My Tug-of-War


hog-s-back-fallsI fought to live to give my son life.

There were some days on my walks home from my many doctor’s appointments I would cross over Hog’s Back Falls and I’d think about jumping. I’d stare at the rushing water and think of the blissful silence death would bring as I was pulled along and under, filling my lungs with water instead of air, ending it for me and the child I had yet to meet.

I would no longer have to face the pain that tore at my insides 24/7. I wouldn’t have to find out if I was a good or bad parent, or make anymore monumental choices that I felt too young, too immature, too lonely to make. I just wanted to escape, to hide somewhere no one could find me, no one could look at me with disapproving eyes for impossible decisions that I never seemed to get right, really I couldn’t get right even if I’d had a cheat sheet at my disposal.

But jumping would have been the easy choice and I’d have simply been transferring my burden of pain and guilt to my friends and loved ones. I was more worried about their happiness than whether I was strong enough to carry my pain alone. So every time I walked over that bridge and the waters called to me, I held tight to the railing and pulled my eyes away to look at where I was going and face my decisions, my choices, my mistakes, and live whatever life they made for me.

Eighteen years on I’m still fighting every day for my child to live, to find happiness and peace within himself. A combination of genetic codes, bad parenting choices from my lack of experience and lack of knowledge have left my son struggling through a fog of diagnoses, jumping from one social net to the next and hiding inside his video games where he finds an outlet for his intense anger and an escape from a world where he can’t get it right no matter what he does.

Right now I’m caught in an epic tug-of-war. I’m the rope and the divided parties are pulling very hard, so h2972358342_6af6e789f0_oard I sometimes think I will snap in two. On one side I have my son and his long list of needs and his cries for help and a mother’s love unwilling to abandon her child. On the other the voice of “reason” that he needs to learn for himself and I can’t save him if he doesn’t want to be saved, as well as the needs of my other children and my husband and how I’m going to lose the rest of my family if I don’t let the oldest go.

How do you win that game of tug-of-war?

I can’t. My soul and heart are being torn in two. I will lose a part of me no matter which side wins and if the rope snaps, I fear I will lose everything, even myself.

I drive over Hog’s Back Falls a fair bit in my travels now and sometimes I still wonder what that cold solitude where you feel nothing would be like. I wonder what it would be like to not hurt anymore. Not to have to choose between my oldest son and the rest of my family. And I wonder how I fought so hard to save my son and I’s life eighteen years ago to still be fighting that same fight today, sometimes feeling like my oldest resents the fact I gave him life at all.

My son and I are bleeding out slowly and the tourniquets aren’t holding. Something has to give but I’m afraid of what that will look like for all of us.

For now I’m just trying to keep the tug-of-war going long enough to get help, real lasting help that opens everyone’s eyes and makes them realize what’s truly on the line. It is a life or death struggle, and while I can’t speak for my oldest, I want to live, and I want a family where everyone’s needs are met, everyone feels loved and accepted for who they are, and we work together to support, honour and help each other overcome our problems and follow our dreams.

Til then I pray I am strong enough.

A black hole



I am completely overwhelmed.

I am in a very dark head space. That is why I have not been writing. I don’t want to share how I feel because admitting to it means admitting I’m losing the battle with my depression.

I have better days. I didn’t write a to-do list this past week but Monday through Wednesday I worked hard to spend time doing the things I want to be doing. Reading with my daughter. Playing with my son. Turning off the computer more. Just trying to focus on the little things.

It’s hard to keep it up….every day….when I just feel utterly miserable inside… all the time….

Most days I barely drag myself out of bed. Just the act of waking up reminds me of my pain, and all I want is to cry, yet I can’t even find relief in tears. I push them down and force myself to get out of bed and do the bare necessities of what needs doing. Get my daughter on the bus in the morning with a lunch. Do laundry so my family has clean clothes to wear. Get myself dressed.

Most days I don’t even manage getting dressed. I live in pajamas and yoga pants, and on more occasions than I’d care to actually admit to, I have worn the same clothes for nearly 36 hours straight.

As a human being I feel like a complete and utter failure.

I feel beaten up. My bruises invisible to the world so there are few words of comfort or understanding. Mostly a lot of messages of “just deal with it” and “why can’t you manage this?”, even if they aren’t said in so many words and many come disguised as words of encouragement.

I took a college course in the spring of 2013 on communication. I loved it. One of the exercises the teacher had us do was draw a picture of an object that represented how we felt.

I drew a black hole.

I drew a blackBlack hole hole because it felt like my whole life was being sucked into one and no matter how hard I fought against it, everything, including myself, was being pulled in. It was dark and angry and destructive.

Then the teacher asked us to take that same image and change it, turn it into a positive image. At the time I couldn’t do it. I just stared at the page and swirled my black pen around and around, making the black hole bigger and darker. I didn’t see anything positive in that black hole or its existence in my life.

But what if there is….

In science fiction there is a theory that a black hole is a gateway between worlds or galaxies, that while its immense gravity pulls everything into it and initially destroys it, something different is reconstructed from the pieces on the other side. Sometimes better, sometimes worse. Either way it’s a one way trip, you are changed forever.

