The Stoic Squirms………..

I was yelled at by a homeless man this morning.  Full throttle anger, and I can’t say that I blame him.  I carry water, protein bars and devotionals in my Jeep at all times.  But for the grace of God go I, and for as long as I can remember, they have held a place in my heart;  their plight makes me anxious, unhinged….barely able to breath through my sorrow.

After shopping at Giant, I noticed a man sitting on a bench, next to a gym.  My golden retriever looked at me as if to say:  DO SOMETHING.  I pulled into the parking lot, grabbed the goods and proceeded towards the man, approaching him with caution.

“Hey bud, uh, how are you doing today?  I brought you a snack and………………..” he cut me off before I could finish my sentence.

“But you SHOULDN”T HAVE.  I like to sit here and do my crossword puzzle.  I already had a snack and I am FINE.  It’s time to move on…….”

The alcohol coming from his breath, his dirty, wretched clothing, his body odor….all clear signs of need.   I have a strong background in social services, and I know the schizophrenia rate is very high among the homeless population.  I wanted to say something, anything to comfort him-give him a respite from day to day abominations.

He then did something I didn’t expect.  He touched my arm and whispered, “You’re a nice lady.”  And so I left him, but not with his dignity in tact.  We must ensure they are respected, cared for, prayed for and loved-without hurting their pride, or injuring their souls.  Will I give up on my ministry?  No.  Will I think twice before offering a drink and devotional to the least of these?  Yes.  But I will pray for God’s guidance and will, in hopes that I bring momentary love to a life so clearly bereft of compassion.

Daily Prompt: Lust

You know it when you see it-magnetic, crazy-making, illicit lust.  And the moment I met Dwain-well, that was the end of my sanity, marriage, and all I thought I knew about myself.

I met him for the first time at a company party.  I was engaged to marry his boss, and I disliked him instantaneously.  I disliked him because the gravitational pull was other worldly.  I told him I loved him the first time he kissed me, and the fact was, I did.  I remember sneaking away, a week after my then husband attempted to strangle me on our honeymoon in Martha’s Vineyard.  I remember sending a post card,

“Having a wish, time you were here.”

Weeks later, while sitting on a four wheeler, very much married at the time, Dwain asked me if I thought it could work, if we could make it through the painful struggle of telling my ex, coming out to my family, hurting Karl……that day I moved in with Dwain, or Charlie as I like to call him.  I had cervical cancer at the time, so the hanky panky was out of the question, but we couldn’t keep our hands off one another, and this is true of us to this very day, some 25 years later.  Karl did not take it well-he called me one day and asked the question,

Who is more expendable?  A metallurgical engineer or a foundry worker?”

I was stuck between my rock and a hard place, Dwain was going through a bitter divorce and child custody battle when I met him.  Even though I admitted my love for another man weeks before the wedding, Karl would not/could not face the truth.  If Dwain lost his job, he would lose everything-his farm, his son, his sanity.  I remember having my maid of honor check the church on the day of my wedding……..Karl had invited Dwain, but I knew in my heart if I saw him in the pews, I would run for him and directly out the door.  Why did I go through with this farce?  To this day, I firmly believe that I felt pressured, by friends, family, and even the priest who married us.  I took full responsibility for my actions, but not until the day my husband pulled into the driveway with a gun in his hand, and Dwain in his sites.

Karl moved on and happily:  he has a beautiful son, married the woman of his dreams, let’s just say I keep tabs on his well being, the guilt and shame still echoes in the cobwebs of my reality.  And the love of my life?  The lust I have for him has yet to fade, his green eyes still startle when he gazes into mine, he has stuck by me through alcoholism, drug addiction, CPTSD, major depressive disorder and family issues that plagued us until very recently.  He understands the machinations of my artsy fartsy self-and that means so much as he is as simple and country boy as they come.

We have moved mountains to love one another, and now we can dance in the rain.

via Daily Prompt: Lust

Room to Move….


