I Would Have Followed You

I don’t really like to talk about this subject so much, but the Lord put it on my heart to do so.  At some point I gave this all to God, and I have no intention of taking it back.

For some time now, I have been utterly alone.   I have my Jesus, my husband and my dog-so I suppose you could say it was my decision, or ours, anyway.  In search of an authentic life, no matter the price-I have distanced myself from almost everyone I had truly loved, aside from my good friend Jason.  Anyone who ever used can tell you that that codependent  relationships, especially when the child of an addict is involved.  We don’t just want people to love us, we need them to-and this is where I came to a crossroads in my relationship with Abba:  I had to learn to trust Him and Him only.  

The past two years had taken an emotional toll on me, I admit it.  I finally stuck up for myself with a family member-the results being that we have not connected in two years.  She was the one I told everything to, loved since she was a brat who waked around the house with a nightgown on her head-and screamed at warp volume each and every time my brother and I entered a room.  For years I was in torment over the constant back and forth, months of the silent treatment, the gaslighting and triangulation.

I was in denial, until I phoned her after being stalked in an incident at Middlecreek Wildlife Sanctuary.  It happened in broad daylight, and I was shaken to my core.  I called her and asked her to return my call.

She never called back.  It wasn’t discussed until a year later, the results were the same-she dropped the subject.  Mere months later I would have the most harrowing supernatural experience of my lifetime.  I reached out, told her not to worry if she saw anything on Facebook.  Told her and the fam that I was, indeed, okay.

Not.  Word.  One.

I am over my anger, I am over my heartache, I have forgiven.

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There is no appealing to her sensibilities.  She does not think she has done anything wrong.  We are at an impasse.  Every video and article I read tells me that no contact is the only way to go, but is it?  Perhaps, but what if we went at it like this:

The person whom you feel has abused you has been abused themselves.  More than anything in the world, the offenders want and need to be loved and are terrified of you not loving them.  Realize that they have done the best they can, and before anyone makes a move?  A few ground rules:

Assert yourself.  Ensure the other player understands that you will not be bullied, emotionally manipulated or shat upon under any circumstances.

It’s not about you-it’s about their dysfunction.  You are only responsible for your dysfunctionality.

Make an agreement the past will not be regurgitated like last week’s meatloaf.

Pray for them.  Sincere prayer can and does work miracles.  I am living proof of that.

I believe, as my husband says, that it’s six of one, a half dozen of the other.

But before any attempt at reconciliation, we both understand that in our own ways we love each other fiercely, and would be there in a heartbeat if needed.

In a perfect world~

 

Trust the Plan, Man

Lordamighty, it has been a trying week.  I have wept so often I have a dehydration migraine going.  And the toxic people in my life aren’t helping; neither is my Irish temper.  After three days of emotional roller coasters and half assed hostessing–I did the unthinkable, had two dinner parties back to back on consecutive days–I am planted firmly on my assets, and plan on absolutely nothing for duration of today.

So, my girlfriend Lynn came to dine on Tuesday.  We have recently reunited after a not so pretty breakup, and I was just as much to blame as she.  I have few regrets in this life, but they all involve my inability to have compassion or patience with people I loved dearly.  It still kicks me in the stomach now and then.

Lynn is my friend that respects me enough to believe me when I tell her what is going on.  She takes it in stride, and I believe it to be her strong and abiding faith in Jesus.  For when we are weak, then are we strong stuff.  She is lovely, and very fragile with health problems.  I worry and pray for her, and I believe she will be healed.  She knows what it is to be trampled on, then shunned by family members.  One of these members happens to be a pastor who tapped her phone and hacked her Facebook account.  He then publicly humiliated her in a sermon, and had the entire church shun his own stepmother.

I got noting on her, for sure.

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Found these sweethearts on the side of the road, they didn’t live long-but they lived with purpose and joy.

I didn’t really trust it, at first-the friendship.  I had cared for her mother in Lynne’s home, and she had helped me during a full blown nervous breakdown-she was my angel.  She fought with my husband over allowing me to smoke, stuck up for me in church and social circles, and had the biggest heart I’d ever seen.

Familiarity breeds discontent.

I ran into her at the grocery store, and stopped to chat for a bit.  To be frank, my force field was in full operation.  I had no intentions of trusting her, or hoping it would go further.  I am so much stronger than I was then, the breakdown coming after I decided to go off of my Lexapro-cold turkey-because I believed it made me gain twenty pounds.  Sadly, I almost did the same rodeo show with my Zoloft-I came to my senses after two days.

