I Got Cinderella’d and It’s Not All Great

My husband and I come from two different worlds. He comes from a different stratosphere than I do. I don’t get along with his family, even before I ran away twice. They mistreated me while we were just dating, and I never really understood why until I looked at class differences and ableism.

I can understand not liking me after what happened in January, but the hate I received before my wedding day didn’t make much sense to me. I was threatened with a letter from a church to stay away from my husband because I was “depressed.” Not to mention all the snide remarks about me being a bed warmer and my husband needing a vasectomy.

Unfortunately most of this was communicated to me through my husband, so it was all secondhand information. But it took me to the point where they have to ask permission to come into my house (which I usually do allow because I was raised to be a hospitable southerner) and I will never, ever voluntarily go into their homes.

In rich families, children are investments. Not in a way that children are investments for the future, but in that they can make money for the family. Who they choose to marry has a direct impact on how much cash the child makes for the family and how much of a financial burden they will be.

I was developing fibromyalgia and lupus symptoms while dating my husband. Most likely I was seen as a money pit. My husband told me his family was afraid I would drag him down.

Let me stop right here with this gosh darn ableism. An able bodied person can drag any slooshin person down. Anybody can drag anybody down. I have some friends I cut out of my life who were nightmares. And dragging someone down is cyclical. I most likely will reintroduce those negative friends again once I feel I can. We’ll start out positive and go back down the negative gravy train eventually, then it’ll get too much. But a marriage is commitment. Part of commitment is saying, “I will love you even when I think you suck.”

People fall down and then they come back up again like a dolphin out of water, complete with sex for pleasure and all.

Rich people tend to hide these basic life lessons from their kids by controlling them with gifts that come with invisible strings only made visible when the kid steps out of line. Basically, rich people scare me.

Mental Health Awareness Month AKA My Life: Why I Am Thankful For Every Night I Spend With My Husband

I suffer from an extreme form of fibromyalgia, which gives me constant pain and even worse pain flares, and post-traumatic stress disorder, which can turn ordinary life experiences into nightmares. Because of this living my life is a bit like Russian roulette: you play your cards but there’s always a price, no matter how they’re dealt. You’re never sure when you’ll get shot, either.

My husband and I have an extra bedroom, and during pain flares I often find myself retreating there to avoid skin-on-skin contact. Even worse is when my PTSD is acting up, or when my pain and PTSD are going bananas at the same time. The spare room is my hidey-hole. It’s right next to my office, and it makes a sort of blanket fort.

After beginning EMDR, my marriage with my husband has significantly improved. The best thing about EMDR for me is the use of imagination to cope with daily life. That’s me in a nutshell. If I feel scared by a loud noise, I can escape to my private worlds and receive comfort instantaneously.

I’ve been in a pain flare for a month, and have spent most of my time in my figurative blanket fort. One time the pain got so bad I started crying. I wanted a friend. Anyone who could acknowledge what I was going through.

I plodded through the house in tears, calling my husband’s name. I knew he was my friend. He was and is my best friend. It was midnight, and I was afraid he would come out of our bedroom in a huffy attitude. But I was met with buttery, gentle sympathy. He caught me in a warm, tender embrace as I cried, and I knew I wasn’t alone in this battle.

“Do you want to spend the night in bed with me tonight?”

I didn’t hesitate.

“Yes. Yes, yes, yes.”

We went off to bed and I slept hard, for the first time in a month. I woke up in time for breakfast with him. My pain flare wasn’t gone, but it had abated a little. But I was happy to see his face next to me in the morning.

Marriage gives you a guardian angel to watch over you, someone to fight with you and for you, and you likewise, when it’s a good one. I just needed to remember to reach out. My husband had been shelved by my physical and mental turmoil, and I merely had to remember he was my friend to find peace and solace.

Spending the night with my husband is not something that happens every night, and I don’t think that’s a doomsday marker for my marriage. It’s not because we fight. It’s not because we don’t love each other. We are learning how to cope with my physical and mental ailments together, and we will spend the night together every night as I improve and we both learn to communicate. I have hope and gratitude for us. This is why I am thankful for every night I spend with my husband.

The Absolute Realness on PTSD and Marriage

Before Bear and I married, we honestly didn’t know how bad my PTSD was. I knew I had it to some degree, but it was vanquished because I didn’t talk about it. It was simply buried like a honey-badger about to attack our tiny baby marriage from beneath the surface. Does anyone remember that meme?

