Monthly Archives: January 2010

Somewhat random whine…

Don’t you hate it when you think you’ve gotten over something, put it behind you, only to realize you hadn’t? To wonder if you never truly can?

Don’t you hate it when you can’t decide whether or not you have a right to feel something, or if you are making too big of a deal out of it? If you are ‘playing the victim’, ‘trying to make everyone feel sorry for you’, or otherwise blowing it out of proportion, to quote the person who did it? To quote your father, even if he wasn’t talking about you?  If you are just being a baby/bitch/whiner/princess/etc? If you are making yourself feel bad on purpose to get attention?

Doesn’t it suck to think all of these bad things or ask all of these questions about yourself when you would never do that if you were talking to a friend with the same feelings?

Doesn’t it bother you when you find yourself making excuses for the person or behavior, or trying to talk yourself out of feeling the way you do? Especially it was this very tendency, this very lack of self-esteem and tendency to look at the positive, that made the abuse possible to begin with?

Should I be afraid I will become bitter? Even if you don’t really see why you would, or don’t think you have, but still wonder about that anyway?

Is it weird for a person who doesn’t believe in taking revenge to inwardly laugh or feel good when her male friends offer to ‘handle’ her ex? Especially the more, um, creative ideas? 🙂

Isn’t it frustrating not to be able to put a name for what happened to you, or to not like the sound of the words? Or to feel that you shouldn’t use the words because they normally apply to something you see as much worse than what happened to you? To feel bad about telling anyone because they’ll be mad at you and think you are ‘belittling’ what happened to them if you use the same terms? Or to wonder if anything out of the ordinary happened at all?

Doesn’t it suck that remembering something or someone that hurt you and being triggered by it makes you question your faith and whether or not you’ve really forgiven? Whether or not you’ve been taking the Eucharist unworthily?* To wonder whether or not you’re going to be forgiven for your sins because you haven’t forgiven someone else’s sins against you?  To question whether or not ‘sins against you’ is even the right phrase for it? To question what forgiveness even means, and to remember every Scripture verse that ‘convicts’ you, but none that comfort you? Especially if this very line of reasoning contributed to the situation you are ‘supposed’ to have forgiven?

Isn’t it awful when you feel like you can’t even trust your own thoughts, feelings, actions or beliefs? When you have to keep repeating the same stuff over and over again to yourself, but it doesn’t seem to sink in? When you ask your friends about things like this that confuse you but are so obvious to everyone else?

Don’t you hate it when everyone else sees something for what it is, but you don’t, no matter how many times you have to beat it into your head?

Don’t you hate feeling that you should be ‘beyond’ something by now? That you should ‘be over it’, Even though you would never say that to someone else?

Isn’t it annoying when you ignore or turn down someone’s Facebook friend request because you want to forget about them, but they keep on asking, so you have to keep on seeing their name until you finally block them?  When seeing that name or picture throws you off and you have to remind yourself that he can’t hurt you again, or that hopefully he’s grown up and just wants to be friendly? When you have to block someone because they don’t get the hint that you don’t want to be their friend the first couple of times you turn them down?

Don’t you hate it when you can’t even look at some of your college photos because you are triggered by the sight of one person in them? And you could go through the photos and put a sticker or something over his face, but that would mean that you actually have to look at him?

Doesn’t it suck that seeing one picture, hearing one name, can make you feel like years of therapy, spiritual counseling, help from others and self help efforts haven’t done anything? As though all of the progress you’ve made disappears into the mist so easily and you have to start all over again, just because you saw a stupid picture?

Doesn’t it annoy you when you don’t know how you will feel about something or someone from one day to the next? When you keep going back and forth between positive and negative, thought and feeling, healing and injury?

Doesn’t it suck not to be able to look at a friend’s profile picture because he reminds you of someone who the very sight of unnerves you?

Don’t you hate it when you have dreams about someone but are doing to them what you should have done back when you knew them? When you wake up feeling rattled, or you think you hear yourself yelling at them in your sleep? But isn’t it oddly satisfying when you beat the crap out of them in your dream?

And isn’t it awful when you write all these questions out and feel better, but hate that you even felt all this stuff in the first place?

