We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining - they just shine.
Thursday, October 14, 2010
celebrating an 11 year milestone today
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
is it any wonder i'm so f*cked up?
The Playboy Club on Madmen...The View is Better From Up Here
have you ever had a salad served to you by a woman w/ a bunny tail glued to her ass? i have - 6 years old. they had one of these in my home town - it was a resort and my aunt was the head of catering. my father was a "key holder" - we had dinner there at least 3 times i can remember. six years old.
i was flipping through the channels last night - they just changed our cheap cable to include amc - i have watched the first 2 seasons of "mad men" as the time frame is totally my growing up years, but i missed season 3 - and didn't really want to watch 1/2 way into this season, but i couldn't turn the channel when this came on - i was instantly transported back to this horror. how could anyone think this was a good place to bring your wife & daughters? oh my stinkin' heck.
other than that life is good, celebrating 24 years of marriage w/ liam today.
have a good one! miss you all.
Monday, July 26, 2010
custer's first stand...
and in the middle of all of this i have been working like a dog to get my friend's house market ready. she moved out of town about a year ago. the bankruptcy of her husband's "flip that house dreams" and some dalliance in infidelity on her part left them ashamed and quick to move on. they should have sold their home at that time, but didn't have the heart to kick their daughter out in her last year of university in our town, so it became a bit of a frat house. no real destruction, but lots of neglect. i needed the money and had the time, and have a huge heart for their story, and when pushed to admit it still very co-dependent with her. because she is 12 hours away i thought that i could help, when it still looked much more like rescue.
anyway - i finished yesterday and was downstairs doing laundry when my dad struck up a conversation about his new favorite tv preacher. ugh. tired and already itchy from his old-time-religious language in the five days we have been together i listened quietly. then he gave me his new book, he ordered 4 copies to make sure that everyone he loved had one. i was touched, but sensing the beginnings of the allergic reaction i have to that kind of conversation. he had his back to me as i thumbed through the book quickly trying to assess what stripe of religion this man was peddling.
self-taught, proof texting, itinerant guy who wants to teach everyone how to "interpret scripture" biblically. ugh. the hives begin to crawl over my skin and i can feel my throat start to contract. must get air....
and he goes on like he's found a new best friend. he is smitten, in love, a twitter. the only thing i can do when he asks me if it's what i believe and what i learned a 'bible college' is say that i have learned over the years that when people aren't building a theology in community you can make scripture say anything you want it to say. removed from the context of accountability (tried to use his language) there is a danger that can come from being a person with that much authority and no balance of responsibility. people like that can be dangerous and that is how cults can form. i said i knew nothing of him but can see from his book that he has never learned in community and isn't within a context of people and that makes me concerned that he could be dangerous.
well that set him off. he grabbed is big old fat bible, whipped it open and shaking threw it in my face - THE verse. the biggie. see i knew you didn't take this seriously anymore. read this, how can you do the things you do, preaching now - this verse tells you you are to be silent and ask you husband if you need to know anything...blah, blah, blah...
by this time i had sat down. and i knew that i had a choice. absolutely exhausted. filthy from work, stressed by having my safe home invaded and knowing that all of the work outside of my house had left my own in need of a lot of attention. i could choose to shut down like my programming had wired me to. know when to fold 'em, know when to hold 'em, know when to walk away... should have run. didn't fold.
i blasted him with both barrels - and once i got going there was NO way to stop.
i said every last thing i have wanted to say to him for 44 years. screeching, bawling, shaking my finger in his face. i was the banshee - and it felt so damn good.
"how can you who spends 23 hours a day watching television, goes to one hour of church a week, and it's even a church that doesn't even believe this shit. how can you come here and judge me, who has devoted herself to serving god since i was 13 years old? you don't know anything about me or my relationship with god. all i have ever wanted in my whole entire life is not big money, or fame or power - but just for you to once look at me and the life i live and say 'i don't get it, but i am so proud of you' - just once"
"if my preaching is a sin, then so is your judgment of me - you have no right to throw this at me, you don't live by this ugly theology and you never have - i lived every jot and tittle for 30 years of my life and you know what? it doesn't work - and you know it - you know that the house you raised me in wasn't that story book christianity you like to spew - you know that mom hated the silence even more than i did" bam, bam, bam.
it was never how i wanted it to happen, but i honestly can say that i don't regret it. i finally stood up to that man who has tried to keep my feet in those tiny, little shoes.
