How Far We’ll Go……

Each October, my church shows a movie each Sunday.  Some are serious, and some are lighthearted; as I expected this movie (this song made me hysterical, for reasons I will let you in on momentarily) to be of the latter persuasion.  My pastor and friend, Jo Anne, attached a sermon to this film, and spoke in between clips.  She asked that we look for the parallels between finding out whom you are in Jesus, attaining the power and dreams we know are deep within us, sometimes hidden, often not.  I cried throughout the entire display, and I went to her in tears at the service’s closing-not just to thank her for her amazing gift, but to give a soul sister a hug.  We are kindred spirits, her and I, and what we have in common makes her even more of a sister than blood could or ever would.

What we share is a childhood of bullying, feeling left out, psychic pain and unfathomable redemption in the blood of Jesus.  As I aged, I was full of a desire to please others-I needed affirmation through others’ perception of me-a deadly flaw if there was one.  I never outgrew the awkward, chubby child of my youth; physically, yes-emotionally, no. Well into my thirties, I could and would not run past teenagers at a bus stop, or merely a gaggle on the street corner, laughing it up.  I was convinced they would bully me, which never made since, as I had long since fallen into the rabbit hole of anorexia, and the idea that they could see me at all, at 73 pounds?  The heart wrenching fact is:  we believe the stories people tell us.  Just eleven years ago I was in so much pain that I drank to oblivion; snorted spoonfulls  of self esteem, and popped pills to quiet the voice that screamed, “You blew it, you suck, you don’t deserve to be happy, just look at the mess you have made of your life.”

I won’t tell you that this journey has been easy.  I would be remiss.  Heartache after heartache, projecting my pain onto others, especially my weary husband-well, I had no choice but to cling to God-and what transpired was a phoenix rising, further and further from the ashes as every single disappointment, every trial I thought I could not bear, and a loneliness that was felt deep down in my gut-even when surrounded by others-was transformed into joy by a God we cannot see.

I have a wonderful husband, (let’s just say he’s come so far, we fought like lions and tigers and bears-but God knew that we would survive the ride, and blessed beyond our wildest dreams-by one another.)  Something divine happened to me in New York, as I walked across a swinging, wooden bridge the length of a football field, a blanket of jutting rocks and rapids beneath; after spreading daddy’s ashes fifteen hard years late, and then standing up to my latest bully-(read Pistols at Dawn) my hunching has stopped.  I stand tall and confident.  I love writing, my gardens, my family, my life.  I truly enjoy my volunteer position in the local ER, a job I have dreamed of forever and a day.  Our financial worries have diminished, and I won my Social Security disability-something I did not pray about until the week before we received the good news.

“Father Abba, precious Jesus, I cannot ask for more after you have given us so very much.  How could I possibly ask for more?”

And in the quiet hours before the dawn He spoke to me: What you could do to help others with this income, give back as graciously as you have been given…….

But what you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do-blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity!  I tell you the truth, they will receive all the reward they will ever get.  But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand no what your right hand is doing.  Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you.

6 Matthew:2-4

Pistols At Dawn

No, this is not a docudrama on the perils of standing on stage props, poor Marilyn Manson.  I loathe everything that man stands for, but I have to admit-the poor CD sales, his broken ankle on the first night of his Heaven Upside Down tour; then the attempt to climb a stage prop of two guns pointed in different directions which resulted in the whole works crushing him-well, that’s a shame, as Jerry Seinfeld would say.  I must admit I did chuckle at first, not that I am gloating, but man o’ day-what do you expect when Satan is the god you serve? It is my prayer that as he recuperates, he has a change of heart-but that’s another story and I am sidetracked.

We were up in the jaw dropping beauty of the Adirondack mountains, on lake Algonquin.  Prior to the trip, I was an anxious and traumatized mess: fake news of the September 23 Armageddon, the flea situation, the hurricanes, the fear of flying high and actually enjoying life for a change-all of this led to a reoccurrence of my PTSD symptoms.  In 25 years my husband and I had not had a “real” vacation together, and as we hit the state of New York, my nerves began to mellow, I was beginning to exhale and I cannot praise God enough for His part in getting us there.

Prior to leaving, we had ripped out carpet, vacuumed every crevice, and at 5:30 in the morning I sprayed the last of the flea killer, and closed up shop.  My “best friend” of twenty-five years was taking care of my only indoor cat, Maya Angelou.  She was to feed her in the evening-I had no problems trusting a grown woman, RN and administrator of a local veteran’s hospital-I left food and instructions on the table.  My in laws were right across the street.  What could possibly go wrong?  As it turned out?  Plenty.