Time to admit that you have a chemical imbalance, are prone to serious depression and anxiety after a lifetime of abuse, CPTSD.  There, that wasn’t so hard.  Don’t get me wrong, every ridiculous and harrowing ride I have ever taken in this glorious life brought me to the point of now, and praise Jesus!  I am stronger, more resistant.  I speak my truth, and as is my wont, publicly and at volume eleventy hundred.

Alas, over the last few days we have bonded due to extremely trying times, for the both of us.  I lost my best friend to cancer, she her health concerns and loneliness.  It’s not that she doesn’t have people around her, it’s just that they don’t understand her.  Not like I do.

Anyway, I brought up the Reptilian convoy.  Interestingly enough, she didn’t blink an eye ball!  How could this be, my thought cloud read.  She didn’t bat an eye, because she knew a woman who worked at Hershey Medical Center.  This woman is a nurse, and she confided in Lynne that she had cared (meaning on multiple occasions) for people with “claws for hands.”

If you are as repelled and horrified as I am, well, God bless ya.

The following video if from a man I like to call friend.  He is a respected scholar in this field.  He lectures all around the country, is an Irish Catholic like myself, and takes his work very seriously.  I caution you to not rebuke this information, because these are facts, not fiction.

May we as Christians, brothers and sisters in Christ who are privileged to live in such a time as this, where we are witnessing biblical spiritual warfare-and we are winning.  Bigly.  May we all come together, forget the political drudge that is meant to separate us.  For we are much stronger together, and now is the time to love one another.  Love out loud.  Reach out to those around you who are having a hard time with the facts.

Our biggest foe is the Mainstream media.  They are keeping those yet awakened in the dark, after years of brainwashing and demoralizing-they are lying just as they are living.

Future proves past.

Ask Jesus into your heart, ask for discernment from the Holy Spirit.  I do this each and every day, but you don’t have to.  There are no rules.  If you call on the name of Jesus, He will be at your side.  If you draw closer, and believe that He is the one and only Son of God who came in the flesh to sacrifice for our sins so that we may be forgiven?  Whisper, shout, whatever you have to do, I am telling you.  Just twelve years ago I was a hopeless addict, strung out from PTSD, sitting in the ER with a cop at my door.  Suicide watch.  I had zero self esteem, and had been an unknowing victim in my sister’s narcissism.  I was at bottom as bottom can get, my marriage in turmoil, my mind a backlog of grief.

I was terrified of feeling the pain.  Terrified.

Today I am free from the guilt, the shame and the grief.  Because of Him I am stronger.  Because of Him I am an adult, wide awake but fearless.  I trust my Abba.

I trust the plan, man.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

I Would Have Followed You

I don’t really like to talk about this subject so much, but the Lord put it on my heart to do so.  At some point I gave this all to God, and I have no intention of taking it back.

For some time now, I have been utterly alone.   I have my Jesus, my husband and my dog-so I suppose you could say it was my decision, or ours, anyway.  In search of an authentic life, no matter the price-I have distanced myself from almost everyone I had truly loved, aside from my good friend Jason.  Anyone who ever used can tell you that that codependent  relationships, especially when the child of an addict is involved.  We don’t just want people to love us, we need them to-and this is where I came to a crossroads in my relationship with Abba:  I had to learn to trust Him and Him only.  

The past two years had taken an emotional toll on me, I admit it.  I finally stuck up for myself with a family member-the results being that we have not connected in two years.  She was the one I told everything to, loved since she was a brat who waked around the house with a nightgown on her head-and screamed at warp volume each and every time my brother and I entered a room.  For years I was in torment over the constant back and forth, months of the silent treatment, the gaslighting and triangulation.

I was in denial, until I phoned her after being stalked in an incident at Middlecreek Wildlife Sanctuary.  It happened in broad daylight, and I was shaken to my core.  I called her and asked her to return my call.

She never called back.  It wasn’t discussed until a year later, the results were the same-she dropped the subject.  Mere months later I would have the most harrowing supernatural experience of my lifetime.  I reached out, told her not to worry if she saw anything on Facebook.  Told her and the fam that I was, indeed, okay.

Not.  Word.  One.

I am over my anger, I am over my heartache, I have forgiven.

