My name is Jaz. I’m 54 years old. I’m technically female, white, short, fat, and formally a red-head. I have freckles and my hair is now a pale blonde-off-white. I have blue eyes that get almost black when I’m angry and bright blue-green when I’m happy. I have an above average IQ and a below average EQ. I’m on the spectrum, as they say, with what is now called “Non-Verbal Learning Disorder” but when I was growing up was called “Multi-Focal Dyslexia.” I’m an artist and creative with a low tolerance for stupidity, a temper that is hard to ignite and slow to cool, a wicked mouth and a brilliant mind for math, debate, and any challenge I set my mind to.
I am a pagan agnostic, pansexual, polyamorous person who has been married to the same man in an open marriage for over 20 years now. We have three children together and one that I adopted before we met that he is also a father to, because the actual father is a worthless waste of human DNA who couldn’t be bothered; four boys that we have raised together in this house in the middle of nowhere Iowa.
J and I have a complex and complicated relationship that is, overall, very happy and he is my best friend. I am probably one of the most difficult humans in the world to live with and I warned him of this from the very start. I laid out my expectations and gave him the ground rules right up front. I warned him of my family, my family history, and all my baggage before we ever did more than simply be friends. He entered into this chaos of his own free will, with full knowledge.
To be completely fair, J did the same. We had some very frank conversations from the get-go. This was my third relationship of consequence. I was still (at the time) married to the worthless bag of DNA that was the father to my (then) only child and I had no idea where he was, or what was to become of us (my son and I) but I had a very good idea what he (the idiot) was up to and knew exactly where things would end up with him. I was done with marriage, with men, and with marriage in and of itself.
Obviously, I wasn’t completely done, because I made babies with this man and eventually married him. It was, however, a long hill to climb for us both. I said “no” to marriage a dozen times; I was still married to the Worthless-One (he refused to divorce me for some unknown reason) and even if that had not been the case, I was done-done-done. But over the passing years, J whittled me down with love and honor, and proving to me that while most men were stupid, inane, lying, cheating, worthless bags of DNA, he was not. By the time we made baby number 2, I agreed to marry him if Worthless would ever give me a divorce.
We had a pirate wedding, complete with costumes. It was brilliant.
Our lives have not been perfect, but it has been amazing. I have three beautiful children from my body to match the child of my heart that I adopted. I have a beautiful home. I have my best friend. I have raised amazing children. I have a good life. J has worked hard to give me everything that I could have ever wanted, and we’ve made one hell of a life together.
It’s worth mentioning that J’s family is also amazing – and why not? They raised an amazing man. They are loving, decent folks and they accepted me as I am. I spent the first few years just waiting for them to hate me, but it never happened. Instead, they taught me about love. I see why J is such an amazing, honorable man. My life is where it is because of many factors, and many that have to do with my own hard work, but I would be remiss not to give credit where due and that falls to J’s family, and J.
Now, we’ve had our challenges. J, like many men, struggled with truthfulness and money. We went round and round about those things, and his temper, and his communication. But marriage is about struggle and communication, and no marriage is without challenge. We worked through it. Yelled a lot too, hah. But we’re still hanging in there and we love each other at the end of the day, and in the end that’s what counts. There’s no one else that I’d rather ride this spinning ball with, than him.
The Other Stuff
So, now that we’ve covered that, we can talk about why I journal.
I am a child abuse survivor. I have “Complex Trauma” which is PTSD from childhood abuse. I have a lot of diagnosis’ but the one that matters the most is D.I.D. (Dissociative Identity Disorder). I was diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder most of my life, and I have severe dissociative issues stemming from the trauma growing up. I struggled with these dissociative issues well into my 20s, which I finally got treatment.
The larger reason for not being able to get treatment was complicated largely by religion and my own secrecy surrounding what was going on inside me. I knew that if anyone KNEW what was going on, had been going on my own life, they’d “lock me up” and I’d never see the light of day again – or that is what I told myself. I’d had friends in “treatment” over the years and I knew that I did not want to live in a place like that, not even for a few weeks or months. Nope.
The turning point for me was actually a car accident. I got knocked in the head and sustained a closed head injury that was quite severe. Bleeding on the brain and traumatic brain injury left me with seizures and memory loss, although I went undiagnosed for 2 years after the incident. By the time I finally got help, it was too late to fix it, and I had to ride out the symptoms until I healed up and got used to the aftermath.
One of the most important aspects of my D.I.D. was my memory. I had an eidetic memory (photographic memory) and used it constantly to keep ahead of the game when I would “lose time” or drift. Suddenly, it was gone and I was adrift in a sea of confusion. On top of that, I was having mind-shattering headaches and pain in my neck, shoulders, and back. My ability to just “fake it until you make it” wasn’t working anymore.
It did not take a shrink long to suss out that I was “switching” between personalities when I would get “overstressed” by situations. She was videotaping my sessions and she caught them over and over on camera. I flat out denied there was an issue at first, but eventually she boxed me in and I had to tell her at least some of it. Once she pulled that thread, the whole thing came unraveled and the entire story came pouring out like water. The jig, as they say, was up.
My whole life burned to the ground in short order after that. My worthless husband at the time had been cheating on me, lying …. you name it. He even stole from me. Yes, I was a fool… we’ll pick that scab later. He was even doing this with my best friend at the time. So, as my life burned to the ground all around me, he took off for parts unknown and left me and his son to fend for ourselves. I moved out and filed for divorce with help from friends, the state helped me get a place to live and to buy food to eat, I bought a car due to the kindness and pity from a local car dealership that took some mercy on me and helped me finance a really nice car on a wing and a prayer, and life settled into a pattern.
My job went from part time to nearly full time with benefits, another stroke of luck. J and I began to be “friends with benefits” and I got my boy (with special needs) into a bunch of programs to help us both so his needs were met now that I couldn’t be home all the time with him. The house we lived in was terrible, but I kept it clean and it was roomy and decent enough. After a few years, J and I bought my mother’s house and we moved to the middle of nowhere to start our lives together with a new baby and my adopted son in tow. Life moved forward.
Moving closer to my mother was a bad idea. Buying my mother’s house was a worse idea. If you’re considering doing something like this, DO NOT DO IT. DO NOT. Trust me on this. Just don’t do it. Don’t.
Twenty years later we have four children, the mortgage is half paid off, we’re in debt to our eyeballs but we’re treading water, my mental health is slowly improving like it has every year since that fateful day, and life isn’t bad. I went back to school and finished my art degree. I have a good job in social work with benefits. J is back in school to get an IT degree. My oldest boy is working full time and looking at college. My middle boy is graduating this year and working part time. My youngest is in middle school. My oldest is in a care facility nearby, happy as a clam surrounded by pretty nurses and eats all he can eat every day.
I will have a shrink for the rest of my life. But I am alive. And I am learning to be happy.
This journal will be about me. About how I cope. About my struggles. About who I am. And who I am to be. Welcome.
Later, Taters. ~Jaz