What am I “About”

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2014-03-16 April 1 2015 002

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about my path and direction in life. I feel that I’m at a crossroad in life and perhaps have been dawdling in the intersection waving at passerby and trying to ignore the fact that I must make choices about which path(s) to take. Music has, and always will be, my passion. From the moment I wake until I go to sleep at night, my thoughts are on sound, songs, music and how to share and consume that art form. But success in the music business isn’t the same as any other field. It’s not the same as getting a job and working your way up in the company. It isn’t even about selling a product, since the consumer can get music for free on the internet. The very internet that makes it possible to share your music and get your songs into the hands of fans has also enabled the fans to just take the music that you paid countless dollars and hours to record, leaving you with a balance of $0. There aren’t many businesses that can be so fruitless for so much hard work. And yet, songwriting and music will always call to me.

But there is more to life than music, even for me.

I want to make all things beautiful. I am constantly wanting to decorate and adorn my living space with beauty. I love bel canto (literally “beautiful singing”), bright, beautiful colors, metallic French Rococo styled details, and beautiful clothing. Beautiful birds, beautiful photographs, beautiful music and beautiful hearts.  I like to be surrounded in beauty, whether in nature or hand-crafted.

I’m intensely passionate about the fair treatment and well being of animals. I eat primarily vegetarian and believe we should strive to live harmoniously in peaceful cohabitation with the animals of this earth.

I love good food. On a beautiful plate. I have a deep appreciation for natural foods as well as food that has been prepared by someone for me to eat. Preparing a meal for another to eat is somehow sacred and holds more meaning now that I have served my husband 10 years of meals. Food is life-sustaining, and can be beautiful as well.

I’m a mother first, and a musician second. I know some musicians nowadays like to have children and maintain the same public image of openly promiscuous music and dress, but I’m not one of those people. The music I’ve written before and after I had my daughter is different. I have changed. Many times I have had to put my music career on the “back burner” while being a mother. And that’s ok.

I repaint and re-body Barbie dolls. In an effort to let my daughter play with the iconic doll, I have tried to create diversity within her “population” of plastic people. I’ve curled the hair of straight-haired ethnic dolls, and repainted Asian dolls to look more authentically Asian. I’ve found a few larger-sized celebrity dolls, rebodied some Barbie heads onto action figure bodies and repainted Barbie and Ken dolls to look older. I try to use her enjoyment for playing with the dolls to teach her lessons about culture, language social skills, and the acceptance of all different kinds of people.

I am interested in studying other cultures, languages and trying to learn as much as I can about the lives of people from all over the world. There are good and bad things about every culture of people, just as there are good and bad in our own culture. I want to be able to pass on knowledge to Zoey and to understand my husband better, who didn’t grow up in America. I’ve made friends with people from China, Taiwan, India, Iran, Mexico, Brazil and Korea, and these people have taught me so much. The world is such a big place, and I still know so little about its people.

I believe in a more simple life. I often find myself looking at off-the-grid living and wonder if I could ever do that. My fear is setting myself up to be off the grid and then the government powers creating a law that forces me to still pay taxes anyway. I am against our consumerist society, living as slaves to the government as they relieve us of billions of tax dollars so that they can build bombs. I’m trying to raise a healthy little girl and you are using our money to build a bomb? I am generally distrusting of the government, but feel powerless to change it.

Every summer I grow a garden in our yard. I freeze tomatoes and try very hard to gather and save as much produce as possible from our own plot. I don’t know if it saves any money, but I like the idea of being at least a little self-sufficient.

I want to see changes in education. I want to be the best teacher I can, and I try really hard to find new ways of reaching students’ minds. My experiences with students have taught me how to be a better teacher, but mostly how to be a better mother. Finding alternative methods of instilling knowledge is my goal.

At West Chester University I was classically trained in voice, which means I studied Opera and Art Songs. I didn’t love opera before college, but I have a deep appreciation for its complexity and beauty now.

