Cutting

Growing up was rough. I can’t describe some of the things our family went through. Up until a couple of years ago I had recurring dreams about my dad attempting to commit suicide in my childhood home. Even though, in reality, I was never home the multiple times he tried to kill himself, but the fact alone that he tried it was enough to scar me along with the other horrible memories of physical and emotional abuse. He was so wicked, he’d explained me how to effectively slit my wrists before I’d yet mastered long division.

The first time I cut myself I was 10 years old and my grandmother was picking on me for not being “thin enough”. I was a pretty athletic kid. Always have been a fit person:) –but she thought I needed to be “less developed” and more like another cousin of mine who was blond, had green eyes, was rail thin and had an A-cup. Anyway, I was frustrated and just started scratching the back of my hand. Tiny tiny thing. Still have the scar, same size as a little scar from when I had the chicken pox. I’m talking a millimeter or 2.

It was instinct. It was almost automatic. I was frustrated that she’d embarrassed me in front of other family members and it just kind of happened. I realized what I’d done later, when my skin started to burn. Not long after I started cutting (which had absolutely NO “name” at the time because I had NEVER heard of or seen such a thing before and wouldn’t know of it officially until I was about 13), I developed an eating disorder…

Being a teenager was even harder. More of my parents’ arguing and I couldn’t find a safe place to be away from the yelling or the criticism or the gossiping. So when I just couldn’t take it anymore, I cut. It got easier when I found a razor blade. Until then, scratching away at my skin with my fingernails left large marks that I had to hide all the time (ie: thighs, stomach). I’m pretty fair-skinned, so my scars just kind of disappeared. But I know they’re there. No one knows how I carved away at my abdomen, but I know.

Even scientific excuses for why kids cut explain why cutting with razor blades feels instantly better. Maybe, yes, it’s the endorphins or whatever… to a child who is so angry with the world, ANYTHING that can make the pain go away and bring a sense of relief is worth the effort, even if it means a drop of blood or two. Really, cutting with a razor doesn’t always produce much blood, AT ALL… it’s frighteningly easy. Think of a paper cut! Does anyone see why it is so difficult for anyone to stop if they have fallen into the routine of cutting when they’re upset? -it takes an amazing amount of willpower. Not only that, it takes a hell of a lot of self-esteem.

I agree with the article. it’s exactly what I was telling my husband days ago. Cutters don’t [usually] want to die. It’s a way of coping so that we’re not driven to suicide. Finding, somehow, faith in oneself to overcome the unimaginable. The horrific memories some of us carry with us that, even when we have the chance to talk it to death (like with a family member, friend, counselor or therapist), no one can really understand what we saw, how we felt or how it still affects us despite the passing of time.

I am 22 now. I didn’t really enjoy life until recently. I didn’t have a relationship with my mom (probably not as much her fault as I thought it was when I was a kid) until I turned 18 or 19. I have a 13 month old daughter and suffered a lot after she was born because of a particularly traumatic birthing experience. Feeling “old” in comparison to my peers, being stuck at home all the time, stress over finances and other petty things all drain my energy… and it is a continuous struggle to not fall into old habits. Any parent can tell you that when kids are small, it’s kinda hard to remember when was the last time you took a shower or ate a meal in peace. Finding “me time” comes right about now…. 11-something at night when the baby is asleep, after I’ve cleaned the house and prepared my hubby’s meal if he’s working graveyard and leaving at midnight. There are days when it’s nearing 6pm and I try to remember whether I managed to eat a cup of cereal in the morning or if the opportunity had passed me by.

I told my husband last night, “Babe, honestly, after years of eating disorders, I don’t really know when I’m hungry. I know when I’m starving, but not when I’m hungry.” And I still struggle with the urge to cut, even though it’s been a couple months since I made a tiny mark.

