Can You Prove Who You Are?

For the most part I have been avoiding social media today. I’m furious at the world at large, but mostly at the hatred currently being spewed in North Carolina. Just from skimming headlines I can see that two troopers are dead when their helicopter fell out of the sky while attempting to get order from the chaos of hate fueled anger. I also see that one man is in custody, allegedly plowing his car into a crowd of people, killing at least one person.

Why does it matter? White Supremacists? Black Lives Matter? Gay Pride? Etcetera?

Often times we base our beliefs on our culture and family tradition. Few of us hate people based on outward appearance because that person did something to influence that hatred; rather we base our anger on what someone else has done to us or our forefathers. In these instances we no longer see individuals, we see blind hatred, infuriating anger, maybe even murderous intent!

How is it okay to do wrong to a great part of society for the wrong of one individual? How can we accept wiping out certain races because a hundred years ago one person did wrong by another person?

For a majority of my life I believed I was a good portion of Irish. Recently my sibling showed me her DNA profile:

Genetic Ancestry Estimate

As you can see, I am about as Irish as the Lucky Charms Leprechaun!

Clearly, I am not as Irish as I thought, or as I was led to believe by my ancestors! Here I was, thinking that the Great Potato Famine nearly wiped out a majority of my ancestors and in a rush they managed to defy the effects of poverty and starvation to come to this great nation!

Worse yet, I was lead to believe that my father’s great aunt was the cause of the Great Chicago Fire that wiped out a large portion of the city. The result was for Mrs. O’Leary’s brother-in-law to flee the city and head for the hills of West Virginia to keep his own family safe from the anger of an entire city. As the family fled they dropped the “O” from our last name and would forever be known as “Leary” with no relation to the family whose cow destroyed a city.

Research (and lots of it) has taught me that Mrs. O’Leary’s cow most likely did not start the fire. There is also a great chance that some neighborhood boys accused of smoking cigarettes in the barn did not start the fire … there is a possibility that the fire was caused by a meteor shower which covered a good part of Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana on the night that changed Chicago forever. This is neither here nor there, as the same research taught me that Mrs. O’Leary’s husband did not have a brother that ever lived in Chicago as family folk lore taught me to believe!

My family was never known as O’Leary, at least not in recent history. Moving forward in my quest for genealogical answers I now know that I am searching for the family of “Leary!” What a relief, I am no longer living a life of deceit of my heritage! Am I really free from the unknown, though?

The search continues, briefly, my research came to a slamming halt when I discover that my ancestry comes to an end in Canada in the mid to late 1800s. There it appears that Daniel Leary has a live in maid and the maid’s three children. The maid and her children have the last name of “Harris.” Within a decade of that discovery it seems that Daniel and his maid, “Mary,” get married, move to Pennsylvania and either Daniel adopts the children or they assume his last name.

If this is the case, I’m a Harris masked by a Leary! This doesn’t change the fact that my last name is Leary, but having a distant cousin come to the same conclusion leaves me to wonder … for 150 years we are Leary’s, we live and die with this name … prior to that our family history is quite elusive … obliterated really.

When my sister showed me the DNA results I hurried into the app to search for possible relatives. My hits for “Leary” equaled exactly “ZERO!” However, my hits for distant “Harris” cousins proved to be numerous.

With all of this information I can sit in turmoil and hatred because I don’t know who I am anymore! I can’t do that, I just can’t! Who cares if family folk lore was wrong? Who cares if I’m a “Leary” or a “Harris”?

This all as no impact on my life, because I am me, a child of God. A daughter of two amazing parents. A sibling to the best five siblings a girl could ask for. A mom, a girlfriend. I am me!!!

If you are so sure of your heritage that you are willing to kill in the name of your forefathers, in the name of your skin color, in the name of your religion, in the name of anything that matters to you; I ask you to keep one thing in mind: YOU were most likely created behind closed doors … when it comes to it, there will come a day that only God will know of the true parentage of you and all of your ancestors!

