Carrying Love in Her Trunk

 

This is me, Mary(morphosis) with my dear, dear, Laura.  Look how much I adore her.

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There are a ba-ga-jillion-zillion reasons why I am crazy about her.

To be specific, I think that she hung the moon.

She is my long-lost cousin, dearest pal, and confidante. She is compassionate and loving, but man, she will set me straight if I need a kick in the butt. She ALWAYS has time for me. Despite her softer side, she is super opinionated and is a strong activist.  She is a force.

Yes, the same blood runs through our veins. Yup, she and I are survivors of sexual abuse by the same predator: our grandfather.  And indeed, we have the same nose- see?

So, yeah, I am biased.

But Laura.

Laura just sends love out into the WORLD. To me. To her kids. To her “Favorite,”  and on and on.

Every. Single. Day.

Laura was leaving me after a visit. I opened her trunk to help her load her bags and started moving stuff around.  Look what I found.

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Me, “What is this?”

Laura, (nonchalantly) “Oh. I just carry that around in my car in case I see someone who may be homeless or in need.  I pull over and offer them what I have in this bin.”

Shoot. Me. Dead.

That is carrying love in your boot.

Dionne Warwick said it best. “What The World Needs Now Is Love Sweet Love.”

BLESS.  Love you, Laura.

That’s All.

 

 

Splitting Hairs?

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This morning I opened my daily email from “The Week” to catch up on the “10 things I need to know today.”

I was gobsmacked when I read the following.

5. California bill sparked by Stanford rape case passes
California lawmakers on Monday passed legislation to close a legal loophole that let a former Stanford University swimmer, Brock Turner, receive a sentence of just six months in jail after his conviction of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman. Prosecutors had asked for him to serve six years, because there was no penile penetration. The bill now goes to Gov. Jerry Brown (D), who had not indicated whether he plans to sign it. Turner, 21, is scheduled to be released from Santa Clara County Jail on Sept. 2. [Reuters, New York Daily News]

Yep. You read it right.

“Prosecutors had asked for him to serve six years, because there was no penile penetration.”

This is maddening. Anyone who buys into it is misinformed, ingenuous and naive.

Is sexual assault less evil if there is “no penile penetration?” NO.  Rape is rape.  Rape is penetration by ANY object.  Furthermore, one does not need to have any penetration whatsoever for sexual assault to be immensely scarring, the aftermath wreaking havoc for the victim.

This topic warrants serious consideration, Everyone.

Occasionally, when people hear about my abuse, their first question is, “Well, did he actually (fill in the blanks)”  This is a headscratcher. It is also intensely irritating.

Whether he did or did not, did that qualify the degree of sexual assault? Does it make it less horrific?  Does it lighten the magnitude of trauma? NO.  And furthermore, who is judging?

The details in no way quantify the impact and aftermath.

Laura and I often hear survivors in our workshops (and everywhere, for that matter) preface a statement by saying, “Well, my abuse was not as bad as yours…”

No, No, No Everybody.

Laura and I consistently interrupt saying, “This is not the hardship Olympics.” There is no competition.

Trauma is trauma. Abuse is abuse; There is no yardstick, no measure, no quantification.

That clip this morning unfettered my passion around this issue.  Penetration vs. no penetration does not define the crime nor the punishment.

Judge Aaron Persky clearly, is unfit to preside.  His ignorant, grossly lenient and frankly,  absurd decision to sentence Brock Turner to six months in jail, makes a mockery of the capability of our justice system to protect victims of assault and rape.

Say It, Survivor (sayitsurvivor.com) continues our charge in educating about abuse and what we can do to try to prevent it.  The outcome of the Stanford Rape Case is an example of what not to do- it is a worthwhile and heartbreakingly infuriating lesson.

That’s All

 

 

C’mon, Everybody. TIE ONE!

Friends-

April is Child Abuse Prevention month.

