Friday, December 31, 2010

New Years Resolutions

I've never really done New Years Resolutions before. I think often it is because I already have other goals going on, and so I don't really want to interrupt and deal with new goals with the New Year, and it seems a bit contrived or something. And last year I did start my 101 goals in 1001 days, but upon reflection, I think it was a massive undertaking, and while I have done a lot of the goals there, and may give them some thought, there are too many to give any meaningful direction to my life. I actually want to go back and look at that list, and see what I really think about it. *Does so*

Hm...well, maybe I will not ditch that. It's a good list to have. I've actually done a lot on there. Yeah, I'll keep it. It still has a longer duration too. They are good goals.

There are a little less than 10.5 hours left for me in this year (Aussies get the new year early, and this time I get to partake!), so here are my resolutions for 2011.

1 - Love more people, and love people more

2 - Find 5 ancestors and get their temple work done

3 - Spend 15 minutes outside each day

4 - Finish writing a story (to a polished state)

5 - Take a picture of all the food I eat

Goal 5 I expect to be imperfect. I will not actually get a picture of everything I eat, but I will accept that, and just try to do my best.

Goal 3 I expect could be the same way, though I don't see why I shouldn't be able to do it, if I am thinking about it.

Goal 1 I put in because I wanted to reach for something that is not mechanical, that is not just checking something off my list. It is more to give me focus to my year, to focus on loving more people, and to love more the people I already love. What a beautiful thing it is to be loved, and to love. I want a goal that at the end of the year, I could have achieved, but still be ready to make the same goal next year. I want to change, not just accomplish. So that is the purpose of this goal that is not really quantifiable. It is perhaps the most important goal on the list.

I will probably check in from time to time this year to see how I am doing on various goals. That is, after all, the beauty of posting it on my blog, that I have more accountability!

So a toast to the new year, and all the possibilities it brings with it!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

We are all Strangers, We are all Friends

People are not super friendly here. I've talked to a friend from Adelaide, and I think it may be more because this is a big city than being Australia, because it seemed the same way in New York too. I guess when you get so many people together, it just begins to get unmanageable to try and smile or say hello, or acknowledge most people you see, and so you end up just ignoring them.

But, I still believe in friendliness, and a good smile, so I try to smile or say hi as I walk by people, even though most people avoid eye contact.

So today, I was walking home from grocery store, just through the neighborhood where I walk the most, the well-worn path I walk, and I am looking at the people I am passing, seeing who to say hi to or smile at or whatever, and I smile at an Indian-looking man, and he says to me, "Did I see you the other day? Do you live around here?"

So I told him yes that I am staying around here, and I probably did see him the other day. We talked for a second about how people here don't usually say hi or smile, and then we grabbed sodas and talked for a little while.

He just barely moved to Sydney, and sounds like he doesn't really know many people, and he didn't want to talk about family in Australia, because it sounded like it was a hard subject.

It made me think of the other day, when I was walking along, and this lady actually did smile back at me, and it made my day. It was kind of a hard day. I'd always heard people talk about how a smile could make someone's day, and I always thought it was a bit trite, and like, yeah maybe it can be nice, but it's not -that- big of a deal, but then seeing that lady smile at me, I just understood what a smile could do.

And then talking to this guy, it sounds like I got to be that for him another day. Funny how we can affect people without even really knowing it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Thanks Guys

I feel glad that I asked for help, and just to be amazed by the outpouring of love by all of you. When the comments first started coming in, I just cried and cried, and it was so healing. I only in rare circumstances reached out for help while I was married, and I think that is also partially why it was such a dark time, because I went through it alone. Looking back I'm kind of like, "Oh that wasn't a big deal, I probably didn't need to make a big fuss about it," but then I think, it probably wasn't a big deal, because I had so much support and love to outweigh something that left on its own could have grown to something significant, even though it did not justify it.

