When an ex heroine addict goes to a Religion based University.

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This last fall I had the opportunity to go back to school.  Finish my degree.  Offered to me by my parents no less.  What a massive surprise this was.  THEY actually approached ME with the opportunity!  I was speechless.  I hadn’t expected this.
There was one ‘catch’ to this offer though.  Well, what I had deemed as a “catch” in my mind at least.
The University I would be offered admittance to, and paid for by my parents was a University that had a religious affiliation.
For those that know me, I am not a religious gal.  In fact, it’s been the core of a lot of my internal turmoil.  I was so torn when my parents offered me this opportunity.  Thoughts like:
“my parents and I have come SO far in our relationship, we are building trust.  Are they hoping I will return to the religion?  I cannot not be true to myself.  I really love who I am today.  I am more connected to my Higher Power than I have ever been in my life.  This ‘repentance’ process they speak of, I’ve done more of it in my life on my own than I ever did when I actually went to church.”
I let myself burn over these questions…caught in between the dilemma of how badly I wanted that degree & the fact that my best & quickest chance to getting it would be through a religiously affiliated University.
That’s when I spoke with my Higher Power, my Universe.  My Karma.
All of what I had been doing, was doing, was in check.
I should be able to express these concerns with my parents.
So I did.
And much to my embarrassment of ego….
These were not things that were on my parents minds.
It was an opportunity they saw that was affordable, they had seen the other steps I had made to improving my life and wanted to provide an opportunity for my Degree.
So there I was.  Applying to a University I NEVER had seen myself going to.
And they accepted me!
I swear…..I thought my application may have even smelt of past sin.  I remember thinking “I won’t pass the criminal background check”…..this is comical to me now that this was even a worry.  Paranoia much?
I cannot tell you what a riot this semester has been.  I am required to take a scripture literature class along with my normal curriculum because of the Universities requirements.  This class has been filled with the biggest array of people.  I really had all intent on going to this class and sneaking into the back every week.  Just to “get through it”.  I believe one of the comments I text one of my friends in the first weeks of class was “blow my brains out”.  I believe some vulgar profanity was also used with a negative innuendo.
But then I put my phone away.
I started looking at the people who surrounded me.  I started to listen to their comments.
And I realized something.
We all want and are looking for the same thing.
In class they were calling my Higher Power, my Universe….Jesus.  Or God.  What they found in scripture, I find in positive reading & quotes.
We are all looking for Peace within ourselves & families.
I can’t tell you enough how much I have been taught about MYSELF, my relationship & my Higher Power through smacking my judgments and Ego down.  I have learned more about who I am, through accepting who others are.
There is something you judge in your life.  Some thing.  Some person.
Knock it off.
There is nothing that wreaks of insecurity more than of person who is judgmental.  Take a chill pill, shut up and listen.  Listening doesn’t mean agreeing. It isn’t always about teaching someone else, or making your point known.  Generally when I leave a conversation frustrated with a person because I just didn’t “feel they were listening or GETTING IT!’….Maybe it wasn’t about them, maybe it was about me.  My levels of patience that needed to be checked, my faith that needed to be in practice, not preached.
Grow a little.
Who knows, you may even make a friend.
Grateful for this opportunity my parents, My Universe & my Karma has placed in my life.
Loves and Light,
Kat
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Part 2: Keeping my Sobriety midst losing a Child.

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I read back on Part 1 of this entry on losing my child.  My son.  As much as I tried to portray how it felt, I fear that I will never be able to make anyone understand what/how it feels.
I ended my last entry being pushed out of the hospital doors in a wheelchair.  I can still remember that feeling of pure emptiness.  The void.  In my womb.  Being stuffed into the passenger seat of the car and flowers in vases placed on my lap to hold on the way home so that they would not ‘spill over’.  The sweet scent of lilies and roses now remind me of my son.
I could fill you full of the entire story of what/how the weeks following thereafter were like.  Fact is the details do not matter.  I was heartbroken.  And despite having a partner who was also grieving in his own way, I felt so entirely alone.
In the hospital they make all kinds of arrangements for your deceased child.  They give you pamphlets on grief.  Sweet emblems of ways to remember them.  The Head director of the funeral home that we worked with was especially kind and took extra care of us.  In all reality though, so much focus is put on ‘coping with the loss of your child’.
I remember the first month afterwards more than anything I nearly tore the eyes out of lady that said ‘cope’ to me.
The last thing in the WORLD that I wanted to do was “Cope”.
The most terrible part about it all was that I felt that somehow, somewhere, this was MY fault.  Something I had done or failed to do.  Or….just simply karma biting me in the rear for my past.  I was convinced this was my fault.  After all, it was my body that went septic.  When Brian was born, he was perfect.  Tiny, but perfect.  Absolutely no problems or complications with HIM.  It was MY body that had failed him.  I really took victim stance on this.
Nothing, absolutely nothing prepared me for being around babies though.  My milk dropping, and even worse, seeing babies born that were within months of Brian’s due date.  The thoughts haunting me that “if I could’ve just held onto him for another 5 weeks, he would have made it”.
I really, any mother who has lost a child really could go on and on and on about the pain. Owee owee owee.
Support System
God that sounds so cheesy.  A title labeled “support system”.  It really doesn’t even begin to describe what I had.  Everyone’s experience with miscarriage, stillborn, death of child etc. is individually different and unique, however we all have a support system or the lack thereof.
For starters, I must mention that the 3 people who held my hand while I was in labor screaming, 106 degree temperature & septic was my cellmate in jail 3 years ago, my fiancé, and my boss who hired me as a known felon and in the outpatient portion of rehab in the past who I didn’t even work for any longer but had become a good family friend.
The first people who were there after hearing, were another 2 of my sisters in recovery I had met through incarceration, a childhood best friend I had known since I was 5, but had only reunited with in the years of recovery.
The people who cleaned my home, brought meals to me and my family, cared for my children, came and got the dog we were babysitting within minutes of asking for help were people ranging from the most religious of backgrounds, in-laws,  to the Universe loving hippy.
There were also those that trickled in the weeks afterwards sending their condolences, but I will never forget the kindness of those that really reached out to us….to me those first weeks.
In hindsight, I probably didn’t show that much appreciation.  I wasn’t in a place to.  I was so emotionally drained.  Yet….I think those that helped, knew that.  So if you’re going through this, don’t go out of your way to exhaust yourself for others.
3 Valuable lessons.
There are 3 valuable lessons I would hope to portray and honor my sons life through.
#1-  It isn’t your fault. Stop overanalyzing.  Stop playing the victim and taking energy away from your child’s life.  It isn’t your fault.  Every time you or I make it our fault, we are actually doing our child an injustice.  Instead we should be asking ourselves, “how dare I make this about myself”.
#2-  People are good.  I recently read an entry another mother wrote about her support system implying that fact is sometimes the people who you think will be there for you the most are not there, and then those that you would never expect it from, are there.  I hope I was able to portray what a different array of people that came to our aid.  For those that are judgmental, on both sides, realize that good is in all of us.  At one point in a room of 5 in the hospital the only one who wasn’t a felon was my fiancé.  Comical really, because none of us look like it now that we have experienced recovery.  Also on the other end, to the non-trads and rule pushing, foul mouthed new to recovery addicts……yes, those God fearing religious based praying fools were there for me and my family.  They did not judge.  And they know exactly where I come from, what I have done, and who I am today.  This really was a beautiful example of just GOOD people, amazing humans coming together.
#3-  I NEVER had this kind of support in addiction.  In addiction I am also implying deceitful behavior, dishonesty, flakiness, unreliability.  I never had good people in my life.  Until I started treating others in the way that kept my karma in check. The particular people who helped me I hadn’t even done anything special for ever, yet I hope they realize I have and will continue to always pay it forward to those in need like I was.
In reading this you were probably expecting to read some mope story, there is plenty of that material out there though.  Nor did that material really help me.
All in all….I’m not grateful for the people who helped me, helped us ‘grieve’.  I’m grateful for those that helped me fight, helped me to keep breathing, to find a reason to get up in the morning, the people who talked about my child with me other than just saying they were sorry.
I am grateful for those that truly taught me, how to Honor My Son.
Losing a child, grieving, is never about making anyone understand.  Or having to relate with anyone.  I am not alone, my son can relate.  There is no injustice in no one ever understanding that bond or pain.  It is my son and I’s only.
And that is a miracle.

