The Seven-Year Rut

There is a moment in every relationship that happens. It is the when do I walk away moment. It happens so suddenly you feel winded, uncertain as to how it got so far. I am the kind of person that wants to run when things get tough. This is largely due to my fight or flight mechanism being so high after waves of abusive people I once held so close to me. Somewhere deep down I hold the feeling everyone walks away eventually I should be the first one to do it before it starts to hurt.

I’m the kind of person that sees trouble before it happens. I used to try to stick it out until nothing was left of me but missing pieces. Before I met my partner I would only hold short relationships to protect my self from being hurt by someone else; here we are seven long years later with two kids, and I find my flight mode activated once again. The last two years have been long with finical issues and health issues thrown into our ring. Try as we might the boxing gloves eventually become frayed and worn. Breathless as we stand in the corner trying to figure out who won that match. The bell rings, and we go for another round in boxing ring of life. Holding seven years with another person: walking away seems impossible to do. I used to think love should never hurt, I see now that sometimes love needs to hurt in order to grow as a human being.

I don’t mean abusive love. The love that should hurt sometimes is the mindset of is this other person worth it. The case of my life partner I understand fully he is worth it. Right now we are two opposing forces with the same idea to get ahead. We just lack the communication to stop our score card of who did what first. We both know what buttons to push on the other side with no fear of how the other will deal with it. I’m the kind of woman that gets angry when they are scared. My partner is the kind of man who will quietly rationalize every word spoke building the next plan. At night, we lay in bed as two people wanting each other but fearing of touch that can bring closeness. In the stillness of words unspoken I can be certain that we just need each other to understand our differences.

I don’t know what will happen tomorrow. If we will still love one another, or we will finally draw the white flag of surrender. Relationships take work that never stops. One thing I have learned in seven years of not running away is that our love needs respect when things are not rainbows and kittens. Me; being the headstrong woman who never wants help and him being the strong guy unaffected by small mindedness, need to balance one another and hold on for one more moment. I hope by not running in twenty years we as partners will look back at this moment and see the growth that we have. I currently look down at my promise ring and see not an object of beauty but the promise to stay even when we ourselves are coming up ugly.

For now, I will put up my running shoes and wear my bare feet into our future. I know our gloves will not stay dusty in our mental head space. I can only ask for myself to not give in even when that is the only thing I have learned to do. As two people in the vast universe it is up to us to say when or say go. Winded and slightly defeated I feel it in my heart and gut mine and his love is worth it. We will start with the corner pieces and work our way in to build the final picture.

Written by Ali Johnson

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The First of the Lasts

I saw my son turn into a little man overnight. Snapping a photo yesterday of his last day of grade two it hit me out of nowhere. We have so many lasts that it gets missed. The last nap, the last cartoon, the last of holding a baby and singing it to sleep. I once took in the deep intoxicating smell of my small baby boy. That smell still lingers in distant memory never to be forgotten. Now he smells as a stinky boy preparing for the next leg into growing up.

I am growing older I saw that in the photo. My son came into my life as I was leaving adolescence in my dust. As the saying goes there is no manual to having children, we all wing it hoping for the best. I held my baby for the first time and the last time I held him tightly in my arms when he was four. Where did the time go? I dropped him off on his first day of kindergarten and this was the first of the last times. Yesterday he finished grade two onto the summer of learning fun and adventure. Will this be the last summer we play with reckless abandon. How will I know this will be the last time we do anything?

He no longer collects tiny metal cars, I looked inside his room. It no longer holds home to a little boy filled to the brim with imagination. It holds the image of growing older. Science books and homework thrown about. Clothes with loud labels surround the floor. Try as I might with each passing day the last of little boyhood is growing away from him. The bond as baby boy and mother is now growing into a bond of a mother and her young son. Different responsibilities overtaking the loud fun we once had. I can’t remember the last time we were tickle monsters of TravisVille.

Everyone says if you blink they grow up so fast. I blinked of course as all parents do. I am sad to see the years creep up ever so silently. Missing the markers of my sons childhood and held them for granted. If only I was wiser I would hold onto the last times like hostages until somebody else said time to let go. I’m not quite ready to let go just yet. I want to hold my eyes open wide in order to not miss what is left of my sons childhood. The parenting nature doesn’t work that way. I will blink again and before me will stand my adult son onto his next adventure.