Is it really worth killing and/or dying for beliefs that have changed and will continue to change from one generation to the next? Does it even matter!?

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Government Gives Survivors the Bird

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

The Declaration of Independence

The pursuit of happiness, as once envisioned by our forefathers is now a joke! My family has been feeling this since February 15, 2016 when we invited the “system” into our lives in a belief that the system would protect and empower us to escape a dangerous, destructive, and dysfunctional family system. What follows is a true example of what can happen when we think we are people and our safety comes before a government budget. As I portray our truth I will start my story with a “he said, she said,” because I never thought that I would have to prove the steps that my family took to protect ourselves from danger just to be screwed by those that are set to protect society! I will also be including information from personal emails between myself and an individual in a perfect position to protect YOU from criminal behaviors. There is also information that is readily available to the public, though it takes some knowing where to look, then hours of digging to find what you’re looking for. In the interest of “knowledge is power” I will be linking to this information to save you time in looking up the hidden truths of the system set up to protect the criminal from prosecution to the fullest extent of the law as the government protects their ASSets!

On February 15, 2016, I was given information that my daughter was a victim of sexual assault by a man that professed to love, honor, and protect myself and my children whom I brought with me to the marriage. I had suspicions for a long time prior to this, but when I confronted him he responded with a web of deceit meant for me to believe that I was crazy. When I was given the information I immediately contacted police so that an investigation could begin. I was informed that there was nothing that they could do until my daughter was in the community to be interviewed (at the time she was in college a few hours away). I explained to the officer that I have two minor children with me and could not return to the home as I felt that we were in danger of further abuses. I was given information for a local domestic violence shelter as a temporary solution.

The urgency of the situation required that my minor children and I sneak into the home to grab our prescription medications. We left with those and the clothes on our backs. I honestly believed that the police would at the very least request that he leave and make the home available to us at the very least, but ideally arrest him. As a matter of comfort and trying not to traumatize my children more than had already happened we sought safety at the home of a relative. However, we ended up at a shelter a couple of days later.

On February 19, 2016, my daughter joined us at the shelter and police were contacted. Interviews happened, emergency protection orders sought, divorce papers filed, and Child Protective Services (CPS) contacted. It was a dizzying flurry of activity that was frightening, infuriating, and sad; I also felt a weight lifted and an amazing amount of safety.

Per the court I was instructed to pay the extra funds to have the Sheriff’s Department serve all of the legal documents “for safety reasons.” Several days later I received a phone call that the papers had been served, but he was found unresponsive and as the deputy stated, “he is passed out, drunk! He is in his yard with no coat, I have called an ambulance.” What the deputy did next blew me away, he failed to disconnect the call and I could hear him telling a paramedic, “I pulled up and I thought, holy sh*t, I hope that f***er isn’t dead!”

To condense this story a bit, the following months was an endless barrage of delays in every possible court case that we had going; criminal, divorce, child support, and even a hearing to terminate his parental rights. It seemed that everything was hinged on the criminal case, which was scheduled for December 7th and 8th.

Friend of the Court offered the run around by stating that they were not receiving the documents that I was sending regarding my proof of income. They also stated that were not receiving the other party’s documents. In all honesty, as angry as I was at him and his indiscretions I had to offer him the benefit of the situations since I had sent my paperwork three times! My attorney hand delivered the documents, which obviously could not be ignored and finally I was given a hearing date.

Upon arriving at the hearing my ex was noticeably absent and Friend of the Court advised the judge that neither my ex or his employer were cooperating with requests for proof of income. A warrant was issued for “show cause,” however, I have since noticed that said warrant had mysteriously disappeared from the documents of my online file! To this day I have not received a penny of child support, nor have I been given a judgment in the matter.

As instructed my daughter contacted the Prosecutor’s Office the day prior to trial and it seemed that my ex was missing and the case was listed on the voicemail of the office as “resolved.” To my children and I this meant he had run, killed himself, or was somewhere lurking, watching us, and waiting to pounce. This was not the man that I married, but I had lost that man long ago, I no longer knew who he was or what he was capable of.

