Tuesday, January 23, 2018

late night ramblings, as usual.

late night, everyone asleep but me. 
wanted to jot down a few thoughts i've had the past little bit.

so about five years ago when i graduated with my bachelor's i got a job as a line staff at a residential treatment center for adolescent boys and girls. this was the hardest job i'd ever done, emotionally wrenching and draining. it's where i found my love of teenagers and my thirst to help others. 

i didn't like being a line staff. i didn't like being at the bottom of the food chain during staff meetings. the doctors, psychologists, and therapists all knew things, all had things to say that were important. i remember watching the therapists come in and meet with the kids. they'd disappear off to a therapy room for an hour and then come back out. i wondered what kind of magic had happened in there. one therapist would often shake her head and mutter, "that's one sad little girl." before walking out. i wanted so badly to know what happened in those rooms, what kinds of things they did to help those kids whose lives had been warped with abuse and abandonment. i wanted so badly to be a person who had the skills and knowledge to help those survivors of pain, whose lives were so torn apart that they had to live in a treatment center. 

i only worked there for three months. i was miserable the entire time. i couldn't leave work at work, couldn't stop worrying about the kids. maybe i wasn't cut out to work with such pain and loss. 

then i got pregnant and had a baby and left my church and almost my marriage and dealt with my own sexual trauma. turns out i could handle pain and loss. 

five years later i got an internship at the same campus where i'd worked as a line staff. not the same treatment center, as that one had shut down, but it was a day treatment called by the same name as the residential, and was just a few hundred feet from the building where i'd worked before. i walked in to the building as an intern therapist. now i meet with the teenagers who have survived pain, loss, abandonment, abuse, betrayal, and all kind of pain i've never had to feel. turns out i'm not doing magic, it's a lot simpler than that in some ways. i guess it kind of is magic, in a way. having the ability to feel such love, or in carl rogers-speak, unconditional positive regard, for someone else does feel pretty magical most days. turns out i can hold a space for someone else's pain, and that's a pretty neat thing. watching ah ha moments happen, that's pretty magical. 

that's it, really. 
i'm in a great place, i'm really thankful to have been able to follow this dream over the past couple of years in school. only three more months of being an intern. my placement has offered me a job, so we'll see what happens. sex therapy is in the works, getting those requirements finished will be next year's goal. 

here's to dreamin'. 

Thursday, November 9, 2017

august & sept 2017

summer ended, like it always does, and we jumped into another semester of grad school for me, travis's last semester of his bachelor's, and remy's second year of preschool.

we still got some SUP time
still can't believe this lake is at the bottom of my street. 

love listening to him create stories and games. 

bouldering every chance i get, usually 3-4 times a week. 

my dad and his dad at a family party. 

always the ice cream sandwiches outside. 

4 years old is so much fun. he can do more and more. 

building a tool box at home depot. 

evelyn's baby blessing. her dress and flower crown
were so beautiful. 

this awesome juice bar opened up the road from us.
they make popsicles out of leftover smoothies for kids
and they cost $1. this one had banana, cacao, and some kind
of healthy peanut butter. 

more mountain biking with dad. 

he left me in the dust. 

we got to the top at sunset.
which means we rode down the crazy
fast, tight turns in the dark.
it was slightly terrifying.
i only fell off 5 times. 

remy hanging out with the
quadruplets who live next door to oma.
yep, quadruplets. their mother

travis eating an açaí bowl from the afore mentioned juicery. 

remy and oma all dressed up. 

he always climbs this rock after the gym. 

"tree pose mom!" 

strikes this pose without prompting 

fridays are my long days this semester. i leave the house at
8 and get home at 7. so we usually try to do a fun activity
when i get home. 

remy announced that his favorite
toy, steven, was having a birthday.
so we made cupcakes, wrapped presents,
and cut out party hats. 

my mom always did fun things like this.
one time, i decided to marry my cat, pepper,
so my mom made a wedding cake and we had a
kids definitely made fun of me, because i was
a weirdo, but my mom always made pretend things seem
more real, and that made childhood pretty magical. 

we ate dinner out on the porch on a blanket
one night. the weather was so beautiful. 

another friday night after the 11 hour school day.
we picked a red box, and picked treats from the
gas station. 

always encouraging him to climb a little higher. 

one night that we visited chad at work.
sushi groove, such good noodle bowls.
i do not like sushi.
i know, i know, i just need to try ______. 

i love when travis comes to climb.
i show off and feel like a champ with him watching. 

grandma julie and brightyn
 reading with remy. 

 it's been a really nice fall. i can't believe i only have one more semester after this!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

a nice light post about remy and preschool.

figured a light post would be nice.
phew, it's  been an emotional few days.
but i have stopped clenching my teeth, so that's cool.

life is good right now, i swear.