I remembered how bad my PTSD was when it first started. I would scream in the shower and twist my shampoo bottles across the water. I’d cry randomly in everyday places. Eventually I developed chronic pain once I did stop talking about it. I turned online to vent my fears. But the biggest thing was, the medical professionals denied my PTSD because I kept it under control by staying single for 6 years until I decided to date again, at my roommate’s suggestion.

Once I did, my career spiraled out of control. I began to see and hear things that did not exist at work coming from my male coworkers. There was no way I could work in an office. By the time I quit my job was the time I started going steady with my husband, who had no idea what was actually going on. Neither did I – I thought I had developed schizophrenia.

The same thing would happen at three more places of employment before I gave up and went to grad school, which was a lovely experience. But once I had a new permanent male figure in my life, the craziness exploded again – this time at my husband.

We’ve discovered that letting each other be open and vulnerable even over subjects the other thinks is stupid is the key to getting through our current situation. I’m no longer hearing monsters in the night. Tonight we slept in the same bed for the first time in two weeks. Not because he asked me to leave the room, but because I was hiding. That must have felt horrible to him.

I accomplished two sessions of EMDR this past week, and I think it’s responsible for getting my mind to chill out enough to communicate with my husband. I recommend it for anyone needing trauma therapy. Yes, you can do it remotely.

Warm hugs.

How My Relationship With My Husband Changed After Chronic Illness: Assorted Roses, Assorted Feelings

Typically I try to paint as positive a light as possible of my husband and I’s relationship on this blog. This is partially because I try to do my part to build up our fledgling marriage, but I need to talk about something some of the recently diagnosed may be experiencing by their romantic partner:

Infantilization.

Your parter is now the parent and you are now the child in the relationship. The equality you once sought and enjoyed is gone.

At first you may have fell into the parent/child relationship out of need or heaven forbid, preference. But you quickly realize that the unequal power ratio is unhealthy and you seek ways to make your partner value you for who you are despite your meager bringings to the capitalist table.

You may be completely disabled. So you go online for activism, community, and to see if you can make a buck that way. Or perhaps you can work part time. But before, you had a job job. And your partner has a fancy job job and multiple degrees.

Distraught by the bullying, mockery, and name calling, you wonder why they fell in love with you in the first place. In your mind it certainly wasn’t your soul and ability to make a vegan gluten free jambalaya from scratch. Otherwise, they’d treat you better.

But your partner is power tripping, and you don’t know what to do other than leave and find someone in the underworld like you.

If you can relate to this, you aren’t alone, and I’m still figuring it out too. Take heart.

The Safe Man

I’m going to be writing about trauma therapy and marriage again today, because that’s my life right now. This is not a Whiner McBabypants post where I talk about my specific trauma, rather, these are my reflections on life, love, and marriage as a disabled woman.

You know when you just feel sad, and you just want to be sad? Your husband will cook dinner, do the dishes and watch romcoms with you but you don’t want any of it, you want to feel your own pain?

When I look back on my former life as an able-bodied model, I would call myself ungrateful. This lack of gratitude drug into my life as a disabled person, and later as a disabled married person.

Part of this led to walls-up mode. Most people think I wear my heart on my sleeve, but really this is an act of pushing people away by oversharing. If someone really wanted my honest opinion, they’d probably have to cross Jurassic Antartica with added volcanoes to get it.

I finally revealed this to my husband today, with the caveat that for most of my life, I didn’t think people were safe. But when I put his wedding band on his finger, I marked him as someone who was safe. It was my job to get out of Jurassic Antartica and place him in the sunnier meadows of my mind so I could hear him out, and ultimately communicate with him.

I really don’t have anyone or anything I’m more grateful for than him. He finished building a 4 ft tall aromatherapy garden for me today. It’s that tall so I don’t hurt myself by bending over.

Remember, learning to love is just as hard as accepting it!

Product Review: Foster-Stephens, inc White Heirloom Wedding Gown Storage and Preservation Box

Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

This past week, my husband found a $100 Visa gift card and did a very kind thing for me. He gave me the gift of a wedding dress preservation box, something I had been dying for months to get.

I loved my dress. I loved it so much I wrote an article on Offbeat Bride about it. But I love my husband more.

My husband and I have been through some real hell. There is no doubt in the medical professionals’ minds that I have PTSD although I’ve been saying that for years in an attempt to get help. It all exploded when I married Bear. I exploded HUGE twice.

I’ve got some major guilt about what I’ve done in the light of my PTSD. But I’ve started trauma therapy (and missed one day due to being extremely ill) and hope that I’m on the path to recovery. Bear is who I want and who I love. He’s who I am eternally grateful for in the midst of all this crazy inner turmoil.

