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Yesterday I saw a number I didn't recognize pop up on my phone. I thought perhaps my daughter was calling from a friend's phone so I answered it. Instead of my daughter's voice I heard a woman telling me that there had been an incident at school. It's kind of hard to explain how I felt when I learned that my daughter had cut her roommate with a scissors after telling her that she had multiple personalities and one of them was very violent. I had reservations about sending my daughter away to school. I wasn't sure if she was really ready for that experience or that it would be a good one for her. I went back and forth on the issue, but I certainly never expected this to be the problem I was going to be dealing with the first week of school. She isn't being asked to leave, but she can no longer stay in the dorms. Frankly I was surprised she isn't being asked to leave. She says that the scissors incident is an accident. The adults I talk to didn't mention any possibility of it being unintentional, the thing is, people are still responsible for their unintentional actions which is something she doesn't seem to understand. If I go out and accidentally kill someone in my car, I'm still responsible for taking someone else's life regardless of what my original intentions were when I climbed behind the wheel.

I had a chance to talk to my middle sister during the evening. She's very concerned about my daughter and I am too. It isn't just this incident although that's certainly the one that's most prominent in my mind, it's her general attitude and other alarming things that I've seen. I found several marks on the top of her left wrist. She told me she fell when I asked her what had happened. Then I told her that my question was why she had cut herself. She said that she was mad because she lost something. I sat on the couch with her and asked if there were other coping methods she could have used. I didn't really talk to her on the ride home. She burst into tears when she came into her room and saw that I had almost finished packing up her things. What's most upsetting to me is how my ex is trying to minimize this. Being a danger to yourself or another person is a way the medical community and law enforcement agents try and determine which people can live in society with others. Apart from this my daughter has almost no regard for grooming and personal hygiene. My ex bought her an electric toothbrush to keep at school. When I put it in the bathroom I noticed that the battery was dead which tells me she never charged it or let the battery run down.

She will go to bed without brushing her teeth or flossing. I have to tell her to shower and bathe or she won't, and I had to tell her to trim her broken and dirty fingernails when she got home from school yesterday. There's a lot of small things that are adding up to a larger picture that I don't like. One of the things about getting divorced when you have children is your ex is still their parent. My ex told me that he cut himself and there wasn't anything behind it, he just did it. To me that's actually more alarming than someone who is very upset or frustrated and uses their own pain to try and get some relief or an emotional release. He isn't worried about her telling others that she has multiple personalities, he says he used to (may still) tell other people things because he doesn't like these tiny boxes that society tries to put people into. My daughter looked up how to murder other people on her roommate's phone, that scared the roommate. In the past my daughter has had problems with self harm. She would scratch herself until she was bleeding when she was younger. At the time she told me that was her sister's doing and for a while I believed her.

I remember seeing the bloody scratches fade when we pulled gluten from her diet and appear after we introduced it again. I was told by the dorm staff that she was eating foods she wasn't supposed to be having, going nuts in the cafeteria and devouring huge bowls of ice cream is how it was described to me. I didn't think she was going to stick to her gluten free diet despite having special foods made for her and available in the cafeteria and I would be interested in learning what exactly she ate while she was there because I've found doughnut wrappers and other things in her room that give me proof that she's not following that diet strictly regardless of what others are telling me about how compliant she appears to be when she's with them. She's immature, she's irresponsible, and I'm going to aggressively pursue treatment options for her because regardless of what he thinks, in my opinion, this is not okay. It's not okay to hurt other people, hurting yourself is not indicative of good mental health, and I don't really care if he thinks that I'm overreacting because I know in my heart and my head that something is not right inside of her.

So now we have to decide where she's going to be attending school in the future. I would like to see her go back. She would like to try and go back. He's not interested in driving her in everyday. I said I would be willing to do that for her, but I would need extra money for gas and food if she's going to be staying with me on a Sunday through Friday basis. She isn't thrilled about the idea of living with mom the majority of the time. Dad's place is a lot more fun, I told her she really needed to be thinking about this before she made a decision. When she got home I gave her a big hug even though she didn't want one. I had her take a bath and change her clothes. I don't know why, but that's one of my go to stress relievers when there's a situation. I felt like getting out of the clothes she had been wearing and into something that was soft and warm and clean would help. She hasn't been taking her vitamins. He says he'll see that she does, but doesn't buy them for her or make any real effort to encourage compliance. 