remy started school again, second year of preschool. i figured that since it was the second year and i'm pretty much a veteran at this point, i wouldn't get emotional dropping him off on the first day.

yeah, that's stupid, because i cried like a small child dropping him off. watching him holding hands with his new teacher, his cute little backpack that looked a lot more huge last year, and when he turned around to blow me a kiss.

also, his first day of preschool was also my first day of training for my internship. i told human resources, "my kid starts school and i will be the one dropping him off, so i'll come training after that." they were like cool, it doesn't even start until the afternoon, so it all worked out. it is nice though, that i'm starting to feel like i can be open about my role as a mom and that, sorry not sorry, it's a higher priority to me than anything else. (really appreciate all the women who came before me who made it possible for me to prioritize my family life without having to worry about losing my job.)

he's pretty cute, huh.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

trying to think of a fitting title and coming up with "this is one reason why i have a difficult time attending sacrament meeting."

content warning: rape, sexual assualt, somewhat graphic descriptions, ptsd. 

for the past month or two, i've been clenching my teeth at night while i sleep. i wake up with a sore jaw, teeth that feel like they are falling out, and headaches. recently, i asked a friend who is a massage therapist if she has any suggestions for why this is happening all the sudden and how to deal with it. her reply surprised me.
"you probably have something you want to say, but haven't. maybe if you say what's bothering you, the clenching will stop."
i immediately knew what it is that i haven't been saying but have wanted to, and this post will hopefully get that out so i can stop clenching my teeth and ignoring the pit in my stomach and catch in my throat that seems to be there a lot lately.

disclaimer: because this is the internet and a disclaimer is necessary since you can't see my facial expressions or hear the tone of my voice. this post is going to talk about the lds church, baby blessings, and my own personal experience. this is my experience every time i attend sacrament meeting. also, to my sisters in law whose baby blessings i recently attended and refer to in this post, i love supporting your babies, please don't think this means i don't want to support your babies. please don't feel like you need to apologize for my stuff/past/struggles; i am happy to come and support. (it is likely that in the future, i'll just leave right after the baby blessing) this is my experience, and since this is my corner of the interwebs, it's about my side here.  love to all. 

my alarm wakes me at 7am on sunday morning. for a moment i'm confused about why i'm forcing myself awake on a sunday morning, and then with dread, i remember.
i'm going to church today.
while i shower and get ready, i listen to my favorite music. we make sunday morning waffles, i ignore the pit of doom in my stomach and admire how cute remy looks all dressed up.
when i choose my outfit, i overthink everything completely.

too much cleavage, don't want to make anyone uncomfortable.
why do i care if i make someone uncomfortable, as long as i'm comfortable, collette.
because walking pornography, collette.
but i don't subscribe to that anymore, collette, so pick a damn dress.

i opt for something sleeveless to please the side of me that wants to prove to myself that i don't think i'm a wily temptress for showing my shoulders, but that also covers my chest to please the side of me that feels extreme shame for daring to have cleavage. okay. lipstick on, one last hair check, stop stalling, time to go.

i think longingly of stopping for coffee, to have that warm beacon of hope/defiance to cling to while i try not to burst into tears during the long hour of sacrament meeting. the baby blessing i attended a month earlier, i did stop for coffee. i was stalling, and almost missed the blessing altogether. i walked into the chapel with a beans and brew cup and understandably received a few looks from the older folks in the ward. i settle for my coffee flavored hard candies tucked away in my purse.

we get to church, walk into the foyer. i smell the familiar smell, hear the organ playing familiar prelude music. i think i'm going to be sick. sitting in the pew, watching the boys and men on the stand prepare for the meeting. my legs are crossed and i'm tapping my foot. remy immediately finds his cousins and is content. i sit quietly next to travis and feel the storm building in my stomach and throat and numb hands as we sing the opening song, hear prayers, announcements, watch the ward raise their arms to the square to sustain new callings. the baby blessing is sweet, and i'm honored to have been asked to transcribe it for memories.

then it is time to prepare for the sacrament.

i see the priests going about their duties and in my mind i'm taken against my will, back to the sunday when He, the neighbor boy with dark hair and a black dress shirt, who had sexually assaulted me a few months earlier, was ordained to bless the sacrament of which i was unworthy to partake that day. for a moment, i'm not in a chapel next to my husband and family for the blessing of my niece, i'm sitting in my home ward next to my parents and brothers, who are going to watch me pass the bread and water by, without being able to take one, because i'd told the bishop it was consensual.

i didn't exactly know what had happened, didn't know i could tell someone it wasn't consensual, because what would happen if i told and He found out what i said. saying it was consensual was much safer. i just didn't know He was going to lie and then continue on His spiritual progression of ordination to priest. didn't know He would call me a liar and then sit above me on the stand, while our congregation, good people who i loved dearly, held their arms to the square and sustained Him as a priest. while i, the slut, the dirty whore walking pornography licked m&m, looked at my shoes and pretended to disappear. i remember the first time someone called it rape, when i was 27 and sitting in my therapist's office. i had told her a little about what happened, told her i couldn't remember all of it, just flashes, told her that two gynecologists had diagnosed me with vaginismus because i couldn't tolerate any touch down there for years. i labeled it "sexual assault" and she corrected me.

