Finding Holiday Joy in Hell

The year was 2001.  It was my year from hell.  In January I watched as my mother died, right after New Year’s.  I lived in California at the time.  When I flew back from her funeral, we got the days wrong because I was a little out of it, in a fog actually-mentally, and missed our flight by an entire day.  They weren’t sure they could find us seats and I asked which one of my sons they wanted to keep.  We finally got home!

When I got back, both my oldest son Chip and I had terrible coughs.  They’d been horrible at the funeral service, all through our short stay in Wisconsin, and flying, we just thought we had bad colds.  I didn’t have insurance, so we couldn’t just go to the doctor’s office.  Finally, it was so bad, I insisted we go to the walk-in clinic…I’d pay out of pocket if I had to.  Chip had bronchitis and I had pneumonia.  No surprise there.  In fact, I’d walked in telling them I had pneumonia.  But, they wouldn’t just give us the meds unless I promised to come back.  After sitting there for four hours, I’d have agreed to anything.  It did make me think though, if it had been worse, it could have destroyed a lot more than my pocketbook.  So, I got insurance.  The only thing they wouldn’t cover was pneumonia, because, apparently, that can come back.

I decided to sell my house in Huntington Beach that I had bought with my mother at nineteen.  It had been a wise investment and while Mom was alive, she wouldn’t let me fix it up at all.  It really needed an overhaul.  Two little boys, various pets, and adults…it was well lived in.  I found a wonderful realtor who helped me hire a handyman.  He did a beautiful job.  I wanted to move back in it was so nice.

I also had a divorce to finish.  I’d started it six years before, but for many reasons, hadn’t concluded it.  Mostly it was because he asked for alimony, half my house, and half my businesses.  I was pissed.  By the time I got done with him, he got nothing.

Meanwhile, I was having trouble breathing.  It wasn’t from the pneumonia, that was well past, but now that I had insurance, I called the insurance salesman and asked if I could go for a wellness check.  After all, I hadn’t been in eleven years since my son Andrew was born.  I needed to go.  Going to the doctor’s appointment, I had my truck tuned up from a long and intense trip we had taken for business, the truck ran out of gas on my way!  They couldn’t get me in for several weeks.  I told them, I didn’t have several weeks, I was sick, and now.  They asked me to see a nurse practitioner.  I didn’t mind, she’d taken care of my mother too.

The diagnosis was non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, type B, and it was pretty advanced.  If I did nothing, it was going to choke me to death in four or five months.  The boys were ten and twelve, I couldn’t do that.  I tell you, if I was alone, the depression I was dealing with would have killed me too.  However, normal chemotherapy takes twelve or more months.  The doctor said not only did I not have the time for that to work, but he had an experimental treatment out of Stanford that he’d like to enter me in a clinical trial for.  I figured I had nothing to lose but my life.  I asked that he just make sure I didn’t get a placebo.  He assured me it was the trial and I would get the meds.  I made out my will with my lawyer, finished my divorce, and sold my house…in that order.

The clinical trial started right away, thank goodness, right?  Within two weeks I was bald.  Those who know me, know my hair is to my waist most of the time, so you can imagine how this affected me as it came out in gobs and I finally shaved off the rest.  Bald is beautiful right?  No.  Not on all heads, as I do not have a beautiful head, it looked horrible and was very cold.  They offered me wigs, but it made me shudder at the thought.  Instead, I covered up with scarves and a hat.

Meanwhile, I had to take care of the boys.  The lawyer explained that if I died, that while my estate which at the time was worth more than a million dollars between the life insurance, the house selling, and my businesses, would go to my boys…the boys, who I wanted to go to my brothers, would be ‘given’ temporarily to their nearest relative…their father.  If their father knew that the boys were worth over a million dollars, they would never have been seen again, he is that type of man.  So, I decided I wanted to go back to Wisconsin where I grew up, so they would be safe from their other nearest living relatives and my brothers would protect them.

I traveled, against my doctor’s wishes, so I could find a house.  One that the realtor showed me, I kid you not, had a creek running through the basement.  The thought of molds, moisture, and other things being let in through this did not appeal.  I didn’t find a place.  Fortunately, my sister-in-law found me a place to rent up by her and we did eventually move there…but only after I had completed chemotherapy.