I come from a long line of stoic men.  My father was great with people, until someone told him what to do, or interrupted his martini time.   They liked their space and I am my father’s daughter.  Once, while moving me for the fourth time-my roommate issues were loathsome, including a stint with a mobster and drug dealer who held a gun to my face-my father told me how much I reminded him of himself.  But he shook his head and said,

“But Honey, you’re a woman,” as if reminding himself that yes, I indeed was a woman who had the traits of a man.  Not those traits-independence, I am my own person, being alone is not a liability kind of characteristics.  My father was fearless, in the face of daunting circumstances, he always, always put on a brave face, and that my friends is what I do with satire.  I write the occasional Shakespearean tragedy from time to time, but that is an attempt at helping others, and the therapy is free.

I am on the mend, learning to define Michele, and each and every day is a new surprise, a new beginning.  No haunting echoes of the C-word’s daggers, no loved ones telling me what to do every five minutes (oh the horror, even my husband is trained to shutty) not a soul to answer to where it comes to my art and expressing my true self.

Having this freedom?  I’m like a little girl in line to see Santa Claus; only this time, Jesus is along for the ride.

I am the Cult of………….

Woo Doggy, I am in the middle of it, people.  The middle of it-I say.  Trying to understand what makes me tick, on any given day, why, why, that’s a job for God and him only.  Yesterday, after a morning in which I went where the Holy Spirit led me, I was wrung out, strung out and I hung out for all of my Facebook friends to see……or should I say witness?    God opened my eyes not too long ago, as I went from the New Age to the hope of Christ, well, it has been a journey.  I vary between finding my dilemma humorous, and wanting to strangle myself with my computer chord.

In the book of Ezekiel, which is where I am currently led, there is a main theme.

Tell them, even if they do not listen, speak loudly son of man, for if you have warned them and they heed not your warning, your job is complete.  At least they have been given the truth of the need for repentance.

I do not relish the position I am put in-not on most days, anyway.  I am not a conspiracy theorist, but a truther, and I have faced some pretty heavy persecution.  I care not, care not I say, about what people think of me; but I know that some of my friends are concerned, alarmed perhaps at my trumpet blowing.  In a rant I have since taken down, I raved, and this is true, unfortunately:

Don’t be lazy and lib………………………….

Yeppers.  The word was supposed to be glib-as I have many liberal friends who I love profusely, and I am a libertarian, not a republican or democrat.  I love my gay friends, am a member of PETA (much to my husband’s ire-hey, he hunts) have thirteen outdoor cats and work with the homeless, for crying out loud.  I love humanity, the black, the white, the tied died………

What it comes down to is this:  we are living in the end days.  Stephen Barncarz, who was huge in the New Age movement and is now a born again Christian, brilliant, gifted, and the former founder of Spirit Science (a notoriously New Age organization) gives us 50 years, and the deception is so very real.  But no one knows this because they watch mainstream media.  And when someone like myself, a generally popular girl with a flare for bizarre, ironic, yet thoroughly researched propaganda-well, when we come out of our hidey holes and speak our truth?  We know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that y’all are gonna think us bat shit crazy.  We know……………………

Listen, don’t shoot the messenger.  If you don’t want to hear it, unfollow me.  I have a job to do and I answer to Yeshua, thank you very much.

Narcissistic Abuse 101

Journal Entry-July 2, 2002

C-you are nothing but a fucking coward.  But you hide it well, how lovely.  You are not only a coward, but your passive-aggressive tendencies may indeed make you the Bish you are.  Wake up little sister, daddy ain’t giving you any golden stars for making his life “easier.”  At this very moment, I hate the white and red cells that make you human in others’ eyes.  Rock on, superstar, just keep me the fuck out of it.

Why was I so angry?  My father was suffering from dehydration, renal failure,  pancreatitis, uncontrollable diabetes, and devastating neuropathy.  In a hospital near Philadelphia, while visiting my father, I was approached by my siblings.

“We don’t think you are capable of taking care of dad.  We want him in a nursing home, but you need to agree to it.  Your drinking makes you unpredictable, you understand.”

