Monday, January 31, 2011

Dreamer

My Dream List

A cabin in the woods, big enough to hold Aaron and me, our kids, and a couple dogs. Preferably in Colorado.

Healthy kids with no bone conditions, no illnesses, and a healthy sense of self.

A week in Canada with Gloria, in which I eat a lot of chocolate!!!

The chance to adopt an animal or two from the Humane Society and give them a second chance.

A legitimate spa day, including a hot stone massage, chocolate facial, fruit and wine in those white robes, a sauna and hot tub, and a nice supper at the end.

For some reason I have always dreamed of caring for little African babies. They have the most beautiful, silky dark skin and lovely eyes. I'd love to help them get adopted.

Do an in-depth study on Buddhism.

Take all my siblings on a cruise.

Become a certified yoga and martial arts teacher.

Own a trampoline. One of the big ones!

My dream is to grow old along with my best friend and for us to spend our twilight days together.

I dream of a life that is balanced, spiritually, physically, emotionally, and that is peaceful.

Am I a dreamer or what?!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Inside my Head, Installment #15-With a Theme of Sorts

I'll admit it. I'm of average intelligence, average attractiveness, and average talents. I'm 5'5, weigh the perfect weight for my body mass, and have a fair singing voice. Like I explained in this essay, I am unique, just like everyone else. I have a really good chance of being just another average, happy wife and mother in the United States of America.

Some days, I wonder why I'm who I am. As such an average person, I don't understand why my life has been so extraordinary. I've experienced more in 24 years than many people have. Or maybe it's just the difference in dynamics that make my life seem so extreme. Let me attempt to count the ways.

I was born into a dysfunctional family. My mom was 3 months pregnant and weighed something like 70 lbs. I never met my dad. My mom's husband wanted to pierce my ears when I was 2 weeks old. When he supposedly grew too abusive towards me, my mom ran away to the midwest. She married Warren, who was blind, and I was adopted. All this before I was five years old.

My mom continued to have children. I began to homeschool. I took over most of the household chores by age eight. My mom kept having kids. Two of them and eventually a third child were diagnosed with a serious bone disease that took my mom and siblings away for weeks at a time, leaving me home with my stepdad. We underwent a Child Protective Services investigation that took several weeks. We began to attend church in family's homes. Mom kept having babies.

I was a mother to the younger children and a protector of my mom while keeping stepdad at bay. I taught myself from 5th grade on while teaching the younger siblings, running the house smoothly, and caring for a blind, controlling father. We managed to win prestigious awards. Mom kept having more kids.

I suffered many kinds of abuse to extremes. I was mentally abused to the point that I didn't know what was truth and what were lies. I was emotionally abused so badly that I could never do a single thing right in my own eyes and gladly accepted the suffering that my stepdad inflicted on me. I was physically abused, by both parents and ended up in the hospital, all the while claiming that I had hurt myself in order to protect the parents god had blessed me with. And I was also sexually abused, though it took me many years to be able to admit it. I have been manipulated, lied to, used, and neglected. Those are just the facts, I'm not being sorry for myself.

I grew up and was sent to Nashville, where I met people of influence. Yes, I sang in Michael W. Smith's choir and became close to the family. I babysat for the Newboys as well as several country singer's families. Several of Bill Gaither's singers took me into their families as well, and I received piano instruction from Anthony Burger, who was possible the greatest piano player of his time. I lived with RC Sproul and Brett and Alex Harris of Rebelution, met senators, governors and congressmen, and worked closely with the Campbell family from New Zealand. I've been on news shows from CNN, FOX and Sunday Night in Australia. I've seen my name in posts across the web.

It's no wonder that growing up, I realized that my life would never be normal. Mom and dad taught me that to be peculiar was our goal, and to shine as a light for the world to follow was my purpose for being alive. While in Tennessee, I watched and learned as Christian artists lived humbly in the spotlight. As long as I was going to be extraordinary, I wanted to do it with grace and class.

Once the divorce finally took place, I began to discuss with my mom's closest friend my goals for life. In the months after I began dating Aaron, I had grown to love being 'just another student' at my small community college. I enjoyed the quiet and not-so-exciting life. It actually sounded refreshing to think I could be a farmer's wife in the country, cut off from the world (Aaron NEVER wanted to be a farmer though!) Life began to take on a new set of goals, and they didn't include taking the stage.