You see, the treatment, called the Stanford Five Protocol, then in its experimental stage, was essentially twelve months of chemo in twelve weeks.  Let me tell you, I’ve never been so sick in my entire life.  You are supposed to lose weight then, I bloated.  It was horrible.  When it was over, I vastly relieved.  Originally, I was only to have nine weeks, but the doctor changed his mind and wanted the full twelve weeks, that was when I got depressed from the treatment.  He wanted to continue with radiation right away, but I was so weak, I wanted time to heal…and move.

My divorce had come through in June.  I had to get a doctor’s note that I couldn’t go to the court hearing because I was so ill from the chemo.  The judge granted everything I wanted.  I don’t know if he felt sorry for the dying woman, but I was grateful.  A week after getting my court papers, my house papers came through and they tried to give half of the money to my ex-husband.  I was furious.  Thank goodness I had the papers from the judge, granting him nothing!  He deserved nothing for not paying a dime of child support.  He never has.


When chemo was done at the end of summer, August, I moved everything lock-stock-and barrel to Wisconsin and the converted barn that my sister-in-law had found for us.  I could work downstairs and live up in the loft in an apartment with the boys.  It was a good thing too, as I was too weak to work somedays, and it took me weeks, months really, to get the household in order much less the work space.  I had to work, it was paying the bills and rapidly using up the monies from the house that sold.  The sad thing about the move, the movers broke a lot of things, didn’t pay for them ever (not even insurance), and held my things hostage until they nearly doubled their price on the move itself.  I’d heard of such things on 60 Minutes, I was the victim of the scam.

The boys entered new schools, and I had to find new doctors.  Apparently, the oncologist I chose was very well-known.  His staff were the worst and they treated me very badly.  Radiation isn’t supposed to have the side effects I experienced, but I lost weight, got dizzy spells, and felt nauseous.

2001 Paul, Mary - Copy

Still, I managed to get to some milestones.  My thirty fifth birthday was that November…after I finished radiation.  I celebrated with my sister-in-law and a friend from college.  I was grateful to even be there as the five months were up.  My hair had started to grow back after chemo in August and by November was an okay length that I no longer needed the scarves or hat.  I was, however, bloated.  This is a picture of my third brother and I when it had started to grow.

Thanksgiving was celebrated with my brother and sister-in-law who lived nearby.  It was weird after all those years of being in California and having pizza on that holiday as a joke, to celebrate a traditional holiday feast.  I managed to put my foot in my mouth as they made mashed potatoes from scratch and my mother never had.  She used dried potatoes and we made instant.  I made a comment that I had never seen my mother make mashed potatoes from actual potatoes and my brother was furious for some reason.

That Christmas, was celebrated in style.  The boys got so many gifts, because I was so grateful to even be there.  I celebrated with one of my brothers and his family down in Milwaukee and managed to bring my sister back into the fold of the family and start a relationship that my niece enjoys to this day with that part of the family.  Being estranged they didn’t have it before, and I was grateful that I was the impetus for that.  It was a wonderful Christmas, despite the year I had just experienced.  Seeing family and being with them all.

That New Year’s we celebrated together.  It was nice, and the boys and I had a tradition, we’d play Monopoly into the new year.  I remember things differently than they do, of course, but I was just so happy to be alive, to be there and to put 2001 behind us.  Christmas and New Years aren’t happy holidays for me because my mother died around then, but that year, I had so much to celebrate…I had my boys, a new home, and I was alive.  I may have residual pain, complications, and such for the rest of my life from our little experiment, but I am here, and I can still remember that year from hell and remember the Christmas and New Years JOY!

I tell you this, not to depress you, but to tell you that no matter how bad it is, or was, you can get through it.

Merry Christmas!


The Fireside Theatre

This last weekend I was looking for somewhere special to take my girlfriend for our weekend away in Milwaukee.  We were already staying in an absolutely beautiful hotel that we had stayed in a couple of times before (The Pfister) and I wanted something unique to do that we normally do not do, besides sight-seeing.  I looked up theaters (or theatres) and while the Pabst was right there, I wanted something even more unique and found a dinner-theater.  As neither of us had ever been, I called my girlfriend up and formally asked her out on a ‘date’ for this event.

Let me tell you, this experience was certainly unique.  The building itself looks odd from the outside, a hodge-podge of building in various stages, or, so it appeared.a61fd4576260a1a1ffb29133a9862c7b

We drove the 50 or so miles from Milwaukee, visited my niece who lives out in that area, and then went on to the theatre, through back roads, and on into the never-never.  Who would have thought that a theater (my spelling, not theirs), in Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin, would hold Broadway plays?  I really didn’t expect it.