On December 31, 2016, my ex-husband was located in the hills of Big Sur, California. There he was taken into custody and proceedings began in Michigan to have him extradited.

The trial was set yet again, but the stress of everything was getting to us. One of my children was admitted to the hospital due to overwhelming stress of this situation coupled with expected stressors of a young adult. Upon getting word of this the prosecutor stated we should seriously consider a plea deal to save the children the added stress of testifying.

In several emails between Joe Bizon and myself regarding the plea deal Joe was informed that my daughter wanted prison time, the need for him to register as a sex offender, and the ability to make an impact statement to the court. I told Joe that if these requirements could not be met than we prefer to go to trial.

In an email to be dated April 8, 2017, Joe Bizon states, “I am okay with that, but I am pretty sure that means a trial. That is ok. I think we are ready.” Ultimately, a charge of Criminal Sexual Conduct 4th Degree was agreed upon with the Prosecutor and Defendant. This directly defied our requests as it is a misdemeanor and my daughter had reported five years of abuse, also the maximum time for this is 9 months in county jail. Per the above linked article the Prosecutor states that the victim agreed to these terms.

Through this process I have learned not to believe everything that you read, even if it is written by seasoned reporters. To be sure these lies were correctly stated I paid almost $30 to get the transcripts for the plea hearing. Every word in that article is backed by the transcripts in my possession.

In an email dated April 24, 2017, Joe Bizon informs me, “Mr. Eitniear entered a plea to CSC 4th degree. That is a felony sex offense.” I was positive the label of felony for the charge was incorrect, but I was not prepared to argue that. Instead I researched legislation for the State of Michigan. As I suspected the charge is in fact a misdemeanor.

At this point our hands were tied and our only glimmer of hope was our impact statements. My statement was sent to the judge, but was not read in court, therefore it is in the court file, but I’m not sure if it is a matter of public record, so I will refrain from sharing this. However, my daughter’s statement was powerful, witnessing her anger in the courtroom was to see my daughter transform from a victim to a survivor right before my eyes! Portions of this can be read here.

Every day for 18 consecutive days I watched the sex offender registry and his name never showed. On the 18th day I contacted the probation/parole office to find out who screwed up this time. I was frustrated to learn that based on the charge he plead to and the fact that it is only one count he is registered on a NON-PUBLIC sex offender registry. The very idea of this baffled me, that defeats the entire purpose of a sex offender registry! I was dumb founded, so I headed back to Michigan Legislation where I found this:

The public internet website described in subsection (2) shall not include the following individuals:(a) An individual registered solely because he or she had 1 or more dispositions for a listed offense entered under section 18 of chapter XIIA of the probate code of 1939, 1939 PA 288, MCL 712A.18, in a case that was not designated as a case in which the individual was to be tried in the same manner as an adult under section 2d of chapter XIIA of the probate code of 1939, 1939 PA 288, MCL 712A.2d.

(b) An individual registered solely because he or she was the subject of an order of disposition or other adjudication in a juvenile matter in another state or country.

(c) An individual registered solely because he or she was convicted of a single tier I offense, other than an individual who was convicted of a violation of any of the following:

(i) Section 145c(4) of the Michigan penal code, 1931 PA 328, MCL 750.145c.

(ii) A violation of section 335a(2)(b) of the Michigan penal code, 1931 PA 328, MCL 750.335a, if a victim is a minor.

(iii) Section 349b of the Michigan penal code, 1931 PA 328, MCL 750.349b, if the victim is a minor.

(iv) Section 539j of the Michigan penal code, 1931 PA 328, MCL 750.539j, if a victim is a minor.

(v) An offense substantially similar to an offense described in subparagraphs (i) to (v) under a law of the United States that is specifically enumerated in 42 USC 16911, under a law of any state or any country, or under tribal or military law.

This information can be located here.

All the worry, the stress, the emotional turmoil … the YEARS that this man perpetrated, the severity … duration, none of that came into play in the plea deal or sentence, every bit of it hinged on this being the only time that he got caught and his past criminal history, which is basically non-existent … so, he spent five years committing crimes, but that’s okay, because we never really caught him!

