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.

Home….

cropped-15095550_1812089809073862_3374301090125037312_n.jpgWe are finally here.  Up in the Adirondack Mountains, near lake Pleasant, in the sleepy little town of Wells, New York.  If there are two people who need a vacation, it is my husband and myself.   We began the trip with an argument, which stemmed from my hysteria about leaving my home.  I like to take my time and make sure I have everything.  Dwain likes to leave in such a hurry, that I fear he may spontaneously combust.

Aside from the fact that we were pulled over for a speeding (my weed was right there, in the front seat, my pipe in my purse.  I don’t think I took a breath for ten minutes straight- and after reviewing my husband’s driver’s license, the state trooper asked us this question:

“Can you two tell me what that white powdery substance is in that bag?”

I kid you not.  We looked at one another, completely oblivious to what he possibly could have meant, and we both turned our gaze to the silverware, wrapped in a white napkin, that my husband mistakenly took from a restaurant and has planned on returning since.

After receiving a $250 fine, plus points, we were told to have a great vacation.  The trooper followed us for twenty miles, and it wasn’t until he took an exit ramp that we both screamed- OH MY GOD IN HEAVEN HOW SCARY WAS THAT?????????

I am not a pot head by any stretch of the imagination, I only use it for my CPTSD, but because my career in donating to the Columbian drug cartels only began a few years ago.  I am patiently awaiting availability, as it has been legal in the state for a year, but very little progress has been made.  Hey, it’s Pennsylvania…

So I am sitting here, underneath the amazing pines, on a deck in the forest.  I was born in New York, and I have had the distinct feeling that I am home again, for the first time in way too long.  I brought my father’s ashes, as I couldn’t spread them when my siblings did; fifteen years ago in nearby Lake George.  I knew if I had gone on that trip that my drinking would have led to a very tense, if not tragic melee.  I feel grounded and at peace, and today I saw my very first waterfall-I cried for twenty minutes, the beauty too much for me to contain in my heart.

I won’t be on social media.  I refuse to look at my phone.  No checking of emails.  God is speaking to me and this is what he wants: for me to start concentrating on the good, the pure, the lovely, the laughter-no more tears for now.  I feel as if I am at the precipice of hope, and I know more clearly than ever that Jesus takes such great care to give us these incomprehensible blessings~and I want you to know, He loves you more than you could ever dream, or imagine.

My husband told me this morning that our neighbors were gone for the day.  He has been cavorting whilst naked, fell off the deck (long story) and thrown caution to the wind.  He just approached me with the news that the women have, in fact, been home the entire day.  I have to go, I’m in hysterics……….chow.

I Will Survive………..

As we prepare for vacation, the vacation that was supposed to be a family affair, my heart is heavy.  This sounds like a ridiculous statement, especially considering the hurricanes that have devastated Mexico, Puerto Rico, Texas and Louisiana.  But you see, this only adds to my feelings of despair.

On the phone with my brother yesterday (he really gets me, inside and out, and for that I am incredibly grateful) we discussed the reasons for my anxiety and heartache.  Part of this is an inability to enjoy the good things in life, I am not comfortable with them.  Set on a path of destruction early on in life, I remain my own worst enemy.  But it is so much more than that.  I hate leaving my home, no matter what the destination.  This is the first real vacation my husband and I have ever been on, so why so glum chum?

Trying to pack with a sinus infection, my head throbbing and tears streaming down my cheeks-I find t-shirts I had packed in June, so excited to vacation with my brother, sister and extended family.  These t-shirts were pulled out and put back.  No reason to wear them.  I had dreamed of Craig and I singing together, charades, swimming, getting close to my nieces and nephew.  It wasn’t to be, and the fact or even idea of going to the Adirondack mountains?  It’s just too much for me to bear at this moment in time.

But what if we could turn what could have been into what is and what will be?  I know we need to get away, and even more than that?  We need to relax, as it’s been a roller coaster of a Summer.  Talks of the Tribulation, Rapture (not happening folks, not for years yet-and my source is pretty reliable) and the hideous goings on in this world make me want to bury my head in the sand and cry out to God.

Somehow, some way, He will lead me to a place of peace.  For He knows better than anyone that when I am weak, only then am I strong.