Funny how life turns out. When I wanted to shine, I was too miserable to. I deemed myself unworthy and shrank back in fear. When I decided I wanted to be normal, my mom began a journey which changed my life and my sibling's lives forever. I was recognized on a trip to Oceans of Fun last year by people who had seen a show I was on. At the time I saw it as a way of helping free other young women from a life of misery. Now I know I'm hardly in a place to do that. I can't help others be free if I'm not free myself.

And yet, my life is far from normal even now. I choose to share my blog with the world because my mom has chosen to make my life a display and I feel it's only fair that I get to portray who I really am. Plus writing is a very big release for me, and I love to share when my creativity is flowing. I take the criticism and the support in stride, realizing that people can only comment based on what they have been given. To live my life makes me the only critic who can fully know the truth.

I've never felt like my job was to persuade others of the truth. Simply stating it clarifies it for me, and that's all I'm looking for. I don't understand my mom or her purpose anymore. When she goes silent for long periods, it scares the heck out of me because I know she is capable of hurting me terribly. (yes, the story of how I got my scars is the literal story). Sometimes I wonder if I should feel guilty for telling the truth, because it puts my mom in a bad light sometimes, and I still feel the need to protect her. But it's not my job to protect her; she hasn't felt the need to protect me. We both have attempted to protect my siblings to some extent.

My stepdad is another story. Warren has been absent from my life since 2007, and I have never looked back. The man scarred me horribly. He was the sweetest guy at times, and most loving when he could have me crying in despair at his feet or trembling in his bed. He caused me terrible pain and I felt horrible every day that he tried to be a dad I would love and I couldn't give him the love he craved. There were so many bad dynamics to that relationship that I have preferred not to look back on it in depth, but to seek counseling as issues or memories come up, and leave it at that.

I grew up learning that family is the most important possession in the world. Without it, you might as well be dead. I also was taught to value a sound mind. Now those two things I treasure are colliding. I cannot have both in the sense I would like. But I can have a family and a sound mind, just not the family that is going crazy. I would go crazy if I kept trying to protect my siblings from their parents, protect my husband from my mom, protect my mom from herself, and protect our reputation from the world.

My greatest treasure is the husband who chooses to love me so much that he will stay by my side even when he is threatened by my family. Who respects my mom even as I scream in frustration. Who encourages me to do the things I love when I would like to give up, and who tells me every day that I have potential when my insecurities set in. His family has shown me love and acceptance that literally brings tears to my eyes whenever I think of it. They believe in me. As does my mom's friend, who is supporting mom as best she can by supporting my mom's daughter. And my family's neighbors, who continue to shower love and who cry and laugh with me and consider me one of their own. These are the people I can treasure as family, and who support a sound mind.

As I've stressed so many times before, my siblings are my biggest heartache. I have little 7-year-old brother withdrawals. When I walk by the girls section, I always think how adorable Lydia would look in that top. My brother Andrew is in my heart and my dreams. I would love to hug my passive, sweet-hearted Hazelle and express how much I admire her gentle soul. I worry about Chasse and stress over ways I could have made things better for Berea in college. Those kids could drive me insane if I let them, because my love for them is probably close to a mother's love.

It would seem that normal is not in my near future. A family, yes. A great career, indeed. And one day, perhaps everything will die down and my family will be okay with fading into the throes of routine life, and my siblings will turn out fine, and my kids will grow up happy and independant and respected. That is my wish. For now, I'm coping fairly well with where I am, and making happiness and a sound mind my achievable goal.

Oh, and before this year is out, Aaron and I are getting a puppy. It's been decided. Now I have to figure out what kind I want! :) Cocker spaniels, Blue Merle Australian Shepherds, Chorkies, and mini-collies are among my top picks. We have to start kind of small. But as long as I have a puppy I'll be ecstatic!!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Taekwondo Performance Just For You.

This was taken last Saturday at a Women's Exposition. I was showing a few takedowns for self-defense. :)

video

Friday, January 21, 2011

Inside my Head, Installment #14

Sometimes I have no idea what's going to end up in a post until I start writing. A time or two I've at down, filled the screen with my thoughts, and then had to delete them all because of how personal they turned out to be. Other times I've finished pouring out my heart and then gotten to immediately send off the work to my publisher because it was just...brilliant. And sometimes I just write a bunch of random things, switching from one subject to the next. Those are usually called Inside my Head, and they turn out to be my favorites, even though I wouldn't put them in the book.