Part 1: Keeping my Sobriety midst losing a child.

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Those that are local, closest to me, know that my fiancé and I were expecting last Spring.  It was a total surprise.  After having a serious scare with a Mirena device having to be removed due to complications it was causing with my lady parts, I was told that my chances of getting pregnant were slim to none.  And, if I was to get pregnant, the chances of me holding onto the pregnancy were even slimmer due to the damage that was done.

Sure enough though, Universe sure showed me who was boss, and in early April we found out that we were expecting.

To say that we were thrilled would be a lie.  We were scared.  Well, I speak for myself at least, I was terrified.  New to recovery still, my body had just been messed with having to do with the Mirena.  We stepped up to the plate though, started going to our apts., and started not only accepting the fact, but beginning to look forward to it.

The idea that I was going to get another opportunity to be a mother again just seemed too good to be true.  After all the choices I had made, the guilt I already held with my children, the trauma my body had been through the last 5 years.  I didn’t show it, but inside, I kept thinking something would be wrong with him/her.  Because of something I had done.  Universe was sure to pay me back for all of the wrong that I had done.

Well….pregnancy continued, we started letting more people know….I actually allowed myself to start being happy……

11 weeks

12 weeks

13 weeks….

“officially out of the danger zone of first trimester miscarriage”

14 weeks…….I felt flutters & wiggles

15 weeks….my boys are kissing my growing belly, thrilled to become big brothers.

Fiance thrilled to be a father, in laws sending gifts, checking in on how I am doing, pictures being taken of my growing womb……..

And then, just like that, a tornado took place.

I’ll never forget what I was doing moments before I saw the blood.  I had been feeling flu like symptoms the last day or so but was toughing through it, I chalked it up to catching a bug.  Sitting in our front room, rocking back and forth, talking with my boys as they built legos, each of them stopping momentarily to come and kiss my belly

Then, the gush.

The pain.

As I stood up, the terrified look in my children’s face as they saw me yelp in pain and the blood that came down from my sundress.
The rest happened so quickly.  Having to load them up, drive to my fiancé’s work while in pain, with my children so we could then head to the hospital…..their fear, of seeing their mother also scared.  Having to hand them off to friends.
The next day was a roller coaster.
And Happened more like a slide show in my brain than an actual event.
I went septic.  The facial expression of my OBGYN as she gave me a pelvic exam and I screamed in pain.  The fear on everyone’s faces as they surrounded me.  The immediate rush to delivery.  Being told that if the pregnancy was not terminated and delivered, I would die.  No other option.  Being hooked up to what felt like a million monitors and needles.  The staffs frustration with the inability to get my fever down.  The in and out of delusions that is associated with 106 degree temperature for hours and hours.  The fainting pain as my OBGYN had to shove down on my abdomen to deliver my afterbirth.  The tears rolling down my fiances face as he held my hand, inches from my face.
We had a few moments with our son.  Until he passed.  A few wiggles from his legs.  And in all of it………..
In all the turmoil……..
I AM SO GRATEFUL I WAS SOBER THOSE FEW MOMENTS I HAD WITH HIM.
I had to be in the hospital for nearly a week afterwards.  Constantly poked and pricked.  I chose to not take any narcotics which 80% of the staff looked at me like I was crazy.  I remember once I was considered “stable” and they took me out of the Delivery ICU, they put me on the post partum level….hearing the babies, thinking that they had designed this some kind of torture system just for me.  Feeling my milk come down every time a child cried.
My heart was in a beyond turmoil. I was sure I had brought this upon myself.  With my choices years ago, karma was getting me back.  I was sure of it.
I had no idea what the next 6 months would hold for me, nor did I understand that I would have to be stronger than I had ever been before………
I had absolutely no idea what I had in store after being wheeled out in a wheelchair out of those hospital doors..