The above journal entry was written six months after I moved my father into a house a mile from my own.  My husband and I tended to his every need, and the home we made for him was quite lovely.  He loved to sit at the kitchen table and watch Minnie and Pearl(the horses across the street) go grocery shopping, listen to talk radio.  I was a nervous wreck, my marriage hanging by a thread, fired from my job for having a panic attack.  After calling his house for an hour-we had an agreement that he would pick up, as I had run over there so many times in a panic, for nothing-the meals on wheels woman stood, staring at me with fright in her eyes.  I grabbed my key, ran into his house, and found him in a diabetic coma, bleeding from his mouth, his peritoneal dialysis machine beeping.

I called 911, my husband and friend arrived minutes later.

“Come on daddy, don’t leave me, please, hang in there, help is coming.”

He moaned, and the EMTs walked into the house.  My husband had to pull me off of the EMT, as she moved in slow motion and every second counted.  Fire chief, EMTs, police-they were all there, and the fact is they knew the address, they had been there so many times before.  Rushed into the ambulance, he was resuscitated by an EMT.  Moments later, we were in the Emergency Room.

“No more, no more,” I screamed into the phone.  My sister wept and agreed.  I could not be with my father every second.  He needed to be in a nursing home, and we found the perfect fit with Stoneridge Village.  Close to here, we could visit him often, and I was there when the nurses couldn’t figure out his dialysis equipment.  I would run over, in my pajamas, in the middle of the night, to instruct them-again-on the matters of renal failure.

I wrote this entry after finding out that my siblings had visited dad behind my back, and even though I was his caretaker, his POA, and his best friend.  I wanted him safe and sound, but that was of no concern to them.  After submitting a ten page report to the administration, in which my best friend, an RN, had also requested dad stay safe in the home, I was called into the Administrator’s office.

“Your father and family agree…..he will be released this week.”

A week later he was dead.  After numerous amputations to his leg, his heart gave out.  And I remain undaunted in my quest to right the wrongs of people who had no business making a decision that would decide the fate of my beloved father.20294274_282147172262594_5218233408770035445_n

Cuckoo A Choo………….

Damnit, where the HELL is dad?,”  I ask my brother.  Just returning from a shift at the Magic Pan, I was in no mood, NO MOOD for the hot mess I came home to.  Mom was passed out upstairs, the dishes still on the table, bottles of booze all over the place.  I knew my parents were entertaining my father’s boss, Ken, but where in the heck was everyone?

In 1978, my parents best friends, Shan and Jane Hamner, aka our next door neighbors, went through a pretty, pretty, pretty (channeling Larry David) bad divorce.  Messy isn’t a word I would use.  Apparently, Shan had been having an affair with Mrs. Robinson, and my mother went APE SHIT when Jane left Shan and the crazy lady moved right in.  My poor mother was subject to her gardening in a bikini, flirting shamelessly with my father, and other atrocities at the hands of her children.  I once lifted her daughter out of her loafers after teaching my sister how to smoke.  There was never a dull moment, and when her son Scott fell off of the roof (later requiring traction and head gear) we just shook our heads and carried on.  We had her son watch the house when we went on a two week trip to Avalon, NJ.  For reasons that are still a little foggy, her son lit our trees on fire.  He broke our outside stereo system-trashed it.  I will never forget the anger in dad’s eyes, or the frightening veins that throbbed in his forehead.  Shan ended up leaving her, for a younger woman, but that did nothing to cheer my mother up-as Mrs. Robinson was happy on Riverview Road and had no intentions of leaving. 

“Daddyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!,” I screamed throughout our house.  Absolutely scared out of my mind, I stepped out onto the back deck.  I heard music, but where was it coming from?  Putting on my Holmes hat, I crept into the darkened back yard, where I found my father-laying in the garden-with his boom box turned up as high as it could go.

Daddy, come on, wake up,” at this point I am in tears and angry, what in the HARRY was going on??????

Dad stood up and I helped him into the house.

