Either Or

I never tire of this reading and continue hoping that it may become a more common practice– reaching for The Third Way– in times of conflict . Doing so requires courage, humility, transparency — willingness to say and listen to difficult things and then to reflect on wounded parts of our spirits which beg to be healed and allowed to mature. To choose this way may be impossible for people who need to believe themselves right, in charge, infallible. With them, we get to grieve the relationship and move on, as the Third Way must be mutually desired an sought.

I simply can not allow my boys to believe themselves limited to only these two options for addressing a circumstance in which a person has been harmful:

1- Pretend it did not affect you or even happen.

2- Retaliate (openly or passively)

We must reject the zero-sum mentality–one winner/one loser. Winning is for games and wars, not wholesome and sustainable relationships. I intend to model and create a better experience and a different example for my sweet sons. I still sometimes do the old shit I learned before recovery, though. I am aware and working on myself.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram- wholesomebadass https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/
If you catch yourself begging someone for human decency, a response, time together, clarity, respect, come compassion, some kindness...

The Bare Minimum

Last week as I relished a much-needed break from being used, taken advantage of, I was able to feel a smidge of compassion for the BF(boys’ father).  Mercy and compassion are large parts of my spiritual striving and development.  They evade me utterly though, when in the midst of abuse which persists, and from which I cannot extricate or separate myself.  I read stories of people who forgive murderers, rapists, and molesters, once they are behind bars.  I get how it is possible to forgive and even empathize with the recovering, dead, or incarcerated– after the harmful behavior has been contained.  

I think back to our final Christmas with BF’s sisters.  Nobody spoke to us or acknowledged our baby of one year.  It was intense, like Amish shunning.  My husband would not agree to leave early.  He was unwilling to confront or challenge his sisters.   On the car ride home, crying, I declared that I would not submit our child to another family arrangement like that.  He later confronted his sisters and one responded that: “Your baby is not even one, and will not remember.”  Therefore admitting to the cold stonewalling of us and justifying how it was not harmful to the baby, yet.  The other sister stopped speaking to him, altogether.  All-because he attempted to have a boundary and a standard for himself.  How dare he–and of course this was my fault, my irreverent influence. 

The sisters eagerly embraced him when he crawled back to them three years later, at the onset of our divorce.  They welcomed him back to his place of compliance and submission in exchange for access to their children (his nieces and nephews) and their resource$.  

He is terrified of being on the other side of them.  I watched in pain as they excluded him from birthdays, graduations, and bat mitzvahs and consistently treated him as extra. But he was grateful to not be permanently banished as his father and other sister had been.  I observe and understand, even relate to that pain and fear.  

I had believed that he had wanted something better for himself and our children- until it became that clear he did not.  He wanted only to be like them…to also be in charge.  As if that is the only way to be in relationship. The controller(s) and the controlled.

I hope he will recover and experience wholesome and lasting peace and connection.    I cringe as he continues to paw at people of means, people who he is impressed by or whom he perceives as useful.  His struggle is saddening—but not nearly as much as what he chooses to do to our little family.  I recognize his pain and fear as tied directly to the controlling and mean behaviors—but I can find no compassion or mercy for him while he is actively involved in things which compromise us all.  He doesn’t recognize his behavior as harmful or problematic.  He has learned what he has lived and is unwilling to challenge or change that.

When he requested my help a few weeks ago, I reminded him, in detail, how he made life terribly difficult for us for so long and on purpose and that the urge to repay him is immense.  He responded right back with an irritated and entitled “So are you going to help me or not?”  

I hated myself for wasting words and energy and not saying NO, right off the bat – putting an immediate end to the exchange.  I suppose I hoped he would acknowledge some things so that I could say yes to him.  Foolish me.  The truth is– I want to work with him.  I have not found it possible to be in healthy partnership with someone who does not actively work for the best of our family.  I am officially, yes- it is official- healthy enough to no longer participate in my own abuse.

I am disrupting if not breaking this cycle. I wish BF wanted the same for himself and our children. I have not yet given up all hope for this. I just do not see his life working for him. Tonight, Favorite is throwing a belated birthday dinner for our older son with all the people and foods he loves. I really would do anything for BF to be at the table with US.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram- wholesomebadass https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/
I will not change who Iam. I will not get angry with you. I won't seek revenge and be spiteful. I will be smart and change the role you play in my life.

I Will Change The Things I Can

Shame is confirmation of emotional and spiritual unwellness. I know of no other thing which will so swiftly turn a person to unkindness, dishonesty, and fraud: desperate to do and say anything to offload or escape the shame of feeling less than–to deny the unbearable sense of unworthiness.

Over the weekend, at a wrestling match with peers, my younger son said something diminishing about his brother to their group.  The comment was 100% intended to make big brother feel small and separate. It worked. This is a frightening pattern of behavior, which runs deep and wide through both sides of my sons’ families.

Big Brother’s reaction to feeling unsure and wrong footed, was to deny the thing which his brother reported.  Little Brother’s mocking and bonding with others, at BB’s expense were hurtful and harmful.  AND little brother, who is exceptional in his inherited lying and bullying skill sets, is eager to point out how Big Brother lied, while showing zero interest in self-reflection for his darkness part. Hopefully, this is nothing more than standard middle school insecurity / meanness, which he will outgrow.

We are breaking the generational curses of lying, bullying, alienating, and shaming.  Each of which are found to be linked to loneliness, disconnection, addiction. We will not UNknowingly default to these ways. We shall, together, look head on and regularly, into the reality of these issues.

I am grateful for discussions of how to manage ourselves in situations where someone is belittling.  We shall be intentional in our wellness: practicing kindness, honesty, humility, courage, boundaries, and offering generous space to those imposing anything other.  Becoming and staying well is a daily practice and process.

Take a moment to be thankful for the healing and humble people in this world who neither suffer from nor arouse shame. In their presence, we get to be and feel free. Choose freedom. Offer freedom. Unrecovered me needs to say; “Don’t be a shaming asshole. If you are a shamer, it is because you have shame. Heal that shit and quit offloading it. Grow TF up.”

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram- wholesomebadass https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Who Even Does That?

I am feeling agitated over how our new before and after school arrangement is no good for my sons.  It is the consequence of my decision to no longer inconvenience my self, in service to their father, who knowingly and repeatedly diminishes the peace of our family—simply because he can.  As if free-will is an achievement or a super power.  

The boys’ father (BF) likes to assert how it is his right to spend time with whomever he chooses.  I accept this as both true and fine.  Somehow, BF denies the toxicity of his relationship with my sister; conceived in a divisive scheme which hurts our entire family.  That affiliation is vile and unforgivably damaging to our children.  This alliance, between two individuals who have knowingly and repeatedly distressed my children and me, is unwholesome in all ways.  

My sons witness their father and his father(their grandpa) do exactly as my sister and my mother do/did.  I hope that their examples will serve as cautionary tales, more than models for how and why to relate, bond, and betray.  

I would rather go to my grave with my boys mutually and collectively hating on me– than them not speaking to one another.  They belong to each other…but they come from families who are committed to THIS.  Triangulation and smear campaigns— cheering for downfalls and struggles of any person daring to directly confront them with boundaries.

Who even does that? We are breaking that cycle.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram- wholesomebadass https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Bold and Sensitive

This past Sunday, rather than attending the regular service, I sat in on the Middle School Group of girls at a new church, with a larger Youth Program than the church which we’ve been attending. The girls were precious: wholesome, courageous, and vulnerable, as they shared about belonging, and not belonging. Their innocence was grand and it literally made me weep. I cried for myself and for my boys and for all people whose innocence was neither protected nor prioritized –and whose faith in goodness was therefore compromised. I can not get back my innocence, but with spiritual recovery, I now live in faith and the by product of that is courage. Is it even possible to be courageous without faith?

I worry for my boys’ spiritual development. They receive heavy praise and incentives for looking good, receiving good grades and for athletic participation. The lies of perfectionism loom large – insisting that appearances are what matter most. I cannot be the only one in their worlds wanting them to value and choose honesty, kindness, and courage over the easier things.

I was deeply touched when my older son recently received something from somebody and he expressed, privately to me, that he did not want it. I told him that they were being generous, to which he responded, I don’t care about his generosity. I’d rather him to be kind to me, more than generous– and he did not want that thing-at all. While I treasure his depth of character, I recognize that evolving in this way, is risky, as my sons come from long lines of people who judge emotional sensitivity and vulnerability as weak and defective. Denial of Compensation for un-lovingness is managed through incongruously generous gestures. It is a total mindfuck to receive gifts or gestures from people whom you experience as uncaring and unkind.

Interestingly, my younger son DGAF if someone is unkind or hurtful, he will literally accept invitations to play and offerings from someone who has just betrayed and physically assaulted him. No joke. He would play basketball with his bully at school in fourth grade—because he likes b-ball. I cannot relate. What is also true about him is his inability to acknowledge difficult feelings, his or anyone else’s. He is enraged if asked what is wrong and will insist that it is nothing and that the question itself is what upset him. This is also true of my sister and his father. They act as if they believe that speaking of an issue, speaks it into existence.

I had warned my boys years ago to never ask their father or my sister unless they genuinely wished to cause problems. My younger son used to be sensitive and mindful of how others felt. I can not know if this shift came with age and coincided with my family drama or if it was the result.

I suspect that my older son’s spiritual development will separate him from those who are not ready and awake. But, I believe he is strong and it is worth it, to raise bold and sensitive humans. The right people are already ready and waiting. With much untreated mental unwellnes and addiction on both sides of their families, it seems that faith is a fine alternative. Grim determination and willfulness are dark and lonely ways of moving through the world. These are the cycles I may not break, but will gladly disrupt.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram- wholesomebadass https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

First Class

So odd to return to a campus in which I attended undergrad. Literally, it felt mostly unfamiliar, possibly because I am now in a different program of study and building.  OR perhaps because I was never fully mentally present while there, 30 years ago: lost, in a constant state of emotional confusion and pain, without any real sense of connection, purpose, or direction.  100% survival mode.  Boy am I grateful that there was not social media during that era.  I will count that as a miracle, fusho.  Yikes.  

I experienced the campus as much quieter than I recall:   with students either staring at screens or hooked up to ear buds.  AND– at the start of our lecture, we were asked to share our names and our pronouns.  Crazy.  The individual next to me responded:  “Everett, he,she,they, them, it doesn’t really matter”.  Wow. 

Another difference was my arriving in time to find parking, check the map, all by myself, and independently and fearlessly determine my route to class— with time to spare.  Whoa, who dat?

Class was fantastic. In a conference room, we were seated around a long table with comfy chairs. Seems as though everyone had degrees in philosophy already, so the language and content were a little foreign to me. After nearly three hours, I left with a bazillion questions, excited to learn, read, study, share, inquire, and present. My intent is to be on time and do my best and to see where this goes. Learning and expanding are my only goals. I had no idea the depth and vastness of the matter of ethicality. As soon as I sense even a basic level of understanding or an informed opinion, I will share.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram- wholesomebadass https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/
Humility is not thinking less of yourself but thinking of yourself less.” -C.S. Lewis

Raising a Modern-Day Knight

I left our last wrestling match feeling discouraged by my boys’ attitudes and conduct, recognizing OUR need for guidance on how to be solid citizens, teammates, and contributors. I am not disturbed that they do not know what they could not know– but that their father and I have diverging values and desires for them.

I would like to raise humans who strive for humility and grace. I experience their father as preferring poise, grim determination, and force, which, to me, feels opposed.

So, inspired by my friend’s God-centered life, I reached out to acknowledge the grace and humility I observe in her son as he moves on and off the mat, unchanged by whether he loses or wins the match. I texted my praise and and need for counsel. Her Ben possesses a gentleness and strength that is common to those whom I experience as great humans.


Me: My boys attitudes about winning and losing are difficult for me to address.   I do not know how to help them. Your Ben is such a humble lil man.  Any wisdom?

S: Thank you Maggie!!! Danny tells our boys that men take ownership for themselves, where as boys blame others. Character is more important than winning and our reputations are very important. Proverbs 22:1 is a great Bible verse to talk about. Also, Danny shares from Robert Lewis’s Book Raising a Modern-Day Knight: A Father’s Role in Guiding His Son to Authentic Manhood .

Me: Oh. The father’s Role seems key. My boys’ father does not share the value of seeking, believing in or leaning on a God or power greater than himself.  I make no claims to having God, only to needing and seeking. This feels impossible with our differing values.

S: It’s ok you can still talk to them and have other men weigh in too.

I ordered the book last night (Why isn’t it here, yet?) and am reading as much as I can about Proverbs 22:1 so that I may learn and share its wisdom on character development. I have so much learning to do myself, and I cannot possibly learn(and unlearn) quickly enough to parent my children in these wholesome and often still unfamiliar ways. Also, I feel my efforts are strongly opposed and undermined by their father’s demand for reverence to him, as if he wants to be their God. Fortunately, Sweet Greg and Favorite’s husband are two consistent models of strong and gentle men, with whom they experience consistent positive connection.

I am stumbling all over this bible verse, trying to find a way to make it digestible (relevant) for my sons. I can do hard things, but not alone. Thank God, we have caring people whom we can count on for their wholesome support of our family and presence in our boys’ daily lives.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram- wholesomebadass https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/
One of the hardest skills to master is saying no to yourself so that you can rise up and unfold into a greater you: No to the patterns/ways of being that only lead back into the past No to distractions or lack of consistency No to only doing what is easy No to doubt and fear Yung Pueblo

Learning to Say No to Yourself

Natural consequences are outcomes that happen as a result of behavior, which are not planned or controlled. For example, if a student cuts in front of another student in line, the natural consequence may be that the other child won’t play with the “cutter” at recess.

If the student who was cut in line, decides to harm the cutter- to get revenge: That is not a natural consequence, that is retaliation. I know this seems basic— but there are literally grown ass adults who seem to not understand this. Before recovery, I definitely practiced righteous retaliation because that is what I had witnessed and learned and then what I married(Karma??). I am unlearning.

Logical consequences are different from punishment in some important ways: Logical consequences may be planned in advance by a parent, teacher, or law enforcement. They are not reactive or angry responses. One example might be if a child breaks curfew, they may lose the privilege of going out the following night. Logical consequences offer something more valuable than the tyrannical message of “You will pay”.

My younger son(age 11), so bright and agile in all ways, seems literally unable (or unwilling) to differentiate between blackmailing and natural consequences.  After being mean and mocking to his older brother (age 13), refusing to stop when asked.  Big Brother elected to not share his highly treasured RC charger with him for a while.  Natural, right?? When you are diminishing to me, I will need to protect myself and my belongings from you until trust is restored. I will want space from you. Little Brother remained mad about his loss of access to the charger, taking no ownership for his part..feeling only victimized and punished but not sorry for being cruel.

When my sons walk the dog, Big holds the leash and Little picks the poo.  Little was agitated that his brother wanted to wear ear buds and listen to his pod cast and insisted he would only pick the poo, after Big Brother turned off the podcast.  WTF?? (A recent but not great example of what it is like)

Later that day, Big Brother loaned Little his RC battery and when he went to use it himself, it was no longer working.  Little brother was like “I did not do anything to it.  He said I could use it.” Since I encourage sharing, I offered to replace the battery, thinking Little would offer to help pay after hearing that when a person or their belongings are compromised by something we do, we have a moral responsibility to make it right.  He did not offer.  

I think Little Brother may be afraid to accept that certain ways of being are harmful and wrong– because it would be too painful for him to admit that his father consistently behaves in ways which have observably negative consequences for our little family.  Behaviors are wrong though, not people.  Our behavior is our choice.  (THIS is exactly why I am excited to begin my study of Ethics.  I must discuss and understand this matter deeply.)

I continue to marvel and stress over my inability to get more buy in from him, for healthy boundaries and accountability. He has too many well dressed models doing only as they like and claiming to be victimized by natural consequences. Models who feel vested with the right to impose punishment on those who displease them.  My son is literally being groomed by and for narcissism and addiction.  I am terrified. Screwing people over and taking what is not yours, is not a natural consequence. There is only one reason to behave that way…lack of mental and spiritual development and wellness.

When my ex did the knowingly harmful Christmas thing, mentioned in previous post, I elected to no longer inconvenience myself in the name of service to him.  That is not a punishment or revenge, but a sane effort to distance myself from a person who is decidedly harmful.  

There also seems to be a lack of discernment for harmful v. displeasing.  Hellllp!  I may not be able to break this cycle of dysfunction–but I will certainly disrupt it. What I hope for my boys: They will choose kindness and honesty (and health and happiness too, but healthy and happy are results and consequences, while kind and honest are daily choices)

I will close by saying that if you are unhappy or hurt about something someone did, there are moral and responsible choices. Confront them directly if you wish to restore trust and to heal, or move TF on. Gossip, reprisal, and retaliation are dark, immature, and sick. Be better than that. I am learning one day at a time what it means to make wholesome choices – to say No to things that pull hard at my desire to retaliate or to choose the thing which is easy and familiar. I cannot take revenge without diminishing myself and I refuse to do that, anymore. The urge is sure there, though. Boy, is it. I am a work in progress. I can do hard things.

Natural consequences are outcomes that happen as a result of behavior that are not planned or controlled. For example, if a student cuts in front of another student in line, the natural consequence may be that the other child won’t play with the “cutter” at recess.

If the student who was cut in line, decides to harm the cutter- to get revenge: That is not a natural consequence, that is retaliation. I know this seems basic— but there are literally grown ass adults who seem to not understand this. Before recovery, I definitely practiced righteous retaliation because that is what I had witnessed and learned and then what I married(Karma??). I am unlearning.

Logical consequences are different from punishment in some important ways: Logical consequences may be planned in advance by a parent, teacher, or law enforcement. They are not reactive or angry responses. One example might be if a child breaks curfew, they may lose the privilege of going out the following night. Logical consequences impose something more valuable than dominance and external control.

My younger son(age 11), so bright and agile in all ways, seems literally unable (or unwilling) to differentiate between blackmailing and natural consequences.  After being mean and mocking to his older brother (age 13), refusing to stop when asked.  Big Brother elected to not share his highly treasured RC charger with him for a while.  Natural, right?? When you are diminishing to me, I will need to protect myself and my belongings from you until trust is restored. I will want space from you. Little Brother remained mad about his loss of access to the charger, taking no ownership for his part..feeling only victimized and punished but not sorry for being cruel.

When my sons walk the dog, Big holds the leash and Little picks the poo.  Little was agitated that his brother wanted to wear ear buds and listen to his pod cast and insisted he would only pick the poo, after Big Brother turned off the podcast.  WTF?? (A recent but not great example of what it is like)

Later that day, Big Brother loaned Little his RC battery and when he went to use it himself, it was no longer working.  Little brother was like “I did not do anything to it.  He said I could use it.” Since I encourage sharing, I offered to replace the battery, thinking Little would offer to help pay after hearing that when a person or their belongings are compromised by something we do, we have a moral responsibility to make it right.  He did not offer.  

I think Little Brother may be afraid to accept that certain ways of being are harmful and wrong– because it would be too painful for him to admit that his father consistently behaves in ways which have observably negative consequences for our little family.  Behaviors are wrong though, not people.  Our behavior is our choice.  (THIS is exactly why I am excited to begin my study of Ethics, this week.  I must discuss and understand this matter deeply.)

I continue to marvel and stress over my inability to get more buy in from him, for healthy boundaries and accountability. He has too many well dressed models doing only as they like and claiming to be victimized by natural consequences. Models who feel vested with the right to impose punishment on those who displease them.  My son is literally being groomed for narcissism and addiction.  I am terrified. Screwing people over and taking what is not yours, is not a natural consequence. There is only one reason to behave that way…lack of mental and spiritual development and wellness.

When my ex did the knowingly harmful Christmas thing, mentioned in previous post, I elected to no longer inconvenience myself in the name of service to him.  That is not a punishment or revenge, but a sane effort to distance myself from a person who is decidedly harmful.  

There also seems to be a lack of discernment for harmful v. displeasing.  Hellllp!  I may not be able to break this cycle of dysfunction–but I will certainly disrupt it. What I hope for my boys: They will choose kindness and honesty (and health and happiness too, but healthy and happy are results and consequences, while kind and honest are daily choices)

I will close by saying that if you are unhappy or hurt about something someone did, there are moral and responsible choices. Confront them directly if you wish to restore trust and to heal, or move TF on. Gossip, reprisal, and retaliation are dark, immature, and sick. Be better than that. I am learning one day at a time what it means to make wholesome choices – to say No to things that pull hard at my desire to retaliate or to choose the thing which is easy and familiar. I cannot take revenge without diminishing myself and I refuse to do that, anymore. The urge is sure there, though. Boy, is it. I am a work in progress. I can do hard things.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram- wholesomebadass https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/
Brene Brown Quote Stay awkward, kind, and brave.

What Sort of Person Behaves Like That?

I am devouring (binge-watching of course) The Morning Show on Apple TV.  What a trip to watch Jennifer Aniston killing it, as the beastly narcissistic Alex Levy- an interesting deviation from her usual, kind and highly lovable on and off screen personas.  

Reese Witherspoon’s character, Bradley Jackson, is Alex’s on-air partner and ongoing source of vexation. She is absolute badass and wholesome, pure of heart.  Bold, rough around the edges, living out loud-  unapologetically transparent and challenging.  Unafraid of conflict, resolution, compromise, and direct communication. She is passionate, ethical, and comfortably imperfect.

As I reviewed my 2019 miniseries binge history,  I made a list of my heroes: those whose lives courageously bump hard against a type of righteous and ruthless narcissism, which seems to have been nearly normalized.

Peggy Olson – Mad Men

Zoe Barnes – House of Cards

Jesse Pinkman (I know, he is a meth dealer and murderer) – Breaking Bad

OfFred – Handmaid’s Tale

Cullen Bohannon – Hell On Wheels

Reyna James – Nashville

Coach Eric Taylor and his wife Tami – Friday Night Lights

Each reminds me of who I was born and in recovery, am now striving to be:  wholesome, humble, courageous truth seeking and speaking – willing to ask difficult questions and make unpopular statements, typically at great cost to themselves—Willing to be awkward and incorrect–choosing to sacrifice themselves rather than others- all without claiming credit or victimhood.  

AND having their asses kicked repeatedly, does not motivate even the slightest consideration to compromise principles and morals.

Who are your on(or off)-stage heroes and why? I am now beginning a list of writers and activists whom I appreciate also for similar reasons. I hope to post soon. Anne Lamott way at the top, fusho. My favorite humans are merciful, kind, willing and able to admit when they have messed up. They possess the fortitude and good will to do the work of repairing. My heroes are compassionate, sensitive, reflective, benevolent—and messy.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram- wholesomebadass https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Bye Bye 2019

My first full year as an official orphan (in which I was banished by literally every blood relative) truly flew and I am going out on a high note:

-Cleanly extricated from a vexing arrangement with the ex

-Endeavoring into a graduate program of study, purely for personal interest–and with all approved time off, necessary to attend class.

-Approval has been granted for the Tuition Assistance Program offered by my company

-Donated my blood today and loved it

-And have just been dismissed from work early, in order to begin preparations for bringing in the New Year with my Sweet Greg. Tomorrow marks the 4 year anniversary of our first silent hike (my favorite kind). I have faith that 2020 will be good. I do not usually feel this way. Ever.

Happy New Year to you and yours!

Much Love,
Magda Gee

For shorter, more frequent and fun posts, connect with me on Instagram- wholesomebadass https://www.instagram.com/wholesomebadass/

Recovering From The Family Disease

Discovering that there is a name for this disease of perceptions and relationships, was the beginning of my healing. Every meeting offers the gift of hearing and sharing about matters, which once defied articulation and remained off limits for discussion. Finally!! No longer alone, ashamed, guilty, terrified. I began to heal.

In each meeting we are reminded that we don’t cause it and cannot cure it. We slowly let go of the painful myth which insists that we imagine, cause, deserve(and my favorite): we are too sensitive to those things which hurt us. The sick culture of “the problem/abuse/adiciton/lies(…) is not a problem—ONLY your reaction is the problem”. We, who find recovery are blessed beyond measure, others will develop reliance on blame, denial, and self soothing substances and habits. Recovery allows us to transcend pain, rather than extend the pain to others. Healing or offloading seem to be the only options. This type of damage and pain does not heal itself and time does not undo or change it. It requires work—-Ongoing focused commitment to the work of examination, self reflection, amending, and active healing.

All Twelve Step Programs teach healthy and sane choices for how to live life, freeing us from the need to control or fully understand the insensitivity, dishonesty, secrecy, and pretenses which naturally flow from life in a family who has been affected.  The disease of alcoholism/addiction is generational and toxic patterns are passed down. Even if it is a grandparent, aunt, or uncle with addiction or mental illness of any sort, IT affects and shapes every member of the family. Nobody is spared. Recovery offers simple steps, principles, and practices for how to Live and Let Live, One Day at a Time—no matter what others do or do not do.

Live and let live—I practice this best, by doing one next right thing at a time:  (appropriate) self care(upkeep and maintenance—not gluttonous and avoidant self soothing), my actual responsibilities, and appropriate service (not enabling or people pleasing). This allows me to live my own life, experiencing as much serenity, grace, and mercy as possible.
I struggle to follow this Good Orderly Direction when my practice of faith is weak and my obsession (with what others are or are not doing) is strong.

I admit to feeling obsessed over continued unwholesome BS of my sister and ex– which perpetuates and widens our division as co-parents. I am deeply pained over how it continues to affect our children. Their father made a knowingly harmful and divisive choice. And in turn, I elected to terminate a long term favor to him– which was already unpleasant and stressful to me– AND– his only effort to examine this natural consequence— was to ask our son why he told me. How is it possible to feel both unsurprised and shocked by this?? It is the disease, cunning, baffling, powerful. I read recently that: after vilifying a person, there is only one thing left to do, wage war. I refuse to engage their war. I do my recovery/life — one next right thing at a time, the best I can. But fuck, I sure would like to retaliate. My shreds of recovery stop me. I also kind of obsess over what I am rumored to have done which allows people to tolerate or justify their harmful behavior. This is the culture of alcoholism.

I love love love that my boy courageously responded to his father’s condemning inquiry: “What–Was I supposed to lie to her?” His father’s response: “I guess not”. I feel possessed, utterly. AYFKM? Do a shitty thing and then try to shift blame onto a child for your own fucked up choices and natural consequences. Here is my recovery—-When you become a source of harm to my family, I will not come after you, I become unapologetically less accessible motherfukker. Oh AND Hey, I have an idea: Don’t be a sneaky coat tailing, social climbing, money grubbing shit and don’t involve children in things which harm them. I AM So fucken powerless and deep into MY Step Zero, this morning. I may not be my most wholesome or badass self at this time. I am aware. I will continue working on myself.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Back to Step One

I have definitely lost touch with my higher power, indicated by my obsessive and anxious rehearsing and rehashing, the afterburn of having stood up for myself. Today, I must journal hard– about all of the things, over which I remain powerless. In my powerlessness, is my freedom. When I rely on my faith and recovery, my anxiety wanes and the quality of my life is elevated: AND I am able to rest peacefully in the satisfaction that my side of the street is clean.

The arrangement with my ex, in the last month, has literally sickened me(spiritually). I wanted to help him AND THEN for him to appreciate (BE SOMEONE HE IS NOT) or at the very least recognize and respect (AGAIN, BE SOMEONE HE IS NOT) my willingness to do so. I see that was my unwell thinking and should not feel shocked or hurt by the fact that he is still exactly who he has always been and promises to be. I am indeed the crazy one for having expected or hoped for anything other.

I am keenly aware that reprisal and retaliation are to be expected.  In my family of origin and his, clearly communicated boundaries are perceived and responded to, as a call to war. After all, who TF do I think I am?  

Such a bummer for the boys(and me)—We were juiced up on the holiday vibe and then– the thing.  Not only did he choose the hurtful thing, he chose to involve our children–selfish, dirty, unnecessary. I will be unsurprised if he finds an undesirable alternative for them and then presents that to them as the natural consequence of them having told me.

I have pre-empted this by telling our sons that he was lucky to have had my help and that he knowingly chose to jeopardize that by doing the thing and then involving them. My agreeing to help was foolish and stressful. The clear option to stop, presented itself, as a natural response to having our lil family treated as inconsequential. To those things and all people who CHOOSE to live this way, I say No More (for me). You be you, over there, on your time, in your space.

I am off to journal with actual pen and paper, now, as I have slipped deep into my spiritual malady- which tricks me into believing that I have the POWER to control anything besides my own attitude and behavior. I am powerless.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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LR Knost Instagram Post No More. That's Abuse, not peace

No More

So-  In my desire and pursuit to be merciful, I foolishly agreed to a highly undesirable arrangement for myself. I did so, in an effort to be of service to my boys’ father.  On each of the days in the two weeks which I provided my support, he consistently took more than what was offered with neither apology nor gratitude.  Once again, I had confused being merciful and useful with allowing myself to be used and manipulated.   In my stomach, I felt knots of tension, anxiety,  a feeling of being trapped in an unwholesome circumstance/dynamic.  I discussed the issue with friends and in meetings.  I prayed and journaled, seeking clarity on how to do “the next right thing”.

And then on Christmas Day, he generously provided the gift of clarity. He, while benefitting from my support and inconveniencing me– elected to do something knowingly harmful to US.  And (drumroll please) here is my recovery:  I resisted the delicious urge tell him about himself –even a little.  I communicated the following – something I had previously felt afraid to say.   I texted:

“Merry Christmas.  Just wanted to give you a heads up. I can no longer keep the boys in the mornings and afternoons on your weeks.  I am willing to help for a week or two more, while you find other arrangements.”

Things that continue to be Hard AF: Holidays, Recovery, Boundaries, Co-parenting with active and untreated addiction. Trying not to obsess, also feels nearly impossible.

