I Confess…

In 1990, I married my fiancée of five years, in a Catholic ceremony. I did it with the full knowledge that I was in love with another man. I take full responsibility for the role I played, however, it still makes for good reading.

The wedding had not gone off without a hitch, no pun intended. I had an ex who had threatened to “crash” my wedding: I took care of this little inconvenience by hiring a security guard, who was given a picture of the man in question. As the limousine containing my mother, my father and myself pulled up to the church? I see said security guard frisking a friend of mine, who happened to have red hair, but looked absolutely nothing like the red head who had planned to embarrass me at my nuptials. As my father and I sat in the back, knocking back the champagne at warp speed, my friend Dan approached the stretch.

“Michele, they won’t let me in.”

After my father and I pulled our laughing carcasses off of the floor, I had a quick meet and greet with Mr. Robotto. I had asked that he not come dressed like a cop, which he did. I had asked that he come to me before throwing anyone out, which he completely ignored. Needless to say he was fired, and my nemesis never made it to Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

I had asked my maid of honor to search the church for the man I was truly in love with, as he was my husband’s employee, and had been invited. I knew, with certainty, that one look at that man and I would make The Graduate look like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. A mix of high anxiety and no sleep the evening before, I was a whirling dervish of angst and punchiness. I don’t remember walking down the aisle with my father, but I DO remember this scene:

My girlfriend Gina had been given the assignment of reading scripture. And as she began to quote Corinthians, she stumbled on a word. To the normal person, this would have gone unnoticed; to an exhausted and heartbroken bride to be? The funniest thing I had ever heard. When I laugh, well, it’s with my whole body-and I am not quiet about it, no, not at all. I laughed so hard that the priest began to become unhinged, and as hard as I tried…and then, the icing on the cupcake of the service: hearing my father and best friend laugh with me, I was gone. I collapsed at the altar, thus ensuring the crowd that this would be a day that would live in infamy.
************************

It wasn’t until the ex and I pulled away from the cozy bed and breakfast; our friends and family waving us on, headed towards Martha’s Vineyard, that this song played. And as I sat, numbed and tortured by a forbidden want, hot tears of recognition trickled down to the post card I had been writing:

HAVING A WISH, TIME YOU WERE HERE…

I mailed it from Nantucket.

To Dwain, with love… (to be continued)

Destiny is Calling Me…

 

I don’t quite know where to begin, and my mind is racing in seven different directions, in seven different languages. 🙂

I am not fond of speaking of my past, in terms of the darker days. I feel a chill in the air, my mood plummets to the pits of hell-but God took me through those fires for a reason, and I know that my story is your story-you, the addict. And by addiction I don’t mean to chocolate: I’m talking drinking to the point of blackouts; stealing medications from clients; multiple “accidents” and that feeling in the pit of your gut-your guilt, coupled with the pain you are self medicating.

Nasty. Putrid. Bleak.

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“How could I possibly clean myself up? What would I do with all of my raw, searing pain? How could I cope?”

Beloveds, listen to the wise old hoot owl-learn from my mistakes. I spent years running from a traumatic childhood, turned to booze and men, then pills and cocaine. I married the man of my dreams (ok, he is seriously on my nerves today-but we made vows and stuff) and when I had life by the balls? I washed it down the kitchen drain; hook, line and sinker. Ten years of my life are missing, literally. Yet, I was just another sinner, clawing my way out of the rat race; running at warp speed to what I had no idea at the time.

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I ran into the boys from Teen Challenge, an amazing program of hope and sobriety for men of all ages and backgrounds, who have failed in all previous attempts to get sober. Every holiday we see them at our local grocery store. I listened to their stories, we laughed-and cried together. I have an innate connection to the broken-I always will. Even without their stand and wares? I could have picked out those men in a heartbeat.

Addicts have a tell, and it takes one to know one. It’s all in the eyes-which speak to me in various ways. Today it was the look of the haunted. I knew immediately that they were just beginning their journey; the look of sheer panic, yes. But something about them stood out, as if they were old souls or friends I hadn’t seen in some time.