In Honor Of My Brother, May He Rest In the Upmost Space of Peace

Before you read this post I ask you watch this short slideshow on my brother.  Brian Ewell Wilkes, Born March 5, 1976.  Died January 21, 2014

I’ll never forget something that my older brother said to me.  It was the late spring before he died.   I was in Recovery from Opiates and still struggling with my denial of alcohol and the control I had allowed it to once again take over my life.

“You have the power to affect change sis.  People care about you.  More than they do me.  Use it for good, make a difference”.

I had just started blogging on “What you’re Scared to Say”.  It had proven to be successful and premonitions of writing a book were just entering into my mind.  At the time I was naïve and arrogant enough to think that his comment had meant something about my success.  MY experience with bringing people to a certain light.  At the time, while yes, I provided some healing to others through my writing, it was still very selfish.  I wanted to be loved.  Adored.

This rang through my head the day of his funeral services as I looked over the podium and saw a packed chapel.  Packed to the point of which the funeral home said had only ever been matched one other time.  Sitting next to one another was a crowd that covered all walks of life.  From the suited up LDS Bishop to the covered in tattoos, wearing a wife beater atheist.  We all had the same look on our faces, the same red eyes, the same tears.  Each of us had been touched by Brian.  We each had known his love, his understanding, his undying humor, his steady compassion.  It didn’t matter what we believed, or the backgrounds we came from.  His love and spirit proved to be real to each of us.  I hope in some way, some how, he saw that chapel.

The months since his death how I have thought about this.  I’ve overanalyzed.  I’ve excused it as some conversation we had in passing that he didn’t really mean.  Or as a comment that a big brother made to his little sister to boost her self esteem.  I remember one time a few months after his death punching the wall in the shower and crying over the statement.  Grief is weird.  It’s completely unpredictable when you go through feeling it. Some days are good, you find yourself looking at old photos, telling fun stories, laughing.  And the next day you’re storming out of room angry because someone said something to remind you and they were supposed to read your mind.

Until my brother died I had no real understanding for what it meant to lose someone you had spent a lifetime loving and adoring.  In fact, I was stupid to think that it was just…..”a process” like any other.  I was stupid to think that death would compare to any other thing I had experienced yet in life.  And then on top of losing him, losing him to Alcoholism.

Official Cause of Death:  Severe Alcoholism/ Liver Failure

There is no debating it.  It killed him.  Addiction to one or many things killed him.

As a recovering addict myself I carry some serious guilt.  I think of all the times we drank together.  I think of all the stupid things I did or said to him that may have led to his self esteem being down or the choices I made that disappointed him and may have led to adding to his depression.  I think this is what we call the “shoulda woulda coulda’s”.  From what I have learned in going through it and talking with others who have lost loved ones, this is pretty normal.  We kick ourselves over and over and over and over.  If we had just done something differently.

What I have learned that is different from losing a loved one who is apparently “healthy”, to a fatal accident or old age or an apparent disease like cancer as opposed to alcoholism is the judgment from a select group of people.  Comments like “he had it coming with the way he lived” or implying that he had committed suicide.  I think the most obnoxious comment that was made was suggesting that it’s a game of survival of the fittest and he obviously lost.  You see, he’s my brother.  He is my loved one.  I don’t see him as a ‘screw up’.

Or there is the other side of the spectrum.

Those that remember him through the memories they made with him through alcohol.  Trying to recreate that experience once again by leaving alcohol on his grave.  The very thing that slowly but surely killed him over a period of time.

Our middle brother said it perfectly one time.  If you knew him at all, you’d know that he didn’t want to be this way.  Brian was in pain.  He was struggling enormously.  He sure may have been able to put on a good show, but, one of the most loveable human beings, him, never knew how loved that he was.

Another thing that comes to mind is when we were little, how Brian would say that he didn’t want to die and old man.  He wanted to die young, go out having a good time.  Time would only show what the toll addiction takes on ones spirit and physical life is not a good time.  It’s painful.  I think of how his perspective changed when he voiced to me on one of the weekends he spent at my home the spring before he died that he was scared, he didn’t want to die.  He wanted to see his son graduate.  I was stupid to not realize at the time his fear were valid.  Not only were they valid, but they came true.

So again, we go full circle with this article.  Why am I even writing it?……….

This is for you Brian, and the challenge you put on me a year and a half ago.  The power to affect change.

In the beginning when others made their accusations about my brother or judgments, I’d puff up like a rooster.  Not only puff up but claws were out.  I’d rip a new one.  I imagine all those who have lost someone to addiction feel this way.  See….he’s just the zit faced teenager attempting to play Metallica on his electric guitar to me.  He’s the guy flexing arms next to our other brother on Saturday mornings after peeling logs together while I eat cereal.  He’s the guy I anxiously waited for a letter in the mail from when he served time in prison for his addiction.  Envelope always intricately decorated with his artwork.  He’s the guy who sent me music scripts when I first started taking piano lessons.  The guy who called me sis, Catalina Salad dressing.  The guy who stunk me out with his gas, yet we always ended up laughing.

So WHO exactly do I write this for?

Trying to convince those of who he was that judge him?  To not judge?  To bring a “new light” to your eyes?

No………..

I can’t do that.

That’s a transformation that takes place entirely within.

I write this for those that have lost a loved one to addiction.  Of any sort.  I write to spread love.  Because that is how I honor him.

It’s really simple.  You ready?

YOUR PAIN IS VALID

FEEL IT. WORK THROUGH IT.  HONOR THEM.

