*Trigger warning: Suicide*

I don’t remember crying a lot when I was younger. I mean, I know I made a ruckus at times but I also remember being grateful that I didn’t cry when angry like my sister did. I always felt terrible for her because my dad thought tears were used for manipulation but I knew she couldn’t help it.
In college I had to give away a dog. I had her for a few months but she just was not cut out for apartment life. I didn’t feel like the family that took her was the best for her and so my boyfriend and I came back to his apartment after dropping her off and I cried for HOURS. I just wailed and he let me. He held me and let me cry and eventually he told me it was time to stop.
But I don’t remember it happening much after that. There were breakups and assaults, arrests and deaths, Columbine and 9/11. I know I cried sometimes, I remember especially my cousin’s funeral and Kenai’s time in the hospital. But I was also belligerent. I was angry. I had been hurt and was too proud to show it. I remember how proud I felt when I told my good friend, my “second mama,” about my arrest and short time in jail and how she said she would have just been crying her eyes out and how brave I must have been. And I was proud. I was proud that I had stood at that tiny window in the jail cell and looked over the backside of the city and held back my tears. I was proud that I had been held at knifepoint and didn’t cry about it. I was proud that the person I loved could hurt me and I wouldn’t let him see me cry.

I’ve recently been experiencing a pain like no other. Shock, so much shock, and just exquisite pain, like nothing else I’ve known. My uncle killed himself. I honestly can’t even believe I just wrote that. I just never. I never could have imagined this. I saw him just over a year ago and he seemed fine. He had flown his plane out to Ohio for my sister’s wedding. He was his usual, happy self.  His struggles were relatively recent and those closest to him respected his wishes for privacy. I feel so much shock and so much pain and so much confusion.


I want to just rip it out and let it loose but I CAN’T. I want to lay in Jt’s arms and sob and wail and scream for hours but I CAN’T. I want to accept his comfort and let it all just go but I CAN’T. I want to hide in my room for a few days. Curl up under the covers and just cry. But I CAN’T.

I cry when I am driving so no one can see me. I cried at his funeral but even then, no ugly crying. Plenty of controlled crying (and about 8,000 tissues). I thought I could do this. I thought I could cry in small doses. I thought I could ride it out. But then I realized that I couldn’t even let this out in front of my husband. He’s the one I should be able to cry with and I know that he wants me to feel like I can do this. But I just CAN’T.

I’m not entirely sure where these walls came from, though I have some ideas. I would like to work on it because it doesn’t feel healthy. I’m doing EMDR now and I’m planning to try Reiki soon. If you struggle with this as well, I will be glad to let you know how it goes.

Uncle Mike at Emmy's Wedding

Uncle Mike at Emmy’s Wedding

Posted in 9/11, EMDR, Haiti, My Family-I Love Them Anyway, My Friends - They Love Me Anyway, Navel Gazing, Night Owling, Pictures of things, PSA, PTSD is a bitch, Survival | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

The Big Question

I’ve been getting this question a lot lately, mostly because I frequent groups or blogs or forums that focus on some variation of Christian themes. In it’s simplest form, the question is:
Why did you leave Christianity?

Sometimes it is just an honest question, often it is inextricably linked to the asker’s own ideas about why people leave and those ideas can usually be summed up as “You were doing it wrong to begin with.” In my experience, this can take two forms. The first is the blatant, “you didn’t really know God.” The second is the little less “in your face” but just as insulting “God isn’t who you want him to be or people in the church hurt you so you bailed”. It’s a sneaky way of saying that former believers are idolatrous, prideful and petty.
But sometimes it’s honest and it is in that spirit and for those people that I will do my best to answer the question.

