Little AoA is now a salty 14 year old who loves to learn about people. Yesterday, this teen looked up the dad, and discovered that he has a new “girlfriend”, and is wanting to sell the family farm to move closer to her. He is trying to find a horse to buy too, probably because she is a horse person.
I’m not sure exactly how to feel about this. The thought of being able to move around in our own little town without the kids going into a panic if they even see cars that look like his, is foreign to me. The kids and I have been living in fight or flight mode for most of their lives! I am happy to maybe put this chapter behind us earlier than I predicted. I am fully prepared to live like this until Little AoA turns 18, in just under four more years.
Then there is the part of me that doesn’t want anyone to have to endure the mental abuse that the kids and I have lived through. I don’t know the person, but I do know someone in her Facebook friends list. I decided to reach out to the person I knew. I let her know the situation, and if this was a good friend and good person, she may want to give a warning at least. Well, it seems that the “girlfriend” has somewhat of a reputation as a bully of sorts, and is not really well liked. So, I feel like I have done what I can, and now I move on!
Love people for who they are, not for who you want them to be.
I started the motherhood journey with no idea of where it would lead. The only wish I ever had for any of my kids, was for them to be happy in life. I hoped that they would all follow their passions, and make their lives doing what they enjoyed.
I realized over time, that I learned more from my kids than I ever could have imagined.
We have one more hurdle to freedom. When Little AoA reaches 18, my story can be an open book for the world. Just four years away. Until then, we live as though we are in some sort of witness protection program. We do not let people know what we are doing, or about groups we are involved with. The reason- a lifetime for the kids, of being stalked and traumatized by a sociopathic parent. Though they are safe, the threat is always there, looming in the background.
My state, Tennessee, has been under the microscope lately. I have lived here for the last 28 years. I have raised kids here, worked here, and made my home here. This week, I have considered leaving this state.
Those of us who live here, have known of the racism and hate against marginalized groups. Those of us who don’t share those beliefs have basically lived and moved under the radar. I know, when I am at work, or in a large group; that I stay to myself. The majority here flaunt their hate whenever they have the chance to look powerful.
My teen kiddos don’t like to do anything much anymore, that involves being around people who are interacting. Part of the reason is that they both live with complex ptsd; a result of having to spend so much time in fear as they were forced to parenting time with an abusive parent. Now that more of our state’s hate is showing, it has gotten worse. We have had to find places and activities that we enjoy a little. Mostly, the 17 year old likes going to the movies, and the 14 year old likes going out for ice cream (using a drive thru). I involve myself in support groups and non-profit boards. At least I get to work on projects with others sharing the same goals.
We had two young legislators expelled from service this week, following a school shooting and the organizing of groups of young people protesting for more gun control. Right now, Tennessee is a place where anyone can obtain a gun, and carry it around without question. There was a third legislator up for expulsion as well, but she was not expelled. The color of her skin was different than the two young men’s. Tennessee’s racism showed in a big way.
Tennessee is now more divided than ever. Some cling to the “violation of the rules of decorum”, which is how they disguise their racism. Once someone claims that it was right for them to be expelled, there is no need for further conversation. Just a few weeks ago, a legislator proposed bringing back lynching. This is so crazy, in 2023 for these words to come from someone who is suppose to be a leader.
Of course, the other issue making our state, and others, unsafe for families like mine; is the ban on transgender care for youth. As you can see from the map, there are very few places left, where transgender youth can obtain care. What message does this send to the youth who are already facing adversity in their families, communities, churches, and schools? As I research and learn more and more about transgender youth, and the science behind gender dysphoria; I see how abusive it is to deny the care they need.
I wish I could make a safe space in our community. My hope is for families to have a place where they can build community with other families who don’t fit in the box with the majority of people in our area.
Most of our southeastern states have now passed laws banning the medical affirming treatment of transgender youth. There is nowhere to go. Many families with transgender children are moving away. Parents and doctors no longer have the right to follow best practice guidelines from both the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
As an advocate, ally, and parent; I am at a loss. They won….I can’t believe that in my free America, hate won. Rights have been taken away, as our lawmakers seem to be seeking genocide of transgender persons. I’m sure they would argue that they are “protecting the children”. The truth is, many children will suffer. They know that they are being targeted- it is everywhere.
