Army of Angels was born out of a need to break a silence and express gratitude to the beautiful souls who held their hands out and led me from living in a cycle of domestic violence, to a world of healing and love.
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?
Our big library board meeting was tonight. We met in a larger board room, so that more people could be accommodated. Everyone who wanted to speak was allowed 5 minutes. They just had to sign up on a list. By the time I got there, the room was full, and the list was full of people who wanted to speak. I chose to forego my public statement at this meeting, and it turned out to be the right decision.
The biggest issue was that our library directory of ten years had offered up his resignation, under threats and pressure from one of the city council members who objected to a display during Pride month. The board regretfully accepted the resignation, and expressed their resentment for having to find an interim director and new director under these hostile conditions. They did not think they would ever find someone with near the skills that the current director has, who would step into this.
Two attorneys spoke on behalf of the library and the resigning director. They did a very good job explaining the first amendment, the fear mongering that has been being done, and the slandering and lies that had been cast upon the library director, by the city councilman. It was also pointed out that new businesses would not come to communities where small groups were trying to take control of public spaces and rights.
There were so many rainbow people there, I could have cried. Several of them spoke passionately about the importance of having books that represent everyone.
Our far right conservative neighbors were much more vulgar than the rainbow people. Go figure. They felt the need to actually read the names of sex acts named in a puberty book that they don’t want in the library where kids can see it. Guess who was in the audience? Several kids! Guess who immediately asked me what those words meant? Little AoA! Guess who got a brief sex education vocabulary lesson on the way home? Little AoA!
Another person felt the need to tell that there were “transgender strippers” performing for children. This is so far from a true sentence that it blows my mind. Can someone please hand me a wet fish to throw at this fool? Our poor little town had ONE little drag show for all ages- at Halloween. There were 3 drag queens. My teenager was the only “child” there, and we are personal friends of the drag queens- they are her “drag dads” (that is like a God dad, only way cooler). They had way more clothing on than our local high school cheerleaders! Even their boobs were not real! They were body suits! They even raised money for our local AIDS clinic.
I must admit, I returned in full force, remembering the Army of Angels that God sends before His loves into battle. My friends and I were ready for battle. We knew we were up against something more than people…we were up against spirits, thoughts, the invisible world. On the way there, I reminded Little AoA that the Angel Army was already there, holding up their shiny rainbow armor and holding high their rainbow flags.
Our little town has more library drama than it should. I have written before about a meeting that was held, where people were just aloud to voice their opinions about lgbtq+ books in the public library. Two spoke in support of the right to choose what you read, and four spoke for censorship of books in the library. It was suppose to be 3 and 3, but one of the censorship people lied so that she could have a spot to speak, which was unfortunate. To finish the meeting, one of our new County Commissioners called for the resignation of the library director, and threatened his private business, a small local brewery.
Several weeks have passed, and the library had to reschedule that meeting in order to accommodate all of the people who want to speak on the issue. During this time, the library director decided to go ahead and resign, believing that the County Commissioner would try to block any funding requests that the library might make for future projects, or sabotage his private business. The library director wanted to get ahead of it. Our meeting is set for this Wednesday. I am planning on breaking out of my comfort zone, and speaking. I am going to attempt to write my speech here, and hope that it communicates what I want it to.
Good evening library board, and Maury County neighbors and friends. My name is __________. I have lived, worked, and raised my family in Maury County for nearly 30 years. I have passionately taught in the field of special education in our public schools for the last 21 years. There are members of my friends and family inner circles who are members of the lgbtq+ community, and whom I care for very much. My heart has hurt listening to the hate toward this community, calling them “people with dark hearts”….my child heard you say that. You were talking about her and people she loves. I just want you to know that if you mean to hurt people with your words, you are successful. I mean, do you seriously say to kids’ faces that they have dark hearts? Do you think that helps them? That’s for another time…..
Regarding books, which is, from my understanding, the reason for this entire uprising, I want us to be clear on what is happening. This is not new to libraries, and should not disrupt as many lives as this obviously has disrupted.