But I just wanted to say thank you. You all are amazing.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Need your help guys

*you can go to the very end and that will tell you what I'm asking for help with, if you don't feel like reading the whole's long

Imagine for a moment that you are just married, and you have attempted to have sex, but find that you are unable to, that your body is stopping you from doing so. Imagine after two more weeks of efforts, finding that you are still unable to. Imagine the inadequacy you feel, the pain and questioning if you are a real woman, when you can not do this. Imagine again having a bit of discomfort with your husband, and a silence that lasts a week. He sleeps in your second bedroom, and the only interaction you have is opening the door to bring him a pan of food, because you are worried that he will starve. You eventually break the silence, and talking at least resumes, but the problem still lays unresolved. Imagine the unhappiness and depression you feel, at the overwhelming responsibility of taking care of everything in the house. Every pan, every plate, every fork, every piece of trash is picked up by you, taken to the sink and washed...or not all of them are. Imagine dropping a bowl of nacho cheese on the floor, your husband reacting with stress, and it being too much for you to take, and so you don't feel able to clean it up, so it stays on the floor for months. Imagine having a moment of revelation, when you realize that part of what makes things so difficult for you is that your husband does not express appreciation for any of the things you do for him. Then imagine talking to him, and him saying that he does not know how to appreciate. Imagine feeling stopped in your tracks, and feeling like you will never be appreciated. But then you think that perhaps you can teach him what appreciation is, and he denies all your efforts to teach him, saying that these are just surface actions, and that they don't really get at what appreciation is. Imagine then again finding out that your husband does not trust you. You try to feel consoled that he does not trust anyone, but it still eats at your self worth, and makes you feel like he does not see you as deserving to be trusted. Imagine the anxious feeling you have watching your husband be naked very often, when he has made covenants. Imagine trying to start things like scripture study, and prayer together, and it feels like all the efforts are on your part, and then your husband tells you that he cannot really feel the spirit when you do things together. Imagine giving your husband massages every day, but never once hearing a sound of pleasure from his mouth, a word of thanks, anything to know it is appreciated, except that he accepts the offer for one the next day. Imagine wanting your husband to be by your side in everything you do, but after a few months, you realize you will never see your family, and you will never get out of the house if that is how you want things to be. Imagine constantly worrying about being sick, about falling into the chasm that you see your husband in, because you don't have time around healthy people.Imagine having your husband speak words of degradation about friends who want to be married and have kids, and find that as a meaningful purpose in life. Imagine every piece of trash, every trip from the house to the trash can, every piece of laundry, ever dish, ever speck of dirt, every thing gotten out being your responsibility to clean up. Imagine it all just getting to you so much that your kitchen just has a small walkway to walk through, and you are so overcome by it. Imagine your husband being stressed that your mom is coming to help you clean the house, thinking that he might be expected to help clean things up, and you consoling him that he does not have to do anything, that that is why your mom is coming. Imagine your husband never being able to go out and do things, but then when a new video game system comes out, he is able to go out and camp out over night, to stay out for long hours. Imagine the joy of your moment, getting to be out with your husband doing something fun, and it is pretty much the first time it has happened in your marriage. Imagine waiting and looking forward to the next time a video game system will come out, because you want your life to be like that one day.

Imagine your husband always wanting to be in a different room from you. When you try to sleep in the same room, he goes to a different room, and you end up switching rooms. Imagine the rejection you feel. Imagine your husband not working, though he said that he would support you, that he would work. Imagine waiting and waiting for months, bringing up the subject a few times, but nothing ever happening.Imagine watching your savings decrease. Imagine finally thinking it has gone on too long, and deciding to get your own job. Imagineworking, and how getting away every day makes you feel better, and helps you get out of your depressive funk. Imagine finding joy in cooking, in making things, in washing tons of dishes all at once, in canning apple sauce and juice, and tomatoes. Imagine the happiness that comes into your life, but that your husband does not share it. Imagine feeling that to have an amount of sanity, you have to somewhat ignore your husband, or you will be drawn into his depressive state, and your house and life will fall into disrepair. Imagine taking singing classes, and loving so much to sing, but every time you sing at home, your husband complains or makes fun of you for doing so. Imaginethe stress of finding out that you have to move at two weeks notice. Imagine your husband being stressed and stopping working over it, to never really work again in your marriage. Imagine feeling the burden of moving all of your things on your own. You break down. You call your mom to read you a story, and it calms you. Your dad comes over and reads to you, and your family helps you move things, even if it is not at all a desirable situation for them. You feel so stressed, you just feel like you need your family to help you. You are desperate.