With this I say hold onto your babies a minute longer as you don’t know if this time is the first of the lasts. Hold your breath with passing moment of time and hold those true to your hearts so that way you can appreciate the fleeting time of growing older.

Written by Ali Johnson

My son at three months of age.

Promise, They Will Be Enough

[Will’s father came back into town, and then lied to Will about being around more and left. Phillip is trying to comfort him]

Will: Hey, you no what, you ain’t got to do nothing, Uncle Phil. You know, ain’t like I’m still five years old, you know? Ain’t like I’m gonna be sitting every night asking my mom ‘when’s daddy coming home?’ You know? Who needs him? Hey, he wasn’t there to teach me how to shoot my first basket, but I learned it, didn’t I? And I got pretty damn good at it too, didn’t I, Uncle Phil?

Phillip Banks: Yeah, you did.

Will: Got to do my first date without him, right? I learned how to ride, I learned how to shave, I learned how to fight without him. I had *fourteen* great birthdays without him; he never even sent me a damn card. The hell with him!

[pause]

Will: I didn’t need him then, I won’t need him now.

Phillip Banks: Will…

Will: No, you know what, Uncle Phil? I’m gonna get through college without him, I’m gonna get a great job without him, I’m gonna marry me a beautiful honey and I’m having a whole bunch of kids. I’m gonna be a better father than he ever was. And I sure as hell don’t need him for that, ’cause there ain’t a damn thing he can teach me about how to love my kids!

[long pause; he’s crying]

Will: How come he don’t want me, man?

Scene from Fresh Prince of Belair.

I remember watching the scene from Fresh Prince of Belair for the first time and felt so connected to what he was saying. I too had absent parents who treated me out of convenience instead of want. Lonely is the best way I can describe my feelings towards the missing people that were supposed to step up and do the right thing. Some people say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but when your parent is negligent it causes a certain degree of pain.

Every time my parents would choose to jump in and out of my life a rift grew. I questioned why they chose that time to step up when they wanted no part in anything else going on. One of my battles as a child was dealing with questions of why I was not good enough for them. I was smart, imaginative, and loved to learn. The older I got I started to feel guilty for being a burden to them. I always felt that I was the reason my mom was slightly crazy and my dad didn’t want me because I made my mother nuts. It didn’t matter how much I achieved I was never good enough for them.

Overtime as their absent parenting grew I felt raw anger towards them. Other children would state how great their parents were. How they loved them unconditionally. The one time that I rejected seeing my father I was guilt tripped by family members. They stated that if I didn’t love my dad I should say it directly. I was torn into pieces that day instead of being told my emotions are validated. Thirteen year old me made a promise that day that if I ever have children; I would love them until the day I take my last breath, and be better than what they were one hundred percent.

Two boys later I have kept my promise. I, no longer keep contact with my mother by ensuring she has no access to abuse my children. My promise is simple yet it allows my children to be loved. Unlike my mother I will allow my children to make mistakes and not treat them as a disappointment. I will make sure they have food in their bellies before myself. They will always have a safe space to live in and someone to care about their needs. My last promise is to tell them I love them with each passing day. To hold them when they are scared and cheer them on when they do great things.

I am not a perfect parent by any means. My parents made a choice to walk away from me, what I learned is that I will be better. I did learn something from them and that is my children are first before me. My love for them shows them they are enough. They will not go through life wondering how they failed me. Love and trust does not come easy for me, but my children will never have to struggle with feeling alone and unheard. I may have been unwanted but I will always want my boys.

Written by: Ali Johnson

30 weeks with my son Maximus.

myself, Travis, and Max

Where Are My Lost Marbles?

In the last two weeks I’ve stayed offline from blogging and doing lives on Garden of Loves Facebook page. I normally take great joy in blogging its great therapy. It tones down the millions of thoughts that annually run through my head. Anybody that lives with anxiety and depression knows that the constant thought process can be exhausting. It never ends with worrying or making up the worst case scenarios possible. On top of this in the last two weeks I have been challenged with motherhood and marriage.