He's the same way about brushing and flossing. I harped on him for years before he started flossing his teeth. I've been a bit of a fanatic about it, we all have our quirks that make us individuals. You can go to either extreme without it being a healthy trip. Since they were first born my children have been hearing mom say something and dad tell them that what mom said wasn't really important and they didn't need to listen to me. They've been taught that you should behave while people are looking and as soon as someone's back is turned or their vigilant eye is elsewhere, they can abandon whatever rules and restrictions they don't like. In my opinion there's a big difference between someone who marches to the beat of their own drum and someone who is isolated and withdrawn from society on a mental and psychological level. I think she's frightened, not sure how to act, and does things for effect that don't turn out the way that she thinks they're going to for her. I think she needs more love, more attention, and a treatment plan that her therapist or possibly another healthcare employee draws up for her. 

When I went into her room to pack up her things I saw clothes piled on her bed, books piled on the floor, and a crack on her iPad screen that she had under some clothes and her teddy bear that her older sister gave to her that she loves. My sister has noticed that she clings to others and doesn't read social cues appropriately. I don't know if that's something she hasn't learned or there's something else going on, I don't really know exactly what to do, but I have a couple of ideas that can help stabilize her home environment. She's had a turbulent summer with her parents getting divorced and seeing how bloated her stomach was gave me a clue as to what is going on in her digestive system. She told me that she ate three Twizzlers and followed her diet when she was at the cafeteria. I can't believe that when I have evidence that points elsewhere. Having food restrictions can be very tough, but they can be managed. She's had traumatic experiences in her young life. Her parents were checked out, we are guilty of neglecting and possibly abandoning her.

Obviously I don't like admitting things like that. I feel guilty that I wasn't there more for my girls when they needed a mom. I try to realize that all parents make mistakes, but there's also the realization that chronic conditions at home isn't a mistake so much as a behavior pattern that should have been addressed long ago. When I started reading the book When A Woman You Love Was Abused I remember the author saying that one of the coping mechanisms was denial and another one was minimization. You tell yourself that maybe it wasn't so bad and remind yourself that it could have been much worse. I've done that in the past and now I'm seeing it in other people. Outrage exists for a reason. We should be upset when we learn that two TV figures were shot in cold blood on public television. My ex thinks that people are melodramatic about shootings. While it's true that it's a relatively small percentage of the total population, the fact that some of the children who attended Sandy Hook are no longer alive and the shootings are spreading is not exactly anything to celebrate. I'm not really afraid that my kids are going to be victims of a shooting, but I would be uninformed as a parent to think that it couldn't happen in our small town community.

My kids have some serious anger issues. I was hoping that therapy would address some of that. Maybe it has and I'm not seeing as much improvement as I would have liked. It's kind of interesting to me that I was just writing about a person who snapped and I got that call from school. I love my daughter. People have described her as very bright and bubbly. She had friends at school and hadn't had enough time to develop a homework problem or other issues. I think it was a little too much freedom for someone who has impulse control problems. I think she had a roommate who is very pretty, very athletic, bright, and very popular. I think she was probably threatened by that and chose a strategy that didn't go well for her. Not long ago I watched a series of videos that described energy typing. I found the information very interesting and it's helped me better understand why some people act and dress the way that they do. There are four types; type one is animated and fun, type two is soft and subtle, type three is dynamic and active, and type four is bold and striking.

Rather than a test the videos ask you to think about yourself and see what resonates. I'm a pretty prototypical type one. I'm positive, upbeat, a bit quirky, and I look great in very bright cool colors that reflect my sunny personality. I'm pretty sure my youngest is a type two. She went to the One Direction concert in a pair of jeans, the boots I bought her for school, a Coke t-shirt I found at the thrift store, and a hat that her dad bought for her. Her hair is long, loose, and flowing. She likes comfy muted fabrics, she's very feminine and fluid when she moves. She's quiet, thoughtful, and can seem excessively introverted. I think my oldest is a type three. These are the people who get things done. My mom is like this. She gets an incredible number of things crossed off her list. People have also described her as pushy which is what can happen when these people are out of balance. Type four people are perfecters. They can sit still for long periods of time and look best in clothes that doesn't have a lot going on in terms of color or movement. Today I'm wearing all black. I have a bit of type four in me. I'm a perfecter who likes to improve things, but I'm not the stoic detailed type.

Years ago I saw the woman who created this system speak. It's more than just a way to dress although that was revealing. I was stunned at how much better I felt when I was wearing brighter colors. I feel subdued and lethargic when I'm wearing things that don't really match my personality. I watched a couple of videos where they had women wearing the different types. It's funny how much more attractive and put together they were when they were true to their inner selves. Being a teenager is hard. There's a lot of development going on, a search for an identity apart from parents and siblings, and there are challenges at every age, but I vividly remember being fourteen and attending a school where it seemed like I didn't really fit in when othes had less trouble. The truth is we all struggle, but some struggle with larger issues than others. I didn't particularly like the roommate, she's a very typical teen, but she didn't do anything to deserve getting cut with a scissors or being scared the way that she was. My daughter is very fortunate that her roommate and her parents are taking this as well as they are.