then i'm jerked back to the present moment when the deacon holds out the sacrament tray to me. why did i have to sit on the end.  i watch my hand approach the bread and i am taken back. to knowing that i wasn't worthy, knowing i was contaminating everyone around me. knowing i had let everyone in my life down, that i was ruined, that no amount of repenting could ever fix this. i didn't deserve forgiveness, didn't deserve love. taking the handle without first eating the bread, the body of christ, for the first time in my life and passing it on, and feeling the shame ooze around me like black sludge.

every time i've gone back to church since officially leaving, i have taken the sacrament as a way to show myself, look! it's okay, you're allowed to have it. today, i choose not to partake and maybe that will feel different, better.

the silence is broken by crying babies, yelling toddlers. i concentrate on exercises i learned in therapy.  think about the sounds you're hearing. think about the coffee candy you are tasting. what do you feel with your fingers? think about how it feels to sit on the hard bench beneath you. 

this doesn't work. i barely hear the prayer for the water. as the deacon holding the water tray makes his way toward me, i glance desperately back toward the door and see that it is shut. again, i'm flashed back to the past.

i'm in the basement. he shut the door behind us. his hands are all over me and i'm staring at the closed door in desperation. 

the water reaches me. again i pass. i feel numb, but also like there is something about to explode in my throat. travis touches my arm and whispers, "you are tapping your foot a lot, collettie."

the second that the doors are opened and the sacrament is over, i mumble an excuse about needing the bathroom, and quickly walk out, hoping no one sees the tears streaming down my cheeks. i find refuge in the bathroom and kneel over the toilet to dry heave. i'm pacing, hoping no one comes in. i try looking at myself in the mirror, try jumping jacks, try sitting, but i can't stop moving. something is crawling all over my body. i drink water, pace some more. i walk outside into the hot air and feel the sun on my face. hyperventilating, i do laps around the church building until i feel like i can control the anxiety.

i stop one more time in the bathroom to check that my eyes weren't too telling. deep breaths. deeper breaths.

slowly, calmly, composed, i walk back inside the chapel to sit with demons.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

palisades, ID, summer 2017.

every summer, my immediate charles family takes a trip together. this year we headed to a beautiful place in idaho, palisades. we camped right next to the river, which made for pretty views, but pretty terrible mosquitos. let's be honest, camping is not my favorite, even when there aren't mosquitos attacking any amount of bare exposed flesh, but there were some fun parts of this trip. 
no really, it wasn't all torturous.

how every picture i try to take of us driving
turns out. travis is like nope. remy is such a
good traveler though. 

when we finally got there, uncle chad had
his hammock all set up. plus his creepy creepy
mustache had a few days to mature.

the first morning after we got there,
we rented some SUPs and played in the
gorgeous lake. 

surrounded by mountains and tons of trees. 

we hung around the rocky beach, ate snacks,
played in the decently warm water. 

i bought remy this blow up
alligator to play in the water,
and he absolutely hated it. 

but i enjoyed riding it. 

that night, the menfolk went fishing,
and we found an awesome pizza place near camp.
remy found this pretty moth and took him captive
adopted him as a beloved pet. 

we went to the gas station that has the famous
square ice cream cones. remy brought his moth
and introduced him to everyone in the store. 

this kid sleeps in tents so well. 

uncle zane brought his hammy too. 

the next morning, we got up early
and went white water rafting.
some great rapids, almost fell in,
chad pushed travis in and it was the
best moment of the entire trip for me. 

that night, the guys went fishing (AGAIN)
and us ladies did not feel like sitting at camp
getting eaten by mosquito beasts, so we
drove up to heise hot springs. remy jumped off the
diving board around 30 times. bless him.
we got to take a shower for the first time in days!
the next morning at breakfast. 

we found the cutest yellow caterpillar.
i let him crawl on my dad's face. 

i included this picture soley
out of appreciation for my natural curls.
which never look like this unless i'm
camping, and sleep on wet hair.
wtf hair, do this in my real life. 

these are out of order but blogger
is being ridiculous and not letting me
move photos around.
view first thing in the morning was cute. 

i also found a moth pet.
(i didn't manhandle him and
keep him in a plastic cup tho,
like some kids.)

she sat on my shoulder the
whole time i cooked breakfast. 

then we headed into jackson hole for
sightseeing and lunch. 

it was a mostly fun trip. would have probably enjoyed it more if it included showers and flush toilets.
what can i say, i'm a pampered house pet.

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