In my life I try to balance myself with my kids, partner, and limited social life in order to stay half charged. By comparison to this is placing a cellphone on charge with five percent battery never fully turning it off. Eventually I slip up and forget to recharge my mental battery until it goes into complete shut off. For the last two weeks I rested myself at five percent with hopes that my system would not fail. However, I was wrong and lesson learned last night I broke down.

It began last week with my partners work troubles. I fully understand my responsibility to emphasize with my partner when he is stressed with our only means of income. The silent contract that is between us throws off the balance ever so slightly. One can only listen to the same problem numerous times before anything else can be handled in life. My partner is married to his job. I have never given him flak for this more so it can be draining to one’s system. As the side chick to his job I have to sneak in other needs: this requires mental skills. When his work becomes “flaky” other things in our life goes downhill, chaos is following close behind.

Following close second to lose your shits town is the communication a parent is required for special needs parenting. I do love the essence of my child. Getting hit with the double whammy of dual special needs leads me to mental and emotional exhaustion. Paying the toll to decipher; doctors appointments, IEP plans, 504, and lastly ignorant school boards, hello ladies and gentleman you have found the mamma bear in desperate need of hibernation. We have IV treatment for my sons juvenile arthritis in just three days, you would think that is sufficient allowance for leave of absence from school. Each phone call getting more repetitive than the last one leaves me looking and feeling like Willem DaFoe during the Boondock Saints scene of his character losing his mind.

This sums it up beautifully.

This line up of events seems like all fun and games until the gross slimy Gastroenteritis decided to cozy up to boys of the home like a bad ex fresh outta prison. It started with the biggest one, went through the toddler, gave me a run for my money, and lastly it made itself well at home in my eldest sons body. This is not my finest hour in motherhood nor the events that gave the last straw this week. Our house was blessed with bodily fluids I truly thought could not come out of a human being. Lacking slumber required for mental longevity was given the boot by the rampant bio hazard living in our home. My mental zen slipped with each night of throw up and poop and unspeakable amounts of laundry. Four nights this went on my partner slept soundly through it all. Thinking that looks could kill I hope my eyes were like laser beams in his subconscious. This week as he slept so peacefully he was a jerk face to me.

My exact stare to my sleeping partner. I may have done the hand action to.

The toddler’s flu brigade was not the end all of missing my marbles. It came last night. My anxiety decided to go into overdrive. Each thought of new and horrible events driving the of mind. Twelve o’clock came and try as I might sleep would not come. I was over tired and could not shut off. I watched the alarm clock creep to one am, and then the small voice of my nine year old says “Mom I pooped”. For the next few hours of the night finally ending at five in the morning could only be described as a shitty night. No literally a shitty night, poozaganza, the merry shits. Never in my life have I cleaned up that volume of fecal matter. My house smelled, my couch got it, my sons bed got it, the wall got it, places unmentionable got it, and I completely lost my marbles. I tried to wake my partner for parent duty. What I can describe as his statement ” do you need a diaper because you can’t handle poo.”

There is a moment in marriage that one will question if this the time to smother your significant other. Other than when I was in labour; he sleepily stated you can take a taxi, have I thought about his instant demise. Lord was with him last night because he lives today. He should say thanks for being so lucky to survive the raging wife who now has been covered in every bodily fluid possible. I’m so grateful he got sleep tonight because at five am the toddler awoke. It was apparently party time for the young human, I cursed whatever universal law that was testing me.

The toddler felt five am to seven am granted the greatest time to practice loving head butts and boogie picks. His wrestling moves greatly improved in the wee hours of the morning. I got up and wrote on my whiteboard ” Do not wake me for anything. It IS MY DAY OFF” I stood by those words today and my partner honoured them. I still took care of my eldest son by setting up his bed in the tub, I feel better now that I took time to charge my batteries. My Willem DaFoe Face wiped clean off my face and I still love everyone in my home.

Written by: Ali Johnson

Inside My Anxiety

She looks at herself in the mirror only to see her anxiety staring back at her. For the last three days she has raged war inside her mind again. It started slow she noticed how irritable she felt. Quite rages over small things and the quietest sounds. The silence she holds is deafening and no one else can hear it. The long forgotten videos of past trauma start to play in the dreams. To avoid re watching she will not sleep for weeks on end. She feels the familiar itch to pick her skin raw because that is what she can control. Time for her is passing in hours but it feels like forever.

