If Doug Jones does this, he will win Alabama.

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I’ve been very worried about the far-right religious demagogue and pedophile Roy Moore winning Alabama.   He and his Democratic opposition, Doug Jones, have been running neck and neck, and even after 9 women spoke up about Moore molesting them (in one case the woman was 14 years old when she was assaulted) and other complaints that Moore stalked teenagers at the mall, Roy Moore still has a better than good chance of winning in his state.  The reason he may still win, even though he is a horrible human being who preys on children, is because of where Roy Moore stands on abortion.

Even though I don’t live in Alabama (thank God), I’m worried about Moore winning because that will mean he’ll be in the Senate, and have greater influence and power.  We do not need religious extremists and unrepentant sexual predators (please don’t bring up Al Franken, because at least he apologized and took responsibility for his actions) like Moore in the US Senate or anywhere close to the federal government.

So I had a kind of brainstorm this morning.    Because so many Alabamans care so much about abortion, and vote on that one issue (even over homosexuality), Doug Jones needs to run on the abortion issue, and it doesn’t matter that he happens to be pro-choice.     He can make an excellent case why he’d be the better pro-life candidate (and why the Democratic Party is also the more pro-life party at the end of the day).

As it stands now, religious Alabamans will vote for Roy Moore because they believe Doug Jones is soft on abortion and therefore against God.  It doesn’t matter to them that Moore is himself an immoral man who preys on children and blasphemes Jesus when he justifies his molestation of a 14 year old by saying that Mary was only 14 when she was impregnated by Joseph (whatever happened to their belief in the Virgin Birth?).  No, they will still vote for Moore because of his anti-choice stance.

But here’s something to ponder.  It is a statistical fact that 50% — HALF! — of all births in America are paid for by Medicaid, which also covers children’s healthcare after they are born.  That’s a lot of babies that might have been aborted without Medicaid (and other support programs for mothers and their children).   Republicans like Roy Moore want to cut Medicaid or eliminate it altogether, as well as cut or eliminate other services that make it possible for poor women to have and raise their children.

If a poor woman loses or cannot access Medicaid, food stamps, and other services that help her and her unborn baby, both during pregnancy and after, do you think she is going to have the baby anyway without medical and other support?  No!  She is most likely going to choose abortion.  Most abortions in the US are done for financial reasons. Most women having abortions aren’t married middle or upper class women — they’re usually poor or very young women who have no health coverage and no support system in which they can raise their child.   If you refuse her Medicaid and support services, is she just going to say, “Hey, well, ok, I guess I’ll just give birth at home in my bathtub!”   Of course not.  This isn’t 1700.

Sure, there are a few women who can afford a child and have abortions because they just don’t want another child (or any at all), but they are in the minority. Even if abortion was outlawed, rich women would “take a trip to Europe” just like they did in the 1950s.

Facing an unplanned pregnancy is scary enough as it is.  If you have no money to afford prenatal care, labor and delivery, and medical care for the baby, and there is no support system that can help you, that’s even more terrifying.  Again, half of all births are funded by Medicaid. So if that is taken away or cut, most if not all of those poor women are NOT going to decide to have their babies in the bathtub.  It’s a lot easier to come up with $600 or $800 or so for an abortion than find the money for hospital care.  Even the poorest woman can usually get that kind of money in a pinch, even if she has to borrow it or use a payday lender.

Abortion rates have ALWAYS gone up during GOP administrations, when services like food stamps, Medicaid and family planning are cut.   Most women, when faced with other alternatives to abortion and given support, will choose to have their baby.  Cut off their support system and access to healthcare, more abortions.   It makes perfect sense.

Even though most Democrats are “pro-choice,” there are fewer abortions under Democratic administrations when access to family planning and healthcare and other services are more available.  This has been proven statistically.  Railing on about abortion being evil and then offering no alternatives to a desperate pregnant woman, especially if she’s poor, does absolutely nothing except shame and traumatize her.

Even if abortion were outlawed, desperate pregnant women who can’t afford a sudden “European vacation” would go to back alley butchers just like they did in the 1950s.  Illegal abortionists would pop up like mushrooms after a storm.   Women who are desperate are still going to get abortions even if they’re illegal, if no other support is given.

I really think if Doug Jones runs on this platform, and stresses the fact that abortions increase under GOP policies and decrease under Democratic policies, I think he could win over some if not most of the pro-life Christians.  Let’s face it.   Doug Jones seems like a good man and a nice person and unlike Roy Moore, I believe he actually cares about the people of Alabama, and he cares about women and children.    If pro-life Christians, many who vote on the abortion issue alone, could realize that Jones is actually the much more pro-life candidate at the end of the day, I definitely think they would vote for him  over an extremist, dishonest sexual predator like Roy Moore.

