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Blog

These are my thoughts, yo.

Filtering by Category: Marriage

What My Momma Taught Me About Sexual Orientation

jasmine banks

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blue roundI've never written about this, so I am going to need lots of love and encouragement. I have no doubt there are going to be some haters. There always are. More than anything I sense my growing fear is the rejection of those people that I like and care about... but with authenticity comes risk, so here goes. My first girlfriend's name was Sara. I loved her. She had pale skin and long brown hair with giant green eyes that looked like the color was stolen from the underbelly of a tropical leaf. Her teeth weren't straight. They overlapped a little and her lips would curl back over them as her mouth turned into a smile. We would walk for hours barefoot in the creeks near our homes and would explore the trails around our neighborhood. We shared secrets and held hands. We stole kisses and talked about dreams and were as carefree as two girls with families like ours could be.

As much as I've struggled to come to terms about some of the more dysfunctional things about my childhood I can say with certainty that my mom taught me well concerning sexual orientation. She taught me that I don't have to choose to check a box. I could dig deep into myself and be still. I could listen to what my heart told me. Isaiah, my brother, and I were taught this:

You fall in love with a person, not their gender

I was raised to believe that what makes a person is not their sexual organs or even their gender expression. That lesson afforded me the freedom to discover that I could love and be attracted to all kinds of people, and that the sexual expression that follows connection and love was neither heterosexual or homosexual. It was simply an extension of loving a person and wanting to express that love physically.

Though my story takes a brief pit stop into the world of fundamentalist Christian dogma and a quick dance with shame about my identity, the same truth has always stayed cemented in my heart. It found itself buried under the imposed beliefs of those who taught me "marriage (and true love) is only between a man and a woman", but it wiggled itself free of the dirt of bigotry and grew in spite of the polluted soil. You fall in love with a person, not their gender. 

So I have.

I have fallen in love with girls and one boy. I married the boy. I don't know if it is an anomaly. I don't know if I should have married a girl. I don't know. I don't think about it. I don't feel like I need to extrapolate my choices that way. He asked me to marry him, I loved him, wanted to be in a relationship, and I said yes. We had kids. We built a life. I don't know the answers because I am not interested in taking on  a title or quantifying my connection with people to make myself more understandable to the world. This can get me in trouble. It makes people uncomfortable. "So you are bisexual? Have you ever had sex with a girl? Why did you marry a man? Do you want to leave him for women?" I don't answer these questions. These questions aren't asked because someone cares about my quality of life, the quality of life of the people I love, or ethics.... they ask because someone without borders feels an awful lot like a threat or they are curious.

My mom has known my whole life. My mother-in-law knows, my best friend Sadie knows, my sister-in-law knows, my husband knows, my sister Paige knows, and my kids will know.

And now, I guess, you know.

I don't talk about this much openly because I live in a small town with small minded people. They struggle to understand my interracial marriage, much less a marriage with a member who has a mixed orientation. I was never cut and dry with any kind of definition. My personality, my race, my skill set.. I've always been a "bit of this and a bit of that" but mostly I've been about love and kindness and connection.

I am learning to be okay with it. I hope, one day, the world will too.

 

 

 

 

Baby Brown #4

jasmine banks

Garrett looked at me the other day and said, seriously, "I'd really like to have another child." He explained how he weighed the financial, emotionals, and all the other important things and come to the realization that he wanted a fourth child. Isaiah and Addison are partners in crime, extremely close, and wonderful support to each other. Tobias, though he is still young, is clearly divided from them. Odd man out. A fourth tiny would give him a friend and make our family complete. The only child we planned was Addison...and we had to take fertility meds to have her. I am a strange breed of woman. High androgens and PCOS means that I don't have a period... I've had maybe FOUR in my life. Which just means I am extra awesome, or as that doctors call it "Infertile". How can I *still* be classified "infertile" when I have three kids? Can we not take that off my record? No... why? Well, because the doctor says without menstruation and dropping eggs my lady plumbing is considered infertile.

We got pregnant with Isaiah by surprise. You got married in June, here is your October SURPRISE! Moooorning sickness! Then, when Isaiah was older, we wanted to have another baby. I got pregnant, briefly, and miscarried. We consulted an OB and he called me the "I" word again. After a year of trying on Clomid and progesterone (the hormone drugs from hell) we gave up. Three months later we got pregnant. I gave birth to Addison and then got pregnant shortly after. I also miscarried that baby.

Our marriage got rocky and we didn't know if we'd keep it together. Then we found out we were pregnant with this guy- and we decided to give our marriage a bit more of a chance. We should have named Tobias "condom failure". Condom failure was born to the infertile woman through an unlikely broken condom during a "maybe we should get back together" makeup sex session.  Ah life... you are, indeed, tricksy!

