My Life With OCD nOCD

My Life With OCD nOCD

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Let me first begin with stating that my website, is not about OCD. My hopes that if I can get my message out there I can help someone else out.

When you have OCD you don’t have many quiet moments in your head. For me, OCD is often like a song playing over and over in a loop. Only the song isn’t a happy pop song.

Story of A Girl

Well…sometimes it is. But, I’ll get to that later.

The thoughts aren’t about me doing bad things, but they’re never pleasant. Most obsessions are based on deep fears — “What if I or someone I love gets sick?” — or basically the worst things one can think of, like blasphemy, racism, suicide, murder, rape, contamination, animal abuse, politics, torture … and the thoughts are often things I can never control.

Here is something that people with OCD can tell you-you are usually NOT a neat freak! Some of you might remember the show Monk, about a private eye whose OCD makes him a brilliant detective. I never felt as if I was being represented when watching the show because – COMPULSIONS DIFFER!

Monk

OCD doesn’t necessarily mean you’re neat and particular. Those of you into reality shows: Have you ever seen that show Hoarders? Hoarding is often a symptom of OCD. Compulsions vary. Sometimes they correspond to fears, like washing your hands because you’re scared of contamination. Sometimes there’s no real logic behind them, like when you have to jump over a line on the floor because otherwise everybody you know will die horribly and it will be all your fault. Or, like Hannah Horvath from Girls describing herself having to masterbate 8 times a night to starve off diseases of the mind and body.

Andy from Parks and Rec is my Celeb Crush

Many don’t have physical compulsions at all, instead suffering from “purely obsessional” OCD, where all they have are obsessions. And some people with diagnosed OCD even obsessively doubt the fact that they have OCD. How’s that for a mindfuck?

OCD, at heart, is an anxiety disorder.

People who suffer from OCD know that there is something wrong with them. One of the many differences between OCDers and people who are just “quirky” — besides a role on a major sitcom — is shame. Let’s be clear: If you regularly check your pockets to confirm that you’ve still got your car keys, or if you prefer your sandwiches with the crust cut off, or if you only eat red Starbursts, you’re not suffering from OCD. Those are just quirks, and also the pink Starburst is obviously the best. People like quirks when they’re cute, fun, and harmless. When they involve licking light switches or hitting yourself over the head with your shoe, people just think you’re “crazy.”

But you’ll believe it of yourself as well. You’ll be standing in your bathroom at three in the morning, scrubbing your pocket change because you’ve been awake for hours wondering if it could contaminate your clothes and make you a danger to the people around you, and you’ll be unable to stop, but you’ll know that what you’re doing is crazy.

OCD is “ego dystonic,” which means “out of sync with your ideal self. OCDers don’t even get any joy out of their compulsions. You don’t want to make sure the door is locked 25 times in one night, you have to. It makes you feel better. It makes you feel so good! It’s a relief from the constant thoughts in your brain. But, the relief is only temporary.

Sadly, it’s rarely just OCD. For example, I am also diagnosed with panic attacks, generalized anxiety disorder, and depression. Panic attacks, Tourette syndrome, hypochondria, body dysmorphic disorder, and eating disorders are all so-called OCD sister disorders. Meaning, they are all on the same spectrum. They’re diagnoses in their own right that exist on their own but also hang around in the background while OCD messes with your mind.

OCD also often coexists with depression. This is partly because of chemicals and genetics, and also because constant obsessing and feeling forced to keep everything you’ve ever owned to the point of isolation can be pretty fucking depressing. Studies show that having OCD from an early age tends to make you more susceptible to depression because it wears on you so much.

Dr. Anne Marie Albano, clinical site director of New York-Presbyterian’s Youth Anxiety Center, and a leading voice in child anxiety research, has found that the condition often takes root around age four, and can bloom into depression by high school, leading to substance abuse and even suicide. The clearest path to treating it is to “remove the stigma around anxiety with parents,” she says. Instead of hiding the problem, explore treatment—the most successful of which she has found to be “a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and medication.”

Which brings me to my own story of OCD. I mentioned in an earlier blog that it was at age four that my parents realized that there may not be something right with me. I talked about my generalized anxiety issues, but it is only until now that I am telling my journey of OCD. My Mom died when I was 14, and that was when my OCD became extremely debilitating.

I am the baby of the family. I have three older brothers, all eleven and ten years older than me. It’s Brent, (the oldest,) and then Dirk and Kirk, (the twins,). Because my Dad was sick too when my mom passed, social services came in the night she died and told my family that my oldest brother Brent would have to be my guardian or I would be handed over to the state.

Brent became my guardian, and ensued was a whirl-wind of change. He was only twenty-four years old, and he was not mature enough to be a guardian to a teenage girl who had just lost her mom. He didn’t know that he was supposed to take me to my psychiatrist that I had been seeing since I was eight years old.

So, something I loved to do was the alphabet in sign language. I would be in school and I would have my hand near my side and I would do sign language. And it felt so good. If I were stressed I would tug on my ear 4 times and then slap my side with my right hand, and then I would do the alphabet in sign language. I would do the alphabet walking down the halls, I would do the alphabet in gym class, I would do the alphabet in class while I was supposed to be writing notes. My hand felt like it was going to fall off. My grades were starting to be effected. I was always a straight A student, and at the time I came home with all F’s. Oh, and kids are super cruel anyways, they are extra cruel when you are doing things that are bringing attention to yourself.