12 Concepts pps 39-40

Conviction and Compromise

One qualification for useful life is give-and-take, the ability to compromise cheerfully. Compromise comes hard to us all or nothing types.  Never the less, we must never lose sight of the fact the progress is nearly always characterized by series improving compromises. Of course we cannot always compromise. There are circumstances in which it is necessary to stick flat-footed to one’s convictions until the issue is resolved.  Deciding when to compromise and when not to compromise always calls for the most careful discrimination.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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A Book Club Must Read

Just thrilled to have found and reposted this meme on instagram, if only—-for one commentor’s response: “Each time I try to appear normal, or pick up their energy thinking it’s mine… I get exhausted, ill, or totally screwed up. It’s a theatrical effort. We’re different.” ALSO–The facial expression on the guy in the image is funny AF– and the genius creator of this meme is my new hero. My bar for heroism is still quite low. Remember, I am recovering from over an over developed appreciation for cleverness.

I have finished pretending and trying to shave off or hide parts of myself for approval or the illusion of belonging. My self improvement has nothing to do with needing to present myself in the image of another human. I now have a god–and it is NOT the approval or disapproval of others. The system of rewarding likeness and diminishing differences is a cycle– like a highly infectious disease, it will affect each person with whom I come into contact, whether I am the punished or the punisher. Ew. I reject this. Erasing ourselves or others is very non-wholesome and non-badass.

Genuine lasting connection and belonging have little to do with being the same, though similarities are surely binding, particularly when they are legitimate — neither forced nor feigned. If sameness or a shared enemy are requirements or invitations, I am out. No thank you. As my commentor said: “we are different”. I graciously accept and thank GAWD for that.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Listen, Learn, Serve

Squeee! I  have completed my application for admission to a graduate course of study in Applied Ethics.  I am interested in the path and the journey, without a destination or career in mind.  THIS is only the fourth thing (#1-My cross country move, #2-my job and #3-Sweet Greg) which I have actively wanted and chosen for healthy reasons, perhaps, ever.  I have spent a lifetime settling for things and running from things. This is my Good Orderly Direction at work in my life. I love this quote from Bill Gates- which inspires me not so much to not lead, but to give, to elevate those in need.

If I am lucky, I may enroll in one course per semester with the option of a certification in maaaaaybe 3 years or a Masters in double that time.  Quite possibly, I just attend classes, listen, learn, and serve- as I am able- and see where I am led.  I am currently void of concern with certification and credentials.  I wish only to become more educated and to be of service to any groups of underserved and oppressed people.  I would honestly like an invitation to work with with Bill and Melinda Gates and do only things for people lacking in the most basic human ways. I should probably go check the mail asap, I bet my invitation is already there.

For now, I will get myself into some rooms with others contemplating similar topics and matters. The information, the dialog, the reading, the research, the studying—#allofit I want to listen and learn to empower those stuck in the margins. My role at work is in Sales Support and what I love about my job– is the service aspect- serving as the behind the scenes helper. Getting to be the person to say: “I will take care of that for you. I am happy to help you with this.”

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Obedience to the Unenforceable

I have been hungering, starving for a way to explore THIS, outside of my limiting perspective/ personal experience and SO—am now contemplating graduate school for a MA in Applied Ethics.  Putting my mind to work in a course of study and research of a matter so very relevant to me, would be incredible.  Who knows where it will lead? Maybe only one class or two, or completion of a Masters or even a PhD.  

My program of recovery introduced me to the concept of obedience to the unenforceable as it relates to our program principles—like– even in our meetings, it is not an option to force people to obey or leave.  The only consequence for disobedience is having to exist at a lower vibration. Each of the 12 Step Programs offer step by step direction on how and why to be obedient to the unenforceable, as part of living our best lives.  This made good sense to me once I connected with a power greater than myself.

I continue to marvel at undeniably harmful actions, which, depending on the doer of the deed–are tolerated, enabled, minimized, dismissed— in families, in schools, in the work place and by our current administration and also by those who pride themselves in political correctness and who often tyrannize through happiness policing– shutting down difficult conversations which support sharing and listening to differing perspectives.

I do realize that gaining a deeper understanding of ethics will not make me more right/correct– and will not allow me to enforce anything.  But –the study of ethics and morality seems to offer a more wholesome outlet for otherwise obsessive and troubling thoughts about why and how people do as they do. Maybe being able to understand ethicality and morality will free me from the urge to judge people as just wrong and bad. (Hell, perhaps they are right and bad-hahahaha) It is possible to be “right” in reason and unethical and immoral in method. Will this help me with my goal of living a more merciful existence? Fock, I hope so. I am enjoying my mercy tattoo very much- but have been unable to get a good photo.

I am beyond pleased to have found a way to direct my pain and confusion toward academic pursuits which might allow me to exist outside the confining narrative which gave birth to this blog. The idea of GRE prep seems daunting though, and I hope will not hinder me too much.  

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Eggshells are Easily Broken

My relationships before recovery were so distrusting and volatile, and could literally snap under the weight of even the slightest tension.  It was not safe or accepted to openly experience difficult feelings. For someone like me, naturally high strung and an utter failure at pretending otherwise, this was terrifying, because the tension made me more tense.  It was always the beginning of another unspeakable divide— resulting in hostile words or deadly and lasting silence.  My tension was consistently identified as the cause.  Any call for consideration or understanding of any sort, was labelled as “having to walk on eggshells”. To me, eggshells come from the pretending. Pretending to not be hurting, pretending to have not been hurtful.

As an adult with recovery, I can create the safety and trust I needed and deserved as a child.  Emotional honesty is now a requirement in each of my chosen relationships. Kindness too!

The other night, Sweet Greg attempted to speak to me a few times— when I was resting, and I snapped at him.  I maaaay have used the word fuck in my edgy reaction.  I promptly apologized in our jokey way, “Hey babe, I am sorry you made me do that”.  No time was wasted denying or glossing over my harmful tone.  We laughed and it was behind us– because we both knew that I was sorry for my unfair behavior.  We have the best laughs and inside jokes about our missteps and disagreements. Between us, there exists no bitterness, no buried resentments. Four years—how is that even possible? Recovery–that is how.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Claiming Responsibility

Even, through my thirties, I had not learned to appropriately respond to harmful behaviors and words. Consistently, my uninformed and humiliating reactions stole the show, contributing greatly to the wreckage of my life.  

Since the norm in my FOO is– to not take responsibility for harmful words, choices, behaviors, but rather to deny, minimize, label it a joke, or blame the person who has been hurt– I came to believe: I too, had no responsibility for my words and actions. But— that I did have the power to cause unfortunate words and behaviors to flow from others. Boy was I beaten down by sadness, fear, guilt, and shame about that.

I saw the only options as: 1) Pretend it didn’t happen (which I never learned to do). 2) Find a way to get even. 3) Find someone else to get in the crosshairs. 4) Be verrrrry careful to not disturb people and make them become abusive. 4) Be sorry all of the time.

I learned what I lived.  As I am unlearning, I am breaking the cycles curses.

I now recognize that it is not ok to diminish or punish others. And it is ok and responsible to say NO to what harms me.  Doing so, is neither an act of war nor rebellion- but part of my developing emotional and spiritual maturity. 

My learning to say NO without apology, volume, or profanity– blew up our family system. As I could no longer be counted on to act like a lunatic and distract everyone from what was done with my over-the-top reaction to what was being done. Abandoning that script and role is one of my greatest recovery blessings. I no longer participate in things aimed at diminishing me or others. And I take responsibility for only myself. #winning

For anyone engaged with a family committed to healing, enjoy your blessings.  If you remain tethered to a family, in which common practices include alienation and are suggestive that some people matter more than others, KNOW THIS—It stinks!!! AND You are not alone and you have choices(If you are not sure what those are—find a meeting, any 12 step meeting.  You will find help and hope there).  All of the choices might suck, but some will surely sting less than others.  

I am allowing myself to heal and to hold strong boundaries around what I will and will not do. I choose healing — anyone/anything that interferes with that must go.

Wholesome and healing love is kind, never cruel.  For the holidays, I wish those practicing any other kind of love, much peace and healing, from over here.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Thank You for Letting Me Go

Thanks for letting me go.  Nearly 5 decades chasing or running from you–was no way to live and no longer how I understand and do love. 

Recovery teaches us— Love is kind, direct, courageous, enduring, transparent, nurturing, loyal, and unconditional.  Wholesome Good Love is a commitment, rather than just a feeling.  Finally, disentangled from my placeholders for love, I now experience and treasure loving connections in healthy relationships.  When we know better, we do better.

I am grateful for freedom from those who threaten, shame, gossip about or banish me.  #thatisnotlove There will always be people who choose those to do those things, only, now, I no longer confuse them for loving people. To be clear, I learned what I lived and brought unwholesome and deeply damaging behaviors and ways of being into the world with me– but I have been healing and changing, one day at a time for nearly 10 years. Unlearning takes time. My recovery is a process not an event.

Today in church I realized, with a feeling not unlike like pride, that my life now flows from Good Orderly Direction.  I no longer make choices out of shame, fear, or guilt—where previously, those posed as my gods and guides, my constant companions.

That I do not GAF what others think, is not at all the case—just that the opinions of others do neither inspire nor frighten me.  I do my life and people either like me, hire me, make friends with me… or they do not.  Fear of rejection, retaliation, and reprisal–this is not a dynamic to which I will consent, now as an adult with a choice and children–who are watching and learning.  

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Freedom from THE Shame

Things that once caused me shame:

  • My thin awkward body and brownish (non-white) skin
  • My name–the one assigned to me at birth
  • My inability to calm down and focus on what matters (Also– I did not know what mattered–as evidenced by this list)
  • My father’s “foreign” accent
  • My nose
  • The size of my feet
  • The food my family served
  • The clothes I was provided
  • My sensitivity and emotional intensity
  • My limited tastes and preferences in food along with my insatiable appetite
  • Being non-Christian
  • That we did not enjoy and connect to each other the way other families appeared to– the undeniable void of pleasant rituals, activities, and traditions

Shame over matters, which I did not choose and over which I had no control, caused a fuck-ton of grief, anger– and isolation from my family and a community, which never let me forget all the ways in which  I FAILED to be like them–acceptable.

I sought unfortunate means of soothing and coping with things I could neither change nor accept.  I raged with profanity at just about everything.  I could not grasp or manage my anger and despair and did not experience anyone as interested and able to help me with those.  I learned to be mean AF, to shoplift and steal.  I dove into the relief of binging and purging, from age 12 to well into my 30s.  I purchased items which I did not need and could not afford, in an effort to feel or appear more like others.  I abused alcohol and drugs and was sexually promiscuous with people who did not even like me.  Believing, if I could not make them like or accept me, getting them to use me was a win.  Then, at least, I was not useless. I see now that useful and used are not the same.

It is said that a good childhood leaves you with both roots and wings.  I developed my roots and wings in Al-Anon at age 40.  The program teaches me how to let go of shame over the past, to make right what I can and to now, live my life aligned with principles, allowing me the gift of self esteem. It is true that when we know better we do better.  I am ever grateful for 10 years of better living.  It would be beyond tragic to be this age, and still behaving in those ways.

Without models to whom I could relate or whom I genuinely wanted to emulate, I was lost. To act and to feel right, with zero sense of connection and purpose–was impossible for me.

Program allows me to not only see but to intentionally examine my behaviors and motives and to let go of the idea that I can fully understand those of another. Recovery teaches me to behave well, long before I feel so. Often, the feelings will follow. But– if I wait until I feel a certain kind of good, before making a wholesome good choice, I am screwed. I do not feel so good, most of the time, and yet I make choices which I feel good about, choices which reflect who I am and what I believe.

It is also said that happiness is– when your words, actions, and beliefs are in alignment. I suppose, by this measure, I am happy.

I share all of this to say –that none of those things cause me shame. And the same goes for the things done, by me, to cope with the items on that list. They can not be used to shame or harm me. They are not secrets. They are less pretty parts of my journey. I will make no effort to hide or deny. This is true and beautiful freedom.

Here are things about which I feel good and for which I am responsible:

I survived a difficult childhood, which naturally was followed by a sick marriage. I chose to exit a bad marriage and survived a lengthy and litigious divorce. My ex and I moved back, cross country, to a place and to people I swore I’d never return, to support my mother. I worked with my boy’s father to do what was needed for our family, in spite of so very much. I am in recovery. I am a loving and protective mother, a fantastic friend and great partner to my Sweet Greg. I am generous. I am transparent with good boundaries around what I will and will not do. My work ethic and loyalty are strong AF. I am a caring neighbor and pet-haver/servant (I prefer not to say owner). I am a badass when it comes to trying, even when all I really want to do is flip out, give up, or blame. I am kind (not friendly, but kind) and honest, at all costs. I am benevolent and have a God of My Understanding AND I can now (mostly- unless you mess with my children though….) maintain benevolence toward a person whom I dislike or with whom I disagree–even when they do me harm. I will not lie to, for, or about a person. If you know me, I am 100% exactly who you think I am.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Liz Earnshaw Quote: One of the strongest forces in the world is a family resisting change.

Cycle Breaking–and the Fall Out

From Liz Earnshaw (Click anywhere on this post to read more from her): There is a phenomenon in families known as homeostasis (really, in any group of people , but I’ll stick to families here).

Families seek to maintain the “organization” they’re accustomed to. They are driven to maintain functioning as it’s always been – whether the functioning is good or bad.

When the status quo is interrupted then other members cannot function “smoothly” – I.e. when you change or set a boundary then they can no longer run on their same hamster wheel and that means they have to figure out how else to run and most people don’t feel up to finding new ways to do things… so instead they fight you… hard… to get back on their hamster wheel.

This is one of the biggest reasons people end up giving up on their boundaries or their new way of being in relation to their families – the fight a family puts up against your change is POWERFUL.

It can result in being cut out, shamed, shunned, gossiped about, threatened, etc, etc. and this is really really hard.

So, if you’re experiencing this you’re not alone. It’s common *and* that doesn’t make it okay. It is still painful and difficult and exhausting.

Continue to focus on your goal of keeping yourself healthy and safe and remind yourself that the power of a family wanting to regain “homeostasis” is strong, but you’re stronger.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Better Living

I did not comprehend or grasp anything close to sane thinking before entering into my program of recovery.  After my first Al-Anon meeting, I attended every single 12 step program I could, because my hunger for the 12 Steps and 12 Principles was insatiable.  I was thrilled and awed to discover that there existed, this design for living, which I could accept and apply, to help me change and live my life.  I had not learned how to live– only to survive, and barely.  
I struggled mightily and for years, with the language around God and Higher Power but I listened and wrote and wrote and shared and engaged the topic– until.  My formative experience made no sense to me–it was godless, hopelessly dark, faithless, merciless and sometimes manic.  Like– whenever the pain and punishment abated for any amount of time, I would feel frenzied by the notion that things were suddenly and forever all better.  I was baffled and deeply disturbed by how things seemed to change swiftly and drastically in our home.  I recognize now, that the only things that ever actually changed, were the moods of people with whom I lived and on whom I counted.  It was volatile, scary, sad, angry.  I learned and became what I lived.

Getting to replace the changing rules and moods with the static principles of 12 Step Recovery, to guide me , was the beginning of my journey into sane living. My hope is that my boys will find/seek a force or presence to count on, one which is humble—not human, vain, depressed, moody, or addicted to anything. As we continue to attend church and share doubts and discomforts about certain lessons and conversations, I remind them that we do not attend church in order to become convinced or “religious”. We are there to join with others who wish to learn and practice living in ways which are more meaningful and less self-seeking and self-serving.

It is no matter how much we believe or agree with all of IT(certain stories from the bible). What we can believe and count on, I hope, is that to allow ourselves to be directed by faith, kindness, honesty, service, humility, courage, and mercy will lead us to and through our best lives.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Sweet Mercy

I am beyond excited for my upcoming and long awaited appointment to finish my back-piece tattoo, a sprawling octopus which we began more than a year ago. I am hoping that time will permit another tattoo of the word mercy on my left inner arm. Mercy is a thing, to which I am dedicating much thought as I seek to make peace in my heart, peace, which does not require this elusive thing called forgiveness- for people who are not sorry for doing and saying the unforgivable, and who show no sign of intent to stop. I want to be merciful. To extend mercy seems the most wholesome badass thing I can imagine, at this moment. In this dynamic, it remains unclear how I may do this while insulating myself from the merciless? To be merciful with them, feels impossible. Maybe I surrender the hope of working together with a man who has no mercy for his own children- a man who has always placed his ego and emotional needs before those of our young sons.

For my birthday, I think I experienced a glimpse of mercy. Mercy, by definition, is “unmerited by the wrongdoer”. Having mercy means I accept that hurt people hurt people and then, just maybe loosen my grip on the proverbial nooses which I hold around their necks— as it is not possible for me to hold a noose and to remain spiritually clean and free. It is hurtful to me, to even indulge in noosey thoughts and attitudes–Doing so, makes me merciless. Since it is not possible to hurt myself without also negatively affecting those who love and count on me, I must change.

When my ex reported to me loss of his job this week, amazingly, my first instinct was one of compassion/concern, because he is nothing, if not proud AND this will affect our boys. I am keenly aware that hardship for him translates to hardship for our children, therefore I can and do not want that for him/them. I briefly contemplated sharing with him, how my Sweet Greg was recently let go and that Bestie’s husband was also cut loose from his job. Both were shocked but managed to move forward with ease and grace. Clearly–it happens to the best. But– I did not offer this information. I was kind and civil and stopped there–telling him only that I was sorry and would do what I could to help. Old me would wanted to say something cutting and spiteful–to be merciless and punitive— “serves you right, asshole”. I did not. Miracle: that this was my second thought, and not my first.

Our sons’ happiest moments are those in which their parents worked and ate together as a family, post divorce. I feel that mercy is our only hope for a return to that. I want nothing to do with him, for so long as he triangulates with my sister and willingly involves our boys. It’ll be interesting to see how my striving to behave mercifully will be challenged by holiday antics, which leave my children unnecessarily in the midst of complicated and painful bullshit. I told the boys that I would like for them to to be with me for Thanksgiving at Bestie’s with Greg, BUT that– if their father has no known plans, they must offer to cook and eat and celebrate with him—as nobody deserves to feel alone and without family, especially during the holidays. This shift is nothing short of miraculous. Truly.

I long for the day, when it might be appropriate, prudent, and good to invite my ex to join in our precious framily traditions. Bestie and Greg support this inspite of what they have witnessed. They support healing and our family– unselfishly and unconditionally. Does having mercy for my ex and our boys require placing myself in a position to be hurt by one who knowingly chooses behaviors which result in harm to US? If so, I am not there, yet. I am a work in progress.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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My Saddest Day

I have lived many sad years, decades actually. Life, even on the most special of days, has been that, for me. So, when asked what is my saddest day, I had to take time to think. My saddest day was maybe the day I knowingly married someone who “loved” me as my family had hated me. I wished I could say it was the passing of either of my parents. That would be a lovely way to feel–to have known the great pain of losing of someone by whom I felt fiercely loved and to whom I believed myself to be strongly connected. My parents were not that for me. My father made it clear I was not like “everyone” else (He was mostly referring to whiteness, christianness, and southernness). And my mother and sister made sure to remind me of all the ways which I failed to be like them. There was no safe place for me. Nowhere felt good.

I guess, my saddest day ever, was the day my sons phoned me from their dad’s car, with their Aunt, whose hostile and divisive maneuvers can be explained by (but not excused) her decades of untreated addiction. It was my younger son’s birthday weekend and I had agreed to let the boys stay with their father for a Sunday dinner which, according to our legal arrangement, would have been with me.

My sons(who were typically not encouraged to call or connect with me while with their father), called to report that they were returning from dinner with my mother and sister (with whom I was not on speaking terms). The sound which emerged from me, after putting the phone down, was one which I have not made before or since. I do not have any words to communicate the feeling. There are no words to effectively describe the reaction to this level of what to me, seemed betrayal of demonic proportions.

A dinner table arranged for and by people who are angry with me, posing as a celebration for my son, and which I knew nothing of- before the call. The lie they told my children— that I had been invited and chosen not to go. The response to my email asking why they would do such a divisive thing– offering no reason, just an assassination of my character with my mother, my nieces, my ex, and his sister copied. What the fuck?!

My ex and I had worked miracles to move cross country together, as a family–so that I could help my mother and he could purchase a home of his own. In that one foul play, our work of healing was set a blaze. Ashes. Whatever it was that bonded my sister to my ex, was more important than the solidarity of healthy co-parenting, which I believe my sons deserve. The loss of that is immeasurable. The grief of what has been snatched from my sons, is typically too much to bear. I cannot get over it. It is not over. Every difficult situation and decision for them is faced and made without the blessing of parents joined for the common cause of the children’s well being. That colluding and collaboration guaranteed the impossibility of shared purpose required to work together, raising healthy children with a solid sense of belonging and connection and truth. What a mess. My children were never happier than when mom and dad sat at tables together with them and for them. Gone. Poof!

My program of recovery helps me to manage myself while in the middle of this. While I cannot fix it, I can follow program wisdom and not make it worse by expecting or demanding healing and closure with people who behave in these ways–knowingly imposing struggle, hardship, and loss.

Today in church, sin was defined for us— as a behavior which infringes negatively on another’s freedom, any choice which knowingly causes hardship for others. I have previously referred to this as unwholesome, by my own definition, and am comforted by a deeper understanding of sin. Choosing the spiritual path requires a sacrificing for others not OF others….the constant choice to do what I ought to do v. what I want to do. Anything with strong emotional appeal is typically driven by our own will, ego, envy, vanity, selfish ambition, and hunger. These are things I surrender to remain on the path and in the direction of God. That is my wish. That is my recovery and my miracle–having a path and a God.

The pastor asked us to contemplate the question(in times when we are feeling the strong emotional appeal of doing or having a thing): “What does love require of me?”. To be clear, I interpret this to mean God’s love and spirituality, not approval and the pleasure of myself and others. I see how most of my life was driven by distorted perceptions of love and connection. Because of my distorted perception and my lack of wholesome guidance and direction, my choices and attitudes were rooted in selfish and defective thinking. I had no path, only my reactions and faulty beliefs, to guide me. That is how I navigated and endured 40 years of god-less life.

In one million years, I would not have imagined a biblical quote might be something of comfort and relevance to me–or that I might savor or share. Without the sermon, to help me understand the sentiment of this, these would be just words, weird bibley words for only the christiany people.

But THIS from Galatians 5:22-23: But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

In the church we attend, which I have heard my boys refer to as “our church”, it is continually said, that ours is a church in which you get to belong, before you believe. How amazing is that? Belonging and belief in and to something greater than ourselves—these are necessities. My boys have had removed from them, an experience based and unshakeable belief in loyalty and faithfulness of family. What will they believe? That it is ok to collaborate and triangulate against each other. ??? They have no reason to think otherwise. It is the norm on all sides of their families.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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The Anatomy of Trust

After posting the image to IG, I was reminded of the Brene Brown Video called the Anatomy of Trust. She makes it clear to see what trust does and looks like. I can not get enough affirmation for how I experienced my family and the effects it had on me, the lack of safety and trust—-I am working hard, swimming upstream so that I may offer my boys a safer experience than what I had. Below are some items I want to share for my readers and one day my sons.

Brene’s BRAVING acronym helps us to build self-trust and understand how self-trust is essential in building meaningful connections so that we can show up for ourselves and for our classroom community. Boundaries – What’s okay and what’s not okay. Reliability – You do what you say you’ll do. Accountability – You own your mistakes, apologize, and make amends. Vault – You don’t share information or experiences that are not yours to share. Integrity – You choose courage over comfort. You choose what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy. And you choose to practice your values rather than simply professing them. Nonjudgment – I can ask for what I need, and you can ask for what you need. Generosity – You extend the most generous interpretation possible to the intentions, words, and actions of others. ***By these measures, my only option is to maintain distance from those who repeatedly and righteously live in ways that disregard these Principles.

Trust is defined as choosing to risk making something you value vulnerable to another person’s actions. When you trust someone, what you make vulnerable can range from concrete things such as money, a job, a promotion, or a particular goal, to less tangible things like a belief you hold, a cherished way of doing things, your “good name,” or even your sense of happiness and well being. Whatever you choose to make vulnerable to the other’s actions, you do so because you believe their actions will support it or, at the very least, will not harm it.  ***In my case, it was my children I made vulnerable.

Distrust is– what I’ve shared with you that is important to me is not safe with you.

I am a work in progress. The continual unlearning. And the Learning and Practicing BRAVING, in all of my relationships— limiting personal relations, to only those who share these values. What a miracle to know better, do better, live better, love better.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Because I was Terrified

I was terrified and ashamed and I did not know what to do, for much of my life. With the only consistent direction: “Be somebody entirely different (think, feel, want, and hate, exactly as we do) or fuck off”. My despair over not knowing how to do those things, manifested into behaviors that were bully like.  Or maybe I was just mimicking what I experienced in my home life. Either way, I took that attitude and those behaviors out into the world, as the only ways I knew to be– until I found recovery.  The intensity of my learned hatred for myself made me unkind. Today, I love who I am and how I live and love. I am so proud of my ability and choice to practice kindness as a way of life. I am rarely mean, and when I am, I promptly amend.

When I googled the definition of bully, this was the first result of my search:


noun: bully; plural noun: bullies

  1. a person who seeks to harm or intimidate those whom they perceive as vulnerable or threatening
  2. persecutor
  3. oppressor
  4. tyrant
  5. tormentor
  6. browbeaten
  7. intimidator
  8. coercer
  9. subjugator

verb: bully;

seek to harm, intimidate, or coerce

I cringe to recall the many things said and done by me, with the intent to punish, exclude, dominate. I just did not know better. I believe that sometimes I am guilty of bullying one of my sons when I am feeling bullied by him.  My behavior, is a shitty historical reaction and I apologize but cannot seem to altogether stop.  What I mean when I say that I feel as if I am bullying him—is that I employ shame and guilt to try to control the situation, or gain the outcome I feel is necessary.  I hate that.  100% unwholesome.  My other default seems to be a coldish detachment from him, which is probably equally damaging.  This is how I was raised. Yes, I am breaking the cycle one day at a time.  But damn—it is taking too long.

My greatest fear is that my boys will practice what they are witnessing consistently, by the adults to whom they are related, and whom they are likely to emulate. My intent is to consistently practice and model for them, in hopes they will choose: to be includers and connectors, practice rigorous authenticity, self love but not self-promotion, and kindness– to see people struggling or disconnected and to feel desire and compulsion to lift and protect especially those in need of lifting and protection, to stand up to bullies, to not be bullies themselves, to never turn a blind eye. Breaking the cycle is much harder than continuing it. Very effing difficult.

They are spending time this weekend with people whom, to this day, attempt to bully me. I hate it for them. It is their ongoing experience to watch people get picked off and excluded for failure to agree or comply. I just keep telling myself…My job as mom, is to lead, teach, guide. But I desperately want to do some forcing and enforcing. Big surrenders today, every day. I am a work in progress.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Fuck Shame

In recovery, my greatest endeavor and achievement to date, I get to have a God Of My Understanding (GOMU). Before connecting with my very own GOMU, shame, pride, and guilt were my guides– and I knew only dynamics, in which those were generously promised in spades.  

In moments of pridefulness, I could justify doing and saying deeply hurtful things.  In daily life, shame led me to and kept me in toxic relationships. I came to believe that people are assholes because I am a bitch–A loser, unworthy of love, kindness, protection and connection- and entirely responsible for unkind words and behaviors of others.  It was odd to believe that I could cause all of the bad things said and done by others, as well as my own bad behavior.  It made no sense.  It is literally insane to think this way—maddening.

My resentment over this hypocrisy coupled with my inability to understand, change, or exit, grew to unmanageable proportions.  

I lived in fear of my feelings, because they were intense and consistently invalidated and punished.  I sought people who would do that (judge, dismiss, punish). That that was the “love” I learned.

Recovery is freeing me from sick thinking that directed me to yield to shame, guilt, fear, and pride. They make terrible guides and companions.  Having a GOMU has allowed me to become right sized, playing  neither big nor small.  I get to practice living life on life’s terms  WITH HEALTHY BOUNDARIES for myself.  

My boundaries are my spiritual skin.  They remind me that my job is to honor my needs, limits, and responsibilities. That is my job.  So simple, but unfamiliar and challenging, especially with regards to parenting.  I do pretty damn good with those to whom I did not give birth.  I am consistently able to let go of a need to manage and control. Or to attack or defend when threatened.

But my boundaries become tangled up with my sons and I frequently react with emotion which is as historical as it is hysterical and damaging.  With adults, I instinctively exit sticky entanglements and let TF go, because I am not in charge.  But with my sons….it gets complicated. I accept that my job is to lead, guide, teach, not boss—but but but but…

I am a work in progress, reparenting my children right along side myself.  Today is my mother’s birthday.  I have a lot of feelings about how she did and did not parent me.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Bob Goff Love Does

Love Does

If I really think about it. …💕 I could not have done anything great enough to earn the gift of Sweet Greg’s love. AND there is not a thing I could do to lose it. There are definitely things I could do to make him want space from me, but never to make him want to see me suffer or to leverage my weaknesses and vulnerabilities against me. 

One definition of enemy is- someone who wants to see you fail or struggle. People who “love” do not choose to cause struggle or suffering for another. Wholesome Love would prevent them from doing so. 

I am re-learning love- I 😞have definitely done my share of behaving as an enemy. I married and divorced an enemy- maybe because people who claimed to love me also consistently behaved as enemies—justifying with phrases like “serves you right”. So I did the same to others, until I knew better. 
I forgive myself for what I did not know as a young adult. What I learned about love, connection, worthiness, lovability—all of it was sick and distorted. I am learning a better way. I am a work in progress.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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When people attempt to set boundaries with you, it's their attempt to continue the relationship, not an attempt to hurt you.


Sweet Greg is here, recovering from brutal wisdom tooth extraction while I battle my obsessive thinking alongside current heinous withdrawal from Xyzal. What a nightmare. Who knew? Greg should be fine within the week, thanks to my excellent care. Ha! But seriously—poor me. I have read reported symptoms for withdrawal from this OTC allergy medicine can persist for months while recovery from my life before recovery– seems never-ending. Today, I am grateful to be enjoying quiet, healing time with Greg- and while trolling IG, to have found this nugget from @janetheclapp

When someone behaves in a way that makes us feel unsafe, behaves violently, betrays sacred trust, chronically disrespects us, is all talk and no follow through, or harms us, in any way– THEY have actually DESELECTED themselves. They have actively chosen behaviour that has lead to the current state of affairs. In choosing to have less contact or even no contact, we are simply responding to behaviour instead of being the person to truly instigate the end result. 