But I’m telling you, even if you’re children have been “cured” or if you think they’re doing ok after treatment, love and support will help assure them that they don’t need to revert to old habits. Don’t pick fights if they forgot to take out the trash or got a C on a test that you know they could’ve Aced. Is it really worth an argument? Let your kid become a musician instead of pushing for a career in something they care nothing about (and let’s face it, it’s almost impossible to get a job anywhere, doing anything for anyone, degree or no degree->>>> all the more reason to let them do their best at what they like). I’m not saying that kids don’t need chores or responsibilities. On the contrary, they need to feel that they fulfill a purpose in their own household and in YOUR life.

—And if you suspect cutting, burning, whatever… don’t scream and yell and tell them how stupid it is. You’ll be alienating your child more than you can ever imagine. Pouring salt over the proverbial wound is far more literal to a child with self-esteem issues and a harmful habit.

Children clearly do not come with an instruction manual or a how-to guide that goes step-by-step through childhood, adolescence and young adulthood. Good Lord, if I could just get my daughter to be potty trained, I think I’d be on top of the world! … but speaking from the point of view of a girl who just needed peace of mind at home and couldn’t get it, kids often don’t need much to be happy. Maybe they need a sense of security, at school or at home. No child is identical to the next, even if they’re both cutters. Even if your relationship seems great, bullies at school are ruthless. I was nearly thrown into traffic by a couple of girls who didn’t like me just because I had long hair… and parents have to pick up the pieces and help their children cope with the overwhelming problems they’re facing.

Listen to your kids and hopefully, with time, they’ll realize they have somewhere and someone to turn to, rather than becoming introvert once more. Easy process? HELL NO. Worth your time, effort and patience? -YES!!!!!

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Norma Lopez

I understand the frustration that a lot of people are showing, including the lynching comments here. It’s not a threat… We’re afraid.

Moreno Valley was a relatively quiet town until everyone and their mother moved here during the housing boom. Even in the “nice” areas, ie: the neighborhood where the search was done, which isn’t even close to “the ghetto”, we’re not safe.

I guess growing up in a small town (in comparison to LA or even our sister city, Riverside), we never think these things can happen here. As a middle schooler, I used to take a shortcut through a similar field after school and I would meet my dad and brother at the other end of the field ( Anyone remember the corner of Perris and Iris when the bike jumps were still there and Carl’s Jr, KFC and Del Taco weren’t around yet?). I knew there were risks, but I never could have imagined.

Residents of Moreno Valley want this guy caught so that, for example, I can start playing in the front yard with my daughter or so that I can walk to the park with my husband and not be afraid. Rational fears? Perhaps they’re not, but what alternative do we have? Be afraid or be angry. I prefer to be angry.

Norma, you lived far too short a life, like many other children killed before they’ve had their fair shot at going to college, starting a career and beginning a family with a loving spouse. I hope that from the second your killer abducted you, God took your spirit into his arms and spared you the suffering that your dad said was inflicted on you. I pray that you knew that YOU were apart from your body, safe with God and that He assured you that your killer would be found and prosecuted accordingly. Norma, watch over your family, friends, the police and our poor city as we grieve for you and as we try to find the strength to figure out who your killer is and bring him to justice. Norma, pray that we have the strength to face your murderer with enough courage to prosecute him in a court of law. We are weak, as a city. We want to bring justice for you, our sister, daughter and friend. Pray that we are able to do so as the law says we must. Pray for us, Norma, through these endeavors so that no other children or women (or men, for that matter) suffer at the hands of your killer (or any other demon who wants to take away our sense of security). Norma, be our angel at this time… and we will do our best to bring you justice.

>>>>> Benefit concert scheduled for Sept. 18th 11am-5pm at Moreno Valley City College (formerly Riverside Community College Moreno Valley Campus) @ 16130 Lasselle Street, Moreno Valley.

