Lost, Inside My Own Mind

After a sobering sermon on forgiveness, I find myself searching my heart and mind for relief, release or at least a NOT GUILTY verdict-I discover that I have been looking at many things in the wrong light.

The spiritual director spoke before the band played.  She talked about her granddaughter’s 13th birthday party, planned at a roller rink-50 children were invited.  Only two girls out of those fifty came to the party-her granddaughter was crushed, and she wanted revenge of the eye for an eye sort.  She swore she wanted to go to each and every home that housed the little brats, because these girls responded YES to the invite.

Crushing.  I wept for the little girl, and didn’t stop weeping until the service was over.  I have felt that exact heartache; there is a special kind of pain related to disrespect, cruelty and sucker punches to the gut-it isn’t pretty and it isn’t right, but what can you do?

As of late, I have been isolating myself.  I left our church of four years, ended friendships that were toxic and one sided, even stopped going to exercise class-I blame it on my bad knee, which is partly true.  The other reason?  I have been deeply hurt by no less than three women in that very class.  One woman was a long time friend who taunted me to the point of madness-she belittled, chastised and stalked.  I was honest with her, and no apology was forthcoming, not that I expected or demanded one.  I had hopes for the other two women, a friendship was budding…but these ladies had been BFFs forever, and the one didn’t think too kindly of me butting into the equation.

I had arranged a tea for us this past Winter.  We were having a lovely time until the woman I later learned was insecure and unforgiving, told me that she never attended our local bent and dent discount store because, wait for it…Amish people smell.

“What the fazuck am I doing here?”  The last thing I wanted was another judgmental and unforgiving woman in my life.  I dropped the ball and there it lay.  As much as I needed to get out amongst the living, protecting my heart was much more important.  I haven’t been back in months.  It saddens me because I truly felt at ease with these women, until someone complained about my baking a carrot cake for a member’s birthday.

What is wrong with people?

It amazes me how God works in our lives.  I had thought for years that the women of Schaefferstown were uppity and lackluster, set in their ways and averse to any one or any thing that challenged their black and white view of life.  One particular day I was called out by the instructor as I sat, minding my own business, talking to the woman next to me.

Were you a rebel in High School?”

It happens everywhere I go:  because I don’t care what others think of me, or perhaps because I do, in my own way-I stick out like a sore thumb.  In college I began working at a local restaurant as a hostess.  I sensed the cocktail waitresses and bartender were none too pleased with the new girl-the young blonde with the happy go lucky attitude was shunned-so I turned myself into the dumb young blonde who sarcastically spoke of the customers and employees with condescension and a touch of malice.

Everyone loved her.

I fancied myself an imbecile, too stupid to add up a bar tab, too clumsy to carry a tray of cocktails, too silly to ever be taken seriously.  As an emotionally abused child I learned how to fade into the woodwork;  and now, in my fifties?  I simply can’t risk one more heartache-so I shut myself down, don’t risk putting myself out there.  I have become my mother.

And so it was, as I sat there in the tiny little church in a strip mall this morning, that I began to feel the Grinch’s heart warm up a tad.  I wanted to raise my hand and ask the pastor how one is supposed to forgive seven times seventy without being seen and treated like a doormat.  I truly believe that is why I wasn’t taken seriously to begin with-the old Sara was abundantly loving and incredibly happy, despite all that stood in her way.  The new version?  Hardened, calloused and distrusting of anyone who gives her a sideways glance.  Nothing gets in, yes-but nothing goes out, and that is the point of this blog.

I want my heart back, Jesus.  I miss the girl with open arms and a love for others that couldn’t be dimmed, no matter the beating I took out in the real world.

Oh, what I wouldn’t do to have her back~

 

Like Some Heroine….

Every other Sunday, I work at our church Welcome Center.  I genuinely like my coworker, (names have been changed to protect the criminally insane, mainly me) Alice.  When we began working together, about two years ago, she frightened me to death.  I feared she may be judgmental, and I’ll be honest-she intimidated me-two years ago, that is.