The best, it seems, I can expect, with regards to certain others, is my own adherence to very clear and consistent healthy boundaries around my time, energy, and availability. This is not mean or unforgiving–not equivalent but sometimes equated to holding a grudge. Certain people will perceive a clear and direct boundary as punitive. Fortunately, other peoples’s perceptions are not my responsibility.

After reading the Sunday Self Care post by JaneTheClapp, I now can identify what transpired between my sister and my ex-husband, as an absolute and shared lack of loyalty to the sacred—our children. Whatever they tell themselves and others to justify the damage, is something I may never know– and in fact fails to matter…but I do still wonder. I also wonder what gives them more peace, telling themselves they banished me or telling themselves I opted out of family. Again, it does not matter, but I wonder.

I can envision only one conversation with them, one in which their focus would be only the insistence of their own honorable intent plus all the ways I was asking for it. I must get on with this day and envision more wholesome things. The past week left me doubting some things I know to be true. I needed to sift out my truths, here, in order that I may enter into a new week and not a continuation of all of the weeks that came before.


Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Repair or Repeat

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I did not experience a childhood rooted in kindness and helpfulness. And for those who might argue that I did, I suspect they think that to be kind and helpful, you must please or at least seek to please those who claim to be in charge. Recovery allows me to provide a different environment and example for my children and yet I notice how quick they are to retaliate against displeasure or irritation. Is this a naturally immature behavior that some people never outgrow or is it a learned behavior that must be tamed. Either way, I find it concerning, especially for my hsp child who is easily overwhelmed and disturbed by sensory stimulus which diminishes his tolerance for emotional stress and makes him more likely to snap when he cannot escape. We continue to discuss safe ways and times to remove ourselves and accept that sometimes it is not possible and in those times —we must work hard to practice acceptance for the things we can neither escape nor change. So hard! Recovery has taught me to recognize and honor truths and parts of myself that were inconvenient and difficult to understand for the naturally insensitive. I now love being alone and having space. But because banishment and silent treatment were commonly used in response to displeasure, I was afraid to be alone because it meant that not only did everyone hate me but everyone could visibly observe how hated I was, rightfully so, of course. If only I had been more pleasing. #hsp #punishment #reactions #retalliation #bully #repairorrepeat

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Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Feeling Empowered

Today, I cannot help but marvel at how I was raised to believe that the words, opinions, moods, and behaviors of others should make me doubt and dislike myself.

I recall being told repeatedly “Nobody will ever love you more than you love yourself”. Well shit, nobody could’ve loved me less. That is for sure. Better late than never, recovery is helping me unlearn self-loathing. It is not possible to hate yourself and behave genuinely with kindness and goodness. It is was not possible to learn to love or respect myself in the “care” of those who demanded I disappear or be different, OR else. Thank goodness change is possible for those of us willing–who either change because we see the light or feel the fire. For me the fire brought the pain and the light. I hope you find yours.

So grateful for the unlearning and reparenting made possible though my program of recovery. That is no way to live. Happy Independence Day! Blessed.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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You Deserve Better

It really makes no difference why a person is consistently kind and honest or why they are not. It may be time to stop needing to know why. We all deserve kindness and honesty. Some people are more capable but no person is more OR less worthy than another.

I have felt silenced by my personal declaration to no longer write/post/share about my experience with grief over actions which knowingly harm my little family. I realize –it is not that I must stop examining and healing and posting–but that I would benefit from looking from a different angle. I let go (the letting go is constant- a million times a day) of a need to prove or understand. My only task is to heal and learn my lessons so I can move on. This miiiiight be achieved, not by looking away but by looking at it differently and communicating with a different intention. My focus has shifted from: why do they behave that way– to: why did I participate and react as I did? What did those experiences teach me about myself that was not true? How had it destroyed distorted my perception of love, family, connection, and trust, and especially self worth. I am now choosing to understand my part-then and now–the things I can change and the things I can learn from.

Yesterday, I casually mentioned having knowingly married a man who hated me. When asked why, laughing I said–“Probably when you are raised by a mother and older sister who treat and talk about you, as if you are bad, unworthy, and unwelcome as you are– it makes sense to marry someone who loves you similarly– which to me, now looks and feels a lot like hate–or at best–very sick love.” When we know better we do better.AND –Hurt people hurt people. I am so grateful to be unlearning and detaching from that brand of love. I am discovering and practicing wholesome love and I never stop trying. Wholesome Badass—my daily intent and goal– a process–neither an event nor status.

Ruthie Lindsay recently shared something which is helping me to clarify and refine my perspective and process. “I believe that all truth is loving, inclusive, and expansive.” Much better than my old truth/myth: the people in charge decide on and control the truth. Ruthie also says:” I’m constantly in a state of unlearning and coming back to the truth, that we are so good, worthy, valuable, needed, loved, whole, and beautiful.” It is a challenge when you were raised amidst people who would disagree with this truth for all people–wanting good things for themselves and their people, but not for all people—as if their is a scarcity of love and goodness. I suppose for some, that their own lacking would make it seem so.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Sometimes The Solution Sucks

The other night, my older son was distraught by a situation at school and was spiraling into despair by obsessing on the unfairness and the reason/ question of WHY? Only because I have some recovery, was I able to say to him, that demanding to understand why and mentally sustaining the argument with ourselves of how it isn’t fair, only makes us feel worse. We must continuously and intentionally choose the the very next right(spiritually right) thing over our reaction. In our conversation, he realized there was only one constructive response to his dilemma. Brilliantly and calmly he asked: “What about when you hate the solution?”.

I hugged him so hard and laughed and cried all over him, explaining that often, the solution just stinks. But when we focus on what needs to be done to elevate the situation and not ourselves, we get through it and come out the other side. He totally heard me and just did the next right and necessary thing.

Me to me: Cool another opportunity to bring up recent experiences, in which my only healthy options– sucked badly.

  • Taking our Sweet Angel Pie Cooper to the vet for a one-way trip.
  • Not wishing my niece a happy birthday because it is unfair to her but is the right thing to do in response to the arrangement by my sister in which she snatches access to my young sons while collaborating with my ex and destroying our possibility of peaceful co-parenting and alienating everyone but herself. I so want to tell my niece I am thinking of her. I do not. I believe she knows. I feel good about my ability to respect my sister’s grown children enough, to leave them out of it. And it still sucks.
  • Not telling my sister and my ex about themselves—because that helps nobody, though it would give me an immediate and delicious high. Again, only one solution here– acceptance of the facts. Our family was intentionally divided and there is nothing I can do to change that. I can choose to accept it and learn from it and to teach my children to recognize healthy and wholesome acts of love along with acceptance for the fact that some types of love are neither healthy nor wholesome. Love chooses healing. Here, for me, healing/moving forward means not fixating on perceived wrongness or unfairness. Even while I can not forget, I am better and more willing to do the next right thing rather than waiting for people or circumstances to become different, honest, kind and “fair”.

Sometimes the solutions are purely frightful– Saying Good Bye to a beloved family pet. People having cancer, dying, and not inviting you to their funeral and still showing up anyway. Going no-contact. Filing for divorce. Being lied to and about. Being banished and being treated unkindly. Having your children used and forced into conflict. Moving to a more affordable area. Having your ex, to whom you were married for a brief eternity of 4 seconds and who never even knew your family, listed as one of the survivors of your mother. Biting your tongue. Acceptance is always the solution.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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On Mother’s Day

If one of my legs became afflicted with progressive, fatal, and incurable disease, diminishing my overall health and quality of life –and I could have the leg removed and adapt, as a healthier person or host the disease and constant pain, but get to keep both legs—with hopes of appearing more normal– I like to think , if necessary, I would cut that shit off myself, with a dull butter knife.  

I never wish to have only a single leg, but– if I could stop pain and disease from compromising all parts of my body, life, and infecting my children– THAT is a no brainer.

Having two legs, like having a relationship with my mother is something I had viewed as evidence of being normalacceptable, and healthy.  This is flawed thinking and believing, rooted in concern for how things look from the outside.  I care more about how things and people actually are– than appearances—no matter who is looking.  I prioritize goodness over looking good. (Good, as in wholesome—not, as in pleasing or correct).  I choose to save my ass over my face.  Seems, there are times in life, in which we are called to choose.

When recovery not only taught me to, but insisted, that if I want to be well and whole, I must acknowledge my feelings and limits and honestly express them. In doing so, the sickness within our family was illuminated.  It showcased the fact that we did not want the same type of relationship—in which each person mattered— no more and no less.  My mother hinged having a relationship with me to my accepting/tolerating/ignoring/denying poor treatment and unkind words from my sister. We each made our choices. I chose mental health and wellness.

These are my thoughts today, as my first mother’s day without a living mother.  

In recovery, we learn that pain is a part of life BUT that suffering is optional.  As always, the special days are complicated for those of us who struggled with unhealthy family systems that led to unhealthy sense of everything.  

I will end on a funny-ish note. While on vacation a few weeks ago, at a gift store we saw a cute “Get well soon” card and one of my sons asked if we can send to my sister. I use the word sickness to explain the painful and confusing things which are said and done. This has been the only succinct and blanket statement I can think of– to help them process unkindness and dishonesty. I just say, that is what unwell people do. And then we talk about healthier behaviors. We want to be well. We are learning together how to do that.

Also, I am certain my relatives would insist I am the cancery leg BECAUSE I chose to be so. Whatevs.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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“Happy” Easter

Ugh! My life has never been better. Ever. But this does not change the reality of my depression and anxiety. In fact, they are made worse by the expectations that I feel or be different because of what the calendar suggests about the day. Clinical Depression and Anxiety, whether a result of trauma or just basic brain chemistry are not circumstantial. They are not moods.

I am preparing for my first vacation ever with my boys. It is Easter and there are Easter baskets and hidden eggs. Sweet Greg is out seizing the trails on his bike while I prepare for Easter lunch at Favorite’s with #framily. All is well. All is actually great. And yet–I am still burdened by depression and anxiety, an urge to fast forward through vacation and Easter so that I be free from historically imposed guilt and shame for my wiring. I am neither sour nor ungrateful, just struggling in these ways, particularly on special days as THESE were the ones in which I was persecuted more overtly for being so selfishly sensitive. Shamed and banished for not knowing how to do a better job of denying a pain I could not articulate or relieve by myself.

As I have continued to organize and purge these last weeks, I found more than a couple of notes from my mother asking, insisting to know what had changed, why things were fine for so long, as indicated by emails and letters sent by me.

I was ineffective at helping her understand that– absolutely nothing had changed– except for my willingness to pretend. When I sent reports of being happy and fine with chit chat, which I loathe, I was accepted. When I decided that pretending, dining, gifting, and chitchatting with those who judge me– was no longer something I was willing to do, shit hit the fan. I spoke truth. I said NO. I shared displeasure. All without shame, profanity, or volume. That is what changed. When I refused to fight or pretend, all conversations stopped. I learned to say No. That is what changed. I learned to take care of myself—and I got the silent treatment and did not beg my way back for more of the same.

This week, I began learning to bullet journal–so pleased by another simple, therapeutic and creative outlet to enjoy and soothe myself. The truth is– nobody ever taught me how to relax or enjoy. I was demanded to do those things, I did not manage success under those conditions. The Bullet Journal Image at the top is one I am working on copying…the concept.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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I Feel You—literally

Yesterday at the vet for routine procedures, there was a man, with his very old and loved, black cocker spaniel neatly bundled in a blanket with only a grayed  muzzle and one yummy little paw poking out. He seemed serene, almost smiling.  Hopefully and foolishly and unhelpfully–I asked, “Will he be ok?” and he shook his head No. Without skipping a beat, I crumbled.  My tears streamed without consent and I apologized. (With my relatives, I learned to apologize for sensitivity, difficult feelings, empathy, and compassion, for failure to mask genuine pain or struggle is a trouble-making failure. Acknowledging pain and struggle was equally offensive under certain circumstances–because those things are weak and or not real).

Anyway, I could not help but recall when my dog was 14 and suffering- the grief of THE knowing– it was time, time to help him, to do right by him, to ease his journey over the rainbow, to say good-bye.  I can liken that experience of holding him, in our last precious moments, only, to holding my sons in their first moments and months.  The gravity of their vulnerability and the gift of their faith in me as provider and protector, made it difficult to breathe.  

The man(with the bundled pup) was with his wife and their other dog– they all entered THE ROOM together.  From where I was sitting, I saw through the window of the door that the other dog sat faithfully on the table beside his buddy.  They were all there, in the final moments. It may take me a few days to fully recover from this. You see, I did much more than just observe this. I experienced it, at a cellular level, the way I do all things-which are deep and true.  

I have always been this way. When I see pain or suffering of others, I feel it as intensely as if it were my own.  Homeless people or animals, starving children on tv, movies in which people are cruelly persecuted and violated.  I am equally affected by tension and anger whether directly expressed or poorly contained. It gets on me and it takes a while to break free from it. 

I am equally affected by sensory stimulus and recently read that for HSPs and people with sensory dysregulation, it is as if we hear with 100 ears and what may not register for an insensitive or neurotypical person and will overwhelm us in just seconds…all of the senses, for me are hyper tuned in–with no dimmer switch.

My older son is sensitive in these ways also.  He recently explained how it seems difficult, for only him, when his brother fights with his father(or me), saying: “they each walk away and are fine and I am the one left with all of the feelings, and it wasn’t even about me”. I remember being yelled at “it is not about you”  as if I were in violation of someone by feeling so much.  

This way of being, is not a choice.  It feels like a curse much of the time.  I am learning to seek serenity, to shelter myself and my son from too much stimulus, and to remove myself/US, entirely from people of the opinion that growing thicker skin is all that is needed, and who assert that it is as simple as making the intellectual commitment to do so. And for the record, the opposite of sensitivity is NOT strength, but insensitivity. I think some may be confused about this.

I have felt unable to write since my declaration that I would no longer write about “them”. Anyone intimately familiar with trauma, grief, and healing will understand that forgetting is not possible.  I am reminded of the “family commandment” to forgive and forget, and the collective judgment that comes for not doing so.  And here is what I know today: Kind people seek but do not demand forgiveness.  Time changes nothing. People change things or they do not.

I would like to forgive my sister and my ex for the Nagasaki bomb they dropped on my sons’ little family with their arrangement.  But it is both unforgivable and unforgettable.   Not because I lack the ability to forgive, but because it is harmful to my children— for the rest of their lives—my young sons have lost the hope and peace of having two parents who work together for them, for us.  We had managed to do that before the arrangement. I may write less about it, so as to not deep dive into the despair. But I do not get to forget.  I am willing to lessen the proverbial grip on their throats, let go of the unforgiveness, because that is a healthier choice.

While I write for myself, I often wonder if people who knew me back when, read these posts, if they would think that my claim to sensitivity is also a intended as a claim to angelic behavior. It is certainly not. I can say that my behavior for the last 10 years has been spiritually driven, rather than guided by very sick and destructive programming of my first 40 years. Wholesome and Badass–These are my strivings– to recover the best parts of my self, not a suggestion or claim of my status. I was a terrified human with no resilience and no healthy coping skills. I am a work in progress, always and gladly.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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An Inconvenient Child

I was an inconvenient child. There was no tolerance or support for this, only resentment. I learned resentment at an early age.

Unlearning is taking time. As mother to a highly sensitive child, I am grateful that I can love him through the overwhelming thing of life instead of resenting him for not making my life easier.  He makes me, life, and the world better just by being in it, exactly as he is.  But he sure does not feel that way and my heart is breaking.

He is terrified by his discomfort and the price he will pay, if not effectively masked for his father and family for this upcoming trip to CA, where he will be called upon to pose as shiny and happy and uncomplicated.  Over the past week, I have sent the following group texts to him, his brother, and their father and we continue to discuss.

1–“Lighten Up” Please do not ever say these words to someone who is struggling.  That is a bullying tactic—what is really being said is “Shut up”.  For people who have not yet learned to cope with feelings, they will try to act all strong, by saying this— and try to make a person feel weak and ashamed for struggling.  Never in the history of time has a person lightened up because they were told to do so.  A kind and compassionate person who genuinely cares about how you feel will ask what you need or what they can do when you are struggling.  Please beware of people saying these words.  They are not safe.  Please protect each other and show up for each other.  Even if you fight at home, in public, you choose loyalty.  Make it clear that bullies can not divide you.  Only bullies divide and shame people.  We will talk more about this.  We are breaking the cycle of bullying and addiction. They go together.

2–Boys, with your upcoming trip to CA, I want to check in with you today but also want your dad to be aware of what I am asking of you.  Both sides of your family have siblings and parents not speaking.  If you notice, it is the ones who say and feel more that get punished and cast out.  This is a sick cycle.  We will break it.  S2, you were blessed with a more resilient composition, you easily experience joy and connection because you are not burdened with being particularly sensitive to all of the stimulus.  The sickest people will show you favor –for this– while doing the opposite for your brother.  Healthy people will not make either of you feel preferred or better or chosen over the other.  KIND and Healthy people do not divide people.

3—S2, I am asking that if you observe any situations in which you are clearly receiving favor over your brother, please consider going to him, being his person, his brother, his loyal protector.  Anyone who judges that is bad for you both.  You are brothers.  You are not here to do anything but love and protect each other.  You may not be best friends or always understand each other, but you can be fiercely and undeniably loyal—so people know they cannot mess with you, if they get one, they get you both.

4–I hope you will both choose that.  Please do not allow any person or group of people to convince you otherwise.  We will talk more about this. There is nothing more noble and badass than loyalty. Brotherly loyalty.  S1, it is ok to be sensitive.  Anyone telling you that you are too sensitive is an asshole.  You don’t ever need to say that but you need to know it.  Kind people don’t even suggest or offer anything other than support.  Assholes who do not know how to be sensitive and compassionate say THAT– so they can blame you for their weakness.

5–Remember this: Anyone who judges, mocks, or criticizes or abandons a person for having difficult feelings— needs help.  Go away from them and REMEMBER—it is not you—it is their disease and sickness that makes them behave that way.  

And if you see this happening to a person, show up for that person who may not have the courage to speak for himself or herself.  That is what kindness and love look like.  Showing up.  Offering comfort.  Being a safe place.  Love is not lavish or expensive or even exciting, it is just kind. Be love. Notice love. Recognize non-love for what it is. Be there for each other.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Bye Mom

A little more than a month has passed and I have not cried for the absence of my mother. When she was alive, because of the fracture which seemed permanent, deliberate, and guaranteed by the collaboration of my ex and my sister, I could not stop myself from crying–deranged crying over my unacknowledged efforts to heal– together. My sibling (the word sister will not do) and my ex worked decisively toward this exact ending. I found this picture today while cleaning, taken from my mother’s home, on one of our last good visits, nearly 3 years ago. I perceived a subtle but palpable souring, that our days together were numbered, due to something more threatening than her age and physical ailments. I felt, in my bones, that the sickness which would do US the most damage, was not the cancer in her body.

Upon holding this picture, I was able to experience a feeling of something non-angry, maybe fondness or compassion– and then a shit-ton of grief –of not having had a mother who chose healing and me. I may never fully understand or accept the way in which this family functions. I do embrace that I am different, in ways which now make me proud and hopeful. I accepted all of the risk and exposure of moving here and connecting my ex to THEM. I knew better, but hoped foolishly for the improbable. Their desire was never at all, similar to my own.

Acceptance of this is hard AF and my grief is messy…as most of my feelings tend to be. I am not emotionally tidy or buttoned up.

I was planning to post about Greg’s birthday dinner and gifts and how much we have enjoyed each other this week. But– this is where I am, for now. Bye mom. Thank you. I know you did your best with what you had and what you knew. So did I. I love you. I am sorry we were not able to connect in this life time. I never stopped trying. Ever.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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A Litany for Survival

A Litany for Survival BY AUDRE LORDE

(…) For those of us
who were imprinted with fear
like a faint line in the center of our foreheads
learning to be afraid with our mother’s milk
for by this weapon
this illusion of some safety to be found
the heavy-footed hoped to silence us
For all of us
this instant and this triumph
We were never meant to survive.

And when the sun rises we are afraid
it might not remain
when the sun sets we are afraid
it might not rise in the morning
when our stomachs are full we are afraid
of indigestion
when our stomachs are empty we are afraid
we may never eat again
when we are loved we are afraid
love will vanish
when we are alone we are afraid
love will never return
and when we speak we are afraid
our words will not be heard
nor welcomed
but when we are silent
we are still afraid

So it is better to speak
we were never meant to survive.

Finding a voice somewhere between screaming and silence allows me to speak my truth and to be heard by those who are for me, and for those who need to hear. It will be offensive or irrelevant to those not for me. It is an effective way to sort…..For me OR not for me. I don’t get to choose, just to accept.
I am hopeful that my boys will learn to live lives rooted in self worth and courage. We are finding our way, together, learning to share our truths, and find our people– one day at a time. Allowing people to sort themselves for us.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Making Amends

Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Each of the 12-Step Programs follows these two steps to recovery, verbatim. Only in my program of recovery(Al-Anon), was I taught when and how to appropriately amend. Also, apologizing with words is not the same as amending our behaviors and working to restore trust. To amend, means to intentionally change/stop hurtful behavior. Sometimes a relationship is damaged beyond repair. Still, we can continue to heal ourselves by changing our behaviors, (even with those with whom we no longer speak) regardless of how it is received or acknowledged on the other end. Spiritual striving calls us to improve upon ourselves for ourselves. Better action leads to better living.

In my family experience and then my marriage, there is a perverse practice of dramatic and profuse apologizing for circumstantial things like running out of wine, over cooked meat, having only one kind of salad dressing, “the messy house”, street construction, a delayed flight, getting stuck in traffic, misplacing a thing….but not for acts and behaviors which are chosen.

And then there are the apologies that begin with “I am sorry that you feel….”

And, of course, the most soothing of all: “Ok, I am sorry, now can we just move on, already?” (aka: STFU)

But apologies like: “I am sorry that I spoke in in a hurtful tone, said or did a hurtful thing. I won’t do that again. You don’t deserve that. I can do better.” These messages were never communicated, in any form, like not even on the radar. Is this because people are impeccable with their behavior? Or is it because I am unworthy? Or perhaps, because some people have not learned healthy accountability and responsibility? Recovery teaches me that amending originates from a place of humility and a genuine and deep desire to repair or heal, the damage caused by our choices. When you are not able to acknowledge or admit to the existence of damage or conflict, it would be impossible to own, heal, or even contemplate reparation efforts.

I longed for the opportunity to heal with my mother. The initiatives by my sister and ex, which sustained my alienation, guaranteed the impossibility of that. It is difficult to live with. While my mother did not break the cycle in her lifetime. I believe that if she were able to understand what I seek for my children, she would approve. I see how healing is too disruptive for a family deeply entrenched, encamped in rightness, maintaining the status quo. Easier to collectively agree that only one person is broken and without that broken part of the family, everything is fine. One of the gifts of recovery, is that I now live in peace with my choices and my behaviors. I make choices that reflect my values not my feelings. I can feel like shit and still act right (morally and spiritually right).

I will continue to report my journey, so that my boys might one day read and be reminded of how my words here, consistently match my actions and my life– in support of what I believe to be true and good about love, loyalty, kindness, connection, faith, family.

For the record, wholesome=pure of heart(maybe broken and, still pure) badass=never giving up on making things better than they have been and could be without rigorous and intentional contrary action. I make no claim to being this way already, only to my daily commitment to becoming so. I am a work in progress.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Things Which Once Caused Me Shame

Buh-Bye Toxic Shame!

Recovery for me has included unburdening of generations of the toxic shame imposed on me. I now have the tools to identify what is mine to amend and for what exactly what I am responsible. I can not and will no longer be sorry for: existing, feeling and thinking differently and deeply, speaking my truth, attempting to meet my own most basic needs or taking up space.

As a girl and young adult, I was truly sorry, all of the time, for all of the things. My constant thoughts and words, attempts to seek forgiveness: “I am sorry I felt that way. I am sorry I reacted that way. I am sorry I made you feel that way. I am sorry I made you act that way. I am sorry for my skin color, my birth name, my skinniness, my height, foot size, my voracious appetite, limiting food preferences, my screaming angry family, the shape of my nose, my anxiety, my insecurity, my despair, the clothes I wear, my family’s religions and ethnicity, the weird foods served in our house, my mother’s appearance and personality, my father’s accent and Egyptianness.” I am done being sorry. I was ashamed of my shame. I felt good about one thing, my cat. I am definitely sorry for pain or trouble caused by me. When we know better, we do better. While I do affect how others feel about me, I repeat, as many times as I need to, I do not make another person lie, sneak, steal, gossip, cheat, do drugs, abuse, deceive. I am just not that powerful. 

You know what I am now sorry for, what I apologize for, what I am willing and able to amend? Those moments when I could have done better. I am sorry for things I have said and done that have caused harm(not upset or displeasure), but legitimate harm, knowingly or otherwise. I am sorry and work daily to be intentional with my words, attitudes and behaviors. This requires a lot of unlearning- dumping of learned behaviors and faulty beliefs, adopting a better way.

I learned to exist in shame and that the burden of shame was the price to be paid to and extracted by those “claiming to be right—living in a state of rightness”. Sadly, I took up the practice of shaming and punishing others for disappointing or frustrating me. I think in the world of therapy, behaving this way, is referred to as offloading shame. Unhealed shame does not go away without intention and commitment to doing the work to heal. Shame is healed or passed on and perpetuated, manifesting in— Recklessness or over-controlling of people, food, drugs, sex, exercise, cleaning, shopping, people pleasing, striving for perfection, strained hot/cold relationships, bad marriages, unresolved conflict, egg shells forever…

Striving for perfection is the opposite of healthy striving– rooted in shame, not self-love or self-esteem.

To be armed with shame resilience, a healthy sense of self, knowing where you stop and others begin, with the appropriate sense of accountability, this is an advantage I can offer my children. They get to make mistakes, amend, and move on. They need not be perfect or sorry. And fuck anyone insisting otherwise. They will not be manipulated and diminished in these ways, without knowing what is happening. For now, they are small and being placed in conflict, just trynuh survive. But they, at least, know what IT is, that uneasy feeling in their guts telling them something is not right….and that something is NOT them and not their imagination. THIS is the fight of my life, to spare my children from the legacies of shame, addiction, and very sick entanglements.

Oh and you know what else I am sorry for–for participating in my own abuse and neglect, for submitting myself to others who thought it ok. I will spend the rest of my days taking better care of me and walking TF away from anyone suggesting that I(or others) earn or deserve pain and fear, which they will righteously impose. Even as I stumble, on my way out the door, my head is high and my shoulders square. When you hit my boys or me with your shame issues and vibes, we are Returning To Sender.

“I decided that the single most subversive, revolutionary thing I could do, was to show up for my own life and not be ashamed.” ~Anne Lamott

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Goddammit Magda

Friday after school, we had an unusually peaceful few hours before going to pick up dinner from our favorite BBQ place. Often, the time between after school and dinner can be trying. Both boys returned from school, busied themselves with chores, books, and playing without incident or a tantrum by me (begging to be allowed to focus and finish my work).

So, I placed our dinner, a hefty bag of BBQ, Brunswick Stew, and MacnCheese on the counter, while I washed up. The bag toppled as my younger son reached for it. It seriously exploded as it hit the floor, shattering the containers sending the macncheese and stew in all directions. My son, immediately distraught–flopped into the dog’s bed and put his hands over his face. First, my heart broke for how bad he was feeling.

BUT THEN I felt something so magical, which defies articulation, the miracle of being able to hug him and tell him: It is ok. It was an accident. If he had been agitating his brother or me or horsing around, I would have lost my shit and surely defaulted to shaming and guilting him. Old habits die hard. He was bummed that the stew, which was my dinner, was completely lost. I assured him: “It is fiiiiine, I am disappointed by my lack of stew and the reason I am not mad is because it was an accident. Accidents happen and I can eat some BBQ with you. There is plenty. I will have stew next time.”

Inappropriately, of course, I added, while scooping up the mess with a spatula into a trash bag, “Save your guilt for when you are being an asshole to your brother or me. That is something to feel bad about.” I continued by sharing that guilt is for those moments when we have knowingly made choices that cause trouble. Shame and guilt are not for– accidents, circumstances out of our hands, or things we do not yet know.

Fuck shame, shaming, and shamers. That is what I say. I used to feel so terribly ashamed for things that were said to me or about me by others. I used to feel ashamed for the unkindness which I was taught that I earned. But recovery teaches me to reserve shame guilt for only my own poor choices. AND No matter how bad my choices, I am not even a tiny bit responsible for someone else’s behavior. EVER. It is not possible to effectively impose shame on a person who has been inoculated with shame resilience. I think repeating and continuing deceptive and hurtful behavior is shameful and shameworthy.

I am working with my sons to illuminate the difference between shame and guilt. To be willing to be taught but not controlled by them. Shame says “I am a bad person and deserve bad things.” Guilt says “I did a bad thing and can do better.” Either way, amending is the best way to get through to the other side. Sometimes it takes a while to figure out how to amend. It always takes courage and humility and those can take time too. Shaming and blaming will lead to nothing good or wholesome. We are learning to recognize those who try to gain advantage in those ways. They are not safe.

My older son lightened the moment by saying “Goddammit Magda, this is why everyone hates you.” We laugh endlessly over family experiences that once brought me shame. My boys know and get me and love me and all the awkward painful stories which I share with them. Whenever something is fucked up and we don’t know why, one of them will always say “Magda did it”. Poor lil Magda.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Together, We Belong

My boys are still young enough that they are more interested in what feels good and right than what hurts and upsets. I love that they are always asking about our next plans with Favorite and Sweet Greg. Even when we have just said good bye to them, my sons are asking when we will see them next.

The sense of belonging they experience with them, is priceless. I suspect my boys recognize, but cannot yet grasp how they are so deeply loved and welcomed without condition– free from weird, dirty, secret emotional contracts.

