Endings and beginnings…

Kathleen and James

James and I before my choir concert. I had a solo and was so nervous

Years ago, when I was 21, I met a young man named James. I was at work at the time, working my way through college as a part time dishwasher. His mother was the bartender and he came in one evening while I worked. Soon we were dating and were engaged a few months later. By the time we’d known each other for a year, we were living together and planning a wedding.

I was pregnant with Kait on our first anniversary and pregnant with Colin on our third. We broke up on our 6th anniversary, had a brief reconciliation, then separated for good in January 2001.

Those bare bones facts don’t share the struggles and the emotional pain I went through in our marriage. They don’t show James keeping all his student loan money in his separate account instead of placing it into his¬† joint account because it was easier… leaving me stuck in the position of begging for milk money. They don’t show our frequent arguments over college when it was apparent to me he wasn’t working on school work. Arguments where he insisted he was working hard at school and I was simply over reacting. An argument he kept using until his report card was handed out. He assured me he didn’t get the lowest grades in the class, just the second lowest, as if that made things all right. I was pregnant with Kait then and needed him to work hard and actually try.

I struggled for six years, raising two babies (Kait and Colin are 22 months apart) and keeping the house together. Meanwhile James kept sliding downhill. I’d give him a bill to pay (pre internet banking). He’d walk out the door, ostensibly heading over to the bank less than a block away, then he’d come home saying he’d paid the bill. Which meant everything was fine until the next month when, whoops, our phone bill was double and James had spent all of last month’s “extra money” on computer parts. I made sure that I, for the most part, paid the bills but, with two small children, it wasn’t always feasible.

I didn’t want to break up our marriage but it’s something that takes two people in order to work and I was the only one doing the work. By the time we separated for good (we’ve since divorced) he was doing nothing around the house. The kids barely noticed his absence. The closest either of them got to wondering where he went was when Kait asked where the big pillow in the living room went. What big pillow? Oh right, James used to fall asleep on the floor instead of going to bed or sleeping on the couch. Then the kids would use him as a pillow. I reminded her that pillow was her Dad. She said, “Oh okay” and went back to playing.

He did everything in his power to ensure no child support reached us. He wouldn’t say where he lived. He got friends to buy him a phone under their names so he couldn’t be searched for. His jobs were often under the table and, if not, he only stayed for a few months so that FRO (Family Responsibility Office) couldn’t track him down. They were always a job behind him. All of that over $50.

He showed up when he wanted, sometimes twice a month but more often two or three times a year. Every single visit was fraught with drama. He left the kids alone in the Walmart McDonalds while he went outside to talk on his cellphone, leaving them unsure what to do. He ran them across a local highway at rush hour because he didn’t want to walk half a block to the crosswalk. To this day Colin absolutely will not jaywalk. It doesn’t matter if there’s no cars on the road in either direction, he has to find a cross walk or he has an anxiety attack. They were that close to getting hit.

As the kids got older, his behaviour worsened. He’d share things that would be TMI even for adults, like the time his girlfriend overdosed on sleeping medication. Instead of checking up on her or calling an ambulance, he left her in their bedroom and went out to buy two cups of coffee as an alibi. She lived but it was through no help of his. He called Children’s Aid (Child Protective Services) and told them that 13 year old Kait was beating me up (she wasn’t). He spent a year trying to convince her that he wanted her to live with him then dumped her at the end of the year, calling her “that one” and asking me to back him on banning her from his visits. There was a lot more but this post is threatening to be a novel already. It’s hard to compress 25 years.

He gave up pretty easily on Colin, which wasn’t a surprise because he’s favoured Kait since Colin was born. Which means Kait got the brunt of his erratic behaviour. Once he called her late at night to say he’d bought a bike from someone then it got stolen so he didn’t feel he needed to pay them. They were coming to get their money no matter what so if he didn’t call her by morning, chances are he was dead. Then he turned off his phone and went to bed. Kait called me in a panic and I told her to call the police. The police did a wellness check and, sure enough, he was just sleeping. She was a teenager when he pulled this.

James and Brenda

James, after his baptism into the Mormon church, and his Mom. He celebrated his baptism with a cigarette, a joint, and a drink

Colin and I have had him blocked on Facebook and phone since the fiasco in June. Kait did initially but then we found out their paternal grandmother was dying of cancer and unblocked him so updates could be passed more easily. She died in mid January.

The kids and I had a great Christmas but there was one thing we didn’t know and that was Kait’s pregnancy. She got a positive test on Boxing Day and waited until the end of the first trimester before telling anyone in the family. I went to her 12 week ultrasound and got to see the little heart beating and to her 13 week obstetrician’s appointment. Sadly we couldn’t hear the heart beat with the doppler but she was still pretty early.

