Category Archives: My Life in Boxes – Series

Official Autobiography & Memoirs of Chef EdieM
These are series of short stories of my life.

Ethics | Relationships | Dating

Things I need to know. How many of you out there have had, or heard, horror stories from dating? Or, you may even be the one responsible for them! Yeah, I can’t believe I just said that ~ but it’s true!

I am asking you, because these past several weeks my personal life became unraveled because I lost control of my being. Lost control what I believe in….”dating” can be fun and yet it can have some hinder agendas’…

I, for one, am aghast at some of the things I encounter personally and know what’s out there: a date who spends the entire evening texting a friend; or a date that are, “Social Media Whores” who needs to reprise themselves constantly with a twice daily dose of selfies; and those dates who expects “payback” after three dinner dates; another who only calls at 3am – when they’re already outside your apartment; And of course, a million of those who don’t call when they say they would.

So, you all think you’re a decent person! Maybe and you probably are. So what about the people you dated? But if everyone is so good and ethical, where the hell do all these atrocities come from??!!! Why do generally good people treat their partners, however lengthy or temporary, with a completely different (or absent) set of ethical standards? Where are YOUR ethics when it comes to dating? I’m so confused!

My blog is meant to establish some bi-lateral standards of ethical dating, yes people Bi-lateral to include both men and women, in gay, straight or combination of relationships. Dating is a collaborative effort, and there should be a common set of standards within which we agree and operate. Would you do business with someone without signing terms and conditions? So why would you go out with someone without an agreement on ethical dating standards?

We all spend so much of our life dating, that it only makes sense for us to be more strategic about the process. All relationships go through that wonderful honeymoon phase, but what happens after good graces have faded? And it does! Many relationships may continue down that path of happiness and bliss, however, some couples’ bliss turns sour (worst than grapes) as they get to know each other on a more personal level. Trust me, been there!

Everyone has feelings!!! And everyone has hopes, dreams, ambitions, and passions. There is something deeper within all of us that totally begs for respect and honor no matter who we are. Being accountable for being honest with ourselves and one another about our contributions to both the problems and the solutions…it requires a deeper level of transparency . . . accountability starts with self, agreed?! . . .

Interacting through words and behaviors in a way that honors the other and respects difference, we are all human and respect is an honoring of the dignity and equality of all persons. It involves communicating with each other and behaving towards one another in ways that demonstrate the value of the other person.

We all have opinions, don’t we? I do, I believe there are dangerous warning signs of relationship issues such as having a hot tempered person can be admirable when they are is defending your honor, but a relationship with a person who has a short fuse can be dangerous. Abusive relationships are never worth staying in, however, unfortunately many women do not recognize – or ignore – the early warning signs in a relationship.

If your partner wants to know of your whereabouts at all times, their jealousy might be something in danger of spiraling out of control. It’s sweet when your partner is thinking about and wanting to be with you, however, it is unacceptable for your partner to expect you to punch a time clock all the time. Be wary of such possessive behavior, and don’t be afraid to ask others of their opinions. If your friends have not met your partner yet even though you’ve been dating for several months, this is another warning sign. Abusive relationships often start with a fair bit of antisocial behavior.

Can you figure out the “ending warning signs in your relationship”? I thought I did, but do you know sometimes, a warning sign you notice in a relationship has nothing to do with abuse or neediness, but rather quite the opposite as your significant other begins to “phase out” of the couple, wanting to move on to other things. While a lot of breakups are mutual and drama-free, there are some that get very ugly before reaching a conclusion. It happened to me not so long ago and it is important to show respect for each other when you are dating, however, when things get difficult, many couples forget this level of courtesy for one another.

Withdrawal and avoidance from activities you once enjoyed can be a first red flag. If your partner is simply unwilling to spend time with you like he once did, then you may begin to suspect he has either moved on or is seeing someone else. This can be a hurtful assumption, so be sure to have a basis for your accusation before making it, but know avoidance can definitely be the beginning of the end.