My boys know, without doubt, they can call and go to F and SG for anything– always, no matter what. The emotional safety and security is greater there, I am guessing, than anywhere else in their little lives. Those bonds are not only squeaky clean, but also free from the rigors of parent/child conflict and stress. Favorite and Sweet Greg are always interested, available, and fully effing (mind blowingly so) present for all of the words and feelings– and the fun too.

Thank you Favorite and Sweet Greg for being sources of genuine and undeniable togetherness. Your lack of malice and ill-will for their father, in spite of what you hear and witness, is brilliant and healing. What a gift to US. Your loyalty to me does not require you to hate him, and I think that serves us all, quite well. The burden lavished upon my children by their father and “his people” is heart-breaking—but manageable, because of you. Thank you for being consistent and plentiful wellsprings of emotional safety.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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The Exact Right Words

When you are raised having your words and feelings ignored, dismissed, challenged and twisted to be used against you, you may, as I did, dedicate much time to seeking the exact right words (once realizing volume and profanity do not work in your favor, ever) to express a thing so that you may be heard. Not realizing that the people to whom you are speaking have no intention of hearing you, and need, at a cellular level, to not hear you. Because knowing a thing, means (for most of us) having responsibility to take informed action.

There is a very consistent pattern and dynamic in households where generations of those affected by addiction are in control: A difficult or uncomfortable thing gets said but not acknowledged, and if you say it again, you are accused of nagging(not moving on) and then questioned: Why are you still saying that? If the thing is expressed with emotion, your tone gets policed while the content is discounted. That situation made me a lunatic, first with the people to whom I am related— and then in a marriage to a man who is wired identically to my relatives.

Relatives is the word I have now connected with, to identify those to whom I am linked genetically. It felt awkward calling them “my family” because of the clear lack of connection and regard I experienced with them. Saying “family” felt like a lie, a pretense. Also the word love felt similarly. “I love you” was routinely said before bed and for goodbye. But by my definition of love, which says that– love sees you, hears you and protects you, unconditionally- we did not love each other. That is not a type of love I experienced with my relatives and ex-husband. Ever. And it made perfect sense when I said “I love you” in my troubled relationships before recovery because I used the phrase according to how I had learned to love and be loved. I 100% loved my husband the same way I loved my relatives. And he loved me as they did—it was painful for all of the days in which I refused or was unable to pretend…most of the days. We all agreed if I could just be different, we could be fine and happy and together. Like a family.

I infrequently tell Sweet Greg that I love him (Because of my 40 years of shitty broken “love” with chemically dependent and emotionally stunted people(no resentment there. ha!)) What Greg and I have and do is different, deserving of a another word. Also, I refuse to call Greg my boyfriend. Not only because that word got ruined, but because I am old AF, not 12, and he is much more than a BF. I don’t say partner, because that feels awkward and to me, implies that we live together or that we are gay. He is just My Sweet Greg. And calling him my companion sounds as if he is paid or like we are in our 70s. There are no right words!

Even the word “boyfriend” was uncomfortable in referring to men whom, for years, I tethered myself. Because I noted other women enjoying thoughtful, kind love, joy, gifts and fun from dedicated boyfriends. I would label the man in my life my boyfriendy-type-person (BTP), which would at least make me laugh. I had come to believe that if I were verrrrrrry lucky, I miiiiight be able to find one man who would tolerate, ignore me, sleep, and share meals with me, forevvvver. I hoped to be so lucky.

I recall my last conversation with my mother, in which she demanded I get over the betrayal(which she insisted did not happen(ironically while it was still happening)) and just come to dinner like a member of the family. I responded to her by saying: “There was a time when I would share beds and meals with people who treat me as if I am unworthy and naughty. That time has passed. I have changed and that will not work. ” I got up to leave and she said; “I wish you well, Maggie”. I let myself out and she locked the door behind me and those were our final words, as I knew they would be. She and my sister continued to circumvent our issues at the expense of my children’s peace by meeting as a family(by their definition) with my ex and our children therefore knowingly dividing us as co-parents, probably forever. Hate is a very strong word…but in this case feels the closest I can get, to naming the feeling I have for what they do to my boys’ parents in order to meet their own needs. They are winning the war of their design and choosing, while my boys lose.

We are related, only by the co-incidence of my birth. Whatever is felt for me, is nothing that has ever been healthy for me. The behaviors and choices of my mother and her family are about them, reflective of their values, beliefs, and way of being in the world, AND not a reflection of my worth or lovability. They are her family, my relatives. And it is plain to see how they would appreciate an emotional similar-ness to my ex-husband and his divided scapegoated family.

Al-Anon has introduced me to new language and experiences of: myself, others, faith, wholesome love, kindness, family, belonging, boundaries, connection, self-esteem, service, detachment, and serenity. I have experienced each of these, for the first time, in this program of recovery, and never with my relatives. Repair or repeat. For nearly 10 of my 50 years, I have been working slowly to repair what I hope to not repeat.

Love is not easy or without pain and struggle but it, I believe, to be benevolent, a promise, and a commitment.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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On Being Psycho

Happy Valentines Day, y’all ♥️

My favorite part of my relationships is the laughing endlessly, together, over exactly how unreasonable we can be, at times, complete lunatics, incapable of acting or thinking right. 

Sometimes being reasonable is not possible and that is ok, because we can acknowledge that, learn from it and laugh like crazy while being merciful with ourselves and each other, as we call out our own disturbing behaviors and thinking. It is not possible to move on and to heal from things without first acknowledging them. Having a loving witness is key.

If we were to pretend we were perfect, we would miss out on getting to know and grow ourselves. 

Honesty is the height of intimacy— the only real perfection and the truest form of strength and kindness. Strength is not in denying or hiding pain and struggle, but being with them, willing to be taught by them, while being able to laugh at ourselves, our imperfections.

For the record, I do not consider myself a psycho but do admit to behaving like a deranged person—on many occasions. I think actual psychos are the ones who cannot consider that they have moments of behaving from a place of being unhinged and terrified ….because they do not even recognize it as problematic and are unable to contemplate having behaved badly.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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The Things We are Learning

“My family upbringing lacked courtesy, respect, calm responses, and forgiveness. It has taken me years to learn how to pause, reflect and choose a more loving response. For years I allowed an (unwell person) alcoholic to use their weapons of anger and anxiety to provoke me. I didn’t understand the dance or merry go round.” (from my sponsor in today’s meeting…I adore her)

To have the opportunity to mature emotionally and spiritually, and to heal, to unlearn, to create a better experience, is nothing short of a miracle. Learning to be gentle and to remember my intent, is hard as hell. I lack desire to win or silence another. I want to connect, serve, heal, and grow together with my people. But often, when I am overwhelmed, particularly in parenting, my natural reactive instinct is to attempt to win/dominate, in order to get a handle on things. I am not fixed, but I am so much better because of the shitty marriage which led me to the rooms of Al-Anon. Without it, I shudder to imagine the type of mother I might have been.

There is a word for IT, a name for the cycle and legacy of twisted perceptions and troubled relationships. There are places to go (meetings) and people who want to hear, share, heal from the family disease of addiction. It affects everyone, even the pets.

It is shameful and heart breaking to recall how I went from building my life around my angel of a dog “King Simon”, to, after marriage, wanting to have him put to sleep, when his needs (which had not changed) seemed too much for me. It required everything I had to manage life with a man, who was icy cold for days, sometimes weeks at a time, returning to warm and friendly without explanation. It was as if I were expected to respond like a faithful dog–eagerly awaiting, unquestioningly at the door, to be allowed to return, for touching, playing, and closeness. I gag to recall.

I am not wired that way. I am a deep feeler, feeling it all, unable to limit myself to feel only the things he wanted me to feel. My inability to remain vulnerable under those conditions has been collectively labelled as “holding a grudge”. It is actually just being too confused by and scared of a person, to feel closeness. I recall regularly trying to explain that I can not be terrified, angry, ashamed and horny all at once. For me, those things do not happen together. This dynamic mimics my experience in my family–not the horny part, though there was unwanted touching and closeness. Gagging again.

I had been groomed to believe that OUR only problems were my thin skin and my inability to just move on. My reaction of being hurt was the issue, not the harmful words, silences, behaviors. Recovery taught me that I was responding to pain and fear by feeling frightened and hurt.

It is not my job to feel less and to pretend as if things are ok. For as long as I am willing to pretend things are ok, they will never be ok. Healing has divided me permanently from those who refuse change. Healthy boundaries have rendered it impossible for us to be together. Yes, it runs in the family, generations of unhealed pain. And it stops here. I will heal, so that I may not hand IT directly to my children.

I see both in my ex’s family and my own, the ones who feel more and speak more get picked off. Those who feel less or learn to numb the pain and ignore, become favored and develop a sense of righteous entitlement. While the feelers, the canaries in the coal mines, are cast out.

Of my two sons, I have a deep feeler, one who feels all of the things and one who appears to be affected only, by not getting his way. He is readily able to ignore, pretend, and move on as if a thing has never happened or mattered. I worry for them…coming from parents who have siblings who differ in these ways and who remain terminally estranged. We learn what we live. It is time to learn and live differently.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Say Yikes and Move On!

“I set boundaries today, in good faith, with anyone who disregards my thoughts or feelings. Disregarding and disrespecting are different from disagreeing.” (wise words of my sponsor, in today’s meeting)

People pleaser, Pollyanna, Martyr (PPM) types behave as if openly and honestly disagreeing, is disrespectful and they tend to respond with entitled, but passive aggressive retalliation toward those whom they perceive as challenging or confronting. PPMs have not yet learned to accept differing needs and experiences. With them, honest communication is not possible. They simply do not know how. They tend to opt for a full on war (in which there are no rules) over an open dialog which requires fairness and honestly speaking and listening to challenging differences. For optional relationships, I have been advised to just say YIKES, and move on.

For non-optional relationships, setting firm boundaries around my right and responsibility to be treated(and to behave) with dignity and kindness, has been an edifying experience, allowing the bully to cook their own goose(while sparing me from the intense and habitual desire to tell them about themselves, in ways which make me feel bad about myself). Hostile reactions to healthy boundaries, reveal their true nature, but only to those courageous enough to look closely. Have courage. Look closely.

Choose genuine kindness and authenticity. Always. This is what I am learning and trying to model for my sons. One day at a time. Kindness, boundaries, healthy conflict resolution, detachment. All new and unfamiliar ways of being.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Educated by Tara Westover

I am on my second go-round of this riveting and relatable memoir, as it is generously providing words for thoughts which previously, I felt unable to put together for myself. To say that Tara Westover’s life was brutal, unbearable, would be an understatement. And still, I feel something not unlike coveting, for her. In addition to the abuse and dysfunction, the Westovers share a rich rural culture, deep religious conviction and practices, and the work of a family business– the family is bound by much more than coincidence of birth, a shared roof, and mental illness. Tara and two of her brothers experience trusting, protective, and lifelong closeness.

Additionally, she is able to discover a joy and talent for singing, learning, reading, and writing, which allow her life to become defined by more than what happened within the family. I often feel as if my rejection and abuse define me, because I really do not recall much more– like it is all I know of myself and my family. Recovery teaches me that I am not what happened to me. I am what I am willing to learn from it. Below are a few, not necessarily, fluid or cohesive thoughts, motivated by the words of Tara Westover, some of which incorporate chunks of words taken directly from her.

I came to see that the truth is this: It was not that I had done something wrong(although I have done many wrong things), so much as that I existed in the wrong way. There was something impure in the fact of my being. There is something different about me and that something, those differences are very bad, unforgivable–wrong at a cellular level. I am a bad daughter, a traitor, and my silence and compliance are the least I should offer– and I will do, not even that.

Not knowing for certain what was true and real, still, I refused to give way to those whom claimed certainty, and presented themselves as the gatekeepers of truth and history. I often thought that shame and alienation were results or byproducts of the conflict, and now I see how those served as both the purpose and motivation. Cruel things said and done were aimed at exactly those outcomes and delivered fortification and pleasure to those whose camaraderie rested on the shared need to reduce me, to gain submission OR to make me pay.

It was of comfort to believe that the defectiveness was exclusively mine, because this allowed me to hope that it was under my power to make US be healed. I wanted to believe that. The family system needed also for me to believe this. When I stopped believing and trying to do the impossible, when they could gain no traction from my reactions, it was OVER, in first my family and then my marriage.

When my own mother consistently refused to listen to or hear me, it made me stop listening to and believing myself. This is surely a contributor to the feckless belligerence, the profanity and the volume, my desperate and reactive attempts to be acknowledged, listened to. Sadly, we know too well that this insane behavior is readily dismissed and steals the show. Leaving witnesses fixated on only the unfortunate reaction to the thing which everyone refuses to speak of.

It both pains and liberates me to recognize that what a person knows and believes of a person, place, or thing, without first-hand experience, is limited exclusively to what they are told by others.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Unity v. Division

The messages of non-love which are cruelly and generously heaped upon my boys, by older members of their genetic families, require daily dispelling. The demystification is endless and I am grateful it is possible to speak openly with them about their having been made foot soldiers in a conflict, they are not yet old enough to comprehend. Fuck, I am 50 and still cannot get my head around it.

Our daily reminders illuminate:

-how partial truths and changing truths can make a person feel crazy and anxious. People attempting to dictate and manipulate our realities, make us doubt ourselves rather than those claiming a monopoly on the truth, which is subject to change based on their own moods and personal desires.

-how in healthy families, healing the family is winning. Avoiding getting picked off, or being on the more favorable side of the cross hairs, is the exact opposite of a win for a healthy family. Hustling for favor, is a game common, to families riddled with addiction and mental illness. The sick system relies on fear, shame, guilt, winners, losers, scapegoating.

In our home, we do not wish to beat or be beaten by each other. We value and prioritize unity. Triangulation and alienation leave parents and children painfully divided and siblings the same. Entire sections of family divided. Who wants that?

Here is who… Spiritually and mentally unwell people, extracting reverence and victory, at all costs, in order to feel ok about themselves. They are the ones who want insist on this. Because, in our home, we are blessed with recovery, we are learning and practicing a better way. A third way… I will not sit back and watch as my children are taught that pitting themselves against each other, me, or another is a good way to be in the world. That is poison. (Winning is for games and wars.) That mentality stems from generations of addiction and perpetuates addictions of all sorts. We will not abide.

My children have grandparents on all sides who will go/have gone to their graves while not speaking to their children and having their children not speaking to each other. I can think of little, that is more horrifying. I would prefer my boys align together against me, than ever, against each other. They belong to each other, not to US, their parents. They have been entrusted to us.

I continue reminding them. “I see your pain and it is big. I also see your courage and it is bigger. Together, we can do hard things.” (from Glennon Doyle Melton)  Just because a thing is hard, does not mean it is wrong.

With trusted others, we do not fear loss of favor or connection. Ever. We are for each other. This is how we identify people as safe. Do we need to act a certain way to be treated well and to be safe and welcomed…if so, they are not safe. Those are not our people. Though, we may be forced to engage, at times (until we are old enough to make our own choices).

The feeling of belonging, shared values, and a deep sense of empathy, will lead to unity and trust. The world has enough hate and division. We will not knowingly add to that. We will be intentional in our daily efforts to be more “for each other”, than against each other. We continue to work on ourselves and to accept those relationships which will grow with us or die.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Learning to Belong

As far back as I remember, I did not belong. Anywhere. I was different from the people to whom I am genetically linked, and treated by them, in ways which I found to be unacceptable. I failed to enter the world and that family knowing how to graciously or effectively accept or reject their treatment of me. Belonging to or with them seemed to imply that I had to be like them or to tolerate their reaction to my differences.

I wanted to be like them as little as I wanted to be with them, and being without them did not appear as a viable option. Often, I believe, the one thing we shared, besides blood, was how little we thought of me. I did frequently hope for divorce of my parents, though the idea of going with my mother was only slightly more terrifying than going with my father. I frequently wished (out loud) myself and them dead, only as a means as an exit to this thing called our family. In this environment, I learned some very unhealthy ways of being “together” with people. I was terrified and ashamed, every single day. I learned to react harshly and judgmentally to those who differed, struggled, or inconvenienced me, in any way. I learned that if you keep someone else in the crosshairs, you may feel safe for a while. You could always find or select a common enemy, someone to gossip about, exclude, or persecute. I learned what I lived. I am unlearning as quickly as I am able. Definitely a work in progress.

From one of my Al-Anon sponsors, I heard a story about belonging ,which changed my view of myself, as it had been shaped in relation to my mother and her family. I will attempt to do the story justice:

There was once a mother squirrel with a baby, who differed from the others. It was similar, with fur and four legs, but it looked and behaved in ways which were unfamiliar. Mama Squirrel was troubled by the differences. She surveyed other squirrels from her pack, who agreed, her baby was either a naughty or defective squirrel. As it turned out, the baby was not a squirrel, it was a baby bunny, wanting and needing bunny things. Just as the mother squirrel was squirrel by no choice of her own, baby bunny was 100% bunny, by birth. In a dynamic of acceptance, neither were right, wrong, or bad, just different.

Efforts to squash the differences were damaging.

While bunnies and squirrels have similarities, they are not 100% compatible in their needs and preferences. And that is ok. A bunny from a non-accepting squirrel family, may need to go elsewhere in order to learn all of the skills to live its best bunny life. Being labeled broken or naughty and collectively diminished and shunned, did not allow for a sense of belonging, purpose, or healthy connection–in my experience as a bunny in a squirrel family. I am 100% not like them, besides in the ways that I learned.

Ok, I totally muffed up the story. Without intentional acceptance and understanding of the differences, genuine connection and belonging were not sustainable and this bunny did not learn to thrive. I recall my mother insisting she treated my older sister and me, exactly the same, so what is MY problem?? We were not the same at all. As a mother, I learned early on that my boys have needs which differ from my own and from each other and it is my privilege and duty to explore how to get their needs met and to teach them that their needs are real and could and would be met.

Recovery taught me what I had always needed to know about belonging. While it can be faked and forged, it cannot be forced. Belonging does not mean being the same, it means being exactly how you are and still being connected in a way that is meaningful and good. Just as the parts of a puzzle or a piece of furniture requiring assembly, belong together, the individual pieces are not identical. They fit and rely on the differences for their strength.

In meetings, I love hearing how our Steps protect me from me. Our Traditions protect the group from me, and our Principles protect the world from me. By practicing the steps, traditions, and principles in all areas of our lives, we find healthy belonging–it becomes clear when there is unity of purpose and shared values and also when those things are not present. Recovery encourages us to identify healthy beliefs and behaviors and to participate in ways which are mindful of our group, as well as our individual members. Everyone has a voice, everyone matters, belonging is a natural consequence of sharing purpose and principles or NOT. Our fellowship is guided by the principles not by individuals(moods and personalities). Belonging is optional. There are no requirements for membership and you can not be kicked out. Though you may find that if you prefer to be “right” and in charge, to genuine unity and shared purpose, that healthy recovery groups may not be for you.

Desperate Willingness was my first step into recovery. Willingness to admit that the way in which I have lived and believed, did not work for me. It could not continue. For me, I got to stop hating myself for not being a squirrel and to stop bucking against the squirrels for not accepting me as I was and to accept that I was not one of them.

I was not broken(well, by this time, I was very effing broken, but I was not a broken squirrel) or worthy of unkindness. Unsurprisingly, I chose marriage to a very similar squirrel. I think he and I were in agreement on only one thing: I was broken and once fixed into a cooperative squirrel, who preferred and thought identical squirrel things, we would be fine. I fled one set of squirrels, only to submit myself to another. Because I had not yet healed from the damage, I repeated the dynamic–sought another source for harsh and demanding rejection and disapproval.

Once we became parents, I had no energy or will to continue in this way. Program taught me about my responsibility to Live and let live. Much easier said than done. BTW! I had never learned to live or to let live. I had moved through life like a pinball. Without any source of Good Orderly Direction.

In the rooms of Al-Anon, I began learning about healthy connection and belonging and I began to prefer it. Learning to belong, included learning to acknowledge people and places that were not a good fit for me. Poor fit is not a problem to be solved but maybe just an unpleasant fact. Any person or place inhibiting my self care and self love, is not a good fit for me. Neither I, nor it/them need to change. We are just not meant to be together. Everybody gets to be exactly as they are, just not at the expense of others. Acceptance allows for people and places to be as they naturally are without forcing, denying, pretending, and punishing. Whoa! Right? I know.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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The Quality of My Thoughts

When the people you are tethered to in childhood or marriage are the same ones who kick your feet out from under you, it fucks up your belief that things can ever be ok, or better. You doubt that people are who they say they are. It becomes difficult to make plans and choices and to envision a future of peace or emotional security.

When the feet kicking is sneaky and the reaction to IT, is more observable than the attack, it is damaging beyond words. This is how you make a person crazy. You undermine and sabotage their peace and then pretend you didn’t or you blame them.

After another night of disrupted and poor sleep, the quality of my thoughts is spectacularly bad. My worries for my sons over the stress imposed by the very intentional divide of our little family is immeasurable. My sons associate my sister and family of origin with being divided and separate. Their resentment for their father is growing, while their trust in him is shrinking. My older son’s inability to hide the pain, separates him from his innocence, as well as from his brother and father, who are quick to silence and judge his struggle. What a nightmare.

I feel hopeful that with a night of sleep and mental separation from the thinking of the thoughts, this will feel less heavy, or at least more manageable. Just for today. I can do hard things, one day at a time, together, with you.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Formatting Errors v. Compatibility Issues

Labelling the Formatting Issues as errors is part of an ongoing joke between Sweet Greg and me. As I said, we really do not get angry with each other and the times in which we have, we attribute to what we now recognize as “formatting errors”. For us, this means, that possibly, the person who is angry is rightfully so, because the other person said whatever they said the “wrong” way.   And if they would have communicated correctly, there would be no problem.

Greg and I are blessed with compatible operating systems. We prefer for life to be quiet and slow, not too peopley, and with minimal plans and schedules on our weekends. We enjoy down time together, separately and simultaneously while in the same place. I tend to need more space than him, maybe from damage and recovery or maybe because I was born this way. Either way, it is a fact, not a defect or a problem. Greg is not offended or challenging of my reality and the needs which make me uniquely me. He loves me unconditionally in all of my most Maggie-est of ways, not in spite of my Maggie-ness but 100% because of it, even the prickly parts. God bless that man.

The one time, in which I recall being genuinely (and irrationally, of course) angry with Greg, I mistook a compatibility issue for what was, in fact, a formatting ERROR. We were both happy and relieved to identify this thing, which for so many people, tears them apart, because they have not learned to recognize “it”.

Greg and I spend our kid-free weekends at my house. (We do not spend nights or share beds(unless on a trip)) in the presence of our children. He brings his sweet Golden Retriever, Sydney, who is always welcome. AND– like all Golden Retrievers, she shits and sheds. Greg would see me vacuuming or poo picking and ask if I wanted “help”. I would say, “No, I got it” and be resentful AF. I allowed this to continue for months until I wanted to end it with him.

See, I did not consider it “help”, for him to clean up after his own dog. I considered it his job. It was not a gracious favor, because if not for Sydney, I would not have the tufts of hair and additional poops to manage. But because he called it help, I would not allow it. Conditioned to “favors” and help, bound by fat strings and a secret price, to be extracted later, I could not accept. Insane. Truly. When I confronted him and attempted to shame him and label him irresponsible and selfish, which he is not, at all–it became clear what was happening. I was accustomed to dirty, indirect communications with weird secret emotional contracts to which I unknowingly entered, first, with my family, then in my marriage, I had no understanding of what it was like to deal with an emotionally present, generous, and direct communicator.

Sweet Greg and I enjoy high level compatibility and still experience formatting issues, which turn to laughter instead of divisive arguments. We each loathe talking by phone, needless complexity, indirect communication, we laugh at ourselves and each other, own our mistakes, apologize, and care deeply for the other’s peace and comfort. Finding food is generally our biggest challenge. There is never anything to eat…anywhere. Ever.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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No Means No

This morning, over breakfast, my older son(S1) asked if Greg and I ever get mad at each other. Of course, I did not offer a short response to this. I asked if he has ever seen us disagree and he said: “yes but you guys never get mad. ” What an excellent opportunity to explain that it is possible to disagree (with trusted others) without becoming angry, being, mean or disrespectful, which is something I only learned in recovery.

This reminds me: When we were living in CA, and the boys were 4 and 5, we had a neighbor friend named Ethan. Ethan was zen, reasonable and kind, this gentle Vietnamese little Buddha of a guy. I would always offer Ethan food and more food and he would politely decline. When I kept asking, he would say so wisely: “Maggie, No means no.” And I would just love it(without knowing why). and I would repeat it and still chide him to eat more than he wanted, just so I could hear him say it again.

But see, when you grow up surrounded by people who do not listen when you say no….who pretend you did not say it or attack you for saying it, you do not learn about the boundary of NO. So, tiny little Ethan was my first model of healthy boundaries via the direct statement of “NO”. No is a complete sentence and it is not mean, or a crime.

Give it a try. You are welcome. Now, I am your life coach.

So, I reminded S1 of our friend Ethan and then went on to tell him of the only time I recall Greg ever getting angry with me, and still not being mean. We were in our first year of dating, and in the car. I thought something was funny and reached over to grab and squeeze his knee as I was laughing (something I do—grab you when I am laughing). He said calmly “Please do not squeeze my knee”. Because, this was unfamiliar behavior, I did what I knew, I reached over and squeezed it again, asking; “you mean like this?”(so assholey, but this is what I knew). And he was like; “Seriously, I do not like that. Please do not do it again, ever.” Mind blown. I kid you not, that I said these words to him: “Oh my gawd, where did you learn that? Did you fucken invent that?” I had not ever observed a person to honestly and directly say No in this way. Without heat, volume, profanity and totally serious about it. Greg is amazing at saying No to me and I am getting better at saying No appropriately and honoring it when it is said directly, to me. Directness is essential. Passive aggressive no is more damaging than aggressive aggressive no because it creates unspeakable conflict and confusion…but looks better on the surface.

I can think of little which makes me feel more loved and safe than knowing that No means No. We are each allowed to say it and mean it without being mean or being hurt. Here is an example I did not share with S1, but hope to remember and so, will share here. In our first months of getting to know each other, Greg and I were kissing and he did something with his finger along the edge of my ear.(This was before he taught me the magic of NO). I pulled away with his face between my hands and said “do not ever fucken do that tickly bullshit again, please”. He processed it with grace, zero resistance. Later, I asked him “That was a little harsh, huh?” Without judgment, he replied: “Yeh you prolly could have been a lil more gentle about it.” I asked for an example. Boundaries 101. He said: “Maybe, like, hey I do not like that.” How could it be that I could say I did not like something and a person would stop???? Is this for real? The exact opposite of my family and marriage experiences. Boundaries, Gentle Truth Speaking, Consideration, Intimacy……These are the miracles of recovery. Without the work I am doing, I would never have appreciated someone as healthy as Greg. I love when he says No to me. I love learning how to say No better and that people who are healthy will respect it, even if they do not like it. People really show you who they are when you say No to them.

Favorite and I get big kicks out of saying No, cleverly to each other. I look forward to a time when saying no to my children will be more effective. And when No really will mean no. I am a work in progress. The second part to this lesson of No, is learning to discriminate between when a person has displeased us and when a person has genuinely done harm.. Having a clear and direct boundary and Saying No are healthy— not harmful….but definitely won’t win any prizes for people pleasing. And if people require me to please them, they are not my people. That is neither my job nor intent.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Never say Never

With active substance abuse and addiction, running in all directions of our family tree, we get to have many discussions on this matter. Both my boys insist they will never try alcohol, cigarettes, drugs, because those things are gross and make no sense.

I explained that it is likely that they will be offered those things and may try them, BUT- if they like it, it may be more difficult for them to stop, than for someone without addiction and abuse in their families, and that I will be here for them. They can always come to me.

They roared as I sheepishly admitted details of my friends and I using cigarettes, pot, and alcohol. I was explicit in conveying that my hope for them is not that “they never try it”, but that if they do try it, they do so, only with people whom they trust.

There are those whom might offer them something that is not what they say it is, and that could be dangerous, even fatal. And also, trying drugs with a trusted other because you are curious might be fun, while trying something you do not want because you are afraid of what a person might say to or about you will leave you feeling bad, period.

More than anything, I want to teach them to trust their guts, trust truth, trust kindness, trust in people who have proven to be trustworthy, kind, benevolent, fierce truth tellers.

These conversations led us directly into–how it is possible and common for people to lie and mis-represent by telling only partial truths, deliberately not sharing all information necessary for accurate context. We clarified what it means to lie. It can be done by omission. Lying is deception and intentional mis-representation, not just speaking of words lacking factual accuracy. Truth speaking requires courage and faith and full disclosure, transparency.

Lying is what people resort to, when they want something not meant for them or when they are avoiding consequences that would naturally be theirs. Lying is for trying to manipulate what others think. For them to get used to or confused by the omissions, partial truths, and words that are out of line with actions– will otherwise, make them doubt themselves, rather than the people in positions of authority who are misrepresenting and creating confusion- DIS-EASE. This, I cannot have.

Our bittersweet journey through demystification continues. The ongoing loss of innocence is at least brought into balance by our illuminating conversations, offering us shared language to discuss matters which would otherwise defy articulation. I do not need for them to get straight A’s, be popular, cool, or athletic all-stars. I need for them to believe in truth, to find comfort in truth, to speak truth–for themselves and for those who cannot. My measure of parental success is weighted by their dedication to being good citizens, protectors, helpers, witnesses.

The one thing in which I hope my boys will strive to NEVER– is denying their feelings and truths or even denying the feelings and truths of others. I firmly believe in a strong link, between denial of feelings and the need to self soothe in ways which prohibit healing and growth. Grow and heal sweet boys. Please. Be healers and growers.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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You Can’t Make Me and Neither Can I

You can’t make me and neither can I.” I am almost finished with Gretchen Rubin’s Four Tendencies and this line really stayed with me. 🎯🤣😬Hard truth.  Discipline over my thinking is a daily struggle.  I think as a result of having my reality challenged, debated, and dismissed for most of my life. I became obsessed with trying to prove my truths and adamantly resistant to those who insisted on trying to dictate my reality– and ultimately also gave up on self-discipline. The only things in charge of me were the fear, shame and guilt for feeling how I felt in the company of those who disapproved mightily and collectively.

