Momentum.

Good Morning darling readers.

I’m starting to reconcile that adult life can be a lot of momentum if you don’t watch out.  I used to read articles about women in the rat race and thought “how dumb do you have to be to get wrapped up in that”.  It turns out, it’s easier to do if you are smart, and have a lot of people relying on you.

Silence. I crave silence like air.  I crave the lack of a screen in front of my face like I crave sleep.  I deeply desire stillness.  I desire time to worship and meditate.  I literally have to create space and time for these things and it’s the worst possible time to try.  You see, I’m moving and it could be in a week or three weeks or a different time altogether.  It’s a long involved story as to why I don’t have a date, but I’m stuck in the “almost moving” bit and I feel a bit paralyzed to do anything even while I have so much to do.

Lately, what has been keeping me sane is World of Warcraft.  I’ve given myself grace to just lose myself in a game that keeps my brain sort of in a soft fantasy land. “But AC”, you say, “Couldn’t you use that time to meditate/have silence/practice devotion”?  And it’s a good question.  The answer is, right now, in the middle of my not packed enough house, if I sit still for minutes I either immediately feel crushingly bad for not Doing Something, or I just start to sob.  I can’t afford to break down right now.  So, since the move is imminent, I’m allowed to play WoW and decompress.

I have a list of things that need my attention: EuCon product, Theopathy League resume, my physical health, the people around me going through hard things.  I’m going to see if I can take an actual Sabbath on Saturday, and on Sunday get some traction.  I have to schedule it, put it in my planner, and stick to it.  I’ll check in and let you know how it’s going.

 

Crisis Fatigue

I have been realizing that there is a problem with my support system, in that unless I am melting down, I can’t seem to get anyone to understand where I am emotionally.  If I say “I’m depressed and numb” it doesn’t seem to get anywhere.  I wonder if I’ve inadvertently connected with people who only respond to perceived crisis, because that is how they generate their own momentum.

It’s taken me a while to realize that I have a little bit of crisis fatigue.  I feel like people where I live have a tendency to react to normal everyday issues and problems on a level that I try and reserve for actual super crazy out of the blue stuff.  It seems so ubiquitous around me, that I adopted it.  I’ve worked really hard this year so far to step outside of not only my reaction to it, but also my instigation of it. I’ve listened to my friends say similar about other people when literally in the middle of doing it themselves, so I know that I have done the same.

I’ve also seen my friends in actual crisis not getting the response that they actually need because of this crisis fatigue (either from me or from other people).  I never, ever want to get to that place. I want to know that I can rely on my community if I need to, and I never want people to feel put out or burdened by me.

Not that I don’t have loving, caring people around me, but I think since everyone has this weird crisis mentality, there’s a tendency to ignore what is happening around you while shouting the loudest.  Or to conflagrate something into a bigger issue than it is.  I start out telling my friends a crazy situation, and they jump right on board with how bad and unfair it is and I end up feeling so much worse.  And since I know we attract what we are sometimes, I have to do that too.  Have I bought into a weird hipster empathy that is hollow?  Probably.  But I have great power to change and influence my life and community.

There is a chasm in my friend circle here, and it is that I will always be walled up about things.  And that is no one’s fault but my own.  I should not be the person who tests the waters, but I am, and when it turns out they are too cold, I don’t jump in.  And when it comes to what is important to me, the local waters are frigid.

I don’t want to go back to having no friends here.  The idea is exhausting.  I don’t want to cut myself off from friendship.  I know I probably need to widen my circle and find people with similar values, interests and ambition as myself.  I just don’t think about it too much until I’m too tired and I need that person already.  I miss living in a place where I can just call someone to come pray with me, or to sing over me, or to study with me. I miss living in a place where people call me to do those things for them.  It’s the only thing that matters to me… why haven’t I put more effort into finding those people?

Part of it is probably fear.  I really really miss my friends.  Larky, Stephy, Liesl… I left pieces of my heart behind and I feel them, cheesy as it sounds, just like Mr. Rochester in Jane Eyre said, affixed to my rib cage and the heartstrings pulled so tight.  There’s a thousand times a day that something wonderful occurs to me and maybe I should pick up the phone and write letters and send emails more often, but it hurts to be so far away, it’s hard to make myself feel that hurt every time.  I’ve never been good at it.

I know that makes me keep people at arms length, and I know that those friends I’ve had for over a decade will always be unmatched.  But does that mean I have to go on through life without someone to collaborate with and adventure with here?  I don’t even know how to meet someone like that.  I’ve been crazy lucky in the past, and just made some divine appointments with kindred spirits.  How much can one person expect that in a lifetime?

 

Let Me Sleep

I’ve been dealing with uncommon for me exhaustion, and (maybe more common for me) depression, lately.