I’m actually going to send the link to this article to Doug Jones and urge him to address this issue in his campaign, because I think he’d win.  It’s important he wins so we don’t get someone like Roy Moore in the Senate.

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Tears of beauty.

Most people associate crying and tears with sadness or grief. Yes, it’s true that you see tears when people are upset, grieving or sad, but it’s not really due to the sadness itself. Crying has nothing to do with the negativity or positivity of an emotion; instead they indicate the strength of an emotion. Crying occurs whenever a person is overwhelmed by any powerful emotion, be it sadness or elation. In western society, tears are seen as shameful and “weak.” Why is that?

Most pregnant women report they become more emotional during pregnancy and shed tears at the drop of a hat. This hyper-emotionality continues during lactation, when a new mother is bonding with her infant. I believe the marination of a pregnant or lactating woman’s brain in a bath of female hormones accounts for this, and is nature’s way of ensuring a strong mother-child bond. It happened to me when I was pregnant and after giving birth, and I’m not much of a cryer under normal circumstances.

I’ve mentioned my friend Shannon before, who is one of the most mentally healthy people I’ve ever met. She is also one of the most loving and joyful. But she cries all the time, because she has a huge heart and feels everything from empathy to joy so deeply. Shannon is as strong a person as I’ve ever seen, not a weak bone in her body. (She also laughs a lot).

I think tears are regarded as weak because we instinctively know they lead to and indicate strong heart connections between human beings, and emotional connectedness with others and our need for communion with other people is becoming increasingly thought of as a weakness, even for women.

Here are some photos and gifs I found on Google that show how beautiful genuine emotional tears (not the narcissistic, manipulative kind!) can be.

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Manly tears.


More manly tears.

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Johnny Depp in “Crybaby”

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From the movie “Crybaby” starring Johnny Depp.

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muslim-girl-crying

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And of course, there is this famous video:

He still lives in my dreams: the story of my abortion.

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Although I’m becoming Catholic in less than two weeks, my views on abortion are still more or less pro-choice, depending on the situation (such as rape or incest), but this post isn’t about my political or moral stance on abortion. It’s about something much closer to my heart than my views on political/religious issues.

It’s about the abortion I had in July of 1998, right at the 12th week, which is the deadline for first trimester, uncomplicated abortions.

I made my first confession tonight in preparation for receiving the sacraments of Communion and Confirmation at the Easter mass. A few days ago, Father C. told me to think about what I wanted to talk about in confession. Even though my abortion and infidelity while I was still married to my narcissist are in the distant past now, those were the things I wanted most to confess, because lately both have been weighing on my mind heavily, especially the abortion.

I won’t get into the whole sordid and sad story of my marriage to Michael, as it’s already been written about under “My Story” (links to that are in the header), but the short version is he was a terrible malignant narcissist in every way imaginable–abusive mentally, emotionally and sometimes physically (when he was drinking). I was miserable during the last years of our marriage and wasn’t in the best of mental health, having been hospitalized twice during the late 1990s for major depression and PTSD.

Michael had his own sins to contend with (but he probably never will because of his narcissism), but I was no saint either. As a Borderline–and at that time not yet knowing how to monitor and control my borderline tendencies (I learned those tools during my first psychiatric hospitalization in 1996)–I tended to act out in impulsive, dramatic and inadvertently selfish ways.

As my husband’s primary source of narcissistic supply and his #1 victim, I was frantic, scared, frustrated, depressed and lonely, and longed for love, tenderness and physical affection. I didn’t want to hurt anyone, but simply didn’t think of the needs of others, even my own two children, when there was something I wanted to do, like get together with a new lover. In a person with BPD, this self-centeredness is due more to obliviousness to the feelings of others rather than not caring how they feel. Borderlines also have abandonment issues–that is their greatest fear. I was already emotionally abandoned by my narc husband and had always felt abandoned by my parents, and I longed for connection and affection.

I never made a conscious decision to have an affair, but it happened because I didn’t resist the temptation and once underway, I felt that this illicit relationship was something I needed.

At the hotel where I worked as a banquet server, I met a maintenance man there I’ll call Ryan. He was about 8 years younger than me. We got to be friends and talked a lot during our breaks. I felt very comfortable with him. I found out he was also a deejay at the hotel where we both worked. At many of the events and parties I served, Ryan spun discs when it was time for the guests to dance. At those times I’d go up and join him at the booth where he sat, and we’d talk while the guests danced and the music played.