All of the laws our legislators can think of, will not change the fact that we have transgender youth and adults living in our states. They are here. Transgender families are here. You can accept diversity and inclusion, and embrace it; or you can try to dim the beautiful lights who are our transgender siblings.
I stay and I love……The AoA family will continue to reach out to help others who find themselves battling for freedom, seeking safety, and just wanting to be seen and accepted for exactly who they are.
I have set the goal. It is time to share my story in hard copy form. I feel like enough time has passed, and the kids are close enough to 18, that the dad would not have time to go through legal channels to try to hurt them.
The kids do not know every little detail yet, but they have figured out on their own, that the dad is mentally ill/personality disordered. They have used word like psychopath, sociopath, and abuser, to describe him. They have identified their own PTSD and triggers going specifically going back to things that happened with the dad. I did not have to ever say a negative word about him. When the kids started figuring it out, I validated their feelings and ideas.
I decided to use different names for everyone, and write under a pseudonym. With the dad still living and breathing in the same town as me, I think this is best. If I end up reprinting later, and he has passed away, I may come out of my closet.
I was really motivated when I saw someone doing a printing of the history of the road and area where the dad’s family settled. So many people were interested in that history, and think it is so special. My AoA kids are the last living direct descendants of that family tree. That family was about racism, abuse, narcissism, and hate. They would not lift a finger to help a stranger. They would not help anyone unless there was something BIG in it for them. They used people.
Now as for a title, I am a little stuck. I have always wanted the title to include “Army of Angels”, but it needs more…..
I looked back at all the blogging I have done since 2013, and I am so glad I documented so much in this way. This will help me remember the timeline of events much more clearly! Blogging is the best!
My heart and mind are full tonight. Since January, transgender youth and lgbtq drag performers have been under attack from our state government. It is not looking like a positive outcome for the lgbtq+ community. I am already hearing from families who are trying to figure out how they can move to another state so they can care for their kids.
In my smaller circle, some of my friends are grieving with health issues of loved ones. My mom has been upset because her doctor finally got serious about her not driving. While I understand, I am sad about this too, because my mom loves her independence.
With my mom not driving, this means that caring for my aunt, who is on hospice in a nursing home, is in my lane now. I went to see her today, to take her the Coke she loves. She didn’t know who I was. I had to go through time, starting with my mom, and reminding her of my mom’s two girls, Kathy and Cheryl. When I saw that she remembered that, I told her that I was Kathy. Then she lit up. When it was time to go, I gave her a kiss and held her hands. She didn’t want to let my hands go. My heart was just breaking.
On a lighter note, I will share a few happy pictures.
From a life full of trauma with a sociopath, to a life full of love and support. I have been doing a lot of thinking about that journey lately. Twenty-four years of my life were tied up with the sociopath, and while the contact has essentially ended for now, the threat is still there. I think it’s time to preserve my story in a book. I can’t believe I survived and came out better than before. I rose from the ashes like the Phoenix.
My great state of Tennessee has this week, begun its legislative session by criminalizing anyone who offers gender affirming care to minors (under age 18), including parents. This bill was first on the legislative agenda, and has now passed through the House and the Senate. It’s next stop is the Judiciary Committee. I have never been big into the political workings of state government. Things just always seemed to level out through checks and balances. Never in my lifetime, do I remember seeing bills that take away rights and freedoms, especially when it comes to medical and mental health treatment. Basically, they are going against years of research and professionals in the field, stating that the local government knows better than everyone else.
I am a founding member, and on boards for non-profit support groups called PFLAG, and Transparent. We support families who find themselves navigating the world as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, parent, family, and friends. This new legislation has me thinking of how to best support our transgender families, when the proven way forward has been blocked and criminalized.
I have been raising my own transgender teen, and know firsthand the struggles that these kids go through. They often don’t know what is happening, or why they don’t feel right. It is more intense than typical adolescence and puberty. Where adults who are faced with these feelings, many self medicate with alcohol or drugs until they figure things out. With youth, self-harm appears to be the coping mechanism for many. I have entered a world where I now know families who have lost children to suicide. It is real.
I dare say that our lawmakers will have blood on their hands. Families will be in need of support. It’s one of those times when I wish I could do something, but it is too big.
I have one small thing in mind that I can do. I have knowledge of homeschooling in my state. I can support families by offering information, to start. There are so many types of homeschoolers, doing it for different reasons. My focus would be those who need the mental health recovery from public school, and our LGBTQ+ families that are dealing with bullying and discrimination in the schools. I have started planning a bit, but am having some challenge completely wrapping my mind around it.