For a while, launching The Theopathy League website was helping, now it’s just reminding me how much time I’m not dedicating to drawing and painting and bookbinding, and it doesn’t mean that I will give it up, it just means I don’t know what to *do* with all that.

I mean, all I can do is try to solve the tiredness problem so that I can steal time to make art and work with my hands, and the space to do it in, and oh goodness I’m already tired just typing that out.

There was a little quiz thing on Facebook recently, and it asked what I’m looking forward to, and I thought of things that would have come off more dramatic and depressed than I feel them.  Or I thought of saying “Literally there is nothing to look forward to”, but that sound really bad. I don’t feel really bad. I just feel almost nothing at all.

I have two settings right now, work or wanting to be asleep.  Anytime I’m not at work I just want to be sleeping and I low level resent everything and everyone that represents me not being asleep.  I’m legit not just sleeping all the time, but that’s mostly because I feel like the people around me would be judgey if I did. But I don’t know for sure.

If I lie down to sleep, all the ideas come to me.  It’s not a lack of inspiration.  It’s the lack of ability to do anything about the inspiration that is tiring, that is exhausting to hold all of this in my head.

I should maybe go back to counseling, but I’m not even sure how I’d manage that.  It was hard enough to take the time off to do it last round, and everyone is so weird about it. But I don’t know. Maybe I’m just hormonal.

Every day I dream of getting away to a monastery for 3-7 days.  There are a couple in Oregon, and I desperately want to book some time at one, but it doesn’t look possible for me.  Normally, I’d try and problem solve that, but I’m too tired to think about it right now. I’ll get back to it later.

Things will look up, I’ll make sure.  But until then, why can’t anyone just let me sleep?

No Wyverns, Only Taxes – Hobby or Business

From a Theopathy Leaguer’s site; Advice on determining if your writing is a “business or a hobby” on your tax return.

Source: No Wyverns, Only Taxes – Hobby or Business

Sand Dollars

I spent my anniversary at Heceda Beach on the Oregon Coast.  It was a lovely wind whipped day that made me feel brand new.  I had such a lovely time walking silently on the beach looking for sand dollars with my love.  The ocean did all the talking, as it tends to do.

The first time we went to the coast together, Ian found me a tiny sand dollar.  I just wanted to find one to echo that moment… instead a rubber tide came in and we found ten of them,  surrounded by hundreds of little tiny jellyfish.

I had been feeling gutted lately.  Stressed and spiritually drained and physically tapped out.  But being at the edge of the ocean is like touching eternity a little bit, and somehow it just smoothed my rumpled soul and said “everything can be okay”.

I think about Anne of Green Gables talking about “feeling a prayer”, and that’s what it was like.  I don’t think I prayed much, although I had songs going through my head.  Glenn Kaiser, and Hymns.  My life has been Trout Heart Replica lately.  But now It is Well.

I needed to get out of the city, away from everyone and every thing, and to spend time with the person who knows and loves me most on earth.  I’m so grateful for my husbear, he sees me and loves me anyway.

 

Goodness isn’t a paint by number.

There are days when it is in the forethought of my mind that I have left the Evangelical pattern of religion for good reason.  Usually I don’t think on it much, because I wasn’t super happy to leave it.  I desperately wanted it to work. I think as much as I wanted a fresher version of it, I never intended to leave it, until I made the decision to be intentional about leaving it behind about 8 years ago.

The reason I’m thinking about that this morning, is reading a friend’s blog post about struggling with not feeling good enough.  I recall that feeling well.  I constantly felt like a complete failure, that I could never do enough, and my shame was consuming. Altar calls did not seem to alleviate this feeling, this knowledge that I wasn’t not perfected in my faith.  I feel for her keenly as she struggles with it and puts out her intentions to recognize that she cannot be and needs grace.  I know that feel, to quote the current vernacular.

I don’t feel like that for the most part anymore.  Not because I’m amazing, but because of an intentional shift in my thinking about how loved and valued I am by my Creator. Raised by Believers, taught by the church, I did not really believe that God loved me until I was in my 20’s, when some people who care about me sent me on a Emmaus walk.  (Trust me, the irony of a program being what got across the love of God is not lost on me, but rather illuminates what can happen when the heart of a program is for love.)  I’m grateful for the good I learned in evangelical circles, but there is so much “un-programming” I feel like I had to do.  That I was brainwashed to feel like a dirty awful sinner all the time, and had to remember that I am a person and I’m flawed and messy but also beautiful and strong.  I still recognize that I make choices that separate me from my Creator (which is really what sin is),  and repent of them when I become aware of it.  But there is something about living your life in joy and celebration that lends itself to good choices, that viewing the world as a bunch of “no” doesn’t provide.