When I first began attending Hosanna, I wasn’t in the best place at that time in my life.  I hadn’t dealt with my poor self esteem issues, and was not aware that my PTSD was eating away at my life, making me cripplingly insecure, and a people pleaser.  I tried to hard.  I wanted everyone to love me.  I had just come from a very broken church, and the grief enveloped me to the point where I am sure it showed.

Alice is pleasant, and I admire her status as a cancer survivor.  She likes things done her way, so we have fallen into a pattern of her doing the desk work, and me doing the people work.  I know she means well, but I am beginning to tire of her putting me down.  I am beginning to feel as if I should protect my heart, as she criticizes almost everything I do-but here’s the catch-she’s my sister and I love her, so therein lies the rub.

I told Alice about a picture of one of the congregants cats, who had just passed away.

I don’t do any social media.  You have to be very careful being on the internet, it is very evil and you are swayed way too easily.  You have no idea what goes on, (she is shaking her head as if I am a toddler) and we (Christians) would do best to stay away.

I mentioned that I wrote a blog on WordPress, a Christ centered one at that.  She mumbled underneath her breath.

I wanted to say something, yet gone is my rage.  I find it impossible to remain angry with some folks, and what is the point of harboring resentment?  I need to speak up or shut up.  I will pray for a way to approach her-say my peace and be done with it.

I believe she would be horrified to think she has hurt me; and I know I enabled the behavior simply by allowing it.  I want to give her the benefit of the doubt, she is kind and compassionate-yet today it kind of stood out, and gone are my paranoid ways: as a sensitive and intuit, I found it excruciatingly difficult to discern between being oversensitive and just plain hurt.  Over the past two years, Jesus and I have been working on my self esteem, values and perceptions.  I now know that I am okay, worthy and pure in God’s eyes.  This has changed not only my persona, but my boundaries.

I have found freedom in authenticity.  It has been a tiring, painful journey to get to this stage in the game-where I have tired of the human punching bag role in life.  I think myself equal with all people, no better, no worse.

How is Jesus working in your life?  Anyone have a similar experience?  I’d love to hear your thoughts~<3

Uphill is Over, Folks…

I wrote this blog months ago, and God wanted me to see it today.  I want to tell you how rich the tapestry of my life has been woven, by God.  As in before, He has blessed me beyond measure, after a dark and trying time.

I learned several things this past week.  I am a firm believer in allowing grief to take its course, to nourish and at the same time reign in our deep despair and downward spiral into darkness.  It is always, always Jesus who brings me up from the muck and mire.  He reminds me, at times subtly and at times in your face, you can’t make this stuff up-synchronicities that literally blow my mind.

I also learned that if you spend enough time in the darkness, it will envelop you.  I may have forced my laughter at breakfast this morning-but the folks in the diner knew no better.  Today I forced myself to be amongst the living, and it helped to lighten the load.  It is both a blessing and curse that I can’t speak of the truth in my rural, conservative town.  This recent trigger means I begin at the beginning, once again.  I will isolate, I won’t trust you, and chances are, I may, unintentionally, hurt your feelings.

That’s my biggest thing.  I can’t stomach the idea of purposefully hurting another human being.  I am this way because I know what it’s like to be sensitive, even overly so at times.  I used to hate my nakedness, the vulnerability out there in the big, bad world.  After daddy died?  I have been walking this earth as an orphan, since his passing-my family has fallen apart.  There are days when I feel his presence, and when I do (oh those cherished moments) I think of my other Father in Heaven.  He knew what He was doing when He put me together, in my mother’s womb.   I wouldn’t change me for the world, but it took decades to live in this space.

So, after working in the garden all day, I jumped into the shower-my phone set on Pandora-the Seneibo Sey channel.  What followed were the most uplifting, refreshing and inspirational Christian songs I had ever heard.  Jesus was speaking to me through the music-and per our usual, He took my hand and removed me from the abyss.

And I have nothing to fear, and neither do you.  Remember who you are in Christ-

 

 

I sat on the couch, my mouth ajar. Come again? ‘Scuse me? What the Harry?