On our third evening there, I turned on my cell phone.  I had planned to stay away from my phone, social media, news venues and the like.  I needed to heal, and I wanted to spare my husband the constant freak outs about the world in which we live.  For whatever reason, I felt a nudge to check to see if all was well in the state of Pennsylvania.  I was relaxed, happy and hadn’t self-harmed in days.  My body was repairing itself, and I looked forward to the next leg of our journey.  We were to spread dad’s ashes on Lake Pleasant, hike Auger Falls, dine in a lovely five star restaurant, and I hadn’t seen Dwain so happy in ages.

The text read-‘Hi sweetheart.  Just wanted you to know that I was over to feed Maya this morning (what?  My father in law was assigned the mornings, why was she even there on a Sunday morning?) and I was wearing white pants.  I was covered in fleas.   Is there anything you would like me to do?’

Holy mother Mary, mother of Jesus, and Joseph!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  She went on to say that the only room she had been in was the kitchen.  I text her back immediately, telling her to please turn on the air conditioner, asking if she wouldn’t mind setting off a bomb or two DOWNSTAIRS, as Maya the cat stays in the bedroom.  The very reason we hadn’t set off anything upstairs.  I phoned her and left a message, telling her where the vacuum cleaner was, and also reassuring her that I would make this up to her.

In less than the five minutes it took me to do this, my blood pressure sky high, my mellow harshed-I became hysterical-worried about the cat, my friend, the house………it was like being shot from a cannon, and I immediately regressed and began tearing at my skin, bawling like a child, inconsolable.  My husband was livid.  Why?  Why would she text me this news?  How could she be so cruel?  Was she not capable of figuring this out on her own.  And then it hit me.  THERE WERE NO FLEAS IN THE KITCHEN.  I KNOW THIS BECAUSE IT WAS ONE OF THE ONLY ROOMS THAT THE DOG AND CAT WERE COMFORTABLE IN.   There was nary a flea in my abode when we left for New York. My husband took me in his arms, shush honey, it’s okay, I’ll call my father, we will get through this, shhhush baby…….he was in touch with his dad immediately, and Tom was to set off a bomb in the kitchen.  Relief warmed my muscles, the blood returned to my face.

I phoned my brother and told him I would call him when we returned.  I wanted him to know that I was turning said phone off and would not even look at it until our return.  When we were unpacking, the phone must have fallen out of my purse, and there it remained for three days.  I had bought my “friend” a lovely gift for tending to my feline.  I flicked on my phone to call her to see if she was home, but was immediately stopped dead in my tracks.  She had left three voicemails and a text.  She had called each night of our stay, and then left another text:

“If you EVER get around to checking your messages, there are still a number of fleas in the kitchen.  THANK YOU.”

Appalled, I thought back to the many times I had given her the benefit of the doubt when she belittled me.  Because of low self esteem I had clung to her advice, and many times I felt her to be intentionally cruel and callous.  One Summer I had given her a pair of earrings.  I took great care in picking them out, lovely avocado halves, expensive but worth it.  Days went by and I finally called her to ask if she liked the gift:

“Please give them to one of your nieces.  I will put them on the porch.”

Many, many times I had asked myself if it were possible that she was a narcissist.  That is not a term I use lightly, and I pushed the thoughts out of my head immediately.  I thought back to the day I called her, the day my sister sent me the email that would end our relationship.  I had told my sister my feelings, for the first time in, well, ever.  I was hysterical, crushed at the idea of losing my blood, my world upside down, I cried out to her.

“You fucked up Michele.  You fucked up.”  The harder I cried in protest, the louder and meaner her words.

Jesus has taken the scales off of my peepers.  I have learned that highly sensitive and empathetic, albeit broken people are subject to being surrounded by the Jezebel Spirit.  But I am stronger and wiser now.  She is a part of my past, and there will be no confrontation, because at the end of the day, that is exactly what she wants.

Brand New Dandy, First Class Candy…

Today is a day of heavy rain, but not necessarily a heavy heart.  The house is back to silence, which leaves me to reflect on the journey, and why it happened the way it did.  With all of the pain in this world, it is often frightening to stray from home base, but there are times when God puts you on your knees.  He puts you in a stronghold to protect, enlighten and bring glory to His throne.