Lately I’ve come to realize that Bear is a human being *GASP* who has dreams, and gets frustrated and anxious when those dreams are delayed or seem thwarted. This realization came to fruition with the writing of my next book, when my beta readers wouldn’t get back to me, finding editors and agents, and not knowing my way around the book world whatsoever.

I mean, I always knew that Bear had dreams, interest, and goals. But the experience of chasing after things most people would deem trivial, such as Master Gardener, while constantly being thwarted by circumstance, enabled me to understand him on a deeper level.

When it comes to marriage, it’s easy to make the bogeyman out of your spouse, but most of the time they have good intentions. At least that’s the case with mine.

Anyways, those are my marital musings of the day, on to the review!

Product Review: Foster-Stephens, inc White Heirloom Wedding Gown Storage and Preservation Box

The Foster-Stephens box arrived in style with a neat color scheme and design. But because it’s a box within a box within a box, the actual box that holds the dress ripped when I attempted to take it out. This wedding dress preservation kit is all cardboard.

The box within the box whose corner ripped.

It’s an attractive box, in a grandma sort of way. Cheaply made and flimsy, we only paid $75 when some kits are over $200. As I was working to put the acid-free tissue around my dress, the cardboard box was bending.

This is the inside bottom of the box where the DIY bustier form is. I could somewhat make the cardboard bustier, but it was too large for my wedding dress as my dress had an empire silhouette. Or maybe it just wasn’t cooperating. In the end I stuffed my dress with acid-free paper provided with the box.

I don’t know how I was supposed to wrap the rest of my dress and stuff my bodice with the acid free paper provided because the pieces were so small. My dress doesn’t even have a train.

The DVD included with the information zip-lock, I just watched their YouTube video.

This Wedding Dress Preservation Kit Comes With

  • DIY Cardboard bustier
  • Window viewer
  • Acid-free paper
  • Cardboard box
  • DVD
  • Instructions with how to watch on You-Tube

This Wedding Dress Box Does Not Come With

  • Muslin
  • Gloves
  • Dress cleaning supplies

Before using this box or any other, you should get your dress dry cleaned!

Overall?

I put my dress in a white box partially wrapped in acid-free paper.

It cost me $75.

If you really want gown preservation, I suggest saving up and going elsewhere, but if you have a case of the poors like we do, this is a box and it does something for your dress.

If you’d like to buy it, try here.

Song: Get Tired of Me

wooden planks with the words "song get tired of me" overlayed

I like to write songs, and from time to time I think I make a good one. This one hasn’t been set to chords yet – and when it would be it’d be ukulele chords – but this is in 3/4 time and is a little indie pop/jazzy tone to it. Most songs I write are a bit soulful, this one is more whimsical (as it fits the instrument).

If you can imagine ukuleles sounding sad, that’s what I do with my music.

I actually wrote this song feeling happy while hanging out in the living room with my husband, and some melancholy apparently came out.

Get Tired of Me

Oh please don’t you never get tired of me

Oh please don’t you let yourself wander from me

How you smile all the while

I am dying inside

Can’t forget how I missed

The fact that you’re lying to me

Oh please don’t you never get tired of me

Oh please don’t you let yourself wander from me

Dark as day

Breaks as moonlight

By the stairs

In a bar fight

How you smile

I forget how to breathe

Oh it’s you’ve takes the wind out of me

Oh please don’t you never get tired of me

Oh please don’t you let yourself wander from me

I am sad and I’m happy

To see that you’re laughing

Aren’t you glad

On the precipice

Of uncertain love

And broken promises

Shattered hopes

Lonely days

Happy Christmas

It is night

And I’m dying to miss you

Won’t you stay

Won’t you ever be tired of me?

Happy 3 Month Anniversary to My New Husband, Bear!

Where to start on this… We’ve only been a short while together, but we’ve been through a lot of hard times and the good.

I want to celebrate you baby, I need to praise you like I should.

That was a rephrasing of our recessional, Praise You by Fat Boy Slim.

I’ve done a lot of wedding shit talk on this blog, now it’s time for some love talk about you, using photographs of me, because you’ve asked me not to post pictures of you on this blog.

This was me the day we met. You had selected me from a photo online for a pixie haircut I had a few months prior that I had grown out. I had it cut into a bob that day with blonde highlights because I thought my face was too fat for a pixie. You later told me you were disappointed to find me in the burger stand with grown out hair, but I was still the prettiest girl you’d managed to score a date with.