I'd like to start putting more photos up. There have not been a lot of Kodak moments lately. Aaron and I spend our time apart at work, and when we're together we have been finishing up projects and preparing for changes. We've been working on baby-proofing the upstairs, for one thing. We've also set up an Ebay store and are making more money that way. Those things aren't photo-worthy, but I WILL get some pictures anyways.

I've stepped up on physical activity. I know I'll gain some weight int he coming months, but why not make it healthy weight only? And so, yoga, pilates, and swimming are my weekly classes. Plus Taekwondo has grown intense lately. We have 3 or 4 demos and testings coming up, and I've been asked to participate in all of them. One was last week, and another this weekend. Another green belt, Lisa, and I have learned to do our form back to back. A form is a series of blocks, kicks, and strikes that are done in a certain order like a dance. We will definitely have some pictures of that soon.

One thing I didn't realize is how hard it is NOT to drink alcohol. Whenever I'm asked on a form whether I smoke or drink, I say smoke: no. drink: socially. Not much, maybe a couple times a week if that. But the other day, I was reading and noticed vodka-infused whipped cream next to me. I decided to have a bite since it's so good, but as I popped the lid off, I suddenly remembered, no drinking anymore! ugh. Minor irritation, but that is okay. I had a can of peaches instead. Yummy!! I can't get enough fruits.

Last night my friend and I looked through pictures of my past on Facbook. I came across a photo of my mom's boyfriend John playing Aaron's Wii. As I clicked past it, I had a strange thought. When I first met John, I didn't like him. The feeling only intensified as I got to know him. Something about a 74 year old man who dates a young mother with many little girls made me uncomfortable. Plus I resented how quickly he just took the place of my step dad. He was totally my mom's rebound, coming to our house before dad had even fully moved HIS things out!

Anyways, then I remembered how I put all that behind me and focused on family. Mom begged me to accept her boyfriend, explaining how she would just die without him. And for her sake I let go of all my disgust and fears of him stealing my mother's heart. And I even gave him gifts at Christmas like he was a family member. Full acceptance.

Now I wonder why my mom couldn't do the same. Oh, she seemed to. She told me that Aaron seemed pretty great, and she encouraged the boys to hang out with him. And all the way through our legal marriage ceremony, she was supportive and sweet to him. It wasn't until three days later that she called me and told me that he had been doing horrible things to my sisters for 4 or 5 months. Um... okay? And you tell me this AFTER the wedding why? She then continued to torture him.

Now Aaron and I live a life that has been stunted because of her lack of acceptance. We watched a tv show about prisoners yesterday evening, and he quietly stated, "I could be there right now. Accused of something I would never do." It was a very sobering thought. Just as saddening is the thought of our little guy growing up unaware of his grandma and many aunts and uncles. Why punish a child that way? Sure, the Hoyt family will be there 100%. And that's more than enough. But the thought hurts me anyway. My grandma won't get to see the first child born into a married couple's lives among her grandchildren.

All because my mom can't find it in her to be a mother. It's pretty obvious that what's still eating me up doesn't affect her at all. When I see her in town, she coldly looks right through me. Sometimes she will look directly at me and laugh. What kind of reaction is that for a mother to give her oldest daughter? Where is the sadness, the support, and the love? Doesn't she sympathize that I allegedly married a creeper?

A few months ago she posted an entire article about Aaron and me on her personal blog that shocked me beyond repair. It inspired a lot of talk on various message boards. This was right before the big wedding. When it became obvious that the sympathies were running in my favor, she managed to come up with some very nasty and condemning accusations before hastily securing her blog from public view and making a poor attempt to state that it was an accident and was not meant to be read by anyone but close family. She also said that she would do her best to protect her daughters from public humiliation. Does that mean I'm not her daughter?

Oh, by the way, you can read the whole article here: http://7abchkld.blogspot.com/ . The humiliation, the sharing of deeply personal and private issues is still out there, and she obviously did not mean what she said about the blog not being meant for anyone but family.

I've met a lot of mothers in my lifetime. I've met only a few who accuse their daughters of things that are complete lies. Who can single-handedly stab their own flesh and blood in the heart and show no remorse. Who can assume that their daughter's first husband won't be their last, and actually hope for that, without getting to know their son-in-law first. Who can publicly lay bare the family's skeletons and blame it all on their child and religion, taking none of the blame for themselves. Who can treat one child as if they are golden, all the while pointing fingers and being absolutely hateful towards another.