At night time the song, “Story of a Girl,” would play over and over in my head. One night I became so desperate for sleep that I started tugging on my ears. I tugged on my ears so hard they started to tear and bleed, and I put a cotton ball in my ears. The school counselor finally stepped in. And when she did she threatened my brother that she was going to call social services. My brother got me back into my normal doctor, and I got back on my meds. I also started talking to a grief counselor.

While my anxiety and OCD was not cured, and it was definitely not the last time I hurt myself or someone else, I was able to sleep better. And I was getting better grades. OCD is treatable.

There have been better years than others. The year I miscarried the twins I didn’t leave the house for a year.

Recently my OCD was becoming really uncontrollable again. There was a lot of changes going on in my life, and I would get stuck on words in conversation. For example, I just started a new position at work. My team was in training and we were reading out loud and my boss got to me and I started my sentence and said, “The attorney stated stated stated stated…” I went on as if nothing had happened, but you could tell there was a confusion in the room. I left the room and went to the bathroom, and cried in embarrassment. No one likes being the New Girl, but when you feel like you are different or there is something wrong with you go home and you feel ashamed. And like you are worthless.

The good news is that OCD and its tag-along disorders are treatable. There are all kinds of medications and therapies that can help alleviate symptoms. And since the spectrum disorders are linked, one treatment can sometimes cover all symptoms. OCD is not something that can be cured, but it can be controlled.

More recently a site reached out to me that is called nOCD. nOCD is an app that was created by someone who suffers from OCD themselves. The founder, Stephen Smith, (a total cutie BTDUBS,) is on a mission to help people with OCD and to take the shame away from the disorder. nOCD is a fully customizable app which incorporates clinically proven OCD treatment techniques (we are not creating a revolutionary new therapy, instead, we are revolutionizing the DELIVERY of an existing form of therapy – ERP – which we already know to be highly effective for OCD).

Here is a link which provides an overview of Exposure and Response Prevention, the type of therapy which is incorporated into nOCD.

nOCD provides real-time tracking of a wide range of metrics, including time spent doing ERP exercises, anxiety levels during exercises and during general use of the app, location/time of day of OCD episodes, and much more. All your personal information is stored on a HIPPA compliant secure server.

nOCD allows you to export this objective data directly to your therapist if you choose to do so. This was something I was extremely impressed by. When I see my doctor, it was problematic since self-reporting is subjective and OCD patients commonly doubt some of the most basic things about themselves or about whatever they are doing. In addition mOCD has a large community on social media @treatmyOCD. I caught myself in the middle of a trigger last week, and the community was so supportive.

nOCD is available for FREE on the App Store (Android version coming soon!). nOCD is determined to bring high-quality, affordable treatment to anyone who needs it.

To download, please click on this link:

nOCD

My First Mother’s Day

My First Mother’s Day

Today is my first Mother’s Day with a Child. I spent MANY years dreading Mother’s Day. Not only have I not had a Mom to celebrate it with since I was 14, but, Mother’s Day for me, for many years was a reminder of my failures as a woman. A reminder that my body hated me, and that I hated my body.

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For most of my twenties I would hear friends complain of late nights with their baby and diaper rash, colic, and teething. And I would get super annoyed because that was ALL I wanted! I am ashamed to admit it now, but, I ruined several friendships with wonderful women in my twenties, because I resented them SO much for being able to have children. Or I told them I was going to their baby shower only to back out five minutes before hand. Or, I was a being a bitch and brought them a bottle of whisky to their baby shower as their gift! I pride myself on being a good friend, but, I was not a good friend to a lot of people when they needed me most. And to those people I would like to say I am extremely sorry.

When Ari first came home with us August 29, 2016, something special happened. All of a sudden we were receiving emails and messages from people all over the Country from women who had the same struggles that Trenton and I had. Even two messages from Canada. We were giving hope to the hopeless. The women like me- women who for nine years went on diets, took hormone treatments, did IVF, had miscarriages…

I just want to say that YOU are my people-The Mom’s to furbabies, the try as you might, the never-give-upper’s, – I GET you!

The Mother’s to babies that never made it out of the womb- I GET YOU!

Something that we don’t talk enough about as a society are miscarriages. Miscarriages are one of the worst things any woman will ever experience. A woman should never feel shamed because she is speaking about it. I can’t tell you the number of times I went to talk about it and the room became dull and hushed, and all of a sudden it was like, #ThatAwkwardMoment when Mae brings up her miscarriage to her closest friends and family members because she needs someone to talk to about it, and the room falls silent because MY PAIN, is too much for that person to take five seconds and have EMPATHY for!

The worst thing any one has ever said to me in my life happened during a time when neither Trenton or I were doing well. We both had MAJOR depression issues to work through, and I didn’t even have a job. So, here is a woman who has had SEVERAL children and she says to me after miscarrying the twins, “Mae, let’s be real-it was for the best. You do NOT need to bring a baby in to your situation.”

It never occurred to that person that we were in a bad situation because we couldn’t move past the notion that we may NEVER be parents! Financially, the decks were stacked against us, and our bodies weren’t cooperating. Trenton may never get to carry on a legacy. Trenton is my best friend in the world, the love of my life, and I couldn’t give him what he wanted more than anything on this planet!

Adoption. I urge MY people to please consider it. There are so many babies in our Country and in the WORLD that need a home. They maybe have been placed in to an orphanage, but that is YOUR child, and they are out there WAITING for you to come bring them home! We also need to work on lowering the cost of adoption. It is a completely unrealistic amount even for someone like Trenton and I. I still want to adopt more kids but I don’t know if it’s going to happen because of the cost of adoption. There are people like me and Trenton that can afford their children once they are home, but they can’t afford the huge lump sum that may have to give to an adoption agency, or home studies, and lawyers.