*Yes, as a matter of fact, I am a master of worrying, made so by years of experience.  I give lessons on Fridays.  🙂

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Ode to the newspaper lady…

I was reading a friend’s (yes, I have friends…who knew? 😛 ) blog last week when I came across this post. Reading it inspired and infuriated me at the same time. Here is the post I’m referring to:

World Without End-Cold

An excerpt:
I have a “friend” who loudly declared one day that Big Issue sellers “don’t want to work”. I tried to explain, as gently as I could considering how angry I was, that they buy the magazine, mark it up and sell it; that they’re out all day in the rain and wind; that it’s meant as a way for them to work for a living – that they’re working harder than many people will ever have to, and taking the abuse of a snotty public while they’re at it. It didn’t seem to compute. I don’t think the person concerned was expecting to hear an argument, and so he didn’t hear it.

As for his ‘friend’-

I know several people like that, who think that they are the only ones who actually *work* for a living. The person who served them at the coffee shop, the street cleaner, the salesperson in the electronics store? Lazy bums, all of them. It’s usually either that, or that they are in their job because they are ‘lower’ somehow-less intelligent, less educated, not motivated, bitter or generally of ‘lower’ stock. I probably don’t even have to tell you what I’ve heard said about people on public assistance, programs some don’t think should even exist. Either way, they are looking down their noses at anyone who is not in ‘their station’. But then, these people usually have never been in a position to where they have nothing less than top-notch jobs, been laid off or had a hard time of it. It must be nice…but the truth is, I kind of pity them. Sometimes they are arrogant, elitist jerks but, more often than not, they’re just clueless. “Doing what they [customer service workers] do because they don’t want to work?” Trust me, it’s work. Besides, I’m sure a person could find more enjoyable things to do on a Saturday night than park people’s cars. I know I could. Also, how do they know that the person serving them isn’t working through college to get the education they are assumed not to have? How do they know that person doesn’t have three kids at home to feed? They might also look down on a single person with kids, but how do they know that person is single, or is single by choice? How do they know that the person working the cash register at Walmart isn’t a former software engineer who’s been affected by a bad economy and layoffs? How do they know that the job at the coffee shop isn’t a second job the person takes to help pay off student loans? I’ve known people like this. How do they know that the person getting Social Security hasn’t busted her butt working and paying into the system a lot longer than she really should have and only stopped working because she’s been forced to? Yes, I have personal stake in this. Bitter and angry, party of one.

Okay, rant over.

I’ll admit I haven’t always been as gracious as I’m expecting others to be. I have a bachelor’s in communication from one of the best schools in my home state (Go NC State!!!!). I’ve had jobs where I’ve made good salaries-or, what was good for me back then. I was young, and brimming with the delusion of invincibility that comes along with it. I thought ‘it couldn’t happen to me’. Long story short, it did happen to me. I was quickly knocked down by the loss of a job and had to experience first-hand what it was like to work multiple jobs to pay the rent or to live off of credit cards. I have the bankruptcy on my record to prove it. One thing I learned the hard way is that none of us are immune from setbacks; they can happen to anyone, at any time. I know people who have lost considerable amounts of their retirement savings in the stock market. They weren’t irresponsible, but the general economy sunk and took the stock market (and their savings) with it. Now in any given place you can find people who had high-powered jobs but were laid off because their companies had to make cutbacks. Several of my friends can’t work anymore because of an illness. I’ve known of families who are now on food stamps because the main breadwinner got hurt and can’t work anymore. Heck, my husband went through all of his savings taking care of me for the seven months after my wreck that I couldn’t work. These weren’t things that could have been foreseen, otherwise we would have gladly planned. While there is something to be said for saving for a rainy day and thinking about the future, I just want to stress that a person’s job situation isn’t necessarily due to a character flaw or anything the person could have done. Unfortunately, sometimes stuff just happens. I wish it didn’t, but maybe it has a purpose. Few things will teach you the value of human compassion than being in a position where you are on the receiving end!

Speaking of compassion…

I was touched by the fact that my friend wanted to help this young lady, a person he barely knew. That means he spoke with her, actually listened to what she had to say, took an interest in her and thought about her for longer than the two minutes it would take for her to hand him his paper. In other words, he treated her like an ‘equal’ as opposed to The Person Who Is There To Serve Him. I know this might not sound like much but, believe me, it is. As someone who has worked extensively in the service industry (restaurant and retail), I cannot express enough how much it can mean to have a customer notice you as a person. Restaurants have a high employee turnover rate for a reason; the job can be very interesting, but also some of the roughest and most thankless work you’ll ever find. I’ve personally enjoyed many of my service jobs, but there were definitely moments when I’d loved to have given someone a mashed-potato facial. 🙂 However, every now and then you’ll come across the customer who makes you glad you are there. I don’t remember many of the rude customers I’ve had (beyond the extremes), but I definitely remember the ones who took the time to speak with me and showed interest in/concern for me. This might especially make a difference to the person who stands out in freezing-cold weather and sells newspapers for a living; in other words, the person many people pass on the street every day but don’t even notice. We never know; that might be us or someone we love one day. Karma may be a bitch, but she can also do good and God knows we need all the help we can get!

The things that made a difference

A 6th century mosaic of Jesus at Church San Ap...
Image via Wikipedia

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!’ – 2 Corinthians 5:17

I was fifteen when I first heard about Jesus.  Now, I know what you’re going to say, ‘a person growing up in the Bible Belt who hadn’t heard of Jesus? How is that possible?’ Well, it is. It’s not that I had never heard of Jesus so much as that I hadn’t heard about Jesus. I knew the name, but it was like knowing of Abraham Lincoln or something-I knew the facts and the common stories, but they didn’t mean anything to me.  My family went to church up until I was about eight but, really, show me an eight year old who actually pays attention in church! I knew Bible stories, but only because my mom had gotten me a huge book of them to keep me quiet and awake during the service. Suffice it to say, I didn’t know about Jesus in any meaningful way.  It took meeting some very good and caring friends to get me to learn anything beyond what you can find on a Christmas TV special.  I’m not going to go into too much detail about them here because I don’t want to get off track, but I experienced the type of ‘transformation’ the verse above references.  It wasn’t my personality that changed so much as the way I saw everything around me and, by extension, saw myself.  Here are some of the ways my life changed when I first became a Christian:

First, let me start by telling you what didn’t change. Here’s one thing-I didn’t ‘get morals’. I had morals before, and roughly the same ones about how to treat other people that Christianity teaches. I keep hearing some people say or imply that people who don’t have a religion can’t have morals, and that is completely untrue. I had parents before, and those parents taught me values before. Also, it’s not as though the ethics of relationships are unique to Christianity! Many of the world’s religions teach similar things about how to treat other people, even if worded differently. Christianity happens to be the faith I chose, but I don’t pretend that we have the monopoly on knowledge of God. I don’t really have to be agreed with; In fact, I am often the first to defend the rights of others to live and believe whichever way they feel led, provided no one is being hurt.  Some differences might be hard to swallow at first, but they’re certainly not as important as loving our neighbor as ourselves, with everyone as our neighbor.

Besides, it’s not like I was a huge troublemaker before! I didn’t *kiss* anyone or even have a real boyfriend until I was seventeen so I didn’t sleep around, haven’t committed any crimes beyond traffic tickets and I still have never been drunk. I’ve actually always been kind of a goody-two-shoes, although I don’t like to admit that. 🙂  I’m just naming these things because they seem to be the ones I hear about most often. I do have somewhat of a ‘potty mouth’ sometimes and have definitely lied, but I’ve never really understood the fixation some people have about sexual things being more important than a person’s basic attitude toward themselves and other people. *Shrug* I guess you could say that I also struggle with not judging others…

I didn’t find a quick fix for my problems, nor did I have an assurance that I wouldn’t have trials in the future. In fact, it was pretty much a guarantee that I would.  The assurance was in that I wouldn’t be alone when I did.

I didn’t check my brain at the door. One thing I’ve been asked is how someone who’s as intelligent as I am can possibly be a Christian. Do I really have to tell you why this is offensive? 🙂 I understand how some of the anti-science, anti-academia, anti-questioning-anything-your-leaders-say things you’ll hear out of some people seem like Christians don’t think.  I completely agree, those things don’t sound very thoughtful.  However, I think you will find people who do not think for themselves in pretty much any group. It’s more of a personality trait than anything else. I have never stopped asking questions, and probably never will. Anyone who knows me knows that I won’t ‘just shut up and drink your Kool-Aid’ just because someone tells me to-in fact, being told that is likely to make me even more persistent! What’s great is, I don’t have to stop asking.  Some Christian groups do teach the sort of strict ‘uniform thinking’ mentioned above, but that’s certainly not all of them. The Bible never claimed to be a science book or complete history text anyway. Besides, there are other types of intelligence.  Faith can meet an emotional need, which IMO is every bit as important as an intellectual need.