Laura and I, Co-Founders of Say It, Survivor, were honored to be part of the following PSA.  Many thanks to The Mama Bear Effect for inviting us to participate in delivering this all-important message. You inspire us with your constant commitment to children and families.

Friends, won’t you join us this April 22 in the TIE ONE TO END ABUSE CAMPAIGN?

Wear an ugly tie or any tie, to show that the only thing uglier than child abuse is a society that ignores it. Please encourage everyone you know to do the same!

Let’s continue to stand together. Love.

That’s All.

AFTER, “Before He Wrote It Down”

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My Dear Friends,

Today marks the one year anniversary of my first blog post, “Before He Wrote It Down.”

Today marks the one year anniversary of my first MARYMORPHOSIS blog post.

What a remarkable 365 days it has been!  Thank you, EVERYBODY for bearing witness to my stories, for reaching out, relating, extending compassion and for sharing your stories and comments with me.

It has been humbling.

THERE ARE SO MANY OF US, SURVIVORS!

Laura and I were together for 3,547 days as children. (her birthday until we were separated)

We missed 11,775 days of our lives together.

Laura and I have been reunited for exactly 491 DAYS.

I have my BEST FRIEND BACK!

Love to all of you who have been there in our journey and join hands with us in yours.

That’s All.

 

https://marymorphosis.com/2015/03/31/before-he-wrote-it-down/

 

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Remembering Sister

Today I learned that one of my favorite teachers has passed.

I was blessed to attend an outstanding, private, all-girls high school; Ursuline Academy in Dedham, Massachusetts.

I have referenced my school in several posts, including “Perfectionista!”  I specifically talk about Sister Ursula (Sister)in my post, “eye lock

In “eye lock,” Sister Ursula was the nurturing, caring and perceptive teacher who clearly saw through my “stiff-upper-lip-ish-ness” in homeroom on that cold December day. It was the day before my nana died.

As mothers, we have an inherent capacity to identify and detect our children’s needs, fear, sorrow and happiness. We know when something is off with our kids. We can FEEL it.

Sister Ursula was not a biological mother, but I observed on many occasions her innate ability to express that maternal love to her students especially when they were troubled. She extended her love and genuine warmth without appeal. She just knew what to do.

She did this for me, and I will never forget it.  She responded to her maternal sense toward me in her homeroom, first period,  in Latin 2.

It was the day before my nana died. I knew it was imminent. Although I kept my fear and sadness it to myself (without success, apparently,) she sensed my sorrow and despair within the first minutes of class.

After our opening prayer, she paused, looked at me with her head tilted in compassion and asked, “Mistress Mary, what troubles you so?”

I burst into tears. I sobbed in her embrace, and she just held me and comforted me as mothers do. My classmates looked on silently and respectfully with kindness and compassion. I told her that Nana was not expected to live.

That was correct. She died the next day.

Last May, I attended my 3oth high school reunion which, in itself, is gross and mean and hurts my feelings. Yes, thirty.

Despite the sparse attendance from our class, there was a remarkable connection between us. It was as if we had not lost a moment.  Ursuline is a special and unique school whose students have an uncanny bond as sisters. It is a bond which transcends time and does not discriminate concerning graduating year.

Sister Ursula, along with numerous other teachers, both religious and lay, made our experience one of learning, love of learning and just plain love.

I struggled immensely in my formative high school years. I was privately coping with repeated sexual abuse by my grandfather, Nana’s husband. I kept it a secret from my school. Despite that and all my sadness, my school community made me feel loved.

So, in close, here is my testimonial to this remarkable lady.

What a loss to our Ursuline community. Sister Ursula was a dynamic woman whom I will never forget. She was an inspirational and impassioned person. Sister went to great lengths to better our learning with her zeal and candor. She was a lover of art, humanities, sharing her knowledge and being in community.

She had MOXIE.

I will forever remember her for her blessed gift of shining a light on the uniqueness and beauty of each of her students.