I grew up in southeastern Wisconsin and never made it to this part of the state.  So, it was with a bit of derision, I thought we had wasted our time coming this far out into the sticks to see this play.  Let me tell you, I was wrong, way wrong.

First, a traditional play is up on a stage and the audience out in the theater.  This one, was on a square and the actors going up and down the aisles to appear on stage, or to come up from the bottom of the stage.20151205-145435-001-largejpg

You wouldn’t think something like this would be packed, but it was and I had a HARD time getting tickets.  I finally tried a last minute technique that worked, got us two tickets, and we went.


Our seats weren’t prime but we were able to see the stage without any problem and it was really worth the admission price (it was expensive, but I didn’t mind).  We could clearly see the stage from our seats behind everyone else, my only complaint, our seats were set in a way that didn’t allow our feet to touch the ground and that hurts after a long while of sitting, especially at my age!  Still, the actors were spell-binding and we were fortunate enough to watch their excellent rendition of Miracle on 34th Street.


I was enthralled, shocked really, that a play of this magnitude would be here, in Wisconsin and in the middle of nowhere.  Madison yes, Milwaukee definitely, Chicago even, but Fort Atkinson, Wisconsin?  Who would have thought.  Apparently the Fireside has been a family-owned enterprise since 1964.  They’ve expanded it four times from what I read on their website.  It really is worth the drive and effort to go see a show there.

We read on their website that some people didn’t like the food, but let me tell you, it was a five-course meal before the play itself and definitely a good meal for anyone.  My girlfriend is a vegetarian and even she had too much to eat because of their fantastic offerings.  I myself had a steak and it was tender, juicy, and delicious.

Before and after the dinner, as we waited for the show to start, they had endless (and I do mean endless) shopping available along the side of their building.  It went on and on and had the cutest things!  Everything from glassware to knick knacks, and other things that would make great gifts.

I can’t rave enough about this experience, the actors were fabulous, very, very talented and I was in awe as I realized the enormity of what they were all accomplishing.  It was fantastic!

If you get to Wisconsin, Milwaukee or Madison, even drive up from Chicago, it’s worth it, trust me!


I also had a weird experience that is worth retelling.  I have a set of mystic blue topazes I have purchased over the years.  I have the ring, the necklace, and a set of earrings.  Ring and necklaceI’ve always had trouble with the earrings as the backs aren’t very good and I have felt (as I did that night) one came off and landed in my bra!  That night, after removing my coat in the coat-check, I didn’t realize one of the earring studs had come out and I lost my earring!  It really made me feel bad!  I discovered it’s loss during dinner and had a couple of the people there looking for it, but to no avail.  We even went through the stores again, hoping to catch a shiny glimpse of it.  When we sat down and got to know our neighbors, the woman was ready to help us go look but I assured her it was insured and I was resigned at it’s loss.  Inside I was trying not to let it cast a pale over our wonderful evening.  At the intermission, when my aching body (from that awkward chair) was stretching…my wonderful girlfriend went and got me some advil and water (hurray for her!)  The lady next to us, was on a mission, unbeknownst to me.  She came back with the missing stud!  She had gone through the coat area, where I was sure it had come loose as I took off my coat, and found it!  What an amazing (and totally unexpected) experience.  I am forever grateful.  Really made the evening special along with the absolutely wonderful play we experienced together.  I can’t say how much I appreciated fate for sending that wonderful couple to sit beside us, me casually mentioning my loss, and her determination in finding it.  If I could, I would say to the powers-that-be, my guardian angels, and whomever may be out there helping guide my fate…a big THANK YOU, you gave me my own miracle that night!

Society and their conflicting ‘dos and donts’

Be a lady they said. Your skirt is too short. Your shirt is too low. Your pants are too tight. Don’t show so much skin. Don’t show your thighs. Don’t show your breasts. Don’t show your midriff. Don’t show your cleavage. Don’t show your underwear. Don’t show your shoulders. Cover up. Leave something to the imagination. Dress modestly. Don’t be a temptress. Men can’t control themselves. Men have needs. You look frumpy. Loosen up. Show some skin. Look sexy. Look hot. Don’t be so provocative. You’re asking for it. Wear black. Wear heels. You’re too dressed up. You’re too dressed down. Don’t wear those sweatpants; you look like you’ve let yourself go.