I did experience some forms of spiritual abuse as a child and was raised on some questionable – at best – theologies. I moved forward from there though and throughout college held on to my beliefs even as they were shifted and remolded according to new teachings and new experiences. The first real challenge I faced as an adult Christian was experiencing a supportive and loving community that was decidedly not Christian. It REALLY threw me that I found such love and respect within this crowd of strangers, more than I had ever felt among believers. Still, I decided that I believed in Christ as the redeemer and decided to make that the foundation, to stop trading the theology of my parents for the theology of my professors and find what made sense to me.
I graduated from a conservative Bible college, married a boy I met there and we went on to find a church and start a family. We started out at a church whose people I still hold very dear, they taught us so much about generosity and the intimacy that can form between friends. They supported us through what was, to date, the worst experience of our lives.
We moved on from there for a few reasons, a little of that was hurt and disappointment, mostly it was just that we outgrew it and needed something different for our children.
We found a new church and I LOVED it there. They are well-known for their servant outreach and “love first” kind of focus. I felt comfortable there, even though my liberal theology and politics were in the minority, the focus was never on those issues but on how to serve our communities. The parking lot was full of “W” stickers but our car would not be keyed for its Obama sticker. :)
Eventually, however, the church offered a counseling class on overcoming same-sex attraction and I had to leave. I just couldn’t continue to support a church that was doing something that I felt was overtly harmful to a community of people, no matter how good and pure their intentions.

For a while, I sort of floated about, wondering if I should try out a UCC or even a Quaker meeting. But one day I just thought to myself, “what if you stepped outside of your position as a 21st century white American. What if you looked at this from a bigger place, from the universe, the whole of existence. Does any of this story make sense to you from there?”
The answer was a resounding “no” and sitting there that day, I felt a weight lifted from me. I felt free to love outside of the confines of god’s love and it was a fuller love because it came from me without coercion or even instruction. I didn’t feel angry, I just didn’t believe that the Bible was true. I didn’t believe that the god I thought I had encountered was really there. I didn’t believe that there was any more reason for me to believe this book over any other book, over any other spiritual teacher, over any other prophet. I found no reason to privilege this story over any other story.
So I stopped fretting over any of it and sort of just enjoyed the unfettered nature of my feelings for a while. Eventually I determined that agnosticism suited me the best and landed there. If pressed I will say that I don’t think there is a god but I do hold to my agnosticism. Jim Gilliam’s video “The Internet is my Religion” has resonated with me more than anything else that I’ve read or heard.
My husband and I had relative ease in this transition though some counseling helped with that. He had to get to a place where he understood that my disbelief was not a comment on his belief, that I still respected him and that I wasn’t going to pull our kids out of church or tell them that daddy is crazy (at least not for his religious beliefs!). It’s been mostly smooth sailing since then as far as dealing with being in a mixed-faith home. It helps that we share the same values.

I’d be happy to answer any more questions that people have as long as they come from a place of honesty and not one of fear or judgment.

Posted in Bible Type Stuff, Musings, Navel Gazing | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments


Stressed Out!

Seems like life does that to us every now and then, yes? It’s not always bad but it does leave us gasping for breath. From November to February I was sick at least four times with sinus infections and bronchitis. Which, what the fuck, I quit smoking and THEN I get bronchitis? Fuck you, Lady Fate, you’re not funny. So there were holidays and sickness and doctors and urgent cares and bottles and bottles of prednisone. Then there were dog surgeries and dog injuries and then we all got the stomach bug from Hades and everything is just insane. Somewhere in there, I was supposed to have breast reduction surgery. I had it all planned out so that it coincided with the kids’ spring break and they could spend the first week up in Dayton with my family. Best laid plans and whatnot. I rescheduled quickly because I’m experiencing a ton of anxiety and really need to get the surgery out of the way. Really, they just don’t make enough clonazepam for another month of this. So surgery is one week away, on the 3rd. I’ve been scrambling to reschedule sitters and rides and dog training, and flooring installation (because, let’s do everything at the same time!) all while holding back hair while someone pukes. Which led to me feeling very much like pulling a Wreck-it Ralph.

So it’s time to break out the big guns. It’s time to actually put to use the coping skills I’ve been learning – and mostly ignoring – for 20 years. How do you soothe yourself when tensions are high? Some things are easy and obvious. Get a massage, buy expensive chocolate, smoke a little weed! Some things are more personal, more self-driven and usually more effective. These are mine.