You move into a new place with two bedrooms. You and your husband have not slept in the same bed for a very long time, so you take separate bedrooms. This becomes the happiest you have ever been in your marriage. You love your own bedroom, sewing, reading, writing, waking up with the sun. You are a short walk from your sister's house and able to go over there often. You try to set up your husband with things so he can take care of himself in his bedroom, food and the things he would need to cook it, a microwave and hot plate, cans of food and boxes of the food that he likes to eat, but you have long since tired of cooking. Imagine going in there to read scriptures together. You have decided to try that again. He seems distracted, and pained by the interaction. Imagine coming to tell him exciting things in your life, and to come away feeling like you wasted the happiness you had, because he did not share in it. Imagine people asking you about your husband, and you not really having anything to say about him. There is nothing really going on in his life. Imagine writing, and wanting your husband to read it, but him not doing so. Imagine finding at his house letters that you wrote to him, long long letters, that lie unopened.

Imagine three years of marriage, and only one word of thanks ever uttered. Imagine asking him to help fix your computer, the one thing you know he can do, and him not doing it, even though you know if it was his own, he would spend hours straight to find the problem and fix it.Imagine so many tears shed, sobbing that you know is heard, but no comfort comes, that you remember two times when he came to hold you when you were crying. Imagine the most unimaginable loneliness you have ever felt, and you finding it ironic that you found it in marriage. Imagine the longing for priesthood blessings, and the denial of those, the refusal to give them, when it is the one thing that he will do for you. You still ask, and they are wonderful when he gives them.

Imagine your husband telling you that you have no purpose in life, degrading the job you took to support your family. Imagine him leaving the church, but you have hope, because for once he is being somewhat nice, and he admits that he had been being a dick to you before, and he wonders why you would have wanted a committed relationship with him. Imagine going out with him, and feeling a bit of that feeling you felt when you went to get the Wii, to come home and have him tell you that he was miserable the whole time, and he is upset that you didn't notice it, even though he seemed to be alert and invigorated while you were out. Imagine him telling you that he doesn't want you to initiate any interaction, so you stop even trying to initiate conversations. He talks to you a couple times, and you joke together and laugh, but then after the first two weeks, he turns to silence, and nothing happens between you. Imagine the desperation and loneliness you feel.Imagine how you feel like you can't talk to anyone about it, because they don't know him well enough, or because they are your sister, and he has asked you to not really talk to her about him. Imagine finally breaking the ice to talk to him, to ask him if you both want the same thing, to be in a happy relationship, and he says that you are not on the same page. Imagine him saying in that conversation that he will leave by Wednesday. You leave at that and cry, then go to your dad, and sob as he holds you. He then starts talking to you about the process of divorce, and you feel so strongly that this is not the point you are at. You feel like you have not reached this place yet. You return home to your husband, laying on the floor, and try to hold him, cry to him, and plead to him, tell him that he should not go. He tells you soon that if anyone is going to change, it will have to be you. He says that your sister understands him better than you do. You think to become more like him, to think the way he thinks. You try it. You try to intuit your way into the way he thinks, that you may understand it. He discourages you from trying even so. You try everything you can think of. Imagine feeling a lack of control in your life, feeling unhappy and confused. Imagine desiring to give up your life, to embrace hedonism, wanting to go off and have sex with someone else. Imagine how that makes you feel about yourself, and the steps you go to to correct such feelings, to overcome them. Imagine telling your husband after such things have been overcome, and he says that for the first time in your marriage, you have said something that surprises him. You did not even expect it to hurt him, because you have never seen him hurt, and it does not seem possible. It seems apparent that you have hurt him, though, for he soon after ends it.