A group of teenage girls half an hour away from us stabbed a girl nineteen times and left her for dead because they were trying to impress people on an internet forum. Those girls are being tried as adults despite their being under eighteen. Obviously I don't want to think about my daughter being a menace to society and it is a temptation to try and write this off as an isolated incident since she's never done anything like this before. I believe that she craves adventure and she hasn't found a way to satisfy her need for that stimulus in a healthy, creative, and positive way. She's exploiting some of our parenting weaknesses and trying to avoid problems instead of stepping up and assuming responsibility that we should be able to expect out of a girl who is fourteen. By the time most kids are five or six they understand that hurting others is wrong which is why I didn't spend too much time talking to my daughter about the scissors incident. I will be speaking further with her therapist and mine as well. I think she needs some things in her life like more regular exercise that she hasn't been getting. We've been controlling, lax to the point of negligence, and there's been a lot of turmoil at home.

When I went to see my therapist she thought I was doing well. I'm supposed to go out on a date before my next appointment. That was a lot more appealing a couple days ago, but maybe I'll try and find someone to hang out with for a couple of hours. My therapist suggested a dating website, I don't know why that idea is such a turn off to me when I've met so many cool people online, but it is. There are people I know that I could ask out, but unfortunately none of them live close to me. In addition to playing around with clothes and getting rid of a couple shirts that I don't like I cut my hair. I haven't liked the cut since I left the salon, I was up late one night and decided that a stylist could fix whatever hacks I did to my hair that night. When I told people on Twitter I was going to take action a friend of mine jokingly said I needed clippers instead of a scissors and after cutting a bunch of my hair off I realized that I was ready for a dramatic change. I drove to the condo, picked up the clippers, and went to town in the bathroom.

Surprisingly my hair looks a lot better than it did. I have quite a few major cowlicks so my hair doesn't like to cooperate with me. When I was done cutting it a girlfriend of mine welcomed me to the short hair club. I asked if she had any styling types. She suggested getting some products, but I found this super thick stuff in the bathroom that's actually moisturizer, but I used it in my hair without any ill effects. I have cowlicks on either side of the middel of my forehead and another one on the right side of my head. I used a number four blade for the back and sides and a number eight on the top. So the longest hair on my head is about an inch long. My girlfriend told me to roll with the cowlicks so that's what I did. I'm still not totally comfortable with it yet since my hair parts on one side, goes over for a bit, and then the side goes in a totally different direction while the back and very front stick up. It's very textured, super simple without being simplistic, and fun. I keep making changes as I go, but I think that this is something that suits me a lot better than what I had before. I'd like new glasses and new clothes too, but I'm going to have to wait on those.

I need a new ironing board cover, actually I just want one, but that's going to be a treat to myself. I bought my oldest a book on teen skills and my youngest a journal style book with a lock that was almost impossible to separate from the keys. Fortunately the first few days of seventh grade have gone much better than the first full week of high school. I guess all kids have defining moments in their childhood, it could have been a lot worse and I'm grateful it wasn't without trying to sweep the severity of the situation under the carpet. Regardless of what happens I'm mostly okay with the way that I handled the situation although if I had to do it again I would ask to meet with both my daughter and her roommate separately and then together. I got into a fight with my roommate in that very room although I was a senior in high school when that went down. I put my parents through a lot when I was younger, my mom probably still worries about me and that's probably warranted when I look back at my life.

Some good things recently, I've been watching more baseball. I can flip from game to game to game without really getting bored or needing something else. It's a nice escape for a couple of hours that gives me something to talk to my friends about. I talked to a guy who lives in Michigan who said he would go out with me if we weren't living so far apart. I had a short chat with him that was very uplifting and fun. He's older than I am, but there's just something about him. He gave me some good advice about researching potential dates online. I've heard others recommend that and have found some interesting things from Googling names. It's kind of cool that we have that capability and kind of frightening when you think about how much of our personal lives and data is out there. It wouldn't be hard to find me in real life from this, but it isn't something I'm ashamed of or trying to hide. I quit writing after I slipped on the stairs and fractured the distal portion of my fibula. For more than a week I was in some pretty extreme pain and writing fell off of my priority list. Maybe I'll keep going, maybe this is a one time gig, I'm thinking about my life and what I want it to look like and what I want from it. It's been nice to hear from people who drop me messages so thanks to everyone who has reached out, I appreciate that and I hope this finds you better off than before.

Much love,

Jess 

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