Physician, Heal Thyself

 

I’m back BABY!!!!  I am back amongst the living, trying to adjust to my new laptop.  I almost walked out of Staples on Saturday: I had one picked out-the cheapest one, and I was dead set on that model-when Mr. Staples, Jr. abruptly said:

“We don’t have that in stock, you’ll have to drive to Hershey.”

I mumbled a few choice words to my husband.

How convenient.  I’m not driving to Hershey!  Seems a bit fishy, they can’t keep the cheapest computer in stock…..let’s go, I’m done.”

The twelve year old salesperson stared at me, stunned I wouldn’t fall for the next to cheapest model, which was $100 more.  And then, by some twist of fate, I ended up walking out with that more expensive laptop.  And so it goes…

Oh what a delight to be back, writing, researching, and coming up with new ideas for my blogola.  I hope I didn’t forget how to write.  It’s not like riding a bike, folks.  I was thrilled with the idea of writing weekly, until I remembered the words of Christian Mahai-write, write, write.  The frequency of my blogs isn’t important, it’s the content.  So, let’s get right into it, shall we?

The above song is by Flyleaf, a Christian band I love.  I don’t believe they are together, and I know the lead vocalist took time away from singing to have a family-the point of this song?

Notice the voice in this video, by Joe M., The Storm is Upon Us.   This is the voice of John F. Kennedy, Jr.  The fact has been verified that John John is very much alive and well.  If you really want hour by hour coverage of The Plan, follow Joe M. on Twitter, you won’t be disappointed.

In other news:

Remember this:  the truth shall set you free.  God is with us and for us, no man can stand against us.

Be blessed.

 

Slap Me With the Splintered Ruler

 

Good Sunday morning to y’all.  I need you to know that I only have a laptop on the weekends, as mine took a crapola last week.  Of course, my husband offered to take me to Best Buy this weekend, but I am not ready.  Very interesting…a week ago I felt like someone took my nubby-How Will I Ever Exist?  I won’t be able to write, go on Twatter, see the REAL news.  Yet God, in His infinite wisdom, had much greater plans.  Goosebumps….

Let’s just say that I had been way too preoccupied with the web, and with my addictive personality?  I had cut down on pc time, but still carried the computer with me, room to room.  True confession time:  I took it to the bathroom with me.  Don’t judge me, that room is the only room in the house with a door!  Sometimes a girl needs to breathe.  So, while my husband, friends and support network were extremely concerned (I have to say, my brother was probably ready to send for the men in white coats-haha!) Wouldn’t that be special?  My sister tried to have me committed to a facility the night I tried to take my own life-wise, you are saying to yourselves.  I just covered my ears until the social worker on duty promised me there would be no psychiatric institutions.  The very next morning they released me, gave me an Atarax (boy, if I could get my hands on some of those babies-but nah, just the drug addict in me) which allowed me to sleep my entire first day of sobriety away….giving my man time to drain the booze, and anything expensive was given to the neighbors. 

When I awoke that stormy October afternoon, back in 2007?  I went directly for the booze cupboard, searching for something-anything alcoholic-to my surprise I found a jug of white wine.  I sat that baby on the table and we had a talk, until Jesus intervened.

My precious child, when?  When will you say enough?  How much more of this life will you waste?

That did it.  I put the jug back where it belonged and waited it out.  This would be the beginning of years of cravings, big and small.  Relapses.  Drinking upstate without my husband’s knowledge-at the beautiful cabin we are gifted access to from time to time-I knew that was a big bowl of WRONG, yet I couldn’t, or wouldn’t give that once a year libation up-and one day, I thought of all of the miracles that Jesus had performed for me, personal triumphs, freedom from cancer, the very fact that I was alive and breathing spoke volumes to me.

What if I made a covenant with God?  What if in exchange for all He has done, I put away the thought of ever drinking alcohol again, and prayed for Him to give me the strength to do so.

That conversation took place a year ago.

Not.  One.   Craving.

I could not give up on the worldwide web, the loss was profound…and if I can tell you anything about myself, I can tell you that I am highly adaptable to almost any situation.  They say it takes two weeks to form a habit, and that is why I said “No thanks,” when Dwain offered to buy me a lap top.  I am perfectly content writing on the weekends, and once I am convinced my internet addiction is tamed?  Only then will I purchase new equipment.

It turns out?  I have a life to live.  I cannot fathom the chunks of time I wasted, sitting in my hidy hole, reading every bit of the Great Awakening news I could find… I went down Rabbit Holes no person in their right mind would want to travel.  And again, once I got the monkey off of my back?  I began getting things done.  Actually working on the farmhouse, baking, cooking, finding me again.