How is it possible that seemingly overnight, my blog had 3,000 visitors, from all over the globe? How does one go from 50 views on average, to 2,328? There is no bravado or pride in my shock-quite the contrary, I am floored.

I looked over the last week of my life. The bad fall, trip to the ER, the head injury I am recovering from. Oh, it didn’t end there. After drinking Chia Kombucha, against my better judgment, I had a case of diverticulitis so ugly, I am still, three days later, passing gas. The pain began Saturday morning, in my gut; by Sunday it had travelled to the pit of my arm-leaving me to wonder: did I break a rib in the fall?

Anyhoosers, as I was crying out to Jesus yesterday, I knew. I knew within the fibers of my very being that the joy would indeed come in the morning. I thought back over the trials and triumphs He has brought me through. The common thread is an overabundance of joy after the lesson is learned. I know that He wanted my attention, and perhaps, had I given it to Him earlier, I could have avoided the shiner of a lifetime.

“God is going to bless us, Jesse. Just you wait and see-it’s going to be beautiful,” I sang just the morning before, to a golden retriever who’s soul, I am convinced, is a mate to my own.

We can be blinded by the negativity of the world, or we can live freely, moment by moment, clinging to the Grace of God. I believe there is a season and time for everything. I know that Trump is winning the war on evil-the evidence of SRA is daunting, and I was brutally reminded of God’s wish that I back off from digging any further-after seeing a clip of HRC, in a slasher movie, with Huma Aberdeen and a child. Yes. This is true. This is fact.

I turned my pc off and head down the stairs for God’s word.

He alone can seek vengeance, and vengeance will be His.

The Girl You Want…………(ed)

If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to hold tight to the female friendships I have cultivated.  Let’s face it, when you head for your forties-well, you start to realize what is important in life and what is detrimental.  You begin to stand up for yourself, and by the time you reach menopause?  You’re a whirling dervish of angst on the road to having no female friendships because you have told off just about every friend you have, for one reason or another.

But what about the girls who don’t make the cut?  Who, as it turns out, are toxic as 5G on hormones?  The nervous breakdown you had last week?  You thought it was your dark mental health history, turns out it was your dark Jezebel worming her way into your psyche.  Is it really as simple as just walking away?  What if NO CONTACT isn’t an option, say because you go to the same gym.  Class.  Mother of God.

I knew I had to go, I had no choice.  I wasn’t sure I would go, but that strength I prayed to Jesus for?  It came the next morning-in buckets.  As I finished my makeup, I consoled myself with this thought: Maybe she won’t be there.

But that was the point of going to class: as a sufferer of PTSD, and while in the midst of a horrible episode due to this particular “friend.”  I had blocked her on all of my social media, but was still reeling from what had occurred before I ran away, like OJ on crack.

“She’s here,” my friend Sasha stated, as if she were announcing the bride of Satan.

I admit it, I panicked.

Haul ass, I’m not standing next to her, I blurted.

She walked in on three women who appeared to be doing some odd rendition of a Shakespearean tragedy-we tripped over one another as we hustled to find new spots on the floor.

Nothing to see here, folks.

man person people emotions
What my classmates saw last Tuesday…

After the class, as I was talking to Sasha, the Jezebel interrupted me.

“Can we talk for a moment?,” we had already exchanged pleasantries, even after I had threatened to call the state police if she didn’t cease and desist.  She made the Rocky Horror Picture Show look like Bambi Has a Family.  I was delirious.

I stood up to her, spoke my peace, but not without multiple interruptions.  I told her she had ridiculed, stalked and threatened me enough.  I told her I had been self harming, as a result of our last exchange.  I explained PTSD and what it does to a person.  She, of course, already knew this, as we have been acquainted many years.  All throughout my speech, she interjected this sentence:

But Michele, I’M DEPRESSED.”

I drove away praising Jesus, for answered prayers and for taking the scales off of my eyes, as it were.  Gawd.   Good riddance.