"YOU NEVER LOVED ME FOR WHO I WAS, you wanted a son, you never loved a daughter, you have never even honored the female parts of me that you always told me were all i had, my home, my family, my silence - you only ever acknowledged me for the male things i did, playing sports, killing animals, scraping their flesh off their bones - those were the only things you ever gave me attention for"
pink heard me 2 stories up. and i was so glad.
"for the past 10 1/2 years i have read the bible, every night before bed, 10 1/2 years! you think i wipe my butt with those pages, but i have devoted my life to those pages, it's all i have ever wanted and i am really good at it. peoples lives, even mens lives are changing because i am telling my story. in your paradigm i haven't even erred, my husband, my pastors, the leaders in my church - all of the people in the umbrella of authority i'm supposed to live my life under (his language, not mine) are inviting me to use the gifts that god has given me. they are all cheering for me - all except you - and guess what - you have given away any authority you have over my life to my husband and god loves me enough to not have me married to a cave man!"
i think i went on for about 5 straight minutes. then he looked at me, cocked his head and said "i guess you've been waiting a long time to tell me that. i think you'll sleep better tonight."
i think the volume and emotion actually cracked a bit in him that an honest conversation (like we had in oregon 2 summers ago - and i had intended to have again) wouldn't have. and it empowered me to know that i honestly really don't need his approval or support. he is a weak, small little man who i love deeply, but have given far too much power over me for far too long.
as i sat on the edge of my bed last night i remembered my word for this year - blaze. i smiled as i realized that the fire burns as it purifies.
i apologized after for the way in which i said those things and that i had wanted to hurt him for the hurt i had felt all of those years. he hugged me and told me that he tells everyone else how much he thinks of me. never could use the words, but i don't really need to hear them anymore.
i am proud of me and mom would be too.
Monday, July 19, 2010
how much god loves me
i live in a small university town, it's a very distinctive school, attracts very creative, postmodern people of faith who really care about the world. many people relocate here later in life to change course - kind of like me, so we regularly have new families move into our community and it's always very exciting. i had been hearing rumblings of that very thing and it creates a lot of energy and excitement because they usually have kids and we're all very curious as to what grades they will be in and if our kids will have new friends soon.
i was at our community's summer fun spot yesterday picnicking with friends and the mum of the new family had arrived early, she had immigration issues to sort out so that her family could follow her soon. i watched her engage in the group, wondering if she was going to be the type of person i would naturally click with. she was eating health food and so very tiny - i judged from a distance that she was kind and outgoing, but figured that we'd be acquaintances, but probably not friends.
i hung back throughout the day as she conversed with others and i had some great talks with friends, watched my kids kayak, swim and ride the atvs. at the very end of the day i heard her talking about hopping borders and how it makes buying a home so difficult, establishing residency and all of the other big stuff of international moves. i waited until there was a break in the conversation and introduced myself and said that i had just been through all of those things recently and would be more than happy to help with anything. she said "oh, i know who you are and i have to give you a great big hug!"
she comes over to me, gives me a huge squeeze, kisses my cheek and whispers in my ear "i'm a recovering compulsive overeater and bulimic and i heard your talks on the drive up here and i couldn't wait to meet you!"
she told me that she had to drive an hour to get to a meeting back in her home state and how when they were considering their move back here (she did some of her undergrad at the university years ago) she skeptically checked the OA website to see if there were any meetings and found out that there was one, not only in the town she was moving to, but that met in the very church she already called home.