Soon our friendship developed a sexual element. We realized we were both attracted to each other, though love was never part of the equation.

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Michael and I had not had sex (after the love-bombing honeymoon phase of our relationship was over, I would not say what we did together in bed was making love) for several months by the time I met Ryan. About a month after we first met, in April 1998, he invited me to his house and we spent the entire night with our bodies wrapped around each other in his bed. We made love several times that night.

I called my kids and Michael but I didn’t go home that night. I made up some lie about staying with a girlfriend whose mother was ill. I was getting almost as good as Michael with the lying.

Ryan and I continued to see each other when we could. I was already neglecting my children who needed their mother, not to mention leaving them alone with their narc father. I still feel bad about that to this day and try to make it up by being overprotective now when they’re in their 20s and over-protectiveness is the last thing they need or want.

In August or September of that year I realized I’d missed my period and took a home pregnancy test one afternoon when I was home alone. It was positive.

I panicked. It wasn’t my husband’s child because the last time we’d had sex was months before I became pregnant. There was no way I could tell him I was carrying another man’s child–I couldn’t even imagine the abuse that would be inflicted on him or her. He was already abusive to his flesh and blood son, and he had told me he didn’t want any more children. I knew that if I went through with the pregnancy and had the child, both the child and I would be punished and I couldn’t allow that to happen.

I thought about adoption, but again, I would be subject to Michael’s abuse during the pregnancy especially once I started to show, as it would be a constant reminder to him I was pregnant with another man’s child. Then there was the matter of giving up the baby when it was born. I had no idea how I would explain to people how I could give up mine and Michael’s third child (I wouldn’t have dared tell anyone the child was not his).

I couldn’t decide what to do. But I had to make a decision quick–because I was closing in on 11 weeks and after the 12th week, you enter the second trimester and abortion becomes far more dangerous and medically complicated, not to mention more emotionally harrowing.

I have always been iffy about abortion, but at the time, I really didn’t see any other option. So I picked up the phone and called the local abortion clinic. They didn’t have an appointment for a week, which meant I would be right at 12 weeks–almost three months pregnant. I thought my belly was already showing a hint of a bump.

When the day came, I sat down with a nurse who was very friendly and sympathetic. She told me they had to take an ultrasound so they would know the location of the fetus in my womb before going in to remove it.

After the ultrasound, I surprised myself by asking the nurse if I could see it. She looked at me oddly, then shrugged and turned the screen facing me. I saw my baby there, glowing blue-white and floating in what looked like the darkness of space. I could see the little spine through the thin fetal skin, and it was perfect–it looked like a string of tiny seed pearls. I felt hot tears burn behind my eyelids but I didn’t cry. I swallowed hard and asked if she could tell the sex.

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She looked at me sympathetically and then looked back at the screen to study it. She told me it was early, but she believed it was male. I just nodded and thought about that. My third child would have been a boy.

“Are you sure you still want to go through with this?” she asked, placing a soft motherly hand on my forearm.
“Yes,” I said.

The procedure itself wasn’t that awful. I was put in a twilight sleep and could barely tell what was going on. It wasn’t until afterwards, when Ryan was driving me home, that I suddenly began to feel sick. I ordered Ryan to pull over, stumbled out of the car, and threw up into the weeds by the side of the road. Even after my stomach emptied itself, I kept dry heaving. I was bleeding (which is normal) and crying from the pain. Ryan was concerned and came over to me (we were still friends after all this). I screamed at him to go away and leave me alone. Total borderline on my part.

At the time, even though I felt guilty about what I did, it didn’t bother me too much. I thought I had done the only thing I could have done. It wasn’t that I didn’t want this child, but that I couldn’t. The only future I could see for him was a childhood filled with abuse and pain meted out by his stepfather, my husband. He would punish me by punishing my child.

I didn’t think terminating that pregnancy bothered me that much, but on some level it must have, because every May, the month he would have been born, I find myself wishing him a happy birthday and telling him how sorry I am. I have done this every year since May of 2000.

In my dreams, I have watched him grow up into the almost 16 year old he would be right now. I always see him at the age he would have been at the time of the dream and he is always running away, fading into dream-space. I keep losing track of him. He always ignores my presence. I’m just some strange woman to him.

Even though this boy grew inside my body for three months, it weighs heavily on my heart that I don’t know him either. I don’t know one thing about him. I don’t know what he likes or dislikes, or what his interests or hobbies are. I don’t know what his personality is like. In my dreams he never talks to me, even if I try to talk to him. He always runs or turns away or dissolves into the dream space. One thing I can tell is that he is hurt and angry. He doesn’t know I’m his mother, but he does know he was inflicted with the ultimate betrayal–not having been allowed to have a life. I know instinctively his hurt and anger is because of this.