More of You in My Life……

Well, this morning I flew down to Lititz for my orientation and paperwork-I will be working at the Heart of Lancaster, as an Emergency Room volunteer.  Just yesterday, I was trying to think of ways to get out of the meeting for today-I haven’t felt well, but more than that I have been living in a state of mistrust and fear.  Any person suffering with CPTSD will tell you that trusting people is the most difficult thing for one to do, and I am no exception.  My golden retriever is my therapy dog, in every sense of the words.  I feel a state of angst when I am not with him, and I have a touch of agoraphobia.  All of this I have given to him, or so I thought.

Throughout the last month, I have bonded with Missy Deibler, the head of the volunteer department and the hospital chaplain.  Today, she wasn’t her bubbly self, and she confided in me about some health issues that would put me on my knees in despair.  I won’t betray her trust, but she told me that since a bad virus last year (HELP ME JESUS-I DON’T WANT THIS VIRUS-EVER!!!!) that left her unable to smell or taste food.  To a foodie like me?  Well, that would be so crushing a fate, I can’t imagine not tasting food as there isn’t a food group I am not comfortable with.  In all actuality my diet consists of chocolate, fruit and some protein.  I digress……

I tend to look at others as if their life is perfect, and mine is underwhelming.   Until today-when Abba showed me in real time how bad it really could be.  I will take my afflictions over hers, any day.  And her confession only served to make me like her more, relate on a totally different level.

“We are having a service in the chapel at 10:30, if you would like to stay,” she kindly offered.

Before getting up to head in that direction, I ran into a man I went to church with years ago.  He played in our Worship Team Band, and I hadn’t seen him for awhile.  Eventually, he did remember me.  So, I walk into the hospital chapel, and there he is, Ron, sitting with his guitar-we strike up a conversation.  What transpired next cannot be called coincidence, and I can’t divulge the info, but suffice it to say it affected me very, very deeply.  In the end, there were four of us worshipping, and Missy asked that we bring our prayer requests or praises out into the open.  I am quite shy when it comes to praying out loud-I remain nervous and think I will sound lame, or even worse, not like a Christian should.  It was my turn-everyone had spoken really moving prayers, conveying love, discipleship and concern. 

“I want to thank Missy for inviting me to this service.  And I am incredibly excited to be a part of this ministry……..(sob, sob, SOB) I have been so lonely and I am not good at asking for help.”

PUT THE NEEDLE ON THE RECORD, DJ!  Did I really just spew my insecurity and mental health issues in front of my future boss and coworkers?  I expected judgement.  I was waiting for a sigh of disgust.  I wanted to banish myself from the kingdom.  Instead, the chaplain-Missy- put her hand on mine, and held it for the rest of the service.  I took a deep breath on my way out, as people approached me for hugs and kind words.

As sure as my middle name is Ellen, I know in my heart that the Holy Spirit led me to these modern day saints, into a ministry of helping others whose pain is oh so much worse than my own.

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.

Green Are Your Eyes…………

My brother came up for a visit a few weeks ago, and as we conversed he brought up the wedding that my father spent thousands upon thousands of dollars on.

“They were devastated,” he told me, dead seriously at that.  Craig lived in California at the time.  My mother was battling ovarian cancer, although she, nor the doctors, knew.  I remember one phone call from mom, in which she told me daddy had cried for days-and to this very day I wish I had run away……because I didn’t have the strength to stop the snow ball that kept rolling, gaining momentum, until it was so big it crushed me in its wake.

I did not choose this particular war.  It chose us, Dwain and myself.  I was in such angst that my mother sent my sister to baby sit, rather than sit down and discuss my strong resistance to a wedding that never, ever should have taken place.  In a therapy session, with my parents, the man with all the answers (he thought so anyway) asked my mother why she was so angry.

“The fucking whore just wanted a party.”

The therapist looked at me and then at my father.  When I looked back at him his glasses were askew and he appeared alarmed-distressed, if you will.  I had warned him.  I knew it was coming.   My father, always and forever my best friend and supporter, offered this:

“Honey, he said, looking at my mother as if she’d lost her mind-“Why don’t you let us get you an apartment, just be by yourself for awhile so you can figure things out.”

I couldn’t and didn’t consider that option.  I loathe the fact that I hurt my parents in any capacity whatsoever.   It breaks me and was a contributing factor in my rush to oblivion, alcohol, pills, cocaine………..my heart was a ball of fire, and I wept more than I smiled.

But, green were his eyes…….and their melodic and hypnotizing pull are evident this very day.  And for that, oh for that I am incredibly blessed.