Reading was always a huge part of my life. My mom would often tell me to put down my book and go out and play. It didn’t take long for writing to become a big part of my life, too. I could create my own worlds to escape to. I could express exactly what I was trying to say better than I could when I was speaking. I started attending counseling as a young adolescent, and I learned to journal, and sharing those pages with my counselor also helped them to help me a lot more than when I simply showed up and talked. From a very young age, I identified as a writer.

As I got older and gained more life experience, and social media became more prevalent in all our lives, I realized I had been through a lot of unique experiences that were out of the ordinary. Writing was healing for me, and I might have stories other people want to hear. Put that together with new diagnoses that were coming in from my doctors and my kids’ doctors I had to research and learn about, and thoughts of starting a blog were dancing through my head.

During all of my pre-blog research on how to create and launch a successful blog, the repeated advice was to pick something you’re good at or known for and focus on that, and to steer clear of creating lifestyle blogs. I couldn’t help but notice that many of the suggested niches to focus on applied to my life. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to do a lifestyle blog, anyway. I think it would be interesting to touch on the different niches and show how they can affect the various other aspects of my life in an intersectional, interrelated, interdependent sort of way.

While I plan to cover many topics in my blog, and I know up front that many of these topics will mean discussing very personal parts of my life, please be mindful that, unless I specifically ask, I’m not looking for advice. I’m also not open to proselytization. I know also that there will be people who read my blog and have an intentional desire to misunderstand me. That’s fine. They will not rattle me or hurt my feelings. I’m primarily doing this research and writing this blog for me, and secondarily writing it for people who can relate to my stories, struggles, and successes and sincerely want to connect because of them.

I know there’s been a year and a half since the last real blog post, and there’s a reason for that. I needed to discuss the very real negative possibilities my writing a blog like this could have with my kids and make sure my kids were ok with it. I didn’t want my kids to just say yes to me to make me happy, and I didn’t want to share things about myself and my mental health struggles that would make my kids feel embarrassed. There’s also a huge amount of overlap between my kids’ lives and my life, and we needed to discuss and set boundaries on what they were ok with me sharing that directly affected them, including diagnoses and shared experiences.

In no particular order, and without a lot of detail, here are snippets of my life that I plan to expand into blogs. What areas interest you the most?

I’m asexual, probably graysexual, and I didn’t realize it until I was in my 40s. I’m currently questioning and exploring my romantic orientation. I believe I may be demisexual, which means I’m only sexually attracted to someone with whom I share a strong emotional bond. I may also be sapiosexual, which means I’m only sexually attracted to highly intelligent people. It was October 2021 when I learned I was asexual and I’m still learning about this part of me and how it works. In my life, there were only three men I felt a sexual attraction toward and enjoyed a sexual relationship with despite having experience with other lovers/partners. Also, please understand there is a difference between sexual orientation and romantic orientation. I might not feel sexual attraction until that connection becomes established and is maintained, but I still want the texts and phone calls and dates and kisses and cuddles. I still want someone to build that bond with and to love.

I’m ambiamorous, which means I can be happy in a monogamous or polyamorous relationship. I’ve been in both kinds of relationships. Please note poly relationships differ from open relationships, swinging, and cheating.

I’m part of the local BDSM/kink community. This topic won’t come up as often or as detailed as the others, but it’s part of who I am and I wanted to mention it. I think it’s important to de-stigmatize and normalize alt relationships.

I grew up as a preacher’s kid. My father was a Methodist minister, a Southern Baptist pastor, and then an Independent Fundamental Baptist pastor.

I’ve experienced spiritual abuse.

I’m no longer a Christian.

I have had multiple failed marriages. In hindsight, I can see I made poor choices when picking partners, and I can see how my then undiagnosed mental health conditions and my being asexual and not realizing it contributed to the marriages breaking down. Despite those past failed attempts, I still want to use what I’ve learned from the past and from therapy to try again to build a healthy and lasting relationship. I still crave having a partner; I still crave love; I still crave a connection, but only if the right kind of partner comes along. I’d rather be unattached and content than in a relationship that’s not the right fit and be unhappy.

I am a domestic violence survivor. Sadly, this also means that I’ve had experience with temporary and final restraining orders in NJ, experience as a victim in a criminal trial in NJ, and experience with DCPP (DYFS or CPS in NJ) – a case was opened because my child was a victim and I had custody; They did not open the case against me.

I’m a childhood sexual abuse and incest survivor.

I’ve been living with mental health issues since I was a pre-teen. I’m currently diagnosed with Major Depression (recurrent, chronic), Complex PTSD, Binge Eating Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder w/Hoarding, and Borderline Personality Disorder. While it’s not a DSM5 diagnosis, it’s worth adding I’ve also worked on codependency issues and narcissistic abuse survivor syndrome. I’m in long-term therapy. As someone who wants to help destroy the mental health illness stigma, I will openly discuss my illnesses, struggles, setbacks, accomplishments, and therapy in my blog.