There are a lot of really good people out there that WANT to adopt, but most likely will never consider because they know going in to it that it is going to be really expensive! Or they only live in a one bedroom apartment and live paycheck to paycheck, so moving OUT of that apartment in order to have a home study done may seem completely unrealistic. It’s not. I’m pleading with you to not give up hope. I am pleading with you to never give up your dream of becoming a Mother or a Father!

I’m also going to be so blunt as to say it-but I am also urging some of you young Mother’s to consider placing your child up to a Family that is like Trenton and I. I’m always talking about my story, but a few of you may have had a hiccup while writing your story. There may be partying you still want to do, places you still wanted to travel, or you may have wanted to be married first. Stories you NEED to tell. In the pit of your stomach you know whether or not you want to keep your child. Placing a child up for adoption is one of the most generous and selfless acts you can ever do for someone else. It truly puts you in to Saint-Like Status in my book.

Thank you Leslie Graham for what you have done for our family. Thank you for introducing us to the biological mother Sarah Butterworth. Happy Mother’s Day, Sarah. And happy Mother’s Day to you, Leslie.

Which brings us to our little growing guy. Lucas Aristotle Hagan. Oh, the wonders this World still has yet to hold for you. I am truly the luckiest girl on the face of the Planet! I truly believe that everything is predetermined. It’s not all random chaos. No one knows this, but the first morning Lucas and I woke up in our home, I had held him on my chest the whole night. I had read that was one way to bond with the baby. It helps because his heart beat syncs up with yours. I’ll never forget it, but I woke up and I forgot he was there! His little eyes peaked open, and I kissed him on his cheeks. And I said, “Good Morning, baby!” And, I remember tears started flowing from my eyes. I turned on my side and cradled him in my arms. “Thank you, God! Thank you for finally answering my prayers!” I belted out. I kissed Lucas Aristotle and sobbed in to my pillow, and then I kissed Lucas Aristotle and I thanked God some more. This went on for a good 10 minutes. And it hit me-I’m a Mom. After eight years with the love of my life, one laparoscopic surgery, 3 different fertility drugs, 4 IVF treatments- I’m a Mom.

And boy, was this kid worth the wait. I know I’m biased, but he IS special. He smiles and laugh more than any baby I have EVER seen! In fact, I don’t even need an alarm clock anymore! Most mornings I wake up to him just laughing SUPER hard! And I have NO idea what he’s laughing at! And then he starts babbling, “Da-Da-Dad!” Lol, because that’s his way of letting us know- Hey! I’m ready to eat!

When Lucas Aristotle first came home I had a talk with him the first day. I said, “Look, I have never been around babies. I tried reading the baby books in 5 days-but you’re going to have to be patient with me. We’re going to have to figure this out together.” And, that’s the honest to God’s truth. I didn’t have nine months to prepare for him. I had 5 days. So, when he came home-a lot of it I was just winging it! Now, about the 4th month was when Trenton and I had figured out a schedule that worked for both of all of us.

And, he never ceases to amaze me. Sometimes, I’ll catch myself staring at him and I’ll think about how tiny he was when he first came home, (3 lbs, 5 oz.) and now here we are 4 days away from being ten months old and he’s so long and big now!

This morning I walked in to his bedroom and did our morning wake up song, “Good Morning! Good Morrrning! It’s great to stay up late! Good Morning! Good Morning! To You!” And he smiles, and I go to pick him up to get him a bottle, and he grabs my hand before I could put it behind his back. (BOY! He’s GREAT at grabbing! I mean he is STRONG!) He takes my hand and places it on his face. I know he is trying to put my finger in his mouth because we’re teething right now. Instead, I start to stroke his cheek. I look him in the eyes and say, “Your Dad is the greatest love of my life, and you are going to be my greatest accomplishment.”

At it’s core level, Mother’s Day to me, has always been a celebration of us as women. The extra hours we have to work to support our families. The guilt we feel for having to work instead of getting to be there with our child. The sacrifices we make for our families, the quiet secrets we carry as women to protect our families. The innate ability we have to nurture. We are tough, ladies. We really are. Happy Mother’s Day to all of you out there. This is ALL of our day!

Not Your Average Mom

Not Your Average Mom

Hi! My name is Maegan Hagan. My friends call me Mae. I am not your average Mom, and I am not your average wife. I curse too much, I am incredibly self destructive, slightly narcissistic, I always am the last to leave the party, I am incredibly impatient, and I am a controlling perfectionist.

I am also incredibly smart. I make shit work. If I love you, I love you hard, and I push you to be a better person. I am trustworthy. If you tell me something I take it with me to the grave. I have ambition. When I hit a goal I don’t just stop there. I keep going. And last but not least, I TRY and get along with everyone.

There are reason’s that I am the way I am, and I will eventually tell you that story. But, for tonight-I’m telling you my mission. My mission is to give hope to the hopeless. My life changed in 5 days.

See, my husband and I are best friends. We are soul-mates. But, for 9 years, our lives were on hold. For nine years we had 12 miscarriages. Just when we had decided to call it quits, a woman, who I will be referring to as S.L., found me on Facebook, and told us she had been following our story. She told us she had a baby in the NICU, and that she was giving him up for adoption. 5 days later and Lucas Aristotle Hagan was home. 5 days. And now 8 months later, and our entire lives have been changed. For the best!