In general your partner do not want to spend a lot of time talking about their emotions, and when a relationship is turning sour, you will find they are making such a minimal effort it is as if they have already left. They may put off conversations or do their best to prevent them because in their minds they may already be planning a breakup.

If your partner is putting you down, this can be another sign of a waning relationship. Responding negatively toward you is a hurtful tactic sometimes used to push a significant other away when they are no longer wanted. It may, in your partner’s mind, be easier for your partner to hold you at a distance through causing the blame to fall on her/his shoulders than it is for her/him to outright say what she/he is feeling.

Many have difficulty expressing their feelings, and being cruel is one solution. Treating your passions as stupid, making fun of the way you look, or not allowing you to complete a thought out loud are just a few of the “put downs” that may take place if you are dating a disinterested person who no longer has any regard for your feelings.

Lastly, a couple may find that their biggest red flag in a relationship is due to a severe escalation in their amount of arguments. Suddenly they fight about anything and everything, making it difficult to function as a couple. Fortunately, most couples do not resort to verbal or physical abuse, but many breakups occur due to too much arguing. Couples drift, and this can cause their life ambitions to take off on divided paths, forcing them to leave a once valuable relationship behind. If your partner is being argumentative, try your best to open up the lines of communication. However, be prepared for a potentially disappointing response.

Warning signs in relationships are not always obvious, but when it is time for something to end, you will probably know it. Unfortunately many women act as if they do not know until things have escalated to such a point that leaving is a much more emotionally painful experience than what was probably necessary.

My advice to you, you have value and love to give, and it is a shame to waste it on someone who is just going to throw it away. Never stay in an abusive situation, regardless. Your life is too valuable, and somewhere out there is a decent person for you who will treat you right.

Keeping Love and Passion Alive. Just saying! Tell her you love her and tell her she’s beautiful and buy her flowers (you don’t need a special occasion) surprise her! Take her out on a date and it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money! Cook for her; make it a romantic dinner, complete with candles, flowers and a nice bottle of wine. Have interests of your own!!! That’s right people! Don’t get it twisted but keep it real and do make time for her. Encourage her to follow her heart’s desire; do find a common hobby or interest. Listen with your ears and your heart. Let her know you’re paying attention. And by all means, ask her what she would like to make your relationship better. Be open to what she has to say. Follow up your words with actions, important!!! Give her space (we all need to it); and finally people, please communicate, listen with respect. Repeat what you heard her say. Validate her points. Validate her.

Chef EdieM

God’s Perfect Plan | Saving Your Life

I wrote and posted this article almost a year ago. Due to the strong contents and thinking of other people feelings I pulled it off immediately and being scared of rejection, unheard and misunderstood.  In recent weeks, I had given it some serious thoughts and realized in order to help others I need to help myself first.

…dedicated to all Adult Victims of Child Abuse…

To my friend Rose Discroll, who has given me the courage, confident and inner strength to express myself freely and to love myself again.

If you’re an adult who experienced sexual abuse as a child, know that you’re not alone. In the U.S. alone, 44% of sexual assault victims are under the age of 14, and 93% know their perpetrator. No matter what, the abuse was not your fault. It’s never too late to start healing from this experience.

Exposing Truth, those that have faith vary in their intensity of belief.  Some are so convinced of the goodness of what they have faith in that, no matter what happens to cast doubt on their beliefs, they are determined to hold onto their faith for as long as they live. For them there is no alternative, they have faith that what they believe to be true is, if truth exists at all, true. Others have a faith that may be weakened by the conflicting beliefs of friends, or by the influence of unexpected events.

