Cammie came home the night before last. She had a lot on her mind and had written a two page journal entry during her free-time at school (I hope it was during free time). She requested that I allow her to start blogging about her experience on this blog. It's her blog, so I readily agreed to her request. I will be posting things occasionally... but more often, Cammie will be the author. She is like me... literary expression is a huge release for her. I believe allowing her to discuss her experiences here will be both therapeutic, as well as provide valuable insight from the perspective of a child facing this uphill battle. Often times parents are blamed for "brainwashing" their child. I, personally, have been blamed by a member of my own family for doing this to Cammie because I wanted a girl (I've never wanted a girl, for the same reason that I never wanted a cat... they're bitchy. I figured, by the time she reached puberty, one of us would have to go... and I pay the rent!) What so many people fail to understand is the extreme adversity and exhausting challenge that something like this introduces into the lives of those who experience it.
On one occasion, I had worked a particularly long and emotionally heart-wrenching case of a 12 year old child suicide. The child had been incessantly tormented and bullied by his peer group. The family was obviously devastated, and the father of the child spent the majority of the night in and out of the hospital room, where he would climb in the bed, clinging to his child, and sob... completely consumed by devastation. The case was extremely difficult for me on a personal level. Before we understood Cammie's condition and made the difficult decision to embrace her identity, Cammie - too - was experiencing incessant bullying and I was consistently getting telephone calls at work from a devastated child, sobbing on the other end of the line, from the torment of the day. I felt so helpless and immediately developed a sacred connection with this family. I dearly love them and maintain a relationship with them to this day. I will never "get over" the devastating outcome and the intense emotions of that case... and I don't want to. When I reflect on that experience, I am reminded of the importance of treating others with Christlike love and compassion.
When I finally got home after more than 24 hours on the case, I was completely exhausted. I sat down next to my husband and he could tell that I was devastated. He said, "Just let it out, baby... let it out." That's all it took. The tears began to flow and before I knew it, I was sobbing in devastation. My mind was spinning. I was thinking of Cammie's challenges, I was thinking of my patient and his family, and in the forefront of my mind was the question... "Why does the world have to be so cruel to such innocence... the innocence of a child?" Later that afternoon, while I was sleeping, the children asked my husband why I had been so upset. He told them about the case and the emotional impact it had on me.
Later that evening, after I had woken up, I was sitting by myself in the kitchen eating supper. Cammie came up and sat beside me at the table. She looked at me and her head dropped. She said, in a quiet and shameful tone, "I used to think about killing myself." I was shocked. I knew that before we came to understand her condition and embrace her identity, she was extremely anxious and depressed. I never realized the extent of her thoughts or the emotional torment of her experience. Realizing the depth and magnitude of self-destructive impressions hit me like a freight train and I responded with horror, "Cammie! Why would you ever consider such a thing? Do you have any idea what that would do to me? I couldn't live without you!" She sat silent for a moment. She looked up at me and pointed to the wall, then said, "You see that wall?" (the wall in the kitchen is a very light cream) She continued, "It's kind of like if you splattered black paint all over it. You'd want to wash it off because it doesn't belong there, right?"
The analogy of her emotional experience was profound. I completely understood and felt blessed that we had educated ourselves and made the choice to embrace her identity when we did. That decision enabled her to move beyond the devastation and isolation that she felt to a new world of confidence, inner peace and happiness. I felt so thankful that I had chosen to listen to my heart. I sat for a moment in shock, then looked at Cammie and said, "No, I wouldn't wash the wall, Cammie... I'd paint over it." She looked at me as if she didn't understand... and I continued, "I'd paint the entire kitchen Hot Pink." She stood up, threw her arms around my neck, and gave me a hug. We held each other and cried. I don't think either one of us wanted to let go.
Cammie has continued to grow into a beautiful, confident and happy young woman. She is extremely verbose and expressive. This is her blog and it will offer a valuable outlet to the things that she is feeling, as well as provide valuable insight to all of you who are here to grow through understanding something as unique as her condition. Only she knows what this experience is like. So, I have chosen to add her as an author and allow her to utilize this special place as an outlet for her own experiences. I hope you will enjoy and grow from her precious words. She is not the best at spelling, but she is quite the little computer genius and good at typing! I hope you enjoy her first post...