Tickets for the Never Again benefit concert remembering Norma Lopez will be available beginning Friday at the following locations, with an additional 250 tickets available at the door on the day of the show:

Moreno Valley Chamber Of Commerce, 12625 Frederick St., Suite E-3, Moreno Valley, 951-697-4404
El Cajon Musical & Cellulars, 25115 Sunnymead Blvd, #G1a, Moreno Valley, 951-243-1444

Sophi’s Musica Latina, .25211 Sunnymead Blvd., Moreno Valley, 951-243-9312

Sound-Tech Audio Production, 24300 Country Road, Moreno Valley, 951-243-6666

Musik Plant, 6930 Indiana Ave., Riverside, 951-683-7738

CJ’s Music, 23898 Sunnymead Blvd., Moreno Valley, 951-242-6005

poor excuse

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38734910/

Ok, I know motherhood can be frustrating. Good Jesus, there are times I wish Emma would just take a nap (she has never been a sleeper, even as a newborn); However, there is a drastic and clear line that is crossed when a parent kills a child. Some may say, “It was postpartum depression” or drugs or that the economy made it too difficult to cope with bills and 2 babies.

This WOMAN was NOT A MOTHER.

A mother will find a way to make things work, even if food is scarce. She will be sure that her children are loved, despite a shortage of income and resources.

–And I don’t see anyway that this woman can blame depression. Last I checked, the point is that ONE is suffering, while the baby is not concerned about the mother’s feelings (duh, because it’s an infant!). Ending ONE’S OWN suffering is a surefire way to resolve it. BUT LEAVE THE POOR BABY ALONE.

I understand, perfectly well what it means to suffer from postpartum depression. But there is no sense in this. The woman featured in that article was not human. Depression or not, she took the power of God into her own hands and ended the lives of two innocent babies.

In most cases, I let people argue over death penalty vs life sentences, except in the case of murders or rapists of children.

Gandhi said that an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind. Well, as far as I’m concerned, we’re all better off if we never see this woman again. Getting rid of such poisonous people is a quick fix. In reading many of the comments on the article, I know that there are many people who believe she should be treated for her psychosis. Empathy for woman who suffer from severe depression related to motherhood STOPS when she kills her children. DONE. NOT RELEVANT ANYMORE.

Shaquan Duley, Andrea Yates, Diane Downs and other such women:

YOUR CHILDREN ARE SAFE, AWAY FROM YOU. Believers in God or not, EVERYONE on the planet can agree that             wherever these poor babies are, they MUST be better off there than they were living in your care.

And another note:

Next time, call the cops, let them take your kids somewhere SAFE, and shoot yourself instead of them.

The lack of conscience. A blatant lack of humanity.

Fellow mothers:

We must overcome the “Baby blues”, postpartum depression and overall dissatisfaction with the doldrums that constitute every single day. A sample everyday schedule: wake up, change diaper, make breakfast (for the baby, not yourself), clean, change diaper, make a bottle, clean while baby plays, make lunch (again, just for the baby), clean, change diaper, make a bottle, do laundry while baby plays (and screams because he/she wants you to play, too), start dinner, clean, change diaper, make a bottle, pray that the kid finally goes to sleep… and attempt to stay awake long enough to take a shower. -Maybe that’s just my day. Currently, I am not working and my next college class doesn’t start for a few more weeks, so life is pretty much easy right now, but it doesn’t change the fact that taking care of an infant, toddler or older child can be overwhelming.

Seriously, for those parents whose children are already elementary school-age or older, when your babies where tiny, what’s the longest you went WITHOUT A SHOWER?????????? Even our most basic human needs like eating, peeing, showering are all secondary (or tertiary or lower on the list) to the “Supermom” standards we put ourselves up to.

Common list of priorities: The baby’s needs, the husband’s needs, household maintenance, school, work, then ME.

Yeah, that pretty much sucks. But given the right support system and attempting to just stay positive, maybe it’s all possible. Not as perfect as we would like, but still kind of possible! Maybe the dishes have been sitting in the sink for the better part of the day- WHATEVER! -and, hm, I could volunteer to bake cupcakes for a meeting, but, um, NO! -My hubby would probably LOOOOOVE if I could make milanesas once a week, but that’s a couple of hours of work, so, maybe I can hold those off until a peaceful day when he’s home and can take care of Emma or help me cook.