The pursuit of happiness? The system has made this a long shot!

 

One Victim’s Transformation to Survivor

“According to The National Child Traumatic Stress Network, 1 out of 4 girls will experience some form of sexual abuse before the age of 18. It also states that most cases go unreported. You made me one of those statistics. For 5 years, this went unreported. For 5 years, I was one out of four girls.”

As my daughter stood before the judge and a courtroom full of strangers I listened as her nervous tension squeaked past her vocal cords. There, with her back to me, just a foot away I listened as she addressed her perpetrator. I knew she needed a reminder that I was there, but I feared touching her; I didn’t want my anger to override her emotions through my touch.

At the suggestion of another I did reach out, and something amazing happened. As my hand touched her back and began to rub (as is customary of our interaction during tense moments) her voice grew loud, she was angry and she let it be known. My little caterpillar that spent most of her life hidden away in a cocoon of secrecy suddenly emerged a beautiful butterfly … it was that instant that the room turned into the color of tears, not only for what she has had to endure, but for the empowering strength and inspiration she has become.

Prior to my daughter reading her impact statement the prosecuting attorney said, “Now you are very soft spoken, but you need to speak up so that the court can hear you.” However, I’m pretty sure that the prosecutor thought that her booming voice of anger was going to smack him in the back of the head!

She stood there reading the details of his years of abuse, she stated her hatred for him, she spat out memories that have become nightmares, and she yelled at him as she told him that she has been diagnosed with Severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder! All the while she watched him, hoping to see some reaction from him, but as is his trait, he was completely emotionally removed from the reality that the rest of us are facing. He could not look at her, or anyone. She completely owned the courtroom as she told the truth, all eyes were on him, including those of other inmates. He could not look at here, could not make eye contact with a single soul in the room. His shame moved around the courtroom like a bouncy ball on speed! She flipped the switch today, she let him know that he can no longer intimidate her.

Per the plea agreement my ex-husband was supposed to be released today with credit for time served (159 days) and the order to register as a sex offender. Yes, this is merely a slap on the wrist, but as long as the victim remains informed the prosecutor is free to reach any deal that he (or she) wants in an effort to save money on trials. However, the judge has a heart … he added 91 days discretionary jail time (if he violates probation), 5 years of probation and registration as a sex offender.

In my victim’s impact statement that represented all five of my children I had requested an addition of the five years of probation, never did I think we would actually get it! Yes, he was released late this afternoon, and our lives are back to checking over our shoulders, but even if the sentence came out to be exactly what it was supposed to be there is nothing more empowering, satisfying, or inspirational as seeing your child transform from victim to survivor, caterpillar to butterfly in an instant right before your eyes!

For further information: CSC Victim Scolds Perpetrator

Battle of the Body

She lay upon her bed, the only sound is the gasps of air as she sobs. Praying for sleep, she found none. She just wanted to make sense of the emotional pain that she had been feeling for as long as she can remember.

Freak, Fatty, Nerd, Worthless. The words rang repeatedly in her mind. No, she wasn’t being bullied, or maybe she was, but if she was, she was the bully and the bullied.

Her mind began to race, she was inundated with ideas, and it was just an impulse when she went to the kitchen, took the knife, and wildly slashed at her arms. In a flurry of activity and pain she felt the great release that comes with self-harm.

She had managed to turn the emotional pain that she couldn’t understand into physical damage that she could see and make sense of.  The endorphin rush was short, and the blood stains told her that she better hide the damage. She ran to her room to hide the knife as she cried for the stinging of the of the cuts.

Little did she know that her mind was hiding the knife for future use. She swore out loud that she would never do this again, as she placed the blade in her night stand drawer.

Washing up the evidence she had placed upon her body she allowed the tears of pain to turn to continued sobs.

As you read this, maybe you imagine a broken family, a victim of sexual assault or some other sort of crime, maybe even a mental patient.