You cannot have faith in something or someone simply because there is nothing better to believe in. Faith cannot be based on negative choices, but must be based on a real, strong, and sometimes total; desire that what you believe should be true actually is true. You must want what you have faith in to be true. Since nothing can be fully proved or disproved, unless truth has been somehow revealed, that which people have faith in is, for them, that which is true…

This past 18 months my life has taken many twists and turns that I cannot keep up with; there are chapters in my life that are closing and opening both at the same time; people are coming into and out of life so fast that I can’t even catch a break. This past month has been the hardest for me,   my family and dear friends who know me could relate to all my endures of many years seeking the truth and the answers that were never available to me; the admission of guilt from another that I long awaited for which will never happen; and the final resting of confirmation of shame.   But today, as I rested and watched a film called Simon Birch, about a young boy with a stunted growth is convinced that God has a great purpose for him and heroic aspiration decides to seek out his destiny with the help of his best friend, but soon begins to doubt his faith after his long journey.  I began to realize the story line was so much related to me.   Do I have a purpose for God and what is it? When will I know or has it happen already.  The movie interprets what is our faith in life, the truth and what you strongly believe in.

For 50 years of my life I have kept a hidden secret in fear that I thought I was responsible for and that I would suffer dearly with my life.  Some changes and current events in my life in the past 18 months I’ve come to realize the only way I can help myself is to speak the truth.  I am a survivor of childhood abuse.  My story is my own and not my siblings (for they have their own story to tell).

Why now? Many reasons which I truly believe God has a plan.  Maybe from the very first day it all started.  I don’t know, but whatever it is, it has taken me on a journey doubting my Faith and why I was left behind by God (so I thought).  I need to share this because the world has to realize that children are born totally innocent. Children are not property; they are not objects. The damage done to them is not imagined by the child and it is not and well ever be forgotten by the child. Even if the child blocks it out, the damage is there, lurking and festering and causing all sorts of problems and struggle for the person that it happened to.

Give me Strenght
Give me Strength

It is not okay because it happened “in the past”, it is not excusable.  The abusers are the ones who are accountable for that damage; the guilt and shame belong to them and the only way for an adult child who grew up with abuse to overcome the belief system that manifested because of that mistreatment is to realize that first of all, it really happened no matter how many times or years gone by.  Those two things set me on the right road to emotional healing.

And I needed to talk about it. I needed to be heard, but not by the abusers.

Is there a place to hide?
Is there a place to hide?

Being a survivor of childhood abuse had left an experience an array of overwhelming and intense feelings of fear, guilt, and shame which I had suffered for the past 50 years.  It made me a lonely woman for many years, not trusting in anyone and very little hope Faith in God.  My head was never the same, I was careless, and cold hearted and strayed away from my other siblings for years.  I just didn’t care about anyone or anything!

My abuser was known to tell me that it was my own fault at that time and almost twenty-one years ago my abuser said it never ever happened and I just made it all up while he laid in death bed.  Typical shifting the blame away from him, where it belongs and placing it on me; along with this, my abuser made many threats to me into not speaking up; convincing me that he will bring harm and even death to my other siblings if I ever spoke about it.

“Child abuse damages a person for life and that damage is in no way diminished by the ignorance of the perpetrator. It is only with the uncovering of the complete truth as it affects all those involved that a genuinely viable solution can be found to the dangers of child abuse”.

When I was “in the fog” for many years which means not understanding exactly why some of the details about these situations were wrong, but having this “feeling” or suspicion that they were wrong,  I could never put all these “facts” together and therefore I was never able to see the real truth. When I first started this blog I was afraid to share too much, I thought it would turn people off.  Don’t get me wrong, the opening of my blog does mention there would be allot of interesting blogs but  I was afraid that I would be seen as a “another victim story”, that I would be seen as someone who was “stuck in the past” and unable to “get over it” and that I was somehow deficient in putting the past behind me, even though I already knew that the way that I recovered was by facing the past, realizing the lies verses the truth and changing my false belief system, I was still scared of rejection and of being unheard and misunderstood.   I was afraid that I was “wrong” even though this truth was what set me free.