Help with my thinking is the only thing for which I pray.  Praying, for me, just means alone time dedicated to articulating my awareness of my need for help, from a power greater than myself.  My will or the will of another human is not enough to get me to do, feel, believe a thing. My program offers me the tools to navigate and to allow my thinking and instincts to become changed, one day at a time.  I will not be bullied by another person or group, or even myself, into living my best life.  Flow not force!

The grief of my mother’s passing and the family to which I was born, wreaked havoc on my body this week, leaving me with debilitating sciatica.  On the way to the accupuncturist, I passed the Cancer Treatment Center where I sat thru many treatments and drs visits with my late mother.  I also drove past the hospital where she underwent some scary surgeries and recoveries.  At the time, I was terrified, not that she would die, but of the proximity to my mother, my sister and her hubz.  And that my mother and I would resume our historical dynamic, once she was well, as we had not done the work of healing.  While she was ill, housebound, helpless, and lonely, she appreciated me, my presence. And once well enough, it seemed my only role was to submit to words and plans that openly diminished me. 

Relocating my family, to be of service, in this critical time was one of the scariest things I’ve ever done (besides knowingly marrying someone identical to those I fled).  Nobody could have forced me to or stopped me from our move, because it was the right thing to do.  I am grateful that I did.  And– it has been only slightly more painful than anything I would have dared to imagine.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Trust in Kindness

It is painful to witness my boys being expected to suffer silently or get comfortable in the presence of unkindness. Their father and I have very different principles and versions reality. Obviously. The ways in which we differ are the exact ways in which he relates to my mother and sister.

Just as I cannot discern who is telling the truth when my boys come to me in conflict with accusations, they cannot be expected to discern the “truth” between their parents . They want and deserve to believe in us both. This possibility has been snatched from them, not by divorce but by an unwholesome and damaging triangulation of my ex, my sister, and my mother.

The most I can hope and model for our sons, is to recognize genuine kindness– To learn to discriminate between friendly(social) and kind. A person can be friendly and social with one person and harsh and mean to another. Kindness is not conditional, like friendliness. It is not dependent on liking a person. Kind people just are. Some of the most well known sociopaths and criminals are reported to be friendly and charming. Both of my boys have first hand experience with charming bullies.

If a person behaves in ways that are cruel and diminishing to any other human, animal, or even the earth, they are not kind. Kind is not subjective. Kindness is unrelated to friendliness or how well you enjoy a person or situation. Kindness is a value and a practice.

Kind is not scary and does not judge or gossip. It does not require you to pretend to like, want ,or be ok with things which are not ok.

Kindness can be trusted. Because kindness, by definition, would exclude dishonesty. It is not possible to change the people to whom my sons are related and exposed. But I will break this freaking cycle of dysfunction, even if I just knock a chip of it off, that is progress. Overturning one sick myth and ritual at a time. Information is power. Faith is power. Higher power is power.

For the models of unyielding kindness and honesty in our lives, I am grateful. #blessed Because when you are not frequently exposed to kindness and gentleness, it is unfamiliar. While my children know they cannot count on me to feel happy or calm(sad truth), they can count on me to truth tell and own and work on my bullshit. 100%!! And to expose them only to Trusted Others—people who, as a rule, are kind and truthful, benevolent. In their entire lives, I have not lied to them or misrepresented in the slightest. Nor have I offered them up to any kind of non-love. They trust that they can say, do, and feel anything in my presence and it does not diminish my love for and commitment to them. Both of them. Differently but equally.

For today, I am giving up my need to be right or believed, because that is unwholesome and unreasonable and always leaves me sad. Instead, I will call out acts of kindness, courage, and truth telling. Attempting to manage people’s perceptions of the past is an insane and manipulative waste of time. Yuck. Letting that go. I miss out on the abundance of kindness in my world while I am tangled up trying to understand or prove unkindness of the past.

Reclaiming my emotional sobriety, so I will gladly accept that Day 1 chip. Thank you very much. 🥇

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Day 15 I Can Not Be Counted On

I Can Not Be Counted On:

  • To be perfect
  • To be manipulated by fear, favoritism, or gifts
  • To agree or even feign agreement
  • To pretend that things are different from how they are
  • To act as if I like or want what I do not
  • To tolerate diminishing situations of any sort
  • To retaliate or engage in dishonest dynamics(which are non-optional)
  • To participate in gossip, flattery, or people pleasing

I Can Be Counted On:

  • To continue putting one foot in front of the other
  • To practice radical self-love and self-care
  • To make better mistakes today, than yesterday
  • To participate in difficult conversations
  • To work toward resolution
  • To speak truth and practice courageous honesty
  • To practice humility and forgiveness
  • To have courage and faith in a power greater than myself
  • To make amends when possible
  • To prioritize Kindness and Service
  • To excuse myself from things not meant for me
  • To support anything which strengthens and nourishes my children’s spirits and to object to anything which imposes on their serenity and sense of overall wellness and security
  • To break the cycle of abuse in my family
  • To be honest with my children about mental health and wellness, addiction, recovery, kindness, honesty, loyalty, and integrity
  • To laugh too loud
  • To say inappropriate things and to overshare
  • To feel deeply and to love hard
  • To listen with empathy and hold space, even when I do not understand. I may not relate to a person’s exact experience, but I will always openly relate to difficult feelings, struggle and fear. This is one of my more wholesome badass super powers.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Day 14 Character Analysis

Nearing the end of Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead, I am taking note of the qualities in the characters that I find admirable and deplorable. Initially I could not understand why, Ellsworth Toohey, Peter Keating, and his awful mother made me sick. Their behaviors are so common and familiar that I almost mistook them for normal. Maybe they are normal, typical–but they are unwholesome posing as wholesome and good–each people pleasing, heavily reliant on sneaky, underhanded diminishing of and climbing on the backs of others. I also did not fully comprehend my immediate awe over Howard Roark, whose disinterest in conformity could be considered freakish. His fierce, unyielding truth speaking is breath-taking. A million ways he could sell out for the benefits of social and professional “success”. But his truth matters most to him and he gladly pays the price. Not for a moment, pitying himself or resenting others. He is free, as a result of his purity of intention, which is transparent and unwavering. AND that level of integrity and respect for himself and others, is what I seek for myself.

Roark’s words, actions, and beliefs remain in alignment. That badass integrity- that way of being in the world, has been defined, in spirituality, as genuine happiness. In the non-spiritual world, this is considered subversive, and just cause for abuse. His ease with himself and others seems a natural by-product of his deep knowing of what is real and important. He chooses to honestly work for what he wants, without gunning for those who oppose or obstruct him. Roark wastes no effort trying to control or to please others.

Howard Roark’s manner of living, reminds me of the Doctors’ Oath to DO NO HARM. His void of drive to please or punish others exceeds my original ideas of wholesome badassery. In these ways, I find him to be spiritually excellent and very sane. …reasonable.

I am reveling this book, as it relates to my recovery and parenting, which to be honest, are the only things I have going these days.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Day 13 Second-Handers

Every spare moment has been dedicated to slowly devouring The Fountainhead or binge-watching Schitt’s Creek. Regarding Fountainhead, it is a loooooong read but the depth of the characters is beyond captivating. And the concepts and language around society thinking and culture is like scripture to me. I did finally get to the love/rape scene between Dominique and Roark and feel conflict about my take on it. She definitely wanted him but never said yes and seems, based on the explicit and intense nature of their connection, responded to him with resistance, because it is what she thought he wanted and also what she wanted. She also never said yes or fully surrendered to it. Wow. A lot to consider about sex, love, passion which can each be part of a rape. When it comes to this encounter, I dunno. I definitely do not agree that Ayn Rand has endorsed rape.

Wanting to understand more deeply this concept of second handers, I found this quote worthy of posting and contemplation. It relates strongly to my recovery and parenting and all that I am working against in raising wholesome, good hearted boys.


Isn’t that the root of every despicable action? Not selfishness, but precisely the absence of a self. Look at them. The man who cheats and lies, but preserves a respectable front. He knows himself to be dishonest, but others think he’s honest and he derives his self-respect from that, second-hand. The man who takes credit for an achievement which is not his own. He knows himself to be mediocre, but he’s great in the eyes of others. The frustrated wretch who professes love for the inferior and clings to those less endowed, in order to establish his own superiority by comparison . . . . They’re second-handers . . . .

They have no concern for facts, ideas, work. They’re concerned only with people. They don’t ask: “Is this true?” They ask: “Is this what others think is true?” Not to judge, but to repeat. Not to do, but to give the impression of doing. Not creation, but show. Not ability, but friendship. Not merit, but pull. What would happen to the world without those who do, think, work, produce? Those are the egoists. You don’t think through another’s brain and you don’t work through another’s hands. When you suspend your faculty of independent judgment, you suspend consciousness. To stop consciousness is to stop life. Second-handers have no sense of reality. Their reality is not within them, but somewhere in that space which divides one human body from another. Not an entity, but a relation—anchored to nothing. That’s the emptiness I couldn’t understand in people. That’s what stopped me whenever I faced a committee. Men without an ego. Opinion without a rational process. Motion without brakes or motor. Power without responsibility. The second-hander acts, but the source of his actions is scattered in every other living person. It’s everywhere and nowhere and you can’t reason with him. He’s not open to reason.

Back to the book. Only a few hundred more pages…before I set off to re-read. Hopefully, before finishing the book, I will be able to discern the reason for the title. Fountainhead????

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Day 8 Reflection

Ok, not writing at all, about IT is unreasonable and unhealthy. I am tweaking my resolution to add an allowance for myself, to contemplate and write once a week on the things from which I am recovering. To deny that, is unreasonable. It is not all or nothing…that is the sick thinking I was raised on. It is not THIS or THAT.

Healthy, expansive thinking is a matter of BOTH AND. So, while I will intentionally dedicate more thought and energy in other directions, I will also allow myself the outlet for the ongoing effects of my broken family and the brokenness that is being forced on my sons. I am offered daily reminders of that sickness, with each interaction with my ex. I watch helplessly, as my sons have their most basic need for strong unshakable sense of connection & belonging with each of their parents, systematically and righteously undermined. THAT behavior will never be ok, but I am beginning to make sense of IT, and this allows me to recognize healthy options. What is happening, is not OK or normal. BUT, I have tools to help me respond to what I cannot change.

What remains disorienting, when dealing with a disordered personality- Things go their way, and they may randomly behave with kindness and generosity. Things don’t go their way and they swiftly become shaming, cruel, and punitive. You can never know. who or what you are getting.

When you are small and being shaped by this dynamic, it is natural to assume that you cause the changes in behavior/mood. In fact, you are told that you are. In some moments, you will be regarded as drastically more favorable, yet have no clue as to why. You will lose sleep and many hours of your life, trying to discern how to be only the person who dodges cruelty and earns kindness. I am keenly aware of what continues to remain the same. The only things changing—-are the ever-changing moods and– my responses to those. One day at a time. ⏳

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Atypical Day 6

Netflix’s Atypical, our first family binge-watching opportunity. Sam, Zahid, and Paige are each so damn relatable and hysterical, and it was consensus that we could not and should not stop after a single episode, or even two. Sweet Greg insists that there is too much adult content for the boys. I do not completely disagree and wish there were less of that. But, I think the gravity of Sam’s story and the depth of the characters, by far out-weigh the “sexy content”. Friendship, loyalty, connection, truth speaking, and celebrated quirkiness, to me, are worth the exposure to the sex-stuff, which my boys are already assaulted by, daily, at school. I dunno.

My older son and I, like Sam, are each quickly and easily overstimulated by most sensory stimulus. As a result we become tired(not in sleepy way), worn down and less resilient to emotional stress. We are thrilled by Sam’s unapologetic truth speaking and relate to his meltdowns and need for space and correctly prepared foods(haha). We are hoping for more seasons, since, like psychos, we burned through the first two, in 3 days. Pacing is something my children may have to learn elsewhere.

Today is Day 6 of intentionally doing, talking, posting, and meme-ing about life, instead of my FOO–very effing un-natural. Definitely, a one day at a time thing… I choose to focus on things that elevate and expand our lives. I suspect that this is not unlike how Sam felt when Paige suggested insisted he practice speaking of things other than penguins and the Antarctic.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Day 4 Schitt’s Creek

David Rose #Funny GIF by Schitt's Creek - Find & Share on GIPHY

Having declared on 12/31 that I am moving on and redirecting my attention, I am on day 4 of posting about anything at all that I discover, observe, contemplate, enjoy….

For today, my crush on David Rose is developing into fixation. Like, I want to study him. In David, the polar opposite of Howard Roark from The Fountainhead, I have found another hero and role model. If you enjoy laughing until your stomach hurts and binge-watching Netflix, Schitt’s Creek is a must: only 21 minutes per episode and a teeny 20 second window in between to decide whether or not to continue. The characters and dynamic of David and Alexis are intoxicating. Truly.

I recently saw a brilliant meme: What if Netflix doubled as a dating service like “Here are 7 other singles that watched Grey’s Anatomy for 8 hours–straight”? Similar lifestyle and TV preferences are key. I could not be more pleased that Sweet Greg enjoys binge-watching. Actually, I believe he introduced me to it, with Breaking Bad, Hell on Wheels, and Boardwalk Empire. I think we completed each of the seasons for all of those, within our first 6 months. We have not since found many binge-worthy shows–that we agree on.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Day 3 The Fountainhead

As with most things, I am reading The Fountainhead 📖 in true 💉💉💉addict fashion. The clash between Peter Keating and Howard Roark is beyond compelling, as well as the growing heat between Dominique and Howard Roark which lead to the love sexy rape scene, of which I have yet to read.

While Roark and Dominique at some point become lovers, the forced, but still “erotic” sex referenced, is, in fact, rape. It is preposterous to defend that RAPE is limited to vaginal penetration, sexual attacks by strangers, or with females only as victims, and always males as perpetrators. If a person is in any way unable or unwilling to say yes, the answer is NO. How is it ok, ever, to advance on someone, without consent, which can never be assumed…even within romance and marriage? Why do we have only one law regulating sexual engagement, by age but not willingness? Is it more acceptable for one adult to force themselves on another than for frisky teens to mutually engage in sex? It is astonishing to me, that even victims are quick to dismiss their own violations (and therefore, those of others), by accepting that they have somehow brought it on themselves, or that it was “not that bad”, or they are “lucky” it was not worse.

Most people very much do not wish to consider or discuss this matter. I, however, very much do. If my boys have sex before the legal age, I am more accepting of that, than them, as adults, touching others in ways which are unwelcome and unwholesome. Examining and challenging the rape culture disrupts the status quo and entitlement of one population in particular.

Ha! That is it. I love Howard Roark for being a disruptor, transparent AF, not mean, dishonest, or violent not for a moment(not yet-just now at Chapter 15). Sneaky, Posing, Well groomed, Social Climbing Peter Keating and his pathetic mother make me ill. Peter’s image and appearance on paper are his only assets- and this leaves him constantly terrified and insecure that he might lose it all in a second. He despises and feels threatened by Roark’s void of motivation by money and popularity. That makes him unshakable which drives in Peter, his private desire to destroy him. Such a juicy dynamic. I am hooked.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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2019 Day 1

Best Friends Forevvuh. 42 years of sisterhood. Total traveling pants. Bringing in the New Year with Favorite and her family was a win.  Tastiest foods, 🥮🧀🍤🥝🥘 from as soon as you are hungry all the way until you pop or surrender. Games and /or space for all.  Laughing together at nothing and everything and nobody and everyone.  The belonging-ness is pure magic. 💫How does this happen?  I never feel as if I am a guest or extra.  Nobody does. I cannot help but marvel.  This is how we are meant to live and love.  2019, here I come. Looking forward to tonight, with Sweet Greg and our boys.

I have been reading a ton lately, in addition to my Recovery Literature. Today’s meeting reflected my 2019 intentions. From Paths to Recovery pps14-15 “Even though I was completely convinced that I hadn’t caused his inappropriate behavior, I still had an overwhelming desire to control or cure what was happening.  Once again, I had to sit and feel the discomfort of letting go.”  Letting go, is a less familiar type of discomfort, than my standard white knuckle, claw marking, hanging on. I will have to choose to let go one million times per day. Life gets better when I do and less better when I do not. “Let go or be dragged. ” Right?

I have enjoyed some lighter reads which have brought as much laughter and joy as they have direction, to my life: -The Happiness Project by Gretchen Ruben -By Jen Hatmaker: -For the Love and -Of Mess and Moxie (listening to her on Audible is a great time. Like spending time with a friend). I cannot recommend each of these strongly enough. Also, By Bob Goff -Everybody Always and -Love Does How is it possible for these deeply religious, Jesus loving people, to whom I cannot fully relate, touch me so deeply and allow me to believe in something far better than I have ever known. I am definitely a lover of Jesus Lovers(the good humble ones–not the arrogant psychos)(obvi).

White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo provided much needed language for processing a lifelong dynamic, which I have experienced as unmanageable. There are some serious fragility (ego and entitlement) issues involved. Both humbled and empowered by having glimpsed a more informed examination of the practices of exclusion. Becoming informed and gaining the language necessary to discuss, are essential to my healing and moving on. So, while I will not fixate on IT/them, I will be referencing them.

Becoming by Michelle Obama left me nearly intoxicated–her unyielding grit and grace, two admirable qualities which strive to know and practice– here(WBA), I refer to those traits as badass (not giving up on truth and goodness, while learning when to walk away because there is none to be had) and wholesome (purity of purpose).

Not that Bad by Roxane Gay , clarifies how ” NOT THAT BAD ” is NO WHERE NEAR good enough.  Being maltreated, silenced, diminished– is 100% unacceptable for any single individual or group of people.  Suggestion and insistence otherwise, offering ease to bullying, rape, molestation, physical and verbal abuse.  The definitions for rape, bullying, and abuse are so ridiculously narrow which makes it easy and expected for people to give it a blind eye and a shut mouth. One of the dispatches details an erotic rape scene (as if those words should ever go together), which led me to The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand- The novel champions the individualism of a young architect, Howard Roarke, who unflinchingly defies the tyranny of conventional public opinion. His struggle for personal integrity in a world that values conformity above truth, independence, and creativity, spoke straight to my heart. I have not yet reached the love rape scene, and am curious to see how it is possible and true that many stories and movies can disqualify some sex from being rape, because of a sexyness or hotness about it. Any touching that is not wanted, is rape. Anyone who engages or allows it, is a participant, condoning and perpetuating rape culture. I intend to raise two informed and mindful sexual citizens who learn to hear and say NO, with grace. Or even without, but still recognizing, that if it is not a YES, it is a NO, with regards to touching.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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No, But This Time I Mean It

I intend to end this year of insanity, by allowing my mother’s recent passing to mark the end of my active attachment to a system which has collectively rejected me from my earliest days.  The ways in which I differ, they cannot understand, respect, OR control.  I officially accept my rejection.  Being excluded from the details of my mother’s death and the memorial service, is perhaps what I needed to be 100% certain. I accept my powerlessness over the fact of their impeccably consistent behavior.  I accept my powerlessness over the fact of their impeccably consistent behaviors and statements. What a pathetic waste of time, working so hard to reject their rejection.

I must waste no more time trying to understand or be understood.  The time to move on is RFN! 

Praying for the willingness to be guided by love and God and not my feeeeeeelings about the tragedy of this and the effects of THEM on my young sons.  My own recovery is the only thing of value I may offer my children. -Step One- I am incapable of service to my children, for as long as I remain mentally entangled. Please feel free to drop me a shiny gold ⭐️ for each day in which I post nothing of them or this.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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I am sorry, I won't be spoken to that way. We can work to resolve this whenever you are ready and then maybe gather as a "family".

Clear Boundaries are not Grudges

Omg. I woke up thinking about exactly this. How holding a clear and healthy boundary, within my family of origin(and marriage) gets labelled “holding a grudge”. Hellooo ??? It’s not at all, magnanimous to be willing to move on from abuse by your own mouth or hand without willingness to acknowledge and amend.  I can honestly say that in my entire family and marriage experience, not one conflict was ever openly engaged in a way that was mutually aimed at genuine peace, connection, resolution.  The only explanation I find anywhere for a person to punish a plea for resolution is the narcissist personality disorder-which prohibits any sort of rigorous self reflection.  The ego is so large and fragile and will crack if forced to consider any wrongness or fallibility and so they lash out–to punish and reduce those who challenge their sense of rightness. I continue to try to understand my part in this and I recognize beyond doubt, that I do not cause others to say or do bad things.  I am just not that powerful.  

At my mother’s service, it was said a few times how “she never held a grudge”. She was quite good at pretending that hurtful things had not been said or done. It was the expectation that I do the same.  That ability/value was not passed to me genetically, as it was my sister. We differ in this way.  And my need to work together to heal and reconcile is labelled and judged as grudge holding. By refusing to gather with a person(or people) who feels free and right to verbally assault me publicly, privately, passively, and repeatedly is not a grudge. It is a fair and sane boundary.

I presented my self a million ways to Tuesday, for healing and reconciliation. Requests denied. Repeatedly screwing someone over, while insisting you are free from bad feelings and would gladly welcome/allow them “back” into the fold (for more of the same) may not be a “grudge”, but, it is something foul.

Is shunning grudge holding? Is triangulation grudge holding? I think that malevolent behaviors are in fact proof of grudge holding(just without the courage of transparency). Knowingly imposing harm, no matter how smiley while doing it, is egregious non-benevolence.🤷🏽‍♀️  

Yes, I cry, get angry, hurt and need to resolve conflict to reconcile, even and especially when I have a hand in it.  This, this is maturity and mental wellness,  according sources I trust.  Ugh,  Grief is messy. My boys asked how they could be so loved that destroying their mother and father co-parenting was called for, yet mentioning them by name at the service was not.  The mixed messages continue, even from the grave.  They also asked why only my sister was mentioned as caring for her in illness, we relocated cross country and showed up day after day and week after week to serve and love on her–until… Feels like shit, to share with my boys that the lack of mention could be for one of two reasons:  Either, they were not thought of at all…or they were, and then were intentionally excluded.  And much of the service was written/scripted by her, in advance. If she had wanted, she could have said one healing thing. In true Ghoneim fashion, she offered a passive middle finger which, I could only have imagined or earned. This brand of love is as unsafe as it is unwholesome.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Are You My Mother?

To state that my feelings about and reasons for attending yesterday’s service for my mother are messy and confusing, is an understatement.  At this moment, this is what I am able to discern. 

  • I did not want my children paraded by and fawned over by people (who wish to claim them as family while shunning their mother) . 
  • The manners in which I was notified of both the death and the service, speak volumes to the collective statement of my “place”.  I would not miss or avoid the service out of fear or shame.  As, I feel neither.
  • The heavily orchestrated gathering illuminated, beyond doubt, that I was not a part of, that I am not even a little included, welcome, or connected.  No belonging.  No business.  The collective has spoken.  I am grateful to have fully witnessed this, together, alongside my children, Favorite, and Sweet Greg.  I have missed much of my life waiting and trying to be heard, understood, welcome, connected. In addition to losing decades to the grief and confusion which defined and consumed me, what hurts more; how that despair, longing, and obsession robbed/robs my boys of my full presence.

As my sister spoke of Judith, I looked at Greg and said “Who is she even talking about?”  He calmly and without delay squeezed my hand and whispered, “She is describing the mother she had”.  That was IT. To hear that sentence is what I have always needed.  Our realities differed, and mine has been regarded as wrong, punishable, invalid.

I am grateful that my sons were able to more clearly witness the dedicated arrangement in which they are being required to force themselves to feel as if they belong and “fit”.  Their father sat neither with us nor with the “family”.  I wonder how he feels about his participation and contribution.  They are definitely more his people than they are mine.  He is easily charmed by shiny people and things. I am certain he glowed with pride over his affiliation with such an accomplished group of people.  I am less easily impressed by things.  

My relationship with my ex, because of our children, is something that may mentally tether me to this.  The boys and I will get counseling to manage the effects of parental alienation.  I cannot spare them, but I can help them become informed and armed with the language to identify the things that, without help, would emotionally wound, and defy the articulation of young boys.

NOTE:  If we do not heal and fix what hurts us, we will seek, date, marry it.  Hopefully, my ex is my final lesson on this.  Abusers, enablers, and less enlightened people may pose the question “Well who is the common variable here, and therefore the problem?”  Abuse is a cycle, a legacy.  

NOTE:  If we grow up being treated as if we are worthy of and the cause for cruelty and banishment, we will seek relationships that affirm that.  If we are raised to feel valued and connected, we will seek relationships that affirm that.  Those become core guiding (beliefs) myths about connection and our “selves”.

My sister and I lived two different experiences.  My mother’s approval and endorsement of her, as clear evidence of fine mothering, connected my sister to the rest of the family.  My mother’s experience with me was used to divide me from them. One of us got a bridge and one got a stonewall.  On my less difficult days, I was sometimes treated kind of like the sick mangey dogs roaming the streets in South East Asia. I recall badly wanting to hold them tightly and whisper “it will be ok”.  But I was afraid and that was a lie(it would never be ok), so I would pet them with a smooth stick or a piece of trash and offer them scraps of food.  It made me feel both sad and like an asshole because I recognized that more was needed and deserved.  

A wise friend shared with me that “Difficult children are here to wake their parents.  But your mother was not interested”.  It is true, she showed reflexive aversion to or dismissal of anything/anyone which/whom was not emotionally simple and intellectually stimulating.  I have been anything but those.

Regarding the memorial service for my sister’s mother, I fared well, until reaching the parking lot where I was met with love and compassion by someone who could see.  I crumbled.  I am not sad for the loss of the mother who discarded me, repeatedly and then departed the world.  I am grateful for her heroic financial rescue during my divorce.  I thanked her for that in all of the ways possible, but never in the form of submission to people who righteously, and with her blessing, diminished me.  Yesterday, that family at the service said good bye to my sister’s mother.  They never even knew mine.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Our Mother Who Art in Heaven

Dear Mother,

You must be pleased that I married someone emotionally and morally similar to you and to my sister?  And equally contented that YOUR family shows unyielding loyalty to your will and way in the form of continued stonewalling.  Rest in peace.  Someone should.  

What was my crime again…Oh, I learned to say No to bullshit without screaming and swearing and I refused to actively engage in a war that you all insisted on and have the nerve to ask directly, repeatedly, and without shame why you all so readily hurt me?  I know the answer now, because that is the best you can do.  While you may have banished me, and that hurts like hell, probably forever…the truth is I do not belong with people capable of this.  I am definitely not one of you.

I am breaking the cycle, mourning the footing of the bill, by my children–for the continued and imposed spiritual and emotional sickness. Oh how I do miss the gorgeous 2500 miles between here and California but am eternally grateful that your physical illness and Randy’s desire to buy a home, brought us here. Even with the grief of your triangulation with the boys’ father, the pain you all bring, means little compared to the healing love of my sweet Greg and Favorite. I could not live without them. In a way, you and R are responsible for that also. So thanks!


Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Social Media for Abuse Awareness

People say don’t use social media to post your personal problems. I use social media to post about abuse because it is a social problem.  I am taking all necessary measures to protect and to heal myself from decades of abuse.  Being shamed and silenced is secondary trauma, which typically yields more damage than the initial or continued abuse. There are two parts to every trauma, the initial trauma (what did or did not happen) and the secondary trauma of how that gets handled(or not handled). Each person who has known me, pre-recovery, has certainly, in some way been impacted by me, probably in ways that were disturbing or damaging. Hurt people hurt people. I learned what I lived and it was awful. I can see that.

We each are in daily contact with someone who is suffering from some form of abuse, past or present. Just consider being a loving witness. Not to fix or gloss over, but to listen and be present.  Hold space for healing. So many of you have done that for me this week. Thank you. Very Grateful.

Just as rape is not always a bloody take down, in an alley by a man against a woman, and drug abuse and addiction don’t always look like track marks in an arm, a lost job, DUI, or a car wrapped around a tree, abuse of people does not always present with marks of observable physical violence.

It is very disturbing that in our culture, it is more acceptable to impose abuse than it is to speak of it. I object to that. Speaking up is considered more of a transgression, a sign of non-forgiveness or mental instability–therefore making all claims inadmissible and unworthy of action or attention. I will continue posting, sharing, recovering and connecting with others who have the courage to do the work and to grow beyond.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Pills That are Hard to Swallow

Trying to surrender my current prayer of “Make it fucken stop” for “PLEASE 🙏🏼 Help me become willing to accept the things I cannot change and to just love the hell out of my sons and my people”. Digging deep to accept the things I dislike and over which I have no power. Recovery teaches me that if it is a problem, there will be a solution. If there is no solution, it is not a problem, but an unpleasant fact—to be accepted. Not, the feeling of “It is ok” but the practice of acceptance—doing nothing to try and make it be different from how it IS. I am so very distraught over my boys being used in a game of egos. My sons will lose, no matter what. Anything that requires dissociation is toxic. My pain stems from my lack of acceptance that my sister and ex actively submit my children to things from which they will need to numb or recover. These are the pills which I am gagging down—as many times as it takes. My reaction to the bullshit is neither wholesome nor badass.  AND, I cannot even contemplate grief over the death of my mother- becuase I am too tangled up with my despair over the damage which is righteously heaped uponon my children.  Trauma and dysfunction are messy. Grief is messy.  Healing is messy.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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I have never, not ever, not once in 50 years had a moment of resolution with my mother or sister in which each of the people own their contributions to the situation.  All initiatives by me are handled one of three ways:  1-No response.  2- A response that does not acknowledge what I have said but offers me the standing invitation to come pretend everything is ok–to put it all behind us.  Because the only real transgressions are open expressions of feeling or conflict.  It is more acceptable to be openly hurtful than to openly express being hurt.  And finally, my favorite of all(especially when many are copied) 3-Character assassination.  I am certain they agree that if I were less shitty, they wouldn’t HAVE to do that.  I cannot take responsibility for the words and actions of others.  Program teaches me what is and is not mine.

It will be interesting to see if this attempt will be any different.  My older son is so distraught by escalated tension between his father and me, by the triangulation of him with my family–and the reality that for as long as it remains like this, my children can not count on a healed family holiday, seated at a table with both of their parents.  I feel I must try something.  Also, we did not trek our entire lives cross country so that my mother could go to her grave with this bullshit hanging between us.