My husband drove out to New Hampshire for a business trip last week.  And so it was, on Monday evening, the house quiet, no music, no television-that I found a picture of me and my father.

“Wow.  I always hated this picture of myself.  Not so much anymore, huh dad?  Umm…it’s/been/hard…”  The words tumbled from my mouth, and before I knew it, I was crying-my body wracked with emotional pain, I sensed something huge was in the air.

Jesus spoke to me again.

Child, it is time to let go of your shame.

Was I hearing Abba correctly?  Why, I didn’t realize I still carried it with me, the deep seated self loathing.  It took some time, but everything came together, as if a giant piece of the puzzle had been found.  I turned the pain into gratitude, as I remembered why I had such shame to begin with.

As a child, I knew shame.  My mother would go for days without speaking to me, and for the life of me, I truly never knew what provoked her ire.  I stopped a moment to think about what deep shame could do to a child in her formative years.  Eventually, I would buy her a card or pick her flowers.  I came across one such card in my mother’s bible just a while back.

Mom, I just wanted you to know that I’m sorry, and I love you very much.

Your daughter,

Michele

In school I suffered total shame because of my weight.  The kids were cruel, and the taunting was so persistent?  It took me well into my thirties before I could jog or walk past a group of teens.  No matter that I had lost the weight, I still felt the shame.

In High School, considered a jock and oddball, (Varsity Crew Coxswain) I began to realize that this wasn’t going to resolve itself, but I had no idea where to begin.  At Villanova, my shame came from not having or being enough.  Surrounded by incredibly wealthy and beautiful people, I made up a story about being a Jontue model.  Unfortunately, people not only believed me, they spread the word.  I mean, who doesn’t want to be friends with a famous model, right?  In college I learned to reinvent myself, and the only person I was hurting was me.  Why wasn’t I enough?

After college, my drinking career became legend in some parts of King of Prussia.  I began seeking attention (love) through a series of promiscuous love affairs-and the reputation stuck.  I began doing cocaine as a way to lift my spirits and self esteem; what could possibly go wrong?

The day I found myself on the doorstep of my rented home, due to losing an eight ball of coke.  I had given my brother a birthday party, and while I had my back turned, one of my nearest and dearest friends (I had only invited people we were very close to) had lifted the bag I had hidden, way in the back of my closet, under a stack of love letters.  I had promised Ted, my landlord, that I would sell it all that night.  There are no words to express my horror at finding I had been robbed.  I had no money to give him, and that didn’t sit well, not at all.

Ted sold drugs for the Gambino crime family.

I went on the run.  My room mate and best friend, Mel, beside me-we drove away like bats out of hell, and didn’t look back, not once.

So, with my worsening alcoholism and drug addiction, there were reasons to be ashamed.  And as I sat in my bedroom, weeping between the litter boxes, I asked myself this question:

What is there to be ashamed of now?  Why do you feel unworthy?  Why do you punish yourself for simply existing?

Let me light my lamp, says the tiny star; and never debate whether it will dispel the darkness.

– Rabindranath Tagore

May you shed your shame like the cloak of darkness it has become.

You are special, unique and loved-let your freak flag fly, baby~

Love Is Wild……

What is love, really? And how do you know if you’re on the right track, if you are loving someone enough, or …in a way that tells them they are loved?

Love is patient.
Love is kind.
Love does not anger,
nor does it boast.

This is what we find in our bibles, and make no mistake-God meant what he said, but how many of us can rise to that place? For me? Love is compassion. Love is validation. Love may take it up a notch or two-as lovers are passionate, and the frenzy can make us crazy. My husband and I still rant and rave, but at the end of the day? Love, somehow prevails. I remember not so long ago the days of begging him to love me, and now the tables have turned-love doesn’t hold anything over your head, and if you wax and wane poetic, but have no understanding or compassion, what does it amount to? Dust. Dust in the wind.

True love allows the other person breathing space. It listens, nods its’ head in sorrow, puts you in the shoes of the lovee.

Don’t you speak over my words. My reality is hard won, and I won’t trade my newfound jewels for stones-not today, not ever~

Here’s the Rub…

This blog is killing two birds with one stone. In all of the hustle and bustle, I completely spaced New Music Thursdays! Not important in the grand scheme of things, but hearing Norah Jones through “new ears,” not once-but twice in one weekend initiated a foray into her unique, jazzy, vintage sound.

