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.

Danger

I am taken advantage of often and most times, I don’t see it coming.

I’m not gullible, quite the opposite actually. I’m pretty keen to behavioral problems and patterns–correction–certain problems and patterns. There are some that slide right by me. Probably because the neuro-pathways in my brain have been trampled down with these particular issues, so much so that they’re “normal” to me.

danger

That makes me judgmental.

A bitch.

I fully admit it.

I feel the overwhelming need to protect my family and myself from certain types of people.

But I fail.

and often.

I fail and I let these people in and I think I let them in because my brain craves challenge and figuring out their motives (I think) is why I dismiss or ignore or don’t recognize their harmful, toxic patterns. I think sometimes my brain often fails to alert me to certain things so that it gets to figure out the puzzle.

Yes. I do talk as if my brain and I are two autonomous beings.  And this is where I totally understand the apostle Paul says

Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?

See. Paul gets it.

So while I know and I mean I KNOW that certain types of people are toxic, sometimes, I miss the signs.

And *most* of the time I blame it on this idea that if I’m Christian I must accept any and all people into my life lovingly and willingly. And truly, that’s just bullshit of the highest order.

I have to convince myself (like now) that it is OK to keep unsafe, emotionally unhealthy people out of my life. It is acceptable.

(and then I feel guilty because how many times do you forgive your brother. 70 times 70 and all the other rhetoric dished to me like manna, like it would sustain me when it really just destroys me emotionally and takes me away from my family and distracts me from God)

It is like Jesus in the desert being tempted by Satan with Scripture.

There are people in this world that ONLY Jesus can deal with and I’m not called to fix them or figure them out or allow them to trample over my precious time.

So why do I keep allowing it?

I have no freaking clue.

But it’s a pattern in my life. Some emotionally needy or spiritually needy or physically needy person enters my life, I feel empathy and sympathy for them, they weasel their way into my inner circle, and then (like leaven, yeast) they expand and blow up and how do you take yeast out of already risen bread?

You don’t.

You don’t let it in (in the first place) You keep it out.

How?

I have no freaking clue. But I’m working on it. But I’m buying a book called “The Sociopath Next Door.” Because I think I’ve had a few in my life and truly, I want them out (and they are out, but only after exhausting, time-consuming drama) so I’d like to not let them in…

starting now.

 

life: unmasked

walk with Him

Visual Prayer–Tears in God’s Bottle

Rough days are inevitable. Seems like they come in conjunction with some of the biggest blessings. Which I suppose is par for the course.

What makes rough days worse is stupid people. Or stupid mean people. Or just plain ole people.
It might not be that way for you. I walk a tightrope between introvert and extrovert so while some days being with people energizes me, other days, it exhausts me to a disturbing point.

I continually read on of Oswald Chambers’ devotionals about exhaustion. You’re doing yourself a huge disservice if you relate to what I’m saying but don’t read this. It’s short.

I was feeling pressure from so many areas (some of them self-induced) so I decided to take a bath with some lavender bath salts, listen to Jeremy Camp on the iPod dock, and have some quiet time with God. I covered my eyes with a washcloth and asked the Holy Spirit to quiet my soul.

It took awhile. I think my mind naturally resists being still and quiet. The song Letting Go came on and behind my washcloth covered closed eyes, I clearly saw a jar with tears in it.

And I cried.

Then I put on my big girl panties and decided I could trust God to handle these mounting problems of mine. If he could store my tears in a jar, he could certainly take care of some insignificant people that were bothering me. Besides, what they do shouldn’t be my concern, right?

I hurried to my easel and painted a jar.

Then I decided I needed to know where that verse was and in what context it was written. Turns out, it was smack in the middle of a Psalm. Psalm 56.


And what a wonderful Psalm it is for someone in the position I had been complaining about being in.

By creating prayer, renewal washed over me.

My spirit calmed and then soared.

The urge to crawl into bed and hide away from the world for weeks on end was gone.

Restored.

Not alone in misery and wandering, but every tear recorded and kept in God’s bottle.

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Now What? Continued…

You can read part 1 here.

* * *

Apparently when you ask God, “Now what?” He hears.

Ask and it will be given to you

Apparently when you ask God, “Now what?” He hears.

He sends people to you who say things like:

“Having faith means deciding what your relationship with God is, just the two of you (and his legion of angels who follow you around slapping you upside the head, sometimes just because they’re having a bad day – they have those, too, I assume).”

And:

“Just be you – because He thinks you are pretty f-ing cool and if you be someone else, he’ll send an angel to do that head-whacking thing.”

My friends are angels.

One told me a story of how he had a meltdown after some particularly horrible events. He told me how he told God he wanted “out” even though he didn’t know what that meant. He was a little fearful of what it could mean so he apologized and he had a peace about things that led to him understanding that God invited him to be with people during their times of crisis, that God trusted him to be there for them. That he didn’t have to accept every invitation and if he chose not to accept it, he wouldn’t be punished or scorned or set outside the city gates to gnash his teeth.