And for those that struggle with addiction themselves on top of losing someone to it……<massive spiritual hug>.

Think of your loved one.  HONOR them.  Imagine their hand on yours next time you pick up, with their understanding and their humility for what they know now.

Brian,

I love you. I miss you.  You’re my massive energy guiding me.

Loves & LIGHT to all of you.  Truly.

Humbled & Blessed with knowledge of knowing my brother,

Kat

-Now watch the video again and look at how cute my brother is. 🙂
https://www.youtube.com/edit?video_id=6KJxi4QKqcg&video_referrer=watch

Bottom line……I CHOOSE

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Generally speaking one would look at my life now and make the judgment that I’ve got it really really good.

Which I do.

I have taken a shot at loving again, committed to a man.  I have my children back and for some weird reason they forgive and adore me.  I have good employment that is sensitive to my personal life.  I am surrounded by a multitude of good friends.  I appear to be “physically healed”, hair having grown back thick and a healthy weight attained. 

So why then when I’m driving down a main street in traffic do I suddenly have to pull over in the median because I have completely forgot where I am?  I am overcome with absolute panic, heart palpitations and sudden loss of direction.  Or when a certain ‘techno’ song comes on I have to hold onto something because I feel like I’m going to pass out.  Why do I have night flashback terrors that are so bad I wake up from that I still feel are real?  I wipe my face in the dark thinking I have blood all over my face again, my head is pounding, I find something moist on my face….thinking its blood but turn on a light and find it’s only tears.  Why when I watch a movie that has needles in it do I feel an urge to cover my body?  Hugging it.   Why when I see pornography do I picture myself in a mirror….cutting myself? 

These are all “Why?” questions I’ve asked myself since getting clean.  Those who are familiar with substance abuse or trauma are familiar with the term of “flashbacks”, “cravings”, or “using dreams”.  And your personal experience might be something different.  But I know for a fact that everyone can relate.  It may not be sticking a needle in your arm and may be something that YOU deem as less harmful, but I’ve learned over the years…..just because I have some more OBVIOUS examples does not make our emotions that we experience in the moment any less intense, confusing, infuriating or painful. 

So what can WE do?

What happens when our significant other does something to remind us of a past relationship?  Or even worse, a past trial between the two of you….and suddenly a wound you thought had healed is ripped open.  Exposed.  With salt air blairing in on it. 

The past……

Ugh……

Doctors and Therapists say I have what’s called Clinically Severe PTSD.  Whatever that means…..I’m still learning to really understand what PTSD is.  All I know is I feel like at times that my past haunts me.  And somedays the positivity, the quotes, the readings….are just not enough.  I’m haunted.  Whether it be in the form of guilt, anger, rage, fear, ….I’m haunted.  I’ve also learned that I’m no different.  We ALL carry the past around with us.  We all dwell on things that are unhealthy.  We all torture ourselves in our little ways, whether it be looking at something over and over just to make ourselves more pissed off, or antagonizing a partner.

So….is there any hope?

…..now is where I should probably insert some ‘feel good’ quote or some reference to a higher power.  And please don’t take offense that neither of those are my instant answer.

You MUST learn to take your power back.  And if YOU taking back your power is through your Higher Power, it is important that you validate YOU are nurturing that relationship.  YOU are taking your power back.  You also must learn the art of defense.  There is a big difference between the art of defense and the malicious act of attacking.  Do no attack your past.  It will ALWAYS ALWAYS win.  Attacking your past looks like a family member opening a raw wound and you pouncing, or getting uncalled for defensive.  Bringing up things that don’t even pertain to the subject.  Come on….we all do it.  And you may be able to relate with a different dynamic in your life, significant other, children, friends etc.  But it’s all the same.   Just talking about it makes me picture a child throwing a temper tantrum and in the process ruining their favorite toy………………left with the thought of ”awe….shit.”

We didn’t come into this world distrusting.  Fact is, we’ve all had a past and resentments that haunt us since we were 3 and first had a toy taken from us.  (Mine happens to be those pink and white sprinkled animal crackers)…….and believe it……every time I have one of those today I take pride in providing an obnoxious amount to share so that I can have as much as I want.  Something so simple…..but yet it carries that memory with us. 

You’re not any different.  You’re not “extra” angry.  You’re not experiencing an emotion that anyone else hasn’t at one time or another in their life. Stop trying to convince yourself you’re any different.  You are valid in your emotion, that’s enough.  Again, just because I have an example of my face bloodied, does not mean that the emotion is not just as absolutely real as it is when you are faced with the realization that a loved one, someone you trusted just hit you in face.  Literally, or figuratively speaking. 

So…..the real question:

Are we going to walk around thinking that everyone is going to hit us in the face?

…………..Sounds awfully lonely and angry.

I don’t have the answers of how to make it all better.  I really don’t.  I could try and walk you through all of the “steps” I go through on particularly hard days, but it all amounts to this.

I CHOOSE TO BREATHE.  I CHOOSE TO LAUGH.  I CHOOSE TO VALIDATE MY PAIN.  I CHOOSE TO VALIDATE MY FEARS.  I CHOOSE TO VALIDATE WHAT I HAVE DONE.  I CHOOSE TO VALIDATE WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO ME.  I CHOOSE TO FACE WHAT I’M SCARED OF.  I CHOOSE TO SEE MYSELF NAKED.  I CHOOSE TO BE HERE.  I CHOOSE TO BE PRESENT.

IT ISN’T OUT OF MY CONTROL.  NOT EVER.

I CHOOSE.