this meeting has been a constant frustration for me recently. the woman i started with is in full blown relapse (and angry at me), her husband who kept coming for months after couldn't do the pull between both worlds and stopped coming and hasn't been seen for months and the two newbies who do come really just want to loose weight without all of that 12 steps stuff and one of them is the wife of the couple with whom i have had all of the painful history. (who liam and i have sent a letter asking for mediation because our community is so small that i can't be in the same room with them without it causing me great amounts of stress - but they have blown off, not acknowledged and acted like everything is "normal") she is the master of denial and lives in such a self constructed world - i don't know how she does it as she acts like my best friend in group, still invites us to get togethers, but when it comes time to anything below the surface she fades and folds.
in a recovery group of 3 people it makes a meeting much less than one could hope for.
the beauty of the program is that it is so strong that the routine and the prayers are enough for me - but in a small town i did not know if there would ever be real kindred souls who get recovery enough to find an echo of support f2f again. this changes everything.
so the hug and deep conversation after left us both teary and rejoicing that god's will for my life has presents like this along the way.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
cool brain study on addiction and relapse
Monday, July 12, 2010
a modern tragedy
Saturday, July 10, 2010
The Pride of Imperfection
WOW - as I finish up my step 7 work this week I needed this kick in the pants - would LOVE a friend like this in my life who can speak the truth so plainly to me:
All this preoccupation with your own imperfection is not humility, but an insidious form of spiritual pride. What do you expect to be? A saint? There are desperately few of them; and even they found their faults, which are the raw material of sanctity remember. You know best when and how you fall into these various pitfalls. Try and control yourself when you see the temptation coming. Pull yourself up and make an act of contrition when you catch yourself doing any of the things.
Never allow yourself to be pessimistic about your own state. Look outward instead of inward; and when you are inclined to be depressed and think you are getting on badly, make an act of thanksgiving instead because others are getting on well. The object of your salvation is God's Glory, not your happiness. So, be content to help, remaining yourself in the lowest place. Merge yourself in the great life of the Christian family. You have tied yourself up so tight in that accursed individualism of yours--the source of all your difficulties--that it is a marvel you can breathe at all.
Source: The Letters of Evelyn Underhill
Monday, April 26, 2010
as i sat in her car, this woman who is committed to me, but nearly a stranger - i felt safe and assured that she was the right one to hear this. it is the fifth time i have done the fifth step. each time scraping away at the debris as i climb this spiral staircase known as the 12 steps. each time i pass by the familiar parts of my life - sometimes i have to face again the similar things because they still cause pain or i still have resentments. but surprisingly each time there are things that no longer push that button or pull that puppet string like they used to. and i am amazed. in awe of the process. things that used to baffle us....
it was a totally new process this time, really well done, charts based on the big book wording done in such an intuitive, nearly inspired way - i made connections this time through that i have never made before. it was a really good process.
i did have to face the crap from these past 2 years though and i did not like that one bit. face first in the refuse pile is not my favorite place to be. i had to admit my part in my community falling apart. i had to face my pain and resentments toward those who had hurt me so badly and i had to own my own desperate need for attention and approval and know that in these next few steps there will need to be amends made and character defects given to god.
it was grueling at times. face first. god help me. admitting my greatest character defect, my desperate need for approval and attention from spiritual men in authority (whatever the hell that means - and yes, i am untangling it) - mostly my dad - and the lack thereof has torn off a piece of my shielding and left me so vulnerable.
as i spoke with liam this week i acknowledged that there could not have been a more "perfect cocktail" prepared for me than the person i struggled with for the past two years. it truly has very little to do with him - but our velcro of needs pulled us together in a fearful way and it leaves me scared that it could happen again. we have not had any meaningful contact in ages. but the fear remains.
his wife means so much to me - she is in my recovery group and the hardest part of all of this has been my desire for absolution from her. i know this probably will fall into that place of 'more harm than good' - she is in great denial of this whole process. i am not the only woman her husband has sought out - this is far greater than just me - but for my part i truly want to look her in the eyes and apologize. having to admit that i wanted to "beat her" in the competition for his attention (to even the score on all of the great and wonderful things she has that i do not) was absolutely the lowest point in my recent history. i wanted to wretch when i had to first write it down, and again when i said it to god, again to myself, and thirdly to another human being... so i'm writing it here now too - hoping against hope that it will lessen it's shame as i truly don't know if i will ever be able to make direct amends.