One humbled me beyond measure by breaking down walls to tell of things not ever shared.


One who has been struggling with this same issue is now emerging from the other side and shining a flashlight back for me, so I can get a glimpse of the path.




…seek and you will find

At a church I’ve never stepped foot in, with women I’ve never met, but also alone, I’ve started a journey. I’d be a liar if I told you I knew that yesterday. There was an inclination, a desire, to work on a Beth Moore Bible study, that was it. No more, no less. It was a comfortable way for me to try this thing with God again.


(God was giggling at his mighty cleverness.)


An S.O.S. was sent out to Twitter and Facebook asking if there was a study starting and another angel told me where to find two of them and using my awesome gift of deduction, I chose the Wednesday night study called Stepping Up.


Stepping Up—a journey through the Psalms of Ascent


If the woman said it once, she said it a million times last night, “Because the veil has been torn, there is no distance between you and God.”


There is no distance between God and I.


There is no distance between God and I.


Is that my answer? (I think so.) (yes. I know so.)


Beth Moore wrote in today’s homework,


“This study is about going from here to there. About making real progress. Simply put, if you want to get on with it, whatever “it” may be, you can rest assured you’re signed up for the right journey. “

knock and the door will be opened to you.

Does God really invite us to be a part of His work or are we obligated and bound by Christ to do it?

Grudgingly?

With trepidation?

The very first verse of the very first Psalm we’re studying:

“In my distress I cried unto the Lord, and he heard me.”


It’s the little things, y’know?

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Now What?

It was very hard for me to hit “publish” on this one.

* * *

In October of 1999, Zane was born. Phil was driving our semi over the road and he was home one day out of every thirty. That year, Jill and I spent New Year’s Eve together afraid for Y2K. We survived.

In 2000, we filed bankruptcy on that semi and moved back to Indiana and lived with my parents for a short time. Phil found a driving in job in Chicago and he was home two days out of every seven.

In 2001, 9/11 happened and I was scared for our lives. I’d never, ever heard it so quiet outside as when all planes were grounded. That month, we found a duplex to rent, Zane turned 2, potty-trained and I was still trying to decide if I was a good mom or not.

In 2002…Phil got a local job hauling fuel and was home EVERY night.

In 2003, Phil and I bought the Knox house. I started attending a church for the first time since I was let down by a different church back in 1992.

In 2004, doctors thought Phil had cancer. He didn’t. He did, however, punch a wall and break his hand and have to have pins put in.

In 2005, I was reading my Bible daily, active in Women’s ministry (and Phil in men’s ministry) and I was really getting to know God. Jill told me she had breast cancer and had already been battling it for a year. She’d already had a mastectomy and chemo and radiation. She made me get a breast exam. And I think they thought I had cancer. I then had an ultra sound. Then a mammogram (and platypus poop.) Then I had to see a surgeon. He told me I didn’t have breast cancer.

In 2006, I was called to write. “Write.” (I noticed I posted that on 12/02/06. Wonder if that has anything to do with 12:26?) That year, I also lost my Uncle Ed. I’m not sure there’s ever been a time when I felt as close to God. And that’s also the year my church gave me a wake up call–lying about me, accusing me of ridiculous things, and leaving me alone during a time of huge, monumental need. Phil thought he was having a heart attack. Our fridge broke. Phil lost his job. Phil had double hernia surgery. We almost lost our house. 2006 was probably the hardest year of my life. I felt so alone that year. And God taught me more about His love than I could’ve ever expected.

In 2007, my thyroid completely shut down and I’ve been trying to get my brain (and my body and my life) back ever since. It’s also the year I was asked to be on the editing team at The Midnight Diner.

In 2008, I lost my best friend, Jill in January. She might have survived Y2K, but she did not survive breast cancer. And then my grandma passed away in September. I was asked to be Editor-in-chief of The Midnight Diner.

In 2009, We were taken on a trip of a lifetime to Key West and Marco Island, Florida in March. Phil quit truck driving altogether! He started working as property manager for a local retreat center. We were blessed with a grandson in April. Around May, I finally started feeling like myself again with the help of some replacement thyroid hormone. We moved in June and I’ve been trying to figure out what life is now that Phil’s home all day, every day and now that everything has changed.

* * *

I started this post with the intention of talking about how I feel separated from God right now. I mean, I know He’s there, He just feels distant to me and I remember hearing people talk about feeling this way and I distinctly remember thinking, “I will NEVER feel that way. I will always feel as close to God as I do at this very moment.”

I was going to talk about this new Bible I got, The Books of the Bible–with no verse references–and how I was going to start reading that for the New Year.

But I got caught up in looking at the way things got so ugly during the time I was closest to God. I remember what I went through and the lessons I learned after I did Beth Moore’s Believing God study. Things I haven’t found the courage to write about.

And though God says, “Do not be afraid.”

I am afraid.

I’m afraid that if I get close to Him again, something worse will happen. And I don’t know how to let go of that fear.

I know I’m the one keeping the distance from God.

I said it.

Now what?

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