Calmed and Broken

Every once in awhile, I think Jesus likes to remind me of something:  I am not of this world, meaning I don’t fit in and have no intention of changing one thing about myself.  I have never fit in, but today the point was driven home in a cruel and devastating way.  It may be the enemy in attack mode, but I am a work in progress, and I am God’s work in progress.

I don’t want anyone to think I pity myself, as I find that a very undesirable character trait.  Spend enough time with the narcissist population and trust me, you’ll feel the same way.   However, I will say that I was pushed to my very limit this afternoon, resulting in a public display of rage and a headache at volume eleventy.  The following story may sound shocking to you, but I have learned to expect the ludicrous, as apparently that is my cross to bear in this dimension.

I came here from the Philadelphia area, to Lancaster County-by all appearances the quaintest of the quaint.  Loads of history, horse and buggies everywhere (I never tire of it) and a few of the finest restaurants around.  Beautiful countryside, small town charm, the whole shebang.

There is something disturbing about these people.  Not all, I have met some very lovely people and you know what?  They are almost always from somewhere else.  Living on the Main Line was different for me-I had many close friendships.  I didn’t realize how very accepting these fine people were, until I entered the Twilight Zone that is this one horse town.

I don’t keep up with the Joneses.  I keep to myself, unawares of what other folks are thinking.  I go to the grocery store without  makeup, usually with my stained hiking clothes.  Not a touch of makeup.  My long hair tied in a knot, lucky if my socks match to be frank.  This isn’t to say that I don’t clean up pretty, but when I do?  Vintage clothing, the more unique, the better.  My mother was a fashion plate, but when it came to me?  Let’s just say she liked to experiment.

I remember the first day of seventh grade, because mom made me wear velvet purple knickers, matching shirt and white lace up boots.  The kids were vicious, the taunting and pointing went on all day.  It didn’t bother me as I had become accustomed to children taunting me, as they did in elementary school-simply because I did not conform.  I was my own person, never a follower of anyone else.

I am helping out a close friend, he is dying of cancer.  For the second time in a week I was a hot mess in mucks.  I entered the house to a very angry man.  He told me he had just told his wife and son that he didn’t care what they thought, he wanted me to help him.  The narrative goes back and forth between everything’s groovy to his wife hates my guts.

“Now what?,” I asked.

The other day while in the grocery store, making conversation, I told the cashier I was helping out with Scott.  Apparently, she ran with this information (wow, scandalous I know) to Scott’s mother in law, who immediately phoned her daughter.

“She’s mad because her mother told her that you were in Dutch Way, bragging about how you’re taking care of me.  I just screamed at her and told her I didn’t care that she thought you were crazy, I wanted you around, period.”

“Can you please go back to the ‘crazy’ part?,” I stammered.

“You know, your hair isn’t perfect, everyone thinks you’re crazy.  Not many people in this town like you, who cares?”

I left the house enraged.  Truly enraged.  I drove to Dutch Way at eighty miles an hour, peeled into the parking lot, barely stopped the car before getting out.  I stormed in and asked for Cindy, the cashier, who had left earlier.  I then asked for the manager, and was directed toward the office.  My friend Lu Anne stood there, looking at me with anticipation.  I told her what happened.   I was shaking and livid.

“I want her job.  I want her job.  She is FUCKED!!!,” I screamed.

I felt their eyes burning holes through my backside.

I drove home, hugged my pooch, cried in the shower.

Children of God need to realize that they will be persecuted, rejected and even shunned because the “worldly” don’t understand us, they despise us because we frighten them.  They are broken people who’ve never truly known Christ in their heart.

I pity them.

 

 

 

Tightrope

I live out in the country, way out: but that doesn’t mean I have no neighbors. I think Jesus made it perfectly clear, but I am not the one to judge. I have issues, too. Just recently? I was doing a bit of ruminating about my sin, and I came to the horrifying conclusion that all of my friends are “beautiful” people. I am actually a bit surprised at my prejudice, as I assumed that I had a big heart, for all people. I do, however it seems to me it’s a whole lot easier to love attractive people. I am deeply shamed by this, and will work on it ASAP.

About five years ago, I found myself embedded in a screaming match with my neighbor, Jeanne. I stopped walking my dog around our neighborhood after this incident, and I have her to thank. Jeanne and her family had recently moved to our tiny burb, and I never would have known if not for her dog, Cujo; who promptly scared the life force out of my golden retriever. After calling for immediate restraint, I heard this:

“Oh, for crying out loud, it’s just a German Shepherd,” came her response, loud and clear. You don’t know me, or how I get when people get in my face. I am a Gemini, through and through. I am simultaneously the nicest and meanest person you will ever meet-just depends on what you’re dishing out on that particular day.

Years later, I am standing with Jeanne.  Who, indeed, proved to be a horse’s ass.  But this particular day, back in February, she caught me while hunting sheds, in the field below her farm.  We took up talking and I told her I was going through a bout of Lyme.  She, in turn, told me to come up to the house, to hear about Essential Oils!!!  I must have been gravely ill, because I actually went, thinking that she was trying to help me.  What. On. Earth. Was I thinking?