And that is why I am writing this blog. It is all about my life as a Wife, and Mother, and writer. And how I am trying to be the best mom and wife I can possibly be! I am here to tell you our story, from the day Trenton Matthew Hagan and I met, to the day we married- and everything in between.

I am here to tell you the heartbreaks and the success. And hopefully inspire you along the way. My name is Mae, and we are The Hagans. This is our story.

(This is the video of the day we brought Lucas home,).

Generation Never: Chapter One

Generation Never: Chapter One

The year is 1989. Ghostbusters II has just come out, Dynasty had aired it’s series finale, Cincinnati Reds Manager Pete Rose has been banned from baseball for life, Sega has released Genesis, acid washed jeans are huge, and Madonna has released her controversial Like a Prayer Album.

1989 was a great year. It was also the year I started staying with my Grandma Stella. Stella was 67 years old when she found out I was going to be coming to stay with her. Most of the time I would stay with Stella Monday through Friday, and on the weekends I would be with my parents. Stella wasn’t like most Grandma’s- she didn’t like to be called Grandma, Mimi, mimah- no- she liked for me to call her Stella. She was there for every scrape on my knee, for every time I asked her to make me her famous Mac n cheese, and for every time I just needed someone to listen. She was my best friend.

Stella carried herself like Elizabeth Taylor. She tells me that women are supposed to be the backbone of their family. “Women must be beautiful, full of forgiveness, and have faith in themselves that they are capable of moving mountains,” she says. At night time I lay awake and watch her while she sleeps. She rubs along her skin with her long nails for comfort. I don’t know what she is trying to comfort herself from, but I know it always helps her go to sleep. Especially if she rubs her arms. I can still hear her long glamourous nails, always painted a different color, hitting her skin. She rubbed her arms like some people need fans to fall asleep.

Every week Stella goes to get her hair done at the beauty parlor. I always love seeing what she’s had done to her hair. Sometimes it was even a different color! I loved days when she dyed it a new color. She was always happier on those days.

She wears a single strand of pearls around her neck, along with pearl earrings. Most of the time dark red lipsticks, and every once in a while she throws on a shade of pink. Not too often though.

Stella puts on old movies for me to watch. Stella hates A Streetcar Named Desire. She says that from the time that movie came out it had been impossible for anyone to hear her name without reciting the famous line, “STELLLLA! STEELLLLLLA!” Stella loves Sunset Boulevard, Casablanca, but her favorite is Samsung and Delilah. I watch her as she recites every word on screen. Stella didn’t always want to be a wife and Mother. She had bigger dreams.

In our neighborhood of Evansville, Indiana, Stella developed quite the reputation for feeding homeless people if they came up to her door asking for food. She had to hide it from my Grandpa John, though. Grandpa John would get incredibly mad when he caught her feeding the homeless!

When I’m six, a young boy knocked on her door. He couldn’t have been more than 16. He put his hand behind his head bashfully, “Ma’am, I hate to trouble you, but a friend of mine said you would feed me if I asked.” Stella’s eyes widened, “You’re just a BABY!”

I watched as Stella proceeded to make the biggest steak known to man! The boys eyes widened, and he started to dig in. To this day I’ll never forget how hard he started to shake every time he went to pick up his fork. I watch him as he eats and shakes. Stella whispers in my ear that it’s not polite to stare. Stella pats him on the back, “Slow down honey, there’s more where that came from.” About an hour later the boy stands up and he hugs Stella letting out a long deep sob. The type of hug you can only give someone when the world has kicked the shit out of you. The type of hug a 16 year old boy shouldn’t have to give. Stella gives him a bag of sandwiches and our number. She tells him if he ever needs anything he is always welcome in our home.

When he leaves Grandpa John comes in the room, and he is mad! “Stella, you can’t keep inviting all these homeless people in to our home!”

To which she replies with my favorite response of all time, “Oh John, shut the hell up!”

Grandpa John chuckles to himself and goes into the other room. Stella takes me by the hand and we go to kitchen table. We sit there, and there is a long pause. She proceeds to tell me that when she is eleven she is living with seven brothers and sisters in California with her parent’s. Stella’s mother and father desert them one afternoon when she is eleven, and she is left to take care of all her brothers and sisters by herself. “You see Maegan- we as women are unbreakable. We are fighters. It is our responsibility to make sacrifices for those around us we care about. Even for people that we don’t know. If you are a truly blessed person there will always be enough to go around.”

She pats me on the head and starts to make dinner. Stella fills my heart up with happiness. She is my best friend. They say time has a way of speeding up when you are happy, and coming to a complete stop when you’re sad. Stella was my everything. The years I spent with her, were the happiest moments of my life. And, yes, they went by extremely fast.

When I’m seven Stella’s sisters fly in from California. Stella tells me it is a yearly tradition, but she hasn’t gotten to do it the last few years because one of her sisters had been in a wreck. This is my first time meeting them. When they sit together I call them The Sisters. I am extremely jealous that they are monopolizing time with Stella, but, I also am extremely fascinated by them. There is five of them including Stella. They couldn’t have been more different than Stella. Patty was shy and quiet, Janet was the know-it-all, Sue was uptight and didn’t like for children to speak, and Margaret was- well- she was the Gold Digger! Margaret was my favorite of The Sisters. Margaret was fun and loud and crazy! Margaret had been married 3 different times. She married a businessman, a lawyer, and even a politician. I secretly call her Black Widow, because every husband she had died. Of course, it doesn’t help that she married them when she was extremely young, and they were extremely old. Margaret said after the politician she was done with marriage. Margaret is fun. She brings her friend Jennifer with her. Jennifer is her roommate, but I’m not supposed to ask her questions about it. She pays for The Sisters to fly out to see Stella.