Here it is↓:

—– Forwarded Message —–
From:  <>
To:  <>
Sent: Tuesday, December 4, 2018 12:27 PM
Subject: Holiday Healing
Hi Mom,
Will there come a day when we will each willingly reflect on our own behaviors and commit to something better?
Healing is amazing.  Why not?? Right?  The clock is ticking.  Loudly.
The current arrangement is damaging my boys for obvious reasons– adding divisive tension between their father and me.  Perhaps you had not considered that.
I have spent most of my life suffering our dynamic.  But, now it is too painful to witness its affects on our children when we, their parents, cannot collaborate effectively or in peace, because of this added and un-necessary divisiveness.  R cannot do better.  But…
I must believe a mother and sister can do better than a scorned ex-husband.



Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Rest In Peace

Yesterday, overly tired from waking at 4am, unable to return to sleep. I ruined myself from 4-8am, with recycled, if not hysterical thoughts of my older son and the cloud hung over his birthdayS, by his father and my sister.  Lack of sleep will make a person tired.  And, for someone like me, I am crushed, in the sleepless hours, by obsession with upsetting things over which I am powerless.  When mentally fatigued from nights like this, I am unreasonable, insensitive to others, even the Little’s who deserve and count on a more wholesome steady source for guidance and support.

Thank Gawd for last night’s peaceful and undisrupted rest.  It  has restored me, for today, leaving me capable of honest self reflection.

Unlearning. Re-parenting myself one day at a time.

So,  for Sunday night dinner with S1 last night, to my tired mind, S1 seemed unreasonably difficult and disagreeable.  My home-training says to “punish that shit–nip it in the bud! Hard!”.  Recovery suggests PAUSE- practice patience and look to see what is really going on, with him, with myself.  But see, I was beat and could hear mostly my own historical messages, suggesting harshness as a swift means to gain control.  GROSS.  Thank Gawd, Sweet Greg casually noted:  “Wow, he seems tired.”  SG shared this without agenda, a wise observation of an escalating struggle to get teeth cleaned and clothes put away.

Because of Greg’s sanity and love(the wholesome yummy kind), I was able to re-direct myself and ask S1:  Do you want to go lie down in your bed and have alone time before returning to your dad’s?  Or would you like for us all to go in my room and hang out together?  He chose and raced to my room,  to get in my bed, on my side, under my weighted blanket.  His whole vibe elevated.  He needed our proximity, without engagement, not to be alone, but to be allowed to mentally unhook, not enmeshed, abandoned or banished.  I totally relate to  that:  the need to feel organic closeness without entanglement.  THIS is exactly how I felt and what I needed, on the day that Greg agreed to our silent hike(when I tricked him into loving me), 3 years ago.  Oh Sweet Greg,  I am so grateful for his way.  Though, I do make certain to, repeatedly, remind him that he cannot take full credit for his good spirit and cheerful attitude as he was born and raised that way.  We laugh, he really is (mostly)divine.  Who cares why?  I take no credit for having not been born easy breezy or into a nurturing environment.  I do take credit for all of the practices of love, which I am learning, in adulthood,  diametrically opposed to what I experienced, observed, and believed abut love, parenting, control, connection, family, and God.  I claim credit, only for the changes I am willing to make.  Self reflection and correction are wholesome and badass.  They are not for everyone, though.

I took on useless toxic coping and living skills(habits, more than skills) and will dutifully spend my life unlearning– and practicing better ways.  I choose to break habits and cycles. I am a work in progress.  #blessed

 Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Fake Peace

I am grateful (though broken hearted) that I was able to tell my older son (S1) and his father, in no

My Autobiography

uncertain terms, that I would not participate a shared birthday celebration together with dad, as things currently are–that things may still change and how sorry I am for the pain which this causes.  His father and I are at a place where I have asked him to do pick ups from outside our home until he chooses to communicate responsibly and fairly with me regarding logistics for shared responsibilities.(You may not enter my home and place of rest if you cannot be counted on for the most basic consideration and integrity.)Needless complexity is unwelcome.  It is not a lot to ask.  “If you are going to be late, early, or deviate from the plan in a way that affects us, please let me know.”  But, nope.  This is literally identical to the fall out with my sister.  Her response to this was to circumvent me to gain access to my children and bond with my ex who is similarly vexed.  Consideration is reserved strictly for those who are useful to them. Continue reading “Fake Peace” Much Love,
Magda Gee

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This Is Not My Kingdom

Today’s service centered around Pilate and Jesus:  Kingdoms in Conflict.  John 18:33 – 18:37(quite possibly incorrectly notated-whatev)

I begin by declaring that: I, in no way, assert any likeness, of my own, to Jesus.  I am learning for the first time, how it is, he came to be crucified.  I always thought the Christians did it.  Seriously, though. (Spoiler alert–It was the Romans)  I was gripped by the topic of Kingdoms in Conflict and immediately related my experience with what I would consider to be persecution by an unholy alliance–for treason.

For individuals like my sister (haha-what?) Pilate, unwilling to negotiate or tolerate irreverence and non-compliance, the iron fist rules–“justice” for perceived defiance will be exacted by any means necessary.  Pilate was unable grasp that Jesus was not actively challenging the “local law of the land”, though when asked;  “Are you King?”  Jesus stated consistently:   “My Kingdom is not here”.

Insecure in his own sense of power, Pilate was intolerant of his failure to beat Jesus into submission or admission of trynuh be King— AND SO, he sought collaboration with Herod and Cesar.  United in their need to be rid of Jesus, they REacted sinfully, with their collective will, oppression, hatred, and tyranny.

Jesus’ admission of his reverence to God was labelled treasonous to the empire–just cause for death by crucifixion. (In my case, my crucifixion alone would be fine, if not for the imposing of deep and lasting worries on my children, that they, and I can do nothing about.  Their mandated involvement is damaging and as a helpless observer, it feels worse than death.  Death happens once and then it is over.)

I, no doubt, am missing large parts of the story, new to the teachings of Jesus and far more spiritually directed than religious.  Learning and observing how the barbaric politics of the First Century differ little from those of today, is as fascinating as it is repulsive.

I am deeply moved to know and practice more of  Jesus’ brand of love: courageous, humble, difficult, gritty, earthy, and transformative.  I have still so much to learn about holy love.  Fortunately, I now have great teachers and models of wholesome badass love.  Thank you, Favorite and Sweet Greg for teaching me and my children.  I am a work in progress.  I love you, the best I can.Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Walls or Bridges

While I am enjoying the peace and slow pace of an undemanding Thanksgiving Break for myself, my heart is so fucking heavy from what family occasions do for my older son.  Especially sensitive(always deeply concerned that someone is angry with him), he struggles daily with wanting to “please”  both his father and me.  I do not need for him to hustle or to please me.  To be kind, honest(not just speaking words factually related to truth but intentionally matching actions to words, no matter who is present), and courageous is what I preach.  Three out of the four of these are in direct conflict with the expectations of his father and extended family.  The tension between (us) his mom and dad (escalated by my own “family’s” presence and agenda) affects him daily and deeply.   Continue reading “Walls or Bridges” Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Gentle Thanksgiving

I am deeply grateful for Considerate Birthdays, Mellow Halloweens, Compassionate Christmases, and today–a Tender Thanksgiving.  I cannot know for sure, but suspect that if I would have experienced some of these in my first 40, perhaps I may have been less distressed and disturbed.   “Happy family” occasions caused more stress, illness, and trouble for me, than any exam, interview, legal proceeding, financial fear, or medical procedure. 

I am not super into the word “happy” and all of the days, in which the calendar police dedicate to enforcement of appearances of joyfulness or imposing of dismissal for those struggling and judged angry, selfish, and ungrateful.  Recovery has invited me to surrender efforts to portray gratitude in the form of becoming someone different from myself.  I believe that(my) depression is unrelated to lack of gratitude and is neither a choice nor a rebellious act of sabotage aimed at burdening or shaming those who insist on happy appearances of each person in their presence, for their own sense pride and success.  You want people to relax around you?? Allow and invite them to genuinely relax, not demand it.  Right? Seems intuitive.  If I am afraid to be tense around you, I will not ever relax with you.  And for today, pretending serves no cause that matters to me.

Today is a day for gentleness and tenderness, either with those with whom it is possible or by ourselves.  If you are struggling, I see you and hear you.  You are not alone, wierd, negative or selfish for feeling non-happy.  Especially on this day, let us offer generous space to anyone suggesting otherwise.

Thank God Sweet Greg goes gladly to his family Thanksgiving without me and without shame or resentment about that.  There are too many words up in there and his family does not need to know, try to understand, or navigate my low threshold for stimulus of all kinds.  I love that with Favorite and with Sweet Greg, I feel both tightly held and completely free, all I have ever wanted to feel.  They are my people, my trusted others, my best friends, my family.  They show up and I show up and together we are a WE and an US–connection that for me, is greater than shared proximity or blood.  The tenderness and nurturing that I receive, learn, and practice with them makes me a better person and parent.  That is the best and only kind of love for which I am available:  kind, nurturing, and fortifying.  Unconditional.

We are safe and welcome to express sentiments like:  “What do you  need?  What can I do?  I am sorry I did that, it was unfair, unkind, even hurtful.”  We freely share simple truths like “Ouch, Stop, No, Here is what I need, This is how I feel,Tell me more, I want to understand, Thank you for sharing that, Oops,I messed up, I can do better”.   I may not be a “happy” person but I am thankful and grateful for all kindness and goodness.  I am a work in progress.  I LOVE to show up and be together with my people.  Tonight, with Favorite and Family and tomorrow & the weekend with Sweet Greg.

PS–I don’t even particularly like holiday food items and will never complain that they are reserved only for a specific 2-3 days per year.  So, in addition to causing pain-in-the-ass, with my non-joy, I was criticized regularly for being too finicky an eater(liking different things), with an unreasonable appetite.  I just prefer my everyday people and foods, which are always fortifying, cozy, unthreatening.  See, if I wanted to eat 27 chicken nuggets or a giant salad only on thanksgiving, that is what my people would support and even provide.  Being hungry and tense and scared about being hungry and tense is no longer an option, I can consider.  Comfort and pleasing food gladly served up for each and all.  That is how we love, celebrate, and mourn. Together.

My first choice would be to have peace and or the potential of healing and holidays with my mother and HER family. But being loved and connected with good people, biologically unrelated to me is not a shabby Option B, at all.  #blessed
Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Being Human Means Making Mistakes

Even at age 40, pre-recovery, I had not learned/internalized any absolute morals, by which I could hold myself accountable. I thought I did, but honestly, I was stunted, terribly immature in this way— self-propelled and self-seeking.  I would do literally anything to guard or retaliate against perceived threat.  I learned early on, the brutal principle of “any means necessary”.   I forgive myself for not knowing what I could not know.  We learn what we live. Right? ??‍♀️My only consistent guides were fear, guilt, and shame, the gods of our family.  Those sentiments could be counted on but not trusted, always present and never true.

Today, I feel immense compassion for the terrified little girl I once was.  When we know better, we do better.  Recovery offers me tools-a design for living, to replace my constant and lesser companions of guilt, shame, and fear. THIS new way of living has further and permanently divided me from those who rely on me to feel those ways.  It apparently, is not so difficult to manipulate a person steeped in those feelings.  I used to be fearful and distrusting of others because I had not learned to trust in myself or a higher power.  Now, I am afraid of no-one.  My God is immense.  I may not trust a person or group, but I have faith that I can handle MYSELF, by following the direction of my program. I cannot be charmed, flattered, or bullied into doing or accepting things that conflict with recovery principles.  To some, this is perceived as an act of hostility, willfulness, war…like “If you cannot control me, then I must be trying to control you”.  But that is sick and childish thinking.  I am only controlling only myself—neither a crime nor an attack—the exact opposite.

In recovery, we learn to “Live and Let Live”. That is what I aim to do. My life is built around being the best mother, friend, girlfriend, neighbor, employee that I can be. These are my causes, not my roles. I serve each as faithfully as I can, one day at a time. Some days are better than others. My motivation finally is tethered to service in something much greater than my own will. In this way, I feel I am now living right, not perfectly, but well. I am a work in progress.

I still do wrong(unfortunate and unwholesome) things and I do things wrong(incorrectly), because I am human.  Sometimes I do wrong because I do not know better.  Other times, because I am angry or have failed to practice good self care.  Sometimes I do a most rightest right thing, but I do it in a wrong way.  With the wisdom of my program, I am able to own and quickly amend and to restore trust and connection, where possible.  Sometimes, trust and connection are non-existent, but I amend anyhow, for my own peace of mind and spiritual hygiene.  And I am blessed with trusted others, with whom I can share, as well as my space, here.   I believe it to be true that we are only as sick has our secrets.  I do not want to be sick anymore.

Amends may include an apology or just a correction of my behavior or tone.  Saying the words “I’m sorry” is neither amends nor a magic eraser.  When I say I am sorry, what I am genuinely expressing is that I regret that I have hurt you or I am sorry that my choice affected you negatively.  I may not be sorry for my choice, but I am always sorry for causing pain.  And if I am sorry for my choice, that means it is my intent and commitment is to not do IT again.  I have so very much to learn about what to be sorry for and how to forgive myself and to forgive others, especially those who knowingly do harm, repeatedly.  I am much better at forgiving once the damage has ended.

In my family, the apologies frequently go something like: “I am sorry that you feel that way”.  Thanks, but apologizing to me for my own feelings feels like bullshit.  And then there is the classic edgy “I’m sorry, okay…now can we just put it behind us?” which means I am only sorry if I have to deal with the consequences of my choices and genuine self reflection and correction.  Neither of these fauxpologies restore trust or lead to reconciliation.  Methods, motives, and means require examination if we are to learn, grow, and heal.  Right?  What I continue to marvel over are the many harmful things that are done in politically and socially acceptable fashion.  My family culture and the political climate are so similar in this manner, justified diminishing of another.  I can’t even…. Continue reading “Being Human Means Making Mistakes” Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Boundaries and Being Non-Dead

With Greg, boundaries are a non issue, we have compatible operating systems and shared values- prioritizing each other’s peace, comfort and pleasure.  Goes without saying, but Sweet Greg is much better at seeing to my needs than I am to his.  It is not for lack of awareness on my part, but grief, depression, and recovery take the bulk of my energy.  Nothing about recovery life is natural for me.  It requires, of me, constant contrary action, and that has been tiring.  Unlearning takes time and energy.

A large part  of my program focuses on conscious contact with God (Before recovery, each of those words would make my nose and upper lip curl) God speaks to me through others.  And during my era of wound-licking, I have needed much solitude and to some extent this left me partially blocked from God.  Now, attending church with regularity, a monthly neighborhood girls’ game night, author/speaker events and spending more time with Favorite, is elevating the quality of life–more good people = more God and goodness.  It was not enough to distance myself from given sources of unnecessary pain, those vacancies

-and when they are unable, they will resort to triangulation to circumvent boundaries

must intentionally be filled with people, activities, and places that add purpose and Good Orderly Direction to my life.  Transitioning from survival to recovery feels slower than a snail’s pace.  I did stop the bleed, cleaned out the infection-these are miracles.  AND– there is apparently much more to living, then tending to old wounds.  My spirit before program was figuratively in a diaper and on a feeding tube.  I was non-dead, but now, I am alive-ish.

As one who is promptly flattened by sensory and emotional stimulus overload, I am, at last, learning to practice appropriate self care–intentionally creating time and space for recharging as well as limiting/avoiding proximity to given sources of overwhelm. I shut down completely, as a result of  over exposure.  As a mother, faithful hostage to our dogs, partner, employee, and head of household, there is limited time to effectively retreat.  Prioritizing good care for the person whom my people and animals count on-ME, is sanity and responsibility—gifts of recovery.  For some, resilience is innate, and coping comes with less effort and need.  I was not blessed in this way.  Those who love me, respect my limits as uniquely my own and non-negotiable.  How cool is that?  No pretending nor debating how I feel with my people!  I love you!

Recovery taught me the hows, whats, and whys of healthy boundaries…boundaries are like spiritual skins(that differentiate us from others-where I stop and you begin–this is essential info). Boundaries are the rules which I uphold for myself, acknowledging my needs, limits, and responsibilities-all with the assumption that people, places and things will continue to be and do as they will.  If a person, place, or thing is damaging to me, my boundary offers us each space and permission to be exactly as we are.  You do that over there and I will be me, over here, nobody is forced to change or pretend.  In recovery, we call this practicing acceptance(accepting the facts of reality–an action not a feeling).  Boundaries allow us all to  live lives which are more flow than force.

Boundaries are self-care and self love.  My boundaries are strictly about and for me.  Good personal boundary (as taught in recovery):  Since your event is well past our dinner and bedtimes, we will have to take a raincheck.  Bad boundary:  You cannot host things so late and expect us to come.  Good personal boundary:  If you are going to say or do things that make us feel bad, we will step back until it feels safe.  Bad boundary:  You cannot speak to or treat us that way.  Good personal boundary:  I will provide foods for my children, according to their preferences and needs.  Bad Boundary:  You must provide food items, quantities, and serve at times which consider my children and our family.  Good boundaries not only make it clear/easy to know when it is a yes or a no— but are large part of mental wellness and maturity.  They have come to me late in life.  Let’s be well and grow up together.  Clear boundaries are wholesome and badass–and they are too much for some.

Boundaries kick ass!  They support love, life, connection.  Let’s live, love, connect.  Together, one day at a time.


 Much Love,
Magda Gee

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How I Tricked Him Into Loving Me

A little more than 3 years ago, Greg and I began getting to know each other.  A hectic time for me, newly relocated from the West Coast, adjusting to constant proximity to my FOO(family of origin) and my ex-husband, working full time, mid-home-buying and moving from our rental of only 3 months, caring for my mother and navigating the very dynamics I fled 25 years earlier.  Getting my young sons, needy dogs, and myself acclimated to our new lives, along with the constant drain of single handedly carrying the family elephant in the room, left me mentally wiped and edgy AF.

Between our first meeting and our second, I notified Sweet Greg two times, declaring myself unfit for getting to know and care for another person.  Distraught by the turmoil of frequent proximity to my FOO and my ex husband, both of whom I had elected divorce/space, I felt there was nothing left to offer but my despair.  I wanted to know Greg AND was agitated by phone-talking.  The phone gets hot and greasy and it is necessary to hold the device just so and to stand in the exact right spot to hear and be heard. Also, with a phone, sustained talking and listening are called for.  Cuz, that is how phone-talking is.  I wanted to be together and just BE, not necessarily be talking.   My routine existence required too much participation(taking turns speaking) more than engagement.  It was oppressive..impossible to just effing BE.  Speaking my truth was not welcome and being untalkative was labelled as sullen or angry.  The script makes me ill.  Within the confines of the script, there is no peace, only an unconvincing performance of togetherness–no possibility of just being.  No sustainable positive connection….far too much proximity and pretending-both of which were disheartening.

On New Year’s Day 2016, after weeks of no communication, I audaciously texted Greg asking if he was kid-free.  He promptly responded that he was.  Then I asked if he was available for a hike.  He promptly responded that he was.  Then, I asked if he was willing to drive to me.  He promptly responded that he was.  Then…I asked if he would bring earbuds or headphones for a silent hike with me, no talking, no eye contact, and def no touching.  Just hiking–  together: “Sure”, he said.  So we trekked the greenway with earbuds and sunglasses.  I was so over talking and listening and trying to be heard and trying to understand and I wanted to just be, not be alone, but also not tangled up in politeness or complexity.  My requests to Greg, to this day make US laugh, because, to most, they seem unreasonable, outrageous–not only to openly feel this way, but to actually articulate it, out loud, with words!!  But guess what, if you start out settling and pretending in a relationship, you get to keep on doin that in order to sustain it.  I was transparent and direct AF and Greg knew from the start, what he was “dealing with”.  He was able to make informed decisions, for himself, about getting to know and be with me.  Anyway, we hiked, shared the occasional quick smile, sat on a bench, I think our knees may have touched.  Because he was so perfectly present, open and not forcing or denying anything, I felt unready to part ways when it grew dark– but I also still needed his consent for continued NO TALKING, neither shallow nor deep.  Months of the family dynamic had provided, in large supply, an unfortunate  combination of overwhelming shallowness and depth(f0r me).

So, I offered:  “Hey, want to come over and assemble my grill with me, and promise to speak only of the grill and as necessary?”  He was happy to do so.  Whu?  We worked closely and well as partners in the task.  Fun, focused and so very respectful, present, engaged and I could not help but feel some kind of love for and from him.  His clean scent and vibe were intoxicating.  And I deliberately touched him a few times, which he allowed but did not pursue.  At the end of our visit, we made a plan to grill steaks on Tuesday at my home.  He offered to bring steaks and I said “ok, please be sure that mine is at least the size of MY hand.”  I do enjoy my steak– and my large hands are bigger than his normal hands.  Together, we prepared and enjoyed dinner.  And, Greg not only showed up with the correct size steaks but also a pair of tongs (meat grabbers-which made me laugh with delight) for meal prep.  His shared aversion to direct contact with raw meat fortified my appreciation for him.  With his normal sized hands & THE meat grabbers– and without prompting, he exercised surgical precision in removal of the  fucked-up icky parts.  He gets IT.  He gets me.  He does not fully understand or relate(who could?) and yet he loves and accepts me.  Without church or a spiritual program, this MAN is able to know, do, be, and love in ways that are not of this world.

At the end of our dinner date, I realized I might want a hug and or kiss, I panicked.  Because, here is how I roll–  I am all in or not at all, when it comes to relationships, friends or romance.  I am intense,  never causal.  I do not “grab” coffee or lunch with people whom I am not deeply interested.  I prefer to be alone.  I also do not hold hands, hug, or kiss people, with whom I do not experience mutual closeness, except in the circumstances of my marriage and birth family(or back in the day when alcohol allowed me to more readily partake in things I did not want or like).   If I there is no mutual and natural connection, I do not choose to spend time or energy on or with you, in a “relationship”.  You either energize me or you drain me.  Small talk depletes me in under 5 minutes.  That is a NO.  Hard pass, every time.  Wholesome connection, as I experience it, consumes as much mental and spiritual energy as it delivers.  Recovery teaches me that connection is both a commitment and a choice, and cannot be forced but is often faked.  Recovery also teaches me that the best relationships are expansive and not only welcome authenticity, but solicit and require it.  Greg and I share this value–the principle of being unwilling to pretend to be, want, like, or feel as we do not.  We are free, safe, and required to be exactly who we are.  Together, in this way, we expand.

After a few more dates, we did kiss and then I launched even more unrestrained truth at him.  I explained to him– if I am willing to kiss as we do, it also means I am interested in much more than just kissing.  I had a planned trip back to California in the upcoming weeks, with a scheduled date with a man for whom I cared deeply. I went on to say that if Sweet Greg and I were entering into something as special as what I perceived, I would cancel those plans while in CA.  In a nutshell, I expressed, that if Ima kiss you, Ima do #allofthestuff with you, and if I do #allofthestuff with you, you are my boyfriend and we belong only to each other.  So, whuddayawannado?  Sweet Greg thought for longer than I liked(maybe like a minute and a half) before saying “Yeh, I prefer you not see him.”  And THIS– is how I tricked Greg into loving me…by telling the truth, saying what I wanted and needed,  laughing freely and a lot, crying when sad, showing him all of who I am and can be.

For the record–while Greg prefers to say yes to me, he is a boss at saying NO to me.  Nothing makes him more irresistible to me than when he says no.  He does so promptly, directly, and kindly.  He does not yell it or hint at it or enter into cold silence.  Greg: “Please don’t do that.  I don’t like that. Please stop it.  Or just plain old No.”  I am not ever left wondering what is happening with us, what have I done wrong, if he hates me, is he angry, are we in a fight, what might I do to make IT better?  Not ever.  He is one wholesome badass mofo, who knows with stunning clarity how, why, and when to say yes and no.  I love my sweet Greg.  Poor guy…I never tell him so because the words “I love you” were ruined for me in marriage and FOO.  The brand of love I first knew is purely painful and scary.  The acts committed by adults who have claimed to love me, even on the best days, are difficult to accept and nothing like THIS thing which I experience with my Sweet Greg.Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Healing After and During Betrayal

Expressed anger, no matter how true, right, or fairly it is communicated, in my family of origin,  causes a person to be rendered crazy, mean, or unstable–THE information is strictly inadmissible,  while the recipient of a message containing hard feelings, may uphold the posture of being unaffected, garners sympathy for being victimized and praise for appearing ladylike, gentlemanly, innocent.

People who speak openly of angry feelings are shamed, exiled, dismissed. The programming is intended to convey that jokey, superficial, pleasantries is how it is supposed to be in good families.  Everybody, be good.  Always on, mostly  jovial, completely at ease.  Anything less is shameful and reflective only of a broken individual who has lost control of themselves.  Those who strive to look unfailingly polite gain immense  traction by comparison to one who mentions conflict or emotional discomfort.

It is possible I have finally tired of or am in  near acceptance of the futility of trynuh find ways to correctly or effectively communicate about or to those boasting emotional strength and correctness.   They thrive by comparison to the impolite lunatics speaking with the reckless audacity to discuss concern or angst, directly and with transparency.  By expressing displeasure underhandedly, passively, indirectly, in the form of gossip, or not at all, but mostly the other ways, is how it is to be done.  All with a smile, of course, and sometimes under the guise of concern or fake pity.  These are the silent kill shots for which their has been no accountability.

Today, I am committing in writing, here, to changing tack-surrendering the need to find and try all of the ways to be “heard”, less misunderstood, valuable, worthy of consideration.  This is a waste of my life.  Letting go of that feels scary though, it makes letting go of family permanent. I still, sometimes, cling to the myth that entanglement equals authentic connection.  It is a type of connection, but not one that serves peace or mental health.

Halloween triggered, in me, the memory of being here, 11 years ago, nearly 3 months pregnant, with my 10 month old son.  I visited so that we could attend family counseling.  It was a nightmare.  I was nearly broken in two, from the hopelessness of the exchanges.  I miscarried on that Halloween Day.  And with the debacle of our session and a miscarriage, I opted for a peaceful night with my friend rather than a Halloween Parade with my sister and her family.  This was regarded as spiteful, as if I was not attending just to punish THEM.  I was trying to keep it together.  A few months later I received this letter which I ceremoniously burned last year.  The irony of her rules is not lost on me, at all.  The grief keeps coming.

Catherine Ghoneim Whitney Classic Rules/Style- this type written document was delivered with in a birthday, xmas gift for my 1 year old son.

But, I hereby pledge that for one week, I will write on other matters in my current life.  There is more to me than THIS…There must be.

 Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Communicating Truth

Actions and patterns communicate the truth of our character and our hearts.

I prioritize the closeness and connection of my chosen relationships, holding zero regard for an illusion or status of having said “relationship”.  Life is both too long and too short to pretend.

I have many swirling thoughts in need of sifting, from the last weeks of church and today’s meeting.  For now I have time and energy only to share a reading from my program of recovery, which is front and foremost on my mind.

A brief study of some intangibles: 
Our attitudes are usually conveyed to other people by what we say and do — and how. If the attitudes really reflect what we feel. Gentle actions and soft, courteous words may only counterfeit our true feelings. We may even think we have overcome resentments, self-righteousness and self-pity, but if they are still there inside us, they will in some mysterious way emanate from us and deny what we try to convey by our play-acting. 
“How can he tell?” asks a confused wife. “I never raise my voice, never argue, try to do what he expects, and yet he’s always challenging me!” 
Today’s Reminder 
Merely to change my behavior, and what I say and do, does not prove a change of inward attitude. I am deceiving myself if I imagine I can completely disguise my real feelings. They will somehow come through, and prolong the hostility in my family. I must root out entirely the troublesome emotions I’ve been trying to hide. 

It is not that I do no care what others think. It is that I am not driven by it. At all. Ever.

The white knuckled, tight jaw, grin and bear it vibe— I cannot live in that way that or near that energy.  It feels toxic to me, debilitating.   If our truths divide us, that means we are not to be together, NOT that we are enemies but that we are unable to support each other in living as our best, fullest, truest selves.  It makes no sense for me to place energy in pretending to be or feel a certain way, so that I may remain in “relationship” with a person or group.  My experience is that people deeply committed to appearances and rightness and who boast willingness/commitment to enduring their own pretending for the “sake of the relationship”, become deeply enraged at the audacity of authenticity.  In them, there appears to be a constitutional desire, to punish the truth speakers(those called to be transparent about their own unique and personal truths), and this shared anger can serve as a basis for connection.  In the world of therapy, this is referred to as trauma bonding and triangulation.

While behaving in ways that are unkind and harmful, both my sister and ex would assert that their alliance and antics are harmless and that they are free from anger– that subjecting my children to the unwholesome gatherings is nothing more than trying to create a sense of family and connection(while attempting to alienate their mother). They are free from bad feelings– I am the only one broken enough to have or express pain or anger.  I will never not feel angry about what this does to our children–the incongruous messages, the deception and the forced closeness with people they observe being harmful- while insisting on displays physical affection, forced proximity and and feigned connection.  So YUCKy.


Much Love,
Magda Gee

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I am now recognizing how, after moving here, if we would have continued as a blended, healing, fixed family with my FOO, my ex, my kids and myself, that would have kept me in some sort of center position, like I would have been at the hub, not in the driver’s seat, but the common link.  I see how unsettling this would be to my sister, who works hard to reside IN the center.  And it is undeniable that for my sister and my ex, the desire to punish me runs deep.  For each of their decades of attempts to control me leave them feeling less powerful and important than their egos can bear. Continue reading “Aha!” Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Happy Birthday ?