I would be assuming that every woman in the world has a wonderful husband like Paul. I know this isn’t the case. I know that the responsibilities of a single mom are beyond the reach of my imagination. I cannot help but wish that every woman with a child had a great guy by her side who would be continuously supportive, loving and compassionate to her feelings. Maybe if the world of a mother was less lonely, baby blues and depression wouldn’t exist. This is not to say that every woman with a supportive husband is above postpartum depression, but there have been days that I needed to be saved and I had someone to turn to. It might not make EVERYTHING better because, as I’ve repeatedly mentioned, parenthood is challenging, but knowing that I’m not alone means the difference.

I commend every person who lives as a functional single parent. As for those who are not functional, who can’t manage to properly feed their kids out of a lack of priorities (ie: 1 pack of cigarettes=1 gal of milk or 24 oz of bread or 3 doz eggs), or who can’t show the affection and attention children need to be nurtured and learn their own self-worth, those “parents” are subject to punishment. An eye for an eye is more than fair. As a matter of fact, it may be too fair.

Parents who abuse their children out of frustration (because their kids cramp their style or bills are too much to handle) should have considered their actions more carefully before getting knocked up.

Ask yourself, “Do I have it in me to raise a baby on my own if this guy bails? Can I find a way to feed her and clothe her? Can I be a loving mom and NOT spoil her childhood with beatings and screaming?” Every parent should ask themselves exactly that. I know I wish my dad had thought more carefully about how he treated each of his kids, or either of his wives during his first 2 marriages. Some people are beyond thinking of others and become more easily caught up in their own feelings. Kids are not at fault for having been brought into the world. They just want to be happy.

Child molesters, rapists, and murders deserve worse than life sentences or death. Torture should be provided in an adequate and substantial doses. Removing every strand of hair one-by-one, dipping fingers and toes into sulfuric acid, being placed immediately into a temperature controlled room which begins at a chilly temp cold and long enough for appendages to become frost-bitten and then raise the temperature rapidly enough for the feet and hands to defrost, causing excruciating pain. Let’s not even give them Tylenol.  I don’t know about you, but this sound like a great place to start. If these and other such mothers and fathers had known such grave punishments awaited them, I can nearly promise that they would have just killed themselves and perhaps let the children live.

http://www.bakersfield.com/news_alerts/x140305323/Friend-says-man-accused-of-biting-out-sons-eyes-was-off-medications-hearing-voices

http://www.sott.net/articles/show/170919-Psychopathic-Mother-Elizabeth-Diane-Downs-imagination-runs-free

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/07/26/national/main1837248.shtml

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/111006dnccodiaz.1fa317ed.html

http://www2.tbo.com/content/2010/aug/12/father-girlfriend-held-without-bail-after-toddlers/news-breaking/

The day before my wedding, my best friend told me “You think you’re so busy just because you have a baby”. Needless to say, she’s not my best friend anymore. What must she have thought my life was like? Peaches? Cake 24/7? Like going to Disneyland EVERYDAY?! -Sure. I’ll go with that.

NOT.

Since I am waiting for the fall semester to begin and I am no longer working for the Census Bureau, I spend my entire time focused on Emma. And boy, does she give me a run for my money. Parenting a toddler means being a toddler! It means playing with stuffed animals, reading tiny books, singing songs, dancing for pretty much any reason, and somehow trying to keep up with all the grown-up stuff, too. Parenthood, now, is a constant trial and error. Constantly trying to figure out what this little person in front of me wants because, well, duh, she can’t talk yet! One day, nectarines may be her favorite, but the following day, the entire bowl goes straight to the floor and I have a purple-faced baby in front of me crying hysterically because, well, I guess she wasn’t in the mood for nectarines.