She stands staring at herself she will analyze every flaw she believes she has. Her face is to large, her skin looks unfamiliar, she is to fat and needs to stop eating, and why would anyone call her beautiful? She feels like her skin is crawling with bumps and lumps that are only in her mind. She will pick each imaginary bump until her arms are covered in scabs. Today she avoided eating because she feels sick to her stomach. Binging and starving is what she knows to do. Its familiar when everything else in her life is crashing around her. She will hear the voice of long ago telling her she is stupid and ugly. She is diseased and needs to be cured. Her mind right now is being bombed with thoughts of wanting to be free.

Everyone on the outside thinks she is strong but as she stares at herself she knows otherwise. She feels weak and worn. Her insides are shredded paper. She cannot understand how her kids called her the best mom today as she fed them Kraft dinner for the second time this week. They binged TV today because she could not talk herself into doing what is needed around the house. She hated that she just wanted to look at her phone and forget that she is here for one more day. This is not her the mom that lets her kids rot their brains and eat processed food galore.

This is not her and she knows it. She knows that it will pass again, and she will feel happy for a short period. It could be weeks or months before she will feel normal again. It makes her so angry on the inside to be this person and battle the mental demons eating her away. Praying that this time will be the last, she knows this is not it. Her body aches with feelings of being squeezed until her insides fall out. The tears she is holding so her children will not see them sting in the back of her eyes. Rejection of happy thoughts are her battle. Anger fills her with desperation to not feel panicked because she cannot place her finger on what brought this on. It feels as though water is above her head, she cannot breathe.

Inside of her sits the person that vacated today. That other side of her the one that makes jokes and feels good is vacationing hopefully to return soon. The spirit that lives right now is temporary. The damage control once she decides to go back to the dark space of the mind is disheartening. I hope that she knows one day we will be OK, and we as two spirits will work together to stay alive for one more day.

Written by: Ali Johnson

The Woman of Today are Somebody

I am a woman who has a body that hurts. The spirit inside of it has been crushed time and time again. This body has seen horrors that no little girl should ever have to endure. There have been times in my life this body was robbed of its dignity. From the time I was four until I was seven years old. The next time I was sixteen years old and made a choice I regret. The next time I was twenty years old I just went on a date. Some of these people were family others were strangers. Like a teacup I glue myself back together each time someone strips me of my body, mind, and spirit. The cracks left with each chip leaves behind small flecks of what makes me human.

I am woman I have been broken by other woman. Drugged and told lies for over thirteen years. I was called a liar nothing more than a whore. I was invisible to outsiders as the evil kept me hidden. Words and actions done by other women have left an imprint calling for action. This body of mine has seen and endured hardships that no little girl should ever have to live through. Like the phoenix I rise each time from the ashes ready to fight again.

Paying more attention to the news of women rights, I see that we are headed in a dark direction. Our rights are at risk; if we do not see what our politicians, religions, outdated mindsets fuelled by fear will take us back to the stone ages of lost rights. We live in a scary time and without realizing how close to the edge we are of no longer having ownership of our bodies.

The woman of today are somebody. They are foundations of love and should be treated like a human being. Look around; each woman you see is a sister, mother, daughter, friend, they mean strength and willpower. If we forget to fight for their rights and refuse to acknowledge their place on earth then we are truly lost for a better future. Giving power to remove one’s ownership to their body is a catalyst of allowing others to take away personal rights. This will remove the right for a woman to choose if she wants children, stopping child marriages, and forced sexual slavery etc. We need to wake up because this happens it is not something we should ignore.

Power is a strong word but if given to the wrong people that power becomes poison. The disappearing woman, the murdered woman, the woman who took their lives, the abused girls, they are worth fighting for. If we do not fight for them we are making power poison. The pot has begun to brew and simmering slowly allowing for people too blindly believe that we as women are safe. Ignoring this reality comes with a deadly price. The war on woman has begun the time to unite and fight is now.

In loving memory of woman who are silenced. Lost but not forgotten.

Written by: Ali Johnson



Advice To Me

I recently bought a journal called 300 writing prompts. When I purchased it I thought it would be a good way to ask hard questions I’ve avoided, each question in this self writing journal brings me closer in my journey of self healing. I want to heal drug and alcohol free. One way to do this is by writing and telling my story for others to hear. I put this journal away for half a year when I started to feel emotional answering questions regarding advice to myself. A few days ago my partner found the journal in the deep depths of our disorganized garage. I pondered the idea if I should start writing in it again.