“Mrs. Robinson brought a joint over and that’s the last thing I remember.  Whatever you do, DON’T TELL YOUR MOTHER.”

In a New York State of Mind….

I have written, at length, about my relationship with my now disowned sister-but words will never portray the betrayal, the loss, the shock.  Back in the day, in our twenties, we did everything together.  I took her with me to Pittsburgh, my ex-husband’s home town, on several occasions, and there were great times, amazing times-but that is another story for another day.

It’s hard to explain what it’s like to find out someone as close as a sibling is a psychopath.  I look back constantly, why, why, why?  There were so many red flags, but my self esteem was in the toilet, and she used everything that was true and decent, my immense love for my family, my spirituality-she used it against me.

“Nothing matters to you more than family, does it Michele?,” she asked one rainy morning, ten or so years ago.   Of course not, I told her.  Family means everything, all we have in this world are each other, mom and dad are gone and we have to take care of the family we have left.                                      

She took this information, digested it, and used it against me for ten years straight.  My husband loved our nieces and nephew-he constantly asked why we didn’t just drive down to Exton, surprise them.  Back then, he didn’t understand the machinations of her twisted mind.  I knew she was punishing me, but where was the crime?

New York is incredibly important to me.  I was born in Utica, my grandparents and cousins, aunts and uncles-they were all in upstate New York.  My father, the only person in our family who graduated college, attended St. Lawrence University- and that is where I will spread his ashes in September, standing next to my husband, my familia, who has been hurt and victimized as well, at the hands of her insanity.

Love is patient.  Love is kind.  Love does not envy or boast.  Love, in all its messiness and madness, well, love never fails.

In gratitude and remembrance of Stephen James Elkins.   My friend, my partner in crime, my father.  It’s hell here without you daddy, see you on the other side.



Bozo Nightmare……………

Jesus H. Christmas, I am in a horrific mood.  I believe I may be a rage-o-holic, in need of some weed, a nap and a attitude adjustment.  Oh, and I need to laugh.  God help me, I need a good laugh.

I am the original scream queen, and my dog and cats will tell you I am hell on wheels when I start feeling sorry for myself.   It starts small, like crying through the entire service at church on Sunday.  My poor pastor is going on a really long hike in Spain, and he suffers from anxiety, just like myself.  You should have seen the look on his face, when, backpack and hiking stick in hand, he addressed said trip with the congregation.  I don’t know why (HORMONES PERHAPS???????) I lost it, but I did and I think he was alarmed, or his widened eyes were not my responsibility and I am centering the universe around myself.  Again.

I just called my girlfriend, let’s call her Kathleen Schaeffer for privacy reasons.   She lives in Maine, but we went to high school together.  I pity the shit out of her, because she will soon listen to my voicemail, which goes something like this:

Hi it’s me (blubber, blubber, BLUBBER) I hate Summer this humidity is killing me the ice machine is broken and I can’t get rid of the fleas and my family sucks and I can’t take it anymore. (blubber, blubber, BLUBBER!!!!!!)  I’m gonna get stoned and take a nap.  Don’t worry about me I feel bad because I know others have it worse  bye. 

Not a bloody breath taken, I turn off my phone and proceed into my filthy house.  I can’t win, no one loves me, the cat just peed on the floor, why aren’t my vases selling, will I ever make anything out of myself, WHERE IS THE WEED DAMNIT, Hank you may NOT enter the house, you have abused your privileges, was that a FLEA that just bit me, oh Lord, why am I so depressed, somebody get this F***ing ice machine fixed, I have no clothes.

I feel better now.  The dog is hiding under the coffee table, but damnit, I FEEL BETTER.

Family Matters

It’s here.  The vacation in the Adirondack mountains.  My brother is probably on a jet plane as we speak, flying into Philadelphia, en route to my sister’s abode.  There they will drink lots of wine, and be merry.  They will speak of me as if I am Taboo, and shake their collective heads at my crazy ass self.

She was supposed to be on this vacation, they will say.  What happened to her?  They will ask.  What could we have done differently?  What went so horribly wrong?