I don’t know if it was the loss of his Mom or finding out about the new baby but James pretty much lost his mind. He’s been texting Kait a bunch of crap and he went one step further.ultrasound

There’s a troll website called Kiwi Farms (don’t search them, they’re nasty) where people do nothing but find blogs, mostly trans and trans positive ones, and pick the posts apart badly. I posted about them back in December 2016 when they first found my blog. I know they’re still around because they show up in my statistics once or twice a week but otherwise I ignore them. Kait sent me some screen shots from their site recently that left me shaking my head. They are still convinced that I’m forcing Colin to be trans and shoving him into my clothes, like he doesn’t have clothes of his own. He borrowed a shirt from me for Christmas because he spilt something on his good shirt and suddenly they think he’s wearing all my clothes all the time. Not to mention, I’m 5ft3in and Colin’s 6ft3in. My clothes, other than one loose tank top, don’t fit him.

Colin is as stubborn as a mule and as movable as a boulder. I’m not manipulating him, no one is. He’s not saying he’s a man, he’s made it quite clear he’s female. But, thanks to autism’s black and white thinking, he feels that if he’s going to stay the way he is without hormones, he has to use he/him pronouns and go back to Colin. Which is no big deal for us. I remember 99.9% of the time now to call him Colin and he’s gone back to Colin at the doctor’s office. Maybe he’ll change his mind down the road and maybe he won’t but he’s loved either way and he knows that.

Their Dad has found the site and has started posting there, under the name Xofkathleen, as if being my ex is the only way he defines himself. Weird. His posts are pretty much a word salad mixed with almost incomprehensible spelling mistakes.

post3

If I shrink these they become unreadable. Also 19 pages?!? Do these people have lives???

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And, yeah, that’s Kait and I talking up in the corner LOL

His texts to Kait are just as badly written and even nastier. Kait’s comments are teal.

Text 5

Text 7

Yes, he’s bragging about blocking her. Also, I’m pretty sure mefs are meds

Text 24

I’m pretty sure he won Father of the Year right here

Text 25

Eww… like Kait or I needed that mental image. I’d like to believe I came via the stork, thank you very much. And spoiler, Kait blocked her Dad, they did not, in fact talk “tomorrow”.

The simple truth is our lives are getting better. I’m doing a lot better on my medication and branching out into new programs. Colin’s happily working towards his high school graduation. Kait and her boyfriend Josh are looking for a new apartment in April, after they’ve saved up some money. Both of them are working full time. Josh is the assistant manager of a furniture store. His store’s doing a seasonal close in November and then he’s eligible for free training in a trade from EI so he might end up with an even better job come 2019. Blackie’s perked up and happily eating her food. 2018 is an amazing year for us and I’m sure it’ll keep getting better.

Kait, Kathleen, and Emma

It can’t be seen but there’s a baby in this picture ūüôā

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An update on “How not to react when your child comes out as gay”

Last summer I posted about Daniel Pierce’s coming out video, showing how horribly his family reacted when he told them he was gay. He recently posted an update to detail how much his life has improved.

Sometimes there’s good news ūüôā

Daniel Pierce

Link to article ūüôā

Pink for Leelah ~ take two…

Back in January I posted a scrapbooking page I’d attempted for Leelah Alcorn. I promised I’d do better and finally did¬†today.

Pink for Leelah2

Paper – Shabby Princess (Winter Wonderland)
Alpha – Studio Taran (Shabby Glittered Alpha)
Font – Fonts for Peas (Pea Mily Mix and Pea Hello Two AM)
Elements – Studio Flergs

I tried to make it as sparkling, pink, and feminine as I could manage, for a girl who was never allowed to have¬†enough of any of those in her life. Rest in power Leelah, you haven’t been forgotten.

Invisible scars…

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It was a gorgeous fall afternoon. Jeremy and I were on our favourite hiking trail, standing on a wooden bridge overlooking golden aspens and russet maples. It was beautiful. I wasn’t happy.

I held my cellphone against¬†my ear and listened while Jeremy fidgeted impatiently beside me. Emma chattered away about her amazingly wonderful boyfriend Brent¬†and¬†I bit my tongue. Hard. He was the only person she ever talked about; those days he seemed to be her whole life. They’d met on TeenSpot, a site Emma had begged to join a few years earlier. She was old enough… she’d be careful. I reluctantly agreed.

TeenSpot was¬†a disappointment for Emma. She’d hoped to find friends but all the girls who messaged her were looking for a lot more than friendship and considered Emma’s polite refusals to be a challenge. Instead she made friends with two teenage boys, Aric and Brent, then eventually dated both of them.

At first, I’d been more concerned about Aric. According to his profile he lived maybe an hour away¬†and the kid had enough drama in his life to fuel a dozen soap operas.¬†Emma wasn’t ready to hear that any of it was fiction. Our relationship was more fragile than bone china and just as thin. Emma was bouncing between her grandparents’ house and group homes while dealing with the aftermath of parental alienation syndrome. She wasn’t sure who she could trust… she wasn’t sure¬†if¬†she could trust.