This is my soothe song. I can’t explain it but the first time I heard it I could feel everything in me release just a little, like a long sigh. I also listen to Imogen Heap when I need to relax but only when I’m going to bed. I can’t sleep without white noise. I pack a fan to stay in a hotel or even to visit family. I can’t have a tv on, no audio books*, no music; even instrumental music keeps me awake. But Imogen’s ethereal qualities lull me into weightless sleep like the mythical siren. I only use it on the rare occasion that I really need extra care for myself, the days I’ve been fighting tears that I don’t understand. I recommend Ellipse with the bonus instrumental tracks, start with Little Bird. Anyway, here’s Life by the Avett Brothers:

The other thing I do lately is tea. I was having trouble making coffee that I like because I’m a leeetle picky and I’ve been trying to make small, healthy changes to my diet so I ventured into a Teavana. $800 later I can actually make a cup of tea. I’m kidding but they really are very expensive. I could sing you the praises of My Morning Mate, a nutty black tea that is replacing my morning coffee. I’d like to tell you about the BEST TRAVEL MUG EVER INVENTED and I’d encourage you to look at the Perfect TeaMaker because it’s cheap and easy and even fun to use.** But this is a post about soothing so let me just say, nothing soothes like a nice white or green tea in the evening. They have a ton of ultra-fruity stuff; teas that are really more like reconstituted juice made from dried fruit with a tea leaf or two thrown in (voila! healthy!). That didn’t work for me and required a lot of their awesome German Rock Sugar (made from beets!). So I exchanged the ones I didn’t like and got Jasmine Dragon Phoenix Pearls Green Tea.jasmineThis stuff smells just like a jasmine flower, it’s very mild and perfect for relaxing before bed. Plus it’s got a rad name.

Now, if I can find someone to play with my hair I’ll have the trifecta.

*I almost wrote “books on tape”. I haz an OLD.
**Oh also, I’m obviously way too small time to be paid for reviewing anything. I’m talking up Teavana because they got me. Be careful if you go in, they’ll get you too. It’s like Scientology in there.
Posted in Better Living Through Nature, Favorite Things, Mmm..., Music, Musings, Navel Gazing, PSA, PTSD is a bitch, Survival | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Zen in a Call Center

My sister, Julie, wrote this on Facebook and I felt like it was worth sharing.  Changing someone’s outlook or mood in even the smallest way can and does impact the world.  (I did some very minor editing including bolding the parts I found most poignant)
Julie’s post:

It might be silly, consumerist crap that we all know in the midst of the world’s problems doesn’t mean crap and up until today I would have loved to have just let loose on one person and been like really? Really? You’re going to curse and swear cause somewhere in a long list of entities responsible for sending you your panties, something got mixed-up and now these panties are apparently the only thing saving us from the apocalypse AND that somehow makes me incompetent because after the problem occurred I accepted money to answer the phone to help your indebted ass order more senseless (but Awesome) stuff to appease your internal unrest when people are dieing from starvation and/or are being enslaved and tortured, and governments are conspiring against us….?
You get my drift.

Then…… l focused on the zen of doing all things for the pleasure of doing them in the moment and found that turning those frowns upside down did more than fill a consumer/corporate need and provide a paycheck. It took stressed out, tired people who are just trying to fulfill other people’s “Christmas Dreams and Fantasies” and let them see a different more positive perspective that’s not a problem but a solution and usually in retrospect not without benefit granted along the way.

“Everything happens for a reason, and it’s only a problem if you treat it that way.”

I was able to put their worries, at least the minor ones, at ease. I got to connect for a moment with a person, and make them feel like someone else cared.

“We all need validation.”

I got to crack a joke and force someone to laugh who was determined that the only way to get anything done was to be angry.

“I taught a lesson that maybe they will pay forward.”

I was able turn tears of frustration to joy and to hear people genuinely say “thank you” ….not for doing my job, but for changing their outlook or how they felt.  I got to laugh with a lot of people I’ve never met and probably never will meet.  So, sure, by comparison to many occupations I don’t rank as an honorary contributor to solving world peace or rescuing kittens (although I desperately want one) but the moral of the story is if everyone becomes zen with whatever they do no matter how high on the list society places us as being relevant to the existence and evolution of mankind then all interactions become personal; we connect, we laugh, we open up to more positive and/or different perspectives, we share human kindness and in that we find that peace grows, one interaction and one person at a time. Not with one blanket answer that involves everybody else doing or giving up something, it’s just me and you taking personal responsibility for each other.
Not everybody walks away a winner.  Some folks are just determined to be unsatisfied or happy, but they can take their misery with them.  I only share joy.

Remember none of us is more important to existence.  Existence is nothing without each one of us.  None of us are whole until we all are whole.  So whether mending the sick or just exchanging someone’s money for goods every human contact is a chance for human connection. Got it? Get connected people. It’s really simple.