Not once did you consider that maybe she’s just a normal girl, with normal emotional growth. Not once did you consider that her scars are caused by inappropriate coping skills. Not once did you consider how you might help her.

The Disposable Individual

For two weeks I have been dealing with some sort of break down in communication between my doctor’s office, my pharmacy, and myself. This has led to an absence of refills for several much needed medications … and a drastic toss into the life of understanding sudden, unintended withdrawal symptoms. Until yesterday I was doing a damn good job of hiding the physical withdrawal symptoms. I did tell someone about the physical aches that I was feeling, but they chalked it up to “Getting old really sucks!” so I stuffed my physical pain so that no one could diagnose me with stupid things like old age or the flu.

Yesterday I got home from work in an exaggerated elevation of mood. I was laughing about everything, probably much more than was necessary, but it felt good. That is until reality hit, my life is not where I want to be right now. I worked my ass off last week, with Friday being the toughest day of all. I was exhausted when I got home and asked my teenage daughters if they felt like cooking dinner. I know better than to use a question to motivate a child to action, but I did and it was a failure, of course no one feels like cooking dinner.

I realized my mistake as I spoke the words, but rather than getting upset I recognized that no one felt like doing much of anything. Although my girls had the day off from school, I guess they are entitled to a day of rest as well.

Sometime later I requested one of the children make me a cup of coffee, and I was told, “Get up and get yourself a glass of water!”

I couldn’t hold it in anymore! “I did not work my ass off all fucking day so that I could come home and serve myself a glass of fucking water for dinner!” I knew this was the emotional side of my withdrawal rearing its ugly head, but the words were out, it was to late to stop the train wreck that was happening! The child that suffered my words sent me three text messages in response to my outburst, but I could see from the preview that I shouldn’t bother reading those until I pulled myself together. Instead, I turtlized everything (yes, that is a new word that I am coining)!

I starting stuffing everything that I was feeling for fear of the repercussions of sharing what I was feeling. In the past I have been accused of dragging others down to my level and through my shit when I feel like this. As a helper by trade and a human by birth I work really hard to be sure that I don’t do that, which often leads to me shutting down for fear of hurting others as much as I hurt.

After many hours of quiet I decided I was in the clear and comfortable enough to talk to someone. It was quite obvious that I wasn’t being my usual funny, avoidant self, so it shouldn’t have been a surprise when the other person merely said good night to my attempts at conversation.

This morning I was still feeling pretty raw emotionally, and physically, I can’t even describe my level of pain; I just know that withdraw sucks. I didn’t smile when I finally convinced myself it was time to get out of bed. I found nothing to laugh about, and by about 1 or 2 in the afternoon I realized that I had barely spoken a dozen words all day … and that no one had bothered to reach out and see how I was.

This catapulted me into a place I don’t want to be, but reality sucks, and this is what I’m facing. If I am not being the funny one, the life of the party, the smiley one, the helping one, the let me kiss your ass one; then there is not a single individual in my life that wants to be around me. No one seems to know how to handle the “family mascot” when s/he isn’t able to use humor to deflect the layers upon layers of pain hidden behind the smile.

So, today, while everyone was outside, enjoying the lovely weather and doing all sorts of cool stuff that we have waited all winter long for … this mascot was lying in her bed, trying to come to terms with the fact that her pain has made her a disposable individual.

Remembering Pay It Forward

It is quickly approaching the one year anniversary of the day my children and I realized that we were living a lie. Nearly a year since we dropped everything and ran away from the devastation of the secret life of my now ex-husband. In that time we have been wronged in so many ways. It has taken over five months for the divorce settlement to actually go through, and even now, I have nothing … yet. I’ve been waiting for tomorrow since August 2, 2016 for that. We don’t have a child support order yet, although the first notice of request for our income was sent out on March 24, 2016. We haven’t had the criminal trial yet, even though he was arrested on March 30, 2016, and soon after released on bail. Everything along the way has been stalled or halted in one way or another, it all started when he had a massive heart attack in the courthouse on one of our many court dates. Then, he fled, he dropped his great job, a home, our family pets, everything and he headed for the hills of the Pacific Coast, we learned of this the day before his trial was to begin.