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There is a metaphysical wall I can never get past. I cannot know his spirit. I know what he looks like, or would have looked like because he always looks like the same person in my dreams. He changes because he’s growing up in dream-time but his face is always the same. He looks like a male version of me when I was young but his hair is much darker than mine.

I never gave him a name. Although I know God has forgiven me, I still regret never having been a mother to this boy, this third child who would have been my two older children’s little brother.

He lives on in my dreams. Maybe one day I will see him in heaven and he will have forgiven me.

This is the post that scared me so much I almost deleted it.

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I have never been so scared to publish a post until this one. I had this set to Private for several days and drove myself crazy trying to decide if I ought to post it. It’s about some of my most vulnerable moments and posting about those is incredibly scary for a person who usually has their guard up. But I longed to post it. Something inside was telling me I needed to and I wouldn’t regret it. I also felt this post was my best written one ever because while writing it I allowed my emotions to flow unimpeded. What to do?

I even wrote a short post asking people if I should post something that made me feel so naked and vulnerable. Ultimately, the decision to make this post public was mine, but the consensus seemed to be that I should.

I read this post over again earlier today from the imaginary perspective of a random reader who just happened on the article and had never seen this blog before. I realized that as this “someone else” it would be something I’d want to read.

So here it is, guys. The post that made me feel like I was going to pass out cold when I pressed “Make Post Public.”

Milk and Open Hearts: Embracing the “Feminine” Emotions

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I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about vulnerability lately. I’m reaching a point in my healing journey where I can start to allow myself to become more open to my emotions and to sharing the feelings of others. It wasn’t my intention to write another post about crying so soon after my last, but I think my interest is due to something that’s happening inside…

For years I couldn’t cry, but wanted to. I was so numb from all the abuse that I had dissociated myself from my feelings. I felt like I was dead and in hell. Recently I’m finding a lump in my throat or tears starting to well much more frequently–usually because I’ve been touched by something or someone in some way, and it’s usually a pretty simple thing. I realize this is a sign that the long term dissociation within my mind is coming to an end because I’ve gained more courage to embrace my feelings instead of pushing them away or denying their existence.

I remember even during the darkest days of abuse by my psychopaths and narcs, when I walked around like an emotional zombie due to all the abuse I endured, there were rare moments of clarity when truth and beauty shone through the murk of depression and PTSD.

During my pregnancies with both my children (I was pregnant three other times–one abortion which I am writing about next–the child would have been a boy born in 1999–and two miscarriages), my brain’s marination in a continuous bath of pregnancy hormones made me very emotional. Not depressed-emotional–in fact, I was happier than I’d ever been. Things just touched me or made me feel some kind of ineffable euphoria or inexplicable sadness and suddenly there would be tears.

I think the increased emotionality experienced by pregnant and lactating women is the result of nature’s opening our hearts to connect deeply and lovingly with our children from the moment we know we are pregnant. The torrents of female hormones–mostly estrogen and progesterone–help wire our brains to to allow the limbic (emotional) system to run things for awhile. The heightened ability to feel is a gift that helps our species survive because under the right circumstances, emotional openness transforms into unconditional love and empathy.

The hormonal bath continued for some weeks after the births of both my children and I remember getting particularly emotional one dark and cold night as I held my firstborn against milk-swollen breasts, with Barber’s “Adagio for Strings” playing on the stereo. I watched as my son rooted for the nourishment he sought and found it. Latched on tightly, dark pink lips pursed in determination and a primitive and preternatural hunger, my baby son began to nurse. As I felt the milk come down, I was overwhelmed with tenderness and love for this completely helpless creature who so recently had lived inside my body and taken nourishment from my blood, and whose wastes were eliminated with my own, and suddenly my face was awash in tears.

I watched as if through antique swirled-glass windows as my tears soaked my tiny boy’s thistledown-fine hair and ran across a petal-soft pink cheek busily working my milk glands. There was a melancholy underpinning to my overwhelming elation and I allowed myself to feel that sadness too–and realized that melancholy welled up from an awareness of how fragile my tiny son was, how fragile we all are–at any age; and how easily a trusting, childlike soul can be stamped out by hurt, abandonment and abuse. I wanted to protect this child from any harm that might ever come his way. I didn’t realize then my son’s own father would set out to destroy his spirit. Thank God he did not succeed.