I had always linked this tune with roads untaken. As much as my addictions took years from my life-my social anxiety has robbed me of much, much more. I find it ironic that getting sober brought on a new list of phobias and nervous ticks – I pick at my skin when anxious, am completely incapable of dealing with any kind of stress, and would rather have a root canal than travel sans Jesse, my golden retriver. I am a germ phobe extraordinaire, a dog hypochondriac and feel uncomfortable (make that extremely uncomfortable) around people I do not know.

1450868_670242899675796_1120820745_n Jesse, to the left. Our beloved Dylan to the right of our son-may He await me at the Rainbow Bridge

What we regret in our lives is never as painful as chances, opportunities not taken. With Social Anxiety, you are forced to cancel plans depending upon just how strong you feel on that particular day. Interestingly enough, my nerves are their worst in the evening, which I attribute to the notion that I am not fully awake for the first four hours after rising. If you want to give me bad news, do so as the sun rises-with any luck? I won’t remember what you said by noon.

I was completely uninhibited as a child-thinking nothing of knocking on doors, asking the neighbors to bake me cookies. I had a sense of myself from very early on, and as a young girl, my father doted on my propensity to not take crap from any person, place or inanimate object. I learned quickly that pleasing dad meant everything. I yearned to make him proud, he was a nurturing father to me, despite many less than ideal situations; such as, my mother-who was pathologically jealous of our closeness. And herein lies the rub:

In your formative years, you have nothing but the reactions of others to mold and guide you in your very human quest to be loved, to fit in. When your own mother dislikes you? Well, let’s just say I was at an extreme disadvantage. Later in life, Satan’s Seed (aka, my sister)did not miss an opportunity to berate, humiliate or gaslight me-I sunk further into depression.

There is hope and I am here to say things are so much better on the other side of recovery from narcissistic abuse. You begin to see the very things the narc disliked about you (pure and total jealousy) are the very same things that others will love. I did my research, and once I felt I knew enough, I dug deep into the Word. A combination of incredible support from my husband and friends, a return to a creativity I thought had left me long before-and a deep faith in Jesus led me out of the muck and mire that is codependency.

I don’t care who you are, your opinion of me has much more to do with you than any other factor. I am no fence sitter-folks either love me or hate me, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Be of good cheer, God is in control~

The Christ Child

Be patient with me, I am mid allergy flare (stupid dust from the wood stove) and my eyes are closing as we speak. I haven’t written in some time, as I try not to force anything, if I don’t feel it? I move on, baby, I move on! Plenty of things to keep my busy around a mildly run down farm house. A two hundred year old one, at that. I need to paint, my entire house no less-and have a kazillion things to fix, mend or glue. I mean, bathroom floor, refinishing our hardwood floors, the list goes on.

As it turns out? I love this old house. I treat her with kid gloves, and in return she gives me joy amidst the toil, a thank you of sorts, for continuing to love and respect what she once was, what she will be again, some day. I have done almost everything humanly possible to create a warm and inviting space-big, soft blankets strewn across our leather furniture. Each room an individual feel, no two rooms alike-that’s for sure. I suffer from depression at times, and it is my prayer to refinish her in a way befitting of her old, stoic beauty.

12771500_10204116416070112_1062940544567809039_o (1)
This is our view from the deck at the pond.

So, finally getting to the point, I want to tell you that I was not myself over the last few weeks. Seasonal blues, combined with the side effects from my recent head injury and ensuing concussion (nausea, mood swings, headaches, and fatigue)put me in a place of utter despair.

I gave it all to God, and that helped immensely. Yet I still felt deeply saddened, as if the grief were going to swallow me whole-suffocate me with its deadly black cloak. I didn’t want to do, be, talk to or even participate in the holiday festivities. I had been depressed around this time of year before but this year? I had the added burden of wondering if we should be celebrating this holiday with pagan origins. I look at it this way: we know that 12/25 is not the date of Christ’s birthday, but we are celebrating our Lord and Savior as tradition has taught us for eons. I got into a quarrel with a Youtuber named Daniel Lee of Torah Restorations Ministries on his channel. This is what transpired, the cause and effect of an almost-ruined Christmas Eve:

Me: Merry Christmas Steve! (talking to another subscriber, not the MAN himself)

DANIEL: HOW COULD YOU POSSIBLY SAY THAT TO SOMEONE KNOWING WHAT YOU KNOW ABOUT SATANIC RITUAL ABUSE!! DON’T CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS, MICHELE, DO WHAT JESUS DID, PRACTICE HONUKAH INSTEAD!!!

I want to preface the next few paragraphs by telling you that I was a big fan of his channel, and we had grown to be like brother and sister. So much so that he was planning on staying with us this Spring, as he tours the universities of the East Coast to preach his message.

Me: Daniel, calm down. I’m not judging others, not my job, and Merry Christmas? Really, Daniel.

DANIEL: NO! YOUR HUSBAND AND YOU SHOULD KNOW BETTER….BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH!

It was brutal, and on Christmas Eve, no less.

I dressed, unceremoniously for Christmas Eve service, we had to be early, as we were helping set up. I slowly went around, to each window, and plugged in the gorgeous wreaths. Nothing. I sat in the chapel while the band practiced, hoping the music would inspire me. Zilch.

Nope, it looked like I wasn’t going to rally for the cause. Christmas would come and go, and I would be left in the dust, blindsided by regret and pain. I held back tears as I sat for the service. The evening was beautiful, and as I watched the children take the stage in a haphazard way-I leaned forward, in order to see, in order to listen.

I watched as my pastor, Tony Blair, looked at the children on stage. His face softened, his eyes grew moist. He gazed at those precious little people, with such tangible joy and love-it was heart wrenching.

There are good people in this world-well meaning, honest human beings who truly care about the least of these. The world became a brighter place, instantaneously. As we lit our candles, one by one, I had drifted off to the landscape of the starry night in Bethlehem, and the very thought of the Christ child lifted me up and out of my inertia, my numbness.

Back at home, hours later, I sat in the dark and took in the beautiful Christmas tree, my dog and cats asleep beside it, dreaming of sugarplums-no doubt. I say there for some time and prayed.

I felt a bit of childhood whimsy, the spark of pure adrenaline a kid feels when they even think of Santa Claus. But this time? The floaty stomach and profound love in my heart was due to the love of my Lord and Savior, my Prince of Peace, my evening song-Emmanuel~

Into His Arms…

 

I have to start out by telling you I have consumed my happy juice and am a bit crosseyed at this time.  But praise Jesus, for he has given us every herb, plant and fruit bearing tree so that we will live healthy, peaceful lives.  Medicinal.  Used for my CPTSD, it can take me from despair to joy, and that my friends is worth its weight in gold.

I’ve been thinking about what is happening in this world, and obviously, it all but freaks me out.  After watching a video I shouldn’t have, I was overwhelmed-feeling as if the entire three ring circus was on my back.  First sad.  Then frantic.  Then Jesus.

I tell him, Jesus! I am clinging to your robes today, I need you badly!

These are the times when I run, full throttle, all engines on to God.  I picture myself running in to his amazing hug, and hear him say There, there child.

I can’t do this Jesus.

I know too much, why do I know so much and when did you make the decision to take a scaredy cat like this girl, and lead her in the direction of Doom.  Real news.  Investigative reporting.  I have felt the Holy Spirit driving me in this direction, and some days?  Down with the ship I go.

He never pushes, never demands.

I come to the realization that He alone is my Lord and Savior.  He will not leave me nor forsake me.  He is in control.  

I take a long hot shower.  I plug in my tiny white lights strategically placed all over my home, to give comfort.  Put some cinnamon on the stove.  And then He takes me back to who I was before I got clean.  I am profoundly grateful.

I fall into His arms.

 

I Don’t Really Got It Like That……

For as long as I can remember? I have struggled with making money. While among those in the work force, I never made more than $250 a week. My Income Tax Return was almost always $250. Early on I surmised that God did not think it necessary for me to be a CEO, stock market analyst or-heaven forbid-a successful comedian. He knew that I was so grateful for the basics-food, a roof over my head, a loving husband and loyal dog. That’s pretty much it. Anything I made went to groceries, and when I had a chunk of moolah saved? It always went to something necessary-like buying my man a vehicle to get from here to there. They were always used Chevy pick-ups, and we held our breath each year at inspection time.

No, I have never been a material girl. From a very young age I fought hard to exist, so caught up in the struggle to survive-little things have always, always meant the world to me…and it is true to this very day. God provides for our needs, no matter how simple or complicated they are. I thought I needed my family to be happy, and realizing that the need for Jesus trumps the need to be loved? Life affirming.

Now the tears start rolling. I spent my first Christmas without any interaction (with the exception of my brother) with family. I actually went shopping for my nieces, to Kohl’s. It was there that I cried in the dressing room as I realized they were no longer mine to buy for-it hit me hard, the isolation.

So, for now, in this moment? I will cherish what I do have. My self esteem. My sense of humor. My handsome husband and a dog so loyal it hurts my heart to imagine a life without him. These days my husband drives a brand new Chevy truck, and we don’t worry about the bills or groceries because our income is sufficient. It’s time to start paying it forward.

I will treasure the memories of harder times, as it was then that the miracle of His amazing grace was ever present~