilemmas are in comparison to the bigger picture. I have always had the intention of using current events as the backdrop of my work. What is happening out there is also happening in here. If we stop and pause to really examine how societal conflicts relate to our own personal familial conflicts, there is so much resonance that it cannot be avoided.
Censorship is everywhere, with two sides actively opposing or defending the right to freedom of speech.
Fear is the predominant emotion of many people right now in the United States. Fears of economic instability, the fear that a virus could wipe out 1/3 of the planet, the fear that we may be confined to our homes or to a minimal radius. The fear that nothing will ever be “normal” again. The fear that our comfort zones are going to shrink in size.
Everything is connected. And still, love is the antidote.
The thing about fear that I have realized the most is that it paralyzes us from making rational decisions. Combine that with pain—whether it be physical or emotional—and we have ourselves a perfect crisis that we shouldn’t let go to waste. When we are in pain and scared, we are in survival mode. When we are in survival mode, it’s impossible to be present to the now. This last month, I felt like I was ping-ponging between past pain and future anxieties. The space between those two dimensions was abandoned. Ironically, the fear of abandonment has topped my anxiety list.
It’s not just me that has been teeter-tottering between the past and the future. We all do it. Take notice of the things you think about throughout the day. Are they situated in the past or the future? When we abandon the space between the past and the future—when we abandon the present moment—we are dancing in the emotions of fear, pain, anger, resentment, contempt, worry, panic, anxiety. That is not to say those feelings are completely irrelevant, but they are certainly not beneficial to presence. In fact, they are a detriment to reason and to love.
So I could get all hung up in irrelevant feelings that don’t propel me toward sound, reasonable, rational, loving decisions. But what good would that do me or my advancement of erotic embodiment? With all that has taken place, every adversity that has confronted my comfort and safety, I still have this one little weapon in my back pocket that I will use to stand my ground—it’s called choice. I have the choice to greet these events with gratitude and grace.
I am grateful that these events have transpired. Want to know why? They show me where my time and energy will not be useful. I have held on to the idea that at some point, things will get better between me and the in-laws. But the truth is, until they recognize their own responsibility for the last 15 years, (in actuality, their issues predate my arrival into the family) nothing will change about their mode of operation. Hurt people hurt people. That’s not a justification, it’s just the truth. The truth is, when people are so wrapped up in their own pain, they revictimize themselves over and over and over. They carry those feelings around with them like a purse on their side. They awake every morning and invite the same feelings back into their day. Their pain is comfortable to them. It’s all they know. And people want to be comfortable. People also want a convenient life. It’s convenient to never take responsibility for your own actions. It’s always somebody else’s fault. It’s a scapegoat mentality that plagues more than just my family, it plagues us all.
That’s a program I once allowed to run in the background of my life. But many years ago, I erased that program from my archives. It’s not how I operate anymore. I take responsibility for my actions. But I also forgive myself for prolonging the comfort I have clung to. Forgive not 7 times, but 70 times? I do. I forgive those who have attacked me and mine. But I won’t stay in the circumference of the bullshit anymore. Jesus didn’t tell us to forgive others and then subject ourselves to the same foolery over and over. All has been forgiven. I am moving on, quite literally.
I admonish you to do the same. Examine your life, your connections, and your relationships. If there isn’t progress taking place, if there aren’t actions taking place that demonstrate a change is gonna come, then move. Move away from those people and things that keep you locked in a perpetual state of having to be the only one that offers forgiveness and takes action to make things better. If love is not being used as the antidote, the poison will continue to circulate and destroy.