 

The Tiger Always Gets Laid

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Most of you know that I’ve spent a lot of time incarcerated.  I used to say “unfortunately a lot of my lessons have had to be learned this way”…..but with more time and more healing that has taken place, I’ve actually come to a place of gratitude for my time that was cut off from the world.  One who is very naïve to the judicial system would assume it looks something like Law and Order.  Bars.  Filled with females that never smile, covered in tattoos, corn rows, etc. etc.  With the exception of the corn rows, all of these stigmas were pretty unrealisticJ.  There are so many stories that I could share…..ones that make you cower in fear, or ones that would make you cry.  There is one in particular that I’d like to share in this entry though.  The general picture I want to create for you though is that the women are REALLY cut off from the outside world.  Put in a box, with a one way glass that we were unable to see out of.  We had a TV….if it wasn’t taken away, that was mounted on the white brick wall much too high for us to ever reach, much less hear.  It created more of a background noise than anything.  The only magazines that are allowed to us are ones that family or friends subscribe to for us, and at that, only one per inmate, per week.   Nudity of any kind is not allowed in pictures, reading material etc. etc.  Cosmopolitan is BANNED from the reading list to give you an idea of how extreme their  regulations are.  So….we are truly left to our imaginations or “dirty” smut letters that somehow sneak their way in from our significant others to get us by.

I did not understand how being cut off from social media was so healthy for my self-esteem and body image.  A large portion of my time that I was incarcerated I was housed in the intake portion of the jail.  At first because I had such a hard time detoxing and was not ready for general population, and then was made a trustee of the pod after getting a job as a worker.  I chose to stay because of the privacy of a cell and also being able to pick who my partner/worker/trustee was.  I was EXTREMELY fortunate in who I was housed with.  For the sake of privacy we will call her………Lindsay (sounds funny to me now and she will giggle when she reads thisJ).   Lindsay and I spent 24/7 together.  Day in, day out.  And for some reason, we just understood one another’s humors.  We’d spend night after night laughing, playing cards, trying to make the best of our situations.  Hold each other when we each cried.  Talk to one another when our visits never came…..sat on each other’s bunks when mail call came….and neither of our names ever got called.  We’d sit through each other’s passing gas.  I vividly remember a night the jail food made me enormously sick and I woke up at 3am …..spent the next hr on the toilet ROCKING.  And Lindsay just made me laugh and say “we’re in this together Bunkie”…..all this stuff probably DOES NOT sound funny to someone who was not there.  But believe me….GOD….WE LAUGHED.  Or the time we laughed so hard and we both had to use the toilet…I got to it first, so she dropped her stripes and sat on the sink right next to my head….neither of us skipping a beat and continuing to laugh.

I was so comfortable in my skin and body around her that we actually re-enacted LMFAO’s “Wiggle wiggle wiggle Yea” entirely in our sports bras and 3 sizes too big for us brown grannie panties.  Back and forth, back and forth in our cell…..dancing….singing…….laughing.  Sleeping hard from laughing so hard.  I saw her roots…she was actually a beautiful brunette with a tint of red in her hair…not the pitch black that she had dyed it.  I never thought she was anything less than one of the most beautiful women I have ever known.

Our mirrors weren’t really mirrors, more like cookie sheets.  They don’t trust us with real mirrors.:)  So the time spent in them was minimal, and pointless to do anyways.  We would braid one another’s hair.  And again….when insecurities did creep in….we had ABSOLUTELY NO OTHER CHOICE BUT TO TALK ABOUT IT.  No cell phones.  No texting.

I had no idea how healthy this dynamic and relationship was for me until I was released and reconnected with the social media again.

First day of activating my facebook…….size 2 women with Cup E boobies in my newsfeed.  No wrinkles on their faces.  No scrunches in their noses.  Hair perfectly shaded , in place.

Driving down the interstate…….a female with a measuring tape around her breasts and a frown on her face…….like she isn’t “measuring up”…..literally.

Do we not understand how brainwashing these images are?….little by little?…….

I can’t handle it.  I HAVE to fight back.  I won’t accept defeat in this area.  And I KNOW that I am not the only one that feels this was.  I’ll just say it.

I know the truth…..I KNOW how beautiful women are.  I have seen it.  Broken down to completely basics.

So….here’s the BASIC TRUTH:

I’ve got cellulite on the backs of my legs, a massive birthmark on my back, several moles on my body, 6 inches of regrowth hair(which I’m seriously contemplating never dyeing again), a crooked massive nose, I grow hair in the pubic region….because I’m 28 YEARS OLD AND THAT’S WHAT A REAL WOMAN’S VAGINA LOOKS LIKE, 95% of the time my toenails are not painted and are overgrown, I rarely shave my legs, I only brush my teeth once a day….I could go on and one…..

Ready for the Fact?

FACT:

I GET LAID WHENEVER I WANT

Sit on that for a while.

Take back our sexuality ladies.  Bring the tiger back.  And if the tiger WANTS to shave, WANTS  a boob job, WANTS all these things media suggests…..then by all means….DO IT!  But STOP COMPARING YOURSELF.   Stop knocking yourself down.  I have yet to get naked and have someone say to me…..”nope, not doin it.”…………

I close with the challenge of listening to LMFAO “Wiggle Wiggle” in the shower.  Lock the door, it’s more fun that way.  And JIGGLE  IT.  A WIGGGLE WIGGGLE WIGGLE YAAAAAA!!!! J

Loves and LIGHT!!!

Kat

Who is Nicole?

Nicole here.

When you’re forced to not place yourself into a role, you really stop to think who you truly are.  Who am I, if I am not categorized by my roles I’ve been known by all my life?  Could you instantly say “who” you are when you aren’t saying, “I’m a woman who lives in Utah.  I’m a parent, I like these things, I like those things, blah blah blah”?  I sure can’t..  I guess we’ll start with the obvious.

Hi, I’m Nicole Stauffer, I’m not a recovering addict like Kat.  In fact, I’ve lead a very boring life (minus being on my second marriage, and have also seen my share of sexual abuse, but not to her degree).  I first met Kat when we were little.  Seven or eight years old?  I honestly don’t remember.  I don’t even remember if it was church or school where we officially met?  (She’s going to tell me in full detail how we met, just you wait!).  If you’re wondering, I am not active in the church.