I have lost sisters near and dear to my heart (and a few quite recently)-but the loss was temporary, as those were the women who treated me with disrespect, dishonesty or the worst sin in my book- condescension-they were not  the friends I thought they were,but it didn’t make it any easier to end the relationship.  My best friend in sixth grade (let’s just call her Shitstorm) threw a bowling ball at me because I had the highest average in the league.  Straight out, in front of our teammates. She was also responsible for bringing a picture of me (in the seventh grade) into school in my senior year; one in which I had cut my own bangs, and let’s just say she passed it on to my high school crush.  Mortifying.  I was friends with her for 30 more years, until she did the unthinkable…..that’s right, she was another narcissist, and crossing her was akin to playing hopscotch with Satan. After one too many brushes with death? I let her go, stopped all contact-to this day I have nightmares. To. This. Day.

But when you hit your fifties?  Why, you hold on to your female friends like grim death-the ones who love you no matter what state you’re in, root for you when you are up against it, speak to your husband when you’ve relapsed. Why, they are your true blue tribe, and you have earned each other’s trust.  I am not saying there won’t be disagreements (holy crap on a cracker, that’s part of the equation ladies) but you will learn that nothing is more important than women who get and cherish you, zits, nervous breakdowns and relapses be damned.

I have spent an entire lifetime trusting women I had no business trusting, not seeing the inevitable pain that came with illumination-it’s a process. Yet, as Abba works in my life? The new friendships are more stable, enduring and incredibly comforting. You teach people how to treat you, and the only way you gain respect is by being a bitch right back. As soon as I stand my ground, the bullies run for cover.

Today I am blessed beyond measure with an abundance of loving, nurturing and life sustaining women. I am thankful they feel safe calling me friend.

I Will Find the Center In You…

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.

Like Some Heroine….

Every other Sunday, I work at our church Welcome Center.  I genuinely like my coworker, (names have been changed to protect the criminally insane, mainly me) Alice.  When we began working together, about two years ago, she frightened me to death.  I feared she may be judgmental, and I’ll be honest-she intimidated me-two years ago, that is.

When I first began attending Hosanna, I wasn’t in the best place at that time in my life.  I hadn’t dealt with my poor self esteem issues, and was not aware that my PTSD was eating away at my life, making me cripplingly insecure, and a people pleaser.  I tried to hard.  I wanted everyone to love me.  I had just come from a very broken church, and the grief enveloped me to the point where I am sure it showed.

Alice is pleasant, and I admire her status as a cancer survivor.  She likes things done her way, so we have fallen into a pattern of her doing the desk work, and me doing the people work.  I know she means well, but I am beginning to tire of her putting me down.  I am beginning to feel as if I should protect my heart, as she criticizes almost everything I do-but here’s the catch-she’s my sister and I love her, so therein lies the rub.

I told Alice about a picture of one of the congregants cats, who had just passed away.

I don’t do any social media.  You have to be very careful being on the internet, it is very evil and you are swayed way too easily.  You have no idea what goes on, (she is shaking her head as if I am a toddler) and we (Christians) would do best to stay away.

I mentioned that I wrote a blog on WordPress, a Christ centered one at that.  She mumbled underneath her breath.

I wanted to say something, yet gone is my rage.  I find it impossible to remain angry with some folks, and what is the point of harboring resentment?  I need to speak up or shut up.  I will pray for a way to approach her-say my peace and be done with it.

I believe she would be horrified to think she has hurt me; and I know I enabled the behavior simply by allowing it.  I want to give her the benefit of the doubt, she is kind and compassionate-yet today it kind of stood out, and gone are my paranoid ways: as a sensitive and intuit, I found it excruciatingly difficult to discern between being oversensitive and just plain hurt.  Over the past two years, Jesus and I have been working on my self esteem, values and perceptions.  I now know that I am okay, worthy and pure in God’s eyes.  This has changed not only my persona, but my boundaries.

I have found freedom in authenticity.  It has been a tiring, painful journey to get to this stage in the game-where I have tired of the human punching bag role in life.  I think myself equal with all people, no better, no worse.

How is Jesus working in your life?  Anyone have a similar experience?  I’d love to hear your thoughts~<3

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.