Things to Always Remember

Journal from July, 2021

• I’m gifted and can’t lose my gifts.

• I’m physically beautiful, period.

• I’m worthy because I’m human – full stop.

• When I’m being hard on myself, I need to cease and desist and start describing myself as a friend. I must be NICE to her!

• Leaves on a Stream for 5-10 minutes.

• Breathe in colors and textures and life and breathe out rapacious, enveloping darkness.

• Engage by: how my body feels, what I hear around me, what I see around me. Focusing on the here and now and what’s in front of me.

• Practice mindfully doing things: I must do things I don’t like in a mindful way, do things I DO like in a mindful way (focus without “psychological smog” hijacking my mind and leeching my life of color), and practice doing everyday tasks mindfully.

Please don’t think I’m vain, you guys! I’d hate to think anyone thought that. This is my therapy I give to myself. I thought perhaps my notes from – and individual additions to – a few tricks I learned from Audible’s “Confidence Gap” book might make you feel better, too❣️

Let me introduce you to my ghost: her name is Desiree

Desiree was the most lovely soul you could ever meet! Her name was Desiree Dalton Cedillo, and she was from San Antonio, TX. She was incredibly beautiful on the outside, but she was beyond breathtaking on the inside. She radiated life and love and family (she was a much-beloved wife and wonderful mom to 3 young boys). She was a devoted Christian and she had an especially strong bond with her father. He absolutely adored her: you could tell from the Facebook photos he posted of the family in pink “Team Desiree” tee-shirts. His name is Brad Dalton.

I had the serendipitous cosmic luck to meet Desiree through my volunteering efforts with other breast cancer survivors. Of course, I was probably 15 years older than she was and was divorced with no kids, but her spirit was infectious. We were spreading awareness about early detection at a local community college in 2015 (I think). She was so genuine and authentic. We both told our stories that day, me after her. She came up to me and said, since I was a two-timer: “Wow, I thought I had been through a lot, but I had no idea.” Can you see why I loved her instantly? I was going through my second divorce at the time. I was about to become a Nobody to Nobody. She became my Facebook friend after photos of that day were posted and tagged. *File this detail away for now*

I kept up with her through some of these groups, but I was going through some challengers of a different kind for a period and lost touch with her.

The last time I checked on Desiree on Facebook, I found out she was dead. She was in her early 30s, how and when did this happen? How could this happen? How could GOD allow this to happen? I still don’t understand why Desiree and Sarah JP (a fellow 29-year-old volunteer, newly graduated nurse who I last knew had metastatic brain cancer) were now Dead? They are both in the photo from that day in 2015.

Every day, I look at my surroundings and I say to myself: would Desiree’s house look like this? No way! She was so organized!

Next I say: would Desiree be wallowing in pity like this? No way! She was a True Believer until the end.

Throughout the day, I say: would Desiree be lying in bed because she’s in pain? No way, she was much stronger than that! And she’d be running after her three little boys and preparing dinner for her husband and selling those vitamins she sold on Facebook. And doing things with her Dad and family who loved her so much.

If anyone knows Desiree’s dad, could you tell him I’m SO SORRY!! I wasn’t even trying to survive, I didn’t even care and I still don’t. I would trade my life for hers in an instant if it would bring her back to you. She was so wonderful❣️ Please, please, please forgive me for still being here when she’s not. It makes no sense to me, either.

Do I Know You?

Unlike other people on Facebook, I cannot share photos of my children and their children.

Because I could not have children.

I can only share my heart.

I write these words for the ONE PERSON who has felt my pain.

I want that ONE PERSON to know he or she is not alone.

I don’t care who I offend: my passion is for that ONE PERSON only.

That in the recognition of their pain in my expression of mine, our burdens are momentarily reduced. ❤️‍🔥

The Shape of Pain

No
Ow!
Stop
Hurts
Stop!!!
Please❣️
Why? ???
Please stop!
You’re hurting me.
YOU’RE HURTING ME‼️
WHY are you doing this?
What did I ever do to you?
I’ll do anything; please stop.
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, JUST STOP!
Okay, I guess I must deserve it
I was never very good at all
I probably deserve this 🥲
Could you just kill me?
I’m already dead.
Please bury me.
Tell my Mom.
Tell God?
Corpse
Stop
Bye
No
0

For the Decision-Makers:Why I Believe Marijuana Should Be Legal in the State of Texas (from a first-person perspective)

1. Smoking pot makes me want to turn each song on my Spotify favorites list into a Karaoke song I can actually visualize myself singing.
2. Smoking pot means I have Spotify in the first place. I didn’t listen to music for 20 years.
3. Smoking pot helps me to at least know what I’m crying about.
4. Smoking pot helps me to live in the moment, not in the thought bubbles analyzing what’s going on down below.
5. Smoking pot means that I laugh 25% as often as I cry (that’s an increase from 0%).
6. Smoking pot means I can feel pain in a tolerable way rather than numb it - and God knows we vilify “addicts” who need pain relief in this country. We treat them more like slugs than people.
7. Smoking pot brings the suppressed version of myself out to play and connect with other human beings again; before, I withdrew to shield myself from Life’s blows.
8. Smoking pot helps me to stop second-guessing myself every second of every day; it stops the onslaught of voices telling me to WATCH OUT!! To STAY SAFE or I’ll get hurt!! Again. Other people - even “loved ones” are dangerous. So is Fate, the Universe and God Himself. Smoking pot turns off that damned robot looping through my traumatized brain screaming DANGER, JENNIFER!! I don’t think most people have a clue how EXHAUSTING it is to live with PTSD.
9. And no, I don’t get a lot done, but it’s not by choice. Accumulated trauma and chronic pain had already leeched my vitality from me. At least now I see some meaning and purpose in what’s LEFT of my life. That’s good enough for me because I HAVE SUFFERED ENOUGH.
10. I don’t need your pity or pseudo-compassion, served up cold with an order of Judgment on the side. What I NEED is to not be arrested for engaging in acts of self-preservation.
11. I am willing to testify before the Texas legislature to put my story on official record, just like I did for the Medicaid for Breast and Cervical Cancer program and The Fertility Preservation Bill (which I really hope has become a law by now).

P.S. A special note for my fellow Christians: I love you and I am not “lost” or “deceived.” I haven’t lost my faith, but I did lose my hope and my self-compassion. So I’m still a “Christian,” just not a ‘Good Christian.”

Thoughts on “True Crime” and “Mental Illness”

We’ve got to come up with some new terminology that separates our quirky recluses who’d never hurt a fly from the narcissistic psychopaths who embezzle from their friends and murder innocents.  “Mentally illl” has become an umbrella term that incorrectly groups sadistic individuals with housebound PTSD sufferers, agoraphobics, young girls with teenaged eating disorders, and people who cut themselves to relieve SELF-imposed shame.  Those that hurt nobody at all- and even those that hurt only themselves - at least deserve their own term.  I don’t know what it is, but it’s an important distinction society needs to make.  Because people who enjoy violence but feel no remorse ARE dangerous and DO need to be called something.  If we don’t have an accurate term for them, how will we warn and protect our children with information?

As someone who has experienced depression in response to an onslaught of devastating and traumatic events I did not choose, I’m sick to death of everyone acting like “mental illness” is a dirty little secret. Maybe it wouldn’t be if the term didn’t also include said violent psychopaths? Just a thought for the mental health experts.