Surrendering to the pull of the black hole is overwhelming and my first instinct is to fight against it with all my might, holding to the familiar, holding to the comforting lull of even the most destructive habits because it’s all I know, and while it hurts, it’s pain I’m familiar with.

The act of being deconstructed is violent and painful. My whole life must flex and break, shattering everything that was so that there is room for the new, and it requires a level of trust in the universe that I will admit I don’t currently possess. A trust that the universe has a better plan for me.

Does it?

I have seen glimpses of a better world for myself. I’m afraid to reach out and take it. I’m afraid to let go of the doubt, the self-loathing, the destructive voices in my head that convince me I’m not good enough, not good enough to be a doula or birth instructor, that I’m not good enough to be a mom or wife, that I’m not good enough to even be me. Failure becomes my only option because it’s the only thing I’ve convinced myself I’m good at, and the voices constantly remind me of my short-comings.  I’m just not good enough…

But what if I am?

What if accepting that I, as I am right now, am good enough, and letting go of all the burdens of angst and anger that weigh me down is the first step of surrendering to the pull of the black hole and allowing the process of deconstruction to happen, so that I can find out what I’m truly capable of?

I just have to be willing to surrender to it.

To take the risk.

To believe I can survive being pulled apart at the very essence of my soul and then be put back together again.

I really, really, really want to but I’m completely and utterly terrified…. What if the result of this cosmic deconstruction means the end of my family as I know it? What if I end up losing some really important stuff a long the way? What if, what if, what if…. There are so many what ifs…

Thus I remain trapped between what is and what could be, frozen by my fear, imprisoned by my loneliness, ensnared by my pain and betrayed by my anger. I just find myself wondering how much worse things can get before the power of the black hole sucks me in and forces the changes on me, willingly or unwillingly?

How do you heal when your soul aches?


*********TRIGGER WARNING*************

Discussion of rape.  Contains difficult content.

Footsteps in the Sand.

My sons footsteps in the sand on a beach in New Jersey. The impact of a choice made for me.



The white ceiling.

It’s all I remember

of his conception.


A joke cracked

as I rolled into a ball

his needs satisfied.



I dressed. I left.

What just happened?


Sitting on the bus,

In the very back corner

Trying to put together the pieces.


Trying not to cry.

I clutch my stomach,

It churns with anger.



I feel sick. Alone.

And lost.


And I know,

I simply just know

I am pregnant.


Now what?


That was almost exactly eighteen years ago but it’s still incredibly fresh in my mind. It would be Valentine’s Day before I confirmed my gut instincts.  Sitting in the bathroom, shaking and feeling like the world, my world, had shuddered with a violent earthquake and cracked in two, swallowing my future in a single moment of utter chaos.  All because he didn’t want me to say no to having sex.  There were condoms not two feet away.

Was it rape?  I believe it was.  He knew I didn’t want to.  It wasn’t the first time we had had a little fun, previously he would always ask and I would say no.  I always said no.  That night he didn’t ask, he just took, perhaps in his mind he’d been patient enough, perhaps he thought he deserved it or that it was his moment to take.

It wasn’t.

Neither was my future his to rearrange or my dreams his to squash but he did all that and then cracked a joke to break the tension, like somehow that would cleanse him of his wrong doing.

It didn’t.

When I told him that I was pregnant, his response was to encourage me to “get an abortion” because I “was a child having a child”, like somehow making the child disappear would absolve him of his guilt.

I was enough of a woman the night he pleasured himself….

He was leaving either way, that was clear, so I made the decision for myself and I chose to keep the pregnancy and the child growing inside of me.  Either way, no matter what choice I made, my life would never be the same so I had to make the choice I could live with.

I was blamed and shamed as a pregnant teenager.  If I hadn’t been messing around, if I hadn’t had sex so young, if I had waited, if I’d kept my clothes on that night, etc….

He walked away.  No one ever shamed him for not controlling his impulses, for not keeping his clothes on, for messing around, for walking away, etc… He never had to deal with the fall out, or take any responsibility for his moment of self-pleasuring greed.

He’s never even met the child he planted in my womb that night.

I tried desperately to find a way to end this entry on a positive note, but perhaps that will come in another entry.  This entry was about what happened to me that night.  The truth is that moment defined the rest of my life for better or for worse.  Yes, I love my family, and wouldn’t trade them or send them back, and over the last 18 years I have found ways to make peace with elements of what happened but there is no denying this was a pivotal moment in my life and it influenced everything that followed.

There is still anger, a lot of anger.  No one in my circle of friends and family truly knows or understands the depths of my anger and resentment that I carry.  Or the guilt of also resenting my first-born child, and yet he is the most innocent of all.

How do you come to terms with such an emotionally devastating moment in time? How do you forgive? Who do you forgive?  And probably most importantly, how does your soul heal? There will always be a scar, but a scar means you’ve survived. Some days this still feels like a gaping wound, oozing with puss….

But I’m working on it….