“I just got out of prison, was there for two years. Lost my family, home and job. I tried every program out there, and I relapsed every time-it is an absolute miracle that God found me when He did. It’s Jesus that makes all of the difference! I have my family back, ma’am. And you know who the glory goes to, now, don’t ya?”

Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you. -Deuteronomy 31:8

Every day you don’t take a drink is a miracle.

Be miraculous~

The Rivers of my Memory

 

As my husband is away on business, again, I took my evening medication-I apologize if I doze  off while writing, but let’s be real-stranger things have happened.  Wink.  Wink.

My husband must travel a few times a year for his career.  Depending upon my mood, hormone situation, and state of flux?  I usually end up dreading his departure for weeks, then somehow managing, with the help of Jesus, to get through the day.  This week was different, and I think I know why.

After a seasonal bout of depression, I had prayed that God would give me my joy back.  Once you have that peace, you relish in the presence of Jesus-suffering from depression makes it hard to feel that inner jubilation, the kind that comes from knowing that no matter what, you are unconditionally loved.  The kind of peace that allows you to let go and let God.

I find myself happily exhausted, curled within my blankets and watching the fire crackle.  It’s not what I accomplished that eases my mind, it is what I have not.  The last time Dwain travelled, I took to exhausting myself by cleaning the entire house.  By the time he returned?  I was resentful, cranky and one step away from grabbing a frying pan.

I’m so happy you’re home.  Allow me to Cristen you with this ceremonial egg skillet-

That didn’t happen, but I am happy to report that I won’t be carrying baggage this afternoon, when my man waxes poetic about his stories/hijinks on the road.  No, because I…..Took.   Care.  Of.  Myself.  This time.  There will be no resentment because this time?  I threw caution to the wind, ate ice cream in bed, watched “conspiracy” videos and nuzzled my bible.  I am calm, I am at peace-or will be when Dwain pulls into our stone driveway this afternoon.  There he will find a frozen icicle of a wife, who is overcome with joy at his return. 

Cuffed on a Dirt Road

 

Okay, I have a million different things on my mind, it’s my 26th wedding anniversary, and I forgot my husband’s card.  I have eleventy hundred boxes of cards-as a matter of fact?  I collect them.  I.  heart. cards.  Big time.  I guess I could use one of those, but hey-it’s not the same.  Somehow, spending twenty bucks on a card makes it mean more, and Hallmark?  You have enough of my money, thank you.

Dwain and I have moved mountains since we met, or should I say God has moved mountains for us.  Financial instability,  cancer, anorexia, a motorcycle accident, the almost-divorce, alcoholism and drug addiction, the death of my parents-issues that would normally drive a couple apart, only served to bring us closer.

I wanted to find a way, if underwhelming, to put those years into a blog.  But there aren’t enough hours in the day-I have so many memories, which will turn into stories, perhaps, one day.  So, here’s the Reader’s Digest version, ’cause it’s our day and my man is kicking me in my kidneys.

I was engaged to a decent man.  Or so I thought.  We brought out the worst in one another.  He became abusive on our honeymoon.  He knew I was in love with another man, and despite my pleas, we were married on June 9, 1990.  Allowing myself to be coerced, I made the worst mistake of my life.  I had cervical cancer at the time.  The stress was overwhelming.  I sent Dwain a card from my honeymoon.  

The marriage lasted one week.

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The biggest challenge and love of my life.

 

I moved in with Dwain not long after.

It was wild, all consuming, raw and passionate love.  We couldn’t keep our hands off one another, it was a sickness-a curse.  When he left the room, I ached.  When he came back?  I swooned.  We are still as passionate and crazy in love.

God protected us from murdering one another over the years.  Alcoholism.  Drug Addiction.  Anorexia.  A shit ton of mental health issues, denied grief and a violent temper-all on my part.  We never laid a hand on one another.  We have never cheated on one another.  Although, I deliberately tried to run him over when I caught him driving his secretary back from lunch one Spring afternoon, years ago.

We were poor.  Dirt poor.  His first wife took everything but his soul.  I was a violent, malicious drunk-and the tears flow every time I think of how I must have wounded him.  There was emotional abuse on both sides.   Cops.  Court orders.  And, finally?  Jesus.

He is the song I sing.  He will always have me, heart and soul.