Be a lady they said. Don’t be too fat. Don’t be too thin. Don’t be too large. Don’t be too small. Eat up. Slim down. Stop eating so much. Don’t eat too fast. Order a salad. Don’t eat carbs. Skip dessert. You need to lose weight. Fit into that dress. Go on a diet. Watch what you eat. Eat celery. Chew gum. Drink lots of water. You have to fit into those jeans. God, you look like a skeleton. Why don’t you just eat? You look emaciated. You look sick. Eat a burger. Men like women with some meat on their bones. Be small. Be light. Be little. Be petite. Be feminine. Be a size zero. Be a double zero. Be nothing. Be less than nothing.

Be a lady they said. Remove your body hair. Shave your legs. Shave your armpits. Shave your bikini line. Wax your face. Wax your arms. Wax your eyebrows. Get rid of your mustache. Bleach this. Bleach that. Lighten your skin. Tan your skin. Eradicate your scars. Cover your stretch marks. Tighten your abs. Plump your lips. Botox your wrinkles. Lift your face. Tuck your tummy. Thin your thighs. Tone your calves. Perk up your boobs. Look natural. Be yourself. Be genuine. Be confident. You’re trying too hard. You look overdone. Men don’t like girls who try too hard.

Be a lady they said. Wear makeup. Prime your face. Conceal your blemishes. Contour your nose. Highlight your cheekbones. Line your lids. Fill in your brows. Lengthen your lashes. Color your lips. Powder, blush, bronze, highlight. Your hair is too short. Your hair is too long. Your ends are split. Highlight your hair. Your roots are showing. Dye your hair. Not blue, that looks unnatural. You’re going grey. You look so old. Look young. Look youthful. Look ageless. Don’t get old. Women don’t get old. Old is ugly. Men don’t like ugly.

Be a lady they said. Save yourself. Be pure. Be virginal. Don’t talk about sex. Don’t flirt. Don’t be a skank. Don’t be a whore. Don’t sleep around. Don’t lose your dignity. Don’t have sex with too many men. Don’t give yourself away. Men don’t like sluts. Don’t be a prude. Don’t be so up tight. Have a little fun. Smile more. Pleasure men. Be experienced. Be sexual. Be innocent. Be dirty. Be virginal. Be sexy. Be the cool girl. Don’t be like the other girls.

Be a lady they said. Don’t talk too loud. Don’t talk too much. Don’t take up space. Don’t sit like that. Don’t stand like that. Don’t be intimidating. Why are you so miserable? Don’t be a bitch. Don’t be so bossy. Don’t be assertive. Don’t overact. Don’t be so emotional. Don’t cry. Don’t yell. Don’t swear. Be passive. Be obedient. Endure the pain. Be pleasing. Don’t complain. Let him down easy. Boost his ego. Make him fall for you. Men want what they can’t have. Don’t give yourself away. Make him work for it. Men love the chase. Fold his clothes. Cook his dinner. Keep him happy. That’s a woman’s job. You’ll make a good wife some day. Take his last name. You hyphenated your name? Crazy feminist. Give him children. You don’t want children? You will some day. You’ll change your mind.

Be a lady they said. Don’t get raped. Protect yourself. Don’t drink too much. Don’t walk alone. Don’t go out too late. Don’t dress like that. Don’t show too much. Don’t get drunk. Don’t leave your drink. Have a buddy. Walk where it is well lit. Stay in the safe neighborhoods. Tell someone where you’re going. Bring pepper spray. Buy a rape whistle. Hold your keys like a weapon. Take a self-defense course. Check your trunk. Lock your doors. Don’t go out alone. Don’t make eye contact. Don’t bat your eyelashes. Don’t look easy. Don’t attract attention. Don’t work late. Don’t crack dirty jokes. Don’t smile at
strangers. Don’t go out at night. Don’t trust anyone. Don’t say yes. Don’t say no.

Just “be a lady” they said.

Author Unknown

This doesn’t need opinions, it needs to be voiced. Copy, paste if you want, just make sure you got the message.

Weird eh?

About a month back I did a series of odd, maybe weird, blogs.  One was about a plant that was growing in my house and was out to ‘get’ me.  See the blog here to refresh your memory. Purple-Passion In case anyone was wondering, it is STILL sending out that one long runner, and now another one is growing up and over the curtain rod…the thing is CRAZY.

There was another blog I want to bring to your attention.  It was about a bug zapper?  Read it again here to refresh your memory.OLYMPIATS103_02

Now, if anyone was wondering, there are maybe 2-3 of these gnat like bugs still flying around and to me, that’s still 2-3 too many…so I WILL zap them, I am kinda determined!