I draw art sketches, and paint in multiple mediums (acrylic, oil, pastels, watercolor) when I have time. It’s a rare treat when I have spare moments to sit down and draw something. I’m often found doodling on napkins and the backs of drink coasters. I usually draw elaborate designs full of detail. My plans for this summer are to create some colorful rock mosaics along a pathway, and possibly paint our concrete sidewalk with a special design. So many projects! So little time! I am happiest when I am creating.

I love children’s books written by Jan Brett. When I was a little girl, I had only one book by her, “The Valentine’s Bears”. It was one of her simpler books, but I loved the way the bears were illustrated. I occasionally find one of her books at the thrift store where I shop, and have acquired a few from the mother’s consignment sales in the area. We now have quite a collection. I read them to my daughter. She loves them as well, but I think that perhaps I love them even more. I would love to write and illustrate few children’s books about ethnicity, culture, animals, society or family norms. Cute stories are very nice, but I’m more interested in a meaningful story that teaches a lesson applicable to our modern world.

I have a deep appreciation and love for Folkmanis puppets. I think I may even be a crazy person when it comes to this. When my sister was visiting we went up to New Hope, PA and found a store for animal lovers in Peddler’s Village. In the corner they had a wall of very high-quality animal puppets. They had the most amazing textiles and materials with very expressive eyes, and I couldn’t choose just one to purchase. I had a very difficult time deciding between about 4 different puppets, which were ALL my “favorite”. I ended up buying a Zebra, then coming back to get the dolphin too. On eBay, I found several second-hand ones that were reasonably priced that I couldn’t pass up. Then I ran into a fat white hen puppet at a used toy store. I once almost paid $60 for a large discontinued beautiful white Unicorn Folkmanis puppet with synthetic hair that I found on eBay, but my husband reminded me that puppets are not a necessity and I let it go. (Though I often think about that unicorn puppet, which further proves my passage into insane obsession with puppets.)  My favorite right now is our hedgehog puppet, because he looks like the character “Hedgie” from some of Jan Brett’s storybooks. We use our puppets with certain books, but I would love to find a way to use them more with small children.

So many things to do and places to go and people to meet. Tomorrow is always a new day.

Woman Finds Insect Larva In Her Food At Iron Abbey in Horsham, PA

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2014-06-12 21.19.36

On June 12th, 2014 a woman met with her friends for a celebratory “Mom’s Night Out” at the Iron Abbey Gastro Pub in Horsham, PA. She ordered the Grilled Veggie wrap with a House Salad on the side. What she got was a surprise. On one of the leaves at the top of the salad was a large insect larvae. When she touched the outside of it’s cocoon, it wiggled within. Iron Abbey offered a new salad, but failed to correct the situation until the woman had been waiting for a manager for over an hour. A manager never did actually come to her table and she left the restaurant hungry after paying for her drink.

 

Who was this woman?

Me. I found an insect larva in my salad at Iron Abbey.

First let me say, I am more disappointed with the way the incident was handled than the finding of the larva itself. I understand that when you are working with fresh ingredients, these things can happen. And although I’m not sure if the salad leaves were washed, I would like to think that they were and this larvae just survived that process. I hope.

Once our waiter was made aware of the problem, he said a sincere, “Oh, I’m very sorry about that. I’ll let the manager know.” And whisked the plate away with the leaf and the living insect larva. I then expected someone to return and perhaps offer me something else to eat or ask what can be done to make the situation right, but that didn’t happen. I sat there feeling embarrassed and uncomfortable while I looked at my veggie wrap and the lettuce within it and contemplated whether it would be rude of me to decline eating it. My friend said it was probably fine, so I forced myself to eat some of the wrap, feeling more disgusted with each bite. The manager never came, and the waiter seemed to be ignoring our table despite the restaurant not being very busy.

30 minutes after the larva was taken from the table, our waiter quietly took the old salad away and slipped a new salad next to my plate and muttered, “Sorry about that,” scampering away quickly before I could decline the salad. I did not want another salad. I would have happily eaten anything but a salad.

Sitting uncomfortably for another 25 or 30 minutes, I made conversation with my friends while not touching the food at all. Much of our conversation was about the larva and what “should” happen next, but none of those things happened. I had hoped that the waiter might come and perhaps offer to bring me something else, and I could ask for the nachos with no lettuce. I would have even paid for it. But he seemed to be avoiding our table.