The sisters sit in a circle making tamales. They cackle and talk about old times. I watch them. It’s like Stella is a version of all of them, but in her own glamourous way. I listen as The Sisters start to ask questions about me and my mom and my Dad. Stella tells them that I belong with her, that I am allowed to go visit, but I have stability in her home. She is right. Living with my Mom and Dad and my three brothers is chaos. Mom is sick, Dad always works, and the boys, (ten and eleven years older than me,) are always in trouble. I believe that the boys make Mommy sicker. I miss my Mommy when she wasn’t sick. I miss my Daddy when he was around more.

I go back to watching The Sisters make Tamales. They ask me if I want to join. “Me?” I ask. Margaret says, “Yeah, you! Why so bashful? You’re one of us!” My heart fills with joy. I’ve always wanted sisters. I get in the circle and they start showing me how to make tamales. They ask me if I have ever had Tamales and I shake my head no. The Sisters are happy to show me how to make them. “It’s a known fact The Burris Sister’s make the best tamales,” Janet said.

Patty is the youngest out of The Sisters. She catches me looking at her and she smiles and waves. I smile and wave back. “What’s your favorite color?” I ask them. “I love the color blue!” I say with a huge smile. Sue looks forward and says, “That’s enough of that! Children are to be seen and not heard!” I scowl at sister Sue. Margaret said, “Oh Sue! She just wants to know more about us! There’s no harm in that! And you love talking about yourself, sister.” Margaret says with a smirk. Sue sticks her tongue out at Margaret and I let out a huge giggle. Sue likes that I am laughing and she says, “Maegan- do you know who you are named after?” I shake my head no. Sue continues, “We had another sister. Her name was Mae. She was the true embodiment of a Saint. She did charity work, and she was a social activist.” Margaret chimes in, “That’s right. She organized phone banks, wrote to Congress, she even staged sit in’s during the civil rights movement in the 60s.” “That’s awesome!” I said. “What happened to her?” Everyone becomes silent. “She was too good for this World. She died of breast cancer right before you were born,” Stella says with a tear forming in her eye.

I get up and hug Stella, “I’m sorry you all lost your sister.” Stella hugs me for a very long time and whispers, “I am too.” Margaret looks at us and smiles. She says, “Maegan, did you know Stella used to be an Actress?” “No!” I say with excitement. Stella starts to blush and slaps a rag at Margaret. “Hush up! That’s enough of that!” I look at Stella, “You used to be an actress? Were you in anything?” Stella starts to shake her head and Margaret chimes in, “She sure was! She was in an American classic.” My eyes widen in complete disbelief. Stella gets mad and walks away from the table. Margaret says, “She was an extra in The Ten Commandments.” My eyes widen in complete shock. “Stella was in The Ten Commandments? The same Ten Commandments she’s been having me watch every year since I was BORN?” Margaret nods her head yes. “Was she ever in anything else?” Margaret frowns and shakes her head no. “Why not?” I ask. Margaret shrugs her shoulders. “She met your Grandpa. She said it was love at first site. Stella had a baby by the next year and she knew she wanted to settle down.” Margaret shrugs, “Those were much different times, Maegan.” I help the sisters clean up. This will go on to be one of the best days of my life.

When I’m Nine John and Stella celebrate being married 50 years. Which was weird, because they never slept in the same bed. Stella tells me it’s because he snores in his sleep, and John tells me it’s because she kicks him. John does incredibly sweet things for Stella. He makes her a grapevine, which he later makes wine for her with the grapes. Stella will be in the kitchen making dinner and she’ll start to fart. John and her look at each other and start to laugh. John comes up from behind her and gives her a hug and kiss and slaps her on the behind. Stella laughs harder and says, “You better stop! Maegan is watching us!” I laugh with them and hope I find a love like theirs- with the exception of sleeping apart at night. Stella and John have Sun-Flower growing competitions. They plant their sunflowers and they wait and see how tall they can get. Whoever wins the competition has to take the other out to dinner.

Stella does tarot. So does my Dad. She taught him. She has every day since I came to stay with her. Sad women come to her door and ask if she can make them a love spell. Before I was born Stella tells my Dad that I’m going to be Gemini. She said, “She will be a walking contradiction. People will love her and they will hate her. In time, she will win over her greatest critics.” Stella is magic.

When I am ten Dad comes to pick me up for the weekend to see me. He is in a great mood when he comes in the house. Stella and him hug, but you can tell Stella is aggravated. Stella and my Dad’s relationship is weird. Stella tells him, “You know Dennis-the best thing you ever did in this life was make that sweet baby.” Stella motions to me, she takes a sip of wine, and she walks in to her bedroom. Earlier that week Stella and Dad got in a fight because Dad comes by and tells her that he needs help paying the electricity. Stella gave it to him. Later that night Stella had been drinking wine. She got out all of my Dads report cards. She showed them to me one by one. “You see. You have to keep doing great in school. I don’t want you to end up like your Dad.” I look at the report cards in shock. Mostly C’s, and D’s. For the most part my Dads a smart guy. I don’t understand.