I was also afraid that people would write comments sticking up for the abusers.  I lived in a world for such a long time where the abusers were protected and the victims were to blame, that it took a long time to sort it all out.  I could not go against that deeply ingrained teaching especially when it came to my parents. I still feared the same consequences that I feared when I was a child.  I was pretty confused. It isn’t that we don’t live in that same world now but the difference is that I no longer believe that abusers should be protected and I no longer discount myself.  I do not acknowledge that false system anymore.   There is no excuse for devaluing a child; there is no excuse for mistreatment, there is no excuse for abuse.   I don’t want to live in that insanity anymore.

The final outcome:  Presently I am face to face once again with my abuser, after many years since we last spoke I was told I need to make amends with him and try to forgive him for his sins because he has terminal cancer! I have Faith in God, and pray everyday that my abuser will tell me to forgive him, I highly doubt it!

I have written this passage on one of my pass blogs, I just wanted to re-share again, I feel no matter what happened in the past I need to keep strong and focus.

“Peace and Mind”, more often than not, being an older woman I’ve faced my insecurities and fears head on, and have dealt with them to the best of my abilities. I have had enough life experiences to know what matters and what doesn’t. Consequently, I am above the petty nonsense. I have figured out what makes me look and feel good in the inside and out, and knows enough about relationships to not bother with feminine trivialities.  I am self-confidence that could only come from experience and the knowledge whatever life has given me.

I realized that what I had been missing all of these years was a meaningful relationship with people. I re-connected with my family again; I made more time for my friends.  Life was and is great.  People notice this; they can see when you are happy on the inside because it shines through on the outside, this all comes from having inner strength and you can only achieve this by going within yourself and adopting strong values”.

Please, don’t be afraid to share your thoughts and feelings, because someone out there is going through the same thing.

If you are an adult dealing with the effects of childhood sexual abuse, please remember that you are not responsible for the abuse and that you are not alone. You can overcome the effects the abuse may have on your life. Please call the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE) or visit the Online Hotline. It’s never too late to get help.

Chef EdieM

Chef EdieM

My Life in Boxes

AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY AND MEMOIRS OF CHEF EDIEM 11-18-87

These are series of short stories of my life, before and after my AVM surgery and recovery. Stories, from what I could remember for many years from notes to letters to myself; written on old Christmas wrapping paper used as scrap paper; paper towels, napkins and I even wrote on my clothing. I was strongly advised to write things down so I won’t forget. I’ve written notes during pre-op and post-op, part of my life story over twenty-eight years’ worth.  Silently I had put my life away in boxes for years, I never read nor looked at any my notes. I couldn’t, not until now.

I am a mother, a sister, an aunt, a lover, an activist – violence against children. I am a woman who adores life, who loves to cooks and going on cooking auditions, always intrigued with the unknown, enjoys writing, have a passion for the arts, and helping those less unfortunate as much as possible. I had endured sexual abuse since the age five and it continued into my mid to late teens. I can be raw at times, however still keeping it real.  I have a serious cleaning disorder, I brush my teeth in the shower, I swear, I spit like man and I dislike rude people. I am not different than the average person, so what makes me stand out from the rest of the population, I am a survivor of a right temporal Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM) on my cerebellum. I had a Craniotomy 27 years ago.

PART 1:  The AVM

During my pregnancy and going on my third trimester my AVM became full blown during an outing at a public art show in Manhattan, NY. My surgery took place at New York Presbyterian/Columbia. During my “AVM recovery” I had to learn to live all over again-literately!!! I had an abnormal tangle of blood vessels in the brain that can cause devastating effects and it began to bleed. Most likely the AVM had existed in my brain for many years, perhaps for most of my life. I was fortunate to have received superb health care from doctors at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia and from Dr. Robert A. Solomon, Clinic neurosurgeon affiliated with The New York-Presbyterian/Columbia – Neurological Surgery and University Hospital.

In the late summer of 1987 the AVM in my brain began to bleed, causing symptoms for the first time. I began experiencing headaches that, in retrospect, were more severe than ordinary headaches. I had a pounding sensation in the right side of head. I went to my doctor, and he thought I had a cold. I slept allot because I couldn’t take muscle relaxants for the pain due to my pregnancy, but it got worse.