Ok. Sorry. My fault: /

During the spring semester, I took 16 units (all major-related. no “mickey mouse” stuff) and worked between 30-35 hours per week for the US Census from about April 26 until the end of June. We joked that if we could survive working for the Census, we could pretty much handle any employer after that. My days began at 4 or 5 am and didn’t end until 1 or 2 am. I dropped off my husband at work in the morning, went to work in my assignment area, went to school, went home to be with the baby, picked up my husband, dropped him off at home, went back to work and returned home. I spent as much time as possible with my daughter and husband, did homework after they fell asleep, and began my day over again. I managed nearly-perfect grades, all except for TWO professors who forgot to curve the grades because of blatant and irresponsible errors on our online exams. Seriously, what a ridiculous problem. One would hope that professors would, at the very least, CHECK their exams before subjecting their students to the process.

Anyway, back to the wedding and my “best friend”. I don’t see where she got the impression that my life was so simple. Her biggest responsibility: $400 in rent every month. —-> any parent can attest that $400 is the bare minimum spent on formula, diapers, baby food and other essentials in a month. Add on top a car payment ( a commitment made when the economy and job opportunities were brighter), health insurance costs, medical bills (from the pesky c-section mentioned in my earlier blog), rent, car insurance, phones, and whatever is left for one’s own groceries.

Yes,  I exaggerate how troublesome it is being a young parent, good student and loyal employee. This is just life. I am not special for any of my efforts. I don’t want to be handed a cookie. I don’t even like sweets. What I needed was my friend to be there for me, to believe in me and to understand that my life is no longer as simple as it was when we met a number of years ago. I always respected her and looked up to her as a role model for her efforts to raise both her brother and sister given that their parents basically abandoned her with the responsibility. Since her siblings moved on to begin their own lives last year, it seems as though she’s forgotten how stressful it is, even just coordinating who has the car! Her life, now, is entirely self-centered, as it should be for any 22-year old without a husband and kids. She must only concern herself with 1) waking up in the morning, 2) working a part-timer or two to make ends meet, 3) buying health food, 4) going to class when it’s in-session and 5) going to the gym. As a parent, even just waking up in the morning is a 12-step process.

In all, my dear friend, I see that your faith in me far exceeds what I ever could have imagined. Thank you for your endless support, love and compassion. My life is so much better because I have you in my life, you bitter-sweet, heartless, ice queen. I pray that you marry well and that your future husband will be even half as loving as my own husband is toward me and Emma. If you find yourself to be not-so-lucky, thank your lucky stars that you WON’T have a friend LIKE YOURSELF putting you down while you try to make the best of your life.

Enjoy your pretentious friends who think exactly as you do, are concerned with no one other than themselves, and, sweetheart, cross your fingers that they’ll continue to be there for you through thick and thin, despite the karma that MUST be heading your way.

No one has the right to speak to me the way you did, much less my maid of honor.

Glad I replaced you 21 hours before the ceremony. Too bad I didn’t remove you entirely from the wedding party after you forgot about the rehearsal Friday night and told me you were “too busy to remember”. Maybe I would have spared myself the heartache the morning of the wedding from your bitching and complaining about your hair and later trying to forfeit your dress to one of the other girls’ sisters.

Good riddance.

experience

During the weeks before Emma was born, I worried that she would not place herself in the proper position to be born. I felt her little feet in my right ribs, then my left ribs and her butt here and there… eventually, she turned head down and stayed there. but she decided to face the wrong way. It took the midwife 3.5 hrs of pushing to figure it out bc she was so damn busy with other births. She came into my room twice during the pushing stage. Once to ask the nurse why my baby wasn’t born yet and if I was a bad pusher and also examine me with such cruelty that I cried from the pain she was causing (added onto the pain in my hips and the pressure from Emma being in my pelvis). The second time the midwife came in, she examined me harshly (again) and told me to stop pushing. She told the nurse something she thought I wouldn’t understand but did although I was nearly delusional from pain and exhaustion, and said I needed a c-section because Emma was face up instead of down and there was no way in hell she was going to be able to flip her (because of how long I’d been pushing) and forceps/vacuum wouldn’t work because of the simple logistics of it all. btw, I had agreed to pitocin after about an hour of pushing just to get my contractions closer together, but I can’t begin to describe the pain I felt when they FORGOT to turn off the little meter thing hooked up to my IV when they were preparing the paperwork, etc, for the surgery. Having such strong contractions every minute and being told I could not push… It’s not that I didn’t want to obey their orders, but GOOD LORD have you ever heard of FIGHTING NATURE???????…. and a pain in my hips from the back of the baby’s head pressing on my nerves had me nearly hysterical….