Posted in Holidays, Meditation, Musings, Peace, PSA | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Linford’s Open Letter to Members of the NRA

Like all of Linford’s letters, this one is melodic and soothing.  Like only a few, it is also humbling and painful, evoking the difficult work of self-reflection.  I have often wished to live only in the world that I imagine while listening to their music but find that I live in two worlds. Both the gentle one we share with community, patience, love and plenty of dogs; and the other harsh world that I find when I turn off the record, close the screen and leave this cocoon I share with my husband and our children and pets.  How such empathic souls survive this world is still beyond my understanding but I will continue to love first.  When my traumas insist that I harden, I will fight to remain soft.  It is what I choose for this life.

From my favorite wise and gentle writer, Linford Detweiler:

I’m a songwriter, and my first calling is to process the world in the context of my songs. But I felt compelled to write the following, because it’s been on my mind. If you find it useful, please share.

AN OPEN LETTER to the four million members of the National Rifle Association:

Dear fellow citizen,

The NRA released a statement yesterday on your behalf expressing that you all are “shocked, saddened and heartbroken” by the news of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary. Yes, we all are.

For years you have willingly given your money to an organization that has largely ignored pleas from policemen across our country to limit access to assault weapons and armor piercing ammunition.

You have spent countless millions of dollars silencing and vilifying voices that, while supportive of gun ownership, were calling for moderation in the distribution of weapons that could be used for mass destruction of human life, including the gun used by Friday’s killer that shot one first grader 11 times. And 19 other first grade children. And 6 adults in the space of a few minutes…

When previous heartbroken victims of gun violence who lost children or spouses tried to speak out to hopefully help prevent others from suffering similar unspeakable loss, you rallied for your rights, and gave the suffering no quarter.

For years you have marketed the idea to the citizens of this country that the US government is a potential enemy bent on harming its own citizens, and the only way we could all be safe was if we each purchased a private arsenal of weapons.

While you are reportedly “shocked, saddened and heartbroken,” how many of your members after Friday’s shooting have changed their profile pictures to images of guns, or tweeted messages like “I’m buying a gun the day after Christmas. Join me! #NRAlifelongmember” How many of your members boasted last Friday that they were going to take their kids to a firing range?

You continue to lobby in support of all of us carrying concealed weapons into schools, day care centers, movie theaters, and public squares. You argue that if only we could all walk around packing heat, our society could be safer and more peaceful. You lobby for wider “stand your ground” laws, so we can all load up and take the law into our own hands and play judge and jury (and God?) in the heat of the moment.

The members among you who call themselves Christian often bemoan the fact that “God has been removed from our schools” and yet those very members ignore the direct teachings of Jesus as recorded in Scripture that call upon all followers of Christ to work to break the cycle of violence and not return evil for evil.

Too many of us have stood by silently while you’ve played the part of the playground bully in our public discourse, and distorted our constitution for profit. While we as a nation have improved upon the vision of our “founding fathers” to end slavery in this country, to allow women the right to vote, and to outlaw hate crimes, you cling rigidly to a few words written when the right to bear arms referred to a single shot muzzle loading rifle.

Your voice has been powerful and strident, and too many of us have remained silent in our disbelief of what we were hearing from you. Our silence has been deadly.

If you are indeed “shocked, saddened and heartbroken” consider the part (if you are able and willing to join the rest of us in searching our souls) your organization has played when it comes to last Friday’s shooting. Consider the fear that your organization markets. Consider the bitter fruit of your labors that we must all taste.

And please consider asking forgiveness, changing your ways, and offering whatever healing you are capable of to the hurting in Newtown, Connecticut, as opposed to condoning responding to violence with still ever more violence, ad nauseum.

Unless you can do your part (along with the rest of us),and change in response to Friday’s tragedy, there will be still worse to come.

I live on a small farm in Ohio, own two guns (and my own business) and have family members who are big game hunters. I am rethinking my responsibility as a citizen of this country. We all are. I invite you to do the same.

You’re holding your big press conference tomorrow. We’ll be listening. But I am confident that many millions of us will no longer be silent.