I opened this tiny blue journal I felt a wave of relief to see it blank in spots that asked hard hitting questions. I have decided to write here on the Garden of Love questions that are asked. The question I landed on today was ” If you go back in time exactly 10 years and give yourself some advice, what would you tell yourself?”

Ten years ago I was an emancipated minor dealing with my abusive mother trying to figure out my life. I was drinking to deal with my pain and forget that I existed. Without a care in the world I was on self-destruct mode. Ten years ago I was an awful human being who fell for victimization of myself. I was a user. Anger does wild things to a person, it makes them toxic and highly volatile.

The person I was ten years ago probably would have said I don’t need your advice. She was stubborn and felt that she could figure out the world on her own. Looking back at the person I was, I feel that the only advice she would receive is keep going. Everything she would do in the next three years of her life would give her a purpose. I know she will have to fight hard and feel like a failure but if she keeps going her life gets better.

Ten years ago I was at my all time low. Looking back at who I was and who I would become is endearing. I have come really far in life and just now hitting a point of knowing what my purpose is. I have three amazing boys and have moments of pure happiness. Ten years ago I thought this is the end of things. I truly believed that if I would not live for another ten years. My feelings and emotions got the best of me on all accounts. I’m glad ten years ago I made it through the darkest time period.

I hope through in the next ten years from now I can give this sound advice; keep living truthfully, live like tomorrow is your last day. I also hope to see future me love herself even when she cannot find the reason to. Lastly I hope ten years from now I can look back and see the good I have done and know that I lived with purpose and good intentions. I owe it to the ones I love and myself to grow up learning and becoming the person I set out to be.

Written by Ali Johnson

2009
2018

Mothers Day For Women With Abusive Mothers

Mothers days is a sore spot for those who have abusive mothers. The aggressive reminder of pain inflicted given from those whom thrive on it. It’s a great day for some; but with others who have dealt the blow of being unloved or smothered by woman unable to show true compassion beyond their narcissistic parenting, its considered a day of emotional turmoil. Every feeling, every question of why, every memory blurts through the heart like emotional vomit. The painful part of dealing with abusive mothers on mothers day is the silence one keeps inside their minds.

To the ladies balled up on your bathroom floor on Mothers Day: it’s going to be alright. Right now what you’re feeling it’s allowed to be angry and feel robbed. It’s alright to read on social media about all the great moms and feel that familiar twinge of heartbreak. Those tears you are crying right now will soon pass and you will get off that floor.

The ladies with children of their own on Mothers Day had the challenge to brave it out for their children. All day they put on the brave face as their children proudly show them the crafts they made. Once the night has come and the feelings become too much they simply allow the panic to set in. It brings the self-doubt that they too are failing just has someone failed them. To those moms who kept it together until the end, know this the cycle of abuse stops with you. Just because the woman who caused unspeakable pain does not define you as a mother. Cry it out, scream like no tomorrow, break a plate, at the end when you have nothing left for that woman to steal you get off that floor and be the warrior. You survived Mothers Day for one more year. That takes guts and strength that most do not know. If you survived this Mothers Day and keep on going I promise you they already lost.

Although they tried to steal your soul and break you into a million pieces abusive mothers lose out on love themselves. I know this day sucks a billion times over. It feels suffocating as if your head is being held under water and you are drowning in emotional turmoil. I know you might lash out on those you care about and feel guilty but you are not her. Mothers day is a very dark day for you and I; please I beg you take a moment to see the goddess in yourself, and find love that was stolen in your soul. At the end of the dark day that is Mothers Day I want you to look in the mirror and tell yourself you made it. You survived and that is what counts.

With Love to those ladies who survived the pain of the Mothers day,

Ali Johnson.

Be Confident

I almost made a massive mistake regarding my eldest son. Today I was seconds away from ruining his confidence based on his choices. My partner was the one to step in and make me realize there are things that I do as a mother that goes against teaching my son to be a confident human who can love himself.

I try to tell my children to love who they are despite what other people say. This is a core image I want them to hold for their entire lives. I try to teach my children to love their bodies and minds and encourage understanding that their bodies are temples. If they love their temples and treat it well good things will happen to them. I want them to love themselves wholesomely, so they can grow with the world and enter as brightly as they came into it.