needless to say, my entire birth plan went straight to hell in a handbasket. It’s been a year and a couple weeks. I still regret ever letting that midwife treat me with such cruelty. I tried complaining to the hospital, but no one listened. I had never felt more useless. And the pain, my lord, the pain was unbelievable. Because of how far down Emma was (if the nurse pulled my *skin* enough she and my husband could see the top of Emma’s head), the c-section was more traumatic due to tearing down into the cervix—my chances for a VBAC in the future are less than 10%. I know most stats are rigged so women have quick and easy c-sections and the docs can go on their vacations or end their shifts on time or whatever, but less than 10%. Most women are 60-90%.

wtf? why me? It’s been a year and I can’t help but ask myself this. I know plenty of women suffer through labor and delivery. Death is the worst toll. Knowing I was fortunate enough to have a healthy baby and a family who sat in the waiting room for 12 hours supporting me gives me solace. But looking at that damn scar from hip to hip. Touching the skin, and experiencing the nauseating feeling of numbness and pain, still. Every time my husband wants to get close to me, if he so much as grazes the scar within 3-4 inches in either direction, the tingling and aching causes me to shut down emotionally until I can’t bear to think of being close to him. I can’t wear normal-people underwear because of the pain below my belly button. All clothing is pretty much a hassle. Random instances of pain remind me that I was robbed of giving birth. I was unable to do the one thing that my body was created to do. Although I normally consider myself a rational and educated person, when Emma misbehaves, cries, or reaches for someone else’s arms, i wonder if it is because I didn’t hold her until about 1.5hrs after she was born, maybe more. At all the classes we went to at Kaiser, they stressed the importance of the “Golden Hour” skin-to-skin contact, nursing, bonding.

I feel inhuman. I feel like I am not a woman. As far as I’m concerned I might as well be an amoeba. How can I be close to my husband feeling so pathetic and useless? I feel like damaged goods. Too gross to be pretty. This jagged cut across my abdomen makes me the Bride of Frankenstein. Perhaps, if I’m lucky, partially human-like. I hide behind unflattering clothing and my prescription glasses so people can’t really see how hideous I am post-baby.

Do I regret what I went through to have Emma? -No. Am I angry that the bitch who was supposed to help me deliver was a heartless demon? -Yes. Does how I feel about how I was treated have a lot to do with my feelings, even now? -YES. She questioned my ability and willingness to push the baby out. She got upset when she came to see me the first time, abused the hell out of me, got frustrated, threw her gloves on the floor and left the room to deliver the child of a mother more deserving of her time and attention. I wasn’t worth an extra ounce of kindness or patience. Much less was I worth an extra moment of her precious time so that her examination was less frightening and more conclusive. If she had been competent enough to figure out Emma’s position in my uterus, perhaps I might have been spared the pitocin, the incision tear or the delirium from the pain through the L&D stage.

I’m not whining about my daughter’s birth. I would do anything for her. What drives me absolutely crazy is the way that the damn midwife thought I didn’t deserve her time. The way she looked at me like, “Dumb little girl… Delivery is hard work so start working.” As if I wasn’t trying. As if I wasn’t pushing 4 times for every contraction. As if the chart couldn’t even graph high enough to measure how hard I was actually pushing. She thought I was wasting her time. When she figured out what was wrong, all of the sudden it wasn’t my fault, but the damage was done.

A suggestion: Remember that a woman is never more vulnerable than during childbirth. Don’t go into the medical field, much less obstetrics, if you can’t be humane.