Anyway, the neighbor who lives in between myself and Jeanne, is a 90 year old, Pennsylvania Dutch, busy body extraordinaire.  She knows all of the gossip in the neighborhood.  We don’t get involved, ever.  So, I haven’t been close to Ruth in years, as I knew she wasn’t fond of me.  How did I know this?  I have it on good authority, it came from the horse’s mouth. Apparently, Ruth said this to my in laws:

“You can say a lot of things about Michele, but she sure does take good care of her animals.”

So, there’s that.  And a whole bunch of other stuff I have already flushed down the commode.

Here’s the thang:  we cannot wrap ourselves up in others’ perceptions of us.  Ninety percent of the time?  They are going on gossip, unearned reputations-not the Holy Spirit or the love of Jesus in their hearts.

So, I would like to wrap this up by saying this to anyone and everyone who delights in being in my bizness:

You people are the human version of menstrual cramps.

On This Solid Rock I Stand

All other ground is sinking sand.

I used to work as a food demonstrator for our local Dutchway Farmer’s Market.  This was three years ago, but I remember well the day I met her: dressed in piety, she waxed poetic on why HER church (Catholic) took the book of Enoch out of the bible.  She would run up to me, spouting her latest technique to get God’s attention.  She thought she knew it all.

“I have decided not to wear makeup, you know, to look pure in front of God.”

I had my good and bad days at this particular job, but this

was not the former and I wanted to bash her skull in.  There, I said it.  

“Cut the sanctimonious bullshit, sister.  Shut your effing mouth.  Do you want a piece of me?  Do you?????”

That was my thought cloud on that particular day.  I didn’t calm down until she pranced her pious ass to the deli counter.  Forget you.

I have always resented the self righteous.  I remember in sixth grade I got in trouble for spitting my gum out at the crosswalk.  Kim Fields, a more obnoxious child has not travelled the earth, and boy was I pissed.

“IT’S FUCKING BIODEGRADABLE KIMMY.”

Oh, if only I had that filter-but I don’t and I won’t.  And the God’s honest truth?  I believe He made me this way for a reason.  Later on, that same year, I was tormented on the playground because of my purple raincoat-wings included.  I was teased for being fat, and the weird thing was?  The ring leader was the largest kid in our class (being kind)  This did not bother me in the least (looking back, it amazes me) and I finally turned around one Fall day and let them have it.  And that was the exact moment I befriended Denise, who would later be in my wedding, and who came close to having me arrested whenever we cruised the mall.

“I dare you to take that man’s hat and run like your hair is afire.”

True story.

And at that time, I was so desperate to make her laugh?  I would have done anything.  Well, almost anything.

As the good Lord would have it, I am not a follower, a sheeple, an NPC or a spineless doormat.  I am Michele, Queen of the Absurd, the ridiculous, the this shit wouldn’t happen to anyone but me-Seriously???  But it’s AOK, because I made a covenant with God years ago.

“Dear God, I promise, I will endure the most absurd situations in exchange for the health and happiness of my family, my husband and my dog.  Amen.”

He hasn’t let me down yet.  Why just this morning?  I opened the frig (pre-joe) looking for my creamer.  A big box of batteries came hurling from above, the top of the frig is Dwain’s domain, and it looks like the Bermuda Triangle-complete with socks, important documents and said batteries that almost knocked my block off.  Yet I was nonplussed (part of the drill, I’m immune to flying objects-God’s got this) as the case missed my head by mere centimeters.  Hey, I’ll take it.  Of course, I promptly walked into the sharp edge of the kitchen cupboard with my face, but a girl can’t have everything!

The reason the Book of Enoch was taken from the Bible?  The powers that were, the elite, the Satanic bloodlines-they didn’t want us to have this powerful information.

And what do I say to them?

 

 

 

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

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

One Spinal Cracker

A few days ago, I told y’all the story about my unpleasant encounter with a woman from my exercise class, the trainer actually.  I called her Harriet.  

Harriett was hysterical after my factual retelling of the day when Mrs. Hoffmaster, my Kindergarten teacher, told me I would have to come for a few days during the Summer, to learn how to skip.  Yes, you read that right.  As I am regaling my audience with the story of how I was almost left back a grade, I was oh so rudely interrupted by Miss Thang.

“Oh no, Michele, that couldn’t have happened,” she is shaking her head, as if correcting a small child.  She went on to argue that she was a teacher for blah, blah, blah years-well, you can just imagine.  Stunned at first, I rallied for the cause and told her (nicely, I thought) that YES, INDEEDY DO, I GREW UP IN PHILADELPHIA, NOT THIS AREA.  WHO ARE YOU TO CALL ME A LIAR????  Ok, I didn’t say that part, but I argued with her until she shut her pie hole.

The women next to me mouthed, What the fuck?  I, on the other hand, had absolutely no problem saying WTF out loud.  As my face is my tell, I can only imagine the look I gave her.  I expected the situation to rectify after she apologized to me: needless to say, that wasn’t exactly an option.

