Concept of intimacy doesn’t feel normal to me. It seems foreign to me that sex and physical love could be positive. My aversion is clearly understandable to me at least. Even with something good and normal, like water, if a young boy from a very young age was continually shamed for his desire to drink it and nearly drowned as a response, it is obvious that that boy will grow up with an unhealthy view of both his need for the life sustaining substance and of it in general. As a testimony, as a prelude to my next journal entry: Keep what I have been through in mind. It feels as though an entirely new gender has appeared overnight. Love feels different than abuse. I spent the past week with an amazing friend from Edmonton. I spent an amazing weekend with her in June and at New Years of this year. This time I went to Edmonton to see her. I can’t tell you how relaxing and amazing this week has been. The first night we were there, I asked her if she would take me to church. So she took me to St. Theresa’s Parish. We got there a little early. I prayed the rosary while we waited. She was really cool about the fact that we arrived like an hour early. I knew she was not used to going to church so I explained the process of Mass to her and invited her to approach at the offering for a blessing. It was an amazing start to our trip together. The day after, we went to the movies where we saw Bad Moms. Later, we went to Fort Edmonton Park where we rode the little steam engine train into the restored village from the end of the 19th century. On the 20th, we went to Northlands Racetrack where we saw Paul Brandt perform in the infield. That was quite an experience for me because I really enjoy his music. We went to a bar called the Trap and Gill. It was an awesome bar. I feel I drank a bit more than I should have when we went to the bar. It had been a long time since I had drank that much. I guess I wasn’t aware of my limit. I was feeling fine sitting. Then when I stood, everything hit me. I stopped after this. Anyways, I have kept it in moderation for the rest of the week. I have quite a serious injury. This affects the way I walk. Because I stumble does not mean I am drunk. I was celebrating. Though, I do feel it is not right for me to drink to excess. I will go to confession. I’m not going to be held back by old methods of coping that clearly need to change. To be clear, I have not gone back to old coping patterns. I was celebrating. But I want the love that is in my heart to show in what I do and say. I’m going to put others before myself a lot more. I’m going to make a fresh start. A couple of positive things about the week: I’m proud of myself that I avoided cigarettes all week, while Donna smokes. Though, really, I have never had any real cravings to look back. I’m proud of myself that in the time I went to the casino for the concert, we did not spend any time gambling. Infinitely more than that, I spent the week, I guess you could say, learning to love again. In so many ways. Especially with what I have been through. And I know what I am claiming is to a lot of people still sort of a phantom crime, though I know you want to believe me, I am learning and learned so much this week that I absolutely deserve love and intimacy. But I also learned that love is about so much more than sex and intimacy. I learned that love is not dangerous as it was hardwired into my mind. Consent and intimate expression of love are sexy. Anyways, I’m realizing that I deserve love. Especially with what I have been through. Waiting allows a relationship to grow so that God can be the focus of the relationship. Though we need, I think, to examine each situation with love and respect. I deserve to be happy, if God says that. God has encouraged me to be happy my entire life. Remember, you cannot forget that God is above all, a loving Father to they who also love Him. Remember that. I went to confession for my conscience. Confession is very important. I consider myself blessed to have grown my faith in a Baptist and an evangelical church. In this spiritual upbringing, so to speak, I learned a very valuable lesson that has kept with me. I learned that when we are in Christ, the Law is written on our hearts. With this comes a changed self. But the change in self is very important. I learned the very valuable tenet that Christ died for our sins and that forgiveness is available through grace through faith. Still, I have come to believe and this is only my belief, that as our aim is holiness and righteousness, we should strive to keep ourselves pure. In my opinion, there is a purpose in humility, contrition and penance. I believe very strongly that what God wanted me to do, what He has always wanted me to do was to open my heart. I believe that allowing my heart to open was the right thing. I know God wanted me to be happy with my childhood. I’m feeling alive. Even though a part of me has died. High five to life, seriously. I got in touch with a part of myself that was literally dead prior to this week. I am feeling so wonderfully blessed to have met Donna. Love can heal anything. The healing power of the love of God in absolute faith is what raised Lazarus from the dead. Especially in cases where love and intimacy have been used abusively, love and physical love are all the more important when it comes to the healing process. I intend to live well here forward. I want to ensure that everything I do and say comes from a place of love. Please remember that love is one of the basest of human needs. I was deprived of that on every account for the entirety of my life. I have never experienced love, even from a mother. God is compassionate. I was meant to be happy. To show that even after and through the worst of abuses, it is possible to overcome through love. But I have faith they are not against my conscience. I have faith that God wanted me to be happy. Tradition is very important. I'm asking you to remember God's love. Remember what I am claiming. I assure you that even though this is still in darkness to you, I live every moment with the consequences of over two decades of terrible abuse. Suffering itself, suffering for suffering’s sake does not make one holy. Unless that suffering was endured for His glory. It’s about how we react to suffering. And I do not feel I am doing that bad, in the face of everything I am up against. I hope you will be able to see, when the truth comes out, just how much faith it took. I cannot and will not stop speaking my truth. The symptoms are all there. I am not nor have I ever expected anyone to believe until after there was corroboration. When the truth comes out. God bless you. I feel like I finally have a happy ending to my story.