My eldest son struggles some days with loving who he is because other people bully him for his personality and his disabilities. This year has been one big disaster of other boys trying to tear him down for whom he is. This year he not only had boys his age bully him but adults as well. School had become a mental prison to him. I have watched him come home in such a state that I tore into his teachers and started fighting back against his fellow peers. No child should through life being told he is a disappointment nor should have the words kill yourself said. No human should have this abuse placed on them.

His disabilities do no define my son if anything I applaud his strength in living with them. He refuses to let his disabilities hold him back. He is this amazing little man with a bold sense of the world. Despite struggling with autism and juvenile osteopathic arthritis, he courageously faces each day with a can do attitude. His issues do not lie with himself but from others. Others see his disabilities as inconveniencing and annoying. Instead of treating him with open mindedness and encouragement they meet him with discouraging opinions. My eyes have been opened this year to how vile and disgusting people can be to others and chose to target those different. My son is being activity bullied due to his differences by his teacher and peers alike. It is my job as his mother to fight for him and show him love for himself to combat those discouraging lack of values in others.

I lost sight of that image today, and I am so grateful my partner reminded me of why we teach him to be confident. As he picked out an outfit that had pink stripes, green shorts, and a fedora with gold flecks, he came to me beaming with pride of his new-found outfit. I looked at it and almost told him to put it back because I didn’t want others bullying him based on looks. My partner stopped me mid sentence and said doesn’t this make him look great. I stopped and re looked at my child, he had the biggest grin on his face. Pride filled his eyes, he was unique. Instead of making him put the outfit back and chose one to fit the norms of society I let him keep it. It doesn’t matter if anyone else dislikes it; as long as he is happy in his body, no one else can take away the pride that he feels.

I often forget the message that I try to convey to my sons. Love yourself and be prideful in your choices. It is not our place in the world to dash the hopes and dreams of tiny humans, instead it is our place to lead by example and show them the pathway to true self happiness.

My son on Canada Day 2018.

Written by Ali Johnson

*Disclaimer: I do not give permission for written work to be copied without permission of the author. Any work is to posted outside of website give credit to the writer of this article.

Reality Television and It’s Core Image.

American reality television is opposite of the name it portrays. It follows a script that displays poor human behaviour allowing overtly dramatic scenes that lack common human decency. With channels that have the name learning in them, they lack any sense of education within the content showed. After viewing clips on YouTube I found several concerning situations, in the content some examples of this are emotional abuse, child abuse, and scenes of physical abuse. When watching any kind of television one has to understand that it is a far stretch from reality and should not be copied in normal life settings.

With that being said unfortunately many young minds are impressionable. There are people who cannot distinguish fact from fiction and believe what they see and hear. They will watch the abusive natures on television under false premise of ” reality t.v” and feel that the behaviours shown are acceptable. Abusive cycles are hence force carried out from the impressionable viewer.

Television can be a great teaching tool for children or building dreams of future jobs. Not all television is degrading but with vast majority of shows becoming false reality it creates a false morality of displayable behaviour. Most people on reality TV are in it for the money they garner from the shows. Viewers then tune in to these shows allowing for them to remain on air. When shows display utterly abusive or criminal behaviour without any repercussions This sends a message that abuse is completely normal to carry out on others.

As viewers of television there needs to be a call of change on content showed or these shows will remain on air continuing the cycles of abuse. Mandating the voice to end or change reality television could potentially change the future generations in how they act towards other people. Instead of supporting shows with drug abuse, child abuse, and other various forms of abuse we can stop watching these shows completely and take the power away from the abusers who thrive.

Quality over content could save lives and how other people treat each other. Shows on television do not need to be complete human garbage, instead it can go back to education and compatibility to change generations long after the last. Our voices and actions are the change. It starts with potential viewers turning off and speaking out about shows that display abuse and give suggestions for better quality.

In the words of MR. Rodgers, one of the most influential television personas
“As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has–or ever will have–something inside that is unique to all time. It’s our job to encourage each other to discover that uniqueness and to provide ways of developing its expression.”

Written by Ali Johnson


Photo by George Coletrain on Unsplash