Dad and I sit in his car. I ask him what we’re going to do for the week. He said I am going to go visit my Mom in the hospital. I tell him no. He said, “I’m not giving you the option. That’s your mother and you need to go see her!” “No I don’t!” I scream. “Anyways, Grandma showed me your report cards and you’re stupid! I don’t have to listen to anything you say!” I take off and try to run inside. Dad catches me and he walks me up to Stella’s house. He barges in and says, “Really Mom? This is a whole new low! Trying to make my own kid think I’m stupid?” Stella shrugs, “I don’t think you’re stupid. I think you can do better. And time and time again you choose to do the wdrong thing! Do better, Dennis! DO BETTER!” Dad slams his hand on the table, “I’m TRYING God damn it! Between Ruth, and the boys I never have time to think straight! I work, go to the hospital, go and bail Kirk out of jail- that’s my EVERY DAY!”

Stella throws her wine glass at the wall. “You knew what you were getting in to when you married that woman! Rumors followed Ruth everywhere she went. Even when she was a little girl! Am I supposed to pat you on the back that you got the bookie’s daughter pregnant?” Dad starts to choke back tears, “No, Mom. But you can pat me on the back every once in a while and say, “Dennis, I know you’re trying! You’re doing the best you can!” Stella spits back, “This is not your best! I try! Do you think I wanted to be raising another kid in my seventies?” Stella looks at me and she can see the hurt in my eyes. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that, Maegan. I enjoy our time together.” John comes in the kitchen where everyone is pissed off, crying, and hurt. John has a huge smile on his face as he opens up the fridge and says, “What’s for dinner?”

Dad picks me up and we leave. I look over my shoulders at Stella. She frowns and waves bye. She mouths, “I love you.” Over the next two weeks Dad keeps me at his house. I am in misery. The boys torment me. I am sitting there one day and Kirk throws a boot at me. It hits me in the center of my chest and it burns so bad I start to cry. “What was that for?” I try to say. “Because I hate your face,” Kirk responds. I flip him off, “Fuck. You.” I manage to say through struggled breathing. Stella has called the house several times. Dad tells everyone in the house that they are not to answer the phone. He says, “I will give you the beating of a life time if you answer the phone.” I start to cry when he says that because I know he means it.

I go in to the kitchen. Another reason why I hate living with my parents, aside from my brothers, is they never have food in the house. And, the house is always dirty. One time I saw a mouse crawl on the kitchen table and eat from a pizza that had been sat down. I didn’t eat for two weeks thinking about all the germs the mouse had gotten on our dinner. And, also, how many other times ha0d this happened before?

I open up the fridge and there is mustard and crackers. Dirk comes in the kitchen and opens the fridge too. “God, I hate Dad. Where the fuck is the money going that I gave him?” I shrug. It’s midnight and I’m starving. I can’t sleep because I’m so hungry. I eat a sleeve of crackers with mustard, and start to cry. “I’m so hungry, Dirk.” Dirk gets me a glass of water. “It’s okay baby girl. Keep eating the crackers and choke back this glass of water really fast.” I did what he told me and I went and laid down in my bed. I was tired, hungry, and I missed Stella. I went to sleep crying and when I woke up –there she was! It was like she felt me crying.

I ran over and gave her a huge hug. “I’ve missed you so much!” Stella looked like she was about to cry, “I’ve missed you too!” Dad and Stella hugged. I said, “Does that mean I get to go home?” Dad interjected, “This-this is your home. But yes, you can go back to Stella’s house.”

Stella and I were quiet as we got in the car. I looked at Stella with hurt eyes, “Did you mean it? Do you really regret having to raise me?” Stella frowned and shook her head no. “No sweet girl, you are going to be my greatest accomplishment.”

A month later, in February 1996, I had a dream that Stella came to me. She wasn’t alive. She was a spirit. I wasn’t afraid. I was peaceful for the first time in my life. We were putting together her wooden calendar that we put together every month since I was a little girl. She points to March 2nd. March 2nd was her birthday. She tells me, “Maegan, I’m going to die on my birthday.”

I woke up crying and screaming. Stella came running to me. “What’s wrong?” I didn’t tell what my dream about. I just shook my head and said, “I had an awful, terrible dream!” She gives me a hug, looks me in the eyes, and tells me, “It’s going to be okay.”

On March 1st Stella insisted I go to Mom and Dad’s house. I said, “NO! I want to spend your birthday with you!” Stella gave me a huge hug. She said, “I love you, kid. But, I want to spend some alone time with my husband. It’s going to be alright.”

I begrudgingly went to my Parents house. Dad took me to get a birthday card the next day. About 7 pm, I called my Grandpa and asked if I could bring over her birthday card. Grandpa let out a huge sigh. He said, “You can’t come, Maegan.” “Why not?” I ask confused. “Stella just had a stroke. The paramedics have her in the ambulance now.” I drop the phone and fall to my knees crying. Dad picks up the phone and John is telling Dad everything. Dad get me and the boys in the car and he takes us to the hospital where Grandma is at. We get in the hospital where we see John. He looks at my Dad and shakes his head no. “It’s not looking good, Dennis.” The whole family is called in. I ask to go back and see her. Everyone says no. I scream, “NO! I HAVE TO SEE HER!” They take me back and there she was. The woman I had idolized my entire life. The woman that had raised me. The woman that made me feel like I was actually lovable. She was hooked up to tons of monitors. She was just lying there like she was asleep. She had blood coming out of her nose. There was a huge white light shining down on her. The doctor had just left the room, they had been working on her until there was no more they could do. I stood there in shock. Maybe if I nudge on her she’ll wake up. I nudge her but nothing happens. Maybe if I get in bed with her, she’ll put her arm around me and wake up! She’ll start rubbing at her skin because that what makes her feel better! I get in bed with her, and Dad picks me up, “No honey! You can’t lay with Grandma!” I start to cry, “But, why? We have laid next to each other every night since I was a baby!” Dad starts to cry and he gives me a hug, “I know honey! But there’s too many machines attached to her!”