We discovered chemical birth control worsens my medical condition and turns me into a crazy harpy.

Two months ago I got another positive pregnancy test, and then another miscarriage.

You see. Like most things in my life I live in this middle space. Not absolute introvert or extrovert, not Black but not White. I am neither fertile or infertile. A "fertile" woman knows when she will cycle and drop and ova and is able to get pregnant and carry that child. An infertile woman cannot get pregnant for various reasons. She is considered infertile because:

  • fertilized eggs or embryos do not survive once they stick to the lining of the womb
  • fertilized egg does not attach to the lining of the uterus
  • eggs cannot move from uterus or womb
  • ovaries have problems producing eggs
Three obstetrician and two endocrinologist are stumped! They don't know how I keep getting pregnant. An ultrasound of my ovaries show a right dead ovary (I had surgery as a child and half of it was taken) and left ovary full of painful cysts (Hooray PCOS!).
So when my husband says, "I'd like to have a fourth baby," it means a lot for my body.
I am considering it. 
I haven't made a decision.
I am afraid of another miscarriage
I am afraid I won't be able to get pregnant again.
I know I am luckier then a lot of "infertile" women.... I have three kids, already.
Am I being greedy?
I hate to think of the rude comments families with more than two children get.
At the same time, since our life and marriage have been so painful in the last 18 months, it would be healing to be able to choose to bring a child into the world together in love and with intention. Another pregnancy, and child, would be a beautiful way to close a very hard chapter of our life- like a planned finale. I don't know. I am on the fence.
But there is a possibility of Baby Brown #4
Having a uterus is so complicated.

 

Sex Addiction: My Husband Went to Rehab and All I Got Was This Crummy Angst

jasmine banks

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  "I love my husband. The other day he folded all the laundry, put it away, and even did the dishes...I have the best hubby in the world!" Comments like these are typical in the culture I currently live in. The noxious Facebook status updates roll through my feed as I sit at the table and ignore doing the dishes. They drum up this deep annoyance for me. Angst.  I was ranting about it to my friend today. I yelled, "Why in the hell does doing every day egalitarian tasks warrant such adoration?"  On the surface I don't think these things, these acts, should count as "special treatment" for a woman. I think that family duties should be shared... just because I have a vagina does not mean I belong in the kitchen. *fist bump for the feminists*

Truth is.

I'm not really mad about the fact that these women are so moved with joy that their partners did the dishes for them and they are gushing vapidly.  I am mad about this deep existential crisis in my heart. I am mad that their lives are so simple. I am mad that my life is so complex, so hard. I am mad that  they are so easily pleased by dishes, laundry, and the hour their husbands took the kids. My husband does the dishes, he sweeps the floors, I leave for weekends and he cares for the kids solo, and he wakes up at night to diaper and feed babies while I sleep.... but he is a addict.

Sex addiction is not unlike alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling addiction, or food addiction. It is a compulsive drive to act out in an addictive cycle. It involves trauma and shame and is far more stigmatized than other addictions. Sexual addiction is best described as a progressive intimacy disorder characterized by compulsive sexual thoughts and acts. * Like all addictions, its negative impact on the addict and on family members increases as the disorder progresses. Over time, the addict usually has to intensify the addictive behavior to achieve the same results.

I learned a little less than two years ago that the person I married was an addict. He was an addict BEFORE we were married. It had been kept a secret.
I was blindsided.
The man I married was not the man I discovered.
I was sleeping with a stranger
A stranger who didn't give a damn about vows.
It is easy to get mad and point fingers and demonize. Sex addicts are just like other addicts. They are wrapped up in a disease that has its roots in trauma they have experienced. I straddle the two worlds. There is the one world where I am so pissed at him and think about how evil he is and the other world is where I am deeply hurt for him. Deep pain and abuse creates addicts.
He left in October for rehab. I spent 35 days being a single parent, figuring out what marriage.
                             fidelity.
                                        god.
                                                 love.

                                                          hope.
                                                                      meant to me.
I cried
I threw things
I blamed people
I stared into space
I attempted to avoid
I emotionally vomited to complete strangers.
He moved out from our family home and we were seperated. It isn't the first time that we've been separated. When the initial disclosure happened I asked him to leave as well.
He has moved back in. We are seeking reconciliation and sobriety. I am trying to figure out what life means knowing who he truly is. I feel a comfortable mix of hope and hurt. I am trying to piece together what was real about my previous relationship with my husband and what was part of being manipulated by an addict. I am trying to figure out what part of our life falling a part was because of my baggage and issues. I am holding so tightly to the belief that God is a loving and sovereign force that heals and redeems all things- no matter how broken they look.
I am embracing the people who hold me togther when I am falling a part.
I am waiting and watching and trying to see if I can figure out how to trust again.
.... I wish it was as easy as getting him to do the damn dishes.