Thank Good Gawd Almighty for the most marvelous friend —who loves family, God, selfies, presents, fun, joy, travel, celebrating, and even me— to the end of the earth and back, she loves me.  Crying as I type that, because it is so damn special, the friendship that we enjoy.  Truly BFFs!  Yesterday was my 50th.  For my special day, I planned to run a time consuming and far away errand (the result of a 80 mile round trip drive to get a birthday gift for my ex, from our boys) and then go to lunch with my best girl in the world.  Awake at 5 am, I remained pinned under my weighted blanket, listening to Option B on Audible until 11am, knowing I was missing my window of opportunity to make the errand or lunch happen. I was runnin’ down the clock.  I texted the Bestie (friends of more than 40 years, I will call her “Favorite”) informing her that I was too

For my birthday, I purchased a ticket to see Glennon speak at one of her upcoming events!!!  Yaaaay

sad to do any of the things.  Favorite rallied, invited me to meet her at work and drove the 40 miles to the errand. She was present, loving, fun, and comforting, not probing or trying to fix or cheer, just WITH me, like a fucken boss of a friend.  She declared, before my arrival, that it was ok that I feel however I did as long as we were together– and went to lunch.  I even panicked at her plan to take me anywhere I like for lunch,  because I could think of nothing I wanted.  We figured it out, though!  The whole day together and birthday dinner too.  Possibly, my best birthday yet.  Favorite and her parents, my sons, dinner of my choice, with cake and gifts and even a photo–with my boys.  If I can do exactly and only this, every year for all of my birthdays, I would be blessed.  God, it was so sweet and wholesome– each of us just being exactly who and how we are.  LOVE.

I recognize that it is normal and healthy to want to celebrate, and I wished that I did.  In general, I require space and solitude, more so in times of heightened struggle.  My experience with depression is that I stop liking and wanting even the people and things which, when I am feeling healthier, I like and want.  I cannot make that be different, not even for my boys whom I would do anything for.  It is possible that I could exercise & get outside more, and make healthier food choices–those things would not hurt.  But, apathy is at the wheel more of the time than I care to admit.  The anguish over certain things/people seems to be in endless supply, and the grief and shame over the anguish are oppressive.  Recovery has taught me to now offer generous space to anyone finding it necessary to make a person look or feel bad for feeling bad.

Having the calendar create expectations that all people should feel/act/perform happy is a freaking nightmare.  When I reflect on all special occasions, I can recall only, my overwhelming panic and shame of not feeling(and therefore behaving) the way in which I was supposed to.  I can feel the stinging disdain and remarks directed at me for being so selfish, just heaps of shame.  Oh jubilant ones, I am so sorry that I cannot be happy for and with you as a result of my brain chemistry and family experience, which have left me with sometimes crippling anxiety and depression.  (The best– is that they would debate this.) My anxiety, surprisingly is not lessened by the consequences imposed for being this particular brand of selfish menace.  Oh, and why won’t I just  lighten up and stop being so defensive, they wonder?   Because when you are depressed, you may actually just be a bad person, making a selfish choice to be miserable, at the expense of all the joyful good people, who will rightfully school, shun, and gossip about you for that sort of bullshit.  And best of all, they will insist you return for the next “celebration” and punish you when you do not, or even when you do.  Good Times.  Shaking my head.  So glad THE day has passed…and so grateful for Sweet Greg and Favorite just loving me through it.

Here is what I know to be my truth.  I can now(since recovery)be counted on, to: tell the truth, do as I say I will, apologize when I blow it, help you and be there for you in hard times.  You can count on empathy, encouragement, and inappropriate jokes.  But please, DO not count on me to be happy because you need for me to be.  That is unfair and insane.

Brilliant quote from C.S. Lewis ➡️ “Part of every misery is, so to speak, the misery’s shadow or reflection: the fact that you don’t merely suffer but have to keep on thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief, but live each day thinking about living each day in grief.”

My first choice would be to have peace and or the potential of healing with my mother and HER family. However, being loved and connected to and surrounded by the finest people, unrelated to me, is not a shabby Option B, at all.
Much Love,
Magda Gee

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How Do I Handle This?

The one thing I have most needed to know how to handle, is myself.  I am finally learning to do this– with love and compassion.  Only in recovery, have I been encouraged and taught to navigate and cope with difficult feelings and people.  With the fixed mindset that I was responsible for all bad behavior and words spoken to, about, or near me, I was always on the verge of, or mid- panic/mental breakdown.  I could be counted on to behave like a complete lunatic when faced with stress:  dishonesty, an unkind word, betrayal, dismissal, and most any situation in which caused me to feel threatened, ashamed and powerless.  With my volatile vibe and explosive responses, nearly anyone could get away with treating me poorly or unfairly, since my insanity insured  a stealing of the spotlight, taking a person promptly off the hook for foul play.  My unfortunate reactions made it not only possible, but likely and easy for people to righteously demean me. ?? When I stopped reacting, those ☠️relationships, which relied on my sick engagement, ceased.  Old habits and relationships die ⚰️hard.  I let them die—so I can live.

As I write this, as when I do most things, I hear voices of those who neeeeed for me to BE wrong and sick in order that they feel right, good, and well.  As if their only source of traction relies on a contrast to ME.  Those voices are all:  “Oh yeh, poor Magda, as if she is/was some sort of angel snowflake, sooo precious.”  Anyone who genuinely knows me, also knows that I absolutely do not intend to convey a life of absolute innocence.   I neither deny nor make excuses for the less than stellar ways which I have been.  As a result of feeling intensely emotionally charged 24/7, negatively charged, I said and did unreasonable, unkind, and dishonest things.  Fuck, it is all I knew.  I had not witnessed mercifulness or grace (the spiritual kind, not a poised and carefully curated appearance).  When we know better, we do better.  I am learning, a work in progress. Continue reading “How Do I Handle This?” Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Why Lie

Alone in the car with my younger son, today, I pretended to take credit for saying something fantastic, a quote which actually came directly from him.  He was like:  “Mawm,  I said that, not you.”  In all seriousness,straight-faced, I replied; “Nah-aaaaah, I am totally the one who said it.”  He was rightly disturbed- I admitted to playing and went on to share about about gas-lighting–how it can make a person feel crazy when someone repeatedly insists that things are different from how they know them to be.  I explained how gas-lighting is a real thing that some people do- and that it is a form of abuse.  He recalled how his bully did that to him in 4th grade(which he then began doing  relentlessly to his brother(we have nearly fully recovered over the course of a year))  I explained how it is especially troublesome when a person who is older or in a position of authority, whom is believed to be trustworthy, does this to a person who must depend on them.  The person being gaslit will begin to doubt everything, lose trust first in themselves, and then in others.   And that is an impossibly scary way to be in the world.  Depression and anxiety often result and can sometimes be healed.  I stopped with that.

We have a deal, my sons and I– If they ever catch me in a lie, of any sort, I will pay them $500 each, on the spot. I do not have $500!!   We have clarified what makes a lie a lie, is when person intentionally conveys a message which they know to be untrue or inaccurate.  Anytime they doubt me, which is rare, I just say “Why would I lie? I have no reason to lie.  To anyone.  I am not afraid or trying to get anything.”   Plus, I now have faith and courage.  Yay,me, finally. Continue reading “Why Lie” Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Some Letters

Angry letters I would write and send if not for recovery.  I have anger, but it is not the boss of me.  I let it teach me and then I get to practice taming it.

Dear Dad,

I experience little conscious memory of you, only of the raging in our house and you bringing home gifts of perfume or Brach’s Sour Ball Candies from your canteen at work. And that I resented you for making me different from others, in ways that couldn’t be masked-my name, my brown-ness, our weird food, my nose, our lack of traditional celebrations and trendy clothing.  I recall with haunting clarity, the smell of your greasy pillow and that you rode a 10 speed and slaughtered Cornish hens in our home, ate lamb, rabbit, tongue, veal and calve’s kidney and liver—knowing it all broke my heart.   Oh, and you enjoyed the beach.  Aside from that, just fighting.  Lots of fighting–but you were different from mom and sister.  You always felt despair over screaming and being unreasonable or hurtful.  You would often apologize.  We are alike that way, the screaming and the apologizing.  I am better about screaming and have learned what to and not to apologize for.

Sometimes months go by and I have not thought of you at all, because whatever there was between us that made us tear at each other, is too painful to recall.

Dear Mom,

Your contempt for me, from as far back as I can remember was terrifying.  I wished I could have felt some sense of safety, nurturing, or confidence in your care.  Between you, your punitive and judgmental mother, and my sister, there was little chance of me, ever getting to know or love myself.  What did you expect to become of me?  Did you think you could shame and banish me out of being someone so terribly inconvenient and with needs to which you could not relate?  If so, you deserve an award for your efforts.  Too bad, it did not work out well for anyone, except Jilan.  She scored much positive attention and traction, from just not being ME.  

Dear Female Sibling,

The way you have touched and spoken to me is vile.  Except for when you were being other Jilan, offering gifts and compliments, but even that was icky.  Often you would ask what was wrong–but it was not in a compassionate way, it was in a scared probing way to see if I knew and understood what had been said or done.  The thought of you touching my children makes me physically ill.  The collective will of you and your mother, violates me as a daughter, sister, and mother of my children.  The way you subtly smear and systematically alienate/pick off women (who dare to displease you–remember, you have bragged about this to me) in your life and work is repulsive.  The arrangement you have with Randy makes my young sons feel conflict, angst, caught in the middle of things which they could have been spared.  Shame on you. Yes you.  For all of the stuff.   You gossip and judge and shame others as if it is your calling.  If it is, bravo.  You are killing it, at those things.  There is no zipcode, white suit, title, last name, or club that can fully conceal the truth of  what you do and have done. Even having beautiful children is not proof of some level of goodness in you which nullifies the damage by your hand.  Your Sisters in law,your cousins, Alison at your work, your aunt…. just to name a few.  Patterns do not lie.

Dear EX-H,

When we first met, I loved the part of you that was confused and pained by the things done to you by your sisters that paralleled my own experience.  I thought together we would make something better.  Do you recall  how your father cautioned you about the affect your sisters would have on us? Do you recall how you were always having to choose between your sisters and me…except for the two years in which we were close with Kendall and therefore banished by the other two? Do you recall how your sisters ignored us and baby Will at Christmas entirely and when you called them out, they said, “what he is only a baby, like he will even remember”  It was sad and really unsurprising when after years of promising to want something better for our family you said to me “I will never change. There is nothing wrong the the way my family or I do things.”  I can see that when I was crying about the dynamic with my sister and mother, you related more to them than to me.  No truer words were ever spoken than when you said you would never change.  May be the only promise to have never been broken—never changing.  Sad.   What I find most challenging are the moods that parallel my sister’s.  The days or weeks of non-malevolence followed by underhanded and disruptive antics for no reason at all.  These times are marked by zero eye contact or acknowledgment when I have spoken, as you did in marriage.  And, because you are my children’s father, I will never fully detail or address the specifics of your choices which put your ego and will ahead of our magnificent children.

There are some very relevant things that you should know, as co-parent.  I am unable to share, because you consistently offer reminders, that you are not safe, unwilling to prioritize OUR family over yourself. You and I are raising beautiful boys and we both know full well that addiction is a real and present danger, for them.  I do not understand how you knowingly, continually place them in situations that require them to disassociate or pretend.  Oh wait, actually, I do understand–and it makes perfect sense.  

If I thought they would make a difference, I might write letters which instead, say for the zillionth time how willing I am to work toward something better and to heal. But healing is for the broken and you cannot possibly be broken so no need for fixing.  And pain is for the weak while anger is for the right.  There is no where to go with this.  

Fuck it
Much Love,
Magda Gee

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The Pain We Do Not Heal

Recovery has been a wildly unpopular choice—quite agitating to those threatened by the idea that there is something wrong—other than only my existence.  My healing has been labelled a lie, a show, an attack, a war, a story to get attention. I hear this frequently from others in recovery-“Recovery is a deal-breaker and a relationship ender for those with a need for us to stay sick, sad, broken, afraid, and ashamed.” Those are deals worth breaking. The relationships will either heal along with us or they will die natural (but painful) deaths. Are you ready to feel and heal? Nothing like the gift of desperation—the lightning bolt moment in which it becomes unbearably clear that IT cannnot continue. For me, becoming a mother and experiencing the full gravity of two little ones learning about love and family by observing and experiencing US, as we were-that was my invitation to heal. I will not carry on the lies and legacies of dynamics which rely on shaming, shunning, and contracting to cull the herd.  I will not pass that on.

I believe in a better story for my children.  I choose to learn and do better.

“Pain travels through family lines until someone is ready to heal it in themselves.  By going through the agony of healing, you no longer pass the poison chalice onto the generations that follow.  It is incredibly important and sacred work”

It stops here. I realize that I regularly share about my loveless family and marriage experiences. But today, I recognize how they are Godless more than loveless. I think that making this distinction could alleviate some of the pain. The brand of love and family which I was raised on and then went on to marry, conflicts with all of my basic needs and core truths. Requirements to be revered(as one might a god or ruler), in control, and at the center, made no allowances for personal differences & preferences,healthy curiosity, open communication, intimate/safe/healthy and sustainable connection.  It was killing to my soul and spirit.

Has anyone ever attempted to be your god, not as a source of protection, hope, and comfort—but as THE ONE in charge of punishment and rewards based on how you please them and accommodate their moods and preferences?  —entirely self propelled by pride, ego, agenda. ☠️ Spiritual Recovery teaches me all of the ways in which I need a God-centered life more than I need “that”. It is the choice, I have been left to make. Repeatedly. Get on board or pay the price— after you fuck off. I have not been allowed to fuck off in peace. I have tried. There is no peace with people like this. Capitulation or Reprisal. That manner of engagement is not for me nor my children. We will not abide. Love is the boss of us. We are less afraid of the disapproving and wrathful than we are of losing ourselves. Here is a fun saying I heard recently—“God is god and I am not”  (and neither are you!!) Continue reading “The Pain We Do Not Heal” Much Love,
Magda Gee

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The Part Where You Fucked Up

For the record, my favorite part of every story, is the part where I fucked up and showed up anyway, ready to do better.

The tribal tension in our country right now is a perfect parallel to the dynamic of my family of origin-  overflowing of remarkable efforts toward rightness and to victory, rather than goodness/kindness.  Right in this context, referring to triumph and domination.  As if winning and dominating are evidence of truth and goodness. In my journey of recovery guided by daily commitment to spiritual striving, I seek only to practice living and doing with a glad and pure heart.   I can be fairly good at that AND do not deny the angry part of my heart that wants to punish, shame, and illuminate the non-goodness which I perceive as being forced upon my sons.  I own the reality of that anger and contempt.  I hold myself accountable, spiritually– not just to speaking with factual accuracy but for intentionally examining motives for myself, my children and others.  This blog is not just to assert my own goodness and virtue in stark contrast to someone else’s badness but to chronicle my journey towards living a more wholesome life– not more wholesome than them-  but more wholesome than what I have experienced, witnessed, and done in the past.  I am a work in progress.

I am staying close only to those, who, through action, model and teach loving kindness; not to be confused with favoritism or flattery.  Kindness is not selective.  Kindness just is…anything less—Refer to the meme.  It is never to late to amend.

With two young sons to shape and guide, I feel continually assaulted by the horsehsit models of love and goodness coming from the other side.  Goodness is rooted in humility.  And what I observe and resent, is arrogance and betrayal, dressed up in parties, smiles, well set tables, awkward flattery and favoritism, inappropriate hugs, and the denial.  Behaving as if this is what “family” and “love” do.  Family does not equal love–kindness does.

By my definition, love and family are honest, they own the harm they do, have hard discussions and share the work of healing and mending.  My boys gathered with my ex and his girlfriend, around a table with my sister and mother who have fouled me with lies to me and about me, insults, hardships which they righteously impose–while acting as if all is well –requiring children to dissociate from their mother and themselves is wrong and harmful.  Mentally, emotionally, spiritually, they are harming children.  My ex loves this arrangement, because he feels chosen, special, and preferred(flattery and favoritism totally work for him–the main currency).  Like even after all the bullshit he brought down on our little family, my sick family’s enveloping of him is proof of my badness.  Their collective sickness is unbearable to me.  My wise friend Anna is like, why do you care if they spend time together, it makes perfect sense—yay—the assholes chose each other, of course they did, and do so at your expense.  But it is at the expense of my children.  The disregard for them is beyond reproach.  Their performance as family, having the numbers– to them is a win and proof of rightness.  This may confuse small children. I will object for all of my days.  Hopefully, with less laser focused dedication, at some point.

What this text meme reminds me of, is the fake humility which for so long defied articulation.  In my family and marriage, they will go over the top, apologizing for traffic, burnt meat, forgetting to shut the door or running out of wine.  But NEVER acknowledging or admitting to an error in judgment- words spoken or actions taken in haste or anger.  NEVER.  They literally have never in my experience acknowledged their contributions to tension or havoc resulting from their CHOICES.  Either justified or oblivious. #wtf

I have always been the apologizer. The sorry one.  In both my family and marriage.  Sorry that I experienced bad feelings or behavior and sorry I for causing bad behavior and feelings in others.  What bullshit…participating in the sickness like that.  I am sorry for other people’s harsh feelings and behaviors, but not cuz I am fucking responsible.  Just because they are unfortunate and you cannot help but feel something like sorry, if you have a conscience or a soul.  If we learn and grow primarily from mistakes, what does that mean for people who do not recognize themselves as people who make mistakes?  Traffic, meat burning, and leaving the tooth paste lid off or toilet seat up are not bad choices—no apologies are necessary or helpful here.  How about— I am sorry I said that.  I am sorry I said or did that ???

Ranting time of month.  Sorrrrrrrrrry.  But I simply cannot say or hear it enough:  Kindness is not conditional or preferential or exclusive.  Masking non kindness in gatherings, gifts, or compliments intended to elevate one while diminishing another is both sick and sickening.Much Love,
Magda Gee

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The Smiling Poop Emoji

A pile of poop with a smile, is still poop.  Sunday’s sermon began with the smiling poop emoji on both of the teleprompter screens.  The visual presentations were prefaced with, “If I could find a way to best describe this past year, it would be this (the emoji).  I lost my father suddenly to cancer and miss him terribly, our son is struggling with anxiety and depression and my sister in law has moved in with us, heartbroken and confused by a troubled marriage.  And day after day, I paste on a smile and assure anyone who asks, that all is well, that my family and I are doing wonderfully.”

Shane went on- “I realize that I can no longer pretend the mess is not there AND at the same time, work to grow and heal from it.  And I can not do this alone.  I have stuff in my life that is not going well, which is causing me despair–in whom do I trust to share?”  For him, it was God, and also a friend.  The sharing is the first step to coming out of denial.  For a moment, the poop emoji left the screens and was replaced by these words:  “Acknowledge the mess.  Do your best.  Let God do the rest.”  I love this!♥

Shane continues: “I know that I am at my best when I rely on god to help me with the mess.  Working and growing through the messes is the way to our best lives.”  When effort is directed at putting a smiley on the poop, we teach others that it is not safe to share with us, because we are not fit to acknowledge or deal with poop without judgment.  Having the courage and faith to heal, is not only the way to our best lives, it is the way to genuine connection—being able to share the poop, handle the poop, cry and collectively pray over the poop is what people who are intimately connected and spiritually growing, get to do, TOGETHER.

I shared my understanding of the sermon with my sons, explaining to them, that in my experience with my family, we were not able to ever connect in this way, the handling of the poopier parts of life.  My unyielding need to do so, was an offense to their merciless need to NOT.  I cannot put a smile on the poop and pretend it is not there, not stinky and not troublesome.  I just cannot.  This is the key to functioning in both their father’s family and my own.  Everyone wears smiles and moves on as if…  They consider this  moving on, as evidence of strength and positivity.  Anything other–gets labelled as negative, weak, and ungrateful- shaming any soul, unfortunate enough to openly struggle or suffer.  They have a clever way of discussing people with unmasked feelings, they do it as though they are expressing pity, which is not as wholesome it is intended to appear.  What they are doing, commonly referred to, as priming the pump, initiating a campaign to create doubt and discomfort with those afflicted in this way.

The service left me feeling deeply the goodness and love of the people in my life and also reminding me of the stark contrast to those to whom I am related. My sister’s nagging and tenacious pursuit for connection TO my ex-husband and OUR children still affects us deeply as two divorced people who are meant to co-parent and work for the best of our children.  The versions of love and strength(poop with a smile) they model for my children is literally soul-sickening.  The forced betrayal and hugging is awful.  I tell my boys it is ok to say NO and they insist it is not, because that will anger their father.  Ugh.

I dont care if you’re family or friend, old or young, if my kid does not want to hug or kiss you, then that is that’s that.  I won’t be encouraging or bribing them.  Their body, their choice.

This led us right into more intensity and heavy sighing by my boys, as I forced them to endure my mini-rant about the difference between peacemaking and peace-keeping.  I do intend to raise peacemakers who will be driven by wholesome values like courage and kindness, more than the opinions of others.

Another reason I felt called to think of female sibling.  I try hard not to:

We have all seen and used and laughed about this poop emoji.  #allofus

In our home, we shake our heads  at a recurring performance by my sister regarding the swirly poop, recognized by those aging from 2-99, for what IT is.  My sister who wears only angelic white loves to report how she is mortified to have mistaken IT a Hershey Kiss and was sending it to people.  I relayed this to my friend Trish, who exclaimed “Oh Okay, you are almost fucken 60, backdooring your sister, and still so pure and innocent you don’t think poopy thoughts when you see a poo emoji…and you are so terribly embarrassed by THIS– that you share that story at every opportunity”. My sons have reported now, twice in 6 months, being subjected to the “Ohmygaw y’all-  I am so embarrassed because I had mistaken that poop emoji as a Hershey Kiss”-story.

Yesterday, my older son text me from the school bus that he had to go poo and we just laughed at the foolishness.   He is wise to that shit.
Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Grandma’s Favorite—awww so sweet, y’all

This post is taken directly from how.i.rebuilt.myself.   The “me too ” which I feel when I read her posts is priceless-helping survivors heal, one post at a time.

Fake chivalry of the covert man. He’s the neighbourhood favourite – will jump start your car, run an errand for your sick wife while you’re on a business trip and hold doors open for old ladies. He’ll leap to his feet if a woman is moving a chair or a multipack of soft drinks at a bake sale or barbecue. As you’re getting to know him, you’ll see all this and think he’s a treasure. So will your family and friends. But later, behind closed doors, you’re the one carrying the burdens to the point it’s affecting your health (and finances), while yearning for the attention and affection which is now a distant memory. Every now and then he’ll put on a show but something is ‘wrong’ (cooks you a ‘nice’ meal but leaves you with extensive clearing up while he watches TV, spends Saturday fixing something that doesn’t need fixing when you said you wanted time together) but how can you complain? If you mention you feel lonely and overburdened he’ll shut down – you’ve hurt his feelings, you terrible person! – and the guilt will consume you. Or he’ll offer wonderful words that aren’t followed by any changes – or gaslight you about your mental state under the guise of caring/concern. Play along and you might never know what you’re dealing with, though your insomnia and panic attacks are a clue – but try to leave or stop giving him free benefits and you’ll soon find out that grandma’s favourite is a very different type of beast. [Note covert women/femmes also have the pattern of using gender paragon behaviour – so sweet and warm and giving! – to hide their true selves. It’s one reason I’m passionate about gender freedom. Perfect, paper-doll embodiments of this or that gender don’t exist and to my mind are usually hiding something (abuse victims sometimes appear in this form too if conditioned into a role out of fear) whereas virtues of kindness, honesty and courage are genderless and go beyond window display.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Thank Good Gods

The words below are cherry picked straight from Jen Hatmaker’s post on IG today.  They speak directly to my heart and make clear for me the difference between those I am genetically linked to and those with whom I am spiritually linked.  I see, that with the models of love and loyalty which I was provided, why I could be so edgy, vicious, righteous, and menacing.  I am beyond remorseful and will spend all of my days amending the things I can.

I WAS a beast, learning what I lived and living what I learned.  I cannot help but shake my head in horror and disbelief at what continues.   Thank all of the good gods for unlearning.  It is never too late.   I am breaking the cycle.  Click anywhere on the quote below to read Jen’s entire post.

Anything other than a radically inclusive faith that honors the dignity of every person makes no sense to me.  I cannot find any other road through my faith than one that condemns abuse, neglect, exclusion, and dominance.  Nothing else makes sense.

This post prompted by my ex and his new girlfriend hosting my mother and female sibling for dinner.  Wrong for so many reasons.  And for my boys getting reprimanded one more time for resisting hugs from women who do this to their mother.  They have no choice about showing up for this…but really, telling young boys that forced and unwanted touching is not only ok but required.  No means NO.  

My boys reported feeling disturbed by the usual all white suit(so angelic and pure), the house warming gift to their dad from her and her over the top fawning, apparently worse when her husband is not present. Ugh. Please stop. So awkward– forcing yourself on small boys and grown ones. Nobody likes it. At all. It is yucky.   And Good News:  It is never too late to stop.  Ever.

 Much Love,
Magda Gee

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What an interesting concept.  “DESERVE”.  I cannot help but cringe each time I hear this word thrown about.  Maybe as a person who grew up feeling confused about being both entitled and unworthy, I remain disturbed by this language.  Now, after nearly a decade of spiritual recovery and soul work–this is what I think I know:

All people deserve kindness, love, truth, connection.  Today’s sermon focused on grace, gratitude, and service.  I noticed myself physically reacting each time I heard the word “deserve”.  It has been my consistent experience that those who believe in their own deserving also believe similarly in their right to punish and judge.  This way of believing removes all possibility of Grace.  Reflecting on the damage of the hurricane and hardships of people offered pointed reminders that good fortune no more is a symptom of personal goodness than misfortune is badness.  I descend from long lines of people who are unapologetically  vocal with their beliefs of what they and others do and do not deserve.  To  me, this thinking seems void of God and Higher Power, very selfY.  It feels scary.

As I acknowledge the undeniable love of my friends, children, and Sweet Greg, I am deeply aware that they do not love me because I have earned or deserved it.  They love me because loving is what they do.  I feel the love of them wanting what is good and best for me, celebrating my triumphs and mourning my losses with me.  Believing in why and how they love me, frees me from the myth that I(or others) earn abuse, betrayal, cruelty, or lies.  People do what they do, say what they say, are how and who they are, independently of me.

The teachings of discipleship are something we will learn in church.  An opportunity to be re-parented with opportunities to practice serving God and others– because.  Just because, this is the life we are meant for.  We are graced by this place, of like hearted people who choose to live and practice love in this way.  Discipleship.  Deeply entrenched in our unchurchedness, we may never fully internalize certain parts of the “Stories” of Christianity… we can still learn from the life of Jesus and witness in awe, the badassery of his fierce dedication to loving, loving the marginalized, outcast and needy, full of courage and grace, and an example worth following, better than any human ever could be.

This song is part of the weekly service and it literally grips my heart and I can barely breathe as I listen and read the words.  All I ever wanted from my mother and family, and so completely the opposite of my teachings and beliefs about my place on this earth and within my family.  This is truth and love.  I believe.  I am loved.  I belong.  Big space to anyone suggesting otherwise.  I continue practicing forgiving, from over here.  I deserve the peace that comes with letting go and forgiving and keeping myself safe from unwholesome and unkind words and deeds.   I lack the resilience required to let those things roll from my back and pretend as if they are not real or hurtful.  Plus, I deserve better.  100%.


 Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Supporting Gay Tweens- Even when they are not “yours”

Last week my older son was initiated by a new neighbor boy, whom we do not know—even a little.  This neighbor decided to “come out” via text message, to my son, who is age 11.  When my son was kind and texted “Ok, but be careful who you tell because people might be mean to you or beat you up for that.  I understand people are born this way and it is ok”, the neighbor, whom I will call Frederick, took that as a green light to pursue my son.  He continued texting him–but only about “gayness”.  Laser focused on this singular topic.

When my son did not tell him to bug off or keep it to himself, he took it a step further and began detailing his crush on a boy in their science class and then proceeded to ask my son “Are you gay?  Do you like me? You have to be honest and tell me” .  Now, my son and this child have never spent time together aside from one week of waiting at the bus stop, never discussed any common interests or normal getting to know you convos.  And yet, Frederick prefaced his sharing with, “I want to tell you something because we are good enough friends and I need you to promise not to tell anyone.”

I count my lucky stars that my sweet son came to me directly and promptly. I explained that telling me was the right thing to do but telling anyone else would be harmful.  We do not keep secrets in this family– but we can be trusted with things shared in confidence.  My son is mature enough to grasp and value  this. He expressed that “this” made him feel icky and anguished.  Boy, am I blessed to have recovery to help me support his walk through this– without encouraging retaliating or retreating…because WE(my lil family) have learned a third way.  The spiritual way.  We can express and hold healthy boundaries.  He asked (via text) Frederick to not bring up gayness anymore then decided to take it a step further and said “Please do not talk to me anymore”.  My son is concerned that IT will persist and he has also expressed confusion about the fact that he feels fearful/ kind of obsessed.  I was able to share with him that it felt bad and heavy because he was violated.  His gut is informing him:  danger danger beware.  And the gut message is  one to be listened to.  Frederick is not dangerous for his gayness, but for his lack of knowing how to navigate safely and with respect for others.  That is not his fault, but it is still unsafe for another child whom also does not know and is not ready.

If my son and Frederick had an existing friendship and Frederick shared that he was gay, that would be different.  If they were 16 and Frederick shared or initiated, that would be different.  Their age and their affiliation is not appropriate for this interaction—and now there is no current possibility for  friendship, because Frederick, young, desperate, not knowing, took it too far.  I have advised my son to be polite only.  Say good morning at the bust stop and then get into a book or his phone…There is a way to be not friends and also non-enemies.  My family did not get or teach me this.  My ex husband’s family also does not see life this way.  Zero-sum all the way.

But WE, we get this and Frederick is one lucky soul that he pulled this with my son who will do no harm and cast no shame or shadow on him.  That a person like me, with a family like my own, can guide my son this way is nothing short of a miracle.  I hope Frederick finds the support he needs as much as I hope he leaves my son alone.  I am so grateful my son trusted and shared with me completely– and that we were able to do this together. Rather than trying to remind him constantly to trust himself and do right, I will use the message board to say what I think needs to be said and remembered.  I do not care if my son is gay or not but I do care that he discuss these things with only trusted others, when it feels right and safe for him.  And even if he is or might be–Being gay is not reason enough to be friends.  I was also able to remind him that he does not ever need to feel as if he must disclose to anyone what or whom he likes.