Imagine asking him about going to San Antonio in a month, and him telling you that he does not think he will be around then. Imagine him asking for more time, and him saying that your time started 6 months before, and that you were over time, though no conversation had been had before to indicate that such a trial was ongoing. Imagine the hope you feel for him, that when he is gone from you, he may actually find happiness, because that is what he seems to think, even though you think it is a vain hope. Imagine then his parents calling you and telling you they are leaving to come and see you, that they are leaving right then. Imagine the stress you feel. You plead with him to call them. He does, and gets a plane ticket to leave Christmas day. You ask him if he plans on coming back. He says he does, then he will leave. You talk to him in January, continually asking him for updates on when he might be back. You want to move on with your life. You mourn the loss of the life you thought you had. You worry about always being willing to go back to him, because he has a potential that is palpable, and that you imagine is greater than anything you will ever find elsewhere. Imagine the surprise, then joy you feel at the happiness that comes in your life with him gone. Imagine the feeling that you are yourself again, and how you understand that, as people tell you "I feel like I have Jennie back again." Imagine as person after person after person says that they thought before that he was not a partner to you, not a husband, a jerk, that he just took and took, and never gave anything. You feel defensive of him at first, but with time come to see that their assessment is pretty true.

Imagine speaking to him again, just to sort out something, and him trying to blame you, to make you feel guilty for the things that happened, that it was because you did not understand him that things ended, that it was because of things you did. You feel yourself being drawn back in, being brought down by his words, being manipulated and controlled once again, and you have been free of it for a month, so you know you do not want to go back there. You talk to your sister, and she gives you the courage to make the decision to cut off all contact with him. You begin to question more what went on in your marriage, if you were manipulated and controlled, because you had never thought so at the time, but that reaction made you feel like you probably were. You have no idea how to point to it, but read about emotional abuse, and feel like the symptoms are there, even if you cannot nail down the actions. You feel free, and grateful for every day, for the simple joys of life, the feeling of air in your lungs, the smell of flowers, the smile of a child.

**I wrote this a couple months ago as an email to my sister, and then included my parents in on it. Read something I wrote a couple years ago today, something he said to me, and it is reverberating in my head. His words are insidious, and when I think I am free forever of his control, they come upon me from nowhere, and I feel bound again. Well this time I don't plan on fighting it alone. So I need you guys. I need you who read my blog, just to remind me that I am me, and I am in charge of my life, that I have control, and that I am not crazy.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

I've felt like a mother for 2 years. It was about 2 years 2 months ago that I first became acquainted with Mark, and then less than a month later that I began to feel, by some miracle, the love of a mother for this boy. It was weird at first, until I realized what it was. I knew I loved and cared about him a lot, and described it as "a mother lioness protecting her young" or "a mother hen protecting her flock."

But having a son halfway around the world who you have never met, never hugged, never seen the precious beauty of with your own eyes, it is not the same. It always felt real to me before, but having met him now, it feels really real.

I was worried in LA about missing my connection, because my first flight was delayed, but it ended up that the Sydney flight was 2 gates away from my incoming flight, so that was a great relief for me as I walked off that plane. Then the 15 hour flight was actually not that bad. I slept maybe 6-8 hours, rested more than that, watched a show, journaled, studied scriptures, and enjoyed the beautiful sunrise out my window. I had brought Mockingjay to read, but found that I did not think I would have enough time to finish it, so didn't even really read it at all. Perhaps on the flight home. But anyway, then I got off the plane, through immigration, the conveyor belt was broken, so there was a delay getting my bag, but as soon I saw my bag, I took it and ran to customs. Got through customs quickly, and quickly walked down the ramp, scanning the crowd, looking for him. I didn't see him anywhere, and then I saw him, and I doubled speed, weaving through people, and turning a corner to see him. And then I was there, and he was there, and I just got to hug him.

I have wanted so many times to do that. Just out of happiness, or wanting to comfort him when all sorts of bad stuff is going on, and I finally got to. But then just like, as the day wore on, I just felt like...well, we were walking around the neighborhood with the lady who owns the apartment I am staying in, and we were going across a crosswalk, and there was a car coming towards us, Mark first, and I was just like, instantly in my mind alert, and if the car had not slowed down, I would have done something. There is no way I was going to let anything happen to him. And I would throw myself in front of a bus to stop something from happening to him. And like, that's stuff I kind of had an inkling for before, like I felt that general protectiveness of him, but it's so real, when I am right here.