At the moment the first drop of salt water touched my baby, opaque dark blue eyes fluttered open and gazed at me, seeming to understand my feelings. Sighing a delicate baby sigh, this tiny human being I had created through my love for a man and sustained and nurtured by my blooming, hormone-soaked body, nestled in closer and suckled harder until swept away in blissful sleep. I marveled at the knowledge this tiny boy would one day be a man, taller and probably physically stronger than me, and that I would play a huge part in his journey to manhood. It scared me to pieces but I felt willing and ready to take on the challenge–because of love, the greatest power we have as humans.

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This wondrous connection–this moment of almost painful sweetness–was so honest and magical I almost dared not breathe. The tears poured down. I didn’t wipe the wetness from my face for that would have disrupted the beautiful connection I felt with my child.

It’s during these moments our hearts are open and we allow ourselves to become vulnerable, that we are fully engaged and connected with life and open to the bliss and pain of pure unconditional love. That kind of love is expressed in tears (often combined with laughter or smiles) because there are no words that could ever express the depth of this sublime emotion–an emotion of such beauty, rarity and truth it nearly hurts.

Tears are the mark of our common humanity and connect us with each other. We are pushed into the world crying, and are (hopefully) cried for when we leave it. Crying marks the most important milestones of our lives, whether they are happy or sad. There are always tears at graduations, pregnancy and wedding announcements, falling in and out of love, weddings, births, baptisms, death and funerals. There are tears wherever there is honesty, intimacy and love.

The happiest people in the world are often people who cry a lot. Their hearts are open, so everything and everyone touches them. They’re not afraid to connect and to empathize. Their love sometimes overflows the confines of their physical composure, and so they cry. I used to know a beautiful young woman who said she cried five or more times a day–just because she was so happy all the time. She wasn’t annoying happy. Honest joy never is annoying. She moved through life regally and with dignity and compassion, appreciating everything and loving everything and being touched by everything, and everyone loved her right back because they knew she was an empath. People wanted to be close to her, they wanted to be touched by her, both emotionally and physically. Her large expressive eyes were almost always wet with tears. At first it seemed a little strange, but soon we got so used to seeing her that way it just seemed normal after awhile. And it WAS normal, more normal than anything could ever be.

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I was so envious of that girl for her emotional openness. But she showed me a great truth about myself. I could be that girl because that was me. I just needed to find a way to knock down my thick concrete walls of fear. It’s getting easier. I still have a lot of emotional blockage, but I no longer feel like one of the walking dead.

In the Stephen King movie “The Green Mile,” John Coffey is an autistic man who nevertheless is an empath. He’s been unjustly sentenced to Death Row for the murder of two little girls because he was the last one seen with them (and probably due to his being black as well). You sense Coffey never killed those girls and in fact you realize how empathic this man really is. He has no defenses against the world due to his inability to hide his emotions (some autistic people have trouble regulating their emotions), and at the same time this very defenselessness gives him unbelievable strength and goodness. Coffey cried almost constantly, feeling the emotions of everyone around him and freely giving unconditional love where none existed.

A couple of years ago, there was a very popular video that went viral. It featured a 10-month old baby girl apparently crying from empathy as she listened to her mother sing. I’m not usually a fan of “cute baby” videos but watching this baby was fascinating because she cried like an adult would have–and the purity of her emotion was an achingly beautiful thing to see.

We are born withour hearts unguarded. When life begins to hurt too much (and it always does), children eventually learn to guard their hearts or in the worst cases (NPD, ASPD and some other mental disorders), dissociate themselves from their true feelings so thoroughly there is no turning back to the emotionally open state we were born with.

It’s a sad state of affairs that all the tender (“feminine”) emotions such as sadness, deep connection or friendship, love in all its forms, joy of the non-shallow type, feeling touched or moved, gratitude, and empathy– have been so devalued in modern society and are often seen as proof of weakness in a person when in fact they show a person who has the strength and courage to leave their hearts unguarded when it matters the most.

It’s interesting that all these softer emotions indicate goodness and purity of heart. They possess enormous potential to eliminate or reduce darkness and evil because they are emotions of healing, love, and our human connection with the Divine.

In a perfect world where all human beings had open, unguarded hearts, an alien from another planet upon first meeting a typical human would see smiles and laughter graced by tears. If the alien were to question what these signals meant, the answer would be “Love.”
The angels in Heaven would tell you the same.

I dreamt I was pregnant.

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I fell asleep for several hours this afternoon and had this weird dream that I was pregnant. I’m too old to get pregnant anymore so it was very strange. Even if I could get pregnant, there’s no way I would want to have another child.

I don’t remember too much else about the dream but I think the pregnancy was symbolic–I’m giving birth to myself.