Eventually Aric faded away and she started talking more to Brent. At first this was a relief. Brent was two years older and lived in Ohio, which meant he wasn’t able to give a friend $40 in gas money and stop by for a visit. The stories were more normal too. He lived with his parents and a younger sibling. His bedroom was in the basement so he could have some privacy. He went to high school and worked part time. But then he started talking about coming to Canada for college. My parents laughed it off, claiming they were just being silly and had no idea how much it would cost for him to attend college¬†here or the logistics of even applying. I didn’t like that he was talking about moving to be closer to Emma. I also didn’t like that his last name was the same as ours. It’s not an uncommon last name, it could have just been a coincidence, but it also crossed my mind that he’d gone with our name simply so he could remember which identity he’d created for her. There was no way I could tell that to Emma.

On that particular fall day Emma was talking about her birthday, almost a full year away. Brent was planning on attending and Emma was ecstatic. He was her rock… the person who meant the most to her… the person who kept her alive. He was one of the few people the group home would let her talk to in a crisis. I wasn’t. She reacted badly to me when she was upset but Brent could calm her down. All this becomes more ironic when you read Emma’s blog post.

I called my parents when I got home and was once again assured it was nothing. He needed a passport, a reliable vehicle, and gas money plus we had months ahead of us.

Those months faded away and Emma still talked to and about Brent almost continuously. My parents told her that he could sleep in their tent trailer while he was down. He laughed and told Emma that must mean they trusted him. She disagreed. The trailer was right under my parents’ bedroom window and they were light sleepers. Then I told her that my rule for them being allowed to meet was that I had to be there. Not right there but myself and my friend P would be seated in¬†the restaurant within view. We wouldn’t be able to hear them, so she didn’t have to worry about us eavesdropping, but we would be able to see them. Emma saw no problem with this. Brent disappeared.

He didn’t surface for¬†several weeks, not until Emma updated her Facebook page to say she was single. He hadn’t responded to a single phone call, Facebook message, email, or text but that one profile change had him contact her immediately.¬†He¬†regaled¬†her with a tale of a horrific car accident that left him with two broken legs, a concussion, second and third degree burns, and a bunch of other injuries. A very convenient accident and an even more convenient reappearance. And, just like Aric and his wildly unbelievable tales, I couldn’t find a single mention of this horrific accident online in his local paper.

Emma called me a short while later, her voice a mixture of anger, fear, and uncertainty. He’d told her he was working stocking shelves at a local grocery store, a perfectly normal job for a 19 year old student but then one day he started talking about his job working at a plastic factory, as if he’d been there for ages. Then she noticed his Yahoo ID had a totally different last name.

A friend of mine had bragged earlier¬†that he loved to snoop online and could find anything. I asked Emma for everything she had on Brent and sent it to him. Then¬†I sat at my computer with Emma on one Facebook chat and my friend on another. She’d just messaged¬†me to see if we’d found anything when¬†my friend’s messages started popped up. Thirty-six years old… 275lbs… married father… new baby. I¬†was¬†relaying messages to Emma¬†and consoling her at the same time. I knew it was hard on her at the time but it wasn’t until I read her latest blog post that I realized how hard.

A short while later we were at the police station, Emma’s laptop in hand. She was terrified to let it go, it was personal and private. The police officer scrolled through Emma’s saved messages and sighed. The man was definitely manipulating her, it was obvious with just the few messages he’d read. But he was a sneaky asshole and had managed to stay on *this* side of the law. They had nothing to charge him with. Emma was sixteen years old and they hadn’t done anything. She’d refused to send pictures so they couldn’t charge him with pornography even though he’d asked her while she was underage. But they’d see what they could do.

As for the rest of what happened, I’ll leave that to Emma to explain because she can explain it a lot better than me: I never thought it’d happen to me.

I fucking hate how predators go after the weakest kids… the ones who are the most vulnerable and easiest to scar.

I just don’t understand people…

Some of you might not realize that Jeremy came out as bisexual last summer. As far as I know he’s currently identifying as straight but sexual orientation is a very prickly subject with Jeremy and one we discuss rarely. He also identifies as gender nonconforming and not as 100% male. So far he doesn’t identify as trans but he also hasn’t sorted out his gender yet. This means I’ve already been through a couple of instances where he’s “come out” and am sure I haven’t reached the last of them yet.

Jeremy can drive me right round the bend. As I write this, he’s sitting in his pyjamas in the living room. The dishes he was supposed to wash yesterday are in the sink and he’s dragged a tangle¬†of computer cords into the bathroom (???). He’s also dumped a bag of electonics across the couch. So he’s not exactly in my good books right now.¬†I just got home from work though and the mess can wait for a brief time.

That being said, my irritation with him has to do with chores. Not his pjs… or his perfume… or him eyeing some naked guy on the beach at camp. And even when I’m joking about punting him off our balcony, I’m sorting out what to buy him for Christmas this year and contemplating school lunches. The kid’s not going anywhere (except hopefully to take out the recycling).

I saw this today…

I don’t understand people sometimes; I really don’t. No matter what that mother said, this isn’t love or support and it certainly isn’t family.

Also there’s been a GoFundMe account set up for Daniel to help him with living expenses.