First, a book display was curated for PRIDE month. It consisted of books for every age group on the topic. Similarly, when we have other focused months or events in focus, for example, the Holocaust; there would be a variety of books on display for all ages. It is assumed that parents will guide their children to books on their level, even though other levels are displayed. If a child picks up an adult level book, once they open it and see mostly words, they would most likely put it back, but parents can certainly ask to have a look and see if it might be too scary or too violent or have too much sex.
Second, books are shelved in the library according to universal library standards. The Dewey decimal system is used, and rating criteria developed by people who study these things for a living.
Third, if a library patron believes that there is a book that does not belong in the library, there is a standard process for requesting that the book be removed. This starts with reading the entire book, and sending a letter or email to the library, stating what, specifically, it is that is objectionable. The library then collaborated with others, holding the objection up to library standards, and determine if the objection is significant enough to warrant removal of the book.
Process done. No one had to post nude drawings on Facebook. No one was threatened. No anger. No one has to change jobs due to threats. Use the process that is in place.
(Haha- the only picture I found was BTS )
Does my little speech hit the spot? Too personal? Too passive aggressive? Too much of a smart ass? I’m pretty angry about this whole thing, so it is really hard to keep emotions out of this, and I need to try to keep my kids and friends privacy.
I think I have a love hate relationship with Facebook. It’s like being in high school, watching people display their victories. I like to share too, but in our situation, I have to be very mindful about what I post, share, and comment on. We are in a small town, and the dad does not need to know details of our lives, as he likes to take things to court. Until the teens turn 18, in 1 1/2 and 4 years, we will keep to ourselves on social media.
I also cringe when I see people I know, posting hateful things about marginalized groups such as transgender youth. They don’t know anything about what they are talking about. I know that I knew pretty much NOTHING when my teen told me they were transgender. Apparently, a conspiracy theorist has targeted my state, and those who care for transgender youth, and has actually called for people to attack and harass those who provide care to our transgender youth. They are saying that children are being “mutilated”….when actually, surgery is not the standard of care for transgender youth. It is not done on those under 18, except under certain, and rare conditions. Care for transgender youth always starts with therapy. Can you imagine realizing that your brain doesn’t match your body and the social gender norms that go with that body? That is something that no one chooses. These youth have most likely already experienced years of not fitting in with society’s gender norms, but didn’t have the vocabulary or knowledge to communicate it. They have in many cases, attempted suicide or self harmed by the time they finally share what is happening. The standard of care, according to the American Psychological Association, is to AFFIRM their gender, name, and pronouns.
I know I still have a lot to learn. Transitioning is a very slow process, and very individualized. Everyone doesn’t ultimately want surgery. It takes time to accept a changing body, for both cisgender and transgender youth. I want people to just love the teens in their lives….it’s hard enough without the added hate.
I found recent pictures of my daughters for daughters day, but I won’t share them with the people of Facebook. Maybe someday, when some more time has passed. For now, they will be memorialized here as the daughters I love and respect for being kind and compassionate humans. They are all individuals, brave and unique!
Little AoA turned 14 today! I can barely believe it. We have been shopping all month for her presents, because birthdays last a whole month around here.
We had a small celebration with me, grandma, teen sibling, and grandma’s helper (she is like our own Mary Poppins). We had chicken and dumplings, opened presents, and had cake and ice cream. In the background, Hamilton was playing, which is Little AoA’s current favorite musical.
Around her neck is a sweet little vial that holds some of Papa’s ashes. This sweetie really misses him. He gave the very best hugs, and made everything right.
We have learned that there is family you are born into, and family you choose. When we left the dad almost 10 years ago, we were all so emotionally and psychologically beaten down, that I truly wondered if any of us would be able to love freely. It has taken years, but we have a tribe.
I had wondered if the dad would send anything to Little AoA for her birthday. He did……he sent each kid a card, and inside each, was a self addressed, stamped envelope inside, and just the words,” please write back”. No money, no letter, no note…nothing. I didn’t the dad could get much more narcissistic, especially after court back in February. The judge made a point to include that the dad didn’t seem to understand that it’s not all about him. Truth is, the dad has had the opportunity to have supervised visits for the last two years, and made excuses for not doing them. Before court this time, my attorney and I were working with the dad’s attorney, to start up supported visits….then the dad fired his attorney. Oh well…..
Here’s to the next few years of parenting teenagers!