His parental rights were supposed to be terminated, but the delay for the criminal trial left the courts waiting too long and they were forced to dismiss the case with a warning to me: “If anyone tells you, even a judge, that he is to see the children you are to contact Children’s Protective Services immediately and defy all court orders, we will take care of you.”

In all of the we have felt lost in a legal process that seems to never end. We often see the light at the end of the tunnel, but every time it ends up being a train headed right for us! We squeeze ourselves between the wall of the tunnel and the train and pray, and every time, God gets us through, every single time!

In all of this, there is one memory that we hold near and dear to us! We had left our home in the darkness with nothing more than the clothes on our backs and any prescription medications that we had. We stayed a couple of nights at a relatives before being given a room in a shelter in Mason County, Michigan. We were about a week into what would become a six week stay when we woke up at 4:30am. Each of us showered and ate breakfast. Our day would include driving one of the children to school in Newaygo County, then the other to the doctor in Kent County. We would return to Newaygo County where my daughter and I would hunker down at the library so that she could do her online schooling and the other daughter would meet us to complete the evenings homework. The girls would then go to drama practice at the school in Newaygo County and finally we would return to Mason County to sleep and do it all over again. Our schedule was beyond demanding, and this was five days a week, but there were other obligations that left us travel weary and gasless the other two days of the week as well.

On one particular day we were eating breakfast and going over any changes in our normal routine when the girls and I decided we wanted to stop at McDonald’s for some bevarages before leaving Mason County. I emptied every pocket I had and counted out $4 in change, mostly pennies, but enough to get a coffee and two sodas. It was the last of my money for the forseeable future, but it was something that we could do that wasn’t a necessity.

We left a few minutes early and pulled into the drive thru at McDonald’s, right behind a Mason County Sheriff’s Deputy. He or she pulled up to the window to pay and it appeared the cashier and deputy were engaging in small talk, I watched the clock getting aggravated that the few minutes I had allowed for this were ticking away and we were going to be late. Finally the vehicle pulled away and I sadly took the change from my daughter and cupping it in two hands leaned out to pay the person. “Oh no!” she said.

“I’m sorry, this is all that we have,” I responded as a way of excusing the massive amount of pennies she would have to count.

“No,” she said, as I felt the embarrassment burning my cheeks, “the deputy paid for your order.”

I eyed her skeptically, “Really?” I felt the tears slipping down my reddened cheeks and my throat swelled to the point of making swallowing an amazing task.

“Yes,” she said, “it’s paid for, you can pull forward to get your order.”

By the time it sank in that the deputy had absolutely no way of knowing our story it was too late, he or she had long ago gotten their food and moved on with their day. My daughters, ages 15 and 12 at the time, joined me in an emotional display of private gratitude. We had just walked away from the man that had promised us everything, we only recently learned of the capacity of his destruction, we had been devastated, stunned, beyond sad. Yet, here was a total stranger, paying it forward, with no knowledge of our story, effectively restoring our faith in humanity in a single transaction.

IDK What to Call This

My stress level is through the roof, I feel like my head is going to explode and it is making me want to puke.

I know, I know, I should be giving this to God, and I am, but it is coming at me quicker than I can pass it to Him. It isn’t all my stress either, I learned a long time ago that everyone has their own problems, and it seems that everyone is dumping those on me.

I am in a cycle today, take some medicine to get rid of my headache, lie down, wake up to a ringing phone with someone else’s problems. It’s not that I don’t care either, maybe that’s the problem, I care too much.

My current priorities are:

  • Grocery Money
  • Gas Money
  • Laundry Money
  • Money to get my car legal
  • Money to get my daughter’s medicine
  • Prayers for all of this and a friend that  I really care about going through some things.

The priorities aren’t necessarily in that order, that’s just the order that I thought of them in.

I just need to get through today, I’ll face tomorrow then, but just get me through today.