I have noticed, over the years, that the worse the relationship was with my narc, the more paranoid I became in general.  What is wrong with me?  Why do I think everyone hates me, doesn’t believe me, or worse-thinks I am unworthy?  Where did those thoughts originate?  In my heart of hearts, I believe first my mother and then my sister, or should I say the Jezebel Spirit, put them there.  She sets out to find you in your weakest, most vulnerable, brokenness.  She will then comfort and soothe, love bomb and caress.  There there, I will take care of things, you are not capable.  There there, just think and say as I do, allow me complete authority and control over you, there there, this will only hurt for a minute……..and then, after she does something loving, a sweet gesture like a gift, or a compliment.  You are ensnared in her trap.  Aww.  Why was I angry with her in the first place?  Man, she was right, I am bipolar………..why would I think my own blood would not love and cherish me?  And, trusting once again, despite millions of reasons not to, she is gone.  You have been abandoned and left to the wolves of regret.  Why did I trust her again?  How could I have been so foolish?  Until one day, well, the JS just rolls you right over.  She shatters your already fractured mind, and you can’t tell anyone, because you have been protecting her for twenty years.  And she will do her best to play the victim to your bullying…….the martyr…….her heart is one of ice and stone, she rages at the truth, slaughters you body, mind and soul.

  What have I DONE?  She leaves you to stew and stew about what you could possibly have done but love her?  You made amends when you got sober, what could be so horrible that she would shun you for weeks, months, Summers…….and it was always you who would send the missive, always in the Fall:

Hey, it’s me.  I think we need to have a talk……after months and months of discard, she manipulates you into thinking you have broken a holy oath of sorts, yet in your weeping you know that nothing, nothing but love has been hurled in her direction.

And then, God forbid, you get sober.  The relationship begins its downward spiral around that time.  When you find a career you love and are good at, when you are finally a CNA, then EMT………and she says to you:

“Michele, isn’t that just glorified babysitting.??” And your heart jumps and lands somewhere between your shoes and last night’s popcorn spill.  I am unworthy.  I am nothing.  I am unlovable.  I will never be a success.  You don’t drink any more, but you have to self harm.  The ugly and mortifying habit is merciless in its compulsion, a form of anxiety mixed with obsessive compulsive behavior.  Your depression worsens, you are sick in bed for weeks at a time, you have lost your will to live, your drive to go on. 

Things go from bad to worse.  They climax over a conspiracy theory and an Adirondack vacation.  You are filled with angst and malaise.  You grieve the loss, then realize you should have been grieving twenty years ago, because that is when you lost the girl, and gained a shell of bitterness, a perpetuating melancholy……and you spend your Summer breaking free, sorting through the chaos with your brother, coming to a place of self-acceptance, peace in your heart, you realize that she is as lost to you as the stars at night.  And you sigh, and pick up the pieces of your shattered psyche…….and make the decision to fight for a loving and peaceful life, with your beloveds, your husband and Jesus.  

Be a lion.  End the cycle of narcissistic abuse and CPTSD.

 

 

It ends here and it ends now.  She cannot have my soul, but she has my love, not Jezebel, no, the twisted sister I left behind.  I pray she finds peace.  I pray she seeks help.  I hope that God will heal her heart and soul.  I pray she learns to let go and let Abba.  And I pray for God’s divine will to be accomplished in her life.

The opposite of love is hate.  Period.

Time After Time………..

As I sit here at my pc, fresh off the phone with my bestest and closest friend, I weep.  These are not tears of sadness, or remorse.  Not droplets of anger or regret.  These are the purest kind of tears, joyous weeping.  It happens far from often, but when it does, oh, the love that pours out of your heart cannot be contained within four walls, four states, no, not even four football fields.  It is this insurmountable, unabashed joy that comes as a gift in the form of ecstasy, relief and release.  You are full, in your heart and soul, of the peace that comes from being loved.  Wholly, truly, and for real-you are loved by God, you are loved by Jesus, and if you are one of the luckiest girls alive-you are loved by your tribe, the circle in which you surround yourself.

I am blessed with an incredible group of friends, time tested, die hard, youpissmeoffbutiloveyouanyway amigos-oh, by the way, I piss them off, not the other way around.  There is Dot, my beautiful friend with an amazing gift for generosity of the spirit.  She does not trust just any one and our friendship was formed in a church we dearly loved, and later trauma bonded over.  She is the friend who brings bags and bags of food at Christmas-home made delicacies from her kitchen…….and with that, because she knows how poor you are and also knows you hike, thick socks, handwarmers, a warm and cozy sweater, because she worries you might not be warm enough.

Tracy is my sidekick, partner in crime if you will.  She has a kick ass sense of humor and her heart beats for justice, love and mercy.  She is the friend you call when all you can do is cry, and she will cry with you and tell you a story involving one of her antics and you will belly laugh until you are crying once again, but laughing-crying.  I call her Hollywood because she knows more people than my husband, and that is a shit ton of people.  I tease her because she is so humble.  Her popularity never goes to her head, and she has compassion for my plight-my depression, anxiety, my recovery from alcoholism.  She apologizes if we haven’t been in touch, but she need not-the time we spend together means the world to me, and I know you are there.