Stella passed that night at 11 pm, March 2nd– her birthday. Stella was an amazing woman. Little did I know that my life and everything I knew was about to be turned upside down.

Stella’s funeral was beautiful. Margaret flew The Sisters in. She also took me to get an outfit for The Funeral. I didn’t talk much the next few days. Everything felt so surreal. I’d walk in to the Funeral Hall and my brothers were sitting around in suits. Their heads hanging down like they were doing anything possible not to cry. I would go up to Stella’s casket and stare at her. I couldn’t understand how a woman with so much life in her could just be laying there. She would never be able to make me mac-n-cheese again, or to tell me how much she loved me, or to tell me I was her sweet special girl. After all, those things are important to kids.

Dad stared off in to a daze. He went over to my brothers and he consoled them. When I went up to him to ask him if he was okay, he stared right through me. Like I didn’t exist. I shrugged my shoulders and went up to John. John took his glasses off and put his face in his hands. I went to give him a hug. He hugs me and says, “Are you my little buddy?” I smile and nod my head yes.

Several homeless people she had helped throughout the years show up to her funeral. They shared stories of how she changed their lives, helped them get jobs, and even find a place to live. It was a beautiful sight.

I go up to the casket one more time. I pray that Stella will come back and rescue me. She doesn’t come back.

The next few days everyone tries to get back in to the swing of things. Dad goes back to work, the boys go back to school, and I thought I was supposed to be going back to John’s. The first day there John was packing clothes up from Stella’s room. He makes a comment that he may make her room in to a painting studio. I look at him confused, “Grandpa, that’s still my room.” John sighs and tells me to come sit down at the kitchen table with him. We go sit down. And Grandpa says, “Maegan, you can’t live with me anymore. You have to go back to your Dad’s.”

I sat there in shock. “Why?” I screamed. “I just lost Stella, am I losing you too?” John shook his head no. “No!” He says. “You will always be welcome here, but I’m getting older. And you are too. There are going to be things that you are going to need women to talk to about. And I don’t have it in me.” My face turns red with embarrassment. I shake my head with anger, “You know what you are sending me back to! Dad isn’t even talking to me right now! Stella would NOT want this! You are selfish!” I started to cry and John gives me a hug. He goes in to closet and pulls out all of Stella’s dresses and hands them to me. I remember being five years old. Going in to her closet and putting on her dress and lipstick. Getting her jewelry out and putting it on all at once. Trying to stand in her high heels. I pick up the phone and dialed Dad’s number. He answers and I ask him to pick me up. I hang up the phone and pack up my stuff. My clothes, and Stella’s clothes. About fifteen minutes later Dad pulls up outside. He honks the horn and I pick up my clothes to leave. I look at John and say, “I will never forgive you until the day you die.” John sits with his head down and says nothing.

I walked out of the door in tears. This was the day I said good bye to my child hood home.

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The Polaroid

The Polaroid

I Just played catch up with a picture of you and me

Twenty-two year old boy with a bright future. Nothing is going to stop you from working with Congress one day.

Nineteen year-old girl prodigy from the other side of the tracks. I have no idea what I want. I am too idealistic for my own good.

We are holding each other and you stare in to my eyes.

You hold me in such a firm way, but there is a gap between us the size of Mount Rushmore.

I have nothing on but my socks “Take them off,” You say.

“No. My feet are cold.” You start to laugh and you reach for my foot to grab my sock.

“Take. Them. Off.” He commands.

I breath so hard I’m starting to pant. I always loved it when he told me what to do. It drove me crazy in the best way possible. He loved when I questioned him.

“Why?” I sexily whisper in his ear.

You move toward the edge of the bed and rip them off of me. “Because it’s lazy. ”

Before I can say anything else, you take my sock off and stuff them in to my mouth. I am not disgusted. I am incredibly turned on. You proceed to tell me to get on all fours. You tie me up and start to rip my panties off me. Instead you leave them on. You come up from behind me and say, “Do you want it?” I feverishly nod my my head yes. You stick your cock right next to my soaking wet panties. You take the sock out of my mouth. “Tell me you want it.” I’m panting so hard I’m trembling. “Tell. Me. You. Want. It.” You say sternly. “I want it!” I manage to scream. You rip my panties off, and we proceed to have sex for close to four hours.

Afterwards we lay there and it’s so cold I say, “So can I put my socks back on or not?”

We both start laughing and I pick up my Polaroid Camera. You found it on a day trip to Paducah. We found it at a Vintage shop that sold old Election buttons from every Presidential Campaign. I buy you a Robert Kennedy Button. After all, he is your hero. You watch me as I eye a vintage Polaroid Camera. You buy it for me. “Only if you promise we have some fun with this later!” You say.

We lay in each others arms. You hold me and smile and you let me take another Polaroid of us. I look at the Polaroid. “Do you think your mom would like me?” You don’t respond. You are about to leave for a job. I won’t hear from you again for another two years.

Two whole years I wait. You call me when you find out I’m engaged. I listen to your voice mails “Hey Mae! I really need to talk to you!” After about the 7th voice mail I answer.

“Hello beautiful!” He says so cocky, I never really liked him when he was cocky.