And, well, let’s see you try to get through the book of Deuteronomy-most of the Old Testament, really-and still think Christians are brain dead…:)

Here are some things that did change, that were added to my life:

I finally had a connection to something outside myself, and larger than myself and the world I can see around me.

It was finally beaten into my head that ‘it’s not all about me’.   I had concern for and connection to the rest of the world’s people before, but this bond became even stronger. That doesn’t mean I liked everyone or everything, but it does mean that I began to see the whole world as my neighbor as opposed to just my ‘inner circle’ or those I could see around me.

I finally stopped having to know absolutely everything.  Growing up, I couldn’t stand the idea of something being beyond my comprehension or not being ‘kept in the loop’ .  I guess you could say I was a typical teenager, thinking I knew everything and that my reasoning was flawless. I put tremendous pressure on myself in this way;  I always did very well in school but didn’t think I had much else going for me. Proverbs 3:5 says to ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.’  I don’t take this to necessarily mean that we shouldn’t try to make sense of things, but that we should understand that there are going to be things that are not for us to know at this point in time.  This might sound simplistic, but it really brought a relief. For someone who was as strongly driven by academics as I was, admitting that it is okay not to know something is a major feat. Even now, sometimes I drive myself insane trying to understand things…why people are how they are, etc…but then I remember the apostle Paul’s letter to the Corinthians. “Now we see things imperfectly, as in a poor mirror, but then we will see in perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely just as God knows me now.” (1 Cor, 13:12). Now, I know what you’re going to say…’how do you know the Bible is even true? There are so many contradictions in it, so many things have been found to be false.’ But like I said above, the Bible is not a science book.  There is a difference between ‘truth’ and ‘fact’, as the parables and mythology that has been passed down through the ages will show. Even if you put no stock in the Bible or Paul at all, what he says still makes sense.  There are some things we just aren’t going to know in this life…and anything that can drive that through my thick skull can’t be all bad!  That leads me to the final (and biggest) realization:

It seemed as though I finally had a name for an essence, a spirit, that I had known was there all along but couldn’t identify. I think I always felt that there was some sort of higher power ‘out there’, that there was something that kept the order in the universe. I can’t emphasize enough how comforting it can be to believe that it’s not all up to me and that there is some sort of pattern, some sort of reason to the the world and our lives. It certainly has not been smooth sailing, definitely. I will be the first to say that I’ve had it rough at times and that I’ve considered tossing it all .  I’ve had some times when I felt I’d be better off without my faith or thought God deserted me. I seriously thought He hated me; few things will make you feel farther from God than depression, especially the kind that comes with mixed bipolar states.  However, through the caring of some good friends, I began to see again that He never left me.  Just as I originally came to know and believe, I was shown the way God cares for me through the care from other people. There are too many people to thank, so I guess they’ll just have to know who they are.  On this tip, I will end this essay with one of my favorite Scriptures:

‘And now abide in faith, hope, love, these three; and the greatest of these is love.’ -1 Corinthians 13:13

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I’ve got this excruciatingly annoying ear worm in my head for some reason:

And now you do too. Mwwaaahaaahaaa! 🙂

At least the cat’s cute, and the guy’s not bad either! 🙂

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I’m bored.


Inspiration Courtesy of SNL

In honor of Epiphany, here’s a bit of fun that also contains a bit of truth. I was in church yesterday when I thought of this cartoon, specifically the first part. It’s from a series of Saturday Night Live cartoons called ‘Saturday TV Funhouse’. I’m a pretty big SNL fan, and have been for a long time; this was IMO one of the funnier running sketches. You’ll have to go to the site linked to see it, though, as I’m not able to upload video from that site and I couldn’t find this on YouTube. Enjoy!

Fun With Real Audio-Jesus and Christmas

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Lord, Remind Me…

Lord, remind me…

When I complain about being cold in my house, remind me to pray for those who have nowhere to live.

When I complain about having nothing nice to wear, remind me to pray for those who don’t have many clothes at all.

When I complain about being fat, remind me to pray for those who do not have enough to eat.

When I get angry about stupid people on the internet, remind me to pray for them, if only so that they might get smarter. 🙂

When I complain about missing my friends and family, remind me to be thankful that I have friends and family to miss.

Remind me that however bad things are, they could be worse.

Remind me that however bad things are, You are still there with me.

When I feel far from You, remind me that your presence and caring for me is not contingent on my being able to feel You.

Whatever I forget, remind me. Just…remind me.

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