Posted in Meditation, Music, Musings, Peace, Politickery, Social Politics | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments


When I say “guns AND mental health AND access to health care AND poverty” I *still* get people freaking out about the government taking away their guns.  WAKE THE FUCK UP AMERICA.  Try something.  Taking away *certain kinds of guns*, providing health care to ALL Americans, proactively helping the mentally unstable, just taking a fucking INTEREST in your fellow man.
The fact that certain Americans just start freaking out about their guns is very telling.  It sickens me, really.  This is what you’re concerned about?  Really?  In America?  Where the MOST that will happen is a federal ban on CERTAIN kinds of guns and perhaps a system of license and regulation that doesn’t include the NRA’s handy little/giant loopholes.  Like driving a fucking car, buying sudafed, being a teacher, or a doctor, or a nurse, being a scientist with access to dangerous chemicals.  JESUS!  Everyone has regulations because people are fucked up!  Deal with it!
I want my freedoms like any red-blooded American.  I’m freaking PRO-CHOICE!  I like shooting, I want to learn to hunt so that I can stop waiting for my dad to get a deer.  I know this means getting better with rifle shooting, killing a living thing, the whole “drain the blood and cut it up” part.  But I still think about it as a possibility because it seems more ethical than the factory farmed shit we’ve been eating.
Are you worried about the zombie apocalypse?  Because Daryl taught us that you only need a crossbow to kick ass and look hot doing it.

I’ve been crying ALL DAY.  Leave me alone.

Posted in Crime, Facebook, Film and Television, Peace, Politickery, Social Politics, Some People are FUCKED UP | Tagged , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Rights of Persons with Disabilities

This week, thirty-eight Republican senators voted against ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.  The treaty is supported by more than 300 American disability rights organizations including every veterans group; it was written during the George W. Bush administration with his help in negotiations; it is modeled after our own Americans with Disabilities Act which was signed into law by George Bush, Sr.  So why would Republicans oppose a bipartisan effort to protect people with disabilities around the world?

It was rejected by the usual list of fear-mongering Senate tools, fed by the Home School Legal Defense Association or HSLDA (also read here).  Their own reasoning was contradictory and absurd.  They claimed that it both had “no teeth” in getting other countries to actually make changes while also claiming that it would allow government to override parental choice with no proof of harm, that it would end homeschooling (whaaa???) and that it would force abortions on the disabled.  These claims are so far-fetched it’s difficult to respond and yet they were enough to get 38 Republican senators to vote against protections for people with disabilities.

To clarify, the Supreme Court has consistently upheld the supremacy of the Constitution over international treaties (links to a well-sourced wikipedia page).
The treaty itself contains this disclaimer:

“Nothing in the present Convention shall affect any provisions which are more conducive to the realization of the rights of persons with disabilities and which may be contained in the law of a State Party or international law in force for that State. There shall be no restriction upon or derogation from any of the human rights and fundamental freedoms recognized or existing in any State Party to the present Convention pursuant to law, conventions, regulation or custom on the pretext that the present Convention does not recognize such rights or freedoms or that it recognizes them to a lesser extent.”

The United States has not and will not lose its sovereignty to the UN.  You are and will remain free to homeschool (within the parameters determined by your state).  The innocuous sounding “right to health care” sounds innocuous because it is; it is not code for forced sterilization or abortion.  It means that we cannot allow people with disabilities to languish and die simply because they are disabled.

Here is a list of the Senators who voted against ratifying the treaty:

Alexander (R-TN)
Blunt (R-MO)
Boozman (R-AR)
Burr (R-NC)
Chambliss (R-GA)
Coats (R-IN)
Coburn (R-OK)
Cochran (R-MS)
Corker (R-TN)
Cornyn (R-TX)
Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC)
Enzi (R-WY)
Graham (R-SC)
Grassley (R-IA)
Hatch (R-UT)
Heller (R-NV)
Hoeven (R-ND)
Hutchison (R-TX)
Inhofe (R-OK)
Isakson (R-GA)
Johanns (R-NE)
Johnson (R-WI)
Kyl (R-AZ)
Lee (R-UT)
McConnell (R-KY)
Moran (R-KS)
Paul (R-KY)
Portman (R-OH)
Risch (R-ID)
Roberts (R-KS)
Rubio (R-FL)
Sessions (R-AL)
Shelby (R-AL)
Thune (R-SD)
Toomey (R-PA)
Vitter (R-LA)
Wicker (R-MS)

Posted in Brain Fuckery, Christians are Special, Homeschooling, Politickery, Reproductive Freedom, Some People are FUCKED UP | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments