By Carol Rood
When I first started dating my lovely partner Bluebell, we had to keep everything a secret. First of all, she was still in the military and Don’t Ask Don’t Tell was alive and well. Plus I had just gotten divorced and was unwilling to let my children know I was in a relationship with her. They knew we were best friends, and I decided to leave it at that.
Then we bought a house together and we decided it was best for each of us to have our own bedroom. She was about to retire, but I had not yet “told” my kids and she had not told hers. We did sleep together most nights, but actually lived in our own bedrooms for the most part. It was an interesting time. Neither of us was “out” professionally but we were to our close friends. Looking back on it I think we were crazy, but it worked at the time, and I suppose it made things easier for the children to get used to living with new people.
We decided after living together for a year we would tell the children that we were actually a couple. Of course they all said, “Um, we have known forever Mom.” They were okay with me being in a relationship with a woman, and that made me happy. We had actually prepared ourselves for the worst and realized we may need to sell our house and live apart if our kids freaked out. Our number one priority was the children and how they would feel about our relationship.
Because I had been in a “traditional” marriage when my children were young I never forced the issue about them saying anything to any adults or their friends. I always introduced Bluebell as my “friend”, and they did the same. They called her “my mom’s friend” if talking about her to others.
At some point my oldest son (age 15 now) began telling people his mom was “bi”. Apparently people his age thought that was cool and I scored him some “cool points”. I suppose technically I am “bi” in his mind since I was married to his dad and am now with a woman. I don’t consider myself bisexual. I consider myself a lesbian, but I never pushed that issue with my son. Whatever he was comfortable with worked for me.
My son is now in 10th grade and is very comfortable with Bluebell and with our relationship.
However, I was still surprised when she came to me a few weeks ago and brought me a paper that I saw had my son’s handwriting on it. “Uh oh”, I said. “Is this going to be bad?” She said, “Just read it.” She had seen this paper lying on the dining room table near my son’s book bag and picked it up and read it. I held it in my hand and braced myself.
He had an assignment to write about himself and his family for his English class. In his own handwriting I read, “I found out a few years ago my mom is in a same gendered relationship. I think that is cool. My mom is cool.”
I cried tears of joy. My son thinks I am cool! That is a pretty amazing thing for a mom of a teenager to be considered cool by her kid!
My son thinks I am cool!!!
By Carol Rood
I have many friends who are close to my age who are currently empty nesters. They started having children when they were in their 20′s, and are currently in their mid to late 40′s and their children have moved out of the house. Some are married, some in college, some are working. I have asked many of them (the mothers usually) if they experienced the “Empty Nest Syndrome” -a condtion where parents have feelings of depression, sadness, and loneliness when their children grow up and leave the family home. They all said “NO!” Some said “Hell no!” and one or two said “Fuck no!” A couple of them asked me if I was joking.
In other words, the Empty Nest Syndrome is apparently NOT alive and well amongst my peers. At least not in Southeastern Virginia. When I seemed surprised (after all I had always heard mothers typically experienced it), my friends were like, “Girl, are you kidding me? No one to cook for, no dirty bedrooms. No nagging about helping out around the house. No one asking for money…I could go on and on.” That was the typical response. Being able to come and go as they please with no one to worry about seemed like such a relief to them.
My partner Bluebell and I have four kids between us. We were so excited when one of them (L) left the nest last year. She graduated and moved to Minnesota to live with her aunts and be a welder. She learned how to weld in high school and was super gung ho to get started. Since Bluebell’s sister is also a welder, all of the adults thought Minnesota with her Aunt would be a good move for Bluebell’s daughter. She left, Bluebell cried, but we adjusted and L thrived. She loved being on her own (with adults who loved her there to assist). She got a welding job, bought a car, managed her money okay, and was doing well. So we were absolutely shocked when she announced one day that she was going to move back to Virginia. We were floored and didn’t know what to do.