One of them is the mother of Dave Peltzer, author of 'A Child Called It'. A diagnosed sociopath. Another one is a family friend, also recently diagnosed a narcissist. Two more are former homeschooling moms, both declared to have sociopathic and narcissist tendacies. And then my mom. Kind of a sobering thought, but true. The actions she has displayed in the previous months up until now have been nothing but condemning for her.

And I don't feel shame for suggesting such a thing of her. She would outright diagnose me with mental disorders at the drop of a hat. I only feel pain and sadness. I also feel regret for my siblings. In all honesty, I would far rather know they were at their dad's than be where they are now. Physical abuse is so much more evident than mental. The disarming charm with which my mom weaves her webs of deceit is a dangerous weapon indeed and many have fallen for it, including pastors, teachers, doctors, and best friends, and they bitterly regret it now.

I want my mom back. But then, I wonder if I ever had her.

I guess I better say here that I was a bit quick to say I would never talk about my family or my past again. It's easy to say in a moment of righteous anger. But they never leave my mind, and it's hard to write my heart when they are on it.

Anyways, moving on... I do have a surprise coming next week or so that I will be showing all of you. I've been saving up for it for a long time, and I'll finally have enough. I'm so excited that when I think of it, I can't stop smiling. :)

Disclaimer... This piece may or may not be fictional, and the people mentioned in this article represent no person, living or dead. And these disclaimers are LAME!!! But necessary.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Change Is in the Air...

:)

What I do for a living

So... On the nights when I'm working, it's not unusual to
see intoxicated people building things out of bottle tops.

Sometimes they need help shooting a game of pool. It
often takes more than one person to fix a game that a
drunk person starts.

I get to train new bartenders. This is Gary. He's my latest
trainee. This was where I was training him to
never back down.

This is how we feel after a night of kareoke. Ready
to kick back and drink our brains out...

It's a very fun job, and I love the fact that we
have a ton of fun on the job. I get paid to play games,
talk to regulars, party with newly 21-year-olds, and
get hit on by almost every guy in town.

Maybe in August I'll be too fond of my job to leave
for boot camp. Buuuuuttt.... I did make a pledge.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Why I'm not writing this week

Once in a while I hit a patch where I am too emotion-filled to write. This week has been that way. What emotions, I can't really describe fully. All I can say is, I really hope that I can get out of it soon. It's not very fun working through issues that lie under the surface.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Collision of Head and Heart

I saw my sister last night. Actually, she's the only sibling I see fairly regularly. Usually I'm out in town, running errands or hanging out with a friend, when I sense a furtive staring and rustle of the anxious energy that my little sister exudes. What follows is a weird sense of being on exhibit in a zoo, as she-and sometimes her boyfriend from the East-begins casting piercing looks in my direction and trying hard not to show it. But the second she begins to act like she's not looking my way, he shoulders tense up and she looks very stiff as she walks away from me, like she's trying too hard to pretend she doesn't care or she didn't see me.

But last night, I got to see her up close and for an extended period of time for the first time since June or July, maybe longer. She was acting the same way as she normally does, but I was finally able to observe her a little as I trained in the martial arts class we both belong to.

"She looks so sad," my friend observed to me as we stretched. I had to agree. Deep dark circles pooled under her beautiful eyes. A tired strain showed on her face as she uncertainly assessed me. Even as she tried her best to look super tough in class, I could feel the rawness of her soul in her glances my way. She's a very good student in martial arts, and I thought she focused extremely well for the amount of time that she has missed the class in the last several months. Yet at the same time I felt like she could have enjoyed it so much more had I not been there.

That thought saddens me. The whole scene touched my heart. This is my childhood best friend. I can honestly say I couldn't have survived my stepdad's abuse without my little sister there to encourage my sense of humor, positivity, and love. Many times when I was in my darkest place, she would sneak to my side and draw out the sisterly affection that helped me see hope. To see her now, so obviously missing me and at the same time trying to properly shun me, gives an ache to my soul.

I wished that I could just draw a soldier's truce for that one night and be the supportive and funny big sister that I used to be. Often when I see her in passing, I concoct some small gesture to evoke a smile, whether it's looking back with an odd expression on my face, or giving her a small peace sign as I drive by. But up close and personal, I doubted she would let down her guard. I spoke to her for about 2 seconds total last night, to help refresh her memory about a form she was learning. I saw a flicker of the same emotion I was feeling in her. Sadly, I turned back to my own form.