Another friend at the table finally flagged him down and asked what was up. The other ladies wanted refills on their drinks and the manager still hadn’t been told about the larva issue. My friend was polite, but much more direct about his need to bring this to the attention of the management sooner rather than later. The waiter made an excuse that the manager is upstairs and the waiter was just waiting for him to come down so that he can let him know. I finally jumped in and said, “I’d really just like to leave because I feel very uncomfortable. Can you bring me my bill for whatever I owe you so that I can just go?” Then the waiter said, “Well, we will probably take care of your salad, but I have to get the manager to do that.” By this time, I was really annoyed.

About 10 minutes later, a tall man came to the table and asked, “I understand there was something found in your salad?” I reply, “Yes, did you see it?” He had not seen it, so I offered to show him a picture I took of it with my phone. He tried to decline seeing the picture, saying “I really don’t need to see it,” but said, “We are going to comp your salad.” A friend asked, “Are you the manager?” Then the tall gentleman said, “No, I’m not the manager on duty tonight, and I don’t usually do the floor management.” I was a little baffled by everyone’s inability to figure out how to take care of the situation.

Not long after, the bill arrived and the waiter explained that, “Instead of offering you a dessert or something, he took off 20% from your total bill and comped the salad.” I said “Thank you”. He offered to box up my salad and wrap, and I told him I was not interested in it at all.

Actually, they only took off $7.22 from the $8.50 dish, but I can’t complain about that since they deducted 20% from the entire table.

What I really wanted was something to eat. I went to a restaurant and ate part of a veggie wrap and came home hungry. Next time I will be more direct with the waiter and tell them what I want, even though I am very uncomfortable and embarrassed in these kinds of situations. And next time I will NOT be going to the Iron Abbey.

 

 

My Ambien Blackout / A Birth Story

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I was lying awake last night unable to sleep and considered getting out of bed to take a sleeping pill. I’ve taken sleeping pills more often than I like lately, and it seems to have been brought on by my allergy medication, believe it or not. The allergy medicine used to make me drowsy, so I would take it before bed and would have no trouble sleeping…at least, for a few weeks. Then after a while, the medicine seemed to lose it’s ability to make me sleep, so I would sometimes take a sleeping pill. (Maybe 2 times a week.) Last night, after getting up to pop my sleeping pill at 3am because I so desperately needed sleep before my morning students, I decided to do a little Google research on sleeping pill addiction and breaking the cycle of taking them. That’s when I ran across a lot of people who had experiences on the prescription sleep aid Ambien.

I’ve taken Ambien only once in my life.

At around 9 pm on February 9th, 2011, I started having contractions. (I was pregnant and due on February 13th.) I went to bed. I slept for a while and at around 3am I woke up because the contractions were growing mildly stronger. I started timing these contractions from the beginning of one to the beginning of the next contraction like I was taught to by Dr. Google. During this time, I packed my clothes and things for the hospital while I let my husband sleep. I did my hair. I put on waterproof mascara. The contractions were 2-3 minutes apart, but were not yet painful so I walked around the house and did some light cleaning. I had not yet told him that I was having contractions.  By about 4am the contractions were growing quite uncomfortable and were only 1 minute apart. Yes, 1 minute. A quick Google check told me that I should be at the hospital. Oops.  I woke up my husband and he nervously drove me to the hospital while I groaned through contractions which felt more or less like really bad cramps.

We got to Abington Hospital just before 5am and they immediately sent me to triage and hooked me up to a machine that was supposed to monitor the contractions. I told them that the contractions were 1 minute apart, with only about 15 seconds from the end of one to the start of the next. Still, they needed the machine to give them the facts. The machine wasn’t working and in order for the circular sensor to detect my contractions I needed to have it very tight and NOT MOVE. Nurses kept returning to mess with it and try to get it to work, tightening it tighter and tighter while I continued to complain of how much it was making my back hurt just to lie in that position. The elastic band they strapped around my huge belly was uncomfortable from the start, but as the contractions grew stronger and that 15 second break was sometimes as little as 5 seconds, the whole situation started to become very painful after a couple of hours. (Yes, they forced me to stay on the non-working monitor for hours.) With each contraction, it felt like a sharp knife was stabbing into my tailbone and pain was radiating up my back. I tried to hold it together, but I was becoming fatigued from the contractions and the inability to move into a comfortable position to cope with the pain.

Between nurse visits to check my cervix’s dilation and to make that stupid elastic monitor ever tighter, I could hear the triage nurses at the office area talking about how I was complaining too much and crying too much.

Eventually, the pain became nearly unbearable and I began to sob with my hands over my face during the strongest part of each contraction. They “checked” and said I was still only about 3 cm dilated. The nurses let me walk around the halls around 7 or 8am.  Finally, I was set free from that ridiculous elastic band and being forced to lie on my back. Walking didn’t take the pain away. I was still stopping with each contraction and holding onto the side railing in the hallway because the pain had become so sharp. It was difficult to stand up.

At around 9am, they checked my cervix again (during contractions, which was extremely painful). They told me that I needed to stop crying because “IT’S GOING TO GET A LOT WORSE“, said one nurse. And “IT’S DIFFICULT FOR YOUR HUSBAND TO WAIT HERE AND WATCH YOU LIKE THIS.” Really? This is difficult for my husband, who is sitting in the corner napping while I deal with the pain? I just nodded my head reluctantly, but would replay her words in my head for years after and imagine myself giving her a snappy verbal reply rather than a submissive nod.

So they GAVE ME TWO AMBIEN pills. And sent me home, telling me to try to sleep. 

I remember leaning on the valet parking stool and sobbing during contractions with fluid running down my bare leg under my maternity dress as my husband retrieved our car. The February air felt so cold as the door opened and closed, and the valet attendant asked,”Are you sure they asked you to go home?”

I don’t remember when I took the ambien pills. I may have taken them while at the hospital, or perhaps it was when we got home. I don’t remember the drive home. When we got in the house, I took off all of my clothes and ran a hot bath and got in. And cried very loudly. I had the phone in the bathtub with me, and I called my mom, or she called me, I don’t know which. I sobbed into the phone with the contractions, but was unable to talk. And I don’t remember any of this. I don’t remember going into the house. I don’t remember the bath. I have a very faint memory of trying to hand the phone to my husband and it falling on the floor, then realizing that I may of thrown the phone, but I’m not sure.

When my husband took the phone, my mom told him to take me back to the hospital. “It’s only been about 45 minutes at home”, he said. Mom said, “Take her back!” I don’t remember him getting me out of the tub or getting me dressed, but he did. I know he put socks on my feet, because I remember having them on the next day and not realizing how they got on my feet.

He took me back to the hospital, where I have a memory of crying while the valet attendant put me in a wheelchair and they wheeled me back up to triage while I screamed, “They don’t want me here! Take me home! I don’t want to be on the monitor!” I said this over and over again…and I don’t remember much else about that visit to triage. They checked my cervix and…..voila! The nurse said it was at “7 or 8″. I was quickly taken and given the epidural that I wished to have, and the pain went away! Yay! As soon as I wasn’t violently crying, I was hungry. My husband gave me a pop tart from my bag. I was starving. The nurse came in and promptly told me that I cannot eat anything. Like a prisoner, I relinquished the sugary pastry. Then I fell asleep. (11:30am)

Around 4:30pm a nurse woke me up, and informed me that they were turning down the epidural now so that I could feel the contractions. I was surprised at how quickly the medicine ‘wore off’.  After some pushing and an emergency “baby is coming any minute” call to my doctor, followed by a very serious “HOLD THE BABY IN JUST A MOMENT WHILE HE GETS HIS GLOVES ON” and an equally serious, “Baby is coming NOW!” from me, at 5:07pm, Zoey was born.

After reading about people taking Ambien both as a recreational drug and as a medication for insomnia, I’ve come to the conclusion that to take 2 pills is neither safe nor recommended. Before then, I’d never taken a sleeping pill or even heard of Ambien.