There had been this whole, “one down, three to go” thing. We had renovated L’s room, painted it lavender, bought two desks and a chaise and turned it into an office. It has a window with a view, and it is lovely to sit on the chaise, read, and look out the window on occasion. When L told Bluebell she planned on moving back “home,” Bluebell gently explained that we no longer had a space for her. We didn’t have room. We had also had lots of struggles with L, and the last year she lived with us had not been pleasant for Bluebell or me. I became anxious, and started having stomach aches. However, what could I do? L was determined to leave Minnesota and come back to Virginia. She had a car, bills, and no job! We knew it was a mistake, but we could not convince her of that. So we braced ourselves for the inevitable.
L explained to Bluebell that she would not be coming back to live with us, she had a friend she was going to move in with and we were relieved. The situation was not ideal, but at least she would be safe, and her friend said she didn’t have to pay rent until she was “on her feet.” Even though I should not have been worried at that point, I just had this nagging feeling in the pit of my stomach.
Fast forward a month. L’s friend was asked to leave the residence and L needed to come home. We always knew this was a big possibility. She didn’t have a decent job and couldn’t afford rent. We told her she could come back and stay rent free until she got a job and was on her feet. We now had a Boomerang Kid. In just a couple of months we went from “One down, three to go.” to “Ermagherd, one came back!!”
We had to establish household rules, and have had to adapt them at least once. Our Boomerang child felt as though it was okay to be a consumer of our water, electricity, food, etc etc and not help out around the house. Then we gave her ONE chore: putting the dishes in the dishwasher. She was pissed, but had no choice. Then she got a job, but was only working about 25 hours a week, and her hours were in the evening. So that left her sleeping until noon, then watching TV or Netflix all day. So we put her on the Carol Rood Life Plan (or “CRLP”).
This plan is not for the faint of heart. It requires planning, and being awake, and being productive. For every hour I was working outside the home she had to be working inside the home to get another job. The PS3 and the Wii were locked up, and a code was placed on the televisions so she could not sit and watch TV all day. Every morning around 8 am I wake her up so she can get started on her day and be productive. This plan has actually helped her get a second job because she is so eager to get OFF the CRLP that she is willing to get three jobs if need be to afford an apartment! Oh, and there is a deadline. The offer to stay on the couch will end on January 5th. Apartment or no apartment. So on the CRLP you need to get busy so you can save up and get a place of your own. There are affordable apartments near us. None is a penthouse suite, but all have four walls in a safe neighborhood, and can be used for sleeping, cooking, eating, and general hanging around.
Last night we had the “Since you are working now, we are going to start charging you a small amount of rent every month to help pay for your consumerism.” That went over like a lead balloon. Oh well, I am not in the business of pleasing people who can be on their own but are not because of sheer stubborn laziness. If she was in school, or working a full time job, or doing anything to move her life in a forward direction I would probably feel differently, but being stagnant just because you can does NOT work for me, and January 5th looms!
I will let you know if the CRLP works, and if so I will offer seminars for other parents of Boomerang kids. If you are one of the lucky first participants it will be free, but once I achieve the “Boomerang Kid” ghuru status, well then by gosh, it might cost you a few bucks!!
By: Carol Rood
I blame myself.
No actually I blame people who are parenting kids born in the early to mid 90′s.
We messed up.
We did it wrong.
We shouldn’t have listened to the “experts”. I think we should have parented more like our parents did than how we were told was a “better way.”
I am of course speaking about the way we have parented our children who were born between 1992 and 1996. Those who are legally able to work and who have either graduated from high school or will shortly graduate from high school. I have to first say I googled “what do I do when my teen refuses to get a job”. The websites I found were not much help. A couple said things like, “You need to give your teenager positive motivation and explain to them the benefit of having a job.” I don’t think this will work, in fact I think that kind of “only positive reinforcement parenting” is partly what got us into this mess in the first place.