He is beautiful, and he is my baby. I love him so much.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

In the Air

So for some reason I decided to use the free Wi-fi this time on my flight, and of course what to do but update my blog!

So it seems like I will be able to see Mark every day while I am in Australia, and pretty much all day, so that is awesome! :D

I am on my flight from Salt Lake to Los Angeles at the moment, and don't want to sleep on this flight. Want to save that for the flight to Australia...because let's be serious, I am going to need as much time-sucking as I can get on that flight. But towards the end, I will probably just get giddy and just want to bounce in my seat.

I kept jumping up and down various points through the past two days, partially when I was waiting in the line for security. I'm just so excited.

This is probably the most planning I have ever done for a trip. I started an actual packing list like 3 months ago, and started packing a whole nine days before departure (this is a departure from my usual pack in the last 20-30 minutes before leaving the house. It usually works well though). Of course I've been looking forward to this trip for two years.

One day I will have to write out me and Mark's story, and how we came to be bonded as mother/son. But that time has not yet come. He's an amazing kid, though, and I can't wait to meet him.

I feel so blessed, to have this all work out, that I am going to get to see him so much, and just that I know him at all. The Lord works in mysterious ways, but they are beautiful.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

8 days

Eight days. I leave for Australia in eight days. The reason I planned this trip was to go and meet this boy I love like my own son. I've been planning to go there for a couple years, but planning to come at this time since maybe March or April. He moved out of his parents house and in with his girlfriend at the time and her parents, then some bouncing back and forth when they broke up. Then he needed to find a place on his own, and she felt bad for him, so they found a place together, and lived together again, while remaining broke up.

And now she has accused him of attempted murder and assault. At first I believed her. But the more I talked to her, the more her story didn't add up, and then after he was arrested and released back to the custody of his parents, I got to talk to Mark, and hear his side of the story, and then I really didn't believe her, because he did admit to striking her, though not in any sort of forceful way.

I've known about this for a couple weeks, and just kind of been holding on, trying to hope, praying, and it seeming like the evidence is so crap that the case will not go anywhere. And it's been up and down, back and forth about whether I will even get to see him at all while I am there. It seems probable right now, but no certainty.

And so today I decided to start packing, and as I am packing, I realize I have no idea where my passport is. I cannot find it. I look all around. I find my -old- invalid passport, but cannot find my passport. Then I find it, and I am still sad. It finally all comes to a head. And I just start sobbing. I am sad that someone would do something like this to my son. I feel so helpless being able to do nothing for him. I want to save him from all pain and suffering, and here he is with so much heaped upon him. And I just think over and over, Why? Why is this happening? Why would she do this to him? Why? Why? Why? Why would someone be like that? Why would someone want to destroy someone else's life like that?

Before this all happened, people would ask me what I was going to do in Australia, and wonder if I was going to see much. Since my main plan was to cook and sing and play games with Mark, I did not figure I would get out to see much, so I'd say no. And they would seem a little confused. I leave in eight days, and I don't know what I am doing while I am there. I don't know if I will get to meet this boy who has touched my life, and changed me, and blessed me with the title of mom. But I do know one thing: that even if I don't, the trip was worth it. It is worth the chance.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

There is something beautiful and special about a world blanketed in snow. It may move the colorful world to a world of seeming black and white, but it has it's own kind of majestic beauty as well. Though it is cold, it seems quiet and peaceful, the sun rise, seen in the south, not yet over the tall eastern mountains, and I can still hear birdsong.

I want to bask in it, to soak it in and let it fill me, to let it overcome the turmoil and worry I have been experiencing. It seems in the most basic way to be the earth heeding the call of the Lord to "Peace, be still", and makes me want to do the same.

Whether the wrath of the storm-tossed sea
Or demons or men or whatever it be
No water can swallow the ship where lies
The master of ocean and earth and skies
They all shall sweetly obey thy will
Peace, be still, peace, be still
They all shall sweetly obey thy will
Peace, peace, be still

Today, I trust in the Lord. That all things will be done according to his will, and that will be best for me, and for those I love, that the trials will bring experience and be for our good, and that it all works into his glorious plan.