One of the things that I love about the church my husband and I sometimes attend, is that they seem okay with our sometimes.  If we want to be more involved, they’re happy to let us be.  If we don’t show up for a month, when we get back it’s like we never left.  Part of how we chose our church is that if we looked around, they were a church in the community that people said good things about… how loving and kind and helpful and involved they were.  We never saw them telling people they were bad, just serving.  And not “we will serve you if you listen to our pre-rehearsed commercial about why God is Awesome”  but rather “here, let me serve you.”  It makes me happy to serve… there’s no anxiety or worry about “Did I save enough people today?”  because there is an understanding that only Yeshua saves,  I’m just his disciple.  I’m off the hook for the redemption, I just have to be an example of the redemption, and somehow that’s beautiful.

Sometimes I think I miss the community, but what I actually miss was a sense of belonging.  I can’t really say that the community was really great in evangelicalism, everyone was trying to be a certain thing and if they weren’t trying to hide it or repent of it or kill it off… even if their different thing wasn’t a sin but just a different-ness.  This, understandably, was Very Hard for me, because I can’t play normal for very long without literally losing my mind.   But I wanted to belong, and it was basically like highschool (only I refused to play in highschool but embraced the game in “church”) :  do the popular thing, don’t let people know that you are weird, if you have to be weird just repackage it to look like a new version of the status quo, don’t dress in a way that makes people have to think (we wear pink on Wednesdays),  and make sure that your song lyrics stay pretty much the same no matter what.  And there’s this headiness from belonging that will take you through it like a high, but somewhere, in a thinking persons head, you have to be thinking “Is this all there is?”  It’s so boring.  You don’t know anyone who isn’t like you, unless you have tried in an artificial way to meet them so you can “witness”.  You don’t live life, you live the “Church” 2-4 days a week, every week… goodness forbid that you have time for a life outside, why, you might get Ideas. Evangelicalism was always feeling “Good” while knowing that inside you were rotten to the core and should strive to be better.  I don’t miss it.

If I sound like I’m being harsh and judgy, it’s because I am.  I am still angry to see this one weird interpretation of scripture being all that people see when they look at churches.  I’m still angry that my friends put themselves through this kind of sadomasochistic wringer every week.  I’m still upset that grace was hidden from me and I was complicit in it. And, I admit, I’m angry it didn’t work.  It would be so easy to follow the rules and stand on platitudes and know that you will be saved by it,… it’s so much harder to walk up a narrow steep path looking at all the beautiful treacherous things and work out how you’re gonna make it to the summit with fear and wonder.

Hoping to soften my anger with compassion.

The Flowers That Bear Your Name Grow On The Roadside

Dear sweet boy, 

 

I miss you.  It’s nights like this when I have trouble articulating what the inside of my head looks like, that I miss you walking around in it.  It is still strange to me that you are gone, that I am older than you ever were.  I miss how you dismissed the parts of me that weren’t important, and magnified the me that felt authentic.  

I think of you walking around the Albright-Knox and how alive you were… I remember thinking how alive you were, how the colors lived in your skin, and how your philosophy of life was embodied in the art around us.  I remember the rain, and threading my arm through yours and laughing. 

Sometimes it is hard to Be without you to understand Being. I still haven’t found anyone else who shares our stupid sleep patterns, or our secret coded way of speaking.  I haven’t met anyone who can touch me with one word, because that word showed not only that you saw, but that you understood. 

 

I try not to think to much about the fever times.  Of our manic turns, our tragedies.  I try not to think about how hard it was for you to articulate some nights, and that even though I understood what you meant, the loss of being able to formulate it yourself was devastating.  I try not to think about how many times you talked me down from manic bad decisions and rash depressions.  Although that is part of our story too. 

I miss how bad you were at giving directions, and being annoyed at you for it.  I miss that you were so changeable sometimes, and that I felt breathless and slow to catch up.  I miss your judginess and your chiding, as much as I hated it.  I don’t think of you as a perfect star that had no flaw, except to me you were a guiding star, and I feel your absence as a loss that has left me adrift. 

It’s Valentine’s day in Buffalo already.  There is probably snow on the ground. If you were still around I would text you, because that is something I do now, and we would put on a chick flick and watch it together over Netflix, probably.  Oh man, you would love Netflix, all of He-Man is on there. 

I’m pissed off that you never saw the Transformers movie, had an iPhone or saw the end of the Harry Potter movies.  I mad that you didn’t officiate my wedding. 

There are so many feelings that I keep expecting to fade over time but you are still missing and the edges are still sharp. I’ve lost so much of you.  Aside from you yourself, all the AIM conversations, Myspace chats, and texts on my old phone, and I don’t have a recording of your voice and that vexes me.  

In many ways, I’m still trying to recover hope. I gave it up, and it’s not easy to coax back. 

I wish I could ask you for one more miracle. 

faith, hope and love. 

 

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