What a beautiful gift He has given me!

 

 

I Confess…

In 1990, I married my fiancée of five years, in a Catholic ceremony. I did it with the full knowledge that I was in love with another man. I take full responsibility for the role I played, however, it still makes for good reading.

The wedding had not gone off without a hitch, no pun intended. I had an ex who had threatened to “crash” my wedding: I took care of this little inconvenience by hiring a security guard, who was given a picture of the man in question. As the limousine containing my mother, my father and myself pulled up to the church? I see said security guard frisking a friend of mine, who happened to have red hair, but looked absolutely nothing like the red head who had planned to embarrass me at my nuptials. As my father and I sat in the back, knocking back the champagne at warp speed, my friend Dan approached the stretch.

“Michele, they won’t let me in.”

After my father and I pulled our laughing carcasses off of the floor, I had a quick meet and greet with Mr. Robotto. I had asked that he not come dressed like a cop, which he did. I had asked that he come to me before throwing anyone out, which he completely ignored. Needless to say he was fired, and my nemesis never made it to Lancaster, Pennsylvania.

I had asked my maid of honor to search the church for the man I was truly in love with, as he was my husband’s employee, and had been invited. I knew, with certainty, that one look at that man and I would make The Graduate look like Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. A mix of high anxiety and no sleep the evening before, I was a whirling dervish of angst and punchiness. I don’t remember walking down the aisle with my father, but I DO remember this scene:

My girlfriend Gina had been given the assignment of reading scripture. And as she began to quote Corinthians, she stumbled on a word. To the normal person, this would have gone unnoticed; to an exhausted and heartbroken bride to be? The funniest thing I had ever heard. When I laugh, well, it’s with my whole body-and I am not quiet about it, no, not at all. I laughed so hard that the priest began to become unhinged, and as hard as I tried…and then, the icing on the cupcake of the service: hearing my father and best friend laugh with me, I was gone. I collapsed at the altar, thus ensuring the crowd that this would be a day that would live in infamy.
************************

It wasn’t until the ex and I pulled away from the cozy bed and breakfast; our friends and family waving us on, headed towards Martha’s Vineyard, that this song played. And as I sat, numbed and tortured by a forbidden want, hot tears of recognition trickled down to the post card I had been writing:

HAVING A WISH, TIME YOU WERE HERE…

I mailed it from Nantucket.

To Dwain, with love… (to be continued)

Laughter After Tears

Two of my all time favorite artists in one video-you can’t beat that with a stick! And as I was led to this song, I knew exactly what to write about. I have learned, once again, that through intense emotional pain we can grow leaps and bounds in our faith, relationships and overall mental health. I spent the past few days in bed, albeit sick with the flu-but depressed and anxious about the chance that my marriage could fail miserably, and at any moment.

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Because I am a grown woman, and have plenty of life experience-I know that I can cling to Jesus during the desert places, praise His name and look forward to a beautiful lesson and blessing that would surely follow.

It always does.

We should not let our fears hold us back from pursuing our hopes.”
JOHN F. KENNEDY

As miserable as I was, I immediately felt shame; I thought of the least of these.

I have lived half of my life as one of the least of these.

There are times where life is so good, when I am surrounded by love-my social calendar full, and a peace that surpasses all understanding. Actually, He has answered my prayers-I live a quiet, creative and authentic life, and I owe every single step toward my recovery, every breakthrough and success to God. To Him goes the honor and glory. But what happens when you have become accustomed to this life well-lived, and the bubble bursts, leaving you blindsided? Do you question God? Do you find yourself shell shocked and incredulous? Do you feel hopeless?

Some were fools; they rebelled and suffered for their sins. They couldn’t stand the thought of food, and they were knocking on death’s door.
“Lord help!,” they cried in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress. He sent out his word and healed them, snatching them from the door of death. Let them praise the Lord for his great love and for the wonderful things he has done for them. Let them offer sacrifices of Thanksgiving and sing joyfully about his glorious acts!
-Psalm 80

Dwain and I are fine, and mea culpa-I was being incredibly sensitive. Yet when we argue, I shut down completely-although I am much better than I used to be. I’ve gone from hysterically phoning my therapist, to not crying at all.
Yet I cease to function or care-and that isn’t the place we need to be-yet I know Abba is pruning me-as He does to all of his children. I know in my secret places that something amazing will come out of the melee.