We have become a society that coddles its kids. We never let them fail, we never let them scrape their knees, we never let them fall. And by doing this we never teach them how to be self reliant! How can they learn to recover from a set back if we never let them have any set backs? I experienced this first hand with Bluebell’s daughter. She was struggling in school. Mainly because she didn’t do any work. And I mean to say she really did not do ANY work. She was in danger of not graduating high school. So at the very last minute so that she would graduate, one of her teachers changed her grades from 0′s to 50′s so she would indeed get a passing grade. I have to say honestly that I had mixed feelings about that. On one hand I wanted her to be held accountable for her lack of action, however, on the other hand, I didn’t want her to have to spend another year in school, and I knew she would end up dropping out and would not have her high school diploma. In the long run, not having a high school diploma was a far worse thing than not being held accountable for ignoring your schoolwork. So she was “passed” and graduated.
With my own children, especially with Joe Cool, the older of my two, I have noticed that I let him slide on some things and he doesn’t always learn about accountability. Looking back at it now, I realize I have been too much of a “helicopter parent”, and need to back off some so he can learn to make his own decisions, bad or good. I think it is not too late for me as he is only 15, so I am taking on this challenge for the good of my son.
I have digressed some, so let me get back on track. I think that somehow we as parents have imparted to the youth between the ages of 16 and 20(ish) that they can pick and choose what jobs they want and that they are entitled to always being taken care of. We did such a good job caring for them that they haven’t learned how to take care of themselves. These are some of the things I hear from Bluebell’s son The Hunter who is 17, “But I don’t want to work in the fast food industry.” “I applied online, that is good enough.” “Why should I call the manager?” etc etc etc.
Bluebell’s son is 17 and has been “looking for a job” for about 6 months. His looking consists of applying for jobs online. He has called a few of the places he has applied to, and they tell him to call back next week. He does this usually two times, then gets frustrated and gives up. I have tried to tell him that he should not be picky when looking for a job. I have told him to apply everywhere. I have told him to walk the mall to look for a job. The answer I received regarding that suggestion was, “I don’t want to go to the mall by myself.” I was like, “What are you talking about, this is not a social excursion. You are looking for a job. That is a one person thing to do. NOT a group.” I have told him to borrow my car and go to the places he has applied to and meet with the manager. That way the manager can see that he is a clean cut polite teenager and it will give him a leg up on his competition. Has he done it???? NO!!
Are you kidding, I am offering the kid my car to borrow to do this. Most teens would JUMP at that opportunity! Not him…..
As a matter of fact when I was in our local Harris Teeter the other day I mentioned to the hiring manager that The Hunter had applied at HT at least 3 times. She said, “Him, and 3000 other people.” She went on to tell me that she had recently hired 4 teenagers, and three of them had been consistently coming in to see if HT was hiring. She said, “The “squeaky wheel” gets the job. They are persistent so I know they really want it.” When I told this to our 17 year old he said, “ok.”
We have told him again and again that he will graduate in 9 months and he will want wheels to get to his “real life” job. He is taking welding in school and he is good at it. I fully expect him to get a welding job with a local shipyard, or BAE enterprises, or a welding apprenticeship. Something. How will he get there? I know 9 months may seem like a long way away, but it will go by SO fast!!!
We are at our wits end with what to do. So finally I said to him, “Dude, you are almost 18 years old. I am done bugging you about a job. It is now up to you. You know what you need to do and how to do it. The rest is up to you. Whether you take the bus or drive your own car to your job when you graduate is in your hands.”
I do know however, that The Hunter is not the only youth with these same attitudes. Bluebell’s daughter was being picky about where she worked too, but the fact that she had to move back to our house and sleep on an air mattress on the floor until she saves up some money and can afford her own place made her see things differently.
In fact, Susan has experienced some of this with her own young adult. Bonnie now has a full time job, but it was a struggle, and I know for her as well as other young adults it is easier to sit at home and hang out then look for a job. Because really, what are we parents going to do??? They know they have us over a barrel. They know we aren’t going to let them live on the streets, so they take advantage of that. Maybe a few nights on the streets would be good for them….but I know and you know that really won’t happen.
So what do we do when our teen and young adults refuse to put any effort into looking for a job? I don’t yet have the answer to that I think each parent needs to find a way that works best for their family. But this is so rarely discussed in a meaningful way that I thought I would get the conversation going…
Are any other parents of teens and young adults out there dealing with this? We would love to hear your comments!!
By: Carol Rood
I live in a step family. However, the politically correct term is now “blended family”. Whatever you decide to call it, my experience is that blending two separate family entities is a struggle, to say the least.
I have written about the difficulty in merging my children with my partner and her children. One of her children resisted the “blend” and ended up going to live with her father. This was very painful for my partner, as she didn’t see it coming.
I had been struggling to connect with her child, and no matter what I tried the child would ignore me, or be rude to me. The child was rude to my children as well. It was a very uncomfortable situation, but we were talking a lot and doing our best to make it work. I thought things were getting better.
Then one day when Bluebell (my partner) came home from work, she noticed a paper on the door. It was a court notice that her ex-husband was petitioning the court for custody of her child. No notice from her ex or her child, just a notice on her door. It was a loud night in our house that night. She approached her child and tried to find out what was going on. Her child said she was so unhappy living with me and my two kids that she had asked her father to petition for custody of her. She wanted to go live with her father and stepmother. My partner was heartbroken.
Bluebell’s daughter did end up going to live with her father, and believe it or not, after she left we were able to finally blend our family. We still had bumps, but it seemed as though things went a bit smoother. Without the negative energy running rampant through our house we were able to work together to merge the boys to some sort of family unit.
It was still not completely smooth. Bluebell’s daughter would call her from school crying about how she didn’t feel well and her stepmother would refuse to pick her up. So Bluebell would leave work, and drive to get her daughter to take her home to her father’s house. That happened many times. Then there were the times she called Bluebell complaining about her stepmother. Then we had to put her daughter on our cell phone plan because she needed a phone and her stepmother wouldn’t help her.
These episodes caused tremendous stress on my relationship with Bluebell, mainly because her daughter was still disrespectful and rude to me anytime we saw her, and I had a problem with that. I could understand not wanting to be friends with me. But I never understood the blatant disrespect. I never understood why Bluebell allowed her daughter to treat me in that way.
This continued for almost two years. Then came the fateful day Bluebell got a call from her daughter stating that stepmama was “kicking her out” and she had nowhere to go. Of course Bluebell drove straight down to get her, and brought her to our house. Thus began a really difficult chapter of our family life and our relationship. It was May of her daughter’s junior year, and we lived in a town about 45 minutes from her daughter’s school. So regardless of the way I had been treated and was still being treated by her daughter I had to drive her to school every morning for three weeks until school was over. I never received a kind word, or any thanks.
We changed the living arrangements in our house so Bluebell’s daughter could move in with us to finish her last year of high school, and provide her with a stable family life.
As I am sure you can imagine, we were all in for a difficult year.
By: Carol Rood
I have something I want to talk about. Something I have wanted to talk about for a while, but was unsure. I wasn’t sure it would be received well. I am not trying to upset anyone, or make anyone feel as though I am not okay with their situation. I just think my situation is not talked about much. I don’t know if that is because there just aren’t enough of us writing, or if we don’t talk about it. Well, I have decided to come out with it.
I read all kinds of blogs by LGBT writers. They write about their journey looking for a relationship. Then the journey during the relationship. Then they find the RIGHT relationship. They move in, and then they usually decide to have a family. Then the IVF blogging starts, or the adoption blogging. Then we read about the miraculous pregnancy, and the delivery and then loads and loads of stories about sweet babies and precious toddlers. Sometimes on occasion there is a blog as the children grow and become elementary school kids. Then the blogs dwindle as the kids grow up.
I don’t see many blogs written by LGBT parents with middle school or high school -aged children. I wonder why not? Is it because many people haven’t been blogging long enough to have teens and tweens? Is it because they get tired of writing and get caught up in other things? I really don’t know.
I have found only one other blog written by a woman close to my age (40ish) who entered into a relationship with another woman who had a teenage son. I would love to find other moms out there who found love with a same sex partner in their late 30’s or early 40’s -who already had elementary age or middle school-aged kids -and decided to blend their families.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the stories of the families out there who met while they were 20-30ish and decided to have a baby via IVF or some other method, and those who decided to adopt and start a family. But they have a different perspective than I do. Their children will have always been around a two-mom or two-dad household. They will grow up in unbiased houses with moms or dads who teach them about equality and fairness. They will be okay saying, “I have two moms, or two dads”, because that will be “normal” for them and they will be comfortable with it.
I am a bit jealous of that. Because that is not my story.
My story is the one where two 40ish women meet after being in hetero relationships. Marriages that ended, and there were children from those marriages. Then for whatever reason, the woman finds herself in a relationship with another woman, and doesn’t quite know how to tell her kids. Kids who see their father every other weekend or so. Kids who just want to be “normal” teens, and already struggle with self-identity and peer pressure.
Where are those other bloggers? The ones who decided to blend a family to one with two moms or two dads with kids who were tweens and teens. When the kids resisted the relationship, or just didn’t know how to handle it? Being in a relationship and not being able to tell your children that your “best friend” is really something more?
My children did not resist the relationship. However, one of hers did. As a matter of fact, when we all moved in together, my partner and I had separate bedrooms. To hide the fact from our kids that we were in a relationship. How bizarre is that? We didn’t want to tell them at that time, but had to move in together due to our circumstances.
When we finally told the kids, three of them did not care much. One did. That child resisted the relationship, and chose to move out and go live with Dad. That was difficult, but my partner couldn’t say no to her child. The child was old enough to make that choice.
So, yes, sometimes I get jealous of other LGBT mommy and daddy bloggers. They tell their stories about when their kids go to school and tell everyone about the “two moms” or “two dads” in their life. It is what the children have known since infancy or small childhood, and they have no qualms about it. No prejudices. No hesitation.
My kids have come to that point now. To them it is normal…..now. They still don’t always tell people they live in a house with two moms. I am very careful to never reveal my relationship to their friends or their friends’ parents. I leave that choice up to them to tell whom they choose.
Please forgive my jealousy of the two-mom and two-dad households out there. It is not born out of malice. It is born from a wish that maybe, just maybe, I could have been like they are.
If by chance you are a person who has a story similar to mine, please let me know. There must be more people out there with a family like mine, who has struggled with identity and disclosure. Who has older kids who had to make a transition that did not come easily or always go smoothly. I would love to hear from you.
For those of you who have babies or toddlers in an LGBT family I wish you nothing but love and support! I pray that your children are always open and honest and not afraid to talk about their families.
By: Carol Rood
I am at a loss about what to write. I have been so busy with end of year school stuff, and starting the neighborhood swim team which I am the president of, and end of year religious education stuff at the church where I work, and lots of clients at the dermatologist office where I work, that I am just too tired to think some days. Oh I forgot to mention Boy Scouts, guitar lessons, and keeping up with grocery getting and household chores. Yikes!! I am making myself tired even writing all of that down.
I have a bad habit of getting in over my head, and being unable to back out. I do want some “me” time, and I usually play my online game I adore, World of Warcraft (yes I am one of THOSE people), but that is usually from 9:30 or so until I finally fall apart at 11:00. I am up at 6:30 with the boys as they get ready for school, and sweet baby jesus, I am ready for summertime!
I used to make the boys get up by a certain time each day during summer vacation. I stopped working full time two years ago, and don’t take college classes in the summer so I am available for my boys. As they hit preteen age years, I was concerned about leaving them to their own devices all day at home, and the thoughts of the harm they could cause to themselves and each other and my home made me begin biting my nails. Well, not really, because then my hands might not look so cute, but it did worry me greatly!
So anyway, I used to make them get up by 9:00 so they weren’t being “lazy bums”. Then last summer I realized by doing that I was in actuality screwing myself. After all, when they are asleep there is no “Mom, can I have?…..” “Mom, can you take me…..”, “Mom, will you give me…..”, “Mom can you do this for me….” etc. It is blissfully quiet until they mosey out of bed around 10:00 am or so. BLISSFULLY QUIET! (I felt that needed to be repeated all in caps.)
So, I no longer wake them up, and I get TONS of stuff done while they are sleeping. Cleaning, laundry, computer work, blogging. Sometimes I can even get out to the grocery store and back before they wake their little sleepy teenaged heads. Those days are really fun, because I get to wake them up and make them help me bring food in from the car. *snort* Oh, the fun we moms get to have at the expense of our kids…love it!!
So I guess I could regale you all more with the fun I have at the expense of my boys, but it will have to wait until another day, because the Boy Scout meeting starts in 30 minutes, and it is my night for carpool.
By: Carol Rood
I had an amazing friend once. I didn’t find her until I was 23(ish) years old. I never realized how much I was missing until I found her. Rather she found me. She was a dog named Amber. She was my “forever” dog. The one that is in your heart the deepest. The one spot that cannot be filled by any other animal after that special one has passed on. This is the animal that rides in your car to do errands with you, the one whom you confide in, tell your problems to, is your best friend, playmate, and psychiatrist all in one. This is the dog who turns a horrible day into a fabulous day merely by greeting you with love an affection. No matter how your day was, the minute you walk in the door, you are the most loved and important thing in the world!
|Amber with The Genius|
I have read so many blog posts about “The Hunger Games” lately. Parents talking about why they don’t want their children to see the movie. Some talking about not allowing their children to read the book. They feel it is not appropriate for their children. As if they somehow feel the need to apologize for making a decision they feel is best for their own kids. Concerned about being judged by other parents as “too conservative” or not “with the times”. Then there is the other side of the coin. Parents who feel they have to explain why they DID allow their children to read the book or see the movie. They worry about judgment for seeming too “permissive” or not caring about the scars their kids might get from the message of the books or the violence.
I have a difficult time with both of these points of view. Not because I think there is a correct age or time for a child to see a particular kind of movie or read a particular book. Not even because I disagree with the message or storyline of the book and/or movie. (By the way I just finished reading “The Hunger Games”, and have not yet seen the movie.)
The problem I have with those two trains of thought is why the parents even feel the need to explain their decisions to every one else. I am of the opinion that 7 out of every 10 people are reasonable, intelligent, caring individuals, with the other 3 being the jerks in this world. That being said, why should the 7 reasonable, caring and intelligent people feel as if they have to justify or explain their decisions or actions regarding their children? Especially since they are probably explaining it to the other 3…the unreasonable, uncaring, and unintelligent people.
The parents who need to justify and explain their actions are the ones who neglect, physically, emotionally or sexually abuse their children. They are comprised of the 3. The other 7 are making a decision regarding the things they think are appropriate for their children in a thoughtful and meaningful way. That is not to say that every decision they make will be the right decision. Parenting is fraught with mistakes and learning curves. There is no manual that a person gets to help them when they become a parent, and even if you did get a manual with your first child, you would need to toss it in the trash when the second child comes. Each child is unique and what works for one child won’t work for another child.
For example, my oldest, Joe Cool, was a very easy baby and toddler. He listened and responded very well to time out and removal of toys as discipline. I can still discipline him by taking away his toys (now a cell phone and PS3 as opposed to legos and trucks), and I can still “get” to his conscience by letting him know I am disappointed in him. I thought I had this baby/toddler thing mastered and then came along my second child, The Genius. COMPLETELY different in every way shape and form from his older brother. Time outs and taking things away didn’t phase him in the least. I had to use physical discipline with him, and even then he would act as if he was going to do as he pleased. I am not proud of using physical punishment on him, but it was my last resort, and the only thing that worked. However, since I am one of the 7, I know I did the best I could, and I knew the most appropriate way to discipline my kids. Even now The Genius will try to argue, cajole, redirect, and excuse his behavior. I no longer have to use physical discipline, as he is 12 now and removing computer time works best. But he is very different from his brother in many ways. He is definitely the more sensitive and considerate brother, while the older one is more musically inclined and has an amazing sense of humor. I love them both tremendously, and I STILL know what is best for my boys.
I used to feel as if I had to explain my actions and motives regarding my decisions about my kids, but no longer. They are pretty awesome people, and I know that the only person that knows them better than themselves….. is me. I know what makes them tick, what motivates them, what they are afraid of and what they want from life. I know their hearts and most of the time I know their minds.
My point is that I want those of us parents who are part of the 7…….the people who are reasonable, caring and intelligent….to own that we are part of the 7, and know within ourselves, that we do not need to justify or explain our decisions regarding our children to anyone besides our partners, ourselves, and sometimes, our kids.
So if you want your kids to see a movie, or read a book, or not, it is your decision to make. So decide, and own that decision knowing that you are always trying to do the best for your child.
By: Carol Rood
I am a college student and this week in my Abnormal Psychology class we had to read and discuss eating disorders. This was a touchy subject for me because in 1994 when I was in the Navy I was diagnosed as having a compulsive overeating disorder and was sent to inpatient rehabilitation for 6 weeks in Miramar, California.
I had been in a painful place in my life for many years, and it manifested itself into an eating disorder. I had a “hole” in my soul and I tried to fill it with food. I went to an inpatient rehab, and interestingly, there was a mixture of male and female patients there for treatment. While in treatment I met with counselors, attended group meetings in the facility, and outside the facility, I attended Overeater’s Anonymous (OA) meetings.
After 6 weeks of treatment I graduated and was sent back to my command in Pensacola, Florida. I almost immediately transferred to San Diego, California. It turned out that San Diego was a wonderful place to live if you attend OA meetings, as there were at least 3-5 meetings every day at different times of the day. I had a sponsor and diligently worked my steps while at the same time maintaining abstinence from overeating. For OA, abstinence is a 3-0-1 program. Meaning 3 meals a day, 0 snacks in between, 1 day at a time. The goal is to stop the compulsive part of eating. With AA and NA the goal is completely stopping usage of what you are addicted to. With food, you can’t completely stop consumption, but you can stop consuming due to your emotions, and merely consume for your body’s energy. It changes the focus around food. And makes eating a means to an end as opposed to what your life centers around.
I was actively involved in OA for about 4 years and received many tokens (or coins) during my sobriety. I did not always do a perfect job, and had to get more than one 30-day abstinent pin. However, before I moved to Indiana, I received my 3-year coin for completing three years’ of abstinence. While I was in San Diego, I sponsored other women in the program, and was very involved in the San Diego OA community. We had annual talent shows, and other special events to raise awareness and to raise funds for the regional OA group.
When I moved from the San Diego area, I moved to a place where there were no meetings that worked for my schedule. I have not been to a meeting in many years, and no longer have the “need” to eat compulsively. I have learned how to identify my “emotional” eating, and recognize it for what it is. I can now redirect that into something else like exercise, or drinking water, or playing solitaire on the computer until that urge passes.
I will always be a compulsive overeater, but it is my choice whether or not I want to actively participate in the negative side of the disease, or keep it at bay. I recognize the signs and symptoms, and have learned how to combat the urges. I guess that is as close to a cure as I can get. However, I feel that I am in recovery every day, and still take it One Day at a Time.
By: Carol Rood
I am an avid National Public Radio listener. I LOVE LOVE to listen to NPR. I always feel more informed and smarter after a day of listening and feel like I know so much more than I did when I woke up in the morning. I am also one of those geeks who calls in to the radio shows and gives my opinions or asks a question. Yes, I am THAT
Today while I was driving to work I happened to tune in to the Cathy Lewis show called “Hearsay” on our local NPR station WHRO. Today the show was about LGBTQ housing at local universities in the Hampton Roads area. In light of the Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi being found guilty of a hate crime last week after using a web cam to spy on his roommate Tyler Clementi. Subsequently the kiss that Tyler shared with another man was viewed by Ravi and was talked about on a Twitter account. Sadly Tyler Clementi committed suicide by jumping off of the George Washington Bridge.
Unfortunately this is not the first or only incident of college students being bullied due to their sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation. I am afraid it won’t be the last. However, a young man founded an organization to help change this and is trying to do something to help college students be able to live in a safe, friendly environment where they don’t have to worry so much about bullying or being singled out in their dormitories.
Meet David Norton, Founder of The National Student Genderblind Campaign. This shares a little about why he created this website.
“In 2006, the National Student Genderblind Campaign arose as a grassroots network of student activists working to pioneer a movement for broader gender equality. We envision a fully inclusive and free society in which labels matter less—a world in which our social institutions and policies reflect the fact that social identities are not experienced in static, bounded, and homogeneous ways. By joining together to advocate for gender-neutral policy, we can move towards this vision for true equality.”
I applaud the efforts of this young man to help encourage students to work with the administrations at their colleges and universities to establish housing that is gender neutral. Housing that is not segregated by sex but that is “gender blind” and takes into account what works best for students and not what has been a tradition.
“As college and universities increasingly strive to lead the way towards a new era of gender equality, gay rights, and transgender inclusion, students across the country are now calling into question the fundamental assumptions behind conventional dormitory policies. Why do we require men to live with men and women with women? Why can’t students simply room with whomever they feel most comfortable? Suddenly, with these questions posed, the injustice of it all begins to come clear; we start to recognize that traditional policies are premised upon outdated beliefs and stereotypes about gender and sexuality.”
Today I heard David say that over 125 colleges and universities have adopted gender neutral housing and that is amazing! His website has talking points that can help students begin the dialogue with their administration as well as helpful tips to ease the dialogue and help students present it in a clear and concise fashion. Bravo David Norton!!
I will be graduating from Tidewater Community College in December of 2012, and have been waffling about what 4 year university to transfer to in order to finish up my undergraduate degree. I live in an area with many fine offerings: Norfolk State University, Old Dominion University, Christopher Newport University, Hampton University, Virginia Wesleyan, and a few others. However, what I heard today on Cathy’s show made my decision for me. I listened with amazement as Dana Heller, Chair of the English Department and Old Dominion University and Ellen Neufeldt, Vice President for Student Engagement and Enrollment Services at Old Dominion University talked about the opening of a new floor in a dorm for LGBT students. The housing will be called Lavender House and will open for students to live in the Fall of 2012.
ODU will join other Virginia Universities that already offer LGBT housing (George Mason University and the University of Richmond). Elsewhere in the area, only Duke University offers housing specifically for LGBT students. This decision has led me to decide to finish my degree at ODU in the Spring of 2013. I will not be living on campus, and will not need to utilize the Lavender House for my housing (Lovely Bluebell would not like that). However, I want to go to school and get my degree from a university that is supportive of LGBT students, and ODU is leading the way here in Southeastern Virginia!! I am going to be an Old Dominion Monarch!
Please check out the websites for the GenderBlind campaign and give them your support. This is an amazing program that needs more attention on the local and national level. Hopefully I have brought this issue to some people who, like me, had not previously heard about it. By raising awareness we can help others!!