I am the youngest of 4 siblings (girl, boy, boy, me).  Trust me, being the youngest isn’t “awesome”.  You get beat up by your older siblings, I sure as hell deserved special treatment from my parents when I grew up!  (I love you, Natalie!).  I have lived in Northern Utah all my life, but I went to California a lot, so I do like to call it my second home.

I think, growing up, the relationship I had with Kat was a great one!  My memories aren’t as vivid as her’s, but I do remember her.  She’s been amazing to me, even when I stopped hanging out with her.  I like to think it was me that “terminated” our relationship when we grew up because I pretty much terminated every relationship I had when I was younger onto Jr. High and High School.  I honestly don’t know why I did with Kat.  We’d still talk when we’d see each other in the halls of our Jr. High and High School, but once she graduated, she vanished, then I graduated and vanished.  We know where she went, where did I go?  I technically graduated half a year early, but I wanted to walk with my class, which I did.  However, when I walked, I was married.  Yup, married.  I married at 18, straight out of High School.  I also held two jobs, and went to school full-time, and even took care of my first husband’s 3 year old daughter.  I was able to come home and make dinner.  I’ve NO IDEA how I  managed to do that.  But, on a side note, don’t go to ITT Tech.  They teach you well, but the cost is insane.  I’d like to say it’s not worth it, but ITT Tech lead me to my first real technical job, where I met my current husband.  It’s still $12,000 for 3/4 of a year well spent!

Okay, now I’m jumping ahead.

So, first husband, we were only married for 9 months, but I’d known him since I was 13.  I knew, at the alter, that I shouldn’t marry him, I knew we were going to divorce early.  Why did I?  I wanted to make sure his daughter was taken care of.  I didn’t leave him until I made sure his parents had custody of his daughter; then I left.  Hell, even his father called me one day to beg me not to sign over the title of my car to him; for fear he’d leave the state with her.  Long story short, we got divorced and rarely speak to each other now.  However, it’s nice to hear him apologize for making me do 80% of the leg work in that marriage.  Score 1 for me!

The years go on, I work at my techy job and meet my current husband (of 6 years, go us!).  Before we got together, I had just gotten out of a crazy love triangle that I didn’t know I was part of when I signed up.  I wasn’t ready to get involved with another person.  He picked me though.  He picked me because he’d see me playing my DS in the lunchroom nearly every day.  I still have that DS. 🙂  The day he asked me out, was his last day of work.  And it was also his birthday.  He let me know it was his birthday by showing me his driver’s license and waiting for me to “notice” that it was his birthday.  I thought he was talking about his mug shot of a license..  Nine months later (hardy har har, I was not pregnant) we got married!  We even had two children out of it.

That’s my life.  Day in-and-out, I live at home.  I work at home and I do everything at home.  Drives me a bit stir crazy sometimes, but it’s not too bad.  I save a ton of gas money!  I know a little bit of Sign Language, courtesy of going back to school to study (and only pay for classes I could afford at a time, no debt) and because my dad teaches it.

You know what’s a strange passion of mine?  A balanced budget.  No lie!  I’m not an accountant or anything (I did take an accounting class once upon a time ago), but it really makes me happy to see a balanced budget and to plan ahead of time.  For example, my husband had a bit of a fight with my ’09 Toyota Corolla and our garage door.  Let’s just say that I ended up spending $800 worth of repairs and I didn’t charge it on a credit card.  Yup, pretty proud of that!  No, I didn’t take any pictures.  I didn’t really think about it, to be honest.  I was too upset to see the fin partially off of my car, and irritated that I couldn’t open the garage door to even consider taking pictures.  I should have….oh well.

Who am I?  I’m someone who will send very strange pictures to a good friend to make them laugh and smile while feeling a little blue.

Why did I post that?  Oh…why did I post that?

I’m going to sign off with a prettier picture instead.  What can you guys tell me about you?  Her readers?  Who ARE you?

Nicole

Introducing my new assistant!

Earlier, it was announced on my Facebook fan page (and personal page) that I have taken on a new Virtual Assistant!

Due to a massive amounts of emails, calls, texts…..I simply cannot keep up with them, and require the help of a professional. 🙂 Meet Nicole!!:) Childhood friend and virtual assistant. Absolutely honored to be working with this lady. 🙂 LOOOVES!!! 🙂

I’m THRILLED about having her. That being said…..on my personal facebook page I will be deleting some of my contacts. This does not mean that I don’t want to be in contact! I love your stories! You inspire me! PLEASE “LIKE” Kat Wilkes – litlbidy for a continuance of recovery stories and inspirational material.

I’ve tasked Nicole with introducing herself. Like REALLY introducing herself. I don’t want her to say, “I work here, I like this, I do that.” No, NO ROLES! And she gave me a blank look on her face, not knowing what to say. Can you help? :):) What would you all like to know about my new amazing assistant? LOVE HER!!