Shari is my newest compadre.  We have been associates for years, and she is also my hair stylist.  Back when I first moved here, she did my hair-even for my Victorian wedding.  The do was so spectacular-lots and lots of braids, swept up to form the most elegant display.  I remember my mother, who stayed at the Lantern Lodge with dad the weekend of my first wedding-I went to her hotel room directly after, excited and bouncy and feeling regal.

“Is THAT how you’re going to wear your hair?  I don’t like it,” which upset me for about one millisecond because my mother never liked the way I wore my hair.  Either my hair was in my face or if it was up it should be down……you know mothers and daughters.

Anyway, God has answered my prayer for a bestie that gets me because she is me-you know, the friend you share so much in common with that the theme to the Twilight Zone starts playing in her head.  Shari and I agree on almost every thing, and we each have a mean streak that makes us laugh at ourselves.  Maybe not a mean streak, more like a temper. We are both red heads and recovering doormats, and I am blessed beyond measure that we have found each other again.

And lastly, but far from least is my next door neighbor and gal pal extraordinaire Donna.  I met her when they moved in next to us some 26 years ago.  We have been friends ever since, and she is the friend that knows everything, the good, the bad and the downright criminal-but loves you anyway.  This kind of friend is a rarity………she has been by me through rough times in my marriage, taking care of and then losing my father, alcoholism, relapses and family drama.  She is the friend that talks to your husband when you have downed a half bottle of vodka and you are frightened out of your mind.  Fall is our favorite season, and we both love old things, angels and gardening.  We are die hard conservatives who talk politics for hours, and once in a  while she will actually make me leave my abode when she knows I self isolate and haven’t been out of the house since the Clinton administration.  I love her like a sister, and she is the friend that made me weep those tears of joy today.  She has been overseas for a few weeks, and with the tragedy in Barcelona, I have been on pins and needles.  I sighed in huge relief when she drove up her ridiculously treacherous driveway yesterday, because she is safe and needed at home.

This is my love letter to you, Dot, Tracy, Donna and Shari.  My life is so much richer with you in it, and for that, oh for that I am overjoyed.

I Will Find the Center In You…….I Will Chew it Up Inside……..

This is the darkest post I hope to ever write.  This is a story about how alcohol kills-everything that is good, pure, worthy, decent……..alcohol is a vampire, it sucks the life blood out of you, then leaves you in a heap of disgrace, humiliation and nothingness.  I may have been “sober” for ten years, but I have slipped on more than one occasion, each time the lull of “It will be okay, just one drink” has seduced me….and each and every time I have wallowed in despair.

I would like to tell you about the last ten years of my drinking career.  A vocation so evil, so pummeling that I literally lost those years of my life.  Sadly, I cannot, as I was so far gone that the last years were swallowed by indignity, fear, and Godlessness.   Or so I thought.  I got sober when I was 46 years old, and for the longest time I honestly thought I was ten years younger.  Ten years of our lives, gone up in smoke. 

I weep just thinking of what could have been, but there is hope and we must lean not on our own understanding.  We have to summon every ounce of courage in our souls to rise up and fight this demon.  And together, with Jesus, we can do it, one minute, one hour, one day at a time.

What I do remember is locked behind a door that can only be unlocked by God, and only when it serves His kingdom.  I am taking off the deadbolt and releasing the ghosts that have kept me silent.  We are only as sick as our secrets, and becoming sober is the most freeing, healthy and frightening place we can be.  You have to hang on for dear life, but don’t be afraid of the ride, you have nothing to fear and everything to gain by telling your truth.

My last drunken event was my husband’s sister’s wedding.  I had consumed at least a bottle of wine before the ceremony, and that was 2:00 in the afternoon.  I do not remember the wedding, or the bride…….but what information I do have came at a cost, and that was my husband’s dignity.  I know that we didn’t stay for the cutting of the cake, as I had been playing footsies under the table with an unwilling participant-my husband’s cousin.  I also told a dear friend that I had enlightened my family with the news that he and I were having an affair-which led to some heavy duty amend making on his part, and I have never, to this day, as much a held his hand.  We are friends again, but that took ten years, 200 or so AA meetings, and the good Lord above-only now am I at peace.

The Bucket List…..