On Thursday, I brought a carrot cake to class for the September birthdays.  I love to bake, and the ladies in Bands love to eat-so it works out nicely.  It was the first layer cake I had ever made, successfully that is.  I strategically parked next to the church (where class is held) so I had less of a chance at dropping my masterpiece.  🙂

While in class, I updated my girlfriend as she hadn’t been in class that day.  We both took notice that Harriet would not so much as look my way-let alone offer an apology.  Afterwards, Sherry and I stood outside, next to my jeep, and finished our convo  about the “incident.”

You did the right thing, sticking up for yourself, she said.  I think she owes you an apology, at the very least.

At that very moment, the diva walked past us, and gave me the oddest look-her eyes bulging out of her head-behind her prescription sunglasses.  At first I thought she may have overheard us, but I had nothing to hide.  And then it hit me, she was outraged that I had parked so close to her church.  She couldn’t believe the depravity, I mean, who did I think I was, anyway?

Here’s the rub.  Just last week she had confided that she thought she may be developing Alzheimer’s, as her father had died from the ravaging disease.  Knowing what I know, I asked her what type of personality he had.  I know that certain personality types are much more prone to dementia, especially the Narcissist.

She thought about that a second before answering.

Total narcissist, had to control everything freaking detail of our lives.  Just a very unhappy man.”

Oh, Harriet…

I’ll Give You Fish…

A few blogs back, I promised you a story about the day, fifteen years ago, when I caught my husband “cheating” on me.  We were taking care of my father, who was extremely ill; we moved him to a house out in the country, where he lived for a year-on his terms-no nursing homes, praise God.  I loved my dad more than I have ever loved another soul, or perhaps the love I have for my husband is equal-but completely different types of love.

Dad was my best friend and, quite honestly, the only person besides my husband who really got me.  We were extremely close.  We laughed at the same things, had the same interests, and thought hiking was the greatest thing next to grilled cheese sandwiches.  I take after daddy, in almost every way.  Mom was the writer in the family, and she was very talented.  It is no small wonder that my brother and I are the artsy, fartsy, poetic side of the family.  I think it rather neat that my brother is a musician who writes amazing songs-not unlike myself-who writes about music-daddy was the musician.  I can still hear him singing the Midnight Special, banjo in tow, at three a.m. after an argument with my mother.  Good times.  Good times.

I would do anything to have those times back.

So, between working evenings as a waitress in a busy diner (one of the biggest tourist spots in Lancaster County) and taking care of my family-well, I guess you could say I was just a tad stressed out.  If you saw me in passing, you would think me a demented Flakka head, on the verge of going off the deep end; at any given moment in time.  You would also be correct.  About the losing my shit, not the Flakka.  When my husband complains about the two cigarettes I smoke each day with my coffee?  I always say:

It could be worse.  You’re lucky I’m not on Flakka.  Or crack.  

Jiminy Cricket, I was wound so tightly, I actually pitied the fool who got in my way.  Back then?  I was anger personified.  I seethed with an all consuming rage that basically enveloped me-my mother abused me emotionally, and my memories were a big reason I drank to begin with.  I wanted to take care of dad, believe me, but the sad truth?  I was scared senseless.  My alcoholism had progressed, then eased after he died.  Eventually I came to a place of rewriting my story, and forgiving mother.  Years of my life, consumed with bitter ire-and a tragic notion that I needed to be punished, put in place-as mom had made it perfectly clear that I was undeserving.  Forgiveness is incredibly freeing, and you should do it often-not for them, but for you.

Finally, to the point of the story.  I was in the aforementioned condition while driving my Jeep Wrangler up Route 501 on a Friday afternoon, headed in the direction of the pharmacy in Myerstown-to get my father’s refills.  My hair is fried, not tended to; I can’t remember if I brushed my teeth.  I am breaking out-not only in zits but pimples as well-my first outbreak of acne, ever.  Stress pimples and blackheads.

I head North and see my husband’s baby blue Chevy pick up headed in my direction.  I believe I went into a fugue state the moment I saw the blonde.  I was a jealous madwoman back then-it wasn’t my husband I didn’t trust, let’s just say that.

“OMG, who the FAZUCK was in Dwain’s truck?  How long has this been going on?  I’m taking care of my invalid father and the bastard is cheating on me?  What the FUCK?”

I ran into the pharmacy, almost hyperventilating when I see the long line.  This is the most impatient moment of my life.  I fantasize about killing the man behind the counter.  I want to slap the woman who forgot her insurance card, and truth be told?  My thought cloud was rated RRR.  If not ZZZ.

I raced to the jeep and drove like a stunt car driver all the way to Dwain’s work.  I see him in the park, akin to his business.  I aim for him as I drive, he jumps out of the way.

“Oh my GOD honey, what is wrong with you?”  He looks more than mildly alarmed, but he knows on many levels what this is all about.  I jump from the vehicle, not thinking to put the jeep in “park.”  Dwain jumps into said car and saves it, saves it from going directly into the pond behind us.

I scream and holler.  He tells me he took her to drop off her car, to have it inspected.  I eyeball him from toe to head.  Calmer, yet not quite assured that all is well; I head for my car.  He gives  me a hug, chuckles and says these exact words:

“Honey, why do you have spaghetti sauce all over your face?”