20 March 2010

The explanation arrives.

Monday: Complete procrastination. Worthlessness. Feelings of despair.

Tuesday: More procrastination. Lack of initiative. Despair. Weeping.

Wednesday: Fun with CC & Bruce visiting labyrinths, tinged with worthlessness and despair.

Wednesday PM: Got my period. All is suddenly clear.

17 March 2010

True Confession

Over at Her Bad Mother's blog Catherine posted a particularly vile piece of hate mail she got.

It's pretty bad, full of personal attack and "you make me sick" and all that. The worst kind of internet yuck.

In the comments, Katie of Motherbumper said something that struck a nerve:
People who follow you just to spew forth such vile diatribes aren’t people at all. Sure they wear the same shell but the part of them capable of love and support has been sucked dry (probably due to their own actions). What a miserable world that writer must live in and I’m truly sorry she took it out on you.

It reminded me of someone. Me. I was a troll.

I only did it once and I know it was wrong and stupid and bad. It was when I first started blogging and I was looking around for things to read. I used the Blogger "next blog" button to find random blogs to look at. Yeah, it was so far back that I didn't know anyone whose blog I could read.

I happened upon a blog by a woman who was building a house. A big, monstrous, ugly suburban McMansion. She was lovingly detailing every day of construction with multiple photos.

The thing offended my eyes. It was a hideous combination of architectural styles - some kind of thing with turrets out front. Probably 5000 square feet. In Texas.

This is not the McMansion in question. But you get the idea.

And the other thing the woman did was talk about her Christianity and how Jesus was the number one thing in her life.

After reading about 5 posts, I commented. Anonymously and hatefully about why she was wasting the world's time documenting her hideous house and talking about Jesus when obviously he would have hated her life and her house.


The next time I looked - because, of course, I looked - her blog was gone. Taken down. Disappeared. The troll - me - had done its work and ruined the woman's joy for her.

Yeah, I'm not very proud of that, and I wish I could apologize.

If I could, here's what I would say to her now: That comment was not at all about you. It was about me. I was in a horrid, sucky place in my own mind. I was depressed and frustrated and unhappy and feeling trapped and stupid and small, and instead of growing up and doing something mature about my problems, I attacked you. I did it because I was weak and lazy and mean-spirited. I did it because it was easier to try and mess with your life than it was to fix my own. I had no right to do that and I will never, ever do anything like it again.

So when I read The Troll - and I have a pretty good idea who wrote that email - on Catherine's blog, I recognized her form of personality defect. Katie is right - she lives in a horrible world, one of her own creation, and she doesn't know how to get out, so she lashes out. She probably feels like "barely a person at all." Like I did once.

I don't excuse her, and I don't excuse myself. I do feel sorry for her, and I know there's hope for her. I will keep small candle burning for her in the corner of my mind.

15 March 2010

10 things that should be illegal

1. Truck nuts

2. Blaming natural disasters on something the locals did to piss God off.

3. Talking on the phone in the checkout line. At very least, the cashier should be permitted to wait, hands on hips, staring at you, until you hang up.

4. Cutting off dogs' ears and tails and declawing cats. How would you like YOUR ears cut into shapes?

5. Fox "News"

6. Using pink to represent femininity. Enough already.

7. Veterans having to fight for benefits

8. Real housewives of anywhere

9. Inescapable flash website intros

10. Calling anyone who has not actually laid their life down for another "heroic."

Breaking up is hard to do

Morning church window 350 px

I broke up with my church a couple months ago. It was as filled with heartache and questioning as every one of my many, many breakups with men have been.

It took as long, too - I never break up without months and months of rumination, mulling, obsession.

In essence, I handled my church breakup in the same messed-up, immature way that I have handled the end of all of my romantic relationships: badly.

I realized a long time ago that I wasn't getting what I wanted from my church. It started when I became a board member. Unfortunately, I got a peek at the man behind the curtain and found out it wasn't The Great Oz back there.

My first issue was with the church tithe. As a church, we take a collection and then give a tithe of 10 percent of all we take in. Fairly standard.

At my old church, the board voted every month on which community organizations or larger non-profits received the tithe. At this church, the pastor decided how to tithe to "our spiritual sources." Meaning we gave money to other churches and speakers that inspired us. Some of them were churches that were run by friends and relatives. Some of them donated their tithe back to us.

That just didn't pass the sniff test with me. I brought it up to the pastor but got shot down. That's the way we do it, she said.

Also, I never fit in on the board. I'm not a team player and never have been, but I really tried. It just seemed that I was always saying or doing the wrong thing or asking the wrong question at the wrong time.

You know how it is? When you feel like you just don't fit and there is nothing you can do to make it right? I was the proverbial square peg.

My feelings really got hurt last year, though, when Curt died. I had to miss a board meeting to go to his memorial service and I let the rest of the board know where I was going and why.

Silence. Members of my board, my church board, didn't send one email or make one phone call of condolence or even acknowledgment.

Meanwhile, I posted about what was going on. I got comments, emails, tweets, phone calls. My online friends reached out and offered comfort, help, a listening ear, a place to stay if I wanted to get away. The irony did not escape me - people I had never met in person were kinder to me than my "church family."

I sent another email where I mentioned what had happened and how upsetting it had been. I got just one response - from a woman who isn't on the board anymore but who is still on the email list.

It really broke my heart. I took a giant step back. I did what I do in every relationship where I feel disrespected and unloved: I checked out. Blanked out. Cut my emotional ties.

I guess I could have said "Hey, you really hurt my feelings when you didn't acknowledge that I had lost someone," but that would have been entirely too mature and healthy.

So I had a dilemma. It was the end of February and my board term didn't end 'til December. I didn't feel like I could quit. So I slogged it out the rest of the year, barely showing up and putting forth the most minimal, grudging effort.

I don't know if anyone noticed or cared. If they did, they didn't say anything.

This is another of my sick-head patterns, too. I feel like I have some obligation where I can't get out, so I just go through the motions until the exit door opens and I leap out quickly.

But it's also one of my former church's sick-head patterns - you can flake out as badly as you want and everyone just tiptoes around pretending it never happened.

The annual member meeting, my last responsibility, was on January 10.

The Haiti earthquake happened two days later and it hurt my heart. I think when a great tragedy happens, the whole world feels the pain, and I felt awful for the people of Haiti. The next Sunday I went to church, hoping that we would spend some time praying and healing together.

Not a word. Not a word about Haiti. Not a prayer, not a song. The message that Sunday prominently featured something about the movie "Psycho." It was supposed to be funny. I just sat there, listening everyone else laugh at the funny story, feeling the air grow still and icy around me. I knew that was the last time. I knew the exit door was wide open and I had to go.

The next week I went down the street to the other wacky new-agey church. I walked in late and they were talking about the concert they were putting on for Haiti. Then they talked about how they have a "circle of caring" to help members who need meals, visits, rides to the doctor or other help. I checked into how they use their tithe, and it goes to non-profits who help people in the community.

I sat down. I got comfortable. I think I might stay for a while.
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