I want to be the girl in this video….travelling across the world, uninhibited, throwing caution to the wind.  Chances are, the likelihood of this happening is akin to a camel poking its head through a needle, and then realizing he still has to get his body through it.

I love, love, love to travel.  It’s just that we have no extra moolah, and what we do have goes to silly things like food, vet visits and electric bills.  I don’t have a bucket list in all actuality, but here is a sampling of things I would like to do before I leave this planet:

I would love to go to Ireland, in search of my ancestors.  If I do go to Ireland, I will be tempted to drink an ale with the kin folk-you know, raise up a glass to the country that turned us out-I hear they’re very folksy and welcoming, but let’s face the facts, I would want to live there, or perhaps petrify in one place, sitting at the pub, drinking Guiness, and singing the songs of my people.

Big Sur was a big draw, until I read about Bohemian Grove.  With our luck, we would find the wrong place at the wrong time, and I apologize, but becoming a blood sacrifice for the elite in this world?  Let’s just say I have no time for the big, wooden statue of Baphomet, and I don’t like people telling me what to do.

Hawaii was big on my “list” at one point, and now I see the error of my ways.  The fat faced dictator from HELL has threatened their peace, and I don’t want to spend my whole vacation in an underground bunker.

And lastly, there was Sea World.  Yes, I wanted to ride the dolphins with abandon, you know, be that girl: the one who never stops talking about her relationship with a fifty year old she met out in California, and then you come to find out it was a sea mammal.  No thanks.

So for now?  I’ll stay in this sleepy little town of horse and buggies, biting flies the size of Texas, and more cow manure than you can shake a stick at.

 

She’s Got the Look…….

via Daily Prompt: Glaringhttps://youtu.be/8gRRou8rJgc

Blame it on my Irish blood, but I have been known to give the evil eye, and judging from what friends and family alike have noticed, it will kill you dead.  My husband has tried to break me of the habit of staring at people, and for the most part?  I don’t believe it is as much of a habit any longer.  But looking back, I believe that my temper has down right terrified those who have been the subject of my ire.

As a teenager, I suffered from anorexia nervosa.  I still have an eating disorder, and it is on my bucket list to have it addressed at some point.  Don’t get me wrong, I eat, and no longer suffer from bulimia, but I will only eat one meal a day, and this has led to some pretty awkward situations, let me tell you.   Give my mother in law a call, and ask her about holidays with me, I am sure she’d be thrilled to get some things off her chestSadly, I don’t even give myself a break during holidays, and she has glared at me more than once.  I don’t blame her, anymore anyways.

The point is my anorexia made me mean.  I didn’t know it until years of therapy and research later, but I was starving to death so my emotions and electrolytes were off.  My sister and I shared a bedroom phone.  It is legend in the suburbs of Philadelphia that I scared the absolute life force out of her friends.  They would hang up if I answered.  Looking back, I can’t even believe it was me.

I come in a small, 5 feet, 0 inches and weigh about 135 pounds.  But hell hath no fury, and I mean no fury like that of a daddy’s girl who doesn’t get her way, or who has been treated unjustly, or even worse-seen other vulnerable people be taken advantage of.  I have fought for what I believe in since I can remember.  I remember, in sixth grade?  A little snot named Kim Something was the Crossing Guard.  She had a chip on her shoulder that manifested in all of it’s glory on poor, unsuspecting, why does this shit always happen to me? girls and boys.  I remember one day I spit out my gum and she wrote me a ticket.  And there I am, at Belmont Elementary, in her face screaming “IT’S BIODEGRADABLE YOU ASSHOLE!!!!!!”

Another incident comes to mind:  I was a waitress through my twenties at a Houlihan’s in King of Prussia.  I loved the people I worked with, but there were a few exceptions.  One afternoon, hung over and praying my station would close, another waitress butted in line for the computer.  I snapped.

Why don’t you do another line, Sady?  Go do another line so you can be faster at doing nothing but getting in my fucking way.”  Yeppers.  Yelled it right out into the dining room.  My boss was literally speechless.

I pushed Mark Folsom down the church steps after he picked on my brother one Monday evening, after CCD.  He broke his front teeth out, and I couldn’t have been more pleased.  He didn’t try that again for a long while, not until High School-where my brother surprised the crapola out of him by knocking him out in the hallway.

As Christians we often presume that we are to be as meek as church mice.  Jesus overturned a table or two at the Temple, and standing for something means not falling for anybody else’s bullshit.  God made me to roar like a lion when something is evil, and I pity the fool who mistakes my kindness for meekness.

Don’t let anyone take you out of your integrity.  Fight hard for what is just, and remember-you didn’t really do it if you didn’t get caught.  🙂