WebRx says:  The risk of next-day psychomotor impairment, including impaired driving, is increased if Ambien is taken with less than a full night of sleep remaining (7- to 8 hours); if a higher than the recommended dose is taken; if co-administered with other CNS depressants; or if coadministered with other drugs that increase the blood levels of zolpidem.

Should I be concerned that I was given TWICE the dosage of Ambien on an empty stomach, followed by an epidural, allowed to sleep for 5 hours, gave birth, then was handed a newborn baby in this somewhat delirious state?

WebRx also lists Ambien as a “Category C” drug for pregnant women…meaning that it probably won’t kill your baby…but it could, maybe.

Web Rx: Pregnancy Category C

There are no adequate and well-controlled studies of Ambien in pregnant women.

Studies in children to assess the effects of prenatal exposure to zolpidem have not been conducted; however, cases of severe neonatal respiratory depression have been reported when zolpidem was used at the end of pregnancy, especially when taken with other CNS-depressants.

Administration of zolpidem to pregnant rats and rabbits resulted in adverse effects on offspring development at doses greater than the Ambien maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) of 10 mg/day.

Should I be concerned that I took 20mg of Ambien?

Web Rx says THIS under “Labor and Delivery”:   Ambien has no established use in labor and delivery.

After reading so many blog posts on BabyCenter about women who are given Ambien during labor, I saw that the women who were in early labor with contractions that were 5-10 minutes apart were able to sleep, but women who were in a lot of pain  could not sleep but just became erratic and loopy. It doesn’t seem like a good drug choice if the contractions are intense.

I guess I should just consider myself lucky that I wasn’t in that 3% of the population that gets diarrhea as an Ambien side effect.

Here are some funny Ambien Walrus images that I didn’t draw but enjoy:


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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How I Got Fired From Osco Drug Store

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I don’t know what made my mind go back to this memory this morning, but I woke up remembering in sharp detail the events surrounding being fired from my first job.
I started working for Osco Drug Store in Terre Haute when I was just 16. I worked there for 2 years stocking shelves, providing customer service and running the cash register. I was heavily involved in music in school, but they were very good with scheduling as long as I let them know what days I needed and showed proof of the event. In my 2nd year with Osco, I was written up because I had to use a sick day for a band parade that wasn’t on the original agenda. I worked with this very spiteful and mean woman named Phoebe. She found out that I had lied about being sick so that I could go march in the parade, went to the manager to tell, and I got written up. I cried.

When I was 18, I left to go work at Paul Harris, but that job underwent a change in management that left many employees without any hours for months. Then, the schedule for the next month came out and I was on it working 30+ hours a week! (While in High School.) One of the work days was the same day as the State Solo and Ensemble Finals, for which I had qualified. After being rejected the day off, I put in my 2 weeks notice…since the date was more than 2 weeks away.

Then I went back to Oscos (a year later) and asked for my job back. And they rehired me. We went through a store move at that time and the store was moved to a temporary place in the Honey Creek Mall, then we moved everything to the big building. It was an exciting summer. I got to work at a few other area Oscos, do different kinds of work as we set up the store, and meet employees of the other stores – which were surprisingly much nicer and easier to work with than some of the people my store.

Another year and a half at Osco, and I had been trained for the photo department. At this time, my hair was very very long, and I needed a scrunchie to pull it back whenever I developed pictures so that my hair would not get into the photo developing chemicals or get pulled into the negatives machine. I left this scrunchie inside a shelf behind the photo counter, but must have forgotten it at work one day. I was written up for leaving my personal effect at the workplace. I felt I was being treated unjustly.