Then, mid-September of 1987, Sunday; the internal bleeding increased and my symptoms escalated. “It was Art Show day, which I was really looking forward to. “I woke up with my head hurting really badly. As usually, my pregnancy didn’t allow me to take any medication only Tylenol; I drove myself into the city and while driving into the Holland Tunnel my head was pounding. I threw up in the car. I managed to clean up and parked the car in the village. Avoiding being negative, I remember saying to myself, “it’s the pregnancy don’t panic”. I met up with my friends, we walked for an hour, I drank allot of water because of the heat, then suddenly I felt really sick, I thought if I ate something it would go away. But it didn’t. While I was walking back to the vehicle I felt a pop on my right side than a burst of bright tiny dots appeared, than total silent was creeping on me. I decide to go home and rest. The following day, I called out sick from work, called my doctor explained all that transpired, I was advised to go to the emergency at a New Jersey Hospital. The hospital physicians ordered an MRI, which revealed that I was experiencing serious bleeding in the brain. The AVM, only one to two centimeters in diameter, was large enough to be life-threatening. I was then advised to abort my pregnancy and immediately needed to have surgery. Being confused scared and without knowledge of the AVM I immediately contacted a reliable sort, my sister–in-law, Marion Marin who strongly suggested New York-Presbyterian/Columbia.Immediately, calls were made and within days I was transferred to New York-Presbyterian/Columbia.

Doctors at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia stabilized me but decided that surgery on the AVM should be postponed after the cesarean section delivery. The risk of coma or death as a complication of surgery is much higher of brain the team wisely chose not to operate immediately after the hemorrhage occurred.

After spending three weeks in the hospital, I was able to go home. My doctor told me he was handing my case over to Dr. Solomon, a neurosurgeon who eventually would perform my surgery. I left with warm memories of New York-Presbyterian/Columbia.

I faced difficult adjustments in my day-to-day life. It was critical that no sudden movement cause the AVM to begin bleeding again. “When I was released from the hospital, they gave me information about what I could and couldn’t do,” “I wasn’t allowed to do anything that would cause my brain to be active. I couldn’t lift, couldn’t paint, or work out. It was torture. It was horrible.

On November 18, 1987, I was ready for surgery. Dr. Solomon, who directs the endovascular neurosurgery program at the New York-Presbyterian/Columbia, operated on me. Then, over a period of nine prolonged and difficult hours Dr. Solomon performed a Craniotomy procedure to remove the malformation.

Dr. Solomon told me that I wouldn’t have to worry about the AVM for now and that I should know since I already had suffered an AVM that I may suffer another in my lifetime, regardless the outcome. When I left the hospital it was kind of a shock; I was out in the real world where everyone wasn’t as nice. During this period I was working with a major trading firm down by the World Trade Center area and I lost my job after the surgery.

I personally felt left to battle the demons of the world by myself; my life as I knew it turned upside down. I was seen differently by people; couldn’t work and constantly being discriminated because of my seizures episodes caused by the surgery; memory loss, rudeness was the new for me! Rejections, loss of friends, and sadly some family members turned away from me because they could deal with me. I lost my faith and questioned it many times. I suffered serious disability- loss of memory, I had to learn to read and write; almost instantly become a single parent and surrounded by domestic abuse didn’t help; and finally I moved hundreds of miles away to fix my untamed life.

I learned over the years of recovery that it was up to me to grow, adapt to new beginnings and be able to look out of the box. Which I did, years later I briefly studied Paralegal while working for a law firm; I worked for the Government | Army and then decided to become a Surgical Technician. In the next few weeks will be taking my state board exam for my license and I will continue my education, enjoying my family and friends, cooking, writing, volunteering and eyeing a possible future in the field of nutrition, health. “I am so blessed to have my life back after 27 years.” life is good again not perfect but good!

Chef EdieM

Memories, My Life in Boxes