But, now, back to the point of this blog.  There was a point, and I’m getting to it.  I used both of these odd, okay weird, experiences in my forthcoming book: Recombinant Love.low-resolution2So, those of you who are science fiction fans are probably wondering, bugs, plants, space?  WTH?  Guess you will have to read about it to understand my weird, or rather, inspired writing…it’s coming soon, I PROMISE!

Meanwhile, please check out my website and other books.  Just click on the picture below!  And hey, if I haven’t said it lately to my fans, followers, and whoever you may be…THANK YOU for reading my blogs and my books and being so supportive.  I DO appreciate you!ShadoePublishing 4

Sad, but determined

Yesterday I came ‘out’ about being behind the Lesfic Bard Awards, as the owner.  There was a lot of hype on social media about it, it’s still going on.  Unfortunately, the people I hired have been attacked, one in particular, for trying to defend my company that they were posting about.  They weren’t really in a position to do so as we had only chatted on Facebook about her doing the posting for me, she had limited information, and had checked out what I had given her.  She even parroted some of our conversations in defense of me and my company.  It’s sad really as she has been blocked on Facebook for posting too much in groups, in other words, Facebook Jail.  She doesn’t deserve those who made fun of her for doing her job.

It’s a sad commentary really as I saw the posts go up, not only berating the woman I hired to do a job of posting, but the comments that resulted even after I came clean and owned up to hiring her.

I don’t understand why some feel the need to be so vicious in their criticism of what I have tried to accomplish and why they turned it into a personal attack.  This isn’t high school or even grade school where you can say and do what you think you want to.  It’s called being an adult.  Some of the behaviors I have seen in the last twenty-four hours are downright juvenile.  It is very sad.  I won’t out them as I have been.  I won’t shame them as they are attempting to do.  Fortunately, I realize, it says a lot more about them than what they are saying about me.  It also says something about those that allow such posts on their timelines.  They know nothing about my values, my ideals, or my integrity.

I put forth a lot of effort into this awards site.  You can see that if you bother to click on the link and peruse it.  Is it perfect?  No, far from it.  Just an FYI for all those out there, I’m not perfect either.  This is a work in progress, and so am I.  With hundreds of people out there viewing it there are going to be hundreds of opinions on how it should go, what they might do ‘better’, etc.

Putting myself out there is hard enough with my books, my creativity, my publishing, and so on.  I get that there are armchair warriors who will continue to try to pull me down, what I am attempting here, and what I have accomplished.  Who am I really hurting here?

I have for years put myself out there to interview lesbian authors in the Lesfic Reading Group, promoting them, their books to readers and other authors.  I did this before in another group as well.  I was inspired by Jaynes Penney and a group she once had that did the interviews.  I have always tried to get the lesfic community exposure and continue to promote it.  Those of you who know me, know I always try to live up to what I promise to do, I do a good job.  I will do that again for the Lesfic Bard Awards.  At this time, I only have tentative ideas about how to market the authors and their books once they have won (suggestions welcome), but the monies that will be paid to enter these awards will be put towards the award itself, the marketing and publicity, and maybe, if I am lucky, I will make a little…not a lot, as lesbian fiction does not make a lot of money.  Maybe, together we can change that.

Instead of tearing down someone trying to make a difference, and that is what I’m trying to do here, maybe you should embrace it, support it, and promote it.  Anyone who has met me at the various functions over the years knows I am what I seem.  I’ve always tried to be open and honest and helpful.  Those of you who have experienced that, can certainly vouch for me.  Those of you who instead are trying to make it look like I’m trying some scheme here to defraud lesbians of their hard-earned money can kiss me where the sun don’t shine, because I did nothing wrong.  I made mistakes, we all do, and where are you in trying something like this?  Do you even bother to attempt such?  Do you put yourself out there either in writing a book, publishing, or in this case creating an opportunity for others to showcase theirs?  I challenge you nay-sayers to making a difference, do something better, create your own site to showcase lesbian literature and their authors.  Really, what crime am I guilty of in this ‘lets attack K’Anne’ thing that you are doing?  It’s easy to sit in your armchair and criticize those who are doing something, especially when you are doing nothing and will never do anything.