My little town has had something called “Mule Days” since the 1970’s, as a commemorative celebration of our town as the mule trading capitol in the area. It’s always been the typical stereotyped Southern festival. This year, however, the folks who put it on, decided to update the rules for the “Mule Day Queen” pageant. For the first time, ever, it included language stating that entrants must be a genetically born female. There were other added rules that excluded our recent influx of immigrant population as well. Of course, it also had wording about those who had given birth not being allowed to enter, even if they met all the criteria. Of course, if they had abortions, no one would know, but we are now a restricted abortion state, so time to update!
People want the “good old days”. We are not going back there. The days of parading beautiful young virgins around for the old men to judge are becoming a thing of the past. We have been teaching our young people to have boundaries, self worth, and how to spot red flags. Still, who doesn’t like to wear a pretty dress and have hair and make up like a princess for a day? No one should have to objectify themselves to achieve this feeling.
One thing I find humorous is that my children’s paternal grandfather was one of the original Mule Day founders. Of course, he passed away from gun violence……Now my 16 year old, beautiful unicorn of a transgender daughter, is next generation! No one passed those treasured traditions of Mule Day down to her. It is all a big croc of a hypocritical lie. There was no “big happy family” of mule day descendants. No one cares.
Here in our small town, within 24 hours of the “rules” for the pageant being publicized, they were taken down. The local radio station said that the “lgbtq community was having a fit”. In truth, there is a small group of us here who are organized and connected to the ACLU and the Tennessee Equality Project. We just shine light on what is being put out there. None of us in the advocate group are trans women who wanted to be a mule queen. No one threw a fit….what was done was that a group of concerned Allie’s had a conversation about their concerns surrounding the spirit of the “rules”. We then put together a beautiful, inclusive, loving, and well written statement to the community. That’s it. That was the “fit”.
I have so much to learn. People are so diverse in so many ways. God help me.
We are moving through another holiday season here at the AoA home. For the first holiday in a while, no one is seriously ill, injured, or recently passed away. We are counting are blessings and treading lightly through the rest of 2022!
Along with the holidays, nature thought we all needed a zap of cold air here in North America. In Tennessee, where I live, we are having several days in a row where the temperature doesn’t get above 15 F! We have to keep the water dripping to avoid having frozen pipes. Luckily, we have a gas fireplace that can warm the whole house if it has to!
We have had kind of a quiet holiday season. Here are some of the highlights….
The AoA kids did receive their annual holiday cards from the dad. No money, no note, no gift….just a card and a trigger memory. Little AoA remembered that they haven’t received a gift in the last 6 years. They would get small amounts of money as gifts at supervised visits, but the dad would take it back to “keep it safe”. Just for the added stab, the dad decided not to send the little bit of child support he is suppose to pay for November or December. I guess that was “punishment”….in his mind, but who knows?
While we still have things to deal with regarding mental health, I am so very thankful to have support. The support I found here, through other groups, therapists, books, friends, and family. I walked through my own fire, now to be able help the AoA teens on their journeys.
Happy Holidays Everyone! Much Love to you and your families❤️
Voting day is tomorrow. It is mid-term elections, which many don’t see as critical, but this time, much of our freedom is riding on the outcome. At 56 years old, I have lived my life enjoying so many freedoms that those in the generation before me, fought for me to have.
I have never had to worry about the government telling me what I could and couldn’t do regarding reproduction and contraception. I have always been able to read whatever I chose to read, and had access at the public library- uncensored. I remember when marriage equality was passed, and how happy I was that everyone was now free to marry their bonded loved one.
I can not, tried as I have, begin to understand how those who claim to stand for freedom and making America great, are for removing so many of our freedoms! They wanted bodily autonomy and freedom during the pandemic, but don’t want anyone else to have it regarding any other freedoms.
I am afraid for my children. I am afraid for my lgbtq+ friends and family. I am worried for the young women in poverty, who will have no reproductive choices or quality care for them and their children.
I don’t know how much more battling this warrior has left in her. There is so much hate and intolerance in the world now. I wasn’t raised this way. I didn’t see this coming until covid hit us in the face.
Did you see this coming? When did you see it coming with this intensity?