One of the many remarkable things she did was to collect a stone from the beach each summer for every one of her homeroom students. She painted it uniquely for each young woman and gifted it on the student’s birthday. On one side she painted a relevant quote. On the other, she painted a picture

Who does that?

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I wish that all Ursuline girls had the wonderful gift of Sister. And for those of us who were blessed enough to know her, let her spirit live on in all of us.

Rest in Peace, Sister. Love to you.

 

That’s All.

 

 

 

What’s In Your Bucket?

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Hopes and dreams are, in large part, what keeps us going as human beings. There is always something we want. Whether those things are wants or needs, we tend to keep lists.

I have always had a bucket list.

I have always been a dreamer.

As a little girl, I always had a treasury of things for which I yearned and goals I aspired to accomplish. My list was filled with pipe dreams, far-fetched and idealistic for the most part. But all those items on my list were dreams. And dreams are important.

Hope is what keeps us going. Hope keeps us positive. Hope brings forth optimism.  Hope is often, the only remedy to despair.

If you have read any of my previous posts, you will understand that my life has been HARD.  Actually, in many ways it sure as hell just sucked.  I consider myself extremely lucky in that I am resilient by nature and a glass-half-full kind of girl.  If not for these qualities, I could be dead: literally or figuratively.

One thing that has carried me through has been keeping a journal of my dreams; My bucket list.  My bucket list has changed throughout the years, quite dramatically.

Have a look at the then and the now.

 

My Childhood Bucket List:

  • To be famous
  • To be a mother. Preferably to triplets. (Thank God I have not had to check that box)
  • To go on tour with Captain and Tennille.
  • To have a puppy or a kitty. I was not specific- either would have made me happy.(Check! I have my Dexter.)
  • To be asked on a date by Jimmy O’Leary
  • To marry a handsome prince (Check! My Michael)
  • To be on the PBS TV show “ZOOM”
  • To meet Walter Matheau
  • To be an Olympic Figure Skater like Dorothy Hamill, which was the epitome of a pipe dream since I took only two seasons of skating lessons.
  • To be blonde. (Check! I was blonde for six months. Then I had to decide whether to continue or take a second mortgage on my house. The hair took the second.
  • To have two  Scottish Terriers; A white female named Terry and a black male named Scotty. Yeah, I know.

My Bucket List Now:

  • Drive across the US in a seriously hip vehicle which would not break down. Preferably with Cousin Laura, and I promise we would not drive over a cliff.
  • Ride horseback on a beach in Ireland.(Check! July ’15)
  • Adopt an orphaned little girl from a third world country and love her with my whole heart. That would not be hard. I mean the love part.
  • Go to Italy with my cousins Mary and Angelique- Michelangelo, Margarita Pizza, Pope Francis (we have much to discuss.)  And perhaps have a ride on a turquoise Vespa wearing a black and white striped shirt, scarf and ballerina flats? Just thinking about it, I can practically taste the Ambrosia: Prosciutto and EVOO.
  • Train my Black Labrador to be an official therapy dog.  He is my therapist. He has saved me so much money not to mention time on that leather couch.
  • Speak fluent Spanish. (Almost there!)
  • Receive a phone call from Oprah, asking for Cousin Laura and me to be guests on her show. Yeah, she would have one more episode just for us.
  • Own a 1980-ish yellow  Mercedes-Benz 450 SL convertible.
  • Cook with Ina Garten
  • Have lunch with Julia Child (almost happened. My friend, her butcher, arranged it. She passed away weeks before we were to meet.-so sad)
  • Write a memoir.  Trust me. It will be entertaining.
  • Save somebody’s life
  • Sing our National Anthem at some sporting event.
  • Host SNL

Make a list of things you want, things that inspire you, goals that give you a surge of positive energy. Because hope, Everybody, is manna for our souls.

What’s in your bucket?

That’s All.