I have accepted no monies at this time, as the applications for authors isn’t even completely up.  I simply hired someone to post that we are looking for judges, and this only after the website was up.  Yes, I wanted to remain anonymous, let my friends be the front as it were, however since this was turning into such a drama, I felt coming clean was the only thing I could do.  I’d still like to remain anonymous, but since that isn’t possible, all I can say is yes, I made a mistake and should have been forthcoming from the first, in hindsight of course that makes sense.  I wanted to remain anonymous so that no one who already knew me would prejudge the awards or form an opinion about how they are managed (good or bad.)

I will never apologize for making this website or the idea behind it.  It’s a great idea, the judging I feel is perfect for what we want to accomplish here.  No, it’s not a non-profit, I do after all have a lot of work, time, and money invested in this already…  Maybe, after everything is paid for (award, marketing, website, etc) I’ll break even.  Let’s celebrate another opportunity to get lesbian fiction out there and good work awarded, fairly and honestly.

Just so you all know, I am still planning on going forth with this idea, the website, and the awards.  I won’t let the negativity I’m seeing, stop me.  I’m grateful for those who have reached out to encourage me, their positive response has been more visible to me than the negativity.  I’m not the only one who feels the triple-blind judging is brilliant.  Those who will criticize, hate, whatever, lets see what you have accomplished so that you have the right to do so.  You aren’t going to stop me so you might as well ignore me.  Also, you can kiss me where the sun don’t shine because I’m not here to defend myself, my businesses, or anything to those people…I did however, feel the need to vent, and have done so.  That’s the end of that story as I see it.

Me Too, x2

I was two years old when I was sexually molested for the first time.  Shocking right?  What boy would get off on molesting a toddler of that age?

How far back can you remember?  I can remember back to the age of two years old.  How do I know I was two?  Because around my third birthday, BOTH of my grandmothers died, and I remember both of their funerals very well.  I also remember various times spent with them, as well as other incidents and I had to have been two when they occurred.


You can say, boys will be boys.  They pulled down my pants, checked out the difference between boys and girls, felt me up, and left me in a field.  I went home crying that the boys pulled down my pants.  My mother didn’t find out until I was eighteen how traumatized that had made me.  I didn’t know that I had been molested and later when I realized what had been done to me, I worried how far they had gone on that day.  I was nineteen when I found out they hadn’t taken my virginity.  However, the trauma had been with me for a long time and it took a long time to come to grips with it, if I ever did.

Jim & Mary August 20, 1974 1

You see, even though they were boys, probably curious, it doesn’t excuse the fact that they did this to a helpless little girl.  It affected certain aspects of my life for decades.  That is what victimization does.  It affects that victim mentally, sometimes more so than the physical aspects do.  Yes, they ‘probably’ only pulled down my pants, but how will I ever know?  What if it had been more?  They could have done so much more, and mentally, they did.

I didn’t date until I was sixteen years old.  Not because I wasn’t interested, but because I felt, they weren’t.  Even losing my virginity at nineteen wasn’t because I was in love, but because of low self-esteem.  I thought, erroneously, that it might make me popular.  It took a lot of self-introspection to realize a lot of things about myself.  The first of which, it wasn’t MY fault.

High School Senior Picture

Many others who have been victims go on to punish themselves in so many ways.  From self-harm, to other worse decisions that affect their entire lives.  I refuse to play the victim.  I tell you this story because it happens, even at an early age.

From an early age I was aware of the difference between men and woman.  Not just the physical differences, but the way they are treated.  It was the boys against the girls in our household.  Mom tried to prevent that, but Dad encouraged it and laughed at it.  Girls were ‘non-persons’ and only good for ‘women’s work,’ boys were the princes and allowed to do whatever the heck they wanted.  That disparity, early on, pissed me off.  Fortunately, my mother was strong enough to raise a strong woman in me and, I hope, I overcame a lot of that.  Dealing with my brothers these days, I just simply do not engage, refuse to do what they ‘think’ I should, and I certainly don’t stay in my place as they ‘think’ I should.  As a result, they have labeled me a troublemaker, a bitch, difficult, and worse.  That’s fine, they don’t pay my bills, and they certainly don’t live in my house.  I’m independent and I speak my mind.  God forbid I have an opinion.  As a result, we rarely interact anymore and I’m happier as a result.


There are a lot of things I could say about both scenarios, from the mental abuse of my father and brothers who are chauvinistic, misogynistic, narcissists to the little boys who mentally scarred me, the point I am trying to make is it doesn’t define who I am and who I have become.  I’m aware of it, I refuse to cater to it, and I raised two boys who I think are better for having an understanding mother.  Let’s hear it for the survivors, the ones who didn’t let it destroy their lives!