Nicole Stauffer
Nicole Stauffer

Lets Touch

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In high school I was always that girl who hugged EVERYONE. Always having my hands on anyone. After high school in my first semester of college I got involved in the Institute program(a program designed by the LDS church to connect & educate members and non members about the church, they also provided a lot of social activities). It was sincerely A LOT of fun. I was also blessed with the opportunity to sing in the audition choirs at two different Universities….Socially….in my little world, I was set up to succeed. I was bubbly, happy, and the first person I saw coming towards me I would hug. Touch their shoulders, waistes etc. etc. I had a bounce in my step, and touch touch touched. I refer to it as “hyper-touchy”…no boundaries for not only myself, but for others either.
A good 7 years later filled with abuse, drugs, affairs, acting out sexually, victimized…..I found myself in a jail cell terrified if anyone even came within a 3 ft radius of me. Not saying that I didn’t touch others prior to this experience, but it was always with some kind of coping mechanism. Pills. Alcohol. Marijuana. So…in a sober state, I literally shook when a person came into what I considered to be my space.
Midst doing my time in Jail, the first several months I was very quiet, the combination of getting healthy again, eating regularly, not consuming anything that altered my mind or thought process. It was several months later before I started to venture out, and really try to even have a conversation with others. While other women would be on the phones to their families several times daily, I’d be in my cell reading or just simply laying. A question that I consistently got asked from others was, “how was I always so calm about things?”….for starters, no one knew the turmoil that was going on inside of me, but also….no one knew what my life was like before I went to jail. The Chaos, the Lies, the drugs, the scenarios I put myself in ……what my body had factually been through….Jail was the first place in a LOOONG time that I actually felt safe. Do not get me wrong, the pain of being separated from my children was excruciating, but at a PRIMAL instinct, my body was NATURALLY recognizing that I was physically safe. Safe from myself, and basically safe from others physically.
HEALERS
Naturally when I went to rehab I was paired with a trauma therapist. And while my sessions with her were appreciated in the beginning, the first time I really connected with her, trusted her, came with time. One thing that she CONSISTENTLY told me every appointment though was how important building a support system around me was. And of women. To connect with others that had experience similar things as myself. I did not realize that by her planting this seed, I would be open to the first intimate relationship of my life.
How I met my second “healer” is a story in and of itself, but, my HEART and SOUL is connected to this woman. After working now with this woman for over a year…..I can see, feel, hear ALL of the work that WE have done together on my spirit. The state of Utah would see her as a Massage Therapist….however, in my life, she is my healer. I have been BLESSED she has brought me into her life, and introduced me to her network of healers as well.
She specializes in ‘energy work’ and was also my mentor in meditation. The act of sitting still. Feeling the elements around me, my environment, the current of the air, the level of breathe in my chest. Through this, my senses became alive again. I found myself smelling or tasting things that I had once labeled as gross or stinky. Such as vegetables. With the extreme raise in senses though….came an even more elevated fear of being touched.
I will never forget the first time I allowed her to touch me. I actually get chills thinking of it. I was sitting upright, and she touched me on my neck/shoulders. My trauma history would come out later in our relationship/friendship however, she sensed in my simple act of body language I was very uncomfortable. With consistency of building a friendship/relationship with her, trust was built, and I allowed her to do full body work on me. The idea that I could lay on a massage table, naked, vulnerable and relax was something I couldn’t even dream of. Even deeper than the noticeable issues such as trauma, I also had body image issues. What would my thighs look like as she pressed and rubbed her hands against them, cellulite was bound to appear…..and why was she grabbing my love handles? What if she saw how flat that my boobs laid? Questions such as these consumed my mind. And then she worked on my upper thighs and hip bones…all of which I found SOOOO UNCOMFORTABLE the first time. I had only been touched by a man like this, and it was always because some form of sexual interaction was going to take place between us afterwards.
Thankfully, being the healer that she is, she walked me through this. She voiced my fears for me, threw out in the air about body image issues…..and also talked about a very traumatic experience I had had with me….and then provided me with the safety I needed.
I then SCRATCHED the surface of the difference between having intimacy and sexual interaction. I started to recall moments that I had had intimacy, all of which I only related with two others and those were with my mother and my best friend who is female. Intimate MOMENTS but never an intimate relationship. Not because these women (my mother or best friend) were not capable of offering this, but because I was not capable.
INTIMACY
With the natural process of healing, and being thrown out in the general population again, a combination of a healthy balance of touch boundaries has taken place in my life. However…My experiences have cause my eyes to be WIDE OPEN to what is going on in life today in the general population. Over-stimulated world that we live in it is easy to not pay attention to touch, hugs. It sincerely makes me sad to see the way we have removed ourselves from feeling/touching one another. Instead of holding our significant others hand in the car, we are consumed with consistently checking our phones. Or when we see someone that is merely an acquaintance, jumping right on into it and giving them a full blown full bodied hug. Touching our core to theirs…..while on the surface this looks friendly….it’s damaging by desensitizing to when a true intimate interaction exchange takes place. When is the last time you have touched someone, and really considered the thought ……”I am honored you let me into your space, I trust you with mine”. And no the exchange doesn’t have to look like some Buddha yoga move, but to just simply honor the others presence, the life you are touching….is a miracle. The interaction can look playful, peaceful, exciting, romantically aroused, SOOO many ways for it to surface…but really think about it.
The little people in our lives. My sons are the ones I relate to particularly. How small that they are, and how really they don’t have near the say in the touch they are exposed to. While hugging, touching, loving is all important….to also respect their space. The importance of boundaries, what we are inevitably teaching them about touch, by the way we touch them.
Or…..the people we find disgusting, stinky because of smoke, lack of hygiene…..when is the last time you considered that this may be one of their many forms of self preservation. Their way of deterring you from invading their boundaries?….try something……ask. Yes. Ask. Ask yourself if you truly want to embrace this person, or if you are doing it because that is what is socially expected or acceptable. And if you find yourself in the position of hyper touchy like I once was….ask them. Look the soul in the eye, and ask “May I hug you?”….you will be surprised the reaction you will get, some will shut down….but you will touch those who need it more you can imagine. In my awakening I have had the occurence take place numerous times where the individual has broken down in tears. The idea you are providing a boundary for them.:) What a beautiful gift you can give.:) I cannot even begin to explain magnitude of good vibes and beautiful energy that is exchanged in the embraces I am honored to give/recieve at the womens shelter I worked at. And if you’re trippin over hygiene……get over it. You’d smell exactly the same if it wasn’t for chemicals you put on your body to make yourself smell better. 🙂
IN A PLACE
If you find yourself in a place of desensitivity, it is easy for me to say…”find a therapist” or “find a healer”. However, I know all too well, this just simply is not an option in your life, whether it is because of finances, situations, or simply because of pride. I get it. I encourage you to develop boundaries. To not only voice when you do or do not want to be touched, but HOW you want to be touched. ESPECIALLY if you are in a relationship with a significant other. Ask for that arm tickle, back scratch or foot rub….and even more specifically with words such as “touch me softly” or “not as much”. And if your partner finds it annoying, it’s probably because they are not used to you asking. Remember….both parties have been desensitized to touch….it’s going to take patience, and reprogramming to ignite the intimacy of touch back into your life. It does not simply happen because you want it to. 🙂 It IS Worth the communication and patience though. No matter what path it leads you down, YOU will be ignited again by simply voicing yourself. This also goes for those single people out there!!!! EXERCISE BOUNDARIES! You are allowed to have an opinion without knowing the person. It’s your opinion, not theirs.
HONORED
Today, I am honored, I am blessed, I am filled with humility from the experience of being terrified. I am honored for the opportunity I had and continue to have with my healer. I am honored that as my arms are extended, I have the empathy to show respect for another. I will show my gratitude by respecting others boundaries, and my own. I will feel life when I embrace or touch. I choose to feel your energy.
All my love,
Namaste
Kat