i know that amends are 3 steps away - and wisdom and strength will be given when the time is needed, but today it still holds so much power over me, and i want it gone for today. i feel so weak, so needy and nearly desperate to fill myself back up. i am shaky, physically feeling wrung out and wanting to isolate myself in a deep way.
i have an hour or so left of reflection before i move on to step six. i will be spending time with god and the big book and looking back at the process and answering a few questions. my sponsor has also given me a mantra. 10x a day when i wake up and 10x a day before i go to sleep. it's only three lines - but i am having a horrible time remembering it. i can't even type it from memory right now - so i am searching for where i wrote it down.
i am capable
i am competent
and i am worthy.
couldn't remember competent. those words choke in my throat. i know that one day i might believe them. today i am turning them into an art piece to place next to my bed so i won't forget or have an excuse. i also found a sheet that has prayers for each step from an old OA newsletter. this is the one for step 5:
my inventory has shown me who i am,
yet i ask for your help in admitting my wrongs to another person and to you.
assure me, and be with me, in this step, for without this step i cannot progress in my recovery.
with your help, i can do this and will do it. amen.
i am capable
i am competent
and i am worthy.
fake it till ya make it, eh? i can do this, and i will do this. amen.
Monday, April 19, 2010
laying it down
just read this post by eli and it touches me so very deeply. as both a sexual abuse survivor and a sexual addict i feel their pain. it has been so difficult for liam and i to renegotiate intimacies since the memories started again. more clues, images and links.
a few months ago i found some of my mum's old papers as i have carried them over hill and dale for the past 20 years - thought i might start to sort them to see if any of it was worth keeping. started to read old letters from the end of her senior year in high school forward. they told of her attending college - not just working there - but actually attending and dropping out. WHAT? that was never part of the narrative before. shortly after she moved to the state she met my father in and they were married soon after and had me a year later. i so wonder if she got pregnant. it would be just like my family to keep this big of a secret. it might have just been finances and the shame of that kept her silent too - either way they both tie into what i am wondering through in my own story. money and sex and secrets... apple doesn't fall far from the tree i guess. am debating a phone call to my great aunt to pick her brain. it's been so long since we talked though that i don't know how it would be received...
see my therapist tomorrow. glad of that. feeling the need for some wisdom and a fresh perspective. he's always really good at that. it's like he takes the broken clay pot i show him and he turns it about 30* and says "have you ever seen it from this side?" and usually i am astounded at how differently things look in a new light. i really like that about him.
buck shared with me at bedtime last night that he stumbled on a website that had pictures he didn't want to see, but kept looking. we have had many talks about guarding your heart and building muscles within ourselves that help us to say no. i showed him google reader tonight and told him about how it helps me to keep from seeing images that i would struggle with. he knows in his 10 year old version that mom has struggles of her own. it means so much to me that he knows he's not going to get in trouble or shamed, but that talking about it strips it of it's secrecy and power - and that forgiveness is way better than secrets. love that boy so much. i can't imagine trying to grow up to be a man in this culture with free access to everything. god please help him.
Monday, April 12, 2010
the first time i went looking for them. life wasn't making sense and i needed those puzzle pieces so that i could understand things that weren't working well, my body image, my sex life, my intimacy with liam. recovering that memory helped so much.
this time though things were really beautiful. the memories are interfering. i know that means i am ready, that i shouldn't be afraid - but i am - and they are making a mess of my emotions and sanity. i am still abstinent - but food too many times has looked like a solution. food was always my safety addiction so that i didn't mess with my sexual addiction. these memories are messing with my sex life, with my relationship with liam.
surrogate abuser crap is surfacing again and i hate it. he (liam) is gentle and understanding - he's never hurt me knowingly. he is kind and patient. when he was leaning over the fire the other night coaxing it to life again i had the impulse to beat him with the andirons. where the hell did that come from? i told him about it this morning before we made love. it had been weeks. i knew we both needed it, but i just wasn't able to find myself there in both body and spirit. it had been so good before the memories. damn.