“It’s too late,” I say. “You had two years to call me. To let me know if you’re okay. I didn’t think you were coming back! I was starting to wonder if I had made you up in my head! The only proof I have that you actually existed is a box of polaroids! And that’s all you will ever be to me! You are a polaroid!”

I hang up and take a look at my future husband. I smile and think of how he holds me so tight. There are no gaps between us when he holds me. When I ask him if his mom would like me he responds, “Well, she passed away when I was 15. But my Dad will.” He lets me sleep naked, but with my socks on.

You call me again last week to congratulate me on my baby. I don’t answer. I play catch up with a polaroid of you and me. Behind your cocky smile sat broken promises of a life that you were never meant to have with me.

So, I sat the polaroids on fire. You always loved to dream, but you were never ready to wake up.

An App That Pays You To Walk!

An App That Pays You To Walk!

sweatcoin-1There are plenty of fitness apps and activity trackers that can count your steps, but now there’s one that will actually pay you for the miles you log.

Sweatcoin, which is based in London, awards its users with digital currency — one “coin” for every 1,000 steps you walk or run while using the app. Save up enough coins and you can exchange them for real-life products and services, like workout gear or a yoga class. Coins can even be sent to friends or donated to buy items for charity.

Sweatcoin is part of a growing trend in digital fitness apps that offer rewards the more you exercise. Apps called Bitwalking and Gympact also pay users in virtual currency, while Charity Miles turns steps into charitable donations for the cause of your choice.

The Sweatcoin app is free to download and has no ads. It is currently available on the App Store for iPhones; and GooglePlay Store for Android.

And just so we’re clear- this is me while walking!

Work!

 

Here’s the link to the app:

Sweat Coin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

]

Dear Lucas Aristotle/ Dear Dad

Dear Lucas Aristotle/ Dear Dad

​Dear Lucas Aristotle Hagan,
This is a picture of me and your Grandad Dennis D. Knight on my wedding Day to your Father, Trenton.
Dennis Knight was my best friend in the entire world,  and he would have been so happy to see you. He would have spoiled you SO much!
Dad was great with kids! He spoiled your cousin Brayden. Every morning he would wake him up and make him eggs and ketchup. It’s disgusting to think about, lol, but your cousin loved it.
And your other cousin Madi…when she was a baby…she had a room that had a theme of ivy all over it. Dad took a table that he found on the side of the road, and he completely refurbished in to treasure. He took ivy wallpaper and put it on the top of the table. He just wanted a place for his granddaughter to sit and play.
He loved his Grandkids SO much! I wonder the sweet things he would have done for you.
Every morning when I was a little girl in 6th grade, he’d wake me up at 5 am and make me hot chocolate.  He would add milk and whip cream and he would make it extra fat! Lol! We would talk about my day and what was going on in school, and then, he would drive me 45 minutes out of district. Because it was a better school than the one in my area.
He would pick me up and we would talk and talk and talk some more! He would have pizza flavored combos and apple juice. Lol, he really loved to spoil us with food!

Like, there was this one time a boy broke up with me in middle school,  and Poppy walked 30 minutes to Walmart and got me Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey and a Dawson’s Creek poster to hang in my room! 😂😂😂
He was the best Dad in the world- next to your Dad, of course! My promise to you is you will always have awesome memories like that with your Dad. And of my Dad. Because he would have worshipped the ground you walked on!

Love Always,

Mommy
Dear Dad,
It’s now been close to 6 years since you have been gone. The last year was a total whirl wind of emotions. I adopted a baby.  He is so precious he makes my heart feel like it’s going to explode with joy at times.

And then…Donald Trump was elected President! I went through a range of emotions to say the very least. I kept wanting to talk to you SO bad! I was angry and then angrier! I kept wanting to pick up the phone and ask you for advice. It was aweful! And I knew how sad and disappointed you would have been. And then I remember what you told me when I was 16. “The world can’t be changed in one night, baby steps.” So, I knew that I couldn’t change the situation, but I could be the strong a stubborn Young Woman you raised me to be. I protested. I went to Washington,  I marched, I sang. I helped organize rallies. He is under investigation now, and I really am hoping this goes somewhere.

Trenton is good. He is the happiest he has ever been. You always said he would make a great Father, and you were right. He still seems to not really know what he wants to do with his life. He still loves politics, but, maybe he can just be a great Dad like you were.

And, Abby is pregnant! Still haven’t seen Madi or Abby in a while but I saw a picture the other day and she looks breathe taking!

I got a new job within the bank…still haven’t been published again. I know it’s going to happen, but, I really hope more than anything that you are proud of the young woman I turned out to be. I will always love you no matter what. Thank you for always making me feel like I was somebody. Thank you for always loving me.
With Love Your Daughter,

Mae Hagan

PS Tell Stella I Love her so much!

Your Monday Assignment 

Your Monday Assignment 

 

Feel all the things. Feel the hard things. The inexplicable things, the things that make you disavow humanity’s capacity for redemption. Feel all the maddening paradoxes. Feel overwhelmed, crazy. Feel uncertain. Feel angry. Feel afraid. Feel powerless. Feel frozen. And then FOCUS.
Pick up your pen. Pick up your paintbrush. Pick up your damn chin. Put your two calloused hands on the turntables, in the clay, on the strings. Get behind the camera. Look for that pinprick of light. Look for the truth (yes, it is a thing—it still exists.)
Focus on that light. Enlarge it. Reveal the fierce urgency of now. Reveal how shattered we are, how capable of being repaired. But don’t lament the break. Nothing new would be built if things were never broken. A wise man once said: there’s a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in. Get after that light.

    This is your assignment.