Fuckin’ Perfect

Brave.

I’ve been hearing that a lot lately in regards to both my professional life and my private, personal life.

Yet I sit here and my eyes overfill and pain spills down my face. I listen to this and I tell myself I am not what they say I am.

Pink “Fuckin Perfect”on Vimeo.

I can ignore it for a long time. I can give second chances. I can forgive, I have forgiven, I will forgive again. again. again.

But what I will not do is submit myself to the abuse that others dish out with no regard.

I don’t know how it happened. How it all came to blows on the same day, the same moment.

I was making a professional resignation from an organization I’ve been a member of for nearly a decade.  Y’know what. Wait. Let’s be clear here. The people  in that organization have become family to me. We’ve fought, argued, debated, grown, and always–always we’ve loved.  It is not those people I walked away from, those people joined arms in support and walked away as well. It’s really two of the officers of the now disbanded Indiana Horror Writers that I took a stand against. A couple of the officers made some poor choices with sexist language and after trying to deal with it as a group, without resolution, six of us gave our resignations and ended our affiliation with the Indiana Horror Writers. One of us has control over the digital assets of the organization and we’ll see what happens next.  The two men we had problems with are forming another group, people are taking sides. More than that though, I’m accused of being unprofessional, a liar, unreasonable. My posts were deleted, I was removed from the organization’s forums, blocked from one of the officer’s Facebook friends list, was told I couldn’t resign because I wasn’t an officer, talked about in a private forum I was removed from, but all the while told that the doors are open and it’s a safe and comfortable place to discuss the issues. I was told it’s my fault. The message is clear: Shut up.

Safe does not equal degrading me, attempting to shut me up, or trying to control me.

At the very moment I hit submit, and I’m really not kidding, the very moment, I received a phone call from my dad, who proceeded to tear me to shreds verbally. I was called names, accused of stealing money, threatened, and made to feel guilty because it’s my fault. I was hung up on more times than I care to count. And then, one time, the phone didn’t disconnect and I heard what dad was saying to my sister about me. I heard the names they were calling me. The message is clear: Shut up.

If I listen to these people I’m a liar, a thief, a bitchy broad, a hard head, I’m unprofessional, disrespectful, lazy, jobless, and nothing is enough. I’m not enough, I didn’t do enough, I don’t do enough, I’ll never be enough. Never.

{like when I was a child, I was a slut, a bitch, a whore, a liar, a thief, worthless, told that I should have never been born, told that I was brought into the world and can be taken out of it. I used to pretend I was adopted because that made more sense to me.}

I listen this the song again. again. again. Fuckin’ Perfect…

to drown them out.

because they think they’re the victims.
they cry about injustice and how they’re being wronged by me.

Months ago, they were all told how to fix the issues that came to a head on Monday. Resolutions were spoken. Ignored. Because they won’t own up to their parts, I am the punching bag.

{brave i am not}

After the dual meltdowns Monday morning, so much adrenaline ran through me I thought I’d puke. I was shaking so much for so long and I couldn’t make it stop. I cried more that day than I cried when my uncle hung himself and when my mom died.

I stood up and said, Fuck this. This is why my body is in adrenal failure. Because people who say they love me haven’t the first fucking clue of what it means. I will not submit myself to this for one more second. And if you hate me, it will eat you alive, not me.

You don’t like my attitude, my words, my language, my song? Leave. Yes. These are my true colors they have always been my true colors and one thing I have never, ever done is hid this side of me. So you go ahead and blame me so you don’t have to look in the mirror. So you don’t have to change. So you don’t have to own up to what you did. You go ahead and post about me and talk about me and call me names. Tell stories so people take your side.

I do not care if another soul on this earth believes me or thinks I’m a horrible. Turn the whole world against me if you must. I am ok with that. I thought I couldn’t live with these decisions, but I found out I can.

This is not brave. This is survival. This is the last straw in a long line of straws that I have allowed to decimate my physical, mental, and emotional health. If you think this is about just one little incident, think again. It’s about a lifetime of people treating me like shit and I’m not doing it any longer. So if that means leaving organizations I love and walking away from people I love, so be it. Go tell someone else what I horrible bitch I am. I’m not going to shower myself in insults and bathe in lies. I’m not going to eat your hurtful words nor drink your warped version of love.

Listen To Your Mother {Eastern Iowa} Cast Announced

A little story:

The first Mother’s Day after my mom passed away, this girl was producing a northwest Indiana show for Mother’s Day called Listen to Your Mother. She invited me and I declined. I was appreciative and wanted to support her, but I didn’t think I could deal with the emotions. She emailed a few days later and asked if Phil would be an usher at the show. I asked him and he said yes. (sneaky girl. I love you for that.)

So many of my friends were there that night and I felt loved and I loved them and it was good for my heart.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago. I was urged to submit something for the Eastern Iowa show and with moving and the chaos, I just didn’t think I could add one more thing to my plate. But then, one morning right after we moved in, I was looking in the backyard of our new home and I saw some lilac bushes I’d never noticed and I wrote it. I cried and I wrote it. Then I sent it without even thinking I’d ever be chosen.

But I got the email and the announcements are made and there is my name. I will (somehow) be reading my story on stage. I’m not a stranger to the stage, that’s not the intimidating part. It’s the part where my emotions will be uncontrolled trying to tell my story. So far, I can’t even *think* of reading it without crying let alone actually reading it. It’s probably one of the most emotional pieces I’ve ever written. (deep breath.)

How Things Come Together When God Tries To Get My Attention Part 4

In this (long) series:

Sometimes Things Don’t Turn Out As I Planned
Shepherds Aren’t Always Nice
How Things Come Together When God Tries To Get My Attention Part 1
How Things Come Together When God Tries To Get My Attention Part 2
How Things Come Together When God Tries To Get My Attention Part 3

From last time…

As I was drawing that tree and writing on it “I am the vine” I also drew some wind and wrote on it “and He whispers on the wind” I heard that small, still voice in my head telling me “Give this drawing to the first person who tells you it’s beautiful.”  But no one did. So I put the drawing away and I chit-chatted with some girls at a nearby table.

Then, this special friend I met, Stepahie Bowman, sits down next to me and says something…

“I saw you were drawing something. May I see it?”

In a moment I was hesitant and confused and a little excited, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up.  The drawing was in my purse, so I dug it out, flipped to the page and handed it over to Stephanie.

“It is beautiful.”

I smiled knowingly, not knowing that I was something special, not knowing that my drawing was spectacular, but knowing that I was praying, God spoke, and I listened.

Monumental.

Because I usually argue.

Stephanie was staring at the drawing and I think I kind of snatched it from her. I started tearing the page from the sketchbook, she asked what I was doing. I remained silent. Handed her the drawing and said this is for you. She cried, thanked me, we parted ways. I didn’t tell her why I did it.  I simply obeyed.

to obey is better than sacrifice

In the grand scheme of things, it seems less than important that I drew a picture while I prayed and gave it away. I didn’t change the world. I didn’t provide money for a well for clean water to those in need. I didn’t do something spectacular or live-saving, or live-giving for that matter.

but I obeyed.

The weekend was over as quick as it had started. The airport was bulging at the seams, splitting and leaking. Flights were so overbooked, passengers were sent in cabs to cities hours away. I was flying standby. I kinda knew I wasn’t getting home Sunday. Brooke McGlothlin, my roommate, offered to take me to her home five hours away so I’d have a better chance of getting home. Stephanie  (and another Stephanie) were also in the car for most of that trip. Yeah…God already knew that would happen.

We chatted about the conference. Again, I felt a little out of place, misfit that I am. After we dropped off the Stephanies that were riding along, Brooke and I talked.  It was a deep, spiritual talk. The kind that I’ve not had–I can’t even remember the last time. maybe never.

One of the subjects stemmed from this:

The day before I left for the conference, someone I respect immensely, took a kind of big risk and told me something I might have reacted badly to.  (I didn’t, but could’ve) I lugged the burden of my iniquity around not realizing the weight or impact.

In hindsight…pun totally intended…there may be cause to believe that God timed this person’s comments in such a way as to cause a complete emotional breakdown. The comment wasn’t intended to send me tailspin.

In summary, the context of the conversation was regarding my position in ccPublshing. Paraphrasing, this person believes and feels that I come off as cold and unemotional at times and I sometimes don’t appear to be conversing, but want instead to be obeyed.

And yeah, I’m a hard ass. I know.  But I didn’t think, for a moment, that I was being dictator-esque. I took those statements and tried to wrap my brain around them. I was pretty certain that in all of the discussions, board meetings, and brainstorming sessions, I’d prefaced my ideas with, “I think maybe…” or “What are your thoughts…” or “I wonder if we should…” or similar lead-ins.  I’d learned years ago, from a book called Jesus, CEO that to lead, you have to put yourself at the bottom of the flow chart.  And dude. I take that to heart. So yeah. Those statements bothered me. A lot.

Enough that I kept discussing things with Brooke.  She asked me some hard questions.

“You say you’re not emotional & tender. But you sure seem like it to me, why do you keep saying this?”

Because I’m not as emotional as most women. I have my moments, but for the most part, I’m just not.

“Is that who you are, or is it something you’ve done to yourself?”

I know the answer. It is hard for me to say it here, out loud, to forever be recorded–because I’d rather keep it hidden, where I can somewhat control it.  Part of me fears someone in my family might read this and I don’t know what will happen if they do.  Part of me doesn’t give a flying fuck if they do read it.  It’s a two part answer.  Maybe more.  The easy answer is: both. Being less emotional than other women is actually part of who I am, who I was created to be, but the other part, I’ve done to myself. Maybe not intentionally at first. And it’s difficult to unravel the answer because it goes way back.

I don’t know where it all started, I don’t have access to those memories. My dad was a door-gunner in Vietnam. He suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and he’s also bipolar. But back then, these things didn’t have names and there was no help.  What I knew then was I was the target of my dad’s anger.  What I didn’t know was that he had no control of these things. I hated him. He beat me and I hated him more. He yelled at me and called me a slut and I hated him more. I disliked the fact that my mom didn’t leave him. I thought she should’ve protected me and removed me from harm’s way.  I didn’t understand. I didn’t know he wasn’t in control. The fight of flight instinct? I’m a fighter (as if I had to tell you that?)  I want to make it clear though, that several years ago, our relationship was healed. I’ll tell that story someday. And I have forgiven him. Fully.  I’m telling you this stuff because it deal directly with what is happening in my life right now. This instant.  I didn’t really make peace with my mom about it. I kinda did, I talked to her on her death bed. But that was just me talking to her and I don’t know if she heard.

Another facet to this thing I’m dealing with, whatever it’s called, is the fact that I was sexually violated as a child.  My grandma (mom’s mom) lived across the alley from us and her father moved in with her. They both drank. a lot. He would touch me inappropriately in front of her and she’d pretend she was watching TV, pretend she didn’t see it, or she’d fall asleep on the couch in the living room and didn’t stop it and I didn’t know how to stop it.  If there was more that happened, I don’t remember. This was violation enough.  I talked to my grandma on her death bed, as well. But it was just me talking and I don’t know if she heard.

I did not have a safe place. And I didn’t believe there was a God. I didn’t believe that someone who loved me would sit back and watch all this.  So truthfully, I didn’t think ANYone loved me. Because I’m sure a whole lot of people knew and saw and just sat back and did nothing.

That’s how it came to be that I shut down emotionally during stress or trauma, or emotionally charged times. It’s called survival.

I’ve worked so hard through the years at healing and learning to trust and I gotta be honest, I think I’ve done a pretty damn good job of it. Some of it happened during years I didn’t follow God and some it happened when I was walking with Him.  I understand now, that He’s redeemed those years of pain and He knew all along how I’d best learn and change and be formed into this broken, but healed girl.

I’m pretty sure the deaths and grief I’ve had to deal with the past five years are bringing these things to the surface. Because honestly, I’ve not thought about this stuff. It hasn’t consumed me.  I haven’t blamed all my shortcomings on my past. I have dealt with it, I have moved forward.

But it’s back and I guess I have to deal with it again. Different parts of it, I think.

Because the most influential adults from my childhood are now all dead.

I keep hearing this in my head:

He will sit as a refiner and purifier of sliver

and

Remove impurities from the silver and the silversmith can craft a fine chalice

and

He cuts off every branch of me that doesn’t bear grapes. And every branch that is grape-bearing he prunes back so it will bear even more.

malachi 3:3. proverbs 25:4. john 15:2.

Along with the metaphor Brooke used when I argued with her that I didn’t think God would want me to go digging around in wounds that were already healed.  The one where she told me that sometimes there are wounds that have little bits of shrapnel (for lack of a better term) and sometimes those pieces get infected. And I ended the metaphor knowing that if an infection gets bad enough, it will take over and poison the body.

I know this intimately.

Painfully.

While undergoing chemo, with really good chances of a full recovery, my mom’s white count dropped drastically, she developed several infections, which poisoned her body–and this is how she died. She was gone within days. Not because of the tumor, not because of the cancer, not because of the chemo, but because of the infection.

(sorry again) …to be continued.

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Feeble Prayers

Scattered words and empty thoughts

Seem to pour from my heart

Even when people I love commit suicide

I Still Believe.

I’ve never felt so torn before
Seems i dont know where to start

Even when best friends die of breast cancer
I Still Believe.

But its now I feel your grace fall like rain
From every fingertip washing away my pain

When grandmas find their youngest sons, dead by their own hand…when those grandmas slip into dementia and mini-strokes overtake them, even when special grandmas die
I Still Believe.

Though the questions still fog up my mind

With promises I still seem to bear


When moms have brain tumors and lymphoma and when prognosis looks good and things are hopeful hopeful. Even then, when she dies anyway
I Still Believe.

Even when answers slowly unwind

It’s my heart I see you prepare

When friends…people who call themselves friends, kick me while I’m down and knowingly inflict unbearable pain
I Still Believe.

But its now that I feel your grace fall like rain

From every fingertip washing away my pain

When I run away from home because I’m too pissed off to be around “friends”
I Still Believe.

The only place I can go is into your arms

Where I throw to you my feeble prayers

When You say in no uncertain terms, “Go back to your friend. Put up with her abuse.” I understand you are Jehovah Roi, the God Who Sees Me
I Still Believe.

In brokenness I can see that this is your will for me

Help me to know you are near

When I submit to Your authority and go back–and I hit a fawn still new with spots and it flies in the air and smashes down on the top of my car and I see it hit the road in the rearview mirror. Even when I see it’s mama right behind it. Even when the pain is too great to bear and I can’t see through my tears
I Still Believe.

I still believe in your faithfulness

I still believe in your truth

I still believe in Your Holy Word

Even when I don’t see

I Still Believe.



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Hey Church People.

* * *
Note: I originally wrote this in February 2009, but it applies to another friend today, so I’m reposting.
* * *

Y’know. I can handle it better when you pick on me. Leave my friends alone okay?

Why is it you’re in this to crush people’s spirits? Yes. I said Crush. When someone volunteers to do something in GOD’s church you don’t get a say. When are you going to learn?

They’re working for God, they’re following the prompting of the Holy Spirit, they’re trying to do something God has called them to do and all you can do is put them down?! How dare you.

What are you doing? Are you helping them? Are you encouraging them? Why no. You’re not. You’re in the background attacking their character.

They’re doing God’s work.

Whose work are you doing? Tell me, because I’d really like to know.

Church people–sometimes you need to shut your big ugly mouths.

I remember when you, dear church people, made me cry. When you sat in your circles and accused me. You had that look in your eyes, like if you’d have had a rock in your hand you would’ve stoned me.

Now you’re making my friend cry and it pisses me off even more to know you’re still at it. To know you still show up every Sunday and sing your songs and say your prayers and to know your heart is still full of vile nastiness.

Why? Why do you do these things?

You, church people, the ones who SHOULD be supporting other church people, are instead breaking people’s hearts.

I just don’t know how to love you right now.

God forgive me if I’ve ever been a church person. Help me to never, ever crush someone’s spirit.

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