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My Sexual Bill of Rights

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Growing up in a religious atmosphere that supported abstinence until marriage, I joined the sex club after high school. And once I did. I literally felt that I was going to hell if I did not marry this man. There was so much hype put on me as a young female to “save myself until marriage”. I had not explored my body through the practice of masturbation as a normal teenager would, as this was also ‘against’ my religion. Also as a young female and in my early 20s, for me, sexual activity was about the enjoyment of the other person. I wanted to be desirable to the other person. Sexy. Somewhat of an object. I wanted to look, smell, act, smile and please the way that I thought a Victories Secret model would. Nothing at the time pleased me more than knowing that I was wanted, and used. NEVER did it cross my mind of what was REALLY enjoyable to MY body. My mind. My spirit. Things that tell me that this is what was going on in my life was the practice of faking orgasms. I’d fake for the reason of knowing that it made my partner enjoy his experience more, and that was my ultimate goal, his enjoyment…and sometimes, I’d fake….to just make the sex stop. I also didn’t practice the acts of safe sex. As if not asking my partner to wear a condom wasn’t dangerous enough, I was also not on birth control….the idea of asking my partner to wear a condom was intimidating, I thought they would be less attracted to me for it, or it would ‘kill the mood’. I guess what I’m getting at…….is I was the very definition of…..
A HOT MESS
After being extremely hypersexual, once I went into rehab, I went into a complete hyposexual mode. Touch hurt me. It scared me. Thankfully my therapist and counselors were patient with me, had seen this before and explained what was going on with my body. Even at the end of groups when we would gather in a circle, put our arms around one another and say the serenity prayer…I’d cringe. I did not enjoy touch in the slightest. I’d have full blown panic attacks inside my chest when I was touched.
In one of the classes that was taught at the rehab I went to we went into the subject of sexuality. Immediately, the thoughts of dolling myself up, spending money on lingerie, pleasing a partner all went into my mind.
I looked up at my teacher as she wrote on the board:
“SEXUAL BILL OF RIGHTS”
………huh?…….
What in the hell is that? She then asked us to write down things in our workbooks that created a safe sexual environment to each of us personally. No, it didn’t have to say the same for each of us, as this was our OWN sexual bill of Rights. The concept to me seemed…..SOOOO foreign. To have a sexual experience that was truly, and sincerely FOR MYSELF????…..weird…..we then started discussing as a group how we felt….and I found that I was not the only one with these fears.
Now, seeing as I am a woman, this is the only level I can really relate on with my experience, but I found that the way that I felt, the general consensus of the classroom felt the same.
Through the term I had been told growing up of “Save yourself so that you may give yourself to someone special”….really hit my home. That’s cool and all ‘saving’ and ‘giving’ myself to someone…..but in all honesty, up until that moment, I had had no idea what I really was. Or what it was that I was really giving. I had seen all of my sexual experiences as giving giving giving, rather than a true, sincere unity.
I then, found a safe place, a secret place, and explored my sexual bill of rights. What made me feel safe. Wrote them out on paper, without the intention of anyone ever seeing them. Completely HONEST with MYSELF. I won’t go into the details of MY sexual bill of rights but just to give you an idea of where I am going with this, one of mine was not faking orgasms. That it’s OK for me to have sex, enjoy it, but NOT get off. GUYS: DO NOT take it as an ego hit if a woman doesn’t get off, our minds work emotionally in sex, doesn’t mean we aren’t enjoying it, and if in fact your woman can be honest with you, you’re doing A LOT better than if you’re in a situation that is not real. EGO BOOOOOST if your woman is honest with you about her body.
This is where I found my sexuality and my respect. My happy medium. The FREEDOM to explore myself with myself AND with a partner eventually someday, and if I didn’t feel this safe with the person…..then….I shouldn’t be with them in the first place.
I started to explore the concept of not sleeping around, not because of any religion or social stigma that would be put on me if I did, but because, that is where I felt safe. Self respect came naturally with the practice of knowing that I had complete control of my body, because I knew my body, and listened to it.
Today, I take comfort in knowing my mortal self. And by knowing my body….I am able to connect with my spirit, therefor creating intimacy. Intimacy with myself!!! Intimacy with myself is FAR beyond the act of masturbation, it is a connection with my soul, in listening to myself, what is healthy for ME. My SPIRIT. I take comfort in knowing I have a “sexual bill of rights”….signed by MYSELF. And no one else. I can not expect others to know what my spirit and body needs. By respecting myself enough to listen to myself I am able to express my needs, therefor creating an environment where Intimacy with ANOTHER spirit can take place.
Today, I honor my Bill of Rights and take away the stigma of “what will so and so THINK if I talk about sexuality”. I choose to create an environment that supports communication, so that real sexual connections can in fact take place. Sexual BILL OF RIGHTS!!!! BOOOOYA in yo face!!:)
Love,
kat