Later that year, a friend of my parents was to get married and I was asked to play piano and sing the special music for their big day. I was happy to take this role, and spent a good deal of time preparing their music and rehearsing so that everything would be perfect. Even though I didn’t usually work on Saturday mornings, I verbally told Phoebe (the schedule maker) about the upcoming event date so that I could have the day off, but when the schedule came out, I was on it for that day and time. I asked Phoebe if it could be changed, and she insisted that because I didn’t put my request in writing it would NOT be changed, as a matter of PRINCIPLE! No problem, I thought. In the past, if you could find a replacement for your shift it was ok. And I had 2 weeks before the wedding day. My friend Kristy quickly agreed that she could work that day, but Phoebe said ‘no’ because it would give her enough hours to bump her from part time into full time hours. Kristy suggested that we just exchange shifts then, so that I would be working one of her days and there would be no change in the hours. Phoebe very crossly pinned the schedule back to the board and said NO. Any changes had to go through her. All week, every time I came in, I talked to the management about how I had to play for someone’s WEDDING on that day, and they were going to HAVE to find a replacement, or allow Kristy and I to switch shifts, because I couldn’t tell my family’s friend that I wasn’t going to play their wedding only 2 weeks before it. (And I had already invested so much time in preparing it!)
They would not change the schedule, as a matter of PRINCIPLE. The day before the wedding I worked, and during my shift I talked to Mark Monahan, the manager, and reminded him that I would not be able to come in because I had a wedding to play piano for. He was not in agreement. (This was not his first time hearing about the issue.)

Saturday morning, I called in. I said, “I’m not sick and you know it. I have a wedding I need to play piano for and I’m not coming in to work.” The response on the phone, “Ok.”

When I came in to look at the new schedule the following week, my name wasn’t there. I asked Pete, a supervisor, why my name wasn’t on the schedule. He said, “You don’t work here anymore.” Suddenly, standing behind the photo counter, I felt like an imposter in a place where I should not be. I asked, “Really?” and Pete said, “Yeah” and shrugged. I started crying and turned around to leave. I was mad. I was sad. I had wasted nearly 4 years of my life working for less than $7 an hour with a half dozen older employees who had only been mean and disrespectful to me, and a general manager who had been rarely present but unforgiving.

I started to cry. They were selling hangers in a big box near the checkout, a few of which caught on my clothing as I was walking out. I turned around and started to pick them up. (while crying…) Then I stopped and said, “I don’t work here anymore.” I left one package of hangers on the floor, and walked out.

Nobody ever called me from Osco Drug Store. There was no other meeting or phone call to discuss my termination. Years later, I received a notice from a service called “Unclaimed Money” which informed me that my last paycheck was still there. I believe I eventually convinced them to mail it to me. When I applied for a job at Drury Inn, the kind interviewer informed me that Osco Drug Store did NOT give me a good reference. She hired me anyway.

It’s been a little over 10 years since I was fired from Osco Drug Store, but I haven’t gone inside one to purchase anything. Not even once. And I probably never will.

Feelings On Spanking

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Today started with my sister sending me an IM on Facebook about her wedding planning. Wedding planning for most is tedious and slightly annoying, so I wasn’t surprised by what she is going through. I am surprised however, that I am so JEALOUS she is getting a wedding shower when I didn’t. Or that she is getting help with her wedding, since I didn’t. Don’t get me wrong. I want my family to help her. It’s the right thing to do. I just wish they had treated me differently when I was in that place in my life. I may have been a little sad about it at the time, but it’s surprising that it makes me more sad now that I’m seeing the contrast as my sister goes through her life with a much different upbringing than what I experienced. I’m working on my feelings of jealousy.

One of the major differences…is our father. We have the same dad, but by the time she was 10, Mom had remarried and while our Dad was still a visitor in her life, he didn’t have the same presence as he did with me.

Which makes me remember the spanking.

I’m usually a very private person, my blog posts I keep fairly public-safe and as commercially acceptable as possible, but this morning I am compelled to dig a little bit deeper. To be a little more truthful. To share things in words that I’ve been hiding within songs and chord progressions for 20 years. Maybe others have the same experience, and my sharing will help you find ways to cope. Or maybe, like me, you’re a parent now and have a spirited child but a resistance to ever spank.