We started to go on hikes, and you’d tell me names of all the plants, insects, and animals. At first I didn’t know what to think. You were the first human Pokedex I had ever met, but eventually figured out how to catch up by listening to you.

Your passion for living creatures, for the environment, for something bigger than you which generated your humility, was what drew me to you. It made you an excellent caretaker when things unforeseeably got rough. This passion is what gives you unwavering loyalty and transforms you into my rock.

But let’s talk about you…

You’re adorable.

You basically man squealed when I told you that you had ponderable intricacies.

You love terrible 80s music.

You’re an excellent vegan cook.

You. Stopped. Eating. Meat. For. Me.

You ate a veggie patty for me on the first date, and that was the first time you met me.

My dog loves you.

You know a lot about everything.

I don’t like this about you but it’d be on your character sheet: you have weird little color coded sock holders to keep your socks together in the wash. It is a ponderable intricacy (a negative one, there are positive and negative intricacies).

You love Jesus AND you’re a liberal.

You support women’s reproductive rights.

You know that love is love.

I love your science brain that is also a nice, kind, gentle brain.

Our first dance to “For the Dancing and the Dreaming” from How to Train Your Dragon

You’ve loved me in sickness and health.

You’ve loved me through all my body changes.

You call me beautiful every day, probably more so than when I was fit and beautiful, you handsome devil.

I trust you to see diamonds in the fog and beauty in the dirt. For you I will stand by your side always, even when I run away. Thank you for loving my broken self.

Love you always,

M. O’Shea

Read more about our House Texas-Style Spoonie Wedding here.

Recording the Moment

When you feel happiness, it’s just as important to write it down as sadness.

Sometimes we’re all too tempted to stand out in the rain and put it down as inkblots on a page than let the sunlight bathe our journals in warmth.

Life as newlyweds has been uncharacteristically hard for Bear and I. We have both been grieving my illnesses. It can be hard to forget that my sickness is just as hard as him as it is on me. But Bear is a strong and mighty bear, and he fights for me. He may not fight in all the ways I thought he would, but he does so much more than I expected.

In the morning before I wake up, he kisses me. While my hair is still crazy and he changes out the coffee filter for me as I’m standing in my completely unsexy pajamas half awake, he worships me. From my head to my toes he caresses me, telling me how beautiful I am, how smart I am – this translates to me, how worthy I am to be on this planet even though I can’t do all those wife things and we’ve only just started. In the corner of my eye I notice a dozen of red roses, one of my favorite flowers, on the kitchen table he bought for me last week.

There’s a bag of oatmeal in a recyclable bag on our white Formica countertop in our lovely sea-foam green newlywed kitchen he claims he bought for me but he picked out himself. The large bay windows over the breakfast table bathe us in pure morning light as we flirt with each other.

Moments like these make me realize that life may be full of pain and anger, but it’s also full of love and hidden rainbows at 7am. If I’m going to live fully, not just survive, I need to continually take mental photographs.

The book of love

It’s almost a month left until my wonderful, creekside spoonie wedding, and I’m left with some thoughts.

Photo credit: Tauni Joy photography

Communication is hard. Love is hard. It can be scary. Love is a literal battlefield, but as long as you and your partner are on the same team fighting for each other, it’s worth it.

Photo credit: Tauni Joy photography

To take someone as they are every day is a blessing and a challenge. My fiancé has Aspergers and cannot smile on command, as seen in the photos. He can smile in real life. When these photos were taken a few months ago, he was coming down with shingles and feeling sick.

Photo credit: Tauni Joy photography

He tried his best to smile. The next day when the shingles appeared I drove him to the doctor despite my own illness showing up and not being able to drive very well. But I cherish these precious photos – the colors, the lights, the way we accidentally matched.


I ordered my engagement photos dress from Chic Wish, which I was initially afraid was a scam. But the dress came in, and it fit! It was the most unique thing I had ever seen, and matched my fiancé’s seersucker and khaki ensemble. Plus it made me feel beautiful.

It can be hard to feel beautiful in my new body. I looked through my old photos of selfies over the years and I looked at my model days. I look sicker than I do now – face all hollowed out, giant under eye bags.

And with that, a recap:

Pocket full of starlight: loving yourself and someone else is worth it though not mutually exclusive.

Pocket full of darkness: all the things they tell you about love aren’t really true. The truth you find comes for your own self.

Photo credit: Tauni Joy photography