After class, the same friend who observed my sister's sadness remarked, "I saw the death glare she was giving you in class. That was hard to believe she could hold so much hate toward her sister." This struck a dissonant chord. The memories of last summer crashed back into my mind unrelentingly. According to a family member's affidavit, my sister had told of some really awful things that my husband apparently did to her. At first I really wanted to believe my sister, at the same time I didn't trust the person describing the incidents at all.

Later, in an attempt to make peace, my sister outright admitted that the person who wrote the accusations made nearly all of them up, and the one point that she based the whole lewd relationship on was greatly exaggerated. At that point, I was torn about what to believe. So I chose to distance myself from the whole torrid mess, and I'm very glad I did.

Sometimes, however, I can't help thinking that it didn't have to be this way. I could still be close to my sister. I think it's clear that she feels the same way, and yet is torn between loyalty to the other family member, and her struggling relationship with me. We had our issues once we left home. She often felt overshadowed by me as she tried to come into her own at college, and it often led to frustration on my part and jealousy on hers. As the older sister, I was often the forerunner in whatever she did, and then she felt compared to me. Maybe it would have been different had we gone to different schools. Maybe it was a mistake to try and help her out by encouraging her to live near me and attend the same college. I'll never know now.

So, this is the matter that most often causes my heard and my head to collide. Everything else is pretty clear at this point. My younger siblings are still innocent and I love them with all my heart and I do miss them. Three certain immediate family members have very blatantly crushed my soul, over and over again and walk away with absolutely no regrets, and I feel little remorse for the way I estranged myself from one and almost none for the other two. But my best friend, and the one sister is the one who I have not come to peace about. I wish she and her friends could come over to my place and just be normal friends. I wish I could laugh with her again. But she chose her side, and she did strike out against my husband in a spiteful way, and that lets me know I just need to stay away.

At least that's what my head says.

(Note: The statements made in this article are all opinions of the author and may or may not be a fictional story. In no way are accusations toward any person, living or dead, being made. This is a creative piece written to display raw emotion and is deemed appropriate and non-discriminating blog material.)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Don't Settle


In an attic like this one, some wind would be nice.

A dormant death is all that lies here. Tattered news articles, faded to yellow, litter the corners and cobwebs stretch across the rafters. What little light can triumph through the dirt and raindrop stained windows, stands dismally in a pale shaft on the wooden beams. Boxes scattered around reveal aging trinkets that someone wanted to preserve, once upon a time. Now, they look as though they could crumble with a touch, so fragile beneath the thick coating of dust.

Speaking of dust, it's everywhere. Over an inch deep in some places, it lies resolute in every crevice and corner it can find. It's been years since anyone crashed through the hushed ruins, stirring up the ashes of the past and making them dance in the delicate sunlight. These tiny particles have settled into a perfect and unmoving trance.

I would rather be in a desert than in that bereft room.


In this place, the earth never stops dancing. A gentle breeze inspires a whirlish devil, and off again spins the sand, happy to be alive and full of action. Unlike the Mojave, which is stifling in heat and without a breath, I picture the Atacama of Chile, where the wind moves playfully and the ground responds joyfully. For a moment it perches on a ledge to catch the next breath and it is off again, sparkling and laughing.

Wouldn't it be a better thing to always be open to such adventures? For once in your life, instead of losing sight in what is life, to catch a glimpse of something beautiful and reach out for it?

Where I grew up, I had little chance to explore. I was immediately forced to accept a certain viewpoint as the only right perspective, and failed to see the worth in any living person besides myself. I grew up accepting-albeit hating-the fact that no school was good enough for me, no friends were noble enough for my company, and that my only chance in live was to find a godly man who would support me as I raised his children and kept his home.

Cheerlessly, I trudged along the path of life, acting out a daily routine in deathlike motions. My aching heart grew heavier and heavier as I struggled to keep moving, until at last I came to a crushing standstill. Without a wind of inspiration, I could not hope to keep moving, and I became another hushed, still frame living without hope of ever really living.

But unlike others who had accepted their fate, I carried a burst of air deep within my heart. And when I frantically released it, this small wind carried me to a desert, and I could finally see the way I was supposed to live-dancing and laughing. Now I bound from adventure to adventure, only resting as long as my feet can hold still. Forever I will dance here, a piece of earth blissfully aware of life.

Never again will I return to the dead zone. Never again will I settle.