I’m a former cutter.

I was romantically involved with two covert narcissists; one throughout 2020 and one at the beginning of 2021. I was in therapy getting help for Narcissistic Abuse and learning how to identify the signs of a narcissist, and the second one showed up two months after things ended with the first. It took me two months to see the red flags and get out. I took a year off from dating so I could heal before I was ready to trust and date again.

Receiving therapy for Narcissistic Abuse, attending support groups, and learning the signs make me highly aware that a former friend and two family members of mine may also be narcissists.

I also want to make clear that the people I’m talking about have not been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and are not in treatment for NPD as far as I’m aware. I am referring to the narcissistic abuse patterns in domestic violence relationships.

Since I was a kid, I’ve been living with chronic health issues. I’m currently diagnosed with chronic Lyme Disease (used to be referred to as Stage 3 Lyme), Diabetes type 2, Rheumatoid Arthritis, fibromyalgia, Facet Arthropathy (cervical), IBS, GERD, TMJ, and chronic pain. I am under the ongoing care of several doctors and specialists.

I’ve had weight struggles over the years.

I used to have a service dog. I miss him very much.

You wouldn’t know I was ill just by looking at me; I have an invisible illness/invisible disability. People can get nasty when they see me using handicapped parking and then walk away from the car.

There have been times I’ve used a cane and/or a wheelchair.

I’m on NJ’s Medical Marijuana Program.

I think the chronically ill got overlooked and screwed in the fight against the opioid epidemic.

Because of my ongoing health issues and mental health issues, I’ve been on Social Security Disability since I graduated from high school. I can tell you what it’s like to apply for and be on programs including Social Security, SSI, Medicare, Medicaid, Medical Transportation, WIC, Food Stamps/SNAP, Lifeline aka Obama phone, para-transit, Section 8, and Legal Aid. I live below the poverty line and can tell you what that’s like, plus what it’s like to go to Social Services and declare yourself homeless and be on the Emergency Rental Assistance Program and then the Temporary Rental Assistance Program.

I’m a single mom of two minor children. I have sole custody of both kids. There aren’t weekly visits with dad, so everything falls on my shoulders and I have to always be “on.”

One of my children is Autistic.

One of my children has ADHD.

One of my children has Type 1 Bipolar.

One of my children gets horrible chronic migraines.

One of my children lives with depression.

One of my children has Psoriasis.

One of my children has Separation Anxiety Disorder.

One of my children has General Anxiety Disorder.

One of my children has OCD.

One of my children has a (suspected) undiagnosed autoimmune disorder they’re seeing a pediatric rheumatologist for.

One of my children identifies as non-binary.

One of my children is pansexual.

I have two sisters and one brother. One of my sisters died of Spinal Meningitis. I’m estranged from my other two siblings for two completely unrelated reasons, and I don’t see that changing.

I was in my 20s when my parents divorced. My father continues to live in NJ. My mother and stepfather moved to FL.

They diagnosed my mother with cancer the summer of 2021.

One of my children decided they wanted to be a vegetarian at age 5, and they’ve stuck to it.

Both of my children attended public school even post-covid, but decided they wanted to be homeschooled for separate reasons. Neither wants to return to public school. We follow a homeschool curriculum, watch and discuss documentaries, belong to a homeschool co-op, and gameschool.

I’m an all-around animal lover, with a special place in my heart for dachshunds and guinea pigs. I’m also obsessed with capybaras and oink oink pigs.

I’m an aspiring author and I’m working on writing my first book.

I’m a Roman Pagan.

I study and practice witchcraft, mostly Strega, Italian Folk Magic(k), and water magic(k). I’ll discuss it in depth in later blogs, but witchcraft has nothing to do with demons and hurting people. It’s more about developing intuition and being aware of the energies around you.

I’m an occultist.

I study the Tarot.

I’ve joined a few network marketing/MLMs since my 20s and have had some positive experiences and several headaches.

Motorcycle culture fascinates me and I enjoy reading about it and watching youtube channels made by motorcyclists, but it won’t go further than that for me.

I’m obsessed with van life. If I ever have the money, opportunity, and health to give it a go, I will. I’ve wanted to travel long-term in an RV since I was a kid.

Over the years, I’ve learned that my life experiences differed from the norm and differed from most of my peers. I’ve also learned that people have questions but rarely feel comfortable asking those questions. I hope to be accessible to approach with questions and help tear down stigmas surrounding various parts of my life, especially mental health and LGBT.

If you have questions you’d like me to answer via a blog post, please comment below or send me a private message on my By Way of the Muse facebook page. As I answer questions in the blog, I’ll delete your question here so I can track what unanswered questions remain.

8/21/23 EDIT: I created a poll for anyone who would like to vote in what topics I cover next in my blog:

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