I’ve spanked Zoey before. She can be a very compliant and agreeable 2 year old sometimes, but will often challenge boundaries by directly disobeying as I say “No” as sternly as possible. The first spanking was for playing in the toilet. Both hands splashing in the toilet water. I knew I’d closed the lid…and I told her to “stop”. I removed her from the bathroom and cleaned her up. I kept the toilet lid down from them on, but she opened it. I closed the bathroom door, but sometimes people would forget, and she would be found splashing in the toilet again. Several times I had changed her clothes and cleaned her up after her play in the toilet, and told her quite sternly not to do it anymore. She refused to stop…then, one day when I walked in on her splashing in the toilet water, I felt in that moment that what she was doing could be putting her in contact with E-coli and a host of other horrible bacteria and germs, and I spanked her. I gave her butt a single swat. The overwhelming waves of personal guilt followed next. The words of Dr. Sears rang through my head, “How does being spanked make you feel?”…In my head I answered, “Unloved. Inferior. Helpless. Sad.” No parent wants their child to feel these things, and so I felt a lump in my throat and a huge burden of guilt for the swat on her butt, which did make her stop playing in the toilet. And she doesn’t play in the toilet now.

Since then, my occasionally defiant 2 year old has been spanked only for things where I’ve tried every other method and nothing has worked. Still, every time I feel immense guilt. And recently, if a spank must be deployed, I immediately think of my father, hitting me.

My relationship with Dad was a complicated one. I loved him, and I always felt that he loved me while growing up. When I was little he was by far my favorite parent, which I have to remind myself of when I start pouting to myself about not being the favorite child between my sister and I….because I too have had feelings of a “favorite”, so whether it’s Karma or just the balance of life, it is the way things are. I loved my Dad, But when he was angry, he couldn’t control himself.

This is where I usually delete everything I’ve written and write about something less controversial.

I’ve been spanked for as far back as I remember, and the spankings stopped when I was about 20. Yes, 20. The difference in the spanking “style” is what stands out to me most. I would be slapped 10, 20, sometimes 30 times in a spanking “session”, as I cried and covered my face and tried to move further away. Then the spankings became because I was crying. So I would have to hold my cries in, and endure a few more slaps until it would stop. At the beginning of spankings I began trying to not cry, but then they just got harder and more painful, because a spanking apparently can’t stop without some tears having been shed. Usually I was spanked because my room was messy. Sometimes it was for a bad teenage attitude. But for the most part, I can’t remember why. They were the normal, day-to-day offenses.

When a grown man hits a teenage girl in the face as hard as he can, it leaves a mark. Every time.

I had only one teacher when I was growing up that pulled me aside to ask questions about the marks he saw on me. I was relieved that it didn’t become more of an issue at the time, but it also instilled in me a belief that the people surrounding me do not care about me, or what I was going through. Whether that was true or not, the underlying feeling I had during that time in my life was that Nobody cares about you. You are worthless.

And then, the bruise would heal, the hand prints all over my thighs would fade away, our family would dutifully go to church where people would praise me for my supposedly “angelic” voice, and my family could pretend that everything was right behind our front door, and I would become “normal” again. Whatever that is.

Whenever I start talking like this, people try to silence me. And it usually works. I consider that I’m oftentimes wrong, and question my judgement. I am told that my words will hurt my father or prevent him from getting a job, and that I should stay quiet about it. For some reason, erasing true stories from the world doesn’t seem like the right thing to do.

I don’t consider myself an emotionally damaged person because of these weekly beatings in my childhood. I don’t have huge issues with trust like some people do, and I don’t feel that my entire childhood has been destroyed because of it. There are many facets to a person’s childhood, and the relationship with parents is just one parameter of that experience. It hasn’t destroyed me. What it has destroyed is my relationship with my parents.

And this is why I have overwhelming pangs of guilt when my resources for teaching have run dry and I have to administer a spank for my child. I fear destroying our relationship, and our bond. But the spanking “style” is different. I don’t spank in anger, possibly due to the help of St. John’s Wort and the occasional sip of wine from the refrigerator. I don’t scream that she is worthless, useless, lazy, or any other words that would tear down herself esteem and make her feel inferior. The spank alone gives enough emotions to deal with.

I think I’ll go have a little sip of that wine right now.