Call out to Jesus.

He wants you to trust Him. You are so very special to God-each and every one of you.

A Preponderance of Joy

I hate to complain. My mother used to complain all of the time, I think it’s an Irish thing-it is also a narcissistic thang, and I try not to fall into the rabbit hole, if you catch my drift…:)

It is Sunday, November 25th-and I have been in bed for two entire days with the flu. These past few days are among the most harrowing of my life; and I have had some batshit crazy times. This was a perfect Trifecta,(premenstrual, full moon and the fact that I knew I was getting sick, which makes me semi-hysterical to begin with) and I had to hand it to Jesus this morning, when I cracked my first joke since the FUBAR that was my Thanksgiving.

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All kidding aside, it began soon after we left the Thanksgiving dinner our church holds annually-to feed the homeless and those facing hard times. I was in high spirits, I had made a new friend whilst cutting approximately 2,687 pies-and with a head cold, thank you very much. I was trying to figure out why Dwain and I weren’t in our traditional holiday cat fight, when, to no one’s surprise-it all came crashing down.

I had a blast volunteering at our church’s annual Thanksgiving meal for our community. I was delighted to be assigned pie duty (not so delighted after slicing approximately 2,657 pumpkin pies) with a jovial woman I immediately bonded with. I had that lift in my loafers as we head out the door, bound for my in laws and we were still doing quite well.

The Mother of All Bombs occurred, and right in front of the entire family.

I was so bored watching football with the guys, but no women had formed any coffee klatches, so I wandered over to my sister in law and her sister in law. As a follower of independent and conservative news, I know how important it is to try and warn folk about what is coming. The good and great news is that we are winning, the white hats, that is…evil is being stomped out of America, and I feel a responsibility to warn others. It’s some heavy stuff, so I went with the lighter news.

“Guys, there is going to be a ton of shit hitting the fan in the near future, and I’ll start this with telling you that JFK, Jr. is still alive.”

I went on to give facts, which were met with “FAKE NEWS!!!!” and a few attacks on my credibility. I simply stood up, placed the pillow back where it belonged, and went to sit with my husband. Because of the “trifecta,” I was a walking nerve end. I had just told my husband that I had an uncomfortable encounter with his sister, and he yelled at the football game, like-right in my ear. Which led me to shriek, because it frightened the life force out of me.

I shut down, completely: grabbed my coat and head up the hill to our home, which held my beloved fireplace, dog and pc. I took a shower and got good and cozy. I sat there for a few hours when I realized that I felt like a dog crapping bones, and I knew deep within that had I lingered on that couch? I would remain there, petrified to the leather, Kombucha in hand.

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I went up to my sleigh bed, the sun shining clearly, a beam of light hitting my braided rugs. Just as I had make myself comfortable, my husband walks into the bedroom.

“What’s going on?,” he says, softly at first.

What’s going on is, I have the flu and I was just publicly humiliated by a stranger, at my own Thanksgiving, my hormones are screaming kill her, murder her and it’s full moon.

Perfectly. Good. Explanation.

And then, as if in a slow motion nightmare, my husband says this:

“I defended you down there all day!!!!”

Guys, if you are reading this, never-and I mean NEVER tell your hysterical wife that you defended her for any reason, whatsoever.

I wanted to know why he “defended” me, but he isn’t giving. He storms out of the bedroom, and down to the settee. I am absolutely stricken with rage. Alas, I am too weak to do much about this; but the next day I feel well enough to look for apartments. My husband tells me he is “headed for a nervous breakdown.” I take lots of nighttime cold medicine, and sweat through the pain.

I cry out to Jesus. I give my weary heart over to Him. Take this, Jesus, I can’t deal another second. I end up having restless leg syndrome, and my husband and I break out laughing hysterically-even though it’s 3 a.m. and neither of us has slept a wink.

And now? Merely 24 hours later?

I have managed to make the bed and don fresh underwear.

Hey, it’s a start.