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There is no appealing to her sensibilities.  She does not think she has done anything wrong.  We are at an impasse.  Every video and article I read tells me that no contact is the only way to go, but is it?  Perhaps, but what if we went at it like this:

The person whom you feel has abused you has been abused themselves.  More than anything in the world, the offenders want and need to be loved and are terrified of you not loving them.  Realize that they have done the best they can, and before anyone makes a move?  A few ground rules:

Assert yourself.  Ensure the other player understands that you will not be bullied, emotionally manipulated or shat upon under any circumstances.

It’s not about you-it’s about their dysfunction.  You are only responsible for your dysfunctionality.

Make an agreement the past will not be regurgitated like last week’s meatloaf.

Pray for them.  Sincere prayer can and does work miracles.  I am living proof of that.

I believe, as my husband says, that it’s six of one, a half dozen of the other.

But before any attempt at reconciliation, we both understand that in our own ways we love each other fiercely, and would be there in a heartbeat if needed.

In a perfect world

 

There Was a Formula

My freakishly large head is spinning, I am reticent to say this-you know, like when you state out loud that your  marriage is better than it’s ever been, and then you have the worst fight ever; so I’ll just put this out there:  the last few days of my life have been, for lack of a better word-perfect.

My idea of perfection is one of very simple values.  My faith and Jesus come first, and I cling to His robes each and every day.  After that?  The health and emotional welfare of my husband, my dog and myself.  I married a man I am still crushing on, and he is my best friend.  I am sober, my depression is lifting as we head towards Fall. My flower beds are bursting with Zinnias, roses, butterfly bushes and bubble gum pink petunias.  We like our new place of worship, and the pastor is red pilling my husband.  Bliss.   I have a Lord and Savior who loves me, passionately, as He loves you.

There is no fear nor condemnation in Christ.

I was reading out of the book of Proverbs just now

I see a change in the direction of my writing.   The focus  will be the same: Christ-centered, authentic and sassy-it’s the way I roll, so thank you all for reading my musings! It is my constant prayer that they will reach the eyes that bleed for comfort and community. Here goes nothing!

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

The really important things in life can’t be said, only shown.
– Ludwig Wittgenstein

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A while back I wrote about a friend from church who had told me God spoke to her in the early morning hours, about me, about my loneliness-as she was going down her prayer list. Unable to sleep, Lisa grabbed her Holy Bible, and asked the Holy Spirit to guide her in prayer. When she came to my name, the message was loud and clear:

She will have beautiful and meaningful relationships. She went on to try to explain just how much of a blessing this would be, but she cried with me instead.

I think of her and that moment often, even daily. Over the past few years, I have traded my sob story for one of real and true joy and reconciliation. Sadly, some of the changes did not suit a few of the people I had been holding on to; long after I knew that there was little left to grasp.

SCRIPTURE OF THIS GLORIOUS DAY

Kind people do themselves a favor, but cruel people bring trouble on themselves. -Proverbs 11:17 NCV

I quietly walked away from those who knew me as my former self. The friends who knew me to be a people pleasing, bleeding heart doormat-who allowed herself to be treated very poorly. I cannot stress the importance of one of the keys to happiness: you’ve heard this a million, zillion times before, but if you don’t love yourselfit will be impossible to gain the respect and love of others.

Although I have decided to keep the posts about Narcissistic Abuse and Complicated Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to the bare minimum (I have seen professionals who suffered at the hands of a narcissist make careers out of helping other survive the phenomena. While I respect the hell out of these people, I can not, will not allow this family tragedy define who I am. In order to survive, I am putting the past where it belongs. At the moment, the California fires are raging: these are not the usual forest fire-and they are headed oh so steadily towards my brother and his family. I have no way of knowing if they are okay. I have no way of knowing if ANY of my family is okay; so I will let go and let God.

However, there is so much to be said for sticking to your guns-not allowing others to control the narrative. Guard your heart, that’s what the Lord says-and in doing so I have emerged as if a Phoenix rising: finally able to be myself. No peanut gallery comments, such as:

After years of struggling with alcoholism and depression:

“Are you on the right medication? I think you may be Bipolar.”

After hosting mon frère for lunch (last time we spoke, in August)

“Quite sure you suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder. Have a great weekend.” Sent via email. And after telling my estranged sister not to bother showing up at my funeral:

“You fucked up Michele. YOU FUCKED UP.” This, by the way, from my “best” friend who almost killed my cat while we were in upstate NY last year on vacation.

SONG OF THE DAY

Oh, Happy National Dog Day, by the by.

My sweet boy.  Jesse Bocephus Happy Hoffmananoff.  Stay 6!

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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~

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~