i have always known that there were more. being orally raped in a bathroom doesn't explain the panic i have when i am trapped in covers or the way i spread my legs any time any male came near me (tickle fights as a kid were abruptly stopped by the guys when they realized things went from innocent playful to me being submissive). i connected those memories about two months ago. even casual make outs with boys in my teens years were awkwardly ended because i engaged sexually when they were not there - i scared them - and had no idea i had done it.
how does a young girl learn that spreading her legs is the go-to response when a male is near her? damn.
i have no active memories of any full-on rapes. they are currently blocked from my active memory. i do have a memory from my early childhood that plays like a freaky, twin peaks episode in my head. i am laying on a bed - probably six years old - and a seven year old playmate is on top of me, either truly having sex with me - or playing at it - and there is another playmate sitting on the floor - peeking over the edge of the bed - he is an albino boy, son of the friends of my parents - his name was charlie - and i am saying to him "it's okay charlie, we're married." his pink eyes and white hair have been seared into my memory bank.
that's all i have. other than the reoccurring nightmare of my childhood - where i am dorothy from the wizard of oz - and the tin man, lion and scarecrow begin as my friends and then they come at me, my feet trapped in cement and they smother me. i always woke up terrified, freezing and soaked in pee.
lately i have been having conversations around money and my inability to grow up around it. i have a lot of magical thinking around money. i realized that by not working outside the home for the past 14 years having to re-enter the work force has triggered some deep emotions. i am a professional organizer and am really good at it - and while people would want to pay me for my services i would never let them. it always made me feel uncomfortable. i'd rather "god take care of me" or have my dad rescue me with "gift" money - somehow none of that made me uncomfortable - but being paid made me feel dirty.
i was having a conversation about money with someone i deeply respect and i said something about my magical thinking around "god taking care of me" and he got a smirk on his face, a kind one - and i said "yes, i know i need to grow up with money" and he said "i would have never said that out loud, but since you did, yes, that is exactly what i was thinking". it was such a gracious conversation that it allowed me to begin to really think this all through.
i awoke in the middle of the night a couple of weeks ago and i was wide awake and very peaceful. i usually would read with a book light until i was tired enough to fall back to sleep, or it was late (5:30 ish) enough to get out of bed - but i just sensed that i was supposed to get up. i went into the living room and stoked the fire and sat on the edge of the footstool and just said "okay god. i'm up. what? i need some clues here about why i can't seem to grow up around money" and it was like a curtain opened. it was there. i knew that i knew that i knew that somehow money was involved in the rapes. i was somehow paid, or hushed with money. and that was why it made me feel so dirty.
i just sat there and wept the most comforted tears. those kind of answers bring me so much healing. i hate that it's true. i hate that it happened. but now i know that i can begin to grow up. and the best part was knowing this time that it wasn't that bastard god who "ordained it" to happen. it was as if i knew that god was witness to the horror, and that he remembers even if i couldn't. and that he has carried them for me, grieving the whole time and waiting for me to be strong enough to carry them myself.
i hate that not only did this person (people) screw with my sex life and body image - but they also screwed with my livelihood and my ability to support myself. i am 44 years old and have never, ever been paid well for anything. i made a lot of money on ebay - but that wasn't for services - only goods. it has damaged me deeply and i am grieving the loss. my family has suffered greatly by having me be so immature and damaged with money. i know that i am stronger than this, and that i will grow up - but for today i am feeling robbed. stolen from - in so many ways. innocence, childhood, finances, intimacy, trust, fear, relationship - the locust have eaten and stripped bare so much of my past.
i know that one day i will not regret it - or wish to shut the door on it - so much of my pain has been redeemed by owning my story and telling it to others. this will be another chapter, but today i am grieving. keening, sitting shiva, and marking the grave.
Saturday, January 09, 2010
thank you so much for this. here's me standing still:
to stand still
while I wave
a circle of light
Feel the energy shift
as the ring of fire dances down
over head and shoulders
like some crazy hula
around your hips
loops your legs
then scatters the remaining sparkles
into the dust at your feet
May you find sanctuary
in that circle
and when the light fades
may there be enough sparkler dust
speckled on your skin
to serve as a reminder
you are held in the light
~prose by Kel