My brother and I, we are still intact.  But the C-word has her lonesome grip on him, and I understand, more than he will ever know, because my mother had that same vice like hold.  Until he left for California, Berkley and the rest of his life.  I have followed him like a child, lost in the certainty that we were familyIt began in High School.  He joined the crew team, I later joined as a coxswain.  He got a job as a bus boy at Victoria Station, I began as a hostess and then bus girl.  He went to Houlihan’s, I went after him.  But I was chasing a dream, and the love I had for him was unrequited until very, very recently.  I have him back in my sites now, but it is a temporary, lonesome road.  I know he will be under her spell for the next week or so, and he is lost to me for the time being.  Why do I care?  Because he, along with his daughter, are the only family I have left.

But who says that family must be blood?  I have a tribe full of love, acceptance and validation.  They are there, and I mean there for me when I stumble, when I crack under the pressure of ghosts who linger-but there is no time to waste, no time for tears. Life is so very precious, and I will settle for crumbs no longer.  I will always love him, but can I afford him?  Time will tell.

“No regrets Coyote, you just picked up a hitcher, a prisoner of the white lines on the freeway.” – Joni Mitchell


It’s a Put On……..

Just got off the phone, I was talking to my close friend about my “family of origin”-that’s what my “therapist” termed it-problems.  Actually, they are not problems any longer.  In a nut shell (you are only as sick as your secrets, and while I don’t ever plan on speaking about what goes on in my boudoir, God FORBID, I am an open book, and am finished hiding, running and cowering) I was raised by an alcoholic father and emotionally abusive mother.  The ensuing problems were text-book, and I have learned so, so much about myself, relationships and most importantly who I am in God’s eyes.

It has been over two months since I have had any interaction with the C-word (calm down, her name begins with a C) and let me tell you, baby-life is joy personified.  Of course, I have an amazing support system.  My husband has grown, we both have-I see Christ in his eyes, behavior and actions.  He is loving, respectful and he makes me laugh when there is nuttin’ but doom and gloom around the corner, or hanging over our heads like a thick black cloud as we watch television.  This was not the case for years and years, we struggled with addiction, immaturity and rage-we fought like cats and dogs, lions, tigers and bears.  I was on the phone constantly, crying my heart out to my therapist, best friend, or crises intervention-more than I would like to admit.  Life was hard, but the journey has been worth every minute of pain, every second of sorrow.

My mother died in 1992.  Things were fine between my narcissist and myself, until I did the unthinkable.  I made the horrifying decision to get and stay sober (with a few slips here and there) Why?  Why did I not see the manipulations, lies, cruelty, all at the hands of one person?  Every Spring, as June approached she would change her personality, or, the personality she put on for all to see.  I made myself bat shit crazy trying to figure out what I did wrong-the silent treatment and gaslighting were unspeakable. Unspeakable.  She picked up exactly where my mother had left off, and trust me, no beat was skipped.  I made excuse after excuse for her behavior, and the self-hatred, harming and shame all came from one source.  She did anything she could to make me doubt myself, my life, my reality.  And now, I have resurfaced, a better and brighter person-wiser, yes. I stopped running, stopped living in fear, I faced the worst scary monsters, and with the help of God walked through the fire and am now happily on the other side of my pain. John 16:20:N

                  “You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.”

I am here for you.  I care.  There is no need whatsoever to suffer in silence.  We are victims of an insidious disease, one the experts say has no cure, because most people that fall into the Cluster B personality disorder group?  They know there is something wrong, but they refuse to admit their need for help, no matter who they are hurting.

As Richard Gannon helped me to realize, “You’ve got to feel the feels.”  Face the darkness, you are not alone.  Jesus has been with me each and every step of the way, and he is with you too.  All you need to do is ask, and he will be there; to love, cherish, respect and adore you-and trust me, you are worth it.

Note:  I highly recommend Richard Gannon, Spartan Life Coach who has produced invaluable videos on YouTube on the subject of Narcisstic Personality Disorder, CPTSD, Empaths, Codependence and much more.