I am certain I have not done this perfectly.  and I am also certain that for now I have done right by my son and this child, in spite of having lived life that would have directed me otherwise.  Comments and advice are welcome—Just click the picture to my IG page and get in touch there.Much Love,
Magda Gee

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It is Not that I Don’t Care..

People have expressed to me, their sense, that I do not care what others think.  This is UNtrue.  I make no efforts to control what others think or how they feel about me.  That is not my job.  If a person does not care for me, that is not a problem (until they decide to punish me), it just means we are not for each other.  I would surely prefer if everyone applauded my decisions and methods, but that is unrealistic and counter to my striving to live authentically, with honest and transparent boundaries(for myself)– which support self care, personal growth and my own well-being.  

This truth and freedom are offered to me by my program of recovery. Many people do not yet understand that recovery is not only for those with obvious and overt addictions to substances, sex, shopping, gambling, food…. Mine, is a program of recovery, for those struggling to recover from abusive relationships, typically with the mentally unwell or addicted person.  For the sake of my blog and journey, abuse is: behavior of others which harms, betrays, diminishes, or disrespects another.  Sustained entanglement in an abusive dynamic can result in trauma and depression(mental unwellness, sometimes temporarily relieved by addictive behaviors)- which require recovery OR denial (offloading or numbing pain instead of healing it).  I choose recovery.  For people who choose power, rightness, and denial, I am definitely not their cup of tea and they are not mine.  It is not a war, just a fact…until attacks begin- typically underhanded–the silent kill shots are the worst, the highly visible ones, to which nobody objects, are equally deadly. Continue reading “It is Not that I Don’t Care..” Much Love,
Magda Gee

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For the Love

I never get tired of seeing or sharing this image.

As the beginning of another school year– at new schools, rapidly approaches, I imagine and worry dream for my sons– the possibilities that lay ahead.  Of course, I want them to thrive academically and even socially, but more than this, I want them to feel deeply connected to something bigger than themselves, their peers, and especially even their parents(and families of origin).  My hope is that they are more spiritually striving than socially.  (It will offer a more honest and comforting existence.  Oh please.)  We (parents and blood relations) are small and broken examples of how to be in the world, in ways that are too often, far from wholesome and nurturing.  How I wished we had church in our lives.  As I read the wisdom and hopes of Jen Hatmaker, Bob Goff, Glennon Doyle, Brene Brown, I am taking copious notes-no guarantee that they will manifest into immediate and sustainable action.  But still.

Notes for myself and my children:

Hurt kids make easy targets. And cowards, both bully and look the other way. Please let us stand between the abusers and the abused.  Let us refuse to silently watch one person break another down.  Say “no”. Say “leave them alone”.  Do not look away.  The tiniest scrap of hope is enough to save a hurt and lonely person from drowning.

Let us be safe and kind and gentle to all others–to be tender and empathetic.  I pray for your kindness more than your success.  How we love all people is the highest measure of our character.  Well behaved and kind are not the same.  And often bravery and kindness do not take the form of well behaved.  Be brave.  Above all else be kind and loving—unconditionally.  Let’s do this!

Develop eyes for pain.   See hurt people.  Offer them kindness with your eyes, words, or actions.   Please, let’s learn and commit to this as a way of being.  Kindness is the height of bravery.  It is difficult and awkward and feels risky–asking someone struggling, and on the outside,  “What’s up” or if they want to sit with you or what book they are reading.  We can do this.  We can do hard things.  I love you so much, but not always so well.  I am learning too!

 Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Because Obviously

A program friend recently asked me if I out my sister  to punish her, and cautioned me against it—because that(punishing) would be bad for my recovery (not out of regard for her).  I share what happens because finally, I can and I must.  Fortunately, what I have to share is observable, undeniable action/behavior, witnessed by my sons and nieces and even my sister herself, not relative, at all.   I do not imagine or cause the overt acts of betrayal and disloyalty.   And– as my boys get older and may one day want clarity about what was going on with me/us, it will be here– where I share my experience of it.  It is a privilege and a duty to exercise rigorous honesty and– my recovery is hinged to sharing—all of the stuff.

Since public appearances are prized by her, and this is unfavorable behavior; I leverage that.  If knowledge of her choices and values causes discomfort, it is not the sharing part, that needs changing.  I am certain she will offer a million justifications for why she must and can and should.  Right things do not ever need justification.  This, all because I unapologetically expressed an honest and clear boundary.

Disrupting our co-parenting and family, and robbing our sons of innocence is a sin against them.   Requiring children to dissociate is not the choice of a kind and happy person.  Her dark and demanding presence, insistence on hugs, the pretending required by my boys…all of it is vile.  This is where I get to state my objection.

My ex-husband laughed heartily, literally roared, when I asked him to step back until we (my mother and sister) worked it out.  My ex declared, with something not unlike maniacal pleasure, how my mother and sister had zero intent of making things right between us.  In foolish disbelief, I went directly to my mother…who confirmed for me the truth of what he said.  Ouch!

I can only imagine the exchanges between them, that led him to his insight.  My sons exposure to the unwholesomeness of this alliance is tragic.  My powerlessness to protect my little guys makes me angry AF.

Apparently my sister (hate to use that word) hosted another dinner for my ex, his father, and my sons this weekend…spent the evening fawning over him, over his basic lettuce, tomato, carrot salad…so amaaaaazing (as disclosed with horror, by my sons). And she is reported to have suggested  more than a few times, how they MUST get together next time– at his house. STOP.  Barf!

The most disturbing thing about this, is that I can fully envision myself, before recovery, being exactly this spiteful and vindictive and feeling completely entitled, victorious, and intoxicated by my indisputable rightness.  It is true.

I am a work in progress.  I am powerless over this.  It is difficult to witness my boys being used and confused—by family, in the name of love.  Especially by someone always wearing only white, always smiling, laughing awkwardly, tryunuh hug up on my boys and ex while claiming love.  Lord, help us all.  Because, obviously….

Then I wonder…am I defending my sharing?  Nah,  I don’t think so.  This blog is more like an ongoing fourth step, where I examine all of my own ickyness.

But it is a party and we are family.  C’mon.  It is love!

 Much Love,
Magda Gee

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On Forgiving

Daily, I feel tormented by the notion that if I were JUST  less sensitive and more forgiving we could be a happy healthy family.  But this, THIS is the lie-the myth of the scapegoat and the messaging of abusers.  Intense sensitivity is something, that as an adult, I have learned to understand, accept, and to accommodate without shame.  My mental wellness requires that I offer space to anyfuckenbody who judges sensitivity and uses it as an excuse to be unkind–shaming.  I do regret that I had nobody to teach me this sooner.  Self acceptance, preservation, kindness to myself and to others—these things, they were first introduced to me as a 40 something woman, in recovery.  And I forgive myself for not knowing what I didn’t know, before I knew it and I forgive myself for not accepting poor treatment as the price of membership for a club to which I clearly do not belong.  And I forgive myself for not being able to forgive before I am able. Continue reading “On Forgiving” Much Love,
Magda Gee

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As only a witness to perfectionism, it seems that trying to be perceived as perfect is the exact opposite of this. I dunno. Just saaayin. Naaahm saayin?

Over the past decade, I have become very clear on my lack of desire to surround myself with likeminded people, so much as I do those whom are like-hearted.  In fact, it would be terrifying to be surrounded by like-minded others. YIKES  In recovery, we call our like-heartedness, unity of purpose, which makes it possible to genuinely want to help and support each other.   What I mean– is that quality of life for me, is elevated by those who believe and practice the same static life principles as I do.   Greg and I are such an unlikely match by all of my old measures.  But we do share a unique like-heartedness.

Greg is naturally more gentle, patient, and willing than I am. (In truth, this could be said of even of the most mature toddler.)  Still, Greg and I have highly compatible operating instructions.  Nothing about the ways in which either of us operate, emotionally, socially, or morally, are troublesome to the other.  We do not pretend, defend, or deny anything–and our greatest sources of laughter, connection, made up words and nick-names, stem from our own foibles, our shared humanity, our desire to learn and expand together(not identically but compatibly).  We call ourselves out, so that we can collectively laugh and learn–again, together.  We each guard and police only our own behaviors.  Okay, sometimes we do monitor and supervise each other, but we do so openly and with apology and laughter.   THIS is my first relationship in which defense is not part of the norm…because we each value being connected, more than being right or better than.  Most of our jokes are about being right and blaming others for our own misconduct.

Those who value or demand perfection more than they do growth and connection, are toxic to me.  I can do better each day, in fact that is my life’s purpose.  But– perfection seems undeniably tethered to shame, fear, guilt, power, and often dishonesty.  To me, perfection focuses more on appearance of how things are rather than how they actually are(Perfection is not, at all, the same as healthy striving).  And the perfection vibe drives, in me, intense spiritual  and physical unwellness. Continue reading “Like-hearted” Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Are We Good?

I cannot figure out how to rotate this and make it stay. But he is just as cute sideways.

I love that he has his own little house retreat. He is so talented to be able to lay sideways in it.

Nearly every night between 1 and 4 a.m. , this guy wakes me up to let me know that he needs to go potty.  But, if I get up to let him out, I will not fall back  to sleep.  Instead, I will lay awake agonizing over things which upset me and I will be wrecked for the next day.  So naturally, he takes care of business  and returns to bed.  Then, in the morning when I do get up, he either slinks directly to his kennel or walks down slowly and crouching looking at me asking with his sweet Baby Seal eyes “Are we good?”.  I cannot be angry or punitive with him.  I mean I could, but if he tells me he needs to go and I don’t do my part, what am I to expect?  I realize there are effective training tactics or adjusting food and water schedule & access, which might help.  And until I am ready to initiate those with consistency, it is unfair to punish him.  Anxious and ashamed people and animals do not exercise their finest behaviors.

I am permissive with our dogs, possibly because I relate to having inconvenient needs of my own.  But our pets do not belong to me–  They, like my children, have been entrusted to me– and no matter what, we belong to each other and together.  I catch myself becoming irrationally irritated over dog or age appropriate behaviors of those for whom I am responsible.  The truth is I feel bothered only because, in the moment, the needs or demands seem inconvenient or disruptive to my own self-obsessed thinking.

I admit that I have been guilty of attempting to shame my dogs and children out of behaviors that vex me.  Shaming is such a damaging and bullshit move.   I can do better for them.  One day at a time.  I am a work in progress.

We are good, little guys.  We belong to each other.  No matter what.  Always.Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Stand Your Ground

In recovery, I am reminded consistently that we are never  victims.  This does not mean that people do not intentionally victimize and persecute others, but that we do have choices about how we respond.  All choices may be highly undesirable, none the less, they are choices.  Like going to a crummy restaurant where you hate evereeeeything on the menu.  Every single thing. Continue reading “Stand Your Ground” Much Love,
Magda Gee

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It Might Just Suck

I do not suck, sometimes my behavior does–but THIS- this alllllwaaaaays sucks.  Today is a hard day.  I wake up every single day, so painfully aware and deeply affected by the state of my family.  I recognize that I do not cause or imagine the dysfunction- and that I alone, cannot repair it.  Intellectually and spiritually, I accept this– it is what it is.  However, acceptance of circumstances does not block me from the emotional pain of having been treated poorly, openly diminished and then discarded.  Repeatedly and consistently.  I intend to never get used to it.  Hopefully, I will continue to get better at not placing myself in this familiar dynamic.  We learn what we live and do what we know.  Unlearning–as fast as I am able and dead center in the middle of another lesson.

My boys asked me if I thought my mother would leave me anything when she dies.  All I can respond with is :  “I don’t know”.  I suspect she may leave me in the state of pain that she sees as my due.   Of course, it would be nice if her final statement to me and about me to the world, could be one of kindness.  Every day– all of the days, slowly-this kills me.

Young hurt lil Magda, still needing a mama, believes this is proof of her unworthiness.  Adult me, in recovery, knows it is evidence only of the sickness in our family.  I can learn, grow, and know all I want– and still not one damn thing will ever make this not hurt.  I may never get my head around the idea of choosing not speaking to one of my children.  Or aligning with one of them, or aligning with any person at all, against one of my sons.

I will never stop longing.  The heart wants what the heart wants.  My sweet sons continue to foot the bill for my struggle to make peace with this-to move on-get it behind me.  The best I can do, is to remind them frequently and explicitly of how wanted and loved they are, AND that they do not cause or imagine any of this.  It is a painful mess.  I suffer from depression and anxiety, not from them.

SadnessMuch Love,
Magda Gee

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On Bullying

Oh-  this post!!!!  What an immense comfort and timely topic.  Bullying, oppression, exclusion- behaviors and attitudes:  not as narrowly defined as we tend to think.  Below is a snippet of what Glennon shared at Momastery, regarding bullying-related suicides.

And people are sensitive. People are heart-breakingly sensitive. If enough people tell someone over and over that he is not okay, he will believe it. And one way or another, he will die.

Each time one of these stories is reported, the tag line is: “kids can be so cruel.” This is something we tend to say. Kids these days, they can be so cruel. But I think this is just a phrase we toss around to excuse ourselves from facing the truth. Because I don’t think kids are any crueler than adults. I just think kids aren’t quite as adept yet at disguising their cruelty.  Children are not cruel. Children are mirrors. They want to be “grown-up.” So they act how grown-ups act when we think they’re not looking. They do not act how we tell them to act at school assemblies. They act how we really act. They believe what we believe. They say what we say.

It’s trickle-down cruelty.

If I want my world to be less vicious, then I must become more gentle. If I want my children to embrace other children for who they are, to treat other children with the dignity and respect every child of God deserves, then I had better treat other adults the same way. And I better make sure that my children know beyond a shadow of a doubt that in God’s and their father’s and my eyes, they are okay. They are fine. They are loved as they are. Without a single unless.  Because the kids who bully are those who are afraid that a secret part of themselves is not okay.

 It is odd, how striving for this brand of kindness and acceptance seems kinda subversive.  Elitist, excluding & exclusive seem to be nearly the norm, common.  Why is it uncommon to want the best for everyone?  Why do so many feel the need to oppress and exclude?!  More importantly, how  do we break the cycle and innoculate our children from messages that any one is more or less worthy of the most basic human dignities and rights?  

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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First, Your Spirit

Lately, I spend every moment possible reading and listening for comfort, from those who have openly navigated troublesome experiences, who possess the inner strength and courage to share–messages of hope alongside their deeply personal and  messy details.  I, personally, need to hear the mess.  The message without the mess can leave me feeling separated and alone.   And without the message, I find only a sick commiserative and temporary comfort.  I need both, together.  The mess and the message:  the shit before the shiFt.  Daily doses of Bob Goff and Glennon Doyle seem a perfect prescription for now.

I am both losing and finding myself in the teachings of those who who humbly share their hardships, missteps, mistakes, confusion and lessons.  It is through them, that God speaks to me and is guiding me—helping me to recover my spirit.

I seek their wisdom with the hope and intent to become a better guardian of the spirits of my sons.  They are intelligent, courageous, strong, able, and kind humans.  These things just are.  What they also are, is deeply faithful– and this, I know has something to do with my recovery and parenting.  In all of the many ways I fail and struggle, I am deeply comforted, if not proud of the ways in which I practice protecting and developing their spirits:  their senses of connection, belonging and their deep gut knowing of goodness and kindness.  Below, I share with you my daily dose of healing from Glennon.

The thing is that I’m not worried about my little man’s brain. I’m worried about his heart.

When I was in elementary school, all of these little teeny things happened to me that made me embarrassed, or confused, or sad. Like when I had to stand against the huge cafeteria wall with my nose pressed against the big purple painted grapes, or when all the girls teased me at my lunch table because my hair was greasy, you could start a car with all that grease, they said. Or when the boys never chased me at recess. Or when a classmate brought a Playboy to school, or when my friend Jennifer called me a gay wad. What’s a gay wad? But these things didn’t seem big enough to talk about, and I didn’t want my parents to know that all wasn’t perfect . . . so for whatever reason, I kept all these little sad and confusing things secrets. And keeping secrets became second nature to me. Which didn’t turn out so well for me for a couple decades.

So when it comes to how my kids are doing at school, I don’t worry about academics. I worry about social things. I worry about their time at lunch, at recess, on the bus. Mostly, children learn to read and add and sit still eventually. But not everybody learns that he deserves to be treated with respect and so do others. And not everybody learns that he is OKAY and loved and precious and that it’s all right to feel hurt and all right to hurt others, as long as he cleans up his messes. And not everybody learns that different is beautiful. And not everybody learns to stand up for himself, even when it’s scary. So I worry about that. Seven is young to navigate a big social sea all by oneself. I feel like thirty four is too young sometimes.

Last week, I snuggled in bed with Chase and told him all about the embarrassing, sad, scary little things that happened to me in elementary school. I told him that I never gave Bubba and Tisha a chance to help me, because I kept my worries in my heart. So my worries became problems. I told him that this was a shame. Because the beautiful things about being a kid, is that you don’t really have any problems. You might have worries, but if you share those worries with your parents, they don’t have to become problems. I told him that his daddy and I are his team. That his worries are really our worries. And that the most important thing in the world to us is his heart.


Much Love,
Magda Gee

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On Gossip

Unable to articulate all that is on my mind, I have decided to share another magical and medicinal post from Momastery.com 

I would like to pre-empt this by saying that this post, for me, relates to people with whom I have intimate and meaningful affiliations.   It is likely that I will continue to dabble in gossip about celebrities and other remote people.  If I have meaningful information or opinions, I will share them with the person whom they are relevant.  This is a tough habit and norm to breech.  It is a wildly unpopular way of being in the world.

Even if the gossip is given under the guise of “concern.” Because if a concern is big enough to talk about, then it is big enough to be addressed directly to the concern-ee. And if a concern is not big enough to be addressed directly to the concern-ee, then it’s not big enough to talk about.

I want to live in a world where women trust each other. Where people know where they stand with each other. Where women give each other the benefit of the doubt simply because they believe down deep that other people are doing the best they can. Where self control is valued. Where women don’t delight in evil. And so I am going to create that type of world for myself. Because we all create the world in which we live. That’s the secret. If you want the world to be different, then go ahead and make a different world for yourself.

Gossip is tricky. Not gossiping is even trickier. Because here’s the thing. There is something inside me that loves gossip so incredibly much. When someone shares something with me about someone else . . . a juicy little morsel, it makes me feel so IN. It just makes me feel so special and accepted and like if she’s talking to ME about HER than she must like ME more than HER and it just feels cozy and like we are in this little circle of trust.

But as my dear friend Adrianne says, (Earmuffs, Jesus) “That. Is Some Bullshit.”

When someone shares a secret or complaint or judgment of another with me, all it proves it that she’ll do the same thing to me. It offers a false sense of security, this gossiping. No time for false things during this beautiful short life. We’re looking for the Truth.

It’s going to be hard. This new Love Experiment is likely to put a damper on some friendships. It might make certain get-togethers a little less fun and I might be left out of some juicy conversations. I probably won’t be as funny or exciting. I might be a bit of a wet blanket. That’s okay. Because I want to be a woman who can be trusted. More than I want to be funny or envied or admired or IN, I want to be trusted. I want to be a safe place for friends to land. I want to be honorable.

“I used to be afraid of failing at something that really mattered to me, but now I’m more afraid of succeeding at things that don’t matter”  

Bob Goff

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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The Tightrope

You struggle to keep your balance- to not jump- but you just keep putting one foot in front of the other.  You are walking a tight rope held by those you are bound to.  They plan to let go,  you know it in your gut, and you keep going.  What else to do?  People watch, helplessly, silently–some judging.  You put one foot in front of the other.

Cuz-faith.  Faith that it will be what it is and you will be ok.  You have been down this rope before.

 Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Get Well Soon

My recovery is a wildly unpopular choice, extremely agitating to those who need to be feel in control, play God, the judge, the jury, the punisher, the rewarder.  I am also reminded daily that recovery is the ONLY way– and it divides me further and permanently from those feeling displeased(harmed) by it.    They are not yet ready and will literally do anything to get in the way of recovery life.  Annneeething!  I carry on with fervor, not ease, but fervor.

Sometimes we have to sacrifice what we want now, which is war, to get what we ultimately want, which is peace.  And not everyone defines peace the same way.  For some people can only find peace in winning, which requires a war and a loser.  Well people do not make sick people well, but unwell people can make well people sick.  I seek wellness, illumination, peace.  Progress not perfection.  One Day at a time.

There is always a right way to say what we need to say and a wrong way to say it. There is a way that will invite more light and reconciliation and a way that will invite more darkness and polarization. The latter is often the result of mental unwellness and cycles and dynamics of addiction plaguing a community or family system, usually through generations.  Break the cycle, I say!  

And, sometimes doing what we really want to do, if it’s going to add more anger, isn’t the right thing to do. Even if it feels good at the time.  Recovery has offered me the tool of pausing and acting rather than reacting.  I am emotionally triggered in under a nano-second, this I cannot help.  Recovery taught me to pause long enough to decide what I can do to acknowledge the feeling and then to practice self care and self preservation without harming another.  In sick systems, there is no distinction between being displeasing or making a mistake AND being harmful.  Recovery teaches me that –it is not my job to please and it is not mean or a crime to displease or make mistakes.  I do not choose any systems that have reliance on people pleasing OR paying the price.

a little bit soap box and ranty–oh well–Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Emergencies and Celebrations

Looking back, I see that the only times my mother and sister had anything to do with me, were for emergencies and celebrations/scheduled gatherings.  I guess those times made them feel, maybe, benevolent, by showing up as rescuers, hosts, or gift givers.  But I think life, for me, is what happens in between the events.

Relationships, as I experience them, are strengthened and clarified by day to day showing up and connecting, for no reason at all.   I stopped accepting gifts and help from anyone who can easily live without me.  That is not love.  It feels icky and confusing.

I suspect that if they could honestly express their sentiments with words, they might say “Who the fuck do you think you are, going off script?”.  My marriage was similar.  Big efforts toward planned gatherings and crisis, little attention in between.  It died a natural death once it became clear that only sustained connection would lead to physical intimacy.  Again, off script.  Why am I not more grateful and indebted and willing to throw myself away, feigning closeness?  I will not accept any more opportunities to show gratitude in the from of submission.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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The Opposite of Love

Because of intense and atypical sensitivity to both physical and emotional stimulus, I have felt humiliated, not only for being wired differently but for having been shamed and shunned for it– never taught to manage the frequent and difficult emotions.  Naturally, I came to envy those  unaffected, composed— indifferent to others.  I think it is boasted as thick skinned.  As if that is strength.  But I realize today, that I would not prefer to be that way.  Feeling deeply is difficult and a gift, and requires inner strength.  Yesterday, on our way to camp, a homeless woman approached our car for money, Having just gone to the ATM, and having no singles, I was pleased to have no choice but to offer her more than I typically would.  What I also did, was make and hold intentional eye contact as I told her to take care.  And then I wept as we drove away,  explaining to my sons–that if the suffering and need of a woman whom I do not know causes me pain, imagine what I feel  when a person behaves with unkindness to me.

It is true that I cry in the presence of a new baby person or animal, children singing, weddings, homeless or hurt people or animals.  I am powerless to change this, though life would be more manageable and less painful if I could.  This is the same me that cannot just move on and let go as my family has for decades done with me–the ability to individually and collectively go on as if my existence does not matter in the least.  I do not wish to be that way.  Ever. My sons have plenty of models of indifference in their lives and I am grateful to have something different to offer and model for them.

I will say it again.  The opposite of sensitivity is not strength, but insensitivity.  I married the person I did because he was so good at composure and indifference and I had been taught that was the measure of strength, maturity, and rightness hoping that I might learn from him or receive validation by proxy and association with such valor.  Emotional stoicism/vacancy are things I would no longer wish for myself or my children.  I am slowly learning to manage my feelings.  They are deep and many, but they are not crimes or defects.  I offer generous space to anyone suggesting otherwise.  Compassion and empathy are the most wholesome badass ways of being.  All of the people whom I respect most, are leading in this way.  Leading people to understand and connect rather than shame, judge, distance, and  punish for differences of skin, orientation, or opinion.

Feeling less pain would be nice but I am blessed to feel what is meant to be felt.  My program and spiritual striving suggest nowhere, that indifference and thick skin will help me to become my best self.  For appearances only, I would like to be less affected.  But my heart is big and open and for that I am learning boundaries and healthy coping.  I am a work in progress– a love warrior.  I unapologetically feel it all–openly pained by diminishing or dehumanizing words and behaviors.

Much Love,
Magda Gee

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A Letter for Children

Today, my sweet boys embark on their first week ever, of sleep away camp- away from mom, dad, and each other.  What I feel even more acutely than my anxiety, is pride (for lack of better word) for how kind, courageous, compassionate, and faithful these guys are.  AND–I, as their mother and primary care giver,  have something to do with that!  When I shared with Sweet Greg this overwhelming feeling of how fragile everything is, he gently reminded me that my boys are very self reliant.  True– and comforting with regards to physical safety…however my concern is their spiritual and emotional wellness and growth.  Physical stuff is easy to observe,manage, and address.  The camp is a faith based center for spiritual development, recommended by a mother whom I trust. At an intellectual level, I know, and even believe it will be great. I am longing for another mother/person to come with me, like a mother or sister of my own who would understand and faithfully support these values and concerns.

Before bed last night, we read this letter from Glennon Doyle to her son.  THIS speaks my heart’s truth, better than any words of my own.  I could tell, as they listened, that it spoke to their hearts.  So beautiful that we get to have this shared language and example of “Adam”–compassion and courage.

Hey Baby.

Tomorrow is a big day. Third Grade – wow.

Chase – When I was in third grade, there was a little boy in my class named Adam.

Adam looked a little different and he wore funny clothes and sometimes he even smelled a little bit. Adam didn’t smile. He hung his head low and he never looked at anyone at all. Adam never did his homework. I don’t think his parents reminded him like yours do. The other kids teased Adam a lot. Whenever they did, his head hung lower and lower and lower. I never teased him, but I never told the other kids to stop, either.

And I never talked to Adam, not once. I never invited him to sit next to me at lunch, or to play with me at recess. Instead, he sat and played by himself. He must have been very lonely.

I still think about Adam every day. I wonder if Adam remembers me? Probably not. I bet if I’d asked him to play, just once, he’d still remember me.

I think that God puts people in our lives as gifts to us. The children in your class this year, they are some of God’s gifts to you.

So please treat each one like a gift from God. Every single one.

Baby, if you see a child being left out, or hurt, or teased, a little part of your heart will hurt a little. Your daddy and I want you to trust that heart- ache. Your whole life, we want you to notice and trust your heart-ache. That heart ache is called compassion, and it is God’s signal to you to do something. It is God saying, Chase! Wake up! One of my babies is hurting! Do something to help! Whenever you feel compassion – be thrilled! It means God is speaking to you, and that is magic. It means He trusts you and needs you.

Sometimes the magic of compassion will make you step into the middle of a bad situation right away.

Compassion might lead you to tell a teaser to stop it and then ask the teased kid to play. You might invite a left-out kid to sit next to you at lunch. You might choose a kid for your team first who usually gets chosen last. These things will be hard to do, but you can do hard things.

Sometimes you will feel compassion but you won’t step in right away. That’s okay, too. You might choose instead to tell your teacher and then tell us. We are on your team – we are on your whole class’ team. Asking for help for someone who is hurting is not tattling, it is doing the right thing. If someone in your class needs help, please tell me, baby. We will make a plan to help together.

When God speaks to you by making your heart hurt for another, by giving you compassion, just do something. Please do not ignore God whispering to you. I so wish I had not ignored God when He spoke to me about Adam. I remember Him trying, I remember feeling compassion, but I chose fear over compassion. I wish I hadn’t. Adam could have used a friend and I could have, too.

Chase – We do not care if you are the smartest or fastest or coolest or funniest. There will be lots of contests at school, and we don’t care if you win a single one of them. We don’t care if you get straight As. We don’t care if the girls think you’re cute or whether you’re picked first or last for kickball at recess. We don’t care if you are your teacher’s favorite or not. We don’t care if you have the best clothes or most Pokemon cards or coolest gadgets. We just don’t care.

We don’t send you to school to become the best at anything at all. We already love you as much as we possibly could. You do not have to earn our love or pride and you can’t lose it. That’s done.

We send you to school to practice being brave and kind.

Kind people are brave people. Because brave is not a feeling that you should wait for. It is a decision. It is a decision that compassion is more important than fear, than fitting in, than following the crowd.

Trust me, baby, it is. It is more important.

Don’t try to be the best this year, honey.

Just be grateful and kind and brave. That’s all you ever need to be.

Take care of those classmates of yours, and your teacher, too. You Belong to Each Other. You are one lucky boy . . . with all of these new gifts to unwrap this year.

I love you so much that my heart might explode.

Enjoy and cherish your gifts.

And thank you for being my favorite gift of all time.


Much Love,
Magda Gee

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Independence Day

Surprisingly, it was a very good day.   I forced myself to go sweat it out in the yard, pruning, mowing, weeding.  I always feel better when I do something that elevates the overall quality of life.  The daily and repetitive tasks offer no satisfaction, only the threat of greater stress if not addressed.  My yard now looks more respectable and I respect myself more, for having managed to do something I didn’t feeeeel like doing.  The truth is, I do not feeeeel like doing most things, this is part of depression, avoiding life.

Then, Sweet Greg arrived and together we he hung a picture, but only after he made an unforgivably large hole in my bedroom wall, which disturbed him greatly, and made him lose his shit a little.  He is adorable this way.  I thought it was funny and I love working together with him, feeling how much it matters to him, that he do things nicely for me.  He swears the GIANT hole is my fault, for making him hang the picture.  But that piece of shit art has been sitting on my floor waiting to be hung since December and see, I needed to pack the boys for camp and felt that I could not begin– until that thing got hung.  Make sense?  To him, it did not make sense at all, but he went along.  And we made a fun memory, not just a hole large enough to plug with your finger.  But whaev, the picture covers it.  And now we get to enjoy the project of patching and painting another day.  And camp packing is 81% complete..so there.

This reminded me how much I crave and respect genuine unity, a mutually shared cause or purpose.  For me, it is at the root of connection.  I realized that I cannot recall the last time my boys and I worked together for a common purpose and that we would benefit from some unification.  Cuz–connection.  It also reminds